A church hall in a small village in the south of England. Positioned at each corner of the hall are four plinths with plastic lily’s and candles. At the centre of the hall is an open casket with the suited body of Nigel Abbott, arms folded, seemingly at peace.
At the back of the hall is a long table with a white tablecloth draped over it and a range of buffet snacks and drinks.
Albinoni's Adagios plays in the background.
The lights slowly come up as if it is a new dawn. As the lights are raised, the stage is slowly filled with mourners.
An elderly couple clad in funeral black enter stage left; man and woman walk up to the coffin. The woman looks at the body of Nigel Abbott and immediately brings her hanky to her face to hide her distress. The man comforts her and moves her to the back of the stage.
MATT SLEEN enters, blue jeans, trainers, black T-shirt, he is accompanied by LIZ ABBOTT. LIZ is dressed in a long black dress with a black hat and veil. She looks as if she should be an elderly Italian lady attending the funeral of her husband, which she is not. Together they walk to the coffin and peer in. MATT looks over to the elderly couple in the corner, the elderly woman still crying, her husband still trying to comfort her. LIZ lifts her veil and continues to gaze at the body of her bother.
LIZ sighs deeply and audibly as if she is deep in retrospective thought.
LIZ: Wish he’d always been this quiet.
MATT: Is that really your brother?
LIZ: (Incredulously) What?
MATT: Is that really Nig?
LIZ: ‘Cause it bloody is. (LIZ looks at the other people in the hall) Must be, that’s Auntie Pat and Uncle Derek over there.
MATT: Who’s that? (gestures with his head toward CLAIRE LEWIS - young blond suited woman who has just entered).
LIZ: Erm… Don’t know, don’t recognises her. Maybe an ex of Nig’s.
MATT: No way, she’s quite hot.
LIZ digs MATT sharply in the side with her elbow and shots him a disapproving look.
LIZ: Just… I don’t know, just be a bit more… (pause) y’know, were at my bothers funeral for God sake.
MATT: I know I know.
LIZ: Well… y’know.
MATT: I know.
MATT looks around, waits for LIZ to look down at her brother again and looks over to the CLAIRE again. CLAIRE notices MATT and nods solemnly back. LIZ without looking up digs MATT again in the side.
MATT: Owwwwa. (pause, rubs side) Liz, when can we start the buffet? My body thinks my throats been slit.
LIZ shoots MATT an outraged look, MATT immediately realises that his remark may not have been entirely appropriate. He puts his hands up and shrugs his shoulders to indicate that he is sorry. LIZ has another look around and then down at the body of her brother. She slowly and gently places the back of her hand on her brother’s cheek. As soon as she touches him, she looks surprised. She turns her hand round and fully places her hand, palm side down across his face.
LIZ: He’s not as cold as I would have expected. Go on Matt, have a feel.
MATT: (Shocked) I’m not touching a dead body.
LIZ: Go on, don’t be such a baby, it’s not some stranger, it’s Nigel.
MATT: No way, I wasn’t that keen on touching your brother when he was alive, I’ll be buggered if I’m gonna start getting frisky with his corpse.
LIZ: Have you seen a dead body before?
MATT: Only my Gran when I was ten or eleven.
LIZ: This is my first. (pause for a beat) I thought his body would be freezing; it’s much warmer that I was expecting.
MATT: What, warmer than when he was alive?
LIZ: (Shooting MATT another look of annoyance) Matt! Again inappropriate.
MATT: Alright Liz, I’m sorry.
LIZ: Nigel would have found that funny.
MATT: Yeah, ‘pose so. Can we get some food now?
LIZ: I think we should at least wait until some more of the mourners get here.