Unwind: Hindsight is 2020
Script by Heidi Kraay
Story by Heidi and Kate Kraay
With text contributions from Kate Kraay
Each womxn in their home/cell, sheltering in place,
having just finished washing their hands.
Hanni lets out one more cough.
How to survive a pandemic in isolation.
Or not quite isolation.
Just you and your baby.
Or not isolated at all, you and your whole family and before that all your roommates…
Unable to remember the last time you were alone at all–
How to survive a pandemic.
Open your eyes
Learn to use Zoom.
Listen to breath
Yoga. Lots of yoga.
Tell yourself your coughs are allergies.
Don’t go to the doctor.
Wash hands thirty-six times a day.
Forget to take breaks.
Remember not to forget to take breaks.
Forget what’s in your chest.
Make mothballs in your mouth.
Crunch sugar between sighs.
Decide to eat better.
Wonder if you’re feeling chilled.
Call your mom every day.
Your mom who lives in the nursing home.
The same nursing home that’s been in the news.
Listen to the worry underneath her well-bred positivity.
Feel triggered all the time.
And also at peace — all this quiet time. But not really quiet time.
Because you’re not alone,
and might never be alone again.
Wash hands one hundred thirty-six times a day.
Forget the pain of constipation.
Remember to go outside.
Embrace the fog in your brain.
Get lost online all day. Where did lunch breaks go? Where did the day go?
Breathe shaky, breathe deep.
Live on your computer.
Tell yourself thank gawd for a partner who keeps the home fires burning.
Wonder if the fog is indeed a fever.
Remember how to forget.
Cook massive meals for one. Instant pot! Instant pot everything!
Jump in space.
Pet your cat five hundred times per day.
Feel the sweat you try to make on your yoga mat.
Wish you sweat more, then realize that’s good, less infection to spread.
Sweat on your pillow.
Wash hands three hundred thirty-six times a day.
Lysol the counters til the Lysol runs out.
Realize you never had Lysol anyway,
just some kind of natural cleaner that doesn’t really clean, does it?
Just like your mother always said.
Read about your rival’s success on social media
and obsess about him
Count your bottles and containers and food stuffs.
Feel all the feelings again and again.
and obsess over the fact that you’re a has been who never was
which isn’t really a fact but does that matter anymore?
Wonder if you caused this
with all the stories you wrote on pre/present/post-apocalypse in English class last semester.
Make a list of all the things you’re gonna do with your mom
when you see her in person.
Crack your jaw.
Feel a headache.
Turn off the radio, the podcasts, the internet, the news.
Check lists of symptoms online.
Grow a garden.
Grow a cactus.
Remember how to make bread.
Get the call you were holding your breath for
but not waiting for.
A call from the home
Figure out what happens when bandwidth dies.
Out your belly button.
You can’t grow oranges in Idaho.
Feed the cat.
Do laundry but not too much.
Use soap but not too much.
Wash hands three thousand, three hundred, thirty six times a day
and coat your hands with bottles of cocoa butter
and then break the glass tub it’s in
smash it into pieces on the fake linoleum
because you can’t go see your mom
But try not to waste.
Blink eyes open.
Yell at the news coming outta the radio.
Remember our leaders could have prevented this.
Decide you never really wanted to be a scientist anyway.
Figure maybe you’ll go into commercial real estate when all this is over
if this ever gets over.
Write a schedule.
Ignore the schedule.
Stay in bed.
Rewrite a schedule.
Keep a schedule. Some of the time.
Let yourself sleep in. Most of the time.
Close the refrigerator door.
Check your temperature.
Stay in contact.
Keep talking, breathing, being.
Get the call you really. Didn’t. Want. To get.
