Moonlight Over the Estuary by Ken Methold
This script has been especially written to be performed, if required,
by a cast of only four two males, two females - at a venue with no
facilities for the performance of a play.
The play has been performed in a variety of small village halls and is
ideal for intimate theatre or a theatre restaurant-style event as a
For a Small Hall production, the only furniture required is two simple
folding chairs and a small folding table to suggest Madame Rita's
consulting room and later two adjacent airline seats. The small table
can also be used to accommodate the 'regressing' machine in the
scene with Maharashi Gupta Singh
Lighting can be minimal whatever is available though a cheap
portable spotlight. is desirable and a set of cheap garage
work-lights, placed at the front of the central gangway in the
auditorium will illuminate a small stage or acting area.
In venues without wings or any kind of dressing room facilities,
simple foldable screens can provide the necessary privacy and also be
used to conceal actors awaiting their entrances. The amount of
'gear' required can be transported in any medium size or larger
Rebecca Carmichael, a single lady, of a certain age
The following can all be played by the same actor, if required::
Robert Canning, poet, a man of the seventies,
Maharashi Gupta Singh, regressor, a man of the nineties
James Taverner, a tycoon
The following can be played by the same actor, if required:
Doug, late forties/early fifties a nice, ordinary guy
Dick, a printer, good bloke
The following can be played by the same actor, if required:
Madame Rita, a fortune teller
An airline check-in clerk.
A flight attendant
The time is now.
The place - anywhere.
The style of the play is totally over the top! The action is
continuous with the cast moving the furniture.
The stage is in darkness. Soft, romantic music is heard. A spotlight
comes on a box representing a table. The table lamp on the box is
illuminated revealing Rebecca.
She picks up her diary from the table and walks towards the
audience. She sniffs back a tear.
REBECCA: (to audience) I'm Rebecca Carmichael. Ms. This is
yesterday's diary entry. (reading) "It is now exactly a year since
Edwin made his decision, three hundred and sixty-five days of agonising
heart-break. If only he had never told me that he loved me, I could
have borne the pain of parting without such a profound sense of loss.
(Aside. Too many 'ps' but I love alliteration.) As it is, I am
desolated. His last words will forever ring in my ears: My wife needs
me, Rebecca. She's far from well.'
A tear runs down Rebecca's cheek. She wipes it away and then closes
the diary firmly.
REBECCA: But no more about Edwin, - the silly, weak man. A tragic
chapter in my life is closed. Who knows what or who - the new day
She smiles, puts the diary back on the table and picks up a Harlequin
romance from the table .
REBECCA: (To Audience) It's at times like these one needs a really
good book. Storm-clouds over Windermere by Stephanie Grantham.
She opens the book and begins to read aloud. Music starts again.
Something more upbeat and trendy.
REBECCA: (To audience) (Reading) "As the dynamic and debonair
international financier, Mark Hunter, approached her table in the
fashionable bistro, Lucinda trembled. :I know you," he said. "And
I know you," Lucinda thought. "There have been other loves in
other times when you and I have loved and now, in this life we shall
love again." (Aside. Lucinda knows, of course, that he is the man
she is going to marry. He is her destiny and she is his. (She yawns)
But now I must to bed. I've had a long, hard day in the op shop.
She turns back to her table. The light goes out on her. A light comes
on another small table. It has a laptop on it or if preferred,.
DOUG, a pleasant-looking man in his fifties, can be using an I-pad. He
looks up and speaks.
DOUG Hi, I'm Doug Evans. Caretaker of the block of units where
DOUG continues typing. Rebecca enters, now carrying her garbage,
REBECCA: Morning, Doug.
DOUG: Morning, Bec. I'll take that for you. .
DOUG; How's business?
REBECCA: Better than ever, sadly. Op shops prosper when people are
hard up.I could get a couple of dollars for that ..
DOUG: Oh, no.
REBECCA: Just a try. What are you writing today?
DOUG: An autobiographical novel. Trouble is, they're usually based
on traumatic childhoods and exotic sex lives. Well, my childhood was
very boring. And so is my sex life.
REBECCA: Idiot. Read me something.
Doug isn't too sure, but he decides to risk it. He puts on a
schoolboy's cap. In each of his 'writing' scenes he wears
appropriate head gear.
He leans forward and reads what's on the screen.
DOUG: "It was the bread and butter pudding he remembered most. His
had made a bread and butter pudding every Sunday for as long as he
could remember. She.
REBECCA: It's nice, Doug. But it's all a bit superficial, isn't it?
There's no feeling to it.
