Cloak & Dagger by Chris Shelstone

This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent

The scene is at the Cloak & Dagger pub, where Arthur is welcoming everyone (the audience) to a quiz night

Delilah, Noah, Elliot & Romeo are on hand and have previously been mingling with the guests on their arrival

They have been helping them to their seats and to give an opportunity to sell some raffle tickets

Romeo is busy cleaning the tables and doing odd jobs as directed by Arthur & Noah

He tries to put on an Italian accent, but it’s unconvincing.

Simple set – a large table on stage or at front of the hall to represent a bar with glasses, bottles, beer mats etc.

Arthur introduces himself to the guests ...

ARTHUR: Welcome everyone to The Cloak & Dagger Quiz night. I can see there are a few regulars in tonight, but for those here for the first time, it’s a big warm welcome from me, Arthur Lager. Yes, okay, I get a lot of clever comments about that, but that’s my name and I’m stuck with it. I’m going to outline the proceedings for this evening, but first of all, apologies from my partner Sue, who is absent this evening. She’s on a well-earned holiday break with my daughter Amber, somewhere in Benidorm, and due back in a week…or two. So let me introduce you to our other staff members. My very able assistant manager, Noah, is on hand to help keep the evening flowing smoothly and has worked hard on preparing the questions for tonight’s quiz. Say hello, Noah.

NOAH L: Hello everyone. Yes, as Arthur has said, I will be running the quiz tonight, and I’ll be handing out the team sheets shortly for you to write your answers down. Don’t forget to put your team name at the top of the form.

ARTHUR: Thank you, Noah. Noah is our quiz machine, and we are enormously proud to announce that he was last year’s winner at the British Quizzing Championships, narrowly beating The Governess, Anne Heggerty and The Beast, Mark Labbett. So, he’s a bit of a Noah-it-all when it comes to quizzes. Ha, ha – yes, well, what a privilege to have him here with us. Now then, Chris Bacon is our resident Chef and will be providing you with supper this evening. Say hello, Chris.

CHRIS: Hello everyone and I hope you enjoy your food later. I have a new assistant, Noah. Say hello, Noah.

NOAH V: Hello everyone.

CHRIS: This is Noah’s first full week with us and I’m sure he’ll settle in very quickly and will be a good asset to the company. I have worked with Noah before and known him for some time, so I know he will do a good job here.

ARTHUR: So, we have two Noahs, which is quite unusual considering it’s not a common name.

NOAH L: (in a factual manner) Actually, Noah has been an extremely popular name for boys in recent years and manages to be short, cute, and strong at the same time. In fact, Noah reached the number 2 spot on the list of popular boy names in 2019. The name Noah is extremely well-known throughout history, and most famously appears in the Biblical story of Noah and the ark.

ARTHUR: Yes, thank you, Noah. Perhaps we can refer to you as Noah L and the other Noah as Noah V.

CHRIS: That could be even more confusing as we’ll probably shorten Noah L to Noel. We could go formal and call them Mr Lott & Mr Vale.

NOAH V: That makes us sound like characters from Mr Men.

NOAH L: By Roger Hargreaves, born in Yorkshire in 1935, and Britain’s 3rd best-selling author, having sold more than 100 million books.

ARTHUR: Yes okay, let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill.

NOAH L: That expression first appeared in 1570 in John Fox’s ‘The Book of Martyrs’.

ARTHUR: Thank you, Mr Lott. Noah L. Noel. Noah. Oh, for goodness’ sake, let common sense prevail. Noah is fine for both of them. If it helps, we can refer to Noah Vale as Chef Noah.

CHRIS: Assistant Chef Noah. I’m the Head Chef here.

ARTHUR: Does it really matter?

CHRIS: Yes, it does. Why call Noah the Chef when I’m the Chef? It’s like calling Noah Lott, Manager Noah, when it should be Assistant Manager Noah.

NOAH V: What about if we call me Chris’s Noah, and the other Noah, Arthur’s Noah.

CHRIS: Or Noah 1 and Noah 2.

NOAH V: Or Old Noah and New Noah.

ARTHUR: Enough! We’ll stick to Noah for both. I’m sure we will know who we’re talking about. Let’s move on or we’ll never get to the quiz. I’m sure you all know Elliot by now. He’s been busy organising drinks and taking orders. Say hello, Elliot.

ELLIOT: Hello everyone.

