Part of the SHORT MUSICALS NOW COLLECTION
The Only Thing That Matters
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Chris Kerrigan
Three adult sisters have dinner together at one of their homes in the suburbs. Kerri, the middle child and black sheep of the family is determined to not be undermined by the judgments and critiques of her two more well-adjusted and successful sisters. But as soon as alcohol and discussions of social issues descend upon the evening, all bets are off.
At an upper middle class home in Brentwood, California, Kerri, a fragile recovering alcoholic with only two weeks sobriety has just arrived to have dinner with her two sisters, Ally and Mystie. Ally is a nonstop young suburban mother, multi-tasking, picking up toys and setting the table. Mystie is an attractive career woman who seems to get everything right in life. Kerri sits on a stool and ponders to herself how much more fun these dinners used to be before her sisters grew up and became strangers to her “TEN YEARS AGO”. Ally and Mystie proceed to probe her with questions about her life and make not-so-subtle judgments about her relationship, her work ethic, and her general failure to thrive. When this reaches a fever pitch, Kerri excuses herself to go outside and smoke a cigarette while Ally and Mystie commiserate about their difficult sister.
Out on the sidewalk, Kerri leaves a voicemail for her current boyfriend Raymond, melancholy over how uncomfortable the dinner has been so far “SAD PARIAH”. She composes herself, marches back into the house, and decides to pour herself a glass of wine. Dinner is served, and Ally and Mystie begin to discuss family stuff while Kerri quickly and quietly drinks a whole lot of wine to get through the rest of the dinner “THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS”. Eventually, the subject turns to a Netflix documentary about a man falsely accused of sexual assault, and Ally and Mystie opine about the overreach of the #MeToo movement and agree that it has turned into a witch hunt.
Kerri, quite drunk now, is enraged by this conversation and her sisters’ stance on the issue. She curses at them, calls them uninformed, and rattles off rape statistics “TWO MEN”, all of which falls on deaf ears; her sisters are more concerned with her use of profanity and her tone than what she is saying. Finally, Mystie gently suggests that the reason Kerri is so worked up about this is because of things that happened to her when they were younger “THE SENSITIVE ONE”. Through tears, Kerri reminds them that nobody believed her after her assault and she was left all alone. She storms out, leaving Ally and Mystie to shake their hands, repeating that she “was always the sensitive one.”
KERRI - Female Identifying, early 30’s, recovering alcoholic with two weeks sober. Vulnerable, reactive, damaged by past traumas.
ALLY - Female Identifying, late 30’s, upper middle class suburban mother. Always moving, highly judgmental, privileged.
MYSTIE - Female Identifying, late 30’s, career woman, lives life on her own terms, highly judgmental, somewhat bratty.
2019 - Performed in Theatre Now's SOUND BITES 6.0 Festival at Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Music Center.
CHRIS KERRIGAN is a musical theatre actor, singer/songwriter, and playwright living and working in Los Angeles. He is the head of the theatre department at STAR Education, a far-reaching after school program that serves over a hundred schools in the greater Los Angeles area. He has written nine full-length children’s musicals (Two Sides to Every Story, Screen Time: The Musical!, The Toy Store, and Reading is Rad, to name a few) that have been performed in elementary schools far and wide. He has performed in several regional productions including Parade (Hugh Dorsey), Violet (The Preacher), Assassins (John Wilkes Booth), American Idiot (Tunny), Jekyll & Hyde (Jekyll/Hyde), and Avenue Q (Brian), to name a few. He plays piano/keyboards in several LA bands as well.