Saturday, 5 August 2017

Meta-Metamorphosis (2010)

The first drama script I ever wrote, when I was about 15. I've just discovered it on my hard drive, much to my surprise, so here it is, ready to be unleashed on an unsuspecting and mostly indifferent world... (How weird a thing it is to read one's juvenilia back! I have, at least, retained my affection for all things Kafka, theatrical, and metafictional, so I am consistent if nothing else...) The script version of Kafa's "Metamorphosis" used here is that of Steven Berkoff and I cast myself in the part of the rather inhuman director, described here as "the git": something of an ego-trip with a sprinkling of self-deprecating humour. 

Also, when I was 15 apparently I didn't know how to spell "Gary", so at least I've learned something.

“Meta-Metamorphosis” 

SCENE ONE. 

A black stage; a curtain, chairs, etc. The rehearsal space/studio of a Theatre Company, although when the lights come up they are reddy-green, with shadowy edges...surreal, unnerving. It is as if the play is real, and the studio is a dream. 
There are three characters on stage: JAN, EFFY and GARRY, the three members of the acting company. The director, MARK, referred to by the others as MR MILLIGAN, is sitting with the audience.
 Jan is playing the part of GREGOR SAMSA, the main character in the play they are rehearsing, ‘Metamorphosis’. Effy is playing the part of GRETA SAMSA, Gregor’s sister, and Garry is playing the FATHER of the family. When playing the ‘Metamorphosis’ parts, it would be good if the actors do it with as much conviction as possible, almost as if this were the play, but the parts should be clearly distinct from their own roles.  
Cue creepy music. 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect... 
EFFY (GRETA SAMSA)His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before him. 
JAN (GREGOR SAMSA): What has happened to me? 
GARRY (MR SAMSA) and EFFY (GRETA): He thought. 
JAN (GREGOR): It was no dream. 
EFFY (GRETA): He looked at the alarm clock. 
JAN (GREGOR): Half past six. 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): ‘Gregor, Gregor?’ said a voice. 
JAN (GREGOR): That gentle voice... 
EFFY (GRETA)It was his mother’s... 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): his mother’s... 
EFFY (GRETA)his mother’s... 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): his mother’s... 
At this point they are interrupted by: 
MILLIGAN: Cut! 
The surreal lights turn to a pale white and the scene loses its dramatic quality. We just see three actors, standing relatively nondescriptly in a rehearsal studio. MILLIGAN strides on stage, saying as he does –  
MILLIGAN: No, no, you’re doing the opening all wrong. Don’t try and make it so creepy and melodramatic. We have no idea why the hell Gregor is turning into an insect, probably the author didn’t, and our audience certainly won’t. You need to bring out the – oh, what’s the word? – the fact that this is happening, even if it can’t possibly happen. Sweep your audience along with you. Make it more flowing. Understand, Garry? 
The actors don’t look best pleased; though they do shuffle their positions as if to start the scene over. Garry begins with the first line from ‘Metamorphosis again, without the lighting this time- 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): As Gregor Samsa awoke one MORNING from uneasy dreams, he found himself transf- 
 But he is interrupted once more: 
MILLIGANActually, stop there. Would you look at the time? We’ll have to call it a day everyone, but keep working on your roles...and Effy, you need your chin up a bit more. I can scarcely hear you and I have a front row seat. Right then: next rehearsal Monday, don’t forget; and whoever it was who left the French mustard in the fridge, can you take it home please. Nobody likes it. 
He sweeps out of the room, and the actors are left standing a little feebly. GARRY is the first to speak, not because he’s particularly confident or witty, but he’s a down-to-earth, likeable guy who wants to break a silence (which should go on just long enough to become awkward). 
GARRY(looking about and grabbing a chocolate box) Er...chocolate anyone? 
EFFY and JAN look at each other. Beat. Awkward. 
GARRY: OK, OK, I know he’s being out of order as well, but it’ll be fine...the play’s great. Jan, you’re great, you really are. 
JAN: Out of order? Is he really? 
GARRYNo, I don’t know, he’s just... 
EFFY: ...an arse? 
GARRY: (can’t really argue with that) Well, yeah, a bit. 
EFFY: (mimicking) Chin up a bit more, Effy. I can scarcely hear you and I have a front row seat. (sits down, exasperated, and glowers at Jan) It’s alright for you. You’ve got the main flipping part! 
JAN(defensive) Sorry. It’s – it’s not my fault. (Beat)Well, I’ll be off soon anyway. 
EFFY: (glancing at watch) Why, you getting the 12.14? 
JAN: No, I mean – I’m off.  
EFFY: Off? 
JAN: Yeah. 
GARRY: Like, you’re leaving the company? 
JAN: Hope to. Just got an offer from a theatre somewhere in Kent. Sounds better than working for Milligan. And you know how my dad’s ill and all that, well- 
GARRY: You can’t change companies, not now! I mean, we’re opening in a month! 
JAN: No, I’ll be leaving after we finish ‘Metamorphosis’. He’s not going to like it whenever I tell him. But- 
EFFY: You’re right. It’ll drive him absolutely up the wall. 
JAN: Well, I’d – I’d better go.  
EFFY: Bye. 
GARRY: Yeah, see you on Monday, Jan. 
(JAN picks up a bag and leaves) 
EFFY: The mustard...is yours, isn’t it? 
Blackout.  

