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Š 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

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Š 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

Understanding Women (Australian Edition) By Devon Williamson Š 2003, 2007 Do not copy, distribute or perform without permission. All rights reserved. For Australian performance information please contact: David Spicer Productions 274 Military Road Dover Heights NSW 2030 Australia Web: www.davidspicer.com.au PH: 02 9371 8458 Fax: 02 9371 8458 Information on other plays by Devon Williamson is also available at his website: www.dwplays.com

About the Play Mike, Dave and Julian spend a weekend in a backyard shed determined to break an age-old mystery. Armed with a case of beer, girlie magazines and the Bible they're going to understand women. What they discover is not quite what they expect... Characters. Dave: Mid forties to mid fifties, married for 20 - 25 years, two teenage or adult kids. Dave is very practical and down to earth; He is dressed rougher, is unshaven and has a roughness about 2


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

his manner. Mike: Late thirties to mid forties. Could be same age or younger than Dave but any age difference has no manifestation in their friendship, he has a problem with committing himself to relationships. A schoolteacher, Mike uses his knowledge to put himself above others. He is clean, well dressed, turns on the charm for the ladies but is coarse around the men. Julian: Younger than Dave, possible to be as young as late twenties but could be as old as Mike, hasn’t had a relationship since primary school. Clerical / administrative career, is good with ideas but useless with their application. He is dressed a little out of fashion, but not a geek or a nerd to look at. He can tend to be clumsy and uncomfortable under pressure. Special note for Julian: He does not sit on the chairs until Act Two Scene Four. Until then he is perched on the toilet or elsewhere on the stage. Dianne: An attractive woman of indeterminate age. The Set The play is set in Dave’s backyard shed. Upstage centre is the door that leads in and out of the shed. Downstage of the door is a toilet bowl complete with lid. The toilet is a bar. Upstage right is a cubical where the real toilet is. Center left and right (just downstage a little of the “bar”) is two old lounge chairs. There is an open trunk with old theatrical costumes strewn about downstage left and about the shed various pieces of fishing and boating gear, tools, lawnmower and an old bike. On the walls are fishing and boating posters. Against the upstage wall and under a window is an old bench with a sink and taps. There are other 3


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

benches and shelves about the shed. Props and Costume lists are details at the end of the script.

Act One Scene One On an area of the stage, or stage extension, that is not connected to the main set. The actors stand in a pool of light in tableaux coming "alive" for their speech and remaining in tableaux for the others. Dave: “Its kinda like I have a 1968 20 foot Fish Master with a V8 inboard, pretty exciting at first… power to burn… but now she’s a classic. Still running OK, maybe could do with a bit of an antifouling repaint, and the anchor marks tidied up… not worth spending any real dough on her. But ya don’t trade her in when she’s a classic, do ya? I told the wife that… she didn’t understand. Mike: “It’s like I have the down payment on the latest Ford Falcon… you know, but a nagging voice keeps echoing in my mind: ”should I have a Holden Commodore”. Like an idiot I tried honesty. What was I thinking? I told her it was a metaphor for our relationship, but she missed the point. Took me two hours to fish my car keys out of the storm water drain. Women. There’s just no reasoning with them.

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© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

Julian: (Said with a dreamy faraway look in his eyes…) “A flower, at just the moment of bloom… perfect in every way… untouched… unspoiled… and when I held her in my arms… I could hear bells chiming in the distance… then recess was over… and at lunch time she dropped me for a eight year old who had a bag of chips.” (Shakes his head), “They are such a mystery, women.” Black out. Scene Two Lights come up on-stage. Night time. Summer. It is dark. We hear someone walking on a gravel path; we see a figure cross behind the window on the upstage wall. A key is turned in the lock, the door swings open, light is turned on and Dave stands for a moment in the doorway. He stomps in roughly, dropping the crate / case of beer he is carrying onto the bench top. He cracks open a beer and takes a drink. Looks at his watch, grunts, puts beer down on counter and goes into the cubical. We hear his zipper go down and the sound of him relieving himself. He is standing up, the flow is strong. From off stage we hear voices and feet on stones. Soon two figures pass the window and peer around the corner of the door. It is Mike and Julian. Julian has a small package in his hand. Mike has a heavy cardboard box under his arm. Julian: Is he here? Mike: Doors open. 5


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

Julian: Can you see him? Mike: Nah doesn’t look like he’s here. Julian: What is this place? I mean look at it. I told ya we should have gone to the house first. Mike: (Mimicking) “I told ya we should have gone to the house first”. Well run up to the house and see if he’s there then. Julian: Right. (Pause) Are you gonna come? Mike: Do you need someone to hold ya hand? Julia: (Indignantly) Yeah right. (Pause) Mike: Well off ya go then. Julian: Yeah… (looks into the darkness)... back in a mo’ (He goes). Mike: (Watching him go and shaking his head) Moron. (Entering shed and calling out ) Hi Dave. Dave: (From behind cubical) Hi. Mike: How’s it going? Dave: (Coming out from behind cubical and zipping up fly) Yeah, fine. Gimme a hand to clear this stuff up. Mike: Where’s the dogs? (Holding up old costumes as if to ask where to put them). Dave: In the house. Shove those in the trunk there. Mike: House huh? (Mike smirks and looks off to where Julian has gone). Dave: Yeah Mike: What is this stuff? Dave: The “Mrs” used to do musicals. Mike: Joking. Your “Mrs”? Dave: Long time ago now, before the kids… 6


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

Mike: Never knew that. Dave: (Passes him an old portrait of Sheryl in theatrical costume). Idaho. Mike: "Oklahoma" ya cultural peasant. (From off stage we hear Julian knocking loudly on a door in the distance…) Julian: Dave… are ya there? Dave counts down from three with his fingers and gestures “now”. In the distance dogs bark. We hear a door slam and the sound of running feet. Julian rushes into the shed and slams the door behind him, rushes to window and looks out after the dogs, he is puffing. Julian: Don't think he's in the house. Mike: Really? Julian: Yeah. Think so. Mike: All right. Dave: Dogs are in the house Julian. Ya probably don’t wanna go in there. Get a bit touchy when I’m not there. Julian sees Dave for the first time. Mike: And, oh yeah, turns out, Dave is here after all. Julian: Thanks for the information. (Beat) You knew that, ya swine. Mike: Who’s to say? (To Dave) Where do you want this? (Referring to his box). Dave: Anywhere. What is it? Mike: (Putting box down). Porn. Dave: Oh. Julian: (Thinking he said "Corn") What are you planning on doing 7


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

with it? I mean do you have enough? Mike: Eh? Yeah well I mean how much is too much? Julian: Really like that stuff don’t ya? Gives me heartburn. Mike: Heartburn. Heartburn? Oh I see what you mean. Very good. Julian: Eh? Mike: Nice metaphor. Heartburn. Julian: No it does. It gives me heartburn. Mike: Eh? Julian: Corn. Mike: Porn Julian. "Pah-Orrr-Nah". Porn. Julian: (Trying, but failing, to look like he means it). Yeah, I know. Dave: (Pointing to Julian's package) What have you got? Julian: This? Oh nothing (He tosses it onto a table away from the things the others have bought). Mike: Beer? Dave: Help ya self. Julian: (Being helpful and taking one from Dave's box). Here ya go Mike. Mike: Got any cold? Dave: Yeah Mike: (To Julian) You want a cold one? Julian: Errr yeah, that’d be great. Mike goes to the lavatory and takes out a bottle for himself and Julian. Tosses Julian's to him. He fumbles it but manages to keep hold of it. They twist off the tops. Dave: Right. Well, welcome to the Throne Room boys (takes his beer from the counter and raises it in a toast)…. And a weekend of Understanding Women. 8


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Dave and Mike take a long drink , Julian looks dubiously at his bottle as the Lights go down. Scene Three Julia: (In a single spot) I've been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time. It was my idea... at least I think so. Hard to remember. We had had a few beers and Dave was talking about how weird Sheryl was being, Mike was thinking about breaking up with Meagan and I was feeling particularly sorry for myself. I do that. Feel sorry for myself. Not that I try to, I mean I try not to, but... well it's been a while. Been alone for a while now. Anyway, the other two jumped at the idea. Seemed like a good excuse to have some beers and solve the world’s problems. And as Mike said; "If we manage to actually solve the world’s problems then we should have a go at solving our own". He's got a bit of way with words, Mike. You should see him with the girls. Smooth as silk. Dave on the other hand can say a thousand things with a grunt. He's a bit of a hard man, even after all these years of being married to Sheryl, I don’t think he’s got a clue. And then there is me... Julian. Anyway, here we are... Understanding Women. Scene Four In scene change the beer crate is replaced by an empty one, which is placed next to the toilet. Lights come up, the three men have beer. Julian is nursing his and looking uncomfortable. Dave is on his second bottle. Mike has 9


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

picked up Julian’s package and is considering opening it. Julian takes a kiddies fun straw out of his pocket and starts sipping his beer. Mike and Dave shake their heads in dismay. Mike takes the wrapper off Julian’s package and reveals a shiny black bible. Mike: You brought a bible? I mean beer, porn and a holy book. One of these things is not like the other. “What do you think B2?”. Julian: I think you’re getting your kiddies shows mixed up there. That's Sesame Street and Bananas in Pajamas. Dave: He’s right you know. Mike: The point is, and correct me if I’m wrong, but the bible seems a little out of place. Dave: He’s right you know. Mike: Will you stop saying that? It's getting very annoying. Julian: (To Dave) He's right you know. Dave: (To Julian) You’re right you know.... that he's right you know. Mike: (Ignoring them) I can't believe I have a weekend with you two idiots. Julian: Well you do you know. Mike: Shut up. (Referring to book) Where did you get this from? I mean it still has the price tag on it. Julian: The bookshop. Mike: Yes well, obviously, but why? I mean… words fail me. Dave: (Toasting Julian with his beer) It’s a miracle. That holy book of yours has got power. Julian: I asked the woman at the counter, I thought a book might help in our quest, ya know one of those new age self help books, 10


