Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Jessica Fisher (Great Britain)

Ghost Town

Text Extract

Later. Banging on the door from inside the beach hut.
Megan Joe! Oi! Joe! I can’t. Joe!
Joe moves the obstruction from the door, then opens it.
Joe It sticks sometimes. There’s a knack.
Megan I thought. I can’t be.
Joe Sorry.
Megan Jesus.
What is going on with you?
Joe You can’t say you’ve seen / me.
Megan But they’ll be / so
Joe It’s not safe.
Megan What?
Joe Nothing’s
Megan You should see your mum. She looks old. You did that.
Joe Don’t.
Megan And she gets trolled.
Joe How do you mean?
Megan Twisted stuff. Sick.
Joe Who would
Megan Things parents don’t want to read.
Joe She saw it?
Megan And RIP messages.
Joe Okay.
Megan But you won’t go home?
Joe Leave it.
Megan It’s cruel / to
Joe You don’t know what / you’re
Megan You’re being selfish. You / should
Joe Fucking leave it!
A silence.
There’s a pot over the remains of a fire outside the hut.
Megan I’m starving.
Joe So?
Megan Well go on then.
Joe pours something from the pot into a bowl and passes it to Megan.
Joe Here.
Megan Oh.
Joe Bon appétit.
Megan Spoon?
Joe Nope.
Megan Alright…
She puts the bowl to her lips and takes a sip. It tastes awful.
What is this?
Joe Soup.
Megan What soup?
Joe Sort of… Fish. Soup.
Megan Give us a look. Oh my god. I’m gonna puke.
Joe Don’t be a /
Megan It’s heads! They’ve got eyeballs!
Joe They’re / fish.
Megan Food is not supposed to have a face.
Joe They get washed up from the fishing boats. Got to use what you get.
Megan I saw a turd washed up once.
Joe Why are you here?
Megan I can’t eat this.
Joe Was it the police?
Megan What?
Joe Did they send you?
Megan That’s crazy.
Joe What were you doing on the beach?
Megan None of your business.
Joe You could have died. You know that?
Megan I can look after myself. Have to.
Joe You were face down on the tide line. How did you / get
Megan I fell from the stars.
Joe Very funny.
Megan No joke.
Joe No. You were hurt.
Joe returns to his words in the sand. Megan sees them for the first time.
Megan What is that?
Joe I found. Okay. Found.
Megan Joe.
Joe is focussed on the words, trying to reinforce their message.
Joe Okay. Okay.
Megan That is weird. Why…
Joe Okay.
Megan I need my stuff.
Joe I looked.
Megan You probably boy looked.
Joe There was nothing.
Megan I’m expecting a…
Joe moves to block her path.
What is your problem?
Joe …
Megan Get / out my
Joe Please.
Megan Don’t be a douche.
Joe …
Megan I have to look. Then I’m getting someone, alright? You can’t /
She tries to get past him, Joe grabs her arm.
Ow! Get off.
Joe Stay. Okay.
Megan Let go.
Joe Promise.
Megan You’re being…
Joe Please Megan!
Megan No.
He grabs her.
You’re hurting me. Stop it!
Joe Calm down.
Megan You’re mental. You’re bloody mental.
They struggle. He pushes her onto the floor of the hut. He has hurt her.
Joe I’m sorry. But
Megan You hurt my arm.
Joe You should have
Megan You need your head looking at. You’re a psycho.
Joe shuts the door of the hut and secures it.
Don’t shut me. Joe, please! Don’t… Psycho!
Perhaps Megan’s banging / shouting overlaps with parts of the below.
Joe Back. Back before the bus stop and the blood and it’s me and my cousin in town. It’s alright. I might even be having fun. Lights bounce off shop windows. Girls hold hands like paperchains and swerve laughing, diagonal across the street. Cousin is proud and upright, initiating me into this place where he belongs. There’s urinals in the street here and they stink and then I think about home sweet home and I’ll be glad to get back. We part. Me for my bus, Shaun back to halls. And I’m walking through the dark, trying not to step in the crap of someone else’s night out, when this girl joins me from nowhere.
Keira You got a fag?
Joe Sorry, I don’t
Keira Bloody hell.
Joe Sorry.
I walk on. She walks with me. But the sounds of a good night out give way to something else, something agro. It’s subtle at first, and I don’t think she’s felt it but I want to turn, run, get away from this thing but I don’t know what it is.
Keira Why so quiet?
Joe Don’t you feel it?
Keira What?
Joe We turn a corner and we’re in another country, another time. There’s a fire at the end of the street, and a crowd, still far away, a crowd of people pushing towards us.
Keira Holy shit.
Joe Let’s go back.
Keira My bus stop’s this way.
Joe No.
Keira It’s the only way I know
Joe And they’re getting close. Pushing, I see now, against a line of police; batons raised against this mob of bottle throwers, brick holders, pushing, shouting bodies. People surge around us. The girl walks on, head down. And she’s gone. I panic. Run, stumbling in the crowd. Then a hand grabs mine and we duck onto another street, quieter, and hide ourselves in the dark of a bus shelter.


An east coast beach. A cold October dawn.
Megan lies face down on the tideline. Her head is bleeding and one of her shoes is missing.
Joe stands over her; watching, panicking. His world is about to explode.
Joe is a runaway, living in a decaying beach hut. Megan, who knows him from their home town, is astonished to find him here. He is different, riddled with fear and hiding a secret so dark that he takes Megan captive to be sure she won’t tell.
As the day unfolds, Megan and Joe try to make sense of their past, their mismatched memories of the events that have shaped them and discover what it truly means to be courageous.
Ghost Town is a play about friendship and betrayal. Thrown together on the beach, Megan and Joe explore for the first time the friendship they used to share and the events that pushed them apart. Each has a different slant, a different version of events. The play looks at how our choices and actions affect other people, and suggests that we don’t always understand or see the impact of what we do. It explores the ways in which we allow the past to shape us, and how we can break away from the patterns life sets out.
It is also a play about courage. Joe suffers from a version of OCD that plagues him with graphic images of hurting people, to the extent that he becomes convinced he has acted on this. He doesn’t understand the condition, nor has he put a name to the fear he lives with. His encounter on the beach with Megan sets a series of events in motion that allow him, for the first time in ages, to entertain a positive, hopeful thought. Megan and Joe’s courage in difficult circumstances allows them to see a more positive future.
Ghost Town is a story about lost friendship, memory, growing up and finding your way.



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