Plays

The first play I ever wrote - The Prisoner - was performed and produced by the wonderful Frequency Theatre in Colchester after I saw an advert for new playwrights and decided to have a go. They were so happy with the play that they asked me to take part in an experiment - a script based on that week's news that would be written, produced and performed in just one week. I was so excited and thus The Reunion was born. Scripts of both plays are below but you can also hear them at http://www.frequencytheatre.co.uk/play/reunion/ and http://www.frequencytheatre.co.uk/play/prisoner/

The Reunion

SCENE ONE

THERE IS THE SOUND OF A ZIP BEING DONE UP, A DRAWER OPENING AND CLOSING AND THE SPRAY OF DEODORANT

JAMES: Right

HOLLY: Where are you going, again?

JAMES: The George – near The Strand. Pete's back from Thailand for a few weeks so he's organised a bit of a reunion

HOLLY: Oh okay

JAMES: I can't believe it's been ten years since we graduated. Ten years. It's mad

HOLLY: Is that the last time you saw them?

JAMES: Yeah – must be. We've stayed in touch, though. Pete's been away for the last year

HOLLY: Is that Pete Whitmore?

JAMES: Yeah – do you know him?

HOLLY: He added me on Facebook a couple of months ago

JAMES: Really?

HOLLY: Yeah – we both commented on your status after we'd got married and he added me then

JAMES: Oh right

HOLLY: I love his pictures – that baby elephant was so funny

JAMES: Haha, yeah it was

HOLLY: Who else is going tonight?

JAMES: Chris, Emily and Jess

HOLLY: I don't know them

JAMES: Emily's married and they've got a little girl. I think Jess is single – she's doing really well, though. Got her own art studio in Brighton

HOLLY: That's all right

JAMES: Yeah – that's what she wanted to do. Chris works in Insurance but he's always talking about writing a book

HOLLY: Gosh – Thailand, art studios and writers: you might not want to come home! They'll think we're really boring

JAMES: Of course they won't. Anyway, I've always wanted to be a teacher

HOLLY: I know

JAMES: I'd better get going, anyway – the train goes at half past

THE DOOR OPENS

HOLLY: Have a good time

JAMES: I'm sure I will

HOLLY: What time will you be back?

JAMES: Late I reckon so don't wait up – we've got loads to catch up on

HOLLY: Okay – see you later

JAMES: Bye

 

SCENE TWO

THE DOOR OPENS AND THERE IS THE SOUND OF CHATTER AND GLASSES CLINKING

JAMES: Chris!

CHRIS: James, mate – how you doing?

THEY HUG/SLAP EACH OTHER ON THE BACK

JAMES: Good to see you – it's been too long

CHRIS: Beer?

JAMES: Oh yes

THERE IS THE SOUND OF GLASSES BEING SET DOWN ON A TABLE

CHRIS: So, what have you been up to?

JAMES: Well, I'm a teacher now

CHRIS: Yeah, I saw that – English?

JAMES: Yeah. And I got married back in June

CHRIS: Holly, isn't it? I saw the pictures – it looked like a nice day

JAMES: What about you?

CHRIS: I'm in Insurance at the moment

JAMES: Mm

CHRIS: Yeah – I like it

JAMES: That's good

CHRIS: Yeah. Still writing sometimes too

JAMES: Cool

THERE IS A MOMENT OF SILENCE AND JAMES CLEARS HIS THROAT

CHRIS: How's the cat?

JAMES IS RELIEVED TO HAVE SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT AND PERKS UP

JAMES: Insane. Holly keeps saying it's all practice for when we have a baby but whoever heard of a cat not sleeping through the night? He's more demanding than any baby I've ever known... he keeps us entertained, though

CHRIS: It sounds like it

JAMES: Have you got any pets?

CHRIS: No, Kate's not really a fan of them

JAMES: Oh okay. How was your holiday? The hotel looked nice

CHRIS: Yeah it was – right on the beach

JAMES: Nice

CHRIS: Yeah

JAMES: Holly and I like our city breaks

THERE IS AN AWKWARD SILENCE AND THEN THE SOUND OF A SCREEN BEING TAPPED AND A BLEEP

CHRIS: Oh, I've been tagged: “Catching up with good friends at The George”

JAMES: It's got to be done

CHRIS: I was supposed to be somewhere else tonight – I told them I was having a night in. You can't hide anything these days

JAMES: Shall I untag you?

CHRIS: No, it's okay

THERE IS SILENCE OTHER THAN THE SOUND OF GLASSES BEING LIFTED AND PUT BACK ONTO THE TABLE

JAMES: There's Pete. Pete!

CHRIS: Pete – over here!

