Book Cover: Beds
Editions:Paperback - First Edition: € 8.99
ISBN: 978-1-910721-05-6
Size: 129.00 x 198.00 mm
Pages: 148
ePub (Abkhazian): € 5.99
ISBN: 978-1-910721-06-3
Size: 129.00 x 198.00 in
Pages: 148

A theatre piece in two acts, Beds brings mime, music and dialogue together to explore issues such as sex, marriage, love, death and sexual fantasies, centred on the common theme of beds.

Beds was first produced by Moveable Feast Theatre Company as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival, October
1982 and played to packed houses in a two week run.

It was selected by columnist Fintan O'Toole of The Irish Times as one of the most interesting plays of the Festival.

 

 

Published:
Publisher: Chiswick Books
Cover Artists:
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Excerpt:

Pre-theatre piece
Performed in the foyer or theatre as audience arrives, to
be adapted according to the venue. Utilises two rooms or
spaces.
Room one contains three double beds. The audience
wander through and around the cast as they perform ‘Sales
Talk.’ At the same time, others in the cast speak factually
about sleep.
Room two: The Bed of Dreams. All white and silent, a pure
white double bed in the centre with white netting draped
around it from a centre point above the bed. Peace, light
dim, soft, kind. Sounds of gentle breathing. Whisperings of
dreams. Audience enters, one by one if possible, and are
invited to lie and dream on the bed, accompanied by dream
music. Very peaceful voices and music interweave. This
room remains for audience to re-visit at the interval.

READ MORE

Sales talk
ALL
Lines to be divided amongst cast.
Choose Silent Night. The one top people are
settling on.
Choose this super de luxury, pride of our tribe.
A bed sculpted by our crafts-persons, cushioned
and cosseted with many and multiple layers of
a new fabric unique to ourselves. This fabric,
developed in our laboratories, gives a comfort as
yet to be experienced by humankind. After three
years of intensive testing it has been pronounced
completely flea-proof. Any bed bug or creepy
crawly who places foot or feeler on or near this
miracle material drops dead. You will spend
nights, nay, a lifetime without minor irritations.
This is a bed of dreams.
The up-to-the-minute designs by our team
of artists in fabric, have produced the finest
quality jacquard that elegantly complements the
tastefully quilted panels ornamenting the sides.
This is a bed you will treasure for a lifetime.
Or
Choose Posturemedic. The bed for those with
back trouble.
Posturemedic with posture springing that
gives support where you need it most. Because
posturemedic is made in one continuous unit…
All the coils work together to spread the weight.
So neither partner rolls into the centre of the bed.
In addition, this greater support makes movement
easier. Designed with our senior citizens in mind.
A person changes position between thirty five
and sixty times a night. Posture-medic springing
follows every change in the shape of the body.
So no excessive pressure is concentrated on the
hips… every part of the body enjoys… comfort
and rest.
Please note, the design of our tasteful ticking
used, but not, of course, the superb quality, may
be changed without notice during the life of this
salesman, the life of this catalogue.
Helen of Troy: a bed fit for a queen and her
king. Delicate edge-to-edge quilting is a special
feature of this magnificent bed. We use attractive
coverings on the finest quality ticking over layers
of pure cotton felt.
Pause.
Grown on our cotton fields back home.
Pause.
We have lavished thick folds of upholstery on the
mattress to a depth of...
Pause.
Ten inches.
So your nights will be majestic. Your sleep the
sleep of monarchs. No princess, we guarantee,
could ever feel a pea through the quilted bliss
of this bed. The spring-edge divan sports the
same supporting and restful edge-to-edge spring
unit for greater resilience and longer life. Sleep
longer with Helen of Troy. For deep and healthy
sleep, it’s money well spent. You’ll never regret
the hours you’ve slept on a Helen. Ten years’
guarantee.
From the House of Firmilux.
You need a firm bed? Then the original
Ballymount is for you.
You are short of storage space? This new creation
has only just arrived at our bed centre, was
used in experiments at this year’s Congress of
Insomniacs. This bed received a major award in
a 48-hour sleep-in, in the economy and comfort
class. So O Sweetest is proud to introduce to its
customers this bed, tailored with you in mind.
Covered in deeply dimpled damask with layers of
cotton and other natural fibre for cushioning the
Ballymount solves your problems of sleep and
storage. The base unit incorporates commodious
deep drawers, useful for the storage of blankets,
bed linen or children. There is a small drawer
near the bedhead for books, pencils, prayer
wheels, hair pieces, false teeth, contraceptives
and cough drops. Ballymount, the economy bed
in the O Sweetest range, brings new order to your
life.
VOICE ONE
In a pseudo-poetic voice.
Come sleep. Oh sleep, the certain host of peace.
VOICE TWO
Speaks deadpan, factual.
What is sleep? It is a recurrent healthy state.
VOICE ONE
The baiting place of wit, the balm of woe.
VOICE TWO
It is the state of inertia and unresponsiveness.
VOICE ONE
The poor man’s wealth, the prisoner’s release.
VOICE TWO
You do not respond overtly, having dozed off
during the sermon.
VOICE ONE
The indifferent judge between the high and low.
Tired nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep.
VOICE ONE
What happens when we fall asleep? The eyelids
close and the pupils become very wide.
VOICE TWO
He, like the world, his ready visit pays
Where fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes.
VOICE ONE
The secretion of saliva, of digestive juices and
urine falls sharply. The total flow of air breath is
diminished. The heart slows.
VOICE TWO
Care charming sleep, thou easer of all woes.
Brother to Death…
VOICE ONE
The electrical brainwaves change in character,
reflecting a deterioration in the efficiency with
which the brain can deal with the world around,
consciousness is lost.
VOICE TWO
Care-charmer sleep, son of the sable night.
Brother to Death, in silent darkness born.
VOICE ONE
Birds certainly sleep and many do while standing
on one leg…
VOICE TWO
Relieve my languish and restore the light,
With dark forgetting of my care return.
VOICE ONE
Cows, for example, sleep with their eyes open.
and go on chewing the cud. We do not usually
keep our eyes open, but we do keep our ears
open.
VOICE TWO
And let the day be time enough to mourn
The shipwreck of my ill-adventured youth.
VOICE ONE
Dolphins have attracted a lot of research in recent
years and appear to sleep for a couple of hours
with first one eye and then the other open.
VOICE TWO
Let waking eyes suffice to veil their scorn,
Without the torment of the night’s untruth.
ALL
Lead audience into theatre carrying the beds to
the stage. Sing.
In bed we laugh, in bed we cry,
And born in bed, in bed we die.
The near approach a bed may show
Of human bliss and human woe.

