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Popeye (2003)

This playlet is an adaptation of certain aspects of King Lear.

Some of the characters have been renamed. Delia is Cordelia, one of Lear’s daughters. Lear’s other daughters, Regan and Goneril, are not renamed. Kenny is the Earl of Kent, Lear’s friend. Bodmin is the Duke of Cornwall, Regan’s cold-blooded husband. Eddy is Edmund, the illegitimate son of the Earl of Gloucester.

The scenes are separated with an excerpt from Gatecrasher Digital Meltdown CD02 Track 08 ‘Elastica Presents Jesus Elices’, played at full volume.

Properties required: 1 Power Drill (cordless), 1 white cord for binding hands, 2 wine glasses containing cranberry juice or similar, 1 pair of sunglasses (male).

Music 1

GLOUCESTER The old guy hasn’t got a clue. Stumbling about all night, shocking weather, no coat on. And those girls, they’re just, what can you say, I mean, they’re animals. They’re only going to kill him, aren’t they? So I took him, well I got Kenny to, down to Dover. We’ve got some Frogs there that are well handy, they’re looking after that Delia and they’re getting mobbed up. He’ll be all right with them. I just need to watch my own back.

Music 2

REGAN We’ll do him.
GONERIL We’ll drill him.
REGAN We won’t kill him
GONERIL No. Drilling without filling. Bare nerves. Very nervy.
REGAN He’s a scamp.
GONERIL He’s a tyke.
REGAN We’ll give him another mouth.
GONERIL He can eat twice as fast.
REGAN We’ll get Eddy on it.
GONERIL Eddy! Get on it!
EDMUND What do I do?
GONERIL Popeye.
EDMUND Where is he?
REGAN This is it.
EDMUND I’ll find him.
REGAN You will.
GONERIL Very much so.

Music 3

EDMUND Popeye. I got him.
REGAN You did.
GONERIL (TO GLOUCESTER) What a scamp you are.
REGAN We’re going to drill you.
GONERIL Give you another mouth.
REGAN You can play the bugle and eat spaghetti at the same time.
GONERIL That’s handy.
GLOUCESTER You’re being silly.
EDMUND Be polite.
GLOUCESTER What’s the excitement? We’re round mine.
REGAN Make him shut up, Eddy.
EDMUND His hands are tied.

HE BINDS GLOUCESTER

This is so you don’t hurt yourself.
GONERIL A lot of people put their hands in the way.
REGAN Holes in the hands. You don’t want that.
EDMUND Do you want that?
GLOUCESTER We’re round mine. You’re out of order.
REGAN You sent Grandad off with the Frogs.
GLOUCESTER He’s at the seaside. Fresh air.
REGAN The seaside? You were told, you were told…
EDMUND Why the seaside, Popeye? Tell me that.
GLOUCESTER He’s a poor old boy. Losing it fast. He’d been up all night. No mac. No brolly. Shocking weather. I took pity. More than you would.
GONERIL Shut it, Popeye.
GLOUCESTER Don’t call me that.
GONERIL We’re taking you to the dentist.
REGAN The Beast of Bodmin. My old man.
EDMUND No need to open wide. No need to open. We’ll make our own way in.

Music 4

GLOUCESTER’S CHEEK IS DRILLED. SCREAMING

Music 5

REGAN Your own Dad, Eddy.
EDMUND Went wrong though, didn’t it?
GONERIL How’s that?
EDMUND Bodmin. Got a puncture.
REGAN So I’m avaliable.
EDMUND Not sad then?
REGAN Not that sad.
GONERIL You’re the Duke of Earl, Eddy.
EDMUND Earl of Duke, if you don’t mind.
REGAN Anyway, when you’re passing, Eddy…
GONERIL Drop in.

Music 6

GLOUCESTER You don’t look to anyone. You don’t ask for anything. If a kid sees a pigeon, he stamps on it. What do you expect? He stamps on it. What do you want? It’s a bit of fun.

Music 7

GONERIL Eddy – go back to Bodmin. Help him get mobbed up. As for me, my old man, the Albanian as I call him, he’s gone Nancy. He’ll be getting hot flushes next. Still, he won’t be around for ever, will he? Give us a kiss before you go.

SHE KISSES EDMUND

That’s just a sample.
EDMUND I’ll be off then.
GONERIL I expect you will.
EXIT EDMUND
Hard all over. I like that. Why did I marry a poof?

Music 8

REGAN Now I’m really avaliable. Bodmin took a single. Lovely man but, you know, are you gonna live in the past? Now Eddy – he’s something else. The eye language, I have to say, has been exceptional. My sister, a slag basically, seems to think, and this is getting on my wick, that she’s right in there. Not for long.

Music 9

EDMUND The Albanian, as I call him, is such a div. Can’t keep his eye on the ball.
REGAN My sister married a sissy. But you quite fancy her, don’t you, Eddy?
EDMUND Only in a nice way.
REGAN You haven’t been in there then?
EDMUND Don’t be silly!
REGAN I’m sure you’ve dipped your stick, Ed.
EDMUND What you talking about?
REGAN That would really irritate me, Eddy. I could see myself getting upset.
EDMUND Well I haven’t. Bloody hell.
REGAN Keep it in your pants.
EDMUND Bloody hell.

EXIT REGAN

EDMUND I have to say: you’re all right here, my son. Spoilt for choice, frankly. They’re gagging for it. Mind you, if I was to go with Mrs Bodmin that’d really piss her sister off. But the Albanian is still around so it wouldn’t be too clever to go with Sis either. Still, the Albanian reckons he’s well hard – we’ll put him on the front line against the Frogs and see what pops up. Perhaps I could have them both. A three-up! Exceptional!

Music 10

GONERIL Eddy did well. Him and the Albanian saw the Frogs off.

ENTER REGAN

REGAN Eddy got Grampa off the Frogs.
GONERIL And divvy Delia.

ENTER EDMUND

REGAN Nice one, Eddy. Who’s got’em now?

EDMUND They’re banged up. The Albanian’s going to take a look tomorrow.
GONERIL How long’s that going to take?
EDMUND Don’t worry about it. I know the people there. They’ll be looked after.
GONERIL How’s my nancy husband?
EDMUND Chuffed. He said I was like a brother to him.
REGAN That’s not up to him. That was my mob you took to the Frogs – so I’m the one to say who you’re up there with.
GONERIL (TO REGAN) He can do that for himself – he doesn’t need you to tell him where he’s at.
REGAN He’s as good as they come. Aren’t you, Eddy?
EDMUND If you say so.
GONERIL (SARCASTICALLY) Why don’t you propose to him?
REGAN What do you think I am? Bodmin’s still warm.
GONERIL (CONTEMPTUOUSLY) Propose to him tomorrow then.
REGAN How are you, Eddy?
EDMUND Can’t complain.
GONERIL Got everything you want?
EDMUND I wouldn’t say that.

Music 11

GONERIL OFFERS REGAN A DRINK

GONERIL Cheers. He’s a lovely bloke.
REGAN Cheers. Yeah. No hard feelings then.
GONERIL You’re my sister.

REGAN CHOKES, GAGS, SCREAMS, WRITHES, KICKS, ROARS, DIES.

I did warn her. I said ‘Back off’. I was crystal clear. And what did she do? Tits out for the lads! She’s a slag. Was.

Music 12

EDMUND (IN GREAT PAIN) My own brother! Family! Just because I got the strop with our Dad. I mean, you’d think your own brother…A masonry bit! He used a masonry bit! That’s got to be wrong, hasn’t it? They’re for brick…

HE STAGGERS, FALLS, DIES.

Music 13

GONERIL IS HOLDING A POWER DRILL

GONERIL I did wrong. There’s no two ways about it.

SHE PLACES THE DRILL ON THE GROUND, BIT UPPERMOST AND TURNS IT ON.

Bye bye Dad. Bye bye Delia. You’ll be better off with me out of it.
SHE POSITIONS HERSELF BY THE DRILL SO THAT SHE CAN FALL ON IT AND KILL HERSELF.
BLACKOUT.
SOUND OF BODY FALLING TO THE FLOOR.
SCREAMS.

Music 14

GLOUCESTER’S CHEEK IS HEAVILY SCARRED BUT HEALED. HE IS WEARING SHADES.

GLOUCESTER Kenny’s back. The Albanian’s on side. Little Eddy shows promise. And I can’t see a bleeding thing. Secondary infection. The quack said I’m lucky. He said with gangrene like that you could have lost your brain, not just your eyes. So I’m lucky. I don’t feel lucky.

BLACKOUT.

Music 15

Finish.

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