Write a theatrical piece of Fan Fiction. Write something about your favourite characters doing something else. Or use their world to create new characters… Or something like that.
Last year I performed as Toby in Amy’s View, at the Chesil Theatre in Winchester. When trying to come up with a form of fan fiction, I found it a lot easier to write for a character that I myself have played. In terms of what happens to Toby, I thought it would be fun to have him interact with someone else, but I couldn’t think of a character from another play that it would be interesting for Toby to meet, and I didn’t want to do a monologue or invent new characters for him. So I chose to keep things close to home and expand on the story of Amy’s View, by having Toby meet with the character of Frank, in a scene set after Amy’s View.
Hopefully this play still makes sense to those unfamiliar with Amy’s View. If you do not know the play by David Hare, I recommend checking it out.
Lights up on a theatre bar. Things are starting to wind down, tables are being wiped down and chairs stacked away. There is only one customer left at the bar, he is Frank. He has a half empty glass of whiskey resting in front of him, however his slightly dishevelled look indicates that it is not his first glass, and possibly won’t be his last either.
At the side of the bar there are posters and displays from the show that night, entitled Moonlight Escape.
Toby enters, he is a young and enthusiastic guy who is also one of the actors in the play. He looks tired, but comes across as very energetic, still riding on the highs of the recently completed show. He goes to the bar and sits a few stools down from Frank.
Toby: Evening all.
The bartender Lucy comes over.
Lucy: Evening, what’ll it be?
Toby: Just a beer please.
He begins to pour him a pint.
Lucy: Good show tonight?
Toby: Yeah it was thanks.
Lucy: Suppose it’s starting to wind down now?
Toby: Yeah, hard to believe that tomorrows the last night.
Lucy: You got anything else lined up?
Toby: I should do shouldn’t I?
Lucy places the pint in front of him.
Lucy: There you go Toby.
This causes a small stir from Frank.
Toby: Thanks Lucy.
He takes a drink.
Frank grabs his program from his pocket and hastily flicks through it. He then looks at Toby and back to the program, then back to Toby.
Frank: You’re Toby Cole.
Toby: Sorry, did you-?
Frank: -Sorry I- You were- I enjoyed your performance tonight.
Toby: Ah wow, thank you very much.
Frank: Forgive me but, I do try and see a lot of plays, I don’t think I’ve seen you on stage before. What else have you done?
Toby: Oh well, aside from the odd school play when I was younger, this is my first time treading the boards, in a professional sense.
Frank: I see.
Toby: It is pretty amazing- Not that- Well I mean given how well this play is doing. I feel like I’ve lucked out so soon in my…career? I guess I can call it that? Especially as I get to work with such talented people. I have to pinch myself every second before the show opens.
Toby: I mean, to work with Esme Allen is reason alone to be excited.
The name touches a small nerve with Frank.
My Mum was a fan of hers when she was younger, she always tried to see her plays. Then when I was growing up she always seemed to be on the T.V, and I fell in love with her performances. Now, to be able to say I’ve acted – or I’m acting alongside her is pretty exciting.
Frank finishes his Whiskey.
Did you want another one?
Frank: Oh really? I thought it wa customary for the audience to buy the cast a drink?
Toby: It’s fine, I don’t mind.
Frank: It’s not bad etiquette is it? I know what you theatre types are like with your rules and superstition.
Toby beckons Lucy over.
Toby: Tell me about it. I found out- Hey Lucy… (To Frank) What you having?
Frank: Oh, well I wouldn’t say no to another Whiskey please.
Lucy: Of course sir.
Toby: Thanks Lucy.
He hands over some money.
I didn’t know until recently, with all these superstitions and what not, that it’s bad luck to whistle back stage. Something to do with Naval workers being stage hands or something and if you whistle then something will fall on your head.
Lucy pours a Whiskey for Frank.
Frank: That’s splendid thank you.
He raises his glass.
Well here’s to… not whistling back stage and buying the audience a drink.
