PLAY #204: ALL SHADES OF SPARKLE (JULY 4)

FIRE and WORK are painting the sky.

WORK is slow, doing a base of grey.

FIRE adds flashes of colour.

 

WORK

A good night.

 

FIRE

Shepherds’ delight.

 

WORK

Victories.

 

FIRE

Lancashire says fuck you to fracking.

 

WORK

Episcopal Church divesting from fossil fuels.

 

FIRE

Rainbows.

 

WORK

Pays off. The slog.

 

FIRE

Don’t have time for slogging.

 

WORK

Bit by bit.

 

FIRE

Need flashes of fire.

 

WORK

Small victories stitched together.

 

FIRE

Protestors scorching power with fury.

 

WORK

Until we have something beautiful.

FIRE

Until we’ve burnt through the other side of the world.

They continue painting the sky.

 

WORK

Still. Room for both.

 

FIRE

I suppose.

 

They paint.

 

WORK

Nice to have victories, sometimes. To feel the brightness of the future.

 

FIRE

Past’s in the ground.

 

WORK

Keep it there.

 

FIRE

Future’s up high. All sorts of breezes and shades.

 

WORK

If we can keep it up, the momentum, then…

 

FIRE

It’s all shades of sparkle.

 

They stand back, look at the sky they’ve been painting, smile.

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PLAY #185: WHERE EVERYBODY IS THE JOKER (JUNE 12)

USA, 2015.

Two students working together.

SIGN-MAKERS making signs, posters of fossil fuel monsters: large derricks with fangs, monstrous lumps of coal, trickles of tar…

Behind, signs about divestment.

 

SIGN-MAKER #1

How do I draw natural gas?

 

SIGN-MAKER #2

Huh?

 

SIGN-MAKER #1

It’s easier to draw things for coal and oil. But it’s hard to make a picture of natural gas.

 

SIGN-MAKER #2

Maybe we shouldn’t.

 

SIGN-MAKER #1

It’s a fossil fuel!

 

SIGN-MAKER #2

Yeah, but it’s not as bad as coal.

 

SIGN-MAKER #1

We’re still asking the university to divest from gas.

 

SIGN-MAKER #2

Yeah, but if they just divested from coal that would be something. I mean, coal is the super-villain of all this. Coal is like the Sandman and natural gas is more like Venom or something. Or like coal is the Joker and natural gas is, I don’t know, Mr. Freeze.

 

SIGN-MAKER #1

A good climate villain.

 

SIGN-MAKER #2

Yeah, bad, but sort of a joke really. Not the most immediate threat to take out.

 

SIGN-MAKER #1

But shouldn’t we make all fossil fuels out to be the Joker? If divestment is only symbolic anyway, then shouldn’t it cast all fossil fuels out to be monsters?

 

SIGN-MAKER #2

Sure, but how are you going to draw that?

 

SIGN-MAKER #1

I’m working on it.

PLAY #161: OH, NATURAL (MAY 18)

A runway.

Lots of OLD FOSSILS – models in dirty oily costumes.

THE NEW EMPEROR sashays down the runway, naked, smiles for cameras.

 

THE NEW EMPEROR

everybody’s divesting from the dirty fossil fuels

tar sands

coal

even regular old oil is getting a bad rep

but nobody’s trying to take their stock out of natural gas

because I’m the

hottest

ticket you can find

so scoop me up while you can

otherwise

you’ll regret it!

 

THE NEW EMPEROR sashays back down the runway, OLD FOSSILS shooting dirty looks.

 

OLD FOSSIL #1

Busted!

 

OLD FOSSIL #2

Broken!

 

OLD FOSSIL #1

the bright young things always turn the ugliest in the end.

 

OLD FOSSIL #2

They’ll see!

 

OLD FOSSIL #1

Oh, yeah!

 

OLD FOSSILS cackle, exit.

PLAY #160: CUE THE POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE (MAY 16)

A graduation ceremony: students walking up to collect diplomas.

POMPER OF CERMONY addresses the audience.

 

POMPER OF CEREMONY

We are delighted to send 2015’s crop of brilliant students into the world, ready to triumph. You’ll be happy to know that this is our greenest crop of students ever – the gowns they are sporting are made up of 100% recycled water bottles!

 

STUDENT #1

Wait, but what about fossil fuel divestment? Haven’t you failed to do anything about that for the last three years, despite requests from students?

 

STUDENT #2

Yeah, this is bullshit! How can we have a happy future with climate change?

