The Valley Below by Vicky Whitehead

This is another text from playwriting for Hoopern Valley.

Vicky felt that her piece would be better read than listened to, so that your own voices create the soundscape/innerscape.

I’m not sure why WordPress has put it into a table, but it seems to be fine for reading anyway. That wasn’t Vicky’s decision though!

The Valley Below

By Vicky Whitehead


Vicky invites you to go to the valley and read this script between three people. She felt it was a more interesting experience than listening to a pre-recorded play.


  • Love – attachment to the ‘feeling’ of the world, wants to be part of something other than reality
  • Memory – the bridge between love and consciousness, holds stories of the places they visit
  • Conscious – practical, prefers to state the reality that they find themselves in
Conscious [Tired] The rain soaks my skin; seeping through the cracks in my coat. It’s cold and I want nothing more than to be at home, in bed, curled up around a hot mug.




But I cannot go home yet. I hold my breath and let it go, releasing a mist of my thoughts into the cold uncaring air. They whisk it away, throwing them up into the sky to join the clouds where so many others hopes and dreams lie.


Conscious It’s not far from my home here. Past the forum, down the road. Up the path and over the hill. I could leave. We should leave.


Love I cannot leave. There’s something calling me. Something is telling me to stay.


Conscious Something old.


Love Something ancient.


Conscious Something primeval.


Love Something beautiful.


Conscious I glance to my right. A small gap in its guarding trees is all that separates me from the place. Darkness swallows the way, and little can be seen. It doesn’t seem safe to commit one’s self to that abys.


Love But commit I must! I must scramble over the threshold and enter this place, leave this world and all it’s pain behind. For once I am in control of our destiny. I decide if we stay or go. I push us to clamber the sty and descend into the abys. It welcomes me, enwrapping me in the shadows of its embrace. Though darkness is all around I am not afraid.  My feet, not my eyes, know the way.


Conscious I seem to recall a memory of this place, or one I believe I heard.


Memory [Sing song like] Oh what it is to be in love. Oh, what it is to escape from the world above.

To walk with confidence away from the light, and all that you have been told, is right.

What a thrill to feel the wind in your hair, to let it flow free like you don’t even care.

To know that deep in your heart and soul, at least there is one place that you can call home.


Conscious I don’t know where that came from. I hope I’m not going insane.


Love Such beautiful poetry and music fill my brain. The raindrops ahead splatter down through the leaves, guiding the melody in my heart which goes ‘dee-dee-dee’. My feet keep in time, providing the thrum of the drum, whilst the wind whistles through the trees providing the voice to our piece.


Conscious Yep, I’ve gone insane. This place must be affecting me. We really should leave.


Love And yet I stay! Yet I continue on through the piece, through the notes that fall about like rain on my ears. I must keep going, follow this tune round its bends. Only then will this story have an end.


Conscious Story? What story could there possibly be? This is just a place full of lush and green.


Love Lush and green that’s been here far longer than we. Who knows what beauty it could have seen?


Conscious Well we are on a bridge now, so don’t fall into the stream.


Love A stream! A stream of thought, that harbours the memory of this valley. It flows like a consciousness, recording, erasing and encasing all that came before. How many must it have seen, who’ve stopped and stood on this very bridge to gaze into the seams of it’s mind and hold, for a moment, a droplet of its time.


Conscious The memory is recalled again. Though this time I know its not mine.


Memory [Sing song like] I stand on the bridge, our bridge, over our stream. I giggle as I toss rose petals into the folds of it’s passing flow.

“He loves me, he loves me not”. A silly game really, one that children play.

And yet… aren’t all games played for a reason?

Is there not some truth we hide beneath the layers of rhymes and puns we cover them in.

Do we not pass down wisdom to our children with these, intertwined around songs and legends, we’ve long since given up when we reach that ‘magical’ land of growing up?

I hear a foot fall and turn to stare.


Love Stare? Stare at what? Was it a lover, a friend or a foe?


Conscious I don’t know. The memory ends there.


Love This place is full of memories. It’s strange how we built monuments to preserve our life when here, right here, is the greatest monument of all. One that not just withstands the present but preserves the past and holds the life of the those that came before.


Who’d have thought this old valley would be so full of abandoned dreams?


Conscious Who’d have thought it could get so muddy. We should turn back. We’ve gone too far.


Love No, not too far, not far enough! We must press on, on through the eve. It’s calling me still and I cannot – no –  will not leave!


Conscious We’re going to climb along this sloping ridge?! It feels unsafe. Plus, we’re far less protected from the rain.


Love We can’t give up now, come. The rain isn’t so bad. It’s merely the mist that takes our hand and guides us through this forgotten land.


Conscious I thought it was the path that was doing that.


Love These paths are merely footprints, relics of walks long gone where feet have trodden before us. They do not guide, only mark what once has been. If we step off them now, then we’d be far closer to the soul of this land. Can’t you see the stream, that stream of memories as it glides on through, mapping the valley as our brains do.


Conscious I don’t see how these images come to be, all I see are old roots and dead trees.




[together] They’re not dead, only sleeping.
Conscious Sorry, what was that?


Memories [Slightly giggly and light] I say to you, they are only sleeping. This Valley is alive, don’t you feel it?

Honestly, call yourself a studier of Nature and you don’t even see it.

I wrap my arm around your ignorant frame as we pick our way along the path.

You warn me not to tumble down the hill but all I do is laugh.

What harm can this Valley do to me, that you’ve not already done.

This here is the place, our place of love.


[Concerned] And yet something is wrong. Something is up.

Please, tell me what troubles you my dove.


Love Another memory, praise be.


Conscious Yes, though not quite as long or as happy.


Love You’re reading too much. Don’t think just feel. Then everything will seem more real!


Conscious I can’t do that. But look, we’ve reached the paths end. Oh well, looks like we’ll have to turn around again.


Love But hark, what’s this?


Conscious I think my brain’s gone soft from this walk. Who even says ‘hark’ anymore?


Love Hush yourself, do you not see? There is a little ledge near that tree.


Conscious You mean the one by the bridge? Yes, that I see. It’s hidden down by the slope and the growth of the banks full of leaves.


Oh no, now I’m doing it.


Love That’s the spirit! Come, let us see, what more the river can offer you and me.


Conscious Watch the mud, it’s mightily slippery. If you’re not careful, you could fall in.


Love The water’s so pure and clear, truly divine. Can you see any more memories in the brine?


Conscious In the brine? What rhyme is that? Hold on, there is something here instead.


Love What, what is it?


Conscious Just listen to your head.


Memories [Down and sad. All joy from before is gone] So it’s done. It has been said. The one thing that could fill me with dread.

I suppose part of me always knew it would come, but I suppose…. I thought…. perhaps our love-?

No, I should put away such foolish things.

Time to pack up old wishes and childish things.

Time to take the calling and accept my fate.

At least we will always have this place.

And here by the stream, which I wait for you, know that my love will always remain true.

Let the tears from my eyes drain my thoughts from my face,

and take away the memory of your embrace.

May they fall into the river and be stolen away,

so a part of you and me always remains in this place.


Conscious That’s all I have.


Love That’s the memory, but it’s so sad.


Conscious That’s what memories are. They’re neither good nor bad, but a reminder of the time we once had.

Love doesn’t conquer all and tears turn into streams.

But the valley is constant and keeps our forgotten dreams.


[Long Pause]

Love I’d like to go home now, I think.


Conscious Good idea. Come on, lets get that hot drink.