The Land of rivers and stars

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a play about the creative process and its obstacles and it's also about different perceptions of reality.The language is a bit stage irishy in parts,sorry about that,top of the morning and begorra to you :)

Submitted: December 25, 2011

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Submitted: December 25, 2011



The land of Rivers and Stars

Alternate Title 1... Confidence is Key

Alternate Title 2... Johnnie McGrath sets the record straight

Donie Here is he now, my favourite nephew.

Tommy Hi Uncle Donie.

Donie Jesus Mary and Joesph you’re getting fierce big,d’you know

that Tommy?.You’re going to be massive.Look at the shoulders on

you.I’d say you’re going to be at least 6 foot two.Probably 6 foot 5 or

6.Would you like that ?

Tommy What ?

Donie Being so tall.

Tommy I dunno.

Donie You could play for Munster you know.

Tommy I don’t like Rugby.

Donie It’d grow on you.It grows on the best of them.

Tommy I want to be a pilot.

Donie That’s a great job.I’d like to do that myself.D’you know if I

wasn’t a man of words I’d like to be a man of the skies,but I think

being your height Tommy,or your future height as I see it, could be a

bit of a problem for you if you want to be a pilot.You see just entering

and exiting the cockpit could be a bit tricky and in a game like flying

gaining the confidence of the passengers is key.Having a freakishly tall

pilot mightn’t go down too well with some of the passengers.At the

end of the day it’s all about making the customers happy.

Tommy Huh ?

Donie I put it to you like this.In all of my years of flying I’ve never heard

of a pilot with a stutter.Not once have I heard over the intercom a pilot

say something like LLLLLLaddies aaannd GGGGeentlemmmmen we

are ggggggoing to exppppperience some tututututurbululululence.

Why ?

Tommy I don’t understand.

Donie Confidence !Tommy,the big C, Confidence.If people don’t have

confidence in you to do a job,you’re lost.You could be the best pilot in

the world but if people don’t believe in you.You’ll be fighting a losing

battle.You might as well be whizzing in the wind.Sorry about the

language Tommy.The perception will be, rightly or wrongly, sure if he

can’t even control his speech how’s he going to control the plane ?.In

a situation like that Tommy confidence is key.

Maura Don’t talk nonsence.

Donie All I’m saying is that confidence is key.Sure we all know that.

Maura Leave him alone if he wants to be a Pilot let him.

Donie I’m not at him.I just want him to look at all his options.Just don’t rule

out the Rugby is all I’ll say.

Tommy I won’t.

Donie Good lad.You could do worse in this life and if I know anything about

this life is that you’ve got to work to your strengths.You’ve got to use

what God has given you.Jesus, if anyone knows that,it’s me.

Tommy But I’m only a small fella.

Maura Stop going on at him.You’ll give him a complex.

Donie You might be small here ( gestures to his head ) but you can be very

very big here ( points to his heart )

Maura Jesus.

Donie The point is Tommy you can be whoever and whatever you want

to be in this life albeit you’ve still got to work to your strengths to

make it happen.I am through a series of unconnected and not

altogether unhappy circumstances a poet,a wordsmith,a maker of

poems,a poem maker.

Maura How is the poetry coming along ?.

Donie Good Maura ( pause ) I think I’m on to a winner with the latest one.I

think I might have stumbled onto to something.A new way,perhaps.A

new way of seeing.Tis early days yet though so I don’t want to get

ahead of myself.

Maura Here we go

( Maura throws her eyes up to the sky).

Donie D’you want to hear it ?

Maura Sure why not,what’s it called ?.

Donie A little.

Maura Thank heavens for small mercies.

Donie A little

Donie walks forward assumes centre stage and with genuine feeling in his

voice recites his poem.

a little touched

a little scratched

a little more along on the road

to decay.

a little banjaxed

a little weathered

a little bit maybe

has broken, away ?

Heaving with all my might

I push against the great weight.

No longer satisfied with the workings of fate.

a little time

put aside

lest it should stray,

a little it goes

a long long way.

a little thought

wakes me up,

reminds me

myself of your man I,

a little light


through a crack in the sky.

I’m still here now,

walking tall, tall as a cloud

It’ll take a natural disaster

To stop me breathing, baby.

Heaving with all my might

I push against the great weight.

No longer worried about the workings of fate.

Heaving with all my might

I push a little more

onwards and upwards through

the magic door.

Maura Is that it ?.

Donie Now I know that it’s not the finished article and I’ve got a long

way to go but you’d have to admit that there’s something there.

Maura What’s there ?.

Donie A new way of saying.

Maura A new way of saying what ?

Donie A new form of expression.

Maura So it isn’t about anything in particular .

Donie It’s about something alright.It’s about a lot,Ha!

A little’s about a lot

Maura What’s it about then ?

Donie It’s about life Maura,or for the want of a better word it’s about the

struggle that is life,and how everyone has to struggle a little,and how

that struggle sometimes can leave its mark on a person.

Maura I suppose it’s not as bad as the other ones.

Donie High praise indeed light of my life.

Maura I remember the one you wrote about the boy who thought he was a

bird.Remember that ?

Donie Chicken Boy.

Maura That’s right yeah Chicken boy.That was a great one.

Donie I think you misinterpreted what I was attempting there my love.

Maura Did I now ?.How did that go again ?

Donie There’s no need to go over that.

Maura Ah yeah it ended with ba-caw! ba-caw !.

Donie Not quite.

Maura How did it go ?

Donie Donie recites a few lines from the poem

When waves of pressure pounded his eardrums

only then would he regress

and with jerky movements of his head

emit a strangled ba-caw to himself.

Maura Ba-caw.

