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Dramatic Shorts: Volume 2

Dramatic Shorts: Volume 2

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Dramatic Shorts: Volume 2

393 pagine
4 ore
Aug 25, 2016


Dramatic Shorts is a collection of new theatrical writing allowing new playwrights to showcase their creative talents. It includes various monologues, duologues and short plays from around the world.
Aug 25, 2016

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Dramatic Shorts - James Quince


Short Play by

Steven Barry


Eileen: 89 year old woman in a Dublin care home. Has Alzheimer’s.

May: 88 year old woman also in the care home. Eileen’s friend.

Mary: 45 year old nurse. Genuinely caring. Has looks issues.

Niamh: Typical 20 year old girl.

Rodger: 20 years old, Eileen’s husband. RAF officer.



Act One

Scene One

(EILEEN sits in a comfortable chair in her room, in a nursing home in present day Dublin. The clock ticks by slowly and the audience hears this. This is held for as long as is necessary to make them feel expectant and uncomfortable. The door bursts open and two nurses come in chatting. NIAMH and MARY. As they chat, they absent-mindedly tidy the room. They both approach EILEEN and begin to remove a cardigan and put a dressing gown on her. EILEEN is old and frail so it is a laborious task and takes some time.)

Eileen: Late again... late again.

(The nurses ignore EILEEN as if they are used to this. Once the dressing gown is on, NIAMH turns and throws the cardigan onto a side dresser.)

Eileen: Ha... I remember.

Mary: Jaysus... you be careful now!

Niamh: It’s me birthday, Mary... I won’t be careful at all, yano how it is! I’m going all out to get meself a fella.

Mary: God, I’m not that old, ya know what I mean, Niamh. I can still remember what it’s like to let me hair down.

Niamh: I bet ya can, ya dirty bitch.

Mary: Would you not watch your language!

(Signals with her eyes towards EILEEN but this elicits no response from NIAMH.)

Niamh: Why don’t ya come?

Mary: Yeah I’m sure you’d love an aul hag like me cramping your style.

Niamh: Yeah you probably wouldn’t enjoy yourself anyways.

Mary: Thanks very much...

Niamh: (Sarcastically) Mind now, Mary... I bet with a bit of slap and your baps hanging out you’d still be a ride! All the young fellas would be hanging out of ya.

Mary: You’re being a right little bitch today!

(MARY is flushed and getting angry.)

Niamh: You aul wetser ya Mary!

(The two nurses finally turn their attention to EILEEN who has been sitting, smiling the whole time. NIAMH patronizingly raises her voice to talk to EILEEN.)

Niamh: Howareye, Mrs. Barry... would you like to come out for me birthday tonight?

Mary: Here, birthday or not, you show some bloody respect.

Niamh: Ah I’m only messing.

Mary: Yeah well... we better start the dinner round.

(As the nurses go to leave, EILEEN speaks and MARY doubles back.)

Eileen: I’m meeting him tonight.

Mary: Sorry, Mrs. Barry?

Eileen: Picking me up from the door!

Mary: (Playing along) Wow, from the door?

Eileen: Meeting him tonight!

Mary: I’m sure you are... well, I’d better go and get your dinner.

Eileen: (Speaks slowly) All they see is an old lady. They can’t see past the wrinkles. I don’t talk to them because I prefer to listen. I prefer to listen... I remember what it was like to be that age... they just don’t look... I know what it’s like to ’get yourself a fella’ (imitates NIAMH’s voice). I got myself the finest one of all... a real gent... I just prefer to listen.

Scene Two

(EILEEN’S room. Clock ticks agonizingly slowly. Each tick takes longer than a second to make time feel as if it has slowed down. The two nurses come in again with a dinner tray.)

Niamh: Today’s dragging, Mary...

Mary: Not long now and you’ll be out of here for the weekend. Now, Mrs. Barry... we have salmon for ya today... your favourite. Doesn’t that look nice!?

(While MARY sets the dinner down and sets it up, EILEEN speaks to the audience.)

Eileen: (To the audience) Now how would these pair of eejits know what me favourite dinner is? Nothing in here ever tastes any different anyway... it all tastes like shite.

(NIAMH takes out a packet of cigarettes and a lighter and sticks one in her mouth. After it’s lit, she puts the cigarettes and lighter down on the side table next to EILEEN. EILEEN looks at them and quickly grabs them and stuffs them down the side of her chair.)

Mary: Niamh, you’re not supposed to smoke in front of the residents, I’ve told you before.

