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Hindle Wakes by Stanley Houghton
ALAN JEFFCOTE, a mill-owner's son, has spent a weekend away with FANNY HAWTHORN, a girl in her twenties. Now scandal looms and the families are trying to patch up a marriage that nobody really wants but which would suit social convention. The piece requires a Lancashire accent. ALAN is talking to BEATRICE, the girl he is sweet on.
I'm not a proper cad, Bee. I haven't been telling her one story and you another. It was all an accident, like. It wasn't all arranged. I shouldn't like you to think that, Bee. I ran across her at Blackpool. I went there in the car with George Ramsbottom. He's a pal. He made himself scarce. I dare say he picked something up himself.
Of course I knew her before Blackpool. There's not so many pretty girls in Hindle that you can miss one like Fanny Hawthorn. I knew her well enough, but on the straight, mind you. I'd hardly spoken to her before I ran into her at the Tower in Blackpool. We'd just had dinner at the Metropole Grill-room, George and I, and I daresay had drunk about as much champagne as was good for us. We looked in at the Tower for a lark, and we ran into Fanny in the Ballroom. She had a girl with her - Mary - Mary something or other. I forget. Anyhow, George took Mary on and I went with Fanny. Next day I got her to come with me in the car. We went to Llandudno. There's not much more to say. What else do you want me to tell you?
Yes, Bee, I suppose I did think about you. But you weren't there, you see, and she was. That was what did it. Being near her and looking at her lips. Then I forgot everything else. Oh, I know. I'm a beast. I couldn't help it. I suppose you can never understand. It's too much for you to see the difference. Fanny was just an amusement - a lark. I thought of her as a girl to have a bit of fun with. Going off with her was like going off and getting tight for once in a way. You wouldn't care for me to do that, but if I did you wouldn't think very seriously about it. You wouldn't want to break off our engagement for that. I wonder if you can look on this affair of Fanny's as something like getting tight - only worse. I'm ashamed of myself, just as I should be if you caught me drunk. I can't defend myself.
MEDEA by Franz Grillparzer, translated by Mary Patrick
MEDEA has helped to obtain for JASON the Golden Fleece from the KING OF IOLCUS, and they have returned to his homeland of Corinth. Here, a HERALD has arrived to tell how JASON and MEDEA obtained the Fleece by deception.
The King fell ill with fever, and so strange
Were all his symptoms - perhaps already fatal -
His daughters called Medea to their aid
To heal him - for they knew her reputation
With medicines, with potions and with cures.
She went with them but said if the King lived
The fee she wanted was the Golden Fleece -
A doom, she called it - and the girls agreed.
She entered the King's bedroom and she spoke
Strange incantations, dark, mysterious words.
The King sank deeper, deeper into sleep.
Medea said his blood must then be purged
And deeply cut into the royal veins.
The daughters saw their father's fever fade
And felt great pleasure as they bound his wounds.
Medea left, she says. The daughters also.
The King was sleeping peacefully at last.
But then a sudden, piercing cry was heard,
The daughters rushed into their father's room
To see a frantic, terrifying sight:
The poor old man lay writhing on the ground,
The bandages that bound his arms were burst,
And streams of blood were pouring from his wounds.
He struggled towards the altar where the Fleece
Had always hung. It was not there. That night,
Medea slung the Fleece around her shoulders
And strode away in triumph. She was seen!
Never again shall witchcraft and low guile
Infect our land. I have come here today
To declare Jason banished, for he knew
Medea's plan and he colluded in it.
His feet must never more touch Grecian soil!
His wife, his children - all must bear his sin!
Three days and nights we give him for provision
To leave this land. If any give him aid
The self-same punishment descends on them.
Pointing to the four points of the compass.
Banished, Jason and Medea.
Jason and Medea, banished!
Jason and Medea.
FIVE FINGER EXERCISE by Peter Shaffer
WALTER, a young German, described as 'secret, precise but not priggish' is in England to tutor 14-year-old Pamela Harrington in languages. His presence has a compelling and significant effect on each member of the family. In this scene he attempts to get through to Clive who is 19 and in a depressed and nervous state.
Setting: The Harrington's weekend cottage in Suffolk.
