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I’ve always loved radio drama, so am pleased to have had one of my own efforts at the form accepted by RTE. The play is called ‘Oblivion’, a love story and a mystery which moves between the present and the darkness of the Underworld. It features a kind of chorus of disgruntled lost poets, dead for thousands of years, whose works have been long forgotten (a warning to us all!). Here’s a bit from the opening. The play will be broadcast next Sunday, 3 June,  in the Drama on One slot at 8.00 pm, and will also be available on the site or as a podcast. The producer is Aidan Mathews and the cast are Des Cave, Emmet Bergin and Deirdre Donnelly as the three main characters and Kevin Flood, Paul Tylak, Hope Brown, Karl O’Neill and Lise-Anne McLoughlin as the poor lost poets, and Olwen Fouéré as the voice of Sappho.
Here's a taste from the opening scene: 


VOICE 1: 
Bracket bracket bracket desire bracket bracket bracket sweet thighs my 
VOICE 2
Bracket bracket I… 
VOICE 3
Bracket bracket bracket bracket bracket bracket bracket bracket thunderbolt bracket bracket now the goatherd 
VOICE 1
Now the goatherd… 
VOICE 2
Now the goatherd sees the… ellipsis, conjecture– 
VOICE 3
dawn’s rosy fingers– 
VOICE 2
sweet maiden– 
VOICES 1, 2, 3
(CHANTING IN UNISON)Now the goatherd sees the maiden 
VOICE 1
Your tender skin has lost its lovely bloom 
VOICE 1,2, 3
(CHANTING IN UNISON) your tender skin has lost its lovely bloom 
VOICE 3
Former, actually, now that I think about it. 
VOICE 2
What? 
VOICE 3
Your tender skin has lost its former bloom. 
VOICE 1
He’s right. 
VOICE 2
On three. 
VOICE 3
One, two, three. 
VOICES 1,2,3
(CHANTING IN UNISON) Your tender skin has lost its former bloom. 

VOICE 4
We don’t all have lines. Where are my brackets? 
VOICE 5
Venus hear my plaintive song… 
VOICE 6
The light of the sun is the finest thing I leave behind. The brilliant stars, the moon’s face, then the ripe apples, pears, cucumbers… 
VOICE 4
Adonis in the underworld. Like us. Remembering the world. 
VOICE 5
Remembering the words. 
VOICE 1
You really think cucumbers are the equal of the sun and moon? 
VOICE 4
What’s wrong with cucumbers? 
VOICE 6
Say apple, say pear, say oil, say dove, say breast, say blue, say wine, say grass, say sea. 
VOICE 1
Sun, your flaming rays pin fire across the eternal heavens. Let loose an arrow against our enemies, O you our Healer to whom we cry. .
VOICE 3
Give that man a megaphone! 
VOICE 2
Gently I touched her breasts, where the young flesh peeped from the edge of her dress 
VOICE 1
Her honeyed lips I loved, her golden door 
VOICE 3
Calm down. What use is that here? 
VOICE 4
I was in all the libraries! Scroll after scroll. 
VOICE 5
My best lines were scratched on Memnon’s left foot 
VOICE 1
The singing statue. And did it it sing for you? 
VOICE 2
I read those. Was that you? 
VOICE 5
The stone sang out, and I heard it, I, Balbilla, heard the sacred voice of Memnon… 
VOICE 2
I love the personal note there, the identifiable ‘I’. Not just anyone, but you, Balbilla, the nearly dumb. ALL VOICES
(IN CHORUS) I, I, I, I, I, I, 
VOICE 4
We sometimes speak singly 
 ALL VOICES
(IN CHORUS)And sometimes all together! 
VOICE 5 . . in the fifteenth year of the Emperor Hadrian, on the twenty-fourth day of the month of Athyr. And on the twenty-fifth day I wrote my lines in stone. 
VOICE 3
Didn’t they arrest you? I thought graffiti was a punishable offence. 
VOICE 5
It was actually the Emperor who commissioned it. 
VOICE 3
That’s posh. Written in stone and commissioned by an emperor. Not much to complain about, is it? VOICE 1
I wrote on water. 
VOICE 3
I wrote on flesh and when the flesh faded I wrote on bones, and when the bones crumbled I wrote in dust, and when the dust disappeared I blew onto the cold stone. 
VOICE 2
We get it. (SILENCE) 
VOICE 4
So is it that time again? 
VOICE 1
Why else would we be here? 
VOICE 6
I can hardly remember the last time. 
VOICE 2
Why can’t they just leave us and decide it amongst themselves? 
VOICE 1
Not everyone is woken. Not everyone wants to return. For every one of us there are thousands still sleeping, who will never wake, whose voices won’t trouble anyone ever again. 
VOICE 6
We’re here because we want to be here 
VOICE 5
We’re here because we’re hungry 
VOICE 2
And thirsty 
VOICE 4
Because we can see the world 
VOICE 1
And taste it, and smell it

Comments

Mark Granier said…
Great stuff Peter. Love the ditch-dark humor. Very Bracket (I mean Beckett) though your dead voices don't make a noise like leaves, or the Spoon River chatterers; instead they are very much your own variations. Look forward to hearing/reading this in full.

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