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STATE OF FEAR

This is a short (about 15 minutes) one act one scene stage play script I entered into a competition recently.


CHARACTERS

PRIME MINISTER (PM) Male. Smartly dressed in suit. Suave.

HOME SECRETARY (HS) Male or female. Smartly dressed.

IMMIGRATION OFFICER (IO) Male or female. Uniformed. Coarse.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT (II) Scruffy. Dishevelled. Middle-Eastern accent.

SETTING

Stage is divided down the middle by a small screen, perhaps of the sort you used to see in hospitals, but black. Its purpose is to make it clear that there are two separate pieces of action taking place on the stage, and the two actor/actress couples performing are not together and not in the same location as each other.

PM and HS perform on the right side of the stage. IO and II perform on the left side of the stage.

On the left side of the stage is a single basic chair, with another similar chair at the back of the stage.

On the right side of the stage is a desk or some sort of table.

Audience attention can be shifted from one side of the stage to the other with lighting if desired, but the audience's attention will shift naturally anyway because characters speak only on one side of the stage at a time.

ACT I SCENE 1

ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE STAGE, PM IS STANDING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE DESK FACING TOWARDS THE CENTRE OF THE STAGE. ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE DESK STANDS HS FACING PM ACROSS THE DESK.

ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE STAGE II IS CROUCHING ON THE CHAIR AT THE BACK OF THE STAGE.

IO GRABS HOLDS OF II.

IO - Come on, you. Out of the back of that lorry.

IO PULLS II OFF THE BACK-STAGE CHAIR AND PULLS II TOWARDS THE FRONT-STAGE CHAIR.

IO - You sit yourself down there, my friend. You've got some explaining to do.

IO PUSHES II DOWN ONTO THE CHAIR. II SITS THERE LOOKING UP AT II ANXIOUSLY.

IO - What's your reason for not coming into the country in the normal way?

II - If I tried, you wouldn't let me.

IO - Do you know how many of you illegal immigrants we have in Britain? Hundreds of thousands. If we don't stop you, it'll be millions. It's bad enough with the legal immigrants. We've already got millions of those.

ATTENTION SHIFTS TO RIGHT SIDE OF STAGE

HS - Prime Minister, the British public really are beginning to get quite worked up about the number of immigrants in this country.

PM - Are you saying the British public are revolting, Home Secretary?

HS - Very droll, Prime Minister.

HS AND PM CAN MOVE AROUND THEIR SIDE OF THE STAGE AS THEY WISH FROM NOW ON

HS - People are already showing signs of being at the end of their tether with the number of Eastern Europeans that have come here in recent years. Now with these illegal immigrants coming over from Calais, it's really all proving a bit too much.

PM - It is annoying that those damn French, or cheese-eating surrender-monkeys as I believe they like to call themselves, are secretly encouraging their own immigrants to keep on travelling and to find a way - any way - to smuggle themselves into our country. (PAUSE) I thought though that generally the British public liked having immigrants here. Cheap labour and all that. Polish plumbers. Lovely Slovakian au-pairs. Vegetable pickers from (BEAT) wherever.

HS - Up to a point perhaps they do, Prime Minister, but we're just getting too many of them. And that's just the legal immigrants. Now we're getting thousands of illegal immigrants as well, the situation really is proving unacceptable to many people.

PM - Those illegal immigrants do show initiative, inventiveness and determination though, don't they, Home Secretary? And those are the sort of qualities that we need in this country.

HS - I'm not sure the British public see the situation in quite such a positive light, Prime Minister.

PM - Maybe you're right. Anyway let's be honest, this country stopped being British years ago. White Anglo Saxons are in the minority in some places now, aren't they?

HS - I believe so, Prime Minister, and that is exactly what has upset some of our … what shall I say? … more old fashioned and conservative white British people. Anyway, I think something will have to be done about the situation.

PM - Okay, do something then.

HS - As my boss, Prime Minister, it's your responsibility to tell me what to do, not for me to do something off my own initiative.

PM - Of course. So, let me think.

ATTENTION SHIFTS TO LEFT SIDE OF STAGE

IO - Now, what are we going to do with you, Sonny Jim? First of all, you tell me why you've snuck into Britain in the back of a lorry. Are you after something, or running away from something?

