Take Back: America

America quote.jpg
 
 
We were overwhelmed by the response to our call out for Take Back: America. We have included as many pieces as we could in the programme, and have also inlcuded a selection below. 

With love and solidarity, Team Take Back x
 
 

Seeking Post-Election Connection,
or A Writer’s Desperate Attempt to Incorporate a Shattered-Glass Metaphor into Fucking Everything
by
Daniel Getzoff

The Morning After

I didn’t even feel the cuts until the next day. Until then, all I felt was nothing.

I am watching the election returns at my BFF Heather’s with another friend, Anthony, who is much more level-headed than Heather and me.

Barely an hour into the returns, Rachel Maddow and her comadres/compadres begin to express a sort of, er, wonder. Things are going downhill. DownHill... Down. HILL...(ary).

I am pacing around, climbing the curtains like an adolescent kitten. Anthony is perched silently on Heather’s hand-me-down Pottery Barn couch, when he isn’t on the porch exhaling vape smoke by millions of cubic liters per drag. Calling from the kitchen, Heather, who considers herself to be math-ignorant and is frustrated by the numbers, demands at various intervals, “Is it bad?” and then, “How bad?” and then, “Should I start freaking out?” I am about to answer Yes when there is an earthquake-worthy, bone-shaking SMASH behind me. Heather has dropped a 20-ounce glass full of ice into a gigantic glass bowl on a side table. The bowl has exploded.

On a night when we expected Hillary to finally smash the glass ceiling, instead broken glass covers the wood floor, the sharp pieces barely discernible from their less-threatening ice cube counterparts. While Rachel Maddow and her equally astonished MSNBC cohorts continue to stammer in the background, we silently clean up the mess. I remove the larger bits of the broken bowl. One by one I pick them up, zombie myself out the front door, and smash each mid-to-late-second-trimester-aborted-fetus-sized shard into the abyss of the recycling bin. I do this action over and over.

In the morning, in the shower, I finally feel something, the sting from evidence of my dissociation from the night before: mini-lacerations all over my hands. 

The Night After

Everyone is flipping out. I’m uncharacteristically calm. Only when everyone else is shattering to pieces around me am I a fucking Zen Master.

But I feel the stirrings of sorrow, an emotion that I try to avoid at all costs. No, not sad for the millions who will be deported, or Muslims, or children living in poverty as I should be. I am heartbroken for this woman who hungered to win so, so badly. I can’t watch her speech. I can’t face her brave smile. Her concealment. Instead, I imagine Hillary in a complete rage, shattering trays upon trays of celebratory champagne flutes meant for her victory party. I imagine her tugging at her coiffed helmet, tearing at her pantsuit. I imagine her melting down into a flood of tears, because she just couldn’t hold herself together anymore.

My sister calls to bemoan that, yes, as we feared, my dad and wicked stepmother voted for Trump. She says our father was “smug” about the victory. My father, with a queer son, a disabled daughter, and a teenaged granddaughter. My stepmother, a Latina immigrant who when she met Pops had a Pomeranian named Hillary. (Yes, after you-know-who!) Voted for Trump.

I don’t talk about politics with my dad. Now, it feels, there’s nothing else to talk about. So I don’t call him. 

Five Days After

I read an article in the LA Times entitled in all-caps “DID YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD VOTE TO ELECT DONALD TRUMP?” which pops my liberal, left-wing bubble with a shank of glass. The Times’ interactive map tells me that within a 3-block radius there are 50 people who voted for Trump. FIFTY?! That meanslet me keep the broken-glass metaphor in playamong us innocent ice cubes spilled out over the boulevards of Koreatown, minding our own beeswax, there are FIFTY fragments of broken glass ready to slice the jugulars of immigrants, queers, Muslims, Black Lives Matterers, Mexican judges, small-breasted women, and Jews who think Israel is a shitty nationalist country.

Facebook is now pissing me off! I’m pissed off at the people who call for unity, and I’m pissed off at the people who are pissed off at the people calling for unity. I hate everyone! 

3.5 Weeks After

I need connection.

I go to a rally – it’s called Bernie Unity March – in the heart of Hollywood. Thousands of Angelenos RSVPd yes to the event. It’s gonna be yuuge! No, Bernie won’t be there, the event page grumbles, but come anyway. I wake up with a chant in my head, one that we’d used in April when I participated in a week-long mass demonstration on the Capitol steps to protest money in politics:

WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN! WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN! WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!

But, the rally is a bust. Only a couple hundred show up. They say size doesn’t matter, but to me it does. Sue me, it fucking does! The puny marchers’ chanting is blah, and no one does my favorite. No, I don’t have the balls to start my own chant. What if others don’t join in? My fear of being vulnerable takes precedent over my connection to the cause, and I feel guilty.

This week marks the shattering of our democracy.

I’d been waiting for the other glass to drop, and now it’s official. Like, really, really official: The United States of America is an oil-igarchy with white billionaires grinding the remaining shards of democracy into the pavement with the heels of their Not-Made-in-America cowboy boots.

The cuts are long-gone from my hand, but my heart and soul remain in still-bleeding status, still chasing the dragons of connection and unity. Again, I try. I am invited to a Council-based gathering being held at Peace Over Violence, an amazing organization I’m lucky to be a part of. Council, I read, is a practice where a community comes together to share and listen to each other without judgment in order to dissolve barriers to cooperation. This I can get behind.

But, uh-oh, there’s a spiritual element to Council that makes me squirmy, with candle-lighting, wisdom-summoning, and objects set out in a circle. I dig my fingernails into my palms to keep from fleeing, practically drawing blood. It’s like... the glass shards from election night! (Ok, it’s not like that. ...Just wanted to bring back the metaphor). Everyone is super serious, and my compulsive go-tos (cracking jokes, glibness, sarcasm) are well out of place.

But then I remember! I can listen! I don’t have to say shit! We are, however, asked to say one word that describes us, and one word that encompasses why we are here. I am TERRIBLE with one-word anythings. I manage to say “committed” for the self-description and “connection” for what I want. I never believe I am committed enough. And saying I need connection in front of people (like right now) always invokes those what a fraud! feelings.

But I manage to drastically reduce my inner monologue and really listen. The group members are terrified and angry, and they directly express these feelings. Someone quotes Audre Lorde: “I need this terror to keep me being brave.” 

Through others’ shares I am reminded of my white, male privilege. The Council group is mostly of-color and nearly all female. Sure, my less-privileged identities are getting pundit play these days. For instance, Mike “Christian first, conservative second, Republican third” Pence, who loves gay conversion therapy and gender-from-birth-assigned public restrooms more than I love dick (well... maybe) is less than a heartbeat away from the presidency, and will surely do us in.

I leave the Council with feelings of guilt. Guilt about my self-obsessiveness. Guilt about masking my own terror and anger with glibness. Guilt about my privilege. Guilt is not useful. Audre Lorde is. 

Now-ish

So... Now I need to hit this broken glass metaphor one more time, really hard and impactful. Bring it home...trying to summon it back... Ok! I’m clearer now, like glass. ... No, no.

How about: Don’t bring a piece of broken glass to a gun fight! ... No! Guns! Or: Let’s glue back together the disparate shards of a broken system... meh. Or, get this: Community will heal the lacerations of privilege.
These suck.

Wait! Why do I have to go back to the metaphor?! Audre Lorde would say, Fuck that metaphor! Since the election, the rules of the universe don’t make sense. I now live in a world where Mitt Romney is a reasonable man! I do NOT need to tie this up with a glass ribbon. It’s messy. And I can’t spend another second trying to neaten it up.

So fuck it. Let’s just chant. I hate the sound of my voice in yelling mode, so please let’s do it together.

End.

WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN! WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN! WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN! WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN! 

 

THEATER IN 2060

By Aditi Brennan Kapil

Thank you for having me. Thank you for inviting me. To speak. I’m a little… sorry, weak start. I’ll just read it. It’s funny I wrote this before the recent election, it’s… I’m not sure how it’ll… I expected a different outcome, I suspect many of us did, back when I wrote this manifesto. I thought of it as more a cautionary tale, now... I’ll just read it.

My manifesto for theater in 2060. What theater will look like in 2060 depends largely on whether there’s a zombie apocalypse. I mean most likely there will be, according to the storytellers of our time, and it would be impossibly naïve for me to stand up here talking about 2060 without addressing it. The stories we tell speak volumes about our present moment, about our past, but also about our fears for the future, and let’s face it we’re pretty scared. Of zombies. Fast zombies, slow zombies, zombies in suits, zombies in floral print dresses, zombies eating our brains, zombies making us zombies, zombies don’t care about friendship, morals, family, the fabric of society, and they probably don’t give 2 shits about theater.

So it’s a rough time for theaters, 2060. Best we can tell, I mean we haven’t interacted with another human in a while, and news travels slow in this new world with precious few people left uninfected, nowhere to congregate, and really no desire to congregate anyway because survival is every human for themselves, I mean the moment you start to like someone they inevitably turn zombie and try to eat your brains, so why bother. But the years pass and right around 2059 let’s say, the zombies start dying off, or they’re fewer at least. And the remnants of the human race stagger out of their caves and sub-basements, start forming packs, not based on trust or anything, just strength in numbers. It’s not a society. Whatever collective memory remains of a pre-apocalyptic time when we lived in actual societies is buried deep in the inarticulate psyche of that one old blind woman muttering to herself over there, we call her Teresa-ias.

Then this one day you hear about this building in former Manchester, if you follow the river and take old Liverpool Road you’ll see it, most of the streets are gone but the path is marked with the names of long dead writers, and if you successfully navigate this maze of obscure guideposts, I mean even in 2016 they were obscure, you’ll come to The Store. That’s what they call it but there’s nothing for sale or purchase, all there is is a steady stream of stories, nothing but stories- fiction, truth, past, present, future, hopes and fears, all mashed together, uncurated other than to make space for absolutely everyone, but even that doesn’t require curating because there’s a hunger for new stories, for new imaginings, new voices, this place is our only way to imagine ourselves forward, out of this post-apocalyptic morass into some sort of future. When one story ends another begins, because more than anything we need the air to be filled with imagined worlds, jokes that bind us, communal weeping, access to the minds of 

those around us, to their brains, we need our minds in discourse with their minds, we need to stitch together the torn fabric of society. And when it’s happening, when the chemistry is really right, it’s mind blowing, epic, intellectually, viscerally, it’s like falling in love. I mean how else do you explain humans co-existing and forming societies for centuries other than that at some point we fell in love. All of us. And we decided to live together and have sex and procreate. And communicate, be in constant conversation, because people grow apart and we’re not going to be those people, we’ll keep talking, we’ll have theaters, the fabric of our society won’t fray because we’ll gather regularly for the communal act of storytelling. Or family dinner, if you want to be all nuclear about it. So in fact theater in 2060 is alive and healthful and beautiful and everything that it should be, at least in this broken down old Store in New Manchester, I can’t speak for anywhere else, the internet’s been down for years.

Ok so if there’s no zombie apocalypse between now and 2060, and let’s face it no one wants to live through a zombie apocalypse, I’m 99% certain I wouldn’t make it, I’m 99% certain none of you would make it either. Then this is harder. Like sustaining a marriage is harder than falling in love. Falling in love is fun, it’s new, every day is a discovery that feels important, it is important, you’re important. Maintaining love on the other hand is a pain in the ass, constantly paying attention, being in conversation, and you’re busy, you’re not actually that interested, besides haven’t you already heard that story like 12,000 times? We’ve got a lot of history here and I’m sorry but I already know that all you want is to take my guns, my reproductive rights, kill and mock everything I believe in, cover your tracks with deleted emails, screw you, for real, screw you, and I’m sure as hell not going to be the one moving out and leaving you to mess up our kids, I paid for half this country. We’re eating each other alive out there, hell this is the zombie apocalypse. We band together in packs for protection, we hoard resources, some have successfully isolated themselves in these high towers with enough resources that they need never come out, let’s call them the 1%. With every city on fire, every poisoned water supply, distrust grows, and all we want is some personal damn agency, it doesn’t even have to be positive agency, let it all burn, I just can’t be at the mercy of forces beyond my control anymore, I need some way to deal, to wrap my head around it, to give it meaning, a political movement, an amplified voice for my rage, anything. Sometimes the stories we tell about the future speak volumes about our present.

But then, in January 2017 let’s say, the call goes out from this Comedy Store in Manchester. And not just from here, there are theaters everywhere, we know this because the internet still works. And the theaters offer us a steady stream of stories, an alternative to eating each other alive. They offer everyone’s stories, a space in which we all coexist, a balanced social ecology, a mainstream that belongs to everyone, humanity in constant dialogue, stitching together the frayed, ripped, and ribboned fabric of our society. We devour the contents of others minds, we allow others to devour ours, we construct future worlds together. Metaphoric devouring instead of literal, it’s like there’s a zombie-vaccine and the storytellers have got it, the problem is distribution, because isn’t it always. And the problem is that immunization only works if everyone has access to it, herd immunity, that’s how you stop infectious diseases, and zombies.

So in 2017 no one gets left out of the stories and no one gets left out of the audience, because our survival depends on it. And hey, if we can manage that, if we get all of humanity in conversation, then we’ve pre-empted the zombie apocalypse, so that’s kind of amazing. I mean it’s a tall order, I know it’s a tall order, getting all of humanity in conversation, but I think that’s our job as theater makers. And I think that’s how we move forward. To 2060. 

 

Donald Trump

By Rosie Fleeshman

 

O say can you see, by the dawns early light 

What a mess you have made, what a terrible sight

When you woke up and saw who you chose to elect

An outcome that no one could possibly expect

It was all a bit silly, a bit of a joke 

That hotel owner, the Apprentice bloke

The wannabe actor with the cameo roles

Suddenly setting himself a new goal

And we all sat and laughed and thought it absurd 

When he said he'd be president and tried to be heard

But the people they listened to this CROOKED showman 

Who promised the 'Make America Great Again' slogan

But not really much else, I mean what did he say, what content or policies would make things okay

Everything will be better, everything will be great 

The man wasn't stupid he targeted the state,

of minds full of fear and hearts full of rage, the more he spread anger the more they'd engage

The people were desperate so he played the name game 

Telling them exactly who was to blame

So he blamed the Hispanics because THEY rape and kill

And could only be stopped by the wall he will build

He declared all lives matters, not just the blacks

Then blamed THEM for the rise in criminal attacks

Next for the Muslims was a total shutdown

He called for a ban with no exceptions allowed

These aren't refugees fleeing devastating wars, 

But secret ISIS agents enforcing Shariah Law

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

What a stupid ugly woman that statue of Liberty 

See her holding her light by the golden door

Grab her stone pussy she ain't welcome no more

Hey that's just locker room talk it's not a big deal

Enough political correctness, I'm straight talking, I'm real

I'm not homophobic, its just LGBT ain't so pure

Thus keeping the evangelistic Christian vote secure

And don't forget the guns, on which republicans are dependant 

For he swore he'd protect their second amendment 

But with such a big wall why do you need more ammunition

Is that to fight global warming and C02 emission

Oh but that's a conspiracy theory so no need to stop it

When you make so much money from the fossil fuel profit 

Now I'm scared for tomorrow, it's a hard pill to swallow 

Has the American Dream ever felt quite so hollow?

What's to follow? Where do we go from here

Do we accept the new leader it's only four years

Trust Donald with the files and the codes and and the power 

To spread white supremacy from the White House Trump tower

We hear you Americans who said not in our name

We stand beside you against Donald Trumps reign

 

The Power of Hope

By Rebekah Harrison

 

Two women, in the canteen of Greggs, on a break.

1: So if he pushes his button, she’s up for eviction. And if she pushes her button then he’s up for eviction

2: Right

1: But if they both push their buttons then it’s whoever does it first and if no-one pushes then neither of them are up.

2: I don’t get the point.

1: Yeah but they’re in separate rooms so he doesn’t know if he can trust her not to push her button even though she said she wouldn’t.

2: Fascinating. So who’s up for eviction tonight?

1: I can’t remember.

2: (gestures) Where’s she gone?

1: At that Women’s March.

2: What’s that for?

1: Dunno. She said some people off of Corrie might be there so – you know what she’s like. It’s about Trump and that.

2: Waste of time.

1: I think it’s good. Not my thing but – so who do you reckon’s going to win?

2: He’s already won.

1: What?

2: American election. It was ages ago.

1: No. Celebrity Big Brother.

2: Oh – I dunno. It’s all a big fix anyway.

1: It’s not.

2: Yeah it is. There was that massive scandal a few years back with all them shows.

1: Yeah and then they had to change it all. And make it so it was proper voting.

2: That’s what they say.

1: People wouldn't watch it – they wouldn’t get involved - if they thought it was just a fix. That'd be like - I don't know like - say you went to vote, like proper vote and then found out it was fixed - you'd - there'd be riots.

