The Bridges of Men
a one act play
The scene takes place in the kitchen of Frank and Gina’s apartment in a city in Italy. Frank and Gina are in their mid to late 30’s. Frank has just come home. It is just after dusk.
FRANK: Gina, I am tired of eating pasta. And now we can’t even afford this.
GINA: Frank, just eat. We have enough to eat for tonight.
FRANK: Where are the kids? Why are the children not here? Did they eat already?
GINA: I fed them before you got home. They’re in their rooms.
FRANK: Oh God, I can’t eat. I won’t eat.
Gina walks over to him.
GINA: Shh. Frank. Shh.
She rubs his shoulders.
FRANK: Gina, what will become of you and the children?
GINA: Things will get better.
FRANK: I went to the attorney today.
GINA: No, you did not.
FRANK: I did.
GINA: You promised you wouldn’t go.
Gina turns away from him, stirs a pot on the stove
FRANK: But I did.
She turns around to face Frank.
GINA: I don’t want to hear this. Just eat. Be quiet.
Frank tries to take a bite
FRANK: I can’t do this. I can’t eat.
He pushes the plate away.
FRANK: Soon we won’t even have this. A few beans, some bread. Then we’re out on the streets.
GINA: We’ll go to my cousin’s village. She’ll have room for us. I told you this.
FRANK: And who will put the food on the table? Gina, there’s no work.
GINA: We’ll find work.
FRANK: The lawyer said that all the debts will be forgiven.
GINA: I don’t want to hear this. I will scrub floors. I will wash clothes. I will cook.
FRANK: With the little money left, you and the children… (Frank gets up from the table and looks out the window) The attorney said the insurance will pay if it looks accidental.
GINA: No accident. We discussed this. This is not the way.
FRANK: It is the only way. Gina, you know what’s going on in this country.
GINA: I don’t care what’s going on with the country.
FRANK: (talking at the same time as Gina) There’s nothing left for us. Nothing left for you or the children.
GINA: We will find something. My only care is for us. Our family.
FRANK: And I don’t? That is why I must do this.
Gina has been crying. She wipes her eyes with her apron, turning back to the pot on the stove
FRANK: There is no other way. It will be at the bridge.
He sits back down at the table, looking down at the table.
GINA: Do not do this. I will hate you forever.
FRANK: I will be walking to the tax collector’s office. I saw an area on the side of the bridge in disrepair.
GINA: Stop it.
FRANK: I will slip.
FRANK: You will tell them when they come that I’ve had headaches, dizzy spells, and that we couldn’t afford doctor’s bills.
GINA: Don’t do this, Frankie.
FRANK: Then take the children to your cousin’s house.
GINA: No. No. No. I did not marry you for you to do this. Things will turn around, Frankie. I pray everyday that things will turn around.
Frank pushes the plate to the center of the table and gets up from his chair.
FRANK: I do too, but God has no say over what men do. I will walk the bridge tomorrow morning; and I will leave tonight, now, because if I stay I will not want to do it in the morning…
Gina runs to him, holds him, crying, Do not do this, Frankie. I love you. Do not go.
FRANK: I have to go.
Frank turns to go out the door. The lights fade. Gina is speaking in the dark.
GINA: I curse what men have done to us. I curse the bankers, the wealthy, the politicians. I curse the bridges that used to carry us to safety. These same bridges that now carry our men to their deaths. These bridges that now cut them off from us and our children. And for what? For what? For money? For power?
A small light shines in the kitchen. Gina is seen with her apron over head. She has lit a small candle on the table.
GINA: Certainly not for justice. There is no justice. There is only power. The power that is in me, now, and my family. And the monsters who rule us do not know from this. They do not know from love, or from compassion, or from sacrifice.
She blows out the candle as she takes Frank’s plate from the center of the table.