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Authors: Beth Steel

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Ditch

BOOK: Ditch
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Beth Steel

Ditch

Methuen Drama

Table of Contents

Act One

Scene One

Scene Two

Scene Three

Scene Four

Scene Five

Scene Six

Scene Seven

Scene Eight

Act Two

Scene One

Scene Two

Scene Three

Scene Four

Scene Five

Scene Six

Scene Seven

Scene Eight

Ditch

For Mum and Dad

Setting

The Peak District. The future.

Characters

Both the women and men appear older than their given ages, due to labour in harsh weather and lost years.

Mrs Peel
, fifty-eight years old.

Megan
, twenty years old.

Burns
, early fifties.

Bug
, late thirties.

Turner
, late thirties.

James
, twenty years old.

Production note

The entire stage is to be covered thickly in barren peat. The peat should rise around the perimeter of the stage to create a shallow ditch where the action takes place. The peat is there to be interacted with, which is to say, as the characters rise and fall they will be covered in dirt.

Act One

Scene One

A remote farm, now a Security outpost in the Peak District. Plot of land. Early evening, the light is fading fast. The guttural croak of a raven overhead. Dogs bark.

Turner
(
Off stage.
) Woo-Hoo!

Turner
runs out followed by
James
.

Turner
(
Hollers out.
) You jammy cunt! He gonna be gloatin' all night.

James
Where's he takin' her?

Turner
Putting her in that outbuildin' over there. I been one ahead, now she makes us even.

James
You keep a score?

Turner
Aint as if it's every day yer getting' one. That's the first Illegal we picked up in six weeks.

James
What a' you doin' the rest a' the time?

Turner
Tuggin' our dicks. Out lookin' for the next ones s'what we doin'.

Turner
takes out his flask, belts back a drink.

Most a' the time me and Bug over there a' out patrollin' together. But I'll have you with me for a few days, train you up and then you can go out with Burns.

James
Been given a letter for him.

Turner
Letter? How'd you get it?

James
Headquarters in Manchester.

Turner
You got it with yer now?

James
nods.

Turner
Let me have a look at it.

James
It sealed.

Turner
Aint gonna open it.

James
S'what you want it for?

Turner
Just give me the fuckin' letter.

James
produces the letter.
Turner
snatches looks at the envelope.

Turner
Shit.

James
What?

Turner
Can't tell what's in it.

Turner
gives the envelope to
James
.

Turner
Burns's boy, Brian, been deployed three year ago.

James
Thinkin' he dead?

Turner
Probably says he comin' back, now that we got the strong hold over there.

Bug
enters jauntily.

Bug
What'd you say to that then?

Turner
Yeah, alright. This here is big useless Greg.

James
and
Bug
shake hands.

Bug
Bug.

James
James.

Bug
A we glad to see you.

James
Glad to be here.

Bug
They gettin' younger or we older?

Turner
Good to see 'em signin' up.

Bug
They been sayin' they gonna send us more men for two months.

James
Well I'm just the one.

Bug
It's somethin'.

Turner
Things a' lookin' up.

Bug
What time you get here?

Turner
About an hour ago.

Bug
Alright, aint it?

James
Glad to be here.

Bug
Where you been posted before?

James
London.

Bug
(
Laughs.
) I bet yer fuckin' are.

Turner
(
Laughs.
) What a shit hole eh?

Turner
and
Bug
are now quiet.

Bug
It the way they say?

James
I guess.

Bug
You ain't sure?

James
Never knowed what it like before.

Turner
London's finished.

Bug
No sign a' Recovery there?

Turner
What's it matter?

Bug
Bein' London an' all.

Turner
Manchester's where it's at now.

Bug
Yeah, I know.

Turner
Been improvements there.

Bug
Just askin'.

Turner
Where'd you pick her up?

Bug
About twenty mile from the Sheffield border.

Turner
She have a bag with her?

Bug
Nothin'.

Turner
You pick up a woman with no bag, means she up the spout.

James
You get many that way?

Turner
More than you'd think.

Bug
Them rods in 'em aint guaranteed.

Turner
Dint show up at a clinic or ripped 'em out.

James
Where's she go from here?

Bug
Take her to the train station.

Turner
Same you got off earlier.

Bug
Burns back?

Turner
Nah, better be back here soon, I'm champin' at the bit for tonight.

Bug
Now we got two things to celebrate.

Turner
You comparin' seizin' a knocked-up Illegal to seizin' a pipeline?

Bug
sheepishly shakes his head.

