Saturday 5 March 2016

Manuela and Sam act 5 © David Collard

If you're still reading - thank you. Here's the last act of Manuela and Sam. This is also my 500th published blog. There now.

Reaction has been encouraging. I was inundated with an email saying how much the sender had quite enjoyed it. I don't suppose it will ever be performed, but it's cheering to think it has been, or will have been, read.

Manuela and Sam © David Collard

Act 5

(Many years later. Night time. A full moon shines on a still ocean. The island has returned to its original position  as seen in Act 1. Sam, now a very old man with a very long beard, is sitting in the same place on the sea cliff where we first saw Manuela. He recites in a cracked voice.)

Sam:              Who would be
                   A mermaid fair,
                   Singing alone,
                   Combing her hair
                   Under the sea,
                   In a golden curl
                   With a comb of pearl,
                   On a throne?

(He looks around and for the first time becomes aware of the audience.)

I know what you're thinking. And you're wrong. I'm not mad and I do not think I'm a mermaid. So. My name is Sam. We haven't been introduced and it's getting late in the day and I know this is a big thing to ask of strangers but I wonder if I could? If we could. Would you mind. I mean, if you could do that thing you did once, you remember? A long long time ago? The storm? It would take my mind off things as they are. Make a bit of a change. Come on. You liked the shanty didn't you? Well?

(Under Sam's erratic direction the audience make storm noises (with assistance from the sound crew and lighting as the shelter collapses and the palm tree sways before falling to the ground. When the storm is at its height  a lightning flash reveals Manuela, back in mermaid form, washed up on the beach. Sam looks at her confusedly, signalling the audience to stop. Silence. He clambers slowly and cautiously towards Manuela. She is confused, exhausted and not her old self.)

Manuela (groggily):  Hello sailor.

Sam:                Oh God.

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

Sam:                English.

Manuela:          English? (Sam grunts) What do y'kmow 'bout oysters?          

Sam:                Noise. Any noise. Any noise annoys an oyster -

Manuela:          Have we met before?

Sam:                It's been a long time. .

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

Sam:               AGH!

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

Sam:               Sam.

Manuela:         Stan?

Sam:               Sam.

Manuela:         Sam.

Sam:              Yeah.

Manuela:        "Yeah"?

Sam:              Yes. Sam. You do know me. 

Manuela:         I've known lots of humans. Humen. 

Sam:               You've come back.

Manuela:         No Sam.

Sam:              Yes - you're here. As you were. As it were.

Manuela:         You don't miss a trick do you?

Sam:              So - this is like a happy ending?    

Manuela:         Whatever gave you that idea?

Sam:              For me anyway?

Manuela:        No Stan.This is not a happy ending. There are no happy endings.

Sam:              Sam. But you're here.

Manuela:          Look, you know salmon? How they somehow go back to the place where they were born and 
                      spawn and die there? It's one of the miracles of creation? 

Sam:               Where are you going with this?

Manuela:        I'm not here to spawn.

Sam:              But you can't be. You're not. Come on. I mean. I don't know how old you are, but whatever age
                      you are you don't look it.

Manuela:         You gallant thing you. But listen. Listen to me. This  place is where I need to be now.

Sam:              What will you do here?

Manuela:          I'll sing my song.

Sam:              What happened to -

Manuela:         Boris? Nothing happened. He died.

Sam:              Oh. I'm - 

Manuela:         I killed him.

Sam:              Oh.

Manuela:         His whole life rushed before him. Then he went down for the third time.

Sam:               He drowned?

Manuela:         No - this was in a motel.

Sam:              No!

Manuela:         Oh Yes.

Sam:              What happened to (he struggles to remember) the big… enormous ...

Manuela:        Take your time.

Sam:              You know - huge… colossal…vast…gigantic…titan -  the big boat! What happened to the big boat?

Manuela:       The Jolly Olly? Lost at sea. Cousin Mirabelle, Eyes bigger than her belly that one. She lured the

                    whole crew...greedy bitch.

