Sunday, 1 March 2015

Day 28: This Time It's War

Here it is. The final day. If you've read any or were crazy enough to read all of my pieces thanks. If you have any feedback to offer please feel free to give it. Still can't quite believe I managed 28 plays in 28 days. Mental really. But hey now I know I can write every day so no excuses from now on really!

Today's play was about beginnings. Again I've actually got a quite a big idea for this piece but have had to keep it to a shorter piece due to time constraints (and having a friend stay for the weekend. Can't spend it hiding on my laptop. Or can I...). Anyway here we go.

                                                              This Time It’s War
                                                              By Jeremy Linnell
The living room of an upstairs flat somewhere in the UK. Selina sits at a table, on a laptop. The tv is on but muted, and music is playing quietly on the stereo. After a few minutes Kylie enters.

Kylie: Have you been watching the news?
Selina: Not recently, no. Is it trending on facebook?
Kylie: No, it’s barely on TV.
Selina: What do you mean?
Kylie: Turn it over.
Selina picks up the remote and turns over the tv.
Kylie: You’ve got to read between the lines.
Selina: Just seems like a normal news report to me. Nothing that serious.
Kylie: Look at their eyes.
Selina: They look…scared?
Kylie: Yeah. No matter what they’re reporting on all of them look the same. Got that scared shitless look.
Selina: What’s it like outside?
Kylie: Take a look for yourself.
Selina goes and pulls back the curtain, taking a peek outside.
Selina: Looks perfectly normal.
Kylie: Jesus Selina, what have I been training you for if you’re not going to use it. Look.
Kylie joins her at the window and points outside.  
Kylie: Man there smoking. Cigarette in his mouth. He’s been there 20 minues. Same fag between his lips. It’s not even lit.
Selina: Ok.
Kylie: Car the other side of the road? I had a peek under the hood a minute ago. No engine. It’s a decoy. Why?
Selina: I don’t know…
Kylie: Come on. Think! Why would someone go to all the trouble of building a fake car and dumping it outside out flat?
Selina: They wouldn’t. Would they? I mean…it’s a lot of effort…
Kylie: Worth it though. To keep everything normal. A few dozen of those dotted about and it looks like our street is full.
Selina: Shit Kylie that’s clever. Who’d do that though?
Kylie: Jesus does it matter? Them. The great other. Gyppos. Jews. Pakis. Hell I wouldn’t put it past UKIP, or the fucking Hare Krishnas for all I know. At the end of it it’s the end of it. They’re making their move. Time up.
Selina: Who’s the smoker though?
Kylie: Triggerman. Jesus Sel, I’ve been telling you this shit for years. Eyes and ears. There’s always a sign.
Selina: I know but…shit Kylie I figured you’d pick ‘em up. I never worried.
Kylie whacks Selina across the face, splitting her lip.
Kylie: And what if the first thing that happens when that car explodes, or the sniper in the window over the road takes aim, or the dirty bomb detonates or the gas fills the air is I fucking die?
Selina rubs her mouth.
Selina: I’m sorry K. I just assumed you’d be there. You’re too smart to get caught out.
Kylie: What’s rule number one?
Selina: Be prepared for anything.
Kylie: An-y-thing.
Selina: Yeah. Ok.
They both step away from the window. Selina sits and Kylie paces.
Kylie: OK Kylie. You’re ready for this. You prepared. Focus. Where’s our bug out bag?
Selina: Under the sink I think, behind the bleach.
Kylie: And the pipe bombs?
Selina: Shit.
Kylie: Oh for….what now Kylie?
Selina: Well we were out of vinegar.
Kylie: And?
Selina: And I had fish and chips.
Kylie: And?
Selina: Well I remember you saying “First thing you gotta know babe is what you can use around the house to protect yourself. Glass tube of vinegar in a sealed pipe full of baking powder and you’ve got a pipe bomb”.
Kylie: And?
Selina: I popped open the ones in the bedroom so I could have vinegar. Used the baking powder to make your birthday cake too. You said it was nice.
Kylie: Ok…fine…I can deal with this. No bombs. OK.
Selina: You’re not mad at me are you K?
Kylie: Not at you exactly.
Selina: So you are mad.
Kylie: People never think it’s going to start. Not until it’s right outside their window.
Selina: You’re scaring me K. Please sit down.
Kylie: Can’t. Gotta think. Gotta fix this.
Selina: Let me help.
Selina stands up and walks out the flat, Kylie is too distracted to notice her.
Kylie: Yeah sure, sure. Come on Kylie, what’s plan B. Ammonia and bleach? That could work. Mustard gas could hit civvies though. Still. Kill or be killed really. Ok. That’ll work.
Kylie begins to rummage under the sink
Selina bounces back.
Selina: It’s sorted.
Kylie: What is.
Selina: The man. Outside.
Kylie: Shit Sel. I’m proud of you.
Selina: It wasn’t a problem.
Kylie: Didn’t think you had it in you.
Selina: Neither did I, but I wanted you to be proud of me.
Kylie: How did you do it?
Selina: Just walked right up to him.
Kylie: Damn girl that is ice cold.
Selina: Yeah it was kind of a touchy subject for him.
Kylie: I imagine getting killed is touchy for most people
Selina gasps
Selina: Kylie! No! I didn’t kill him!
Kylie: Then what did you mean “deal with him”? You know this is life and death.
Selina: I just asked him why he was hanging around not smoking.
Kylie: For goodness sake Sel.
Selina: No it’s ok. He’s selling the big issue. Look
Selina hands Kylie a copy.
Selina (cont.) : And he’s trying to quit, but he likes how they feel in his mouth.
Kylie: You idiot.
Selina: What?
Kylie: They’ll always have cover. I’ve told you that. Fuck.
Selina: He seemed nice.
Kylie: Well they’re hardly going to have the nutter who makes the bombs out there are they. They need nice to keep an eye on us.
Selina: Oh.
Kylie: Yeah. Oh. And now
She is abruptly cut off. Suddenly chaos. Sirens. Bombs. Screaming.
Kylie: And now it starts.

