- Date of Birth
- November 6, 1984 (32)
About Engleberton Crabferry
TENANTS BEEN; a young actor.
ED; Tenants’ oldest friend.
IGOR; a close friend and contemporary actor.
SIR EGG THE POET; theatre director.
The action takes place on stage after the performance of another show. The scene is a dressing-room with walls painted blood-red. One window (back). One door (left). A coat rack (middle). A mirror, desk and stool (right).
[ENTER Tenants Been, in under garments, distressed. Moves across the room. Sits at the stool by the mirror. Cleans his face. He makes a groaning sound occasionally and, for about a minute, becomes more and more agitated until...]
Tenants: Oh I knew I shouldn’t have done it! Look at me! Look!
[looks into the mirror]
I’m not myself at all! As soon as I open my mouth!
[From behind the coat rack appears Ed. He is hunched, dressed in old, grubby clothes and wheezy. He heads for the door, tries not to be seen]
Tenants: As soon as I began playing my part I knew their script was different to mine – I knew it! I could see it on their… faces! Why did I improvise? I just wanted to express myself and I...
[hears Ed turning the handle of the door]
Ed?! Is that you? ... Ed?
[Ed stops. He coughs]
Ed: Err, yeh, iss me! Whad’ya want?
Tenants: Where the hell did you come from Ed? I thought I was talking to myself here and then you come out of nowhere!
Ed: Err, sorry, I’z just goin’ out!
Tenants: No need to hide Ed! After all, you’re the one who told me to do it!
Ed: T’ do what?
Tenants: You said “Improvise Tenants, improvise! ... Play whichever part you want... experiment! The script is your oyster!”
Ed: Yeh, so?
Tenants: So Ed... I did it! I did what you told me!
Tenants: And now I’m gonna get the blame for it Ed! The critics are gonna rip my bloody nuts off! And my Mum! What’s she going to think? I act for her! She’s the one who sent me to acting school in the first place. She might’ve seen me improvising Ed! She might’ve walked in! Oh, Ed!
[Tenants turns. He is upset. Puts his hands over his face; begins to weep]
Ed: ‘Ere, shut it boy, you done nuffin wrong! You played the part lad! You dun good!
[Pauses. Tenants weeps]
‘ere, lad.. felt good dinnit? Aye? Aye?
Tenants: [snivels] No!
Ed: Aye? Aye?
[Tenants dries his eyes. He looks up slowly]
Tenants: ... I guess so.
Ed: Felt bloody good didn’t it? Aye?
Tenants: Yeah, I guess.
Ed: Well then lad, wot you worried ‘bout. It felt good and thas all that matters innit?
[Tenants wipes his eyes dry. Pauses. Becomes happy suddenly. Looks at Ed]
Tenants: I guess so Ed! I mean, I think you’re right! I did do it. I did it! I played my part... I improvised! Maybe mother wasn’t watching me anyway!
[Pauses. Looks around. Grabs his coat from the rack].
Right then... that’s it Ed, we’re going outside! We’re gonna face ‘em now!
Ed: Yes Tenants boy, nice one! Let’s go lad! Out to meet the rabble!
[Ed holds Tenants’ hand and leads him to the door. They are about to leave when the door is opened from the other side. ENTER Igor, wearing a frilly shirt and tight trousers]
Igor: [Shouts] Well helloooooo there gentlemen! How are you doing young squires?
[looks at Tenants]
Oh Tenants! How wonderful you look!
[kisses Tenants’ on each cheek. Looks into his eyes. Ed coughs].
... Hello there Ed!
[breaks from Tenants, skips over to the dressing bench. Applies make up and sings].
Ed: What d’you want Igor? We’re going outside!
Igor: la la la [Stops singing]... what did you say? You’re going where? Oh no, you simply can’t. I won’t have it! We’re not ready yet! Tenants is a new man now; he must look the part, re-apply his make-up, recite his lines, [projects] build a face for his public! The critics are waiting for him outside!
Ed: No Igor! Look, we’re goin’ outside, now! Come on Tenants. You’re in good shape already lad!
Igor: No Ed! ... Please, wait?! Look, he’s in his underpants! That’s hardly a guise for his public now is it?!
Tenants: He’s right Ed. I need to look my best and, err, I don’t know what they’ll say do I? At least I can look good, aye?
[Ed looks at Tenants. Sighs. Tenants looks away. Ed sticks his finger up. Grunts]
Ed: This is most unpleasure, this is!
Igor: Ooooh! Do I sense a little tension Eddie? Come along now, we’re in this together. Ok Tenants... make-up, make-up! You’ll look wonderful!
