CALLUM A student, 18. Boyishly good looking. He discovered
his sexuality at a young age and has grown up with a great
deal of confidence because of his early experiences.
Heavily aware of first impressions. Largely emotionally
unavailable, afraid of intimacy beyond the carnal.
CHRIS An editor, 42. Wellspoken, impeccably dressed, Oxford
educated and gay. He lives alone in London. Whilst he’s
incredibly charming, he’s a slave to his own emotions.
LAURENCE An artist, 24. A close friend of Callum. Shaved head,
earrings, eyeshadow. Slight build, softly spoken, an
effortless grace to his movements. An alternative fashion
sense. He feels a tremendous amount of affection towards
AARON A television writer, 35. With a longstanding respect for
popular culture and an intuitive intelligence, he believes
he can break people down into character traits and from
these identify their motivations, strengths and
weaknesses. He wears a lot of tshirts with television
references printed on them.
Heather A PR manager, 35. Beautiful and quickwitted, a longtime
friend of Chris and Aaron. She commands the attention of
those who find themselves in her presence.
PATRICK A muscular yuppie, 23. His veneer of carefully maintained
beauty reflects his deeply narcissistic personality. He
spends his spare time working out or having sex, both of
which he is incredibly good at.
ACT I SCENE 1
EARLY EVENING, SPRING.
CHRIS IS SITTING ON THE SOFA, NURSING A
WHISKEY, WEARING JEANS AND A PLAID SHIRT. HE’S
BAREFOOT. HIS HOUSE IS STYLISHLY DECORATED, BUT
THE FLOOR IS PUNCTUATED WITH PILES OF UNREAD
YOU LOOK LIKE RAIN (MORPHINE) IS PLAYING
QUIETLY IN THE BACKGROUND.
THE DOORBELL RINGS.
CHRIS SILENTLY COUNTS TO THREE BEFORE STANDING
UP AND MOVING TO ANSWER IT.
CALLUM STANDS OUTSIDE THE DOOR, WEARING SKINNY
JEANS, BOOTS AND A JUMPER UNDERNEATH A SCARF
AND A WINTER COAT, WHICH IS HANGING OPEN.
CALLUM: Yeah, nice to meet you, man.
THEY SHAKE HANDS AWKWARDLY.
CHRIS: I’m Christopher. Chris.
You found me alright, then?
CALLUM: Yeah, thank god for Google Maps, right?
CHRIS: (SMILING POLITELY) Come in.
CALLUM STEPS INSIDE, SHRUGGING OFF HIS COAT.
CHRIS TAKES IT FROM HIM.
CALLUM: Shoes too?
CALLUM: I don’t want to ruin your carpet.
CHRIS LEADS HIM INTO THE LIVING ROOM.
CHRIS: Don’t worry about it.
Do you want a drink?
CALLUM: Sure, what do you have?
CHRIS: I have bourbon?
CALLUM: Water’s fine.
CHRIS: Sure. Make yourself comfortable.
CHRIS WALKS OFFSTAGE. CALLUM WANDERS AROUND THE
LIVING ROOM, PICKING UP ONE OF THE SCRIPTS AND
FLICKING THROUGH IT. OFFSTAGE, THE SOUND OF A
RUNNING TAP. CALLUM SITS DOWN ON THE SOFA,
CROSSING HIS LEGS. AFTER A FEW MOMENTS, CHRIS
REAPPEARS WITH WATER AND A FRESH GLASS OF
CALLUM: You have a really nice house.
CHRIS: Thanks, it’s a work in progress.
I work from home so it’s easy to procrastinate with DIY.
PAUSE. CHRIS GIVES CALLUM A GLASS OF WATER.
So, did you have to travel far?
CALLUM: (SHAKING HIS HEAD) No, it was pretty easy. I just caught
CHRIS: Oh, that’s a… that’s a good bus.
PAUSE. CALLUM SMILES.
CALLUM: You don’t do this often, do you?
CHRIS: I try not to.
CALLUM: Not a Casanova, then?
CHRIS: I’m not foppish enough to be Casanova. What about Burt
CALLUM: You don’t have a moustache.
CHRIS: I could grow one.
CALLUM: That’s a bit ‘Tom of Finland’, isn’t it?
CHRIS: (SMILING) I could get some leather chaps.
CALLUM: And a motorcycle?
CHRIS: Would you be into that?
CALLUM: Only if you really commit to the character.
CHRIS: (LAUGHING) I’m not very good at roleplay.
CALLUM: We could start off with something classic? I always liked
the geography teacher aesthetic.
CHRIS: (AMUSED) If only I had my gold stars with me.
CALLUM: No gold stars? What kind of teacher are you?
CHRIS: The kind that avoids marking, I’d wager.
CALLUM SITS DOWN, PUTTING THE WATER ON THE
CHRIS CLEARS HIS THROAT.
What do you do?
CALLUM: (WITH A WRY SMILE) I don’t really have many limits. I’m
not into scat, though.
CHRIS: (LAUGHING, EMBARRASSED) No, I mean... what’s your job?
CALLUM: I’m a student.
CHRIS: What do you study?
CALLUM: I can get my CV out if you like?
CHRIS: Do you carry one around with you?
CALLUM: Of course. You never know when a shag’s going to turn into
CHRIS: Does that happen a lot?
CALLUM: (SHRUGGING) What can I say? I’m very employable.
CHRIS: Where do you keep it?
CALLUM: I just got it as a really huge tattoo, it covers like 70%
of my body.
CHRIS: That must put limitations on your wardrobe.
CALLUM: I have a lot of catsuits.
CALLUM: Yeah, I have fantastic catsuit legs.
CHRIS: I’m not really into drag queens.
CALLUM ROLLS HIS EYES, PULLING HIS KNEES TO HIS
CHEST AND HUGGING THEM.
