2-Pane Combined
Full Summaries Sorted

[3 of 5] Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Act Two, Scene 1, by August Wilson

Author: August Wilson

Wilson, August. "Act Two, Scene 1," Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Signet, 1988.

Source: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone Full Vimeo Uploader: Anna Bean Uploaded: Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 8:11 PM

Act Two

The lights come up on the kitchen. Bertha busies herself with breakfast preparations. Seth sits at the table.

SETH: I don’t care what his problem is! He’s leaving here!

BERTHA: You can’t put the man out and he got that little girl. Where they gonna go then?

SETH: I don’t care where he go. Let him go back where he was before he come here. I ain’t asked him to come here. I knew when I first looked at him something wasn’t right with him. Dragging that little girl around with him. Looking like he be sleeping in the woods somewhere. I knew all along he wasn’t right.

BERTHA: A fellow get a little drunk he’s liable to say or do anything. He ain’t done no big harm.

SETH: I just don’t have all that carrying on in my house. When he come down here I’m gonna tell him. He got to leave here. My daddy wouldn’t stand for it and I ain’t gonna stand for it either.

BERTHA: Well, if you put him out you have to put Bynum out too. Bynum right there with him.

SETH: If it wasn’t for Bynum ain’t no telling what would have happened. Bynum talked to that fellow just as nice and calmed him down. If he wasn’t here ain’t no telling what would have happened. Bynum ain’t done nothing but talk to him and kept him calm. Man acting all crazy with that foolishness. Naw, he’s leaving here.

BERTHA: What you gonna tell him? How you gonna tell him to leave?

SETH: I’m gonna tell him straight out. Keep it nice and simple. Mister, you got to leave here!

(Molly enters from the stairs.)

MOLLY: Morning,

BERTHA: Did you sleep all right in that bed?

MOLLY: Tired as I was I could have slept anywhere. It’s a real nice room, though. This is a nice place.

SETH: I’m sorry you had to put up with all that carrying on last night.

MOLLY: It don’t bother me none. I done seen that kind of stuff before.

SETH: You won’t have to see it around here no more.

(Bynum is heard singing offstage.)

I don’t put up with all that stuff. When that fellow come down here I’m gonna tell him.

BYNUM (Singing):

Soon my work will all be done
Soon my work will all be done
Soon my work will all be done
I’m going to see the king.

(Bynum enters.)

Morning, Seth. Morning, Sister Bertha. I see we got Molly Cunningham down here at breakfast.

SETH: Bynum, I wanna thank you for talking to that fellow last night and calming him down. If you hadnt been here ain’t no telling what might have happened.

BYNUM: Mr. Loomis all right, Seth. He just got a little excited.

SETH: Well, he can get excited somewhere else ’cause he leaving here.

(Mattie enters from the stairs.)

BYNUM: Well, there’s Mattie Campbell.

MATTIE: Good morning.

BERTHA: Sit on down there, Mattie. I got some biscuits be ready in a minute. The coffee’s hot.

MATTIE: Jeremy gone already?

BYNUM: Yeah, he leave out of here early. He got to be there when the sun come up. Most working men got to be there when the sun come up. Everybody but Seth. Seth work at night. Mr. Olowski so busy in his shop he got fellows working at night.

(Loomis enters from the stairs.)

SETH: Mr. Loomis, now . .. I don’t want no trouble. I keeps me a respectable house here. I don’t have no carrying on like what went on last night. This has been a respectable house for a long time. I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.

LOOMIS: You got my two dollars. That two dollars say we stay till Saturday.

(Loomis and Seth glare at each other.)

SETH: All right. Fair enough. You stay till Saturday. But come Saturday you got to leave here.

LOOMIS (Continues to glare at Seth. He goes to the door and calls):

Zonia. You stay around this house, you hear? Don’t you go anywhere.

(Loomis exits out the front door.)

SETH: I knew it when I first seen him. I knew something wasn’t right with him.

BERTHA: Seth, leave the people alone to eat their breakfast. They don’t want to hear that. Go on out there and make some pots and pans. That’s the only time you satisfied is when you out there. Go on out there and make some pots and pans and leave them people alone.

SETH: I aint bothering anybody. I’m just stating the facts. I told you, Bynum.

(Bertha shoos Seth out the back door and exits into the bedroom.)

