CUSTODY © By Patrick Thomas McCarthy ptmc
Brendan: 30's, straight looking, an English Teacher
Shannon: her 40th, 41st & 42nd birthdays, AN English Teacher
Peter: dull, dependable, straight, 40's
Ted: 20's/30’s/40's, he keeps his promises, Brendan’s boyfriend
A comfortable apartment furnished semi-tastefully with three exits & one closet
All action takes place on the single set
Timeframe: 1994 to 1996
Running time: 85 minutes, 3 acts, no intermissions
In three acts, three different men enter Shannon's apartment with a pass key. Each man is here on a mission. Will any one of them be successful?
ACT ONE: Brendan enters seeking custody of a child, but instead finds confrontation and the need to create a family which "means all sorts of different things to all sorts of different people, and if you can't find a definition of family that you can spread out under, it is your own personal responsibility to create one". Why is their daughter named Henny? Why did they receive custody of Melly Lou when their friends divorced? He leaves behind "one of the most foolish, sentimental, worthy and valuable things" in his life. Shannon retains custody of their past.
ACT TWO: Peter enters in the attempt to find a future. He comes armed with a grand scheme to change himself by becoming someone else. "Peter isn't gay...he's heterosexual, that's even worse." Marriage is proposed, but the proposal is interrupted by an arrival from the past. The threesome is reduced to a meal time psycho drama that reveals Peter's "probably illegal ... criminal behavior". Photos, memories and possibly the phone bill are given over to Brendan's custody. Shannon & Peter are seemingly left in the limbo of an all too shaky present.
ACT THREE: Ted enters seeking conciliation and an outlet for his creative instincts. He ends up in the closet with Peter as their unexpectedly joint scheme for a surprise is almost discovered. Everyone finally comes out of the closet, but Peter & Ted must leave Shannon & Brendan alone not to rehash the past but to confirm the present. Can friendship remain? Is it immutable? The family the four have created, along with their children, gathers at last to share custody of the past, reassess the present and hope for the future.
Melly Lou was born January 11th, 2017 weighing in at 4lbs. 4 ozs. an automatic poster child, the 1st American with Dutch Elm Disease. She will be prominently featured along with Anne Pasquale, Keith Herron, Mick Bleyer & Drew Bolander in CUSTODY Sunday March 5th in a staged reading at TAI 150 West 30th St 14th Floor. NYC. She will not be baptized ... it would probably warp her for life.