Toby: Just don’t tell everyone that, we’re not on the West End yet.
Frank: Oh, I thought this was the West End.
Frank: We’re in London aren’t we?
Toby: Yeah but… I don’t know- I think we’re a step down from it or something.
Frank: You’re still getting paid for this though, right?
Toby: Aha, are you my accountant now? No yeah, we do get paid, just not as much as those West End stars. It’s fine, long as I can afford to eat and drink…
He raises his glass
…then it’s all fine with me. Besides I’m not in it for the money so much. Just to say I get to do this for a living now, any kind of living, is enough for me.
Frank: I suppose they must pay that lead actress quite a lot?
Toby: Who Esme?
Frank: I should hope she demands a pretty hefty contract, given her stature and all.
Toby: You’d think wouldn’t you, being a T.V star and all, but so long as there is a strong female part, that’s all that matters to Esme.
Frank: Ha typical.
Toby. She doesn’t seem to care much about money. She does it for the love of the stage. You can tell in her performance. Ah acting alongside her is… It is pretty amazing.
Frank: She is an amazing woman.
Toby: Sorry I just realised I never… I’m Toby by the way.
He extends his hand.
Frank: Ahaha yes I figured that one out.
He shakes his hand.
Frank, Frank Oddie?
Pause. Frank anticipates his name will ring a bell in Tobys head. But no such bell is rung.
Toby: Nice to meet you Frank
Frank: Yes. Rather…
Frank finishes his drink
Toby: Oh wow. You want another? I’m not sure if-
Frank: It’s alright. I’ve got this. What are you having?
Toby: Oh I’m still on my first thanks.
Frank: Well what are you having after it?
Toby: Aha I haven’t thought that far ahead.
Frank: Oh come on. A lad of your age, you should be looking ahead to the next drink. What is it? Another beer?
Toby: I probably shouldn’t to be honest. Got a busy day tomorrow, what with the last matinee and then the final performance after that.
Frank: Suit yourself. Another whiskey please
Lucy pours him a whiskey.
Frank: Chin chin.
Frank: So…the show is coming to an end then?
Toby: Yeah, hard to imagine really.
Frank: So what have you got next up your sleeve? You must have something waiting in the wings
Toby: Up my sleeve? Like a magician?
Frank: No I mean. We’ll you’re young, got your whole career ahead of you. There must be something in the horizon
Toby: I… I don’t know. Haven’t really had the time to think about it. Bit far in the future to worry ab-
Frank: -It’s the day after tomorrow, you should be thinking about this.
Toby: Well I’ve still got two shows left, so I’m kind of focusing on those for the time being.
Frank: Well that time is running out Toby. What is it you want to do? More theatre, the West End, Television – Film even?
Toby: You sound like my Dad. Maybe I should get another drink.
Lucy places a beer in front of him.
Lucy: Already poured it for you.
He takes a drink.
I’ll tell you what – speaking of film, I did meet Dominic Tyghe the other day, the film director.
Toby: Yeah—Aww I should have made more of an effort to impress him.
Frank: What did you do?
Toby: I imitated getting shot in the head and my skull exploding.
Toby: It’s a scene from his latest film.
Frank: I don’t think I’ve seen any of his films. A bit too violent for my taste…More of a theatre man myself.
Toby: That’s fair
Probably messed up my chance to be in any of his films, after pratting about in front of him, he must have thought I was a right idiot.
Frank: When did you see him? You might see him again.
Toby: Met him backstage the other night.
Frank: There to see Esme I imagine.
Toby: Yeah, I came in after- Wait… how did you-
Frank: -Oh I-er you know, all you luvvie types all know one another don’t you?
Toby: Yeah… well I guess they do.
Frank: So… what about Esme then? Has she got any big projects lined up after this show?
Toby: You a fan by any chance?
Frank: Something like that.
Toby: I’d love to work with her again, but I have no idea what she wants to do next. She’s been asked to stay on with this theatre for another season for their next show-
Frank: What about you?
