This won the Lewes Fair Trade Writing Competition in 2006. It was written and produced as a piece of comic street theatre, originally performed in Haywards Heath Shopping Centre.
The figures used for this piece were correct in July 2005 – will need updating.
INTERVIEWER – Preferably a woman
MAN – preferably with a decent physique
VARIOUS PEOPLE TO HOLD UP RELEVANT PLACARDS
The interviewer and helper stand looking like they are about to pick someone out of the crowd. The people with placards stand to one side. The man casually walks past and is accosted.
INTERVIEWER: Excuse me sir – do you know where that shirt comes from?
MAN: No idea – the wife got it for me – nice isn’t it?
Interviewer looks at the label down the back of the man’s shirt.
MAN: Oi, get off.
INTERVIEWER: Made in Bangkok. Do you know how much they pay the women who make these shirts?
MAN: No, and I don’t care.
INTERVIEWER: They’re paid virtually nothing.
MAN: They get no pay?
INTERVIEWER: Hardly anything.
MAN: They must get something!
INTERVIEWER: Enough to pay for food and rent. That’s it.
MAN: That’s alright then.
INTERVIEWER: But it won’t pay medical expenses – there’s no NHS out there.
MAN: No NHS!
INTERVIEWER: They get paid £1.09/day for a 6 day week – which makes it £6.54 a week.
MAN: No way!.
INTERVIEWER: She can’t exactly hit the town on a Saturday night, with that sum! Would you work those hours for that pay?
MAN: What do you take me for?
INTERVIEWER: So you agree it isn’t fair? This shirt is the result of mega exploitation of the workers.
MAN: Too right.
INTERVIEWER: People like that should be paid a proper minimum wage.
Interviewer and helper start to take the man’s shirt off
MAN: What…..now look here….what are you doing?
INTERVIEWER: You don’t want this shirt now do you?
INTERVIEWER: You want to stand up for workers rights don’t you?
MAN: I suppose so…but what am I supposed to wear?
INTERVIEWER: Buy fair-trade clothes – look on the net – meanwhile
(takes shirt off) show off your chest!
Man stands a little straighter- possibly flexes his muscles and does a pose.
People with placards put them down and applaud.
INTERVIEWER: Now, about the trousers.
MAN: So, they’re on the cheap side – you don’t have to go on about it.
Interviewer looks down the back of his trousers.
MAN: Oi! Will you stop doing that!
INTERVIEWER: These trousers are from Cambodia – the sweatshops there employ children as young as 12 to work up to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week – they’re mostly girls.
MAN: You’ve got to be joking.
INTERVIEWER: [to audience]Who’d like to send their 12 year old to a sweat shop? She could earn you – oh anything up to £8 a week! Oh, And they don’t worry about silly things like safety in sweat shops – it’s quite likely she’ll get a needle through her finger on a regular basis. She may well have to work standing up for 8 hours at a time with no break – as for proper lighting, well….
MAN; It’s disgusting!
INTERVIEWER: They do employ plenty of adults – you’d be very welcome.
MAN: I’d work for a different company.
INTERVIEWER: They’re all the same except the fair trade companies, like Gossipium and People Tree.
MAN: I’d get a job with them then.
INTERVIEWER: Well you’d better buy some trousers from them – look them up on the net. But your trousers were made in a sweatshop in Bangkok! Off they come my boy!
They start to take the man’s trousers off
MAN: Heh! Stop that! You’re tickling!
Man gets left standing there in a pair of swimming trunks or shorts – maybe boxer shorts – the funnier they look the better.
INTERVIEWER: A fine pair of legs! Now don’t be embarrassed – these nice people only want to stare at you.
INTERVIEWER: Where were we? Oh yes – your pants..…
Man puts his hands over his crotch. Policewoman appears.
POLICEWOMAN: Hello, Hello, Hello – what have we here? Exposing yourself in public (starts writing on a notepad)
MAN: I can explain everything, officer – this person was just telling me about the girls in Bangkok.
POLICEWOMAN: Was she now…
MAN: I’ve got to take my trousers off – you see – my trousers are the result of exploitation and..
POLICEWOMAN: I think you better come with me – and bring your exploited trousers with you.
(Policewoman takes man away)
MAN: I can explain everything… it was her fault….
INTERVIEWER: Stop taking the shirts off the backs of the poor – buy Fairtrade and ask for Trade Justice Now!
Interviewer, helper and people with placards step forward and say together
ALL: Trade Justice Now!