CALLUM: Oh gross, are you one of those antifemme wankers?
CHRIS: I’m not antifemme! I’m just not attracted to camp guys.
CALLUM: How come?
CHRIS: It doesn’t really matter, does it? You’re not camp.
CALLUM: I’m intrigued.
CHRIS: It’s only when it’s performative that it irritates me.
CALLUM: Do masc guys irritate you too?
CALLUM: Why not?
CHRIS: Because it’s not performative.
CALLUM: Of course it is. Gender at its core is performative.
CHRIS: Let’s change the subject. Gender studies aren’t sexy.
CALLUM: (SHAKING HIS HEAD) Oh dude, you should meet my fem lit
lecturer, he’s got this whole dimples and stubble
librarian aesthetic going on. Lots of tweed. He could talk
about sediment and it’d still be saturated in sex.
CHRIS: Your fem lit lecturer is male?
CALLUM: I know, right? Swoon.
CHRIS: (SMILING) I’ve never heard a man swoon before.
CALLUM: (SHARPLY) Fuck societal norms, I’ll swoon if I want to.
CHRIS: I’m coming off as a bit of a prick, aren’t I?
CALLUM: A bit.
You look younger than you did in your pictures.
CALLUM: You look older.
CHRIS: Do you mind?
CALLUM: Not really. Do you?
CHRIS: No. You’re very handsome.
CALLUM SMILES AND STANDS UP, MOVING OVER TO
CHRIS, WHO SMILES BASHFULLY AS THE BOY RESTS
HIS HEAD ON THE OLDER MAN’S SHOULDER.
CALLUM: You smell good.
CHRIS: Do you do this often?
CALLUM: A few times.
CHRIS: My first time.
CALLUM: (SMILING) Am I popping your NSA cherry?
CHRIS: Be gentle with me.
CALLUM: You’re cute.
CHRIS: I’m not cute. I’m roguishly handsome.
CALLUM: Say more words.
CHRIS: Which words?
CALLUM LOOKS UP AT HIM.
CALLUM: Sexy clever words. Like performative and roguish.
CALLUM PULLS AWAY, FROWNING.
CHRIS: It’s a party, for people who work in the printing
CALLUM: (SLOWLY, WITH AMUSEMENT) A printer party?
CHRIS: (A LITTLE EMBARRASSED) Yeah.
CALLUM: That’s your sexiest cleverest word?
CHRIS LAUGHS AND PULLS HIM CLOSER.
CHRIS: Shut up.
HE KISSES CALLUM.
CALLUM: (MIMICKING CHRIS) Printers are the sexiest people in the
world. Nothing gets me harder than a big old printing
CHRIS: You put me on the spot! I have sexier words, I promise.
CALLUM: List them.
CALLUM: That’s French.
CHRIS: The nicest words always are.
CALLUM: Not keen on that one. Lascivious. Feels gross in your
HE PEERS UP AT CHRIS WITH A PLAYFUL SMILE, THEN
BITES HIS LIP GENTLY.
CALLUM: What an excellent idea.
CHRIS: (QUIETLY) Fuck.
ACT I SCENE 2
AFTERNOON, LATE SPRING.
CALLUM IS SITTING NEXT TO LAURENCE.
CALLUM: I’m going up to London again this weekend.
LAURENCE: To see Chris?
LAURENCE: For work?
CALLUM: Yeah, I guess.
LAURENCE: And obnoxious amounts of food?
CALLUM: He’s such a good cook, you have no idea.
LAURENCE: (LOOKING OUT OF THE WINDOW) You’re going to get so fat. Is
he still flirting with you?
LAURENCE: You have to stop him from doing that. He’ll get the wrong
LAURENCE: Don’t encourage him.
CALLUM: I know.
LAURENCE: Don’t forget that he’s your boss.
CALLUM: He’s not technically my boss.
He just owns the company I work for.
We slept with each other.
LAURENCE: I knew it. When?
CALLUM: A few weeks ago.
CALLUM: I should have talked to you about it.
I don’t know. I don’t really like talking about this
You’re the first person I’ve told, if it’s any
LAURENCE: Do you like him?
CALLUM: Yeah. He’s very smart. He chills me out.
LAURENCE: After you had sex with him, what happened?
CALLUM: We just hung out. We played video games.
LAURENCE: You didn’t switch off?
LAURENCE: That’s new.
CALLUM: I know.
LAURENCE: I think you should go for it, then.
LAURENCE: Yeah. Don’t worry too much about the future, not this
time. Just enjoy it while it happens. You get too caught
up in hypotheticals and then your claustrophobia kills it
before anything can really happen.
LAURENCE: You’ve known him for what, a month?
LAURENCE: And you still like him? You can’t just ignore that.
LAURENCE: I love you.
CALLUM: I love you too.
LAURENCE: (TURNING TO LOOK OUT OF THE WINDOW) Next time, tell me,
CALLUM: (RESTING HIS HEAD ON LAURENCE’S SHOULDER) Yeah.
THEY SIT IN SILENCE FOR A FEW MOMENTS.
ACT I SCENE 3
CHRIS AND CALLUM ARE LYING IN BED, NAKED.
CALLUM IS SPRAWLED SIDEWAYS, HIS HEAD IN CHRIS’
LAP. CHRIS PLAYS WITH HIS HAIR AND OCCASIONALLY
TAKES A DRAG FROM THE JOINT THAT’S SMOULDERING
IN HIS OTHER HAND.
CHRIS: You’re moving up the hierarchy so fast, you know.
CALLUM SHRUGS, EXTENDING HIS SPINE IN A FELINE
CALLUM: Understandable. I’m pretty spectacular.