ARTHUR: Elliot is another new recruit but settling in well. Thank you, Elliot. You may have noticed Romeo popping in and out making himself busy. Romeo is our bartender & cellarman. Been with us for years. Part of the furniture. Say hello, Romeo.

ROMEO: (in a bad Italian accent) Hello everyone.

ARTHUR: Last but not least is our Brewery Representative Delilah Lowe. Delilah’s brewery is sponsoring the quiz this evening, and she will be joining us very soon. She’s in the back office on an important conference call.

SFX Mobile phone ring tone. All go for their phones thinking it’s theirs.

NOAH L: It’s mine. It’s mine. (He takes the call and listens. Everyone tries to listen in) You don’t say…you don’t say…you don’t say.

ARTHUR: Who was it?

NOAH L: They didn’t say…only kidding. It was the Brewery. They said all the plans are going ahead as arranged.

ARTHUR: Oh, right. Thanks. Why didn’t they call my phone?

NOAH L: They said it wasn’t connecting. So, what plans are they talking about then, Arthur?

ARTHUR: I’ll tell you later. We need to get on with the quiz.

CHRIS: What’s going on Arthur? Come on - spill the beans.

NOAH V: Yes. If they affect us, we need to know.

ARTHUR: Later guys, we have customers to look after and a quiz to do.

ELLIOT: Something’s not right. What are the brewery plans?

NOAH L: I think you’d better tell us what’s going on.

ARTHUR: Okay, okay, you’ll know soon enough so I may as well tell you now. I’m selling up and moving to Tenerife with Delilah to open up a new restaurant.

All the staff, except Romeo, are shocked at the news and react in bitter protest.

CHRIS: Am I hearing this right? You’re giving up everything you have here to run off to Tenerife with Delilah?

ARTHUR: Got it in one.

NOAH L: You and Delilah?

ARTHUR: Me and Delilah.

CHRIS: Delilah and you?

ARTHUR: Yes, Delilah and me.

NOAH L: I knew you were up to something. So, what happened to all the talks we’ve had about me and Chris taking over when you decide to retire to the south coast?

ARTHUR: Slight change of plan there, pal.

CHRIS: You can say that again.

NOAH V: So, am I out of a job already? I only started last week.

ELLIOT: And me as well. Am I being sacked?

NOAH V: You told me about plans to expand the business at my interview, and that Chris will be a big part of that. The prospects for me would be good as well if I worked hard enough.

ELLIOT: You told me that at my interview as well. You’ve been lying to us all along.

ARTHUR: Look, I couldn’t say anything at the interviews because it was still up in the air, and nothing was definitely decided. It’s all happened very quickly.

NOAH L: So, is that why Sue has taken herself off to Benidorm with Amber?

ARTHUR: Sue doesn’t know anything about this yet. I’ll call her from Tenerife.

CHRIS: Call her from Tenerife? You are unbelievable. I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes when she catches up with you. So, what are the plans for the Cloak & Dagger then? Will Noah & I have an opportunity to talk to the brewery to run the place?

ARTHUR: Ah – one little bit of a problem there. The brewery, with the help of Delilah, have found a buyer who is going to turn this into one of those World Cuisine establishments. You know, where you can eat Italian, Chinese, Mexican, traditional British, or a bit of everything. They’ll be looking for staff so you could always get a job behind the British section doing roast beef or fish and chips.

CHRIS: Fish and Chips? You must be joking.

NOAH V: We’re better than that.

ROMEO: There’s nothing wrong with fish and chips.

NOAH L: Oh, the man speaks. I’ve noticed that you don’t seem to be particularly surprised at what’s going on.

ROMEO: That’s because I’ve been helping them get accommodation over there.

ARTHUR: Ah yes, Romeo knows the area well and has friends living over there.

ROMEO: I’m moving out with them to run the bar side of things.

ARTHUR: Oh, about that Romeo. The place we’re getting already has a bar manager, and we’ve decided to retain him, so we won’t be needing you.

ROMEO: You what? But I’m on the point of selling my place.

ARTHUR: Well, you’ll just have to back out. We can’t afford you as well.

ROMEO: You evil little…. I could swing for you.

ELLIOT: Oh, what a wicked web we weave.

NOAH L: I’ve seen some dirty dealings in my time, but this takes the biscuit.

Sue comes bursting in from the area beside/behind the bar.

ARTHUR: (not seeing her) Never mind about my dirty dealings, what about you?

SUE: I might have known you were up to something. What the hell is going on?

[End of Extract]

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