Dash #1: In the Bosom of Roy

Themes of parallel universes/the multiverse/quantum physics are bandied about in some of the dialogue and echoed in various repetitions of the characters’ behaviour and the use of certain structural elements in the set. The possibility is raised that when we think about doing something a universe is created in which that thing is done. Another popular parallel universe notion is of the world that is almost identical to the origin world apart from insignificant details here and there. The playlet speculates on physical problems that might be experienced by travellers between worlds.


The characters:
Angela – an adventuress with links to an intelligence agency.
Betty – Angela’s identical twin sister, in some ways just as resourceful as Angela.
Roger – possibly Angela’s partner; possibly Angela’s control. He has an identical twin brother called Roy, who is a sexually predatory psychopath.
Alex – a friend of Angela and Roger; possibly an English-speaking inhabitant either of a parallel world or a hitherto undiscovered and remote geographical location.

It should be noted that Angela and Betty – despite being identical twins – are played by different actresses (Jude Barrington and Bernadette Russell) while Roger and Roy are played by one actor (Chris Newland). Alex may be two identical people who are both versions of Alex, played by one actor (Gareth Brierley).


The lighting:
1. Monochrome – some scenes will be lit with monochrome washes such as red, blue, green etc.
2. Off-Set – some scenes will be lit brightly and baldly, revealing the territory adjacent to the set in addition to the set itself.
3. On-Set – other scenes will be lit in a ‘normal’, non-monochrome way.
When monochrome of a particular colour is applied to a scene the colour itself should not be seen as particularly significant.

The music:
it is likely that a low, electronic drone will run throughout the show (possibly from the ambient work of ‘The Caretaker’). This will add a degree of underlying menace to the scenes. It will, however, be supplemented by other types of music, such as trance, hard house, terrorcore, film sound track, baroque and other classical.

Scene 1
LIGHTING: ON-SET
IN SILENCE: AS HER SKIRTS REPEATEDLY SWIRL ANGELA PRESSES FIRST ALEX THEN ROGER TO HER BOSOM IN FOND FAREWELL. A BIT DANCE-LIKE. IT IS AS IF MANY ADVENTURES HAVE BEEN VENTURED AND NOW THE COMRADES MUST PART AT LAST. AN EMOTIONAL ENDING TO A CLUSTER OF SAGAS THAT THE AUDIENCE MAY WISH THEY HAD SEEN. PERHAPS THEY WILL. BUT THIS SEQUENCE STRONGLY RESEMBLES THE END OF A PLAY.
AFTER ONE MORE LINGERING EMBRACE THE TWO MEN LEAVE.
ANGELA IS ALONE. SHE SITS.
ANGELA Ha! Roger! Alex! And I (Angela)!

(Note: It is conceivable that, like James Joyce’s ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ and the M25, Dash Dash Dash has a formal circularity, whereby this brief scene eventually closes the entire crazy journey upon which we are about to embark.) (Writer’s retrospective note: It didn’t.)

Scene 2
LIGHTING: ON-SET
THROUGHOUT THE ENSUING DIALOGUE SEQUENCE MUSIC IS PLAYED.
Music: Corelli – Concerto da Chiesa No 8 in G minor
THE SET SHOULD ACCOMMODATE THE FOLLOWING POSSIBILITY: WHEN ANGELA IS WALKING WITH THE MEN ALL THREE SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXIT THEN IMMEDIATELY REAPPEAR WITH BETTY IN ANGELA’S PLACE.
THE MEN DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE SWITCHES. AFTER ALL, THE TWO WOMEN ARE IDENTICAL TWINS.
THE ACTRESS SHOULD ALSO BE ABLE TO RUN ROUND THE BACK OF THE SET IN ORDER TO BE SWITCHED FROM THE OTHER SIDE LATER IN THIS SCENE.
THIS WILL BE DONE A COUPLE OF TIMES IN THE SCENE (INDICATED IN THE SCRIPT), WHICH WILL END WITH ANGELA ON STAGE AND BETTY OFF.
ROGER AND ALEX ENTER.
A MOMENT LATER ANGELA ENTERS.
ALEX SHOUTS DELIGHTEDLY AND HUGS ANGELA. IT IS AS IF ANGELA IS RETURNING AFTER A LONG TIME AWAY.
ROGER TOO IS DELIGHTED AND HUGS ANGELA. THEY EACH TAKE ONE OF ANGELA’S HANDS AND EXCITEDLY WALK UP AND DOWN WITH HER. IT IS AS IF A PLAY IS ABOUT TO BEGIN.
THE FRIENDS ARE VITAL AND ENCHANTING. THEY TOUCH EACH OTHER AFFECTIONATELY FROM TIME TO TIME.
ANGELA Now it’s all behind me! The places!
ALEX We thought…
ROGER The good things first!
ANGELA The hill villages, the plage, the general feeling of groups of people very much in love struggling through on board ship.
ALEX We thought…
ANGELA What did you think, darling?
ROGER I think we thought you’d gone…
ALEX CHOKES BACK A TEAR.
ANGELA Oh, Alex!
FIRST SWITCH: ANGELA SWEEPS ALEX OFF STAGE, EXITING THROUGH A DOOR IN THE SET.
ALEX IMMEDIATELY RE-ENTERS WITH BETTY.
ALEX Now we can really start.
ROGER Now that everything is over.
ALEX Tell us about the islands.
BETTY Some days soot and mud. Other days flowers.
ROGER Did it drive you mad?
BETTY I liked the variety. The problem was being followed all the time. Or feeling that.
SECOND SWITCH: BETTY MOVES OFF STAGE, FOLLOWED BY ALEX.
ANGELA RE-ENTERS, FOLLOWED BY ALEX.
ALEX Were you? Followed?
ANGELA (LAUGHING) You’d see the boats out there. The people were hard to make out. Sometimes one of them would be washed ashore though. Then you’d see them. Bloated. Grinning through dead lips. Their spines torn out.
ROGER But you got away. You made it all the way back to Combray.
THE MUSIC STOPS ABRUPTLY.
ANGELA I’d love a sweet biscuit now.
ROGER AND ALEX EXIT.

Scene 3
LIGHTING: OFF-SET, BRIGHT.
AS ANGELA SITS, A DOOR BURSTS OPEN AND, FROM THE OPPOSITE SIDE TO THE EARLIER EXITS (Scene 1), THERE ENTERS ALEX.
HE MOVES TOWARDS ANGELA BUT CONTINUES TO DOWNSTAGE CENTRE, CLOSE TO THE AUDIENCE.
VERY LOUD, POUNDING TRANCE MUSIC IS SNAPPED IN.
ALEX DANCES ENERGETICALLY AND CHEERFULLY FOR A NUMBER OF SECONDS UNTIL STOPPING ABRUPTLY AS THE MUSIC IS CUT.
ANGELA Alex!
THE SAME DOOR BURSTS OPEN AGAIN AND ROGER ENTERS.
VERY LOUD, POUNDING TRANCE MUSIC IS SNAPPED IN.
ROGER DANCES ENERGETICALLY AND DETERMINEDLY FOR A NUMBER OF SECONDS UNTIL STOPPING ABRUPTLY AS THE MUSIC IS CUT.
ANGELA Roger!
ROGER Angela – your shapes are the talk of the town and its side streets! Will you throw some?
ANGELA DANCES ENERGETICALLY AND INVENTIVELY FOR A NUMBER OF SECONDS, TO THE SOUND OF POUNDING TRANCE MUSIC, UNTIL STOPPING ABRUPTLY AS THE MUSIC IS CUT.
(Note: While the Director will certainly give notes to the Actors concerning the manner of their dancing in this scene, he will stress that variations on personal idiosyncrasies of style are more the biscuit than polished passages of discotheque simulation.)

Scene 4
LIGHTING: MONOCHROME
ALEX (TO HIMSELF) What if…say, I were to do something, then, as if on a whim, quite suddenly and abruptly, decided not to do it. In fact, I never did it. Not because there was anything wrong with it. Not because I particularly had an attitude to it. It could be something quite important or quite minor. I would halt at the very brink, the very brim, almost tipping into it. Would that do it? Would it set something up?
ROGER ENTERS
ROGER How would you know? It might do it – but there’s no way of telling. It’s a luxury – the argument, I mean – you can say what you want and never be wrong.
ALEX They have no word for ‘Wendy’.
ROGER What?
ALEX When they say it there’s just a terrible noise.
ROGER From their mouths?
ALEX Partly. And in the air. Quite separate from the mouth. Birds fall from the sky.
ROGER I notice, Alex, that no such phenomena accompany your own voicing of the problematic word.
ALEX I’ve explained this to you many times, Roger.
ROGER So you have, so you have.

Scene 5
LIGHTING: ON-SET
ANGELA When I think about the children I want to die.
ROGER You want to die before you die?
ANGELA (ACKNOWLEDGING THE ABSURDITY) I know.
ROGER You worry about how they’ll be.
ANGELA Well, of course. What else? At the moment they don’t have a clue.
ROGER When do you want to tell them?
ANGELA I don’t want to tell them!
ROGER We’ll both tell them.
ANGELA I just…can’t. I want a door to open up. I want to be swallowed.
ANGELA AND ROGER TURN AWAY FROM EACH OTHER AND SMILE WARMLY AT THE AUDIENCE AS A SPECIAL LIGHT COMES ON DIRECTLY ABOVE THEM AND GROWS STEADILY IN BRILLIANCE.
THEY LOOK UPWARDS TO THE LIGHT AND SHIELD THEIR EYES WHEN IT BECOMES UNCOMFORTABLY BRIGHT. (THIS EFFECT MIGHT BE HEIGHTENED BY FADING ALL OTHER LIGHTS.)
THE OVERHEAD SPECIAL SNAPS OFF.
VERY BRIEF BLACKOUT (DURING WHICH A PERSONNEL SWITCH IS EFFECTED) FOLLOWED BY A SINGLE BRIGHT FLASH OF LIGHT. IT REVEALS BETTY AND ROGER SITTING NEUTRALLY TOGETHER.

Scene 6
LIGHTING: MONOCHROME
ALEX I didn’t like her breath. It was milky.
ROGER Were you particularly close?
ALEX I didn’t know her. That was the point.
ROGER What I actually meant was were you physically close to her? So that you could smell her.
ALEX Does it matter? It was milky. She was…uneasy.
ROGER Of course she bloody was. She had shit down her legs.
ALEX I didn’t notice.
ROGER But you noticed her breath.

Scene 7
LIGHTING: ON-SET
ANGELA My brief was to go upriver, to the islands. One of our people was impregnating natives at the rate of three a week. Not a good thing, need I say? The crew was composed of degenerates – one of them shot a puppy. At one point we drank the water. Big mistake. Pissing though our arses. One’s grasp faltered. We debarked and trekked inland. For eight weeks. Fucking big country. Sometimes it was dark in the daytime. What can you say about that? At least I didn’t have to shave. Not a sign of the guy. A coconut fell on our compass. GPS – it’s a terrific idea but we didn’t have the requisite thing. Frank took his trousers off so he could shit whilst walking along. It was increasingly hard to feel ladylike.

Scene 8
LIGHTING: MONOCHROME
ALEX When…when…when… we were taking the car back to…to…to…to…
ALEX CONTINUES TO STUTTER AT SOME LENGTH. HE TRIES TO BREAK THE CYCLE BUT DOES NOT SHOW UNDUE ANXIETY.
THERE IS A DEAFENING BANG (THEATRICAL MAROON).
BETTY They’re so shit! They can’t even say fucking ‘WENDY’!
ANOTHER DEAFENING BANG, FOLLOWED BY LOUD DRONE MUSIC (MAYBE ‘THE CARETAKER’) AND SNAP BLACKOUT, DURING WHICH A PERSONNEL SWITCH TAKES PLACE (ANGELA REPLACES BETTY).
THE MUSIC CONTINUES AS THE LIGHTS SNAP BACK, DISCOVERING ANGELA STANDING CLOSE TO THE SEATED ALEX. SHE COUGHS VIOLENTLY AND SPITS BLOOD ALL OVER HIS FACE.
ALEX (UNPERTURBED) …the dockside. In those days you’d drive onto a rope net attached to a big high up crane, well, probably not so big by today’s standards where bigness is so advanced, and they’d gather up the net and the car would go up in the air and across to the boat then down into the hold. That was how you moved cars in those days. Off you’d go! To Sweden on one occasion. Gothenburg, in fact. Or ‘Yurtaborg’ (HE MANGLES THE CORRECT PRONUNCIATION) as they say it in Yurtaborg or Yurtaborg as they say it in Yurtaborg
Note: We will ask a Swedish person about this. Does anyone know one?

Scene 9
LIGHTING: MONOCHROME
ROGER When these people get down below twenty metres their lungs start to compress. At sixty metres they’re down to the size of a fist. Sometimes they bleed from the ears. I’m not against it. People used to say ‘Roger, you should fucking relax’ and I’d say ‘For what fucking reason?’ and they’d say ‘It can’t be good to be going about with all the muscles clenched’ and I’d say ‘Why not? Why the fuck not? Who actually said in the first place? Where is your evidence? Is this scientific? Or is it some fucking whimsy? Some fucking little tale that no one knows where it came from but they all fucking believe it, as if they were fucking scientists with a degree from fucking Edinburgh University in fucking Human Physiology, no, in Higher fucking Unclenching … Disclenching…where you let go…
BETTY …and we saw a 58, that were good, then an oh oh nine, that were champion, then a four four four, that was a little repetitive, then a 6C, that was super, then not one not two not three not four but five small F11s, in serial packets, that rocked, then, as if we were not already sated with quite so much, a cluster of yellow 10s pockmarked prettily with what looked like rat shit.
ROGER How will we tell?
BETTY He’ll put a foot wrong. Then we will done for him.
ROGER For him it’s a game it’s. As soon as we have him he’ll vanish.

