'LIVING WITH LOIS'
Darren is the epitome of middle-aged manhood: of modernity, of masculinity, of marriage, of monotony. His life is filled with satisfying expectations, roles, cultural and relationship norms and the identity which comes with them. But that is the outer Darren.
Because there is also the inner Darren who lives in a world that the ‘real’ world never sees. An alternate world where he knows himself by more than just another name. It is a surreal place of solitude, loneliness, questioning. But equally, such hopes and desires; a yearning to be free and one day, to be at ease in more than his own skin. A world of comfort, of confidence in which ‘just being yourself’ takes on a fulfilled life of its own.
But it is a world where only he exists and with him, his secret. And with his secret come the issues he fights with every minute of every day: conflict, confusion, guilt, fear, betrayal. They are now polluting and poisoning both worlds and will soon make them both uninhabitable for him.
Time is running out. And why? Because Darren is trying to please two people in one body.
Some thoughts from the writer ...
I set out with the writing to treat the subject matter sensibly and respectfully.
The style of the writing will hopefully make those who might perform it appreciate that it needs the space to be reflected upon by the audience/observer.
Don’t labour it or wallow in the language but equally, allow moments ‘their moment’; affording the audience member the opportunity to explore in real time, the emotions presented.
I wanted it to be about real people and relationships, the ordinariness of life and how ‘the ordinary’ is regained by adjusting, accepting to a ‘new ordinary.’
I appreciate that it is very difficult to address the subject in the space of two acts of a play. I therefore decided not to focus on the aspect of physically crossdressing but more about how a family manage the disclosure, the event which brings it about and the immediate consequences. I have tried not to look at the subject through rose tinted glasses either and (hopefully) avoided unrealistic interactions and resolution.
I’ve ended up presenting both acceptance and non-acceptance as an illustration of views and the responses/reactions which one might expect without being (again, hopefully) stereotypical. I was also very clear that the play was not about humour and for searching for humour within it. If there was an occasion to smile or to laugh it came naturally from either genuine interaction between people and potentially in performance from (perhaps) an audience member being uncomfortable or challenged, not knowing how to react, to process situations and the relationships presented.
I am more than mindful that this play just touches the surface and that was intentional. The facets, the issues are too varied and complex to address every angle, opinion, emotion. I think that my approach with the storytelling in having the action spanning just one day, accommodates that.
Finally, I hope the writing is felt to be supportive, constructive and adds a positive contribution to the whole narrative concerning crossdressing. In doing so, I also sincerely hope that it influences opinions of those outside the community and who have no experience of it, in a way which furthers the hopes and aspirations of those affected by it; that at the very least, people will want to know more, want to understand.
After all, in all aspects of life, acceptance costs nothing but means everything.
Martin Paul Roche (2021)
NB: The artwork featured is a specially commissioned piece for the play and is by the Russian artist, Victoria Mironenko who currently lives in the UK.
Present day and the action all takes place within the course of one day (a Saturday).
Contemporary. Darren/Lois is the only character requiring a change of clothes. He is dressed as a woman (as Lois) at the beginning, then changes with plenty of time to re-enter as described. The rest of the characters each require a single costume.
A modern, residential house. Furniture and dressing is as desired but practicalities probably demand a sofa and two armchairs and two working entrances/exits, one to a hallway outside and an internal door which gives access to the rest of the house.
FX and SFX are all indicated within the script at the appropriate places along with examples of suggested tracks.
CAST: 2f, 3m.
Darren/Lois: 50+, Jackie’s husband (or of an age old enough to be the father of Lucy).
Jackie: 50+, Darren’s wife (or of an age old enough to be the mother of Lucy)
Lucy: 25+, daughter
Simon: 25+, Lucy’s husband
Jo: 40+, friend of Darren (ostensibly only features in act 2 but appears at end of act 1)
RUNNING TIME: Two acts, 45 minutes each.
The artwork on this page is an original commissioned piece by the artist, Victoria Mironenko.
The printed script (in A5 format) is available to buy now. The cost is £6 which includes p&p. Simply click on the button below.