CHRIS: There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
CALLUM: That’s a lie they made up to keep the mediocre people from
CHRIS BENDS DOWN AND KISSES HIM TENDERLY.
CHRIS: You’re revolting.
CALLUM: Let me eat cake.
CHRIS SNORTS AND OFFERS HIM THE JOINT. CALLUM
TAKES IT CAREFULLY FROM BETWEEN HIS FINGERS AND
SLOWLY RAISES IT TO HIS LIPS, CLOSING HIS EYES
AS HE INHALES AND THEN COUGHING. CHRIS REACHES
DOWN AND PLAYS WITH CALLUM’S DICK
You still have to teach me to roll.
CHRIS: Soon, I promise. There’s plenty to do before we get onto
boring things like that, though.
CALLUM: Rolling isn’t boring, it’s an artform. Like being a
CHRIS: I like rolling for you. It relaxes me. It’s like knitting.
CALLUM: (SMILING) You don’t knit.
CHRIS: Neither do you.
CALLUM: Let’s learn.
CHRIS: Can we not and say we did?
CALLUM: People would expect proof. We’d spend a fortune on
CHRIS: There are worse things to spend money on.
CALLUM SHIFTS, PRACTICALLY PURRING, AND CLOSES
CALLUM: List them.
CHRIS: Bus tickets. Toilet paper. Cheap wine.
CALLUM: Bzzt. False.
CHRIS: Cheap wine?
CALLUM NODS, ACCEPTING THE JOINT AS CHRIS HOLDS
IT TO HIS LIPS. HE DOESN’T COUGH THIS TIME,
EXHALING AS HE SPEAKS.
CALLUM: You’re so wrong, dude. Cheap wine is excellent. It’s so
reliable. Barely palatable vinegar is the future.
CHRIS: You need to work on your sales pitch if you’re ever going
to make it in London.
CALLUM SITS UP AND PUNCHES HIM GENTLY IN HIS
STOMACH. CHRIS DROPS HIS LIPS TO CALLUM’S NECK.
CALLUM: The operative word in that sentence was ‘palatable.’
CHRIS: (MUMBLED INTO HIS NECK) You said ‘barely palatable.’
CALLUM: But I did say ‘palatable.’
CHRIS: I’m unconvinced.
CALLUM: You wouldn’t take a bottle of expensive wine to a house
party, would you?
CHRIS RAISES HIS HEAD.
CHRIS: Wouldn’t I?
CALLUM: Wait, would you?
CHRIS: Yes. Probably.
CALLUM: No, see, your house party game is totally off point. You
take a bottle of rat piss, leave it in the kitchen and
drink someone else’s expensive wine for the rest of the
CHRIS SHIFTS, LYING DOWN ON THE SOFA, PROPPED
UP WITH HIS ELBOWS. HE PLAYS WITH CALLUM’S
CHRIS: That seems a little vindictive, don’t you think?
CALLUM: House parties are sick and cruel places, kiddo. You have
to be vindictive to survive. It’s like Mad Max.
CHRIS: How do you know about Mad Max?
CALLUM: I’m not culturally inept. Everybody knows Mad Max.
CHRIS: No, see, that’s the thing. Only the people who were alive
in 1979 know Mad Max.
CALLUM: You’re an idiot.
CHRIS: Have you ever thought about shaving your pubes off?
CALLUM: (LAUGHING) Not really.
CHRIS: It’d look cool.
CALLUM: You reckon?
CALLUM: You’re such a weirdo.
CHRIS: (SMILING) I’m your weirdo.
A TURGID SILENCE. CALLUM SHIFTS UNCOMFORTABLY.
CHRIS’S SMILE DROPS.
Sorry, did that cross the intimacy line?
CALLUM: Come on, man. You know I hate that stuff.
CHRIS: I don’t know why.
CALLUM: It’s gross.
CHRIS: I love you.
CALLUM: Fucking what?
CHRIS: I do.
CALLUM: Jesus Christ.
PAUSE. CHRIS SITS UP.
CHRIS: I’m not going to apologise for it.
CALLUM: And I’m not going to discuss it.
CHRIS: What are you so scared of?
CALLUM: I’m not scared. I just think it’s stupid.
PAUSE. CHRIS LOOKS WOUNDED.
CHRIS: You think love is stupid?
CALLUM: Love is a concept designed by Hollywood.
CHRIS: You’re so cynical.
CALLUM: I’m not! Other cultures have it right. None of this Sex
and the City ‘Mr Right’ bullshit. Victorian marriages of
convenience, man. They’re the future.
CHRIS: You’re hiding behind aesthetics again.
CALLUM: I just don’t think that word should be thrown around
CHRIS: Why not?
CALLUM: It’s very heavy. It could break things.
CHRIS: So love is more than a marketing ploy, then?
CALLUM: No, it’s… Shut up, stop picking holes in my argument.
You’ve put me on the spot.
CALLUM: Don’t be. It’s my hangup, not yours.
CHRIS: A relationship can be whatever you want it to be, you
CALLUM: (RECOILING) A relationship? Fucking hell, Chris.
CHRIS: I’m just saying
CALLUM: There are too many expectations.
CHRIS: There aren’t any expectations. It’s not like playing a
board game, there’s no book of rules.
CALLUM: A society without laws quickly descends into chaos.
CHRIS: Who said that?
CALLUM: I don’t know. I think I made it up. Still true though.
CHRIS: (WITH AFFECTION) You’re a dork.
CALLUM: (SULKILY) Don’t mewl at me.
CHRIS KISSES CALLUM’S NECK.
CHRIS: I’m not mewling. I love you.
CALLUM GROANS. CHRIS CLIMBS ON TOP OF HIM AND
ACT I SCENE 4
A PUBLIC TOILET
EARLY EVENING, SUMMER.
