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Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sind im Internet über www.dnb.de abrufbar.

© 2020 John Middleton

United States Copyright Office

1-9486046531

Herstellung und Verlag: BoD – Books on Demand GmbH, Norderstedt

ISBN: 9783752678864

Other plays from THE PLAYLET SERIES by John Middleton:

EVERY DAY – a play in 10 scenes about EVERYDAY LIFE

for Years 2, 3 and 4 (Level 1/1)

FRIENDS – a play in 9 scenes about FRIENDS

for Years 3, 4 and 5 (Level 2/1)

NEW KEY CHAIN – a play in 15 scenes about KEYS

for Years 6, 7 and 8 (Level 3/1)

LUCKY CHARMS – a play in 10 scenes about LUCK

for Years 6, 7 and 8 (Level 3/2)

STAND UP – a play in 8 scenes about MORAL COURAGE

for Years 8, 9 and 10 (Level 4/1)

MONOLOGUES FOR YOUNG ADULTS – 25 scenes

for Years 11 and 12 or for university students (September 2020)

CONTENTS

FOREWORD

FEAR is a play for students in Years 9, 10 or 11 (Level 5/1). It is designed for a normal-sized English class and for students with varying interests in acting. Since there are 36 roles – none of which are really minor – students who enjoy acting can perform in several scenes and play to their heart’s content, whereas students who aren’t particularly keen on acting only have one role to master in one single scene. Every scene deals with a situation in which FEAR takes center stage. The themes are geared to the experiences of students today and offer young actresses and actors the opportunity to discover FEAR in its many guises while performing. The plots range from believable to supernatural, often straddling the gap between real objects of fear and the darker side of the human psyche. The language is idiomatic and accessible for advanced English learners. FEAR works well when performed for smaller audiences: parents and other classes. But it can also be highly entertaining for a large audience. Performing time: about 90 minutes. Of course, it is also possible to select individual scenes and perform them as simple skits outside the context of FEAR. In that case it is still recommendable to create a suitable setting for presenting the skits to an audience. The true joy of performing a foreign-language play is to feel it click, to realize that the people watching the performance don’t only “get the picture”, they are also delighted to see a story come to life when presented in English by non-native performers.

– John Middleton, Hamburg, 2020

SCENE 1 8 MINUTES AND 46 SECONDS

We may discover the only thing more detrimental than doing nothing is doing a tiny bit and thinking that's enough.

(If possible, the entire scene should last 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Flashing red and blue lights. A girl is standing in front of the audience, staring at one particular spot or person. She can’t believe her eyes. She is witnessing something that deeply shocks her, possibly for the first time. She doesn’t know what to do. Should she look away? Should she leave? Should she say something? Other people pass by behind her, they stop and look: a boy with a skateboard, a boy with headphones, a girl with shopping bags, a boy pushing a bike, a girl with a baby carriage. The girl standing in front takes out her cell phone, scrolls and touches something on her display. Then she holds the phone up and starts filming. She squints now and then.)

BOY WITH A SKATEBOARD (looks around)

What’s going on?

GIRL WITH A PHONE (looking at an imaginary victim “on the street” – in the audience)

There’s a guy lying on the street.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS (looking at the imaginary victim) What’s wrong with him? Is he injured?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE (looking at the imaginary victim) Maybe.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS (looking at the imaginary victim) He’s handcuffed.

BOY WITH HEADPHONES (slides his headphones down around his neck, looking at the imaginary victim)

There’s a cop kneeling on his neck.

BOY WITH A BIKE (looking at the imaginary victim)

What did he do?

BOY WITH HEADPHONES (looking at the imaginary victim)

The cop?

BOY WITH A BIKE (looking at the imaginary victim)

The guy on the street.

BOY WITH HEADPHONES (looking at the imaginary victim)

The guy with the cop on his neck?

BOY WITH A BIKE

Yeah. What did he do?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

No idea. Must have done something.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS

Like what?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

Don’t know. People are always doing stuff.

BOY WITH HEADPHONES

But why’s the cop kneeling on his neck?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

Probably resisted.

BOY WITH HEADPHONES

How can you resist with your hands cuffed?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

Maybe he said stuff.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS

Like what?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

Maybe he badmouthed the cop.

BOY WITH A SKATEBOARD

Maybe he gave the cop a threatening, dehumanizing look.

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

What are you talking about?

BOY WITH A SKATEBOARD

Maybe he sneered at the cop.

BOY WITH A BIKE

They can’t arrest you for sneering.

BOY WITH A SKATEBOARD

Maybe he smelled bad. Maybe he walked too slow. Maybe his tail lights weren’t working. Maybe he was black…

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

Maybe, maybe, maybe. Maybe he did something wrong.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS

Like what?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

I don’t know. Lots of stuff.

BOY WITH A SKATEBOARD

Loitering, jaywalking, illegal possession of drugs, disorderly conduct, paying with a forged 20-dollar bill, refusing to be lynched…

BOY WITH HEADPHONES

Stop-and-frisk.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS

What?

BOY WITH HEADPHONES

The cops can stop you on the street and search you for no real reason…

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS

For no real reason?

BOY WITH A SKATEBOARD

If you’re white, that’s all right.

BOY WITH HEADPHONES

If you’re black, stay back.

GIRL HOLDING A PHONE

Racial profiling.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS

What?

BOY WITH HEADPHONES

It’s when the cops target you, ‘cause you’re black.

BOY WITH A SKATEBOARD

Most black people who get stopped by the cops weren’t even doing anything wrong.

BOY WITH HEADPHONES

Nine out of ten.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS

What?

BOY WITH HEADPHONES

Nine out of ten blacks who get stopped by the cops are innocent.

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

What if they’re carrying a gun? I’ve heard that…

GIRL HOLDING A PHONE

He’s saying something.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS

What’s he saying?

(Silence. Everyone listens.)

GIRL WITH A PHONE

No idea.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS

Is he breathing?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

What do you mean?

BOY WITH HEADPHONES

Is he breathing with the cop on his neck?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

If you can talk you can breathe.

BOY WITH A SKATEBOARD

What?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

That’s what the policeman said.

BOY WITH A SKATEBOARD

What?

GIRL WITH A BABY CARRIAGE

“You’re fine. You’re talking fine,” he said.

GIRL WITH A PHONE

He said he can’t breathe.

GIRL WITH SHOPPING BAGS

The policeman?

BOY WITH HEADPHONES

The guy on the street.