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EN1018: Introduction to writing drama

Deadline: 15/04/2013

A boat for two

Characters:

RIVER - a fifteen year old boy

NOAH - Piano teacher. Around 30 years old

JACOBSON - Head teacher

Punctuation key:

(/) Interruptions

(Italicised words- in speech): requires extra emphasis

Scene One: Jacobson's office

Curtains rise and stage brightens to show JACOBSON and RIVER sitting opposite each other at a LARGE wooden desk.

JACOBSON: Well, I'm not happy about this. I'm not happy about it at all.

(pause)

This report is disgusting, River. What's happened to you? You've changed all of a sudden.

(beat)

RIVER: I've done NOTHING wrong.

JACOBSON: (sighing)

You are at a prestigious boarding school, River. Only a hundred out of a thousand applications are accepted and you were one of those, and you've served us well for the past three years. So now I cannot understand this change in attitude towards your academic studies.

(looking down at a piece of paper on the table)

And failing in four subjects?

RIVER: I can't help failing. I'm stupid. That's just who I am.

(beat)

JACOBSON: That's not who you are, River, it's what you've chosen to become.

(beat)

RIVER: So… What are you going to do about it?

JACOBSON : Well, I've a right mind to expel you, of course.

RIVER: I bet you'd be glad to get rid of me.

JACOBSON: (laughing) Whatever you say, everyone deserves a second chance. Especially you.

(Standing up and rearranging things on his desk)

So, I've decided to put you in a week's detention with Mr. Swan. You remember Mr. Swan?

RIVER: (sitting up straight)

Yes, sir. We were… he was a great teacher.

JACOBSON: Yes, he still is. He taught you how to play the piano, didn't he?

(beat)

(Clears his throat, stands up and leans against his desk)

Well, Mr. Swan has an excellence record of patience, and alongside his academic role he has given counselling to a number of my students, and I must say he is quite a magical wonder to the school. A teacher worthy of praise.

(beat)

River, I'm putting you in a week's detention with Mr. Swan as your supervisor/

RIVER: Is this some ridiculous counselling tactic that you're using on me? Detention? For a week? With Mr. Swan?

JACOBSON: Keep your voice down, River. I'll remind you that you're in no spot to argue. It's either this, or you are most definitely out of here.

(beat)

Is that understood?

RIVER: (shakily) Yes.

JACOBSON: Six PM in room W10, every day this school week. I'll expect you to catch up on your work. If you have any questions, Mr. Swan will be happy to help.

(beat)

Is that understood?

(beat)

RIVER: (staring at the table) Yes.

(beat)

JACOBSON: You may leave now.

Light dims.

Scene two- Classroom W10

Light falls on stage to show an empty looking class room. A large window at the back of the classroom shows a scene of a rainstorm. At the front of stage (left), a wooden table is lit up by a main spotlight. A young man (NOAH) sits behind it, tapping his pen on the table and staring out of the window.

Enter RIVER, cautiously .

RIVER: Mr. Swan?

(NOAH stops tapping.)

NOAH: You know, River, you are perfectly eligible to call me Noah. There is no one here to stop you.

(beat)

You can sit down. Over there where I can see you.

RIVER sits down at the nearest table.

RIVER: I'm here now.

NOAH: I can see that.

RIVER: Finally.

NOAH: Yes, finally.

RIVER: What's going to happen?

NOAH: (beat) Nothing. Nothing at all.

RIVER: I'll just get some work out then.

RIVER proceeds to empty his bag

NOAH: NO. Don't do that. Don't do anything.

(beat)

RIVER: Mr. Jacobson said you do some counselling.

NOAH: Yes. I like to consider myself as helpful, you know.

RIVER: (beat)

What about me?

NOAH: (beat)

You're mine.

RIVER: I'm yours?

NOAH: Yes.

RIVER: How?

NOAH: Please believe me.

RIVER: (voice cracking) I haven't seen you in ages.