SCENE TWO.  

MILLIGAN is pacing his study, anxiously thinking about something and rearranging papers. There’s a noise and movement behind him and he turns to see EFFY who is entering for rehearsal. 
EFFY: Morning, Mr Milligan. Can I put my bags here before we start? 
MILLIGAN: (dismissively) Yes, yes...er...fine. 
EFFY: I’ll just be outside getting a coffee if that’s OK. 
MILLIGAN: Yes, fine! 
GARRY and JAN have also entered from the door, and are unloading their bags behind Milligan. They are whispering about something – it doesn’t matter if the audience don’t hear what they say but if they do these are the lines: 
JAN: I need your help asking this! 
GARRY: Look, I just think you should do it on your own. 
JAN: Oh, come on, Garry... 
GARRY: (loudly) Just going out for a quick fag, Mr Milligan. Hope you don’t mind. 
And JAN is left all alone to tell Milligan the bad news. She approaches him apprehensively. He has by now settled at his desk but is still clearly in a state of intense irritation. 
JAN: Erm...Mr Milligan? 
He looks up and clearly tries to look friendly. It doesn’t work. 
MILLIGAN: Yes? 
JAN: I – just have something to tell you. 
MILLIGAN: Well, what is it? 
JAN lays a piece of paper on his desk. 
JAN: This is from the Newstage Theatre Company in Kent, offering me a place with them for their summer season. I thought I’d best let you know now... 
MILLIGAN: (exhaling deeply, reading paper) Well, you’ve got the job, so there’s nothing to be done. (pause, slightly irritated) I mean, it’s a shame to lose you, Jan, but that’s how these things are.  
JAN: I’m really sorry, Mr Milligan; I know you’re just finalising casting now and everything, but – but – I don’t know, they just look like the company for me. Hope that’s OK. 
MILLIGAN: I’m sure it will be fine. Now, would you like to call the others in? 
Jan goes off to find Effy and Garry for the rehearsal. Milligan swears quietly and bangs his hand against his desk in anger. The others come back in, talking amongst themselves and looking at Milligan as though they don’t want him to hear what they are saying. 
EFFY: How did he take it? 
GARRY: Yeah, what’d he say? 
JAN: Seemed alright, actually. Didn’t say much. 
EFFY: (annoyed that Jan wasn’t yelled at) Oh. Lucky you. If it had been me he’d have yelled like nothing else. 
GARRY(nervous) Anyway, best start, eh? Where we at, Mr Milligan? 
MILLIGAN: (glancing up from desk) We’ll go from page 90. Lights, please, Anna! 
They enact another part of Metamorphosis, with actions and all, lighting and music etc. In this scene JAN (GREGOR) needs to speak in an insect-like voice. It reads as follows: 
EFFY (GRETA): Come on Gregor, hold on to the key. 
JAN (GREGOR)With what, my jaw? I have no teeth. 
EFFY (GRETA): Encourage him, don’t threaten! 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): Gregor? Open the door! 
They burst through an imaginary door onto the stage where JAN (GREGOR) is lying on the block, covered in a blanket. 
EFFY (GRETA) and GARRY (MR SAMSA): Gregor! 
JAN (GREGOR) gets up off the block and begins swaying, an insect, gangly and horrifying. The others circle round the block, looking at him with horrified expressions; it is almost as if he is talking to reassure himself. 
JAN (GREGOR): I’ll put my clothes on at once – pack my samples and be off – I want to work, you see – travelling is a hard life but I couldn’t live without it – I’m in great difficulties but I’ll get out of them – travellers are not popular...people think they earn stacks of money and have a good time, you know that’s not true – it’s just...don’t go away with- 
But here JAN forgets her line and interrupts herself–  
JAN: No, that – that’s wrong isn’t it? 
MILLIGAN: The line was ‘it’s just because they’ve never been seen in the office’.  
She tries to do the line again but he interrupts –  
MILLIGAN: No, it’s OK, we’d best call it a break for now. Back at half past one, everybody. 
They file out. MILLIGAN is left working at his desk, scribbling furiously. 

