Short plays of my life – #2: No Movement

Miniaturists 42: Arcola Theatre, 7th July 2013.

Apsley: Alexa Brown (@alexabrown)
Rayek: Frankie Meredith (@frankiemeredith)

Directed by Pamela Schermann (@PamelaSchermann)

A room in RAYEK’s house. RAYEK and APSLEY are sitting at a small table. On the table is a blank sheet of paper. On the blank sheet of paper is a pen. They are both gazing at it. RAYEK is in the early stages of a degenerative neurological condition. APSLEY is just doing what they’ve been told. Under the table is a bowl.

A very long pause while both of them stare at the pen. APSLEY starts to fidget slightly.

RAYEK
You alright?

APSLEY
What?

RAYEK
Are you alright? You’re… shuffling around…

APSLEY
Yeah, yeah, I fine thanks, I’m…

Pause.

RAYEK
Do you need the loo?

APSLEY
(points upwards) Is it…?

RAYEK
Second on the left.

APSLEY stands and makes to leave, then turns back.

APSLEY
Sorry, um, what are we going to do if it moves?

Pause.

RAYEK
It is not going to move.

APSLEY
I’ve got to account for it, I can’t go back and be like, ‘oh actually, there was this time when I went for a- a wee, and the client said that nothing happened and I just took their word for it’. I can’t do that.

RAYEK
Well… has your phone got a camera?

APSLEY
Yeah, yeah it has, that’s a good idea. (pulls out phone, fiddles to open video function) Right, okay, cool, got it. (pause) Just a sec, sorry, never used the video before.

RAYEK
Have you got enough battery?

APSLEY
Um… how much do I need?

RAYEK
I’ve no idea, it’s your phone. (pause) Has it got at least half power?

APSLEY
Yeah.

RAYEK
That’ll be fine, just, you know, be quick.

APSLEY
Yeah, sure… hang on.

APSLEY faces the camera – prepares.

APSLEY
Right, it’s… three fifty-three pm on… Friday 17th… I’m, I’m at the client’s property, just finishing the assessment. I have to… step away, for a minute, and the client’s kindly agreed to help me with this part of the assessment while I do that, so… I’ll just hand over now.

Hands the phone over, awkwardly.

APSLEY
I have to say ‘the client’, it’s for confidentiality/

RAYEK
/yeah, yeah, I know.

APSLEY
You got it?

RAYEK
Yep.

APSLEY
In the frame? Am I in the frame as well, so they know I/

RAYEK
/yes, yes you are, can we…

APSLEY
Yeah, sorry… second on the left?

RAYEK
Yes!

APSLEY exits. RAYEK holds the phone, pointing the camera at the pen. Arms start to wobble. Props the phone on the table. This is better but it’s still a struggle. It’s entering the realms of physical pain when APSLEY re-enters.

APSLEY
Right, okay, sorry about that. Anything?

RAYEK
No.

APSLEY
You were trying weren’t you, I mean, we talked about/

RAYEK
/please take the phone.

APSLEY
Yeah, sorry.

Takes the phone, talks into the camera.

APSLEY
Okay, it’s… three fifty-five and I’m now back and… refreshed. Client reports no movement and I will review this on return to the Centre.

Saves film, puts phone away. Pause.

APSLEY
Course if you need to go to the loo, go ahead, you know…

RAYEK
Thanks.

APSLEY
I’m happy to video that.

RAYEK
Thanks, but I won’t be going anywhere.

APSLEY
Yeah, but, if you need to.

RAYEK
No. I won’t.

APSLEY
(laughs) If you gotta go, you gotta go.

RAYEK
I don’t trust you.

APSLEY
Oh… I want you to know that you can.

RAYEK
Thanks. I don’t.

APSLEY
Um… well, that’s, um… that’s a shame. (pause) Is there anything I can do to make you/

RAYEK
/disappear.

Pause.

APSLEY
You mean, like, leave?

RAYEK
If you want. Or stop existing, it’s all good.

APSLEY
I find that quite aggressive, and/

RAYEK suddenly retches, grabs under the table for the bowl and vomits into it.

APSLEY
Okay, no problem…

RAYEK
Thanks.

Pause.

APSLEY
It’s only a couple more minutes, I need to go at four so I can get back to the Centre.

RAYEK
Centre’s only fifteen minutes on the bus from here.