[Tenants looks at Igor. Looks at Ed. Looks back at Igor. Becomes excited. Claps his hands and jumps]
Tenants: Ok, yes! Won’t be a minute! Oh! They’ll love me!
[looks into mirror. Sings]
... la la la la la...
[Igor hands Tenants a make-up brush. Moves towards the window]
Igor: Now... Ed! Bear with us, please! We have much to do before we leave!
[Looks around. Smells the air. Shouts]
Oh the air! Mmm... Is it hot in here? Let us go to the window Ed, and see what we are to face this fine evening!
[moves to the window. Ed watches, unimpressed].
Mmm... now, where’s my pipe?
[searches pockets, looks around]
Ah! There she is!
[pulls pipe from pocket]
Let us light the fire, shall we?
[Opens window. Lights pipe. Smokes]
Ah, sweet, sweet pipe... O! The smoke! The taste! The feeling of it going in... coming out! Aaaah........ But what about the health risks? what about the smoke? What about my HEART?!
Ed: What the bloody hell you talkin’ ‘bout Igor?! He improvised a lil… so wot?!
Igor: Yes, you’re right Ed; bad metaphor... I can’t seem to make sense of it either! On stage/off stage... in/out... a quick shuffle? One can freely associate, can’t one… hmm… Well, anyway, Tenants was wonderful, wasn’t he? Great performance! Played the part, you say... yes, I think so… or is there some other part to fill? And why this sense of insecurity?
[Puts pipe out. Moves to close the window].
[SHOUTS manifest from the window. Some are praising Tenants; some are derisive].
Tenants: Huh? What was that?!
Tenants: What? What is it?!
Igor: Err, nothing squire! They said they love you, and, err... Well, we’ll just have to make ourselves look lovely and then we’ll... we’ll... we’ll fly out of the window!
Ed: “Flight” Igor? What the hell are you talkin’ ‘bout?
Igor: No, you’re right... err... well, we’ll just have to adapt...err, like you were. Yes, adapt ourselves... make-up, make-up!
[Ed gets agitated. Begins pacing]
Look, all he’s dun is improvise a lil’… now let’s go outside!
Igor: Ok, yes... we’ll adapt first, and then we’ll… we’ll… face them together! Okay Tenants? Are you almost done?
Tenants: Yes Igor, done. How do I look? [turns]
Igor: Oh Tenants! You are wonderful... you are... you’re... you’re Romeo, you’re Arnolphe... you’re simply divine young squire, and she’ll love you when she sees you!
Igor: Your critics Tenants; the critics! “She” is the “other”! Anything other than you! Oh, and your father... where was he tonight? He’s another problem Tenants; we must avoid him... no, challenge him.... no, avoid... err...
[Pauses. Looks into Tenants eyes]
Oh Tenants! You... are... narcissus! I mean, ok, not quite in your prime as you once were, but this is new… this is exciting…
Ed: “Narcissus”? He looks bloody ridiculous!
Tenants: Yes Igor... do I look silly?
Igor: Oh Tenants! No! Let not me hear another word of it dear boy! You are the light inside this room! And when you walk outside ‘twil be but a sham if thou dost not heed applause!
Igor: Yes, heeeeeed! Oh no, I mean, “warrant”, “receive”! Don’t worry Tenants, other people improvise too, I think. Besides, your public loves you!
[looks at Tenants]
O! We look... divine!
Tenants: Yes? Okay then. Shall we leave now?!
Igor: Yes, now! Let’s go!
Tenants: Yes! Yes!
[Igor grabs Tenant’s coat off the rack. Puts it on his shoulders. Ed helps to get the coat on. After, they go towards the door; Igor first, then Tenants, then Ed; each holding hands]
[A noise manifests. It is the sound of steps, getting louder and louder].
Igor: Oh NO!
Tenants: “Oh” WHAT?
Ed: Oh dear God!
Tenants: “Oh NO!” What?
Igor: It’s... It’s...
[ENTER Sir Egg the Poet, dressed in a smart suit, holding a clip board]
Sir Egg: [Shouts] Its...Sir Egg! Yes, it’s me! Didn’t think I’d show now did you? [Looks at all of them; angry]
Well, let’s see here... Tenants Been! What in God’s name are you playing at? What do you call that, a performance?! Who gave you the right to play with the script, eh? What do I look like to you, an idiot?! I wrote this script! I directed the performance! That wasn’t in the rehearsals now was it? I’ve got a good mind to take that script away from you boy!
Tenants: I’m... I’m not myself, Sir! I’m really not. That was the first time I’ve improvised... It... wasn’t much... I mean, other actors do it, I think. It felt good! I think the play went well, too! She’ll love it!