Sam (pointing):  What's that?

Manuela:         All these questions!

Sam:             That bag. Your bag.

Manuela:        Och this old thing? Nothing. It comes in handy. For m'wee bits and bobs.

(Sam reaches in and fishes out a hand-held compressed air siren, which he accidentally activates.)

Sam:              Is this how they lure now?

Manuela:         It's for when , for if I ever need help.

Sam:               You?

Manuela::       Yes me. I'm not as -

Sam:            You need help?

(They look at each other.)

Sam:           What's the matter?

Manuela:      Nothing. Nothing's the matter.

Sam:           Something's the matter.

Manuela:      Why did the lobster blush?

Sam:           Because the seaweed. What's the matter?

Manuela;     For the last time nothing. Nothing.

Sam:           You look . . ..

Manuela:        I don't feel well. You, you look -

Sam/Manuela:  Terrible. Old.

Sam:             Old.

Manuela:        Old.

Sam:             How old are you?

Manuela:       Older.

Sam:           But how -

Manuela:      OLDER, alright? Older than you, older than anyone you know and anything you can think of apart 
                from this rock.

Sam:           I'm seventy-something.

Manuela:      You don't say?

Sam:           No. Eighty-six. Seven. Eighty-seven. This year.

Manuela:      And your point is?

Sam:          I get the odd ache and pain but really I'm in quite remarkable health. 

Manuela:     Good for you.

Sam:          And you?

Manuela:     Still as tight as a clam, Sam.

Sam:          I'm past all that, my girl.

Manuela:     Och I never was a girl. A girl is a half-formed thing. I'm a fully-formed Merrow. 

Sam:          I'm well over all that. My God when I think -

Manuela:     Sam. Pay attention. The sea is dying and so are we.

Sam:          That's a comfort.

Manuela:     Don't be glib.

Sam:          Why all this?

Manuela:    The gulls have gone. And there's more trash, all the time. And the sea. It's gone wrong, all wrong.      
                It's all chemical. You can't stay clean in it.

Sam:           The fish seem to manage.

Manuela:      What would you know?

Sam:           I mean -

Manuela:      Nothing, is what you would know.

Sam:            Why wouldn't I -

Manuela:       Nothing.

Sam:            What's on your mind?

Manuela:       The sea, Sam.

Sam:            What of it?

Manuela:        You have to know it and know what it is  you have to look for. It's different.

Sam:             How?

Manuela:         It's  not what it was. It's not clean any more. It's unclean.

Sam:             But you're clean.

Manuela:         No Sam.

Sam:               You're not?

Manuela:         I'm not well.

Sam:               Not well. How? What is it?

Manuela:         I'm knackered, Sam.

Sam:               What happened to the. . .? (he gestures)

Manuela:         It's all knackered.

Sam:               Knackered?

Manuela:         Knackered. The tides, the waves, the swells, the currents, the streams. All knackered.

Sam:               But nothing's changed.

Manuela:         It has. All the ebb and flow. The wetness of the water if you like. It's changed.

Sam:              Water's not wet.

Manuela:        Isn't wet?

Sam:              That's right. Water is not wet in itself, but is a cause of wetness other things.

(Manuela, struck by this, is momentarily lost for words).

Sam:              So what is the problem?

Manuela:        I'm not clean. And I'm all washed up.

Sam:             You know what I really would like?

Manuela:       I'm listening.

Sam:            All these years I've lived on oysters and coconuts and coconut milk. And what I really miss -

Manuela:       Yes?

Sam:             The thing I miss most of all -

Manuela:       Yes?

Sam:             What I'd really like -

Manuela:       Yes?

Sam:             I can't remember.

Manuela:       You can't remember

Sam:             I remember so little.       

Manuela:       For instance?

Sam:             I can never go home.

Manuela:       I can only go home.

Sam:             Home is where you come from. I mean, where one comes from.

Manuela:       Where the heart is?