MOLIX (To Bynum): You one of them voo-doo people?

BYNUM: I got a power to bind folks if that what you talking about.

MOLLY: I thought so. The way you talked to that man when he started all that spooky stuff. What you say you had the power to do to people? You ain’t the cause of him acting like that, is you?

BYNUM: I binds them together. Sometimes I help them find each other.

MOLLY: How do you do that?

BYNUM: With a song. My daddy taught me how to do it.

MOLLY: That’s what they say. Most folks be what they daddy is. I wouldn’t want to be like my daddy. Nothing ever set right with him. He tried to make the world over. Carry it around with him everywhere he go. I don’t want to be like that. I just take life as it come. I don’t be trying to make it over. (Pause) Your daddy used to do that too, huh? Make people stay together?

BYNUM: My daddy used to heal people. He had the Healing Song. I got the Binding Song,

MOLIY: My mama used to believe in all that stuff. If she got sick she would have gone and saw your daddy. As long as he didn’t make her drink nothing. She wouldn’t drink nothing nobody give her. She was always afraid somebody was gonna poison her. How your daddy heal people?

BYNUM: With a song. He healed people by singing over them. I seen him do it. He sung over this little white girl when she was sick. They made a big to-do about it. They carried the girl’s bed out in the yard and had all her kinfolk standing around. The little girl laying up there in the bed. Doctors standing around cant do nothing to help her. And they had my daddy come up and sing his song. It didn’t sound no different than any other song. It was just somebody singing. But the song was its own thing and it come out and took upon this little girl with its power and it healed her.

MOLLY: That’s sure something else. I don’t understand that kind of thing, I guess if the doctor couldn’t make me well Id try it. But otherwise I don’t wanna be bothered with that kind of thing. It’s too spooky.

BYNUM: Well, let me get on out here and get to work.

(Bynum gets up and heads out toward the back door.)

MOLLY: I ain’t meant to offend you or nothing. What’s your name. . . Bynum? I ain’t meant to say nothing to make you feel bad now.

(Bynum exits out the back door.)

(To Mattie) I hope he don’t feel bad. He’s a nice man. I don’t wanna hurt nobody’s feelings or nothing,

MATTIE: I got to go on up to Doc Goldblum’s and finish this ironing.

MOLLY: Now, that’s something I don’t never wanna do. Iron no clothes. Especially somebody else’s. That’s what I believe killed my mama. Always ironing and working, doing somebody else’s work. Not Molly Cunningham.

MATTIE: It’s the only job I got. I got to make it someway to fend for myself.

MOLLY: I thought Jeremy was your man. Ain’t he working?

MATTIE: We just be keeping company, rill maybe Jack come back.

MOLLY: I don’t trust none of these men. Jack or nobody else. These men liable to do anything. They wait just until they get one woman tied and locked up with them… then they look around to see if they can get another one. Molly don’t pay them no mind. One’s just as good as the other if you ask me. I ain’t never met one that meant nobody no good. You got any babies?

MATTIE: I had two for my man, Jack Carper. But they both died.

MOLLY: That be the best. These men make all these babies, then run off and leave you to take care of them. Talking about they wanna see what’s on the other side of the hill. I make sure I don’t get no babies. My mama taught me how to do that.

MATTIE: Don’t make me no mind. That be nice to be a mother.

MOLLY: Yeah? Well, you go on, then. Molly Cunningham ain’t gonna be tied down with no babies. Had me a man one time who I thought had some love in him. Come home one day and he was packing his trunk. Told me the time come when even the best of friends must part. Say he was gonna send me a Special Delivery some old day. I watched him out the window when he carried that trunk out and down to the train station. Said if he was gonna send me a Special Delivery I wasn’t gonna be there to get it. I done found out the harder you try to hold onto them, the easier it is for some gal to pull them away. Molly done learned that. That’s why I don’t trust nobody but the good Lord above, and I don’t love nobody but my mama.

MATTIE: I got to get on. Doc Goldblum gonna be waiting.

(Mattie exits out the front door. Seth enters from his workshop with his apron, gloves, goggles, etc. He carries a bucket and crosses to the sink for water.)

SETH: Everybody gone but you, huh?

MOLIX: That little shack out there by the outhouse . .. that’s where you make them pots and pans and stuff?