II - I come from Syria. I feared for my life there. Islamic State are murdering people left, right and centre, even us fellow Muslims. I refused to pay them money from my business, so they threatened to kill me and my family. I had to get out.

IO - Okay, I can see why you left your own country, but that doesn't explain why you've travelled all the way across Europe to get into this country.

II - I was told Britain is a wonderful country. Life here is easy. So I decided it would be the best place to start a new life.

IO - Wonderful country, is it? You tell me a few things about it that are so wonderful, except for life being easy, which is news to me.

II - Why do I have to tell you anything?

IO - Because I'm the immigration officer who caught you and it's my responsibility to decide what's going to happen to you.

II - Okay. First, I think the weather here will suit me. I find it too hot in my country.

IO - Go on.

II - I have heard that people here are very friendly. They smile at you in the street and say, “Welcome to our country. I hope you enjoy your stay here. In fact why don't you come and live here?”

IO - Have you been smoking something funny in the back of that lorry?

II - No, I get my knowledge from television.

IO - Anyway, now that you're here you'll have to apply for asylum and then you'll go through a process to see whether you'll be allowed to stay. Personally I'd give you a plank of wood to cling to, drop you in the middle of the English Channel and tell you to swim back home. (PAUSE) Only joking. Let's say you are allowed to stay here. How are you going to support yourself? How are you going to live? Where are you going to live?

ATTENTION SHIFTS TO RIGHT SIDE OF STAGE

PM - I'm still thinking.

HS - Prime Minister, the British public fear that we are going to be overwhelmed by all these immigrants. With the illegal ones there's also the danger that Islamic State terrorists could be sneaking in with the genuine asylum seekers.

PM - Genuine asylum seekers? I thought people just came here for the money and a better quality of life.

HS - Possibly so, Prime Minister, but that doesn't take away from the fact that there may be terrorists coming in along with all the illegal asylum seekers.

PM - Better get the Intelligence Services onto it then. Tell them to keep their eyes and ears open.

HS - Checking everyone is difficult with the sheer volume of immigrants coming into the country, Prime Minister. (PAUSE) There was a report out recently that said thirteen per cent of people here are now foreign born, and more than a quarter of babies being born are being born to those people.

PM - Yes, they breed like rabbits, don't they, these immigrants?

HS - They'll swamp us, Prime Minister.

PM - When you say us, you mean …?

HS - I suppose I mean indigenous British people like us, Prime Minister. (PAUSE) Prime Minister, amongst other things you have a responsibility to this country to preserve its traditions and the way of life that its people find natural and desirable and have grown used to.

PM - I'll tell you what it is my responsibility to do, Home Secretary, (PAUSE) both for the nation and for you me and the rest of our ilk.

ATTENTION SHIFTS TO LEFT SIDE OF STAGE

II - I was told that your government would give me somewhere to live. And some free money. Until I find work, that is.

IO - Yes, that's right. Tell me, what sort of work do you think you'll find?

II - I understand you started letting the Bulgarians and the Romanians come to live in your country not so long ago. I'll do the same sort of work they do, whatever that is.

IO - I suppose you could go to Pickpocket Academy and get a qualification.

II - What?

IO - Never mind. Actually there are loads of jobs you could do here. The British don't like getting their hands dirty anymore, so if you don't mind a bit of hard manual work, you'll find there's plenty out there.

II - I don't mind hard work.

IO - What sort of business did you have back in Syria?

II - I owned a brothel.

IO - What!

II - Only joking. I had a shop selling spare parts for cars.

IO - If you know a bit about cars you might get a job here as a mechanic, then maybe end up with your own business again one day selling spare parts.

II - I'd like to have my own business again. I want to make some money so I can provide for my family once more.

IO - Tell me about your family.

ATTENTION SHIFTS TO RIGHT SIDE OF STAGE

PM - There are two things that concern me. Yes, of course I'm concerned that the white Anglo Saxon Brits might be getting uptight about the number of immigrants here, but if you go to many parts of London or some other big cities you hardly see a white face anyway, and if you do it's probably an Eastern European one. Nobody kicks up a stink about that, so why should we worry if a few pale skinned Brits feel disgruntled?

HS - Because, Prime Minister, it's becoming more than a few who are becoming disgruntled. Also, looking at the nation overall, the pale skinned Brits, as you put it, are still in the majority, and increasingly they are concerned about the growing number of immigrants. They think, for example, that the immigrants are taking their jobs.

PM - Taking their jobs? The people who think that probably don't want to work or don't need to work. Anyway, if they want work, let them compete with the immigrants for it. Let's be honest, Home Secretary, we're probably talking mostly about the people at the bottom of the gene pool here - the unskilled and the low skilled. If those sort of people want work they must either prove that they're prepared to work as hard as the immigrants, admittedly for low pay, or they should go and acquire a skill so they can get a higher paying job where they're more likely to be competing with home grown talent rather than immigrants. (PAUSE) Anyway, those sorts of people are unlikely to vote for our party no matter what we do or indeed whether we do anything at all. Most likely they don't even ever vote. So who cares what they think. (PAUSE) No, what really concerns me is this - we have an ageing population in this country, and the costs of paying their pensions and looking after their health needs are going through the roof. We have to get that money to pay for that from somewhere. Where do you think we're going to get that money?

HS - I presume we'll just print it and borrow it as we normally do.

PM - The Chancellor of the Exchequer and I have promised to bring down the national debt, so doing that sort of thing is out of the question, at least to the extent that we've done it in the past. Also, remember that chickens always come home to roost. If we keep playing the issuing debt and printing money game we'll end up being like the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe. (PAUSE) No, what we need is lots of people paying lots of tax, and it isn't old people who do that, it's young people, ones who are active in the work place. Now, the white Brits don't produce enough children to produce the new generation of taxpayers that we need, so what do we need to do? We have to import people. Lots of them. Young ones. Immigrants are mostly young. That's why we need to let lots of them into the country. Also they tend to produce lots of babies. Those babies will grow up and become the taxpayers of the future. It's these people, the immigrants coming in now and the children that they will have, who will pay the taxes that will pay the wages and pensions of people like you and me.

HS - So that's it, is it? That's the reason for allowing in all these immigrants? Just to replenish the government's coffers so we can keep the show on the road?

PM - Home Secretary, don't be naïve. You're a politician. Of course this is all about the money. That's what life is about. If we haven't got people to tax, people like us won't be able to enjoy the lives that we enjoy and we won't be able to have the generous pensions that we're going to get when we're no longer needed or wanted.

HS - You said there were two things that concerned you, Prime Minister. What was the other thing?

ATTENTION SHIFTS TO LEFT SIDE OF STAGE

II - I've got a wife.

IO - Any kids?

II - Six?

IO - You obviously didn't spend much time watching television. I suppose when you get a job or business here you'll send money over to them?

II - No, I'll pay for them to come to join me here.

IO - Are they still in Syria?

II - No, they're in Greece. Nice weather there, but no money now. My wife and kids will be better off here. (PAUSE) And my father. And my mother. And my wife's father. And my wife's mother. (PAUSE) And my grandfather and grandmother and my wife's grandfather and grandmother.

IO - It'll be one big happy family again then. Now, let's talk about where you're going to live while your asylum application is being processed.

ATTENTION SHIFTS TO RIGHT SIDE OF STAGE

PM - Home Secretary, do you think there's anything more important to you and me, and all the other Ministers in our government, and the members of parliament in our party, than this great country of ours?

HS - No, of course not.

PM - Of course there is. What matters most is that we stay in power. Us first, the country second - that's always been the rule with politicians.

HS - Don't you want to do everything you can for this country, Prime Minister. Don't you love your country?

PM - I like it certainly. Quite a lot in fact. (PAUSE) But then I like France too. And Italy. And Germany if I feel like something a bit stricter and more organised. And Spain is okay too. And the Netherlands is good if I fancy a spliff and some fifty euro sex.

HS - What?

PM - Only joking. About the last one I mean. Of course I love my country. I prove my love for it by owning it. Controlling it, I mean. (PAUSE) Of course one does get rather used to the perks of being a politician. A top one, that is. You've got to admit, Home Secretary, that it is pretty good having loads of flunkeys to do your bidding, being driven around everywhere in chauffeur driven cars, having the use of some lovely properties, flying around the world in private jets. The pay is really just a bonus, along with the pension and the wodge of cash when it all comes to an end, as it inevitably must eventually. You wouldn't want all that to end for yourself, would you?

