Boys in the Attic

April 2002



Noah - Main character. Sophomore in high school. Sixteen-year-old boy, mild, sensitive and soft-spoken. Soft, light hair, no taller than 5'0".

Caleb - Eighteen years old, a Senior in a private boys' high school. Tall, serene, good-natured, and patient.

Padraic - Seventeen years old, tall and skinny. Wears dark, gothic clothes to match his disposition. Depressed, perhaps melodramatically so.

Eric - Seventeen years old, African American with a thick, dread-lock hair style. Out-spoken, energetic, and unabashed.

Lenny - Noah's single-parent father, between 35 and 40 years of age.


Modern, casual American city.



Scene I

(Curtain opens on a small, modern household, with two rooms visible: a tiny rectangular bedroom and a cluttered living room. The lighting is a weak orange from shaded lamps, causing objects to cast long, blurry shadows. The television in the living room cannot be seen, but is so slightly out of view that it can be heard and it radiates a soft, blue, hazy glare that flickers on and off of the floor like a spotlight.

There is a boy lying on a single bed in the small bedroom, reading a book. He is as soft as the modest, meager lamp light that he reads by, secluded and huddled away from the living room. He reads silently as the boxed, distorted voices from the television babble endlessly and enthusiastically.

The boy has turned two or three pages in his book by the time the telephone in the living room rings.

He raises his head quickly to the sound, his attention abruptly and starkly shifted. He does not move again, but watches intently the wall that separates his room from the rest of the house, his body stiff and waiting, the way a resting spring is coiled, ready to burst.

A man, Noah's father, goes to the phone, and he too has an air of readiness about him, despite his being dressed for not much more than a trip to the refrigerator, in a white undershirt, jeans, and bare feet.)

Lenny: Hello?

(He listens to the voice on the other end of the telephone line, his face conveying increasing interest in what is being said.)

Lenny: (With malicious curiosity, interested in the way a cat is interested in a mouse) Oh really? No shit? (He waits, listening, and repeats, a cruel overtone coloring the sound of delight in his voice) No shit! ... Yeah, I'm going! Yeah, just let me get dressed, I'll meet up with you there. Right. Yeah. Yeah, hell yeah, we are! Alright, see you!

(He puts the phone back in its cradle and immediately disappears into the house. He reappears with a set of car keys and is now wearing a shirt.)

Lenny: Noah? Noah!

Noah: I'm in here!

(Lenny walks briskly to Noah's room, now moving with a rushed eagerness. He opens Noah's door quickly, and years have drained from him. He is now like a teenager excited about a big party.)

Lenny: That was Charlie. Says there's some damn underground gay dance club over in Hollinsfield.

Noah: They're having another raid?

Lenny: Hell yes! Hell yeah- where're my damn shoes? (He searches Noah's bedroom floor briefly, then goes back into the rest of the house for them.)

Noah: (He follows Lenny until he reaches the front door in the center of the house, a small foyer between his bedroom and the living room.) I think they're in the kitchen.

Lenny: (His voice starts as he is out of view fetching his shoes, and finishes as he comes to the living room to put them on.) Fuckingdance club! I thought they knew better than that by now. Probably a whole damn multitude of 'em. (Disgusted) A dance club!

Noah: How long do you think it'll take?

Lenny: Maybe all damn night. (He stands, and disappears into the house again, calling.) Will you be okay here by yourself? We might come back around here, there're still some hiding out in the neighborhood we haven't caught.

Noah: Maybe they moved away.

Lenny: Yeah, well, (returning to the foyer, slipping on a jacket) we have to make sure. I'll tell you, I won't put up with them living in my own neighborhood, around my only child. (He repeats) Will you be okay here by yourself?

Noah: Yeah.

Lenny: Alright, well, there's pizza left in the fridge and if you need anything call Carol and Tom next door, okay?

Noah: I know.

Lenny: (Testing Noah) And what if I'm not back in the morning?

Noah: (Reciting) I'll get up, get ready for school, fix breakfast, and catch the bus.

Lenny: Good boy.

(He briefly ruffles Noah's hair, waves his car keys at the boy, and exits the house. In a few moments there is the sound of a car engine coming to life outside.

Noah, still in the foyer, rearranges the hair his father has ruffled as he listens intently to the sound of the car leaving. He tightens his fists into anxious balls, and approaches the door to watch his father leave, to make sure he is gone. When the car has had time to make it to the road, Noah slowly backs into the foyer and goes to his room. He moves in a way similar to the rushed excitement of his father, but his briskness is starched in rigid panic, controlled only by the fact that he is alone.

He grabs a jacket from the back of a chair in his room, and stoops by his bed to put on his sneakers. When they're on and tied, he stands on his bed to look out of the window over it, to survey his exit. He then goes to the living room, scrawls a note onto a pad of paper on the coffee table, and slips out of the front door.)


(End Scene I, Act I)