Secrecy of Sin [Stage Adaptation]

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  1. #1

    Secrecy of Sin [Stage Adaptation]

    Act One
    Scene One: Along the banks of the River Thurso, Sunday Afternoon, 1953.

    The curtain raises, a spotlight follows DONALD as he enters DSL. He is dressed in chest waders and carrying a fishing rod. The background is a black curtain with SFX of rushing water. He stops DS and scans into the audience then walks purposely across the stage exiting DSR. A second later a TOM enters DSL similarly dressed for fishing, and a spotlight follows him rushing after his dad.

    Tom: Dad. Dad will you slow down. Itís getting late. (TOM trips and falls DS) Dad. We need to get home. Itís late.

    He runs to exit DSR.

    DONALD enters DSR and walks slower, scanning. Stops and simulates fishing facing the audience. TOM follows on stage, angry and out of breath, and stops DSR.

    Tom: (Aside) Look at him. He is three times my age. Twice as fast and has only one arm. Now I ask you how I can compete?

    Donald: Here it is. This pool is a perfect spot for us.

    Pause.

    I can spy a beastie here, Tam, for sure.
    Tom: Aye, so ye said the last three times too. They are not biting today.

    They fish in silence. Each absorbed with the task of catching the elusive first salmon.

    Donald: Did I ever tell ye, Tam. D-Day would never have happened without me.

    Tom sighs and looks skyward.

    Aye, we fought. House-to-house and street to street to get to those blasted guns. It was my grenade that paved the way you know. It cost me an arm. But if-

    Tom: Och Dad, Iíve heard this story a thousand times-

    Donald: Aye. And yeíll listen to it a thousand more. Itís about your character Tam. Itís not just a story.

    Pause.

    Spirit. Strength. Tenacity. These things made me persevere and succeed. This is what makes a man, son, its-
    Tom: But itís not-

    DONALDíS reel spins loudly. He attaches his rod to an intricate harness, which allows him to fight the fish one-handed.

    Donald: Wahoo. I told ye, Tam. I told ye this was the spot.

    DONALD mimes fighting and landing a prize salmon as TOM approaches to help.

    Isn't she a beauty? Must be at least fourteen pounds.

    Tom: Aye Dad, ye beat me. (whispers) Again.

    Donald: Why Donít Ye Ever Listen to Me? (Disappointment) I Told Ye, Didnít I? Use the Hairy Mary Fly.

    Tom: Well, I. I wanted to beat ye. To win fair and square for a change.

    Pause.

    Without always following your advice. My own-
    Donald: Oh. Is that so now.

    DONALD rises threateningly, making TOM step backwards. Then laughs and attempts to ruffle TOMíS hair. TOM jumps back avoiding the gesture angrily.

    Okay, son. Donít fret yourself now.

    Pause.

    Never mind. I will make a fisherman out of ye yet Tam.
    Tom: No.

    Pause.

    No, Dad, ye wonít. Because in two months I will be old enough to join up. Like Uncle Johnny did. Then I will be gone from here and be my own man. Not always in your shadow as ďWee TamĒ.

    Pause.

    But as Tom, Tommy or even Thomas but never again Tam. (Impatiently) You see Dad-
    Donald: Is that right now? My oh, my.

    Pause.

    And where, pray tell. Did all this come from?

    (Silence)

    Well then, young prince. We better get ye back home to talk this through. Can you see that sky? You should have told me. It must be near supper time. Yer Mam will be worried sick us being so late for supper. This beastie will make her happy, though.
    DONALD heads off exiting SR at a fast pace. TOM follows behind in resignation shaking his head.

    Fade to black
    Curtain falls
    End scene.

    Act Two
    Scene One: A 1950s sitting room. It is late afternoon on the same day.

    The curtain raises showing MARY asleep CS in a rocking chair. Next to her, a large grammar phone plays a Nat King Cole song. A streetlight floods through a window above her into the room. There is a 3-seater settee SL and a large reading chair SR. A coal fireplace is burning in the centre of the chairs. Above the fireplace is a large mantelpiece with three photos of young men dressed in uniform. Two silver candlesticks stand on each side. A picture of Leonardo da Vinciís the Last Supper lies centrally above it. On the other wall rests a collection of china plates displaying birds. Two doors are prominent SR and SL. Knocking can be heard on the stage door SR. It becomes a more desperate and loud banging. This rouses MARY from her nap. She approaches the door nervously.

    Susan: Why didn't you answer?

    Mary: Sweet Jesus Susan, but you gave me a fright.

    Susan: Since when did you start keeping this door locked?

    Mary: I was Ö Now, you hold on a minute young lady.

    MARY spreads her legs blocking the entrance to the door.

    I havnae had no sight or sound of you for ages. Not even a 'how are you, Mum?' You cannae just waltz back in here like there is no tomorrow, shouting the odds.
    Susan: Well I can see nothing has changed here then, your-

    Mary: Oh my god Susan, what have you done to your beautiful hair?

    MARY attempts to touch SUSANís hair who slaps her hand away.

    Susan: Itís called fashion mother. Something you know nothing about.

