Things We Do For Love: Synopsis

Cast: 2 male / 2 female.
Running time (approximate): 2 hours 20 minutes - not including the interval.
Availability: Things We Do For Love is available for both professional and amateur production.
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French.

Characters

Barbara Trapes (40s)
Nikki Wickstead (Her friend, late 30s)
Hamish Alexander (Nikki's fiancé, 40s)
Gilbert Fleet (Barbara's downstairs tenant)
Barbara lives comfortably on her own in a flat, working as a secretary for Marcus, who she obviously has a soft spot for. Gilbert - a widower from the flat below - is fixing the radiator as Barbara explains she is renting the upstairs flat to an old school-friend Nikki, recently engaged to Hamish, and waiting to move into a new house. Barbara is proudly single and perceives Nikki as a victim.

When the couple arrive, Barbara and Hamish are singularly unimpressed by each other. Hamish sneakily invites Gilbert to join a dinner party. Gilbert, who adores Barbara and takes her cast-offs to charity shops is over-whelmed. He leaves excitedly to paint the ceiling of his flat.

By the time the party comes, Barbara and Hamish’s relationship has apparently deteriorated - although it seems a bit too attentive for people who so despise each other. Barbara is distressed and when Gilbert turns up late and drunk, Barbara sends him back home and he promptly falls down the stairs. Nikki and Hamish help him back into his flat and discover he’s actually painting a nude of Barbara on his ceiling and has kept all her old clothes.

The next day, the possible reason for Barbara’s distress becomes apparent when it is discovered Marcus appears to be not as dependent on Barbara as she believed. Gilbert is desperate to apologise and Hamish advises him to paint some clothes on his mural. Hamish asks Barbara if Nikki may use her bath, Barbara consents and we hear Nikki singing her old school-song in the bath; oblivious to the fact Barbara and Hamish’s true feelings have finally emerged and they have gone upstairs to bed together.

Barbara tries to dismiss the affair and Hamish’s offer to break up with Nikki, but they still end up kissing passionately and are nearly caught by Nikki. The pair agree they must tell Nikki.

At the announcement, Nikki initially believes she is being teased. The truth hits her hard and she locks herself in the flat and destroys Hamish’s clothes. Gilbert is also given the news by Barbara and, in shock, tears down the mural while wearing one of Barbara’s dresses. He falls from the trestle, breaking his leg, and tries to crawl upstairs. In the flat, Barbara and Hamish’s frustrations emerge in violence as they attack each other before - painfully - making up.

In the final scene, Hamish returns to help Gilbert back to his flat. Barbara and Hamish agree they should not continue their relationship. They part momentarily before rushing back and tenderly and carefully hugging each other’s injured bodies.

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.

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