PLAY #64: GROUNDHOG PLAY (FEB 2)

An elevator.

ANDREA stares ahead: a well-heeled woman in her sixties.

Doors open.

Sound of ‘The End of the World’ by Skeeter Davis.

BILLIE enters: a 19 year old student, a rucksack slung over her shoulders.

Doors close – music disappears.

 

BILLIE looks at ANDREA.

 

BILLIE

Wait, excuse me, Miss?

 

ANDREA

Yes.

 

BILLIE

Are you a member of the Board of the Trustees here? I’ve seen your photo: you’re Andrea Davenport.

 

A half-smile from ANDREA – she returns to looking ahead.

 

BILLIE

We got in touch with you. I’m part of the divestment group on campus. The fossil fuel divestment campaign, you know?

 

ANDREA pushes a button.

 

BILLIE

It’s really hard to make it to your meetings. Like they’re totally shrouded in secrecy and stuff. Anyway. Wow! I’m excited to see you because I really wanted to talk to you about-

 

ANDREA

I’m sorry. This is my floor.

 

Doors open. ANDREA leaves.

Doors close.

BILLIE looks forward, dejected.

 

AND THEN…

A blast of ‘The End of the World.’

Reset to ANDREA waiting, BILLIE entering.

 

BILLIE

Hi!

 

ANDREA gives a half-smile.

Pause.

BILLIE drops a flier on the ground, accidentally on purpose.

ANDREA waits for her to pick it up.

BILLIE doesn’t: ANDREA does.

 

ANDREA

Is this yours?

 

BILLIE

Oh, right! Sorry, yes, in a world of my own. Do you want to keep it? It’s for a rally we’re planning next week. I’m part of FFU – you’ve heard of us? Fossil Free University? We’re trying to get the University to divest its endowment from the top two hundred fossil fuel companies.

 

ANDREA

I have a meeting. But thank you.

 

ANDREA pushes button.

 

BILLIE

You know the carbon reserves they have are five times the amount of what we should burn to keep the global temperature from rising by two degrees. Not that we should burn anything-

 

ANDREA

Good luck with your meeting.

 

ANDREA exits.

BILLIE stares ahead.

And then – music, switching, reset…

 

BILLIE

Excuse me, Miss?

 

ANDREA

Yes?

 

BILLIE

Do you have the time? My phone died and nobody has watches anymore, you know?

 

ANDREA checks her watch.

 

ANDREA

Ten after ten.

 

BILLIE

Thanks.

(beat.)

That’s a nice watch.

 

ANDREA

Thank you. A present from my grand-daughter.

 

BILLIE

It’s nice.

 

ANDREA

Thank you.

 

Pause.

 

BILLIE

How much time would you say we have left?

 

ANDREA

I’m sorry?

 

BILLIE

Before we destroy the planet completely. Sixty years? One hundred? Thirty? You think me and your grand-daughter will be around for the worst of it?

 

ANDREA pushes button.

 

BILLIE

I’m part of the fossil fuel divestment group on campus. We’ve been trying to talk to you because-

 

ANDREA

This is my floor.

 

Doors open – ANDREA exits.

 

AND again…

 

BILLIE stares at ANDREA.

 

ANDREA

Is everything alright?

 

BILLIE

Yes…wait, is it Mrs. Davenport?

 

ANDREA

Yes.

 

BILLIE

Wow, whoa! You probably don’t remember me. I went to school with your grand-daughter! How’s she doing?

 

ANDREA

Katie’s fine. At Harvard.

 

BILLIE

Of course!

 

ANDREA

I’m sorry, I don’t remember…

 

BILLIE

Billie! And you’re a professor here? I thought you were in finance or something.

 

ANDREA

I’m just attending a meeting.

 

BILLIE

Oh, me too. It’s for the fossil fuel divestment campaign on campus – you’ve heard of it? We could use some financial advice, if you’re interested, it’s hard to convince people that it doesn’t make sense to invest in a product that we can’t burn.

 

ANDREA

You were at St. Ann’s with Katie?

 

BILLIE

I transferred in. (ANDREA pushes button.) Yeah, Katie was really great to me, ‘cause it was hard to show up with all the cliques. You probably don’t remember. but we had brunch that one time and-

 

Doors open.

 

ANDREA

My grand-daughter didn’t go to St. Ann’s. I don’t know who you are but I want you to never speak to me again.

 

Music, reset.

 

BILLIE

Excuse me, Mrs. Davenport?

 

ANDREA

Yes.

 

BILLIE

I’m from FFU, the fossil free university campaign on campus. We’ve requested a meeting with the Board of Trustees

 

ANDREA

I’m afraid I have nothing to do with scheduling. You’ll have to contact the Secretary.

 

BILLIE

We just want to meet. I think that students should know where their money goes.

 

ANDREA

I’m sure the secretary will be able to make an appointment for you.

 

ANDREA goes to push a button but BILLIE pushes a different button.

The elevator stops.

 

ANDREA

What are you doing?

 

BILLIE

I’m sorry I know this is extreme but I don’t know what else I can do or how I can say this because it’s impossible to get in touch with you and I have the feeling that your socially responsible committee is just a shield to protect your power and I don’t want to be directed or told to wait because I feel this is urgent because I know this is urgent and I can’t watch or listen to you talk about small steps or the limits of a university’s role as a moral arbitrator in the world because to me it seems so simple that if you care about learning or students or your grandchildren or justice or even just your own well-being then you’d take a second to just listen to what students have to say because it makes me sick that the all the money that my parents pay for this education is funding the companies that are ruining any future that I want to be part of and it seems so simple to just say no we will not support a business model based on ruining our planet and I feel sick in my skin because nothing is more urgent than this nothing and I just want to know what the magic abracadabra is what can I say to make you care what can I say to make you care?

 

Pause.

ANDREA stares ahead.

BILLIE waits.

Nothing.

 

BILLIE pushes a button.

Elevator moves.

Doors open.

ANDREA exits.

BILLIE stares ahead.

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