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Meeting Lyllee

By Nick Mellersh

© Nick Mellersh June 2000

Hilltop Farmhouse, Minstead Hants SO43 7FT England   Phone (*44) (0)23 80812651  Email: plays@mellersh.net

Meeting Lyllee

 

 

(Enter Lyllee, centre stage, maybe through the curtains.  She is in her late forties Ė more like early fifties, dressed smart Ė a bit over-smart, almost as if for a wedding.  Her name is pronounced as it is spelt, ďLie-leeĒ.  She holds, somewhat awkwardly, a handbag and a large white lily.  She stands, top lit, and drags frantically at a life-giving cigarette.  Lyllee eyes the audience as if looking for someone in particular.  Then she takes another life-giving drag.)

Lyllee

(Aggressively) I donít smoke you know.  No really, I don't smoke. (takes another drag)  And Iíve not got big hips.  And I donít smoke at all.

(Looks at audience)

Oh yes I can see you all out there judging me, every one of you.  Suppose I asked you (picks someone in audience who looks sufficiently like a school master)  Yes you   ďAm I a smoker?Ē, I can just hear you saying it Ö oh very cool and knowing  Ö ĒWell you  do appear to be smoking donít you

Well of course I ďappearĒ to be smoking, I am bloody smoking.  This is a bloody cigarette.  But the point is - Iím not a smoker.  And anyway what right have you got to tell me to stop smoking?  Bastard.  And Iím not foul mouthed either.

Anyway I can put it out right now before itís even half gone. 

(She takes another last drag then throws it down and grinds it into the ground with the sole of her shoe). 

See.

Better have a mint quick.  Donít want my breath to stink of smoke.

 

Lyllee

You donít know nothing about me.  Nothing.  Except what Iím not.  Iím not foul mouthed, and Iíve not got big hips, and Iím not smoker.  But I can tell you what I am.  Iíve got it written down here.  (takes a little bit of newspaper out of her handbag and reads it)  ďLyllee: attractive slim feminine thirty five year old, GSOHĒ that means great sense of humour NS that means non-smoker, ďWTMĒ that means would love to meet,  ďattractive gentleman for country rambles, firelit finger feasts, talks, understanding and loveĒ    ďEcho box B256 forward slash jul2002Ē - if any of you men in the audience wants to write.

Thatís me, Lyllee, spelt ďLď Ė ďYď Ė double ďLď double ďEĒ.  Slim and sophisticated but warm and feminine at the same time.  Like ďLilyĒ only

Lyllee (contd)

more Ö sexy.  Thatís why Iíve got this (shows audience the lily).  Slim and graceful, beautiful and amazing, sort of symbolizes the way I am inside.  Not virginal of course.  Or dead, though sometimes itís almost as if I am now.  This makes it easy for the fellow to pick me out, too.

Wonder what heíll expect.  Letís see. ďLoves the countrysideĒ.  Well I would if I ever had time to get there.  And Iíve got lots of pictures of baby lambs and things on my calendar.

Iím not sure about country rambles but apparently it works.  Letís hope this ďgentle sensitive six foot BillĒ isnít a twitcher in an anorak.  Letís hope heís like me, enjoys thinking about long country rambles but never actually goes on them.

I was really proud of ďfirelit finger feastsĒ.  Itís sensitive and sensuous and childlike.  Yes that bits the real me.

ďGreat sense of humourĒ.  Apparently ďsense of humourĒ is what everyone wants in a partner.  86% or all surveyed put sense of humour top.  Well thatís men and women.  Men alone put it second after big tits. ďAttractive figureĒ as the surveys call it.  Huh, we all know what men like best of all is watching your tits wobble as you laugh at their jokes and gaze at them in awed admiration.  Well I can do that if I have to. (does a long contrived laugh while glancing at her cleavage)  Hell I hope this Bill doesnít get round to smutty jokes Ė they all seem to in the end. 

Lyllee

So thatís me, Lyllee, slim, beautiful, sensitive, childlike, a dazzling natural waif.  Thatís what Iím like inside.  I should know.  Iím the one that lives here.  The only thing that I really lied about is my age.  I said I was 35, but really Iím only about 12.  (suddenly almost in tears)  Iím just a child going around in a womanís body.  And everyone expects me to be grown up and look after my family, and have a job and clean the house and everything.

(shouts)  Iím not grown up, Iím only 14 on the inside do you hear.  Leave me alone Iím only fourteen.

Oh now youíve done it.  Iím going to cry and ruin my make-up then Bill will probably slink away without even talking to me.  Oh Christ I need a cigarette.

