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.


(PAUSE)


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


(PAUSE)


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!