Over here in the UK it's bank holiday, but does that prevent me from writing my blog? NO.
So what's happened in my writing life? My first ever column in a print magazine made its debut in Christian Writer. At some point I may even put a copy of it on here. Sadly Writing Raw didn't make its May appearance, but that just means my column will go out in June instead. Other than that, my W1S1 for April has been submitted to Electric Spec.
With Communicating Doors we are now into the final lap of rehearsals and are getting our words right. I'm menacing, Poopay is dominating and Ruella is being strong. It's all going well...too well.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...TA DA DA DAAAAAAAAAAAAA. The last two scenes of the play I'm writing. In the previous scene Elena was at the Inn being attended by a doctor who gave her no hope of living.
Scene 8 (A field outside Oxford)
John, Margaret and Elizabeth sit on a blanket and stare out at the audience. They are quiet.
Elizabeth: How long till we get there?
John: Another hour.
Elizabeth: Why did we stop?
John: The horse needs a rest.
Elizabeth: When can we leave?
John: In a little while. I'll check on the horse in a few minutes and see if she's finished eating.
(They sit in silence a little while longer)
Margaret: I'm sorry to hear about your brother.
John: As am I. But Cecilia is looking forward to meeting you. All of you. And she wants me to look at the business to see what it's worth.
Margaret: Why does she want to sell it?
John: She's getting old and there is no family member to take over.
Elizabeth: Except you.
John: And I'm not a tailor.
Elizabeth: I could learn.
Margaret: You gave up on Crochet because you found it too hard.
Elizabeth: Sewing isn't like crochet.
Margaret: No. It's harder.
Elena runs on from stage left with a bunch of wild flowers stands behind Margaret, reaching over her shoulder.
Elena: Mother, look at these. Aren't they a beautiful colour?
Margaret: Yes dear, they are? What are you going to do with them?
Elena: (Squeezes in between Margaret and Elizabeth) I thought I'd keep the seeds and grow new ones.
Elizabeth: You can't do that until the bees have pollenated them.
Elena: I know that. I watched and waited until a bee came along and just picked these.
John: I'm not so sure it's that simple, but there's no harm in trying.
Elizabeth: It won't work.
Elena: (Stands up) You always say that, but it does sometimes.
Elena skips off stage left.
Elizabeth: I preferred her when she was drinking poppy juice all the time.
Margaret: You're as glad to see her alive as we are.
Elizabeth: Not always.
They sit in silence. The only sound is Elena singing. She screams and runs back on stage. John, Margaret and Elizabeth stand up quickly, but before they can say anything Elena shouts.
Elena: A bee stung me.
Elizabeth: Is that all? You scared me half to death.
Elena: Why? Did you think I'd been hurt again?
Elena: See. You do love me.
Elizabeth: That's a horrible thing to do. (She steps towards Elena, hands out) I'm going to strangle you.
Elena runs off screaming and Elizabeth runs after her.
John: Will she hurt Elena?
Margaret: Not much. Besides, that is a horrible thing to do.
Sound of screaming and shouting, followed by laughing.
Elena: (Offstage) You can't catch me.
Elizabeth: (Offstage) I don't need to. I'll get you tonight when we're in bed. Only then it'll be twice as bad.
Elena: (Offstage) You'll have forgotten by then. You always do.
Elizabeth: (Offstage) I won't this time.
More screaming and laughing.
John: They're back to normal then.
Margaret: Yes. (She leans on his shoulder and he puts an arm round her shoulders) What did Cecilia say about us? Me and Elizabeth and Elena? Does she know?
John: She knows the truth. You are my treasured housekeeper and you have two daughters. There is nothing else to tell.
Margaret: No. There isn't. (She turns to face him) Will there ever be?
John: (Still looking forward) Only God knows the answer to that question and he hasn't seen fit to divulge it to me. (Stands) I'll go to the horse and see if she's finished eating.
John exits stage right and at the same moment, Elena runs on followed by Elizabeth. Elena puts their mother between her and Elizabeth. The two of them are laughing.
Elena: She threw grass at me.
Elizabeth: You pushed me into the hedge.
Margaret: Girls, calm down. Elena you sit here and Elizabeth, you sit here. (They sit down either side of their mother. Elizabeth reaches round and hits Elena on the back.)
Elena: Ouch! That's where the bullet went in.
Margaret: Elizabeth. Careful. The last time you did that it bled. (She checks Elena's back for signs of blood). It looks alright, but I want to check it again before we go.
John: (Offstage) The horse has finished eating. Bring everything to the wagon and we'll leave.
Margaret: We will. Girls, you heard him. Let's pack up. (They stand) Elena, you fold the blanket and Elizabeth, you put the food and beer into the basket.
