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Laid Upon A Pebble-Bed - The Actry Factry Ltd Drama Classes

VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 59

									                                    Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




LAID UPON A PEBBLE-BED

                                          by


                    Richard Sinnott
    Original version premiered at the Jennie Lee Theatre, Bletchley



    If you wish to perform this entire play, or extracts from it, in any
professional or amateur capacity for paying audiences or in open official
   competition, or in any situation - private or public - at which either
 money is charged for admission or official recognition of a standard is
  sought ( i.e. a LAMDA qualification ), please contact me via the e-mail
         address below to discuss suitable rates of remittance.


  If you just wish to perform an extract for an audition piece ( i.e. to get
     into drama school or to obtain a part in a professional or amateur
production ) or as part of an acting showcase ( i.e., an event attended by
 casting directors seeking new talent ) then feel free to do so and best of
luck, on the honourable understanding that I am properly credited in any
             programme or conversation afterwards. Fair swap!



                 looked@askance.freeserve.co.uk


                Copyright: 20th February 2006

                      Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006     1
                               Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




       LAID UPON A PEBBLE-BED
                    PRESS REVIEWS




“ .. a playwright of real natural promise .. Mr. Sinnott chose
an aging couple in a Cotswolds cottage: types I have met,
                  but never seen on a stage.
 Miss Michael‟s confession of love and Mr Garth‟s private
   reflective smiles are very pathetic; so is the effective
                       conclusion …”

              Anthony Masters - ‘The Times’




 “Richard Sinnott … writes with extraordinary perception”

                Daphne Jones - ‘The Stage’




                 Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006   2
                                     Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




         LAID UPON A PEBBLE-BED
                             CHARACTERS

                        MARTIN                -     60 years old

                       GRACE                   - 57 years old

                       CONSTABLE - 35 years old


SETTING:

A small cottage in the Cotswolds. 1989.


PRÉCIS:

Martin and Grace have been married for thirty six years. They wed in 1953
when he was twenty-four and she twenty-one.


Martin has recently been forcibly retired from his post as a Geology lecturer at
an F.E. College in the West Midlands. Embittered, vindictive and emotionally
impotent, he does not enjoy his marriage, his three adult children who never
visit or especially his early old age and seeks solace in working his way
systematically through the Birmingham phone book, making insolent or
abusive phone calls.


Grace meanwhile - homely, indulgent and excessively 'wifey' - would seem
merely to be the innocent, loving, victim of circumstance, but she too has her
vices; spying on her immediate neighbours bedroom with a telescope.


MARTIN: Tall, leanly handsome, picked leaner by misanthropy and self-
           hatred.
GRACE: Medium height, plumpish, with a baggy, rumpled, beauty. Looks
           always as though she had something else on her mind at the time.



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                                      Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




IN DETAIL:


A ground-laying, relatively harmless first half gives way to a bleaker,
confrontational denouement, wherein personality and actions transpose into
emotional and literal ammunition.


For as the play progresses and Martin becomes more and more empty
it grows clear that he has always wanted to leave Grace but has never had
the guts. And so ever the coward, he attempts, via drunken Russian Roulette
with an army revolver, to provoke her into leaving him. But Grace flares only
briefly – alluding to what sounds like an accusation of sexual molestation of
his own children and the reason they have refused all contact with him since
leaving home - before swaddling him with her lovingness again.


We finally leave him in the blank despair of one who sees no other prospect
than to watch himself grow old and die, as Grace prepares him the
symbolically castrating 'nice cup of tea'.


Yet although Martin is the obvious candidate for our dislike, we should come
to realise that Grace has played just as acute a role as her husband in
creating them both; gradually emerging as a woman who is not as green as,
to her husband's eye, she is cabbage looking. We see that much of her
wifeyness has been a deliberate and successful attempt to bind him to her,
for in portraying the woman he thinks he has fashioned the more completely
she ensures he can never leave her and he remains ignorant to the last. They
deserve each other.




                        Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006    4
                                      Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




                                    PRELUDE

FX: SCRAPING CHAIRS AND LAUGHTER.

( DURING THIS TAPED PRELUDE THE FOLLOWING REALITY WILL SLOWLY FADE UP FROM
BLACK AND ESTABLISH:
A HOT AUGUST EVENING. MARTIN IS SITTING AT THE DINING-TABLE, PATIENTLY CARVING AT
A BLOCK OF WAX WHICH IS RECOGNISABLY ASSUMING HUMAN FORM. A WICK TRAILS
LENGTHILY FROM EACH END. HE WILL CONTINUE SO FOR THE ENTIRE ACT, THOUGH IN A
MANNER QUIETLY SUBSERVIENT TO THE NARRATIVE. HE IS ALSO DRINKING GIN & SMOKING.
GRACE IS AT A DESK BY THE WINDOW, PEERING THROUGH A SMALL MOUNTED TELESCOPE
AND MAKING OCCASIONAL NOTES IN A LEATHER-BOUND DIARY )



MARTIN: ... it is therefore impossible to mark it with anything of a hardness
           less than eight on the Mohs scale, M.O.H.S … I know, but it's
           always useful to revise a valid point, you are familiar with the
           concept? If not you've no right to be here.
GRACE:     ( MORE DISTANT )   Martin ..?
MARTIN: Failing that we can always resort to the acid test, yes that is where
           we get the expression, and we should do this anyway, whatever
           the first result ... this one pops up in the most ridiculous places,
           no right to be there at all .. yes, Reynolds, it probably didn't do its
           revision. ( LAUGHTER ) Quiet!
                ( ELECTRIC BELL, SCRAPING CHAIRS, TEACUPS IN STAFFROOM )

           They haven't a clue, don't want one, why do we bother ..?
                ( CLASSROOM AGAIN )

           Don't bait me Walker! Oh, throw it out the window, for God's sake.
GRACE:     Martin, the tea's poured, I've put your mug down there ...
MARTIN: What's that at the bottom then?
GRACE:     Hmm?
MARTIN: Alluvium you idiot, glacial waste, been there for millions of years.
GRACE:     I'm sorry.
MARTIN: So what caused it?
GRACE:     .. Maybe I didn't wash up properly. ( LAUGHTER )
MARTIN: Good god girl, what sort of an answer's that? They should have


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                                      Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




           taught you this at GCSE! ( BELL RINGING ) Tatton! Think it's fizzy pop
           do you, cos you'll fizzy pop if you get it on your fingers. A couple of
           drops, that's all you need ...
GRACE:     It's been raining ...
MARTIN: Marvellous ... well I don't think much of you lot if we're going to get
           personal about it ... well tell the Principal then, we'll see who she
           listens to! ( PHONE RINGS ) Answer that Grace, I'm too tired ...
           Obsidian of course, what else would it be with that colouring?
GRACE:     Martin you've had a letter.
MARTIN: Trilobite you moron! I can see that from here ..! What do you want
           from this course, hmm ..? Well tough, it's me or nothing, get used
           to it ... what was that Grace ...?
GRACE:     A letter.

                                               *




                        Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006            6
                                     Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




                                  .ACT ONE.

MARTIN BREAKS FROM HIS CARVING, POURS HIMSELF ANOTHER GIN, SMOKES, BROODS .


MARTIN: I wish you wouldn't do that Grace ( PAUSE ). Grace.
GRACE:     The Perseids are due …
MARTIN: Ah, and when exactly do they streak across the Thomas's
           curtains?
GRACE:     Anytime now the paper said .. it's very clear, it's been a lovely day.
MARTIN: Till I ran into the Plants.
GRACE:     Oh, not the azaleas?!
MARTIN: No, at the chemist's.
GRACE:     .. Oh .. I don't care for her very much ..
MARTIN: Or him. Reminds me of a terrier. One of those small, yappy things.
GRACE:     Hmm ...
MARTIN: .. That fella in Edgebaston. He was small.
GRACE:     How can you tell somebody's size over the phone?
MARTIN: Because little people always want to be big people.
GRACE:     Professional dwarves don‟t ..
MARTIN: Coffin, that was it. There's only one listed, but he's there. T. Coffin
           of Edgebaston. So I rang him up and said, Coffin? and he said yes
           and I said well take something for it then.
GRACE:     And ..?
MARTIN: Hung up.
GRACE:     Perhaps he really did have a cough ...
MARTIN: Sort who owns a car that‟s too big for him, have you ever
           noticed that Grace, how little people always drive around in big
           cars? Pathetic.
GRACE:     Well if you‟re little even a mini must be a big car ...
MARTIN: Bane of my life in the rush hour. Office blocks with fuel tanks and
           what's at the wheel? Tiny bloody Tim. What's happening now?
GRACE:     She's taken her dress off and he's getting something out of the
           bedside ... oh.


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                                       Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




MARTIN: Oh. Well if he comes up here asking for any H P elevens we've
           got three spare in the drawer. Are you going to make dinner soon?
GRACE:     Yes, I'll just finish my notes first.
MARTIN: Must you? Two people humping, what's so notable about that?
GRACE:     Damn!
MARTIN: Unexpected hail of meteorites?
GRACE:     They've closed the curtains.
MARTIN: Good for them.
GRACE:     They've never done that before. Oh how annoying!
MARTIN: Well that isn't on is it, I'd go down and complain if I were you.
                ( GRACE TURNS ROUND FOR THE FIRST TIME )

GRACE:     I'll start dinner.
                ( BUT SCAMPERS UPSTAIRS INSTEAD )

MARTIN: You won't be able to see over the curtains just because you're a
           floor higher up, you know..!
                ( HE CASUALLY TAKES A PEEK THROUGH THE TELESCOPE HIMSELF )

           I can always ask them to do it in the garden …
                ( GRACE RE-ENTERS, WEARING HAIR-SLIDES )

GRACE:     Grips.
MARTIN: What about them?
GRACE:     I've been cooking for over half your life Martin and you still haven't
           noticed ..?
MARTIN: What?
GRACE:     Hair makes a very poor flavouring.
MARTIN: .. Oh yes, you do, don't you?
GRACE:     Only thirteen thousand times.
MARTIN: How many ..?
GRACE:     Work it out.
MARTIN: Er .. three six five, thirty six ... thirteen thousand one hundred and
           forty, ha!
GRACE:     Makes you think, doesn't it?
MARTIN: Yes, of dinner.
                ( GRACE IS LOOKING OUT OF THE WINDOW )

           Oh, leave them alone ..!


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GRACE:     I‟m looking out for Spike , I haven‟t seen him for a while, have
           you?
MARTIN: No, and Spike hasn't seen me either so we're quits, Grace I'm
           hungry ..
GRACE:     What if he's been run over ..?
MARTIN: He most likely has been run over, it's part of his trades description.
GRACE:     No it isn't.
                 ( SHE ENTERS THE KITCHEN )

MARTIN: Probably half way to Belgium on an Artic cross-ply.
GRACE:     No!
MARTIN: Well if Nature wanted to cosset him she'd have made him a
           domestic rabbit and killed him with hand pats and boredom, that's
           why I don't care, because he's free to die, yes ..?
                 ( GRACE EMERGES FROM THE KITCHEN WITH A SAUCER, SOME BREAD
                  AND A FULL MILK BOTTLE )

MARTIN: Oh you're surely not ..?That fat-arsed cat'll snatch it again.
GRACE:     Only because Spike left it.
MARTIN: It sees you coming, you know. Every time the back door opens it
           thinks it's Christmas.
GRACE:     Cat's don't have a Christmas.
MARTIN: How do you know?
GRACE:     Spike needs to see a proper meal waiting. And I told you he only
           liked it if it was soaked up in bread but you dunked it all in your
           Mulligatawny.
MARTIN: Serves him right then, fussy bugger, he'll be leaving notes for the
           milkman next.
                 ( GRACE IS NOW OUTSIDE )

GRACE:     It was only a bit off a stale loaf, Martin, it‟s good to put yourself out
           for wildlife.
MARTIN: So we swap, do we? He gets the Hovis and I suck on a slug,
           marvellous.
                 ( GRACE RE-ENTERS )

GRACE:     I'll make it now. Grumble grumble grumble!
MARTIN: I don't ask for much.


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GRACE:     Don‟t you? You'd spin the earth backwards if you could, just
           to prove a point.
MARTIN: Wrong, I don't want to wake up knowing the Yanks have already
           been at it for five hours. God knew what he was doing when he
           made the World and stuck America at the arse-end.
GRACE:     When have you ever believed in God?
MARTIN: Whenever it's suited me to, that's what he's there for.
GRACE:     You'll go to hell.
MARTIN: Won't go short of a hot dinner, then, will I?
                ( PAUSE )
GRACE:     ... I spoke to mother today, she didn‟t ask after you.
MARTIN: Fine.
GRACE:     I‟m worried about her, her heart‟s murmuring again.
MARTIN: Talking about her behind her back.
GRACE:     It‟s not funny, she's not well and she‟s out there on her own thanks
           to you!
MARTIN: Your father overdosed of his own accord. And it was her decision
           to start a slanging match.
GRACE:     Well what did you expect her to say when you told her to get a
           rent book?
MARTIN: So I'm a charity now, am I? No, don‟t recall registering for that.
GRACE:     She's an OAP!
MARTIN: We're not far off it ourselves.
GRACE:     Oh we've got money Martin.
MARTIN: But no job.
GRACE:     Well .. you shouldn't have got yourself sacked, should you?
MARTIN:    ( FROSTILY )   It‟s called early retirement, actually.
GRACE:     After your classes were boycotted.
MARTIN: The department wanted younger blood, it was politics and budget
           juggling, my teaching was irrelevant.
GRACE:     That‟s exactly what your students said                ( HE TENSES ).   You could
           have thought younger. Students love old lecturers who are still up
           to date and with it.


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                                       Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




MARTIN: Don't be ridiculous. I deal in aeons, if I got any more up to date I'd
           be studying house bricks. Being old goes with the job.
GRACE:     You know that's not true.
MARTIN: Alright it's not true. But if they insisted on some hairy arsed sod
           with a pierced ear and a smooth line in rock jokes, what could I do
           about it?, make the dinner.
GRACE:     I just think it's sad, that's all. I sat down the other day and thought
           of all the people I know who like you. There aren't any.
MARTIN: They didn't want geology Grace, it's a filler cos the uni's demand
           three A' levels; "I‟m doing English, History, now what else?
           Geology! Nice and old, that'll impress the bastard‟s, sounds
           good!" Not one of them deserved to pass. Then I found them using
           my Jurassic Ammonites for an ashtray. Millions of years they'd
           been travelling, seen all the ages of dinosaur and man and how
           do they end up; covered in brown spit and nub-ends, I was glad to
           leave!
GRACE:     ... at least they paid you off well. And it's a very nice pension.
MARTIN: Oh very nice.
GRACE:     Mother wouldn't put any strain { on it }.
MARTIN:                                               { No }.
GRACE:     Martin ..!
MARTIN: Meals-on-wheels, home-help, boy-scouts, what does she need us
           for?
GRACE:     She hasn't any savings.
MARTIN: Yes she has, the Bank of Bingo. Look Grace, I worked bloody
           hard for this house and I'm not going to watch your mother gamble
           the lease on two fat ladies and a clickety-click, I'm sorry but no
           way.
                  ( PAUSE )
GRACE:     ... She's met a man there, says he's nice.
MARTIN: Rich?
GRACE:     Not at Bingo.
MARTIN: Then she‟s saving on a hot water bottle.


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GRACE:     ... He's called Andrew.
MARTIN: I know, I was in the bedroom so I picked up the extension.
GRACE:     What?!
MARTIN: Well she won't speak to me, how else do I keep ahead?
                ( GRACE IS FUMING )

           Since when have you been a respecter of privacy, anyway, that's
           not my telescope is it ..? ... Hell, if I can't pick up my own phone,
           where's the point?! ( THE PHONE RINGS, STARTLING THEM BOTH )
MARTIN:    ( ODDLY NERVOUS )      .. Expecting anyone?
GRACE:     No. You?
MARTIN: No. Can't remember the last time it rang.
GRACE:     The kids!
MARTIN: What the hell would they want?
GRACE:     To say hello!
MARTIN: No.
GRACE:     Well answer it!
MARTIN: Oh, yes .. ( HE ANSWERS THE PHONE ) What? ( SUDDENLY SOFTER;
           CHARMING )    Oh, no, no Barry here, where you ringing from? Sutton?
           Coldfield I presume? Yes, I know it well .. mm ..                ( HISSES )   Grace ..!
GRACE:     ( DISAPPOINTED )    What?
MARTIN: Pad. ( TO PHONE AGAIN ) I'm sorry, what's the full name, Barry ..?
                ( GRACE HANDS HIM HIS PAD AND PEN )

MARTIN: .. Morton? No, still doesn't ring a bell. ( HE BEGINS MAKING NOTES )
           Your brother? Ha! Ah well, Telecom for you isn't it! Oh I say, your
           husband doesn't work for them does he? Oh you're not ..? Beg
           your pardon, I'm very old fashioned. Look, hate to be rude Jean,
           but I'm halfway .. isn't it? Oh sorry, could have sworn you said,
           Angela?! Then I'm sorry Angela. Anyway, must go, but try again.
           Pleasure. ( HE HANGS UP AND STUDIES HIS PAD )
GRACE:     ( KITCHEN )   Who was that?
MARTIN: Angela Morton, single, Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield. Shouldn't be
           too hard to look up.
GRACE:     ( FLATLY )   Oh, that's what you were doing.


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MARTIN: Her brother's called Barry. He's been arrested for indecent
           exposure.
GRACE:     She told you that?
MARTIN: No, but that's what I'm going to tell her when I get to M. Do us a
           cup of tea Grace.
GRACE:     Oh, alright. Where are you up to now?
MARTIN: G. All those Polacks with Z's in the middle, been stuck in it
           for weeks. K's even worse, oh don't pull a face, she's at least a
           year off yet, might even have moved by the time I get there, you're
           such a hypocrite Grace.
GRACE:     I just watch. They don't know so it doesn't hurt them.
MARTIN: I stand humiliated and corrected.
GRACE:     Yes.
MARTIN: God, you're so literal. Relax .. Chill out!
GRACE:     ( GRACE LAUGHS, POURS HERSELF A GIN )                  Chill what?!
MARTIN: Out.
GRACE:     Chill out ..!
MARTIN: You spend too long shopping between your ears, there are some
           advantages to lecturing teenagers.
GRACE:     Until they lecture you back. ( FROSTY PAUSE.                  MARTIN HOLDS OUT HIS

           GLASS. SHE POURS GIN IN IT )         Sorry.
                           ( SHE POPS BACK INTO THE KITCHEN )

MARTIN: .. You've got to keep up, that's the secret, even if you hate them,
           learn the things they say.
GRACE:     Martin, I've been thinking of going to night class.
MARTIN: .. What for?
GRACE:     Astronomy.
MARTIN: Good idea.
GRACE:     .. You approve?
MARTIN: Why shouldn't I approve? Get you out the house, give you some
           independence.
GRACE:     .. You'd have to find your own supper once a week.
MARTIN: Naturally.


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GRACE:     And you don't mind? ( AS GRACE BRINGS THROUGH HIS DINNER, A PLATE
           OF SANDWICHES: )

MARTIN: Not at all. I like ( HE SEES; DISAPPOINTED: ) sandwiches.
GRACE:     Probably not bother really.
MARTIN: .. This is dinner?
GRACE:     .. No, I don't think I will.
MARTIN:    ( STILL OF SANDWICHES )        Is this practice?
GRACE:     Plenty to get on with here first.
MARTIN: Like what?
GRACE:     Oh, there's always something to be done. I'm always putting things
           off.
MARTIN: You're putting this off. Do it.
GRACE:     No. No, it‟s unfair to leave you here on your own.
MARTIN: I'm a big boy now. Go and do your own thing. Have fun.
GRACE:     But what do you want?
MARTIN: I want you to go.
GRACE:     .. Batik! I'll take up Batik, I can do that here. Yes .. yes.
MARTIN: Excitement getting too much for you?
GRACE:     It was just an idea.
MARTIN: Aren't they always ..? Batik?
GRACE:     Yes.
MARTIN: You'll pay for the wax.
GRACE:     I'll pay.
MARTIN: Talking of which, you‟ve been polishing my shotgun barrel again.
GRACE:     It was dirty.
MARTIN: So what if you succeed in gumming the mechanism? What if we
           get burgled?
GRACE:     Oh we won't, not here!
MARTIN: You, lying there, raped and murdered, and I've got to tell the
           police „oh yes I'd have shot the bastard but I couldn't get my gun
           out the spin-dryer‟!
                  ( GRACE LAUGHS, MARTIN, DESPITE HIMSELF, SMILES )

GRACE:     Don't want to go unavenged, do I?


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MARTIN: Wax it again and I'll beat 'em to it.
                ( PAUSE )

GRACE:     Why don't we invest in a CD player?
MARTIN: What for?
GRACE:     Well, music.
MARTIN: Turn the radio on.
GRACE:     They don't play what I like. Big Band music. Haven't heard a good
           record in months.
MARTIN: Nor would you on a CD player.
GRACE:     Discs then, ha ha.
MARTIN: Expensive, ha ha.
GRACE:     Please?
MARTIN: .. would be rather nice { I admit }
GRACE:                                     { Oh yes! }
MARTIN: but what about all our old albums, hell of a waste.
GRACE:     We've only got five.
MARTIN: Oh. Let's bear it in mind shall we?
GRACE:     ( HAPPIER ) The     house was always full of sound when the children
           were little, remember? Often a bloody nose or a scuffed elbow.
MARTIN: Mine usually.
GRACE:     Only ten months between Pierce and the twins. I was so proud.
           Everyone thought they were triplets ..!
MARTIN: More like a litter. And all of 'em runts.
GRACE:     Martin ...
MARTIN: When they pretend to be loving children I'll pretend to like being
           their father.
GRACE:     I never wanted two more so quickly, you know.
MARTIN: Condom's are more reliable nowadays.
GRACE:     So is the use of them. You put it on inside out.
MARTIN: It was packaged inside out. Which I‟d have noticed if somebody
           had let me keep the light on.
GRACE:     It's nicer in the dark. More romantic.
MARTIN: And it was too small.


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GRACE:     You're meant to unravel them. Joke! So where did you get them?
           Not Boots ..?
MARTIN: Alf‟s Barber's.
GRACE:     Oh, I remember him!
MARTIN: Rich Alf, made a fortune out of us. That's why we all had no hair
           until the sixties, bugger-all to do with fashion. 'Short back and
           sides', ha! He could do you any cut in the world as long as it was
           short back and sides! Even his shop had short back and sides ..!
GRACE:     So did his condoms. Still, the kids took after you, you had that
           satisfaction.
MARTIN: Hmm.
                ( GRACE SUDDENLY KISSES HIM ON THE FOREHEAD )

MARTIN: What was that for?
GRACE:     Just wanted to show I didn't mean anything.
MARTIN: Right.
GRACE:     Do I get one?
MARTIN: .. On your birthday. When is that?
GRACE:     Same day as it was when you last forgot. November.
MARTIN: Hmm.
                ( GRACE IS AT THE TELESCOPE )

GRACE:     Ah ..! They are funny you know. They close them, then open them
           again ..
MARTIN: Isn't that the idea? They're surely not still at it? Aren't they out of
           breath yet?
GRACE:     They're very young.
MARTIN: Not so naive though. Oh, god ..!
GRACE:     What's up?
MARTIN: Work tomorrow.
GRACE:     What work?
MARTIN: Exactly.
                ( LONG PAUSE. GRACE MAKING NOTES, MARTIN DEJECTED )

           Fancy a game of Scrabble later on?
GRACE:     … If you like.
MARTIN: Sound enthusiastic Grace.

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GRACE:     No, I do want to play, I like it, but .. it's just that you never agree
           with the rules and you get annoyed.
MARTIN: Alright then, we won't bother.
GRACE:     Oh yes, let's play, I really don't mind.
MARTIN: No, don't bother.
GRACE:     I don't mind!
MARTIN: Soon then.
GRACE:     Yes ..
                ( HE GOES TO A CABINET, REMOVES A SCRABBLE SET AND WILL THEN
                 BE LOCATING A BLANK PAD AND EXPECTING TO FIND HIS PEN )

MARTIN: You'll be able to see the letters quite clearly you know, you don't
           need that stuck to your eye.
GRACE:     Soon ..
MARTIN: You're going to make me wait until they finish aren't you?
GRACE:     Won't be long now ..
MARTIN: Be all night. He goes jogging.
GRACE:     Soon ..
MARTIN: 'Healthy living'. Makes me sick.
GRACE:     They're finishing ..! They're { finishing, Martin .. }
MARTIN:                                        { Where's my pen?! }
GRACE:     Hm?
MARTIN: My pen, where is it?
GRACE:     What pen?
MARTIN: You know what pen. My black biro, the retractable nib one.
GRACE:     Biro's don't have nibs.
MARTIN: You know what I mean, then? The pen I always have, all in one,
           plastic, black upper half, transparent lower half, with a little push-
           down button on the top and a flicky thing at the side to push it
           back out again.
GRACE:     Flicky thing?
MARTIN: Yes, a { little .. }
GRACE:              { What's a flicky thing? }




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MARTIN: You know, it's on the side and if you press it in it cancels what the
           push-down part did.
GRACE:     A press-in thing?
MARTIN: Yes!
GRACE:     Not a flicky thing?
MARTIN: .. It's a pen! You know what a pen looks like, what have you done
           with it?
GRACE:     Why presume I've done anything with it?
MARTIN: Oh God! Hundreds of pounds worth of things in this house, I've
           given you the lot, they‟re yours, enjoy, what do I want? oh nothing
           much, just my favourite black biro,
GRACE:     { Martin .. }
MARTIN: { not a lot } to ask is it, no, that's not good enough for you, got to
           have that as well, why? cos it's there, but it isn't, that's what I'm
           saying,
GRACE:     { Martin ..! }
MARTIN: { twenty five } pence, that's all, twenty five p‟s worth of crappy
           black plastic where I know I can find it, oh so selfish of me, what
           an ambition!, where've you put it?!
GRACE:     Have you looked on your desk?
MARTIN: Of course I have!
GRACE:     Jacket pockets?
MARTIN:    ( HE HASN’T )    .. Only the most obvious place Grace!
GRACE:     Then I honestly don't know, but I haven't touched it Martin.
MARTIN: Oh forget it, go back to what you were doing.
GRACE:     I'm sorry.
MARTIN: Forget it, forget it. ( GRACE TURNS BACK TO THE TELESCOPE AND MARTIN
           QUICKLY CHECKS HIS JACKET POCKETS. HE FEELS THE PEN )             I'll buy myself
           another one in the morning.
GRACE:     I'll have a search for it later ..
MARTIN: No, it's just a pen, are we going to get silly over a pen?
GRACE:     Then I'll be with you as soon as you've set up.
MARTIN: No .. I'm not in a scrabble mood after all. It is a stupid game.

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                 ( HE POURS HIMSELF A DRINK, THEN SITS AND LEAFS THROUGH THE
                  TELEPHONE DIRECTORY )

GRACE:     ( GLUMLY )   .. Who are you ringing?
MARTIN: Green. M F Green, Sparkbrook. ( HE PRESSES DIGITS )
GRACE:     You‟ve been on „Green‟ since last week.
MARTIN     Never ending.
GRACE:     What are you going to say?
MARTIN: .. Not a lot, it's dead.
GRACE:     Saved a few pennies anyway.
MARTIN: M S .. M S Green... ( HE PRESSES DIGITS ) God, I hate getting stuck
           in these common names ..
GRACE:     Ours is a common name.
MARTIN:    ( FROSTILY ) We're    ex-directory.
GRACE:     Oh .. yes.
                 ( THE LIGHTS FADE DOWN. WHEN THEY RISE AGAIN IT IS NIGHT, THE
                  CURTAINS ARE CLOSED AND A CD PLAYER IS NOW RESIDENT. SIX
                  BIRTHDAY CARDS CAN BE SEEN; OBVIOUSLY FOR GRACE. THE CANDLE
                  IS NOW MORE DEFINED; A CLEAR BODY AND ROUGH OUTLINE OF
                  CLOTHES. GRACE AND MARTIN SIT AT OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE
                  TABLE, THEIR DRESS ALTERED ENOUGH TO MAKE THE POINT, A NEAR-
                  COMPLETE GAME OF SCRABBLE BETWEEN THEM.

          * MARTIN’S SCRABBLE RACK CONSISTS OF: R E F D L I & ONE OTHER
     *GRACE’S SCRABBLE RACK CONSISTS OF ANY THREE OF T I T S & FOUR OTHERS


MARTIN IS HUNCHED DEEP IN THOUGHT OVER HIS LETTERS. GRACE SITS UP STRAIGHT AND
HAS HER HANDS CLASPED TOGETHER IN FRONT OF HER; SHE HAS OBVIOUSLY BEEN
WAITING SOME TIME. AFTER A FEW SECONDS SHE UNCONSCIOUSLY TWIDDLES HER
FINGERS. AFTER A FEW MORE SECONDS MARTIN NOTICES AND, WITHOUT MOVING, HONES
IN ON THEM; WITHOUT SEEMING TO NOTICE, GRACE NONETHELESS STOPS, NEITHER
MAKING EYE CONTACT. MARTIN RESUMES HIS MENTAL BATTLE AND GRACE SHORTLY
TWIDDLES AGAIN. THIS TIME MARTIN NOTICES MORE QUICKLY AND STARES BELLIGERENTLY
AT THEM. GRACE STOPS AGAIN, AWARE THIS TIME; STILL NO EYE CONTACT IS MADE.
MARTIN RESUMES HIS BATTLE, GRACE FORGETS AND BEGINS TO TWIDDLE FOR A THIRD
TIME. MARTIN NOW REARS UP IN VAST IRRITATION AND GLARES BALEFULLY, DIRECTLY AT
HER. GRACE SHARPLY UNTWINES HER FINGERS AND LOOKS SHEEPISH. MARTIN GOES BACK
INTO HIS HUNCH AND HUFFS, BUT EVEN IN DOING SO SPOTS A WORD OPPORTUNITY HE HAS
HITHERTO MISSED. BEAMING SMUGLY AT GRACE, HE PLACES ‘R’, ‘E’ AND ‘F’ ON THE BOARD )

GRACE:     What have you got?
MARTIN: R E F on use, refuse.

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GRACE:     … Or refuse.
MARTIN: Refuse.
GRACE:     It's a good one.
MARTIN: That's, er ..
                  ( MARTIN ADDS UP HIS SCORE AND IS WRITING IT DOWN AS GRACE
                  SLOWLY SLIDES THE BOARD TOWARDS HERSELF AND ROTATES IT –
                  IRRITATING HIM INTENSELY IN HER OVER-DELICATENESS – AND THEN
                  IMMEDIATELY PLACES THREE LETTERS. HE SUDDENLY REALISES AND
                  LOOKS UP )

MARTIN: …What are you doing, I haven't even got my new letters yet.
GRACE:     It‟s my turn.
MARTIN: Well at least think about it first.
GRACE:     I have done.
MARTIN: On my time, yes, now the pressure‟s straight back on me.
GRACE:     Well that's part of the contest.
MARTIN: Contest! Why contest, it's meant to be a game?
GRACE:     Yes!
                  ( SHE SLOWLY PUSHES THE BOARD BACK TOWARDS HIM, WITH THE
                  SAME OVER-DELICATE IRRITATION FACTOR )

MARTIN: Let's see ... ( HE ROTATES THE BOARD TO LOOK ) Well you can't
           have that, it‟s slang.
GRACE:     Except when it‟s a bird, Mr. Grubby.
MARTIN: Well you‟ve put it in plural. Lose that and I'll allow it.
GRACE:     Why should I lose plural?
MARTIN: Because a single „Tit‟ still works.
GRACE:     ( GLANCES AT BOARD ) ..     But with „Tits‟ I can double.
MARTIN: You're not allowed to just shove on an „S‟, you know that.
GRACE:     „Apostrophe S‟. Plural‟s okay.
MARTIN: .. Where do you get that from?
GRACE:     ( PICKING IT UP : )   The lid. ( PUSHING IT TOWARDS HIS FACE: ) There.
MARTIN:    ( SNATCHING THE LID BEFORE IT ENTERS HIS ‘SPACE’ ) I            can see for myself,
           thank you. ( HE READS. GRUMPILY: ) My go then. ( HE REACHES INTO THE
           BAG ) There's    no more letters.
GRACE:     Aren't there?
MARTIN: No there aren't there.

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GRACE:     So that's good Martin, you can use up your last letters and finish
           the game. ( MARTIN GLANCES ANGRILY AT THE PAD ) You can win it with
           those ..?
MARTIN: Not if you keep babbling, you're doing it on purpose aren't you?
           Right ... hmm ... yes.
                ( HE PLACES THREE OF HIS LAST FOUR LETTERS, E, L AND I, THEN ADDS
                 THEM UP. GRACE PEERS AT THE BOARD )

GRACE:     Dee-lye?
MARTIN: Deli.
GRACE:     What does that mean?
MARTIN: Deli .. catessan. ( GRACE SMIRKS ) Are you laughing at me?
GRACE:     Martin, that's as blatant an abbreviation as { I've ever heard! }
MARTIN:                                                              { It's not an   }
           abbreviation!
GRACE:     It is, you've just proven { it! }
MARTIN:                                  { No, } everybody says 'deli' nowadays, it's
           become an accepted term in its { own right }, perfectly
GRACE:                                                  { No Martin ... }
MARTIN: legitimate place, I've been there ..!
GRACE:     No, it was New Delhi you went to and there's an H in it, D E L H I.
           You've spelled it D E L I, there should be an H in the middle.
MARTIN: Well I didn't have a bloody H, did I?!
GRACE:     Q.E.D.
MARTIN: I didn't have those either! God almighty Grace, where's the fun if
           you‟re nutting me with the lid every five seconds?
GRACE:     There have to be rules.
MARTIN: That's never stopped Monopoly. Nobody sticks to the rules in that,
           they make up their own.
GRACE:     Like what?
MARTIN: Like putting all fines in the middle and whoever lands first on free
           parking gets the lot, oh I know it's not on the lid but it peps the
           bugger up a bit!
GRACE:     Well if we're going to change the rules we should agree on it first.


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MARTIN: That wouldn't satisfy Mrs Bythebook, you just want me putting
          down words like 'safe' and 'secure' and 'husband' all night. I'd
          rather read the dictionary and be done with it.
GRACE:    Can we just calm down please?
MARTIN: … Can I have 'deli' then?
GRACE:    Not if we're being fair.
MARTIN: Pedant!
GRACE:     ... There is another reason why you can't have it, you said it
          yourself.
MARTIN: … What?
GRACE:    It's a place name. „No Proper Names‟. It's on the lid.
               ( SHE HAS LIFTED UP THE LID AND MAKES TO HAND HIM IT. AS SHE DOES
               SO HE SLAPS HIS HAND DOWN UPON IT AND CAUSES IT TO LAND WITH A
               LOUD ‘WHAP!’ ON THE BOARD, SCATTERING THE PIECES )

MARTIN: .. Stupid, stupid, game, had enough of it, what's the time?
GRACE:    Ten-thirty.
MARTIN: Exactly?
GRACE:    Ten thirty-three, four.
MARTIN:   ( WITH ASPERITY )   .. More like twenty-five to then?
GRACE:    Dead on, yes, almost.
MARTIN: Right, I'm going for a pee.
               ( HE PUTS ‘E’, ’L’ & ‘I’ BACK ON HIS RACK AND TAKES IT WITH HIM )

GRACE:    ( CALLING BRIGHTLY )    You‟ll still need two „E‟s to score with it!
               GRACE CLEARS THE SET, REMOTELY ACTIVATING THE CD PLAYER; AN
                INSTRUMENTAL ACKER BILK. SHE RELAXES WITH A DRINK. MARTIN'S
               HAND APPEARS, WITH ANOTHER REMOTE. THE MUSIC STOPS, THE HAND
               DISAPPEARS. GRACE TUTS, REACTIVATES THE MUSIC. THE INTRIGUE
                IS REPEATED SEVERAL TIMES; A VERITABLE TUG-OF-SOUND. AFTER ONE
                SILENCE THE SOUND COMES BACK DEAFENINGLY. GRACE NOW
               SWITCHES IT OFF AND MARTIN NOW SWITCHES IT ON AGAIN, THE
               COMEDY CONTINUING UNTIL HE SWITCHES TO THE ‘FM’ RADIO AND THE
               TRACK ‘SMACK MY BITCH UP’ BY ‘THE PRODIGY’ )

GRACE:    Oh stop it, stop it, stop it!
MARTIN:   ( ABOVE )   What are you doing Grace?!
GRACE:    It's not me, it's this thing!
MARTIN: Again?


