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This Is What Happened / Adam Wyeth

This Is What Happened

By: Adam Wyeth

- I think sex is out of the question for this woman. - I’m not sure if sex is ever out of the question. - You mean some people don't ask to have sex but get it anyway? &...
ISBN 978-1-912561-58-2
Pub Date Sunday, March 31, 2019
Page Count 56
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- I think sex is out of the question for this woman.

- I’m not sure if sex is ever out of the question.

- You mean some people don't ask to have sex but get it anyway?
A new play by Adam Wyeth, This is What Happened is a trippy triptych bringing together three grotesque dramatic pieces that connect personal and cultural themes through a cracked media lens of narrative control and abuse. Each piece contains a heady cocktail of media spin and shocking talk-show showdowns, interrogating female objectification through dark humour and disarming language.

The book also includes a new essay by Adam Wyeth about his writing process called The Sacred Well.

Adam Wyeth’s work is fresh and intriguing, alive with imaginative riffs, grave humour and more besides – it rewards close attention.’  Derek Mahon

‘Strong and moving.’   The Independent

‘Fresh and imaginative.’   The Irish Times

Adam Wyeth

Adam Wyeth is an award-winning and critically acclaimed poet, playwright and essayist with four previous books published with Salmon Poetry. In 2019 he received The Kavanagh Fellowship Award. His debut collection Silent Music (2011) was Highly Commended by the Forward Poetry Prize. In 2013 Salmon published his essays The Hidden World of Poetry: Unravelling Celtic Mythology in Contemporary Irish Poetry, Foreword by Paula Meehan. His second collection The Art of Dying (2016) was an Irish Times Book of the Year. Wyeth’s plays have been performed across Ireland as well as in New York and Berlin. His play This Is What Happened was published by Salmon in 2019. In 2020 he received the Arts Council Ireland Literature Project Award and was selected for the Abbey Theatre Engine Room Development Programme to work on an audio production of about:blank. about:blank premiered at Dublin Theatre Festival 2021, performed by Olwen Fouere, Owen Roe and Paula McGlinchey - In 2021 he was a recipient of the Live Music & Performance Scheme for there will be no silence, a new music and text work, in collaboration with Emmy-nominated composer David Downes, performed by pianist Rolf Hind and cellist Adrian Mantu, with actors Aisling O’Sullivan and Owen Roe, produced by Pauline Ashwood. In 2021 Wyeth was selected for artist residencies at the Heinrich Böll Cottage and the Ámeto Mítico Residency along the Camino de Santiago. Wyeth lives in Dublin where he works as a freelance writer and teaches online creative writing correspondence courses at and He is an Associate Artist of the Civic Theatre, Dublin, and works on ideas and research for the RTÉ Poetry Programme.

Excerpt from This Is What Happened 


1  Female

2  Male

3  Male

PART 1 Commentators 

1  A woman is talking on the radio.

2  What? No, she is talking on the telly.

1 Yes that’s right, absolutely, my mistake, she is talking on the telly.

3 But the volume is down.

1  A mute woman is talking on the telly.

2  If she was mute on the radio she wouldn’t exist.

3  We should probably make it clear that the mute woman is speaking with sound in her mouth, but the sound is in fact turned down – quite naturally – on the telly.

2 Yes precisely, let’s make it absolutely clear that the woman is most probably – indeed very likely – talking with volume.

1  She’s clearly saying something.

2  But it’s not clear what she’s saying.

3  That’s what we’re saying.

1  That’s all we’re saying.

2  That’s all we can say for sure.

Slight pause.

3 The sound is right down. 

2 On mute in fact.

1  In fact – you’re correct – it is on mute.

2  That is to say, her words can’t be heard, not because she is mute, but because the telly is. 

3 The telly is mute.

1  No – correction – the telly is not mute.

2  The woman on the telly is on mute.

3  Precisely.

1  Which brings us to her mouth.

2  Which bring us – precisely – to her mouth that is moving in a way, which suggests words are being formed into... well... sentences. 

