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© Copyright: Andrew Novell, 2001. Email: email@example.com
A timeless, empty space - a black box. At the back of the stage is a high rectangular window, slanting at its top, which could resemble either a church
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window or simply a broken warehouse window depending on your point of view. Two long wooden benches are positioned either side of the stage, angled in towards the window and radiating out towards the audience. Three Musicians sit at the side of the stage - with violin, cello, and piano - and provide a stylistic musical punctuation to the story. Although they are visible to the audience, and dressed according to the setting, they are invisible to the characters of the play, and perhaps represent bygone happier days now consigned to the depths of nostalgic memory. The Musicians play softly in the background - some old saloon bar tunes perhaps. A YOUNG MAN stands with his back to us. He stares up at the window. As the music slowly comes to an end he turns and sits on the SL benche. He stares at the floor and pulls his coat tight around him - he is obviously very cold. A pause. FYDOR enters hurriedly - then he stops dead and stares at THE YOUNG MAN, who has jumped to his feet in fear. A pause as they both consider each other. FYDOR re-animates - suddenly oblivious to THE YOUNG MAN's presence - and takes a bottle wrapped in brown paper out of his pocket. FYDOR (flamboyant wave to the audience): Morning, Jack! Get yourself a drink on me and bring it over to that quiet table in the corner - I'll join you in a minute...(big grin). A pause. FYDOR looks around for a place to hide the bottle. FYDOR (to the imaginary Jack): So how was it then? Not bad? (He hides the bottle under a bench.) Had it changed? Much the same, you say? (considers the bottle.) A bit greener, you say? Really? In
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places? Really! (nostalgic.) And what about The Black Crow? Much the same? Good! You're sure it hadn't changed? GOOD! (smiles, lost.) And the river? Much the same? Good. And the Old Crowd I suppose were - much the same, yes I thought that they would be. (sombre.) And the Landlord? (ponders.) Good. A pause. FYDOR goes to take the bottle from his pocket he finds it gone. He ponders this, lost. FYDOR (brightly): Did you see Ted? (He searches for the bottle.) Yes, Ted, you remember him? Yes, you know, Old Ted. Yes, Ted? (stares blankly into space.) Well, Edward, I suppose, but I always knew him as Ted. YES, Ted! Yes, you know... (gives a flamboyant wave into space.) "Morning, Ted! Get yourself a drink and bring it over to the..." Yes, you know, that Ted? A pause. You don't remember him? (considers.) Right... A pause. (finds the bottle.) Ah! (frowns.) What's that? You remember a teddy? (shocked.) A Teddy! I think not. No, I think you've made a big mistake. No, I fear you to be in error. (smiles confidently.) No, I don't believe you remember a TEDDY! A pause. (drops his smile.) What's that? He was a tall man with a beard and used to drink at The Black Crow? (cosiders deeply.) Really? A pause. (a revelation.) Of course! Yes! (shakes his head.) I never met him... (quick to THE YOUNG MAN.) did you? THE YOUNG MAN sinks back into the corner. FYDOR, suddenly oblivious to THE YOUNG MAN again, kisses the bottle and hides it in exactly the same place as before. FYDOR (smiles into space): Got a young lady coming tonight, if you'll pardon language. Very nice! What they used to call a bit of crackling... (patriotic.) and will again I'm doubtless to say! I hadn't
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seen her in years, then all of a sudden I met her, this morning - in the... (can't remember.) in the... you know? (remembering) the park... (a dark pause.) I couldn't believe it... (he starts searching his pockets again.) I thought I'd bring a bottle of the good stuff... (looks around for it.) I think? (whispers.) I didn't want the Landlord to see it, (darkly.) you know what he's like, so I hid it... (looking desperately.) Where is it?... FYDOR searches for the bottle again. THE YOUNG MAN, realising that FYDOR is harmless, sits in the corner and buries his head in his coat. During the following speech, music occasionally plays softly in the background as FYDOR's thoughts meander around the subject of ADELAIDE - this music will become ADELAIDE's theme, and must reflect the complexity of her character. To FYDOR the theme is idealised and happy, representing his nostalgic memory of ADELAIDE when he first knew her. FYDOR (looking around): Know who? I'm sorry? Oh, the young lady in question? Yes, you know her... (makes eye contact.) Yes, that's right, HER! She was just the same... (smiles.) Yes... she hadn't changed at all... He finds the bottle and kisses it with relief. He sit heavily on a bench and broods. FYDOR (quietly, lost): First time I met her was at The Black Crow. Lovely she was! They all turned to look at her - turned heads she did! They all looked at her... (smiles.) But I was the only one she looked at... (ruminates.) I don't know why? (decisively.) My charm, I suppose. A pause. She was scared of course - scared of me... Only a little thing she was... Ran away she did... (ruminates.) I didn't go after her though, I wouldn't play that game. No, I didn't go after her. (frowns.) No. A pause. He blows dust from the bottle and studies the label. (chuckles.) A drop of the good stuff this! Her favourite! (lost in the