NOAH: I know.

RIVER: Where the fuck have you been? Was that the end of my counselling?

NOAH: It was becoming dangerous.

RIVER: I loved you.

NOAH: I loved you too.

NOAH stands up and walks over to RIVER. He leans over RIVER's desk.

I wish I could get you to understand why it's got to be like this.

RIVER: I don't understand. I never will.

(beat)

NOAH: Get your work out. You can leave when I tell you to…

RIVER: (hoarsely) Yes. Noah.

Stage falls in darkness.

Scene three: The classroom

Light brightens on stage to show NOAH standing by the window. RIVER is sitting in his seat at the front of the room.

RIVER: I've decided that I won't be doing any work today. At all.

NOAH: Well, what do you want? Me?

RIVER: I want you forever.

NOAH: Have you even considered the possibilities of that happening? Do you think you're the only one who's been hurting since last year.

(beat)

Sometimes it feels like I've been following a shadow all this time, and now you're here and/

RIVER: Now I'm here, and this time I'm not letting you go.

(beat) I'm sixteen years old now.

NOAH:

(walking up to River and grabbing him)

That changes nothing. Nothing!

(RIVER pushes him off)

RIVER: Ever since… Ever since I joined this school, I've never fitted in. And when I met you I thought I'd found my purpose in life. And I believed it was you. And it is you, and you can't deny it.

(Noah grabs River's wrists and pulls him into his arms. River pushes him away)

Get OFF me.

NOAH: Don't River. Don't forget me. Don't let go of me. I've been holding on to you all these days, so don't think that I never thought about you once, because I did. I honestly did.

(beat)

River… It was so hard to let you go. You're really special and I couldn't let you ruin your life.

(River starts crying)

RIVER: What am I going to do? What am I GOING TO DO?

(beat)

NOAH: Nothing.

RIVER: I can't live without you.

(Noah puts his arms around River)

NOAH: I know.

RIVER: We can find a way. We can… we can runaway or/

NOAH: No. We can't run. Running won't solve a thing.

RIVER: Then what? Tell me. We can't just do nothing.

(beat)

NOAH: (walking towards his desk) They'll ridicule us.

RIVER: I don't care.

NOAH: They'll end it for us. Whatever we do… we'll drown in this cocoon of 'love' that we've made, they'll/

RIVER: SHUT UP!

(beat)

NOAH: Shh… River. We'll find a way. We'll find a way.

(beat)

(River crouches onto the floor)

RIVER: I want to die… I want to go away from here. Anywhere. Anywhere, please. Please, please, please.

Light dims

Scene 4: The classroom

Lights brighten on stage to show NOAH sitting on RIVER's desk.

NOAH: You ever been to that lake on the other side of the woods?

RIVER: Yes…

(beat)

NOAH: It's not a lake.

RIVER: Why not?

NOAH: It's got a small river winding off it which meets onto a bigger river which then leads on to the Thames.

(beat)

RIVER: Where is this going?

NOAH: To the sea.

RIVER: No, where is this conversation going?

NOAH: (sighing) I don't know. We could just go you know?

RIVER: Run away?

NOAH: Disappear.

RIVER: No one will ever know.

NOAH: I wish.

RIVER: (banging his fist onto the desk) What the fuck, Noah? Why are you doing this to me?

NOAH: What?

RIVER: You're always pulling me into a reality where anything is possible, and at the last possible second you have to remind me that it's a dream, that it's a fantasy and that there's nothing we can do, although we both know that yes, ANTHING can be possible.

This-This/

NOAH: River, I'm sorry.

NOAH puts his arms around RIVER. RIVER clutches back him tightly.

RIVER: Why, why are you doing this?

NOAH: Shhh… I know, I know I'm an idiot, I just keep believing that we can get over this.

RIVER: And we can.

NOAH: (shaking his head and stepping away slightly) No. No.

