You Are My Sunshine

By Jessica Tutini


A mother relives the life of her daughter from infancy to adulthood to her early death.


Daughter (a different ages)
Boy (Asha's date)


Scene 1

(Setting: An empty stage, save for brightly colored leaves that are scattered about. Dim lights. Mother and Asha walk onto stage left and slowly head right. Bring lights up softly as they appear. You Are My Sunshine plays softly, then fades.)
Narrator: A Mother and her little girl are walking in the park. They are headed to their favorite place…the place where they can stand together, just the two of them…wrapped in love.
Asha: Mama! Mama!
Mother: Asha, darling, don’t run ahead like that! I can’t see where you’re going!
Asha: Why, Mama? (Thinks a minute.) Yes, Mama. Are we there yet?
Mother: Not yet, sweetheart…almost though!
Asha (running ahead again): Oh! Mama, Mama! Look at that bird!
Mother: Yes, dear.
Asha: Isn’t he pretty! Why is he so bright red? Why, Mama? Don’t you know?
Mother: God made him that way, dear.
Asha: Oooo! Look! A ladybug! Look, Mama, look!
(Dim lights. Music fades in softly. Asha freezes. Mother speaks to audience.)
Mother: Well, here we are. Our favorite place…our lake. I don’t know if you can see it or not - the day is cloudy, but still lovely. Just enough wind to ruffle the surface of the lake. Brilliantly colored autumn leaves scattered about on the ground…a stained glass masterpiece of red, orange, and yellow…
(Music fades out. Lights up.)
Asha: Mama! We’re here! (sees a huge golden leaf, picks it up) Look what I found, Mama!
Mother: Oh, Asha, that’s beautiful!
Asha: You like it, Mama?
Mother: Yes, darling, I do. I like it a lot.
Asha: Here, Mama. You keep it.
Mother: (hugs Asha) I love you, sweetheart.
Lights dim to black. Clear stage, place blanket, picture, & rocking horse center. Lights fade in to soft.

Scene II

Mother (sitting center, next to blanket): Time for bed, Asha!
Asha (enters from right, holding stuffed cat): I’m coming, Mama!
Mother: All right, sweetheart. What story would you like to hear tonight?
Asha: The one about the girl who became a princess!
Mother: Well, once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a beautiful girl. She lived with her two rotten stepsisters, and was forced to cook and clean all day for them! She longed for someone to truly love her. Then, one day, a letter arrived at her house! The king of the land was having a grand ball for everyone to attend! This magnificent, beautiful ball was so his wonderful son, the Prince Charming, could find a wife. The girl wanted to go, but her sisters wouldn’t let her!
Asha: Why not?
Mother: Because they hated the girl and they wanted the prince all for themselves. But the girl’s wonderful Fairy Godmother came and gave her a beautiful dress to go to the ball in. The girl went, danced with Prince Charming, and fell deeply in love with him. And despite the evil wiles of the stepsisters, the Prince and girl married and lived happily ever after. The end.
Asha: I’m gonna find my Prince Charming someday...
Mother (quietly to self): Yes, you will. And far too soon… (Then to Asha) It’s time to pray, sweetheart.
Asha: Dear Jesus. I thank you for my Mama. She is so good. I love her so much. And I thank you for the bird and the ladybug and the lake. It’s all so nice. Please give us a good day tomorrow. Goodnight, Jesus. Amen.
Mother (singing softly): You are my sunshine, my only sunshine; you make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear how much I love you; please don’t take my sunshine away…you’ll never know dear, how much I love you; please don’t take my sunshine away…please don’t take my sunshine away…please don’t take my sunshine away…
(Mother stands as she sings. She looks around the “room,” and lays a loving hand on the rocking horse. She smiles as she looks at a picture of the mother and daughter drawn in crayon.)

Scene III

(Clear stage. Music fades in softly.)
Narrator: It is Asha’s first day of school. She has grown up with her mother reading her bedtime stories and singing sweet songs. But now she must let go…but only a little bit…
Music fades out. Lights up.
Mother: Asha, it’s time to go!
Asha: I’m coming, Mama!
Mother: Hurry, sweetheart!
(Asha enters slowly from right. She is older & wearing a school uniform.)
Mother: Here sweetheart…
(She gently adjusts a headband in Asha’s hair, then kisses her forehead.)
Mother: There. That looks perfect. Now we’ve got to go.
Asha: Mama, I’m scared. Will people be nice there?
Mother: Of course they will darling! You’ll love it there!
Lights dim as they cross to the stage. Teacher stands there. Asha holds on to her mother. Lights up.
Teacher: Hello, Mrs. Harper…is this your daughter?
Mother: Yes ma’am, this is Asha.
Teacher: Hi there, Asha! I’m Mrs. Hope, and I’ll be your teacher this year.
Asha: Hello. Is it nice here?
Teacher: Yes, dear, it is. I think you will enjoy this class—I’m here to help you with everything, and all the other boys and girls are very nice. Hmmm…do you like to draw?
Asha: Yes.
Teacher: Well, you’ll get to draw a lot while you’re here…does that sound good?
Asha: That sounds like fun. (Turns to Mother.) Mama, I’m ready now.
Mother: Have a good day, honey.
Asha: I know I will.
(Lights dim. Asha & Teacher freeze. Mother walks to other side of the stage, where bright leaves are scattered. She sits and looks at the crayon picture that Asha drew of them. Lights come up to soft. Music plays softly.)
Mother: I don’t know if I’m ready…she’s still so young. It just seems too soon…far too soon. It seems like only yesterday…we we’re standing by the lake. She saw everything as simply beautiful…wonderful…

