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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Theatre, A Play in One Act

The Squat


(A Play in One Act for Stage)

The Squat by theirishobserver

This is an original play in one act written by theirishobserver. The play is set in a squat in Dublin, Ireland, following the collapse of the Irish economy. Due to political, banking and property corruption hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs, their homes and their dignity. I hope this play will give some insight into the lives of many who now in 2010 live on the margins of Irish society.
The play opens with loud banging on the front door, which is to the left hand side of the stage. There is a confusion of muttered voices from within and total darkness. The daylight breaks through a tear in the heavy blanket that covers the broken window and illuminates the room with a piecing blade of light. The room and its effects are reminiscent of a rubbish skip. There is a busted couch, armchair that does not match the couch, rubbish and empty bottles scattered about the floor.
Hatchets: 35 years old. In stained white vest, tracksuit bottoms, Doc-Martin boots and close cropped hair – removes the heavy blanket that covers the window, the window is to the left of the door that is at the left hand side of the stage.
Crusty: 29 years old. Pushing her matted dreadlocks from her face – pops up her head from beneath a sleeping bag on the old torn couch. Her face ravaged and prematurely aged by alcohol and drug abuse.
Sambo: In green combat jumper and army trousers is sleeping full stretch on the old busted armchair. Sambo says he is 40 but looks more like sixty due to the ravages of his life; he is Black with an Irish Accent.
Rose: Is a member of the travelling community, her face weather beaten and drawn, yet she holds a beauty in her dark complexion. She is 24 years old and is sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor in front of the couch.
Patrica (Patrick): 35 years old, Gay, Five feet - two inches tall. Dark hair, tidy shirt and slacks, speaks camp.
Generally they all dread another day in their dark cold world.
Hatchets: (Opens the door)
Garda: (Unseen) This notice here by directs you and anyone herein to vacate these premises within fourteen days by Order of the High Court.
Hatchets: (Rubbing his eyes) we want no part of your rat race copper so p… off.
Garda: (Hands – Order to Hatchets) Fourteen days Hatchets or we will be back to shift you and your junkie mates.
Sambo: (stirring from his sleep) Hey man, close that feakin door.
Hatchets: (Slams the door) Bloody coppers (Hatchets tears up the order and throws its confetti over Crusty’s head).
Crusty: (Dusting the confetti from her dreadlocks) Any cans left?

