a playlet written for theatre design students at Wimbledon College of Art (2003)
(see an introduction to this playlet here)
FOOL A guy goes into a bar and says: There were these three women: So this very old man likes a drink: They say he’s partial: They say he’s very partial: Did you hear that?: Now I won’t mix two animals: Okay – there’s a bloke: What’s the difference between them?: There was this woman: One likes broccoli: What about the other?: Eh?: Take my wife: A bitter and a packet of Smarties please. The thing is. I mean really. It was only a cardigan: Both legs: You’ve won a car!: Lovely looking women, all of them: Shit happens: I mean: it fell out of the sky: I’m afraid he’s dead at this moment in time: Where’s my acres? Where’s my acres? I’m not getting any younger: I’m not getting any: Who is? Look at the size of that!: A pop musician and two dogs! Half for you, half for you and half for you: Who’s the little feller? But this time – no more Mister Nice Guy! Give us a kiss! Every time I fuck your mother she gives me a biscuit! Lovely looking women – three of them – blonde, brunette and a redhead: How do you tell? Look me in the eye! I won’t rub two animals together!: I should coco! I’m partial to a bit of toast: This is where it gets difficult: You have to make your mind up: Lovely looking women: it’s only skin deep though, we all know that: Shit happens: You’re ahead of me: A very long bar; very, very long: Don’t you talk at home?: What a day I’ve had: And it’s not getting any better: It’ll get worse before it gets better: I can feel it in my water: Fuck off!
LEAR You crack me up, you really do. You split my sides. You’re my port in a storm. Not just any port. Not any storm. I can feel it coming. HE TURNS TO THE TWO WOMEN. And you, you are my Virginia. You are my Georgia. You are my…
HE LISTS, IN THIS MANNER, THE FIFTYTWO STATES OF THE USA. THESE ARE NOT MEMORISED SO HE MAY HESITATE AND PAUSE. THIS IS FINE.
CORDELIA I went down to the beach.
LEAR Who was there?
CORDELIA I saw Kiki. She was like nerr and I’m like…whatever.
LEAR But why?
CORDELIA She doesn’t like me. These are my united states of whatever. These are my united states of whatever. I decided to look for a job that would be useful to society but…whatever. These are my united states of whatever. These are my united states of whatever. I was in the street I saw people massing and I’m like…whatever. I was on the hill the birds fed me and I’m like…whatever. These are my united states of whatever. These are my united states of whatever. I was in the clouds I heard a voice I saw light I saw men with wings and I’m like…whatever. I’m in the trees and my hand is in the car everything is red I’m blonde and and I’m like…whatever. These are my united states of whatever. These are my united states of whatever. People are everywhere it’s going to happen no one is listening what can you do people don’t like it and I’m like…whatever. I’m like…whatever. And these are my united states of whatever.
LEAR I feel old. I thought I might roll the bottoms of my trousers.
FOOL You’re a lovely looking man.
LEAR You’re very kind. I feel like giving up. Handing it all over to the younger crowd. I’ve had my fun. Let others have a go. That’s what I thought.
FOOL The chair collapses. The fat woman – not my wife – falls downwards. This is where it gets difficult. Are you sure?
LEAR It’s what I want. I want to know who loves me, how much and what their name is.
FOOL I love you.
LEAR But you’re a Fool.
FOOL They can be very nice people.
LEAR I want to know what the women think.
FOOL Ah, the ladies! What are they like? What are they like?
CORDELIA I’m like…
LEAR No! Oldest go first. Regan – have you your eye on my acres?
REGAN (ADMONISHING HIM) Dad!
LEAR So how much do you love me?
REGAN Well. A great deal. You know, a very great deal. A big lot, basically. I’d shave myself for you. In the street. I’d go down alleys with sailors for you. I’d eat cat food. From the tin. I’d let pigs suckle me. I’d walk round town with a pig on each tit. I’d slap myself silly, till blood came. And dog food. I’d smear it on my arse. I wouldn’t care. Loads of dogs would crowd round and eat my pants off and I’d be shouting ‘I really love my Dad, that’s why!’ They’d eat my pants off and lick my arse, they’d have their tongues up my arse, all sorts of dogs, and they’d give me such a fucking shagging I’d get the hiccups!
LEAR Regan, that’s breathtaking.
