A BASEMENT TOO FAR
(A basement, no windows. A staircase leads down into the room from
downstage Right, so that the lowest step is upstage right. It should seem that
this flight leads to a further flight upward off-stage, with a door at the top. There
are three or four shelving stacks, seven or eight feet high, containing old dusty
hard back books, off to Stage Left, to about a sixth of the width of the stage,
and assumed to be stretching out for many yards offstage. At the back, a basic
brick or concrete wall, with a few large silver-clad pipes to indicate heating and
plumbing and mysterious general entrails of a building. A stack of rather shabby
and broken chairs under the staircase. A very worn grubby looking industrial
sisal type carpet on what should be a concrete floor. The light is a strip light, or
a single bulb hanging from the centre of the room, with an institutional shade)
(Enter MAGGIE down the stairs, briskly, immediately followed by MIRANDA,
MAGGIE: Now – I wonder if this is going to be –
(At the bottom, she stops abruptly and they all cannon into each other)
Sorry, sorry, my fault. No, I really don’t think this will do.
(MAGGIE moves away from the steps to allow the others to reach ground
level. They start investigating the immediate area.)
MIRANDA: Look, there are chairs, anyway!
(MAGGIE goes to them and starts unstacking them, looking at them critically)
MAGGIE: They may not be in the best condition....
WOLF: Don’t worry on my account. I’m quite happy sitting on the floor.
MIRANDA: Well, I ‘m not!
MAGGIE: No, no, and I don’t really think our book-club members would be either.
Some of them tend to be a little on the mature side.
WOLF: Seems odd to have a book club in a library.
MAGGIE: Does it?
(MAGGIE scouts around, inspecting chairs, seeing what else is available
(nothing much) then starts setting out chairs, at least a couple of rows and
twelve chairs). She sets out the first chair near to the stacks. MIRANDA
promptly sits on it. WOLF picks up a chair,looking as if he might help, but puts
it down C in the same row as MIRANDA’s and sits on it. MAGGIE continues to
set out the rest of the chairs – five chairs, spaced out, on each row, and two
or three rows.)