set in a war zone where a group of young people are trapped in a bombed out school with outside grounds mined
loosely referencing characters and situations contained in
William Golding's Lord Of The Flies
first presented by The Daramalan Theatre Company at The Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre in June 1999
c 1999 Joe Woodward
As the audience enters a classroom with students seated at tables. A teacher occasionally wanders through the class checking work and encouraging more attention to duties. As with any class there is the usual range of aptitude, ability and willingness. This should be evident in the posture and attitude displayed. They are not acting as students. THEY ARE!
A school bell signals the end of the period and the commencement of the play. Students pack up their bags. Conversations pick up where they had left off. Some students cluster in groups. Others leave quickly.
We hear them talking and walking down corridors away from the room. Then ... SILENCE.
Until the silence merges into the feint sound of flies around meat or faeces. The sound continues to grow until it merges into the distant sound of air craft flying in formation.
ENTER the TEACHER.
Teacher enters cautiously, puzzled by the sound from beyond. He picks up some paper left by the students. Then moves to the window.
The sound volume increases. Then additional sound of distant bombs, ground fire and other explosions.Fear overcomes the teacher.
Then: a huge explosion. A near hit.
The teacher is thrown across the room, knocking over desks and chairs.
More explosions as the aircraft noise becomes deafening.
On the back wall, we see VIDEO FOOTAGE of displaced persons and refugees interspersed with bombing scenes. Occasional FLASHES OF LIGHT from explosions allow us to see dark figures scampering through the room, upturning desks and using them as shields. The whole space becomes smoke filled. The teacher is dead, killed from the impact of the explosions.
The bombing continues. The space is filled with smoke.
SOUND FADES. SILENCE.
A lone VIDEO CAMERA PANS across the scene of destruction in the school. The voice of a NEWS READER can be heard vaguely in the back ground.
From behind an upturned desk, DRAKE appears. He adjusts his glasses. Coughs. Gradually surveys the damage. Emerges from the room to approach the window.
Looking around, he then approaches the dead teacher. He moves to him and examines the limp body.
ENTER FI from the shadows.
Fi: We're just dreaming you know.
Drake half turns towards her.
Fi: This only happens in other places.
Drake: He's dead.
Fi: We can watch it all on the news. Other people's news.
Drake: It's stopped. Do you think we could go out there?
Fi: It's safer here.
Drake: He's dead. The teacher's dead.
Fi: They think we're all dead.
Drake turns completely towards Fi.
Drake: You're Fiona ... right?
Fi: Fi! Everyone calls me Fi. You're ... (she hesitates)
Drake: Drake ...
She looks puzzled.
Drake: They called me Piggy after the fat kid in that novel about the island ...
Fi: (Laughing nervously) Lord Of The Flies ...
Drake: Don't call me Piggy.
Fi: OK ... Drake ...
She goes to the window and looks out ... Drake is trying to lift the body.
Fi: We might be here for some time ...
Drake: You seem very relaxed about it.
Fi: We'll wake up sooner or later.
Drake: Didn't you see what happened?
Fi: The buses will arrive at 3.28 and we'll be picked up and dropped off near our homes.
Drake: There's nothing much left.
Fi: And tomorrow we'll arrive back at school in time for our maths test at 9.00.
Drake: It's amazing this building is still here.
Fi: I can't see anything. There's smoke ...
Drake: It's amazing we're not like him ...
Drake: Do you think you could help me?
She turns to see him struggling with the body.
Fi: But you said he was dead ...
Drake: Come on.
Fi: Where will we take him?
Drake: Some place where we can't smell him when he begins to rot.
She recoils and sits gazing at the body.
Fi: It's not a dream.
Drake: We've got to move him.
Fi: It's all gone.
Drake: Yes. And we can't just sit around here feeling sorry for ourselves.
Fi: No ... It's all gone. ALL ... gone ...
Drake: Yes ... gone!
