David – a performer
Angie – David’s wife
Jim – a photographer
Curtain up. A reception room in the wing of an Edwardian mansion. The room is as cluttered as a bedsit. Angie is seated in a leather chair reading New Musical Express. David, dressed in a floral-patterned dress and high boots, enters Stage Right, navigates his way past an ironing board and assorted distressed furniture to reach a tall mirror.
DAVID (addresses his reflection): I’m thinking of going commando.
ANGIE (still looking at the NME): Keep your knickers on, David. It’s only a newspaper photo shoot.
DAVID: I meant I’m thinking of something in a camouflage pattern. What would the effect be?
ANGIE: Plausibly lesbian.
DAVID: And currently?
ANGIE (looks up briefly): My grandmother’s chaise lounge.
DAVID: So, I should butch it up? Head-to-toe black, perhaps.
ANGIE: If you want to resemble a Greek widow scaling fish.
DAVID: You’d prefer me in trousers. Say it, Angie. You want something more traditionally masculine.
ANGIE: Now that you ment …
DAVID (cuts her off): How bourgeois. You know I’m non-binary.
ANGIE: That’s not the description they use about you down at The Dog & Trumpet.
DAVID: Barflies. They don’t recognise gender fluidity.
DAVID: Are you …?
ANGIE: It’s the first fluid thing that came to mind. It flows then (pause) hardens.
DAVID (turns sideways): I can see myself as (adopting Cockney accent) well ‘ard.
ANGIE: If only I saw that more often.
She rises, crosses to David, takes his shoulders and spins him back to face the mirror.
ANGIE: Perhaps it’s the length. Too long.
DAVID (picks up the hem and raises it over his thighs): Micro-mini? Very London high fashion. Very Anoushka and Veruschka.
ANGIE: Let’s try for very Queen Mother. A sensible hemline, just below the knees with stockings held up by tight elastic.
DAVID: A little too Sainsbury’s shopper for me. The Daily Mirror is coming. I need to sparkle.
ANGIE: For a national red-top?
DAVID: Sssshhh. He could be here any second.
Off stage sound effect: Knock, knock.
The set revolves to reveal a garden. David faces the audience. He practices several poses. Angie and the photographer enter Stage Left.
ANGIE: David Bowie, this is Jim James from the Daily Mirror.
Hands shake, heads nod.
JIM (gestures): Let’s use the house as a backdrop.
DAVID: Will it distract from me?
JIM: Nothing will distract from that dress. It makes you look …
DAVID: Sexually agnostic?
JIM: I was about to say like a …
ANGIE: Coffee, anyone?
Heads shake. The shoot proceeds. The photographer crouches, aims. David poses.
DAVID: Look at me and tell me what you see.
JIM: My grandmother’s chaise lounge.
DAVID: (A sigh) Jim, you strike me as a man of the world.
JIM (pats the long lens of his camera): This gives me instant access to people with outlandish talent.
JIM: Yesterday I photographed a woman who makes dolls out of wooden clothes pegs.
DAVID: Fame of sorts, I suppose.
JIM (pulls a pen and notebook from his coat pocket): Fame, indeed. Which reminds me, Dave. Just for the pic caption. What is it that you do?
Curtain down. Theatre lighting drops.
ANGIE (disembodied voice offstage): Will it be curtains for David?
JIM (disembodied voice): One day.
DAVID (disembodied voice): Never.
Story Copyright © 2016 GREG FLYNN
Image Copyright © 1971 Daily Mirror
[Please note: the above script is pure fiction.]