 

 

 

(Enter suddenly and silently another woman offering Lyllee a cigarette from a packet..  She is dressed in a smart executive suit.  She is very self contained and inside herself.  The opposite to Lyllee)

Christ

Here you are Lillian.

Lyllee

Who the hell are you?

Christ

Iím Christ, you just asked me for a cigarette.

Lyllee

Ha, bloody ha.  Very funny.

Christ

Donít you want it then?  (makes to put it away and leave)

Lyllee

No, no, course I want it.  Iím desperate.  Thank you very much.  Got a light?

Christ

(The woman lights the cigarette Ėby a magical trick might be fun Ė but maybe just with her lighter)  Here you are Lillian.

Lyllee

Thanks.  I needed that.  Need to calm my nerves, an important meeting.

Who are you anyway?

Christ

Iím Christ.  You asked me for a cigarette.

Lyllee

Donít be stupid, youíre a woman.  Christ was a man Ė remember?

Christ

Iím dressed as a woman at the moment.

Lyllee

(to herself)  Just my luck, a bloody-cross dresser who thinks heís Jesus Christ.  The world is full of weirdos.  I canít get away either, this is where I said Iíd meet Bill.  Oh my God, perhaps he IS Bill.  (to woman)  Youíre not Bill are you?

Christ

No Iím Christ.

Lyllee

Give me a break.  Christ was a man

Christ

Iím spirit, Lillian  Not a man or a woman.  What difference does it make how Iím dressed?  Iím Christ.

Lyllee

OK, OK, youíre Christ thatís all right by me. 

(Drags on the cigarette but then is drawn back into the argument because sheís in no mood to lose)

 Look, you canít be Christ.  He was a man, youíre dressed as a woman and the bible forbids men dressing as women.

Christ

Where?

Lyllee

I donít know Ö. But Iíve seen that man on the telly talking about it.  They did it all the time in Sodom and Gomorra and all the bloody cross-dressers got turned into pillars of salt. If you ask me it was a waste of all that fancy underwear these cross-dressers like.

No, I remember now.   Itís in the ten commandments.

Christ

Is it?

Lyllee

Yes.  ďThou shalt not covet thy neighbourís manservant nor his maidservant nor his ox nor his ass.  Neither shalt thou dress in the

Lyllee (contd

apparel of a woman unless thou be-est one.Ē

Christ

I donít remember it like that.

Lyllee

I do.  As a matter of fact Iím a bit of an expert on the ten commandments.  I learnt them all off by heart as a kid.

 

Christ

I would have thought the only one you know about is the eleventh.

Lyllee

Eleventh?  There were only ten. 

Oh ha, bloody ha.  I remember.  ďThou shalt not be found outĒ

(Thinks)

Are you talking about smoking or something?

Christ

That and other things, Lillian.

Lyllee

Lyllee, Iím Lyllee here.  Anyway what are you talking about? 

Christ

You look nervous, Lillian.

Lyllee

Why do you keep calling me Lillian?  Iím Lyllee L Ė Y Ė double L double E. Lyllee.

Christ

Sorry, Lyllee

Lyllee

Anyway, who wouldnít be nervous.  Iíve got to meet this Bill. .. ďsensitive, attractive, 6 foot BillĒ.  And he sounds all right Ė got a nice voice, but could be a bloody weirdo Ö like you Ö and I know itís a big town but I still feel like everybody knows me and is staring at me.  And I donít want anyone to see me.

Christ

Like Jonathon?

Lyllee

No not like Jonathon heís just my husband.  Like my mother or my neighbours.

Jonathan wouldnít even notice me.  It took him three weeks to notice when I died my hair blonde.

Anyway he wonít come here.  He goes out of town.  I know heís gone today.  Spends hours polishing the car then tells me heís going off on a bicycle ride to keep fit.  I know how he keeps fit.  I know heís off to meet that anorexic tart from work.  He gets so worked up, one day heíll be so excited heíll forget to take the bicycle Ö well the one with wheels anyway.

Christ

Do you think so?

Lyllee

I donít care.  If he doesnít notice me I donít care what else he does.

Anyway how do you know about Jonathon?

Lyllee (contd)

Oh I forgot.  Youíre Christ arenít you?  You know everything.

(pauses and thinks)

Bloody hell I must be hallucinating.  Iím so nervous Iím hallucinating.  Hell thatís never happened before.(to Christ)  Youíre a figment of my imagination arenít you?

Christ

No, no, itís more the other way round

Lyllee

What do you mean?

Christ

I mean, in a way, youíre a figment of Godís imagination.

Lyllee

Too deep for me Iím afraid.  If Iím imagining you, why canít you say something I understand?

