Sunday, April 27, 2008

Time To Remember...

[Original script written and performed 1994]
[Prize winner STC/ICI young writers competition 1994]

Time to Remember...

a Play in One Act


Nikolas Ward

Dedicated to




Performances of “Time To Remember...”

The first production of “Time To Remember...” was performed at the Cellar Theatre, Sydney. The part of Watch was played by Anthony Radojevic. The part of Smith was played by Catherine Lockley. It was directed by Charles Forsyth.

The second production was performed by actors from the Australian Theatre for Young People and directed by a guest director from the Sydney Theatre Company as part of the prize from the Sydney Theatre Company / ICI Young Writers Competition.

The curtain opens on a very plain, almost empty, stage. There are two entrances (doors) on the left and right walls and a window in the back wall, off centre towards the right. Over the window there is a thick blind or covering, blocking any view to the outside operated only by a rope or string placed very inconveniently off centre, towards the left on the back wall. The whole set is a fairly blank colour, probably white or cream. The effect must be one of a very empty, cold, almost dead, unused room..

In the left-hand[1] back corner of the room is a man (Watch), lying asleep on the ground (with a pillow and a sack or shoulder-bag or back-pack etc.), bundled up in the corner on his side; looking more like a pile of badly-matched, dirty clothes than a person.


Another man (Smith) walks quickly in through the right-hand door. As he walks through it shuts behind him. Without stopping or noticing the other man, Smith walks straight for the other door and tries to open it. He can’t. He tries for some time but fails. He stops and steps back. He looks at the door as if something about its structure could help him to open it.

He looks at the right-hand door and then back at the left hand door again. He walks straight back the right-hand door and tries to go back the way he came - only to find he can no longer open that door either. He tries again, slightly more frantically this time. While he is trying, a third person opens the right-hand door, clearly with no trouble, and walks in. Smith is so surprised he merely stands and watches as the third person precedes to close the right-hand door, walk straight across the room, open the left hand door and exit through it. Just as he is walking out Smith springs to life, runs across the room in an attempt to catch the door before it closes - but he is just too late. He falls against the left-hand door, panting.

He gets up slowly and wanders into the middle of the room, looking out across the audience.

Watch slowly lifts his head from the ground and opens his eyes. He looks vaguely around the room and sees Smith standing there with his back to him.

Watch: Am I mad yet?

Smith looks quickly left and right and then up and down as if to find the source of the voice but still manages not to see Watch in the corner.

Getting no reply Watch drops his head to the ground and goes back to sleep.

While searching for the source of the voice Smith notices the window in the back wall and walks over to it. He stands and stares at the blind for a while (with his back to the audience). He looks around the sides and all around the window for some way of opening it. finally his eyes fall upon the rope hanging from the roof (He still manages to avoid noticing Watch in the corner). Smith slowly pulls at the rope and as he does so the blind slowly rises. Being in the position he is[2], of course, he cannot see out the window. He walks slowly back toward the window to have a look out, letting go of the rope as he goes. As he does so the blind falls back into place - once again blocking his view out of the window. He goes back to the rope and pulls it down again. This time he tries to stretch out toward the window with the rope in his hand, but he cannot make it without letting go of the rope. He lets go, runs, and tries, desperately, to get a glimpse before it closes.

Smith gives up. He slumps to the ground against the back wall and stares at the ground.

Watch wakes up slowly again and raises his head off the ground.

Watch: [Addressing no one in particular] Nor yet, I see.

Smith jumps up in surprise and stares at Watch. Watch looks at Smith calmly.

Watch: Do you find me mad? Do you think I am?

Smith: yo...Are...

But he doesn’t have long to think of an answer because as he stammers someone walks in through the right-hand door and across the room again. The door begins to close behind him. Smith jumps for it but misses and only manages to knock it closed faster. As he laments his misfortune he suddenly realises the other door is just closing as the fourth person has exited through it. He begins to run but only gets half-way across the room before giving up and watching it close yet again. He stands and stares for a while. Then, remembering Watch in the corner goes and sits at his feet, leaning against the back wall.

Smith: Does this happen often?

He points from the right-hand door to the left-hand door to indicate the passage of people passing from one to the other.

Watch: Whatever I have seen in my life has only ever served me to show that it has happened before and that it will happen again, many times.

Smith: But I mean, does ... ah ... (a little worried) how long have you been here?

Watch: Unfortunately, I can still remember.

