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 James Ireland
RAY. A man, 60s. He’s wearing a huge ring around his waist, like a hula hoop, 2 metres radius around him. He carries an oxygen tank - not using it. Stands far stage left.
CARA. A woman, 30s. She wears a huge ring too. She carries a bag of pasta. Stands far stage right.
[CARA waves at RAY. RAY waves back.]
CARA. Alright, dad?
RAY. How’s my princess?
CARA. Good to see you dad. It’s good to see you in person, dad.
RAY. It’s nice to see you too.
CARA. How are... things with you?
RAY. We’re doing better.
CARA. Better, that’s encouraging...?
RAY. I didn’t say that much better.
CARA. Dad, I didn’t know that Carlos had it.
RAY. You don’t look like you’re sorry.
CARA. We didn’t know it could jump to animals. No-one knew anything, and it could have been anyone. Listen, if I did something to offend you I didn’t mean it I was just
RAY. He was already coughing when you showed up. She’s devastated. Shadow was her favourite. My favourite too.
CARA. I never get to see you or mam, and I miss you, I miss you.
RAY. I asked you not to come.
CARA. Dad, Carlos might be dying from it too.
Dad. Say something.
RAY. Is that why I’ve got this for you, princess? [The oxygen tank.]
CARA. Dad, I need your help dad.
I brought you this to say thank you or say sorry, I don’t think I know which one. [The pasta.]
RAY. I’m sorry.
Put it down in the centre.
CARA. I need a hug from you dad.
RAY. I know.
CARA. [Moves to the centre and places the pasta down.]
Can we take these off and can I have a hug, dad?
RAY. No, pet, we can’t.
RAY. Go back over there and I’ll place this down. We need to follow the rules this time, pet.
[CARA retreats. RAY to the centre.
Places oxygen tank down.
Bends to pick up the pasta - the ring he’s wearing is in the way and he can’t reach the floor.]
[He tries again.
CARA. You need to-
RAY. I’m fine.
[He tries again.
CARA. Try - [She mimes bending at the knees instead of the hips.]
RAY. Yes, okay, I got it.
[RAY bends at the knees. He picks it up.
He retreats - and the edge of the ring knocks over the oxygen tank.
It rolls in a circle.
He chases it and every time he bends down to pick it up he knocks it away. It stops against the back wall of the stage.
He goes to it. He bounces off the wall and falls over.]
RAY. Don’t I’m alright.
[He slowly gets himself up. He tries to get near the oxygen tank. He can’t.]
I - can’t
[He gives up and retreats to SR.]
CARA. It’s okay, dad. Don’t worry.
[CARA goes to the oxygen tank. She can’t get near it.]
Dad, I can’t -
What do we do? Carlos-
RAY. I know, darling. I -
CARA. If Carlos-
Me and Guiherme-
[RAY goes over to the oxygen tank. Before he gets there he bounces off CARA. Neither of them can get near anything.]
RAY. Sorry, if you-
CARA. I’m trying to.
RAY. No, see, what we need to do is
[They bounce off each other and the wall. They fall over. It’s hopeless. Somewhere in the middle they’re laughing. They roll around on the floor. World forgotten for just a moment, they’re laughing.]
James is a non-binary writer (they/them) from London and Dublin. They are about to graduate from the Writing MA programme at the Royal College of Art. Recent writing includes Rajesh and Naresh, a romantic comedy created from workshops with members of the queer South Asian community in London (Theatre Deli, London, 2019), and Show Me Your Wallets, an anticapitalist comedy for the climate crisis (Scene + Heard Festival, 2020). James is interested in grounded historical research, de-centred culture, and marrying investigative stories with surrealism, sharply cutting comedy, and entertainment.
Fishamble: The New Play Company is supported by