The Assignation

The Assignation

by Steve Millar


A play for a stage director and two voices

The Voices:

She has a light voice, clear but not loud.

He has a deep voice with a touch of hoarseness to it, as if the dust has got into his throat while he has been waiting.

The Scene:

The stage is darkened.  It is just possible to make out metal pillars, such as one might find in an old warehouse, and corrugated iron walls.  Above and to the right is a darker rectangle.  The floor is rough concrete with grit and dust over much of the surface.  It crunches quietly when stepped on.  The sole light comes from a torch held by a character in a dark overcoat, facing away from the audience.  The torch is pointing slightly downwards, its light catches on the grit and, just, illuminates some of the corrugations.

She: (nervously and quietly) Hello?

(pause for a count of ten) 

(nervously) Hello?

(pause for a count of fifteen)

(more nervously, a little louder with a question in the voice) Are you there?

(pause for a count of five)

He: (quietly, as under the breath, but not in a whisper) Shhh.  Not so loud.  Put the torch out.

The stage goes totally dark, barring the very slightest hint of light through what can now be identified as a broken window.

(pause for a count of five)

He:  Were you followed?

She:  I don’t think so.  The house was quiet when I left.  I was really nervous finding my way, but I would have noticed if there had been anyone behind me.  I did look.

He:  Good, we wouldn’t want to be disturbed, would we?

She:  No, we wouldn’t.

(pause for a count of five)

How did you find this place?

He:  We needed somewhere near your home, so you could walk, as you wanted.  I asked around discreetly and found someone who worked here when it was still operating.  He lent me a key.

She:  The directions you gave me were very clear.  Thank you.  It seems exciting, and scary, to be meeting you like this for the first time.  You read so many stories about unwise meetings with online contacts.  Am I being foolish?

He:  No, you know that this is what you want and this is how you want it, as you said when we planned it online last week.  It is an adventure; not a danger; as you asked; as I agreed.

She:  Where are you?

He:  In the office.  Over here.

(pause for a count of five)

Watch your step.  The floor is a bit rough and uneven by the door.  Don’t show your light for more than a moment.

The torch flashes on and off briefly, revealing a previously unseen small office to the left of the stage, its metal door is slightly open and there is a large, broken grille giving a view of the interior, though the torch does not illuminate that interior at all.  She puts the torch into her overcoat pocket.

He:  Yes, it’s here, in here.  Mind the door, it’s a bit stiff.

She pulls the door open, scraping it across the concrete grit.  The hinges grind as if they have not moved for a long time.

He:  There’s a light switch on the left, just at hand level.

You hear her fumbling for the light switch in the dark.  She switches on the light, illuminating the office so that it is clearly visible through the large grille.  It contains a battered metal filing cabinet, some damp-looking, torn and decaying charts on a pinboard, a table pushed to the back, and an occupied chair.  There is no mattress.  Her husband is sitting on the chair, smiling, with a shotgun across his knees.

He: (quietly but in his normal, less deep, familiar voice with no trace of the hoarseness) Expecting someone else?

The stage instantly goes totally dark, barring just that very slightest hint of light through the broken window.




(c) Steve Millar 2020