    Mary: Aye. Well. Fashion apparently doesnít keep you fed. Look at you. Youíre all skin and bones. I suppose-

    Susan: Oh, shut up. Will you. And let me in.

    SUSAN brushes past MARY and throws herself onto the couch. SUSAN holds her hands to her face looking exasperated.

    Susan: Mum, you're never going to believe whatís happened.

    MARY looks to the roof and sighs.

    Mary: So, what have you done now? What trouble have you gotten yourself into this time?

    (Silence)

    Mary: Well, spit it out.

    Susan: Itís Jack. Jack has found out about Thomas.

    Mary: Jack? Jack who? Found out what about Tom? Whatever are you talking about, Sue?

    Susan: Thomasís father. Jack Jones. He came to see me out of the blue. Knocking on my door like it was only yesterday.

    Pause.

    He says he wants to meet his son-
    Mary: Oh, oh dear. Oh, my sweet Jesus, no.

    Pause.

    How did he find out?
    Susan: Who knows, all soldiers and fishermen have big mouths when they are drunk.

    Pause.

    He was at a regimental reunion in Perth, and a chap from these parts told him about Thomas and me. They were surprised he didnít know, they just assumed he had no interest in the boy. He was so angry mum.

    Pause.

    What can we do, mummy?
    (Silence)

    Mary: Let me make you a cup of tea.

    Susan: Tea, tea... How is TEA going to help us? Jack says he is coming today. He is going to be here any minute now. We must stop this-

    Mary: Susan. Sue. (She grasped her hand). We always understood that this day would come. Too many people knew. We could never have kept this secret forever.

    Mary embraces Susan and hugs her, and they both begin to cry.

    DONALD and TOM enter the house. DONALD is proudly boasting about his catch. They come into the lounge to find MARY and SUSAN crying.

    Donald: Okay, who died?

    MARY and SUSAN both look desperately at each other than towards TOM.

    Mary: No one. Susan is justÖ

    Pause.

    She is upset. Thatís all.

    Donald: About what?

    (Silence)

    Tom: Are you okay sis?

    TOM approaches SUSAN to console her. SUSAN turns away crying louder.

    Mary: Tom, can you put that fish into the cold box. Please. Will you?

    TOM exits SR perplexed.

    Donald: Okay. What is going on here?

    Mary: Our secrets come out Donald. Susanís secret has come out.

    Donald: What?

    Mary: Tomís real dad. Jack Jones. The pilot who knocked Susan up. He says he wants to come here. To meet Tom.

    Donald: When?

    Susan: Today dad. He is coming here today. We have to do something to stop him. We cannot let Thomas know. Please do something daddy.

    (Silence)

    Donald: Susan.

    Pause.

    Thereís nothing I can do for you here. Youíll just have to-
    TOM re-enters SL.

    Tom: Well. Is anyone going to tell me just what is going on here? Whatís the big secret?

    (Silence)

    DONALD stands by the mantelpiece stoking the fire, pensive. SUSAN and MARY avoid eye contact with TOM. [SILENCE] A knock at the door makes everyone jump except TOM who crosses the stage to open the door SR. JACK and TOM eye each other.

    Tom: Can I help you?

    Jack: (American accent) Howdy. Wow, you must be Thomas?

    Pause.

    My name is Jack. You donít know just how pleased I am to see you.
    Tom: Yes? Iím sorry but who are you and just how do you know me?

    Jack: Well heck, I am glad to meet you. Finally.

    Pause.

    Iím your father, Thomas.
    JACK holds out his hand to shake hands with TOM.

    Fade to black
    Curtain falls
    End scene.

    Scene Two: Curtain rises, and TOM enters the sitting room with JACK behind him.

    Tom: Can someone please tell me what this man is talking about?

    Jack: Hey there Mr Sinclair. UhmÖ Mrs Sinclair, how are you?

    Pause.

    Well. This is awkward.
    (Silence)

    Donald: Iíll get some drinks then, shall I?

    DONALD exits SL. Lips pursed. Eyes downcast.

    Tom: Mum. Can you please tell me who this man is? And what is he talking about?

    MARY stands up and comes to hold TOM by the shoulders considering his eyes.

    Mary: Tom.

    Pause.

    This man. Jack.

    Pause.

    He is your father. Your real father.
    Tom: My, my father. But you. I mean, you and Dad. What are you saying, mum? That you-

    TOM looks stunned and considers the faces of the people that surround him. He shakes his head and sits down unsteadily.

    Mary: It was during the war, Tom. Your sister. I mean, your mum.

    Pause.

    Susan and you. Well, you see-
    Jack: I didn't have any knowledge that you were my son, Thomas. I promise you. I wish I knew. I would have been here for you.

    Pause.

    Susan never said anything to me. They kept it secret. All of them.
    (Silence)

    Donald enters SL and pours himself a large glass of whiskey. He drinks it down in one gulp and turns to survey everyone in the living room before approaching Tom.

    Tom: Dad. Is this true?

    Donald: Aye Tam, this is the truth. I'm not. (His voice breaks) I am not your dad.

