Categories
DYSTOPIAN BOOKS

Poverty Porn

A Screenplay.

Poverty Porn questions society’s rationalising of homelessness as an acceptable part of the capitalist social order.

Please note: Copyright © 2023 applies. This play is available for optioning or theatre production on request to aralbereux@gmail.com

ACT ONE

Two homeless men and a woman sit on a church’s steps, people-watching on the busy main street of a city. A passerby stops to take a photo of them before walking away.

MAN 1:      The houses aren’t what they used to be.

MAN 2:       The people aren’t what they used to be.

WOMAN:    (nods)Losing value, the houses.

MAN 1:       Must be the environment. The urban development. Changing values. Banks. Interest. Corporations. Greed. The Crisis.

MAN 2:       The GFC?

MAN 1:       (annoyed) Yes. Thee Crisis. The houses aren’t what they were.

WOMAN:    Look. (points to the distance) More are coming.

MAN 2:       Hurry. Get ready.

MAN 1 sighs and adjusts his blankets and hat full of coins as though they are props of a production.

A group of tourists with cameras approach them and stop. They take photos of the homeless group. The homeless group poses for the photos this time, smiling broadly, changing positions for each photo until the tourists are satisfied and leave.

MAN 1:       Give them what they want.

WOMAN:   Nothing’s ever good enough.

MAN 2:       (holds up a gold coin that had landed on his jacket) I’m happy.

MAN 1:       You didn’t do anything.

MAN 2:       I didn’t have to. You did it all for me.

WOMAN:   Workers and hierarchy. Nothing changes. We need more people to compete.

MAN 1:       Shouldn’t be too hard to find. Plenty of us. Will be plenty more.

WOMAN:   (points finger again) They have more people and look at the crowds around them.

MAN 2:       Yes. More of us are needed.

MAN 1:       We’re everywhere. Like a collective. More of us soon. Like a feature. A blimp on the radar, but here. MAN 1 turns to MAN 2. Where were you once?

MAN 2:       I don’t understand your question.

MAN 2 adjusts his blankets again and pockets his gold coin.

WOMAN:   I do. (nods to MAN 2) He was nowhere. Always nowhere. Born like this. Born into this. No chance. No help. No hope – except this.

MAN 1:       Not me. 

WOMAN:   Not me, either. (pauses, looks up)Quickly. More are coming. Maybe we can get lunch after this.

MAN 1:      (counts the coins in his hat)Maybe I can buy lunch today.

WOMAN:   I was an actor.

MAN 2:       Oh. I was born like this.

MAN 1:       I was an architect for a large corporation. But they’re all just titles now. (points to the audience) Just like them.

THE END.

EXEGESIS

Poverty Porn questions society’s rationalising of homelessness as an acceptable part of the capitalist social order. The audience is lulled into voyeurism through the photographers’ curiosity. However, towards the end, Man 1 clarifies how no one is above becoming homeless. Action needs to be developed further, particularly towards the end, with consideration given to MAN 1 pointing to the photographers rather than the audience to provoke the audience’s reflection of their own worth in society.

Caryl Churchill’s Far Away and This is a Chair inspired how to tackle the dialogue, while Will Eno’s Oh, The Humanity reminded me of how space can be used to provoke image and emotion.

Copyright © 2023

By Aral Bereux

Aral Bereux is a freelance journalist, author and editor. She has written on many topics, including AI, climate change, geopolitics, history, finance, religion and philosophy. Bereux’s writing has appeared in various online publications including Zero Hedge, AnonHQ and Antimedia.com, and she was the only Australian author shortlisted by Lulu for her short story contribution to their Anthology.

Her first chronicle of the J Rae books documents a different Isis with an ideology, referencing RFID chips, attack drones and a totalitarian world created by capitalism. Written in 2012 but conceived in the early 90s before ISIS and the war on terror existed, the J Rae books document a dystopian society that is truly avoidable but well on the way to reality and are accused of capturing the brutality of what it is to be human in a time of crisis.

As a journalist and editor, she's interviewed mining companies, policy experts, well-known environmentalists and activists such as Marc Cheng, biohackers, the Anonymous Collective, fiction authors and more.

Aral Bereux's passion lies within the Dystopian genre and the world as it relates, with a strong focus on censorship, surveillance, and the need for critical thinking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s