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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

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Vanity Box A play by Jonathan Hall

Nick Quinn The Agency 24 Pottery Lane Holland Park London W11 4LZ


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

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Characters

The play is designed at present to be performed by a cast of five: a tentative casting is set out below. Actress One: Barbara Actor: Voice of Facebook, Bob, Jason(Jase), Bryan, Mrs. Bell, Carol's husband Actress Two: Greta, Martina, Shirley, Julie Actress Three: Vera, Alice, Vague Lady, Jean, Carol, Tracey, Mo, Betty Marsh Actress Four: Sidrah, Mary, Chemaine, The Girl (non speaking) Despite the detailed description of the setting the play is designed to the staged as representationally as possible. A very detailed set would only draw attention to the fact that people's hair isn't in reality being washed, cut, blow dried and so forth. Therefore the idea is that the salon is represented as sketchily as possible, with the back projection of the hair washing etc enabling the audience's mind to 'fill in the blanks'. (in a similar way to some of John Godber's plays, such as 'Up and Under') Similarly the quick changes between the different characters is something that could be (hopefully) achieved by the simplest of costume changes- jackets, scarves etc.


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

(Lights up on…)

3 Act One

The Vanity Box. A hairdressing salon, like a thousand thousand other such hairdressing salons, away on some residential street somewhere like a thousand thousand other residential streets. Beyond its clean looped nets: an impression of semis and street lamps, wheelie bins and bus stops. The salon is clean and tidy but ever so slightly faded. The fittings- they never were your stylish black coffee tables and chrome sinks, they were however once up to date; now they’re no longer in their first flush of youth. A fitted unit of seats with hairdryers, A plastic trolley of hair rollers. Hair nets and plastic hats. Slightly sun faded pictures of hairstyles on the wall; not quite Farah flicks and Di bobs but getting on that way. And things for sale. Combs, clips, scarves, make up sets. Everything just a bit out of date. But clean. Spotlessly clean and tidied to within an inch of its life. A February Morning. Valentine’s Day. Not long light.

Barbara lets herself in, northern lady, regal northern bosom, stylish coat, not an atom of nonsense about her. She takes of her coat and puts on her overall, changes her shoes, touches up her make up and is ready to face the day. She starts to ready the salon-

but is interrupted by the phone ringing. In what is obviously a well practiced flurry she turns off the radio, opens an appointments book and scoops up the receiver.

Barbara:

The Vanity Box, good morning. Oh, hello(The news she’s getting isn’t good) RightRightI seeWell there’s nothing to be done is thereYes, you do thatBye(she replaces the receiver, stony faced.)

(And Greta comes in- slightly older, slightly less stylish, holding a bunch of slightly droopy flowers - now out of breath with dramatic news)


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Barbara:

Morning Greta-

Greta:

Betty’s dead!

Barbara:

Sorry?

Greta:

Betty Marsh-

Barbara:

Betty Marsh-

Greta:

She’s dead-

Barbara:

What d’you mean she’s dead?

Greta:

I mean she’s dead-

Barbara:

Our Betty Marsh?

Greta:

Our Betty Marsh. Dead.

Barbara:

Are you sure?

Greta:

I’ve just seen Corinne- you know, Pilates Corinne- and she saw Mary G at the newsagents- and her daughter, the one as works at BRI: she told her-

Barbara:

Our Betty Marsh?

Greta:

Our Betty Marsh-

Barbara:

I only saw her yesterday-

Greta:

It was very sudden-

Barbara:

What was it?

Greta:

I don’t know- all I know is that it was very sudden-

Barbara:

It’d have to have beenAre you sure? I mean she looked all right to me-

Greta:

I don’t know- I remember looking at her and thinking: I don’t like the look of you lady-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Barbara:

You didn’t say-

Greta:

Round the eyes. You can always tell. I didn’t like how she was looking round her eyes.

Barbara:

Poor Betty

Greta:

You just can’t tell, not ever-

Barbara:

Well: she won’t be wanting her four o’clock-

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(From now on the two women begin getting the salon ready for opening, in what is obviously a well practiced ritual, talking as they work.) Greta:

I don’t know though- I was thinkingMaybe it’s a good thing it’s happened how it did-

Barbara:

How come?

Greta:

I’m thinking Stella Nothers-

Barbara:

Ah-

Greta:

There’s been so much of it about lately-

Barbara:

What?

Greta:

(mouths) Death. (puts flowers in a vase)

Barbara:

Are they for Billy?

Greta:

If it’s okay-

Barbara:

You know it is-

Greta:

If we’re not too busy- I can always-

Barbara:

(breaking in) We’re fine. You go and see Billy. Is that cake I see?

Greta:

Cherry and sultana-

Barbara:

You’ll be the death of my figure-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

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Greta:

I put the gluten free in the blue tin- for Betty.

Barbara:

(Moving her away from this subject) What are you doing tonight? Anything nice?

Greta:

Our Gary’s picking me up I’m going to have my tea there-

Barbara:

That’ll be nice- it will-

Greta:

Valentine’s day and there I am having tea with my sonCome in Greta- get a gripI am not going to be a big wet nelly. Not with you, with your big romantic night tonight// (Doesn’t clock Barbara’s reaction)

Barbara:

Ah-

Greta:

//-the last thing I want is you sat there in your glad rags thinking of me sat at home moping about like a wet weekendNow: are we busy?

Barbara:

Busy-

Greta:

Busy busy?

Barbara:

Brisk.

Greta:

Pensioners hour- (tapping the cake tin)

Barbara:

Pensioners hour-

Greta:

And it’s Wednesday-

Both:

Sidrah-

(Vibrant music, back projection as we meet Sidrah through Facebook style logos and photos) Sidrah:

Sidrah-

Voice:

Status:


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Sidrah:

Bored with boyfriendHe’s lovely- love him to bits- but he just doesn’t get it-

Voice:

Thinking:

Sidrah:

Valentines Day I so want to go out tonightSomewhere special-

Voice:

Dreaming of:

Sidrah:

Big dreams. Big big dreams. (speaking into hairbrush) Big BrotherThe only way is EssexBritains got Talent or the X FactorBig Brother Celebrity Big Brother-

Voice:

Being in-

Sidrah:

Heat, Bella, Ella and Okay-

Voice:

Sidrah-

Sidrah:

Alex Reid and I are just mates Chantelle-

Voice:

Sidrah: determined to make it in L.A

Voice:

Sidrah:

Sidrah:

Cheryl- don’t lose track of your friends-

Voice:

Until that day dawns-

Sidrah:

(dream fading) Doing hairdressing at college

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(The lights and music abruptly goes leaving her in the salon with Barbara and Greta getting ready for the day) Greta:

And remember- keep on sweeping up- when I come back from seeing Billy I don’t want to be looking down at tufts here there and everywhere-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Sidrah:

Right-

Greta:

And rememberOffer the Peach Dream Protein Plus conditionerBut tell them it’s an extra 43p

Sidrah:

Barbara?

Barbara:

Yes love-

Sidrah:

Can you straighten us fringe later on?

Barbara:

When it’s quiet-

Sidrah:

Thanks Barbara-

Barbara:

You off out?

Sidrah:

Yeah-

Greta:

You and Jason?

Sidrah:

Yeah-

Barbara:

Somewhere nice?

Sidrah:

It’d better be-

Barbara:

Oh?

Sidrah:

I said: look Jase- it’s Valentine’s dayYou are going to surprise me-

Greta:

(handing Sidrah a hairdryer) Who’s in first?

Barbara:

(consulting book) Miss Eccleston (Both look at each other)

Barbara/ Greta: Perm. Sidrah:

(Without being told she has started to defrost the windows) My friend’s boyfriend, he got her a stretch limoIt was lovely- all black inside with roses in these little miniature silver vases- and this mini bar full o Bacardi breezers-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Barbara:

Where did they go in that?

Sidrah:

Just round Tescos car parkNo, it was dead good, They only had it a short whileYou can just go round and round- there’s no traffic see-

Greta:

You’ve missed a bit- just there-

Sidrah:

It’s so cold- I’m freezing-

Greta:

It puts me in mind of Stella NothersWith her hands- (makes claws) You remember Barbara? How she kept losing the feeling in them-

Sidrah:

Why don’t you get Central heating Barbara? (A beat- a moment, which Sidrah is entirely unaware of)

Barbara:

I’m not made of money-

Sidrah:

No, right- my friend’s Mum’s just has in installed and she’s on in capacity benefit, and she just applied and the council come and fit it- It’s dead good (Barbara exits. Sidrah’s puzzled- what has she said?)

Greta:

Yeah and don’t keep telling people-

Sidrah:

Telling them what-

Greta:

Giving your opinions here there and everywhereTelling Mrs. Moore her hair was straggly-

Sidrah:

I were brought up to be truthful, me-

Greta:

There’s truthful and there’s truthful

(Barbara escorts Miss Eccleston in) Barbara:

You’re looking very bonny this morning Mrs. Eccleston-

Vera:

A trifle wind blown but that’s where you come in-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Barbara:

I like that top-

Vera:

Thank you-

Barbara:

It’s the colour- the pink It does suit you-

Vera:

£1.50 from the OXFAM-so what can you do with my old birds nest today?

Barbara:

I’m going to get Sidrah to start you offShe’s my trainee-

Vera:

Is it still the same charge?

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(The fish man walks in. Bob. Sexy, confident, slightly bad skin and wearing a baseball cap. Flirts with anything that has a pulse. Every exchange between him and Greta should be highly charged with meaning) Bob:

(flirting) How’s my favourite customer-

Greta:

(charged) Needing to get on-

Bob:

Wait till you see what I’ve got for you-

Greta:

What have you got for me?

Bob:

Only the freshest Haddock you ever did set your eyes on-

Greta:

You know I can’t stomach haddockIt repeats-

Bob:

Lucky Haddock-

Greta:

Have you any cod?

Bob:

Only the most succulent piece plucked from the north sea not twenty four hours since by a brawny trawlerman named Clem-

(Cut to Sidrah and Miss Eccleston) Vera:

I’m a trifle windblown The walk from Moorhead seem particularly breezy this morning-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Sidrah:

Couldn’t you get the bus?

Vera:

With bus fares at £1.80 a pop I’m very much afraid notNow: what’s to be done with my old bird’s nest this morning-

Barbara:

It’s time for a Perm-

Vera:

Surely not-

Barbara:

It’s been 6 months Mrs. Eccleston

Vera:

It never has-

Bob:

Barbara: you’re looking very lovely today-

Barbara:

Have you any of them prawn sticks-

Bob:

I certainly have-

Greta:

Hang on lady- have you not remembered?//

Barbara:

What?

Greta:

// you’re out tonight-

Barbara:

Ah-

Bob:

Out on the tiles is it? Valentine’s Date? Who’s the lucky fellow-

Greta:

None of your beeswax-

Barbara:

George Clooney if you must know

Bob:

Tell him: I’m jealous-

Greta:

Yeah and I bet you’ve got a good out night planned-

Bob:

Is that an offer?

Greta:

I think your Lisa’d have something to say about that-

Barbara:

You’re taking her somewhere nice I hope-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

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Bob:

Barbara: I do not need to take a woman out to treat her nicelyA couple of steaks Good bottle of wine Lights dimmed-

Barbara:

Just get the cod will you- (he goes out passing Sidrah who is combing Miss Eccleston)

Bob:

Can I tempt you to anything?

Sidrah:

I don’t like fish me-

Bob:

Pity- it’d add a real sparkle to those lovely eyes of yours- (exits)

Greta:

Only he can make an order of cod seem like a sexual Nintendo-

Barbara:

You need the perm solution, the rollers and the end papers Sidrah-

Vera:

Now young lady: I’ll be fine with just some rollers-

Sidrah:

But Barbara says-

Vera:

- Barbara doesn’t have to live on a widows wage-

Sidrah:

But there’s nothing to hold it in Mrs. Eccleston-

Vera:

Just get some strong setting solution and some smaller rollers-

Greta:

Dress-

Barbara:

Dress?

Greta:

Your dressThe dry cleanersI said I’d nip out and get it-

Sidrah:

So where are you going Barbara?

Barbara:

I’m not sure.

Vera:

I wish I could afford a night out-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

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Greta:

Didn’t you say you were thinking of trying that new Chinese place over by the ShowcaseThey have all these fishes in these little ponds apparentlyYou have to cross over these little bridges to get to your table-

Sidrah:

Eeeuh-

Greta:

You don’t eat themThey’re there just for show-

Sidrah:

Who are you going with?

Barbara:

Just a friend-

Vera:

A gentlemen admirer-

Greta:

You’re full of the questions today- (exits)

Barbara:

Don’t forget your end papers Sidrah-

Sidrah:

She says she’s fine with just smaller rollers-

Barbara:

She needs a perm-

Sidrah:

But she says-

Barbara:

Never mind what she saysShe needs a perm-

Sidrah:

Greta said I wasn’t to force my opinions on people-

Barbara:

It’s not an opinion- it’s fact: It’s six months since she had oneI’ve seen bags of wool with more body-

Sidrah:

(agonized) Yeah, but Barbara, she’s not got a lot of money-

Barbara:

What gives you that idea?

Sidrah:

She walked hereand that jumper from the OXFAM-

Barbara:

That woman has more money than you, me and Greta put together-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Sidrah love: her husband used to be one of the bosses at McCrindlesSidrah:

But she said-

Barbara:

She said she walked here and she couldn’t afford a permI know-

Sidrah:

I don’t get it

Barbara:

What’s to get? She’s old, living on her own-

Sidrah:

But if she’s so much money-

Barbara:

The word’s tight loveNow Mrs. EcclestonUnless you want to leave here looking like some wind blown summat or otherYou need a perm: end of-

Vera:

Oh- do I really? (Bob re-enters)

Barbara:

It’s up to you of course-

Vera:

Very well-

Bob:

Cod-

Barbara:

Leave it in the back for us- (But Bob lingers) I saidI’m all right for fish-

Bob:

Thing is Barbara-

Barbara:

Yes-

Bob:

I was wondering if you could fit us in later-

Barbara:

Don’t you normally go to Mario’s?

Bob:

Yeah-

Barbara:

So? (a pause)

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Bob:

Thing is- me and Lisa-

Barbara:

Yes-

Bob:

Well, we split up-

Barbara:

I’m sorry to hear that-

Bob:

Wellit’d run its course reallyyou knowwe were both on different pages-

Barbara:

So no fine wine and a good steak-

Bob:

Oh yeah, all that’s trueIt’s just me and the Adult Channel Latex GranniesThe thing is

Barbara:

Yes?

Bob:

Before she moved out-

Barbara:

Yes?

Bob:

Well I thought she was being okay with itand she said she’d cut my hair like she always did(Takes his cap off. The worst mess you can imagine) I thought she was being all right about it-

Barbara:

Who was she?

Bob:

Who was who?

Barbara:

That there says to me a bit more than ‘run its course’.

Bob:

Her best mate. I know. I’m a bastard. Is there anything you can do?

Barbara:

Buy you another hat-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Bob:

Barbara-

Barbara:

(consulting book)Come back at twonot that you deserve it-

Bob:

You’re a star-

Barbara:

I’m not promising anything-

Bob:

Seriously: I want your babies-

Barbara:

I’d stick to the haddock if I were you-

Sidrah:

Now when we’re finished we’ve got this conditionerit’s ever so nicePeach Dream Protein Plus-

Vera:

Let’s have a smellThat is nice-

Sidrah:

It’s just a bit more-

Vera:

How much more-

Sidrah:

Only forty three pence.

Vera:

It does smell nice thatSo are you training-

Sidrah:

Yes-

Vera:

Do you enjoy it?

Sidrah:

It’s all right-

Vera:

I always wanted a little job

Sidrah:

Did you?

Vera:

YesA little job somewhere-

Sidrah:

Did you want the conditioner?

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Vera:

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No conditioner thank you-

Sidrah texts We see the words she texts (pink and sparkly) and the responses she receives (black and dull) Hi, how r u? Gud. U? Gud. Looking 4word 2 2 nite Gud Do I need to dress spesh? * *

*

*

*

*

(Mrs. Eccleston is sat with a plastic cap on; Martina, the ailment lady, is being combed by Barbara) Martina:

It started during Emmerdale, just about here- and I kid you not, by Newsnight I felt exactly as if I’d swallowed a hot water bottle- it was all across here - and spreading up from here-

Barbara:

But you’re all right now-

Martina:

Touch wood. A bit of the residual.