Scene 10
LIGHTING: MONOCHROME
ALEX When I first saw you both I felt you had no weight. You seemed to float.
ANGELA Was that bad?
ALEX I wanted to put my hand through you.
BETTY Isn’t that quite saucy?
A DEAFENING BANG.
BLACKOUT.
LIGHTS SNAP ON, TO A LOW LEVEL, DISCOVERING ANGELA, BETTY, ALEX AND ROGER, IN A LINE ABREAST, DANCING DELIGHTEDLY TO PLEASANT SWIRLING TRANCE.
Note: The actors will be encouraged to smile genuinely and winningly throughout this sequence. Their expressions will suggest a joyous and attractive ease.

Scene 11
ON-SET
BETTY He says he wants to help me. But for the kids it’s. He don’t want to know it. Not himself.
ALEX So you helpin him helpin you.
BETTY He need the help. He can’t bear to tell.

Scene 12
LIGHTING: MONOCHROME
ROGER IS AT HIS DESK AT MI5, WHERE SPYING IS DONE. SEATED BEFORE HIM IS ANGELA.
ROGER We’re getting news of certain effects, Betty. It’s hard to know what sort of a box to put them in. Guinness thinks it’s a social sort of thing, sort of social breakdown. Stella tends to some kind of fracture in the fabric of reality. Whatever the bloody hell that means.
ANGELA Reality is a language, Roger.
ROGER Really? I wish I bloody spoke it, then.
ANGELA I’ve always considered you fluent.
ROGER How are the headaches?
ANGELA Do you want to play doctors, Roger?
ROGER No, Betty. I wanted to talk about your sister.
ANGELA Angela.
ROGER Yes.
ANGELA I’m told we’re very alike.
ROGER I wouldn’t know. What interests me is that you’re physically identical. I’m going to need you to persuade her to work with us.
ANGELA Shall I get her in?
ROGER If you would.
ANGELA EXITS.
ANGELA COMES RIGHT BACK IN AGAIN, THROUGH ANOTHER DOOR.
ROGER Angela! How are you?
ANGELA Very well, Roger. Nice place.
ROGER Keeps the rain off.
AFTER FOUR REPEATS THE SCENE CHANGES TO…

Scene 13
LIGHTING: MONOCHROME
BETTY What?
ALEX I said ‘Hello’.
BETTY And you said ‘I said’.
ALEX Yes.
BETTY And ‘Yes’.
ALEX Yes.
BETTY FAINTS.
ALEX CATCHES HER.

Scene 14
LIGHTING: MONOCHROME
BETTY My brief was to go upriver, to the islands. I would be disguised as Angela and I would attempt to seduce Roger’s twin brother Roy, who had gone rogue. Apparently his penchant for sexual intercourse had led him into practices that verged almost on amateur surgery. Not unreasonably the islanders wanted something done. Roy, however, was a fractured, complex character with an intermittent grasp of reality. Roger, with whom I had briefly had intercourse some years ago, thought that Roy, who had been enamoured of my twin sister Angela more recently, could be made vulnerable were I to appear to hold out to him the possibility of getting his leg over. Unlike Angela, I have martial arts and, given the physical resemblance that some find uncanny, although it is, let’s be frank, only the standard monozygotic anomaly, could look after myself if Roy, once drawn, started to ‘have a laugh’, as he chillingly puts it.

Scene 15
LIGHTING: OFF-SET, BRIGHT
ANGELA (STUTTERING FIERCELY BUT WITHOUT ANXIETY) Ah…ah…ah… ah…ah… ah…ah… ah…ah… ah…ah…ack…ack… ack…ack… ack… ack… ack…ack…vvv…vvv… vvv…vvv…vvv…vvv… vvv…vvv…vvv…vvv

Scene 16
LIGHTING: MONOCHROME
ANGELA He spoke English!
ALEX That’s not possible. It’s simply not.
SAD MUSIC OVER…
ANGELA And I wept.
ALEX Why?
ANGELA We’d come so far. Beyond the maps. Shit down our legs.
ALEX But if it was off the maps…
ANGELA I don’t know! My God, Alex, if I understood it I’d bloody tell you!
SHE DRINKS FROM A MUG
ALEX So he…they…must have got there first…some other expedition…a private one. Surely.
ANGELA COUGHS VIOLENTLY AND COVERS ALEX’S FACE IN BLOOD. HE IS UNPERTURBED.

Scene 17
LIGHTING: ON-SET
ROGER It’s a game. But it’s not playful. People use it without realising it. It constitutes a thorough challenge to Freudian thinking. It undermines the most basic and well established assumptions about identity and individual responsibility. Our scientists are within months of effecting passage. But there is already resistance in the form of leakage from the places that had assumed that passage was impossible. They are sending their people through in order to scupper us.
ALEX I think you’re feeling a little paranoid.
ROGER That’s what they always say, isn’t it?
ALEX That’s what they always say.
ROGER No, that’s what they always say.
ALEX No, that’s what they always say.
ROGER Alex…they sent you through, though, didn’t they?
ALEX No, they didn’t.
ROGER Yes, they did.
ALEX I know who you are, Roger.

Scene 18
LIGHTING: MONOCHROME
ROGER I’ll spell it out. The play – it appeared as a play first – came out in 1904. Before that time the name did not exist. In 1905 Einstein published, in the Annalen der Physik, four ground-breaking papers: (SAD MUSIC) Uber einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristichen Gesichtspunkt; Uber die von der molekular-kinetischen Theorie der Warme gerforderte Bewegung von in ruhenden Flussigkeiten suspendierten Teilchen; Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Korper and Ist die Tragheit eines Korpers von Seinem Energieinhalt abhangig? To translate: On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light; On the Motion of Small Particles Suspended in a Stationary Liquid, as Required by the Molecular Kinetic Theory of Heat; On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies and Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?
(END SAD MUSIC)
LIGHTS TO ON-SET
The shit hit the fan. Hadn’t been such an upheaval since the days of Robert Newton. We’re still some way from Everett, mind you. The multi thing. He didn’t make a mark till ’57. However, we can speculate – or rather, they can speculate, because, frankly, I don’t understand a fucking word of it – that when something like this comes along it makes a big ripple, and not just down the fucking pub.
ANGELA What…it can move across?
ROGER Maybe. Everything is possible.
ANGELA That’s vague.
ROGER I said, suddenly, everything is possible. Usually it isn’t.
ANGELA And Wendy?
ROGER Look: Barrie was a pervy little runt. But socially connected. He knew all the writers and he also knew the scientists. Who knows what he might have pulled off?
ANGELA So you think Alex…
ROGER Yes, I do. Increasingly.

Scene 19
LIGHTING: OFF-SET
ALEX DANCES IN A JOLLY, NON-SLICK MANNER TO SOME BANGING BEATS.
ANGELA (SHE MAKES CLICKING, GRUNTING NOISES, AS IF SPEAKING SOME OBSCURE LANGUAGE)
ALEX I’m sorry..?
ANGELA What?
ALEX I didn’t understand…
ANGELA But how do you understand me?
ALEX Well…we speak the same language…
ANGELA When did you get here?
ALEX I live here.
ANGELA How long?
ALEX I was born here.
ANGELA Where were your parents from?
ALEX They were born here.
ANGELA Where were their parents from?
ALEX They were born here.
ANGELA Where were their parents from?
ALEX They were born here.
ANGELA Do you have a society?
ALEX Of course. Do you?
ANGELA Of course. Thousands of miles away.
ALEX It’s nice here.
ANGELA My legs are covered in shit.
ALEX That’s okay. You can stay here if you want.
ANGELA Do you have a house like mine?
ALEX Very like yours. Very like it.
ANGELA Do you know Roger?
ALEX I know his brother Roy.

Scene 20
ON-SET
ROY IS POSING AS ROGER.
ROY (TO BETTY) Did you have to fuck him?
BETTY Uhuh.
ANGELA Sis!
BETTY It was a loss leader.
ROY What about Alex?
ALEX What about me?
ROY What have you been thinking about?
ALEX Nothing much.
ROY Good.
ANGELA What about Roy?
ROY It was a question of directness. Not deciding to do something without actually doing it, thereby avoiding the creation of a universe in which that thought – the one you didn’t act on – was acted on.
BETTY Please don’t, Roger. I find it all faintly psychotic.
ANGELA Betty – what if..?
BETTY Roger! Your brother wanted to kill you, didn’t he?
ROY I’m afraid he did.
ANGELA He wanted a world in which you had never existed…
ANGELA AND BETTY LOOK AT EACH OTHER IN HORROR AS IT SLOWLY DAWNS ON THEM THAT THEY ARE IN ROY’S WORLD NOW.
ANGELA & BETTY Roy!
ALEX YELLS IN TERROR
LIGHTS TO MONOCHROME
ROY I need your help. I come from a place where the things you abhor are considered perfectly conventional. As for the values that you uphold here, I find them utterly debasing. I fear that unless I can effect passage I may commit, without malice, acts that you will find atrocious.
ANGELA MOVES TOWARDS ROY, APPARENTLY ABOUT TO EMBRACE HIM SYMPATHETICALLY.
ANGELA They’re just thoughts…
BETTY Fuck that!
BETTY PUSHES ANGELA OFF COURSE AND IS ABOUT TO ATTACK ROY.
ALEX Don’t touch him!
ROY What do you know, Alex?
ALEX Can he say ‘Wendy’?
ANGELA (ACCUSATIVELY) Roger?
BETTY (ACCUSATIVELY) Roy?
ROY I don’t think you’d like me to say it.
BETTY Bollocks.
ROY TURNS SLOWLY TOWARDS BETTY.
HE OPENS HIS MOUTH WIDE.
A TERRIBLE, DEAFENING, GROANING ROAR COMES FROM HIS THROAT.
A DEEP, SHUDDERING BASS DRONE IS MIXED INTO IT.
ANGELA, BETTY AND ALEX SCREAM IN TERROR.
SLOW FADE TO BLACK.
THE ROAR FADES.
THE BASS DRONE CONTINUES FOR A FEW SECONDS LONGER.
THEN SILENCE.
END

2010

(A retrospective note: I often thought that given many audience members found the playlet confusing, then Scene 6 must surely be the most perplexing of all. My intention was simply to use this scene to demonstrate what kind of play you were not watching. It obtruded like a sore thumb and would ideally prompt the viewer to think ‘This should be amputated’. I suspect that some audience members may well have had that thought but found it irritating rather than significant.)(2019))


Link to Dash #2 in right hand column

The Tics

This playlet was directly inspired by Martin Arnold’s remarkable 12 minute film Passage à l’Acte (1993). The film uses a short sequence from Robert Mulligan’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), starring Gregory Peck, as found footage and subjects it to highly repetitive cutting that generates cascades of very short moments and gestures. The technique isolates micromoments in a domestic scene featuring a family at table, expanding them so that they seem to uncover unexpressed tensions and resentments. The sound track of the film is also cut to the repeated frames of the original so that a persistent clicking and banging is augmented by short screams, cries and wails as mouths open and reopen, doors are closed endlessly and family members rock restlessly to and fro. The film is spellbinding and hypnotic.


In the live performance that we produced the actors rocked and twitched constantly and precisely, as though hardwired to a metronome. This magnified the animosity between the Hamlet characters and endowed their exchanges with both a modern neuroticism and a relationship with mythical figures doomed to eternal repetition, such as Tantalus, Prometheus or Sisyphus.


THIS IS AN OUTLINE OF SOME ACTIVITIES THAT WOULD TAKE ONLY A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO ENACT IN REAL TIME.
IT IS A BASIS FOR REAL TIME IMPROVISATION, IN REHEARSAL, THAT WILL GENERATE MORE DETAIL.
ONCE WE HAVE A GOOD SEQUENCE WE WILL FIX THE DETAIL AND WORK ON SLOWING THE ACTION RIGHT DOWN.
THIS IS NOT, HOWEVER, AN EXERCISE IN SLOW MOTION. IT IS BETTER TO REGARD THE STYLE OF MOVEMENT AS A MEANS OF EXAMINING SMALL INTERPERSONAL EXCHANGES IN SUCH A WAY THAT THEY DISCLOSE TENSIONS AND DIFFICULTIES THAT WOULD NOT BE APPARENT IF THEY WERE OBSERVED IN THE NORMAL WAY.
ATTENTION IS DRAWN TO SIGNIFICANT EXCHANGES BY MULTIPLE REPETITION. THE LATTER WOULD NOT BE PRESENT IF THE SEQUENCE WERE SPEEDED UP – WE ARE DELIBERATELY SELECTING CERTAIN MOMENTS AND AMPLIFYING THEM VIA REPETITION.
THE EFFECT CAN BE COMPARED TO A TAPE LOOP THAT REPEATS A MOMENT IN A VERY SHORT EVENT THEN GRADUALLY MOVES TO THE NEXT MOMENT. THE REPEATS ARE PERHAPS ONLY ONE OR TWO SECONDS IN DURATION.
AT NO POINT IS ANY CHARACTER PERFECTLY STILL. ALTHOUGH THERE WILL BE PASSAGES WHEN FOCUS IS OFF A PARTICULAR CHARACTER, S/HE WILL ALWAYS BE PART OF A GROUP WHOSE MEMBERS CONSTANTLY REACT, OFTEN IN THE TINIEST OF WAYS, TO WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND THEM.
DIALOGUE IS ALSO SUBJECTED TO EXTREME ANALYSIS: SYLLABLES ARE MULTIPLY REPEATED AND TIME IS EXCESSIVELY STRETCHED.
SOUND: THE PINGING OF A SUBMARINE ASDIC AS THE AUDIENCE ENTERS AND UNTIL THE FIRST LIGHTING CUE.

The performance text below takes 3 minutes to read but lasts for six times longer on stage.