There doesn’t seem to much to say to this so both characters merely look at each other for a while.

Watch: Why are you here?

Smith: [Pointing at the right-hand door] I came in from there - through that door.

Watch sits up slightly.

Watch: Ah! The point is made yet again. I present you with a question of ‘Why?’ and you answer with a statement of ‘How’. You answer as so many before you. And so you have entered as so many before you ... and will again of course ... and yet you did not leave. Why is that?

Smith: I can’t.

Watch: Why? Are you not mad? You answer as a mad person would, or have in the past ... and will again of course.

Smith: [confused] I don...

Watch: Maybe you are not mad enough [standing up]... now there is an interesting thought. Quantitative madness. ‘How mad do you feel today?’. ‘Oh! Not as mad as yesterday - but far madder than last Thursday, I can assure you!’

Smith: I remember walking in through that door. [Pause for thought] But not much before that. I remember coming from somewhere - but that only makes sense I suppose.

Watch: Please don’t talk sense to me. I have no more need of sense... Then again maybe if I could remember what it was to have sense - to be sensible - I could work out how to lose sight of it and become mad.

Smith: [almost to himself] I can remember turning the door handle - all cold it was - with a sense of expectation of what I was to find on the other side. I remember walking in and closing the door ... and then I couldn’t get out.

Watch: Can one quantify madness, I wonder? ... Can one thing be more mad than another? ... Can an action rather than a person be classified as being mad without considering the context of the motive behind it and the thought processes leading to it? ... Can such things as motive and thought processes be considered within the context of madness? ... Can one be mad while still possessing the ability to cogitate on the idea of it. Ah! There is the pressing question for such as I. I remember the others, in the other room ... they could never talk about madness.

Smith: I remember the sensation of others behind me, about to follow me into this room. Maybe that was them before - passing through ... I wish I could remember what I was doing, coming in here.

Watch views him, inquisitively, almost suspiciously for a moment... then returns to his own train of thought.

Watch: Then again, is it not a form of madness to entertain the idea that we can think about and understand madness without first having experienced it? [Rambling] If those who want to understand and study madness have not experienced it ... and those who have are no longer capable of thinking about it clearly - or at least in a way a non-mad person would understand ... then what is our hope? How can we ever hope to leave this place?

Smith: [Directing his attention to Watch] Why are you here?

Pause. Watch is brought, suddenly, back down to earth and has to collect himself and properly register the question.

Watch: What?

Smith: Why are you here?

Short pause while he considers.

Watch: I cannot remember!... [Pause.] Now there is an interesting point. If my memory is going, could I not finally be going mad? Then again if everything we are as a person is controlled by our memories then those who are mad must have some memory that makes them that way. If I lose my memory will I not become nothing at all? ... Perhaps if I were to act mad - to do mad things, then when I wake up tomorrow the memory of those things will make me mad. (to Smith) Do you think that would work?

Smith: What were you doing before you came in here?

Watch: I do! I think it might work! I’m going to try it.

He sits back down in his original position, picks up his bag and starts to look through it.

Smith: Why are you always talking abou...?

He doesn’t have time to finish because as he speaks yet another person walks in through the right-hand door and exits through the left. This time both characters simply sit and watch. Neither tries to move or do anything, they simply wait in silence until he has left - watching him cross the room as he goes.

Smith and Watch look at each other for a while and then at the room around them.

Watch: Would you like a game of chess?

Smith stands up and moves across the stage toward the front.

Smith: I would like to be able to remember where I came from.

Watch: I would like a game of chess.

Smith: I would just like to know why I came in here in the first place.

Watch: I would just like a game of chess.

Smith: I wish I could remember who it was I was talking to before I walked through that door.

Watch: [To himself] I wish you would shut-up.

Smith looks at Watch for a while.

Smith: He was a big man I think.

Watch: [quietly, to himself] Madness would be so releasing as well ... I think.

Smith: Or not so much a large man, as a large entity.

Watch: ‘Madness is such sweet sorrow’

Watch chuckles to himself, quietly.

Smith: I was talking to him to him just before I came in here. I was going to meet him in there [Points to indicate left-hand door], or some thing.

He looks at the door, for a moment.

He walks across and tries it (the left-hand door) once again but cannot open it. He walks back across the stage slowly, thinking.

Smith: So what are we going to play chess with?

Watch: Who said we are going to play chess?

