Category Archives: plays

I Am What I Am

A short play adapted from the novel Purple Ribbon

SCENE 1

Church yard. Day time.

Standing outside the Church of St Wigan, FATHER VERGER is greeting his congregates as they leave. He is approached by DELORES and her daughter TAWNY. DELORES Is dressed in a sombre black dress with a Wigan pin on her chest. TAWNY is dressed in a cheerful red dress with white polka dots.

DELORES

It was a beautiful service Father.

VERGER

Thank you Mrs McInney. I trust you are keeping well?

Turning his attention to TAWNY.

I would have thought you would have worn a more mournful outfit on account of your father.

TAWNY

Smiling warmly.

Pa hated to see people glum.

VERGER

Still, show a little respect.

TAWNY

Not paying much attention to the priest her focus is caught by someone waving to her from offstage.

Hi honey! It’s good to see ye. When did you get back?

Speaking to Delores.

Excuse me, ma.

TAWNY exits the stage.

DELORES

Shaking her head

I’m sorry Father. I thought with Reuben’s passing she would pray with me. Every week is a struggle to get her to come along.

VERGER

Looking over in TAWNY’S direction.

She needs the church’s guidance now more than ever. As her mother it is up to you to take care of her. Her immortal soul is at stake. St Wigan will impart the strength you need to correct her.

DELORES

I don’t want to lose her.

They both look towards offstage where TAWNY has just exited.

VERGER

Praise Wigan.

DELORES

Still looking after TAWNY.

Praise Wigan…

SCENE 2

Delores’ lounge. Evening.

DELORES is sat at home. The home appears draughty and uncomfortable. She is seated at a table centre stage where lighting is focused on a single empty plate and a Wigan book. DELORES is holding her Wigan pin in her hand. TAWNY is not present but her voice can be heard off stage in a dream like sound as DELORES reflects on her words.

TAWNY

Sounding as though she was in some pain when the words were spoken.

I am who I am!

DELORES

Rests her hand on the Wigan book.

I was worried about you. You were my daughter and you were putting yourself in mortal danger. I wish you could understand. If you turned to the Church maybe you could find forgiveness.

TAWNY

Crying.

Why can’t ye just love me for who I am?!

DELORES

Sighing she sniffs back the emotion.

I do love you. You’re my daughter. You wouldn’t listen to me and you made me angry. I was losing you and I had to do something. Ye were embarrassing yerself night after night like a wanton hussy.

TAWNY

If your church is asking you do this what kind of religion is it! Help me Ma!

DELORES raises a napkin to her lips.

DELORES

it was for your own good.

She sniffs again and composes herself.

You cannot be saved …

When Tabitha is sent to Hathfield Bay to meet her estranged grandma, she is given an inside look at the Cult of Wigan of which granny is a member. 

Faith Abandoned

Adapted from the novel ‘Purple Ribbon’

Scene 1 

A small kitchen area. Night time.  

A caddy of pots hangs above. A malcontent young man, DOMINICK, sits at table. His arms are folded. His head is down. He appears to be crying. His father, GABRIEL, enters. He too has dark hair with salt and pepper speckles. He is wearing the cross of the Wigan church around his neck.  He kisses is as he takes a seat across from the boy.  

GABRIEL 

Stop crying. 

DOMINICK  

Looking up and appearing more frustrated now than upset.  

How could ye replace her so quickly? 

GABRIEL 

A man needs a wife. You need a mother’s guidance.  

DOMINICK 

Scowling at him. 

She’s not my ma mother, nor will she ever be. Her two brats are not my brothers. 

GABRIEL 

Reaching out and slapping his son.  

You will treat my wife with the respect she deserves.  

DOMINICK 

I’ll treat exactly how she deserves to be. 

GABRIEL  

Standing from the table and removing the Wigan cross from round his neck. He places it around his son’s neck.  

I’m not going to tell ye twice. If ye like ye can spend the rest of yer days hiding down here in the scullery with the staff and the mice or ye can take yer place upstairs. I have taken Miriam as my bride. Yer ma is in St Wigan’s embrace now. She’s not coming back.  

DOMINICK 

Clutches the cross around his neck. 

GABRIEL 

You’ll be taking the oath to the church soon. Your life will be dedicated so start behaving as such and come upstairs and show some respect to Miriam and her sons.  

DOMINICK 

Managing a sardonic smile. 

I’d much rather stay here with the mice.  

GABRIEL 

Slapping him again.  

You are a disappointment. I have high hopes for ye so stop acting like a petulant wean! Your brothers are showing you up. 

DOMINICK 

His lips tighten and he appears angrier. 

