Extract From ďImmaculateĒ
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Poster from First Production.
Extracts from ďImmaculateĒ.
The play is set in a small but tidy and well looked after bed-sit apartment.† There is a sofa (which opens out into a double bed), two comfortable chairs, a small dining 'area' suitable for no more than two, and the usual fixtures such as the stereo (which is playing The KŲln Concert by Keith Jarrett as the play begins), some table lamps, an ash-tray, opened (and almost empty) bottle of red wine, and two glasses.† The flat belongs to Maria, a woman in her early thirties who has just said a tense goodnight to her toy-boy boyfriend Joseph.
Maria sips her wine.† A pause.† There is a sound at the door.† Three knocks, soft but not hesitant.
†††† Maria:†† Oh God!† Joe!
She crosses to the door and opens it without looking gesturing him in with a huge flourish.
†††† Maria:†† Well met, my lord we have mourned your absence these four and twenty weeks, the castle, as you see, remains unchanged and we...
It is not Joe at the door.† The man who stands there does not enter, simply watches calmly with a smile.† He has long dark hair, a calm presence, and seems if not meek, certainly mild mannered.
†††† Maria:†† Oh.
††† Visitor:†† Hello.
†††† Maria:†† Hello.
††† Visitor:†† Sorry to bother you.† May I come in?
†††† Maria:†† Erm.† No.† I mean, who are you?
††† Visitor:†† Oh.† I'm sorry.† Here's my card.
†††† Maria:†† Is this some sort of joke?
††† Visitor:†† What do you mean?
†††† Maria:†† "What do you mean?"† What do you mean what do I mean?† [Holding up the card and reading its entire contents]† "GOD".
††† Visitor:†† That's right.
†††† Maria:†† At a in the morning?
††† Visitor:†† , actually.
†††† Maria:†† Oh really?
††† Visitor:†† Yes.
She shuts the door in his face and walks back to the couch.
†††† Maria:†† Heh.† God.† Good one.† Whatís he selling?
Again, three short knocks.†
†††† Maria:†† Itís nearly two in the morning!† I donít want a copy of watchtower at two in the afternoon so what makes you think I would want it now?
Again, three short knocks.† She storms to the door and opens it.
†††† Maria:†† Right.†
Let me explain something to you.†
I donít want to talk to you about God, Allah, Buddha, Jesus,
††† Visitor:†† The lights were on.
†††† Maria:†† I beg your pardon?
††† Visitor:†† You said that I woke you up.
†††† Maria:†† What?
††† Visitor:†† Youíre fully dressed and the lights are on.
†††† Maria:†† Itís nearly two in the morning!
††† Visitor:†† I havenít come to sell you anything.
†††† Maria:†† What?
††† Visitor:†† Iím simply here to offer you an opportunity.
†††† Maria:†† I donít want any double glazing.
††† Visitor:†† I donít have any.
†††† Maria:†† Cleaning products?
††† Visitor:†† No.
†††† Maria:†† Change my electricity supplier?
††† Visitor:†† No.
†††† Maria:†† Okay.† You know what?† I donít care.
††† Visitor:†† Then we can talk?
†††† Maria:†† No.† You can fuck off.
She shuts the door in his face.† She walks back to the couch and sits down, takes a sip of wine, and picks up the business card.
†††† Maria:†† [to herself] God!† Great business card!
†††† Vistor:†† [from behind door] Do you like the font?
†††† Maria:†† You still here?
††† Visitor:†† Iím not going anywhere.
A pause.† A change of atmosphere.† She walks towards the door but does not open it.
†††† Maria:†† Okay, listen up.† This isn't quite so funny now.† You know, I don't know what you want or whether you get some sort of sick kicks out of doing this holy-Joe shit but you can go and bother someone else okay?
††† Visitor:†† I only want to talk.
†††† Maria:†† Yeah, just you, me, and Fred West, eh?
††† Visitor:†† That's really in rather poor taste.
†††† Maria:†† Well as youíre the one claiming to be a deity in need of a chat, I don't think youíre in a position to make judgements about taste, do you?
