Write a play based around the numbers “19/28.” Bonus points if you manage to mention the word “nineteen” 28 times in the play. Or manage to mention the word “twenty eight” 19 times in the play.
We each had to pay £19.28 to enter the competition this year, which is more money than previous years. Why more money? Well as the organisers said: “blame Trump… Brexit… etc.” Funnily enough we were told that we would recieve SUPER BONUS POINTS if we don’t mention Trump or Brexit in any of our plays this year… Good luck with that.
You hear a lot of people hypothetically saying “If only I could get in a car and drive,” or “If I only I could jump on a plane,” or most commonly, “We should just get on a train and see where it takes us.” We all say it, but none of us actually mean it, so I figured this would be a fun starting point. I live in Eastleigh, a mere 10 minute walk from a train station which it turns out, as luck would have it, there is actually a train that departs from that very station, heading towards Portsmouth, at…19:29. GOD DAMN IT, SO CLOSE!
However there is a train from Fareham, heading towards London, that leaves at 19:28 so that will have to do instead. No bonus points for me, however not a single mention of Trump or Brexit, so I’m on my way to earning those much covoted SUPER BONUS POINTS, which I am sure will not amount to nothing.
Calling at London Waterloo
Lights up – A coffee shop
There are five tables all in a row, each with only one person sat at them, with their respective drinks and sandwiches.
Enter James, stage left. He grabs a coffee from the counter and walks across to the other side of the stage, and sits opposite Clara, who is also smartly dressed.
Clara: I know right.
James: Did you finish the analytical-
Clara: -Please, no work talk, I’m trying to enjoy my lunch break.
James looks at his watch.
James: It’s seven in the evening.
Clara: I should have gone home 2 hours ago.
James: And you’re only just having your lunch break?
Clara: Yup. What about you?
James: I worked through lunch. I’ll probably work through dinner too.
Clara: I’m so tired.
James: Tell me about it.
From stage left, Robert enters. He is dressed in a shirt and trousers combo, with a tweed jacket. His top button undone and his tie hangs off of is neck. He is carrying a load of papers, but with his free hands grabs a coffee and moves across to the table next to James and Clara’s. He sits down opposite Tracey, who is dressed in a smart dress and cardigan.
Robert: Oh my God. I thought I was never gonna get out of there.
Tracey: What have you got there?
Robert: Year 7 maths homework, Year 9 English Homework, and Year 11 Mock Exam papers.
He slams them down on the desk.
Tracey: Please that’s nothing.
She picks up a pile, twice the size of Robert’s, and slams it down on the table.
Year 7 Maths and Science homework, Year 8 and 9 English Homework, Year 10 English Coursework, Year 11 actual exam papers, and Sixth form Media reports.
Robert: OK you win.
Tracey: I don’t think I do.
From stage right, enter Emma. She is dressed in smart/casual attire. She grabs a coffee and sits on the middle table, opposite Emily.
Emma: Alright? Sorry I’m late.
Emily: Where were you?
Emma: Applying for another Admin job with the Council.
Emily: You think you’ll get it?
Emma: Well one of the things I need to get it, is to have Admin experience. The only issue is that in order to actually get Admin experience I need to have worked in an Admin job, and the only way to get an Admin job is-
Emily: -To have Admin experience.
Emily: I hate this. It seems, no matter how good your degree is, in order to actually get a job, you need to have had three years’ experience already doing that job, along with 20 A-Levels, two degrees, a Master’s, An Olympic gold medal and Superpowers.
Emma: And even then, they’ll probably shaft you for someone who already works for the company.
From stage right, enters Dan wearing a supermarket jumper. He grabs a coffee and sits at the table next to the job hunters, and sits opposite Tim.
Dan: Fucking hate my job.
Tim: Tell me about it.
Dan: Had to deal with so many dickhead customers.
Tim: I had a guy with a Satnav in a security box. He asked me to open it, so he could check to see if it was “the right one.” Then when I told him I could only open the security box, to stop people from stealing it, after it had been paid for he just called me a twat and walked off.
Dan: I had to I.D some little scrote, mother’s milk still wet on his face, for an 18 DVD. I said I was just doing my job, but he said he would throw something across my canister.
Tim: What the hell does that mean?
Dan: I don’t know, I’m sure it weren’t pleasant.
The last table is empty. Enter Rory and Becky from stage right. They both grab the last two coffees and sit at the empty table.
Rory: Come on it’ll be fun.
Becky: I would love to, but you know I can’t. I have to finish the third chapter of my dissertation.
Rory: But we haven’t done a pub trip in ages. I feel like I haven’t seen anyone in ages.
Becky: We’ve actually got degrees to finish.
Rory: We had the past two years to do that.
Becky: Yeah, but this seems to be the year we’ve only just realised that. Plus don’t you have an exam next week?
Rory: Goddamn it.
Becky: Plus on top of my dissertation, I’ve got another two essays to finish, my final year performance to rehearse for, and actually write.
Rory: I’ve got my exam next week, another two weeks after, as well as my vocal exam, rehearsals for group project and- I’m sure I’m forgetting something—
Becky: –Your dissertation?
Clara: I need to go back to the office soon.
James: Eugh, can we not?
Clara: If only.
James: What if we just didn’t. Let’s just take an impromptu holiday.
Clara: Oooo yes, when’s the next plane to the Bahama’s?
Emma: I’m going to lose my mind if I have to fill out another job application.
Emily: We should just go travelling.
Emma: Yeah, why the hell not?
Emily: We should just throw a dart onto a board and see where we’re going.
Emma: Good plan.
