Written for BYA and first performed in March 2013
A 45 min script for young women exploring issues around image.
Emily: My friends used to be jealous of me. They said to be a success you have to be pretty. They had things about themselves they wanted to change, Sarah saved for a new nose, Carrie wanted to lose weight, Molly was all about the boob job but I thought she looked great. Even my little sister Faye seemed distressed, said
I got all the attention because I looked like a princess. I definitely get attention now but it's staring or a double take. I can't
believe naturally beautiful girls will pay to look a little bit more fake(Emily goes to mirror and moves part of her scarf to look at her face, she puts it back, we see her reaction to her face) I just want a normal looking face. I'd show you but I can barely look myself. I'm not having a go at my friends, I used to think it was fair enough but now I think; why take a risk? It's not like they look rough and even if they did, it's what's on the inside that's important, isn't it? It took the time it takes to strike a match for my face to burn. When you light a firework you should never return. Don't worry I'm not just here to talk about me. There's things I want you to know, scenes I want you to see. We'd
planned for the firework night back in September, reckoned we'd all have things we'd want to remember. Sarah would've saved and got an operation date, Carrie would've reached a target weight. Molly would have had her birthday and chosen her boobs and we hoped Faye would have something to improve her mood. I hoped to be celebrating a modelling contract.
I got it but obviously they had to retract.
Do you ever want to rewind time and get rid of the stuff that went
wrong? Sometimes they do that in films or in songs. I'd start with that scream that felt like it came from someone else because I didn't recognise that sound, go back to that moment when I said this: I'll just go and have a look....
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DIG DEEP - Written for Paines Plough, Come to Where I'm From 2012 at Brewery Arts Centre
Sarah is kneeling next to plant pots with a small gardening fork, she's re-potting
Sarah: They say you can't bury your problems. Well you can, it depends how deep you're willing to dig. You can try drowning them first and that might work for a few thousand years but that's not long enough.
When I went to the bank and got a loan they said it'd take 10 yrs to pay it back. I thought why not, I'm 26 by the time I'm 36 I'll have a pay rise, I'll have won the lottery or I might have bought something at a car boot sale that's actually worth thousands of pounds. I'm still paying that loan off, I can't even remember what I needed it for. Oh yeah the car and that's held together with Gaffa tape and nearly buggered now.
When you get a bag for life from the supermarket it's meant to last forever, it actually lasts about a week and it either joins all the other bags for life under the sink or it gets used for storing things in 'cause it's a good sturdy bag. You wouldn't be able to just stick nuclear waste in a bag for life, nah that's not stable enough. Have you seen the beginning of Terminator 2. All the people are like frozen in time and then their limbs just crumble off. That's what would happen if we stored nuclear waste in a bag for life. Don't worry, no one would do that. Trust me I work at Sellafield and we haven't got any Homer Simpson's. Well not in the important jobs. We haven't had a major disaster since the 50's and that wasn't Sellafield, it was Windscale. Well there was the leak that closed the Thorpe plant but that was nothing major, we paid the fines and no one died. Ha dunno why I'm saying we, it was nowt to do with me. I'm proud of my work though, I reckon we do a good job. We keep 70 per cent of the country's nuclear waste safe. 100,000 years is how long we need to guarantee
waste will be safe and the best way to do that is bury it. I don't know anyone else that can guarantee anything for that long. It was only 30,000 years ago that Neanderthal man became extinct unless you live in Whitehaven.
Ha only joking, my Seb's from Whitehaven and I love him to bits. He's off
climbing Helvelan today, he says how can you live in the Lakes and not want to
climb mountains and breathe in the air. I say how can you live near a cake shop
and not eat vanilla slices and chocolate eclairs. It's a good job we're all
So I was on about burying problems. That's not what I'm doing now (looks at pot with pansies). This is about growth and new life, you can't have this if your
problems are at the surface and look how beautiful this is. Seb says it's
ridiculous burying nuclear waste under Cumbria. He says the tourists come here
because of the mountains and Lakes and the great art and writing inspired by
the landscapes, he said they won't want to come if they think it's dangerous or
just a big nuclear dump. I said "oh like I wandered lonely under a
mushroom cloud" He said I turn everything into a joke and it's not a
He doesn't understand how deep underneath it's gonna be buried. He's not a deep thinker, which is one of the things I like about him. Everything is pretty simple in his life. That's why I haven't told him I was attacked, I don't want to spoil him. He's my area of natural beauty.
I'll tell you if like, it's weird I don't mind telling a stranger. I guess because you'll just hear the facts, we're not emotionally attached. It was at work, by the cooling towers. I was shoved from behind, he was heavy, my face was crushing against the cold metal, his foot hooked around my ankle forced my legs apart, his hands all over tugging my skirt, I couldn't move, stinking breathe on my neck, his voice in my ear "You've been asking for this". My rage trapped between his body and darkness, I wasn't going to scream, wasn't giving him the
satisfaction, I could feel him laughing and panting and fumbling and thrusting
until a release and then he ran. Clever man no CCTV footage, he'd done his
homework knew where the cameras were pointed. No I haven't reported it. Too much to deal with, police statements, pitying looks, the sleepless nights and paranoia.
