One Day in 2070

Play Script Anthology

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Air for Sale

FUTURE VOICES IS RUN IN COLLABORATION WITH

THEATRE PECKHAM

Written and performed by Floria Atukunda, Samira El-Rahab, Jolie Green, and anonymous.

[Four young people are playing football in the park, 2 per team. As they play they start coughing and are visibly struggling to breath]

Young person 1: [Runs up to the goal to score and then runs back in celebration] Yes goal!

[More coughing]

Young person 2: [On opposing team, runs up to the opposite goal to score] Yes!

Young person 1: Guys, I think it has to be a draw, the air’s getting really bad, I have to go. Bye!

Young people 2-4: Yeah us too

[Exit stage]

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Shop Manager: The air is getting worse and worse, what are we going to do?

Shop Assistant (Paul): Well I’ve had a few plans. We can get the polluted air and mix it like this and then get cleaner air. Look how many people we can save!

Shop Manager: Paul, that’s a great idea! But… how much are we going to sell it for?

Shop Assistant: I thought it would be for free!

Shop Manager: For free?

Shop Assistant: Yeah free!

Shop Manager: Free?!

Shop Assistant: Look how many people we can save!

Shop Manager: Are you mad?! I’m going to be rich! [Marches off stage with purpose, Shop Assistant follows]

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Naomi (young woman without much money): [Enters holding phone to ear] Hi, yeah, the air – it’s too thick – I can’t even breath anymore. [coughing] I’ll meet you at the café, I really need your help. I can’t even make it to work! I’ll see you there.

 

[Exits stage]

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[Sophie, a ministerial bureaucrat enters the stage and sits on a chair, once sat, followed by Naomi who walks in coughing]

 

Naomi: Wow these cafes with clean air feel so good.  Thanks for meeting me, I need your help. I have no more money, and I need air.

Sophie: Sure, but I can’t keep doing this. We’ve been through this before.

Naomi: What do you mean? You work for the government, talk to your boss!

Sophie: It’s not that easy. You don’t know when you’re going to get fired so it’s best not to get in his way.

Naomi: But can’t you do anything? We’ve been friends for years.

Sophie: Okay I will, but only if I have spare time.

Naomi: [sighs] Thanks anyway. [Gets up and leaves]

[Sophie follows off stage]

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[Shop Assistant enters, stood at front counter of the shop. Shop Manager also enters, sat at the back with a pen and paper running through their accounts. Naomi then enters the shop and approaches the front desk.]

Naomi: I’ve come to buy some air.

Shop Assistant: Ten pounds please

Naomi: Ah… I only have eight

Shop Assistant: Okay, one second. [He goes to the back of the shop to speak to the Shop Manager]

                        She needs air but she only has eight pounds, what shall I do?

Shop Manager: She can’t have it. Absolutely not. Prices go up!

Shop Assistant: [Walks back to the counter, shoulders slumped] My boss is being selfish, the prices have gone up.

 

Naomi: You can’t do anything?

 

Shop Assistant: No, sorry.

 

[Naomi walks out, then all leave stage]

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[Naomi and Sophie walk back onto stage, in a local café. This time, Sophie also comes in coughing.]

Naomi: The money you gave me wasn’t enough. I need more.

Sophie: I’m sorry, but I don’t have enough money for both of us

Naomi: I thought you said you’d talk to your boss.

Sophie: They don’t see it as their problem.

Naomi: Look, I have no other choice. You need to help me rob the air company.

Sophie: What? Are you sure?

Naomi: Well it looks like you’re going to end up in the same situation as me. Do you want to end up like me?

Sophie: No…

Naomi: Then help me do this! Please…

Sophie: [sigh] Okay… I went on a business trip there once. In the warehouse, there’s a back door. They don’t always lock it.

 

Naomi: Great, that’s all we need. [Naomi gets up to leave]

 

Sophie: [Stops Naomi.] But don’t tell anyone!

 

[Both leave stage]

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[Shop Assistant enters the stage and starts cleaning in the shop. Sophie and Naomi enter, sneaking overtly but carefully round the back. They then attempt to open the door. It seems to be jammed shut so they push harder until they eventually stumble loudly through the back door.]

Shop Assistant: [Turns round in surprise, accusatorily] What are you doing here? … I know you! You work for the government! [He points at, and addresses, Sophie]

Naomi: We came here to take the air. It’s so expensive we can’t afford any!

Shop Assistant: Well erm, I have no er control over that… you need to er speak to my boss about that.

Naomi: Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

Sophie: Yeah!

Shop Assistant: Okay.. I’ll give you some air. Come this way.

[The Shop Assistant take them into the shop and starts unloading canisters of air. He pauses and thinks]

You know what, I’m going to take it all.

[All leave the stage holder canisters of air]

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[Shop Manager walks into their shop, jolly and humming. They get to the warehouse at the back of the shop, open the door and search around frantically. They see all the air is gone. They turn round stamping their feet looking for Paul, the Shop Assistant]

 

Shop Manager: My air! It’s gone! Paul?!

[Naomi walks in]

Naomi: We don’t need you anymore! There’s another air company in town.

[The Shop Assistant walks in with a tray hanging from his shoulders. Sophie follows.]

Shop Assistant: Air for sale! Cheap air for sale! Get it here!

Sophie: Oh can I have some?

[Naomi also queuing behind, crowding the new place to buy air. The Shop Manager look over appalled. Stomps their feet. The lights dim.]