Moveable Type is a new podcast series and an aural counterpart to the Moveable Type Journal. On this page you can read the transcript for Episode 8, which features gravity, a play by Katie Caden.
This is the Moveable Type Podcast.
In today's episode, we are pleased to share with you our very first radio play. The play we will be sharing with you today is called Gravity and it was written by Katie Caden. Caden is an alumnus of Soho Writers Lab and has had her work performed at Vault festival, the Bunker Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Theatre 503, Camden People's Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre. Her last show 'Paper Straws', produced by her theatre company PearShaped, won the Vault Origins award and her first play 'Are You Happy Now' was shortlisted for Lyric Hammersmith's Original Theatre Voices competition.
Caden's writing explores contemporary issues, and interrogates the way we live our lives today, experimenting with form and often using humour as a way to communicate serious issues. She writes to understand other people, and herself, exploring why we behave in the way we do? Why do we make poor decisions and repeat our mistakes? And what drives us to hurt each other or conversely express our love? Writing 'Gravity' in response to Unfeeling, the theme for this year's issue, allowed Caden to consider these things and, in particular, how people can express their love through their actions whilst saying they don't care, and conversely how we can tell people we love them and then behave like we don't. All the characters battle with these impulses and the push and pull between feeling too much and feeling nothing at all. Alongside this, Caden has included technology almost as an extra character, interfering with these dynamics, pulling attention away from the situation at hand, and impacting the characters' ability to feel to the fullest extent.
THERAPIST That must be really challenging for you -
LEANNE (PAUSE) It’s a lot of responsibility
THERAPIST Can you tell me what emotions that brings up?
Do you feel worried? Do you feel sad?
LEANNE I thought you weren’t supposed to put words in my mouth
THERAPIST You tell me in your own words then
(A TEXT TONE GOES)
I thought we made an agreement
LEANNE It’s my niece
(THE SOUND OF TYPING)
I need to pick her up.
THERAPIST Can it wait a little while? We still have 15 minutes of our session.
LEANNE This is the thing really. There’s just so much to do all the time. My life has just got very – busy.
THERAPIST And how does that make you feel –
LEANNE I’m sorry. Let’s put a pin in it this week.
(MORE SOUNDS OF TEXTING)
THERAPIST So I’ll see you next week?
LEANNE If you want.
THERAPIST It isn’t really about what I want Leanne
LEANNE I’m just telling her I’m on my way.
THERAPIST This is a two way street. It’s a relationship. But it feels – one sided. Do you want to keep coming?
(SOUND OF LEANNE PUTTING THE PHONE BACK IN THE BAG)
LEANNE (SIGHS) I guess the thing is I’m not like – depressed – or like anxious. So I don’t like – know why the university referred me really.
THERAPIST The circumstances you have described to me sound very challenging and it would be fine for you not to be okay in your situation.
LEANNE I really need to go and get Ellie now
THERAPIST Well have a think this week about what I’ve said. And whether you are going to engage with these sessions going forward.
(A TEXT TONE GOES AGAIN)
THERAPIST Goodbye Leanne
LEANNE (RECORDING A VOICENOTE) Hi Lottie – it’s me. Sorry sorry sorry I know I haven’t responded to your first message, messages... I thought I’d send a voice note as I’m walking. How European. I feel terrible. Things have just been – urgh. I need to pick up Ellie, she’s just finished football and I said I’d take her to Creams. Your question is… Can I get a drink tonight? Can I get a drink? I would love to but… I need to see really. I need to see what things are like with Sophia – you know. Whether I can leave Ellie, or whether I stay the night there or whether he needs to come back to mine. I dunno. I dunno. Sorry not helpful. Probably no -
LEANNE - but just text me where you are later and maybe I will.
LEANNE Yeah, just let me know where you end up. (SHE ENDS THE VOICENOTE) Hi.
SUPERVISOR I’ve been trying to catch up with you – about your chapter.
LEANNE Yes sorry I’ve been (TEXT TONE GOES) busy.
SUPERVISOR I mean the main thing is that it’s not finished
LEANNE Yeah it’s a work in progress. And the deadline isn’t –
SUPERVISOR It’s in two weeks. Can I schedule in some office hours for you? You say you’re not on campus much –
LEANNE Today is an exception.