Smith: You did! You said you wanted to play chess. You said it a number of times, just before.

Watch: I said I wanted to play chess. I never said we would play chess. Only a madman would be presumptuous enough to make that prediction.

Smith stares at Watch for a while, then he walks across the stage to the right-hand door. He tries it once more and fails. He walks back and sits down in the middle of the stage and stares at the floor.


Smith: What do you want to play chess with?

Watch: Nothing.


Smith: You mean you don’t want to play chess either.

Watch: No! I didn’t say that.

Smith: [tensely] Well, what do you want?

Watch: I want to go mad!

Smith continues to stare at the ground. Watch stands up (leaving his pillow and bag in the corner) and begins pacing around the stage.

Watch: [Maniacally] I want to play chess with nothing. To play a madman’s game of chess. I want to imagine it. To hold it in my mind ... until it cracks under the pressure. I want a game of chess.


Smith: King’s pawn to king’s pawn four.

Watch: Who said you were white?!

Smith: Nobody.


Watch: [Chess Move.]

Smith: I wonder why I came in here. I must have had some reason... I’m sure I did. [Chess Move.]

Watch: A madman needs no reason to do what he does. It is a reason, an excuse - a cause and effect in itself.

Smith: There must be a way out of here. There must be. If only... maybe when we’re finished you can help me to see out.

He gestures towards the window.

Watch: What would a madman need to see out there for? He could not trust what he perceived anyway. [Chess Move.]

Pause while Smith considers his next move.

Suddenly Watch throws himself to the ground, screaming. He continues for a while and then jumps up and begins running around the room, flapping his arms and making loud 'whoop'-ing noises. i.e. ad lib madness.

Smith watches him for a while from his seat in the middle of the stage.

Smith: [above the noise] What are you doing?

Watch stops suddenly and stands - panting and staring angrily at Smith.

Watch: [out of breath] What do you think? I was building up memories... I told you before. So that I can remember, tomorrow, and start to... Oh! you’re no use at all.

Just at this point another person opens the left-hand door and walks the other direction across the stage to the right-hand door and exits. Both Watch and Smith are slightly in his path from one door to the next, and so he needs to dodge both slightly.

Long pause - as both characters stare at the closing right-hand door.

Watch: I wonder why I did come in here. That is an interesting point. I think I remember some entity in there [indicating towards the right] as well. [Chess Move.]

Watch walks over and tries the right-hand door but it doesn’t open. While he is doing this Smith gets up and stands near Watch’s pillow. Watch then walks back and takes up Smith’s position on the floor

Smith: [looking worried and pacing in the corner] Why do you want to...Why are you always talki...Were all those other people mad? Do think we have to be as well ... to leave, I mean? [Chess Move.]

Watch: [Chess Move.] Checkmate. Well that was easy. It didn’t work very well - but it was easy.

The right-hand door opens. Yet another person walks in and straight to the other door (dodging Watch slightly). Smith walks over near the left-hand door in anticipation of the stranger opening it, but when he gets there he can’t. The stranger tries the door-handle a few times before giving up. Watch and Smith glance at each other almost excitedly (thinking that the new arrival will not be able to leave) and stare in suspense as he walks straight back towards the right-hand door and exits effortlessly.

Long pause as both stare at the recently used right-hand door.

Watch stands up and walks toward the window. He stands and stares (back to audience) at the shut blind. Smith begins to walk toward the front of the stage, thinking intensely.

Smith: How?

Watch: What?

Smith: [repeating] “How”!

Watch: Sorry?

Smith: That’s alright.

Watch: No! [That's not what I meant]

Smith: What?

Watch: What did you say?

Smith: When?

Watch: Then!

Smith: [repeating] “How”!

Watch: What?

Smith: [louder] “How”!

Watch: Sorry?

Smith: That’s alright!

Watch: I don't understand!

Smith: How is it decided?

Watch: What?

Smith: [louder] “How is it decided?”

Watch: [frustrated] is what decided?

Smith: When you can leave!

Watch: Where?

Smith: Here?

Watch: Where is here?

Smith: Don’t be stupid!

Watch: Why?

Smith: Because it’s annoying!

Watch: Who?

Smith: Me!

Watch: How?

Smith: [even more frustrated] I don’t know!

Watch: When?

Smith: Sorry?

Watch: That’s alright

Smith: I don’t understand!

Watch: [tensely] Neither do I, Sorry!

