Intimate Exchanges: Synopsis

Cast: 1 male / 1 female
Running time (approximate): 2 hours to 2 hours 15 minutes - not including the interval.
Availability: Intimate Exchanges is available for both professional and amateur production.
Acting edition: Published as Intimate Exchanges Volume I and Intimate Exchanges Volume II by Samuel French.



Miles Coombes (An executive)
Toby Teasdale (A headmaster)
Lionel Hepplewick (The school groundskeeper)
Joe Hepplewick (Lionel's father)
Reg Schooner (An Australian cricket fan)
Sylvie Bell (Lionel's fiancée)
Celia Teasdale (Toby's wife)
Rowena Coombes (Miles' wife)
Irene Pridworthy (A school governor)
Josephine Hamilton (Celia's mother)

Note: Intimate Exchanges is written to be performed by a company of two actors.
How It Began (part of scene 1)
Celia Teasdale enters her garden to have a cigarette. The doorbell rings and she decides whether to light her cigarette or not.
This leads to either A Gardener Calls or A Visit From A Friend

Scene 1 Options – Five years ago in June (Toby and Celia’s garden)
A Gardener Calls
Lionel Hepplewick comes to help with the garden. Sylvie comes out of the house and they bicker. Celia returns to announce her husband, Toby, may be leaving as headmaster and she may leave with him. Lionel is confronted by Sylvie who asks him whether they are going out.
This leads to either A Gardener In Love or The Self Improving Woman

A Visit From A Friend
Celia goes into the shed and Miles Coombes appears to talk about her husband, Toby. Celia announces their relationship is failing and Toby has resorted to drink. Miles urges her to help save Toby’s career, despite his own feelings for Celia.
This leads to either Dinner On The Patio or Confessions In A Garden Shed

Scene 2 options – Five days later (Toby and Celia’s garden)
A Gardener In Love
Toby, disillusioned and angry, argues with Celia over his drinking and their marriage. Lionel and Celia fall for each other and plan to open a catering business together. Toby returns and suggests he and Celia take a walk.
This leads to either Affairs In A Tent or Events On A Hotel Terrace

The Self Improving Woman
Lionel and Sylvie have done a little more than dance together. However, he criticises her clothing and limited ambitions, so she seeks help from Toby and Celia. Lionel is impressed and asks Sylvie to sleep with him.
This leads to either A Garden Fête or A Pageant

Dinner On The Patio
Miles has contrived to have dinner with Celia, but has not told his wife, Rowena. He declares his love for her. If she responds favourably to this, Toby returns to find the pair in the shed together; if not, she tells Miles to go back to Rowena. Toby returns and she agrees to try and save their marriage.
This leads to either A Cricket Match or A Game Of Golf

Confessions In A Garden Shed
Miles and Rowena are out walking. It starts to rain and they take refuge in Toby’s shed. She confesses to numerous affairs, suggesting Miles should have one. She locks him in the shed and leaves, only for Sylvie to release him. Encouraged by Sylvie, Miles asks her to join him on a walking holiday. Her coded reply - whatever her choice - is sent via Celia.
This leads to either A One Man Protest or Love In The Mist

Scene 3 options – Five weeks later (Any one of several places)
Affairs In A Tent
It is sports day and Celia and Lionel are doing the catering. Lionel is late and Celia has unwelcome attention from Miles; Lionel arrives with inedible bread and no cakes. Celia goes for supplies, while Lionel chats with Irene Pridworthy. Celia returns with half-a-loaf and a packet of jam tarts. Toby arrives, infuriates Celia with his comments, she becomes hysterical, he leaves. Miles returns but fails to calm her. Celia attacks him. Miles, in desperation, ties her up and goes for help. Either he or Toby return and promise to look after her.
This leads to either A Funeral or A New Woman

Events On A Hotel Terrace
Toby and Celia are at a hotel at the seaside. Toby has been warned about his health and has sacked Lionel. Lionel is a waiter at the hotel and still obsessed with Celia. To keep talking, he continues to bring afternoon tea to her and Toby returns to find Celia with sandwiches stuffed in her bag. He decides either to confront Lionel or forgive Celia and they return to their room, not before Lionel pops up to say he will wait for her.
This leads to either A Funeral (2) or A Service Of Thanks-giving

A Garden Fête
Lionel’s wheelchair-bound father, Joe, comes to annoy Celia before trying to persuade Sylvie to marry Lionel. Sylvie - in stocks for a fête - promptly endures a haranguing from Lionel in a gorilla suit. Shaken, she tells Toby she can no longer work with him or at the house. Uncharacteristically, Toby tries to persuade her otherwise. Stuck in the stocks, Lionel arrives and Sylvie either agrees to marry him or tricks and abandons him.
This leads either to A Christening or Return Of The Prodigal

