(Elaborate 'Man in the Mirror' style opening where our two icons lavish themselves in attention, admiring themselves in the numerous mirrors between intermittent moonwalks and toe balances. This continues until we hear a voiceover come on.)
"How did you two meet?"
(Music cuts completely. Val's portion of the stage goes into darkness. Spotlight on Eoghan,
"That one is easy, Freshers week in Trinity. Though Valerie studied in UCD she kind of did a tour of national freshers weeks. She fit right in, in fact I think she even accused a few people of crashing the event. That's her way, you know, stand out in order to fit in. Draw so much attention to herself that nobody will question a thing."
(Eoghan's portion of the stage goes into darkness. Spotlight on Val.)
"I'm not too sure. So long ago at this stage. I think I was drawn to him in a nightclub. He always goes full on femme fatale when he gets too drunk. I think I admired the way he carelessly guzzled back other people's wine and smashed the glasses off walls. Fearless. When drunk. Like Bette Davis with anger management problems and stubble."
(Eoghan and Val freeze in listening position. Back to voiceover.)
"What would you say is the most admirable quality of your best friend?"
(Lights down, spotlight on Eoghan)
"Oh, easy. Though she would pride herself on being better than others, she rarely distinguishes between other people. Like, she wouldn't lick somebody's arse just because they were wealthy or high up on the social ladder or whatever. Probably because she considers herself to be hovering high above that ladder. Like levitating. But not in a demonic way...maybe a little demonic. Anyways, my point is, she treats everybody the same. Exact same. With the utmost disrespect. She's all about equality.
Even, at Trinity Freshers week I could see that was the case. She was kind of hovering through the room, wearing her old debs dress to the event did help her to achieve that levitating quality she goes for. So, kind of like a ghost or ghoul, she would only acknowledge somebody if they approached her. And she would't filter herself depending on the audience either. No censorship like. It didn't matter whether they were the dean of the college, a plus one or a lowly undergrad, she would treat them all to her in your face humor. At one stage, I think a Trinity Scholar told her 'I find you kitsch.' And she paused, smiled knowingly, kind of patted him on the shoulder and said,
"No thanks pet, I have already eaten and hard to believe you're a scholar when you think you need to find the quiche when it's obviously on the food table. You retard."
Then, it was, at that exact moment, that I knew she was my soulmate.
(Lights down on Eoghan. Spotlight on Val.)
"Ahhh. Eoghan's traits are a bit like a box of 'Quality Street', the contents are incredibly varied, colorful, surprising and quite often disappointing. But when you do land the much coveted strawberry flavor it does cover the aftertaste of that minging coffee flavored shite quite satisfactorily. I think sometimes the things I admire most about him, require good lighting. Like a good facebook profiler, the filter changes everything. Sometimes I love, I mean ADORE his flexibility and think I could never possibly survive the global warming induced storm that is life without him. Then other times I'm like, God Eoghan, you fucking invertebrate would you ever stick to your guns. So, depending on the timing and lighting, I will either be stunned by this kaleidoscopic chameleon or I will want to flush the little lizard down the toilet. Like all good relationships, it's multi-faceted."
(Characters freeze in listening position. Voiceover comes back.)
"How did you get here?"
(Lights down on Val. Spotlight on Eoghan.)
'It's a long story. My life used to be so different. I guess a number of choices, odd decisions caused a domino effect that landed me here. At home. Alone. Like MacAuley Caulkin. Pre-drug addiction. But teetering on the edge. Valerie was like, the person who forgot me but simultaneously the people who tried to break into my house. Anyways. Things were so different six months ago. Before Val came back from New York.
(Lights down on Eoghan. Spotlight on Val.)
"It all changed in a flash. That's life I guess. It's hard to pinpoint where exactly it all spiraled out of control. Some might say it was when I reintroduced myself into Eoghan's life. Those people are crazy though and shouldn't point fingers. Fingers are very easily broken. Like dreams."
(Sharp blackout. Kaleidoscope of colorful lights dance across the stage, causing interesting things to happen with the mirrors. As the lights flash on and off, our heroes take up a number of stark poses like a tribute to Vogue. Eventually the lights simmer down.)
The Return of the Living Red(head)
(Eoghan and Val are seated at a coffee table. SFX of a busy cafe are heard. They sit opposite one another. Eoghan looks disheveled. Val looks quite glamorous.)
Well, it’s nice to see you.
It is good to see me.
(VALERIE glances at her reflection in the mirror, sucking in her cheeks. She takes a large swig from a plastic coffee cup. Her exuberance causes droplets of it to fly everywhere.)
Oh jesus that splashed in my face.
(She wipes away a fleck of coffee. Pauses Then licks it off her finger.)
Can I get you another one of those? It must be cold.
What are you on about? It’s piping. I just got it in Centra.
Did you not know you were coming to meet me in a cafe?
(Clearly missing his point.)
Ya I did. Didn’t you? You were the one who was late. God, pot, tea? Kettle is the new black?
So...how was your flight?
Awhh fine! I don’t really want to talk about it. There were kids shouting in my ear the entire time.. Why do people have to have kids, you know? It’s just so arrogant.
God I know.
Awhh and then, and THEN we fuckin’ descended on the black cloud that is Ireland.
It’s pretty grim alright.
It is. But I won’t be here for long anyway. I’m only here for a few weeks and then my visa petition’s going to come through and I’ll be back in America as soon as I can. If I can survive my family in the meantime, like, it’s gonna be hard.
(A beat. EOGHAN looks forlorn. VALERIE waves her hand slowly in front of his face.)
So...how’ve YOU been?
Do you always have to be this confrontational? Jesus.
It’s a simple question, Eoghan.
Well I’m fine. You know, keeping busy. So
much going on.
Absolutely fuck all. Fuck all, isn’t it? You’re doing fuck all.
(EOGHAN takes a packet of sugar and starts flipping it against the table. He rips the end and particles fly everywhere.)
Well not everyone gets to run
around New York doing plays and
telling their life story at the Moth Valerie.
Ya, some of us are turning into moths.
(Looks pointedly at a hole in EOGHAN’s jumper)
Made that one yourself did you?
Come on. You must be doing something.
Sleeping. Eating. Scrolling and scrolling all day...
(EOGHAN takes a sip of his coffee.)
Oh god Eoghan, you’ve
gone to the dark side again, haven’t you?
(Burns tongue. With a lisp.)
I’m just living my truth okay?
Is that what they call the social welfare in Swords?
Seriously, you have got to stop acting like
you’re gonna die at 30.
How do you know I won’t?
It’s not very fashionable Eoghan. At least aim for 27.
Seriously. You need to cop on. I’m surprised
Marlon even tolerates you moping around all
Marlon loves me the way I am. I’m a
work-shy fop. It’s my thing.
You’re an actor!
What’s the difference?
Oh my God that’s so insulting.
To work-shy fops.
I’m sure he finds it such a turn-on
paying for everything while you
lounge around in your skivvies.
You make it sound so sordid.
Have you been looking for a job even?
I have, but I mean, it’s depressing. I’ve basically
gone from college to retirement.
That’s the way it goes now, Valerie.
We are economically unnecessary,
(A beat. VALERIE reaches her hand out to EOGHAN’s face as if to console him, and then promptly gives him a slap.)
Might be time for you to go into IT.
Oh Jesus Christ just fucking kill me now.
I dunno! Update your LinkedIn profile! Don’t you have one of those? That’s what everyone does. Update that.
(EOGHAN is overcome with a sudden jolt of excitement.)
Actually I do have an audition this afternoon. It’s for a commercial.
So no, it’s not actually acting but it’s MONEY possibly coming in.
And they’re looking for a young, attractive, guy.
But you’re auditioning still?
Are there other roles?
"V. nice fee if selected."
Okay. Well, good! Money is everything.
I just think people in medieval
times had the right idea, you know?
Live fast, die young. Or in my
case...live slow, die eventually.
What about friends, Eoghan? You must be hanging around with someone.
You know, people won’t leave me
the fuck alone. It’s like,
"No, I don’t want to catch up with
you because there’s nothing to
say." And if I do actually meet
them it’s like they’re putting me
under a fucking microscope trying to expose my
That’s ridiculous. We both know you
don’t have any flaws. Many flaws.
And the ones you do have are so obvious that you don’t need a microscope to see them.
(EOGHAN goes to take another sip of coffee, but it pops out of his hand and spills all down his front and onto the floor.)
(VALERIE immediately bursts into a cackle.)
Look at you. Have you even brushed your hair today? You’re completely haggard.
(Sound of a the bell on the cafe door ringing and shutting.)
You are actually causing people to leave. You have gained weight. Your mood swings are so erratic like. I’m starting to think you’re pregnant Eoghan.
Well I am late. For the audition.
You’re gonna be late too for your dinner if you don’t bloody well catch your bus soon.
Mama O'Leary will not be best pleased.
Eoghan, this hysteria is another symptom of pregnancy, I would never be late for food. And besides, I have a job interview myself before I have to head back home. To be a charity representative.
You mean a “chugger”? You never mentioned this!
