The Namesake (Radio Play)

Cast:

Zachery Arthur Petty-Blanchette: Retired, wealthy business executive in his 60s. His pet name is ‘Zappy’

Tuggsy: Zachery Arthur Petty-Blanchette’s childhood name.

Pleasant Peter:  Zachery’s childhood teddy who he talks to and the teddy talks back. He has a strong Glaswegian accent.

Penelope Andora  Petty-Blanchette  – Zachery’s wife. In her 60s. Social climber. Her pet name is ‘Pappy’.

Zac Petty-Blanchette : Call centre operative, former university lecturer, late Fifties, divorced.

Jenny Smith: Call centre operative.

Cindy Lappin: Call centre supervisor

Call Centre Operative#1

FADE UP INDOORS PHONE CONVERSATION

JENNY:          (ON ONE END OF PHONE) The system’s very slow today, Zachery. Can I ask you to hold a minute?

ZACHERY:   (AT HOME IN HIS OFFICE. HANDSFREE) OK.

JENNY:          That’s an unusual name: Zachery Arthur Petty-Blanchette. Where’s it from?

ZACHERY:   Oh! You’re asking a good question there. (CLEARS HIS THROAT LOUDLY) ‘Zachery’ is from the Old Testament prophet, Zachariah: he prophesised the coming of Jesus. My family has Old Testament blood.

JENNY:          Wow!

ZACHERY:   Arthur was after King Arthur of the Knights of the Round Table. We are descended from his court.

JENNY:          That’s something. (SHE PUTS ON A FUNNY VOICE) Pull the other one! (GIGGLES)

ZACHERY:   I’m sorry?

JENNY:          Sorry, that was a line from Monty Python’s Holy Grail. (CLEARS HER THROAT NERVOUYSLY). The film? About King Arthur?

ZACHERY:   Hmmmm. The name ‘Petty-Blanchette’ is French Huguenot. My ancestors were merchants who supplied towels and bed linen to the royal household of Louis XIV until it was discovered that they were Protestant. They had to flee to England.

JENNY:          Oh I do love towels. Do you still sell them?

ZACHERY:   No. Is your system responding yet?

JENNY:          Nearly. Won’t be a minute. My name’s Jenny Smith by the way. It was Jenny Wren before I got married. (LAUGHS)

ZACHERY:   Really.

JENNY:          Not a striking name like yours. Zachery.

ZACHERY:   That’s not your fault.

JENNY:          It’s all an accident of birth, isn’t it? What’s in a name, eh? You can change your name. Women do it all the time. I like my married name.

PAUSE.

JENNY:          Oh the system’s up. Here you are. That refund will be processed on the……. 18th, Zachery. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

ZACHERY:   No thank you.

JENNY:          Thank you for calling BlackCollie. Have a good day.

SOUND OF PHONE BEING PLACED ON RECEIVER.

ZACHERY:   (UNDER HIS BREATH) Silly woman. (SIGHS) Still a refund’s a refund.

Now who’s next? (SOUND OF RUSTLING PAPER)

Ah! My friendly internet provider, Concise Lemon, who ‘care more’. Well let’s see how much they care. All I want is an internet that works.

FADE DOWN AND FADE UP TO SUGGEST THE PASSAGE OF TIME.

ZACHERY:   So an engineer will contact me to make an appointment to check the phone socket in my home?

ZAC:               Yes, Zachery. An engineer will make an appointment to check the socket within 24 hours.

ZACHERY:   Can I have your name please? When people make commitments I like to know who I am talking to.

ZAC:               Yes. It’s Zac Petty-Blanchette.

ZACHERY:   No. I didn’t ask for my name. I asked for your name. What is your name?

ZAC:               That is my name. This is as strange for me as it is for you.  When I saw your account come up I –

ZACHERY:   Please don’t play games with me. I’ve put up with enough games from your company.

ZAC:               (ANGRILY) I’m not playing games, Mr Petty-Blanchette. I wish I was. This stupid name has been a burden to me all my life. My father had the same name. So had an older brother who died as a baby. Then when I came along he imposes it on me! All my life I have walked in their shadows. They called me/

ZACHERY:   Enough! Put me through to your supervisor.