CHRIS STANDS BY THE URINAL, WAITING. HE’S
WEARING A SUIT.
AFTER A FEW MOMENTS, A MAN ENTERS WITH HIS SON,
HOLDING A PRIMARK BAG. CHRIS CLEARS HIS THROAT
AND TURNS AWAY, COVERING HIMSELF WITH HIS HAND.
THE MAN GLANCES OVER AT HIM, THEN POINTS HIS
SON TOWARDS ONE OF THE CUBICLES. HE STANDS
OUTSIDE, WATCHING THE BACK OF CHRIS’ HEAD.
CHRIS STANDS STILL, FACING THE URINAL.
AFTER A FEW MOMENTS, THE CHAIN FLUSHES AND THE
DOOR OPENS AGAIN. THE DAD LEADS HIS SON OUT BY
THE HAND, THROWING CHRIS ANOTHER LOOK AS THEY
CHRIS CLEARS HIS THROAT AGAIN AND PEERS DOWN AT
HIMSELF. AFTER A MOMENT, AN OLDER MAN IN AN
ANORAK STEPS INTO THE BATHROOM AND STANDS AT
THE URINAL NEXT TO CHRIS.
CHRIS HESITATES FOR A MOMENT, AND THEN TURNS
HIS BODY SLIGHTLY SO THAT THE NEWCOMER CAN SEE
THEY MASTURBATE BRISKLY INTO THE URINAL. CHRIS
ACT I SCENE 5
LATE EVENING, SUMMER.
THE REMAINS OF A DINNER PARTY. THE COFFEE TABLE
IS LITTERED WITH WINE GLASSES.
CALLUM AND AARON SIT ON THE SOFA. HEATHER AND
CHRIS STAND IN THE CORNER OF THE ROOM, TALKING.
AARON: Of course, she’s super into dirty talk, but when it
actually comes down to it she’s just sort of irritated by
the whole thing.
CALLUM: Oh my God, you slept with Heather?
AARON: (LAUGHING) You’re kidding, right? I’ve never met someone
with such antisexual chi.
AARON: Isn’t it obvious?
CALLUM GAZES AT HEATHER FOR A FEW MOMENTS.
CALLUM: Not really.
AARON: You just have to look for clues.
CALLUM: Do I get a magnifying class?
AARON: No, Watson doesn’t get to hold the magnifying glass.
CALLUM: You suck. Teach me how to Sherlock.
AARON: OK, let’s start at the top. Her hair.
AARON: (LAUGHING) Keep your voice down.
CALLUM: (WHISPERING) Extensions?
AARON: No, that’s all hers.
CALLUM: Jesus, how does she keep it that shiny?
AARON: Hard work and commitment. Can you imagine her with sex
CALLUM: She’d look amazing.
AARON: Don’t be naive. She’d look awful. Everyone looks awful
sex hair. And she didn’t spend the best part of an hour
perfecting those eyebrows just to wipe them off on my
pillows, you know?
CALLUM: Not to mention, she’s a Goddess and you’re, well...
AARON TUTS, DIGGING HIS ELBOW INTO CALLUM’S
AARON: Rude. And totally irrelevant. Look at the shoes.
CALLUM: They’re very high.
AARON: Those heels are bigger than my dick. She doesn’t want a
shag, she wants a foot rub. And to be the tallest in the
CALLUM: (DREAMILY) God, I’m completely obsessed with her.
AARON: Everyone is. Can you imagine her in a Wonder Woman outfit?
CALLUM: Fucking swoon.
AARON: Halloween 2012. I completely forgot how to speak.
CALLUM: What about me? What can you tell about me?
AARON: I couldn’t possibly say.
CALLUM: I’m asking you to!
AARON: It’s not polite to sherlock people in their presence.
PAUSE. AARON SIGHS AND LEANS BACK, SCRUTINISING
AARON: You deliberately left your phone in your coat pocket so
you wouldn’t be tempted to use it as a distraction from
social interaction, which you hate.
CALLUM: I don’t hate social interaction.
AARON: Oh, you absolutely do. And you have a self image problem.
That’s why you barely drink. You’re worried you’ll
CALLUM: Well, Chris encourages embarrassing activities.
AARON: Wait until he makes Heather rap.
CALLUM: Fuck, she can rap too?
AARON: Yeah, she’s quite the triple threat. You shouldn’t worry
about socialising with us, by the way. You’re pretty
popular. Everyone thinks you’re just the sweetest thing
CALLUM: Oh God, they think I’m sweet?
AARON: You’re not.
THEY STARE AT EACHOTHER.
AARON: Do you like him?
CALLUM: You tell me.
AARON: It’s difficult to tell.
CALLUM: Of course I like him.
AARON: Do you like me?
CALLUM: Chris does something to my chi. I can’t explain it, I just
completely relax around him. It’s like he has this… this
aura that invites confidence and trust.
PAUSE. AARON WATCHES CALLUM CLOSELY.
AARON: Do you think he’s sexy?
AARON: Do you think he’s sexy?
CALLUM: I said yes.
AARON: Do you swallow his cum?
CALLUM: I’m not telling you that.
AARON: No, then?
CALLUM: (DRILY) We make soufflé with it.
AARON: Spare me the pith, I get enough of that from Chris.
mechanisms are so boring.
CALLUM: Do you often talk to strangers like this?
AARON: Only the cute ones.
CHRIS: Callum, come and tell Heather about your lecturer.
CALLUM JUMPS UP. AARON FOLLOWS SUIT,
INTOXICATED. CHRIS EXITS.
HEATHER: Chris combined the words ‘stubble’ and ‘feminism’ and if
that isn’t a sign from God, I don’t know what is.
AARON: I have stubble.
HEATHER: You also have a Doctor Who tattoo.
