Thursday, 3 March 2016

Manuela and Sam - acts 2 and 3 © David Collard

Due to circumstances within my control I was unable to blog for the past two days - so here (by way of overwhelming compensation) is a double helping of my hitherto unpublished play Manuela and Sam © David Collard. Apologies for wonky formatting. Act 4 tomorrow and 5 on Saturday. Producers please forma disorderly queue and I'll get my people to call your people.

Act 2

(Manuela cradles Sam, who groans.)

Manuela:           Parlez-vous Français ?? Sprechen Sie Deutsch? ¿Habla Español? Parliamo Glasgow? Do you  
                        speak - 

Sam:            English.

Manuela            English? (Sam grunts) What noise annoys an oyster?

Sam:       Eh?

Manuela:           What noise annoys an oyster?

Sam:                 What?

Manuela:           Do you give it up?

Sam:                What?

Manuela:           Any noise annoys an oyster - but a noisy noise annoys an oyster most!

Sam:                What?

Manuela:  (slowly) Any noise. Annoys an oyster. But a noisy noise. Annoys an oyster. Most! You see? 

Sam:                You're a  . . . a mermaid.  This is a dream. 

Manuela:           Yes. And no.

Sam:                 What?

Manuela:           Yes I am, and no it's not.

(Alarmed, he scrambles away to a safe distance)

Sam:             Oh God.

Manuela:       What is your name?

Sam:             God oh God oh God oh . . .

Manuela:         Godot? Really? What are the odds?

Sam:             No.

Manuela:       No what?

Sam:             Not Godot. Oh God!

Manuela:         Now we're getting nowhere fast.

Sam:             Agh!

Manuela:       Alan? Angus? Archie? Jimmy? Jock?

Sam:             AGH!

Manuela:       Not Jock? Willie? Ahmed? Did I say Alan already?

Sam:             Sam.

Manuela:       Stan?

Sam:             Sam.

Manuela:         Sam.

Sam:              Yeah.

Manuela:        "Yeah"?

Sam:             Yes. Sam.

Manuela:       Hello Sam.

Sam:             Hello ...?

Manuela:       Manuela.

Sam:             Miranda?

Manuela:        Manuela. Can we please stop all this silly foreplay?

Sam:            What? Where am I? Where is this?

Manuela:       You are a shipwrecked mariner far from home lured here to this rock by my mermaid's siren song -

Sam:             Siren song?

Manuela:       Siren song, and my irresistible other-worldly beauty (gesture). 

(Sam jumps to his feet and goggles at Manuela)

Sam:         "Noisy oyster"? 

Manuela:                         - and here is where you will spend the rest of your days pleasuring me. It was a riddle-
                   me-ree. To bring you round.

Sam: A riddle-me-ree? I - what?

Manuela:     Pleasuring. Me.

Sam: Oh no.

Manuela:   Oh yes. I'm quite a catch.

Sam: No.

Manuela:     We'll have a whale of a time.

Sam: What about my boat? The crew?

Manuela:     There there. (she invitingly pats a spot next to her)

Sam: I have to make a report. 

Manuela:      Nonsense. 

Sam: I have to speak to the owners. The authorities. The ship's lost, the crew all drowned.

Manuela:     Yes. And on the bright side?

Sam: What?

Manuela:     You're alive and well and in one piece. You've landed on your feet which is more than I'll ever do.

Sam: Only me though? Why me?

Manuela:     Lucky for some. 

Sam:   Lucky? Lucky? How lucky? (Manuela begins to sing) Look just stop that will you?

Manuela: Weialala leia . . . Wallala leialala.

Sam: Stop it!

Manuela:     You feel an urge to woo me, don't you?

Sam: You really are a mermaid?

Manuela:     Honour bright. Now - won't you let me take you? On a sea cruise?

(Sam looks at her closely)

Sam: You really are a mermaid. This is unexpected. Do you . . how do you . . .

Manuela (wearily, from memory): "The pyloric caecum is a pouch, usually peritoneal, at the beginning of the large intestine. It receives fecal material from the ileum, and connects to the ascending colon of the large intestine. It is present in most amniotes, and also in lungfish. Many fish in addition have a number of small outpocketings, also called pyloric caeca, along their intestine." (Pause) I'm very clean, Sam.

