By E Biggs
PLS FIND ATTACHED MY FIRST SUBMISSION AND MY FIRST EVER PLAY SCENE XOXOX keep well angels and thanks for bringing this superb chamber pot to flushin’ life yeehaw.
Playwriting Workshop 1 – by Eleanor Biggs
In these troubling times, a group of creatives in South East London have turned their attention to creative skills swap. Behold: the opening scene of my first play, which may or may not be finished, depending how long the quarantine continues for.
JOSEPHINE, 38, and MARK, 42, stand opposite each other in the KIDS’ PLAY AREA in the park on PECKHAM RYE. The play area is infested with gaggles of shrieking children running up slides and jumping hopscotch on the white lines painted onto the tarmac. This small concreted play area backs onto a carpark, where JOSEPHINE’s bottle green Peugeot is parked.
JOSEPHINE is dressed in a long knitted cardigan, with a pointy woollen hat on her head. A baby is strapped to her chest in a carrier. She has a hippy vibe, but seems tense. MARK is wearing a teal pullover. It’s February and he is visibly shivering, wishing he had worn a coat. They stand facing each other, bodies arched defensively. We join them in the middle of a fraught discussion.
MARK: Are you trying to tell me something?
JOSEPHINE: I’m leaving you.
Silence. After a beat MARK gathers himself and looks around him, glazed, turning his back to the audience. Suddenly he whips round to face JOSEPHINE.
M: Why… would you tell me in the bloody park? You’ve got our—
J: —our baby strapped to my chest, yes, I know Mark.
M: And there are fucking kids around!
J: [very calm] Yes, but they’re not paying any attention. I wanted to pick a neutral spa—
M: [in disbelief] —a neutral space?! What the fuck Jo? [staring wildly around, moving across the stage] Think of all the memories we made here, we, we… we live in Nunhead for Christ’s sake, where am I supposed to do my Couch to 5k now?
J: [unmoved, pragmatic] You could go to the cemetery.
M: [hissing] The cemetery? The cemetery?? You want me to run, no, dance with death do you?! You’re consigning our relationship, our new family, to the grave, so you’re suggesting I go and run around some actual graves now? Like I’m a bloody German woodcut?? You’re sick Jo. You’re a fucking psychopath.
J: I’m not a psychopath, Mark, I’m a sociopath. You knew that when you married me.
M: [hangs head] fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck…
J: [carrying on] You know this isn’t working. I want to get out before it’s too late. [beat] I’ve been feeling murderous towards you. And I don’t want to act on those feelings. So I’m leaving. All my stuff is in the car. [She unclips the child from her chest, and lowers it to the ground]. This is goodbye.
SFX car engine revs and sputters. JOSEPHINE mimes driving off stage. MARK stares down at the child. Fade to black.