Saturday, 26 February 2011

West Coast Easy - Monologue for Performance

CYRUS is in his 40s, medium build and humble looking. He is looking slightly uncomfortable and stands looking straight on, with a slight twitch. When he speaks, we hear he has a deep southern USA accent.

                                I used to think there was no rain I couldn't handle.
                                Drizzle didn't bother me; sluicin' dredges washin' away
                                loose sediment on the sides of roads and drivin' women
                                and children inside was my kind of weather. I'd stand
                                stock still in it, hands wide apart welcome it down. I used
                                to fantasise about what other folk thought of me.
                                You seen that Cyrus? He's a brave man huh? Standin'
                                stock still in the centre of the street, rain whippin' his
                                strong features, not movin' a muscle. That Cyrus is a
                                man. I saw him the other day standin' alone looking like
                                the mighty prophet Moses. Usherin' down the rain.
                                Welcomin' the rain. Drinkin' it in like he was sunbathin'
                                in San Fran.
                                            (stops imagining)
                                Old San Fran seems like an awful long way away from
                                my town. And I ain't just talkin' geographically. I'm talkin'
                                of fortune. They call it the Golden State, California. The
                                San Francisco 49ers, named after the gold rush of 1849
                                no less. It sure seems like that gold rush never stopped.
                                All sort of loose, excitin' characters treadin' the streets in
                                San Fran, talkin' excitedly about how one day a tremor's
                                gonna come so big its gonna split the city in two. Well
                                they can dream about that day. That Armageddon. They
                                can dream the dreams that sustain their west-coast-easy
                                livin' lifestyle because I've seen it. I've seen the rains.
                                I've seen nature's rough sickle swingin' through my
                                town and I don't like it.
                                            (he grits his teeth)
                                I used to think there was no rain I couldn't handle. But
                                this was a rain so fierce it made me think I hadn't never
                                even been rained on before. And you knew. You knew
                                as soon as it started that it wasn't gonna stop. Folk, they
                                could feel it in the air. A new precipitation. Like no-one's
                                never seen in their lifetime round here. Like no-one's
                                never talked about, or heard about.
                                            (he breathes a deep breath)
                                One second we were lookin' at each other holding each
                                other, each man woman and child comin' to their own
                                realisation about what was about to occur and the next
                                second we were all gone. Gone from each other, gone
                                from our damn selves. When it hits you, you don't know
                                what to do.
                                If only I had a bucket, maybe I could rescue old John
                                Treasy from his shop.
                                            (he laughs)
                                Fool! Ain't no bucket big enough to tackle what came
                                that day! Ain't nothin' big enough to tackle those waters.
                                Waters in our familiar streets, washin' away our sins,
                                changin' everythin'! It felt like being punched in the
                                stomach by God himself. If that's not a blasphemy. Heck
                                if it is. I've served my punishment for all my sins and
                                all my children's sins on this here earth. I've nothing left
                                to pay.
                                            (he stops and wipes his nose)
                                I used to think there was no rain I couldn't handle. Now
                                I wouldn't mind if I was buried alive in death valley.
                                Happen it would have the effect of spinnin' a dizzy chick
                                the other way. Redress the balance. I've seen my share
                                of rain. I've seen mine.

He grits his teeth and breathes heavily. As the lights fade he starts to sob.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

New York

The city of New York
It never fails to raise the spirits
Every time I see it sprawled
Across my screen I long to visit

From one big city, London
To the next, across the pond
My eyes and ears assaulted
As I'm briskly moved along

It's such a hectic harmony
To which I do aspire
It stirs my soul with ambient
Invigorating fire 

The streets are lit with destitution
Buildings float on power
A wanton juxtaposition
For hour after hour

It forms a kind of beauty
On such unfamiliar lines
I'll never be a stockbroker
Nor tough street baller I 

I'll never belong in that city
A tourist's all I'd be
But somewhere in my heart
I feel there is a missing piece

Maybe were I born and raised
In Brooklyn or Manhattan
I wouldn't spend my precious days
On Google maps in Staten

Wishing I were there for real
The home of liberty
The port from which the outsiders
Can reach the brave and free 

Friday, 18 February 2011

Hip and Knee - Monologue for performance

MEHMET an elderly turkish man is sitting in a chair reading a newspaper. He drops the newspaper to the floor and laughs. He raises his hand to his head and rubs it in amused bewilderment.