They all drink.

2: Here she comes.

Enter 3, carrying a banner.

2: How was it?

3: Amazing.

2: Where did you march?

3: We didn’t really. I think I missed it. We just stood still while I was there.

1: (points to banner) What’s that?

3: Some woman gave it to me. Ah, it was – ace. Everyone was really friendly. There were all these women just – shouting and cheering and then these people were speaking but they were miles away so you couldn’t really hear them at all – but every so often loads of people cheered so we all did. And someone gave me this banner and –

1: So what? Are you joining a cult or something now?

3: No, no. It just – makes you think a bit. Like – what if they’ve got a point?

2: If they have they’ve been making it for years.

3: What?

2: There were women having demos like that when I was your age. And they haven’t stopped.

3: Maybe they still need to protest.

2: Maybe they just haven’t got anything better to do.

3: I think it’s good. Trump is – a real danger.

2: To America maybe.

3: And to us.

2: I know people like to think we’re basically America these days but we have our own Prime Minister. And government. And our own TV channels still. People getting obsessed about something happening on the other side of the world and –

1: He is bad though. Did you see that thing he said about his daughter?

2: There’s bad people everywhere.

1: Yeah but he basically said he’d date his daughter.

2: Can’t trust everything you read in the news. And even if he did, he’s not our president. Him becoming president will affect our lives in no way whatsoever.

3: Well I think you’re wrong. I – I loved it. The march -

2: You didn’t march anywhere.

3: No but the speeches –

2: You couldn’t hear them?

3: Alright – you know what, maybe it was a waste of time going. And maybe it’s got nothing to do with us who is president and maybe it won’t affect me. But today – being there – it was just a bit hopeful. Like positive – like things could change.

2: I get it. And you know what I think?

3: What?

2: You put a tray of sausage rolls in before you left and they’re likely burnt.

1: Oh shit!

1 leaves, followed by 2, closely followed by 3 with her banner.

 

A PRAYER FOR DONALD TRUMP

by SF COLE

 

We are in a huge church. Semi-darkness. Candles burning. A 70 year old Mexican/Southern African American woman shuffles to the altar. Makes the sign of the cross. Lights a candle. She kneels and prays.

OLD WOMAN:

Dear Mr President, Donald Trump

For you we all humbly pray

Pray you will grow wiser

In every, every which way

 

Pray you will open

Your heart, your eyes and see

See that you are exactly

Exactly the same as me

 

Dear Mr President, Donald Trump

We pray you look around you, become aware

May you remember President Barack Hussein Obama II

Remember there is no need to Fear

 

We pray you come off Twitter

The laws of decency obey

Be intelligent, adult, not bitter

Let everyone have their say

 

We know it is possible

You are human after all

It has to be possible

Please, Lord, answer our call

 

We call upon The Angels too

To be by our president's side

To guide you, to steer you

To bless your every stride

 

So, Dear Mr President, Donald Trump

For you we sincerely pray

May you wield all your earthly power

And let all my people stay

AMEN

 

POST

By Kirsten Greenidge

 

A Bench.

Lisa and Ginnie sit.

LISA: I love this. I love walks.

GINNIE: Yeah.

LISA: I’m so glad you could meet me.

GINNIE: Me too.

LISA: And your dog is adorable.

GINNIE: Thanks.

LISA: Pugs are adorable.

GINNIE: Thanks so much.

LISA: It’s great to get out.

GINNIE: Yeah.

LISA: I’m in front of the—

GINNIE: Me too.

LISA: Computer all—

GINNIE: Oh, me too, me—

LISA: Ahhhhh.

GINNIE: I’m glad we were both free.

LISA: Freeee.

GINNIE: I mean, you seem pretty—

LISA: Freeee.

GINNIE: Pretty busy—

LISA: Oh. Me?

GINNE: You’re online all the—

LISA: Oh, I don’t—

GINNIE: All the time—

LISA: I don’t know.

GINNIE: You are.

LISA: Am I?

GINNIE: You post—

LISA: Oh right well yeah that.

GINNIE: You post a ton.

LISA: The nut jobs get me so mad.

GINNIE: I’ve been a little, a little worried?

LISA: Worried?

GINNIE: Well. I don’t know. You know. Yeah.

LISA: Worried.

GINNIE: Don’t get—

LISA: If you want to believe lies, Ginnie—

GINNIE: I don’t, I don’t want to believe lies—

LISA: Who is going to keep on fighting?

GINNIE: Well yeah but—

LISA: Someone, someone has to—

GINNIE: Yeah, but—

LISA: And don’t give me that wasted vote crap—

GINNIE: Not wasted vote, wasted, wasted energy—

LISA: Excuse me?

GINNIE: The country is—

LISA: Hilary Clinton lies, Ginnie, or did you just ignore all the stone cold hard evidence

GINNIE: I am just saying, now that he’s won, maybe we could, maybe you could--.

LISA: Me?

GINNIE: Lisa—

LISA: I am telling the truth, Virginia.

GINNIE: The more you go on and on and, and your posts and the links to ridiculous news--

LISA: The main stream media is a complete joke—

GINNIE: It’s not real, Lisa, it’s, it’s—

LISA: They stole the future from us, Ginnie. If Sanders had run, if he’d a a chance—

GINNIE: Yeah, no one s feeling the bern anymore, Lis, it’s time to focus on the fact we have a complete and utter demagogue as the leader of the free world, tucked snug into bed with Vladimir Putin. PUTIN.

LISA: Russia is not a problem. The Clintons, the Clintons—

GINNIE: Post, post, post about, about the men, the very rich, very white men with very narrow ideas about who should get what and when that are being appointed day after day, post about that, instead of instead of, because when you go on and on it, it, it. I guess, I guess I don’t understand why you don’t talk about these other things, Lisa. Why, if you’re so progressive, you can’t just stop with Bernie and the DNC and work for, work for—

LISA: “Change?” Like your Obama? We are a joke. The Democrats are a, a. We deserved to lose. No game, we have no game. Hilary screwed us. Why can’t you see that? I take it back, your pug is ugly.

GINNIE: I was going to say work for hope.

Pause.

GINNIE: That’s what I need.

I feel heavy.

All the time.

You do not help this.

Please stop posting.

LISA: I’m free. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

GINNIE: I don’t think you feel it. I don’t think you feel free.

LISA: You. Are very wrong about me.

They sit and stare out for a bit.

LISA: But let’s agree to disagree. About politics. About pugs.

Pause.

GINNIE: No. I do not think so. I do not think you are working to understand me, the same way I worked to understand—because I still looked forward to this walk, to speaking with you on this walk, to seeing how you were, to worrying about you, even though you’ve turned some, some strange, very strange corner and. So. No. I do not think so.

GINNIE stands.

End of play.

 

Speak


By Rabiah Hussain

I didn’t lose my temper! I didn’t even say anything.

Yes, I’m happy in this job. Have you ever heard anything otherwise? Do you even know me other than from a record on the database?

(Beat)

Look. Brian had been at it the whole morning. You meet plenty of people in your job, you know his kind. They can’t help but share the crap – sorry, stuff - that goes around in their brains. Otherwise their head will explode like a shaken can of coke fizzing over.

(Beat)

I’m sitting at my desk and I can see Brian has a newspaper in his hand. He’s shaking his head, body tilted slightly toward me. About to share his thoughts any moment now. So, I pretend to concentrate harder than I did whilst watching Inception. See, you slouch over, move close to the computer and squint your eyes like this.

Why? Because I don’t do politics. I have a routine when things get political. I avoid, ignore or politely nod if I have to. That’s the routine. Avoid, ignore, nod.

(Beat)

At home? There’s no politics. Other than switching BBC news on every morning for grandad. He has… trouble now. But the news is the one thing we know needs to stay the same.

(Beat)

Well, I had it all planned. As soon as the newspapers gave the first coverage of the US campaigns, I started to look at dull English towns I could visit for the day. Ones where I look like the residents so, no one will start a conversation with, “so where are you really from?” Yes, it happens a lot.

I’ve been doing it every four years. You can check. Every four years on the Friday of the election results, I book a day off. When Brexit happened, I mean I never predicted the ensuing chaos, but just in case, I booked a day out. To Luton.

Why didn’t I go this time? I couldn’t justify having a day out. Whilst grandad’s at home. He hasn’t really been the same the last few months. And it’s hard to stay at home and watch him too. You know, all my life I would hear him shouting at the news presenters on TV. As if they could hear him. And I used to hate it. He would come back from the foundry late at night, sit in his chair, covered in soot, and just let loose at the TV.

(Beat)

Now… he watches the news and he just…grunts. Like this.

(She grunts a couple of times.)

It’s like he wants to say something. But can’t.

(Beat)

Yes, I tried to avoid it all day. Brian was edging his chair closer and I knew it was because he knows I’ll just politely nod along without saying a word. So, I picked up my phone and dialled one five zero. I listened to every option on EE over and over again for the next 45 minutes. Until he was forced to turned to Sarah.

(Beat)

What happened? Everyone just started to gather. To talk about it. I was the only one who didn’t. I was on the edge of it all. Looking in. It reminded me of the talk shows grandad watches. I was like a viewer at home.

(Beat)

“They’ve voted in a sexist”.

“Yes, but Nina, you have the understand the appeal.”

“What appeal, Brian? Nina is right. The guy is a walking car crash.”

Yeah, and everyone loves to look at a car crash… That’s what I want to say.

But I ignore.

Billy takes to playing the middle man. You know the one who has no real opinions but makes it seem like he does.

“Something clearly appealed. That’s why he’s president elect.”

No shit, Sherlock... Don’t tell him I said that.

“But don’t you think people are overreacting about the white votes thing?”

See, I heard exactly that on the TV this morning. Just before grandad grunted.

I avoid.

“Yes, the guy is a nutjob. American’s are stupid for voting for him but it doesn’t mean they’re racist.”

It’s like watching GoggleBox. Brian looks at me. I really want to change the channel right now.

I nod along.

“People are too ready to play the racism card. Like with Brexit. It wasn’t racism. It was the working class. And their legitimate concerns. Immigration.”

Grandad always hated being called an immigrant. He used to say he is British. Just British.

I ignore.

“Resources. That’s the problem. We don’t have the resources.”

I remember how he used to leave for work at 5am and I would wait all evening for him. The cuts on his palms. They’d turn into scars that I would trace with my little fingers. Now they’re mixed in with the wrinkles on his hands.

I avoid.

“Listen, immigrants don’t even learn the language. How can they expect the country to accept them?”

You know grandad’s dictionary still sits on the table next to his chair. He bought it the same day he landed in the country. He used to look up all the big words he’d hear on the news. The pages are so…tattered.

I nod along even though my mind is wondering. And I don’t even realise I’m doing it.

“Skilled immigrants are fine. But we don’t need unskilled people coming here. There is no room for them.”

I wonder whether that’s what the grunts are. That he wants to speak and shout at the telly and tell them they’re wrong. But he has no way of doing it.

“If immigration was controlled, we would never be in this situation. Where we are now.”

I find myself listening. Really listening.

“It’s a myth that immigrants work harder than the rest of us.”

I try my little routine but I keep forgetting the order. What is next. I’ve stopped nodding but I’m clearly paying attention to him so I’m not ignoring or avoiding.

“No one wants to pay taxes that just go to some old immigrant who is too lazy to work so sits in front of the TV all day long.”

I try to speak. Tell him he’s wrong. I want to tell him about my grandad. I want to show him my grandad’s hands. And…I want…to…

(She bangs her fist and grunts really loudly)

(Beat)

They all watch me… And all I can think is. I’d give anything to hear grandad speak… again.

 

INAUGURATION

By ADEEL AMINI

1968.
Off the boat. Off the plane. 
Always the same.
Shame.
A home neither East nor West.
Persecution. Amputation.
Bullets where cartilage should be.
You’re not Muslim. 
You can’t be.
You believe something different.
You don’t belong here.
You should be dead.
You will be dead.
You are dead.

1919.
Colonised, terrorised.
Subjugated by privilege.
White is right.
Do as we say, not as we do.
Definitely not as we do.
100 years later,
Definitely not as we do.
Complex hierarchy, complex of superiority
Dictated by a melanin roulette.
Subcontinent midwives,
Subordinate lives.
Part of the war effort.
Your effort.
Culture drained, words absorbed.
Jungle, mogul, karma. 
Oh, karma.

1996.
Grafting up the ladder.
Grafted into society.
The acceptable immigrants.
Head down, contributing,
Building a safe space.
Or a “ghetto”.
Be who they want you to be,
Your children who you want them to be.
60s Pakistan, 90s England.
Noor Jehan and George Michael.
Inaugurated by default
Into the green and pleasant,
Nestled in the crevice
Between desk and wall
Or where that crimson cross overlaps.
Never valued at more.
Never valuing more.
A seat coveted but never in reach.
Peace made with the status quo.
Where else do you go?

1974.
Gunned down by martial law.
Gulleys of Lahore.
Blindsided for belief.
Fundamental freedom never to be seen.
Outlawed in writ.
Hunted in packs.
Blasphemers in a mosque.
Stay quiet, stay safe.
Don’t be yourself.
Don’t dare be yourself.
Partition wounded a nation.
Casualties, victims.
Border and scar.
Staying in line
For a sense of hiraeth,
An unheard word
For an imaginary home.

2001.
Play the system.
At the cost of balance.
Straight A realities.
Antidepressant dreams.
Sitting in the intersection.
Cloistered in the land of the free.
Too Asian for Britain.
Too British for the Asian.
Too gay for both.
Rebellion, breakdown, recklessness.
Fallible, tangible, and lost.
Riots of race
Trying to conquer nothing
But a sense of belonging.
Terror attacks.
Acts of war.
Suspicion confirmed.
Goodwill in smoke.
No charge nor quarter
While Sisyphus laughs.

1983.
Paki. 
Stones thrown.
Paki.
Windows bashed.
Paki.
Demonised, victimised.
Paki.
Stained words.
Sullied identity.
Dirty, different
Paki.
Not one of us.
Never one of us.
Root cause of all trouble.
Taking away luxury.
Bloody Pakis.
What’s ours is ours.
What’s yours is ours.
Chuckling away
Over a pint and lamb bhuna.

2016.
TV glare.
Twitter streams.
Twice the unthinkable in one year.
Borders close.
Defences up.
Tides turn, as we turn
To allies.
Allies?
Paki.
Silence on the bus.
Allies nothing but
A cast of 140 characters
Bellowing against silence
Of indigenous rights.
The indigenous right.
Colonised, terrorised.
Subjugated by privilege.
Do as we say, not as we do.
Definitely not as we do.
100 years later,
Definitely not as we do.
Complex hierarchy, complex of superiority
Dictated by a melanin roulette.

2017.
January.
History repeats, they say.
Is it history
If it repeats every day?
1939.
Or yesterday.
Or the day before.
Depends who you ask.
Not me.
Not any more.
Burgundy passport
And all your oxygen.
The same earth and
The same birthright.
East and West bicker
Like two extremists.
Neither in my name.
Not any more.
Stuck in the middle.
“Snowflake”,
Only as in
The start of an avalanche.
I solemnly swear
You’re not Muslim.
Or British. 
Or American.
You can’t be.
But we are.
You don’t belong here.
We do.
You should be dead.
We survived.
You will be dead.
We came to life.
You are dead.
But we’re here.
We’re still here.
And we’re not going anywhere.

 

What Kind Of Angry Woman Are You?

By Aileen Quinn

Woman enters the stage holding a copy of Cosmo (or Red, or Grazia, you get the jist!)

Host:

Oh, hi ya! I’m just flicking through really. Half of it’s adverts any way, isn’t it? Bloody hell, she is sooo pretty!

SIGHS

Ooh, there’s one of them quizzes. I love these. Last month it was ‘are you sexy enough to keep him?’ I got “hells to the yes”. Hashtag Obvs, you know what I mean??

READS FROM MAGAZINE

‘What kind of angry woman are you? (and what do guys really think about it!)’

Oooh, that’s a good one.

LOOKS INTO AUDIENCE AT WOMEN

Do you wanna do it with me? Yeah you do! I’ll read the questions and you just shout out A, B, C or D

Q1. You’re in a crowded nightclub and a guy is trying to get past you. He moves you out of the way by placing both hands on your hips and giving a little squeeze. Do you:

A: Forcefully push his hands away from body whilst shouting “what the fuck do you think you’re playing at” as loud as you possibly can.

B: Don’t cause a scene but turn around and give him ‘the death stare’ to let him know that’s not okay.

C: Calmly turn around and follow the man to a quieter place where you can explain in a firm but fair way why he shouldn’t touch women in ways he wouldn’t touch men.

D: Pretend you didn’t notice to avoid conflict.

