Another Brief Encounter


A Ten Minute Sketch

Character: A man and a woman

Scene: small shop, counter, woman standing behind the counter placed slightly to stage left, at an angle on the stage so that she and the man can be seen in full profile) tidying things as the man walks on stage from stage right-hesitates, looking out to the audience, hesitates, then turns and approaches the counter.

Woman. (looking the man over)  Good afternoon, 

Man. Good afternoon.  (He looks at things on display as she continues to tidy while watching him. The objects can just be suggested)

Woman. Can I help you find something?

Man. Perhaps, I don’t know what I’m looking for really.

Woman. Then everything can be considered. Is it for you or a gift?

Man. For a friend, well, more than a friend, a woman, at least…

Woman. Without knowing what she means to you makes it difficult for me to recommend anything. Your wife, perhaps?

Man. No, but we had plans, anyway we talked about it-I’m not sure now, you see, she’s not well and I wanted….

Woman. To cheer her up.

Man. That would be difficult, she’s ill, might be dying in fact.

Woman. Oh, I’m sorry. Is there no hope?

Man. That’s just it, I’m not sure. She won’t return my calls now. We had an argument about it yesterday. She was fine one minute, angry the next. Told me to forget about her. Said she didn’t have much time left, wanted to be alone.

Woman. But you can’t be?

Man. Love doesn’t’ just end when someone hangs up the phone.

Woman.  But, if that’s what she wants…

Man. If I knew that, it would be simple, but she does this quite a bit. Stops calling, Hangs up on me, tells me she’s dying, then days later will call as if nothing happened.  Now I’m not sure what to think, so I thought I would get her a gift.

Woman. And buy your way back? 

Man. No, not at all, show my concern, my affection. 

Woman. Isn’t it the same thing?

Man. Is that what I’m doing? Trying to buy her love?

Woman. I can’t say but it seems too late – perhaps you should move on.

Man.  That sounds like giving up. But I’ve never been good with reality.

Woman. Maybe she’s testing you.  Is she your age? 

Man. She’s younger. (a beat) Of course, I can see what you’re thinking, and we talk about that a lot, when we talk that is, and about the other issue between us?

Woman. You’re married? 

Man. I know what you’re thinking.  It’s typical, and I never saw myself as the typical man. To find I am is depressing me. 

Woman.  Or to be a typical woman.

Man. You too?

Woman. It ended a year ago, my affair.  As for my marriage, well, We pretend we’re very sophisticated. But, in the end it’s very tiring.

Man. What does it all mean then? I don’t know anymore. I don’t even know why I’m talking to you like this, just walked in off the street.  I’m sorry.

Woman. Oh, don’t be. It’s been a slow day and when there’s not much to do, the mind tends to wander into all sorts of places.  

Man. I.m not sure what you mean?

Woman. Well, there’s got to be more to life than just the living, don’t you think? 

Man. Yes, but I’ve no idea what that is.

Woman. Love. What is there without love? Just the dreary day to day.  Isn’t that why you’re here? 

Man. For what?

Woman, For your love of this woman. (she laughs) Have you forgotten here already? (She almost twirls away from as she pretends to rearrange the items on the counter.

Man (Now a bit confused by what is happening but can’t help himself.) I, uh, I, yes, …for a moment, she passed right out of my mind. 

Woman. Something bothering you? Come on, the truth, if you dare. (She moves closer to him, this time just touching items as she moves)

Man  A dare, I didn’t really come here to be dared, but alright, why not, Yes, The way you moved, what can I say, it mesmerised me.

Woman. Mesmerised you?

Man It was like stepping through a magic door into another world.

Woman. Why do you think that is?

Man. No, now its your turn. Why did you make that move. Why did you want me in that spell or know I’d like it?

Woman. Because it makes us feel alive. 

Man. (Moving closer to her) You’re pretty fast are’t you. What about the lady I came in here for?

Woman. What about her? And my husband, what about him? What’s this got to do with them?

Man. Look, don’t get me wrong, I feel strongly attracted to you, but we have obligations, why should we hurt others, betray them for….

Woman. For what? For real life. To feel alive. As for hurt feelings. Well sometimes the moment overwhelms you, all those things holding you back, the chains are thrown off.

Man. (Suddenly stepping back) I’m not comfortable where this is going, I think I should leave, (he turns to exit stage right)

Woman. You haven’t bought your friend a gift. You might as well, now you’re here. 

Man. (Hesitates, steps forward) Yes, I suppose, why not. What do you suggest for the woman I described?

Woman. Another man. 

Man, “What are you doing later?”

Woman,  “You need to ask?