                                    Amazing! Truly amazing!
                                                (he leans back in his chair and exhales)
                                    On Tuesday night I was watching the television. Well I
                                    say watching, I was simply flicking through the
                                    channels hoping to come across something that would
                                    excite me.
                                                (he suppresses some wind in his chest)
                                    And that's when I saw it. Incredible! I dropped the
                                    remote because I was trying to conjure up an exciting
                                    image by jabbing it as I changed the channel.
                                                (he demonstrates and laughs)
                                    Funny really, it never makes a difference but it amuses
                                    me I suppose.
                                                (he muses on this statement)
                                    So you see I didn't mean to see it but I'm very glad that I
                                    did. She was beautiful, just going about her business in
                                    the background while a man, a little younger than me
                                                (he knits his eyebrows)
                                    was giving a report about cuts; financial cuts, from a
                                    hospital! It wasn't exactly about physical cuts, that I could
                                                (he laughs, with little trace of amusement)
                                    But it was her I noticed, in her yellow blouse and navy
                                    blue skirt. She was out of focus, but then again everyone
                                    is to me!
MEHMET bellows out some laughter and starts coughing. He takes out a handkerchief to cover his mouth and wriggles in his chair to get more comfortable.
                                    Two seconds she is there for, maybe two and a half.
                                                (he struggles to his feet)
                                    She comes on screen like this.
                                                (he plods on the spot to demonstrate)
                                    And she passes a junction on her...
                                                (he closes his eyes to remember)
                                    On her right and then she stops! Very suddenly with the
                                    poise of an athlete and she twists her hips and pushes
                                    with her knees in the direction she was supposed to go.
                                                (he lowers himself back into his chair)
                                    All the time this man keeps talking, he isn't to know what
                                    has just happened behind him but it was a moment. A
                                    moment of real beauty.
                                                (he stops and nods)
                                    Because on the sign by the man who was delivering this
                                    sad report read the words 'Hip and Knee' with an arrow in
                                    the direction of my lady's junction.
                                                (he takes his handkerchief out and wipes his
                                                face, smiling)
                                    She wasn't to know.
                                    That's why it was beautiful. It was the poetry.

MEHMET picks up his paper and continues to read it as the lights fade.

Aaron's Spicy Chilean Quorn Surprise

For the romantic vegetarian or the greedy fool.

Serves 2

You will need:

1 x Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Bag Frozen Quorn Chicken Pieces
3 x Teaspoon Wagamama Spicy chilli men stir fry sauce
1 x Tablespoon Butter
2 x Clove Garlic
1 x glass Chilean Pinot Noir
Sprinkle of Chilli Powder
Sprinkle of dried Thyme

  1. Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan and add the half bag of Quorn chicken pieces
    Hob setting: Medium
  2. Once the Quorn pieces have browned add three teaspoons of the stir fry sauce and toss the Quorn pieces until you achieve an even coverage – Cook for 5 minutes
    Hob setting: Medium
  3. Add the garlic to the butter – use a garlic press – and add this mixture to the frying pan
    Hob setting: Medium
  4. After the butter has melted into the Quorn concoction add the wine in one big splash
    Hob setting: High
  5. Allow the mixture to bubble away and reduce until such a point that most of the liquid has evaporated
    Hob setting: Medium
  6. Sprinkle over the chilli powder and toss the mixture a few times to achieve even coverage. Allow this to cook for a further minute and add the thyme.
    Hob setting: Medium
  7. Once you are satisfied that all the ingredients have cooked and the flavours have nicely melded together remove the pan from the hob and spoon the contents onto slices of freshly buttered toast.
  8. Enjoy!

Note: The carnivore amongst you can also add chorizo for a meaty edge!

    Ants and Lovers - Monologue for performance

    MELANIE appears from stage right and tentatively makes her way towards centre stage. She smoothes down the fabric of her dress and stares at her feet.

                                        Carried away by an army of ants.
                                                    (she looks up)
                                        That's what the coroner's report said. No mention
                                        of what they did to him. Just that he was carried
                                        away. He wasn't seen again.
                                                    (she smiles and looks down)
                                        I'm not smiling at the obvious comedy within that
                                        statement. I'm smiling to fight the tears.
                                                    (she looks up)
                                        You don't fight fire with a burning torch, you use
                                        water. For grief; laughter, until that laughter turns
                                        to tears. He was mine was Eric. We were each
                                        others. Swept away by the romance of each
                                        other's eyes. The secrets we shared. The private
                                        obsession with Brideshead Revisited that we
                                        were playing out that day by picnicking in our
                                        whitest linen clothes, basking in the glorious, camp
                                        sunshine. Admiring each other's creases, the plait
                                        of my dress excited him. It was the finely handled
                                        linen against my smooth skin that inspired him to
                                        pick a strawberry from our basket and delicately
                                        rub it on my cheek.
                                                    (she touches her cheek)
                                        An excuse to lick of the residual juice.
                                                    (she smiles)
                                        Any passers by wouldn't have baulked at this.
                                        Wouldn't have batted an eyelid
                                                    (she stops)
                                        Oh but the thrill I felt; his soft lips on my warm
                                        cheek; sweat mixed with strawberry pulp - an
                                        animal vegetable passion. And then I decided to
                                        halt him in his throes, to take a walk alone over to
                                        an apple tree so I could still my beating heart and
                                        find the inner strength to return his all consuming
                                                    (she turns around and looks back)
                                        They call it the lovers break. It intensifies the
                                                    (she turns back around)
                                        I leant against the old apple tree, rejoicing in the
                                        shade; savouring my solitude, knowing that the
                                        ache would be swiftly quenched by his eager hunt.
                                        A game of kiss chase between two. Though I
                                        wasn't running. I was waiting. And then he was
                                        gone. Nowhere to be seen. For ten seconds it
                                        gave me an electric thrill. To think he would allow
                                        my lonliness to be drawn out for even longer, I
                                        anticipated his rough, unannounced arrival. But it
                                        never came. Carried away by ants they said.
                                                    (she wipes away a tear)
                                        They're stronger than you think.

    Melanie lowers her head, turns around slowly and exits stage left.