Empty Vessels by Greg Freeman
ACT ONE- SCENE 1
Setting terrace on the edge of a Grecian beach.
A glorious Saturday morning.
ERIC is dressed in long tatty shorts and a tropical shirt. He holds a
bottle of water.
TRAVIS is dressed in expensive designer shorts and T Shirt. He holds a
bottle of beer.
ERIC: So. The question begs. Were you a real person on a fake show or
a fake person on a real show?
TRAVIS: It was a reality show.
ERIC: Yes. But were you a real person on a fake show or a fake person
on a real show?
TRAVIS: The show was real. I was real. Everything was real. It was a
'reality' TV show.
ERIC: Only you had rehearsals and re-takes and clever editing. And
prompting. You followed a script. And everyone decided what you were
going to talk about before they turned the camera on. Which bit was
TRAVIS: All of it. What happened was real. I cried real tears mate.
You can't fake real emotion.
ERIC: You can actually.
TRAVIS: Those tears were real. The real deal.
ERIC: And you cried because they called you vain?
TRAVIS : I don't expect you to understand.
ERIC: I don't.
TRAVIS: That's because you have to be famous, to really understand.
I am not putting you down when I say you're a nobody. But you aren't famous. Just
remember, "if you prick me, I will bleed".
ERIC: I think the quote is 'if you prick us, do we not bleed"
TRAVIS: We are not talking about us. What us? We are talking about me.
Me. Me. Me. I've got feelings. And the things they write about me. It's enough
to make you weep. I'll send you some links.
ERIC: You shouldn't take it personally.
TRAVIS: If I called you pathetic, would you take it personally?
ERIC: It would depend on the context.
TRAVIS: You are pathetic. I think you are pathetic. You are totally
ERIC: In relation to what?
TRAVIS thinks as he swigs his bottle.
TRAVIS: For every person that wants to kiss my arse, there is another
pathetic person who wants to put me in my place. Jealousy, Eric. Some people, Eric.
And I shall refrain from naming, names, Eric, refuse to be impressed. Mr. Pathetic
pretends they don't know who you are.
ERIC: I honestly don't watch television.
TRAVIS: Of course you don't.
ERIC: Sorry. I'm sure you are famous. I just hadn't heard of you.
TRAVIS: Of course you hadn't.
ERIC: I suppose it depends on how you define famous.
TRAVIS: Is Sir John Harrington famous?
TRAVIS: Exactly. Not famous. What about Thomas Crapper?
ERIC: Don't know him either. Are these people you go to parties with?
TRAVIS: Have you heard of a "flushing toilet"?
ERIC: Of course.
TRAVIS: There you go. That is how you define fame. Being universally
ERIC: Are you equating your fame with a flushing toilet?
TRAVIS: Sir John Harrington invented the flushing toilet. Three
hundred years later Crapper re-works it and gets a little bit of fame. But ultimately who
gives a monkey's about either of them? It's what's now and what's relevant.
ERIC: The flushing toilet.
TRAVIS: Now and relevant.
ERIC: Two and a half billion people, dream of having a flushing
toilet. Two and a half billion.
TRAVIS: According to a poll, two and half thousand women dream of
making a sex tape with me. Makes you think.
ERIC: It certainly does.
They each drink from their bottle.
TRAVIS: Did you want to take a selfie with me?
ERIC; A selfie?
ERIC: Explain something to me about selfies. Why does a President and
a Prime Minster stand next to each other and take selfies?
TRAVIS: It's obvious. To impress their mates.
ERIC: They rule the world. Isn't that impressive enough? Without
having to add "Hey look who I'm standing next to". It makes no sense. Showing off is
a sign of low-self esteem. And it's hardly spiritual.
TRAVIS: You want spiritual. Look at this.
TRAVIS shows ERIC a photo on his phone.
TRAVIS: Selfie of me and the Dalai Lama.
ERIC: Is that in Madame Tussauds?
TRAVIS: Yeah. Looks like we're best mates. (resigned) Go on then.
TRAVIS: I'll let you take a selfie with me.
ERIC: You actually want a selfie with me?
TRAVIS: No offence. Not really. I thought you wanted one with me.
TRAVIS: To impress your mates.
ERIC does not respond.
TRAVIS : You do have mates?
