BRIDGES

Part two

 

The Cast 
The Story 
Resources 
Purchasing 

 

The Plays

 

The Last Resort 
A Mother's Voice 
Bridges 
Jabberwocky 
Children of the Blitz 

 

  

The Story

Detailed Plot Summary

For the purposes of this summary, the action has been broken up into “scenes” although Bridges runs without any breaks in the action in performance. Please note that in the version that toured schools in early 2004, scene 5 was not included due to timing restrictions.

The running time is approximately 50 minutes.

Scene1: The Funeral

Matt arrives late for the funeral of his best friend, Mike. He is clearly feeling awkward in an ill-fitting jacket and struggles to do up his black tie. He is noticed by Sarah – Mike’s older sister. She approaches Matt and reprimands him for his lateness. He still seems reluctant to join the main funeral despite her urging him to do so. She loses her temper with Matt, telling him that he should have done something to prevent Mike’s death. Matt had known about Mike’s   “messing about” on the railway bridge - and had done nothing about it. 

Railway bridge 

The audience learns that Mike had fallen from the bridge into the path of a train. Frustrated by Matt’s response, Sarah leaves him alone and goes back to rejoin the funeral. Matt calls after her, “It was never my idea to go to the bridge you know. It was Mike’s idea – not mine. I never wanted to go.

Scene 2: Flashback to the Bridge

The scene now flashes back in time to earlier that year, to the end of a school disco. Matt and Mike are outside the disco, talking about girls. Matt is desperate to “get off with” a girl and is puzzled by Mike’s seeming unwillingness to make a move on Nicky – an attractive girl who is very interested in Mike. As the boys argue over the music, the disco ends. Mike suggests they go on to somewhere else. He promises “more fun” but is secretive about what they are going to do. Matt agrees to go along with his friend’s idea but is puzzled when they arrive at an old railway bridge.

At the bridge, Mike is clearly excited and is waiting for a train to come. Matt is disappointed. His disappointment turns to alarm when, as a train approaches, Mike jumps up onto the parapet of the bridge. Mike urges Matt to join him but Matt is not interested. As the train thunders beneath the bridge, Mike screams and whoops in delight. Matt is frightened by Mike’s behaviour but Mike seems exhilarated by it. After the train passes Matt urges Mike to climb down which, much to Matt’s relief, he finally does. Mike admits that he has been doing this regularly for the last few months. In trying to explain the shouting to Matt, Mike says:

... it’s just  getting stuff out like. As you shout it sort of clears it all away. Washes you out. Gets rid of  all the shit that everyone dumps inside you.  Like a whistle on one of them old steam engines. Lets it all out before it blows up.

Matt doesn’t understand at all. For a moment there is silence, then they begin to trade insults and play-fight. The moment passes and we are brought back to the present

Scene 3: The Note

Time passes and the scene changes to Matt’s bedroom. Matt has an unexpected visitor – Sarah has come to see him. She clearly has something on her mind but begins by asking whether Matt has visited Mike’s grave yet. He admits that he hasn’t but promises to go at the weekend. Sarah is angered by Matt’s seemingly flippant attitude and reveals to him a letter that she has found. She tells him it is a suicide note. Mike deliberately killed himself that night at the bridge.

Matt doesn’t believe her. She throws the note to him – Mike’s “best friend” – and begins to storm out. She pauses briefly to warn Matt to keep all this a secret. Her parents know nothing about the letter.

Mike reads the note and realises the truth. The note reveals that despite his seeming success at school, Mike was depressed and not coping with the stresses and anxieties he was facing.

The scene now shifts slighty as we are made aware of Matt’s thoughts and his imagined conversation with the dead Mike. In this conversation Matt tells “Mike” that he should have talked about his problems to someone. Mike reacts with derision at the mere thought of it, saying that he (Matt), “…would just laugh - or make a stupid joke or something like that.” Matt denies this but is rebuked by Mike with an example from their past.