Challenge

Lets go personal today. Deeply personal. Let’s use some psychodramatic tools to… you know… deal with some shit. Psychodrama is used to help give us an insight into things we’ve been through. Maybe to try and figure out the other side or to get a deeper understanding of why we did what we did or just to relive moments and have a ‘re-take’ – so do that. Find something in your past… or in your present – something you want to investigate, and write about it. Try to figure it out.

Response

This was a tricky one as a few of the challenges so far have seen be go down a more personal route than I would normall with my writing (Challenge 4 anyone). So I didn’t know where to go with this one. To write something personal usually seems to mean exploring some inner turmoil or demons and bringing it to the surface. But I realised that just because I want to make a play personal, doesn’t mean I have to take it down a dark route?

To be honest, I’m not really sure where this one went, except that I came up with the idea after going to the gym. I didn’t get round to writing it till late, which is a shame as I think I prefered the idea more than the finished product. Maybe this is one to come back to later.

(P.S Sebastian Rex cameos, making this the third play of mine this year that he has starred in… so far)

Result

Hump Day

Lights up – A busy gym

David enters wearing gym clothes and a hoody. He has his hood up with a large pair of headphones over them.

He walks over to the lockers, takes off the hoody and his rucksack. He takes out a Lucozade sports bottle and a towel. He shoves his hoody in his bag and puts them in one of the lockers. He takes the key out. The key is attached to a rubber band, which he puts over the bottle. He gets up and walks over to the TRX.

David is tall and skinny; he’s fit looking but could be fitter. He’s lean, but could be leaner. There is a bit of muscle there, but let’s face it, he could be more muscular. He walks to the centre of the TRX and starts to stretch. As he does, the three Dave’s walk over and start to stretch as well, until the four of them are in a line stretching. The three Dave’s are wearing the same clothes as David is. Each Dave is slightly leaner, slightly fitter, and more muscular than the other. The third Dave is the most lean, fit, and muscular than the rest.

Dave #1:        Can you really be bothered to go tonight?

Dave #2:        You could just not go.

Dave #1:        You need to get stuff done tonight.

Dave #2:        You’ve got a lotta shit to do tonight.

Dave #3:        What’s the point?

Dave #1:        You need to finish that play.

Dave #2:        What about that radio thing you’re supposed to write?

Dave #3:        I mean, really why are you doing this?

Dave #1:        Didn’t you say you were gonna write a book this year?

Dave #2:        What about that other book you had an idea for?

Dave #1:        What about that play you were gonna finish?

Dave #3:        I mean, come on.

Dave #2:        Your friend said it was a good idea.

Dave #1:        You never end up writing those ideas down.

Dave #2:        Not properly anyway.

Dave #1:        Maybe you should quit the gym.

Dave #2:        You need to save money.

Dave #1:        You do need to save money.

Dave #2:        Now it’s all going on rent.

Dave #1:        And bills.

Dave #2:        And internet.

Dave #1:        And your phone.

Dave #2:        And council tax.

Dave #1:        And unison.

Dave #2:        Don’t forget you’re seeing friends this weekend.

Dave #1:        Don’t forget that boating week with your mates.

Dave #2:        You need to pay for that.

Dave #1:        Don’t forget that trip to Manchester.

Dave #2:        You need to pay for that.

Dave #1:        Travel.

Dave #1:        And hotel.

Dave #2:        And food.

Dave #1:        Oh yeah, you need to get a food shop in.

Dave#2:         Again.

Dave #1:        A guys gotta eat.

Dave #2:        Maybe you shouldn’t be spending your money on the gym.

Dave #1:        Yeah, what’s the point in going? I mean-

Dave #3:        -You’re never gonna look this good.

Enter Joe. He grabs a mat and sets up in front of David and the Dave’s.

Joe:                Welcome back guys. Here it is, my 10 minutes ab blaster. What we’re gonna do. First one, down on the side. Little squeeze of the abs for 20 seconds. 20 seconds work, 10 seconds of rest.

He gets on the floor and the others follow. He lies on is back with his knees up. The exercise involves moving your arms up the knees and stretching your abs.

Really stretch the core muscles. That’s it.

He does this work out twice, 20 seconds each time, with a 10 second gap between each one.

OK next one. Legs to 90 degrees, hands come behind you and then come u and touch the ground in front of you. So when you really activate them, they fatigue really fast. You gotta squeeze those abs.

He does the exercise

And rest. I try and slow down the reps, more controlled rather than fast. Contract the abs – squeeze the abs.

