Interior. the familiar black chair, spotlit from above. A sweet-looking [if slightly bewildered] old biddy is sitting in the chair clutching her handbag defensively in front of her chest and smiling innocently at the quizmaster. The Mastermind theme tune could be fading out in the background.
QUIZMASTER Your name please
QUIZMASTER And your spe….
EDITH [interrupting him] I’m ninety-seven, you know!
QUIZMASTER Very good. And your specialist subject is?
EDITH Aren’t those new Five Pence pieces fiddly?
QUIZMASTER [looking at his notes in confusion] Five Pence pieces…? [Pause] But I understood you were answering questions on…
EDITH [Interrupting] …Gangsta’ Rap - 1990 to the present
QUIZMASTER Edith Bramble - you have two minutes on the subject of …Gangsta’ Rap - 1990 to the present starting from now..
EDITH [Interrupting] You’ll have to speak up dear. I’m a bit deaf. I’m sixty-nine, you know! [Pause] You sound a lot louder on the telly-vision. [Turns to the audience] Doesn’t he sound a lot louder on the telly-vision?
QUIZMASTER [Trying to regain the initiative] Er… [Pause] why did rapper ‘MC Big Up’ make death threats against the managing director of his record label?
EDITH He did.
QUIZMASTER [Confused] I’m sorry…?
EDITH Made death threats he did!
QUIZMASTER The question was….
EDITH [Interrupting] …Against the boss of UZI Records he did!
QUIZMASTER [Momentarily snapping] WHY? Mrs. Bramble - WHY?
EDITH [Irritated] There’s no need to shout! I’m not deaf. [Pause] I’m twenty-five, you know!
[In the background we see the quizmaster begin to bang his head repeatedly on the desk]
EDITH [Cont’d] You should speak clearly, you should. [Pause] you mumble, you do [Turns to the audience] Doesn’t he mumble?<
QUIZMASTER [With barely controlled anger] Could you answer the question [Pause] or pass please, Mrs. Bramble.
EDITH That’s gone up and all!
QUIZMASTER [Totally bewildered now] Eh?
EDITH Me pass
QUIZMASTER [Relieved] You pass? [Turns to his next question card]
EDITH For the bus
QUIZMASTER [Confused again] Bus?
EDITH That’s right love. Me pass for the bus. It’s gone up by fifty pence. That’s nine and thruppence in the old money![Strangled sounds come from the quizmaster]
EDITH Are you all right love? You look a bit ‘peaky’ [Turns to the audience] Doesn’t he look ‘peaky’?
QUIZMASTER [Pleading] Please Mrs. Bramble. Could you just answer the question?
EDITH [Smiling sweetly] Of course dear! [Pause] Now. what was it you wanted to know?
[Quizmaster scrabbles on his desk to retrieve the discarded question card]
QUIZMASTER [Through gritted teeth] Why did rapper ‘MC Big Up’ make death threats against the managing director of his record label?
EDITH [As if remembering a distant event] Was it because …he was a Punk-ass Nigga that was dissin’ his Homies in da Hood?
QUIZMASTER [Astonished] Correct! [Quickly - before Edith can interrupt again] And what did ‘Crackmaster MC Bling’ threaten to do to ‘MC big Up’ in retaliation?
EDITH [Swishing her fist through the air] Break his bloody bottom!
QUIZMASTER [Slight pause. Puts his finger to his ear as if listening to instructions via an earpiece] I’ll accept. [Pause] It was actually …Bust his goddamn ass
QUIZMASTER [Cont’d] How many times is the phrase …You Cu… [He is momentarily drowned out by the …Beep Beep Beep ‘end of round’ noise] …ucker [Pause] I’ve started, so I’ll finish! [Pause. Continues] …used in the song …Gonna Shoot You, You Goddamn Cu…[Again, he is momentarily drowned out by the …Beep Beep Beep ‘end of round’ noise]
VOICE [From off-stage] Sorry! I leaned on the button by accident!
EDITH I’m eighty two you know!
QUIZMASTER Eighty two is the correct answer. And at the end of that round, Edith Bramble, you have scored 3 points and no passes! [Audience applause]
QUIZMASTER Can we have our next contender please [A second old biddy shambles arthritically up to the chair and clambers aboard]
QUIZMASTER Your name please?
BIDDY 2 Sadie Mc Crumm
QUIZMASTER And your specialist subject please?
SADIE The history of the ‘snuff’ movie…