JAMES: He's got his earphones in – he can't hear us. Hang on...

PETE: Evening gentlemen

CHRIS: How you doing?

PETE: Great – I'm living in Thailand at the moment. I'm just back for a few weeks – catching up with a few mates, sorting a few things out

JAMES: Holly loves your photos

PETE: Yeah, I've been dabbling in a bit of photography while I'm out there

CHRIS: Oh yeah?

PETE: Just here and there – mainly landscape shots. I've sold a few online. Anyway, shall I get the drinks in? What are we having – beer and a shot for old times' sake?

CHRIS: Why not

JAMES: Let's do it

CHRIS: So...

JAMES: You're still writing, you said?

CHRIS: Now and then. My job takes up quite a lot of my time

JAMES: Really?

CHRIS: Well, we do quite a lot with our clients after hours. Dinner – drinks... you know...

JAMES: Yeah. Gosh, I couldn't spend any more time than I already do with my kids – I have enough trouble trying to stop them and their parents cyber-stalking me out of work. It's ridiculous – I really don't want to be telling Nathan Barnes off one minute and have him seeing pictures of me in my Batman outfit the next

CHRIS: No, you really don't

JAMES: Hey, speaking of your writing though – whatever happened to Hinchy?

CHRIS: Oh, Hinchy – God, I'd forgotten all about him

JAMES: Pete and I used to love sitting in our living room listening to the next instalment – pure genius. I've always thought I'll see your book in Waterstones one day

CHRIS: Haha – I haven't written about old Hinchy in years

JAMES: You should – you could give him a Twitter account, even. Det Inspc Hinch Esq

CHRIS IS CLEARLY UNCONVINCED

CHRIS: Maybe

PETE: Here we go – cheers!

THEY CLINK GLASSES

JAMES: My liver's not going to be happy – I haven't done shots in years

PETE: Hah – it's a regular thing for me in Thailand, fellas. It's a great lifestyle out there – so chilled

CHRIS: I can imagine

PETE: Yeah, I'm hoping to stay out there for a bit longer – carry on with my TEFAL, travel around a bit and then come back and do my teacher training here

JAMES: That sounds good to me, mate

PETE: Life is pretty good at the moment

CHRIS: It doesn't always turn out how you want it to, though

PETE: It sounds like you're doing well from your updates – you're a bit of a somebody in the world of insurance, aren't you?

CHRIS: Well...

PETE: There you go, then – you're sorted. Your girlfriend looks nice too. I'm seeing a Thai girl at the moment...

CHRIS INTERJECTS

CHRIS: But I don't put everything on Facebook – I don't want my whole life to be on show to people I hardly know

JAMES: But these people are your friends – you do know them

CHRIS: Are they really? Like you guys – I feel like we still know each other but we haven't spoken – actually spoken – for ten years

JAMES: No but...

CHRIS: Look at Pete – you've got something like 500 friends on Facebook

PETE: I've got a bit of a following on Twitter too – over nine hundred when I last checked

CHRIS: But do you really know five hundred people? Does anyone?

PETE: It's just people you meet over the years

CHRIS: But that's what I mean – do you really want some random who you once had a beer with on holiday knowing your every waking thought?

JAMES: I do love Twitter

CHRIS: I think it's creepy

PETE: Creepy?

CHRIS: Sharing your thoughts and photos with strangers. Stalking celebrities – feeling like you actually know them because you've seen a picture of their ironing board

PETE: It's the way the world's going, mate

CHRIS: Yeah – life in 140 characters

JAMES: Virtual meet-ups – you can hang out with someone whilst sitting at home. I love it – it means I can get my marking done at the same time

CHRIS: I'd rather go down the pub

HEELED FOOTSTEPS APPROACH THE TABLE

JESS: We're here!

THERE IS THE SOUND OF CHAIRS MOVING AND HUGGING

EMILY: Sorry we're late

JAMES: We've just been having a debate about social networking

JESS: Hah – I had a Facebook cull the other day and got rid of about thirty people. It felt good

EMILY: That's why we're late, actually – we arranged to meet outside but Jess was texting for ages when I got here

JESS: Sorry – he's called Tom... Friend of a friend

EMILY: Are you seeing him?

JESS: I haven't met him yet – well, we've Skyped but we're hopefully going for a drink at some point

CHRIS: See, that's exactly what I was talking about! Technology's actually made us more antisocial

JESS: You think?

CHRIS: We're all out together – you're texting someone you've never met, Pete was on his iPod when he walked in and James was on Facebook telling the world where we are. What happened to proper socialising?

EMILY: On that note, shall we get a drink?

JAMES: Jess hasn't changed

PETE: Nope – good for her

CHRIS: So she's not actually met this guy?

