A Play in One Scene
by Frances Gallopaway.
Cast of Characters
HARVEY DILL: Crackpot psychiatrist. Middle-aged. Very tall.
WILBUR: A patient. Younger. Short.
KATY: Friend of both. Middle-aged.
KATY’S living room in a Bohemian beach apartment somewhere in California.
A small, cluttered studio apartment, one wall lined with bookshelves put together with boards and milk crates. A telephone, two chairs, a card table with a writer’s tools. There is a mattress on the floor, which doubles as the couch.
AT RISE: Mid-morning. KATY is sitting at the table. WILBUR is half lying on the mattress, holding his stomach.
KATY: He told you to eat green bananas?
KATY: That’s stupid, I mean that’s crazy!
WILBUR: He said it would balance my enzymes and counteract the affect of my fluid intake with my moon sign. He says the pull from the House of Aries is in a fight with all the water I’ve been drinking and I’m in serious trouble.
KATY: You are now. I thought you went to him for sleeping pills.
WILBUR: I did. I told him about Chuck, about how I can’t sleep because I’m afraid Chuck is trying to kill me. He was trying to kill me. He still is!
KATY: Well it does sound reasonable to tell Harvey because he is a psychiatrist, I mean it would seem to be the reasonable thing to do. But he’s nuts! He’s totally wacko! Green bananas?
WILBUR: He told me to eat three green bananas every day for three weeks and that should do the trick. He was serious.
KATY: Harvey is never serious. But he is enthusiastic. And he is funny. He could also kill you.
WILBUR: I can’t look another green banana in the face. And I only did it for three days. Oh I don’t know what to do. If you can’t even trust a doctor, a psychiatrist, I mean he did go through all that schooling. He must know something.
KATY: Yeah, he knows how to talk fast.
WILBUR: You can say that again, I can’t get a word in edgewise.
KATY: Of course.
WILBUR: That’s what Harvey always says, “Of course”. And then he goes off and tells you all this stuff.
KATY: He needs an audience. That’s why he went through all that hassle to get to be a psychiatrist. Did you know it took him four years just to figure out how to get into medical school?
WILBUR: You’re kidding.
KATY: Just so he could get to talk. Just so people would listen to him. That’s why he wanted to be a psychiatrist. I’m sure nobody listened to him when he was a kid.
WILBUR: It sounds like he needs a psychiatrist.
KATY: He’s a hopeless case. You can’t help liking him though.
WILBUR: Well my stomach doesn’t like him.
KATY: I’m sure. This time he’s gone too far.
WILBUR: But he did help me with one thing, he got me into vitamins. He’s really into vitamins.
KATY: Yeah. But he’s even wierd about that. One time he tells you to take vitamins and the next time he blames everything that’s wrong with anybody on vitamins. Everything bad that happens to you is either because you don’t have enough of some kind of vitamins or you have too much and the moon is doing something to Aries or Libra or something like that. Don’t forget his astrology trip.
WILBUR: I do believe in astrology. And I believe in vitamins, look at my hair! Remember when I was getting all gray?
KATY: Yeah you don’t have any gray hair anymore, that’s amazing.
WILBUR: But that doesn’t take care of Chuck! I just want to be left alone. I never did anything to anybody, I never did anything to Chuck. I mean I’m really scared. And Harvey doesn’t listen to me, not really. Oh he waits until you’re in the door, makes you fill out all those forms. When I told him I was on unemployment he said, “Of course.”
KATY: He always says that, even when you’re talking about something he can’t possibly know anything about.
WILBUR: But Vitamins. I can thank Harvey for that. That’s not what’s got me worried though. Harvey says Chuck is a psychotic killer type. He asked me all these questions, like, “Does Chuck eat a lot of sugar?” And I said, “Yes, he has coffee and doughnuts every morning and every afternoon at break.” And Harvey whistles and says, “He drinks coffee too? There’s your answer, multi‑functional disparalysis of the vitamin E C D B12 and zinc and copper!” And do I know his moon? I don’t. He says his moon’s got to be in Taurus and I’ve got to get Chuck to eat green bananas.
(Voice of HARVEY DILL in the background): Total personality change, I guarantee it. He’ll be your best friend.
WILBUR: But I can’t stand Chuck, I don’t want him to be my anything. I just want him to leave me alone!
HARVEY: That’s because you haven’t eaten enough green bananas.
KATY: You never ate a green banana in your life, Harvey.
WILBUR: The worst was finding out I’ve been leaching all of my vitamins from my body by drinking too much water. Harvey says…
KATY (Interrupts): He told me that too, and when I told him he was nuts, he laughed. Green bananas. You know Harvey never ate a green banana in his life.
WILBUR: Do you really think he’d do that?
KATY: He did do it. You got a really bad stomach ache from eating green bananas.
WILBUR: I did! Oh god they taste terrible. And they pucker up your mouth and you can’t get rid of it.
KATY: How many did you eat?
WILBUR: I already told you. He said to eat three a day and not to drink water. At least don’t drink more than one glass of water a day, if you really can’t help it. But you really should drink none. Drink alchohol.
KATY: He told me that too, but he knows I don’t take him seriously, not when he comes up with all those crackpot ideas. This is too much.
(She opens the door, Dr. Dill stands there.)
KATY: Get in here.
HARVEY (coming in, in grating voice): What are you up to now?!
KATY: You never ate a green banana in your life, Harvey Dill. I’m getting a whole bunch of green bananas and you’re gonna eat every one of ’em.
HARVEY: I Can’t. My metabolism is different from Wilbur’s and my moon is in conjunction with Venus in the House of Saturn. And besides, I hate green bananas, they make me throw up. I can’t stand the sight of green bananas, I can’t even stand the thought of green bananas.
KATY: Did you ever eat a green banana?
HARVEY: I don’t wanna talk about it.
KATY: Did you ever eat a green banana because you would be punished if you didn’t?
HARVEY: I don’t remember.
KATY: When was the last time you were forced to eat a green banana?
HARVEY: Shut up!
KATY: I wanna know.
HARVEY: Leave me alone!
KATY: Tell me.
HARVEY: Don’t forget who the doctor is here!
KATY: Don’t you forget. Who does Wilbur look like, Harvey? Why do you want to punish poor Wilbur?
HARVEY: Leave me alone! Damn Aries women, can’t get away with anything.
KATY: Who does Wilbur remind you of?
HARVEY: You need more vitamin C, that’s the problem.
KATY: Wilbur looks like your father, doesn’t he, Harvey? And your father made you eat green bananas because he was almost a midget and you were this big tall giant kid and he was jealous of you. Your father was a sick man, Harvey, he was jealous of you because you were bigger then he was when you were six years old! He was jealous of you and that’s why he made you eat green bananas and that’s why he killed himself. It wasn’t your fault, Harvey, it wasn’t your fault.
HARVEY (in little sobbing stabs): I always thought I looked like a green banana, an overgrown green banana.
KATY: Tell me about it.