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     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

Creative Writing Course - University of Wales 2012

As the culmination of the Writing for Radio module, we selected two scripts to produce in December 2012.

JAZZ FM

The Witness Company
The actors left to right: Mark, Angelo, Hammi and Sarah Louise


























PRODUCTION TEAM

Writer: Sarah Parker Director: Shaun MacLoughlin
Studio Manager: Richard Jeffrey-Gray Script Editor and Post Production: Tom Bennett

CAST

JAZZ FM PRESENTER: Hammi Bilkha PAMELA: Sarah Louise Johnson
CARER: Angelo Gauci TOMMY (DAD): Mark Lloyd
LUCY: (PAMELA'S DAUGHTER): Mel Rankin DOCTOR: Hammi Bilkha
The Witness Company
From left to right: Shaun, the director, actors Mark
and Sarah Louise, playwright Sarah and actor Mel

























SCRIPT

SCENE 1. LISTENING TO JAZZ FM.

SOUND OF RADIO DIAL BEING TURNED, CRACKLES AND THEN FADES INTO RADIO PRESENTERS VOICE.
JAZZ FM PRESENTER: And now for a little blues from the one and only Bessie Smith. This is 'Nobody knows you when you're down and out

GRAMS: BESSIE SMITH 'NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOUR DOWN AND OUT' PLAYS
CARER: Here's your tea, Pammy.
PAMELA: Oh thank you dear. Turn that radio up for me dear.

GRAMS: VOLUME OF SONG INCREASES

SCENE TWO. INTERFEARANCE

PAMELA IS SAT ALONE IN HER ROOM.

F/X: PAMELA IS HUMMING TO BESSIE SMITH NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU'RE DOWN AND OUT. THE RADIO CRACKLES.
PAMELA: Damn radio.

F/X: THE RADIO RETURNS TO NORMAL FOR A MOMENT BUT THEN CRACKLES AGAIN. YOU CAN HEAR A MALE VOICE INBETWEEN THE CRACKLES. THE VOICE IS FADING IN AND OUT.
TOM: Pammy?

F/X VOICE FADES IN AND OUT OF CRACKLES.

Pam?
PAMELA: (Sharp intake of breath) Tommy?

F/X: RADIO CRACKLING STOPS AND WE CAN CLEARLY HEAR THE VOICE.
TOM: Pamela?
PAMELA: Tommy? is that you?
TOM: Oh Pammy! Do you know how long I've waited to hear your voice again?

(PAUSE)

Pam, are you there? Can you..
PAMELA: I'm here Tom. But how are...you here?
TOM: Are you alone Pam? Are the kids there?
PAMELA: Tommy....(SIGHS) you know the children aren't here.
TOM: Are they at school?
PAMELA: (WITH URGENCY) Why can I hear you Tom?
TOM: Because I found you. I looked at all the way of trying to contact you. You remember when you kept dropping all those mugs? That was me! I was trying to get your attention!
PAMELA: They told me I had something wrong with me, that I kept dropping things because...that was you?
TOM: I tried everything baby, I hope I didn't scare you.
PAMELA: (VOICE BREAKS. ABOUT TO CREY) I thought there was something wrong with me.
TOM: Don't cry baby, I just wanted to talk to you, to communicate with you and I found a way, I really did...(SIGHS) I'm so sorry. Do you miss me?
PAMELA: (ANGRILY) Of course I miss you! I loved yo...I love you. And I miss you.
I miss you so much.
TOM: Are the kids around? Get 'em over here!
PAMELA: (SOFTLY) Tommy.
TOM: I bet they sound so grown up...
PAMELA: Tom . . . they're . . .
TOM: I just can't wait to hear about Louis's footba...
PAMELA: THEY'RE DEAD TOMMY!

SCENE THREE. GETTING HIM BACK.

PAMELA HAS LOST TOM ON THE RADIO AND IS TRYING TO GET HIM BACK ON. THE SIX O'CLOCK NEWS IS ON AS PAMELA SCROLLS THROUGH THE CRACKLY STATIONS.

F/X: FADE IN AND OUT OF RADIO PRESENTER AND CRACKLING
PAMELA: Tom?...Tommy?

