«THE FEMALE MIND [A GUIDE FOR MEN] by CHRISTOPHER WALKER A review type approach of separate scenes, held together by the narrator Dr Steph, and each ...»
THE FEMALE MIND [A GUIDE FOR MEN] by CHRISTOPHER WALKER
A review type approach of separate scenes, held together by the narrator Dr Steph,
and each illustrating a different point about the differences between men and women,
gives ultimate cast flexibility. The weighting towards females will make this play an
attractive proposition for many sixth forms and amateur dramatic groups, for which it is
also very suitable.
Originally, it was performed by a cast of thirty-two, but it could be done with massive doubling, by many fewer than that - or by many more. The cast list below shows the numbers needed in each scene, which will help in the sensible allocation of roles.
CAST DR STEPH is the one character that cannot be doubled. As she is in every scene, I have not listed her again.
1.In The Beginning: CAVE MAN, CAVE WOMAN,, + 2 extras as Cave Kids 2A. Peripheral Vision: SIMON, ALICE, MAP GIRL + 2 extra female passers-by 2B. No Way Out: MOTHER, VIRGINIA 3A. Female Intuition: MEN: NICK, CHIP, TOM, FRED, IAN, MARTIN WOMEN: LANA, SARAH, SALLY, ALISON, LIZ, CAROL, BIANCA,LUCY 3B. After the Works Do: DAVE, JANICE 3C. Men Don’t Notice the Details...: GEORGE, GASTON, MAUD 3D.... Women Do: MARK, LAURA
4. Multi-tasking: TONY, SANDRA, DEBBIE, GEMMA, REBECCA 5A. Sharing the Burden: LUKE, JULIE 5B: Which Shoes?: TIM, BETTY
6. Navigating Skills: GORDON, FLORENCE, PHOEBE
7. Dealing with Stress: LINDSEY, KATHY, NICKY, BEATRICE [all girls] INTERVAL
8. Communication: PIERRE, GLEN, GARY, TREV, KAREN, SUE, BARBARA 9A. Exercising Demons: SUSAN, SHARON, JEAN, KATIE, GERALDINE, MANDY,
CINDY, FEMALE FITNESS INSTRUCTOR9B. Body Image: ROGER, VANESSA 10A. Cave Love: CAVE MAN, CAVE WOMAN 10B. What She Wants: MICHAEL [played by female], ELIZABETH 10C. What She Gets: HARRY, MARY 10D. Three Little Words: DAVID, GINNY 10E. Is That It?: ALAN, JANET Epilogue: JOE BARE MINIMUM for Cast = 9F and 6M. But they would be very busy indeed!
EXTRACT ONE PROLOGUE Stage in darkness. A voice is heard shouting ‘I wish I’d never met you!’, followed by the sound of a slamming door. Spotlight DSC picks out a forlorn male, coat over his shoulder, staring at the ground.
JOE looking up, aware of an audience Women! Does anyone understand them?
All I did was tell her we could discuss our relationship after the match, so I’d not be distracted! What was so wrong with that? She did ASK me if it was ‘a good time to talk!’ Why do women get so upset when a man gives an honest answer to a question? If they don’t want answers, they shouldn’t ask us questions. We’re not mind readers, are we? If a woman doesn’t tell us what she wants, how are we meant to know?
Take when we’re getting ready to go out and a woman asks our opinion on what top, purse or shoes go with some outfit. Most guys don’t own more than five pairs of shoes in total, so what possesses a woman to think we’d have the first clue how to match shoes to anything, let alone a dress!? But. We do our best to help, only to find whatever answer we give is the wrong one. Of course, if they spent less time shopping for things they’d already got plenty of, there wouldn’t be a problem.
What I’d really like to know is why, if something I say can be interpreted in two ways and one of those is critical of her, why she automatically assumes that’s the one I meant? When I said she’d got a healthy amount of fat on her I meant just that, not that she resembled a beached whale. Why do women seem to look for insults where there aren’t any, and then inflict mindless psychological trauma on themselves... resulting in them going on a diet - the main function of which seems to be to stop ME eating what I like!?
I’ll tell you what really annoys me, though. When we’re driving somewhere and she’s sitting there rotating the map around three hundred and sixty degrees and back again without a clue where we are, goes all quiet, and then has the nerve to suggest I’m lost and need to stop and ask for directions! I NEVER get LOST! [Realises he has ‘lost it’ and calms down.] If only women were more like men: rational, logical, straight-forward... but they’re not. Instead of being complicated and confusing... why can’t they just be... well...
