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A TOPNOTCH MAN
© 1999 by Hugh Aaron
A 25-minute realistic drama in English

CHARACTERS:
Phil, age 45, a successful businessman
Calvin, an elderly college professor

SETTING:
A business executive's office, today, midmorning,

SYNOPSIS:
Cal, Phil's former college teacher, calls on Phil to borrow some money in order to help out a friend, a drug addict, in need of detoxification. The history of Cal's and Phil's past relationship is revealed: Cal, unbeknownst to Phil, had loved him sexually when he was his student, but Cal had never indicated this until now for he knew Phil was straight. Phil soon discovers that Cal actually needs the funds to feed his own habit and threatens to throw Cal out. But Cal reminds Phil that he owes him a favor; it was through Cal's connections that Phil gained acceptance to Harvard more than 20 years before. Foiled, and disgusted, Phil bitterly gives Cal the money he requested and asks him to leave. Cal leaves and sits in the office lobby weeping. When the receptionist advises Phil of this, Phil renegs and realizes that Cal is to be pitied and needs help. He calls Cal back in.

COMMENT:
All action takes place in one scene, no changes, nothing special required, simply two men, one powerful, the other over the hill, sparring with words. This play had been read by two excellent actors who brought it to life. It turned out to be quite effective and elicited the applause of other actors who stopped their rehearsing to listen to the mounting drama.

THEMES:
Drug addiction, altruism, borrowing of money, college connection, detoxification, emotional blackmail, generation gap, Harvard University, homosexuality, male bonding, obligation, teacher-student relationship, teaching, revisiting the past.


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