The three short plays in this publication span Anne Le Marquand Hartigan's play writing career from Strings in 1981, Cake in 1984 and the recently commissioned In Other Worlds first performed by the students of Ohio Northern University in 2003.
Tackling the themes of relationships, marriage, deception and self-deception, through intertwined story lines, the plays link and re-link the recurring themes of Anne Le Marquand Hartigan's work.
Running for 45, 30 and just 5 minutes, the three one act plays offer a variety of options for short productions.
In Other Worlds, a short one act play, was performed in three continents in 2003. Hartigan's most recent play was commissioned for a festival of plays by European writers. First performed in Ohio, USA in April 2003. This production then toured to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2003. In Other Worlds was also produced at Otago, New Zealand directed by Florence Hartigan in July 2003.
Publisher: Chiswick Books
In Other WorldsREAD MORE
The lights go down in the auditorium and on stage.
From the darkness a mobile phone is heard ringing from
MAGGIE BYRNE sitting as a member of the audience. This
must be loud and preferably a silly ringtone. MAGGIE
fumbles in her pocket for the phone which continues to
ring. She apologises to all around her. While answering the
phone she jumps up and scrambles through the audience.
Answering her mobile phone.
What did you say? Where? Oh my God!
Is he in danger?
What has happened? Say that again? Yes, Yes. I
know the hospital. Oh yes, I will. Oh my God,
yes thank you.
I will. I will. He is alive? He is? Oh I’ll get there,
I’ll get there… I will, oh I will, oh my God… I’m
coming at once… now…
During this she is moving through the audience
and continues to do so, apologising to
Oh, I am so sorry, please forgive me – I am sorry
but I just have had dreadful news. I have to get
out. I’m so sorry. I really am. Please forgive
me. Sorry. Sorry. It’s an emergency, but oh, it’s
...and so on. The actor can ad-lib as she bumbles
her way through the rows of people in the
audience causing disruption. She can react as she
thinks fit if members of the audience talk to her.
She rushes to the exit. She exits. A sudden, short
and complete silence.
In the darkness, sound of difficult breathing,
unnaturally loud. Then loud and sudden
ambulance siren. The sound of a heartbeat, loud.
Now the audience is disrupted by NURSE ONE
entering and pushing a stretcher on wheels.
MIKE BYRNE, lies on this. He is unconscious.
NURSE TWO, played by the actor who plays
SARAH, jumps up from the audience, pulls on
her white coat and rushes to join the stretcher.
Together the two NURSES push the patient onto
the stage where they set up MIKE in the unit,
attaching him to various machines, transfusion,
drip, etc. NURSES bare his chest to attach
machines. MIKE is unconscious.
Sound changes from emergency sounds to
machines of the unit etc. Various screens show
the monitoring of MIKE’s condition. The
NURSES care for him efficiently and silently. The
NURSES hover, help, protect, guard, are quiet,
but are ineffective against death.
A spotlight on MIKE must indicate he is in
another state. From the back of the auditorium
MAGGIE enters swiftly down toward the stage
while she is making a call on her mobile. She
is trying to contact her son Billy but just gets
his answer phone This action overlaps with the
action on the stage.
The NURSES drop these words through
MAGGIE’s phone call, they can be repeated.
Oxygen, transfusion, blood, pulse, temperature,
saline, antibiotics, trauma.
Sounds of machines continue. NURSE TWO
leaves, hanging her white coat up and becomes
On her mobile phone.
Damn, damn, Same as always, just the bloody
She proceeds to leave a message for her son.
Billy, Billy, listen. I’ve some awful news. I’m...
I’m on my way to the hospital. I’ve just heard
Dad’s been taken ill. No, no, I mean he’s had an
accident…Your Dad, Billy. He’s OK. I think… I
mean I don’t know what’s happened. They told
me they had to operate immediately and to come
at once… Oh, please phone back at once and
come, come, now! He’s in Our Lady’s Hospital.
You know it. He’s in Intensive Care. Oh I do need
you, so please come. Don’t ignore me… Not this
time. Not now, Billy please. Listen… Oh, damn
it’s cut me off…
She rushes into the intensive care unit. NURSE
ONE goes to meet and reassure her.