John: (Offstage) Margaret. Can you help me with the horse again. It's being awkward and needs your touch.
Margaret: I'm coming. Girls, finish packing and come to the wagon quickly.
Elena: But Elizabeth will hit me if you go.
Elizabeth: No I won't. I'll trip you up when you start walking.
Elena: See. She wants to hurt me.
Margaret: And of course, you would never think of being horrible to your sister would you?
Margaret exits stage left.
Elena: Come on. I can't fold the blanket until you're finished.
Elizabeth: Then you'll have to wait.
Elena: You're a horrible sister.
Elizabeth: (Stops putting food away) Am I?
Elizabeth: Is that why I slept next to you every night at the Inn? Is that why I read to you when you couldn't hold a book? Is that why I carried you down the stairs from the room so you could sit outside? Is that why...
Elena: I'm sorry.
Elizabeth: You may be England's most annoying little sister, but you're my annoying little sister. And when you get married, I'm going to tell your husband just how horrible you are and everything you used to do to me.
Elena: You wouldn't?
Elizabeth: I would. (She smiles) But not till after you're married. No sense in depriving him of the surprise on your wedding night is there.
Elena walks over to Elizabeth, hugs and kisses her.
Elena: I'm glad you're my sister. Even if you are horrible to me.
Margaret: (Offstage) Aren't you two finished yet?
Elizabeth: Nearly. (She finishes putting the food away) Elena's being very slow.
Elena: I'm not. Elizabeth won't get off the blanket.
Elizabeth: I'm off now.
Elizabeth walks off stage left, whistling.
Elena: Big sisters are rotten. Most of the time.
Elena huffs, grabs the blanket without folding it and walks off stage left.
Scene 9 (Two years later, at a wedding)
John is fussing about with his clothes and Elizabeth walks on from stage left dressed in the best clothes she has ever worn.
Elizabeth: How do I look? Father.
John: Beautiful. Daughter.
Elena skips on, also dressed well and holding a basket of flower petals.
Elena: Are you ready John? Mum says she can't wait for the wedding to start.
John: Really? Where is she? By the entrance, making sure that everyone's here and seated.
Elizabeth: I wish she wouldn't make such a fuss.
John: Oh come on. Don't tell me you haven't enjoyed all the attention.
Elizabeth: A little.
Elena: Liar. You've been talking about nothing else for weeks. (Turns to John) Do you know she's kept me awake all night several times? I've heard the same story over and over again. It's boring.
John: And you will do the same when you get married.
Elena: If that's what I'll be like, I don't want to get married.
Margaret enters stage left.
Margaret: (To someone offstage) Yes, that will be fine. Thankyou. (Turns to Elizabeth) You look beautiful.
John: Takes after her mother.
Elizabeth: I hope not.
Elena: You're not as pretty as mother. I am.
Elizabeth: No you're not.
Elena: Oh yes I am.
Margaret: Girls stop it. Elena, this is Elizabeth's wedding day, be nice to her. Just for today at least.
Elena: Does that mean she can be horrible to me and I can't do anything back?
Margaret: She has other things on her mind.
Elizabeth: (Quietly) I wouldn't be so sure of that.
John: Elena. Let Elizabeth have her day. You'll have yours soon enough.
Elena: Then she has to be nice to me and I can be horrible to her.
Margaret: We'll see.
John: Margaret, you had better go and sit down.
Margaret: Yes. And thank you for agreeing to do this. It means a lot to me.
Elizabeth: And me.
Elena: And me.
John: I'm happy to do it. I was just surprised you didn't ask your betrothed.
Elizabeth: I wanted you to give me away. You've looked after us since my father was killed and you mean as much to me as he did. Nearly as much. I miss him and wish he was here, not that...
John: I appreciate being asked, and I'm happy to do it. And provide the dowry. (He looks around at the three of them) This is the day I wished I could've seen for my own family, but that has been taken away. I'm glad I'm able to make your lives better than they would have been. Shall we go?
Margaret: I'll be next to Cecilia. (She leans forward and hugs John) Thankyou for everything.
Margaret exits stage right.
Elena: I'm glad you married Cecilia. You both look happy.
John: I'm glad too. Now off you go and spread the flowers.
Elena exits stage right.
Elizabeth: Mother wouldn't say this, but she's glad you didn't marry her.
John: Are you?
Elizabeth: Well, I'd have had more money to spend, but you would've taken Elena's side in everything.
John: She needs an ally against you.
Elizabeth: That's what father used to say.
John: They're ready. Are you?
Elizabeth: No. But let's go anyway.
They exit arm in arm, stage right.
As usual I'd appreciate any comments on the dialogue, the pace the characters and particulalry if the last scene is necessary. I have my doubts over it as it seems to drag it our too much.
With that, I'll bid you adieu and see you on Wednesday