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Sexologically Speaking

    by Carolyn Pertwee


Black Comedy Play: 'Sexologically Speaking' by Carolyn PertweeSynopsis

Four humorous and sometimes dark plays involving sex and older people. The quartet of plays can be performed by a cast of four actors.  A man and woman in their sixties plus and a man and a woman in their mid-forties plus. The first three are short (10-15 mins) whilst 'Double Image' is longer at approx 70 mins. The plays can be performed all together, or in any combination

The Beautiful Couple: An older couple revisit their honeymoon hotel and are forced to face issues in their troubled marriage by the antics of a beautiful young couple in an adjoining room. 

On Thin Ice:  A separated couple fight over the rights to the embryo they had frozen 10 years earlier.  

The Stuff of Dreams:  For Jimbo, his flagging libido is a taboo subject but his wife Bobby has other ideas with surprising consequences.

Double Image: A black comedy which opens with the fading sounds of an orgasmic, alcohol fuelled sexual union behind the sofa in a hotel suite. The post-coital rapture and banter turn sour over the man’s use of the word ‘shag’. The woman takes umbrage, storms into the bathroom and passes out cold.  What is the man to do? They are two middle-aged strangers, Neil and Cecilia, who met earlier in the bar.

Black Comedy Play Script: 'Sexologically Speaking' by Carolyn PertweeHe rummages through her bag to identify her. He finds a wad of money wrapped up in some lacy panties with the name ‘Athene’ on a gift card. Who is this woman – is she a sex worker? He tries to shake her awake. Finally she comes round and, seeing a half-clad man towering over her, asks if he is a fellow patient in the hospital. She has no recollection of meeting him or where she is. When he explains they are in his hotel room, she tries to leave until he reminds her that she ought to get dressed first. Hysteria sets in; where are her clothes?

She thinks she has been raped and yells for help. Neil, equally terrified, forcibly stops her, fearful of ending up in a police cell instead of giving the chance of a lifetime interview next morning on Breakfast Television. He has just got his life back on course and can’t allow her to go screaming ‘rape’ down the hotel corridors in her underwear. Has she set him up? Suspicion and fear are exacerbated when inadvertently she triggers off the smoke alarm bringing the hotel security guard to the room.

Calm is restored when Neil lies telling her that nothing happened between them as they were both too drunk.  Cecilia is relieved but mortified having just come out of rehab and been dry for 18 months. Why was she drinking? When Neil calls her ‘Athene’ it ignites her memory; Athene is her estranged daughter, it’s her birthday, they were to meet at this hotel for tea and a hoped for reconciliation. Athene didn’t turn up.

They now start to connect on a deeper level.  Neil speaks for the first time about the death of his wife two years earlier and of his regrets.  Cecilia of losing her husband to another man.  When Cecilia is about to leave Neil confesses that they did have sex and it was wonderful. He hasn’t made love to a woman since his wife died and Cecilia has made him feel alive again.  At first she is angry and humiliated. Why did he have to tell her? It’s not as if they will ever see each other again. Neil has other ideas and would like to make a fresh beginning.

The mood between them changes and their initial attraction bubbles to the surface again; they can barely refrain from touching each other as the lights fade to blackout.


3 x 10-15 mins approx and 1 x 70 mins approx


(2m, 2f)

The Beautiful Couple (10-15 mins)
  • Marjorie - late 50s / early 60s, tall handsome woman, has acquired an outer shell of brittleness to protect her inner vulnerability
  • Dennis - late 60s, a taciturn and tetchy, of military bearing
On Thin Ice (10-15 mins)
  • Fran - mid-40s, attractive, immaculately turned out, wears designer labels, in business she is used to calling the shots and is unashamedly ambitious
  • Mick - 40s, unkempt but attractive Irish man to whom designer clothes are a complete anathema, though outwardly laid-back, he is deeply sensitive with a temper that can easily be provoked
The Stuff Of Dreams (10-15 mins)
  • Bobby - 70, married to Jimbo, spirited, vivacious, still living life to the full, warm and forthright with a good sense of humour, driving force in her marriage of 43 years
  • Jimbo - 73, intelligent, well preserved, dignified, slightly more reserved with a drier sense of humour than Bobby to whom he is devoted, though less able to show his emotions
  • Mark - nearly 40, their married son, sensitive man, if somewhat conventional
Double Image (70 mins approx)
  • Cecilia - late 40s, classless accent, attractive in an unconventional way with an air of vulnerability, verging at times on the neurotic
  • Neil - mid 40's, a very male Glaswegian, attractive but somewhat tortured-looking with his sense of humour still intact
  • Gary - late 30's, Australian, hotel security guard, slightly bullish and filled with his own self-importance

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