From Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play
I ran into a guy in the Walmart. We were talking about duct tape – there isn’t
any left at the Walmart, of course, and I never got any before because I thought, well, really, what’s the use, and now I’m sorry because it’s handy and I hate going into houses, I’m not good with the stink, so we were talking about where would still have it – he had a really good suggestion which is the janitorial areas at schools – and anyway we were talking about duct tape, and he had a cousin who worked at a nuclear power plant, Oyster Creek it’s near Asbury Park and he said
Where is that. Where is Asbury Park. How many miles from here.
Gibson is reaching for his Atlas.
It’s around a hundred.
Indian Point is actually a lot closer.
How much closer.
There is a pause.
What did he say? The guy. You ran into him at the Walmart and he said.
He said that they’re that what happens is that when the plant operators take the
plant offline that the cooling pools, which is where, you know
That that whole system continues to operate and that the radioactivity, the rods,
are fine, basically, for as long as there’s electrical power to the plant. They just sit there, it’s fine. And that when the power goes out there are massive generators, and they continue to power the plant and the cooling pools for, weeks. But then they run out of fuel.
And the electricity stopped, and the fires started and everyone is really, distracted, and he realizes, he gradually realizes, you know I don’t think anyone is thinking about this. And the weeks are kind of...ticking away.
The fires were before.
The fires. No. The fires were after.
The fires started before the grid went down.
The big fires. The crazy explosions. Those were after.
Not where I was.
It depended on where you were.
Yeah I’m just. All right. Before. After. Before.
Anne Washburn’s work has been produced by 13P, American Repertory Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, Dixon Place, Ensemble Studio Theater, London’s Gate Theatre, Soho Rep., DC’s Studio Theater, Actors Theater of Louisville, and Vineyard Theatre. Her plays have been published by American Theater, Theater Magazine, and Playscripts. She holds a BA in Theater and Literature from Reed College and an MFA from NYU. Washburn has held several MacDowell and Yaddo residencies between 2008 and 2013, and was a 2009 Guggenheim fellow. Her play Mr. Burns was produced at Playwrights Horizons in the fall of 2013 and at the Almeida Theatre in London in 2014; The Internationalist was first produced at 13P in 2004. Her play Mr. Burns was produced at Woolly Mammoth in the Spring of 2012, at Playwrights Horizons in the fall of 2013 and at the Almeida Theatre in London in 2014; The Internationalist was first produced at 13P in 2004.