Rat tat tat

Rat tat tat (a short stand-up sit down comedy)

24 September 2016

Courtesy pinterest.com

Cast : Mary (lead actress) Jonathan (small role)


Female voice (Mary) in the darkness


I can’t believe that director. Sitting there on his fat arse asking us to devote ourselves, to give ourselves up entirely to the art and quit thinking about anything else.

Well I’ll give you quit thinking about anything else. Like I did not see you leave from time to time. Every hour in fact. I know what you were doing Mister Director (sarcastic). Well we’re not made of the same stuff Mister Director. We can’t just rush behind some random …… or just use some…….


Lights come up. A sink on one side and Mary is sitting on a toilet. She’s got her panties down with her skirt covering the front part.


What? Even actors pee you know? (addressing the audience). You’ve never seen an actor pee? Well, it sure looked like that fat arse director never saw one pee either. He was bent on going on and on with the play like we could hold our bladders for more than 5 hours in a row. With a play where I’m supposed to gulp down a glass of water every 15 minutes because I’m nervous. How’s that for a challenge? Challenge yourself he says. Challenge yourself. Challenge smallenge. Well challenge your little …… (gestures with pinkie rather than say the word) Mister Director. Like we don’t know what you were running to that tree for, like a little doggie.


Someone knocks on the door

Busy! (addressing audience) You can’t even pee in peace when you’re an actor. You have to share the loo with at least 8 other women.(addressing herself, almost muttering) There are so many women in this field, it’s amazing! And of course, we all have the same problem. (addressing the audience) Did you ever pause to think about it? Men can do it anywhere. All they have to do is run behind a tree, open their fly (makes the gesture) and then go like a machine gun (shows with hand a gesture of spraying everywhere) rat tat tat, absolutely everywhere! Or even a wall with people behind them. I’ve seen it in some countries. They don’t care! They just open their fly again and go rat tat tat. (Pause) They can do it! You just see their backs, nothing more, no bottom showing, no other trace than the understanding that they must be doing it because you actually see something all over the wall then. We women can’t do that. (louder in a sarcastic note and addressing the door) We can’t do that Mister Director! (addressing the audience) We sadly have to actually remove our whole pants if we are wearing any or lift our skirts and remove our… (gestures towards her panties). That’s where the problem lies, the corpus delicti, otherwise known as the infamous (pause) panties!


Lights go out and come back on Mary washing her hands at the sink

(addressing self) When you think about it, that’s another thing. They never wash their hands (addressing audience) I don’t mean you Sir and you Sir and you Sir (half muttering to herself half stage whisper) although I’m not sure I’d have those peanuts after you in a bar (winks towards other women in the audience). Bernard (addressing just one part of the audience) my husband (Pause, makes a face and then frowns) ex-husband actually and you’ll know why in a second washed his hand always even though (violently shaking hands) he would always, just always go behind the tree. It was his favourite tree! It was mine too except it was his favourite for (she makes the gesture and nods towards audience) yes, you guessed it, rat tat tat and for me it was for the gardenias!


Pause. Lights go out and come back on her in another spot of the stage … or she can just move towards another corner of the stage