SUPERVISOR I have an hour free now.
(LEANNE’S PHONE RINGS)
LEANNE I’ll email -
SUPERVISOR You seem distracted
LEANNE My niece – I’m – she’s finished her football practice –
SUPERVISOR I want to support you but you need to tell me how
LEANNE Let me look at my calendar when I get home
SUPERVISOR Couldn’t you look now it’s on your phone right?
LEANNE I’m sorry I’m just not in the – (HER PHONE RINGS) - headspace.
SUPERVISOR Do you want to get that?
LEANNE (BEAT) No.
SUPERVISOR Please Leanne – just respond to one of my emails. Just tell me when you’re free. Don’t let the last two years go to waste.
(SOUNDS OF A SCHOOL PLAYGROUND)
SOPHIA (ON ANSWERPHONE) Leanne. I’ve been thinking about things again and I think you’d be better off without me, I -
ELLIE Who are you on the phone too?
SOPHIA (ON ANSWERPHONE) - know you don’t want –
(LEANNE ENDS THE MESSAGE)
LEANNE It’s just a message.
ELLIE From Mum?
LEANNE No. No. Urm one of my friends.
ELLIE It sounded like my Mum.
LEANNE Yeah similar. Ellie, I need to make a quick call.
(LEAVING A MESSAGE QUIETLY) Hi, it’s Leanne – can you – urm – do you mind just knocking on next door – urm – seeing what my sister is doing – she sent me one of those – urm – messages. Those messages I told you about. Sorry to ask. I’m not – nearby. Just text me telling me it’s all fine. If it’s you know – fine. Thank you.
Okay little man – so what’s it going to be? Ice cream or milkshake?
(CAFÉ SOUNDS AND TEXTING)
ELLIE Can I go on your phone?
LEANNE What are you going to do?
ELLIE Go on Tiktok.
LEANNE Hmm – five minutes. It’s not good for you. It will do stuff to your baby brain.
ELLIE I’m not a baby.
(TIKTOK VIDEOS PLAY FOR A FEW MINUTES. THEN THE TEXT TONE GOE)
LEANNE Okay that’s enough.
ELLIE I can just tell you what the message says.
LEANNE No. Ellie. Give it to me.
ELLIE I already saw the message.
LEANNE We’ll go now if you don’t give me the phone.
ELLIE It said ‘Not herself but okay’
(SILENCE FOR A MOMENT. THEN WHATSAPP TONE)
ELLIE And Lottie says they’re meeting at The White Horse at 8.
LEANNE Give me my phone.
ELLIE No need to yell.
LEANNE I’m not. I didn’t.
ELLIE When can I have a proper phone? My phone doesn’t do anything.
LEANNE Not my decision.
ELLIE All my friends already have iPhones.
LEANNE You don’t have to be like everyone else.
ELLIE I want to be though. Are you looking at Instagram?
LEANNE No. I’m texting Lottie.
ELLIE I can see you’re scrolling.
LEANNE It’s work stuff.
ELLIE For your PhD?
LEANNE Yeah that’s right.
ELLIE About addiction.
LEANNE Who told you that?
ELLIE You did.
LEANNE Did I?
ELLIE What are you doing now?
LEANNE I’m emailing my supervisor.
ELLIE Do you have to do it right now?
LEANNE (PAUSE) No, no I don’t. You’re right. I don’t. Tell me about football.
ELLIE We won! And I scored a goal.
LEANNE Well done Ellie
ELLIE Yeah and everyone said it was an amazing shot – I was running up the wing and then -
WAITRESS Two milkshakes. I have peanut butter and I have… salted caramel. Can I ask that you pay for it now?
LEANNE Urm… Yeah. Yeah of course. I can use my phone?
(THE SOUND OF PAYING)
WAITRESS Yeah that’s been declined.
LEANNE Ah fuck. I need to – I need to – move some money. One second –
(AT SOPHIA’S HOUSE. THE SOUND OF A KEY IN A LOCK AND A DOOR OPENING)
SOPHIA Through here. Hey. Give me a kiss.
LEANNE What have you been doing?
SOPHIA Tidying the house.
SOPHIA Who are you texting?
LEANNE Lottie. We’ve got plans tonight.
SOPHIA You’re not staying tonight?
LEANNE I’d rather not.
