In bed, window open, no lights. Approximately 1 a.m.
Brain: This is nice. Let’s nod off, Jo, and dream of happy times to come.
Jo: Sounds great (takes a relaxing, deep breath and slowly exhales).
Bladder: Um. Sorry to be that guy but I need a trip to the bathroom.
Brain: Oh, come off it. You went an hour ago.
Bladder: Yeah but now you’re thinking about it, Brain, aren’t you?
Brain: (Mutters something inaudible).
Back: Yeah, I’m with Bladder. If we fall asleep in this position, it’s going to mess up Neck.
Neck: Huh? No fair. Come on, Brain… it’s one trip to the loo. If Back screws with me again, I’m sending a migraine your way in the morning, Brain.
Brain: (Exasperatedly) It is the bloody morning. (Resigned) Up you get, Jo, we’re off for a quick wee.
Brain: Oh for pity’s sake.
Jo heads to the bathroom in the dark and performs a wee. She hangs around for a minute or two to establish that Intestine is, in fact, being an attention seeker. Jo heads back out of the bathroom and enters the kitchen because Victorian houses have strange layouts.
Jo: (Turns on light).
Brain: Great, now you’ve done it. (Bitterly) I’m awake again.
Cat: (Screams continuously).
Jo: (Fetches cat bowl and empties cat food into it, getting some on the side and on her hands).
Brain: That’ll do, Jo – straight back to bed.
Conscience: (Outraged) No, no, no. Clean up the kitchen sides and wash your hands. Really!
Jo: (Cleans sides and washes hands. She notices the sink isn’t looking sparkly, so cleans that and puts on a load of washing).
Conscience: (Impressed) Nice one, Jo.
Brain: (Stroppily) Can we get back to bed now?
Jo: Sure. (Turns off lights and sets off for the bedroom).
Foot: (Yelling) WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!
Brain: (Sighing) One of Jo’s shoes. She left it there earlier, remember?
Foot: No. (Sulkily) That’s your job.
Conscience: Perhaps Jo should put it away –
Brain: (Interrupting) NO! Not now. Bed!
Jo heads back to bed and spends at least 30 minutes trying to make sure Back and Neck are happy.
Jo: Are we all set?
Bladder: Yeah, cheers for that.
Brain: Well, actually, now you mention it, I’d like to run through the plans for tomorrow. And what do you want to eat? What time is the puppy going to daycare and have you figured out when we need to leave and when you should wake up? Remind me, why are you doing a PhD? Did you text your friend to see how she’s doing? Whose birthdays are coming up? Are you smart enough to do a PhD? When is the dog’s next vet appointment? Oh, did you put the ointment on the dog’s tail earlier? Actually, doesn’t the puppy need a worming tablet this week? What’s your PhD even about? I don’t think you’ve charged your phone but you shouldn’t check because the light will wake me up even more. Did you see that article about blue light and the impact on brains? I wonder if we should get Eyes some of those light filtering glasses. Or maybe they’re just a scam? Talking of purchases, have you got a Hermes tracking number for the Hoover yet? Well, we should say vacuum cleaner because Hoover is the brand. Like Sellotape. And Post-Its. Ah, stationery – you need to order new fountain pen cartridges, you’re running out. And the printer said its black cartridge is low. Was it the black? I’m sure it was. We can check. There’s a button on the printer or you can use the software on the laptop. Might need to run laptop updates this week before it gives up completely. What will you do for work if you complete the PhD? Ah, have you backed up all your recent analysis? And password protected the folders? Because, if you –
Netflix: (Interrupting) I’ve got at least two new releases that would shut Brain up for a while.
Brain: How rude.
Jo: (Relieved, grabs phone) Yes, please! (Checks phone) Oh, only 8% battery.
Brain: (Smugly) Told you.
Jo: (Scrabbling around in the dark) There’s no charger, I’ll grab one from downstairs.
Brain, Bladder, Back and Neck: (In unison) Do we have to?
Jo: It won’t take long.
Downstairs, in the dark, Jo goes to the dining room and locates a charger. She turns to head back up the stairs.
Cat: (Screams, continuously and louder than before.)
Jo: You’ve just eaten.
Brain: You know she won’t stop until you feed her again.
Jo: She might.
Cat: (Screams and jumps on kitchen side).
Brain: Told you. Again.
Jo: (Prepares more cat food and this time, doesn’t spill any. Turns to head back up the stairs).
Conscience: Excuse me? You need to clean the kitchen sides.
Jo: But I didn’t spill anything!
Conscience: Sure… but Miss-Kitty-Shout-A-Lot just tap danced all over it.
Brain: Oh, come on!
Jo: (Dutifully cleans the sides. Again).
Back in bed, Jo charges the phone and spends a few minutes settling Back and Neck into comfy positions. She watches one episode of a new series and decides, responsibly, to leave it there for now).
Netflix: Good, right?
Jo: Yeah, seems promising.
Netflix: Another? Ah go on, they’re only 45 minutes long.
Jo: No, let’s sleep.
Netflix: You sure?
Brain: You heard her!
Netflix: (Placatingly) Alright, alright.
Relaxed and calm, Jo starts to fall asleep.
Ears: What was that?
Ears: No, listen.
Dog: (Politely) Whimper, huff, huff, snort.
Brain: (Runs canine translation system) She needs the loo.
Jo: (Gets up, causing Back and Neck to grumble, and opens door). There you go.
Jo: You know how to use the dog flap.
Dog: Huffity huff.
Brain: She doesn’t want to go on her own or in the dark.
Jo upsets Back and Neck by staggering downstairs and into the garden with the dog. The dog takes 15 minutes to find the perfect place to pee and then poops in 3 different locations.
Conscience: You should –
Jo: I know!
Jo bags up the poop and cleans the dirty patio areas with the hose. She heads back indoors.
Conscience: You need to –
Jo: I bloody know!
Jo washes her hands and heads to the stairs, surprised the cat isn’t screaming again. She starts up the first step.
Brain: If we get to sleep in the next 5 minutes, we’ll have 3 and a half hours of rest.
Bladder: Um, actually, whilst you’re up…
2 thoughts on “Insomnia: a one act play to be performed at least 5 nights a week”
Oh my goodness! This should be published! Hilarious but every word of it will resonate with a lot of people! Brilliant.
OMG Jo, hilarious 🤣 brilliantly written and made me lol 😂 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