Countrysides

by Anita Sullivan
Countrysides Hunt Scene

SUMMARY

Countrysides follows a hunt master (Tim McInnerny) and an anti hunt protester (Russell Tovey) who find a fragile human connection despite their opposing positions. But what happens when the hunter and the hunted change position?

The play was extensively researched over four years, with support from both sides of the debate. This process began with a seeding commission from The Drum Theatre Plymouth and a performed reading at the Ustinov theatre in Bath. It the play presents the situation in the countryside five years after the ban and how the act defines the interaction between wildlife, hunting, farming... and above all, between people.

'Countysides' was a Sweet Talk production, broadcast March 2011. It was produced by Karen Rose and directed by Anita Sullivan. Sound design by David Thomas.

Duration: 44 minutes.


'COUNTRYSIDES' SCRIPT

NEWREADER     -Protestors have gathered in their thousands outside parliament today, because they feel their views are being ignored inside. The vote on the hunting bill takes place in a few hours, but already there have been violent clashes between the police and some pro-hunt supporters: who are fighting, they would say, for their way of life.

VOICE 2 & 4   -No ban! Fight Prejudice! Fight the Bill!

[Parliament Square. Countryside Alliance demonstration. Vocal crowds, air-horns, hunting-horns, police helicopters, sirens.]

EDWARD    -September 15th 2004.
ALASTAIR  -London.
EDWARD    -Parliament Square.
E&A       -The heart of democracy.
ALASTAIR  -Thousands… tens of thousands of people.
VOICES    -Fight prejudice!
EDWARD    -Big speeches, brave words.
VOICES    -Save our countryside!

[Crowd singing ‘Jerusalem’ in the background.]

EDWARD    -But it’s not yours. It’s everyone’s.

ALASTAIR  -Them.
EDWARD    -I’m here...
ALASTAIR  -Course they had to come.
EDWARD    -...to observe.  Talk to the press.
ALASTAIR  -To gloat.
EDWARD    -A handful of antis...
ALASTAIR  -It’s provocation!
EDWARD    -...in a crowd of twenty-thousand.

[Angry voices in the crowd.]


VOICES    -Scumbags, wasters! You did this to us!
ALASTAIR  -Anger boiling over.
VOICE     -You and Blair!
E&A       -Looking for a target.
VOICES    -No law! No ban!
ALASTAIR  -Parliament.
VOICES    -Fight the bill! Fight prejudice! Fight!
EDWARD    -The police.


[Crowd becomes more physical and violent.]


E&A       -Pushing. Scuffles.
EDWARD    -Elbows. Fists.
E&A       -Gunshots!?
ALASTAIR  -Rook-scarers.
EDWARD    -Flashpoint.
E&A       -Riot!


[Riot squad charge, batons and shields.]


EDWARD    -Squad vans empty.
E&A       -Shields, batons.
ALASTAIR  -Breaking heads.
EDWARD    -And for once it isn’t ours.
ALASTAIR  -They’re going for us!
EDWARD    -The masters and young toffs…
ALASTAIR  -For us! It’s a running battle!
E&A       -A bloody revolution!


[The riot sound morphs, becomes slow-motion, as Edward observes.]


EDWARD     -We’ve won. We’ve finally won! Don’t need the vote to prove it. Here. Now. The hunter has become the hunted. This is what it feels like! Then… I see blood. Fear. The crowd hurls itself at the barriers. Panic. A man staggers… crumples, crashes among the thrashing legs…


REVIEWS

Preview in The Telegraph

Pick of the Day in The Times


 

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