What’s going on?

A Play in One Act by Viktor Berin (a.k.a feynmanadmirer)


JUMP To SCENES: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,

22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35

SCENE 1 (At the Gates)
(There are two big signs. The first one, on the building, reads “The After Death Collection and Sanitation Station”, the second – on the pole – “You Are Dead”. Some graffiti: Heaven sux, (in Russian) “Mest Net!” – “No Vacancies!”)
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(A zooming sound, a thud. Two people -BONNIE and BOZO as if dropped at the Gates. Then some personal belongings are thrown after them)

(BOZO gets hit by an empty petrol canister)

BOZO
Easy, easy! Ouch!

(Then with an exhaust pipe)

BOZO

Ouch! My word, they are overdoing it.

(Reads the sign)

BOZO

(He speaks as if to BONNIE, but BONNIE is not listening)

“You are dead” It cheers you up, doesn’t it. And then they hit you with this crap in case you are not quite there.

BONNIE

Here we go.

(BOZO and BONNIE are sitting on the ground regarding each other)

BOZO

Hello.

BONNIE

What?

BOZO

Hello.

BONNIE

Oh my goodness.

BOZO

What’s happened?

BONNIE

What do you mean “What’s happened?”. We are dead, for Pete’s sake.

BOZO

And?

BONNIE

Nothing. Just dead.

BOZO

You from the car accident?

BONNIE

Yes. So it was you. Good lord!

BOZO

Yes. Can I say sorry? But how else do you meet people, unless you run into them?

BOZO

My name is Bozo.

BONNIE

Bozo?

BOZO

Yes. What is yours?

BONNIE

My goodness.

BOZO

What?

BONNIE

It’s all finished.

(Pause)

BONNIE

What a waste. You have a cigarette?

BOZO

I don’t think I’ve got any left. Yes there’s one.

BONNIE

No. Thanks.

BOZO

Take it.

BONNIE

No. Thanks.

BOZO

Or… or we could share it.

BONNIE

Share? Oh, OK.

(They share a cigarette)

BOZO

So what’s your name?

(Bonnie is not listening)

BONNIE

What a life.

(BOZO reads aloud the sign at the Gates, then reads the graffiti)

BOZO

“Not to be confused with the Nearly Death Experience”, “Peter stinks”, “[beep] Shakspeer”, (in Russian) “Mest Net!” – “No Vacancies!”

(Reads another graffiti)

“Heaven sux”.

(They finish the cigarette)

BONNIE

My name is Bonnie.

(BOZO nods)

(BONNIE combs her hair, checks herself in the mirror, applies her lipstick)

(To BONNIE)

Hey, can I borrow your lipstick for a sec?

(BONNIE gives BOZO her lipstick)

(BOZO gathers himself up)

(BOZO writes)

“What is the purpose of life?” Then he crosses out “life”…)

BOZO

Do you have another lipstick? I need a different color. Just kidding.

(…and writes “the Afterlife”)

BONNIE

Keep it simple. Just write “Why”

BOZO

“Why” what?

BONNIE

Why anything, for goodness sakes.

BONNIE

Well, where to next?

(There are signs pointing to the left and right. One that points to the left reads “Car accidents”, the other – “Natural causes”)

BOZO

(Reads the sign)

We’ll have to walk this bit now.

(BOZO offers BONNIE a hand to stand up)

(BONNIE gets up)

BONNIE

Thanks.

Where were you going before we crashed?

BOZO

Nowhere in particular, actually. Just driving. Couldn’t think clearly at the time.

BONNIE

Just what I thought.

BOZO

Had this idea that there was someone or something waiting for me.

Guess I was right. You?

BONNIE

I was being late for a show.

(She checks her watch)

BOZO

You were doing at least a hundred.

A concert?

BONNIE

No, I had a role in a theatre production.

BOZO

Oh, right. What did you play?

BONNIE

I was a Woman in some sort of domestic comedy.

BOZO

Did you like the role?

BONNIE

It wasn’t much of a role. Just gadding about. We all were pawns in some – supposedly – greater design.

But it beats me what it was.

BOZO

You mean…

BONNIE

We were carrying on as if there was some purpose or point in everything. Or at least in something.

BOZO

Do you think we may have missed the point, even though it was somewhere out there?

BONNIE

Each and every of us? Then it is hardly our fault. What did you do when… alive?

BOZO

Well – please don’t get sick – I was trying to write poems.

BONNIE

Love poems?

BOZO

Yes.

BONNIE

Sweet. Could you write one when you were not in love?

BOZO

Then you are still in love somehow. Except you just don’t know with whom.

Maybe it means being in love with love itself.

(BONNIE nods)

BOZO

You know, it’s odd, no matter how I started writing a poem, it always ended up being about love.

BONNIE

I felt similar about the theatre, actually; if it was not about love, then it wasn’t about life; not about anything at all.

(Pause)

BONNIE

Just before we crashed, I remember seeing your face.

BOZO

And?

BONNIE

There was no fear or surprise in it.

BOZO

What was there?

BONNIE

Just blank.

BOZO

I saw your face too.

BONNIE

?

BOZO

What?

BONNIE

What did it say?

BOZO

Oh my goodness.

BONNIE

(Laughing)

What?

BOZO

(Laughing)

Sorry, Bonnie, I’ve just tried to imitate your style.

I think it said “I am late as it is”

BONNIE

The worst thing about us is that we change, and you cannot rely on anyone or anything. You are never the same.

BOZO

That’s where all the pain comes in. Worrying whether they still love you, whether they are the same as when they did.

BONNIE

True. You never know.

BOZO

Look, let’s invent some sign for ourselves, which would mean “I am still the same, whom you met there at the Gates”.

BONNIE

Like what?

BOZO

Say, we could drag along with us the exhaust pipe and the canister.

BONNIE

True, but what if someone else gets the same idea, because this exhaust looks like any other to me.

Or the canister, as I’d rather have the canister.

BOZO

What about this? You touch your forehead with fingers of both your hands.

(He takes BONNIE’S hands and shows how to do it)

BOZO

Palms towards you, right, elbows apart, so that your hands and arms wouldn’t cover your face. Yes, like that.

BONNIE

What does it mean?

BOZO

That means the question “Are you still the same?”

BONNIE

Right. And if the answer is “Yes”…

BOZO

Then you just say “No”.

BONNIE

Oh good. If the answer is “Yes”, you just say “No”?

BOZO

Or, to make it simple, you can say “True Blue Glue”

BONNIE

What?

BOZO

Or say “Yes”, if you want to be point blank about it.

BONNIE

You could close your eyes for a “Yes” too.

BOZO

OK. But promise not to fake it, if we are no longer the same.

BONNIE

I promise. You promise too.

BOZO

No.

(Bozo is laughing)

BOZO

“No” means “Yes”, remember. Just kidding. I promise, of course.

(Pause)

(They come across another sign, which reads. “DRINK DRIVING – HERE”, a note underneath it reads, “Speeding – next turn to the left, please”)

BOZO

You were merely speeding?

BONNIE

Yes.

BOZO

I see.

BONNIE

Drink driving?

BOZO

Yes, sorry, Bonnie. But not speeding, though.

BONNIE

Bozo, please. You were driving on the wrong side of the road.

BOZO

I know.

BONNIE

And with your headlights off.

BOZO

Right. Look, they will probably separate us beyond this gate, but I’ll find you.

BONNIE

Will you?

(The door with the sign DRINK DRIVING – HERE opens. PETER looks out)

PETER

Mr. Bozo, you’re being late.

BOZO

(To BONNIE)

Now I am being late.

(To PETER)

What’s the time?

PETER

The Time is up, Mr. BOZO.

BOZO

(To BONNIE)

Don’t forget our sign.

BONNIE

I will not. See you, Bozo, drive safely.

PETER

(Reads to himself from some sort of instruction)

Mr. Bozo born 1975…  died 2011…

Please, come in.


SCENE 2 (PETER’S Office, PETER, BOZO. A room full of books and folios)
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PETER

Mr. Bozo, we were expecting you. My name is Peter.

(They shake hands)

I am like a deputy CEO here, if you will, responsible for explaining things to you and to our audiences. Sound effects are also my responsibility.

(He presses a button, that produces a sound as if of things falling down. After a short while books and folios start actually falling down from the shelves.)

PETER

Please take a seat, Mr. Bozo.

BOZO

Thank you.

