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The Drifter

by Courtney S Hughes 

Posted: 13 December 2004
Word Count: 3835
Summary: This was the entry I submitted to the HOTBED festival under their 20min category. I'd be interested to hear different interpretations on the piece. It is slightly surreal and not endemic of my writing style which remains mildly erratic! - No clues on this one I'm afraid, you'll just have to read it. ADDITION: I tried attatching this file in the rtf format and it didnt work so I've done a messy cut and paste... sorry!!

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[PLEASE NOTE: a Ď/í indicates where one line is interrupted by the following line.]

[There is a terrible storm. We hear the sound of crashing waves and a boat being ripped to pieces by the violent twisting sea. We can hear screaming voices under the booming thunder. Then there is silence.]

[Lights up - It is a few days later and the sea is now calm. BOB is lying on a piece of driftwood somewhere in the middle of the Pacific. The sun beats down and he looks as though he is at deathís door. As he floats about aimlessly on his driftwood a SHARK swims up and starts to circle him.]

BOB [Exhausted] Go away, go away, [beat] leave me be.

[The SHARK still circles]

BOB Oh God, please have mercy on me, Iíve suffered enough. Not now, not like this, not after everything Iíve been through.

SHARK Morning.

BOB [He jumps to his feet in fear] Jesus!

SHARK Whatís wrong?

BOB Youíre a talking shark!

SHARK Thatís right.

BOB Sharks donít talk.

SHARK We save it for special occasions.

BOB Uh-huh.


Well, what do you want?

SHARK I was just passing. Thought Iíd stop by for a chat.

BOB Well Iím not really in the talking mood Iím afraid.

SHARK I see.

BOB Iím waiting to die you see.

SHARK Yes quite.

BOB So Iíd appreciate it if you would leave me to myself for a while.

SHARK Of course.

[Long silence. BOB just sits in the centre of his driftwood and the SHARK leans casually at the side.]

SHARK Do you come here often?

BOB What?

SHARK Is this your first time?

BOB You mean is this my first time stranded? What do you think?

SHARK Thereís no need to be like that, I was just trying to be friendly.

BOB Well I donít want you to be friendly, now shove off.

SHARK Oooooh! Well sorry for stopping by.

BOB I didnít ask you to.

SHARK Whatís your name?

BOB Look, Go away.

SHARK I was just curious.

BOB Itís Bob now bugger off.

SHARK Is that Russian?

BOB What?

SHARK NAUWBUGEROV, that sounds Russian.

BOB No, itís not Russian. Donít you have something better to do? Iím dying as it is, I donít need you to bore me to death.

SHARK Not really. Gets a bit lonely out here to be honest. You donít find many people to talk to. I swear, sometimes itís enough to drive you mad.

BOB I know what you mean. I also thought Iíd lose it, all the way out here on my own.

SHARK Well you are talking to a shark.

BOB Thatís true. [Beat] I sípose youíre gonna eat me now arenít you.

SHARK No. Why would I do something like that?

BOB Youíre a Shark.

SHARK [Sarcastically] Am I? Oh yes, thatís right.


SHARK I wouldnít worry about it. Iím on a diet.

BOB Do sharks go on diets?

SHARK Overweight ones do.

BOB Oh, I see. So what now?

SHARK Well, you just sit here and wait.

BOB For what?

SHARK Rescue.

BOB Oh yeah.

SHARK How long have you been here?

BOB Not sure. A couple of days.

SHARK And what do you think of it so far?

BOB What?

SHARK Well, do you think youíll come here again next year?

BOB What are you talking about?

SHARK Just trying to make conversation.

BOB Conversation? You think Iím in the mood for conversation? I AM GOING TO DIE?

SHARK Could be worse.

BOB Could be worse?

SHARK Well, itís a nice day for it.

BOB A nice day for it? What the hell are you going on about? Itís nearly forty degrees; my skin is blistering, if I sneeze dust flies out of my nose, thatís assuming my nose doesnít crack first. My clothes, [beat] my clothes were so wet from the perspiration earlier that I ended up sucking on them to get the moisture out which only resulted in me getting a mouthful of sea salt residue and made me feel so nauseas that I vomited up the little remaining fluidís I had. The sun is beating down on me. My hair is dry and flaky, it itches like hell, my entire body itches, I want to scratch it but every time I do I break open another film of skin and lose yet more moisture. The sea breeze blows on my sores and ulcerations and it stings like hell. All I have is the hope that God will be kind to me and somehow get me out of this. Someone will notice Iím missing soon and a search party will have been sent out looking for me. Itís unlikely in this day and age with the technology theyíve got that they wonít be able to find me. One minute I think Iím going to die and the next I think Iíve seen a ship on the horizon or I hear a helicopter in the background, and then to top it all off, just when I think that everythingís going to be okay you turn up. Iím drifting aimlessly to I donít know where and I donít know for how long. And you tell me itís a nice day for it!

SHARK Well it is. The sun is shinning, the sky is clear and the water [beat] yes the water is beautiful. Nice and warm. Clear too! Iíd say there was about fifteen meters visibility in here today. Great for diving. Why not come on in for a while? Have a little swim, give it a try. What do yísay? You might like it.

BOB I might be delirious pal, I might be sitting here having a conversation with a Shark, but I ainít that stupid. Iím not getting in there with you. Youíll eat me.

SHARK No I wonít.

BOB Then what are you hanging around for then?

SHARK Just thought youíd appreciate a bit of company, thatís all.

BOB Well I donít. So piss off!

SHARK Suit yourself.

[SHARK starts to swim off]

BOB Hey. [Beat] Oi! Where are you going?

SHARK I got better things to do than to swim around here and be insulted.

BOB Come on, I didnít mean it. I was just pulling your leg a bit.

SHARK I donít have a leg.

BOB Your tail then.

SHARK See you later Bob.

BOB No, please. Wait. Iím just a bit agitated right now thatís all. Donít leave me here on my own again. Please. Donít go.

SHARK Look Iím sorry Bob, but thereís a whole ocean out there and Iím sure I can find something more interesting and less offensive. I mean you even had the audacity to think I would consider eating someone as bitter as you, PERLEASE! Good luck Bob, I hope you get rescued, I really do. Look I gotta get going.

BOB Just a few more minutes. Please.


Iíll make you a deal.

[SHARK stops]

SHARK What kind of deal?


BOB If Iím rescued Iíll push someone overboard for you as we leave.

SHARK I donít need your charity.

BOB And if I die, I wonít hold a grudge if you eat me. Youíll get first pickings.

SHARK I told you Bob. Iím not interested in eating you and as I said before, Iím on a diet. Besides, donít take this the wrong way but you are getting a bit, well how can I say this politely, [beat] erm, on the turn.

BOB Thatís not my fault. Iíve been out here for two days without fresh water.

SHARK Thatís no excuse.

BOB Come on.

SHARK Okay; Say I do hang around, and say you donít get rescued, you wonít be upset if I didnít eat you would you?

BOB What do you mean?

SHARK Well, Iíve got a bit of a reputation you see. Iíd hate to be seen eating a mate after all.

BOB Really? You see me as a mate?

SHARK Well...

BOB Alright. So you donít have to eat me if you donít want to. Deal?


[He swims back to him]

So then. How about that swim.

BOB Iíd rather not.

SHARK You still donít trust me do you.

[SHARK turns to swim away again]

BOB Itís not that.

SHARK No? Then what is it?

BOB Iím [beat] Iím not a very good swimmer.

SHARK Seaweed! Yes you are. I saw you splashing around when your boat capsized. Eight and ten meter waves. Any normal human being would have died, in fact all the others did, but you, you somehow got through.

BOB I was the only survivor?

SHARK Much to my disappointment.

BOB Whatís that síposed to mean?

SHARK Well, if youíd have just died there and then I wouldnít think twice about eating you. But now [beat] well now itís different isnít it.

BOB And the others? Ben? Josh? Chris?

SHARK Drowned.

BOB Mark? Fliss? Steven?

SHARK Eaten, all of them.

BOB You ate all my friends!

SHARK Well No. Not all of them.

BOB What?

SHARK Some of them I didnít fancy the look of.

BOB You ate my friends!

SHARK I ate SOME of your friends.

BOB You ate my friends.

SHARK No, I ate some, some of them Bob, not all of them. Donít overreact.

BOB I donít believe it.

SHARK Now calm down Bob. Itís really not important.

BOB Not important? Are you kidding me?

SHARK Well think how much money youíll save at Christmas.

BOB What about the fact Iíll be getting less presents?

SHARK Itís a time for giving Bob.

BOB You ate them.

