Note: All characters played by the same actor; image (c) George Carter
Annie (To audience.) I’m really nervous. (Realises.) You’d think I’d be used to the nerves by now but it’s always the same. My stomach’s in bits, my legs are like jelly, actually no my legs are fine. But it’s all, here. (Indicates chest and stomach and head in wide hand gestures.) Oh, better make sure I got everything, cool. Shoes, they’re actually called pomps, are tied tightly around my ankle and under the arch of my foot, my shoelaces are neatly tucked in, my brand new, sparkling white, poodle socks are pulled up both my legs to the exact same height, I don’t have a wedgie, my hairband (knocks head forward) is secure, costume . . . shit my costume isn’t zipped up, where’s Tanya? (She begins dancing in her pomps around stage.) Tanya’s my mate. She’s a dancer too, but not today, today she’s just here to watch, well, mostly comment. She’s real supportive, she says things like, ‘Yeah, Annie, she’s a lovely lift but you’ve nicer feet’ or, ‘She’s a flexy foot but you’ve a looser ankle’ or ‘State of her costume!’ (Laughs and sings this step out loud as she dances it.) And tuuuurn down step one, one, two, three, step over over twist twist twist flick a flick a out jump double twist down and one, two up one, two, three, four. I can win this, I could win this like. I’ve been getting firsts all year and I’m in fourth year and I’ve a nice set dance that I’ve actually been, like, practising, in front of a mirror, in this, like, studio thing, proper practising like . . . oh my God who is that? I don’t recognise her, like it’s the Irish Open so obviously I wouldn’t recognise all the faces but who is that? I’ve never noticed her before, ohhh she’s from the Noonans, I can tell by the big ‘N’ on her shawl. (Hums, noticesTanya come up behind her.) Oh heya, Tanya, can ye . . .?
Tanya ‘Howaye, c’mere ’n’ I’ll zip ye up, y’after clockin yer one? That’s Rita Noonan, back from London. Apparently, she’s massive! I’m only just after seein’ the panel, judges are righ? M.C. O’Malley, John Ebbs and Theresa dozy Dolan. A real mixed bag there, shit, you’ve to go, ’n’ me ’n’ all, I don’t wanna lose me seat! Ah, best of luck!’
Annie (to audience) That’s a good panel, kinda. Mary Claire O’Malley likes me, I think. John Ebbs, dunno cuz he lives in Canada so he might just go for the boy Stephen Kirwan, and Theresa Dolan? Ah she can go either way but she’s not a huge fan of Assumpta. Awgh I wish I didn’t know who the judges were. I feel sick but, like, if I drink my 7up I’ll get a stitch and if I drink too much water I’ll need to pee and the bathroom is miles away and they don’t wait for ya. Actually sometimes, needing to pee is a good thing, for your light anyway, cos it makes you lift higher but see as soon as ye stop, you’re dyin’ again. Man, I hate goin’ to the loo at these things. The dress is always too big for the tiny toilet and you don’t want it to touch the sanitary bin so you’ve to hold the side flaps up around your waist as you squat down. I never touch the seat and there’s never enough time to make a paper one. So groooss. Oh and to top it all off, when the floor is wet and you’re in your pomps, you’ve to hop over the puddles so you don’t slip or stand in, bleurgh, whatever that is. One time I was burstin’ to go, so I legged it after the reel but cuz there was this massive queue, I missed my place in the line for the Slip Jig. They wouldn’t let me dance. Go last, even! I tried to explain myself but they just said (as Assumpta), ‘Rules are rules – if you’re not in your line, ye can’t dance.’ So . . . (Blows lips and shrugs shoulders.)
The Humours of Bandon is published alongside The Wheelchair on My Face by Sonya Kelly, and Charolais by Noni Stapleton, available now at 10% off R.R.P. from Bloomsbury.com. For amateur performance rights, visit http://bloomsbury.com/uk/company/permissions/permissions-performance-rights/.