††† Visitor:†† Listen Maria, I don't mean you any harm at all, I just want to talk to you for a while, if you find that threatening then -
†††† Maria:†† Listen I don't know who you are but youíre starting to scare me, and if you donít leave now Iím going to call the police.
††† Visitor:†† There's no point.† Your phoneís not working.
†††† Maria:†† Of course not.† And you'd know that would you?
††† Visitor:†† Well, yes, obviously.
†††† Maria:†† Obviously.
She crosses to the phone and picks it up.† It doesn't work.
††† Visitor:†† See?
She goes to her bag and takes out her mobile.† She wanders, staring at the screen, trying to get a signal.
††† Visitor:†† No reception?
†††† Maria:†† Shouldn't there be high strings now, creepy brass music or something.† I'm sure this is where the creepy music starts.
††† Visitor:†† Maria, I'll make it easy for.....
†††† Maria:†† Who the fuck are you?!?† How do you know my name?
††† Visitor:†† I am who I say I am.† And that's why I know your name.
†††† Maria:†† Now you listen to me.† If you want to talk, that's fine, but you can talk from where you are, and I don't guarantee to be listening, okay?
††† Visitor:†† Okay, if that's how you'd like it, but what I have to discuss with you is a highly delicate matter and I really can't talk about it through the door.
†††† Maria:†† Well then, you'd better find some pretty good way of convincing me you're not some whacked out loony with an ego problem, or you're not going to get a word of your precious concerns past your lips.
††† Visitor:†† When you were younger you had a rag doll called Jemima Cottonhands.
†††† Maria:†† What?
††† Visitor:†† She was your favourite toy.† Your mother bought it for you when you were two and you slept with it every night for almost four years.
†††† Maria:†† Jemima what?
††† Visitor:†† Cottonhands.
†††† Maria:†† Never heard of her.
††† Visitor:†† You didn't call her that.† That was the name on the box.† You called her...
†††† Maria:†† [gasps] Floppy Moppy.† You're talking about Floppy Moppy.
She goes to the door and opens it, but does not let him in.
†††† Maria:†† How the fuck do you know that?
††† Visitor:†† Is that a trick question?
†††† Maria:†† Okay.† So you've spoken to my mum and you've got a couple of handy childhood stories.† Who put you up to this, eh?† Uncle Ted and Auntie Janice.† It's them isn't it?† They sent you.
††† Visitor:†† No.
†††† Maria:†† Yeah, like you'd tell me if it was.
††† Visitor:†† Of course.
†††† Maria:†† Yeah, of course.† [She laughs to herself]† Well, okay then, "God", so what happened to Floppy Moppy?
††† Visitor:†† When you were four your parents bought a dog from the RSPCA.† They called him Finnigan.† He was a scrappy old thing when he first arrived.† Skinny and jumpy, scared of everything.† He wouldn't let you near him for weeks.
†††† Maria:†† Yeah.† I remember.
††† Visitor:†† The people who had had him before had beaten and scalded him with hot water as a punishment.† His skin was covered with rashes, scabs, scars, and burns.† He hadn't been fed properly and his ribs were misshaped from a time when he had been kicked across the room and it hadn't healed correctly.†
†††† Maria:†† He didn't growl for the first year that we had him.† I think they must have punished him for making any sort of noise.
††† Visitor:†† Finally, however, you befriended Finnigan.† He ended up sleeping at the base of your bed.† Until one morning.† You were approaching your sixth birthday and you woke up and Floppy Moppy was gone.† And so was Finnigan.† So you called for him.† And when he came he had a piece of Floppy Moppy's dress hanging out of his mouth.
†††† Maria:†† Yes.
††† Visitor:†† And that was the last time you ever saw her.
†††† Maria:†† Yes.† And that's the end of the story.
††† Visitor:†† No it isn't.
†††† Maria:†† Yes it is.
††† Visitor:†† No, there was more.
†††† Maria:†† Well, yes, there were tears and tantrums.† And I forced dad to dig up pretty much the entire garden looking for her and according to Mum I didn't sleep well for about a month but that's about it.
††† Visitor:†† No.† There was something more.
†††† Maria:†† I don't know what you're talking about.
