RYEBREAD CREATIVE

A blog dedicated to the creative output of R.P. Brown ryebreadcreative@gmail.com

Nightlight

“Can anything harm us, mother, after the night-lights are lit?” – J.M. Barrie

CHARACTERS

AISLING – A insomniac struggling with the long lonely nights.

ANGIE – A poet with fierce ideals. 

SCENE ONE

The dead of night. 4 a.m. On a dark stage, AISLING is tossing in a sleep, soon to be broken. With a sharp intake of breath, she shoots upwards, desperately grasping the frame of her bed.

After  few laboured moments, she reaches over to her bedside table. She guzzles down a glass of water. AISLING reaches for her glasses and then her phone. The backlight lights her face as she begins to scroll.

She speaks to herself to break the isolation.

AISLING:      21 dead in another van related terror attack. 134 new likes on my sister’s wedding album. 4 less people follow me on Tumblr.

She puts her phone and glasses back on the bedside table.

AISLING lies back down on her bed but sleep remains elusive. Abruptly she is on the side of the bed, switching on her lamp.

With a sigh, AISLING, dressed in a large t-shirt, gets up out of bed and moves to her wardrobe. She pulls out a dress from the bottom and places it on the bed. Underwear, sensible shoes and a pair of tights soon follow. It is all placed carefully on a hanger, and then hung to the top of the wardrobe with the shoes beneath. With a final glance at the outfit she has chosen for tomorrow, she moves to the lamp, the light goes out and she clambers back into bed.

Again, sleep escapes her.

AISLING, again puts on her glasses, again picks up her phone.

AISLING:      (Muttering, Texting) Are you awake?

She returns then to the table. The phone vibrates. Still lying sideways, she lifts it slightly.

AISLING:      No.

She picks it up and types again.

AISLING:      Are you awake now? Smiley face.

Lying back. Buzz. Buzz

AISLING:      Nope. (Rolls her eyes and then answers) Are you sleep texting? Wish I could do that.

A moment. Buzz. Buzz.

AISLING:      Not tonight Aisling, please.

Disappointed. Upset. She places the phone at her feet. Then she picks it up again to reply.

AISLING:      Finnnnnne. Tired old bitch.

Another attempt at rest. She lies out flat, frustrated kicks out at her covers.

AISLING:      (Sings) Elusive and sweet,
Oh the kind relief!
When the sand,
Kisses mine eye.

Not even a flicker,
You’ll hear me whimper.
As the night light
Burns away.

She reaches for her phone, hoping it will sing her to sleep.’Nightswimming’ R.E.M. plays. 

 “Nightswimming deserves a quiet night

The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago…”

 

She flicks the song on. ‘O Sleep’ Lisa Hannigan.   

“O Sleep, come for me, I will go quietly,

where the roof doesn’t leak in my heart.

O Sleep, come for me,

I’m a boat, sprung a leak…”

And again. ‘I need some Sleep’ Eels

“I need some sleep

You can’t go home like this

I try counting sheep

But there’s one I always miss…”

 

AISLING turns it off and the room returns to silence. Glasses on she begins to flick through her phone.

AISLING:      You have a new match on tinder. World pays tribute to Bob Dylan who dies aged 76. 14 friends like ‘Bake-Off taken out of context’.

AISLING turns on the light. She brings the phone to her ear. It rings.

AISLING:      Guess who! (Moment) Hello? Hello?… Don’t be mad, I didn’t think you would really be asleep… I know you have Noah now… Of course I didn’t forget. How could I forget about a baby?… I told you, I just didn’t think you would be sleeping anyway… I’m just going crazy… No I haven’t tried the breathing exercises… Because they are stupid… They are… They are!… If I promise to them when I’m off the phone will you stop speaking to me like Mum… I will, promise… Do you remember when we used to stay up all night chatting? Dad called us the night owls… No I can hear him, don’t worry about it… Hopefully he doesn’t take after… Hello? Hello?…

AISLING slowly reaches to turn off the light. She begins to scroll through her phone again.

AISLING:           Congress declares war for the sixth time in United States history. The move is welcomed by President Trump. You have three events this week.

She switches on the lamp again. From underneath her bed, she pulls out a large sketchpad and a packet of sharpies. AISLING falls onto the floor and crawls to the centre of her room. She sits cross-legged on the floor, ready to begin her breathing exercises, her sketchpad in front of her. 

AISLING:           (As she exhales) Give shape to your fear.

Her mouth pulls the lid off a pen. She begins to draw. Her brow furrows in concentration.

AISLING:      Poor, poor Noah. Don’t cry.

The phone vibrates.

AISLING:      You up? Question mark. (Typing) Insomniac. Always up.

She continues to draw. Buzz buzz.                                             

AISLING:      Come round? (Considers a moment) You come here, follow the link.

AISLING tidies up the markers and places the sketchbook against the wardrobe. It is a crude drawing of a crow flying off with a bloodied baby. A woman chases after it.

The clothes on the wardrobe are placed back on the bed. Aisling gets dressed and places the sensible shoes back in the wardrobe. A bag of makeup emerges. She sits back on the floor with a mirror. AISILING puts in contact lenses, then applies to her face. The eyes and her lips get special attention.

A knock at the door.

AISLING rushes to put away her things, hastily shoving things into her wardrobe and under her bed. She switches off the lamp.

The door bangs.

She runs to answer, swearing as she stubs her toe. The sound of the door. AISLING returns pulling a taller figure by the hand. She turns. They kiss. She falls back onto the bed. The figure follows. Heavy breathing. Rustles in the dark. AISLING is brought to a climax. Silence.