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GRACE:     Yes.
                  ( MUSIC SUDDENLY SWITCHES TO ORIGINAL ACKER BILK TRACK )

GRACE:     Oh, that's it, ( CALLING ) got it now, it's alright!
                  ( MARTIN ENTERS )

MARTIN: Grace, I've taken it back twice already.
GRACE:     I know!
MARTIN: If it goes back again, it stays back.
GRACE:     Well maybe it's the remote control,{ not the .. }
MARTIN:                                                         { I've taken that back as well,
           I've changed everything twice.
GRACE:     They can't all be defective.
MARTIN: Wouldn't bet on that. Cheap foreign technology after all.
GRACE:     I don't believe that any more. And they wouldn't give you another
           one without checking it first.
MARTIN: Then maybe it's because we live on a lay line.
GRACE:     .. Lay line? I thought they only did weird things to people.
MARTIN: Well, we're all electrical systems, maybe it's picking up some sort
           of pulse. And a CD can't reason, can it? It just does what it thinks
           its being told.
GRACE:     ( DOUBTFULLY )    But that's never affected the kettle.
MARTIN: The Kettle's a retard. Am I getting rid of it then?
GRACE:     It's such a shame, I was really happy we'd got one.
MARTIN: I know you were and I'm sorry too, I was beginning to like it, but
           the line's got to be drawn eventually.
GRACE:     Even when it's Lay?
MARTIN: Ha! Very quick.
GRACE:     Alright. But leave it on for now, it's behaving itself.
MARTIN: No, lets have some quiet while we finish the game.                       ( PUTS CD OFF )

GRACE:     But I‟ve put it away.
MARTIN: What for?
GRACE:     Because you conceded and { said you didn‟t want to play .. }
MARTIN:                                            { I did no such thing, I‟ve still got } four
           letters.


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GRACE:     You said you'd had enough of it, „stupid game‟, you said.
MARTIN: Yes, except 'I've had enough' is not the same as 'I've had enough',
GRACE:     { What! }
MARTIN: { two } totally different things, not the { same at all },
GRACE:                                                          { Oh for God's } sake!
MARTIN: no they're not, ever heard of figurative Grace? { figurative, I was
GRACE:                                                                      { I know what
MARTIN: speaking figuratively }, why would I have kept my letters
GRACE:     figurative is ..! }
MARTIN: then, eh? Why take them for a pee if I'd given up?
GRACE:     You'll do anything to avoid losing, won't you?
MARTIN: You put the game away, so { technically }, you conceded; I win.
GRACE:                                           { You'd given up! }.
           You do this every time, every time!
MARTIN: I say, bit of spark in the old log after all. You just can‟t admit you‟re
           talking guff, that's { what it is, guff, you've been doing it } for
GRACE:                             { I'm talking what happened, Martin! }
MARTIN: months {now, months .. }
GRACE:               { I've hardly } said a word, you { never let me! }
MARTIN:                                                         { Clear as day } when it
           began, clear as { day, you might as well have put up advertising }
GRACE:                           { What was, what are you talking about ..?! }
MARTIN: hoardings, this, what you're doing now, more { of the same }, you,
GRACE:                                                                     { What was..?! }
MARTIN: your hormones, The Change.
                ( FOR SOME MOMENTS GRACE IS UTTERLY STUNNED )

           .. You are going through it.
GRACE:     ( WITH QUIET DIGNITY )    .. Yes I am, actually, why should I deny it?
MARTIN:    ( APALLING SMUGNESS ) Q.        E. Diddly-dee!
GRACE:     But that has nothing to do with this, this is you always having to be
           right and you're not! Q. E. Diddley-Three!
MARTIN: It's fascinating to observe you at times, flapping around in a pool



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           of contradictions, forgetting what you've just done { or why
GRACE:                                                                                  { That's
MARTIN: you } even did it, like a chameleon nailed to a collage.
GRACE:     a lie! }                                                                   That's a
           vile thing to say!
MARTIN: What about the 'astronomy' then, eh? None of that before, was
           there?, previous to the last twelve months, co-incidence?
GRACE:     Of course it { is! }
MARTIN:                   { Of course, } be quiet, you've got nothing to say.
GRACE:     You think I've no mind of my own?!
MARTIN: Thinking's an opinion, I know.
GRACE:     ( YELLING ) Well     know this, we were alright, having a nice evening
           and then you made us play that stupid game and ruin everything
           and we've lost the CD and you've made fun of my body when it‟s
           not my fault and you still hate the kids when that‟s your .. oh ..!
                 ( SHE TRAILS OFF WITH A GESTURE OF SUBMISSIVE RESIGNATION )

MARTIN: .. ( COLDLY ) Carry on.
GRACE:     I'm tired.
MARTIN: I want the rest. First Barney in years, don‟t back out of it now.
GRACE:     I‟ve forgotten what I { was saying …}
MARTIN:                               { No you haven‟t‟ }
GRACE:     Yes, you were right, I can‟t remember.
MARTIN: Say it.
GRACE:     No.
MARTIN: Say it!
GRACE:     NO! .... no.
                 ( SHE PICKS UP THE REMOTE, DEFIANTLY RENEWING THE MUSIC )

MARTIN: ... Jesus! .. I'm going to get the coal in.
                 ( HE STOMPS OUT. A VERY LONG PAUSE )

GRACE:     ... Martin ..? ( MARTIN SLOWLY RE-ENTERS ) We haven't had coal for
           twelve years.
MARTIN:    ( SUBDUED: ) …    Hence there being horse-manure in the coal-house.
GRACE:     ( CHANCING A JOKE; AN OLIVE BRANCH )                  And it‟s not the same really, is
           it? It‟s cheaper, but it makes the „Aga‟ smell.

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MARTIN: Ha ha.
GRACE:     Ha ha.
                 ( PAUSE. THE ANGER PASSES. )

MARTIN: Fat-Cat's had the milk by the way. Said he { would }.
GRACE:                                                                  { Spike! ).
MARTIN: No, some of it got spilled, there's little creamy paw prints
           everywhere.
GRACE:     They might be Spike‟s.
MARTIN: Leaping over the fence.
GRACE:     Oh.
                 ( MARTIN SITS )

MARTIN: I think I'll make a call.
GRACE:     Oh no, Martin, not tonight.
MARTIN: Why?
GRACE:     I don't think you'll enjoy it.
MARTIN: Well now you've said that, I will. Turn that off, please.
GRACE:     Oh can't you use the extension?
MARTIN: No I can't, it‟s too near the toilet, it smells of Domestos.
GRACE:     I'll turn it down.
MARTIN: No background clues. Think will you? Off.
                 ( GRACE SWITCHES THE CD OFF )

           Good girl.
                 ( MARTIN NOW INDULGES IN HIS WELL-WORN RITUAL; HE POURS A
                  DRINK, LIGHTS A SMOKE, PICKS UP THE BIRMINGHAM PHONE-BOOK
                  AND TURNS TO THE PAGE MARKED WITH A LEATHER PAGE-FINDER )

GRACE:     ( SADLY )   Who this time?
MARTIN: Hammer. Peter Robert. Moseley.
GRACE:     Which bit of Birmingham's that?
MARTIN: South. Right dump, slag's corner. So I'm told.
GRACE:     How many aitches are there?
MARTIN: Quiet Grace, I'm dialling.
GRACE:     I think I'll make something to eat.
MARTIN: Cup of tea if you're there then?
GRACE:     { OK }


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MARTIN: { Hello? } Peter Robert Hammer? Oh. Er, yes, my name's ( GLANCES
          AT PHONE BOOK ) .. Halstead.        Yes. You may indeed Mr. Hammer, I'm
          from Immigration Control. ( TO GRACE: EXCITED ) He's black, old boy,
          where's he get a name like that?               ( TO PHONE )      Mr. Hammer, there's
          no need to shout, this is not a joke, no neither are we the National
          Front, please keep calm. I am from Immigration Control and I‟m
          operating on a tip-off. So, exactly what nationality are you? British.
          And originally? I see. And how long have you lived in Britain? Oh
          it is our business. Thirty years. Well then, let us be frank with each
          other; for my part there are two Police Officers taping this
          conversation, for your part, what are you doing in this country
          without a passport ..? Oh come off it, Mr. Hammer, we know, you
          know, admit it and your kids get to stay …
               ( PAUSE. MARTIN FLINCHES & PUTS THE PHONE DOWN IN QUIET SHOCK )

GRACE:    .. What is it?
MARTIN: He did.
GRACE:    Did what?
MARTIN: Admitted it …
GRACE:    Being black?
MARTIN: He already knew that! .. I said you don't have a passport, you're
          illegal, admit it. He did.
GRACE:    Oh Martin ..
MARTIN: Now what do I do? Report him?
GRACE:    I told you these phone calls would { lead .. }
MARTIN:                                                       { Don't. }
GRACE:    He‟ll just get a fright. That's all.
MARTIN: .. He started to cry.
GRACE:    A black man?
MARTIN: Yes, a black man, black man crying, do you find that so amazing
          Grace? ( SHE SMIRKS ) What's funny about that?!
GRACE:    That‟s one of our five records!
MARTIN: ( DUMBFOUNDED ) .. I've just had a man in tears on the other end of
          that phone and you want to laugh at crappy puns? You're warped!


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GRACE:    I'm sorry.
MARTIN:   ( LOOKING AT THE DIRECTORY )         What the hell is he doing in there?
GRACE:    Yes, it was asking for trouble, really.
MARTIN: … Shut up.
               ( LIGHT'S FADE TO BLACK. MUSIC )




                             .END OF ACT ONE.




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                                    .ACT TWO.

A LOW PURPLE LIGHT. FX OF AN AUTO-WINDING CAMERA CLICKING FOUR OR FIVE TIMES.
MARTIN    APPEARS;   PURPOSEFUL,      THE CAMERA AROUND HIS NECK,                   CARRYING A
RETRACTABLE LADDER. HE DISAPPEARS. THE LIGHT FADES.
FX OF 'THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS' FADES UP, TACKY AND CHEERFUL, SHARPLY
INTERRUPTED BY A PHONE RINGING THREE TIMES. IT IS ANSWERED AT THE OTHER END.
MARTIN'S VOICE - EERILY AND IN A CHILD-LIKE BREATHLESS RHYTHM - QUIETLY SINGS:



MARTIN:     "We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas,
             we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year ...
             Good tidings we bring, to you and your king,
             we wish you a merry Christmas and a ha-ppy New .. Year ..."


THE RECEIVER IS REPLACED. LIGHTS UP ON CHRISTMAS MORNING. THE CANDLE'S BODY IS
NOW COMPLETE; A UNIFORM OF SOME KIND, THOUGH THE HEAD IS STILL FEATURELESS.


MARTIN ENTERS, IN TATTY DRESSING-GOWN AND SLIPPERS, CLUTCHING A WRAPPED BOX
AND LUMPY PARCEL. HE PUTS THE PARCEL BY THE WASTE-PAPER BIN, GOES TO THE BACK
DOOR, UNBOLTS IT AND PLACES THE BOX OUTSIDE. HE REBOLTS THE DOOR, BACK INTO THE
LOUNGE, OPENS THE CURTAINS. HE WALKS INTO THE KITCHEN & PUTS ON THE KETTLE.



MARTIN: Cup of tea, Grace ..?
GRACE:      Yes, I'll do it in a minute.
MARTIN: .. Would you like a cup of tea?
GRACE:      Oh, thank you! Merry Christmas!
MARTIN: Is it one sugar or two?
GRACE:      One and two thirds.
MARTIN: Naturally ... Grace?
GRACE:      Yes?
MARTIN: Where do you keep the bags?
GRACE:      In the caddy. The one that doesn't say 'Biscuits' on it.
MARTIN: .. There's three that don't say „biscuits‟ on them.
GRACE:      What do they say?
MARTIN: 'Coffee', 'Blank' and { 'Rice' }. What?
GRACE:                               { Blank }.                 They're in Blank.


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MARTIN: Why haven't you written 'tea' on it?
GRACE:     Well it doesn't take a lot to figure out does it?
MARTIN: 'Teabags by default', I thought you were more pedantic.
GRACE:     Not always. I like my kitchen unpredictable. If everyone has to ask
           it means I always have to show them.
MARTIN: Is that one of those murky feminist logics I'm not supposed to
           understand?
GRACE:     Hardly feminist, it's a Shed isn't it?
MARTIN: .. The kitchen's a shed?
GRACE:     Yes.
MARTIN: What the hell are you on about?
GRACE:     The kitchen is my kitchen, just as the shed is your shed.
MARTIN: ... Right then.
                  ( GRACE ENTERS WITH A SMALL PARCEL & PLACES IT ON HER DESK )

GRACE:     Merry Christmas!
MARTIN: I saw Spike through the window earlier.
GRACE:     Oh wonderful, he‟s alive!
MARTIN: Come for his sumptuous dinner perhaps.
GRACE:     Oh yes, I'll put something out for him.             ( GOES TO KITCHEN )

MARTIN:    ( TAKING TEA THINGS TO TABLE )        Tea's doing.
GRACE:     Thanks.
MARTIN: Milk?
GRACE:     Please.
MARTIN: Are you putting out milk?
GRACE:     Oh, yes. And bread. I'll mix some honey in too, make it special.
MARTIN: Why don't you leave him a cracker as well.
GRACE:     Oh wouldn't he look sweet with a little paper hat on!
MARTIN: Blowing on his little plastic green whistle.
GRACE:     Reading out his little corny joke!
MARTIN: Laughing.
GRACE:     Not if it was very corny!
MARTIN: I mean because we spent two quid on it.
GRACE:     Don‟t worry, I only bought five.