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past.) She used to drink nothing else! Drank bottles of it, she did! I'm quite surprised there's any of it left. (considers.) Better for you than tea. Terrible stuff tea - particularly for the feet. (seriously.) It's the growing conditions, you know. What do they call that disease you get from tea? An intense pause. (ponders, lost again.) A summers day... A floral dress... The hot sun on her hair... Turned heads she did... Down by the river... He places the bottle ceremonially on the opposite bench and sits back to admire it. (lecherous to the bottle.) You're looking lovely tonight! (suddenly revelatory into space.) Leprosy, that's what it is! It's the damp growing conditions. Starts in the feet, you see. I always wrap my feet in newspaper and I never drink tea. (seariously.) I've always been, what you might call, a cautious man. An intense pause. (brooding.) She must have felt the cold... In that thin dress must have felt the cold... (smiles.) Very thin it was... Thin like a a sigh... Cold breeze off that river too... (ruminates.) But she never seemed to feel the cold... I don't know why? (ponders and smiles.) I didn't feel it either... Why?.. An intense pause. FYDOR looks suspiciously at THE YOUNG MAN. He hasn't moved. After a few moments FYDOR goes to the bottle and snatches it up. He caresses the bottle. (smiles.) Very nice... Drank bottles of it, she did... A pause. (flamboyant wave to the audience.) Morning, Brian! Get yourself a drink on me and bring it over to that quiet table in the corner with Jack!
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THE YOUNG MAN stirs, but does not look up. FYDOR watches him carefully. A pause. FYDOR (seating himself, he broods): The Black Crow! (nostalgic.) I had my first drink in The Black Crow... (smiles, lost again.) First time I saw her was there... first time I saw her face it was through the bottom of my glass... distorted... twisted... (smiles.) even more lovely... A pause. He looks around for somewhere to hide the bottle. Got to keep this out of sight, (whispers.) you know what these Landlords are like - miserable old sods! Know what I say? They want to have a laugh! (he stop trying to hide the bottle, and chuckles to himself.) Do you remember the old Landlord at The Black Crow? Always laughing he was! And what a laugh! (imitates the Landlord's grotesque laugh.) Do you remember? (imitates his laugh again.) He was always doing it. Whenever you went in there he'd come charging up to you - I'll never forget - slap you on the back - do you remember? - give a great big grin, and shout HAVE A LAUGH! GO ON! HAVE A LAUGH!!! (gives a long grotesque.) A pause. (sombre.) Very irritating. Almost enough to make me angry... A pause as FYDOR broods deeply within himself. (brightly.) But of course I never get angry. (he looks at his watch, which he does not have, and beams with excitement.) She'll be here soon! FYDOR goes back to hiding the bottle. He puts it under one bench - stands back and considers - shakes his head takes the bottle again - considers - then places it lovingly under the other bench - it is now in exactly the same place that he hid it when he first came in. FYDOR (rubbing his hands): Perfect! THE YOUNG MAN is asleep.
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ADELAIDE enters. She carries two large holdalls, the old type with zippers, so their contents remain a mystery to us. She guards them fanatically, keeping them close at all times. Now the music, though still recognisable as the ADELAIDE theme, depicts her more faithfully - it is now stark and cold, staccato and pizzicato, and without the harmony of FYDOR's nostalgic romanticism. She crosses the stage, ignoring FYDOR, and sits on the bench. She stares out front, lost. FYDOR: Hello, Adelaide. ADELAIDE (lost): Hello, Fydor. FYDOR: You're looking lovely tonight. A pause. FYDOR: You found it alright then? ADELAIDE: Found what? FYDOR: This place? ADELAIDE: I asked directions. FYDOR: Really? (ponders.) Yes. A pause. FYDOR: Do you feel alright? ADELAIDE: I never felt better. FYDOR: That's good. ADELAIDE: Is it? FYDOR: Well... (ponders.) yes?
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A pause. FYDOR: Did you have a nice day? ADELAIDE: I went for a walk. FYDOR: (cheerfully.) That's nice. ADELAIDE: Was it? FYDOR: That's a good question. Silence. ADELAIDE: I couldn't find it. FYDOR: Find what? ADELAIDE: This place. FYDOR: I thought you said you asked directions? ADELAIDE: I did - I asked a man. FYDOR: And he gave you directions? ADELAIDE: Yes. FYDOR: And you still couldn't find it? ADELAIDE: No. FYDOR: Why not? ADELAIDE: He was a liar. A pause. FYDOR: Nice bags. ADELAIDE (snaps): What? FYDOR: Nothing.