Toby: Nothing for me I’m afraid, but they had a part for an older- I er… I mean a character of Esme’s… you know? And she’s always going on about the theatre having no parts for woman.
And then when she gets offered another play, straight after this one (He chuckles), she turned it down because “it’s not the right part.”
Frank: Oh Esme. She’s impossible, absolutely impossible.
Sorry I… Do you know her at all?
Frank: I think I might need another drink.
Frank: Er- I… Yes I do- Well I did, I did know her.
Toby: Sorry, if I’d have known, I think she left a while ago, you must have missed her.
Frank: That’s probably for the best.
Toby: Were you? Or were you ever… erm- friends, were you friends at all?
Frank: Yes we– Well
Toby: Oh… like married or-?
Frank: Ha! Oh no, sadly not. I had a pair of pyjamas in her spare room and that was about it. No sadly I never had the honour but… I would like to think there… I don’t know, you don’t want to listen to a fool like me.
Toby: No-no it’s fine I… What was she like?
Frank: Why? What’s she like now?
Toby: Oh yeah- a bit quiet but… I don’t know, what she was she like… before?
Frank: Esme? Oh she was… Well she was Esme, I don’t think I can describe her in any other way to be quite honest
So she never mentioned me then?
Frank: You didn’t recognise my name earlier, so I imagine-
Toby: Oh wait I mean– erm she… Wait your last name – Odd – Oddie. I think- erm Frank Oddie, yeah I think- She must have… I think she mentioned something and yeah-
Frank: -You don’t need to humour me. To be honest I’m not surprised. I don’t blame her really. Of anyone is to blame… Well…
Toby: What happened?
Frank: I proposed to her.
Frank: That’s enough to make any woman turn against me, the prospect of marrying me, haha. However I didn’t seem to get the message first time round. So I kept asking…again…and again…and again, until eventually-
Toby: She said yes?
Frank: Not straight away, I had to ask a few more times – not at the same time, over a period but… eventually I asked a few more times until she gave in and said “oh go on then!” Although some marriages have lasted longer on weaker acceptances than that. Unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be.
Frank: Well, obviously it wasn’t or I would not be here. It’s OK, I don’t know of it was ever real. But she…she was…well words to do justice to the wit, the sharp tongues and pure….delight that she had in doing what she… what she damn well wanted.
Toby: Sounds like you really had feelings for her.
Frank: I suppose I did.
Toby: Or is that the Whiskey talking?
Frank: It’s always the Whiskey talking. Yes…although looking back… I think I was more probably more in love with the idea of her than her as….I don’t know. Seemed like a dream come true, well I imagine it is. Not many people can say– or at least it would be a dream of any man to have a beautiful, talented and utter delight of an actress on your arm…she was a delight.
He gets to his feet.
Sorry I… I should probably get off. No point rambling through each other’s time. I’m not getting any younger you know…. Well none of us are.
I think maybe I should call it a night. Do pass on my… Well what I-I… I mean is… (Sighs) Good luck for the rest of the shows.
Toby: You’re not supposed to say good luck.
Toby: You’re supposed to say break a leg instead.
Frank: Ha. Another theatrical superstition.
He grabs his coat
Toby: Hey listen…Erm I don’t know if– well we have, or we’re having a little after show tomorrow if you fancied coming
Frank: Oh…thank you I-
Toby: I’m sure Esme would love to see you again
Frank: I very much doubt that.
Toby: Come on. You said yourself life is too short.
Frank: Thank you Toby but… I think it best if I just watch from the wings…so to speak.
Toby: I’m sure she would be happy to see you. So long as… you don’t propose again.
You would think I would have learnt after the first…second, even the fifth rejection wouldn’t you? But I wasn’t one to back down. Foolish of me really. But that’s just what I am…
Toby: An old fool?
Frank: I never said I was old.
Toby: Oh sorry I-I, I didn’t-
Frank: –Hahaha relax. Well it was lovely to talk to you and…break a leg, as they say in the theatre
Toby: You too Frank.
Frank exits. Lights down