A blog dedicated to the creative output of R.P. Brown email@example.com
SCENE ONE – ANGER
The stage is sparse. On centre stage there is a double bed; on stage left is a dresser with a chair and behind the bed is a small wardrobe. On stage right towards the front is a scruffy man (WRITER), sitting in front of a typewriter.
The WRITER’s lines are to be used stage directions for the other two actors. He types as he speaks. There is ample amount of time between lines to allow the actors time to perform the dirrections
WRITER: There is the sound of a door slamming. Enter leading lady stage left, she is dressed in formal attire. She is handsome. (Pause) She moves straight to her dresser and begins to remove her make up.
LEADING LADY (L.L) playacts at the desk in front of an imagined mirror.
WRITER: Enter Lead Male, also handsome, also dressed in formal attire. He looks at her for a moment, (pause) and moves toward her. He places one arm on her shoulder. (Pause) She shrugs it off. Hurt, he walks over to the bed, sits down and removes his shoes and socks.
After a moment, our leading lady moves towards the wardrobe, opens it and removes a hanger and a nightie, then places them on the dresser. Our Leading Male has removed his tie and begun to unbutton his shirt. She kicks off her high heels, then struggles to unzip her dress at the back.
L.L.: Help me with this goddam thing.
WRITER: The Leading Male rises. Moves towards her and holds the Leading Lady firmly. He unzips her dress slowly.
L.L.: (with bitterness) Thank you darling.
WRITER: She roughly moves away from him, letting the dress fall. Picks up the hanger and places the dress on it. He moves beside her and reaches round to a drawer on the dresser and opens it. She glares at him. He removes a bottle of dark rum and a brandy glass. She puts on her nightie as he pours. The Leading Male places the bottle on the dresser, returns to the edge of the bed and sips his drink. The Leading Lady removes her bra from under her nightie. She moves to the dresser, examines herself in the mirror and ties up her hair. Finally, she retires to the bed, turning away from our leading male.
The Lead Male sighs. Throws back what remains in his glass. He removes his shirt, then begins to unbuckle his belt. He removes his trousers. He gets into bed facing away from the Leading Lady.
L.L.: Turn off the light.
The lights dim.
The WRITER pushes out from his typewriter. His chair squeaks as he gets up. He moves over to the dresser, opens the drawer and takes out another glass. He pours himself a drink from the bottle. He casually walks to centre stage. There is a spotlight following him.
WRITER: (shouting at the audience) What do you want? What do you want to see?
He laughs maniacally. The WRITER moves over to the bed sits on its edge. He strokes the hair of the Leading Lady.
WRITER: I’m not sure who they are. Why are they so angry at each other? He didn’t cheat on her, that would be too obvious but what sparked this intense reaction? Will they rise in the morning, fresh, calm, like nothing ever happened? Or will the tension kindle into one fiery explosion, consuming the ties that bind them? I don’t even know their names, how they met, what their favourite foods are, nothing.
He downs his drink. Pauses then jumps to his feet.
WRITER: (moving back to his typewriter) But I do know what you want. I know what sells. Rise my familiars, my marionettes.
The lights brighten. He sits back down at his typewriter. The Leading Lady and Lead Male are sitting upright with their backs to the headboard.
SCENE TWO – SEX
WRITER: Our handsome couple are sitting up in bed. Our Leading Lady is pleasuring our Lead Male beneath the covers. Begin scene.
LEAD ACTOR (L.A) often grunts and his lines are forced until his climax.
L.L.: What are you thinking about?
L.M.: You, dear.
L.L: But I’m right here and your eyes are closed.
L.L.: If you open your eyes you don’t have to imagine me.
L.M.: I’m imagining you on a sunny beach.
L.L.: Liar. Who are you thinking about?
L.M.: You I promise.
L.L.: I usually think about Liam Neeson.
WRITER: She leans in close and seductively breaths in his ear.
