WAKE ME AT MIDNIGHT

Struggling playwright Ted Santi is waking his 'black sheep' uncle Joey upstairs at the funeral home while all hell is breaking loose downstairs in the lounge! Who are some of the people you're likely to run into at an Italian wake? How about your ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, current girlfriend, local bookie and pesky funeral director, all of whom you owe money to! What's a guy in need of quick cash to do? How about enlist the aid of his zany relatives to find the winning sweepstakes ticket that the practical joking decedent has hidden somewhere in the funeral parlor on which the statute of limitations is set to expire at midnight! 


WHAT THE CRITICS SAID:

"A black comedy set in a funeral home with the emphasis on comedy. A must see."

Joe Franklin - Bloomberg Radio



Excerpts

 

WAKE ME AT MIDNIGHT

By

Joe Simonelli


WAKE ME AT MIDNIGHT was produced at The Conference
House on Staten Island on May 8th,2015 with the following cast:
Ted Santi……………………………..Jai Sada
Molly……………………………………Laura Rose Cook
Brady…………………………………..Charles Rauscher
Sal………………………………………..Joe Simonelli
Aunt Theresa………………………..Alberta Thompson
Tommy………………………………..Gary J. Moore
Kari………………………………………Debbie O’Brien
Carmine………………………………Jay Minkoff
Pam…………………………………….Diane Fisher-Flores
Kyle……………………………………Peter Crowley
Production Staff
Cate Moran………………………….Director
Lori Jean Sigrist…………………….Stage manager, Lights, Sound


CAST OF CHARACTERS
Ted Santi - 50-55 playwright
Aunt Theresa - 80 Ted’s Aunt
Kari - 45 Ted’s ex girlfriend
Tommy - 45-50 Ted’s brother
Brady - 50 + funeral director
Molly - 34 Ted’s current girlfriend
Kyle - 35 Brady’s nephew
Pam - 55 Ted’s ex -wife
Sal - 45-60 Ted’s cousin
Carmine - 40-70 Collection Enforcer
*author’s note: not all people from Brooklyn speak like Damon Runyan
characters. Pick your spots. I suggest Sal and Carmine as street guys
and the rest close to normal elocution.
7
(SETTING: The downstairs lounge of a funeral home in
Brooklyn. There is a couch and a few chairs apparent. A
small table with Magazines and a water cooler. A set of
wide stairs up left leads to the upstairs viewing room.
An arched entrance down right leads to the rest rooms
(appropriately marked) and the embalming room. A doorway
down right is a broom closet.)
AT RISE: (The set is empty as we hear piped in music (organ
playing) typical of any funeral home. This music will play
at various times during show. The music fades as Ted
enters.)
TED. (Enters downstairs followed by Molly, he quickly checks his
cell phone for messages then puts it away)
The restrooms are down here babe. Through that door. (Points
to restroom sign)
MOLLY. (Follows him in and moves towards restroom entrance.
She is at least twenty years younger than Ted and a free spirit. )
I can’t believe we’re at a funeral home at this time of night. It’s
a little creepy. Where is everyone? .
TED. They’ll be here, they’ll be here, what time you got? (sits on
couch)
MOLLY. Where’s your watch?
TED. You know my ex-wife got that in the divorce settlement.