When we first moved into the house, I just loved that tree. It seemed like the perfect spot for a lovely bunch of gardenias so I weeded the whole place (addressing the audience) alone of course! Bernie could not be bothered. The only thing he could do was (gesturing) mow the lawn (makes the noise of a lawnmower) just on and on like a zombie. Then of course, all he could think of doing when he had to go was just run towards that tree and go … (points towards a random woman in the audience) yes, you guessed it honey, rat tat tat. (to self) In the beginning I could not figure out why my gardenias were looking so strange and withered (addresses audience) then I caught him right in the act when I watched him from the balcony. I mean, who goes behind a tree when his house is just a few meters away from the spot?! He could have gone inside the house. Not that it would have been so much better because then he would have gone rat tat tat on the toilet seat everywhere (addressing particularly women in the audience) I can see that that one brings out some memories ladies. (addressing all audience again) I can’t imagine when you have a precision tool that you can actually hold and direct, why you can’t just aim. Aim! For Pete’s sake. Aim! Not so hard is it? You do everything in the same way, the fly opening and everything but you just point it! How difficult is that? Just think of it as another finger. (sniggering and addressing women) Hopefully for you a bit bigger than a finger but … yeah, figuratively speaking of course (a short laugh) Whatever! Just point it! Just point the darn thing! (scratching side of face) Not so hard you know. I mean we can hardly point anything and yet we get it straight (addressing random male member of audience) What Sir? You would be able to do the same if you were sitting? Well by all means do that! I’m sure your wife would appreciate that you’re not going rat tat tat all over the toilet seat and the ground and sometimes the blasted bathtub (seems lost in thought all of a sudden) I can’t tell you about how many times I missed having a nice warm bath in the upstairs bathtub because it simply would not lose that (wrinkles nose and makes a disgusted expression) smell! I mean try imagining the scent of patchouli blending in with a two-day old pee scattered on the side. You don’t want to imagine trust me!

Person knocks on the door more insistently

Okay, okay okay! I’m coming out (goes towards door – fictional or real – and opens. Jonathan enters)

Mary: This is the women’s loo

Jonathan: (effeminate, throws hands up) Yeah, I know but the men’s busy. Besides, I prefer the ladies’ loo. The men’s always a bit… (throws hands up again) you know… (throws hands up) They go all over the place

Mary: You mean Rat tat tat

Jonathan: Yes (sizes her up puzzled) something like that.

(they switch places. Mary is closing the door behind her. Staged sound of peeing in the background)

Mary (addressing audience) You hear that? You hear that? That my friends is no rat tat tat. That is no random machine gun! That is a laser. Precision technique. Unfortunately, you can’t have them all. The precision comes with other disadvantages… (addressing random members of male audience) not saying you’re not a laser, just, you know…. Most of the time you know how it is. Come on… admit it! There goes that director again (listening to the director seemingly yelling) Coming! Coming! No Prima donna here, not at all! Yes… I know there are many women who would be happy to take the role. (more vehemently addressing the imaginary director at the back) I said coming! (addressing the audience) Can’t even pee in peace! What? Never heard of an actor peeing?

Light goes out

You can’t touch this – MC Hammer

Birthday party

Birthday party

A short (10 min play) play by Geetha Balvannanathan (geethap2007@hotmail.com)

17 September 2016

NGS Picture ID:1041366
Courtesy National Geographic






Setting: A bar initially and then a room which is dark and small.

Time: Beginning of evening



Opening scene in a dim lit bar. Eric is seated alone under a spotlight and drinking and then all of a sudden he drops face first on the table.

Lights go out.

Lights come back again only on Eric.

He is confused and trying to look all around him but can barely see anything.


ERIC:      (SPEAKING TO HIMSELF) Man, that was one heck of a drink. The doctors said I should not have anymore but I can still stomach a good one. And that stupid bartender. Well, that’s what happens when you become a creature of habit. You go to the same old bar and the barman starts to get chummy and the next thing you know he’s the preacher from the church doubled with your step-mother from hell freshly out of her grave with that pointing finger telling you not to drink or it’ll be the death of you.

(looks alarmed at something on his right) what the… who are you? Angels? You don’t look very much like Angels and what the heck… I’m dead? I’m dead! It’s my birthday. Christ! I cannot be dead! (turns back to the two angels and turns back to the audience) I’m dead! Just a drink or two and wham! I’m dead. Now what? You’re going to withdraw my license or ask me to walk on the straight line in the dark (snickering to himself)

What? I can keep the humour for later? Oh come on lads, you can take a good joke, can’t you? Can’t you? I mean come on Gabriel, Gab! I am sure you must have a great sense of humour…No… OK so where am I? Huh? In purgatory? Why purgatory? What am I doing here and why am I not in heaven? My wife and my mother always told me I was a good man. A good man who had gone wrong sometimes but a good man all the same.