Hatchets: (Takes a can of Guinness from the top of an old side board that is littered with empty beer cans and whiskey/cider bottles. He opens the can and takes a long drink then passes the can to Crusty) Jesuz man, my mouth was as dry as Ghandi’s sandals.
Crusty: (Sitting up drinking from the can) Have we any money Hatchets?
Hatchets: (Defensive) What do you want money for?
Crusty: I thought we could get some of those cheap bottles of wine from Dunnes and go over to the den.
Hatchets: (Angry) Didn’t I tell ye that we can’t go to the Den cos I owe Cahill for those E-Tabs.
Crusty: We could drink them here and Kitty owes me two E-tabs. She said she would pay me back today when she gets the child benefit for that sprog of hers.
Hatchets: I won’t like to be waiting her – doesn’t she owe Lump Hammer half her child benefit for that loan she got off him at Christmas.
Crusty: Ye, I suppose – what about the wine?
Sambo: (Fumbles in his pocket) Hey man, I have ten Euros. Shit man that was yesterday.
Hatchets: Rose have you any money left?
Rose (Moves about inside the sleeping bag) I have seven Euros.
Hatchets: I have twenty – twenty-seven Euros we have. How much was that wine?
Crusty: 3.99 a bottle.
Hatchets: How many bottles is that Sambo? You’re the one with the economics degree.
Sambo: (Sitting up in the armchair) six bottles and we could get a bottle of Bulmers with the rest.
Rose: I’ll have the Bulmers – pear flavour – that wine is piss.
Crusty: (Climbing out of her sleeping bag – stumbles across the floor to the sink at the back of the stage) What’s the story - are we going or what?
Hatchets: We need to lift something to eat if all the money is going on the drink.
Crusty: You’re going soft Hatchets – wasting good drinking time with food.
Rose: I will lift a few of those Gammons.
Sambo: Ye man, you had that many Gammons down your jumper last week the security man asked if you were related to Jordan.
Hatchets: I wish I was a celebrity.
Crusty: You are in the Bridewell and the Gards are going to get you out of here next week.
(General laughter)
Rose: (Face pained) Did you see that Mc Fadden mutt eating them worms?
Hatchets: Jesuz they looked worse than you’re coddle.
Rose: (Jumps from her sleeping bag and pokes Hatchets in the ribs with her fingers) That coddle saved you from starvation on more than one occasion.
Sambo: You’re coddle is good man – like the juice from the mango tree and the liver of buzzards.
Rose: The blessings of the Gods on you.
Hatchets: The curses of the two headed goat on you – she’ll be making it all the time now.
Sambo: Not if you have tasted the liver of buzzards.
Crusty: Are we ready?
Hatchets: Jesuz it’s too early to go out.
Rose: We can’t all go out anyway in case the corporation seal the house.
Sambo: I stay man – I keep them out.
Crusty: Settle yourself Rambo – they can’t enter the house after giving fourteen days notice – they would be in contempt of their own court order.
Hatchets: I forgot that you had the law degree Crusty – maybe you could apply your mind to getting me a bite to eat.
Crusty: (Lifts and shakes a cornflakes box from the side board beside the sink) There’s nothing – the cupboard is bare.
Rose: I’ll go with Hatchets – he can get the drink and I will do some shopping.
Crusty: Ye, with Travellers cheques.
Rose: Any more of that Hatchets and I’ll have you before the Equality Commission.
Hatchets: Ye – Pavee Rights.
Crusty: Pavee rights my arse – the two of us got put out of Devlins Pub for being drunk and incapable – Rose ended up getting two grand off the Equality Commission and I got a fifty-Euro fine for being drunk in a public place.
Rose: Sure wasn’t it you that advised me on the case.
Crusty: Ye but I was only taking the piss.
Rose: At least we had a good time on the money – I think!
Sambo: (Impatient) Drink, Drink, Drink.

Hatchets: (Drops his empty beer can to the floor) Jesuz, I thought that was Father Jack.
Crusty: Ye, with a North African accent.
Hatchets: (Kicks his way across the littered floor) Come on Rose.
Rose: (Dusting down her heavy brightly coloured skirt) We’re away.
(Hatchets opens the door to the left of the stage and Rose steps out followed by Hatchets)