Fi: OK! I'll give you a hand.
ENTER STOKER followed by NOD and TIFFY.
Stoker: Sheik! Piggy's still alive!
Drake: It's you, Stoker!
Stoker: What a select little group we are.
Fi: Why? Where is everyone else?
Stoker: Joined the bar-b-q! Or just ... GONE! Who are you?
Stoker: Figh, fo, fumb ... I'm Jack Stoker. Stoke for short. Your Fiona?
Fi for short?
Drake: She just started here this week.
Stoker: Should have stayed away!
Fi: (Pointing to the dead teacher) He's dead. We got to get him out of here. You give us a hand?
Stoker: Can't take him outside. It's all been mined.
Nod: We're gonna be stuck here.
Drake: With him?
Fi: We'll find somewhere to bury him ...
Stoker: Bar b-q more likely. Anyway, how come you weren't rounded up like the others?
Drake: I was in the boiler room.
Fi: I hid in a cupboard. They were in such a hurry before the planes came, they didn't look in there.
Stoker: Well, who knows how many of us are going to crawl out of the rubble.
Drake: Won't they come back for us?
Stoker: Not likely! I heard the broadcast. The whole area is evacuated. No journalists allowed. And it's too dangerous for any locals to venture in.
Nod: We're stuck here.
Fi: Our parents will try to find us.
Stoker: If they're still alive! And how do you know they haven't been shipped out somewhere? Like most of the school.
Drake: We'll starve.
Fi: Stop it. Think. (After a PAUSE) The canteen!
Stoker: Yeah ... It'll have food.
Nod: But it was hit.
Fi: Maybe. But most of the stuff is kept in the basement. It might be all right. From what I saw, most of the power is still ON. But the phones are down.
Stoker: You get rid of the body. Nod and I'll see about the canteen.
Tiffy meanwhile goes up to the body and seems to be saying a prayer.
Drake: What's the story with ....
Stoker : (Interrupting) Tiffy! Tiffy ...
Tiffy says nothing. Stoker jestures as if to say she's gone nuts.
EXIT Stoker and Nod
Fi gently places her hand on Tiffy's shoulder. No reaction.
Drake: We can't just stand around here all day.
Fi: Wait! (Then to Tiffy) Tiffy? Is that your real name? Tiffy? Tiffanie?
Fi: OK. Let's do it.
They begin to lift the body to remove it from the room.
SPOT LIGHT UP on Tiffy.
Tiffy: How can you speak? Words betray the truth of feeling. Words provide no protection. No armoury. No defence. Words distance you from that moment of impact. Yet I play the words over and over in my head: trying to hear their meaning ... trying to feel their incission into the bubble: the world. And it goes bang.
She pauses and looks directly into the audience.
Tiffy: Pig's head on a stick ... isn't dead ... still is ...
who stands in the shadows
Tiffy: Is. Not was ...
Chilla: A fly on the wall.
Tiffy freezes and shrinks.
Chilla: 'Wondered if anyone was left! Now I know. It's you and me babe! Just you and me ...
Tiffy: (Directly to the audience) Pig's head lives. And it's inside.
Chilla: All alone. "All, all alone ... Alone on a wide, wide sea ..."
He moves slowly towards Tiffy.
Chilla: Do I know you? You look familiar! Not that I can see your face. But you appear to be human. And that's something these days! I respect that. But hey, I appear to be talking to myself here.
Tiffy is frozen.
Chilla: (Stroking her hair) I'm Chilla de Palma. Who are you? I know. Don't tell me. You're a frightened little mouse. Cat got your tongue? Got the huff? You should be more friendly. The world may have ended out there. Maybe we're all that's left. Maybe, we have special obligations ...
Drake and Fi return.
ENTER Drake and Fi.
Fi: The dream becomes a nightmare.
Chilla: Complete with a scary monster! Just kidding ...
Drake: Get your hands of her.
Chilla steps aside.
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