ONE 9 • Theatrespace

Samaritan
by Lisa del Rosso
Act 1 Scene 1
(London, 1989. Interior of The Samaritans. A windowless room, yellow and brown, clean but shabby, with four cubicles. To the left is a desk covered with papers; this is where the Samaritan leader would sit during a shift. After Scene 1, whenever Lucia is at the Sams, so are all of the others. They are coming in and out, on the phones taking calls, fetching tea for each other, etc… The room should be lively, but not distracting. Right now, there is a spot on Lucia in the far right cubicle, while the rest are in darkness, and the phone is ringing. The audience will hear what Lucia hears, through voiceover. Lucia begins very polite and eager, and tries to remain polite throughout the call. Never does she become emotional, though she does react physically. Jack’s tone throughout is very light, casual, without drama.)
Lucia
Hello Samaritans, how can
I help?
Jack
That’s a new voice. What’s your name?
Lucia
My name is Lucia.
Jack
Lucia. Is that how you
say it? Lu-cia. That’s a pretty name. I’ve not talked to you before. My name is Jack. Or perhaps this…
(continued)
(continued from previous page)
…isn’t your regular shift?
Lucia
Are you feeling suicidal?
Jack
(Laughing) No, no, no. Has no one told you about me? I call in once a week, I do. For about, well… going on six years now.
Lucia
How can I help you, Jack?
Jack
You’re American, aren’t you?
Lucia
Yes, I am.
Jack
Could you give me your opinion, then?
Lucia
It depends on the question, Jack.
Jack
Oh, that’s good, that’s good. You do know your stuff, I can tell. Do you believe in the death penalty, Lucia?
Lucia
(After a pause) No. No, I don’t.
Jack
No matter the crime?
Lucia
I guess it’s always seemed like revenge to me: sanctioned revenge. But I don’t think it’s a deterrent and I don’t think it solves anything.
Jack
Good, good, Lucia; I’m glad to hear that. I’m in a place I’ll never get out of, never see the trees or walk the hills again. I come from Cornwall, Lucia; do you know Cornwall?
Lucia
I do. The coastline is very beautiful, and in a way, it looks like the West Coast. Except for the weather.
Jack
Beautiful place: no place on earth like it. My village is a small one; all were neighbors and friends. They keep me drugged here, Lucia. Do you know, I can never go back there, either, because they’d kill me. Not that I’ll ever have the chance. I had a wife. I had a family. My life. But I did it, didn’t I, couldn’t help meself, I just became obsessed with this girl, big eyes, couldn’t get her out of my head. Are you there, Lucia?
Lucia
Yes Jack, I’m here.
Jack
That’s good, you know, no one will take my calls, family disowned me, no one visits. They hate me. You’re the only one who’ll talk to me, The Samaritans, who’ll listen to me; the ones who have to take my call, can’t end the call, can ya? Can you, Lucia?
Lucia
I’m here, Jack.
Jack
Oh Lucia, I couldn’t get her out of my head. Eight, a child of innocence but of possession…Lucia?
Lucia
Yes Jack?
Jack
I raped her and I killed her, Lucia. (Lucia reacts physically but keeps her voice steady) Did you hear?
Lucia
Yes, I heard you Jack.
Jack
What do you think of me? Do you hate me?
Lucia
I… have no opinion of you. No, I don’t hate you.
Jack
Do you think I should die?
Lucia
I can’t judge you.
Jack
You know, Lucia, they should never let me out of here. I know they shouldn’t. I’ve become a homosexual here, that’s what happens in prison, and they keep me drugged because of my urges, so they say, but they can’t take away my thoughts. They can’t. I still fantasize about little girls. Little girls with big brown eyes. I should never get out of here. If England still had the death penalty when my case was up, I’d be dead now. Lucia?
Lucia
Yes?
Jack
I deserve to die for what I’ve done; I know that, I’m not daft. Instead, I’m here. I’ll never get out. My life is shit, but it’s better than death. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die. Lucia? Still listening to me, Lucia?
Lucia
Yes, Jack, I am.
Jack
Thank you. (Jack hangs up.)
(Lucia sits there in shock, the phone still in her hand. She shakes her head as if to say, No. She stops, pauses, then slams the phone down and steps away from it, repelled.)
Lucia
Fucking, fucking hell!