Ya well I don’t go around blabbing about my prospects before I actually succeed, like some people. Anyway don’t be a stranger. Give me a call if there’s ever a problem. I won't answer but it's the thought that counts. Never change, changing...always change to suit people. Don’t isolate yourself or others. People will call the police, you don’t want a criminal record. And...Skype and vino very soon.
(He goes in for a hug and kisses her on the cheek. She grimaces.)
Eoghan you need to shave. I have got to run to the loo.
(EOGHAN stands looking quite content.)
Maybe I was wrong about Val. Maybe she isn't just using me as a sounding board and is genuinely concerned for me as a friend. Maybe all of these sly digs are simply well aimed jabs of...love. I really have to make more of a concentrated effort to work through our issues and-
(SFX of cafe door bell and loud slam. EOGHAN looks around. Is clearly annoyed and angry at what he sees.)
That bitch! And she ordered five espressos too.
(Blackout. Tight spotlight on Eoghan. He is drenched in sweat and there is a little ball of tissue in his nostril stemming a nosebleed. He is looking at some spot out in the audience. He addresses them as though they are a Casting Director.)
My name is Eoghan McQuinn. I’m 27 years old.
Like, literally just turned 27 and uh...hopefully won't be joining the 27 club with my contempories any time soon.
(Blesses himself, laughs nervously. CASTING DIRECTOR does not respond. Loud paper shuffling is heard.)
...Yeah. I haven’t appeared in
any films or television or commercials in the
past...2 years. Which is a GOOD thing.
Well, probably more than two years but... And eh...yeah!
Like, I’m sorry if I’m a bit crap today, I actually have a cold, which caused all that...bleeding earlier...
(Booming voiceover coming from behind the audience.)
Oh. Okay, no problem. So in your own time, you wanna go for one?
(EOGHAN’s face lights up manically. Some blood has leaked into his mouth and stained his teeth red, giving his forced smile an extra psychotic look.)
This Easter at YOLO, we’ve got a few treats in store...we’re offering 300 minutes talk to any network, and..(sighs)...sorry, Ali, I just...my mind went blank.
Okay, don’t worry.
Sorry. Probably due to the blandness of the script.
It’s okay, listen, it happens to everybody.
Yeah, I’m sure you don’t cast them when it DOES happen though, do you?
(The CASTING DIRECTOR coughs impatiently. Lights down on EOGHAN.
Spotlight on Val. She is sitting down wide-eyed staring out at the audience. She has a gigantic,
strained smile on her face.
(Voiceover comes from the audience.)
So your main experience is in
retail. (Loud sigh is heard.)
Barely counts as any experience at all.
Tell me about that.
Torture. Never want to go back. I
have never dealt with such miserable, petty individuals.
Couldn't understand the complexity of a strictly no refunds policy.
They would rob you no problem if you turned your back for a second.
That was just my colleagues.
Yes you studied at UCD, hmmm.
For this position we require a 2.2 in a
Business-related Degree or 200 points in
the Leaving Cert.
Or. You said ‘or’. Don’t you mean “and”?
Either would do.
Right well I actually got 570
Yes but you did an Arts degree so that kind of cancels it out.
It’s kind of like when someone falls and hits their head quite badly. They
need to relearn things. Can you tell me, what is your greatest
(Going red with anger. Through gritted teeth.)
Well, sometimes I tend to hold back.
Can you give me an example?
(Gives the imagined INTERVIEWER the once over.)
Like, what’s going on with your hair? Did you not realise you had
an interview this morning or were you trying to make me feel at ease
by looking like a small furry animal?
(VALERIE smiles sweetly. INTERVIEWER sighs in disappointment and offense.)
Right well I have to say this has
been a pretty appalling interview.
But since no one else applied,
you’re hired. And starting
immediately! Because we will need you right away to do as much training as possible.
You require a lot more than we usually provide.
(Hollers with delight)
Yes, default! Never lets me down.
(Reaches out to shake the imagined INTERVIEWER's hand. Mimes handshake rejection. Lowers hand. Goes to exit but pauses before reaching the door. She pauses and then addresses the INTERVIEWER in a hushed tone of voice.)
And, just so you know. From a friend to a friend. Peter Mark have a great deal going at the moment. They will sort out your hair and eyebrows for the price of one. Two birds, one stone. Or in your case, more like two large owls, one well needed rock.
(Lights down on Valerie. Spotlight back on Eoghan.)
Okay. Why don’t you just do it again in your own time, Eoghan?
Okay...em..Well, if it was on MY time, I would never have scheduled an audition at lunchtime. When people are hungry, practically starving and distracted....but, let's go for one...
(Does a dramatic pirhoutte, smiling manically)
This Easter at YOLO, we’ve got a few treats in store...we’re offering 300 minutes talk to any network and free calls to other YOLO customers, all for €20 a month, only at YOLO.
(His stomach growls dramatically at the end)
Great! Excellent. Well done, thank you for coming in.
Thank you, Ali! Thanks for having me, I really appreciate your efforts, even though, the conditions could have been better.
(Moves towards imagined door. Turns back.)
Really appreciate you seeing me again and eh...sorry again for being late.
(An awkward pause. Eoghan is still smiling manically.)
You let me know, won’t you?
Know? With you, it will be all about the no.
(EOGHAN smiles blankly. Notices a basket of fruit on a table beside the imagined door. He takes an apple and bites into it. As he does this, his nose begins to trickle blood again. He looks back at the Casting Director.)
We will yeah. Absolutely.
You have my number. You have my agent’s number?
Yeah for sure.
Okay. And if neither of us picks up straight away. Don’t worry. It’s not that we’re in bed or that the number has been disconnected or anything but I’ll be at another audition. I’m in hot demand you know. I barely have time these days to choose which ad I want to be in...thats why I was late actually. In another ad.
Oh...really...what ad? You didn’t mention it on your cv.
Secrets, secrets, confidentiality and all that. They’re very particular with not telling people with those high budget, global ads, you know? For the protection and confidentiality of Russell Crowe, the cast of Love Island and Elmo...all of my co-stars in that ad.
It was actually really clever. How they used Elmo and his famous gimmick to sell their product.
(Puts on a falsetto voice and points his fingers very closely to the Casting Director's face.)
Elmo phone home. Elmo phone home.
Actually you're script could have done with some of that ingenuity.
(CASTING DIRECTOR is completely silent. EOGHAN breaks into a cheesy smile and flings the half-eaten apple in the direction of a nearby bin. Apple is thrown offstage. SFX of various things falling and breaking is heard. EOGHAN acts as though nothing has happened and keeps smiling.)
Oh! Thank you. Okay, take care. Alright then.
(He finally leaves.)
Let’s take five, will we?
(Blackout. Lights come up slowly at Eoghan and Val standing a few feet apart, mirroring each other. One hand on hip, one hand on the phone receiver they hold to their ear.)
Hey bitch. Look, I got the chugging job.
Really? Wow...imagine that. You, employable.
Ya I know. So here’s the thing I need somewhere to stay before I find a place in Dublin. Can I stay with you guys for a few nights?
I’ve got to get out of this fuckin’ hole. I swear. My
parents are timing my showers...and you know I don’t take
many showers Eoghan.
(A droplet falls from the ceiling onto Valerie's face. She briskly uses her top to clean it off her face.)
Yeah cos it’s bad for the
Hah? The environment? Oh ya...that...I love all that.
Jesus Christ, it’s like being in a convent here Eoghan.
Except worse, cos there’s men. You
know I don’t like men, Eoghan.
But Valerie, we’re men, like. Won’t you feel uncomfortable around us?
Eoghan, you’re the femininity my
mother wishes I was born with. Here, I can’t talk all day. I know you’ve all day but I’ve gotta do stuff, okay? I’ve got...I think some crab fishing’s going on down on the beach and I’ve always wanted to try it. I know I’ll excel. Alright, see ya
Okay...eh...see you then?
(Blackout. Lights come up slowly. Eoghan is lying in bed. Valerie is hovering over him.)
(He stirs, opens his eyes, squinting at her.)
Good afternoon. How’d you like my outfit?
(VALERIE is wearing a plain blouse with a stain on it, two coats and an oddly large shawl.)
Leaves a lot to be desired.
Hang on. Is that the blanket from the couch?
Just saying you could do with revamping your wardrobe. You used to be trendy, Val.
I’m still trendy! I wear all the latest brands. Gap, The House of Fraser, Repeal the 8th.
(EOGHAN bursts into laughter.)
I'm glad we're on the same page. It's nice to get a little light and love after I experienced such vile coldness from your lesser half.
(Dawning on him.)
Did you just walk in on him in the shower?
Or did he start showering when I was walking through the bathroom?
VALERIE! You can't just do that!
I'm late for my morning coffees from every different Dublin cafe routine. I will see you later.
(VALERIE leans in, EOGHAN is horrified and doesn’t believe what’s about to happen. She kisses him on the lips.)
What the fuck was that?
