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Angel Cake

A Christmas play for 2 women one 60+ the other 40+

By Nick Mellersh

© Nick Mellersh June 2000

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

©November 1996

The play is intended for women's groups to put on as a Christmas entertainment.  It's good because the audience can not only discuss the play but also the cake.  The play can also be put on as part of a family party.  The play works well as a rehearsed reading.


Cast

 Two Women

Mother                           an elderly widow living on her own.

Daughter (Alison)            her daughter married with a teenage daughter and maybe

                                                other children to her husband

 Running Time:  15 Minutes

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Section 1:  Preparation for cooking

 

(There is a sound of Carols being played tunelessly over a loudspeaker which fades after a little while.  Mother and daughter enter ready to cook.  They are holding drinks)

Daughter

Oh God, I do hate carols nowadays.

Mother

Oh I like them, I like thinking about all those angels.  Makes me feel nice and restful  Sometimes I almost feel I can see them.  If weíve got to cook dear letís make a cake Ė though I wonít really need much if Iím on my own. .   It's "stir-up" Sunday today.  It was in the prayers at church this morning   "Stir up the minds of thy faithful people oh Lord"  We always do the cake then  ...'Cos you "stir up" the cake -  it's a sort of pun you know..

Daughter

Cake, that would be good mum.  I can show you how to use the mixer.  I found it hidden away in that cupboard.  You should keep it on the side where you can use it.

Mother

Oh I never use that great big machine- it's too complicated.

Daughter

Well you should  Mum.  I wish you'd use these things we get you.

Mother

Not for Christmas cake.  I thought we'd do it the old way like we used to and you could make a wish and lick the bowl.

Daughter

Can't lick the bowl mum - give you ECOLI 057 poisoning.  Old people are specially vulnerable to it you know.  We can use the microwave as well,.  I bet you never use that either

Mother

I do dear.  I use it for baked potatoes - it makes them so quick

Daughter

Well it's marvellous for cakes.  I'll show you.  Then you'll be able to do it yourself.

Mother

(Sotto voce)  I don't want to do it myself.

Daughter

(who is searching through the drawers or some such and who has not heard - or is choosing to ignore - her mother)  Which one would you like Mother?.

Section 2: Skirting around subject of angels

Mother

If you really must make a microwave one we could make this one (lowering her voice)   then I can make a proper one tomorrow.  Weíll make this one shaped like a halo.  I bet that's what they call an angel cake.

Daughter

It isn't.  It's called a "ring mold sponge cake" and you havenít got a ring mold.

Mother

Weíll just pop this inside this one dear Iím sure it will work fine.  Then weíll make an angel cake.

Daughter

It isnít an angel cake.  You can't make an angel cake in a microwave -  it needs whisked egg whites.

Mother

Well it looks like halo anyway so I'm going to call this an Angel cake. It sounds Christmassy.  I've got a special reason to bake an Angel cake.

Daughter

It isn't an angel cake.

Mother

Well, it looks like a halo so I'm going to call it angel cake.

Daughter

It isn't an angel cake - it's a sponge cake.   (looks at the book and tries to change the direction of the conversation)  It's ever so easy Mum, you'll love it when you've tried this.

Mother

Well if I can't call it an angel cake I'll call it an Archangel cake

Daughter

(trying to stop her talking about angels)  We need 100 grams of self raising flour, the same of soft margarine, 2 eggs and 100 grams of caster sugar.

Mother

Grams - you know I can't understand them.  (changing back to previous tag)  I've got a special reason for calling it an Archangel cake.

Daughter

(ill suppressed anger)  Yes I know, you've told me all about the blasted archangel you see all the time and I don't want to be told again.  If you're going out of your mind do it when I'm not here. 

Mother

Don't talk to me like that.  I'm not going out of my mind.  My archangel tells me so

Daughter

(very clipped)  Hereís the flour

Mother

(to herself)  Over the whole of Christmas she spares me this two hours and then she wants to force me to use the things she gives me.  In the hope that they keep me here and I won't have to go and live in their granny flat.

Section 3:  Food mixer lessons

Daughter

I've got everything Mum.  Now I can show you how to do this.  You'll love it.

Mother

I was just thinking dear.  It was so nice of you to get me this mixer thing   How's the family - how's Deirdre.  She was really interested in my angel

Daughter

I wish you wouldn't stuff her head with blasted nonsense, it makes her even worse.  She's only twelve you know

(changing tack)  Lets get the ingredients together, then

 

100 grams of soft margarine.

Mother

How much is that?

Daughter

4 ounces mother - haven't you learnt that yet?

