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Waiting For The Whale

    by Ron Nicol


Drama Play Script: 'Waiting For The Whale' by Ron Nicol

A queue has formed in the Jobcentre. Jonah fetches a chair and joins the queue. Young adviser Alex asks him to move, but Jonah refuses, accusing Alex of being authoritarian. Centre Supervisor Janet arrives and also tries to get Jonah to move. He refuses. Mike and Senga, before Jonah in the queue, begin to take an interest. Mike fetches chairs for himself and Senga and they sit, eager to watch what’s going on.

Jonah demands to see the Centre Manager, and produces a gun. He explains that he’d lost his job because of anxiety attacks, had missed his signing on time because of a hospital appointment, and demands to see his wife. Janet exits, leaving Alex in charge.

Senga is called to sign on and leaves the queue. Alex stealthily exits. Jonah complains that nobody seems to be taking any notice that he has a gun, and, and when Senga has finished signing and starts to leave, Jonah refuses to let her go, saying she’s his hostage. Mike and Senga suggest that if it’s a hostage situation Jonah should demand money and an escape vehicle. The phone rings. Senga answers. It’s the police, informed of the situation by Alex. Senga relays Jonah’s supposed demands, but eventually refuses to stay and exits.

Jonah attempts to explain his life problems to Mike, who is initially sympathetic but also leaves. Jonah’s wife Jez arrives. Jonah pours out his troubles, explaining that he’d determined to make a final stand – or shoot himself. Jez examines the gun, reveals that it’s simply a replica, and exits, leaving Jonah alone.


45 mins approx


(2m, 4f, 1m/f, 1m/f non speaking)

  • Alex - 20s, Jobcentre Adviser
  • Jonah - 30s
  • Janet - Jobcentre supervisor
  • Mike - 50+
  • Senga - 20s-late 30s
  • Jez - 30s
  • Adviser
  • Client (non-speaking)

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