The Trees Sound Like Metal When They Fall


So I’m pretty busy with essay-writing for my MA at the moment, but thought I’d upload a couple of older bits and pieces from my time at Radio Warwick, for nostalgia’s sake. The first is this short radio play, which I wrote towards the end of 2010, and recorded with my friend Mia. The sound effects were provided by Peter Blegvad. Apologies for my really terrible acting. Find the script below. I’m not sure how successful this was, or what I was trying to do with it, but it was quite fun to listen back to after many years.

The Trees Sound Like Metal When They Fall

(A radio play.)

(Noise of typewriter.)

Playwright: (Voice gradually submerged in reverb.) As I am typing in my study, I feel myself sinking deeper, down into the very minds of my characters. It creeps over me, that feeling of slipping away, of slipping from the authority of writing into a story I am not telling… a story which is telling itself. It is pulling me into it and I know… it is working. And so I start let go… of the words… (Typing noise cuts out.) …and I go deeper… and deeper…

(Static, droning and jungle noises.)

Jack: Colette? Where are you, Colette?

Colette: I’m over here, Jack. I’m trying to find a way through these trees.

J: (Coughing.) The fog… it’s hard to breathe.

C: It’s clearer over here.

J: Where? Where are you?

C: Follow my voice.

J: I can hardly see you through all these leaves. They’re so thick; anyone would think we were in the jungle.

C: Just follow my voice.

J: I’m trying. (Pause. Noise of a man sighing, in pain.)

C: Jack, I think I’ve found something.

J: Colette? (Pause. Coughing.) Colette?

C: Jack, come here. (Pause.) There’s something… breathing.

J: Wait for me. (Pause.)

C: Jack, I think it’s… I think it’s a man… He’s lying on the floor and he’s… He’s…

(Jungle noises and static cut out suddenly, interrupted by a phone ringing.)

P: (Sigh.) I don’t know myself who the man is. And now I will not. How can I know if, when I go back, it will be the same man as before? Who’s to say what man or beast or monster Colette might discover if I were to finish this scene this afternoon, or this evening, or tomorrow? Which possible man is the real man? (Typing noise, faster than before.) When I come back from the phone, I start typing again furiously, hammering at the keys, only now I hardly notice which keys I am pressing. Maybe, when I return to my sheet of paper tonight, there will not be a single real word amongst its cataclysm of language… But here, now, I feel I must get this story out of me, as quick as I can, before it is lost forever… (Jungle noises resume, louder, harsher, with birds squawking.)

J: Colette, I think we need to go. The trees are falling down.

C: The man’s just gone Jack! He’s just vanished!

J: Quick, Colette. We need to get out. The leaves are falling like rain. The soil is crumbling beneath our feet.

C: Where did he go Jack?

J: I don’t know! Maybe the soil swallowed him?

C: Soil couldn’t swallow a man! Could it?

J: Colette, we need to get out. (A droning noise fades in, faint in the background.)

C: Which way is it John?

J: Jack!

C: Who?

J: My name is Jack!

C: Jack! I’m so sorry.

J: Keep saying it to yourself Colette.

C: Yes, Jack. Don’t worry, Jack, I’m with you. (Pause. The droning noise gets louder.) Oh Jack, please won’t you stop all the noise, I can’t think!

J: Ignore it.

C: I can’t! It’s too loud.

J: Please Colette, you must try. (Pause.) Quick climb up this tree.

C: John, are we going to die?

J:  That’s where the birds are, up there.

C: There are no birds, John, you’re imagining it.

J: Jack!

C: Who?

J: My name is Jack!

C: What’s my name?

J: Colette. I think. Come on.

C: How do we climb up?

J: It’s easy, like this.

C: I’m a good climber you know, John.

J: I know, Coleen. Show me. (Pause. Silence) Where have the birds gone? (Noise of metal clanging.)

C: Listen to that. The trees sound like metal when they fall. Oh, John, what if we get crushed?

J: We can’t get crushed. The tree won’t fall, there’s no one around to hear it.

C: What about the man?

J: What man?

C: The man that disappeared.

J: What man?

C: The man that… (Boing.)

J+C: What was that? (Boing.)

J: What’s happening? (Boing.)

C: The forest has gone. (Boing.)

J: I think we’re… (Boing.)

C: John? (Boing.)

J: Coleen? (Boing.)

C: John? (Boing.)

J+C: We’re disa– (Voices cut off mid-word and dissipate into a cavern of reverb. The remnant of it echoes for a long time.)

P: That’s it. It’s gone. (Pause.) It’s gone.

(Gentle music fades in, accompanied by the sound of a baby crying.)



One thought on “The Trees Sound Like Metal When They Fall

  1. Pingback: Living Through Different Buildings – ICE•MASK•WHALE

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