The New Friday by Grace Collender
Mora, 15, sits on her bedroom floor with a “Strike for Climate” sign.
Mora: I sit in my room and she calls me -
Mam and Mora: MORA! MORA! MORA!
Mora: But I sit here. Waiting. Doing nothing really, let’s face it. But something, still. Striking.
A screen is projected onto Mora’s face and the blank wall behind her. Greta Thunberg speech plays. Mora looks forward, as if watching:
Greta: “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope?”--
Mam: (from downstairs) Will you turn that thing off!
Mora: (to audience) She doesn’t understand. (shouting to Mam) You don’t understand!
Mam runs upstairs and pounds on the door. Mora pauses video.
Mam: We’re not doing this again. Get up, you’re going in.
Mora: I’m saving the world?
Mam opens door.
Mam: Well then I’m calling the Guards.
Mora: The Guards.
Mam: Up. Over my dead body are you going to piss your future down the sink.
Mora looks at her and plays the Greta Thunberg video in response:
Greta: “Why should I be studying for a future that soon will be no more when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save that future.”
Mora pauses video.
Mam: It’s me that’ll need saving after listening to all you little snowflakes.
Mora: (deadpan) Soon there’ll be no snowflakes. It’ll be too hot. And all the metaphorical ones will be dead.
Mam: Well then I’ll be happy. My tan needs a good top up. Now get up.
Mam leaves. Mora presses play on the video. Full volume. She barricades the door with a chair. Mam struggles to get back in.
Greta: “Some people say that Sweden is just a small country and that it doesn’t matter what we do. But I think that if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could all do together if you wanted to.”
Mam: You do know if you miss more than 20 days of school --
Mora: Mam, this is important --
Mam: I can literally go to jail --
Mora: Did you know that Ireland didn’t meet their 2020 EU emission targets and now we have to pay up to €500 million annually in compensation?
Mam: Did you know you need a Leaving Cert to make money?
Mora: Did you know Ireland ranks worst in the EU for climate action? Did you know that climate change already causes 150,000 deaths every year and rising? Did you know we literally have 10 years to sort all of this out or we’ll drown and burn and die?
Mam: Why are you doing this to me?
Mora: I’m doing this for you.
Beat. Mam deflates and goes downstairs.
Mora: (to audience) I dream of Fridays being like any other day. I’d get to go to school and not worry about problems that adults should be dealing with. I’d get to worry about my future, not whether or not I’ll have one. I’d get to plan to have a family and not worry that my child will be born into a world that will die. I’d get to go to ALDI and not see a “Not Yet Recyclable” sign. I’d get to know that my world is safe, that my family is safe, that I am safe. And until then, this is the new Friday.
Mam puts a glass of water and toast at the bedroom door. She leaves for work.
Grace Collender is an actor and writer. Her recent acting work includes productions with The Abbey Theatre, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Cork Midsummer Festival, BBC and Screen Ireland. Grace’s undergraduate essay concerning the work of Caryl Churchill won the Regional Global Undergraduate Award 2019. She is represented by The Susannah Norris Agency.
Fishamble: The New Play Company is supported by