Friday, January 11, 2013


...continued on from THURSDAY'S CHILD # 3


MRS. MILES lies in bed looking quite distressed; her pale face streaked with tears.  Through the window MR. MILES car can be seen pulling up on the gravel driveway.  As BEA and her father get out, CONNIE rushes up to tell her father that MRS. MILES is not well.  MR. MILES rushes into the house immediately, leaving CONNIE to berate Bea in no uncertain terms. BEA does not respond at all.  As MR. MILES comes into the bedroom and sits on the edge of the bed next to his wife, she begins to cry again.  He takes her hand.  In the background CONNIE can be seen (and heard) shouting at BEA as they make their way into the house.
MR. MILES   Come on...come’s not that bad.
MRS. MILES   Yes it is.  Look.

MRS. MILES indicates the newspaper on the bedside table. MR. MILES picks it up, his attention caught first of all, by the photo of BEA in her clinging white and quite revealing bathing costume, hands on hips, smiling provocatively.  As he begins to read the article BEA comes into the room and starts to move towards her mother.
BEA (upset)   Mum...
MRS MILES more apologies.

BEA stops; distressed. 
MR MILES (angry)   Jesus Christ Bea, I would have thought you’d have had more sense than to talk to a journalist...
MRS MILES (near hysteria)   More sense! MORE SENSE!!! She’s ruining her life and all you can say...

MR. MILES cuts across his wife; becoming increasingly angry.

MR MILES   Mother!... MOTHER!!! Keep out of it...
MRS. MILES   She makes a laughing stock of the whole family...I've kept out of it too long.

MR.MILES   Be quiet.

MRS. MILES   None of this would have happened if you hadn't encouraged....

MR.MILES loses his temper

MR.MILES  You will not talk to me this way!

Quite out of control for a moment, MR. MILES tears the newspaper up. MRS.MILES starts to cry again.  MR.MILES regains his composure quickly, looks at BEA, realizes that he has revealed an aspect of his character he would have preferred to keep secret. Indicating his hysterical wife:
MR MILES (to Bea)   I hope you’re satisfied now...

With that he storms out of the room.  BEA, trembling and in tears, stands for a moment before moving forward and sitting on the edge of her mother’s bed.  MRS.MILES turns her head and looks at BEA.

MRS. MILES   Why, Bea?  Why?
BEA (distressed)   I don’t know.


SEVERAL JOURNALISTS are at work at tables in the foreground.  At the far end of the office, through a glass partition, BEA and JOHNNO can be seen talking.  BEA, dressed scantily and eccentrically, is obviously distressed.


BEA rides on the back of Johnno's motor-bike, her hair blowing in the wind, her spirits picking up as they drive fast around a corner of a coastal road overlooking the silver moonlit ocean.
BEA (shouts)   Faster!  Faster!

JOHNNO smiles and opens up the throttle.


BEA and JOHNNO pull into the Beach Cottage driveway.  BEA dismounts; in better spirits now.  In the background, MR. MILES can be seen looking through the living room window.
BEA   Thanks Johnno.

JOHNNO places his arm around BEA’s waist and gently pulls her towards him, kissing her briefly on the lips.  BEA looks at him for a moment.
BEA   See you later.
JOHNNO   If you’re lucky.

BEA smiles, kisses JOHNNO quickly on the cheek, turns and walks towards the house.


MR. MILES, his face set hard, paces up and down the room nursing a glass of whisky as Bea’s footsteps can be heard coming through the back door. MRS. MILES and GRANDMA ELLIE are clearly fearful of what MR. MILES might do in his anger.  BEA enters the room.
BEA (cheerful)   Hello  everyone...
MR MILES (exploding)   Where have you been?
MRS. MILES   William...

BEA is taken aback by her father’s anger.
BEA   Riding on the back of...
MR MILES (loudly)   Where have you been?
BEA (annoyed)   None of your business.

MR. MILES, in a rage, throws his glass of whisky at the wall. As the argument intensifies, Bea’s brothers and sister, in their pyjamas, appear in the doorway.
MR. MILES   For as long as you live in this house it is my business.