ZAC:               ‘Wet Blanket’ at school. Did you get called names?

ZACHERY:   (ANGRILY) Certainly not! Now I –

ZAC:               I felt I was filling someone else’s shoes. (LAUGHS MANIACALLY) When my father died six months ago I was left with nothing more than his stupid name and his house.

ZACHERY:   Just a minute. Put me –

ZAC:               (CONTINUES MANIACALLY) I had a nervous breakdown. Lost my job as a university lecturer, was made homeless and now I’m in here listening to you, someone who is actually proud to have this stupid name (LAUGHS NERVOUSLY).

ZACHERY:   I am and you will –

ZAC:               Well when I saw your name on my schedule I knew in that moment I had to change my name. To be my own person for the first –

ZACHERY:   (SHOUTING) This is unacceptable, insulting behaviour! You’re unhinged. Put me thorough to you supervisor immediately!

ZAC:               With pleasure. I’m quitting anyway. You’ve persuaded me to finally get rid of this name, this job, this life! So you’ll be the only Zachery Arthur Petty-Blanchette. Get a name change, you poor sod! Goodbye and good luck with your name. (REVERTS TO PROFESSIONAL TONE) I hope you don’t mind holding for a few moments while I contact my colleague. Concise Lemon thank you for your patience today.

MUSIC PLAYS. KARL JENKINS PALLADIO.

ZACHERY:   What the hell……….

CINDY:          Hello, Mr Zachery. I’m Cindy Lappin, the Supervisor. How can I help you today?

ZACHERY:   Oh before you start let me guess. It’s Cindi Lauper. Is this your company’s Funny Friday?

ZAC CAN BE HEARD SHOUTING IN THE                                            BACKGROUND.

ZAC:               Petty-Blanchett

Broke out in a sweat

Because of regret

That his bed sheets were wet.

CINDY:          (WHISPERING TO A COLLEAGUE) Call security! Call security! (IN A NORMAL VOICE) I must apologise for my associate’s behaviour. He, he’s been under a lot of personal/

ZACHERY:   What’s his real name?

CINDY:          /stress. His name is Zac Petty-Blanket, I assure you, Mr Blanket. I can’t say about the Arthur bit. I don’t –

ZACHERY:   (SHOUTING) The name is Petty-Blanchette, not Blanket!

SOUND OF ZACHERY HANGING UP THE PHONE.

ZACHERY:   Jokers! Why can’t they just…….Arghhhh! What’s the point? No. Focus Zachery, focus. Let’s see. Ah yes. This should cut through their games.

SOUND OF NUMBER BEING DIALED, FOLLOWED     BY A DIALING TONE.

CALLCENTRE: Good morning. This is Concise Lemon. How may I direct your call?

OPERATIVE#1

ZACHERY:   Zac Petty-Blanchette in Customer Services please.

MUSIC PLAYS. KARL JENKINS PALLADIO.

ZAC:               You have reached Zac Petty-Blanchette’s voicemail. I’m sorry I can’t get to the phone. Please leave a message after the tone and I’ll get back to you.

ANSWER MACHINE TONE.

ZAC:               Hello. This is Zachery Arthur Petty-Blanchette. I-I-I just want to say that I have always been proud of my name. I have never wet the bed. If anyone’s a bed-wetter, you are. You need help! It doesn’t matter to me that there is another person with my name. I-I-I ………

SOUND OF ANSWER MACHINE HANGING UP.

ZACHERY:   Arghhhh! (PAUSE) (WHIISPERING) It can’t be true. It just can’t be. Petty-Blanchette is my name, my name. Not his!

MUSIC PLAYS. KARL JENKINS PALLADIO.

 

FADE UP.

INDOORS. THE PETTY-BLANCHETTE HOUSEHOLD.

PENELOPE: There’s another Zappy!?

ZACHERY:   Hmmmm

PENELOPE: Three even and one born before you?!

ZACHERY:   There’s no proof about the father or the baby.

PENELOPE: Why would he lie about his father and brother, Zappy?

