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The first thing I did with my engineering degree was write this play... 

The Cup

By Fred Hamilton

A Short, One-Act Play About a Drinking Vessel

The time is anytime, and the place is anywhere there are cups and people trying to live together in peaceful co-existence. The set should be simple and uncluttered; there should be nothing to distract the audience from the high-tension drama as the play unfolds. A coat rack and a small table for The Cup should be sufficient.

Of the three human characters, only Person A and Person B should convey any sense of direction in their lives or confidence in themselves. The Cup should likewise be at ease with itself and the world around it. The actors can be of either sex, but The Cup should be clear-a simple, strong cup, not the macho beer-mug type. The Cup should be filled halfway with some sort of fluid visible to the audience.

As the curtain rises, we see the three humans standing around The Cup; Person A on stage left, Person B stage right, and Fred in-between, facing both The Cup and the audience. All three have obviously been spending some time, possibly hours, pondering The Cup. There should be at least ten minutes more of this quiet contemplation before the silence is broken.

PERSON A: I believe the cup is half-full.

PERSON B: Don't be silly. The cup is obviously half-empty.

PERSON A: [getting angry ] You never could tell your ass from a hole-in-the-ground! The cup is half-full ! I've had just about enou-

FRED: [screaming at the top of his lungs ] Whether the cup is half-full or half-empty doesn't matter! The cup was once full-a happy, complete cup! It nearly flowed-over with liquid (it could ask for no more than that!) and every moment of its existence was a celebration! [calming down a little ] But as time flew by, the cup lost more and more of its precious cargo until it became as we see it now-a shadow of the cup it used to be. Where once there were hopes and dreams, there is now only despair and memories. Where once there was happiness and joy, there is now only sadness and heartache, and a slight mist (due to the vapor pressure of the remaining liquid). [even quieter now ] Of course I realize, sadly, that one day this cup will be empty-dry and lifeless. Will Person A or Person B give a shit about it then ? NO! But I will see the empty cup and cry, remembering how its half-empty/half-full days weren't so bad after all, only I missed them because I was too busy lamenting the loss of the full cup to enjoy what the half cup had to offer. Then I will see myself in this empty cup, and I'll feel real bad. [Fred collapses into a sobbing heap of self-pity ]

CUP: Gimme a break !


©1986-2011 Fred Hamilton