Character:- Clive is in his early seventies, he wears an Elvis t-shirt and baggy jeans.
Setting:- Clive’s kitchen. Table, two chairs. On the table is a mug of coffee and an open envelope with a letter beside it. A shelf displays several small silver trophies and a photo of a performing Elvis.
Clive sits at the table holding the letter – he suddenly flings it down, stands and bursts into song in an imitation of Elvis…..
“You aint nothin’ but a hound dog
Cryin’ all the time,
You aint nothin’ but a hound dog
And you never caught a rabbit
And you aint no friend of mine.
(he winces in pain as he tries to do a pelvic thrust and addresses the audience)
I can’t do the pelvic thrust since I had my hernia operation last year….well I can do it – but it’s a bit painful. The old biddies love it, especially them at Sycamore House. They wait for it – and when I do it “ugh” (he has another go) like that, they scream and shout ‘More! More!’
I’m telling you – they do.
Sandra – she organises the Activities at Sycamore, always says, ‘Your groupies are waiting, Clive.’ That’s when I’m lugging out my equipment….oh, by ‘equipment’ I mean my PA system and microphone you understand. I have to wheel it on a sack trolley now since the operation……not quite the Elvis style, but there you go. Sandra keeps threatening that she’s going to get them t-shirts saying ‘Still Alive With Clive’. She’s a case is that Sandra.
(he holds up a silver trophy) See this? First Prize for Best Elvis 1979. It’s silver that is. I won that. These others here are for jiving. All the girls wanted to jive with me. I made ‘em look good you see. Twirling them around, dragging them between my legs. But I was choosy. I could afford to be. (he puts the cup back – pauses as he remembers…)
There was this girl, Natasha. I’ll never forget her. She was brilliant, and a looker, blonde hair the lot. We had chemistry on the floor. Soon as Bill Haley started, ‘One, two, three o’clock. four o’clock, rock.’ We’d be off. No-one to touch us. People used to stop dancing and watch us, clapping in time. But when the music finished she just dropped me for the long line of blokes queuing with their tongues hanging out.
I once plucked up the courage to ask her to go out with me, but she gave a sort of sneer and said, ‘You must be joking.’ So I just shrugged and told her I was having a laugh. (pause) But I wasn’t.
(he sighs) So that’s when I started to go out with Marion instead. She was a good looking lass then. And after a bit, we got wed. (beat) She couldn’t jive though, not like Natasha.
(he bursts into song….)
“It’s now or never
Come hold me tight,
Kiss me, my darling
Be mine tonight.
Tomorrow will be too late,
It’s now or never,
My love won’t wait.’
Sandra said Edna got real tears when I sang that one, she said, ‘Well it was either the song or a bad bit of wind!’ (he chuckles) She’s a case is that Sandra. The last time I was at Sycamore House was a bit special. Last week it was. It was Violet’s hundredth. Imagine being a hundred! Anyway, there was Violet with her telegram from the Queen and they all had cake and sherry. It was nice. And I was getting into the swing as you do, and I got so carried away that at the end of ‘All Shook Up’ I went and did my pelvic thrust.
Not thinking you see – just performing!
The pain was so bad I had to hang on to the microphone to stop myself from falling over, Sandra rushed over, and we limped into one of the side rooms. ‘Lie down,’ she said, ‘and get your legs up.’
‘Don’t be daft,’ I said, ‘the show must go on.’
‘This is not the London Palladium.’ she said.
‘I’ve got to get back out there.’
‘Oh shut up, Clive,’ she said, ‘half of ‘em don’t even know you’re gone!’
(he pauses – gives the audience a look)
‘I thought that was a bit harsh.’
‘Now do as you’re told and lie down.’ She can be bossy can Sandra.
‘And take those shoes off.’
I looked at her. ‘These are not shoes – these are brothel creepers.’
‘They might be,’ she said, ‘but you can’t get those tight trousers off wearing them.’