PETE: It's no different than a blind date

CHRIS: Except she can Google him

THE GIRLS RETURN AND SIT DOWN NOISILY

EMILY: How is everyone, anyway?

PETE: Yeah, good – living in Thailand now

EMILY: I know – I'm so jealous

PETE: Amelia's gorgeous though

EMILY: Oh I know – I wouldn't not have her

JAMES: What about you, Jess?

THERE IS SILENCE – JUST THE SOUND OF TAPPING ON A SCREEN

JAMES: Jess!

JESS: Wha...? Oh, sorry

CHRIS: Tom?

JESS: How did you guess? Sorry everyone

EMILY: I couldn't live without my phone. I think I'd rather go without food

CHRIS: Really?

EMILY: Yeah – the forums were a lifesaver when I first had Amelia. It's so good to know other mums are going through the same thing

PETE: I know what you mean – I couldn't have learned guitar without forums and YouTube

CHRIS: You could have had lessons

PETE: I'm not on a high-flying corporate salary, mate – can't afford luxuries like that

THERE IS THE SOUND OF GLASSES BEING LIFTED AND PUT BACK ON THE TABLE

EMILY: Anyway... How's the cat, James?

JAMES: Mad

EMILY: Your updates are so funny

JESS: And the Tweets

CHRIS: You Tweet about your cat?

JESS: Oh Chris, the cat's got his own account

CHRIS: The world's gone mad

JAMES: I was trying to persuade Chris to set one up for Hinchy – remember him?

EMILY: Hinchy! Whatever happened to him? Please tell me you're still writing about him

CHRIS: Not at the moment

EMILY: Work keeping you busy?

CHRIS: Pretty much, yeah

EMILY: I do miss the days of Hinchy sometimes

JAMES: Going to bed at six...

EMILY: … and getting up in the afternoon

CHRIS: Cider in the Union bar

JESS: Sitting by the river in the summer

PETE: Those were the days indeed

THERE IS A MOMENT OF SILENCE AS THEY REMINISCE

EMILY: Shall we have a photo? Hang on – Pete you've got the longest arms... that's it – hold the phone out...

THERE IS A CLICKING SOUND

EMILY: Ahh – lovely

CHRIS: Let me guess – it'll be on Facebook in a few seconds

EMILY: Chris – you used to be so chilled

CHRIS: I am chilled

EMILY: Really?

CHRIS: I just miss the days when we had to work harder for things

EMILY: What do you mean?

CHRIS: Everything's just so easy these days – if you want to hear a song you look it up on Spotify, if you want to know something you just Google it. You want to know what someone's up to, you check Facebook

JAMES: What's wrong with that? Pete's a cracking guitarist now – you must've seen his stuff on YouTube

PETE: Thanks

CHRIS: Yeah I have and that's all great but... it's made us shallow. Now we can socialise without actually socialising – I can see that Emily's had a baby whilst I'm queuing for a sandwich. A few years ago she would've rung to tell us

EMILY: It was easier to put it on Facebook – you don't get much time to do stuff with a baby

CHRIS: I know. I just find it sad, that's all. Even iPhones auto-correct things for us so we don't need to spell check any more – it's made us lazy

PETE: You think?

CHRIS: I do – we've become the auto-correct generation. We've got all this technology that we use on a daily basis but it's harmed us psychologically. Exams will be on Twitter soon – I guarantee it. Write an essay in twenty words...

JAMES: That's pretty scary

EMILY: I don't want to think about it

JAMES: Are you all right, Jess?

JESS: Yeah... sorry. I told Tom I'm out with some friends but he keeps texting me, bless him

PETE: I'd better be heading off anyway

JAMES: Yeah, me too

PETE: Great to see you all

THERE IS THE NOISE OF CHAIRS BEING MOVED AND SHUFFLING. EMILY YAWNS

EMILY: I'm coming too – I don't really do late nights these days

CHRIS: Ten thirty is early for me

EMILY: Oh, you and your posh dinners

CHRIS LAUGHS

THERE IS THE SOUND OF A DOOR BEING OPENED AND THE NOISE OF TRAFFIC

PETE: Thanks guys – great night

JESS: We'll have to do it again when you're back

JAMES: Definitely

EMILY: Yeah, and you'll all have to come and meet Amelia

JESS: We will!

CHRIS: See you, then

EVERYONE: Bye

 

SCENE THREE

THE DOOR OPENS AND FOOTSTEPS WALK INSIDE. THE TELEVISION IS ON AND THEN THE VOLUME IS TURNED DOWN

HOLLY: James? You're home early

JAMES: Yeah

HOLLY: Good night?