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FYDOR sits. A pause. ADELAIDE: (lost.) I have something to tell you. FYDOR gets up quickly and starts searching in his pockets. FYDOR: Well, I'm sorry about that - you not being able to find the place - I should have given you directions myself. ADELAIDE: Well that would have been a big help. You said it was by the river. FYDOR (puzzled): Did I? I must have been thinking about somewhere else? (flamboyant wave to the audience.) Morning, Charlie! Get yourself a drink and bring it over to the corner table with Jack and Brian! ADELAIDE does not react. A pause. ADELAIDE (looking around): I don't like this place. FYDOR: It's alright. ADELAIDE: What is it? FYDOR: Well... (makes eye contact with ADELAIDE.) You know. ADELAIDE: Are you sure? FYDOR: What else could it be? Anyway, these places are supposed to be a bit enigmatic, aren't they? A pause. ADELAIDE: Why do you come here? FYDOR: It's close. ADELAIDE: Close to what?
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FYDOR: Closer than the other place. ADELAIDE: What other place? FYDOR (irritated, makes eye contact again): You know. ADELAIDE (smiles with recognition): Oh, that place - but you never go there? You haven't been there for years? FYDOR: I know. ADELAIDE: Well then why does it matter that this place is closer? FYDOR: It doesn't I suppose - I don't know - to be honest I haven't given it much thought. Fydor searches for the bottle again. ADELAIDE (shrugs): It's not so bad I suppose - have you lost something? FYDOR (defensive): No. ADELAIDE: Alright, don't get angry. FYDOR freezes - he slowly turns to face ADELAIDE - his eyes staring. FYDOR (staring): What do you mean? ADELAIDE: Nothing. FYDOR: What does that mean? ADELAIDE: It doesn't mean anything. FYDOR: It must have meant something? ADELAIDE (wearily): It was nothing, it didn't mean anything, it was without any meaning at all. A pause.
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(into space, lost.) It might have meant something once - a long time ago - to somebody - when someone said something that meant something to somebody else - but not now - now it means nothing to anyone - because anyone that in the past it had meant anything to, are now nothing themselves - and nothing is nothing but nothing to nothing, (looks at FYDOR.) isn't it? FYDOR stares at her - lost. FYDOR: What's up? ADELAIDE: Nothing. FYDOR: What does that mean? ADELAIDE looks at him. FYDOR (brightly changing the subject): I'm not angry - I never get angry. He goes back to searching for the bottle. FYDOR (absently): Where did you go? ADELAIDE: What? FYDOR: For your walk? ADELAIDE (darkly disturbed): The park. FYDOR (not listening): You must have been cold? ADELAIDE (disturbed): Not really. FYDOR: Quite a breeze on that river bank. ADELAIDE: I'm sorry? A pause. FYDOR sits and ponders. ADELAIDE (haunted): He was watching me again when I woke-up this morning.
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FYDOR (absently): Really. ADELAIDE: He didn't look at me. FYDOR (lost): Didn't he. ADELAIDE: He was watching me though - I don't like the look of him - so I went for a walk... (She hesitates darkly.) in the park. Silence. FYDOR (casual nod to the audience): Morning, Frank. Get yourself a drink on me and bring it over to the corner table with Jack, Brian, and Charlie. A pause FYDOR (smiles at ADELAIDE): I thought we'd have a quiet drink just you and me, (looks around.) about four hundred other people. (smiles.) So I came prepared - (considers.) I think? (whispers.) Between you-me-and-the-bedpost this isn't a particularly good water hole... (thoughtfully.) so I came prepared... A pause. No, not particularly good, (smiles nostalgically.) not like The Black Crow... ADELAIDE take a packet of biscuits from her pocket, and offers them to FYDOR. ADELAIDE: Biscuit? FYDOR: Yes. He does not take one. A pause. FYDOR (lost): Funny, I was just thinking about The Black Crow, just before you arrived, (to imaginary Jack.) wasn't I Jack? A pause. (to ADELAIDE.) We were just talking about the old crowd, (to Jack.) weren't we?
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A pause. (to ADELAIDE.) Do you remember Old Edward? ADELAIDE: Who? FYDOR: Edward? ADELAIDE thinks for a very long time. ADELAIDE: No. A pause. ADELAIDE: I remember a Teddy. FYDOR (shocked): Teddy? ADELAIDE: Yes. FYDOR: A Teddy? ADELAIDE: Yes. FYDOR: I think not. ADELAIDE: Yes. FYDOR: I think you've made a mistake. ADELAIDE: No. FYDOR: I fear you to be in error. ADELAIDE: No, I remember distinctly. FYDOR: I don't believe you do. ADELAIDE: He was a tall man with a beard. A pause. FYDOR: Really?