SHARK Letís not look at it as though I ate them, but rather that I saved them.

BOB You saved them?

SHARK Well they would have drowned otherwise.

BOB So let them drown.

SHARK Well itís a bit late now isnít it.

BOB No wonder youíre so fat.

SHARK Yes, I did get a little bit carried away. A little feeding frenzy as it were.

BOB Well youíre not eating me.

SHARK Fine. As I said before, I donít want to eat you.

BOB Oh I get it. I see. This is a guilt thing isnít it.

SHARK I donít know what you mean.

BOB Youíre hanging around because you feel guilty for eating my mates.

SHARK Not at all.

BOB Unbelievable.

SHARK Look, if I could bring them back then I would but I canít. I agree what I did was wrong but youíre not the only one whoís suffering.


SHARK Iíve got terrible indigestion. Why do you think I started this diet?

BOB My heart bleeds for you, it really does.

SHARK Let bygones be bygones. What díyou say?


SHARK You lose a friend, you gain a friend.

BOB I lose a friend, you gain some pounds.

SHARK Lifeís too short to be bitter.


BOB Bitter!? How would you feel if I ate your friends?

SHARK Happens all the time where I come from. Iíve even ate my brothers and sisters before I was born. Itís no big deal.

BOB Well it is to me.

SHARK Look they were going to die anyway.

BOB You canít be sure of that.

SHARK Well do you see any other drift wood?




BOB Alright, fair point. But I still think it was a bit mean.

SHARK I canít help it. Iím an opportunist. [Beat] Friends?

BOB Letís just say weíre not enemies.

SHARK Good enough for me, letís have that swim. Hop on in!

[BOB starts to come off of his driftwood and dangles his legs in the water. SHARK grins, BOB suddenly changes his mind]

BOB Oh no. [He laughs to himself] I canít believe it. I nearly fell for that.


BOB Oh youíre clever. Youíre clever Sharkie.

SHARK Bob, letís not go through all this again. You can trust me now, you know that.

BOB No, no, no. Iíve been drifting here a little too long, but not so long that Iím going to fall for the old Ďcome on in for a swimí routine.

SHARK You know what Bob? You really disappoint me.

[BOB crawls back to the middle of his drift wood]

BOB Youíll get over it.

[Short pause]

SHARK So what now?

BOB Guess Iíll just sit here and wait.

SHARK To be rescued?

BOB Death, rescue. Which ever comes sooner.

SHARK I see.


Fancy a game of I-Spy?

BOB Go on then.

SHARK But you have to go easy on me as my eye-sightís not that good.

BOB All right. You go first.

SHARK Ok. I spy with my little eye, something beginning with [beat] ĎSí.

BOB Erm, Sea?


BOB Sun?


BOB Err. Sky.


BOB Right, my turn.

SHARK Right.

BOB I spy with my little eye, something beginning with, err, ĎSí.


BOB No, weíve had that.

SHARK Oh yeah. Erm, how about Sea?



BOB Bang on the nose.

SHARK Ooh, donít say that!

BOB Sorry I forgot.

SHARK Right, so my turn again.

BOB Indeed.

SHARK Okay, are you ready?

BOB Well Iím not planning on going anywhere.

SHARK Okay then. I spy with my little eye, something beginning with, ĎSí.

BOB Hmmm. ĎSí again.


BOB Sea.


BOB Not sea?


BOB Itís not one weíve already had is it?

SHARK I donít know, remind me.

BOB Well we had Sky and sun.

SHARK Oh no, no, itís neither of those.

BOB Okay then. Erm. Seagull?


BOB Seaweed?

SHARK Ooh, youíre so, SO, cold.

BOB Sea urchin?

SHARK Uh-uh.

BOB Sand, shirt, seahorse, seashell, seesaw?


BOB I give up, what is it?

SHARK No, Iím not telling you.

BOB Go on.



Alright Iíll tell you, but youíll kick yourself when you realise you missed it.

BOB So surprise me.


BOB [Jumps to his feet] What? Where??

SHARK [Laughing] Nah, just kidding.

BOB You complete and utter git!

SHARK You should have seen yourself [beat] Where??

BOB Itís not funny.

SHARK Where??

BOB Shut it!

SHARK Oh lighten up, it was just a little joke.

BOB It was not funny and it was bloody mean.