Smith: That’s alright

Short pause.

Smith: What!

Watch: What, What?

Smith: What makes the difference?

Watch: Where?

Smith: Between me and them!

Watch: Who?

Smith: [pointing] Us and them!

Watch: When?

Smith: When we try to leave?

Watch: Why?

Smith: Because I want to get out of here.


Watch: You can’t.

Smith: Why?

Watch: [Watch starts to play word games] Why not?

Smith: What?

Watch: Where?

Smith: Sorry?

Watch: That’s alright!

Smith: [to himself - in exasperation] Why?

Watch: How?

Smith: [giving up - joining the game] When?

As Smith sits down towards the left of the stage both start to get more excited.

Watch: Why?

Smith: Where?

Watch: Therefore!

Smith: Wherein!

Watch: Thereof!

Smith: Wherefore!

Watch: Art!

Smith: Thou!

Watch: Romeo?

Smith: [yelling and screaming at the top of his voice] I don't know!!

Lights blackout suddenly. Pause as Smith takes a breath and calms down.

Smith: [from inside blackness] Sorry.

Watch: That’s alright.

From inside the blackness we hear one of the doors being opened. Pause. Then we hear it close once again. at the very moment the door is closed the lights fade up.

Both Watch and Smith are looking excitedly around the room for the cause of the sound.

Smith: Was that you?

Watch: No!

Pause. The proceeding reference to a quote from Shakespeare sends Smith off on a different train of thought altogether. He tries to find a new, less volatile, topic of conversation.

Smith: Shakespeare was a great man, you know.

Watch: Shakespeare was a great writer. Hamlet was a great man, and certainly mad at that.

Smith: But Hamlet never existed. How can you say ... ?

Watch: How can you know that? Did you ever speak to him?

Smith: No! But that's ... !

Watch: Well, there you go!

Smith looks puzzled.

Watch: You know, it always intrigued me - that question. When I was ten I was given the question “Was Hamlet a man who would not or could not make up his mind?”. And, you know I stayed awake all night, thinking, arguing with myself, writing and reading. I spent the next week discussing it with people and was never sure I had found the answer.

Smith: Maybe there is no right and wrong answer.

Watch: But there is you see - there has to be. There always will be, and it will always be the same right and wrong.

Smith: But, perhaps, within the boundaries of the question the parameters are too general - what I mean is, in this case, Hamlet need not fit entirely into either category.

Watch: Yes, yes, yes! Point taken, point taken. That's not what I'm talking about. What I mean is, I discussed it, with myself, with my family, my friends - and I studied it, oh yes, I studied it, as if I were a historian gathering evidence on a notable person in history.

Smith: Just as people have for hundreds of years.

Watch: Just as one historian will hold up one piece of primary evidence and say “Hear ye, hear ye, this is the truth about Mr. Smith and how he affected our world”. And not five minutes later someone else will say “But what about this other piece of evidence, surely it shows conclusively that Mr. Smith was, in fact, like so!”

Smith continues to join in what part of the conversation he can - not understanding where Watch is going with it all.

Smith: It is the nature of humans - they are complex beings and can be studied from many different sides, and must be if one is to get a clear picture of the world.

Watch: And that's my point exactly. Did it make my job any easier that there was only one text from which to gather my primary sources - No! I researched this one man and found so much complexity within the pages of what I was reading that I could not come to a concrete answer.

Smith: [beginning to get bored] So?

Watch: So I found in Hamlet someone so realistically troubled, so humanly flawed, so adorably insane and yet so insanely realistic that I could not put him in a box, package him and say “This is Hamlet and here is my analysis”. I mean, wouldn’t you be a bit insulted if someone could do that to you?

Smith: But people always disagree about characters in stories, writers intention etcetera. Maybe that was Shakespeare's fault. Maybe he should have made his intention clearer to the earnest reader.

Watch: Oh stuff! Who cares about Shakespeare!

Smith: But he ...