Donie By its very nature Chicken boy is experimental.A little’s better than

that though.You’d have to give me that.

Maura How long did a little take you to write ?.

Donie A couple of weeks I’d say give or take.

Maura And In all that time that’s the best you’ve come up with ?.

Donie The well of inspiration runs deep Maura who knows what gems lie in

its murky depths.Who knows what lights I might shine on the world if

given the time.

Maura Enough now Donie,come on.If you persist in writing poetry why don’t

you write about stuff that matters to people.Write stuff that people will

want to read,instead of nonsence.

Donie You don’t mean that ?

Maura Believe me I do.This can’t go on.What’s the point of it all ?

Donie Sure there doesn’t have to be a point.

Maura Do you want to spend your whole life writing nonsense ?.

You’re not getting any younger.

Donie Sure I’m only doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

Isn’t that the whole point of everything.It’s what I’m trying to

impress upon Tommy here.Everybody should be doing what they’re

supposed to be doing.

Maura And what am I supposed to be doing, listening to this ?.

Donie You know what I mean Maura.

Dee I don’t Donie,I remember there was a time when all I ever wanted to

do was travel.Go and see the world.I didn’t do any of that.

Donie Events overtook us.

Maura What events ?

Donie You know what I mean.Life overtook us.

Maura Whose life was it?.It wasn’t mine.

Donie Come on now Maura not in front of Tommy.

Maura What d’you mean come on now Maura.I’m telling you what I

think,what I feel,isn’t that allowed ?

Donie There’s no need for drama now.

Maura No need for drama.That’s rich coming from you.

Donie All I’m saying is that we’ve been over this 100 times and it doesn’t

get us anywhere.

Maura Sometimes I wonder how it all ended up this way.

Donie Here we go.

Maura Johnnie Mc Grath wanted me to go and see the world with him.

Donie I knew it would only be a matter of time before we’d hear about

Johnnie Mc Grath again.That story never gets old.Good old

fucking Johnnie Mc Grath.Sorry Tommy.

Maura He travelled the world,he did.A couple of times over I think,

and what’s he doing now ?.

Donie Jesus I don’t know,what’s he doing now ?

Maura He’s doing very well,thank you very much.He’s the manager of

his own company.If he’s not a millionaire yet, he’s not far from

it.He’s a self-made man Johnny is.

Donie Well all I can say is whoopedy fucking do for Johnnie McGrath.

Maura Language.

Donie Sorry Tommy.There’s never an excuse to use bad language.You

know that,don’t you ?

Tommy I do.

Donie Good,now ( turns to face Maura )I didn’t live Johnnie Mc Grath’s

life and he didn’t live mine .So you didn’t go and see the world with

him.My heart bleeds.We all make decisions in life that we have to

live with.( pause ) It hasn’t been all that bad, has it ?.I mean we’ve

had some good times ( looks over at Maura )

I can still remember the first time I saw you,like it was yesterday.

You were walking up the road to your house with your sister

carrying a load of Dunnes Stores bags.The two of ye had been in

the town shopping and ye were drenched right through.It had been

lashing all day.Do you remember that ?

Maura Vaguely

Donie I first set my eyes on you as fate would have it just as the rain

stopped and a rainbow appeared.A feint mist was rising in the air

and the street was glistening under the sun.It looked to all

the world like a river of stars.That’s all I could see was a river of

stars.It was the land of rivers and stars and you.I had never seen

anything as beautiful as you on that day and aren’t you even more

beautiful now than you were back then,if that’s at all possible.

Maura You can be a great one with the words when you want to be.

Donie I fell in love with my Maura that day as she was carrying her

Dunnes Stores bags home with her sister.The land of rivers and

stars is a land full of beauty Maura but the most beautiful thing in it

is you.

Maura You should write a poem about that.It makes more sense than some

of the other ones.

Donie I might just do that and I’ll dedicate it to the one I love.

Maura Come on Tommy we’ll get no work done listening to your

Uncle.Let’s start the dinner,will you give me a hand ?

Tommy I will.

Maura That’s a good lad.

Tommy I don’t want to be tall Auntie Maura.

Maura What do you mean ?

Tommy Like Uncle Donie says

Maura Don’t worry love you won’t be.Don’t be listening to your Uncle.He

doesn’t know what he’s on about.

Donie Maura’s never said a truer thing Donie.I don’t know what I’m on

about.That’s the beauty of it.

Maura and Tommy leave the room and Donie goes searching for a pen and a paper.

Donie The land of rivers and stars.I like that.The land of rivers and

stars.The land of rivers and......

The lights fade


( Johnny McGrath sets the record straight )

A man who had been sitting in the audience stands up and walks to the stage.He is an older man,distinguished looking with greying hair and he walks with a limp.He pulls himself up onto the stage with a little difficulty and then he stands up and faces the audience.A single light is shone on him.

Johnny McGrath Hello everyone,I’ve been sitting here watching the play like the

rest of you.I have been particulary interested in some of the

events that have been recounted here since I have a vested

interest in the story.First off I would like to clear up a few

inaccuracies.These inaccuracies might be considered by some to

be minor and I leave that up to you to decide but they do concern

me.My name is Johnny McGrath.I know the two people in the

play.I knew Maura very well at one time.It is fair to say that we

were in love.Well I was madly in love with her.We talked about

marriage and about travelling the world together but then she

met the poet and everything changed.I don’t bear him any ill

will.They are still together now as you see.Now Maura said that

I had travelled the world over a few times.This isn’t 100 per cent

accurate I have been to many places.Some rather exotic and I

had planned to keep travelling for a few more years but my

travelling was cut short by a rather nasty fall I had on the great

wall of China.I discombobulated my knee rather badly and as a

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