Sam: Are you coming on to me?

Manuela:    What do you think? 

Sam: You are. You are coming on to me!

Manuela:  "There may be hundreds or even millions of fertile eggs present in the ovary of fish at any given
                 time." At any given time, Sam, if you catch my drift, and I think you do. I am after all, as you may  
                 have noticed, part fish. "Fresh eggs may be developing from the germinal epithelium throughout life."
                 Even as we speak, Sam, even as we speak. "The ovary of teleosts often contains a hollow, lymph-
                 filled space which opens into the oviduct, and into which the eggs are shed. Most normal female fish
                 have two ovaries." I am a very normal female. and a very normal fish. (Pause) I am also very special.
                 I have special needs. I also have special skills. You can learn a thing or two from me. Interested?  
                 Hmm? Sam? Not even a wee bit curious?

Sam:        Well I - no! Of course not! Never in a million -  It it it's bestial is what it is! I'd no more shag you 
                 than I'd shag a horse or a cow. Or a, or a, or a hamster.

Manuela: Each to his own. Who are we to judge?

Sam:        Me, I'm one to judge and it's not normal. I really am normal, and I have normal needs and they 
                don't run to a a a  mythical amphibian done up like a, like a Las Vegas hooker. It's not even wrong!

Manuela: I'm alluring!

Sam: You're disgusting.

Manuela: I allure! I allure you! You are allured by me!

Sam:  There's something about you alright -

Manuela: I'm packed with eggs! I'm potentially very pregnant indeed.

Sam:                                                                                                - something about all this that's -

Manuela: Stop, no. 

Sam:   Something fishy.

Manuela: Oh!

Sam: There.

Manuela: Oh!

Sam: Hah!

Manuela: Oh.

Sam:         I want no part of any of it. Of any of it. You belong in a fucking aquarium. I'm a man, flesh and

Manuela:    I'm very attractive.

Sam:          You're disgusting.

Manuela:    I'm attractive.

Sam:         You're . . . washed up.

Manuela (scandalised): Me washed up? 

Sam:         Past it.

Manuela:    You so want me.

Sam:           I so do not.

Manuela:    Oh yes you do. 

Sam:           Oh no I don't.

Manuela:    My fanny tastes of salt.

Sam:          What? No!

Manuela:    And ozone.

Sam:           I don't want this.

Manuela:   You so do. I'm very clean.

Sam:          Stop saying that!

Manuela:    I don't have crabs if that's what's worrying you.

Sam:          For pity's sake!

Manuela:    I'm your wet dream. 

Sam:         Please. Please.

Manuela:    Man alive! Aren't you even curious? I'll do anything you want, your wildest dreams. I'll be anything you want - animal, vegetable, mineral - well maybe not mineral. But I can be a boy or a girl or anything in between. You want a nervous virgin? I can do that. I can do demure. I can do young - I mean really young. No? Butch? Femme? Neurotic? Earthy? I'll be anything you like, whoever you want. I do a great line in rubber. Bondage, S & M, as rough as you like, the only thing you have to do is name it. I do watersports, as you might expect. Sexy schoolmarm? I can do that! "Bad boys get bottom marks". You can do what you want with me whenever you want. Have me anyway you like. You can rape me - consensually, of course, or I can rape you. We can rape one another, turn and turn about. Is that too dark? You can seduce me, nice and slow and easy, dear darling Sam. Then rape. I can be an airhead or a bluestocking or anything at all. Everything. All for you, nobody else. I can be anyone's but I only want you Stan ... Sam. Only you. I've waited for you all this time. Fill me, Sam. (Glasgow) Fill ma fud wi' your mauchit tadger, ya big tumshie. I'm a honking hoachie. Come inside me as deep as you can go Sam. Spend in me. Sam. Spend spend spend. Shoot your load, Sammy boy. GIVE ME ALL YOU'VE GOT! (Pause) You just don't get it, do you? Do you? Can't you see what's on offer here you numpty?  Don't you want to have me again and again? Sam? Sam?

Sam:             We've only just met. I don't know anything about you. You don't know anything about me.

Manuela:    You want a courtship? I can do courtship. Let's go on a date!

Sam (ironically) Anywhere special in mind?

Manuela:   Here is good.

Sam:          I haven't a thing to wear.