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

and she directed me to it. Said I should be in quick, because they were selling like hot cakes. There had been a bit of a run on them. (Smugly) I was lucky to get this. Mike: (Incredulous) You wanted a New Age self help book and let her sell you a bible? Julian: Eh? Dave: Tut tut, he was lucky to get that. Mike: Really? Julian: Oh yeah. Mike: Let me just ask. Was it the last one left on the shelf? Julian: No. Mike: But they were selling out. Julian: Yeah, there was a bit of a run on them. Mike: There was a whole shelf of them wasn’t there? Julian: Well yeah but – Mike: But there was “a bit of run on them”. Julian: Yeah – Mike: You, my son, have been done. Julian: ButMike: (Shaking head). For God so loved the retailers that he sent Julian to buy their old stock. Dave: Blessed are the stupid: for they shall inherit the stock that isn’t selling. Julian: All right. All right. (Getting up and looking around) So, how about a tour of the place, Dave. Dave: Eh? Mike: Yeah Dave, show us the special features of the place. Where's the spa pool? 11


Š 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

Dave: You want a tour? All right. Mike: Get a couple of fresh beers Julian - this could take some time. Dave: This Mike: Yes? Dave: This is my shed. Mike: You don't say. Dave: No I do say. Mike: And you call this shed the Throne Room? Dave: Yup. Mike: Well this is a surprise isn't it Julian? Dave: As you can see it has a floor. Mike: Wow. Dave: Walls. Mike: It does too! Dave: And a door. Mike: No expense spared! Dave: But wait, there is more. Mike: More? How can that be possible? Dave: Behind that rusty corrugated iron Mike: Always the first choice of interior wall for the architectural elite. Dave: There Mike: Brace yourself. Dave: There is Mike: The suspense is killing me. Dave: There is a lavatory. Mike: Oh the extravagance! The third world starves, while the rich 12


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

live in such opulence. Julian: Got a loo huh? That's cool. Mike: Spoken like a true critic of modern architecture. Julian: Does it flush and everything? Dave: Eh? Mike: Oh yes you'll find that the loo flushes, and does all the other things loo's do. Julian: Cool. This place is great. Mike: Yes, now that you have seen the hidden wonders of the shed, sorry "Throne Room", it does make it so much easier to appreciate its finer qualities. Julian: Never knew you had such a thing for toilets though. Dave: (Defensively) I don't have a thing for toilets. Julian: I mean the bar. Mike: Oh these are commonplace in suburban sheds. Simply everywhere these days. You're just not a part of the "in" crowd without one. Julian: And this is where you hide from the “Mrs” is it Dave? Dave: (With a wink) Me hide from the “Mrs”? I wouldn’t do that. Not hide mate… this is a place of serious D.I.Y. Mike: (Blowing dust from a pile of tools). Oh yeah I can see you’re in the middle of putting an extension on the Taj Mahal. Julian: That’s the great thing about D.I.Y. (Other two look at him) Well it’s Do it Yourself… not Done it yourself. Dave: Eh? Julian: Well it's future tense practically isn’t it. Mike: I see. Dave: Eh? 13


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

Mike: You’ll do it yourself but you just haven’t done it yourself… yet. Bit like Julian and women. Dave: I get ya. Julian: At least your tools are out of the box. Mike: (Under his breath) Again a situation uncommon to Julian. Julian: (Ignoring him) That practically makes you a Tradesman. (Dave and Julian clink their bottles in a toast to that piece of profound wisdom). Dave: Ha! I’ll drink to that. Mike: (Changing the subject. To Julian) Hey, did you know that Sheryl used to be in musicals. Julian: You’re kidding. Mike: Nope. (Passes Julian the portrait). Yeah apparently she had a lead role in the lesser-known musical "Woombye". A wonderful tale dedicated to the trials and torments of a pineapple growing community in Queensland. Julian: I never knew that. (Pause) Sheryl a Thespian huh? Dave: She bloody well is not! Mike: Easy Tiger. “Thespian” not lesbian. Julian: A theatre type. You know. Dave: (Not very convincing) Oh yeah I know that. Julian: Sheryl on the stage. I never would have thought. It’s amazing what ya don’t know about each other. Mike: Believe me, it can be amazing what ya do know about each other. (To Dave) Remember Rachel McDonald? Dave: Don’t remind me! Mike: Behind the fence at – Dave: I said don’t remind me. 14


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

Mike: With the feather duster. Julian: Feather duster? Dave: (Picking up an old feather duster from the shelf) Every woman has a trigger mate. Rachel MacDonald plus feather duster equals dead cert’ (“certain”). Julian: Really? Mike: I wonder what’s she doing now? Dave: Dunno mate, haven’t seen her since high school and I don’t intend to. More than my life’s worth. Mike: Ya know she always wanted to be a cop. Julian: We should get to know each other better. (Stunned silence) Dave: (Suspiciously) Oh yeah? Julian: Visit each other’s dark rooms. Mike: Julian if there is anything I don’t know about you two I probably don’t want to know it. Julian: Eh? Dave: I don’t have a darkroom. What would I want with a darkroom? Julian: No not a darkroom, a dark (pause) room. Dave: The south side bedroom gets a fair bit of shade but it's not exactly dark. Mike: It’s a metaphor. I’ve heard about this stuff. Julian: Yeah it is. And we have light rooms too. Dave: Really? Julian: (Enthusiastically) Yeah. Dave: Not interested. Julian: You know, get to know each other and ourselves better, so 15


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

we can understand each other better. Dave: No thank you Sigmund Fried. Mike: “Freud”. Dave: Oh yeah. Julian: Just an idea. I mean, you know. Just a…. yeah not a…. well… good one. Mike: But you reckon we all have darkrooms, do ya mate? Julian: Well that’s what they say. Mike: Oh yeah. So tell me Julian, what’s yours? Julian: Nah, you see, it doesn’t work if you don’t all do it. It has to be a team thing. Mike: Go on. A visit to your darkroom might turn the light on in ours. Julian: Nah… we all have to. Mike: Go on. Julian: Not just one person. It doesn’t work like that. Mike: Come on you’ve got me interested now. Julian: Nah, itDave: Come on “open the door”. Julian: But – Mike: (Forcefully) Open it! Julian: All right. OK… (Taking a deep breath). I’m hopeless with women. Mike: And this is something we don't already know about you? Dave: Come on, you can’t be that bad. Julian: No I am. Hopeless. Mike: Well come on then, how long has it been? Julian: Eh? 16


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Mike: You know, since you’ve… (Gives a wink) “you know”. Julian: Forever! I haven't had a relationship since Brenda Stevens. Mike: The Brenda Stevens? Dave: Who's that? Mike: Brenda Stevens is a lawyer. Her dad owns the biggest law firm in town. You've had a relationship with Brenda Stevens? You sly dog! That is some good work. Julian: Yeah but it was some time ago now. I mean... Mike: Don't worry about that mate; she's a good catch you did well. Dave: I don't remember you and a Brenda Stevens getting together. Julian: No, well you wouldn't... like I said, it was some time ago. Mike: How long ago exactly? Julian: Seven. Dave: Seven months? Julian shakes his head. Dave: Seven years? Julian shakes his head again. Mike: Well, seven what? Julian: I was seven. She was seven. We were (pause) Dave: Seven. Yeah I can follow your logic. Mike: What, you haven't had a relationship since you were seven years old? Julian: That's what I'm saying. Mike: (Laughing). You're kidding! Dave: That is your darkest room? So what's the big deal? Julian: Well it might not mean much to you, but it means a helluva lot to me! This is my life. We don’t live forever. I only get one shot 17


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

at this. Mike: OK calm down Romeo. Julian: It’s all right for you. Mike: Well do you want a woman? I mean you’re not… you know. Julian: No! Mike: There isn’t a dark closet in that dark room of yours? Julian: No! Mike: Are you sure? Not hiding a particular genetic configuration that might make you want to walk on the other side of the relational fence? Dave: What are you on about? Julian: No. Mike: The grass is not greener on the other side? Julian: (Laughing nervously) No. Come on. I'm not like that. Dave: What you mean is he a "poof"? Are you a "poof"? Julian? Mike: “Gay” Dave. The word you're looking for there is “gay”. Dave: Are you a "poof"? Julian: No I'm not. Seriously I'm not. Dave: He's not queer. What are you going on about? Mike: Just asking. Doesn't hurt to ask. These are enlightened times. Not that there is anything wrong with… you know (The others look at him)… being gay... (Notices the other two looking at him with smirks on their faces) not that I am… I mean, just not interested in that… really at all. Dave: Are you sure? Mike: No! Julian: You're not sure? Mike: Yes I am sure. No I am not a "poof". 18


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Julian: “Gay”. Mike: Gay! Dave: All right. Just asking. Julian: (Mimicking Mike) Doesn't hurt to ask. Dave: Not that there would be anything wrong with it. Julian: These are enlightened times after all. Mike: Yeah. Like I said. (Pause) But I'm not. (Pause) That's all. Silence, Julian and Dave continue looking at him, enjoying him squirm. Dave: Have another beer, pal. Mike: (Relieved for the change of subject). Yeah! (Julian takes a bottle out of the toilet and throws it to him, Julian and Dave freeze). Mike: (Taking the lid off the bottle and talking to the audience) This was all my idea. I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I was trying to help this poor sap (pointing to Julian). He really does need all the help he can get. I don’t know if I have ever seen him with a woman. I mean socially, let alone romantically. And Dave here, well look at him. Somehow he managed to get married about 150 years ago and they’ve stuck together. Sheryl’s nice. I’m not saying she’s my type. (He cringes) But she puts up with this old coot. I can’t imagine the depths of dull that those two must have dived together. Anyway, I figured he could do with a little help too. Mike: (To Dave) Drive. (Dave and Julian unfreeze) Dave: Eh? 19


