Autumn 2022 – Drama

French Knickers by Patricia M Osborne

Patricia M Osborne’s piece featured in our latest issue, French Knickers, proves to be a wonderful and engaging character monologue. The stage description of the character’s entrance sets the entire mood: she walks in carrying a bottle and a glass of red wine. She flops into the armchair, kicks off her high heels and rubs her feet.

This is Jane. An exhausted wife who just wants to catch a break. We follow Jane as she complains about a last-minute dinner party her husband set up after her long day at work. Hosting a dinner party for people you don’t like is probably the last thing anyone wants to do after a busy day. (I say her glass of wine is well deserved).

Like a lot of theatre, scripts are mostly dialogue with a little bit of stage or technical direction. A statement I have been given many a time, especially while studying a script, is to ignore all the stage directions when it comes to acting. That’s not to say that what the playwright wanted wasn’t important; the director may just have had a different vision in mind or actions might flow differently when you embody a character. While there isn’t a large amount of stage direction, what is there flows effectively along with Jane’s dialogue.

But dialogue is what we focus on, and French-Knickers does an excellent job with engaging and dynamic dialogue. Osborne skilfully constructs a character and a piece of dialogue that would be a pleasure to watch. All this “Bloody Tim” and “Barry’s a bloody vegan” and “That’ll bloody teach him” are just some instances which emphasize how “bloody” tired Jane is.

This script was one that caught me almost immediately, my brain ticking away at how well this could be done on a stage. There’s a certain energy found in Osborne’s dialogue that makes this such a captivating piece. Its simplicity in set, character, and dialogue is effective and could certainly make a visually stunning performance if this monologue were ever to be brought to life.

Overall Osborne’s monologue of an exhausted wife was an entertaining and enjoyable read, and I would be delighted to read more.

Lara Morgan, Drama Editor

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