Monday, December 01, 2008

It was kind of like Macbeth, only we were all still alive at the end. Barely.

The Night of No Sleeping

A Tragedy in Three Acts

Dramatis Personae:

  • The mother - a tired, overworked, forty-something blonde with a penchant for red wine and strange fondness for actually sleeping at night
  • Child One - about eight years old, a girl, prone to nightmares, unable to lie still for more than 1.6 nanoseconds at a time
  • Child Two - just turned six, a girl, could hear "scary noises" in the silent vacuum of deep space, very sharp elbows

Act One, Scene One

Setting: The mother's bedroom, night. A queen-size bed is against the back wall with night tables each side. The bedside clock shows time is 11:oo.

The mother, dressed in PJs enters from stage left and climbs into bed. She turns off the bedside lamp (stage is lit in soft blue glow imitating night light) sighs and lies down. Silence reigns for 30 seconds.

Child Two (from offstage): Mum, I’m thirsty.

The mother: I gave you a glass of water when you went to bed at 8:00. Drink that.

Child Two: The cat knocked it over and my bed’s all wet. And I’m thirsty.

The mother turns on light, gets out of bed, exits stage left.

The mother returns, gets into bed, turns of bedside lamp, lies down.

Act One, Scene Two

Same setting. The numbers on the clock change and read 12:07.

Child Two (from offstage): Mum? I heard a scary noise.

The mother: It’s just the furnace turning on.

Child Two: It sounds like monsters.

The mother: It’s not monsters, go to sleep.

Child Two enters stage left and stands beside the bed.

Child Two: I’m really scared. Can I sleep with you?

The mother (yawning): OK. Where are you going?

Child Two exits stage left and returns, carrying a blankie, a stuffed Bambi, a stuffed dog, a stuffed horse, a stuffed bunny wearing a dress, and a stuffed Gisele doll from the movie Enchanted. She throws all the toys onto the bed, and climbs in, climbing over The mother, who makes some ‘ooof’ noises.

The mother: Settled? Good. Cause Mum is *really* tired and I need to get some sleep.

All is silent.

Act Two

Same setting. The numbers on the clock change and read 2:19.

Child One (from offstage) can be heard sobbing.

The mother gets out of bed muttering expletives under her breath and exits stage left.

The mother (from offstage): What’s wrong? Are you OK?

Child One (crying): I had a bad dream. I dreamed that me and Alice and Flynn were at school and there were scary people there and they had gorillas that were trained to attack us and I was running and I fell down and cut my knee and no one would help me and there was a spider that had….

The mother (cutting her off): That sounds terrible. But it’s just a dream, why don’t you go back to sleep.

Child One: I’m still scared

The mother: I’ll lie down with you for a bit, OK?

Child One: OK.

Several minutes pass. The sound of The mother stealthily sneaking out of Child One’s bed can be heard. The sound of The mother stubbing her toe is heard.

The mother (still offstage): Shit!

Child One (sleepily): Mum? Where are you going?

The mother: Why don’t you come into my bed, sweetie, there are no bad dreams in Mummy’s bed, and maybe Mummy can get some sleep. I have an early meeting at work tomorrow and I *really* need to get to sleep.

The mother and Child One enter stage left and climb into bed. The mother throws 3 stuffed animals out onto the floor.

The mother: Goodnight, sweetie.

Child One: Mum? She’s hogging all the room in the bed. And her toenails are scratchy.

Child Two (waking up): I am not hogging all the room.

Child One: Yes you are.

The mother (through gritted teeth): You both need to go to sleep now. Seriously.

Act Three

Same setting. The numbers on the clock change and read 4:51.

There is a scuffling noise and ENAC enters stage left. He jumps on the foot of the bed and pounces on the toes of The mother, apparently with claws extended. The mother sits up in bed.

The mother: Auuugh! What the….! Christ, cat, would you leave me the hell alone?

ENAC: Meow.

The mother lies down again. The ENAC repeats the toe pouncing. The mother sits up, muttering expletives under her breath and turns on light. The ENAC looks angelically innocent.

ENAC: Meow?

The mother gets out of bed and the cat leaps from the bed and hides underneath. Unable to coax the cat out from under the bed, the mother exits stage left and turns on the bathroom tap, the sound of which causes the cat to scoot out from under the bed and exit stage left in order to check out the intriguing noise, and perhaps have a drink from the faucet. Sound of rapid footsteps and bedroom door slamming as The mother enters at a run and slams bedroom door behind her, locking cat out of bedroom. The mother gets into bed, ejects another stuffed animal, turns off light, lies down, and sighs.

The numbers on the clock change to read 5:00. The clock's alarm goes off.

The mother (resignedly): Shit.



Just a reminder, this is the last week to vote for Party of Three in the Best Family Blog category of the Canadian Blog Awards. Voting can be done here. It would make me very happy, and would almost be as good as a nap.


  1. ahh, a great stage production, just in time for blog sweeps week. very wise.
    i totally feel your pain - furnaces, city snowplows, crows....all these noises a nightmare maketh.

  2. sounds like what goes on over here... although you sound way more composed than me!!! ;)

  3. Okay, so I know it's supposed to be a tragedy and all that, but it really is coming across as a comedy.

  4. Jen, it's tragic how little sleep I got that night. And how abysmally I performed in the morning after meeting. That I chaired. And besides, "A dramedy in three acts" just doesn't have quite the same cachet.

  5. Yeah, I really don't want to see that play. It seems really familiar though it missed out the part about falling asleep in the kid's bed after sneaking off there.

  6. Too funny :)
    And I've voted several times from different url's ;)

  7. See! This is why you're going to totally win the best family blog award. It's a family... but it's also a play...and there are cats involved... what more could anyone ask for?

  8. Brilliant production.

  9. Ahhh, that was hilarious, I lost it when ENAC entered. Thanks so much, I really needed that. And I have voted for you on all 3 computers I work from!

  10. Rolling on the foor laughing! ENAC -- oh that's too much!

  11. Glad you can turn your sucky night into a hilarious play for all of us!

  12. You should definitely write dialog for a living.

  13. Hysterical! I have had night like this.