Dream Ticket A One Act Play
Dream Ticket is based on a true story. 2
It is a crisp, bright spring day. Two women, strangers, are sitting side by side on a moving train, on a stretch of track somewhere between two English cities. They are in contemporary dress. Both carry large handbags. Woman A is American, she is sitting in the aisle seat. She is wearing large-framed spectacles, a bright lipstick and gold, midheeled, open sandals. Woman B is British, she is sitting in the window seat. She is more modest looking and wears flat, dark-coloured, closed-in, sensible shoes. She is looking out of the window, to her right. Woman A also peers out of the window to the right, she feigns an interest in this, whilst actually trying to catch the eye of Woman B - but with little success. Eventually she must speak out. A
(With enthusiasm) I just adore lambs. They are so adorable - aren't they? (The passenger looks at her briefly and smiles in polite agreement. Then she turns back and continues to look out of the window. She has hardly noticed the multitude of sheep and lambs sprinkled across the lush green fields.)
But they do smell so very bad - close-up. (Pause) Mmm... they do. (Pause) (Undeterred) Yes, they look adorable... but they do smell so.
(Resignedly) Do they really? They look so... clean... from here.
Oh yes, it's absolutely true. I know. I once helped to raise two lambs, back in New England. That's where I'm from. I fed one of them myself; hand reared it, with a bottle. But oh, the smell. (Pulls a face for emphasis) And you, where are you from? 3
Yorkshire. Originally. But I've lived here now... oh it must be 20 years... though I'm told that my accent still gives me away.
Well, I have to say, and don't get me wrong here, but you...well…you don't sound ‘Yorkshire’ to me... and I've spoken to many Yorkshire 'folk' in my line of work... no, you don't sound like them at all. (A sense of surprise almost shows in the other woman's face) I know, you see. I'm a linguist. That’s right. I hear everything, every little nuance, every trace of long forgotten tones or particular turns of the tongue, or even the precise purse of the lips. (With emphasis) But I'm so tired of the way the English language is being ruined. Noone can do that as well as the English. I just can't take the... (Searches for the words) regional ruination anymore. (Long Pause)
Well, that's why we're
relocating... partly. (The fellow passenger shifts a little uncomfortably in her seat. She looks again out of the window, her eyes drawn irresistibly down to the undulating and seemingly melting, autumn-hued tracks) A
We're relocating… to Egypt. (Pause) (Touches woman B on the forearm) I've always found the place absolutely fascinating.
Oh, Egypt... yes... lovely.
We're heading for Luxor. (Repeats the name with relish) Lux...or. Even the name has... (Turns fully, and stares at her fellow passenger hard) Have you heard of Luxor?
I believe Tutankhamun had a palace there... or was it a tomb?
Oh it's a fabulous place... and the sun always shines. (Pause) 4
That's another reason I want to leave. I've been here eleven years but I just can't take anymore of your weather. That's why I left New England - the cold, the wind, the snow. B
(Mildly irritated) Oh, I don't know, our summers’ seem to be getting a little better, well hotter anyway. For instance, last year, now that was quite good... wasn't it?
(Continues) It was my husband's work that first brought me here. He's a... well he has a gift... he's... I suppose you might call him a... business man, of sorts. I remember the very first time we met. It really was movie material pure Hollywood.
Isn't that a bit of a contradiction - Pure and Hollywood? (The quip falls on deaf ears.)
There was a large sign outside of the theatre that day, I remember. It said: ‘Don't Miss This Incredible Opportunity To Receive Your Healing’ so in I walked. Surprisingly, it was only half full, because it was a matinee I guess - a Wednesday or a Thursday afternoon maybe – but anyway the whole place was over-flowing with this truly electric atmosphere. Well, he picked ME out right away... right away... and he asked me to come on up to the stage. I hadn't expected that. But up I went... he asked me to sit down on a chair, centre stage, with the spot-light blazing on it, and then he invited me to close my eyes. (Closes her eyes) He stood behind me the whole time. This man, who I had never met before, laid his hands gently upon my head. (Opens her eyes) He must have known... he knew something... about me. 5
(Settles fully back in her seat now) Anyway, as he laid his hands on my head... I started to feel their soothing pressure, and suddenly (Closes her eyes) a strange sensation came over my entire body, I felt enveloped (Opens her eyes again) â€Ś yes enveloped, in a state of comfort and euphoria, the like of which I have never known before or since. ( Pa u se) I f e l t m y p a i n struggling... desperately clinging to me... reluctant to leave the familiar site of its existence. After some time, which seemed to me like an eternity, though I'm told it was only the merest of minutes - the pain was gone! Completely.
Forever. (Pause) It was truly extraordinary. The entire
audience were up on their feet, they were applauding... loudly... and everyone agreed it was a miracle. (Train jolts loudly, they appear unconcerned, both women lurch forwards and then backwards in their seats) B
(With genuine interest) That really isâ€Ś a... fascinating story. Fascinating. It's an area that I've always felt drawn to myself, I wouldn't say attracted to... but drawn to. Definitely. In fact, it brings to mind a fortune-teller that I once visited. I must tell you that she studied my palm with great insight. She warned me of good fortune appearing in the guise of a darkeyed man, and she knew exactly where I would find a lost ring.
uncovered the truth of my recurring dream, and she saw, somehow, the lure of the sea. She said (Pause) that I was strong. (Falters briefly) She spoke of the fight on the green, and she was aware of the visit to the PDSA with the sick pigeon. (Pause) That really threw me.
