PLAY #61: ONE PROBLEM WITH TWO DEGREES (JAN 30)

Copenhagen Climate Summit, 2009.

Protestors from the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.

The sound of planes overhead.

 

PROTESTOR #1

They’re leaving?

 

PROTESTOR #2

As quick as they can.

 

PROTESTOR #1

Obama?

 

PROTESTOR #2

Gone.

 

Sound of planes overhead, lots and lots of planes taking off.

 

PROTESTOR #1

What was decided?

 

PROTESTOR #2

Global warming can’t exceed two degrees.

 

PROTESTOR #1

But…

 

PROTESTOR #2

I know.

 

PROTESTOR #1

We said two degrees is suicide.

 

PROTESTOR #2

Yes.

 

PROTESTOR #1

We said it had to be-

 

PROTESTOR #2

No more than one point five degrees.

 

PROTESTOR #1

Two degrees of warming means

 

PROTESTORS

three or three point five more degrees of warming across Africa

hundreds of millions of people without water

crop yields halved

incineration

two degrees is suicide

that’s what we said.

 

Sound of planes leaving Copenhagen, louder and louder and louder.

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PLAY #60: UNIQUORRRNS VS COVENANTS (JAN 29)

Enormous stacks of contracts.

Two lawyers sift through them.

 

LAWYER 1

You’re cross-referencing against 1948?

 

LAWYER 2

Yes.

 

LAWYER 1

Good.

 

LAWYER 2

You have 7/23?

 

LAWYER 1

Yes.

 

LAWYER 2

And the studies?

 

LAWYER 1

Yes.

 

LAWYER 2 picks up something that looks like a deflated rainbow.

 

LAWYER 2

What’s this?

 

LAWYER 1

A covenant. Assures protection for all living creatures when this sign is displayed. Might as well be thorough.

 

LAWYER 2

Indeed!

 

LAWYER 2 surveys the stacks of paper, stops sifting for a moment.

After a moment or so, LAWYER 1 notices, stops.

 

LAWYER 1

It’s daunting.

 

LAWYER 2

Yes. So many rights.

 

LAWYER 1

Even more people.

 

LAWYER 2

You think they’ll all be protected? You think Paris will work?

 

LAWYER 1

We do the best we can.

 

THE UNIQUORRRNS arrive.

A word about the UNIQUORRRNS.

They are multiple.

They could be visible.

They could be projections.

They could be the rustling of paper from underneath.

If they are visible, they are multi-colored. 

 

They will be heard.

 

However they are staged

the UNIQUORRRNS should disrupt the space with more than their voices

until

all the pages are in disarray.

 

 

LAWYER 1

Who are you?

 

LAWYER 2

What’s going on?

 

LAWYER 1

Have you made an appointment?

 

LAWYER 2

What are you?

 

LAWYER 1

You need to fill out this form. I’ll just need name, address-

 

 

THE UNIQUORRRNS

 

we are

the

left

out

 

 

with out

abode

we are not   f        i         x        e       d

 

 

not

we are not

 

betwixt

we     are

between

and

not

 

we are the

things to the side

out

left

no space for the

we

in your

word rain

 

bowed we are

not

cowered we are

not

silenced we are

not

drowned we are

not

forgot we are

 

 

beyond

margins

 

we

shit

in your

gaps

 

between

 

words

in your codes upon contracts

we

smash covenants

and

out

left

we are.

 

 

we do not

fit

inside your sentences

 

not

full stopped

we are

less homed

we are

squeezed

out

of the          safe we made in the gaps in your space

 

where are the rights

of the

out

left

 

we are

with     out

nation

 

we are

out withers

of

your contracts

 

horns and hooves

we have

shit and skewers

we have

 

not

we will

not

live in your silences

 

our

address is

our address

this address

Address,

our,

rrrightssssss

 

not

bowed we are

not

cowered we are

not

silenced we are

not

drowned we are

not

forgot we are

 

here

PLAY #59: LEAKS (JAN 28)

Two large wooden crates.

From the first crate: a steady trickle of oil.

From the second crate: something pushing against the side, nothing coming out.

 

MASTER OF LEAKS addresses the audience, as at a press conference.

 

MASTER OF LEAKS

It must be stressed that 99.999% of pipes do not have leaks. In fact, their major vulnerability is as a target for terrorists. We have infrastructure in place to respond appropriately to any such situation. It should also be stressed that oil spills are an anomaly – a very unfortunate anomaly, but they should not be seen as the result of irresponsible conduct but as an unfortunate natural occurrence that we do everything in our power to respond to. And it must be said, we do everything within our power to respond to legitimate claims for compensation.

 

Oil drips from first crate.

Second crate shakes.

MASTER OF LEAKS listens, as if taking question from a reporter.

 

No, I think the court’s decision was appropriate.

Yes, I understand that this cuts the maximum fine that BP must pay by billions. This was a ruling based on facts – the number of barrels of oil that spilt was exaggerated.