(Sits down)

PETER

(Starting solemnly and deteriorating to what sounds as if he himself didn’t quite believe, what he was reading from some sort of an instruction)

In no event will the ACDS (After Death Collection and Sanitation Station Ltd.) be liable to any party for any incidental or consequential damages…

(To himself)

What is it that I am reading? Some old instruction, I am sure.

(To Bozo)

Hold on.

(Browses through his papers, until he finds another instruction to read from. Addressing BOZO but reading from some paper)

It gives me wonder great as my content to see you here before me…(WS)*

*(Please note: the Shakespearean quotations are marked as (WS) throughout the play)

PETER

(To himself)

Hold on.

PETER

(To BOZO)

Sorry Mister Bozo, wrong document again. I’ll have to put you on hold for a minute until I find the right one.

(Some music and a recorded VOICE. Sounds as if BOZO was put on hold)

RECORDED VOICE

All our operators are busy at the moment. Please hold on and our next available operator will be with you shortly.

(Some more music)

RECORDED VOICE

Thank you for holding on. All our operators…

PETER

(Sounds as if talking through the phone)

You still there?

(Changes to a regular voice)

Sorry to keep you waiting. I haven’t found the right document, unfortunately, but listen to this, Mr. Bozo.

(PETER reads)

“Every time, before opening a new door, we are full of hope and fear. And invariably it turns out, that there was no reason for fear. Or hope.”

PETER

Was it from your diary, Mr. Bozo?

(BOZO nods)

PETER

Or “Question: What is the purpose of life?

Answer: To find…”

(He looks up at Bozo to finish the sentence for him)

BOZO

“To find… your true love, or a friend?”

PETER

That’s correct. There are so many answers to the same old question, aren’t there, Mr. Bozo?

BOZO

Yes, where do you get all this?

PETER

I’ve just photocopied it from our Books. Or you can download from our Website.

(PETER browses his folios again)

PETER

Now, maybe this is the right document. It says, that you are here for

(PETER sounds as if he’s speaking from a radio and his voice starts getting out of tune)

…Mr. Bozo.

(Out of tune)

Well, what would you say?

BOZO

Well, I am not sure that I’ve heard you correctly, sorry.

PETER

That’s OK. I’ll repeat.

(PETER presses a button, that produces a tape being rewound sound. Then he presses the button as if for Play)

PETER’S VOICE

Please Rest In Peace, all our operators are busy at the moment.

PETER

Wrong tape. Never mind.

(PETER begins to twiddle his thumbs as if thinking what to do next, because nothing seems to be working)

PETER

(Into the Intercom)

Will you ask Mr. Accountant to my office, please.

(Enter Mr. ACCOUNTANT)

PETER

Mr. Accountant, could you please read us a synopsis of our economical situation for us here.

ACCOUNTANT

(Starts reading some economical details in a very bad Russian accent. Everything sounds as if it was a poor radio reception)

(Russian accent)

According to our data…

PETER

Hold on. I will change the accent for you, to better understand.

(PETER quickly switches a tumbler, which doesn’t change the accent, but only the volume)

(Medium)

Shipments of 42.5 million units…

(Very Loud)

An increase of 4.7 percent…

(PETER switches the tumbler again which turns off the ACCOUNTANT’S voice completely. After some manipulation he turns on BONNIE’S voice, apparently by mistake)

BONNIE’S VOICE

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep” (WS)

PETER

(Reflectively)

Ok, thank you.

(ACCOUNTANT takes his leave)

PETER

Let’s go on with the play.

BOZO

Did you say ‘the Play”?

PETER

(Still thinking about something)

Yes, ”The Play”, you know, like in

(Says the actual name of the Theatre Company that produced this play, and the Title of the play. In the same breath he mentions the Sponsors of the Theatre Company and advertises about their next production)

VOICE OF THE ANNOUNCER

Our Theatre Company apologizes for this, what might have appeared as some sort of promotion. Actually, these words were in the play, and we couldn’t cut them out, because the Author insisted on keeping them.

PETER

For me the theatre is so much more realistic than life itself. Don’t we play roles when we – supposedly – “live” and live lives, when we act?

(A dog barks in the distance. It sounds as if it was a scratchy record)

BOZO

What is it? A dog?

PETER

Yes, a dog.

BOZO

Sounds like a record.

PETER

Do you like the sound? I thought I’d include it in this play. Has no connection with the plot whatsoever. But it creates the right atmosphere, doesn’t it?

BOZO

Yes, it’s good. I like it.

(BOZO feels sorry for PETER, because things seem not to be working for him as they should)

(So he starts questioning PETER, to get his confidence back)

BOZO

This Station, is it the same what they usually call the Heaven?

PETER

Well, yes.  But you know, here we don’t want to have names that were culturally conditioned. The “Station” sounds more internationally, doesn’t it? Appeals to a wider audience, you see?

BOZO

(Meaning all the books and folios in Peter’s office)

You’ve got quite a library here!

PETER

These are people’s lives. Lives of everyone living or dead, young or old, villains or saints

BOZO

Do they include some reference materials, like autobiographies?

PETER

Well, yes. They are included in the appendixes. Mostly as to make it obvious how the real lives of people differ from what you folks down on Earth…I mean…eh when you were still alive, perceive.

BOZO

But of course. How else could it be? We are limited in what we can know. We don’t have your spy satellites.

Do you have spy satellites?

PETER

We don’t need them. We knew all the facts about everyone before they were born or even contemplated!

BOZO

Is that so?

PETER

You, as everybody else, are safely and wholly in this Book. All your actions and thoughts. Dreams and hopes. Everything!

BOZO

When did you say it was printed?

PETER

It was printed quite recently, because of your death, you know, but it has been known ages ago. For all the eternity, I suppose.

(A sound of a train locomotive passing)

BOZO

Another sound effect?

PETER

Yes, and try this button.

(BOZO presses the button)

(A sound of a fart)

PETER

I am really sorry, Mr. Bozo, I have some flatulence problems. This button is not working.

ANNOUNCER

Our Theatre Company apologizes for some technical…

BOZO

Turn this off!

(PETER clicks a switch and turns the ANNOUNCER off)

BOZO

What is your real name?

(PETER tells his real name, how old he is something like the following)

PETER

My name is Jock Smirnoff, I am 69 years old, have been in the theatre for 52 years.

(You can improvise here and say something what is on your mind)

“I have flatulence problems” or “My dog has left me”

BOZO

Now, please tell the audience what you think of this play.

PETER

(Says spontaneously, what he really thinks)

I am not sure that I can quite understand what’s going on, because there are too many…

BOZO

Too many notes?

PETER

Yes, in a sense.

BOZO

(Continuing with the play)

So you have known all the eternity about me.

PETER

Correct.

BOZO

Then you knew that I was drink driving, say. Was it a sin?

PETER

Yes.

BOZO

Still you’ve known for all the eternity that I will?

PETER

That’s correct.

BOZO

Then how… how could have I not done that?

PETER

Exactly, there was no other way for you. Everything was predetermined by your story in the Book.

BOZO

And you still call it a sin?

PETER

Yes, we do.

BOZO

But it is not – well – logical then!

PETER

You see, Mr. Bozo, here we have no other alternative either. Everything what we have done or will do is written in the Books as well.

(Pause)

BOZO

So there’s no such thing as Free Will, after all.

PETER

Amazingly enough there still is. Some. Let’s go to the Control Center, I’ll show you what I mean.


SCENE 3 (The Control Center, PETER, BOZO, ANGELLO at the computer)
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BOZO

(Quietly to PETER)

What is he doing here?

PETER

Mostly checking if everything’s going according to the Books. ANGELLO is one of our Guardian Angels, they each have a Client, whose life they follow by means of watching them on the computer screens.

(To ANGELLO)

Is that correct, Angello?

ANGELLO

Sorry, what was it?

PETER

That’s OK, Angello. I am explaining to BOZO here how we operate

(continuing to BOZO)

They check if things are going according to the Book, if not, then they intervene.

(To ANGELLO)

Is that correct, Angello?

ANGELLO

Sorry, what was it?

(PETER looks suspiciously at ANGELLO)

PETER

They call our people in Havana or London who have to make it sure that what’s in the Book will be acted out in real life.

(PETER Reads the Synopsis on the computer screen)

ROBBY falls in love with OLYMPIA. OLYMPIA starts an affair with ROBBIE’S boss. ROBBY jumps from his city office window. Floor 13.

PETER

(To ANGELLO, cautiously)

All’s going well?

