Stick in the Water


By Edward J. Curtis

ISBN: 978-1-84747-057-7
Published: 2007
Pages: 28
Key Themes: script, suicidal thoughts, bullying, relationships, breakdown


'Stick in the Water' is the original script of a short, existential two-act play about a group of university students, their relationships with each other and with mental illness. Tony is concerned when Mark becomes 'persuasive and negative'. Mark is thinking about killing himself and Tony is the one who needs to help his old friend. But could Tony, through his previous bullying of Mark, have caused Mark's illness in the first place?

This is an intelligent and sharply written piece that encourages the reader to open their mind to various ideas surrounding mental illness and the relationships - particularly amongst young men.

About the Author

I am a 21-year-old student from Norwich studying for a degree in English and Cultural Studies at Norwich City College. I've had attempts at University in the last few years, two to be precise. Warwick in particular ended in disaster due to my own personal breakdown and loss of sense of self.

My interests are of course literature, the arts, I particularly like music and I am a keen apostle of good old Morrissey, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan...and many many more.

Book Extract

Mark is standing outside in a grey evening, by the lake. There is a tree to his right hand side. He looks out to the lake.

Mark: Mindless. Thereís never enough rope. Is there? I hope youíre listening up there. I can defeat you. You know that. Through logic. Logic kills. Logic destroys.

Tony enters from behind quietly without Mark noticing.

Tony: Only quaint ideas. Only sentiment. And logic doesnít touch everything. I doubt that the world is logical. That is impossible. Everything would have a reason. Reason would rule. Does it?

Mark turns around with a powerful glare, and turns away again.

Mark: I didnít think youíd come. I thought Iíd be alone. With my rope. Free to do something logical. At last.

Tony: Mark, listen, donít think like that. The world isnít logical. Killing yourself can never be logical, if life is unimportant, why attach such power to it by killing yourself. You make it seem like it is worth avoiding. I think you know that is the case.

Mark: Youíre not Samuel Beckett. Leave me alone. Let me be still for a minute.

Tony: Have a cigaretteÖ

Mark: Iíd rather smoke your brain tissue.

Mark turns round to face Tony and grins mischievously

Tony: Well, you could use my brain tissue as a substitute for nicotine gum.

Mark: I donít think so. There are no stimulants inside your head. Donít you worry about that.

Tony: (laughs) Like smoking garden leaves.

Mark: More like compost.

Tony: Enough, I think! This is more like the Mark I know.

Mark: Thank God for playful words. Verbal battles. There really is no other salvation. Hail to the Linguistic Knights!

Tony: Well, you were talking about death a minute ago.

Mark: So were you, with the cigarettes.

Tony: Hmmm. Iím all dried up now Mark. All dried up.

Mark: Go for a swim.

Tony: And drown or freeze to death?

Mark: Preferably, but Iím not picky.

Tony: Listen Mark, Rachel and I are worried about you. Whatís wrong? Youíve been madly sharp and unbelievably negative lately. And itís a bad thing to be articulate and negative. Itís persuasive. Youíll have me on a leash dribbling towards doom soon. Along with many more minions. Also dribbling.

Mark: So Iím a messiah now.

Tony: Yes, and a pariah tomorrow.

Mark: Iím busy tomorrow. Anyway. I want to hold on to things. Iíve seen it. It will distort. It will vanish. Where am I going? My job isnít worth a mention. My life isnít worth a mention. I left University. I left. You prevailed, at a Ďbetterí one, wherever that was. What am I to do? All I know is failure. It seems. Hence my inferiority complex with most of the human race.

Tony: Mark. Itís not that bad. Please. You are an intelligent chap. I wish I could convey things to you, real care, sincerity, but I know I do a bad job. But we donít like this descent youíre making. It worries us. All I can see is your head now, youíre going so deep.

Mark: God, it almost seems sexual.

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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 31 October, 2006.