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

Mike: That’s what he needs. It all comes down to “drive”. If he wants something, if he has the drive for it, he’ll get it. It’s a primeval thing. Not just up here (points to his head) It’s also down there (gestures at Dave’s belt). Julian: Hello! I am still here. You don’t need to talk about me. You can talk to me! Mike: Luckily for you my lad, I have brought the solution to your problems. (Points to box of girlie magazines). Dave: Yep. A box of corn. Mike: That’s right. A couple of tins and your drive will be kicking in. I guarantee it. Help yourself. Julian: And this will help me understand women? Mike: Yeah, in a manner of speaking it will. Julian: Looking at dirty magazines? Mike: It's an essential part of the jigsaw for you mate. Julian: Essential? Mike: Indispensable! Julian: I dunno. It’s not really my style. Mike: That’s the problem, see. Your “style” is just not working for you. Dave: But luckily for you we have the Professor of Style here to help. Mike: (Impersonating Elvis) “Thank you very much”. Julian: Well… I dunno. Mike: Look, I guarantee it. Get one of those out and you’ll soar to new heights. Literally. Julian: It’s just that – Mike: If that doesn’t start your engine I’ll (thinks)…. 20


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

Dave: Take us into your darkest room? Mike: You are my darkest room mate, believe me. (Dave's look is a challenge) Yeah all right “my darkest room” if that porn on the cob doesn’t get ya engine revving. Julian: All right then. (He takes a magazine out from the box. Instead of being a girlie magazine it is a women’s gossip weekly. No one else is aware of this, including the audience). And you reckon this will light my fire? Mike: It lights mine Julian. It certainly lights mine. Julian: If you say so. (He starts flicking through it, before long he is engrossed in it). Mike: (To Dave) Lover boy here said you have ya boat for sale. Dave: Yeah. Mike: Got your eye on something bigger? Dave: Nah… Mike: Well? Dave: What? Mike: (Incredulous) What, are ya getting something smaller? Dave: Nah… Mike: All right then, you’re just getting a new one? Julian: He isn’t getting another boat are you Dave. Mike: Eh? You’re not. Are ya? What, you without a boat? Come on. Dave: Thinking about going to Paris with the Mrs. Mike: Get on with ya. You in Paris! Come on, what’s up with the boat? Dave: Nah we are… she’s always had this thing about the city of lives. 21


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Mike: "Lights". Dave: Yeah that’s the one. Mike: But it doesn’t cost that much to go on holiday. Take her to Noumea… that’s French isn’t it? Or Tahiti. There ya go, Tahiti. (Rubbing his hands together) Everyone knows that Tahitian women are the most beautiful in the world. Julian: Is that right? Mike: Well nearly everyone. Everyone who has had a relationship since they were seven years old. Dave: Nope. France. Paris. Mike: But your boat. Dave: Trip of a lifetime. Mike: (Shaking his head) She made ya sell ya boat. Dave: (Forcefully) No one makes me do anything. I’m taking her to Paris mate. I’m taking her! Mike: Have it your way. Dave: Trip of a lifetime. Mike: Well whatever fries ya frog legs pal. (Mike and Julian freeze) Dave: (Talking to audience) We were at the pub and these two were whining about their women. Well he (Mike) was whining about his latest and he (Julian) was whining about his lack there of. Seeing as I’ve been married since nineteen eighty um, no, ninety er... (tries to remember what year in the nineteen hundreds and gives up)... well a helluva long time, I thought it’d be a good excuse to have some beers and give them a bit of advice on what is a 22


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

tricky subject even to a veteran like myself. I forgot all about it until this afternoon, when Sheryl reminded me. I think they’re pretty envious of what I’ve got going with Sheryl. (Mike and Julian unfreeze) Mike: So Lover Boy, how’s that heartburn coming along? Julian: (Head down reading) Interesting I guess. Speaking of frogs did you know that they have teeth? Mike: Eh? Julian: But toads don't. Mike: Really. Julian: Yeah. Dave: Well isn't that fascinating. Mike: I can now die, my life is complete. Julian: (Stopping reading and looking up for a moment). Might be the other way around. (Goes back to his reading). Dave: Don't rush out to hang yourself just yet. Mike: So what is it? Julian: Frogs. Mike: With the teeth or without. Julian: With. Dave: (Handing Mike a rope). All right off you go. Mike: (Taking the rope) You're sure about the frogs now? Julian: Yeah. Dave: Go on. Julian: Actually it might be toads. Dave: (Taking rope back from Mike) Gimme that back. 23


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Mike: (To Julian) Make up your mind man. Dave: You've got us on tenter-hooks here. Julian: Toads. Dave: Toads it is. Here's ya rope. Mike: Thanks. Julian: Or frogs, I forget. Dave: (Taking rope from Mike and tossing it aside) Sorry pal but you'll have to stay with the living a little longer. Mike: (Noticing Julian reading the magazine) You’re reading it. Ya don’t read it Casanova. The words are just to frame the beauties. No one actually reads that stuff. It could be a recipe for scones for all we’d know. Julian: Yeah it is actually. Mike: Well there ya go… but the pictures, that’s the rocket fuel. Julian: What these dogs? Mike: I won’t have the fairer sex talked about like that. (Suddenly realising what Julian has said) There’s not really a scone recipe, is there? Julian: Hmm. Cinnamon scones. Mike: Eh? Julian: With a raspberry cream. Mike: Gimme that. (Grabbing for the magazine but missing as Julian pulls it away). Julian: Do you read a lot of these? (Reading cover) “Women’s Weekly” (or relevant women’s gossip magazine)? Dog food ads and scone recipes? Dave: Feeling pretty hot and spicy after that are ya? Julian: No actually. 24


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Mike: Shut up. Dave: I don’t know what you were thinking Mike. I mean Women’s Weekly’s? Mike: I don’t know how that got in there. Julian: (Pulling magazines out of the box). Oh we’ve got at least three months of issues here… Mike: Shut up they must have got – Julian: September, October, and November. Oh look here’s a classic from June. Dave: (Taking the magazine from Julian). That’s what I call a centrefold. Oh yes, Miss June is a Labrador. Look at those legs Julian: All four of them! Dave: Could do with a shave though eh? Mike: (Snatching magazine and throwing the others into the box) Gimme that! Julian: Looks like someone owes us a visit to his darkest room. Mike: (Stops and turns to them looking a bit nervous) Eh? Yeah right! Lights go to black as Dave and Julian look expectantly at Mike. Scene Five Mike: (Quotes Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare under a single spot. His performance of the sonnet is sensitive and heartfelt...) When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself, and curse my fate, 25


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Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d, Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, - and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate; For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings. (At the finish of the sonnet he looks tenderly at the audience and then breaks into a sly grin...) They love that Shakespeare stuff, women. Quote a little of the “Old Bard” and they're putty in ya hands. Words get them every time. You’ve got to know the enemy, if you know what I mean. Women have twenty two thousand words to get out every day, so ya hit them with a bit of their own artillery. Words. The smart-bombs of love. Cross fade to Julian in a spot light. Julian: (Nervously, supposedly talking at a social gathering) Me? Oh you don’t want to hear about me... OK... OK... An area of action I have recently undertaken... is the addressing of identified barriers to interpersonal co-ordination, collaboration and communication in a cross gender dynamic... in the pursuit of continuance... in order to establish and/or promote protocols and systems between the consenting adult... unit and its own 26


© 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

interpersonal networks for the purpose of information sharing and co-ordination of... well... services. (Explaining further) As part of this work I’m reviewing the impact of both previous engagements ... existing interpersonal engagements ... and contracts... and compliance to the contracts and... (he pauses) where was I going with that? Well anyway from the current data I’ve undertaken the modelling of projected responses in order to foster improved co-ordination, collaboration and communication via the streamlining of the cross gendered “dymanicated” (he pauses briefly). Is that a word? (Finishing his sentence..) interpersonal collaborative communication. (He pauses) I got a little lost in the middle there but you get the idea. Cross fade to Dave in a spotlight. Dave: (Scratching himself) Eh? (Pause) Does it make you look fat? A little – No! Not at all! Black out. Scene Six Lights up, Dave and Mike are in conversation. Julian is reading the bible. Mike: Well how many relationships have you had? Dave: Sheryl. Mike: One. Dave: Yeah. Mike: That’s it? 27


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Dave: Yeah so? Mike: One. Julian: (Looking up) What about Rachel McDonald? Mike: Ha! Two. Dave: (Reluctantly) Two. Mike: Susan Cotton? Dave: That was a father figure thing. Julian: (His head back down reading) Three. Dave: That doesn’t count. Mike: It counts. There was a relationship. Dave: Nothing happened. Julian: It counts. Dave: But – Mike: Tut, tut. A relationship is a relationship. She was a she, still is I presume, and you are a he. Julian? Julian: Yep. Dave: (Conceding) Three. Mike: I on the other hand have a little more experience with the fairer sex. Julian: How many? Mike: Four. Julian: That’s only one more. Mike: Engagements. Julian: (Looking up) Engagements?! Dave: It’s those rugged good looks. Julian: You’ve been engaged four – Mike: And 12 other relationships. (Counting on fingers) Sarah, Rowena, Catherine, Meagan, Penny, Debbie, Louise, Robyn, 28


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Elizabeth, the two Jenny’s, Julian: Eleven. Mike: There you have it. Julian: You said 12. Mike: Close enough. Dave: You said 12. Mike: (Reluctantly) And Rachel McDonald. Dave laughs. Mike: (Changing the subject) So Reverend, what's got you so captivated in the Holy Book? Julian: There is some good stuff in here. Dave: Eh? Mike: Like I said, "For God so loved the world that he sent his only idiot, Julian, so that who so ever shall find him at his counter him shall not go broke but enjoy eternal sales. Julian: (Quoting Song of Songs chapter 4 verse 5) Your two breasts are like two fawns, Twins of a gazelle, which feed among the lilies. (Stunned silence) Dave: Wow. I don’t remember Mrs. Scott reading that out at Sunday School. Mike: I like that. I can use that. Gimme a look at that. (He takes the bible from Julian). This is good stuff. I like that. (Raising his bottle in a toast to Julian) Finding this is some good work Julian. Dave: I definitely don’t remember Mrs Scott reading that one. (As Sunday school teacher, in a squeaky “woman’s” voice) This morning children we will be looking at – what is it? Julian: “Song of Songs” 29