SOPHIA What are you looking for?
LEANNE I’m seeing what food you’ve got in.
SOPHIA Well I don’t keep anything edible under the sink Lee.
LEANNE Not necking tide pods then?
SOPHIA Or in the cutlery drawer for that matter.
LEANNE What are you going to make for dinner?
SOPHIA I was thinking of ordering in.
LEANNE No, Sophia, she needs something nutritious, she’s been playing football.
SOPHIA Excuse me mother. What are you taking a picture of?
LEANNE Nothing. Can I go and look upstairs?
SOPHIA Are you kidding?
SOPHIA I have nothing to hide.
(SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS ON STAIRS)
SOPHIA Ellie. Come here. How was football?
ELLIE I scored.
SOPHIA You did not! You’re amazing. You are. You’re gonna go pro – I know it. You’re like fucking David Beckham.
ELLIE Mum, he’s old.
SOPHIA Ellie, don’t say mean things about David. Do you want pizza for dinner?
(SOUND OF STAIRS AGAIN)
LEANNE Are you going to be okay tonight?
SOPHIA I don’t know what you mean.
LEANNE You know exactly what I mean. Your message.
SOPHIA I didn’t -
LEANNE No – don’t do that.
SOPHIA I don’t remember what I said.
(LEANNE’S PHONE RINGS. SHE PICKS UP)
LEANNE Yes I’m at Sophia’s. I just dropped Ellie back.
SOPHIA Who are you on the phone to?
LEANNE Yes – he seems fine. He seems good.
SOPHIA If that’s fucking Jason.
LEANNE (TO ELLIE) Ellie – are you good? (TO SOPHIA) Jason says don’t swear in front of Ellie.
SOPHIA Oh isn’t that just lovely that the two of you have your own little conversations without me.
LEANNE He’ll pick Ellie up after school tomorrow. (TO THE PHONE) I’m not going to stay do you mind? (TO SOPHIA) Will you get her to school on time tomorrow?
SOPHIA Ellie – your Dad thinks I make you late for school.
ELLIE Mum never gets up in time for school.
LEANNE No, it’s fine. I think she’s okay today actually. Bye. Speak soon. (SHE HANGS UP) I’m going now. Shall I take this on my way out? (BOTTLES CLINKING AS SHE PICKS UP A BINBAG)
(LOUD MUSIC – THE WHITE HORSE)
LOTTIE HEEYYY! Look who it is? I thought you were working?
LEANNE Done for the day.
LOTTIE You finished the chapter?
LEANNE More or less.
LOTTIE What do you want? Beer?
LEANNE Yep yep – anything.
FRIEND How’s your sister Leanne?
LEANNE Yep yep – doing really good. On the road to recovery.
FRIEND Oh I’m so glad to hear it. Honestly I don’t know how you do it. It must be soooo difficult.
LEANNE I just need to make a quick call. It’s Sophia – I brought Ellie back from school. I put her art project in my bag – I’ll be right back.
(SHE PICKS UP THE PHONE)
NEIGHBOUR There’s very loud music coming from next door. I just thought you should know.
LEANNE How loud?
NEIGHBOUR Can you hear it? I think someone might call the police Leanne.
LEANNE Have you asked her to turn it down?
NEIGHBOUR I knocked and there was no answer. Maybe she can’t hear.
LEANNE Have you tried Jason?
NEIGHBOUR I didn’t think that would go down well.
LEANNE I’m… out
LOTTIE Here you go
LEANNE I’ll call you back.
LOTTIE – what’s up?
LEANNE Sophia – I think she’s having a bad day. It’s been a bad week to be honest. Or month.
LOTTIE Just don’t get upset about it.
LEANNE I don’t get upset about it – because it’s not like I’m even – it’s not like she’s even Sophia when she’s like this – it’s someone else entirely
LOTTIE Don’t let it spoil your night.
LEANNE I can’t stay Lottie –
LOTTIE Oh Lee. Take the night off!
LEANNE I don’t know if I can.
LOTTIE You’ve been MIA recently. Just have a night for yourself.
LEANNE This night’s for you! It’s not for me.
LOTTIE Oh I’m sorry it’s that unpleasant spending the evening with me.
LEANNE It’s not you. It’s - I’m getting an uber –
LOTTIE You literally just got here.
