Friday 7 June – National Interest

by Emilie Collyer

We return to the kink dungeon from a few weeks ago where we met professional Dommes, Dee and Kay. The same props that were in evidence then are here now too – caps, suits, short grey-haired wigs, glasses, generic round pale face masks – but this time the women are packing them away.

DEE:    I can’t believe it.

KAY:    End of an era.

DEE:    And what stupid reason did they give?

KAY:    Some bullshit about zoning.

DEE:    Do you think it’s locals that complained?

KAY:    Nah. They protested the closure, we’ve been getting flowers and gifts and messages of support all day.

DEE:    So what’s the real fucking reason?

Kay holds up the generic, pale, round face masks.

DEE:    What?

KAY:    During the raid⎯

Continue reading “Friday 7 June – National Interest”

Sunday 2 June – Morrison!

by Emilie Collyer

The PM’s office.

PM:    So are those guys still writing the plays?

AIDE:    I believe there are quite a few women writing them as well, sir.

PM:    What?

AIDE:    Women sir, writing the plays.

PM:    Yeah?

AIDE:    You said … guys.

PM:    And?

AIDE:    Never mind.

PM:    So are they?

AIDE:    I believe for another week or so, sir.

PM:    Great. I want them to write me a musical.

AIDE:    Sir?

PM:    Like that one on Broadway. The smash hit. About that guy, the hero of the American founding fathers.

AIDE:    … Hamilton, sir?

PM:    That’s it, yeah!

AIDE:    Have you … seen the show, sir?

PM:    Nah.

AIDE:    So you don’t know the story?

PM:    Well it’s called Hamilton, right? So I reckon it’s a bloody ripper story about a great guy called Hamilton. Was he a President? I mean he must have been right? If they made a whole show about him.

AIDE:    Not exactly sir …

PM:    Anyway it’s coming to Sydney. So what I want, before it gets here, is for a new musical. An Australian musical. About a Prime Minister. An ordinary guy. A man of the people. A hero. Something brand new. Never been done before. I’ve got the perfect name: Morrison!

AIDE:    Um …

PM:    What?

AIDE:    You do know there was a musical about Paul Keating, sir.

PM:    What? Shit. What was it called?

AIDE:    Keating!

This is upsetting news.

PM:    Did people like it?

AIDE:    I believe it did very well, sir.

PM pulls himself together, he’s not one to be down for long.

PM:    Well as you know, I believe in miracles and I believe the Australian people are ready for a NEW all Australian musical about a Prime Minister. An ordinary guy. A man of the people. A hero. I’ve even got a few ideas for the words.

AIDE:    The words, sir?

PM:    Of the songs. How’s this: ‘I am not giving away my shot. I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry …’

AIDE:    Er, I believe those lyrics are taken directly from the musical Hamilton, sir. I’m not even sure we can put them in this play without infringing copyright. Can you … tweak them a little?

PM:    Yeah, yeah, I can do that. Just warming up. How about: ‘I am not handballing away my shot’ – footy reference, folks will love a footy reference. ‘I’m just like my country, I’m middle-aged, well-off and angry …’

AIDE:    Angry, sir?

PM:    All right. Fair enough. Um … Oh. Oh. Daggy! Yeah that’s it! ‘I’m middle-aged, well-off and daggy.’ Oh and even better, even better, how’s this: ‘I am not giving away my cap. I am not giving away my cap! I’m just like my country, I’m middle-aged, well-off and daggy and I’m not giving away my cap.’ What do you reckon?

AIDE:    Um …

PM:    Get those writers in here.

AIDE:    So you can … give them the lyrics they should write?

PM:    Head start that’s all. They can do the rest.

AIDE:    I’ll … see if I can get onto them …

PM:    And hey, that Keating musical.

AIDE:    Yes sir?

PM:    Was that an all white cast?

AIDE:    Um …

PM:    ‘Cause that’s where we can trump him. Arrogant bastard.

AIDE:    Oh he didn’t write the musical, sir.

PM:    But you can bet he likes to gloat about it. We’ll go one up. Try this on for size: Post-racial casting. Colour-blind casting.

Beat.

AIDE:    You know about colour-blind casting, sir?

PM:    Course I bloody do. Why?

AIDE:    I find that … surprising.

PM:    Yeah well like I said last time, you don’t know everything about me.

AIDE:    Clearly not.

PM:    Hang on now. Back up. Did you say Keating didn’t write his own musical?

AIDE:    That’s correct, sir.

