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EXPECTING THE WORST

Here is a synopsis of my play Expecting the Worst. 
It was produced by our local theatre company in the fall 
of 1997. I directed it, even though I knew that could be 
dangerous but the cast was fantastic and we built the play 
together. It was well recieved by 12 packed houses and got 
a good review in the local newspaper. Here is part of it.

      The Peterborough Examiner sept 27th 1997.
          GUILD OPENER KEEPS 'EM LAUGHING 

The Peterborough Theatre Guild's premiere, EXPECTING THE WORST, 
had a packed house howling with laughter last night. 
If the playwright was watching the rows of people laughing 
out loud, he had every reason to be proud. Playwright 
Robert Ainsworth both wrote and directed EXPECTING THE WORST. 
while the play was an unqualified success last night, 
a playwright can never lose by handing his work over to a 
director he respects. Sometimes the roles of creator and 
director must be mutually exclusive. In the meantime, however, 
if you want a good old-fashioned night out at the theatre, 
visit this Theatre Guilds production.
              Jane Bow: theatre reviewer


EXPECTING THE WORST

CAST/ WHERE/ TIME/ 6 Characters: Toronto Apartment: present day: Steve, 35, a bachelor, is bereft. His girlfriend, Sue has left him and gone off with a shoe salesman. His friend, Max, an unemployed labourer and irresponsible has been thrown out by his girlfriend, Jackie. She will have him back when he pulls his life together and gets a job. Steve has reluctantly allowed Max to move into his apartment for a week. Enter Edith, Steve's snobbish, overbearing mother who's visiting from England! To keep his mother off his back, about going back to England to live with her, Steve had told her that he was married to Sue. Now Steve, has to come up with a plan. He askes his neighbor Jan, to pretend to be Sue while the mother is visiting which she agrees to. Unfortunately mother arrives and catches Max dressed as Sue which he was doing to play a joke on Steve and she assumes he is Sue. The biggest problem was that while Max was playing this joke he also pretended to be pregnant. The farcical events proceed from thereon with mistaken identities, hilarious dialogue and several other characters who add to the chaos that ensues. There is Jackie, Max's prudish girlfriend, who keeps showing up at the worst possible moments. Jeffery, her seemingly straight laced brother who turns out to be quite the opposite! Jan, the friendly neighbour from upstairs who helps to keep the plot rolling. And, of course, the inevitable surprise character who arrives at the last minute. This fast paced comedy leaves the audience gasping for breath, as the characters dig themselves deeper and deeper into the deception. Can things get any worst? Well sometimes if you expect the worst you may be pleasantly surprised!

Excerpt from Labour Pains

ACT 1

SCENE 2

LIGHTS UP

It is a few days later. Steve is in the kitchen and the 
telephone rings, he goes over and
answers it.


STEVE
Hello. . . .Oh mom, hi. What am I doing? Iím just hanging 
out here at the apartment, why?. . . . . . . . . Okay, 
okay Iíll ask you, what are you doing? . . . . . . 
Youíre what?. . .where? THE BUS STATION! This bus station!
. . Here bus station. . here. But. . . Youíre 
supposed to be coming tomorrow! You said the 21st. 
(He goes over to the calendar) 
Iím looking at the calendar right now and it says the. . 
. .21st.
(Realizing that he had forgotten the correct day.) . . 
 Alright! Okay! Iím coming, Iíll be there in 5 minutes. 
(He replaces the receiver)
Oh No! 
(He quickly dials another number)
Pat! Answer the phone! Donít be out, please be in. . . 
STEVE(CONTí)
Damn!  
(Replacing the phone)

DAMN! 
STEVE EXITS

ENTER MAX

As he leaves he slams the door. Max comes out of the 
bedroom. He has obviously just gotten up. He is wearing 
a T-shirt and boxer shorts. He walks over to the fridge 
and takes out the jug of milk. He is just about to drink 
from the jug when he looks around first to make sure 
Steve isnít there and he drinks from the jug. There is a 
knock at the door. He goes over and answers it. 

