Summary of Production Script
In a small Greenwich Village restaurant, Sue and Johnsy meet, become friends and rent an apartment together to share expenses.
Johnsy becomes ill with pneumonia. Outside her window is an old ivy vine on which only a few leaves remain. Johnsy convinces herself that when the last leaf falls off the vine, she will die.
Sue is worried; she goes downstairs and reveals her fears to Mr. Behrman, a grizzled, unsuccessful artist who dreams of one day painting a masterpiece. Only one leaf remains on the vine now, and even Mr. Behrman is worried that tonight it will fall victim to the wind and rain.
The next morning the last leaf is still there. Johnsy thinks about her situation and convinces herself that fate caused the leaf to stay on the vine so that she would not die. With this change in attitude, Johnsy gradually gets well. The doctor comes and verifies Johnsy's recovery. The doctor also tells Sue that Mr. Behrman has pneumonia and is beyond help. He dies that same day.
Later that day, Sue discovers how Mr. Behrman became ill. She tells Johnsy that on the stormy night when the last leaf was about to fall, Mr. Behrman took a ladder, climbed the wall, and painted a true masterpiece--a picture of the last leaf on the brick wall.
Excerpt from Production Script
"The Last Leaf"
adapted to audio play script by Don Kisner
Copyright © 1988, Balance Publishing Company
SOUND ONE: PIANO #1C FADE IN, HOLD FOR A COUNT OF FIVE, THEN FADE UNDERNEATH NARRATOR.
[COUNT TO SEVEN AFTER PIANO STARTS THEN BEGIN] In New York City, there's a small district just west of Washington Square, where the narrow, irregular streets have run crazy and broken themselves into short strips called places. It's an ancient, residential community where many of the beautiful, old, brick houses date back to the 1820's, when an epidemic forced people from the city to what was then a rural suburban village. Now, in the final year of the nineteenth century, we find clusters of colorful restaurants, theaters, and shops. People interested in the creative lifestyle were attracted by the quaint, continental atmosphere, and so, to this village of the big city, they've come: the artists, the actors, the musicians, the dancers, the writers, hunting for nirth windows and 18th century gables and Dutch attics and low rents. (PAUSE)
SOUND TWO: FADE IN RESTAURANT SOUNDS, ESTABLISH, THEN FADE UNDERNEATH THE REMAINDER OF SCENE ONE
SOUND ONE: FADE OUT PIANO #1 AS RESTAURANT SOUNDS FADE IN.
It's an evening in late spring, and the dinner hour finds the little Eighth Street Delmonico's busy as usual. Most of the patrons this evening, the village old-timers, blend into the surroundings: but now and then there's one who stands out, a recent arrival. Joanna Gaines is one of these. Alone in the crowd, she looks new, fragile, out of place.
She pays for her tray of food, then standing for a moment, awkward, she looks around. Finally, spotting her goal, chin out, she crosses the room to a tiny table with two chairs and only one diner.
MANUAL SOUND TWO: FOOTSTEPS AS JOHNSY APPROACHES THE TABLE WHERE SUE IS SEATED. START SIX PACES AWAY FROM FOOTSTEPS MICRO-PHONE AND MOVE TOWARD THE MICROPHONE, STOPPING NEARBY.
Excuse me! All the other tables seem to be taken. Do you mind if I sit here?
Oh! No! Of course not! I'd love the company. Please! Join me.
Thank you! My name is Joanna Gaines.
MANUAL SOUND ONE: TRAY IS SET ON TABLE, CHAIR IS PULLED BACK FROM TABLE AS THOUGH SOMEONE IS SITTING DOWN. THROUGHOUT THE REMAINDER OF THE SCENE THERE IS THE OCCASIONAL SOUND OF SILVERWARE.
Hello, Joanna! Susan Cross. Friends call me Sue.
Hi, Sue. My friends call me Johnsy.
Johnsy! I like it.
It's really busy in here this time of day, isn't it. Do you eat here often?
Just about every day. It's the cheapest, and the best place around. I haven't seen you here before, have I?
No, this is the first time. I just got to town three days ago. It's all so very different from California.
Oh, California? I was there once. What part are you from?
A small town near San Francisco, Sebastopol. Do you know it?
Afraid not. I only spent a few days there, all of them in Los Angeles. Why'd you come to New York?
To work, and study, I'm an artist. Or at least I'd like to be.
Oh! Wonderful! So am I.
Have you lived in the Village long?
About four months.
SOUND TWO: FADE OUT RESTAURANT SOUNDS
That's how Sue and Johnsy met. Soon they found their tastes in art, chicory salad, and clothes so congenial, and their need for the economics of shared rent so demanding, that a joint studio resulted. It was at the top of a squatty, three-story brick that, finally, they found exactly what they wanted.
That was in May.