Sambo: (Curls up on the couch and begins to roll a joint) Want some blow Crusty?
Crusty: (Subconsciously scratching her face) Where did you get the blow?
Sambo: I got a ten deal of Fiddler; he is married to my sister.
Crusty: (Surprised) Shit – Cola is your sister?
Sambo: Ye man – we come in on the same boat. The rest of our family were killed in the civil war.
Crusty: Jesuz, I’m sorry.
Sambo: That’s why I am so feaked up man.
Crusty: (Cuddles up beside Sambo on the couch) I guess I just never thought.
Sambo: Why should you? It’s my problem.
Crusty: (Contemplating) I guess we never really talk in this shit world we are in. I often want to talk but it’s easier not to. An hour becomes two hours, a day becomes a week, weeks becomes a month and still no talking.
Sambo: Ye, since I dropped out of college I have not thought too much about anything – just the price of the next joint or drink. I guess I have created my own rat race.
Crusty: Oh Shit!
Sambo: What’s wrong man?
Crusty: A mouse has just gone into Rose’s sleeping bag.
Sambo: That’s OK man; a screw in the Joy told me that when you have mice you don’t have rats.
Crusty: (Not assured) Jesuz this is a long way from my air conditioned pad that I had on the Quays when the Celtic Tiger had teeth.
Sambo: You should have stayed in favour with your Da.
Crusty: (Reflective) I guess when he found out I was lap dancing to feed my habit and speeding my college fees on trips to Amsterdam the bond that we never had was easily broken.
Sambo: (Having taken a couple of long draws on the joint passes it to Crusty) Go on do us a lap dance.
Crusty: (Incorrigible) (Climbs up onto the coffee table in front of the couch and begins to motion a lap dance) What do you think – worth a tenner?
Sambo: (Laughing) its not Sandra Bollock in Strip-Tease especially with them baggy trousers and woolly jumper.
Crusty: Well that’s all you’re getting you perve (She falls back onto the couch).
Sambo: Where can we go when they evict us?
Crusty: There is a squat up on Dorset Street – but it’s full of junkies.
Sambo: I don’t want that shit again – I have been off the gear for a few months now – I’m happy with a bit of Black Moroccan.
Crusty: Me too. What about that squat in Mc Dermot Street with your lot?
Sambo: I don’t think your white ass would be too welcome there.
Crusty: I thought it was our lot that were supposed to be racist against your lot.
Sambo: It’s not that – it’s just that our people are a proud people – some Chiefs in their own tribe back in Africa – they don’t like outsiders to see them living in such conditions.
Crusty: (Suddenly serious) I never thought of that.
Sambo: They are my brothers and sisters. They never got a chance – they had to flee their home land for fear of death.
Crusty: (Passes the joint back to Sambo) I guess not.
Sambo: (Relaxed) Nice bit of Black Moroccan makes the world a better place.
Crusty: Will you sleep with me tonight?
Sambo: (Looking towards the ceiling) I have no woman since my wife died. The virus, you know man. I miss her too much, only the weed takes away some of the pain.
Crusty: She was great. She helped me off the gear and the game. I thought I was the one who would die from the virus after all that I had done. Then Cleo gets the virus after being stabbed by that junkie, crazy, crazy (Head shaking).
Sambo: (Uncertain) I guess its God’s way.
Crusty: (Sarcastically) A strange way, strange.
Sambo: (Serious) No I won’t sleep with you. You know that if I did Hatchets would go mental.
Crusty: I guess you’re right – but I am still a woman with woman’s needs.
Sambo: (Laughs) Ye, you need a good wash.
Crusty: (Wrestles with Sambo on the couch in a playful way) You shit, you know I washed last night.
Sambo: (Laughs loud) I don’t think washing your hands counts.
Crusty: (Exhausted – lies full stretch on the couch with her bared feet on Sambo’s lap) We’re not too badly off are we?
Sambo: I’ve been worse places. What are you thinking about?
Crusty: My first boyfriend at college.
Sambo: What was he like?
Crusty: (Reflective) Tall, dark and sexy, very sexy. He played for the rugby team. His hair was oiled and slicked back with a lovely shine. Just thinking about him makes me weak at the knees.
Sambo: What happened to him? Did he die?
Crusty: Worse than that – he’s an accountant in Temple Bar and married with two kids.
Sambo: (Moves to the sink and begins to wash his face in a bucket of water. There is no running water) Oh man that water is cold (Splashing water on his face).
Crusty: (Contemplating) I wonder what will come of us?
Sambo: (Pauses) I don’t know.
Crusty: I’ve known a lot of decent people in my time but they’re all caught in the rat race, mortgages, big cars, private schools, and its even worse since the Celtic Tiger died from corruption.
Sambo: My God!

Crusty: What?
Sambo: I have no idea about such things – maybe I would be better off dead.
Crusty: (Surprised) Jesuz where did that come from? Still maybe you’re right.
Sambo: I have thought about killing myself many times, but I could not as I had to take care of Cola.
Crusty: Ye, sometimes I think it would be easy just to end it all. This bloody concrete jungle that was once a proud city of culture and tradition no longer inspires the heat or mind.
Sambo: Tomorrow if it is fine we will go to Stephen’s Green and remind you of your great history. And maybe we can look at the Spire.
Crusty: Ye, and get pushed about by the tourist police as Hatchets calls them, keeping the streets clean of us vagrants so that the American millionaires can buy their plastic paddy gifts from the Euro shop.
(Loud Knock on the door)