JAMES: Yeah it was – haha, look...

HOLLY: Yeah I saw the photo – it looked like you were having a good time

JAMES LAUGHS

JAMES: Hah, Jess has said: “Had a great night with uni friends – can't believe how old they all look, (joke!)”

HOLLY: Is she the blonde one?

JAMES: Yeah – she had pink hair at uni

HOLLY: How come you're home so early, anyway?

JAMES: You know what, Holl? It wasn't that great a night. We've all moved on – we feel like we still know each other but we don't really. Reading stuff online isn't the same as meeting up and actually talking

HOLLY: Well no

JAMES: You know, Pete's off in Thailand and that's all he cares about really, Chris has become all business-y and Jess was on another planet tonight. Chris said technology's made us more antisocial and I think he's right. All of us sat on our phones: all of us kept looking at the door in case someone more interesting came in. We're connected... but we're disconnected

HOLLY: You're probably right

JAMES: We won't see each other again

HOLLY: No?

JAMES: No. Whatever we had in common ten years ago has changed now – without the internet it would've just come to a natural end. Chris is right – we've got forced friendships now that aren't real friendships

HOLLY: That's funny – I forgot to tell you what happened the other day. I saw someone in Tescos and she totally blanked me, yet literally the day before I'd seen pictures of her three-month scan

JAMES: That's exactly what Chris was getting at. How many people would cross the road to avoid some of the “friends” they've got online?

HOLLY: Sounds like you've got more in common with him than you thought

JAMES: Ah well. Maybe I should message him and see if he fancies a game of pool sometime

HOLLY: Give him a call

JAMES: Oh... Phoning's a bit awkward sometimes, isn't it? I'll send him a message on Facebook. I'll do it tomorrow

ENDS

 

The Prisoner

SCENE ONE

HEAVY FOOTSTEPS WALK ACROSS A CONCRETE FLOOR AND THERE IS THE SOUND OF A LOCKER OPENING

GARY: Morning Rog

ROGER: Morning. Who you got this week?

GARY: Sutton

ROGER: Hah! Good luck... Wup – Governor...

GARY/ROGER: Morning Sir!

GARY: Old bugger

ROGER: Nine years until retirement, eh?

GARY: I'm counting them down. Full pension – mortgage paid off... Life of bloody Riley I'll have then

ROGER: Yeah

GARY: Only another week of being assigned to the little sods though. I still can't believe some bright spark thought it would be a good idea. What do I care about trying to 'counsel' and help them? I just want to do my job, get home and watch the telly. Is that too much to ask?

ROGER: It's pretending to be nice to them that gets me

GARY: I won't be able to pretend with Sutton. Governor calls him 'difficult': I call him a little thug

ROGER: That's because he is a little thug. See you at lunch

 

SCENE TWO

A METAL DOOR BANGS AND A CHAIR SCRAPES ACROSS THE FLOOR

GARY IS AUDIBLY AWKWARD AS HE TALKS TO THE PRISONER

GARY: So, how are you feeling today?

SUTTON: Fine. How are you?

GARY: Oh! I'm... fine

SUTTON: Great

GARY: Is there anything you'd like to tell me?

SUTTON: Are you a psychiatrist? Or a talk show host – trying to 'open me up'?

SILENCE

SUTTON: What's that newspaper you've got there? 'The Truth' – let's talk about truth then. Truth and freedom. Did they teach you about that on your little counselling skills course?

GARY: I'm free and you're not – that's the truth, mate, and that's all I've got to say on it! My daughter and her clever friends are setting up a newspaper called 'The Truth' – this is the first draft of it

SUTTON IS DISINTERESTED

SUTTON: Really. How... fascinating

GARY: Yeah. The only want to tell the truth – unlike most of the papers these days!

SUTTON: But what's the truth?

GARY: The truth is what really happens. My seven year old could tell you that!

SUTTON: Go on then. Tell me about this paper: this 'Truth'

GARY: Well, a few of them were sitting around talking about newspapers the other day...

SUTTON: Students?

GARY: And they all agreed how much exaggeration and spin they print. There's no truth in the papers any more – you can't believe anything you read

SUTTON: No one can print the truth – the definitive truth

GARY: So they decided that they'll launch their own paper and...

SUTTON: It won't work

GARY: Of course it'll work! As you can see it's called 'The Truth' – they're setting it up specifically to do that. To tell just the absolute facts

SUTTON: Like I said, you can't print the definitive truth. Your daughter will have her own opinion on what should go in the paper and so will her friends. It just won't work

GARY IS ANGRY BUT TRIES TO APPEAR CALM

GARY: Look, Sutton...

