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Posted: Thursday March 19, 2015
Read a Scene from Odd Ducks

Welcome to the small town of Tartan Cross, Nova Scotia, where skeletons rattle in closets and past histories are so intertwined that the lives of four forty-something, eccentric characters have become so complicated that something needs to change. In the comedy, Odd Ducks, award-winning playwright Bryden MacDonald positions his four characters at the brink of existential angst – and the action unfolds from there.

At the centre of the drama is Ambrose Archibald, an irredeemable reprobate and the type of guy who rants philosophically at the bar while mooching beer from his friends. He’s a narcissist who thinks he’s God’s gift to women. And he’s having an affair with the charming and beautiful Mandy Menzies, who was the high school beauty queen but is now stuck in a marriage of convenience and a life of boredom. Her housekeeper, Estelle Carmichael, has seen it all, but her prickly exterior belies a loving heart. The dryly funny Freddy Durdle is the perfect counterbalance to over-the-top Ambrose.

Enjoy this scene from Odd Ducks by Bryden MacDonald.


MUSIC

Standard funereal organ.
Walter’s wake.

ESTELLE stands by a huge flower arrangement.
She wears a dress
but would be more comfortable in pants.
She holds a little clutch purse
that she isn’t sure what to do with.
Nervous smiles at unseen guests.
MANDY rushes on.
If Victoria’s Secret
made outfits for widows
this is what MANDY would be wearing.
ESTELLE is mortified.
MANDY smiles and waves
and runs to ESTELLE.

MANDY
I love your dress.
I almost didn’t recognize you.
You should wear dresses more often.
Your boobs look great in that.
I don’t mean –

ESTELLE
I know.
Thanks.
And yours. Well –
it’s black.

MANDY
It’s a total fluke
that I had this in my closet.

ESTELLE
Where’s the rest of it?

MANDY
What?

ESTELLE
Nothing.

MANDY glances around the room.

MANDY
Everyone seems to be having a good time.

ESTELLE
I suppose.

MANDY
Have you seen Ambrose?

ESTELLE
No –
we’re at your husband’s wake
not the legion.

MANDY
Walter is at peace now.
The tea sandwiches are good –
did you have one?

ESTELLE
I made them.

MANDY
Well you better get one
before Monica Sampson cleans the table.
She thinks she’s at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
She’s out of control.
She just complimented Simone Simms
on her hat
her dress
and her husband.

ESTELLE
Mandy –
give her a break.
she’s just survived cancer.

MANDY
And she’s been impossible ever since.
I hafta pee.

MANDY runs off.
ESTELLE turns to leave.
AMBROSE has arrived.
He devours sandwiches.

AMBROSE
Hey Estelle.

ESTELLE
Are you drunk?

AMBROSE
I’m more stoned than drunk.
Stress related.

ESTELLE
More like idiot related.

AMBROSE
Good one.
You’re quick on the draw.
And just look at you –
wowza!
I may not be a genie
but I could sure make your dreams come true.

ESTELLE
I’d rather be boiled in oil.

AMBROSE
Admit it –
you kinda want me.

ESTELLE
Yeah –
behind bars.

AMBROSE
I’m kidding.

ESTELLE
I’m not.

ESTELLE points her fingers at her breasts
and raises them to her eyes.

My eyes are up here.

AMBROSE
And is that something in your eye?
Oh no – just a twinkle.

ESTELLE
You’re just creepy.

AMBROSE
Is Mandy here?

ESTELLE
This is her husband’s wake.

AMBROSE
Is she here?

ESTELLE
Don’t cause any trouble.
If you can summon an iota of decency –
now’s the time to do it.

AMBROSE
Just paying my respects.

ESTELLE
Right.

AMBROSE
Estelle –
I know I’ve been a jerk.
But that’s all about to change.
I am beginning to see my faults quite clearly.
I swear I’ll be a different man.
Get out of the box.
Get off the hamster wheel.
Shake it up.
Maybe go to Bulgaria –
stalk a wild boar.
But for now –
I’m going into self‐imposed exile.
Very shortly actually.
Like –
tomorrow.
I know –
intense.
But it’s the only answer.

ESTELLE
You’re so full of shit.

AMBROSE
I know.
But I am turning over a new leaf.
I’m going under the microscope
in order to force my angst and hatred
on myself rather than others.
And before I go
I’d just like to –
well –
apologize for everything.
I wish you the best.
You’re a good person.
A little prickly –
but a good person.
A really good person.
And you’re hot –
in that sexy librarian kind of way.
You should know that.
You should embrace that.
And I really do hope
that you can find a way –
you know –
to make Mandy happy.

ESTELLE
What do you mean by that?

AMBROSE
She won’t be too happy with me today.

ESTELLE
Big surprise.

AMBROSE
Who made the sandwiches?

ESTELLE hits him with her purse.

Ouch.
Okay.
I gotta run.

AMBROSE is gone.

Odd Ducks is available from Talonbooks for $17.95.