Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hot Moves


Existentialism or Karma.

According to most critics and scholars one of the main themes that appear in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is existentialism. This theory is based on the way both characters struggle to define themselves and the world they are in during the course of the play, and their final conclusion that their destiny was ultimately their own fault – that it could have been better had they done things differently. Interestingly enough, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern had a previous life that seems to define their end – their fatal destiny is already written in their past life. Perhaps then, Stoppard took these two characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet not with the intention to re-write their story, but just to explain their death, stating that it was actually their own fault.
Atheistic existentialism declares that Existence comes before essence. “Man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterwards. Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself.” (Sartre) Stoppard is clearly subscribing to this theory by making the characters fall victims to their own actions and then having them regret not doing things differently. In the last scene Guildenstern says “There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said—no. But somehow we missed it.” (He looks around and sees he is alone.) (Stoppard, 125).
On the other hand Hindu philosophy, which believes in life after death, holds the doctrine that if the karma of an individual is good enough, the next birth will be rewarding, and if not, the person may actually devolve and degenerate into a lower life form. Every person is responsible for his or her acts and thoughts, so each person's karma is entirely her own. The law of cause and effect forms an integral part of Hindu philosophy. This law is termed as 'karma', which means to 'act'. In a way the concept of karma is similar to existentialism, the person is responsible for their own existence, the only difference is that Hinduism believes in consecutive lives, and the actions in one life carry on to the next one. In that case, what we do (good or bad actions) in the present life might not show until the next one. (Subhamoy Das)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. In the original version this is not a very important event. Stoppard sheds light on these two minor characters, making—I thought– a brilliant choice. In Shakespeare’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern appear almost as disposable characters, as audience we are worried about the life of the protagonist, Hamlet. He was saved from execution, and we feel relieved. The message that this title is conveying is important: There are important lives and less important lives, and in this play we are going to make the less important ones more important. These two characters are for the most part off-stage in Shakespeare’s version. Here, they are always onstage, as the main characters, and Hamlet has a small part.
Stoppard dives into Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and shows us new layers and parts of the story. The original drama remains intact thou, and some of the scenes appear in his adaptation.
Stoppard articulates several layers of performance. In the first act Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are alone flipping a coin, questioning the real and the un-real, in a tribulation that could be an “invisible” scene from Hamlet. With the arrival of The Tragedians the layers start unfolding. They will present a play. They will include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the play and the play is Hamlet. Ophelia, Claudius, Gertrude and Polonius enter. The characters are played by The Tragedians, or they are the “real” characters of the tragedy. The confusion of roles, real characters and performed characters is the most interesting part of the drama. The characters tell us what the author is doing with the script. The Player explains to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern the technique used by Stoppard in the play: “ We do on stage the things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit being an entrance somewhere else.” (Stoppard, 28). Indeed, we will look at the lives of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, after they exit—in the original drama—when they are not onstage. These layers inside the drama, with characters who die and come back to life suggest a continuum in the life cycle. The player announces the show of death: “Death for all ages and occasions! Death by suspension, convulsion, consumption, incision, execution, asphyxiation and malnutrition…” (Stoppard, 124) After spending a good portion of act one with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in this new play, the entrance of Ophelia, Claudius, Gertrude and Polonius reciting the lines from Hamlet feels like the arrival of the ghosts or the beginning of acting—they are after all characters from the previous life. “Which way did we come in? I’ve lost my sense of direction” (Stoppard, 58) Says Rosencrantz. They try to find their way, going in and out of the drama—trying to see if they can exist outside of Hamlet. When the pirates attack and they think Hamlet is dead, they question their own existence without him.
“Rosencrantz- He is dead then. He is dead as far as we are concerned.
Player – Or we are as far as he is/
Guildenstern – The whole thing is pointless without him. (Stoppard, 119- 20)

They arrive to the conclusion that they can’t exist without Hamlet. Their struggle to escape and the moments they realize that they can’t exist without their previous life are the ones that move the action. “We are slipping off the map ,” (Stoppard, 108) says Rosencrantz.
At the beginning of Act Two Rosencrantz and Guildenstern feel insecure after interacting with Hamlet. “I think we can say he made us look ridiculous,” says Rosencrantz, “He murdered us” (Stoppard, 56). These comments seem to refer to the way Hamlet made them look ridiculous and murdered them in the original drama. Even if they are trying to think by themselves and exist outside of Shakespeare’s drama, they seem to be trapped—Shakespeare has already written their fate. In the original version Hamlet tells Horatio that he feels no guilt about sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to the fate that they were sending him: “Why, man, they did make love to his employment. They are not near my conscience. Their defeat doth by their own insinuation grow.” (Shakespeare, V.2.60). It is clear to Hamlet in the original version that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were responsible for their actions, and that they knew what they were doing. But in Stoppard’s play they don’t seem to remember any wrongdoing.
In both versions The Ambassador from England arrives to announce the death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. “This sight is dismal; and our affairs from England come too late. The ears are senseless that should give us hearing to tell him his commandment is fulfilled, that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Where should we have our thanks?” (Stoppard, 56) After a full circle, they meet the same end. Their efforts to escape the drama and their destiny prove to be unproductive. However they end up taking responsibility for their destiny, feeling that it was their fault. “There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said no” (Stoppard, 125). I guess they understand that they could have said no to Claudius, that their destiny, is somehow a consequence of saying yes, accepting their role in the killing or disappearance of Hamlet. Even I they can’t remember that they did it.
“Here is at least one being whose existence comes before its essence, a being which exists before it can be defined by any conception of it,” (Sartre). But I would argue that in this case the essence of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern was there before their existence. As characters of a play by Tom Stoppard, the characters were carrying the essence of the play written by Shakespeare. “Even as you die you know that you will come back in a different hat” (Stoppard, 123), says Guildenstern to the Player. Looking at it from this perspective, and probably without any intention by the author, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, is more of a Hindu play than an existentialist one. Their karma seems to be carried on from their previous life. Rosencrantz asks Guildenstern, “We’ve done nothing wrong! We didn’t harm anyone. Did we?
- I can’t remember, responds Guildenstern. (Stoppard, 125)
They don’t seem to remember their previous life, as it’s usually the case, they just feel the effects of it. But as audience we know what happened in Shakespeare’s version, we know that they actually did something wrong by accepting the task to send Hamlet to his murderers. “Well, we’ll know better next time.” (Stoppard, 126) are the last words of Guildenstern before “disappearing”. Because in this version, as in Shakespeare’s one, they don’t die, they disappear, and the drama goes on as if this second life was just contained in the previous one.