Niamh: Ah, leave it out Mary; it’s only a bleeding smoke.

Mary: I’m asking you to put it out Niamh...

Niamh: Go and ask me flossy!

Mary: Oh for goodness sake, the language out of you!

(As NIAMH smokes, she looks at her watch.)

Niamh: It’s ten to, Mary... can I just knock off... you won’t say anything will ya?

Mary: No you can’t.

Niamh: I’m going anyway, Mary.

Eileen: She won’t listen.

Mary: You’re going nowhere... you have responsibilities, Niamh.

Niamh: See you later, Mary... go and tell someone who cares about me responsibilities. See ya Monday.

(NIAMH gives MARY the finger as she leaves.)

Mary: Niamh!

Eileen: I’ve got butterflies!

Mary: And I’ve got a headache, Mrs. Barry.

Eileen: Shall I go too?... I’ll be in big trouble if he finds out.

Mary: If who finds out?

Eileen: I have to look my best... he’s coming to get me from the door.

Mary: I’m sure you will look lovely, Mrs. Barry.

Eileen: Got to look my best...

(EILEEN looks at her hands and seems surprised as if they can’t be her own hands.)

Eileen: Mary?

Mary: Yes, Mrs. Barry?

Eileen: Please... call me Eileen... you make me sound like an old woman.

(MARY laughs.)

Mary: Okay... Eileen... what is it?

Eileen: Can you read to me?

Mary: Yes of course... would you like to pick something?

Eileen: On the side there... the very back page.

(MARY goes to where she is motioning and picks up the book. She pulls up a chair next to EILEEN and begins to read. It is a book of poetry and EILEEN has chosen Yeats’ ‘He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven’.)

Mary: Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

(EILEEN is smiling and her eyes are closed. She is slightly swaying side to side and is mouthing the words herself.)

Mary: I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

(MARY is getting upset and her voice breaks. EILEEN opens her eyes and sees. She puts her hand on MARY’S hand and finishes the poem for her.)

Eileen: Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Mary: That’s beautiful... I’m sorry.

Eileen: Don’t be... that’s about my Rodger.

Mary: It’s really beautiful. God, I’m too hard on Niamh... I had my own dreams once, Mrs. Barr... I mean Eileen.

Eileen: We all did... you’re never too old to dream.

Mary: I don’t mean to be so hard on her... she’s so confident but she just won’t listen.

Eileen: She’s only a young one, Mary.

Mary: I’d better get on.

Eileen: So had I. He’s coming for me, Mary.

Mary: I won’t keep you, so... (Playing along) Lucky you... wish I had a handsome man coming to take me out.

(MARY straightens herself out and takes a deep breath before leaving the room. EILEEN takes out the cigarettes from the side of her chair and lights one.)

Eileen: They said these would kill me... they never listen.

(EILEEN sits with a smile enjoying her cigarette and then hides the packet.)

Scene Three

(EILEEN’S room. EILEEN is sitting enjoying a cigarette. A wartime song plays on her radio and she stands up and dances alone. She is frail so it is really just a shuffling movement. She has a bottle of Guinness and she sits and takes a sip.)

Scene Four

(NIAMH’S room. NIAMH is sat in front of a mirror in her bedroom. She is wearing slutty clothes and singing along to a CD that is playing as she puts on a load of lipstick and keeps pouting to herself in the mirror. Her phone rings.)

Niamh: (On the phone) Hello... yeah... yeah... I’ll be there, don’t you worry... am I wearing any what? Hahahaha you duuuurrrttt! You’ll have to wait and see won’t ya... I’m gonna pick up a naggin on the way... yeah... see ya in a bit.

(NIAMH hangs up the phone and then begins furiously texting. She turns up the music, dances and sings while finishing getting ready. She turns the music off and starts looking for something. She picks up her bag and rifles through it before tipping the contents on her bed in frustration. She then opens her bedroom door and shouts.)

Niamh: MAAA!

Mum: Whaaaaaat?

Niamh: Have ya any smokes?

Mum: Do ya think I’m made of bleeding smokes?

Niamh: Will ya just answer me?

Mum: Buy your own bleeding smokes!

Niamh: Ya tight bitch... I had a full pack. I dunno where I put them!

Mum: Well you better go and buy some more then, hadn’t ya?

Niamh: Thanks a lot, Ma (under her breath).

(NIAMH leaves with a slam of the door.)

