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Being Perfect

06 Aug

a play for radio

(RTÉ, 2004)

(extract)
DUMPHY: Anyway…
LUKE: What do you mean – anyway?
DUMPHY: Aren’t you after being in an accident? And aren’t you both alive?
a beat; Luke’s former exhilaration has a reprise –
LUKE: Fran, what are you looking at me like that for? Lookit – I’m not perfect…
FRANCES: You used to be.

 
 

The Duke

06 Aug

a play for radio

(RTÉ, 2004)

(extract)

The ticking of a mantelpiece clock

DUKE: Yes, it’s curious, isn’t it?
BILLY: What?
DUKE: It’s got nothing to do with closing your eyes.
BILLY: No?
DUKE: Nothing to do with the blackness of sleep. BILLY: I suppose not…

The rustle of a newspaper

DUKE: I seem to be going further each night.
BILLY: Really? Further? How do you mean – further?
DUKE: Further. Into wherever the hell it is I go.
BILLY: When you’re asleep?
DUKE: When I’m asleep.
BILLY: You haven’t been sleeping properly, then?
DUKE: Oh, I’ve been sleeping. It’s just I’ve been going places.

 
 

Lennon’s Guitar

06 Aug

a play for radio

(RTÉ, 2005)

(extract)

The sound of a guitar being tuned
The guitar is now tuned. Several false starts, then a piece of MUSIC is played on the guitar. The music develops a WAVERING ECHO. The echo is taken up in the opening exchange, accentuating the air of unreality –
JEMMIE: This meeting isn’t real, is it, Hector?
HECTOR: No, it isn’t. But since when has that stopped you, Jemmie?
JEMMIE: Exactly. Now, Hector, I’d like to say I’m very disappointed. Know what I mean?
HECTOR: I do, Jemmie. I know what you mean.
JEMMIE: I thought you were a man of vision.
HECTOR: So did I, Jemmie.
JEMMIE: I have the next Beatles here. Agreed?
HECTOR: Agreed. But these are outrageous terms you’re asking.
JEMMIE: I was going to hum you a Beatles song, but now I’m annoyed.
HECTOR: All right. You win. Let’s all make a lot of money.
JEMMIE: Good man, Hector. Except…now the terms have changed. I want more.

Guitar music stops abruptly. Reality bites – the sound character is now entirely realistic – a car coming down multi-storey car park, screeches to a halt.
JEMMIE: Lovely car you drive, Mr Longhorne, sir…Hector…
HECTOR: The answer is no. Out of my way or I’ll run you over.
JEMMIE: I’m not moving until we have a talk.

Engine revs. The sound of Jemmie leaping onto the bonnet.

 
 

The Fishmonger

06 Aug

(RTÉ, 2006);
(extract)

BRIDIE:

The run-up to our anniversary has been like the run-up to Christmas. It has involved no running. Only a few heavy sighs – and they might have nothing to do with any anniversary. Never mind. We remain as we are. Today’s the day. I was up early. Couldn’t sleep.

It’s a lovely day for an anniversary. People in hot climates don’t know what this kind of a sunny day is like. Sun beating down on our street.

He’ll be at the door of the shop, sweating on his chair. Breathing through his gills. Pouting like a big mullet. He should drink more water. I’m drinking more water. ‘It’s good for the kiddlies,’ I tell him and he laughs. ‘Diddle I already know that,’ says he.

I’ll be in the cool of our dry aquarium. Behind the ranks. I might have a little sing. Just to mark the occasion. I Dreamt that I Dwelt in Marble Halls.

I have something for him. Something small. I’m putting it on the mantelpiece. He won’t see it, of course. I’ll have to point it out to him this evening.

It’s a gold tie-pin, and cuff-links with his initials engraved.
’Maybe he hasn’t forgotten. Maybe he has something for me that would fit in his pocket.

 
 

Some Lizards

06 Aug

(RTE, 2009)

(extract)

GRAHAM: ‘It won’t be long,’ she tells me. ‘You’re falling to pieces.’

JACK: Who tells you?

GRAHAM: Irene, of course. The person formally known as my wife.

JACK: Graham, you did the right thing getting out of the house and calling to see me.

GRAHAM: ‘It’s come to this?’ I say to her.

JACK: It’s more than a scrap, right? You’d better give me some background.

GRAHAM: There was something not right about her breathing when she said it. She was wheezy. Like we were after a few ruts. I knew there was something more than the usual when I heard the wheeze.

JACK: Wait a minute – formally known as your wife? Are you telling me she’s walked?

GRAHAM: It won’t be long now. You’re falling to pieces. That’s a terrible thing to say to a person.

JACK: And you said?

GRAHAM: And I said…

JACK: You said what?

GRAHAM: I said…nothing.

JACK: Oh – very good. That’ll fix it. Sit down, you fool. So then what?

GRAHAM: Then, she gets out of bed.

JACK: Then?

GRAHAM: She leaves the flat.

JACK: Then?

GRAHAM: I play a tune on my guitar.

JACK: You played a tune on your guitar.

GRAHAM: Then I take my ankles in my mouth.

 
 

Love and Animals

06 Aug

 
(BBC World Service,RTE,CBC,ABC,RNZ, 2010)

Recorded Introduction

This play is about a man who has come to believe that sustaining love is entirely based on his ability to provide cash. He is a capable and, at times, ruthless individual, but he is not without humanity. And now, he’s in trouble. In this story money and personal identity are intricately linked.

Some time ago, I read an article about a strange condition known as Capgras Syndrome. The sufferer believes loved-ones are interlopers. Imposters, out for some indeterminable gain. This struck me as a clear prism through which I might view one man’s trials, and see the new person coming through.

The play isn’t about the condition, rather, about somebody having to deal with it.

Something else that provided a useful perspective was my being randomly asked to take part in a police line-up – to be one of the known innocent parties, I hasten to add.

Again, the question of identity… the live, unfixed aspect of it.

Picture our man standing with an iron bar in his hand, trying to explain human nature and fiscal rectitude to a stray dog that won’t be chased away. A man trying to retrieve the moment when, as he puts it, he brushed his head on the underside of heaven.