 

(music swells so the audience is aware of it,  Itís Edith Piaff singing ďWhat have they done to my song?Ē

Christ

You're not imagining me, I'm imagining you.

Lyllee

Well you're not doing a very good job that's all that I can say

Christ

Why say that?  I think you're rather wonderful.

Lyllee

Well it's you and me against the world isn't it?

Well Scooby used to think so too.  But he was a mongrel and he's dead. I used to think I was wonderful but I don't any more.  So it's just you ... and you're a figment of my imagination

Christ

No Lillian Iím not...

Lyllee

Oh shut up.  Anyway I'm not Lillian I'm Lyllee ... And ... Christ I need another cigarette.

Christ

Here you are Lillian.

Lyllee

Lyllee!  (takes the cigarette and waves it around)  If you're a figment of my imagination how come this is real?  I've got a good imagination but I've never been able to conjure up cigarettes before.  Can you do things like that?  Oh what a stupid thing to ask you if I'm just imagining you. 

Christ

You're not.

Lyllee

(ignoring the interruption and gazing at the smoke and making gestures with her hands to make it curl)  Isn't smoking beautiful?  Not that I'm a smoker of course, but it is beautiful.  Every little gesture marked by a twist or curl of the smoke as it disappears upwards into nothing.

 

Lyllee contd.

(Dreamily)  That's why I started smoking really.  Not because all my friends did it.  Not because it seemed grown up.  But because it was just, beautiful.

Listen to that music it's Edith Piaff singing "What have they done to my song?".  I bet she smoked.  She did everything. 

I remember all those films where people would gesture with their cigarettes and the smoke would curl up into the lights almost as if it was alive.  And all those things you could do with the packet, pushing the fags out, and shaking them and tapping them and passing them round.  There was a whole world in the way people smoked.  And lighting them, holding the lighter all protective or holding two cigarettes at once in your mouth and lighting them then handing one to your lover.  So bloody suggestive.  So beautiful.

(change of mood) And all the time it was giving people cancer.

Seeing you insist youíre Christ, answer me this.  How can you make anything so beautiful give people cancer?

Christ

There are lots of beautiful things that donít give you cancer.

Lyllee

Thatís not an answer.  Just one thing would be enough but thereís lots of them.  Everything I can think of at the moment.  Too much smoking and you get cancer, too much food and you get fat, too much sleeping around and you get AIDS, too much living and you get old and tired and miserable.  And all the time you feel just the same inside but it doesnít show any more.  It was a beautiful world when I was young, and Iím still a beautiful person inside but outside Iím all broken and ugly and second hand and miserable.  The sort of woman youíd buy cheap in an Oxfam shop.

Christ

Oh cheer up Lillian.

Lyllee

Why should I cheer up, whatís there to be cheerful about?

Christ

Youíre beautiful inside Lillian.  You just said so.  And you wouldnít say anything that was untrue, would you?

Lyllee

Is that a joke?  Is that your idea of a joke?  Very sarcastic.  ďA very sarcastic sense of humour.Ē  They never say that in the lonely hearts ads.  Sometimes they say ďvery dry sense of humourĒ -  sounds almost as bad to me.

(Turns to other woman)

You should know being who you are.  Does God have a sense of humour?  Does the Holy Ghost tell a good shaggy dog story?  Does the angel Gabriel make them roll around on the glassy sea as he does farting imitations on the last trump?  Tell me, do you have lots of good

Lyllee (contd)

laughs in heaven?

Christ

Lots of laughter, lots of tears.

Lyllee

Oh get out the violins!  I sometimes think God has a ďvery dry sense of humourĒ.  ďIím just going to show this man JobĒ or Fred Bloggs or Lillian Rogers  ďa little of my unbounded loveĒ.  And Wham! Jobís lost his house and his camels and his motor boat, and his children are all killed in a traffic accident, and heís got some disgusting disease and his wife is having it off with the local PE teacher and all his friends come around to gloat and eat up anything heís got left in his freezer.  And the heavenly father smiles a dry smile and chuckles at the lesson heís just taught about eternal love.  ďMy ways are not your ways saith the LordĒ.  Damn right theyíre not.

But do you want to hear what I usually think?

Christ

If you like.

Lyllee

I think Godís got a ďvery broad sense of humourĒ.  ďLook thereís  a kid thinking how great it will be when he can climb that palm tree, and thereís his brother just about to catch his first fish, and his mother about to have another child, and his father just getting enough money for a bigger house.  And next door thereís another family and another Ö and thousands of others and none of them know that in a minute thereís going to be a tidal wave.  And God and all his thousands of angels sit on the edge of their cloud waiting for it to happen.  And whoosh!! All those nice people are drowned and God and his angels are rolling about pissing themselves thinking what a hilarious universe theyíve created.  Thatís what I think anyway.