Sir Egg: “She”? Whose she?
Igor: The audience sir! The other! “She”! They’ll love it!
Sir Egg: “She”! I’ll have none of your “SHE!” They are my audience; I am the authority here and Tenant’s is MY actor! “She”! Let me tell you something, you’re lucky your mother wasn’t watching! She’d be less than content with your behaviour boy, and you know it!
Tenants: Naturally, sir. Yes, I know Sir. She wasn’t watching? Oh, thank god! That could have been all my schooling out of the window!
Ed: He ain’t right Tenants! She wudda luvd it! She’d luv to see you improvise!
Sir Egg: Quiet Ed you snivelling runt!
Tenants: O! This is the greatest trauma! I don’t know what to think! I feel paranoid… I think!
Igor: Please Sir, it’s true. I don’t believe he’s done anything wrong per se. I think it is just a case of misunderstanding, misconception, confusion, delusion, difference; a daydream... not deception or lack of deference!
Sir Egg: Yes, well I-gore, when you’re quite finished borrowing Part 1 of my prize lexicon will you please do us all the decency of keeping schtum! It will be a while yet before you are directing actors like me dear sir! Now...
[Locks the door]
...we will stay in here until all of the fuss has gone... understand!?! I won’t have my theatre be the site of a shambles this early in its history! How long have I been here? Almost as long as you Igor... how long is it?
Igor: Nearly five years, sir!
Sir Egg: Five years and not one hint of an improvisation by the boy and then all of a sudden he decides to surprise us!
Ed: This is bloody ridiculous! I’m going!
Sir Egg: Schtum Ed! You’re a good-for-nothing runt! I have told you this already! Now keep schtum before I beat you down any further! You know I will... I’ve done it before; many a’time! You’re going nowhere! No doubt it was you behind this sudden alteration anyhow?
Ed: You told me “Schtum”, Sir! So I’m quiet!
Sir Egg: Don’t be facetious Ed! Did you have anything to do with this? Tell me, NOW!
Ed: Well, I mean… I might’ve manipulated the script a little… So what?
Sir Egg: What! “SO WHAT”?! Why, you insolent little swine! You and your sick little games have ruined my play! You runt! Come here!
[Sir Egg begins to chase Ed around the room]
Igor: Please fellas?! Don’t fight! O!
Ok, Tenants, now’s our chance! We must fly out of the window after all!
Tenants: But what about Ed?
Igor: He’s fine. Look at him! He’s gratified enough getting chased!
Tenants: Do you mean “satisfied”?
Tenants: Ok, yes. Look, he does look wild!
Igor: He looks deviant... erratic.... eccentric, and, and...
Igor: O! Yes Tenants! Nice phraseology!
[Ed is being chased. He giggles more and more. Igor and Tenants begin to whisper to each other. Sir Egg is out of breath. After a moment they stop]
Ed: Cum on old man! You never know wot I’m gunna do, do ya?
[Ed is near the window. He giggles again. Sir Egg lunges forward, out of breath. Ed turns and scrambles out of the window, laughing].
Sir Egg: [coughs, wheezy] Come back here you little runt!
[Sir Egg moves over to the window. Igor points to his pocket where the keys are. Tenants edges forward and steals them without Sir Egg noticing. Sir Egg looks out the window]
Sir Egg: I’ll get you Ed! You will learn the proper way! You won’t be turning my actors against me!
[Tenants goes to the door with the keys. Igor lights his pipe again. Sir Egg turns to see them leaving]
Sir Egg: Hey! Come here! How did you...? Get back here Tenants!
Igor: Don’t worry Tenants, she’ll love you! We’re in this together Tenants! Come on... let’s go!
Tenants: Yes... let’s go Igor! Sorry Sir Egg! I really am sorry I improvised, but I’m afraid I must be off now!
Sir Egg: Come back Tenants! I’ll tell your mother of this Tenants Been! You’re done for!
[He puffs and puffs. He is worn out. He moves as quickly as he can to the door]
I’m right behind you Tenants Been...
[The door slams in his face. He falls. He gets up]
I always be right behind you! ... Tenants!
[Leaves room. Turns the lights out]
- Talking to people about literature. Please FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME ANYTIME.
- Chief Charlatan of The Moment Ltd. (MA Student, Private Tutor... also looking for review work!)
- Currently Reading (Title):
- Can You Hear, Bird?; Selected Poems 1930 - 1989; High Windows
- Currently Reading (Author):
- Ashbery; Beckett; Larkin
"All there ever is has always already happened. There is nothing that isn't. What am I but incipient nothingness?" - Jean Pornier (1909).