"Foster has created two wonderfully familiar Canadian characters, put them into an absurd situation,and made the whole thing explode like a time bomb of hilarity." --The Montreal Gazette

 

Diana Fajrajsl & John Dolan in the Piggery Theatre production of Opening Night. 1989


  Opening Night is the story of an unusual evening at the theatre. Ruth Tisdale has lucked into a pair of tickets to the opening night performance of a new Canadian play, and she drags her husband Jack to the theatre as a way to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Jack, however would rather be at home watching the seventh game of the World Series on television. In the following scene, Jack and Ruth are mingling with invited guests before the show in the VIP lounge, when Jack spots someone he recognizes from television.
   
   
Jack: (TO MICHAEL.) Excuse me? Hi. You're, uh..You're him, aren't you?
Michael: Beg your pardon?
Jack: Handy Randy. You're him, right? My wife and I were just wondering. I said you were him but she didn't think you were, so...You are, aren't you?
Michael: Yes.
Jack: I knew it. (TO RUTH) Ruthie! It's him. (TO MICHAEL) Yeah. The socket wrench, right?
Michael: Right.
Jack: Yeah, that's a great ad. You chasing all those little sockets around the tool box. That's terrific. Oh, sorry. Jack Tisdale.
Michael: Michael Craig.
(THEY SHAKE HANDS.)
Jack: Nice to meet you. Yeah, I take kind of a special interest in those hardware commercials, you see, because I'm in varnish.
Michael: Varnish?
Jack: (HE TAKES A BUSINESS CARD OUT AND GIVES IT TO MICHAEL) Yeah. Lemme give you my card here. Ya see? Jack Tisdale. Allcoat Industries. I'm on the sales end. It's a great line of products. Practically sells itself. We've got the varnish, the wood stains, shellac, liquid plastics, but the varnish is really the flagship of the company. Well, you know that. I mean, your store moves a lot of that stuff for us.
Michael: My store?
Jack: Handy Hardware. They carry Allcoat.
Michael: Well, that's not my store. I just do their commercials. I'm an actor.
Jack: Oh, I thought maybe you worked for the store. You know like those car dealers who do their own commercials?
Michael: No. Sorry.
Jack: So, you're an actor?
Michael: I'm afraid so.
Jack: Where do you act? I mean, besides Handy Hardware.
Michael: Well, I mainly work on the stage and in film.
Jack: Film, huh? You do movies?
Michael: Occasionally, yes.
Jack: Anything I would've seen you in? I mean, me and the wife are big movie fans. Wait, lemme get her over here. (TO RUTH) Ruthie? (TO MICHAEL) She'll love this. Talkin' to a real actor? This'll make her night. (TO RUTH) Ruth? (TO MICHAEL.) What's your name again?
(RUTH MOVES TO JACK AND MICHAEL.)
Michael: Michael Craig.
Jack: I'm sorry. Michael?
Michael: Craig.
Jack: Michael Craig. Well, I've never heard of you but maybe Ruth has. (TO RUTH.) Ruthie, this is Michael Craig.
Ruth: Hello.
Michael: How do you do?
Jack: Name ring a bell?
Ruth: Uh-uh.
Jack: Well, he's an actor.
Ruth: Oh?
Jack: Yeah, but he does these t.v. commercials too. You've seen them. The one where the big socket wrench climbs out of the tool box? (TO MICHAEL.) And the tool box is supposed to be a coffin and you're some sort of vampire socket wrench, right?
Michael: Right.
Jack: I'm tellin' ya, it's a classic.
Ruth: So, you're here to see the show are you, Mr....I'm sorry. I've forgotten your name.
Michael: Craig. Michael Craig. Yes, I usually get invited to these opening night affairs. Excuse me. (HE MOVES AWAY.)
Ruth: (FOLLOWING MICHAEL.) Then you must be fairly well known.
Jack: Well, of course he's well known. He's Handy Randy for godssake.
Ruth: No, I meant in theatrical circles.
Jack: Well, what's the difference?
Ruth: Well, theatre people don't usually mix with t.v. people. (TO MICHAEL) Isn't that right, Mr. Craig?
Michael: Only if there's money involved, Mrs. Tweedsdale.
Ruth: Tisdale.
Michael: Yes. Well, it's been a pleasure chatting with you both, but I really must rush. I've got to, uh...I've got to....(HE IS STUCK FOR AN EXCUSE.)
Jack: Walk the Schnauzer.
Michael: I'm sorry?
Jack: You know? The men's room.
Michael: Ah. Yes, yes. I've got to....walk the Schnauzer. Excuse me.
(MICHAEL EXITS.)
 
Copyright 1991 Norm Foster

 

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