Andrea Cordaro – Mrs. Ferguson
Trey K. Blackburn – Mr. Ferguson
Larry Gutman – Dr. Gladstone
Directed by Kathleen Schlemmer
Casting & RSP Intern – Michael Witkes
As the kids are wont to say, it went swimmingly (actually kids never say that…no one ever says that). Since I have been somewhat delinquent is posting, and in honor of yesterday’s announcement that Sherlock Holmes is now part of the public domain, I thought I would post the play.
A play in one-act.
By Keith R. Higgons
Interior of Doctors office. Stage can be furnished with simple desk and two chairs.
MR. And MRS. FERGUSON are seated on the two
opposing chairs in front of a desk.
I’m not sure all of this was entirely necessary.
What were we supposed to do?
He’s already been kicked out of two schools. (Beat) Honey, my boss said this guy was the
best diagnostic pediatrician in the city.
So what? Besides, being kicked out of school doesn’t mean anything.
Sweetheart, they were public schools. Those are typically pretty hard to get kicked out of.
(Mrs. Ferguson crosses arms across her chest and
Well still. (Beat) Maybe they were shitty schools.
Mr. Ferguson glares at her.
What? (Beat) I’m just sayin.
Look, I just want to eliminate all the possibilities before we make a final decision about
what we should do.
(Mrs. Ferguson exhales and unfolds arms.)
I know. I know. (Beat) You’re right. I just don’t want to think about having something be
wrong with him…or worse, having to send him away to school. (Beat) I mean, he’s only
Exactly. But it’s better to figure all of this out now and get it under control before it gets out
I guess. (Beat) Maybe we could move?
To where? (He grabs her hand.) We’re better off here in the city. There are better schools,
public or private, better places for treatment if something is seriously wrong. Besides, we
both know that now is not the best time to move.
I guess, it’s just…
She is interrupted as DR. GLADSTONE enters.
The Ferguson’s don’t move.
No, no. Stay seated. (He sits.) Well, I’m happy to say that we’ve finished running the tests
on your son and if you don’t mind, I’d like to go over the results with you.
The Ferguson’s look at one another.
Well, yes, we were hoping for that too.
Terrific then! (He opens the manila folder in front of him.) Now, before we get started let
me just say that your Taylor…
Mrs. Ferguson interrupts him.
What? (Beat) Nothing happened. You got my son’s name wrong. It’s Tyler, not Taylor.
Dr. Gladstone looks down at folder.
Yes, yes. I see. Tyler, not Taylor. (Looks back up without apologizing.) Well, from our
intake this morning, I understand you were concerned about your sons behavioral
problems. Specifically, his temper tantrums and the way in which he lashes out and treats
others around him.
Umm, yes, that is correct. He’s already been kicked out of two schools.
I see, I see. Well, let’s hop right into these results. Now, as you know, one of our first tests
is to run some simple hearing tests. Sometimes a sensitivity to hearing or a loss of hearing
can cause certain degrees of frustration in a child that can often manifest itself in
misbehavior and anger.
A couple beats as Dr. Gladstone shuffles some
papers around. The Gladstone’s look at one
Yes, yes. Tyler’s (Beat) hearing is probably right where it should be.
Well, yes. These kinds of tests are never definitive.
Honey, he’s a doctor. Doctors don’t typically deal in certainties.
Dr. Gladstone stares at her.
That’s not entirely true. (Beat) Nonetheless, after the hearing test, we drew a little blood to
check for any abnormalities or inconsistencies. Ya know, even today, lead poisoning and
asbestos are still a concern.
Yes, it seems hard to imagine after all the studies and such.
(Picking up on the sarcasm and looking right at Mrs. Ferguson.) AND, left undiagnosed,
exposure to these toxins can sometimes show up as bad behavior, among other things.
Often times children don’t know how to process what they feel physically and it can come
out in their behavior.
(Sarcastically.) Really? You don’t say.
You’d be surprised. Nonetheless, in these sorts of situations we like to rule everything out.
Ah. Of course you do.
The Ferguson’s look at one another and shake
their heads as Dr. Gladstone looks at folder.
As I suspected, there were no abnormalities with his blood results.
Well, that’s good news.
Indeed. After the hearing and blood results were both negative, we ran Tyler through a
series of physical and mental exams to look for any sign of ADD or ADHD.
The Ferguson’s grasp hands.
DR. GLADSTONE (CONT’D)
I have to say that your son has a fair amount of stamina. Even for a seven-year old. He
exhausted two therapists running through the physical part of the examination. And his
mental acuity is well beyond his years…as is his attention to detail.
Yea, it makes for a pretty good soccer player.
I should think so. Anyway, after those tests we honestly could not see any sign of
attention deficit disorder.
Well, that’s a relief.
Yes. Also, you should note that Tyler’s IQ currently stands at about 130. I wouldn’t
necessarily enroll him in Harvard just yet, but he’s a pretty smart kid.
