Summertime

Setting: A suburban back garden, a Summer* evening, Melbourne, Australia

Time: 8pm – approximately the time of sunset at this time of year in Melbourne

Temperature: warm

Wind: none discernible

Set:

  • a back garden, comprising of pot plants on a door step, cobblestones, and greenery around two sides of the perimeter, created by some trees growing too close together, a small hedge, and some climbing roses on the lattice on the back wall. The garden is neat but not abundant. In the centre is an area that used to be a small patch of lawn but is now just a patch of dirt, with a scattering of recently mowed weeds.
  • The back of the house faces onto the back garden, and we can see through the windows into the kitchen, and, as indicated by a flickering light beyond the kitchen, a room with a TV on.

Lighting: 

  • the sky, and the light generally, a sort of twilight: first, pale and almost no colour, then changing slowly to grey as the sky darkens
  • a slight pink flush across the lower part of the horizon, that also fades and disappears into the descending grey
  • warm, yellow, electric light glowing from the windows of the kitchen that faces onto the garden

Special Effects:

  • water arching out from a hose and onto some lush greenery, as our protagonist takes the opportunity to enjoy the warm, balmy evening by taking her gin and tonic outside with her while she waters the garden

Props:

  • a hose is required

Sound:

  • the swishing and trickling of water, as the hose rains water down on plants and the excess runs away on cobblestones
  • the hum of crickets. (Director’s Note: Usually the sound made by crickets is described by default as a chirp but that suggests a staccato sound, with a crisp beginning and end. This sound, the sound that epitomises all the warm summer nights in our protagonist’s memory, just goes on and on, so she thinks of it as a hum.) It’s a soft, low hum, telling us that it’s a warm, balmy night.
  • the distant sounds of football players calling out, their voices carried on the breeze. The setting is about half a kilometre from the local suburban football ground, and we can gather, from the sounds travelling very clearly in the still night air, that the local suburban football team must be doing some pre-season training tonight. If our protagonist hadn’t damaged her hearing by attending bands playing at outrageously loud noise levels, she’d probably be able to hear what they were actually saying, but as it is, her best creative interpretation is a cacophony of voices all calling out over one another, with urgency “come on, come on, come on, come on!”
  • the soft swoosh of traffic on the nearby highway
  • from the house, the sounds of high-pitched voices coming from the TV, indicating melodrama on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!
  • occasionally from the house next door, the pounding of footsteps as a small child runs from one end of the house to the other
  • occasionally from the trees, a rustling of leaves and the weird, high-pitched screech of possums

Smell:

  • the smell of wet, freshly drenched dirt, and of water dripping off greenery

Characters:

  • the main protagonist, a 40-something woman with a gin and tonic in one hand and a hose in the other
  • a cat, whereabouts unknown as Act 1 begins
  • about 1000 worms, in a worm farm under one of the trees
  • a teenager, hidden deep in the depths of a teenage bedroom. She does not emerge during Act 1.
  • a male adult, absent from the house for the duration of Act 1 as his Italian lesson conflicted with the rehearsal schedule.

Synopsis:

Officially, it’s now Autumn in Melbourne (since the beginning of March is officially the designated change of the seasons), but due to the absolutely glorious weather Melbourne has had over the past fortnight, our protagonist has decided to remain in denial about this, and just keep pretending that it’s still Summer. She is determined to try to make the most of every remaining beautiful sunny morning, and every remaining delightfully balmy evening. In her mind, this means making the effort to go outside, where one can more fully appreciate the warmth and light, wherever and whenever possible, and, when not possible, (for example on the days when she is working in her office job) to at least open a window, and take the time to appreciate the sunny morning outside.

Director’s Note: It’s a simple story but simple things can bring a lot of pleasure if you take the time to notice them.

 

Sunset in the suburbs, Summer, Melbourne 2016 (no filter! – I wouldn’t know how!)