HS - No, I guess I wouldn't.

PM - Excellent. In that case our priority is staying in power at the next election. What people care most about is their own financial well-being, so come election time we'll do the usual stuff and effectively bribe the electorate. Give them tax cuts, that sort of thing. Of course we'll grab the money back off them somewhere else. We'll make big promises to them about how everything is going to be wonderful in the future. Perhaps we'll say that everyone will be a millionaire, but we won't tell them that it'll be because this country's money will be so worthless they'll need a million just to buy a loaf of bread. (PAUSE) Now, back to immigration. If you think people really are worrying about there being too much of it, let's do something to assuage their fears. What do you think we should do?

HS - As I said, Prime Minister, it really is your responsibility. You, along with the rest of us Ministers in Government, agree policies with regard to immigration, and I then implement those policies. In effect, however, you have the final say, so therefore you should decide what to do.

PM - Okay. Well, let's tell the people that there aren't as many immigrants coming into the country as they think.

HS - But the numbers are recorded, Prime Minister, and then made public.

PM - In that case, as George Dubya Bush might have said, let's miscountify. Let's do what we do with the inflation figures and just make them up.

HS - Very good, Prime Minister, if that's what you think is best. But nonetheless, people will still be able to see and hear immigrants all around them, and they will sense that the number is growing.

PM - Okay, what we'll do then, in the year in the run up to the next election, is we'll put all people who immigrate into this country, whether they're illegal immigrants or whether they're European citizens legally entitled to come and live here, into camps, and we'll hide the camps away in some remote, god-forsaken place where no one is ever likely to find them. Say, Scotland. Then when we've won the election we'll let the immigrants go free and they can go and live wherever they like, (PAUSE) so long as it's nowhere near my country house in the Cotswolds.

HS - Very good, Prime Minister.

PM - Excellent. That's the immigration problem dealt with then. Now, let's go and have an expensive lunch and stick it on the taxpayer's tab.

EXIT STAGE

ATTENTION SHIFTS TO LEFT SIDE OF STAGE

IO - We'll go and do your asylum application in a minute or two. Don't worry about it. I'll deal with it. I've done it hundreds of times before. (PAUSE) Now, you need a somewhere to stay, and I know just the place. My brother has this lovely ex-hotel not far from here. He's got about seventy immigrants staying there, so you'll have plenty of people like yourself to make friends with. Don't worry about paying for it. The government will do that for you, or rather the taxpayer will. So, once we've done your asylum application you can hang around here a bit until I finish my shift and then I'll drive you to my brother's place. He'll be pleased to see you. The more the merrier of your sort, he always says. (PAUSE) But I think that's because the more people he gets paid to accommodate, the merrier it makes him feel. Anyway, come on, let's get started on this application to claim asylum for you.

II STANDS UP

IO - Just remind me why your life was in danger in Syria.

II - Because I was a shop-keeper there.

IO - Of course.

IO AND II BEGIN TO WALK OFF STAGE. IO STOPS, SO II DOES TOO

IO - You'd better phone your wife. That is if you can get through to her. Tell her, and your kids and the rest of your family, that you've arrived here safely and you'll be well looked after, and that you're looking forward to them coming to join you.

II - Thank you, I will. In fact I'll tell them to start making their way over here now.

IO - Good idea. I bet you'll be glad to be united with them again.

II - Yes, especially as we want to try to have more kids.

IO - More kids? But you've got six already.

II - Yes, but I was told that when I'm granted asylum, the permission will only last for five years. After that I could be sent back to Syria, depending on the circumstances there. So my wife and I thought that during those five years when we have permission to stay here, we could have, say, another four kids. Because they'd be born here they'd be British, so there's no way the authorities could ask my family to leave this country. (PAUSE) Also it would bring the number of our kids up to ten, which is a nice round figure.

IO - Excellent thinking. That really shows initiative, and inventiveness, and a real determination to stay here.

IO AND II CONTINUE WALKING OFF STAGE

IO - We need people with your qualities in this country.

EXIT STAGE

CURTAIN


Performing Arts | Theatre


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