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 Krystal Sweedman
2050. A back garden lined with wild wood trees, deciduous, twisting up to a blue sky. A young boy walks along the grass between them, holding a bundle of what looks like blankets to his chest.
GRAN, 60, is planting bulbs nearby. She catches sight of him out of the corner of her eye.
GRAN Tom dear, where are you going with your brother?
TOM To the back end
GRAN Where the foxes den is?
GRAN Heavens, why are you taking him there?
TOM So they can look after him
GRAN But that’s your Ma and Pa’s job
TOM Yes but it doesn’t have to be.
Gran approaches Tom and crouches down to him. She puts her arms out as if to take the baby, but he does not hand it over.
TOM Yesterday two fox kits were playing outside the back door. They were having so much fun, I thought they could teach him to have fun too.
GRAN Give him a few months and you’ll be able to have fun with him too.
TOM I don’t want to
GRAN you don’t?
GRAN Why not?
TOM Because he’s smelly and loud and -
GRAN and would you mind if I held him while you think of the other –
You know, your dad once felt like you.
GRAN He did, and I did too. We both had moments in our lives when we went from being the most important person in the world, to feeling like we were invisible.
For your father it was when I had your uncle, Toby.
TOM Isobaby Toby?
GRAN Where did you hear that?
TOM Dad said I was lucky I wasn’t stuck inside with the baby like he’d been when Uncle Toby was born. That I should go and play in the park with my friends if I was upset.
GRAN I see.
Your dad would have given anything to go out and play with his friends, instead, when Isobaby Toby was born, the whole world was in lockdown because a nasty virus was upsetting things.
TOM The Bat Virus.
GRAN Yes. The Bat Virus. Aren’t you a clever cookie.
TOM It wouldn’t have been that bad.
GRAN Imagine only being allowed outside to exercise: no friends, no visits to the playground, no swimming. All you can do is stay in and watch your Ma and Pa look after your brother.
TOM Did Dad hate Toby too?
She picks up a dried leaf from the ground, fiddles with it..
GRAN He definitely struggled with the change. Like you – he was no longer the centre of attention. Now your grandfather and I loved him just as much as the new baby, as your parents love you, but little Toby was so vulnerable.
She rubs the dry leaf between her fingers. It disintegrates.
For the first month of his life I was terrified I was going to break him. That one little wrong move would do irreversible damage.
Your parents are focusing on your baby brother right now, because he is fragile. Kind of like this leaf.
She shows him the fragments and then blows them onto the grass.
You wouldn’t want them to have more worries would you?
GRAN and do you think leaving him with the foxes might worry them?
TOM I guess.
Tom hands her the baby.
GRAN Yes Hunny?
TOM What happened to the Bats?
GRAN Eventually they went away, and every country where the vulnerable had been protected emerged stronger than the rest. It changed the world as we know it.
GRAN Now that is a story for an other day.
They head back towards the house.
Krystal Sweedman is a writer of words; theatre, short stories, songs, and silly little ditties to make her three month old smile. She has had plays presented as part of La Boîte Indie, Scene and Heard Festival, The Provoke Festival, and at the Loft Theatre & Metro Arts Theatre's in Brisbane. Her latest, Black Cherry was due to be presented at La Mama Theatre in Melbourne this August, and be produced as a radio play by Near FM as part of their 2020 New Drama Hour series.
Fishamble: The New Play Company is supported by