PM:    Ha. What have we got left in the marketing budget?

AIDE:    For the playwrights, sir?

PM:    Nah. Changed my mind. I can write the bastard. That’ll show that poncy Keating a thing or two. We don’t need writers. I’ve already got the first song. How hard can it be?

AIDE:    So the budget is for …

PM:    The cast! I’ve got the perfect idea for who to play me.

AIDE:    Sir?

PM:    Guy Sebastian. Beat. Genius, right! He’s a dead bloody ringer! Go on then!

AIDE:    I believe he’s judging The Voice at present, sir.

PM:    I’ll turn his red chair. I’ll bloody burn for him! Go on! Go get him!

AIDE:    Yes sir. Beat. And if he doesn’t want to?

PM:    Whaddya mean?

AIDE:    If he can’t be bought, Guy Sebastian.

The PM laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs.

PM:    Good one mate, good one. You crack me up. Go on now! Get on it!

The aide exits.

The PM is excited, humming, singing.

PM:    ‘Sco-o-o-ott Morrison. They call me Sco-o-o-ott Morrison. And there’s one or two things I haven’t done. Just you wait. Just you wait …’

THE END

Friday 31 May – A Bird in the Hand

by Emilie Collyer

It’s the office of a big energy and infrastructure company.

A projection shows an image of a bird – a black-throated finch.

Next to that, a white board is divided into two sections.

One half is titled: Black-throated finch habitat & Mining site

The other half is titled: Area proposed for protection of black-throated finch

Two staff members are meeting.

ONE:    It’s a cutey, isn’t it.

TWO:    Sure is.

ONE:    Great we’ve got a plan.

TWO:    So great.

Beat.

ONE:    Just run me through the plan one more time.

TWO:    Okay. So. This little guy is the black-throated finch.

ONE:    Super cute.

TWO:    So cute.

ONE:    Endangered?

TWO:    Sad face – yes.

They both make a sad face.

TWO:    (continues) According to birdlife.org there used to be a subspecies in New South Wales but they haven’t been seen there since 1994. There’s a northern subspecies⎯

ONE:    Up north?

TWO:    Bingo! Around Cape York. And this guy (they both look at the cute bird on the screen) is the southern subspecies mostly found here (points to the white board habitat section) around the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland.

ONE:    Around the mine site.

TWO:    Around the mine site. That’s where they eat and hang out. That’s where this particular grass is that they get right into.

ONE:    Amazing.

TWO:    So amazing. But sad.

ONE:    So sad?

TWO:    There’s been an estimated 88% decrease in the range of the species in the last few decades.

ONE:    (whistles with concern). So sad. It’s so good we have a plan.

TWO:    Right?

ONE:    And um … how will that work exactly? Keeping their habitat safe. Will we be really careful about where we put the boring equipment for the mine?

TWO:    Ah. Not exactly.

ONE:    Oh right. Can you just … sorry, you’ve gone to all this trouble with the diagram and everything. I just want to make sure I understand it properly for when we speak to the government about it all.

TWO:    Sure, sure! Good to check in. So important. So, what we WILL do is establish monitoring protocols.

ONE:    Right …

TWO:    And we will manage the area.

ONE:    I see …

TWO:    And of course we’ll engage appropriately qualified ecologists.

ONE:    Right.

Beat.

ONE:    And the actual … birds? Our friend here, the cutey black-throated finch?

TWO:    Yes.

ONE:    Yes, what?

TWO:    Exactly.

ONE:    I’m sorry, how is it … protected here (points to the habitat side of the diagram) if all the protective measures are put in place … over here (points to the planned protection area side of the diagram)?

TWO:    Yes.

ONE:    Yes, what?

TWO:    Exactly.

ONE:    I’m just wondering if there’s one little part of the plan yet to fall into place.

TWO:    Oh. Yes. (frantic, thinking, searching … aha) Yes! Of course there’s more.

ONE:    (relieved) Of course!

They laugh at their silly miscommunication. Of course there is more to the plan.

TWO:    So I thought, that we could get some volunteers …

ONE:    I don’t think we have clearance for that.

TWO:    … or you and I …

ONE:    Um, I’m pretty flat out.

TWO:    … or me. Yes, me. Of course. Me. I. What I will do is simply, gently, go around this area (points to the habitat) and simply, gently, take each cute little black-throated finch and carry them⎯

ONE:    Simply, gently.