Why don’t you just talk to me and not think about it for a night?
Why aren’t you even looking at me?
Have you just opened facebook?
LEANNE What no! I don’t know. Okay I’ll stay. I’ll just finish this drink.
LOTTIE If I double park you will you stay for two?
JASON (VIA VOICENOTE) Hey Leanne – urgh sorry I know it’s late. I’ve got Ellie. I’ve taken her back to mine. Josephine rang. Look it got pretty heated – you should probably go over. She was like screaming and throwing stuff. She was razzed you know. I don’t know what happened today. She seems worse – can you talk to her? I just – can’t - you know. Can you go over there? I know it’s like – not your responsibility. But we’re getting divorced – so it’s not like – mine. Yeah. I know it’s been messy since your Mum died. But she can’t blackmail me. I didn’t want this to get dirty with Ellie – I wanted us to come to an arrangement between us – not with the lawyers and shit - but I don’t know – I don’t know – it’s not right for her growing up in that house. It’s hard for me cos I didn’t like – sign up to this – full time – you know. Didn’t think it was going to be a full time arrangement. But we’ll see how it all feels in the morning. After you’ve spoken to her. Let me know you’ve got this. Let me know you’re going.
SOUND OF DOOR OPENING
SOPHIA (SHE’S BEEN CRYING) Hey – you want to watch Selling Sunset?
LEANNE What happened here?
SOPHIA It was Jason.
LEANNE Jason threw a glass did he?
SOPHIA (MEEKLY) Yes
LEANNE And Jason was the one playing music too I suppose?
SOPHIA What music?
LEANNE WHAT MUSIC? And what’s that?
SOPHIA It’s tonic water.
LEANNE And where’s Ellie? Is he upstairs?
SOPHIA (SIGHING) The bitch next door dobbed on me.
LEANNE I drop everything for you.
SOPHIA I didn’t ask you to come over.
LEANNE You’ve got the gravitational pull of the fucking sun.
SOPHIA I get emotional sometimes. It’s Mum and the divorce.
LEANNE Then I come running over and you’re just here watching some shit on TV.
SOPHIA Now we can watch it together.
LEANNE What would you do if you couldn't get in touch with me?
SOPHIA You’re my family. It’s your job to protect me.
LEANNE It’s not my job! I bloody wish someone was paying me.
SOPHIA And you just pretend to ignore me all the time. I know you get my messages and then you don’t reply.
LEANNE When you keep calling me saying you don’t want to be alive anymore, how I am supposed to know if you’re being serious or not?
SOPHIA You should just presume.
LEANNE What does that mean? Hey? Presume you’re fine? Presume you’re being serious? WHAT?
SOPHIA (PAUSE) I’m joking Leanne aren’t I?
LEANNE Well it’s a fucking shit joke.
I’m not picking up anymore. I’m not picking up ever again.
SOPHIA Well don’t come crying to me if you regret that decision.
LEANNE You’re not being serious
SOPHIA Aren’t I?
LEANNE No – because we’ve done this a hundred times before. But you’re not going to call anymore because no one is.
(SOUND OF SMASHING)
SOPHIA What the hell are you doing?
LEANNE You can’t call if I don’t have a phone.
SOPHIA How are you going to find your way back?
LEANNE I know the way
SOPHIA Do you have your bankcard on you?
SOPHIA And what are you going to listen to on the way home?
LEANNE Nothing. I’m just going to listen to – the street – the sound of the street and the cars. And the night -
It’s going to be silent. And it’s going to be golden.
SOPHIA Are you going to stay here tonight?
SOPHIA Do you want a drink?
LEANNE No Sophia –
SOPHIA A tea, a tea – I meant a tea.
This is the last time.
SOPHIA I’ll come with you to get your phone fixed in the morning.
LEANNE I mean it.
SOPHIA You want sugar?
LEANNE - Eve Colyer
SOPHIA - Regina Co
ELLIE - Sophie Edwards
JASON - Eliot Taylor
THERAPIST - Sarah Chambré
WAITRESS – Sarah Chambré
SUPERVISOR - Miriam Helmers
NEIGHBOUR - Sarah Edwards
LOTTIE - Oliver Toloza Chacon
FRIEND - Damian Walsh
The sound editing was done by Sarah Edwards.