1: Wake up, turn off alarm with a smack. “I feel sick.”
2: Clean teeth, yellow tongue, sore throat.
: Knock on door, see Edie, squat down.
“Are you ok”. “Sorry you feel ill.” “I hope I’ll be able to leave early.” “I’ll call the doctor at lunch for you.” “Love you.”
Show audience how guilty you feel.
3: Running for train. Look at time. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Stressed. Arrive. Sit down. Laptop. Start to type. Stop. Look up. Panic. Look around.
Ask audience, “Is this the train to Victoria?”
5: Arrive at station. Running. Pushing back hair. Muttering under breath. Arrive at place. Brush self-down. Open door. Big smile, throw off scarf. “Sorry I’m late.”
Scene 1: The Car. EXT. Night.
Four people in the car, on their way for a night out. Staying Alive is playing on the stereo. Vicky is driving. The girls in the back are wearing baseball caps and drinking and smoking, they sweep their hair and swig from a bottle and smoke cigarettes. The front passenger, Aneirin, decides to try and take a selfie with all of them in. As he clicks the phone for selfie they crash. The three passengers die on impact.
(The screech is loud and then the intake of breath can happen really slowly. The banging of chairs can be quick and then the lifting of the chairs and billowing of the sheets can occur in slow motion).
Scene 2: The Hospital. INT. Day. Two beds side by side.
(Need to make it clear Rebecca is now a new character from start)
Breathing noise throughout.
Vicky wakes in a hospital bed. There is an elderly lady in the bed next to her. Two family members are gathered round her. One holding a new baby. They are saying things like. “It’s okay we love you grandma, you can let go now.” “You’ve held on. “This is XXXX we’ve named her after you.” Vicky falls back to sleep. The family members exit.
(Make sure that we can hear what you are saying to the grandmother can be a little slower & clearer).
Scene 2 ctd: The Hospital. INT. Night. Two beds side by side. One across the room with someone asleep.
Vicky is woken by the sound of the elderly lady in bed next to her choking and coughing. She sits up and presses her buzzer then calls for the nurse. No one comes. The lady says, “Water.” Vicky looks around and realises there’s nobody else around to help. She gets out of bed and goes to the lady’s bedside. She offers her some water, before she takes a sip of it the lady starts to speak to people that Vicky can’t see. She’s saying things like, “What are you doing here?” Recognising lost relatives etc.… She gets the lady to take a sip of water. The lady starts to choke. Vicky looks worried and presses the buzzer and the nurse comes in and tells her to go back to bed. Vicky gets in to bed. Aneirin arrives in the other bed both twitch/ move slightly then go still.
Ruby checks Rebecca’s pulse, pulls down her eyelids and pulls up the sheet. She leaves.
Scene 3: The Hospital. INT. Morning
Vicky wakes to see the sheet over the lady’s head. She gets up, looks at us & then walks over to Rebecca and lifts up the sheet. She asks if she’s okay. Rebecca says, “I’m dead.” Vicky replaces the sheet and sits back down. Rebecca hams it up as the world’s silliest ghost going to the back of the room.
The man in the bed starts twitching, swearing and muttering to himself. He sits up. Becomes more agitated. “You know they kill people in, here don’t you?” “It’s not safe.” “You’ve got to get out.” “Get out whilst you can.” The nurse comes in and tells him to quieten down. He becomes more aggro and calls her a bitch. On this she calls for Code 7 and exits the room. He is really agitated and climbs out of bed and walks over to the window at the front. Vicky stands up to watch. He opens it and jumps out. Screaming as he falls several floors.
Vicky sits and falls back asleep. Flat line sound. Her eyelids flicker.
(There are several sounds, the screech, the banging of chairs, the breathing, a hospital buzzer and a flat line beep. I wonder if it would be possible to do with the other group members around the room making the sounds together? Might be too late to add but would be effective I think.)
This was based on a real experience. As the scene developed certain things needed to be changed. The original song Young Hearts Run Free was rejected in favour of Staying Alive as the actors were more comfortable and familiar with this song. Originally the actors were standing. The idea of how to get from the car scene into the hospital was solved by the use of chairs so they were seated in the car and on the impact of the crash two of them used the Complicite style of lifting the chairs out of the scene and the remaining two unfurled white sheets to create the idea they were in hospital beds. It also meant we could use the sound of the chairs banging on the floor as part of the crash noise. I decided I also wanted to use a recording if possible of the sound of brakes screeching before the impact and of glass breaking. If there had been more time I would have been able to tech these things into the piece.
If I were to carry on working on this scene I would start to script dialogue for the actors. I began to use sound in my piece as an experiment. I remembered a breathing sound effect from an old Alexander McQueen show that I had seen at the V and A years ago during my BA at St Martins as part of their Radical Fashion Exhibition. I felt this would be interesting played quietly through the piece from the point they were in the hospital. (When I first saw it, I sat on the floor and cried. It had stayed with me for weeks afterwards. It was so hauntingly beautiful. It was a very pale overweight lady lying on a bed breathing through a mask whilst lots of models dressed in a birdlike manner flitted about her bedside.)
The second thing that I altered was that the man (who was actually a woman) hadn’t kicked off until the next day after the old lady’s death so originally, I was envisaging more of a gap, but it was apparent that it was more effective to flow one thing into another. In reality the woman had only climbed out of a ground floor window, but I liked making it a few floors up and having a piercing scream as he falls. Added to Annie’s suggestion of the ghost which was something I would never have thought to do suddenly created this surreal world in which anything could happen. It also provided a bit of light in what otherwise might have felt a very dark piece. I liked the fact that then made everything seem part dream part fantasy. Aided by the breathing sound which got louder at certain critical moments.
The end sound of the flat line was something I wanted to use to anchor us in the hospital and the idea of her eyes flickering at the end made it possible that the scene might have a been a lucid dream in a comatose state. It’s deliberately ambiguous is she going to sleep/ waking up, living or dying? It’s up to the audience to decide for themselves. I will present this work as part of my vade mecum.
Adapting from Real Life with Annie Fitzmaurice
Young Hearts run Free
Hell’s Angels on Bikes
My Car Crash and the next Three Days
I was driving on my way out for dinner listening to Young Hearts run Free with two people in the car. We were singing and then suddenly a car was on the wrong side of the road. We had a head on collision and I sustained a head injury. I was taken to hospital and sent home. The next day I woke up and stabbed myself through the hand with a pint glass. I ended up in hospital again and the lady in bed next to me was very old. I witnessed her family saying goodbye to her. That night she woke me to get her a glass of water. She was choking and seeing angels at her feet, I called the nurse who sent me back to bed. The next day she had died. My sister and her boyfriend came to visit me and got me stoned. A woman in the opposite bed kept swearing at the nurses till she eventually discharged herself and climbed out of the window.
I had a car crash, the next day I stabbed my hand and ended up hospitalised. The lady in bed next to me died. The other lady on the ward escaped through the window having sworn at all the nurses.
Visiting my elderly Aunt when she was dying, and when I left the room to go to the bathroom she tried to eat a box of tissues thinking that they were a cake. She was talking to lots of relatives who weren’t there. My grandmother was one of them. She held my hand and said I can see your face, but she hadn’t been able to see in weeks. I could feel her thoughts. It was very moving.
The Birth of Edie
Edie being born, very slow labour, back to back and then her heart stopped. Wings of something. The crash team came in. Got her breathing again. Then I began to projectile vomit all over everyone. The room was full of blood and sick. Joe rolling his trousers up. The nurse stabbing me with an anti-sickness drug.