The End

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Day 27: H2WHOAH

Today, the penultimate challenge, was a free choice, re-do a challenge you think you could do better. I decided to re-do the challenge about writing a play without emotion. It's ended up in a bit of a stream of consciousness style again, well I was reacting to it line by line. Probably failed at the emotionless part. If that's true let's say I re-did the "one that only makes sense to you" thing. Or the stream of conciousness one. HA! Only one day left.

                                                      By Jeremy Linnell

A: Fire burns
B: Water drowns
A: But which is the victor?
B: The survivors.
A: And in mutual destruction?
B: Those who lost the least.
A: Casualties?
B: Scored points.
A: Callous of you.
B: Realistic.
A: I’d be careful what you say.
B: Aren’t I amongst confidents? Friends even?
A: I made no promises.
B: An unspoken agreement then.
A: Do we ever agree if we don’t speak of it?
B: You’re splitting hairs.
A: Not really. You never asked me. So how could I agree?
B: Friends know.
A: Then I guess we’re not really friends.
B: That feels unfair. I was there when you needed me.
A: And I was there for you. It’s a marriage of convenience. Nothing more. Get over yourself.
B: So you would really think nothing of…putting me out, as it were?
A: Not if I had to. Besides, I thought callousness was a virtue.
B: It’s different up close.
A: Have you eaten?
B: Not lately.
A: You look hungry.
B: I’m fine.
A: That’s a lie.
B: You can’t possibly know…
A: Of course I do. It’s written all over your face. You’re not even trying to hide it are you.
B: I don’t have anything to hide.
A: Is it possible for you to open your mouth and not lie?
B: Just because you disagree does not mean I’m lying.
A: No, lying means you’re lying.
B: We’re at an impasse.
A: No, your need for validation wants you to think that. You wish to think us equals.
B: I should crack your face and reveal your truth.
A: It’s not I who’s the liar. Yes the jellied holes beg for release. They swivel and hunt for a pairing.
B: I somehow feel we’ve gotten off track.
A: Finally something we agree on.
B: Fire and water meet. Who’s the victor?
A: Simple. Steam.
B: Ah so whoever arises from the conflict?
A: That has destroyed the old.
B: Will rise and find its strength.
A: Now you’re getting it.
B: Steam is good for the pores.
A: Pores, pours, doors, whores. What do they have in common?
B: Oh I know this one…I lost it.
A: Well think it through. It makes sense I promise.
B: They all…oh. Nothing. They all have nothing in common.
A: Exactly.
B: It’s a bit of a trick.
A: Sometimes there isn’t a link. Sometimes things just happen.
B: How nihilistic with you.
A: Not really, common misconception.
B: Can’t you let me win just one?
A: You win, when you win. Anything else doesn’t count.
B: It’d boost my self-esteem.
A: Not my job.
B: It’d be nice though.
A: Nothing to do with me. Up to you to manage yourself.
B: Can’t you let me have just one?
A: Pfft. No.
B: But why!
A: Because then I don’t win.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Day 26: (r)Evolution