††† Visitor:†† Later that day you were sat in the lounge by the fireplace.† Your father was in the garden, searching, and your mother was cooking in the kitchen.† Finnigan came in.† You picked up the poker from the fireplace and when Finnigan came up to you to nuzzle against you, you....
†††† Maria:†† I hit him with the poker.† Oh god.† I was so angry.† I just wanted to hurt him.
††† Visitor:†† And?
†††† Maria:†† [welling up but fighting it] He let out a sound.† A yelp.
††† Visitor:†† And?
†††† Maria:†† You tell me.† You're the deity.
††† Visitor:†† You felt powerful.† And that felt good, exciting.
†††† Maria:†† That's not true.
††† Visitor:†† Isn't it?
†††† Maria:†† No.† I was angry and hurt and I wanted Floppy Moppy back and I just hated that damn dog so much for killing her and I wanted to get my own back.† So I did.† [A pause]† And, yes, it felt good.† And bad.† And now it's my turn so you tell me: Apart from this fascinating dissection of my childhood secrets is there a reason for this visit or is it just that things have got a bit boring in heaven and you fancied a chat with someone wingless?
††† Visitor:†† [Smiling] No.† There is a reason I'm here, enjoyable though this conversation is.
†††† Maria:†† And that purpose is.....?
††† Visitor:†† Maria.† The world is in trouble.
†††† Maria:†† Really?† Shit.† And there was me thinking everything was Hunky Dory.
††† Visitor:†† Humanity has to wake up before it's too late.
†††† Maria:†† Oooh.†
††† Visitor:†† You have to learn to love each other unconditionally.† Selflessly.
†††† Maria:†† I think you'll find we tried that in the 60's and it didn't work so we became yuppies instead.† Didn't make us any happier but at least we weren't dancing round in fields covered in shit any more.
††† Visitor:†† So it's time for what you like to call the second coming.
†††† Maria:†† No.† The second coming is what men manage on the first few dates whilst they're still making an effort.
††† Visitor:†† I mean it.† That's why I'm here.
†††† Maria:†† Really?
††† Visitor:†† Really.
†††† Maria:†† You want toÖ have sex with me?
†††† Maria:†† Listen, a man turns up at my door claiming to be god and I sleep with him.† It doesnít even take him an hour to convince me.† Iím not that gullible.† Really, Iím not.† I can even deal with the men at the garage.† And Iím not that easy.† It took Joe weeks.
†††† Visitor†† No it didnít.
†††† Maria:†† Okay, with Joe it was days.† But heís just so bloody cute, and anyway, not many women my age get to have a toy-boy andÖ well, heís alright, you know.† He smokes too much but heís kind.† And funny.† I like funny.† And clever. †He is clever.† And talented.† Well, if you like Middle American guitar rock.† Which I donít.
†††† Visitor†† Do you remember when you first met Joe?
†††† Maria:†† Nadineís party.
†††† Visitor†† What was the first thing you thought when you saw him for the first time.
†††† Maria:†† I wouldnít like to say in polite company.
†††† Visitor†† Before that.
†††† Maria:†† Well, there was a sort of excitable girlish squeak, inside of course, and the sound of my heart triple-jumping its way to my mouth.† This was immediately followed by the sound of many doors slamming in my brain as every witty or attractive thought decided to take a few hours off at the same time.
†††† Visitor†† Before that.
†††† Maria:†† Really, there was no before that.† There was just the seeing and the squeaking and the lusting.
†††† Visitor†† Think back.† Where were you?
†††† Maria:†† At Nadineís party.† Iíve already told you that.† And shouldnít you know already.
†††† Visitor†† [Slightly exasperated] I do know.† Iím trying to help you remember.
†††† Maria:†† Alright, alright, keep your halo on.† Heh.† Sorry.
†††† Visitor†† Technically, thatís angels.
†††† Maria:†† Picky picky picky.† Anyway, I was, erm, in the front room.
†††† Visitor†† Close your eyes.† See the room.
†††† Maria:†† [Closing her eyes] Donít read my diary.
†††† Visitor†† I donít need to.† Where are you in the room?
†††† Maria:†† Iím standing by the big windows that look
out over the garden.† Iíve just been
making false conversation with one of Nadineís friends who claims that weíve
met before.† But we haven't met.† Sheís a total stranger to me, and on top of
that, she annoys me.† Sheís got one of
those false patronising smiles they get taught how to do at drama
school.† Or in
†††† Visitor†† You thought you knew him?
