Wildest Dreams: Synopsis

Cast: 4 male / 4 female (+ 1 male & 1 female off-stage voice)
Running time (approximate): 2 hours 5 minutes - not including the interval
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French

In a darkened suburban sitting room, four people are playing a role-playing game: Stanley Inchbridge, an elderly ineffectual teacher is ageing wise wizard Alric; his wife Hazel Inchbridge plays Idonia, a child-like character with the ability to speak in tongues; Warren Wrigley, a pupil of Stanley’s, plays half man / half beast Xenon; Rick, a former student of Stanley’s (originally named Alice), is the silent warrior Herwin. The game over, the players are interrupted by Hazel’s bullying brother Austen, who delights in tormenting Stanley.

After the players leave, Hazel expresses her fears to Stanley of sexual inadequacy and regrets not having children. At Rick’s cluttered basement flat, Marcie - a co-worker - asks for help from her violent husband, Larry, who Rick says she can handle.

Rick brings Marcie to the next games session where we discover Warren sincerely believes himself to be an alien. Marcie ingratiates herself with Warren and finds herself introduced into the game as Novia. Immediately she proves to be a disruptive element in the practised routine of the group. The game ends with the arrival of Austen, while Marcie stays behind to chat to Stanley. Larry, meanwhile, still searching for Marcie has broken into Rick’s flat.

At the next game session, it is obvious Marcie has had an effect on Stanley, Warren and Rick - but Hazel is wary. As the game moves to a climatic battle with the monstrous Balaac and tensions rise, a massive thunder-crack fills the house.

In Act Two, it is near Christmas. Warren and Rick are now besotted with Marcie, Stanley has also managed to stand up to Austen. Hazel, though, has become paranoid to the point of breakdown that Stanley is having a sexual fling with Marcie - her insecurity causing her to increasingly regress into childhood. Angered by this behaviour, which he blames on Stanley, Austen confronts Stanley, leading to such a vigorous row that Austen has a stroke.

Larry finds Marcie and attempts to beat Rick up, who swiftly fells him causing him to leave with a broken nose. Rick reveals the traumas from her youth, obviously believing the pair have reached a new level in their relationship. They kiss and Rick gives Marcie an antique pendent for Christmas; Marcie gives her a frying pan.

Warren, meanwhile, has decided he is about to transform into a superior being. He stops his mother from interfering by locking her in her bedroom and electrifying the door handle.

Marcie arrives at Stanley’s house, who gives her a cheap pendant and tries to kiss her. He asks her to live with him, but she cruelly rejects him, leaving him with a nappy-clad and obviously ill Hazel.

Warren’s mum who has been locked in her room until Boxing Day is promptly electrocuted when she tries to go to the toilet. Warren appears, convinced he has metamorphosed into an alien Lak and that Marcie is a Tilla, destined for him alone. Marcie meanwhile has continued her domestication of Rick’s flat and of Rick herself.

The four players gather for apparently the last time, all now bearing the physical characteristics of their characters: Stanley having injured his back carrying Hazel is bent double; Hazel has regressed to a baby; Warren is totally covered to hide his transformation; Rick is a quiet and defeated woman. Stanley persuades them the game is over, but Marcie appears. She turns on the room lights, and insists on removing Warren’s balaclava: there is no change in him. She orders Rick, now seemingly subjugated to her, to bring the shopping home, before turning the lights off and leaving.

The four players come to a decision. They sit back at the table and resume the game.

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.