This makes the exercise harder and the struggle is seen on David’s face. Next exercise.

Next one, single leg – leg u in the air. 20 second on the right leg.

He crunches, reaching to his right leg in the air. The others copy. He then repeats this, with the left leg in the air. At the end, David lets out a moan of pain. He pats his abs as e lays there for 10 seconds.

Next one bicycle crunch, kick away and twist.

They do the bicycle crunch, David is slower than the others.

As a beginner, you can do the same with one foot on the ground if it’s a bit much.

David looks as if he is about to do it.

Dave #1:        Don’t you dare.

David does it the hard way.

Joe:                Come on. Knee…to elbow. Knee… to elbow.

Enter Joe – He grabs a mat and positions himself in front of David and the Dave’s

Next one, lying on the ground. We’re gonna do a reverse crunch. Feet on the ground to start.

David does this one pretty easily.

Ahhh so painful. You should feel the pain with this one, when you do it properly.

David looks around, realising he obviously isn’t doing it right. He continues with the others.

Joe gets on to his side.

Next one is the side plank. You can either stay dead still llike this.

They all side plank and stay still.

Or you can pulse like this.

The three Dave’s and Joe start to pulse. The Dave’s look at David who also follows suite with pulsing.

Other side.

They side plank on the other side. At the end David nearly collapses onto the ground.

Next one. On your front, on your elbows. We’re gonna do an up down plank.

David:            God damn it.

They do an up-down plank led by Joe. 10 second rest and then they do it again, David struggles more with the last one.

Down, down. Up, up. Keep going, last few seconds.

They finish.

Last one. Standard plank llike this, but you’re gonna bring your knees to your elbows like this.

He deomstrates and the others follow, David really struggles with this. They pause for the rest.

OK one more to go.

They do it again. After 20 seconds David collapses to the ground letting out a moan.

So…how long’s that? 8 minutes – Oh no, we’ve got two mintues left.

David:            Oh fuck off.

Joe:                Right hold a plank for 20 seconds.

David:            You fucker. You fucker.

They plank for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 and then plank for 20.

Joe:                Pull your tummy up, hold for 5…4…3

David:            2-1 – AH!

Joe:                Last one. Kick away stretch and crunch.

He demonstrates and the others follow. Pause

Last 20 seconds, here we go, kick and stretch and…up.

20 seconds passes and the exercise finishes. David lies on the floor in pain, rubbing his stomach.

David:            Come on.

He holds his arms in the air.

Joe exits.

Dave #1 and Dave #2 pull David up off the ground.

David:            (Out of breath) Ah…Jesus Christ.

Dave #2:        That was only 10 minutes.

Dave #3:        Let’s see em then.

Dave #1:        Come on.

Dave #3:        You got a six pack yet?

He lifts up David’s top.

More like a rapper and record producer.

Beat

2-Pack.

The Dave’s laugh.

David:            That was shit.

Dave #1:        It’s your joke.

David:            That’s why.

David walks over to the chest press. He sits down and starts stretching.

Dave #1:        What did happen to that book you were gonna write?

Dave #2:        Don’t forget you have a play to write tonight.

David does his first set of 16 reps.

Dave #1:        Why are you doing that challenge again?

Dave #2:        Not like the last two years amounted to anything.

Dave #1:        Of all the things you wrote how many have been performed.

David finishes his set. Dave #1 ups the weights on it. David goes for his second set.

Dave #1:        What about that idea you had for that play.

Katie walks over to him.

Katie:             That’s a really good idea. You need to write it.

David:            Yeah, I keep falling out of love with it. I just need to sit down and actually write it.

Katie:             Just sit down and write it.

David:            I know but it’s-

Katie:             Can you read this?

She shoves a piece of paper in front of him.

David:            Oh wow I… How did you write this so quickly?

Katie:             I just sat down and actually wrote it.

David finishes his set. He beckons to Dave #2 to add more weights, which he does. David starts his second set.

Joanna is on a machine next to David.

Joanna:         What about that show you keep saying you’re gonna write?

David:            I’ll write it one day.

Joanna:         When? You wanted to write it for you and your friend?

David:            It’ll be good. I just need to-

Katie:             Can you let me know what you think of this?

Joanna:         Joe and Joanna you called it. Not the best title.

Katie:             It’s part of my dissertation.

David:            How did you write 5000 words so quickly?

Katie:             I just sat down and wrote it.

David:            Jesus, I hadn’t written nearly that much at this stage of my final year.