3 Well meaning sentences.

1  But in fact she is only producing, silence.

2  It does look like silence.

3  What we can gather is that she appears to be speaking at length on something vitally important.

2 Although I should point out this is complete conjecture. 

1 It is?

3 She may be speaking in – what’s known in the business as – absolute flapdoodle.

1  Flapdoodle?

2  Precisely.

1 Is that the same as horseshit?

3 No, flapdoodle.

2 Although I must admit that this is also conjecture in itself.

1 What we can say for sure is she’s speaking at length.

2  That is to say she still appears to be talking.

3  I think it might be fair to say at this point – that she hasn’t stopped talking for quite some time.

1  The mute woman on the telly.

2  We should probably make it absolutely clear to our viewers...

3  To who?

2  Our viewers.

3  Ah, yes.

2 That there is in fact no woman on the telly.

1  What he means precisely is that there is no woman literally on the telly.

2  No.

1 They are in fact inside the telly.

3 No, there is no one inside the telly.

1  On the screen of the telly in fact.

2  We should take this moment to make it crystal that there are no women literally on the telly set, inside the telly, nor on the actual screen of the telly itself.

3  Precisely. (Beat.) They are expressions.

1  They are – what shall we say – metaphors.

2  Metaphors, exactly, that have become everyday expressions.

3  Precisely, so as to be almost invisible.

1  Unnoticeable to the facts.

2  Absolutely. That is to say, these metaphors are so widely used and abused so as to be almost entirely negligible.

3  like a table leg.

Slight pause.

2  Sorry?

3  like the leg of a table.

1 What about it?

3 Well, the leg of the table is not really a leg.

2  What do you mean it’s not a leg?

3  It’s not a leg.

2 What is it then?

1  What he’s saying is it’s not literally a leg.

2  Why’s it called a leg then?

3  It’s called a leg but it’s not in fact a leg.

2  You mean there’s no such thing as a table leg?

3  Precisely.

2 But there is a woman?

1 There is indeed quite conspicuously a woman. 

3 And she has legs.

1  Naturally.

2  I want to know why there is no table leg?

3  What we do know is a woman is talking silently, most likely with legs, at even greater length than what we first supposed.

1  The woman looks very much at home on the telly.

2  What we can say is that this woman who looks very much at home is talking at great legs on the telly.

3  You mean great length?

1  You mean she’s been given a leg up.

2  I want to know how a legless table can stand up for itself?

1 The Riddle of the Sphinx.

Pause. 2 and 3 may look at 1, impressed or knowingly.

3 I think it’s fair to say she’s talking at great length with or without her legs on the telly.

1  We should point out there are no actual legs on the telly itself.

2  Not on the telly itself no.

1 Or inside the telly.

3 I concur that she does look very much at home on the telly but is in fact simultaneously not at home but in a studio.

2 doing two things at once.

1 The silent woman talking is a multi-tasker.

3 She may in fact be doing more than two things at once. 

2 Her leg may be moving under the telly.

1 Which leg?

3 You have a point.

2  I can’t see any leg.

3  He also has a point.

1  Are we concluding this woman has no legs?

2  I’m concluding I can’t see any legs.

3  let’s take it as read that this woman does have legs.

2  From where we are sitting.

3  At this precise angle, yes.

1  What about the table leg?

2  What about the table leg?

1 Is her leg touching the table leg?

3 We cannot see a table leg.

2 Therefore there is no table leg.

1 If there are no table legs what will he eat his dinner off? 

3 Metaphorically you mean?

1  Precisely.

2  In conclusion we have a woman on the telly, not literally, speaking silently, that is to say, most probably speaking normally, but with the sound turned right down so as to be on mute in fact, looking very much at home in a studio, talking at great length probably on a subject she is quite adept with.

3  This is at least how she sees it.

1 That is how we see it.

2  (referring to audience) This, is how you see it.

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