Scene from Winter Came
Dan, in his 20’s
Kelly, his girlfriend, in her 20’s
Carol, Kelly’s mother, in her 40’s
Helen, Dan’s Mum.
An Angel. (Psychiatrist)
Runner 1 (Coroner)
The Bipolar step class. X5 Steppers.
ACT TWO SCENE FOUR. Running 2, Coroner. After.
Light out on Carol. Dan shifts on the bed and finds a pair of running shoes. He puts them on, plus a sweatshirt. Then he begins to run.
Dan’s running is still hard work, but he is getting a bit better.
Dan: Feels, better. Bit better. Not torture. Any more. Still not great. Steady. Steady. Small strides, small steps, breathe, breathe. Go out early morning, or late night. Less people. Less shame. Not too far. Progress. Progress. Getting it now... Steady, steady, don’t push it, don’t push it...
Kelly ‘floats in’ running like before.
Kelly: How’s it going?
Dan: You know, better. Better.
Kelly: Looking good.
Dan: Not so bad. Early days. Only just left the house...
Dan: Downhill too.
They both run on for a bit without talking. Then...
Kelly: Why are you doing it? The running?
Dan: You really don’t know?
Dan: That blows that theory then.
Again they run, without effort. Then...
Kelly: Well are you going to tell me?
Dan: OK! I run because you did.
Kelly: Dan I did a lot of things. I used to eat, sleep…
Dan: You told me about the place you would go to when you were running?
Kelly: The beach?
Dan: You know what I mean. Like with your Yoga. A calm place where you could think free.
Kelly: And you’re going there?
Dan: I’m not quite there yet; got to get beyond the crippling pain and exhaustion first.
Kelly: And that’s where you’ll find your answers?
Dan: I’ll tell you when I get there.
She watches him run for a while, he doesn’t need to speak. She
decides to leave him.
Kelly: See you Dan. Look after yourself.
Dan: See you Kelly.
She kicks off, he watches her go, as soon as she’s out of sight Dan collapses, the run has been a lot harder than he’s let on. As Dan breathes heavily we see Runner 1 appear.
Dan: Not quite there yet...
Run 1: Stride, stride, good. Good. Feels good. Feels good. Life’s good! Stride, leap, stride leap. Curb. Good, good, feels. Feels? Good. Fit, fit, fucking fit, fit. Manhole. (Shouting now.) Good, fit, good fit, fuck. Good strong stride, fast. Dog shit. Missed it. Good, look good, chest out, smile, look good, look, curb, good. Fit, fit, fit, fucking fit. Fit...
Dan tries to keep up, but he is knackered. The scene develops into Dan standing stationary while the runner/coroner runs rings around him...
Dan: You... again.
Run 1: Morning! Lovely! Hello there.
Dan: What you...
Run 1: Good strong stride, fast, good, look good, chest out, smile.
Dan: Why are you smiling at me?
Run 1: Calm, trustworthy, unemotional. Level headed. Authoritative. Family?
Run 1: Or friend?
Run 1: Of the deceased?
Dan: Oh, right. Friend
Run 1: Close?
Dan: Yeah, close.
Run 1: Shame. Yes, sad, yes? Sympathy, compassion, concern, pity. Show concern, have pity. Knit brow. Sad voice. Sympathetic tone. Kind. Appropriate. Platitudes. Terrible waste, yes, sad. So young. Yes? Very quick though. Curb. Blessing. Yes? Didn’t feel a thing. Didn’t suffer. Pity. Yes?
Run 1: PTSD.
Run 1: You.
Run 1: Of course. You found her.
Dan: I didn’t... I was there.
Run 1: A shock.
Dan: I was with her... at the time...
Run 1: A shame.
Dan: She died in my arms.
Run 1: A waste.
Dan: Wish I could have done more...
Run 1: You blame yourself.
Dan: Not really.
Run 1: Others blame you.
Dan: I think so. Who are you?
Run 1: Did you overlook possible symptoms? Miss tell-tale signs?
Dan: Why do you say that?
Run 1: Everyone thinks that. Pity. Now you run, but why do you run Dan? Where are you running to? What are you running from?
Dan: You can hardly call this running.
Run 1: Blame leads to guilt. Guilt looks for blame. Blurs with grief, self-loathing, doubt, fear, manifests itself in pain, emotional, and physical.
Run 1: Exhaustion. Feeling sick. Unable to eat or sleep. Used to that of course. Past problems. Buried. Re-surface. Your Mother. Not dealt with. Sad.
Run 1: Her. And you, naturally. Her? Sad; Seasonal Affective Disorder. You? Just sad.
Run 1: Uncontrollable fits of anger, irrational behaviour. Smashing things in your bedroom. Breathlessness. Chest pains. Dizziness. Recognisable cardiac symptoms...
Dan: How do you know...?
Run 1: Perfectly natural reaction. Seen it all before.
Dan: So do you know what happened to Kelly?
Run 1: Have my suspicions. Not conclusive. Need second opinion. Expert cardiac pathologist. He’ll sort it out. Meantime. Try to reduce your levels of stress.
Dan: But you know I didn’t kill her?
Run 1: SADS.
Dan: Her as well?
Run 1: Not SAD, SADS; Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, most likely cause...
Dan: Sudden what?
Run 1: Catch all term when all other explanations have smashed into a brick wall. Like IBS.
Dan: She had a syndrome?
Run 1: S-A-D-S. We don’t have any proof of what killed your girl, so we surmise there must have been a previously undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed condition. In this case a dodgy heart that never got picked up. Pity. Shame. Waste. Shit. On the verge.
Dan: Yes, I am, and yes it is shit.
Run 1: No, I mean dog shit, on the actual verge. Hate the stuff. Got to go now. Any questions, call me. Must dash. Chin up! Knits brow. Sympathetic tones. Hand on shoulder. Personal touch. Take care. (Begins to leave,) Stride, stride, good. Avoid personal involvement. Curb. Not useful. Not my job. Chin up. So long. Good chap. Good. Feels good. Feels good. Stride, leap, stride leap. Good, good, feels. Feels? Good. Fit, fit, fucking fit. Fit. (Disappearing now, shouting now) Good, fit, good fit, fuck. Good strong stride, fast, good, look good, chest out, smile, look good, look, curb, good. Fit, fit, fit, fucking fit. Fit...
Run 1 has gone. Dan collapses surrounded by newspaper cuttings.