Summary of the scene which is broken into moments that are, in turn, expressed as cascades of micromoments:


GERTRUDE AND HAMLET ARE SEATED.
SHE SMILES UNEASILY AT HIM.
HE TURNS AWAY FROM HER DISDAINFULLY.
SHE EXTENDS HER ARM TOWARDS HIM AND STARTS TO SPEAK.
GERTRUDE Would you like…?
HAMLET SHAKES HIS HEAD ANGRILY.
ENTER CLAUDIUS.
HE SMILES AT GERTRUDE. THEY EXCHANGE CAUTIOUS BUT AMOROUS GLANCES.
CLAUDIUS SEES HAMLET. HE TRIES TO LOOK AS IF HE IS PLEASED TO SEE HIS NEPHEW.
CLAUDIUS Hey…
HAMLET FIXES CLAUDIUS WITH AN UNWAVERING, ANGRY GAZE.
CLAUDIUS STOPS SPEAKING, MOVES TO HAMLET AND IS ABOUT TO EMBRACE HIM. HAMLET TURNS AWAY.
CLAUDIUS GLANCES UNEASILY AT GERTRUDE.
GERTRUDE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO – SHE RAISES HER HEAD, LOOKS AT HAMLET, FORCES A SMILE. THE SMILE FADES TO A LOOK OF DEFEAT AND CONSTERNATION.
THE CHARACTERS STEW IN THEIR DISCOMFORT FOR A WHILE.
ENTER OPHELIA.
ALL TURN TO WATCH HER ENTRY.
SHE CAUSES CONSTERNATION IN ALL PRESENT.
SHE TURNS TO HAMLET AND STARTS TO SPEAK
OPHELIA What have you done?
HAMLET I wasn’t…I didn’t…
SHE TURNS TO GERTRUDE
OPHELIA He won’t…
GERTRUDE No, no…
SHE TURNS TO CLAUDIUS
OPHELIA My Da…
CLAUDIUS Don’t…
SHE TURNS TO HAMLET
OPHELIA My Da…
HAMLET No, no…
SHE WALKS AWAY FROM HIM.
SHE TURNS AND COMES BACK TOWARDS HIM.
OPHELIA Given the existence as uttered…
GERTRUDE He’s not coming…
CLAUDIUS Chump. Off his chump…
OPHELIA STARTS TO WAIL.
THE OTHERS ARE DISTRESSED BY HER DISTRESS.
THEY ALL START TO SPEAK AT THE SAME TIME.
THE RESULT IS A CONSTANTLY BROKEN CHORUS OF SYLLABLES AS LIGHTS SLOWLY FADE DOWN AND THE PINGING ASDIC SLOWLY FADES UP.
END

2010

Just the Desserts

The play references the ‘Hamlet’ play-within-a-play but it is not clear, in this version, which is the outer and which is the inner. There may also be plays within the play-within-a play.

The play-within-a play is called ‘The Murder of Gonzago’ but Hamlet calls it ‘The Mousetrap’. (See also here re the playlet ‘Elsinore Hotel’.)

Cast:
Roger King / Claudius – Gareth Brierley
Silvia King / Gertrude – Jude Barrington
Maurice King / Hamlet – Simon Brandon
Tatty Polandottir / Ophelia – Samantha Pai

