Strangers at the End of the World

A note about lighting and sets: All scenes should end with a slow fade to black, except the last one. The sets can be very basic, often requiring nothing but some blocks to sit on. The scenes in the houses of Dan, John, and Julia could ideally have some real chairs, but these could be dispensed with in the name of simplicity if deemed necessary. The scenes outside should somehow be indicated as such, preferably with lighting because it’s easy and, if done correctly, effective. Atmospheric lighting, gobos to cast shadows of trees, or a combination of both could be used to achieve this.

Scene I

Lights up on Dan, talking on the phone
Dan: So anyway if you didn’t have any plans, I was thinking maybe we’d go out on Friday and take in the Apocalypse. pause Yea, I know pause Well of course it freaks me out a little pause Because there’s no use in worrying. I mean, there’s nothing we can do. pause We’ll deal with that when we have to. Everyone else will, too, it’s not like we’re suffering some great misfortune here. laughing It’s not like it’s the end of the world pause OK, maybe that wasn’t funny… pause hey, come on, lighten up pause I do realize it’s serious, but what good is freaking out going to do? pause OK, that’s more like it. Just calm down. How’ve you been spending your days? pause Dead panic? That doesn’t sound like much fun… pause Look, we’ve all only got a few days left, we may as well enjoy them. pause Isn’t there something you’ve always wanted to do before you died? pause Yea, so there. Now’s your last chance pause I don’t know, I find it kind of liberating, exhilarating. I freaked out a little at first, but then I thought about it, and its really quite an opportunity. I mean, how locked into thinking about the future are we? It’s always about having as much fun as you can manage while making sure things will be the same afterwards, but now we don’t have to worry about it. So instead of thinking “Oh this is great, but it’s going to suck to go back to work on Monday” I’m just going for it. I’ve started smoking, occasionally, staying up until 4 in the morning just messing around with John, going out and driving really fast. I always wanted to go parachuting, so John and I went base jumping a couple days ago. The thought always used to scare the crap out of me, I was always afraid something would go wrong and I’d fall several hundred feet and land on some sharp rocks or something. But now, I mean, whatever, the only difference it makes is a few days. slightly longer pause I suppose it is a kind of nihilism, but it seems justified, doesn’t it? pause Well I’m not looking for my death, only trying to make the most out of the rest of my life pause See that’s what I’m talking about. You can’t be worrying so much. The possibilities in front of you are endless! You should be reveling in this pause Yea, you always were more practical that I was. pause Listen, Julia, all I’m just suggesting it might help you relax. If you want to stay freaked out instead, maybe that’s how you have to end things. We’re all trying to find some peace. It’s a scary thing, don’t think I don’t think so. pause OK, well, if you want to talk or get out of the house you know how to find me pause And think about what you’re going to do on Friday. I thought it might be nice to get out of the city, go up to the hills and watch for the end… pause Oh, I don’t know, me and you and John, unless you can think of someone else you want to bring along. We’ve known each other so long, it just seems fitting to end it together. And if you’ve been cooped up in your house I think it might really do you some good. pause Yea but that’s kind of the point, to go out and face it head on. If nothing else it should be exhilarating, right? To stare at the end of everything hurtling towards you at 80,000 miles an hour. pause Yes, and frightening, too, but maybe cathartic? short pause But if nothing else it’s better than spending your last hours alone. So what do you say? short pause All right, we’ll do it. Feel better, Julia.
lights down

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