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ADELAIDE: Yes - he used to drink at The Black Crow. FYDOR (a revelation): Of course! Yes! (to Jack.) Did you hear that? ADELAIDE: Who are you talking to? FYDOR: Jack. ADELAIDE (looking at the imaginary Jack, considers, and shakes her head): No, I've never met him. A pause. FYDOR: Well, this is nice! He gets down on his knees and peers under the bench. ADELAIDE: I want to tell you something... FYDOR (dispassionate): Cold this morning. ADELAIDE: What? FYDOR: I said cold this morning. ADELAIDE (disturbed): Yes. FYDOR: So cold the newspaper froze - I had to wait for it to thaw out before I could put my boots on. (feeling under the bench) Where is it? ADELAIDE (disturbed): Yes.(feeling about): Where is it? ADELAIDE: I have to tell you something... FYDOR continues searching for the bottle. ADELAIDE: I said I have to tell you something. FYDOR (snaps): I heard! ADELAIDE: Alright - don't get angry.
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FYDOR (defensive): Angry? I'm not angry? I'm never angry? A pause. FYDOR feels again under ADELAIDE's bench. ADELAIDE: Can I help you? FYDOR produces the bottle from under her and waves it in her face. FYDOR (lecherous): Drink? ADELAIDE: I'm sorry I made you angry... FYDOR (angry): I'm not angry! A pause. FYDOR (brightly): I never get angry - I haven't been angry for years. A pause. FYDOR (casually): Know who I spoke to the other day? ADELAIDE: How should I know? FYDOR (makes eye contact with her): You know. ADELAIDE (sudden recognition): Oh Him. What did He have to say? FYDOR: Nothing. Brief pause. FYDOR (pompously): Said He wanted to tell me something - but He was in a hurry... ADELAIDE: He's a very busy man... FYDOR: ...I know, anyway, this was the day before the day before yesterday, and He told me He'd see me there the day after tomorrow... (He ponders.) but when I turned up He wasn't there? ADELAIDE: Where?
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FYDOR (makes eye contact with her): You know. ADELAIDE (sudden recognition): Oh, there. He was there - He spoke to me. FYDOR (amazed): When? ADELAIDE: Yesterday. FYDOR: He said he'd be there the day before? ADELAIDE: No he didn't, He told you He'd be there the day after tomorrow - that would have been yesterday. FYDOR: I thought it would be the day before? ADELAIDE: No, that was only the day after the day before the day before yesterday, not the day after tomorrow that was yesterday. A pause. FYDOR does some calculation on his fingers. FYDOR (a revelation): Of course! Yes! (eagerly To ADELAIDE.) What did He say? ADELAIDE: Nothing - He said He wanted to talk to you. Have a biscuit. FYDOR (thinking, perplexed): He never said anything to me? ADELAIDE: I nicked them. A pause. FYDOR holds up the bottle. FYDOR (lecherous): Drink? ADELAIDE moves uneasily down the bench. ADELAIDE: No thank you. FYDOR bangs the bottle down. FYDOR: What's up?
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ADELAIDE: Nothing. FYDOR: What does that mean? ADELAIDE: It doesn't mean anything. FYDOR (snaps): Now listen... ADELAIDE: Don't get angry. FYDOR: I never get angry! A pause. FYDOR sits. Silence. FYDOR (ponders, lost): Except once... ADELAIDE: Except what once? FYDOR: I did get angry once... ADELAIDE sighs. FYDOR: Only once... a long time ago... I forget exactly where it was? ADELAIDE: Probably the other place. ADELAIDE: Probably the other place. FYDOR: There was this bloke... ADELAIDE (wearily): Yes... FYDOR: And he said something to me... do you know what? ADELAIDE: Something that made you angry? FYDOR: He said he wished that he grew his own vegetables. A pause.
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ADELAIDE (bemused): So? During FYDOR's following speech the musicians play various discordant cords rising steadily to a fevered crescendo. FYDOR (calmly): So, that was his one wish in life - to grow his own vegetables. (irritated.) But you see the thing was he didn't eat them, that was the thing! A vegetable was never known to pass his lips! He was never seen in my presence, or in anyone else's to my knowledge, to consume a vegetable of any shape, manner or form! So quite clearly he didn't need to grow them as he didn't eat them! They would have been entirely surplus to his dietary requirements! (growing in tyrannical outrage.) And I said to him, (bracing himself.) what is the point of wishing for something that you obviously don't want? I said it was a ridiculous thing to wish for, and that if we all went around wishing for what we didn't want the world would be full of things that had no purpose at all! (rising to his feet.) And that I considered it a travesty that we would have a world full of things that people had wished for that they didn't want, when it could be full of things that they did wand if they had only been a bit less high and blood mighty and wished for them instead! (bellowing into space.) AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT HE SAID! YOU KNOW WHAT HE SAID! HE SAID IT WAS BETTER TO WISH FOR SOMETHING YOU DON'T WANT BECAUSE WISHES DON'T COME TRUE!!! FYDOR'S face is frozen in a hideous snarl. Silence. FYDOR sits. FYDOR (completely calm.) I don't know what I wish? ADELAIDE sighs. FYDOR: (ponders.) I suppose, from time to time, I do wish I bred rabbits? A pause. FYDOR: I do, I wish I'd been afforded the luxury to bred rabbits. I wish I bred rabbits right now!
