Scene From The 21st Century – Issue 32

Black and white squares cover the stage.

Sixteen figures rush across the stage, bobbing and weaving in between one another, eight each in black and white clothes. They appear to have little idea about where to go. Instinctively they go forward, despite the obvious menace of the other figures amassing round them. From the castle in the background comes a number of horses, which stampede the minor figures, ridden by two kings, two queens and the odd bishop. The bishops ride in diagonal formations, taking out whatever figures they bump into.

The two queens appear to confer before running roughshod over the minor figures and the odd bishop.

Replacing the castle in the background appears an oversized clock face, without hands but ticking away evenly, steadily and quite alarmingly resonant. It even chimes every fifteen minutes without fail.

In the melee, yet wholly unaffected by the carnage, two kings, identical but for their lacquer – one black; one white – chatter away to each other, discussing absurdity, power and time management. In unison, they both bark out an imperative, and a phalanx of tarnished pawns emerge from the shadows carrying a hamper. Hurriedly, yet orderly, the pawns spread a sheet on the floor in readiness of a picnic. Soon the lavish sandwiches, cakes and ale are arranged on the sheet and the two kings tuck into the bounty.

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