L.L.: I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want you want. What I do have are a particular set of skills.
L.L.: See sexy.
WRITER: There is a pause. The sound of post masturbation shame hangs around them. She wipes her hand on the covers.
L.L.: Do you think you’ll ever be a silver fox?
L.M.: (Breathless) I think I’ll probably just go bald.
L.L.: That’s a shame.
L.M.: (Pause) Do you really think of Liam Neeson?
L.L.: Of course not dear.
L.M.: Because I also have a particular set of skills.
WRITER: He moves up closer to our Leading Lady, holding her and kissing her neck.
L.L.: Would you like take a drive up to Cave Hill today? Look out over the city?
L.M.: (Between kisses) Sure. Whatever you want. Is my desire.
Writer: He turns her over and begins to move downward, kissing her as he goes.
L.M.: (From beneath the covers) I can fulfil your every need.
L.L.: Show me.
WRITER: As his mouth becomes occupied with other things, she stiffens and places her hand roughly on the lump where is head is beneath the covers.
WRITER: That’s not his name.
WRITER: It’s not right.
WRITER: (Jumps to his feet and shouts) That’s not him.
The WRITER walks over to his LEADING LADY and examines her face. The handsome couple are in freeze frame.
WRITER: What does the man you love look like?
He moves away to pour himself another drink.
WRTIER: (to the audience as he pours) Nothing like an anti-climax. A toast to the loving couple. (Raises his class to the audience and takes a swig.)
He pulls the chair from the dresser to centre stage and sits drinking. A long pause ensues.
WRITER: It’s difficult to capture genuine affection. Love is elusive, like trying to capture a butterfly with a hole in your net. You can see it, you understand its simple beauty and yet you cannot contain it. The empty words don’t thread together and each attempt proves futile.
So many of the conventions of plot are not compatible. Love is comfort. Love is the small, simple, boring little moments, whose shared significance are only known to the couple. How can something so common be so special? It’s mundane yet unique.
Do we only feel love in conflict? In loss? Do we only appreciate it after the fallout and consequential resolution? Of course not but that is plot. (He turns to his characters on the bed) So tell me! What is your story? Give me something? Have a secret. Have a miscarriage. Get sick and die!
(Laughs and drinks) What difference would it make? I don’t give a fuck about these two emotionless beings. I could strike them down with a single sentence and not a note in your fragile hearts would vibrate with emotion.
He stands and shouts.
I need a chair and another table. A tablecloth and a candle. Candles are romantic. And a single dying rose in a vase.
Stagehands dressed in black but clearly visible bring the items on stage. The WRITER moves out of the way towards the bed. He shakes it.
Wake up. There’s no time to get dressed. Be vulnerable, ready to love. In your places.
The handsome couple takes a seat on either side of the table set up by the stagehands. The WRITER sits back at his typewriter.
Show me who you are. Show me some emotion.
SCENE THREE – FIRST MEETINGS
L.M.: So how long have you known Sarah?
L.L.: Oh I’ve known her since she started working in the ward. So close to three years now.
L.M.: And what do you think of Andrew?
L.L.: (Unsure) He seems… nice.
L.M.: (laughs) Now come on, tell the truth. I don’t think anyone has ever thought that Andrew was nice.
L.L.: Well he seems a bit obnoxious if I’m honest.
L.M.: (laughs) You’re still being too nice.
WRITER: (shout to backstage) It should be raining! And we need some music.
SFX of rain and some light background music.
L.L.: Well how would you describe him?
L.M.: He’s a prick.
L.L.: But he’s you’re friend, isn’t he?
L.M.: Friend is a loose term. I’ve known Andrew so long that he’s just kind of there. I’m honestly embarrassed to know him at this stage, the way he speaks to people, he’s just rude all the time. The amount of fights he’s almost got me into.
L.L.: When I first met him I went to shake his hand and he just looks at me and asks if I always shop in charity stores.
