This is one of two original twenty-minute plays I wrote for my undergraduate theatre senior project. Both Smoked In and Mornings were performed as staged readings on a Saturday evening (12-19-2016) and a Sunday afternoon (12-20-2016).

 

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Smoked In

By Katrina Haffner

 

SANDY                        29-year-old woman. Working as a war correspondent and video journalist.

 

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(The sounds of shooting, yelling, and panic engulf the streets below. The year is 2079, and SANDY is covering the war in disputed lands of which used to be parts of Bulgaria and Turkey. She frantically throws open the door into a room that used to be an office, and launches herself to the ground. Drenched in sweat and splattered with small amounts of blood, none of it her own, she slowly rubs her hands on the floor, as if that will rid her body of its uncleanliness. While SANDY already had tears streaming down her face, she was not actively crying. Finally, she breaks into sobs. There is nowhere else she can go. Her only companion has been killed. It is only a matter of time before she is caught, and most likely killed as well. She cannot cry anymore, and already feels dead. From her kneeling position, she places the top of her head on the ground, unable to think clearly. SANDY pops up – she remembers: They don’t know. Before standing back up, she takes a couple of calming breaths, then stares at the door. After a few seconds of pondering, she decides to barricade the door, in case she needs to buy herself time. The first item she takes out of her pocket is her phone, which has been dead for hours. SANDY throws it to the ground, then stomps on it. She retrieves its microchip, destroying that as well. She pulls out a professional video camera, which is only the size of a box of cigarettes. Looking around the room for a place to hold it up (in place for a tripod) she grabs an empty file cabinet. In deciding for a place to aim the camera, she ultimately chooses to have it facing the door. SANDY takes a few more deep breaths, is about to power it on, then chokes on another sob. Her head is spinning. The building shakes and the lights flicker. She becomes more determined than ever to finish her work. As effectively as possible, she tries to wipe the tears from her face. SANDY does not want to be the face of the conflict. She clears her throat, and looks at the camera dead-on.)

 

SANDY: Power on.

 

(A yellow light appears on the camera.)

 

SANDY: Turn on live feed.

 

CAMERA: Searching for connection.

 

(SANDY feels slightly disconcerted. This rarely happens.)

 

CAMERA: Connection found. Continue with live feed?

 

(Her voice gets caught in her throat, but she is able to answer.)

 

SANDY: Yes.

 

(SANDY readjusts herself.)

 

CAMERA: Live in three, two, one…

 

(The camera’s light turns green.)

 

SANDY: This is Sandy reporting live from the war zone in the B-Stretch. In the last fourteen hours, civilians in the area have been chased and gunned down by the White Guardians. It seems that the terrorists are trying to claim hold to the land in order to defend themselves against rebels and American troops. Explosive devices are seldom used, and instead, firearms are the Guardians’ weapons of choice – seemingly wanting to herd the people, or keep the infrastructures intact. Three hours ago, Fernando-

 

(Yelling is heard nearby. SANDY can hear her heart throbbing.)

 

SANDY: Three hours ago, Fernando and I ventured through the outskirts of an abandoned village, looking to find temporary shelter from the attacks. We had not known that the Guardians had posted patrols there. While we were able to find a vehicle to get away in, Fernando was shot shortly after escaping to the city. By the time I’d arrived, the first wave of civilians trying to escape were out in the streets.

 

(A gun fires off in the building.)

 

SANDY: First, people ran south, then west. It became apparent that we were trapped. I continued going west, dodging the Guardians as best as I could.

 

(Voices are outside the door. SANDY needs to pause before continuing.)

 

SANDY: I saw a body of an American soldier – a man from the army. His wounds looked fresh, so I tried to find if there were any more in the vicinity. I climbed to the top of a building, looked out, and saw the Americans retreating. When I tried to leave the building, there were more civilians and Guardians on the streets. Corpses all around.

 

(There is yelling in the hallway, and someone from outside tries to open the door. SANDY does not look.)

 

SANDY: There is no way for any of these civilians to escape. Only luck offers them a chance of survival.

 

(Multiple people barge at the door.)

 

SANDY: The White Guardians have succeeded in terrorizing and slaughtering the people here, as they have in almost all of the B and C-Stretches. The United States has said that they would not be sending troops out to the B-Stretch until they met with Greek officials.

 

(The barging on the door makes it so SANDY has to speak louder.)

 

SANDY: This meeting has not yet happened. We deserve to know why American troops are here, and what exactly they are fighting for. The information we are being fed by-

 

(The White Guardians push through the door, SANDY turns her head, and the stage goes black.)