Watch: I'm talking about a real person here, somebody about whom we know everything that there is to know ... Everything that ever actually happened in this universe, to them, is contained in the pages of what Shakespeare wrote - and still we do not have the answers. Does this seem right to you? ... If we knew every ounce, every millisecond of one man's life do you not think that we would at least be able to answer one simple question about his motives. And yet we can't. Why? I'll tell you why! If we can still not come to a complete understanding of Hamlet through the words of Shakespeare, does it not seem the only reasonable conclusion that he did not only exist in the pages of the play in question. For if he only existed in that play we would know all there was to know about him and therefore be able to answer any question about him ... He existed somewhere outside, and somehow came into Shakespeare's play. Only in this way could such a four-dimensional character (for I will give him his due standing of having existed in time as well) could such a four-dimensional character have been written about and so completely filled out by one man ... Only in this way could one man have captivated and intrigued the minds of so many people around the world for so long and left so many people wondering what he was really like and why he did what he did. Only a real man could have done this. Only someone who existed somewhere else than on the pages and in the words of Shakespeare ... [Watch begins to get obsessively caught up in his own thoughts and starts to go completely of the wall with energy and excitement about what he is saying] And believe me - I will find this place. I will go there. For there, I feel, I will find the world of the general conscious, where anything can happen, and you can choose what you will ...

Smith: [loudly, so as to interrupt] So what?

Smith, having sat down, begins to stand up again, to make his point.

Watch: What do you mean? Can’t you see ... ?

Smith: You're not fooling me, you know! If I were a psychiatrist I wouldn't put you away.

Watch: No, no, no! I'm not trying to pretend that... Don't you see? I'm saying ...

Smith: [distinctly angry] Oh forget about it!

Watch: But you must understand! I can see...

Smith: Alright, alright. I see what you mean. But who cares, anyway? I just wish you'd shut-up!

Both turn away from each other. There is an bitter, spiteful kind of silence.


Smith: You mentioned your friends.

Watch: So what?

Smith: And your family. You said you discussed it with them.

Watch: And should there be any reason to bear relevance to this minimal reference?

Smith: I thought you couldn't remember anything from before.

Smith indicates towards the door.

Watch: My lord! You are forgetting! You shall be mad before I [sic] if you are lucky. You said that you could not remember. I said I could not, alas, forget.

Smith: What is it that you so dearly want to forget?

Watch: Oh please, don't remind me!


Smith: But you said before that you couldn't remember why you came in here.

Watch: Yes.

Smith: Well?

Watch: Well, I was lying.

Smith: When?

Watch: Before.

Smith: But which one was it? Were you lying when you said you couldn't remember or when you could remember everything and wanted to forget?

Watch: I can't remember.

Smith: [tensely] But if you can't remember, how do you know you were lying?

Watch: Because you presented me with two statements, that I spoke, that were contradictory. I therefore conclude, on the basis of your observations, that I must have lied.

Smith: And?

Watch: And what?

Smith: Well, aren't you going to say sorry or anything?

Watch: No.


Smith: Well aren't you going to say anything?

Watch: No.


Smith: [Trying to find some resolution] Do want another game of chess?

Watch: No.


Smith: [Getting angry again] What do you want to do?


Smith: Do you have to be so annoying?

Watch: No.


Smith: There's got to be something we can do - [to himself] to get out of here.

Watch, who by now is sitting back by his pillow and his bag, pulls a tennis ball out of the bag and begins bouncing it on the ground. He picks it up once, drops it, and then watches it intensely as it slowly bounces less and less high above the ground and finally comes to rest. He then repeats this a few times.

Smith is standing near the other side of the stage pretending not to be interested in what Watch is doing.

Finally Watch repeats his action with the tennis ball and, when it comes to rest, lies on his side, peering at the ball sideways, as if trying to see between the ball and the floor.

Watch: [Still lying on his side] Do you think it’s still bouncing?

Smith: What? Sorry I wasn't watching.

Watch: Do you think it's still bouncing? [Looking at Smith] I mean, if a ball loses energy at a rate directly proportional to the amount of energy it has exerted on it by the ground, right? ... RIGHT?

Smith: Yes. [still looking away - out to the audience, he sits down]

Watch: So it never loses as much energy as it uses to bounce, right? -So it always it just keeps bouncing less and less and less, never actually reaching a limit, right?

Smith: [confused] I suppose so.

Watch: Then it must still be bouncing, right?

He stands up.

Watch: Does that seem right to you?

Smith: I suppose so.

Watch: Well I can't see it bouncing.

Smith: So?

Watch: So ... if the conclusion is wrong and the argument is logically sound then ...?

Smith: [tensely] Then what!

Watch: Then the premise must be false, of course! The balls loss of energy is not directly proportional! Logic my dear boy, Logic!

Smith: Really!


Watch goes back, picks up the ball again and starts bouncing it again in the same way.