 

STUDENT #1

Why do you continue to fund the very industry that will make

 

POMPER OF CEREMONY

Keep moving along now, don’t forget to go through the green-wash!

 

STUDENTS are pushed along, goes through a large contraption with lots of green bristles that look like it belongs in a car-wash.

Sputtering sounds, the whirring of bristles.

STUDENTS #1 & #2 emerge.

 

STUDENT #1

Wait, what was I saying?

 

STUDENT #2

I think you were talking about how awesome these recycled robes are.

 

STUDENT #1

Oh. Yeah. They are awesome!

 

POMPER OF CEREMONY

That’s exactly right: the perfect response from our greenest graduates ever! They’re sure to be our most successful group ever too, lots of greenbacks in sustainable development. Let’s hear a big round of applause for the class of 2015!

 

 

PLAY #159: DON’T JUMP, DIG (MAY 15)

The UK.

A cliff-face

LEADER OF LIGHT stands at the edge and speaks into a megaphone.

 

LEADER OF LIGHT

the city’s pension funds are about security

we will not be pressured into divesting

from the fossil fuels

that are essential to keeping our city lit.

 

we will not be leaping

off a dramatic cliff-face

under my watch.

 

if we want energy security

then we must use our own resources

no stone will be unfracked

so that our city can remain lit.

 

WORKERS enter and start to dig.

LEADER OF LIGHT applauds.

 

the fracking industry

will not develop

without our investment

not just in money

but in belief.

 

I believe in a bright future

where

pension funds are not making news

the home-grown fracking industry is a bridge to prosperity

our city will not have to twist to the demands of others

not a single light will have to be turned off

and every bulb in our city

will flash success!

 

WORKERS continue to dig.

PLAY #157: JUST INVESTMENTS (MAY 13)

Scotland, 2015.

A stone building that could only belong in an elite university.

A loudspeaker is attached outside.

 

Large jars filled with different liquids and solids (oil, coal, gas) are arranged outside.

DIRECTOR OF SPINNING, a slick PR exec, stands outside, directing WORKERS.

 

DIRECTOR OF SPINNING

So these ones are really bad, we won’t be taking any of these.

(WORKERS remove tar sands jar)

And yes, none of these either.

These, we’ll keep.

 

The loudspeaker crackles – it does this from time to time.

 

LOUDSPEAKER

One of our concerns was what many politely call ‘climate justice’ but can be put more bluntly as the easy privilege of the developed world in calling for an end to fossil fuel use after we have used them for centuries to ensure the supply of our basic needs and power our economic growth.

 

DIRECTOR OF SPINNING

These too, a definite keep.

We care about the local economy.

And, more importantly, we care about the stability of the world.

We, the rich, have a responsibility to keep our large endowment invested in the fossil fuel industry.

The profits we receive are a byproduct of our altruism.

Some call it ‘climate justice.’

We call it good sense.

 

LOUDSPEAKER

One of our concerns was what many politely call ‘climate justice’ but can be put more bluntly as the easy privilege of the developed world in calling for an end to fossil fuel use after we have used them for centuries to ensure the supply of our basic needs and power our economic growth.

 

DIRECTOR OF SPINNING

Yes, pick up these ones and twirl them around.

(WORKERS pick up the jars of coal, gas etc.)

Yes, that’s it.

This is a complex issue.

Keep spinning them around until everybody sees how right our decision is.

(WORKERS spin the jars)

How righteous our decision is!

 

WORKERS keep spinning the jars.

DIRECTOR OF SPINNING smiles.

PLAY #114: THE PORTRAIT OF DEAN DORIAN (MARCH 25)

A plush University room in the United States.

UNIVERSITY TOUR-GUIDE leads a small group of admiring onlookers.

Everybody admires the portrait of the Dean – a handsome, smiling man, the kind you would trust with your children, your money, your organs.

 

UNIVERSITY TOUR GUIDE

This University fully supports sustainable development

 

THE SABOTEUR

while funding climate chaos.

 

THE SABOTEUR jumps out from the group and leaps on top of a mahogany desk.

Gasps from all, not least the tour-guide.

From the desk, THE SABOTEUR pulls up the portrait of the smiling dean, revealing another one behind.

 

This portrait is of the same man but with grey hair, a haggard visage.

There is a strange dark tinge to his skin, a swirling oily vortex where his previously trim suit had been.

Silence.

The odd gasp.

Silence.

 

THE SABOTEUR

A relentless sun offers no refuge for shadows.

 

THE SABOTEUR sticks an orange square on the portrait, jumps into the crowd.

TOUR-GUIDE looks at crowd, unsure what to do.