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MARTIN: That's three wasted then.
          ( AN AWKWARD PAUSE )

GRACE:    … You sounded in a good mood. Are you?
MARTIN: Mm.
GRACE:    I'm glad, you've been looking lots perkier this week, it's nice to
          see.
MARTIN: Don't let the buggers get me down, eh?
GRACE:    Absolutely. I'll pop over for a drink with Jesse and Marian a bit
          later, alright?
MARTIN: Do lesbo‟s have Christmas?
GRACE:    You know full well they do. And did you teach their parrot to say
          that?
MARTIN:   ( POURING TEA )    Innocent until proven. But if they ask you to pull
          anything make sure it‟s a cracker.
GRACE:    ( GRINNING )   Oh I don‟t know, I might find I like it!
                 ( GRACE STEPS OUTSIDE WITH A BOWL OF MILK, BREAD AND HONEY )

          Oh! Oh how sweet.
MARTIN: What is?
GRACE:    ( SHOWING IT THROUGH WINDOW ) My                 present, silly.
MARTIN: From whom?
GRACE: Thank you, all that bit about Spike, that was very clever, good job
          it's not raining.
MARTIN: Nothing to do with me.
GRACE:    You are romantic after all!
MARTIN:   ( SINCERELY )   No I'm not, it's not. Really.
GRACE:    .. Oh. ( SHE COMES BACK INSIDE, CLOSING THE DOOR ) Well who else
          would it be? Pierce! The twins!
MARTIN: They don't have our address.
GRACE:    Don't be bitter, not today, please.
MARTIN: They'd need a map and an A-Z though, that's true enough.
GRACE:    Yes, yes .. Sure it's not really from you? I bet it is.
MARTIN: No, that's yours over there by the bin.
GRACE:    Oh yes, didn't see that. Oh .. Martin ...
                 ( SHE HAS UNWRAPPED A PINK, PLASTIC TOY TELESCOPE. SHE LOOKS

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                 OUT OF THE WINDOW IN ALARM )

MARTIN: .. Batteries included?
GRACE:     Oh my gosh, they can‟t have seen me?
MARTIN: As easily as you saw them. Any message with it?
GRACE:     .. No, but there's a .. photo, pasted over the end.
                ( SHE LOOKS DOWN THE TELESCOPE, SHRIEKS AND DROPS IT. IT HAS
                 BEEN RINGED WITH BLACK POLISH; SHE HAS AN EYE LIKE A PANDA.
                 MARTIN, DEADPAN, CAREFULLY LOOKS DOWN IT HIMSELF )

MARTIN: .. I'd start closing them in future, Grace.
GRACE:     It's not funny Martin! How did they get it?!
MARTIN: Zoom lens of course.
GRACE:     Look again, go on! The bedroom lamp, it's lit, it was taken at
           night! And I always close the curtains. They crept right up to the
           house, they had a ladder, they put it up to the chink!
MARTIN: .. Oh yes, you're right.
GRACE:     Well it's disgusting, what are you going to do about it?
MARTIN: I'm not going to do anything about it. What's the difference
           between your telescope and their camera?!
GRACE:     They're not trying to hide anything, this is trespassing!
MARTIN: Don't be so bloody pious!
GRACE:     Trespassing Martin, the curtains were closed!
MARTIN: If there's a chink then technically they're open.
GRACE:     Technically that's assault!
MARTIN: So go and face 'em then, if you've got the balls, „cos they'll kick
           'em straight to the nearest police station, you think they haven't
           taken more?
GRACE:     I know they have and I want the police to find them!
MARTIN: Telescope in one hand, diary in the other, looking straight down
           their zoom lens..? Get yourself out of that one.
GRACE:     Oh God ..!
MARTIN: Find another hobby Grace. Something innocuous and legal.
GRACE:     A telephone chat-line, perhaps?!
MARTIN: .. No, no more. Sculpting. Night-class, remember?
GRACE:     No. I'm staying here Martin.

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MARTIN: Then stop moaning. ( NODS AT THE REAL TELESCOPE ) You can pack it
           away, after.
GRACE:     No! ( SULKY PAUSE. THEN, AS SUDDENLY, BRIGHT AGAIN: ) ... Let's open
           our real presents.
MARTIN: Alright.
GRACE:     You first. This is a surprise one too. It's your present from Santa.
                 ( HE UNWRAPS THE PARCEL. IT IS HIS SECRET CD REMOTE CONTROL )

MARTIN:    ( PUZZLED ) ..   The remote from that CD player ..?
GRACE:     Your remote from that CD player. I presume it was from Santa, he
           hid it in one of your socks.
MARTIN: .. Ah.
GRACE:     Ah.
MARTIN: .. Let's go and buy it back again then, { no harm done }
GRACE:                                                         { I already have }, it'll be
           here in the New Year. Too late for now, though, the time I most
           wanted to hear it.
MARTIN: Yes, alright.
GRACE:     Anyway, I'll give you your real present later.
MARTIN: Why not now?
GRACE:     You'll spill your dinner on it.
MARTIN: A cardigan.
GRACE:     Oh .. damn! ( LIVID WITH HERSELF ) Fib, fat, fart! Oh, I'm sorry.
MARTIN: Who needs suspense, the release is killing me. Your turn.
GRACE:     What?
MARTIN:   ( HE POINTS TO THE SMALL, LUMPY PARCEL )             Enjoy.
GRACE:     ( SOFTENING )    Oh, thank you. It's very heavy. Not pink, is it?!
MARTIN: Yellow actually.
                 ( GRACE UNWRAPS A LARGE, YELLOW-VEINED ROCK )

MARTIN: Iron Pyrite. Fools gold.
GRACE:     .. And what am I supposed to do with it?
MARTIN: Buy a car, fly to America, stay at the Hilton. Anything you've ever
           wanted. Just forget and be free.
GRACE:     Forget what?


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MARTIN: That it‟s worthless.
GRACE:     Is this a joke?
MARTIN: No. Iron Pyrite, Fools gold, Real Gold, Fools Pyrite. You're rich
           Grace! Merry Christmas!
GRACE:     .. You've got me a proper present as well ..?
MARTIN: Proper?
GRACE:     Yes.
MARTIN: Well it's not mentioned on the lid if that's what you're getting at.
GRACE:     .. You mean this is it?
MARTIN: Of course it is, cost me a fortune in effort. Real aches and sweat.
GRACE:     Don't tease me, you { know how I look forward .. }
MARTIN:                               { I'm not teasing you and I know how much
           you look forward, took me ages to find it, even longer to chip it out.
GRACE:     ... It's a bloody rock!
MARTIN: So are the Crown Jewels.
GRACE:     Stop being fatuous!
MARTIN: This house, England, the World. Three rocks sat one on the next,
           you'd be pretty damn poor without them.
GRACE:     What are you trying to prove?
MARTIN: That you‟re as rich as you think you are.
GRACE:     I think I want a proper present!
MARTIN: I didn‟t expect you to get it straightaway. But it‟ll grow on you.
GRACE:     .. It‟s more likely to grow on your head at this moment ..!
MARTIN: Dear, dear, look at that long face, you could use your ears for
           pockets. Booze time, fancy one?
GRACE:     ( STRUGGLING TO SECOND-GUESS HIS INTENTS )                 … Need one.
MARTIN:     ( HE POURS THEM DRINKS )        .. A cardigan, eh?
GRACE:     Yes. But if it‟s too small I‟ll exchange it for a boulder.
MARTIN:    ( GRINS )   Makes a change from last year, anyway.
GRACE:     What do you mean?
MARTIN: Well, ties and socks and things, you know.
GRACE:     That was your birthday and they came with a jacket and two shirts.
MARTIN: Oh yes. ( HANDS HER A DRINK ) Cheers. ( THEY SETTLE )

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GRACE:     ... Well whatever you‟re up to Martin, do you feel Christmassy?
MARTIN: Only children feel Christmassy.
GRACE:     Oh you know that's not true.
MARTIN: Yes it is. They get the most and give the least. Look at ours now,
           they don't feel Christmassy, they don't feel anything.
GRACE:     I don‟t want to talk about ..
MARTIN:    ( INTERRUPTS )   Where's all their presents then, eh? Still in the
           shops.
GRACE:     Better than still in the ground.
MARTIN: Not my fault if you didn‟t like it, Grace, but at least it was given. I
           mean a cracker would have been something, but not a sausage,
           not even a card.
GRACE:     Pierce did. It's that one there.
MARTIN: Only addressed to you though, eh? And he posted it second class.
           Really fell over himself.
GRACE:     I think it‟s nice. It‟s made by the blind.
MARTIN: So? Cashing in on public guilt; seedy, the whole thing. And what
           do the blind get out of it? What's the use of cards to them when
           they can't even see?
GRACE:     Well maybe they get those musical ones that play Jingle Bells
           when they're opened.
MARTIN: And who makes them, the deaf? Sorry, but you should expect
           more than a card from your eldest son, wouldn't hurt him to visit.
           And not even a whiff of one from the twins.
GRACE:     They're very busy.
MARTIN: So busy they'll have to force all the booze and dope down, oh
           they'll hate every wasted second, I'm sure.
GRACE:     ( TRYING TO DEFUSE WHAT’S COMING )             Jimmy Saville‟s on the telly!
MARTIN: Sam, it's all Sam you know, it's all her, slagging me off every
           chance Buddha brings, it's your mother all over again; your
           mother, with a crew-cut and free-fall tits. And Justin? Ha! Mister
           Flieshavefeelingstoo, Mister Mypartnerthis-Mypartnerthat
           because he thinks we don't know he's gay, oh he's happy being


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           his sister's gusset, that one. I told them didn't I? Tried to warn
           them, but no, wouldn't listen, just because it was me, well I've no
           sympathy, none at all, if they like slowly stabbing themselves to
           death and attending 'Bugger for Belfast' parties, I couldn't care
           less any more, but I wouldn't have put a card beyond hope.
GRACE:     Would you have read it?
MARTIN: It's that superior, sniffy attitude I can't stand. 'Everybody has the
           right to a voice, as long as mine's loudest', oh, so sussed, so
           credible, they're more me than I am and they know it!
GRACE:     ... Well I feel in a Christmassy mood, I think. Yes! I still get excited
           by it you know, even after all these years with you.
MARTIN: Touché.
GRACE:     I didn't mean it like that.
MARTIN: It's true though. I'm a boring old fart and Christmas doesn't thrill
           me anymore, but I like the way I am and it's too late now.
GRACE:     No it isn't. No-one's too old to have fun, I really believe that. I love
           this time of year, the carols, the decorations .. the rocks, I still
           wake up and hope that this time it'll have been snowing. Two
           whole wonderful, crunchy, feet of it, blocking up the pathways and
           hanging from the eaves!
MARTIN: And lashings and slashings of Timmy the dog.
GRACE:     It's gorgeous when it snows. Everything and everywhere looks
           tidy, swept .. don't you feel that? Oh I know it's a nuisance and
           kills people and gets in the carpet, but it is clean, Birmingham.
           Just for a few hours I think it must look like it did in olden times.
MARTIN: Full of freezing, wet, Brummies.
GRACE:     Smart, quiet, proud.
MARTIN: Nevertheless, it hasn't been snowing, not a flake, so if you went
           there now you'd see what you always see; cars, cars, and a hole
           with a hat on.
GRACE:     They‟re getting rid of all the underpasses. It‟s changing a lot.
MARTIN: Too late for me. ( SUDDENLY REFLECTIVE ) Smart, quiet and proud;
           here's what it's about.


