a short theatre script, background somewhat based on Titanic.
(Sounds: waves crashing, panicked women’s voices, children crying, a man’s voice cut through directing people to lifeboats, people screaming, sobbing, sound of metal creaking – fade out)
[Stage lits up]
[NOBLEMAN enters stage left; dressed in a 20th century upper class suit, disheveled, disorientated and panicked; searches on stage for way out]
[A few moments later]
[YOUNG SAILOR enters stage right; dressed in a dark sailor uniform, sailor cap still on head, wearing 20th century white life jacket; spots NOBLEMAN, rushes over]
YOUNG SAILOR: Oi! Sir! Sir! You’re to assemble on decks, the lifeboats are filling! This way, please, sir! Come! Come! We must hurry and get you to the boats!
[The two meet in Centre stage]
[YOUNG SAILOR hauls NOBLEMAN by the arm and hurries towards stage left]
[NOBLEMAN tries to stay put]
NOBLEMAN: Lad! Lad! Listen! I came from that side; I am afraid that the lifeboats have already been filled. They have descended to water. I am heading towards the other side to see if there are any vacancies.
[YOUNG SAILOR stops pulling]
YOUNG SAILOR: No, Sir, no, I, I came from the other side, the boats are lowered already!
[Realization dons on them]
[YOUNG SAILOR looks at NOBLEMAN, looks down at his lifejacket, takes it off and hands it to NOBLEMAN]
YOUNG SAILOR: Here, sir, take this! Wear it and jump, you can swim and make it to one of the other boats!
NOBLEMAN: No! I refuse! This is preposterous! What will people say when they learn of this? To rob a young man of his lifejacket? No! This is akin to murder!
SAILOR: But you must! Sir, you must!
[YOUNG SAILOR tries to dress NOBLEMAN with the lifejacket, NOBLEMAN struggles, YOUNG SAILOR’s cap falls off in the struggle]
NOBLEMAN: No! Stop! I will be a disgrace! Where is my honor in doing so?
YOUNG SAILOR: Sir, then please, I beg of you, to consider my honor, my crew’s honor, my captain’s honor! This ship is doomed, we have already disgraced ourselves. What will become of us when the world knows that we couldn’t even secure the lives of our passengers? What would they think if they see us let live ourselves but not those of our guests? This is my duty, to safeguard the lives of those on board. We have disgraced ourselves already by letting this ship sink, but at least we can redeem ourselves if we can get our passengers to safety! Therefore, for the sake of my honor, my crew’s, my captain’s, please, please, put this on and live!
[YOUNG SAILOR stuffs the lifejacket into NOBLEMAN’s hands, and runs off stage left]
NOBLEMAN: Wait! This, I, wait!
[NOBLEMAN is confused, looks down at the lifejacket in his hands, puts on lifejacket hesitantly]
[AGED SAILOR enters stage right; dark sailor uniform disheveled, sleeves rolled up, buttons open, no sailor cap; spots NOBLEMAN, walks steadily up to him]
[The two meet in Centre stage]
AGED SAILOR: You there! See any boats not full?
NOBLEMAN: No… I came from this side and the lifeboats have all been lowered. I heard it is the same situation on the other side.
AGED SAILOR: Well, you ain’t hear wrong, they’re all filled up over on this side. Aw shit, looks like we’re screwed.
NOBLEMAN: We could still jump and swim to another raft.
AGED SAILOR: Of course, of course….say, is that a lifejacket you have there?
[AGED SAILOR advances on NOBLEMAN, NOBLEMAN backs away]
[AGED SAILOR jumps NOBLEMAN, NOBLEMAN pinned to ground and struggles]
[AGED SAILOR pulls out penknife and threatens NOBLEMAN]
[NOBLEMAN stops struggling, takes off lifejacket cautiously and throws it a distance away]
[AGED SAILOR gets up and stalks over to pick up lifejacket]
[NOBLEMAN stays panting on ground and looks up at AGED SAILOR as he puts on the lifejacket]
NOBLEMAN: Have you no shame? A young sailor gave me his lifejacket and now you are robbing me of it? Your colleague gave his life for mine!
AGED SAILOR: Heh, I see you gladly accepted it. Mister upper class.
[AGED SAILOR mockingly bows]
NOBLEMAN: What! No, I assure you that I vehemently refused! But the noble young sailor pleaded for me to take it for the sake of his and his captain’s honor! And you, you low-life, have single-handedly destroyed it! Does it not mean anything to you? Your colleague has given his life to preserve his honor, and you—you –
[AGED SAILOR walks over to pick up YOUNG SAILOR’s dropped sailor cap and dusts it; NOBLEMAN still on floor, scoots away]
AGED SAILOR: [Laughs bitterly] Oh, do tell me mister noble, what use is honor to a dead man?
[AGED SAILOR puts on hat, walks to edge of stage]
AGED SAILOR: Now, now, please don’t think ill of me, it’s only human instinct to want to live; you cannot fault me for it, now can you?
[AGED SAILOR looks back at NOBLEMAN, tips his cap and then smirks]
AGED SAILOR: Honor, you say? I will be sure to tell the others how heroic you were to give your life for mine. I’m sure you will be honored. So pray that I live to tell your tale! Cheerio!
[AGED SAILOR presses cap to his head and jumps off stage]
(Sound: waves crashing)
[NOBLEMAN struggles to stand up, looks lost]
[Stage lights dim]