one act play by paul walker

Dinner Party


A stranger comes to the door

A midsummer evening dinner party, 5 players – 2 x 40-something married couples, Di and Pete (hosts), Fiona and Greg (friends) – a stranger

SFX – crockery and cutlery, background music

GREG That was a fabulous starter, Di and… interesting. I’ve never had borscht – always imagined it as runny mashed potato.

FIONA Don’t be so bloody rude, Greg.

GREG It wasn’t meant to be rude. I was saying that it exceeded my expectations.

PETE More beetroot and chilli than potato, I thought. Loved it, darling – very spicy.

DI Well, thank you all. I’m pleased you found it – interesting.

GREG Sorry, Di, my fault – no offence intended.

DI It’s OK, Greg. It’s one of Heston Blumenthal’s recipes and I’m sure they’re designed so that interest and complexity comes before taste.

FIONA Do you want a hand with those?

SFX - crockery and cutlery collected

DI No, no, I’ll be fine.


FIONA Is Di alright, Pete? She’s looking very pale.

PETE Yeah, I think she’s fine – just tired.

GREG It’s not like Di. She’s normally so bouncy and… you know… not so prickly.

PETE Well, she’s had a few problems at work and a busy week. I’m sure she’ll perk up after another glass of – what is this we’re drinking (BEAT) – Shiraz.

FIONA Should I go help out in the kitchen?

GREG No, I’m sure everything’s under control. (VOICE RAISED) You OK there, darling?

DI (DISTANCE) Yes. (BEAT) Won’t be long. (BEAT) Talk amongst yourselves for a few minutes.

(UP CLOSE AND MUTTERED) Runny, bloody mashed potato. And it wasn’t chilli, darling. It was horseradish.

SFX – doorbell

DI (VOICE RAISED) I’ll get it.

SFX – door opening

DI O, hello. Can I help you?

STRANGER Good evening. No, there’s nothing you can do, Diana Monica Kavanagh. Any assistance from the subject in question is frowned upon. Besides, I am perfectly capable. I hold a diploma in Quietus Extermini from the University of Styx.

DI (CONFUSED) Sticks… Quiet… (BEAT) My… my full name. Do I know you? (BEAT) And why the fancy dress? It’s not… Halloween is it?

STRANGER My apologies for the get up. I never know whether I should wear it. It’s rather too warm in this weather. However, some of my clients appreciate it – makes my job a little more… dramatic and authentic.

DI Clients? I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about. Who are you? (BEAT) You must be sweltering in that… Is it a monk’s outfit? And is that a real scythe?

PETE (DISTANCE) Who is it Di?

DI (VOICE RAISED) It’s nobody, don’t worry.

PETE (DISTANCE) Di – who’s there?

DI (MUTTERS) I’ve told you cloth ears. (VOICE RAISED) Nobody. I’ll be back soon.

STRANGER I regret, Diana Monica Kavanagh that you won’t be back soon – or ever. And, yes it is a real scythe. I sharpened and polished it, just for you. Took me quite a time, I tell you. (BEAT) Now, take my hand. This will be no worse than a visit to the dentist, Diana Monica Kavanagh.

DI Must you call me that? I hate that name?

STRANGER Which one?

DI Monica – it reminds me of (BEAT) school. They used to call me “Monica No-Knickers”. (BEAT) How strange, to remember that after all these years.

STRANGER I am obliged to use your full name. It’s in my job spec. And don’t worry about old memories resurfacing. You’ll find that happening quite a lot on our journey.

DI Journey! What on earth…

SFX – mobile phone ring

STRANGER Hand on a mo – must get this. (PAUSE) Yes. (BEAT) Are you sure (BEAT) Oh bugger - not again?

DI What is it?

STRANGER Sorry, wrong house, wrong name. It’s that bloody quill and parchment department again. Why can’t they use an iPad or a laptop for His sake? (BEAT) My humble apologies, Mrs No-Knickers, I must dash. Please forgive and forget this little interlude. It was an error at head office. Ta-ta.

Stranger disappears

SFX – muffled thud as Di faints and crumples on the floor

FIONA It’s awfully quiet out there, Pete. Should I go check on her?

PETE I’ll come with you.

SFX – chairs scraping the floor


PETE Bloody hell, Di, are you OK?

FIONA She’s fainted. Shall I call an…

PETE No – wait – she’s coming around.

SFX – groaning, heaving and pulling sounds

DI Oh, what happened? (BEAT) What an odd dream – a monk with an iPhone – and…

PETE (WHISPERED) Darling, you fainted. You fell and your dress was rucked up. It’s a good job Greg didn’t find you. You aren’t wearing any… you know. You Jezebel!