The Lad (in 10 miniature scenes)

THIS PIECE IS A COMPLEMENT TO BECKETT’S PLAY ‘KRAPPS LAST TAPE’ IN SO FAR AS IT FEATURES A BANANA. 

IT CAN BE PERFORMED LIVE ANYWHERE IN WHICH CASE ALL THE PROP CHANGES AND BUSINESS BETWEEN THE TEN MINIATURES COULD, PROBABLY WOULD, BE SEEN BY THE AUDIENCE AND TREATED LIKE PART OF THE PERFORMANCE. 

THE SCENE IS ANYWHERE. THE TIME IS TODAY 

…BUT ANYWHERE HAS BEEN ADAPTED FOR AN OLD MAN WHO IS SAT IN AN ARMCHAIR LISTENING TO AN OLD RADIO WEARING A BIB. NEXT TO HIS CHAIR, ON ONE SIDE IS AN OCCASIONAL TABLE WITH A FRUIT BOWL CONTAINING LOTS OF BANANAS AND THE RADIO. NEXT TO THAT IS A WASTE BIN. ALSO IN THE SCENE IS A YOUNG MAN PLAYING A CLASSICAL GUITAR SOMETIMES FOLLOWING THE OLD MANS ACTIONS PRECISELY, SOMETIMES NOT. (MAYBE HE IS THE OLD MAN’S YOUNGER SELF OR MAYBE JUST AN ENTERTAINER.) ON THE MAN’S KNEE IS ‘THE LAD’ A VENTRILOQUIST DUMMY IN A PURPLE SHINY SHOW SUIT. THEY APPEAR TO BE LISTENING TO THE RADIO TOGETHER BUT IT BECOMES APPARENT FROM THE UNATURAL WAY THEY INTERACT DURING THE PERFORMANCE THAT THE OLD MAN IS NOT A SKILLED VENTRILOQUIST. FROM TIME TO TIME THE LAD WILL SING ALONG TO THE RADIO (SEE LYRICS ON PAGE 3). ALL THE ACTION IS VERY VERY SLOW AS BEFITS THE OLD MAN AND MUCH IS FOCUSED ON HIS FREE HAND NOT THE LAD. THE MAN IS AS SKILLED WITH HIS FREE HAND AS HE IS UNSKILLED WITH THE LAD, SUCH THAT IT SEEMS TO SPEAK AND AT TIMES PARALLELS THE MUSIC AS IF IT WERE SINGING ALONG TOO. THE NAILS ON HIS FREE HAND ARE LONG LIKE THOSE OF A GUIARIST.  
 
(INEVITABLY MISTAKES OCCUR DUE TO THE INTRICACY OF THE ACTIVITIES THE MAN IS REQUIRED TO PERFORM. THESE ARE AS IMPORTANT AS THE SUCCESSFUL ACTS OF MANUAL DEXTERITY AND SHOULD NEITHER BE EDITED OUT NOT ‘STAGED.’)  
 
THE CORE RADIO SOUND IS POOR QUALITY AND CONSIST OF SAMPLES DERIVED FROM 1970‘S POP AND POP/CLASSICAL MUSIC HOWEVER THESE CAN BE TRANSFORMED APPROPRIATELY AND DISTRIBUTED THROUGH A HIGH QUALITY SOUND SYSTEM OR OPTIMISED IN POST PRODUCTION. THE RADIO MUSIC MAY FLOW ACROSS SCENES OR BE INTERUPTED. THERE SHOULD NOT BE A SENSE THAT EACH MINATURE HAS A RADIO THEME. THE GUITAR MUSIC IS SYNCHRONISED WITH THE RADIO SOUND AND MAY BLEND WITH IT AT TIMES. IT HAS A TRANQUILITY THAT ESTABLISHES THE SLOW REPETITIVE GENTLE RHYTHM OF THE PIECE.THE MEANING OF THE WORDS DOESN’T MATTER THEY COULD BE ANY OLD MANS SEMI LUCID ’KRAPP’ BUT THE WORDS SELECTED FOR THE SCRIPT MUST BE ADHERED TO PRECISELY AS IF DELIVERED BY A MACHINE WITH NO OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVISATION. THE ‘DRAMA’ IF ANY IS IN THE MUSIC, SILENCES AND THE NON-SPEECH VOCALISATIONS. ALL PAUSES APPLY TO ALL THE SOUND SOURCES SO THAT THE FLOW IS CONTINUALLY INTERUPTED. THE LAD HAS A CHILD’S VOICE (FALSETTO) MOST OF THE TIME, AS IS TRADITIONAL. 

Page Break 

SUGGESTED RADIO MUSIC – IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER 

Only fragments may be used or more extended samples – the extracts may be significantly modified and processed to be barely recognisable. 

RADIO MUSIC: ROGER WHITTAKER https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzKQfrNseoI  
 

RADIO MUSIC: I’D LIKE TO TEACH THE WORLD TO SING  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWKznrEjJK4  
 

RADIO MUSIC: SATIE 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WfaotSK3mI  

RADIO MUSIC: RODRIGO 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knZyzhMNeP0 
  

RADIO MUSIC: STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXQUu5Dti4g  
 

RADIO MUSIC: ANNIES SONG 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNOTF-znQyw  

RADIO MUSIC: WHERE DID YOU GO TO MY LOVELY 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8XQZYIiNgo  

RADIO MUSIC: STARRY STARRY NIGHT 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wrNFDxCRzU  

RADIO MUSIC: CAT STEVENS 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGNxKnLmOH4&list=PL262337A5F58BD941  
 
RADIO MUSIC: CAVATINA 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7SvBtJuh3Y  

Page Break 

The following lyrics can be sung by the Lad whenever appropriate. They may or may not marry to the original songs from which they are derived 

Your head is humming and it won’t go, in case you don’t know 
The piper’s calling you to join him 
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know 
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind? 