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GRACE:     Then tell me, Martin. Often. I want you to love something.
           No jokes. Just tell me.
                ( HER EARNESTNESS SURPRISES HIM, BUT HE INDULGES IT )

MARTIN: Well, I'm no beauty, but .. when I go on my walks in Leigh‟s
           Wood, with a packet of smokes and my hip flask and there's no-
           one to come and spoil it .. when I have that, if it wasn't for that .. I
           really think I'd go mad. ( HE WALKS TO THE WINDOW ) It's free Grace.
           Pensioners in the city, they might as well die and be done. If you
           really want your bit of peace, you've got to go out and grab it
           yourself. So sod you World, cos I have.
           ( HE MOCKINGLY TOASTS THE VIEW. SILENCE )

GRACE:     Martin ..?
MARTIN: Mmm ..?
GRACE:     .. Pax?
MARTIN:    ( HE TURNS. A RARE, SHY, SMILE )          .. Pax.
                ( THE PHONE RINGS. FOR A SECOND OR SO THEY STARE DUMBLY AT IT )

GRACE:     The twins! ( SHE EXCITEDLY ANSWERS ) Hello ..?! ( HER SMILE FAILS ) ..
           It's for you.
MARTIN:    ( A PRESCIENCE; APPREHENSIVE )             I know.


LIGHTS FADE. WHEN THEY RISE AGAIN, MARTIN IS ALONE IN HIS CHAIR; DRINKING, MOROSE.
A LENGTHY PAUSE. THE DOORBELL RINGS. HE DOESN'T MOVE. THE BELL RINGS AGAIN .


MARTIN: It's open.
                ( PAUSE. A POLICE CONSTABLE SLOWLY ENTERS, GAZES ABOUT HIM.
                MARTIN DOESN’T TURN TO LOOK )

CONST:     .. Where is she?
MARTIN: Lezzie spotting.
CONST:     .. Tell her?
MARTIN: No.
CONST:     But she knew it was going on?
MARTIN: Of course.
CONST:     And she didn't try and stop you?
MARTIN: She has her own hobby.
                ( THE POLICE CONSTABLE WALKS INTO MARTIN’S EYELINE )



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CONST:     .. Going to invite me to sit?
MARTIN: No.
CONST:     Then I'll invite myself. I think I'll invite this cigar as well …
                ( HE TAKES ONE OF MARTIN'S CIGARS AND WILL UNWRAP & LIGHT IT )

           How long, Martin?
MARTIN: How did you know?
CONST:     Alice Hebborn. ( MARTIN LOOKS BLANK ) A. Hebborn? ( STILL BLANK )
           Hebborn. A ..? ( NOW HE TWIGS ) You terrified her, Martin. Hysterical.
           We had to leave somebody with her.
MARTIN: I sang 'Merry Christmas' to her, what's terrifying about that?
CONST:     Determined to avoid the point, aren't you?
MARTIN: You'll not prove anything on that; a silly old nutter spreading the
           word? You'd never get it in court.
CONST:     You‟d think so except we know about Merry Christmas because we
           were recording it.
MARTIN: You‟ll never make Number One now.
CONST:     “Exactly what nationality are you Mr. Hammer? British? And
           originally..?"
MARTIN: What ..?
CONST:     "For my part there are two police officers taping this conversation".
           Three, actually, we‟ve been monitoring you for weeks.
MARTIN: Then why am I still here?
CONST:     We don't want to go to court. Not unless we have to. Messy.
MARTIN: That's not it, you'd have done this then, why the delay?
CONST:     Exactly. Delay.
MARTIN: … You'd rather be rid of him than me.
CONST:     He broke the law first.
MARTIN: Is he gone?
CONST:     Oh within forty-eight hours, Immigration don't arse about.
MARTIN: God. But that still leaves five weeks.
CONST:     He's got children here, common-law wife. They were registered
           under her name, Single Parent, Father Unknown. But it wouldn't
           take much to get him back. Keeping it out the Nationals is the


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           hardest part.
MARTIN: It wouldn't take much to let him back, he's got kids for Christ's
           { sake! }
CONST:     { When } have you ever cared about kids? Anyway, we've still got
           the use of your last three calls. Between them they'd make a case.
MARTIN: Who put you on to me? I'll find out anyway.
CONST:     You‟re going to love this. She's a woman, she's old and you won't
           let her live here. ( MARTIN BOGGLES ) She was visiting. She picked up
           the extension to see if you were talking about her.
MARTIN:    ( FLATLY )   .. Poisonous bitch.
CONST:     Sauce for the Goose, eh Martin? Pass it, will you?
MARTIN: What?
CONST:     The Book.
MARTIN: 'The Book'. On this Day of Days let us pass The Book ..!
                ( MARTIN HANDS THE CONSTABLE THE PHONE BOOK. THE P.C
                 SEES THE LEATHER PAGE-MARKER AND OPENS IT AT THAT PAGE )

           'Hebborn'. You're not seriously telling me you've rung every one of
           these people ..?
MARTIN: The common names every ten, twenty in the very common, fifty on
           bank holidays, a hundred for a new month, five hundred on my
           birthdays and a Partridge in a pear tree.
CONST:     So what‟s that .. five, six years?
MARTIN: Eight.
                ( PAUSE )

CONST:     Other men take up fishing for a hobby, build models perhaps,
           but Martin?, oh not good enough, too much like being retired, he
           harries innocent people over the phone, that's his hobby. Shall I
           tell you how lucky you are?
MARTIN: Shall you?
CONST:     Fucking lucky. That you live in a small village, that we know who
           you are, that they sent me.
MARTIN: My cup runneth over.
CONST:     Worth a couple of years if it came to court.
MARTIN: No, cos if that happens, I'll tell the papers about Hammer. A sheep

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          for a lamb. And they would get him back in.
CONST:    Add another 'lucky' then. Lucky you chanced on a nigger.
MARTIN: .. Not even I'd've said that.
CONST:    I don't give a shit what you'd have said. It's what you did say, what
          you're not going to say again, you will stop this Martin, this
          morning'll be the last time, the last ever, you understand ..?
MARTIN: I didn't want that to happen to him.                   ( POINTS TO THE DIRECTORY )

          What the hell was he doing in there?
CONST:    His real name's Peter Robert Parsons. Hammer's the wife's name
          and it's her address. I suppose he felt safe enough, it was male
          ego made him list it with his Christian names, I said do you
          understand ..?
MARTIN: Don't you come here waving your big-boy bloody uniform at me.
          You're the law and I've broken you; prosecute.
CONST:    You want to be cooped up with a pack of thugs and bum-boys?
          Your accent, you wouldn't last five minutes.                   ( OF THE COTTAGE ) ..

          You really hate this don't you? Your problem's that you don't hate
          her. Not enough anyway, you're too much of a coward.
MARTIN: Get on with it.
CONST:    OK, If you insist on a sentence, you‟ve got one. Here. We're only
          doing this for her.
               ( THE CONSTABLE STANDS )

MARTIN: .. Prove it. She spies on the neighbours with that thing, watches
          them at it. Tell them, will you? Anything, just get 'em to close their
          curtains. I tried to, but failed. You don't believe me then read it.
               ( HE MOTIONS TO GRACE'S NOTEBOOK. THE CONSTABLE PICKS
                  UP A CRACKER BESIDE IT AND OFFERS AN END TO MARTIN )

MARTIN: I meant the notebook.
CONST:    ( MENACINGLY )   Pull it.
               ( MARTIN PULLS. IF NEED BE THE CONSTABLE DEMANDS THE CONTENTS
                WITH A FINGER-CLICK. HE UNFURLS THE HAT, PUTS IT ON MARTIN'S
               HEAD & STICKS THE PLASTIC WHISTLE BETWEEN MARTIN'S LIPS )

          Blow.
               ( MARTIN FEEBLY BLOWS. THE CONSTABLE UNROLLS THE JOKE )

          What an excellent joke. It says 'don't tell mum it was me'.

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                ( HE SCREWS UP THE PAPER, FLICKS IT AT MARTIN AND LEAVES.
                 MARTIN POURS A DRINK, GRIMLY CARVING THE HEAD OF HIS CANDLE )


LIGHTS FADE AND RISE AGAIN ON NIGHT. THE ROOM IS A MESS; PAPER, DIRTY PLATES,
EMPTY BOTTLES & A VERY DRUNK MARTIN SLOUCHED IN HIS CHAIR. HE WEARS A BATTERED
TOY PC HELMET HIS SON ONCE OWNED AND THE COMPLETED CANDLE IS FASHIONED IN THE
SAME SHAPE. HE ALSO WEARS HIS NEW CARDIGAN, PULLED OVER HIS DRESSING-GOWN,
THE LABEL HANGING CLEARLY FROM THE BOTTOM. GRACE DOZES IN THE OTHER CHAIR .


MARTIN: .. Grace ...? ... Grace ...? I'm pissed Grace.
GRACE:     Yes, you are, be quiet now.
MARTIN: You should try it. I said you should try it!
GRACE:     No need to shout.
MARTIN: WHAT?
GRACE:     Martin ...
MARTIN: There's nobody for miles.
GRACE:     We're not that apart.
MARTIN: For yards then, nobody for yards and yards ..That's the trouble
           with this place, nothing happens.
GRACE:     That's why you like it.
MARTIN: Bum.
GRACE:     I‟ll make us a cocoa.
MARTIN: I'm not that drunk.
GRACE:     I'll do one anyway. Be good for you.
MARTIN: Good for you, you mean. Have me off to sleep in five minutes;
           dumb and dribbling. I‟m bored, talk to me.
GRACE:     You talk, I'll listen.
MARTIN: Oh why me ..?
GRACE:     It's what we're used to. ( PAUSE )
MARTIN: .. You know, I've never .. been able to understand you. Hear that?
           Our names don't even match. I mean, who knows any couples
           called Martin and Grace? Martin and Fiona, yes, Grace and
           Teddy, maybe, but not Grace and Martin. It jars somehow.        ( SLIGHT

           PAUSE )   Why did we marry? I don't believe in God, you just think
           you do .. what was the point? Cos it was expected ..? There's


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           a poser, eh? If we were that age now, would we?
GRACE:     I would.
MARTIN: Or just live together for a while? Three, four years, 'bout the usual
           isn't it? What my students tell me.                   ( THICK BRUMMIE ACCENT: ) "Me

           older sister lives with „er partner Alex in Cannock. Two an‟ „alf
           years now. They'm even discussin‟ when to pencil in a babby!"
           ( PAUSE )   Told me.
GRACE:     .. Hmm?
MARTIN: My students. Not „tell‟ me, told me. Oh, they told me.
GRACE:     I'm going to bed.
MARTIN: My mum thought there was something funny about you, yes, she
           did .. said you'd hold me back.
GRACE:     Your mum and I were friends.
MARTIN: No, she was good to you so you'd be good to me. Ever the
           Mother. And she said something once which I thought I'd never
           forgive, but she was right. She could see it. You're old. You've
           always been old. You were an old little girl and now you're an old
           little wife.
GRACE:     Come to bed.
MARTIN: You're my shadow really. Hanging about behind me all day and
           then leaving me to it at night. What fun we have, eh? Remember
           when we used to make love?
GRACE:     We still do make love.
MARTIN: I meant when we enjoyed it.
GRACE:     Please don't let the drink make you spiteful. You always hate
           yourself for it afterwards.
MARTIN: Do I indeed?
GRACE:     Yes, you do.
MARTIN: .. Indeed.
GRACE:     Yes.
MARTIN: .. Indeed. ( PAUSE ) Wake up Grace! Come on you silly bitch,
           swear at me, throw a bottle, but do something! You've a right to be
           angry, for Christ's sake, use it! ( PAUSE. HE SLAPS HER VERY HARD ) ..


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           Well I'm not going to apologise, if you think I am you're wrong, so
           you might as well get up and leave. Go on!
GRACE:     I'm not going to ask you to apologise.
MARTIN: Well you should do! You should expect it! Jesus! .. I shouldn't
           have hit you, I apologise.
GRACE:     There's no need for this. You're a good man, this isn't you.
MARTIN: Good man? You think so ..?
GRACE:     I know so.
                ( PAUSE )

MARTIN: Then be Pierce for me. ( HE REMOVES THE TOY HELMET AND JAMS IT
           FIRMLY ON GRACE'S HEAD )        "Mum there?" That's what he always says,
           every time, never "hello dad", but "Mum there?", be Pierce for me,
           say it.
GRACE:     .. Mum there? ( HE SLAPS HER )
MARTIN: No, mum isn't there, mum isn't bloody well there, dad's there!, be
           Justin for me, "Can't talk long", that's what Justin says isn't it?
           "Can't talk long", Just-in time to ring off again, say it!
GRACE:     Can't talk lo ... ( HE SLAPS HER )
MARTIN: Don't bother then, bye..! Now be Samantha for me. "Typical
           washed-up male", that's Samantha's, "Typical, washed-up, male",
           say it, Samantha ..
GRACE:     Typical washed-up male.
                ( GRACE TENSES, BUT MARTIN ONLY STARES, THEN GRABS HER AND
                 KISSES HER FULL ON THE MOUTH, CUPPING HER BREAST )

MARTIN: 'G'night sweetheart'. Shocked ..?
GRACE:     .. You're drunk.
MARTIN: Don't blame it on that! This is not drink talking, it's me, me, me,
           me! Hate it!
GRACE:     It's drink, Martin.
MARTIN: Shut up! Shut up! I'm going to apologise whether you like it or not.
           I'm sorry. Now say after me .. 'I accept ..'
GRACE:     I accept ..
MARTIN: 'Your apology ..'
GRACE:     Your apology ..