Scene IV

(Clear stage.)
Narrator: Asha goes on her first date tonight. How trying for any parent! This boy…does he deserve her daugher? How will he treat her? Is he polite, is he kind, does he know how to behave…a thousand questions as the mother waits for the chime of the doorbell.
(Music fades out.)
Asha: Mama? I’m ready.
Mother: Oh, honey…you look beautiful. (Adjusts Asha’s necklace.)
(Enter Boy, from left.)
Boy: Hello Asha! You look beautiful. (He turns to the Mother) Ma’am, I promise I’ll take good care of your daughter…I’ll have her home by ten…
Mother: Yes…yes…I know you will…
Boy: I know she’s special to you…she’s special to me too…
(Asha and Boy freeze. Lights dim on them, and come up as Mother walks to other side of stage, where Asha’s “room” is. It looks different…older. But the crayon picture is still there. Music fades in softly.)
Mother: My little girl doesn’t live here anymore…she’s growing up…I miss all the things she loved when she was younger…the rocking horse…the quilt…all those small things that made her a little girl. Where have the years gone? (picks up the crayon picture) You are my sunshine…my only sunshine…you make me happy, when skies are gray. You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you…please don’t take my sunshine away…
(Music blends into Pomp and Circumstance.)

Scene V

(Pomp and Circumstance begins to play softly, as the lights come up full. Empty stage, save for a row of chairs and a lectern. The Mother sits quietly in one of the chairs. Slowly the music builds. Asha comes onto the stage, shakes an imaginary hand, and takes her diploma from the podium, and walks slowly down to Mother.)
Asha: Mama…
Mother: Honey…I don’t even know what to say…you’ve made it. I’m so proud of you…
Mother (Singing softly): You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you…please don’t take my sunshine away…please don’t take my sunshine away…
Offstage Voices (fade in): You must be Asha’s mother! 
You have a wonderful daughter!
We’re definitely going to miss her.
What a sweet girl you have!
(Lights dim to black. Clear stage, save for scattered green leaves. Mother enters. Music fades in softly. She stands in dim lights, speaking to herself.)
Mother: My little girl…grown up...graduated. Gone off to college. An empty bedroom…memories are all that remain…and one crayon picture. I wonder if she remembers? If she remembers just the two of us, standing there in the park, at our favorite lake? The day is cloudy again. There’s just a little bit of wind…enough to ruffle the surface of the lake. All the leaves are green now…
(Lights come up, music fades out. Mother cries to audience and to the sky.)
Mother: I’m going to miss her. I don’t want her to go! Not yet…she’s still just a little girl…my little girl! She’s not ready! Oh God, why can’t she stay here just a little bit longer…please…don’t take my sunshine away!

Scene VI

(Lights dim to black. Clear stage, save for a full-length mirror. Enter Asha, in wedding gown. She stands near mirror. Enter Mother.)
Asha: Mama…do I look all right?
Mother: Beautiful, sweetheart.
Asha: I don’t know if I’m ready for this…I’m so afraid! I don’t want to do it!
Mother: Yes you do, honey. You’re ready. And you are going to make the most wonderful wife and mother.
Asha: I love you, Mama. Will you be all right with me gone?
Mother: No…but it’s time. You’re a woman now…you don’t need me with you anymore.
Asha: Oh, but Mama! I’ll always be your little girl…I promise.
Mother: And you’ll always be my sunshine. I’ll love you forever.
Narrator: It’s time…
(Lights dim to black. Clear stage. Wedding March plays softly.)
Narrator: The Mother watches, as her daughter glides slowly down the aisle. There’s a handsome young man waiting at the altar. She approves of him…he will make her daughter happy. She weeps softly as her daughter kisses the man she will spend the rest of her life with. She smiles as they say ‘I do.’ Then it is time…time for Asha to leave.
Mother: I love you, Asha! I love you!
Asha: I love you too, Mama! Mama…..Mama….
(Music fades out.)

Scene VII

(Lights dim to black. “Mama” echoes. Clear stage, save for scattered dead leaves and tombstone, stage right. Projector screen lowered, stage left. Lights up to dim over tombstone. Mother kneels next to it, weeping silently.)
Mother: This was our favorite place… I don’t know if you can see it…the day is cloudy, and there is a slight wind…just enough to ruffle the surface of the lake. I guess I don’t really need this hat… (picks up one of the dead leaves on the ground) She seemed to like the bright leaves during the summer…but she wouldn’t like these…they’re all dead now…
(Spotlight illuminates the tombstone, as the words appear on the screen.)
Asha Marianne Harper
June 13, 1990 – August 10, 1990
Beautiful Daughter, Gift of God.
(Lights fade slowly.)
Mother: All my hopes…all my dreams…they’re gone…like these dead leaves. (Stands, shouting to something unseen.) But you try to take away my memories! You try to take away what could have been! Just try! Even when all of time…when every day, every year has gone by, I will still have my memories!! You cannot take them away!
(Collapses, sobbing. Slowly sits upright, singing softly)
You are my sunshine…my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you…please don’t take my sunshine away…. please don’t take my sunshine away…please don’t take my sunshine away…
(Song trails off, lights dim as Mother begins to weep. Close curtain.)
Coopyright Jessica Tutini, all rights reserved.
This script may be used free of charge, provided no entrance fee is charged for the performance. In return, please tell the author when it is performed. She may be contacted at: 
925 Skyline Drive
Argyle, Texas 76226