LOST FOR WORDS by Colin Barrow


It’s Monday, July eleventh and its James birthday. Today, as with other Mondays, he turns up to avail himself to assist Brenda by keeping the garden tidy and any additional grocery shopping or chores she may need. Brenda is retired and as a ageing widow, she has no children of her own. James keeps a keen eye on her requirements and wellbeing as he promised George, the late husband of Brenda and a teacher from the school days of James.

This has created a great respect for each other, and allows James to say things to Brenda, which others wouldn’t dare! After the usual chit chat of the morning, James leaves the house to buy the few groceries that Brenda requires, which includes another bottle of single malt whisky, which now appears to be a weekly requirement. In his absence Janet, a friend of Brenda, who on occasions James does a little work for, arrives unannounced on the doorstep. This is against the etiquette of Brenda and she makes her feelings about it very clear. Brenda, like her mother and grandmother feels that it is not the done thing to just drop in on someone without prior notice.

At least a telephone call gives a chance to put people off their visit. With a slightly frosty reception, a thaw begins when Janet produces a container of raspberries, Brenda’s favourite summer fruit, from a shopping trolley which appears to contain more junk than good. After some conversation, Janet leaves a card and present for James and departs.

James arrives with two bags of groceries and there seems to be a slight altercation about the, ‘by one get one free’ and ‘non branded goods.’ Whilst enjoying a coffee and tot of whisky to celebrate his birthday, the card and present left by Janet is opened. And although one should be grateful for gifts, as ‘it’s the thought that counts’, this gift appears to be the last thing James would want. Brenda gives her card which contains a good sum of money, only to offer a means for her to spend it on his behalf.

The play then produces a revelation which Brenda feels it’s her duty to bring to light whilst she is still alive. This leaves James, lost for words!





Brenda The main character. She is a retired, widowed teacher and the actress who is playing her, should portray Brenda as having a minimum age of seventy, or older if possible, although the script does not actually give her an age. Smartly dressed in quality casual clothes and portraying a good standard of living. She is well spoken and feels that James is very much part of her life and she finds him amusing. Her attitude toward Janet is sterner just as she could be to others, a touch of the schoolmistress.

James    The actor should play this character as being in his forties. He has quite a laid back jovial approach to his manner. He wears casual dress suitable to do shopping and a few very light jobs in the garden. He has a great respect and warmth towards Brenda in his manner.

Janet      The smallest part in the play. The actress who is playing her should portray Janet to have the minimum age of sixty. She is a spinster with a slightly forthright manner and a hint of eccentricity to her nature. Her dress could show a hint on eccentricity, make do, or mismatched, put together as if bought from a charity shop. She also wears a coat. She has good intentions and likes to do a good deed but has little spare money.



Approximately 40 minutes



Preview available here

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