CALLUM: Hang on, for real?
HEATHER: Yeah, he caught it when we were at college.
AARON: I think you’re confusing science fiction with sexually
transmitted diseases again.
HEATHER: They’re both dealbreakers. I thought you survived
AARON: I did.
HEATHER: Because nobody would touch you?
AARON: Because I was the only one in the flat who didn’t sleep
HEATHER: (NODDING) Because he wouldn’t touch you.
AARON: I was at a major disadvantage, Heather. I have a penis.
Besides, Harry managed it.
AARON: Fuck off.
HEATHER: Oh my god, you didn’t hear?
AARON: Fat Harry?
AARON: Fat Harry with the karaoke machine?
HEATHER: (LAUGHING) Yes.
AARON: I didn’t know he was bi.
HEATHER: He wasn’t. Grant instigated it.
AARON: I’m furious.
HEATHER: Not as furious as Harry’s girlfriend.
AARON: (LAUGHING) Fuck, I completely forgot about her. Remember
when she made us have that house meeting?
HEATHER: Pubegate? How could I forget? Highlight of second year.
THEY LAUGH. CALLUM SMILES, SHIFTING HIS WEIGHT.
AARON: So wait, how did I miss Grant’s experimental phase?
HEATHER: That was the week you went to the New Forest to ‘find
AARON: I hate everything. I’m going to sulk outside for
twenty minutes. Send the boy with wine.
HEATHER: Don’t let him call you the boy. It’ll stick.
CALLUM: It’s cool. I’m pretty sure that’s what everybody calls
me, secretly. That, or ‘The New One’.
HEATHER: Oh, don’t worry about that. Sarah was just excited that
got to introduce you to everyone.
CALLUM: I don’t look that young, do I?
You’re allowed to lie.
HEATHER: They’re just teasing, sweetheart. It’s all aimed at Chris,
CALLUM: I know.
HEATHER: I’d kill to look as young as you.
CALLUM: With a lead pipe?
HEATHER: I try not to lift anything heavier than ten pounds,
darling. I don’t want biceps. I’d use the revolver, and
I’d do it in the library. Ever so dramatic.
CALLUM: Please convince Chris to do a Cluedo night.
HEATHER: Only if I get to be Miss Scarlett.
CALLUM: I’m obsessed with you.
HEATHER: You’re so sweet.
CALLUM: You’re not old, you know.
HEATHER: Tell that to my feet, darling.
CALLUM: I mean, you’re what, mid twenties?
HEATHER: OK, now I’m obsessed with you.
(SHOUTING)Chris! This one’s a keeper!
CHRIS: (OFFSTAGE) Did he say something funny?
HEATHER: (SHOUTING) He thought I was in my mid twenties.
CHRIS: (OFFSTAGE) I told you he was hilarious.
HEATHER: (SHOUTING) Bring wine for Lord Byron, he’s sulking.
(TO CALLUM) You can tell everybody I’m in my mid twenties.
In fact, I’ll pay you handsomely to do exactly that.
CALLUM: I’ll tell them you’re in your mid twenties if you tell
them I’m actually in my forties.
HEATHER: Deal. How do I explain your Enid Blyton boyishness?
HEATHER: No, they’d look for scars. How about cold cream?
CALLUM: Cold cream? I take back the whole midtwenties thing.
CALLUM: Tell them I bathe in virgin blood.
HEATHER: (LAUGHING) Perfect!
CHRIS ENTERS, HOLDING TWO GLASSES OF WINE.
CHRIS: What are you cackling about?
HEATHER: We’ve finally found a use for Aaron.
HE PASSES HER THE WINE AND SLIPS AN ARM AROUND
CHRIS: He’ll be delighted.
Sorry for leaving you with the coven. How’s it going?
CALLUM: Your friends are fantastic.
CHRIS: Aren’t they? They love you.
CALLUM: (DRILY) They think I’m sweet.
CHRIS: Bzzt. False.
CALLUM: Heather said so herself.
CHRIS: That’s ridiculous. You’re not sweet. You’re a bitter and
edgy lord of darkness, and you could totally be a
consumptive prostitute if you wanted to, but at the moment
all you really want is a glass of wine and a joint.
CALLUM: I fucking adore you.
CHRIS: Je sais. Go and make sure Heather isn’t being too
I’ll get to work on the sacrificial rites.
ACT I SCENE 6
PATRICK IS IN HIS UNDERWEAR, LIFTING WEIGHTS.
THE INTERCOM BUZZES. HE FINISHES HIS SET. THE
INTERCOM BUZZES AGAIN. HE STANDS AND PRESSES
PATRICK: (EXAMINING HIS REFLECTION) Yeah?
CALLUM: (DISTORTED VOICE) Hi.
CALLUM: (DISTORTED VOICE) It’s me. Alex.
PATRICK: Uh huh. Come up.
PATRICK TURNS, OPENING THE DOOR. HE GOES BACK
TO HIS WEIGHTS AND FINISHES HIS SET. AFTER A
FEW MOMENTS, CALLUM STEPS INTO THE FLAT. HE’S
WEARING JEANS AND A T SHIRT. HE’S GROWN A LIGHT
PATRICK IGNORES HIM.
CALLUM: Should I take my shoes off?
PATRICK: If you want. They’ll be coming off eventually, won’t they?
CALLUM: (WITH HUMOUR) I like to keep them on during sex.
PATRICK: Not in my bed, you don’t.
PATRICK PUTS DOWN THE WEIGHTS AND GLANCES AT
PATRICK: You don’t look 20.
CALLUM: I get that a lot. Hence the beard.
PATRICK: Can I see some ID?
CALLUM: Are you serious?
PATRICK: I don’t want to put my dick in anything that’s going to
come back to bite me later.
CALLUM: I prefer sucking to biting.
