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A play in One Act



Nurse, Teacher, Lorraine, Mother, Shop Assistant, Seated Lady in Art Gallery

Benny, Brady, Johnson (patient), Doctor, Victor, Kid 2, Coach, Cow, Father, Pupils 1 & 2, Man in Art Gallery

Sheila, Hartney (patient), Bully, Midwife, Mary, Kid 1, Girl, Girlfriend in Art Gallery


The play is set in a hospital waiting-room. Three patients sit stage right and a nurse sits stage left behind a desk filling in charts. Harry sits in the middle of the threesome and they all keep their faces very distorted throughout the play, except furing Harry’s monologues or when they are being other characters. Johnson, the first patient stage right, also has his arm in a cast in an amusing and distorted position. The cast is not real as the actor has to be able to move his arm with ease. It is suggested that to help differentiate between the different characters, they sport small costume changes. For instance, Brady and the other bully always wear nylon stockings over their heads, terrorist style, and Teacher always wears spectacles. The play opens with Harry lit by a single spot. After the initial monologue, the stage is lit revealing the setting and the rest of the cast.


HARRY            I don’t know what their problem is. My voice is deep, sexy. Face lacks a certain symmetrical quality but, hey, it’s got character. Wonder if Benny’ll be home this weekend? Fun and games in the graveyard with a bottle of cider.  (Sings) Two green bottles sitting in the graveyard. (SPEAKING) Well, time to face the music. To hell with ‘em. You always have your art. Can’t touch that. Sticks and surgeons may break your bones, but they cannot touch your art.

NURSE            (On intercom) Dr. Kearney to ward six, Doctor Kearney to ward six, thank you.

Patients sit in great silence, and try uneasily to avoid eachother’s glances. Pause.

HARRY            I don’t want to be here. But here I am all the same. But not all the same. If we were all the same I wouldn’t need to be here. But “we’re” looking pretty much the same. Three green freaks sitting in a room. Of course, Matisse would love this: nice woman, green stripe down the middle of her face. But that’s the Fauvists for you… from the French… wild, savage. I don’t want to be here. I’ve tried, I really have, but people just don’t like it.

(Cast begin moving their chairs noisily and mumbling)

TEACHER        Quiet please class! Quiet! Brady! Shut up! Next; Harry Collins!

HARRY            Miss?

TEACHER       What poem did you pick?

HARRY            “Oh Friend I Know Not” by William Wordsworth, Miss.

BRADY            (Mocking voice) Ofwend I no snot by williamwudswut, niss. (Laughs)

TEACHER       Well, go on.

HARRY            O friend I know not,

                          Which way I must look for comfort,

                          Being as I am opprest.

                          To think that now our life is only drest for show,

                          Mean handy-work of craftsmen, cook or groom.

                          We must run glittering like a brook in the open sunshine

                          Or we are unblest;

                          The wealthiest man among us is the best:

                          No grandeur in nature or in book delights us-

(Lunch bell sounds and pupils jostle to leave)

TEACHER       What a shame. Everyone, pages 62 to 68 for tomorrow!

SHEILA            Well? Did you ask her out?

HARRY            Yeah, eventually.

SHEILA            And?

HARRY            She said no. It was stupid. I started talking about the trees and the sun and what a wonderful time it is to be in love, and she said no.

SHEILA            That’s her loss.

HARRY            Look at her. (Lorraine crosses the stage with a skipping-rope) She can stick that skipping-rope!

BRADY            (Crossing stage) Alwight Howwy? How’s the lip?

SHEILA            Leave him alone, you!

BRADY            (Laughs and exits)

HARRY            I hate that bastard.

SHEILA            Don’t pay any attention to him. Lets’ talk about something else. I liked your self-portrait.

HARRY            You did? Where’d you see it?

SHEILA            Mr. Smith showed it to us. His way of forcing us to work: “This was done by a junior!”

HARRY            So I have a secret admirer in Mr. Smith.

SHEILA            And me too.

HARRY            I always knew that.

SHEILA            Are you nervous about it?

HARRY            Not really.

SHEILA            Who’s going up with you?

HARRY            No one. It’s routine by now so I’ll just go on my tod. Mind you, this one’s different. This one’s gonna make me look like everyone else… normal.

SHEILA            You’re as normal as anyone I know.

(School bell rings)

SHEILA            Come on, we’d better get back in.

(Sheila moves back to her seat. Lights dim)

HARRY            How could I have been so blind? I’d have done anything for Lorraine White but she wouldn’t even let on I existed. All that time, Sheila was there. Man, she really likes me, she really likes me. What’ll I do, Benny Boy?

BENNY            (Drinking from a bottle) Ask her out. Here… (hand bottle to Harry) Cheers.

HARRY            Can’t do it just like that.

BENNY            Well, prepare… I don’t know. Dress up smart, casual. Buy her something.

HARRY            What, like flowers?

BENNY            I don’t know. Chocolates are always good. Be friendly. Don’t talk about yourself too much,  if you can manage that. Just let things roll on naturally.

HARRY            I’ve got a good feeling about this.

BENNY            So have I. (With Harry) This could be the one!

HARRY            I mightn’t bother with the hospital. Doesn’t seem to bother her.

BENNY            Some girls don’t care about looks.

HARRY            I want to be sure. (Looks up at the sky, shouting) Give me a sign!

BENNY            He’s not there.

HARRY            He must be. This is holy ground. And what about that “when two or more friends are gathered” bit. Well?

BENNY            (Burps)

HARRY            (Looking at a gravestone) Well what do you think, Mr. O’ Reilly, died 1935…?

BENNY            Not much, I shouldn’t think.

HARRY            Well?

NURSE            (On intercom) Will Dr. Stewart please go to Radiology. Dr. Stewart to Radiology please. Thank you.



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