SCENE THREE. 

Tables lying about rather haphazardly. The three actors, JAN, EFFY and GARRY, are sitting around eating lunch, on phones to their mates/family etc. The following three lines are all intercut with one another. 
EFFY: It’s not that I don’t like the line-up, it’s just – no, I know – well, yes – I suppose if it’s free – well, we’ll see what happens... 
GARRY: No, the shelf above the fridge...listen, you silly woman...yeah, that’s – no, a pink box....right, OK, open that and see if the spanner’s inside –  
JANWhat? Oh God, that sounds awful. Well, give dad my love. Yes, I’m thinking of him – yes, yes, every day I do – OK – tell him love from me –  
Sooner or later this dies away and they all revert to talking to one another. 
EFFY: Do you know if they’ve sold out yet? 
JAN: Oh God, if it’s like that – do you remember when we did The Real Inspector Hound and we sold out before they’d even started publishing the leaflets? 
EFFY: Yes! That was hilarious! (they chuckle) 
GARRY(breaking in) Well, my sister managed to get seats for Friday night just yesterday, so I don’t think they’re fully booked...but they’ve got some ads in the paper, haven’t they? 
EFFY: Yeah, I saw one the other day. 
GARRYAh, should be OK then.  
There is an interruption from behind them: a coughing sound. They turn and see MILLIGAN standing there. 
MILLIGAN: No, no, do go on. I was just wondering if I could borrow Jan for a moment, please. 
JAN: (looking up from lunch, surprised) Oh...OK. 
MILLIGAN: Thanks. 
They leave the others with their lunch, and move to another part of the stage. The split technique should use the same lighting, but in different parts of the space. 
MILLIGAN(flustered) Well, it’s about the play...er... 
JAN: It usually is, isn’t it? 
MILLIGAN: Yes...well...Jan, I don’t think you’re quite up for the job of playing Gregor. I’m sorry, but that’s how it is. 
This is a pivotal moment in the story of the play, so a big thing should be made of it. If there is any music at this point, it should be switched off, and the other characters (Effy and Garry) should definitely freeze. Jan’s shock needs to sell how important it is. 
JAN: You...But...really? 
Milligan nods. The git. 
MILLIGAN: But the good news is you can play Greta, who is...er... (consulting paper) Gregor’s sister. You’re definitely still in the play, so don’t worry about that. 
JAN: Greta? Isn’t...That’s Effy’s part, isn’t it? 
MILLIGAN: Well, yes. Erm...it was. She’ll...she’s Gregor now. 
There is another stunned silence, and Jan can’t quite find the words to say anything.  
MILLIGAN: It should still be fine... Glad you’re taking it so well.  
He gives her a cheery smile, full of gittiness, and leaves. Spotlight on JAN for a moment. Perhaps a slight sob. Fade to blackout, the others still frozen, unaware. 

SCENE FOUR. 