BEA, hands on her hips, looks defiantly at her father.
BEA   Alright, I’ll go and live somewhere else.
MR. MILES   You will not. You will learn to fit in with the routines that have been established for the benefit of all the members of this family.
BEA   Routines established by you...
MR. MILES   Yes. And for as long as I am head of this household you will do as I say. You will not wear clothes that make you look like a whore...
BEA   Perhaps I am.
MR MILES (shouting) Beatrice! Be quiet.  BE QUIET. I will not have you talk this way in front of your mother in my house.

MRS. MILES is sobbing.
BEA (angry)   YOUR house! And this is YOUR family and I am YOUR daughter...
MR. MILES moves towards her with clenched fists.  BEA stands defiantly still.

BEA   And because I am YOUR daughter…

MR MILES     Don’t twist what I say... 

BEA…you think you can tell me how to  live my life.  Mr W.J. Miles advocate of free thought…

MR MILES   You are incapable.....

BEA…rational discussion on any and every topic "Don’t believe a  thing to be true simply because   

MR MILES   I will not have...

BEA…a person in authority says that it is true!" … As long as the  person in authority is not you...

MR. MILES explodes, hitting BEA around the head with his open palms; quite out of control.  BEA’s teenage brothers and GRANDMA ELLIE attempt to pull him off.  MRS. MILES cries hysterically and faints to the floor.  BEA, in a state of shock, stands still; doing nothing to prevent her father from hitting her.  Suddenly, MR. MILES stops hitting BEA and sits at the table, his head in his hands, trembling and breathing heavily.  BEA walks slowly out of the room, her face betraying no sign of emotion.


MR. MILES, in a state of panic, Bea’s TWO BROTHERS and CONNIE, run along the beach, at water’s edge, their figures dimly illuminated by the light emanating from the lantern MR. MILES carries. They stop in their tracks when they see BEA, waist deep in the surf, her hair wet and her flimsy dress clinging to her like a second skin.  She turns and looks, like a frightened animal at the four figures enclosed in a dim circle of light. MR. MILES moves slowly forward, wading into the surf, stopping knee deep in the water.
MR. MILES   Beatrice...come home...

BEA stares at him.  MR. MILES slowly removes his jacket.
MR. MILES   Please...

As if mesmerized, BEA moves slowly towards him.  MR. MILES holds his jacket open and drapes it over her shoulders as she nestles up to him like a frightened child, resting her head on his shoulder.  MR. MILES hugs her tightly to him; too tightly.  He is for a moment, quite 'out of control' - his desperate embrace revealing the intensity, complexity and forbidden nature of his feelings for her.  CONNIE and Bea’s TWO BROTHERS look on; shocked.  MR. MILES 'comes to his senses', becoming for the first time, consciously aware of and shocked by the sexual component in his feelings for his daughter.  He pulls away slightly.  Bea is immediately aware of why he has done so and backs into the surf, staring at him with blazing mad eyes.  MR. MILES, looking more than a little mad himself, moves towards her.
MR MILES (pleading)   Beatrice...please...

From her teetering point of view, MR. MILES, his coat held out as if to trap her, is a frightening vision.
BEA (hysterical)   I know what you want. I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT ...LEAVE ME ALONE.

MR. MILES, his body trembling uncontrollably, stands frozen in the surf, staring wide-eyed at BEA, who turns and screams at the roaring sea: a chilling howl of despair.  CONNIE and Bea’s TWO BROTHERS look on; horrified.


Mr. and MRS. MILES are in Dr. Carruthers’ office, signs admission forms as DR. CARRUTHERS (about 50 years old), on the other side of the desk, reads a handwritten letter.

Between the two men, through the window, MRS. MILES, BEA and the SUPERINTENDANT can be seen gathered around the door of a small cottage.  Bea’s BROTHER is taking suitcases from the trunk of MR. MILES’ car.


BEA, MRS. MILES and the SUPERINTENDANT look into the sparsely furnished room in the cottage.
SUPERINTENDENT (cheerful)   Spartan...but comfortable...

He and MRS. MILES look at BEA to see what her response is but her face betrays no emotion. She is in a strange and distant frame of mind.  Bea’s BROTHER carries Bea’s suitcases into the room.
MRS MILES (cheerful)   Can I send Bea a few things … brighten the room up a little?

In the background, on the front porch of the stately old mansion that has been turned into a Mental Hospital, MR. MILES shakes hands with DR. CARRUTHERS, says goodbye and starts walking towards the car also.  BEA follows.
MRS MILES   Everything’s going to be alright, darling.

