Play 24 - Fairy Tale
Snow White: God, If I see another glass coffin I'm gonna kill myself, myself
Cinderella: Try being ferried around in pumpkin
Little Red Riding Hood (Red): wow, privileged much? Either of you had to dig your granny out of a wolf's stomach?
Cinderella: uh, what? how am I privileged?
Red: what, gonna play the evil stepmother card? The oh no my mum died card?
Cinderella: I might
Snow White: okay, I think I have dibs on the worst step mum here
Snow White: yeah, like, did yours cast you out or try and poison you? Kill you? Leave you with seven pervy dwarfs? No, didn't think so
Cinderella: I work bloody hard for that woman, and her other daughters do nothing at all
Red: so really you have lazy sisters, not a bad stepmom. Get over yourself
Snow White: yeah, get over yourself
Red: uh, you too clown make up fetisher
Snow White: what?
Red: you heard me. Miss I was born a princess and got everything in life handed to me
Snow White: I died
Red: oh, Christ, you were in a coma
Snow White: they were about to bury me
Red: wish they had
Cinderella: hang on. Your home life is pretty perfect and you call us privileged? Miss 'oh no I have to take my grandma some baking, my life is so hard!'
Red: Through the woods!
Snow White: So? I lived in a dwarf man cave! In the woods! One of them is actually called Sneezy, it's pretty gross!
Red: well neither of you had to witness any real gruesomeness
Snow White: no, just attempted murder
Cinderella: and my sisters chopping up their feet. CHOPPING UP THEIR FEET
Snow White: but yeah, wolf blood is terrible. You could have just left him open but you sadistic as you are decided to fill him with stones instead, prolong the poor beast's misery
Red: it was one creepy wolf
Cinderella: it was pretty gross
Snow White: so? Grumpy isn't great but I don't torture him!
Cinderella: so, anyone for more tea?
Red: I think we've moved on to wine
Snow White: yeah, or cocktails
Red: we deserve it
Cinderella: to our messed up life experiences!
Play 23 - Womanifesto 2
if I ask you to
but make sure you let me go
if I ask you to
but not if I don't really mean it
that's the psychological bit
I don't mean physically
physically always let me go
unless we have some sort of understanding
a safe word
but sometimes I want you to fight for me
and I'll not tell you when
but be upset if you get it wrong
I don't mean to be complicated
if we're lovers
But more than that find a way to let me love myself
and then you'll be okay
let me seek the things I need to seek
pursuit the things I need to pursuit
and fail again
but not wronged
so hold me
but don't hold me down
if that makes sense
it sounds more complicated than it really is
Leave me be
when all the words come crumbling
and the room starts spinning
and I need to figure it all out
don't offer to figure it out for me
I've got this
if you'll just give me some space
I respect yours
can you just
for a moment
as in believe me when I tell you something
and trust that I know
I'm not making things up
not ill informed
I don't need you to decode anything
I need you to listen
and when you do
believe what I say
like I trust you
Leave me be
on the bus
on the pavement
on the dancefloor
on the website comment section
I'm not here for you
I'm here for me
it's rsvp only
and you're not invited
That sounds so aggressive, doesn't it
but if someone showed up at your house and demanded you heard them out
paid them attention
you'd tell them where to stick it
(clue, it's not in me)
Leave me be
I'll get on with it
I've got this
or at least as much as you
but if I ask you
to hold me
to love me
to trust me
Will you just let me be me
paradoxes and all
I'll try and let you be you
whoever that is
I'll respect your space
give you time
let you go
hold you tight
if you want
I'd like to be equals
I'll fight for you
if you fight for me
one sunny day
A girl with blue hair walks into the auditorium, deep in thought, headphones on. She takes a seat.
A boy, about 16, walks on stage. His brother follows him.
Brother: What, that one?
Boy: yeah, the one with the blue hair
Boy: she's great, eh?
Brother: I wouldn't know. Looks cute.
Boy: The cutest
Brother: what's up with the hair?
Boy: So cool, isn't it
Brother: reminds me of the chick in Scott Pilgrim
Boy: not sure I've seen that one
Brother: Scott writes her a song, ummm, Ramona, that's her name. I think Beck wrote it for the film.
