Shortcomings – Short Script

*The prompt for this piece was stupidly ridiculous slap stick comedy. Stupid yes, funny? Probably not… ha!



The ice white walls are laden with various forms of art, obscure sculptures fill the wide aisles.

GARY, 52, short- very short- and balding, is currently viewing a sculpture of naked female bust – or is it the front of a car? – made of rubber band balls. He tilts his head to the side and puts his hands on his hips.

GARY (hushed)

Don’t get art nowadays, I don’t.

MARG, 49, GARY’S WIFE – much taller than her husband with her hair pulled into a tight bun on top of her head, places a long arm around GARY’S shoulders almost as if she is leaning on him.

MARG (just as hushed)

Nor me, my love, but don’t be starting with all that whining.

MARLEY, 21, petite like her father with a spiked pixie cut, walks over and places an arm around her mother’s waist and gives her a little squeeze.

MARLEY (gesturing)

Brilliant isn’t it? You can really feel the artist’s pain, deep in the rubber.


Oh yes, sweetie, certainly. Just what I was saying, right Marg?

MARG rolls her eyes at MARLEY who smiles.

A rushed looking woman, BABS, her black bob cut as sharp as her attitude, walks over gesturing vaguely to a blank looking DECORATOR who whips out his tape measure and begins measuring random spots on the wall- confused.


Mr and Mrs Rowan?

BABS holds out a limp hand which GARY shakes vigorously, almost wobbling BABS trendy glasses clean off her nose.

Pleasure is all mine. Your daughter is showing plenty of promise-

Certainly one to watch.

MARLEY and MARG turn once again and smile at each other, GARY has gone slightly red. He stumbles backwards slightly in his fluster and almost knocks over a pregnant glass reindeer.

BABS (sharp)

Please, Mr Rowan!


Just a slip of the foot! Don’t be worrying.

I’m as agile as a fox, me.

BABS looks GARY up and down, suddenly seeming to notice his shortness. The DECORATOR is now climbing an uneasy looking step ladder, measuring higher and higher up the wall.

BABS (smirks)

Well, I suppose there must be some advantages with you being that close to the ground.

Bemused with herself BABS spins on her heel and walks off in the opposite direction, MARLEY gives her parents a hurried wave and follows BABS off screen.

Don’t take any notice, what she doesn’t know is what you lack in height… You certainly make up for…

A HIPSTER DUDE turns and looks at the two, disgusted at first but soon notices GARY’S tomato red face and sweaty brow, he struggles not to laugh. GARY grumbles under his breath and turns a deeper shade of red. MARG sighs and walks over to view a painting on the wall.

BABS returns holding a huge cup of steaming coffee, she is barking out orders to whoever will listen.

Doors open in 10! Why isn’t Drags of Dribble on the wall yet?!

The DECORATOR looks around stunned, only to realise BABS was talking to him. Wobbling slightly he climbs down the ladder and scoops up the strange looking painting. He then returns up the ladder, wobbling even more, with the tape measure still extended.

GARY notices the unsteady ladder and retreats for his own safety to view the pregnant glass reindeer he almost shattered, his cheeks now settled to pink as it reflects back to him in the glass.

No time for a test run! We have always been set to open at 8, no excuses!

A worried looking TEENAGE BOY, whom BAB’S was shouting to, with pimpled skin and a band t-shirt on, looks around and then back down at the red box on the floor beside him.

The doors have began to open and floods of cool people begin to enter the building. GARY backs away and stands on a slightly raised part of the floor, out of everyone else’s way. MARG and MARLEY stand close the the painting of a tree made from newspaper clippings, PVA glue and horse hair.

In no way does standing on that make you look taller.

GARY grimaces at the laughing HIPSTER DUDE and steps down, moments from the still wobbling step ladder and precariously balanced tape measure.

BABS (down a microphone)

Welcome all, to this night of splendid serendipity and marvellous masterpieces…

Suddenly with a loud BANG the TEENAGE BOYS red box bursts open, filling the gallery with blue smoke. The sound causes the DECORATOR to fall from his ladder, causing GARY to fly forward into the rubber ball bust and ultimately causing the glass reindeer to fall and smash- GARY catches the unborn glass reindeer baby which flies up in the air. The balancing tape measure ascends and lands beside GARY, still stretched out, it reaches high above GARY’S head.

Once the smoke clears everyone turns and stares at GARY, the tape measure showing just how short he really is. GARY cradles the glass fetus.


Mr Rowan!




I think I picked the short straw with this gig!

Everyone but GARY, MARLEY, MARG and BABS erupt with laughter.


When I heard this gallery was down-to-earth, I didn’t think they meant literally!

The laughter continues, GARYS entire body glows red but even so he begins to laugh with the shock. GARY holds up the glass ornament he rescued.


Ey, Babs, it certainly does have its advantages!




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