MOLLY.(she crosses to him) And she deserved it after putting up
with you for twenty years…I’m talking about the watch I gave
you for your birthday last month…oh no, don’t tell me Ted…
TED. What?
MOLLY. Ya hocked it, didn’t ya!
TED. Come on Molly, would I do that?
MOLLY. You’d hock your underwear if anyone would take it.
First you hock that beautiful tennis bracelet you gave me then
the watch I bought you. The card game again right?
TED. (mocking tone) No, it was not the card game again.
MOLLY. C’mon, where’s the pawn ticket? Let’s have it.
TED. I can’t, I gave to Carmine.
MOLLY. Carmine the loan shark! Why the hell did you do that?
TED. Why, why, why do ya think, (sarcastic) he’s my prom
date?…. I owed him money. He needed some security so I told
him to take the watch.
MOLLY. (she sits down left) Nice, real nice. You know, I don’t
know why I’m with you…you gamble all the time, you’re always
broke, you’re old enough to be my father…..
TED. Must be my boyish charm.
9
MOLLY. Or perhaps because I’m a neurotic , aspiring actress
and you’re a border line psychotic playwright?
TED.
Nah. (a beat) I still think it’s the boyish charm.
MOLLY. Ya know, they should move your uncle out of that coffin
upstairs and get it ready for you because the way you’re going
you’re gonna be next.
TED. Carmine wouldn’t hurt me, we grew up together, he’s in
my card game.
MOLLY. Oh, I’m not talkin about Carmine killing you.
(looks at her watch)
It’s ten minutes to ten. Why anyone would request they have
their wake begin at ten p.m. and end at midnight is beyond me.
Who was your uncle, Count Dracula?
TED. Uncle Joey was a bit eccentric and a real practical joker.
You couldn’t take anything he said seriously. He used to come
to my shows and tell all the actresses he was a Broadway
producer.
MOLLY. Yeah, well it must run in the family. Remember you
promised me a part in your next play?
TED. You can’t hold me to that, I promise everybody a part in
my plays. Did you take the acting lessons like I told you?
MOLLY. (rises and crosses to him) Not yet.TED. And you expect me to a cast a novice actress just because
she’s young and attractive?
MOLLY. It never stopped you before.
TED. That’s besides the point. You need to get experience first.
MOLLY. How can I get experience if you won’t cast me in
anything?….
TED. How can I cast you when you can’t act!
MOLLY. Half the women in your plays can’t act!
TED. That’s okay, they’re good at other things.
MOLLY. (hits him with her purse) That’s disgusting!
TED. Not that! One does my P.R. work for free. One works for
the printer and gets me a big discount on my programs. It’s a
collaborative effort, one must wear many hats in theatre.
MOLLY. Well which one is currently sleeping with you buster!
There’s a new slant on the casting couch. A “who can get me
stuff for free” couch!
TED. Hey, whatever it takes to get the show on.
MOLLY. Oh! You are making me so nervous…I have to chant.
(starts chanting downstage right and continues to chant until
otherwise specified) ohm….ohm….
11
TED. What are you doing?
MOLLY. Ohm… I’m chanting!
TED. (Rises to stop her) Would you cut that out, you can’t chant
in here, it’s a funeral home!
MOLLY. Who’s gonna hear me? (still chanting as she speaks) I
must release the negative vibrations that surround me by
tapping into the universal knowledge of the cosmos…ohm…ohm
TED. Unbelievable, 2015 and I wind up with a refugee from
Woodstock.
MOLLY. (still chanting) Both my parents were at Woodstock….I
was conceived twelve years later to the day at a Woodstock
reunion party in the woods.
TED. (as he takes out cell phone and starts dialing) God I’m
old….
MOLLY. You sure are…. it’s a good thing for you I have a father
fixation. (back to normal voice) I’ll be right back.
(Molly exits to the bathroom as Ted takes out his cell phone and
dials)
TED. (To phone) Hi Amber, yeah it’s me again, is he in?….. How
can he be home sleeping, it’s only seven pm in L.A…I know he’s

in the office, just tell him it’s important. …Well tell him this
time it’s really important….yeah I’ll hold.
(Brady the Funeral Director enters)
BRADY. Mr. Santi, can I speak to you for a moment?
TED. Just a sec Mr. Brady, I’m on the phone with my agent.. in
L.A.,,(aside to himself joyfully) Gee, I always wanted to say
that…(to Brady) I’ll be upstairs in a few minutes.
BRADY. Okay, I just wanted you to know that the viewers are
starting to arrive. You should be up there with them.. ‘Protocol
and etiquette’, that’s our motto at Brady and Sons.
TED. Don’t worry, my uncle won’t mind. He’s probably trying to
draw to an inside straight up in heaven. Which reminds me,
you feel like joining in a weekly poker game, we just got an
opening.
BRADY. A poker game. Interesting. I used to hold a game right
here after hours.
TED. Here, in the funeral parlor?
BRADY. That’s right.
TED. You know poker games are illegal, weren’t you afraid
you’d get caught?
BRADY. We played somewhere where no one would look.
13
TED. Why’d you stop the game?
BRADY. All the players died.
TED. How convenient.
BRADY. And Mr. Santi, there’s the matter of the money you
owe!
TED. Yeah, yeah, I’ll be up in a minute.
(He heads towards exit as Ted’s cousin Sal enters )
SAL. (To Brady as he exits) Howdy.
(to Ted) Hey cousin Ted….good to see you.
TED. How’s it going up there?
SAL. Aunt Theresa is hysterical. (Imitating their Aunt Theresa)
“My baby brother, my baby brother, I can’t believe he’s gone”
TED. Drama queen. Sixty years of community theatre. (to
phone)
Yeah, I’m still holding Amber…(getting impatient) Yeah, I’ll keep
holding Amber.
SAL. Who’s that?
TED. I’m on hold with my agent (proud of himself) In L.A.
SAL. Oh yeah, the plays. How’s that going for you?

