Before the End of the World (a 10 min play)

 Before the End of the World 

Characters 

WOMAN 1: 26 years old, an auditor 

WOMAN 2: 25 years old, a freelancer 

STATION STAFF: middle aged, male 

Place 

A train station 

Time 

Someday in August 

In a train station. 

WOMAN 1 sits on a bench, reading a magazine and waiting for the train. Then WOMAN 2, carrying her luggage, enters. She stares at WOMAN 1 and walks close to her. 

WOMAN 2 

Do you mind if I sit next to you? 

WOMAN 1 

(looks at WOMAN 2 and smiled politely

That’s ok. I don’t mind. 

Silence. WOMAN 1 keep on reading, and WOMAN 2 sits down next to her, putting luggage aside. 

WOMAN 2 plays with her phone, but peeks at WOMAN 1 occasionally. 

WOMAN 2 

Are you also waiting for the next train to Chicago? 

WOMAN 1 

Yes. (Reading the magazine) Oh…my god. 

WOMAN 2 

What are you reading? 

WOMAN 1 

Some news. It says four months later, at the end of this year, there will be a massive meteorite impact that can destroy the world. 

WOMAN 2 (Laughs

That’s probably another fake news, just like the Yellowstone Park’s volcanic explosion. Don’t worry, the earth will survive from it, just like many times before. 

WOMAN 1 

Last time it destroyed a village, burned it to hell. Poor people… 

WOMAN 2 2 

Ok, ok, easy. In 1999, everyone said the earth was doomed, but guess what? Here we are, living in 2019. 

WOMAN 1 

Only a third of 2019 left. 

WOMAN 2 

Well…looks like you just can’t get rid of the prophecy out of your mind, don’t you? Ok, so…what will you do before “the end of the world”? 

WOMAN 1 

I don’t know…I mean, I have a long wish list: the places I want to visit, the books I want to read… (Pause) Forget it. What am I talking about? We’ve just met, and we won’t see each other ever again. 

WOMAN 2 

Don’t stop there. Just tell me. After all, we won’t see anyone ever again after four more months, right? 

WOMAN 1 

I guess you are right. Just, please don’t laugh at me… 

WOMAN 2 

I won’t. 

WOMAN 1 

Ok. Since I was a child, I always wanted to go to Venice. I was brainwashed by those romantic films and books. A city built on water sounds very romantic to me. 

The song “Voga e va, gondolier” by Nilla Pizzi starts. 

WOMAN 1 swings with the song. 

SONG 

VENEZIA RASSOMIGLIA AD UNA SPOSA 

VESTITA DI MERLETTI DI BURANO 

SOSPIRA FRA LE GONDOLE FESTOSA 

DAL LIDO ALLA LAGUNA 

COPPIE D’AMANTI, 

BUONA FORTUNA 

WOMAN 2 (Smiles) 3 

It is romantic. 

WOMAN 1 

Thank you. 

There’s only one problem…I don’t have time, and I can’t quit my job. 

WOMAN 2 

Why not? nothing matters on earth if the earth is going to vanish soon. 

WOMAN 1 

But we still have to pay rents and taxes before that. 

WOMAN 2 

Right. 

Silence. WOMAN 2 plays with her phone, WOMAN 1 keep on reading, but she peeks at WOMAN 2 occasionally. 

WOMAN 2 looks back. They get eye contact, and both of them want to say something to make the situation less awkward… 

BROADCAST 

The train to Chicago was delayed. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Please wait in patience, thank you for your cooperation. 

WOMAN 2 

(annoyed, but also relieved

Oh, come on! Why does this happen? How long do we still have to wait? 

A station staff comes closer. 

STATION STAFF 

Sorry madam, we don’t know how long it will take. A small meteorite just hit the incoming train, and we’re sending people to rescue the passengers. 

WOMAN 1 

Oh my god. 

WOMAN 2 

Oh my god. 4 

STATION STAFF 

Please wait for further announcements. 

The station staff left. 

WOMAN 1 

This is definitely a sign of the apocalypse. I hope the passengers are ok. 

WOMAN 2 

Me too. But there is nothing we can do… 

WOMAN 1 

We can pray for them. 

WOMAN 2 

I don’t believe in gods. 

WOMAN 1 

Well, you can still pray if you want to. 

WOMAN 2 

But whom am I supposed to pray to? 

