Playella | This Be The by Patricia Flanagan

GLADYS, aged 81, is sat in her chair in her room at the nursing home. She is wearing a dressing gown and has fallen asleep with a book resting on her lap. Enter IRENE, 49, the senior carer, along with SOPHIE, 18, the new junior carer. Both carers are dressed in white polo tops, dark trousers and are wearing name badges. IRENE is carrying a small pot containing GLADYS’s sleeping tablets. They stand either side of GLADYS; IRENE gives GLADYS’s shoulder a gentle shake.

IRENE: Evening Gladys, you need to wake up love; I’ve brought your sleeping tablets. (TO SOPHIE, CONTINUES) always got her nose in a book this one.

GLADYS rouses, and picks up the book on her lap.

SOPHIE: Hello Gladys, I’m Sophie; I’m the new night carer.

GLADYS: (waving the book at SOPHIE) They fuck you up you know.

IRENE: Now come on Gladys, we’ll not have that kind of language; you’ll frighten the poor girl off. (to SOPHIE) you’ll get used to it, that’s mild compared to some of what you’ll hear.

GLADYS: (waving the book at IRENE) You don’t understand it’s your Mum and Dad; they’re the ones that do it.

IRENE: (to SOPHIE) That’s another thing you’ll get used to; they go back in time a lot. Drift back to being children.

GLADYS: I didn’t have any children, (waves book in the air again) I took his advice, he was never wrong, Philip.

IRENE: (to SOPHIE) I think she means her nephew, isn’t that right Gladys? Philip. Comes in at the weekends, works in a bank?

GLADYS: No, he’s a writer, very well known.

IRENE: (to SOPHIEDelusions of grandeur, that’s another one. I’ll explain it to you later. (turns to GLADYS) I’ll have to get his autograph then, next time he comes in.

Winks at SOPHIE

SOPHIE: I think she’s talking about the book. (points) The book she’s reading.

IRENE: (taking the book from GLADYS and handing her the tablets) I don’t know about that; all I know is she needs to get these tablets taken. Come on Gladys, down the hatch.

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