SUTTON: Okay, let's talk about something else. Let's go back to freedom – we didn't finish earlier

GARY: Look, this freedom nonsense is obvious – you're stuck in here and I'm not. I can get up and leave – walk out the building and do whatever I want – but you're a prisoner. I have freedom: you don't. End of story. Now...

SUTTON: But you won't

GARY: What?

SUTTON: You won't walk out of the door. Not until five thirty

GARY: Of course not – I'd lose wages and I'd be disciplined if I just walked out

SUTTON: Exactly. You don't have the freedom to just walk out because you'd lose your job

GARY: I still have freedom of choice. I can go home, put the telly on and eat my egg and chips. I can go down the pub with my mates – you can't do any of that

SUTTON: Who cooks?

GARY: The wife. She has my tea ready for when I get home at six – I don't have to worry about it

SUTTON: So it's egg and chips on a Monday?

GARY: Yep – my favourite

SUTTON: So you don't have the freedom to eat what you want when you want

GARY: I could grab a burger on the way home if I wanted

SUTTON: But you won't

GARY: What?

SUTTON: You won't. You'll get home at six and your dinner will be on the... well, tray I suppose and you'll eat it without question. You eat what and when your wife tells you to

GARY: It's the same for you – you don't have any choice over what you eat! You don't get egg and chips

SUTTON: I never said I was free – not in that way at least. It was you who said you had freedom. Freedom isn't just about a few bars stuck on a window – it's about how you feel in your head

GARY: Enough of this rubbish – I'm off for lunch. I'll be back later

SUTTON: At one, I'd imagine – when your lunch break is over. Well, I'll still be here

GARY: I know you will

 

SCENE THREE

SOUND OF CHATTER AND CUTLERY

DAVE: All right, Gary? Braving the canteen today?

GARY: Yeah

DAVE: There's a great choice of sandwich – cheese, ham or cheese and ham! Anyway I hear you've got Sutton this week?

GARY: Yeah – just my luck, isn't it? Only four more days...

DAVE: Well a few of us are off to the Queen's Head later for a game of pool and a few beers if you fancy it?

GARY: Nah mate, I can't tonight – the missus hates me going out in the week and she's got a list of jobs for when I get home. Seriously, Dave – how many times can you paint one fence? I'm not Alan bloody Titchmarsh

DAVE: Ah, Helen's the same – 'do this, do that, where's my cup of tea?' Honestly, I'm dreading retirement – I'll be worked harder than we are here!

GOVERNOR: One-o-clock – back to work, everyone

GARY: See you later

 

SCENE FOUR

THE SAME SOUND OF THE METAL DOOR AND CHAIR SCRAPING

SUTTON: Nice lunch?

GARY: Michelin starred. Now listen, Sutton – I'm not having any more of this

SUTTON: What does freedom mean to you, Gary?

GARY JANGLES HIS KEYS

GARY: This. This is what freedom means to me.

SILENCE

GARY: Look – let's stop all this talk. We both know who is and who isn't free. Let's talk about something else instead, like the footie or... I don't know...

SUTTON: The weather? Fine, let's talk about why I'm here, then – you guards seem to like that

GARY: All right

SUTTON: You see I committed a crime – so I'm a prisoner in the physical sense. But I chose my actions – I knew they would probably lead to prison and that was my choice

GARY: Now listen!

SUTTON: I stood by my principles. I made a choice

GARY: A choice that landed you here

SUTTON: Yes. I knew it could. But I'm free in my head. Are you? Who makes the decisions in your house? Who decides when it's time for you to buy the next round of drinks?

GARY IS AUDIBLY UPSET

GARY: I...

SUTTON: You even admitted that the papers print rubbish. What do you think about Simon Cowell?

GARY: I can't believe he's been...

HE BREAKS OFF, REALISING

GARY: You just wait, Sutton

SUTTON: What's your favourite TV programme?

GARY: I never miss The Simpsons. I'd ask you but you don't get to watch much, do you?

SUTTON: I'd hate my life to revolve around TV

GARY: I'd hate mine to revolve around lights on and lights off

SUTTON: I bet 'the wife' hates you watching The Simpsons

GARY: No...

SUTTON: I bet she tuts and huffs and you end up missing most of it because she's talking

GARY: We have a chat while we eat – what's wrong with that?

SUTTON: You do what you're told, don't you? Are you even allowed out to the pub?

GARY: I...

SUTTON: Thought so. And when you do your wife complains about the smell of alcohol on your breath and you're forced to sleep in the spare room...

GARY: Enough!