© The Antipodean Blatherer 2016

 

Advertisements
Previous Post
Leave a comment

7 Comments

  1. I have just come in from watering the garden, with wine in hand, on one of these beautiful Melbourne evenings. Your script has summed it up perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Sounds idyllic 🙂

    I was just wondering, if I’m a Celebrity UK contestants get dropped off in the middle of the Australian outback, where do Celebrity AU contestants go?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. I’m not a sun worshipper, but I wouldn’t have mind a cameo in that scene (keep away from the worms, mind).

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • I’m not a sun worshipper either – white, freckled skin, gingery-blonde hair, & being burned the color of a tomato every weekend and every sports day throughout my childhood and early teenage years, has made me very wary of the sun. But I’ll brave mornings and evenings when it’s sunny because there’s definitely a positive psychological effect for me, being out in warmth and sunlight.

      You’re right about that cameo. And the sun had gone down so you could totally have been there!

      Director’s notes: New character: Dept of Speculation. Arrived after “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” finished. At first couldn’t get the side gate open, but gave it a big shove, and came clinking noisily down the side of the house carrying a bottle of gin and some good quality lemons, bringing good cheer to our protagonist, but less joy for the worms, as they don’t like citrus.

      Like

      Reply
  4. It’s a nice photo, with or without filters.

    Ten out of ten for observation and the technique of framing your description as stage directions which encourages the reader to form a picture in the mind’s eye though, as a felinophile, I was disappointed that the cat never emerged to take his or her rightful place at the centre of the action. Still, I suppose the possum chorous line provides some consolation.

    I wonder whether Australia’s unusual summer is a harbinger of things to come in the northern hemispehere as we now slide jerkily into summer to counterbalance your winter. Possibly not, as meteorology in the UK is an ungrateful sport, it being said, with some reason, that we do not have a climate, only weather. The one rule our weather obeys is that it infallibly rains on bank holidays (and on garden parties, of course, but who goes to garden parties any more?)

    I well understand the mood of nostalgia one feels as the summer fades and one attempts to cling to the remaining shards of sunshine. And in Australia you don’t even have Christmas and the New Year to look forward to in compensation, having recklessly squandered them in the summer months! Is there not some aboriginal winter festival that you could embrace instead? Most cultures seem to have them.

    Like

    Reply
    • Thankyou for your score of 10/10 SilverTiger. Framing the description as stage directions seemed a neat device to enable me to fill the piece with a lot of description and not much story – it sounds like a lazy cop out when I put it that way so I’m pleased that you thought it was a successful technique.

      I enjoyed receiving feedback from the perspective of a felinophile, but have to note that, as a felinophile, you would know all too well that the CAT will only make an appearance when the CAT wishes to do so, and not to suit the whims of some hack director trying to write a scene. So I do hope that the possums, although not closely related to the cat, were compensation.

      As you “slide jerkily into summer” we seem to be gliding merrily through weeks of glorious weather miles better than our summer was. Maybe we are getting some of your summer here. At time of writing, I think every day has been between 25 – 32 degrees for about 4 weeks now. This is unheard of in Melbourne, where if one day is 35 degrees, the next could be 42 degrees, or might be 13 degrees. You just never know. There used to be only one rule here, meteorologically speaking, too, which was that it rained on Melbourne Cup day, but even that rule has been broken in the last few years. What with that and a female jockey winning the race in 2015, it’s just total chaos down here in the colonies now. I mean, if the general public don’t get their race clothes covered in mud drinking champagne in the car park, how can the hobnobs in the Members stands feel superior??

      Your point about timing is a good one. What were we thinking in the Southern Hemisphere, having summer end on 28 February, and nothing to celebrate but Easter (a 4 day weekend) until Christmas arrives 10 months later? I note, too, that our Summer includes the shortest month of the year. Duped!! I want my money back. No, I admit it, we didn’t read the fine print.

      I’m not sure if there is any Aboriginal festival (Aboriginal culture incorporates lots of different language groups so one or some of those might have had a traditional festival in July) but we do tend to have a LOT of modern-day public (“bank”) holidays – probably for the very reason you’ve noted: basically because after summer ends at the end of February, there’s nothing in life to look forward to, in Australia, right through to the Christmas holidays. Duped!!

      Like

      Reply

Blather away!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: