Three women find themselves trapped in a small basement room of an office building after the lift takes them down instead of to the floors they wanted to go to. They’ve not met before. There’s initial tension as a result of being stuck in this small room. And then increasing tension between them as it is revealed why each of them is in the building. They are able to establish contact with the reception desk – so they know they will be freed – but they don’t know when. They side with each other in different combinations as arguments develop – the main disagreement being about Alex Naylor an entertainment impresario whose office is on the seventh floor of the building. Is he a sinner or a saint? Why has Martine, one of his former proteges, come to see him? Is Hazel really his PA which she claims to be? Rhona is in the building for a different reason – but this too connects with the underlying theme of how men sexually dominate and exploit women.
A Payment unkind was performed in 2011 at three different Drama Festivals. It allows for strong performances by each of the three female actors – whose characters are very individual. One of the actors won the best Actress award at one of the drama festivals.
Author: James Chalmers
Genre: One act drama about sexual exploitation of young women
Type: One act play
Cast: 3F, young adult to 30’s
Length: 30-40 minutes
Suitable for: PG needed as mild sexual descriptions and references are present
Ages of the cast: Young adult to 30’s
Set: The play is set in the basement of an office building – dimly lit and claustrophobic. The basement is being used as a storage area. It is an untidy place where a number of things have been dumped. For example – boxes, a table with an upturned chair on top of it, files and a pile of old celebrity magazines. Off stage to one side (either left or right it’s not important which way round) – are the lift (elevator) doors. Off stage on the opposite side are the fire doors leading to the stairs. There needs to be a telephone (suggested this is on one of the boxes) with the cord hanging down behind so that the plug end can’t be seen. Two sound effects are required – the “ping” to announce the arrival of a lift (elevator) and a bell or tone caller for the telephone. The character Martine has a mobile phone in her handbag. The character Hazel has a (stage) knife in her handbag.
Level of difficulty: 7/10 – building up the tension towards the climax of the play
Cost is $10 for this award winning digital script
Copyright ©April 2015 James Chalmers and Off The Wall Play Publishers
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