PLAY #259: WAKE UP AND SMELL THE TOMATO LEAF (SEPTEMBER 6)

Ireland, a greenhouse.

A young couple – FERGUS and GERALDINE.

GERALDINE is pregnant.

FERGUS is growing tomatoes, stares at them now, mesmerized.

 

FERGUS

Smell this!

 

GERALDINE

Nice.

 

FERGUS

It’s amazing. I never thought I’d be smelling tomato leaf in my own house. Look how well they’re doing!

 

GERALDINE

It’s great.

 

Pause.

 

FERGUS

No.

 

GERALDINE

I haven’t said anything-

 

FERGUS

I know what you’re going to say-

 

GERALDINE

I just want to talk-

 

FERGUS

No.

 

Pause.

 

FERGUS

I’m having a great morning with the tomatoes. I don’t want-

 

GERALDINE

Reality to intrude?

 

FERGUS

We agreed.

 

GERALDINE

The only thing we agreed was to stop arguing about it.

 

FERGUS

And aren’t we happier?

 

GERALDINE

I can’t do it. Not with another one on the way.

 

FERGUS

You’re hardly going to talk about global warming to your belly, are you? Are you?

 

GERALDINE

It isn’t right to keep secrets from Ciara.

 

FERGUS

She’s five. The whole world is a secret. And it’s a much better place for it.

 

GERALDINE

That’s how you want to bring her up?

 

FERGUS

She’s five. She just wants to run around and pretend to be a plane. She doesn’t care about climate change.

 

GERALDINE

She could.

 

FERGUS

We agreed.

 

GERALDINE

To home-school, yes. But not to lie.

 

FERGUS

Why are you so worried about this all of a sudden?

 

GERALDINE

I’m hardly alone.

 

FERGUS

And neither am I.

 

GERALDINE

97% of scientists agree that climate change is happening and that we are causing it.

 

FERGUS

So when everybody is right about something the rest of us have to toe in line? How did that work out for Galileo?

 

GERALDINE

If Galileo were here, he’d be calling for an end to fossil fuels.

 

FERGUS

Didn’t know you were a medium too, perhaps that’s what we should teach them.

 

GERALDINE

Respect. We could start by teaching them that.

 

Pause.

 

FERGUS

I’m not denying that climate change is happening.

 

GERALDINE

Generous of you.

 

FERGUS

I just think it’s being hyped up.

 

GERALDINE

It’s a pretty serious situation. Perhaps one that uniquely deserves the hype.

 

FERGUS

Except that it’s not that unique. You remember when we were kids? I was terrified about the ozone layer, couldn’t get to sleep for fear that the sun was going to laser through the roof into my bed or something. And that all turned out to be a load of fuss about nothing.

 

GERALDINE

Scientists didn’t make up the hole in the ozone layer, people just did something about it.

 

FERGUS

Global cooling, that was one back in the day. Y2K – remember that? We’re addicted to the apocalypse. Read any work of literature from any period and people are convinced that the end of the world is nigh. Why would we want to be inculcating that attitude in our kids? Why make them afraid?

 

GERALDINE

I don’t want them to be afraid. I want them to care about the world.

 

FERGUS

We’ll teach them gardening so. Ciara’s already helped me loads here. And we can cook with the tomatoes. This is the kind of stuff they can get into: what’s under their nose, local things, that’s the way to make them care. Speaking of, shouldn’t we get started? Nine’s approaching, good to make a schedule for her.

 

Pause.

 

GERALDINE

I am afraid.

 

FERGUS

About them?

 

GERALDINE

About us. I don’t know if I can be with somebody who is happy to tinker with tomatoes while-

 

FERGUS

Sea levels rise and the world burns? What do you want me to do, set up a solar panel shop?

 

GERALDINE

I want you not to shout at me.

 

FERGUS

I’m sorry. We’ll talk about this later.

 

GERALDINE

That’s what you said yesterday.

 

FERGUS

Well. I was right about something.

 

Pause.

 

FERGUS

I’ll get Ciara.

 

GERALDINE

Right.

 

FERGUS exits.

 

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