Stoppard, Tom, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. New York: Grove Press, 1967.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987

Sarte, Paul. Existentialism Is a Humanism.
Written: Lecture given in 1946
Source: Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre, ed. Walter Kaufman, Meridian Publishing Company, 1989; 
First Published: World Publishing Company in 1956; 
Translator: Philip Mairet.

Subhamoy Das, What Is Karma? The Law of Cause & Effect

Mother Courage


Brecht, Bertolt. Mother Courage and Her Children. New York: The Penguin Group, 2007.

In his epic theater, Brecht proposes a theater of ideas, where people shouldn’t be distracted by their emotions but instead using the play as an instrument of analysis. Mother Courage is a monumental piece of epic theater but it’s also a tragedy.
Brecht removed from his play some of the elements that would lead the audience to emotional reactions to the story—he turned on white lights and he created the “alienating effect”, to keep the audience away from suspense, remaining at all times awake and rational. Paradoxically what we call the horrors of war: carnage and destruction, awakes a strong emotional response in all of us. He successfully tears off many of the meanings attached to war: Heroism, patriotism, and the unavoidable necessity of it, but he can’t dissolve our emotional reaction it.
Our thinking of war cannot exist without the emotional component that is so inherent to it. Our reaction to war cannot be only analytical because it’s embedded with the emotional reaction to death and carnage. Our sentiment and understanding of war is based on our emotional reaction to it.
In Mother Courage Brecht emphasizes war-profiteering to prove his point. Mother Courage makes a living during the 30 years war selling goods from her cart. She is a single mother— her life revolves around survival and her family. So in the end, the tragedy is the story of a mother seeing her children die, one by one.
No distancing effect can takes us away from the pain of Mother Courage having to see the dead body of her son, and say that she didn’t know him to save herself, her daughter and her business, knowing that if nobody claimed his body, it will be thrown into a pit (38). Neither can we be indifferent to her pain when she sings a lullaby to her dead daughter Katrin, after she saved the village with her drumming (81).
Mother Courage represents a behavior that Breach intends to condemn—she makes a profit selling goods during war times. The fact that during the epic she loses her three children, feels like a punishment for her wrong behavior. At the end we are left with a moral of punishment that resembles more a religious lesson than a Marxist one. The concept that we’ll be punished for our wrongdoings, or that wrongdoings will have at the end a bad ending suggests some kind of religious moral that takes away the principle that would sustain a more ethical behavior per se , without seeking recompense or fearing punishment.
In his introduction to the work Norman Roessler writes, “Brecht understood, that all performative discourse on war, even the most antiwar, never rises above “pornography” (xx). Mother Courage is a monumental anti-war play that refrains from romanticizing the war, or making it into a spectacle that will trigger positive feelings.
In Marxist thinking, war, poverty and unemployment are inherent to capitalism, so Mother Courage is herself a victim of the system, even if she takes advantage of its most painful expression, war and death.
“All theater is necessarily political, says Augusto Boal, in his Theatre of the Oppressed, “those who try to separate theater from politics try to lead us into error—and this is a political attitude”. I would argue that we can’t remove politics from theater but we can’t remove emotions from theater either.
Even a cold documentary, journalistic, academic or any kind of non-theatrical public presentation of stories of the war will cause an emotional reaction in the audience— we can’t escape the feelings attached to the concept of war.
Theater as a place for thinking is still theater. Even if we remove the dreamy and cathartic elements of some forms, the ritual is still intact. Even if we turn on the lights and tell the audience what will be happening in each scene, they are still sitting, watching a story that will unfold in front of their eyes. Every theater story deals with representation and some level negotiates with emotions.
Bertolt Brecht successfully guides our emotions towards the political ideas that he wants to convey, but he also fails to make the audience a complete objective witness of pain and death. Even in a sober and analytical state we are witnessing a painful tragedy of loss, death and the horrors of war.

Cloud Nine


Churchill, Caryl. Plays:1. Cloud Nine. London: Methuen Drama, 1996.