L.M.: That’s pretty tame for him. (Pause) So if you think he’s so obnoxious why did you agree to meet me?
L.L.: Well, you don’t get much time to meet people in my line of work and Sarah said you were nice.
L.M.: (Laughs) There’s that word again nice.
L.L.: She said you were my type. I think she knows me quite well. Knows I’m a sucker for a musician, especially a pianist.
L.M.: Worked well for me when I was younger but now musician just scream poor and unsuccessful.
L.L.: There are worst things to be.
L.M.: Like what?
L.L.: Selfish, controlling, patronising.
L.M.: I’m disorganised and lazy.
L.L.: (Laughs) I can live with that.
L.M.: I also chew with my mouth open. It’s why I never get a second date.
L.L.: Thanks for the warning. So what you’re looking for?
L.M.: You have to like olives and eat all the strawberry creams when we get chocolates.
L.L.: I hate olives.
L.M.: I suppose you’re allowed some faults. Let’s see, what’s your favourite film?
L.L.: Lion King.
L.M.: Good choice. Favourite band?
L.L.: The Smiths
L.M.: Cats or Dogs?
L.M.: I think we can make this work.
L.L.: Do you always quiz potential love interests?
L.M.: I just feel it speeds things up a bit.
L.L.: My turn then. Chinese or chippy?
L.M.: Chippy. Hands down.
L.L.: Do you like board games?
L.M.: I love board games.
L.L.: Good cause that one was a deal breaker.
L.M.: Have I passed then?
L.L.: For now.
L.M.: Listen I don’t think anyone’s coming to take our order. Why don’t we go grab a chippy instead?
L.L.: I didn’t bring a coat. I wasn’t expecting the rain.
L.M.: You can have mine. We’ll eat it in the car. Go for a drive up the seaside.
L.L.: Sounds like an adventure.
WRITER: Hold it there.
SCENE FOUR – BARGAINING
The couple are freeze framed. The music and rain sound effects have ceased. He stands and walks over to the table the couple are sitting at.
WRITER: (Addressing the Lead Male) I still don’t know you.
The WRITER tips the Lead Male off his chair and sits down opposite the Leading Lady. The Lead Male remains collapsed on the ground.
WRITER: You I know, but I don’t have the courage to utter your name. (Pause) It was always going to be you. (Pause) Resume scene.
The rain resumes as does the music but it grows more sinister as the scene progreses.
L.L.: Are we not leaving?
WRITER: Here comes the waiter now. Let’s stay.
The LEADING MALE stands and moves to the table.
L.M.: Can I get you some drinks to start?
WRITER: I’ll have a pint of red ale. (Addressing the LEADING LADY) A glass of white by any chance?
L.L.: You read my mind.
The LEADING MALE pretends to take notes.
L.M.: Very good sir. I be back with your drinks in just a moment.
WRITER: So tell me about your work. Do you enjoy it?
L.L.: Well it’s not all sunshine and roses but I do enjoy it.
WRITER: What do you like about it?
L.L.: Well I’ve always wanted to be a doctor and I guess it’s rewarding, looking after patients; consoling families; saving lives. Cheesy I know but I just love it and when the hours get a little too much or something awful happens, I’ve got great friends there. It’s my life really.
WRITER: Your passion?
L.L.: (Smiles) You could say that.
WRITER: I could listen to you talk all day. You’ve got a lovely voice.
L.L.: I’ve always hated it!
WRITER: You shouldn’t its wonderfully expressive.
L.L.: Well… thank you.
Leading Male returns carrying a tray of drinks.
L.M.: (Setting down the drinks) The ale for you sir and the wine for the lady. Are you ready to order?
L.L.: I haven’t even had a chance to look at the menu.
WRITER: There’s a hake in a creamy sauce that I know you’ll just love and I’ll have the roast beef. Thank you waiter.
L.M.: (Taking down the order) Very good sir.
