The curtain rises, revealing an almost empty stage. A single spotlight hits a shrink’s sofa that’s covered in plush red leather, giving the impression that our characters are in a psychiatrist’s office. Upon the sofa is a well-dressed WOMAN, her hair fastened into a tight chignon. She appears calm and collected and sits almost a little too still. Next to the sofa is a plain wooden chair, its back towards the audience. On the chair sits a tall, solid looking MAN in a tweed suit. We can’t see his face. We can only hear his voice. He appears clinical and professional with his arms resting lightly in his lap. Neither of the characters looks at the other. MAN: Ok, it’s 2:30; we have 20 minutes starting from now. (He presses the button on a timer. The numbers of a digital timer are projected in red over the psychiatrist’s office.) So, take me through your interpretation of the story. I want to know how it looks through your eyes.
WOMAN: Well, I recently got promoted to CEO of the corporate firm I work for. My new role has increased levels of responsibility and the work load is huge, so I often have to stay late at the office.
WOMAN: My days don’t tend to vary much in structure. I like a routine, something constant, unchanging, and even predictable. But there was this one day… where things were different.
MAN: Different? (He raises an eyebrow and gestures forwards with his hand, encouraging the woman to continue.)
WOMAN: (She hesitates before carrying on with her narrative) I had someone waiting for me in my office. It had been arranged for several days so it wasn’t a surprise to hear movement as I approached from down the hall.
MAN: Naturally, you were unalarmed. (He crosses his legs and then his arms.)
WOMAN: But as I got nearer and nearer to my door I sensed that something wasn’t right. I was unnerved, uncomfortable with the situation. So I paused outside the room before going in.
MAN: And you were entirely surprised at what you found inside?
WOMAN: Of course! Who wouldn’t be surprised to find a pool of blood at the entrance to their office? (For the first time the WOMAN looks in the direction of the MAN)
MAN: Blood? Well of course that would scare anyone. What else did you see in the room? (He uncrosses his legs and leans forward on the wooden chair)
WOMAN: A body.
MAN: Whose body? (He leans even further forward, almost tipping the chair)
WOMAN: That’s what YOU need to tell me.
MAN: (Jumps up in a fit of rage. He waves his arms about frantically)
I can’t! I can’t tell you, I can’t tell anyone! I have a wife and children and a career!
Whilst the man is pacing up and down in the spotlight the woman moves calmly from the couch to the wooden chair which she turns to fact the audience before sitting in it. Eventually the man, who the audience learns is in fact the patient, flops down onto the couch, exhausted.
WOMAN: Who was it Steve?
MAN: (He doesn’t answer immediately but runs his hands through his hair, rocking slightly backwards and forwards.) It was my secretary, Sammy.
(He starts crying.)
WOMAN: People have affairs all the time Steve. Why is this so bad?
MAN: Because my wife doesn’t know.
WOMAN: That’s sort of the point, is it not? (She smiles to herself) What makes this different?
There’s a long pause before the MAN answers.
MAN: Because Sammy was a man!
(His sobs become hysterical as he buries his head in his hands, the guilt and the grief overwhelming him) I loved him so much.
WOMAN: It’s ok Steve.
A buzzer rings, abruptly signalling the end of the session. Steve, your session is over. You’ve made real progress. I’ll see you at the same time next week.
(She gets up and walks off the stage, leaving the MAN alone. He watches her go, a look of desperation on his face.)
MAN: Please don’t leave me, please. Don’t go.
(Really slowly, the MAN rises to his feet and makes his way to very front of the stage. He stands right in the middle and stops, his hands by his sides, looking up and out into the audience, as if silently pleading for help. Suddenly the lights go out, leaving the stage in total blackness, signifying the end of the scene.