QUARANTINE (A PLAY)
The scenes of the following play are set in the United Kingdom
(Enter a visibly jittery Drew into the living room dressed for work, scrolling down his i-pad, talking to himself)
Drew: Interesting! Another 34 deaths this morning…Italy, 42 deaths, UK, okay just 6…oh she was above 90? not much of a loss then…I wonder where these children are…(aloud)…Ben! Bill! Boris! Becca? Bella!
Drew: Are you all deaf?? Ben! Boris! Becca! Bella! Bill!….(sits down, drops the i-pad on the table and bows his head exhausted from all the shouting)
(Enter Ben, Bill, Boris, Bella and Becca. Ben is five years old, Bill ten, Boris sixteen, Bella fourteen, Becca eight. They are all wearing gloves and nose masks)
Boris: (lifting his nose mask)Dad, we heard you
Drew: Put on your nose mask! I can hear you through it, its not made of cement is it?
Boris: (Covers his nose with the mask) Sorry dad! we heard you call!
Drew: Is that why all of you came out at the same time, so close to each other? Have you learnt nothing from my constant talks on social distancing?
Bella: But dad you called all of us and…
Drew: (Cuts in)..quiet Bella! Now everybody to your room! Zoom meeting in three minutes go, go, go!
(Everybody scrambles to their rooms, Enter Sophia, Drew’s wife, walking towards him)
Sophia: Honey…I didn’t know you were working today, why…
Drew: (Cuts in with hands raised up) Two meters…that’s close enough honey..
Sophia: (stops) What’s wrong with you Drew? You have been acting really weird since…
Drew: (Cuts in again) since what Sophia?! You should be happy I am letting you listen to me live…or do you want me to send you to the room to attend the family meeting via Zoom?
Sophia: You are just unbelievable! First you make me mop the house four times a day with salt, vegetable oil and hand sanitizer, then you make me and the children drink red oil mixed with Indian spices in boiling water saying you read on social media that it kills the virus. Then you make everyone drink Chloroquine three times daily. Drew, you are turning into a monster! Do you know that?
Drew: I love the children monstrously and if that makes me a monster then I’m fine with that..by the way, I saw you wipe the sweat off your face with your hands..ensure you wash your hand with hot water,soap and insecticide. And don’t touch anything or anybody in the house for two hours. Clear?
Sophia: You are incorrigible! (Walks away exasperated)
Drew: (on Zoom) Good morning family
All children: Morning dad
Drew: Now despite “some people”(increasing his voice and positioning his camera such that Sophia is visible)not taking this situation seriously enough, I for one do not joke with the well being of my children. That is all of you..
Boris: (Sarcastically) Sure nothing screams “I love you” louder than nose masks and hand gloves inside the house under this hot weather…
Drew: All of you except Boris..
Boris: Cool…now you are no longer my father, can I go outside and play?
Drew: Shut up boy!
Bella: Dad, how come we are not allowed to turn off the heater
Drew: Heat’s good honey, it kills the virus!
Ben: Daddy…I miss sharing a room with Bill…I get scared of the monster under my bed at night
Drew: Social distancing Ben…I’m sure the monster under your bed is self isolating too..
Bill: Dad, I miss Ben too, I miss playing with Lego blocks with him..when can I move back in with him?
Drew: I also miss relations with your mother! And as for your question that depends on WHO…
Boris and Becca: Eeeeeew!! That’s gross….we don’t need to know that!
Ben: What does daddy mean by relations?
Boris: He means when he and mum….(mouth still moving but inaudible)
Ben: When he and mum what?
Drew: I muted him…and I have a good mind to storm into his room and mute him permanently in real life as well..Anyway, I’m running late…I just wanted to inform you of the new rules..
(Boris protesting but still inaudible)
Drew: No more going outside at all…we are going to stop cycling..
Bella: But the government allows one form of exercise a day
Drew: Does the government pay your tuition? When last did the Queen do grocery shopping for this house? or oooh…yes…parliament bought you that expensive dress you wore to the prom last year didn’t it?
Bella: You know Boris gets his sarcasm from you right?
Becca: But I’d love to cycle..
Drew: And I’d love to have thirty million pounds in the bank…I guess you aren’t the only one missing out on your dreams honey…Anyway, thanks for your time..i’d be back from work by six and we’d meet again…on Zoom! gloves and nose masks back on! (To Sophia) I’d leave your kiss on the table…allow me step back before you pick it up… contactless delivery…(laughs)… my own jokes kill me…I actually think they’d kill me before the virus does…oh, there goes my sense of humour again (walks away laughing)
ACT 2 SCENE I
(Dr Wesley is examining some x-rays and scribbling down notes..enter Drew sweaty and panicky…)
Drew: Doctor! I came here as fast as I could…what happened?
Doctor: First things first sir, you are standing uncomfortably close to me…two meters please..
(Drew draws back)
Doctor: please take a seat..
Drew: No doctor, no way…I know its never good when a doctor offers you a seat..
Doctor: That’s very correct.. (smiling and rocking his chair) I in fact do not have good news…and I don’t have bad news either..