F/X: FADES INTO A CLEAR STATION. TOM IS QUIET.
TOM: They're...they can't be!...all of them?
PAMELA: Yes. They were in that damned car with you.
TOM: I would have seen them di...I would have known! I can't...
PAMELA: You had a car cras...
TOM: (ANGRILY) I KNOW what happened. I was driving that god damned car.
I was driving. I killed my children.
PAMELA: You couldn't have known Tommy. I don't know what to say...
TOM: Say it wasn't my fault. (STARTS CRYING) SAY IT WASN'T MY FAULT
PAMELA: (SAID FIRMLY, WITH NO EMOTION, AS IF SHE DOES BELEIVE IT WAS HIS FAULT) It wasn't your fault.
TOM: (WHIMPERING)
PAMELA: Tommy what are you doing here? You're just hurting yourself, what good can this do?
TOM: I just wanted to talk to you and the kids, I wanted to tell them I'm okay and I love them. I wanted to hear about their lives...I wanted to hear Franny talk about her violin, to play for me; she was doing so good Pam! I wanted to hear about Ryan's new gal, whether he went steady with her...and Louis...
PAMELA: STOP IT! Stop it! THEY ARE GONE. We will never know. I can't do this Tommy, I CAN'T DO THIS!

F/X: SOUND OF RADIO BEING SWITCHED OFF.
The Witness Company
Production Assistant Lesley and Studio Manager Richard
with playwright Sarah and actors Ryan and Hammi in the background

























SCENE FOUR. TIME TO FACE THE MUSIC.
CARER: Pammy, you're not listening to the radio? It is your favourite show!
PAMELA: No no, I don't want the radio on.
CARER: Come on - course you want your favourite music on. It's Jazz FM Pam. I'll put it on anyway...
PAMELA: (THEIR LINES OVERLAP) No...don't want radio...no no.

F/X: SOUND OF RADIO BEING SWITCHED ON. 'ONE MORE TIME' BY VINCE AND THE NIGHTHAWKS PLAYS QUIETLY FOR A MOMENT. VOLUME DECREASES AND IT BECOMES BACKGROUND MUSIC
TOM: Pam...(NO RESPONSE) Please Pam, just tell me what happened...I'm sorry.
PAMELA: You really wanna know?
TOM: Please.
PAMELA: (SIGHS) You got hit by another car. It was going too fast and you flipped over. It was at the end of our street. I watched the whole thing from the window...I watched you all...
TOM: Oh Pammy. I'm so sorry I left you. I took them away, I left you on your own!
PAMELA: Franny didn't die straight away you know. She was doing real well in the hospital... there was an outbreak of flu. She just wasn't strong enough to fight it anymore.
TOM: Pammy (LAUGHING) do you remember that time we all went for a picnic? And Louis and Ryan played some ball and it fell straight into Franny's lap in her food. Oh boy did she squeal...Pammy...baby?
PAMELA: That is one of my favourite memories. I remember picking out potato salad from Franny's hair for hours (LAUGHS BRIEFLY AS IF REMEMBERING THEY ARE GONE)

F/X: BRIEF CRACKLING ON THE RADIO.

(PANICKING) Tommy?
TOM: I'm still here. I just wanna try something...here we go...

F/X: I'M ALWAYS CHASING RAINBOWS' BY HAL KEMP AND THE CAROLINA CLUB ORCESTRA PLAYS SOFTLY IN BACKGROUND.
PAMELA: Oh Tommy...this song...it's...
TOM: Our song baby...did you ever meet anyone Pam? Did you marry again?
PAMELA: No Tommy. I never married again. But I haven't been on my own.
TOM: What do you mean? Did you move in with your mother? That old witch always wanted me out anyway!
PAMELA: Not exactly...this song...I can't listen...