Crusty: (Opens the door – Hatchets steps in followed by Rose)
Hatchets: (Breathless) Bleedin Jesuz.
Crusty: What?
Hatchets: A feakin security guard followed us all the way up Gardiner Street. Thanks bit of Jesuz the Corporation has half the town dug up or he would have caught us.
Rose: The curse of the fatted pig on him.
Crusty: Enough with the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter crap.
Sambo: Ye man you’re like a bloody witch doctor.
Crusty: What did yee’s get?
Hatchets: (Holding two plastic carrier bags in his left hand – clears the top of the old side board with a quick swipe of his right hand. All of the empty cans and bottles crash to the floor) Eight bottles of wine and a flagon of Bulmers for Rose.
Crusty: How did yee get the extra drink?
Rose: (Matter of fact) I done a wee bit of business with a regular.
Sambo: Any food?
Rose: (Reaching inside her jumper – pulls out several packages) Four Gammons – two Uncle Bens Rice and curry powder.
Crusty: Jesuz, Jordan could not compete with that, I hope you got your Club points.
Hatchets: (Tries to light the old gas cooker that stands beside the sink at the back of the stage) Shit the matches are damp.
Sambo: (Throws a cigarette lighter to Hatchets) That should do the trick.
Hatchets: That’s my lighter you tea leaf.

Crusty: I’ll be cooking.

Rose: (Drinking the Bulmers from the bottle) I have done my bit (Then sits on the couch).
(Banging on the front door)

Hatchets: (Agitated) If that’s the feakin coppers again….
Rose: (Jumps up) I’ll get it we don’t want you back in the Joy. (Rose walks to the door and opens it with some effort) Patrica you mad thing. Hat brings you to this end of town?
Patrica: (Speaks very camp) I was down the town shopping with me Mum and thought I was say hello to you mad yokes.
Crusty: OK - Trish.
Patrica: Lovely thanks.
Hatchets: Right that’s it Crusty get the grub going.
Rose: (Sitting with Patrica on the couch) Want a drink Trish?
Patrica: Go on then I’ll have some of that expensive wine.
Hatchets: None of your Summerhill snobbery here you mad Queen.
Patrica: Better to be Queen of the North than reject of the South.
Hatchets: I left the south side of my own accord.
Patrica: (Dismissive) What ever.
Crusty: Do you want the rice and curry sauce over your Gammons?
Patrica: (Gayly) Oh Lovely!
Sambo: (Hungry) I just want gammon on my gammon.
Hatchets: (Places five paper plates on the coffee table) Move your feet you mad yoke.
Patrica: (Takes his feet off the coffee table) It’s nice to be nice, you brute.
Sambo: (Pours wine into five polystyrene cups that he has placed beside the paper plates) Rose do you want wine?
Rose: Go on then – I don’t usually mix my drinks.
Hatchets: Ye, and a horse doesn’t drink water.
Rose: All you know about horses could be written on a match box.
Hatchets: You’re hardly Vincent O’ Brien just because you kept a pony in the flats.
Patrica: (Firm) Oh, put your claws away.
Crusty: (Carries the frying pan to the coffee table and places some gammon on each plate) Now what about that? Who wants rice and curry?
Patrica: (Leaning forward and taking a plate) Just rice for me I’m watching my figure.
Rose: Everything for me.
Sambo: (Sitting in the arm chair – paper plate in hand) Just rice for me.
Hatchets: (Sitting in the lotus position on the floor to the left of the coffee table) A bit of curry sauce Crusty?
Crusty: (Carries saucepan to each of Rose, Patrica and Sambo) Rice (Places spoon of rice on each dish).
Hatchets: What about your own Crusty?
Crusty: (Puts some rice on her plate on the coffee table and then returns to the cooker) Curry sauce? (Curry sauce for Rose, Hatchets and some on her own plate).
(Crusty: Returns saucepan to the cooker and then joins Rose and Patrica on the couch – Crusty seated in the middle).

(All eat in silence for a couple of minutes – each taking drinks from cans and bottles as they eat)
Sambo: (Contemplating) I always feel guilty when I eat the meat of pig.
Patrica: (Inquiringly) Is it against your religion?
Sambo: I’m Catholic.
Patrica: (Apologetically) That puts me in my place.
Rose: I don’t like eating meat either – but if we did not eat meat in this crap place we would die.
Hatchets: (Placing the last bit of gammon in his mouth) I’m glad I’m not a Muslim.
Rose: Who’s a Muslim?
Crusty: That’s what has the world daft the way it is.
Patrica: What?
Crusty: Religion.
Sambo: I believe in God.
Crusty: That’s not religion – religion is bricks and mortar, rules and regulations, discrimination and prejudice. While the religious were preaching off the altar to us they were abusing children – sick.
Patrica: (Agitated) That’s right Crusty – sure the priests say I am going to hell because I am gay.

