Vice Versa

Vice Versa

A Stage Play by Ddraper

Is it a matter of race, or rationality? Injustice, or avoidance of the truth? One scene from two perspectives.


'Race or Rationality?'



Darrel Draper

The following scene should be enacted twice. In the first performance the actor playing the Police Officer should be black and the Suspect white. In the second performance they should switch roles, so the Suspect becomes black and the Police Officer white. All dialogue and stage directions should be kept exactly the same, as well as the style of delivery in both performances. The only variable should be the switching of roles. Of course the emphasis and exploration of this performance is whether the audiences interpretation/perspective of the themes/issues being explored is altered or changed in any way by the switching of roles. An Epilogue follows the scene to summarise. These roles could be either male or female and there is flexibility on playing age. Having a male actor and a female actor may perhaps add undertones of sexism, and might convolute the premise, or, perhaps add greater depth. This is at the liberty of the director to decide upon reading the script.


SUSPECT is waiting at a bus stop, hood up listening to music, looking left and right while tapping their oyster card against their hand in anticipation of their bus. An OFFICER walks on, sees the SUSPECT and stops momentarily, giving them a good look, they then approach. Both actors on stage give the impression that there is other people surrounding them, waiting at the bus stop.

OFFICER: Excuse me, would you mind-

SUSPECT: (Taking one headphone out) Huh?

OFFICER: Could I ask you to step to one side please.

SUSPECT: (Bewildered, steps to one side as if allowing the officer to pass)

OFFICER: No, I meant, over here, with me.


OFFICER: I'd just like to have a little chat, if that's alright.

SUSPECT: What for?

OFFICER: I'd rather not have this conversation in ears reach of-

SUSPECT: But why? I'm just waiting for the bus.

OFFICER: Then you should have a few minutes to spare. (Steps back and gestures for the SUSPECT to follow) C'mon.

SUSPECT: (Doesn't move) I don't understand what you-

OFFICER: Now I've been polite, so please co-operate with me, otherwise-

SUSPECT: I just want to know why you're asking-

OFFICER: And I'm going to tell you! If you'd just come over here where-

SUSPECT: Just tell me here!

OFFICER: (Beat. Approachers) OK. If you want to be difficult.

SUSPECT: Not being difficult, it's just......Bit suspicious is all.

OFFICER: (With a snigger) Suspicious?

SUSPECT: Yeah, why you want me to go over there. Why you-

OFFICER: As I said, I wanted to have this conversation in private, but if you insist on-

SUSPECT: I aint done nothing wrong. I'm just standing here minding my own business and you walk up and-

OFFICER: So what were you doing in town today then?

SUSPECT: What do you mean what was I doing?

OFFICER: It's a fairly straight forward question.


OFFICER: Yes. And could you take that other headphone out please. (Beat. SUSPECT doesn't do it immediately, but eventually does) Thank you. What was the purpose of your visit today? What did you get up to?

SUSPECT: I didn't get up to anything. Just saw a few friends.

OFFICER: OK. And what did you do with these friends?

SUSPECT: Just had something to eat. Talked.


SUSPECT: Here init.

OFFICER: (With a chuckle) Here? At the bus stop? You ate at-

SUSPECT: No, I meant......What's this about?

OFFICER: Where exactly in town did you eat your food with your friends?

SUSPECT: Look, I'm not answering any more questions until you tell me-

OFFICER: I'm the officer here. And I'm-

SUSPECT: This is harassment. That's what it is.

OFFICER: Oh really? You think this is harassment?

SUSPECT: Yeah. Why you picking on me? Out of everyone here.

OFFICER: I'm not picking on you at all, I'm simply-

SUSPECT: You want to interrogate me, but you're not willing to tell me-

OFFICER: I'm working off a description. And you fit that description.

SUSPECT: Do I now.


SUSPECT: Yeah I bet.

OFFICER: And what's that supposed to mean?

SUSPECT: See, you don't like it when I'm vague. Ay?

OFFICER: Well I've answered your question now. So I think it's about time you answer mine, or else I'm going to have to radio this in, and then-

SUSPECT: What was the description exactly? Of this person.

OFFICER: All you need to know is that you fit it.

SUSPECT: Really?

OFFICER: Yes, and I'm not sure what you're trying to imply here but-

SUSPECT: Not implying anything. I think it's pretty obvious.