PAUSE

PENELOPE: You always were so sure you were the only one. Your father told                me so before I married you. ‘He’s the only one,’ he said about you. I              believed him. Like any good wife I believed you were the only one for              me.

SOUND OF PENELOPE SLUMPING INTO A CHAIR.

PENELOPE:This changes everything.

ZACHERY:   How do you think I feel, Pappy?

PENELOPE: Pappy? You call me Pappy, but could there be another Penelope    Andorra Petty-Blanchette?

ZACHERY:   I doubt it. I always check.

PENELOPE: You missed him, didn’t you!? I’ll have to change back to Tibblington.

ZACHERY: (MUMBLING) He mustn’t be on social media in his real name or                                 anywhere on the internet that I can see. I dunno what to think…..

PAUSE.

ZACHERY:   How do you think I feel, Pappy?

PENELOPE: What about the children? Never mind you. We’ll all have to go for my family’s name, Tibblington.

ZACHERY:   Please Pappy!

PENELOPE: You never liked my surname, did you? You called it pretentious. Rich coming from you!  (PAUSE) So who are you now?

ZACHERY:   What do you mean?

PENELOPE: Well you can’t say you’re ‘Zachary Arthur Petty-Blanchette’ because he    is and his father before you and a dead brother. So who are you?

ZACHERY:    I’m still me. (PAUSE) I think.

PENELOPE: Who’s this ‘me’ you’re referring to?

ZACHERY:   Erhm….Zachary Arthur Petty-Blanchette.

PENELOPE: No! That name’s taken. He already is and his father before him. You all     can’t be the same person, can you!? No! In fact, he has more         entitlement than you. (SHOUTING) We were supposed to be original      people, you and I, with distinctive names to prove it!

ZACHERY:   (CRYING) Can’t you be you without a name? Oh God! Am I a           nobody now? Do I exist?

PENELOPE GETS UP FROM HER CHAIR.

SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS AS SHE MOVES         ACROSS THE ROOM.

PENELOPE: Look at this painting we were given at our wedding by my mother. Loch     Lomond. It’s an original valued today at £40,000. There aren’t two Loch          Lomonds, are there?! There aren’t even two of this picture. It’s unique. Hold on. Maybe this painting’s a fake or this Chinese vase or this solid      oak chair! Maybe it’s all fake! You seem to be a fake!

PAUSE.

ZACHERY BLOWS HIS NOSE AND WHIMPERS.

PENELOPE: I don’t know where I stand anymore with you. There was no one else         like us, you said. They all said. I married you believing that. Now             thirty years later you spring this on me.

ZACHERY:   The way you say it, you’d think I’d cheated on you, Pappy.

PENELOPE: Well someone has. That’s how it feels. I feel a dupe. All this is a fraud.

ZACHERY:   Come on, Pappy. You’re just shocked. We both are. We’ll –

PENELOPE: Don’t call me ‘Pappy’! That’s, that’s…….not my name. How can it be?           Maybe his wife is called Penelope too! They’re doppelgangers.    Maybe we’re the doppelgangers. Have you thought of that? Oh God! I         feel dizzy. It’s identity theft. I read about this in Cosmo.

ZACHERY:   Come on…….

PENELOPE: Did you check out his wife!? No! You just thought about yourself. Never    mind me or your sons. Maybe they live in a house just like this one?

ZACHERY:   He’s a call centre operative. It’s hardly –

PENELOPE: Well Sonny Jim, or whoever you are, I’ll not sleep with any    doppelganger. How do I know who you are now? Stay out of my bed     until you find yourself an identity I can believe in.

SOUND OF DOOR SLAMMING.

FADE DOWN

FADE UP TO ZACHERY IN BED THAT NIGHT

TUGGSY:      So what do we do now? I have no name.

PLEASANT

PETER:         You’re Tuggsy. That’s who ye are. Ye always have been.

TUGGSY:      I can’t be called ‘Tuggsy’! That’s your name for me and you’re just a            teddy.