L.L.: I don’t mean to be difficult but in future please don’t order for me.
WRITER: I’m sorry I just feel like I know you so well already. Can we just forget it ever happened?
L.L.: Em yeah of course. Thanks for understanding.
WRITER: So tell me more about you? What do you do with yourself when you’re not working in the hospital?
L.L: Oh you know the usual. Watch films, read books, I’m usually pretty exhausted when I get out.
WRITER: You do pottery don’t you?
L.L.: How did you know that?
WRITER: Oh Sarah must have mentioned something about it. When she was talking you up to me.
L.L.: Oh okay. Well I do it when I get time and I go to a class on a Tuesday when I’m not on night shift. I just… I just love the feel of the clay running through my fingers, that must sound weird.
WRITER: No, not at all.
L.L.: It’s just so relaxing. It’s the only time I don’t have to think, the only time I’m not busy. (Laughs) I’m coming down crockery though so if you ever have a shortage, you can give me call.
WRITER: I might just take you up on that. I’m pretty clumsy.
L.L.: So when did you start to play the piano?
WRITER: The piano?
L.L.: You’re a pianist.
WRITER: Oh right. Em since I was eight.
L.L.: I’ve always loved the piano. I always remember…
& L.L.: …falling asleep to the sound of my dad’s playing.
L.L.: (Pause) How did you… how did you know that?
WRITER: I just… I just feel I know you so well already.
L.L.: I think I have to leave.
WRITER: (stumbling over his words) No. Don’t please. Let’s just enjoy a nice meal together, I’m sorry I scarred you.
L.L.: I don’t think so. I really have to go.
WRITER: I would never hurt you.
WRITER: I love you.
She stands to go, he grabs her arm. She pulls away but he stands and holds her tighter.
L.L.: Let go of me.
WRITER: Please don’t go.
L.L.: You’re hurting me.
WRITER: (Shouting) Don’t leave me again. I can’t let you leave me again.
The LEADING LADY picks up the wine glass and throws the wine in his face. The WRITER cries out and moves his hands to his eyes. The Leading Lady free from his grasp, runs from the stage.
WRITER: (Wipes his eyes and shouts) Enough, enough.
The music ceases and the rain with a final clap of thunder.
Don’t leave me again. Don’t leave me again. Please. Don’t leave me again.
Whilst the WRITER is shouting, Stagehands similtaneously throw white sheets over all the furniture, except the table scene centre stage and the typewriter. The WRITER becomes silent and stand leaning on the table.
SCENE FIVE – ISOLATION
After a tense silence, the WRITER throws the table to the ground.
WRITER: (Pause) Notice the walls. They’re blank. Not a single picture. Not a single memory of what was. She took everything when she left. All the heart that made this a home was hers and now I’ve not a single photo to remember her by. Just empty white walls.
The WRITER walks over to his typewriter and begins to read the pages he’s written. He becomes angry and begins to throw them at the audience. Then his anger subsides. He is exhausted.
It never mattered to her that I couldn’t write, she just loved my passion. She was so supportive, she told me it just took time and practice, she told me I’d get there but as time moved on I grew frustrated. I lost confidence in my ability. I grew sullen. That’s when I found that love does not lie in words.
Then I hurt her. It wasn’t my fault, I just lost control. I told her I was sorry and she understood. She forgave me. I told her that it would never happen again but it did. It wasn’t my fault. I could see she didn’t love me anymore and I couldn’t bear it. I didn’t know what to do, so I hurt her. I took out my frustration on her. I should have protected her but I hurt her. I hurt her.
She left me a note. It was lying on her dresser, just sitting there, on the only thing I had left of her. For a while if I held my nose close to the table top I could smell her cosmetics, her perfumes but now the smell has faded.
There is a pause. The WRITER fishes the note from his pocket, unfolds it and examines it.
She left me with just five words. “I don’t (pause) love you (pause) anymore.