ROGER Mother.
SILVIA Father.
MAURICE Mother.
TATTY Maurice.
MAURICE Uncle.
SILVIA Tatty.
TATTY What?
LONG PAUSE
ROGER Fuck.
SILVIA Why?
ROGER What?
SILVIA Why?
ROGER Why what?
SILVIA Why fuck?
ROGER Why fuck?
SILVIA Yeah.
ROGER General shit, I suppose.
TATTY What’s up, Mister King?
ROGER (GUARDEDLY) Never felt better.
MAURICE (DARKLY) That’s nice.
SILVIA You seem better, Tatty. Taking an interest in others.
TATTY Actually, Silvia, I’m fucked.
SILVIA Oh dear.
TATTY Part of the fucked thing is moments of okay.
MAURICE Such as now.
TATTY You’re very kind.
MAURICE Not as a matter of course.
TATTY You’re very kind to suggest that now is a moment of okay.
MAURICE Good. Fine. Am I supposed to be able to tell?
ROGER You did kill her Dad.
MAURICE Accident, Roger!
ROGER I’m just saying.
SILVIA She’s obviously still upset.
PAUSE
(TO MAURICE) Call him Uncle.
MAURICE In order to please who?
ROGER Whom.
LONG PAUSE
MAURICE I thought it was somebody else.
ROGER Who?
PAUSE
MAURICE Riffraff. You know. Opportunistic bypasser. Wandering.
ROGER All very sad. No wonder I said fuck.
SILVIA Yes. No. I did wonder. As you saw.
SHIFT 1
MAURICE (TO TATTY) Okay?
TATTY Only in the sense that I live and breath. In the sense that my arms are coming out of my shoulders, my legs are coming out of my pelvis.
MAURICE I’m really very sorry.
TATTY Of course you’re sorry. You feel bad. You feel terrible. You cannot change what you did. You will live with it for the rest of your life.
MAURICE I didn’t know what I was doing.
TATTY I’m sure you’re right. You didn’t know. Yes.
MAURICE I was taken up with thoughts about my father. I was taken up.
TATTY Yes. You had things on your mind. You were all over the place. I don’t care.
MAURICE What?
TATTY I don’t care if you suffer. I don’t care how much you suffer. It is possible, for example, that you are considering taking your life. Take it. I will not stop you. I will not advise you. To me you are dead now. I am dead to you.
MAURICE I think about what it is for you.
TATTY There is no evidence of this. You walk right by. You dismiss me. I am a nuisance. It’s clear. You think about your father. I think about mine. We’re on our own.
MAURICE If only I could undo what I have done.
TATTY Yes.
SHIFT 2
ROGER Would anyone like some more pudding?
MAURICE I haven’t had the first lot.
SILVIA You should rephrase, Roger.
ROGER There is pudding. I’m sure of it .
MAURICE What about firsts?
TATTY Just desserts, Maurice.
ROGER I thought there were firsts. I thought we had moved to afters.
SILVIA There have been no meals through here for some time.
ROGER What was I thinking?
MAURICE You’d like something sweet.
TATTY I would like something filling.
SILVIA I’m afraid this isn’t a restaurant.
MAURICE Are you saying that where you would expect service there is no service?
ROGER I’m sure your mother has no quibble with the way of the world.
MAURICE Mother, are you getting all that you need?
ROGER Your mother has no need for need.
TATTY Are you replete, Mrs King?
SILVIA To the extent that I do not wish to replete myself, yes.
ROGER That’s nice.
SHIFT 3
ROGER How are you?
SILVIA Very well, thank you.
ROGER Oh.
SILVIA I have a slight problem with my ways of seeing. When I get up in the mornings I find that I am physically blind.
ROGER This is not figurative…?
SILVIA It is very much the optical system shutting down as if the eyes were shut.
ROGER Perhaps…so close to having been asleep that night…then bounding from our bed…then…
SILVIA No.
ROGER Not that.
SILVIA With eyes wide open…
ROGER I’m sorry. I’m sorry to interrupt. But…possibly still dreaming. A dream in which the person – you – thinks they are blind.
SILVIA No. Not thinking that. Not dreaming it. Banging into things. Feeling my way around. Feeling around with the hands in order to know where you are.
ROGER But then…after a while…
SILVIA Shaking my head. Screaming…
ROGER I didn’t hear you. I never knew.
SILVIA Sometimes banging it.
ROGER The head?
SILVIA Against the wall. Screaming.
ROGER As if to dislodge…to shake free.
SILVIA Does the trick. So far.
ROGER Let me ask you… is there any particular reason, do you think?
SHIFT 4
TATTY Am I la-de-dah?
MAURICE Lardy dardy.
TATTY Am I?
MAURICE High falutin.
TATTY Me.
MAURICE Maybe.
TATTY Maybe? Is it hard?
MAURICE It is.
TATTY Does it take one to know one?
MAURICE I’m sure you’re right.
TATTY Is the house vacant at this moment in time?
MAURICE This crowded house.
TATTY How do you see it?
MAURICE I can see it in my mind’s eye.
SHIFT 5
ROGER You are a lovely looking woman. There’s no getting away from that.
SILVIA Have you always thought thus?
ROGER Yes. Since back in the day.
SILVIA You were slow off the blocks then.
ROGER I gave you looks.
SILVIA You brushed by me as if in a crowded train but in a roomy passageway.
ROGER I was cheeky like that.
SILVIA Anyone could have seen.
ROGER People see what they are used to seeing.
SILVIA Some acts are invisible, you’re saying.
ROGER There are many acts but most are spoken for. They have been seen before and do not need to be seen again.
SILVIA It was this daring of yours that caught my eye.
ROGER In addition to the looks.
SILVIA I imagined you hotly in my pants.
ROGER I had you sitting on it in my head.
SILVIA This is your cheekiness, of course.
SHIFT 6
ROGER Given there is no pudding, we should go to the zoo.
TATTY Are there lions?
MAURICE Very sadly no.
SILVIA Perhaps there are new ones. I keep reading about new ones.
ROGER So much is not known. That’s why.
TATTY Are they under rocks?
MAURICE They are often under rocks but a stone’s throw from the enquiry.
SILVIA I was more thinking larger.
ROGER Four legged stuff.
MAURICE Or less.
ROGER Not a lot less. They’d fall over.
TATTY Do we know biology?
SILVIA Well, we’re not holding back.
ROGER Species. Genuses. Genii, possibly.
MAURICE Types. Between which it is possible to tell the difference.
TATTY Fur no fur. Beak no beak. Claw no claw. Adder. Constrictor.
SILVIA I was thinking more a shy night-time distant relative of a household name.
ROGER The okapi. A cousin of the elephant.
MAURICE The okapi is known. It is retiring but it has been recorded.
ROGER Or some such.
TATTY The okapi whose father was an elephant.
MAURICE No. The brother of whose father.
SILVIA To satisfy the turn of phrase.
ROGER Were the relation uncular.
MAURICE What has been described is uncular. It is not cousinal.
TATTY Biology fair, genealogy weak.
SHIFT 7
SILVIA Well.
MAURICE Scarcely.
SILVIA Is it the shagging?
MAURICE I don’t think about the shagging.
SILVIA But it does take place.
MAURICE Yes. Now I know. Thank you.
SILVIA Is it that? The pounding?
MAURICE There’s nothing I can do about the pounding.
SILVIA I suppose not. It is rather moreish.
MAURICE I’d rather not…
SILVIA Once you get the feel of it, it just gets better.
MAURICE Yes. There’s also the killing, of course.
SILVIA Ah. You should have said. What would you like to say?
SHIFT 8
ROGER The struggle was brief. The job is done. Would you care to slip into your nighty?
SILVIA He wasn’t a bad man.
ROGER Too late now.
SILVIA We had good times.
ROGER Good by the standards of then. Nothing as to what will now be the case.
SILVIA I’m sure I can shrug it off.
ROGER Think about the shagging.
SILVIA God, yes! I’m shag crazy!
ROGER I too cannot wait to pile it in.
SILVIA You look a bit like him.
ROGER Genetic.
SILVIA Very similar. The profile. Maurice has the same.
ROGER You’re not going to be thinking about him when we’re on the job.
SILVIA Maurice?
ROGER My dead brother.
SILVIA Of course not.
ROGER We’ll do it in the manner of the dog. Then you won’t be looking at me.
SILVIA Always in that manner?
ROGER Up until you are satisfied with my distinctive delivery. At which point I can introduce a range of more exotic approaches, some of which I think you may find both novel and exciting. These will largely afford views of my face.
SHIFT 9
MAURICE Roger, I keep thinking of you in a bathing costume.
ROGER What sort?
MAURICE Nothing unusual. Not a thong.
ROGER I would never wear a thong.
MAURICE I’m not saying that what I imagine has any real-world accuracy. That would make me clairvoyant.
SILVIA Or something.
TATTY Endowed with fabric-piercing eye rays.
SILVIA The eyes receive light in the form of packets of photons. They do not produce or emit rays.
MAURICE What do we see when we look at another’s eye then?
SILVIA Photons fall upon it. Were they not to do so we would not see this eye.
TATTY Do they not glow?
SILVIA No. There is no glow from any eye.
TATTY Does not the force of a thought declare itself in the eye?
ROGER Quite possibly. The eye is something of a window but the views afforded may be misleading.
SHIFT 10
TATTY I’d like to leave.
ROGER Where are you going?
TATTY I haven’t done it yet.
ROGER Where will you go?
TATTY I shall go somewhere where I may be abandoned.
SILVIA Do you feel abandoned?
MAURICE Do you feel that you have been abandoned?
ROGER Do you feel that you would like a place in which you might act in an abandoned manner?
TATTY I do not wish to act. I wish to be.
SILVIA Do you feel that you would like others to abandon you?
MAURICE Do you feel that you have been abandoned by others?
ROGER Do you feel that you would like others to permit you to be abandoned?
TATTY I’m going now.
TATTY GOES (SHE WILL NOT LEAVE THE STAGE, HOWEVER. IN FACT, WHENEVER ANYONE LEAVES THEY WILL NOT LEAVE THE STAGE)
LONG PAUSE
MAURICE I miss her.
SILVIA Go after her.
MAURICE She could be anywhere by now.
SILVIA Let your intuitions guide you.
MAURICE I’m not hopeful.
MAURICE GOES.
LONG PAUSE
TATTY COMES BACK.
TATTY It wasn’t the right moment. It’s not that there’s not a right moment. There certainly is. I’ll find it.
PAUSE
ROGER Nice to have you back. It was quiet.
TATTY Where is Maurice? He who has spurned me.
SILVIA He has gone. He went after you.
TATTY He went after me?
ROGER He left after you left.
SILVIA He sought you.
TATTY I could have been anywhere.
SILVIA Were you?
TATTY Where? When?
ROGER Then.
TATTY I found somewhere. It wasn’t good.
SILVIA I think I may go somewhere.
ROGER Are you restless?
SILVIA I find it hard to rest.
ROGER Perhaps you need a corkingly effective shag.
SILVIA No.
SILVIA GOES
TATTY There are good places.
ROGER You need a guide.
TATTY No.
ROGER A guidebook. ‘The Good Place Guide’.
TATTY Where Mrs King gone? Where she gone?
ROGER Stretch a leg.
TATTY She be back.
ROGER Are you okay?
TATTY No.
PAUSE
MAURICE COMES BACK
MAURICE I looked for her. She wasn’t there.
ROGER Not in the places you looked. The places where she might have been will always significantly outweigh where she is.
TATTY Anyway. That’s academic now.
MAURICE I missed you.
TATTY I’m passing through.
MAURICE I liked the cold air where I was.
TATTY There you are.
MAURICE (TO ROGER) What of your wife my mother?
ROGER She is still adjusting to her loss.
TATTY Much like me.
MAURICE Much like me.
TATTY (TO ROGER) Would you ever leave?
ROGER I like to come and go.
MAURICE Would you do that?
ROGER Will I?
MAURICE May you?
ROGER It’s on the cards.
ROGER GOES. HE SITS NEXT TO SILVIA. HE STANDS UP AND TAKES OFF HIS OUTER CLOTHING. HE IS WEARING A THONG. HE SITS DOWN.
LONG PAUSE
SILVIA COMES BACK.
LONG PAUSE
TATTY GOES.
MAURICE GOES.
SILVIA GOES.
MAURICE COMES BACK.
MAURICE GOES.
MAURICE COMES BACK.
SILVIA COMES BACK.
I WOULD LIKE TO TRY THIS COMING AND GOING IN REHEARSAL IN ORDER TO SEE HOW MUCH IS BEARABLE.
THEN:
THE END
ROGER Mother.
SILVIA Father.
MAURICE Mother.
TATTY Maurice.
MAURICE Uncle.
SILVIA Tatty.
TATTY What?
LONG PAUSE
ROGER Fuck.
SILVIA Why?
ROGER What?
SILVIA Why?
ROGER Why what?
SILVIA Why fuck?
ROGER Why fuck?
SILVIA Yeah.
ROGER General shit, I suppose.
TATTY What’s up, Mister King?
ROGER (GUARDEDLY) Never felt better.
MAURICE (DARKLY) That’s nice.
SILVIA You seem better, Tatty. Taking an interest in others.
TATTY Actually, Silvia, I’m fucked.
SILVIA Oh dear.
TATTY Part of the fucked thing is moments of okay.
MAURICE Such as now.
TATTY You’re very kind.
MAURICE Not as a matter of course.
TATTY You’re very kind to suggest that now is a moment of okay.
MAURICE Good. Fine. Am I supposed to be able to tell?
ROGER You did kill her Dad.
MAURICE Accident, Roger!
ROGER I’m just saying.
SILVIA She’s obviously still upset.
PAUSE
(TO MAURICE) Call him Uncle.
MAURICE In order to please who?
ROGER Whom.
LONG PAUSE
MAURICE I thought it was somebody else.
ROGER Who?
PAUSE
MAURICE Riffraff. You know. Opportunistic bypasser. Wandering.
ROGER All very sad. No wonder I said fuck.
SILVIA Yes. No. I did wonder. As you saw.
SHIFT 1
MAURICE (TO TATTY) Okay?
TATTY Only in the sense that I live and breath. In the sense that my arms are coming out of my shoulders, my legs are coming out of my pelvis.
MAURICE I’m really very sorry.
TATTY Of course you’re sorry. You feel bad. You feel terrible. You cannot change what you did. You will live with it for the rest of your life.
MAURICE I didn’t know what I was doing.
TATTY I’m sure you’re right. You didn’t know. Yes.
MAURICE I was taken up with thoughts about my father. I was taken up.
TATTY Yes. You had things on your mind. You were all over the place. I don’t care.
MAURICE What?
TATTY I don’t care if you suffer. I don’t care how much you suffer. It is possible, for example, that you are considering taking your life. Take it. I will not stop you. I will not advise you. To me you are dead now. I am dead to you.
MAURICE I think about what it is for you.
TATTY There is no evidence of this. You walk right by. You dismiss me. I am a nuisance. It’s clear. You think about your father. I think about mine. We’re on our own.
MAURICE If only I could undo what I have done.
TATTY Yes.
SHIFT 2
ROGER Would anyone like some more pudding?
MAURICE I haven’t had the first lot.
SILVIA You should rephrase, Roger.
ROGER There is pudding. I’m sure of it .
MAURICE What about firsts?
TATTY Just desserts, Maurice.
ROGER I thought there were firsts. I thought we had moved to afters.
SILVIA There have been no meals through here for some time.
ROGER What was I thinking?
MAURICE You’d like something sweet.
TATTY I would like something filling.
SILVIA I’m afraid this isn’t a restaurant.
MAURICE Are you saying that where you would expect service there is no service?
ROGER I’m sure your mother has no quibble with the way of the world.
MAURICE Mother, are you getting all that you need?
ROGER Your mother has no need for need.
TATTY Are you replete, Mrs King?
SILVIA To the extent that I do not wish to replete myself, yes.
ROGER That’s nice.
SHIFT 3
ROGER How are you?
SILVIA Very well, thank you.
ROGER Oh.
SILVIA I have a slight problem with my ways of seeing. When I get up in the mornings I find that I am physically blind.
ROGER This is not figurative…?
SILVIA It is very much the optical system shutting down as if the eyes were shut.
ROGER Perhaps…so close to having been asleep that night…then bounding from our bed…then…
SILVIA No.
ROGER Not that.
SILVIA With eyes wide open…
ROGER I’m sorry. I’m sorry to interrupt. But…possibly still dreaming. A dream in which the person – you – thinks they are blind.
SILVIA No. Not thinking that. Not dreaming it. Banging into things. Feeling my way around. Feeling around with the hands in order to know where you are.
ROGER But then…after a while…
SILVIA Shaking my head. Screaming…
ROGER I didn’t hear you. I never knew.
SILVIA Sometimes banging it.
ROGER The head?
SILVIA Against the wall. Screaming.
ROGER As if to dislodge…to shake free.
SILVIA Does the trick. So far.
ROGER Let me ask you… is there any particular reason, do you think?
SHIFT 4
TATTY Am I la-de-dah?
MAURICE Lardy dardy.
TATTY Am I?
MAURICE High falutin.
TATTY Me.
MAURICE Maybe.
TATTY Maybe? Is it hard?
MAURICE It is.
TATTY Does it take one to know one?
MAURICE I’m sure you’re right.
TATTY Is the house vacant at this moment in time?
MAURICE This crowded house.
TATTY How do you see it?
MAURICE I can see it in my mind’s eye.
SHIFT 5
ROGER You are a lovely looking woman. There’s no getting away from that.
SILVIA Have you always thought thus?
ROGER Yes. Since back in the day.
SILVIA You were slow off the blocks then.
ROGER I gave you looks.
SILVIA You brushed by me as if in a crowded train but in a roomy passageway.
ROGER I was cheeky like that.
SILVIA Anyone could have seen.
ROGER People see what they are used to seeing.
SILVIA Some acts are invisible, you’re saying.
ROGER There are many acts but most are spoken for. They have been seen before and do not need to be seen again.
SILVIA It was this daring of yours that caught my eye.
ROGER In addition to the looks.
SILVIA I imagined you hotly in my pants.
ROGER I had you sitting on it in my head.
SILVIA This is your cheekiness, of course.
SHIFT 6
ROGER Given there is no pudding, we should go to the zoo.
TATTY Are there lions?
MAURICE Very sadly no.
SILVIA Perhaps there are new ones. I keep reading about new ones.
ROGER So much is not known. That’s why.
TATTY Are they under rocks?
MAURICE They are often under rocks but a stone’s throw from the enquiry.
SILVIA I was more thinking larger.
ROGER Four legged stuff.
MAURICE Or less.
ROGER Not a lot less. They’d fall over.
TATTY Do we know biology?
SILVIA Well, we’re not holding back.
ROGER Species. Genuses. Genii, possibly.
MAURICE Types. Between which it is possible to tell the difference.
TATTY Fur no fur. Beak no beak. Claw no claw. Adder. Constrictor.
SILVIA I was thinking more a shy night-time distant relative of a household name.
ROGER The okapi. A cousin of the elephant.
MAURICE The okapi is known. It is retiring but it has been recorded.
ROGER Or some such.
TATTY The okapi whose father was an elephant.
MAURICE No. The brother of whose father.
SILVIA To satisfy the turn of phrase.
ROGER Were the relation uncular.
MAURICE What has been described is uncular. It is not cousinal.
TATTY Biology fair, genealogy weak.
SHIFT 7
SILVIA Well.
MAURICE Scarcely.
SILVIA Is it the shagging?
MAURICE I don’t think about the shagging.
SILVIA But it does take place.
MAURICE Yes. Now I know. Thank you.
SILVIA Is it that? The pounding?
MAURICE There’s nothing I can do about the pounding.
SILVIA I suppose not. It is rather moreish.
MAURICE I’d rather not…
SILVIA Once you get the feel of it, it just gets better.
MAURICE Yes. There’s also the killing, of course.
SILVIA Ah. You should have said. What would you like to say?
SHIFT 8
ROGER The struggle was brief. The job is done. Would you care to slip into your nighty?
SILVIA He wasn’t a bad man.
ROGER Too late now.
SILVIA We had good times.
ROGER Good by the standards of then. Nothing as to what will now be the case.
SILVIA I’m sure I can shrug it off.
ROGER Think about the shagging.
SILVIA God, yes! I’m shag crazy!
ROGER I too cannot wait to pile it in.
SILVIA You look a bit like him.
ROGER Genetic.
SILVIA Very similar. The profile. Maurice has the same.
ROGER You’re not going to be thinking about him when we’re on the job.
SILVIA Maurice?
ROGER My dead brother.
SILVIA Of course not.
ROGER We’ll do it in the manner of the dog. Then you won’t be looking at me.
SILVIA Always in that manner?
ROGER Up until you are satisfied with my distinctive delivery. At which point I can introduce a range of more exotic approaches, some of which I think you may find both novel and exciting. These will largely afford views of my face.
SHIFT 9
MAURICE Roger, I keep thinking of you in a bathing costume.
ROGER What sort?
MAURICE Nothing unusual. Not a thong.
ROGER I would never wear a thong.
MAURICE I’m not saying that what I imagine has any real-world accuracy. That would make me clairvoyant.
SILVIA Or something.
TATTY Endowed with fabric-piercing eye rays.
SILVIA The eyes receive light in the form of packets of photons. They do not produce or emit rays.
MAURICE What do we see when we look at another’s eye then?
SILVIA Photons fall upon it. Were they not to do so we would not see this eye.
TATTY Do they not glow?
SILVIA No. There is no glow from any eye.
TATTY Does not the force of a thought declare itself in the eye?
ROGER Quite possibly. The eye is something of a window but the views afforded may be misleading.
SHIFT 10
TATTY I’d like to leave.
ROGER Where are you going?
TATTY I haven’t done it yet.
ROGER Where will you go?
TATTY I shall go somewhere where I may be abandoned.
SILVIA Do you feel abandoned?
MAURICE Do you feel that you have been abandoned?
ROGER Do you feel that you would like a place in which you might act in an abandoned manner?
TATTY I do not wish to act. I wish to be.
SILVIA Do you feel that you would like others to abandon you?
MAURICE Do you feel that you have been abandoned by others?
ROGER Do you feel that you would like others to permit you to be abandoned?
TATTY I’m going now.
TATTY GOES (SHE WILL NOT LEAVE THE STAGE, HOWEVER. IN FACT, WHENEVER ANYONE LEAVES THEY WILL NOT LEAVE THE STAGE)
LONG PAUSE
MAURICE I miss her.
SILVIA Go after her.
MAURICE She could be anywhere by now.
SILVIA Let your intuitions guide you.
MAURICE I’m not hopeful.
MAURICE GOES.
LONG PAUSE
TATTY COMES BACK.
TATTY It wasn’t the right moment. It’s not that there’s not a right moment. There certainly is. I’ll find it.
PAUSE
ROGER Nice to have you back. It was quiet.
TATTY Where is Maurice? He who has spurned me.
SILVIA He has gone. He went after you.
TATTY He went after me?
ROGER He left after you left.
SILVIA He sought you.
TATTY I could have been anywhere.
SILVIA Were you?
TATTY Where? When?
ROGER Then.
TATTY I found somewhere. It wasn’t good.
SILVIA I think I may go somewhere.
ROGER Are you restless?
SILVIA I find it hard to rest.
ROGER Perhaps you need a corkingly effective shag.
SILVIA No.
SILVIA GOES
TATTY There are good places.
ROGER You need a guide.
TATTY No.
ROGER A guidebook. ‘The Good Place Guide’.
TATTY Where Mrs King gone? Where she gone?
ROGER Stretch a leg.
TATTY She be back.
ROGER Are you okay?
TATTY No.
PAUSE
MAURICE COMES BACK
MAURICE I looked for her. She wasn’t there.
ROGER Not in the places you looked. The places where she might have been will always significantly outweigh where she is.
TATTY Anyway. That’s academic now.
MAURICE I missed you.
TATTY I’m passing through.
MAURICE I liked the cold air where I was.
TATTY There you are.
MAURICE (TO ROGER) What of your wife my mother?
ROGER She is still adjusting to her loss.
TATTY Much like me.
MAURICE Much like me.
TATTY (TO ROGER) Would you ever leave?
ROGER I like to come and go.
MAURICE Would you do that?
ROGER Will I?
MAURICE May you?
ROGER It’s on the cards.
ROGER GOES. HE SITS NEXT TO SILVIA. HE STANDS UP AND TAKES OFF HIS OUTER CLOTHING. HE IS WEARING A THONG. HE SITS DOWN.
LONG PAUSE
SILVIA COMES BACK.
LONG PAUSE
TATTY GOES.
MAURICE GOES.
SILVIA GOES.
MAURICE COMES BACK.
MAURICE GOES.
MAURICE COMES BACK.
SILVIA COMES BACK.
I WOULD LIKE TO TRY THIS COMING AND GOING IN REHEARSAL IN ORDER TO SEE HOW MUCH IS BEARABLE.
THEN:
THE END

2010

Leo You Nutter Parts I & II

A response to A Winter’s Tale, in particular to the mad jealousy of Leontes, King of Sicily, who believes wrongly that Queen Hermione his wife had become pregnant by another man. Leontes sends Hermione to prison and when Perdita, her child, is born, orders it to be abandoned. His son also dies of a wasting disease. As a result of all the distress Hermione dies. For sixteen years Leontes mourns the loss of his wife and son. Eventually Perdita is reunited with Leontes and what was thought to be a statue of his wife miraculously turns into Hermione. (As if).