Brother: talked to her yet?
Boy: what, like, in class or something?
Brother: or just like with your mouth you dumb ass
Boy: shut up
Brother: no, the opposite, silly
Boy: fuck off
Brother: you haven't then? Talked to her
Brother: yeah so, not all girls are the same but I'm pretty sure you do need to talk to all of them if you're gonna like, take it to the next level. Unless you're just gonna stalk her
Boy: I'm not stalking her
Brother: okay, then, is she deaf?
Brother: are you like seriously in to her?
Boy: yeah, of course I am
(girl starts singing 'Black Is The Colour of My True Love's Hair' to herself)
Boy: do you think I should dye my hair?
Brother: no, she's clearly into someone else bro
Boy: who's got black hair though
Brother: tons of folk, you don't know her
Brother: what a weird expression anyway
Brother: true love
Brother: because how can love be false?
Brother: anyway, condolences man
Boy: I could have black hair
Girl: what's that? Did you say something?
Boy: no, not me
Girl: are you sure?
Boy: I was just listening to you singing
Girl: oh, sorry
Boy: no, I like it
Girl: it's Nina Simone
Girl: but it's not her song like
Boy: one of those Dylan songs, like, he wrote it, she made it famous type of deals?
Girl: no, you're thinking of Just Like a Woman
Boy: no, the other one. Nevermind
Girl: this is actually a folk song, they think it came from Scotland
Girl: so they say. The Clyde's in it
Girl: maybe. You like Nina Simone?
Boy: yeah, sure.
Girl: me too. Look, I best go
Girl: nice to meet you
Boy: you too
Boy: who's the guy with the black hair?
Girl: no one
Girl: I like girls
Girl: see yah
Play 21 - No Words
I lost my words
I mean, they are here somewhere but I don't readily have access to them
Like, the big ones
The ones I mean to use
They fail me
Probably just exhausted
see... can't think of other words for tired now
knackered! That's a good one
It comes from having used too many
sometimes I think we are only given so many words a day
or even like so many breaths per life time
maybe everything is measured
but not equally
there are only so many beats a heart can make I guess
but no way of telling
sort of like I don't have any way of telling when my words will go missing
I'll be walking down the street on the phone and suddenly I can't find the word for chicken
the stuff with the thing
you eat them
I like the wings
with BBQ sauce
how can you not remember what a chicken is called?
Next time it will be the name of someone
or a phenomenon
a title of a film
or even just describing what I'm doing
what I do
who I am
I lose the words and then who knows
Maybe I'm no-one
maybe I'm just thingy
or a whatchamacallit
or a youknowwhatImean
Sometimes I switch languages, like a word will only be there in German or something
it doesn't make any sense but the brain just scratches up whatever it can find, really
I don't know why
I don't know why and I can't describe it
pretty poor going really
Ach, you know what I mean
as long as I know what I mean
But then, one day
I won't be able to tell you at all what I mean
I'll try not to get irritated at you
I thought I had words
but I've lost them
I keep losing them, like mittens in a kindergarten
Play 20 - What Reality
A: Whatyoumean my reality? There's just one reality
B: nah, mine is definitely different to yours like
A: what? That's insane
B: nah, that's science mate
B: yeah, like no two people see the same colours
A: and that is proof that reality is subjective?
B: Yes, hell yes. I mean, there's more. Like two people see the same accident from basically the same angle but will tell the police totally different stories on how it went down
A: Okay, but they're in shock, there are still facts in the case
B: not really
A: yes really
B: Like what?
A: how fast the driver was going, on what road, whether it was green or not, you know, facts
B: but there will be two different testimonies on all that
A: not if you just get the science
B: but if there's no speed camera or CCTV?
A: there usually is
B: yeah but if there isn't it's word against word
A: but reality isn't a debate team exercise, you can't just bend the truth
B: that's so backwards
A: Right! Wait. What is?
B: An idea of a truth man, there's no truth
B: Post modernism, innit?
A: What are you talking about
B: Like Derrida and shit, there is only slippage, meaning evades us, words are lies
A: words are lies?
