“The Exact Center of the Universe”

by Joan Vail Thorne

Performed March 12th & 13th, 2016
in the Studio at the Creative Bloc
804 Main Street
Baton Rouge, La

THE STORY: Vada Love Powell, the self-appointed doyenne of a small Southern town, has invited Mary Lou Mele to tea. It’s Vada’s intention to scare off another prospective bride for her beloved son, Apple, but she meets her match in Mary Lou, who’s pretending to be her twin sister, Mary Ann, whom Apple secretly married that very afternoon. Now Vada must face her best friends, Marybell Baxter and Enid Symonds in Enid’s tree house, where the three gather to “play canasta and consume sweets. “They agree that Vada “had this one coming,” but she pretends nothing has happened. It’s a complete surprise when Apple returns with his shy bride, who astounds even Vada with her love for him. Ten years pass and “The Tree House Gang has grown old.” Vada “summons” Mary Lou, now an anthropologist, to discuss some photographs she took of a nearly nude tribe. Vada is appalled that Mary Ann is going to let her twins take these “suggestive” pictures to school. Apple blames his mother for offending his wife, warns her not to mention the photographs to the girls, and runs out before she can tell him she already has. Vada also “summons” Enid and Marybell to discuss the “unrest” in their beloved church guild. During their discussion Apple telephones that the twins have run away from school. After some panic, Mary Ann reports they’ve been found, but she holds Vada accountable: The girls ran away because Vada had said they should be ashamed of the photos. Vada apologizes to Mary Ann, and reveals to Apple “this little heart problem,” that she’s not going to let “change her life.” She asks him to plan her funeral, then proceeds to tell him exactly what to do!

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