PLEASANT

PETER:         I’ll ignore that remark. Why nae Tuggsy for a name?/

TUGGSY:      because it’s childish. I’m a grown man now. Tuggsy who? What’s my         surname?/

PLEASANT

PETER:         /Tuggsy says something about who ye are. Ye were always pulling at         things. My ears, the dog’s ears, the cat’s tail. Ye were demanding of     people. Ye still are! Tuggsy is ye.Tuggsy who? Tuggsy Wuggsy. If ye          must have a surname. Where does it say you need a surname?

TUGGSY:      Don’t be ridiculous! If you can’t give better advice than that then shut         up.

PLEASANT

PETER:         It’s better than the one ye got stuck with. (IN A POSH VOICE)           ‘Zachery Arthur Petty-Blanchette’. I never liked the name. It was never          ye. Ye spent most of yer life trying tae live up tae that name. Huguenot          an’ all that nonsense! Ye are Tuggsy. Ye were born Tuggsy. Ye       need tae go back tae yer childhood tae find yer true identity.

BEAT.

SOUND OF BEDCLOTHES RUSTLING AND A   LIGHT             BEING SWITCHED ON AS TUGGSY SITS UP.

TUGGSY:      You were always the one with the ideas, Pleasant Peter!       That’s it! That’s it! I’ll have to return to my youth to find             myself. There’s nothing for me here. Pappy doesn’t love me          anymore. Thinks I’m a fraud. I’ll go back to my youth.

PLEASANT

PETER:         (SIGHS) Did she ever love ye (BEAT) or me?

TUGGSY:      She never took to you. It’s true. You were too, too Scottish for her.

PLEASANT

PETER:         Huh!

TUGGSY:      Do you remember Gordon Dickson and Sean Kelly? They went off to         Kathmandu in the seventies to find themselves.

PLEASANT

PETER:         Yes I dae and ye would nae go wi’ them. Ye thought ye knew who ye         were because ye had this unique name and they did nae.

TUGGSY:      They went because both of them had met people with the same name        as them – Gordon Dickson and Sean Kelly. It unnerved them. I     remember. (HE LAUGHS)

PLEASANT

PETER:         Ye poked fun at them; called them the Clones of Kathmandu.           It’s karma, ma friend.

TUGGSY:      (CHEERFULLY) There’s no such thing. Goodnight, Pleasant Peter. We     have a lot of planning to do tomorrow.

PLEASANT

PETER:         Goodnight, Tuggsy.

SOUND OF A LIGHT BEING SWITCHED OFF.

 

FADE UP TO A DOMESTIC KITCHEN. THE                                                                  MORNING NEWS IS ON REPORTING AN                                                                     EARTHQUAKE IN ACAPULCO, MEXICO.

SOUND OF TEA BEING POURED.

PENELOPE: So what are you going to do to find an identity?

PAUSE.

PENELOPE: Do you know you can change your name very easily. It costs            around £20. You could write down your favourite names and          put them in a hat.

TUGGSY:      I’m not pulling my name out of a hat! That’s like a hand-me-  down. That’s exactly what I am trying to escape. I want a          name that says who I really am.

PAUSE AS THEY LISTEN TO THE NEWS.

TUGGSY:      I’ll tell you. Those people in Mexico have had their lives swept away.          Swept away by an earthquake.

PENELOPE: So?

TUGGSY:      Well my life has been swept away too, hasn’t it? I have lost   (WITH EMPHASIS) my identity.

PLEASANT

PETER:         So we’re going tae Mexico so Tuggsy can find himself.

PENELOPE: You promised me that when we got married you wouldn’t talk to that           moth-eaten creature any more. Now he’s put this nonsense in your          head.

TUGGSY:      Nameless people can do as they please. We’re beyond the   law. He’s all I’ve got now, isn’t he?

SOUND OF FRONT DOOR BELL RINGING

TUGGSY:      I’ll get it.

FOOTSTEPS. SOUND OF DOOR OPENING.                                                               MUFFLED SOUND OF ANGRY VOICES. SOUND OF                                    TV IN                         KITCHEN. SOUND OF FRONT DOOR                                                    CLOSING. MORE FOOTSTEPS.