REGAN I’ll shave my snatch for you. I won’t even shave it, I’ll rip the hair out with my hands. I wouldn’t care! I wouldn’t give a shit! I’d get some paint, right, and paint a big knob on my snatch, with paint, right, and I’d paint the word KNOB on my tits. People come up to me, common people, common as muck, they’d say to me ‘We want to fucking muck about with you, we want to see your knob and generally feel you up’ I’d say ‘Fucking come on then! Form a queue and get stuck in!’ I wouldn’t give a shit. Piss, right, you want me to gargle with piss – just say it! Bob’s your uncle! It’s done – gallons of piss! There you are! Or dog’s piss. Straight out of the dog! It’s nothing to me – fucking nothing. Here boy – in my mouth. Good boy! Fuck it.
LEAR You’ve made a old man very happy, Regan. You can have all the parks.
REGAN Okay – the Donkey Sanctuary, right. On the Isle of Wight. I’d go there, in the nude, and I’m a vegetarian, right, to where the Hovercraft leaves, at Gosport, quite a rough area, the people round there they’d fuck your cat for a cup of tea, they shit in their trousers to save on shoe leather, not a nice area at all really, I’m there right, a vegetarian spring roll stuck up my arse for protection and I wouldn’t actually take the ferry, I’d jump off the jetty and swim over, and I wouldn’t wear shoes deliberately and I’d have a big bucket of double ended nails that I’d throw before me on the pavement and there’d be my donkey, he’s called Clive, waiting for me, he bloody loves me he does, I call him my Hee Haw, I’d run at him right and pop his eyes out with a two thumb running jab and jump pop pop they’re out and I’d eat them right and he’s thinking ‘What the fuck’s with her today?’ and I’m a fucking vegetarian, ‘Here’s a spring roll for you that I brought you’ and he’s thinking ‘Oh it’s not all bad then’ and then I strangle him, they’ve got big necks but if you shout while you’re doing it that helps, you know ‘AAAAAARRRGH’ like that, it makes it easier, and then I’d dig into his body, with my bare hands, force my bare hands into his side and pull his intestine out so hard his arsehole disappears, suddenly it’s there suddenly it isn’t sort of thing then I’d blow down it, the intestine you can pronounce it intesteen if you want except that’s wrong I’d blow down it really hard so hard it’d straighten out – they’re about fifty yards long and full of shit – and it would all fly out and land in Portsmouth where my Lord Portsmouth lives, like a flying missile but of shit right. And I’d say to them ‘Oh by the way that’s because my Dad is such a very fucking likeable person if you want to know.’
LEAR Regan, you’ve touched in me the parts that are generally shuttered to the world. You can have, as well as all the parks, the verdant valleys.
REGAN Brilliant. I love valleys.
FOOL Lovely looking woman. Redhead. What’s natural, eh? A bloke says to a woman ‘Do you like fooling around?’ She says…
REGAN In your dreams. Fuck off.
FOOL Fools have hidden wisdom.
REGAN Such is the strained and keening dream of those to whose own puffery they do subscribe. These notions born of ancient flummery do fraud us still.
FOOL That’s a no then.
LEAR Daughter, your sacrifice excites me. The cake is carved, the pie is cast, now who’s going to love me last? (TURNING TO CORDELIA) Say some things.
CORDELIA Follow regal Regan in this roiling role? My lord, such oratory topples my resolve and terves my tongue averse.
FOOL Force yourself.
CORDELIA I love you because…I love you because you’re there. I love you because I recognise you. I love you because you don’t surprise me. I love you because you never change. I love you because you gave me lots of things that I wanted. A horse. A sword. A bodice. I love you because you tell me off. I love you because Mum died and I had to. I love you because you don’t walk fast. I love you because when a person is around every day and they don’t hit you you tend to. I love you because I’m your daughter. I love you because you’re my father.
LEAR That’s it?
LEAR You love me because I’m your father.
LEAR You don’t want another go?
CORDELIA No, thank you.
LEAR I’m starting to feel odd.
FOOL (TO CORDELIA) You wouldn’t consider shaving yourself?
CORDELIA No. It’s not necessary.
LEAR I’m starting to become irate. I’m at that point.
REGAN I’d ring up the King of France.