Katie:             I just sat down and wrote it.

David finishes his set. Dave #1 adds and extra weight, as does Dave #2.

Sebastian Rex enters

Sebastian:    We’re nearly half way there. For todays play, I want you to write a play that only you would get.

David:            How am I supposed to-?

Joanna:         See, this show is supposed to have two characters in their twenties right? Well you need to write it soon if you actually want to get it off the ground. Right now it’s buried six feet under before you’ve even breathed any life into it.

Liz:                 Why don’t you write a book? They’re a lot easier to get off the ground these days.

Steve:            I think you’d be alright at writing a book.

Edward:        When are we gonna see this book of yours then?

Katie:             I reckon I’ll be finished in about a fortnight.

Dave #2:        You did have a good idea for a book.

David finishes his set and more weights are added. As he attempts the next one, he struggles.

Dave #1         You should have spent this month trying to write that instead.

Dave #3:        Let’s face it though, it will probably be a load of shit.

Katie:             We should write a play together.

Dave #2:        Erm, you’re writing a book first.

Dave #1:        What about the play you were going to do?

Sebastian:    Don’t get hung up on quality. If the play is going to be shit-

Dave #3:        Which it will be.

David:            Ahhh!

David finishes his last set. He goes to get up but Dave #3 shoves him down and beckons the other Dave’s to add more weights. David really struggles to complete one set, but the stare from Dave #3 eggs him on.

Edward:        When are we going to see this book then?

David:            I need to actually sit down and right it.

Sebastian:    You brave little soldier.

Liz:                 It’s easier to get a book out there, isn’t it? Who watches new plays these days?

Steve:            You need to think about what you’re actually gonna do.

Joanna:         Thing is, if you don’t write this soon, you’ll be too old-

Dave #3:        Yeah but, what TV network is gonna want whatever crap you write?

David:            Aaaah, come….on-

He drops the weights with a bang. David sits there for a second trying to catch his breath.

He gets up and goes over to the rowing machine. The setting is pretty low, so David is able to breeze through his first set. He rows for two minutes easily. Dave #3 sits next to him. He looks at David’s setting and leans over to up the resistance. This causes David to slow down slightly as he puts in more effort.

Dave #3:        Maybe you should get a personal trainer. Someone who actually knows what they’re doing. At least then you’ll know if anything you do here actually amounts to anything, and isn’t just a colossal waste of time. Or maybe…

He leans over and ups the resistance again.

You should just not bother coming here.

David:            I do need to save money.

Dave #3:        You do need to save money.

Dave #1:        It’s fine, we’ve figured it out. It’s a quiet month this month, just send money and what you need, and you should be able to survive until next pay day…hopefully.

Dave #3:        Maybe you should have moved back home?

David:            It’s fine, I can totally do this. I just need to…save-

Enter Gwen with a big bag of money.

Gwen:                        -Pay day.

David stops and takes the bag of money.

Dave #2 unravels a list right in front of David.

Dave #2:        Here’s a list of all the friends who have birthdays this month.

David:            Oh come on.

Dave #3 ups the resistance again. Dave #2 and Dave #1 reach into the bag of money and take out a couple of wads.

It’s fine. It’s just one month.

David continues to row.

Turk:              Thank you for coming.

Tom:              I’m really glad you could make it.

Turk:              I was worried it was going to be awkward.

David:            No… it’s fine-honest.

Dave #3 ups the resistance

Kevin:            You sure you can make it?

Turk:              Is it going to be awkward?

Kevin:            We’d understand if you skipped this one.

Tom:              I would have understood if you didn’t come.

Kevin:            We figured you might not want to come

Dave #3 ups the resistance.

Cutler:           Oh… this might be awkward.

Adam:            I figured it would be awkward.

Kevin:            If you didn’t wanna come, we’d totally understand.

Turk:              If it was too awkward for you.

David:            Guy’s honestly, I’ll be-

Dave #3 ups the resistance again.

Ah, god damn it!

Kevin:            If you didn’t wanna come on the holiday with us.

David:            (Struggling) No… I’m still coming guys. I’m not…gonna… miss… seeing… you…

Turk:              I was worried it would be awkward.

Tom:              Are you sure it won’t be awkward?

Dave #3 ups the resistance again. This is too much for David and he stops.

David:            Guys…honestly… It’s (Breathless) It’s fine.

He gets to his feet and shakes his arms. He walks over to the leg press, but Amy is stood in front of it. Dave’s #1, #2, and #3 stop and shield David.

