The playlet is the result of subtracting everything apart from the blood from the text of Webster’s ‘The White Devil’. To these remains are added various dialogue elements. The piece was written for Theatre Design students at Wimbledon College of Arts. See the page ‘Bleed Out in Blood Street’ for a full introduction.
PETER, PAUL AND MARY ARE DISCOVERED SITTING AT A TABLE. A CHEST OF DRAWERS IS ALSO PRESENT.
A YOUNG JAPANESE WOMAN, AYAKO, STANDS DOWNSTAGE OF THE GROUP, SMARTLY DRESSED, HOLDING A TRAY ON WHICH ARE FOUR GLASSES OF MILK.
THE FOUR CARETAKERS, WEARING THEIR BLUE WORK CLOTHES, ENTER AND SIT ON CHAIRS ARRANGED IN A LINE AT STAGE LEFT, RUNNING FROM UPSTAGE TO DOWNSTAGE. THE CHAIRS FACE INTO THE STAGE.
THE 12 INTERPRETERS, WEARING SMART BLACK DRESSES, ENTER AND TAKE THEIR SEATS IN A ROW FACING THE JANITORS AT STAGE RIGHT.
THE THREE HANDSOME YOUTHS ENTER, CLAD IN DRESSING GOWNS. THEIR LEGS AND FEET ARE BARE. THEY SIT ON STOOLS DOWNSTAGE OF THE CARETAKERS, BESIDE THE AUDIENCE.
AYAKO SERVES EACH CARETAKER A GLASS OF FERMENTED MARE’S MILK FROM A SILVER TRAY.
AYAKO (IN JAPANESE) Here is a glass of fermented mare’s milk for your pleasure.
ONE AFTER ANOTHER, EACH INTERPRETER TRANSLATES THIS LINE INTO HER NATIVE LANGUAGE.
THE PENULTIMATE INTERPRETER IS AMERICAN.
THE FINAL INTERPRETER IS BRITISH.
BOTH GROUPS STAY ON STAGE THROUGHOUT THE ENSUING PERFORMANCE.
PETER I’d like to get in touch with my feminine side.
MARY I’d like to get in touch with my masculine side.
PAUL It sounds very wholesome.
PETER I know it’s in there.
MARY I’m dying to get to it.
PAUL It’s worth looking into.
PETER More than worth it. With the world as it is today.
MUSIC: FADES IN AND STAYS IN THROUGHOUT
THE BLOOD HELD ABOVE THE WALLS WILL START TO TRICKLE SLOWLY DOWN.
AT CERTAIN POINTS THE ACTORS WILL RELEASE THE BLOOD CONCEALED IN THEIR COSTUMES.
PETER All the good food that you eat turns to shit inside you. Why doesn’t it stay good inside you?
MARY It makes shit. There’s shit in you now.
PETER If I had a baby would I have a shit?
MARY Of course you would. There’s only one hole.
PAUL Does the baby hurt your bottom?
MARY Of course it does. It splits it.
PETER And then the shit is out all over the place.
PAUL Can you put the shit back?
PETER No. It won’t go back.
MARY How does the shit get up the bottom then?
PETER People put it there.
PAUL In the night?
MARY That’s when they push it up.
PAUL Is the baby shit?
PETER It’s a big shit.
MARY The mummy carries the shit. That’s why she sticks out.
PETER The mummy grunts when the shit comes out.
PAUL Does she love the shit?
MARY She very much loves it.
PAUL She makes it into a baby.
PETER And the shit goes inside the baby.
PAUL You can’t see it.
MARY But it comes out.
PETER Like sick.
PAUL Can she sick the baby?
MARY Sometimes the baby is sicked up.
PAUL Does she put it back?
MARY She can eat it up if she wants.
PAUL Can she stick it up her bottom?
PETER It’s better to eat it up. It’s quicker.
PAUL The baby doesn’t die.
PETER No. The baby never dies.
PAUL So where does the baby come from?
MARY The daddy.
PETER Is the baby in the daddy?
MARY The baby is in the daddy’s peepee.
PAUL My peepee has peepee coming out of it how does that make babies?
MARY The baby is in the peepee.
PAUL The daddy peepees in the mummy.
MARY Where does the peepee go?
PAUL In the mummy’s hole.
PETER What hole?
PAUL The bottom hole.
MARY The daddy is full of babies.
PETER There are as many babies as the mummy wants in the daddy.
MARY Why does’t the daddy have the baby?
PETER He gives it to the mummy.
MARY The mummies are nicer.
PAUL Does the baby shit?
MARY All the shit comes out of the baby.
PETER Does the mummy shit in the baby?
MARY Yes. The baby is full of the mummy’s shit.
PAUL And then it comes out of the baby.
PETER Onto the ground.
MARY That’s at the beginning – when the baby is out of the mummy the mummy can’t shit in the baby.
PETER The mummy’s shit goes on the ground.
MARY And the baby’s shit goes on the ground.
PAUL Is the ground covered in shit?
MARY That’s what the ground is.
PETER The ground is all the shit that has come out.
MARY People wear shoes because of that. Because the shit can go up through your feet.
PETER The ground is a big shit. Done by all the people ever.
PAUL Before people was the earth a big shit?
PETER Yes. It was a very big shit in space. In the stars.
MARY And people came along and did their shit on it.
PETER Then the daddy comes along.
MARY He says “Put your shoes on! Can’t you see the shit?”
PAUL And of course they do. They put them on.
MARY And the daddy says “We better have some money.” And out he goes to get some.
PAUL Like this.
HE WALKS ACROSS THE SPACE IN AN ORDINARY WAY.
PETER Or like this.
HE WALKS ACROSS THE SPACE IN AN ORDINARY WAY.
MARY The daddies meet each other.
PETER (TO PAUL) Are you getting some money?
PAUL We need it to get food and clothes for my wife and the little baby.
PETER I do too.
PAUL Do you have a boss?
PETER I certainly do.
PAUL I have one.
PETER My boss pays me for doing things.
MARY What’s his name?
PAUL Mister Something.
PETER Something like that.
MARY The women meet each other.
PAUL I’d like to do that.
PETER I’m in touch with my feminine side.
PAUL So. Is there a lot of shit that you have to get rid of?
MARY It’s everywhere. From out of the baby, of course.
PAUL Doesn’t it half stink?
MARY It’s fucking smelly.
PETER We’ll be getting some money soon.
MARY It gets rid of shit well.
PETER We keep it in a box.
MARY The shit?
PETER The money.
MARY People might take it.
PETER Well, yes.
PAUL I wish they’d take the shit.
PETER There are pipes.
MARY Are they long?
PETER Long enough. Right away from you and the baby and the house.
MARY Then the daddies come back.
PETER (TO MARY) Hello dear.
HE KISSES HER.
PETER Has the baby put out a lot of shit?
MARY Yes, darling.
PETER I’ve got some money for the box.
MARY That will help black out the shit.
PETER We must be careful not to get shit in the money box.
PAUL (TO MARY) Hello darling.
HE KISSES HER.
MARY Hello dear.
PAUL Today I got some good money.
MARY Things will be easier.
PAUL We will know where to put everything.
MARY Certainly. Another daddy comes home from getting money.
PETER (TO MARY) I’m back from out getting money.
MARY I’ve been generally putting the shit in the right place.
PETER That baby!
MARY Some of the women don’t have any man.
(SHE LOOKS UPSET)
PETER MOVES TOWARDS MARY (ENACTING ANOTHER MAN)
PETER Hello pet.
PETER I’ve been working and I expect you’ve been putting the shit and the money in different places.
PETER Has the baby done so much shit that the money is obscured by it?
PAUL (ENACTING ANOTHER MAN. ADDRESSING MARY) Hello baa lamb.
MARY How many wives have you got? There’s only one each.
PAUL I’m coming home and then I’m coming home and I’ve been working and I’ve been working.
MARY I don’t like that. You can’t have two lives one either side of the street.
PAUL I am a boss and I’m looking for a lovely partner.
PETER She doesn’t want it.
PAUL But I am a boss.
PETER Do you have some papers or certificates?
PAUL GOES TO THE CHEST OF DRAWERS AND OPENS A DRAWER. IT IS FULL TO THE BRIM WITH BLOOD. HE PULLS OUT A SHEAF OF PAPERS.
PAUL Some of these are papers and some are certificates.
MARY May I study them, please?
PAUL HANDS THE PAPERS TO MARY
They say that you are in fact the man who went off to war from the village years ago and then they found out that there wasn’t a war on. But that was many years ago and now you are back and we wonder who you are. And look – this certificate seems to suggest that you left behind you loved ones and blood relations.
PETER LEAPS UP
PETER Let me see those!
(HE TAKES THE PAPERS AND CERTIFICATES FROM HER)
Mary! is your name name Dark?
MARY Yes. I am Mary Dark.
PAUL No, Peter!
(PAUL TRIES TO SEIZE THE PAPERS AND CERTIFICATES. THE MEN STRUGGLE (MESSILY, NECESSARILY). PAUL MANAGES TO WREST THEM FROM PETER.)
These are false certificates! Some of the stamps and seals are clearly made from crude cork or potato plunged in poster paint.
(SHE TRIES TO SEIZE THE PAPERS AND CERTIFICATES FROM PAUL. THEY STRUGGLE. SHE SUCCEEDS.
SHE STUDIES THE PAPERS AND CERTIFICATES, THEN SCREAMS IN HORROR.)
PETER What is it, Mary?
MARY It’s Paul! He’s…he’s…
PETER What? What?
MARY He is John Dark!
PETER Who’s that then?
PAUL You little fool!
MARY John Dark is my father!
PETER Did you fuck him?
MARY I fucking hope not!
PAUL RUSHES TO THE BLOOD-FILLED DRAWER. HE WITHDRAWS ANOTHER BUNCH OF PAPERS.
PAUL Look! These are affidavits and testimonies!
PETER They had better be substantial!
