Prose Header

Morning Light

by Jess Hyslop

part 1 of 2

Mrs. PRUE, 75
JOE, 26

A living room, containing a sofa, an armchair, a cabinet, a wastepaper basket and a standing lamp (on) with a floral shade (sunflowers). A matching table lamp (also on) stands upon a coffee table.

The curtains (also matching) are drawn, but in the gaps between them we see that the windows have been completely covered with bin-liners. The stage is lit only by the yellow light of the two lamps.

There are three exits: SR leads to the bedrooms, SL to the kitchen; a doorway USC is covered with a thick, dark green curtain. Beside this doorway is an empty coat-rack. The room is immaculate.

Mrs. PRUE: (offstage, from SR) Rosamond! Rosamond!

Rosamond enters from SL, wearing an apron. She listens, unimpressed and unhurried.

Mrs. PRUE: Rosamond, oh help! Skies of fire!

Rosamond calmly takes off her apron and exits with it SL.

Mrs. PRUE: Skies! Skies of fire! The light’s gone red!

Rosamond re-enters, without apron.

ROSAMOND: There’s no red light.

Rosamond exits SR.

Mrs. PRUE: Hide me, I’m back there, I’m out there. The clouds are burning! Burning red!

Rosamond enters, supporting Mrs. Prue, who is hunched and whimpering.

Mrs. PRUE: The clouds...

ROSAMOND: There’s no fire, Auntie Prue. There’s no red light. It’s yellow, yellow.

Rosamond helps Mrs. Prue to sit in the armchair, in front of the table lamp.

ROSAMOND: (indicating the table lamp) Look, it’s yellow.

Mrs. PRUE: But the skies—

ROSAMOND: It’s not fire, it’s sunflowers. Look, sunflowers. There are no skies.

Mrs. PRUE: There are no sunflowers, not any more.

ROSAMOND: (stubbornly) There are sunflowers here. Look, look. And here. (She indicates the standing lamp) And here. (She moves towards the window to indicate the curtains)

Mrs. PRUE: (cries out) Oh, come away!

ROSAMOND: Ssh, ssh. It’s only sunflowers.

Mrs. PRUE: I’m sorry, Rosamond. I’m trying not to remember.

ROSAMOND: You can’t help remembering.

Mrs. PRUE: You try your best, I know. I’m difficult, I know.

Rosamond doesn’t reply.

Mrs. PRUE: It’s just that, to me, it’s all red and black.

ROSAMOND: It’s in your head.

Mrs. PRUE: My memory.

ROSAMOND: Yes. In your head, in the past. It isn’t now. There’s no red and black.

Mrs. PRUE: But it leaps up. It leaps up at me. Like a tiger. Springs up and sets the clouds on fire—

ROSAMOND: Ssh, ssh. You know it isn’t real. When you think it’s real, you should ask yourself: could there really be a tiger in this room? Could we even fit a tiger in the door?

Mrs. PRUE: I’m a silly, I’m a silly old woman.

ROSAMOND: We couldn’t have a tiger in here. It would scratch the furniture.

Mrs. PRUE: You’re a good girl, Rosamond.

Rosamond looks at her watch.

Mrs. PRUE: Oh, oh! Is it Tuesday already!

ROSAMOND: Yes, Tuesday.

Mrs. PRUE: But I’m here in my night things. I can’t be here in my night things on a Tuesday. What time is it?


Mrs. PRUE: You shouldn’t have let me sleep so late. Now I’m not ready, and there isn’t time!

ROSAMOND: I’ll get your cardigan.

Rosamond exits SR.

Mrs. PRUE: Yes, yes, you’d better get my cardigan. (Calls after her) And my slippers! Bring my slippers!

The doorbell rings.

Mrs. PRUE: Oh! Oh! Rosamond! Rosamond! The doorbell! Rosamond, doorbell!

Rosamond re-enters, with cardigan and slippers.

ROSAMOND: I heard it, Auntie.

Rosamond helps Mrs. Prue on with her cardigan and slippers. The doorbell rings again, more hesitantly.

Mrs. PRUE: You’d better get it. She’ll go away else.

ROSAMOND: I am, Auntie, I am.

Proceed to part 2...

Copyright © 2011 by Jess Hyslop

Home Page