SUTTON: And even at the pub you can't bring yourself to get the next round in until someone tells you to

GARY: How do you...? No – look, Sutton. This isn't on! This isn't why I'm here

SUTTON: But why? I might be imprisoned physically but as far as I'm aware conversation is still free

GARY: This isn't conversation. Anyway, we're here to talk about you

SUTTON: Only because that's what you've been told. In a week's time you'll be back to normal – lording it over the inmates and walking around like you run the place. And we both know you don't

GARY: I...

SUTTON: It's true, isn't it? You're here because you have to be and because you'd lose your job if you weren't. You don't give a toss about how I feel or why I'm in here – you just want to do what the course told you to and get home to your nagging wife and comfort food

GARY: I'm going to leave now

SUTTON: Five thirty, is it? Off home for dinner at six? Ah – freedom, eh?

THE DOOR IS UNLOCKED AND SLAMS. GARY'S VOICE IS QUIETER AS HE IS NOW OUTSIDE

GARY: I'll tell you about freedom, mate – this is what it's all about

SUTTON: At least I stand by my principles. You won't see my family ordering me about

GARY: You won't see me stuck in the same room day after day. Behind bars

SUTTON: Not physical bars, no. But I don't know about that room – where have you been for most of today?

GARY: In here listening to you talking a load of twaddle!

SUTTON: You're going to be late. Mustn't keep Mrs Gary waiting...

GARY: She won't mind

SUTTON: But your tea will get cold and you'll miss your programme – you're even a prisoner of the telly, aren't you?

GARY: Sutton!

SUTTON: Bound by your wife, bound by the views of your friends and even what the papers print – we're both prisoners here, Gary

GARY: I'm going to stand against these bars tonight while you're behind them!

SILENCE

GARY: I'm leaving now. And I can choose what I do

SUTTON: But you won't

 

SCENE FIVE

THE SOUND OF LOCKERS OPENING AND CLOSING

ROGER: How did it go?

GARY: Oh, you know...

ROGER: Yeah. You want a lift home? The bus can't be fun

GARY: That would be great, cheers – I can't wait to get my car back. Oh, Julie's texted about her paper

ROGER: Yeah? How's that going?

GARY: Oh. She said it's not going to work – they sat down for seven hours and realised that they were trying to decide which side of a story to fall on, which isn't right. They wanted to print the truth but they had different ideas on what the truth was

ROGER: Ah. Sorry, mate. It was a good idea, though

GARY: Yeah. She said they realised they'd still be printing their own opinions

ROGER: So there isn't going to be a 'Truth'?

GARY: Nope. No 'Truth.'

ROGER: Shall we go, then?

GARY: Actually, Rog – you know what? I think I'll get the bus. Might even nip into McDonald's on the way home

ROGER: I thought you had egg and chips on a Monday? I wouldn't want to waste that – Trisha's got me on this low fat stuff at the moment. All stir-frys and natural yoghurt – I'd give anything for a plate of chips

GARY: Yeah, you're probably right. I'd miss the bus anyway. See you tomorrow, mate

ROGER: See you tomorrow

ENDS

In 2016 I started to delve back into the playwriting world with something new - it is still unfinished but here it is so far...

Souled

SCENE ONE

THERE IS THE SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS ON A PAVEMENT AND THEN A DOOR BEING UNLOCKED AND CLOSED

Tom: What the...?! Who are you?

Devil: I'm the devil

Tom: How did you get into my house?

Devil: Didn't you hear me?

Tom (shakily): Look, what do you want? I haven't got any money on me...

Devil: Money? I don't want money. It's the root of all evil... so I have plenty of course

Tom: Please! Please just take what you want and get out of my house

Devil: Well, that's what I'm here for

Tom: Then take it and get out!

Devil: Ah, so I have your permission?

Tom: Take whatever you want and go

Devil: I'm afraid it's a little more complex than that

Tom: Who are you?

Devil: I told you – I'm the devil

Tom: You don't look anything like the devil!

Devil: How am I supposed to look?

Tom: Oh, I don't know! Red with horns? Look, is this a wind-up? Am I going to end up on YouTube later?

Devil: Red doesn't suit me. Anyway, of course I don't look like that – we're not living in the dark ages any more. Do you still wear that green shell suit you used to have?

Tom: How do you...?! They were fashionable in the 80s

Devil: I quite liked them. Nice and flammable...

Tom: How do you know about my shell suit, anyway?

Devil: I'm the devil – I know everything

Tom: You just don't look like the devil. I didn't think you'd be so...

Devil (testily): So what?

Tom: Well... short

Devil: I'm not short!

Tom: Well, you are a bit

Devil: Do you know who you're talking to?

Tom: Yes, yes

Devil: I'm not short

Tom: And since when do devils wear Armani jeans and loafers?