TED. (sits next to Sal)
I just hocked my watch, that’s how it’s going for me. I can’t
understand it, I’ve been with this agent for five years and aside
from a couple of publishing contracts there’s been nothing. No
Broadway, no off Broadway, not even regional theatre. And his
other client is Sam Levine, one of the most profitable
playwrights in the last forty years. His ten percent of that guy
alone is good for millions a year!
SAL. So what does he need you for?
TED. That’s what I’m thinking. But I figure, having a top agent
who ignores you is better that having a lousy agent who ignores
you.
SAL. I don’t know, they’re funny out there in L.A. They think
differently, real mellow. I was out there on vacation once. I was
standing on the Santa Monica pier one day and I saw five
people just sitting there watching a seagull trying to break open
an oyster.
TED. Really? Maybe it was an acting exercise. They’re a little
wacky out there.
SAL. You’re telling me.
AUNT THERESA. (Off Stage)
Joey! Joey! Get up out of that box and I’ll make you Macaroni!
“Oh good night sweet prince” My baby brother! My baby
brother!
SAL. See what I mean.
15
TED. (rises and looks upstairs) She never could stop overacting.
MOLLY. (enters from restroom)
Oh, another one of the card players.
SAL. Hi Molly! If you ever get tired of this guy and you want to
give me a shot….
MOLLY. No thanks Sal, one degenerate gambling boyfriend is
enough.
(Back to chanting) Ohmm – Ohmmm
SAL. (to Ted) Hey, what the hell is she doing?
TED. (a little sarcastic) She’s releasing the negative vibrations
that surround her by tapping into the universal knowledge of
the cosmos.
SAL. Oh yeah, I heard about that in California too. Some new
kind of foreplay, right?
(Aunt Theresa and Tommy, Ted’s younger brother, enter from
upstairs)
AUNT THERESA. (sobbing)
Poor Joey! My poor baby brother, I can’t believe he’s gone.
TOMMY. It’s okay Aunt Theresa, it’s okay, Uncle Joey’s at peace
now.
(he shrugs his shoulders at Ted)


AUNT THERESA. (Hugging Ted) Ted, he was so young, so young
he went. (Hugging Sal) Sally, he was so young.
SAL. Uncle Joey was seventy eight Aunt Theresa, I mean after
all.
(He sits)
AUNT THERESA. In the prime of life. Longevity runs in our
family. Your grandmother, God rest her soul,(she blesses herself
and the three men do likewise) died two years ago at a hundred
and one. If she’d had lived to see her boy, her little Joey, lying in
that box up there….
(she sobs on his shoulder)
TED. It’s okay Aunt Theresa. It’s okay. Hey Molly, can you help
Aunt Theresa to the ladies room?
AUNT THERESA. (Regaining her composure) Teddy, who’s this
girl?
TED. This is my girlfriend Molly.
AUNT THERESA. Another girlfriend? What happened to the
other one I just met at the last funeral.
MOLLY. (to Ted) What other one, what funeral?
TED. (to Molly) Kari, I told you about her. And the last funeral
was a year ago.
MOLLY. You told me you broke up with her two years ago.
17
TED. She came to pay her respects. What do you want from me!
AUNT THERESA. Kari, that’s the one . the Irish girl. I don’t know
what it is with you and the Irish girls, All the time the Irish girls.
You know what your grandmother, God rest her soul (she
blesses herself and the men follow) thought of those Irish girls.
Always drinking, never cooking.
TED. Doesn’t matter, I know how to cook. And by the way Aunt
Theresa, Molly is Irish.
AUNT THERESA. No offense dear, my late husband Henry was
half Irish. God rest his soul. (sign of cross and they follow) A
beautiful man. .(trying to deflect her gaffe). Wasn’t he a
beautiful man?
(all the men compliment him, ‘’a prince, great guy etc – Tommy
sits down)
AUNT THERESA. And Funny!
(again the men ad-lib ‘very funny, a comic genius etc)
MOLLY. No offense taken Aunt Theresa.
AUNT THERESA. (as she gives Molly the once over)
But Teddy, Teddy, she’s …so young.
TED. (proud of himself) Yeah, I know.
AUNT THERESA. (she walks over to Ted and slaps the side of his head