SHARK Come on, youíre not seriously mad at me are you? Thereís not a lot else to do out here. I thought a little joke might brighten you up a bit.


Hey Bobby, donít get all sulky on me. Come on. See the funny side.

BOB Iím gonna die arenít I.

SHARK I said the funny side Bob.

BOB This is it. This is my hour.

SHARK Oh donít be such a depressive. Youíre not the best of company like this you know. [Beat] It canít be all bad. Whatís it they say? [beat] thatís it ďWorse things happen at sea!Ē [Beat] actually thatís not so good when I think about it. Scratch that, erm ďThereís plenty more fish in the sea?Ē [beat] no, that doesnít work either. Alright, now, no hang on, I can do this. Err.. ďWater, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!Ē Bugger. Thereís gotta be something, how about / ďWhen the going gets tough, the tough get stranded?Ē

BOB I doomed to die here, dehydrated and having spent my last dying seconds with an overweight, clichť filled, Great White.


BOB Its true damn it! Why are you tormenting me like this?

SHARK No, I mean Iím not a Great White, Iím a Bull Shark. Great Whites are generally a lot larger.

BOB Well youíre big enough.

SHARK Well Iím not that overweight Iím just big finned.

BOB Lord take me now. Why do you forsake me with this foolish fat fish for a friend?

SHARK The other thing, of course, is that we Bull Sharks are more aggressive than the Great Whites.

BOB Fascinating Iím sure.

SHARK So Iíd watch it if I were you.

BOB Why? What are you going to do? Talk me to death?

SHARK Look youíre just lucky Iím here on my own. If the rest of my shoal were here theyíd have eaten you by now, but not me, oh no, I thought Iíd give you a chance, I thought / Iíd let youÖ

BOB Oh shut up.

[Brief silence]

SHARK How about another game of I-Spy.

[BOB sobs to himself]

Or a song maybe? I know a few sea shanties. What shall we do with the drunken sailor, what shall we do with the drunken sailor, what shall we do with the drunken sailor early in the morning? Throw him to the sharks and watch him get eaten, Throw him to the sharks and watch him get eaten, Throw him to the sharks and watch him get eaten, early in the morning, Hooray Bob tastes delicious, hooray Bob tastes delicious, hooray / Bob tastes deliciousÖ

BOB Youíre enjoying this arenít you?

SHARK Just trying to cheer you up a bit, thatís all.

BOB If you really wanted to cheer me up then you could do something to help me get out of here. Find some happier solution other than offering to eat me when Iím dead.

SHARK What if I find you some land?

BOB Could you do that?

SHARK Of course I could do that. Iíve lived round here for nearly twenty years. I know this place like the back of my fin.

BOB Well that doesnít exactly fill me with confidence considering that you canít actually bend enough to see the back of your fin.

SHARK Itís an expression.

BOB Well itís a pretty stupid one for a shark.

SHARK Iíll ignore that.

BOB No, Itís no use. Itís over.

SHARK Wait my dear friend, all is not lost.

BOB I wont get my hopes up but whyís that then?

SHARK I seem to recall a rather sizable piece of land located not too far from here.

BOB How sizable?

SHARK Oh itís big. Yeah, a nice size.

BOB Youíre kidding me again arenít you.

SHARK No, straight up this time. If we start off now weíll get there by sunset. And Iíll tell you what, if I get you there then thereís something you can do for me in return.

BOB Whatís that?

SHARK Write our story my friend. Let the world hear about this forbidden friendship between man and man eater.

BOB You obviously never met Madonna.


BOB Never mind.

SHARK I want everyone to see the true side of our nature. Weíre not just vicious, highly advanced, predatory creatures but we can also be cultured and caring. Spielberg ruined us. Put the balance right Bob. [beat] Think about it.

BOB Sunset on the beach.

SHARK Sand between your toes.

BOB A small campfire flickering at my side.

SHARK A lobster cooking on a split.

BOB The stars twinkling above us.

SHARK And the sounds of the sea slowly lapping the shore.

BOB Okay Sharkie, youíve got a deal.

SHARK Excellent. Letís get going.

BOB How far is it?

SHARK Only about a hundred and fifty miles maybe.

BOB What?

SHARK Thatís alright; weíll do it in less than six hours.

BOB You might but I wonít.

SHARK Iíll pull you along on my back.

BOB I wonít be able to breathe.

SHARK Oh yeah. I forgot about that.