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Mike: (Picking up the story and running with it) Suddenly at the mention of “that book” alarm bells sound, robed agents storm the Sunday school classroom. Talking into their dog collars. Julian: (Playing along) “We have the rebel now and are securing the perimeter”. Mike: (Pushing Julian into the costume trunk, closing the lid and sitting on top) Mrs. Scott is bundled out into a black van, with a Jesus loves you sticker on the back, and never seen again. Next week it’s back to John 3.16 (Dave looks at him) You know “For God so loved the world yaddy yaddy yaddy”, and the Prodigal Son. Dave: You seem to know a lot about this stuff. Mike: You’re not the only one who went to Sunday School. But boy do I wish I paid more attention now! That really is some good stuff Julian. What else have you got for us? (Looks around for Julian and realises he is in the trunk he is sitting on. He lets him out). What else have you got for us? Julian: There was a relationship test in that magazine. That might be helpful to us. Why don’t we- (starts raking through the magazines to find it). Mike: Nah that stuff's for chicks. Nah, we do these “In Service Training” days at the school and last time we were doing conflict resolution with role-plays. Dave: (Suspicious) What do ya mean role-play? Mike: You know, acting out a situation. What we were just doing. Dave: And what’s that got to do with us? Mike: I was thinking about it on the way over here. What better way to get to understand the fairer sex than walking a mile in their high heels... (Others look at him) as it were. 30


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Dave: I’m not putting on high heels. Mike: It’s a metaphor ya big dope. I’m talking about role-playing a situation. Julian: I bet Sheryl would be good at that. Acting. Dave: Yeah she probably would. She loves that stuff. I can’t fit into her high heels anyway (others look at him) not that I have tried. Julian: Really? (Nudges Mike). Mike: Yeah come on Dave. Dave: (Not bothered at all by the ribbing) What me? Not likely. Mike: So you say. OK let's try it. Now we need (remembering)… characters – that’s who we are… environment – that’s where we are… relationships – that’s obvious… and conflict – that’s whatever the problem is… Julian: Then we act it out? Mike: Yeah. It’s a lot of fun. I won every scenario. Dave: There are winners? Mike: Every conflict has a winner and loser mate. Don’t you watch the news? Dave: I think you may have missed the point of conflict resolution there pal. Mike: Yeah, well, that’s what the guy running it kept saying, but I must have been doing something right to get Carol Teagen in tears. Twice. At least we won’t have to worry about that here. Julian: (With a few doubts about the idea but prepared to give it a go) OK so what do we do? Mike: (Tearing a page off an old calendar on the wall and tearing it into three pieces). We each make up an element for a scenario. Dave: All right. 31


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Mike: Dave you do Characters. The trick is to make them really different to each other. Julian you do Relationships. I’ll do Conflict. That’s a bit harder. OK? Dave: Characters? Mike: Yeah, but like I said, not all the same. Get a bit creative. Dave: Creative? Mike: You know. Not all the same. We don’t want three middleaged blokes lamenting the loss of their fishing launch. Just give it a go. (Taking pencils they begin thinking and writing). Mike: Right. Done? Julian: Just a mo’… all right. Dave: (To Julian) You could use Sheryl’s costumes. Julian: (Enthusiastically) There’s costumes? Mike: Forget dressing up in Sheryl’s clothes for a moment would ya Julian, and finish your answers. Dave, rip the paper up so each name is separate and stick ‘em in this. (Holding a metal colander up. This is the colander that is worn later on Mike’s head. Dave does as told). Mike: Right, take one. I’m going first. (He takes a piece of paper from the colander, doesn’t look at it and hands the colander to the other two who each take a paper. Mike watches Julian and Dave read theirs). Julian: All right! Dave: Oh good. Mike looks at his. Mike: What the? (Glaring at Dave) What is this?! Dave: You said get creative. 32


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The lights go down. Scene Seven. Lights come up with Julian and Dave getting into their costumes for the role-play. The costumes are in the trunk and are from Sheryl’s Thespian past. Mike is in the toilet cubical getting into his. Julian is on-stage getting into combat gear. Dave is wearing a doctor’s coat, has a stethoscope around his neck, and has a clipboard in this hand. Mike: (Sourly from the cubical) It was rigged. Julian: How could it be rigged? You chose first. Mike: (To Dave) You put it on the bottom on purpose because you knew I’d go first. Dave: Eh? Mike: You knew I’d go for the one on the bottom. You knew I wouldn’t trust you and take the top one. Dave: Oh yeah I’d know all that. Julian: Look, this was your idea. Mike: Shut up Julian. Dave: (Wagging finger towards cubical) Tut tut. You know the rules. Mike: (Spitting out the words through closed teeth) “Sergeant” Julian. Julian: (Enthusiastically) Well lets do it. Dave: Come on then. Mike: I’m not doing this. Dave: Come on now it was your idea. Let’s go through the scenario. I am a doctor. 33


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Julian: I am a sergeant in the army. Both look toward the toilet cubicle. Mike: I am… Dave: Yes? Mike: I am… Julian: Yes, you are…? Mike: (Coming out of Cubical in full Cancan dress) I am a French woman. Dave: Tut tut… more specifically you are a what? Mike: (Quietly) Cancan dancer. Julian: Sorry what was that? Dave did you catch that? Dave: No Julian, I don’t think I heard that. Sorry Mike, can you say that again? Mike: Cancan dancer! I am a bloody Cancan dancer. OK? And I am wearing the dress of a cancan dancer and the make up of a cancan dancer. And I feel like a right idiot. OK? Satisfied? Dave: So what you’re saying is that you are a cancan dancer? Mike: Shut up and get on with it. Julian: Right that’s characters. Now I had relationships. I have a guy, a girl and a salesman. (Looks at their costumes). Well I guess you’re the girl, and one of us is the guy, and the other the salesman. Dave: (Quickly) That’s me. I’m the salesman. Mike: You? What’s a doctor going to sell? Dave: Viagra? Julian: Wait a minute, why are you the salesman? I could be the salesman and you could be the guy. Dave: And what’s a soldier going to sell? No, clearly, I am the 34


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salesman. Julian: Well let’s change the relationships then. Mike: (Quickly, seeing a way out) Good idea and I’ll change my character. Dave and Julian look at each other. Julian: No, all right, I’ll be the guy. A soldier on leave. Dave: In Paris. Julian: At a Cancan Bar. (Looks at Dave) And if one of the dancers should faint there is a doctor in the house. Mike: (Shaking his head) Great. Julian: Right Mike give us the problem. Mike: This is flamin’ stupid. Julian: Your idea. Dave: Come on. Mike: All right. The conflict. It’s your anniversary – Julian: So we’re married? Mike: Not necessarily. Julian: Eh? Mike: Could be anniversary of something else. Dave: Like getting drafted. Mike: Look, it doesn’t matter what the anniversary is. It just is one. Julian: OK. Mike: It’s your anniversary – Julian: Yeah we know that. Mike: Look, I am going to thump you in a minute if you – Dave: Get on with it. Mike: It’s your anniversary (points at Julian to warn him to keep quiet) but you’ve forgotten and worked late. The wife is furious. 35


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Julian: So we are married. Mike: It’s not important! Julian: Just saying is all. Dave: OK let’s get on with it. How do we do this? Mike: OK. I will be at the cancan bar waiting for you (Julian). Julian: Your tough soldier boy. Dave: Don’t make this any creepier than it already is, Julian. Julian: Sorry. Mike: (Ignoring the comments) And you come in late. Julian: And what’s the doctor-slash-salesman doing? Dave: Yeah? Mike: I dunno. He’s… selling… Dave: Viagra. Mike: (Through gritted teeth) I am not doing a role-play dressed as a woman, with him as my “tough soldier boy”, and you selling Viagra. OK? Dave: All right. I’ll just be sitting at the bar. Having just sold Viagra to someone else… Julian: (Agreeing) A Viagra salesman off duty… at a cancan bar… in Paris. Mike: Good. Now I’ll be talking to DaveDave: “Dr Moreau” Mike: (Rolling his eyes) “Dr Moreau”, when you come in having forgot our anniversary. OK? Dave: Right. Julian: Gotcha. (Julian goes into toilet cubical). (The acting for the role-play should be wooden and the men should look uncomfortable except for Julian when he finally enters 36


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the role-play). Dave: (Trying to start a conversation but unsure as to what to say) So, err, come here often? Mike: I work here actually. Dave: Oh yeah. What, ah… errr… you know… do ya…. Umm… do? Mike: I’m a cancan dancer actually. Dave: Really? I wondered why you were dressed like that. (Pauses looking at cubical for Julian to come out, he doesn’t). And ah, how do you like that? Mike: What? Dave: The dancing. The cancan dancing. Mike: It's fine thank you. Dave: Right. That’s er… good. (Pause) Would you care to show us one of ya numbers? Mike: No thank you, I am off duty. Dave: (Nodding his head) I see. Mike: And waiting for my boyfriend to – Julian: (From behind cubical) Husband! Mike: My husband to meet me. Dave: (Nodding his head) I see. Mike: But he’s late. Dave: (Nodding his head) I see. (There is a pause. Mike and Dave look over to cubical. Still no sign of Julian) Dave: So where is this husband of yours? Mike: I have no idea. Dave: (Nodding his head) I see. 37