PATRICK: (HOLDING OUT HIS HAND) ID.
CALLUM FUMBLES WITH HIS WALLET, PULLING HIS ID
OUT AND PASSING IT TO PATRICK, WHO EXAMINES IT
PATRICK: So, Alex, how big is your dick?
CALLUM: I sent you a picture.
PATRICK: (TERSELY) You can drop the attitude. I could get another
twink round here in ten minutes.
CALLUM: Seven inches. Maybe a little more.
PATRICK: That’ll do. Clean?
PATRICK: Good, I don’t like condoms.
HE PASSES CALLUM’S ID BACK TO HIM.
You want some G?
CALLUM: Uh huh.
HE HANDS CALLUM A GLASS. CALLUM SIPS FROM IT,
THEN MOVES TO KISS PATRICK.
PATRICK: No. You suck my dick.
CALLUM SINKS TO HIS KNEES IN FRONT OF PATRICK.
ACT I SCENE 7
EARLY EVENING, SUMMER.
CALLUM SITS ON THE FLOOR BETWEEN CHRIS’S LEGS,
A SCRIPT SPLAYED OPEN IN HIS LAP. THEY’RE BOTH
WEARING SUITS. CALLUM’S HAIR IS NEATLY STYLED,
HE LOOKS OLDER, MORE PROFESSIONAL, TIRED.
CHRIS: Major Tom?
CHRIS: You’ve been reading that page for the last twenty minutes.
CALLUM: (YAWNING) Shit, really?
CHRIS: I thought you might be grounding yourself.
I didn’t want to interrupt.
CALLUM: (TILTING HIS HEAD BACK, SMILING) Thanks.
CHRIS: Maybe I’ll cut off your supply for a bit.
CALLUM: (GRINNING, CALIFORNIAN ACCENT) Come on, man, I’ll do
anything. You know I’m good for it, bro. I’ll suck your
CHRIS: (UNZIPPING HIS TROUSERS WITH A GRIN) What an excellent
CALLUM PUTS DOWN THE SCRIPT WITH A SMILE, THEN
TURNS AND BEGINS TO SUCK CHRIS’ DICK.
CHRISSIGHS CONTENTEDLY, ONE HAND ON TOP OF
CALLUM’S HEAD. AFTER A FEW MOMENTS, HE CLOSES
HIS EYES. HE OPENS THEM AGAIN, VISIBLY A LITTLE
CALLUM: Don’t apologise. It happens.
CHRIS: It’s the weed.
CALLUM: (CLIMBING BACK UP ONTO THE SOFA WITH A WARM SMILE) I know,
don’t worry about it.
CHRIS ZIPS HIS TROUSERS UP AGAIN, THROWING
CALLUM A SAD SMILE.
ACT I SCENE 8
LATE NIGHT, SUMMER.
THE DOOR OPENS AND CALLUM ENTERS, STILL WEARING
THE SUIT. HE’S VISIBLY IRATE ABOUT SOMETHING.
HE TAKES OFF HIS JACKET AND WALKS OFFSTAGE, TO
THE KITCHEN. THE SOUND OF THE TAP RUNNING CAN
AFTER A FEW MOMENTS, CHRIS WALKS INTO THE
HOUSE, ALSO WEARING HIS SUIT, AND QUIETLY
CLOSES THE DOOR. HE SIGHS AND SHRUGS OFF HIS
JACKET, WALKING OVER TO THE MUSIC SYSTEM AND
TURNING IT ON. MANHATTAN (BLOSSOM DEARIE) PLAYS
QUIETLY. CHRIS SITS DOWN ON THE SOFA AND UNTIES
HIS SHOES. CALLUM ENTERS FROSTILY, HOLDING A
GLASS OF WATER.
CHRIS: Well, that could have gone better.
CALLUM: Go fuck yourself.
CHRIS: Don’t be churlish.
CALLUM: Don’t use grandad words.
BEAT. CHRIS LOOKS UP AT CALLUM WEARILY.
CHRIS: I apologised in the car.
CALLUM: (WITH VENOM) I’m not your trophy wife, Chris.
CHRIS: Nobody thinks you’re my trophy wife.
CALLUM: I’m sick of you rolling me out at these social events
all of your inane friends talk to me like I’m an embryo.
CHRIS: My friends like you!
CALLUM: Catherine hates me.
CHRIS: Who’s Catherine?
CALLUM: Not Catherine. The other one, with the glasses and the
CALLUM: Every time I looked up she was scowling at me.
CHRIS: That’s just the way her face is. You like Aaron and
CALLUM: Ugh, there’s always so much tension between them. It’s
walking in on people fucking and then standing in the
corner with a glass of wine while they finish up.
CHRIS: (SMILING) I love your analogies.
CALLUM: Don’t patronise me. I’ve had that all night, I don’t need
it from you as well.
CHRIS: (FROWNING) You felt patronised?
CALLUM: “So, where do you go to school?”
CHRIS: That was a joke.
CALLUM: “You can’t keep trading them in for younger models, Chris.
You’ll get yourself in trouble.”
CHRIS: Paul’s an arsehole. Don’t listen to him.
CALLUM: “The children’s table is through there.”
PAUSE. CHRIS SIGHS.
CHRIS: They’re just
CALLUM: Stop making excuses, Chris.
CHRIS: I’m not making excuses!
CALLUM: (LOOSENING HIS TIE) I fucking hate wearing suits.
CHRIS: You look handsome.
CALLUM: (SHARPLY) We look ridiculous together.
A LONG, HEAVY SILENCE. CALLUM CROSSES HIS ARMS.
CHRIS: I’m sure you’d have preferred to go with Patrick.
He’s just some guy on my course.
CALLUM: You’ve been going through my phone?
