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May....Scene 1

The story of an Australian Aboriginal orphan girl.



A One Act Play in Five Scenes.



Persons of the Play

 May
 Matron Koch
 Sister Agatha
 Dr Merriwether
 Mr. Green
 Miss White
 Mrs. Brown
 Christian

Time : Late summer 1973 Place: Outback South Australia

“A hero who forgives is much more touching than one who avenges himself.”

- Voltaire.

Scene 1. One Day.

 

The scene is a large, windowless, crudely furnished, wooden room. At right there is a small iron bed in which May is seen sleeping covered by a gray, army style blanket. To the right of the bed there stands a heavy wooden workbench upon which there are neat piles of much-mended clothes and a variety of sewing articles including an old sewing machine. At the centre of the rear wall there is a door with a shelf to the right of it, on which there are a group of variously sized tins. A single bare light bulb hangs above the centre of the room along with a strip of flypaper. Noises are now heard beyond the door as May awakens. She quickly gets up and examines the floor around the bed. She finds a spent match and swallows it. She then proceeds to make the bed. Enter Matron, a tall, stout woman of forty-five with gray hair tied in a bun, heavy, black-framed glasses and bright red lipstick. She wears an immaculate white uniform and a dark blue cardigan with heavy shoes. As soon as she enters, May stops making the bed and stands next to it with her hands clasped in front of her and her head bowed.

Matron : Good morning May, isn’t it a lovely morning?

May : Yes Matron.

Matron : You’re looking well today.

May : Yes Matron.

(Matron now sniffs the air, looking around the room.)

Matron : Hm, most strange. Well, finish making your bed and have a bath. Now today I want you to clean all of the staff toilets and then you can proceed with your regular duties. (Indicating the bench.)

May : Yes Matron.

Matron : Oh yes, I found dust at the rear of my mantle piece this morning, May and behind my brother’s photograph. Now this is just not good enough. See that it is done properly before breakfast. I don’t know what’s wrong with you at times really.

May : Yes Matron.

(Matron is about to exit when May raises her hand with her index finger hooked and her head bowed lower.)

Matron : (Impatiently) What is it child? (May does not answer.) Come along, I haven’t got all day.

May : (hesitantly) Sister talked about Jesus yesterday at scripture after prayers….

Matron : Well, what about it?

May : What colour is Jesus?

Matron : (laughing dismissively) Never you mind child. (Starts towards the door) Now let’s see what time the mail arrives today. (Proudly) I’m expecting a letter from my brother, all the way from Vietn’m. He’s a corporal in the army and he’s there to fight the red Chinese, don’t you know. He will be home soon!

May : The red shiny knees….?

Matron : What! Oh, don’t bother. (Exits laughing)

As soon as the door shuts May waits for a moment and then takes down one of the tins from the shelf. She opens it and removes several reels of cotton and a paperback with a blue spine. Glancing at the door instinctively, she opens the book and reads a few lines to herself. She smiles. After several moments, heavy footsteps are heard approaching and she puts the book back into the tin, replaces the cotton reels and snaps the lid shut. Matron then enters, very annoyed.

Matron : May! I see that you are day dreaming again! Now I have just found a filthy cockroach in my room. Go! Off with you and remove it at once and you can mop and disinfect the floor as well. If you weren’t so lazy, you would clean the place properly. Off with you at once! (May rushes out taking the tin with her. Matron adjusts her cardigan and shakes her head in irritation. Sister Agatha then enters carrying two letters, she hands one to Matron. )

Sister Agatha : Matron this is a letter from the new department, just arrived.

Matron : (looking down her nose at the paper) Indeed, and what do they want? More bureaucratic time wasting and paper fiddling I shouldn’t wonder. (Hands the letter back)

Sister Agatha : Er…. No, I fear it’s a trifle more serious than that this time. They are going to send an inspection committee here soon it says. (Matron snatches the letter back and scans it quickly with a look of contempt.)

Matron : Erh ! Inspectors, committees, boards of enquiry, a camel is a horse put together by a committee, that’s what it is…

Sister Agatha : (quietly) Well, with this new government we can expect a few changes.

Matron : Socialists! Where were they when we were winning the war? My father died on the Burma railway, he would have been appalled at what this country has become. We beat the Japs to a pulp sure enough back in ’45. There wasn’t a socialist to be seen then, now they’re everywhere like a plague of locusts. Is there nothing from my brother?

Sister Agatha : I’m afraid not. He should be returning home soon though, that will be nice for you.

Matron : (brightly) Yes, I expect he will be! Very well sister, keep me informed. (Sister is about to exit) Sister, have you smelt anything odd in here recently, like candles burning?

Sister Agatha : No, I don’t think so.

Matron : Hm…. Right, I’ll just go and see what a gin’s picnic that girl has made of my room.

(Both exit)

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright, Peter Karargiris.

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