Stone Cold Love: A short play by Ciara Boyle
Fighting Words 2019: Ciara Boyle is 14 and a student at St Dominic’s Grammar School, Falls Road, Belfast
Brian is in a relationship with a pebble named Geraldine. Photograph: Getty Images
Brian: In a relationship with a pebble named Geraldine.
Mother: Brian’s mother (snarky).
Geraldine: Is a pebble, the love of Brian’s life.
Jenny: A young woman Brian’s mother is trying to pair Brian with.
Brian’s mum is hosting a party in her home so that she can introduce Jenny to Brian. Eighties music is playing in the background – I Want to Break Free by Queen.
Mum: Brian, Brian, this is Jenny. She works down in the library (giving Brian the eyes).
Brian: Mum, we’ve talked about this. You know about my relationship.
Mum: (brushes it off)
Jenny: Your mum tells me that you like to read. I do too, hence the whole library job (laughs).
Brian: (realising he’s meant to laugh) Ahahahahah.
Mum: I’ll leave you two to it (walks to other side of the stage, gives Brian the thumbs up).
Brian: (puts thumb in the air, second-thinks and awkwardly pulls it down).
Jenny: So, what’s your occupation?
Brian: I’m really sorry, I don’t want to waste your time because I’m currently in a relationship. I apologise, I’m truly sorry. She always does this (laughs awkwardly to fill the air).
Jenny: No worries, I get it, yeah. I’m just going to (gestures to off stage and walks off).
Mum: (walks over) Well, what happened there?
Brian: She was lovely and definitely things would have gone well, if I wasn’t already in a relationship (voice gets louder at the end). Seriously, Mum, we talked about this, you know about Geraldine.
Mum: Lower your voice, young man, we’ll talk about this later (sternly).
Brian: Mum, I’m 43 (shouts, miffed).
Before Brian walks on stage we hear him shouting from offstage.
Brian: Mum, have you seen Geraldine?
Brian walks on stage.
Mum: No, Brian, I haven’t seen your pet rock, probably went for a jog (laughs to herself, says it in a mocking and condescending tone).
Brian: Probably trying to run away from you . . . (tails off into a nervous laugh).
Mum: (gives a stern look).
Brian: Any idea where she might be?
Mum: I’ve told you, Brian, no.
Brian: I’m just really worried about her.
Mum: Brian I have told you time and time again to stop with this pet stone nonsense . . . (Brian cuts her off).
Brian: Can I just stop you right there? Before you continue to say hateful and hurtful words. I’d also like you to in future refrain from calling Geraldine “my pet stone” because, one, she’s not my pet, she’s my girlfriend, and two, she’s not a stone, she’s a pebble. And I know you’ll say: “Brian, there’s no difference between a pebble and a stone” (mocking voice) but in actual fact a pebble is a class of rock with a particular size of two to 64 millimetres based on the krumbein phi scale of sedimentology and a stone is naturally produced fragments of rock larger than a cobble. So really it’s like chalk and cheese (nervous laugh). That’s a rock joke (nervous laugh).
Mum: Stares at him and smiles.
Brian: Returns the look at her and leaves the stage.
Mum: Did you check under the sofa?
Brian: (from off stage) Yes, Mum.
Mum: What about your coat pocket?
Brian: Yes, Mum.
Mum: It will . . . (corrects herself) she will turn up.
Brian: Mum . . . She’s gone, I can’t find her anywhere.
Mum: I’m so sorry, Brian.
Mum: Comforts him.
Two months later.
Brian is handing out missing pebble posters to the audience. On the poster it reads:
Have you seen my pebble?
Call this number if you see her
Very distinctive colour and features
Please, if you see her.
Brian sits on the stage. His mum comes and sits beside him.
Mum: Still no luck?
Mum: Maybe it’s time you gave up.
Brian: If I went missing would you stop looking for me? No. It’s the exact same thing, I love Geraldine and I’m going to find her.
Mum: Okay (pats his head).
Both leave stage.
Mum re-enters the stage and throws the pebble in the bin!
Stone Cold Love was one of six debut plays by writers aged 14-16 written and produced as part of The Right Twig, a new collaboration between Fighting Words Belfast and the Lyric Theatre supporting the next generation of NI playwrights. The plays were performed in the Belfast Children’s Festival 2019.
This story took shape at one of the workshops run by Fighting Words, which was founded by Roddy Doyle and Seán Love in 2009 to nurture young writers around Ireland. It is now in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Mayo, Wicklow, Galway, Donegal, Kerry, Wexford and Kildare.