I didn’t do anything with him.
CHRIS: You could tell me, you know. If you had.
CALLUM: I wanted to.
PAUSE. CHRIS LEANS FORWARD AND TURNS THE MUSIC
I couldn’t, though. When it actually came down to it.
A LONG SILENCE. CHRIS STANDS UP AND WALKS INTO
THE KITCHEN. HE REAPPEARS WITH A GLASS OF
WHISKEY AND SITS DOWN ON THE SOFA. CHRIS AND
CALLUM LOOK AT EACHOTHER. CHRIS SIGHS.
CHRIS: I don’t believe you.
I really wish I could, Callum. I really wish I could, but
I just don’t.
HE SIPS FROM HIS GLASS. CALLUM MOVES OVER TO
HIM AND RESTS HIS HEAD ON THE OLDER MAN’S
SHOULDER. CHRIS SITS STIFFLY.
Do you love him?
CHRIS: Is he better at it than I am?
CHRIS TAKES ANOTHER SIP, AND THEN SMASHES THE
GLASS ON THE FLOOR. CALLUM JUMPS BACK, ALARMED.
CHRIS: (BREATHING HEAVILY) Sorry. I’m sorry.
CALLUM: I won’t see him again.
CHRIS: You think I’m stupid?
CALLUM: (QUIETLY) No.
PAUSE. CHRIS SIGHS.
CHRIS: Go to bed. I’ll come up in a bit.
THEY STARE AT EACHOTHER FOR A FEW MOMENTS.
CALLUM EXITS. CHRIS SITS DOWN, STARING AT THE
PUDDLE OF WHISKEY THAT’S COLLECTED ON THE
FLOOR. AFTER A FEW MOMENTS, HE BEGINS TO ROLL A
JOINT. HE LIGHTS IT AND TAKES A FEW PUFFS. HE
TURNS THE MUSIC BACK ON, QUIETLY, AND LAYS BACK
ON THE SOFA.
THE LIGHTS BEGIN TO DIM AS HE FALLS ASLEEP.
SOON THE ONLY LIGHT ON THE STAGE IS THE GLOW OF
THE JOINT. IT FALLS ONTO ONE OF THE SCRIPTS,
WHICH BEGINS TO BURN, IGNITING THE PUDDLE OF
At the beginning of this module, my goal was to create an abstract piece, weaving together
disconnected shards of narrative in order to deal with the topics of apathy, sexuality and
psychology. I wanted to use fully developed characters, building on my successful character
studies from last year, and I intended to focus largely on long pieces of descriptive prose and
avoid cliché where possible. Drawing from my own experiences in the style of Lena Dunham,
I attempted to paint a surreal picture of hypnosis as a therapeutic technique. However, I
quickly found that it was almost impossible to draw any meaning from the fractured narrative I
had created. In addition to this, although the feedback from my peers was largely positive with
regards to my style, several of the people I shared my work with indicated that they were less
confident in the coherence of my piece. Arrogantly, I ignored their advice until I found myself
unable to write anything at all.
Researching writer’s block, I found a quote from Ray Bradbury: “if you’ve got a writer’s block,
you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever you’re writing and doing something else.
You picked the wrong subject.” (Petras & Petras, 2014, p.167) In response to this, I wrote 500
words of pacy dialogue between two of the characters of Theophrastus (2004); Aponoia (The
Man without Moral Feeling) and Kolakeia (The Flatterer), taking a break from the tepid,
overlydescriptive drawls I’d relied on too heavily until that time. Presenting the new piece to
the group, I asked a peer to read the dialogue for one of the characters in order to highlight
the separation between the two, as I felt I hadn’t fully developed the individual differences
between them and I wanted the group to experience the pace of the dialogue without
compromising the coherence of the piece. Hearing the piece presented with two readers, the
group’s response was immediate and unanimous I should be writing a script rather than
Having written two plays last year, I was a little reluctant to follow this advice as I have often
struggled with a tendency towards clunky exposition and onedimensional characters whilst
working with scripts. However, finding myself at a creative impasse, I created a synopsis for a
short play exploring the illicit relationship between a young woman and her older, married
lover, piecing together a foundation on which to build my play. I decided to use the classic
three act structure, but only write the first act in order to allow myself the space to fully
develop my characters, taking into consideration the 5000 word limit. This also allowed me to
take my time with exposition, giving me the opportunity to navigate the narrative without
After finishing the first draft of In Those Eyes, I explored the existing cultural representations
of relationships involving young seductresses and older men, throwing myself into cinema
rather than literature in order to diversify my sources and get a feel for writing realistic
dialogue. I enjoyed François Ozon’s Jeune & Jolie (2013) for his aloof, sad representation of a
call girl, and in order to capture the bitterly intelligent interaction between a young sex addict
and the distraught wife of one of her conquests, I analysed the dialogue from a scene from
Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac: Vol. I. However, after completing my research into this
genre, I pulled away from the disbalanced heterosexual relationship, as I felt it was a narrative
cliche done to death, and one that all too often drips with a judgemental tone which I was
desperate to avoid. I turned instead to a gay relationship as I was interested in the complete
change of power dynamic when replacing a young woman with a young man.
I began to read plays, both in an attempt to lock down a writing style that has eluded me in the
past, and also to find inspiration for the events of my own piece. I had already read Equus
(1993) in preparation for the abstract prose, focusing on Dysart’s psychobabble, but now I
reread it, paying more attention to the tightly wound dialogue between the doctor and his
patient. On the recommendation of several peers, I read Closer (2007), and it was here that I
found the most inspiration for In Those Eyes. Closer’s sexual battlefield and focus on human
isolation intrigued me, and pushed me to study similar themes within my script. Merging
Shaffer’s smart, popreference heavy dialogue with Marber’s barbed wit, I continued to work
on the voices of my characters.