Eoghan you’re supposed to turn and present your fucking cheek. What am I supposed to do? Alter my behaviour? Maybe it's time for you to adapt and not everybody else for once. Get rid of your linear thinking and reluctance to change, will ya? If my mother can do it, you can turn your fucking cheek. Like I know you’re on social welfare but you’re not a basket case.
(Black out. Eoghan enters the kitchen to see Valerie sitting at the kitchen table. Her hair is hugely messy with a random comb stuck to the back of her head and her glasses nestled in between her locks.)
(Valerie smiles and looks around.)
No, Not quite Jesus. I know I have an excellent aura so I'm not surprised you confused us. Still Val though.
Ya, your hair is kind of messy.
No, not mine. Your hair, not mine...hair. Mein herr.
By the way, have you seen my glasses anywhere? I was watching Stanger Things earlier and I couldn't tell which one was Winona Ryder.
But I hear she steals the show.
(Both EOGHAN and VAL smile out to the audience in a self-aware way. Black out. Slow lights up on Eoghan. He is handsomely dressed in a suit. He is pacing back and forth and muttering.)
Who would have thought that Valerie, the oversized follicle, would inspire me to jazz up my cv and apply for loads of jobs?
But I will be damned if I am seen as less active than somebody who flosses their teeth with their hair. Come on charm, I'm relying on you to get me through this.
(Blackout. Quick lights up on Eoghan sitting in the same interview chair as Valerie was earlier. The same wide eyed expression and strained smile are plastered across his face.)
There's a huge gap on your CV. What have you been doing with yourself?
Oh, yes. I was traveling. Backpacking through Europe. Saw the world.
For a whole year.
Yeah I just...saved up loads and off I went.
You saved up?
From your part time job in WHSmith? Where did you go?
Oh Prague, Czech Republic, Austria...Luxembourg, among others. I feel like I can bring my newfound wisdom to the job. The world was my lobster.
Luxembourg, really? Did you visit the statue of Maria L'Heureux?
Yeah, got a selfie with her.
There's no such thing. That's made up.
No, no, selfie is a term that has entered the popular lexicon recently. It means self portrait. Taken on an iphone.
I think we are not understanding one another.
Iphones are like...a modern medley of phone and internet with a camera.
(EOGHAN looks very self satisfied.)
(Quick flash of lights to signal a change.)
YOUNG I.T. GUY
(A young male voiceover is heard.)
Why do you wanna work at Nano Solutions?
I love computers. Like I spend about 10 hours a day on them. I have an iPhone so I'm pretty tech-savvy.
YOUNG I.T. GUY
So does everyone. What kind of coding are you familiar with?
What do you mean? I read the DaVinci code once, A few summers ago. Riveting stuff.
YOUNG I.T. GUY
(Quick flash of lights to signal a change.)
(Voiceover of an older man with a strong Dublin accent.)
Not really relevant here son.
Like I can program your till computers and do your social media, using my iphone.
(Brandishes his phone dramatically which is encased in a pink, diamante cover.)
I just need someone to pull pints, wash glasses, clean the toilets.
(EOGHAN looks horrified but smiles despite this.)
That's right up my alley. Not that I would ever pee in alleys. l wasn't saying alleys are toilets. I was just saying I loved toilets.
I'm going to go now.
(Black out. Eoghan returns home and when he turns on the hallway light, he discovers that Valerie has been sitting there in the darkness. She has moved one of the kitchen chairs into the hallway and sits cross legged. Her arms are held at ninety degree angles as though they are resting on convenient, invisible arm rests.)
(In a dulcet tone. Still with her back turned to EOGHAN.)
I have been waiting for you.
(She tries to rapidly turn the seat around, as one would normally do with a swivel chair but this results in her almost falling off the chair, then loudly and awkwardly scrapes the chair to turn to face Eoghan. She finally reaches a comfortable position and brandishes a large sheet of paper out to Eoghan. Eoghan takes the the paper and begins to read aloud.)
Eoghan. I am leaving for good once and for all. I think you know why. I certainly do. Val definitely doesn't know why so please don't ask her to elaborate. It had nothing at all to do with her continuously stealing my crunch corners as everybody knows condiments are communal. My mind is made up and nothing will change that. Ever. With hatred and indifference. No longer yours, Marlon.
(EOGHAN looks throughout the recital until he reaches the last word. He suddenly gasps in surprise.)
Valerie is a professionally trained writer. She specialized in Advanced Writing at Trinity College, Dublin and achieved a 1.1. She has had work produced/presented with Tribeca Performing Arts Centre, The Galway Fringe Festival, The Dionysian Literary Journal, The Venus Adonis Festival, DU Shakespeare Festival and DU Players. She recently completed writing Series One of NOTIONS.