To Sweep, Perchance, a Dream




A street corner in dim light. Confetti, streamers and deflated balloons lie around the stage, the aftermath of a party. Right of stage, Jake is huddled in a corner with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. He is surrounded by empty lager cans, cigarette ends and fast food litter. The sweeper enters, with a small dust cart and a broom. He sweeps away the party debris, deliberately avoids cleaning the area around Jake, then exits.  Fig enters. He pokes Jake.  Jake twitches. He pulls Jake’s hair: Jake stirs.


JAKE                 Who the hell are you?


FIG                   I’m your deepest fears, your worst nightmare

                        Scratching at your face and pulling your hair…


                        Oh what a shame, drugs have fried your brain

                        So welcome to a world of pain:           

                        A figment of your fevered mind

                        When you try to hide, I’m not far behind.


                        I’m your deepest fears,  your worst nightmare

                        Scratching at your face and pulling your hair…


                        Your eyes are grit, your body twitches

                        You palms are sweat, your pale skin itches              

                        Now I’ve got inside your head

                        When you long for peace, you’ll get this instead:


SFX:                  Sound of snarling invisible beasts 

                        Faceless figures dance in and out of the shadows, barely visible. 

FIG                   The pack softly prowling,  the mob, baying, howling,

                        The silence, the scream.


                        The sting of the scorpion,  the silk of the spider

                        Cocooning your corpse.


                        The dragon, the demon, the three-headed monster

                        Fight over your bones.  


                        A flash flood, a storm drain, a knife in the shower

                        A river of blood… 


                        The hell fire, the darkness, the method in madness

                        The wormhole, the void.


                        I’m your deepest fears,  your worst nightmare

                        Scratching at your face and pulling your hair…


                        When you cry for help, is there anyone there?


Figment disappears.  Jake wakes and looks round


JAKE                 Is there anyone there?




Ashlyn  is at home in bed, dreaming. She hears a noise and sits up.

 FX blue spotlight: A pool of water appears on her bedroom floor.

Jake’s voice whispering mingles with the sound of the sea: “ Is there anyone there?”

Whisper repeated three times, echoes around, getting a little louder each time.

Ashlyn gets out of bed and goes over to the pool of water. She peers in and sees a face. At first it appears to be her own reflection, then morphs into Jake.


JAKE                 Where limpets cluster on the rocks

(voiceover)      We both take off our shoes and socks

                        I fill my fist with golden sand

                        It trickles slowly through my hand.


ASHLYN                       In rock pools where we take the plunge

                        Our bodies bob like pink marshmallows.

                        We soak each other up like sponge,

                        Share hidden depths and secret shallows.


JAKE                 We’re stranded here with our lives to lose.

ASHLYN           Where sea meets sky, let us drown our blues.


She dips her toe in the water. It ripples and the image fades.  

SFX sea noise fades, blue light fades and disappears

Ashlyn kneels down and brushes the floor with her hand.




The street corner. Daylight.

Jake sits huddled in a corner, calling to imaginary passers-by:

JAKE                 Spare some change please?…

He stands up and stretches. Ashlyn enters in a rush and almost bumps into him.

ASHLYN                       Sorry, I’m just looking for the nearest coffee shop?

JAKE                 points

ASHLYN                       Thanks… (She moves on)

JAKE                 Spare some change… please?


Ashlyn turns to look back at him. She exits, then shortly returns with two coffees and hands him one.


JAKE                 For me?  Cheers darlin’.

ASHLYN           You look like you need it.

JAKE                 I’ve seen you before…

ASHLYN           Really? You’re sure?

JAKE                 We shared hidden depths and secret shallows…

ASHLYN           In your dreams!


THE SWEEPER  enters and sweeps an area away from the couple.

After he has finished sweeping, he props up his broom, rolls a cigarette and smokes it.  

Ashlyn watches him, momentarily distracted. Jake slips a tablet into her coffee.


JAKE                 He’ll be here soon.

ASHLYN           (sipping her coffee) Who?

JAKE                 The demon, the dragon, the three-headed monster

                        The serpent, the spider, the hell fire, the darkness,

                        The void and the wormhole. The silence, the Scream. 


 ASHLYN          Sounds like a real charmer.  

                        (draining her coffee)  This coffee tastes weird…

                        (throwing aside the cup) What did you give me? What did you do?