 

The mother starts doling out the ingredients into the bowl as the daughter tells her what to do)

Section 4:  Making the mixture

Daughter

100 grams no 4 ounces of sugar, ...... 4 ounces of self raising flour .... sprinkle it on lightly to let the air get in and keep it light ....2 tablespoons full of milk Ö and now the egg.

Mother

Are you going to teach me how to suck it dear?

Daughter

(distinctly not amused)    (She takes the eggs)  Very funny mother.  You just can't learn anything from me can you?

Mother

It was just a joke dear.  We always used to have a good laugh when we were cooking the Christmas cake.

Daughter

(ignoring her)  Now I'll take it over to the mixer.

 

(As the daughter turns away the mother makes a defiant face behind her back and follows her to the machine  The daughter starts to put the bowl into the mixer.)

Mother

No let me do it.  It's mine.  I'm going to have to do it myself - it's the only way to learn.

 

(The mother puts the bowl in place and moves the whisks down into the bowl.

 

Now what?

Daughter

Press the button.

Mother

(does so as the machine whisks she is intrigued and speaks over the mixing - if she is inaudible no matter, all that counts is that she looks pleased.)

 

Oh isn't it good?  Isn't it quick?  Look it's mixing it all up and I'm not doing anything.  How long does it take?

Daughter

(when the thing is mixed she switches off)    Look it's done now.

Mother

I've just received a message, from up there.  It needs another egg.  (she breaks one in it)  It'll make it more like an angel cake.

Daughter

(angry)  You've ruined it now.  You've just ruined it on purpose haven't you?  What the hell are we going to do now?

Mother

Just mix it a bit more.  It'll be fine.  It's an archangel cake and I'm getting guidance from my archangel.

Daughter

You just want to ruin it because I'm teaching you, don't you?.

Mother

No, just mix it a bit more.

Daughter

Oh do it yourself.(Passes it over angrily) 

Mother

Don't get in a tantrum dear.

Daughter

I am not getting in a tantrum.

Section 5:  Build up to row

Daughter

 I can see you've ruined it.  Why do you have to ruin everything I make.  You've always done it - all through my life.

Mother

What do you mean you make.  I'm making it, these is my cake.  And you're supposed to be teaching me how to make it.  I hope you don't treat your students like this, that's all I can say.

Daughter

(making a visible effort not to be drawn along this trap by reading the recipe book)  Empty the mixture into a well buttered dish then cook on micro power medium for five and a half to six minutes.

Mother

No I think I'd prefer to see the great teacher do it.    I'm sure there are lots of things you can teach me about the way to scrape out a pudding basin.

Daughter

(says nothing and starts to scrape out the mixture into the dish)

Mother

(After an uncomfortable silence)  You're leaving a bit at the top dear.

Daughter

I'm coming to that in a minute.

Mother

(Now communication is re-established, returning to what seemed like a fruitful line of attack)  I suppose this is how you teach your students.  Grab the things away from them and have a tantrum.

 

(Meantime the daughter has finished scraping things into the dish.  She takes the dish to the microwave and puts it in)

Daughter

Five and a half minutes at medium power.  (Mother keys the figures into the microwave and sets it going.  Then she starts speaking in a very controlled way)  Iím going home Mother.  I presume your capable of opening the microwave and lifting the cake out on your own.

Mother

Why should I bother.  I know it will be horrible.

Daughter

I blasted well hope it is.  Good-bye.

Mother

Your not leaving me already are you, Alison?  You've only been here half an hour.  Is half an hour all you can spare your mother over Christmas.  What sort of a daughter are you?

Section 6:  Discussion of Angel

Daughter

Oh very well Mother Iíll stay if you talk to me sensibly.

Mother

I don't know what to say Alison.  So I'm going to tell you what I was thinking when you screamed at me about my angel.

Daughter

Oh leave it off mum.

Mother

No I'm going to say it.  My angel told me that I should stop resenting you so much,, start remembering something good.

Daughter

Well you haven't done very well at it today, have you?

Mother

It's so difficult dear.  I try to be really nice to you, then you start being so bossy, and every conversation I start annoys you.  And then if I don't say anything - well, that annoys you too

Daughter

You just like rows mother don't you?  And I hate them.

Mother

Well that's another thing the angel told me.  He said you were just like me.  And if he's right you must like them the same as me.  Or I must hate them the same as you - or both.

Daughter

Seems to be full of psycho-babble this angel of yours.  When do you see him?

Mother

Well mostly at night - he comes when I'm feeling lonely.  He's a real comfort.

Daughter

What's he called?

Mother

Oh he's there (pointing).  No it was something else.  He's called Raphael

 

(Pause)

Daughter

Have you told the Vicar about this?

Mother

Of course not dear.  He'd just feel jealous that there was a rival authority in the parish I expect.  He's quite a nice young man but he's not ready to understand that there' are angels flying around all over the place.