Barbara:

But better-

Martina:

It’ll be back. Doctor McGlassey, he turned round to me and said, he said: Martina- you know what your trouble isyour trouble is you can’t stomach food-

Barbara:

Oh dear- (as Sidrah comes in with the post)

Sidrah:

Post Barbara-

Barbara:

Pop it on the counter loveAnything nice?


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Sidrah:

There’s a postcard from Spain-

Barbara:

Oooo-

Sidrah:

Ever such a lovely picture

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(an image of impossibly blue sand, sea and sky appears back projected) Martina:

Of course I can’t fly me. Not with my ears.

Barbara:

Go on- read it then-

Sidrah:

Weather lovelyThat’s underlinedhotel vee nice. This is the life(general ‘awwww’) KathAlicen- Karen? Barbara:

It’ll be Abbotsford KarenShe said she was going-

Vera:

Is that the Karen who walked out on her husband and them two kiddies? Ginger lass-

Barbara:

You’re thinking of Marlborough Karen - dental nurseAbbotsford Karen: her husband left her with two kiddies(General ‘awws’) They’re doing all right thoughHer Nova: she’s at college down south somewhere doing media something or otherHer Kennedy; she worked at Owen Owen as wasBefore it became T.J HughesVera:

Not the dental nurse-

Barbara:

No, she now works at Jemima’s pantry-

Martina:

I don’t go there- not after last time- (makes an ominous gesture to her abdomen)


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Barbara:

So are you going away then Martina?

Martina:

I am not-

Barbara:

A bit of sun-

Martina:

(darkly) Hotel buffets.

Vera:

You what?

Martina:

Salomnella Roulette-

Barbara:

What about you Mrs. Eccleston-

Vera:

I might be able to stretch to a wee toddle to see my sister in Chester-

Barbara:

It’s nice Chester-

Vera:

It’s and arm and a leg on the coach-

Martina:

Is it?

Vera:

Not much change from twenty pounds-

Sidrah:

(looking at the card) It does look lovely though-

Martina:

The sea isn’t really that bluethe photographers tint itit’s more a brown colour if you get my drift-

Barbara:

Where are you off to again?

Sidrah:

Ibzia- and I can not wait- (Martina pulls a face) What?

Martina:

I saw a documentary about Ibiza onceSewage outflow pipes-

Barbara:

You enjoy yourself love-

Sidrah:

I can’t wait me-

Vera:

Of course wasn’t Betty Marsh was just back from her holidays-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

(General gloom) Martina:

I rest my case-

Barbara:

I only saw her yesterday -

Martina:

You don’t want another Stella Nothers-

Vera:

What’s going to happen to that lovely house of hersThat’s what I’d like to know-

Martina:

They’ll sell itThat son of hers; he’ll have the For Sale boards up before she’s been five minutes at Lawnswood-

Barbara:

She won’t be needing it though-

Vera:

Hopefully not to immigrants-

Martina:

It’ll be made into flats – it’s what they’re doingRoy Hardcastle’ll have it converted; you’ll see. Stella Nothers place – you know- up LindisfarneHe did thatIt wasn’t big in the first place Now: there’s not the room to swing a cat-

Sidrah:

I’d love a flat me-

Martina:

Not that size you wouldn’t.

Barbara:

Someone was in here who’d had a look at the flats in what was McCrindlessaid they were very nicedear for what they were-

Martina:

That was Roy Hardcastle-

Sidrah:

Who?

Vera:

Did the flats-

Martina:

Local property I am-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Vera:

Bit of a Jack the Lad-

Martina:

Got his fingers in far too many piles-

Barbara:

Right Martina; let’s get you under the dryer if you would-

(Sidrah to the side texting) Having hair done l8r Gud Reely lukin 4ward 2 2night Gud Where we goin? N.E where gud Mine. Wot? No dosh. Soz.

(Brian the rep appears and collars Sidrah) Brian:

Don’t move- do not move-

Sidrah:

What?

Brian:

Velvet Mahoganey. I can always tell-

Sidrah:

You what?

Brian:

Don’t tell me it’s natural- do not tell me that shade is natural-

Sidrah:

Yeah-

Brian:

You are joshing me. Tell me you are joshing me-

Sidrah:

No-

Brian:

All I can say- all I can say is, if I did not have a packed diary this morning I would be making a phone call about you to our marketing department.

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Brian Vickers- Al Fresco shampoo and colours. Sidrah:

Sidrah-

Barbara:

Now then you, you leave my trainee alone-

Brian:

Barbara: I want to ask you a question, and my question is thisWhat is your secret?

Barbara:

George Clooney-

Brian:

Well all I can say is: Will he work for us?

Barbara:

And how’s your Mam doing?

Brian:

Yes, nicely thanks-

Barbara:

What about that knee of hers?

Brian:

The same really-

Barbara:

No news of the op?

Brian:

Still waiting to hear-

Barbara:

Sidrah love: you better sit in on this. You know- the Shampoo manSo come on then- what have you got for me today?

Brian:

A new range- as well as your usual needs. The old faithfuls.

Barbara:

Go on-

Brian:

Can I just say- I’m excitedIn fifteen yards of repping I have to confess I, Bryan Harrison am excited-

Barbara:

Go on-

Bryan:

Think of the colours of autumn-

Barbara:

Brown-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

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Bryan:

BarbaraMore than brownThe golden hint of the autumn sun The burnished bronze of a turning leave The rich chocolate of a conker-

Barbara:

I get it-

Bryan:

Autumn Murmurs A range of colours that burnish in a way that is natural and totally Al Fresco-

Barbara:

Which is different from everything else in what way?

Bryan:

Hang on-

Barbara:

So how much?

Bryan:

Before I talk price BarbaraBefore I talk priceLet me ask you a question-

Barbara:

You’re full of questions today you-

Bryan:

Do you know the Algarve?

Barbara:

No-

Bryan:

Blue skies, blue sea- and I am talking blue hereAs blue as blue as blueA climate that kisses the back of the neck A sunny squareTables outside a café Stripey red awningsA jug of ouzo-

Barbara:

That’s Greece, but go on-

Bryan:

We’re not talking a place BarbaraWe’re talking a mindset. A way of life.

Barbara:

So what’s this to do with autumn whatsits?


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

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Bryan:

Buy one batch of Autumn Murmurs from mePlus commit to buy four more over the space of 18 months- that’s a year and a half BarbaraAnd Al Fresco are offering a week on the Algarve in a top residential resort totally free-

Barbara:

Free

Bryan:

Free- And don’t ask me how they can manage to do this because I don’t know myselfI shouldn’t be at all surprised if they go bust at sometime, but that’s the bitter old cynic in me talking-

Barbara:

Free-

Bryan:

Free-

Barbara:

And the flight over?

Bryan:

Well, obviously you’d need to find that- but with flights these days we’re talking pennies-

Barbara:

Airport tax?

Bryan:

Which of course comes in with the air fare-

Barbara:

Transport from the airport?

Bryan:

The resort is a matter of miles from the airport-

Barbara:

What about food?

Bryan:

Sorry?

Barbara:

Is this resort full board, half board? When I’m sat at this little table under the stripey awning am I going to be paying through the nose for my olives and starving hungry because I’ve had no breakfast?

Bryan:

The exchange rate is very good-

Barbara:

So what you’re saying to me is- free apart from the air fare, airport tax, travel to and from the resort and food?

Bryan:

Barbara: you’re breaking my heart here-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Barbara:

All right then- just a few-

(Greta enters) (Holding dress) Here we go- sorry, there was a bit of a queue(general oo’s at dress) Greta:

Bryan:

If I wasn’t a married man Barbara-

Barbara:

And I’m warning you if those autumn murmurs turn out like that Breath of Tomorrow lot you sold me You’ll need the bloody AlgarveCareless Flame More like careless blumin’ pillar box

(Lights down to a spotlight as Sidrah texts looking at the dress) Jase It’s over. Sorry. We want difrent things Sorry Wish u well Xxx Send

(Greta is combing the Nervous Lady’s (Alice’s) hair) Greta: You’re looking very nice Mrs. ButcherAlice:

It’s been over three weeks-

Greta:

We better be getting dyna rod out then-

Barbara:

Wash and set Mrs. Butcher-

Alice:

I don’t know what my husband’d say-

Greta:

He’d say you’re looking very nice-

Alice:

Vanity, Vanity, all is vanity-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Greta:

Is that Shirley Bassey?

