Out on a Limb

Full Length Drama (2M, 2F, 1 boy + several pre-recorded voices) Running Time: 90 mins

What will it take to bring in a government that is truly committed to taking decisions which will have a real and lasting effect on the environment? Out on a Limb explores what would happen if a catastrophic natural disaster were to precipitate the emergence of a new party and new Government - the Reality Party. In the play, we see the changes, at a very human level, through the eyes of an old man who, while totally committed to sustainable living, finds himself at odds with the new legislative powers the government adopts and with his son who is a party activist. 

The eco policies of successive governments have failed. When a series of volcanic explosions in Iceland (and the resulting blanket of dust and ash) cause the country to be plunged into a 'year without summer', it only serves to mask the vastly increasing build up of greenhouse gases, storing up disaster on an ever larger scale. Subsequently, the imminent general election is contested by the newly formed Reality Party which sweeps to power on the back of greatly heightened public concern for the environment. Living at the end of a peninsula, George is happily retired and an example to everyone of how to practise sustainable living. His son, Brian, is a councillor and member of the Reality Party whose policies directly conflict with George's lifestyle. No longer, for example, are old people allowed to live alone in properties which are larger than their needs. A decision which George bitterly resents and protests loudly about. Brian is intent on forging a high-flying political career for himself and sees his father’s stance and resistance to the party's policies as a major hindrance to his ambition, with George's grandson, David, caught up in the subsequent drama. And, against this backdrop, Brian is acutely aware that he can hardly adopt any moral high-ground while he continues to have an affair with his Council colleague, Fiona.

Cast List

GEORGE - a man in his 70s who lives alone in a large house at the end of a headland. He is an example to us all of sustainable living, and is happy and very content with his life.

BRIAN - George's son, who runs a building company and is a local councillor. He is also very active working for the newly formed Reality Party and is a great supporter of its eco-policies, often advocating even more radical thinking, not merely because of its intrinsic merits, but also for political gain.

MAGGIE - Brian's wife, who also is a strong believer in more eco-responsible policies, but doesn't share what some might see as Brian's fanaticism. Warm-hearted and generous, she believes very strongly in George's lifestyle.

DAVID - Brian and Maggie's ten year old son who dotes on his grandfather. Like all children, he sees the world with an uncomplicated eye and can't quite understand the conflicts he gets caught up in.

FIONA - council member whose working relationship with Brian rapidly develops into something rather more and sets up a dilemma and inner conflict that Brian could probably do without.

In addition the following characters do not appear on stage and are all pre-recorded: GERALD MORGAN - charismatic leader of the Reality Party whose policies, in response to a global crisis, set in train other crises in the lives of the other characters. GRAHAM DICKSON - housing minister, far less charismatic and a bit weaselly. ANNOUNCER - VO only. NEWSREADER - Typical BBC/ITN type. INTERVIEWER - one line only. AIRLINE BOSS - short sound bite only. HOLIDAY MAKER - short sound bite only.

This article was updated on 13 December 2017