GUINNESS

–It’s Welsh.

— It is?

— What is?

— It’s Irish. Obviously.

— Most people think it’s Irish. The man who’s famous for creating it –

— was Irish

— was Irish, right but was actually travelling from Wales to Ireland when he

[SOUND OF A CAMERA SHUTTER]

— Guinness. We’re talking about Guinness?

— he came across a nice little Welsh pub.

— nahh

— it’s a well known fact. Loved the drink so much he asked for the recipe.

Pause. 

bought the recipe and took it with him to Ireland.

— I don’t believe it.

— It’s a well known fact.

— I like real Irish beer. I want to go back to that place that did the free pint. the two pints for the price of one deal

— paddy’s lock

— yeah that one but i want to go with people who don’t like beer so i can get all their free ones. like rich does.

— rich does that?

— yeah he goes around the pub asking people for their spare pints when they don’t drink them

— nutter

— and he just says can i have that pint –

— and they let him/have it

— they let him have it!

Beat 

— what was that place in brighton? they did American shakes kinda thing…

— can’t remember

— it was nice there/wasn’t it?

— really nice

— how long till we’re

— 20 minutes

— home

— no less than that. if we’re…no less than that…10 minutes i’d say

— got your purse?

[SOUND OF A CAMERA SHUTTER]

— reckon the barriers are open

— we could jump the barriers. jump em and see if the police come running after us

— i’ve actually done that before

Beat.

— in paris. with fifty kids. cause we were on the wrong er

— you didnt!

— the wrong er

Laughter. 

— we got the wrong tunnel

— its illegal

— no its not. its ingenuity. resourcefulness.

— listen to her – it’s illegal

— not as illegal as telling fifty kids to jump a barrier so they could see the Louvre

— in paris!

— paris!

— only me

beat.

— we didnt see the Louvre

— anyway, youre the criminal

— me

— yeah

— me

— yeah

— wheres my wallet

— honestly i reckon its…

— yeah but just in case

— …open

— hang on. me? criminal?

— yeah. you. the true criminal.

— what on earth for?!

— for saying its Welsh, duh.

Stage Direction

We did some speed writing – scene based (EXCEEDINGLY LOOSELY) on our teenage years. LOL.

A is in his late thirties, glasses, greying face and hair. He sits overlooking a medium-sized garden, where B is throwing up piles of green-brown autumn leaves. B is six. It’s a Tuesday afternoon and inside, the smell of sawdust hands in the air. A sits on a plain, hardbacked wooden chair. He is designing something absent-mindedly at his desk. To his left, a dark corridor recedes.

A, or Steve, as he may be called, is wearing a grey-and-white checkered shirt, open at the neck to reveal a few grey chest hairs. His sleeves are rolled up. Hairy arms. He is barefoot, white paint flicked across his feet, especially his toenails. There is yearning in his eyes and he is waiting, waiting for the return of C.

B has long, raw honey hair, and is just as sweet. She kicks piles of leaves daintily in her school shoes that she never wore to school. But her heart is not in it. She sneaks a glance at A and tilts her head. B looks back, silent, yearning, a liquid smile. B tries, “Daddy?” A shrugs helplessly. “No,” he mouths.

monologue

when i dance i dance for myself/i like the way my body moves, the way my hips slay/i feel powerful/i feel sexy/and then i wonder if there is such a thing as objective sexiness/because as a straight woman i relate sex to men/when i think ‘sex’ i think ‘man’/so when I think ‘sexy’ must i also think men/i want to dance for myself/i do dance for myself/at least i want to say that yes the answer is yes i only dance for myself/ i am sexy only for myself/i feel strong and in the moment i do not think about a man