APSLEY
Yeah, yeah I know, but/

RAYEK
/Friday though/

APSLEY
/yeah/

RAYEK
/you want to knock off early.

Pause.

APSLEY
I wouldn’t move the pen about or anything. If you had to step away.

RAYEK
I don’t care. I don’t care what you might specifically do, I just don’t want you here by yourself. You could just make anything up if I’m not around to dispute it.

APSLEY
I want to assure you that wouldn’t happen in an assessment/

RAYEK
Yeah, you see, you also assured me that the assessment procedures would be reasonable.

APSLEY
Yes, and/

RAYEK
/you’re checking whether I can write using just my mind. (pause) You’re checking whether I’m… Superman, or…

APSLEY
Professor X.

RAYEK
Excuse me?

APSLEY
It’s Professor X. The one who’s psychic, um, who can…

RAYEK
The one who’s telekinetic?

APSLEY
Yeah.

RAYEK
You’re checking whether or not I’m telekinetic. (pause) Why do you think I’d be telekinetic?

Pause.

APSLEY
Well, with the senses, like, blind people get really good hearing, so…

Pause.

RAYEK
Go on.

Pause.

APSLEY
So if you… right, if you… you might get… (waves hands around head)

RAYEK
What does that mean?

APSLEY
Um, what bit?

RAYEK
Any of it.

Pause.

APSLEY
Look, I have to demonstrate, okay, that that’s the case, I really, REALLY have to demonstrate that that’s the situation. Before five. That’s what I have.

RAYEK
Right. And is this everything you can think of to do? You’re not going to start a fire so I rescue a child from a burning building with… with whatever I’ve got?

APSLEY
No…

RAYEK
Why not? Coz you want to knock off early?

APSLEY
No, because it’s fucking…

Pause.

RAYEK
It’s after four now.

APSLEY
Shit, how much?

RAYEK shrugs.

APSLEY
(packing up) Well, I think that’s all of the assessment, that was really helpful, thank you, you should have the results back in about two working weeks.

RAYEK
Don’t I need to sign it off?

APSLEY
Um, you can probably/

RAYEK
/I’d like to sign it off.

APSLEY
(sighs) Okay…

APSLEY fumbles for and produces a long form and the pen, pushes both across the table to RAYEK.

APSLEY
It’s just the last bit, on the back.

RAYEK
(starts to flick through the form) I know, I’m just checking the rest of it.

APSLEY
We’ve done the rest of it.

RAYEK
I won’t sign it.

Pause. RAYEK keeps flicking through the form. APSLEY waiting impatiently.

RAYEK
That looks fine. Can we do the last bit?

APSLEY
Last bit?

RAYEK
Where you thought I might be Professor X.

APSLEY
Well, just sign it off at the bottom and I can fill that in at the Centre.

Pause. RAYEK doesn’t move.

APSLEY
Okay, right…

APSLEY scribbles frantically on the form – eventually finishes and pushes it towards RAYEK, who reads slowly.

RAYEK
Your handwriting’s awful.

APSLEY
Yeah, yeah…

RAYEK
Might as well do it with your brain if it’s going to be like this…

Pause while RAYEK finishes. RAYEK looks up and then stares at the pen again.

APSLEY
What are you doing?

RAYEK
Just one more go. Can’t hurt.

RAYEK picks up the pen and signs the form. APSLEY takes it briskly away.

APSLEY
Thank you. I appreciate your time today.

RAYEK
Your pen.

APSLEY
Keep it, it’s fine.

RAYEK
It makes me sad.

APSLEY
Throw it away then.

RAYEK
It’s a perfectly good pen. Maybe they’ll think you’ve nicked it.

APSLEY snatches the pen back.

APSLEY
Thank you for your time today.

RAYEK
There’s usually a feedback form, can I have a feedback form?

APSLEY
Sorry, I don’t have any.

RAYEK
Can you email me one?

APSLEY
Yes.

RAYEK
Have you got my email address?

APSLEY
We’ve got your phone number, if we don’t have your email address then I’ll call you. Okay?

Pause.

RAYEK
That’s fine. See you later.

APSLEY
It might be me who gets back to you, it might be one of my colleagues.

Pause.

RAYEK
I’ll see you later.

End.

[Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this play and would like to stage it yourself, please do drop me a line – it would just be nice to know.]

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