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A pause. FYDOR (To ADELAIDE): What do you wish? ADELAIDE: I wish I was dead. FYDOR stares at her. FYDOR: What do you mean? ADELAIDE: Just that. FYDOR: You don't wish that? ADELAIDE: I do. FYDOR: You don't. ADELAIDE: I think you'll find that I do. FYDOR: You don't! ADELAIDE: Have a biscuit? FYDOR: I don't want a bleeding biscuit! And you don't wish that! ADELAIDE (quietly): Don't get angry. FYDOR: I am not angry! I never get angry! A pause. FYDOR: Look, what's up? (on response.) I reckon that you're a bit depressed? That's it! You're just a bit on the depressed side! You want something to cheer yourself up? Why don't you go and get yourself some tablets? ADELAIDE: I don't like taking tablets. FYDOR: What's wrong with them? I take them and there's nothing wrong with me? ADELAIDE just looks at him.
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FYDOR: You don't wish that? ADELAIDE: Don't worry, wishes don't come true... (staring at him darkly.) do they? A pause. FYDOR: Now you're being silly. (flamboyant wave into space.) Morning, Stan! Get yourself a drink and bring it over to the corner table with Jack, Brian, Charlie, and Frank. ADELAIDE: It's not morning. FYDOR folds his arms and leans back. FYDOR (lost in nostalgia): The Black Crow! (to Stan.) You remember The Black Crow, don't you Stan? ADELAIDE (dispassionate): Stan's dead. (She ponders.) Why do you wish you kept rabbits? FYDOR: The Black Crow! A bloody Utopia in it's heyday! And will be again I'm doubtless to say. ADELAIDE: I said why do you want to keep rabbits? FYDOR (snaps): It's better than doing nothing. (shouts to Stan.) I said bring it over to the corner table Stan! ADELAIDE (wearily): Stan's dead. FYDOR (laughs to Stan.) You hear that, Stan? She reckons your dead! Silence. FYDOR (broods): Rabbits, yes, funny thinking about rabbits. It brought it all back to me. I suddenly remembered my old granny shouting at my granddad. "Arthur!" she'd shout - that was his name, Arthur, "Arthur, you never do a bloody thing all day!" Always shouting that she was! (ponders.) Well, to be far to her, he didn't do a bloody thing - not much anyway - except go to work. (disgusted.) He never cleaned his rabbit hutches, that's what she meant, and then she had to do it! (frowns.) A woman should never have to clean a man's rabbit
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hutch. ADELAIDE: I quite agree. A pause. ADELAIDE: Stan's dead. FYDOR: Know what I saw the other day, Stan? ADELAIDE: You know Stan's dead... FYDOR: A fox! Would you credit it? ADELAIDE: He's been dead for years... FYDOR: Going down the road, large as life - it just stood there staring at me... ADELAIDE: He's very dead. FYDOR: Lucky it was me that saw it - my old granddad would have shot it! ADELAIDE: He couldn't be more dead. FYDOR (tearfully): He might not have cleaned their hutches, but he loved those bloody rabbits... ADELAIDE: If Stan was any more dead he'd win a prize. FYDOR: Not that the furry buggers ever showed him any kindness! (reverently.) Well, my old granddad's dead now - along with his accused thankless vermin! ADELAIDE gives up. ADELAIDE (wearily to Stan): Stan, have a biscuit? The illusion broken, FYDOR gets up in annoyance. FYDOR: You're being silly? You're being a bit silly today!
