Playwright

Health Ethics Plays

 

Copyright Notice

These short plays about ethics are fully protected under the copyright laws of Canada and all other countries of the Copyright Union, and are subject to royalty. Rights to produce, film or record, by amateurs or professionals, in any medium or by any group, and all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translations into foreign languages, are held by the author. Permission for a reading copy of scripts and the right to present these plays, including public readings in an educational context, must be secured from the author in writing. The author may be reached at info@katherinekoller.ca

 

The Carousel Ride

Drama.  Two Acts.  3 males, 2 females.

Helen is desperate to find a healthy kidney for her son, Sean.  Esperanca, Sean’s Brazilian nanny, is equally desperate to bring her four children to Canada.  The relationship of Helen and Esperanca is tested and layered by the transplant of a kidney from Johnno, Esperanca’s son, to Sean.  The transplant surgeon, Dr. Caro, is the catalyst for Helen’s journey of self-doubt and letting go, and Esperanca’s contrary journey of self-identity and taking charge.  Where the two women intersect is at the focal point of motherhood.  How far will they go for the sake of their children?  What would you do?

 

Waterfall

Comedy. One Act (10 minutes). 2 males.

SPIFFY is in a care centre, but is getting forgetful. His son, ALEX, wants to bring him home. ALEX needs to convince his wife, fifty and taking a law degree; his son, who’s now away at school but who would have to give up his room at home; and most of all, he has to convince SPIFFY that if he leaves the care centre, he’ll never be alone.

 

 

The Circle Game

Drama.  One Act (15 minutes). 1 male, 2 females.

It’s Madeline’s ninetieth birthday tomorrow, but she needs her feeding tube repaired.  Madeline just wants to be heard, but her caregivers circle her, attending to their own needs.

 

Bite of the Spider

Drama.  One Act (20 minutes). 1 male, 2 females.

Patti battles moral distress when her psych patient, Buddy, is told to leave by the charge nurse, Jan, who has a zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior.  It may be the best for the incoming patient waiting for a spot, but what about Buddy? What about Patti?

 

Queenie’s Castle

Drama. One Act (20 minutes). 2 females. Also translated into French and into Cree.

Queenie is a patient who has run away before and doesn’t want treatment now, after a miscarriage. Olivia, her nurse, must stay morally engaged despite the possibility that Queenie will run away again.

 

A Frog in the Well

Drama.  One Act (20 minutes). 1 male, 2 females.

Jim has made good progress in the surgery ward; his fractures are healing, and he is becoming a master at left-handed writing and shaving. His nurse, Wanda, has been told to move him on, but the special spinal cord unit Jim needs is full. There are pressures for beds always, but what happens when a patient is not emotionally ready to move? For Jim, a new paraplegic as a result of a car accident, moving means acknowledging his new body. In addition, Jim’s wife has some earth-shaking news for him. How does Wanda make Jim understand that his journey to recovery is ongoing and that her ward is just one step in the process?

Excerpt

JIM: You can tell Wanda that I’m not going anywhere.

MOLLY: You can tell her yourself.

WANDA: So, Jim, you heard the good news? Your discharge plan has been approved by the team.

JIM: No one asked me for approval. Discharge, as in goodbye?

WANDA: Jim, we started your discharge plan the day you arrived. Your fractures are healing, your exercise tolerance has improved, and now you’re ready to move on to the next level of care.

JIM: The only part of me that’s moving is my left hand.

WANDA: I’ve told everyone how well you manage with one hand. You’re writing with your left hand now and you’re my best left-handed shaver.

JIM: I can’t go home like this.

MOLLY: No, you can’t come home. Not yet.

JIM: So where?

WANDA: You need to go to rehab. The next step to independence.

JIM: I can’t even sit up yet.

WANDA: You’ll go on a stretcher, in an ambulance. Lots of people do.

JIM: What’s the big hurry?

WANDA: Do you remember when you had to wait for a bed in ICU?

MOLLY: Jim had to wait three days in Emergency.