MRS. MILES kisses Bea, trying hard to be cheerful.

MRS MILES   You will cooperate with Dr Carruthers?

BEA nods.  MR. MILES stands by the car, looking very uncomfortable.  MRS. MILES kisses BEA again and gets quickly into the car so that her daughter won’t see her crying.
MR MILES (awkward)   If there’s anything you need...clothes... books...just let the Superintendent know and...

BEA nods. MR. MILES stands for a moment, unsure how to say goodbye.  The moment is excruciatingly painful for him. In his awkwardness, he nods and gets into the car. With a blank expression, BEA watches the car make its way down the driveway to the large iron gates at the entrance to the Hospital.  The SUPERINTENDANT starts to walk towards Dr. Carruthers office, holding his arms out to indicate that BEA should come with him.
SUPERINTENDENT (cheerful)   Do you like gardening, Miss Miles?

BEA walks with him. She shakes her head.

SUPERINTENDENT    Pity! We’re very proud of our gardens.

BEA looks at the well-tended, highly ordered gardens. Under the supervision of a nurse, three patients are removing weeds from between neatly arranged rows of flowers. They look up at BEA as she passes. One smiles. Another stares vacantly. The third looks quite demented.


BEA, sits in Dr. Carruthers’s office, looking blankly out the window.  She is unaware that DR. CARRUTHERS has been referring to the letter on his desk when he looks up and speaks to her.

DR. CARRUTHERS   Well, it seems you’re a lucky young lady to be alive.

BEA does not respond.
DR. CARRUTHERS   How have you been feeling...since the illness?

BEA shrugs her shoulders.
DR. CARRUTHERS   Distressed?  Confused?
BEA (soft)   Sometimes.
DR. CARRUTHERS   About what?

BEA looks at him.  She sees a man with a kind and caring smile.
BEA (shrugs)   Life.
DR. CARRUTHERS   Yes, it can be confusing at times, can’t it?

BEA nods and looks away; out the window.
DR. CARRUTHERS   Anything in particular...that you find confusing?

A thought occurs to BEA. She looks at the letter in front of Dr. Carruthers and then up from the letter, directly into his eyes.  DR. CARRUTHERS is quite unnerved by this.  BEA looks at the letter again. She smells a rat.
DR. CARRUTHERS   Well, Miss Miles, that will be all for now...

He moves around the table towards to door.  BEA's eyes are fixed on the letter.
DR. CARRUTHERS    I’m sure...together...we’ll be able to get to the bottom of your 'confusion' … a bit of a break from family, friends and so on’ll do you the world of good...Time to sort things out...
BEA   That’s my father’s handwriting.
DR. CARRUTHERS (nervous)   Yes.
BEA   What has he told you?
DR. CARRUTHERS    It’s private correspondence.

BEA looks at DR. CARRUTHERS for a moment and then moves over to his desk and picks up the letter. Before she has a chance to start reading it DR. CARRUTHERS, in a panic now, moves with unseemly haste across the room and snatches it out of her hand.
BEA (icy calm)   You’ve already made your diagnosis, haven’t you?
DR CARRUTHERS (flustered)   Not at all.
BEA   Liar.

BEA walks past DR. CARRUTHERS and opens the door.
DR. CARRUTHERS    Miss Miles...
BEA (turning; angry)   I’m not a fool, doctor.

She strides out into the adjoining office, past DR. CARRUTHERS' startled secretary and


BEA, walks fast, across the porch and along the pathway leading to the main gate.  DR. CARRUTHERS and MATRON O'NEILL - a large woman of about 40 - follow her.
DR. CARRUTHERS    Miss Miles! Stop! I want to talk to you!

BEA ignores him. She quickens her pace. A NURSE and THREE PATIENTS look on. MATRON O'NEILL runs to catch up with BEA. She grabs BEA by the shoulder.
MATRON   Alright young lady...

BEA pulls way from her, stops and turns to face MATRON O'NEILL; her eyes blazing.
BEA (screams)   Don’t you touch me.