RIVER: (Holding NOAH's face in his hands) Believe me. Believe that there is only space for two of us in the world, and it's possible. It's real.

NOAH: (moaning) No…

RIVER: Trust. Me.

RIVER moves in to kiss NOAH. NOAH pulls away.

RIVER: Please.

(beat)

(NOAH and RIVER kiss slowly at first then passionately. They break away after a few seconds)

NOAH: It's still there, isn't it?

(beat)

RIVER: It always has been.

NOAH: Forget about detention today. Come with me. We'll find that lake… we'll….

RIVER: What?

(beat)

NOAH: Make love, if you want.

RIVER: Really? You mean it?

NOAH: (laughing) Yes. Are you okay with this?

(beat)

RIVER: Yes. Yes.

NOAH: Then, let's go.

NOAH grabs RIVER's hand and leads him offstage- right

Lights out.

Scene five: The classroom

Stage brightens to show RIVER sitting at his desk. NOAH is standing close by.

NOAH: Well…

(beat)

RIVER: (quickly) I've packed my bags.

NOAH: Are you running away? From me?

RIVER: No. We're going together. We have to.

NOAH: (holding his head in his hands) River! My life is going to get wrecked don't you see?

RIVER: (stammering) Hold on. What happened yesterday? Didn't it mean anything to you?

NOAH: (sighing) It meant everything River. But it can't go on forever.

RIVER: Why?

NOAH: (reaching out and holding RIVER's hands) You know why. You know what will happen to me/

RIVER: What the hell! What about me? MY life is wrecked already- I want to get out of here. Don't you even care about how I feel? Look/

NOAH: (shouting) Jacobson will find out one way or another! He's not stupid.

(calmly) Listen to me River, what we have it's always going to be there, but if we pursue it, it will eventually ruin us. Do you understand? It will destroy our lives. It will destroy you and I won't let that happen. What happened yesterday, it was just the end, the climax to our story and it's got to stay that way. Nothing else can happen.

(breathing heavily) I love you River. I love you but there's nothing we can do about it.

I was just trying to protect you.

(beat)

RIVER: (quietly) So. That's it then.

(beat)

(stammering) Wh-What the fuck was that? You used me. You dragged me along for your own bit of fun and now you're done you're throwing me away, what the FUCK Noah! What's fucking wrong with you? You know what? You're a fucking coward. You're scared of everyone around you, you care about what THEY say, but you don't give a shit about me. You can't even stand up to them, but you can crush ME within seconds and not give a shit about what it's doing to my heart. But watch me. No matter what you say, I still love you. I'll do it for you. I'll get rid of them all. I'll get rid of their judging stares and comments, I'll make sure all those pompous gits realise the love between you and me is unstoppable, I'll do it for you- I'll get rid of one stress in your life, you just watch/

NOAH: River! Where are you going?

RIVER: (shouting and walking backwards) I'm getting out of here! For once and for all I'm going to end this shit, even if I have to die for it!

NOAH: River! Don't do anything stupid, RIVER! Come back, River?!

RIVER runs off stage. Sound of door slamming. Lights dim.

Scene six: The classroom

NOAH is sitting at his desk tapping his pen on the table. He checks his watch every so often and then sighs.

NOAH: Where are you River? Where are you?

(silence)

I'm sorry, River. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm SORRY.

(beat)

Sound of someone knocking on door. NOAH Jumps up.

River? Come in!

JACOBSON walks onto stage. He stops and watches NOAH from afar, then goes to sit down next to him.

Mr. Jacobson? What are you doing here?

JACOBSON: I came to check on River's progress as it's his last detention. I was hoping you'd have come to me yourself, but perhaps you've been kept busy…

JACOBSON looks around.

Where is he?

NOAH: He, um, I think/

JACOBSON: Is he going to come? It's already been forty minutes since his detention started.

(beat)

NOAH: (softly) I don't know.