Oh, how is Mike? My husband. How is he?
What... what happened?
Is he going to…? What’s happening to him now?
Is he in pain?
They go to MIKE. MAGGIE sits by him. She
speaks quickly, hardly waiting for the nurse’s
reply, interrupting her.
He’s holding his own at the moment. He has large
internal injuries. To stop the bleeding the doctors
had to operate immediately. He’s lost a lot of
blood, the poor man.
God help him. What happened to him? How did it
We are not sure. We have no details yet. They
think it might have been a hit and run.
Hit and run? How can it be a hit and run… You
mean he was hit on purpose?
We don’t know what happened to him but it
seems that the car did not stop. His injuries
conform with being hit by a travelling car. He is
a strong man but he’s lucky to be with us.
Oh. I don’t understand. How is he? He looks so
He is holding his own, but you must know he is a
Oh, yes, he is a fighter alright. Can he hear me?
If I speak to him?
He may. Very likely he can. But he is
unconscious so he is not suffering…
Not suffering? Oh, he looks like suffering. This is
suffering – terrible, terrible, suffering. Whispers.
Is he in danger? Might he die ?
NURSE ONE bends close to MAGGIE. We do
not hear NURSE ONE’s answer. MAGGIE sits
close to her husband. MIKE is unconscious and
we hear his thoughts, in this dream-like state,
on voice-over. In this speech he is concerned
for his young dog who he loves. He whistles for
his dog and instructs her as he is training her.
Should sound as if in the open air as MIKE talks
and plays with his dog. He whistles for his dog
and calls her. He adopts different tones for each
instruction as dog trainers do. His tone is also
contented as he enjoys concentrating on training
Come, come, come here, girl. There’s the girl.
Sit there. You’re the great girl altogether. Sit. Sit.
Good dog. Lie down. Lie down. Good girl, good
She speaks on her mobile phone to her boyfriend,
Darling. It’s me. Just leaving you a message,
Brian, sweetheart. Horrible things happening,
you’ve no idea... Can’t believe it. I’m on my
way to the hospital. My dad’s done something
dreadful to himself, God knows what. Mum’s
there already. Apparently it’s bad. He’s in
Intensive. Trust him to be dramatic. God that
sounds shit. Well, it is. Bloody shit. So I can’t
join you this afternoon, darling. Oh darling,
please forgive me. Oh fuck it. Well, we will,
won’t we? Later on? Please, please, please phone
me! Phone now. Shit. I need you. Please phone,
Brian, as soon as you get this message honey.
Kisses into the phone. She dials again and gets
her mother, MAGGIE.
We see MAGGIE take out her mobile and move
away from the bed and out of the intensive care
unit as she listens to her daughter. SARAH leaves
spaces for her mother’s replies which we do not
hear. However the pace is quick. NURSE ONE
leaves and hangs up her coat.
What’s up? What’s Dad up to? You can’t speak to
him? Dad can’t talk? That’s a new one. Yes, I’m
on my way.
Mum give over. Billy won’t answer, don’t kid
yourself. You’ll only give yourself grief. Yep, I’ll
be there soon. Take it easy. Dad will be OK. You
know Dad – he’s a survivor. Look, I’m driving
so I must stop. See you soon. Yes, as quick as
possible, OK? Bye.
SARAH switches off the phone. MAGGIE stands
and remains outside the unit. THE WOMAN
enters and stands close by MIKE. She is very
self-contained, and assured. She has a still
On voice-over, he speaks to himself in his mind.
I feel cold, Why am I cold? Look here, couldn’t
you do something about it? I mean it’s the least
you could do, isn’t it ? Give a man a bit of
warmth? Come on now, I’m bloody freezing.
Don’t you feel it? My dog needs her dinner. Get
her out of the cold and feed her won’t you? Don’t
just stand there. She’s only a young thing, she
needs care. Her nuts are in a bag under the sink.
I can hear her whining, she needs a meal. Then
bring her here to me. I need her, she’ll keep me