PLAY #253: PLENTY OF FISH IN THE SEA (AUGUST 31)

Two friends in their twenties – ALEX and SAM.

ALEX passes a phone to SAM.

 

SAM

I don’t know, I’ve tried everything.

 

ALEX

This is different.

 

SAM

I’m tired of swiping or writing profiles.

 

ALEX

Trust me.

 

SAM

I don’t trust you but-

 

ALEX

Desperation opens many doors?

 

SAM

Sure.

 

SAM looks at phone.

 

SAM

Is this a joke?

 

ALEX

No.

 

SAM

These are…

 

ALEX

Amazing.

 

SAM

All jellyfish.

 

ALEX

I know.

 

SAM puts phone down.

ALEX picks it up.

 

ALEX

Give it a try.

 

SAM

You’re dating a jellyfish?

 

ALEX

It’s the future.

 

SAM

This is a joke.

 

ALEX

I have found happiness.

 

SAM

I need more wine.

 

ALEX

And I think you can too. Look at this one.

 

SAM

Like maybe a glass the size of a valley.

 

ALEX

Think about it: this is the future.

 

SAM

Jellyfish?

 

ALEX

Yes! The way the ocean is acidifying, we’re in prime jellyfish territory. Soon there won’t be much left in the ocean.

 

SAM

I guess I’ll have to cancel Tuesday’s date with a dolphin.

 

ALEX

You should; they’ll never survive the PH rise.

 

SAM

You’re really dating a jellyfish?

 

ALEX

Why I got that big tank.

 

SAM

And what about…

 

ALEX

Sex? Bit of a sting, if you like that kind of thing, but it’s not necessary. Jellyfish are very self-contained, they can reproduce asexually. I can look after myself beside the tank. It’s cleaner, really.

 

SAM

What about love?

 

ALEX

What’s not to love about a jellyfish?

(beat.)

The way I look at it, it’s simple. Climate change is going to fuck the planet up. Who’d want to raise a kid in the future we’re facing? Jellyfish are the future. We can either band together collectively to do something and change or lifestyles or we can protect our own happiness in the face of doom. Another great thing about jellyfish: they never worry about the future.

 

Pause.

 

SAM

Where do I sign up?

PLAY #252: BOOM-ERANG (AUGUST 30)

The Arctic, 2015: a rig.

DOCTOR DRILL meets EXPLORER, who is holding an over-sized drill.

 

EXPLORER

You’re late.

 

DOCTOR DRILL

Busy times for drill-doctors.

 

EXPLORER

It’ll come out of your expenses.

 

DOCTOR DRILL

You’re hardly lacking money.

 

EXPLORER

And yet we’re losing it every day.

 

DOCTOR DRILL

So. Show me the drill.

 

EXPLORER

It’s here.

 

DOCTOR DRILL

And you’ve tried everything.

 

EXPLORER

Have we turned it on and off? Yes.

 

DOCTOR DRILL

It’s something deeper.

 

EXPLORER

That’s the problem. It won’t stay deep. Keeps coming back.

 

DOCTOR DRILL

Could you demonstrate?

 

EXPLORER

I will. But be careful, you’ll have to jump.

 

EXPLORER does so, drilling into the water.

A pause, the drill going down.

And then, the drill shoots upwards, would whack both of them, if they didn’t jump out of the way.

 

DOCTOR DRILL

I see.

 

EXPLORER

You do?

 

DOCTOR DRILL

It is deeper.

 

EXPLORER

You’ve lost me.

 

DOCTOR DRILL

It’s the ground objecting. Happens every now and then. In controversial spots.

 

EXPLORER

We’ve enough trouble with the public. Can’t have the ground causing a fuss too, especially when it’s opened up for us.

 

DOCTOR DRILL

I see.

 

EXPLORER

Can you fix it?

 

DOCTOR DRILL

Nothing a ‘boom’ won’t solve. Once the price is right.

 

EXPLORER

Of course.

 

DOCTOR DRILL

Deal.

 

They shake hands, the drill twitching beside them, but they have it all under control now.

PLAY #251: THE KATRINAS (AUGUST 29)

New Orleans, 2015.

THE KATRINAS are on stage – a Chorus of 10 year-old girls (or older actresses playing 10 year old girls), most of them black.

They speak to the audience, lines alternating between different speakers, not necessarily in a pattern.

An empty swing beside them, occasionally rocked back and forth.

 

THE KATRINAS

we are all named after Katrina

even though my name is Kim

Tiffany

Brianna

Wen

Holly

Abigail

Jane

names have changed in this city

we are all Katrina.

 

KATRINAS shake the swing, pushing it around violently.

