Anne, Headline for SST8 1st Draft

11 Jan

Here is my 1st draft.

I reckon it will come in around 3-4 minutes once it is edited. I don’t want any special effects or collaboration.

At the moment I think this is an old woman rambling. So I would like her to have somewhere to sit – ideas so far could be:

Park bench, hospital chair (one of those high backed ones they have), waiting room chair, cafe chair – depends on how we stage the whole show I reckon – I know some people are setting their pieces in a cafe or similar – so maybe she’ll end up sitting in a cafe too.


How does this make you feel? How do you feel about the character? Does it seem to be ‘about’ anything or is it just a ramble?

Armadillos, Zebras and Tomatoes.

Leprosy can be spread by Armadillos.

To humans I mean.

I saw a giant zebra in the park

just standing there.

When I looked again

it was a tree.

That happens doesn’t it?

You think you see something

know what it is

and all the time you were wrong.

That Mrs Hogg never liked me.

Skinny, boney.

Said I didn’t walk fast enough.

Hoisted me onto her hip

striding along, calling after the other kids,

me wailing, from her bony hip dug into me

or the indignity,

I don’t remember.

Made me eat tomatoes,

I threw up.

You shouldn’t make people eat stuff they don’t want to

if you ask me.

On Sunday my mum would drop them into a bowl of boiling water

Wait until their skin peeled back like a smile

then fish them out with asbestos fingers and peel their skin away

cut them thin for sandwiches.

They made the sliced-white soggy.

I hate that.

One time on holiday we met the man who grows them.

Through a big white metal gate

make sure we closed it behind.

It had a sign saying PRIVATE, but we were allowed down there

because we were going to see the man.

He lived down a lane.

It was like a tunnel, trees arched above our head

you couldn’t see the sky.

It was quiet

and we didn’t talk much

not in the lane anyway.

At the end was a big garden with a high wall all round.

At the end of the garden were rows of greenhouses

the smell was like being buried in the ground

not in a scary way

in a soft way

like the earth would be your blanket

and the smell got stronger the closer we got.

Then the man came out

smiling, big-smiling with scrunched up eyes

but he had buggy boggle eyes

popping out of his head

and his hair wasn’t flat but all sticking up

and his hands were the colour of the dark

nails short, black line across the top like I’d drawn it with a pen.

Dirty, but clean-dirty if you know what I mean?

He took us into the greenhouse

walked us through tall green plants

heavy with plump red

plump green

plump green-red tomatoes.

The smell made me close my eyes and breathe in

and out again

made me want to rub those fat red babies on my skin

rub the leaves between my fingers to feel their furry earthiness.

Then suddenly, I wanted to love them.

But still, that rubbery skin, sticks in your teeth

pulpy flesh

slimy seeds

like bogeys.


Why did that Mrs Hogg make me eat them?

Dropping them in boiling water was never such fun again.

I tried to love them.

Worked hard at loving them.

Inhaled their scent

Tasted them timidly from time to time

Then slowly, they changed

first the flesh

Firm not pulpy

then their seeds

sticky sweet not slimy.

Until, I do.

I love them.


I love them.

Things are like that sometimes

If you look again

You see them different.

Did I tell you about armadillos?


3 Responses to “Anne, Headline for SST8 1st Draft”

  1. mattylewis92 January 11, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    I think I love this, Anne.

    I’ve just read it once, quite quickly, but I felt like it took me on a journey.

    I like the ambiguity of it and, comparative to some of your past stuff, the sparseness of it.

    I enjoy the overall style and think the first line is great and the last line works really well with it.

    I sort of heard it read in a little girl’s voice. Quite staccato and almost monotone. I definitely think a downplayed performance would suit it. Think it could work with visuals, as a short film too


    • Anne January 14, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

      thanks for commenting Matt – My Jo heard a little girl’s voice too when she read it, so that’s interesting – seems like I’ll have to play around with how I perform this and who the narrator is.

  2. MouthyPoets January 15, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

    Hi Anne,

    Soooo much to love here – Amazing first line amongst others; “Wait until their skin peeled back like a smile” & “At the end of the garden were rows of greenhouses/ the smell was like being buried in the ground / not in a scary way / in a soft way.” Lovely… I love the character, they are interesting and quirky and I am listening and visualising the whole way through.

    To me, the change to you liking them happens to quickly, maybe if you told me situations when it started to change and how it changed. Maybe if your parents could come back into play in these situations or your children? So there could be a sense of growing older and maturing in the rest of your life or other parts of your life as well as in relation to the tomatoes…

    Also the amadilo thing feels odd… but maybe that is because there isn’t much forgetting or repeating of anything else? Which kind of leads into my other feeling which is that to me this piece feel really young and energetic, I am not sure if that is a back thing but on the page the elderly side isn’t there to me – is that important?

    I was also wondering – who are you talking to? Who is the audience? As it is so conversational this feels particularly important.

    In answer to your questions…

    How does this make you feel?
    -Nice, warm, giggly… it feels funny and quirky and fantastical somehow, like my older sibling is telling me a story or a poem to make me laugh but secretly it is because they are trying to teach me something.

    How do you feel about the character?
    -I like her… I want to know more about her life and why she is telling me this story.

    Does it seem to be ‘about’ anything or is it just a ramble?
    -It feels like it is about growing older, re-evaluating and understanding something from a new perspective.

    I hope this is helpful!
    Debris x

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