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Mike: (Calling off toward cubical) He’s late! Dave: (Toward cubical) Late huh? Mike: Yeah, and I hope he comes here soon. Dave: Yeah, soon would be nice. (Pause) As in now! We hear the sound of water being poured into the toilet. Julian: Hang on, I’m taking a wee. Mike: For goodness sake! Hurry up will ya! Julian: Sorry. I ah… well you know… needed to go. Dave: So this husband of yours… Mike: Yes? Dave: Is he meeting you here for any special reason? Mike: Yes he is actually. It is our anniversary. Dave: Oh yeah? Mike: Yes, the anniversary of the time I punched him in the head for being late (yelling) on-stage in a role-play! Julian: I’m coming. Ya can’t rush these things… dearest. Dave: (Nodding understandingly) I see. Julian: Ask her how she feels about it. Dave: Eh? Julian: Ask her how she feels about her husband being late. Dave: Oh yeah, good idea. So Miss… err Mrs.… whatever, how does that make you feel having your husband late… to your… err special day? Mike: Angry. Dave: (Nodding) I see. And what are you going to say to him when he does arrive? Mike: I am not sure if I shall say anything. Dave: Oh the old silent treatment huh? 38


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Mike: Something like that. Dave: It might be good to let him know how you feel about him being late to your special day. Mike: Oh I’ll let him know. Dave: Yeah, but to talk it out. Mike: I’m sure my body language will say more than enough. Dave: OK. Julian: (Entering) Hi babe, ya tough soldier boy is here! How are ya? Mike: You’re late to our anniversary! Julian: What anniversary? Dave: You mean you can’t remember that it is your special day? Julian: Sorry babe can I make it up to you? Mike: No I don’t think so (he punches Julian in the face and Julian falls backward onto the floor. He is knocked out cold). He made me very angry being late to our special day. (He hitches up his dress and stomps into the cubical to change). Dave: (Nodding calmly) I see. (Stands over the unconscious Julian and looks down at him) Powerful form of communication that. Body language. (He moves into a spot light) That’s women for ya. All that pent up aggression. I’ve told Sheryl several times she’d be good at big game fishing… or boxing for that matter. She’s a little thing, but could knock the block off anyone, if she chose to. But they don’t do that do they? Sure be whole easier if they did. Told her that once. She reminded me that it’s always blokes who go psycho with guns. Didn’t really have an answer for that. Although, she said to me yesterday that it’s not the answers that are important; it’s the questions. I asked her what she meant. 39


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She said, “Dave, you’re on the right track”. I nodded like I understood. (Lights come up again and the scene is as he left it). Well if he's going to get some shut-eye we might as well too. (He takes a blanket and puts it over Julian and then sits himself down in a chair, puts his feet up and drapes a blanket over himself). Lights go down.

Act Two Scene One On an area of the stage (or stage extension) that is not connected to the main set. Most likely the same area used in Act One Scene One. For each of these short scenes Dianne enters stage first. She is waiting for someone or something (perhaps a bus or a friend) when they don’t arrive she turns to leave and in the process bumps into the other character. Each of Dianne’s entrances are exactly the same. Julian: (Bumping into Dianne, her violin case hitting him in the groin, in the process he takes the violin case from her). Ohhhhhh! Dianne: Oh dear! Sorry. Julian: (Attempting to downplay his pain) No, No. (Pause) It’s fine. Dianne: Really I am sorry. Julian: No really, I’m OK. It was just an accident. Dianne: Yes. An accident. But I am sorry. Julian: No, no... really. 40


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Dianne: You’re sure you’re OK (he obviously isn’t but is trying his best to be cool about it). Julian: Fine. Yeah. Dianne: OK... Sorry. Julian: Don’t worry about it. Please. It happens all the time. Dianne: Does it? Julian: Eight thousand times a day. Dianne: Eight thousand times? Julian: A day. Dianne: (Incredulously) Really? Julian: Yup. Dianne: You get hit in the groin with a violin case eight thousand times a day? Julian: Good grief no. Dianne: Oh. Sorry. Well... what...? Julian: (Chuckling) Not to me. Dianne: (Getting very confused) Oh. Then to whom does it happen? Julian: Oh, I don’t know. Dianne: Someone? Julian: Good grief no. Not one person. I mean that would be bad luck. Dianne: (Uncertainly) Yeah. Julian: People. Probably eight thousand different people. There might be few particularly unlucky ones. Probably in orchestras. Dianne: Right. Julian: All Americans actually. Dianne: OK... can I have my violin please. 41


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Julian: Oh, yes. Sorry about that (begins to hand violin over but absent mindedly draws it back as he explains) Every day eight thousand Americans are injured by musical instruments. Dianne: (Finally making sense of it all) Oh, I see. Yes. Of course. (reaching for her violin case) Really is that true? Julian: Yes, I read it somewhere (shaking her hand). Oh sorry, Julian. Dianne: Umm, Dianne. Julian: Nice to meet to you Dianne. Dianne: (Uncomfortable) Yes. Julian: Well I must be off. Dianne: Yes, can I have my violin please? Julian: Sorry? Dianne: My violin, you have... can I? Julian: Oh! Sorry. Yes (hands her the violin case). Sorry about that. Dianne: No, it’s fine. Julian: Hope I didn’t damage your instrument. Dianne: Oh it’ll be fine. Hope I didn’t... errr. Julian: Damage my instrument? (Kicking himself for what he has just said). Dianne: Well... yeah...something like that. Julian: No it’ll be fine. I mean I’m fine. Dianne: OK. Well bye (turns to leave). Julian: Listen, I don’t mean to be... well... I’m just wondering whether... I mean would you be interested... would you mind if I called you? Dianne: Go ahead. (She walks off). 42


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Julian: Great! OK then. Bye! (She is now gone, Julian is quite pleased with himself he turns to go). Way to go Romeo. (Suddenly realising) Number! (Turns back to where she was). Phone number... (Depressed) way to go Romeo... (As he walks out of the light his groin is still obviously painful). Cross fade to Mike Mike: (Bumping into Dianne, her violin case hitting him in the groin, in the process he takes the case from her). Ohhhhhh! Dianne: Oh dear! Sorry. Mike: Wow. That knocks the stuffing out of a guy (he bends over and takes a few deep breaths). Dianne: Really I am sorry. Mike: Well if I walked on all fours it would never have happened. Dianne: Sorry? Mike: (With a smile) You'd have broken my nose. Dianne: (Laughing behind her hand) I really am sorry. Mike: (Taking a few more deep breaths) It was an accident. Dianne: I am sorry. Mike: Unless... Dianne: Unless what? Mike: Unless you did it on purpose. (Smiling) I don't remind you of your "ex" do I? Dianne: (Smiling) No. Mike: No intent? You didn't think to yourself "this guy looks like he's had a rough day, I'll finish him off with my violin case". Dianne: No! Really it was just Mike: Lucky? 43


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Dianne: No, an accident. (Pause) Sorry. Mike: Not your fault. Dianne: You do look like you've had a rough day... Mike: It shows huh? Dianne: Well... yes. Mike: (With cheeky charm) Would you say I looked "Wearily". Dianne: Weary? Mike. Wearily. Would you say it? Dianne: Weary. Yes I suppose. Mike: Wear-ily. Dianne: Sorry? Mike: Say it. Please. That I look wearily. Dianne: Why? Mike: (Coaxing her) Please. Dianne: All right, you look "wearily". Mike: Thank you. Now say it again. Dianne: You look wearily. Mike: (Quoting from Tempest, Act 3, scene 1) No noble mistress; tis fresh morning with me, when you are by at night. I do beseech you, chiefly that I might set it in my prayers, what is your name? Dianne: Sorry? (long pause, Mike gestures for her to play along) Dianne. Mike: (During this speech and while Dianne is looking away Mike “surreptitiously” places a business card on the floor) Admir'd Dianne. Indeed the top of admiration; worth what's dearest to the world! Full many a lady have I ey'd with best regard; and many a time the harmony of their tongues hath into bondage brought my too diligent ear: for several virtues have I liked several women; 44


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never any with so full soul, but some defect in her did quarrel with the noblest grace she ow'd, and put it to the foil; But O you, so perfect, and so peerless are created of every creature's best. Dianne: Is that Shakespeare? Mike: Yes. Dianne: I love Romeo and Juliet! Mike: Ah, but that was the Tempest. Dianne: The Tempest? I don't... Mike: Oh you would love it. Dianne: It's nice. Mike: "Nice"? Dianne: Very nice then. I liked it. Mike: Well Dianne, I think I can summon the strength to walk again. Here's your weapon (hands her the violin). Dianne: Oh, thanks. Mike: I bid you Adieu. Dianne: I am sorry. Mike: Think nothing of it. (He smiles warmly) Bye. (He turns to leave). Dianne: Ummm! What's your name then? Mike: (Turning back) Sorry? Dianne: Your name. Mike: Michael... Mike. Dianne: Nice to meet you Mike. Mike: You too Miranda. (He starts walking away). Dianne: Dianne! Mike: (Calling back over his shoulder) The Tempest. Read the Tempest. 45


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Dianne: OK! (She turns to go and notices a business card on the bench seat / path. It is Mike's). You dropped a... (Calling out to him but he is gone. She is about to toss it away when she decides to keep it). Cross fade to Dave. Dave: (Bumping into Dianne, her violin case hitting him in the groin, in the process he takes the violin case from her). Ohhhhhh! Dianne: Oh dear! Sorry. Dave: (Suddenly with no sign of pain whatsoever) No, no. It’s fine. Dianne: Really I am sorry. Dave: Eh? Dianne: I’m sorry about bumping into you like that. Dave: I said it’s fine. Dianne: I know but it must’ve really... Dave: What? Dianne: You know... ouch! Dave: Hurt? Dianne: Yes. Dave: Nah. Dianne: It’s just that... I mean your reaction. Dave: Just gave me a... you know. Dianne: Fright? Dave: Just didn’t expect to bump into ya is all. Dianne: Yes. Sorry about that. Dave: I’m fine. Forget it. Dianne: Sure. Sorry... OK. (Turns to leave). 46


