JUSTIN

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The Fourth Wall
A scene by Janis Craft

JILL and LUCAS, high school students, are holding hands. They are acting in a play.

JILL
I like this hand.

LUCAS
I like you.

JILL (thrown)
Uh… (whispering) That’s not the line.

LUCAS
I can’t keep it in any longer. I. Like. You.

JILL
Uh… (covering) I know. I mean, I hope so… you are my boyfriend.

LUCAS
No, like, I like you, like you. Like, in real life like you.

JILL
Oh. (whispering) Is that why you keep forgetting your lines?

LUCAS
I think so.

JILL (to audience)
Can we just take a time-out for a second? Sorry, but this is kind of… a character
revelation.

LUCAS
A major one.

JILL
And it’s kind of… complicating the plot.

LUCAS
Tell me about it.

JILL
I don’t even know how to stay in character anymore.
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LUCAS
Me either.

JILL
Obviously. Your character would never be so blunt. He’s all subtext.

LUCAS
That’s the problem.

JILL
It’s what makes him compelling.

LUCAS
Not compelling enough to get to kiss you.

JILL
Oh. Well…

LUCAS
And I’ve wanted to kiss you since auditions. I was really hoping it was written into the
script.

JILL
But it’s not.

LUCAS
Don’t you think that’s weird?

JILL
I don’t know.

LUCAS
I mean they’re a couple. They’re teenagers. Of course they would kiss. Why don’t you
think it’s in the script?

JILL
Maybe they think it’s inappropriate.

LUCAS
Who?

JILL
The adults.

LUCAS
Adults kiss.
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JILL
Yeah, but maybe they don’t want to see teenagers do it.

LUCAS
I wonder why.

JILL
It probably makes them uncomfortable. Like, makes them feel they shouldn’t be
watching. Because watching is condoning and even though they know that kissing isn’t
bad (I mean, certainly they kissed when they were our age), they still feel like they have
to pretend that that it doesn’t really happen.

LUCAS
Maybe they’re afraid of how it makes them feel.

JILL
What, old?

LUCAS
Yeah… maybe it makes them feel old and creepy for watching young people kiss.
Maybe there’s not enough kissing in their lives anymore and any kissing at all makes
them uncomfortable and sad and afraid that life isn’t worth living, but instead of dealing
with those emotions, they just cut out the kissing portions in high school plays and say
it’s for our good.

JILL
I don’t know. Some old people kiss a lot. At least I think they do.

LUCAS
Well, it’s not like how I want to kiss you.

JILL
Oh yeah?

LUCAS
Oh yeah.

An intense moment. They almost forget the audience is there and come close to kissing
but then stop abruptly.

JILL
Did you hear that?

LUCAS
What?
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JILL
The clearing of the throat. In the back row.

LUCAS
Oh. I thought you were going to say you heard my heart beating. It’s really loud. It’s
kind of all I can hear.

JILL
Awe. That’s cute.

LUCAS
It is?

JILL
Uh huh.

Another moment. This time LUCAS stops it.

LUCAS
You know, I’d almost forgotten they were there.

JILL
But,…?

LUCAS
But now I keep thinking about whoever it was back there who cleared his throat.

JILL
And?

LUCAS
And, aside from killing the mood (but only a little), I really wish I knew what he looked
like. I wish I knew how old he was. If he’s as old as my grandpa, I think I could forgive
him.

JILL
Why’s that?

LUCAS
Because my grandpa comes from another era altogether.

JILL
An era where there wasn’t kissing?

LUCAS
No. An era when it wasn’t so public. An era when there weren’t even TVs.
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JILL
Weird.

LUCAS
I know. And the actors in the movies only fake kissed.

JILL (extra curious, getting an idea)
Fake kissed?

LUCAS
You know, like with a hand over their mouth.

JILL
No… I can’t quite picture it…

LUCAS (tries to describe it with his hand over his mouth)
Like this, but so that you can’t see the hand and then they move their heads around like--

JILL (with a big grin)
--I’m still not sure I understand.

LUCAS (getting it finally)
OH. Well see, it’s like this:

He takes her and they share a deeply passionate fake kiss. They stop abruptly.

LUCAS
Did you hear that?

JILL
What?

LUCAS (trying to see into the audience)
That little chuckle near the back. I think it was the same guy.

JILL (dreamily)
I didn’t hear a thing.

LUCAS
I guess if it’s fake, it’s okay.

JILL
Didn’t feel fake to me…

LUCAS
Me either. Aside from my hand being in the way.
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JILL (taking his hand and kisses it)
I like this hand.

LUCAS (stammering)
Uh…

JILL
The line is: “It likes you too.”

LUCAS
Oh, right. “It likes you too.”

They exit holding hands, in character. From the wings we can barely see that JILL has
nailed LUCAS with a very real kiss.

END

				
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