B: yeah man, it's all just symbols for something else
A: yeah okay but that something else still exists, it has, you know, matter, weight, height, etc, you can't just say that because words are tricky and can be messed with by some post modernists that there is no reality
B: dude I think you'll find that I can
A: whoah, so Trump is just like this philosopher then, teaching us about how nothing's real
B: right on, everything's subjective
A: But nothing happened in Sweden
B: well some things happened
A: not a terrorist attack
B: terror is a state of mind, maybe to him it did
A: okay where is this coming from, you know you sound crazy, right?
B: I don't care, I just think that the media has always been telling lies and words have always failed to represent reality because reality is relative and highly bound with an individual experience anyway so to talk about truth is bullshit. Post-truth makes perfect sense to me. Alternative facts are just like all facts, somewhat ill fit to represent anything we call reality which is actually totally made up in the first place.
A: please stop watching the Matrix.
B: too late dude.
Play 19 - Surprise
A woman walks into a fairly normal, IKEA furniture filled, living room/kitchen with a massive bouquet of flowers in a vase. She tries a few places around the room to put them down, decides on the kitchen counter, turns it a few times to get the angle right. Then exits.
A young boy comes in, smells the flowers, then pulls a small plastic bag with a couple of tadpoles in water. He pours the tadpoles into the vase.
Boy: there you are. Feels like home, eh?
He taps the glass a couple of times but the tadpoles have attached themselves to the stems of the flowers.
Boy: Yeah, you look happier. Just lay low.
He checks on them once again, then exits.
The woman comes in again, with another giant thing of flowers, looks around hopelessly before deciding to carry them out again.
The boy comes in with something in his pockets. He opens the oven doors and pulls out two small mice. He pops them in the oven.
Boy: yeah, I know, it's not ideal but there's air in there and I'll make sure no one uses the oven. She's not a baker anyway, I promise. And once I've got a small cage I'll move you to my room. No, no, you stay there.
He closes the oven. Exits.
The woman comes in with a human size box of chocolates, plants them in the middle of the room, by the sofa, quite quickly and exits again. Pops her head around to see if the box is okay, then exits again.
The boy comes in with a snake around his neck. He seems a bit uneasy.
Boy: Okay, where do we put you? Oh, jesus, I shouldn't have agreed to look after you but it's hard to say no. I mean, look how cool you are.
He eyes the fridge.
Boy: yeah, cool, like ice cold.
He opens the fridge with his toes and carefully places the snake in the middle of the fridge.
Boy: I hope my science teacher was right about you guys having cold blood buddy.
He closes the fridge. Thinks to himself a bit, is a bit worried the snake might not go undetected in the fridge. Has an idea. Runs out.
Enters again with a load of slightly crumpled advertisement leaflets for pizza places and chinese. Sticks them quite obviously on the fridge door. Looks at his work as someone who has just finished a masterpiece. Leaves.
The woman comes in with a double bass but can't get past the giant box of chocolates. Decides to park it in a lounge chair. Exits. Enters again with a tuba. Again with four fiddles. Again with a saxophone - all of these end up on the sofa. Enters again with a bass drum. Looks at the instruments and decides against the drum kit. Brings in a tambourine instead. puts it on the coffee table. Exits.
The boy enters with a golden retriever puppy in his arms, takes a look at all the instruments and looks a bit confused, then opens up one of the cupboards in the kitchen. It is full of cereal. He pulls a couple of boxes out, puts the dog in their place, grabs a handful of cereal and puts it on the shelf with the puppy. The puppy sniffs the food.
Boy: Everyone loves cereal. Aren't you just the cutest thing ever?
The doorbell goes. The boy closes the cupboard and runs out.
The woman enters chit chatting with a group of musicians. They all take an instrument, tune up, get settled, go over the first few notes of a tune, the woman looking eagerly at them, smiling. She finally hurries out of the door. The musicians smile at each other.
The woman comes back in, half dressed in a nicer dress, frantically trying to hang up bunting that reads WELCOME HOME, runs out again.
The boy runs in with a handful of kittens, puts them in the chocolates box, runs out again.
The doorbell goes again. The musicians look around as if to see if they should get it. Then a woman's voice goes HELLO and they click into gear and start playing.
