Birthday party

Birthday party

A short (10 min play) play by Geetha Balvannanathan (

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 ( 

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)

BigFoot Sliding Downhill

BigFoot Sliding downhill

12 November 2016

A short play (Wordcount: 2065)

(This was the fourth play I wrote and was part of a 48 H theater experiment where the play was based on two draws of items to define character and two draws of items to describe backdrop for situation. I drew 1. BigFoot and 2. A secret in character’s past and for the situation I drew 1. Aquarium and 2. handcuffs. The play had to be written in 24 hours but I only got 3 hours to do it as I was very busy that weekend and the directing – which I did myself as my play was quite wacky and lacked the right instructions as we had a 2000 wordcount restriction initially – had to happen over 24 hours too with actors selected by random draw and not chosen by the director. A fantastic human experiment )


Setting: Underground cellar with giant aquarium in the middle and stairs on the side

Time: Indistinct


Confined cellar space with a giant aquarium in the middle. Time indistinct


Voices in the dark comprising that of MACK, a young skinhead, TOBY, a mentally challenged young man, NAYAL, a girl in her twenties who looks like she has just been beaten up.

Away from this huddled group is ROWLAND, a young philippino lying handcuffed in front of the aquarium

NAYAL: Please, I don’t want to do this. Please don’t do this

MACK:  Shut ya trap and get the lights back on

NAYAL: Please Mack, please. I promise I will stay indoors. I’ll never go out again if that’s what you want

MACK:  (SOUNDING MURDEROUS) I said shut ya trap and get em lights on. Now!

TOBY:    (WHIMPERING) I say Mack. Don’t do bad Nayal Mack. Don’t correct her face. She all ok Mack, please. She ok with face Mack



Lights come up on MACK and TOBY who is holding MACK’s sleeve with one hand and wiping muck of his face with another. They are standing a few feet away from ROWLAND who is on the ground, bleeding from gashes in his face. NAYAL is walking back towards them trying to avoid looking at ROWLAND.

MACK:  (SHAKING OFF TOBY AND WALKING BACK AND FORTH) Stop whimpering like a baby and get him up right now. I’ll show him how I crush roaches like him. Clean them up and then crush them. Just let them all understand what it is like to mess around with my sister. And you (POINTS FINGER TOWARDS NAYAL) you better get that slut paint off your face or I will thump it off like dad thumped momma’s face until she came off her high horses and knew where her place was

NAYAL: (CRYING AND WIPING MAKE-UP OFF HER FACE) I’m sorry Mack. I promise I’ll behave. Just don’t hurt him –

MACK: What did you say? You having feelings for this roach ay Nayal? I knew dad should never have taken you in with us, you and your prostitute mother.

NAYAL: She was your mother too!

MACK:  (MOVING TOWARDS NAYAL THREATENINGLY) I said shut ya trap. You speak again, you’re going in the tub with your roach boyfriend here.


ROWLAND:         (ADDRESSING NAYAL) Please help me. Nayal, don’t let him do this, please. Nayal

                NAYAL keeps her head away from ROWLAND and scurries towards the wall near the stairs


TOBY:    Please Mack, I can no do it alone. Toby can no hold Rowland. Rowland slipping. Rowland biting Toby (YOWLS AS ROWLAND RESISTS AND BITES HIM AGAIN. ADDRESSING ROWLAND). Why you bite Toby? Toby put you to wash. Clean you up. Then if you good wash, stay quiet, Big Foot come. Big Foot only come when good wash. Mack, help Toby…

MACK:  Ask Nayal to help you-


TOBY:    (OVERLAPPING) No! No good

MACK:  (OVER THE TOP) Shut ya traps!

NAYAL: Don’t ask me to do that. I can’t! I can’t! I helped you bring him down here but I won’t do more.

TOBY:    You says girls ain’t cut for them boy things Mack. I need you. Help Toby Mack. Mack help Toby

MACK:  (SNARLING) Fine, I’ll help you. What use you are to me, huh? A big guy like you. All these years with me you ain’t learnt nothing. All those roaches crushed. I told you how to do it but you ain’t got no light up there and you ain’t freaking made for your bulk. (GOES TOWARDS TOBY AND TAPS ON HIS HEAD) It’s in there that you ain’t made for this (POINTS TOWARDS TOBY’S HUGE BODY) You’re huge but useless. Soft. Remember Nick?

