OBSERVING LIFE
A COMEDY IN ONE ACT by ALFRED VASSALLO

CHARACTERS


THE OBSERVER
THE WIFE
HER HUSBAND
THE MOTHER
HER CHILD
THE PSYCHIATRIST
THE UNKNOWN FRIEND
TONY
JAMES
THE COUNCILLOR
THE WOMAN
THE BLONDE WOMAN
THE RASTAFARIAN MAN

SCENERY
An entrance of a town library. Showing public door, two seats and other small appropriate decorations. (Like a stand with New Books)

TIME
The present(From the main door enters the Observer, he looks around and check some books from the stand. Next he moves down facing the audience.)

 

 

THE OBSERVER
Good evening everyone. Welcome to the local library. Did you know that any library that exists hold too many real-life tales? One only has to be patient and listen. 
By the way, I am the observer, and today I am here to observer the life as it is lived. Why am I here you may ask? Did you ask me? Right whether you did or not I am going to tell you. Yesterday I was searching on Google for a book I have read a long time ago. You see, everything these days is very expensive unless of course, you go to a charity shop, but even these are learning fast. Yet again charity shops are limited and you cannot always buy what you want. As a rule, I don’t like to borrow books from the library, but yesterday I decided I will borrow one.

“The House On The Strand” is the book I want to read again by Daphne du Maurier which was first published in 1969. I tell you the truth I don’t know why I have the notion to read it again, but once something pops into my head I have to carry out regardless. 

So here I am, and as you see I am dressed in black all over. Black is my favourite colour because it goes well with my character. I am serious, intense, secretive, mysterious, stormy and above all bad-tempered. 
(He looks around him again)
Surprisingly it is not busy. I better go and find the book I want which is upstairs.
See in a few minutes time.
(He exists after five seconds he pops his head out)
That was quick, wasn’t it? It the fastest book I have searched for and found.
(Show the audience the book)
This is is and it is a fascinating book. But, hey, you don’t want to hear about the book, you came here the see what’s going to happen in observing life. When I was walking down from the bus stop to here, I had a weird idea. So weird I still don’t know if I can really do it. I thought once I get hold of the book, instead of returning home, I will stand still here…..
(He jumps to the side of the main door)
And stand still, like a statue, without movements and emotions for maybe an hour or two. I also like to observe people so this idea will give me a great opportunity to study individuals as they come and go. I must also tell you that this idea came as quite a few years ago when I was celebrating the 25th anniversary of my marriage I took my wife to Venice. I was surprised as we walked by the promenade to see many artists standing as a character without moving, There was Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, some exotic characters from their Carnival and so on. Honestly, they were amazing, you can take a selfie with them, talk to them, but they never move an inch of talk. Now that was very educational, wasn’t it?
I know it is a huge task but as many say if you don’t try you won’t succeed.
So here I am ready for action, or to be precise for no action at all.
(The Observer stands still as though he is reading a from the book)

(There is a slight pause when the UNKNOWN FRIEND walks in ignoring the observer and exist to the library, there is another pause. The WIFE and her HUSBAND enter. She is plump and exhausted while he is in a sleeveless shirt with a tattoo or more. The wife sees the chair and goes and sits on it.)

THE HUSBAND
What the hell is wrong with you? You’ve been in this mood since we left the house.?

THE WIFE
Can you please leave me alone? Can you just go away? And take the bloody dog with you too.

THE HUSBAND
But he’s your dog?

THE WIFE
Go away both of you. Go an untie the dog and leave. I want to be left alone. Do you hear me?

THE HUSBAND
This is not very nice of you.

THE WIFE
You see nobody understands me.


THE HUSBAND
What the fuck you’re talking about? What are you saying?

THE WIFE
Nobody understands me. No one likes me either. No one. 

THE HUSBAND
You know perfectly well that I like you.

THE WIFE
That’s not true. You’re always lying to me. It’s one big lie after another. Don’t you think I know that you hate me? No one loves me.

THE HUSBAND
I love you, you know that. Your dog loves you too and you know dogs don’t lie.

THE WIFE
No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t come and sit with me any more.

THE HUSBAND
That’s because you frighten him!

THE WIFE
You see you admit it. Now go away and don’t come back, both of you.


(As the man starts to exits)
It would be much easier if I did not exist any more. That way you don’t have to feel

guilty about me.

THE HUSBAND
(He walks back to her)


Now that really hurts. You stabbed me just right in here.


(Points to his heart and thump it)


You always shatter my feelings.

(There is perfect silence except for the observer who turns slightly at the audience and make a gesture as though he is telling them “What the hell are they talking about)

THE HUSBAND
(Changing the subject)


Don’t forget I’ve put a roast in the oven.