A teenage girl comes into the room looking slightly terrified. The boy runs around pulling the animals out of their hiding places and placing them in front of her, the woman opens up the box of chocolates only to find the kittens, screams and throws them on the floor, where the snake is, which pounces on them, the dog starts barking, the mice give the double bass player a fright so he/she quickens up the music and it all goes pretty crazy from there.
The teenager throws up as the tune finishes.
Did you ever see Play Misty For Me? I don't remember the details but it was pretty scary. The early days of the jump cut and they really took it to the max. Anyway, this girl wants to hear the song, again and again. Stalking this radio presenter. I'd give a lot to live in a world where I would never hear the same tune more than once so I don't really relate.
She's playing it now, that somber tune, again and again, in different arrangements, on different instruments. The sorrow seeps through the walls, through the furniture, pouring out of the kitchen cupboards, the cookie jars, the kettle is brimming with it now. I don't know music but it sounds like a minor key to me.
And it's fine, it's a way to cope. But it brings me to tears nonetheless.
Isn't it strange how other people's grief compares to our own? A system not learnt really but revealing of our tendencies, our tastes, our mechanisms. As if someone put your personality to the test and then slid it under a microscope. How you grieve is telling of so many things, like a picture taken from a hard to come by angle.
I would only listen to the same song on repeat if I wanted to indulge, to really soak in my misery, to let it swallow me whole. But if I was truly upset I wouldn't go anywhere near it. Like a child that knows, somewhere deep down inside, that it might jump given the chance doesn't venture out on the edge, I don't take myself out on the brink lest I get tempted to fall.
But she, she doesn't see music like that, music is cleansing, it's working things out, it's a way through something, not into it. I'd give a lot to have such a beautiful coping mechanism. Her traps, her voluntary prisons, her black pits, are much more mundane and far less dramatic than mine. Both are as real as each other though.
I don't play Misty for anyone. And I certainly don't play Patsy Kline's Crazy for anything. I'll avoid Gloomy Sunday and Strange Fruit, Billy Holiday. Some things just rip at your soul. I wouldn't even tell you my all time tear jerkers, in case you'd abuse the knowledge.
But this is one.
Like Laurie over in the house across the street banging on the piano when Jo's broken his heart. Like Jo I write it all up. I have no piano to sound my feelings. Just words.
She comes in, tells me my silence is suffocating, full of gloom.
I want to tell her we all need different things, grieve in our own way.
I put the kettle on instead. Let the whistle fill the silence, seeing as she hates it so much.
Play 17 - Until Tomorrow
A: I'm just gonna take one day to be upset about it
B: I think you're allowed
A: And then we'll carry on as normal. I might be able to carry on as normal tonight but allow me 'til tomorrow
B: I think that's fair
B: Not that I think you should be fine by tomorrow. There's no pressure to be
A: No, I know, I just don't like to wallow
B: If you can move on, do, it's just I don't want you to think you need to for my sake.
A: Good to know
A: By tomorrow I'll be right as rain but let me cry for tonight at least
B: at least
A: you might want to leave the house, it might get a bit hard hitting
B: of course
A: If you don't mind
B: not at all
A: But we'll be grand tomorrow. Once it's out of my system
B: yeah, sometimes you just need to let these things out
B: don't let me stop you
A: I won't
A: sorry, I know this is hard for you too
B: don't worry about me
A: I'll worry about you tomorrow if that's okay?
A: I'd quite like to crumble today, if it's all the same to you
B: go right ahead
B: can you let me know when..
A: Oh yes, certainly
B: Not to be a nuisance, just so that I know
A: Oh yes
B: But tomorrow you think?
A: I should think so yes.
B: I'll leave you to it then
A: 'til tomorrow
B: 'til tomorrow
B: You might need longer
A: I shouldn't think so, no
B: well let me know if you do
A: No, I think having a time limit is helpful, otherwise you might just never really stop
B: then one day you wake up and you don't remember why you're so upset
A: No, I think I'd still remember
B: I'll be out of your hair then
A: that would be grand, yeah
B: alrighty then
A: talk to me again tomorrow
B: yes, tomorrow, splendid.
Play 16 – Sister
(A teenager's bedroom, T's. K is a fair bit younger)
T: Stand over there
T: no, to the side
K: Okay, here?
