Frankie and Johnny: A Brief Play

FRANKIE AND JOHNNY

CHARACTERS

FRANKIE, Japanese woman wearing a kimono, cowboy boots, jeans shorts, white muscle shirt, carries a forty-four gun on her left side, young adult.

JOHNNY, good looking, young adult man, plaid boxer shorts, cowboy hat.

BARTENDER, dressed in biker clothes, mid 30’s.

NELLY BLY, attractive young women, jeans shorts, plaid blouse.

SHERIFF, SHERIFF’s attire, mid 40’s.

TIME

Present day, summer evening.

PLACE

A small town’s hotel bar in the country.

(Play opens to a dark stage. A calming melody starts. Whispers of a man and a woman swearing to be true to each other and confessing their undying love for one another is heard then fades. The melody fades as the sound of a door opening is heard. A light slowly shines down directly from above on the left stage where a small island counter and a bar stool is set up. The sound of a small crowd is heard in the background. FRANKIE comes out from the dark right stage and walks to the island counter. A bartender is casually drying a glass with a cloth behind the island counter as FRANKIE sits on the bar stool. The bartender takes out a bucket of beer from underneath the island and puts it on the counter. He takes a beer from it and gives it to FRANKIE.)

FRANKIE (puts her left hand on the beer bottle and looks around the bar suspiciously). Mister Bartender, has my lovin’ Johnny been here? (She takes a sip of her beer.)

BARTENDER (frowning). I don’t want to cause you no trouble, Frankie. Don’t want to tell you no lie, I saw your Johnny half-an-hour ago making love to Nelly Bly. He is your man, but he’s doing you wrong.

FRANKIE (gets up from the bar stool furiously and faces the audience). He is my man, but he’s doing me wrong. (She turns to face the dark right stage. The sound of the crowd and the light fades.)

(The light slowly shines down directly from above on the right stage where a bed is. JOHNNY and NELLY BLY are making love. The sound of a door opening forcefully is heard. FRANKIE walks into the light.)

FRANKIE (pulls back her kimono and pulls out a forty-four). What is this I see? My Johnny, my lover! We swore to be true to one another!

(NELLY BLY screams and runs backstage exiting from upstage right. JOHNNY gets up from the bed and takes 2 steps toward FRANKIE. Three gun shots are heard and JOHNNY, holding his left side, collapses to the ground. FRANKIE let’s go of the gun and runs to JOHNNY. FRANKIE sits beside JOHNNY.)

JOHNNY (in pain and trembling). Roll me over gently, roll me over now. Roll me over on my right side, ‘cause these bullets hurt me so. I was your man, but I done you wrong. (He closes his eyes.)

(The light slowly fades to complete darkness as a sad melody starts. A light slowly shines down directly from above on the center stage where FRANKIE is on her knees, arms up in the air. The SHERIFF comes out from the upstage centre and stands behind her. The SHERIFF cuffs FRANKIE’s hands.)

FRANKIE (sad). What are they going to do?

SHERIFF (pointing in accusation). It’s the ‘lectric chair for you. He was your man, and he done you wrong. (He steps back.)

FRANKIE (gets up and walks to downstage centre, facing the crowd). Put me in that dungeon, put me in that cell. Put me where the northeast wind blows from the southeast corner of hell. (She falls to her knees.) I shot my man, ‘cause he done me wrong.

(The sound of a prison door slamming shut it heard. Slow fade to black. End of play.)

**College Assignment of a brief play based on the poem “Frankie and Johnny” by Anonymous.

FRANKIE AND JOHNNY

by Anonymous

 Frankie and Johnny were lovers,

Lordy, how they could love,

Swore to be true to each other,

True as the stars up above,

He was her man, but he done her wrong.

Frankie went down the corner,

To buy her a bucket of beer,

Frankie says “Mister Bartender,

Has my lovin’ Johnny been here?

He is my man, but he’s doing me wrong.”

“I don’t want to cause you no trouble,

Don’t want to tell you no lie,

I saw your Johnny half-an-hour ago

Making love to Nelly Bly.

He is your man, but he’s doing you wrong.”

Frankie went down to the hotel

Looked over the transom so high,

There she saw her lovin Johnny

Making love to Nelly Bly.

He was her man; he was doing her wrong.

Frankie threw back her kimono,

Pulled out her big forty-four;

Rooty-toot-toot: three times she shot

Right through that hotel door,

She shot her man, who was doing her wrong.

“Roll me over gently,

Roll me over slow,

Roll me over on my right side,

‘Cause these bullets hurt me so,

I was your man, but I done you wrong.”

Bring all your rubber-tired hearses

Bring all the rubber-tired hacks,

They’re carrying poor Johnny to the burying ground

And they ain’t gonna bring him back,

He was her man, but he done her wrong.

Frankie says to the sheriff,

“What are they going to do?”

The sheriff he said to Frankie,

“It’s the ‘lectric chair for you.

He was your man, and he done you wrong.”

“Put me in that dungeon,

Put me in that cell,

Put me where the northeast wind

Blows from the southeast corner of hell,

I shot my man, ‘cause he done me wrong.”

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