As a feminist and a person who cares about political theater and writers concerned with social justice, I appreciate the work of Caryl Churchill. Cloud Nine explores ideas of patriarchy and colonialism that I think are very important to put onstage. I agree with her political views and I appreciate her commitment to theatrical experimentation. I read Cloud Nine many years ago, and my impression of the play was very different then— I liked the text and I was very happy that writers like her were getting international recognition. It was exciting after all these years to have a chance to read the play again to analyze it. To my surprise I was a bit disappointed. I found that even though I still agree with the ideas that she is conveying, now I see the play as an illustration of progressive ideas more than an experimental theater piece that deals with political ideas. I appreciated the change of gender and race of the actors who play the different characters with the intention to stress the expectations that were put on them. I found that to be a clever and effective way of subverting gender paradigms. Her use of humor helps build an entertaining satire, which challenges the stereotype of feminist or political theater as being boring and taking itself too seriously.
Act one is set in Victorian times in the 1950s, at the height of colonialism. The power dynamics between men and women, servant and master are shown through characters resembling caricatures—in that their positions are very extreme. Each one of the characters represents a ‘big idea’: The wife, “women’s oppression”; the husband, “patriarchy”; the servant, “colonialism”. The picture she is painting is huge and general. The characters and the situations are not specific, they lack the complexity of the particular.
Almost every line in this play then, becomes a political statement, since every character conveys a specific meaning and represents a particular group. In this kind of carefully designed illustration, where political ideas will find their way to the audience through the lines of the characters, I find it surprising that child abuse would be thrown casually in the landscape. I doubt that something as important and serious as child molestation was not written into the play with a particular intention. I believe that the scene where Edward is molested by his uncle is part of the ideas that Churchill wants to communicate to us. In that case, I wonder, what exactly is she communicating? Edward seems to enjoy being molested by his uncle Harry, and asks him. “You know what we did when you were here before. I want to do it again. I think about it all the time. I try to do it to myself but it’s not as good. Don’t you want to any more? (270).
The second act is set in London in 1979, when in fact 100 years have passed. It is a difficult task to show in a play how much of the sexism and racism of that society was resolved (or not) after 100 years. So again, the characters carry a similarly heavy weight. They represent “the lesbian”, “the gay”, “the liberated woman”, and “the modern husband”. Churchill makes her point, with a very optimistic view. She shows us some improvement in the power dynamics between the characters. Betty divorces Clive, she begins a new life, now she works and she also masturbates. Martin, Victoria’s husband is a good guy who tries to be supportive and understanding of her desires. Edward is now an adult and he is out gay—he became the housewife his mother would want Victoria to be. Victoria comes out as a lesbian and she has more intellectual interests than her mother ever had. The only issue that remains unresolved is Edward. He doesn’t mention or remember that uncle Harry molested him when he was a child. We know that it happened, but we don’t see the damage, which I believe is the hidden part of this issue, and the one that never gets discussed.
Churchill has been compared to Bertolt Brecht in her style and the way her plays convey a clear political message. But if Brecht was accused of sacrificing artistic value at the service of political commitment, then Cloud Nine is a more extreme case of that. Brecht’s plays display stronger images and metaphors—the narrative is more conventional than hers in a way, but his writing transcends the political message. In Cloud Nine it appears as if the message was already digested before it was given to us.


RUINED, war with a happy ending.

Nottage, Lynn. Ruined. New York: Theater Communications Group, 2009.

In Ruined Nottage brings us very successfully into the horrors of the war in The Democratic Republic of Congo, focusing on the violation, rape and exploitation of women. The writing is very realistic, the situation is current and some of the names mentioned in the play are real, creating an almost documentary theater piece. Ruined shows the lives of women who are raped by soldiers, and afterwards they are rejected by their families. The body of women as a site for the war is depicted very effectively. The house of Mama Nadi appears as a refuge and salvation for those girls, being in fact a place where their exploitation will just continue. The women have no exit. Salima, a young girl and mother who was kidnapped by the soldiers who made her his concubine for five months, was then pushed away by her husband and family for dishonoring them. “He called me a filthy dog and said that I tempted them” (67), she says. The victim, as in many places, is blamed for being raped. She ends up in Mama Nadi’s house, working as a prostitute and getting pregnant. When her husband comes back for her, she knows she will be humiliated and rejected again, so she kills herself, stating: “you will not fight your battles on my body anymore” (94). Suicide seems to be the only exit for these girls. But the play proposes a salvation, at least for Mama Nadi. A good man, named Christian, will convince her at the end to settle down with him, and run a business together.
This play that opens a world of suffering in front of our eyes closes with a happy ending: the new couple dancing. I think that the combination of documentary theater and story telling is a very complicated task. The heavy weight of the scenes that happen during the play cannot easily come to an end in a happy ending. The tale ends, as a romantic love story, creating resolution and relief for the audience. But the images and words of the previous scenes stay with us, as an open wound. A good guy and a sweet romantic scene is not enough to heal it. I believe that this play should not provide a happy ending, because the reality that it portrays is still bloody and painful—those women are still trapped and suffering. The bitter taste of the war stays with us even if the tale ends happily. Perhaps the author tried to send a message of hope—and she makes clear decisions in the way she will send her message: The name of the good guy is Christian, and the salvation for Mama Nadi is marriage.
The political situation described in the play is accurate, using real names of dictator’s of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The common citizens are trapped between a brutal savage military army that represents the government, and the rebels. Mama Nadi, similar to Mother Courage, runs her business, profiting from the exploitation and desperation of the girls that have nowhere else to go. We learn at the end that she was also ruined. So the story continues in circles. The reality of the women trapped in the war in The Democratic republic of Congo is a tale to be told, only not with a happy ending. Unlike Mother Courage, Nottage’s inspiration, which does not spare us the grim reality of the heroine’s situation, even at the end – Ruined jeopardizes the message and the effectiveness of the anti-war screed by ending it in salvation.

True West


Shepard, Sam. True West. New York: Samuel French, Inc. 1981.

