“Witty, charming and, most importantly, real. The author captured a moment in time and translated it into an essential and honest conversation our society is having right now.” – Dan Bernardo
INT. SCHOOL HALL – DAY
In a school hall, there is a circle of chairs. Variously
slumped and sat on these are 6 students around age 16, and a
KAYCEE, with unkempt hair and an unassuming smile, sits with
a grubby-folded-up piece of paper in her lap, sitting on her
CLARA has her hair in a ponytail and sleeves rolled up, and
bright blue hearing aids. She is sprawled out on the chair,
but in an intimidating way.
TAYLOR has their hair in bunches and rolled up blazer cuffs,
and hold a piece of paper with blue scrawls all over it,
their legs neatly crossed underneath the chair.
AMELIA, with a concise bob and optimistic demeanour, sits on
the chair backwards, straddling it. Her blazer is adorned
with badges, for bands, political movements and squirrels.
MAY, with dark hair and eyes that flit around, and a half-
endearing, half-annoying habit of saying everything like a question, sits with her arms and legs crossed, as if trying
ISLA, very long red hair, and many bracelets and bands on, is
the only one without a jumper or a blazer. She sits leaning
forward, one cheek smushed into a fist.
Finally, the TEACHER: a woman in her 20s, warm,
understanding, won’t take any rubbish, cross-legged.
So who’d like to start?
Anyone? Or should I pick someone…
(points finger playfully)
MAY, is tightly gripping a piece of paper with deep fold
marks in it. She fidgets a little.
(she reads, shakily)
Wanderer’s Nightsong I, Johann
Wolfgang von Goethe.
CLARA groans and slumps forward, head in her hands. The
TEACHER raises her eyebrows at Clara, who goes quiet. MAY
stops, and watches nervously, like a cat at a ping pong
match. TEACHER gestures for MAY to continue.
(a little quieter, without
THOU THAT FROM THE HEAVENS ART,
EVERY PAIN AND SORROW STILLEST,
AND THE DOUBLY WRETCHED HEART
DOUBLY WITH REFRESHMENT FILLEST,
I AM WEARY WITH CONTENDING!
WHY THIS RAPTURE AND UNREST?
COME, AH, COME INTO MY BREAST!
(with a reassuring smile)
Thank you, MAY, that was lovely. I
think CLARA might have heard it
CLARA’s a little sheepish.
No… it’s not that.. just… we
always have to study the work of
very posh and very dead white men
and metaphors I can’t understand…
It just doesn’t feel…
(motions as she struggles
to find the word)
That hangs in the air for a beat. Flickers of agreement in
the eyes around the room.
I’m really sorry, I, it, was in the
library… and I just, I thought it was nice.. I’m sorry-
No need to say sorry, MAY! I asked
you to bring in a poem you liked
and you did just that.
MAY offers a weak smile.
But… Clara has a point.
Sometimes, we hear a lot of the
same… voices. Anyone got anything
not by a ‘very posh very dead white
I’ve got Warning by Jenny Joseph.
You know, ‘when I’m older I’ll wear
purple’… Jenny Joseph is a bit
dead, though, so…
I have that poem from the
inauguration… Amanda Gorman, The
Hill We Climb? Amanda Gorman is
definitely not dead, or white, or a
man… she might even be president
That’s very… political, though…
I mean… not everything is politics-
(overlapping with Taylor)
Poetry is political!
But people write about their
personal lives, and love, and
nature, and they’re not
political… that… that’s just
They look at the TEACHER. She gestures for them to continue.
Do you think that everything in
life’s political? Even the small
Yes… yes I do.
Taylor, what did you bring in?
I brought in June Jordan’s Poem for
My Love. It’s beautiful, and not
Well… it could be argued that
June Jordan’s work was very
political – she was a bisexual,
Jamaican-American poet who wrote
about gender, race and
representation, amongst other
But it’s love! Just because you’re
an oppressed person shouldn’t mean
that you have to always be
That’s privilege – when your mere
existence, let alone your equality
or rights, is not inherently
political, or a protest.
You both make good points…
Kaycee? What about you? What’ve you
(fumbling around with
I… brought… an A.A. Milne poem.
The guy that wrote Winnie the Pooh
I love Winnie the Pooh – I love
Eeyore. Anyways, it’s a poem in one
of my little sister’s books I read
See! Daffodils and Eeyore aren’t
(turning to AMELIA)
Well, A.A. Milne was a white man,
so he had the luxury of being not
political, I guess?… I don’t
A smug look from TAYLOR. The TEACHER observes this, brow
furrowed, then renews her smile, turning to CLARA.
Clara, you haven’t told us what
poem you’ve got?
Oh, no, it’s rubbish… everyone
else’s is so… they don’t wanna
hear mine, I mean…
Come on! I asked everyone and that
(spilling out, quickly)
My Wi-Fi broke and I, I didn’t have
any data and I was too scared to go
to the library…
TEACHER shoots her a sharp look. She looks down, sheepish.
(sharp intake of breath,
I wrote my own poem.
Beat. AMELIA’s eyebrows raise, and any sheepishness is
replaced by earnest. CLARA sees her interest and takes
courage from it.
(gesturing to AMELIA)
Writing is an act of protest,
I figure my own poem could be the
most… relevant one I’d find. Even
if it’s a small thing.
CLARA takes a deep breath, and raises the piece of paper to
eye-height. Her mouth opens to read. Cut to black.