Turner
Tonight's about the man that had the bollocks to go over there, and had the bollocks to fight. (
Raises his flask.
) We celebratin' the King's bollocks.

Turner
and
Bug
belt one back.

James
Where we goin'?

Bug
When?

James
Tonight? To celebrate.

Turner
and
Bug
laugh.

Turner
Aint goin' nowhere. This here. (
Stops laughing.
) This is your world. Entire. Sky.

Bug
Mountains.

Turner
Moors.

Bug
Bogs.

Turner
Mud.

Bug
Dirt.

Turner
Cuckoo spit.

Bug
Fox piss.

Turner
Dog shit.

Bug
Cow shit.

Turner
Horse shit.

Bug
Stage skunk.

Turner
And fuck all else.

Burns
enters.

Turner
(
To
Bug
.) He's thinkin' about how he can laid already.

Burns
Welcome to the Peak.

Burns
and
James
shake hands.

Burns
Burns.

James
James.

Burns
Just got in?

James
Bout an hour ago.

Burns
How was the train up here?

James
Took a while.

Burns
Been some time since I travelled about.

Burns
What's it lookin' like?

James
What d'you mean?

Burns
See any construction work goin' on?

Bug
She in the outbuildin'.

James
Can't say I did.

Burns
Buildin' a homes?

James
shakes his head.

Turner
He only been sat on a train.

Burns
Repairin' a' roads?

James
shakes his head.

Turner
Arterial roads have been fixed.

Burns
Nothin' like that?

James
shakes his head.

Burns
No sign a' Recovery then?

Turner
Priorities s'what they been doin'.

Burns
Thought the Recovery was one.

Beat
.

Bug
I got an Illegal.

Burns
Wasn't expectin' yer till tomorrow.

James
When I got inta Manchester there been a freight leavin' early, so I took that.

Burns
Been over to Headquarters whilst you there.

James
Been given a letter for yer.

Burns
Letter? What kind a' letter?

James
produces the letter.
Burns
takes it and reads the envelope.
James
steps away.
Turner
nods at
Bug
for them to give
Burns
some space.
Burns
opens the envelope and reads the letter. Pause. He laughs. The men turn round.

Burns
I been put in charge.

Bug
and
James
happily step forwards.
Turner
stays where he is with a face like a smacked arse.

Bug
(
Pats back.
) Congratulations.

James
(
Shakes hand.
) Congratulations.

Turner
What's it say?

Burns
You can read it later.

Turner
Like to read it now.

Burns
It goin' up on the kitchen wall.

Mrs Peel
enters.

Mrs Peel
She's pregnant and she far gone.

Bug
She aint showin'. You checked?

Mrs Peel
She as wide as a river in spate.

Bug
(
Grins.
) Nothin' worse.

Mrs Peel
When yer boat aint big enough.

Mrs Peel
leaves.

Burns
There's a train leavin' at eleven. (
To
Bug
.
) You'll just about make it.

Turner
We celebratin' tonight.

Burns
Next trains not for a week.

Turner
What difference does it make?

Burns
No need to drag this thing out.

Turner
Aint as if she gonna drop it in a week.

Burns
Best she goes now.

Turner
He aint gonna get back here till gone three.

Burns
Put her on a horse too.

Turner
I say we vote on it.

Burns
I say what goes on around here now.

Bug
nods,
Turner
nods grudgingly.
Burns
leaves.

Bug
He just pissed all over my strawberries.

Bug
leaves.
Turner
and
James
watch him go.

Turner
There's no way Stevens would a' done that.

James
Who's Stevens?

Turner
He the boss round here.

James
Where'd he go?

Turner
Venezuela, with the rest a' 'em. There been eight a' us here to start with.

Turner
walks off in the opposite direction to
Bug
.

Turner
(
Stops.
) You comin'? (
Storms off
.) We got a war victory to celebrate.

James
leaves.

Scene Two

Kitchen. Afternoon.

Megan
has mopped the floor, she now rings out the mop.
James
enters stops as he sees the wet floor between the two of them.

James
Mornin'.

Megan
spins round.

Megan
Mornin'.

James
Guess I can't come in here.

They look at the floor . . .

James
How long it gonna take to dry?

Megan
Five minutes.

James
Five?

Megan
Three, maybe.

James
Hard to be exact.

Megan
It tricky to judge.

James
I bet.

They look at each other . . .

James
Come back in five then.

James
makes to leave.

Megan
Bound to be three by now.

James
Don't seem worth goin'.

BOOK: Ditch
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