MAX
(Seeing Pat standing there holding a large garbage bag 
of clothes)
Hey Buddy, itís the garbage man.

ENTER PAT.

PAT
Very funny Max! Whereís Steve? 

MAX
I donít know, do I look like his keeper? 

PAT
No, HE looks like the keeper, you look like the baboon.

MAX
(He turns around and bends over)
Do I have a red bum?

PAT
You will have in a minute.

MAX
Oooh Patricia, does Steve know youíre into spanking! 
This is going to be an interesting marriage. 

PAT
Do you know where he is or not?

MAX
No idea, why, what you got there? 
(He goes over and looks into the bag)

PAT
Itís just that bag of Sueís clothes. I thought Iíd better 
fill up the closets with them for when his mother arrives 
tomorrow, at least make it look like heís married. 

MAX
(Pulling out a blond wig)
Hey, you left one of your hairpieceís in here.

PAT
Thatís Sueís, donít you remember that time when she met 
Steve 
from work wearing that, he was really mad.

MAX
(He puts the wig on)
Hey, whatís the difference between a blond and a brick?

PAT
I donít know.

MAX
A brick doesnít follow you around for a week after youíve 
laid it.

PAT
(Not amused)	
Ha, ha. 

MAX
(Still wearing the wig and looking in the bag)
You say this is the stuff Steve brought Sue when they were 
together?

PAT
Yeah.

MAX
God, no wonder she left him! Look at this. . . .
(He pulls out a dress)
You do realize of course, that you have to wear this stuff 
while Mommyís here.

PAT
I am not wearing that! Look at it! 

MAX
(Sarcastically)
What are you talking about, itís lovely.

PAT
You wear it then.

MAX
(Putting it on)
Okay!

PAT
What are you doing? Max, Steve could be back any minute.
(Max stands there wearing the wig and the dress.)

MAX
What do you think? 

PAT
(Playing along)
Hm, thereís something missing. 

She goes over to the bag and pulls out two pairs of socks 
that are rolled up and Max sticks them down his front to 
make a breast. 

PAT(CONTí)
There, thatís better. 
(She laughs at him)
Oh God Max, you look great! 

MAX
(Putting on a voice)
Please, call me Sue.

PAT
Sorry, Sue. Hey, youíve got to show Steve, heíll crack up. 

MAX
Oh yeah, right. If he saw me like this heíd have second 
thoughts about me moving in. 

PAT
Heís already had second thoughts about that! 
(She goes over to the door)
Hold on, weíve got to make this look really good. Iím 
going upstairs to get some makeup! 

MAX
Iím not wearing makeup.

PAT
Oh come on, donít be a spoilsport! God, that dress is ugly, 
itís big enough for two.

PAT EXITS

MAX
(Looking at the dress)
It IS big enough for two. 
(Has an idea)Hey! 
(He picks up a pillow and rushes into the kitchen to stuff 
it under up his dress. We cannot see yet because he is 
behind the counter. He laughs to himself as he does it)

Max hears Steve outside of the door putting his key in. He 
bends down behind the counter.  

STEVE
Here we are, home sweet home.

ENTER STEVE AND EDITH.

MAX
(Popping up from behind the counter) 
Hi Honey buns. 
(Seeing them, he is shocked)
Oh!

STEVE
Oh God! 

EDITH
Hello, you must be Susan.

MAX
What?

ENTER PAT

She is unaware that Steve and Edith are there.

PAT
Oh Sue dear, Iíve brought the make up to help you look 
beautif . .Oh hello.

STEVE
Er, mother, this is Patricia, our neighbor.

EDITH
Hello dear. 

PAT
(Nervous) 
Hello again.

EDITH
(To Max)
Susan, I have been so excited about meeting you. 

SUE/MAX
Oh really. 

PAT
I should get back upstairs, I think thereís something 
about to boil over.