ANGELLO

Sorry, what was it?

PETER

I am asking you if everything is going well.

ANGELLO

Yes, Sir, so far so good.

(PETER looks proudly at BOZO that this time something worked, and he got from ANGELLO a reasonable response)


SCENE 4 (The City Office scene with ROBBY, OLYMPIA)
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AND

(Control Center scene with PETER, BOZO, ANGELLO are played in parallel)

(ROBBY is standing at the open window. The noise from the street)

(ROBBY lights up a cigarette, drags on it and, when smoking, gives someone a call on his mobile. He starts a friendly conversation.)

ROBBY

Hello, darling, It’s me… Sorry, what was it? Miss you too…

BOZO

Looks as if he’s not going to jump, though.

PETER

That’s where we usually intervene. See, ANGELLO is talking to OLYMPIA – our City Agent –

and the matter will be settled one way or another.

(OLYMPIA, ROBBY’S former girlfriend, is in the same room as ROBBY, talking into her mobile phone to ANGELLO. ROBBY watches her, with half an eye)

ANGELLO

(To OLYMPIA)

Yes. He has to jump from the window.

OLYMPIA

I understand, but maybe we could…

(lowers her voice a bit)

…poison him?

ANGELLO

That won’t do, unfortunately. Remember how much trouble we were in, just because we wanted to cut corners somewhat finishing up that chap Romeo?


SCENE 5 (Balcony Scene. ROMEO and JULIET)
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JULIET

Although I joy in thee,

I have no joy of this contract to-night:

(JULIET checks her watch)

JULIET

(continues)

It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;

Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be

Ere one can say ‘It lightens.’

Sweet, good night! (WS)

(Some very strange and out of place sound in the background)

JULIET

(Scared. Starts traditionally)

Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed (WS)

(A fast car is approaching through the garden. Zeroing in on ROMEO)

JULIET

(Screaming)

Run, Romeo! Run!

ROMEO

O, speak again, bright angel! (WS)

JULIET

Run, you fool!

(The car just misses ROMEO)

ROMEO

What was it?

JULIET

It was an Alfa Romeo. I mean, Romeo, an Alfa.

Romeo… Oh bummer!


SCENE 6 (City Office)
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OLYMPIA

We did mess it up, I know. But we saved GALILEO from his suicidal showdown with the Church.

ANGELLO

Yes. Had he read his original epistle, he would have been dead meat much sooner than we have it in our Books.


SCENE 7 (Galileo’s room)
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(GALILEO is writing an epistle and angrily talking to himself)

GALILEO

And I abjure, curse, detest and categorically disagree with your doctrine…

(GALILEO notices that someone’s watching over his shoulder)

GALILEO

Who are you? What do you want?

OLYMPIA

Call me your Guardian Angel. I mean no harm.

(To herself)

No harm to you, anyway.

I am here to help you. This is the speech that we have written for you.

(She pauses expecting some sort of protest from GALILEO. GALILEO doesn’t say anything, though; he probably anticipated something similar to happen)

(So she continues; going through it quickly)

It’s not quite what you were intending to say, but believe me, it’s so much better, and – what’s more important – safer to deliver. Just think of the means that they have in place to silence people like you. With this speech of yours you’ll never get airplay or be published anyway.

Just think of the children!

OLYMPIA

(To herself)

Where did they get this one from?

(To GALILEO)

For the time being, let them have what they want.

OLYMPIA

Could I have a glass of water, please?

(GALILEO gives her a drink)

OLYMPIA

(Continues)

Otherwise nobody will ever know of your existence, except as of someone who was disciplined by the authorities; without even any mention of what your views were.

OLYMPIA

To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what your views are, sorry. Are you sure it was water?

GALILEO

Do you want some more.

(OLYMPIA shakes her head)

GALILEO

Do you want to hear my views?

OLYMPIA

No, lamentably, I don’t have the time.

(Continues)

Whereas if you go along with this, you’ll live and die rich and famous and invent a…

(OLYMPIA checks her notes)

…a Reflecting Telescope.

(GALILEO looks up, interested)

OLYMPIA

Is it correct?

GALILEO

A “Refracting” telescope.

OLYMPIA

Are you sure?

(GALILEO nods gravely)

(OLYMPIA makes a correction in her notes)

OLYMPIA

“Refracting”. Thank you.

(OLYMPIA drops her notes)

(GALILEO picks them up)

OLYMPIA

Thank you.

And who knows, I can’t guarantee, but maybe later on, they may even publish your current views when the political situation is more congenial. So don’t let your pride ruin your life, your career and that of yours truly. Is that correct?

GALILEO

(Starts reading, as if practicing the new epistle)

I have been enjoined, by this Holy Office, altogether to abandon the false opinion which maintains that the Sun is the center …I abjure, curse, and detest the said errors and heresies… *

* Recantation of Galileo. June 22, 1633. Taken from Paul Davies’ book “God And the New Physics”. Penguin, 1990.

OLYMPIA

Don’t ask me what it means. Where’s the toilet?

(Exit OLYMPIA)

GALILEO

(To himself)

So this sort of drivel they will have in their textbooks about me.

(Chuckles)

Reflecting telescope, my goodness…


SCENE 9 (FOCUS BACK TO THE CITY OFFICE)
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ANGELLO

(To OLYMPIA)

So you know what to do

OLYMPIA

Yes.

ANGELLO

OK, go ahead.

(OLYMPIA approaches ROBBY who is still on the phone)

ROBBY

(Into his mobile)

Sorry, Darling, can you hold on a minute?

(Puts his phone on hold)

OLYMPIA

Hello.

ROBBY

Hi.

(After a pause)

ROBBY

So?

OLYMPIA

What?

ROBBY

How could you, Olympia?

(OLYMPIA turns to the audience, rolls her eyes)

OLYMPIA

(To ROBBY)

Sorry, I don’t have a choice.

OLYMPIA

(To the audience)

Do I?

(She speaks into her mobile to ANGELLO)

Do I have a choice?

ROBBY

What’s…?

ANGELLO

Sorry, what was it?

OLYMPIA

Do I have a choice?

ANGELLO

Hold on; let me check it once more.

OLYMPIA

(To ROBBY)

Hold on a sec.

(ROBBY starts saying something, but OLYMPIA puts her finger to his lips)

ANGELLO

You still there?

OLYMPIA

Yes

ANGELLO

No, you don’t have a choice.

ROBBY

(Into his mobile)

Sorry, Darling, can I call you back?

(OLYMPIA pushes ROBBY through the window)

(The scream of ROBBY falling out of the window etc)

ROBBY

A – a -a -a h!

(Then after a while)

ROBBY

What the…

OLYMPIA

(Looks down. Speaks into her mobile again)

What floor did you say?

ANGELLO

Thirteen.

OLYMPIA

Bummer. And his name?

ANGELLO

His name is Robby.

OLYMPIA

Yes, but Robby for Robert or Robby for Robin? Because…

ANGELLO

(Checks the Book)

Here it says “Robby”.

ROBBY

What’s going on?

OLYMPIA

(To ANGELLO)

Now he’s asking What’s going on?

ANGELLO

Hold on.

(ANGELLO starts browsing the Book. OLYMPIA is not waiting for his response. She hangs up)

OLYMPIA

(To ROBBY on the outside)

I haven’t got the slightest idea.

ANGELLO

(Finds something in the Book and calls OLYMPIA)

OLYMPIA

Hello?

ANGELLO

Hi, Olympia. Here it says, that you should tell her that you (quote) Haven’t got the slightest idea. and that (quote) She is an idiot.

OLYMPIA

She?

ANGELLO

Pardon me?

(OLYMPIA hangs up)

(FOCUS BACK TO THE CONTROL CENTER. PETER, BOZO)

PETER

Sometimes it can get even more problematic. I cannot begin to tell you how much trouble we had with Einstein or Shakespeare, for example. In the Book they were meant to be “geniuses”, even though they were not exactly cut for their roles, if you see what I mean? We had to give them a lot of hand, Mr. Bozo. Sometimes it got very tedious.


SCENE 10 (At the Tavern)
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(SHAKESPEARE and his mate CORIOLANUS. Usual noise)

SHAKESPEARE

(Drunkenly)

And you know, my dear, Coriolanus, having seen and – mind you – made to listen to all these scholarly angels in my dreams, another most peculiar thing happens.

CORIOLANUS

Part of your cares, my dear Shakespeare, reveal thyself unto me.