Write a play only you understand. Ok. I can do that! This is based on a dream I had, I've had it kicking about for a while, so it's great to have some use of it.

                                                                      By Jeremy Linnell
(N.B. All parts are gender neutral. Him is used due to author laziness. At several times the script calls for blackout. However this could be replaced with high pitched static, a siren or anything else that overwhelms the sense of sight or sound. Deprivation or assault)
Scattered about an area through which audience can walk freely are 4 characters Lion, Mouse, Monkey and Rabbit. They wear ornate masks. Their voices come from a place that is not themselves. Lion sits on a tall, ornate chair, on a raised platform with Mouse kneeling beside him. Monkey and Rabbit mill about the room, sometimes inspecting the audiences clothing, or their faces, with wonder or jealousy. They gaze at the platform with open, wanton lust. At various points they can interact with the audience Monkey cajoling, taunting and mocking, while Rabbit seduces and suggests. Mouse will whisper in ears of the best path to take and Lion will simply bark orders from the stage. A musical choice could really aid the atmosphere, one of paranoia, whispers and false hope that might be true.
Rabbit: Who’s Lion today? Is it you?
Monkey: It’s the same Lion as yesterday.
Rabbit: Where’s Parrot?
Monkey: Gone. Lion won.
Rabbit: Perhaps today?
Monkey: Unlikely. We’re short now. Lion will remain for a while, I think.
Rabbit: When will Parrot return?
Monkey: Never. As another animal perhaps, but when?
Rabbit: What if we…
Monkey: No, not with Mouse beside them. Mouse sees all. For protection.
Rabbit: The shades return. They surround us. They might help.
Monkey: Who, though? You could use your talents, Rabbit. Give them an incentive.
Rabbit: A Lion doesn’t use the skills of a Rabbit.
Monkey: Form was given to suit. Too much time doing what rabbits do?
Rabbit: You talk too much and give yourself away. Jealousy ill becomes you Monkey. Silence always wins. Now hush, Lion speaks.
A ritual begins, movement around the space, urging the audience to move with it. Mouse leads as Lion refuses to move from the stage.
Lion: Today I am Lion. There is no Lion other than me. Once I devour you all then Lion shall be free.
REST: You are Lion, to feast you’re free, but devour the rest and set me free.
Lion: So sure in my power this I decree: If it’s Lion that’s devoured then Lion you’ll be.
REST: Your generous rules keep us fair and free.
Mouse returns to the stage, standing slightly behind Lion. Monkey and Rabbit converse amongst themselves and consider the audience.
Mouse: Rabbit and Monkey appear to be plotting. I suggest, perhaps, that we, that is, you, could push them to devour each other.
Lion: My interference is unnecessary, their fight will drain and distract them, I shall devour their weakened corpses.
Mouse: If there is nothing left for us, pardon me, you, then what?
Lion: There are other options.
Mouse: Surely we must consider the day lost.
Lion: And try again tomorrow. There are many faces to wear. Death ends the day. I am Lion.
Through this exchange Monkey and Rabbit have continued to talk, to examine the audience and possibly close the circle or open up pathways in the room. They explore, examine and question. Monkey notices Mouse and Lion talking. Monkey beckons Mouse. After a moments consideration Lion gives their consent and allows Mouse leave.
Monkey: You betray us Mouse, Lion will devour you too.
Mouse: Later. Last survivor sees all.
Rabbit: We could blind you.
Mouse: Open violence? In this place? You’d ruin us all.
Monkey: An eternity seeking your ruin is more meaningful than your escape.
Rabbit: I still remember when Parrot pecked out your eyes.
Mouse: And yet here I stand, free to see. Lion guards. Parrot failed. Back they go. They must start again.
Monkey and Rabbit look to each other
Both:  Before this days end we will see your corpse upon Lion’s teeth, and feast upon his marbled flesh. Parrot’s fate will not be ours.
A dance, a synchronising of ideals, with broken intent. They want to click like gears yet they grind like the same.
At lights up Monkey and Rabbit are panting, desperate, separate. Broken? Not quite, But close. Maybe they should be.
Mouse and Lion: The shades gaze. Why show your worst to those worthless voyeurs. Our Faces protect us.
Rabbit: We showed nothing, you own and control. Our eyes were shut. Anything seen was an illusion.
Mouse: You call Lion delusional?