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Dave: Oi! Dianne: (Turning back) Sorry? Dave: (Handing violin case to her) Don’t forget ya guitar. Dianne: Oh! Thanks. Dave: No worries. Dianne: Bye then. Dave: Yeah. (Woman exits. Dave waits for her to go out of sight and then buckles over in pain). Ohhhhhhh . (He limps off stage). (Black out) Scene Two Lights come up. Julian is holding a bag of ice over his cheek with one hand and writing on a piece of paper with another, there are magazines all around him. He still has a blanket over him from the night before. When he eventually gets out of the blanket he is wearing pyjamas. Mike is standing over a frying pan cooking breakfast and trying to get a radio to work. Dave is asleep in his chair. He is waking as the lights come up. Mike: Well good morning, old-timer. Dave grunts. Mike: Welcome to the Throne Room Cafe. Dave: (In a snobby English accent) A table for three Pierre, and a bottle of your finest coffee. Mike: Coming right up. Dave: And how are you Lover Boy? Julian: Bit of a headache actually. 47


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Mike: Well I told ya not to drink so much. As your good book says, “Drink thyself silly yesterday and today yee shall be with a head full of ache-eths” Julian: My head hurts because you hit me! Mike: Get over it Julian for goodness sake. I said I was sorry. Dave: (Going over to Mike) Is that how you won the role-plays at the school? So the teachers take it out to the playground and slug it out too now eh? Mike: I said I was sorry. Dave: “Listen Principal, you either give us a pay rise or we’ll take you outside and punch ya face in”. I can just see it. Mike: Oh well, he was only out few seconds. Julian: What do you mean only out a few seconds? I could have a bruised brain or something! Mike: Not much chance of that, I hit ya in the head. Julian: I know where you hit me! Dave: Look boys calm down, OK? They’re a cunning breed them women, this is where they’d want us to be. The old divide and conquer tactics. Julian: This has nothing to do with women. He hit me! Mike: (Aggressively) I said I’m sorry! Dave: Settle down pal. Mike: Look, I'm making breakfast aren't I? Penance. Dave: Good man. (Goes over to Julian). What are ya doing? Julian: Quiz. Thought we might try a non-contact exercise. Getting the basis of it from these magazines. Dave: Oh yeah... and this'll do what exactly? Julian: Well, it'll give us each a relationship profile based on our 48


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answers from the questions... so we can get an idea of how we view our relationships, and women, and all that kinda stuff. Dave: Sounds pretty scientific. Julian: Well it'll at least steer us in the right direction. I hope. Mike makes a scoffing sound. Dave: All right. How's it going? Julian: Good. Should be done later. Mike: You back on sugar in ya coffee Dave? Dave: Yeah, one. Mike: Julian? Julian: Two and milk. Dave: Milk for me too. Mike: I know. (Making the coffee) One, two and milk. Julian: Has commodore got two "m"s? Mike: Yep Dave: Dunno Mike: Yes it does. All right here ya go. Dave, grab a plate. (He serves Dave up some food), Come on Julian (Julian comes over and he serves his up, then serves his own. They sit down for their meal). Dave: Good on ya mate. Mike: Not a problem. Julian: Got any sauce? Mike: You don't put tomato sauce on white meat Julian. Didn't your mother teach you anything? Julian: Eh? Dave: In the Esky there should be some. Julian: (As he gets the sauce) So what's on the agenda today? 49


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Dave: What agenda? Mike what's on the agenda? Mike: Well there's breakfast. Then it's up to you. Julian: I have the quiz for later on. Mike: I dunno. No offence Julian but I might give it a miss. Julian: Ah come on, I did the role-play. Dave: Role-play? Is that what that was. I thought it was the world heavy weight title bout. Julian: Come on fair is fair. It'll be fun. Dave: All right we'll do ya quiz. Later. Mike: Look I dunnoDave: (Firmly to Mike) We’ll do the quiz later. Mike: Yeah all right, (mimicking Dave) “we’ll do the quiz later”. Julian: Cool! By now the guys are sitting down and having their breakfast. Mike: (With a mouthful of food). Dave, you’ll be interested in this. At school I’m working with the kids on Humankind's greatest issues. Dave: The biggest issues facing mankind? Mike: Yeah. Energy, water and food. The biggest challenges we face. But you see, we try to solve these problems on a national level when we should be starting on a local level. In fact each household should be addressing these issues. Then there would be no need to find national solutions. Dave: (Rolling his eyes) Yeah, you’re right, I’m fascinated. Julian: So what do we do? Mike: It is simple really. We look at each area and deal with the obvious problems, fix the easy things first. Julian: So what do we do? 50


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Mike: You Julian, are the very reason things don’t change. Each of the kids has to think critically about their situation, and then take action. Dave: So what do we do? Julian: Yeah. Mike: (Shaking his head and gesturing towards the door) How do you two survive out there? You have land right? Julian: Yeah a little around the house. Dave would have almost a quarter acre, don’t you Dave? Dave grunts agreement. Mike: So next time you put a plant in your yard make sure it is a food producer. And why mow lawns when you could be growing food there? Crazy. Water. Hundreds of gallons run off your roofs every year. That should be running into tanks. Energy. Dave you live within 15 minutes bike ride from your work, and yet you run a car there every day. Julian: And back. Mike: Exactly. And (To Julian) you work even closer so you could walk or bike. Julian: What about winter? Mike: This is an international crisis Julian. You can’t let a bit of cold and wet get in the way. Dave: Given that you live in an apartment on the third floor, with no land, no roof, and teach right across the other side of town. What are you doing about this international crisis?? Mike: (With a grin) Well after a critical examination of my situation; I have no alternative but to shop at the supermarket, drive to work and rely on the towns water supply. 51


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Dave: Brilliant. Mike: But you’re missing the point. The point is, that I have taken a critical examination of my situation, and have no choice. You both, on the other hand, do. And shame on you both for not! Dave: Get ya quiz out Julian, before the professor here gets started again. Julian: You know, I read somewhere that cows produce tons of methane ever year and it pollutes the environment. If we could harness that “energy” then we’d be killing two birds with one stone. Dave: Julian don’t you start. Mike: No Dave, he’s right. That’s the sort of thinking we need. “Climate Change” and all that. Dave: All right then Julian. How are you going to get the gas from the cow and into your car? Julian: I’m glad you asked that Dave. Dave groans. Julian: strap a saddle onto a cow, then strap a barrel onto the saddle, and then run a hose from the barrel to the source of the gas. Mike: Its arse. Dave groans again. Dave: The only problem with the plan is that gas is not the only thing that comes out of a cow’s rear end. Julian: Yeah good point. How about if we wait until milking and then hook the cow up to a gas extractor while it is being milked. Dave: That doesn’t solve the problem. If it wants to go it’ll still go. Julian: (Stumped) Yeah. Mike: No, what you do is insert a plastic bag into the cow. A cow 52


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has four stomachs. You could probably use one of those. Filter the gas into the bag internally and put a release valve on the outside of the cow somewhere ready for releasing later. Julian: Just like air conditioner units! Mike: (Unsure of the link) Yeah. Julian: (To Dave) That sounds like it would work. Dave: Julian don’t you have a quiz for us somewhere? Julian: Yeah. Dave: Well, get it out mate. Julian: OK (finding his notes and handing out paper and pens)... here we go. Mike: Wait, wait, wait. I don’t want you guys to get a head start on me. Dave: Now the point of this again is? Julian: Creating a relationship profile. Mike: We’ll I’m gonna win. Julian: You’re missing the point. Dave: Just get on with it. Julian: OK, here we go… One. Would you ever wear his and hers matching outfits? A) Yes, that’s romantic. B) Would consider it. (C) No that’s sick. Julian: Yeah that’s so romantic “A” Dave: Sick “C” Mike: "D" Yeah if it was a hot pants… Or a grass skirt. There is something magical about grass skirts huh? Julian: That’s not an option. You have to stick to the answers on the sheet. Dave: How about we just write them down… I don’t want to hear 53


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what you guys are into OK? Julian: Fair enough. Mike: Whatever. (Writing) I’ll take an (A) on that one then… Having just said that they are not going to talk about their answers they proceed it comment on them. The pace is quick and much of the comments are the characters talking to themselves as opposed to the others. Julian: Two. A picture of life without your sweetheart looks like… (A) A bird with a broken wing (B) A cow grazing in a field (C) A V8 Commodore on the open road Dave: (Thinks) “Cow grazing in a field?” What is that? Mike: V8 Baby Julian: Definitely the bird. Three. Being in my company is “what” for my sweetheart? (A) Like being in heaven itself Mike: That’s me! (B) Where she feels at home (C) No big deal Julian: Four. Rate yourself in the romance department. (A) Kitten (B) Bear (C) Tiger Dave: What sort of bear, Teddy or Grizzly? (Julian looks up frustrated) Just kidding. Mike: Toohees Beer! (or whatever beer is popular in your location). (Ticks box) Julian: Meeooowww. (Ticks box) Five. When you see people slow 54


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dance without music on TV do you think… (A)How romantic. (B) I could do it better. (C) What’s with that? Julian: A Mike: B Dave: C Julian: Six. What kind of animal best describes your sweetheart? (A)Kitten (B) Bear (C) Tiger Dave: Grrrrrr! Mike: Grrrrrr! Julian: Grrrrrr! (The others look at him; he smiles sheepishly) Seven. Are you the most important thing in your sweetheart’s life? (A) No question (B) Not likely (C) No way Dave: I guess... hmmmm. Mike: Oh yeah baby. Julian: I wish. (Mutters to self) Why did I put that in there? (To others) Now add up your scores. A is worth 1 point, B is worth 2 and C is worth 3. The guys count quickly… Julian: Mike? Mike: (Immediately) 14 Julian: Dave? Dave: (Adding up on fingers, then toes and finally looking at his 55


