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?
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
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.
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.
GRACE So. He had no respect.
ANGELA He really didn’t.
GRACE I’ll see my Dad. I’ll see my Dad. I’ll see my Dad. (REPEAT UNTIL NOT EFFECTIVE)
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.
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 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.
LEO You were something.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
TOMMY Hi Dad.
LEO Tommy! Fuck, I thought you were dead!
TOMMY Not any more.
LEO That’s fantastic!
LEO So what…
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.
ANGELA Hello darling.
GRACE Hello Daddy.
LEO Don’t hello. Don’t greet.
LEO I saw you.
GRACE What, Dad?
LEO Looking at your brother’s dick.
LEO Hungrily looking at your brother’s bulge. Just like your mother.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yeah. Woe is me.
Yeah. How big an arse I am.
Yeah. A billy. A silly billy, to be frank.
Yeah. I am, to be frank, a man who couldn’t find his arse in the dark.
Yeah. What a Headstrong Harry I am, to be sure.
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?
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 Nothing. Keep wanking.
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.
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.
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.
I said: Do you think I’m a cunt?
TOMMY DOES NOT SPEAK
It’s gone very quiet.
You fucking little shit. Take your trousers down.
LEO Fuck OFF! (TURNING TO ADDRESS TOMMY) Stand up!
TOMMY LOOKS AT HIS MOTHER
(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.
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.
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.
& GRACE Lovely!
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.
ANGELA I was…
ANGELA I was…oh…
ANGELA Do you…
GRACE Do I…?
ANGELA …arm wrestle?
ANGELA (INDICATING LEO) Him.
GRACE Do I arm wrestle Dad?
ANGELA I do.
LEO I can’t actually recall any time that…
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).
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 PINCHES HARDER)
(TOMMY BITES HER FOREARM)
No. Let me.
SHE BITES TOMMY’S FOREARM
TOMMY SHAKES HIS HEAD
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.
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.
GRACE (HASN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION) Sorry?
LEO Come again?
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.
LEO Have you done something to be sorry for? Have you? Something that you think I would disapprove of?
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
GRACE Some puppies are in a box. They are whimpering.
GRACE Along comes a stamper and stamps them to death.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
ANGELA Where’s Hermione?
GRACE She’s not there. She’s watching. She’ll be back.
ANGELA IS IMMOBILE
TOMMY She’s been stupefied.
TOMMY It’s not enough!
TOMMY We don’t have the power!
GRACE But we know who did it!
TOMMY Don’t say it,
GRACE It was He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
LEO (TO ANGELA) Snap out of it.
LEO Not Dadda.
LEO Hello darling.
ANGELA I must have drifted off.
LEO (TO GRACE & TOMMY) Piss off. I want to fuck your mother.
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.
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.
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?
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.