The lamp is turned back on. Dishevelled, AISLING sits on the side of the bed, her phone in her hand. Her lover in the bed is obscured.

AISLING:      Global temperatures rise to record high. You have no new notifications.

AISLING slips off the bed. She reaches up to the bedside table, glances back at the figure sleeping in her bed and quietly smashes the glass. She lowers her tights, revealing scars and fresh scabs across her upper thighs. With a shard of glass in hand, AISLING moves to slice her leg.

ANGIE:        (From the bed) You have beautiful scars.

AISLING:      Thank you.

ANGIE:        Does it help you sleep?

AISLING:      It used to. The pain kind of keeps me awake now.

ANGIE:        It’s Aisling, right?

AISLING:      Yes.

ANGIE:        I’m Angie.

AISLING:      It’s nice to meet you. You should go back to sleep, I’m keeping you up.

ANGIE:        There are worse things.

AISLING:      No there isn’t. Trust me on that.

ANGIE:        I like the night. It obscures the day to make it curious.

AISLING:      Who said that?

ANGIE:        I did. I’m an aspiring poet. What to hear another one?

AISLING:      Not really.

ANGIE:        The scars make us human. How we wear them makes us people.

AISLING:      You should come with a warning symbol. (Gesticulates) Prone to wankery.

ANGIE:        Do you think it’s the guilt of being a twat that keeps you up all night?

AISLING:      More like the crippling fear of making a tit of myself. The twat thing is a cover up and a conspiracy. Don’t tell anyone.

ANGIE:        My lips are sealed. And parched. Mind if I grab a glass of water? (Getting out of bed) where’s your kitchen?

AISLING:      Floor below. The big one as you come to the end of the hall.

ANGIE leaves the room. AISLING pulls up her tights and moves to the mirror to straighten herself out.

ANGIE:             (Off-stage) Where are the glasses?

AISLING:           (Yells back) I may have broke them all.

ANGIE:        (Off-stage) Do you live alone?

AISLING:      (Still shouting) I think the other guys a junkie. He’ll sleep through the coming apocalypse.

ANGIE returns to the room with a mug of water. She catches AISLING fixing herself and startles her.

ANGIE:             You know we met in Tinder, right?

AISLING, self-conscious, moves away from the mirror.

(CON’T) As in I already find you attractive?

ANGIE grabs AISLINGS hand.

                  (CONT’D) Come to bed.

AISLING:      I won’t be able to sleep.

ANGIE:        But you can cuddle, right?

AISLING:      I guess.

ANGIE:        (Pulls her to the bed) You can’t fuck me and not even hug me after. It’s just not polite.

AISLING:      What would my mother think?

ANGIE:        Exactly.

AISLING takes out her contacts. They lie together in the bed, AISLING rigid in ANGIE’s arms.

(Pause) You’re like a plank of wood.

AISLING:           Sorry.

ANGIE:        We don’t have to you know. I mean, I can go?

AISLING:      No, no, it’s… it’s nice.

ANGIE:        You don’t have like a thing about personal space or anything?

AISLING:      No, no.

ANGIE:        Okay good. Try to relax. Hugs, they’re meant to be soothing.

AISLING:      Thanks for clearing that up. How did you know I was into patronising girls?

ANGIE:        You have a whiff of the patriarchy off you.

AISLING:      (Laughs) That’s just my perfume. Musk of ignorant bitch.

ANGIE:        It’s very chic right now.

AISLING:      Eugh tell me about it.

ANGIE:        I think it’s time you joined the resistance.

AISLING:      Already in. I work undercover as a barista, spitting in every corporate coffee for the silver spooned elite.

ANGIE:        So, sinister. The establishment will probably topple tomorrow.

AISLING:      Just in time for the sky to fall in.

ANGIE:        There’s a lifetime yet, still a few stars left, a few birds in the sky.

AISLING:      Do you not find it tiring staying positive?

ANGIE:        I’m a pessimistic arsehole, you just looked like you could use a bedtime story.

AISLING:      Maybe. I should try audiobooks. I was listening to podcasts for a bit but they just depressed me.

ANGIE:        Why?

AISLING:      Talking too much about the issue or it’s like the elephant in the room.

ANGIE:        You need more stories. A bit of make-believe is good for the soul.

AISLING:      You’re probably right.

ANGIE:        (Yawning) I’m always right. Sorry, I’m not built for not sleeping.

AISLING:      It’s fine. Let me get the light.

It is switched off. A period of silence is broken by AISLING’s soft sobs.

 ANGIE:         Hey… it’s okay.

AISLING:       I’m sorry, I’m just so exhausted.

ANGIE:         Tears were made to fall. Let them out.

AISLING:       It’s just… I don’t even know how… I can’t even say anything.

ANGIE:         You’re saying plenty.

AISLING:       (Laughing through the tears) You’re so cheesy.

ANGIE:         You love it.

AISLING:       I’m so sorry.

ANGIE:         Don’t be.

AISLING continues to violently weep. A pause.

(CON’T)(Sings) Elusive and sweet,
Oh the kind relief!
When the sand,
Kisses mine eye.

BOTH:   Not even a flicker,
You’ll hear me whimper.
As the night light,
Burns away.

ANGIE:  Safety in pairs,
With someone who cares
To sing you
A Lullaby.

BOTH:   Not even a flicker,
You’ll hear me whimper.
As the night light
Burns away.

Their voices fade and stillness grips the room. Then, the light flicks on. AISLING stares wide-eyed. ANGIE cannot be seen. 

AISLING: Stars not so warm
This darkness is worn
But a shadow, I
Still remain.

END OF PLAY


 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: