Just what the World Needs
Volume 2 of The Hub Series of Plays
By Alan Hendry
Cast: 4m 5f plus various extras
Settings: Various settings using back projection to set the scene with props to fill out
Approximate Length: One Act
Rock till you drop, literally!
Once again the consumers of the Grantham Community Centre Day Program are in trouble. The Megga Bingo Corporation is considering closing 12 of their bingo halls across the country and the Grantham Community Centre is firmly within their sights.
Will the ladies of the day program, the ever cynical Flo 92, ethereal wanderer Dottie 89, garrulous and chatty MS sufferer Madge 67, clueless volunteer Shazza 58 and new ‘old’ boy Arnold 80, be able to combine their new found ‘internet savvy’ with a bit of old fashioned rock and roll to help prevent the imminent collapse of their little community.
‘A true celebration of positive ageing and the bridging of the generation gap!’
SCENE: The small bedroom of ARNOLD FAIRWEATHER’s retirement village unit. It is 7.30 am and the early morning sun shines through the bedroom curtains onto a single bed which has its bed head against the wall. The bedroom is untidy, typical of an older gentleman living on his own. A chair is placed to one side of the bed upstage and has yesterdays clothes draped upon it. A small bedside cabinet is on the other side. An alarm clock radio, an older style mobile phone and silver gilded picture frame sit on top. There is also a glass of water containing a front set of teeth and a plate with the remains of supper on it. A body is asleep under the blankets.
ARNOLD: Zzzz ... zzzz (Loud snoring is heard from underneath the blankets.) …. Snort ... gurgle …. (He tosses and turns. A few snorts and gurgles are heard before he settles down once more into snoring) …. Zzzz ... zzzz (Suddenly the clock radio blares. A very cheerful announcer’s voice is heard.) ….. groan ….. (His hand comes out from under the sheets and fumbles around on top of the bedside cabinet switching off the radio. There is silence and the snoring continues.) Zzzz ... zzzz (We now hear a mobile phone alarm. The snoring is interrupted again. The same hand fumbles for the mobile phone. He is unable to find it and so peers out from under the sheets.) ... where is that blasted .... (He finds the phone and picks it up. He looks at it, not sure how to turn off the alarm. He pushes several buttons. No luck. He shakes it. No luck. He bangs it roughly on the cabinet. Still no luck so he pushes it firmly under his pillow. The noise is deadened. He sighs with relief and once more settles down. The phone alarm finally stops and there is a few moments silence. ARNOLD suddenly lets out a yell of pain.) .... Aaahh ... oooh ... cramp! (He throws back the covers and clutches his calf. He tries to get out of bed and almost falls on the FLOor. He tries to stand but can only manage a sort of crouch as he staggers around next to the bed rubbing his calf. He is wearing a striped pair of flannelette pyjamas.) .... Oooh ... aaah ...... aaah ... (The cramp gradually subsides.) .... oooh, that’s better. (He returns to his bed, lies back down and pulls the sheets up to his chin. He tries to get himself comfortable again but after several moments he throws back the sheets.) Oh bugger! (He gets out of the bed once again and staggers around to the other side and through a door into an en-suite. We hear the trickle of water ... it stops ...then starts ... then stops..... then starts... then stops. A long pause ... then it starts again. Finally it ceases and he returns through the door to the other side of the bed.) Thank goodness that’s over with. (He sits down on the side of the bed and is just considering getting back under the covers when a muffled mobile phone ring is heard.) Oh for goodness sakes ... (He struggles to find the phone which he had stuffed in temper under the pillows earlier. He is panicking as, like most older people, he feels he has to answer the phone rather than let it go to message bank. If it rings it must be answered. He finds that the phone has somehow been squeezed inside the pillow slip and he is unable to free it so in his panic he somehow manages to feel for the outline of the phone through the pillow cover. He presses a few buttons until the ring tone stops. He shouts at the phone.) Hello, hello! (He is unable to hear a reply and so in desperation he puts the whole pillow up to his ear. He is now talking into his pillow.) Hello, hello! (He now shouts.) Look, I’m afraid you’ll have to speak up. You’re a bit muffled. Yes this is Mr Fairweather. (Pause) I’m sorry who did you say you were? Andrew who? Benaton? No, I don’t know anyone of that name. (Pause) Oh, Denton! It still doesn’t ring a bell ..... you work for ABC. Look I’m sorry I don’t have any children at day care. I’m a little bit long in the tooth for that sort of caper .... (Suddenly recognition dawns) .. Oh, you mean the ABC! (He crosses himself) Oh my God! Not the Andrew Denton who hosts the ‘Elders’ program on Wednesday nights? (He takes the pillow away from his ear and puts his hand over where he thinks the speaker should be on a conventional phone. A bit silly really because he is holding onto a pillow. He says in a whisper to no one in particular) Oh my ... it’s Andrew Denton ... he wants to speak to me .... what do I say .... (He is very flustered. He gets on one knee. He speaks back into the phone) Your Grace .... er ... your eminence ... er .. what was that? Oh, just Andrew will do. You’re still waiting for news from Rome about your beatification. Er ... yes, of course .... (He gives a nervous laugh) ... er .. sorry? Oh, you’re having trouble understanding me? Is it a bad line? Umm .... just a moment ... (He takes the pillow away from his ear. He turns it upside down and shakes. The phone falls out onto the bed. He picks up the phone and speaks into it.) Is that better? Good. No it wasn’t a bad line. It’s all that feather and down getting in the way. No, never mind .... it’s a long story. (Pause while he listens.) Would I be available today at ten o’clock? To appear on the show? Er ... um .... well yes. Of course I would ... you’ll be sending a car around to pick me up? No, not at all. That will be fine. I’m sure I’ll be able to find time in my er ...schedule .... right, I’ll see you then. Goodbye ... er... Andrew. (He puts the phone back into the pillow and stands looking bemused.) I don’t believe it. I’ve been asked onto the telly. Me, little old Arnold Fairweather. Ha, ha. (He does a little attempt at a jig but stops when it hurts his back.) Oooh! Aaah! Steady on Arnold. Remember your hip lad. (He stops for a second but then does another little celebratory shuffle.) He, he. Oh, if only me old Mum could see me now. Wait till I tell the lads down at the ‘Fields’. They won’t believe it. (He picks up the picture frame from the cabinet and kisses the picture.) What do you think of that Lizzie me old darling? (He turns the picture around and we can see it is a picture of the Queen) Me, on the ABC with Andrew Denton. Eee .... you’ve come a long way lad. Counter clerk at the Field’s Post Office for fifty years, retired pensioner for fifteen years and now look at you. Famous singer. YouTube video star with over 12 million hits, er whatever they are. A song on the radio in the top ten. A new CD coming out. I’m a regular Mick Jagger I am. Er ... actually come to think of it I prefer Michael Bublé. No offense Mick but I think your showing your age. And now on the telly! I never thought in me wildest dreams that anything like this would happen to me Lizzie. Not even when I got me grandson Declan to put that video that Shazza made of all of us onto the computer. But when that chappie from the local paper came around ... er ... now hang on Arnold you’re getting a bit ahead of yourself. Let’s start at the beginning shall we. (He sits on the side of the bed and places the photo frame back onto the cabinet with the picture facing toward him. He is now addressing the picture.) You see ‘your Maj’ it all started that day at the club when we first heard the bad news. The girls were just finishing their morning Tai Chi class and I was getting ready to set up for our ‘Laptop’ class. We were looking forward to a smashing lunch. It were Wednesday so fish and chips was on the menu and cook was making her special mushy peas ... (The lights dim.)
END OF SCENE 1