Christ

Did you enjoy that?

Lyllee

(thinks)  Yes I did really.  How about you?

Christ

I thought it was marvellous.  Youíve got a wonderful imagination Lillian.  I loved it.  (They hug each other in pleasure)

Lyllee

(continuing but in a different mood)  Well you can still have fun, now and then anyway, but it doesnít really make up for it.  Does it?

Christ

Well it helps.

Lyllee

No it doesnít.  In a way it makes things worse.  Because everything I said is true you see.  All those disasters happen and it just doesnít make sense.  And itís worse than that really.  You donít have to be part of a disaster, you donít have to die a ďtragicĒ death as they say on the telly.  (imitating a news announce)  ďThe tragic death occurred today of Lillian Rogers when she was in collision with an articulated lorry carrying toilet

Lyllee (contd)

tissue.  Immediately before the incident she appeared to be talking to some non-existent entity.Ē (stops herself).  What was I talking about?

Christ

Yourself I think.

Lyllee

Yes about myself.  About me.  And millions like me.  Millions of millions.  Weíre all born special.  Knowing weíre special, knowing that weíre wonderful, knowing that weíre going to grow into something extraordinary.  Something amazingly wonderful like this lily. I used to think Iíd be like a lily Ďcos my name was Lillian.

Then weíd tell our teachers how we were going to be a model or a film star or save the world and they would say.  ďTheyíve got some very nice jobs tele-marketing for Prudential insurance in town dearĒ

(as she talks she starts picking at the lily she hold and gradually takes more and more off it till she finally destroys it at the end of the speech)

And all the other kids learned that it was fun to tear bits off us.  And we used to do it back to them.

Then we fell in love and, just for a minute, we saw someone else, someone just as wonderful as we were.  And it all seemed all right again.

But then day by day, days came on, and we still knew who we were inside but no one else could see it from the outside and we couldnít see the one we used to love any more either.  And he couldnít see me.  And the kids came.  And every day a little bit more went.  And soon part of me knew that I wasnít going to flower at all, and from the outside I just looked like that.  (she totally destroys the lily)  But on the inside I still knew I was just the same as ever..  Iím so unhappy.

Christ

Itís not that bad Lillian

 

Lillian

Itís worse.  (sort of pulls herself together and looks at her watch)  That bloody Billís late.  And now I look awful.  Iím going to do the right thing and go home.

Christ

Donít do that Lillian

Lillian

What are you talking about.  I was planning to commit ďadulteryĒ.  Itís a ďsinĒ isnít it?  If youíre Christ you should be against sin.

Christ

Thereís all sorts of sins Lillian.  And tearing another bit off yourself is one of them.  And what about poor sensitive Bill.  Heís just as worked up as you are.

 

Lyllee

I just donít know what to do.  I just donít know.

Barman

 (Making announcement off)  Would Lyllee Rogers please come to reception.  Lyllee Rogers

Lylee

Oh thatís him.  Shall I go?  Do I look awful?  Have you got a tissue?  Have you got a mint for my breath.

Christ

Take this (gives her a mouth spray that she uses, helps wipe her face)  There thatís better.  You look good.

Lyllee

(makes as if to go then remembers something)  I havenít got my lily, Iíve buggered up my lily.

Christ

Here you are.  Itís all forgiven.  Iíve got another one. 

 

(Christ mysteriously produces another lily and gives it to her.  She takes it and looks at it/  Just before she exits she turns back.)

Lyllee

Oh itís perfect.  Pure and amazing and beautiful.  Just like me inside.

Now I suppose Iím bloody well going to have to live up to it.

 

(Lyllee goes off one way.  Christ stays as lights fade)

The end

 
Notes 

Cast: Two women. Lyllee, about 40 to 50.  Christ either young and smart 30 or under, or significantly older, 60+

Playing time:  Just under 20 minutes

This play starts high and gets higher. It is necessary for Lyllee to go our and engage the audience right from the start.  It is necessary also for her to be able to smoke with conviction.  It may pay to cut some of Lyllee's later diatribes if they appear to be flagging.  Christ should be enigmatic distant, different always appearing to understand and not to be understood.

This play was planned as part of a three play session called "Christ and the Flowers" for 2 women and a man.  The second part is written "Evening Primrose" about someone dying while the evening primrose comes out at dusk and points towards heaven,  The third is yet to come - probably about an argument between flower arrangers in Church interrupted by the advent of Christ.  If you are interested in the other parts email me.

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© Nick Mellersh June 2000

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