Steamed Up

By John McNeil


In this mime, a husband and wife who are at odds with each other find romance rekindled as they do the ironing.




Two ironing boards are seen side by side on stage. On each is a steam and dry iron, plugged in and heated up.

Husband and wife enter, each carrying a basket of clothes. (The wife is carrying clothes of her husband, and vice versa.) They are very out of sorts with each other, and they give each other the cold shoulder as they thump the baskets down alongside their respective ironing boards.

In unison, they take a piece of clothing, iron it roughly, and then give each other a look of disdain before putting the garment on the chair/table.

In unison, they take a second piece of clothing, and repeat the performance, with a different gesture at the conclusion.

As they begin ironing a third item, they pause a little, look thoughtful, then half turn to each other. As they catch each other’s eye, their expressions harden again, and they attack the ironing with renewed vengeance.

The next item they take is obviously a favourite of theirs. They start to iron it, then notice what it is. They begin to iron it more gently, and when they have finished, pick it up carefully, hold it to themselves a moment before putting on the growing pile. Although they don’t turn to each other, their body language softens.

The next item is an intimate garment. Each gives a brief smile after they have picked it up. As they iron it, they begin to recall a pleasant memory associated with the garment. While ironing, they sneak a look at each other, but pretend they don’t see the other doing the same. The smile becomes warmer as they put the garment on the done pile.

The last item is another intimate garment. They are obviously recalling other pleasurable moments as they pick it up, and iron it with loving care. Excitement builds, and as they complete the garment, husband and wife turn to each other, irons held facing each other at chest level. The irons give a large shot of steam and are then pressed face plate to face plate.

© John McNeil 1999
All rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged.
In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed.
He may be contacted at:
Or at: 36B Stourbridge St, Christchurch 2, New Zealand.