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The Past is Present Mary Ball


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A script for the first episode of a series of radio dramas based on past events in Coventry. For a university module

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The Past is Present Mary Ball

  1. 1. The Past is Present: Mary Ball By Lillie Cram, Riku Määttä & Denise Nisa
  2. 2. THE PAST IS PRESENT: MARY BALL PRESENTER Welcome to The Past is Present. This weeks drama is based on Mary Ball - the last woman to be executed in Coventry. She still haunts the building where she was sentenced to death by hanging for poisoning her husband using arsenic. Over 150 years later the county court and jail is now a popular restaurant called The Establishment. Scene: 1 (9TH AUGUST 1849, MARY BALL’S EXECUTION) F/X: CHURCH BELLS, WIND, CROWDS TOWN CRIER [shouting] Everyone gather round! 9th August 1849 the morning of Mary Balls final day! Everyone hurry she is to be hung at exactly 10am! F/X: CROWD GOES SILENT, FINAL BELL SOUNDS F/X: TRAP DOOR FALLING, ROPE PULLING, FINAL YELP Scene: 2 (PRESENT DAY, PM, THE ESTABLISHMENT) F/X: SONG, GLASSES CHINKING, PLATES SARAH Hi, are you ready to order? MAN Yep, I’ll have the fish and chips. Make it as quick as possible, I’m a busy man and I’ve got things to do. SARAH OK sir, I’ll get that to the chef straight away MAN Well, I’d expect you to, isn’t that your job? SARAH Yes sir Scene: 3 (KITCHEN, PM, THE ESTABLISHMENT) F/X: DOOR OPENING, LOUD CLANGS, OVENS (CONTINUED)
  3. 3. CONTINUED: 2. SARAH [Shouting over the noise] Got another order for you Chef CHEF OK Sarah, is there not some tables you should be clearing? Scene: 4 (RESTAURANT, PM, THE ESTABLISHMENT) F/X: PLATES CLINKING, GENERAL CHATTER, GLASSES F/X: CLEANING SPRAY, WIPING, SHOES MAN [shouting] Waitress! How long will my food be? SARAH [politely] I’ll go check now sir Scene: 5 (KITCHEN, PM, THE ESTABLISHMENT) SARAH How long will the fish and chips be chef? CHEF Do you see how busy we are? It will be ready when it’s ready! Scene: 6 (RESTAURANT, PM, THE ESTABLISHMENT) SARAH Can I get you another drink while you wait? MAN No, I want my food, I came here to eat not drink I thought this was a good restaurant. It’s only fish and chips! Have you sent the chef to go catch the thing. SARAH I’m sorry, I’ll talk to the chef again MAN (TUTTING)
  4. 4. 3. Scene: 7 (KITCHEN, PM, THE ESTABLISHMENT) CHEF Sarah! Where have you been? SARAH I was just.. CHEF [cutting her off] I don’t care, the fish and chips is ready, don’t keep the customer waiting any longer that you already have. SARAH OK chef, I’ll take it now F/X: SALT SHAKER, LEMON, VINEGAR SARAH [talking to self] Hmm.. lets but some extra salt on this, [pause] and some lemon juice, ooh and some vinegar CHEF [shouting] Sarah! What is taking you so long, get it out! (SARAH GOES TO LEAVE KITCHEN) F/X: FOOTSTEPS, PICKING UP THE PLATE F/X: TRIPPING, CRASH, PLATE SMASH CHEF [shouting] Sarah! What is going on? SARAH What?.. why did you push me? CHEF No one pushed you, you fool you tripped! And look at that food SARAH No honestly, someone definitely pushed me! I felt it! CHEF Don’t be so stupid, we are all over here look no where near you, now get up and go get me another fish from downstairs
  5. 5. 4. Scene: 8 (BASEMENT, PM, THE ESTABLISHMENT) F/X: FOOTSTEPS ON STAIRS, FRIDGE & LIGHTS BUZZ SARAH [talking to self] Eurgh, I can’t deal with all this right now F/X: PHONE VIBRATING SARAH Oh no, not now James. [takes deep breath] Hello.. Yeah I know I said I would be home.. there’s been a problem... I will be home later.. OK OK calm down.. OK Bye. [sigh] F/X: PHONE HANGING UP SARAH [talking to self] what is it with men today? [sigh] (OPENS FREEZER TO GET FISH) F/X: MOUSE SQUEAKING SARAH Oh my god! This is the last thing I need, didn’t we put poison down like last month? eurgh better get some more F/X: SHUFFLING THROUGH CUPBOARDS CHEF [shouting from above] Sarah! If you want to keep your job I suggest you hurry up! What on earth are you doing down there? SARAH [talking to self] maybe some other rodents need poisoning too F/X: CHURCH BELLS, LIGHTS FLICKERING SARAH [to self] What the.. F/X: FOOTSTEPS DOWN STAIRS, CREAKING SARAH Yeah I’ll be right there chef F/X: FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE GETTING CLOSER (CONTINUED)
  6. 6. CONTINUED: 5. SARAH Who’s there? [pause] I guess my mind is playing tricks on me MAN [shouting from upstairs] This is outrageous, where is that young excuse of a waitress! I demand to speak to her manager right now! SARAH [to self] Oh really, an excuse? Lets see how you like the taste of poison with your fish and chips F/X: SARAH’S FOOTSTEPS UPSTAIRS Scene: 9 (KITCHEN) F/X: KITCHEN SOUNDS CHEF Right Sarah, carry this meal very carefully, this is your last chance! Oh and be sure to apologise to the customer Scene: 10 (RESTAURANT ) SARAH Here you go sir, one fish and chips, enjoy MAN About time.. F/X: CHURCH BELL, GUSH OF WIND, LIGHTS FLICKERING SARAH [to self] what is it with the lights? MAN What, they are on right? Would you rather us eat in darkness? The lights are fine, obviously your head isn’t. [pause] This food is freezing cold, is it even cooked? SARAH I just brought it straight from the Chef, its freshly cooked MAN [cutting her off] I’ve had enough! This has been ridiculous, I will be writing a letter of complaint to your manager! F/X: PLATE BEING PUSHED AWAY, CHAIR MOVING (CONTINUED)
  7. 7. CONTINUED: 6. MAN [shouting] I won’t be giving you any money for this poor quality of service and I will make sure everybody hears about this! F/X: FOOTSTEPS AWAY, OTHER CUSTOMERS STOP TALKING Scene: 11 (KITCHEN) F/X: THROWING FOOD IN BIN CHEF What did you do now? SARAH He said it was freezing cold, I took it straight to him! CHEF [shouting] You couldn’t even manage to take a plate to a customer, I’ve had it up to here with your stupidity, get your things and get out! SARAH More than happy to chef! All you’ve done is mess me around, playing with the lights, pushing me, play church bells - are you trying to make me out to be a mad woman? CHEF You’ve got to be out of your mind Sarah, do you really think I have time to do all that? [Laughing] It must be a ghost from the old jail, [laughing harder] You are acting like that woman, whatever her name was, hated men, and poisoned her husband! She was the hanged just outside, did you not know? SARAH Poisoned? [mumble] maybe she had good reason if he was a man like you! F/X: CHURCH BELLS SLOWLY FADE OUT THE END