these are all truths

i delight in how my body moves/how it feels/smooth & moulded into space/like/like how if i masturbate i can be incredibly turned on by myself without the need for another without/the need to imagine another/or to watch anything because/thinking about myself is enough/and its a little narcissistic yes/and im still trying to find the line between objectification and control/and then i wonder if im truly turned on by myself or by what/i/as a straight woman having an orgasm represents/if my body is so manipulated that i am in fact turned on by the idea of myself acting/or being/sexy/auden says that the condition of a slave/is so intolerable/that in order to survive he must delude himself into believing he is choosing to obey his masters commands/i feel guilty wondering if i am turned on by myself/ or by the fact that im writhing on the sheets/in a grotesque imitation of what i see on tv/as a straight female virgin how much of what i find sexy is me and how much has been passed to me/generations upon generations of ill-fitted misogyny and hand-me-down objectification/and control/and reclaiming the body/and i constantly analyse myself/is there a performative element to my dance or am i dancing for myself/or am i dancing for myself performatively/because it matters to me/and its not as easy as making a decision to dance for me or him or whoever/cause i still don’t know if theres such a thing as sexiness without context/without boundaries/and if im to say that this is sexy what am i measuring it up against/of course its sexy/but why/in the same way when i dress/i feel good about myself/its not for anybody else/but psychologically/unconsciously/what looks good to me only exists in relation to what i think/looks good to others/in a way/and when i kiss men theres a certain kind of/a certain pride i guess/thats the performative again/a sort of doing it right/which might not necessarily be a bad thing/i mean somethings got to be right/otherwise how do we know what we like/it hurts my head to think/

regardless my dancing

and my body

is mine

always mine.

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Adaptation

So over the summer I directed my adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray. I was incredibly lucky to have the most amazing actors and creative team supporting me. And since everybody since has been genuinely so interested in how the play unfolded, how it went, and how exactly I went about adapting it, I thought I’d upload the finished script (typos and all! 😉 ) because if there’s one thing I’ve discovered, it’s that I’m not particularly good at describing how I adapted it. ‘Oh I changed some words’ and ‘I put in a few movement sequences and split scenes’ really isn’t that helpful (I sorry)

I wrote the entire thing on a fantastic little app – programme?- called Celtx. Absolutely brilliant for writing stage plays, screenplays, novels, and so forth. I really recommend it. Of course the thrill wears off eventually. You go from, ‘OMG, I’m writing such an official looking play!’ to, by page 50, ‘CAN I JUST FINISH THIS THING ALREADY?!’

Obviously this script pretty different to what was finally put onstage. Rehearsals do that. Different ideas are introduced and others discarded. But on paper, at least, this is the original…

So, here it is. The first full length play I’ve ever written (wow)

The Picture of Dorian Gray- A Creative Adaptation (1)

 

Durnenkovs:The Drunks:Inspired: Part 1

Inspired by ‘THE DRUNKS’ 

– –

Enter a commedia dell’arte FOOL. He stops in front of the audience, noticing them and grinning. In his hand he holds a bag.

FOOL:

(to himself he murmurs a limerick)

A tendency to sugar coat

Has historically floated the boat

Of politicians held dear

All out of the fear,

That without them, we’d all fail to vote

He stops in front of the audience, noticing them

FOOL:

Ahh ladies and gentlemen – you are very welcome.

I bet you’ve all had a little tipple haven’t ya?

A little drink? Hmm?

He glances around.

You’re probably all completely off your faces now. Cabbaged. Spangled. Crunk. I can tell.

Especially you.

He picks one member of the audience and points at them, laughing.

It’s in your eyes.

But it’s okay – this is England. And what are we all if not a little drunk?!

Now where was I?

Oh yes!

He reaches into his bag and hands out newspapers to the front row. These serve as the shows programmes.

 

I’m sure you’ve all heard that hero is back in town.

Jack.

(whispers) He’s teetotal.

Fucking insane, if you ask me.

Front page of every paper, he is!

Although, between you and me, my favourite page is 22.

Pause.

 

Well go on. You can turn to it!

Audience are given a couple of seconds to open the page if they want. On this page is an article satirising major politicians entitled THE TOP TEN POLITICAL LOOKALIKES. Ed Miliband next to Wallace. Putin next to Dobby. And Cameron next to a pug.

 

Wonder what it’s like – being famous, acclaimed, noticed by top politicians. Jack’ll tell ya. He knows them all.

He knows the truth. He’ll show you.