The play was performed twice but the performances, while drawn from the same selection of scenes, were compiled quite differently.


This note prefaced the script given to the designers:
Leo You Nutter Parts I & II in Any Order
a couplet of playlets by David Gale with lots (40) of short scenes
the scenes are numbered but only so they can be referred to
they might not be actually played in numerical order
it would be interesting to play them in any order
you’d experiment with different orders
some will be better than others
it would also be interesting for one group of people to choose half the scenes
for one playlet
and another group to choose half as well
for another playlet
without the others knowing what had been chosen
so they might choose the same or very different scenes
the scenes could be played in certain moods
not just any moods but moods drawn from this list:
1. slow 2. dreamy 3. light and bouncy 4. menacing 5. sad 6. fast
these moods can be enhanced with lights and music
we can have a list of lighting states and a list of music
and use them in various ways
it would not be wrong to do some scenes twice, for example
any scenes that are left over we will perform in a third show designed by everybody
and what about the places – where the scenes are set?

CHARACTERS:
LEO
ANGELA his wife
GRACE his daughter and sometimes Angela when she was a girl
TOMMY Leo’s son and sometimes Leo’s friend’s son and sometimes Leo when he was a boy


1.
LEO You’re so like your mother.
GRACE I can’t remember her. She was pretty. Distant.
LEO Pretty distant?
GRACE Pretty. Distant.
LEO I haven’t seen her in a while.
GRACE Nor I.
LEO There was a row or something.

2.
ANGELA Then your father said “Don’t fucking look at me.” Yes, he actually swore at me, his actual wife. I only use the words because he did.
GRACE That’s alright.
ANGELA No, but to say “fuck” and everything.
GRACE It’s okay. You know. I have heard the word.
ANGELA Yes, but “fuck”.
GRACE That’s what he said. You said.
ANGELA Yes, but “fuck”.
GRACE We know he was a cunt.
ANGELA Yes.
GRACE So. He had no respect.
ANGELA He really didn’t.

3.
GRACE I’ll see my Dad. I’ll see my Dad. I’ll see my Dad. (REPEAT UNTIL NOT EFFECTIVE)

4.
ANGELA AND GRACE AND TOMMY ARE STANDING DULLY. THEY MOVE
TOWARDS EACH OTHER AND START TO DANCE A DANCE THAT WOULD BE
JOLLY IF THEY DID NOT WEAR THE EXPRESSIONS OF ZOMBIES.

5.
ANGELA Darling! How long has it been?
LEO Sixteen years, believe it or not.
ANGELA How have you been?
LEO Oh, you know.
ANGELA How have I been?
LEO Yes. Next thing I was going to say.
ANGELA Terrific!
LEO Really?
ANGELA God yes! Oh yes! It’s just good to get away for a bit sometimes.
LEO I’m sorry for, you know, throwing you out.
ANGELA Leo! Darling! You’re a very sensitive man! I know that! We all know it! You have a lot on your mind – great thoughts and marvellous ideas, not to mention all the lesser people you have to worry about such as ordinary unexceptional people that can’t pull their weight like you can. Is it any wonder you sent me to prison for a bit then I had to live behind a curtain.
LEO Is that where you were? Behind a curtain?
ANGELA In more ways than one, you nutter! One way being literal, as in after the suicide of our beloved son…
LEO I really regret that, by the way.
ANGELA No, it was sad. But after that I sat behind this curtain until you came along again.
LEO What about food?
ANGELA Well, I was in a vegetative state for a lot of the time.
LEO Not eating much?
ANGELA They managed to get liquids down me.
LEO Where’s the fun in that?
ANGELA Well, exactly.
LEO What about the other way?
ANGELA What other way?
LEO That you were behind a curtain.
ANGELA Oh! Mentally, mentally! In the sense that after you threw me out and our son committed suicide and our daughter was sent to be disposed of I retreated into myself.
LEO Right. No – who wouldn’t? That was bad of me, it really was.
ANGELA You were terribly busy!
LEO It’s true. I was.

6.
LEO You were something.
ANGELA Oh…
LEO You are something.
ANGELA It was out of a book. That’s where I got it. It wasn’t just me.
LEO Who was it by?
ANGELA Some guy. Maybe it was some woman.
LEO You don’t recall?
ANGELA I don’t recall.
LEO Try to recall.
ANGELA Who it was by?
LEO Not who. Not at first. Just was it a guy or maybe was it a woman?
ANGELA I’ll try to recall.

7.
TOMMY Now that I’ve started shaving I can foresee a wife whose smile is quizzical, amused yet knowing. Whose breast is available and who sticks together through thick and thin and sickness and health and deep and crisp and even.
ANGELA Even what, Leo?
TOMMY Even though at the end of the day she will piss on you if your back is turned, Mummy.
ANGELA Never turn your back, Leo. Never turn it.

8.
GRACE Brought up on a beach by bums. Nice people, don’t get me wrong. Good with animals. I learned to make fire by rubbing water together. If I saw a plump cock I learned to shout so loud it would fall out of the sky. Huts, shelters, lean-tos, bivouacs, benders – easy peasy.
LEO No, that’s great. I kind of assumed you’d be alright.
GRACE You thought I was dead, Dad.
LEO Yeah. No. Yeah. Kind of.
GRACE Something of a downer, actually.
LEO Still.
GRACE What?
LEO Well…

9.
ANGELA I bloody love it. I can’t get enough. I’m standing below him. You know. I don’t care. People would think I care. They’re so wrong. Don’t listen to women. They, I don’t know, they have an axe to grind. I bloody love it. So I was away for a while. In another country. It was nice enough. Cheap drinks. Bring it on. The pity I don’t need. So I was alone – so I haven’t got an inner life? How dare you!
LEO I’m just getting a boner here! Just listening! Aren’t you the one!

10.
LEO I saw this guy and he wasn’t looking at me and I thought “Wait a minute. What is this? This isn’t right.” So I keep looking and yeah, sure enough, he has something to hide. Don’t ask me how I know. I have this skill. I’ve always had it. So then you come in and immediately he changes. He hasn’t even seen you. So it seems. So the whole way he moves. What he does. It’s so clear. Who does he think I am? It’s insulting. What is he? Who am I? What is his view of me? Am I a worm in his eye? His view. Is that it? Is he standing above me now? Is that it? And you’re in the room. And he hasn’t seen you. I don’t think! I don’t think! And I hold his hand and I walk with him to you. Yes, I lead him there! And it’s so clear! In my mind!
ANGELA There must be a reasonable explanation for this.

11.
TOMMY Hi Dad.
LEO Tommy! Fuck, I thought you were dead!
TOMMY Not any more.
LEO That’s fantastic!
TOMMY Yeah.
LEO So what…
TOMMY Happened?
LEO Yeah.
TOMMY It was a big mix-up. My heart stopped beating and everything after I hung myself but they found that if they pushed quite hard on my neck the broken bits would click together and that got my heart going again.
LEO They’re so good, aren’t they? That’s amazing! But where were you?
TOMMY Oh – I was paralysed. I couldn’t fuck, shit, piss or walk for several years.
LEO It’s great you’re back.
TOMMY It’s nice.

12.
ANGELA Hello darling.
GRACE Hello Daddy.
LEO Don’t hello. Don’t greet.
ANGELA What..?
LEO I saw you.
GRACE What, Dad?
LEO Looking at your brother’s dick.
GRACE What!?
LEO Hungrily looking at your brother’s bulge. Just like your mother.
ANGELA What!?
LEO Don’t be coy, Angela. This morning you kissed him.
ANGELA He’s my son.
LEO Are you sure? I don’t recall the penetrative sexual intercourse that would necessarily precede such an outcome.
ANGELA Words fail me, Leo.
LEO That makes a fucking change.

13.
TOMMY Are you my father or anything?
LEO We’re certainly alike in some ways.
TOMMY I recall someone saying “Here’s a map and some sandwiches now fuck off.” Was that you?
LEO Could have been. How far did you get?
TOMMY The map that I got, the place where we were wasn’t actually on it.
LEO Was it near it?
TOMMY How would you know? How would you know what’s off the map? Especially when you don’t know where you are to begin with.
LEO You’d need another map. One that was next to the first one.
TOMMY That’s if you’re lucky. The person that gave me the map gave me one that was hundreds of miles from where I was.
LEO How did you know where you were? In the first place.
TOMMY This is it. I didn’t. I used trial and error.

14.
GRACE Do you have a birthmark?
TOMMY I don’t have any that I can see.
GRACE Which doesn’t mean that there aren’t any.
TOMMY Absolutely. There might be one on my back.
GRACE But somebody would have told you.
TOMMY No. I like to be covered.
GRACE Always?
TOMMY Who would you show it to? Why would you do it? For entertainment?
GRACE Maybe your father has a birthmark and it matches your one.
TOMMY Which we don’t know if I’ve got.
GRACE Because no one will ever tell you.
TOMMY No one will ever know.

15.
LEO What have I done? I’m such a dick. I’m such a cunt. I’m such a fucking dick. I’m such a fucking cunt. I had it all. And I threw it all away. Yes, I threw it all away. I’d blind myself if I didn’t think I’d bump into shit.
PAUSE
Yeah. Woe is me.
PAUSE
Yeah. How big an arse I am.
PAUSE
Yeah. A billy. A silly billy, to be frank.
PAUSE
Yeah. I am, to be frank, a man who couldn’t find his arse in the dark.
PAUSE
Yeah. What a Headstrong Harry I am, to be sure.

16.
TOMMY Now that I’m wanking off quite a bit I foresee a time when I have a woman, right, who is in need of deep help and I’m the one.
GRACE To what?
TOMMY What?
GRACE You’re the one. To do what?
TOMMY To answer her biggest dreams.
GRACE Such as?
TOMMY To have this man who she deeply trusts and can see everything she is like and be wise for her.
GRACE Yuk.
TOMMY What?
GRACE Nothing. Keep wanking.

17.
ANGELA You kind of die. You kind of, it’s like your arms and legs drop off. You can go for long periods without food and drink. You don’t need to move your face? Why would you bother? Who’s looking? You can relax.

18.
GRACE Mummy! Hello! It’s Grace! Grace! Why don’t you… Are you asleep? Mum? (SHE HUGS ANGELA) Mummy? Why aren’t you in? Where have you gone? Can you hear me?
ANGELA Hello Chucky. Hello Missis. Hello Madam.

19.
LEO Who are you fucking looking at?
GRACE I wasn’t.
ANGELA She wasn’t.
LEO Of course she fucking was. How can she not be looking? Everyone is always looking.
ANGELA In that sense, yes.
LEO (TO TOMMY) Do you think I’m a cunt?
TOMMY HANGS HIS HEAD.
PAUSE.
I said: Do you think I’m a cunt?
TOMMY DOES NOT SPEAK
It’s gone very quiet.
PAUSE
You fucking little shit. Take your trousers down.
ANGELA Leo…
LEO Fuck OFF! (TURNING TO ADDRESS TOMMY) Stand up!
TOMMY LOOKS AT HIS MOTHER
ANGELA Leo…
LEO Shut-the-fuck-up.
(GRACE STARTS TO CRY)
(TO GRACE) Are you sad? Did something sad happen? Just now? Did it? It fucking will! (TURNING TO ADDRESS TOMMY) Didn’t I speak to you recently? Huh? Didn’t I fucking make a request? Oh yes! It came back to me. We’ll do it in stages. Each stage perfectly clear. Stand up. Don’t make me ask again. It makes me think my son is retarded, which is a fucking insult. Stand up.
(TOMMY STANDS UP)
Stand on the chair.
(TOMMY STANDS ON THE CHAIR)
Take your fucking trousers down.
(TOMMY TAKES HIS TROUSERS DOWN)
And your fucking pants.
(TOMMY TAKES HIS PANTS DOWN)
That’s not a dick! That is not a dick. That is something I expect to see under a rock. That is a maggot. It belongs in dead meat. Don’t ever show me that disgusting fucking maggot again! Who do you think I am?
(TOMMY DOES NOT ANSWER)
WHO DO YOU THINK I AM?
TOMMY You’re my Dad.
LEO Don’t ever get your dick out again in front of your father! It’s disgusting. What is it? Say it! ‘My dick is…’
TOMMY My dick is disgusting.
LEO It is. It fucking is.

20.
GRACE Dad, you’re a mentalist.
LEO I am. I’m a nutter.
TOMMY You are. You’re bonkers.
LEO I am. I’m a bit doolally.
ANGELA You are. You’re round the twist.
LEO That’s me. I’m sociopathic.

21.
ANGELA More water, darling?
TOMMY Yes, please, Mummy. I love it. And I love the way you pour it.
ANGELA It’s just a pouring action, sweetheart. It’s nothing special.
GRACE He just loves to watch you doing it, Mummy. As do I.
ANGELA I could teach you to pour, Tommy.
TOMMY I would happily learn, Mother, but it would never replace for me the pleasure of the grace of your turning forearm and your rising elbow.
ANGELA That’s lovely, Tommy.
GRACE He loves his mother.
TOMMY I do. I may have started shaving and and I do masturbate frequently but my mother, that’s you, Mummy, is the premier woman in my life.
ANGELA
& GRACE Lovely!