 

Q2. You discover a male colleague at work is earning more than you even though you do the same job. Do you:

A: Storm into the boss’s office and shout in no uncertain terms that this is “a fucking disgrace” and demand a pay rise.

B: Make barbed comments in your forth-coming personal development review and wordlessly slide a side-by-side assessment of you and your colleague’s work across the table.

C: Immediately schedule a one-to-one with your line manager’s line manager to go through the pay grade system and firmly point out that disparity in male and female pay has been illegal since 1975.

D: Pretend you don’t know to avoid conflict.

 

Q3: Your long-term partner has been having an affair and you run into the woman he was cheating with in public. Do you:

A: Take out the switch-blade you’ve been carrying ‘just in case’, grab her but the ponytail and saw off her luscious hair.

B: Join in the conversation but freeze her out every time she speaks. It will be socially awkward, but you don’t care about that.

C: Take her aside, ask her if she knew your partner was involved with someone else, and if she did punch her hard in the nose.

D: Pretend you recognise her to avoid conflict.

 

Q4: You’re running for major political office against a man who is basically a misogynist shambles of a human-being but the media choose to focus on our email faux pas and your husband’s conduct (over which you have no control). Do you:

A: Just loose it in a debate, look right into the camera and scream “This guy? This fucking guy? He’s a racist misogynist shit head! Come on people, surely I’m better than this guy!!!”

B: When he says he will put you in prison if he wins the election (hypothetically speaking of course) take a deep breath and just stare at him like he’s a fucking idiot.

C: Assert your dominance in a series of unapologetic character assassinations against your opponent, whilst also laying out detailed policy that you’ve developed over your decades in politics.

D: Try your best to run a clean campaign and win people over with your arguments, but if it gets nasty just pretend you don’t notice to avoid conflict.

 

Mostly As

You’re a ‘Crazy Bitch’

If someone’s done you wrong you’re not afraid to let them know. Your public outbursts are well known (even if you’ve only ever had one of them) and you’ve got a reputation for being “a bit of a psycho”.

What guys really think: Men are generally put off by angry outbursts. Try to shout less, maybe it doesn’t matter that much? If you don’t want to be seen as ‘a handful’ then try journaling your anger – expressing it is a total turn off.

 

Mostly Bs

You’re an Ice Queen

When you’re angry you don’t say much, but that doesn’t been you don’t make your point. One death stare from you and the whole room goes quiet. You’re kind of a bad ass, but are you attractive?

What guys really think: You may get your point across in a business environment, but when it comes to romance you are missing the mark. Men we surveyed thought that stern women “probably had an artic pussy” – so if you want to get him hot, stop being so cold!

 

Mostly Cs

You’re a ball-breaker

You know what you want and you’re not afraid to get it. Phrases like “she wears the trousers” and “a woman to be reckoned with” come to mind. You are an expert at keeping your cool without backing down. But what do guys think?

What guys really think: You’re sexy in a 1980s power-suit sort of a way, but do you have that softer side men crave? It’s great that you have your own opinions but maybe tone them down a little. Learn to let go; it’ll do wonders for you relationships.

 

Mostly Ds

You’re a quiet one

Whilst you may feel irate on the inside, you are aware that showing it generally leads to escalating situations that make you feel unsafe. From past experience you have learned to simply downplay all the ways that the patriarchy make you feel really, really angry because you don’t want to deal with their bullshit.

What guys really think: Amongst the men we surveyed, your reactions were the most popular. However, guys like a bit of ‘fire’ in their women, so let loose every now and then and show ‘em what you’re made of, or they might think you’re a bit frigid.

 

Host:

Right, well, that’s that then.  

 

A Conservative American

By Brad Birch

 

LINDA So it was Thanksgiving. We had my cousin and her family and grandpa and… and grandpa’s neighbour, who he insisted on bringing along. Not that I mind, of course, no one should be on their own on Thanksgiving, but he could have at least told me before they turn up on my doorstep together.

Well, anyway… It was Thanksgiving and we’d all eaten and Steve was leading the washing up brigade. That’s what he called it, to try and get the kids at least partially interested. And it would partially work.

And I was sat with Paula. That’s my cousin’s eldest. She’s about 13 going on 19, you know the sort. And we were playing this game. And the game consisted of her asking me questions from a series of cards, and… I would have to answer honestly, and… and at the end of the questions the game determines your personality type. Just a silly bit of fun.

Ok, so I’m answering these questions and, and we get to the end and I say ok so what am I, and Paula works it out. See, each answer you give has a score and at the end you count up your scores and that… Well, anyway, you get the idea. And so she works it out with a pen and paper and then she finds my corresponding personality card.

And she pulls out this bright red card and she says that’s you, you’re red. And I laugh a little and say well what the heck does red mean, and she has to look it up in the guide and she says that red means “prone to anger”. And I, well, I laughed again and I said are you sure that’s right? I’m not a… do you think I’m an angry person, Paula?

And she kind of shakes her head in the way that kids do when they feel there’s only one right answer. And I realise that I’m sat just slightly on the edge of the chair. And I think to myself, god, am I an angry person?

Anyway, everybody else has a go and Steven’s blue and Andy’s green and grandpa’s brown, I don’t even want to know what brown means. And I’m sat there watching everyone go through the questions and getting every other colour but red. And I’m listening to their answers and I swear they’re not answering the questions any different than I did. And I realise that Paula must have got the numbers wrong. She must have.

And so I ask for another go. And yet, bang, bang, bang, I’m red again. And by now everybody thinks that this is just the height of hilarity. And I have to just laugh along but of course it bothered me. And it stayed with me for days.

Now that’s not to say I thought of myself as a placid person, I’m no push over and I have my own opinions and I’m not scared of giving them. But I’m always calm. I don’t shout for the sake of shouting. I don’t make a fuss if there’s no point in a fuss being made. I’m always…

When I was a little girl the dog bit my thumb. And I ran through to the living room where my mom was hosting some friends and I said to her, I said mom the damn dog’s bit my thumb. And instead of caring for my thumb, my mom shouted at me for saying damn in front of the neighbours. And I realised that day that you get much further in life if you control how you talk, if you express your feelings in a certain way.

What I’m trying to say that I learnt composure from my mother. Now what Paula’s card game must have done was it cut through composure. In a kind of way it bit my thumb. And it shocked me, but I didn’t yell damn, I didn’t make a fuss. I just laughed along.

Now when I think about it I’m glad to know it. I’m glad to have seen that red card. Because it makes sense to me. It’s good to know, when I’m sat in traffic or I’m being cut up in a queue, or even when I’m watching the news, it’s good to know where that feeling comes from. I might not show it, I might not say it, and people might not know it, but the game knows it: That yes, yes, I am an angry person.

 

Every Brilliant Random Act Of Kindness

By Ian Kershaw and Martha Kershaw

 

GIRL (young, enthusiastic) enters, she addresses us.

GIRL: (Laughs) I was tired right!

MAN (her dad) enters.

MAN: The next generation are always tired. (To GIRL) Just wait til you have kids.

GIRL flicks him the V’s.

GIRL: (To us) I was tired because I’d stayed up all night. (To MAN) I can do that.

MAN: (Almost as an adlib) You won’t when you’ve had kids.

Man flicks her the V’s. GIRL laughs.

GIRL: (To us) It was history in the making, so much had happened before I was born but now, despite her faults (To MAN) so many faults (To US) I wanted to see America elect it’s first female president but instead…

BOTH: Bollocks.

Change -

GIRL: I’m tired.

MAN: Of fighting?

GIRL: Of hoping.

MAN: Of hoping?

GIRL: Of hoping.

Change -

MAN: You can’t stop hoping.

GIRL: You can’t stop demonstrating.

MAN: We turned the tv off.

GIRL: We sat and wondered.

MAN: I don’t want to go on another march. I don’t want to paint another banner. I don’t want to sign another online petition. What’s the point in shouting when your voice isn’t heard?

GIRL: But we have to do something.

Change -

MAN: I saw this play once, where this man made a list of every brilliant thing.

GIRL: What was it called?

MAN: Every Brilliant Thing.

GIRL: And was it?

MAN: It was, yeah.

They smile.

Change -

GIRL: I saw on Facebook, that a woman who had lost her husband was asking people on this one day a year to do a random act of kindness in his memory.

MAN: What was the day called?

GIRL: Random Acts Of Kindness Day.

They smile.

Change -

GIRL: So we thought we’d start a list.

MAN: We’d ask people for their random acts of kindness.

GIRL: Things they done.

MAN: Or seen.

GIRL: That made the world a better place.

MAN: And if we had a list of them then maybe -

GIRL: Just maybe -

MAN: The world might seem a better place.

GIRL: Just by noting kindness.

MAN: Inspiring kindness. Because…It’d really piss Donald Trump off.

GIRL: (Corrects him) Because it’d make the world a better place. And maybe -

MAN: - just maybe -

GIRL: - it could inspire others to do the same.

They both pull out lists and they take turn to read -

MAN: Every Brilliant Random Act of Kindness - number one!

My eldest brother brought me flu supplies as I was too ill to go out…he added essentials like chocolates and flowers.

GIRL: Number seven.

When I was skint and newly heartbroken in my 20s my (also poor) mates clubbed together to surprise me and send me for a spa day and a killer hair-cut to cheer me up. I've never forgotten it.

MAN: Number twenty-six.

My mum and dad get the local bus and it's the same driver who has been really helpful while my dad has been struggling with getting on and off the bus. Mum got chatting to him about how him and his wife are saving for a new toaster and stuff that was broken coz he can't have credit cards and that as he's on an IVA. My mum gave him a fiver as she got off the bus and said to put it towards the toaster. He was really touched. She said as they got on next week she asked how he was, he said 'great, had my toast this morning.

GIRL: Number two hundred and three.

I found a purse with over 500 pound in and tracked down who owned it and handed it back.

They exit reading from their lists -

Every Brilliant Random Act of Kindness 2. 

Number four hundred and fifty-eight. I always pick bikes up if they've fallen over in the street whilst locked up. Can't help myself. Gravity's a cruel mistress.

Every Brilliant Random Act of Kindness 3.

Number seventy-two. Years ago, I worked in a hospital and we had a patient who was homeless and a chronic drinker. He had a new coat and his clothes weren’t too bad but he lived in them so they stunk quite badly. He also had the worse stinky battered trainers I'd ever seen. So I took his clothes home with me to wash them. I was on the bus and although it was massively busy, no one would sit with me! I practically stunk the bus out!! Anyways three washes later and a good rinse of my machine I got the smell of cigs, feet and God knows what out of his clothes. I also got him some cheap trainers and new socks. When I brought them in he got hold of me and cried then I cried. When we discharged him I knew he was going back out on the streets but at least he would have dry feet.

Every Brilliant Random Act of Kindness 4. 

Number six hundred and twelve.

My mum's lovely next door neighbour makes her Sunday dinner (with dessert!) every week and brings it on a tray with a pot of tea.

Every Brilliant Random Act of Kindness 5.

Number two hundred and fifty-one.

A load of actors, writers and directors decided, in the face of Donald Trump becoming the President of America, to create a night where they could Take Back America and the good people came and they clapped and cheered as a choir appeared on the stage. The good people clapped and cheered!

And then after the choir sang and the good people clapped and cheered some more, they found a pin-board in the bar where good people could put up their own ‘Every Brilliant Random Act of Kindness’ to inspire them and others to believe that, in spite of everything , we can all make the world a better place!

 

Remixed

By Daniel Foxsmith

The performer could be male or female. Suited and booted, politician-style. Or not, but definitely in their best American accent.

With back to us, as if directed to a flag up a pole somewhere just out of sight, imagining a surge of trumpets playing the national anthem or something equally overblown.

Turns around to face us. Takes us in. Warm, charming. Slightly too warm. Like a vampire about to bite - Kaa in the Jungle Book. But less friendly. And in charge of nuclear missiles.

It’s terrible to see just how little people want to learn from history, how thoughtlessly they sin without considering that it is precisely through their sins that so many nations and States have perished, vanished from the Earth.

Unknown men and women. Unknown soldiers of history.

Let’s fix this problem: what is required to put an end to the danger hovering over our country?

God, how indifferent is the present? How unfounded its eternal optimism, how ruinous its wilful ignorance, its incapacity to see, and its unwillingness to learn.

Right now, we are in the middle of a jobs crisis, a border crisis, and a terrorism crisis.

The enemy is out to seize our lands watered with our sweat, to seize our grain and soil secured by our labour.

Above all, it’s essential that our people should understand the full immensity of the danger that threatens our great country. Let’s secure our border - because it’s the task of the ones who feel themselves to be educators to learn on their own from history, to apply their knowledge in a practical manner, without regard to the view, understanding, ignorance or even the refusal of the masses.

These are matters of life-and-death for our country and its people, and we deserve answers.

Join me in this mission. Thank you. 

 

Silence.

Raises arms, drinking in the imaginary applause. Victory. Glory. It is a disgusting display of self-congratulation.

The performer removes an item of clothing: jacket, shoes, something. Who knows, maybe it should be decided in the moment. It’s not that important. The item is put to one side.

A sigh, physical, literal, whatever. The performer attempts to shrug off the rankness. He or she is with us now, in their native accent, just them.

The secret is to deal with the people not as individuals but as crowds. The message to the crowd is a series of simple, basic, memorable words –

nation people, family, friend, home, soil, work, strength, hope, life, fight, victory, honour, beauty.

Yours sincerely, Adolf, Joseph and Donald.

A beat.

You think this is funny.
A cute story.
Cute little actor doing a funny. Happy endings.
Blue skies. Birds on the shoulder. 

Triumph. Adversity.

They’re not even my words. They’re not even his words, the guy that wrote this.

See, you’re not. Not. You’re not fucking listening.

You’re not listening. You’re not listening. You’re not listening. You’re not listening. You’re not listening. You’re not listening. You’re not listening. You’re not listening to me. You’re not. Not listening. Not fucking listening. Fucking. Not. Listening.

Sat pretty.
Fuck off.
Don’t.
Don’t look at me.
I said don’t fucking looking me!
Beat.

I want to breathe. - all my time -

Spent choking gasping strangulated, it’s in me, black, swollen, bloated. Black mass sat here. Sat in my belly, jelly sick, slick oil baby sits here. Out. Get it out, cut it, carve it, expunge, wipe, exorcise it out, out, pain of fucking knife stuck, soft flesh, sharp teeth tearing at it. I can’t. I can’t. Fucking.

Survive this.
I can’t.
Broken. Here on the fucking floor, looking for answers. Someone speak to me.

Anyone. 

Talk to me about life and love and laughter and birds and blue skies and birch trees and bumble bees and bike rides and hope and sunshine. Speak to me about the first page of a new book, new recipes to cook, a working week, the newest look, holidays, new shades, barbecues, days lazy, fatted ducks and stuffed turkeys. Poetry! Someone, please speak about the poetry, it flows in me, poetry, prose – I’ll take the Bible if that’s all that’s left for me. Talk to me about the newborns, the unborns, the newly shorns, the shoehorns and the shoes that need ‘em, talk to me about Sundays spent mowing lawns, your pets and what you feed ‘em. Ever get up early to watch a dawn, like when the sun’s bleeding? I have, it’s proper magic. Like static. Speak softly, nurture the words carefully in your larynx and then release them.

Speak to me. About love, and life, and hope. Anyone.
Speak to me and I’ll listen. 

 

HOPE IN CHAPPAQUA

by Tim Foley

HOPE Female, 60s.

MONICA Female, 40s.

The year is 2076. HOPE and MONICA stroll into Chappaqua Park, New York. MONICA carries a recording device. She speaks quickly - partly because she’s excitable, and partly because she’s on a tight deadline. In contrast, HOPE is poised, careful, and reluctant to be here.
MONICA Chappaqua park. Never been before, isn’t that strange? You can see it from my office

window. Oh this is glorious, we’ll have to get a pic at the end. [Records on device.] ‘Get

a pic’. So can you tell me where it was exactly?

HOPE Round about here.

MONICA Right here? You actually remember it?
HOPE I’m going by what my mom told me - I was barely one year old.
MONICA Well it might have burnt onto your brain - this, significant, defining moment of your life.

HOPE One year old me was a lot less invested in politics.
MONICA Well we can fudge it a little bit. [Records.] ‘Hope remembers Hillary, standing by the sign to the space-port -’
HOPE The sign wasn’t there, because the space-port wasn’t there. This is 2016 we’re talking about.
MONICA Right, gotcha. ‘Hope remembers Hillary, standing by a. Tree. A big, tree.’ There used to be trees, right? Real ones. Maybe we can edit the pic and put one in. People still want to believe there are trees in parks, not just signs for space-ports, and - [gestures to offstage] is that a sculpture or a slide? I just don’t know. And some people, don’t want to know.