    Tom: But.

    Pause.

    I mean-

    Donald: We did it for Susan. We did it to give her a better chance in life. To provide you both with a better opportunity in life.

    Tom: You lied to me. (Angry) You all lied to me. How could you? (Shouts) How could you?

    (Silence)

    Donald: We. Just. (Exasperated) She was only fifteen, Tam. Your age. Can-

    Tom: What about all your lectures? All your wise advice about character and how to be a man, Dad?

    Pause.

    Oh. I suppose. Should I be calling you grandad from now on?

    Pause.

    I have heard you preach to me nearly every day about what it takes to be a man.
    TOM ambles towards DONALD and puts his face very close.

    (Whispers) Is lying part of your characteristics of being a good man? How could you? You bastard.
    MARY approaches and tries to hold TOM by the shoulders, TOM pulls violently away as if in pain.

    Mary: Now Tom, thereís no need for that. Your dad-

    Pause.

    Donald and I. We were all just trying to do our best for you. To protect you-

    Tom: Oh aye, is that so. You.

    Pause.

    You hypocrite. Forcing me to church every Sunday and claiming to be so religious. Praying for your brothers every day.
    TOM walks to the mantelpiece looking at the photos of MARYíS dead brotherís. He picks one up studying it for a while. Then searches at the picture of the Last Supper.

    Itís no wonder that they died.

    MARY rushes to DONALD crying.

    Susan: That is enough Thomas. Donít take it out on them. It is not their fault. I was the one who pressurised them to take you. It was me that got you into this world. Not them. So, if you want to blame anyone, then blame me.

    TOM saunters towards SUSAN. He clenches his fists. JACK attempts to stop him, but TOM pushes him violently to the ground. He stands in front of SUSAN and hesitates.

    Tom: My sister.

    Pause.

    Did you hate me that much?

    Susan: I just wanted-

    Tom: Donít. Donít even bother. Itís all clear to me now. The coldness. The distance. What?

    Pause.

    What kind of person could do such a thing?

    Jack: Hey Thomas. Easy. Okay? You are not thinking straight-

    Tom: Shut it, you. (TOM smiles sarcastically to JACK and points to SUSAN) This. Is between my mother and me, okay?

    Donald: Tam. Donít do anything stupid now.

    Tom: Donít you worry yourself grandad. I am not going to hit her. She just needs to know that she is a, uh, a fucking bitch.

    TOM spits into her face.

    And I hope you rot in hell.

    Mary: Tom. Please. Tom-

    Tom: I never want to see any of you ever again. (Shouts) Never.

    TOM walks menacingly across the stage staring at each character and exits through the door SR. MARY and SUSAN hold each other crying. DONALD and JACK stare at each other dumbfounded.

    Fade to black
    Curtain falls
    End scene.


    Act 3
    Scene One: In a cabin aboard a merchant Navy vessel. One year onwards.

    The curtain raises, a spotlight is on TOM. He sits CS at a table writing a letter to MARY. He is dressed in blue and white merchant Navy uniform. The background is a black curtain. TOM reading to an audience.

    Dear Mum,

    I say this to you because you will always be my mother, my real mum. I am sorry itís taken so long to write. But I hope you understand I have had much to digest in one year.

    I am aboard a ship in the port of Mombasa which is just off the coast of Kenya. We are restocking the depleted supplies of the army. It is hot and humid, and I have not been able to visit the beautiful beaches, they keep me too busy. But thatís okay. I have my whole life to visit beaches.

    How is Donald? It seems strange me calling him that but then this whole part of our life has been weird.
    Anyway, please send my love, and I hope he is still fishing. Please tell him that he will always be my dad and my hero.
    Jack tried to contact me when I was shipping out here from Gibraltar. He was passing through and had a 24-hour pass. I refused. Of course. Itís too early for me to accept him into my life as my dad. In truth, I am not sure I will ever be able to.

    Anyway, I just thought Iíd write and tell you that Iím thinking of you and I am so sorry for the things I have said. I know that you know I never meant anything towards you or dad. I love you both.
    My life is good, and I feel happy. I am free.
    All my love
    Tom

    TOM gets up and puts on his sailorís hat. He looks out towards the audience.

    Tom (Aside) Sure, is funny though? Donít you think? Life? The way things turn out to be?

    TOM slowly exits SR walking with same stature and gait as DONALD

    Blackout
    End Scene
    End Play



    Last edited by gerdun; February 26th, 2018 at 04:48 PM.
    G.

  2. #2
    I thought it was pretty good, but is it based off of some work? It says "Stage adaptation", which is why I ask. Also, it seemed pretty short. I don't know if that was on purpose or if you just didn't put up the whole thing. And a piece of advice, from one writer to another: consider making the ending be negative but not in an overzealous way. One really good example that comes to mind is the film "Mr. Roberts", which was based on the stageplay of the same name. It has Henry Fonda and Jack Lemmon in it. The ending of it was so heart-wrenching that it was unbelievable. Anyway, I thought your stageplay was pretty good. Keep writing, friend.

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