*Magnify*
SPONSORED LINKS
Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1692120
Rated: 13+ · Script/Play · History · #1692120
Lawrence suffers from shell shock Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Wasteland by TS Elliot
ACT I

Scene 1

Set in Devon 1923, in a Military home for those suffering from shell shock. It is April. Walls are an off white colour in all rooms. LAWRENCE SMITH is sitting in an armchair in the middle of the stage. He is wearing black shoes that are clean and well kept; his trousers are a dark brown; his shirt is white and his jacket is a dark brown. All of his clothes have clearly not been ironed. His hair is scruffy and he is unshaven. He stares into the audience blankly for a few minutes and then begins to put his head in his hands.

LAWRENCE

(MOANS) It’s awful! Just awful! (RAISES HEAD OUT OF HANDS.) Why should she suffer she says? Why does she suffer? She hasn’t seen the pain amongst the glory of what you call victory and heroic. There is no suffering amongst her bones and her blood and her head (POINTS TO HEAD WITH FRUSTRATION AND SAYS IN STRAINED WHISPER) it’s all in here! I cannot escape, even in (DISGUST)here (LOOKS AROUND STAGE/ROOM) I cannot escape. Not enough rest to forget (SNIGGERS). If I close my eyes I can see them, and if my eyes are open I can see him. (LOOKS DOWN AT FLOOR FOR A FEW MINUTES.)

Exits to stage left. Enter Doctor Holmes and Lillian.

LILLIAN

Doctor Holmes, if there’s nothing wrong with him then why is he here?


DOCTOR HOLMES

He just needs some rest that’s all. Some rest to get his mind working once again.


LILLIAN

He used to be such a smart man Doctor, now he talks of the dead, of trees being alive and the truth, the awful truth that needs to be told.


DOCTOR HOLMES

(LAUGHS) Like I said, he just needs some rest. That’s all everyone needs here. Some rest to get rid of those childish nightmares. These men have been through a lot remember Mrs Smith.


LILLIAN

Yes Doctor, how could I forget that the war has made my husband lose his mind?(WALKS OVER TO A WINDOW AND LOOKS OUT FOR A MINUTE OR TWO) Isn’t April a glorious time, everything is re-born and new, fresh with the April rain that brings it to life.


(Lawrence has been eavesdropping to DOCTOR HOLMES and LILLINS' conversation.) ENTER LAWRENCE. LAWRENCE RUSHES OVER TO LILLIAN AND SHAKES HER.

LAWRENCE

No! The winter kept us warm, it kept us warm! Our minds were clouded over to forget, we have to forget but I remember. We froze over with no hope and no warmth because there is no hope and no warmth. The snow made us forgetful and left us broken trying to fix the dead. They would not wake! They would not wake! They were set free into the mountains, they are free but they still haunt me!


DOCTOR HOLMES RUSHES OVER TO LAWRENCE AND PULLS HIM OFF LILLIAN.

DOCTOR HOLMES

That is enough Lawrence.

LAWRENCE

(STRUGGLING)

They want the truth told. They want me to tell the truth.


DOCTOR HOLMES

Nurse! Get the sedative! We’re just going to let you have some rest, that’s all you need Lawrence, some rest.

Nurse comes in and hands Doctor Holmes a seringe. Stage then fades to black.

Scene 2

Lillian is looking out of a window positioned on stage left. The window is facing the audience so it looks like she is looking out towards them. She is upset, and anxious. She is accompanied by Doctor Holmes.

LILLIAN

I don't understand his behavior anymore, Doctor. He used to be such a kind man, so calm; like the sea.

DOCTOR HOLMES

I'm sure he was Mrs. Smith. But the sea can change remember. It can become irrational and over-powered by anger and rage. It's wild at heart. Such a strange thing to think about really...

LILLIAN

(Mutters under breath)

Desolate and empty.

DOCTOR HOLMES

Sorry, what was that you said?

LILLIAN

Desolate and empty. That's what the sea is, it's desolate and empty, that's what Lawrence says anyway. That's what he is now though, isn't it Doctor?

DOCTOR HOLMES

I wouldn't say that now Lillian.

LILLIAN

What is he then Doctor, because he's right - he isn't alive anymore. I can't see it or feel it in him. He has no life in his eyes. (Getting more upset.) He should have just been shot or something while he was out there.

DOCTOR HOLMES

(Comforting her)

Now, now, Lillian, let's not say things like that here shall we.

LILLIAN

I'm sorry doctor, but I look at him sometimes and think that he would just be better off is he was like (hesitates)...Some of his friends.

Curtain falls.

Scene 3

Curtain rises to the military home garden. Background is surrounded by trees and grass, there are some trees and potted plants on stage. There is a bench on stage which Lawrence is sitting on. Sound effects are playing in the background softly of birds and the wind.

LAWRENCE

(Gradually gets more aggressive)

Fall down, get up. Fall down, get up. Fall down, get. Fall down, get up. Fall down, get up. Fall down, get up. (Stands up)There is nothing left. Nothing but cracks and bruises. The only surface I have scratched left dirt underneath my finger nails; a reminder that I failed. There is no escape from it; from them. But they don't understand me like you do, Evans. They locked me up and threw away the key. I'm in one of Holmes' homes. I am safe here away from others, but still locked up inside of here.(Points to head.) Even if I were blind it still wouldn't be able to help, I would still be able to see what's happened. What they did, what we did, it bled, it fell, it rotted. We have been deserted. But once you have fallen, they are on you, like a hawk hunting for its prey. Even remembering it makes me afraid. I am infected. Infected by the world. It's on my hands, but what's that on yours? It's growing and filling them and dripping everywhere. Look at the stains! The stains that you are leaving! You left them behind. You left them!

Enter man.

The man is walking with great care and believes that his head is a glass ball balancing on his sholders. Besides believing his head is a glass ball, he is an overall happy chappy.

Man

Left who dear chap?

Lawrence is shocked.

LAWRENCE

Th-th-they did.

Man

Ahh, I see. And who are they?

LAWRENCE

Well they...It has nothing to do with you. Who are you? Where did you just come from?

Man

Me? I'm just good old me, dandy like any other fellow should be. I was admitted here after the Great War. They say that I am in shock, but I feel fine. The only trouble is my head; it might break you see. I have to make sure it doesn't break, it's very fragile you know.

LAWRENCE

Your head?

MAN

Well yes, can't you see? It's made out of glass! If I let go of it, it might fall and break..I wouldn't want that now, nobody would.

LAWRENCE

I-I'm sorry but your head isn't made out of glass. It's just a head. A plain and normal simple head!

MAN

In total shock

How dare you! What are you, blind? How can you not see this obvious fact staring you right in the face? I am telling you the truth! It is made out of glass!

LAWRENCE

You're wrong! And you're mad as well! What an absurd man you are! Calling me blind and believing that you have a head made of glass. This is just crazy; no wonder you're in this place.

MAN

This place? This place is a God-send! You get a bed, food, comfort and the help we need. What more can you ask for? It's almost like a paradise. Look, look around you. Even the gardens are beautiful. Why would you not like it here?

LAWRENCE

(Angry)

No! This place is a prison! How can you believe it's like a paradise? It's a paradise for them. They can feed us anything and you will believe it! We have been lost and we are lost again, they are just making us believe we are in a place better for us with their shocks and sedatives and rubbish! We were better on the fields surrounded by blood and flowers. There was more beauty in dying for your country than having your mind stolen from you. Believe what you want to believe, just don't believe them!

MAN

What are you on about, man? There glory was there, but it simply isn't anymore. It's over, it's left us and we have to move on. If this is a way for letting us get over that insanity, then so be it.

Lawrence

There is a truth that has to be told, we can't let them make us forget. That is their plan and I won't have anything to do with it.

MAN

What truth? There is no truth, dear chap.

LAWRENCE

Of course there is.

(Runs over to man and starts shaking him.)

How can you believe there is no truth? We stuck our necks out on the line for it, we got hurt, we got lost; we are lost!

MAN

Stop! Stop it! What are you on about? We were brave for our country; not for our truth, there is no truth.

LAWRENCE

No! (slaps the man on the face) You're wrong!

The man falls to the floor screaming whilst Lawrence watches in shock. The man is miming a cradling effect and stroking what he believes to be his head in his arms whilst he sobs.

MAN

Look at what you've done! My head! You've cracked my head!

LAWRENCE

There is nothing wrong with your head, you fool!

MAN

(Ignoring what Lawrence is saying)

Look at my poor head! How am I going to fix it now? What will I do without my head? I'll be completely lost! What will they think of me if I have no head? I won't be accepted anywhere you know! This is all your fault! I can't even show my face; it was on my head that isn't anymore. How will I do anything now without a head? You have to have a head and I don't have one anymore! Oh, I feel incomplete already. I'm sure it would have taken a couple of days for that, I didn't think the feeling would approach me so soon. This is going to take a lot of getting used to know! Look at what you have done to me! Don't you feel anything? No remorse, no guilt, no nothing! Don't you feel anything in that rotten body of yours?

LAWRENCE

You have lost your mind!

MAN

No I think you will find I've lost my head! You broke it!

Lawrence exits stage left leaving Man sobbing and cradling his head. After a minute or two lights fade and the curtain falls.

Scene 4

Doctor Holmes is sitting at a desk which is in the centre of the stage. He is fumbling with paper work and mumbling to himself.

DOCTOR HOLMES

Ahh, it's bound to work. We have to get these men right and fix them up! They are still boys that have been broken down, I can barely call them men. How stupid was it to send boys out to do a man's job? No wonder why they're here; claiming to have something wrong with them. There's nothing wrong at all; they just need rest, and a good seeing to if you ask me!(Humphs) People will do anything for attention these days.

Enter Nurse

NURSE

Doctor, the machine is ready now.

DOCTOR HOLMES

Good. Maybe this will fix their minds and put them back to normal. That's what they need instead of talking of stupid things and seeing things that aren't there; it's just absurd.

NURSE

Do you want me to get a patient for you, Doctor?

DOCTOR HOLMES

We do need someone to try this experiment on. Yes, go ahead. I do hear it is a brilliant way for an effective result. No longer will these men be lost to themselves and their families because of this marvelous invention. What these men have done is just terrible! They've broken their families and their homes. They should take a look at what they are doing to their families and furthermore themselves. And they call themselves men! It's all just a joke really.

Exit Nurse

DOCTOR HOLMES

I feel sorry for that poor Lillian. Such a pretty face and a sweet girl; it's a shame her husband has put her through all of this. She's the one that's stressed out; she's the one that's in shock and all because of him. Poor woman.You can almost see her breaking at the seams, about to explode at any given moment. Such a shame that he puts her through awful conditions.

Enter Nurse and Lawrence

DOCTOR HOLMES

Ahh Lawrence dear chap, if you could sit down please on the chair and then I'll go through the procedure with you.

LAWRENCE

What's this all about?

The Nurse puts Lawrence in the chair and Doctor Holmes fasten him tightly into it.

DOCTOR HOLMES

This chair will send a shock to your brain, (strapping Lawrence in) it will send it messages to make you back to your normal self.

LAWRENCE

(In shock, terrified at the thought)

What? What kind of messages? What conspiracy is this? Are they telling you to do this to me? Get away from me with those hands of yours, I bet there's evil all over them.

DOCTOR HOLMES

Now now Lawrence, you have to be calm for this procedure. You don't want me to sedate you for it now do you?

LAWRENCE

Get away from me with your evil beliefs and conspiracies.

DOCTOR HOLMES

Nurse could you fetch the sedative for me, please?

Nurse Walks across the stage to get a syringe and then hands it over to Doctor Holmes.

DOCTOR HOLMES

Thank you nurse. Now let's hope this calms you down for the procedure Lawrence. (Injects him) Ahh now isn't that much better? Lets get started then shall we nurse? Lawrence all you need to do for this is keep still and think of a calm place. Once you have found a place in your head so calm and still then you shouldn't be able to feel a thing, you will just be in the place you are thinking of. Now, do you have a place?

LAWRENCE

(In a blank tone)

Yes.

DOCTOR HOLMES

Good. We can now begin the procedure.

Doctor Holmes pulls down a lever and Lawrence then starts to scream and shake.

DOCTOR HOLMES

This should do the trick nurse. Once this is over I only hope he treats his wife right, the way a woman should be treated.

Doctor Holmes pulls up the lever and Lawrence stops shaking, the Doctor unfastens Lawrence from the chair.

DOCTOR HOLMES

Lawrence I think this treatment will be a success with you, wouldn't you agree? You seem so much more calmer and relaxed now. You should however, get some more rest so that you will be a fresh, new man for the morning.

LAWRENCE

Yes sir.

DOCTOR HOLMES

Good. You should also tell your wife that you love her, show her some appreciation boy.

LAWRENCE

(With a blank expression)

Yes sir. No longer do I see the sad light flickering in the corners of my mind, hiding from what is fear. Things are clear now.

(End of scene)



p.s sorry about any spelling or grammer mistakes etc. Foor is also a bit bleh but I hope you get the picture :)
© Copyright 2010 Ash Ralioue (sarahgraham at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Log in to Leave Feedback
Username:
Password:
Not a Member?
Signup right now, for free!
All accounts include:
*Bullet* FREE Email @Writing.Com!
*Bullet* FREE Portfolio Services!
Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1692120