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MARTIN: 'But not your actions'.
GRACE:     .. But not your actions.
MARTIN: Welcome to the world Grace, you're a bit late but never mind.
GRACE:     Can we go to bed now?
MARTIN: No, I want to have some fun.
GRACE:     Anything, whatever you want, as long as it's quiet.
                ( PAUSE. THEN MARTIN'S ANGER SLOWLY GIVES INTO A HUGE GRIN )

MARTIN: Stay there. ( HE GOES TO A DRAWER AND PRODUCES AN OLD ARMY PISTOL
           AND A BOX OF CARTRIDGES )         Yes, yes, yes, come to daddy ...
GRACE:     What are you going to do with that?
MARTIN: Load it.
GRACE:     ( FULLY ALERT )     Martin, no, you're not going to start disturbing
           people at this time of night, put it away.
MARTIN: Shut up. The only noise it'll make will be a very loud bang and it's
           you who'll be disturbed, to hell with anyone else.
GRACE:     Well don't wave it at me!
MARTIN: Oh I'd get used to the feeling, quick. Settee, never liked it.               ( HE

           FIRES THE GUN AT THE SETTEE, GRACE YELPS )               Yep, it works. Sit down
           here. ( HE MOTIONS TO THE TABLE )
GRACE:     Now Martin ..!
MARTIN: Sit down! ( FRIGHTENED, SHE DOES, MAKING TO REMOVE THE HELMET ) No,
           leave that on.
                ( HE NOW FETCHES THE PIERCE-CANDLE ON TO THE TABLE. FROM A
                  DRAWER HE GETS TWO IDENTICAL CANDLES; THE TWINS. HE PUTS
                  THEM EACH SIDE OF THE P.C, LIGHTING ALL WITH A MATCH. WE SEE
                  ALSO THAT HE HAS CUSTOMISED THE TWINS CANDLES SO THAT SMALL
                  WICKS PROTRUDE FROM ALL OVER THEM. THE LIT EFFECT IS OF
                  BODIES ENGULFED IN FLAME. HE SITS OPPOSITE GRACE )

           Happy families! Comfortable? Then I'll begin. Yum, Yum ..!
                ( HE PUTS THE PISTOL IN HIS MOUTH )

GRACE:     Martin ..!
MARTIN:    ( HE FROWNS )   Have you sprayed polish on this?
GRACE:     .. Only a little.
MARTIN: What you trying to do, poison me?
GRACE:     Well how was I to know you were going to suck it?!

                         Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006                      44
                                        Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




MARTIN: Whatever .. We, Grace, are about to play Russian Roulette. Not
           the parlour game. Two bullets went into this pistol, one still
           remains .. ( HE SPINS THE BARREL, GRACE FLINCHES ) and we don't know
           where it is. I'll ask you questions which you have .. twenty seconds
           to answer truthfully. If you run out of time or tell a lie I get to see
           what happens ..        ( HE PULLS THE TRIGGER; A CLICK, GRACE BLENCHES ).             If
           you answer correctly .. you get the gun and the next turn. So, the
           same person could get to fire all chambers .. as long as the other
           person keeps lying, perfectly simple, any objections?
GRACE:     Martin, I'd .. why don't you just carry on getting drunk, it's safe.
MARTIN: Too late for that now, should have thought of that before. Right.
           Me first then. Ready?
GRACE:     ( STANDS )   Martin I don't like this, ( HE POINTS GUN AT HER. SHE SITS ),
           please let's play something else.
MARTIN: .. Scrabble perhaps?
GRACE:     Yes, Scrabble!
MARTIN: But you cheat at Scrabble, which is the same as to lie, isn't it? So
           let's play Scrabble then. Russian Scrabble.
GRACE:     .. I don't think we'd better.
MARTIN: Yes, don't want to forfeit your share of the odds do you? Ready?
           Twenty seconds from the end of my question. OK .. my question,
           here it is .. ( PAUSE ) .. certain you're ready?
GRACE:     Yes!
MARTIN: Good, a bit of spirit, you‟re improving already,                    ( SUDDENLY: ) do   you
           fancy Ralph ..?
GRACE:     .. Ralph? You mean Butcher's Ralph ..?!
MARTIN: Answer the question, twelve seconds.
GRACE:     I've got more than twelve seconds!
MARTIN: Nine seconds.
GRACE:     I‟ve got more than ..!
MARTIN: Just-answer-the ..
GRACE:     No!
MARTIN: Six, five ..

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                                      Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




GRACE:     No!
MARTIN: Four ..
GRACE:     No I don't, no!
MARTIN: One.
GRACE:     I don't!
MARTIN:    ( HE PULLS THE TRIGGER; THE SECOND CLICK )              It likes you!
GRACE:      .. That was never twenty seconds!
MARTIN: .. I hope you're not accusing me of cheating.
GRACE:     Yes I bloody well am!
MARTIN: Wrong again. {( HE PULLS THE TRIGGER AS: ) }
GRACE:                     { Martin! ( THE THIRD CLICK ) }
MARTIN: .. Shall I tell you how lucky you are? F..airly lucky. Still three to go!
GRACE:     My turn.
MARTIN: Oh no, you told a lie, you accused me of cheating. Ready?
GRACE:     …Yes.
MARTIN: Getting real now, isn‟t it? So here‟s a real question; twenty
           seconds. ( PAUSE. THEN: ) .. What geological formation is created by
           a rapidly weakening river depositing its heavier stone occupants?
GRACE:     You bastard.
MARTIN: Ha! Come on, you should know this! Fifteen seconds, come on.
GRACE:     ( DEFIANTLY RELAXING )    Go to hell.
MARTIN: You'll go with me. Ten seconds, come on, there's one down the
           road!
GRACE:     No.
MARTIN: Four!
GRACE:     Pull it now, save the bother.
MARTIN: Zero! .. Alright, I'll give you fifteen more, it's a hard one, go! …
           Fourteen, thirteen, twelve, Grace? Ten, nine, Grace play the
           bloody game for Christ's sake! Six, Grace! Four, three, I will you
           know, I will, don't try calling my bluff cos I will .. I mean it, I'll pull
           the trigger and you'll { be to blame ..! }
GRACE:                               { It must be minus } five by now.
MARTIN: Don't get cocky with me, you know the answer, I've shown you!

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GRACE:     Yes, you're right, I do.
MARTIN: I don't believe you.
GRACE:     Oh make your mind up Martin, do I or don't I?
MARTIN: Tell me.
GRACE:     I've run out of time.
MARTIN: I'll let you off.
GRACE:     .. You mean give me the gun if I get it right?
MARTIN: Yes.
GRACE:     The geological formation created by a rapidly weakening river ..
MARTIN:    ( INTERRUPTS )   Say it.
GRACE:     Is a Pebble-bed. A Pebble-bed. Gun please. ( PAUSE. HE
           RELUCTANTLY HANDS HER THE PISTOL )

MARTIN: Just be careful with it.
GRACE:     Ha!
MARTIN: Don't start playing silly buggers, it's a weapon remember.
GRACE:     Didn't think of that before though, did you?
MARTIN: Just .. don't.
GRACE:     How touching, you care.
MARTIN: I do now.
GRACE:     I find it depends on who's touching the trigger. What are the odds
           now, anyway?
MARTIN: For or against?
GRACE:     For death, against life.
MARTIN: .. Not good.
GRACE:     Your chair, never liked it. ( SHE POINTS THE PISTOL AND BLITHELY PULLS
           THE TRIGGER.; THE FOURTH CLICK. MARTIN NOW BLENCHES )

           Not gooder!
MARTIN: .. ( FEARFUL, EARNEST; REACHING ) Grace, give me the gun.
GRACE:     ( GAILY WAVES IT AT HIM ), Si-it! ( HE FLINCHES BACKWARDS ). Good   boy!
MARTIN: Give me the gun, now!
GRACE:     Don't you want to beg for more time?
MARTIN: Give me the fucking .. ! .. beg time?
GRACE:     You failed to answer my question.


                       Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006                47
                                        Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




MARTIN: What question?
GRACE:     The one I asked about thirty seconds ago. You told me to be
           careful and I said you “didn't think of that before though, did you?”
           It was a question.
MARTIN: That? What sort of a question's that?!
GRACE:     A perfectly valid one.
MARTIN: A perfectly vague one, you can't have it.
GRACE:     This gun disagrees.
MARTIN: It's rhetorical.
GRACE:     Depends on interpretation and it's not for you to decide.
MARTIN: No .. no way, I'm not falling for a trick like that.
GRACE:     You already have.
MARTIN: No .. you dare! .. ( SHE PREPARES TO FIRE ) Grace ..! This is serious,
           the joke's over now, drop it …
GRACE:     ( YELLING )   Over? You shoot at me twice and it's over? Because it's
           my turn? Oh no Martin, that's cheating; as good as a lie.
MARTIN: At least you had a chance.
GRACE:     Some chance.
MARTIN: Oh bloody hell Grace. Grace ..!
                ( SHE FIRES THE BULLET JUST AS HE FLINCHES OUT OF THE AIM. IN
                 SHOCK, SHE DROPS THE PISTOL AND SITS DOWN SHARPLY. A LONG,
                 HORRIFIED PAUSE. MARTIN SLOWLY RISES FROM HIS FOETAL CLENCH )

GRACE:     .. My god! .. It was still in it! Martin, it was loaded!
MARTIN:    ( ODDLY CALM ) Didn't      you believe me?
GRACE:     Do you think I'd have done that? I thought you'd palmed it out
           again, I nearly killed you.
MARTIN: You almost have.
GRACE:     .. You could have killed me!
MARTIN: No. I knew it was in the last two chambers, there's a way of
           spinning it, I .. I used to pretend I was playing with a Russian
           Count and I always won because I knew where it was.
GRACE:     ( STUNNED ) You've      played this on your own ..?              ( HE NODS )   You
           stupid .. but I had the gun.
MARTIN: Well how was I to know you'd waste a chamber? I thought I'd get it

                          Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006                       48
                                         Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




           back again and two still to go.
GRACE:     But why do this at all ..?
MARTIN: For the excitement of being right.
GRACE:     How about the excitement of being wrong?! You're unwell Martin,
           these are not the actions of a responsible man! This is why the
           kids left.
MARTIN: All kids leave.
GRACE:     On the same day? The twins sixteenth, that's all Pierce waited for,
           and it's all you, Martin, to escape you.
MARTIN: No, Grace, to escape us. You failed them.
GRACE:     ( HORRIFIED )   No, not that, it's not that!
MARTIN: Accept it!
GRACE:     I won‟t let you blame me!
MARTIN: Listen! { It            } happened, hear it!
GRACE:               { Don't! }
GRACE:     You will not make me hate you Martin!
MARTIN: It happened! Once, but it { happened! } Hear it!
GRACE:                                         { It didn‟t! }                No, it's you, it's
           just { you! }
MARTIN:        { Hear it }, cos you didn't hear them when they needed you,
           when it happened, { it happened }, and they spoke but you didn't
GRACE:                               { She‟ll forgive you! }
MARTIN: { hear }, cos you wouldn't hear, { and they needed you }, but you
GRACE:     { No! }                                        { She‟ll forgive you ..! }
MARTIN: NEVER hear cos I did make them leave, but it's you let them { go!}
GRACE:                                                                                       { No! }
           for once give us the truth, ask her, it's you, it's you, { it's you ..! }
MARTIN:                                                                         { I am ..!     }
           ( SHE BURSTS INTO TEARS )         .. This is the truth, we're still here. God
           Almighty we're still here ..! ( HE TOO BEGINS TO CRY.              LONG PAUSE )

GRACE:     .. Please go to bed.
MARTIN: ( ANGUISHED ) Is that all you've got to say ..?! Don't you see? The
           more you let me be a shit to you, the more I wish you'd just .. go,

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           Grace ..! You would, wouldn't you .. secretly, in your heart of
           hearts, you'd be happy to see us done ..?
GRACE:     … No. I love you, whatever you may be. I always have.
MARTIN: ... ( BITTERLY, IMPOTENT ) You're a fool.
                ( HE SITS. PAUSE. HE SUDDENLY PICKS UP THE PHONE AND DIALS )

           .. Directory enquiries? I pay for this nowadays don't I? .. then fuck
           you. ( HE HANGS UP ) ... forgot them when I went through the D's ...
           just remembered.
                ( DESPAIRING SILENCE. THEN: )

GRACE:     .. Shall I make us a tea?
MARTIN: ... Yes, make us a tea.             ( GRACE HEADS WEARILY FOR THE KITCHEN )

           Thank you ( SHE STOPS ) ... that would be nice.