Scene Five

(MARY’S house. MARY is sitting watching TV alone. The lights are low and the room is dark. A cat can be heard meowing but she ignores it and stares blankly at the television. Some recognizable theme music (Eastenders or X Factor) comes on and still she just sits motionless staring at the television.)

Act Two

Scene One

(EILEEN’S room. The clock is ticking painfully slow. The silence is total, not a sound can be heard apart from the clock tick-tocking and this goes on for longer than before. It is Monday morning and NIAMH and MARY are due back at work. The silence is broken by NIAMH and MARY bursting through the door and as it slams behind them NIAMH grabs her head in pain. She is hungover and looks a state.)

Mary: Would you look at the state of you.

Niamh: Yeah well you’re not all that yourself, Mary... Fuck, me heads in bits.

Mary: Good weekend I take it?

Niamh: (Animated suddenly) Oh it was great Mary... we were pissed all weekend! Only got home on Sunday morning.

Mary: From Friday night? Jesus that’s terrible.

Niamh: Walk of shame, Mary! Only got meself a new fella!

Mary: Another one?

Niamh: Here you, don’t be making out I’m some sort of a slut!

Mary: Will you ever kop on and watch your language, Niamh!

Niamh: Ah yeah... er sorry, Mrs. Barry.

(NIAMH phone beeps as she gets a message and she has her phone out furiously texting back.)

Mary: Are you planning on doing anything to help me today?

Niamh: Listen to this, Mary... ‘thx 4 last night babez... it was amazing’ and three kisses. Ah, he’s in love.

Mary: Okay now, love, put your phone away and we’ll get on.

(Phone beeps again and she has it out furiously texting back again.)

Niamh: Oh the bleeding durt... Listen ‘was gr8 to wake up to a blow...

Mary: NIAMH!! Put that bleeding phone away right now!

Niamh: Oh Jaysus... didn’t realise what I was reading out there. The poor lads smitten... sending me love letters already... here, can you smell cigarettes? Has someone been smoking in here?

Mary: Ah God, the night staff must be at it as well. Let’s get a window open and get Mrs. Barry some fresh air. Good morning, Mrs. Barry.

Niamh: (Looks at EILEEN suspiciously) Yeah the night staff... unless it was her Mary? Me smokes went missing on Friday!

Mary: Niamh! That really is too far... will ya listen to yourself? Now go and sort yourself out!

(NIAMH leaves in a huff.)

Mary: I’m very sorry, Mrs. Barry... now... let’s get you some breakfast.

(MARY leaves as well and EILEEN reaches into a box under her chair. She pulls out a stack of letters. She reads the letter out.)

Eileen: (Reading) Dear Eilo, What’s the craic back home? They’re all saying these German bastards won’t hold out much longer so I’ll be back before ya know it! Keep me seat warm and half a cup of tea in the pot and tell them little shites they better be behaving for ya. I’d better go, it’s head down arse up out here. Can’t wait to see youse all. Love to all. Rodgy.

Scene Two

(Outside a nightclub. NIAMH is straightening out her dress in an alleyway with a BOY. He is zipping up his fly. He snorts some cocaine off a key and offers her some, which she refuses. He has another snort.)

Niamh: Can we go home?

Boy: I’m heading back in for a bit.

Niamh: Please... can we just go... you never wanna go home?

Boy: Don’t be bleeding bugging me, right? You don’t fucking own me.

Niamh: I wasn’t... I’m just tired... please... you can stay over at mine?

Boy: Here, I tell ya what... there’s a score... get a joer and I’ll be back before ya know it. I’ll just finish me pint.

Niamh: On me own... anything could happen to me!

Boy: Like what? Will you ever fuck off annoying me?

(NIAMH is upset but takes the twenty euro and kisses him on the cheek before walking off to find a taxi.)

Scene Three

(EILEEN’S room. NIAMH and MARY are cleaning the mess in EILEEN’S room while EILEEN just sits motionless. NIAMH picks up a blanket and just throws it over to the side. MARY tuts, picks it up and folds it. NIAMH switches on the radio and an old wartime song comes on. She is about to change the station when she notices EILEEN sit up. Dance hall music from the fifties plays and EILEEN sings along rocking in her chair. MARY and NIAMH smile but carry on tidying. NIAMH catches sight of herself in the mirror and abandons the tidying to apply some lipstick. MARY goes over to NIAMH and snatches the lipstick off her. NIAMH and MARY leave the room switching off the radio on the way out.)