They are not my brothers!  

GABRIEL 

Shaking his head with exasperation he reaches up and collects one of the pots from the caddy. He whacks his son with it causing DOMINICK to fall from his seat.  

Get up. 

GABRIEL starts to lose patience watching DOMINICK collecting himself.  

Get up! 

DOMINICK 

Finally, he gets back on his feet. He sits back on the stool rubbing the pain from his face.  

GABRIEL 

You’re a child of St Wigan. Start acting like it.  

DOMINICK 

Speaking sarcastically. 

What do we have if not our faith? 

GABRIEL 

A whack with steel about yer head is what ye’ll have.  

NARRATOR  

Have faith.  


Scene 2 

A small kitchen area. Day time.  

DOMINICK is holding one of the pots. He is sat on the floor tapping the steel against it.  

DOMINICK 

Speaking in a chant. 

We are the children of Wigan and our hearts are pure and strong. We praise our beloved saint and so we sing this song. We know, we know, we know we can’t be saved but repent and you’ll be in his embrace.  

Entering the scene is the sister of DOMINICK. She is a young woman but older than her brother. NATALIE seems flustered.  

NATALIE 

It’s time for me to go. I’m getting a long way away from here.  

DOMINICK  

You can’t leave me on my own. 

NATALIE 

Your place is with the church. Pa decided that long ago. My place is to marry well. I couldn’t have married much better than James. I will have a good life. I suppose I’ll have to perform ma wifely duties but I can do that. Oh, Dom! I’m getting out of here.  

DOMINICK  

I’m pleased for ye my sister, but what about those of us ye leave behind?  

NARRATOR  

Have faith. 

NATALIE  

Take the oath. It’s your way out baby brother. Give yerself to the church.  

Drawing on her cigarette.  

I guess this is farewell Dom. I don’t know when I’ll be back. If I’ll ever be back.  

DOMINICK 

Do ye even want to marry this man? You don’t even know him. Ye’ve only met him once.  

NATALIE 

That doesn’t matter. I’m getting off this island.  

Looking at her brother she gives him a scornful look. She takes another draw of her cigarette.  

You look like a wean that’s been sat in the corner. Stand up.  

DOMINICK  

Why should I listen to you? 

NATALIE  

Voice fading. Lighting on her starting to fade too placing more focus on DOMINICK.  

You have to get up.  

DOMINICK 

You all abandoned me.  

DOMINICK stands. The lights continue to lower and put more focus on him as he moves to centre stage. The figures of his family loom as shadows in the background.  

I took the oath that day. I swore I would never abandon those who followed me. I took an oath that would save as many souls as I could. I took an oath that in the name of St Wigan I would burn, drown or slaughter any who resisted. They abandoned me. They left me with all but a prayer. But that was all I needed.  

He clutches his Wigan cross. He grins sardonically as he looks up.  

Scene 3 

St Wigan Church altar. Evening.  

DOMINICK is stood on a church altar. He directly addresses the audience as though they are his congregation. He is wearing full Wigan robes. He has a purple stole around his neck with gold detailing. He is invigorated. He is more mature in appearance now. A melanin streak has formed through his dark hair.  

DOMINICK 

Brothers and sisters. We have gathered here today because we don’t want to be abandoned. I’m here to tell ye that you haven’t been abandoned and you never will be for as long as I’m head of our church. For too long we have wandered, lost and forgotten. Across the sea, in the city lies a place of fornicators, thieves, whores and every possible vice you can imagine.  

It was written that when St Wigan first came to our shores, he told the natives that they could not be saved but if they were to follow him they stood a chance of being forgiven. With the city descending into chaos, my brothers and sisters, they bring their filth onto our beaches. It is time to remind the city dwellers that their actions will consume them in Hell fire. I will tell them now as Wigan told us then, you cannot … CANNOT be saved.  

Scene 4 

City street. Night time. 

A single reporter stands centre stage. The noise of cries, chaos and burning sound in the background. The reporter, SANDRA, fixes her blazer and poses with her mic as though she’s about to perform a live broadcast. The Coldford Daily jingle sounds.  

SANDRA 

Coldford fire department were rushed to City Main in the last half hour as an out of control inferno tore through the lower floors of the Weir Hotel, leaving fifteen dead and another eight seriously injured. Although the cause for this hasn’t been confirmed the police department are suspecting extremist activity. As the fire department continue their efforts to evacuate the building more details will emerge.  

I’m Sandra Wake of Coldford Daily news. 

Cult deprogrammer, John Reynolds, finds a loved one in the hands of St Wigan’s zealous leader, Dominick Cole. Time is ticking before they are lost for good.

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