DOUG: I used to feel very strongly about bread and butter pudding. I
REBECCA: Why not write something lots of people want to read? Write
a romance. There's love and romance all round you, Doug, you just won't
open your eyes to it.
DOUG: Perhaps you're right.
REBECCA: Of course I am. See you.
DOUG: Sure. Have a nice day.
REBECCA hurries away. DOUG watches her go then turns to the audience.
DOUG: (to audience) She's a lovely woman really. Heart of gold.
She's just not in touch with reality.
He exits. .
Rebecca comes on. She speaks to the audience.
REBECCA: I feel sorry for Doug, you know. I mean, he's a good man.
Always helpful. I often say, 'It only takes one Doug to change a light
bulb.' But he's one of these wanna-be writers. He's never had anything
published, of course.. I think it's because he doesn't really know
what kind of a writer he wants to be. Every day he seems to be trying
something different. But I must run. I've got to see Madame Rita
before I open the shop.
As she exits, MADAME RITA enters, carrying a sign which reads:
Clairvoyant, Psychic Readings $10. Madame Rita a fake Hungarian
to the roots of her dyed hair - stis at the table, and begins playing
patience with a pack of tarot cards. New Age music is playing.
As Rebecca approaches wind chimes are heard. MADAME RITA, forewarned
of an approaching client, quickly gathers together the cards, and adjusts her
expression to one of mystical but clairvoyant contemplation.
REBECCA approaches, pulls up a chair and sits down.
MADAME RITA: Hallo, darling. I knew you'd come today.
REBECCA offers her palm. MADAME RITA studies it, tracing lines with
MADAME RITA: There's going to be a development in your life. I can't
tell you what exactly, but you're moving in a different direction.
REBECCA turns to the audience.
REBECCA: (To audience) I'm always so impressed when she admits to
being unsure of something. It confirms her honesty, I always think.
MADAME RITA: You must take the initiative, that's very clear. You could be
on the brink of a major change, going to places where you've never been
before. And there's definitely a man involved.
She taps REBECCA'S hand.
MADAME RITA: He's here for everyone to see. And you'll know who he is
the moment you meet him.
REBECCA: There'll be a sign?
MADAME RITA: There's always a sign, dear. And there's money involved.
(Aside) In my experience where men are concerned there's always money
involved. And the other thing. Two track minds, most men. It's never
difficult to forecast what will happen.
REBECCA: You're such a help, Rita.
MADAME RITA: Would you like me to print out your horoscope? It's a new
service I'm offering.
REBECCA: All right.
MADAME RITA takes a small printer (which can later double as the
regressing machine) out from the under the table.
REBECCA: You're computerised now.
MADAME RITA: One has to move with the times, dear. I'll just enter in
your date of birth, press the print button and presto
MADAME RITA presses a few keys but nothing happens except for a few
musical beeps. She has another go.
MADAME RITA: Wretched thing. It's always going wrong. I knew it would,
Blackout. Cut music.
Robert Canning enters carrying a sign and a few books which he puts
on the table. He leans sign which states "Robert Canning - poet.
Please support the arts generously against the front of the table.:
ROBERT: Good day to you.
ROBERT indicates the sign. Rebecca stops top look at it. Her hand
flies to her mouth the she points at the sign
REBECCA: (to audience) That's a sign.
ROBERT: I'm sure you'll find something here to interest yo
REBECCA: Oh, I shall, I shall.
ROBERT: Little is written that is not of interest to someone.
REBECCA is overcome with the profundity of this remark.
REBECCA: Oh, how true!
ROBERT, realising that he's caught exactly the kind of fish he's been
angling for, extends a limp hand.
ROBERT: Robert Canning, the poet. And you?
REBECCA: Rebecca Carmichael. Ms.
ROBERT: Robert Canning. R.C. Rebecca Carmichael. R.C. We have the same
REBECCA can hardly contain her excitement.
REBECCA: (to audience) Another sign!
ROBERT: Are you looking for anything in particular?
REBECCA: We're all looking for something, aren't we, Robert?
ROBERT rubs his hands together and gives the audience a knowing look.
ROBERT: (to Rebecca) At last! A woman who really understands!
He picks up a slim volume and thrusts it at her.
ROBERT: Here. For you. My latest collection.
REBECCA takes the book and looks at the title.
REBECCA: 'The Eunuch's Revenge and other poems'. Oh, Robert, you
needn't have. Let me pay.
ROBERT struggles for a moment - he can't bear to lose a sale. But
ROBERT: No. A gift.
REBECCA: I shall always treasure it. Robert, will you sign it for me?