EDITH
Bye dear.

PAT EXITS QUICKLY.

EDITH
Now come here and give your mother-in-law a big hug.

SUE/MAX
Erí no thank you, I erí have a cold. 

EDITH
(She walks over to him) 
Oh donít be silly, let me take a good look at you. Oh! 
(She now sees that Sue looks pregnant. )
Oh, my goodness! Oh Stephen! Why didnít you tell me?

STEVE
Tell you? Tell you what?

EDITH
(She leads Max out from behind the counter.)
That Iím going to be a grandmother of course! 

STEVE
(Shocked, he falls onto the couch.) 
Oh shit 

EDITH
When are you due dear?

SUE/MAX
Due?. . . Do what?

EDITH
The baby of course. Stephen, I canít believe you didnít 
tell me.

SUE/MAX
Erí Steve, I think you need to tell. . . . .

STEVE
Hello sweetheart! How are you feeling?

SUE.MAX
Sweetheart? . .. I feel sick, I think I need to lie down. 
(He walks over to the bedroom)

EDITH
Oh dear.


STEVE
(Going over to Max.)
Right, you go and lie down, Sue dear, you do look a bit 
flushed. 
(Max puts his fist up to him as Steve puts him in the 
bedroom)

EDITH
Stephen, do you think sheís alright?

STEVE
Sheís fine Mom, fine. . .  would you like a tea?

MAX
No I would not. I want you to come here, you have a lot 
of explaining to do young man. 
(She sits down.)

STEVE
(Nervous)
Oh, right.

EDITH
Everything has suddenly become very clear to me. 

STEVE
It has? What do you mean?

EDITH
For months now, I have been struggling with the idea of 
you getting married and I knew nothing about it until 
after the fact. No invitation to the wedding, not even a 
phone call, now I know why! Stephen why didnít you tell?
 
STEVE
Erí I was. . . .

EDITH
Am I really that unapproachable that you can not tell your 
own mother that you HAD to get married? 

STEVE
No, I. . . .just didnít want to trouble you thatís all.


EDITH
Trouble me! When were you planning on troubling me about 
it? Or were you planning on keeping it from me forever? 
Hiding my grandchild in the back bedroom maybe?

STEVE
Of course not, Iím sorry. We were going to call you and 
tell you about it after it came out.

EDITH
After what came out?

STEVE
The .  .the baby.

EDITH
Stephen, sheís giving birth to a human being, not having 
her gall Stones out! 

STEVE
I know, I didnít mean . .

EDITH
And how do you expect to take care of this little one, 
financially?

STEVE
I have a good job.

EDITH
You're a house painter Stephen not an engineer.

STEVE
That's an interior decorator, and I happen to like my work.

EDITH
That doesn't surprise me in the least. You were always 
messing with tins of paint when you were young, getting 
more on you than anywhere else I might add. Of course, 
I had visions of you becoming a banker, or at least working 
for yourself like your cousin, Shelton.

STEVE
Shelton sells AM WAY Mother.

EDITH
It doesn't matter how he's doing it, he's proving himself, 
that's what's important, and instead of envying him, you 
should do something about it.

STEVE
I do not envy Shelton, I just canít stand him.

EDITH
You are talking about a sweet, sweet young man, who 
happens to love his mother, your aunt Lucy, very much. And 
Iím sure if he was about to have a child, he wouldnít keep 
it from his mother.

STEVE
I would think that would be very hard to do, considering 
his partnerís name is Arnold! 

EDITH
I donít want to talk about that anymore.

STEVE
Okay! Look, mom, let's not spend this week arguing, please.

EDITH
What are you talking about? I'm fine, it was you who 
brought up your financial problems.

STEVE
Right. Truce?

EDITH
Hm. Oh, come here, let me have a look at you. Closer, 
my eyes are getting worse. 
(He goes to her and she stands and looks at him disappointed)
Well, you're getting your fatherís build. Still, you have 
the Pettyworth  looks, that's something I suppose.  My 
side of the family are renowned for their looks. Yes, 
you're a Pettyworth all right. (Loud whisper.)
Letís hope the baby is too.

