Monday, November 8, 2010

Play against racism

Posted by Tracy

This is a little play John wrote for a group of us (i.e. writers) who meet every so often -- expressing his anger and bemusement at the racism focussed in Northam at the moment.

If anyone ever wants to use it, they are welcome.

The Gathering: a half-act play for six players

by John Kinsella


Players 1-6 are seated in something approximating a circle. A small room. Maybe an office, but could be a work crib room, a shed, or any other confined space. The players are without identifying characteristics. The allotment of player identities among the group of actors is ascertained in as arbitrary a way as possible. They stand when they speak, otherwise remain seated. In the background, Dvor√°k’s New World Symphony is playing quietly.


Player 1

Sine qua non.

Player 2

Veni, vidi, vici.

Player 1

Bellum omnium contra omnes.

Player 3

Alea iacta est.

Player 2

E Pluribus Unum.

Player 3

O di immortales!

Player 5

And so say all of us.

Player 6

Not quite. Shelley quotes the correspondence of Voltaire at the beginning of Queen Mab: ‘Ecrasez l’infame!’

Player 1

And Lucretius.

Player 4

What about Lucretius? By whose authority?

Player 1

Six lines. Too many for me to recite. My Latin is shaky.

Player 2

I love that line from Mab: ‘The chains of earth’s immurement...’

Player 6

You need to be wary of propaganda in an environment of privilege and learning.

Player 4

Too true, brother [or sister], too true.

Player 5

I made a rhyme today:

They place refugees in hot places.
Hot places cast faces on 'races'.

Player 2

Not much of a rhyme, that. All the same, disturbing.

Player 5

Then how about:

Inland they make a stand.

That’s a single line with an internal rhyme.

Player 2

Who makes the stand?

Player 5

I am not much of a critic.

Player 1

Power to the people...

Player 4

That’s copyright. Do you have any idea of the cost behind a clich√©? The legal ramifications of specifics.

Player 3

Surely it’s just populism. No price on that!

Player 2

Too right there is. I’ve worked hard.

Player 3

For whom? For us?

Player 2

Too right. I’ve worked hard.

Player 1

Some bloke is cruising around town calling the old army camp a sacred site. A couple of sporty-looking women have ‘bomb the boats and ‘sink the boats’ on their bright red t-shirts.

Player 4

And the wheat is about to be harvested.

Player 2

And the wheat is about to be harvested. I’ve worked hard.

Player 1

What would Cicero have said on the floor of...

Player 3

...empire...

Player 5

or some other player. Not just Cicero? How about one of his cronies? A fly-in fly-out rouser of rights? Pick a name, any name.

Player 1

Quid pro quo.

Player 4

Primus inter pares.

Player 3

Goodnight. Sleep tight. New world orders have to be processed.

Player 2

Not in my backyard. I’ve worked hard, hard, hard!

Player 1

Acte est fabula, plaudite.