A FEW WORDS ABOUT 350 PLAYS

This website contains 350 tiny plays that I wrote between the Climate Summits in Peru (2014) and Paris (2015). Here is a selection of some of pieces that have been performed/I plan to work further on (more info about organization at the bottom of the post!):

play #14: STOP ferguson protests + environmental racism PLAY 14

play #21: BREAKING UP WITH BATMAN batman + robin PLAY 21

play #23: THE VEIL money + secrets + sex PLAY 23

play #37: CHARGE! irish water + climate change PLAY 37

play #59: LEAKS chelsea manning + oil leaks PLAY 59

play #60: UNIQUORRRRNS VERSUS COVENANTS uniquorrrrns + revolution PLAY 60

play #62: JANUARY CAN BE DARK SO HERE IS A PLAY ABOUT THE SUN sun + saluting PLAY 62

play #93: BEFORE THE TEMPEST sycorax + caliban PLAY 93

play #165: THE BOY WHO COULD HEAR THE SEA a boy + shells + superpowers can be sad PLAY 165

play #175: LIMA anjali + zac play PLAY 175

play #190: HOW’S YOUR HEAD? adam smith + james watt + perversion PLAY 190

play #192: THE BALLAD OF CRUDELLA DA SPILL oil + mermaids PLAY 192

play #225: CONNECTIONS strangers + std clinic PLAY 225

play #241: WE MUST PROTECT THE FREE MOVEMENT OF DOLLS migration + dolls PLAY 241

play #274: AND IN THE RUINS OF BROKEN GLASS AND MIXED METAPHORS, WE SIT greenhouse + questions PLAY 274

play #293: THE KINDNESS OF CROCODILES OR ANTIGONE PART TEN antigone + oil PLAY 293

play #335: HOW TO (UN)MAKE AN AMERICAN FLAG star spangled banner + unstitching history PLAY 335

play #344: LOSS AND DAMAGE, A PLAY IN PIECES the paris accord + gaps.  PLAY 344

Some stitch together into what might be larger pieces based on themes (Keystone; plays in a greenhouse) or characters (Anjali + Zac plays; Antigone plays). Most are sketches, all are works in progress. The comments section has been turned off from the start but you can reach me through leaving a comment at my artist website (www.darraghmartin.com) if you wish.

The ‘ARKHIVE’ tab has all the plays + a short description in reverse order.

The ‘categories’ section (visible if you click the white folder on the top left corner and scroll down) also sorts the plays into some loose themes.

And down below, into infinity, are the plays in reverse order…

PLAY #320: IMAGINARY FIREWORKS (NOV 8)

The future.

SKY-WATCHERS look up at a dark and quiet sky.

SKY-WATCHER #1 is a fair bit older than SKY-WATCHER #2.

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

Sparkles that trail through the sky like dust.

A big one that fizzes up like a rocket.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Colours?

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

Red and green and gold.

One huge blue one.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Sound?

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

Pops and crackles.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Huh. What about a dragon?

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

We didn’t used to have dragons.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Let’s say. A big pink and purple dragon eating the other ones.

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

That’s not how it was. You were too young.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Still. How it can be. Why not?

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

No. More like a sparkle that holds in the air and fades. You wouldn’t understand.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Not sure I want to.

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

You don’t understand how beautiful it was. All the world lit up, crack after pop after crackle and then, when you thought it was over, the biggest one, stretching across the whole sky, gold!

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Can’t get much bigger than a giant pink dragon. Bet it would have eaten it up.

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

No. That’s not how it was.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

So you say.

 

SKY-WATCHERS look up at the dark and quiet sky.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

And they didn’t hit the planes?

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

No.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

How come?

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

I don’t know. Science?

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Huh.

 

SKY-WATCHERS look up at the sky.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Still. Now there’s space for more things.

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

You could look at it that way.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Losses can also be gains.

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

That’s what they teach you.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Space for all sorts of things now.

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

Like misery?

 

Pause.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

Imagination. I think there’s enough space for imagination.