Ladies and gentlemen…

I am proud to present…

He lifts up a large tabloid whose HEADLINE reads: ‘ACT ONE, SCENE ONE’ before exiting the stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIME AFTER TIME

Scene. ZEROS’ bedroom. ALYSSA sits upstage on a bed. She looks uncomfortable and takes up as little space as possible.

Zeros enters. He slurps a drink loudly.

ZEROS: Sure you’re not thirsty? Don’t want a drink?

ALYSSA: Sure. Are you finished now?

ZEROS: Yep. That was the last of the clients. We have the place to ourselves.

He slides onto the bed beside her and taps his lap, inviting her to sit on him. She does so and drapes her arms around his neck.

ALYSSA: I’ve missed you.

She leans in to kiss him but he moves his head back out of her reach.

ZEROS: What do you want to go and do that for?

ALYSSA: Do what for?

ZEROS: Be emotional. Women are always too emotional.

Alyssa rolls her eyes, sensing the start of a familiar tirade.

ALYSSA: Don’t…

Zeros slides her off himself roughly and begins to pace around, rather heated.

ZEROS: They cry and scream over the tiniest thing, and then when you tell them to shut up they get damned near hysterical. It’s all ’you don’t respect my feelings’ this and ’you’re a misogynist’ that. It does my head in.

ALYSSA: Please don’t…Can’t it just be us two…happy? Just tonight?

Zeros turns and his expression softens.

ZEROS: Of course it can babe. (laughing) So…where does the precious father think you are tonight?

ALYSSA: Studying at a friend’s.

ZEROS:(roughly) Come ’ere.

Alyssa stands and walks towards him, holding her arms out. He holds her face and they kiss passionately.

ALYSSA: I love you.

Zeros goes to kiss her again but Alyssa holds him at an arm’s distance.

Well?

ZEROS: Well what?

ALYSSA: Aren’t you gonna say you love me back?

ZEROS: Yeah…sure. I’ve told you before haven’t I?

He kisses her again and grabs her by the waist, leading her over to the bed.

ALYSSA:  Zeros…can you tell that friend of yours? Harry wasn’t it? The one with the really big ginger beard… (shudders) Can you tell him – remind him – I haven’t been paid yet.

Zeros stops trying to kiss her and glares at her instead.

ZEROS: What a time to bring that up, eh?

ALYSSA: I’m sorry. It’s just really difficult at the moment, y’know? Dad doesn’t want to let on, but we’re almost out of money. He’s getting so thin. I’m worried about him…

ZEROS: Your father’s problems are none of my fucking business.

ALYSSA: Please? For me? I should’ve been paid last week. You know that.

ZEROS: Yeah I know. There’ve been…problems. The guy’s a moron. But you’ll get paid when it’s sorted. Same as the other girls. You know that.

ALYSSA: But…

Zeros rises.

ZEROS: What the hell do you want from me?! You want special treatment is that it? Because you’re fucking the boss?

ALYSSA:

(holding her ground) No.

ZEROS: Good, because you won’t get any sweetheart. Don’t push me Alyssa. I can easily find someone to replace you. Maybe not as clever – I’ll give you that. But brains don’t mean anything, you hear me? I can find someone prettier, sexier. Girls that would kill to be in this position.

ALYSSA:

Stop it.

ZEROS:

(walking up to her, sneering) You’re no more special than any of the other sluts that work for me.

He’s found her breaking point. Alyssa buries her head in her hands, sobbing.

ALYSSA:

I don’t understand you.

ZEROS:

It’s just too easy to wind up a pathetic bitch like you. You’re disgusting you know that?

Pause.

Babe? Get me my light.

Alyssa sits, unresponsive.

 I said get me my light!

She refuses to move and he advances, as if to slap her then stops suddenly, realising he has lost. He collects the lighter from the bedside table and lights his own cigarette, inhaling and taking deep, calming breaths. After a while he looks at her with a sort of pained yet resentful longing.

ZEROS:

You’re not going to be a moody cow are you?

No response.

Awh c’mon babe, don’t take it out on me. I didn’t mean it. You know I didn’t.

Still no response. Zeros moves to sit beside her.

