28 December 2011

Youthful Plays: The Child in the Basket

My mum left this in my room the other day. It's the playscript I wrote for a Traverse Theatre Open Day workshop in 2001, at which point I must have been around eleven. The fantastic thing is that the lovely people at the Traverse have typed it up as a proper playscript, in a nice folder with their lizard logo and all the trappings.

The Child in the Basket by James (T) Harding
As I remember this workshop, my parents took a friend and I along as a nice day out. There was a competition for under twelves to write a scene in a hot-air balloon, and the best one was to be performed by the Traverse company. The friend won, and I didn't speak to her for a week.

With hindsight, I can understand a lot better why I didn't win. I think the script suffered from being too subtle, like much of my work, and would have taken them too long to rehearse.

Here is my offering in its full glory. I can only hope that the work I'm producing for the Traverse at the moment as part of their Young Writers programme is of a similarly high standard.

The Child in the Basket
by James T Harding

Two men and a child in a hot air balloon basket

CHILD (Addressing audience) That's pa and his friend over there (pointing) - completely bonkers

MAN 1 Now now, Elizabeth. That is no way to talk to your dad!

CHILD It is said as though he can listen - but he is stone deaf

MAN 2 But I can lip read, so there miss clever clogs

MAN 1 Shall we throw her overboard / WE should float higher that way!

MAN 2 Pardon?

Man 1 and Man 2 lift child up by the front and back legs and singe her as if to throw her overboard.

CHILD Noooooooooooooooooo I'm to young to die!

MAN 1 She has a point, you know

MAN 2 One, two, three and throw

Child is thrown offstage

MAN 1 I though she was your daughter

MAN 2 Why did you say I was deaf?

MAN 1 I didn't

MAN 2 Yes you did

MAN 1 No I didn't

At this point the child appears from inside the picnic hamper

CHILD Yes you did

MAN 1 & 2 No he didn't

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