True West is quintessentially American theater, not only because of the themes in the play, but also the structure of the narrative and consequently, the way in which the protagonists relate with the world, which gives off a distinctly American mindset. The characters feel trapped in a conventional lifestyle that seems deficient. The lack in the culture they inhabit becomes evident in their desperations.
“Some commentators refer to Shepard’s later plays as examples of "magical realism" (a literary genre denned by the works of such writers as Jorge Luis Borges and Federico Garcia Lorca) ” . I find this claim ludicrous. The characters in True West lack any possibility of connecting with magic moments that would break away from the narrative and their earthly life. The author himself makes a point in a note at the beginning of the play that the set, costumes and props should be realistic – even the sound effects (coyotes, grasshoppers) have specific, realistic instructions.
On the other hand Carla J. Macdonough in her book Staging Masculinity states: “In its dialectic, True West is simply following the conventions of the western, which many film critics have discussed as being focused on divided images of masculinity with the world of women or the feminine as backdrop.” This statement is more accurate, the play is totally focused on the two men—the women, and I would add, the world in general, remains far in the background – reduced to some echoes in the distance.
The two brothers: Austin, who attended an Ivy League school, and Lee, the one who didn’t, belong to a different class now (already their names evoke two essential American ‘legends’). These two characters are extreme and stereotypical, the educated screenwriter and a drunk outcast. Then they reverse roles. The Hollywood producer likes outcast’s movie idea, dropping the script of the screenwriter, so the outcast becomes the writer and the writer starts drinking. The good son is out there stealing now, and the thief is writing on the typewriter. Voila.
In this kind of domestic drama, the alcohol is the overused stylistic resource to unleash catharsis, causing a sudden awakening or realization on the part of the characters. What comes out of that realization is mostly bitterness and frustration. This kind of play seems to be departing from the premise that everybody is frustrated and unhappy with his life, and it takes a good amount of alcohol to let the anger out. Most likely, the next day things will continue as normal, or as they were before.
During his catharsis, Austin realizes that he wants to leave everything and go to the desert. Lee, reminds him: “What are you crazy or somethin’? You went to college. Here, you are down here, rollin’in bucks. Floatin’up and down in elevators. And you wanna’ learn how to live on the desert!. And Austin replies - I do, Lee. I really do. There’s nothin’ down here for me. There never was.” (58).
The emptiness and disintegration of the characters has been associated with the consumer culture and the vacuity of the American dream. Austin is a successful man, he has a family but he is empty and lonely. Lee, the free single man, who lived many adventures, feels lonely too. Each one wants the others’ life. The play shows us the characters trapped in a life that they don’t like, but apparently there’s nothing better out there, except exchanging miserable roles.
The archetypical characterization of American culture is very much concerned with family life and professional success. Austin represents that kind of success. The opposite side in this dialectic model is Lee, the free man living in the wild with nature.
True West exposes a shallow and selfish culture that seems to be completely unaware of the rest of the world and lacks essential elements that the characters could reach out in their search for meaning and happiness.
The only people we hear about in the play are the family members: the mother, who left for a trip; the father, who is an alcoholic living alone in the desert; and the two brothers. The Hollywood producer embodies the outside world, he can change their destiny with a snap of his fingers. They mention Ausitn’s family, but we don know their names, and they don’t seem to be relevant. And then there' s the women, or names of women that Lee keeps in little pieces of paper, with the intention to call them one day.
The author and the characters seem to be walking blind in a world that doesn’t penetrate their reality. They recognize their misery, but they believe there’s nothing else out there anyway.

Juan A. Tarancón. Visions of the True West: Sam Shepard. Identity and Myth
Revista Alicantina de estudios Ingleses.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nobel Prize people take back the title

We can't take the prize back, so we decided to rename it The Nicer War prize- or The Just kill the Soldiers prize- Or The Compassionate War prize

Obama's non-acceptance speech

And since I don't believe that peace can be achieve without war, it probably doesn't make any sense for me to accept this award-

A promise of war with less casualties is not even close to peace Obama

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


HEDDA GABLER, a love story.
by Susana Cook

This play unfolds many layers of tension and conflicting worlds. Every moment seems to be charged with meaning, even if it’s not fully clear at times what the meaning is. Ibsen puts together people from different classes and levels of intelligence; showing us differing relationships to love and passion; and the thin line between genius and mediocrity. There’s a strong contrast between Hedda and Ejlert and the rest of the characters. We know that something very essential sets them apart from the rest. Hedda and Ejlert are complex, multidimensional, and dangerous. The rest of the characters are like flat paper figures compared to them—they appear as a frame that shed light on the two main characters. I see Hedda Gabler as a love story, some kind of Romeo and Juliet, between Hedda and Ejlert Lovborg. Hedda and Ejlert try to fit in but they are essentially different from the rest of the characters. They are deeper, they struggle, and at the end the two heroes are dead.
Hedda names the play, the spotlight is on her—this character intrigues us before she comes onstage. Before she appears Miss. Tessman talks about her to Berte, commenting how special she was, and the aura that she had around her: “Do you remember how we used to see her galloping by? How smart she looked in her riding clothes! (345). She also reminds her nephew Tesman how lucky he was by marrying her— Hedda is a trophy wife, “And to think that you should have been the one to carry off Hedda Gabler—the fascinating Hedda Gabbler—who was always surrounded by so many admirers” (347) . We also hear intriguing comments about Ejlert Lovborg before he appears, there’s a feeling of danger around him “Eljert Lovborg is in town, says Mrs. Elvsted, I am afraid he’ll get into trouble” (357). But then, when Hedda comes, (the description that Ibsen gives of Hedda is not spectacular), we see that she is not a femme fatale, but she is somehow powerful and irresistible. There’s a depth to her character and a feeling of danger, “I am afraid of you Hedda” (396) says Mrs. Elvsted to her.
The love between Hedda and Eljert surfaces in small zips from the past “I sometimes feel a shadow between Lovborg and me – a woman’s shadow. Someone he’s never been able to forget… He said that when they parted she threatened to shoot him” (364) says Mrs. Elvsted to Hedda, who is very excited to know that she was not forgotten.
Hedda and Tesman are from a different social class, and that’s an apparent source of tension and disconnect. But Eljert and Hedda are from a different social class as well, but they seem to be connected for a different reason. Judge Brack seems to be the only one who notices that something is going on between them and he points out the innocence of Hedda’s husband, “Jorgen Tesman is certainly a naïve creature” (404) he says. Ibsen shows us some kind of hierarchy of intelligence or genius. Ejlert and Hedda are definitely the geniuses in the play. Tesman is an intelligent man, a researcher, but he doesn’t seem to notice much of what happens around him. Judge Brack can see and perceive their genius, but he is not one of them. Hedda is attracted to extreme expressions of beauty and passion. Her connection with Eljert involves death as a supreme act of courage. We learn that in the past she threatened to kill him. To her husband’s surprise Hedda finds beautiful when she hears that Eljert killed himself with the gun she gave him, “At last, a deed worth doing! There’s a beauty in this. He had the courage to do—the one right thing.” (421). And then she kills herself.
The two heroes die, leaving behind what will never come fully to life: Eljert’s manuscript and Hedda’s baby.

Ibsen, Henrik. Hedda Gabler. 6 Plays by Henrik Ibsen. New York: The Modern Library, 1957.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Benito C. Cook

My grandfather was Benito C. Cook. He was from Concepción del Uruguay, Entre Ríos, Argentina. He died before I was born. Many people talked to me about my grandfather. There’s a street with his name in Concepción del Uruguay and a monument in his honor. He was a doctor and he had a sign outside his office that said: “Los Pobres, Gratis”. It means that poor people could be seen for free. He had a vase in the waiting room where people were depositing the fee for the visit if they could afford it. But if they were poor and needed money for the medicine, they were allowed to take money from the same vase. My father was the youngest of his children. His daughter Eloisa contracted Meningitis when she was 8 years old and she died. My grandfather got very depressed and they moved to Buenos Aires in 1910. The people of Concepción de Uruguay gave him a big book with their signatures and messages of gratitude. That book is in my father’s house. They collected money among all the people in the town to give him a present, and they bought him a watch, Patek Philippe, where they engraved this inscription: ”El Pueblo al Dr. Benito Cook, Filantropía y Abnegación Abril 19, 1910, Concepción del Uruguay”
“The Village to Dr. Benito Cook, philanthropy and abnegation, April 19th, 1910”

After my grandfather died, the watch was in the house of my uncle Julio. When Julio died, his wife Coleta, instead of giving it to my father, donated it to the local school, where my grandfather used to teach. It was there for many years until it was stolen apparently. Recently I found this website that says that the watch of my grandfather was auctioned by Christies:

I contacted Christies but they cannot give me information about the buyers. Whoever has that watch has no idea who my grandfather was and why that inscription is in there.

I would like for the person who owns his watch now to know the extraordinary life of my grandfather, and that I have the missing case for the watch.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Susana Cook and Lisa Haas. Photo by Vivian Babuts

Monday, October 05, 2009

I Am My Own Wife

Wright, Dough, I Am My Own Wife. New York: Faber And Faber, Inc., 2004.
by Susana Cook

Both truth and lies and reality and fiction become interwoven in I Am My Own Wife. The introduction by the author prepares us to see a piece of documentary theater: The life of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. He is interested in showing to the world this very unique human being. “If her life didn’t merit two hours on a New York stage, he reasons, who would?” The play is a piece of political theater, where politics are spelled out very clearly. The characters talk politics and describe specific and real historical moments.
The author makes a crucial decision in the script: one person will play all the characters. This is a one woman show-- or a one man show--or a one transvestite show. This decision is significant at so many levels. All the genders, personalities and stories live inside this character. The versatility of Charlotte as a transvestite, and as a person who had compromised her ideals to work as an informant for the Stasi regime in order to survive, makes her the charming and adorable character that people get to hate and love again. We are used to seeing solo shows, where the actor changes wigs, voices and characters. But the characters in this play are not doing monologues, they interact fluently, building a very alive and multilayered story.
Charlotte owns a lot of objects that have witnessed important parts of history and she is part of that history. Her museum is almost like another character during the play—the only objects in the set. The symbiosis of Charlotte with the objects and the history they represent becomes evident during the play. “ She doesn’t run a museum, she is one! (36) Says Dough. Charlotte has an amazing monologue where she describes herself as becoming the objects that were left behind by the people who were killed or kicked out by the Nazi and the Communists regimes: “When families died, I became this furniture. When the Jews were deported in the Second World War, I became it. When citizens were burned out of their homes by the Communists, I became it. After the coming of the wall, when the old mansion houses were destroyed to create the people’s architecture, I became it.” (18).
The character of Dough, the playwright, becomes as important as the character of Charlotte. He needs Charlotte to be a hero for gay and transgender people. The playwright is doing research, interviewing Charlotte, trying to build the story of this incredibly symbolic character. During his search and during the play the heroine falls apart, becomes a liar and a fraud. Then Charlotte rises up again, in all her complex dimension and duplicity.
The play looks at the history of Germany and WWII through the life of a transvestite. “Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, had lived openly as a cross-dresser under the twentieth century’s two most conformist regimes—the Nazis and the Communists—for almost her entire life.” (X) Describes the author in Portrait of an Enigma.
The character of Charlotte is very important, and the need of the playwright, a gay man in search of a hero for his mistreated community, is very important too. Both stories interact during the play, and both stories are relevant. Dough is ready to forgive and understand Charlotte, but he is not ready to make her a fictional hero. He needs her to be real, a historical figure that will become a hero for all transgender and gay people. She is the character of a play, but it’s very clear that we are listening to the story of her life in real East Germany during WWII, the third Reich, the Communist regime, the coming and the fall of the wall. “I grew up in the Bible Belt; says Dough to Charlotte; I can only begin to imagine what it must have been like during the Thrid Reich. The Nazis, and hen the Communists? It seems to me you’re an impossibility. You shouldn’t even exist.” (19).
The author wants to tell a story of survival—creating an icon of transgender visibility and pride. However, the story becomes an enigmatic biography. Many questions remain unanswered. We’ll never know the real story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. In a way—and probably against the author’s intentions-- she becomes a fictional character, interacting with an author that is trying to make her real, and is convinced that she can serve a great purpose: to be a hero for the gay and transgender community, who are thirsty for heroes who challenged the system and prevailed.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Doubt, by John Patrick Shanley

Shanley, John Patrick. Doubt, a parable. New York: Theater Communications Group, 2005.
by Susana Cook.