Sam:             There's no place like home.

Manuela:       It's what you go back to.

Sam:             No place like home.

Manuela:       Enough -

Sam:            East, West - home's best.

Manuela:       Man alive! Will you stop your bloody inane bloody wittering? Honestly!

Sam:             I remember so little…?

Manuela:       Manuela.

Sam:             Manuela.

Manuela:       You know what I'd really like?

Sam:             Don't tell me! Don't tell me! Is it - ?.

Manuela:       The thing I miss most of all?

Sam:             What?

Manuela:       You'll never guess.

Sam:             What? What?

Manuela:       A really good foot rub.

(They laugh and she embraces Sam, almost affectionately)

Sam:          Well now.

Manuela:     Are you coming on to me?

Sam:           What do you think? 

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

Sam:            I'll do anything you want, your wildest dreams. I'll be anything you want - friend, factotum. You 
                   want a butler? I can do that. I can buttle. I can catch fish, build shelters, crack coconuts, shuck
                   oysters. I'll be anything you like, whoever you want. All for you, nobody else. I can be anyone's but 
                   I only want you Manuela. Only you. I've waited for you all this time. (Pause) You just don't get it,   
                   Do you? Do you? Can't you see what's on offer here?  Don't you want me to take care of you?

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

Sam:            I loved you. 

Manuela:      Where are you going with this?

Sam:           Years ago, many years ago, you lured me here, to my doom. You made me love you. I didn't want           
                  to do it. I didn't want to do it. But it happened. Then you left me alone, then you cam back for some                   reason I can't  remember and then I was alone. For the rest of my life. Living on oysters and    
                  coconuts and coconut milk and . . . cheese!

Manuela:      Cheese?

Sam:            It just came back to me. That's what I miss, what I crave. You wouldn't happen to have any?

(Manuela fumbles in her bag and produces a ball of Edam wrapped in red wax.)

Manuela:      Ta daaah!

Sam:            I was thinking more of maybe some Brie.    

Manuela:      Sorry.

Sam:            No. Maybe have it later, eh?

Manuela:      Well who's a picky boy then? 

Sam:            It's just -

Manuela:      Sam? All that stuff you said just now?

Sam:            Yes.

Manuela:      Did you mean it? 

Sam (nobly): I am the father of your children.

Manuela:      So? You want a medal?

Sam:            I have certain rights and responsibilities.

Manuela:      It's too late to see them through college.

Sam:            To you I mean. I have responsibilities towards you. I missed you.

Manuela:      Of course you did.That's how the whole thrall thing works.

Sam:            Did you miss me?

Manuela:      What do you think?

Sam:            I'm just fishing for compliments.

Manuela:      You've not lost your touch.

Sam:           Just casting around.

Manuela:      Stop it. 

Sam:           You and your jokes?

Manuela:     You still have one wish, you know.

Sam:           Eh?

Manuela:     You had a cigarette and a light -

Sam:           I gave up after that.

Manuela:     Then you wished me happiness?

Sam:           I did.

Manuela:     Doesn't count.

Sam:           Why? Or why not?

Manuela:     We're not self-medicating..

Sam:            What do you mean?

Manuela:      I mean we can't grant ourselves wishes. It would be anarchy.

Sam:            So I have another wish?

Manuela:      Just the one.

Sam:            Can I think about it?

Manuela:      Take your time.

Sam:            So what happens?

Manuela:      When?

Sam:            Now. What happens now?

Manuela:      We sit.

Sam:            And?

Manuela:      You comb my hair.

Sam:            And?

Manuela:      You comb my hair.

(He combs her hair as she recites)

                   Who would be
                 A mermaid fair,
                 Singing alone,
   Combing her hair
Under the sea,
 In a golden curl
                 With a comb of pearl,
                 On a throne?

                  Weialala leia.

                   Wallala leialala. 

(They sit silently together in the beach. A full moon shines over the night ocean. There are millions of stars.) 


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