© By Dave Duggan
A man and a woman meet at a bus-stop. They play dice and other games. It is her first day out of prison. They remember meeting in court, when she was convicted of blowing up his wife. They attempt conversations, falter and part.
The play is a dramatic response to the phrase ‘we have to move on.’ How does that happen in actual lives? Treating the question in a sympathetic, absurdist manner, the play introduces new language and gestures into the world.
Man: Maybe I’m asking the wrong questions.
Woman: Maybe we’re playing the wrong game.
Man: You always say that.
Man: Something about the game. ‘It’s not a game’. ‘It’s the wrong game’.
Woman: You say it too. And anyway, you started it.
Man: I did not. You brought the bomb.
Woman: The bomb didn’t start it. It started years before that. Talk started it. And talk will finish it.
Man: And new games, with new rules. If we can find them.
Woman: Look, if you want to go on punishing yourself, you can, but….
Man: But nothing. Let’s get this straight. This isn’t about you and me. You’ve done your time. And now you’re free to do what you like. I’m still doing mine. But I’m learning. I’m not a victim any more. Not me. Oh no! You want to know what I am? Do you?
Man: Do you really?
Woman: Yes, yes.
Man: I’m a survivor. I survived. Through all the pain, anguish, hurt, grief, history, time and blood. I survived. That’s my legacy. Your legacy too.
Woman: You still want to punish me.
Man: I don’t want to punish you. What good would that do? You’ve served your time. She’s dead. It’s over. She’s never coming back. I survived and this is it. No matter how long we wait, this is it.
Woman: (Looks around.) It’s not much, is it?
Man: No, it’s not much. Just a place and some memories and time passing into ever-shortening futures. But you survived too. You’re a survivor.
Woman: I survived alright. Look, if it’s all over…the whole thing…I mean, then we can say we survived for something.
Woman But what?
Man: Life. Still, you can’t build a life on a game of chance.
Woman: It’s not a game.
Man: No. Definitely. Not a game.
Waiting …. © Dave Duggan 2000
YEAR SETLate 1990s, at the time of the release of political prisoners under The Belfast Agreement
All across Northern Ireland in non-theatre venues such as Orange halls, community centres, Church halls, loyalist band halls, upstairs lounges of pubs, as well as in theatres.
Minor Latham Theatre, New York
“Waiting …. has deep resonances that remain in the mind long after it finishes. This is the kind of play that makes people think and its strongest suit is in showing how each of the protagonists can help each other to a deeper understanding of themselves, their beliefs and their lives.”
The British Theatre Guide, 2004
“Dave Duggan’s play conveys the pain at the heart of so many individual experiences in Northern Ireland. It doesn’t offer answers, but, through playing games, ostensibly to while away the waiting, the characters expose their respective pain to one another and, in so doing, plant a seed of hope without ever slipping into sentimentality.”
Morning Star, 2004