A Play, Because my Relationship with the News Inspires that Kind of Passion
My Relationship with the News
A Play by Josie Rush
To be performed by people with entirely too much time and very little theatrical ambition.
We open in a newsroom right before a broadcast. An anchor is surrounded by make-up artists and hair stylists. The cameraman shouts "Ten seconds!" and there is a moment of organized chaos as papers are shuffled, lights are brightened, and people bump into one another as they clear the set. Soon it is only the anchor behind the desk, and as the cameraman mouths "Three, two, one..." any stress from the moment before is erased from her features, replaced by an easy smile. Some sort of music is playing in the background to welcome the viewers.
SALLY: Hello, and welcome to Channel 1 News, where we give you news you care about. My name is Sally Jones, and I will be acting solo tonight. My co-anchor, John Mills, is out trying to find another interesting spin on the Michael Jackson story. We're sure we can get another few months worth of stories on that, and John's not allowed to come back until he finds something we can use. Good luck, John. Wherever you are.
Pauses and recaptures her winning smile.
SALLY: (continued) Have you ever wondered about the role the news plays in the lives of young adults? Of course you have! Who hasn't? Tonight we will answer that question for you. We have Ted Victor live at Seton Hill University with the story. Ted?
TED: Standing in front of the cafeteria entrance as students walk past. Thank-you, Sally. I'm here at Seton Hill University to find out just how important the news is to the average college sophomore. In order to bring you the most accurate, unbiased, ethical report possible, I'm going to follow an unknowing young girl around campus, observe her actions as they pertain to the news, and then relate the information back to you as though she represents the entire populace. Ah, here comes our subject now.
And, sure enough, there I am, walking into the building, listening to my Zune as is my normal, social butterfly-esque practice.
TED: Stage-whispering and following none too stealthily, but acting as though he is the Crocodile Hunter, stalking dangerous prey. Now, Sally, this is a school that offers its students free Tribune Reviews. Josie's route to class will take her right by the stacks. Let's see what happens.
Nothing, really. I walk directly past the piles. Ted gives a gasp of shock.
TED: Why, she walked directly past the piles! The free newspapers were ignored. Can you believe that, Sally?
SALLY: Well, Ted, this generation isn't much for the printed medium anymore. They're very eco-friendly.
A shot of me tossing emptying out my overflowing folder in the trashcan. Papers fall to the floor around it.
TED: Good point, Sally. There are other ways to get your news. As the viewers at home are well-aware, Josie could simply watch a broadcast to catch up on what's going on in the world around her.
Luckily for Ted, my next stop is the Cove, where the overhead television is turned to the news. I sit for a second, then turn to the only other person in the room.
ME: Do you care if I change this? Ellen's on.
RANDOM PERSON: Shrugs Whatever.
TED: Why, Sally, she's just changed the channel!
SALLY: Humming the Ellen theme song. Sorry, Ted, I missed that. Ellen's on, you know.
After a few minutes of television, I get out my laptop. Ted, kneeling behind a garbage can, peeks out eagerly.
TED: Ah, here we go, Sally. She's connecting to the internet....
Shot of me, sighing angrily.
TED: (Continued) Oh, well, she's attempting to connect to the internet...There appears to be some problem with the school's connection...Perhaps now would be the time for a commercial break?
SALLY: Great idea, Ted.
Commercial break is over, we're back to Ted.
TED: After an angry trip to the IT department, Josie is back, and she has internet connection. Though, her attempts to actually learn about current events have been non-existent so far...
SALLY: Well, Ted, even if this isn't a news watching attempt, we have to remember, the internet may be used for homework. College sophomores have a lot of that, you know.
TED: I don't know, actually, Sally. I never went to college. I went to acting school. Anyway, you're right. Perhaps while on cyberspace her studies will be a distraction from the news. Let's see if we can find out what's going on. Sally, I'm going in.
Ted hides his microphone behind his back and whistles nonchalantly as he slowly walks past me. He leans over my shoulder and peers at my computer screen. I turn and give him a dirty look, and he sprints away, diving behind the trash can.
TED: I was spotted, Sally, but I don't think she suspects anything. I was able to glimpse the website she was on. Facebook. Not the news at all, Sally. Not the news at all.
SALLY: Thank-you, Ted. I'm sorry to hear about this sad turn of events. It appears that this young lady completely disregards the news, living in her own bubble, unaware of what's going on in the world around her. A bit self-absorbed, maybe?
TED: That does appear to be the case, Sally. She didn't even notice that I was following her.
SALLY: Well, Ted, in fairness, you were very sneaky.
TED: Thank-you, Sally.
SALLY: Well, that's all the time we have for tonight, folks. Thank-you for joining us at Channel 1 News, where we give you news you care about. Unless you're Josie Rush, apparently.