By Kristen Gatenby
A husband and wife struggle with the burden of world events. What are "they" going to do about it?
Mary, A concerned citizen
Hal, Mary's husband
(Scene: A kitchen table sits centre stage, complete with plates, cereal etc. Two chairs sit either side of the table facing the audience. On one chair sits Mary. She is reading a news magazine, totally absorbed, occasionally sighing or shaking her head. Hal enters, reading a newspaper. He crosses the stage slowly, also intent on his reading. He sits down on the other chair, not appearing to notice Mary. They read silently.)
MARY: (sighing) Terrible. Just terrible.
HAL: (not looking up) Hmm?
MARY: Look at this (points to her magazine). There are more people living on the streets than ever before. Can you believe what's going on these days?
HAL: (still not looking up) Mmmm.
MARY: It's not good having so many people sleeping in doorways. They should have food, and shelter -
HAL: And showers.
MARY: Be serious. These are real people. Someone should do something.
HAL: I suppose you're right. (Continues reading his paper)
(Mary shakes her head, and goes back to reading her magazine. They read silently for a few moments.)
MARY: Oh dear.
HAL: What now?
MARY: It's just so sad. What is the world coming to?
HAL: Going downhill, I suspect.
MARY: Did you hear about that earthquake?
HAL: No, but I guess I'm about to.
MARY: Whole cities. Buried under rubble. Millions of people homeless. They're all dying of starvation. It's dreadful.
HAL: Where did it happen?
MARY: Over in Uzbeky-kazagurkistan or somewhere.
HAL: That's over the other side of the world, isn't it?
MARY: I don't know. I keep getting those countries confused. There's always a civil war or coup going on somewhere.
HAL: (Bored) Nothing but death and destruction. (Turns the page of his newspaper) Here's something you might find interesting. They've set off the bomb again.
MARY: See? That's just what I was talking about. The whole world is falling to pieces.
HAL: (only half listening) Dreadful.
MARY: Someone should do something about it.
HAL: I don't know…
MARY: No, really. I mean it's not fair that governments can just blow up small coral atolls for no apparent reason. What about all those tropical fish?
HAL: (still reading his paper) Maybe they could feed them to all those starving Kazagurgys.
MARY: Now that's a bit silly.
HAL: What else are they going to do?
MARY: Well, they've got to do something. That's all.
HAL: Who's "they"?
MARY: You know - "them". Someone has to fix this mess.
(There is a pause. Both read for a moment. Hal starts to sniff the air.)
HAL: What's that smell?
MARY: (looks up briefly) I think I forgot to turn the iron off.
HAL: Someone should do something about that.
MARY: (still reading) Mmmm.
(Both stay reading, as if nothing had been said. )
© Kristen Gatenby, All rights reserved This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. She may be contacted at: email@example.com