What? I have to think of three good deeds during my lifetime and then I get to go to Heaven? Only three good deeds? You are sure? Three good deeds. Okay, okay. Three good deeds. I have done three good deeds. No problem. Three good deeds….

When you say three good deeds, you mean good as in good for whom. Huh? Good deeds are something that you do for someone else? Ok.. Three good deeds… Three good deeds…. Three good deeds. One two, three…. Three good deeds… Yeah coming coming. Geeze calm down. I’m getting there. Don’t worry, I’ll find three good deeds to talk about in those 8 minutes left. I thought in eternity you had no time and now you’re counting the minutes? What? This is purgatory, not heaven? It has almost the same rules as on Earth. Okay, okay okay. I am getting there.

(Scratches head, keeps thinking over and over but cannot find anything to say). Whaaaat? You’re already fed up? I’m just starting! One good deed is enough? Okay okay okay. I’m sure I’ve done one good deed in my life (raises voice again addressing the angels) I can hear you snickering over there. I really don’t find you very angel-like you know. You strike me rather as two gossiping women getting their back on someone. I did nothing to you fellas, why’re you taking it out on me. If you have a problem with your boss for overtime, take it out on him, not on me.

OK here we go. It was in 2011, 15 years ago. My 25 year-old nephew came to me and talked to me about this beautiful girl whom he loved dearly. She was such a poor and delicate thing. She was working very hard at Wallmart, was underpaid and was trying to graduate at the same time. I took pity on her and funded her so that she could be able to finish her education without having to go work at Wallmart anymore. How’s that for a good deed.

What do you mean that was not exactly a good deed? Okay okay okay. I slept with her but no harm in that. What do you mean I did give her the money but only because I made her my mistress. Why is that a bad thing? She had a sugar daddy taking care of her what else could she wish for? She did not have to work anymore and I gave her money for her siblings too… What do you mean I should have given him the money so that he could marry her and they would have both been happy. I had no problem with her marrying him at all. She could have married him if she wanted to. I was not the jealous type. After all, I was married myself so I would not blame her for being married. He neither. After all, he found her first (snickering to himself). What? He killed himself? Roger? Na… you got it all wrong. He killed himself way after she became my mistress and it was an accident, his car drove off the road, skid right off the road because of the ice on the road I think. It had nothing to do with me at all…What do you mean it had everything to do? What? He tried to kill himself many times and only succeeded that Christmas eve? I remember thinking how odd that he should have just drove off the road, it was not even a difficult bend for Roger who was such a great driver (his voice trails off)

I guess that one’s completely out, right?

Okay okay One good deed, one good deed, one good deed. Yes, got it. I remember the summer of 1983 Helen was giving birth to our first baby and I was of great help that night. What do you mean how? I gave energy and vigor to the midwife who helped Helen deliver. A wham slam in the pantry is hardly a good deed? Why not? She was energized, I was energized and God knows Helen was energized when I went to the room and took care of her and of our baby daughter. What the midwife? She delivered my child? Yes, my child so what? She delivered mine and Helen’s child. Not our child? Not Helen’s and mine but hers and mine? The midwife’s and mine? We had a child together? 7 years of trying to get Helen pregnant naturally and then another 5 long years with in vitro and with that one night wham bam the midwife had my child? Okay okay okay, that has to be a good deed right? You’re the ones that keep saying that children are a gift of God and have only good in their heart. If I brought that into the world then that must count as a good deed. She killed herself? Oh come on man. Gabriel? Gab! She killed herself? Why would she do that? The guilt?`! She was married? So what? I was married too.. She had a conscience. Oh please, don’t give me that conscience smoncience thing… (shakes his head as apparently the angels are not happy). Not a good deed….

