by Colin Bonde
A boy aged ten moves to the city and has difficulty in adjusting.
|LUNCHTIME for LOST SOULS|
Your name: COLIN BUCKLEY
Your address: 12 AQUILLA COURT CHELSEA HEIGHTS VICTORIA 3196
Your phone number: 0417 548 528
Your email address: email@example.com
Act 1 Scene 1
The stage is split in two with SL a School yard setting with a bench and OP two chairs facing each other and a Warhammer box on the floor nearby to signify a child’s bedroom . Spotlight on the school bench.
FX: School yard noises are heard with children talking and playing games.
The main character,Maxie, is an 11 year old boy who walks on stage with a plastic lunch box. This is Term One in a new school in about 2008. He puts the box on the bench and walks to centre stage to speak. Along with his parents,he and his elder sister, Jess, have transferred from a small town in South Australia to the outer east suburbs in Melbourne due to his Father’s employment. He has never been to Melbourne.
Whilst the actor can be anything upto 21 years old; he needs to stand, speak and move like a boy of 11 or 12.
FX: School yard Noises fade. Lights come up on SL.
Maxie Lunchtime is the worst time of day for me. Usually I sit alone in the Quadrangle except when I get detention. Then I share lunch with the nuff nuffs and the usual band of troublemakers at the school. At least I am not alone for lunch. Bur any conversation is almost always the same.
[Maxie stands to act out the scene in the classroom]
[The actor adopts the stance of the detention kids folding his arms and chewing gum. He looks over a pretend desk arms folded as though looking at the lunch box and uses a crass voice to imitate the boys]
“Show us what ya got for lunch?
Uuhhh; looks like spew sangas and crap cake. You can have it! [then he cackles a laugh]
Shove off Maxie, you croweater.”
[Maxie goes back to his normal voice]
The " Crow eater" comment relates to me comin' from Millicent North in South Australia and that I barrack for the Adelaide Crows.
[Maxie stands and looks to audience]
Back home I had heaps of mates and lunch time was GREAT. In Winter we would talk footy and how the Crows went on the weekend. At lunchtime we’d play kick to kick footy and relive the speccy marks taken by ‘Birdman’ Burton on the weekend. In Summer we’d play cricket, TIGGY and Four Squares.
I really got good at Four Squares. Diving on the ground to hit the ball over the line into the other square. Sometimes I would be undefeated over lunchtime. I felt GREAT about that. Making sure my mates knew about it for the rest of the day too. I’d tell Dad when he come home from work. He’d say – ‘Good on ya Maxie!’
But as a Grade fiver in First Term at bloody Scoresby Primary, I am ZERO, ZILCH, NOT EVEN A BLIP on the radar.
I don’t know but at this school they all seem stick together and unless you got a mobile and into the Facebook, Utube and Rap talk, you just don’t get a look in. It’s not much fun living at Scoresby. In fact, it’s CRAP!
Back home I could do heaps of stuff after school. My mates would come round and we’d build the best cubbyhouse in town. We would play all sorts of games! Even my older sister, Jess joined in.
My favourite was Star Wars. In the shed, we had heaps of home made light sabres [acts out light sabre zoosh sound with a swish] painted black wooden ray and stun guns[mimics laser shooting and shoots on one knee]and a life size cardboard cut out of Chewbacca. Dad even made us a star fighter to sit in.
And yeah, kicking the footy and playing cricket [mimics a huge hit for six]. GEEZ it was fun!
In Scoresby, no one’s interested and there’s no friggin’ room in our backyard to build anything. Why couldn’t my parents get something bigger? [Maxie kicks the floor and puts his hands in his pockets]
[Maxie moves briskly to OP where there are two chairs with the seats facing each other and sits on one chair and his feet on the other mimicing that he is in bed. Could use a blanket as a prop to put over the upper part of his body.]
FX: Lighting is muted and comes up on the bed.
Well mornings pretty can be pretty crap as well. I lie in the gloom of my tiny bedroom thinking about my BIG bedroom back home. Back there I had a large old table where I had my various armies of Warhammer scattered for the next battle and even built some hills and trees. My Star Wars models hung from the ceiling ready to terrorise the land armies below. Aaah yes, my bedroom cave. [ he smiles ]. Shit it was good!
All I can fit in here [looks around] is my Millennium falcon; one star fighter and a small box of Warhammer fighters living on top of a tiny bookcase.
[Picks up box and fondle it]
The rest of my stuff is in the garage in cardboard boxes. I can’t even set up any decent battles as this is too small [Look around and give impression that it’s a tiny space].
[Turn to audience]
My mom says that Jess gets the big bedroom as she is at Secondary school and she needs space to study. Rubbish… I NEED the friggin’ space [Point finger at self].