22.
GRACE Daddy?
LEO Yes, Little Miss Poppet.
GRACE I’m your little girl.
LEO You certainly are, Miss Cutington Pie.
GRACE I am Daddy’s Little Girl.
LEO That’s what you are, Quantity of Honey.
GRACE I have, of course, experienced, fairly recently, changes in my body – entirely to be expected, don’t get me wrong – which effectively qualify me as a young woman but can I just say you are my Big Forever Poppy.
LEO Tremendous.

23.
LEO What?
ANGELA I was…
LEO What?
ANGELA I was…oh…
GRACE Mum?
ANGELA Do you…
GRACE Do I…?
ANGELA …arm wrestle?
GRACE Do…
ANGELA (INDICATING LEO) Him.
GRACE Do I arm wrestle Dad?
ANGELA I do.
LEO I can’t actually recall any time that…
ANGELA Yes.
ANGELA EXTENDS HER ARM AS IF TO ARM WRESTLE LEO.
UNCERTAINLY, HE EXTENDS HIS ARM AND ENGAGES WITH HERS, IN THE ARM WRESTLING HOLD.
AFTER A SHORT EFFORT SHE PRESSES LEO’S ARM DOWN WITH SUCH FORCE THAT THE TABLE FALLS TO BITS.
ANGELA GAZES EMPTILY INTO THE MIDDLE DISTANCE. LONG PAUSE BEFORE NEXT SCENE (WHATEVER IT MAY BE).

24.
GRACE IS PINCHING TOMMY’S ARM. HE DOES NOT RESIST.
TOMMY More. That’s nothing.
GRACE PINCHES HARDER
It’s little. Really.
GRACE Do mine.
SHE EXTENDS HER ARM AND TOMMY STARTS TO PINCH IT
TOMMY And?
GRACE No.
(TOMMY PINCHES HARDER)
No.
(TOMMY BITES HER FOREARM)
No. Let me.
SHE BITES TOMMY’S FOREARM
TOMMY SHAKES HIS HEAD

25.
LEO IS LEAVING. HE CLASPS ANGELA TO HIM AND HUGS HER PASSIONATELY. SHE IS WEEPING.
HE TURNS TO GRACE AND HUGS HER. SHE IS WEEPING TOO. SHE WON’T LET GO. HE PUSHES HER GENTLY AWAY.
HE TURNS TO TOMMY, WHO IS TRYING TO BE BRAVE. HE HUGS HIM. TOMMY SOBS.
ANGELA RUNS TO HIM AND THEY HUG AGAIN.
LEO LEAVES.
ANGELA, TOMMY AND GRACE HOLD EACH OTHER AND WEEP AS THE MUSIC QUIETLY THUNDERS IN THE BACKGROUND.
SUDDENLY LEO BURSTS IN, SMILING. THEY ARE ASTONISHED.
HE RUNS FROM ANGELA TO GRACE TO TOMMY, SEIZING EACH ONE BY BOTH HANDS AND DANCING ROUND AND ROUND WITH THEM. THEY COMPLY BUT THERE IS NO JOY ONLY PUZZLEMENT ON THEIR FACES.

26.
LEO Grace.
GRACE (HASN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION) Sorry?
LEO Come again?
GRACE What?
LEO What did you say?
GRACE ‘Sorry.’ I think I said ‘Sorry’.
LEO Why would you say that?
GRACE You do, don’t you?
LEO No. I don’t.
GRACE Right.
LEO Have you done something to be sorry for? Have you? Something that you think I would disapprove of?
GRACE No.
LEO But you did say sorry. You apologised but you have done nothing wrong. Which is odd. Which makes me wonder: what is this little cunt up to?

27.
LEO, ANGELA, GRACE AND TOMMY ARE ROLLING ABOUT ON THE FLOOR TICKLING EACH OTHER. IT’S A STRAIGHTFORWARD, GOOD NATURED MASS FAMILY TICKLE-IN. IT MAY BE THAT THE ACTORS, IN THE COURSE OF REHEARSAL, WOULD WISH TO DETERMINE THE TICKLISH ZONES ON THEIR COLLEAGUES IN ORDER TO LEND THE SCENE A DEGREE OF ABANDON.

28 A, B & C.
THREE SIMILAR SCENES: LEO IS TICKLING EITHER ANGELA, GRACE OR TOMMY. THE TICKLING, AS PER SCENE #27, SHOULD BE REAL, IF POSSIBLE. IT SHOULD ALSO BE OVERLONG, TO THE POINT WHERE THE TICKLEE IS GETTING A BIT DESPERATE. THIS WOULD BE A MIXTURE OF ACTING AND GENUINE REACTION TO AN IRRESISTIBLE STIMULUS.

29.
LEO, GRACE AND TOMMY ARE TICKLING ANGELA. ANGELA DOES NOT REACT, HOWEVER INGENIOUS AND INSISTENT THEY ARE. EVENTUALLY GRACE AND TOMMY GIVE UP.
LEO CONTINUES TICKLING ANGELA, WITH INCREASING URGENCY. AT NO POINT DOES SHE REACT.
THIS, CLEARLY, IS ACTING: THE ACTORS MUST AVOID JUDE’S TICKLISH SPOTS.
(NOTE: IT’S PROBABLE THAT SCENES 27, 28 & 29 SHOULD NOT BE PLAYED CONSECUTIVELY.)

30.
GRACE I’m enthusiastic. All my friends say so. I’m known for getting things going and keeping them lively. It’s afterwards that’s difficult. I don’t come away feeling as good as I could. I’m fine as long as I keep going but I don’t like to stop. It’s like when everyone goes home and you’re in an empty house with lots of ashtrays. It’s like going back to a caravan but you’re not on holiday. It’s like if you stop then something might start. Or there might be nothing. Both quite bad.

31.
TOMMY Mum! Walk about.
ANGELA WALKS ABOUT
GRACE Jump up and down!
ANGELA JUMPS UP AND DOWN
TOMMY Mum! Say ‘I am a fool’.
ANGELA I am a fool.
GRACE Slap yourself.
ANGELA SLAPS HERSELF
TOMMY Say ‘It doesn’t hurt’.
ANGELA It doesn’t hurt.
GRACE Say ‘O watana’.
ANGELA O watana.
GRACE Siam.
ANGELA Siam.
TOMMY It’s the Siamese national anthem.
GRACE Say it all.
ANGELA O watana…Siam.
TOMMY Excellent, Mummy! Say it again.
ANGELA O watana Siam.
GRACE Yes, you are , Mummy. You fucking are.

32.
GRACE Some puppies are in a box. They are whimpering.
TOMMY No.
GRACE Along comes a stamper and stamps them to death.
TOMMY No.
GRACE Not up to it?
TOMMY Not really interested. It’s just words. We need to be methodical.
GRACE Let’s do ‘Give up smoking’ again.
TOMMY I don’t like the scars.
GRACE Ah!
TOMMY I don’t mind it when you put them out. It’s nothing. It’s the scars – they’re all up my arm and they’re not going away.
GRACE Perhaps I pushed too hard.
TOMMY You screw them round and round. It’s not necessary.

33.
LEO Tommy, come over here and feel my cock.
TOMMY It doesn’t feel right.
LEO What? My cock?
LEO BELLOWS WITH LAUGHTER AND, BULLYINGLY, DRAWS ANGELA AND GRACE INTO A TERRIFIED IMITATION OF LAUGHTER AS WELL
TOMMY It’s inappropriate.
LEO What? My cock?
LEO BELLOWS WITH LAUGHTER EVEN MORE FORCEFULLY, LOOKING ROUND THREATENINGLY AT HIS FAMILY AS HE DOES SO
TOMMY It’s not something you should even think about.
LEO What? My cock?
(LEO GROWS APOPLECTIC WITH LAUGHTER, ROARING IN A DERANGED MANNER WHILE HIS WOMENFOLK SCREAM HYSTERICALLY BESIDE HIM. THIS CACOPHONY IS PROTRACTED.)
What a time we have, don’t we?
HE KICKS TOMMY IN THE STOMACH

34.
TOMMY More pie, please, Mum.
GRACE Shall we go to the countryside?
ANGELA The man came with the handles.
LEO I see Mr Thomas is back.
GRACE Oh, you’ll never believe this.
TOMMY Sean – what a clown he is!
ANGELA I don’t know if those blinds are actually right.
LEO The euro! Whatever happened?
TOMMY Two weeks.
GRACE She said she’d never speak again
ANGELA What?

35.
GRACE IS READING TO ANGELA, WHO LISTENS DULLY
GRACE Harry stood up, noticing dimly that his legs seemed to be made out of marshmallow. He waited. And then he heard the whistle blow. He walked out through the entrance of the tent, the panic rising into a crescendo inside him. And now he was walking past the trees, through a gap in the enclosure fence. He saw everything in front of him as though it was a very highly coloured dream. There were hundreds and hundreds of faces staring down at him from stands which had been magicked there since he’d last stood on this spot. And there was the Horntail, at the other end of the enclosure, crouched low over her clutch of eggs, her wings half furled, her evil, yellow eyes upon him, a monstrous, scaly black lizard, thrashing her spiked tail, leaving yard-long gouge marks in the hard ground. The crowd was making a great deal of noise, but whether friendly or not, Harry didn’t know or care. It was time to do what he had to do…to focus his mind, entirely and absolutely, upon the thing that was his only chance.
He raised his wand.
“Accio firebolt !” he shouted.
PAUSE
ANGELA Where’s Hermione?
PAUSE
GRACE She’s not there. She’s watching. She’ll be back.

36.
ANGELA IS IMMOBILE
TOMMY She’s been stupefied.
GRACE Relashio!
TOMMY It’s not enough!
GRACE Expelliarmus!
TOMMY We don’t have the power!
GRACE But we know who did it!
TOMMY Don’t say it,
GRACE You-Know-Who.
TOMMY Don’t!
GRACE It was He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
ENTER LEO
LEO (TO ANGELA) Snap out of it.
ANGELA Dadda.
LEO Not Dadda.
ANGELA Darling.
LEO Hello darling.
ANGELA I must have drifted off.
LEO (TO GRACE & TOMMY) Piss off. I want to fuck your mother.

37.
GRACE Mummy had another baby. A nice one. After a few days we realised it was a magic one. It could move things round the room with its mind and whoever touched it felt profoundly transformed for months thereafter. If it sensed we were hungry it would fill the fridge with foods. Dadda didn’t like it. He said it kept looking at him. He arranged for it to go to a place where its skills would be appreciated.

38.
TOMMY I started counting things. I thought it might prove to be useful. At first I just added up the number of things in my room. Quite a few, actually. I was pleased about that so I extended the process. You’d be amazed how many things there are in a house. There is the slight worry that you’ve left something out but I go over it in my mind regularly and I can’t see anything that I’ve missed. It is a worry though. What I do now is to count anyway, all of the time, and if things fit in with that then all the better.

39.
LEO Do I feel let down? It’s a deep question. I feel that here we are, on this surface, in this setup, all of us moving around, walking and talking, sometimes paths cross, it’s inevitable, there’s a lot to be getting on with, but don’t you just know it, there you are, going along, whistling a happy tune, whatever, essentially doing what you have to do, which is greatly important and then, quite suddenly and unexpectedly and unsought for, there’s someone in your way. Why are they there? What do they want? That’s when I feel let down. You would think, and this is not unreasonable, that there’s enough room for everyone. I’m not interested in them – why are they interested in me?

40.
ANGELA I don’t know where the time goes. I’ll be walking along and my lips will go warm, like a flush, and I can feel my eyes going fuzzy and I want to lie down but I’m in the street. Later on, sometimes it’s days, I’m somewhere else. In another street, at home, in a hotel. I think what it is is that I go travelling. Probably seaside places. Probably places where you’re not known but people know who you are.

2009

The One in the Theatre

img_2869

THIS RESPONSE TO ELEMENTS OF ‘TWELFTH NIGHT’ IS BASED ON AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT FOR THE TV SHOW ‘FRIENDS’.
A SIX-HANDER FOR THREE ACTORS, WITH ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS TO MARTA KAUFFMAN & DAVID CRANE.
WHAT FOLLOWS IS THE ENHANCED VERSION OF THE EARLIER EDITED ORIGINAL ‘FRIENDS’ SCRIPT IN WHICH NON-ORIGINAL LINES ARE BULLETED: •
ALL FEMALE PARTS ARE SHARED BY JUDE BARRINGTON AND KATIE ROBERTS. ALL MALE PARTS ARE PLAYED BY CHRIS NEWLAND.
A LAUGHTER TRACK IS PLAYED INTERMITTENTLY THROUGHOUT THE SHOW, MORE AND MORE INAPPROPRIATELY AS THE SHOW PROGRESSES. SOME, BUT BY NO MEANS ALL, CUES FOR LAUGHTER ARE GIVEN BELOW. THERE WILL ALSO BE CONVENTIONAL LAUGH CUES THROUGHOUT (TO BE PLOTTED IN REHEARSAL).
SHORT SNAPPY MUSICAL INTERLUDES WILL BE PLAYED BETWEEN EACH SCENE. AS THE PIECE PROGRESSES THEY WILL BECOME MORE UNSETTLING.
THE SET FOR THIS PRODUCTION CONSISTED OF A SITTING ROOM ENTIRELY UPHOLSTERED IN ONE FABRIC.

img_28571

INTRODUCTORY CAMEO SHOTS:
EACH OF THE THREE ACTORS IS VERY BRIEFLY SEEN AS IF IN THE MIDDLE OF A SCENE OF SOME SORT. TIGHT SPOTS FLASH ON AND OFF TO REVEAL HEAD AND SHOULDERS ‘SHOTS’ OF THE ‘CHARACTERS’ LAUGHING, GESTURING, LOOKING SURPRISED AND OTHER FABULOUS EXPRESSIONS (TO BE DETERMINED IN REHEARSAL).