Alice:

Ecclesiates- the bible-

Greta:

I always think vanity is making things look a bit nicer than what they are- where’s the harm in that?

Barbara:

So how about a bit of colour Mrs. Butcher-

Alice:

Ooo, no-

Barbara:

Nothing startling, just a hint- Autumn conkerIt’d right suit you, a bit of colour

Alice:

I shouldn’t even be doing this-

Greta:

(handing her a coffee) Two sugars Mrs. Butcher-

Alice:

Thank you Greta-

Greta:

(handing her some cake) Cherry and sultana-

Alice:

Bless you-

Barbara:

How’s that new Vicar of yours settling in?

Alice:

You know she’s a she?

Barbara:

So?

Alice:

It’s not to everyone’s tasteYou should come along Barbara-

Barbara:

Thanks-

Alice:

I mean it’s not ‘religious religious’There is a bit of religion obviouslyBut it’s more about the companyThe talking and the company-

(Facebook music) Voice:

Sidrah. Facebook status-

26


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

27

Sidrah:

Single-

Voice:

Looking for-

Sidrah:

Not anyone really. I’ve done with men.

Voice:

Wants-

Sidrah:

To be told her eyes sparkle To go to the AlgarveTo paint the world pigging autumn conker!

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

(The salon. Barbara is doing the hair of the vague lady and Sidrah is working on Shirley) Barbara:

Can’t you talk with him?

Sidrah:

It was just going nowhere fastYou know what I mean-

Barbara:

Does he know that?

Shirley:

If it’s meaningless- it’s meaningless My love

Sidrah:

I’m just fed up of sitting in his bedroom Watching blumin’ DVDs-

Barbara:

Maybe if you told him all that-

Sidrah:

Yeah, but I did this quiz right-

Shirley:

Oh?

Sidrah:

Has your relationship run its natural course And 0-5 was the Face the Facts and Move On categoryAnd we scored a 3-

Shirley:

That’s not good my darling-

Sidrah:

I have had it with men-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Shirley:

28

Hear hear my love. Like I were saying BarbaraAll I didAll I did was send him a text Just four kisses XXXX Just like thatNothing in appropriateThe next thing I knows his wife’s calling me up on the mobile giving it this I didn’t know what to say Did I know I wasn’t the first, nor would I be the lastShe wanted my name, where I livedI said to her: I am not telling you anything-

Vague lady: Tell them nothingBarbara:

So how was he when you told him all this-

Shirley:

Complete gentlemen- couldn’t apologise enough- said it was all a complete and total misunderstanding-

Barbara:

And was it?

Shirley:

Oh yes-

Barbara:

But they’re still together?

Shirley:

In name only. They share a house, that’s allFor convenience-

Barbara:

So they’re not together-

Shirley:

They lead separate livesMore like brother and sister-

Barbara:

I dunno love, if my sister started ringing up people I knew I’d soon have her told-

Shirley:

No, he said to me: Shirley he said I am not lying to you,


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

29

I swear on my Mother’s graveI always say: if there is not the honesty in a relationship there is NothingThat is when Shirley Carter packs her bags and Moves OnApparently this always happens when she changes her medication Sidrah:

When § § §

he calls you does your heart beat faster sink neither

Shirley:`

Mine wonders if it can stand the paceSmell (holds out her wrists) Californian poppy. And it’s not just my wrists I put it on-

Sidrah:

When you see him does he § dress up § not bother….

Shirley:

-lose his pants and then bend your ear about itIgnore meMine rightCover your ears youI must’ve told you this storyThis one fella I was seeingIt was one Christmas right He only got his you know what Wrapped some tinsel round it Shouted ‘Here’s Santa’ and stuck it through my letter box-

Vague Lady:

I must do my Christmas cards-

Sidrah:

When § § §

he talks to you does he Talk about you Talk at you Talk to you

Shirley:

(laughing) He talks about how long hes got‘Are we going upstairs or what?’ Listen to me, aren’t I terribleLove When it’s good it’s good You just know somehow


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 I always doLike me and bastard face You just know(Gets up and goes with Sidrah into the next room) Vague Lady: Barbara:

The Metropole

Sorry Love?

Vague Lady: The Metropole Ballroom: I just knewHe took me in his arms And I knewRight little waist I had back then Like a Dresden dolly And he took me in his arms and we danced round and round and round There was one of them mirrored globes - it was like we were dancing through this sparkly stream-

(The worried woman enters) Julie:

Oh my God- there you are MumI’ve been so worried-

Barbara:

She’s fine Julie-

Vague Lady: I know who you are! Julie:

Thanks for calling me Barbara-

Barbara:

It’s no bother- she came in Just as she always used toDidn’t you love? Let Sidrah get you combed out(Sidrah takes her out) Julie:

I’d no idea where she wasI was just ringing round the hospitals when you rang-

Barbara:

She’s fine- happy as larryhad her hair done had a bit of Greta’s cake-

Julie:

How much do I owe you?

30


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Barbara:

We’ll settle up laterCome on, relaxGreta, fetch a coffee out here-

Julie:

It’s almost every time she goes outLast week she got lost on the way back from the shopsI mean she did that walk practically everyday of her lifeThey found her wandering round the playground of the infants school-

Barbara:

Have you got five minutes? Why don’t you let me give you a bit of a head massage?

Julie:

I’ve not really the time-

Barbara:

Come on, she needs a bit more under the dryers Sidrah’s with her-

Julie:

Are you not busy?

Barbara:

I’ve ten minutes-

Julie:

Go on-

Barbara:

It’s nice seeing your Mum again I quite miss her She was always so bright and cheerful-

Julie:

Not any more-

Barbara:

Can you not get any help?

Julie:

Oh, there’s always help. You are not alone in this. That’s what people keep telling meBut they don’t tell you about the waiting lists and assessment meetings They never tell you about thatAnd people not being at there desks - not being in that day - not getting back to you-

Barbara:

A bit of a nightmare-

31


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

32

Julie:

The number of times someone’s said that to me. “She’s not in today” Well why not for God’ sake? Why is she not in? Where is she? What’s she being paid for? (Pause as Barbara soothingly and rhythmically massages her scalp) Mind you- even if it was all simple It’s not She doesn’t like strangers in the house She even reckons on not to know Bill, and our JustineAnd then the other day I don’t even know if she knew who I wasShe’s like“I know who you are” In the end its simpler to go myselfBarbara:

I can’t believe there’s no help you can get-

Julie:

If I had a pound for everytime someone was going to get back to meI’m at the stage now where I’m thinking it might be easier to move in myself-

Barbara:

Julie-

Julie:

Just one or two nights a week-

Barbara:

You’ve got to think of yourself love-

Julie:

I know, I don’t want to

Barbara:

You’ll be making yourself ill, and then you’ll be no use to anyone-

Julie:

I’m at my wits end I don’t mind telling you-

(They become aware the Vague Lady has walked in and is watching them) Mother:

Your hair does look nice love-

Julie:

Thanks Mum (pause)

Mother:

I don’t like living like this-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

(Music: Frank Sinatra: the way you look tonight) The old people come in and take their places The following a mix of speech and images. The speech as below The images: mists of hairspray- white hair being rolled into rollers- old feet crossed on the floor- sticks) Jean:

Who’ll get the funeral bag, that’s what I want to know-

Greta:

You’ll have to draw lots-

Mary:

Is it not your day for seeing Billy?

Greta:

I’m off after lunch-

Jean:

She were only young, Betty-

Barbara:

She was seventy six-

Jean:

That’s not old-

Mary:

Are you sure?

Barbara:

Our Diane’s Chelsey did the cake for her 75th last year-

Mary:

I bet you’re just thankful it wasn’t Stella Nothers-

Greta:

Don’t-

Jean:

I say- we’ll all be after the funeral bag-

Mary:

When did her sister die- you know- Sonia- her that lived on Leyburn-

Greta:

About four year ago was it-

Jean:

It were longer than that surelyIt was summer, I know that-

Barbara:

(consulting a black book) May 2007-

Mary:

That long ago?

33


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Jean:

And how old were she?

Barbara:

73

Jean:

They get younger and younger-

Greta:

Betty was only 75-

(To Barbara who is writing in the book) You’ll need a new one of them soon(Images: Hair being washed) Barbara and Jean Mary:

Jean:

It was the 2nd night in the caravan-

Barbara:

This was the one at Flamborough

Jean:

Bempton. Bempton cliffs. It was only our second summer there. We’d been at Skipsea previousWe’d gone to bed as normal, And the next morning I woke upAnd I heard this teeny tiny little voiceJean. Jean.

