One of the great joys of travelling can be watching the interplay between other travellers.
Many a time I've treated an airport lounge or hotel lobby as if it was a theatre and sat back to savour the bickering and flirting as though it was a play written just for me.
I remember once sitting around with time to kill at Sydney Airport, dismayed that I'd finished my book, and being overjoyed at the cabaret provided by a loudmouthed Australian woman who harangued her husband about his failings and sent him scurrying to run errands.
By the time the plane was ready for boarding, the entire lounge was ready to take up a collection to finance a divorce application and there was a collective cheer when the harridan rose to depart and spilled a cup of coffee down her trousers.
Another time the dreadful process of queuing at the immigration counter at Los Angeles was enlivened by an American woman of similar ilk who kept ordering her husband to push their heavily laden trolley into a different queue and kept picking the wrong one. "Get in that line. No that one's shorter. No, you idiot, over there. You're too slow." I wasn't the only one sniggering.
The highlight for me came when they ended up at the counter next to mine. As they approached the ogress snarled at me, "Get your stuff out of the way," so their vast load could fit through. "Certainly," I replied with exaggerated sweetness. "It will be my great pleasure." Even the poker-faced immigration officer cracked a smile and the ghastly woman felt obliged to say, through clenched teeth, "Oh. Thank you."
No wonder there are quite a few plays based around travelling. Roger Hall, our most successful modern playwright, frequently returns to the theme with plays like C'mon Black, Social Climbers, You Must be Crazy and most recently the very funny Taking Off, all revolving around aspects of travel.
At the moment, he's working on a play about the pleasures and stresses of travelling with others.
As part of the detailed research he does for all his plays, Roger is keen to hear from people who have been to Italy recently with another couple or hired a car there.
If you'd like to share your experiences, and possibly see your story on stage, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jim Eagles