Well ‘STUFF IT’ I’m gonna stay in bed ALL morning. I’ll tell Mom that an earwig crept into my ear overnight and now I can’t hear so it would be no good going to school.
Suddenly a blur of salmon pink dressing gown darts past my bed. She flings open the curtains.
[Put on a “mother” voice that mimics his mom]
Mom chimes " It's going to be a lovely day for school " "Put on a new shirt. There’s fresh undies in your top drawer. Com'on Maxie, stop lying there picking your nose and get up NOW!"
The salmon pink blur departs singing to an Abba song on 104.3 in the kitchen. ‘ Dancing Queen, Dancing Queen’ I can hear Mom happily singing in the kitchen. Why is she is so friggin’ happy? I decide to give up on the earwig excuse.
I look out the window and see dark grey skies above bottle brush bushes waving wildy in the gusty winds. [Sound mildly annoyed] Geez, mom it's gonna be a CRAP day.
[Stand up and walk over to school bench and he stops in middle to speak. The spotlight is on Maxie]
Nights can be depressing as well. I think about all the nuff nuff things I did during the day like crashing out in english spelling bee first go with 'Committee'; forgot the double 't'. The girls sitting across me mime " You duffus!”
To be honest with ya, yeah, lunchtime is the worst part of the day.
At about midday my stomach starts to churn just before the bell at quarter past 12. Loneliness and cold stares from kids in my grade await me in the schoolyard.
[Move to school bench and pick up the lunchbox and sit down]
[FX: Background noise of a school at playtime but is not obtrusive]
Well, I guess I'd better see what I've got for lunch from mom.
[Pick up one item and fossick in lunch box to identify all items] Ham and cheese sandwiches, a box of sultanas and 2 shortbread creams and WOW a note!
[ Pull out note from lunchbox and reads it]
" Make a new friend today, love Mom." [Turn it over and back again] Great mom! [Put note back in box and shake head slowly]
I heard on the radio that psychiatrists say that people who eat ham and cheese sandwiches are lonely...mmm, I guess they're right. And when you're really lonely, the cheese gets stuck between your teeth and you need a toothpick to pick it out.
At school, there's a stunning dark haired girl with large brown eyes and shiny teeth that dazzle me. Sometimes I see her eating her lunch in the Quadrangle near the Tuckshop. I think she’s in the other Grade 5 class. Her name is Chantelle. [Long sigh] Even her name makes my mind spin out.
Oh there she is! [Small Point of finger across stage as though you see her on the other side of the quadrangle].
I wonder what she would do if I went over and asked her if I could sit and have lunch with her?...She'd probably toss her long dark hair back and laugh right in my face...it's hard on a face when it gets laughed at.
There's an empty place next to her. Really I could go over there and sit next to her. I could do that right now. All I have to do is stand up...yep I 'm standing up! [stand up slowly with lunch box] .... One step - two steps, NO, I am sitting back down. [sit back down]
I'm a coward. I'm so much of a coward; she wouldn't even think of looking at me. She hardly ever does look at me. In fact, I can't remember her ever looking at me.
[During this look at the lunch box contents picking up a sandwich ready to eat and working out how to start it]
Why shouldn't she look at me? Is there any reason in the world why she shouldn't look at me with those deep dark eyes. Is she so fantastic and I'm so average that she can't spare one little moment?
[Look up ready to eat food and notice the girl]
OH MY GOD -SHE'S LOOKING AT ME!! SHE'S REALLY LOOKING AT ME, SHE’S SMILING.
She can't see me looking back. Yes, I will look at the ground like I am looking for a coin or something.[ Start to look at ground searching looking down]
Is she still looking at me? What do I do? Do I look up?
What if she isn't looking at me, then maybe I could look up quickly and she'd never notice it. But I can't tell if she's looking, until I look up. But if I never look up I'll never know if she was looking at me or not.
GEEZ, what do I do? I will look up now; real quick.
[Look up quickly]
Bummer, she's not looking at me! She’s talking to her girlfriends.
[Look disappointed; looks at his lunch and closes the lid} [Stands up and looks to audience].
It would be really cool to talk to Chantelle. I could show her my Warhammer figures. Mmmm … Just to smell her clothes, her face and her lovely hair. [enthuse] I bet 20 cents she smells like fresh chewy when you open a new packet. [Shrug shoulders] Naaah, I’ll wait till next week to say Hi. I wonder if she’s been to Millicent? I could tell her all about the good things there. [nod and make small fist of triumph] Yeah, Good plan!
FX: School Bell goes. Picks up his lunchbox. Start to move off SL.
What’s on now? Friggin English I bet. Oh, well, another crap lunch hour is over. Only 152 to go.
[Walks off stage as Playground noises fade and lights fade]