TWO:    ⎯you got it! Over to this area (points to the planned protection area). It shouldn’t take long. I mean there’s not many of them left.

ONE:    So you’ll take them OUT of their actual habitat⎯

TWO:    Well because that’s where the mine will be, a lot of activity, it won’t be safe for them there.

ONE:    ⎯and you’ll put them in an area where they have no natural food sources and where they’ve never lived and never bred, not for thousands of years.

TWO:    Yes but you see they’ll be safe.

ONE:    Safe.

TWO:    Yes. Undisturbed by the mine.

ONE:    And this is our plan.

TWO:    This is the plan.

ONE:    Um … (starts to pack up their things, get ready to make a quick getaway) actually you know what, I just remembered I have a … a thing, a meeting thing and I … I’m not sure I can stay for the presentation .. what time are they …

TWO:    Oh there’s no presentation. The plan’s already been approved.

ONE:    Oh.

TWO:    I just did this for you. So you could see for yourself.

ONE:    Aha.

TWO:    Now THAT’s sorted, let’s get onto this pesky groundwater management issue. We’ve got a couple of weeks to pull a plan together and I’ve got some great ideas.

TWO rubs the diagram off the white board and draws some blue lines with the word: WATER and some brown squiggles with the word: GROUND.

THE END

Friday 24 May – Baby Steps

by Emilie Collyer

The last time we were here, the babies were discussing child care packages, gold plated sipper cups and the vulnerabilities of their parents.

Today they are on the move. The child care centre has closed and they need to fend for themselves now.

B4:    reading from The Age: ‘Under Mr Albanese, the Labor Party is expected to dump or significantly alter its policy platform, including up to $20 billion in proposed taxes on retired shareholders and property investors in its first four years. The changes would have paid for all of Labor’s cancer treatment, affordable housing, TAFE, pensioner dental and child care plans.’

B3:    Shit, dude.

B1:    Did you have to?

B4:    What? We need to know what we’re up against.

B5:    And hang on, those guys aren’t even in power. They lost. Why do we care about what they won’t be doing?

B4:    The other mob don’t even mention us.

B3:    We’re not even a football to them, hey.

B5:    So maybe they’ve got heaps of good plans, they just haven’t announced them yet.

B3:    (as if) Dude.

B5:    Okay. Sorry.

B4:    Like I said, we need to know the lay of land.

Continue reading “Friday 24 May – Baby Steps”

Sunday 19 May – How Many Happy Endings Did You Get?

by Emilie Collyer

It’s a motel room, the morning after an intense marathon sex session between two people – 74 and 65. They can be any gender, sexual orientation, with any variety of genitals, any age, skin colour, they might disabled they might be deaf, or not. All I’m saying is – they could be anyone. 74 is probably wearing blue and 65 is probably wearing red.

They are exhausted, post-coital, chatting in that gooey, dreamy way.

They are half-watching the Eurovision song contest final live voting on a television in the room.

Behind or around them, a person is stripping the room of a bright, garish yellow wallpaper.

74:    74. Phwoar. Seventy-bloody four.

65:    You were counting?

74:    Course I was! Yours too.

65:    How can you tell? You can’t tell. That’s bullshit.

74:    65.

65:    Fuck.

74:    Ha! I’m right aren’t I! I can always tell. It’s the shudder that gives it away. You’ve got a sweet little shudder. Every time. Don’t tell me you weren’t counting. Everybody counts.

    (the television) Ah damn it. Ninth. Weird song I guess. Still, she’s got a set of pipes. Haha Iceland’s holding up a Palestine banner, good on ya Iceland, stir the pot.

65:    Oh yeah, I mean should the competition be held there? Really?

74:    They had an inclusive act perform at one of the semi-finals.

65:    Inclusive?

74:    Blind singers. Couple of performers with Down Syndrome. A guy signing. Israel totally going: ‘Look at us! Great human rights! Awesome! Nothing to worry about!’ Laughs. Keeps watching. Sweden … The Netherlands …

65:    Sweden will win. Don’t they always win?

74:    They won the judge’s votes. But the popular ones are make or break … here we go. The Netherlands is in front … Sweden need 253 audience votes to win … 90! Only 90. Jeez – did you see his face? Poor fella. He thought they were in. You just never can tell with the public though, right? Maybe Europe’s not ready for a black Eurovision winner.

65:    You think he got a lower popular vote because he’s a person of colour? Surely there’s been⎯hasn’t there?