I just get frustrated sometimes. And you frustrate me, you frustrate me so much. C’mon, don’t be a silly baby. Don’t you want it to be how you said? You and me? Happy? Hmm?

ALYSSA:

Yes.

ZEROS:

Say you forgive me babe?

ALYSSA:

I couldn’t stay upset with you.

ZEROS:

Good. And look – I’ll try and see if you can get your wages a bit quicker. How does that sound?

ALYSSA:

Thank you Zeros!

ZEROS:

(kisses her) Now don’t you ever say I don’t treat you well, because I do.

ALYSSA:

You do, you do!

She flings her arms around his neck as his mobile rings. He shrugs her off and answers it.

ZEROS:

Hello…Oh yes, hi. No. Sorry…I know, I know. I’ll get it sorted. Yes. Course I will. Another one? When?

He covers the phone with his hand and whispers.

Got you another job darlin’.

Alyssa shakes her head frantically but Zeros ignores her.

ZEROS:

Tonight? Yeah. She’ll be there.

He glares at her.

I’ll make sure of it. About the payment…yeah, no, course. Sorry. Yes, I’ll sort it. B-

He stares as the person on the phone has evidently hung up quickly.

ALYSSA:

I’ve had enough for the day, what did you go book me another one for?

ZEROS:

It wasn’t my choice, was it? Guy’s a nut job.

ALYSSA:

Sally could’ve done it. Or Gerri…

ZEROS:

It’s a rich guy. He wants a blonde apparently.

He twists her hair in his hands in a teasing manner.

Now stop sulking. Are you going to be a good girl or what? Why don’t we pick up from where we were? You’ve got a while yet.

ALYSSA:

Let me just freshen up.

ZEROS:

Freshen up – like you’re the freaking queen or something? Airs and graces – that’s always been you. Listen love, there’s no ’freshening up’ that’s gonna sort you out. You’re as stale and common as a loaf of bread!

He chuckles at his own joke. Alyssa stands, unsure what to do.

Well go on! Hurry up then, I’ll be here. I need a smoke anyway.

Alyssa quickly exits stage left. Zeros leans backwards onto the bed, supporting himself on his elbows.

Women.

Cake &Confessions

Scene. A cafe. The place is fairly busy with a chilled atmosphere. A woman is working behind the till, stacking up baked goods behind the display glass. A man and another woman enter the cafe.  The woman sits a table and the man approaches the counter.

Man:  Hello, could I get…?

Woman looks up. They recognise each other.

Man: Oh.

Woman: Hello.

Man: Wow…this is…I had no idea you worked here.

Pause.

Man: Well, um, how have you been?

Woman: How can I help you?

Man: What?

Woman: What would you like to order?

Man: Oh come on!

Woman: I’m busy.

Man looks around. All the customers are seated. But there is clearly nobody in the queue.

Man: Fine. What do you have?

Woman: Just ask for something and we probably have it.

Man: Have you got red velvet cake?

Woman nods and begins to collect a piece.

Man: Wait. That’s not what she wanted. I was just asking. For something. Like you said.

Pause.

Woman: She?

Man: Could I get a –

Woman: She?

Man: Susan. From work. You met her once remember? Dark hair, quite tall. She’s by the window.

Woman surveys the cafe, turning her head from side to side. She spots Susan and nods, as if remembering. 

Woman: Tart.

Man: Excuse me?!

Woman:  Raspberry tarts, we sell those.

Man: Oh…right! No, I don’t think so. I’ll have the –

Woman: So Susan. When did that happen?

Man:  We started seeing each other around four – five months ago.

Woman: I see.

A very long, uncomfortable pause. Much longer than the previous. Another customer enters and stands behind the man, as if waiting in a queue.

Woman: Look, can you just tell me what your precious Susan wants to order? I’m busy here.

Man: Yes. Course. She wants a pastry.

Woman: (under her breath) Flaky.

Man: What?

Woman: A flaky pastry? Or…?

Man: Flaky. Flaky will do.

Woman: Okay.

She puts one pastry in the bag.

Is that all?

Man: Yes. No. No it’s not. I’m sorry about what happened.

Woman: It’s a bit late for all that, don’t you think?

