Small Plays About My Day

… tiny true dramas in a Charing Cross Road bookshop

Boys In Jail

Posted on | June 19, 2010 | No Comments

Muscular man with tattoos: Could I have a look at the book ‘Dens of Depravity, Boys In Jail’ that you’ve got in the window?
Zoe: Sure. (Gets book out of window)
Muscular man with tattoos: Thanks. (Flicks through book)
Zoe: We’ve got quite a lot more of that kind of erotica downstairs, if you’re interested.
Muscular man with tattoos: Er, no thanks. (Hands back book) I thought it was about prisons.

Stains

Posted on | June 17, 2010 | No Comments

Emily: Find anything of interest?
Shabby man in rumpled suit: (Handing over book) Yes, this. “How To Remove Stains”.
Emily: Two pounds, please.
Shabby man in rumpled suit: Thought it might come in useful.
Emily: Yes.

Fish Knives

Posted on | April 9, 2010 | No Comments

Man with glassy eyes: Do you have any Saki?
Emily:
Possibly. Are you looking for a particular book?
Man with glassy eyes:
I’m looking for the edition with the biography by his sister. They were brought up by the maiden aunt type. Hearts you could use as domestic freezers.
Emily:
You could try the literature section downstairs, there might be something there.
Man with glassy eyes:
This is a special shop, isn’t it? The books are special.
Emily:
I suppose so, yes.
Man with glassy eyes:
These books have learned to use fish knives and forks, see what I mean?
Emily:
I see what you mean.

Demon

Posted on | April 4, 2010 | No Comments

Man in glasses: This is my hat.
Emily: Is it? We wondered who left it.
Man in glasses: I’d know it anywhere.
Emily: That’s fine, you can take it.
Man in glasses: They can get you into trouble, hats.
Emily: Oh yes?
Man in glasses: You don’t get into clubs wearing them.
Emily: No?
Man in glasses: But I shouldn’t get angry about it. My rage is devastating.
Emily: Oh dear.
Man in glasses: It’s like I’m possessed. Do you want to see?
Emily: Well…
Man in glasses: (Screaming) GRRRRRR! ARRRRRRGH! RAAAAGH!
Zoë: Shall I start putting your books through the till?
Man in glasses: It’s a demon, but I know its name, so I can control it.
Zoë: That’s thirteen pounds please.
Man in glasses: (Hands over cash) And I’m gone. (Runs out of shop and across street.)

Rokeham

Posted on | March 14, 2010 | No Comments

Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man: You have Rokeham?
Emily: I’m sorry, what was that?
Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man: Rokeham? You have?
Emily: Rokeham?
Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man: No, Rokeham.
Emily: I’m sorry, I don’t recognise the name, what kind of subject is that?
Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man:
Rokeham.
Emily:(Handing tiny white-haired wizened Indian man a pen and paper) Could you write it down, perhaps?
( Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man writes intently.)
Emily: Pokémon?
Tiny white-haired wizened Indian man: Yes.

Do you sell books?

Posted on | March 13, 2010 | No Comments

Man on phone: Do you have any books about the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth?
Emily:
No I’m afraid not, at the moment.
Man on phone: Do you have the book 84 Charing Cross Road?
Emily: No, we don’t have that either, sorry.
Man on phone: Do you sell books?
Emily: Yes. Just not those two.

Pulped

Posted on | March 2, 2010 | No Comments

Sprightly elderly chap: You want to watch out. I’m 85 and I’ve got thirteen thousand books.
Emily: That’s quite a collection.
Sprightly elderly chap: Only read half of them.
Emily: It’s good to have something waiting on the shelf.
Sprightly elderly chap: Do you know, I was in a bookshop in Norwich in 1941 and a girl came up to me  with a pile of books, she said “please help me. Oh, please help me.” I said, “What is it?” She said, “These books are going to be pulped, they’re going for the war effort. They’re six pounds each. Please help me save them.” I said, “well, I only get paid three pounds a week, and what am I supposed to do, take them back to barracks?” And I left.
Emily: Oh yes?
Sprightly elderly chap: Do  you know what they were? Piranesi. The complete works. Colour plates, everything.
Emily: Sounds lovely.
Sprightly elderly chap: I’ll say. Know what they’re worth now? A million, easy. I could have had them for six quid.

Ukulele

Posted on | February 26, 2010 | No Comments

Man with colourful scarf: Hi!
Emily: Hi.
Man with colourful scarf: Oh I think I’m in the wrong shop.
Emily: Yes?
Man with colourful scarf: Do you sell ukuleles?
Emily: No. We’re a bookshop.
Man with colourful scarf: Where’s the shop that sells ukuleles?
Emily: The ukulele shop is up the road that way.

Maps

Posted on | February 4, 2010 | No Comments

Doddery woman with white foundation and sun glasses: Now, I wonder if you can help.
Emily: I’ll try.
Doddery woman: I have three maps. One shows the theatres but not the roads. Another shows the roads but not the theatres. The last … well, I’ll show you.
(Unfolds large map)
Emily: I see.
Doddery woman: (From  behind map) You see? So what I want to know is, where is the Palace Theatre?
Emily: It’s just up there, on the left.
Doddery woman: All these people in the government and they produce four maps, all useless. Not one of them qualified.
Emily: No?
Doddery woman: Gordon Brown has a degree in history.
Emily: Does he?
Doddery woman: The private life of Henry VIII is hardly relevant to running the country.
Emily: I suppose not.
Doddery woman: There’s a financial crisis. The Norman Conquest does not help.
Emily: No, it wouldn’t.
Doddery woman: I see you smile. People smile. They think I make a joke. I don’t make a joke.

The Ghost

Posted on | January 29, 2010 | No Comments

Neil: If you’re there, tap twice.
Pause
FX: Tap tap

Neil:
See?
Sasha:
Did you hear?
Emily:
That’s weird. Was that you?
Sasha:
No.
Emily:
Ask it again, while I’m watching Sasha.
Sasha:
It wasn’t me!
Neil:
If you’re a ghost, tap twice.
Pause

Emily:
Maybe it’s annoyed.
Sasha:
Tap two times if you like us asking questions.
Pause

Neil:
If you like Jazz, tap once.
Sasha:
If you don’t, tap twice
FX: Tap

Neil:
Oh yes.
Sasha:
It likes Jazz.
(Enter customer)
Neil: If you are a man, tap twice.
Walter: (To customer) Sorry, we seem to have a ghost, in case you were wondering.
Customer: Ah, right.
(Exit customer)
Walter: Thanks, bye.
Neil: (To ghost) Sorry, we were interrupted by a customer. If you are a man, tap twice.

« go backmore plays »
  • "In a town like London there are always plenty of not quite certifiable lunatics walking the streets, and they tend to gravitate towards bookshops, because a bookshop is one of the few places where you can hang about for a long time without spending any money."
    George Orwell