Soliloquy of a Housewife

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
'Soliloquy of a Housewife' is a play about denial and tragedy of the aging 'Lady'.

Submitted: July 15, 2012

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Submitted: July 15, 2012



Act 1

Scene 1

The living room interior of the home of Lady was that of a traditional suburban home. As a housewife, Lady kept her home immaculate: her living room was furbished with antique furniture of ludicrous expense, the window was made of oak wood dating from 1890; the curtains were a cream indulgence of silk. A grand piano stood proudly in the corner of the room, beneath the gaze of an amalgam of crystals reflected from the chandelier. A floor lamp was situated next to the couch providing a dim source of light for the room. On the magnificent maple mantle above the fire place lay a plethora of family photographs; faded memories of previous holidays which her family had embarked on together. However, above these, was a great picture which stretched the full length of the fire place against the wall. The picture showed four people, two children and to each side, a mother and their father. Concealed behind the guise of the false smiles, resided inner demons which were bursting to destroy the decorum.

Like every resident of Mayfair Lane, Lady was surreptitious in her every move, paying careful consideration to the ravenous vultures who scrounged the street for gossip

[Lady enters the room. She has obvious signs of aging. Her once vibrant beauty has faded from when she had first bought the house. Her strawberry blond curls had been attacked by the ravenous years of age to be replaced with remnants of dull grey, while her skin too bore the decay of age as it showed signs of deep wrinkles. Her face displays a manic smile.]

Lady: Oh! I had better clean up the house for Michael coming home with the boys. He should be home any minute. [stopping and staring intently towards the door, statuesque in posture, willing for someone to come in.] Yes… any minute now.

[Lady continues to dust the apparently immaculate living room studiously avoiding a sheaf of papers laying on the mantelpiece. The room remains shrouded in darkness, with only a dim lamp providing any source of light]

Lady: Goodness! It is already 12 o’clock. That man is always late. [laughs wearily, she looks up towards her family photograph, her faded smile returns - the perfect guise] I do hope Charlie and William enjoy being back home. I can’t wait to hear all their university stories; I’m sure they can’t wait to tell me either. They will have missed their mum. Yes… missed me. [takes a deep breathe] What else do I have to do now? [sits down on the couch]

[Breaking the intense silence clinging to the walls of the room, Lady suddenly lets out an horrific and shrill scream and leaps up from the couch]

Lady: [her voice is frantic] Snacks! Oh goodness I didn’t even think of making them anything for coming home. I bet they will be absolutely ravenous. [her voice becomes increasingly panicked] Those boys need their mother! And Michael; his wife. They all need me to look after them. They need me… [rushes towards the kitchen, speaking in an almost silent voice] They will be home soon…

Scene 2

This takes place the following day. Lying on the mantle are several sheets of paper, showered in a thin layer of moisture. These are divorce papers. They have obviously not been touched, yet the mantle they lie on is immaculate.

Lady: Goodness me; I do wonder when Michael will be home. Cissy Goodwin came around asking for him - again. Oh what was it for? Oh yes! She wanted him to help her with a blocked toilet. Michael has always been good with things like that. He doesn’t mind helping out the neighbours either, especially Cissy; ever since her husband died she has been ever so lonely, poor dear. [her voice trails off] I had to tell her that he wasn’t home [gasps sharply] – yet.

[A smile returns to her face as she takes a deep breath, calming herself down. A silent atmosphere surrounds her.]

Lady: But I do have to remember that as soon as he is home, I must tell him about Cissy coming round. [Pauses for a few further moments, gazing at the empty wall]

[Her face is obscured by the dullness of the light from the floor lamp. Lady looks over towards the window in her living room. A bright yet distant light is exuded from the depths of the outside world, causing her to turn away from it]

Lady: Oh but how peculiar she should ask how I am… She asked [mimicking voice] ‘how have you been coping recently?’ [suddenly the mantle grabs her attention] Oh goodness! Is that dust? On my table? [gasping] Why, I don’t understand what she meant! I replied that I had been simply wonderful. I told her all about my boys coming back to visit me again soon. They will be home soon from university for the Easter break – for a few days. Oh, and of course! Michael is looking to get a promotion in his company any day now. He is just waiting for... Oh who was it now? Ah that’s right! Mr Peterson, retiring. Cissy looked at me with a confused face the poor lamb! She seems to be getting more and more confused in her old age. I do wish there was something I could do to help; oh but I’m not very good with blocked toilets... [her voice trails off]