Turk:              Oh… I hope it’s not awkward.

Dave #1:        We should say something?

Dave #2:        She hasn’t said anything.

Dave #3:        She should say something first.

Dave #2:        Why should we talk first?

Dave #1:        Who talks first, I talk first?

David:            I’ll talk first.

He walks over to the leg press.

Hey…

Pause

How are you?

Nothing.

Are you-?

Amy turns round and stares at him.

Nice top. Where… where did you get it?

Amy:              Guess.

David:            Erm… I… I don’t- I don’t know, is it-

She walks off.

David rushes over to the Dave’s, Turk and Tom.

OK guys, help me out. Where did she get that from?

Dave #2:        Sports direct?

Dave #1:        Amazon?

Dave #3:        Fucking Tesco?

Dave #2:        You’re dreaming about your old job again.

Dave #1:        Are you looking for a new job?

David:            Oh God, not this conversation.

He sets up the leg press and does a set of 16 reps.

Laura:            So you’re back on the market? Wait… No I don’t mean in-

Dean:             You’re a free bird now?

Halle:             Where are you living now?

David:            On my own.

Halle:             Oh, a bachelor ay?

David:            What?

Laura:            Party central at your house?

David:            What?

Dean:             Your bachelor pad, ay!

David:            Please don’t call it that?

James:          How about Parker Palace?

David:            That’s… better.

Dean:             Bet you have all the ladies round yours.

James:          What we need to do, is find two strange women from here and-

David:            -No we don’t.

Dave #3 adds more weights.

Halle:             You know my step daughter is about your age.

Sam:              My daughter is about your age.

David:            What… No, I?

Kelly:             You need to get back out there. You should be off having fun.

Dave #1:        He is having fun.

Dave #2:        This is fun.

Dave #3 adds more weights.

David:            (Struggling) This is so much fun.

Kelly:             Get yourself back on the horse.

Katie:             Try new things.

Dean:             Bachelor Pad, ey?

David:            No it’s not a- (Out of breath) I am… trying new things…. new outlook… on life.

Halle:             My step daughter is about your age.

David:            What?

Kelly:             You ever heard of Tinder?

David:            What? Is that like Grinder?

Laura:            How do you know what that is?

Dean:             Talk about trying new things.

Dave #3 adds more weights.

David:            Ah – Come on.

Katie:             You gonna get tinder now?

Dean:             Grinder?

David:            No I… what is Tinder? Is it the straight Grinder?

Katie:             You don’t know what Tinder is?

Kelly:             It’s a dating app.

Katie:             DTF

Laura:            DTF.

Dave #3 adds more weights.

Katie:             This is the shit I get on Tinder.

Dave:             D.T.F? What the fuck does that mean?

Katie:             Down to fuck?

David:            What? Not even a hi or anything?

Jean:              I went on a date with a married man. Didn’t realise he was married.

Katie:             He kept that off his profile.

Dean is on his phone.

Dean:             Send nudes.

Katie:             Someone asked me for nudes.

David:            This sounds horrible. What the hell is wrong with people?

Kelly:             You not getting back out there?

David stops.

David:            No. I have no intention of… “getting back out there.” Especially not after all thes horror stories on-

Jean:              Someone just sent me a dick pic.

She shows David the phone.

Dave:             What ever happened to a hello and a handshake.

Jean:              He asked me for that… but I think by handshake he-

David:            Jesus. What is wrong with the world? Is this dating now?

Kelly:             You not gonna get back out there?

David:            No I am not. I have no intention of-

Dave #3:        What’s all of this then?

David:            I’m just keeping fit.

He adds another weight.

Amy:              You look tired.

David:            I’m just keeping fit.

Dave #1:        Because you’re so unhealthy.

Dave #2:        Although your Uncle was your size at your age, and now look at him.

David:            I’m just keeping fit.

Dave #3:        Why do you want a six pack?

David:            I… They… look like a… fun thing… to have.

David takes a sip of drink.

Sam:              I need to get back into the gym. I’m a hideous mess.

David:            What are you talking about? You look lovely.

Sam:              You’re just saying that.

David:            No I mean it.

Sam:              That’s not what others think.

David:            Hey, who cares what others think. Do you like your body?

Sam:              Yeah.

David:            Then you shouldn’t care what others think.

Sam smiles and exits. David looks at Dave #3 and nods beckoning him to add more weights.

Dave #3:        Scrawny piece of shit.

Dave #2:        There’s nothing to you.

Katie:             You do look handsome.

Dave #3:        No he doesn’t. Come on.