†††† Maria:†† No, just a feeling weíd met before.† Like you get sometimes.† We hadnít met before of course.† And that sense of familiarity was vanquished by nerves as soon as I tried to talk to him.† God, I barely managed a sentence.† Oh!† I mean, not you, I meant, you know, God in the more general sense.† Sweary god.† That other god.† The one who likes us to take his name in vein.
†††† Visitor†† Why were you so nervous?
†††† Maria:†† Hello!† Look at me!† Like I say, when your back is one of your best features you make do with what you can get.† And Iím more than ten years older than him.† What does he see in me?† What do you see in me for that matter?† Whatís so bloody special about me?
†††† Visitor†† You must have overcome your nerves.
†††† Maria:†† Nadine makes a lethal punch.
†††† Visitor†† Nonetheless, if you felt the odds were so stacked against you, that the situation was so fraught with potential ridicule and failure, why did you continue?
†††† Maria:†† I wanted to.† It felt right.† So I did it.
†††† Visitor†† Despite what people thought of the age gap?
†††† Maria:†† Yes.† Despite that.† Although I did add a couple of years for my parents.† Not that it helped.† I think I should have added about twenty.
†††† Visitor†† And despite being so physically repugnant?
†††† Maria:†† Steady on, I didnít see you having any problems getting excited.
†††† Visitor†† Iím simple quoting you back to yourself.
†††† Maria:†† I did not use the word repugnant.
†††† Visitor†† My apologies.
†††† Maria:†† Are accepted, but youíre on thin ice mister.† No wonder youíre not getting any.† Never agree with a woman when sheís being self deprecating.† Surely your mother must have taught you that.† If you had a mother, that is.† Did you?
†††† Visitor†† Is that a question?
†††† Maria:†† [Missing his point] Yes.† I meanÖ no.† Not like that.† Just a friendly enquiry.
†††† Visitor†† A contract is a contract.
†††† Maria:†† After the way you held up your end of the deal youíre lucky Iím not asking for a plan of the whole bloody universe.† Anyway, why are you so keen to know about me and Joe all of a sudden?† Feeling a little pang of guilt all of a sudden?
†††† Visitor†† We were actually talking about why you use drink to justify actions you take which you canít quite understand.
†††† Maria:†† Because Iím always drunk when these things seem to happen.
†††† Visitor†† And yet you remember them with such clarity.
†††† Maria:†† Well thatís because Iím not absolutely roaring, puke up on the cat and break the TV drunk.† Iím justÖ drunk enough.
†††† Visitor†† Drunk enough to listen to yourself?
†††† Maria:†† No.† To trust what Iím saying.† When Iím sober I know better.
†††† Visitor†† No.† When youíre sober, you know too much.† Too many facts, prices, arrangements, e-mail addresses, mobile phone numbers, jobs that need doing, bills that need paying, secrets to keep, new things to buy, programmes to watch, exercises to do, earning, and spending, and earning again; and all the time, the noise, the sounds of traffic, of music, of adverts.† People yelling, people arguing, people fighting.† More noise.† More sensation.† Made so loud that you canít hear the woman being attacked.† The shop-fronts and hoardings made so bright that you canít see the destitute.† Life made so fast that thereís no time to think.† Canít stop, or youíll lose the race.† Everyone will get ahead of you.† Got to win the race.† Canít be falling behind.† Must have a bigger house, a faster car, just like everyone else.† Got to win the race.† Or what?† Or youíll die?† Itís soÖ tragic.† You cram your short lives full of so much sensation that you canít hear your own selves.† Or me.† And then you accuse me of abandoning you.
†††† Maria:†† Well donít bloody lecture me about it.† Itís not my fault.† Itís not any of our fault.† You made us this way.
†††† Visitor†† I didnít make thisÖ monstrosity.† You built your own hell.
†††† Maria:†† You could have intervened.
†††† Visitor†† Itís not my way.† You want that other deity.† The one that likesÖ
†††††† Both:†† Öhaving his name taken in vein.
They both laugh and relax.
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