A woman in a smart suit, very professional looking, steps out of the shadows behind him and taps him on the shoulder.
DR STEPH Women are really very simple to understand, Joe... if men like you only took the time to listen, use your eyes, develop some emotional sensitivity...
JOE looking confused Who on earth are you? And how do you know my name?
DR STEPH Doctor Steph at your service. [Shakes his hand.] I’m a socio-biologist, an expert in studying how human behaviour is influenced by our evolutionary and genetic make-up, and you should think yourself very lucky.
JOE Oh, why’s that then?
DR STEPH Because tonight, Joe, I’m going to help you - and all those other people here - understand the female mind. So just go and sit at the back, out of the way like a good boy, and all will be made clear.
JOE Well, I guess I’ve got nothing better to do, so... [He starts to walk off, then turns.] Hey! You still didn’t tell me how you knew my name.
DR STEPH Female intuition, of course. I’m a WOMAN! You don’t need to tell me everything - I just know. [To the audience.] Every woman knows Joe Average when she sees him. Now, to business. Men and women are different. Same species and equal we may be, but identical? ‘Fraid not. Our brains aren’t wired quite the same. You men out there may have some vague notion there’s scientific evidence which supports that idea, but every woman in the audience already KNOWS it’s true. We have all the evidence we need.
EXTRACT TWO ALICE... I’m telling you, there is nothing worse than a man who can’t control his wandering eye.
As she says this another attractive girl walks by from right to left and, yet again, Simon instinctively turns his head to get a proper look.
DR STEPH And again. She could hardly miss that one.
Simon is still staring in the direction of the retreating girl. Alice is facing forward but clearly aware and seething. She folds her arms and coughs impatiently. He turns back to face her looking innocent.
ALICE My, didn’t she look nice!
SIMON unaware what Alice is doing What? Who?
ALICE That girl. Fantastic legs. Toned like a model’s. Wouldn’t you say?
SIMON I - I... er... didn’t notice. I was looking at... rather, I got distracted with...
[Catching her look and realising the trap, he changes his answer midsentence.].... how long her hair was. It was really long, wasn’t it? Much too long!...
[Noticing his partner twirling her own long hair.]... not that long hair isn’t attractive.
Yours is perfect, but hers... hers... it was kind of matted and... and, well... [Giving up.] Did I mention how radiant you look today?
ALICE Do you think I’m blind?
SIMON aside Obviously not. [To Alice, acting dumb.] I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I follow. What specifically are you asking me?
ALICE Specifically, do you think I haven’t seen you practically undressing every bit of skirt that’s walked past since we stepped out of the door?
SIMON What? I have not...
ALICE You have! Do you know how insulting that is? I let it go the first few times. I know you men have urges, but enough is enough. How would you like it if I couldn’t keep my eyes off every man to walk past?
DR STEPH He’d never notice.
ALICE Exactly! While you are admiring other women’s legs and cup sizes, do you ever spare a thought for how that makes me feel? Am I really so uninteresting? Do I already bore you so much? Simon!!?
SIMON What? No. Not at all.
ALICE I don’t think you’ve paid attention to one word I’ve said today. It hurts, Simon.
While Alice has been speaking a further attractive girl has entered from Stage Left, studying a street map and obviously trying to get her bearings.
ALICE I feel like you don’t want to be with me any more... that... that you... don’t love me.
Alice stares at Simon, waiting expectantly for an answer while he struggles to make sense of this logic. It is during this pregnant moment that the girl with the map notices them and tentatively approaches.
MAP GIRL Excuse me.
SIMON welcoming the distraction Yes?
MAP GIRL I’m sorry. I hope I’m not interrupting you, but...
SIMON No, no... not at all. What can I do for you?
Alice gives him a killer look which he fails to notice and turns to face downstage, observing them with her peripheral vision.
MAP GIRL doing the whole damsel-in-distress act Well, I’m trying to get to Church Road, I’d be so grateful for your help. I’m just hopeless with maps.
SIMON Of course, no problem. You’re not far off at all. It’s very simple. See here...
[Leaning in close to her to look at the map and point.] - This is where you are.
Just go to the end of this road, then go west for... [Thinks.]... must be about eighty yards...
MAP GIRL helplessly Yards?
SIMON Then north into Albert Street. After that, it’s the second road on your right going north east. You’ll be there in two minutes.
MAP GIRL confused Sorry. Could you just repeat that.