WOMAN 1 

I don’t know. Maybe to the rescue team, or to the Marvel superheroes. 

WOMAN 2 

Fine. 

They both prayed for a while. 

WOMAN 2 

(reopens her eyes) 

Maybe the news is right this time…Maybe the earth will be destroyed at the end of this year. 

WOMAN 1 5 

On the bright side, the house prices are going to fall in the remaining months. 

WOMAN 2 

The stock prices too. 

WOMAN 1 

OH NO. 

They both laughed a little, staring at each other. 

WOMAN 2 

Hey, you know what? Your eyes are…beautiful. Has anyone told you? 

WOMAN 1 

No…it’s the first time. Thank you. (Shyly smiles) Yours are beautiful as well, like the water in Venice. 

WOMAN 2 

Wow. I’m flattered. 

They speak no more for a while, look at each other, both smiles. 

WOMAN 2 

Do you mind if I ask you a personal question? 

WOMAN 1 

I don’t mind, but I might not answer. 

WOMAN 2 

Ok, are you… (Pause) What’s your job? 

WOMAN 1 

Auditor. I like this job, but it upsets me sometimes. You have to face grumpy clients, and you’ll be yelled if you typed one number incorrectly. But I guess I need to keep this job… 

WOMAN 2 

Just in case the meteorite isn’t coming? 6 

WOMAN 1 

Yes, just in case. (Smiles) What do you do? 

WOMAN 2 

I’m a freelancer. I draw illustrations. 

WOMAN 1 

Sounds cool! Is it fun? 

WOMAN 2 

Not so fun if the clients are demanding and asked you to finish the work within two days. 

WOMAN 1 

Life is tough. 

WOMAN 2 

And short. 

Both sighed. 

WOMAN 1 

If you don’t mind…May I have a look at your works? 

WOMAN 2 

Sure. 

WOMAN 2 takes out her sketchbook and gives it to WOMAN 1. 

WOMAN 1 flips the pages carefully. 

WOMAN 1 

They all look amazing… (stops flipping) Oh, is this a Gondola? 

WOMAN 2 (Smiles

It is. 

By the way, what will you do in Venice, if you have time? 

WOMAN 1 7 

Oh, I’ll ride on a Gondola, passing through Renaissance places, take some pictures at the Piazza San Marco…and maybe feed some pigeons. 

WOMAN 2 (nervously) 

Sounds good. Well, actually, I have a suggestion… 

WOMAN 1 

Um-Hum? 

WOMAN 2 

We can join a Chicago River Cruise instead. 

WOMAN 1 (laughs

That’s totally different! 

WOMAN 2 (Smiles

I know. 

SONG 

HO VISTO DUE COLOMBI ANDARE IN ALTO 

VOLEVAN FARE IL NIDO IN PARADISO 

MA SON TORNATI A NOTTE SU RIALTO 

ED HAN LANCIATO UN GRIDO 

“VENEZIA NOSTRA SEI IL PIù BEL NIDO!” 

In the song, WOMEN 1 and WOMEN 2 look at each other, swinging together with the rhythm. 

The song pauses. 

The sound of the train arriving. 

BROADCAST 

The train to Chicago has arrived. We’re sorry for the inconvenience. 

WOMAN 1 stands up first, and then WOMAN 2 stands up. 

They take their luggage and face each other. 

WOMAN 1 

(returns the sketchbook to WOMAN 2, shyly) 8 

Thank you for showing me this. Your drawings are wonderful. 

WOMAN 2 

(takes over the sketchbook) 

It’s my pleasure. (Pause) Actually, do you mind if I sit next to you, again? 

WOMAN 1 (Smiles

You know I won’t mind. 

SONG 

VOGA E VA… 

GONDOLIER 

CANTA IL CUOR 

NON POSSO ANDAR PIù VIA 

PERCHé VENEZIA MI HAI FATTO INNAMORAR 

GONDOLIER 

In the song, WOMAN 1 gently touches WOMAN 2’s face and kisses her. 

The song pauses. 

WOMAN 1 

(notices the train doors are closed

Oh, I’m sorry. We’ve missed the train. 

WOMAN 2 

That’s ok. We can always wait for the next one. 

SONG 

GONDOLIER 

VOGA E VA… 

Song ends. WOMAN 1 and WOMAN 2 hold their hands and smile. 

The sound of the train leaving. 

End of play. 

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