These Four Walls

A fifteen minute musical

Russell has had everything in his life decided for him; at least, that’s what he’s fast realising. 

Sitting in a hotel room on a work trip, he is alone and can think clearly for, what feels like, the first time in years. He has always considered himself average, normal – maybe even a little dull, but what if he isn’t?

At a loose end, at first, he simply wishes he was with his girlfriend Hannah or his best friend Adam, as they validate and reassure him, but he quickly realises it isn’t that simple, and the problems are ones he needs to face alone. His mind flashes to some defining moments of his life, and Russell as the room changes around him, Russell becomes increasingly confused and distressed by his life.

These Four Walls is a short musical written and composed by James Long based on a concept by Jordan Taylor. It explores isolation, sexuality and the idea of normality. It is an operetta with very few spoken lines, and continuous underscoring to reflect the dream-like state of mind Russell is in.

The piece played in February 2014 at the George Wood Theatre in Goldsmiths College, but due to time constraints, two of the five pieces were cut.


PROLOGUE: Beep/Buzz (Abridged 2014)

Russell considers the constant communication that makes up his life, and throws his phone down, ignoring it for the first time.

Wish They Were Here

Russell considers how things would be if Hannah and Adam were with him, gradually realising the things they would demand him to be don’t necessarily reflect him as a person, or his wants.

Interlude I

A dream-like, confusing theme representing the confusion in Russell’s mind, as he tries to sort through his thoughts, convincing himself he loves his girlfriend – ‘Couldn’t ask a better person in the world to love me . . .’

One Half of a Whole

Hannah and Russell are in the hotel room while their engagement party is on downstairs. They explore the idea that they complete each other, and concede that together they are much stronger. They talk about their wedding plans. The song is uplifting, and vibrant. 

Nobody Has to Know (Abridged 2014)

Russell remembers a drunken incident with Adam in which they nearly kissed. Later this was all put down to the alcohol, but Russell knows that was not the case. 

We are Tonight

It is the night of their wedding, and while the guests party downstairs, Hannah has come to find Russell, who has snuck back to their hotel room. She senses something is wrong. She appears to know the relationship is crumbling, and admits she has been trying to hide from the fact for a while – ‘Tell me the truth // Tell me the lie’. The song climaxes with Hannah’s increased desperation, and resolves as she resigns to the fact she might never know what is wrong. We only know they stay together because this is looking back, and clearly they are still together at the beginning.

Wish They Were Here Reprise

A touching finale, where Russell reflects on what he has realised, but goes back to the idea that he is still ‘average’. There is a knock at the hotel room door . . .