BRICK, who has tried and will try to escape.
CONCRETE, who has given up before trying.
cells in a prisoner-of-war camp, side by side. They are separated by
an ankle-height wall which,
within the narrative, is full-sized.
contain a bunk bed, a bucket, and a prisoner: on the left, CONCRETE;
on the right,
BRICK is playing
with an invisible baseball, throwing it to bounce off the floor and
into the wall separating the two cells, then back into their hand;
over and over. This goes on for some time, the noise getting steadily
louder with each throw. CONCRETE
is laying on their bed, eyes closed, until the noise becomes
unbearable and they abruptly sit
up on the bed.
- How do you do it?
still throwing the
- Do what?
CONCRETE - Get the ball back. Every time.
BRICK - I hide it before I escape.
CONCRETE - Before you try to escape.
rolling their eyes
- Before I try.
That way, I have something to do when they put me back in here.
catches the baseball one last time, and looks
at it intensely.
CONCRETE - That’s planning for failure. What you should do…
not taking escape advice from you. We’ve talked about this.
CONCRETE - Only trying to help.
- But you never help. You don’t help with the preparation, you don’t
help with the execution…
- Oh, I see where this is going.
- If you did
CONCRETE - It wouldn’t change anything. You can’t get out of here.
BRICK - I haven’t yet, but I can.
CONCRETE - Then why haven’t you?
- I will.
CONCRETE - When?
BRICK - When you help me.
CONCRETE - Your plans have never worked, I can’t help with that. Your
ideas are preposterous.
jumps up, outraged.
CONCRETE stands up
BRICK - My ideas are fine! The theory
is fine! I
just need a partner!
CONCRETE - You’re not getting one! I’ve told you time and again that
I wouldn’t help!
looks away, frustrated. Beat. BRICK
looks at their feet, fiddling with the baseball.
CONCRETE - Why do you keep planning for two?
doesn’t look up,
and slowly sits down on their bunk.
CONCRETE - Well?
BRICK - Because I need your help.
CONCRETE - You need my help because you plan for two!
BRICK - Because no one can get out of here alone! They’ve all tried
it and they’ve all failed!
CONCRETE - That’s right! It’s not possible to get out!
BRICK, jumping to their feet - You’re not listening! (Beat.)
It’s not possible… if you’re on your own. But with two
CONCRETE - You can’t guarantee that
it will work.
BRICK - I think it’s worth a try.
CONCRETE, looking away
- Is it?
Beat. BRICK struggles
to process what CONCRETE
CONCRETE - What’s out there? Do you know?
BRICK - I…
- Is it good? Is it
better than what’s in
BRICK - It has to be.
CONCRETE - All things considered,
this is alright.
(walking inside the cell)
We have our own rooms…
CONCRETE - We’re
fed regularly, we barely ever see the guards…
BRICK - They torture us.
CONCRETE - Rarely!
When’s the last time you were tortured? Last week?
BRICK - You were tortured today! They almost drowned you!
- And I’m still alive.
Beat. BRICK fiddles
with the invisible baseball while they glare at CONCRETE.
BRICK - So, the Devil you know…
CONCRETE - …isn’t so bad, if you really think about it. I’m safe
here, even when they beat me up. I know what to expect.
BRICK - And you don’t know anything about what’s outside.
CONCRETE - Exactly. But I know this (gestures towards
the cells, BRICK, everything). I know it by heart.
BRICK, in disbelief - And you like it?
CONCRETE - No, I don’t. Liking it is not the point. But I know what
to expect from it.
BRICK, sitting back down on their bunk - You accept it, you
BRICK considers the
invisible baseball in their hand, looks up at CONCRETE,
then back at the ball, then back at CONCRETE.
They start bouncing the ball off the floor and into the
wall again, catching it several times while CONCRETE
struggling - It’s not
that I’m choosing to accept it, but it’s
the way things are! Right? We
get hurt, we get fed, we get locked up… That’s just how it goes
Who knows what’s out there? Who knows how much worse it could be?
Beat. The only sound is that of BRICK’s
baseball. CONCRETE regains
some confidence when BRICK
offers no counter-argument.
CONCRETE - It’s normal, even if it’s
not what we would prefer. But
used to it, no matter how bad
it is. (firmly)
it. We expect
Drawing their arm back, BRICK
throws the invisible ball as hard as they can at CONCRETE.
It passes through the wall, hits CONCRETE
in the head with a mighty thump, and CONCRETE
falls over, landing on their bunk. Beat. CONCRETE
looks up at BRICK, in
shock. BRICK gets up
to pick up the invisible baseball, which has landed back inside their
BRICK - Didn’t expect that.
CONCRETE, still in shock
BRICK - Because I’ve never done that before. You’re not used to
getting things thrown at your head, are you? (pause) Not by
me, at any rate.
CONCRETE stares at BRICK
in panicked silence.
BRICK - So I’m going to do it again.
(CONCRETE braces themselves)
Not now. Later.
CONCRETE - When?
BRICK - Eventually.
Beat. CONCRETE gets
up and cautiously approaches the wall. They place one hand against
the wall, trying to reach BRICK
CONCRETE - Look, I understand that
it’s difficult. Living here. But
you can’t take it out on me.
BRICK - I’m not. I’m just making a point.
CONCRETE - What
BRICK throws the invisible
baseball at CONCRETE
again. CONCRETE ducks
just in time, and the ball bounces off the wall behind them. BRICK
BRICK - The unexpected
is worse than…
- I know that! All of this is
only bearable because I know what to expect! I told you that myself!
BRICK - Yeah, and what I’m doing is…
- I know you’re going to do it.
BRICK - But you don’t know when!
CONCRETE - I never know when. When
is not the point. (Beat)
You think I ever let
my guard down? In here?
BRICK - You could do that
You’d be free.
- Do you actually believe
- It’s not impossible, is it? You keep saying living out there is
worse than living in here, but it could also be better. Or it could
be the same!
CONCRETE - If it’s the same…
- We don’t know. We won’t
know until we’re there, and getting there will be the hardest thing
we’ve ever done.
CONCRETE walks back to
their bunk and slowly sits down. They look at the ground, the
ceiling, the bucket, and finally through the wall, at BRICK.
CONCRETE - Do
you think we can do it?
lightly tosses the ball to CONCRETE,
who catches it. BRICK
walks towards CONCRETE,
passing through the wall and into their cell.
BRICK - I think it’s worth a try.