Manuela:   That'll save time! Sorry sorry sorry. So  . . . "Have you come far"?

Sam:          This isn't happening

Manuela:    "Do you have any interesting hobbies"?

Sam:          This really is not happening.

Manuela:    "What's your favourite film"?

Sam:          Look I -

Manuela:   No seriously - What's your favourite film?

Sam:          Don't -


(The actor playing Sam can choose his favourite film, shout its title and an improvised, desultory conversation ensues, soon to peter out.)

Sam:          Um. What's your favourite film?        

(The actress playing Manuela snaps the title of her favourite film) 

Manuela:        Now get 'em off.

Sam:              Oh give it a rest will you? I've just swum for my life from a sinking ship - a ship you sank - and my 
                     mates are all dead.

Manuela:       Don't count on it.

Sam:              Eh?

Manuela:      There are other rocks.

Sam:             Meaning?

Manuela:        I'm not the Last of the Mohicans, ya big tumshie.

Sam:              Oh God oh God oh God.

Manuela:        Favourite 'pop' group?

Sam:             Just leave me alone.

Manuela:        Or don't you like 'pop groups'? Everybody likes 'pop' groups'.

Sam:              What now? I get eight fucking gramophone records? And and and a luxury fucking item?

Manuela:        I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

Sam:              Oh come on. Desert Island Discs - it's been on the radio forever.

Manuela:        What is this 'radio' of which you speak?

Sam:              But you've heard of (names favourite film)? 

Manuela:        Yes.

Sam:              And (names actress's favourite film)?

Manuela:        Evidently.

Sam:              Well forgive me but if you've heard of them it's beyond belief that you've never heard of Desert 
                     Island Discs.

Manuela:        Has this become a deal-breaker? I can pretend to know it if you like.

Sam:              I really don't think that you simulating awareness of a long-established radio  
                   show is the basis for a one-sided orgy.

Manuela:        We have to start somewhere, and build.

Sam:              Look. Get this straight -

Manuela (interrupting in a mysterious magical voice, with gestures): What if I granted thee wishes to the number 

Sam:              Yeah right. If you gave me three wishes you'd be alone before the second.

Manuela:        Well I don't do wishes. You want wishes go rub a lamp.

Sam:              Look -

Manuela:        Manuela.

Sam:              Manuela. I'm -  how can I say this? I'm just not into you.

Manuela:        Not yet, granted. That's why I'm trying to woo you.

Sam:              Woo? You call that woo? From where I'm standing it's it's it's more like demanding money with  

Manuela:        Then teach me, human. Teach me how to woo.

Sam:              Oh  no. No no no. No way. Like pouring petrol on a fire. I'd rather … hold on.  Hang on. Wait a 
                     minute. If - and this is a big if - IF I teach you how to, how to woo -

Manuela:        Yes?

Sam:              Then, you have to let me go, right?

Manuela:         Eachy-peachy! You've got a deal.

Sam:              Oh. I mean good.

Manuela:        Of course you've always been free to leave.

Sam:              Eh? 

Manuela:         I lured you. That's not the same thing as kidnapping.

Sam:              You sank my ship!

Manuela:        And?

Sam:              You killed the crew.

Mendes:          My first thoughts are with the families at this difficult time.

Sam:              That's sick.

Manuela:         I'm being honest. I'm natural. 

Sam:              What you want from me isn't natural.

Manuela:         It's the most natural thing in the world! (Seeing Sam's reaction) Second most natural. (Pause) It's     
                      among  the most natural things in the world. In my world. Oh fuck you and your bourgeois    

Sam:               I'm not hearing any of this. 

Manuela:         You pollute the ocean. You melt the icecaps. You -

Sam:               Not one word. Not one syllable.

Manuela:         Listen to me! You're not listening to me.

Sam:               You started it!

Manuela:         What's that supposed to mean?

Sam:               You've been around a damn sight longer than merchant shipping. You've been wrecking boats 
                      throughout  history -

Manuela:         And your point is?

Sam:               Fouling your own nest.

Manuela:         I don't think so.

Sam:               Millions of tons of rusting hulks leaking oil and chemicals and God knows what else.

Manuela:         Stop it!

Sam:               Probably causing genetic defects. Weird physical anomalies.

Manuela:         Stop it!

Sam:               Freaks.

Manuela:         You call this woo? It's rubbish.

Sam:               We got off on the wrong foot.

Manuela:         Nicely put.

Sam:               You're not a freak.

Manuela:         I'm not!

Sam:              That's what I -

Manuela:        I AM NOT A FREAK!

Sam:              I didn't mean -

Manuela:        Is this how you do it?

Sam:              Do what?

Manuela:        Is this how you woo? Is it?

Sam:              Look -

Manuela:        Because it isn't working.

Sam (in spite of himself):  You look . . . nice. Very nice. Clean. (Manuela feigns indifference) I like your. You've 
                     got  nice hair. You have. You're very -

Manuela:        Yes?

Sam:              Striking?

Manuela (recites to herself, in a stricken voice):

I would be a mermaid fair;
  I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
  With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
  And still as I comb'd I would sing and say,
  “Who is it loves me? who loves not me?”

(Long pause)

I am not a freak. 

(Manuela starts to cry and Sam is taken aback. He approaches warily and places a hand on her shoulder. In a single swift move Manuela pins him down and kisses him powerfully on the mouth. Sam flails then goes limp.)  

End of Act 2



(Nine months later. Manuela, heavily pregnant, draped in Sven's jacket and wearing his cap, reclines on the rock combing her (real) hair and eating oysters., discarding the empty shells in a large pile. The rock is now cluttered with salvage from Sam's ship - crates, barrels, oars (between which a washing-line has been slung and from one of which a St. Andrews flag hangs limply.. She makes a holding gesture before fastidiously finishing a final oyster with a satisfied slurp before reciting.)

I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound -
(Enter Sam dragging a sack, He carries a sack and is naked apart from a pair of  trunks improvised from Manuela's long blonde wig.)

Sam:            Still hungry? 

Manuela:     Famished. Any more oysters?

(He rummages in the sack produces a banana with a flourish)

Sam:            Ta daaah!

Manuela:    Belter! (They tussle, Manuela grabs the banana, peels it and starts to eat it, speaking with 
                   her mouth full.) Where'd you find this?

Sam:            From the  boat I guess. The last of the flotsam? Or jetsam?

Manuela:     Flotsam. Floating wreckage of a ship. Or its cargo. Jetsam is part of a ship, or its
                   equipment, or its cargo that is deliberately cast overboard or jettisoned in time of distress
                   and that the either sinks or is washed ashore. A banana is unlikely to be jetsam. Unless it's a
                   banana boat in difficulty. Although one nana won't make much of a difference.

Sam:            I used to know all that.

Manuela:    Then there's 'lagan' and 'derelict'. 'Lagan's any reclaimable cargo on the seabed which can
                   be reclaimed, usually marked by a buoy and best avoided. We're not born scavengers and it
                  can get crowded. 'Derelict' is the same thing but without any chance of reclaiming - it's done
                   for. (to Sam) I know what you're thinking.

Sam:           I never -

Manuela:    In. My. Prime. Don't you forget it.

Sam:           Whatever you say dear.

Manuela:     You know what I really fancy? To wash it down?

(He scrambles to one of the crates and fishes out two cans of Irn Bru)
                    Phenomenal. It's like me in a  can.

Sam:            How's that?

Manuela:     Ginger and fizzy.

(They laugh and swig contentedly)

Sam:            I never imagined it could be like this.

Manuela:     Meaning?

Sam:            All this. 

Manuela:     Happy darling?

Sam:            Oh yes. 

Manuela:     You're doing fine. Soon be over.

Sam:            Over? 

Manuela:     All this.

Sam:            Over how?

Manuela:     When I (gesture)

Sam:            You'll need me more than ever.

Manuela:     I shan't need you at all.

Sam:            For when you - when you - give birth?

Manuela:     When I spawn, you mean? When I swim far out to sea and spawn thousands of my
                   fertilised eggs?

Sam:            Well yes. 

Manuela:     I'll be well away. 

Sam:            But you'll be back?

Manuela:     Certainly not. The very idea!

Sam:            What about me?

Manuela:      I don't know. What about you?

Sam:            This is awful!

Manuela:      How?

Sam:            You can't just - 
Manuela:      Just go away? Oh yes I can.

Sam:            But I -

Manuela:      It's not about you.

Sam:            Plenty more fish in the sea?