[Lady stands up and moves over towards the mantelpiece. Her gaze momentarily flashes across the divorce papers. At once she moves swiftly to the other side of the living room. She briefly looks into the mirror, and then away again; the mascara which is skewed across her eyes is left untouched. She moves to stand in front of the window. For a moment, the light burns her. She moves frantically and yanks the curtains closed]

Lady: [speaking more quickly than before] Oh when will that man be home? He is always late my Michael is… I need to remember to remind him of Cissy coming round. Yes; everything will be fine when Michael is back home.

Scene 3

A few weeks have passed. It is in the afternoon. Lady is sitting in her living room looking puzzled.

Lady: I don’t understand… These men coming to my door speaking in… speaking in… in jargon! [standing up, she paces up and down her living room] Repossession! Right of Ownership! Jurisdiction!... balderdash! Absolute balderdash!... I didn’t understand a word of it. [Her voice bears a heavy sorrow] They said they will be back again tomorrow to… oh what was it? Something about assets?! Goodness; Michael always deals with such financial matters. I do hope he comes home soon. [sitting back down, she nods her head as if to reassure herself] I think he was off to the care home to visit his mother... in Brighton! Yes, I think... no, no I’m sure!.. Yes, I think Brighton it was. That could easily take a few days... a week... at least! [Sighs and looks around the interior of her living room. Speaking quietly, as though whispering to someone next to her] His mother seems to be getting worse. Oh I do hope they are taking good care of her – at the care home. [Appears to snap out of this temporary digression of thought; voice is louder] Michael will fix things though. Michael will fix it all. I think I’ll have a glass of wine. [giggles loudly] Oh a glass of wine! If only my Michael knew... [giggling more violently, she pours herself a large glass of wine] Oh he never did like me drinking. [she takes a large gulp of wine, her giggling stops abruptly]

[An expression of sorrow crosses over her face. She freezes in this position. The lights dim as she flashes back to an earlier time. Lights fade up and the setting is very different. She now stands in a grand London hotel room; large tables are spread around the room with an array of Michael’s clients mingling in the crowd. A brilliant crystal chandelier dominates the centre of the room. In Lady’s hand is her glass of wine. She unfreezes, as a waiter takes the wine]

Lady: I’ll have a glass of that fabulous champagne waiter! [giggling]

[The waiter replaces it with a glass of champagne. and Lady moves towards a middle aged woman who is standing alone]

Lady: [shouting] Helen! Oh Helen! How are you? [stumbling slightly as she reaches the woman] Oh goodness! [she bursts into a fit of giggles]

[The woman, Helen, has a disgusted look on her face and promptly moves away from Lady. Lady appears uninterested by this, and moves on towards a colleague of Michael’s]

Lady: Oh James, I haven’t seen you in forever! [giggling slightly] You were always so lovely to me… [she becomes silent for a few moments, before making eye contact with Michael across the room. They stare at each other for a few moments. A glint of loathing crosses his eyes] He hasn’t touched me in months you know! Has no interest… [shouting] Am I so unlovable? AM I?!

[Lady turns around to storm out of the hotel room, however as she turns, she walks into a young waiter who is holding a plate of appetizers, knocking both the plate and the man to the floor. The noise of the plate against the floor echoes across the room, causing everyone to look round. As Lady lies on the floor, she once again locks eyes with Michael. His eyes were filled with a bitter emptiness. There was no love in them]

[Once again, the lights dim. As the lights fade up we are back in the living room of Lady. She stands in her previous position, frozen. When she unfreezes she is looking despondently into her wine glass. Suddenly she throws the wine glass onto the floor, causing its contents to spill across her velvet cream rug. Realising she has let her emotions overcome her, Lady suddenly snaps out of this daze and begins pacing the room again. She ignores the mess in the living room as if oblivious to it]

Lady: [quietly] Yes... Michael will be home soon… [barely a whisper] he will be home…

[Lady picks up the bottle of wine and sits in the corner of her living room; she sits, cradling herself, rocking back and forth. As she lifts up the bottle, its contents spill over her. She appears oblivious. As she sits down she turns off the floor lamp. The silence is deafening. The living room is plunged into darkness]

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