PAUL Fuck off, Peter! What do you know?
MARY Paul, you must tell me! are you John?
PAUL These affidavits will settle the matter! Of course I am not John! John was brutally murdered after brutally murdering his very own wife! Look – here is the murder certificate and affidavit.
HE THRUSTS AN AFFIDAVIT AT HER. SHE TAKES IT AND STUDIES IT.
MARY Paul! this appears to suggest that you are not John but his son by the woman with whom he took up after repellently taking the life of my mother.
MARY Yes, my mother was Isabel.
PETER Thus, Mary, Paul as we have come to know him is none other than…
MARY My half-brother!
PETER Did you fuck him?
MARY Have you seen him?
PETER He’s right beside you.
MARY Would you fuck that?
PETER I am not that way, Mary, as you know.
PAUL Have you been banging my sister, Peter?
PETER Maybe I have maybe I haven’t.
MARY Make your mind up.
PAUL Look, Peter, okay, so the war didn’t exist that I went off to. But who knew? I went in good faith. I really thought there was one. It fucking felt like it.
PETER Sounds to me as if you routinely confuse the inner with the outer, Paul. Nothing personal. You div.
PAUL Are you saying I’m several stamps short of a collection?
PETER It may be that you are a number of biscuits short of a proper asssortment.
PAUL MOVES TOWARDS THE BLOOD-FILLED DRAWER.
PAUL I have testimonials here that indicate I’m as sane as they come.
PETER INTERCEPTS HIM.
PETER Not so fast!
(PETER GOES TO THE DRAWER AND PULLS IT ALL THE WAY OUT. SEVERAL GALLONS OF BLOOD HIT THE DECK.)
What do you call this?
(PETER INVERTS THE DRAWER TO SHOW THAT IT IS EMPTY THEN RUNS HIS HANDS THROUGH THE GORE ON THE FLOOR, SEARCHING FOR ANYTHING THAT MIGHT HAVE FALLEN OUT.)
Not a testimonial to be seen! How sane do you feel now, Bobby?
PAUL Peter, there’s something you should know.
PETER What is it, Mister Bonkers?
PAUL When my father conspired to kill Mary’s mother Isabel in order that he might share a pillow with Patricia…
PETER Your mother.
PAUL Yes, Patricia was my mother. My father was only able to do this because of the support he received from Mary’s uncle.
PETER Your uncle was Colin. But…
PAUL Yes, Peter! Mary’s murdered mother’s brother helped my father who was also her father to murder his sister who was also our father’s wife and the mother of Mary.
MARY Hang on, Paul. Colin was Patricia’s brother. My mother didn’t have a brother.
PAUL Yeah, right, exactly. Colin. Colin helped my father kill your mother so that my father could bang his sister. That’s it.
PETER Colin was my father.
MARY What does that make you?
PETER His son.
MARY No. What else?
PETER Something to do with Paul?
PETER I’m his uncle?
MARY For fuck’s sake.
PETER We’re cousins.
MARY Right. Get it right.
PETER Can I fuck you?
PETER In theory.
PAUL She’s your cousin, you bumpkin.
PETER We’re all cousins.
MARY You’re such a fucking cock, Peter! Me and Paul are half-sisters and brothers. Why don’t you listen?
PETER Why should I have to listen? You should just be able to know, shouldn’t you?
PAUL How would you know? You haven’t got X-ray eyes.
PETER They wouldn’t help.
PAUL So how do you tell?
PETER How do I fucking know? I asked first.
MARY (TO PETER) Anyway, you fucked me.
PAUL You fucked this cunt?
MARY I’ll fuck who I fucking want. Fuck off.
PAUL That can’t be right. What if you had a baby? Where would it come out?
PETER The arse. That’s what happens when you fuck family.
MARY Does it hurt?
PETER It makes your eyes water.
MARY What about the baby?
PAUL The baby would be wise and sad.
PETER It would be empty. Everything would strike it but it would be solid all the way through – no organs. Just like wood. Or wax.
PAUL It could be beautiful. Looking at the world. Trying to be itself. Not having anything inside.
MARY The baby would touch you and you would want world peace. It would smile and your nerves would all go off at once.
PETER It would shine in the world.
PAUL Things would happen to it, it would move along. But it wouldn’t have a ghost, it wouldn’t be haunted.
MARY Her little hands out. All going on. Nothing hurting. Not belonging. In the centre.
THE CARETAKERS LEAD THE ACTORS TO THE WASHING AREA. THEY THROW BUCKETS OF WARM WATER OVER THEM AND THE YOUNG MEN WASH THEM.
NEARBY, THE INTERPRETERS DANCE UNDER A SPOTLIGHT, SLOWLY WITH SLIGHT SMILES.
THE ACTORS ARE WRAPPED IN DRESSING GOWNS. THEY WALK OUT, ESCORTED BY THE CARETAKERS.
THE YOUNG MEN GO TO DANCE WITH THE INTERPRETERS.
THE SPOTLIGHT SLOWLY FADES TO BLACK.