In fact, as Master of Leaks, I support BP’s decision to request a further cap on compensation. The Department of Leaks is an intra-governmental body – we are not bound by national prejudices.

Yes, I think the BP spill should be considered negligence not gross negligence and a sensible cap on that – indeed, a generous cap on that – is $1,100 per barrel.

 

Another question.

Second crate shakes and sways.

 

No, I do not see any hypocrisy in the treatment of leaks. It is natural that oil should leak from the ground and we do everything within our power to respond to such circumstances. The leaking of government secrets is entirely a different matter, though both fall within the jurisdiction of the Department of Leaks.

 

Second crate shakes.

 

Yes, I firmly believe that government information must be protected.

 

No, that doesn’t contradict the policies of the NSA. In fact, it is imperative that the information that we spy on does not get leaked.

 

I don’t see a connection between the Chelsea Manning case and the BP oil spill.

 

Yes, it is true that the Caspian Oil rig exploded in Azerbaijan in 2008.

Yes, both rigs had a plug which contained nitrogen gas in the cement to speed the drying process.

Yes, it is true that nitrogen gas can leave holes in the cement, allowing methane to rise up and explode.

Yes, it is true that it is not common practice among most companies to use nitrogen gas to speed the drying of cement plugs.

I cannot comment on the disappearance of any people connected with the explosion in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is an unstable state.

 

Yes, it is true that the cause of the Caspian Gas Leak was not released by BP.

Yes, it is true that the US State Department had access to this information.

Are you just going to ask me questions that you already know the answer to?

Yes, it is true that this information was revealed in the cables that Chelsea Manning leaked.

Yes, I still consider that leak inappropriate.

Could the deaths of eleven men have been avoided?

 

This is speculation.

This is not my territory. It should be stressed that this was an explosion we were dealing with that lead to a spill. Leak is not a word that I would use.

 

Listen.

Chelsea Manning is a traitor.

Yes, I do think that her punishment was appropriate.

Look, strained times lead to difficult decisions. Do I think that traitors and terrorists must be contained? Yes.

Do I think that the benefits of their containment outweigh concerns over their rights? Yes.

Do I think it was appropriate that Chelsea Manning was kept in a 6 foot by 8 foot cell for twenty-three hours a day? Yes.

 

Second crate shakes violently.

 

A good civilization is like a good ship, splendid in its sturdiness.

Every leak must be contained for us to survive.

No, I do not see that such information had any public good. On the contrary, the leaking of information only makes us vulnerable to our enemies.

 

Flurry of imagined questions.

 

No, I do not see any…

No, no, no.

No further questions.

Thank you.

 

MASTER OF LEAKS leaves.

The oil continues to drip.

Second crate shakes.

PLAY #58: AUDITIONS FOR THE APOCALYPSE (JAN 27)

Several plastic chairs outside a door which has a sign on it: ‘AUDITIONS FOR THE APOCALYPSE’.

CLIMATE sits and waits, patient.

WEATHER strides in, a perfect storm of look at me!

 

WEATHER

Darling!

 

CLIMATE

Oh, hi!

 

WEATHER and CLIMATE embrace, sit down.

 

WEATHER

Phew! Glad I made it, I’m just finished playing Juno.

 

CLIMATE

How did it go?

 

WEATHER

Great! Well, I suppose there were some changes to the script. You know how it goes, they really toned down her role when it came to the performance. I was all prepared for Juno to be a history-making villain, the badass who avenges that horrible husband of hers, a Snow Queen with no remorse, but…you know, they’re always tinkering with our scripts.

 

CLIMATE

Yeah.

 

WEATHER

I had this great idea where Juno completely covers Times Square, all the advertisements, all the tourists, all the cop cars…

 

CLIMATE

One day.

 

WEATHER

Totally.

 

Pause.

 

WEATHER

How’s business for you?

 

CLIMATE

Steady.

 

WEATHER

Great!

 

Pause.

 

CLIMATE

I suppose it can feel a bit slow sometimes.

 

WEATHER

Nature of the business. Especially when your genre’s more art-house.

 

CLIMATE

Yeah.

(beat.)

But I guess I’m waiting for more people to notice.

 

WEATHER

I know. I was hoping Juno would get you some exposure, I’d have been happy to share the credit, once people understood that I was responsible for the dramatic stuff.

 

CLIMATE

Thank you. But…I guess that’s part of the problem.

 

WEATHER

I’m sorry?

 

CLIMATE

Well, I love watching your work, don’t get me wrong-

 

WEATHER

Everybody loves my work.

 

CLIMATE

But sometimes it feels like it’s hard to get cast when you’re around-

 

WEATHER

I made the Weather Channel what it is-

 

CLIMATE

It’s hard for people to focus on incremental changes-

 

WEATHER

Nobody would know who you were if it wasn’t for me!

