“#hashtags”: A Play Scene about the Qatar Blockade

This weekend I am hosting my first guest from the US, a friend and colleague of mine from my days at UW River Falls. He and I will be venturing out into the desert and hanging out at Souq Waqif, so I won’t have time to blog about my very busy week—mostly a lot of work matters related to midterms coming up next week. Still, wanting to keep up my weekly ritual of blogging, I thought I would share something that I worked on this week: a very quick play scene about the hashtags related to the Qatar blockade. Oh, did I forget to mention that I’m part of a team developing a play?

One of my department tasks this semester is to help develop a play about the Qatar blockade. Last week, the play team met and chose roles. I asked to be one of the script writers and set designers. My choices were honored, and so I had to hammer out two play scenes this week: one scene involving pathos and one involving humor. Now, I can be funny in English, but I was worried that my sense of humor wouldn’t translate to a Qatari audience, so I tried to figure out a creative way to make something else do the “humor” heavy lifting in my scene. My shrewd idea: internet memes. Yes, internet memes, the new universal discourse for communicating opinions about all things.

I did some research about popular #hashtags related to the Qatar blockade and found some thread with funny posts, so I strung them together into a scene. It was no Bill Shakespeare move; however, in order to be topical, I had to err on the side of expediency. Thus, the genesis of this week’s blog post. Enjoy!

“#hashtag”

The scene opens with two young girls on opposite ends of the stage. The girls are in their respective homes: one is sitting on a bed; the other is sitting in a chair. They are communicating via their phones.

Girl 1: I have bad news.

Girl 2: What?

Girl 1: So my cousin in Saudi Arabia is getting married, but my family can’t go to her wedding.

Girl 2: That sucks.

Girl 1: Yeah. Her family is thinking about having the wedding in Kuwait. Inshallah.

Girl 2: Inshallah.

Girl 1: Ever since the blockade, this is how my family feels.

[appears on screen]

Girl 2: Where did you find that tweet?

Girl 1: I searched the hashtag #qatarblockade.

Girl 2: I try not to look at the sad tweets about the blockade every day. I like to see funny stuff.

Girl 1: Not all of it is sad. Look at this one.

[appears on screen] 

Girl 2: That’s a little funnier. But I still feel bad for the egg that’s cracked in the dark.

Girl 1: What about this one?

[appears on screen]

 

Girl 2: Definitely better. Still, your tweets are for a grownup.

Girl 1: What do you mean?

Girl 2: Did you see the tweets for the hashtag #qataristomach.

Girl 1: No. What is that about?

Girl 2: Remember when that Saudi said that we wouldn’t be able to handle milk from other countries?

Girl 1: Yeah.

Girl 2: These are the memes that appeared.

[appears on screen] 

Girl 1: Haha.

Girl 2: See? Isn’t better than newspaper cartoons?

Girl 1: You don’t like my political cartoons because you’re still a child!

Girl 2: I’m only 2 months younger than you, Mom!

Girl 1: Don’t say that!

Girl 2: KKKK

Girl 1: I try to read tweets in English, and I noticed that the foreigners and Doha are even making jokes about the situation.

Girl 2: What hashtag?

Girl 1: #dohaunderseige Check this out.

[appears on screen]

Girl 2: What does “eggactly” mean?

Girl 1: It’s an English pun. You know “exactly?”

Girl 2: Ugh. I hate puns. They are like dad jokes.

Girl 1: Yeah, but sometimes they are so bad that they are funny.

Girl 2: You would like dad jokes because you’re a mom.

Girl 1: Not funny!

Girl 2: KKKK

Girl 1: There’s a new hashtag that is pretty funny. It’s #wedemandqatar. Check this out.

[appears on screen]

Girl 2: I like Minions and Eid, but I don’t get the hashtag.

Girl 1: You know. It’s like a joke about the demands made for Qatar. Check this one out.

[appears on screen]

Girl 2: Haha. I get this now.

Girl 1: Check this one out.

[appears on screen]

Girl 2: I don’t get this one.

Girl 1: It’s from the American show Breaking Bad.

Girl 2: He kind of looks like a teacher in the Foundation Program.

Girl 1: He kind of does.

Girl 2: He also is the same age as your future husband.

Girl 1: I hate you!

Girl 2: KKKK

Girl 1: Here’s a meme about the blockade that sums up my feelings about you.

[appears on screen]

Girl 2: Haha.

Girl 1: Sometimes the only way to fight injustice is with humor.

Girl 2: True. Well, I hope that your family can go to your cousin’s wedding.

Girl 1: I hope so too.

Girl 2: I have to go now.

Girl 1: Ok. Take care.

Girl 2: Bye!

FIN

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