Monthly Archives: June 2016

Belle

In December 2015 as part of the ‘Christmas Carol’ theatrical event at the Charles Dickens Museum, and with Equapoise Theatre, I was lucky enough to write three scenes that would be included on the big day.  

The Gravedigger –  in the courtyard, A mother and Son – in the wash house and Belle – in the dressing room.

Below are the words of Belle.

SCENE THREE: BELLE

She sits alone at a dressing table fixing her face and hair. She looks as if she’s attending a party. She’s wearing a wedding ring. She stares at her reflection.

BELLE: Laughter. That was the key. When the smiles and laughter drifted away, like yesterdays snow flakes, caught in a breeze, that’s when I knew. I knew he no longer cared for me, I was lost to him, and so was the world in which I lived.

She applies powder to her face.

It breaks my heart a little, when I hear people talk and gossip about him. There’s no tenderness, no warmth. I hear his name, and the man I knew, is no longer the man described in their icy voices, in their cutting words. The man I remember is but a painting in my memory.

She fixes her hair.

If I told them how he loved to dance, or how he held my hand, so softly, so full of affection. They would not believe me. They couldn’t. For the person they know is but a shadow, a darkness, concealing the true nature of the man.

She pauses.

Mrs. Ebenezer Scrooge.

Silence.

I would not have made him happy and in turn, eventually, I would have been consumed by my own bitterness and resentment. I loved him, but it was not enough. He had grown to love something different, something new. Something shiny. She puts on her earrings. I do not doubt that he would have married me. Be it out of obligation. Duty. A love for which he once bore me. We would have lived in a fine house. I would have surrounded myself with beautiful things. Perhaps children. But only if he had learnt to share. Even with me, would he of learnt to share…?

She finds a lipstick.

But a marriage can not be built on money. Love can not be bought. Your heart beats to its own individual rhythm. It will let you know when love has entered the room, and in turn, if it should leave you. It will find a way of letting you know, of dealing with the pain, of rebuilding itself and growing even bigger, even stronger, because you have survived it. Love belongs within you, that’s where it lives and dies, it is yours and yours alone.

She applies the lipstick.

And that is where I have kept you, my darling Ebenezer. The man you once were and the thoughts, and hopes, of the man you could have been are safely stored away, locked in my imagination so that you will not be forgotten. Lost to the man you have become.

She looks at herself, checking for any last finishing touches. She puts on her gloves.

I wonder what you have done with me? If I still exist in your heart? In your memories. If I live on in anyway? If I called your name, would you hear me? Would you hold out your hand to me? Would you change… I wonder, Ebenezer Scrooge. I wonder.

She looks as if she’s about to leave. She traces a hand over her face. She slowly removes the gloves. She takes a tissue and wipes away the lipstick. She dabs off the powder. Her earrings are placed back on the table. She stares at her reflection. As if in a dream, she removes the wedding ring, and places it gently on the table. Everything is back in its place, as if trapped in the glass, she begins the cycle again, and again.

End scene.

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The Gravedigger

In December 2015 I was lucky enough to work with Equapoise Theatre http://www.equapoisetheatre.co.uk and the Charles Dickens Museum http://dickensmuseum.com to help bring to life A Christmas Carol in the very rooms that once belonged to Charles Dickens.

I wrote three scenes, The Gravedigger –  in the courtyard, A mother and Son – in the wash house and Belle – in the dressing room.

Below are the words given to George, the gravedigger.

SCENE ONE: THE GRAVEDIGGER

He’s leaning on a shovel, talking to the audience.

GEORGE: I’ve dug many a grave in my time. Man, woman, child. And there ain’t been one, until today, that I haven’t shed a little tear for. My Mrs says I’m a soft touch. Maybe I is. But I can’t help it. I think about them. Who they might have been. What they might have done, or not done. I think about their loved ones, left behind. Having to say goodbye.

Pause.

Plus, it’s a very important job. Digging up the earth. The ground. Creating someone’s final resting place. I takes that very seriously.

He holds out his shovel.

This is my best and most faithful friend. Abigail. Ain’t she lovely?

He looks at it with pride.