“Life happens when the tectonic power of your speechless soul breaks through the dead habits of the mind. Doubt is nothing less than an opportunity to reenter the present”. (viii) In the preface, the author prepares us for his statement about doubt. We “may come out of the play uncertain”, he says. He is asking us to look down on that feeling, and then the play starts. Father Flynn talks about doubt in his first sermon, as Dough Wright does in the preface. Right away we associate the priest with the author-- they think the same way. Sister Aloysius on the other hand appears as a very unkind, uptight, almost malicious person-- enamored with rigid discipline. She hates ballpoint pens, art and music classes, and history. She shows no compassion-- she is mean when she talks about a piano teacher who has a goiter. We know right away that we are not supposed to like her-- she is obnoxious. She is the person who will try to unveil the truth—whether or not Father Flynn had sexually abused Donald Muller, a new boy in the class. Sister James is a younger, kinder teacher who appears as the opposite of Sister Aloysius, and she is the first one to notice that the boy came back disturbed and smelling of alcohol after a meeting with Father Flynn.
What Wright might be proposing is that we should question the moral certainty that condemns man-boy love. The arguments given by NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association), to justify their actions are similar to some of Father Flynn’s statements: “There’s nothing wrong with love.” (41). In the context of this play, and especially at this particular moment, this statement carries a very strong message.
Sister Aloysius invites Mrs. Muller, the boy’s mother, to talk to her about her suspicion that Father Flynn might be taking advantage of her son. This is the part that I found most surprising and disturbing. The mother seems to be okay with the idea of the boy having an intimate relationship with the priest as long as he graduates from the school. She insinuates that the boy is gay—and that seems to justify the abuse from the priest. “It might be a good thing for him.” “And he’s got your son.” Says Sister Aloysius to her. “Let him have’im then,” responds Mrs. Muller. She then adds: “Maybe some of them boys want to get caught. Maybe what you don’t know maybe is my son is…that way.” (48). It seems as if the mother is justifying rape or child abuse if the kid is gay. The friendship he has with the priest seems to be good--the “only thing he had”. He is the only black boy in the school and he is gay.
The play ends with Sister Aloysius doubting. Father Flynn resigns and he receives a promotion. He is now the pastor in a different school and “Donald Muller is heartbroken that he is gone” (57). Sister Aloysius doubts at the end of the play don’t make sense to me. She suddenly appears vulnerable, weak, and emotional. She is opening her heart to Sister James. She doesn’t doubt that Father Flynn abused the boy—she says herself “his resignation was his confession. He was what I thought he was”. Sister Aloysius tells Sister James. So what are her doubts about then? The last scene of the play implies that Sister Aloysius was transformed by this experience and she becomes more “human”. So now she has doubts—even though she condemns doubts at the beginning of the play.
What is she doubting? Her faith? The church hierarchy? Her life? I believe that the play implies that now she doubts that maybe it was a good thing for the boy his relationship with Father Flynn after all.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Saved, by Edward Bond

Bond, Edward. Saved. Plays: One. London: The Master Playwrights, 1977
by Susana Cook

I don’t think it’s possible to “like” Edward Bond’s play Saved. Critics discuss its meanings, make interpretations, find intentions, and award value to the play as a classic. But it’s certainly not a play to enjoy. The images displayed onstage are harsh and disgusting. Some critics see Bond as a successor of Brecht and see his plays as a political tool that sends a message of hope through the horrific scenes. The intention of the author is not to entertain us; he seems to have a mission, and his writing is a commentary about the state of world, the consequences of capitalism, and the brutality of poverty. Bond’s intentions are change and protest. Rejected by most critics in the 1960s, the play is considered, after many years, a classic of British literature. I am interested in seeing why the super-violent images depicted onstage seem to have taken a life of their own and created an impact and fascination in so many people’s minds and a revolution in British theater.
“Saved represents the London underclass of the 1960s,” we read in every glossary and review of the time. Saved is not the story of a random group of people--it claims to be a naturalistic representation of a whole social group: the poor working class. It seems as if by going to see this play, the audience will learn something they don’t know about the “underclass,” that something new will be revealed to them, that they will confront a reality hidden to their eyes (unless, of course, they were part of the social group represented onstage. But in that case they probably wouldn’t be at the theater.) The implied assumption that members of the actual underclass would not be among the audience members, or reading the reviews, and the subtle message that “they are worse than you think,” makes me wonder what is accomplished with this kind of naturalistic representation.
“Violence has always been a tool for Edward Bond through which he criticizes society,” says one of his reviewers. I think that the problematic aspect of this play is that it takes on the task of representing a particular social group as uniform, homogenous, and with a consistent behavior by all the characters throughout the play, with the only exception of Len, who is the one who will be “saved,” apparently. The dehumanization of the underclass presented in Saved makes the characters brutal, amoral, and worse than you could possibly imagine. “Violence shapes and obsesses our society,” says Bond, “It would be immoral not to write about violence.’’ But he is not writing about violence in the play, he is writing and staging violent acts, representations of violence, by people who seem to have lost any trace of humanity, love, and compassion.
In scene 3, Pete, one of the youngsters in the play who had killed another boy with his van, is dressed up to attend the dead boy’s funeral while joking about it. His friends admire him for killing the boy and for getting away with it. Later, in Pam’s living room, we hear a baby crying until she chokes, and nobody pays attention to her. The most famous scene of the play is when the gangsters kill a baby in the park by stoning her to death in her carriage.
I wonder where are we placed as the audience of these excruciating scenes, and what is our role, if any. We are not supposed to be having an enriching or pleasant experience; apparently we are supposed to be learning a moral lesson. The characters seem to be a reflection of a violent, brutal society. They are also the victims of a political system that the author intends to criticize. But the portrayal of the characters is so brutal and pitiless, that as audience we are left with no compassion for the victims of a society he tries to expose and condemn. Rather than identification, we feel disgust and repulsion for their behavior, and we can’t see any kind of perspective in terms of how the system made them into the monsters they are, or how they could be saved from their misery. They seem to be hopelessly lost cases. The play is “irresponsibly optimistic,” says Bond. He sees hope in Len.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The God of Carnage--by Yasmina Reza

Reza, Yasmina, The God of Carnage. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton. London: Faber & Faber, 2008.
by Susana Cook

Her characters, including herself in Hammerklavier, are self-obsessed, desperately ambitious for achievement, whatever form that achievement takes. They reek of futility but lack the desperate humanity of Beckett's existential no-hopers."
-Simon Hattenstone, The Guardian, January 1, 2001

Asked whether she is a moralist, she replies: "It is not for me to say, but theatre is a mirror, a sharp reflection of society. The greatest playwrights are moralists."
-Agnes Poirier, The Independent, March 16, 2008

Originally written (and produced) in French, they are usually slender sitcoms, elegantly streaked with troubling shadows and shaped with Cartesian symmetry. They are plays that suggest reassuringly that human depths can, after all, be measured by a slide rule.
The New York Times, March 23, 2009

I agree with most critics that Reza’s play is a kind of “slender sitcom” that

“reeks of futility but lacks desperate humanity.”