Devil: What's wrong with loafers? I seem to recall you have three pairs...

Tom: It's just not what I'd expect a devil to wear

Devil: I'm not a devil - I'm the devil

Tom: You're just not that scary, to be honest

Devil (smugly): Do I not match up to your expectations, then?

Tom: And what the hell is that thing?

Devil: Are you talking about Posy? (Indulgently as if talking to a baby) Don't listen to the horrible man, precious – you're not a thing

Tom: Since when do devils like animals?

Devil: I'll have you know that she's a pure-bred Persian

Tom: Shouldn't you have a... I don't know... a bat or something?

Devil: A bat? What would I want with one of those?

Tom: It just seems more fitting

Devil: I like something to cuddle up to in the evenings... it does get so lonely sometimes

Tom (incredulously): I'm just... I...

Devil: Even company to watch X Factor with... you know?

Tom: This has got to be a joke. Come on, where's your camera?

Devil: I've told you...

Tom: Oh, for God's sake...

Devil: Excuse me?! Did you just...?

Tom: Haha, sorry

Devil: The absolute nerve... I've a mind to... Argh!

THERE IS A FLURRY OF NOISE AND A YOWL AS THE CAT IS DROPPED ON THE FLOOR

Devil: Get rid of it! Get rid of it! Get rid of it!

Tom: Er... you're sitting on me

Devil: Oh

THERE IS A SCUFFLING NOISE

Devil: Get rid of it!

Tom: It's only a spider. Surely you aren't scared of a tiny thing like that?

Devil (sulkily): Yes, actually. Evil creatures

Tom: Haha, who'd have thought it?

THE DEVIL STARTS TO COO AT THE CAT BUT IT HISSES AND SPITS AND THERE IS A LITTLE SHRIEK AS HE MOVES AWAY FROM IT. TOM BURSTS INTO LAUGHTER

Devil: I suppose you think this is funny, do you?

TOM CONTINUES TO LAUGH

Devil: You know, I could... I could... turn you into something

Tom: How exciting! I feel like I'm in Harry Potter

Devil: I could

Tom: Turn me into what? A frog? Ribbit!

Devil: Don't be ridiculous – frogs are outdated. No, like... a ballet dancer

Tom: A ballet dancer?

Devil: I do a little ballet myself, actually

Tom: Why doesn't that surprise me? Please don't demonstrate...

Devil: Hah, praying isn't going to help you now

Tom: No, I don't suppose it is

Devil: Anyway, it's awfully chilly here in your hallway – can we go through and have a cuppa to warm up? Then we can get down to the business of why I'm here

Tom: The devil in my house having a brew – who would have thought it?

Devil: Shall we?

Tom: I thought you'd be warm enough...

Devil: I'm not even going to dignify that with a response

Tom: You didn't bring any burning furnaces with you, then?

Devil: You know, most people are terrified when they see me!

Tom (doubtfully): Really?

Devil: All you've done is take the mickey. The youth of today aren't what they were...

Tom: I'm hardly a youth! And you have to admit it is quite odd

Devil: What is?

Tom: I'm still convinced it's a wind-up

Devil: Thomas, Thomas... just because I don't look how you expected doesn't mean you're on candid camera. Besides, I've never liked those shows – I much prefer a good drama. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes these days – everyone thinks the world wants to watch them eat

Tom: Or meet devils as they come through their front door, hah! You're right, but I definitely don't. I'm quite happy living my life without the world needing to hear all about it

Devil: Yes, I know. Although I bet you still have your Tom and Adam's Crazy Show videos upstairs... And Tom, I'm the devil

Tom: How do you know about that?

THE DEVIL SIGHS

Devil: Tom...

Tom: All right, all right – I get it. You're the devil: you know everything. I still have the videos but I don't intend on them ever seeing the light of day – it was just a couple of teenagers messing around

Devil: They were rather amusing

Tom: They were fun

Devil: Anyway, shall I make the tea? I know where everything is

Tom: Er... ok

Devil: You'll be having your Super Tom mug – cupboard on the left? - and I'll have the pink one. I make a great cuppa, me...

Tom: Right. I'll... er... go and sit down

Tom: It's a shame you don't talk, Posy – you could give me a heads up

A KETTLE BOILS AND MUGS CLANK IN THE DISTANCE

Tom: Bloody spoilt, fat lump of a creature

Devil: Here we are – a bit of milk and one sugar, just how you like it. I brought some biccies in too

Tom: Oh, you eat?

Devil: I certainly do. And I drink tea too. I've got a rather sweet tooth, although I really should be watching my weight at this time of year

THERE IS THE SOUND OF CUPS ON A TRAY AND GENERAL DRINKING NOISES AS THEY CONTINUE TO TALK

Tom: Oh, me too – I... oh, for goodness' sake! Listen to me!