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belt) 21! Nah just kidding, 17. Julian: And I have 9 Mike: So who won? Julian: You don’t win; it’s a romance test, a relationship profile, not a footy match. Dave: Well I got the most points. Julian: It’s not footy! Dave: Still, if there is a winner it has to be me (punches Mike on the arm and smiles at him). Mike: Sorry pal, there are no winners. Of course if there were winners then I would have got a higher score than you… and won. Julian: There are no winners! You get a relationship profile from this, calculated from your score. Mike: So what’s mine? Julian: 14? 10 to 15 is… well, you can read it I put them on cards. Here is yours (hands out cards to the other two and takes one for himself). Mike: Oh yeah I like this. You got me pinned right. Dave: What's it say? Mike: "You're most at home in a cave. The Bat Cave that is. Your romance profile shows that beneath your veneer of mystery and control lies a passionate heart with a powerful appetite for love. Stay away from the Lois Lanes of this world whose sole purpose is the discovery of the inner self you so passionately guard. Best match: Cat Woman". (To Julian) I like it. Dave: You got all that from seven questions? Julian: Well it's not an exact science but... Mike: No mate you’ve done very well. 56


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Dave: What's yours? Julian: (Dismissively) I'm Superman. Mike: (Mocking being impressed) Oooohhh! Dave: No, no, come on now and read it out. Julian: It's a bit embarrassing... all right then. "You live your life racing high in the stratosphere of romance. Your romantic profile shows that you are a sensitive lover whose power draining Kryptonite is a relationship where feelings are left unexpressed. Guard your heart from Cat Woman. Best match Wonder Woman." Mike: Wonder Woman? Way to go. Dave: (Looking at his card) You got all this from reading those magazines? Julian: Well I interpreted the results into the super hero theme. Bit more manly. Mike: Works for Batman here. Dave: Right. Mike: So what's yours? There is a pause. Dave: Incredible Hulk. Mike bursts into laughing. Mike: Let me see that. (He takes the card from Dave). On a highway of self-discovery you’ll be found wandering. Your profile shows that you are a confused soul in the world of romance. You are blind to your weaknesses and your pent up frustration your biggest hindrance to the release of your true romantic self. Best match Tinker Bell. Dave: Tinker Bell? She's not a super hero! Julian: Yeah I know, but technically she does have powers 57


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though, and she could stay out of the way of Hulks temper tantrums. Dave: What temper tantrums? Julian: Hulks ones, you know. Dave: Eh? Mike: You know how Hulk goes mad, and rips his gear off with his bulging muscles, when he gets angry. Dave: Yeah, but I don't do that. I mean look at me. Mike: Well, you might not be much to look at now, but we've all seen you get angry. (To Julian) You've hit it on the head there mate. I think that test has pretty much got us all pegged. Julian: Thanks. The magazines helped. I just reinterpreted the questions really. Mike: Lucky I bought them then. Julian: Yeah. Dave: Wait a minute. You get to be the strongest man on the planet, faster than speeding bullets and all that. And you get the bat cave with all the gizmo’s, and I get to rip my gears off when I get angry? Julian: It’s just a scale of romance, that's all. The super heroes are just putting a face on the scale. Mike: Hulk or Batman or Superman isn’t important Dave. You just came last, that's all. Julian: It's not like that. Mike: Every scale has a top and bottom. That's what makes it a scale. You were at the bottom end Davey.... sorry "Hulk". Julian: (Trying to protest) No, it's not like thatDave: So I'm at the bottom of the scale. 58


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Mike: Afraid so. Dave: Came last? Julian: Look there is no winnerDave: (Cutting Julian off) Because I had 17, and you had 14, and he had 9. Mike: You got it Hulk. Dave: Well "holy statistical scales" Batman, that means you didn't win either. Mike: (Uncomfortable with the idea that he hasn’t won) Well, like he said there are no winners. Dave: Oh, but its a scale. It has a top and a bottom. And Julian here, sorry Superman is at the top. Above me... and above you. He has, in actual fact, beaten us both. (Raising his glass to Julian in a toast) Well-done Casanova. Julian: Thanks. But like I said there are no winners. It's not really a scale Mike is really starting to feel the pain of not winning… and to make it worse, loosing to Julian. Mike: Wait a minute there Casanova, if you are such a love genius, the freakin’ Einstein of Romance, why are you womanless? Why are you living in your little dark room all alone? Julian: No it’s not like that. Mike: How can you possibly win this? Huh? Dave: (Enjoying seeing the tables turned on Mike) But no one wins mate, we’ve been over this. Mike: No. I am not having this little creep strutting around, crowing about how great he is with the ladies when – Julian: No one wins! 59


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Mike: (Approaching Julian and getting nasty). You are all alone in your dark pathetic room. You know Julian, sometimes when I think about you , I feel a little sick! Dave: Settle down mate. Mike: (Backing Julian into a corner) There’s no one in there Lover Boy. Do you know why there is no one in your dark room with you, Julian? Why there is no woman there? Do you? Dave: Don’t make meMike: Because all the women are out here with me! Julian: Well if you're talking about that Rachel MacDonald you're welcome to her! Mike: Shut up! Dave: (Laughing) Come on Mike leave him alone. Julian: At least I don’t have to live with that! Mike: I’m warning you! Julian: If things don’t look that hot with Meagan, maybe you should give Rachel a call! Mike: You little creep. (He raises his fist at Julian) Dave: (Grabbing Mikes fist and pushing him back onto a chair and pinning him down). Now you’re just not behaving very nicely Mike. We’re not fighting in the playground any more, mate. Mike: Get off me (he struggles wildly to get up but Dave has him pinned) Dave: Not until you calm down. Mike: I said, get off me! (He throws a punch at Dave, it doesn’t land properly but the rules have now changed). Dave: Now that is bad behaviour Mike. Mike: Go to hell! 60


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Dave: Oh that is back to “bad behaviour in the school-yard”. Mike: (Struggling) Get off me. Dave: Don't make me angry, Mike. No one likes the Hulk when he's angry. The test said. Mike: Shut up about that stupid test! Dave: What, you don't like it now? Tell me, where’s your dark room? Huh? What's in that dark and dirty cave of yours? Mike: Get off. Dave: No, come on now, fair is fair. Julian took ya into his, how about you return the favour? Mike: No way. There is no way I’m taking you in there. Dave: So there is one huh? Come on, spill the beans. Mike: Get off me! Dave: But that’s the rules Mikey, sorry "Batman". He tells, you tell. No? (To Julian) Grab that rope (referring to hangman’s noose used in Act One) over there and tie him down. Mike: You’re not going to tie me up… Are ya? Dave: Put it around him. (Julian is a little confused and unsure of all this, but he does as told. He loosens the noose and loops it over mike and the back of the chair). Dave: Tie now. Tight. Julian: Are you sure we want to be doing this? Dave: You’re the one he knocked out. What do you want? Julian: Right! (He ties the rope as Mike protests loudly). Now what? 61


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Dave: Now we need an incentive to get him to talk. Grab that metal bowl thing over there (he points to a dusty old metal colander used previously, Julian grabs it). Julian: This? Dave: Stick it on his head. Julian: Eh? (Dave gestures for him to do it, he does). Dave: (Lifting up an old tarpaulin and taking out a car battery and jumper leads) Now let's get to the bottom of this. (He attaches jumper leads to car battery and threatens to connect them to the colander on Mikes head). (IMPORTANT NOTE: Obviously the safest option here is not a live battery. Theatres have regulations against sparks and flames on stage due to significant fire risk, so sparking live jumper leads is not advised ). Mike: What the?! Julian: It’s a lie detector Mike. Mike: It’s a freakin’ brain fryer. You put that down. Dave: Now what do you have to say to Julian? Mike: Huh? (Dave opens and closes the jumper leads clamps). I’ll yell bloody murder if you come near me with those! (Dave reaches out with the leads and Mike yells at the top of his lungs) Get away from me! Help! Help! Police! Help!! Etc. Dave: (Smiling) The police won’t help you Mikey, no one will hear you out here. There is yelling and screaming from Mike. Mike: All right! My dark room! Julian: Take us into the cave Batman. Mike: Meagan's broken off the engagement. 62


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Dave: What’s the big deal. It wasn’t working out. You said that yourself. Julian: Yeah, so? You've broken off with the other three. Mike: Yeah, but that was me. I broke off. But this... Meagan . Dave: Why did she do it? Mike: I dunno. Dave: (Threatening with jumper cables). Mikey? Mike: She reckons I have a problem with commitment. Dave: Surely not. Julian: Four engagements and not a single wedding. Come on. Why would she think that? Mike: Shut up. What would you know? Dave: So what are you going to do? Mike: We're going to counselling. Julian: You're going to counselling? Ha! Oh that is great. Mike: Are you satisfied? Dave: Julian? Julian: (Nods) Yeah. You know, somehow your darkroom makes me feel a little better about my own. Mike: Well, I am just so glad to be of help to you, Julian. Dave: Isn’t this nice. Julian: It works for me. (Dave and Julian laugh) Dave: Untie the suspect, he's told us all he knows. Now, you are going to behave yourself aren't ya? I mean, Hulk can go away now can't he? Mike: Yeah, yeah just get these bloody ropes off me. Dave: Tut tut. 63


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Mike: Please. Dave: Get him out of there Julian. Julian unties Mike. There is an uneasy silence. Julian: So anyone for a beer? Mike just glares at him. Black out. Scene Three Mike is sitting away from the others and is obviously unhappy. For the first time Julian is sitting on one of the chairs. Dave: (To Mike) All right. That’s enough moping. We’ve let the women get the better of us. What we need is a non-contact competition. Julian: That would be one where you don’t take a swing at either of us. Dave: Come on now Julian. Julian: Sorry. Dave: I’ve got $20 that says you two can’t come up with a worse job, than the one I’m thinking of. Mike: $20? Is that all? You don’t seem very confident. Dave: All right $50, but you’d better be sure you’re up to it. Julian: So all we have to do, is come up with a worse job than the one you’re thinking, and we get $50. Mike: (Sarcastically) Thanks for that interpretation of the rules Julian. They were hard to understand. Dave: Yup. But it has to be a real job not one you just make up. 64