Drew: Okay so why am I here?
Doctor: You see, the kind of news I have, “bad” doesn’t quite describe the half of it…its terrible news..and it involves your children..
Drew: I’d take a seat
Doctor: Oh its too late for that now, offer’s gone…Nurse!(Enter Nurse) Please remove all the chairs from the office…(Nurse removes chairs, to Drew) Now where were we? ah yes…your children..well, they are all uhm….whats the word?
Drew: Sick? are they sick?
Doctor: Weeeell…not quite…
Drew: Oh no, have they contracted the virus?!
Doctor: Well on the bright side, they didn’t contract the virus (Drew heaves a sigh of relief)..I mean you’d have to be alive to contract a virus wouldn’t you?
Drew: (laughs) obviously…
Doctor: (Laughs) I can understand why I’m laughing….I’m crazy! But you shouldn’t be laughing..
Drew: Wait! What?! Are my children dead?!
Doctor: Well, lets just say they are cadavers now!
Drew: Oh..okay, that’s better…wait, what does cadaver mean? (checks his phone dictionary)…corpses?
Doctor: Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s the word we were looking for, your children are corpses now! Fancy isn’t it? All white and washed up with a toe tag and stuff..
Doctor: I didn’t tell you the best part…wait for it….wait for it!!…you killed three of them!!! (laughing hysterically)
Drew: (Panting, sweating, loosening his tie) doctor, this is…
Doctor: Oh now, we’d have to run tests on you to ensure you do not have the virus..
Drew: Are you crazy or something?
Doctor: Of course I’m crazy….but you, Mr sweaty panting virus-suspect pants are crazier than me…how could you feed Indian pepper spices with red oil boiled in hot water to your soft delicate kids? turns out it was slowly eating their digestive tracts..that’s why Becca and Bill died you fool! By the way do you know what too much chloroquine does to the system?
Drew: No! No! I read somewhere that the mixture helps the immune system combat the virus..
Doctor: (Laughs) what?! Even I would not believe that! Anyway, seems Ben choked on some Lego blocks….poor kid…Sophia discovered him dead on her way to get her car keys in order to bring Boris here..
Drew: (Amidst tears) What happened to Boris?
Doctor: Some idiot was mopping the kitchen floor with hand sanitizer and vegetable oil, Boris slipped, hit his head at the edge of the sink…went right through his cranium, poor guy..
Drew: No! No! No!
Doctor: Ah there is one more…Bella fell asleep with her nose mask on…choked and died in her sleep…heater on and all..
Drew: I am finished (weeping), its all over for me…and its all Sophia’s fault!
Doctor: Oh sorry (chuckling)…she uhm..she..she killed herself after seeing Ben die and watching Boris bleed to death..
Drew: No…No…this is not happening!
Doctor: (Suddenly serious, as if having a lucid interval) Riddle me this Drew! How come you, a youth leader in church, are not practising what you preach?
Drew: Excuse me? How did you know that?
Doctor: Did you not preach a sermon titled “Fear Not” on the last Sunday before the quarantine? How come you are letting fear drive you insane? Have you not read that protection is of the Lord and there is none that can keep his soul alive? How come you are destroying your family with your own hands Drew? How come Drew? (Getting angry and pointing at Drew) Do not let fear destroy your family! Do not let fear destroy your family! Do not! I repeat Do not! (Flips the table over, throws away all the documents and walks away furiously)
Drew: (weeping) No….No…No….
ACT 2 SCENE II
(back to the living room)
Boris: Wake up dad!
Bella: Yeah, we heard you screaming our names
(Drew wakes up)
Bill: And why are you sleeping with the i-pad so close to your head..isn’t that the same thing you warn us against everyday?
Boris: (To Bill) Well technically he said we should not do it, not that he wouldn’t (all the children laugh)
(Drew looks around still stunned…enter Sophia with some cups on a tray)
Sophia: Alright, your dad suggested we try these mixtures, red oil, Indian spices, boiled with water…
(Drew Kung-Fu kicks the tray out of Sophia’s hands and hugs his children)
Boris: This is so homo dad..you never hug us..
Drew: Shut up boy!
Sophia: Okay, now id have to mop the floors…(looking around), let’s see…I know I had some left over vegetable oil somewhere..
Drew: Honey…forget that!
Sophia: But you said..
Drew: Forget everything I said…I think I have been going about this thing the wrong way. I lost my head and let all the news reports and panic get to me. We are people of faith and have to be more so even now…Do not get me wrong, we will obey the government like the Bible in Romans 13:1 admonishes us to, we will respect people’s opinions and reactions to the virus and not act in way or manner inconsistent with love for them but what we will not do, is be fearful…I will not let fear destroy this family, just like the crazy doctor said..
All puzzled: What crazy doctor?
Drew: Never mind…Time for a quick family breakfast..on the table..not on Zoom this time…and Bella?
Bella: Yes dad?
Drew: Take that damn nose mask off!
“In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear; and from terror; for it shall not come near thee…and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 54:14,15,17b)
“These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)