 

how could we not be shaped by Katrina?

she changed our house

bowled it over

let water run up to the roof

smashed glass and doors

knocked down houses that had survived

because they didn’t look right in the new light

because a clean slate was needed for the city

and some things just looked awkward.

 

A couple of KATRINAS hold the swing still.

 

we left

because we couldn’t afford to come back

and even though I’m called Katrina

New Orleans is just a name

a place that makes my mother’s eyes cloud

has no streets that I’ve skipped down.

 

we stayed

because it was a miracle I survived

they said

like I was a mini-Moses in my pram

it seemed I would float off

but I didn’t

so after that

we stayed.

 

we didn’t lose our house

but my mother lost her job

because the school needed different teachers they said

and she was too old to learn new things

and now she has all sorts of wrinkles

that Katrina gave her

ones that insurance wont’ cover

or cream can’t hide.

 

KATRINAS push the swing.

 

the games at school are different

my sister says

because they teach us different things

how to walk proper

with your hands behind your back

and your head held high

and your voice all quiet

 

how could we not be called Katrina?

when every name has changed

now all the schools have charters

and all the classrooms are called after universities

and there is a different way to walk down corridors

and most of the teachers have the same white face

and games have more rules

and everything is supposed to be better.

 

KATRINAS swirl the swing.

 

we talk about climate change in school

and they say that it’s hard to know for sure

how much of Katrina has to do with climate change

because there have always been storms here

and it’s hard to map the relationship between climate and weather

 

 

but

the sea hasn’t always been this high

and that’s something to cling too

if you’re wanting some sort of scientific proof

that climate change is part of the problem

then it is true that the sea was higher because of climate change

the storm was fiercer because of climate change

 

but

we don’t talk about climate change

because it’s not appropriate to bring climate change

up in a time of remembrance.

 

we do as we are told

because Katrinas are obedient

we know the script for this anniversary

we have learnt the lines at school

will hold our hands in place

will keep our voices low

 

but

with everything that is broken around us

the homes we can’t go back to

or the teachers who sit at bare tables

or the streets that are no longer for us to skip down

who is to say

if we can keep all these things inside of us

because

if we are called Katrina

then aren’t we stronger than this too?

PLAY #250: COUNTDOWN or ANTIGONE PART NINE (AUGUST 28)

ANTIGONE faces a firing squad.

CREON stands at a podium.

CHORUS watch, many documents in hands.

ISMENE watches too, on the edge of the stage, beyond tears now.

 

CREON

For the grievous crime of burying essential infrastructure

and defying the government

there can only be one sentence:

death can be the only price

for those who attack property.

 

CHORUS

there are other laws to be considered

The Magna Carta

and all its descendants

words must protect free trial

the commons too

 

CHORUS offer pages to CREON.

CREON throws the documents down.

 

CREON

you do not understand the laws you cling to

this is what you offer as protection

The Great Charter?
something sealed in bad faith

by a king throwing a bone to barons.

 

CHORUS

these laws protect us too

and the earth

 

ANTIGONE

save your breath

right does not need to appeal to words

it is an honour to die

I would have doused my skin in petrol

lit a match

and lunged towards it

if I thought it would get more views.

 

CREON

you think you’re the hero

but I’m the one who will have the last word.

 

CHORUS

no blessing

last words are bitter pellets

you will be glad to be silent

before the night is out.

 

CREON

I will be happy when there is silence here

order has been disrupted enough

it is time.

 

CHORUS

you deny her a final speech?

 

CREON

I do.

 

ANTIGONE

It is no matter.

My actions have spoken.

They will echo across the world

until every fossil is buried in sanctified ground

every fuel is too deep to plumb

every pipe has been stopped-

 

CREON

enough!

Ten.

 

Firing squad cocks guns.

ISMENE rushes forward.

 

ISMENE

Please!

 

CREON

Nine.

 

ISMENE

Don’t destroy our family.

 

CREON

Eight.

 

ISMENE

There must be an alternative.

 

CREON

Seven.

 

ISMENE

Love, love can change things.

 

CREON

Six.

 

ISMENE stands in front of ANTIGONE.

 

ISMENE

I’m pregnant.

 

CREON

Five.

 

ANTIGONE

Ismene, stand aside.

 

CREON

Four.

 

ISMENE

Please don’t shoot.

 

CREON

Three.

 

ANTIGONE

Ismene!

 

CREON

Two.

 

ISMENE

There must be an alternative.

 

CREON

One.

 

ANTIGONE pushes ISMENE down.

Guns fire.

Blackout.

PLAY #249: THE UGLIES (AUGUST 27)

A puppet play for fruit and vegetables discarded for their ‘imperfections.’

A host of fruit and vegetables on a table, bumps and blotches on them, tiny things that mean they are not allowed sit in supermarket aisles.

