Published by Nicola Bradbury at Shakespir
Copyright 2016 Nicola Bradbury
Together we learnt the power of humour
JEFF: English backpacker, 25 year old ‘Mr. average’. Roofer and sensitive new age guy’.
LINDA: Australian, 45 years old. Loving wife and mother. Fire communications
officer with a passion for life. Paraplegic.
AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK: Car wreckage. Linda is trapped.
Wheelchair visible to audience but not to Jeff.
Stage in dappled light. LINDA lies amongst the car wreckage. She appears dead. A flash
of lights (another car’s headlights), lights up the stage. A car door slams. Enter JEFF.
JEFF: Shit. Oh shit [touching LINDA] Are you okay?
[Silence. JEFF pulls his mobile phone out and waves it around]
These damned things never work when you need them. [pause] I’ll have to go for help.
[He heads off, a dingo howls and he turns back. He looks at LINDA & shudders]
Put her in the boot? [pause] No, too serial killer.
[mimicking mother’s voice] Don’t pick up strangers Jeff, don’t get sunstroke, mind those Australian girls. (reverts to own voice) What about this Mum? What about finding a dead person.
LINDA: How about making sure they’re dead.
JEFF: Jesus, I’m sorry. I thought…
LINDA: No worries luv. You’re a sight for sore eyes, although it’s my guts that really hurts.
JEFF: How bad is it?
[She tries to move and cries out]
What can I do?
LINDA: Last rites?
JEFF: Could I move you?
LINDA: With or without my legs?
JEFF: Wait there, I’ll get my jack.
LINDA: Well I was planning on a bush walk but…
[JEFF exits the stage and enters with a hydraulic car jack. He tries it in several
places but can’t get purchase.]
JEFF: Damn it!
LINDA: Can you get something for my head, this crick in my neck is killing me.
[He heads away and she shouts] And something warm. [Quietly] These
desert nights are beautiful but they’re as cold as buggery.
[Exit JEFF. Sound of car boot. Enter JEFF with pillow and blanket]
JEFF: Here you go.
[JEFF puts the pillow under her head and covers her with the blanket]
LINDA: Thanks luv.
JEFF: Right. What else? [Pause] I did a first aid course once. I know I learnt
something. [pause] Apply direct pressure!
LINDA: Might do more harm than good with that. You got anything to drink?
[JEFF exits and returns with power drink and lemonade.]
JEFF: We’ve got stale powerade or stale lemonade.
LINDA: Young lad like you, got nothin’ with a bit of oomf in it?
JEFF: Sorry, never been much of a drinker,
LINDA: Jeez, this really is my lucky day. [pause] I’ll go with the lemonade. My
Mum always said it could cure anything.
[JEFF holds the bottle to LINDA’S lips and helps her drink.]
Thanks. You’re a treasure.
JEFF: I’m going to have to leave you, to get help.
LINDA: Kid you leave now, it’s the last time anyone sees me alive.
JEFF: Might just be bruising.
LINDA: Yeah and Jesus just had pins and needles.
JEFF: Do you take anything seriously?
LINDA: Not if I can help it.
JEFF: There must be someone around, a roadhouse or a farm.
LINDA: You’re not from round here are you luv?
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Driving in outback Australia, forty five year old Linda hits a tree. Trapped and dying, she is found by twenty-five year old English backpacker Jeff. Unable to free her from the wreck and too far from help to leave her, Jeff must overcome his self-doubt and accept Linda’s mortality. Straight talking Mum Linda can see that Jeff thinks his life is on a road to nowhere and reaches out to him despite her pain. A product of today’s society, Jeff thinks that the important people are the rich and famous and believes greatness comes only in that guise. As they share pieces of everything about their lives, and philosophise about the nature of being, Linda’s life draws to an end and Jeff learns that living a full life is more important than simply avoiding death. Direct Pressure is a one-act contemporary play for anyone who has ever wondered why they sometimes feel so small and hopefully, leaves them feeling just a little bigger.