A businessman is carjacked, kidnapped and held for ransom. When he’s finally released he finds that captivity was less painful than freedom.
CHARLES ‘CHARLIE’ STUART, a fifty-year old energy executive, is battling with a younger rival for a prestigious promotion to Africa. Get it, and it could set him up for life.
But it isn’t just for professional reasons that ‘Charlie’ wants the Africa job. His homelife is less than ideal, with a waspish, cheating wife, KATE, and the chance that his son’s girlfriend, SUMA, a Rwandan orphan, is carrying his child.
When Charlie’s rival RODGERS threatens to expose Charlie to their boss for taking kickbacks, Charlie sees him off by pushing him under a train. He survives the subsequent police investigation and heads for Africa, but not before his wife, Kate, demands a divorce, leading Charlie to confront her lover, JEREMY; and his son, PAUL, marries Suma – the younger woman potentially carrying Charlie’s child.
On the plane to Africa, Charlie’s loose lips when talking to a man who enigmatically refers to himself as ‘THE KING’, set himself up for trouble. On arrival in ‘the Democratic Republic’ Charlie is carjacked, kidnapped and held for ransom. He dreams of escape – and is brutally tortured when an escape attempt fails.
But when Charlie is eventually released, he finds that freedom is more painful than captivity as he returns home to discover that his son, Paul, has died in a car accident, and Paul’s wife, Suma, though she survived, lost the baby, which did indeed prove to be Charlie’s.
Charlie’s experience in captivity, where he faced and accepted his existential threat, has changed him, and he decides to take charge of his own life. He grants Kate the divorce she sought and forges a new life with his dead son’s maimed widow, Suma.
CHARLES “CHARLIE” STUART – an energy company executive (50); Edinburgh accent, Prince Charles-like ears (if possible)
KATE – Charlie’s wife (50). Same actor to play the JUDGE
PAUL – Charlie and Kate’s son (30-ish); hipster beard
SUMA – Paul’s black girlfriend (mid-late 20s)
JEREMY – Kate’s lover (40)
THE KING – the leader of the kidnappers; African (30-40)
THE KING II – The King’s second-in-command and replacement; (THE KING THE SECOND) African (late 20s-mid 30s)
RODGERS – Charlie’s rival (40s)
TUTOR – Kidnap and hostage training tutor (40s); white
MANAGING DIRECTOR – Charlie’s boss; male (late 40s-60)
FINANCE DIRECTOR – male (40s-50s)
OPERATIONS DIRECTOR – male (40s-50s)
PERSONNEL MANAGER – female (30s-50)
GANG MEMBERS/GUARDS – African
GUNMEN/TRAINERS – White
RECEPTIONIST – female (20s-30s)
WINSTON – Charlie’s driver (30s); African
POLICE OFFICERS x 2 – one male, one female. Same actors play JOURNALISTS
LAWYER – male (40s-50s)
JUDGE – female, to be played by the same actor playing KATE
FOREIGN OFFICE OFFICIAL – male (30s-40s)
JOURNALISTS x 2 – one male, one female. Also play POLICE OFFICERS
MALE EXECUTIVES – x 3 (min) (40s-50s)
FEMALE EXECUTIVE – (30s-40s)
PLUS: the VOICES of an AIRLINE STEWARDESS, PILOT, NEWS REPORTER and LONDON UNDERGROUND TANNOY ANNOUNCER
NOTE: There is ample scope for ‘doubling up’, eg the same actor for KATE and the JUDGE; the POLICE OFFICERS and the JOURNALISTS. Gang members, business executives and other minor characters can be doubled as deemed appropriate.
As a short, ten-minute play:
January 2017: recorded & broadcast on Triple H ‘Radio Playhouse’, Sydney, Australia.
24 March 2014: ‘Script-in-Hand’, Bordello Theatre, Sydney, Australia: http://www.pbase.com/movieguy/image/155300202