Barbara:

Awwww

Jean:

Stroke- all down the one side They took him in the ambulance to Scarborough The site manager drove me behind I remember thinking That’s it for the caravan

Barbara:

Your daughter took it on didn’t she?

Jean:

She says: Mother, any time you want- it’s yours. But d’you know what, I don’t want to goI can’t face itWhat if the same thing happened again?

(A pause) Barbara:

But he’s well in himself-

34


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Jean:

He can’t do much. I have to do it all for him.

Barbara:

Awww (pause)

Jean: `

I used to go here I used to go there Now I can’t go nowhere

35

(images: hair being put into rollers) Mary:

I dream sometimes I’m still working at McCrindles

Greta:

Oh dear-

Mary:

It’s daft- I’m still working there And I’m lying there half asleep- thinking it’ll soon by 5.30And in my mind I’m going through everything I need to get doneAll the jobs that need doingAnd then I wakes up and I realise I’ve not worked there for thirty years And there’s no-one to look after but meself-

(images: hair being dried) Mrs. Bell:

I looked at that room and at all of them sat staring at the television And I thought No thank you very much Not yet So I came home and I got my daughter to bring me these special build up drinks And I made myself walk round the block everyday And here I am sat six months on and very near the same weight I was before-

Jean:

How long is it since you were knocked down?

Mrs. Bell:

Eh?

Jean:

Since you were knocked down-

Mrs. Bell:

I was, I was knocked down


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

36

Jean:

I know-

Mrs. Bell:

Outside Poundland

Barbara:

How long ago was that Mrs. Bell?

Mrs. Bell:

One year and one month. I was outside Poundland I was just about to cross the road to go to the pet shopAnd this car backs onto the kerbKnocks me to me knees Flat over I went-

Mary:

Terrible-

Jean:

Some young person was it?

Mrs. Bell:

She were older than I was. All people were shouting at her and banging on her window before she knew what was happeningI looked at her- and I thought Well-

Greta:

She shouldn’t have been driving

Mrs. Bell:

She isn’t nowThey took her license away And a good thing too-

Jean:

At least there were plenty of witnesses

Mrs. Bell:

I’ll say Police were there Parking attendant were there Fella from Poundland were there

Mary:

And were you badly hurt?

Mrs. Bell:

I had a big gash here. Four stitches I had to have-

Mary:

Oh dear

Mrs. Bell:

Six hour at BRI to have them taken out-

Jean:

Six hour


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Mrs. Bell:

And then they only took two. Said I had to come back for the other four. And the thought of another six hour in that placeAnyway: Barbara said she’d do it-

Jean;

And did she?

Mrs. Bell:

She did.

Jean:

Is there anything she can’t turn her hand to-

Mrs. Bell:

Saved me another long wait-

Jean:

What would we do without her-

Mrs. Bell:

We won’t have to She’s not going anywhere-

37

(images: mists of hairspray) (Greta is doing Jean’s hair) Greta: I had a bun I don’t know if you remember I had long hair and I had it done up in a bun And I couldn’t do it myself So I used to have to come in every week to have Barbara put it up And then BillyWell he was due for a bypassWhat we weren’t going to do when he had that bypass Trips- extension- second honeymoon Anyway: he didn’t come out And that were terrible And then to cap it all: me hair started to go thinAnd Barbara said: Come on, face facts It’s got to come off So she did it for me So now I have to come in everyday to have it combed up And while I’m here I sweep up And I brew up And life is very nearly as good as it used to be- (picks up the flowers) Jean:

How long is it?


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Greta:

Just four years

Mary:

14 me

Mrs. Bell:

I can beat all of you- 20

38

Greta: Listen to us, four old biddies(And she sweeps the floor, slowly, sadly, as the others sit under the dryers.) And as she sweeps up she joins in with the radioJean (slowly, sadly)The moment I wake up Before I put on my makeup Ladies: I say a little prayer for you While combing my hair, now, And wondering what dress to wear, now, Ladies: I say a little prayer for you All: Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart and I will love you Forever, forever, we never will part Oh, how I'll love you Together, together, that's how it must be To live without you Would only be heartbreak for me.

(singing into hairbrushes asa backdrop of fifties and sixties weddings appears- beehives and suits fading to be replaced by wrinkled faces of the men they’ve lost)

Jean: I run for the bus, dear, While riding I think of us, dear, Ladies: I say a little prayer for you. At work I just take time And all through my coffee break-time, Jean: I say a little prayer for you. Barbara: (stronger, more upbeat) Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart and I will love you All: Forever, forever we never will part Oh, how I'll love you Together, together, that's how it must be To live without you Barbara: Would only be heartbreak for me. My darling believe me, For me there is no one But you.

(and then Barbara appears resplendent in her red dress and joins in. The song picks up pace and energy and finishes on a high, optimistic note-)

End of Act One


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

39 Act Two

(Barbara is on her own in the salon finishing off the hair of the Nervous Woman, Carol. Carol keeps stealing glances at the clock and the door.) Carol:

It’s quiet-

Barbara:

Greta’s up seeing Billy and Sidrah- that’s my college lass- is off doing whatever it is that Sidrah doeswhich generally involves a lot of texting and wandering round Primark- Head up please

Carol:

To be young (a noise makes her turn nervously towards the door) Sorry.

Barbara:

It’s fine. (pause) Your hairs looking good-

Carol:

It’s a faff for you I know-

Barbara:

No. Anyway, I like the smell of coal tar. Makes a nice change from whatever it is they put in the normal stuff. (pause) You really can’t tell it’s thinning-

Carol:

No?

Barbara:

No-

(The door goes and her husband enters.) Carol:

We’re nearly done.

Husband:

How long?

Carol:

Not long-

Husband:

It’s been nearly an hour-

Barbara:

(firmly) We’re nearly done- (he goes) We were saying earlier how it used to be packed out at lunchtimewhen McCrindles was openEspecially on Valentines day- everyone getting ready to go out-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 You doing anything special? Carol:

I shouldn’t think so-

Barbara:

And of course everyone’s been saying today about Betty Marsh-

Carol:

I didn’t really know her. Only to look at.

Barbara:

Of course now everyone’s on about who’ll get the funeral bag-

Carol:

Funeral bag?

Barbara:

You know(produces it) I keep it. For funeralsNot many people seem to have plain black handbags these daysNot smart ones A bit of change A few mints I think people like taking something familiar-

Carol:

Awwww

Barbara:

Only with everyone in here knowing Betty They’ll be fighting over it.

Carol:

You’ll have to draw lots

Barbara:

That’s what Greta said (the door opens and the husband comes back in) She’s just finishing- Two minutes(he sits down. Carol is even more nervous)

Carol:

We won’t be long-

Barbara:

So you’re not going out?

Carol:

No, just a quiet night in for us-

Barbara:

That’s a shame. With your hair I thought you’d be going somewhere-

Carol:

It just needed doing really. Are you? Going out-

40


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Barbara:

It’s Valentines day-

Carol:

I don’t really believe in all that-

Barbara:

Well I’m being treated-

Carol:

Oh?

Barbara:

By eight tonight I’ll be resting my feet sat down holding one big class of ice cold rose wineAnd if there isn’t at least one red rose there’ll be trouble

Carol:

That’s nice-

Barbara:

That’s my dress hanging up there-

Carol:

That colour’d suit you-

Barbara:

It does. There. All done.

Carol:

That’s lovely- thank you

Husband:

How much?

Barbara:

£30

Husband:

£30?

Carol:

(quickly) That’s what it was last time-

(Husband slowly and deliberately peels of notes and pays her.) Barbara:

Thank you-

Carol:

Cheerio then-

Barbara:

You look lovely-

(Carol smiles nervously and follows her husband) (Barbara takes the dress, holds it, face unreadable as Greta comes in, out of breath)

41


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

42

Greta:

The 742 didn’t come so I only had to get the 626 and walk on from the main road-

Barbara:

It’s fine- don’t panic-

Greta:

Let me get my breath- you want to get that hung rightIt’s a buggar for creasing that stuff-

Barbara:

(hanging the dress offstage) How was it?

Greta:

The usual. Just load of sad old biddies like me-

Barbara:

Will you give over-

Greta:

I dunno. I go there. And I bin the dead flowers. Put on the new ones. Sit there.

Barbara:

You know you don’t have to go there every week-

Greta:

It’s not like I can leave him- (pause) Who’ve we got in-

Barbara:

Well- not Betty-

Greta:

There’ll be fighting over that bag I tell you-

Barbara:

There’s that bride coming inTo look at hairdos- have her hair doneYou know, the cousin of Pat Watkins-

Greta:

Fat Pat?

Barbara:

Launderette PatAnd there’s the Fish man-

Greta:

The last of the red hot lovers-

(Jase enters. Thin, nervous- and as he speaks obviously gay)


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

43

Barbara:

Speaking of which-

Greta:

Hello Jason-

Jase:

Hi Mrs. Moore, hi Barbara-

Barbara:

Sidrah’s not here love-

Jase:

It’s Wednesday-

Greta:

She’s on her lunch-

Jase:

Oh-

Barbara:

Look Jase I don’t know what’s gone between you two and I don’t want toI’m very sorry and all that But I don’t want it bringing in here-

Jase:

That’s just it I don’t know either Barbara. I thought it was all coolAll I know is I gets this text from her. “It’s over.” Just like that.

Greta:

Awwww-

Jase:

I’m not kidding you Barbara- I’m mega guttedIt’s like- what have I done? That’s all I want to knowI thought everything was coolWe had like this mega cool evening the other nightSky plus - 24 hour Glee marathon(picks up hairbrush singing) Don’t dream it, believe itIt was a right laughAnd then tonight: I rented My Best Friends Wedding, Pretty Woman and Notting Hill and I made this big plate of Marshmallows-

Greta:

Awww

Jase:

I was going to wear pink to surprise here-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Barbara:

I think maybe she’d rather you took her out somewhere Jase-

Jase:

We don’t like going outIt’s so not coolAnyroad I’ve got no moneyStretch limo she saidI was like pushing it to get the marshmallows-

Barbara:

Look Like I say I’m very sorryBut at the end of the day this isn’t the Jeremy Kyle show-

Jase:

Yeah- sorry-

Greta:

Awwww-

Barbara:

Look: if you want I’ll have a word with her-

Jase:

Really?

Barbara:

I’m not promising anything-

Jase:

You’re like so cool Barbara

Barbara:

You come back later on-

(he exits) Greta:

I’m thinking David Poulson- lived on Helen Street-

Barbara:

Him that ran that costume hire place

Greta:

Camp David they used to call himNo end of stick her gotFour kds he has- and he’s on his second wife-

Barbara:

Takes all sorts-

(Time lapse) Greta is doing the nails of a glammed up looking woman, Tracey, whilst her daughter, Chemaine, rather washed out looking is sat under the dryer looking through an album.

44


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

45

On the other side of the salon Barbara is rescuing the hair of Bob, the Fish man. Tracey:

Copper-

Greta:

Ooooh-

Tracey:

The whole theme’s going to be copperGold’s got so tackyI saw it on Wedding MakeoverCopper ribbons on the pillars Bridesmaids with these coppery peachy dresses(touches hair) Copper style rinse-

(to Chemaine) Have you seen anything? Chemaine: Not yetGreta:

Where are you having it it again?

Tracey:

Lapwater Hall.

Greta:

Ah-

Tracey:

You know it?

Greta:

No-

Tracey:

It’s out near Drighlington, just by the roundabout near the Garden CentreVery classyIt was on Bride’s day dot com

Greta:

I don’t know it-

Tracey:

It’s all done out with these pillars And there’s this rockery with a waterfall to have the photos done byHer from pulse FM; she had her wedding thereThey had all these photos of it on the wall-

(Switch to Barbara and Bob) Bob:

I met her on Facebook She was like this friend of a friend


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 And she bit me with her zombieThat’s how it startedAt firstYou know- it was amazingI mean really good BarbaraWe’d be like texting each other twenty thirty times a dayShe’d ring me up, we’d be on the phone for hours and hoursI mean I know I’ve been a bit of a one in the pastThat’s my troubleI get bored easilyI was just the same at school It used to say on all my reports “Gets bored easily” But this were different-

(Cut back to Tracey, Greta and Chemaine) Tracey:

He’s a Middle Manager for the Homeowners Friendly SocietyIt’s out at Harrogate.

Greta:

It’s nice, Harrogate-

Tracey:

Hornbeam park. He wears a lovely suit to work All charcoal-y You should see him in his suitThe way it hangsIgnore me- I’m terrible-

(Switch back to Barbara and Bob) Bob:

I mean- rightAt first- you know PhysicalIt were dead good-

Barbara:

It always is love-

Bob:

(remembering) I mean- you know Really good-

Barbara:

Just lift you head up for me-

Bob:

I mean really really good.

46


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 And then we used to make bacon sandwiches Two, three in the morningI thought it’d go on like that forever-

(Cut back to Greta, Tracey and Chemaine) Tracey:

The Maldives-

Greta:

Ooo, how lovely-

Tracey:

There’s this complexFive stars on I do I do I do dot com We got a deal. It’s superbAll board walksNext to the sea You have this buffet breakfast on this sort of balcony overlooking the beach And there’s a cocktail bar in the pool-

Greta:

In the pool?

Tracey:

In the pool-

Greta:

How does that work?

Tracey:

The bar itself is sort of in the middleAnd you swim up and order what you want There’s these sort of stool things-

Greta:

Does the Barman not get wet?

Tracey:

That bit’s not in the water. It’s sort of set in-

Greta:

What if your drink gets splashed-

Tracey:

I dunno You get another one I supposeIt’s all in-

(Switch back to Bob and Barbara) Bob:

I mean you look backThink-

47


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 When did it change? Was there one time One thing I mean I suppose there’s always lots of things Good and bad And gradually you start noticing the bad things more than you do the good things She started wearing this nightie- shirt thingy to bed This long pink think Big Minnie Mouse hereI didn’t mind at first But it was like every night It was like she was saying something But not saying something If you know what I mean-

(Switch back to Greta, Tracey and Chemaine) Tracey:

The only slight bugbear is the evening do-

Greta:

Oh?

Tracey:

He wants bacon sandwiches-

Greta:

So?

Tracey:

Bacon sandwiches-

Greta:

I like a nice bacon sandwich, me-

Tracey:

At a wedding though-

Greta:

My cousin had them at his wedding-

Tracey:

I don’t know if Lapwater Hall even do bacon sandwiches-

Greta:

It’s your wedding-

Chemaine: It’s what he wantsTracey:

And you can pipe down lady-

(Switch to Barbara and Bob)

48


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Bob:

Suddenly It seemed like were was arguing about every last little thing Only not-

Barbara:

Not?

Bob:

Not saying stuff. We always seemed to be biting us tongues. Holding stuff backLike it was always too much trouble to get sortedBig sighes. Big silences. (pause) (different tone) Then I got to know Shelley-

Barbara:

This is the best mate-

Bob:

I’m not proud of meself Barbara She started tweeting me And we got chattingThere’s a real connection there you know? Like we really understand each other We have these amazing conversations Go on for hours and hours-

(Switch back to Greta, Tracey and Chemaine) Greta:

Well it all sounds lovely-

Tracey:

We’ll be in next week to finalize things with Barbara(To Chemaine) Have you seen owt you like?

Chemaine: I don’t know reallyTracey:

There must be something -

Chemaine: I quite like this oneTracey:

Do you?

Chemaine: YesGreta:

We can do that for you my love, no trouble-

49


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Tracey:

50

Well it’s not what I’d envisagedBut then it is your wedding I suppose-

Chemaine: YesTracey:

Me and your father are only the ones paying for it-

(Time lapse) Greta:

I never saidI saw Stella Nother’s daughter when I was out seeing Billy.

Barbara:

Janine

Greta:

I always want to call her Fiona-

Barbara:

How is she?

Greta:

Good. At least I think so. I never like to talk to her-

(Sidrah enters with a big bunch of flowers) Greta:

Oh my giddy aunt-

Sidrah;

They’re for you Barbara-

Greta:

Aren’t they lovely-

Barbara:

(Not thrilled. She knows what they are and why they’ve been sent to her.) I better go get a vase-

Sidrah:

Don’t you want them out there?

Barbara:

What? In the sink. I don’t think so- (exits)

Sidrah:

(bewildered) They from someone she doesn’t like?

