What You Will
A frazzled hospice nurse turns to an upstart cosmetics company and the practice of Wicca to fix her financial woes.
Lisa’s afraid she’ll never get it together. At 35, she’s maxed out her credit cards, her dress size, and her sink. Her three-year-old is in joint custody; her job as a hospice nurse is a draining dead end. Worst, she’s got what Oprah calls “the disease to please”: she just can’t say no. Lisa’s mother, Tina, and her straight-shooting friend, Stacey, find themselves nudging her toward their lite-Catholic suburban self-resolve. Armed with a copy of life coach Gail Cunningham’s Quit Being a Doormat in Nine Easy Steps, they urge Lisa to stand up to her deadbeat ex-husband. Stacey, still mourning her mother’s recent death, volunteers at the hospice, and sees a calling where Lisa feels only a grind.
Lisa has other ideas. Wowed by Jessica and Jo—alternachicks in their early thirties, from a decidedly swishier side of the tracks—Lisa takes out another card to buy into their nascent startup: Vité, a new cosmetics line. A piece of new-age decor in Jess’s apartment sparks a conversation that introduces Lisa to the idea of Wicca. Inspired, she suggests rebranding Vité around a witchcraft theme. It’s a hit, and suddenly the company—originally conceived as just a day job for Jess and Jo’s band—is blasting off.
But success is never easy. As Lisa’s self-esteem blossoms and she starts to see herself the glamorous entrepreneuse, überpunk Jess still wants to be Ani DiFranco, and modest Jo is caught in the middle. Meanwhile, Lisa turns seriously to Wicca as a spiritual foundation for her new, self-oriented life—much to Tina and Stacey’s alarm. Has Lisa finally taken Rilke’s cue, or has her power makeover gone too far?
Durable Theater, San Francisco. Staged reading: April 21, 2004.
Boomerang Theatre Company, New York, First Flight Reading Series. Staged reading: Nov 4, 2003.