Okay okay okay I got one. It was the spring of 1959 and there was this young thing. She was selling two different sets of cookies one to sponsor her scout club trip to Canada and the other one to contribute a gift for her mother’s wedding. I took both sets of cookies and she didn’t even have to beg me to. What do you mean I did not pay for them properly? She did not ask me to pay something specific. She just said give what your heart guides you to. Well my heart did not guide me to anywhere else than a penny at the time. She should have been more specific. Anyway, it is not like I stole them from her. That does count as a good deed doesn’t it? No? No! Okay. Okay. Okay.

Winter of 1969. I remember my fiancée Amy, she was crying. I really wanted to have some good time but her dad had just died a week ago and she was not in the mood and she started crying so I sat there listened to her cry and then consoled her. There, that is your good deed. Me, Eric, I triumphed over my bestial instincts and did a selfless act for another. What? It was not me? It was not me! You’re right! It was Philip, our neighbor. He had always been a good bloke. Always happy to help others. Even his wife, she was a very good woman. It was not me. I had left the apartment. I was angry she was not giving in and was upset. I remember… Amy.. I listened to her sobs from behind the door. I wanted to go in and take her in my arms and console her, tell her everything would be alright but I didn’t. I was just angry she could not put a lid on her feelings and be the sexy woman I had always known. I failed miserably. Amy… Then I went to the bar to drink. That’s how I started drinking every other day. The bartender sent me off saying I was too young to spoil my night drinking myself silly. I went back to the apartment and Philip was there consoling her. At the time I was too drunk. I thought he was seducing her. I was hateful. I told her so many awful things. Amy… I do not deserve to go to heaven. I think you should put me straight in hell. That’s all I deserve. I cannot think of one good deed that I did. Amy….Why? Amy.. If only…What? You can’t decide? Another test? Go back? Go back where?


Lights go off, thunder resounds. Lights come back and Eric finds himself back in the bar with the same bartender


Back here with him. What use. Stirring up all those feelings and coming back to this lonely birthday party with no party in it. What do you mean what birthday party young man. Can’t you see? It’s the old villainous Eric as you usually say. What do you mean what old. It’s me! Eric! Sir? Sir? You’re calling me sir? You’ve lifted my old carcass off the floor so many times and thrown me out of here and you’re calling me sir. What old? Me! (turns towards the mirror at the bar) Oh my oh my! Yes! (addresses himself). You sexy beast! (runs out of the bar yelling at the top of his lungs) Amyyyyy… here I come!!!


The song plays in the background “I believe in miracles, you sexy babe, you sexy babe”…


You Sexy Thing (I Believe in Miracles) by Hot Chocolate



Blending in

Blending in

A short play by Geetha Balvannanathan (geethap2007@hotmail.com) 

September 2016



MARIA: A very stout frightful nun who has seen the world and will take no nonsense. See detailed character description at end of play for more information

MAURIZIO: A small man of Italian descent; was once handsome, now slightly balding. See detailed character description at end of play for more information

ARSENE: A professional thief of French origin. Kept a very strong French accent. Stealing amounts to an art for him. See detailed character description at end of play for more information

MAHA: Subdued Indian woman. Obsessed with cooking. See detailed character description at end of play for more information

GERTRUD: A tall thin spinster who is of English and German descent. Likes to think of herself as mainly German. See detailed character description at end of play for more information

VOICE OFF: Person who has put the cast together. Female. Sister Maria was a teacher at her school.

CHILD: Quiet child with strange behaviour. Not clear whose child it is.


Setting: A closed room with walls that keep closing in on the actors.

Time: Beginning of evening


Bright-lit stage opens on Maria, MAURIZIO, ARSENE, MAHA and Gertrud looking bewildered at each other. The child is playing in a corner of the stage by himself.


Voice off: Now you’re wondering why I brought you here. Well I had to write a play in 10 minutes and all I could think of was you from my childhood so I brought you here and you’ll have to come up with a play in 10 minutes that has a bit of each of you. That’s the only way I can get you all out of my head.


