It’s Time

Katie Wolstencroft

ACT I

DAVID- FRUSTRATED, DOWNBEAT, EARLY 50S

ALBERT- SUFFERING FROM DEMENTIA, DISABLED, EARLY 80S.

JUNE- INDEPENDENT, UNFORGIVING, LATE 40S.

SCENE 1

Manchester, Albert’s house, living room, old frayed armchair main feature of the small room. Day.

ALBERT
I’m just gonna pop to the toilet, son.

DAVID
You can’t get up, Dad.

ALBERT
What d’ya mean ‘I can’t get up’?

DAVID
You’ve not been able to get yourself out of that chair for months, Pops.

ALBERT
(With defiance)
I ruddy well have! I was down the pub yesterday talking to Keith and the boys about the big match on Saturday. Don’t know what you’re ruddy well talking about.

DAVID
(Sighs)
You were here, Dad. Just like everyday. I was here too.

ALBERT
Were ya really? I coulda sworn-

DAVID
Let’s get you to the toilet, eh? Before we need to clean up another incident.

ALBERT
I don’t need to go though.

DAVID
But you just said-

ALBERT
I need the telly turning over and I don’t know where the ruddy remote has got to. Always losing the thing.

DAVID
Are you sure you don’t need to go to the toilet?

ALBERT
I’m not a child, David.

DAVID
Right, what do ya want to watch? (Flicks through TV channels)

ALBERT
(Looks out of window)
Where’s your mother? Is she at those awful shops again? She ruddy well lives there. My entire wage keeps them in ruddy business! All those hard hours living in the office, for your mother to spend it all.

DAVID
No, dad. She’s not at the shops.

ALBERT
She was saying this morning that we need some milk and bread. That one in the fridge has ruddy well gone lumpy.

DAVID
(Flicking through the TV channels)
What about Songs of Praise? You never miss that.

ALBERT
D’you think me eighty?

DAVID
You’re eighty-three, Dad.

ALBERT
By ‘eck, when did that happen?

DAVID
Time flies, Dad.

ALBERT
What a funny thing to say.

DAVID
Life can be a funny thing, Pops.

ALBERT
(Humming along to TV)
Your mother loves this song. D’you think we can record it on that new-fangled box so that she can watch it when she gets home?

DAVID
I don’t think she’ll be able to watch it, Pops.

ALBERT
Ah. She likes it when I sing to her anyway.

DAVID
You best get practicing then.

ALBERT
What’s that, son? Practice? Are you practicing for something?

DAVID
No Dad, you are. Your singing.

ALBERT
I’ve never been much cop at singing, son. Just ask your Mum, she always says that I sound like I’m scratching on a blackboard. Begs me to shut up. (Looks away into distance)

DAVID
She had a way with words, that’s for certain.

ALBERT
(Wipes a solitary tear from cheek)
I miss her, David.

DAVID
I know you do, Dad. We all do. June just has her own way of showing it.

ALBERT
Ah, my June-bug. (Smiles) Where is she?

DAVID
She’s been busy, Dad. You know how it is. She’s coming to see you soon though. Or so she says.

ALBERT
That’ll be jolly nice. (Touches face) Why are my cheeks wet?

DAVID
We all get wet cheeks from time-to-time. It’s a part of remembering.

ALBERT
Strange. (Pause-touches cheek again) I’m just going to nip to the toilet, son.

DAVID
You can’t get up, Dad.

ALBERT
I do wish that you would ruddy well stop telling me that.

DAVID
Yeah, me too.

ALBERT
Make me a brew, will ya? There’s some fresh milk in the fridge. Make sure you add the sugar after the milk though. There’s a good lad.

DAVID exits

SCENE 2

There’s a knock at the door. Enter JUNE.

JUNE
(Shaking specks of rain off her jacket)
Bloody rain.

ALBERT
Mary?

JUNE stares at ALBERT for a minute.

ALBERT
(Grins broadly)
Mary! Oh, my love, where have you been?

ALBERT attempts to stand from his armchair. DAVID returns, carrying a mug of tea.

DAVID
Dad, you can’t get up!

JUNE grabs ALBERT’S arm and helps him settle back in his armchair.

JUNE
Take it easy, Pop.

ALBERT
Oh, Mary. Where have you been, love?

DAVID
It’s June, Dad.

ALBERT
Do you not think I know my Mary? Look at her! Big blue eyes, wavy brown hair, even the small wrinkles on her forehead. Never looks a day older than fifty, my Mary.
(Reaches out to JUNE’S hand)

JUNE
Mum’s dead, Dad.

DAVID
June! There’s no need to be so abrupt with him. He’s having a tough day.

JUNE
He won’t bloody remember in a minute anyway. Not like it matters.

DAVID
That’s not the point.

ALBERT
What did you say, pet? Who’s dead?

DAVID
It doesn’t matter, Dad. Drink your brew before it goes cold.

ALBERT
I don’t like tea.

DAVID
But you just-

JUNE
Pass it to me, Dad. I’ll make you a drink that you actually like.

DAVID
He does like it. He’s just having one of his moments.

JUNE
Of course you’d say that. You like to think you know everything about him.

ALBERT
I think-

DAVID
That’s because I do, believe it or not.

JUNE
I know what he likes to bloody well drink. Isn’t that right, Dad?

ALBERT
I think-

DAVID
You know there’s more to it than that! We’re not arguing over a bloody drink.

JUNE
Well, what then? Something to do with that sign in the front garden? Were you going to tell me?

DAVID
Eventually…maybe. It’s been over a month, June. What was it this time?

ALBERT
I need to-

DAVID
Maybe you just couldn’t be bothered? Am I right? And as for the sign, well-

JUNE
Dad! Dad! (Grabs hold of ALBERT as he begins to slip from his armchair)

DAVID
Dad! Are you okay? Dad!

JUNE
David, look. The chair. Get a cloth!

 

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