REGAN I’d ring him up and I’d say ‘My dad says you’re a fucking cunt.’ And he’d say ‘You fucking what?’, you know: ‘Vous fucking quoi?’ like they say. And I’d say ‘Right, right, do you want some then?’ and he’d say ‘Do I fuck!’ and I’d say ‘Right! Jerkin off!’ and I’d tear his jerkin off and his cape etcetera and I’d run at him so fast with my teeth out I’d fucking bore right into his chest, my head would be in his chest up to the neck and I’d say to my dog, he fucking loves me my dog, I’d say ‘Goo on buh, goo on!’ and my dog would go straight for his arse, no dog food required he’d just do it because he’s fucking trained right, and I’d be in his chest and I’d pull myself in past the shoulders so I’m half inside and I’d grab his lungs and throw them outside on the ground and that’d give me the extra room and I’d get one leg in then the other and I’m right inside him and I’d start eating him, right, from the inside, eat all his stomach and diaphragm and swallow them down to my stomach and it’s dark but I don’t fucking care because of my Dad, nobody calls my Dad a fucking cunt, Christ that makes me irritated, so I eat out his throat and suck his tongue down into my mouth and then I can force my head up through his neck into his head but his fucking eyes are in the way so I fucking suck them in and swallow them, no one can tell right, it just looks like he’s blinked and when he opens his eyes they’re my eyes probably a different colour but they don’t notice and I force my arms down his arms and wave them about yeah ‘WHAAAY’ like that then I realise my legs are still bent up under me and there’s a load of intesteens in the way and that gets me fucking mad I go fucking divvy and I start kicking ‘UGH UGH UGH’ and pushing and I push his duodenum and all his various tubes down then I remember my dog’s still boring into his arse right so I say ‘Come on buh, less goo, less goo’ and my dog is chewing his way towards me and that’s just so great they’re a lot more fucking reliable than people I have to say that so I fucking squeeze and suddenly the whole lot bursts out of his arse SLUSH, the King of France’s arse the cunt SLUSH, straight down my dog’s throat which he finds very pleasing and my legs shoot down and they’re inside the King of France’s legs and I start running about ‘OLLY OLLY OLLY’ fucking waving my arms and shouting ‘I’m the King of France who’s a cunt’ like ‘Je suis le roi de la France who’s a cunt’ and I’m looking out of his eyes his eye holes with my eyes and they’re all saying ‘Bonjour your Majesty how are you you are my fucking king I fucking love you’ and I grab his sword right and get hold of his knob under his tights like they wear and whip it out and chop it off the whole cluster then distribute it to the fucking French saying ‘OY OY OY eat some of my sliced knob and nuts if you want if that makes you feel better’ and they’re on their knees gobbling it up, they can’t get enough and then I’ve got my sword right, it’s mine now because I AM THE KING OF FRANCE right and the sight of it makes me go FUCKING BOARY because NOBODY TOUCHES MY DAD, NOBODY! I LOVE MY DAD AND I WOULD NEVER EAT HIM! I WOULD NEVER ENTER MY DAD’S BODY AND KICK OUT HIS GUTS TO MAKE MORE ROOM! MY DAD IS ACE! HE IS THE SUN IN MY EYES, I’VE GOT NO EYELIDS I’VE GOT NO SKIN HE LOOKS AT ME AND I BURN ACROSS MY BODY, MY ARMS WILL FLY ABOUT MY HAIR IS FLAMING HE FLAYS ME I WILL ENTER BODIES FOR HIM I WILL CUT THE FUCKING HEADS OFF THOSE COCKEATING CUNTS I WILL UP AND INTO THEIR FLESH AND DASH ABOUT OLLY OLLY OLLY I WILL FUCKING CUT THEM FOR HIM OLLY ALL THE FRENCH OLLY LET’S FUCKING DO IT COME ON LETS DO IT UGH UGH UGH.
CORDELIA (SOFTLY) Blow winds and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!
Your cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o’the world,
Crack nature’s moulds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!
LEAR I have a hundred men about me
One will buckle my shoe
Two will knock at my door
Three will pick up my sticks
Four will lay them straight
Five will bring me a hen
Six will dig for me and delve for me
Seven will play knick knack
Eight will play knick knack on my gate
Nine will play for me in heaven
In my den ten will eat for me
A hundred nights about me
Fourteen will sleep for me
Fifteen will wash my feet with his hair
Sixteen will wash my hair
Seventeen will oil my skin
Eighteen will gaze for me
Nineteen will tell me
Twenty will move me
I have one hundred men in me
Twentyone will age for me for I am the father
Twentytwo will bind the light for me for I am the sun
Twentythree is in me he is in me
Twentythree is in me I can feel his fingers like mist
A spectre he is the spectre in me
He will play for me in heaven
I have a hundred nights in me
They speak with my voice
They have entered me
They cut the cake for me