Playella | Pound for Pound by Ellen Smith

Meena stands in front of Jane centre stage in a long queue in the pound shop. The cash register is off stage and not visible. Meena, brandishing a broken can opener, turns to speak to Jane who is clutching a pair of children’s shoes.

MEENA: I’m taking this back. Just snapped off in my hand.

JANE: That’s terrible.

MEENA: I should have known better than to buy it here.

JANE: You get what you pay for.

MEENA: We’re going to Ikea on Sunday. I’ll buy one then but I just want my pound back, it’s the principle, you know?

JANE: I’m returning these too, my son won’t wear them. Too cool for pound shop trainers.

MEENA: Oh yes my two will only wear Nikes. I always hide the receipts, my husband would kill me.

JANE: The ones he has don’t fit anymore but he’s so stubborn.

A pause, the women move forward in the queue slightly. Jane looks as if she is working up the courage to speak again.

JANE: (shyly) If you don’t want the can opener, I’ll give you 50p for it.

MEENA: (taken aback) Oh love its fine, I’m sure they’ll give me my money back.

JANE: (quietly) It’s just that we need a new one and…

Jane tails off. Meena stares at Jane’s battered handbag and threadbare jacket, a moment of realisation, and speaks again more softly.

MEENA: You can have it for 20.

The queue moves on and the two women move off, stage right.

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