Duly noted Dr. Gladstone. Look, this is all great news but you still haven’t told us why our
son is behaving so poorly.
Well, have you considered possession?
The Ferguson’s are taken aback.
Are you serious?
Absolutely not. (Beat as he chuckles.) Just a little doctor humor we have when we can’t
really explain this sort of stuff.
That’s not funny doctor. This is our son.
Dr. Gladstone ignores her.
What about Aspergers Syndrome?
Well, there are no solid diagnostic tools for Aspergers or Autism, but we did run some
additional tests that help us understand whether those are things to consider. (Beat) We also
ran some tests to help diagnose any sort of anti-social or sociopathic patterns.
Mr. & Mrs. Ferguson gasp.
DR. GLADSTONE (CONT’D)
Yes, I know. That’s tough to hear. (Beat) Usually, when I administer those kinds of tests
I generally like to consult with someone so I asked one of our behavioral specialists to sit
in for a few hours and observe while we studied Tyler’s interaction with other children and
how he handled himself alone.
Fair amount of silence as Dr. Gladstone looks at
his folder and shuffles papers and the
Ferguson’s look at one another. Mrs. Ferguson
is silently motioning for Mr. Ferguson to say
something to the Dr. Gladstone.
And? Did he play well with the other children?
We did see some signs of unwarranted aggression, but certainly nothing abnormal for a
seven-year old. There was also no real outright physical abuse towards others or himself.
We even had him play with some kittens and saw no signs of any sort of sociopathic
behavior. (Beat) He seems to really like cats. (Beat) We did notice that he doesn’t share
very well. (Beat) He also has a very comprehensive grasp of foul language.
Uhh, yes. We’ve been working on those.
He has a genuinely colorful way of putting words together and insulting others.
Yes, so we’ve heard from the schools he’s been kicked out of. But are those signs of any
sort of physiological or psychological disorder?
(Leaning back and staring up at the ceiling.) Typically no. I would say it’s something to
watch out for and take corrective measures as you encounter them. But the behavior itself is
certainly not anything to worry about over the long-term. (He leans in and is genuinely
perplexed.) That language though, you know, I’m not even sure what a motherfucking
Mrs. Ferguson interrupts him right as he is about
to say cunt.
Doctor, please! We know all of this. What we’re really looking for a little understanding
about Tyler and perhaps maybe even a little guidance.
Right, right. I’m sorry. I just had never heard such…
(Flustered.) Right, right. After all the tests, I sat down with a couple of colleagues and
conferred with our behavior specialist. (Beat) We all seemed to came up with the same
Dr. Gladstone closes the folder and leans back.
A few beats go by as the Ferguson’s look at one
Would you care to share Tyler’s diagnosis with my wife and I?
(Taking his time drawing out this sentence.) Mr. And Mrs. Ferguson it is my professional
opinion, based on all the tests and conferring with our behavioral specialist, that your son
(He pauses for a few beats).
Mrs. Ferguson breaks the silence.
Jesus Christ Doctor! What the fuck! Will you PLEASE stop dicking around and just tell us
what the fuck you discovered!
(Taken aback.) Well, I can see where Tyler’s temper and colorful language comes from.
Doc, come on. Tyler has been here for close to seven hours and we’ve been pretty patient.
We just want to help our son.
(Staring intently at Mrs. Ferguson.) Well, it would seem that your son…now keep in mind
there is nothing medically wrong with your son, he’s just…well, there is no easy way to
say this. (He leans in.) Your son is (Beat) well, he’s just an asshole.
The Ferguson’s gasp.
He’s seven! (Beat as it sinks in.) FUCK! Are you certain?
Well as you pointed out, we doctors are typically reticent to speak with complete certainty,
but yes, I can say conclusively that your son is…(Sighs) an asshole. (Beat) A jerk. (Beat) A
(Right on top of Dr. Gladstone’s line preventing him from using any other words.)
We get it doc. What do we do?
There’s not a whole lot you can do, really. (Beat) I guess just keep an eye on it.
(Looking at her husband and motions towards Dr. Gladstone.) The best in the city?
Mrs. Gladstone, I understand no one likes to hear these things about their child. And trust
me, I don’t like saying them. And I certainly would not say that unless I had clearly
excluded any physiological or psychological abnormality. (Beat) I must tell you that in all
my years of practicing medicine, I have only made this diagnosis once before.
Dr. Gladsone taps on his folder as the
Ferguson’s look at one another and a few beats pass.
(Completely frustrated.) What the fuck happened to the other patient that you had
diagnosed as just being an asshole?!
OH! (Waving his hand nonchalantly.) He went on to start a hedge fund and raised a lovely
family in Darien, Connecticut. (Beat)I don’t think you have anything to worry about.
(Beat) But I might suggest a private school.