HOPE But you want to know. That’s your job. How long have you been a journalist?

MONICA No no, we’re interviewing you, Hope Johnson, Governor of Arkansas, not me.
HOPE But I’m interested in you.
MONICA Uh huh. How about I’ll tell you my life story, once you’ve told me yours? Specifically, the story when you met Hillary Clinton in this very park.
HOPE I’m surprised you’d even heard about the encounter.
MONICA We do our research. One of our meta-archaeologists found it on an old web page. Have

you ever heard of the Face Book?

HOPE Gosh, that takes me back. 

MONICA All the rage before digital decay set in. And then there was even more rage, wasn’t there? But there was a pic, of you, a baby, held by your mother, in the shadow of Hillary Clinton. We’re going to run it on tomorrow’s data stream. I have a copy on my, somewhere. Here you go.

MONICA hands a tablet (with the pic displayed) to HOPE.

HOPE She’s so young.
MONICA Pic of you then, pic of you now. I just want a few words from you, telling me about your

relationship with Hillary Clinton.

HOPE My, relationship?

MONICA Yes.
HOPE With Hillary - I was one year old and I met her for, a minute.
MONICA I met my ex-girlfriend when I was thirty five, we were together for six years, and I’m still willing to bet you and Hillary had a better relationship. Talk about, Clinton’s influence on you then. She’s such an icon of American politics. Even I’ve read all her books. And those pantsuits, wowzer. So is she the reason you became Governor? There’s rumours you’ll be running for the Presidency in the next cycle, is Hillary your key inspiration?

HOPE I think Secretary Clinton was wonderful. But the answer, to both questions, is probably no.

MONICA Oh. [Beat.] Can your answer possibly be yes?
HOPE I’m sorry?
MONICA This is gonna be a real boring story if you say no. Then it’s just, an old woman and a baby meeting in a park.
HOPE Well that’s what it was. My key inspiration is in that pic, but it’s not Hillary Clinton. It’s my mom.
MONICA Okay, lovely, polished, rehearsed, I get it. But I’m gonna need something different.

HOPE I’m not gonna give you something different.
MONICA And some people say that’s your problem.
HOPE Excuse me?
MONICA Come on, you know it’s true. You’re, clunky with words, a bit robotic - in fact, there’s some conspiracy theories that you are actually a robot, and I think that’s ridiculous -

HOPE Thank you -

MONICA Because robots have proper personalities now. You. Look at you. You’re just not, relatable. Some would say you’re even unelectable.

HOPE That’s funny, since I got elected in Arkansas - 

MONICA But the rest of the US wants a good story, a good narrative. Otherwise, who are you?

HOPE I am, my policies. I am my good deeds.
MONICA Well you won’t get very far with that. You might have done in the, say, 20th century. If the rumours are true and time travel’s coming close to public release, you should pop back and run against someone like... I forget who ran for president back then. Michelle Obama?

HOPE Look. Hillary wasn’t my key inspiration, but it’s impossible to deny that she was a, political titan. Is that good enough?
MONICA Hmm. Okay. So, if Hillary Clinton was such an important figure to you -
HOPE That’s not quite what I said -
MONICA Then why are you a Republican?
MONICA thrusts the recording device closer.
HOPE [Beat.] I see. That’s what you wanted to ask me all along. Adds a whole new dimension to your story, doesn’t it.

MONICA Well?

HOPE I’m not ashamed of my party. Hillary was a Democrat, my mom was even a Democrat, but I was never gonna take on a, a point-of-view by default. Hillary’s a great example of this, actually. She was a Goldwater Girl back in her youth. Barry Goldwater? Republican candidate in the 1960s?

MONICA I didn’t know she used to be a Republican.
HOPE I thought you said you’d read all her books?
MONICA I’ve definitely, flicked through, most of them.
HOPE But forget the party label. I think I’m a good politician because I am happy to reach across

that party divide. That ugly old word of ‘compromise’. I can do that. I’m not ashamed.

MONICA Okay, well, thanks. I can use some of that.

HOPE I want to believe in a world where we aren’t forced into these character roles, heroes, villains, the establishment, the underdogs.

MONICA I’ve heard this stump speech before, Governor.
HOPE Maybe that’s why Hillary didn’t win, way back then. Because she didn’t fit.
MONICA You think that’s why she didn’t win? Now you’re the one playing fast and loose with the narrative. As I recall, she happened to be running against the greatest President of the modern era.
HOPE No no no. You’re thinking about the President afterwards. Oprah didn’t run till 2020.

MONICA Well don’t worry, we have data-divers, they can sort it all out. 

HOPE At least you’re checking your facts now.
MONICA You definitely share Clinton’s dislike of the press, I’ll give you that.
HOPE Well, it is how it is.
MONICA No, it’s okay. You’re honest. I respect that. But let me be honest too. This whole schtick. I think that’s why you’ll lose.

HOPE Well. We’ve got hope.

MONICA Ha! If you can win with cheesy lines like that, respect to you. Okay, smile for a pic. MONICA takes a photo.

It’ll do. Right. I gotta dash for the space-port, or my kids will. My eldest, actually, she’s a huge fan of yours. My wife loves to tease her about it. You know, off-the-record? You’re cold, you’re difficult - and I’m gonna give you a hard time. But I like you. Maybe ‘I’ve got hope’ too.

MONICA exits. HOPE looks at the pic.

End of scene. 

 

Haircut, Wyoming

By Chris Thorpe

I was in a barber's shop in Wyoming

In Cody, Wyoming, home of Buffalo Bill

Where every night in summer

They stage a gunfight in the street

Outllaws versus lawmen

And the lawmen always win

 

I was in Cody, Wyoming, where

I bought bear repellent spray at Walmart

And there's a lot of saloons

And ten thousand people live

And only twenty of those people are black

And the world looks very different

 

I was in a barber's shop in Wyoming

And the reading material was gun magazines

And as Mike, the barber, cut my hair

I could feel the legal loaded handgun

Which he carried on his belt

Tapping against my shoulder

 

We talked about gun control

And about the cops just killed

In Baton Rouge, where the open carry law

Meant a man could walk the streets

Unchallenged with a rifle, until he opened fire

And maybe challenging him at that point was too late

 

The safety's on, Mike said.

I'm one of the responsible ones

But you cannot be too careful

And he said where are you from

And I said Manchester and got a blank look

So fell back on - I live in London at the moment

 

And Mike said, that Mayor you have in London

Isn't it annoying, doesn't it make you mad

That Muslim Mayor you have in London

Put the whole city under Sharia Law

And I said, politely, Mike, that didn't happen

I think you've been misinformed

 

Fascist Beasts And Where To Find Them

By James Graham

Fascist Beasts, and Where to Find Them.

A lecture hall.

Voice Now Ladies and Gentleman, our main address this evening, delivering the 2021 Chomsky Lecture, please welcome... Professor Emmeline Gray!

Professor Emmeline Grey enters to applause, waving humbly to the crowd.
She has a lectern, reading from her printed speech. A power point display rotates behind her as she

talks or possibly just a humble flip chart which she refers to, scribbles on and turns.

Gray Hello, thank you, thanks. It’s a real honor to be here.
Um, so. 2021 how did we get here? For a time, to many of us, it looked like we

might not. Hah.

My talk today will try to pull together not just observations about the political and social events of the past few years, since the election of Trump and Brexit back in 2016, Fillon in France and Wilders in Holland, 2017, and so on...

It’s to bring together decades of analysis to ask why, every generational cycle, the specter of fascism re-emerges, regular as clockwork, and the failure of many of us to spot it, call it out and accept it for what it is, despite those lessons from the past.

So bit of fun for you! I’ve created my “20 stepping stones towards Fascism. Or as my students are calling it semi-jokingly, semi-not Fascist Bingo”, which I rather like.

We see the Bingo Card projected (if we can!).

There you are, ready at hand for every time we fall into thinking oh this time it’s different, oh he’s not that bad really, oh maybe we just give it a chance...

Now like any game of bingo, you don’t have to get a full house. If you cross off just 15 of the steps congratulations. You’re living in a Fascist State.

Everyone ready? OK, let’s play “Fascist Bingo” shall we? Eyes down!

Perhaps some jaunty game-show style music.

Now, in order to play the game proper, I’ve created a qualification round. The THREE DEFINITIONS of a fascist party or person. If your governing party or leader does not have, or present the potential for, these three definitions, you are sans Fascists before you’ve gotten off the ground, sorry. Or I mean well done. Anyway. They are: ‘Radical’, ‘Authoritarian’ and ‘Nationalist’.

Perhaps the three definitions appear: ‘Radical’ ‘Authoritarian’ ‘Nationalist’.

For example, Clement Atlee’s British Labour government of 1945 could legitimately be claimed to be Radical, but it was not Authoritarian or Nationalist. The People’s Republic of China can be claimed to be Authoritarian, but it is not exactly radical or, 

given its emphasis on bilateral trade and global markets, nor is it particularly Nationalist you need all three, guys.

So let’s use our key example today in asking how it came about without enough people noticing the Trump Administration of 2017-2021. Does that quality, call out bingo if it applies!

Radical?!

Presumably the audience shouts Bingo.

Check. Authoritarian?

Presumably the audience shouts Bingo.

Check again, and finally Nationalist?!

Presumably the audience shouts Bingo.

Full house! OK, the United States of America, 2017 to 2021 is qualified to play.

So let’s see how many of the 20 stepping stones we can cross off. Now, this isn’t, you know, smugly retrospective, these basic principles existed in advance of the Trump presidency and the populist rise. They’re presented here as a way of saying, ‘why didn’t anyone spot the warning signs, and can we spot them again?’

So Row One kind of ‘round one’, if you like. The Rise To Power row. You see five stepping stones, you have to check off only three to progress to the next level.

Box Number 1 Create a New Party or Infiltrate an Existing One Call out Bingo if you think that applies.
Some people presumably call out Bingo.

Some people think so. Not the same as Hitlers new movement, or Mussolini, or modern equivalents, say Five Star in Italy, UKIP in the UK. But he was outside of the political apparatus, he did hijack the grand olf Republicans, kind of following the path the Tea Party had trodden down for him. So OK yes Bingo. Check.

Number 2 Leader is a “Strongman”.

Yes, Bingo! Certainly true Fascist leaders are great showman, highly theatrical. They claim to be “saying the unsayable”, but are often opportunists, going with the national mood.

Anyway, 3 Run on a platform of Palingenetic Ultranationalism! Oooh big words! Anyone know? 

If someone does invite them to offer an answer.

If no one does

Palingenetic Ultranationalism, according to its author Roger Griffith, this is the core myth. The need to generate a ‘rebirth’ in the strength of a nation. Mussolini famously recalled the old Roman Empire, Hitler wanted a return to the greatness of Germany before the World War.

Yes, Make America Great Again, it’s pretty much there isn’t it, in black and white.

Some argue to be fully palingentic you have to advocate total revolution. Which, yes Trump promised something akin to a ‘cultural’ revolution in Washington; maybe not in the French of the Russian sense storming the capital, tearing down institutions. Possibly ‘subtler’ than that. But yeah lets give it a cross.

So that’s three. We can move up to the next row. The other two were if you wanted a full house.

Number 4 - Oppose ‘Liberal Democracy’.

What is ‘liberal democracy’, things like free and fair elections, separation of powers, multiple parties not all definitively ‘anti’ when it comes to Trump’s campaign. But one of main tenets is an “open society”, as defined by French Philosopher Henri Bergson, is being anti-tribal, tolerant, and transparent. I would say then this is the opposite of what Trump and his supporters wanted, so bingo, check.

And 5 Normalise Violence as a Necessary Political Weapon!

Bingo!

Bingo! Yes, all five. Yes, as a campaign trait, Trump harked back to the simpler days when protestors could be carried out on stretchers. Good times.

OK, moving on, we have to be quick now, let’s speed up. Row Two: ‘Consolidating your power’.
Box Number 6, bingo or not Exercise Cronyism

Bingo! Rex Tillison as Secretary of State, former CEO of ExxonMobil, frequent Republican donor. First Financial Secretary was Steven Munchin from Goldman Sachs and Trump campaign manager, son Donald Trump Junior policy advisor and so on.

Number 7 Roll Back or Reduce Constitutional Bodies.
Hmm, well, incredibly in the first working day of 2017, the GOP did try to reform out

of existence the Ethics Committee as an opening salvo, but this didn’t pass due to the

outcry. He did appoint Secretaries to lead departments they despised and wanted to hamper but again with limited success. Nope, no bingo there.

Next, Number 8 - Promote a program of “Moral Hygiene”.
This advocates for traditional gender roles, the fetishizing of masculinity and painting

homosexuality as a curable disease! Well?!
Bingo!
Number 9 Create an External Threat, and identify an Internal Enemy?

Massive bingo! Isis abroad, Mexicans at home. For Hitler it was communists, and Jews, Spain it was Basque separatists, and trade unionists. Classic us and them fear mongering, every Fascist state needs it.

That’s three, we can move it, the last one incidentally was... 10 Target Academics and the so-called Elite.

Bingo. You encourage a popular suspicion towards experts and intellectuals, turn the working classes against the left by painting them as decadent, out of touch elitists whose dissent is unpatriotic and are no longer in touch with the common man.

Good moving up. Row 3: ‘Advancing your power’
First one on this row, box Number 11 Become a Closed Society. Promoting economic self sufficiency, protectionism in trade, yes, bingo to all that. Number 12 Control the press.

Ooh, tricky one. Trump did limit press briefings, not a single press conference for the seven months leading up to his inauguration a refusal to be questioned. Unprecedented. He did also bully, berate and ban certain publications from access.

I dunno though, the media still ostensibly “continued”, although its power was reduced with state-sponsored ‘fake news’...

I’m going to say yes, bingo, the freedom of the press to hold government to account fundamentally plummeted during that time.

13 Extend your Surveillance System.

Bingo as Edward Snowden, he already had one ready and waiting; every phone call every text, your location, your likes and dislikes, all being stored, all there for monitoring with reduced restraint and accountability.

Just to see the final two on this row. 

Number 14 Arbitrary detentions.
So dissenters finding themselves on a list, in and out of jail without due process?

Hmmm. They did try but were not wholly successful. Enough coverage of unwarranted arrests and police victimization provoked the famous Dallas protests. 2018. Civil rights groups, though yes more hampered, did survive the term.

So no bingo, sorry.
Finally on this row:
15 The Abandonment of Universal Human Rights. Now then. Thoughts?

Certainly they ‘regressed’. Painfully. If you were married and gay. If you were a pregnant woman. If you were an immigrant. That more recent progress was reversed. But the Fundamental rights within the constitution, the Bill of Rights... if we’re being picky, despite the horrors caused... you can’t necessarily say that Universal Human Rights in America were abandoned. I don’t think. I don’t think.

Anyway, we still got three on that row.
So up to the fifth and final row: “Full Fascism”.

We need three here to properly identify America as a Fascist State between 2017 and 2021.

Number 16 Operate Fraudulent Elections?

Well? Some people saying bingo.

Yes it’s true that in 2016, as the CIA confirmed, the Russian’s did hack the Democratic party, Trump did shockingly say he would only recognize the result if he won. And in 2020, the GOP did try the same explicit and implicit forms of voter suppression they have been for decades. But turnout was up in 2020, and the outcome well, it’s known, and uncontested. So no to that one. Just about.

17 Begin a program of Internal Cleansing. Check. We all know who, and what happened there. 18 Begin a program of External Expansion.

Ah, now, a classic top tier Fascist requirement. Increase your territory. For Trump surprisingly no. As we know, after his botched attempt to quote “bomb the shit” out of ISIS, an isolationist foreign policy was adopted. So no to that one.

We need one more, guys, and only two chances. 

Number 19 A Cultural Rejection of the Individual in favour of the Collective.

Think Germany, think Spain, think Japan... mass rallies, uniforms, marching in time.

It didn’t happen. Why? A fundamentally widespread distaste for anything vaguely socialist, or communist, within the American psyche, particularly amongst those small government libertarians who supported Trump in the first place? Maybe...

Final chance. Final box.
Number 20... Transition Your Democracy into a One-Party State.

Hmmmmmmmmm. So. Yes, in the first two years, they dominated the Executive, the Senate and the House, along with re-appointments in the Supreme Court...

But. Is that any different to many European parliaments, where one party has a majority. With enough numbers to govern, unimpeded.

And despite the fake news, the spread of misinformation, the attempt to jail a former opposition candidate, and the civil cyber warbetween parties... Two parties remain.

Looking at the Bingo Card.

So... no. So close. But not quite. The Republic, in the end, did not fall. It by a hairs breadth did not quite meet at least my requirements and succumb to fascism.

Why? Good question. Don’t know.

The stubbornness of a beleaguered but organized mainstream press? The cynicism and mocking satire of television, the internet and the arts? The direct action of average citizens, the student marches, the open minds, the unblinking focus on every every statement, every bill, the refusal to sleepwalk into those final, top tier stages...?

All we can do as we constantly check these boxes against the actions of our own governments... is recall that Latin phrases summoned by Milton Mayer in his study of German people from 1933 to 1945 entitled, ‘They Thought They Were Free’...

‘Principiis Obsta. Finem Respice’.

Pointing at Box One on the card, and then Box 20.

Resist the beginnings... Consider the end... Thank you. 

 

A Plan for Post-Truth Truth Truth News

Rebekah Harrison

 

1: So –

(2 blank face)

1: Oh they haven’t told you? Well, you’ve been selected.

2: Selected?

1: Chosen.

2: Chosen?

1: For a new exciting team here at the station.

2: Look I’ve been at this “station” since before you were born –

1: Precisely why you’ve been chosen. We need your expertise. Your wisdom – your maturity.

2: Go on.

1: For our new team – ‘real news’.

2: Real news?

(1 nods)

2: Surely all news is ‘real news’?

1: We’re in an interesting era Arthur. There are many different types of news.

2: Call me old fashioned but I like to report the truth.

1: Aha. So we have ‘Truth’, which let’s face it has always been a pretty fluid concept.

2: Has it?

1: And, no disrespect, is very much a pre-Brexit concept.

2: Truth is a pre-Brexit concept?

1: Let’s just pop it on a shelf for now with human rights, free speech – all those grey areas. The point is, we live in a post truth society.

2: Ah post truth – utter nonsensical phrase.

1: Oxford Dictionary word of the year 2016. “Post truth - relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”

2: Well that certainly sums up 2016.

1: We’re getting off point. As we live in a ‘post-truth’ society the way people consume news has changed. There’s not the same appetite for plain ‘truth’ telling anymore.

2: It’s what I do.

1: It’s been noticed. You see people are more likely to click and share ‘post-truth’ as opposed to ‘plain truth’. So for example, say someone writes an article tomorrow questioning could Justin Bieber now sympathise with IS, after he was seen posing in front of a sign emblazoned with the initials. This story would gain more traction on social media than the traditional ‘truth’ news story you might write where Justin Bieber was actually photographed on his way to visiting a local Independent Support provision for terminally ill children.

2: But that’s fake news?

1: Aha – no. Fake news is news that is untrue and perhaps deliberately put into the public domain in the knowledge that it's untrue, not to be confused with unverified news, which is news that hasn't yet been proved to be true or false or just plain satire. A real fake news article in this example would be “Justin Bieber pledges allegiance to IS” and probably a photoshopped black flag draped over him, which again would gain significant traction on social media and be widely accepted as fact in a relatively short space of time.

2: But that’s bloody ridiculous. How on earth do you counteract moronic acceptance of lies?

1: That, Arthur, is where you come in. With the ‘real news’ team.

2: With a post-truth truth story?

1: Not quite. You see research has clearly shown in the last year that post-truth truth stories just don’t cut it with readers / sharers. All I have to point to is the big red bus. 350 million.

2: Well yes –

1: That’s where you come in.

2: I do?

1: What we need from your team – your new ‘real news’ team - is a post-truth truth truth plan.

2: A post-truth truth truth plan? And what exactly do you think that would look like?

1: (long pause) Well we haven’t a clue. That’s why you’re here. Over to you.

 

Vermin

By Laura Harper

ASH (20s) CHASES AN UNSEEN THING ONTO THE STAGE.

ASH: That’s it, go! Go, go! Yes!

HE WATCHES IT RUN DOWN A HOLE BEFORE COVERING THE HOLE’S ENTRANCE BY SITTING ON IT.

LUCINDA (20s) COMES RUNNING ON, SHE IS WEARING HORSE RIDING CLOTHES. SHE CARRIES A RIFLE.

SHE CALLS TO PEOPLE OFF STAGE.

LUCINDA: I’m pretty sure it just came this way.

SHE SEES ASH

LUCINDA: Ashley?

ASH: Oh no.

LUCINDA: What are you…

LUCINDA: Shit. (calling offstage) No, not here. It must be coming around. (To Ash) What are you doing here?

ASH: What the hell are you doing here?

LUCINDA: If they see you… This is trespassing. It’s in there, isn’t it?

ASH: You’re not having it.

LUCINDA: This is illegal.

ASH: At least it’s not immoral!

LUCINDA: Move out of the way.

ASH: What are they promising you Lucy?

LUCINDA: It’s Lucinda actually and it’s none of your business.

ASH: Club membership?

LUCINDA: Shut up.

ASH: Dinner at the palace?

LUCINDA: Shut up, I’m warning you.

ASH: Breeding opportunities?

LUCINDA: Ashley!

ASH: It’s Ash actually and I’m not letting you take it. What happened to you?

LUCINDA: Move out the way.

SHE POINTS THE GUN AT HIM.

ASH: Jesus Lucy! Lucinda.

LUCINDA: I need the fox. They’re going to let me date Jeremy.

ASH: What?

LUCINDA: It’s not carved in stone.

ASH: Breeding?

LUCINDA: It’s just a start, a trial, no promises, but if I integrate well… if I assimilate, then maybe…

ASH: Oh my god.

LUCINDA: Then maybe they’ll be able to look past my… my background and…

ASH: Oh my god.

LUCINDA: That’s what they said. They need to widen the gene pool. I need this Ashley. I can’t be a grade four for the rest of my life.

ASH: There’s nothing wrong with being a grade four.

LUCINDA: Easy for you to say.

ASH: I’m a two.

LUCINDA: By choice. You weren’t born a two.

ASH: By choice, yes, because I refuse to buy into all this.

LUCINDA: Don’t bother Ash; I’ve heard it all before.

ASH: So now you’re going to catch a fox.

LUCINDA: I have to.

ASH: And kill it.

LUCINDA: If I can bring it to them…

ASH: Dead.

LUCINDA: If I can bring it to them, then I have a chance at being elevated. I need this Ashley. Ash. It’s my last chance.

THEY STARE AT EACH OTHER.

ASH: Put the gun down.

LUCINDA DOESN’T MOVE.

ASH: Put it down.

LUCINDA SLOW LOWERS THE RIFLE.

ASH: Where’s your horse?

LUCINDA: Oh I, I didn’t have one.

ASH: Then, why all this?

HE GESTURES TO HER OUTFIT.

LUCINDA: Admin error. They thought they had enough horses for all of us, but they were one short.

ASH: So you’ve what, been running around on foot?

LUCINDA: They’re grade sevens, they’re hardly going to run around in the dirt, are they?

ASH: And they only told you that once you got here?

LUCINDA: It was an admin error.

ASH: After you’d bought this outfit?

LUCINDA: So I spent a few credits, so what?

ASH: How many?

LUCINDA: None of your business.

ASH: Tell me.

LUCINDA: Twenty five.

ASH: What? That’s madness! What are you going to do for food until the next cycle?

LUCINDA: Like you care.

ASH: You’ll starve.

LUCINDA: I won’t, I’ll have Jeremy. All I have to do is catch/that stupid fox.

ASH: Kill.

LUCINDA: Kill that stupid fox and everything is going to be fine.

ASH: They’re toying with you.

LUCINDA: I know. Look, just go. They’ll come back around in a minute and if they find you / there’ll be hell to pay

ASH: Let them find me. All they can do is throw me out, I’m not afraid/ of them.

LUCINDA: You need to watch what you say.

ASH: They can’t hear me.

LUCINDA: They’ve got people everywhere.

ASH: Not out in the woods, you div!

LUCINDA: Shut up.

ASH: They’re not going to let you in Lucy. Be honest with yourself, please.

LUCINDA: I don’t want to kill a fox, I’m a fucking vegetarian.

ASH: Come with me, walk away from this. There’s a way out to the road, if we run we can be there in twenty minutes, maybe even less. The Resistance is growing stronger every day and there’s food, not much, but enough. There’s clean water, no rations, no curfews, no spot checks.

LUCINDA: I can’t Ash; they said if I don’t bring them the fox, then…

ASH: Then what? It can’t get any worse.

LUCINDA: Then I’ll have to take its place.

 

Dear Mr President-elect

By Millie-Jo MacIver

 

Dear Mr President-elect,

Today we woke up to news that would change the world.

Our world.

Now I’ll come back to that point. Because ‘Our’ is important.

 

You see, the title, ‘Leader of the free world’

I think the irony’s almost painful

When you see,

In order for a nation to be free

Firstly, it must be built

On solid foundations of equality

Of trust and faith, respect and honour

Of integrity, responsibility

And striving for better.

To be the father or the mother

Of a nation of hungry people

To show innovation. Inspiration.

 

That is how you guide others

 

It’s not by leading them down a road

That only runs one way

So that when you reach the end

You realise one day

Too late, that a narrow perspective

Could not build a mighty palace

I’m not talking of gold and jewels

But a Kingdom rich in its spirit and its freedom

 

Now I have it heard

You’re a man with a head for business

Well now the only business you should be associating with

Is fuelling the trade

Of thoughts and ideas

Of friendship and love

Of hope and community

For all those who yearn for it

Because right now, they’re shrouded in ambiguity

And they need someone to clear it

 

These people need a guiding hand

Someone to look to and rely on.

In times of desperation

They need to know that it’s going to be alright.

Or at least hear the truth

The whole truth

And nothing but.

Not a web of lies or twisted facts.

 

Then there’s the windows of opportunity

That you slam shut.

 

The consideration that the nation of the ‘free’

Should only be so

For those whom you want it to be?

You shouldn’t get to choose

Who does and doesn’t get

The rights they are owed

As humans – but I forget

You’ll be President now, so that’s all okay, right?

There is one time I can praise you for the truth

When you said, and I quote,

“Today, politics is a disgrace”.

You’re right, it is

For somebody like you to win the vote.

“Good people don’t go into government.”

Those are your own words.

Well at least we can say

There’s one bit of truth we have heard.

 

The people want answers

And solutions to their problems.

Not racism

Discrimination

Abuse

And degradation.

Misogyny

Profanity

And hate to lead the nation.

 

They want to reduce unemployment

And keep the homeless off of streets.

Ensure that every man, woman and child

Lays their head with food to eat.

Our brothers and sisters

Aren’t just those who share our DNA;

We’re one race; the human race

And we’re destined to be free.

 

Now Mr President-elect,

I don’t speak to you, but to those like me.

 

Yes, the vote was the vote

What’s done is done and

What will be, will be.

And this brings me back to ‘our’, because all’s not lost.

You see we can work together

To uphold our values and our morals

And still live in hope of creating a better tomorrow

For our friends, for our loved ones

For ourselves and for our children.

Rest assured in your beliefs, keep faith

And continue passing it on as tradition.

 

Create love, art and music

Teach, build and grow

The presidency doesn’t define us

It doesn’t take away our soul.

 

The best form of come back

Is one that shows us to be strong

We won’t fight hate-fire with fire

But with poetry and song

Because we don’t need you to tell us

What is right and what is wrong

Because know that ourselves. In our hearts.

 

Your Presidency may be four years, but our agenda is lifelong.

 

CHECKS AND BALANCES

By Tim Dynevor

Actors ONE, TWO and THREE stand gazing blankly at the audience for a moment.

ONE
‘Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?’

TWO Stephen Bannon, Trump’s Chief Strategist.

THREE
In a way, all you can do is look back and admit the whole thing was kind of brilliant.

ONE And it totally fucking worked.

Suddenly we’re in the Oval Office.

TWO

President Trump?

ONE
Hey, you fellers give the best advice, seriously, big league.

THREE

You sent for us?

ONE
Yeah, guys, this ‘fact’ idea you had in the campaign. Great, huge, believe me.

TWO

Okay ...?

ONE
But seriously, what exactly is a fact? Obviously I know what a fact is, I have the most

amazing facts, but in your opinion. See if we agree.

THREE
Well, something that’s, you know, actually ... True.

ONE
Right. So when I say all Mexicans are rapists, that would be a true fact? 

If you said it often enough.

TWO

ONE And all muslims are terrorists?

THREE Sure, if it’s what people want to believe.

ONE
Okay, but what if someone else comes along with a fact that’s more ... facty than mine?

TWO

Right ...

ONE
And what if, you know, he or she, probably a he, is like an expert ...

THREE

A what now?

TWO
Mr President, it’s easy. You just say your facts louder.

THREE
And keep saying them over until no one remembers or cares what’s true anymore.

ONE
Right. Like: we’re making America great by putting all the Mexicans, muslims, jews, gays,

African Americans and trans people in a camp.

TWO You’re getting the hang of this.

And we’re out of the Oval Office.

ONE
Luckily he’s surrounded by a team of professionals - checks and balances to his lack of

humanity.
‘Hey, boy. Be careful what you say to white folks.’ 

TWO
‘White lawyers defending blacks are race traitors’.

THREE
‘The only thing I don’t like about the KKK is their drug use’.

ONE Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General.

TWO
‘Obama’s government were putting fluoride in the water to turn straight people gay’.

THREE
‘And the Sandy Hook massacre was faked, they used actors’.

ONE
Alex Jones, friend and advisor to President Trump.

TWO
‘I don’t like jews, I don’t like the way they raise their kids to be whiny brats, I don’t want

my kids going to a school with jews’.

ONE Stephen Bannon, Trump’s Chief Strategist.

A brief pause. From here on the actors speak in their own voices.

ONE
And suddenly here we are. These people are running the free world.

TWO
Fascism is being normalised. Racism is going unchallenged.

THREE
We’re in a post-truth, post-fact world. And we have to stand up and fight it now.

ONE
The two biggest threats facing humanity are climate change and the growing disparity

between the haves and have-nots.

THREE
‘People get mad if they get left behind. They’ve spoken out now. We must listen and take

them with us in the bitter fight against fascism’- Stephen Hawking. 

ONE
Hawking added, ‘we are facing the most dangerous moment in the history of humanity, we

need to break down barriers within and between nations if we are to protect it’ ...

THREE
... Communicating through a cheek muscle attached to a speech-generating computer.

TWO ‘Make America great again ...’

THREE
... Said Trump, communicating through his arse.

ONE Most of us aren’t racist, sexist homophobes.

TWO
People are being manipulated by a tiny group of billionaires who control a disproportionate

chunk of the media.

THREE
And are using it to lie in order to protect their obscene fortunes.

TWO
‘Something wrong with your life? Job? Health? Country?’, they shout ...

ONE
...‘It’s because of those others who aren’t like you ...

THREE
... They’ll come and take what you had unless you stand up and learn to hate’.

TWO We have to find a way to give back hope.

ONE

We are the vast majority.

TWO
The non-racist, non-misogynist, pro-choice, pro-love majority.

THREE
And as long as we don’t stand by and do nothing we will prevail.

TWO
The right think victory goes to the loudest voice. 

So we must be heard.

ONE

TWO
2016 was the year when sitting back and hoping for the best stopped being an option,

hoping for sense and reason to prevail.

ONE In 2017 we have to take action.

THREE We must work together. Every one of us.

ONE If you witness hate, speak out.

TWO
We can fight them by being good. Doing good. Loving double.

ONE If we do this we can take back America.

Take back the world.
Take back hope.
Take back love. So from this day on ...

ONE/TWO/THREE ... Be good. Do good. Love double.

TWO THREE TWO

 

It's Not The End

By GenerationNow

 

Have you ever been in the face of a situation

The beginning of the end of a once rest nation

Where the people are trapped in confrontation 

In a country that needs rehabilitation and thought....well shit.

 

And you know that we've all been here before cause history is a revolving door,

A stain on society we can't ignore, when Trump wants to build a 10 foot wall.
 

It's not the end, it's not the end. It's not the end, it's not the end.

And though things may look quite dire . But you're never gonna light our funeral pyre. Cause while we've still got hope and still got fire, there'll always be minds we can inspire.
 

And you know that we've all been here before, cause history is a revolving door. A stain on society we can't ignore when Trump wants to build a 10 foot wall.
 

Muslims, scrounges, the weak and the poor. 'Too many immigrants' - are you sure?

Chinese whispers to shift the blame, don't be deceived, don't play their game. Always looking for your distraction, anything to stop you from taking action. 

Wool over you're eyes and fingers in your ears. 

Flat out lies and manipulated fears.

 

Fabricated myths, lies and deceit, your vote doesn't come with a receipt.

False accusations and created tales, but did you know she wrote some emails?

 

And you know that we've all been here before cause history is a revolving door, a stain on society we can't ignore when Trump wants a build a 10 foot wall. 

 

It's not the end, it's not the end. It's not the end, it's not the end.  