The NURSE who was supervising the gardening is running towards her now; as are TWO OTHER NURSES some distance away.  Terrified, BEA turns and runs towards the large iron gates at the entrance to the hospital.  She gets to them before her pursuers but the gates are closed; she cannot escape.  She turns, finding herself quickly surrounded by Matron O'Neill and three nurses.  As MATRON O'NEILL attempts to grab hold of her, BEA, in terror and panic, lashes out, striking Matron in the face.  She resists violently but soon overcome.  The nurses wrestle her to the ground.
BEA (screaming)  Leave me alone.
MATRON O'NEILL   Camisole, Metcalf...

NURSE METCALF runs off to get a camisole (Straight-jacket). BEA  continues to scream, kick, bite and struggle in an attempt to free herself.  NURSE METCALF returns with a straight-jacket.  BEA is being held securely on the ground by MATRON O'NEILL and the other two nurses, but when NURSE METCALF holds out the straight-jacket and attempts to put it on her, BEA struggles so violently that it is impossible.  MATRON O'NEILL, one arm around BEA’s neck in a headlock, tightens her grip, eventually strangling her into unconsciousness.




BEA regains consciousness to find herself being carried down a corridor by MATRON O'NEILL and two other nurses: the upper part of her body retrained by a straight-jacket. She lashes out with her feet catching MATRON O'NEILL full in the stomach and knocking her to the floor. A fierce struggle ensues. MATRON O'NEILL gets her arm around BEA’s neck and strangles her into unconsciousness.




BEA, straight-jacketed, is being tied into a seat in a small padded cell by TWO NURSES.  She is in shock; terrified.  MATRON O'NEILL, sporting a black eye, stands in front of her.
MATRON   When you learn to control yourself...

BEA kicks MATRON O'NEILL hard in the shins.  MATRON O'NEILL loses her temper and hits BEA across the face with a hand in which she is holding a bunch of keys.  BEA’s face is cut.
BEA   Bloody coward.

MATRON O'NEILL looks at BEA guiltily: sorry to have lost her temper. BEA glares at her.  MATRON O'NEILL walks out of the room.


BEA, the cut on her face partially healed now, stands by her bed in a crowded 18 bed Refractory Ward a little after sunset, watching TWO NURSES bundle a seriously demented patient into a straight-jacket as MATRON O'NEILL completes her cursory inspection of the other patients. Folded, in a pile at the end of her bed, are grey blankets, green sheets and an off-white bath towel. In one hand she holds a toothbrush and comb; in the other a cake of soap. MATRON O'NEILL completes her inspection, nods to the other nurses, glances briefly at BEA and walks out of the ward.  The NURSES punch cards into the bundy-clock by the door and leave also; closing the doors behind them. The sound of the door being bolted from outside can be heard. BEA, in shock still, looks around the ward.

KITTY, a thin, prematurely-aged woman with sad eyes, sits on her bed, the fist of one hand resting on her breast as she strokes it with the other and talks softly and affectionately to it as it if were a baby.

BERYL, a woman of about 40 with terror in her eyes, sits trembling and sweating in the wooden chair by her bed.

ELLEN, a large and partially bald woman lies on her bed staring hatefully at BEA.

BEA becomes aware of MRS. LANDING - the middle-aged woman in the bed next to her - smiling at her.
MRS LANDING (full of admiration)  You’re the one gave Matron the black eye...

BEA nods and manages the beginnings of a smile but her attention is caught by ELLEN who is striding towards her with a hateful expression on her face.  ELLEN pushes BEA forcefully onto the floor and then walks calmly back to her bed.  BEA is dumbfounded.  MRS. LANDING helps BEA up.
MRS. LANDING   She just wants to let you know she’s boss cockie.

BEA looks over to ELLEN, who is lying on her bed again looking triumphantly at BEA.  In the background a patient can be seen standing by the bundy clock, talking to it.
PATIENT   I’m sorry my mother is a bloody whore. I’m sorry my mother is a bloody whore.


BEA lies in her bed, on her side, looking out into the darkened ward.  Most of the patients are asleep now, with the exception of BERYL who is still sitting in her chair trembling, and another woman, at the other end of the ward, who is tearing her waterproof sheet into strips and guffawing moronically as blue sparks fly out. BERYL’s moaning increases in intensity and then suddenly stops. BEA watches.  BERYL’s trembling ceases; a large puddle of urine forms on the floor under the chair.