 

THE UGLY TOMATO

We demand the right to be eaten!

 

THE UGLY APPLE

Stop throwing us away!

 

THE UGLY EGGPLANT

26% of U.S. vegetables are rejected for ugliness!

 

THE UGLY TOMATO

Let’s get it to 0%!

 

THE UGLY POTATO

Er, are you sure this is the right tack?

 

ALL THE UGLIES

Yes!

 

THE UGLY TOMATO

What else did you have in mind?

 

THE UGLY APPLE

Rotting?

 

THE UGLY POTATO

You want to be eaten?

 

THE UGLY APPLE

Sure. Isn’t selflessness good?

 

THE UGLY EGGPLANT

And it’s nice to go on a journey through digestive tracts.

 

THE UGLY TOMATO

To transform vividly rather than decompose slowly: the right choice.

 

THE UGLY APPLE

Don’t you want to be eaten?

 

THE UGLY POTATO

Sure. But I don’t know. I’m feeling very insecure. I was thinking of getting work done.

 

ALL THE UGLIES

Work?

 

THE UGLY POTATO

You know, remove this bump.

 

THE UGLY TOMATO

But that bump gives you character.

 

THE UGLY EGGPLANT

It’s full of nutrients.

 

THE UGLY POTATO

It’s what makes me ugly.

 

ALL THE UGLIES

No!

 

THE UGLY TOMATO

You know the truth about ugly vegetables? All our imperfections only make it easier for us to protest.

 

THE UGLY VEGETABLES pick up mini-placards, holding or balancing them with their bumps. THE UGLY POTATO joins in.

PLAY #248: BON APPETIT (AUGUST 26)

UN Diplomats sit at a table, staring at a plate of salad.

WAITER drifts by.

 

DIPLOMAT #1

Excuse me?

 

WAITER

Oui.

 

DIPLOMAT #1

We are in Paris!

 

WAITER

Your powers of observation are without flaw.

 

DIPLOMAT #1

Shouldn’t there be some roasted meat?

 

DIPLOMAT #2

Maybe a snail or two?

 

DIPLOMAT #1

Even grilled frog.

 

WAITER

A-ha. It is the way this Summit will be.

 

DIPLOMAT #1

What?

 

WAITER

To acknowledge this elephant in the room – well, really, the cow or the pig in the room. The huge impact of industrial agriculture on carbon emissions.

 

DIPLOMAT #2

This Conference will only have vegan food?

 

DIPLOMAT #1

This is preposterous.

 

DIPLOMAT #2

We’ve moved beyond shaming people for individual behaviors.

 

DIPLOMAT #1

And what about local farms, couldn’t you find meat that’s free-range, organic, all of those things?

 

WAITER

It was not my decision. But if the world is to make progress on tackling climate change, then the large amounts of emissions, not to mention the deforestation, caused by industrial agriculture must also be tackled.

 

DIPLOMAT #2

We have reafforestation schemes – REDD!

 

DIPLOMAT #1

We’re in high-pressure negotiations: we demand protein!

 

WAITER

And, you will find a rich variety of protein available here. This is just the first course: you need have no fear of going hungry. But now, you must, as you say, eat your words.

 

WAITER leaves.

DIPLOMATS stare at their salads.

PLAY #247: AND IN BETWEEN THE GRASS GROWING THERE IS THE BREAKING OF SOMETHING (AUGUST 25)

California, a lawn. 

MR. PERFECT is painting a beige lawn green.

MRS. PERFECT watches.

 

MRS. PERFECT

Still think it would be better with water.

 

MR. PERFECT

Not allowed.

 

MRS. PERFECT

There are ways.

 

MR. PERFECT

Cul-de-sacs. That end in fines. Or jail.

 

MRS. PERFECT

Not for them next door.

 

MR. PERFECT

Well. We’re not them.

 

MRS. PERFECT

We could have been if we’d worked harder.

 

MR. PERFECT

Yes.

 

MRS. PERFECT

Slackened bootstraps. That’s what leads to a beige lawn. If we had enough money, we’d be sitting by a pool looking across our fecund jungle and not giving a fuck about restrictions.

 

MR. PERFECT

Can you shut up? I’m trying to restore our grass to greatness, so that we can gaze upon and know that we have made it.

 

MRS. PERFECT

If we were rich enough, we could pay other people to argue for us.

 

MR. PERFECT

There. I think it looks even better now.

 

MRS. PERFECT

It’s greener.

 

MR. PERFECT

That’s a good thing.

 

MR. and MRS. PERFECT watch the grass grow until there is a snapping sound, something breaking in the sky, which stays up, so it’s hard to tell.