BOB Nah forget it. You go on without me, Iím just going to sit here and die.

SHARK Youíre beginning to be not much fun to be around again.

BOB Sorry Sharkie, but this really is the end.

SHARK Well how about that swim then. For old timesí sake.

BOB Youíll eat me.

SHARK I wonít.

BOB You will.

SHARK I wonít.

BOB You will I know.

SHARK I will not!

BOB SharkieÖ!!

SHARK [Annoyed] Oh alright, alright. I will. I admit it. Iíll eat you. Iíll tear you limb from limb, rip out chunks of flesh, turn the water red with your blood and leave you to rot for a few days in my stomach with your friends. A sailorís reunion as it were. There [beat] are you happy now?

BOB Now that wasnít so hard was it.

SHARK So Iíve been straight with you now what díyou say?


SHARK Oh come on Bob. Iíve hung around and kept you company all this time, the least thing you could do is let me eat you.

BOB I donít want to be eaten.

SHARK Itíll be fun.

BOB No it wonít.

SHARK Of course it will.


Look whatís the point of you just sitting there dehydrating and burning up from the inside when you can jump on in, have a bit of a swim, a little bit of excitement and adventure and then get eaten. Youíve never been eaten before have you?

BOB I guess not.

SHARK Well then. What are you waiting for?


SHARK This is your chance Bob, go out with a splash. Just think how much more popular youíll be when you get to heaven. Everyone will want to hear about your dying seconds wrestling with a shark. Whoís going to give a shell if you just dehydrate? Well? Live a little and die, what are you so scared of?

BOB Iím scared of being eaten.

SHARK Thatís what they all say. Look, you wonít even know itís happened.

BOB Do you promise?

SHARK Have I ever lied to you?

BOB Constantly.


BOB Alright then, but let me have a little bit of a swim before you start okay?

SHARK Sure, sure.

BOB Right then. Here I come.

[BOB climbs off of the driftwood and into the water]

Oh youíre right, it is quite warm.

SHARK Told you.

[BOB screams]

Whatís wrong?

BOB The salt [beat] itís stinging.

SHARK Youíll get used to it.

BOB I donít want to get used to it, this is agony.

SHARK Enjoying your swim?

BOB Shut up and eat me you bastard!

SHARK Oakily Doakily.

[BOB and SHARK dance. As they dance SHARK removes the occasional limb]

BOB You move very gracefully donít you.

SHARK Thanks. Youíre not too bad yourself.

BOB Ouch!


BOB Careful with those teeth.

SHARK Sorry.

[They continue dancing the dance of death]

BOB How do I taste?


BOB Just okay?

SHARK Well yeah, youíre alright.

BOB Well whatís wrong with me?

SHARK Nothing.

BOB Well if youíre not enjoying me then stop eating me.

SHARK its okay, Iíve had worse.

BOB Well thanks a lot.

SHARK Nothing personal.

BOB Well Iím glad to hear it.

SHARK Youíre just a bit salty thatís all.

BOB You sod!

SHARK Bye Bob.

BOB Bye bye Sharkie.

[The sea turns red and soon only SHARK is on stage having now devoured BOB. He smacks his lips. There is the sound of boats and helicopters in the background. SHARK looks up and then swims off.]


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Comments by other Members

scoops at 14:37 on 13 December 2004  Report this post
Courtney I came to this after the forum exchanges, just to see what you were writing. I laughed out loud through to the end. I have no idea how this works when read aloud as a dialogue, but reading it on the page was great fun. I liked the premise, I liked the characters and I liked the extremely silly situation. If I have one reservation, it's with the ending, which was too... easy is the wrong word, but I wanted the shark to surprise me by not doing what was expected. I don't usually read scripts because it's not where I'm comfortable, but this is lovely. Shyama

Courtney S Hughes at 09:25 on 14 December 2004  Report this post
Hi Shyama,

Thanks for reading it, its always nice when you receive feedback from anyone on this site as there is a great reward knowing that someone else has read (and hopefully enjoyed) some of your work. As I said before on the forum, I want to write to entertain and I am glad that this play made you laugh out loud, that is what I wanted to do :)

I have done a few read throughs with friends and it works okay in performance, I am quite happy with it but apart from the surreal situation it is not my silliest piece I'm afraid... I write far sillier!!