 

Pause.

 

SKY-WATCHER #1

Think I preferred it as it was.

 

SKY-WATCHER #2

You would.

 

SKY-WATCHERS watch the dark and quiet sky.

PLAY #318: HOPE IS A MANY STRINGED THING (NOV 6)

Kiribati.

GIRL is stringing shells together on a beach.

SISTER enters.

 

SISTER

Come on in for dinner.

 

GIRL

How far away is New Zealand?

 

SISTER

We’ve gone over this.

 

GIRL

How many pieces of string?

 

SISTER

More than we have.

 

GIRL

More than a hundred?

 

SISTER

You know we’re not going back. So don’t be talking about it. You know it makes them sad.

 

GIRL

I think the shells will make the string stronger. These ones float.

 

SISTER

Five thousand kilometers. That’s how far it is. Or a world away, it may as well be, now.

 

GIRL

Something that can be measured: that helps. That’s all we’re doing here, right? Measuring how high the water comes. How many years before we have to move. How many degrees warmer things can get. Why not measure out a telephone string?

 

SISTER

Maybe we should try and measure your madness: that’s something without a bottom.

 

GIRL

Or how mean sister can be. Something else that goes beyond numbers.

 

Pause.

 

 

SISTER

You’ll make new friends.

 

GIRL

Who I’ll have to say bye to in a few years?

 

SISTER

Who knows what’ll happen.

 

GIRL

Hope. That’s another thing that can’t be measured out in inches. You’d think it was a flimsy thing, broken like string, but when you have lots of bits tied together, there’s no end to what they can do, how far they can reach.

 

SISTER is lost for words, so GIRL collects her string, skips towards the house.

SISTER looks out at the sea for a moment, follows.

PLAY #317: THE STRING BETWEEN US (NOV 5)

New Zealand.

MOTHER is gardening.

GIRL enters from the house.

 

GIRL

How far away is Kiribati again?

 

MOTHER

We’ve been over this.

 

GIRL

I don’t remember the number.

 

MOTHER

It’s big.

 

GIRL

Bigger than a hundred?

 

MOTHER

A thousand. Five thousand kilometers.

 

Pause.

 

GIRL

How many pieces of string in a kilometer?

 

Pause.

 

MOTHER

We’ve been over this. You know she can’t come back.

 

GIRL

I could make a phone like we used to have between our windows. It would just needs lots of bits of string.

 

MOTHER

You’ll make new friends.

 

GIRL

And then we can still talk to each other every day.

 

MOTHER

And you can Skype again.

 

GIRL

And then when the water rises, maybe she can come back. They’ll have to let her back in then. They can use the string as a rope bridge and they can all shimmy across it and nobody will stop them and they can move back next door and then it won’t even be one kilometer away and I won’t need any string at all.

 

Pause.

 

MOTHER

Do you want to call her again?

 

GIRL

Yes.

 

MOTHER

Okay. But you know that we’ll have to stop this soon. She’s not coming back-

 

GIRL

Not until the Court overturns the case. Or I get enough string.

 

MOTHER

Not till then, no.

 

GIRL

Till then, then.

 

GIRL walks back into the house, happy at a ‘then’ on a horizon she can see.

PLAY #316: PLENTY OF SPACE TO QUESTION IN PRISON (NOV 4)

The Maldives.

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES enters, followed by SPIN POP FIZZ.

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES holds out a loudspeaker.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

This is an emergency!

Please keep indoors for your own safety!

No need to assemble or consult

Trust that we know best.

 

PRESIDENT puts down loudspeaker.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

How was that?

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

Good. Firm but a touch of friendly.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

Protective?

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

Exactly.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

Emergencies are good. Show people who’s in charge.

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

Exactly.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

I could get quite used to calling a State of Emergency.

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

Best to use it sparingly. Don’t want to diminish the impact.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

No. So I’ll save the running around and screaming ‘this is an emergency’ with my hands on my head for the next one?

