Robert’s Dilemma A One-Act Play

    By Kevin Devlin


    Robert “Can Do” played by Robert McGuire.                                                                                                  Robert “Can’t Do” played by Robert “Bobby” Castigliola.

    SETTING:  Small public safety campus police management office.

    PROPS:  One large conference table/six chairs/laptops/copy machine/office cubicles.

    Robert Can Do and Robert Can’t Do are sitting across from each other at the table doing work.

    Robert Can Do:   Bobby, I need you to call Paul Harvey and set-up a meeting with him concerning the new security radios.

    Robert Can’t Do:   He’s too busy.

    Robert Can Do:   Really?

    Robert Can’t Do:   I really doubt if he’s available to meet with us.

    Robert Can Do:   (frustrated) Bobby, I said call him and tell him I need to meet with him someday next week. No excuses.

    Robert Can’t Do:   Okay…I’ll try.

    Robert Can Do:   Don’t try. Get it done.

    Two Hours Later

    Robert Can Do:   Bobby, call Joe McKenna at the uniform company and tell him I need eight new uniforms and twenty shirt patches for the new officers who start in two weeks.

    Robert Can’t Do:   Oh, he’ll never be able to do that.

    Robert Can Do:   Why not?

    Robert Can’t Do:   We have to wait at least six months before we can even get short sleeve shirts, never mind full uniforms. His company gets all their stuff from Canada.

    Robert Can Do:   Bobby! Bobby! Listen to me! Tell him I need the uniforms by next week or I’ll buy them from somewhere else.

    Robert Can’t Do:   You know these things take time.

    Robert Can Do:   Bobby, just do it!                                                                                                                               

    Robert Can Do whisper’s under his breath, “Canada my ass!”   

    One Hour Later

    Robert Can Do:   Bobby, get a hold of Peter O’Toole from Allied Alarm and tell him I need a quote for a new fire alarm panel. And call two other companies and set up a walkthrough.

    Robert Can’t Do:   He won’t do it. Nobody will give us quotes.

    Robert Can Do:   Why not? They don’t want to make money?

    Robert Can’t Do:   They won’t do it. It’s not worth it to them.

    Robert Can Do:   Are you out-of-your mind?

    Robert Can’t Do:   I wouldn’t lie to you.

    Robert Can Do:   Just call until you get three alarm companies that will come in. It’s not rocket science.

    Robert Can’t Do:   Okay. I’ll try.

    Robert Can Do, his face turning beet red, talks to himself, thinking, “Jesus, he’ll be the death of me yet.”

    Two Hours Later   

    Robert Can Do:   Bobby, call the Fire Department and set up a meeting with the safety officer regarding fire drill procedures.

    Robert Can’t Do:   They won’t do it! I know they won’t. They wouldn’t do it for me when I worked at Colton’s and I managed a $15 million-dollar budget and thousands of employees.

    Robert Can Do:   Bobby, set it up. They do it for every other agency in the city. It’s mandatory.

    Robert Can’t Do:   Okay, but I know they won’t do it.

    Robert Can Do:   Bobby, when I ask you do to do something please don’t say it can’t be done.

    Robert Can’t Do:   But…

    Robert Can Do:   No buts…

    Angry, Robert Can Do stands up, walks into his office cubicle, picks up a pair of scissors and throws it against the wall. He silently reflects, “I should get my head examined.”

    Robert Can Do then grabs his jacket and heads for the office exit door.

    He’s had enough for one day and knows tomorrow will only be more of the same.