ACT 1 (A white spotlight shines ominously on WOMAN lying in a hospital bed across centre stage, surrounded by darkness. WOMAN is a young woman in her 20’s, she is dressed in a hospital gown and wears an oxygen mask around her nose and mouth. Her chest steadily rises and falls, mimicking this is the beeping of a heart rate monitor and the puffing of a ventilator. After six beats, we discern voices flying across the stage.)
VOICE 1 I love you! Can’t you see?
VOICE 2 Get away from me, you crazy bitch!
VOICE 3 Did I not raise you to be good?
(The voices start to repeat over one another, creating a cacophony of noise that’s gnawing at WOMAN’S head. She tosses and turns violently, the spotlight flickering. The voices are then intervened by ELIZA, a presence on stage in the surrounding darkness. The spotlight stops flickering as soon as her voice speaks.)
ELIZA (sardonically) Take your time why don’t you, love?
(The lights come up, set to a subtle fiery-red hue. There is a chair just next to the hospital bed where another young woman in her 20’s, ELIZA, is sat primly. She is quirky and attention-grabbing with long, coloured hair, heavy makeup and a black dress. Her body language is calm and purposeful. WOMAN wakes up and adjusts to her reality. She sights ELIZA and takes off her oxygen mask.)
WOMAN (desperate) Eliza?
(ELIZA reaches out and clasps WOMAN’S hand.)
ELIZA (relieved) Thank God you’re here with me. I thought you were dead- then I wouldn’t have been able to live.
WOMAN(Slightly concussed) Where- where are we?
ELIZA(Indifferent) A hospital ward, in a hospital bed. You overdosed on your medication. Almost forty pills. You’ve been in hospital for a day and I’ve been sitting around, going insane waiting for you.
WOMAN (suddenly remembering, in a panic) I think- I think I killed… my boyfriend.
(ELIZA tightens her grasp and nods quickly in joy.)
ELIZA (excitedly) Yes- yes you did.
WOMAN Where’s my mother?
ELIZA(Bored) She fucked off hours ago; she doesn’t care about you like me. (Smiles) At least, Robbie’s gone now. Isn’t that what you wanted after so long?
(Laughs shortly but notices WOMAN’S sombre expression and turns argumentative.)
Why are you looking like that? Do you remember what he did to you? All that getting drunk and fornicating with women, men and not you- his girlfriend, his beautiful, hardworking girlfriend. No job- you brought in all the dough, babe- it was just drink and you as the trophy. That scumbag was waste- waste of space, waste of the world, you did us all a favour and cleaned him up.
(WOMAN closes her eyes and covers her ears, pained and trembling.)
WOMAN (hastily) No! I loved him, Eliza, I did. I loved Robbie with all my heart, I would never have wanted to hurt him.
(ELIZA stands and leans over the bed. There is a long pause.)
ELIZA Then why did you kill him, sweetheart?
WOMAN Eliza, please don’t call me that.
ELIZA Why? I love you.
(She clambers onto the bed and then onto WOMAN predatorily.)
I love you.
WOMAN (Unsure) Eliza… (Pause) You told me to kill him.
(ELIZA dismounts WOMAN and sits on the bed next to her.)
ELIZA You like being innocent, don’t you? Hmph, I suppose all humans do; it means bad things stay where they belong as thoughts in the brain. Everything was innocent until I came along, I know you think that.
WOMAN But- but that’s good, isn’t it? You taught me so much, made me the person I am. You’re my greatest friend, my only friend-
ELIZA (unbothered) I’m glad.
(ELIZA jumps off the bed and moves towards the audience, looking out with a brooding and glowering expression. The once reddish hue of the lights becomes a cold purple. Purple strobe lights cross ELIZA at her feet, highlighting her as fantastical and dominant. WOMAN is in the shadows. Their voices become like echoes.)
How many times did you stab him?
WOMAN (Timidly) You- you know. You were there.
ELIZA I want you to admit it to me.
ELIZA (grinning) Why not thirty, ay, sweetheart? (Aggressively) Just as I told you!
WOMAN (crying) I just- I just… When I saw his chest drop, his gorgeous, umber eyes becoming a colourless grey, I just couldn’t… I couldn’t bring myself to stab him one more time.
(WOMAN clutches her head with shaking hands. Eliza turns around and looks at her.)
ELIZA You should only love me. (shouts suddenly) I love you! Can’t you see?
WOMAN(winces) Yes- yes, I do- I really do!
ELIZA(aggravated) No, you don’t. You don’t at all-
WOMAN(shouting) No! No, Eliza, I do! I do!
ELIZA You’ll expect me again.
WOMAN (screeches horrifically) No!
(WOMAN suddenly flings herself across the bed with her arms out in a failing attempt to catch ELIZA. ELIZA stays put and the whole stage blackouts for a few seconds. The lights come back up and ELIZA has vanished. The stage is now set to a subtle sky-blue hue where WOMAN is crying in her arms, sprawled across the bed.)
WOMAN(sniffling) Eliza, I’m sorry- I’m sorry. I love you and only you! (Pause) You’re right- you’re absolutely right. Robbie had wronged me all this time and I never did anything about it.
(The lights flicker slowly. WOMAN kneels up, looking out to the audience, a jagged smile stretched onto her lips.)
You helped me do something about it. You mean more than anyone now, more than Robbie, more than my sick mother. I will do whatever it takes to make you stay.
(The lights start flickering faster and faster, WOMAN reaching further and further before she collapses back onto the bed. The lights blackout.)
Hello! My name is Ellen and I hope that you enjoyed reading my submission for the playwriting competition! I'm sorry if some words look different as I am from the UK, but this piece was really immersive to write. I am new to this site, so I'll make sure to read your works and comment :) x