A Man of Good Will
(Script for Stage)
Scene One: It is lunchtime at the tomato farm and an old man (Mr. Williams) and a boy (his worker, we shall call him Jack) are sitting down to lunch in Mr. Williams kitchen. The mood is one of ease..
Mr. Williams: Here boy have this piece of sausage, I got the butcher to call yday morn.
Jack: No really sir that will be fine, my mother packed me a good tucker here (points to a brown paper bag).
Mr. Williams: I know what boys appetites are like, go ahead.
Jack: Well if you insist Mr. Williams, I sure could use a good tuck in.
Mr. Williams: Thatsa boy.
Jack: Thanks for this Mr. Williams, I really do appreciate it.
Mr. Williams: Whats that boy?
Jack: Well the sausage for sure, but the job too. I think Im finally getting the hang of it, you know?
Mr. Williams: (talks while walking outside to sit in his rocking chair on the deck of the house. Jack follows with his lunch) Well you know I began my life in the labour force in a drapers shop. I had a sort of knack of arranging things and then eventually I got on doin up the front window. You know the one you look into from the street. (The boy nods) Well soon enough the big stores came knocking and I ended up doing the windows there. The work was enough to my liking for a few years, but then I began to feel like it was wrong of people, against their nature, to lock themselves away from the sun and fresh air by working in such places. Thats where your lucky my boy, you got your start out on the land where a man ought to be.
Jack: Oh geez, (makes a gesture like rubbing the back of his neck) well it sure is hard work Mr. Williams, but I sure do like it.
Mr. Williams: As do I boy, as do I. (he pauses) Do you feel that wind on your face?
Jack: Yeah sure.
Mr. Williams: Its like your free, and freedom is the most important thing in life. Even if you think you have all the freedom in the world, theres always a way it can be taken away from you. Remember boy, dont coop yourself up. Stay free, working on the land. Its where we men are meant to be.
Scene Two: Mr. Williams and Jack are working late into the afternoon in the packing shed, getting the tomatoes ready to be sold. They are behind in what needs to be done and are trying to catch up. The mood is one of energy and activity.
Jack: (Yelling while bending down over a packing crate, filling it with tomatoes) Theres still the marketing to do yet Mr. Williams! And Im swamped with all these packing crates. Could you bang up a few more for me please?
Mr. Williams: (yelling while making up a crate) Sure thing boy! (No longer yelling and said half to himself) A bad season of blight couldnt have been a worse blow than all this plenty.
Jack: What was that sir? Didnt catch the last part.
Mr. Williams: (Walking up behind jack with a newly built crate) A good season this year it is. Weve got tonnes of tomatoes to sell, so we better get moving. Your right that marketing needs to be done, I might knock off soon to get that under way.
Jack: You want me to keep packing the crates sir?
Mr. Williams: Yeah, dont see why not. We need to sell as many as possible just to keep a float. A good season isnt always a benefit to you boy, especially in the business we are in. A good season benefits everybody and then prices go crashing to the ground. I dont think tomatoes have even been as cheap as they are this season. Hardly pays after all our hard work eh boy?
Jack: Guess not Mr. Williams.
Mr. Williams: The world is a funny place. You strike people wholl grumble over the price of tomatoes when it hardly pays for the work of picking them. Then if you asked these people to work for so little return theyd probably hit the roof! I say you can count yourselves one of the lucky ones if you get plenty to eat, and a good deal of sunshine and fresh air. Its freedom boy.
Scene Three: Jack is working at picking the tomatoes and hes had an unusual encounter with Mr. Williams that morning. Hes a bit worried about whats happening with Mr. Williams.
Jack: (to himself) I dont hear Mr. Williams banging up those crates for the tomatoes like he ought to be.
Mr. Williams: (yelling from offstage) Lunchtime boy!
Both walk to mid-stage where there is a table and chairs and sit down as if to have lunch. Jack collapses into the chair as though he has been working hard.
Jack: I noticed all the tomatoes were gone as I walked past the packing shed, but I didnt hear you banging up any crates for them.
Mr. Williams: Come, and tell me if Ive done a good job boy.
They walk to the front of the stage staring out to the audience looking out in awe.
Mr. Williams: Do they look nice?
Jack: They sure do Mr. Williams, each ones a perfect specimen, all red-polish just shining in the sun.
Mr. Williams: Whod have though aye
a pyramid of tomatoes just shining in the sun.
A moment passes between the two characters as they look at each other then back at their pyramid of tomatoes.
Jack: It isnt just that its such an amazing feat, but that I helped do the work. And the result (pause) it just gives me the feeling of being satisfied. I finally understand the freedom that comes from making something happen under your own hands.
Mr. Williams puts his arm around Jacks shoulder.
A script from the short story by Frank Sargeson, outlining the ideas of the story in three short scenes.
nice, how have ye been. i missed my DA buddy so much i almost feel like getting the net out again
ive been alright aye, just been wallowing im my pit of self-despair for awhile, but now im sorting my shit out so I can get the FRICK out of new zealand in all its boring splendour