Do Nothing, Say Nothing, Be Nothing.
A short play by Trudy Hayes
THE STAGE IS EMPTY SAVE FOR A LARGE BATTERED OLD CARDBOARD BOX. THERE IS SILENCE, THEN SOME SMALL, HURT, NOISES.
A HAND EMERGES FROM THE BOX, GROPES BLINDLY IN THE AIR, AND THEN IS PULLED BACK IN.
VOICE: Like before time in here . But it's nice and safe. No one to bother me. Nice and comfy here in the dark. Like the womb it is. They always terrified me, women. Eternally mysterious. Blood and slime. Touched a woman once and got a terrible fright. The intimacy of it. Couldn't talk to a woman though. Couldn't talk to anyone and got so lonely on my own. Wanting so badly to connect, to be part of the world, to count in some way. Wanting to be visible, to be of some consequence. IT would have protected me. I'm grand here now. I've a smelly old coat to keep me warm.
I didn't know what I was supposed to be in the world. Everyone else seemed to have a part to play, seemed to know their lines. I would say my lines and they didn't make sense, not even to myself. Nobody was interested in what I had to say. I was afraid all the time, afraid of everyone. That they'd hurt you. That they'd think you were an eejit.
THERE IS THE SOUND OF TEETH CHATTERING.
Fucking freezing it is. And I'm starvin as well. I suppose I suppse I'll be havin spiders for dinner. Ah well, I'd rather be in here all on my own in here than out there in the world. It's safer in here where no one can harm you. People seem to be so sure of themselves, so sure of what they're doing. I didn't know what to be doing. Didn't know what to be saying. Like a goldfish I was. Mouth open all the time . Couldn't figure it out. I don't have to talk to anyone in here. I can't hurt anyone, and no one can hurt me.
I felt so unimportant in the world, of no account. Afraid all the time. Terrified of everything and everyone. Afraid I was saying the wrong thing, or doing he wrong thing Afraid I'd offend someone, - or of taking offence. Afraid I was talking too much, or I was talking too little. Afraid of rejection, of abandonment, of annhialation. I didn't know who I was, I didn't know who anyone else was. I didn't know who was my friend and who was my enemy. I didn't know what was what, which end was up. I didn't know who to trust. I didn't even trust myself.
In the end I didn't know what was real and what was unreal. So I gave up and I came in here.
THE HAND COMES OUT AND WAVERS IN THE AIR AGAIN.
It seems real enough this emptines,
THE HAND IS WITHDRAWN, SHUDDERING.
I'm lonely here, but sure I was lonely in the world on my own. Do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
That's the safest option. Like when you're a child and you put your hands over your eyes and you think no one can see you. You think you're safe, but you're not. You never are.
THERE IS THE SOUND OF A MAN SOBBING. IT SHOULD BE HARROWING.
VOICE: I may as well be dead. Sure maybe I am.
THE BOX OPENS, AND A HEAD EMERGES AND LOOKS AROUND MOURNFUL, CVERNOUS, UNSHAVEN, THEN SLOWLY SINKS BACK INTO THE BOX. AGAIN..