Wheelchair

The Wheelchair

Characters

Luke Meddler
D
avid, a wheelchair user

(Optional) Non-speaking. Volunteer from audience.

The words addressed to the ‘volunteer’ can be addressed to the audience.

 

At a conference. DAVID, is in a wheelchair.

LUKE: It’s hot today. Phew! (hangs coat on wheelchair).

DAVID: Excuse me. (indicates coat).

LUKE: Oh, sorry!

DAVID: Hi, I’m David..

LUKE: Oh, Hi. PLEASED TO MEET YOU!

DAVID: Pleased to meet you.

LUKE: LUKE. LUKE MEDDLER. CONFERENCE ORGANISER. JUST WAITING FOR OUR PLENARY SPEAKER. VERY DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR, YOU KNOW.

DAVID: Well, actually, I’m …

LUKE:  (to volunteer) It must be very difficult for him..…

DAVID: Yes, things could be better.

LUKE: (to volunteer) It must be a hard life. (to audience) I have a cousin who is … ‘handicapped’. So I know what it’s like. Yes, he needs a lot of attention. Can’t do anything on his own. Pity. It’s incredibly HARD on the family. (to volunteer) What does he do?

DAVID:  I teach …

LUKE: A TEACHER! REALLY? THAT MUST BE VERY HARD

(LUKE pats DAVID like a dog, leans on chair)

DAVID: Well, not really. You know …

LUKE (patting DAVID again) WELL, GOOD FOR YOU! (to volunteer). There’s so much running around to do, isn’t there? Ooops! I mean, moving around…rushing around, you know, and nowadays kids are so … and him being, you know.

DAVID:  It’s not a problem. I can manage.

LUKE: (to volunteer) Is there a ramp?

DAVID A ramp?

LUKE: (to volunteer): At the school. You know, for ‘handicapped’ people.

DAVID: Yes, the students campaigned for one. Now the whole campus is disabled-access friendly.

LUKE: (to volunteer): What does he teach?

DAVID: I teach English.

LUKE: ENGLISH? EH? THAT’S INTERESTING. (to AUDIENCE) of course, it wouldn’t be gymnastics, would it?

DAVID: (overhears): Actually, there are quite a few gym teachers with disabilities. .

LUKE:  Oh, yes. Of course. DO YOU… ER … SORRY, ER …?

DAVID:  David.

LUKE: Yes, of course, do you have an assistant?

DAVID:  An assistant?

LUKE:  TO HELP

DAVID: Help?

LUKE: WITH THE LESSONS!

DAVID: Lessons?

LUKE: TO HELP WITH THE LESSONS.

DAVID No, I teach on my own. I manage…

LUKE: ON YOUR OWN? THAT’S TOUGH. PITY. DO THEY MISBEHAVE?

DAVID: You just need to motivate them. As always.

LUKE: THEY DON’T YOU KNOW PULL YOUR LEG, TO COIN A PHRASE!! (embarrassed silence; then to volunteer). … Was it an accident?

DAVID: An accident?

LUKE:  YOU KNOW … THE WHEELCHAIR?

DAVID: No …I chose it.

LUKE: (to volunteer): How long has he been … er … ‘handicapped’? Oh, I mean  ‘differently-abled’? Must watch our language, eh? Political correctness and all that.

DAVID: Could we go and see the amphitheatre now? I’d like to check the equipment, if that’s alright.

LUKE: OK BUT I HAVE TO WAIT HERE FOR OUR PLENARY SPEAKER. (to audience) Well, I wonder where he’s got to … (to DAVID, leaning on wheelchair). Our main, speaker, if you know what I mean.

DAVID:  Yes, I do know what you mean. I’d like to check the powerpoint now, please …

LUKE: Yes, of course. It’s time to go. We’re late. We’d better run. OOPS, SORRY. I FORGOT. I MEAN – WALK … ER, YOU KNOW … GO. HERE, LET ME TAKE YOUR BAG FOR YOU …

DAVID: No thanks, I’d rather hang on to it, if you don’t mind. It’s got my notes in it – for my talk.

LUKE:  RIGHT, OF COURSE. I’LL TAKE THE CHAIR. (stands behind the chair and starts pushing)

DAVID: Please, I can manage …

LUKE: OK, OK … SO YOU’RE GIVING A TALK TOO, ARE YOU? WHAT WILL IT BE? A WORKSHOP…?

DAVID: Actually, it’s my plenary talk; it’s on Respect and Understanding Towards Wheelchair Users.

LUKE: Respect and Understanding? Plenary? But Mr Johnson’s plenary …

DAVID: Johnson. David Johnson.

LUKE: AH, YES, OF COURSE – YOU’RE DAVID JOHNSON – PROFESSOR JOHNSON FROM CAMBRIDGE YOU’RE GIVING THE FINAL PLENARY. WELL, WELCOME, WELCOME!!

DAVID: Thank you.  I would like to see the room now.

LUKE: Yes, of course. (to audience) I didn’t realize!

(DAVID starts to get out of the chair)

LUKE: HEY, WAIT. LET ME GIVE YOU A HAND … BE CAREFUL … HERE, GIVE ME YOUR HAND … I’LL TAKE YOUR BAG

DAVID: It’s OK, thanks. I can manage.

LUKE: NO, NO, PLEASE. I’LL HELP YOU. I’LL TAKE THE CHAIR – PLEASE ALLOW ME …

DAVID: It’s alright.

LUKE:  NO, NO, PLEASE … MY PLEASURE …

DAVID:  (hanging on to bag) It’s OK, thank you. (stands and moves towards the door)

LUKE:  But … I thought you couldn’t walk …

DAVID: Look, let me explain. I have recently developed a condition which prevents me from standing upright for very long, or walking without great difficulty. So I am now very often a wheelchair-user – but not all the time. You see, there are different kinds of disability…

Luke: Yes, yes, of course, professor.

DAVID: Now, if you don’t mind I’d like to check the powerpoint equipment, please …

LUKE:  Yes, of course, Professor Johnson. This way, please….

(fade – Luke follows David as he walks off; the wheelchair is left onstage)

 

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