SHAKESPEARE

Eh?

CORIOLANUS

Talk to me.

SHAKESPEARE

Well, we were having a little brawl with the boys after a few drinks. Nothing serious, just our usual exercise. I can land punches as the next guy, you know. So I floored one or two lads with my right hook and before I could stamp on the other’s face, one of them hit me with this.

(SHAKESPEARE shows CORIOLANUS a square oblong box)

SHAKESPEARE

I call it low.

CORIOLANUS

And they say miracles are past.

(Reads the label)

“Please Rewind”.

SHAKESPEARE

I don’t know what this place is going to. What do you think?

CORIOLANUS

Well, With all my wits, my pains, and strong endeavors…(WS)

SHAKESPEARE

Pardon me?

CORIOLANUS

Sorry, Shakespeare, It’s probably a video.

CORIOLANUS

(Reads aloud the cover on the box)

“Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” (WS)

CORIOLANUS

(Not expecting much)

What do you think?

SHAKESPEARE

Some gibberish. And to think that it was the only decent place in town. Where you could have a good drink and do some punching, now it is just like any other – full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

PETER

(FOCUS BACK TO THE CONTROL CENTER)

You see what I mean? And the Albert Einstein case. All this info we had to provide him with in his dream.


SCENE 11 (Einstein’s dream. EINSTEIN and his sweetheart ELSA)
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EINSTEIN

My darling Elsa, you look so beautiful tonight. And the night is so young. Just look at the scene decorations! Give me your hand.

ELSA

Yes, the decorations are not bad, Albert Einstein, but did you know that E equals MC square?

EINSTEIN

Elsa, my darling, what has come upon you? You are not sick? Or maybe you are a geek or a nerd?

ELSA

No, Albert, it’s so simple. Matter is the same as Energy, you know; and no signal can travel faster than the speed of light.

EINSTEIN

Elsa darling, sorry, I haven’t got a clue, what you are talking about. You probably are mad or balmy, I mean barmy.

(ELSA leans against some decoration, could be the trunk of a tree and starts fiddling with her hair absentmindedly)

(EINSTEIN feels encouraged approaches her again. But ELSA evades him)

ELSA

Albert, please.

(An awkward pause)

ELSA

And…

EINSTEIN

And what, Elsa?

ELSA

And one more thing…

EINSTEIN

What is it, Elsa? But, please don’t talk about the Relativity.

ELSA

You know, Albert (She hesitates)God doesn’t play dice.

(EINSTEIN shakes his head)

ELSA

Albert, I am afraid, I have to go now. Please remember what I have told you. See you next week at the same time.

(ELSA walks away. EINSTEIN draws faces behind ELSA’S back and pulls out his tongue as in the famous picture of him, then he kicks the decorations that fall on him)

(EINSTEIN is lying under the scene decorations)

EINSTEIN

What an idiotic dream.

PETER

You see, what we’re up against sometimes? Newton was somewhat better, though. We had to push him downstairs only once…


SCENE 12 (Misadventures of Isaac Newton)
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(NEWTON falling downstairs)

NEWTON

For goodness sakes, this cursed “gravity”. Ouch.

(Newton picks himself up and goes upstairs)

PETER

Sorry, twice.

(ANGELINNO pushes NEWTON downstairs again)

NEWTON

Ouch. It’s not so bad. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

(Newton picks himself for the second time, but this time he doesn’t go upstairs, but goes to the well to have a glass of water)

PETER

Sent him down the well…

(ANGELINNO pushes NEWTON into the well)

NEWTON

A-a-a-a-h!

PETER

(looks at BOZO)

..Only once

(Newton all wet goes to the staircase, but seems to be afraid to go upstairs)

(Then he crawls all wet to lie in the garden)

PETER

And finally hit him with an apple under a cherry tree.

(An apple hitting NEWTON)

(Newton lies under the tree seemingly unconscious)

(ANGELINNO comes with a bucket of water and pours it over NEWTON)

(Newton sits up)

NEWTON

Eureka!

(Then another apple hits him)

NEWTON

Give me a break.

(NEWTON goes to the well and jumps into it himself)

PETER

And he got it all right.

PETER

Now back to this century.

PETER

Then, because of some misprint in the Book, we, well, had to intervene in this soccer match between England and Argentina in the World Cup…


SCENE 13 (A full soccer stadium, COMMENTATOR, MARADONA)
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COMMENTATOR

And look at this. Maradona uses his hand to score this amazing goal. I cannot believe my eyes. It’s a goal! Goal!!! Maradona 1, England 0.

MARADONA

(Speaks to the audience)

It was a hand of God.

(Speaks in Spanish)

Mano del Dios. It was mano del Dios.

COMMENTATOR

(Perplexed)

He says it was a Hand of God.

MARADONA

That’s correct.

COMMENTATOR

It was the hand of God

MARADONA

(Desperately, not expecting anyone to believe him)

Mano del Dios!


SCENE 14 (FOCUS BACK TO THE CONTROL CENTER)
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BOZO

So, one way or another, everything goes according to your books?

PETER

That’s right.

BOZO

How do you write your Books for people?

PETER

We just computer – generate a random life story. Assign it randomly to someone. Usually it works just fine, because our life stories, most of the time, are pretty ordinary. Someone gets born. Grows up. Gets treated badly by everyone, treats badly everyone in return. Marriage. Pain. Death. These sorts of stories can go on unmonitored.

PETER

But you know, Mr. Bozo, there is sometimes so much genuine goodness and courage in people. People like Gandhi, for example.


SCENE 15 (Bombardment)
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(Sounds of a bombardment, sirens)

BOZO

What is it? WWII?

PETER

(Sadly)

No, this is NATO bombarding Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1999 A.D.

BOZO

Was it your doing?

PETER

(Helplessly)

No. We couldn’t stop NATO. The bombing of Belgrade was not in our Books. We were really pissed off, excuse me the expression, Mr. Bozo. We tried to help the Yugoslavs by passing some intelligence about the imminent bombardment through the French embassy, you know. But it didn’t help much. NATO was too powerful for us. We may have matched them as a military power, but were completely helpless against their propaganda machine.

If the Press is against you, who can be for you?

BOZO

So what will you have in your Books about this bombardment?

PETER

Tell you the truth, Mr. Bozo. The Books will have to be rewritten.

BOZO

But this Militarysovic guy, he was a villain, wasn’t he? Wasn’t he against what we call Democracy?

PETER

Yes, maybe, but to quote Lenin, one of our staff members…

(Two personnel carry in a couch with LENIN, sitting and reading a Playboy. He is dressed in Versace, Rolex and all)

(LENIN lowers the magazine and smiles)

LENIN

(Mildly)

The Capitalist democracy is a tool in the hands of the rich to exploit the poor…

PETER

Yes, thank you, Mr. Lenin.

(The couch with LENIN being carried out)

PETER

(Thoughtfully as if to himself)

But what is the alternative? The Communism? The Gulags? The Greenpeace?


SCENE 16 (The Back room. GOD is playing chess with BOZO)
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GOD

Well?

BOZO

e2-e4

GOD

e2-e4?

BOZO

Remember, Bobby Fischer? “e2-e4” used to be his favourite move?

GOD

Yes.

(A pause. Moves being made. The clock, ticking quietly)

BOZO

He left the scene, without having been beaten. An undefeated world champion.

GOD

True.

(Pause)

BOZO

Who was it that he demolished?

GOD

Boris Spasky.

BOZO

That’s right, in Reykjavik.

GOD

Yes.

(Pause)

BOZO

Do you think Fischer would stand a chance against Gary Kasparov?

GOD

I don’t know. (Pause) But you shouldn’t compare a champion of the 1970s with a champion of the year 2000. It is like comparing Einstein and St Augustine, say. You cannot want anyone to be better than he is, when he is the World Champion.

(Sound of the chess being played, some tune being hummed under ones breath. A sound of a Grandfather clock ticking away.)

BOZO

(A bit provocatively)

Would you say, that making of the World was a mistake?

GOD

(Ruefully)

There was no concept of mistake before the World.

(A slight pause)

The same applies to Truth and Goodness.

BOZO

(Talking lazily as if only for an argument’s sake)

But surely life is not fair. Some people are born deaf, for example.

GOD

(Quietly, a bit sadly)

But you know, Bozo, you are happy or unhappy independently of this. Independently of almost anything. (Pause) On the other hand, the purpose of life is not to achieve happiness. Or at least it shouldn’t be…

BOZO

What is it then? Proliferation?