Act One
Life-cycle mime
Mime with honky-tonk piano music.
Three double beds in a row, left to right: Bed One, Bed
Two and Bed Three.
MALE A and FEMALE A enter upstage centre,
hold hands, move as puppets in time to the music
Charlie Chaplin style. Walk downstage either
side of centre Bed Two. Get into bed. Lie stiffly
side by side. Mime copulation strictly in time to
the music.
Get out of bed, one pees, the other prays.
Return to bed. Sleep.
Wake.
Mime rising, dressing, washing, eating, walking,
crapping, peeing, sitting, saying goodbye, going
to work, returning etc. Return to bed. Lie stiffly.
Copulate.
Lie stiffly.
Sleep.
FEMALE A gives birth as MALE A sleeps at her
side. MALE B emerges from between FEMALE
A’s legs as a baby.
MALE B gives baby cry.
FEMALE A cradles baby accompanied by lullaby
music.
Couple A express joy. One pees while the other
prays.
MALE B sleeps.
Couple A return to bed and sleep. Now copied by
MALE B, wake. Mime rising, dressing, washing,
eating, walking, crapping, peeing, sitting, saying
goodbye, going to work, returning etc.
All return to Bed Two.
Couple A remove the baby, MALE B, to Bed One.
MALE B objects
Couple A copulate
MALE B makes childish cries
Couple A, one pees, one prays.
MALE B sleeps.
Couple A sleep. Wake.
FEMALE A gives birth as MALE A sleeps at
her side. FEMALE C emerges from between
FEMALE A’s legs as a baby.
FEMALE C gives baby cry.
FEMALE A cradles FEMALE C accompanied by
lullaby music.
Couple A express joy. One pees while the other
prays.
FEMALE C sleeps.
Couple A return to bed and sleep.
Couple A wake, copied by MALE B and FEMALE
C growing up during the following mime: rising,
dressing, washing, eating, walking,crapping,
peeing, sitting, saying goodbye, going to work,
returning etc.
MALE B ends up in Bed One, FEMALE C ends
up in Bed Three.
Enter FEMALE B and MALE C. Meet their
partners. Love at first sight. All couples go to
bed.
All lie stiffly in bed.
Copulate strictly in time with the music.
One of each couple pees while the other prays.
Sleep.
Lie stiffly.
Snore.
Wake.
Mime rising, dressing, washing, eating, walking,
crapping, peeing, sitting, saying goodbye, going
to work, returning etc. MALE A becomes sick
during this action unnoticed by the rest who
continue on with the everyday mime. MALE A
dies, head over the end of the bed towards the
audience. He is noticed.
OTHERS
Small scream.
No music for four beats. Life goes on, the
deceased is ritually but speedily shoved under the
bed.
FEMALE A is now left alone. She moves into Bed
One and COUPLE B move into Bed Two.
All lie stiffly.
Copulate, women on top this time, apart from
FEMALE A who is becoming old.
Pee and pray etc.
Sleep.
Wake.
Mime rising, dressing, washing, eating, walking,
crapping, peeing, sitting, saying goodbye, going
to work, returning etc.
While all this is going on FEMALE B now on Bed
Two, gives birth. MALE A emerges from under
the bed to be born through the legs of FEMALE
B. They continue as before.
Male A gives baby cry.
FEMALE B cradles MALE A accompanied by
lullaby music.
Couple B express joy. One pees while the other
prays.
MALE A sleeps.
Couple B return to Bed Two and sleep with the
child between them.
Couple B copied by MALE A growing up during
the process, wake. Mime rising, dressing,
washing, eating, walking, crapping, peeing,
sitting, saying goodbye, going to work, returning
etc. Couples quarrel. Couple B separate due
to the interference of their child, MALE A,
remaining on the edges of the bed.
FEMALE A is ill as all this goes on.
FEMALE A dies. Head over the end of the bed
towards the audience. She is noticed.
OTHERS
Small scream.
No music for four beats. Life goes on, the
deceased is ritually but speedily shoved under the
bed.
MALE A has grown up and moved to Bed One.
All back to bed.
Lie stiffly. All couples copulate.
Pee and pray.
Back to bed
Final action: birth in Bed Three, copulation in
Bed Two and death in Bed One.
Freeze. Silence.
Music piece
‘In bed we laugh in bed we cry’ set to music appropriate to
the following scene.

