Photograph by Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan
On Sunday 24th June 2018, Fishamble and Irish Rail partnered to create a day-long playwriting workshop between Dublin and Bray called #PlaysonaTrain, taking place on train carriages and in Bray itself. 9 playwrights were chosen from a social media competition, and by the end of the day these playwrights had each written a short play based on trains. Here is the first of the 9 plays, My Lovely Molly written by Christopher Galvin.
MY LOVELY MOLLY
A train carriage. Two women are sitting across from each other. The older woman, MOLLY, in her 70’s, is all dressed up. Across from her sits THERESE, her daughter. Therese is in her forties. She’s dressed all in black. She looks like she has been crying. The sound of the train moving can be heard underneath their conversation.
MOLLY: It’ll be grand.
THERESE: It won’t.
MOLLY: Ah it won’t so. But you’ll be grand.
THERESE: I won’t.
MOLLY: You will.
MOLLY: I’ll be meeting your father soon.
MOLLY: Yes. I’m going to give him a right good kicking.
MOLLY: And a clatter round the ear.
THERESE: He won’t like that.
MOLLY: No. He won’t. He’ll get it all the same.
The train gently rocks beneath them.
MOLLY: God black doesn’t suit you at all. You look so dour.
THERESE: Are you kidding me?
MOLLY: Look at what I’m wearing.
MOLLY waves her legs, delighted with herself.
MOLLY: I couldn’t give a shite.
THERESE: Pity that wasn’t always the way.
MOLLY: Ah, pity sure.
THERESE looks around the carriage. She spies something above.
THERESE (musing): Did you like Paul Simon?
THERESE: Paul Simon?
MOLLY: Never heard of him.
THERESE: You know. ‘Graceland’, ‘Shining Like a National Guitar’, ‘Call Me Al’?
THERESE: Simon and Garfunkel? ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’? ‘Scarborough Fair’?
MOLLY: Oh… Art Garfunkel! I know him. Great stuff.
MOLLY: Big bowl of hair on him. Lovely singer.
THERESE: I don’t…
MOLLY: Of course I know who Paul Simon is! (laughs) Why do you ask?
THERESE nods at the ad she spied overhead.
THERESE: He’s in concert here next week.
MOLLY: You should go.
THERESE: I’m not in the mood.
MOLLY: Sure you’ll be in a better mood next week.
THERESE: Do you think so?
MOLLY (sad): No.
They sit in silence for a moment. MOLLY hums then begins to sing ‘The Boston Burglar’. She sings a few bars and stops. THERESE begins to cry.
MOLLY: I hated Dickie Rock.
THERESE (through her sobs): Did he sing that song?
MOLLY: I hope not. I like that song. Dickie Rock sounded like a turkey being strangled.
THERESE: You were always an odd fish.
THERESE looks at her phone.
MOLLY: No news from your brother?
THERESE: He said he’d be there. There’s no signal to ring him. I think it gets better when we get through the
Silence for a moment.
MOLLY: I’m sorry.
The apology hangs in the air.
THERESE: It’s not your fault. Did you plan it?
MOLLY: No. No. But I thought I’d say it all the same.
THERESE: What’s it like… there?
MOLLY: Surprisingly mild. Not too hot. Not too cold.
THERESE: Just right.
MOLLY: Just right.
THERESE: I hope.
THERESE leans forward.
THERESE: I love you. You know that.
MOLLY: I know. I love you too.
The stage goes dark as they go through the tunnel. When the stage brightens again, THERESE is on her own. MOLLY is gone. THERESE’s phone rings.
THERESE: Hello Brian. Yes. Yes. I’m the next stop. I’ll meet you there. Yes. I have the eulogy prepared. I know. I know. I miss her too. The train? Quiet enough. I had company though. That passed the time.
The lights fade.
Christopher Galvin is from Croghan, County Offaly. He has a background in Theatre, TV and Film, with a BA Hons Degree in Video. He works as a short film director, writer and editor (and occasional theatre/film actor). His latest short film 'Stuck' has had a successful run on the film festival circuit and he has just self published his first book, 'Strings', a fantasy novel for children. He would highly recommend the 'Plays on a Train' Workshop. It was a creative experience with an amazing group of people.