Giving something a name, anything, makes it special. Could be a pet for instance. A toy. A stove. A beloved hat. As soon as you give that thing a name, it’s got meaning. A soul. It matters. Same with people. People are defined by their names. If I told you my name was Lord Billington of Mayfair square for instance, you’d laugh at me. You would. Even if I did say it in my most poshest of posh voices. Lord Billington of Mayfair square. Funny ain’t it? But when I tell you my name is really George, George Tilly, from the East End of London, you’ll smile at me, and think, he really is. He’s a George. A George Tilly, from the East End of London.

He speaks to an audience member. Improv. A suggestion:

What’s your name? (Response.) I would’ve guessed it without knowing a thing about you. Cos’ you look like a (name of audience member), don’t she/he? (To a lady) And you. I bet you’re a Rose. (She says no, hopefully) then your parents got it horribly wrong! Horribly wrong! He laughs. But it can also work the other way. You hear a name and just the sound of them letters, all mixing together, sends a chill running through your heart. Because attached to that name, is a thing, a person, so dark, so cold, so unfeeling that even the Christmas Robin, the jolliest and warmest of all creatures, will turn his head for fear of catching its eye and being turned to stone. A name like, Ebenezer Scrooge. Mr. Scrooge was a man who had everything, and shared nothing. He was a man with power, a gift, and he used it against the people, instead of for the people. He loved the things that can’t possibly love ya back. Money. Influence. The business of importance. He was a lonely, bitter man, with nothing in his soul but blackness.

He pauses.

I said I didn’t cry for this man. For this grave. But standing here now, talking to you, I feel the tears coming upon me. For I feel… pity. A sadness. This man, this creature, what was so unloved. So lost to the things that make us, us. Compassion. Kindness. Laughter. Silliness. I bet he never once in his life danced or made merry. He hated Christmas. And that says something. Hating Christmas. A time, no matter what you believe, where you can find something wonderful in it… It could be a day of rest. A day with loved ones. Or even just a day to be warm, cosy, sitting quiet with your thoughts. A day to be thankful. A day to give. Or, if you’re like me and the Mrs, a day to be fat, full, and bursting with sherry.

He laughs. A silence slowly falls over him.

No one attended his funeral. They laughed at his death. Celebrated it even. And that feels wrong. Even though he was the most unfeeling of gentlemen. It feels wrong to treat him the way he treated others. It makes my heart heavy, just thinking about it. There are tears, a sadness. They took all his belongings, passed them out. Strangers. There’s nothing of him left. Nothing that he’ll be remembered for. He’ll become a forgotten man.

Church bells begin to ring.

Well now, listen to them… It’s Christmas.

Silence.

And in the name of Christmas, in the spirit of human kindness, would you share this moment with me? A moment of silence for poor old Mr. Scrooge. A man who doesn’t deserve it, but, even in death, needs our guidance to be a better man. Because by doing so, it reminds us to be better. To be kinder. To be softer. And to always remember, what is truly important when living…

Pause. He removes his hat and bows his head. A moment of silence.

Merry Christmas.

End scene.


Contemplation

They look to you with worry in their eyes.

They wonder why you’ve kept up the lie.

It failed, the notion of being singular, of the act of I.

And, yes. I look to Maggie when I speak of the nation that lead a vibration.

A pulse that would tear down the very foundations.

That young generation now old in it’s station.

Rotted up and bittersweet spat out it’s own contemplation.

The fear of the outside, ‘LET’S BRING BACK OUR GREAT NATION!’

As thousands more die.

 

They’ve kept you busy, what with the students, the doctors, the refugees.

And with your eyes turned in wonder…

They’ve ripped up, sold off, all of your pride.

They’ve drilled in to the earth, at her very core, searching for a price tag.

A gold mine.

A new source for life.

Fuck it if it means the end for all beings.

As long as there’s cash flowing through fingers and doors.

What else is there to live for? Get down on all fours.

 

Get busy with fear.

Get busy with hating.

So they can stop you from thinking, showing you care.

Compassion.

Humanity.

You’re right, why should we share?

It’s only children.

It’s only a mass of bodies and lies.

We’ll blame someone else.

We’ll look to the skies.

Anything to stop us from helping.

Being a community that spreads the worldwide.


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