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ADELAIDE: Perhaps I am. FYDOR: Why? ADELAIDE: Perhaps I just bleeding feel like it. Horrified, FYDOR looks around to make sure that nobody heard ADELAIDE. FYDOR (whispered): Don't swear! ADELAIDE: Why not, you do? FYDOR (points off stage): He wouldn't like it! It's not ladylike! ADELAIDE stretches out seductively along the bench. ADELAIDE (raunchy): I'm no lady. After a moment she goes back to her old self. ADELAIDE: Just a baglady. The violin plays softly over ADELAIDE's following speech. ADELAIDE (smiles to herself): It wasn't always like that though - I wasn't always a baglady. Once-upon-a-time they all used to look at me. Out of the corner of their eyes, furtively, when they thought that I couldn't see then. (laughs gaily.) But I could see them, I could see everything back then. (She runs her hands over her body.) And I knew why, why they looked at me, the thoughts they had about me. But I didn't mind, because I also saw something else, (She smiles darkly.) I saw they were afraid of me... A pause. (Her eyes sparkle.) And I liked it! Oh, yes! I liked it! I liked to see their fear of me. I knew what they wanted to see, I knew everything, and so I showed them it! Showed them all, just so I could see their fear... She laughs softly. A pause. (proudly.) But they never saw me. Not the real me. They never saw
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the real me at all. I know that for a fact, because I locked her away in a very dark place where none of them could ever set eyes on her. (Her smile fades.) But after a while I couldn't see her anymore either... A pause. (coldly.) And now they still look at me, out the corner of their eyes now, when they cross the street to avoid me and they think I cant see them. But I can see them - I can still see everything. And you know what? They're still afraid, only now their fear isn't of me, it's of being me... A silent pause. FYDOR: You're being silly? I don't know why, but you are! You want to cheer-up! (holds up the bottle.) Have a drink? (rummages in his pocket and produces a bottle of pills.) Have some tablets? (no response.) Well... then, er... have a laugh? Yes, that's it! Have a laugh! Go on! Have a laugh... He give a long and grotesque laugh in her face. Go on! He gives a second long grotesque laugh in her face. Go on! He gives a third long grotesque laugh in her face. A pause. Suddenly ADELAIDE give a very long, almost demonic, grotesque laugh in FYDOR'S face, then stops abruptly. Silence. FYDOR: You're being silly. ADELAIDE: Maybe I am. FYDOR: Going around telling people they're dead! ADELAIDE: They must know, and if they don't it's about time they did. FYDOR: How would you like it?
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ADELAIDE: I think we've established I wouldn't mind. FYDOR: Now you're being silly again. ADELAIDE: Good. FYDOR: What? ADELAIDE: I said good! ADELAIDE turns away. A pause. FYDOR sits heavily on the bench and stares at her. He picks up the bottle and smiles at it, then whistles encouragingly to ADELAIDE. She looks at him and the bottle briefly, then turns away again. FYDOR bangs the bottle down again. FYDOR: You're driving me up the bloody wall! Do you know that? (weary wave.) Morning, Derrick. Get yourself a drink and... (mouths the rests of his sentence silently and indicates that he's having trouble with ADELAIDE.) Silence. FYDOR (to ADELAIDE): You want to cheer yourself up! I know, why don't you true singing a song? That's it! There's nothing like a good old sing-song to cheer yourself up! FYDOR begins to sing Tom Wait's "Jesus' Blood", very softly and intimately at first, but after a couple of verses he rises from his seat as the musicians join in, and his singing grows in volume and power, until by the end of the song he is standing bellowing the song with tremendous religious fervour. The song ends and a huge void of silence fills the space. FYDOR returns to his seat and sits in quiet contemplation. A pause.
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FYDOR: Or alternatively... (beat) you might not. A pause. FYDOR: Morning, Bert! Get yourself a drink and bring it over to the corner table - Jack, Brian, Charlie, Frank, Derrick, and Stan are already there... ADELAIDE gets up and makes to leave. Then she stops as she sees THE YOUNG MAN asleep. FYDOR: You leaving then? ADELAIDE: It's getting a bit crowded, (indicates THE YOUNG MAN.) who's he? FYDOR looks, then turns away quickly. FYDOR (irritated): Oh, him. ADELAIDE: How long has he been there? FYDOR (dismissive): I wouldn't worry about him. ADELAIDE: What's his name? FYDOR (mumbles): HowshouldIknow... ADELAIDE: What sort of a name is that? FYDOR: What? ADELAIDE: What did he want? FYDOR: Forget him. ADELAIDE looks closer. ADELAIDE: Is he dead? FYDOR: I'm probably not the best person to ask. ADELAIDE glares at FYDOR suspiciously.
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FYDOR (defensive): No! A pause. ADELAIDE: Look at him... FYDOR: I'd rather not. ADELAIDE: He looks so cold... FYDOR: Forget him. ADELAIDE: He's only a kid. (quietly.) Could be my kid... FYDOR: You're not old enough. ADELAIDE: Neither is he. (lost.) He'll have a family somewhere, they usually do. A happy family once, but not now, now they don't know where he is - if he's alive - if he's dead. Maybe they hope he's alive now, but later they'll hope that he's dead. Better off dead... A pause. FYDOR: What's up? ADELAIDE: Do you still it? FYDOR (puzzled): Feel what? ADELAIDE: The cold? FYDOR: What's up with you today! ADELAIDE: Do you? FYDOR: Of course I bloody feel it! ADELAIDE: I mean really feel it, the way that kid's feeling it now. The way you felt it on your first night? FYDOR (pompously): I only feel it in my feet. And if they follow the expected pattern of medical opinion I shortly expect to loose all
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sensation in them too, for which much thanks! ADELAIDE: I feel nothing else. I don't feel anything anymore. I can only feel the cold... FYDOR (demanding): What's up? Silence. FYDOR: Forget about him. A pause. ADELAIDE sits back on the bench and stares into space, toying with her biscuits. ADELAIDE (lost): I remember I did feel something once... FYDOR buries his face in his hands. ADELAIDE (desperately trying to remember): I know I did, but it's so long ago I can't remember what it was? FYDOR (weary): Morning, Michael... (he looks up.) Sorry, Henry, I thought you were Michael for a minute... ADELAIDE: A long time ago, but I lost it that first night. A night like tonight. I lost it in the cold... (looking at THE YOUNG MAN.) the cold he's feeling now. And when it was gone, that feeling, I was sad. So I forgot what it was like so that the cold wouldn't feel so bad anymore. And now, try as I might, I can't remember the feeling at all. A pause. FYDOR: What's up? ADELAIDE slowly turns to face FYDOR. ADELAIDE (darkly): I have something to tell you - I remember The Black Crow. She smiles fiendishly. FYDOR quickly turns away. FYDOR: No you don't! ADELAIDE: I remembered it today. I remembered it in the park.
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(thinking back.) I used to walk to The Black Crow, a long time ago... I used to walk along the tow-path by the river... FYDOR (increasingly worried): You don't remember The... that place, and you don't remember a river! Music: 40s Big Band. ADELAIDE (lost in nostalgia): And that was where they all used to look at me. They were frightened, as I said, but they still couldn't help but they still couldn't help themselves. (deep in her memory.) But there was one and he was younger than the rest. He was very young, (looks at THE YOUNG MAN.) about his age. (she smiles.) He had a nice smile. And this young man was so shy he didn't look. But the funny thing was I could feel him, and I think he felt me, I even think he felt a glimpse of the real me, wherever she was hiding. And although he didn't look, he saw more of me than any of the others did. (smiles.) And so I looked at him. Oh yes, I looked at him! But he was afraid of me like all the rest. So afraid he ran away, far away, so far away I couldn't find him again. (looks challengingly at FYDOR.) Didn't he? A pause. FYDOR (very worried): I never go to The Black Crow—I can't stand the Landlord. ADELAIDE: All your friends go there? FYDOR: They're all dead. ADELAIDE: Are they? FYDOR: You said yourself... ADELAIDE: Are you sure? FYDOR: Of course they are... (to Stan.) aren't you Stan? A pause. ADELAIDE (toying with her biscuits): I've decided to go back there.
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An ominous pause. FYDOR goes rigid. FYDOR: What did you say? ADELAIDE: It's time for me to go back—before closing time. FYDOR: I don't know what you're talking about. ADELAIDE (coldly): We are talking The Black Crow. Silence. FYDOR (violently): Shut-up and eat your biscuits! (flamboyant wave.) Morning—Ringwald! A pause. ADELAIDE eats a biscuits. FYDOR stares terrified into space. A pause. ADELAIDE: Take me to The Black Crow, Fydor. FYDOR (quick): I don't remember where it is. ADELAIDE (smiles): Oh, you know, it's just down there. FYDOR: Where? ADELAIDE (makes eye contact): You know. FYDOR (smiles with recognition): Oh, there. A pause. FYDOR holds up the bottle, his hand shaking. FYDOR (desperate): We could have a drink here, a drop of the good stuff, not a particularly good water hole this I know, between you-meand-the-bedpost, but... (sinks.) No, not a particularly good... ADELAIDE (gently): Fydor, I'd rather wait and have a drink at The
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Black Crow. FYDOR bangs the bottle down again. FYDOR: Why?! ADELAIDE: Because it'll be nice there. FYDOR: It won't! ADELAIDE: Its a good place. FYDOR (terrified): You don't know what it's like! ADELAIDE: I think you'll find I do. FYDOR: Shut up! ADELAIDE: Do I have to go there on my own? Ominous pause. FYDOR (rigid): You can't? ADELAIDE: He told me how. FYDOR: He didn't? ADELAIDE: He did. FYDOR: How?! ADELAIDE: How do you think. FYDOR: So you've been planing this for some time then? ADELAIDE: Only today, this morning in the park, I decided to go to The Black Crow. Then when I met you I knew how. A pause. FYDOR gets up and starts pacing about frantically.
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A anxious pause. ADELAIDE (casually): Fydor, I'm going to The Black Crow with or without you. FYDOR: Shut up you stupid old cow! ADELAIDE (adamant): You have to accept that whether you like it or not. FYDOR (threatening): You're not! ADELAIDE (weary): Why not? A pause. FYDOR, full of emotion, turns away. Silence. ADELAIDE (softly): Fydor, look at me. FYDOR: I'm a bit busy. ADELAIDE: Look at me. FYDOR (scared): No! ADELAIDE: Fydor, please look at me. FYDOR: No! ADELAIDE: Fydor... A pause. Then FYDOR very slowly turns to face her. ADELAIDE (quietly): I know how to get there by myself—I asked Him directions—but I want to go there with you, like the others did. FYDOR shakes his head dumbly.
