PLAY #285: SISTER SUFFRAGETTE (OCT 2)

London, garden by Westminster.

EMMA sits underneath a STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST.

EMMA is reading Naomi’ Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.’

 

A coin drops onto her book.

EMMA examines the coin, looks up at the statue, back at the coin, back up at the statue.

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

Yes, dear, it was me.

 

EMMA

What??

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

You don’t need to beg for my pardon: I’m sure that’s what you meant to say.

 

EMMA

What??

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

Oh dear, I had hoped you would be sharper on the uptake.

 

EMMA

Is this an hallucination?

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

I hope not. I always think one’s hallucinations should have a modicum of nudity. And I can assure you that will not be the case today.

 

EMMA

What’s going on?

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

Nothing. That’s the point. Your fossil fuel divestment campaign is stalled. And I’m here to provide the inspiration.

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST jumps down from her post and sits on the bench beside EMMA.

 

EMMA

I’m getting the chance to talk to one of the most influential suffragettes?

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

I believe the term is ‘badass.’

 

EMMA

Wow, actually I’ve been reading about the suffragettes and your splits in tactics and the divisions after the war and some of your own personal politics which, actually, I wouldn’t mind talking about-

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

Dear, I think you are mistaken. I am here to impart wisdom. You are here to listen.

 

EMMA

Uh-huh.

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

It’s easy to reduce a movement to personalities. Especially charismatic ones like myself.

 

EMMA

Especially rich ones like yourself.

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

At least you’re getting to the point: money.

 

EMMA

The coin. What am I supposed to do with a penny?

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

Look at the back.

 

EMMA

You defaced it. ‘Votes for Women’ scratched across the King’s Head.

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

Poor George. That is actually a flattering likeness.

 

EMMA

You think this is what we should do? Write ‘divest from fossil fuels’ on the back of pennies?

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

Write it wherever you can. On those cards that people use. By those holes in the wall. It does seem that money has become increasingly invisible, but I’m sure you can find the means. Especially when this is the thing that causes the problem in the first place.

 

EMMA

Why do you care about fossil fuels?

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

I shouldn’t like the Thames to lap my skirts.

 

EMMA

No.

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

It’s wearying being a statue. Almost as wearisome as being part of a campaign. No, more so: I’d take any divisive meeting over another morning with pidgeons and people poking at me with their selfie sticks. It’s sad to stand here and watch the rights we fought for come to mean nothing. What does it matter if women can vote if all the politicians peddle the same unbridled capitalism that will push our fine planet to the brink.

 

EMMA

I thought you opposed radical economic change.

 

STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST

Plenty of time to rethink things when you’re still. And I’d like my great great great granddaughters to have ballot boxes to vote in.

 

THE STATUE OF EMMELINE PANKHURST reaches out to EMMA, a hand across history.

Advertisements