Just what the World Needs
...and then you die!
By Tony Moore
Publisher: New Theatre Publications (www.plays4theatre.com)
ISBN : 1 84094 317
Cast: 3f 4m (All cast members should have a similar playing age somewhere in the late twenties to mid thirties. They must play the same characters over a period of 17 years.)
Settings: Unit set able to represent 6
different places. A large modular settee is useful as it can be reshaped into various settings.
Approximate Length: 2.5 hours with an interval
Synopsis: This is the story of seven friends and the glue that holds their relationship together. The play spans a period of seventeen years starting with a funeral at the end of that period and running backwards in time to their University graduation. Through examining each of the seven times these people are alone together over the period it studies friendships and how they form and change, how politics and friendship can affect each other. It is also very much about the Vietnam War and the effect it had on those who went and those who remained at home.
History: First performed in the UK at the Chatham BTEC College in 1998.
Applications for performance rights and for scripts must be made to New Theatre Publications at their website: www.plays4theatre.com
...and then you die!
PETER: Well folks Heeeere's Anne.
ANNE: Shut up Peter. Can't you ever be serious?
PETER: Anne, this is a party. Lighten up.
ANNE: All right, somebody get me a drink.
ANNE: Thanks Brian.
BRIAN: Oh you're speaking to me then are you?
ANNE: Look Brian, regardless of what I might think, this is your home. I promised myself I'd be polite. Just let it rest will you.
BRIAN: Like your friends, or maybe I should say comrades, did when we got off the ship in Melbourne.
ANNE: I don't know what you're talking about.
PETER: Leave it Brian.
ANNE: No, I want to hear what he has to say.
BRIAN: Eggs, tomatoes, paint. All thrown at us by a bunch of screaming women yelling such friendly welcoming things as "murderer" and "child killer" and suggesting we should all be in jail.
ANNE: Look, I don't want an argument tonight. This is the first time in two years we've all been together and for everybody's sake lets just let this rest.
LINDA: (Entering with cake.) Cake anyone?
PETER: Look we're all together again. Let’s just talk about something different.
ANDY: Has anyone seen Linda's band play?
PETER: I have a couple of times.
BRIAN: Why doesn't that surprise me.
PAM: What do you mean by that Brian?
BRIAN: Nothing, it just seems that Peter and Linda are always seeing each other.
PETER: Brian, Jenny was with me both times and Bill plays guitar in the band.
BRIAN: Who's Bill?
PAM: Linda's husband.
BRIAN: Linda's married? I missed that.
ANDY: We all did. Linda had been married for months before any of us found out.
PETER: Even me.
LINDA: Listen, I am here you know. You could actually talk to me about this.
BRIAN: We’re talking about you not to you.
LINDA: I’m sorry. I’ll just go back to the kitchen then shall I?
PETER: That’s right. Go and bake a cake.
ANNE: Peter, that’s really...
LINDA: Stupid. I’m dangerous in the kitchen. I generally cause a fire making toast.
GEOFF: Did you do anything in the elections Anne?
ANNE: I worked for the Labour party.
GEOFF: Did you Peter?
PETER: I wasn't allowed to.
ANDY: Why not?
PETER: I'm a public servant. We're not allowed to show any political preference publicly.
PETER: Yes. Although Labour says its going to change that. Shit, we've only been able to vote for about the last twenty years.
ANDY: Good Grief.
PAM: What about you Anne, you're a teacher, that makes you a public servant too. How come you're allowed to be active?
ANNE: I'm State Public service, Peter's Federal. Different rules.
PETER: Mind you I'm not sure I would have worked for the Labour Party even if I'd been allowed to.
ANNE: Why the hell not?
PETER: A few personal worries. Look I'm not really prepared to talk about it now. Let’s just get on with this party. It's Brian's night.
LINDA: Politics is so boring. Political parties are not the sort of parties I want to know about tonight.
BRIAN: It's not really a party, it's just a legitimate excuse to get pissed.
ANNE: Christ Brian, has the army totally destroyed what little sensitivity you had.
ANDY: Do you talk to your students about your politics Anne?
ANNE: Of course I do. Well as much as that reactionary old bastard I've got for a headmaster will let me.
PAM: Do you think that's wise?
ANNE: What do you mean wise. It's essential. We have to make sure that these kids are told the truth.
PETER: Your truth Anne, and that's dangerous.
ANNE: They're universal truths.
PETER: Only to a socialist.
ANNE: You're a socialist?
PETER: I'm not sure I am any more.
LINDA: For god’s sake there must be something, anything else to talk about.
PAM: Peter, are you and Jenny thinking of having a baby?
PETER: No plans at the moment.
LINDA: Oh god. Now babies.
BRIAN: From the sublime to the ridiculous.
ANDY: What are you talking about?
BRIAN: This mob. I've seen this liberal minded socialism in action.
PAM: What do you mean?
BRIAN: In uniform I was spat on and sworn at in the streets. You know, I was on guard duty outside the gates of the R&R Centre in Sydney for a while. They used to gather like a flock of bloody vultures. We weren't allowed to move or react to anything that was done to us. They used to paint our uniforms, throw garbage on us, spit on us, kick us and call us bloody murderers. If we moved we were on a charge. If we came off duty with paint or eggs or tomato on our uniforms we were on a charge. We didn't fucking ask to go. We were sent, we were dragged out of our homes, away from our lives and we were sent out to fight a bloody war. We couldn't see the fucking enemy unless we killed them and you can't kill them if you can't see them. We'd clean up a village one day and next day the villagers'd ambush us and kill us. We didn't know why we were there. They send us home and we think, "Right that's over. We can relax" and what happens. The bloody Government ignores us. No fucking band for us as we come down off the fucking Melbourne. Then our own people treat us like fucking criminals. That's socialism in action for a better world.
ANNE: You didn't have to fucking go. If you really hated it that much you should have resisted, gone to jail.
BRIAN Look you have no idea what you're talking about, you're a woman. You were never in danger of actually being sent, you could believe what you wanted and never really have it challenged. You people are just like those bloody women who gave out white feathers to civilians during the first fucking world war. They didn't have to go and get killed either.
ANNE: The war in Vietnam was wrong! We should never have been there!
BRIAN: Maybe that's true maybe not. I don't fucking know. All I know is that my country asked me to go. Asked me? Told me. (Pause) It sounds really silly doesn't it "My country asked me to go." It sounds like one of those old American films. I've never believed in "My country right or wrong" but it made me think. I tried to get out of it legally. That didn't work and quite frankly I wasn't prepared to break the law. This is my country and if I'm going to live here I have to obey its laws.
ANNE: Even when the laws are wrong?
BRIAN: I don't know about right or wrong. I just want to know why I'm being treated like a fucking criminal and you mob are fucking heroes.
GEOFF: Look you two, this is old news. Labour got us out of Vietnam, ended the draft and all the soldiers are home so it's over.
ANNE: It'll never be over as long as America is still in Vietnam and can call the shot's here like it did...