F/X: SOUND OF A LIGHT WOODEN DOOR BEING OPENED IN THE DISTANCE AND THEN CLOSED. FOOTSTEPS COMING TOWARDS PAMELA
LUCY: (IN THE DISTANCE, COMING CLOSER) Mom? You there?
TOM: Franny?
LUCY: Hi Mom. You listening to some tunes? Oh, you know you can't listen to this...you know what it does to you.
TOM: Franny, is that you?
LUCY: Where did that come from? Please tell me that I didn't just hear a voice talking to you through the radio.
PAMELA: You did. It is Tom. Tommy. Lucy, this is your father.
TOM: Lucy? (CONFUSED)
LUCY: Oh my word ...
PAMELA: I found out two weeks after the accident that I was pregnant Tommy. Lucy baby, sit down.
LUCY: Mom, I can't make sense of this...I thought my father...Tom...was dead.
PAMELA: He is baby. He's found a way to talk to us. Tommy? You said you wanted to talk to the kids, here she is. Why don't you tell Tom about your piano lessons honey? She's got a real sweet voice Tom.
TOM: (UNSURE) Uh...you play? Does your mother teach you?
LUCY: I got a teacher in school. Mom doesnÕt like to play so much anymore.
TOM: School? Where do you go?
LUCY: I go to the same school as...uh...Louis.
PAMELA: Tell him about the trophy case at school honey...
LUCY: Well they have a big case filled with Louis's trophies, with his picture and all these nice things people said about him...

(PAUSE)
PAMELA: Tommy?
TOM: I'm here baby. I'm so sorry, I didn't know.
PAMELA: You couldn't have baby. You couldn't have. She is just like you, you know.
TOM: What does she look like?
PAMELA: Like Franny, with Louis's eyes and your sense of humour! Her hair is the same brown as Ryan's and...she is just swell Tommy.
TOM: You said you play (CLEARS THROAT) Lucy?
LUCY: Well I try. I sing too...did ya wanna hear me play something?
TOM: I would love that Lucy, I really would...

F/X: SOUND OF RADIO CRACKLING, CHANGES BACK TO RADIO STATION TEN O'CLOCK NEWS PROGRAMME. BACKGROUND SOUND HAS SOFT TALKING IN THE BACKGROUND.
CARER: Pamela? Pamela?
PAMELA: Where am I?
CARER: Don't remember where you are?
PAMELA: No ... I ... I ...
CARER: What was the last thing you remember Pamela and weÕll go from there...
PAMELA: Well I was just talking to Lucy and Tom, just a second ago. Where is Lucy? I want to see her.
CARER: (SOFTLY DIRECTING VOICE OFF MIC) Doctor, she is having a Lucy episode again...
DOCTOR: Hi Pamela. I'm Dr Rees. Do you remember me?
PAMELA: No...I don't remember any of you...
DOCTOR: You've been with us here for some time now Pamela. Who do you think Lucy is?
PAMELA: Lucy is my daughter. She was born after my husband died.
DOCTOR: (VERY SOFTLY) Pamela...Lucy does not exist. She is a figment of your imagination created to help you deal with the loss of your family. You came to us after the accident. Don't you remember?
PAMELA: You're lying to me.
DOCTOR: We would never lie to you, Doctor.
PAMELA: (HER VOICE BECOMES INCREASINGLY LOUD AND ANGRY) You're lying to me. WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER.GET OFF OF ME! TOMMY? TURN THAT RADIO DIAL. TOOMMMYYY. LUUCCCYY.

F/X: SOUNDS OF THE DOCTOR AND CARER TRYING TO RESTRAIN LUCY. BESSIE SMITH 'NEED A LITTLE SUGAR IN MY BOWL' FADES IN AND DROWNS OUT PAMELA'S SCREAMING.

(CLOSING CREDITS)

THE END

Student Plays

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We recommend the following, which can ordered from Amazon.co.uk :

We also recommend the following radio scripts: Polaris by Fay Weldon in Best Radio Plays of 1978, I Never Killed My German and Of the Levitation at St Michael's by Carey Harrison in A Suffolk Trilogy, The Village Fete by Peter Tinniswood in Best Radio Plays of 1987, Cigarettes and Chocolate by Anthony Minghella in Best Radio Plays of 1988, Death and the Tango by John Fletcher and Song of the Forest by Tina Pepler in Best Radio Plays of 1990 and In the Native State by Tom Stoppard in Best Radio Plays of 1991.  Sadly some of these scripts are out of print.  However you should be able to order them from your local library

We also recommend the recording of Lee Hall's wonderful first radio play, I Luv U Jimmy Spud.  Lee went on to write the screenplay of Billy Elliot.


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