T: Yeah, that's it
T: Now we're gonna play a game
T: I'm gonna try and see how many of these crayons will hit you
(T starts throwing the a box of crayons at K. K starts crying)
(on a sofa, in front of a TV. A horror theme)
K: I don't like this programme I don't think
K: It's supposed to be scary
T: it's not that scary
K: I want the lights back on
T: no that would ruin the mood
K: I don't like it, can we watch something else
T: don't be a baby
K: I'm gonna go to the bathroom, okay
(K goes, T rushes to the kitchen as soon as K's away, gets a bottle of ketchup and smears across her neck, to make it look like her throat has been slit. Lies down on the ground, eyes closed and pretends to be dead. K comes out of the bathroom again)
K: Are you sure we can't watch something else? What's on the other channels, have you checked?
(clocks 'the corps')
K: are you okay? Stop teasing
(T's still 'dead')
K: Stop it. Wake up! Stop! Its not funny! Stop! I said stop! You're not dead.
(shakes her, no response from T)
K: (panic settling in) please stop it. Wake up. Wake up!
(T let's her cry for a bit, then springs up like Jack in the Box, scaring her sister half to death. As K screams T laughs.)
(T comes home in a wheelchair, broken leg and pelvic bone, tries to put on a brave face but her sister, K, looks scared, concerned, not sure if she can hug her. They eventually hug, but it's a bit awkward)
(T is holding a pregnancy test. K is waiting to see if she's happy with the result. T smiles and then both jump around in joy, the kind of joy where the surprise of it overpowers any other emotion but it's still totally gleeful)
(K is getting ready for her wedding. T is smiling, also crying a bit, which makes K start to cry a bit)
K: stop it, I'll ruin my make up
(K is on the phone)
K: I don't know, she said she had to take the later flight due to her work, so I don't think she'll be here until the evening. Maybe eight? I don't really know what the plan is, it's all a bit of a surprise I think tonight so I don't even know if there's any sort of birthday party. Hang on, there's someone at the door.
(goes to check. T is standing there with a big grin on her face)
K: you rascall, you big fat liar you!
T: yes! It worked! I always get you!
Play 15 – 'Our' Time
G: so you can't tell me any sort of ball park?
D: no, I'm afraid we don't really say, there are so many variables with a case like yours, it wouldn't be fair.
G: just an indication would be nice. If I'm dying I'd like to know if I have to make money stretch or if I can just blow it all, that kind of thing.
D: I think just enjoying life, each day, is always a good attitude to have, regardless.
G: Don't give me the whole 'were all dying and accidents happen' spiel please
D: No, I'm just saying, don't wait
G: so I don't have long then
D: I didn't say anything
G: you said plenty
D: please, I'm sorry not to be able to be more helpful but we really can't say
G: What would you do if you were in my shoes?
D: I'd try and tell people I love them, and make sure they play the right things in my funeral
G: the right things?
G: you're not attending, you know that?
D: still, I'd think what my legacy would be
D: now, I want you to continue taking care of yourself, just because we've stopped the therapy doesn't mean you should just give up and eat McDonalds for the rest of your time
G: well, it's, as you say, my time
D: yes, I guess you're right
G: and you won't say how long that is
D: I'm afraid I can't
G: I'm guessing 'our' time is up
D: Yes, I'm afraid it is
G: that's a lot of things to be afraid of doc
D: The girls in reception will organise another appointment if you like
G: I don't think I'll spend 'my' time on talking to you if you don't mind
D: Right. Well. Good luck. Have a nice weekend.
G: Hey, you're dying and we've given up on treating you but have a nice weekend?
D: I don't know what you want me to say
G: A time estimate. Do I have three days or three months type of thing? Three years?
D: (decides not to say what they want)You take care now.
G: Still nothing?
D: There's literature in the lobby if that helps, now I really must insist
G: okay. Dead man walking. Going. Going. Gone.
(G doesn't leave)
D: I'd want them to play Unbreak My Heart
G: Good thing you're not the one dying.
Hi, this is a little experiment in writing, where I will write one short play (most of which will be awful) a day for the month of February. They're not polished, there are no rules, I just write them and post them. But I have to post one a day.