Time: The late 1950s
(he closes the door and stands behind the armchair). Clive? What's the matter? Are you all right? Why are you sitting in the dark? I've been talking to your father. He thinks you hate him. (CLIVE does not appear to hear.) Clive, listen to me. The Kings of Egypt were gods. Everything they did was right, everything they said was true, everyone they loved became important. And when they died, they grew faces of gold. You must try to forgive your parents for being average and wrong when you worshipped them once. Why are you so afraid? (He moves down R of CLIVE.) Is it - because you have no girlfriend? (He sits on the stool, R of CLIVE.) Oh, you are so silly. Silly. Do you think sex will change you? Put you into a different world, where everything will mean more to you? I thought so, too, once. I thought it would change me into a man so my father could never touch me again. I didn't know exactly what it would be like, but I thought it would burn me and bring me terrible pain. But afterwards, I'd be strong and very wise. There was a girl in Muhlbach. She worked in her mother's grocery shop. One night I had a few drinks and, just for a joke, I broke into her bedroom through the window. I stayed with her all night. And I entered heaven. I really did. Between her arms was the only place in the world that mattered. When daylight came, I felt I had changed for ever. A little later I got up. I looked round, but the room was exactly the same. This was incomprehensible. It should have been so huge now - filled with air. But it seemed very small and stuffy and outside it was raining. I suppose I had thought, 'Now it will never rain again,' because rain depresses me, and I was now a man and could not be depressed. I remember, I hated the soap for lying there in the dish just as it had done the night before. I watched her putting on her clothes. I thought: 'We're tied together now by an invisible thread.' And then she said: 'It's nine o'clock: I must be off' - and went downstairs to open the shop. Then I looked into the mirror: at least my eyes would be different. (Ironically.) They were a little red, yes - but I was exactly the same - still a boy. Rain was still here. And all the problems of yesterday were still waiting. (He pauses and puts his hand on CLIVE's arm.) Sex by itself is nothing, believe me. Just like breathing - only important when it goes wrong. And Clive, this only happens if you're afraid of it. what are you thinking? (He pauses.) Please talk to me.
HAMP by John Wilson
PRIVATE ARTHUR HAMP is described as 24 years old, 'gormless, a pathetic figure to everyone but himself'. There is an appealing innocence in him; he can't believe that an ordinary young man from a Lancashire mill town should be taken so seriously by the army simply because he had walked away from battle. But court-martial and death were law for desertion at that time and Lieutenant Hargreaves, to whom HAMP is speaking in this scene, has the task of documenting the evidence, trying to discover what might have affected HAMP's morale, causing him to desert.
Setting: the Army Prison, on the Western Front, during the Battle of Passchendaele 1917.
…Nothing I can think on, right off. I said to you about Willie, sir, didn't I?… Willie Bryson, sir… About when we were hit, like, sir. When he were killed… I were along with him at the time… Well, what I mean, sir, you could say that's in my mind - same as you were asking. Like, I don't think as much about it now, but you wouldn't be telling a lie if you said to them it's in my mind… Only it's more seeing than thinking… The way it happened like… I were talking to Willie at the time. Course I've seen plenty folk getting killed - same as you have - same as everybody. Hundreds. Thousands. Quick and slow. Weren't the first time neither that I saw somebody getting blown to bits. Bits of nothing, sir - you know what it's like. I've had to wipe and scrape bits off of me afore that an' all - the same as everybody else - it weren't the first time. Weren't even same as Willie were anything special to me. Maybe a bit, like, him belonging up our street, but only for that, nothing special. He never had much time for me at home, Willie. I couldn't tell you what kind of - It were quick, of course. Never saw it quicker, never, not for nobody. Couldn't tell you what kind of shell it were. I were nobbut five-six yards away, like, and I were only bleeding - scratches - five-six yards from him - but Willie weren't nowhere - only all over me. Bits. Red and yellow. You know what it's like without me telling you. They had to give me a new uniform. (Pause.) Same as I were saying, sir - couldn't tell you what were special about it, but it's the God's truth it's in my mind, like, if that's what you want to know. Not as bad as it was for a while, but - I'm still seeing it, like, sir, that's what I mean. True, sir.
IT'S RALPH by Hugh Whitemore
DAVE is a young builder-decorator-plumber. He has long hair and a beard and looks remarkably like Jesus Christ. He wears robe-like white overalls. The scene is in a timbered farmhouse converted into a weekend retreat. Andrew, a writer and his wife Clare are there for the weekend when Ralph, a friend from Andrew's past arrives. Andrew, who doesn't remember him, becomes increasingly angered by Ralph's bizarre and dramatic memories. He gets rid of him on a pretext, but Ralph returns, and is then killed when the ceiling collapses on him. DAVE's speech ends the play.
Time: The present.
Poor old Ralph. I'd never seen anyone dead before. (Pause.) Actually, that's not true. There was someone. My Dad's auntie. She was funny in the head. She thought she could flap her arms up and down and fly like a bird. They had her put away. But then, when she got older, Dad thought she should come and live with us. We had a house in the country, in Essex. Dad thought she should end her days with the family and not in a loony bin. The house was very unusual. Tall and thin. And there was trees all round it. there was a gap in the trees, and through that gap you could see the Colchester to London railway line. My old aunt loved to watch the trains go by. They gave her a room on the top floor so she could see the trains clearly. They kept the window locked, just in case. One day she managed to prise the window open. She crawled onto the window-sill, flapped her arms up and down, and jumped. Poor old darling. Mum rushed out and found her. 'Don't look,' she said, but of course I did. Wasn't nasty or frightening. Just a funny bundle of clothes with legs and arms sticking out of it. Mum said it was a blessed release. She often said that about people dying. (Pause.) I suppose some people thought she killed herself because we kept her locked up and were cruel to her. Perhaps some people thought she was trying to escape and killed herself accidentally. Some people knew the truth, of course. And perhaps there was someone in a train going from Colchester to London. And perhaps he looked out of the window, and perhaps, through the gap in the trees, he saw an old lady in mid-air, flapping her arms up and down. Just for a split second, as the train rushed on, past our house. And he'd look through the window, that man, and he'd be amazed. He'd tell his friend, 'I saw an old lady flying', he'd say. So in a way, it actually happened. What she wanted. Perhaps she died happy. What do you think?
