Returning The Key

The stage is bare except for a wooden kitchen bench. The bench is made from yellow pine and has 2 cupboards with round brass knobs and no strong distinguishing marks. On the kitchen bench is a small silver key without a key ring. It should resemble a standard house key.

There is one direct light coming down from directly above. It should make no attempt to resemble household lighting. It should be a strong theatre spotlight.

The audience should be kept to a maximum of 5 or 6 and to witness this performance they must crowd around the bench beside and across from the actor. Audience members are welcome to peer over the actor’s shoulders or lean in for a closer look.

The actor should make no attempt to prepare for this role and should arrive at the performance wearing whatever clothes she already had on that day. She should also arrive carrying a bag of any description. The bag is not irrelevant but it’s appearance, size and purpose is.

Act One. Scene One.

The actor is already on stage with the audience a few paces away. She carries a bag and walks over to the bench at a slow pace, stumbling on her own feet a little. She looks down avoiding eye contact with the audience and with the bench. She walks slowly into the bench, allowing it to stop her (rather than stopping herself upon approaching it). Upon making contact with the edge of the bench, she drops her bag to the ground and looks at the key for the first time. She looks at it for several seconds without moving or making any sound. She looks at it for several seconds longer in the same manner. She reaches out and picks up the key and rubs it between her fingers hovering aproximately 30 centimetres over the bench. She inspects the key for markings on both sides. She silently holds the key and feels each groove and bend in it’s shape. She places the key back down on the bench, this time closer to herself. The key makes a clicking noise as it is placed against the bench. She looks at the key in silence for several seconds more.

- End Scene -

Currently unavailable for purchase


  • dazgwen
    dazgwenover 6 years ago

    And then? I’m wanting more Jo bring it on!

  • Suzanne German
    Suzanne Germanover 6 years ago

    how intriguing Jo…you’ve really revved up the anticipation here…moving the key closer towards her when she puts it down….post this to the PAPQAM group… to see the debates that ensue.


  • silveraya
    silverayaover 6 years ago

    great scene, nice tension build up, brecht is a fantastic inspiration here

  • Boadicea
    Boadiceaover 6 years ago

    The tension is lovely and I love the image of the audience that you’ve created. I have been reading profiles and then transferring them into your scene. It’s amazing what different feels are created like that. By putting Madge & Mona into the tableau it creates a totally different scene to pictureing Jo O’brien. Sorry for rambling. Its late and I cant sleep.

  • Suzanne German
    Suzanne Germanover 6 years ago

    Gee Jo – I only just read the description now!…I have expereinced trying out Method Acting and am a big fan of Marlon Brando’s method acting and waiting for the right wave…..
    I once played Miep in The Diary of Anne Frank and the director had us working our way – as a group of friends and thespians into method acting. We watched moveis of the houlocast, we learnt how to sing Yiddish songs for Hannukah and performed it each night…some actors even practiced the harsh Nazi german and used it well! At the end of the play we were all so used to being in character (on and off stage by the end of a few months)…that we had a heartbreaking time de-briefing…some of us culdn’t shake it! A year later a couple of my friends still called me Miep!
    The last performance….on the last night…When Mr Frank and I were opening the scene – we really truly cried – a lot! we had on some level, really become those two characters……ah those were good days!
    The Mr Frank character was played by Michael Stephenson (A Jazz Pianist) who used to play for ‘Dorothy and his Fools in Love’ in Melbourne in the late 80s and early 90s…

    Woah…a memory lane journey…

    Brecht is good!!!

    And this piece you’ve written would be fantastic acted out Jo!


  • pijinlane
    pijinlaneover 6 years ago

    ……… and what then??

  • jetsta42
    jetsta42over 6 years ago

    now what now what…

  • jetsta42
    jetsta42over 6 years ago

    now what now what…

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait