My Wonderful Day: Synopsis

Cast: 2 male / 4 female (see note regarding casting Winnie in the right hand column).
Running time (approximate): 1 hour and 45 minutes - My Wonderful Day does not have an interval.
Availability: My Wonderful Day is available for both professional and amateur production.
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French.

The action takes place in and around Kevin Tate's house in North London on a Tuesday in November. Time - the present.


Winnie (Winona) Barnstairs (Nearly 9)
Laverne Barnstairs (Her mother, late 20s / early 30s)
The Man - Kevin Tate (40s)
Paula (His wife, late 30s)
Tiffany (The Secretary, 20s)
Josh (The friend, 40s)

Author's note: It is appreciated that one of the difficulties of this play is in casting Winnie the right age. Either she needs to be played by a young actor of a similar age with all the ensuing legal and logistical problems which casting an under-age performed entails or the role may be played by a slightly older actor who is able to create a truthful and credible impression of the character's age. This, after all, is theatre! In either case, it is vital that the role is not in any way "aged up". Winnie is a child and this play is told through a child's eyes.
Nine year old Winnie Barnstairs is taking a day off school unwell and accompanying her single mum, Laverne, to work. Laverne, heavily pregnant with Jericho Alexander Samson Barnstairs, is cleaning the expensive house of Kevin Tate, a minor television celebrity who has appeared once on the cover of the Radio Times. He, occupied with searching for his absent BAFTA winning wife, Paula, has agreed Winnie can stay and do her homework until Laverne finishes. Winnie also promises to Laverne that, as it is a Tuesday, she will practise her French all day in preparation for Laverne's dream of moving to back to Martinique in the Caribbean, where her parents were born.

In the living room, Winnie begins to write her essay,
My Wonderful Day.

The doorbell rings and Laverne lets Tiffany in, a secretary for Kevin in her mid 20s; she is enchanted by Winnie and baby-talks to her, who replies in French. Kevin berates Tiffany for chatting but is distracted by a call from Paula which quickly degenerates into a vociferous argument. Tiffany bundles up Winnie and moves her into the office, where Tiffany confides to Winnie about her childhood at boarding school. Unsure what to do, she decides to show Kevin's new promotional DVD for the business / retail park Fantacity. The film is interrupted by a clip of Paula, who has sabotaged the DVDs to announce Kevin and Tiffany are having an affair in uncompromising terms. A distraught Tiffany gets Kevin while moving Winnie to the kitchen to avoid hearing the DVD's 'adult content'. In the kitchen, Laverne makes Winnie promise she will read her the essay that evening, she leaves to continue her cleaning.

Kevin enters with friend and business colleague Josh; separated from his wife and daughter, Amber, and all the worse for wear following a party the night before. Kevin introduces Winnie as a girl who doesn't speak English; Josh is incredulous given he has just spoken to Laverne. Josh reveals the whole batch of DVDs has been corrupted by Paula, who Kevin feels is genetically inclined to violence.

Josh is left in the kitchen and tries to impress Winnie with a very bad coin trick; which leads him to talk about his daughter, leaving him in tears and presuming Winnie hasn't understood a word he's said. Nearby, Laverne can be heard vacuuming when she suddenly cries out in pain. Josh and Tiffany go to help her, keeping Winnie away as Laverne's waters break over the living room sofa. An ambulance is called and Laverne is taken away, leaving Winnie at the house.

Having agreed to look after Winnie for the afternoon, Kevin quickly loses his patience and reveals his antipathy for children when she rebuffs his enquiries into lunch. Tiffany goes out to buy sandwiches leaving Winnie with a ravenous Josh. Winnie eats a chocolate bar from her bag and Josh tries to find a second bar when Winnie briefly leaves the room. She catches him red-handed, who pretends to be interested in what she's reading. She agrees to read
The Secret Garden to him, although he quickly falls asleep. Tiffany returns, leave's Josh sandwich with Winnie and goes to find Kevin. As she is reading, Winnie inadvertently opens the sandwich and takes a bite before carefully returning it to the package. Josh's snoring drives her out of the kitchen into the living room.

Discovering the soaked sofa in the darkened room, she perches on the sofa edge unnoticed as Kevin and Tiffany enter, on their way to the bedroom, Winnie watches incredulously as 'big bear' and 'little bear' head upstairs.

A short time later, Paula arrives and interrogates Winnie, who replies in French only for Paula to respond in kind. Paula discovers her sofa is soaked and loses her temper with Winnie, before she is able to explain about Laverne. Paula is inordinately apologetic and overcompensates in comforting Winnie, explaining she is prone to tantrums and promising it will not happen again.

Together they go in search of Kevin, finding Josh who lies about where Kevin might be. Winnie tries to stop Paula going upstairs unsuccessfully, who is quickly followed by Josh when Winnie alerts him to where Kevin really is. There is a commotion and Paula chases Tiffany out of the house, who is clad only in a sheet. Kevin is guided down the stairs by Josh bleeding heavily from a head wound inflicted by Paula's BAFTA Award.

Paula takes Winnie to the hospital, visiting Jericho before reuniting Winnie with Laverne in the maternity ward. Laverne insists Winnie read her essay about all that has happened that day. Winnie reluctantly opens her book and begins reading
My Wonderful Day....

Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.