Projector:            BigFoot Sliding Downhill Projector 0


TOBY:    Please no say about Nick when Nayal here. Please Mack. She like Toby. If you say for Nick Nayal she no like Toby no more

MACK:  Ain’t this a plan! Toby and Nayal. You got the hots for her big fella? (SNICKERING) Nayal and Toby. The prostitute and Dumbo

NAYAL: (OVERLAPPING) I’m not a prostitute

TOBY:    (OVERLAPPING) Toby is Dumbo.

MACK:  You’re a slut like momma been. You ain’t got one minute alone and ya shooting off with some fella around the block

NAYAL: I’m not. I only had one boyfriend before Rowland.

TOBY:    Toby is Dumbo. Big Foot come and Toby fly high like Dumbo. Toby fly high (CLAPS HANDS EXCITEDLY)

NAYAL: There was only Nick. (PAUSES AS SHE RECOLLECTS) What was that you and Toby said about Nick?


MACK:  Nothing! (ADDRESSING TOBY) Pick him up under them arms. I’ll take them legs (THEY GO BACK TO ROWLAND AGAIN, PICKING HIM UP AND AS ROWLAND RESISTS) I should have got them cuffs on his feet too. Would be easier to hold him tight (LAUGHS A WICKED CRAZY LAUGH) Would be funny, could swing the yellow sausage right into the water (LAUGHS AGAIN AND TURNS TOWARDS TOBY) What d’ya think big fella? Will this one go down quick or will we need Big Foot for him too

NAYAL: Toby, what did you say about Nick?


NAYAL: (PLEADING) Toby…Please. Tell me you didn’t…


TOBY:    (OVERLAPPING) Nayal like Toby. Toby no do nothing

NAYAL: (OVERLAPPING) Toby please. What happened to Nick?

ROWLAND:         (OVERLAPPING) Help me…

MACK:  (OVER THE TOP AND TRYING TO PIN DOWN ROWLAND) Toby, get your ass back here right now!

NAYAL: Toby?

TOBY:    Nayal like Toby? Nayal no stop like Toby? I say for Nick if Nayal promise

MACK:  Toby, shut ya trap and come help me with the roach!

NAYAL: I promise.

MACK:  She’s a liar

NAYAL: I swear I like Toby. I will always like Toby. Forever.

MACK:  (SNARLING AT NAYAL) Beat it. Get out of here woman!

TOBY:    (SQUARING SHOULDERS AND ALMOST GROWLING AT MACK) Toby no like Mack. Mack no want Nayal like Toby forever.

NAYAL: That’s right Toby, Mack does not want us to be together

MACK:  (LOOKING AT NAYAL IN DISBELIEF) You think you gonna control that thing? I been handling him for years before you turning up on our doorstep with your slut momma. Dad took his dad into business and then gave me Toby when I got ready. I learnt fast (WINKS AT NAYAL). I trained him damn well and business was good. He knows who to obey. (LOOKS BACK AT TOBY) Toby, remember, if Mack angry with Toby, Toby get no Big Foot. Toby no fly like Dumbo (LOOKS BACK AT NAYAL) I’ll sort you out later on, trying to turn my tools against me (TURNING BACK TOWARDS TOBY) Toby, Nayal no like Toby. She make believe like momma make believe with dad, remember? Woman no good. Woman no good for Toby. Nayal no good for Toby.

NAYAL: Don’t listen to him Toby. Nayal like Toby. Mack no like Toby. Mack no want Toby and Nayal happy (SHE GOES UP TO TOBY AND GIVES HIM A KISS ON THE CHEEK. TOBY TOUCHES HIS CHEEK, MARVELING AT THE FEELING) Nayal give many kiss to Toby but Toby need to stop Mack correct face Nayal

TOBY:    Nayal like Toby Mack. Mack no correct face Nayal

MACK:  What? You giving me orders big fella? (LOUDER) You giving me orders?

TOBY:    (SUBDUED) No, Mack. Toby quiet. Toby listen. Toby want to fly. Toby want Big Foot.

