Alfie and Val are an older couple living contently in their suburban town until the day Alfie
has to have two amputations due to cancer. After many upsetting months Alfie decides he
wants his wife, Val, to end his life. Val respects his wishes and carries out his last request,
for her to make some friends before he dies. The moment she heads down to the women’s
institute is the moment her life takes a turn for the unexpected and Alfie finds a new lease
of life in the garden!
VAL: Quietly quirky and eccentric. She is a retired nurse who is often anti social. Her life
revolves solely on her husband and garden. Actor 1 - Female
ROSE: Big, vivacious, flirty, giggly, chatty, Sexy 50 year old woman. Never worked a day in
her life. Lives off deceased husband’s millions. Actor 2 - Female
ALFIE: Normally a loud, fun, sociable and attractive older man but currently feeling lost and
vulnerable looking for escapism. Actor 3 - Male
GRETTLE: Irritable, opinionated and bolshie, female nettle bush. Actor 4 – Male
Stage directions/Stage directions
ESTABLISHING WHICH CHARACTER IS SPEAKING
Val’s poetry, monologues that are always spoken out to the audience
Stage left (Kitchen) there is a table with a few jugs of ginger beer, a knife, a chopping board, some ginger,
a lemon, a pot of mint leaves, a pot unknown herbs and 3 glasses. There are potted plants dotted about
the stage (I can provide the plants if necessary.) Scene starts centre stage in summer garden. Val is in the
garden. She has a spade in her hand and is finishing filling a hole. Val is replaying things said previously
by Alfie and Rose. Rose and Alfie’s voices are heard fading in and out over classical music. (Actors and
Director are free to change the order of these few lines or experiment with different ideas – on stage/ off
ALFIE: End my life Val! (Beat) I love you Val!
ROSE: Where have you been hiding, Val? We should have been great friends! (Beat) Aren’t you a fiery thing! (Beat)
Oh, Val, what a lovely gardening space!
ALFIE: Great beer Val!
ROSE: Oh its wonderful beer Val! Ooh please can you make us some more of that wonderful ginger beer Val? Oh
ALFIE: Thanks Val
ROSE: What do you think of my dress Val?
ALFIE: I think it lovely Rose!
ROSE: Oh! Thanks Alfie. (Beat) There’s going to be a pond! Alfie and I have dug a big hole for a fabulous pond.
ROSE & ALFIE: A lot more could be done.
They both giggle as the music continues. Then Val shoves her spade in the soil and the music stops
abruptly. She sighs peacefully, potters to her chair and drinks a glass of ginger beer. She is sat next to
Grettle the Nettle played by fourth actor.
VAL: My garden is a cosmopolitan city, full of multicultural characters and I am a social butterfly alighting upon
them. If you listen carefully you can hear the rustle of their chatter. Now I sit between Grettle the Nettle
(feminist, very prickly about men) Grettle looks at Val indignantly and Connie the Cornflower. By the Amaryllis is
where my chair is propped; for thoughts of him.
My Alfie, My Amaryllis.
With a head just like his -
Flamboyant, starry, trumpet
You wouldn’t have believed it.
To know he shrivelled at the news
His body was now out of use
Like blotching leaves and browning bud
It seemed Alfie’s health was no good.
Leaves had to be trimmed
Lost a few limbs
My Alfie wilted,
Jilted by his body,
Soul not ready
To be a crippled man...
We made plans;
It was time to dead head
Not just flower bed
But an Amirilus that swore
He was browning to the core.
So I would be the one
To put garden gloves on.
He told me I had to give life a go
Get out, Make friends. I met Rose.
Val looks at Grettle with a slight smile as if she has said something nasty about Rose.
VAL: Now Grettle don’t be nasty!
But she has caught Grettle off guard because she didn’t say a thing.
GRETTLE: I didn’t say anything!
Val doesn’t respond as she can’t actually hear Grettle.
VAL: See I have a gift, I can hear them communicating with me
GRETTLE: Obviously not very well.
Again Val doesn’t respond.
Strongly rooted in my memory
When I tooted upon Rose Gregory.
Clutching ginger beer, wanting to disappear
At the women’s institute
When suddenly introduced
To, Green fingered, fat fingered, red lipped, big hipped, wig of marshmallows , And a voice that bellowed –
Enter Rose. As Rose approaches Val, Val stands up and walks towards her. We are now with Rose and Val
when the first met.
ROSE: Hello!! Lovely to meet you! I’m Rose. Oh it is lovely to see a new face at these meetings because nobody in
this neighbourhood seems to take recycling seriously. I’ve been getting ever so green since my husband died. I
suppose it gives me something to do. The gardening side of things I’ve always loved I must say. But I have awful
concern for the environment now. I feel very maternal to the earth and I do everything I can not to abuse it. Don’t
GRETTLE: Maternal! There was nothing maternal about the way she used to trim Lavender, Poor Lavender cried for
Val and Rose never hear or acknowledge Grettle.
VAL: Oh. She laughs nervously. Well to be quite frank I’m not sure if I’m a believer of all this global warming
ROSE: Well that’s absurd!
VAL: There’s been global warming throughout the ages. We’ve had Ice ages, melt down and there wasn’t any cars
then, was there. I think we just can’t deal with fact that we are neither responsible nor able to control the
ROSE: Well you are wild a fiery thing aren’t you? Where have you been hiding all these years? We should have
been great friends!
