This actually happened…
Small dinner party of four hyper-articulate people in their early to mid-thirties. Upper-middle class. FRANK AND ANGELA’s apartment is urban. Stylized—dimly lit.
Several empty wine bottles sit on the table. And they are still drinking with the exception of KIRSTEN who is visibly pregnant. SCOTT and KIRSTEN are the other couple.
KIRSTEN: It’s an anti-feminist idea.
FRANK: So what are you saying? Let the kids die?
KIRSTEN: No, don’t be sarcastic. I am talking about the “women” in “Women and children first.”
ANGELA: I agree, it’s patriarchal.
SCOTT: I theoretically agree.
KIRSTEN: What does that mean?
SCOTT: I just don’t think I’d be getting onto a life raft before a woman.
Kirsten stands up, and both Scott and Frank stand slightly up.
ANGELA: Kirsten, what do you need?
KIRSTEN: More juice.
ANGELA: Get that for her Frank, will you?
Frank stands up and heads to the kitchen.
FRANK: (Mumbling:) Women and children can’t be first, but men get the juice.
ANGELA: (Calls into the kitchen:) Yes. Exactly. Who did all the cooking tonight?
ANGELA: Scott, you have a kid and another on the way. We don’t have children. You would step aside so I could get on the raft?
SCOTT: I should get on ahead of you, but I wouldn’t get on ahead of you.
Frank returns with a pitcher of juice. Pours it into Kirsten’s glass. He bows and sits. Kirsten nods her thanks.
KIRSTEN: I would have less trouble if it were mothers and children.
SCOTT: But that’s still sexist, isn’t it? Anti-feminist, you say.
KIRSTEN: You’re right. Parents and children?
ANGELA: That doesn’t seem fair. All parents before those who don’t have children? I’m not comfortable with that.
FRANK: Not comfortable? This is life and death—it’s not a matter of comfort, Angela.
ANGELA: What if one of those childless … no, childfree … people was a brilliant scientist who would cure cancer? What about going by age? Youngest to oldest.
Angela sips wine and looks around as if she’s solved the problem.
KIRSTEN: That would be a little problematic in an emergency. Everyone getting out their IDS. You would have people lying about their age.
SCOTT: That would be a cluster fuck. Here’s a dilemma you girls can tackle. If we go by women and children, where do transgendered people fit in all this? Have you thought about the transgendered?
Frank pours himself more wine. Frustrated. He looks around the table. Gluttony. Platters of food still half full; plates are empty—stained with food.
KIRSTEN: I’m the one who started this conversation. So the question is, honey, do you have a problem with the transgendered? Would you step aside to let a transgendered woman on the life raft?
FRANK: This is getting ridiculous.
SCOTT: Don’t trick me into saying something homophobic. I’d let on anyone dressed as a woman.
ANGELA: So what about a woman dressed as a man?
SCOTT: Fuck. You win. I think it should be primary caregiver and child.
ANGELA: Right, and people need to get out their tax returns? I see that happening on the Titanic.
SCOTT: (Laughing:) No, couples would just be fighting about who does more around the house.
ANGELA: Anyway, if only primary caregivers were saved, and everyone else died, who would drive the economy?
SCOTT: It’s a ship sinking right? Not the planet.
ANGELA: Could apply to the planet. Armageddon and all.
KIRSTEN: Yeah, who gets on the rockets to go to the biosphere on the moon?
SCOTT: Then you have all the people who just want to go to the moon.
FRANK: (Drunkenly but seriously:) This is ridiculous. What is so wrong with chivalry?
ANGELA: There’s chivalry and then there’s chivalry.
FRANK: That makes no sense. I can open the door for you, but not let you get on a life raft or moon craft first?
KIRSTEN: One is tradition and politeness. The other is life. It matters.
FRANK: (Pounds the table:) Exactly! Women give birth. They are the life force of the planet. It’s beautiful. Special. And that gift …that gift of giving life …it should be protected. That’s not a bad thing.
Awkward silence. Kirsten, Angela and Scott look down, waiting for the first one to burst out laughing.
SCOTT: Well then, what about sperm? Me thinks the swimmers might actually give life.
Kirsten, Angela and Scott burst out laughing.
FRANK: Fine. Sperm and children first. Fuck all of you.
ANGELA: With cloning around the corner, maybe it should just be women and children-
KIRSTEN: Women scientists and children!
SCOTT: Wait, now there’s no men in the biosphere.
ANGELA: Are we actually going to need them?
And so the conversation continues…