Eileen: Ah Rodgy... that was brilliant... I wish it would never end...

(EILEEN reaches under her chair and takes out her little box. As she clutches her letters she begins to smile. EILEEN leans forward and falls asleep in her chair still clutching her letters. MARY comes back in with a cup of tea but seeing EILEEN asleep she carefully takes her letters and places them under her chair. She places a blanket over EILEEN’s shoulders and then looks around to make sure nobody is around. MARY walks over to the mirror quietly and looks around again. Then she starts putting on NIAMH’S lipstick properly at first. She takes the lipstick and starts putting it all round her mouth really thick like a clown in an angry motion. She starts sobbing and rubbing it off angrily. MARY runs out of the room.)

Scene Four

(EILEEN’S room. EILEEN is sitting looking out the window. NIAMH comes in alone. She is completely dejected and says nothing. She starts arranging some flowers. She keeps staring at her phone, willing it to go off but it stays silent. EILEEN watches with interest. Her phone finally beeps and she breaks down completely. She is really sobbing and dumps herself into a chair.)

Eileen: Pssssst... psssssst.

(EILEEN looks over to her and to NIAMH’S surprise she motions to her to pull her chair up next to her own. NIAMH pulls her chair over and keeps crying. EILEEN puts her hand out and wipes a tear and then holds her hand.)

Eileen: It’s okay love.

Niamh: (Laughing and sobbing) What the... Jaysus... I didn’t even know you could talk!

Eileen: Sure there’s a lot you won’t know if ya never ask.

Niamh: Oh God... the things I’ve said in front of you...

Eileen: Well now... sometimes it’s better to just listen.

Niamh: Yeah... but God... the mouth on me?

Eileen: I don’t understand a word you say anyway with your YOLO and your FOMO so I wouldn’t worry love.

Niamh: I’m scarlet! (Laughing).

Eileen: He’s going to get me from the door.

Niamh: Who?

Eileen: My Rodger.

Niamh: Okay... is that your fella?

Eileen: I have to be ready.

Niamh: You will be, Mrs. Barry... I’ll help if you like?

Eileen: You’re a good girl... now why don’t you get them smokes out?

Niamh: God I knew it was you! (Laughing again) Okay but it’s our secret right?

(NIAMH takes out her cigarettes and the two of them have a smoke together.)

Eileen: He’ll be here soon.

Niamh: Tell ya what... let’s start getting you ready then. I could do your nails for ya?

Eileen: My nails?

Niamh: Yeah, here, gimme your hand... I always have me make-up handy... never know who you’re gonna bump into, ya know what I mean?

(NIAMH takes EILEEN’S hand and starts to file her nails.)

Niamh: Now we have red... or I could do a leopard print design? I think we’ll go for leopard print, the lads love it.

Eileen: Grand (looks puzzled).

(NIAMH starts to paint EILEEN’S nails.)

Niamh: This is what I always wanted to do ya know, Mrs. Barry... be a beautician... but you’ve to go to college. I haven’t really got the brains.

Eileen: I’m sure that’s not true, love.

Niamh: Ah it is... I didn’t get the grades... I did shite in school. There now... look at that. You’re only gorgeous, Mrs. Barry!

(EILEEN looks at her nails and smiles.)

Eileen: Thanks... I hope he likes them.

Niamh: I’d better go before Mary has a bleeding fit.

(NIAMH gives EILEEN a big hug and leaves.)

Scene Five

(Staff common room. NIAMH is sitting staring at her phone. MARY brings over two cups of tea and joins her. NIAMH forgets to say thanks.)

Mary: Thanks?

Niamh: For what? Are you being sarcastic?

Mary: Never...

Niamh: God this kip would drain the life out of ya... It’s all white hair and wrinkly hands... I can’t stand it today.

(NIAMH takes out her phone and starts texting.)

Mary: You’ll be old yourself one day... why don’t you try getting your head out of that phone for once?

Niamh: Pfffft... yeah, in like a hundred years... anyway, young at heart, Mary... I won’t be just sitting like a vegetable... I’ll be up giving it loads... dancing on me Zimmer frame.

(MARY laughs despite herself. NIAMH smiles at MARY laughing and puts her phone away.)

Niamh: They’re not all bad in here, though. Mrs. Barry is nice.

Mary: She’s lovely. They all are if you take the time to talk to them. I sometimes read to her... poetry.

Niamh: I know a good poem.