Foetuses
FOETUS THREE on Bed Two, curled as a foetus, hands
around knees, facing the audience.
On Bed One, FOETUS ONE and FOETUS TWO, together
as twins, curled around each other, sides to audience.
On Bed Three TWO BLOBS.
Silence, heartbeat.
FOETUS ONE
Comfortable.
Silence
FOETUS TWO
Warm.
Slience.
FOETUS ONE
Safe.
FOETUS THREE
Listen.
FOETUS TWO
Just listen.
FOETUS THREE
Listen to the waters.
Silence.
FOETUS ONE
So easy.
FOETUS TWO
So relaxing.
FOETUS ONE
Floating.
Silence.
FOETUS ONE
I float on my sky hook.
FOETUS TWO
I can turn somersaults.
FOETUS ONE
I dance and twist.
FOETUS TWO
I can do anything.
FOETUS ONE
Life is good.
FOETUS TWO
The colours, how they change and flit. I could
look for ever. I wish I had more eyes. I see to the
edge of my universe. I might be God.
FOETUS ONE
I am learning so much. Each day my knowledge
increases. Each day I find more of myself.
Opportunities are endless. Each day I accomplish
more.
FOETUS TWO
All the time in tune with her, my Great Mother
Earth.
FOETUS ONE
There is so much laughing.
FOETUS TWO
I am fed, I am fed.
FOETUS ONE
Life is good.
FOETUS TWO
Swinging and floating in space,
FOETUS THREE
Connected always to the Great Mother Earth.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Colm Cronin wrote:

It deals with issues such as Irish attitudes to abortion, sex, and role playing tied together by the common theme of the bed. The method of production really catches the imagination.

Katie Donovan on The Irish Times wrote:

Her characters hark back to Beckett’s absurdist, dislocated figures and their self-referential monologues in which sound frequently communicates more than actual words. These men and women partake in symbolic rituals rather than sit around naturalistic kitchen tables.
The searing lament in this play is for… all women, and how they are too often seen by men as throwaway flotsam. The language is pared-down and powerful, dwelling to a great extent on the range of sounds which Hartigan injects into words, revising their meanings as her voice achieves an amazing range of pitch and timbre.
Women are not writing plays and presenting their vision to us on the Irish stage in any great number. Anne Hartigan is helping to fill that gap with her own distinctive voice, which presents us not only with a woman’s view of history, prostitution, and the body, but also with a broad range of theatrical devices and inventive ways of telling that contemporary Irish theatre sorely needs.


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