GARRY, sitting, reading through his lines, on his own. Beat. Pause. Normal studio lighting, white lights – he’s in the rehearsal space. EFFY walks in and glances round. 
EFFY: Seen Jan? 
GARRY: (looking up) Erm...no. 
EFFY: Garry! Talk to me properly! 
GARRY: (putting down book) Sorry. No, I haven’t seen her since Tuesday’s rehearsal. Shall I ring her? 
EFFY: (sighing) No, don’t bother. 
GARRY: OK. 
Silence. MILLIGAN sweeps in with a bustle and a sheaf of papers. 
MILLIGAN: Right, hello everyone, good to see you, etcetera... 
He puts it down and claps his hands. 
MILLIGAN: Let’s get this started then! 
EFFY: Wait – where – where’s Jan? We can’t start without Jan! 
MILLIGAN: Yes we can. We’ll go from page 105. 
GARRY: (glances at book) Gregor’s in that scene. 
MILLIGANBut Jan isn’t. 
GARRY: She is! Gregor is in that scene! 
MILLIGAN: She’s not playing Gregor anymore. 
Shock on EFFY and GARRY’s faces. 
EFFY: Why? 
MILLIGAN: Just...certain aspects of the play weren’t coming out and I thought we needed a re-distribution of roles, to keep things fresh. She didn’t suit the part as well as I thought she did. 
EFFYWho’s going to play Gregor then? 
MILLIGAN: Effy, it’d be wonderful if you could. 
A big decision – it would be a bit harsh to her friend – but then she stops, thinks, and ambition takes hold of her...a few seconds for this to sink in. 
EFFY: Yeah, OK. I’ll do it. 
GARRY: So Jan’s going to be Greta, then? 
MILLIGAN: That’s right. It’s fine. I’ve got it all worked out. It’ll be fine. 
EFFY: But- 
MILLIGAN: Can we start please? I’ll read Greta’s part until Jan arrives. 
They shuffle to their positions, EFFY as GREGOR and GARRY as MR/MRS SAMSA. Effy doesn’t quite feel right nicking her friend’s part, so she is a little on edge. 
EFFY: Right. Um. Where are we going from? 
GARRY: 105. 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): All right, up we get. 
MILLIGAN (GRETA)I can see my face clearly. 
At this point the main characters, GRETA and MR/MRS SAMSA, are combing themselves, ready to go out for the night. Dress, cosmetics, make-up, and hair, that sort of thing. 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): They certainly give you a smart uniform. I suppose the lowly office of bank messenger entitles you to look like a general! 
MILLIGAN (GRETA): There we are – all ready... 
Garry interrupts it with –  
GARRY: I’m sorry, Mr Milligan, it doesn’t feel right doing it without Jan. Will she still be coming to rehearsals? 
MILLIGAN: Of course she is. I’ve told you, it’s fine. 
GARRY: I’m going to go ring her, if that’s OK. 
MILLIGAN(sharply) No it isn’t! Garry, you’re in this scene! 
Garry says nothing, and starts to leave. Milligan stretches out an arm to stop him. They freeze.  

SCENE FIVE. 

JAN is walking home, just across the stage, occasionally glancing at her phone, checking for messages. The lighting should be relatively normal (not white, so it looks different to the studio rehearsal space). 
Suddenly she is disturbed by a voice from behind her. We hear GARRY. 
GARRY: As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect... 
She spins round, horrified. There’s nothing there. But then- 
GARRY: As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect... 
And now the lighting is becoming green and red and blue, it’s flickering and Jan is terrified. GARRY appears behind her, walking slowly, face intense. Now she hears –  
EFFY: If it’d been me he’d have yelled like nothing else. 
And 
GARRY: As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect... 
All together now: 
GARRY: As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect... 
EFFY: If it’d been me he’d have yelled like nothing else. 
GARRY: As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect... 
Etcetera. This builds and builds, both EFFY and GARRY on stage now, surrounding Jan, wheeling round her, very creepy, and MILLIGAN comes on, saying: 
MILLIGAN: I don’t think you’re quite up for the job of playing Gregor. I’m sorry, but that’s how it is. 
Jan is whimpering now, her bag on her knees, on the floor, she’s got her head in her hands. 
GARRY: As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect... 
EFFY: If it’d been me he’d have yelled like nothing else. 
MILLIGAN: I don’t think you’re quite up for the job of playing Gregor. I’m sorry, but that’s how it is. 
This goes on until- 
JAN: (screaming) Dad! 
The others freeze, in big stark positions (arms wide open, dramatic face etc.) Strong music/lighting keeps going for a moment, and then a very slow fade to blackout. 