Drawing inspiration again from Theophrastus, I created indepth character biographies for my
cast, which grew from two characters to six. I drew my character inspirations from various
sources. Chris was initially created as an amalgamation of von Trier’s faceless conquests and
Ozon’s clients. However, advice from a peer pushed me away from this characterisation after
she voiced concerns that Chris was appearing one dimensional and boring. In order to add
depth to his character, I drew traits from people in my own life, lending Chris intellect and a
warm wit. In order to subvert the cliche of the predatory older gay man seducing and
corrupting an innocent youth, I made Callum, the ingenue, sexually confident and intelligent,
whilst giving Chris a romantic, slightly nervous edge.
Patrick’s name and characterisation nods towards Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho (2006),
a book I had read in preparation for my abandoned piece. I found Ellis’ psychopathic
protagonist intriguing, and wanted to create an aggressive, superficial yin to Chris’
affectionate yang whilst also allowing myself to introduce a little corruption to a script that was,
at the time, reading as affectedly quaint. Heather and Aaron grew together as an attempt to
include a scathing, almost cruel form of affection that I personally enjoy observing in
relationships, and also to lend Callum vulnerability and explore his character growth without
turning to hackneyed exposition. Heather is the first character that the audience sees truly
patronising Callum, and it is in their interaction that I sow the seed of one of the major themes
of the play; youth. After the events of act one, I wanted Callum’s relative youth to become a
much bigger issue for the people he’s been introduced to through Chris, as well as for himself.
I drew Heather and Aaron’s rapport from the bickering of Benedick and Beatrice in
Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (1981), particularly inspired by this interaction:
Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain that I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted;
and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none.
A dear happiness to women! They would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor.
(Shakespeare, 1981. Act 1, Scene 1. p. 95)
I have always enjoyed writing strong female characters, and both Much Ado About Nothing
and Closer served to increase the need for them in my script. I had Heather, and I was happy
with her voice, but I was aware that she was the only female character in the cast. I wrestled
with the idea of adding more, but ultimately decided against it as I wanted Callum’s character
to socialise primarily with gay men, reverting to stereotypes in order to make his character
‘read true’, as a peer suggested to me.
After the fire at the end of Act One I wanted to have a network of characters for Callum to
interact with in Act Two, and I needed at least one from Callum’s social group to offer a
perspective grounded in years of friendship. Laurence was an evolution of a character I
created last year, though he experienced a change in gender and attitude. Whereas his
predecessor had an acid wit and a slightly waspish attitude, Laurence is more subdued and
motherly in his interactions with Callum. In this play, he is the only character who was not built
on a Theophrastan foundation. His motivations come instead from maternal love and honesty,
an attempt to create a supportive confidante for Callum. Peers responded well to Laurence,
describing him as ‘real’ and ‘grounded’, both of which indicated to me that I had managed to
avoid turning one of the smallest parts in the first act into a onedimensional caricature.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted Callum to be promiscuous, and I feel I expressed the
liberal attitude he applies to sex successfully through his initial seduction of Chris and his
subsequent misadventures with Patrick. However, after sharing the piece with a friend, I was
warned against making the relationship between Callum and Chris too one sided. Since the
events of In Those Eyes take place over a year, I had the opportunity to focus on key events
in the evolution of their relationship, and I decided to add one to create a jarring change in
pace. Act I Scene 4 intends to blindside the audience as one of the first ‘events’ of the
narrative, and in order to do that I attempted to organise a multipronged attack. Firstly, I
juxtaposed the short scene with the saccharine tone of Act I Scene 3 with no foreshadowing.
In addition to this, I removed all dialogue to create a disturbing change in the language heavy
first half. I placed Chris at the centre of the action rather than Callum, in direct violation of their
previously confirmed character traits. I enhanced the gravity of the situation by introducing the
Father and son. I was unsure whether the presence of a child in the first truly sexual
encounter of the play would cast unpleasant connotations upon Chris’ character, but
ultimately decided that the scene needed an innocent presence in order to drive the cruising
scene beyond the harmless. The open masturbation at the climax of the scene is something I
remain unsure of. Such a blatant departure from subtlety could so easily be considered
immature and bawdy, and yet I feel that the crudeness is necessary in securing the change in
tone. This is, after all, the scene that marks the beginning of the relationship’s decline.
My intention for In Those Eyes was to create a pithy, fastpaced script, following the
interaction between a young libertine and an older man searching for affection without casting
judgement on the relationship or relying on cliché. I wanted to create fully rounded characters
without leaning on clumsy exposition, and I feel that I achieved this through my dialogue. My
goal at the beginning of the module was to create an abstract, artistic piece, and although my
finished script is quite the opposite, I feel it reflects my strengths in a far more subtle and
infinitely more readable way. I hope that my characters feel real, grounded in individual
histories and armed with realistic dialogue. I feel that my narrative has a strong flow, and I
believe that I maintained the pace of the script without turning to jarring exposition in order to
guide the audience through the story.
Easton Ellis, B. (2006) American Psycho. 14th Ed. London: Picador
Jeune et Jolie (2013) Film. Directed by François Ozon. [DVD] France: Wild Bunch.
Petras, K. & Petras, R. (2014) “It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done.”: Motivation for
Dreamers & Doers. 1st Ed. New York: Workman Publishing
Shaffer, P. (1993) Equus. Revised Ed. London: Longman Literature.
Shakespeare. W. (1981) Much Ado About Nothing. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd
Marber, P. (2007) Closer. 5th Ed. London: Methuen Drama
Nymphomaniac: Vol. I (2013) Film. Directed by Lars von Trier. [DVD] Germany: Filmverleih
Teofrasto (2004) Theophrastus: Characters. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press