 

Help us Take Back America

Catherine Rodgers

I am a 62 year-old white female, a US citizen who was born in Ottawa, Canada to American parents.  I am currently applying to obtain my Canadian passport because I am eligible to do so having been born there between 1946 and 1977.  I need it as an insurance policy that would allow me (and my immediate family) to escape.  We must have a plan that will allow us to leave should the need arise.  Why do I have this overwhelming sense of panic?  Because the unthinkable, the unspeakable, has occurred.  Donald Trump will be our 45th President of the United States of America.

All of my adult life has been spent fighting.  I chose to pursue the male-dominated field of directing for the theatre as my career goal.  At first, I wasn’t taken seriously.  In graduate school I was interviewed on an early morning television show, and the middle aged male host asked me (live on the air), “It must be difficult for a young woman to direct, is it?”  I remember being so taken aback by his question that I hesitated before answering, “No, not at all.  Why should it be?”   Later, I wanted to add that just because I didn’t have a penis had no bearing on whether or not I could be a successful theatre artist.  But he was right in that it has been difficult.  Difficult because of the glass ceiling that existed, that still exists, for women in my field—difficult, too, because that ceiling is hard and thick and seemingly impenetrable.  I was the only woman in my Master of Fine Arts program.

After graduate school I landed my first job in academia.  I chose to teach in higher education over a professional theatre career because I found working with students so rewarding.  But my first professorship was in an Arts and Humanities department consisting of an all-male faculty.  They called me the “Drama Girl” and regularly left me “Play Girl” magazines in my desk drawer with lewd comments under the pornographic pictures—their idea of fun I suppose.  I played along not wanting to appear to be a bad sport, but I remember feeling shocked and violated.  The first faculty event that we hosted my first year of teaching was an afternoon tea.  We were required to clean up after the social and I was left alone to do so.  At the next department meeting I asked the Arts and Humanities head if I could make an announcement.  When it was my turn to speak, at the ripe “old” age of 25, I said, “Just because I am the only fucking woman in this department, doesn’t mean that I am anybody’s maid or cook or mother.  I will never stay and clean up after any of you again!”  I can still recall the look of surprise and guilt on each man’s face.  It had never occurred to them that they should stay and help me.  It had never occurred to them that we were equals because I was younger and a woman.

Now I teach at my undergraduate alma mater, an all-women’s university.  We are dedicated to ensuring that our students know that they can do and be anything, that life has no barriers, that they are strong and worthy.  But I see the disillusionment on their faces in light of the recent election.  I hear the fear in their voices when they talk about the sexual predator that we have just elected to the highest office in our land—a man who speaks of hate and advocates violence.  I know that they are experiencing the disappointment that comes from losing—in this case, losing to a misogynistic prick.  It hurts to not be able to fully comfort them.  To only be able to tell them of my own journey and encourage them to be brave and venture out on their own.  I am tired, though, tired of having to work twice as hard as a man and still not being paid the same wages.  Tired of a lack of respect for what I do and who I am.  So tired of this society of ignorance where the truth is optional.  My gay, transgender, immigrant and Muslim students fear for their basic safety, the object of abuse and ridicule.  Permission has been given to mark them as outcasts, and even on our small and safe campus, hate has taken hold and I want to shout, “We are not this!  We are far better than this!”

Right now I have no answers, no words to make it all better—only astonishment and outrage and grief.  My British sisters, we are in pain.  We are in peril.  We must help and support each other now more than ever.  Please, help us take back America.  As my hero, Hillary Clinton, says, “We are [truly] stronger together!”

KINDERGARTEN REVOLUTION –

WRITTEN BY CURTIS JAY COLE

Jessica comes on stage with a huge CBBC presenter smile on her face. She is a Kindergarten teacher from somewhere in America.

JESSICA                      

Hello children. That’s right Ms Parker is back in to teach you after the horrible illness that I suffered. I Know some of you were a little scared by some of the things that you heard me say, so as you can see Ms Taylor is here for the first bit of the lesson today, just to ensure you feel safe while I say the following.

She clears her throat.

As you know children the last time you saw me I was doing some pretty terrible things, and that’s because I was sick. The sickness happened right after the election results, do you remember? I shouted alot, broke a chair, threw my coffee at Mr Richardson. And I also said alot of things to you guys. Well I am here to tell you it is not the end of the world. We are not all doomed. The devil has not taken over America and all those things I was screaming were merely symptoms of my illness. Ok sweeties.

How’s this Miss Turner? Am I doing OK? Yeah? Good. Well since it is deemed inappropriate for me to politicise young adults, I say let’s have some story time. Yeah. Good, let’s read Yertle the fucking Turtle that’ll solve all our problems.

Sorry Miss Turner. Yes Miss Turner I musn’t swear in front of the little ones. Sorry. Won’t happen again. I know they’re just children Ms Taylor but I believe children are our future. Wise man said that, you might have heard it before. Yeah.

Anyway. Where were we? Ah yes can you remember children? The king of the Turtles was so eager to be higher than the moon, that he had all the other turtles climb on top of each other so he could climb to the top and at last be higher than the moon.

Oh you’re leaving now Ms Taylor. Thanks for checking in on me. Everyone say goodbye Ms Turner. And rest assured I won’t be doing anything crazy like talking politics, god forbid we get them interested in their future.

Grace sweetie, check she’s really gone. Look properly honey, she’s not hanging outside the door is she? Good. Come back and join us honey.

Now. Back to Yertle the Turtle. You’re all really enjoying this story but I’d just like to recap and check we’re understanding the story correctly. OK. Now the king of the Turtles has commanded that all of his underlings – that’s the little people, stack on top of one another in order for him to achieve his ridiculously unachievable ambition of being higher than the moon. Now, do you know why that is sweeties? Because he’s drunk with power. That’s right. Now Yertle is at the bottom of the pile suffering, his shell breaking and his legs aching, and all it would take is for Yertle to move and do something and the Kings whole world would come crashing down. Sound familiar? Sure it does cos we’re living it honey.

Now in spite of what Ms Taylor thinks I know you’re not stupid. I know you hear things in the news. Things that mommy says. Things that daddy says and you’re sort of starting to form your own oppinions. Now Ms Parker is here sweeties to gently guide you in to the correct way of thinking.

Now I’m sure you’re familiar with the name...

She hesitates. She gags... Almost vomits.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the name Donald...

She gags again. Almost vomits again.

Trump! Yeah I’m sure you do because he is the President elect. Which means he is going to be the next president of the United States of America. Our Commander and Chief. THE FUCKING “YOU’RE FIRED” GUY!

I’m sorry sweeties sometimes Ms Parker still feels a little unwell. Don’t worry it won’t be like after the election. Turner come out from under the table sweetie, I won’t do that again.

It is important to understand that this is not a man you want to with a finger on a nuclear button children. We are living in dangerous times and we have to do something about it. We have to stand up and fight like little Yertle the Turtle did...

No Jose there is no time for playtime any more. Play time is over, you will not play again until this atrocity to our country is rectified. Oh you want to play with the fire truck? Quick question Jose do you know that our future president wants to build a wall so that grandma won’t be able to visit you any more? Granny’s not got long left Jose, you really think she’s got another four years?

And Ahmed our new president wants to send you to a war torn country you have never been to, because he thinks it’s your home. Is that what you want guys huh? A granny stopping wall and Ahmed being bombed? Because if that’s what you want then by all means play with the fire trucks sweetie, go ahead.

Well don’t cry sweeties. We can’t just cry. Believe me I have cried for a week straight and it does no good. We have to stand up and be strong and united against...

What’s that Scott? Did he? Did you hear that boys and girls? Scotts daddy voted for Trump. Ahhhhh. That’s nice isn’t it? Did you hear that Jose, Ahmed. Scotts daddy hates you. But it’s alright we don’t listen to people like Scotts daddy do we? Scotty sweetie, your daddy came to the parent teacher conference wearing sandals and socks. Tells me all I need to know really.

Well don’t you start crying. It’s important that we teach you honey. We have to make sure you don’t end up thinking like your daddy. You don’t want to wear sandals with socks do you sweetie? Of course you don’t because you’re smart.

So I’ll tell you what if everybody stops crying and stops cowering when I raise my voice then we’ll do something else. Something fun. Yeah? OK sweeties wipe away those tears that’s right cos we’re gonna have fun. We’re gonna get out some pens and paper and glue and do some artsy things. How does that sound? Yeah. So come on everyone get our drawing things out, we’ve got some placcards to write. Who wants to have a try at spelling revolution?!

                                                                                   

Trump

by Alex Keelan

A tall man is standing on stage, a woman is standing to the side of him, both face the audience, not each other.
MAN
I’m not a bad guy, everyone does it. This bloke once said that holding it in is toxic, it’s bad for you, poisoning your insides. What am I meant to do? I’ve let rip before in front of people, they made me feel stupid, ashamed and like I was this disgusting jerk.
When I did it as a kid it was a laugh. I’m sick of holding it in. It’d be so good to just let rip in the office, just once, the look on their stupid faces.
Sometimes I’ll be in a meeting, everyone’s waffling on, talking shit and I look across at this guy, I see the
signs, his eyes widen he starts to shift a bit uneasy in his chair.I can tell it’s bubbling away, under the surface, coming in waves that are getting harder to control, he looks panicked, angry, flustered. All this
cloak and dagger shit, it’s no good. I want to shout, go on fella,do it, DO IT, let them have it!
Sometimes I clench my buttocks so tight, my heart pounds, I even get a sweat on. What about my freedom? I’m tired of holding it in, I’ve been holding it in for years. They say it’s not polite, not nice, it makes people feel uncomfortable, so basically their comfort comes before mine. That’s what it boils down to. I’ve never really been on the receiving end, we weren’t
allowed to in my house. I’ve never heard my mum fart in my entire life, seriously. Can’t be that bad though,
it’s natural. It doesn’t matter who you are, white black pink or blue, we all do it. Yet no one talks about it, ever, it’s all done in secret, in private.
Everyone walking round like it never happens, its weird. It’s not healthy. Fuck it. I mean if they don’t like it they can leave, move away. I’m just gonna go for it, I am.
WOMAN
There’s a guy at work, he think’s he’s a good guy. He’s not. He thinks I don’t notice, that I don’t know it’s him, but I do.We’re animals, we feel everything. We don’t need to talk, we know. Mr silent but bloody deadly. Good guys don’t force their stench on others.
That’s what it is, forcing his toxic stench on others, on me. It makes me feel physically sick (wretches).
It’s selfish and arrogant, he does it every day. I don’t force my shit on him. He says, ’no one else is bothered’. So? I have to put up and shut up because other people don’t experience it the way I do? Negate my feelings, my comfort. It makes me feel ill, it makes me feel angry, I can’t concentrate, sometimes my eyes burn, all I can think about is that bastard. Invading my space with his stench, making me want to move away, making me want to run away, making me want to jump out of the fucking window. Yes, I am emotional, it affects me emotionally, physically, I am not over reacting.
I’ve lived with it for years, I’ve got 4 brothers, to be frank, my sister was the worst. Every time he does it it takes me back to that powerless five year old trapped under the duvet whilst my older brothers and sister let rip.I’m all for freedom, don’t get me wrong but not when it has an impact on the happiness and wellbeing of others. There are actual tiny particles of shit in the gas, you inhale them and ingest them, eat them, you are eating their actual faeces, it’s toxic, it isn’t healthy, its poison. Yes we all do it but you need to respect other people’s’
space. My space. Every single day it happens, can you imagine? Why should I move away? Sometimes I think about doing it to him, see how he likes it. I don’t think he’d care. Experiencing it once isn’t the same as every day for years. People say it’s better out than
in. Is it?
Man does a loud, long trump. Woman falls to her knees and wretches violently. He looks totally shocked and remorseful. Man looks shocked, he holds out his hand to help her get up.

 

Untitled by

Kaila Sharples

I am a small child in a crowd,

I am lost, I am scared,

And I cannot be heard,

You shout over me,

While your choices threaten my liberty.

I am lost, I am alone,

But that's ok you check your phone,

Buy into the hate and the lies,

While your child cries,

Because of the choices you made,

We get to watch our futures fade.

I am lost, I am scared,

 and I cannot be heard.

 

I am abandoned in an ocean, the waters far from calm

I am drowning, I am sinking,

And I can't breathe,

And I mean really what were you thinking?!

I can feel you seethe,

In these waters which surround me,

Your reactions astound me, drown me,

With these tides of hate,

Fed to you by the ones who subjugate,

Their game is won, the waters still,

Now my strength is gone, and my lungs fill,

I was enveloped, and have now lost sight,

Of the glimpse of light,

On the surface.

I am drowning, I am sinking

And I can't breathe.

 

I am confined in a cell,

I am fighting, I am trapped,

Because I'm not under their spell,

Placed here by a society,

Which is lacking the clarity,

to see,

That we've been here before,

And so I hammer at the door,

Trying to break free,

But it's not your future, and it wasn't your past,

 so why should you listen?

Or care that my eyes glisten,

But you are not the first, and won't be the last,

To forget and ignore.

I am fighting, I am trapped,

Because I'm not under their spell.

 

I feel lost, I feel drowned, I feel trapped,

But I'll still shout, still breathe, still fight,

I will not fade away,

Next time they'll hear us when we say,

Not in our name,

We will not play your game.

Western Christians
by Ellie Pemberton

GIRL
What is this?
(Beat)
Are you happy then? Are you?
(Beat)
Sorry, I’m not... I’m not one to get angry in public, I’m not, but this...
(Beat)
Do you even understand what you’ve done? Who you’ve told people to vote for? Who you’ve voted against? Yourself! You’ve voted against your fucking self.
(Beat)
Okay, sorry... Sorry for swearing. I don’t mean to be disrespectful. But I’m angry, okay.
(Beat)
But what does this building stand for, then? This church? What does everything I’ve been raised on stand for? Does it stand for him? ... And I walk in here and
you’re celebrating!
(Beat)
I mean, it’s a load of bollox really, isn’t it? God’s choice! God’s choice? I’ve never heard anything so arrogant in my entire life.
(Beat)
I thought that this was some sort of blip, a phase you were all going through, and that when he didn’t get in you’d just act a bit embarrassed and then carry on as
normal. But now this... this has happened, and it’s your fault.
(Beat)
No, no I won’t calm down! I’ve always felt a bit of a need to justify what I believe, but now... Do you know what all my friends are going to think of me now?
They’re going to think that I chose him, that I agree with him. That I agree with you! I mean, you’re a woman! A woman I respect, who preaches about love, and
kindness.
(Beat)
Maybe you’re just mistaken, I don’t know... We’re all allowed to make mistakes... But you have influenced so many people in your support for him. You wouldn’t
acknowledge his faults. You just kept bleating on about "God’s choice" and quoting the Bible, as if that’s fool proof, as if nobody could ever misinterpret something
written thousands of years ago. I mean, shit, there are millions of interpretations of Shakespeare out there, clogging up theatres, why you think your version of the Bible is the only acceptable one is staggering.
And Shakespeare’s only a few hundred years old, might I add. Your scripture is ancient.
(Beat)
Well, you know what, I keep trying to calm down, but then I remember how angry I am and I can’t help it.
(Beat)
You’ve been like a mother to me. Cause that’s what this is supposed to be about, isn’t it? We’re supposed to be a family, not just a congregation. But I can’t even
look at you right now.
(Beat)
You don’t seem to be able to look at me either.
(Beat)
I think I’m done here.
(Beat)
No, stop being diplomatic, I hate it when you do that. I’m done. We both know I don’t fit here. I don’t fit out there either, really, but I definitely don’t fit
here, under your big Christian umbrella. I don’t fit.
(Beat)
Do you know, I’ve tried really really hard to be an atheist. So that I could march at the gay rights rallies, and all that, and not feel the need to escape myself. It’s difficult though, when you’re raised with faith, and your instinctive reaction in any situation is to pray. And I’m not - I know I’ll never really be
an atheist, because ultimately I believe. Not in you.But I’m not... I’m not under this umbrella anymore. I’m out in the rain.
(Beat)
Sorry, what a melodramatic thing to say. "I’m out in the rain." I sound like a bloody poem.
(Beat)
Enjoy your celebration. Celebrate America, and England. Celebrate our divine, special relationship, and all that...
(She goes to say something else, but can’t find the words)

Exit.

Taking Back: America

By Emma Houghton

Three characters - Narrator, Woman, Bag Lady.

Three way rope on stage all the time, like tug of war. You can only see the character in monologue holding one end of the rope, until the end.

 

Narrator Monologue:

Push, pull, push, pull, into the mud, all will fall.

And so, it begins – the dirty, wet mud, slick with hate and fear has stuck, took and dried hard – cemented in history! What will you do now?

 

Spotlight off narrator (still holding an end of the rope in darkness).

Spotlight on Woman, who holds rope in one hand, glass of wine in another and sways with the rope. Woman totally surrounded by boxes of wine, wearing a bikini, in Alaska (Could be a sign behind that says, Alaska or simply white fake snow sprayed on hair, with blue make up).