74:    Dunno. Maybe once? Bloody mystery how and why people vote for anything. Whatever makes sense to them, has a personal meaning, ticks a box they need. Anyway, another bland song by a nice-looking white dude won so that’s that. For another year.

65:    I really wouldn’t have picked you for someone who was into Eurovision.

74:    I like anything competitive. Beat. 74. Just saying.

65:    So, last night was a competition?

74:    Well I hope you had a good time. I reckon you did. Shudder! But if I come out on top, I come out on top, that’s all right with me. To be honest wouldn’t have minded a few more. 74’s about the same as last time I had a serious session. But consistency’s good. And I felt every one. Phwoar.

65:    Yeah well … I go a little slower. But um … you know, they’re all good. They all still feel good.

    Beat.(about the wallpaper remover) Do they have to be doing that now?

74:    I asked them to. It was nice enough, the yellow. Eye-catching – served its purpose. Got us through the night. But that’s enough.

We hear human sounds from another room: panting, gentle crying, slightly unsatisfying orgasms.

65:    What the⎯?

74:    Yeah, walls are a bit thin here.

65:    Are they⎯?

74:    Yeah. You wouldn’t know it though would you. Sounds like a handful of mourning cats. Ah well. Not everyone can get there, right?

65:    Would they have⎯?

74:    Oh for sure. Walls are thin both ways. Poor sods. Listening to us at it all night. Bang! Bang! Bang! While they’re all like (makes a little moaning, whimpering noise with a tiny exclamation at the end. Laughs).

We can still hear the sound but now it sounds closer and more like actual crying. In fact, like a baby crying. And it’s not coming from another room. It’s in the room with them. It was tucked in behind the wallpaper but now it’s right there.

65:    Oh my god … is that a …? It is. There’s a … there’s a baby in here.

74:    What the fuck? Is it yours?

65:    No.

74:    (to the wallpaper removalist) Is it yours?

It’s not.

74:    Fuck me.

The baby is crying, whimpering, should they pick it up, console it? Does it need feeding? They look at the baby. At a particular angle, the baby might look like a business tycoon from Queensland. But then, look again, it’s just a regular baby.

74:    Ugly little bugger.

65:    You can’t say that.

74:    Why not? Spade’s a spade.

65:    Well it is a little … strange looking. But that’s not its fault.

The baby is crying louder now, almost screaming. It’s upset. It needs attending to.

74:    Jesus, talking about a set of pipes.

65:    Should we … ? I mean parents get weird when you touch their children …

74:    Bugger it.

74 picks the baby up. It doesn’t really settle. It is still distressed. But a change comes over 74, suddenly smitten.

74:    Well fuck me. Look at you, ya little bugger! Just look at you. Ya need someone to look after you don’t ya? I tell you what, I’ve always believed in miracles, and this right here is a bloody miracle.

65:    You’re not going to keep it?

74:    Why the hell not? Like I said, it’s a bloody miracle. Right here, all red-faced and screaming.

65:    But what if its parents come back …

74:    Shouldn’t have left it.

65:    Okay. Beat. But I was here too. If it belongs to anyone, shouldn’t we share it?

74:    Did you pick it up? Did you pick this screaming, miserable little bundle of joy up? First in best dressed when it comes to bloody miracles. Good thing I got them to strip that yellow wallpaper isn’t it ya little bugger. Isn’t it! Otherwise you might have died right there in the wall!

65:    Well. I’ll help. All right? You’ll need help. You can’t raise a kid on your own. It needs education. A healthy upbringing. And the climate, you know, it’s a precarious time to be⎯

74:    All right settle down! That’s a lot of big ideas for just raising a kid. Financial security’s what this little tacker needs. I can give ‘em that. You know what, if you have a go, you get a go, that’s what I’ve always said. I’m bloody up for it. I’m up for it all right. Beat. Right. This was fun.

74 gets ready to leave, still holding and bouncing the little, ugly crying baby.

65:    You don’t want to get breakfast?

74:    Nah.

65:    You’re sure you don’t want help?

74:    All good.

65:    Will I … will I see you again?

74:    Dunno.

65:    Call any time. If you want to hook up again. Or if you need … it’s a big thing, raising a kid on your own.

74:    Yep.

74 exits.

The wallpaper remover finishes their job and they also exit, leaving swathes of yellow paper in the room.

65:    Hey! Hey you can’t leave this here! You’ve got to tidy up properly. Beat. Shit.

From the other rooms all is now silent.

