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“Just One of Those Nights”

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David Elliot Brown playwright of the year 2003


Brown, David Elliot (Scottish playwright living in Germany, December 26, 1964-____), “Just One of Those Nights,” a 50-minute drama in English, set in a small, shabby, dirty bedsit, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1990,

2m1f

; © 1990 by David Elliot Brown; • in David Elliot Brown’s Just One of Those Nights (London: The Author, 1990, 2003), 50 pp.; • script/rights available from David Elliot Brown, Krabachtalstr 12 53783, Eitorf, Germany, e-mail dbrown8953@aol.com, http://www.writewords.org.uk/. • Cited by David Elliot Brown via e-mail, September 24, 2003; Brown says,

§ Dramatis Personae Tony (m), celibate homosexual, ex-convict, kidnapper; Huggins (m), effeminate ex-convict, kidnapper; Sandra (f), prostitute, pyromaniac.

§ Synopsis In a small shabby bedsit, Tony plays a guitar while minding Sandra, a bound hostage. Huggins, an effeminate man with shocking pink hair and a leather jacket, enters. Tony berates him about not bringing chips and spews homophobia. Sandra makes muffled noises. The sound of an explosion rocks them. Tony takes refuge in playing his guitar and slandering Huggins. Tony’s temper gets worse as Huggins argues to take the gag off Sandra, who suffers a panic attack. Huggins comforts her and puts a brown paper bag to her mouth. Tony ridicules his compassion. Sandra demands to know what they intend to do with her. Streetwise, she draws information out of them. Huggins teases Tony with a big rubber spider. Sandra belittles Tony about his arachnophobia. Huggins tries to interest the others in tea. Another loud explosion rocks them. Tony aggressively rants against minorities—ethnic groups, females, cripples, gays, blacks, dykes and “other fucking weirdos.” He cautions Sandra against her swearing. He is aghast about Huggins having included their telephone number and address in the ransom note and then signing it with him full name. Tony and Sandra are ready to fight each other when Huggins again tries to interest them in tea. Sandra cuts through Tony and Huggins’ quarreling by insisting they’ve mistaken her identity: she’s not from a rich family but from a criminal family, and she was at the rich home to burglarize it. Another explosion shakes them while Huggins and Tony check her identification. They find they’ve kidnapped the wrong person. Sandra laughs that she’s “been kidnapped by Laurel and Hardy.” Tony rushes to the window and rages against the world. Huggins comes up with an idea, “We can play monopoly. It always takes our minds of our troubles.” That idea tanks. Sandra, pleading to be untied, reveals her pyromania, and that she torched a shop to avenge herself on a john who welshed on paying for fellatio. She’d hoped to cause a minor Hindu-Muslim confrontation as diversion. She’d even telephoned the fire brigade to keep things right. As Huggins releases Sandra, Tony turns again to his guitar. Tony again insults Huggins. Sandra suggests Huggins leave his partner, and Tony reacts, “It’s between me and him so back off.” An explosion causes small fires to ignite in the bedsit. They scurry around stamping on the fires and beating them with a blanket. Responding to more insults from his partner, Huggins says, “I wish Tony would show more love to me.” Sandra calls Tony’s tastes “poofy,” to which he reacts violently and storms out. Huggins confesses that his relationship with Tony is celibate and offers, “He can be quite gentle. I do love him. I suppose.” When she wonders if she did cause the fires outside, Huggins comforts her, “I doubt it. This town has too many people with different needs and there’s not enough of anything to go round. The slightest thing can spark it off. It’s happened before.” Tony returns flustered and challenges them for talking about him. Huggins suggests some role playing and argues with Sandra about who will play which role. Tony terms Sandra just another worthless crazy “female.” Another explosion and broken glass drive them to the floor. Huggins wants to blame the supernatural, but Sandra ridicules that. A power cut brings blackness. Tony appeals to Sandra, the pyromaniac, for some matches, but she has none. Huggins, though, has a lighter and gathers candles to restore light. At the window, he admires the scattered fires in the night. Another explosion accompanies Huggins’ being hit. He staggers back and falls to the floor. Sandra guides the bleeding Huggins to sofa. He slumps down, worrying about having bled on Sandra’s blouse. Someone outside throws feces through the window; it hits Tony’s hair. In their confrontational rage, all three admit to having been raped as children. Sandra tells Tony how seriously Huggins has been hit, “There’s a hole the size of a fist in his side. He needs a hospital,” but Tony does not know what to do. Neither does Sandra. Tony softens enough to urge her to escape. Another explosion makes them wince. Sandra makes shadow puppets to divert Huggins. Tony joins her. “They reassure Huggins, “We’re going to make it.” Tony holds Huggins close to him. Huggins comically throws up on Tony. Sandra rips another piece of her clothing to make a bandage. A breast pops out without her knowing. As she grumbles about her life, the men watch her breast until Tony mentions it. Sandra cries in outrage. She cannot go back home after having slept with her stepfather and wants to join Tony and Huggins. Another fire bomb causes flames and smoke. As Tony grabs two baseball bats and crash helmets in preparation for their leaving, Huggins exacts a promise from Sandra that she will at least try to make up with her mother. They talk of the three of them going to France. Tony and Sandra pick up Huggins and carry him to door. Tony takes one last look around. Huggins stops them again. He now is really delirious but jokes as they leave. Manic drumming sounds, lights flash: blackout.

§ Comment A staged reading was given by Player-Playwrights, upstairs at the Horse and Groom, 128 Great Portland Street, London, England, June 9, 2003. Player-Playwrights in London voted “Just One of Those Night” play of the year 2003 and chose David Elliot Brown playwright of the year 2003. • German version is entitled “Feuerland,” • “Have had several readings in German through verlag [publisher]. Was optioned by the Comedy unit in Glasgow creaters of Rab C Nesbitt. Runner up to David Harrower in the 1990 young Scottish playwrights competition. Recently commissioned to write shock one man show for American producer [Bill Calhoun, www.billcalhoun.com] to be performed in Bangkok. ‘Just one of those nights’ also to be performed in Bangkok end of December.”—WriteWords Member Profile - davide, http://www.writewords.org.uk/members/show_profile.asp?member_id=219, accessed September 29, 2003. • Thorn’s Hammer, by David Elliot Brown, came in eleventh out of five hundred submitted scripts at the 2003 International Playwriting Festival. • David Elliot Brown is married to Claudia Brown, a German make-up artist who worked with Kevin Spacy on the film Beyond the Sea.

§ Themes celibacy, effeminacy, family, homosexuality, hostage, riot, prostitution, psychological projection, pyromania.



See also David Elliot Brown's

  • "Rosie," a 20-minute black comedy in English, set in a flat, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1m1f
  • "Rosie's Oddball Hymnologic Way to Auntie Brigitte's," a 20-minute black comedy in English, set on a train station platform in Edinburgh, Scotland, 2004, 1f
  • "Rosie Raümt Auf," a 20-minute black comedy in German, set in a flat, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1m1f
  • "Sally Faces Up," a 20-minute drama in English, set in a cold doorway to a shop, Edinburgh, Scotland, Christmas, 2004, 1m1f


This Website continues under construction and welcomes new citations and comments.

Page mounted September 30, 2003, and updated November 22, December 1, 19, 2003, January 10, 2004, by the Webmaster.

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