Monkey: You twist through broken insight, Mouse. Projecting your own faults. The lights were black and the gaze was broken. You know the rules.
Rabbit: We can still break you little one.
Lion: Not while I command.
Monkey: So you say, but Lion is the least of us.
Mouse: Nonsense. He makes the rules.
Monkey: But easily displaced. He’s ours to use.
Lion: Silence. Monkey your petty attempts at usurping are not unnoticed. (A beat) Your partner is silent.
Rabbit: Considering my options.
Lion: Consider this. Monkey offers you nothing but taunting and betrayal. I offer comfort.
Rabbit: And your seated majesty promises more.
Monkey: Do not listen.
Monkey slaps Rabbit. A bell rings. Deep. Dooming. Damning.
ALL: We fail and now it comes. We must atone. Offer the prayer.
All sing. Loud. Anthemic. Hypnotic. The song is awful, broken, but oh so memorable. A chant.
Rabbit approaches Lion. There is arousal, we all want it. Suck it. Drink it. Taste them. Rabbit pauses before stepping upon the stage, Lion gives a gesture of approval.
Rabbit: Why trust the eyes of something so small?
Lion: Your face displeases me, frame it for my pleasure and I will listen.
Rabbit: You were once whore.
Lion: As were you. We rotate.
Rabbit: To please.
Lion: To survive.
Monkey: You broken fools destroyed us last.
Mouse: You do not get to interfere.
Monkey: They broke and damned us. My voice is needed.
Lion: Quiet. We’re here through choice.
Monkey: The choice to leave.
Rabbit: Afraid to stay?
Monkey: We all know the rules.
Mouse: And we know that Lion can change them.
Monkey: So why should he change them for you?
Rabbit: Why should we break for you?
Monkey: Your cock and cunt atrophies, your stagnation drags us down. Parrot knew better.
Rabbit: That’s not an answer.
Monkey: Lion is not our only escape.
Mouse: The masks guide us.
Monkey: The roles enslave us.
Lion: If we move up the door will open.
Rabbit: Parrot was a fool. Death was our door.
Lion: We can free each other.
Mouse:  If we follow the rules.
Monkey: You know nothing. Our blood is spilling and filling the veins of another. Parrot is gone and we shall follow. We cannot leave.
Lion: I was appointed.
Mouse: The rules were given.
Rabbit grinds upon Lion’s crotch
Rabbit: And we can follow.
Lion: We came. Freely. We joined. Willingly.
Monkey: Who remembers the joining? Our history is worthless.
Lion: It demonstrates my power
Rabbit: Tell us. Please.
Monkey: The words seduce, you fools allow them to fuck your ears. I will not watch their spunk dribble inside your worthless holes.
Monkey shrinks back in to the crowd, away from the stage. He sits among them, refusing to take part. Pointedly he turns his chair to face away.
Lion: I summoned all the lost and damned, to prove their worth. Those that were unworthy were cast away. Those that I favour will leave when I do. I shaped this place, and you, to bring out your best selves. This is why I am Lion.
Rabbit and Mouse listen intently.
Mouse: You are wise.
Lion: I know.
Rabbit: And powerful.
Lion: I know.
Rabbit rubs Lion
Rabbit: Tell us more of this place.
Lion: The shades that surround us are also my creation. To protect and guard; myself and my chosen.
Blackout. On Lights up Mouse is dead. The mask removed and replaced with one that is blank and featureless. Empty vessel. The Mouse mask sits on the floor beside Rabbit
Lion: Who killed Mouse?
Rabbit: Me, my Lion. To prove devotion. Mouse was a traitor. Plotting to murder you.
Lion: And you no doubt. You have proven yourself well.
Rabbit: My strength comes from you. I was only able to kill with you beside me.
Lion: When the time comes we shall leave together.
Blackout. When we return this time Lion is dead, slumped on the throne, mask removed and replaced with a blank face. Rabbit holds both trophies, rocking back and forth on their heels, contemplating Monkey
Monkey: Clever, Rabbit. Using your Face to hide behind. Looking to be the next Lion? They should have heeded my warning and ignored you.
Rabbit: Let me have your Face. It can be without pain. You have been Monkey too long, it becomes you.
Monkey: Surely you take me for a fool Rabbit. Our Faces are the key. A key that one earns, not takes through selling themselves.
Movement. Rabbit seducing Monkey. Monkey retreats in to the audience. A bell rings.
Monkey: The death trigger beckons. My body is not yours. The day is over.
Rabbit: But tomorrow I’m Lion. I shall devour you.
Monkey: But you won’t leave.
Blackout, faded down as the bell continues to ring. Sink out in to nothingness and oblivion.


