By Bob Gould and Rob Eyles
It’s late November and it’s snowing. Ray Green, a Jewish man in his 50s, enters Stan’s Diner for breakfast. A regular in this “greasy spoon” establishment, Ray is greeted by Stan, the Proprietor, and they proceed to exchange insults in what it appears is an established ritual. (“Breakfast At Stan’s”) Ray is grumpy and quick to criticise everyone and everything but there is a deep hurt festering inside him that drives his cantankerous exterior – all of which is alluded to as he begins to read his paper while waiting for his breakfast. (“Good News”.) As he continues to read his paper, Bella (a Jewish alcoholic woman in her 50s) enters and sits at a table near to Ray. It becomes apparent that Ray and Bella used to be man and wife while they exchange a series of barbed insults (“Insults For Breakfast”)
As Ray and Bella continue to try and match each other by firing verbal bullets, Stan listens from the background. (“Some Thoughts Of A Waiter”) Bella starts to seek solace in the bottle of whiskey she is carrying (“Getting Through Today”) as her dialogue with Ray reveals that their marriage fell apart ten years ago after the death of their son, Aaron. Bella is still bitter that Ray had turned his back on Aaron after learning that he was gay and had continued to be estranged from his son right up to the time of his death.
Joey, a gay man in his late twenties and Aaron’s former boyfriend, enters – having arranged to meet Bella there for breakfast. He has come to tell Bella in person that he and his new boyfriend are getting married. Ray greets Joey’s presence with utter contempt and anger (“Some Thoughts Of A Father”) and lashes out at Joey for daring to walk in and open up old wounds. Joey replies by explaining how much he still misses and grieves for Aaron (“Losing Him”).
After Joey leaves, Bella – who had previously condemned Ray for forgetting that today was Aaron’s birthday – comments that she had visited Aaron’s grave earlier and wondered who had placed the new pebble she found on the gravestone. (“A Pebble For Aaron”).
There is a brief and minor rapprochement between Ray but Bella continues to cling to her whiskey bottle and Ray resumes his tirade of insults against Stan as this tragically tormented couple continue to be torn apart by their grief………….
LISTEN TO SONGS FROM “PEBBLE FOR AARON”: