from Rumors of Polar Bears (full-length version) by Jonathan Dorf

Genre: Drama

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Romulus, one of several teens surviving in the aftermath of a climate induced catastrophe, keeps watch as the others settle down to sleep. Once he’s sure they’re asleep, he pulls out a ratty book.  In the play, Romulus is male, but for audition or classroom purposes, this could be performed by an actor of either gender.

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I found this book. We're going through a squat like we do when we find one that's got nobody in it, which is always. Water food weapons power coin clothes fun and games, always in that order. Stick to the order—it might save your life. And this squat—no, this house—is so beautiful I want to live in it forever. They got windows like you wouldn't believe, and a pool that makes the party pool look like a bucket. No, like a puddle. Only the water's gone of course. And they got a giant bed and an almost giant bed and then just a really big bed—they got so many beds you could sleep in a different bed every day for a week. And if I could just get one night in even the really big bed, but Deme says the big dead is right behind and gotta keep moving. So I'm grabbin' everything I can, everything I can fit in every pocket, and I open a door and it's a library. A library. With books. Fancy books with fancy covers and gold and silver writing.
Water food weapons power coin clothes fun and games. Don't jump the order. No way does a book beat a can of tuna. No way does a book beat a can of anything. I can hear Deme screamin' at me in my head. And I look at all the gold and silver books and I know they're too big and let me just leave now before I— It's so thin and the corner of the cover is folded over, but the cover has these two tiny people and this tree that looks dead and a whole lotta empty, and I just gotta have it, cause it looks like us.
I read it when Deme's gone. I've read it 17 times. Except for the end. Somebody ripped out the last three pages. So I don't know if the man comes or not.
(From the play:)
Nothing to be done.
I was two when Dad came home from the play, but I still remember. And when I do the play, I feel him watching. I know it's not his face I see, but it's my make-believe dad's face, and he's smiling.