Finally he gets bored and stares at the ball for a while.

Watch reaches into his bag again, pulls out a brick and shot-puts it across the stage towards the centre. It lands loudly. Smith flinches and glances condescendingly at Watch.

Watch: Do you think its still bouncing?

Smith jumps up in flurry of rage.

Smith: Why do you have to keep doing this to me?

Both characters stare at each other for a while. Smith calms down and turns stiffly back toward the audience. Watch continues to stare at Smith as he (Smith) slowly sits down again.

Smith has hardly settled himself when he jumps up again in excitement.

Smith: I know what we can do! You can help me to see out of the window!

Watch: [picking up the tennis ball and beginning to fiddle with it aimlessly] Why?

Smith: Because I want to see out?

Watch: I explained to you before, my dear fellow[3], a madman does not need to see out. He could not trust what he saw anyway.

Smith: But I - against all external pressures, no matter how much you try to convince me otherwise, or tell me I need to be - I am not mad!!

Watch: I didn't say you were. I merely restated that a madman, whether you are one or not, has no need ...

Smith: Alright, alright. Look, are you going to help me to see out or not?

Watch: No.

Smith: [surprised] What?

Watch: No.

Smith: Why not?

Watch: Because I can’t see the use.

Smith: Does everything have to have a use, a purpose? Is it not good enough that I simply want to?

Watch: No.


Smith: You must be one of the most annoying, in-humane people I know.

Watch: I thought you said you couldn’t remember anyone. I’m certainly a lot less annoying than them. [he indicates right-hand room and the people in it] You don’t know me, anyway. What an insulting presumption.

Smith: Are you masochistic or something?

Watch looks at Smith excitedly.

Watch: Masochists are officially mad, aren't they?

Smith (frustrated) goes over to the window and stares at it. He looks over to the rope and then at the brick (still on the ground where it was thrown). He looks back at the rope and then starts to walk over to the brick.

Watch: [to himself - ignoring Smith - still playing aimlessly with his tennis ball] Well who cares about official titles in here anyway. I certainly don’t think he does [indicating the left-hand door with his thumb] . I wonder if he cares about anything at all.

Smith, during this, has picked up the brick and gone over to the rope. He places the brick at his feet. After looking at the rope for a while, he pulls it down (causing the covering of the window to rise), puts his foot on the rope to hold it and then bends down, picks up the brick and places it on the rope to keep it in place.

Watch, who is sitting within arms length of the action, ignores all this and starts rummaging through his bag, as if looking for something.

After keeping an eye on the brick for a while, to make sure it stays, Smith suddenly turns and walks confidently over to look out the window.

Watch, almost absent-mindedly, reaches down, picks up the brick (the blind, of course, slams shut) and puts it back in his bag. Smith is startled and looks around the room, quickly. Surprise soon turns into anger as he realises what has happened.

Smith: What are you doing?

Watch: Existing.

Smith: I mean, what did you pick up the brick for?

Watch: I cannot, in fact, determine a reason for my actions - I merely felt I wanted to. Is that not good enough for you or did I misunderstand your advise. [He looks smugly back at Smith]

Smith turns away, bitter and angry.

Smith: I hate you!


Smith: [spinning around again to face Watch] You! - one of the most selfish, self-absorbed, callous people...

Watch: Well I must have been trained well! [He indicates the right-hand door.]

Smith: [turning around again] I don’t know what you’re talking about!

Watch: How fascinatingly unbelievable.

Watch stands up and, during the proceeding dialogue, becomes more and more like a lawyer honing in on a key witness during cross-examination. He starts pacing around Smith, who retains his rigid position, staring at the floor - bitter and frustrated.

Watch: Why did you come in here?

Smith: I can’t remember.

Watch: Why did you come in here?

Smith: I can’t...

Smith looks up, makes eye contact with Watch, and cannot continue. He looks down again.

Watch: I put it to you that you can.

Smith: But...

Watch: I put it to you that you have been lying to me. How caring is that, Hmm?

Smith: No.

Watch: How selfish are you to be a liar?

Smith: I’m not.

Watch: You said you remembered people, didn’t you?... DIDN’T YOU!?

Smith: Yes, so?

Watch You said you remembered that they were going to follow you in here. You said that, didn’t you? You remembered the feeling of some large being in there! You even started to bore me with details of the temperature of the door handle on the other side...

Smith: When did I say that?