Manuela:      Plenty.

Sam:           That's so cold.

Manuela:     I'm a cold-blooded creature. It's my nature. Besides -

Sam:           Yes?

Manuela:     We can't get - involved. 

Sam:           Why not?

Manuela:     You know bloody well why not.

Sam:          That old fairy tale?

Manuela:    It's an old fairy tale to you mate but it's a medical condition from where I'm sitting.

Sam:           I'd do it.

Manuela:    No you wouldn't.  

Sam:           I'd do it for you.

Manuela:     Ach, will you listen to the puir wee man.

Sam:           I would though.

Manuela:      Enough.

Sam:           Why are you - 

Manuela:     Tell me something.

Sam:           Anything.

Manuela:     Tell me about your home.

Sam:           This is my home.

Manuela:    It's my rock, ye lobby dosser..

Sam:           It's home to me.

Manuela:    You're in thrall.

Sam:           I am not.

Manuela:     Yes you bloody well are. I lured you here and continue to enthral you.

Sam:           You're point being?

Manuela:    My point being that you, a mere mortal, are under my spell and therefore not accountable.

Sam:           Rubbish.

Manuela:    How did you get here? Answer me that.

Sam:           I was - it was. There was a storm.

Manuela:     Skip all that. What was the name of your ship?

Sam:           What ship?

Manuela:     What's your family name? Where do you come from? Where did you go to shoal, I mean

Sam:           It's not important. None of it.

Manuela:    What's your mother's maiden name? Assuming she was married.

Sam:           Ditto.

Manuela:     Date of birth? First pet? Blood group? Star sign?

Sam:           Pisces.

Manuela:     Look, Sam. You and me? There's no future. You've done what I lured you here to do and it
                  was fun while it lasted, no really, and I'll always have a place for you in my heart and we'll
                  be best mates and I can't say fairer than that.

Sam:           You're walking out on me!

Manuela:     Hardly.

Sam:           I've never known anyone like you.

Manueala:   How can you be so sure? You might have a doting wife back on dry land.

Sam:            My place is here with you. By your side.

Manuela:     Like hell it is.

Sam:            I can. . . look after you.

Manuela:     Dream on MacDuff

Sam:            Take care of you.

Manuela:     Ha!

Sam:            I love you.

Manuela:     "I love you"

Sam:            I love you.

Manuela:     "I love you" too.

Sam:            Oh Manuela!

Manuela:     So that's settled. Be seeing you!

Sam:            No listen to me just listen -

Manuela:     I'm listening

Sam:            You're not listening.

Manuela:     You want me to stay here and take care of you?

Sam:            No. Yes. No. I want you to stay here so I can take care of you.

Manuela:     Why would I want that? Why would anyone want that?

Sam:            It's better than being alone. It's natural.

Manuela:      It's freakish.

Sam:            It's human?

Manuela:     There's only ever room for one. That's me. 

Sam:            Is that it? Is that all there is?

Manuela:     Oh don't come the jilted lover with me.

Sam:            What do you expect?

Manuela:     I don't expect anything

Sam:           Well want then? What do you want?

Manuela:    You gave me that.

Sam:           I gave you that?

Manuela:    Eventually.

Sam:           I'm not just a,  just a, just a -

Manuela:    Take your time

Sam:           Not just a -

Manuela:    Sam. Dear. You're out of your depth.

Sam:          Don't leave me.

Manuela:    For I would not be kiss'd by all who would list,
  Of the bold merry mermen under the sea;
  They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me,
  In the purple twilights under the sea;
  But the king of them all would carry me,
  Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
  In the branching jaspers under the sea;
  Then all the dry pied things that be
  In the hueless mosses under the sea
  Would curl round my silver feet silently,
  All looking up for the love of me.

(Pause) 'All looking up for the love of me.' (Pause) Weialala leia . . . Wallala leialala.  (With a flick of her tail she tumbles backwards from her rock into the sea with a splash. Seagull sounds, waves. Sam is left alone at a loss.  After a while he sits on the rock and begins to comb his hair.)

Sam:         And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
                All things that are forked, and horned, and soft
                 Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea,
                 All looking down for the love of me.

(Music: (By The) Sleepy Lagoon performed by Eric Coates and the BBC Symphony Orchestra). 

End of Act 3

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