I looked at the structure of The God of Carnage to see what is offered in this play that made it a huge commercial success around the world. The play has a light comedic plot sprinkled with a small amount of philosophical tirades that come in short, easy-to-swallow doses, just the right amount that a theater audience would tolerate in a mainstream theater setting. Some people go to the theater to have a good time and do a little bit of thinking. This play provides them with the necessary amount of entertainment and pretentious posturing supposedly full of philosophical depth.
The two couples at the center of action start as very polite hosts and visitors, in a very bourgeois setting, with courteous and careful dialogue. They slowly start showing darker aspects of themselves and their lives. With the help of alcohol and a few external elements, like phone calls, they start losing control of themselves and arrive at a few cathartic moments of “truth.” They reveal their “true” feelings towards each other, and their “true” nature as human beings. The harmony in their marriages is a very delicate structure that collapses as the play advances.
They start by discussing an incident between their kids—Ferdinand, (the Reille’s son) hit Bruno (the Vallon’s child) with a stick and Bruno lost two teeth. The parents are all trying to be accommodating and understanding. They also make comments about the cake, the recipe, the tulips, etc. The dialogue is cute and predictable. As dictated by the rules of this kind of formulaic theater, the tension starts building gradually towards climax. The Reilles, who have come over, are trying to leave the house most of the time, but some comment or situation keeps them inside until the end of the play.
We can see right away that these two couples are well-educated, middle-class people with good jobs and families. The four of them are parents but ultimately, how much they care or really wanted (or want to be) parents comes into question. The theme of compassion and humanity is shown through a few elements: Darfur, the corruption of lawyers and pharmaceutical companies, and the Vallon daughter’s hamster. Veronique Vallon is writing a book about Darfour, Alain Reille is a lawyer for a pharmaceutical, and Michel Vallon has abandoned a hamster in the streets. Their masks seem to melt progressively during the play, exposing their selfish true selves. Michel hates to be a father and left a hamster trembling of fear in the streets. Alain is a dishonest lawyer who doesn’t care about people suffering the terrible side effects of a medication that should be taken off the market and instead tries to cover up for the pharmaceutical company he represents. Veronique, I suppose, is the only one who shows real feelings and compassion. The final member of the quartet, Annette throws up.
At the beginning the two teams are very clear that each couple will take the side of their own son. During the play, affiliations start changing. The men start feeling male bonding and hate their own wives and kids. The women experience a very short moment of women bonding as a response to misogynist comments from the men, but for the most part they despise and ridicule each other. I am not sure if that was the author’s specific intention, but the play shows how men have an easier time in bonding and teaming up than women do.
The pseudo-philosophical lines are clumsily inserted into the text. In one scene, Alain delivers one of his long pretentious rants:
“Veronique, are we ever interested in anything but ourselves? Of course we’d all like to believe in the possibility of improvement. Of which we could be the architect and which would be in no way self-serving. Does such a thing exist? Some people drag their feet, it’s their strategy, others refuse to acknowledge the passing of time, and drive themselves demented – what difference does it make? People struggle until they are dead. Education, the miseries of the world…” (46)
And it goes on and on. I guess this is one of the juicy monologues some of Reza’s admirers adore, and that garnered her so many awards and so much success. I suppose this type of monologue makes people think about the selfishness of humans, but in my case, it just makes me cringe and miss good writing—Chekhov, Beckett, and Pinter, just to mention a few of the souls who command the language in way that Reza is probably trying to emulate.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


