4XF#3 Technical Hitch

Technical Hitch

The light grew dim and conversation petered out. Blackness suddenly enveloped us. There was total silence. We all waited.

But nothing happened. Tension mounted.

In the darkness there was a nervous giggle, a shiver of expectation. My companion moved closer. I took a breath and tried to be rational. What could be the problem?

Two minutes dragged past. There was a stifled cough to our left and a drawn-out sigh from behind us.

Someone muttered, “Get on with it.” Sam took hold of my hand.

A rear door opened emitting a brief shaft of light before it closed.

Hurried footsteps clonked across the floor. A shadowy figure could be glimpsed exiting through another door before it slammed shut, cutting off sound and vision. What was happening? Anxiety grew and imaginary threats multiplied.

A low rumbling started, increasing to a deafening roar. Nuclear war or horrible joke? It stopped abruptly. Our fears mushroomed in the stunned silence that followed. Sam started shaking – I couldn’t tell whether it was with anger or apprehension.

Then a bright beam of light shone out from the front, blinding us.

“I have bad news,” said a deep voice. There were gasps. A strangled cry. Suddenly all the lights blazed on. A tall figure stood facing us with a torch in his hand – or was it a gun? Aiming at us. Was he a terrorist?

Paralysed with fright, we froze. Squeezing my hand, Sam whispered, “I’m scared too but we must stay calm.”

“Silence!” thundered the intimidator. “No-one is to leave.” We heard someone stumble whilst trying desperately to escape. “Stop!”

A shot sounded – hollow and deadly. Then the shocking thud of a body falling to the floor. As we were plunged into nightmare darkness again, a woman shrieked.

Confusion and panic ensued.

* * *

That week the Clarion reported: “A stunning new production opened at the Variety Theatre on Tuesday night. ‘Technical Hitch’ is an electrifying drama with echoes of Kafka, Beckett and Chandler. This is a powerful play that shocks and intrigues. The performance exceeded expectations. The audience were dazzled, their applause rapturous. During one of the most disturbing scenes, a member of the audience fainted but was soon revived. ”