Section 7:  Appearance of Angel

 

(Pause and silence as the microwave is heard quietly humming away.  After a while the mother lifts up her eyes and follows an invisible presence that is flying across the ceiling.)

Mother

Look!  Can you see him?  He's there, he's there, wings, halo, everything.

Daughter

(past being annoyed and almost half amused)  Oh stop messing about Mum.  I remember you used to do that with fairies and ghosts.  I used to be terrified when you pretended to see ghosts.

Mother

No no he was there.  He flew right across the ceiling and explained all sorts of things to me. (talking to the ceiling)  Oh must you?  All right then Good-bye till later.

Daughter

Stop it Mum, you're so stupid.  Anyway, he must have spoken quickly.  What did he explain in that short time?

Mother

Oh that it was going to turn out all right.

Daughter

What was going to turn out all right?

Mother

The cake.

Daughter

(turning to the microwave)  I'd forgotten about the cake.  (Looks in through the door of the microwave,  then speaks excitedly)  Oh look it's rising beautifully.

Mother

(Peering in too)  So it is.  Isn't it wonderful?  It looks just like a proper one.  Raphael said it would be lovely but it might need an extra 30 seconds or so - something about the dish being a bit thick for the microwave.

Daughter

Very practical this angel of yours.

Mother

Well of course he is.  It's human beings that get in a mess with everything.

Daughter

(Looking at the cake)  Yes it's going to turn out beautifully.  Despite all the arguments.

Mother

Yes that's what he said.  It would turn out fine.  Just like the other things.

Daughter

What other things?

Section 8:  Reconciliation

Mother

Oh, all the other things that have turned out so well.  Like when I found you smoking pot and thought you were going to grow into a drug addict.  And then I found that you grew out of it perfectly well.  And when you got pregnant and then Deirdre turned out to be one of my favourite people in all the world.  You see dear, everything turns out all right in the end between us.

Daughter

Well I suppose that's one way of looking at it.

Mother

It's the only way of looking at it.  Raphael explained it all to me.  And that I must apologise for trying to annoy you about the microwave.  Iím sorry Alison I really am.

Daughter

Well thank you Mum.  Iím sorry too, Iím just as bad as you.  Anything else this angel told you?

Mother

Yes, that Deirdre would turn out fine and that's it's natural for her to be so horrible to you.  It happens in each generation you know.

Daughter

Well I suppose he's right about that too.  But it's terrible when Iím going through it.  He's a bit of a smug Pollyanna this angel of yours isn't he.

Mother

Well I sometimes think he'd be a bit less smug if he was a human being instead of an angel.  But he's usually right in spite of everything.

Daughter

And did he say anything else.

Mother

Yes he said Good-bye - well au revoir really I suppose.  He said I'd seen enough of angels and that I'd better start appreciating the humans around me - and start enjoying having a beautiful daughter before it was too late.  And that you should make the most of having a beautiful mother.

Daughter

Oh Mum, you're so stupid.  Youíre making me cry.

Mother

(goes over and embraces her)  Don't cry darling.

 

(there is a Ping -  a loud one)

Mother

There goes the microwave.  Come on letís get the cake out.  (does so and turns it out onto a plate)  Look itís lovely

Daughter

Oh so it is.

 

(They walk down the aisle carry the cake and talking to each other

Daughter

It smells lovely.  Iím going to taste a bit

Mother

Itís supposed to be for Christmas

Daughter

You can always make another one Mum.  (tastes it)  Itís lovely

Mother

You silly girl, itíll be no use now (tasting too) But it is lovely isnít it?  I think Iíll have another bit.  (to someone in the audience)  Here you try it.  (They walk out talking and laughing together)

 

The end

 

 

Notes 

Cast: Two women. Mother 65+ maybe 70+.  Daughter twenty five years or so younger

Playing time:  Just under 15 minutes

These two play off against each other and it is obvious that the mother is doing her best to annoy her daughter and vice-versa.  They are in the situation where the only thing they can think of to talk about is something they know will infuriate the other.

It is nice if the Mother can almost persuade the audience to see the angel.

The cake itself works well, but should not be beaten too much.  Indeed almost the less the better if you want it to be light.  Timing needs rehearsing carefully but works out surprisingly well.  It is a good idea to have someone with a very definite bleeping sound set up so that the bleep can be given at the right point if it comes too early.  The actors can watch the time on the microwave clock at the end if they are early.

The play is intended for women's groups to put on as a Christmas entertainment.  It's good because the audience can not only discuss the play but also the cake.  The play can also be put on as part of a family party.  The script is multi-coloured so that it can be read more easily.  The play works well as a rehearsed reading.

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© Nick Mellersh June 2000

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