Katie Mccullough Talks and Writes

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My Mini Opera Submission April 22, 2012

Filed under: theatre,young writer — katiemccullough @ 5:34 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

The following blog post is for the attention of the ENO as part of their Mini Opera submissions scheme. Forgive the formal nature! But also feel free to have a go yourselves. If anyone else is interested in submitting to the competition please check out the site: www.minioperas.org
 
Below is a video of the seed story my piece is in response to, ‘The Death Of A Government Inspector‘ by Will Self.

 

 

My response, ‘A Day At The Office
 
A daughter spends the day trying to find out what her father does for a living, but he’s not so sure himself.

 

A Day At The Office

 

(The link above will take you to a link to view it as a PDF. I have also copied and pasted it below within the body of this blog post.)

 
A Day At The Office – Katie McCullough
 
A SCHOOLGIRL is ushered from beneath a large rabble of CHORUS who are flinging paper, documents, phones aloft. Chorus lines can be sung by the group collectively or as solo lines.
 
SCHOOLGIRL
I ask my daddy ‘what do you do?’
He says it is difficult to describe
 
From the throng of the Chorus her FATHER appears. Everyone stops to look at him.
 
FATHER
Darling, darling, my little smiling girl
 
CHORUS
There is a deadline coming up
There is an interview to do
There is a memo to remember
Are you ready for your debut?
 
FATHER
Did your mother send you here?
Should you not be at school?
 
SCHOOLGIRL
Silly daddy you forget
It is Take Your Daughter To Work Day
 
CHORUS
Here is the latest dossier
 
FATHER
I am really rather busy
 
CHORUS
There is a call on the line
 
FATHER
I am really really rather busy
 
CHORUS
It is You-Know-Who from the You-Know-Where…
 
FATHER
Could you?
 
A member of the Chorus guides the Schoolgirl around as the Father is swallowed once more by the huddle.
 
CHORUS
Your father has an important job
One that everyone is after
Everyday he does his bit
People say he’s a true grafter
 
CHORUS ASIDE
Heading for disaster…
 
SCHOOLGIRL
I have this form to fill out
He has to write what he does
 
CHORUS
He cannot do that because
Because
Because
 
They all look to each other for a response.
 
SCHOOLGIRL
His handwriting is rubbish?
 
CHORUS
Exactly!
Exactly!
 

She is ushered behind the group and the Father takes centre-stage.
 
FATHER
The need to do right
To look her in the face
Feel the truth of her embrace
In years to come I want to be able
Willing
To say I can do the right thing
I want to do the right thing
I can deal with stranger’s hatred
I can swallow that right down
But in her eyes I cannot falter
It would hurt me
I would drown
She is honest
Accidentally pure
My brave devotee
I wish I could live like her again
Playing for keeps, alive and free
We grow up looking behind us
Reminded of who will suffer
And nobody should
But someone has to
The world we know has got tougher
Everyone looking for someone to blame
This perpetual over specified claim
Of who did what and when they did it
Of bills and parties and keeping legit
Of trading and dossiers and naming of names
Of epic proportions being reframed
The need to do right
To look her in the face
Feel the truth of her embrace
 
He gets swallowed by the Chorus.
 
CHORUS
There is a deadline coming up
There is an interview to do
There is a memo to remember
Are you ready for your debut?
 
The Schoolgirl gets spat out and takes centre-stage
 
SCHOOLGIRL
I love my daddy but
It’s hard to articulate
He comes home sometimes
And is always late
He looks older than he is
He rarely smiles at me
And when he does it’s not what it used to be
I want to make him happy
See him laugh out loud
Now he’s got this job
It’s like he’s not allowed
Everything is paperwork
“Pillar to post”
“Postcode lottery”
“Going forward”
If he told me what he did
Maybe I could help
We could make up words together
He needs to be my daddy whether
He likes it or not
 
The Chorus part and the Father takes centre-stage. The Schoolgirl looks on.
 
CHORUS
There is a deadline coming up
There is an interview to do
There is a memo to remember
Are you ready for your debut?
 
It really is just like chess
With all the pieces against another
No one really knows how to play
But says they do to save face
The best way to learn is by trial and error
 
FATHER
Let’s get this show on the road
 
He kisses the Schoolgirl on the forehead.
 
CHORUS
Let’s reinvent the wheel
No ifs or buts
 
SCHOOLGIRL
I don’t know what my daddy does
But it seems important
 
CHORUS
He is the plan B.
 
They usher the Father out to flashing lights of the press. The Schoolgirl is left onstage alone with her form.
 

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