Devil: It's never too early to get into shape

Tom: The only shape I'm getting into is a circle at the moment

Devil: No biscuits for you, then

Tom: Does it matter? Although having said that, if this is going to be my last meal I'd much rather have a pizza. And maybe a beer instead of the tea

Devil: Your last meal?

Tom: I'm guessing that's why you're here

Devil: Tom, I'm not Death

Tom: Oh. I'm not sure how it all works

Devil: I've not come to take you away – what a ludicrous idea

Tom: Ludicrous... right. So there's no such thing as Death, then?

Devil: Oh, he exists – he's on a coach tour in Scotland at the moment

Tom: A coach tour? Oh, I see – some poor old dear...?

Devil: No, no – he's on holiday

Tom: On a coach tour?

Devil: What's wrong with that? He's getting on a bit now – he's too old to be off gallivanting round Europe these days

Tom: Perhaps he'll be coming for himself soon if he's that old, haha! Or would he just need to look in the mirror? “I wonder if my hair's all right... dammit!”

Devil: You think you're hilarious, don't you?

Tom: Not really. Amy always laughs at my jokes

Devil: Yes, she does

Tom: So who else exists - Santa?

Devil: Don't be silly

Tom: How disappointing

Devil: Next you'll be asking about the Tooth Fairy and Peter Pan

Tom: Peter Pan's not real?!

Devil: You really are quite tiresome. Perhaps I should be visiting Amy instead...

Tom: Leave Amy alone

Devil: Happily – she's rather too orange for my liking

Tom: Better than being red

Devil: Tom, I'm sitting opposite you – you can clearly see I'm not red. I've already told you it doesn't suit me

Tom: True. Maybe I'll meet an alien tomorrow who hates the colour green

THE DEVIL SIGHS

Tom: So I am going to have a tomorrow?

Devil: I'm not here to take you away

Tom: I have a feeling I know where this is going now

Devil: We'll get onto that in a minute. Lovely cup of tea, if I say so myself

Tom: It's not bad

Devil: So...

Tom: I feel like I'm on a blind date

Devil: Oh, I had one of those a couple of weeks ago – what a waste of time

Tom: Really?

Devil: Well, it's always the choice between lying about what you do for a living or being honest... and then if you're honest it just puts people off...

Tom: I can imagine it would

Devil: You just think, if they got to know me, you know... A few months ago I met someone on Tinder...

Tom (interrupting): You're on Tinder? Seriously?

Devil: I was. How else am I supposed to meet someone?

Tom: Bump into them in a supermarket and steal their soul?

Devil: Anyway, I lied and said I had a normal job

Tom: What did you go for? Teacher? Plumber?

Devil: UKIP member. My date got up and walked out

Tom: Haha, you're probably more socially acceptable as the devil

Devil: Next time I'll say I'm a parking inspector

Tom: Or just be honest. You don't seem a bad bloke, as it goes...

Devil: No

Tom: So, I guess you'd better tell me why you're here

Devil: Okay. I'm actually nervous, would you believe – this is never easy...

Tom: I imagine you've had a lot of practice

Devil: Yes, but it's like public speaking – the apprehension...

Tom: Come on... I've just realised I don't know what to call you. Lucifer?

Devil: Luc is fine

Tom: Right. Well, Luc – let's just get this over with. If I'm not going to be taken away I'd quite like to see the Arsenal match later

Devil (disgusted): Ghastly

Tom: Tottenham fan, are you?

Devil: No I'm not. Why anyone wants to watch however many men running around a field in the rain and snow I'll never know...

Tom: Well, anyway – it starts in half an hour

Devil: All right, all right. Well, I'm here about your soul, you see...

Tom: I figured

Devil: I've got a choice for you

Tom: A choice? Well I'd like to keep if it that's an option

Devil: Well it is...

Tom: Okay then. Well, it was nice to meet you...

Devil: I haven't given you the other option yet

Tom: I quite like my soul – I don't want to get rid of it just yet

Devil: You like it? You don't know your soul

Tom: Oh God... sorry! (THE DEVIL GROWLS) Sorry! Oh goodness – don't tell me you're into cleansing and auras and all of that... I don't know my soul? Will I find it if I go on some sort of retreat and dance around wearing rags and waving my hands in the air?

Devil: I give up. I actually give up. I meant you don't know it – as in you've never met it. You wouldn't miss it, honestly

Tom: Well, I'd like to keep it, thank you all the same

Devil: Let me just tell you the other option

Tom: All right. Kick off's in fifteen minutes, though...