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Mike: Easy. Julian: $50? Mike: Come on Julian, either you’re a believer in yourself or you’re not. What is it? Julian: All right. Mike: OK let me go first.... ummm, let’s see. Has to be real. I have always thought that somewhere there is a little man, who has to empty the portable-toilets after concerts... you know when they are overflowing and gross. After forty thousand fans have taken a dump. Julian: Wow, that is a good one. Dave: Yeah, that is good. But (shakes his head) sorry. Mike: No way; you have something worse than that? Dave: Oh yeah. Mike: Wow. Worse than that? I can’t believe thatJulian: (Julian quickly and loudly) Hair removal technician! For guys! You know for body-builders who can’t have a single strand of hair on their body. Mike and Dave: (Disgusted) Oooooh Julian: Imagine Italian, Greek and Middle Eastern guys. Mike: Ohhh yeah or a Scotsman! Dave: I think I’m gonna puke. Mike: You win. That is nasty. Waxing guys hairy backs and ohhhh I can’t go there. That is nasty. Dave: Yeah I can’t compete with that. Julian: Yeah that was the worst job I ever had. Stunned silence. Mike: You? 65


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Julian: Yeah it was summer job while I was at varsity. Four summers as a hair technician at Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, Hair Studio. Mike: How is that not your darkroom? Julian: Hadn’t really thought about it until now to be honest. What was yours Dave? Dave: Let's just change the subject. I agree with Mike; that really should have been your darkroom. Mike: (With a sinister grin to Dave) Speaking of “darkroom”…I've told. Julian's told. Just you left. What's Hulk hiding? Dave: Me? Julian: Yeah. Your turn. Dave: All right then... I'm taking Sheryl to Paris for the trip of a lifetime. Mike: We know that. Don't make me get the truth machine out. Dave: The trip of her lifetime. She's got cancer. Mike: Eh? Dave: Yeah. The big “C’. Mike: You’re joking. What Sheryl? (Dave nods) Mike: Wow. I had no idea. (Mike and Julian are lost for words... they pass a look to each other that’s says “you say something”. Neither knows what to say). Julian: How’s she doing? Mike: Yeah. Is she all right? Stupid question... sorry... how’s she coping with it? Dave: Surprising well. Mike: She looks fine. You’d never know it. 66


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Dave: Yeah, it doesn’t show. Yet. We have some time. We’re lucky really. At least that’s what the Doctor said. Others... well, others don’t get time. We can take a trip, do a few of the things she's always wanted to do. Julian: And Sheryl’s dealing OK with it? Dave: (Holding the portrait of Sheryl in a musical costume and looking at her). Yeah. She's gone all philosophical.” None of us are here forever, Dave” she said. “What were we expecting? Eternal life? We're weak. We're all weak,” she says. “It's not just me”. Julian: Wow. Mike: Well, that's great that she's come to terms with it. How are you doing? Dave: (Nodding) It shocked me that. It was harder hearing her say that she was OK about dying, than it was to hear her say that she was dying. You know. The acceptance of it. I thought about that. And what she said about being weak… thinking we’re gonna live forever. It’s true. We do. Mike: That's survival mate. We'd all go nuts if dwelt on that stuff. Dave: I dunno. It's like we’re all drunk. All boozed up by all our comforts and our health and… we’re staggering down a road. Feels like its three lanes each way and we’re the only ones on it. Walking, staggering, happy as a boy with a kite. But it’s a knife. Not a highway. We’re walking on a knife edge and our feet are all cut and bloody, but we can’t feel a thing coz we’re so tanked up with grog. And the only thing that can sober us up is the realisation that we’re weak; that we are old, that we are going to die and that we aren’t here forever. We're all weak. I thought it was all about being strong. You know, (Smiling and shaking his head) the 67


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Incredible Hulk. Life. Survival of the fittest. But it’s not. It’s not about survival at all. Because none of us do. Survive. It’s not until something sobers you up that you realise that. And you’re weak. Like Sheryl. Dying. “I know I’m weak Dave and knowing that, I feel stronger”. It's gets ya thinking hearing that stuff.. from the moment we are born we start dying. Mike: Well that's the most positive spin on life I've heard for a long time. Julian: Yeah our whole lives; every moment of our existence is a transition to our non-existence... Mike: Well, I'm all cheered up. I'm sorry to hear about Sheryl mate, really, but ya can't dwell on this stuff. Come on Dave... Dave: I know it's a bit morbid. It’s just made me think about how ridiculous it all is. Life. How can we just accept that and live like we're never gonna run out of “tomorrows”. Julian: Eternal life. Mike: And that’s why you’re going to Paris. Julian: Trip of a lifetime. Dave: Yeah. (There is a thoughtful silence) So who's up for... (“Another beer”). Sirens are heard in the distance and become louder and louder. The following dialogue is spoken as this is happening. Julian: Sounds like the police. Mike: No I think that's a fire truck. Julian: Is it? Must be nearby. Dave: Nah, that's the police. Anyone for a beer? Mike: Yeah I'll have one. Julian: Yeah. 68


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Dave goes over to the toilet and gets a couple of beers. He peers out the windows. The cars stop, obviously outside the shed. Doors slam, Lights flash and feet are heard running just outside. Dave: Must be close, whatever it is they're just through the alley there. (He hands Mike his beer). A voice through a loud hailer calls out to them... Policewoman’s Voice: This is police officer Rachel McDonald... Dave and Mike: (Horrified) Rachel MacDonald! Policewoman’s Voice: …we have the building surrounded. We don't want to see anyone hurt. Release your captive and come out with your hands raised above your heads. The three men look wide eyed at each other trying to come to terms with what is happening. Julian: Captive? Dave and Mike: Rachel MacDonald. Julian: Someone’s called the Police. Mike: Well, they're obviously at the wrong place, aren't they. Idiots. Julian: (To Mike) You called for the police. Mike: Eh? Julian: When we were... (Picks up the colander as a reference to the “truth machine). Mike: No I never. Did I? Julian and Dave nod. Mike: This isn't my fault! You were going to fry my brain. Dave: We wouldn't have fried your brain. Mike: Well, I panicked. It's not my fault. Dave: It’s been a great weekend guys. (Shakes Mike's hand, then 69


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Julian's). Been a lot of fun. Mike: (Dazed) Yeah, we should do it again some time. Julian: Never mind doing it again. What are we going to do now? Dave: Well, I'm not waiting for them to come in. Here's to Understanding Women! (Raises his bottle in a toast). Mike and Julian: (Not convinced but toasting anyway) "Understanding Women". Dave: Come on. Sheryl’s gonna kill me, they'll be all over her flowers out there. Julian: (Very nervous) So what do we do? Dave: We go out. Just like they said. Don't do anything stupid. Julian: All right. After you. Dave: No mate, you go first. Best to go one at a time though, so they don't think we trying to rush them. Julian: Oh. Really? Dave: It's always best to be the first person out in a situation like this. Mike: You've been here before? Dave: Only once or twice. Julian and Mike: Eh?! Mike: Giving yourself up to the cops? Dave: Don't act like you haven't. (Mike and Julian stare at him.) Come on Julian off you go. It's always best to be the first person out in a situation like this. Mike: (Pushing his way to the door and coming face to face with Julian) Well in that case, I’m going first. (He pauses, there is a moment where Mike and Julian connect and in an act of reconciliation he gestures to the door). Go on mate, you go. 70


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Julian: You sure? Mike: The voice of experience Julian. Julian: Yeah, I guess. Dave: Off ya go. Julian: Thanks. For letting me go first. Mike: No worries. (Slaps him on the shoulder) Off ya go. Dave: We’ll be right behind ya. Julian: See ya out there. Mike: Yeah. Dave: OK. Julian leaves the room with his hands on his head. We see him walk in front of the window and then off stage. Julian: It's OK I'm coming out! Mike: (Watching Julian go) Can I go next? Dave: Sure. Mike: Should I go now? Dave: Could do... Mike: Eh? Dave: (Lifting trap door flap in the wall) Or you could (gestures to hole in the wall and giving a wicked smile) ...with me. Mike: We couldn’t leave him! Could we? Dave: Julian and Rachel MacDonald? The perfect ending. They both smile wickedly, take a final look at the door and then bolt out through the trap door. Julian: (From off stage) You can come out now guys. Guys? (Puts his head through the doorway and sees that they have left) Oh Guys! (Noticing the feather duster) Rachel MacDonald? (A sly grin forms as he picks up the duster) Way to go Romeo (Flicks the 71


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duster like a bull whip and struts toward the police light) Grrrrrrrrr! Black out, music up. End. Costume List Street clothes for all characters Doctors jacket Cancan dress Army fatigues Props List Feather duster Key Case of beer Bible wrapped in brown paper Heavy cardboard box of women’s weekly magazines Old theatrical costumes – doctor, army, cancan dancer Trunk Old show portrait of Sheryl Cold beer Empty beer case Bible and brown paper wrapper Pile of tool covered in dust Rope (With hangman’s noose). Paper Pencil 72


Š 2003, 2007 Devon Williamson Do not perform without permission. All rights reserved.

Bucket Old calendar on wall Stethoscope Jumper leads Clipboard 2 blankets Violin case Business card Bag of ice Frying pan Breakfast cooking utensils etc. 3 plates Radio Coffee cups, milk, sugar Esky with tomato sauce Metal bowl - colander $20 note

73

Understanding Women  

Mike, Dave and Julian spend a weekend in a garden shed determined to break an age-old mystery. Armed with a case of beer, a box of girlie ma...

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