MARIA (in a thick Hispanic/Italian accent) : What do you meeeaan each of ussse. You meanne  ah me and that good for nothing Maurizio in the same play. My Lord does not go with the things he likes. The big boobies, the thin very thin panties, the skirts (gestures at each point mimicking the word she pronounces for boobies, panties, skirts). No no no no no. I don’t know you child but this cannot happen. This make no sense.


Voice off: Remember what you said sister Maria when I came crying to you and complained that the girls were teasing me because of my accent. You said, we always need to blend in one way or another well now YOU blend in. You’ve got 9 minutes left to sort that out.


MARIA (crossing herself) : Ay Santa Maria Virgen madre de todo, bendita y pura, protect us Mother Mary. Stuck here and with that good for nothing lady’s man, always running around skirts all the time. I see you Mister Maurizio (points towards her eyes and then towards him to show that she is watching him closely). I see you all the time with your gomina hair and smooth moves a drooling. Your wifea, she has the stomuck, another baby. You’re rabbits or? Or mice maybe? Think once. Think twice. So many babies, not very nice. You have nothing else to do Maurizio? Every time? Every time? How many babies you have? I can’t count them on two hands (beats one hand’s knuckles on the other hand’s palm). And the other ones, not from your wife…I don’t know…


MAURIZIO: Ma che sister Maria.. You don’t understand. This is the way of the world. Good wine. Good women –


GERTRUD: Oh Mister Morris one could hardly call a woman good if she is willing to bear the ill gotten fruit of the loins of a man who is not her lawfully wedded husband. I prese..eerved myself for that beautiful day


MARIA (in aparté): You preserved too much my girl. Maybe you had to take out the naphataline before. Some years back. (addresses the audience) When I see her grey hair I think many years back.


MAURIZIO (closing in on GERTRUD): Oh, I’ve missed out one beautiful flower out of this sunny basket in Sanremo. How could I have ever missed you my little English rose –


GERTRUD (laughing nervously and flattered): German actually. Funny, my mother almost called me Rose. She said I was so fresh / and pink I made her think of one.

MARIA: (in aparté addressing the audience) The fresha. I think not a rosa but a dandelion now. (to GERTRUD) Whata Rose? He will pluck all the petalsa off you and then bye bye Rosa Adios. Ay Madre. Ay senora protect us.


Voice OFF (with the walls closing in): You have 7 minutes left.


Meanwhile ARSENE, the thief has been going about stealthily stealing items from everyone on stage and he is trying to take off the rosary around Maria’s neck and she stops him.


MARIA: Aoo (turning towards ARSENE, then turning back to the audience) Ay a maniac, a half wit and a thief. How I can blend with any of you. Then with all of you I have to blend? You’re too far, too far from me but these walls… you see these walls? They are coming too close (turning towards ARSENE) What will you bring to the play? Only stealing every thing? You’re good for nothing like this one (points towards MAURIZIO)


ARSENE (Still trying to deftly remove the rosary from Maria’s neck): Ohhhhh… au contraire mon amie. I will bring many things, anything as long as it is shiny and bright and catches the light. I’ll have a go at it. It is all in ze fingers. The play has to be very tactile, very subtle. You must approach it with – (pauseS and gasps) doigté! The touch (dramatic pause) Very important! My skill will contribute everything smooth and sensually slick / you barely feel it, like the wind, floating through the corridors, removing prized Toulouse Lautrec’s off their frames without even sounding the alarms.


MAURIZIO: Arsène, please, sensual, that is me by definition. It is all about grabbing the heart (shows the sign of boobs) of the audience, grasping it with power and lust, squeezing it, feeling something grow, grow inside you (starts looking lecherous and starts making a larger swaying motion) …


The child is very interested at this point and comes towards MAURIZIO to listen more intently but Maria and GERTRUD rush towards him and stop him, covering his ears while MAHA and ARSENE try to calm MAURIZIO down. MAURIZIO is now raving about female breasts and keeps doing the gesture of him squeezing big boobs while he adlibs a psalmodic “grow, grow” before he calms down.