Scene 1: RIFT’S RESTAURANT. JOEY AND CHANDLER ARE THERE.
URSULA BUFFAY, PHOEBE’S IDENTICAL TWIN SISTER, IS WAITING ON TABLES IN HER INIMITABLE MANNER.
Joey: There’s the waitress. Excuse me, Miss. Hello, Miss?
URSULA SPINS AROUND LOOKING PUZZLED, QUITE UNABLE TO TELL WHERE THE SOUND IS COMING FROM.
Chandler: It’s Phoebe! Hi!
URSULA NOTICES JOEY WAVING HIS HAND, AND COMES OVER.
Ursula: Hi. Okay, will that be all?
Chandler: Wait, wait! Wh-what are you doing here?
Ursula: Yeah, um, I was over there, then you said, “Excuse me, hello Miss,” so now I’m here.
Joey: No, no… how come you are working here?
Ursula: Right, yeah, ’cause its close to where I live, and the aprons are really cute.
Chandler: Can we start over?
Ursula: Yeah. Okay great. I’m gonna be over here.
SHE WANDERS AWAY.
Chandler and Joey: No, no, no!

Scene 2: CENTRAL PERK. ALL THREE GIRLS ARE PAYING COURT TO ROSS.
Ross: I don’t know whether he’s testing me, or just acting out, but my monkey is out of control. But, he keeps erasing the messages on my machine, “supposedly” by accident.
Rachel: No, yeah, I’ve done that.
Ross: And then, like three days in a row he got to the newspaper before I did, and peed all over the crossword.
Rachel: I’ve never done that.
JOEY AND CHANDLER ARRIVE, HOVERING AT THE EDGE OF THE SPACE. THEY PEER ACROSS AT PHOEBE.
Chandler: All right, now look at her and tell me she doesn’t look exactly like her sister.
Joey: I’m sayin’ I see a difference.
Chandler: They’re twins!
Joey: I don’t care. Phoebe’s Phoebe. Ursula’s… hot!
LAUGH TRACK: TOO LOUD
Chandler: You know that thing, when you and I talk to each other about things?
Joey: Yeah.
Chandler: Let’s not do that any more.
THEY APPROACH THEIR FRIENDS
All: Hey guys! Hey!
Joey: Hey Pheebs, guess who we saw today.
Phoebe: Ooh, ooh, fun! Okay… um, Liam Neeson.
Joey: Nope.
Phoebe: Morley Safer.
Joey: Nope.
Phoebe: The woman who cuts my hair!
Monica: Okay, look, this could be a really long game.
Chandler: Your sister Ursula.
Phoebe: (Her face dropping) Oh, really.
LAUGH TRACK: TOO LOUD
Chandler: Yeah, yeah, she works over at that place, uh…
Phoebe: Rift’s. Yeah, I know.
Chandler: Oh, you do? Because she said you guys haven’t talked in like years.
Phoebe: Hmmm? Yeah. So, um, is she fat?
Joey: Not from where I was standin’.
Phoebe: (Turning to Chandler) where were you standing?
Rachel: Um, Pheebs, so, you guys just don’t get along?
Phoebe: It’s mostly just dumb sister stuff, you know, I mean, like, everyone always thought of her as the pretty one, you know… Oh, oh, she was the first one to start walking, even though I did it… later that same day. But, to my parents, by then it was like “Yeah, right, well what else is new?”

Scene 3: MONICA AND RACHEL’S. ROSS, CHANDLER, AND THE GIRLS ARE DIVIDING SOME CHINESE TAKEOUT. THE TV IS PLAYING.
MUSIC: A FAINT BUT THREATENING GROWLING DRONE IS MIXED UNDER THIS SCENE.
JOEY ENTERS, LOOKING EXTREMELY PLEASED WITH HIMSELF.
Chandler: Hey, where you been?
Joey: I went back to Rift’s. I think Ursula likes me. All I ordered was coffee, she brought me a tuna melt and four plates of curly fries.
Chandler: Score.
Joey: She is so hot!
MUSIC: GROWL TRACK VOLUME INCREASES BY A CLICK
Chandler: Yeah, listen. Okay, before you do anything Joey-like, you might wanna run it by err… (HE INDICATES PHOEBE, WHO IS HELPING ROSS UNDERSTAND THE REMOTE CONTROL.)
Joey: Pheebs?
Phoebe: (JUMPING UP) Yeah?
Joey: You think it would be okay if I asked out your sister?
Phoebe: Why? Why would you wanna… do that?  Why?
Joey: So that if we went out on a date, she’d be there.
• Phoebe: Of course she’d fucking be there, Joey.
LAUGH TRACK: TOO LOUD
•Joey: Huh?
•Phoebe: If you fucking ask my fucking sister out she’ll be fucking there. Isn’t that fucking right?
LAUGH TRACK: TOO LOUD
•Joey: Uh, yeah. That’s right..
•Phoebe: I fucking thought so, you fucking dick.
Joey: Cool, thanks.
MUSIC: GROWL TRACK VOLUME FADES TO PREVIOUS SETTING
JOEY HAPPILY GESTURES AT CHANDLER THAT THERE WAS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, THEN EXITS. RACHEL AND MONICA ARE CONCERNED FOR POOR PHOEBE, WHO SLIDES BACK DOWN NEXT TO ROSS.
Ross: You okay?
Phoebe: Yeah I’m fine.
LAUGH TRACK: TOO LOUD
Rachel: So Pheebs, what do you want for your birthday?
Phoebe: Well, what I really want is for my mom to be alive and enjoy it with me.
Rachel: Okay… Let me put it this way. Anything from Crabtree and Evelyn?
Phoebe: Ooh! Bath salts would be nice.
Rachel: Ooh, okay… good.
JOEY ENTERS, CARRYING A SHOPPING BAG FROM WHICH HE PRODUCES A NICE CARDIGAN.
MUSIC: GROWL TRACK VOLUME INCREASES BY A CLICK
Joey: Phoebe, could you do me a favour? Could you try this on? I just wanna make sure it fits.
Phoebe: Ooh, my first birthday present… (DELIGHTEDLY EXAMINING THE CARDIGAN IN HER LAP) ..oh, this is really…
Joey: Oh, no no no. It’s for Ursula. I just figured, you know, size-wise.
•Phoebe: Ohhh… Sure, yeah…Yeah. You want me to put it on my body then take it off then you’re going to put it on her body, yeah?
•Joey: Yeah.
•Phoebe: Do you want to watch?
•Joey: What?
•Phoebe: Do you want to watch me take off what I’m wearing so that my breasts have touched where my sister’s breasts are going to go?
•Joey: (UNDECIDED – IT DOESN’T SOUND THAT BAD) Well…
•Phoebe: Before you lick them? (PHOEBE SEIZES THE GARMENT AND TEARS IT TO PIECES) Okay, it fits.
LAUGHTER
THE OTHERS HAVE BEEN TAKING ALL THIS IN.
Rachel: Are you seein’ her again tonight?
Joey: Yep. Ice Capades.
Chandler: Wow, this is serious. I’ve never known you to pay money for any kind of capade.
Joey: I don’t know. I like her, you know. She’s different. There’s uh, somethin’ about her.
Phoebe: That you like, (SNAPPILY CONFRONTING JOEY OVER THE HEADS OF THE KNITTING CIRCLE ) we get it. You like her. Great!
THE CIRCLE FREEZES IN APPREHENSION.
Joey: Hey, Phoebe, I asked you, and you said it was okay.
Phoebe: Alright, well, maybe now it’s not okay.
Joey: Okay… Well maybe now I’m not okay with it not being okay.
•Phoebe: Okay. CUNT!
•Joey: Hey!
•Rachel: You don’t know, do you, Joey?
•Joey: What don’t I know, Rachel?
•Rachel: If you touch her, never touch me, right?
•Joey: Who? Who’m I touching, Rache?
•Rachel: Phoebe is my fucking sister!
•Joey: What? Her fucking sister is Ursula!
•Rachel: (ROARING) DON’T FUCK AROUND WITH ME!
AN EMBARRASSED SILENCE

Scene 4 : CENTRAL PERK, THE GANG IS GATHERED AROUND MONICA COMFORTING HER BROTHER WHO, IN A SLIGHT STATE OF SHOCK ,IS CUDDLING A CUSHION FOR SECURITY.
Ross: I’m gonna be a father.
Rachel: This is just occurring to you?
Ross: I always knew I was havin’ a baby, I just never realised the baby was having me.
Rachel: (SHE COMFORTS HIM TOO) Oh, you’re gonna be great!
Ross: Aw, how can you say that? I can’t even get my monkey to stop eating the bath mat. How am I gonna raise a kid?
Chandler: You know, Ross, some scientists are now saying that, that monkeys and babies are actually different.
JOEY TIRES OF THIS, SO HE GETS UP TO LEAVE.
Phoebe: Where’re you going?
Joey: Out.
Phoebe: With?
Joey: (SPREADING HIS ARMS WIDE) Yes.
Phoebe: Alright, could I just ask you one question?
JOEY NODS HIS HEAD.
Phoebe: Have you two, you know… like… you know… you know… yet?
Joey: Well, not that it’s any of your business, but, no, we haven’t, okay?
JOEY WALKS TOWARD THE DOOR, THEN HESITATES AND TURNS BACK.
Joey: You meant sex, right?
•Phoebe: I meant: did you get with my sister, my identical sister who looks identically like me, like we’re both naked on our backs and you’re standing there with your stupid dick out…
•Joey: It’s not stupid. My dick is not stupid.
•Monica: You fucking wish! Your dick is your brain, Joey!
•Joey: Get off me, Monica.
•Phoebe: …and you’re standing there and you think ‘Hey, which one is which? Which one do I pump? Hey – does it matter?’ And you fucking pump me, you piece of shit!
•Rachel: You can’t turn back after that, Joey! There’s no going back! You might as well put your fucking eyes out!
•Joey: But it’s her sister, Rachel!
•Rachel: (ROARING) NO…FUCKING…DIFFERENCE!

Scene 5 : MONICA & RACHEL’S. ALL THE WOMEN AND CHANDLER AND ROSS
Monica: Are you alright?
Phoebe: Yeah. It’s just, you know, it’s this whole stupid Ursula thing, it’s…
Rachel: Okay, Pheebs, can I ask? So, he’s going out with her. I mean, is it really so terrible?
Phoebe: Um, yeah. Look, I mean, have you ever had a boyfriend who was like your best
friend?
Monica and Rachel: (WISTFULLY SHAKING THEIR HEADS) No.
•Phoebe: Well, that’s what Joey is for me. I mean, he’s not my boyfriend. Obviously!
•Monica and Rachel: Obviously!
•Phoebe: More like a brother.
•Monica: That’s how I feel!
•Phoebe: You don’t fuck your brother, right?
•Chandler: No! No way!
•Rachel: Phoebe!
•Chandler: Like never! You’d turn to stone…or whatever.
•Monica: Right, I would never fuck Ross.
•Ross: Jeez, Monica. I guess that’s a compliment, right?
•Monica: Right!
•Phoebe: Okay. Just checking.
Monica: Hon, you gotta talk to Joey.
Phoebe: Yeah. Okay.
Ross: No, come on, he doesn’t know this stuff. If he knew how you felt.
Phoebe: But he’s falling in love with her.
Rachel: Oh please, they’ve been going out a week. They haven’t even slept together yet, I mean, that’s not serious.
Phoebe: Okay… Okay.
•Monica: Do it now.
Phoebe: Oh, okay, oh.

Scene 6: THE HALLWAY BETWEEN JOEY’S AND MONICA & RACHEL’S.
PHOEBE GETS UP AND WALKS ACROSS THE HALLWAY, BUT THE DOOR TO CHANDLER AND JOEY’S APARTMENT IS SHUT. SHE KNOCKS, AND ANXIOUSLY WAITS FOR JOEY TO COME, BUT INSTEAD HER IDENTICAL TWIN SISTER EMERGES WEARING ONE OF JOEY’S SHIRTS.
PHOEBE REELS BACK IN SHOCK, WHILE URSULA DEFIANTLY LEANS AGAINST THE DOORPOST AS THOUGH SHE OWNS THE PLACE.
•Phoebe: Ursula!
Ursula: (Surprised) Oh. Yeah, um, may we help you?

Scene 7: CENTRAL PERK. JOEY, ROSS AND CHANDLER ARE CHATTING.
Joey: I’m takin’ Ursula out tonight. It’s her birthday.
Ross: Wo-wo-whoa. What about Phoebe’s birthday?
Joey: When’s that?
Ross: Tonight.
Joey: Oh, man. What’re the odds of that happening?
JOEY BEGINS TO CONTEMPLATE HIS ILL FORTUNE.
Ross: You take your time.
JOEY LOOKS AT HIS FRIENDS, THINKS A BIT MORE, THEN REALISES.
Chandler: There it is! So what’re you gonna do?
Joey: What can I do? Look, I don’t want to do anything to screw it up with Ursula.
Chandler: And your friend Phoebe?
Joey: Well, if she’s my friend, hopefully she’ll understand. I mean, wouldn’t you guys?
•Ross: Well, I would certainly never fuck Monica.
•Joey: Being she’s actually your sister, right?
•Chandler: Well, actually, no. I would never fuck Monica.
•Joey: (SURPRISED) No?
•Chandler: That’s nothing personal, Ross.
•Ross: No!

Scene 8: MONICA & RACHEL’S. THEY’RE ALL THERE EXCEPT FOR ROSS AND PHOEBE.
THERE IS A KNOCK AT THE DOOR. PHOEBE ENTERS.
A BIRTHDAY CAKE IS VISIBLE.
The Whole Party: (Jumping up) SURPRISE!!!
Phoebe: Hey, what’s going on? (DELIGHTED) Oh, oh, oh! This is so great! Oh my god! This was not at all scary. Hi everybody. Oh my god! (HUGGING PEOPLE) This is great. Everybody I love is in the same room. (STILL HAPPY) Where’s Joey?
THE PARTY FALLS FLAT.