GRETTLE: Global warming! Huh! l I just think you humans are a breed that revel in fear and guilt. You can’t do
anything without feeling bad about it. Val and Rose walk off stage. It’s part of the human condition; except you
Val, I’m sure you’ve got some plant in you somewhere. Grettle looks round see that Val is no longer there. Val?
Oh charming! She then looks round the garden and talks to other plants. At some point in her next spiel you
hear the plants sigh with boredom. Anyway as I was saying, their society is always coming up with horror stories
to try and control the masses. Take Adam and Eve for example; they were punished for discovering their sexuality.
Well, Eve was punished of course – named and shamed for centuries and all over an apple. Annie would have given
them one for free, She looks up to Annie the apple tree. Wouldn’t you Annie. But that’s patriarchy for you! I mean,
the bible don’t forget, was written by men and-
A deep offstage voice (Can be played by third actor) of Willow the Tree comes in with a rustle of branches:
WILLOW: Oh Grettle shut up!
Grettle looks indignantly up at Willow.
GRETTLE: There’s no need to take that tone with me Willow.
Val enters saying the following:
Rose thought I was quirky;
She’d trot round most days at 2.30.
ROSE: Oh Val, what a fabulous garden! A lot more could be done, I must say!
GRETTLE: Huh, I could say the same about you love!
VAL: She said it was pretty
My cosmopolitan city.
Spouting about what was sprouting here
As she’d sit and sip my ginger beer.
Prancing around, like on a grassy stage.
This fine diva was in her domain;
Enter Alfie. He hands Rose some work gloves. She gives him a flirty eye.
ALFIE: Shall we start weeding then. (To Rose)
VAL: I’ll make ginger beer
ROSE: Sounds like a plan!
Alfie and Rose begin to garden while Val trots off to kitchen table.
VAL: She prepares ginger beer (grating ginger and adding mint leaves etc).
Persistent as a woodpecker, Rose.
Had an idea to make garden videos.
Wouldn’t let it go!
By this point Val has the jug and glasses on a tray and is taking them in the garden. She notices a camera
facing Rose and Alfie. They are filming themselves gardening. Rose is talking through Alfie’s pruning of a
They were a success.
Rose and my Amaryllis
ROSE: There’s going to be a pond. Alfie and I have dug a big hole for a fabulous pond.
VAL: Great! She says to Rose, gritting her teeth slightly
Val pours them a juice and takes the jug back to the kitchen table. She begins to get more manic with her
jug and stirrer as she prepares more refreshments. She then takes it back to where they are.
Adored for their double act,
Admired for their hands on facts
I made ginger beer.
Val slams the jug down with a fake smile. She is trying to look composed. She heads back to the kitchen
table to prepare another jug. She is manically grating ginger.
From there daft charade
I thought I’d try lemonade.
She then gets a waitress tray and puts a fresh jug and glasses on it. She walks over to where they are. They
are giggling together while Val is stood behind them and saying the following - getting more and more
The Sunny and Cher of the gardening world, and I...... was a cocktail waitress!
They’d prune and giggle, Rose playing me like a fiddle.
Rose looks up at Val and says the following:
ROSE: Val, stop hovering like a bird of prey.
Val looks at her and then looks at the audience with a bitter smile. She takes the jug and tray back to the
kitchen. She is upset.
VAL: (Trying to conceal feelings of hurt)
Lemonade held no punch
Back on ginger beer by lunch.
You know an Amaryllis’s head gets so big
It needs its stem supporting with a twig (Emotional angry at Alfie).
Plans were made by my Amaryllis and I
Before he found new zest for life
Val then walks over to Rose and Alfie with the jug on a tray again. They are canoodling behind a honey
VAL: They were canoodling in my Honeysuckle. She says with a very stern, disturbed and angry disposition.
GRETTLE: Well if it had been me Honey, I would have stung them. I know where my loyalties lie. Sisters are supposed
to look out for each other.
A voice from back stage (perhaps a recording).
HONEY: Shut it Grettle! It’s none of your business. It was horrible for me too you know. Val just stood there and did
nothing. Rose’s knickers were stuck in my twigs for days.
VAL: I did nothing,
My ginger beer was frothing!
Val walks over to kitchen table again. Alfie and Rose come from behind the bush and straighten out. They
sit back on the grass while Val prepares ginger beer.
I made ginger beer with a twist -
Val add some of the pot of herbs to the jug of ginger beer this time and walks over to them with it on a cocktail
tray. She hands them a glass. Alfie and Rose act out the following and die:
I made ginger beer with a twist
I watched them drink it down, frown, clench their fists
Veins as big as shoelaces,
Bulging under blue faces.
Frothing at the mouth
Gurning like two trouts
Not a pretty sight
Eyes wide and worried
They knew they were dead and buried.
Val looks down at the two dead bodies. She then rolls them into the hole where the pond was supposed to
go. We are then back to the beginning scene: Classical music comes on with Alfie and Rose’s voices saying
the same things as the start. Once again music stops abruptly as she shoves her spade in the soil. She sits
down next to Grettle and drinks a glass of ginger beer.
VAL: Great Compost!
I didn’t want a pond thanks Alfie.
Well, Rose, you can’t say I don’t do my recycling!
Val sits back on chair.