What about the other women at work, I hear you ask. Yeah what about them, the sisterhood, the gossips, the cliques. I'm not saying they wouldn't believe me but they already treat me like I've got a disease, because I'm management. I've heard them comment about how I speak and what I wear. I don't want to be vulnerable in their eyes and when i hear them laugh behind my back, I don't want to wonder if that's what they're laughing it. Wouldn't surprise me if they thought I was asking for it. So I'm burying it, it's too toxic. Sometimes you've just got to protect your image.
They don't give weak and vulnerable women important jobs and anyway rape isn't about sex it's about power. Don't worry, he won't get away with it, I'll find out who he was and I'll make sure he pays but I won't turn myself into a victim in the process no way. If I did that I might as well put up a sign on my office door saying scumbags welcome. That's what happened before you see, with my mother. She'd fall in love with these blokes and confide in them. My poor daughter just needs a protective father figure in her life, well she might as well have just opened my bedroom door for them and said go on lads help yourself.
I don't tell Seb about this. I want him to get on with my mother. She's the only family I've got and it's not really her fault she's just a bit naive. She does her best though bless her. I was telling her about how the councils in Cumbria have to volunteer
to be considered to store the nuclear waste. She said "Why would anyone
volunteer, it's worse than taking the bins out" She remembers Chernobyl
says that was over in Russia and we couldn't eat sheep for ages, what would it
be like if it was in Cumbria. Mind you it's safer in our hands. She's right
about that. If you want a job doing properly do it yourself. We're the ones
with the experience of nuclear waste, so we should be handling it.
It's important jobs for the future generations too. There's people I went to school who have never had a job, their parents never had jobs and now their grown up children don't have jobs, one lass re-homed a sheepdog it's the only one in the family that's ever worked. Doesn't now. Bone idle.
People will campaign and protest though, they don't want it in their back
garden. They don't actually understand the ins and outs, they know these things
need to happen as long as it's nowhere near them. You know some of the tourist
hotspots Ambleside, Winderemere, Kendal, they look really affluent but there's
still loads of problems with drugs and alcohol and poverty. Some people don't
mind as long as they can't see it.
I'm the same though to be honest. I know animals kill other animals but when Careless Whiskers brings a mouse in the house I hate it. Careless Whiskers is our cat, we like George Micheal and chocolate and we were drunk when we named her. Her name suits her though, she doesn't give a shit. There she is "Hey Careless Whiskers, do you like living in Cumbria" she said she doesn't give a shit, as long as there's food and a bit of grass, 'cause she likes to run about on it, she's not a stoner.
Science and engineering is actually easier, with nuclear waste we know we've got to safely bury it. Maybe I'm giving the rapist too much power by
comparing him to nuclear waste maybe I should compare him to an annoying
council tax or phone bill something you need to face up to. If I don't I'm just letting him get away with it, he could do it again or worse it could be a kid next time or someone who can't defend themselves.
Have you noticed how it's got darker? I wonder why he did it though, maybe it was personal or maybe it was just because he could. I'm a project manager, I think everything will work out as long as there's a plan and the more you plan for something the more it'll work out. I don't like to think of him as a
planner as well. I want to think he's an moron, not a high earner with a wife
What if I tell Seb? What's that going to do to us? He'll be scared to come near me or angry with me for not fighting the moron off, what if part of him thinks part of me enjoyed it? What if it just means we can't communicate anymore? Seb wanted to escape all that masculinity, carpet huggers he'd call them, he'd rather work in the outdoors. Isn't funny how we say in the outdoors. Now it'll be in his face, some carpet hugging thug will come between us.
Maybe I'm overthinking it, if we're meant to stay together we will and he's a grown man he doesn't need me to protect him. We just want a peaceful life.
If we won the lottery he'd spend all his days climbing or canoeing and
I'd spend all my days drinking tea and eating cakes. I wouldn't need to think about digging thousands of feet below the surface and we'd get together to watch the sun setting on the horizon.
This is where we're from, both of us Cumbrian born and bred, he's from Whitehaven I'm from Barrow now live in Keswick. We wouldn't live in
another county, we need the windy roads and the trees and annoying slow driving tourists, we need the scenery that still takes our breathe away that makes us turn and say to each other "Wow aren't we lucky to live here, we don't actually need to go on holiday". The attacker can't be from here. If he was he'd understand how precious a moment is the way the light hits the water or the breeze catches a branch. Ha, I'm no Wordsworth and that's ridiculous, there's awful people that are from Cumbria too. Don't want to
think about it though, on TV the gritty rapists and serial killers come from
the urban areas and we have all the holiday programmes or sometimes on Corrie
the characters come here for a relaxing break. Oh hang on yeah there was those shootings and there's drugs raids like nearly every week.
I've just heard Seb coming in, he'll be having a quick shower. I'm gonna make him a brew and maybe I'll tell him, it'll be hard and awful at first but in time, when we've made sure everyone is safe we'll bury it together, thousands of feet underground and on the surface no one will know. All they will see will be beauty.