Greta:

None of your beeswax lady-

Sidrah:

If I had flowers sent me


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 I’d want the whole word to see themGreta:

There’s more to relationships than a few flowers-

Sidrah:

I don’t get it-

Greta:

I daresay we’ll live- (Barbara re-enters) Anyway Stella’s daughter passed on her best-

Barbara:

That’s nice-

Sidrah:

Who is this Stella Nothers anyway? People keep on mentioning her today“We don’t want another Stella Nothers”just like that-

Greta:

Never you mind-

Barbara:

It’s no secretShe was a customer- used to come in hereBeen coming for years-

Greta:

Didn’t you do her hair for her wedding?

Barbara:

That’s going back a bit. That was just after I opened-

Sidrah:

So what about her-

Barbara:

About five year ago- something like that-

Greta:

My Billy was still alive-

Barbara:

She come in here one day and-

Greta:

Bright as a buttonShe was getting a Jacuzzi-

Barbara:

A conservatoryShe was getting a conservatory-

Greta:

She’d just signed the papers that dayI was just in having my hair piled upShe stood where you are now-

51


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 And she said: when I am sitting in my Jacuzzi With a glass of chilled white wineI shall be happyBarbara:

Except it was a conservatory-

Greta:

You backcombed her hair for herPut a bit of colour in-

Barbara:

Mahoganey-

Greta:

Lovely she looked. And she said I’ll just spend a pennyJust like thatI’ll just spend a pennySo she goes out there to the toilet- and after a bit I said to BarbaraIs Stella still out there? I’ve not seen her come backAnd then someone else wanted to use it

Barbara:

Carol from the Deli-

Greta:

Carol from the DeliAnd she came in saying how the door wouldn’t openSo Barbara goes out and I goes out Tap tapping at the door But no responseAnyway: my Billy, he were outside in the carAnd as luck would have it he had his tool boxSo he came in and opened the doorAverting his eyes Proper gentleman he was my BillyAnd there she was-

Sidrah:

What?

Greta:

Dead-

Sidrah:

Dead?

Greta:

As a doornail-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Sidrah:

Oh my God-

Greta:

It wasn’t anything Barbara did-

Barbara:

It was her heart- that’s what they told us-

Sidrah:

Oh my God-

Greta:

Billy- I’ve never seen him so shockedWe had the police in- everything I always feel funny when I think about it-

Barbara:

It happens It just happened to be here-

Sidrah:

Don’t you feel odd- you know, about using the toilet?

Greta:

I do-

Barbara:

You do notThe time you spend in thereLook- she died. It’s no secretIt was very sad, but it’s what happens-

Sidrah:

Oh my God-

Barbara:

Better here than on the motorway Or in some home somewhere-

Sidrah:

This is doin’ my head in-

Greta:

Hey- she did look lovely though-

Barbara:

We sent her off right-

(Time lapse. Hair being uncurled from curlers.) The Salon. Barbara is seeing someone out) Barbara:

Thanks ChristineTake care now-

Greta:

If you want to get ready we can always take over here-

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Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

54

It’s quietening downBarbara:

It’ll not take me five minutes-

Greta:

Everything is all right-

Barbara:

Why shouldn’t it be?

Greta:

With the flowers- I just wondered-

Barbara:

It’s fineLook are you going to help me with my nails or what?

Sidrah:

What colour are you having them done?

Barbara:

I thought this-

Greta:

That’ll set the red off lovely-

Sidrah:

You could go really different

Greta:

Different?

Sidrah:

Really go for itSomething like black A real contrast-

Greta:

Why does she dip her fingers in creosote and have done with it-

Sidrah:

I was just saying-

(Enter Mo, somewhat disheveled, faded mismatched clothes and carrying bulging plastic bags) Mo:

Barbara loveCould you do me like this massive favourAnd squeeze me inI gotta have me hair done-

Greta:

I think we’re full-

Barbara:

I had a four o’clock but she’s not coming-

Mo:

Only I’ve this important meeting


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

55

And I need to look My absolute bestBarbara:

Take a seat Mo-

Mo:

God bless you love-

Greta:

What’s the meeting?

Mo:

I’m not saying a word I can’t. They said to me: Mo- you cannot breath a word about this to anyoneBut I swear to God I need to look the business-

Barbara:

So what do you want doing Mo?

Mo:

The works please BarbaraWash and style-

Barbara:

How much have you got on you?

Mo:

Ah Now I don’t know if I got to the cashpointI’ll pay you back I swear on my Mother’s life-

Barbara:

How much?

(She looks through a manky old purse. Drops something on the floor which Greta picks up with distaste and hands back to her.) Barbara:

How much?

Mo:

On me Twenty-

Barbara:

I can do you a nice wash and a comb for that-

Mo:

It’s all I’ve got-

Barbara:

Take it or leave it-

Mo:

Go on-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Barbara:

56

Sidrah: if you want to get this lady’s hair washed-

(Sidrah does, which she finds difficult as Mo obviously smells) NB: This throughout the following speech Unseen by Mo she nearly passes out as Mo has head lice. Greta looks and similarly freaks.) Mo:

(unaware) This has to last me until me holiday-

Sidrah:

Oh?

Mo:

I’m doing like a tourFly into New York Spend a few days there Then down to Florida Miami Tampa- all the parksTrouble is I gotta make a trip to Harvey Nicks To get thingsYou know it makes me laughThem men on the doors They all know me It’s like Hello Mo! And I’m like For God’s sakes Boys!

(Music) Mo: I, I who have nothing I, I who have no one Adore you and want you so I'm just a no one, with nothing to give you but oh I love you You, you buy her diamonds Bright, sparkling diamonds But believe me, dear, when I say That she can give you the world (sometimes: That you can give her the world) But she'll never love you the way I love you You can take her any place she wants To fancy clubs and restaurants But I can only watch you with My nose pressed up against the window pane

Behind her in time to the music Sidrah and Greta spray the salon and disinfect the combs as Barbara snaps on marigolds and begins to do her hair-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 I, I who have nothing I, I who have no one Must watch you, go dancing by Wrapped in the arms of somebody else When darling it is I Who love you

57

(at the end she marches out triumphantly)

Greta:

We need more barbicide-

Sidrah:

Why didn’t you say something?

Barbara:

Like what love?

Sidrah:

About her- you know- headlice-

Barbara:

She knowsHeadrinYou can smell it a yard off-

Sidrah:

And all that she was sayingAbout Harvey Nicks And New YorkWas that made up too-

Greta:

Of course it were-

Sidrah:

So why didn’t you say?

Barbara:

What should I have said?

Sidrah:

I don’t knowSummat-

Barbara:

That she had head lice? Or clothes were from the charity shop And that was just the good ones? Or she was no more going to America than I was? Love: People don’t come in here to be told They come to tell us That and have their hair done

(Betty Marsh enters) Betty:

I know I’m a wee bit late-

Greta:

Oh my God-


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Betty:

Profuse apologies BarbaraThat 647 It gets worse and worse- someone should do somethingAnd of course I would have left the soppy mobile at our Ben’sAre you all right Greta? You look a bit funny love-

Greta:

Betty?

Betty:

Yes love?

Barbara:

So are you not dead then Betty?

Betty:

Sorry Barbara?

Barbara:

(Getting book) I don’t think I’ve ever had to cross one out before.

(Time lapse. The street darkening outside. Lights coming on in the houses outside.) Greta:

I should’ve known it wasn’t our Betty

Barbara:

I thought you said she had a look round the eyes

Greta:

Betty Robins Of course She’s been ill for ages In and out of BRI I thought she was dead-

Barbara:

(To Sidrah) Come on then lady-

Sidrah:

What?

Barbara:

I thought you wanted combing out-

Sidrah:

Not a lot of point is there-

Barbara:

You may as well let me-

(Sidrah sits and Barbara starts to work)

58


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Barbara:

He came in looking for you you know-

Sidrah:

Who? Jase?

Barbara:

Earlier on when you were at lunch-

Sidrah:

Oh My God- how dare he?

Barbara:

He only wanted to talk-

Sidrah:

Well I don’t want to talk to him-

Barbara:

Not at all?

Sidrah:

There’s no point is thereSo go on- what did he say?

Barbara:

He was upset. Said he didn’t know what you wanted-

Sidrah:

Oh my God- that is so typicalHe never asks me-

Barbara:

So do you?

Sidrah:

Know what I want? Course I do-

Barbara:

What?

