Directed by Jaime Lee Currier
With Darek Burkowski & Nima Sloan
a sound play for the dark
FIRST VOICE, a wary survivor. Imaginative. British.
SECOND VOICE, much the same. Practical. Slavic.
IN THE DARK : THE SOUND OF HAMMERING.
FIRST VOICE: (beneath noise) You finished?
SECOND VOICE: (beneath noise) What?
FIRST VOICE: (beneath noise) Are you finished?
SECOND VOICE: No.
FIRST VOICE: You’ve been at it since sundown.
SECOND VOICE: There’s a lot of windows. Stupid victorians.
FIRST VOICE: We should have picked a storefront. Or council housing. More concrete.
SECOND VOICE: Those were the first to burn. (HAMMERING) Too many people had the same idea.
FIRST VOICE: And this is supposed to be safer?
SECOND VOICE Maybe.
FIRST VOICE: Do you really think it’s strong enough?
SECOND VOICE: It’s stronger than before.
FIRST VOICE: But is it strong enough to keep Them out?
SECOND VOICE: Was the militia strong enough? Was the army strong enough? Was praying for mercy strong enough?
FIRST VOICE: You never struck me as the superstitious type-
SECOND VOICE: I’m not.
FIRST VOICE: Well…
JINGLING OF A BOX OF NAILS IN A NAIL BAG.
FIRST VOICE: Jesus was a carpenter too.
THE NAILBAG IS THROWN IN THE DARK.
FIRST VOICE: Didn’t do him much good either.
SECOND VOICE: Look, I know these are just shit boards nailed to a shit windowframe. But you know what? They’re my shit boards, nailed to our shit windowframe. Maybe it won’t be Them that comes. What if it’s people? Looters? Dogs. Rats. You want to sleep like that? Sleep like that. But not me. Ok? (beat) Ok.
FIRST VOICE: I found something in the pantry. The owners must have dropped it during the evacuation.
SECOND VOICE: (stops hammering with a soft curse; having nicked a thumb)
FIRST VOICE: Are you all right?
SECOND VOICE: (annoyed) What do you think? (softer) Well I hope we can eat it.
FIRST VOICE: You can’t eat it.
SECOND VOICE: (a louder curse)
FIRST VOICE: You drink it, silly.
SOUND OF A SODA BOTTLE TWIST CAP OPENING.
FIRST VOICE: Chin chin.
SECOND VOICE: Hallelujah. (beat) What are you waiting for?
FIRST VOICE: Do you think it’s safe to drink?
SECOND VOICE: This stuff was never safe. And these days… What’s the worst that could happen?
FIRST VOICE: Cheers to that. (drinks) Mmm. Hold out your hand. (fumbling as they find each other) You got it?
SECOND VOICE: Na zdrowie. (drinks) Ahh.
FIRST VOICE: Go on, have some more.
SECOND VOICE: No. Let’s cap it. Tomorrow we can swap it at the trading post. They had this file and chisel set. Mint condition.
FIRST VOICE: You think you could get all that for this bottle?
SECOND VOICE: No. But I think you could.
FIRST VOICE: (part offended, part flattered) Oh really?
SECOND VOICE: (coughs. awkward.) Besides, this stuff could last through a nuclear war.
FIRST VOICE: You know, I think it just did.
BEAT. MAYBE EVEN LAUGHTER.
SECOND VOICE: It’s not a war.
FIRST VOICE: It feels like it.
SECOND VOICE: It’s not a war. (Beat.) In a war we would know how to fight back.
DISTANT DRONING CHATTER. INSECTILE, ORGANIC AND MECHANICAL.
SECOND VOICE: Shh!
FIRST VOICE: It’s Them!
SECOND VOICE: This block was supposed to be clear.
FIRST VOICE: The sun is down. They must be on the move.
SECOND VOICE: Where to?
FIRST VOICE: How should I know?
SECOND VOICE: Not so loud!
SILENCE AS SOUND DOPPLERS THROUGH SPEAKERS. BENEATH:
FIRST VOICE: They sound like bugs.
SECOND VOICE: I think they are drones.
FIRST VOICE: Isn’t that the same thing?
DRONES FADE TO ALLOW DIALOGUE TO COME UP.
SECOND VOICE: Whoever – Whatever started the invasion – how you say: “They won’t put dirt on their hands.”
FIRST VOICE: It’s hands dirty. (beat) “They won’t get their hands dirty.”
SECOND VOICE: Isn’t that what I said?
FIRST VOICE: Do they even have hands? Or Faces? Or Eyes? You never see Them. Not once.
SECOND VOICE: Thank god.
FIRST VOICE: You hear Them though. You hear Them scraping through the dark. Clicking, clicking. Swooping down on our lights. Invisible. Their passage curdling the air. Turning your breath sour inside your mouth. That sound they make close up – something wet tearing apart and smacking back together – And the smell! That smell! That smell like human hair when you set it on fire –
SECOND VOICE: (concerned) Hey hey. It’s OK. It’s OK.
FIRST VOICE: Don’t touch me.
SECOND VOICE: You were losing it.
FIRST VOICE: If only I were so lucky. This isn’t hysteria. It’s something else. Can’t you feel it? That throbbing behind your eyeballs. Your sinuses aching fit to burst. Pressure building inside your ear like you’re on an elevator dropping-
SECOND VOICE: Fine time for a migraine.
FIRST VOICE: It’s not a migraine.
SECOND VOICE: Then what is it?
FIRST VOICE: It’s what happens to canaries in coal mines.
SECOND VOICE: I don’t know this expression.
FIRST VOICE: … You will.
SOUND OF GUNFIRE, DISTANT AND MUFFLED.
SECOND VOICE: Listen!
FIRST VOICE: The trading post!
SECOND VOICE: Give it to them! Give it to them!
FIRST VOICE: Keep your voice down.
SECOND VOICE: Those people are dying.
FIRST VOICE: Yes. They are. And do you want to end up like them?
GUNFIRE TAPERS OFF. SOUND OF COLLAPSING MASONRY.
SECOND VOICE: (pent up and finally released) Shit. (beat) What now?
FIRST VOICE: Now… The sterilization begins.
SECOND VOICE: Sterilization? What means this?
BEAT. SOUND OF DRONES AGAIN.
SECOND VOICE: Oh.
FIRST VOICE: You should probably be going now.
SECOND VOICE: What about you?
FIRST VOICE: What about me?
SOUND OF SECOND VOICE MOVING IN THE DARK.
A BEAT OF DECISION. SOUND OF HAMMERING.
FIRST VOICE: (after a beat of realizaiton) What are you doing!?
SECOND VOICE: What do you think?
FIRST VOICE: You need to get clear.
SECOND VOICE: And where is that? Huh? Where is clear? Tell me. Tell me where is clear.
FIRST VOICE: Hey.
SECOND VOICE: What?
FIRST VOICE: Pass me some nails.
SOUND OF BOX OF NAILS RATTLING.
SECOND VOICE: I don’t think these will be strong enough.
FIRST VOICE: No. (beat) They probably won’t.
SOUND OF FIRST SPEAKER HAMMERING. SECOND SPEAKER JOINS IN.
OFF-SYNC HAMMERING THRU TIL END.
RISING TO SUFFUSE THE DARKNESS: THE SOUND OF THE SWARM.