By Warwick McFadyen
Scene: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are sitting on a park bench. It is the turning of the season from spring to summer. The leaves have a fresh green colour to them. But something is amiss.
Guildenstern: It feels chilly. Do you feel it, Rosencrantz?
Rosencrantz: Don’t be mad Guildenstern. The sky is blue, the sun is out. My hands can feel the warmth on them.
Guildenstern: Well not to me. Perhaps there’s an invisible divide between us.
Rosencrantz: There never used to be one old friend. Disagreements at times I admit that, a seeing of the world from different angles, even a heated, if I may use the pun, exchange, but nothing to worry about.
Guildenstern: I tell you on this end of the bench it is cold. My lips are blue.
Rosencrantz: They are not. They are the same colour they’ve always been, slightly drained of blood, much like your sense of humour at my jokes.
Guildenstern: Well come and sit at this end. Let’s swap places and you can see how I feel.
Rosencrantz: Why should I entertain your madness? The weather cannot simply separate itself halfway down the middle of a park bench.
Guildenstern: Scared to prove yourself wrong are you? Come over here. Let’s swap positions.
Rosencrantz: My moving over to your side will prove nothing but that we sit on the same bench and that you are of doddering mind.
Guildenstern: A man of your convictions then? Willing to talk but go no farther.
Rosencrantz: This is getting ridiculous Guildenstern. What has got into you this morning that was not there last night?
Guildenstern: There’s been a change in the weather I know it. Do you not feel it in your bones? Until last night I could look at the stars and know their light, their ascendancy and formations through the sky. We’ve looked up at them enough times Rosencrantz you’ll agree with that (laughing). There has been a steadfastness, even when obscured by clouds, even when outshone by day’s light, in their placings. But now I am not so sure. Last night, I recognised nothing.
Rosencrantz: And this morning you are cold. It’s hardly the apocalypse. Perhaps it is all down to you. Perhaps your angle of lying was different to usual. Perhaps it was all a bad dream.
Guildenstern: No. No. Would the dream still be alive when I’m awake? I’m telling you something has changed the world axis and it’s giving me the shivers.
Rosencrantz: Well, let’s look at the facts. Only the facts. First, you and I physically have not changed. This park has not changed, nor this bench we sit upon. People still pass us by as they always do. There are still birds in the trees and on the grass. Night still follows day. If these things remain the same, then go back through your day. What did you do?
Guildenstern: Nothing was diff….. Oh wait, there was one thing, but it was such a little thing I thought no more of it.
Rosencrantz: Yes, yes, what was it?
Guildenstern: I read the news (pause). Oh, boy.
Rosencrantz: Guildenstern, what have I told you time and time again? Never do that! Aren’t we happy enough without it?
Guildenstern: I know. I know. But you were still sleeping and I was bored and the paper was blowing past. I grabbed it and thought, just once won’t do me any harm will it? It had a large picture of a man and even larger words saying, HE’S WON! His name was Donald Trump. The smaller words said he was going to be the next President of the United States.
Rosencrantz: Say that name again.
Guildenstern: Donald Trump. His name was Donald Trump and he was saying that he was going to be president for everybody, and that now was the time for everybody to come together and love each other, or something like that. Maybe not love, but you know, like each other a lot. He was going to make America great again for Americans. He didn’t mention anybody else.
Rosencrantz: Oh dear.
Guildenstern: What’s wrong?
Rosencrantz: Don’t you see Guildenstern? This is why you thought the heavens were out of alignment last night and why you awoke with a chill wind blowing around you. Last night you believed what you were told. You might not have consciously thought so, but deep down in your soul, a little flame came to life. And then this morning you awoke, and nothing had changed. You’re still here on this bench. I’m still here next to you. That nothingness was cold, hard reality hitting you in the face.
Guildenstern: No. Is it not worth believing, just to suspend disbelief? The world might get better. There’s always hope.
Rosencrantz: That’s true my friend, there is always hope. But hope means different things to different people. A rich man’s hope, such as Mr Trump’s, is not the same as yours or mine. I may be wrong. It’s possible. But it would take a very great man to step away, entirely, from the shadow of his towers of gold and not look back to help the likes of you and me.
Guildenstern: Yes. I see. He has his empire to protect, after all. His legacy of a lifetime gathering acquisitions, he wouldn’t want that to crumble. Perhaps Rosencrantz that’s what he really means about making America great again: What’s great for America is great for him, too! But it ain’t necessarily so for us.
Rosencrantz: Indeed. Feeling warmer now?
Guildenstern: I think I am. (pause) It wasn’t a bad dream was it?
Warwick McFadyen is a freelance writer and editor