AN: Hi. I'm new to this site, and I'm only doing this because my drama teacher told me to write more plays, so here I am. If you could bang me some reviews that'd be really great, helpful really.
Summary: A short play for three people based on the poetry of Wilfred Owen. Three soldiers in the First World War find themselves trapped by enemy gunfire. When one is injured, the others have a decision to make.
(sounds of bombardment. Three men run across the stage and throw themselves flat. The OFFICER and SOLDIER freeze. The gunfire stops as the SENTRY speaks.)
SENTRY: (slowly stands and looks around) We'd found an old Bosche dugout and, it seemed, he knew and gave us hell, for shell on frantic shell hammered on top, but never quite broke through.
(Bombardment starts up again. The OFFICER pulls the sentry down.)
OFFICER: Down! (All duck, sound and lights flashing indicate shells.)
SOLDIER: They're breaking through the line sir! We have to find cover, we'll never make it in the open!
(All duck. SENTRY crawls over.)
SENTRY: There's a dugout due west, sir! We'll make it if we hurry.
(A shell explodes close by)
OFFICER: Jesus! Move out, and quickly!
(They stand and run. Blackout)
(Lights up. SENTRY watches the SOLDIER and OFFICER climb into the dugout from the side. Behave as if they are soaked)
SENTRY: Rain guttering in waterfalls of slime, kept slush waist high, that rising hour by hour, choked the steps too thick with clay to climb...
OFFICER: (calls from dugout) Get down here soldier, you'll be killed!
(SENTRY clambers down, slipping occasionally)
SENTRY: It's getting light sir. The Cavalry charges at dawn, we'll get no help 'til dark, sir.
OFFICER: Bloody cavalry, they never get anything right! See what provisions there are soldier, it's the bosche but they've got to eat, distribute food to the wounded. You! (points at SENTRY) Yes you! Sentry duty!
SOLDIER AND SENTRY: Very good, sir.
(SENTRY stands at top of steps at attention. SOLDIER exits. OFFICER withdraws, sits down and watches. The action freezes, OFFICER walks slowly to the front of the stage.)
OFFICER: What murk of air remained stank old and sour, with fumes of whizzbangs and men who lived there years. They left their curses on the place. (looks round and then at audience) If not their corpses...
(SOLDIER and SENTRY tense. SENTRY drops to one knee.)
SENTRY: (Shouts) stand to, boys, stand to!
(OFFICER reacts and walks to steps)
OFFICER: What's up soldier?
SENTRY: Sir, it's...
(Flash and massive bang. Lights flash on and off. SOLDIER and OFFICER are thrown to the ground. As they show signs of recovery, SOLDIER props himself up on one elbow)
SOLDIER: (painfully) There we herded from the blast... but one had found our door at last.
(SENTRY is lying at the bottom of the steps. OFFICER crawls over, as he reaches the SENTRY, they freeze)
SOLDIER: (Stands slowly) Buffeting eyes and breath, snuffing the candles and thud! Flump! Thud! Down the steep steps came thumping and splashing, the sentry's body! Deluging muck, then his rifle, handles of old Bosche bombs and mud in ruck on ruck!
(The action unfreezes. SOLDIER observes OFFICER trying to revive the SENTRY)
SOLDIER: (Reacts in surprise) Yes sir!
OFFICER: help me get this poor devil out of the mud!
(They pull the SENTRY's body out and prop him against the steps. OFFICER kneels beside him. SOLDIER withdraws from the action.)
SOLDIER: We dredged him up for killed, until he whined
SENTRY: (grabs at the OFFICER'S sleeve) oh sir! I'm blind! I'm blind, I'm blind!
(OFFICER strikes a match and holds it in front of the SENTRY'S face.)
OFFICER: Coaxing, I held a flame to his lids and said (to SENTRY) if you can see the least blurred light, you are not blind! In time you'll get alright!
SENTRY: I can't! Oh sir, I can't!
SOLDIER: He sobbed, eyeballs, huge, bulged like squids watch my dreams still...
SOLDIER: (nervous) Sir?
(They walk a little way away)
OFFICER: What time is it, Soldier?
SOLDIER: Midday Sir. It'll be hours before we can get any help. The stretcher bearers packed up at dawn sir... (both look at SENTRY)
OFFICER: I'll see what I can do for him.
(Explosions begin again. SOLDIER and OFFICER duck their heads.)
OFFICER: Stand to, Soldier!
(SOLDIER climbs the steps, while the OFFICER kneels beside the sentry. Bombardment continues. It gets progressively louder. OFFICER leaves SENTRY to talk to SOLDIER.)
OFFICER: what time is it Soldier?
SOLDIER: 0700 hrs sir.
OFFICER: good. When the Cavalry attack, send someone to beg a stretcher. We have to get help as soon as we can.
(SENTRY AND SOLDIER freeze. OFFICER walks to the front of the stage and speaks directly to the audience)
OFFICER: And yet... I forgot him there. In posting next for duty and sending a scout to beg a stretcher somewhere and floundering about. For after I had left him, we heard the Sentry shout...
(SOLDIER runs to OFFICER. SENTRY stands and withdraws, watching the action.)
SOLDIER: Gas! Gas! Quick boys!
SENTRY: An ecstasy of fumbling.
OFFICER: (frightened) Are you sure?
SOLDIER: Quick sir, please!
SENTRY: fitting the clumsy helmets just in time... (He lies back down. SOLDIER puts a gas mask on him)
OFFICER: But still, of course, they're choking. Floundering.
SOLDIER: Oh, how we ran. Screaming, clawing, drowning. (Freezes)
OFFICER: (Looks back around him) Oh those other wretches, how they bled and spewed and one who would have drowned for good... I try not to remember such things now...
SOLDIER: As we floundered about to other posts, under the shrieking air.
OFFICER: And half listening to that Sentry's moans and jumps...
SOLDIER: Renewed most horribly, whenever crumps, of whizzbangs that had found our door...
OFFICER: (OFFICER AND SOLDIER begin to move slowly toward the SENTRY) And through the dense din I say...
SOLDIER: We heard him shout.
SENTRY: (Like a sudden realisation) I see your lights!
(SOLDIER and OFFICER stand on either side of the SENTRY and slowly kneel.)
OFFICER: But ours had long died out...