OFFICER: (With a laugh) OK. OK. Look. You can think what you want to, but if you look here (Points to his vest), see that, that's a camera. So I wouldn't be-

SUSPECT: Good. I hope people see this. Me getting harassed for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

OFFICER: That's still yet to be determined. You've refused for the most part to co-operate with me which would perhaps lead me to believe-

SUSPECT: Yeah well, you can think what you want as well.

OFFICER: OK. Well we're clearly not going to get anywhere with this, so am going to radio it in, and a car can-

SUSPECT: That's my bus there.

OFFICER: I'm afraid you're going to have to miss it.

SUSPECT: I can't. I need to be somewhere. Urgent.

OFFICER: Not my problem.

SUSPECT: You can't keep me here just because you think I look like someone. That's complete-

OFFICER: If you get on that bus without answering all of my questions than I'm going to treat this as an attempt to evade-

SUSPECT: Burger King. Happy now?

OFFICER: I still have more questions.

SUSPECT: I really need to get this bus.

OFFICER: As I said, if you get on that bus then-

SUSPECT: I really need to be somewhere. Honest.

OFFICER: Now you want to speak honestly.

SUSPECT: Gotta pick my brother up from school init.

OFFICER: Right. OK. Be my guest. But this situation will be escalated if you do.

SUSPECT stops and thinks. Misses his bus in doing so.

SUSPECT: For f**k.........This is bullshit. Really is.

OFFICER: You might have been on that bus by now if you would have co-operated in the first place.

SUSPECT: Now he's going to be waiting there thinking no one's coming to get him.

OFFICER: So you say you ate at Burger King, which one, there are two, there's-

SUSPECT: One opposite card factory.

OFFICER: Which is also near JD sport, correct?

SUSPECT: He's got anxiety issues, my brother, he's-

OFFICER: Longer you skirt around the subject the longer-

SUSPECT: You're just a f*****g racist. That's all.

OFFICER: (Laughs) Racist!? How-

SUSPECT: Yeah, you heard! Let that be shown on camera!

OFFICER: Race has absolutely nothing to do-

SUSPECT: Or is it just because I'm wearing a hood? And this other person had-

OFFICER: I'm sorry but you're just perpetuating the situation here. You-


OFFICER: Yes, you!

SUSPECT: Bet that thing isn't even turned on. (Gesturing to the OFFICERS vest camera)

OFFICER: I assure you it is, and if you have felt that I have been racist towards you, in any way, then, I'm sorry, but, that's on you.

SUSPECT: What do you mean that's on me!

OFFICER: Because I haven't. I've tried my very best to conduct myself and this interview in-

SUSPECT: You know what. I'm gonna get on the next bus and I'm gonna be making a call of my own, to the police station, about you.

OFFICER: That's completely within your rights.

SUSPECT: And we'll see what they've got to say on the matter, shall we? Innocent person just minding their own business, waiting for the bus, gets treated like a criminal. Just because they may, or may not look like someone.

OFFICER: Just doing my job. Besides. You really think they're going to listen to you, over me?

SUSPECT: Man, you're f*****g.......(Holds out his hand for a bus) We'll soon see.

OFFICER: I guess we will.

SUSPECT walks off to get the next bus and the OFFICER turns to leave. Blackout. Actors exchange roles and repeat the scene exactly as above.


To be performed after both versions of the text have been played out. Both actors are now simply A&B, they face the audience and address them directly.

A: Black.

B. Or White.

A: An officers an officer.

B: A suspects a suspect.

A: Right?

B: Or wrong?

A: If your perspective changed.

B: Than perhaps your perspective needs to change.

A: Rationality.

B: Or race?

A: Injustice.

B: Or just a case?

A: Hierarchical abuse.

B: Or just the avoidance of the truth?

A: You see.

B: Either way.

A: When you really look at it.

B: Its not a black.

A: Or white thing.

B: The worlds just.....

A+B: (Together) A shade of grey.



© 2018 Ddraper

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Added on May 24, 2018
Last Updated on May 24, 2018
Tags: race, justice, social justice, law, ethics, sociology, drama, play, short, experimental



Essex , London , United Kingdom

I am a writer of theatre, film, television and poetry. I specialise in dark comedy's and have had some of my work previously produced. As well as having a passion for creative writing, I am also an ac.. more..

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