 

Woman:

Well I moved straight to Alaska, just me and my wine. The Aliens have descended upon us. I used to think that was Earther Kitt, but now I realise they have taken the male form - wearing rusty coloured toupees. I’m afraid! They are descending amongst us, descending, dividing, destroying, and offending! I truly believe there are alien Gods sat on a faraway planet, watching Earth TV, who then decided, “There are too many women in power today, soon the world will be hugging and drinking tea! We have to spice it up or it will get boring, it needs a Trump! Send him in!” The end of the world is nigh! They are now exacting a plan for our complete self-destruction. I bet they are laughing at the state of our atmosphere! What shall we do in this time of dire change? When this species of evil, greed, hate and fear, have begun to whisper in our ear - be afraid, be angry, and hate thy neighbour. Drumm drum drum, drum, drum, drum, drum, drum. Drumm, drum, drum, drum, drum, drum, drum. Well, I can’t hear them from here! Chin chin! And soon I’ll be numb to events going on.

 

Spotlight off woman in Alaska and up on homeless bag lady (she is holding a rope end, swaying, could be a sign in front of her begging for money).

Bag Lady (New York - or Anywhere):

I hear some people saying Trump and that Boris are Aliens, descended to destroy equilibrium on the planet…Bah ha ha…Noo, of course they aren’t - they are AI! Artificial Intelligence robots! Cause they sure don’t have any real stuff going on up here! They all look the same, sound the same, spiel the same old shit and share the same hairdresser/ programmer. I reckon Putin got the KGB to devise them and then throw them out to the UK and USA. He probably made them in his own image…bet he’s got a wig stashed to wear at night. They sure all share some similar ideals…funny old world, it’s all rigged! Politics, health, all of it! I won’t take tablets now, just poison to get you to buy the vaccine. I reckon America invented HIV to wipe a few out, you know, create a bit of space. I’d rather not be a part of that rat race. I’m isolated now, invisible from society. No TV, none of that propaganda being filtered into my head. Yes, I think I’m better off out of it, out of society, and off radar. Reckon more of you’ll be joining me soon. Specially you Puerto Ricans.

 

Lights come up on all three, rope in hands, narrator, woman-also wine in hand, bag lady, in unison...tug of war movement...

 

Narrator, woman, bag lady:

Push, pull, push, pull, push pull, into the mud, all will fall!

 

The End.

 

 

LICE

By Grace Cordell

A response to the US presential result.
 This monologue is intended to be read similar to
 a TED or public speaking piece. It is fine to
 read from paper similarly to a presential
 campaign sector.
I recently read that findings released by Public
Policy Polling found that Donald Trump is more
unpopular than lice. So, what I'm beginning this
speech with is the absolute fact, that a Western,
first-world country with the population of over 231
million people who could vote for their new president,
collectively chose someone who is more unpopular than
an insect who's life objective is to live on a human
scalp and feed on their blood.
So my question is- why is this? How on earth did
someone who is more unpopular that lice, manage to win
a presential election in 2016?
Not all American's hoped for this result, but 23.7% of
eligible voters, did vote for Trump, and I really was
confused as to how this happened- so I did some
research and ventured into the important bit, the why.
I'm not necessarily interested in the Trump voters who
share his xenophobic, racist, sexist views, but I am
interested in the other Trump voters- the ones that we
non supporters can relate to. The men and the women.
The non white people. The people who belong to any
heritage that isn't 100% American. Perhaps fiends of
ours, perhaps family. I need to understand. For me it
is a massive, illogical black hole and I need some
help to understand. So, I tried to find out what all
of these people have in common, any shred of
similarity, and I quickly discovered that the only
common factor between them was something so,
unbelievably non-sensicle, that I was kind of
convinced I'd gotten it wrong. Donald Trump speaks his
mind. This is the single thing that links the majority
of Trump voters. Simply speaking ones mind is enough
to get you elected in 2016 America. I fear the
education system is not as useful as Trump would have
you believe. It's stunning, and quite terrifying, that
through my research I found 2 people who had very
conflicting views- a white supremacist, Matthew
Heimbach, and an African American, Alex Chalgrim. Both
thought that voting for Trump really was for the
best... However. Matthew was using Trumps policies and
campaigns as justification for why people like Alex,
who are American born and of African heritage, should
be deported. Matthew truly believes that only white
people should be allowed to live in America. The scary
fact of this is not the fact that he had this thought
and voiced it, but that he is an active campaigner of
this blatant racism. And why would he have any kind of
suspicion that what he's doing is not ok? Possibly
because those views are the very base of Trump's views
and political campaign. How has this been allowed? Why
is Donald Trump president of the USA and walking
around a free man, despite exhibiting the kind of
behaviours that if produced by anyone who wasn't a
rich, middle-aged, American white man with a lot of
power, would have landed him in jail. I must stress
that I do know plenty of people in each of those
categories who are absolute heroes, and it's important
not to attack those attributes, however, I do think
that we need to question that if things were reversed,
if he was poor, or younger, or not white, or a woman,
would he be allowed to do what he's doing and campaign
the way he has been? He was born into those privileges
and rather than using that to help eliminate
discrimination and promote equality, he has been
allowed and in fact encouraged to do the opposite. How
has this been allowed to happen in 2016? Why is this
even a point for discussion? It is our right to speak
up and question it.
I think that in this depressing, scary, trying time,
we take from it whatever lessons that we can. I am
fortunate to be surrounded by smart, thoughtful,
empathetic, kind hearted people- and that makes me
very grateful. The uproar and amount of protest that
has risen from this awful result has given me such
hope for the future. The fact this Take Back America
event is being put on is a proof of how proud we
should be. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by
such incredible people, and actually I think a massive
part of that is to do with the industry we have chosen
to be a part of- and a testament to all of you,
listening to this now. So I suppose this isn't a
preach, or an attempt to educate and inform, it's more
my way of offering a little confirmation that what you
as an opinion, a brain, a voice are doing IS working.
There is hope and we have each other. Let's keep
fighting for what is right. We can, and we will.

 

Freedom Finance

By Helena Coates

A scene adapted from an excerpt of “FREEDOM VERSUS ORGANIZATION” by Bertrand Russell.

For three High status clowns: (or Squinty McGinty and Billy Button a.k.a Steve Huison and Stewart Lodge with Gerry Flannagan as Russell- although they

don’t know that yet and might say piss off!).

ANDREW CARNEGIE
PIERPONT MORGAN
BERTRAND RUSSELL ( also performing the actions of

Schwab, Morgan’s lackey)

Carnegie- Scottish – experiment with playing the the King architype. Morgan- New England(born in the purple)- experiment with the trickster

Russell – Is Russell- take from Russell’s pace and articulation. Perhaps a messenger of a different variety to Schwab.

Carnegie and Morgan detest each other. They are present in their spaces throughout Russell’s oratory.

Russell: ( indroductory narration-direct address- taken from page 119 of “freedom V's organization” first published in 1934).

The power of finance is no new thing,but it has increased with every development of capitalist technique. It played only a minor part in the success of such men as Rockerfella and Carnegie; but with the retirement of Carnergie a new era begins, in which the dominant figure is J. Pierpont Morgan the elder.

(announcing a unit title):
C
arnegie was tired of money making, and wished to retire to his castle in Scotland.

Morgan: (from his space, which are his rooms on Wall street. To Schwab) If Andy wants to sell, I’ll buy. Go find his price.

Russell: Schwab went to Carnegie, who, after a few minutes conversation took out a piece of paper and wrote on it $400,000,000.

Carnegie: (from his space, which is Fifty first street, he performs appropriate actions....) That’s what I’ll sell for.

(Schwab takes the paper and delivers it to Morgan. Morgan nods).

Russell:

Carnegie: Morgan: Russell:

Morgan: Carnegie:

Russel:

Morgan:

Russell:

(time passes, but not very much...)
One day several weeks after the “negotiations” were ended, Carnegie’s telephone rang...

(Morgan dials for Carnegie-)
Hello, Andrew Carnegie on the line.... It’s Morgan Sir.....

Pierpont Morgan, was a very different kind of man from Rockefeller or Carnegie. Unlike them, he was born in the purple, he was an Episcopalian and a new Englander of old family, and he had been familiar from early youth with governmental and financial Europe.

He employed his spare time by going into empty churches and singing hymns in solitude.
He despised Carnegie as a vulgar fellow, and winced when he was told that the impertinent upstart spoke of him as “Pierpont”.

Would you not come down to Wall and Broad street for a little talk?

Pierpont! ItisjustaboutasfarfromWallStreettoFiftyfirstasitisfromFiftyfirsttoWall. I shall be delighted to see you here any time.

In a brief period Morgan appeared at Carnegie's home. Theensuingconversationwaspleasantandsatisfactory. Mr.JamesBertram, Carnegie's’ secretary, timed the interview, taking out his watch. Morgan emerged afterpreciselyfifteenminuteshadelapsed. Solittletimedidtwogreatmen require to discuss a matter involving $400,000,000.

(grasps Carnegie's’ hand)
Mr. Carnegie, I want to congratulate you on becoming the richest man in the World.
(
deliberately turns to the audience- Carnegie frozen or leaving the space?)

The technical processes of manufacture were no longer the centre of attention; it happened that steel was being made, but it might just as well have been anything else.
Carnegie's’ business, along with many others, went into Morgans’ gigantic ‘United States Steel Corporation’, formed in 1901. It was popularly known as the “Billion Dollar Corporation”, but in fact it’s capital was even larger: $1,300,000,000. 

 

The Storyteller

By Martin Thomasson

STORYTELLER:

MID 21ST CENTURY. THE STORYTELLER APPROACHES. SHE IS YOUNG.

This is true to tell.
Once pon time, in place call Merryka,
Homobrave, Land o' Freak, was wise ole Prez,
call Prez Obewan. Prez Obewan smile lot and
speak nice slow to his folk, call Weaver
People. Good mood Prez sez 'Yezwican!', sad
mood Prez cry for shot Chillds. Weaver People
luv Prez Obewan coz when he drone, he drone on
small browns, long way way. Weaver People see
not, know not, care not. Weaver People luv
Prez Obewan - vote4 and vote4 'gain.
One day, Prez Obewan sez, 'Must go soon.
Funding Favvas say time Weaver People vote4
new Prez.' Weaver People sez, "That's a
bugger!" then shout out cross Merryka, "Who
wan be new Prez?"
Some Weaver People, call Yung Dems, sing and
dance, "Vote4 Unka Bern!". But other Weaver
People, call Ole Dems, say, "No! Unka Bern too
crazeemanwild! Vote4 Hillary Billary. She woe-
to-man. Time4 Merryka have woe-to-man Prez."
Yung Dems not chuffed. Not want Hillary
Billary - too much like old, old Prez, Billary
Hillary.
Come Primes, Hillary Billary beat up Unka
Bern. Ole Dems go Rah Rah. Yung Dems go mutter
mutter. Good Prez Obewan tells Weaver People
"Vote4 Hillary Billary. Merryka need woe-to-
man Prez."
But then come Wikkid Sorcer. He pointy-point,
say "You fired! You fired! You fired!" Wikkid
Sorcer call Donald McRonald. Wan-be Prez
Donald McRonald creed say:
Black man-bad
Brown man-bad

1

Red man - bad

Yellow man- bad
Home man-bad
Woe-to-man-worstest bad
Orange man-good.
Donald McRonald say woe-to-man not fit Prez,
fit only gropey-grope. Donald McRonald pointy-
point Hillary Billary, say, "Too old gropey-
grope. Lockup! Lockup! Lockup!"
Lection Day come when Weaver People must
vote4. World outside Merryka not breave much,
sept argue - Is Weaver People stewps or not
stewps?

Next day, world know. Many Weaver People, call Not Bovs, vote4 'Not Vote'. Many Weaver People vote4 Donald McRonald. Bit more Weaver People vote4 Hillary Billary. But Merryka Land ov Majic Form ov Number, so not First Woe-to-man Prez. First Orange Man Prez!

When news reach wise, ole Prez Obewan, he put
on Homobrave face: "Congrats, Prez Lek Donald
McRonald! Yezyucan!" But when doors close, him
and Mish and Bidey Joe cry like for shot
Chillds.
Daze go by, an Prez Obewan prowl round
Whiteman House, whalin and nashin: "My Legsee!
Save my Legsee!"Prez Lek Donald sez kill
Prez Obewan Legsee.
Prez Obewan sez must chill Globe Warm.
Prez Lek Donald sez Globe Warm like Booger
man. Switch light on. Go way.
Prez Obewan sez Merryka Land of Immig. Must
help Immig.
Prez Lek Donald sez make Immig go way. No
prob.
Prez Obewan sez give poor sick Weaver People
Obicare.
Prez Lek Donald sez, "Not ford sick? Be
elffy!". Prob go way.
Merryka not Homobrave now, jus Land o' Freak.
Wise Prez Obewan smile and talk nice slow, but
inside cry like for shot Chillds. Maybe plan
drone strike for Prez Donald Norguration?
Merryka not breave. World not breave. You not
breave. Sit. Shiver. Hug. Wait for next
stalment.

CURTAIN

 

Poem

By Niamh McCarthy

Of that which we are afraid
Gives us more reason to be brave
Now is the time to practice our barks and bites
Turn to fires from sparks
Act on necessity compassion and spite

Show them
You can take our rights
Take our history our plight
Hide it away
Hide all our light
But you cannot take this fire from our insides
You cannot take our fight

Take this identity and put it on a card
Fill a form, tick a box
Do our name harm
Label our bodies, our hearts, our minds
Push us too far grab too hard
Give us no choice
Then call it a crime

Put us in a room with windows none
You'll hear us shout until the very last molecule of oxygen is gone
As long as we're here, you'll never be done
You might be many
But as long as there's one

You haven't won

 

Operation Take Down

By Peter Keeley

Setting a blank room in the heart of London

G Man: We’ve called this meeting today as we must discuss the worsening Situation between ourselves and present Trumpside it’s more than likely he and Vladimir Cutin are going to join forces to try and carve up the world

Joe: I’m your last call you have no choice after I move you aware of that Sir

G Man: I, we are jointly aware of that, we must also be aware of fall out if the job is done

Joe: That’s your department

G Man: Yes, Cutin will strong aim but we think he’s less likely to carry on alone

G Women: We hope that the USA after learning the hard way that there favour export Democracy is well shit for want of a better word they’ll be only too happy to replace him with another man

G Man: There was another set of killings at the Mexico border the other night

Joe: Where does Cutin fall in this game are we meant to go after him stop him reaching his iron curtain

(A heavily set Women is chain smoking she has been watching all before like a Queen watches her subject she now speaks)

G Women: you leave Good old Vladimir the bear we’d like to upset him as little as possible

Joe: What if he gets upset by the possible events of operation take down

G Women In that case we will take measures appropriate fear not Britain never, never shell be slaves

Joe: What our Partners and is the P. M. aware of this meeting taking place

G man: Don’t be silly NO, we run things she just orders when we say so in this case it’s better to be unaware and as for partners my dear chap, At one time we would have half of Europe now following Brexit your lucky you have me

G man: The question is will the USA thank us or blame us for freeing it from ternary

G Man2: Question, I couldn’t careless our spy’s tell us there set to move on us any day and get rid of anyone that doesn’t fit there bill

Joe: Remind you of anyone

G man: Yes they all thought he was a joke to then he started killing people

G Women: That was a long time ago

G man: So was the crucifixion, you saw what happened in Red Square last November doesn’t that tell you anything

G Women: It tells me Russia doesn’t like Gays

G Women: Don’t be so bloody cavalier Man

G Women: Don’t be so bloody cavalier Mam if you don’t mind it’s just fact’s… I’m not being cavalier you start feeling and you’re in to deep leave feeling to the agony aunts

G Man’s: feeling that stops us becoming like them brain watched freaks

Joe: All this is very intresting gentleman but haven’t we moved away from our target somewhat

G Women: your right Joe yes our problem is November Foxtrot of youkip bloody fool wants to look big by being our Men on the ground, Will fact is we like our lap dogs to heal now and then, you should instruct "Salomé Joe what she does best you know "Salomé he’ll be eating doggy treats out of our hands before breakfast

G Man: I think Mama it’s a risk, what if he doesn’t bite as it were

G Women: for his own safety we better hope he does let alone ours I mean what if he’s turned he always was like a small child jumping at a high chair present Trumpside may give him a ladder

G Man: So what your saying is be aware he may have turned?

G Women: No I’m saying get him back… Id rather he was in our tent pissing out then in these pissing out

G Man: The latest intelligence from State Trumpside TV is that he’s had a fight on his hands in Paris it says the streets are flowing blood red again, He say’s it’s ours but Reuters UK on the other hand tells us it’s Trumpside who’s loosing indecently Did you know the female news casters are all topless like all the time on his state TV an outrage

G Women: It is I know your just browning me but it is outrage’s Good it Paris fighting back buy’s us sometime then, were is Trumpside now?