GOD

It is the life experience.

Same as with books or films. You enjoy them – or you are supposed to – when they make you laugh. Or when they make you cry. Or when they make you… think. The intensity of the experience – that’s what should count.


SCENE 17 (PETER’S Office. BOZO and PETER drinking tea.)
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BOZO

Do you still maintain what they used to call “Hell”?

PETER

No.

BOZO

No?

PETER

You see, the problem was, that the Hell started to be populated by the people exclusively from the West.  Whereas the Heaven – by the folks from the Third World only; which appeared rather discriminatory, especially for the public in the so-called “Hell”. I could see their point. In the Third World, there were no real opportunities to be truly bad, you know.

PETER

Some more tea?

BOZO

No, thanks.

(BOZO comes to the window. Withdraws the blinds)

BOZO

What a view! The Earth is not bigger than a compact disk!

(A space station rattling and shaking floats by. Music streaming through the illuminators – could be Kalinka performed by the Russian Army Chorus. Drunken cries. Dog barking)

BOZO

Look, it’s the MIR station! The Russians are coming!

PETER

Yes. I don’t quite remember what is for them in the Books, but I think they will crash somewhere in the Pacific in 2001, if they don’t lift up their game.

(The dog barks again, then stops in the middle. The door opens. Music (could be JS Bach). Enter GOD. He’s deep in thought, doesn’t notice these two at first.)

GOD

(To himself)

Is Perfection attainable? If so, then to arrive at it we need the means, which have to be Perfection in its own right. In this case…

(He trips over the empty fuel canister, that BOZO was hit with; then the exhaust pipe falls from the shelf. The music stops)

GOD

Eh…sorry. Hello, Gentlemen. Eh, I was thinking…just go on, please.

(GOD leaves)

BOZO

Who was this guy? He looked troubled.

PETER

(Respectfully)

You mean Him? It was God.

BOZO

Is he OK?

PETER

(Hesitantly)

He is very smart and knows how to run the business…

BOZO

But what?

PETER

But eh…and of course everybody thinks He’s by far the best man to lead us. But you know… I am not confident I should be telling you this…Well, he doesn’t seem to be sure where we are all going.

(Pause)

BOZO

Does it all have an End? Like a Big Crunch, or something?

PETER

Yes, it does have an end. It is a one-hour play, I suppose. So it is (Says the actual time) minutes left, or so, to the end.

(Pause)

But to tell you the truth, I think they keep running the Life show and the Station for one reason only…

BOZO

Which is to outstay the Russians in the orbit?

PETER

They just don’t know how to logically finish it off. (Pause)

A Note to the Reader:

Please, read on. Thank you

(End of the note.)

BOZO

Is everybody the age at which he or she died?

PETER

Nah. You can choose your age. So our female population is mostly young…

(The sound of young women chatting and giggling)

PETER

…but men are almost exclusively old and shabby.

(The sound of old grumpy men bickering)

BOZO

Old?

PETER

Yes, you know, here you cannot enjoy being young anyway, if you see what I mean? Then what’s the point of being young?

BOZO

Right. So the good old sex is simply banned?

PETER

(In whisper, involved)

The ban is implemented by putting something into the food. It kills the sexual drive.

But it killed not only this; it killed the arts too. As a side effect.

BOZO

(Laughing)

How did it kill the arts?

PETER

Very simply. Sexual drive is, apparently, behind all the true art. We still have a well functioning craft section, mind you, but the art of Painting, Theatre, Music all have gone completely down the drain.

PETER

I will run you through a demo. The painting:


SCENE 18 (Painting scene. An artist’s studio. ANGELLO, ANGELINNO)
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ANGELLO

You are a Michael-Angelo, my dear Angelinno! What a beautiful sunset you have painted! And the sun is so perfectly round!

ANGELINNO

Why, thank you, my dear Angello. I used a compass to draw the sun. Or you can use a protractor, see? Protractors can make perfect circles too! Look. One circle, two, three!

ANGELLO

Sorry, what was it?

ANGELINNO

It was “three”.

ANGELLO

Yes, of course.

Please, let me try.

(Sound of protractor or compass drawing more circles)

ANGELLO

A-a-a-h. It is perfection!

ANGELINNO

And look here, I have painted a tiger, an ox, an ass and a lion peacefully eating grass! And here – small children riding on top of a smiling dinosaur.

PETER

And drama


SCENE 19 (The Drama scene)
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(A Kitchen)

(CHOPPER -BONNIE’S lover -is greedily eating soup. BONNIE is sitting next to him looking a bit bored, still watches CHOPPER with tender eyes)

BONNIE

(Yawning)

More, Darling?

CHOPPER

(Lazily but still with some ardor)

Oh, your soup is very (hiccups) very delicious!

(Sound in the lobby of HUBBIE unexpectedly returning)

HUBBIE

(Yawning)

Darling, I’m home! I have bought you a…

(Checks what he has bought)

…a cooking pot. Where are my slippers?

(HUBBIE enters the room. CHOPPER hasn’t left yet. HUBBIE notices CHOPPER, regards him with sad eyes, then keeps looking for his slippers)

BONNIE

(Hushed, to CHOPPER)

Darling…ah…

(She takes a short apologetic look at HUBBIE, who is looking for his slippers under the sofa)

(Then she turns to look at BOZO, who is watching the scene together with PETER)

(She lifts her fingers to her forehead as in their sign)

BOZO

Yes.

(BONNIE and BOZO look at each other. Just look without smiling. Everybody stops playing and leaves the scene. Only  BONNIE and BOZO are left)

BOZO

Bonnie, what is it?

BONNIE

Maybe it is…

BOZO

Love?

BONNIE

Yes.

BOZO

You and me?

BONNIE

Yes.

Why does it hurt when you are in love?

BOZO

Maybe that’s what love is all about. If it doesn’t hurt, then it is not love.

Does it hurt?

BONNIE

Like anything. You?

BOZO

It hurts as never before.

(Everybody starts returning back. The Play continues)

BONNIE

(Continues to CHOPPER)

…here is your soup recipe. You must fly now!

(CHOPPER opens the window, yawns, Just before jumping out he takes off HUBBIE’S slippers and hands it to HUBBIE one by one, unhurriedly)

(HUBBIE puts his slippers on)

(CHOPPER jumps out of the window)

(Sounds of something like a wet chicken flying through the window)

PETER

…and the music


SCENE 20 (The Music scene)
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(A concert hall)

(The opening of the Piano concerto Number One by P I Tchaikovsky, performed without any passion or expression; or just very slowly)

(A lazy applause)

(FOCUS BACK TO PETER’S OFFICE)

PETER

So, for the music, we mostly tune into the MIR station.

(He turns the radio dial. Sound of the Kalinka, or some other song, performed by the Russian Army Chorus. Then the MIR zooms by)

PETER

They nearly hit us. The devils!

BOZO

Do they see your Station?

PETER

Yes, but they don’t believe in us anyway.

They don’t believe in us, even though they use our toilet facilities, when their facilities break down. Which happens all the time. And sometimes we have to baby sit their DOG and their monkey.


SCENE 21 (Station’s Lavatory)
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(Sound of Russian Cosmonauts and their Dog using the Station’s toilet facilities. Laughter. Sound of urination. DOG barking. RUSSIAN-1, RUSSIAN-2, PETER, ANGELLO, DOG)

DOG

(Barks in English)

Bow wow

(PETER is talking, playing the host, even though it is a toilet. Still enjoying the atmosphere as if it was somewhat liberating)

PETER

And you know, that was one of the funniest graffiti that I ever saw in a toilet.

(PETER’S narrative keeps being interrupted and ignored)

(In the foreground we have the Russians talking, not listening to PETER)

PETER

(To everyone)

There were four entries made in a consecutive order, by apparently four different toilet users.

RUSSIAN-2

(Not listening to PETER)

(To RUSSIAN-1)

Where, in New York?

(PETER notices that the Russians are not listening)

PETER

(To ANGELLO)

The first entry read…

RUSSIAN-1

Yes, there’s this message in Russian on the door of a News Agency…

PETER

“Don’t you do it, Willy!”

Second entry underneath…

RUSSIAN-1

It says…

PETER

“But he went and did it”. The third, still lower:

RUSSIAN-1

“Vodki Net”, “No Vodka”.

Ha-ha-ha

RUSSIAN-2 AND ANGELLO

Ha-ha-ha

DOG

Bow wow

PETER

(Desperately to safe at least an appearance of some communication with the Russians)

“Damn you, Bill, you will pay for this!”

And the fourth, at the bottom, as if to round it all up:

DOG

(Barks in Russian)

Huff – huff

RUSSIAN-2

(To PETER)

He says, “Bow wow”

ANGELLO

Ha-ha-ha

PETER

“And this”.

(Everybody’s looking at PETER as if to ask What “this”?)

(FOCUS ON PETER AND BOZO IN PETER’S OFFICE)

PETER

And our staff tends to get along with the Russians. Not least because they liven up the Arts scene somewhat. That is, when they  smuggle in some Vodka. As in this Painting scene:


SCENE 22 (The Painting scene. The Art studio. ANGELINNO and ANGELLO both rather drunk)
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(ANGELLO  Drunkenly talking to ANGELINNO who is showing him his new painting)

ANGELLO

Why, Mate, look; what is it that your ass is doing on top of your lion?

And your bloody ox and the dinosaur… holly molly… they are gobbling up the tiger! And your tiger is still eating grass! Gee.

ANGELINNO

Ha – ha – ha…

ANGELLO

Now have a look what I have painted!

ANGELINNO

My goodness! You have painted a woman. A naked woman too!

Did you use a compass or a protractor to draw all this? And…this?

ANGELLO

(Talking as if a professional)

My dear Angelinno,

(Solemnly and proudly)

To paint a Woman one needs neither a freaking

(Pause, continues with disgust)

protractor, nor

(Pauses, then with a vehement contempt)

a compass…

ANGELINNO

What does one need, my dear Angello?

ANGELLO

One needs to be a man!

(BACK TO THE CONTROL CENTER. PETER AND BOZO)

PETER

Or when they smuggle in some Miagra, as in this drama:


SCENE 23 (The Drama scene CHOPPER, BONNIE)
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(There’s a romantic music in the background (could be “Je T’aime…Moi non plus” by Serge Gainsbourg))

(BONNIE and CHOPPER kissing each other)

(BONNIE is wearing a mask)

(PETER and BOZO watching)

CHOPPER

You are so delicious…

BONNIE

Mmmmmmm, Bozo, you are so sweet…

(In the lobby, the sounds of HUBBIE unexpectedly returning)

HUBBIE

Darling, I am home! I have brought you flowers and a cooking pot!

BONNIE (to CHOPPER)

You must fly, my dear. Don’t forget your pills.

(The sound of a parting kiss. Then the window is torn open. The sound of a big rooster fly, then this flying rooster sound turns into what sounds like a helicopter receding into the distance)

HUBBIE

What was it? Who was it?

(He picks up a feather left by CHOPPER)

Whose feather is this one?!

(Opens the window. He can hear the helicopter in the distance)

HUBBIE

You…you…

(Slaps BONNIE (his wife))

BONNIE

(Not hurt, but rather surprised and even stimulated by all this)

Ouch!

HUBBIE

Give me my…

BONNIE

Yes, Darling, your slippers

HUBBIE

No. Not the slippers. Where’s my gun? Give me my gun!

(BONNIE Hastily gives HUBBIE his gun)

BONNIE

Here, Darling.

(HUBBIE shoots an anti-aircraft missile through the window. The sound of the helicopter being hit and crashing in the distance)

BONNIE

Oh Darls, you are … a real man. Put this gun aside.

(BONNIE lovingly kisses HUBBIE)

(Then, unexpectedly,

BONNIE takes off her mask. She is all in tears)

(The scene “freezes”. Everybody stops playing and turns away from the Audience, except for BONNIE and BOZO, who face each other)

BOZO

True Blue Glue?

BONNIE

True Glue Blue.

(They are both laughing. BONNIE is laughing through tears)

BONNIE

I keep calling him “Bozo”, nobody seems to notice.

BOZO

Where did you get the mask?

BONNIE

What mask? It is my second face.

(BONNIE puts on her mask)

(The play continues)

(Music again: “Je t’aime…Moi non plus” by Serge Gainsbourg)

(BONNIE and HUBBIE continue kissing)

PETER

…or the Music scene influenced by either substance. As in this:


SCENE 24 (The Music scene)
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(A concert hall)

(The opening of the Piano concerto Number One by P I Tchaikovsky, performed very heartily and fervently but with a lot of wrong keys being hit. The audience goes bananas. They are on the same substance, apparently)

PETER

(Getting involved himself, excited)

Now behold all the three previous scenes at the same time!


SCENE 25 (The Drama scene)
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(BONNIE-HUBBIE kissing scene, with the Gainsbourg in the background)

BONNIE

M-m-m-m-m…Oh my darling…

(The sound of the helicopter burning, its motor still going, somewhere in the distance)

(HUBBIE, still holding a smoking gun in one hand tries to shoot another missile through the window at the hapless CHOPPER, when embracing BONNIE, but hits the gramophone instead that was playing Gainsbourg. The music stops.)

HUBBIE

Hold on.

(He disentangles himself from BONNIE, comes up to the window and from this close range shoots another anti-aircraft missile at the gramophone. The music returns)


SCENE 26 (The Drama and the Painting scene)
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(ANGELINNO and ANGELLO got all hot because of the liquor and started talking about Art and all)

(ANGELLO holding one of the ANGELINNO’S pictures with all the animals eating grass)

ANGELLO

And look at this rubbish! Where did you see a tiger eating grass!? You call it Art? You must be a sissy to paint stuff like this!

ANGELINNO

Hold on, but who was it that admired my…my vegetarian ox and lion? You did nothing to point me to the right direction.

(Blows being exchanged, breaking stuff)

ANGELLO

You idiot, I will break your compass and the protractor! (Breaks the stuff)

ANGELINNO

N-o-o-o-o! Not the protractor!


SCENE 27 (The Music scene on top)
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(These two scenes going on, introducing the third scene on top of the previous two)

(The opening of the Piano concerto Number One by P I Tchaikovsky, performed absolutely vehemently with wrong keys being hit all the time, except as only to allow us to recognize the piece as such. And the audience scream as in a rock concert)

(In the Drama scene, HUBBIE impressed by his own new found self, and thinking that it is the gramophone that is making this noise that comes from the Concert hall throws the gramophone through the window)

(He hits the helicopter with the gramophone, which explodes and gets completely silent)

(The Concert Hall gets silent for a while as well)

(Now you can hear Gainsbourg being played somewhere in the distance)

(The Concert Hall starts playing Gainsbourg as well)

(In the Art’s studio, the ANGEL-1 and ANGEL-2 embrace each other, make peace, cry a little because of the sweet music, then start breaking furniture and everything around them in a somewhat delayed support to the folks in the Concert hall)

(The Concert Hall reverts back to playing violently Tchaikovsky in support to the Angels breaking the furniture)

PETER

Yes, the Russians can really spice things up a bit! Even though their jokes are strictly for the Russian audience. As in this:


SCENE 28 (In the Station’s lavatory RUSSIAN-2, DOG)
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(RUSSIAN-2 is trying to tell a joke to his DOG)

RUSSIAN-2

(To DOG)

Don’t worry, Sharik, this is a very clean joke.

DOG

Huff-huff.

RUSSIAN-2

A clean joke, very, Sharik.

DOG

Huff-huff-huff.

RUSSIAN-2

President Clinton…

DOG

Huff.

(DOG leaves the lavatory)

(Focus on PETER and BOZO in Peter’s Office)

PETER

Rumor has it, that we are going to build something of an equivalent to the Berlin Wall, here in space, to separate their orbit from ours. Not least because we cannot keep our women folk away from them.

(A sound of the MIR station passing by, loud music, drunken screams shrieks and laughter.)

BOZO

Any Americans?

PETER

Yes, the Shuttle crews. But they are more interested in spying on the Russians than in our Station. As in this:


SCENE 29 (The American shuttle)
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(American ASTRONAUTS with the headphones on, listening and recording the Russian DOG barking into their secret microphone on the MIR station)

ASTRONAUT-2

Ninety-two.

ASTRONAUT-1

“Ninety-two” what?

ASTRONAUT-2

Barks.

ASTRONAUT-1

Right. How many did we have last time?

ASTRONAUT-2

Sixty something.

ASTRONAUT-1

There’s surely an increase.

ASTRONAUT-2

No, sorry,

(Checks his notes)

Fifty.

ASTRONAUT-1

Only fifty!?

