SEAN FARRELLY, 22
Sean Farrelly is a writer currently based in Dublin, Ireland. For him, writing is the ultimate escape, and he has been putting words on paper for as long as he can remember. Farrelly utilizes writing as a way to build community and make people laugh; he says it is cathartic to get out of one’s head and tell a story. He believes that in the current political climate, his purpose as a writer is to encourage imagination and empathy for those who are most unlike oneself.
As a member of a theater company, Farrelly divides his time evenly between plays and books. In 2017, Farrelly wrote his first full-length play, Friction, using verbatim interviews he conducted on university campuses about the normalization of sexual assault and rape culture in Ireland. The response to Friction was an eye-opening experience that cemented Farrelly’s dedication to writing.
In 2018, he attended the inaugural International Congress of Youth Voices—a truly remarkable experience that opened his eyes to the activism happening internationally and the networks of like-minded people who are determined to make real change. He participated in the writing of a manifesto that weekend and was a part of the panel that presented the document to the Equality Festival in Ghent, Belgium.
This year, Farrelly has begun studying to become a Primary School teacher at university while pursuing the publication of his first book. He wrote and produced Curve, a play about the Irish Education system and is currently facilitating drama workshops with young children about the homelessness crises in Ireland.
an excerpt from the play Friction
by Sean Farrelly
ALVA, CATELYNN, and HALE are on stage. All are in their late teens. All wear black. All are strategically placed around [a] fire structure.
ALVA: Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the “fasten seat belt” sign. If you haven’t already done so, please stow your carry-on baggage underneath the seat in front of you or in the back of your mind. Now we request your full attention as the flight attendant demonstrates the safety practices.
CATELYNN: I just think…I think... I think a lot of these things come from experience and if, honestly, if you’re blessed enough to, to like go through life and live a completely normal life and have never had one of those interactions that completely changes or solidifies something that you hoped was not true, um, I think then you don’t, not, it’s not naivety, but you don’t have that same sense of like not everyone’s out to get you but that like, I don’t know it’s… it is kind of like an edge like it’s a bit like, eh, you’re a bit harsher on the outside like you’re a little bit pricklier? Because, you know, no one likes being vulnerable.
(HALE demonstrates as ALVA narrates the “safety instructions.”)
ALVA: When walking down a dark street, you must grip onto your keys. Insert the metal key in between your middle and index finger, and grasp tightly. To release the pressure in your chest, walk quickly and avoid eye contact with passers-by. We suggest that you keep your keys held tight during the duration of the walk, as we may experience turbulence.
CATELYNN: No, but like, I think we’ve all had experiences… where we’re like: OH MY GOD! Even… even something as recent, as basic as my job, like, where I work like, we don’t have any security, so we’ve, we don’t have anyone there who kind of is a deterrent? ‘Cause that’s what security is, it’s a deterrent, it’s eh… But I had a, I had a man come up to me at the counter and I don’t mind when I’m at the tills because it’s like a barrier between me and the other. The rest of the world. (pause) And I can get out and I can do anything. I can go upstairs and get the phone. So it’s fine, but he, he like bumped into this other female customer and she kinda, she didn’t even say anything. She was on the phone, she just kind of looked at him and was like, “What the fuck?” And he instantly dived into like, “Ah fucking women,” like, “Ah you have no sense of humour, take a joke.” And I was just like… I didn’t… I’m not going to say anything to this blok… Like, ‘cause I’m just like, I was just like, I’m ignoring you… “Are you okay?” To the female customer. Like “Look, are you all good? Do you want to come behind the counter? Do you want me to show you anything? What do you need?” And she was like, “No. Don’t panic. It’s fine.” And then he turns to me and he goes, “It’s not like I’m going to tie her up... but I might tie you up.”
ALVA: There are several emergency exits in any given situation. Please take a few moments to locate your nearest exit. In some cases, your nearest exit may be behind you. We recommend sitting at the back of rooms to decrease any risk of being grabbed from behind. In the event of an emergency, please assume the bracing position. (Lean forward with your hands on top of your head and your elbows against your thighs. Shout loudly for help) At this time, your portable electronic devices must be turned on, fully charged and ready to call.
CATELYNN: I had another customer come in and he looked like a scared husband and because of like, the nature of you know the place where I work, eh, it’s so, like, out - you have to be so like: ‘OH MY GOD, WELCOME,’ and so I was like, “Come on in, like, don’t be afraid.” And he went, “Okay then” and he pulled me into a hug? And I was like… okay, this isn’t the worst, like, this could be worse, and I was like, “Okay, this is fine.”
ALVA: In the event of breathlessness from running, your house will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull your keys out and open the door. Once inside, lock the door firmly behind you and breathe normally. When the situation does not escalate, oxygen will begin flowing again. When traveling with a child or someone else who requires assistance, secure yourself first and then assist someone else.
CATELYNN: But he wouldn’t let go and I was like, “Oh, eh, uhmm.” I was trying to like, push him away... and then I felt his stubble on my face, on my cheek and I was like, THIS IS A DANGER ZONE! And then I felt his lips like, right there and I managed to like, push him off and I just like legged it to the other side of the shop… but he hung around for an hour and then waited outside…
(Lights fade down.)
ALVA: You will find this and all the other safety information by way of your mother or from friends’ anecdotes. We strongly suggest you listen before leaving the house. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. We wish you all a safe and enjoyable life...