Mary: Really? I didn’t think that would be your thing, Niamh.

Niamh: Here Mary, don’t be judging a book by its cover.

(MARY becomes animated.)

Mary: Can I hear it? I love poetry! I studied it at college and I used to write my own!

Niamh: Yeah course...

There was an old woman from Ealing,

Who had a very bad feeling,

She laid on her back... and opened her crack,

And pissed all over the ceiling!

Mary: Niamh that’s disgusting!! Honestly... try and have a serious conversation, will you. I should have known you’d just take the piss!

Niamh: Ah loosen up Mary, you old square.

Mary: Don’t be saying that in front of any of the residents.

Niamh: Haha might liven them up... afraid I’ll give them ideas... anyway it’s a shame she’s leaving.

Mary: Who’s leaving?

Niamh: Mrs. Barry said someone is coming to pick her up.

Mary: What?

Niamh: Someone is coming to pick her up. I’m gonna miss her... even though she stole me smokes.

Mary: I’ve warned you about that, Niamh!

Niamh: Whatever... anyway when is she leaving?

Mary: She’s not bloody leaving, where would she be going at her age?

Niamh: Well she said she’s leaving. Her Rodger is coming to pick her up.

Mary: Her Rodger? Oh right... Rodger was her husband, he died twenty years ago. If you showed any interest in your job, you’d know things like this.

(NIAMH becomes defensive.)

Niamh: It’s a shit job, so why would I fucking care?

Mary: What the bloody hell is wrong with you, Niamh?

Niamh: Nothing.

Mary: You’re in a worse mood than normal... and that’s saying something.

Niamh: What the fuck would you know?

Mary: Crying one minute... shouting the next... you’re going to have to pull it together. You’ll be sacked, you know... it hasn’t gone unnoticed (She points to imaginary bosses).

Niamh: I’ve bigger problems than worrying about keeping this poxy job.

Mary: I give up... why don’t you just leave then and do us all a favour! I’ve had it up to here with you! (MARY motions with her hand).

(NIAMH breaks down into tears again.)

Mary: Oh God... look Niamh... calm down, I didn’t mean it, love. Come on now... I’m sorry.

Niamh: It’s not you... don’t flatter yourself... or this fucking job. I’m pregnant!!

Mary: Oh!! God... come here.

(MARY holds out her arms and hugs NIAMH while she sobs until she calms down.)

Mary: Why didn’t you say something, you silly girl!? That’s nothing to be so upset over. Sit down here... come on.

(They both sit down.)

Niamh: How would you know? You’ve never even had a kid.

Mary: Not through choice, Niamh... now I know you’re upset but please watch your tongue. There’s a reason I didn’t have a child. I wanted one more than anything, Niamh... I still do.

Niamh: I’m sorry.

Mary: It’s all I ever wanted... I love kids.

Niamh: What happened?

Mary: It was a long time ago.

Niamh: Tell me?

Mary: I was with a man who had a temper.

Niamh: Oh... well why did you not just leave him and find someone else to have a baby with?

Mary: It’s not that easy when you’re young and in love.

Niamh: Tell me about it... He’s gone now but?? Sure, you’re not that old, Mary, you could still find a fella now?

Mary: Look Niamh... one time he put me... I was in hospital. It lead to complications... I can never have the one thing I wanted more than anything in the world. That’s why you mustn’t cry. It’s a gift, Niamh. A wonderful thing!

Niamh: God, Mary... and the things I say to ya... I’m ashamed... I never knew... but I have no fella either, Mary... he doesn’t wanna know.

Mary: Boys will come and go, Niamh... you’re going to have a child. A little baby to care for. If he doesn’t wanna know then he’s not worth it.

Niamh: Thanks, Mary.

Scene Six

(MARY’S house. MARY is sitting watching the television. She has a laptop computer on her lap and she is flicking through something. She starts to type something and then slams it shut. She sits with her head in her hands for a minute. She turns down the television. She picks up her phone and dials a number.)

Mary: (On the phone) Hello... er, hi my name is Mary Burne... yes my username is Mary1972... my password is catlover... I’m ringing to cancel my online dating account... yes... yes I know I haven’t met up with any of my matches or used my free dates... that’s my choice... anyway... I’ve, er, met someone so I want my account removed... thank you... bye...

(MARY turns the TV back up and gets her dinner off the side. She sits down, starts watching TV and eats her dinner.)

Scene Seven

(EILEEN’S room. EILEEN is sitting reading her letters and

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