Scene 1 Prologue
Ideally, an acting space defined as a traverse playing area, with audience either side. An opened suitcase. Actors enter. During the Prologue and scenes as indicated, the Actors take blank paper from the suitcase and place them on the floor. The papers end up randomly strewn about, like people’s scattered lives. The Actors refer to the paper then include the audience before placing the papers on the floor. This script allocates the paper scenes to two Actors,however more can be used as necessary.
ACTOR 1: These are the stories of the thousands of people who seek refuge in Australia each year.
ACTOR 2: They come from the woman you meet in the shop, the man on the bus, the kid you sit next to at school.
ACTOR 1: They have been told by grandparents, by parents, by their children.
ACTOR 2: Refugees come because they don’t want to fight in wars…
ACTOR 1: They come for political reasons, religious reasons…
ACTOR 2: They come to reunite with their families.
ACTOR 1: Some come on boats, some are asylum seekers, some are on visas hoping to stay…
ACTOR 2: They come from Afghanistan, Algeria, Austria and Bosnia. Chile, Czechoslovakia, El Salvador, Germany
ACTOR 1: Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Palestine and Sudan. Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam and the former republic of Yugoslavia.
The Actors refer to the pieces of paper on the floor and in the suitcase.
ACTOR 2: These are people’s scattered lives.
Scene 10 Speak Australian! What’s Australian?
The Actors reference the papers then include the audience as before.
ACTOR 2: (as he stares at unopened jar of Vegemite) I only know how to cook meat. I didn’t know what Australian food was. So I called Red Cross and said, ‘I have food, but I don’t know what to do with it’.
ACTOR 1: At school, kids would tell other kids not to talk to me. They’d say, ‘Don’t talk to her, she’s a Nazi’. I went
home and asked ‘What’s a Nazi’?
ACTOR 2: A Hungarian man and his friend were sitting on the train talking to each other in their native language. A
drunk man nearby yelled out to them, ‘Why don’t you learn the native language of Australia’? An Aboriginal
man overheard this. He said to the drunken man, ‘Why don’t you learn the native language of Australia?’
ACTOR 1: Australians didn’t realise their rhyming slang was difficult to understand. I went into a shop once for a
pie, and the man says ‘You want some dead horse with it’? (beat) Dead horse? ‘Tomato sauce’… You
know, ‘Going down the rubberdy-dub’. The pub. ‘Don’t tell the trouble an’ strife’. The wife. (beat) And
when I first come here? I have a big problem with the flies, the heat… And the birds. They don’t sing here,
they scream at each other!
The Actors listen as the screeching birds segue into kookaburras laughing.
Scene 13 I thought…
The Actors, Hamid. They reference the papers as established.
ACTOR 2: I thought Australia was green places and trees. Then I saw the Detention Centre. The razor wire. And I am thinking, ‘This is Australia’?
ACTOR 1: I heard Australians care about dolphins. And I am thinking, ‘What about human beings’?
ACTOR 2: Our country, Iraq, it’s richer than all the countries in the world. We did not escape
because we are poor. We don’t want to live off Australia. We want to live in Australia.
ACTOR 1: They bring in Temporary Protection Visas because so many people are fleeing
Afghanistan and Iraq. Of course we are fleeing. If we stay, we will be killed.
ACTOR 2: In Iraq, because of my religion, I am in a prison. In Australia, because I seek asylum, I
am also in a prison.
ACTOR 1: In my mind, this country, Australia, is a country of freedom…
ACTOR 2: I am scared. Scared to talk about what happened in the Detention Centre. If I talk,
maybe they will send me back…
ACTOR 1: I am thinking Australia is a distant place. A calm place. An educated person’s country.
This is what I thought.
ACTOR 2: I heard someone said, we are making a ‘Life-style decision’ to come here. When I heard this, I am
thinking, ‘I am in Australia’?
HAMID: The people of Afghanistan never fled their country until the Taliban came in. I came to Australia because of
fear of persecution.
ACTOR 1: This story begins in Afghanistan, in 12909081..