Script Snippet: Flowers from Tunisia

Excerpt from Flowers from Tunisia

Reah – Elderly Mother suffering from dementia and her son, Keith.

KEITH                       She’s not a baby, and she’s not with us, she’s with her mother, alright. Now  did you look at these questions, the ones the doctor’s going to ask you?

REAH                         I know what bloody questions he’s going to ask, whether I’ve given up smoking, well I’ll tell him to mind his own bloody business.

KEITH                        Well he might ask that, but he’s going to ask these as well, to assess you.

REAH                         Assess me? I’m not a bloody kid.

KEITH                        No. Have a go anyway. Right, first question.

REAH                         Is there a prize

KEITH                        No, no prize.

REAH                         So it’s just for fun?

KEITH                        Yes. Fun. A bit of fun. OK. First question. What is today’s date?

REAH                         That’s it. That’s what I wanted to ask you. That’s why I went out. How funny.

KEITH                        Right, so what is it?

REAH                         No, that’s what I’m saying, that’s why I went out to ask you.

KEITH                        Yeh, but do you know?

REAH                         Well don’t you know.

KEITH                        I’m asking you.

REAH                         So neither of us know then, well we’re bloody stuck now. Who would know I wonder.

KEITH                        Look, I know what the date is.

REAH                         Well what is it then?

KEITH                        The tenth of November –

REAH                         Right, that’s that one sorted then.

KEITH                        Oh Jesus Christ. Listen, today is the tenth but tomorrow, when he asks you, is the eleventh so that’s what you say. Alright?

REAH                         But he’s a doctor, surely he’ll know the date.

KEITH                        OK, OK, let’s forget that one, Question two – oh god – right, what day is it?

REAH                         What day is it? Bloody hell, this doctor’s in a bad way isn’t he. Do we think we should move Keith?

KEITH                        Just say Monday, alright, that’s all you have to say. Right. Next. Question three. OK? What country are we in?

Silence

REAH                         Turkey.

KEITH                        Turkey!

REAH                         Alright Spain then.

KEITH                        What are you talking about?

REAH                         Well we always go to Turkey, I get mixed up.

KEITH                        We never go to Turkey, we’ve never been to Turkey.

REAH                         We have, you and that wife of yours argued all the time.

KEITH                        Alright, once, we’ve been once, I don’t know how you can say we always go.

REAH                         Spain, then, we always go to Spain.

KEITH                        Not always.

REAH                         Well mostly, I can’t think of anywhere else we’ve been

KEITH                        There’s lot of places, Tenerife, Mallorca – oh this is ridiculous, never mind where we’ve been, the question is where are we now. What country are you in?

REAH                         Well you’ve said it’s not Turkey.

KEITH                        Mam, look around you. Your furniture, your shoes, your tele, all your things, it’s obviously not bloody Turkey or Spain, so where do you think you are?

REAH                         Well – I’m at home you soft sod, where do you think I am.

KEITH                        Yes! Yes, exactly. So what country are you in?

Silence

REAH                         You say.

KEITH                        Wales. We’re in Wales.

REAH                         Well course we are.

KEITH                        So why didn’t you say?

REAH                         You didn’t ask.

KEITH                        Oh for god’s sake, I give up, let’s forget it shall we, say what you like.

REAH                         No come on, let’s carry on I’m enjoying this, I’ve always been good at quizzes.

KEITH                        You haven’t had one right yet.

REAH                         You haven’t asked me anything I know about.

KEITH                        Look he is not going to ask you about the songs of Nat King Cole.

REAH                         I’d get those right, no problem

KEITH                        Yes I know. Look, he’s just going to ask you these questions here.. He looks at the list despairingly. Look, they’re easy if you just think about it, , what town are you in, what street, what neighbourhood

REAH                         Well it’s not much of a neighbourhood is it, you never see any bugger, now when I lived on the Broadway.

KEITH                        So where’s that?

REAH                         Treforest, where do you think, though some people would say it was Ponty. Well that was a neighbourhood, neighbours from hell some of them, but you knew them all. And they all knew you and all your business. But they looked out for you, mind. They used look out for my mother. My father used to hit her when he couldn’t get a drink. He used to hit her when he had one too. Til I hit him with a poker. That shook him. Shook my mother too. She  was crying, I was crying. He was a swine my father was. She hasn’t been today has she, my mother?

KEITH                        Your mother? Mam, your mother’s -  No, she hasn’t.

REAH                         Sheppard Street wasn’t so bad, had nice neighbours there.

KEITH                        Where was that?