ERIC: I don't like having my photo taken.
ERIC: Because each time you have your photo taken, a little bit of
your soul is taken.
TRAVIS: Says who?
ERIC: Ancient cultures. They believe that.
TRAVIS: Does that mean you have to believe it?
ERIC: No. But you can't discount the possibility.
TRAVIS: I've had ten, twenty, thirty thousand photos taken of me,
I've got hundreds of thousands of likes on Instagram, people beg to have their photo with
me and you're turning up your nose.
TRAVIS: If I lost a bit of my soul every time my photo was taken I'd
look like cheese grater.
ERIC: (resigned) Ok, take it on your phone.
TRAVIS: You're missing the point Eric. I don't want the selfie in
my photo album.
ERIC: I don't have a phone.
TRAVIS: No offence Eric, but you are actually Mr Pathetic.
ERIC: I am here to write a book, I don't want distractions.
TRAVIS: You've got a laptop.
ERIC: I do.
TRAVIS: Google me.
ERIC: I have.
ERIC does not respond.
ERIC: (grudgingly) You are famous.
TRAVIS: Sweet. Was that so hard to admit?
ERIC: You drive a very nice Bentley.
TRAVIS: Yeah, it's a monster. When I'm driving, I really have this
fantasy to see myself from the outside. Looking back in, at me being
ultra cool on the inside.
ERIC: You want your cake and eat it too.
TRAVIS: Cake? What cake?
ERIC: It's a paradox. You can't still have the cake if you are
eating it. Contradictory statement.
ERIC: So I'm saying you can't drive the Bentley and look at
yourself driving the Bentley at the same time.
TRAVIS: 'Course you can. Selfie stick.
ERIC: You actually drive around with a camera on a stick?
TRAVIS: Yeah. Trouble is, when I am looking at myself on the screen.
Well I can't actually see where I'm driving.
ERIC: Like the cake.
TRAVIS: You and cake Eric. What is it with you and cake?
ERIC and TRAVIS take a swig of the bottles.
ERIC: I also read you were caught speeding at 87mph.
TRAVIS: That was a bummer.
ERIC: You already had nine points on your license and because you do
extensive charity work, you pleaded not to be bannedand they let you off. The
magistrate said, "Because of your position, the fact that you are well known, clearly
the impact has to be on others, more than you yourself.”
TRAVIS: You've been banned from driving haven't you?
ERIC: Yes I bloody have!
TRAVIS: I could tell by the tone of your voice. Raw jealousy. You
think I was treated as a special case?
ERIC: You were.
TRAVIS: My life would be very difficult if I couldn't drive.
ERIC: With no license I had to walk three miles to work. Did they
TRAVIS: So change your job.
ERIC: Actuallyactually, that is exactly what I did. I thought sod
this, I'm buggering off to Greece to stay with Bethany.
TRAVIS: So ease up on the whining. You're living on a beach. It's
lucky you got banned.
ERIC: Luck(sighs)..is an interesting concept.
BETHANY: Have either of you seen my phone?
TRAVIS : No.
ERIC: Have you lost it?
ERIC: Where did you leave it?
BETHANY: It's ruddy annoying. I'm sure I left it somewhere here.
BETHANY scans the terrace.
TRAVIS : Have you finished writing my book yet?
TRAVIS: You say that every day, I want to go home.
BETHANY: I'm nearly finished.
ERIC: You'll miss this place once you go.
TRAVIS: I won't. This place is a hellhole. (to BETHANY) No offence.
BETHANY: Adding "no offence" to an offensive statement does not
render it impotent.
ERIC: And it's hardly a hellhole. (to BETHANY) It'll be stunning
Bethany, once you finish building it.
TRAVIS: Finish? You haven't even started. Two pillars and no villa.
No bricks. No
foundations. Just a shack and a blocked toilet.
BETHANY: What can I do? I've run out of money.
ERIC: It's Greece. The place may not be perfect but the views are
ERIC looks out at the beach.
ERIC: Have you bought a motorbike?
BETHANY: No. Why?
ERIC: There's a motorbike on the beach road.
BETHANY: That's odd. Who does that belong to?
BETHANY exits to investigate.
ERIC: One day, this is going to be a dream house.