THE WIFE
What did you say?

THE HUSBAND
We have a roast in the oven.

THE WIFE
What kind of a roast you did?

THE HUSBAND
A leg of a lamb.

THE WIFE
(She struggles up to her feet)


Let’s go home then because I feel a bit peckish.

THE HUSBAND
Come on darling.


(He puts his hands on her shoulders and walks out with her.)

(The MOTHER and the CHILD walk in, the MOTHER keeps walking through the BOY sees the OBSERVER and stops staring. The starts teasing the man put out his tongue etc. (This is down to the DIRECTOR imagination. From the inside we hear the MOTHER)

MOTHER
Come on Wayne….

(Shouts)
Come here I said.


(The CHILDS Ignore her. The MOTHER comes in a grabs him from the neck as she pulling him in the boy kicks the OBSERVER and they exist.
The observer doesn’t move until they are out of sight.)


THE OBSERVER
(Rubbing his leg)
The little bugger…..


(The UKNOWN FRIEND Come out from the library carry a few books in his hand. From the entrance The PSYCHIATRIST Comes in and stops the UNKNOWN FRIEND)

THE PSYCHIATRIST
How are you?


(The UNKNOWN FRIEND STARES WITH ASTONISHMENT)


You know I still practice.  But because I’m a psychiatrist it doesn’t mean I have to retire early. I wish I had thought. Do you know I have been more than twenty-seven years practising and to tell you the truth I am completely worn out and had enough of people? Month after month, year after year I had to listen to patients who are satisfied and confused with their lives who want to have fun. I tell you they want to have fun while they take all enjoyment out of me, and they expect me to help them regain it. My life isn’t exactly much fun either. People are very demanding and that is what I have concluded after all these years, and you know what I stick to it. They demand to be happy but all the while they are egocentrics, self-centred, greedy and outrageous. Sometimes I feel like to tell them that they are simply arrogant, selfish and bloody mean too. After spending hour after hour of therapy, trying to make a callous person happy is an uphill struggle. There is no point in trying. I could not do it. Do you know what I do these days? I prescribe anti-depressant pills, the stronger the better. Well, that’s the way I feel about.


(Without waiting for a reply the PSYCHIATRIST leaves the UNKNOWN FRIEND and exits to the library. The UNKNOWN FRIEND is lost for words, looking around him with puzzlement.)

UNKNOWN FRIEND
Who the fuck was he? 


(And leaves the library)

The OBSERVER looks around and moves to the audience)

THE OBSERVER
Now after these three episodes  I have just observed and it is quiet I though I relax a bit, without breaking the experiment I am trying. Have you noticed that none of the employees had been seen? Where are they? Obviously behind the desks helping with inquiries, but surely not all of them unless of course they noticed me and thought I am an idiot.
Since it’s very quiet I tell you what happened to me yesterday. In the morning I was determined to buy a new DVD player so that I can archive my favourite television shows. The bus I wanted to catch was the 9.18 am, the weather was appalling, drizzling with rain, but the rain doesn't stop you from going out. When I was all wrapped up in a heavy coat, (yes I forgot to mention it was bitterly cold too) I made sure that I switched off any hazardous electric appliances and the animals were well taken care of, in case I am late. I shut the door behind me about 9.10 am, 7 minutes is more than enough to reach the bus stop.
When I arrived at the bus shelter, I was only about 10 seconds away when I saw the bus just a few yards away from reaching the stop I waved like a madman for the driver to notice me, but the bastard did not stop. Now, I had to wait another 15 minutes for the 9.33. I was so angry and upset that I didn't notice that I hadn't brought the umbrella with me, so now I was standing there like a spare prick at a wedding getting wetter and wetter watching cars passing by. All types of vehicles from small ones to huge Lorries noticing the different colours and the wipers moving from one side to the other.


And still there I was, waiting, now completely soaked, I could have used one of those wipers for my glasses, and would you believe it, I realised I had left home without a handkerchief when usually I carry two or three in separate pockets.

I was about to change my mind and forget about purchasing the DVD player. I thought it was not important enough for me to get pneumonia. Then finally through the drenched glasses, I spotted it, the next bus was coming from afar, too far for my liking. I got on the bus, paid my fare from some loose change I had in my trousers pocket and sat down trying to sort out the state I was in. I am sure I looked like a drookit craw. By the way for those who don’t know drookit craw is a Scottish phrase meaning soaking.