 

CLIMATE

Don’t think I’m not grateful. I just worry that people have short attention spans, they focus on storms and temperatures from day to day and they use what you’re doing as a way to ignore me. Like Juno wasn’t as big of a deal as they said she would be, so all this catastrophic change can’t be real. Or the world can’t be warming when there’s so much snow.

(beat.)

Like I’m doing all this work, really this monumental never seen before type work, and I guess I just need to find the right vehicle to present to the world. Like maybe Boyhood is introducing a new model – you look at each part and it’s so much less than the whole. But over the span of the twelve years, you can see that Patricia Arquette is doing some really subtle stuff.

 

WEATHER

Yeah, Patricia Arquette, she’s really a viable model for a sustainable career. Stigmata is a forgotten classic.

 

CLIMATE

But if you look at it from beginning to end, you see how things have changed, sometimes while you weren’t even noticing. And I suppose I need to find a way of showing people what I’m doing so-

 

WEATHER

I don’t steal your thunder!

 

CLIMATE

Sort of.

 

WEATHER gets all worked up.

 

WEATHER

I am thunder! I am flood and fire and hail and stones! I’ve been bringing my work to the world for years and just because I’ve thrown a little stuff in your direction, don’t think you’ll be stealing my crown. You’re pathetic. All the opportunities that have come your way to make a break in the last few years and you’ve ruined them all. You can’t even make ice-melting dramatic!

 

WEATHER stands, walks into the room for auditions, swivels.

 

WEATHER

Just remember who’s the star here – nobody put weather in the corner!

 

WEATHER is gone.

CLIMATE sighs.

CLIMATE sits and waits.

PLAY #57: ILLUMINATION (JAN 26)

Two people (AY and ZED) and one piece of PVC pipe, 2-3 foot in length.

If the pipe plays (plays 43-57) are performed together in any way, this should be the last piece.

 

ZED holds the pipe like a flashlight.

They are inside the interior of a very large pipe, ZED leading the way.

As they walk, a projection behind them shows the pipe walls, illuminated by the shifting movement of a flashlight.

 

AY

Are you sure we should be in here?

 

ZED

We shouldn’t.

 

ZED keeps moving, flashing the light around.

AY hesitates.

 

ZED

We’re nearly there.

 

AY follows.

 

ZED

Look.

 

ZED points the flashlight at markings on the wall of the pipe.

 

AY

You brought me here to look at graffiti?

 

ZED

Cave art.

 

AY

What?

 

ZED moves the flashlight over the pipe, shows some markings on the pipe wall.

 

ZED

For thousands of years, people have been making art about the things around them: the sun, the sky, animals…

 

AY

This is just graffiti, just some joke-

 

ZED

And for thousands of years, fossil fuels have been gathering and decomposing, solar energy compressed to an incredibly small form. So that one lump of coal or one bit of oil represents thousands of years of time, time that’ll be burnt away like that (snaps fingers.)

 

AY

It’s just some indigenous activists – what’s the group called? Idle No More?

 

ZED

If fossils that have taken thousands of years to develop can be used up in days, if time can be ignored so blithely, then…I don’t know…There won’t be deer or bison to draw…the sun will still be there but there won’t be people to paint it.

 

AY

I don’t know why you brought me here.

 

ZED

It’s not just space that this pipe disrupts. It’s not just treaties that protect indigenous lands that are being ignored. It’s time that’s being ripped through too: messages that pass through generations sliced through by a pipe.

 

AY

I think we should turn back.

 

Flashlight points to words on the pipe: STOP KEYSTONE, moves to a blank wall.

 

AY

Did you do this?

 

ZED

No.

 

AY

The pipe’s only been laid down for a few years, this is ridiculous-

 

The flashlight cuts out.

Darkness on stage.

 

AY

What’s going on?

Wait, where are you?

(beat)

This isn’t funny.

(beat.)

Hello?

(beat.)

What do we do now?

 

The question lingers in the air until the play is over.

PLAY #56 : PIPE OF LIFE (JAN 25)

Two people (AY and ZED) and one piece of PVC pipe, 2-3 foot in length.

AY plants the pipe carefully into the ground like a tree.

AY clears throat.

 

AY

Grandeur can sprout from tiny things.

The spirit of life will find a way to overcome obstacles.

Life will find a gap to pulse through – we will find a way to catch it.

And we will be sustained.

You will sustain us.

 

AY places palm against the pipe reverentially.

Holds it there for a moment, takes it away.

 

AY steps back admires the pipe tree.

ZED claps and claps and claps.

PLAY #55: VARIATIONS ON A PIPE THEME (JAN 24)

AY and ZED come up with lots of very short skits imagining different uses for the pipe.

Once it’s clear what the use is, the scene shifts.

Pipe passed back and forth between AY and ZED as each leads the next idea.

Very fast.

Something about climate change.

Don’t think too much.

 

And then people are exhausted (AY, ZED, the audience…):

AY and ZED sit down.

They look at the piece of pipe.