JACOBSON: How can you not know?! He's been put in YOUR responsibility for God's sake, I thought you were on top of things.

NOAH: I am. He's been present for the last four days, maybe he's become ill.

JACOBSON: Pfft. I saw him slouching around the playground at lunch, and he seemed pretty much normal to me.

(pause)

Long time since we been alone together like this, isn't it? Almost like-

(pause)

Well, you say he's been to all his other detentions, and has he improved? Have you got any sense into him?

NOAH: He's been brilliant. He's caught up really well.

NOAH laughs unconvincingly.

(beat)

JACOBSON: He's not being difficult is he?

(beat)

NOAH: No.

JACOBSON: Maybe it was a good thing I put him in a detention with you then?

NOAH: Um…

JACOBSON: Tell me the truth, Noah. About River.

NOAH: The truth?

JACOBSON: You know what I'm talking about… Something changed the minute he began taking lessons with you.

NOAH: Nothing's changed!/

JACOBSON: It's you, isn't it?

NOAH: What?!

(beat)

JACOBSON: (getting off his chair) Nothing.

(beat)

Nothing. I'll see him tonight though, for sure.

JACOBSON begins to walk away but before he goes off stage he turns around.

And don't worry, Noah. I'll sort it all out. Trust me.

JACOBSON walks off stage. Noah stands up and stares after him. Lights click off immediately.

Scene Seven: Jacobson's office

JACOBSON is sitting behind his desk humming. Sound of a door bursting open. RIVER strides onto the stage huffing.

JACOBSON: Well, Well, I've been expecting you! Sit down, sit down, make yourself comfortable.

RIVER remains standing.

RIVER: I'm ending this.

JACOBSON: Ending…?

RIVER: It's all your fault. You're the one stopping Noah, I know it!

JACOBSON: (laughing) You know a lot, but not enough. Not enough to understand.

RIVER: What do you mean?

JACOBSON: I know, River. I know about your sneaky little affair with Noah.

RIVER: Ha! I knew it was you. Always stopping us from being together.

JACOBSON: (sighing) It's not just me is it? It's everyone around us. Even if I'd have let you two be together someone else would have stopped you. I'm not the bad guy here.

RIVER: No. No, well/

JACOBSON: Well, you're just a naïve little shit. Seriously, did you think that you could just whisk yourself off with Noah and live happily ever after? He's a teacher for God's sake. That was never going to happen.

RIVER: SHUT UP! I'm fed up of everyone saying "you can't do this, you can't do that", I mean what kind of world is this?

JACOBSON: Obviously a world where you need your head checked.

(beat)

There's something you should know… About Noah.

RIVER: What?

JACOBSON: (stretching and yawning) Well… it began when Noah was your age.

(laughs)

(beat)

RIVER: (stammering) What the hell are you on about?

JACOBSON: (laughing) When I was just a normal teacher here, actually I was head of the sixth form, Noah was a student here, did he ever tell you that?

Didn't think so. Well, he fell for me. He had an obsession with me, came to see me whenever possible. At first I kept on pushing him away. Was afraid of the consequences of what would have happened if I gave in to him.

RIVER: Who would want a disgusting pig like you?

JACOBSON: (chuckling)

Obviously your dearest Noah did. Well, eventually I gave in. I knew it was wrong, but he was becoming depressed. The little idiot had told other students that he was GAY, and then everyone he knew close to him walked away, so he turned to me, desperate. What could I do, but let him fall into my arms?

(beat)

We were both young and stupid. Especially me. I shouldn't have dragged him into a relationship which I knew would have to be hidden forever.

Anyway, there was nothing to stop us once it all started. I was one of the most trusted teachers, so we were safe. We were like two peas in a pod- happy to stay snuggled to each other.

(beat)

And when he came back after leaving school, we were even contemplating on getting back together, but then you, out of the blue, came and began taking those bloody private piano lessons with him. And of course, everything changed, and here you are now. Uselessly standing in my office thinking you can take on the whole world with your poxy 'love story'/

RIVER: (yelling) Why are you telling me all this? Why?