Come let me love you, let me give my life to you 
Let me drown in your laughter, let me die in your arms 
Let me lay down beside you, let me always be with you 
Come let me love you, come love me again 

Like the strangers that you’ve met 
The ragged men in ragged clothes 
The silver thorn of bloody rose 
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow 

I know where you go to, my lovely 
When you’re alone in your bed 
I know the thoughts that surround you 
‘Cause I can look inside your head 

That’s a song I hear 
Sing it along 
Let the world sing today 
Over and over 

Page Break 

MINIATURE 1 

The man is eating a banana sandwich. (He rests between each bite) 

(Pause) 

THE MAN 

Want some? 

THE LAD 

Only if you take off the crusts. 

(Pause) 

The man takes off the crusts with one hand and his fingernails showing significant virtuosity that is reflected in the music. He feeds the lad clumsily. Bits fall out of the dummies mouth. 

THE LAD 

(Choking a little) 

Watch it, you’re wasting it! 

MINIATURE 2 

The Man is holding a banana. He peals it methodically and very very slowly using only one hand. It’s another virtuoso performance.  
 
The Lad watches him apprehensively at first and then tries whistling to calm his nerves. The music accompanied by the guitar sounds a bit like Roger Whittaker 

THE MAN 

Want some? 

THE LAD 

You first. 

(gulp) 

MINIATURE 3 

The Man is pretending to be asleep. The Lad is ‘awake.’ The guitarist plays. The Lad ‘dances’ and sings along with the music. 
 

(Counting to the music) 

(Breaths) 

MINIATURE 4 

The Man holds the banana as he did at the end of Miniature 2. It’s as though the recording has slipped backwards 

THE MAN 

Want some? 

(Very long pause) 

THE LAD 

No you are all right! 

The man eats the banana in small bites as he does so the lad tries to speak and some words are audible between mouthfuls but the rest of the time the words are completely garbled. The words that are heard are – 

THE LAD 

…conscious of something 

…but the Dartford Crossing was jam packed 

…true friendship can 

…a bungalow 

…your carriage it’s waiting 

…fried not baked 

…pull up, knock up, rock up, wake up 
 

…feeling like shit 

…nobody makes a better flapjack. 

MINIATURE 5 

The man holds the banana skin. It hangs limply. 

THE LAD 

Want some? 

THE MAN 

Maybe later. You? 

THE LAD 

(Pause) 
 

It’s empty. 

THE MAN 

Good though. 

MINIATURE 6 

The man holds up a bunch of five bananas 

THE LAD 

Now that’s more like it. 

THE MAN 

It’s a feast! 

(Slurp) 

THE LAD 

Enough for everyone. 

THE MAN 

A bunch… 

THE LAD 

…a bunch of five 

The man pulls his hand out of the dummy and shows his fist to the radio. The Lad now unsupported collapses with laughter. 

(Laughter) 

MINIATURE 7 

The man is controlling the Lad again. He holds up his other fist. 

THE MAN 

Nobody does it better 

THE LAD 

You can say that again. 

THE MAN 

(Like a nursery rhyme) 

Five bananas will make Wilma fat. We don’t want that.  

(repeat ad infinitum) 

THE LAD 

Who is Wilma? 

THE MAN 

(Pretending to mishear) 

Who is Sylvia?  

Mad cows! 

THE LAD 

(In the mans voice – for real like an aside) 

Sylvia is here now. We all are, the whole street. No 9 us, No 11 Wilma, No 12 Sylvia. Nobody does it better. She does it, everyday, like clockwork. Up the stairs the window, her tower, waiting all day, nothing doing, nobody, poor cow. Why should they. 
 

(In the Lads voice) 
 
Nobody does it better. The flapjacks. Now that’s something to write home about. 

MINIATURE 8 

The lad lies spread over the Mans lap enabling to him to prop a bowl of bananas and custard on his back. (It may look sexual who cares but it’s not the intention.) 

THE MAN 

Bananas, custard… 

He reaches behind his bib and pulls out a paper bag with the remainder of a piece of flapjack in it. 

THE MAN 

And flapjack. 

He breaks the flapjack into the bowl and eats the contents. 

MINIATURE 9 

The man holds the empty bowl and presents it to the front so we can see the contents. Its inside is painted like the moon. 

THE LAD 

A bungalow would be ideal then she couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t climb the stairs.  

(Crying in a cod way) 

THE MAN 

Her head is in the shed. 

(Laugh.) 

THE LAD 

Her head is in the shed. 

(Laugh.) 

THE MAN 

Shall we dance fa la la. 

(Breaths and breathless) 

(Giggling) 

MINIATURE 10 

THE MAN 

Easy go. 

(Sighs) 

THE LAD 

Easy come. 

The man produces another banana. The Lad stares at it. 

THE LAD 

(Sighs) 

The Man freezes for as long as he can holding the banana aloft while the guitar music plays. Once he can no longer keep the banana still, the performance/film is over. 

THE END 

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