TUGGSY:      (NERVOUSLY) Pal this is the chap from the call centre, Zac             Petty-Blanchette. He says he has important info –

PENELOPE: (SHOUTING) Oh my God! Oh my God! He even looks like      you. This is too much. He’s a clone. He’s stolen your      identity. Stay away from me….. both of you.

TUGGSY:      Penelope!

PENELOPE: No, no, no. I can’t deal with this. I-I-I’m getting out of before   I’m cloned.

TUGGSY:      Calm down. I’ll –

ZAC:               Mrs Petty-Blanchette. I understand how this must look, but I have information that may –

PENELOPE: Don’t you talk to me! You’ve wrecked our lives. I’m off to my sister’s. I can’t stay in this house with all this, this weirdness.

TUGGSY:      Penelope. Please. Let’s just –

PENELOPE: (SHOUTING) Shut the fuck up. And don’t try and contact me.            I’ll be in contact about my things and the children, and, and     everything.

SOUND OF PENELOPE SOBBING, FOOTSTEPS                                                       AND A DOOR SLAMMING.                                                                                                PENELOPE LEAVES.

TUGGSY:      (ANGRILY) Do you see what you have done!?

SOUND OF CAR ACCELERATING AWAY.

ZAC:               (ANGRILY) What I’ve done!? You don’t know the half of it.

TUGGSY:      I want you out of my house. (SHOUTING) Now or I’ll call the police!

SOUND OF FRONT DOOR BEING OPENED.

ZAC:               Call the police. They’ll find the story of our family interesting.            I’m sure.

SOUND OF A STRUGGLE.

TUGGSY:      Get out!

ZAC:               (GRUNTING) We are step brothers! We have the same           mother.

I can prove it to you! I have the papers here with me.

SOUND OF RUSTLING PAPERS.

PLEASANT

PETER:         I think we’d better listen tae this, Tuggsy.

TUGGSY:      Alright, alright then. Come in to the hall and show me these papers.

ZAC:               Look at this birth certificate and tell me it’s not yours.

PAUSE.

TUGGSY:      It’s not mine. My father’s name is not on it. He was Patrick     Ivanhoe Petty-Blanchette, not Zachery Arthur Petty-      Blanchette. That’s your father.

ZAC:               Look at the date of birth and tell me that’s not your date of      birth.

TUGGSY:      I-I-I-. (BEAT) Jesus!

ZAC:               I know that’s your date of birth because I saw it on your file at           work. Two Zachery Arthur Petty-Blanchette’s born on the same day not fifty miles apart? I don’t think so.

TUGGSY:      I’ll get my own birth certificate. Watch him. Peter.

SOUND OF TUGGSY LEAVING THE ROOM.

PLEASANT

PETER:         He’s had a wee bit of a shock. His name meant a lot tae him.

ZAC:               Do you think this has all been easy for me?

 

 

PLEASANT

PETER:         It was the faether’s fault. If I’m reading the situation right, and           I’m rarely wrong, there are two faethers in this ménage à             trois. Am I right?

ZAC:               You are.

PLEASANT

PETER:         He’s going tae need some TLC. Hud up! Here he comes.

TUGGSY:      Here it is.

ZAC:               May I see it?

TUGGSY:      Yes. There you are.

SOUND OF RUSTLING PAPER.

ZAC:               Good God!

TUGGSY:      What?

ZAC:               He hasn’t even bothered to change the father’s name.

TUGGSY:      What are you talking about?

ZAC:               Here take a look at the father’s name on your birth certificate.

SOUND OF RUSTLING PAPER.

TUGGSY:      Zachery Arthur Petty-Blanchette.

BEAT.

ZAC:               And the mother’s name.

TUGGSY:      Jesus! Oh Jesus!

ZAC:               That’s not your mother’s or father’s name is it?

TUGGSY:      (WHISPERING) No…. I never noticed…..

BEAT.

ZAC:               That’s my mother’s and father’s names on your birth   certificate. Look at my birth certificate (PAUSE) same   parents’ names as on yours.

SOUND OF RUSTLING PAPER.

ZAC:               In fact, look, the birth certificate you hold is just             a copy of the                         original that has been in my family’s possession all these      years.