ASTRONAUT-2

Yes.

ASTRONAUT-1

Fifty what? Marks?

ASTRONAUT-2

No, Dollars, I mean Rubles.


SCENE 30 (The Back Room)
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(BOZO and GOD still playing chess.

Clock ticking away)

BOZO

What do you think of Him – do you think he really was?

GOD

Good question.

BOZO

I suppose, it does not matter. It should not matter. I respect him, for what he is believed to have done, for what he stood.

(Pause) It does us good, I think, to allow greatness or at least goodness in others.

GOD

(Talking apparently just for an argument’s sake)

But aren’t people born into the circumstances that make them to be good or bad? What chance has a tiger, say, to be a vegetarian?

(At this point we have the picture that ANGELINNO painted – with the Tiger eating grass falling off the wall, but these two are not paying any attention to it)

Or a bird, not to learn to fly?

(BOZO makes a move)

BOZO

Which is only logical. But is there any merit in being logical, or rational?

GOD

Is there any merit in not being one?

BOZO

Yes! There is! What if, when hurt, say, we…well we analyze why it happened, try and see the logic in it and respond with reason?

GOD

Which is being rational.

BOZO

That’s right, but when shown some…love…

…even if just a little, we don’t analyze…

(GOD nods and makes a move)

BOZO

…because there’s only one possible response to it…

(Enter BONNIE)

(BONNIE and BOZO greet each other with eyes only, not smiling)

…the only possible response is love.

(BONNIE sits next to BOZO and embraces him)

(Sound of the clock ticking)

(BOZO and GOD continue playing in silence, BONNIE is just sitting next to BOZO, when at the same time the scene decorations are being dismantled. Furniture is being carried out, etc. They  don’t seem to notice the commotion, just playing on. Then someone turns off the lights on them)

(It’s quite dark except you still can see the three figures sitting in the dark, GOD and BOZO still playing)

(Then GOD stands up and leaves)

(BONNIE and BOZO sit for a while not moving in the dark)

(Then it gets completely dark)


SCENE 31 (After the Play)
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(Most of the decorations removed, some partly or dismantled)

(The Cast gather together after the play;  smoking cigarettes, eating sandwiches, drinking beer, chatting, a bit tired)

(There’s everyone except for BONNIE, BOZO, GOD and the Russians)

We could have the Technical Personal and the Director (with a sign on his back saying “The DIRECTOR”, or walking with a blower) mixing all together.

ANGELINNO has put on a devil’s mask; American ASTRONAUTS are wearing wings, HUBBIE is so proud of his new – found image of a macho man, that he continues playing the role and is dragging his gun and the gramophone around, keeps butting in into conversations and slapping everyone on the shoulder.

Then he drops his gramophone accidentally on CHOPPER’S foot.

CHOPPER

Damn* you, HUBBIE! Watch what you are doing.

(* NOTE: The “Damn” here and in what follows can be changed for a stronger or even a weaker expletive)

HUBBIE

Damn you, CHOPPER; leave my wife in peace.

CHOPPER

Man, you are an idiot; it was all in the play!

(Then somewhat concerned)

You mean your wife…?

HUBBIE

(Not listening to CHOPPER)

Then damn this play and the Author (uses Author’s real name)

PETER

Damn your performance, HUBBIE. And my bank account.

OLYMPIA

Oh yeah? Then damn my looks and my luck that got me into this.

ASTRONAUT-1

(To ASTRONAUT-2)

OK, maybe it’s our turn now. Damn Communism! What do you think? Where are our Russian Comrades? What do you think, Mr. Lenin?

LENIN

(Smoking a cigar)

Damn Capitalism, of course.

(Then)

ANGELINNO

Damn Go…

(But his voice “gets out of tune” when saying that; still the cast seem to have heard or understood what he meant. Everybody fall silent, horrified. All look at ANGELINNO who is scared and moves backwards as if afraid of the lynching mob. He trips over HUBBIE’S Gramophone and falls onto the floor. Everybody are standing or sitting in chairs except for the Fallen Angel, who stupidly sits on the floor in a devil’s mask)

ANGELINNO

(Apologetically, taking the mask off)

I mean the guy who played the part. Not…

(But he is interrupted by a horrendous crashing sound. Everybody turn to where the sound is coming from,

the sound of  the Russian MIR having run smack into the Heavenly Station. Sirens. Distress signals. Beepers. Screams. Shuffle of feet. Everybody starts hastily arranging themselves to go on with the play. They pick up some costumes, put out cigarettes.  PETER gives the fallen ANGELINNO a hand to stand up and orders him to carry the Picture with all the animals. ANGELINNO gratefully and happily takes this as being accepted back into the fold. The supporting personnel start returning decorations, which just were being carried out. They carry back in LENIN, sitting on the couch, holding a flower pot, and look questioningly at PETER. PETER motions them to carry LENIN away.)


SCENE 32 (In the Station’s lavatory. GOD, BOZO)
(You can hear the sound of the sirens and the commotion somewhere outside)
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GOD

Don’t see much point in your having introduced me, as God.

BOZO

He is the guy who – supposedly – runs the show. Do you think I had a choice not to include him?

GOD

A choice? Well, yes, if he’s got nothing much to say or do. I mean, what sort of god is he?  He sounds helpless.

BOZO

But that’s exactly my point. I wanted to demonstrate it plainly, that the top guy doesn’t know What’s Going On. And if he has lost the plot, then who…

(Then BOZO hears all the noise from the outside. Sirens and screams)

BOZO

Hey! What’s…

(He was going to say “What’s Going On?”, but then he reconsiders and continues the interrupted sentence)

…then who can possibly follow it?


SCENE 33 (The Evacuation)
(All very messy, with decorations removed, some hastily re-assembled)
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(The Russians sound somewhat guilty but not really affected by all this accident, as if they have been dealing with this sort of problems every second day, or so)

RUSSIAN-1

Get all the injured to our MIR station.

(Russian DOG barking)

RUSSIAN-1

(To his Dog)

Good boy, Sharik, good boy.

(RUSSIAN-2 interpreting)

RUSSIAN-2

(To the DOG)

He says, “Good bye, Sharik”, “Dosvidanye”.

RUSSIAN-1

(To PETER)

Sorry, you’ll have to leave all your books here, there’s no room for them on our MIR Station.

(PETER not sure how he can leave the Books)

PETER

You mean…

(RUSSIAN-2 interpeting to PETER)

RUSSIAN-2

No books!

RUSSIAN-1

Everybody please, get women and the children first.

RUSSIAN-2

(Interpreting)

He says “No children, get women”.

PETER

There are no children on our station.

RUSSIAN-2

(To RUSSIAN-1)

He says…

RUSSIAN-1

Then take the women. And men.

RUSSIAN-2

He says “Take women, Amen”.

RUSSIAN-1

(Offhandedly to RUSSIAN-2)

Oh, shut up.

(Pause)

RUSSIAN-1

(To RUSSIAN-2)

Tell them that

(In Russian)

Tualet nerabotayet.

PETER

(Who was listening, anxiously)

The toilet on MIR is not working?

RUSSIAN-2

Yes. And no water.


SCENE 34 (The Back room)
(BOZO. All by himself. Sounds of all this commotion in the background, then receding and you can hear only the clock ticking)
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BOZO

And one more thing I wanted to tell you. (Pause) It is a love story. A love story between my Grandmother and…me.

We were friends, of course. She lived in the country side, far from everywhere. There was a garden, a creek, green fields. My Grandfather kept bees.

We, their grandchildren – the eight of us – all lived in the city, but spent our summers there with our Grandparents. My Grandmother loved all of us but she and I were on a very special relationship. We were (Pause) soul mates. (Pause) I know it was not really fair, her loving me more than anyone else, but I loved her this much too. She told me about the books she read, and they were, and still are, very important to me. She told me about God. She told me about the old times. (Pause) My Grandmother and me used to listen to the radio together. In the evening. Often sitting in the dark, only the radio dial glowing. It was magic to me, I think it was magic to her too.