SCENE SIX. 

JAN is lying on the floor in the same position as the earlier scene, quaking. The others have disappeared. Slowly, slowly, she uncurls. GARRY runs on behind her and stops still where he is, looking at her in confusion. Then, gently –  
GARRY: Jan? 
She hears him and turns suspiciously. Her face softens when she sees that it’s him. 
JAN: Hi – I – erm...I’m sorry, I –  
She picks herself up and dusts herself down, putting her bag back on her shoulder. 
JAN: I – I’m fine. 
GARRY(gently) Are you sure? 
JAN: Yes, I’ll – I’ll be alright. 
GARRY(gently) Your scream didn’t sound alright. 
She looks away; she knows that he knows. 
JAN: I – I had a dream – some kind of dream –  
GARRY: A dream? 
JAN: Yeah. 
GARRY: What happened to you, Jan? 
She looks at him, worried about whether to tell him or not. She starts to sob, and they hug slowly, carefully. Blackout. 

SCENE SEVEN. 

EFFY and MILLIGAN working together on the table, underlining bits of script and so on. 
EFFY: Right, so I say that bit there- 
MILLIGAN: Yes, but you have to bring out the loneliness in this paragraph. When you say that line, turn slightly – just ever so slightly, to look at your sister – and then deliver it.  
EFFY: Right. 
MILLIGAN: OK? That should be it for now. (starts packing away his things) You seem to be settling into your part quite well, Effy. 
EFFY: Yeah, it’s not too bad, you know. Oh – there was one quick thing actually, about the reserved tickets- 
MILLIGAN: Oh, yes, you owe £12.50. 
EFFY: (handing him paper) There you go. 
MILLIGAN: Cheers. See you Effy. Well done! 
EFFY leaves. MILLIGAN works at his desk. GARRY enters. 
GARRY: Erm...? 
MILLIGAN: Oh, Garry! You just caught me; I was about to go. What can I do for you? 
GARRY(hesitant) Erm...do you mind if I sit down? 
MILLIGAN: Yes, go ahead. 
GARRY(settling in chair) Well, it’s about Jan. To be totally honest, I don’t know what the hell’s going on. She was walking home yesterday, and I went down her street, because I was going to the supermarket that way anyway, and then... and then... 
MILLIGAN: Yes? 
GARRY: ...well, she – she’d been lying on the pavement for quite some time. Some kind of fit or...or something. I don’t know. But she’s not well. 
MILLIGAN: Hmph! It’s just lucky she’s not playing the main part then isn’t it? 
GARRY: (coldly) I was thinking about her health. 
MILLIGAN: Yes, I know. Yes, so am I. I mean, if she were Gregor in this play, then the stress of learning those long speeches wouldn’t do her any good at all. No, no, it was a wise decision to change those roles around. 
GARRY: Mr Milligan, I think we’re missing the point here. 
MILLIGAN: We are? Right, yes, yes, we are! So ... what’s the point, sorry? 
GARRY: Well, Jan. 
MILLIGAN: Jan! Of course! How is she? 
GARRY: Well, I saw her yesterday evening and she wasn’t good. 
MILLIGAN: Oh. Poor girl. 
GARRY: This...sounds a bit stupid, but do you think you had anything to do with it? 
MILLIGAN: (sharply) Me? What do you mean? 
GARRY: You know, giving her the smaller role and all that.  
MILLIGAN: I’ve already explained all that – an irreversible executive decision –  
GARRY- and right after she told you she was moving companies. 
MILLIGAN: Yes, well – that’s an entirely unrelated–  
GARRY: And you do know, don’t you, about all these problems she’d been havingHer dad’s dying, brother moving to Australiaand all that, building up. The doctor says she’s suffering from some kind of stress disorder thing- 
MILLIGAN: (weakly) Well, er...I was vaguely aware that- 
GARRY: I’m just saying that Jan needs every bit of encouragement she could get right now! She needs the people close to her, to do her favours and stuff! So I think- 
MILLIGAN(rising) Well, excuse me if I disagree with you, but you’re talking absolute rubbish! I’m her director, not her bloody husband! Now, I appreciate the poor woman is in a spot of bother, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to change round the entire play! It can’t be that stressful – she was going to play a great big bug-creature and now she’s his sister: get a grip, Garry! 
GARRYBut Mr Milligan, can’t you just- 
MILLIGAN: I’m not discussing this any further! Out of my office! 
GARRYWho’s the creature now? (leaves). 
MILLIGAN is left at his desk. Beat. He’s worried. Light fades. 