TUGGSY:      (WHISPERING) Who am I? What’s happened? I don’t –

SOUND OF RUSTLING PAPER.

ZAC:               Join the club. Who are we both? (PAUSE) Look at this           photograph of my ‘dead’ baby brother.

TUGGSY:      That’s me! That’s me! I have that same photograph.

PLEASANT

PETER:         That’s Tuggsy alright. This gets better and better.

SOUND OF PAPER RUSTLING

ZAC:               My mother kept that picture on her bedside table all her life. I             was told it was my dead baby brother, but it was you all     along.

PAUSE

ZAC:               And here’s a picture of my father.

TUGGSY:      But that’s my father. Look! There’s a picture of my father         on the             wall behind you.

ZAC:               Since we, er, spoke at the call centre I’ve done a bit of            research. There is no death certificate for Zachary Arthur    Petty-Blanchette born on that date. Why? Because he                         didn’t die, because it’s you, standing here in the flesh.

TUGGSY:      Pleasant Peter, what’s going on. I don’t feel so good.

PLEASANT

PETER:         Let the man explain, Tuggsy. Stay calm.

ZAC:               The two men, our fathers, who look so alike, were brothers,   twin brothers in fact: identical twins. And therein lies the         reason you didn’t grow up with my family, why they said you         were dead.

PLEASANT

PETER:         I think you had better sit down, Tuggsy. You’re looking           very peely-wally.

TUGGSY:      (SIGHS)

SOUND OF TUGGSY SITTING DOWN HEAVILY                                 WITH A GROAN.

ZAC:               After we spoke I went to see an old aunt of mine: a sister of   my mother’s. I told her what I had found out and what I        needed to know. Reluctantly she told me the family’s secret             she’d kept to herself all these years. (BEAT) There’s no easy            way to tell you this. It was difficult to tell our fathers apart.             They used to play games with people, pretending to be each         other. One Christmas, with drink taken, it went a bit too far.                         (BEAT) You’re the result.

TUGGSY:      (WHISPERING) What do you mean? ‘It went too far’.

ZAC:               Your father and my mother had sex. Your mother believing   it was my father. Although my aunt said your father always         swore she knew it was her husband’s brother because        of a tell-tale birthmark on his right buttock.

TUGGSY:      Oh no, no, no.

SOUND OF TUGGSY CRYING.

PLEASANT

PETER:         Steady, Tuggsy, steady.

ZAC:               It, it, it was soon discovered and the two brothers never           spoke             again. However my mother became pregnant, had the            baby, they tried to keep up appearances, but my father             couldn’t come to terms with the fact that the baby, you, was   not his. (BEAT) The two families agreed that you would be      handed over to your real father to bring up.

TUGGSY:      (ANGRILY) And they told you I had died!?

ZAC:               They told most people, except one or two. My aunt being        one.

PAUSE.

TUGGSY:      Why didn’t they change my name at least? Bastards!

ZAC:               You don’t need me to tell you how important names are in     our family. I think it was against their code to change names.           What I don’t understand is why they called me by the same name after you had gone.

PLEASANT

PETER:         They must have had their hearts set on the name Zachery     Arthur Petty-Blanchette.

TUGGSY:      I need a drink and a new name fast.

ZAC:               Can I join you?

TUGGSY:      Come through to the living room then.

VOICES FADE DOWN AS THEY MOVE AWAY INTO                                                 THE LIVING ROOM.

ZAC:               (CHUCKLING NERVOUSLY) Why don’t we write our favourite names on pieces of paper and draw them out of      a hat?

TUGGSY:      That idea had occurred to me. We can fill in the Deed Poll     form online.

VOICES FADE UP.

SOUND OF DRINK BEING POURED.

ZAC:               Thanks! Oh that’s a nice painting of Loch Lomond. Erhm       …What’s your favourite name (PAUSE) brother? I-I-I don’t       know what else to call you, until we get our new names, that      is. My favourite’s Benjamin Zephaniah. But that’s taken.

TUGGSY:      Ha! ‘Brother’ is fine by me. I’ll be Brother One and you be      Brother Two.

SOUND OF LAUGHTER.

 

THE END