She said that I could read her every wish before it was expressed. And it probably was true. (Pause) Then we – their eight grandchildren – grew up, started getting interested in girls and boys, not spending our whole summers with them any more. I am not sure about the rest, but for me, my Grandmother was always somewhere in the back of my mind. We went to various schools and universities. Finished our studies. Started working. Got married. And still she was as important to me, as always. And I could tell, that the sentiment was returned. (Pause) Then something happened. She had a bad stroke, which paralyzed one half of her face and took away her ability to speak. She had the full presence of mind, but she could not speak. Then I had got that terrible feeling that it was nearing the end. (Pause) At that time I had started working and began having money of my own. I never bought presents to my Grandmother, but then I bought a present – a headscarf. It was black but very nice looking with a shiny golden rim. I brought a present to my Grandfather too.  So I came a bit unexpectedly, and brought my presents. At that time I felt, that it was the goodbye present to my Grandmother. My first present and the last. She could not say anything. She spoke only with her eyes. And how. I was sitting on her bed, sometimes touching her hands, trying to absorb the atmosphere, the presence of my Soul Mate and saying nothing; I felt that I should not speak, because she could not. She put on my present – the scarf. She smiled a contorted smile because of her partial paralysis. I wonder if she felt that it was the Goodbye. Not long afterwards my Grandmother – my Soul Mate – died. She was buried the next day after my birthday. For my birthday I received from someone a big red rose on a very long and strong stem. I was not sure why, but I brought this rose to her funeral. I never put this rose next to her, when she lay in state, nor when we followed her into a small cemetery in the countryside. I held the rose until all was over and they started burying her. Then I knew it was the time:  I threw the rose into her grave with the words “Bye, Granny”. But I missed! The rose did not hit the wood. Did it matter?

(BOZO stands up, comes up to the audience as close as he can)

Do you think it mattered?

(He stands there for a while)

And you know, then I experienced a feeling that was close to exhilaration

(Pause)

I couldn’t articulate the reason for it to myself at the time. But only later.

This was and still is the explanation of my joy:

With my Grandmother I experienced the love that has never died.

(BOZO bows out)

(Sound of the Grandfather clock ticking away)


SCENE 35 (The Curtains)
(Everybody has left already. Some decorations are lying around. All quiet)
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(BONNIE and BOZO)

BONNIE

Did it hurt?

BOZO

Yes.

BONNIE

If it doesn’t, you are not alive.

(BONNIE and BOZO leave)

Then – nothing

(THE END)

Thank you for your attention.

Viktor Berin.

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Characters and Scenes
Characters

Bozo      (BOZO)
Make him/her look as close as possible to the Director of the Play

Peter                                                                                     (PETER)
Mid 60-ties

God                                                                                                       (GOD)
Softly spoken, introvert guy (or girl)

Angel One                                                                                           (ANGELLO)
Dishevelled artistic type. Indefinite age.

Angel Two                                                                                           (ANGELINNO)
Baldish, happy looking, stocky old boy.

The Russians:
Russian Cosmonaut One                               (RUSSIAN-1)
In his 30-ties
Wears expensive
neat clothes.

Russian Cosmonaut Two                               (RUSSIAN-2)
In his 30-ties
Wears expensive ill matching clothes;
and even though he is a subordinate to Russian-1, wears lots of medals, whereas Russian-1 doesn’t wear any at all.

Bonnie                                                                                  (BONNIE)
Mid 30-ties.
Is sweet and intelligent.
Has a low comforting voice. Wearing something red.

Hubbie, Bonnie’s husband                                           (HUBBIE)
Looks not unlike a bum neatly dressed by some charity.
Mid 40-ties

Olympia, our City Agent                                                (OLYMPIA)
Energetic brunette or blonde in her late 20-ties

Albert Einstein                                                  (EINSTEIN)
Played by ANGELINNO

Elsa, Albert Einstein’s sweetheart            (ELSA)
Played by RUSSIAN-2

Isaac Newton                                                                    (NEWTON)
Played by ANGELLO

Russians’ Dog                                                                    (DOG)
Played by ANGELINNO

Chopper, Bonnie’s lover                                               (CHOPPER)
Played by ANGELLO.

Diego Maradona                                                                              (MARADONA)
Played by RUSSIAN-1

Soccer Commentator                                                     (COMMENTATOR)
Played by RUSSIAN-2

Robby, Olympia’s former boyfriend        (ROBBY)
Played by ANGELINNO

William Shakespeare                                                      (SHAKESPEARE)
Played by ANGELINNO

Shakespeare’s Mate Coriolanus                                (CORIOLANUS)
Played by ANGELLO

Vladimir Lenin                                                                   (LENIN)
Played by RUSSIAN-1

Mr. Accountant                                                                                (ACCOUNTANT)
Played by RUSSIAN-2

Two American Astronauts                                            (ASTRONAUTS)
Played by RUSSIAN-1 and RUSSIAN-2

Romeo Montague                                                                           (ROMEO)
Played by HUBBIE

Juliet Capulet                                                                     (JULIET)
Played by OLYMPIA

Galileo Galilee                                                   (GALILEO)
Played by ANGELLO

The Director of the Play                                                (DIRECTOR)*
Played by the DIRECTOR

*Whether the DIRECTOR appears in this Play is completely up to him/her

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SETTING
Some place that looks like a once modern office, somewhat affected by cuts to its budget.
TIME
Now, with some glimpses of the Past.
SCENES

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Scene 1                                At the Gates
A place with a pretence to
appear as some sort of posh
place above the clouds.
In fact, it looks a lot
like an administrative
building of a seaside
resort except for all the
graffiti.

Scene 2                                Peter’s Office
A room full of books and folios;
A desk with some buttons on top
Two chairs

Scene 3                                The Control Center
A desk, a computer, a window.

Scene 4                                The City Office and the Control Center
A desk, a window

Scene 5                                The Balcony Scene
Some sort of a Platform,
representing the balcony,
and some sketchy trees, representing
the garden.
Instead of the Platform we could
use the pulpit as in the Court scene.

Scene 6                                City Office
A desk, a window

Scene 7                                Galileo’s room
A room full of books and folios
A desk, a chair

Scene 8                                At the Court
A simple bench for the
public and a pulpit for
the speaker

Scene 9                                City Office
A desk, a computer, a window

Scene 10                              At the Tavern
Two barstools and some
hint of the bar

Scene 11                              Einstein’s Dream
Some decorations indicating
trees and a river

Scene 12                              Misadventures of Isaac Newton
Decorations indicating a
garden, a well and
a staircase.

Scene 13                              Soccer stadium
Decorations indicating a soccer
stadium

Scene 14                              Maradona at the Court (Cancelled)
A simple bench for the
public and a pulpit for
the speaker

Scene 15                              Bombardment
A completely dark room

Scene 16                              The Back room
A desk, two chairs.
A Grandfather clock.

Scene 17                              Peter’s office
A room full of books and folios;
A desk with some buttons on top
Two chairs.

Scene 18                              The Painting scene
A room with an easel and
One or two paintings on
the wall.

Scene 19                              The Drama scene
In the kitchen.
A chair, a gramophone, a window

Scene 20                              The Music scene
A concert hall.

Scene 21                              Station’s lavatory
An empty room. There’s no
indication of its being a
Lavatory, except for the
people standing with their
backs to the audience and
facing the wall opposite.

Scene 22                              The Painting scene
A room with an easel and
One or two paintings on
the wall.

Scene 23                              The Drama scene
In the kitchen.
A chair, a gramophone, a window

Scene 24                              The Music scene
Concert hall

Scene 25                              The Drama scene (revisited)
In the kitchen.
A chair, a gramophone, a window

Scene 26                              The Drama / Painting scene
Scene 27                              The Drama / Painting / Music scene
Scene 28
The Station’s Lavatory
An empty room. There’s no
Indication of its being a
Lavatory, except for the
People standing with their
Backs to the audience and
Facing the wall opposite.

Scene 29                              The American Shuttle.
Empty room with two
Chairs.

Scene 30                              The Back room
A desk, three chairs.
A Grandfather clock.

Scene 31                              After the Play
A messy room with decorations
from All the different scenes lying
around

Scene 32                              Station’s lavatory (revisited)
An empty room. There’s no
Indication of its being a
Lavatory, except for the
People standing with their
Backs to the audience and
Facing the wall opposite.

Scene 33                              The Evacuation
The same room as in
“After the Play”

Scene 34                              The Back room (revisited)
With only one chair and the Grandfather
Clock.

Scene 35                              The Curtains
The same room as in
“After the Play”

•             Please Note:

Playing the Scenes 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 15, 18, 23, 28 (and others) where we have Peter telling Bozo the Story, whereas other Scenes are being played out at the same time, we could have Peter, Bozo and Angello move close to the Audience, and the Scenes can be played as if in the background.

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