A complete musical comedy in less than seven minutes.
Vocalists: Arri Lawton Simon and Christiana Cole
Music: Rick Bassett
Lyrics: Anjali Jay (writing as A.J. Olain)
Based on a short story written by A.L. Kennedy for distribution by the English National Opera. This libretto was one of the ten final scripts showcased by the ENO during its worldwide call for submissions.
From The Duffian Cabaret, Cornelia Street Cafe, New York, N.Y.
The stage is divided into two physical spaces. On one side is her kitchen. She is standing at the countertop. Working. Typing. On the other side is his hotel room, which consists of a single bed, a desk and chair, and a lamp on top of the desk. He is also typing. At work on his computer.
She pours herself a glass of water, takes a sip.
She: So what if it never happens?
I’m too busy anyway.
One hundred different buyers.
I’m upto here in orders. Success is really nice.
And being unattached is a bonus
A fair shake of the dice.
Who wants to start all over again.
I’ve had my share of heartbreak and pain.
I told myself- never again
Yet here I am once again.
He: Should I press send?
Or should we stay friends?
I should make that leap.
No. I should get some sleep.
What am I doing? The meeting’s in five hours.
I should go to sleep. Perhaps take a shower.
This is madness. It’s three a.m.
No one thinks clearly at three a.m.
I’m too old to be doing this.
Too damn worn out to dream of bliss.
Too damn mature to feel like this.
To fantasize about a kiss.
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She: A chance encounter.
He : in Ipswich town centre.
(They turn to face each other. They are now standing on a pavement on a busy weekday morning. )
She: I’m late. I’m lost. Could you tell me where I am?
He: I don’t think so, but I’m sure my phone can.
She: Technology eh? I’m a big fan
Both: It runs our lives.
(They smile and look at his phone.)
She: Well thank you. I should go. Got to get to my meeting.
He: It was nice to meet you, however fleeting.
(She turns to leave.)
He: Wait. (Scribbles something on a piece of paper.) Keep my number, just in case.
She: I think I will. ‘Just in case.’
(They turn back to their realities. She walks to her computer during the next section.)
He: A phone call.
She: A text.
Both: That could have led to sex.
(They both sigh.)
She: A few emails from Manchester.
He: Leicester and Colchester.
She: A video chat from Penge.
He: Is that near Stonehenge?
She: Close enough.
He: Close enough.
(They both touch their computer screens.)
He: Who am I kidding?
She: When has fate done my bidding?
He: I should get to bed.
She: Long day ahead.
(She switches off her light and leaves. He turns off his lamp and gets under the covers of his bed. Darkness. Silence. A beat.
And then, he leaps up, switches on his lamp and presses SEND on his computer. Her computer lights up with the unmistakeable ‘ping’ of incoming mail. She rushes out and reads his email. She laughs, delighted. He smiles. A choice well made.)
Both: Perhaps this time it will be different.
Perhaps this time it will be sane.
Who knows, it may even be brilliant.
Even kindly and humane.
It’s three am. I should get to bed.
So late and such a long day ahead.
Goodnight my love. I miss you.
Goodnight my dove. I kiss you.