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216. I LOVE IT HERE

I really love it here in Ireland.

People seem to have been brought up like I was! They are friendly and polite to anyone at all times, they find the good things in every bad situation and say thanks. For instance they never complain about the bad weather but they stop you in the street to mention the sunshine. In France, in comparison, people moan, complain and winge all day long. I am French though! What happened to my country? Has it slipped on a banana skin when I was not there? Or something?

I am glad to be here in Ireland. People talk to me, they don't bother about my age, they don't see my clothes before they see me. To-day for instance I was stopped by a young man as I was walking along Main Street. He wanted to tell me about Amnesty International. We talked and joked. And I went on my way. I was actually going to get some milk at the 'Supervalue' supermarket, some equivalent to the 'SuperU' in France. I got a loud good morning with a smile from the guy who was playing the trombone in the corner. He actually stopped playing to say hello to me. Sure, he would have liked me to throw a coin in his hat but not only. Irish people seem to enjoy one another's company just for the heck of it!... whereas in France it feels as if a cold civil war was on going all the time. At that supermarket the cashier woman or man talks to you as if you were of the family. When you stop somebody to ask for directions they usually go out of their way to help you.

As I said I love it here in Ireland.

In Wexford there is a brand new Opera House as well as an Arts Centre. These organisations have a FaceBook page and I found that they were looking for short plays for some competition. So I wrote this!

THE WEXFORD MERMAID by Frankie Perussault

Settings: A fishing port rather like Wexford
Backdrop: A quay with a big trawler moored alongside
Left wing: A fish-n-chips shop
Right wing: Tall houses painted blue, yellow, red like in Wexford
Characters:
- A young man
- His sister in school girl uniform
- A businessman from Dublin
- A tall lady with long hair and a long dress shiny like a fish
- Some trolls i.e. 7-8 year olds dressed as lepricorns dancing the jig
- Two musicians leading the trolls with trad music

    ACT 1
Young man and School girl talking while walking from right to left in middle of stage.

- Young man (all excited): Yes!... I'm telling you, they've fished a mermaid! Here in the bay not far from the bridge
- School girl: A what?!
- Young man: A mer-maid... (he makes the silhouette of a sexy girl with his hands)
- School girl: Brother, my brother!... Mermaids don't exist
- Young man: They do! I'm telling you they've fished one just here (he gestures towards the trawler)
From left to right i.e. in opposite direction and at front of stage partially hiding them a line of trolls two by two dance a jig across the stage following two musicians. The Young Man and his sister keep talking and gesturing but can't be heard. They all leave the stage.
Enter seemingly from the quay at the back a well dressed gentleman with all sorts of equipment. He starts measuring the height of buildings, the length of the quay, etc. He must make the public laugh just the way he carries on. As he wants to exit, he walks towards the public and nearly falls over in the pit, eventually leaves to the left wing.
Enter Young man and School girl again walking from left to right this time and at the front of stage with pack of fish-n-chips.
- School girl (carrying fish-n-chips and eating): A woman, a female, a lady cannot have a fish tail, she just can't! Below the waist a woman has a womb and somewhere between her legs a vulva, don't you know that, brother?
- Young man (dropping the fish he was eating): oops!... yes, well, yes but...
- School girl: A mermaid, alright then. Now I saw a man with the roots of a tree instead of legs, yeah, I'm telling you. He was very handsome too..
As the Young man bends down to pick up his fish, the Tall lady comes out of the fish shop, shuffles around and goes back in.
- Young man: See! You saw her! They fished a mermaid, it's no joke!
Meanwhile the Businessman enters from left front corner, gets to the centre and hails the Young man.
- Businessman: Hey! Young man! Would you help me? I need a technician (he gets tangled in his various equipment)
- Young man: Why not? Sure! What do want me to do?
School girl makes signs to signify that men are mad, shruggs her shoulders and leaves to the right.  
- Businessman: Would you hold this? (handing him some large piece of equipment)
- Young man (holding the piece): But what is it for? What are you doing actually?
- Businessman: We're building a bridge to France, from here you see (he gestures a point on the quay)
- Young man: A bridge to France?! (ha ha ha LOL)
- Businessman: The contract has been signed with my office, yes, I am pleased to say. The Irish and the French governments have agreed and the money will come from Luxembourg.
- Young man: From Luxembourg??? (laughing still)
- Businessman: Ah yeah, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, they have no taxes, so they are very rich. They can pay for the bridge from here to France.
- Young man (getting serious): But where to in France?
- Businessman: Somewhere on the coast... St Malo perhaps... or La Rochelle
- Young man: La Rochelle??? (ha ha ha LOL)
- Businessman (serious): Or Marseille.
- Young man: ...but that's on the Med coast!!!
- Business man: Anyway that's not important. Our problem really is to know if we are building it for traffic driving on the left or on the right. My office has suggested to the respective governments that there could be a traffic change over in the middle of the bridge. And if...(being cut off)
- Young man: Alright alright then, let's start working.
The line of trolls two by two led by two musicians enter again from front right corner and dance a jig diagonally across stage to enter the fish shop on the other side. They get tangled in the middle of the stage by some measuring tape pulled across.Pantomime: trolls falling over, losing their hats, musicians missing a beat, etc. They all go in the fish shop and the music dies away. The two men keep talking but are not heard. When the music dies away they are heard again.
- Businessman: Who was the pretty girl you were talking to before?
- Young man: Pretty girl? pretty girl? You mean stubborn girl! She just won't admit they fished a mermaid this morning here in the bay.
- Businessman: Is she your girlfriend?
Meanwhile the trolls had come out of the fish shop two by two and they were all sitting down on the floor sharing their fish-n-chips. One of the musicians leaves the group and goes to talk with the Businessman and the Young man in the centre of stage.
- Musician: Did you say your girlfriend was a mermaid?
- Businessman (interested): His girlfriend is a mermaid?! Can we meet her? Where is she?
- Young man (most serious): OK, let's go, follow me.
The three men leave to the right wing.
The trolls stand up two by two and bring their trash to a public bin somewhere on stage. The bin overflows. Back in front of the fish shop the one remaining musician makes them in single file and they do a tour of the stage dancing and leaving to the right. When they are nearly all out of stage the Tall lady appears at the door of the fish shop again shuffling around and going back in.

     CURTAIN DOWN
"Do you want more?"
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