BEA stands with a group of twelve of so listless patients in the shower block, waiting for a free shower; her towel over her arm, her toothbrush, comb and soap in one hand.  THREE NURSES, working to a tight schedule, undress, bathe, dry and dress patients who are unable to do so by themselves; with little patience for uncooperative inmates. Tempers flare.  KITTY, nursing her clenched fist protectively, screams and resists violently when a nurse attempts to prise her fingers apart so that she can wash her hand.

SARAH, waiting to be bathed has removed her nightdress and stands in front of a mirror feeling her breast, squeezing it until a drop of milk appears, then smiling to herself.  A NURSE notices this and moves quickly across the wet floor to slap SARAH’s hand.

ELLEN glares at BEA from underneath her shower.  When she gets out BEA realizes that she is the last of the patients who is able to bathe herself so she places her towel and toothbrush on a wooden bench, takes off her nightdress and stands under the shower, letting the hot water stream over her hand, closing her eyes as if to block out the nightmare images.  When she opens them and looks out through the steam, she sees ELLEN pick up her toothbrush and walk out of the shower block.


The Mental Hospital dining room. BEA, in something of a daze, sits on a bench at a table with a dozen patients, staring at an unappetizing bowl of grey porridge.  MRS. LANDING sits beside her.  ELLEN sits on the other side of the table, a few patients up.  At this and other tables in the dining room, nurses help to feed those patients incapable of doing so.  Even if the food were edible the images and sounds confronting BEA would make eating difficult.
MRS LANDING (sympathetic)  It’s not so bad if you cover it with sugar, close your eyes and pretend.

BEA looks at MRS. LANDING and manages a weak smile. She looks at ELLEN, who is spooning porridge into her mouth in a most disgusting manner and up to see MATRON enter the room. BEA gets up and moves towards where MATRON is talking to the NURSE in charge. As she sees BEA approach MATRON turns her back and pretends she is not there. BEA stands for a moment, staring at MATRON’s back.
BEA   The nurse told me...

MATRON swings around angrily, her eye black still.

MATRON   I beg your pardon.
BEA   The nurse in the shower block...

MATRON (loudly)   I beg your pardon. If you wish to speak to me you will address me as Matron.

BEA breathes deeply, trying to contain her anger.
BEA   Matron, the nurse told me to ask you about getting another toothbrush.
MATRON   What happened to the one you were issued with?
BEA   Someone took it.

BEA will not answer.
MATRON   Who took your toothbrush?
BEA   I don’t know.
MATRON   You’ll have to be more careful with your possessions in future, won’t you?
BEA   Yes, but...

MATRON   Sit down, Miles.

BEA glares at her.
MATRON   Sit down, Miles.
BEA   Someone took it.

BEA walks back to her seat, breathes deeply for a moment to calm herself.

BEA   Ellen, please...
ELLEN   Don’t talk to me...
BEA   Ellen, please give my toothbrush back.
ELLEN   Haven’t got your toothbrush.
BEA   Ellen...

ELLEN leans forward and spits a mouthful of porridge in BEA’s face.  BEA lunges across the table, grabbing hold of Ellen and knocking her to the floor.  Pandemonium breaks loose.  A violent struggle ensues between BEA and ELLEN.

MATRON, who was leaving the room, rushes over to see what is going on.  Through the throng of demented onlookers, she sees BEA sitting astride ELLEN, her hands around ELLEN’s throat, her face streaked with tears, crying desperately:
BEA   I want my toothbrush.

THREE NURSES pull BEA off ELLEN.  BEA offers no resistance.  One of the nurses helps ELLEN to her feet.  BEA, in tears, explains - to no-one in particular.
BEA   She took by toothbrush.

ELLEN, also in tears, whimpers like a four year old child.
ELLEN   Someone took my toothbrush.

BEA looks at ELLEN and then at the MATRON, whose face betrays no emotion at all.


BEA is in a straight-jacket, tied to a seat in a small padded cell.  Looming over her, looking down, is DR. CARRUTHERS.  MATRON is standing in the doorway.

BEA (desperate)   She stole my toothbrush.
DR. CARRUTHERS   Your toothbrush?

BEA looks at him, nods her head and says 'yes' inaudibly.
DR. CARRUTHERS   So you attacked her!?

BEA begins to cry quietly; making no attempt to explain herself.  Her tears make DR. CARRUTHERS uncomfortable.  He looks at MATRON whose expression, as she looks at BEA, betrays considerably more sympathy for her that we have seen hitherto. be continued...

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