Man: I was stupid. Not a day goes past that I don’t regret it.

Woman: Well you have Susan now so…

Man: I don’t feel the same way about her like I did – I still do – for you.

Woman: (Talking over his head to the next customer) Hi, how can I help you?

Customer: I’ll take a mille feuille…

Woman: Of course ma’am. (turning and passing  the pastry to the man)  Your girlfriend’s waiting.

Customer: …and a blueberry pie.

Woman: No problem.

Man: Nothing’s been the same since you left. I mean, Susan’s amazing, but she’s not you. It’s not the same, never will be. There’s not the same…the same…

Customer: Passion…

Man: Yes! That! It’s comfortable with her, that’s all. But I’ve never stopped thinking about you.

Customer: …Passion fruit cake. Two slices.

Woman: Here you are. That’ll be £7.67 please.

Man: You forgot to charge me. How much do I owe you?

Woman: More than you can afford.

Customer: Oh sorry, I forgot. One more thing?

Man: How many times can I apologise?

Woman: If you keep hassling me, I’ll be forced to call my manager. You’re making a scene.

Customer: If it’s not too much of a bother.

Man:  I’ve said sorry. What do you want from me?

Woman: I want you to leave.

Man: Fine. Fine. Okay.

Turns to go and then doubles back.

You know, this was always your problem. You never talk about things. You just run away.

Customer: Do you sell – ?

Woman: No I don’t.

Pause.

Customer: Who was that meant for?

Woman: Sorry. Him.

Customer: Oh well in that case, do you sell –

Man: I get it. I hurt you. But damnit, can’t we move on? Can’t you forgive me? Do you have to be so, so…?

Customer: Bitter –

Man: Bitter!

Customer: Bitter buckwheat tea?

Woman: Of course, I’ll make that for you now ma’am.

She pours the tea.

Customer: And a cup of –

Man: Can we at least talk later?

Woman: Susan’s looking this way. You might want to lower your voice.

Customer: Wispa?

Man: Yes. That’s a great idea. (in a loud whisper) I’m sorry – my head’s all over the place at the moment. I just know that we need to talk. If not now, then later?

Customer: A hot cup of wispa, if you have it. And what are those? (Points at a shelf behind the woman.)

Woman: Chocolates. They’re very good actually. Would you like one?

Customer: What kind are they?

Man: Please. When do you get off work?

Woman: (To customer) After Eight.

Customer: Oh okay. No thanks.

Customer pays, collects items and returns to her seat.

Man: You never answered my calls.

Woman focuses on scrubbing the counter.

I get it. I deserve this I suppose. But is there any way – anything I could do to get you to forgive me?

Woman: She’s coming over.

Man: Brilliant.

Susan joins them. She holds the man’s hand.

Susan:  Is everything alright?

Man: Yes.

Susan: You haven’t ordered the drinks! (To the woman) We’d like two cups of tea please. Black, no sugar.

Woman: Right away.

She pours drinks and hands them over. Man goes to collect drinks. It is unclear whether it is the man or woman’s fault, but the drinks are knocked over. The liquid stains Susan’s shirt and shoes.

Susan: Now look what you’ve done! Are you happy now?

Man: (staring at the woman) No. I’m not.

Susan: I’m sorry. My fiancé is such a klutz sometimes. Well go on then – apologise to the lovely lady!

Man: I am so, so sorry.

Woman: Fiancé?

Susan:  Oooh look at my skirt, it’s completely ruined. It was expensive too. I’m really sorry we’ve made such a mess. Honestly darling, how did you managed to drop the entire thing?

Woman: You threw it all away.

Man:  (to Susan) I’ll get you a new one.

Woman: It won’t be the same.

Man: A spin in the washing machine should salvage it.

Woman: It’s too late.

Susan: (laughs) She knows what she’s talking about! Us girls have to look out for each other, eh? Right, I’m just going to the ladies room.

Susan exits.

Woman: You’re getting married?!

The man goes to speak but the woman raises a finger, demanding silence. Man walks back to his table slowly. Susan re-enters.

Woman: Dick.

They both turn.          

Woman: Spotted dick. On the house. For the happy couple, eh?