TRAVIS: My Mum and Dad used to buy a house, turn it into a dream
house, then sell it. Then they'd buy another house, turn it into a dream
house, then sell it. Then they'd buy another house, turn it into a dream
house, then sell it. Then they got divorced. What was that all about?
ERIC: People are odd.
TRAVIS: Like people who don't have a phone. Even my gran has a
ERIC: I don't want the distraction.
TRAVIS and ERIC drink from their bottles
TRAVIS: (sighs) God help me, I shall be so glad to get back to the
ERIC: So this isn't your fantasy then?
TRAVIS: What this? Loafing around on the beach, sleeping in a shack,
talking bollocks with you. No.
ERIC: So what is your fantasy?
TRAVIS gives it some thought.
TRAVIS: A selfie with an alien.
ERIC: A selfiewith any particular alien?
TRAVIS: Yeah. I have this fantasy I break into Area 51 in the Nevada
desert and I find the alien they've got stashed away in the freezer and I take a
selfie with it. That Eric is guaranteed a million likes on Instagram. Sweet.
ERIC: Would you defrost him first?
TRAVIS: That's a pathetic question Eric.
ERIC and TRAVIS sip from their bottles.
ERIC: It's not a very realistic fantasy.
TRAVIS: Ok, a hundred thousand 'likes'. I'd get a hundred K easy.
ERIC: I'm actually living my fantasy. When I was working my arse off
in the Gastro pub. When I used to walk to work. The three long miles
there. The three long miles back.
TRAVIS : You're whining again.
ERIC: I used to fantasize about this. To live for a year on a beach
and write my mythic fantasy novel.
TRAVIS: Only you never write.
ERIC: I am doing research.
TRAVIS: I never see you write.
ERIC: It's not as simple as just sitting down and writing the first
thing that comes into your head.
TRAVIS: Yes it is. You're writing about goblins.
ERIC: I haven't decided what I'm writing yet. It will be fantasy
fiction. At the moment I'm playing with Greek mythology meets the real world.
TRAVIS: You should just stop farting about and get a ghost writer.
ERIC: What's the point of that?
TRAVIS: The book will get written.
ERIC: The joy is for me to write it myself.
TRAVIS: Ask Bethany.
TRAVIS: She'll knock one up for you. She's almost cracked my
ERIC: When I come to write my autobiography, I shall pen it myself.
TRAVIS: You can write it Eric, but hand on heart, who the hell is
going to read it?
ERIC: Do you honestly believe anyone will actually read yours?
TRAVIS: Yeah. I'll shift lorry loads.
ERIC: Do you have a target readership? Or is it the sort of book you
buy as a last minute gift for someone you don't like very much.
TRAVIS: Well, when everyone you know, buys you a copy of my book. You
can decide on that one.
TRAVIS and ERIC drink from their bottles.
TRAVIS: What are we going to do about that toilet?
ERIC: I'm not a plumber.
TRAVIS : You could ring one.
ERIC: Maybe it will unblock itself.
TRAVIS: Toilets do not unblock themselves.
ERIC: And how do you know that? (slowly) Because..you…area
TRAVIS ignores ERIC
ERIC: Apparently you are the world's most famous plumber.
TRAVIS: Apparently. What do you mean apparently? It's a fact, read
ERIC: Travis. You cannot be more famous than Super Mario.
TRAVIS: Eric. Mario is not real. He's a computer game plumber. He is
a fantasy plumber. I am a real plumber.
ERIC: Then unblock the toilet.
TRAVIS: That is a Greek toilet.
TRAVIS: So, it's a Greek toilet. I won't understand it.
ERIC: You don't have to talk to it.
TRAVIS: Call someone.
ERIC: It can't be that complicated to a man who is well versed in
the history of the flushing toilet.
TRAVIS : You are a trained chef and yet you never cook.
ERIC: I am on a sabbatical.
TRAVIS : And that means you can't pick up a frying pan?
ERIC: I have a book to write.
TRAVIS: I'd ring someone myself, but imagine the headline, "worlds
most famous plumber, has to ring a plumber."
ERIC: Mario is the world's most famous plumber.
TRAVIS : Bollocks. He is not a real plumber. He is a fake plumber.
ERIC: But is he a fake plumber in a real world, or a real plumber in a
fake world. You are in many ways very similar.
OFF - BETHANY screams.[end of extract]