We have fun

Performed at The Shunt Lounge, Stainer Street, London, 6-9 May 2009

John Hardwick directed Eric MacLennan and Jane Nash

1 - Here is Peter and here is Jane. Here is Pat, the dog. Peter is here. Jane is here and Pat is here. Here they are. Here they are in the water. They like the water. Pat likes the water. Pat likes fun. Come in Pat, it is fun. It is fun in the water. Come in the water. Come. Pat comes in. Pat likes the water. It is fun in the water, says Peter

2 - It is no fun

1 - I have a ball, says Peter

2 - Put the ball down.

1 - Here is the ball, says Peter. Here is the ball Pat

2 - Let me suggest a different scenario. There is no Peter. There is no Jane. There is no Pat. There is no fun.  Here is Maynard in the staffroom


1 - Jane likes the staffroom. Jane likes fun

2 - I shall sit in the armchair, says Maynard

1 - Jane is sitting on the sofa

2 - There is no Jane

1 - Come in Maynard. It is fun in the staffroom. Come in the staffroom. Maynard comes. (pause) Maynard likes the staffroom. It is fun in the staffroom, says Maynard. It is fun to come in the staffroom

2 - Maynard is already dreaming about the homemade tuna sandwiches he has for his lunch

1 - Ah. You can’t sit there. That seat’s taken, Jane says

2 - Gretchen says

1 - Gretchen? Is she German?

2 - Is it really taken, Maynard asks. Can I keep it warm in the meantime?

1 - Go ahead, she says… Gretchen says

2 - This exchange is a ritual they repeat on an almost daily basis. It’s a hangover from when they were intimate

1 - Look Gretchen, I can jump, says Maynard

2 looks at 1

1 - (pointedly)  It is fun to jump in the water, says Gretchen

2 - (equally pointedly) Maynard wishes they weren’t on such a friendly footing. He broods on the fact Gretchen fucked Morton behind his back

1 - I like a jump, says Gretchen. It is fun

2 - Morton you see is a younger man who shows no signs of acquiring a paunch such as the one Maynard has

1 - Gretchen smiles. Maynard unpeels the foil wrapper on his sandwich. Here is my tuna sandwich, Gretchen, Maynard says. He has two tuna sandwiches for his lunch. The second tuna sandwich he balances on his kneecap. Maynard folds the foil wrapper into a tight, two-inch square and discards it in the ashtray.

2 - Gretchen is still smiling, but the smile has lost much of its lustre over time and a kind of rictus has set in

1 - Perhaps the foil might annoy her when she decides to knock the ash off her next cigarette, Maynard thinks

2 - Of course he does it to annoy her

1 - But she might just as easily flick her ash all over it? Maynard looks again at the foil wrapper. Now he can only see a fire hazard

2 laughs

1 - Maynard turns his gaze away from the ashtray, which continues to threaten everybody’s life. (to 2) What are you laughing at?

2 - He recalls the moment when he learned Gretchen was fucking Morton

1 - Ah. What a day

2 - Morton arrives in the staffroom

1 - In this particular scene the part of Pat will be played by Morton

2 - He stands over Maynard and/…

1 - (interrupting). Why doesn’t he sit on the sofa, next to Gretchen?

2 - What?

1 - Why doesn’t he sit on the sofa? If he’s fucking Gretchen as you claim he is

2 - Maynard finds his presence, standing there, right in front of him, unsettling. He nibbles at his tuna sandwich before realising his tiny bites might indicate his unease, so he begins to take enormous mouthfuls, which might be well intentioned but are an obvious over-compensation. He’s incapacitated/…

1 - (interrupting). He’s unable to speak/…

2 - (interrupting). He thinks Morton is about to speak and so he stops chewing. But even when no statement is forthcoming, Maynard continues to wait, the ball of bread in his mouth becoming unpalatable in the meantime; it feels like a stone somebody has placed in his mouth. Finally he spits it discreetly into his hand and places his hand in his jacket pocket…

1 - That’s disgusting…

2 -…thinking at the same time: While all this is going on Morton is getting away with it

1 - …and totally far-fetched, might I add

2 - Maynard lets go of the ball of bread and takes his hand out of his pocket. He picks up the other sandwich balancing on his knee, again with his right hand as if it is the only hand that works, and drops it, foil wrapper included, casually into the waste paper bin under the table. (pause) It’s no more far-fetched than your scenario by the seaside

1 - I suppose Maynard can’t get it out of his head that Gretchen has been talking to Morton about him behind his back. Yes, she’s definitely told him something he would sooner she had kept to herself

2 - Now we’re getting somewhere

1- And a picture comes to mind, of Gretchen, with Morton. They are laughing at Maynard. Gretchen and Morton are disparaging about his appearance, or maybe they’re amused at the way he performs a simple task or the way he argues for a lost cause

2. If we are looking for someone or something to blame this is where the fucking blame ought to be directed, thinks Maynard

1 - You are a very strange man. Gretchen considers extinguishing her cigarette on your eyeball (puts out her cigarette)

2 - Maynard is troubled. He has to accuse someone. If I am to be blamed, says Gretchen

1 - (aggressively). No, says Gretchen, I am not to blame


2 - Can I ask you where this vitriol is coming from?

1 - I don’t know. Where does vitriol come from? Isn’t it the spleen?

2 - And this need of Maynard’s... to place the blame, it manifests itself as something else going on, a pain perhaps, in the general area of his colon, which is in the near vicinity of the arsehole if we’re being honest with ourselves

1 - There might be a million possible and probably innocent reasons for this sudden bout of discomfort. Primarily common sense might suggest/...

2 - (interrupting). This assumption that common sense would eventually prevail was immediately undermined by the thought that just as easily common sense might be vanquished, maybe by a series of seemingly innocuous thoughts strung together as stepping-stones to panic and mental breakdown

Silence. 1 smokes. 2 on his feet, he’s standing behind 1 when the line suggests it

2 - Gretchen watches as Morton walks across the car park. Night suddenly engulfs the world outside. Soon Morton will disappear from sight in the darkness. But what of it? What does Gretchen want from him anyhow? Now that Maynard’s mouth is empty of bread he is free to speak. Getting to his feet he finds himself standing in the room behind Gretchen who is looking out of the window. He sees cigarette smoke curl up between her and the glass. Gretchen, Maynard says, I have something I want to say

1 - (turning). What is it?

2 - I love you

1 - I’m sorry?

2 - I love you. I’ve always loved you

1 turns back to front

1 - The smoke from her cigarette curls/…

2 - Yes

1 - The view outside of/…

2 - Yes

1 - Give me a moment to picture the scene. The view outside/…

2 - No. The reflection in the window

1 - Maynard?

2 - Standing in the room behind her. Only the view of the room behind her

Long silence. They stare out. 2 pulls his chair up to 1’s table

2 - Listen. Peter and Jane?

1 - Who?

2 -(picking up the papers on 1’s desk). Are these your notes?

1 - Yes

2 - I just wondered…?

1 - Yes?

2 - A happy ending?

1 - They visit a sweet shop on the way home from the beach. Even Pat gets a sweet

2 looks at the notes in his hands. 1 smiles

1 - Woof, says Pat

2 doesn’t look at her, laughing 

1 - Yes

Click here to return to SHORTS