 

45 and a Half Miles
by Edward Neville
[excerpted and edited for ONE]
ACT IV
Café Bastille
(The cafe is in ruins [from the bomb blast]. Tables and chairs [litter the scene.] Rubble and a fine layer of dust cover everything. Yellow police tape covers the door. […] Bodies [lie covered with blankets.] A Gendarme flits between them, checking each for identification. Henry enters, ducking under the tape. The Gendarme sees him.)
Gendarme
Hey, you! You can’t be here! This is a crime scene!
Henry
Please! Please! Sil vous plait! My friend was here tonight. I need to know what happened to him.
Gendarme
I can’t comment on an on-going investigation. What’s more, we cannot give out details until families have been notified. Please leave.
Henry
Sir, please. I have to know.
Gendarme
I have a selection of names. What was his name?
Henry
Arouet,
Francois-Marie Arouet.
Gendarme
A Frenchman?
Henry
No… yes. Yes, he was.
Gendarme
I don’t have that name from the list of identification so far. […] Description?
Henry
White male. Twenty. Well dressed. Brown hair.
Gendarme
Height?
Henry
Sixfoot… 182 centimetres. (Aside) Sixfoot… But his horizon was a lot more than only three miles away.
Gendarme
One of the bodies matches this description you have given me.
(Henrycrouchesdown and cradleshishead in his hands.)
Henry
Oh, shit.
Gendarme
Would you be willing to make an identification?
(Henry breathes […] heavily. Behind him, Alice appears in the doorway, looking through.)
Henry
Yes. Yes, I’ll do it.
(The Gendarme indicates to one of the bodies and the two of them step towards it.)
Henry
Yes.
(The Gendarme crouches don and pullsback the blanket, revealing Francois’ face. Henry
chokes, grabbing his mouth, fighting the urge to throw up. He turns away.)
Gendarme
This is the man?
Henry
Yes. Yes, that’s him.
Gendarme
Sir, I understand this must be a difficult moment for you, but I will need you to provide me with contact details for his family. I need to inform them.
(Henry can do nothing but nod. The Gendarme notices Alice in the doorway. […] She ducks under the tape. The Gendarme retreats tothe doorway, unwilling toleave the scene, yet allowing Henry his grief.)
Alice
Henry? I’m so sorry.
(He doesn’t reply. She reaches out and touches his shoulder. He reacts to this by spinning around and slapping her in the face. She cries out and recoils. Behind them, the Gendarme starts forward.)
Gendarme
Sir!
Alice
No, no, it’s all right. I deserved that.
Henry
You deserve worse than that.
Alice
I know.
Henry
You say you’re afraid you’re going to lose your Dad. I think you fucking deserve to.
Alice
I—
Henry
What do I do right now, Alice? Knowing what I know. What do I do right now?
Alice
Please.
Henry
Why? What do I owe you? What do I owe him? What do I owe you? Do I have loyalty to you? Why? Why, when theone man I know who had loyalty to… to… to humanity above all else. Above a flag, above a person, above everything, he saw the futility of what people do to each other. Why, when my best friend is dead because of you and your fucking cause, do I have loyalty tothat cause? What do I owe that cause? What do I owe you?
Alice
Nothing.
Henry
What does it mean? What does it accomplish? Vindication? Pride? What’s it for? We get independence tomorrow? We rejoin Britain? We get to call ourselves British. We get the Union Jack flying over Westminster again. My best friend is still dead. My life won’t be better for a Union Jack flying over Westminster. Not with Francois dead. My life was better this morning than it is now. The world was better this morning than it is now.
Alice
Henry, my Dad wasn’t—
Henry
No? But this is what he stands for. Why shouldn’t I walk over to that Gendarme and tell him everything he needs to know. I walk over there and tell him everything. Everything about you and your Dad and […] give the government everything they need to discredit the BNP so much that they won’t recover for twenty years.
Alice
I won’t let you.
(She pulls a gun out of her pocket and points it at Henry.)
I won’t let you.
Henry
Did you know you placed every person on the planet equidistantly from each other, there’d be 45 and a half miles from you to the next person?
Alice
What?
Henry
Francois was six foot tall. That means if he stood at the beach and looked out to the horizon, that was three miles away. The horizon is three miles away, and the nearest person would bemore than 42 miles further away than that. 42 miles further than the horizon. But we kill each other over what we want to call that 45 miles. Do you want to kill me over what you call your 45 miles? You’d kill me for the distance between you and the next person. We’re all alone in the world Alice. There are so few of us and we’re killing each other. We’re killing each other for the name of the distance between us and the next person. We’re killingeach other for 45 miles of isolation. Everyone of us has walked 45 miles to find each other. If we kill each other, we have to do it again. We’ve come together, you and I. Are you going to kill me?
Alice
I don’t know what to do.
Henry
Neither do I.
Gendarme
Excuse moi? Madame, monsieur, tres desole, however I am going to have to ask you to vacate the premises. This is a crime scene, I cannot risk you contaminating it. My apologies.
Henry
Yes officer.
(Henry and Alice begin to leave. Suddenly, Henrystops and addresses the Gendarme.)
Excuse me, sir. But might I ask where you’re from?
Gendarme
Where I am from?
Henry
Yes.
Gendarme
I was born in a small town called Saint-Omer. It isabout 40 kilometres from Calais.
Henry
About 45 miles from Dover.
Gendarme
Um… yes. Yes, that is about right. Pour quoi, monsieur?
Henry
Something my friend once said. Thank you sir.
Gendarme
Bon soir, monsieur. I am sorry for your loss.