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Doorways In Drumorty

    by Mike Gibb


Play Script: 'Doorways In Drumorty' by Mike GibbThe play follows the story of Jessie McLean, a woman whose love at sixteen for a young man was crushed when he left the town, never to return, leaving her alone and unfulfilled and having to lead a lonely life in a town full of narrow minded and hypocritical people. One day, thirty-five years later, she sees Bella, a young girl, and her paramour, out walking, causing her to reflect on what might have been. She takes a distant interest in the pair, and is upset for Bella when her young man disappears from the scene. The people of the town are shocked when it becomes apparent that Bella is pregnant, and they go out of their way to make life uncomfortable for her, culminating in forcing her to leave for Aberdeen in abject shame.

Jessie though, pits herself against the town by taking pity on Bella and then taking her in as a lodger. When the baby is born, the town elders try again to 'ease' the situation by suggesting that the baby is sent to the alms-house, a plan firmly rejected by Jessie, who has become attached not only to the notion of motherhood, but to the child itself. As the mood of the town intensifies over time, Bella takes flight and runs away to Edinburgh in an attempt to find her former lover, leaving her young boy with Jessie. She is never heard from again, and the play finishes with Jessie managing to adopt the child, and to lovingly bring him up as her own.

Play Script: 'Doorways In Drumorty' by Mike Gibb

Interspersed with Jessie's story are six splendid vignettes of town life: the battle for supremacy between two ladies who wail at funerals; the struggle to survive when a husband is forced to find work overseas and the wife and child are left behind with no money; a mother's scheme to ensnare the new minister as a husband for her 'plain' daughter with few marriage prospects; Jessie's failed attempt to find a husband in the form of the shy and rather reticent farmer, Jock Slessor; a spinster who takes in gentleman lodgers and who falls in love with one of them, but their inability to communicate their intentions delays their declaration of love for many years, and how the new librarian from England makes a mistake by not understanding the sensitivities of the relationships between his customers.

Based on a book of short stories by Lorna Moon, this is a highly amusing and poignant tale that economically captures, fillets and skewers small town life in rural Scotland in the 1920s, an era when twitching curtains and gossip was a perfectly acceptable way of life to many people in the town!

Characters (4m, 8f)

Principals (2m, 3f)
  •   Mrs Maggie MacKenty - mid 50's, widow
  •   Mr Stanley Anderson - mid 40's, church session clerk
  •   Miss Jessie McLean - mid 50's, spinster 
  •   Miss Janet Clark - mid 30's, spinster
  •   Mr Charles Palmer - early 30's, librarian, English
Support (2m, 5f)
  •   Mrs Kirsty Fraser - early 40’s
  •   Mrs Helen MacBride - late 30’s
  •   Mrs Peggy Forbes - 50's, wife and mother
  •   Miss Mildred Forbes - 30, her daughter
  •   Miss Bella Tocher - 17, farm servant
  •   Mr Jock Slessor - mid 30's, farm labourer
  •   Mr John Robertson - mid 30's, banker
Voice Off (1m)
  Mr Tammas MacBride - late 30’s

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