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ADELAIDE: I do. FYDOR: You don't. ADELAIDE: I do, Fydor. FYDOR (begging): Please no, don't say that! ADELAIDE: I want to tell you something. FYDOR (pleading): Don't! ADELAIDE: It's quite simple. FYDOR (hands over his ears): Nooooooooo! ADELAIDE: I love you. FYDOR (furious anger): Don't you ever say that to me! A pause. FYDOR sinks to his knees, completely broken, his face contorted in a mask of agony. They both sit in silence. ADELAIDE: He told me to say that. Was that right? FYDOR (faintly): Yes, that's right. It's always the same. Silence. ADELAIDE: Did the others dream too? FYDOR (barely audible): No. Silence. ADELAIDE: I went for a walk today. Silence.
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Do you want me to tell you about my walk? Silence. (looking into space.) I told you that when I woke up this morning He was watching me. He didn't look at me, but I had this feeling that he was watching me. I've never liked the look of Him—too full of himself by half—anyway, I went for a walk to get away from Him. (ponders.) But I think He followed me. A pause. I ended up in the park, as I usually do. (dispassionately.) It was a lovely day, as it usually is, and the sun was shining, as it usually does, and there were big billowing white clouds in the sky. (considers.) It was, (pause.) I suppose, (coldly.) beautiful. A pause. (cold, lost). I heard there were birds singing, there were kids playing, the air was filled with the sent of flowers and new mown grass. There were ducks on the blue river, and red squirrels in among the golden leaves. (darkly.) But all I felt was the crunch of the ice under my feet. A pause. The park was empty, as it usually is, except for the regulars—the old crowd—the old woman with the pram—oh yes, and Him, because He had followed me there, but I had forgotten about Him because He'd fallen asleep. I walked for hours, because it's a big park and I wanted to get to the middle, and it takes hours to get there. I always go to the middle of the park because you are assured of getting a seat. A pause. And when I got there I sat down and listened to the singing. (ponders darkly.) You see there's this little stone building in the middle of the park, and there are people inside. They sing. I don't know who they are, I've never seen them. I once tried to peek through a crack in the wall, to try and see inside, but it's very dark in there, and there is no door, so I couldn't get in, and I can't see anyway for them to get out. (She considers.) But I don't think they want to, because, you see, I think they're singing love songs to each other, because although I can hear that they're songs are very fine and filled with beauty, they mean
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nothing to me. A pause. And as I sat there listening to the songs and watching the squirrels, I realised, quite suddenly, that if I wanted to I could stay there forever. But it all meant nothing to me. That's when I remembered The Black Crow. That's when I remembered you. (a pause.) Anyway, He was watching me again, even though his eyes were closed, (considers.) or maybe He was still asleep, or just doesn't have any eyes, I just don't trust Him—whatever, I'm sure He was watching me somehow again, so I left. (shrugs.) It didn't matter, I was going to leave anyway—I didn't want to stay there, not for eternity, even if I did have a seat. A pause. The sun was melting in red smoke, and I was just leaving when I saw the old woman with the pram. This old woman I've seen before—she always pushes a big black pram, and you can hear her talking to it. She talks about getting the tea when they get home, and what a good boy he has been. (lost.) Today—I don't know why—I went up to her to said hello. She never heard me, she just kept talking to the pram, or perhaps she didn't understand. I doubt if anyone has spoken to her for years, and they probably said hello differently back then. (ponders.) And when I pulled back the covers and looked inside—inside the pram—there was a dead cat. A pause. It's hard to let things go. Silence. Do you want to hear my dream? Silence. I dreamt I saw an old couple sitting on a bench, staring into space. They couldn't see anything, but they were holding hands, and they felt everything. Silence. ADELAIDE puts the packet of biscuits away in her pocket.
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She stands for a moment and looks around. ADELAIDE: Do the others dream? FYDOR (faintly): All the time. ADELAIDE smiles. She leaves her bags and crosses to FYDOR, lies down on the ground in his arms, and pulls his arms tight around her. She kisses his hands and buries her face in his greatcoat. She does not move again. FYDOR stares out front, lost. A pause. THE YOUNG MAN wakes, slowly stands and stares at FYDOR and the motionless ADELAIDE. A pause. FYDOR (To THE YOUNG MAN): Morning, Fydor! Get yourself a drink and bring it over to the corner table! A pause. THE YOUNG MAN suddenly runs off in terror. FYDOR (into space): Do you remember that landlord? Do you? He'll still be there. I can still hear him! Whenever you went in there he'd come charging up to you, I'll never forget, slap you on the back, do you remember, give a big grin, and shout HAVE A LAUGH! GO ON! HAVE A LAUGH!!! FYDOR give a single long grotesque laugh into space. SNAP BLACK OUT. CURTAIN.