                 HE STARES INTO NOWHERE. GRACE STANDS WATCHING HIM.


                 THE LIGHTS SLOWLY DIM UNTIL WE ARE LEFT WITH NOTHING BUT THE
                 FLICKERING GLOW OF THE THREE VOODOO CANDLES.


                 FX OF 'JINGLE BELLS' FADES UP AND OVERWHELMS US WITH ITS
                 INDOMITABLE CHEER …



                                  .THE END.




                       Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006            50
                                     Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




                      APPENDIX ONE

An alternative ending, at the discretion of the director and cast:


GRACE:    .. Shall I make us a tea?
MARTIN:   ( HE CAN’T EVEN LOOK AT HER ) ...        Yes, make us a tea. ( GRACE HEADS
          WEARILY FOR THE KITCHEN. YET SUDDENLY, FINALLY DEFEATED, HE

          SINCERELY MURMURS: )      Yes, thank you ... that would be nice.


                HE STARES INTO NOWHERE. GRACE STANDS WATCHING HIM. THE
                PHONE RINGS. MARTIN APPEARS NOT EVEN TO NOTICE. THEN HE PICKS
                IT UP, LISTENS. A PAUSE. HE SLOWLY EXTENDS THE RECEIVER
                TOWARDS GRACE AT ARMS LENGTH. GRACE TURNS & WALKS AWAY
                INTO THE KITCHEN.


                THE LIGHTS SLOWLY DIM UNTIL WE ARE LEFT WITH NOTHING BUT THE
                FLICKERING GLOW OF THE THREE VOODOO CANDLES.


                FX OF 'JINGLE BELLS' FADES UP AND OVERWHELMS US WITH ITS
                INDOMITABLE CHEER …




                                  .THE END.




                       Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006                 51
                                     Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




                     APPENDIX TWO


If the blank pellet ever fails to go off in the vital fifth chamber, the
following dialogue should be implemented: GRACE laughs and says:


GRACE:    Five! ( MARTIN UNCURLS HIS BODY RAPIDLY ) And again ..?!
MARTIN: NO!
               ( HE LUNGES FORWARD, BUT SHE POINTS THE GUN & HE CRINGES AS
               BEFORE )

GRACE:    You never were any good at charades!
            ( SMILING TRIUMPHANTLY GRACE SLOWLY OPENS THE BARREL, MOCKING
          HIM WITH HER CONVICTION OF ITS EMPTINESS, TURNING IT UPSIDE DOWN.
            THE BULLET DROPS TO THE FLOOR. GRACE GASPS IN SHOCK, DROPPING
            THE PISTOL IN TERROR )

GRACE:    .. My god! .. It was still in it! Martin, it was loaded!
MARTIN:   ( ODDLY CALM )   Didn‟t you believe me?
GRACE:    I thought you‟d palmed it out again. I nearly killed you!
MARTIN: You almost have.


                                  ETC, AS WRITTEN …




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                                     Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




                   APPENDIX THREE


If the pistol ever fires early, in either's hands, jump straight to the
following amended dialogue and proceed from there ( it will be
suitable, no matter who actually fires the gun ):


GRACE:    .. My god! .. It was still in it! Martin, it was loaded!
MARTIN:   ( ODDLY CALM ) Didn't    you believe me?
GRACE:    I thought you'd palmed it out again, I nearly killed you!
MARTIN: You almost have.
GRACE:    .. You could have killed me!
MARTIN: Alright, alright! Something went wrong, it shouldn't have happened
           then!
GRACE:    Are you God? When should it have happened?!
MARTIN: The last two chambers. I thought I knew it was in the last two
          chambers, there's a way of spinning it, I .. I used to pretend I was
          playing with a Russian Count and I always won because I knew
          where it was.

                                  ETC, AS WRITTEN …




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                                     Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




                                   PROPS
ACT ONE - SCENE ONE:


1)   1 x DINING TABLE on which are:

          1 x BOTTLE OF GIN ( Gordon's; half empty )
          1 x TUMBLER ( half full )
          1 x LARGE ASHTRAY ( very full )
          1 x PACKET OF CIGARETTES ( Camel Original )
          1 x BOX OF MATCHES ( N.B: do not replace with a lighter )
          1 x MODELLING SCALPEL
          1 x LARGE LUMP OF CANDLE WAX ( roughly human form, with a
                                              home-made wick trailing
                                              lengthily out of top and
                                              bottom. Needs to be
                                              carvable )

2)   3 x CHAIRS ( Dining table )

3)   1 x BATTERED OLD SHOTGUN

4)   2 x EASY CHAIRS

5)   1 x SMALL UTILITY TABLE/STAND ( by MARTIN's chair ) on which are:

          1 x BIRMINGHAM TELEPHONE DIRECTORY ( South )
          1 x LEATHER PAGE-FINDER ( in Directory )
          1 x PUSH-BUTTON TELEPHONE
          1 x LARGE NOTEPAD ( leather-bound )
             ASSORTED DRINKS GLASSES
             ASSORTED BOTTLES of SPIRIT.
          1 x LARGE ASHTRAY ( very full )

6)   1 x WOODEN DESK ( well-worn; by window ) on which are:

          1 x TELESCOPE ( mounted )
          1 x LARGE LEATHER-BOUND DIARY
          1 x GOLD PEN ( ladies )

7)   1 x BIC BIRO, ALL-IN-ONE RETRACTABLE ( black & transparent: used
                                            by MARTIN )

8)   1 x RADIO CASSETTE ( well-worn )

9)   1 x CABINET in which is:
          1 x SCRABBLE SET ( well-worn ):




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                                      Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




     MARTIN‟s Scrabble rack consists of: R E F D L I & one other
     GRACE‟s Scrabble rack consists of any three of T I T S & four others

10) 1 x BLANK PAD ( for later Scrabble game )

11) ASSORTED KITCHEN WARE including:
          1 x FRIDGE
          1 x MEDIUM KNIFE ( for sandwiches )
          1 x PLATE ( for sandwiches )
          1 x TEASPOON
          6 x MUGS
          1 x MUG-TREE?
          3 x CADDYS ( 'Coffee' 'Rice' and 1 x blank )
          1 x BOTTLE of MILK ( full; in fridge )
          1 x SAUCER ( for milk )
          1 x SUGAR BOWL ( full )
          1 x MODERN AUTOMATIC KETTLE ( will be boiled )

12) 1 x SETTEE ( well-worn )


ACT ONE - SCENE TWO:


1)   1 x CD PLAYER ( will be switched on in view )

2)   2 x CD REMOTE-CONTROLS

3)   6 x BIRTHDAY CARDS

4)   1 x LARGE LUMP OF CANDLE WAX ( more defined; a clear body and
                                    rough outline of clothes. Wick as
                                    in SC 1. Needs to be carvable )


ACT TWO - SCENE THREE:


1)   1 x SHORT WOODEN LADDER

2)   1 x MODERN AUTO-FOCUS CAMERA and NECK STRAP

3)   5 x CHRISTMAS CRACKERS

4)   CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS ( various )

5)   CHRISTMAS CARDS ( various )

6)   1 x LARGE LUMP OF CANDLE WAX ( body complete; a policeman's


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                                     Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




                                                     uniform, though the head is still
                                                     plain. Wick as in SC 1. Only head
                                                     need be carvable )

7)   1 x CARDBOARD GIFT-BOX

8)   SHEETS OF WRAPPING PAPER

9)   1 x PLASTIC TOY TELESCOPE ( small and garish; black shoe polish
                                 daubed on eye-piece, photograph
                                 pasted over lens and inward-facing )

10) 1 x CD REMOTE-CONTROL ( sealed in Christmas wrapping-paper )

11) 1 x LARGE IRON PYRITE ROCK ( sealed in wrapping-paper )

12) 1 x BOTTLE of MILK ( full )

13) 1 x PACKET OF CIGARS



ACT TWO - SCENE FOUR:


1)   1 x LARGE LUMP OF CANDLE WAX ( complete; face defined and head
                                  wearing a P.C. helmet. Wick now
                                  as on normal candle. Will be lit )

2)   FOOD-STAINED PLATES ( various )

3)   HEAVILY DEPLETED BOTTLES of SPIRIT ( various )

4)   CRUMPLED WRAPPING PAPER ( various piles )

5)   1 x BATTERED TOY POLICEMAN's HELMET ( Circa 1960 )

6) IN DESK DRAWER:


     2 x SLIGHTLY SMALLER CANDLES ( facsimiles of the twins. Wicks
                                    protruding from all over them; like a
                                    pin cushion. Will be lit )
     1 x BATTERED OLD ARMY PISTOL ( early 1950's: to fire blanks )
     1 x BOX OF BLANK CARTRIDGES ( for pistol )




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                                    Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




                   RUNNING PROPS
1)   1 x LOAF OF BREAD

2)   MARGARINE

3)   SANDWICH PASTE

4)   TEABAGS

5)   2 x MILK BOTTLE ( full ) per show

6)      CHRISTMAS WRAPPING PAPER ( for covering Iron Pyrite and box
                                  containing toy telescope )

7)   1 x CHRISTMAS CRACKER per show.

8)   1 x TIN BLACK SHOE POLISH ( daubed on toy telescope eye-piece )

9)   2 x BLANK PISTOL CARTRIDGES per show

10) 1 x CIGAR per show

11) 1 x LARGE LUMP OF CANDLE WAX per show ( complete; face defined
                                           and head wearing a
                                           P.C. helmet. Wick now
                                           as on normal candle.
                                           Will be lit )

12) 2 x SLIGHTLY SMALLER CANDLES per show ( facsimiles of the twins.
                                           Wicks protruding from all
                                           over them; like a pin-
                                           cushion. Will be lit )




                      Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006   57
                                   Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




                         WARDROBE
ACT ONE - SCENE ONE:



1)   SUMMER DAYWEAR ( GRACE AND MARTIN )


2)   2 x HAIR SLIDES ( GRACE )



ACT ONE - SCENE TWO:


QUICK-CHANGE INTO NOVEMBER DAYWEAR ( GRACE and MARTIN )



ACT TWO - SCENE THREE:


1)   1 x TATTY DRESSING GOWN ( MARTIN )


2)   1 x PAIR PYJAMAS ( MARTIN )


3)   1 x TATTY SLIPPERS ( MARTIN )


4)   1 x WINTER DAYWEAR ( GRACE )


5)   1 x POLICE CONSTABLE UNIFORM ( Male )


6)   1 x POLICE HELMET



ACT TWO - SCENE FOUR:


1)   1 x MALE CARDIGAN ( New; label clearly hanging from the bottom )




                     Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006    58
                                    Laid Upon a Pebble-Bed




LAID UPON A PEBBLE-BED

                                          by


                    Richard Sinnott
    Original version premiered at the Jennie Lee Theatre, Bletchley



    If you wish to perform this entire play, or extracts from it, in any
professional or amateur capacity for paying audiences or in open official
   competition, or in any situation - private or public - at which either
 money is charged for admission or official recognition of a standard is
  sought ( i.e. a LAMDA qualification ), please contact me via the e-mail
         address below to discuss suitable rates of remittance.


  If you just wish to perform an extract for an audition piece ( i.e. to get
     into drama school or to obtain a part in a professional or amateur
production ) or as part of an acting showcase ( i.e., an event attended by
 casting directors seeking new talent ) then feel free to do so and best of
luck, on the honourable understanding that I am properly credited in any
             programme or conversation afterwards. Fair swap!



                          looked@askance.biz


                Copyright: 20th February 2006


                      Copyright: Richard Sinnott - 20th February 2006     59

								
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