Child: What grows? What grows?


MAHA: I don’t know about all your nonsense na (shaking her head the indian way). We need to get out of here. If we have to blend in, we have to think of ourselves as spices. After all taste is in everything init? This play got to taste something good. I mean it’s ok if Gertrud is only parsley and she’s not coriander. We can add some chilly with Maurizio here. Some paprika with Maria here, some Rosemary with Arsine here I’ll be the brinjal na and this fella here he will be the garlic. We just mix (emphasis on mix) that together and you have a good dish. The play is the same thing. And these walls, forget them. Or think of them as the pressure cooker only. It’s all in the minutes.


VOICE OFF : You have 5 minutes left.


MARIA (shrieking and looking out for her rosary to pray but ARSENE has stolen it so she snatches it back from him as he hands it back apologetically): The walls, the walls Ay Maria!


ARSENE (with a sheepish look): Mes excuses ma soeur. Very sorry, it slipped into my pocket, it must have fallen from your neck direct into my pocket. I barely felt it before or would have given it back to you. (He is drawn to the shiny end of the rosary which he caresses lovingly) Did you say this was a diamond?


MARIA (glaring at him as she starts using the rosary): Santa Maria, santa Maria, the walls are closing in and we have no blended yet. Ay Madre. Ay Madre che pena! How to blend in with all of you. (Turns towards MAURIZIO who has been chatting up GERTRUD in aparté) MAURIZIO! Think of your 12 children and I don’t know how many more you have all around the country. What are you thinking? Look at her! She is (waves her hand up and down) Asparagus (turns towards MAHA) Maha, what a parsley? (turning back to MAURIZIO) and look at you (turning towards MAHA) Chilly? (turning back towards MAURIZIO) OK but the small piri piri chilly eh! (wagging her pinkie on piri piri and then doing the hand gesture of the Italians to say what on Earth)


GERTRUD: Oh please sister Maria. You must not say that. That is not very Christian of you! Oh please Mister Morris. I know you’re only being kind. I was once pretty –


MARIA: Once, yes. Once upon a time (waves her hand to make the audience understand that it must have been very long ago)


MAURIZIO: Don’t listen to her my little Germanic flower. She knows nothing about beauty. Look at her! (turns towards MAHA) what paprika Maha? She is the pumpkin. Hallloween pumpkin and there is more left after the cooking…There is so much everywhere, you don’t even know where to go in from / no wonder she’s a nun because aaah (waves his hand and shakes his head knowingly)/


Child (very interested): / Go in where?


MAHA: Nowhere child. Don’t listen to them na`? I’ll tell you something. You want to know what goes in well with pumpkin. In the west they say cream. I say what are you talking about na what cream shreem kleem. Best thing with pumpkin is some dal makni, some roasted cashew nuts on the side.


VOICE OFF: You have short of three minutes left


GERTRUD: Oh Mister Morris. Don’t say that about sister Maria. I’m sure she did not mean to be nasty.


MARIA (threateningly advancing on MAURIZIO who runs and hides behind GERTRUD): What pumpkin? Come say that in my face. I’ll show you pumpkin, you piri piri.


GERTRUD: Sister Maria I’m sure Mister Morris did not mean what he said. Sister Maria (MAURIZIO is hiding behind GERTRUD as Maria tries to scuff him on the ear and he keeps ducking behind). Sister Maria please…The lord says love one another


MARIA: I’ll show you love Gomina piri piri. I will put your gomina hair the right way round


GERTRUD: Sister Maria, the Lord asks to present the other cheek


ARSENE (trying to get the rosary off): Ma soeur. I think you are better off with this weight off you. I will keep it very safely for you ma soeur. I will forget even where it is (MARIA glares back at him while he is removing the rosary so he quickly and smoothly adds) until you need it again of course ma soeur. I’m a big défenseur of the church and its many accumulated treasures from foreign countries of course. I will steal them as they stole them. I mean eh… I will treasure them and preserve them as they have. I will give them in time to their rightful owner always! In time…


MAURIZIO: Take it! What does she need diamonds for in front of that thing. There is nothing to decorate. There is so much you don’t know what it is for anymore. And down there I don’t even want to imagine and this is me MAURIZIO I have tried everything in a dress.