Thursday, 26 February 2015

Day 25: Static

Anger? What makes you angry? Write a play about that. Unleash your inner demons and tell the world what you think of it. Maybe even how to fix it. That's roughly what our brief was for today. I'm not smart/arrogant enough to tell people how to fix things. This was also kind of an experiment with format. The formatting is really important so I hope blogger preserves it. This is a pseudo stream of consciousness piece (I followed my nose mostly, but with time to reflect on what I was writing instead of a complete brain dump)

                                                                        By Jeremy Linnell
A man, dripping blood, strapped to a school desk, is wheeled on by two people. Their forms large and imposing, their faces obscured. They hold the knives, ready to carve his meat. An explosion of static. Here we go.
Sound the alarm
                                    Can you hear me?
Stop that                                                                      You’re acting childish

                        It’s for your own good

                                                                                                                        You’re lying to yourself
1300 dead
Please fill out the form
New victims found at the scene
10-15 working days

                                                                                                            A number of children
Did you just push in?
                                                                                                            I really mean it
What are you some sort of freak?
                                                                        It should be illegal
                                                            For your own safety
            Why didn’t you tell me?
                                                                                                            Mass graves
                        Dead for days
                                                            If you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide
Security enforced media blackout

                                                            It all hurts




                                    Oh he’s off again

                                                                                                Another rant
Another one of his moods

                                                            Paedophile ring
2.5 million unemployed
                                                                                    £39 for breakfast
                                    Have you tried breathing?

            You just need to get on with things.

                                                                                                            Everyone gets sad
503,000 vacanies
                                                Immigrants cause traffic congestion

I wouldn’t worry about it
Oh look at this: Katie vs Katie
We’re here to help
£30,000 for getting you a job
Your best interests at heart
So trust us, ok?
You have a bit of an attitude
                        What are those scars?
                                                                                    I think we need some time apart
I can’t give you the help you need
                                                                                                You manic episodes scared me
            I tried to warn you this would happen
                                                It always does
                                                                        Over and over
                                                                                                And over
Until it stops
                                                            30 years is more than enough
Do you want 30 more? How about 35?
                                                                                                Why don’t you do something?
This is the way it has to be.
                                                Do you really think that would work?
You’re a fucking idiot.
                                                                        No you can’t leave.
                                    Sometimes you just have to take it.
             That’s what being a grown up is

                                                LET’S GET BACK TO THE REST OF IT

Ignore my problems
                                                            Tasers used on 400 children in 2013
                                    There’s probably a good reason
            Have you seen children these days?
No good
            No worth
                        No hope
So how are the kids?
                        ISIS soldiers
                                                                                                Blew up a school
Watched his friends die
                                                They’re all self-harming these days
                        Probably like the attention
                                    Is it really your place to ask?
                                                                                                            Maybe I should just shut up?
            No it’s ok.
                                                Please understand.
                                                This is how it has to be