Watch: I quote ‘I can remember turning the door handle - all cold it was - with a sense of expectation of what I was to find on the other side.’

Smith: I didn’t say that!

Watch: And yet after all this you expect me to believe that you can’t even remember why you came in here in the first place.

Smith: But I can’t.

Watch: But you can! You know you can. You just don’t want to. I mean, I didn’t like them either. The lying, the fighting, the hating. They were even hypocritical, illogical and insensible and they didn’t listen to a word of what He said. [indicates right door] I know all that, but at least I’m truthful enough to admit they exist.

Smith: Who?

Watch: Oh! For goodness sake, save me! If you just listen to how you sound, wake up to what’s really going on. You should be in there [he points to the left-hand door] . Get away from people like me and be happy.

Smith: I think you’ve finally reached your goal, you know- you’re mad. I have no idea what...

He doesn’t finish, he looks at the ground and thinks.

Smith: Look, let’s suppose for one fleeting, pointless moment that what you say is true. If it’s a place to be happy, why don’t you go.

Watch: Because I don’t deserve to.

Smith: Why not?

Watch runs over to the left-hand door and tries to open it, in demonstration.

Watch: Well He won’t let me, will he?

Smith: Well if you’re not going to admit that you could be fooling yourself then you have no right to tell me that I am. Nobody could be as you describe them. There aren’t people like that. I believe in humanity. And the people you describe aren’t human.

Watch: If you really can’t remember anything then how can you claim you love humanity or declare what people are like.

Smith stares at the ground.

Watch: Look, I was angry. I hated too. I was hypocritical. The only people that left were the ones I liked, the ones that were nice. I hated myself so why shouldn’t He. [pause] Hey! If I went mad I could develop a multi-personality syndrome and then I’d have someone else to dislike. [he looks suddenly at Smith] Maybe that’s what’s happened.

Smith: [ignoring this] Then why did He [Pointing to the right], assuming, against fact, that he exists, why did He let you in here?


Watch: [as a desperate attempt] To taunt me?

Smith: But if your going to say, so assuredly, that I can fool myself to forget what happened, less than an hour ago, just to escape the memory of squalor then...

Watch: ...[slowly, as if waking up] then...I could just as easily be keeping myself here as well. I could be running away as much as you are.

Smith: And you don’t want to admit that you were lying as well, I hope. [he looks inquisitively at Watch] I rest my case.

Smith turns and starts toward the window. He tries and move the covering, but fails.

Watch, stares around the room excitedly. Unable to believe his realisation.

Smith: Could you come and help me with this?

Watch: What? [hardly listening]

Smith: Look, would you stop gawking like an idiot, and come and help.

Watch: Just put the bag on the rope, you idiot!

Smith: Oh! Thankyou!

Smith begins to put the plan into action.

Watch runs over to the left-hand-door and opens it. He looks at Smith (who by now is staring, back to the audience, out of the open window[4]) and then sticks his head out. He walks out and closes the door behind him.


Watch re-enters, giddily excited, and closes the door behind him again. He tugs at Smith’s shirt.

Watch: They’re all out there, come on.

Smith: [staring out window] Who?

Watch: Everybody. You were right, it was them walking through before - the ones behind you.

Smith: [not taking his gaze away from the window] But I explained to you before. They’re not really there. I don’t remember them and they don’t exist. Anything that you remember could just as easily be you fooling yourself as me fooling myself.

Watch: But they’re there now!

Smith: Just watch this with me, and stop all this madness business. It’ll start to get on my nerves if you don’t watch out.

Watch looks out the window.

Watch: But there’s nothing there!

Smith: There will be. Just wait.


Watch stares at Smith who stares out the window.

Finally, he turns around and steps on the rope to hold it as he picks up his bag. He takes the brick out of his bag, places it back on the rope, puts the bag on his shoulder and walks toward the left door. As he reaches it he turns around and looks back at Smith.


Watch leaves (closing the door behind him).


Smith gives a momentary glance at the recently used exit and then turns back to his window.



The End

[1] All left/right directions are intended to be taken from the audience point of view, not as stage right/stage left. However the actual direction is not essential and could be swapped for practical reasons, if necessary, as long as it were kept absolutely consistent.

[2] against the back wall, holding the rope,

[3] Or my dear lady at the director's discretion.

[4] The window is lit from behind to give the effect of clinical emptiness - nothing outside - and also back-lights Smith to create a silhouette