Scene 9: CENTRAL PERK
Joey: (ENTERING QUIETLY) Hey.
Ross and Chandler: Hey!
Monica: Hi.
Phoebe: Trouble?
Joey: Your sister stood me up the other night.
Phoebe: Oh, no. Don’t you hate it when people aren’t there for you?
Ross: Well did you try calling her?
Joey: I’ve been trying for two days. When I called the restaurant, they said she was too busy to talk. I can’t believe she’s blowin’ me off.
PHOEBE WANTS TO BE ANGRY WITH JOEY, BUT AS SHE WATCHES HIM SHAKING HIS HEAD IN PAIN AND DISBELIEF, SHE KNOWS THAT IT ISN’T HIS FAULT.


Scene 10: RIFT’S RESTAURANT
PHOEBE IS ENTERING. URSULA RETURNS WITH TWO PLATES OF CHICKEN, BUT SHE ONLY HAS TIME TO SET ONE ON THE TABLE, WHEN…
Phoebe: Hey.
URSULA TURNS IN SURPRISE.
Ursula: Oh!
Phoebe: Ursula, you got a minute?
Ursula: Um, yeah, I’m just… (WAVING DISMISSIVELY AT THE CONCEPT) ..working.
URSULA POINTS OUT A VACANT TABLE, SO THE TWINS WALK OVER, SIDE BY SIDE, TO SIT DOWN.
Phoebe: So.
Ursula: Uh-huh.
Phoebe: How’d you know I was coming?
Ursula: Um, yeah, um, twin thing.
Phoebe: So… What’s the deal with umm, you and Joey?
Ursula: Oh, right. He is so great. But that’s over.
URSULA RESUMES EATING HER LUNCH.
Phoebe: Does he know?
Ursula: Who?
Phoebe: Joey. You know, um, he’s really nutsy about you.
Ursula: He is? Why?
Phoebe: You got me.
Ursula: Right.


Scene 11: CENTRAL PERK
PHOEBE ENTERS, BUT NOT AS HERSELF, FOR SHE HAS CHANGED THE STYLE OF HER HAIR AND MAKE-UP TO MATCH THAT OF HER TWIN SISTER. (DESIGNERS: WE NEED URSULA/KATIE TO WEAR SOMETHING DISTINCTIVE IN HER HAIR IN THE PREVIOUS SCENE SO THAT PHOEBE/JUDE CAN WEAR IT IN THIS SCENE.) NERVOUSLY, SHE APPROACHES JOEY.
Phoebe: (AS URSULA) Hey.
Joey: Urse…
PHOEBE NODS AS HE STANDS UP IN DELIGHT.
Joey: ..ah, what’re you doing here? I’ve been trying to call you.
Phoebe: (AS URSULA) Listen, um…I’m sorry.
Joey: I don’t get it. What happened? What about everything you said under the bridge?
PHOEBE IS ALMOST THROWN BY THIS.
Phoebe: (AS URSULA): Yeah, um… (nervously clears her throat) You know you, you should just forget about what I said under the bridge, I was talkin’ crazy that night, I was so drunk!
Joey: You don’t drink.
Phoebe: (as Ursula) That’s right, I don’t… But I was, I was drunk on you!
Joey: Oh, Urse… (He tries to take her in his arms, but she fends him off.)
Phoebe: (AS URSULA) Okay, yeah, so it’s not gonna work.
Joey: Why? Is it because I’m friends with Phoebe?
Phoebe: (AS URSULA) If it was, would you stop hanging out with her?
Joey: (THINKING CAREFULLY) No. No, I, I couldn’t do that.
Phoebe: (AS URSULA) Um, then yes, it’s ’cause of Phoebe! So, you know, it’s either her or me.
Joey: Then, uh, then I’m sorry.
HE SINKS TO THE SOFA, SADDENED BY URSULA’S ULTIMATUM, WHILE PHOEBE FOLLOWS, TOUCHED BY JOEY’S GOOD HEART.
Phoebe: (AS URSULA) You know… (UNCONSCIOUSLY PUTTING A HAND ON HIS KNEE) You’re gonna be really, really hard to get over.
•Joey: You’re so like Phoebe.
•Phoebe: (AS URSULA) I guess you’d…you’d go with Phoebe if it wasn’t for me.
•Joey: Like ‘go’?
•Phoebe: (AS URSULA) Like…you know…
•Joey: Would I fuck Phoebe? Yeah? Sure. I’d fuck her.
•Phoebe: (AS URSULA) She said you were like brother and sister.
Joey: That’s completely right.
JOEY TAKES HER FACE IN HIS HANDS AND KISSES HER. THE KISS INCREASES IN INTENSITY. THINGS GET HOT.
•Phoebe: (ECSTATIC) Joey!
•Joey: (ECSTATIC) Phoebe!
THEY WRITHE.
THE LAUGH, THE SCREAM AND THE GROWL TRACKS GROW LOUDER AND LOUDER TO MAX. SFX OF THUNDER AND LIGHTNING. THE LIGHTS FLICKER.
SNAP CUT OF ALL SOUND AND LIGHT.
End

2008

Ophelia Soiled

A response to ‘Hamlet’.

Cast:
Hamlet – Christopher Newland
Claudius – Ben Martin
Ophelia – Jude Smuts

HAMLET BEGINS TO SUSPECT THAT HIS FATHER MAY BE DEAD AND THAT HIS UNCLE, CLAUDIUS, MAY BE SLEEPING WITH HIS MOTHER. OPHELIA, ALREADY HURT BY HAMLET’S REJECTION OF HER, IS THEN MADDENED WHEN HAMLET ACCIDENTALLY KILLS HER FATHER POLONIUS.

THE SET IS A THREE-SIDED BOX. PLATFORMS HAVE BEEN BUILT BEHIND EACH SIDE SO THAT STAGE HANDS CAN STAND ABOVE THE SET, LOOKING DOWN ON THE ACTION. WHEN OPHELIA ENTERS THEY WILL SHOWER THE SET WITH BLACK CRUMB – CRUMBLED BLACK FOAM RUBBER – TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT THE PERFORMERS BELOW ARE GRADUALLY ENGULFED. THE STAGE HANDS ARE VISIBLE TO THE AUDIENCE.
HAMLET AND CLAUDIUS ARE SITTING IN A DOMESTIC SPACE.
THREE LARGE JUGS OF WATER AND A GLASS ARE AVAILABLE. ALSO TO HAND BUT CONCEALED IN A CUPBOARD ARE SEVERAL LARGE TINS OF COCA-COLA.


HAMLET Have you put on a bit of weight, Uncle?
CLAUDIUS Yeah. Every time I fuck your mother she gives me a biscuit.
PAUSE
HAMLET What sort of biscuit?
CLAUDIUS Err…shortbread.
HAMLET They are delicious.
CLAUDIUS I certainly can’t resist them.
PAUSE
HAMLET I didn’t think my mother liked them, though.
CLAUDIUS It’s me that likes them. She keeps them in a jar.
HAMLET Oh. Where?
CLAUDIUS By the bed, of course.
HAMLET Her bed.
CLAUDIUS Well, yes.
HAMLET So you’re sleeping with my mother.
CLAUDIUS That’s how I get the biscuits.
HAMLET Does my father know?
CLAUDIUS I haven’t seen him for a while, I have to say.
HAMLET I wonder where he is?
CLAUDIUS Didn’t he have earache or something?
HAMLET Yes, he did. But that wouldn’t make you not be around, would it?
CLAUDIUS I’m not a doctor.
HAMLET True.
PAUSE
So you’re sleeping with my mother.
CLAUDIUS How do you feel about that?
HAMLET Well. It’s not something I’ve ever wanted to do.
CLAUDIUS Well, no. I don’t want to fuck my mother.
HAMLET How is Granny, actually?
CLAUDIUS She’s well. For her age. Very incontinent, of course. She loved the cardigan.
HAMLET Oh good. I am glad.
PAUSE
Is it a bit stuffy in here?
CLAUDIUS I find it comfortable.
HAMLET You wouldn’t mind if I…
HE INDICATES A WINDOW
CLAUDIUS Be my guest.
HAMLET It’s my house.
CLAUDIUS But I am fucking your mother.
HAMLET I suppose it’s a bit like having another father.
CLAUDIUS We were very close, your Dad and I.
HAMLET You don’t think he’s dead, do you?
CLAUDIUS You can never rule that sort of thing out.
HAMLET I will open that window.
HE MOVES TO THE WINDOW AND TRIES TO OPEN IT.
IT WON’T OPEN.
HE SITS DOWN AGAIN.
Not to worry.
CLAUDIUS They swell up.
PAUSE
HAMLET Do you use fairly conventional sexual positions with my mother?
CLAUDIUS When I’m banging her?
HAMLET Yes.
CLAUDIUS Oh yes. I get on top and she lies underneath, legs akimbo.
HAMLET Akimbo?
CLAUDIUS Apart. Very natural. Nothing fancy.
HAMLET Not round the back or anything?
CLAUDIUS Heavens, no.
HAMLET That’s comforting.
CLAUDIUS Not at all.
ENTER OPHELIA
OPHELIA You walk all day, the flags are out, there’s the red one that you like, there’s the yellow one you always see, there’s that striped one that was new but now you know it. And you’re walking and it’s ‘Hello, missy’, ‘How are you my fine bird today my pet?’ Oh I’m very well thank you. ‘Hello chuck’, ‘Hello chicken’, ‘Good day Miss Littlepoppin Brighteyes’, ‘Are you well Miss Felicity Grace Charming?’ Oh I’m doing fine Mister and Mrs thank you so very much for asking and all the brighter for it. Oh and there’s the dogs that I know and that like me. Just by the polka dot blue that’s flapping they dash across they want to lick my hands and jump up I don’t mind. Up boys! Up girls! Rruff! Rruff! (SHE BARKS) Hello Punch! Hello Sultan who’s my boy? Who’s my boy? Who’s my boy? Oh, down, down! Where’s my girl? Up Daphne! Up Daisy! Up Dina! Ohhhh! (AS IF HER FACE IS BEING LICKED) And how are your children, Tina Dina Tina? And how is that tummy, warm jumpy Floss? Oh! You’ve had them! They’re out! Everything is out! Clever girl! Clever girl! She’s such a clever girl! Aren’t the girls clever today! Oh yes. Oh yes. What with one thing and another. Yes they are.
CLAUDIUS (TO HAMLET) That’s your girlfriend, isn’t it?
HAMLET Well, you know… we…we were…
OPHELIA What a to do! What a calamity, Jane! What a harum scarum sort of weekend it was. What with everything. What with the business about the business and the trouble with the trouble.
HAMLET (TO OPHELIA, INDICATING THE WATER JUG AND GLASS) Would you like a glass of water?
CLAUDIUS Lovely girl like you…getting thirsty.
OPHELIA POURS A FULL GLASS AND DRAINS IT IN ONE GO
HAMLET It can really help. I’ve found that.
OPHELIA So I went back. It was time to go. There was nothing for me there. The basket was empty. Nothing to keep me. Popocateptl.
HAMLET I’m sorry…?
OPHELIA In the cellar. In the catacombs. You’ve killed the cat-who-combs in here at night. Boom-boom. Boom-boom. Poor Tom. Poor TomPop. Poor Tom Pop Cat. Boom. Poor Top Cat. (TO HAMLET) What have you to say?
HAMLET Er…
CLAUDIUS Let me get you a drink.
HE POURS A FULL GLASS OF WATER AND HANDS IT TO OPHELIA.
SHE DRAINS IT IN ONE GO.
HAMLET I’m not sure…
OPHELIA No. How true. How untrue. And then the men came round. On the way back. As I was saying. As I was going. And all the flags were down. And the road was up. And you know, when they take the road up, all the black top off, it’s the icing on the cake! Did you know that? And do you know what pops up? It all pops up, Pop! Red hot and running down a street near you! All because of the boys with the black stuff! (TO THE TUNE OF ‘ELEANOR RIGBY’) Where do they all come from? The London Borough of Poland! (TO THE TUNE OF ‘IT’S RAINING MEN’) It’s raining men, tyrannosaurus! And when they take it up, there’s no going back! You can’t go along. No flags. No hello. No dogs. It stands to reason. Somebody has to.
HAMLET Look – I’m really sorry I accidentally killed your father. I feel really bad about it.
CLAUDIUS (TO OPHELIA) It’s true – he told me himself. He’s devastated.
HAMLET Gutted. To say the least.
CLAUDIUS As anyone would be.
HAMLET God knows – if I could put the clock back…
CLAUDIUS Which you can’t, of course.
HAMLET I think another glass is in order.
CLAUDIUS Splendid. I’ll do it. Happy to.
HE POURS A FULL GLASS OF WATER AND HANDS IT TO OPHELIA.
SHE DRAINS IT IN ONE GO.
HAMLET That’s much better.
CLAUDIUS You can just feel it, can’t you? I can. There you go.
HE POURS A FULL GLASS OF WATER AND HANDS IT TO OPHELIA.
BY THIS TIME THE ACTRESS MAY FEEL SHE NEEDS TO SPILL THE WATER DOWN HER FRONT AS SHE APPEARS TO DRAIN THE GLASS YET AGAIN.
HAMLET I think I’m getting yoors.
CLAUDIUS What’s yoors?
HAMLET What have you got?
CLAUDIUS Cheeky bugger! Just like your Dad!
HE OPENS A CUPBOARD, PRODUCES TWO LARGE CANS OF COCA-COLA AND HANDS ONE TO HAMLET.
HAMLET Oh, great! I love the fizzy ones! Cheers, Uncle!
THE MEN BREAK OPEN THE CANS AND DRINK EAGERLY. THEY SHOULD DRINK IN SUCH A WAY AS TO MAXIMISE THE INGESTION OF AIR WHICH WILL SHORTLY BE EXPELLED IN A SUCCESSION OF FORCEFUL ERUCTATIONS.
IT IS TO BE EXPECTED BY NOW THAT ALL THREE PRINCIPALS ARE PARTIALLY BURIED IN BLACK CRUMB.
AS THE LIGHTS FADE, THE MEN CONTINUE TO DRINK, TAKING TURNS TO BELCH LOUDLY OVER AND OVER WHILE OPHELIA DRINKS DESPERATELY FROM JUG AFTER JUG OF WATER.
END

2007