 

David really struggles, as Dave #3 adds even more weights.

David:            More.

He adds more.

MORE!

 David can barely push the seat from the foot rest.

David:            Aaah…More… Oh God damn it.

He stops, the weights slam onto the ground.

Amy:              You’re doing too much.

David:            I have to… do something.

He goes over to the treadmill. He gets on and starts walking.

Everyone else in the gym now starts to crowd around David’s treadmill one-by-one.

John:             What do you want to do then?

He ups the speed.

Gwen:                        Are you looking for another job?

She ups the speed.

Steve:            What do you want to be when you grow up?

He ups the speed.

John:             Come on. You need to think about what you want to do next.

He ups the speed.

Dave #1:        You’ve got loads to do tonight.

He ups the speed.

Steve:            I found some more jobs online.

He ups the speed.

Colin:             Are you going write that book?

He ups the speed.

Dave #2:        Don’t forget you’re seeing your friends this weekend?

He ups the speed.

Claire:            Make sure you sort the stuff out with your car?

She ups the speed.

Amy:              You’re doing too much.

Robert:          Don’t forget, you need to be off script by the end of this week.

He ups the speed.

Joanna:         You need to learn your lines for Friday’s rehearsal.

She ups the speed.

Dave #1:        You need to write your play before rehearsal.

He ups the speed.

Dave #2:        But after work.

He ups the speed more.

Dave #3:        And for some reason fit in a gym session as well.

He ups the speed even more, so David is running.

David:            Oh, come on man.

Dave #3:        Don’t blame me.

He knocks the speed up again.

Sebastian has a large pile of papers in hand.

Sebastian:    It’s the weekend-

He ups the speed.

James:          Looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

He ups the speed.

Sebastian:    You know what that means?

He ups the speed.

Edward:        When are we seeing this book of yours then?

He ups the speed.

Sebastian:    That means a tougher challenge.

He throws the papers in the air, over David. He catches one whilst running.

David:            In today’s play you must include the following things:

John:             There’s loads out there. You’re wasted here.

He ups the speed.

David:            First you need to set your play in an abstract space.

Dave #3:        It’s not gonna amount to anything.

He ups the speed.

David:            Ah- erm, second you need to have a character called Bertie, who goes through a midlife crisis, after riding a unicycle.

Gwen:                        Pay day.

Dave #1:        (Grabbing it) Nope, this is going on car and road tax.

He ups the speed.

Katie:             We’re going to Manchester.

She ups the speed.

David:            Three, your play needs to be written back to front.

Dave #2:        How many plays have you had rejected?

He ups the speed.

Katie:             Do you want me to sort out the travel?

She goes to up the speed, but David does it instead.

David:            No worries, I got this.

Dave #2:        How the fuck are you gonna write a play about this?

David:            I’ll figure it out.

He ups the speed, he is now sprinting.

Sebastian:    If you want to quit the challenge-

David:            -Nope, I got this.

He ups the speed.

John:             You want me to look-

David:            -I’ve got this, don’t worry.

He ups the speed.

Edward:        Did you say you were gonna write a book?

He goes to up the speed, but David stops him.

David:            Yup,  just you wait, I will write it this year.

He ups the speed.

Kevin:            We do want you to come on the holiday, but if you can’t-

David:            -I’ll be there.

He ups the speed.

Turk:              It might be awkward, but did you-

David:            -Wouldn’t miss it.

He ups the speed.

Steve:            Have you thought about-?

David:            -Thinking about it now.

Robert:          How are those lines-

David:            -I’ll be off script by this week’s rehearsal.

He ups the speed.

Dean:             You wanna hang out this weekend?

David:            You bet.

He ups the speed.

Dave #1:        Maybe.

David:            Nope.

He ups the speed.

Dave #2:        You should-

David:            I got this.

He ups the speed; he can just about keep up with the machine. Everyone else backs away. It starts to smoke.

Dave #3:        Slow it down?

David:            I got this!

He ups the speed.

The Dave’s jump up and SLAM the stop button, causing the treadmill to come to a halt. David jumps his legs up on the sides and grabs the rails. He is sweating and horribly out of breath.

David:            Maybe… I should… slow it down…. a bit?

Spotlight on David alone on the treadmill.

Dave #1:        Maybe you should take a breath.

Dave #2:        Take it slow.

Dave #3:        Take it easy.

Pause

David lifts his head up and looks around.

He smiles.

David:            Yeah… but where’s the fun in that?

Lights down.

 

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