(he does an indignant double-take) ‘These are not trousers – they are drainpipes! (he raises his eyebrows and gives a sly grin) ‘Anyway,’ I said to her, ‘Why do you want me to take them off?’
‘Oh – don’t get your hopes up Clive,’ she said, ‘You just need to loosen things up down there – get a bit of relief!’
Well, that was it. We just cracked out laughing. There was I scrabbling away at my zip and shoving my drainpipes down my legs when Mrs. Clarkson walked in. She’s the manager. One of those women who look down their noses as if everything has a bad smell. She looked as me as if I was something the cat brought in.
‘I think it’s time you left, Mr. Penrose.’ she said. Never mind the agony I was in.
Sandra helped me get my stuff back in the van. She’s a good lass. It was the first time I’ve walked out before finishing my act. I’ve never done that before. I do two other homes as well. I’ve never walked out like that on any of them. (pause) Well, to be fair, I didn’t walk, staggered more like. I’m all right now.
(he glances at the letter on the table)
Well I was.
(he sits and sips his coffee)
Marion never approved. I mean about me singing to the old folks. She didn’t see why I wanted to do it. She was a bit like Mrs. Clarkson come to think of it. Though that’s not fair really, especially since she’s not with us any more. My wife I mean. She passed away two years ago. Went outside in the back garden to hang out the washing and never came back in!
I was sorting out some new songs for my act because I don’t just do Elvis, you know. I can do Matt Munro, Dean Martin, a bit of Frank Sinatra, and all the old war-time songs…’White Cliffs of Dover’, ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,’ all of them. They love ‘em, the elderlies, brings back memories, you see.
I saw her go outside with clothes basket, and the next thing I knew Mrs. Birch from next door burst in shouting, ‘Quick – she’s collapsed on the roses!’ And she was pulling at my shirt – I had to stop her, it was the one with the frills round the cuffs you can’t get them these days. But she kept on yelling, ‘Clive, come on – she’s covered in a wet sheet!’
(Pause) And that was it. Massive heart attack.
(Pause) Our Stuart came back from Australia for the funeral. (Beat) I hardly knew him.
(He sings softly)
‘It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go…..’
It’s funny her not being about. We were married for nearly fifty years. She was all right. But she didn’t like me singing for the old folks.
She’d have a right go when I put on my stage gear. ‘You think you are Mr. Wonderful don’t you?’ she’d say, ‘Well let me tell you – you’re not!’
I said to her, ‘You used to love dancing to Elvis at the Rock Club.’
She said, ‘ Don’t talk daft, that was years ago. It’s time you grew up Clive Penrose and stop acting like a flaming teenager!’
So we stopped talking really.
I used to wonder if she was as lonely as me when we sat and watched Coronation Street.
Marion was not a contented woman. I know I was a disappointment because she told me. ‘I am disappointed in you, Clive.’ she’d say – eyeing me up and down in the way she did.
(he stands and sings plaintively)
‘It’s now or never,
Come hold me tight,
Kiss me my darling,
Be mine tonight.
Will be too late……’
So that’s why I like singing for the old folk – they appreciate me you see – they laugh and they clap. And we have a bit of fun. That’s all it is. A bit of fun. It’s been a lifesaver for me – it really has.
(he picks up the letter)
This letter came this morning. It’s from Mrs. Clarkson at Sycamore House. She says, (he reads) ‘ Your services are no longer required because of your unsuitable behaviour. I have to think of the health and safety of my residents.’
She says she is sending a copy to the other two homes I perform for as well – so I can expect them to tell me to push off.
She’s gone and kayboshed me, well and truly.
So – that’s the end of Elvis then.
I shall miss Sandra – and the old folks.
He pauses and looks up at the ceiling – gives a bitter laugh
Ha! I bet Marion is up there – laughing her head off.
He sings as he slowly exits:-
‘Are you lonesome tonight,
Do you miss me tonight…….’
(the original Elvis recording of the song takes over as the monologue ENDS)