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The Seventh Suitcase

    by Phil Mansell


Drama Play Script: 'The Seventh Suitcase' by Phil Mansell

The scene is a hovel where an old man lies sleeping silently in a bed while a woman, Jo, irons his shirts and sings to herself. There is a knock at the door and Jo ushers in Tim, an unemployed fork lift truck driver. Desperate for work, he has undertaken an errand – to deliver a small, battered suitcase to the old man. Since he has promised to give it to no-one but the old man he is forced to wait until the old man wakes up – although he begins to wonder whether this will ever happen and thinks the old man may be dead.

Jo is warm-hearted and Tim finds it easy to talk to her about his suitcase phobia and history of problems with ventriloquism. When she goes out to the shops a very different woman, Mary, turns up. She is hard and cynical with a fondness for a drop of the hard stuff. Jo returns and immediately the women start arguing. They speculate about what is inside the suitcase and Mary, who is getting more and more drunk, reveals that the suitcase is the latest one to be delivered; the others are under the bed.

They argue over the number of suitcases and talk Tim into crawling under the bed to count them. They then persuade him to take a bunch of keys from around the old man’s neck to open this one up and see what’s inside. Another fierce row breaks out between the two women and they disappear into the kitchen to fight over a bottle of whisky. The old man wakes up and calls out for Mary. Thinking Tim is a burglar he pulls a shotgun from under the bed sheets and shoots him.

Jo panics while Mary stays icily cool. There is a sudden loud knocking on the front door. Thinking it’s the police they drag Tim’s body into the kitchen. The knocking continues. They open the door to see another man with a suitcase. He has come to deliver it to the old man.


45 mins approx


(3m, 2f)

  • Tim - unemployed fork lift truck driver who’s short of both cash and brains, a decent man who’s not too bright
  • Jo - warm, caring earth mother type who comes in once a week to look after the old man, cleaning and doing his laundry etc
  • Mary - opposite of Jo, quite hard and cynical, with a definite fondness for ‘the hard stuff’
  • Old Man - blind, bedridden and bad-tempered, he spends much of the play asleep
  • Man - another one on a fool’s errand

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