Breaking Shells

written by young people at Stonewall Housing

February 2011

 

CHARACTERS:

MARIA

JOSEPH, Maria’s father

PAUL, Maria’s best friend

NDIDI, Maria’s lover

 

SCENE ONE

(Maria is in her room packing frantically.  While packing she spots the picture of her and her father when she was a child.  She picks it up and looks at it.)

            MARIA

The only time he ever looked at me like he actually loved me.  What did I ever do to him for him to hate me so?  Apparently I’m nothing but disappointment.  The hypocrite.  Has two families and he says I’m the sinner.  Well, this sinner is finally leaving.

(Maria puts the picture down and continues packing.  There’s a knock at the door.  She ignores it at first.  There’s another louder knock.)

            MARIA

Yeah?

(Her father enters with a  bible in his hand.)

            FATHER

Why were you not a church today child?

            MARIA

Because I am not going ever again.

            FATHER

What?!  How dare you say such a thing?  You insolent…What is the meaning of this?  What are you doing?

            MARIA

I’m packing.

            FATHER

You are what?

            MARIA

I said I’m packing.

            FATHER

Packing for what reason?

            MARIA

Because I’m leaving

            FATHER

When did you get my permission?

            MARIA

Why would I need your permission?

            FATHER

I am your father!  Therefore you have to completely obey me.  You can’t take a step without my permission.  It is Our Lord’s will.  To go against it

            MARIA

Is a sin.

            FATHER

Child, you are becoming a nuisance with all your whining and if you continue this God will punish you.

            MARIA

Well I am leaving and you can’t tell me otherwise.

            FATHER

How dare you talk to your father like that!  You will perish in hell for your insolence.

            MARIA

I don’t care.  Tell me this, do you even love me?

            FATHER

What does love have to do with this?  Did I not feed you, clothe you, bring you to salvation?

            MARIA

See you can’t even say it, can you?  I am leaving.

            FATHER

Leaving to where?

            MARIA

To London.

            FATHER

And who do you have there?  Besides sinners and harlotons?

            MARIA

Ndidi has found us a place.  We will live together and I’ll get a job.

            FATHER

Ndidi?  Who is this hareleton?

            MARIA

You know her, Ndidi Williams.  Used to live next door.

            FATHER

Lord Jesus.

(He makes the sign of the cross and kisses the bible.)

            FATHER

Not that…that…I can’t even say the word!

            MARIA

Lesbian!  Father, lesbian.

            FATHER

You blasphemer!

            MARIA

And guess what.  Sam am I, a lesbian!

            FATHER

How dare you speak such evil words in my house.  This sins of sodomans people.  How dare you bring those words in my house.  You will go repent at once and beg God for forgiveness.  At once.

(He grabs her and shakes her.)

            FATHER

No daughter of mine will ever go to such a devil’s place!

            MARIA

Let go of me!  You are the original sinner.  Or did you think I didn’t know about your ‘other’ family?  Look at yourself before you cast stones at me.

(He lets go of her and staggers backwards.)

            FATHER

You don’t know what you are talking about.  Be gone out of my house you devil.  And never enter foot in it again.

            MARIA

I would never want to.

(She takes her bag and walks out of the door.  Just as she reaches it she wipes a tear from her eye and walks off.

Her father falls to his knees and clutches the bible to his chest and then begins to weep.)

            MARIA

I thought this would feel more liberating.  All I fell is anger, sadness and a dark empty cloud hanging over me.  In the movies they make it look so much more glamorous.  Where is my light at the end of the tunnel?  I feel so alone.  Even though part of me knows I will have the life I’ve always wanted soon enough. What is missing?

(Pause.)

Oh, I think I know now.  What would a glamorous free life be like without my best friend?  I know if I ask Paul he will come.  This place is the same hell for him as it is for me. Together we will make a paradise at the end of this tunnel.  I need to see him at once.

 

SCENE TWO

(Paul’s house.  Maria is waiting outside with a rucksack full of clothes.  She knocks on the door.  Paul answers after a few seconds.)

            PAUL

Hi, Maria!

            MARIA

(Nervous)  Hey Paul. 

            PAUL

(He looks at her curiously)  Come in.

(Paul leads Maria into the sitting room; there are two chairs.  Paul sits down heavily on one.)

            PAUL

So, can I get you anything – tea, coffee…

            MARIA

(Lingering, hesitating around the chair.)  No, I’m ok.

She sits down but doesn’t let go of the bag.)

            PAUL

What’s wrong?  Where are you going?

            MARIA

Paul…I’ve decided.  I’ve decided to leave.  I’m going.

            PAUL

What?!

MARIA

Paul, listen to me.  I know I need to do this.  If I don’t, I’ll just go crazy.  It’s been building up for a while, but I’ve just ignored it.  I’m stuck in a dead end job I hate, here in this dull town…just existing.  My friends in London, they have lives.  I have nothing, no motivation – no purpose.  I’m going.

            PAUL

But…what will I do?  I need you, Maria – you’re my rock.

