Mrs Norton's Banana

Created by Henry Steedman, The Pitch 2022

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Mrs Norton’s Banana is a comedy set during the Blitz. The word on the street is that Mrs Norton has a banana. Most children who’ve grown up during rationing have never heard of such an exotic fruit – so the excitement is palpable. Mrs Norton is a generous lady, and plans to share her one banana so all the children can try a bit. Our heroine, Sally is sent to get a piece, so her Mum can make a special banana topping for her brother’s birthday cake. She meets up with her two best mates, but when they arrive they discover the banana’s been stolen! They quickly conclude that it must be the local veteran who has a reputation for petty theft. They hatch a plan to rescue the banana… All goes well, but the thief gives chase! Running through a nearby bomb site, they manage to send the banana bandit flying into a puddle of sewage. Mrs Norton shares the banana, everyone gets there piece, and Sally’s Mum can make her topping. We only realise now that in fact her brother has passed. But during the celebration, Sally sees the robber seek forgiveness, and it is given.

Biblical Connection

I am adapting Proverbs 11:17 - 'Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.' This also correlates directly to the Beatitudes, specifically Number 5: 'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.' In my mind this is basically the Christian summary of karma - which is a fairly universal concept, and one that I believe in strongly. I was inspired by my father-in-law's own experiences as a child growing up during the blitz on the streets of Reading - where this was filmed. Mrs Norton was a real person, who genuinely did have a banana one day, and did share it with all the children. All the other characters are embellished and invented in order to tell an entertaining story which explores the notions of kindness, morality and forgiveness. It is designed to be on the one hand a fun caper, but also deliver real pathos with the reality of fallen soldiers and the celebration of their lives. It also includes a neat coda, where the thief is forgiven by Mrs Norton.