Sionnán Ní Nualláin, Freshwater (Extract)

Sionnán Ní Nualláin is a playwright and theatre maker from Dublin. A recent Drama and Theatre Studies graduate from Trinity College, she is currently writing and directing a children’s theatre show as part of Scene and Heard at Smock Alley and is a founding member of performance group, Brolly Collective.

Glass shattering. Silence. The whirring of a mechanical fan. Scalding hot coffee. Humming in the distance. Humming getting louder. Mechanical fan. Humming getting louder. Mechanical fan. Silence.

Robert: She was suitable. Perfectly suitable for what I needed. She followed me followed me wherever I needed her. Willing to be led. When I was grumpy, she was happy. When I was angry, she was a soothing balm. It worked, we worked. Perfect match match match. Worked. I drank, I smoked, she toddled along behind me, helped me when I fell and never complained. Loved me unconditionally. Then she failed. She failed. She was no longer good, useful, she failed. It left. She left, I mean. How? Isn’t that what they’re for? What she is for?

Was it my fault?

I didn’t, I mean

I’m not deficient.

Am I?

Should I be?



No way.

No no.

No not.

I know I’m not.

Definitely not.

Could I have stopped?


Is it payback?

All wrong.

Or… no.

I never did anything wrong.

I was right.

She was wrong.

I still think it’s my fault.

My baby

She couldn’t even carry it.

We didn’t even know it.

But the knowing.

That hurt.

When I did know.

Know now.


That no.

This made me hate her

Makes me hate her

Hate her

Can’t think.

Love her.

Love Pearl.

Pearl is perfect for me.

She just needs to do better.

Work harder.

If she can just carry till it works.

Carry till it works.

Then happy families we will be happy happy families.

Right now I am not happy.

Not one bit

Not happy at all


Can’t even do that right

No, I’m being unfair. That’s. That’s completely unfair. It’s nobody’s fault really. She didn’t fall, I didn’t drink, we we we weren’t even trying. They said They said They said it was nobody’s fault. But if she wasn’t to blame why couldn’t she keep going? What did her body do?

It is my fault

It is my fault

And now, to go from not wanting, not having then having taken away to wanting.

There’s the crux. (crucifix)

Her body should do as it is told.

One body one breath one life.

This will make us happy families.

This will help us

Two lives.

Do what she is told.

This will save her.

This will save me

Pearl, please. For me. Pearl, please. I love you. This will make us right. You, me, and number three. We need you. We need three. I do I do I do and you do too.

We said I do. We meant I do and now you have to do. Pearl you have to do.

Listen to me

Listen to me

Listen to me

Listen to me

Listen to me

Listen to me

Listen to me

Listen to me

Listen to me

If you don’t listen to me you know what I will have to do. If you don’t listen to me you know what I will have to do. If you don’t listen to me and don’t do you know what I will have to do Pearl listen Pearl listen Pearl for god’s sake listen I love you listen.


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