REAH                         Where was that? Come on Keith, it’s you should see the doctor, Ninteen Sheppard Street, Pwllgwaun, Pontypridd. First and last house we ever had.  No garden though. No garden, no view and no bloody flush on the outside toilet. Neighbours were alright though.

KEITH                        Yeh, Maude Rees, The Longs, Mrs Wills, Wecca.

REAH                         I  must go and see her too. She hasn’t died has she?

KEITH                        Mrs. Westcombe? Yes, she died years ago.

REAH                         Oh God, I’d forgotten that, see. This is not Sheppard Street is it?

KEITH                        No, this is the flat.

REAH                         Yeh, course it is. Right, how did I do on those?

KEITH                        You did fine. Just fine.

REAH                         Right, what’s next?

KEITH                        Look it doesn’t matter.

REAH                         Yes it does, I’m going to show this doctor what’s for.

KEITH                        Right. OK. Think about this one. And obviously it’ll be different tomorrow. But think about what you just said about where you are. What floor are you on?

REAH                         What floor? Am I allowed to look?

KEITH                        Not really. You have to try and remember. So tomorrow, try and clock whether you go upstairs or not. But now, well, think where you are.

REAH                         I’m thinking.

KEITH                        Right, so what floor are you on?

REAH                         Lino.

KEITH                        What?

REAH                         Lino flooring, we had it put down last Christmas. She looks down.  Damn, it’s carpet. I must have been thinking of Sheppard Street.

KEITH                        No, floor, what floor, ground, first, second, upstairs, downstairs.

REAH                         You said it was a flat, we haven’t got upstairs.

KEITH                        But tomorrow, at the hospital, they might have, they will have, and you have to remember what floor you’re on. OK?

REAH                         OK. It’ll be tiles in a hospital though, always is.

KEITH                        Yes but – never mind. Stares at the paper, then at his mother.  Right, this is going to sound funny but just do it, alright. Just do what I ask you to do.

REAH                         You’re not going to hypnotise me are you.

KEITH                        No, nothing like that.

REAH                         Because I’m not giving up fags whatever that doctor says.

KEITH                        No, nothing to do with fags. I want you to take this piece of paper, fold it in half then put it on the floor.

REAH                         But it’s got the questions on it.

KEITH                        It doesn’t matter.

REAH                         But what if I see the answers?

KEITH                        You won’t. Just do it.

REAH takes the paper and very slowly and tentatively folds it and carefully places it on the floor.

REAH                         Like that.

KEITH                        Yeh. Suppose so.

They look at each other,look at the paper then KEITH picks it up.

REAH                         So what was that all about then?

KEITH                        I haven’t got a clue, but it’s the first thing you’ve got right all morning.

REAH                         There you are, nothing to worry about then.

KEITH                        No.

REAH                         Is that it?

KEITH                        Last question, take the paper again and write a sentence on it, anything at all, but it must be a complete sentence.

REAH                         A sentence?

KEITH                        A sentence, you know what a sentence is, with subjects and objects and all that, something with a beginning, a middle and an end.

REAH                         Right, a sentence. I was always good at English. Could have been a scholar my teacher said but I had to leave when I was fourteen. That was my bloody father.

KEITH                        Right, so show me what can you do now.

He hands her the paper and pen. She thinks for a moment then starts to write. Hands the paper back to Keith. He reads it. Says nothing  for a while.

REAH                         Well? Is that one?

KEITH                        Yeh. Yeh, in a way.

REAH                         Pointing at the writing.  Nineteen Sheppard Street, Pwllgwaun, Pontypridd. A beginning, a middle and an end. That’s a sentence isn’t it? What do you think?

KEITH                        Yep, can’t argue with that. It’s almost perfect mam.

REAH                         Right, and don’t worry I’ll practice. Practice makes perfect.

KEITH                        Yeh, you practice. And remember you’re going to the day centre after, you like it there.

REAH                         Do I?

KEITH                        You say you do.

REAH                         What about the baby though, who’s looking after little ‘un.

KEITH                        Mam, don’t worry. It’s sorted. You just – practice.

REAH                         Practice. And what are you going to do?

KEITH                        Me? Well perhaps I’ll practice too.

 

REAH                         What do you need to practice for?

KEITH                        You know, we all need to practice mam, to get it right, to get things right..

The lights dim on them to the tune of Nat King Cole.          

2 thoughts on “Script Snippet: Flowers from Tunisia

  1. Joanne Wilkinson

    I am a retired nurse who does Community theatre in British Columbia. I would love to present this script to our Board as a possible show. Where may I purchase a script? Thank you Joanne

    Reply

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