UP'N UNDER by John Godber
The trainer of the Wheatsheaf Arms amateur rugby side has accepted a bet to play and beat the renowned team of the Cobblers Arms. Never having won a single match, success seems unlikely, but nevertheless the team is in training. Amongst them is Phil Hopley, who earlier in the play describes himself as: 'English teacher. Age 29. Weight 160 pounds. Height 5' 8". Position - Stand-Off. Hobbies: Reading, Scrabble, hunting around antique fairs on a Sunday.
Place: Hull. The night before the game.
Time: The present.
PHIL enters with a hot-water bottle, wearing a dressing-gown.
It's a very funny thing, when I was playing at Loughborough I never got nervous. I never had a thought about the game but tonight I'm like a bag of nerves… I've been to the toilet… back here to bed… I'm going to the toilet again in a minute… I'm sweating, sweat's dripping down my brow, even my palms are wet… I'll have to hope that I can, well… drift off to sleep.
(Lights change to a red wash covering the stage.)
And there I was, playing at Wembley in the Challenge Cup Final, playing for Fulham against the mighty Featherstone… There was hundreds and hundreds of bloated red faces looking down on me… I was on the wing and hundreds of yards away from the rest of the team. Featherstone looked massive… I gazed up and caught flashes of their kneecaps… They ran through to score, I glimpsed sight of hairs on the palms of their hands. We were losing… We needed a try. There was five minutes to play… There was an incident off the ball… 'Gerroff me, you fat pig.' I saw a gap, big as an ocean opening up in front of me… 'Pass the ball… pass the ball!' And then it came out of a blur, the ball… God, I was nervous… I saw it coming towards me… daren't take my eye off it… I caught it and I ran… But I didn't move… I looked up… and the whole of Featherstone were coming towards me… men, women, children… miners, shop assistants, garage-owners… all on the field after me… so I ran… but the faster I ran the slower I went… I looked around for someone to pass to… but they were all having lunch… sat down having lunch in the middle of Wembley Stadium… 'Go on, Phil,' they said, 'Go on… run mate, run'… and I was on the underground, going down the Piccadilly Station, running and they were all running after me… Then a policeman stopped me and I tried to explain but he wanted my name and where I lived… I hit him… and ran… It was like running in a dream… jumping over buildings and landing at different places… but wherever I landed they were still there, coming around the corner… I ran up an alleyway… I was cornered… I ran towards them… I just closed my eyes and ran…
ALTERNATIVES TO EXPLORE AND CONSIDER
The role of MACBETH in Macbeth
The role of KING LEAR in King Lear
The role of HAMLET in Hamlet
The role of IAGO in Othello
The role of MALVOLIO in Twelfth Night
The role of MARTIN DYSART in Equus
The role of FRANCISCO PIZARRO in The Royal Hunt of the Sun
The role of ATAHUALLPA in The Royal Hunt of the Sun
The role of ANTONIO SALIERI in Amadeus
The role of WILLY LOMAN in Death of a Salesman
The role of JOHN PROCTOR in The Crucible
SOURCES FOR MONOLOGUES:
Solo Speeches For Under 12s
Edited by Shaun McKenna
Published by Oberon Books Ltd/LAMDA ISBN: 1-84002-013-X
Scenes For Teenagers
Edited and adapted by Shaun McKenna
Published by Oberon Books Ltd/LAMDA ISBN: 1-84002-031-8
Actresses' Audition Speeches for All Ages and Accents
By Jean Marlow
Published by A & C Black - London ISBN: 0-7136-4051-0
Classics For Teenagers
Edited by Shaun McKenna
Published by Oberon Books Ltd/LAMDA ISBN: 1-84002-023-7
One On One - The Best Women's Monologues for the Nineties
Edited by Jack Temchin
Published by Applause Theatre Books ISBN: 1-55783-152-1
Solo Speeches For Men (1800 - 1914)
Edited by Shaun McKenna
Published by Oberon Books Ltd/LAMDA ISBN: 1-84002-046-6
The Methuen Audition Book For Young Actors
Preface by Jane Lapotaire. Edited by Anne Harvey
Published by Methuen Drama ISBN: 0-413-66630-1
Solo Speeches For Women (1800 - 1914)
Edited by Shaun McKenna
Published by Oberon Books Ltd/LAMDA ISBN: 1-84002-003-2