A Pageant
Sylvie and Celia have both been asked to play Boadicea at the Fête. Toby wants Sylvie to do it, which leads to a row with Celia. Sylvie forces Toby to admit he loves her and she reciprocates. Celia returns for Toby and the role. She and Sylvie fight leaving Toby to decide whom he stays with.
This leads either to A Harvest Festival or A Wedding

A Cricket Match
Miles and Celia are now having an uneasy affair. At a cricket match, where Lionel has sabotaged the pitch, Miles is given out by umpire Toby and they come to blows. Their wives come to help them, leaving Miles to decide whether to continue or end the affair with Celia.
This leads to either A Sentimental Journey or A 50th Celebration

A Game Of Golf
Miles is playing golf when interrupted by Irene Pridworthy and Celia. Miles and Toby are now friends. Celia tries to rekindle Miles’ interest and tells Toby that Miles has made a pass at her. In return he makes one at Rowena. He doesn’t follow through, but Rowena attempts to seduce Miles in the bunker. He now has the chance to restore his marriage or to be left by Rowena.
This leads to either Easter Greetings or A Triumph Of Friendship

A One Man Protest
Miles is still in the shed, being cared for by Celia and Sylvie. Sylvie wants to go away with him, but he won’t reply. Toby employs Lionel to smoke him out, but is side-tracked by Rowena and burns his trousers. Miles leaves the shed, unnoticed, to make a decision. Rowena, Celia and Sylvie all find a love poem Miles has written. Celia, believing the shed is on fire, rushes in and gets locked in by Sylvie. Toby returns, sees the hut on fire and douses the fire only for Celia to emerge, clutching Lionel’s trousers, believing Miles has died.
This leads to either A Midnight Mass or A School Celebrates

Love In The Mist
Miles and Sylvie have gone for a walk together. When the fog comes in, they take refuge in a hut; she voices her resentments and wanders off into the mist. Rowena comes searching for them. Miles either returns with her or insists on walking in the mist and steps over the cliff.
This leads to either A Wedding (2) or A Simple Ceremony

Scene 4 options – Now. Five Years Later (A churchyard)
A Funeral
Celia and Toby are together, he has saved his career and cares for her. Lionel appears having found success in the fast-food business.

A New Woman
Celia has a successful catering business with Lionel reduced to chauffeur. Celia meets the estranged Toby and pays Sylvie to look after Toby.

A Funeral (2)
Toby has died due to his anger and ill-health. Celia is approached by Miles and Lionel, now working for the church, who asks Celia whether she would marry a vicar. She says she would not.

A Service Of Thanksgiving
Toby leaves a service with open contempt and Celia wishes she had taken Lionel’s offer. He promptly arrives, now a prosperous and married man.

A Christening
Sylvie and Lionel are married, but her affection for Toby is made clear.

Return Of The Prodigal
Toby leaves a thanksgiving service drunk, only to meet Sylvie, now a successful journalist. She kisses him as a thank-you for all he has done.

A Harvest Festival
Toby and Sylvie, now a couple, return to the village and Sylvie meets Lionel. They spar again with the suggestion of more to come…

A Wedding
Celia has walked out on Sylvie and Lionel’s wedding. Toby is there and they realise they hated their own wedding. They kiss.

A Sentimental Journey
Miles and Celia are a couple and unhappy, in contrast with Rowena who has left an abusive relationship and is content with her life.

A 50th Celebration
Toby has left school due to illness and Celia is supporting him. He goes to the pub, despite his condition, while Celia rebuffs Miles’ overtures.

Easter Greetings
Miles and Rowena return from new lives in Australia, although it is obvious to Celia that Rowena is the far happier person.

A Triumph Of Friendship
Toby and Miles' marriages have failed and they are living together. Miles compares notes with Celia; there is a spark between them.

A Midnight Mass
Miles returns and meets Sylvie - now married to Lionel. Rowena also returns, but has not changed her ways and he is left alone.

A School Celebrates
Miles and Rowena are together, but she is a diminished woman. She meets Lionel, but Miles asserts his authority and takes her home.

A Wedding (2)
Miles is giving Sylvie away to Lionel at her wedding. Despite still having affairs, Rowena insists there is still life in their marriage.

A Simple Ceremony
Rowena unveils a memorial tool-shed to Miles and admits missing him. She leaves and Sylvie expresses the same sentiments to a mystified Toby.

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