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.
Roundabouts in the Afternoon
W. G. Silke
THE FATHER taps on a keyboard to a table; while his 9 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER sits over on the couch playing on her tablet. The father mutters to himself as he reads back over his paper; typing.
Father: (pausing) Yes, my little munchkin?
Jasmine: What’s a pillager?
Father: It’s a person who robs people, usually as part of a group.
Jasmine: Like pillagers?
Father: Exactly. How’d you know that?
Jasmine: They’re in Minecraft.
Father: Oh yeah. I forgot I got you that. (Returning to his report) Now, let’s see. Where were we.. Oh yeah (typing)..
Father: (Still typing) Yes buddy?
Jasmine: Are wolves a bit like dogs?
Father: Yes, they are very like dogs. In fact, they’re part of the same family - canines. But you wouldn’t have one as a pet.
Jasmine: Is that cause they eat people?
Father: (Pausing) They don’t eat people..I mean, not naturally. But they’re wild and hunt in packs. So, like, they wouldn’t be happy being alone in a home this this. (Back to work) Final quarter..final quarter? There you are. (Typing again) Happy now?
Jasmine: Yes dada.
Father: (pauses; sotto) Last quarter..last quarter. Aha..(typing)
Father: (slight irritation) Eh, yes Jasmine.
Jasmine: What’s a virus?
Father: (All stop; needing to address this) It’s, eh, a really small organism that needs a body, called a host, to create other copies of itself.
Jasmine: So, why does it want to hurt us?
Father: Well, it’s doesn’t really want to hurt us buddy, but it can create many copies of itself in our bodies, and sometimes our bodies can’t always fight these off. Imagine a boxer walked into your lungs, and cloned other boxers, and then, they all started punching you from the inside? Well, that’s how a person can feel when they’re sick with one.
Jasmine: And do they go away?
Father: Eventually, yes they do. Okay?
Father: Any more questions buddy?
Jasmine: No. Thanks, dada.
Father: Okay. Great. I’ll just get back to my work then. (Checking where he was; sotto) Below-the-line..residuals..(typing)
His phone buzzes in his pants.
Father: (Answering) Yes John? I’m nearly there. Yes, I know the time. Understood. Okay, thanks.
He puts aside his phone on the table.
Father: (Sotto) Man.. (typing and clicking intensely throughout).
Father: Yes Jasmine..
Jasmine: Is mommy still working?
Father: Eh, yes, she is.
Jasmine: So why can’t she come home?
Father: Remember buddy, she’s out helping sick people, and..she needs to be there day and night..
Jasmine: But doesn’t she have a cell phone?
Father: She does.. She sends you messages on Messenger doesn’t she?
Jasmine: But why can’t we call her?
Father: (Clicking) Cause..we just can’t, okay? She’s too busy and she’s not allowed home right now (huffs).
Jasmine: So can she not call?
Father: Eh..she did. Yesterday, remember? But I guess she must be really busy today..
Father: (A pause; realizing) Heeeey..
He moves swiftly from his desk; sits beside her on the couch; tears streaming down her face.
Father: (Hugging her) Hey.. It’s okay.
Jasmine: (Crying) I w - want m – mommy..
Father: I know. I know buddy.. She’ll be back soon, okay. I promise.
Father: See? That’s probably her now? Let me get it. Okay?
Father: (Going over; taking up his phone) Heeey! We were just talking about how much Jasmine is soooo missing you here..
Female Voice: (urgent) I’m sorry Mr. Driscoll to use your wife’s phone like this, but this Dr. Hines at the Mater..
Award-winning documentary film producer & screenwriter. Previously had a short plays produced at Trinity Players Theatre; and won the RTÉ-Galway Film Centre Short Script Awards. Currently lecturing in English in Saudi Arabia.