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The Strongbox (NHB Modern Plays)

The Strongbox (NHB Modern Plays)

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The Strongbox (NHB Modern Plays)

71 pagine
39 minuti
Feb 16, 2018


A story of domestic servitude and abuse of power, as authoritarian Kat, her ageing mother, Ma, and their teenaged slave, Maudie, jostle for power – and affection – in their dilapidated London home.

The Strongbox by Stephanie Jacob was first performed as part of the 2018 VAULT Festival, London.

Also available in the collection Plays from VAULT 3.

Feb 16, 2018

Informazioni sull'autore

Stephanie Jacob is a writer and actor. Her first play, Harry’s Window, about sibling rivalry among the over-eighties, had readings at the New Ambassadors, Soho Theatre and the National Theatre Studio, where Stephanie has subsequently been a Writer-on-Attachment. The Quick, about restorative justice, was produced at the Tristan Bates Theatre, London. Her radio play, A Night Visitor (BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Drama), won the Writers’ Guild Best Radio Drama Award. As an actor, Stephanie has worked at the National Theatre, the RSC, in repertory and touring theatre, and in the West End.

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The Strongbox (NHB Modern Plays) - Stephanie Jacob



A table set for two: soup, bread, two apples, a sharp knife. MAUDIE, wearing a McDonald’s cap, stands behind MA’s chair. MA sits opposite KAT, in dressing gown and slippers.

MA. What’s this?

KAT. Guess.

MA sniffs her soup.

She’ll get it.

MA. Fennel. Is it?

MAUDIE. Yeah yeah yeah.

KAT. Better than a bloodhound.

KAT eats.

Go on, then.

MA. In a minute.

KAT. Weird, though.

MA. What?

KAT. Weird taste.

MA. I love it.

KAT. That’s why she made it.

MA/MAUDIE. Yes. / Yeah.

KAT. But truthfully it’s like eating an old river or something. A bowlful of Thames, complete with all the shit.

MA. Kat!

KAT. Sorry.

MA. There are plenty of other words.

KAT. Good to see you up again. Isn’t it, Maudie?

MAUDIE. Excellent, truly.

KAT. Have a spoonful. Go on.

MA has a spoonful of soup.

Does this little dance in your mouth, doesn’t it? Am I savoury, am I sweet?

MA. Actually it does.

KAT (to MAUDIE). Do the dance, do the Fennel Dance, go on. Savoury or sweet?

MAUDIE does a shuffle.

MA. What’s this in aid of?

MAUDIE (dancing, croons). Savoury.

KAT. You stirring your stumps again.

MAUDIE (dancing, croons). Savoury savoury.

KAT. Welcome back to the land of the living, Ma! (To MAUDIE.) We missed you, didn’t we?

MAUDIE (dancing, croons). Sweet!

KAT. Enough. Back.

MAUDIE stands behind MA.

KAT eats.

MA watches KAT.

You’re not eating.

MA. Look at you.

KAT. What?

MA. You’re different.

KAT. No, I’m not. Am I?

MA. You’re.

KAT. What?

MA. I don’t know. You’re ample.

KAT. Ample?

MA. Inside, I mean.

KAT. Ample?

MA. Don’t get all –

KAT. I’m not –

MA. A house of many rooms. You’re an oak tree with many perches.

KAT. Alright, Mrs Wordsworth. Now if you’d kindly eat your soup.

MA. I can’t.

KAT. You’ve got to eat.

MA. Got to?

KAT. I didn’t mean –

MA. I haven’t got to anything, Katherine.

KAT. No.

MA. Got to.

KAT. Sorry.

KAT eats.

MA watches her.

MA. If you’d been as ill as I have, you wouldn’t have an appetite either.

KAT. I know, you’re thin as a string, I could twang you.

MA. Twang me?

KAT. That was a joke. Ho ho?

MA. Funny sort of joke.

MAUDIE. Ho ho.

KAT. Course I’d never twang you.

MA. No, you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t dare.

KAT. No.

KAT eats.

MA. Where d’you get the fennel, then?

KAT. She dug it up.

MA. My fennel?

MAUDIE. Kat said to.

KAT. As a treat for you.

MAUDIE. Yeah yeah yeah.

MA. I see.

KAT. There’s another bulb out there, Ma.

MA. One?

KAT. One or two.

MA. Which?


KAT. Quiet.

MA. Prevaricator. Better eat my soup then. Seeing it’s the penultimate bulb.

MA has a spoonful.

They watch her.

KAT. And?

MA. I’ve had better.

KAT (to MAUDIE). Bread.

MAUDIE (bringing bread). The body, the life, alive alive-o.

KAT. Did I say talk?


MAUDIE resumes her place.

KAT. Guess who come in the yard yesterday.

MA. Who?

KAT. Guess.

MA. I don’t know, do I? I’ve been rotting here for weeks.

KAT. Hodge.

MA. Jack Hodge?

KAT. Black Jack Hodge.

MA. In our yard?

KAT. Strolls in like

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