It was then that the paddle boat incident resurfaced... although it was soon eclipsed by her unveiling the terrifying, late night, UFO pursuit.
conviction) There was no way she could have known these things, the things she told me. I mean, really... (Pause) just imagine her knowing all about the medication - for the pigeon. Prescription only, administer two drops twice daily… now that was uncanny. (Pause) Madame Isabelle reads for the stars... lots of smiling photographs outside proved that. She... A
(Interrupts) "Lay hands on the sick and they shall recover." Mark: Chapter 16, Verse 18. (Pause) You know, he has honed his gift so finely, so precisely, that he can now perform 'Distance Healing' too, on the 'virtual stage', as he likes to call it. That has certainly transformed our lives, I can tell you. (Long Pause) Tell me; have you any connection with Ireland? I definitely heard a touch of the ‘lilting’ language in your last statement. I am right? (Pause) Am I?
Well yes, as a matter of fact, I believe I have connections with Ireland... on my father's side. You do have an amazing ear.
T h a n k y o u ( d e l i g h t ed l y ) I' m s o g l a d y ou t h i n k s o. . . it has taken years of practise.... (Announcement breaks in, to the effect of 'The buffet bar is now open and can be located towards the rear of the train.') We're building a new house in Luxor - did I mention that? We're moving on. It's time. You know... I really shouldn't tell you this... but I feel I can talk to you. (Whispers closely) You can buy land and build over there for practically nothing! I mean it... for nothing. (Regains composure) Did you know Tutankhamun himself actually lived in Luxor? 7
I'm going out there again on Monday to view four new prospects. I've just made all the arrangements. It is so cheap. (Pause) We have friends out there of course, they’re more like family really. And you... do you holiday abroad? B
(Rather hesitantly) Well... I… we usually… like to stay here... for the time being… at home… well, in England... I mean. (Laughs uneasily) It's more... convenient… yes it's really just for convenience. (Pause). Does it snow a lot... in New England?
(With Emphasis) Oh, you have no idea! There have been so many times when we’ve had to dig our way out of the drive. The winds cause extremely deep snowdrifts. ( Pause) Very deep. (Long Pause) I do wonder if I'll ever get to visit the Empire State Building now, of course. (Pause) I did go to the Twin Towers once. (They look directly at each other briefly, the train judders again, and they lurch back and forth in their seats once more). Well, I mean to say, it is a massive country and you can’t just get to these places in a day! (Pause) Did I mention, my vacation to Laramie Street ? I’m sure you've heard of it. It was right before they demolished the place... such a shame I felt. I so loved those movies. And cowboys have their own moral code you know. Live by it. ‘Never pass anyone on the trail without saying ‘Howdy’’, I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that. Actually, I bought a pair of fabulous saloon doors there... a souvenir. I look at them and just marvel at the stars who must have pushed their way through them. (She ponders on this a while) Although, I have to say I haven't found exactly the right spot for them yet. (Pause) Of course, speaking of Luxor… well it’s architecturally stunning – historically, I mean. 8
(Pause) We're quite lucky here - with snow. (She begins to look out of the window once more, her gaze drawn to the rippling nature of the intersecting track lines. Sounds of the train beginning to slow down as it advances on the station. Automated announcement to the effect of â€˜Remember to take all of your luggage and belongings with you. Any unattended packages will be removed without warning. Please report any suspicious packages to a member of staffâ€™.)
Well... you enjoy the rest of your journey now.
(Whilst still seated, she
prepares for her departure - straightens her clothes, opens up her bag on her knee and starts to rummage, pulls out a lipstick, reapplies a touch and then returns it to the bag before rising.) I'm just going to buy myself a new suitcase, one with wheels on - such a great invention those things - all ready for my next trip. (Sighs) It's a long haul. (As the train comes to an audible stop with a lengthy, restrained lurch, she glances down at woman B's shoes) I was just admiring your very sensible footwear. (Then she gestures to her own, gold, mid-heeled, open sandals). You forget just how cold it gets here. (She moves toward the exit and alights, followed a few moments later by woman B )
Dream Ticket Production Notes
Woman A – American Woman B – British
The Time Interior Centre Stage Lighting
Present Same Setting Throughout 2 Seat Train Seat Bright, cool, daylight, with occasional, subtle colour changes as befits a train journey in bright, watery sunshine.
Sound of train jolting loudly, page 6 Routine train announcements on pages, 7, 9 Sound of train judder, page 8 Sound of train slowing down, page 9 Sound of train stopping, page 9
2 Large Handbags 1 Pair of Spectacles 1 Lipstick 1 Pair Gold, Strappy Sandals 1 Pair Sensible Shoes 1 String of Pearls
ÂŠ Patricia Walsh 2011 11