SCENE EIGHT. 

Dark lighting – not surreal or creepy, but different to the studio rehearsal space. It’s a hospital. JAN lies on the block in the middle, sleeping peacefully; some kind of white sheet over her. 
From the side, EFFY comes in, holding flowers, and sits down on a chair beside the bed. She reaches out and touches Jan’s shoulder. Jan rolls over- 
JAN: Erm...Mmpph...(waking-up noises) 
EFFY: Jan? 
JAN(vaguely staring upward) Oh...hi Effy. 
EFFY: Hi. 
Beat. Awkward. 
EFFY: Um. How you feeling? 
JAN: OK. 
Effy knows it’s not true, but she smiles, and Jan admits- 
JAN: Well, crap. 
Effy laughs quietly. 
EFFY: You’ll be OK. 
JAN: Yeah.  
Another silence. 
JAN: How’s the play? 
EFFY(avoiding her eyes) It’s – it’s not too bad. Learning Gregor’s a bit of a bu – Oh, sorry. 
JAN(weak smile) It’s OK. 
EFFY: (holding up bouquet) I – I brought you some flowers. 
JAN: Oh, they’re lovely. 
EFFY: I’ll – I’ll see you tomorrow, right? 
JAN: I don’t think I’ll be well enough for rehearsal. 
EFFY: No, I mean, I’ll visit tomorrow. 
JAN: Oh. That’ll be nice. 
EFFY: Bye. 
JAN: Bye. 
Effy leaves, slowly, looking back. Jan looks at the flowers, and the lights fade to black. 
SCENE NINE. 
A big rehearsal day, and MILLIGAN, EFFY and GARRY are gathered in the rehearsal space, with their books and bags.  
MILLIGANOK, everybody, we’re going to do the final part today. There’s a bit of a discussion between Greta and Mr Samsa; then Gregor has a little speech. So is Jan still unwell? 
EFFY: Yes, I saw her yesterday. She said she couldn’t come. 
MILLIGAN(sighs, it’s obviously an annoyance to him) Fine, I’ll read Greta again. 
EFFY: What page is it? 
MILLIGAN: 119. Lights! 
The scene begins, as below. MILLIGAN uses a book but EFFY and GARRY do not. MILLIGAN (GRETA) and GARRY (MR SAMSA) are speaking together, with EFFY (GREGOR) on “stage” but slightly out of sight of the other two. 
MILLIGAN (GRETA): We must get rid of it – I won’t utter my brother’s name in the presence of this creature – so all I say is get rid of it. We’ve tried to look after it and put up with it as far as is humanly possible – I don’t think anyone would reproach us in the slightest – 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): My child, I understand all this, but what can we do? 
Milligan (Greta) shrugs. 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): If only he could understand us. 
Milligan (Greta) shakes his head. 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): If he could understand us – then perhaps we could come to some agreement with him – but as it is there is not much we can do. 
MILLIGAN (GRETA): Yes, yes, you can, Father – you must get rid of the idea that he is Gregor. The fact that we’ve believed it all this time is the root of our trouble – of course it’s not Gregor – if it were he’d have gone away – he’d have known that human beings can’t live with such a creature – so, we wouldn’t have a brother, but we’d honour his memory. This creature persecutes us, drives our lodgers away and obviously wants the whole apartment to himself and wouldn’t care if we slept in the gutter – oh! Just look at him now! 
GARRY (MR SAMSA): Ssssh! He’s going to his room. 
Effy (Gregor) has now climbed on to the block. 
EFFY (GREGOR): I felt their eyes on me to the last, full of fears and misery. I sensed the growing agony of their burden and knew I had to disappear. My aching body seems glad to release the life that keeps it bound in agony – the will to keep it is weakening – and Gregor is flying out – I thought of my family only with tenderness and love. 
The illusion breaks, the scene is over. MILLIGAN scribbles down some notes. GARRY sulks throughout the following exchange, his anger boiling over. 