SETH: Yeah, that’s my workshed. I go out there . .. take these hands and make something out of nothing. Take that metal and bend and twist it whatever way I want. My daddy taught me that. He used to make pots and pans. That’s how I learned it.

MOLLY: I never knew nobody made no pots and pans. My uncle used to shoe horses.

(Jeremy enters at the front door.)

SETH: I thought you was working? Ain’t you working today?

JEREMY: Naw, they fired me. White fellow come by told me to give him fifty cents if I wanted to keep working, Going around to all the colored making them give him fifty cents to keep hold to their jobs. Them other fellows, they was giving it to him. I kept hold to mine and they fired me.

SETH: Boy, what kind of sense that make? What kind of sense it make to get fired from a job where you making eight dollars a week and all it cost you is fifty cents. That’s seven do! lars and fifty cents profit! This way you ain’t got nothing.

JEREMY: It didn’t make no sense to me. I don’t make but eight dollars. Why I got to give him fifty cents of it? He go ground to all the colored and he got ten dollars extra. That’s more than I make for a whole week.

SETH: I see you gonna learn the hard way. You just looking at the facts of it. See, right now, without the job, you aint got nothing. What you gonna do when you can’t keep a roof over your head? Right now, come Saturday, unless you come up with another two dollars, you gonna be out there in the streets. Down up under one of them bridges trying to put some food in your belly and wishing you had given that fellow that fifty cents.

JEREMY: Don’t make me no difference. There’s a big road out there. I can get my guitar and always find me another place to stay. I ain’t planning on staying in one place for too long noway.

SETH: We gonna see if you feel like that come Saturday!

(Seth exits out the back. Jeremy sees Molly.)

JEREMY: Molly Cunningham. How you doing today, sugar?

MOLLY: You can go on back down there tomorrow and go back to work if you want. They won’t even know who you is. Won’t even know it’s you. I had me a fellow did that one time. They just went ahead and signed him up like they never seen him before.

JEREMY: I’m tired of working anyway. I’m glad they fired me. You sure look pretty today.

MOLLY: Don’t come telling me all that pretty stuff. Beauty wanna come in and sit down at your table asking to be fed. I ain’t hardly got enough for me.

JEREMY: You know you pretty. Ain’t no sense in you saying nothing about that. Why don’t you come on and go away with me?

MOLLY: You tied up with that Mattie Campbell. Now you talking about running away with me.

JEREMY: I was just keeping her company ’cause she lonely. You ain’t the lonely kind. You the kind that know what she want and how to get it. I need a woman like you to travel around with. Don’t you wanna travel around and look at some places with Jeremy? With a woman like you beside him, a man can make it nice in the world.

MOLLY: Moll can make it nice by herself too. Molly don’t need nobody leave her cold in hand. The world rough enough as it is.

JEREMY: We can make it better together. I got my guitar and I can play. Won me another dollar last night playing gui tar. We can go around and I can play at the dances and we can just enjoy life. You can make it by yourself all right, I agrees with that. A woman like you can make it anywhere she go. But you can make it better if you got a man to protect you.

MOLLY: What places you wanna go around and look at?

TEREMY: All of them! I don’t want to miss nothing. I wanna go everywhere and do everything there is to be got out of life. With a woman like you it’s like having water and berries. A man got everything he need.

MOLLY: You got to be doing more than playing that guitar. A dollar a day ain’t hardly what Molly got in mind.

JEREMY: I gambles real good. I got a hand for it.

MOLLY: Molly don’t work. And Molly ain’t up for sale.

JEREMY: Sure, baby. You ain’t got to work with Jeremy.

MOLLY: There’s one more thing.

JEREMY: Whats that, sugar?

MOLLY: Molly ain’t going South.

(The lights go down on the scene.)

DMU Timestamp: September 15, 2023 12:10

0 comments, 0 areas
add area
add comment
change display
add comment

Quickstart: Commenting and Sharing

How to Comment
  • Click icons on the left to see existing comments.
  • Desktop/Laptop: double-click any text, highlight a section of an image, or add a comment while a video is playing to start a new conversation.
    Tablet/Phone: single click then click on the "Start One" link (look right or below).
  • Click "Reply" on a comment to join the conversation.
How to Share Documents
  1. "Upload" a new document.
  2. "Invite" others to it.

Logging in, please wait... Blue_on_grey_spinner