The novel I am working on is very different, I will hopefully be placing a chapter or two on the site soon and I will let you know when it is there if you are interested in having a read - again I would really appreciate any feedback.

Now back briefly (and with me, briefly is NEVER briefly - I'm a writer for crying out loud!) to 'The Drifter'. I agree with the ending, its a bit of a false ending and breaks one of the first rules of any writing... NEVER KILL YOUR CHARACTER OFF! I was aware of that when I wrote it and tried to think of possible alternatives but the hidden message is really that no matter what people promise you they will almost always do what comes naturally. It is in effect a play about trust and not a play about a man and a shark. I guess there were other ways of ending this but I quite liked the idea of the 'last waltz' and the idea that patience is a virtue (and in this case patience would have saved the guys life). So in many ways I didnt kill him off in order to find an ending, I killed him off to highlight a point (I hope).

If anyone has any alternative ideas for an ending that doesnt drastically change the message I'd love to hear them, maybe it can be re-worked!??!?

(Incidentally Shyama, in the novel I am writing I kill my character off again... but this time at the begninning so maybe thats okay?!?)

Anna Reynolds at 12:00 on 21 December 2004  Report this post
Courtney I wondered about the ending, too- partly because all the dramatic tension goes when we know so far in advance what's going to happen. You might think about ending the piece on the brink as it were- just as Bob decides to take the plunge. I don't know that it adds a huge amount taking us through the 'eating' stage- and it would be difficult to do theatrically, of course, whereas for some reason, a talking shark feels less difficult. I think that it might not have been entirely right for Hotbed as it feels like an extended sketch more than stage drama to me, having seen a fair few of the Hotbed pieces, and one thing they were adamant about was that the plays had to be short dramas as opposed to snapshots or sketches.

Courtney S Hughes at 08:55 on 22 December 2004  Report this post
Hi Anna,

Thanks for reading it through, I appreciate that. I am now considering working this peice through a bit more. I think the scenario is fun and maybe this play can be extended... perhaps the shark takes him to the island? Perhaps we start the action sooner? Maybe a Dolphin is involved? Actually as I started typing this I just had a burst of inspiration (you see... the site does work!)

It was originally a short comedy (as opposed to an extended sketch) and I checked time and time again about the submissions for HOTBED and even phoned them and they said that they were open to anything... as I have never been to the festival I wasnt sure what they would be looking for but in the back of my mind I felt that maybe someone, somewhere might take a risk and try something a little different. I know that it was considered as they did a run through with actors prior to rejecting it - tell tale signs... footprints and dirt on the pages... either it was a run through or they were so displeased with it that they decided to jump up and down on it... what do you think?

Anna Reynolds at 09:59 on 22 December 2004  Report this post
Hi Courtney, glad that's kick started something. Re. Hotbed, did you go and see any of them? I had one on this year and even mine felt a little sketch-like compared to some, which were definitely over the 20 minute mark, and some felt like entire plays, just a lot shorter. Several tackled deeply serious and complex subjects- one about two young men who had killed a child when they themselves were children, and had not met since; one about a young women who had killed herself and come back to sort of haunt her ex-boyfriend for abanonding her to a life of domestic violence....eh, it was a cheerful evening. But there were also some comedies. God, I can't imagine what the footprints were about- but the Hotbed actors do tend to get quite physical when trying things out. I think the festival is running every year, or maybe every 2? anyway, definitely worth working on something for the next one. And if you work/live in Westminster the Soho have a short play comp as well.
A dolphin, huh... could be interesting. I tell you something else that occurred to me re. the shark- he doesn't have to be predictable, does he, and his about-face re. eating our hero could be seen as that.

Courtney S Hughes at 11:12 on 22 December 2004  Report this post
RE HOTBED: I think that the footprint is from where they walked it through and dropped the pages as they went along (maybe too many Sherlock Holmes books). I didnt get to see any of the festival as for the past year I have been in Budapest. Needless to say that if they had decided to use my piece I would have found my way there ;)Did you get positive feedback from audience etc?? They hand wrote some notes on mine and they were really complimentary but I always think to myself 'if its that good why aren't you using it?' and I never take encouraging words seriously from friends, family or organisations that are there to encourage new writing/theatre. Its my only way of dealing with complacency... I need to be my harshes critic.

