I’ve decided today to share an excerpt from a play I am writing. This feels like poetry to me, although it’s not; it’s stark reality, somewhat harsh, somewhat judgmental.
It is a conversation between two sisters, on a rainy night. One is a dreamer while the other readily gives in to cynicism. As they talk, the living room gradually grows dark, until the girls (women, if you must) seem to be enveloped in a yellow glow, as if their words come from a distant memory.
Their names, at this stage, are not important, but for practical purposes, we’ll call them Liz and Emma.
Emma: I would like to travel far away one day.
Liz: Where to?
Emma: Indonesia sounds dreamy.
Liz: So, you’d go there to daydream?
Emma (as if already in a distant land): Or Tanzania.
Liz: One doesn’t need to travel to go far, you know.
Emma (whimsical): “One need not be a chamber to be haunted.” Yes, I realise that more and more. But sometimes I feel that I get lost in my head. Like there is no space for more thoughts. Travelling would help me ease up.
Liz (matter-of-factly): Or bottle everything up.
Emma: If only our sorrows could be like messages rolled up and hidden away in bottles… and we would let them sail away at sea.
Liz (with a sigh): I have heard you utter weirder sentences in a day…
Emma (dramatic): Aren’t we allowed to feel the poetry of our days? (Pause. Then, inquisitive) What do you dream of, then?
Liz (playfully): Certainly not Indonesia.
Emma: Don’t you ever feel like sharing?
Liz (in a serious undertone): I dream I’m getting pushed off a cliff.
Liz: I need to charge my phone.
Emma (puzzled): I heard you about the cliff!
Liz: My phone is not charging.
Emma: That’s what happens when lights go out, love. (She smiles) No electricity.
Liz (frustrated): What on earth am I supposed to do now?
Emma (back to her usual self): Breathe. We could pretend we are in another era. One where we cannot hear the buzz of computers and phones.
Liz: I’m listening.
Emma: There is just too much noise here. I wish sometimes it could be quiet. No horns blaring, no loudspeakers, no music…
Liz: Not even music?
Jazz can be heard faintly in the background, and the following scene is enacted to the music, almost like a coordinated dance. The girls seem more tangible than ever, although they retain a doll-like fragility. The music grows more distinct, yet is not part of the decor. The girls are the only ones who matter.
Emma: Not even. Let’s play ‘Questions’.
Liz: Wait, you don’t even want music…
Emma (interrupting her sister): 1-0.
Liz (indignant): Hey, we haven’t started playing yet!
Emma (now mischievous): 2-0.
Liz (impatient): Fine… (Thinking) What’s 4 * 2?
Emma (raising an eyebrow): Is that your idea of a great start?
Liz: Rhetoric! What is your idea of the universe?
Emma: How many ideas do we have in a day?
Liz: Are there more possibilities to who we can be?
Emma: Will you go on a world tour with me?
Liz (chuckling): When did you last explore our garden?
Emma: Can you say the alphabet backwards?
Liz: Why did you choose Indonesia?
Emma: Why aren’t you asking about Tanzania?
Liz: When will you stop being so childish?
Emma (suddenly vindictive): When will you stop chasing your shadow?
Emma (interrupting her): When will you stop crying every night? (Pause. Guilty.) Too personal.
Liz (giving up): We will never find the error in our ways.
Emma: We will, when you stop treating me like a child.
Liz (tired of the frivolity): Game over.
Emma: Nobody wins. (Pause) Nobody ever does.