Background for Theatrical Play
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Peter Marconi is a 65 year old barber, in the small town of Squirrel Valley, New Jersey. His barber shop is located right on the corner of Main Street and Oak Lane. Peter has been a barber all of his life. Peter’s father was a barber, as was his grandfather. All three generations of the Marconi family were barbers, in the very same barber shop that Peter now works in.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SET:
The set will be incredibly simple. There will be two barber’s chairs on center stage. Then, behind the barber’s chair, there will be a shelf for Peter’s scissors, razors, hair tonic, etcetera. At stage right will be three very plain and ordinary looking chairs for the men to wait to get their hair cut.
At stage left there will be an old black and white television set that stands on an old wooden table. The television is so old that it has rabbit ears antennas atop it.
THE CORE TRUTH OF PETER MARCONI:
Peter now works in the barber shop, by himself. It was a little over a year ago that the paramedics rushed Peter’s Dad out of the barber shop, with a heart attack. Peter now feels the loneliness of working alone in the barber shop. For Peter had begun working in the barber shop when he was only nine years old and in the fourth grade. Peter would walk directly from school to his Dad’s barber shop, every afternoon after school let out. At his Dad’s barber shop, Peter would sweep the floor and run errands for his father.
In the course of the play, men come in and out of the barber shop, to get their hair cut. Throughout the conversations that Peter has with these men, Peter shares his inner, heart-felt reflections that he feels a deep loneliness and emptiness in his life now. At 65, he wonders what he has really accomplished in his life. Nagging at Peter’s heart and his inner thoughts, is that Peter had always wanted to be a forest ranger. To work in the great outdoors. To be with nature. To have that cosmic connection with the great out of doors. In dialogue with some of the regular customers, Peter shares more and more of his sense of failure for not following his own dreams and perhaps being a bit too true to his father’s dream of having Peter work with him in the barber shop.
Sadly, Peter’s father is now in a nursing home. At times, when there are no customers in the barber shop, Peter talks to his father’s barber shop chair. Peter shares his concerns for his father’s health. And, he talks to the barber shop, as if it is his father being there, that he should have followed and pursued his dream to be a forest ranger.
There are hints of Peter’s personal life, throughout the play, through Peter’s dialogue with his customers and his talks with his father’s barber chair. Peter is a widow. His only son is a lawyer, who works in New York City. Peter does not see his son that much. Peter also has a daughter who lives in San Francisco. She is single and Peter constantly worries about her. From time to time, throughout the play, when he is alone in his barber shop, he tells his father’s empty barber chair that he needs to call his son or daughter. Peter picks up the phone, but never calls either one of his adult children.
In the beginning of Act II, sadly, Peter gets the news that his father has passed away. It comes in the way of a telephone call. When the fateful call comes through, Peter is alone in his barber shop. Right after he hangs up the phone, he sits down at his barber chair and breaks down and cries. Peter tries to compose himself. In his time of composing himself, he talks to his Dad’s barber chair and tells his Dad’s barber chair how much his father meant to him. But, he also tells his Dad’s barber chair how he really wanted to be a forest ranger, from the time he was a little boy.
At this point in time, I am not sure how I will end the play. But, it will end in an upbeat spirit.