MILLIGAN: Excellent, excellent, very good. But Garry, I want more of a contradiction in you. You’re the father figure, full of authority, and yet you’re desperate – you haven’t got a clue what to do – so try and bring that out. But apart from that, it’s going very well. Good stuff. 
EFFY: Do you mind if I go now? I promised Jan I’d- 
MILLIGAN: As a matter of fact a friend of mine wants very much to meet you, Effy. A theatre director from Sussex. He’s coming up for dinner tonight. I do hope you won’t disappoint me. 
EFFY: Well – I – 
MILLIGAN: You can see Jan the day after: come on, this is a one-off occasion. Please. For me, Effy. 
EFFY(hesitant) Oh, alright then. 
MILLIGAN and EFFY walk off together and GARRY is left fuming. Fade to blackout. 
SCENE TEN. 
The block on which JAN is lying is brought forward so that it is closer to the audience. JAN remains unmoving on it; it still represents her hospital bed. The other characters, GARRY, EFFY and MILLIGAN, gather behind. They cannot see Jan; Jan cannot see them. 
GARRY: Look, Mr Milligan. I’m just an actor, OK? You’re the director. That’s fine. But when it comes to just one human to another, we should be a bit more worried about how Jan is! She hasn’t been turning up to rehearsals! Now, I went to see her but- 
MILLIGAN: Garry, Garry, Garry. I entirely understand- 
EFFY: Will both of you just shut up? OK, it’s stressing you out that Jan’s ill and that. Can we just leave it all, drop it, just for a moment, and do some rehearsing? 
MILLIGAN: An excellent idea. 
GARRY: No it isn’t. None of you care about if she’s alright or not! 
EFFY: Of course we care, Garry, but- 
GARRY(turning to go) I’m not doing any more scenes until I know that Jan is well enough to be in this play! 
MILLIGAN: Garry, come back! 
He runs forward, the light going up on JAN on her block. He stands beside her, defiant, caring, a protective giant over the block.  
GARRY: Please, Jan. Just – be OK. 
She doesn’t move. Fade to black on GARRY and JAN. 
SCENE ELEVEN. 
On one side, GARRY and JAN, sitting in the hospital bed in the same position as before. On the other, EFFY and MILLIGAN. Garry and Jan are frozen. 
EFFY: So which part, did you say? 
MILLIGAN: This one here – 
EFFY: So which part, did you say? 
MILLIGAN: This one here –  
They freeze. Cut to GARRY and JAN. 
GARRY: Jan, Jan, will you be OK now? 
JAN: The doctor said I’ll be out by next week. How’s the play? 
GARRY: Oh, I don’t know. 
JAN: What do you mean? 
GARRY: I’m – not doing it any more. 
They freeze. Cut to EFFY and MILLIGAN. 
EFFY: So which part, did you say? 
MILLIGAN: This one here- 
EFFY: So which part, did you say? 
MILLIGAN: This one here- 
They freeze. Cut to GARRY and JAN. 
JAN: You quit? Oh Garry, why? 
GARRY: Don’t worry about me. Melissa’s got a good job, we’ll be alright...I – couldn’t stand that man. He couldn’t see you needed to change, and he wasn’t going to budge, was he? 
JAN: Well, no, I suppose not.  
GARRY: (bitterly, glancing at them) Hasn’t stopped Effy though. 
JAN: She always was indecisive. 
GARRY: Yeah. Some people never change. 
JAN: So...what will you do now? 
GARRY: Don’t know. Glad to get out of there. I’ll go and do something fresh and brand new. Tour the world, or hike up mountains, or write a book or something. It’s all uphill from here. 
JAN: Good luck with everything, Garry. 
GARRY(as he leaves her) And to you.  
They hold this position, then freeze, and we cut to MILLIGAN and EFFY as they complete their routine one last time. 
EFFY: So which part, did you say? 
MILLIGAN: This one here- 
EFFY: So which part, did you say? 
MILLIGAN: This one here- 
Music swells. Lights fade to blackout 

END. 

No comments:

Post a Comment