CHILD (comes forward and looks like he wants to poke sister MARIA’s breasts when MAURIZIO says anymore): What’s that thing?


MAHA intervenes and pulls him away and closes his ears when MAURIZIO starts saying and down there.


GERTRUD: Oh please Mister Morris. Don’t be rude to sister Maria. She’s devoted her life to our Lord and savior. Oh please sister Maria. I beg you! Remember, only the strong forgive.


MARIA: You don’t worry! I will forgive him after I’ve knocked a tooth or two so he can learn how to speak to sister Maria (she is getting closer to MAURIZIO and GERTRUD while ARSENE is getting closer trying to empty all their pockets while they are busy fighting)


ARSENE: I don’t think you will be needing that and you will not be needing that and you my darling will not be needing that and that (to himself) ooooh la laaaaa… quelle splendeur! Un lalique


MAHA (running around them yelling): Not all together, not all together! That spoils the flavours. Each item has to exhale its own flavour. The taste of each item has to come out na? You must blend in but… not blend in na?


MAURIZIO (running around GERTRUD – who keeps shrieking from time to time as sister Maria’s hand falls here and there near her – and hiding from Maria who is trying to whack him turns towards MAHA as she ends and shaking his hand): Ma vaaaaa….


They come closer and closer and fall in a pile on the floor.


Voice OFF: You have 10 seconds left but what are you doing?


Child: /They’re Blending in…







16 September 2016


Sister Maria :

A large and rather tall red-faced matron with a huge chest that looks more like the dome of a cathedral than a woman’s breasts. She talks with a very strong Hispanic/Italian accent as she is of both Hispanic and Italian descent. She has grown up in the streets of Rome and takes no nonsense from anyone. She has strong views on most things and does not keep her views to herself. She does not believe in discretion or tact but thinks that one should always say what one thinks as only the Truth can be good.

She was not always a nun but decided to become one after her husband was one of the lawyers killed in the 1977 Massacre of Atocha. She was in her late twenties and he was barely older and they had hardly lived a married life together before he was killed. She spends her time in prayers and trying to save souls and although she has a good heart, she is very quarrelsome and has kept some of her street ways.

She keeps from the time of her marriage a diamond pendant offered to her by her husband and it is now attached to a rosary that hangs from her neck. She never removes it as it is the most precious thing to her after her Lord. Other than that, her demeanour is marked with austerity. She wears long black gowns and only the small bit of white in her headscarf brings any colour to her outfit. The only other colour in her apart from her accent is her language which is not quite commensurate with her vocational choice.



A smooth talker who thinks of himself as a great latin lover, Maurizio is a rather small man who does not look very meaningful but he has very powerful eyes and a charming voice and ways that mesmerise the ladies. He has a very strong Italian accent and speaks a lot with his hands . He loves the ladies of course and prides himself to have conquered all of the town where he lives (San Remo) together with his wife who is yet again pregnant and his 12 official children and his numerous other children of whom he barely knows anything most of the time.

Maurizio cannot stop himself from getting carried away when triggered by anything that has a potential sexual innuendo and most people think of him as a sex maniac. He is not actually a sex offender as all his women are consenting and he never goes out with too young girls. He sees it beneath him to seduce girls who have no clue on how to defend themselves, his targets are the women who seem tough but whom he senses could have something very sensual to them and he is interested in exploring that latent sensuality in every woman he meets. Like sister Maria, he sees himself on a mission which is to convert others but only women to the art of loving. Loving him of course, not anyone else. Maurizio is known for his hair which is always sleek and shining with the gomina that he lays on thick all over it as he is convinced it is a must for getting the look of the latin lover. He dresses up in a suit a tad old-fashioned and a bit ridiculously assorted to his surroundings and he has a big gold chain that you can see dangling on his bare chest as he always keeps the five first buttons of his shirt unbuttoned.