                        You want to drag me down with you?


JAKE                 No.  I want you to know how I feel

                        When the real becomes surreal.

                        You will see now, see him take shape…

FIG appears

ASHLYN           Do you think I’m scared? I’m not weak like you.

She grabs the sweeper’s broom and sweeps Fig away

SWEEPER         (Reclaiming his broom) You can’t do that!

ASHLYN           But I just did!

SWEEPER         What’s a girl like you doing in a place like this?

ASHLYN           I was just passing when I bumped into this guy.  

SWEEPER         You know what passers-by do? They pass on by.

ASHLYN           I think he needs help.

SWEEPER         You’re wasting your time –he’s a lost soul.

ASHLYN           There’s magic in your broom – I felt it.

SWEEPER         A temporary fix – those nightmares will return.

                        He’s caught between two worlds,

                        He’s seen beyond the veil,

                        And what he’s seen, it haunts him night and day.   

ASHLYN           So  help me chase his demons away.

SWEEPER         Don’t mess with the otherworld.

                        That way lies madness or death.


ASHLYN           Has Death been known to change his mind?

                        If he’s in a good mood towards mankind..

                        I believe he could, I believe he would

                        Does he ever hesitate or waver?

                        He might spare someone, as a favour.

                        I believe he could, I believe he would.

                        Have you heard of a near death experience?

                        Where is Death then, is he sitting on the fence?

                        He could change his mind, I believe he could. 


SWEEPER         We need more brooms.

Ashlyn exits



JAKE is lying on the floor, comatose.  The sweeper stands with his back turned, smoking a roll-up.

ASHLYN  returns, sees Jake lying there and tries to wake him, without success.



(Tapping the sweeper on the shoulder to get his attention)

                                    We really can’t waste any more time.

(Takes out her phone and surfs the web)

                                    I’ve been doing some research: “Spells Online”       

                                    Do you have any salt? Or perhaps some chalk?


SWEEPER rummages in his dust cart, looking through a heap of odd objects, and produces a cube of cue chalk.

ASHLYN  draws a chalk circle around herself, wielding the sweeper’s broom aloft, she casts a summoning spell:


                                    Through the force of female power

                                    Sweepers, I summon you here and now.

                                    I call on you for the highest good

                                    The noblest goal:

                                    To save a soul!


Clap of thunder, Flash of lightning. Smoke. Three witches appear.  


HAGATHA                    Who invoked the power of the broom?

WITCHHAZEL              And what for?

BROOMHILDA             For whom?     

ASHLYN                       I did. To save a lost soul.

She indicates Jake. The witches go over and peer at him. Hagatha prods him with her foot.

He doesn’t wake up.


Witches go into a huddle then make a decision. Witches chant:

                                    Our sisterhood will serve you

                                    To show we are not evil

                                    We’ve been maligned, misunderstood

                                    There’s black and white, both bad and good.

They dance with their broomsticks

                                    Tarara broom de-ay, tarara broom de-ay,

                                    We’ll brush your woes aside, We’ll sweep your cares away!


                                    Magic may be used for good or ill

                                    It’s for each to choose, make it what you will

                                    If you choose for good, you’ll be recompensed

                                    If you choose for ill, face the consequence!


                                    Tarara broom de-ay, tarara broom de-ay,

                                    We’ll brush your woes aside, We’ll sweep your cares away!


                                    Broom diddle-diddle-diddle, broom diddle aye

                                    Broom diddle-diddle-diddle broom diddle aye

                                    Treble trouble, squeak and bubble, give this spell some focus,

                                    Super-phallic, fragging broomstick, stir up hocus pocus!


HAGATHA                    Very well – bring it on!

WITCHHAZEL              If anyone can do it – Wiccan!


Fig appears and goes over to Jake. The witches beat him off with their broomsticks. Jake stirs and sits up, still groggy. He sees the witches and puts his head in his hands. The witches win the battle and Fig retreats. The witches fly away on their broomsticks.  Jake is cured of his bad dreams. Ashlyn helps him to his feet, they exit arm in arm, leaving the sweeper alone.

The sweeper can finally clear away all the debris from Jake’s dreams. He sweeps the mess into a pile and sets fire to the contents. He watches the fire for a while until it has burned down safely to embers, then exits.










~ by A_A on May 21, 2012.

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