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

Perhaps.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

Keep the shooting in the single digits.

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

We prefer ‘collateral damage.’ Shooting is a bit brutal.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

You’re appalled? We’re not paying enough?

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

No, no. Anything is possible to spin. What one terms ‘terror’ another calls ‘valour.’ It’s just about keeping control of the story.

 

QUESTIONER enters.

 

QUESTIONER

Is there an emergency?

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

Exactly.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

Everybody should stay indoors.

 

QUESTIONER

So this government is finally acknowledging the threat of climate change?

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

I think you mean opportunity.

Everything should be kept indoors. Especially questions.

 

QUESTIONER

So if this is an emergency, the government will be releasing the previously imprisoned politicians who attempted to do something to combat climate change?

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

I don’t think that ‘emergency’ is a word to be used lightly. Certainly not in relation to a complex, slow-moving situation like global climate change.

 

QUESTIONER

Will this government be releasing Mohamed Nasheed?

Will this government be dropping the terrorism charges against a democratically elected President?

Will this government be-

 

PRESIDENT holds up the loudspeaker.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

Quiet. That is what emergencies call for. Absolute quiet on the streets. The sort of silence where you can hear the click of a gun for miles.

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

That’s a nice line. I like the image of peace and quiet.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

That’s all we’re after. The safety of our citizens.

 

QUESTIONER

Is that why you’re keeping Mohamed Nasheed safe in a prison? Is there any coincidence with the timing of the State of an Emergency and a major protest planned?

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

Prisons are great places. Plenty of space for questions there.

 

Pause.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

That’s what I like to hear.

 

QUESTIONER

Will you evacuate the prisons when the waters rise? Do you think your piles of money will be high enough to keep your backside dry when the ocean floods your mansion? Do you-

 

PRESIDENT shoots QUESTIONER dead.

Pause.

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

Some great stuff there. Something we could market prison as: a space to question! A public service, really, to keep these sorts of unsettling questions contained, I think it would be…

 

Pause.

 

PRESIDENT OF EMERGENCIES

That’s what I like to hear. Absolute quiet. Silence is more valuable than gold, is that not the saying?

 

SPIN POP FIZZ

Exactly.

 

Silence.

PLAY #310: FUTURE GHOSTS ARE RISING UP (OCT 29)

A fossil fuel company.

BOSS sits at desk facing ASSISTANT.

 

BOSS

I want the Board on the line. No, make that the Chief of Police. No, the Mayor! No, make it the President!

 

ASSISTANT

Okay.

 

BOSS

Or all of them on different lines. Just get me somebody to shout at!

 

ASSISTANT

Happy to do my job.

 

BOSS

Wait! Is there any more news?

 

ASSISTANT

Another five rigs are-

 

BOSS

Don’t tell me. I can tell by the way the phone is lighting up. It’s not good.

 

ASSISTANT

It couldn’t be termed that, no.

 

BOSS

Has anybody sensible said anything about the situation yet? Any practical cause for the blocking of the wells?

 

ASSISTANT

The same theory-

 

BOSS

No more of this ghost nonsense! I want to ban the word.

 

ASSISTANT

Noted.

 

BOSS

I mean, how can there be ghosts stopping the flow?

 

ASSISTANT

What we don’t know about the supernatural is considerable.

 

BOSS

You don’t believe this, do you? Don’t tell me: I’d have to fire you.

 

ASSISTANT

You’ve already fired me three times today.

 

BOSS

Well, soon somebody will fire me and then we’re all done.

 

Pause.

 

ASSISTANT

Would you feel better if you had somebody important to shout at?

 

BOSS

Yes. But wait…you don’t believe that there are ghosts, do you?

 

Pause.

 

ASSISTANT

You’ve heard them.

 

BOSS

What!?

 

ASSISTANT

That’s why you’re asking. Because you’ve heard the ghosts.

 

BOSS

I’ve said I wanted that word banned. And I won’t support this theory: how on earth could ghosts stretch themselves across pipes and derricks, it bears absolutely no relationship to anything else we’ve known and it’s just scare-mongering and ridiculous, really, when we haven’t even harmed that many people in the past.

 

ASSISTANT

They’re from the future. The ghosts are from the future.

 

Pause.

 

BOSS

No.

 

ASSISTANT

Who did you hear?

 

BOSS

Ghosts can’t be from the future.

 

ASSISTANT

Your son?

 

BOSS

This isn’t a Dickens story.

 

ASSISTANT

Your daughter?

 

BOSS

And ghosts aren’t real, anyway.

 

ASSISTANT

Kimberly, it was Kimberly.

 

BOSS

Don’t say her name!

 

ASSISTANT

I heard Joe. For sure. That’s what he’ll sound like in twenty years time. No doubt.

 

Pause.

 

BOSS

Was he angry at you?

 

ASSISTANT

Future Joe?

 

BOSS

Yes.

 

ASSISTANT

Yes. Kimberley?

 

BOSS

Yes. Did you tell him?

 

ASSISTANT

No.

 

Pause.

 

ASSISTANT

They’re intervening. That’s what people say. It’s not as if there aren’t people in the present who are affected by what we do. Not like you can’t see climate change out of every window in the world. But it’s not enough. That’s why the ghosts are coming.

 

BOSS

It’s not too late for us to fight them.

 

ASSISTANT

No.

 

BOSS

There must be scientists with ways. Whatever these forces are: ectoplasmic rays, there must be a way to stop them.

 

ASSISTANT

You want me to call the Ghostbusters?

 

BOSS

There’ll be a way. It isn’t too late.

 

ASSISTANT

It’s not.

 

ASSISTANT stays looking at BOSS who looks at the flashing phone.

 

 

 

PLAY #306: I’M NOT VOLDEMORT (OCT 25)

JOURNALIST types.

SHADOW hovers behind.

 

JOURNALIST

Why are you always looking over my shoulder?

 

SHADOW

I’m your shadow. Where else am I supposed to look?

 

JOURNALIST

I don’t like people looking at me like that.

Scrutinizing.

 

SHADOW

That’s supposed to be your job?

 

JOURNALIST

Exactly.

I’m not doing anything wrong.

 

SHADOW

I didn’t say that you were.

 

JOURNALIST

You never say anything

You just hover behind me

watching

breathing

thinking dark thoughts

 

SHADOW

I’m your shadow, what am I supposed to do?

 

JOURNALIST

Of the hundreds of stories we covered last year

Only a handful were about them.

 

SHADOW

Impressive.

 

JOURNALIST

It’s naïve to think that other journalism is objective

that corporations aren’t pulling the strings

that Murdoch doesn’t have things he wants covered

at least with this there is clarity:

they pay for the newspaper

I produce the content.

The things people say

it isn’t fair

you’d swear I was Voldemort.

 

SHADOW

You shouldn’t read internet comments

and Voldemort’s not so bad

just misunderstood.

I’d pick Slytherin over Griffyndor anyday

all those pesky heroes and team spirit

irritating.

 

JOURNALIST

I don’t want to be Slytherin

I want to be Hufflepuff

I’m just a regular journalist trying to do my job.

 

SHADOW

Just a regular hufflepuff huffling along.

 

JOURNALIST

They’re who I write about

for the most part

Stories about regular people

Local news that the national media

Who has no problem pissing all over me for selling out

Would never feature in their paper.

We need local news

the government won’t fund it

why shouldn’t corporations?

 

SHADOW

There is your son.

 

JOURNALIST

I care about my son.

That’s why I do this.

I was laid off

Everybody in journalism was laid off

I do this to support my son.

 

SHADOW

There is the question of what your son will do

in thirty years time.

The question of climate change.

 

JOURNALIST

I care about global warming

I worry about it

but I have to make a living

I’m no Voldemort.

 

SHADOW

You don’t have to tell me

I’m your shadow

not your conscience.

I’m just a follower

there’s nothing I can do about anything.