ALICE sharply Go to the end of this street, turn left at Top Shop, carry on till you get to Boots, then turn right, then carry on and, funnily enough, Church Road is the one with the great big church, steeple and all, so you can’t really miss it.
MAP GIRL reassured, but reading Alice’s tone of voice Ah. Right. Well, thank you both very much for your help.
SIMON Actually, we need to go that way too. We can show you...
ALICE yanking him back Oh no, we’re not! Sorry. Very busy day. Lots to do. What a shame! Thank you. Bye. Goodbye. [Waving her off with a frosty smile and glaring at Simon who watches her exit.] What was that?
SIMON What was what?
ALICE You were flirting with her.
SIMON No, I wasn’t!
ALICE You most certainly were. You kept on making eye contact and leaning in towards her.
SIMON I was looking at the map...
DR STEPH In contrast, nurturing woman doesn’t miss a thing, chaps! She‘s aware of your every non-verbal signal or shift of voice and instantly senses, from all that uneasy body language and avoidance of her eyes, when you are telling her porkies. For millennia, men have been bravely trying to fool their women, and they fail every time! A man has more chance of getting away with it on the phone, in the dark, or with a bag on his head! If you forgot that special meal the lady in your life was preparing, to go for a drink with some friends after work - gentlemen, you are better off telling the truth and pleading for forgiveness. She knows anyway!
Man enters quietly, uneasily, from behind and right of the couch. There is the slightest shift in the woman’s body language to indicate, without having looked, that she is aware of his presence. She continues ‘reading’, waiting.
The man, dressed as if from the office, but with his tie hanging from an open collar, knocks over an object. The woman’s body stiffens, lips tight, but she says nothing. He knows she must have heard.
MARK nervously Evening, dear.
Her only response is to snap the book shut, eyebrows raised.
MARK Err... I hope I’m not too late.
LAURA sarcastic No! Not really, it’s just... what? Eight o’clock.
MARK feigning surprise You’re kidding. [Looks at watch.] My watch only says quarter past six. Look! [Holds his wrist out but she doesn’t look.] Stupid! Cheap!
Twenty quid watch!
LAURA So. Why are you late?
MARK stalling There’s a very good reason. You won’t believe it, though... because it’s just... unbelievable.
LAURA Try me.
MARK Yes. What happened was... the boss quit this morning. Pressure got too much - and he trashed the whole office before he left. It was hell to pay, for us. Chucked stuff out of the window. Poured coffee over everything. Smashed the copier...
MARK Why’d he smash the copier?
LAURA Why was it hell to pay for you?
MARK Well, we all had to clean up the mess.
LAURA Wouldn’t that be a job for the cleaning staff?
MARK Well, normally, yes, but they said it wasn’t in their job specification and the boss was so angry that he sacked every one of them.
LAURA Even though he’d quit?
MARK Ah, no, well that was the new boss. His deputy took over.
LAURA Wouldn’t that be you?
MARK That’s only on Tuesdays. Today is Friday...
EXTRACT FOURMum - Sandra - stands ironing, SR; Dad - Tony - is on a couch CSL, intensely focused on tuning a large telly the back of which faces DS. A child of about 1 Rebecca - kneels doing homework CSR. In a separate area of the stage, SL, a friend - Debbie - stands pressing the digits on a phone. Sandra’s phone rings.
SANDRA switching mobile on Hello?
DEBBIE Hi, Sandra. How are you doing? We’ve not talked since Tuesday, have we?
SANDRA No, I’m sorry. I’ve just been so busy, Debbie. Took the dogs for their boosters, the kids needed new shoes abd planning for the holiday already.
DEBBIE Oh, that’s right. Won’t be long now, will it? Bet you’re looking forward to a nice break.
SANDRA We’ve never been to Cornwall before. Tony’s been buying guide books and working out what’s to see and do. You know how he likes to plan things in advance.
Just like a General plotting the campaign, he is. We’ve got a nice caravan by the sea sorted and the coach tickets are paid for. We leave on the 16th....
Rebecca moves to sit by Dad, holding exercise book open.
SANDRA... so all we have to hope for is good weather, not like when we went to Morecambe.
REBECCA overlapping with above Dad. Can you name any of Henry the Eighth’s wives?
TONY I really need to concentrate, Rebecca. Ask your mother.
SANDRA... and the only day it didn’t rain was when we came home.
SANDRA Yes, dear?
REBECCA I need to know Henry the Eighth’s wives for my History homework.
SANDRA Katherine of Aragon. Ann Boleyn. Jane Seymour. Anne of Cleves.