Staged (2011)

(The stage, black. Two chairs, wooden, centre stage. They wait to be filled. An empty, hollow voice reverberates through the theatre)

I spoke her words out loud

Felt the same pain

Drank her bitterness

(Pause)

And in an instant, I was as wise as I would ever be. I knew everything – I saw everything illuminated by an unexpected crack of lightening. I understood that life was a series of beautiful coincidences. A tessellation of shapes forming a unity that was neither good nor bad, attractive nor ugly – yet gone too soon.

Now a rumbling murmur fades into the black sky, deep-set and cruel.

(A faint whisper)

Fuck you – –

Fuck you – –

Fuck you – –

Fuck you – –

 

(As he screams out the final fuck you there is the soft rumbling of thunder, then silence. Silence and darkness)

(Harsh, clear light bursts upon the stage. Enter a man in his late-twenties. His footsteps are deliberately loud and confident. He is jaunty, unshaved. He is smiling. He struts over to centre stage)

(He sits)

God, that felt good –

(He calls off stage)

Wasn’t that good?

(He rummages around in his pockets as though he has lost something)

Frankly, I’m shocked at how good that felt.

(A pause)

You know, I’m actually speechless. Maybe next time we should…

(Stares off stage)

…leave that for a minute and come sit down. Come on, it’s cold out there.

(Enter a woman of a similar age, dressed in bright colours. She meanders over towards the empty chair and sits)

I told you you’d like it.

And I’m sorry for doubting you.

We should take the kids. They’d love it.

Go next weekend, if you like?

(Silence)

(She starts humming a tune. Her eyes dart around the stage. Everywhere expect on him)

Aye –

Was good.

(Silence)

Yeah – – so – –

Anyway – –

Wanna drink?

Erm, yeah, please. Ta.

Can’t believe this is the first drink I’ve had all day.

Aye (he grins) that’s pretty good for you (they laugh)

(The laughter soon fizzles out, and silence resumes. Now both him and her stare at their surroundings. Again, like before, eyes dart all over the place, but never at each other)

How are things anyway?

Good.

I heard you’d gone to the doctor’s. When was that?

Friday.

How’d that go?

Alright.

What’d he say?

Not much.

He prescribe anything?

Some anti-depressants. Some sleeping pills.

You still not sleeping?

No, not really.

You started taking the meds?

Yeah. Monday.

(They stare at one another. They’re speaking a thousand unsaid words)

Are you okay? I mean where are you – in your head?

No

No, what?

No!

(A pause)

Do you want me to stay for a while?

No – don’t worry. Go to bed early.

(She pours two drinks, downs one, and passes the other)

How are you feeling shit?

Confused?

Worried?

Angry?

Upset?

Or just everything?

Oh, I’m

worthless tormented derailed alone paranoid

Never angry

Always confused

Always worried

I’m fighting to put something back into my life, but I haven’t a clue what it is.

I lost something a long time ago (sometimes I think I never had, never knew it, but in my head, I did, I did) and I want it back. I want to feel complete, to fill that void – –

To feel whole?

To feel.

I think I’m delirious or delusional.

You?

Worthless inadequate empty

Wanna start a club?

Everything takes time. We adapt and evolve.

Being worthless and feeling worthless are two very different things.

You’re not worthless.

Neither are you.

Hopefully the pills will help.

Feel defeated though.

(He reaches for his glass, still untouched. He sips slowly)

Do you not feel that if you’ve been told,

And have told yourself, that you are all those things,

You may as well just accept them.

Just like an ugly person has to eventually accept that they are ugly.

Like acknowledgement is our only form of defence?

Yes!

Sometimes it feels like they’re inherently bound to me.

Eventually they’re not even issues. I just am –

I think they clearly are an issue.

Not sure how to deal with such an issue though, even if it is possible.

(With excitement)

Small changes – everyday.

(He pauses for effect, waits for a response. There is none, so he continues in the same tone)

Try not to fret over the big things.

Change one thing at a time.

Force yourself.

Take me

I’ve grown a lot stronger over the past few weeks.

I feel

benignly

repugnant.

(He laughs at himself)

But I go on all the same. Day after day after day.

(The two are once again united by mutual understanding. They look relaxed. At ease. Unfettered)

Drink?

(She pours out two more glasses, and in silence they drink)

(Spoken in a jovial tone)

I know your little secret, by the way…

…Dunno what you’re talking about.

(With sincerity)

It’s alright

I’m not bothered –

Honest to God

At the end of the day

It’s your life

Your business

Not mine

Jus don’t see why it had to be a secret from me.

(The atmosphere thickens. It is awkward. She is not happy. Not happy at all)

You said it was in case…

(He looks around suspiciously, as if someone should be watching)

…me and “you know who” became friends.

(Silence – she avoids his glances)

(Laughs nervously) Believe me, that’s not gonna happen. I’ve no interest in going down that road – –

And I don’t want to see you hurt.

You are a woman, and (reluctantly) you’ve got needs. I’m not saying what you’re doin’ is right. And I’m not saying that I would or wouldn’t do it.

(He looks at her)

Your actions are justifiable – not right, but justifiable.

And it is only sex, one night, one mistake.

(There is an intense silence between the two for quite some time. Neither look in the direction of each other – they sit at angles, almost back to back)

Fuck you!

Just..fuck you!

(She necks back the remainder of her drink and exits the stage. He sits there surprisingly relaxed. He pours another drink)

(After some time, he looks off stage)

What did I tell you?

A confession – or at least as good as.

(Holding up a spare glass) Drink?

(A sinister, angry looking silloutte of a man moves across the backdrop of the stage)

The Robot (2005)

Alight, ignite a fire to keep us warm.

Warm enough for us to talk

Without our shivering lips and warbled words.

Failing that we could hold each other tight

To preserve the heat –

I’ll be the fire, you be the water

And let the steam of our love ascend

About this catalytic cylinder

We call Earth.

A gross monstrosity of steel

That knows no life beyond it,

Only that someone keeps the fire hot

And pours the water in.

Is it God, or just another man

Who’s bigger and significantly cleverer

Than your Fascist Mathematics teacher?

And if it broke and became very cold

Would he fix it straight away?

Or like a Land Lord

Would he let us freeze

For a month

Or maybe even two?

And if it grew so cold, would you love me still

Or leave me there to pay the water bill?

‘Open this door!

You clever man and help me find another partner.’

A man with skill and qualification

And willing to work in administration,

To trap his mind in a prison cell,

From nine-to-five his soul to sell.

Who cooks the tea

And cleans up baby wee,

From yellow shit-stained carpets;

And cleans the house,

And traps my friend’s unwanted mouse,

And makes me cum (just twice a day),

And loves me so, in that special Robot way.

My ideal partner would be

A gross monstrosity of steel

That knows no life beyond it.

That–Loves–Me–Alone

That–Loves–Me–Alone

The Watch


I wear my watch

On the wrong arm

Apparently

And it ticks

Out of time

Each tick

Overwrought

By every other second

As it sits on my wrist

Gently whirring

My thoughts

Deeply stirring

As the seconds

Come and go

As the seconds

Come and go

Never fast

Never slow

This beguiling

Constant

I’ll never know –

That cursed watch

Keeping watch over me