PRODIGAL 4'0m3f The parable of the prodigal son [daughter]


(all characters wear light blue smocks over street clothes)

JANEY -- (younger daughter, enters, crosses to opposite exit, 
shouts out to exit) Mom, can I see you out here for a second?

MOM ---- (enters carrying blue dress on a hanger, smiling) Oh, 
I'm glad you're here, Janey. I wanted you to see your new design 
in the blue printed fabric. Didn't it turn out nice? (holds 
dress against her own body)

JANEY -- Yeah, nice. (turns with Mom, they cross to C while 
talking) Say, listen, Mom, there's something I need to talk to 
you about.

MOM ---- (holds dress at arm's length) Listen, honey, if you 
don't like the blue, we can stick to the red and the multicolor 
like you wanted.

JANEY -- No, the blue looks good, Mom. I just... I wanted to 
talk to you about something else, something more important.

MOM ---- What is it, Janey, aren't you feeling well?

JANEY -- No, Mom, I'm fine. I just... I don't know how to break 
this to you. So,... So, I'll just come right out and say it. I 
want to leave the ready-to-wear business.

KATIE -- (older daughter, enters, lurks near exit, listening)

MOM ---- I don't understand, honey. The dress factory is doing 
really well. We've been growing steadily since you and Katie 
started working here.

JANEY -- This is nickel and dime stuff, Mom. Anybody can design 
shirt-waist dresses and business suits. Even Katie can design 
simple stuff like that.

KATIE -- Thank you very much.

JANEY -- (notices Katie) You both know what I mean. You like 
designing and sewing dresses for working class people....

KATIE -- (crosses to others while speaking) ...For your 
information, little sister, this WORKING CLASS dress factory has 
made decent money for this family since before you were born. 
So, I supposed now Miss High-Mighty is finally going to desert 
the ship and run off to Paris.

MOM ---- Paris! Oh, Janey, you can't really be serious... Honey, 
I told you, the high fashion design business is a cut throat 
business. They'll eat you up and spit you out.

KATIE -- And where are YOU going to get the money to start your 
own Paris design studio?

JANEY -- Well, I was kind of hoping that Mom could...

KATIE -- ...If you were thinking about cashing in your part of 
Daddy's insurance settlement, forget it. We invested it all in 
this building and the new equipment. Mother would have to sell 
half of this business to cash you out now. No way.

JANEY -- She could take out a loan.

KATIE -- No way!

MOM ---- You're really set on doing this, aren't you, honey?

JANEY -- I can do it, Mom. I know I can.

KATIE -- Fat chance.

MOM ---- Katie, I don't think I have to tell you that Janey is 
the kind of girl who will never rest until she sees just how far 
her talent can take her.

KATIE -- Mother!

JANEY -- Part of Daddy's insurance settlement belongs to me, you 

KATIE -- Yes, but you approved of investing it in the business. 
If we have to take out a loan to cash you out now, our credit 
rating will go right into the dumper.

JANEY -- It's my money. And I want it now.

MOM ---- (reaches into smock pocket, pulls out checkbook, begins 
writing) I'll write you a check for....

KATIE -- Mother!

MOM ---- Please, Katie, it has to be this way. Janey has made up 
her mind. She would make life miserable for herself and for us 
if we resist. It's best this way. She has to know if she has 
what it takes to make it in Paris. 

KATIE -- (stomps offstage) Fine, just don't come running back 
here after you fall flat on your face.

MOM ---- (resumes writing) I'll write you a check for all the 
cash we have in the bank now. Then, I'll send you the rest of 
your share when the loan comes through. (tears off check, hands 
it to Janey)

JANEY -- Thanks for understanding, Mom.

MOM ---- Listen carefully, Janey...

JANEY -- I know what you're going to say, Mom. (removing blue 
smock) You're going to say that Paris is an evil place and that 
a young woman can get herself into big trouble there. Don't 
worry. I'll do fine. (hands smock to Mom)

MOM ---- (hugs Janey) Stay close to the Lord, Janey.

JANEY -- Mom, I'll be fine! (pulls away, kisses Mom's cheek) 
Goodbye, Mom. (exits)

MOM ---- (tearful) Goodbye, Baby. (waves, exits opposite, 


JANEY -- (removes and abandons blazer offstage, revealing dirty, 
tattered shirt, reenters exhausted)

KATIE -- (enters opposite, gloating) Well, look what the cat 
dragged in.

JANEY -- Go ahead. I deserve it. I really blew it.

KATIE -- I heard you were arrested for shoplifting in Paris.

JANEY -- I was eating out of garbage cans. I didn't want to 
admit I needed help. (deep breath) It must make you feel really 
great to be able to say "I told you so".

KATIE -- (sings) I told you so. (smiles) You have no idea how 
I've looked forward to this day. Do you realize what you did to 
your Mother, not to mention what you did when you cashed out of 
the business? 

JANEY -- I'm sorry.

KATIE -- We were on "C.O.D." terms with every one of our 
suppliers for a full year after we took out that loan. If I were 
you, I'd be too embarrassed to show my face around here.

JANEY -- (tearfully) I didn't have anywhere else to go. 

KATIE -- You blew a small fortune! And did you sell one single 
evening gown?

JANEY -- No. Mom was right. The high fashion business isn't for 

KATIE -- Meanwhile, I'm proud to say, while you were gone, this 
meager little WORKING CLASS dress factory doubled it's sales. 
We've done just fine without you. So, if you're looking to get 
your old job back, forget it. 

JANEY -- I don't blame you for being mad at me. I deserve it. 
(turns to exit) Say hi to Mom for me.

MOM ---- (enters, carrying Janey's blue smock over upstage 
shoulder, crosses quickly to Janey, elated) Janey! They said you 
were back! Welcome home! (hugs her warmly)

JANEY -- (looks over at Katie) I just came by to say hi. I 
really should be going. (points to exit)

MOM ---- Going? Where will you go? I heard you don't have any 

JANEY -- I don't. But I don't deserve to come back here. I blew 
a small fortune through selfish ambition and vein conceit. Then, 
when that was gone, I tried to cover my disappointment with 
drugs and sex. (sinks to knees) Mother, I sinned against God and 
I brought shame to our family. Will you forgive me?

MOM ---- (pulls Janey up, hugs her) Oh, baby, you have no idea 
how badly I've wanted to hear those words. Yes, I forgive you. 
(stands, pulls Janey to her feet, helps Janey into blue smock) 
Here, put this on.

KATIE -- Mother, don't tell me you're taking her back, after she 
almost killed this business.

MOM ---- (pulls cell phone from pocket) Yes, and I'm going to do 
more than that. I'm going to call down to the deli and order 
some food. We're having a party! (listens for dial tone, then 
starts to dial)

KATIE -- Mother! You can't be serious!

MOM ---- Katie, when Janey walked out that door she was a 
self-centered, puffed up, immature little girl. But she came 
back a wise, humble, mature woman who will be an asset to this 
dress factory and to our family. I don't care how much it cost. 
The price was worth it.

KATIE -- That's not fair. While she was off partying and blowing 
a small fortune, I was here every day working my fingers to the 
bone. And you never once threw a party for me.

MOM ---- Maybe YOU should try going off on your own. If you want 
to cash out, my credit line is still good at the bank.

KATIE -- Alright. You made your point. I'm a little 
self-centered and puffed-up myself. But at least I'm mature 
enough to admit that I can't make it on my own. (smiles at 
Janey) Welcome home, Janey. (hugs Janey briefly, then holds 
Janey at arm's length) Boy, am I glad you're back! I really 
stink at design. 

JANEY -- I thought you doubled your sales while I was gone.

KATIE -- We did. But we were using the designs you did before 
you left. (grabs Janey's arm) Come on, help me clean up your old 
office. (they exit)

MOM ---- (to phone, exiting) Hello, Ernie? Can you send over a 
party tray and some sparkling cider. (sings) We're having a 

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