JACOBSON: (chuckling) Well… I thought you deserved the truth before you go home.

RIVER: You're expelling me? You can't do that!

JACOBSON: You're wrong. I can. You've forgotten that I've been at this school for years, it's always going to be my word over yours. Even Noah will take my side. Maybe we planned your miserable denouement together…

RIVER: SHUT UP!

RIVER takes out a knife from his pocket and points it at JACOBSON.

NOAH jumps onto stage runs towards RIVER.

NOAH: River stop! He's lying. I never was the one who was obsessed, it was always HIM. HE wanted me. He was the one who seduced me and I was too young to understand it all.

RIVER: So… You don't deny it. You don't deny that you were with him once?

NOAH: River… I-I… It was nothing. It was never anything like what we have. Give me the knife River please. River…

RIVER: I don't believe it. You were playing with me weren't you? WEREN'T YOU?

NOAH: No. Don't believe a word HE says. Come on… You love me right? Then prove it! Prove it by trusting me when I say I never meant to hurt you. Trust me River, trust me!

JACOBSON chuckles.

RIVER: I don't understand it Noah. I don't understand how you could have ever been with HIM. You-you cheated. You CHEATED!

JACOBSON: Now, now be careful who you point that knife at. Don't want to hurt your wonderful Noah Swan, do you? Otherwise we'll BOTH lose him.

RIVER: Argh! I'm not sharing him with you, you creep. Why don't you go and get yourself a fucking LIFE?

NOAH: Shhh… River, don't be angry, control yourself. Now, give me the knife and we can talk about this. Come on…

RIVER: No. I'm done talking. Maybe it's true, you DO belong with him.

RIVER brings the knife to his wrist.

NOAH: RIVER! Don't!

JACOBSON: (laughing) Oh, let him do what he wants. Once I tell the police how he forced you to kiss him he'll want to be dead. That's right. I was watching you. I saw everything. Had to confirm my suspicions didn't I? I almost followed you to the lake but then I thought I'd give you some privacy. But Noah, this boy will crush you, so come back to my side. We can continue what we had/

NOAH: You're disgusting! You're a cheat and a liar!

JACOBSON: Shhh… I'm doing this for us Noah, but this rat here wants to destroy everything.

NOAH: It seems like the whole of my youth was wasted on you. I could have been happy if it not was for you. But in the end you're just a selfish… a selfish/

JACOBSON: (sighing) Come on Noah. You love me. You always have.

NOAH: I knew you were going to do this to River. I had to come and save him from becoming another one of your victims, like ME.

JACOBSON: (getting up from his chair and walking over to NOAH) Well, you can save him from me, but you can't save him from himself.

(beat)

RIVER: Noah. Noah I'm sorry.

RIVER raises his knife.

NOAH: What are you doing River? What/

RIVER: (screaming) I told you already I'm going to put an end to all of this. It's only going to be you and me. There's no space for HIM. I'm going to kill him!

RIVER runs forwards and stabs the knife into JACOBSON's chest who stands there stunned. NOAH screams and tries to yank RIVER away. RIVER continues to stab JACOBSON until the stage floor is flooded with blood.

NOAH: RIVER, I told you not to do anything stupid! You've killed him! RIVER!?

RIVER: Yes. I have. It's over, we can/

NOAH: You've ruined it, you've ruined everything. We can't be together NOW, can we? I was going to sort it out, I was…

RIVER takes hold of NOAH's hands and pulls him closer.

RIVER: Shhh…. Noah, it's going to be alright. It's only the two of us now.

(beat)

You and me. We'll take that boat, just the two of us, and we'll get out of here, forever.

(silence)

NOAH stares at RIVER for a few seconds then pulls himself free.

Light clicks shut. Curtains fall.

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