And now for something completely different from me!
My writers’ group set a task to write a 10 minute play which we then had to perform in front of one another on Zoom – where else?!
I have written poetry, short stories, flash fiction, a book – and even TV and radio commercials – but I had never before written a play – unless you can count the panto I posted just before Christmas.
So here it is. Hope you like it. Let me know what you think.
IT IS SEPTEMBER 2019. EMMA AND ROSIE ARE OLD FRIENDS WHO MET ONE ANOTHER AT ART COLLEGE. ROSIE IS SINGLE. EMMA IS MARRIED TO JAKE. THEY WERE ALL STUDENTS TOGETHER AND HAVE REMAINED FRIENDS. EMMA AND ROSIE ARE HAVING SOME GIRL TIME. THEY ARE SITTING OPPOSITE ONE ANOTHER AT A TABLE IN A BAR ENJOYING A GLASS OF WINE IN THE EARLY EVENING. THEY ARE BOTH IN THEIR MID 30S, CASUALLY DRESSED, SLIM AND FAIR.
Rosie (SMILING AT EMMA): It’s great that you could find some time to get away from home for once. (THEY CLINK WINE GLASSES)
Emma (SMILING BACK AT HER FRIEND): The kids have after school activities and Jake’s busy with work. (SHE MAKES A FACE) He’s always busy with work nowadays.
Rosie: How do you mean?
Emma: You’ve no idea what it’s like Ros – my time is not my own! When Jake’s busy with work, more falls upon me. He never helps around the house and he’s barely ever there for the girls. They miss having their father around.
Rosie: But you’re so lucky Em …
Emma: I know I shouldn’t complain but I would really like to see more of him. And I’d like him to pull his weight more around the house too!
Rosie: (SYMPATHETICALLY) I expect he’s busy with his work.
Emma: Too busy if you ask me.
Rosie: And you do have the girls.
Emma: As if I need reminding! Kids are really time consuming. You have no idea. This is the first moment I have had just for me in ages and that’s only because the girls have a drama class tonight I can tell you I certainly wouldn’t mind enjoying the single life for a bit!
Rosie: (LAUGHING BUT MEANT SERIOUSLY) And I want what you have – kids, a partner, a home – you don’t realise how fortunate you are!
Emma: I know. But I would like to see more of Jake. (SHE LEANS FORWARD CONSPIRITORALLY) You know Rosie I sometimes wonder if he’s having an affair …
Rosie: (QUICKLY) That’s silly!
Emma: I know but he has changed towards me. He’s a lot snappier with me for one thing. Finding fault with this and that. Picking on me for no reason. And he’s started showering in the mornings before he goes to work and wearing after shave – he never used to do that!
Rosie: You’re imagining things Em. He’s just probably got a lot on his plate.
Emma: I hope you’re right. I would like to see more of him though. The girls need him. I need him – if you know what I mean. What about you? What have you been up to?
Rosie: Nothing much. The usual dating apps. You know what they say – you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince and I’ve had more than my fair share!
Emma: Sounds like fun to me.
Rosie: Believe me it’s not. They’re nothing like they say when you meet up with them. They’re either too old, too bald, too short – or all three! And if they’re not too old, too bald or too short, they’re married!
Emma: One day you’ll meet someone you really like.
Rosie: I expect so.
Emma: So what else have you been up since we last met?
Rosie: Well, I’m thinking about having a tattoo.
Emma: Really? That doesn’t sound like you!
Rosie: I’ve been thinking about it for some time. Maybe one like Jake’s?
Emma: How would you know Jake has a tattoo?
Rosie: You told me about it. Remember?
Emma: I never. He only had it done in the school holidays and I haven’t seen you since then. How do you know about Jake’s tattoo Ros? You can’t have seen it because … (REALISATION SUDDENLY DAWNS)
… oh my god. It’s you! You’re the one that’s been seeing Jake when he says he has to work late. You’re the one he’s been showering for. How could I have been so stupid? You cow. (REPEATS WITH MORE EMPHASIS)You cow!
Rosie (PLACATING) Hang on Emma. Give me a chance to explain!
Emma: There’s nothing to explain. How could you? You’re meant to be my best friend! “I want what you have” you said – looks like you got it! And you can have it! And you know what – here’s something you didn’t know. You’re not the first and you probably won’t be the last. But I’m not taking him back this time. You’re welcome to him. You can be the one to wash his smelly socks and his soiled underpants. I don’t suppose he picks his nose when he’s with you. Wait till he starts pushing you around. Wait until you’re lying in bed waiting for him to come home and when he does he smells of another woman. You wait!
Rosie: Emma …
Emma: Call yourself a friend! How could you? (REPEATED MORE VEHEMENTLY AND WITH A SOB IN HER VOICE) How could you?
EMMA PICKS UP HER GLASS OF WINE AND THROWS IT IN ROSIE’S FACE.
SHE GETS UP, ANGRILY PUSHES HER CHAIR AWAY FROM THE TABLE AND STORMS OUT OF THE BAR SLAMMING THE DOOR BEHIND HER. EMMA CLIMBS INTO HER CAR WHICH IS PARKED RIGHT OUTSIDE AND COLLAPSES SOBBING ON THE STEERING WHEEL. HER PHONE RINGS FLASHING UP THE NAME JAKE. SHE IGNORES IT AND REMAINS SOBBING IN THE CAR.
© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems