Doodle

Science, Poetry & Pinter

A small library. A door leading to the outside up right. Studded leather armchair, centre. Behind the armchair is a floor lamp; the curtains are open and the lamp is switched off. Sam is sat on the chair reading.

Sam: Hello?

Pause.

Sam puts down the book and looks up. 

Sam: I mean, hello. Yes that is much better, hello. 

Pause.

Sam: Sorry, force of habit. Where to begin? In the beginning... too trite. In the end... too laboured. 

Pause. 

Sam: Can we start again? If it's okay to start again, then don't say anything. 

Pause.

Sam: Good. Hello, my name is Sam Illingworth, or if I am complaining to the gas company about my bill, Dr Samuel Illingworth. I am a lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in the UK.

Pause.

Sam: We used to be a polytechnic university, but now we are a post-92 University. I like that we now consider ourselves to be a proper noun, I find it oddly comforting. Anyway I digress, apologies for that. I have a habit of digressing; a habit for digressing and for dropping horrifically inappropriate malapropisms. I once told a young lady that I intended to ride a gonad in Venice.

Pause.

Sam: Again, I digress; apologies. As I was saying, I am a lecturer in Science Communication at MMU. My research interests include using theatrical technique to improve effective communication skills, and investigating the public perception of what scientists actually do. I also teach undergraduates and  postgraduates how to effectively engage with a variety of audiences. It's a pretty sweet gig.

Sam looks wistfully towards the door. At least he tried to look wistful, in reality he probably looks like he is about to pass wind. 

Sam: Before I got this job I used to work up the road at the University of Manchester (UoM), as a postdoctoral research assistant, studying greenhouse gases in the Arctic. UoM are a Russell Group University. That matters to some people. 

Pause. 

Sam: I really liked that job as well. Nothing quite compares with flying at two hundred metres per second at fifty metres above sea level over the Arctic Sea. It certainly cured my phobia of flying. In fact I would recommend it to anyone suffering from aerophobia. Well maybe those with deep pockets; the Atmospheric Research Aircraft costs about ten thousand pounds per hour to run. I digress, again. 

Pause.

Sam: I really like poetry. In fact let me be a little more specific. I really like writing poetry. Like many middle-class teenagers I thought that I was the next Shelley. Like many middle-class teenagers this turned out not to be the case. Poetry got me into theatre, which got me into Japan (via a scholarship from the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation), which got me into using theatre to improve communication amongst researchers, which got me into my job at this post-92 University. So really, I have poetry to thank for all of this.

Pause.

Sam: You can find links to some of my poetry on this site. As well as some of my other musings on Science Communication and pedagogy. I hope you like it.

Pause.

Sam: I really do. 

Sam picks up his book and begins to read; the lights fade to a spot and then out. 

 Curtain

[Special Thanks to Dr Jones @ratbotcomics for the awesome image used on this page]