            MARIA

I know!  I know.  We both need a change.  I don’t want to go by myself.  You’re holding yourself back here – same as me.  Come with me.

            PAUL

What?!  I can’t.  I can’t, I’m sorry.  You need to understand…

            MARIA

Understand what?  I know you don’t like taking risks…

            PAUL

Taking risks?!  I can’t leave here ‘cause my mum – she needs me!  She still can’t cope.  I still can’t cope.  I need to do what’s best, now with Danny away –

            MARIA

She has people to look after her, you need to look after yourself.  Please, we’ve been friends for as long as I can remember.  We’re a team.

            PAUL

No…I can’t…I just…Maria, I’ve never even been out of town before!

            MARIA

I’ll look after you!

            PAUL

 No!

(Maria looks shocked.)

            PAUL

I feel so selfish for wanting you here, but I know you need to go.  You do deserve better than this shitty town, than your family –

            MARIA

As do you –

            PAUL

Hear me out, Maria.  I want to come with you.  You’ve always stuck up for me, sorted out all my troubles – and I couldn’t imagine you not being a phone call away.  But there’s so much still left to deal with – I can’t just let go of the past and look forward like you seem to do with ease!

            MARIA

Paul… (she sighs)…remember…remember before your dad died.  That time I was over the house?

(Paul doesn’t respond and looks away.)

            MARIA

He…he did some…things…I…  He was in the bedroom and I was upstairs.  I’m not lying, or trying to blackmail you, Paul, I’m just telling you this because you need to understand why I need to escape.  I was coming out of the bathroom.  He walked towards me.  He…

            PAUL

(Quietly.)  I know.

            MARIA

What, but… how could you have?

            PAUL

He told me, Maria.  I’m so sorry.  I’m sorry for everything.  I’m sorry he did – that – (Disgusted)  He was never a father.

            MARIA

I had an abortion, but I still can’t let go… you always sat with me after in the cove, and I never spoke…  I didn’t want to tell you, but to think, all this time, you knew.

Paul puts his hand on her leg.

            PAUL

I need you here.  But I can’t come.  I’m not strong enough.

            MARIA

(Picking up her bag.)  Okay.  Paul, just think about it.  Please?  I know I can’t make you or force you… but I’m worried about you, and when I move away I’ll still be worried about you.  But I can’t go on stuck like this.

She stands up as does Paul.

            MARIA

I…suppose this is goodbye?

            PAUL

Yeah…

(Maria embraces him, and draws back.  Paul can’t look at her.)

            MARIA

You have my number.  Please, just think about it.

(She exits.)

 

SCENE THREE  

(In London.  Maria is waiting outside Ndidi’s house.  Ndidi comes out with her two children to suddenly see Maria standing across from her house.  She then tells her children to go play.

Maria looks at her in shock when she discovers that she has a beautiful family.  Maria then turns to walk away because she feel that this was in fact a wrong choice until she turns back for one last look and sees Ndidi is following her.

Maria then stops in her tracks and turns to face the one she loves with a big smile on her face.)

            NDIDI

What are you doing here?

            MARIA

I thought you would have realised that by now.  Did you get my letter?

            NDIDI

Yes, I did but…

            MARIA

But what?!  So you know how I feel about you after all these years?

            NDIDI

Yes and I feel the same but I have a family now and I can’t leave them.

            MARIA

I know that and I’m not asking you to leave your children for me.  WE can take them with us where ever we decide to go.

            NDIDI

No, I can’t do that!!  What about my husband and…

            MARIA

What about him?  It’s not like he could make you happy or give you what you need. 

            NDIDI

But he loves me and we have a family together.  What can you give me??

            MARIA

I can give you love and a place in my heart.  I can make you happy and keep you safe.  Just tell me do you feel the same?  Do you love me??

            NDIDI

I need time to think about all this…Do you still have that rock we picked up that time we spent at the beach?

            MARIA

Of course I do. 

(She pulls it from her pocket.)

            MARIA

Just remember all that time we spent together and how happy we was.  We could have that again if you just give us a chance.  I know we can get that amazing feeling back if we just try.

            NDIDI

I don’t know.  This is a lot for me to take in right now.  I need some time to think ok.

            MARIA

OK but how long is that going to be??

            NDIDI

I don’t know.  I can’t think straight right now, this is all too much.

            MARIA

OK I will give you time to think but don’t forget I love you and you are always in my heart no matter what.

Maria then walks away.

            NDIDI

Wait!!

Maria turns around and smiles.

            MARIA

Yes?

            NDIDI

How can I contact you, I mean if I needed to.

            MARIA

Oh right.  My number is on the back of the rock.

Maria walks away while Ndidi stands there watching the person that she loves walk away.

            MARIA

I’m all alone in a place where I don’t know anyone.  In one way, I feel scared because I have nothing but in another way, I’m happy I have finally got away from my horrible dad and I can now start a new life hopefully with Ndidi if she realises that we are made for each other.  Here is where I start my new life. This is the beginning. 

THE END