WANDA: It’s complicated. There’s a patient who needs to come to this unit from ICU. And someone else needs to go to ICU from Emerg. It’s a constant juggle, to make sure every patient is in the best place for them at the right time.

MOLLY: It’s a foodchain.

JIM: Then I’m just. . . roadkill. Throw me in a truck going to the dump.

 

The Thing with Feathers

Drama.  One Act (20 minutes). 1 male, 2 females.

Farley, a retired professor, has quit eating and refuses pain medication. His immediate problem is pneumonia, but he also has cancer, and he doesn’t want his daughter, Carol, to know about it. Carol is overseas, and otherwise Farley is alone, except for the nurse charged with his care, Jane. Despite Farley’s written, firm orders, and even when he suspects the truth, Jane conceals the fact that she has called his daughter Carol to be with him, to help him decide on some kind of treatment or move to a more appropriate care facility. The trusts and failures of trust that occur in the murky waters of truth-telling are explored by these characters: the value of dignified dying, compassionate communication and acting on of one’s own needs rather than others’ wishes.

Excerpt

JANE: Controlling the pain is not going to slow down the process or speed it up.

FARLEY: I need to hold on to my senses. If I can still feel, I can still think.

JANE: With good pain management, you can still have a clear mind. Think of your wife. Did Sarah have much pain, Farley?

FARLEY: She fought so hard! When she hurt, I hurt, too.

JANE: It will be the same for Carol.

FARLEY: I don’t want Carol to bear the pain for me.

JANE: It makes it a little easier on everyone.

FARLEY: I see. So you’ll revise that for me.

JANE: I’ll have to get an order from Dr. Singh. I’ll tell her you’ve changed your mind.

FARLEY: Changed it, but not lost it. Oh, and tell her, on the off chance that Carol shows up without my calling her, tell the doctor not to say anything to Carol about the cancer.

JANE: But Farley, that would be lying.

FARLEY: No. If you tell me that you did not call Carol and you really did, that is a lie. When I choose not to tell Carol about the cancer, that is simply omission. My purpose is to protect Carol. Yours seems to be built on a need to get rid of me.

JANE: No, Farley.

FARLEY: I’m dying as fast as I can.

 

Fires of the Full Moon

Drama.  One Act (20 minutes). 4 females.

Lucy is bipolar, certified and off her meds because she is 38 weeks pregnant. Her mother, along with a psych nurse and the maternity charge nurse, try to justify a caesarian section delivery, which has been ordered by the hospital obstetrician. Lucy just wants the “jumping bean” off of her, but her mother, Miranda, worries that a c-section will be even harder for Lucy after delivery, when Miranda will be responsible for both her bipolar daughter and the baby. Jessie, the psych nurse, hopes that despite Lucy’s unstable mind, Lucy’s body will take over. Freya, the charge nurse, wants this delivery over and done with as soon as possible in her very busy maternity ward. How do these stakeholders decide what is best for Lucy and her baby?

Excerpt

LUCY: Labor means work.

JESSIE: That’s right, Lucy.

LUCY: I don’t like work. I don’t like hurting.

FREYA: Lucy, did the doctor talk to you about having a c-section?

LUCY: I saw the movie. C-section is the cut.

FREYA: Yes, but you don’t feel it. We give you medicine.

LUCY: You just open it and take it.

FREYA: And stitch you up again nice and tight.

LUCY: Yeah, I want you to get it off me.

LUCY hits her belly. JESSIE holds her hands.

FREYA: So you want a c-section?

LUCY: Yeah. Let’s do it now. Gimme the medicine.

FREYA: I’m taking that as a yes.

Copyright Notice

These short plays about ethics are fully protected under the copyright laws of Canada and all other countries of the Copyright Union, and are subject to royalty. Rights to produce, film or record, by amateurs or professionals, in any medium or by any group, and all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translations into foreign languages, are held by the author. Permission for a reading copy of scripts and the right to present these plays, including public readings in an educational context, must be secured from the author in writing. The author may be reached at info@katherinekoller.ca

 

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