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THE POWER GAME

by Michael Pearcy.

Set in the suburban garden and indicated off stage is a 10 metre electricity generating wind turbine. This could involve lighting and sound effects in the opening scene.

Characters:

Barry Howell
Sally Howell (wife of Barry)
Libby Howell (their daughter)
Jo (Libbyís girlfriend)
Mr Grundy (appears to be the standard issue planning officer.)
Four Green activist
Newspaper reporter
Newspaper photographer

THE POWER GAME

SCENE ONE

A suburban garden, late afternoon.

Barry is on stage with a reporter and a photographer

Reporter: So I can sum up by saying your world has been turned upside down, no, your world has been sent in a spin because the local council is going to rip down your wind turbine. Youíve had the wind taken out of your turbine.

The photographer begins taking pictures from peculiar low angles.

Barry: There is more to it than that. I have applied for planning permissionÖ

Reporter: Iíve got all the facts. Local man in a spin. Planners turn up the heat on the windmill man.

Photog: (laying on the ground shooting up Barryís nose.) Can you lean over a bit so I can get the arms of theÖ thingy sticking out from your head. Thatís great. Lean over more, more.

Barry: I canít lean any more without falling over.

Photog: Thatís great, that angry look is just right. Perfect.

Reporter: Have you got a middle name Barry? Like Thomas for example.

Barry: No, I donít have a middle name.

Reporter: Pity. Turbine Tom would have been fantastic in the headline.

Barry: You know the council arenít coming until tomorrow donít you?

Reporter: Yes, Iím at the county horse show tomorrow. They do a fantastic lunch for the press. But Iíve got all the facts and Jim here has the pictures. Iíll call you to see how it goes. What time to you expect it to get pulled down?

Barry: Itís not getting pulled down. Thatís exactly what this is about. That wind turbine leaves my property over my dead body.

Reporter: Turbine man gets the wind up over council threat.

Exit reporter and photographer. Barry stands admiring his wind turbine.

Enter Sally.

Sally: Can you turn that off a while.

Barry: Donít be daft.

Sally: Itís just that the whirring sound is a bit loud and weíve got Libby and Jo coming later. And you are supposed to be starting the Bar-B-Que

Barry: That whirring is the sound of a secure future. Once we get the solar panels on the roof you can say goodbye to being dependent on oil supplies from the Middle East.

Sally: I thought we were ending our dependency on the electric company.

Barry: We are talking about a chain of dependency that stretches from your washing machine all the way to the Arabian desert. That chain stops here. Anyway, I want Libbyís new fella to see it.

Sally: Itís a girlfriend.

Barry: She called him Joe.

Sally: No. Jo, J - O.

Barry: Oh. Okay, nothings changed. I still want Jo to see it. (He puts his arm round Sally.) Remember the old days? CND, Anti-apartheid, the miners strike. The old fashioned Labour Party Ė clause four and all.

Sally: Of course I do. Half a million people cramming Hyde ParkÖ

Barry: A million.

Sally: The singing and the comradeship. The chants.

Barry: Maggie, Maggie, Maggie!

Barry: and Sally together Out, Out, Out!

Barry: (Singing.) Freeeee, Nelson Mandela.

The two laugh and cheer.

Sally and Barry together (Singing.) Freeeee, Nelson Mandela.

Barry: Iíve kept all my old badges. Nobody seems to take up causes these days. Thereís no fight in people any more.

Sally: Too worried about their pensions.

Barry: Self interest, thatís what counts today. Thatcherís got a lot to answer for- Ďno such thing as societyí. What a terrible legacy. But through all of it we stuck to our guns.

Sally: When we could.

Barry: And this is the big one Ė global warming. And they wonít beat us. Itíll be just like the old days, you and me against the rest.

They embrace and kiss.

Enter Libby and Jo.

Libby: Errrr Dad! Mum! thatís disgusting.

Barry: I didnít bring you up to be such a reactionary Puritan. Liberty and freedom, thatís our gift to you.

Libby: Thatís all very well but I shouldnít have to watch my mum and dad having sex in the garden.

Sally: Is this Jo?

Jo: Yes, hello Mrs Howell.

Sally: Sally.

Barry: Iím Barry.

They all shake hands etc.

Barry: And I want you to meet the newest member of our family.

Barry indicates the wind turbine and for a moment all four stand staring up at it in silence.

Jo: Itís very nice.

Barry: Oh yes.

Jo: Itís very big. Will that run your house on itís own?

Barry: When weíve got the solar panels installed weíll be independent of the national Grid.

Sally: We may even have a surplus.

Barry: But itís not been easy you know Ė the council refused planning permission and to cut a long story short, they reckon theyíre coming to pull it down tomorrow.

Jo: But I thought they wanted you to do this stuff: you can get grants for it canít you?

Sally: You can.

Barry: Usually.

Sally: But ours is bigger than normal.

Barry: Thereís a petty planning regulation about temporary structures not exceeding three metres.

Jo: And this isÖ

Sally: Ten.

Jo: Oh.

Barry: Itís those trees that cause the problem, on the other side of the garden - they cast a wind shadow so three metres is useless.

Sally: The irony isÖ

Barry: The trees belong to the council.

Sally: Itís their park you see.

Barry: And a tiny three-metre turbine hardly gets any wind at all.

Jo: I see. Well I think itís fantastic. You get my vote all the way.

Barry: I like your friend Libby.

Libby: Thanks Dad.

Sally: So nice to meet a young person who cares about something.

Libby: Sheís a paid up member of The Green Party.

Barry: Fantastic. Although as a life long socialist Iíve never been a great fan of single issue polÖ.

Libby: Thanks Dad.

Barry: What for?

Libby: For leaving politics out of it.

Jo: Donít worry, Iíve got a lot of respect for Old Labour. (She shakes his hand again. Barry is pleased but then not sure about the word Ďoldí.)

Sally: Bar-B-Que Barry.

Barry: Yes, in a sec. Iíve got something else I want to show you all. Exit Barry.

Jo: Iíll light the barby, itís no problem.

Sally: No, leave it Ė youíre a guest.

Jo: Leave it to me, please. Jo goes to set up and light the Bar-B-Que leaving Sally and Libby together.

Sally: Joís nice and I think your dad will be pleased youíve got a green friend. Someone who will listen to him moan about global warming.

Jo: Sheís not just a friend mum.

Sally: Really? Thatís lovely for you Ė IĎm so please. How longÖ where did you meet?

Libby: Slow down a bit, weíve only been seeing each other a few weeks but sheís the oneÖ you know?

Sally: Does Jo feel the same?

Libby: We get on so well.

Sally: But does she realise how you feel?

Libby: When you get to know her youíll understand. Sheís a free spirit Ė been all over the world, goes on all sorts of protests about motorways and housing estatesÖ

Sally: Oh LibbyÖ

Libby: Itíll be alright Mum, I know what Iím doing. Weíre really close.

Sally: Just take care and donít put too much into this until youíre sure Jo feels the same.

Libby: I canít help it Mum, Iím in love.

Sally: Come here. (They hug.) Youíre more like your dad than you realise Ė all or nothing.

Libby: Thanks mum, I knew youíd be happy for me.

Sally: Of course Iím happy for you but I donít want to see you get hurt.

Libby: (She hugs Sally again.) Iíll be alright.

Enter Barry carrying a tall stand with a long-life light bulb on top and trailing a cable which he has some difficulty with.

Barry: Gather round people.

Sally: What are you doing now Barry?

They all gather round the stand.

Barry: This will be a symbol of our stand against oppression. Iím going to switch this light on today and it will burn forever like a beacon of independence. A fresh start for the world.

Jo: Thatís brilliant Barry. What a great idea.

Sally: Suppose thereís no wind?

Libby: Mum!

Barry: Then it will draw on the solar panels.

Sally: ButÖ

The next two lines are simultaneous.

Libby: Mum!

Jo: Sally!

Barry: (Running off stage.) Ignore her Jo. I wonít be a minute.

Jo: Is your dad okay?

Libby: Heís used to it.

Sally: Iím with him all the way on this turbine thing but itís costing a small fortune you know. And because itís too big we didnít get the grantÖ

Jo: Barry is a brave man Sally. Iíd be proud if he was my husband.

Sally and Libby exchange a horrified look.

Jo: Oh no, donít get me wrong, Iíd be happy to have him as my husband if I was you: like you, if you see what I mean. (She hugs Libby.) Donít worry honey, Iím still on our team.

Barry enters with a botttle of champagne and four glasses.

Barry: What teamís this then? You two taking up sport? (He begins to open the bottle.)

Unseen by Barry, Jo points questioningly at Barry indicating herself and Libby. Sally and Jo return a com se com ca gesture with their hands.

Barry: Do the glasses Sally.

Sally: My husband is a typical man Ė canít see whatís under his nose.

Jo: Is that a problem.

Barry: Is what a problem?

Sally: No. No problem.

Barry: Great. Here we go; Sainsburys finest Ė reduced to twelve ninty-nine.

The glasses are filled amid adlib chatter and Barry stands next to the switch on the light stand.

Barry: Okay, raise your glasses to the future of our planet. I give you independence and freedom!

All four raise their glasses to the light as Barry switches it on. As the small bulb is illuminated the stage lights fade out leaving the bilb as the only light.

ALL: Independence and freedom.

This extract offers nine pages out of a total of eighteen pages. Please contact me if you are interested in producing The Power Game and I will send a copy of the full script.