Can Anybody Hear Me
( A play for 2 voices )
(Action takes place in a suburban house. Barbara is upstairs in the bedroom. Jack is downstairs in the kitchen. Barbara is talking directly directly to the audience/to herself)
BARBARA He phoned again last night. He didn’t say a word, but I knew it was him. It’s been well over a month now and after what happened, I didn’t think I’d ever hear from him again. It was so strange. Neither of us spoke. There was just a long silence, and in the end he hung up.
JACK (Off stage- shouting up the stairs) Are we getting any lunch today, or shall I just make myself a sandwich?
BARBARA (Shouts ) I’ll be down in a minute.
That was Jack. And he could make his own sandwich. I don’t know if I’ll say anything to him about the phone call. I haven’t really decided. He slept right through it, so wasn‘t aware. It’s probably best to say nothing ‘cos he gets so angry if I ever try to talk about it. In fact, we can’t talk about it any more as we only end up arguing.
JACK I’ll wait for you to come down, then.
BARBARA Just thinking about it all upsets me. It’s so sad it ended the way it did. I like to remember the first time we spoke. “Is that Barbara,” he said. Just like that. Of course, I didn’t recognise the voice. There was a slight accent. “Who’s speaking,” I said. “You won’t know me,” he said “my name is Marcello.” I was about to put the phone down, but something made me say “I think you must have the wrong number.” Then he said my name again. Barbara, just like that. Of course, Barbara is quite a common name among ladies of my age although not many people call their babies Barbara any more. In the supermarket, it’s more your Amelias or Rubys. Funny really, my mother’s name was Amelia. Florence has come back too, but they shortened my auntie’s name to Flo……
JACK I suppose you did hear me?
BARBARA (shouts) I said O K! Going back to that first time, Jack woke up and said “Do they know what time it is? Put that phone down, it must be two in the morning!” “Hold on a minute,” I said. “It’s only one of those “Out of Area calls,” he said. We get them all the time, though we’ve registered with the telephone preference service. But they get round it , say they’re doing a survey or giving you something for nothing. But we don’t usually get those in the middle of the night, that’s what made it strange. That, and the fact the caller knew my name. Bar-bar-a he said. It sounded so - special, so intimate the way he said it. I put the phone down, but it rang again almost immediately. “I’ve found your letter,” he said. Just like that. But something had already clicked, and I knew what he was talking about.......
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