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Just the Desserts (2010)

Cast:
Roger King / Claudius Gareth Brierley
Silvia King / Gertrude Jude Barrington
Maurice King / Hamlet Simon Brandon
Tatty Polandottir / Ophelia Samantha Pain

THE PLAY REFERENCES THE ‘HAMLET’ PLAY-WITHIN-A-PLAY BUT IT IS NOT CLEAR, IN THIS VERSION, WHICH IS THE OUTER AND WHICH IS THE INNER. THERE MAY ALSO BE PLAYS WITHIN THE PLAYS-WITHIN-A-PLAY.

ROGER Mother.
SILVIA Father.
MAURICE Mother.
TATTY Maurice.
MAURICE Uncle.
SILVIA Tatty.
TATTY What?

LONG PAUSE

ROGER Fuck.
SILVIA Why?
ROGER What?
SILVIA Why?
ROGER Why what?
SILVIA Why fuck?
ROGER Why fuck?
SILVIA Yeah.
ROGER General shit, I suppose.
TATTY What’s up, Mister King?
ROGER (GUARDEDLY) Never felt better.
MAURICE (DARKLY) That’s nice.
SILVIA You seem better, Tatty. Taking an interest in others.
TATTY Actually, Silvia, I’m fucked.
SILVIA Oh dear.
TATTY Part of the fucked thing is moments of okay.
MAURICE Such as now.
TATTY You’re very kind.
MAURICE Not as a matter of course.
TATTY You’re very kind to suggest that now is a moment of okay.
MAURICE Good. Fine. Am I supposed to be able to tell?
ROGER You did kill her Dad.
MAURICE Accident, Roger!
ROGER I’m just saying.
SILVIA She’s obviously still upset.
PAUSE
(TO MAURICE) Call him Uncle.
MAURICE In order to please who?
ROGER Whom.

LONG PAUSE

MAURICE I thought it was somebody else.
ROGER Who?
PAUSE
MAURICE Riffraff. You know. Opportunistic bypasser. Wandering.
ROGER All very sad. No wonder I said fuck.
SILVIA Yes. No. I did wonder. As you saw.

SHIFT 1
MAURICE (TO TATTY) Okay?
TATTY Only in the sense that I live and breath. In the sense that my arms are coming out of my shoulders, my legs are coming out of my pelvis.
MAURICE I’m really very sorry.
TATTY Of course you’re sorry. You feel bad. You feel terrible. You cannot change what you did. You will live with it for the rest of your life.
MAURICE I didn’t know what I was doing.
TATTY I’m sure you’re right. You didn’t know. Yes.
MAURICE I was taken up with thoughts about my father. I was taken up.
TATTY Yes. You had things on your mind. You were all over the place. I don’t care.
MAURICE What?
TATTY I don’t care if you suffer. I don’t care how much you suffer. It is possible, for example, that you are considering taking your life. Take it. I will not stop you. I will not advise you. To me you are dead now. I am dead to you.
MAURICE I think about what it is for you.
TATTY There is no evidence of this. You walk right by. You dismiss me. I am a nuisance. It’s clear. You think about your father. I think about mine. We’re on our own.
MAURICE If only I could undo what I have done.
TATTY Yes.

SHIFT 2
ROGER Would anyone like some more pudding?
MAURICE I haven’t had the first lot.
SILVIA You should rephrase, Roger.
ROGER There is pudding. I’m sure of it .
MAURICE What about firsts?
TATTY Just desserts, Maurice.
ROGER I thought there were firsts. I thought we had moved to afters.
SILVIA There have been no meals through here for some time.
ROGER What was I thinking?
MAURICE You’d like something sweet.
TATTY I would like something filling.
SILVIA I’m afraid this isn’t a restaurant.
MAURICE Are you saying that where you would expect service there is no service?
ROGER I’m sure your mother has no quibble with the way of the world.
MAURICE Mother, are you getting all that you need?
ROGER Your mother has no need for need.
TATTY Are you replete, Mrs King?
SILVIA To the extent that I do not wish to replete myself, yes.
ROGER That’s nice.

SHIFT 3
ROGER How are you?
SILVIA Very well, thank you.
ROGER Oh.
SILVIA I have a slight problem with my ways of seeing. When I get up in the mornings I find that I am physically blind.
ROGER This is not figurative…?
SILVIA It is very much the optical system shutting down as if the eyes were shut.
ROGER Perhaps…so close to having been asleep that night…then bounding from our bed…then…
SILVIA No.
ROGER Not that.
SILVIA With eyes wide open…
ROGER I’m sorry. I’m sorry to interrupt. But…possibly still dreaming. A dream in which the person – you – thinks they are blind.
SILVIA No. Not thinking that. Not dreaming it. Banging into things. Feeling my way around. Feeling around with the hands in order to know where you are.
ROGER But then…after a while…
SILVIA Shaking my head. Screaming…
ROGER I didn’t hear you. I never knew.
SILVIA Sometimes banging it.
ROGER The head?
SILVIA Against the wall. Screaming.
ROGER As if to dislodge…to shake free.
SILVIA Does the trick. So far.
ROGER Let me ask you… is there any particular reason, do you think?

SHIFT 4
TATTY Am I la-de-dah?
MAURICE Lardy dardy.
TATTY Am I?
MAURICE High falutin.
TATTY Me.
MAURICE Maybe.
TATTY Maybe? Is it hard?
MAURICE It is.
TATTY Does it take one to know one?
MAURICE I’m sure you’re right.
TATTY Is the house vacant at this moment in time?
MAURICE This crowded house.
TATTY How do you see it?
MAURICE I can see it in my mind’s eye.

SHIFT 5
ROGER You are a lovely looking woman. There’s no getting away from that.
SILVIA Have you always thought thus?
ROGER Yes. Since back in the day.
SILVIA You were slow off the blocks then.
ROGER I gave you looks.
SILVIA You brushed by me as if in a crowded train but in a roomy passageway.
ROGER I was cheeky like that.
SILVIA Anyone could have seen.
ROGER People see what they are used to seeing.
SILVIA Some acts are invisible, you’re saying.
ROGER There are many acts but most are spoken for. They have been seen before and do not need to be seen again.
SILVIA It was this daring of yours that caught my eye.
ROGER In addition to the looks.
SILVIA I imagined you hotly in my pants.
ROGER I had you sitting on it in my head.
SILVIA This is your cheekiness, of course.

SHIFT 6
ROGER Given there is no pudding, we should go to the zoo.
TATTY Are there lions?
MAURICE Very sadly no.
SILVIA Perhaps there are new ones. I keep reading about new ones.
ROGER So much is not known. That’s why.
TATTY Are they under rocks?
MAURICE They are often under rocks but a stone’s throw from the enquiry.
SILVIA I was more thinking larger.
ROGER Four legged stuff.
MAURICE Or less.
ROGER Not a lot less. They’d fall over.
TATTY Do we know biology?
SILVIA Well, we’re not holding back.
ROGER Species. Genuses. Genii, possibly.
MAURICE Types. Between which it is possible to tell the difference.
TATTY Fur no fur. Beak no beak. Claw no claw. Adder. Constrictor.
SILVIA I was thinking more a shy night-time distant relative of a household name.
ROGER The okapi. A cousin of the elephant.
MAURICE The okapi is known. It is retiring but it has been recorded.
ROGER Or some such.
TATTY The okapi whose father was an elephant.
MAURICE No. The brother of whose father.
SILVIA To satisfy the turn of phrase.
ROGER Were the relation uncular.
MAURICE What has been described is uncular. It is not cousinal.
TATTY Biology fair, genealogy weak.

SHIFT 7
SILVIA Well.
MAURICE Scarcely.
SILVIA Is it the shagging?
MAURICE I don’t think about the shagging.
SILVIA But it does take place.
MAURICE Yes. Now I know. Thank you.
SILVIA Is it that? The pounding?
MAURICE There’s nothing I can do about the pounding.
SILVIA I suppose not. It is rather moreish.
MAURICE I’d rather not…
SILVIA Once you get the feel of it, it just gets better.
MAURICE Yes. There’s also the killing, of course.
SILVIA Ah. You should have said. What would you like to say?

SHIFT 8
ROGER The struggle was brief. The job is done. Would you care to slip into your nighty?
SILVIA He wasn’t a bad man.
ROGER Too late now.
SILVIA We had good times.
ROGER Good by the standards of then. Nothing as to what will now be the case.
SILVIA I’m sure I can shrug it off.
ROGER Think about the shagging.
SILVIA God, yes! I’m shag crazy!
ROGER I too cannot wait to pile it in.
SILVIA You look a bit like him.
ROGER Genetic.
SILVIA Very similar. The profile. Maurice has the same.
ROGER You’re not going to be thinking about him when we’re on the job.
SILVIA Maurice?
ROGER My dead brother.
SILVIA Of course not.
ROGER We’ll do it in the manner of the dog. Then you won’t be looking at me.
SILVIA Always in that manner?
ROGER Up until you are satisfied with my distinctive delivery. At which point I can introduce a range of more exotic approaches, some of which I think you may find both novel and exciting. These will largely afford views of my face.

SHIFT 9
MAURICE Roger, I keep thinking of you in a bathing costume.
ROGER What sort?
MAURICE Nothing unusual. Not a thong.
ROGER I would never wear a thong.
MAURICE I’m not saying that what I imagine has any real-world accuracy. That would make me clairvoyant.
SILVIA Or something.
TATTY Endowed with fabric-piercing eye rays.
SILVIA The eyes receive light in the form of packets of photons. They do not produce or emit rays.
MAURICE What do we see when we look at another’s eye then?
SILVIA Photons fall upon it. Were they not to do so we would not see this eye.
TATTY Do they not glow?
SILVIA No. There is no glow from any eye.
TATTY Does not the force of a thought declare itself in the eye?
ROGER Quite possibly. The eye is something of a window but the views afforded may be misleading.

SHIFT 10
TATTY I’d like to leave.
ROGER Where are you going?
TATTY I haven’t done it yet.
ROGER Where will you go?
TATTY I shall go somewhere where I may be abandoned.
SILVIA Do you feel abandoned?
MAURICE Do you feel that you have been abandoned?
ROGER Do you feel that you would like a place in which you might act in an abandoned manner?
TATTY I do not wish to act. I wish to be.
SILVIA Do you feel that you would like others to abandon you?
MAURICE Do you feel that you have been abandoned by others?
ROGER Do you feel that you would like others to permit you to be abandoned?
TATTY I’m going now.

TATTY GOES (SHE WILL NOT LEAVE THE STAGE, HOWEVER. IN FACT, WHENEVER ANYONE LEAVES THEY WILL NOT LEAVE THE STAGE)

LONG PAUSE

MAURICE I miss her.
SILVIA Go after her.
MAURICE She could be anywhere by now.
SILVIA Let your intuitions guide you.
MAURCIE I’m not hopeful.

MAURICE GOES.

LONG PAUSE

TATTY COMES BACK.

TATTY It wasn’t the right moment. It’s not that there’s not a right moment. There certainly is. I’ll find it.

PAUSE

ROGER Nice to have you back. It was quiet.
TATTY Where is Maurice? He who has spurned me.
SILVIA He has gone. He went after you.
TATTY He went after me?
ROGER He left after you left.
SILVIA He sought you.
TATTY I could have been anywhere.
SILVIA Were you?
TATTY Where? When?
ROGER Then.
TATTY I found somewhere. It wasn’t good.
SILVIA I think I may go somewhere.
ROGER Are you restless?
SILVIA I find it hard to rest.
ROGER Perhaps you need a corkingly effective shag.
SILVIA No.

SILVIA GOES

TATTY There are good places.
ROGER You need a guide.
TATTY No.
ROGER A guidebook. ‘The Good Place Guide’.
TATTY Where Mrs King gone? Where she gone?
ROGER Stretch a leg.
TATTY She be back.
ROGER Are you okay?
TATTY No.

PAUSE

MAURICE COMES BACK

MAURICE I looked for her. She wasn’t there.
ROGER Not in the places you looked. The places where she might have been will always significantly outweigh where she is.
TATTY Anyway. That’s academic now.
MAURICE I missed you.
TATTY I’m passing through.
MAURICE I liked the cold air where I was.
TATTY There you are.
MAURICE (TO ROGER) What of your wife my mother?
ROGER She is still adjusting to her loss.
TATTY Much like me.
MAURICE Much like me.
TATTY (TO ROGER) Would you ever leave?
ROGER I like to come and go.
MAURICE Would you do that?
ROGER Will I?
MAURICE May you?
ROGER It’s on the cards.

ROGER GOES. HE SITS NEXT TO SILVIA. HE STANDS UP AND TAKES OFF HIS OUTER CLOTHING. HE IS WEARING A THONG. HE SITS DOWN.

LONG PAUSE

SILVIA COMES BACK.

LONG PAUSE

TATTY GOES.
MAURICE GOES.
SILVIA GOES.
MAURICE COMES BACK.
MAURICE GOES.
MAURICE COMES BACK.
SILVIA COMES BACK.

I WOULD LIKE TO TRY THIS COMING AND GOING IN REHEARSAL IN ORDER TO SEE HOW MUCH IS BEARABLE.

THEN:

THE END

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