Robert: Eugh I really don’t want to go to school tomorrow.
Tracey: You sound like half my year 9’s.
Robert: Let’s just pull a sicky!
Tracey: Yeah let’s bunk off.
Robert: Take a car and just drive into the country.
Tracey: I hear 100 miles away is nice this time of year.
Tim: I’ve gotta start my shift in 10 minutes.
Dan: Eugh, you don’t wanna go in there.
Tim: Maybe I shouldn’t.
Dan: Yeah good plan.
Tim: Maybe we should just jump on a train and see where it takes us.
Dan: Yeah sure, whatever.
Rory perks up.
Rory: That’s it.
Rory: Screw Uni. Don’t you wanna just, get on a train and see where it takes us?
Becky: Well we need to get the train back to Pompey at some point.
Rory: No! I mean, we got to the train station and just- I don’t know—Jump on a train.
Becky: Yeah good one.
James: Course I can’t go on holiday now. I have those reports to type up for next week.
Robert: I’ve got the year 11’s exams next month.
Emma: We have no money.
Tim: No one else can cover Customer Services so well at night.
Rory: (Standing) LET’S DO IT!
Pause – Everyone looks at Rory.
Becky: (Embarrassed) What are you talking about?
Rory: Let’s do it, just you and me!
Rory: What’s stopping us, I’ll tell you what: Nothing. Let’s just grab the next train and just see where it takes us!
Dan and Tim stifle a laugh.
Dan: Good luck with that.
Tim: You’re just gonna get on a train?
Dan: And just go?
Robert: That’s a bit immature.
Rory: What the hell are you talking about?
James: You think you can just take off?
Clara: Just like that?
Rory: I heard you, all of you. You were all saying the same thing.
Rory: About wanting to jump on a plane, or a train, or something and see where it takes you.
Emma: Well… yeah but-
Emily: -It’s not like we meant it.
Rory: Why not? What’s there to stop us?
James: (Aside to Clara) I bet he’s a student.
Rory: This world is so big and we are but so small. What’s to stop us, literally what is there to stop us from exploring it?
Tracey: (Leaning to James) A Drama student.
Tracey, Robert and Clara laugh.
Rory: Fine laugh all you want. Just because I have the stones to do it.
Emily: (Unconvinced) Yeah alright then.
Emma: Keep telling yourself that.
Rory: I’m serious, I’m gonna do it – we should all do it.
Becky: Oh God.
Rory gets out his phone and starts looking through it.
Tracey: Do you remember being so full of life and optimistic?
Robert: And naïve?
James: Naivety? What’s that like? It’s been so long.
Rory: Aha! There we go. The next train that we could all make! The 19:28 train goes to London Waterloo.
Dan: How imaginative.
Rory: Yeah, London the city of opportunity.
Becky: Rory, you know my family are from London right?
Rory: Well… not all of it surely, it’s a big place.
Clara: Kid I live in London, and I used to work there.
Rory: But you’re working in Fareham now?
Clara: Correct, but that’s not the point. Point is-
James: -The novelty will soon wear off.
Robert: Plus it’s such a cliché.
Tracey: Yeah, this thing has been done in like half the films that came out in the Sixties.
Rory: Alright, well we can get off somewhere else. Erm…
He looks through his phone.
(Mumbling) Hedge End, Eastleigh – No too close, Winchester, Micheldever – (Louder) Ooo, Micheldever, why not there?
Dan: What the hell is Micheldever?
Tracey: There’s nothing in Micheldever aside from some old pub.
Robert: And some tyre factory or shop-
James: -Micheldever tyres!
Robert: That’s the one.
Emily: So you could work in a tyre factory.
Emma: And then go to the pub afterwards and complain about how shit your job is.
Dan: Just like the rest of us.
Emily: Well if we had a job, we would.
Tim: They’re overrated.
James looks at his phone.
Rory: Alright, well we can just get off at Clapham Junction. That place has like a billion platforms, therefore so many more opportunities.
James: Your train doesn’t stop there.
James: It goes from Woking, straight through to Waterloo.
Rory: Alright, well I’ll change their and get one to Clapham.
Emma: So you’ll be back tracking?
Emily: May as well come straight home really.
Rory: Well yeah- but – No come on guys, this’ll be-
Clara’s phone alarm goes off
Clara: Shit, better get back to the office.
She downs her drink and gets up.
James: I’ll join you.
He does the same and follows her.
Clara: Good luck Kid.
James: Yeah all the best. We’ll see you on the West End.
Tracey: I better go and finish marking these.
She finishes her drink.
Robert: Same here.
He finishes his.
Tracey: This should stop me falling asleep halfway through.
Robert: I’ll be lucky to get 5 minutes sleep before my 5.30 am alarm.
They both stand up and go to leave.
Tracey: Good luck.
Robert: Yeah all the best.
Emma: Job centre tomorrow?
Emily: Sounds like a plan.
They finish their drinks and get up to go.
Emma: Wish I had your spirit mate.
Dan and Tim finish their drinks.
Emily: Yeah you have fun.
Rory: I am going to do it you know!
Dan: Yeah sure whatever.
Tim: See you behind the tills in 6 months.
They exit, leaving Becky and Rory behind.
Becky: Well… I’m going to get the train back to Portsmouth. Are you going to be joining me, or are you gonna jump on the London train?
Becky: Well, are you gallivanting off to London tonight or not?
Rory: Are you kidding? I’ve got an exam in a few days, I need to revise for it.
Becky: Next time then?
Rory: Y-yeah… next time.
They finish their drinks. Becky exits.
(Trying to convince himself) Yeah…next time I will.