ROBERT produces a large fountain pen and takes the book from her. He
writes while she stands there, simpering. He gives REBECCA the signed
She takes the book from him.
REBECCA: 'To Rebecca, on this the day of our beginning.' Oh, Robert.
ROBERT: We will meet again tomorrow, Rebecca. Noon. The Cafe Alfonso.
I am giving a public reading of my works.
REBECCA: I shall be there
ROBERT exits, taking his props with him. REBECCA walks forward. She
muses aloud to audience and herself.
REBECCA: Why do I feel such an affinity with this man? I do not know.
I can say only that he has an aura of honesty, a directness of manner
that speaks of integrity. But we meet again tomorrow at the Cafe
Rebecca exits. The music fades away.
The Italian Waiter enters with a sign: CAFÉ ALFONSO Poetry
Reading. He exits.
ROBERT enters and takes up an appropriate pose. There is a slim
volume in his hand.
REBECCA enters and stands expectantly to one side.
ROBERT: I will begin with a poem that was inspired by a child's
picture book. I have called it 'Medieval Trance'.
He strikes an even more pretentious poetic pose.
ROBERT: (reading) Castles
Aired, Kept, Moated,
Surrendered To Rape,
Slaughter of innocents,
Crumbled history remembered.
REBECCA walks towards ROBERT, applauding.
REBECCA: Bravo! Bravo!
ROBERT: I knew that you, Rebecca, would give me a direct,
unpretentious response. An emotional, not an arid, intellectual
reaction. Phone me.
He hands her a card and walks away.
She stares after him then turns to the audience and stares into space.
Applause is heard, getting louder and louder. Rebecca smiles and walks
REBECCA: Your Majesty, Distinguished Guests, Robert Canning is
unfortunately unable to accept his Nobel Prize for Literature in
person and has asked me to accept on his behalf.
There is even greater applause but it stops suddenly as the
exceedingly Italian WAITER approaches, napkin over his arm..
WAITER: Were you a-with-a him?
REBECCA: What? (Coming down to earth.) Oh, yes.
WAITER: He had-a three espressos, a-two-a croissants and a chicken-
and a-spinach-a parcel-a. He said-a the woman-a who was joining him
REBECCA: Oh! Oh, yes, of course.
They move away.
Robert appears at one side of the stage. His mobile phone rings. He
ROBERT: Robert Canning.
REBECCA appears at the other side of the stage, on her mobile..
REBECCA: Robert, It's Rebecca.
ROBERT: You haven't been out of my thoughts since I left you. I'm
writing a poem about our meeting. It looks like being the best thing
I've ever done.
REBECCA: Oh, Robert.
ROBERT: It's called 'Beginnings'. Inspired by Rebecca.
ROBERT: (from memory) Inchoate incipience,
Fountainhead of inception,
Bursting forth from the womb of time.
Seminal and abcededarian.
REBECCA has lost her way in this so she's caught short by its sudden
ending, but she recovers.
REBECCA: Robert, that was wonderful.
ROBERT: I must see you again.
REBECCA: Seven o'clock this evening?
DOUG enters with laptop or I-pad. He's thoughtful. REBECCA
appears. She's still got ROBERT CANNING'S book in her hand.
REBECCA: Can you let me have a little milk, Doug? I've got Robert
Canning to dinner. Yu know, the poet.
DOUG: Poet! Him! You're joking!
REBECCA: What d'you mean? You know him?
DOUG: Rebecca, anybody who's ever attended any literary function in
town knows Canning. Has he tried to borrow money off you yet?
REBECCA: Of course not.
DOUG: I give him twenty-four hours. Be careful, Rebecca. The man's a
REBECCA: I'm not a child!
He picks up a little milk jug and hands it to her. She takes it, moves
away, then turns.
REBECCA: He's published six volumes of poetry, written criticism and
reviews. He's won an award.
DOUG: Probably the Elsie Woodmarsh $10 Prize for the Best Poem about a
REBECCA: You're just jealous because you've never won anything.
DOUG: I once won a set of steak knives at a school fete. (Pause) I've
given up the autobiography, by the way. I've gone bush.
REBECCA: Sorry, Doug. I must run. I've got a dinner to cook. Ciao!
REBECCA hurries away.
He turns back to his laptop. He puts on a large Akubra hat.
DOUG: (to audience) Tell me what you think of this? (reading) "Is
there grass on the long paddock, Tom?' his wife asked him. 'Nope,' he said.
'It's been ten years since there's been grass on the Long Paddock, and well
you know it woman." (to audience). I think I've got the style, don't you?'