HOMING by Julia Marks
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.
By Julia Marks
This is intended for six actors--3 male, 3 female. Each line of text indicates a separate line of
dialogue. Indented lines are individual thoughts, and un-indented lines are collective thoughts.
Lines can be divided as you like between the actors.
The danger brought the children home.
We came crawling back from our separate cities,
Heads held high as we reported on
The commute to work
The weather getting warmer
How we’ve been eating oatmeal all week
We shelter in the only bar still open in our little town--
Members only, but a fiver for lifetime entry.
One of us, we don’t remember who,
Paid the fee last year.
The bouncer--self-titled--knows us all from school anyway,
Even if we do not,
He’s been here all this time while we left.
We pretend to recognize him,
For his sake and ours,
And after all,
We’re back here now, too.
We point to names we recognize,
carved into the table.
The streets, out the window, are empty,
Even though the streetlights have just come on.
They’ve gotten new covers.
We’re young enough, still, to have jobs with titles--
But old enough to be thinking of transitioning to something new,
Because the management is shit,
And we’re starting to think about benefits.
(we don’t mention that we can barely afford next month’s rent/
that our job doesn’t offer salary/
that we can’t imagine the luxury of a Kitchen Aid mixer/
and we might not even be sure we want that)
Safety in numbers, we press closer together in our booth
As more of us return.
My childhood crush is here, stupid boy, who turned out to be hated by everyone but me
My grade-school science partner avoids me as much as I avoid him
The girl in the corner has a child at home, what is he, six now? What is she doing alone
and drunk by the bathrooms?
We take turns with our stories:
I remember when we were eight, you let your dog pull your scooter and you fell and
broke your arm.
I remember when we were fourteen and you jumped out the window of our classroom.
I remember when you got so drunk at graduation that you fainted in the sun.
When the barman kicks us out, I stop to buy overpriced cigarettes from the vending
We spill out into the streets,
We don’t remember why we’re there,
Or gotten too drunk to care.
We’ve forgotten why we ever wanted this to end.
We know there have never been any cabs here,
So we walk,
Like we always did,
I never noticed that she grew curves.
I never heard that he’d been arrested freshman year.
In our shifting patterns that can’t be formulated,
I wasn’t there when he came out to his parents and they told him to leave.
in the road because we know no cars are coming.
I never knew that she liked [ Band name] too,
And maybe if I’d know we would’ve stayed in touch.
As the night sets in, we realize we can see the stars.
you can’t see the stars in my city like this
We thought we might never live in a place where you can always see the stars again
And the danger sets in
Because we have come home.
I bought the cigarettes for myself but I pass them around
We’ve all long since abandoned our smoking habits
But the ritual comes back to us the same,
And here we are.
(We don’t admit to anyone but ourselves that we should’ve been more careful with that word)
It’s hard to admit we are happier here.
Our town is still singing the same songs.
We are learning to sing with it.
Julia Marks is an actor and theatre-maker originally from South Carolina. She graduated from the Gaiety School of Acting in 2019, and previously received a BA in Theatre from the College of Charleston. She is a founding member of iii States Collective, a producing company focused on challenging theatrical form and expectations. They recently staged their first original work, Cove Creek Boys and Summer Girls, at the Scene and Heard Festival 2020, which was her professional writing and acting debut. You can find her on Instagram at @iiistates or @theconfessionrooms.
Just wanted to say how beautifully this resonates. Thank you
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