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Resonant Frequency

    by Ian Pauley



Drama Play Script: 'Resonant Frequency' by Ian Pauley

An unusual three act play, where each act is set in the same location, ostensibly a stark interrogation room in some anonymous institutional building with drab two-tone walls, a table and two chairs. Over the centre of the table hangs a single light bulb.

The plot follows the common character, Host, through all three acts whilst the interrogation of the three other characters takes place to find out more about their past lives, their recent histories and the bizarre common factor that links the three of them together. Host exudes middle management status with a strong desire to finish writing a report in order to file it with senior management.

The first act is the story of Mother, an angry single mother on benefits, living with the latest 'father' to her child but also an everyday woman with a secret. Because she was abused as a child, she desperately needs stability in her life. When her baby dies in hospital at the same time as the mother of another baby, she swaps the two babies hoping that this will prevent her from carrying on the cycle of abuse. Her only redeeming feature is her past.

The second act allows Tony the Ice Cream vendor, to tell his story of misappropriated ingredients and ducking and diving past red tape to make ice cream to sell to tourists in his shop at the end of the pier. An Italian immigrant, he reveals he has no scruples when it comes to making and selling ice cream.

In the third act the seemingly unconnected threads are pulled together when Boffin gets the same treatment as the other two characters. Initially he is seen as just an affable, slightly eccentric inventor, but gradually his darker side is exposed and he is shown to be mentally unhinged and more than just a bit psychotic. Having invented a machine that turns chemical compounds into their constituent elements, he describes how he celebrated by making a visit the seaside, taking his machine with him for safekeeping. Whilst relaxing on the pier he explains how he bought an ice cream and was approached by a small boy who asked what his machine was for. Boffin showed what his machine could do, converting the boy into, well, bits of small boy. There was a standoff with the child’s father and Boffin ended up using his machine to convert the sea into oxygen and hydrogen.

At this point it becomes obvious that the characters are all in a ‘heaven’ being debriefed by Host. The play is not religious; it just uses the pretext as a background, as the three common threads are drawn together - the Boffin’s ice cream came from Tony’s shop and the small boy was the swapped child of Mother and the man she finally settled down with.

The character of Host is crucial to the play and can be played by one, two or as many actors as are available and suitable. Until the end of act three though, to the audience, Host is an enigma. Host could be male or female, single or plural.


(2m, 1f, 2m/f)
Mother - a woman of low intellect, dressed smartly but inexpensively
Toni Vittorio - the Italian owner of the ice cream parlour
Boffin - a scientist, patronising, possibly a genius, possibly psychotic,
Host - a calm and laconic interrogator with a hint of irony and sarcasm
Host 2 - a clone of Host

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