G man: He’s at Camp Trumpside holding talks with China about trade post them taking back manufacturing,

G women: Thank God he will be driving American

G Man: of course but why what difference does that make

G Women: They roll over faster than a cat at tickling time that’s it we need an RTA Joe can you make it happen

Joe: With my eyes closed Mama an RTA does lend more to it being an accident the A after all stands for it

G Women: Yes Joe very good top marks

G Man: an accident works better for us less chance of American wanting to take us out after

G Women: the truth there are many in America who are wanting this too it will work in our favour

G Man: The replacement who is that likely to be?

G Women: I can’t share that information at the present time but between us and FAP I’m sure we will get the right person for the job

G Man: Wait a moment FAP who the hell are FAP?

G Women: They’ve been some of our eyes and eyes on the ground there “Free America Party”

G Man: and what do we know of them?

G Women: We are told they want the same things as we do

G Man: and that’s enough for you… is it

G Women: It’s less than ideal as it happens but it’s the best we have

G Man: We’re the British Government surely we can do better than “The best we have”

G Women: Joe could you leave the room please?

Joe who is sat there watching all before infold like tennis is shocked by the fact he’s back in the game

Joe: Yes Ma

Joe leaves the room, as G Women lights up but she’s lost count of the number of cigs she’s smoked by now and doesn’t care that she’s seating under a no smoking sign

G Man: Can I just ask a question

G Women: Yes of course as you and your crummy department bring little to the table why not learn from me doing little else

G Man: I was just going to ask how the smoke alarms don’t sound when you light up

G Women: Because you liberal pot head yes there you go I said it I let my feelings control me I want anymore I’m a member sadly so are you of her Majesty government and we can do what the fuck we like as long as somehow tie it back to being for the good of the Britain in this post bexit era

G MAN : Corebin never wanted this you should know

G Women: I don’t give a sh!t what Trot wanted or didn’t for that matter

G Man: He’s not into murder so it would seem

G Women: Watch Cutin take him by the balls because he can then we really see what he wants, fear bring truth

G MAN: Fear bring out any truth so long as you let go of my balls doesn’t it

G Women: Maybe, look the truth is Man we’re fucked if we what we send in with Joe doesn’t work we’ve had it

G MAN: But what about France and other possible backers

G Women: Bexit they’ll fight them out of their own country’s but once there here it’s down to us, We need Potus 2 to back us stick to figures up to the loony’s if we pull this off the USA will owe us big time I had to bring in “Free America Party”

G MAN: I have looked some of the names there all on government watches lists

G Women: That’s just Trumpside playing with our head Man and he’s not playing with mine

G MAN: take this man when then linshed Colonel Gaddafi, he was there on the library pictures goodness sake

G Women: Oh boo hoo so he was there when a nut with an umbrella got what was coming to him that say’s nothing…

These a knock at the door a note is passed to G Women:

G Women: there see FAP have just torn down at the statue of Trumpside you know the old liberty one

Lights go down the end

 

Untitled

By Samantha O'Rourke

Grief

Overwhelming
Tiny things
Little things
That normally pass unnoticed

Not today

I am raw
Like a layer of skin has been removed
And I’ve been dropped in the middle of an extreme weather documentary Just when you think the worst is over
A gazebo rips through your house

That word.
Grief.
Offers a sense of scale and of sorrow.

Today it is not enough. Today it is inadequate.

I feel for myself
For my friends
My family
People I’ve never met Faces I’ve seen Faces I haven’t

The children
I may not have I’m scared for me. And us.

Our World
Huge
Big, too big to comprehend all in one go So we scale up, what we know
When we talk about Our World
What we really mean is My World
My thoughts
My experiences

Good and bad
Right and wrong
Attempting to draw the lines in a desert full of sand

Be nice
Be kind
Small words Important words

And it works Those lines Those words

We listen as children
We inhabit them before we understand them

Accept Embrace And love

I’m saying We I mean Me My framework My structure

But if we all listen Good and bad Right and wrong

Then we manage
We all cope a little better with the uncertainties Unpredictabilities
Unquantifiable
Life
In all it’s terrifying chaos

It helped
Until today Today is different

Today
There is no good There is no bad There is no right There is no wrong

The children sit and they listen Be kind
Be honest
Be generous

Be respectful

But we
The adults
We watch aghast
We are shaken
Our world is no more
Our bubble burst
And when I scale up
It scales up hate
And lies
And division
And hate
So much hate that it begins to ooze

To bubble and seethe

Today
We look to find a new way

To shout louder
To reach out
To stand tall
To hold the line
Dig trenches in the sand

And we hold each other closer than before We love harder than before

And tomorrow And every day From now on

 

UNITED – a rap

BY SF COLE

A young Black British man walks on stage WITH ATTITUDE into a spotlight. His name is Jerome.

 

JEROME:

Dhis is not political

I hope you don't mind

Dhis is not political

I think you will find

Dhis is actually personal

A thorn in my side

Dhis is actually personal

Fings I cannot abide

 

United Kingdom

United States

Yes, yes, yes I know

Besy bloody mates

 

United Kingdom

United States

Sometimes relationships

Create loves and hates

 

But dhis is not political

I don't mean to offend

Dhis is not political

Drives me round the fucking bend

 

Pavement sidewalk

Forcet tap

Trashcan garbage

No! rubbish bin

What crap!

Solicitor lawyer

Elevator lift

Postman mailman

Fanny bottom

Cha! Shift!

 

So united I know

We are supposed to be

But I can't take all dhe nonsense

Time to cut free

 

 

But dhis is not political

I hold my hands up!

Dhis is not political

Just one big fuck up!

Dhis is all personal

A nightmare in my head

Dhis is so personal

Fear, sickness, dread

 

United Kingdom

United States

Sins of the fathers

Evolving into hates

 

A poem to my son

By Sarah Cassidy

Dear Mr Trump

 

What do I tell my son

The values I teach him, you’ve gone and undone

Treat women with respect, dry her eyes when she’s hurt

If it don’t work out then don’t be a jerk

What do I tell my son

 

What do I tell my son

When my words no longer carry worth

Treat women as equals I tell him each day

Be gentle and kind, listen to what she says

My words no longer carry worth

 

For my words and my values have been crushed with one vote

The American president with views so remote

And every ballot logged - they go back in time

To when women were second class citizens, a world that’s not mine.

How can this be right?

 

I cried this morning my son

When I heard the shocking news

America has chosen hatred and greed

A celebrity’s poisoned views

I never wanted you to grow up in a world

Where it is okay to spout such hate

Where the people of a country favour abuse over gender

Dislike of race and no government agenda

I cried this morning my son

 

For my words and my values have been crushed with one vote

The American president with views so remote

With every ballot logged - they go back in time

To when women were second class citizens, that world that’s not mine

How can this be right?

 

Know that I raised you right

His views are dark and yours are light

Don’t become the misogynist that the leader wants

No matter how ugly the world becomes

Know that I raised you right

 

For my words and my values have been crushed with one vote

The American president with views so remote

And every ballot logged they go back in time

To when women were second class citizens, that world that’s not mine.

This just isn’t right.

 

This I will tell you my son

That everything I’ve taught you since I became your mum

Keep my words close to your heart and be the man that I raised

Respectful and honest, equal in your ways

Those are my words my son

 

Bane Wins Presidency

by Steve Timms

 

JOURNALIST:

An American journalist addresses the audience.

Shockis the only word I can find to describe what we are experiencing. We’re coming live from New York City and wherever I go, I witness polarised scenes of jubilation and despair. There are open displays of grief which haven’t been seen since the aftermath of 9/11; I just saw two grown men crying in one another’s arms; a young mother was screaming like the world had ended. In other areas of the city, as I say, the scene is joy and jubilation.

Today, history was made and nothing will ever be the same again. For those of you who’ve been on a news blackout for the past 24 hours, America now has a new president. BANE mercenary, anarchist and arch-enemy of Batman has just won the American presidency in what can only be described as a landslide victory.

Wind the clock back just two years, and Bane was in Blackgate prison serving a sentence for a variety of criminal offences including mass murder, blackmail, terrorism ... and urinating over the muffin counter in a Manhattan branch of Starbucks.

This might seem a significant impediment to a career in politics. Indeed when Bane, upon his release from Gotham’s Blackgate, announced he was running for office, left wing critical commentators scoffed at the idea the American people would take to their hearts a man with a criminal history. But Bane has always been unapologetic, and this has proved to his advantage. His campaign slogan – ‘I am America’s reckoning’ – struck a chord with a public tired of mealy-mouthed liberal handwringing, and hollow rhetoric, and his unique form of fanaticism has whipped through the American hinterlands like a cleansing whirlwind. (pause) Today this country embarks on a journey into deep, uncharted waters. Let us pray nobody is left behind.

Surprisingly, Bane has agreed to a short and exclusive television interview in lieu of a press conference, and joins us now, live from New York.

Enter BANE, dressed in combat fatigues and wearing the familiar metal face mask as modelled in The Dark Knight Rises. He speaks with slow, laboured sentences, punctuated by occasional deep breathing

J: Firstly, congratulations are in order.
BANE: Flattery! You think this gives you power over me? Save your words.
J: Your campaign for the presidency has been far from conventional.
BANE: What is convention? The voice of the lazy and powerful, terrified of change.

J: During your campaign, you chose to attack the establishment rather than offer any real solutions. You have no political experience, and have spent many years in prison, shielded from the problems of the modern world. Some argue you are unqualified for a career in politics.

BANE: I trained in the blackest disciplines of combat, deception and endurance. I also possess a European Computer Driving License. I believe I am the perfect individual to lead this country.

J: But even your former mentor, criminal mastermind Ra’s Al Gul, believes you are a dangerous individual. You were excommunicated you from the League of Shadows for, as he describes it, a fundamental inability to control your anger. He describes one incident where you smashed up an office computer ...

BANE: (chuckles) Yes, I remember. I was in the process of completing an Excel spreadsheet ... I couldn’t get the mouse to work properly.

J: In the first presidential debate, you said you that you would celebrate victory by drinking the blood of Hilary Clinton from her hollowed out skull.

BANE: That was merely locker room talk.

J: We’re at a crossroads, aren’t we? This is one of the rare moments in American history, where long serving Republicans and Democrats have united as one, in opposition, and for the very reason I have just mentioned; that you’re volatile and unpredictable.

BANE: They are fools. The people have spoken. Besides ... I have 30 million followers on Twitter.

J: I have a selection of your more popular tweets here; in one you shared an animated GIF of a tap dancing horse which had the face of Joseph Stalin. What message were you trying to convey there?

BANE: Stalin had some interesting ideas. Sadly, he knew nothing of the world of showbusiness. There is a thin line between politics and entertainment; I aim to move between both.

J: In another tweet you stated that, if your campaign was successful, you would appoint the actor Dustin Diamond best known for playing the character Skreech in the sit-com Saved by the Bell as Foreign Secretary. Is this still the case?

BANE: It is a possibility. People need to look beyond the surface. He is a man of hidden depths.

J: You are the first political candidate to FULLY embrace social media. Do you think its appropriate for the President of the most powerful country in the world to share his every waking thought via the medium of Twitter?

BANE: I believe Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to design his own graffiti tag. The world has changed but some traditions continue; information is power, only the form is different. The medium is the message.

J: What do you say to those who accuse you of being a psychopath? That you are unbalanced; that you have little empathy for those on the margins. At one of your political rallies, for example, you goaded a disabled man into throwing away his crutches and attempting to breakdance. Why would you do such a thing?

BANE: I was encouraging him to think outside the box. (beat) It is better to try and fail than not try at all; this is what we all need to do from now on.

J: What do you say to those who are not brave enough to march to the sound of your drum?

BANE: Ahhhh. Yes. You are talking about the fatties, are you not?

J: America has a significant problem with obesity; I will concede you that point, with 68% of the population being seriously overweight. But your ideas about setting up nationwide fat camps ... this sounds like something from Nazi Germany. You’re setting a very dangerous precedent, sir.

BANE: There is no time for fear. That will come later. What I say is this: Rise up from your mobility scooters; put down your tin openers and ice cream scoops. There is no room for man-boobs in the new utopia. The fat must be turned to muscle if we are to achieve true greatness.

J: Today, you demonise the overweight. The question I ask is – ‘who will you target next?’

BANE: People who play the accordion. They contribute very little to society. They must learn to diversify ... or die.

J: We have a few moments left I believe. There are thousands of people out there, watching at home, who must feel very afraid right now. How would you assuage their fears?

BANE: I come not as a conqueror but a liberator. I will drain the swamp. Remove the bottom feeders. I take this country back from the liars, the corrupt, the oppressors who have kept you down for years with the myth of opportunity. The Police will learn to serve true justice. The powerful will be ripped from their decadent nests ... and cast into the cold despairing pit the rest of us have known for years ...

SFX: A crowd chant of ‘Hail Bane, Hail Bane, Hail Bane’ starts to build, playing over the speakers.

BANE: ... courts will be convened. Public officials will be punished. Power will be returned to the people.

SFX: The chant gets louder.

The Journalist, spellbound, starts punching the air and joins in with the chanting.

BANE: All great civilizations must be razed before rising from the ashes. Today, we reset history to zero. There may be setbacks. Difficulties. But we will survive. We will endure. Today marks the dawn of a new age. We will emerge stronger than you can possibly imagine. TOGETHER WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!!

SFX: Euphoric cheers and chants. The journalist encourages the audience to rise and cheer. BANE raises his arms high and basks in the glow of adulation.

End

 

Trumptopia 2084

by Tessa Hart

 

A large picture of Donald Trump is on display; in front of it a lectern on a brightly lit stage. A crowd is heard slowly starting to chant ‘Trump, Trump, Trump’ repeatedly. The chanting increases in volume and speed as more and more hand clapping and foot stomping can also be heard. At the maximum point of the volume and speed of the ‘Trump’ chants a man enters the auditorium and the crowd breaks out into euphoric cheering and screaming. The man is in his 30s and has bright orange skin. He makes his way onto stage waving and greeting the apparent audience whilst throwing in some dance steps and moves, much behaving like a pop star, whilst the crowd continues to cheer him on. As he is about to step onto stage a tannoy announcement is made:

Give it up, for King-Emperor-President Donald Trump IV!.

Trump IV dances onto stage and takes place at the lectern. He gestures for the crowd to stop cheering and immediately they fall silent.

Trump IV

(speaking in a grand yet strange manner) Welcome comrades! Today, on the 9th of November 2084, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Trumptopia! The greatest country in the world! 60 years today, marks the completion of the great Trumpwall. The concluding step undertaken by my visionary great-grandfather in taking our country back and making it great again!

The crowd starts cheering again. Trump IV lets them cheer for a moment before gesturing for them to be silent, which instantly happens.

Trump IV

It was the year 2024. Having served two terms as president in a row - being the most popular elected president of all times - my great- grandfather was not able to run for election again, due to the corrupt system trying to limit the amount of time popular people could stay in power. But my visionary great-grandfather knew that he had to save the country from falling back into the hands of a Nowhite.

The crowd starts whistling and booing. Trump IV gestures to quieten down and again they fall silent immediately.

Trump IV I know; it’s a scary thought. But thanks to King-Emperor-President Donald Trump I we were saved from our doomed fate! Visionary as he was, 60 years ago today, he took over the country permanently

and founded the great Trumptopia: A country of endless opportunities and equal rights for all - those that we say.

Appreciative cheers and laughter from the crowd. But before Trump IV can gesture for them to quieten down again the sounds become distorted before suddenly cutting out. We realise the cheering crowd has been a recorded sound file all along. At the same time the lights cut out and nothing but a small emergency light is left, shedding a minimum amount of light on Trump IV standing at the lectern, his confidence and

Trump IV

enthusiasm wiped away.

It was supposed to be... great. Didn’t quite work out that way... Throwing people out, keeping people out... but eventually so many just left willingly... so they started forcing people to stay! But many escaped before the great Trumpwall was completed. And those that were left... well they couldn’t keep things going by themselves and things kind of started falling apart.

Angry shouting is heard in the distance and continues approaching in the background

Trump IV I’ve never been beyond Trumpwall. I’m told it’s controlled by dangerous Nowhites... but being King-Emperor-President Donald Trump IV is just as dangerous within this wall. We lost all control. And they blame me for the downfall of Trumptopia... well me and

my forefathers.

The shouting grows louder. Sounds of breaking into the room.
TrumpIV (facing the direction of the approaching shouting) We were

supposed to trump.

Blackout. The shouting grows even louder and takes over the whole space.

THE END