NAYAL: Toby, please. Nayal like Toby forever. Nayal take Toby Big Foot

MACK:  Shut ya trap slut

NAYAL: I won’t ever shut up again. You have no right over me. You will never lay a finger on me again.

MACK:  (RISING TO HIS FEET AND LETTING GO OF ROWLAND’S) You think y’all can threaten me? You think you can tell me what to do you slut!


TOBY:    Mack no shout Nayal. Nayal good. Nayal like Toby

MACK:  She’s playing you Dumbo. She’s lying

NAYAL: I’m not Toby. Nayal like Toby.


SFX1:     BigFoot sound 1


TOBY:    Blood. Oh no Blood. Too much. We can no wash clean. Mack can no help. Mack have blood now. Mack no bring Big Foot. Toby can no wash Mack alone. Toby can no fly without Mack. Mack like Nick now. Nobody pay for Nick. Nobody pay for Mack. Toby no get candy. Toby no fly. Big Foot no come. Nayal. Please. Bring Big Foot. Toby can no fly.

NAYAL: What pay? Who did not pay for Nick? What are you talking about?

TOBY:    When Toby wash and Big Foot come, Toby fly. Then small man pay. Small man pay Mack. Mack give Toby candy. Toby fly like Dumbo then eat candy. Toby want candy. Toby want big foot. Toby want Mack.


TOBY:    Mack. I be good, Mack. Please Mack. Speak Mack (TAKES MACK’S HAND AND HITS HIMSELF WITH IT) Toby sit quiet Mack. Toby listen. Please Mack, Toby want to fly. Toby want Big Foot.

NAYAL: Calm down Toby. Nayal bring Big Foot. Nayal make Toby fly.

TOBY:    (INSTANTLY CALMING DOWN, RUNS TOWARDS NAYAL) Nayal promise? Nayal bring Big Foot? Nayal make Toby fly?

NAYAL: Yes, Nayal make Toby fly but where is this Big Foot.


TOBY:    (WITH A THEATRICAL POSE) Like Mack say, Tada. Big Foot time

Projector:            BigFoot Sliding Downhill Projector 1

NAYAL: This crawler with the crane on it? That’s Big Foot?


NAYAL: So you want me to hoist you up on this crane and then you fly? (TOBY NODS AGAIN) Fly where?

TOBY:    Over the bowl Nayal! You ain’t go nothing here (COPIES MACK’S GESTURE EARLIER) but you no have big bulk. Nayal small bulk. Toby like Nayal bulk. First over the bowl then inside. After wash, Toby hold all inside bowl. Toby hold on bowl wall and Mack make pictures. Mack give pictures and small man give money. Now Mack no move. Mack no give candy. Nayal give Toby candy?

NAYAL: Sure Toby, don’t worry. Nayal will take care of you but first remove Rowland’s handcuffs and clean him up (AS TOBY IS ABOUT TO DRAG HIM TOWARDS THE AQUARIUM AGAIN, SHE REALISES AND SCREAMS) No, not that clean him up. No wash Toby. Toby no wash Rowland.

TOBY:    Nayal, Mack say wash Rowland. Wash him then Big Foot come. No small man come with money for candy but Toby need to wash Rowland.

NAYAL: Toby, Mack won’t say anything. He’s dead. Let’s wash Mack

TOBY: Dead.

Projector:            BigFoot Sliding Downhill Projector 2

SFX2:     BigFoot sound 2

Nayal:   (GETTING INTO CRAWLER AND STARTING IT) Okay, let’s move this crawler and lift this horrid aquarium to break it. We’ll wash Mack first. He’s dead but we can wash and bury him.

TOBY:    Mack dead. Nick dead. Toby wash Nick. Mack take pictures. Now Toby wash Mack


NAYAL: What did you say? Mack killed Nick and took pictures. The sick ba-

Projector:            BigFoot Sliding Downhill Projector 3

SFX3:     BigFoot sound 3




TOBY:    Nayal! Big Foot sliding. Big Foot sliding downhill. Nayal move


TOBY:    Toby no fly. Toby fall. Big Foot crush Toby…

Lights go out.

LX5:        BLACKOUT


Video of BigFoot Sliding Downhill played during the first 48H festival in Dubai