What are you crazy? You want wind up with a heart attack like
your uncle Joey? (she starts crying again) On my poor baby
brother. Dies right in the arms of that Putana! I told him to stop
with the women. All the time with the women. Three, four at a
time, ever since he was a kid!
SAL. What was he, superman?
AUNT THERESA. (Hit’s Sal) Not at the same time, he’d juggle
them. (looks at Ted) Just like someone else I know.
No wonder he’s dead! ( with dramatic effect) Oh I feel so dizzy!
(a la Blanche DuBois )“The vapors are upon me.” (Hits Tommy
on the head)
Get up and let an old lady sit down!
TED. Molly, do you mind, get her to the ladies room before she
goes into the death scene from Romeo and Juliet.
MOLLY. Come on Aunt Theresa, let’s freshen up.
(They exit to the restrooms)
TED. So where have you been Tommy? You’re always late. The
card game, my plays, now Uncle Joey’s funeral.
SAL (to Tommy) Your brother’s right Tommy.
TED. (To phone) Hello Chuck, Hi, thanks for taking my call.
TOMMY. (aside to Sal) He has to talk to his agent at his own
uncle’s funeral?
19
TED. (During the call Tommy and Sal start playing cards, at
certain points in the conversation as Ted gets loud and excited
they try to shush him reminding him he’s in a funeral parlor)
So how are things in L.A.?....Really, seventy two and sunny?
That’s great! Besides the weather how are things in L.A.?
Anything cooking? …No huh… Did the Santa Monica theatre get
back to you? Not yet huh. Well is there anything going on? How
about New York? …I know you’re in L.A. but you also represent
Sam Levine, the darling of Broadway, you must know someone
in New York?...(getting excited) What do you mean it doesn’t
work that way, well how the hell does it work then? I mean
we’re together five years and I’m no further along than I was
without you…yeah, I know it’s a bad economy Chuck but I’m
giving you tried and true material. Thirteen plays, comedies,
dramas, musicals, mysteries. I produce them all in Jersey and
the audiences love them…(getting loud and exasperated)
Because I can’t afford to produce them in Manhattan, that’s
supposed to be your job, to get me producers! I’m not getting
excited….
SAL. Would you keep it down, I can’t concentrate on my hand.
TED. (slightly toned down) yes, I know you’re doing the best you
can…yes, I know I’m bound to make it…But I’m fifty three years
old, I’d just like to make it while I’m still breathing. I can see it
now, I die, the plays hit big and I’m looking down from heaven
watching the kids and grand kids driving Rolls Royces, having
the time of their lives on my play royalties …of course I love my
kids, you’re missing the point Chuck!…Chuck? Chuckie
boy…Chuck, you there? (to Tommy) I think he hung up on me.
TOMMY. Really?

TED. Yeah, I heard a funny buzz on the line and it went dead.
SAL. Maybe it was an earthquake. They have them out there all
the time.
TED. (To Tommy) So where were you Tommy, why are you
late?
TOMMY. Well someone had to be here when they dropped
Uncle Joey off this afternoon, right? (proudly) After that I was at
a classic car show displaying my sixty seven GTO.
TED. Those shows don’t run this late.
TOMMY. Then I had to make a stop to pick up cards.. Here take
one.
(He hands them each a playing card and a poker chip)
To put in the coffin. In honor of Uncle Joey for having the
longest running Tuesday night poker game in the back room of a
deli in the history of Brooklyn. Fifty five years. The players may
have changed, the cards may have run hot and cold, but Uncle
Joey always made the best sausage, pepper and egg sandwiches
of any poker game in history. To Uncle Joey.
ALL. To Uncle Joey.
(They all hold up there poker cards so audience can see three
aces (all of spades) then put the aces up their respective
sleeves.)
TOMMY. (To Ted) By the way Teddy, I saw Kari upstairs.
TED. Oh shit! Was her husband with her?
21
TOMMY. Louie the Leg Breaker? She said he’s parking the car.
It’s a good thing you broke it off with that broad. You were
playing with fire for a while there.
TED. You know Kari and I go way back. I knew her before I knew
my ex-wife.
TOMMY. Speaking of which, your ex-wife is also upstairs
commiserating with your ex -girlfriend.
SAL. Not to be confused with his current girl friend.
TED. Kari’s talking to Pam?
TOMMY. That’s right. Probably contemplating a joint murder.
TED. That’s reassuring to know.
TOMMY. You know, one of them castrates you while the other
stabs you in the heart a few times.
TED. Enough, I get the picture Tommy!
TOMMY. Well I’m only saying…All the horses are at the starting
gate.
MOLLY. (Off) Teddy baby!
SAL. And here comes the latest entry to the field.
(Molly returns)