65 looks at the pile of wallpaper. Maybe there will be another baby underneath it all? A miracle for them? Probably not but it’s worth looking, and someone has to clean up this mess. They start going through it, searching, tidying.

65:    Seventy bloody four. Selfish arsehole.

They keep searching, tidying.

THE END.

Friday 17 May – Calling

by Emilie Collyer

It’s night time. It’s an office that is also a polling booth. It’s a telephone exchange that is also a transit room for the afterlife.

The voices we hear should have a range of accents and even languages.

A telephone rings. It clicks into answer mode. We hear the person at the other end.

VOICE: Hello? Hello? Is anyone there or is this a message bank? Hello! I’m calling from Manus Island and I wanted

The message is cut off.

A person enters the room wheeling a large trolley full of sausages that they arrange and leave. The person exits.

The telephone rings again. Same as before, we hear:

VOICE: Hi I don’t know if anyone will hear this but I’m calling from Don Dale, look I need

The message is cut off.

The person enters the room this time with a container of sharpened pencils that they leave. They exit.

The telephone rings again. Same as before, we hear:

VOICE: I’m calling from Swanston Street, in Melbourne, it’s so cold tonight, and I’m trying to

The message is cut off.

The person enters the room this time with a packet of balloons. They blow one up. They look at the packet and blow another one up. They look at the packet. They are not going to blow them all up. This is not what they get paid to do. They exit.

The telephone rings again. Same as before, we hear a voice leaving a message. This time there are a few in a row, each cutting off the one before them.

VOICE: Hello, I’m calling from Bandyup Women’s Prison and I

VOICE: I’m calling from a holding cell

VOICE: I’m calling about a parking fine

VOICE: I’m alone in a watch house

VOICE: about my NDIS package

VOICE: I think my unemployment benefits were

VOICE: oh I’m, I’m not well, I’m in a detention centre and I

The message is cut off.

The person enters the room this time with some tiny flags. They are probably flags of Australia. They arrange them and leave.

The telephone rings again. Same as before, we hear a few in a row, each cutting off the one before them.

VOICE: Hello? Hello. I’m calling about a Treaty, I heard that maybe

VOICE: I’m calling about the Uluru Statement from the Heart

VOICE: about the Barunga Statement.

An old man with thick silver hair enters. He does not have anything with him. He pauses and listens. The same voice we just heard keeps speaking.

VOICE: Hello? Like I was saying, I wanted to have a word with someone in there about the Burunga Statement. I know it was a few years back now but there’s a lot in there that hasn’t been addressed yet and I thought, well …

The silver-haired man hesitates, but does not pick up the phone. It’s not his job. He’s done all he can. Has he? At any rate, his time is over. He exits through a different door.

VOICE: … well if someone could get onto it, I’ve … we’ve been on hold for a long time, for

The message is cut off.

The person enters the room. They might have a sense of disturbance, of the presence of the silver-haired man or the echo of the unanswered messages on the telephone. But there is nothing much else they can do.

The room is in order for the next day’s activities. They turn off the lights and leave.

Sound of a telephone ringing.

THE END

Friday 10 May – Silent Disco

by Emilie Collyer

It’s a silent disco. Two people, each wearing headphones, are dancing, wrapped up in their own worlds. Happy is dancing manically, getting right into it. Mopey is swaying slowly, painfully, beautifully.

They both pause for a drink break.

Happy:                  Great way to spend a Friday night, hey.

Mopey shrugs.

                            Just shake off the week, right?

Mopey couldn’t be less hyped.

                            I always listen to the good news mix, you know?

Mopey is just so deadpan.

                            It’s a cracker this week! Want to listen? Come on, have a listen. You look like you could use the good news mix!

Happy puts their headphones onto Mopey.

MOPEY:              Sings or utters a few words from song snippets on the good news mix

                            ‘We’re in the money!’

                            ‘Money, money, money.’

                            ‘She’s a rich girl.’

                            ‘And we are living in a material world.’

                            Takes the headphones off.

                            They’re literally all about money.

Continue reading “Friday 10 May – Silent Disco”

Sunday 5 May – Not a King

by Emilie Collyer

The PM’s office.

PM:                     Whaddya mean they’re writing plays?

AIDE:                  About the campaign.

PM:                     Like for the television? Is this a bloody ABC thing?

AIDE:                  Er, no. Just short plays, not television.

PM:                     Like for theatre?

AIDE:                  Yes.

PM:                     Like is our Cate in them?

Continue reading “Sunday 5 May – Not a King”