a play in one act of madness

lenin nightingale


CHARACTER NAME: Jack, a young man.
CHARACTER NAME: Jill, a young woman.
CHARACTER NAME: Ghost of Tennessee Williams (GTW)
CHARACTER NAME: The receptionist


A young man, dressed as a heavy-metal ‘Goth’, is waiting to see a consultant psychiatrist in a small room. The walls are white. There are no windows. On a large poster on a wall is written in red ‘THINK POSITIVELY’. He is accompanied by his ‘Goth’ girlfriend. They sit on plastic, orange chairs. He is agitated. His worried girlfriend holds his hand.


(Jack gets up and repeatedly spits at the wall. Jill tries to restrain him)

Jack: (shouting) “I feeling like someone inside a bean pod.”

Jill: (imploring)”Oh Jack, try and be calm, it’ll soon be over.”

Jack: (panting) “Like giving birth is, you mean? The last time I was here, they hit me with two max doses, and said I should go on a cognitive therapy course, like your memories can be quick-fried and your mind filled with (sarcastic emphasis) new positive thoughts.
Jill: “They are only doing their job, I suppose.”

Jack: ” That’s right! Making money for the drug companies, and creatin’ jobs for their buddies.”

Jill: (trying to hold his hand) “Let’s sit down.”

Jack: (suddenly quitened)”Sit down, yes, let’s sit down and wait for the man.”


(A dark-haired, elderly man enters the room.He is moustached, dressed in a morning suit, and wears a pink bow tie. Jack does not notice him. Jill looks quizically at him.)

Jill: “Are you the new consultant Psychiatrist, Mr. Almond?”

GTW: (laughing) “Sure hope not, young lady. I’m the ghost of Tennessee Williams, writer of demonic plays, proclaimed a homosexual drug addict by the Godly of the Pulpit of Morality(he bows)… at your service.”

Jack: “Stop the arsin’, you are obviously the next nut with an appointment. Didn’t they tell you at reception that Mr. Almond is running 30 minutes late? … some poor sod had a heart attack while he was (sarcastic emphasis) assessing him.”

GTW (enthusiastically, with a pronounced ‘Southern drawl’) “I haven’t come from reception, young man, I’m straight from a gay bar in the Spirit world … you get to go to where you imagine is ideal, so I sit with my good ol’ boy all day toastin’ the god of wine and writing new plays. I’m on with one now,The Bean-Stalker, and heard you say you feel like someone in a bean pod. Well, I thought I’d drop on by to ask you whether you meant what I thought you meant.”

Jack: (holding Jill’s hand and heading toward the door) “Please, I’m off, you can have my place, great line you spin, must remember it next time I want to empty a room!”

GTW: (excitedly) “Hang on in here, young man, did you mean you feel you’re in a dark space and can’t breath, you’re all cramped up in there, squashed up against other beans, and you can’t break free because you’re so jammed in, and you start thinking that if you could get free you’d climb up that ol’ slippery stalk and get to where a goose lays golden eggs, and you’d get some for yourself, and all your troooooooubles, all those naaaaaaaasty childhood experiences, will be eeeeeeeeased, because you could buy all the booooooooze and drugs you need,but there’s a little ol’ thought that comes a popping, and you think if I climb that ol’ Mr. Stalk a real big fella is goin’ to chase me on down to the ground, on which only gooooooooose shit falls. Can’t stand it down there. No way up. Then they make you an appointment for next Wednesday morning at 10am, and you’re thinkin’ how the hell-fire do I know how I’ll be feelin’ next Wednesday morning at good ol’ 10am. So you don’t turn up, and they say, eh, boy, we could have given that precious ol’ appointment to someone real ol’ deservin’ fella or missy, yooooooou are wasting our time, don’t yooooooou want to get better? But you know that only the not soooooooo bad can guarantee to turn on up, so the people criticisin’ know Jack-shit about feelin’ bad. They might have read about it, got a Phd in it, and it might butter their bread, but they don’t know Jack, they only know Jack-shit. Well son, so-so-ciety is the great ol’ pod you’re in. Aint no escape. Mr. Almond gives you legal dope, or tells you to alter the way yooooou think – don’t think you’re a bean in a pod,think you’re the big fella at the top of that good ol’ stalk, and forget all the naaaaasty stuff. But you think this is real ol’ 24 carat goooooose shit … it would be better to chop that ol’ stalk down, but you’d better not say this. Is this what you meant, son?”

(Jack looks stunned, the receptionist walks in)

Receptionist: (sickly sweet) “Sorry to keep you waiting, Jack, Mr. Almond can’t see you today.His last patient has died. Will next Wednesday morning at 10am be OK?”

Jack: (quietly, pointing to GTW) “Why don’t you give it to him, he’s feelin’ as baaaaaaad as me?”

Receptionist: “Jack, I think you might need a more urgent appointment, there’s no one there. Will Monday afternoon at 3pm be possible?”




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