With 'The Drifter' I was really happy with it when I first wrote it. The first draft happened when I woke up one morning and had the man and shark in my head, I decided to go with it instead of the other short play I was working on - 'Turn Against the Music' - which is also on this site but was never finished. Again, I am not entirely satisfied with that one and I felt the drifter was better, even if it failed at the end. I keep on killing people off though which is proving to be a problem as its the worst thing a writer can do.

I am thinking now that what I have writen for the drifter so far will be ACT 1 and will end when BOB (as in bobbing up and down in the water) agrees to let the Shark take him to the island. ACT 2 will be on the island and then ACT 3... well actually I havent got that far yet so we will see. I'll let you know if and when I get round to writing the other two acts... similar style I think, prehaps it will end up as three acts which can each be performed independantly or as a group?!

Is your HOTBED entry on the site? Can I read it?

kennyp at 22:48 on 22 December 2004  Report this post
Hi Courtney

This is a very surreal piece you're right. It was a very enjoyable read. And, yes funny! But like Anna I think it reads more like a comedy sketch rather than a piece of drama. The absurdist world view of the talking shart does work. It reminds me of the skit with the talking dolphin in the Paul Merton show many years ago. Or even you go even the further back the talking panda in the show "Who Dares Wins Four." on channel four. Not quite sure how it would be staged ie the practacalities, both of the characters are at sea. But interested to see where you go with this.


Courtney S Hughes at 08:56 on 23 December 2004  Report this post
Yes, I forgot about Merton's Dolphin: 'Excuse me mate, have you seen a guy walk past here in a long trench coat, a red scarf and a bowler hat [beat] Oh yes, and he was a Dolhpin!' (I think the line went something like that). I ditched the dolphin idea on the bus on the way home last night and considered some other ideas. I have decided that what I now have here represents ACT 1 of a larger piece. It is a bit sketchy (as in it is a bit like a comic sketch and also I am sketchy on where its going) so I will take a more detailed look at it. I get a bit lost as to what is a sketch and what is not as I feel as though although this is entertaining and funny it does have a deeper meaning but maybe it's still too subtle as no-one seems to ever pick up on it. So in short, the Dolphins out... could be a walk on part for an Albatros though!?? ACT 2 is now firmly in my head but as for where its going and whats going to happen in ACT 3 I'm not sure, until I've figured that out I'm not even going to attempt ACT 2. Thanks for the feedback, always greatly appreciated :)

rmm at 12:58 on 27 March 2005  Report this post
Hi Adrian/Courtney (I am confused),

I enjoyed this piece immensely . Although I wasn't sure how you envisaged Bob 'floating" on driftwood on stage with a shark circling him! But that's a small point about a large fin.

I like the Shakespeare touch of "it all began with a shipwreck" - it always amuses me and probably lots of other too - and like in "Shakepeare in Love" where this notion gets used to good effect also; it serves the play well to help one anticipate a comedy.

Okay [BEAT] rant....I think I've decided I'm never going to be so presumptuous as to write another BEAT or PAUSE in my dialogue ever again! I'm not sure which is the worst offender for breaking the flow of things - I really think your work would have been just as excellent without the insertion of beats - try it without and see if the natural timing of your choice of words and your little assemblies of rebuttals don't actually intrinsically have them in anyway.

Star moments in this work include Shark's, "Naubugerov, that sounds Russian" I might have written "Naubugerov? Russian?" as when the word is said it does sound Russian to the reader. As well as Shark's "I don't have a leg" and "I don't want your charity", his correcting of Bob, "I ate SOME of your friends". I LOVED the eye-spy game ... especially where he winds Bob up about a ship! And "big-finned" got a rise too. The wit and elegance of this was great and finished off beautifully with "FIN".

I have no realy improvement suggestions, other than perhaps you should pull this out the drawer dust it off and polish it up for some other compeition perhaps. There are a couple of 1 act plays comps at the mo. if you see www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom website. There's a regional one which might fit the bill.

Let me know and I'd be happy to read any new drafts.

Rebecc xx

Courtney S Hughes at 10:50 on 29 March 2005  Report this post

ĎThe Drifterí was momentarily resurrected and restructured. I have now posted the up-dated and far sillier version on the site. It is, to say the least, very, VERY rough and very, VERY silly. Keep an eye out for Coconoco!!



Due to a technicality (i.e. the new draft isn't on my Pendrive for some reason) it won't be posted until Wednesday.

p.s. Thanks for your comments by the way, I won't [beat] myself up over them ;)

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