Sidrah:

Well- it’s obvious-

Barbara:

Go on-

Sidrah:

Stuff-

Barbara:

What sort of stuff?

Sidrah:

I dunno- stuffSame as everyone elseLike everyone wantsA nice house-

59


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Barbara:

Mrs. Eccleston’s got one of those-

Sidrah:

Holidays-

Barbara:

You’re going to Ibiza-

Sidrah:

You know what I mean-

Barbara:

You see the thing I see Again and again So many people reckon on they want something And they don’t know what it is-

Sidrah:

I know what it isn’t-

Barbara:

That’s a startSo what isn’t it?

Sidrah: Barbara:

Having no money Being stuck at homeYou want things to change-

Sidrah:

Definitely-

Barbara:

What I would say- is don’t put off being happy-

Sidrah:

You what?

Barbara:

I catch myself thinking- I’ll be happy when this happens Happy when that happensBe happy now-

Sidrah:

That’s easy for you to say thoughI mean I’m not being funny Barbara But you’ve got your flowers there And your dress there And you’re off to that new Chinese-

Barbara:

When I were your ageI wanted to be an air hostessWe all did There was this woman in our street- Gwen her name wasDead glamorous Always off somewhere with this smart little suitcase

60


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 I wanted to be her Sidrah:

So why didn’t you?

Barbara:

I realised listening to her- what she did It wasn’t what I thought it was She was just a glorified waitress Giving food out, clearing food up-

Sidrah:

Seeing the world-

Barbara:

Seeing a load of airports more like-

Sidrah:

But I don’t want to be an air hostess-

Barbara:

I’m sayingIt’s easy to look at someone else’s life And wish it was your own-

Sidrah:

I don’t want to marry Jase-

Barbara:

He’s not asking you to loveHe’s asking you to eat marshmallows and watch Pretty Woman-

Greta:

Now Lady It’s nearly twenty five past You need to go and get changed(Barbara goes)

Sidrah:

So do we get to meet him then? This mystery man-

Greta:

Will you give over?

Sidrah:

What-

Greta:

Going on about it-

Sidrah:

About what?

Greta:

About Barbara’s fella-

Sidrah:

I’m just asking-

61


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Greta:

Yeah, well you know what asking did-

Sidrah:

What’s the big secret?

Greta:

None of your beeswax-

Sidrah:

Oh my God. He’s not married is he?

Greta:

I said- neb out-

Sidrah:

He is, isn’t heHe’s married-

Greta:

Will you keep it downIt’s not like you think-

Sidrah:

Oh ayeIn what way?

Greta:

It just isn’t, that’s allNot all men are the same-

Sidrah:

Only the married ones-

Greta:

It’s different-

Sidrah:

How?

Greta:

They’ve been together a long time-

Sidrah:

It doesn’t make it right though-

Greta:

And his wife won’t give him a divorce-

Sidrah:

So what?

Greta:

So things like that matter to some people They’ve been together nearly twenty five years-

Sidrah:

Twenty five years?

Greta:

So think on-

62


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013 Sidrah:

Why does she put up with it?

Greta:

Well I guess she loves him-

Sidrah:

But he’s married to someone elseLiving with someone else-

Greta:

My Billy He used to say she wanted her head examining She could’ve had her pick once upon a time No shortage of offersBut she put up with it She’s put up with a lot over the years I lose count of the number times he’s cancelled seeing her last minute-

Sidrah:

He sounds a right scumbag

Greta:

Well that’s all you know ladyHe really does genuinely care about her. There’s no-one else. LookYou may as well know the restIt’s Roy-

Sidrah:

That property developer Roy?

Greta:

Keep it schtum-

Sidrah:

The one doing up all the houses-

Greta:

He bought her this place, didn’t heSet her up in it So she’d have a jobHelps with the costs-

Sidrah:

Don’t his wife know?

Greta:

Course she does-

Sidrah:

Doesn’t she mind?

Greta:

She creates to high heaven every time he spends a penny on this place.

63


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

64

That’s why she can’t afford the central heatingShe’s not a nice lady his wifeMy Billy, he used to say- if he’d a choice between her- Roy’s missus- and Barbara- he knew who he’d chooseSidrah:

This is all doing my head in-

Greta:

As long as it don’t get your tongue going we’re all rightI’m serious- don’t say a word-

Sidrah:

I won’t

Greta:

Mind you don’t- (as Barbara comes in, dressed, resplendent) Oh my goodness me-

Barbara:

Do I look okay then?

Sidrah:

You look amazing Barbara-

Greta:

That dress does suit you(There’s a noise of ice cream van chimes outside playing Que sera sera) Ice cream in February? (It chimes again, she goes to look) It’s right outsideIt’s your Jason-

Sidrah:

Jase?

Barbara:

In an ice cream van?

(They go to look. Jase enters) Jase:

I wanted one that played Glee but it was this or Greensleeves I couldn’t afford a stretch limo Sidrah-

Sidrah:

Where d’you get that from?

Jase:

Big Nige’s brother-

Greta: Jase:

I’ll have a flake in mineI thought I could take you somewhere-

Sidrah:

Where?


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Jase:

Wherever you want. As long as it doesn’t cost more than £23.46

Sidrah:

You daft prat-

Jase:

You want to come out?

Sidrah:

I might-

Jase:

I’m not driving round Tesco car park though-

Sidrah:

I’m not finished here-

Barbara:

Listen love: you go- we’ll clear up-

Sidrah:

You sure?

Barbara:

You have a lovely time-

(She looks at Jase. He stretches his hand out in a Strictly Come Dancing style move. She shimmies into his clutch. They exit) Sidrah:

(Over he shoulder) See you next week-

Greta:

Hey- he might’ve offered us a cornet-

Barbara:

You’ve all that cod remember-

(They and Greta tidy up) Greta:

What a day-

Barbara:

Hey- it’s not everyday the dead come back to life-

Greta:

So: how’s tomorrow looking?

Barbara:

Busy-

Greta:

Busy busy?

Barbara:

Busy busy-

Greta:

Course I don’t have to go and see Billy-

65


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

Barbara:

No- I’ll manage-

Greta:

No. I’ll manage. (pause) I don’t have to go everyday-

Barbara:

I was thinking today- you hair does suit you shorter-(pause)

Greta:

So what time’s he picking you up?

Barbara:

In a bit. You go, you’ll miss the ten to-

Greta:

Our Gary’s picking me up rememberAre you ready?

Barbara:

I’ll just get my bag- (exits)

(calling off) I’ll be thinking about you Walking across that bridge Bring us back a fortune cookie (sound of a horn) That’s our GaryGreta:

Barbara:

I nearly forgot On the side, by the combs There’s an ASDA bag-

Greta:

Yes-

Barbara:

Some DVD’s I thought you might like. 2 Catherine Cookson’s And a Heartbeat-

Greta:

Ooo- thank you I’ve not seen this one I’ll enjoy this- (car hoots again)

Barbara:

You do love

Greta:

See you tomorrow thenEnjoy your date-

Barbara:

See you tomorrow Greta-

66


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

(She exits.) After a pause Barbara emerges- back in her ordinary clothes, the dress on its hanger. She goes to the phone.) Barbara:

Hello? I’d like a taxi please. The Vanity Box- on AvondaleGoing to Claremont AvenueYes pleaseThank you(Phones again) Luigi? Hello my loveI’m very goodYes, the usual- No Olive’sIn about half an hour? Perfect-

(the door opens and the Girl comes in. Obviously nervous. Unkempt.) Barbara: We’re closed love(pause) Can I help you? (The girl flinches Barbara sees she’s nervous) It’s all rightBut like I say- we’re closedI’m just off(the girl looks around) It’s a bit faded Not your state of the art salonBut still up to the jobIt’s all rightSit down a minute(The girl sits. Touches a brush) If them brushes could talkThey’d have laryngitis (she holds it clumsily) HereLet me show you(she brushes her hair) There-

67


Vanity Box Draft One April 2013

(A car hoots)

68

Like you mean business. You’ve nice hair. Lovely Really thickPlenty’d kill for hair like yours-

That’s my taxi(The girl gets up) I’ve got to go nowCome back some time. I’ll do it properly for you. On the house. Here (Gives her a card) The Vanity Box. Closed on Mondays(The girl suddenly runs out. Barbara looks after her a moment) (The taxi hoots again.

(Barbara switches out the lights. Exits.) Blackout

Vanity box draft 1 april 2013[1][4]