If I had a hammer

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I attended my first writing course at the weekend and, with another writer, was required to write a dialogue for a play.

I was ‘randomly’ paired up with Graeme Sandford (as is often the case with a lot of things in my life) and, after a couple of exercises to get our creative juices flowing, we constructed our characters; Linda, a lawyer and Henry, a farm café owner.

Our brief was that we were stuck in a lift. At two points during the writing, we were given a further prompt; the first was that there was a sealed box in the lift, and the second that the lift had started moving again.

Here’s the result:

Linda: “Hello.”
Henry: “Hello.”

Linda: “This keeps happening.”
Henry: “You keep getting stuck in a lift?”
Linda: “As sure as eggs is eggs.”
Henry: “That reminds me; I forgot to feed the chickens.”
Linda: “They’re going hungry then?”

(SEALED BOX)

Henry: “We might go hungry, too. Just a minute, what’s that box?”
Linda: “Isn’t it yours?”
Henry: “No, I thought it was yours.”
Linda: “I never carry anything.”
Henry: “I always have a pocketful of nails and a hammer. Shall we open it?”
Linda: “For emergencies?”
Henry: “No, I just bought them. I’ve got some shelves to put up.”
Linda: “Always got them?”
Henry: “Always got nails, just bought the hammer.”
Linda: “That must be a pain… a ball pein. It’s a joke; a hardware joke. Not many people get it.”
Henry: “Well, as I’ve got this hammer, let’s open the box.”
Linda: “I’d rather take the money. Oh! You’re not that old, are you?”

Henry: “I’m old enough to be your father, young lady.”
Linda: “Young? OK. Let’s go with that then. I’m 37, you know.”
Henry: “Really? You don’t look a day over 25. Now… about this box.”
Linda: “Yes?”
Henry: “Let’s open it!”
Linda: “Go on then!”
Henry: “One, two, three and schwing!”

Linda: “Oops!”
Henry: “What? What is it?”
Linda: “Well, judging by this label, something fragile; and judging by that noise, something broken.”
Henry: “You could have warned me about the label before.”
Linda: “I could have. I chose not to – it’s not my style.”
Henry: “Just you be careful, young lady, remember who’s holding the hammer!”
Linda: “And just you remember who’s got the gun!”
Henry: “Just you remember where we are – ricochet!”

(LIFT STARTS TO MOVE)

Linda: “And, as if in answer to your prayers…”
Henry: “I’m sorry; I’m not good in enclosed spaces. Do you have any shelves I can put up for you?”
Linda: “No, I think not! By the way, I thought you were smashing.”

We then performed the dialogue to the group, to rapturous applause (aka polite handclapping!)

Linda was written and performed by Graeme Sandford
Henry was written and performed by Jane Goldsack

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