Keep your creativity flowing with Fishamble's #TinyPlayChallenge
In these challenging times, Fishamble - along with many of our colleagues in the wider Irish artistic community - is working hard to keep imaginations lively, communities engaged - and most of all offer people the opportunity of creative expression. We asked our audiences: Would you welcome the challenge of exploring your thoughts and feelings through drama? Do you have a dramatic story that you feel the urge to work out for yourself, and maybe share with your fellow citizens?
Below is one of the chosen plays from our weekly submissions.
A tiny play by Colette Cullen
A forward slash mark (/) marks the point of interruption in overlapping dialogue.
A comma on a separate line (,) indicates a pause, a rest or silence, the length of which should be determined by the context.
TWO ADULT CHARACTERS, ANY AGE, ETHNICITY, GENDER
ONE AND TWO SIT OPPOSITE AT A KITCHEN TABLE. ONE TYPES INTO A TABLET.
ONE. How did it start?
TWO. Start, don’t exactly know. Gradually I suppose.
TWO. Yeah, gradually. You know like the grass needed to be cut less and less. Which was handy to be honest.
TWO. Yeah handy. Less of a hassle. Look we were busy. Had busy lives. Work, the kids, you know, just busy.
ONE. And then?
TWO. And then it didn’t need to be cut at all.
ONE. Didn’t need to be cut at all?
TWO. Yeah, like it stopped growing completely, which to be honest was even handier.
ONE. And this was...
TWO. Can’t remember exactly. Like I said it was gradual. Look we aren’t gardeners. None of us have green fingers. The grass just stopped growing...
ONE. And then?
TWO. And then it turned into... Well you’ve seen it.
ONE. You knew about the warnings?
TWO. Sure, who didn’t? They were everywhere. On the radio, TV, social media. We got fed up listening to them. Night, noon and morning.
ONE. The seeds and bulbs. What happened to the seeds and bulbs?
TWO. I don’t know.
ONE. But you got them? They came with the rules.
TWO. We must have then.
ONE. You must have?
TWO. Yeah, you know stuff came in the door all the time then. All the time. You’d pick it up, shove it in a drawer or put it in the recycling. We did do the recycling.
ONE. You put the seeds in the recycling?
TWO. Like I said I can’t remember exactly I’m just supposing.
TWO. Yeah, like I’m trying to be helpful here.
ONE. But you knew the rules? You were aware of the rules?
TWO. Yes, we were aware of the rules. Like the warnings they were all over the place. You couldn’t switch anything on or even look at your phone without seeing them.
ONE. And you followed them? You followed the rules?
TWO. Yeah, no, not really I suppose. Well not strictly, that’s what I mean not strictly. Look we aren’t farmers. We were never into nature as such. It was just a pile of dirt to us. Out the back. More an eyesore than anything else.
ONE. An eyesore?
TWO. Yeah an eyesore.
ONE. It was soil. Soil to grow things in. Soil to grow food in. Food to eat. Food to keep us alive.
TWO. What happens now?
ONE. We’ll do tests. Scientific tests to establish when the neglect started.
ONE. Yes, neglect. That’s what the seeds were for to bring the soil back to life again.
ONE. You said you listened to the warnings. That you knew the rules.
TWO. Yeah well in a broad-brush kind of way but not in detail. We didn’t know the detail.
ONE. Then there’ll be a determination.
TWO. A determination? How long will that take?
ONE. Hard to say. There’s quite a backlog.
TWO. What do we do until then?
ONE PUTS FOUR POUCHES ONTO THE TABLE.
ONE. One for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. For each member of the household. They’ll be delivered weekly.
TWO. (EXAMINING THEM) What do they taste like?
ONE. I’ve no idea.
TWO. And liquids. What do we drink?
ONE. All your dietary requirement are in the pouches. They’ve been scientifically formulated to supply all the nutrients you need.
ONE GETS READY TO LEAVE.
TWO. Will you tell them we’re sorry? Please. Write that down that we’re sorry.
ONE PUTS THE TABLET AWAY.
ONE. Everyone’s sorry.
FAMILY TREE by Colette Cullen was long-listed for Papatanga’s New Writing Prize. She directed an extract in Scene + Heard 2019. Short plays have been performed at Theatro Technis, Tristan Bates Theatre, Jack Studio Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Cockpit Theatre, Theatre Deli and Tabard Theatre. She directed her play TENDER MERCIES in Scene + Heard 2017 and Garter Lane; YES in the 2016 Dublin Gay Theatre Festival; BLIND DATE in the 2015 Dublin Gay Theatre Festival and shortlisted RTE’s PJ O’Connor Radio Drama Awards 2015. She directed BEASTS for Collaborations 2015 in Smock Alley, Mill Theatre and Millbank Theatre.
Fishamble: The New Play Company is supported by