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The Past
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Gather 15 readers.
Choose a character and read aloud.
First performed in 2019.
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5__ miles
​is a character who could be anyone,
who might get drunk or grow old,
but what we do know is that they’re going to be, going to be falling down anyway whenever it is that they wake up.
They’re looking for validation- not from an outside source but from the actions they will do, and will rest failure totally on those they don’t manage.
is the character who was born good before redemption, the one who set the scene, laid the groundwork, cast the first stone, who waited and died and fell under a tree though none was ever mentioned in the papers, who betrayed the land just by playing a game, and who would never imagine to step out in front of you despite walking in his father’s own steps over every grassy hedge.
is a character who came in accidentally, pulled and almost dragged, but who seems comfortable in the role, who has been given the gift of those all-knowing eyes that weep when there’s nothing in front of them but the distance between some fore bearer’s birthplace and where they thought they were going, who is prone to fits of running around pretending to be part of a flying column.
is the character who thought they knew all there was to know and how to find out, who came in with intention but whose first arrival upon the scene is always a total surprise, one who wears the weight of the ould-biddy-drama like a plastic headscarf protecting newly set-curls from the drizzle and mist but who can never own up to the question as to where they are from.
is the character who would be a loathed tax-evader if they were alive now, who would walk and walk forever if only the day hadn’t memorialised the same-set-route, who would go [sniff-sniff] ‘Can you get that?’, knowing full well that everyone could get a whiff of what had been knowingly planted, and who would hide from obscurity if only they were to be found.
is the character who puts surveillance cameras on the poles outside the house after the wind rattled the fear inside the bones of the matter, who might come out and lean on the gate while you both have a conspiratorial conversation sometimes with one another, who nods like there is something known only unto themselves and the secret is not getting out.
is the character who pushed her own sister to the ground and threatened her with will, who would rather be held as the martyr who lived than the only one who can keep a group known as ‘family’ together but who keeps the latter as a wish close to her heart- how can the heart betray itself when it doesn’t know what the outcome would have been without all the childhood trauma?
is the setting and cause of dispute; who owned it and owns it? Who works it and asks for the giving? And it’s not that you don’t feel something for it or for hanging a name over the gate, but it’s that the only memory you have of it is stifling afternoons and stuffy, too-full breakfasts, sticky hands, a cold throat, and feeling uncomfortable with every movement you make to sit better.
The Farm
is the term you might give to an uncle and aunt, knowingly in on the whole conspiracy but never willing to complete or carry out the actions they’re legally obliged to do. You might feel a character assassination coming for at least one of them, but are we able to kill what is already dead?
is the faith you put in other people, in neighbours and friends, in your own children, and even in the animals roaming out there, to stick to their guns, to keep their word, to make the decisions you would bet on, and to come out and march like they don’t have anything at home worth minding. It’s not keeping you in, or others out, but it might be the start of the conversation when “the time comes.”
is an insult to the way you live your life, or how you should be living your life, it doesn’t listen to your pleas and petitions, it doesn’t have an agenda, and it won’t act according to anyone not even itself. The insult won’t last long as long as you don’t let it; pretending it’s not there is one way to act.
is the end of a sentence that was started some unknown amount of time ago and by some unknown person, that never seems like it’s getting anywhere and has always almost faded when someone picks it up and carries it forward just a little bit more so that it can’t die off despite its best intentions.
The Trail​
is the one among the others who knows exactly what’s going on but who can never say it and who might not be one character after all, but multiple.
​is the point reached when everyone agrees on who is playing the plant.
is the havoc that is caused by the pretending-not-to-know, when everyone knows something, or at least a part of what is going on, but won’t let on that they are in the know now because it might look bad to know too much.
The Scene​
The Plant​
The End ​
All the players gather and wait for the shaking breath or wind- depending on what is available.

Instruction to sniff
Instruction to nod
Instruction to shake your head if you don’t know what comes next.

Someone said earlier, “I’d better keep going. Mind yourself.”
And that was all that was needed.