STEVE
What do you mean?

EDITH
Well, you donít know these days. All of that free love going 
on all over the place. Itís typical of young people today to 
have more than one partner.

STEVE
Mother, Max. . . .Sue is not your ďtypicalĒ kind of Girl. 
Sheís. . . special.

EDITH
Well, thatís good to hear. I just hope you look after your 
wife better than your father looked after me.

STEVE
Yes mother.

EDITH
I remember meeting your father's parents for the first time. 
Nice, but absolutely no breeding. Well, you know your 
grandparents. I should have up and left your father right 
there and then.

STEVE
Why didn't you?

EDITH
I couldn't.  I felt sorry for him. I thought I could change 
his personality, or at least give him one. But after 
fifteen years I gave up. They say a leopard can't change his 
spots. Never a truer word spoken.

STEVE
Look, Iíll go in and check on Sue, why don't I show you your 
room? You can unpack or something. 
(He picks up her luggage and takes it into the other bedroom)

EDITH
Oh, all right, but call me as soon as she comes out, I need 
to talk to her. (She goes to the bedroom)
Oh, lovely. 
(Steve shuts her door, then goes over and tries to go into 
his room but itís locked, he knocks on the door)

STEVE
Sue dear, it's me. Open the door. 
(Loud whisper)
Max! Sheís in the bedroom, Iíve locked her door, open up. 
(Max opens the door)

MAX
Steve!

STEVE
Look Max.

MAX
How the hell did I end up as your wife? 

STEVE
Donít blame me! Youíre the one who was dressed like that when 
we came in. Which incidentally, I am almost afraid to ask you 
about.

EDITH
It was supposed to be a joke!

STEVE
HA! Whoís laughing now! 

MAX
I thought she wasnít coming until tomorrow!

STEVE
So did I, I must have screwed up or something.

MAX
Iím just starting to realize just how proficient you are at 
doing that.

STEVE
What! Youíre the one standing there with a pillow stuck up 
your 
dress!

MAX
Iím not doing this Buddy, Iím not playing at being your 
prego wife for the next 5 days. 


STEVE
Why not? Sheís already convinced. Itís just going to mean 
playing along for a little while thatís all. 

MAX
You have asked me to do some strange things in the past but 
this one really takes the cake!

STEVE
Max, you look great, youíd fool your own mother.

MAX
Itís not my mother Iím trying to fool. And what would I tell 
Jackie if she comes over here?

STEVE
Make damn sure she doesnít!

MAX
No, Steve, it ainít gonna work!

STEVE
Look, Iím desperate here.

MAX
Huh! Look whoís desperate now!

STEVE
Okay, . . . you can stay here for the as long as you like.

MAX
What?

STEVE
Do this for me and you can stay here as long as you have to.

MAX
Seriously?

STEVE
Yeah, seriously.


MAX
I donít have to leave in two weeks?. . . . Hmmm, tempting. . . ..Okay, Iíll do it.

STEVE
Right. Where is it?

MAX
Whereís what?

STEVE
(Max looks confused.)
The. .the bulge you had. 

MAX
Iíve got news for you, I still have a bulge but you have no 
idea how difficult it is hiding it.

STEVE
I donít mean that, I mean the big bulge!

MAX
Excuse me!

STEVE
The pillow!

MAX
Oh, itís on the bed.

STEVE
Put it back in there and come out and talk to her.

Edith calls from the bedroom.

EDITH	(V.O)
Stephen! Stephen, I canít open the door.

MAX
I canít talk to her.
 
STEVE
You have to! You canít spend the next five days stuck in 
here. 

EDITH	(V.O)
Stephen!
		
MAX
I should never have agreed to do this. . . I'm going to 
throw up!

STEVE
(Trying to be funny)
Maybe it's morning sickness.