Wake up with a cat on your chest, go pee and brush your teeth after looking at your phone too long. Feed the cats and empty the dishwasher, drink tea and take your vitamins. Eat an egg in the sunshine, go and pull some weeds, rearrange your plants, call your mom, call your partner stuck in another city. Try to play guitar but then cough too much because you need to vacuum out the hole. Then go make a dinner that is way too huge for one person. Try to keep from drinking too much as you troll for shows to watch. Watch Bill Murray comedies like Groundhog Day. Take a bath and floss your teeth while bathing. Lie in bed and listen to an audiobook so you don’t have to be alone with your own thoughts. Dream about coughing and washing your hands. Get up at 2 or 3am and go pee then drink water and then go back to sleep and wake up and 7 then at 8 and then at 9 and try not to look at your phone this time. Get up and do it all again.
Don’t think about your research.
Don’t think about your brother getting ahead.
Don’t think about the future, that this is the rest of our lives
except this is the best it’ll be from here on out
and now is the beginning of the end
of humanity of the world as we know it
and how fine you don’t feel
and how you’ll never finish your life’s important work
and all you’ll ever be known for is that once you tried for something and didn’t get it
but then after everyone you know dies
which could happen sooner than you ever thought
no one will remember you at all.
Or the rest of your species.
Don’t think about how you’re not feeling well
and your temp is high but not THAT high,
it can’t be that high,
the thermometer must be broken,
and all that thinking and not thinking terrifies you and–
She coughs and coughs and coughs.
A still moment. Quiet. Too quiet.
What if we’re the bad guys, and it’s good riddance to us when we’re gone?
A physical moment of crisis from each womxn.
Is that a–
Couldn’t be not here–
All five womxn in their isolated quarters
feel it come on slow and then fast
watching the ground shake and the windows
grabbing on for walls for something steady
watching armoires and bookshelves quiver and fall
hearing something glass break
feeling this solid thing underfoot liquify
as they dance the earthquake dance
reaching out arms between a doorway
and try to stay on their two feet.
They can gasp, shout, blabber, blubber,
repeat/improvise text here.
After twenty, thirty seconds, almost too long,
it stops, quiet, stillness, silence.
They feel their breath, survey their spaces,
locking eyes with the audience.
Maybe to someone they live with,
maybe to a neighbor, maybe to us:
Did you feel that?
Hanni on her phone.
Same gesture picking it up as before, Scene 1.
The other womxn may follow suit.
Hi, Jan? Hi.
Sorry, I wanted to say I’m proud of you.
It’s so great all the work you’re doing.
We just had an earthquake.
Are you alright?
I’m okay, I.
(a few more coughs)
I think maybe I should get tested but.
I’m okay. No, yeah, I’m okay.
Here is a transition, something in sound and lights
and in each of the womxn themselves.
If there are projections or something scenic,
those can help with this change too
as the womxn leave their isolated spaces
and their humanity, their mortality,
aging into ancient permanence and enduring unity.
We see them transform into one singular giant:
THE EARTH (4.5 Billion).
Their transformation is magical,
both simple and beyond comprehension, instantaneous and eternal.
Heidi Kraay examines the connection between brain and body, seeking empathy with fractured characters. Plays include see in the dark, How To Hide Your Monster, New Eden, and Kilgore, as well as co-devised plays, one-acts, short plays and plays for young audiences. Her work has been presented in Boise, regionally, in NYC and internationally, most recently through HomeGrown Theatre, Trinity Street Players and Tomo Suru Players. Recent publications include Z Publishing, Timshel Magazine, Willow Creek Journal, and Dramatists Magazine. Heidi holds an MFA from California Institute of Integral Studies and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. www.heidikraay.com
Migritude by Shailja Patel
“Oof — I just dove through this poetry-performance-memoir-history-majesty packed neatly in a tight gut-punch that dizzied me and left me aching for a better humanity. A story of a woman pushing through impossible circumstances into powerful grace and aliveness, of a country and its people shoved down for the gain of the selfish (yet again), uncovering truths about colonialism I hadn’t yet heard, all wrapped in theatrical fabric sewn by rich language and transported by a trousseau of saris. Personal, political, tragic and triumphant. If you’re looking for a book filled with persistent endurance in the face of disaster despite despicable leaders and oppression many of us have the privilege to ignore daily, or even if you don’t know you are, order a copy now. Everyone should read this to start envisioning a better tomorrow. I hope I can see it performed someday.”