She is a very tall and thin spinster. Though she has an English grandmother who was the main person who brought her up when she was a young girl and taught her perfect English, Gertrud sees herself as German because of her citizenship and the name her parents chose. She is younger than Maria but looks almost older because she is extremely thin and wrinkled and all her hair is grey. Her physical appearance is marked by her sickness, anorexia, as she does not eat enough for her traits to be normal. Despite that, she has some sort of faded beauty as she has very large liquid blue eyes, like those of a child, a thin nose and lips which could have been plump if she did not keep them pressed together so hard all the time.

She speaks with a very shrill voice, is very nervous, apologetic and is very much of a goodie two shoes. She is a devout woman who likes to quote ideas from the bible and always tries to be a pacifier so she appears to change her mind very often. She is timid and wears mainly vintage clothes as that is the only romantic thing she has left now that her fiancé is no more and she had chosen to preserve herself for the D-day but realised it would actually never materialize. She spends her time daydreaming and trying to make opposite viewpoints match or at least stop trouble from brewing.



He is a French middle-aged thief who does not steal for selling to others but mainly for himself. Occasionally he might steal something to sell off but he mainly steals prized art for his own private enjoyment. He grew up in the suburbs of Paris and learnt to steal from a very young age as that was the only way he could make ends meet as his father had left his mother and him and run away with a younger woman.

Arsène has a very pronounced French accent and although he moved to Sanremo quite a while ago, he never gave up his very particular French accent and is quite proud of it. He thinks of himself as the last gentleman cambrioleur and compares his knack of stealing surreptitiously to the eighth art in the world and thinks of it as a very sacred practice. He sees himself as a man on a mission which is being the preserver of human treasures and beauty, a sort of mega curator of all things beautiful, pricy and as shiny as possible most of the time. This obsession comes to him from his childhood when he had to steal bright coins off the less able to defend themselves (other children or young teenagers) when he had to fend for himself and his mother. He is very sleek, smooth and always dresses very smartly. He has no interest in women (or men for that matter) but is only interested in art for which he has a very keen eye and hand…



She is a subdued indian woman who only gets animated once she starts talking about cooking. Her hair is very dark and profuse and she often sports the sari. She is married but does not like to think of her husband as he is shameful to her because he loves cooking and won’t let her cook at home. She feels the whole neighbourhood ridicules her because she does not get to cook at home although she is a recognized chef everywhere else. Her specialty is in finding the right time for each time to be cooked without losing its flavor and she has written a cookbook called “Cooking to the clock” of which she is very proud.

She punctuates almost all her sentences with na and thinks that all of life is one big cooking event where everything can be interpreted according to the code of cooking. Like Maria, Arsène and Maurizio, she too feels she has a mission in life and that is to make the art of cooking accessible to everyone. Not just accessible, she actually wants to communicate her passion of cooking to others as she thinks of it as a noble art, especially her recipes, that must be perpetuated beyond her life.



Nobody knows where he came from or whose child he is. Nobody even knows what his name is and it is hard to give him a definite age although he cannot be more than 9 years old. He is quite passive although he might all of a sudden become animated to the point of agitation. Most of the time, though, he just sits there sometimes playing and sometimes listening keenly to the others. It looks like he could be autistic because of some of his behaviours. He does not seem to know some of the most basic things in life yet has a strange fascination for Maurizio’s maniac phases which he follows closely.

He stays most of the time in the background and speaks rather slowly in a very inquisitive voice.

Chaplin Modern Times-Factory Scene (late afternoon)