But that early morning keeps reminding me that you never know what is waiting for you around the corner. Maybe another sympathetic driver would have stopped for me just for a second or two. I would not have stayed bloody eighteen minutes shivering with cold and getting absolutely soaked.
When I arrived in town I went straight to the shop where I saw the DVD player advertised. I went right in and without hesitation, I told the assistant that I wanted to buy a specific player and I gave him the model number and all the necessary information about the product. It wasn’t before long the man was holding a box. He placed it on the counter and started to sort out the bill on his cash machine.
But then it happened. I couldn’t find my wallet with all the credits cards and the cash.
The man looked at me suspiciously and I explained that in the rush to catch the bus I had forgotten my wallet.
As I left the shop very disappointed, I could feel a flurry of snow coming down. I was cursing all the gods and all the saints, angels and cherubs all of them at the same time because I had to walk home as I did not have enough change to take another bus.
Bloody DVD player, next time I will buy it through the Internet.

(At that moment TONY and JAMES comes in and stops by the door, THE OBSERVER has no time to go to his position so he takes the same pose as he did before where he is)


JAMES
What’s wrong with you Tony, you seem miles away.


TONY
I’m afraid I am.

JAMES
What happened then?

TONY
You know James, I cannot understand my family at all.

JAMES
What do you mean?

TONY
Only yesterday I found out my youngest brother is gay.


JAMES
There is nothing wrong with that? Is there?

TONY
No nothing at all.

JAMES
Are you surprised? 

TONY
NO, not really because my older brother is gay too.

JAMES
You see, so why do you look devastated? And though you are married you are gay too.


(There’s a pause) 


I wonder if any of your siblings like women.

TONY
(Cries)


Yes, my wife does that is why I’m devastated, she is dating my sister.

JAMES
(As they walk in the library)


Oh, I’m sorry about that, keeping it in the family, eh?

(The OBSERVER doesn’t move but he talks)

THE OBSERVER
Now that’s a piece of gossip I did not expect to hear. A very interesting family indeed. 

 

THE WOMAN
We couldn’t ask for a better day. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, unlike yesterday it poured all day. I love it when is a beautiful sunny day.

THE COUNCILLOR
So do I.

THE WOMAN
The daffodils are beautiful, aren’t they?

THE COUNCILLOR
They certainly are. Though I don’t know why the council waste so much much on growing daffodils when they can use it for better causes.

(As they continue talking a Rastafarian man comes with a book out from the library and sits)

THE WOMAN
I know what you mean.

THE COUNCILLOR
You know I heard on the radio we are bound for more rain at the weekend.

THE WOMAN
Are we? That’s bad I was looking forward to it because I am going hiking.

THE COUNCILLOR
What brings you in here today?

THE WOMAN
I came to vote for the council election.

THE COUNCILLOR
What a coincidence, so did I. If I’m not intruding who did you vote for?

THE WOMAN
No, at all. I voted for the independent candidate.

THE COUNCILLOR
Good, because I voted for him too. 

THE WOMAN
And what do you do if I may ask?

THE COUNCILLOR
I’m a councillor…

THE WOMAN
Oh…So you…

THE COUNCILLOR
Yes, of course, I voted for myself who else?

THE WOMAN
I’m sorry telling you this, but I hate politicians.

THE COUNCILLOR
So do I….


(They laugh and enters to the library)

(The BLONDE WOMAN probably Swedish, German or Danish comes in from the entrance and looks at the RASTAFARIAN man)

RASTAFARIAN
(Looks at her)


What’s your problem?

BLONDE
(Speaks with an accent)


Sorry? What did you say?

RASTAFARIAN
You keep staring at me. You better keep your eyes to amuse yourself somewhere else.

BLONDE
I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. You see I have never seen Afrikaans this close. I am sorry. I am from Sweden.

RASTAFARIAN
You don’t have Afrikaans from where you come?

BLONDE
I don’t know I don’t live there, but are they all like you?

RASTAFARIAN
(Angrily and stands)


What do you mean all like me?

BLONDE
So beautiful?

RASTAFARIAN
(His mood changes and speaks shyly)


I don’t know about that.

BLONDE
Don’t be embarrassed, you are very good looking, by the way, my name is Helleena.

RASTAFARIAN
I’m Michael.

BLONDE
Do you live here?

RASTAFARIAN
I’m at the University…..

BLONDE
So am I….what a coincidence.

RASTAFARIAN
Do you fancy going for lunch with me?

BLONDE
You mean now?

RASTAFARIAN
Yes, why not….

BLONDE
OK, but first let’s go to your room and make love….

RASTAFARIAN
What?

BLONDE
It is better to get over with that first, instead of waiting for after lunch,, many blokes expect that.

RASTAFARIAN
I’m not like that but if you insist….

BLONDE
I insist

(They walk out)

THE OBSERVER
(Astonished)


Now why I never meet a woman like that!


END