Hatchets: You should have asked them for a lift for that’s where most of those scum bags are going.
Rose: Your such an ass Hatchets – at least Trish doesn’t hurt people.
Hatchets: (Dismissive) Rose you’re hardly on the jury are you?
Rose: I live and let live.
Hatchets: (Pours more wine for everyone) OK sham drink up.
Patrica: (Slightly drunk) Us? We’ve no chance.
Crusty: Gays?
Patrica: No, us outcasts, drop outs, homeless….we have no power like those corrupt property speculators and bankers.
Rose: Ye, we can’t pay the back hander’s or oil the palms.
Hatchets: (Pours more drink) Nobodies that’s what we are.
Sambo: Try being Black man, try being Black.
Crusty: (Sad) Sometimes I just wish I could end it all.
Patrica: (In agreement) Same as, same as.
Hatchets: Why don’t we then.
Sambo: No way man.
Rose: Jesuz, are you all mad. Anything is better than death. I have been pushed from high way to by way all my life. I have live din filth and lived with disease and ye think we are badly off.
Sambo: (Impressed by Rose) Ye man, death can’t be the answer.
Crusty: (More certain) Why not? An end to this daily crap of begging and stealing – filth and the constant smell of piss and sweating bodies.
Patrica: I think death would be a relief – having to apologise every day for who I am – I’m sick of it.
Hatchets: (Rolling a joint) Lets do it – end this crap.
Patrica: (Pouring more drink for everyone) It would be like Waco – a mass suicide.
Sambo: But what about your families? (He moves to the sink to wash his face)
Crusty: How could we do it?
Rose: (Smoking a joint passed to her by Hatchets) It would have to be painless.
Patrica: Not hanging. I want my face and neck to look just as perfect in death as they are in life (Stroking his neck). I want to be laid out in my best dress in a coffin of purple velvet. I have it all written in my Bridget Jones diary.
Hatchets: They can put me in a vegetable box from Moore Street – no fancy crap for me.
Patrica: (Sarcastically) I think that’s where they put cabbages anyway.
Hatchets: What did you say?
Patrica: Oh nothing, nothing.
Hatchets: (Throws an empty wine bottle over his shoulder onto the littered floor) We could use gas.
Patrica: I hope we won’t be too much trouble, too much inconvenience.
Hatchets: (Walks over to the gas cooker – lifts and shakes the gas cylinder) Well it won’t be death by gas – there’s not enough left to cook a sausage.
Patrica: (Pained expression) Ouch!
Rose: For Jesus sake stop this madness – life is always better than death.
Crusty: (Awakened from her day dream) Ye, I guess suicide would be cheating and cause too much pain to those left behind.
Sambo: (Smoking a joint) Ye man. Lets go to heaven the old fashion way – No woman - no love.
Hatchets: Did my best. Hope you’re not going to blame me for the journey to the twi-light zone. Ye don’t know how hard life is.
Crusty: I think we might.
Patrica: (Almost in tears) For the first time in my life I felt free for those few minutes.
Rose: I guess it’s back to Knackers, Niggers and Junkies.
Sambo: Ye man, a world where everyone knows their place.
Hatchets: (Hesitates for a moment – embarrassed) Do you ever feel lonely?
Patrica: (Pouting his lips and winking at Crusty) Oh come on Hatchets – give Trish a Hug.
Crusty: Group Hug.
Hatchets: (Returning for his momentary lapse) I’m out of here (Angry) (He walks to the door – opens it and steps out and slams the door behind him).
Rose: (Follows Hatchets to the door and bolts it behind him) Any more drink?
Patrica: (Holding a cup to Rose) Here.
Rose: (Joins Sambo, Patrica and Crusty on the couch) To Squatters Rights (She holds her cup high).
(All four hold their cups high towards the ceiling)