HAMLETMACHINE: Entangled with the Icon that it Intends to Deface.
by Susana Cook

With Hamletmachine, Heiner Muller adds his signature to the classic drama of Hamlet, establishing himself as a champion avant-garde playwright in the Western world. Hamletmachine is considered by many to be the anti-Hamlet, a magnificent exponent of post-Shakespearean counter-drama, even postdramatic, anti-play, post-text and/or post-actor genre. If the intention of the author was to break away from any or all those traditions, then his efforts don’t seem to succeed in escaping or destroying the categories that they intend to subvert. Every line of the play makes us sink deeper into the roots of this particular drama and into cultural icons that link us, as the audience/reader, to the specific culture and narrative that we are supposed to break away from.
Heiner Muller has been associated with Antonin Artaud in his efforts to create a theater that would shake and subvert the status quo. Muller likes to think of himself as a “poet maudit.” Artaud is a sweeping force, a demolishing power, which no experimental avant-garde artist can escape. His ideas and writings about “bourgeois” theater in general and Shakespearean theater in particular opened a path that left a strong mark in the work of every artist who would like to see him/herself as transgressive or innovative. Artaud’s impulses were wild, undomesticated, honest, raw and real. They were coming from the genuine anger and frustration of a human being and artist who had already been rejected by mainstream society. Artaud’s position of constant segregation and suffering gave him the freedom of the one who has nothing to lose. He was an outsider. He was definitely not part of the status quo. His statements didn’t carry any possible or secret compromise with the normative theater forms of his time. Unlike Muller, Artaud was not an established artist with a reputation he had to maintain. During his lifetime Artaud suffered psychosis, poverty, incarceration, rejection, and drug addiction. His demolishing creative force has no intention to save any remains: he proposes a theater that will take us away completely from the status quo and from the stagnation produced by bourgeois theater. “Shakespeare himself is responsible for this aberration and for this decay,” wrote Artaud (1988: 254). He would probably not have been interested in playing with a Shakespearean text, either through adaptation or retelling. Some post-modern artists, though, chose to play with classic plays, and that is seen as an act of subversion and deconstruction (Lehman 2006)—even though the “destruction” of the status quo of the classic forms leaves us sometimes with a renewed version of the old text.
Hamletmachine is the Anti-Hamlet, ergo it cannot exist without Hamlet. If we would give the script of Hamletmachine to a reader who was not familiar with Shakespeare or the references and allusions in the text, then Hamletmachine would probably lose its meaning and importance. It has a meaning that cannot be decoded without knowledge of the previous meaning.
“I’m not Hamlet. I don’t take part anymore. My words have nothing to tell me anymore,” says Hamlet in Hamletmachine (Muller 1984: 56). He has nothing to tell us anymore; still, he is there and talking to us one more time. Hamlet is the machine that we can’t escape from or he is part of the machine that he can’t escape himself. He denies his own existence, while coming back to life. Just as we recycle parts of our culture, to trash them again. We break them into pieces, even if we don’t talk about them. They have nothing else to tell us, but they are still talking to us. The play could be read as a bold and even “disrespectful” act of appropriation. It incorporates elements that are very foreign to the original. Still, in this broken narrative, where the characters try to escape the original story, Hamlet still exists: “My drama doesn’t happen anymore” says Hamlet, as his drama keeps happening (Muller 1984: 56).
Heiner Muller boldly deconstructs Shakespeare’s story, altering the narrative, the timeline, the style, the characters, and even Hamlet’s gender identity, while keeping intact the names of the characters. As long as we hear the original names in the tragedy we are still witnessing the drama of Hamlet. The names resonate in us, recreating the strong images of the drama. We need those images to travel through Muller’s play. Hamletmachine cannot exist without Hamlet. The play assumes an informed reader who will enjoy the traveling away from the original. A common point of departure is necessary.
Hamletmachine could be read as a poetic experiment, but the cultural references thrown in by the author in the text resonate in our mind, bringing us to common places, making us inclined to find in these allusions some kind of added meaning or intention on the part of the author: Doctor Zhivago, Electra, Marx, Lenin and Mao. In a very un-orderly manner some of these names appear related to the Russian Revolution.
“Something is rotten in Denmark,” Hamlet states in the original play by Shakespeare. “SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THIS AGE OF HOPE” (53), says Muller’s Hamlet in Hamletmachine. These lines were written in English in Muller’s original text in German. I imagine that for a spectator listening to the script in German, the sudden switch to English suggests an allusion to Western capitalism and imperialism. This moment also creates a certain complicity with the (East German) audience, by pointing to the Other, which was, at that moment of Hamletmachine’s writing, Western Europe and the United States.
Muller makes Hamlet the victim of thoughts, and thoughts the enemy of images. Muller believes that theater is a laboratory for the social imagination. Nostalgic for a theater of images, he tries to bring forth a visual spectacle: “thoughts suck the blood out of images,” (56) says Hamlet in Muller’s play. Muller is more interested in a visual and poetic display of images onstage than in a theater focusing on text. Still, he is an author, and his plays are analyzed and read with full attention to every word of the text, with a devotion similar to Shakespeare’s studies. In a way Muller’s efforts to kill the script leaves him with a new script. His efforts seem to be like killing the queen but not the idea of the queen.
The play deals with the idea of consecutive lives, questioning the reasons for the drama to come back to life and in what form. Hamlet seems to be commenting on his own return: “A MOTHER’S WOMB IS NOT A ONE-WAY STREET” (54). This idea, of returning to the womb to be born again, makes this Hamlet a new creation of the same mother (with a different father). In that way Hamlet(machine) is almost the same Hamlet, in a new life. In this new life, Muller’s Hamlet wants to come back in a different form. “I want to be a woman,” says Hamlet as he dresses in Ophelia’s clothes.
The post-modern narrative of Hamletmachine—with its characteristic traits of collage, pastiche, bricolage, irony, and intertextuality—seems to break away from the canonical aspects of Hamlet. Yet the power structures of the classic plays remain intact in this new version. Ultimately, I contend that Muller’s play does not shatter canonical boundaries because too many elements of the original remain intact; even though the characters may rebellious and defiant, they are still part of social structures like royalty and the upper class.
Hamletmachine marked a breakthrough in Muller’s career but it is also seen as a breakthrough in written drama. If we wanted to frame this art piece to make it stand on its own, we would have to cut the tentacles that connect it and entangle it with the canonical icon that is trying to deface.
Hamletmachine is the Anti-Hamlet, the counter-Shakespeare. What new form is Muller creating with Hamletmachine? As Hans-Thies Lehman observes: “Provocation alone does not make a form; even provocative, negating art has to create something new under its own steam. Through this alone, and not through the negation of classical norms, can it obtain its own identity” (2006: 28). Postdramatic Theater.
Hamletmachine reflects the paradox of contemporary theater. Muller printed his own initials (on Shakespeare’s play). He wrote Hamletmachine, his own creation (based on Hamlet). He is offering us a recycled piece of culture (that stands on its own). In a culture obsessed with classics, Muller’s retake of a classic becomes a classic. How far can you travel away from Hamlet and still recognize it as Hamlet? Can you make Hamlet more crazy, a woman wanna-be, a non-Hamlet (“I am not Hamlet”), and still have it be Hamlet?
At the end of Hamletmachine, Ophelia, speaking as Electra “in the heart of darkness” (58) seems to reject this new birth and every birth. Looking at it “Under the sun of torture. In the name of the victims” (58) She finds it useless and renounces to give birth to it : “I eject all the sperm I have received…I bury it in my womb.”

Whether that is the intention of the author or not, the play seems to show us that there’s no escape, only new perspectives.


Artaud, Antonin, and Susan Sontag. Selected Writings. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press, 1988.

Kalb, Jonathan. The Theater of Heiner Muller. New York: Limelight Editions, 2001.

Lehman, Hans-Thies. Postdramatic Theater. Trans. Karen Jurs-Munby. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Müller, Heiner, and Carl Weber. Hamletmachine and Other Texts for the Stage. 1st ed. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1984.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Antigone. annotation by Susana Cook
Sophocles. Antigone: The Oedipus Cycle. Translated from the Greek by Dudley Fitts & Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1967.

Antigone is a play about obedience to the law, the paradoxical relationship between the laws of men and the laws of God. Creon, King of Thebes proclaims that “Polyneices is to have no burial” (197). Antigone, sister of Polyneiches, Eteocles and Ismene, daughter of Oedipus, decides to challenge the King’s orders and give a burial to her brother Polyneiches, following God’s orders instead. When Creon finds out that Antigone buried her brother against his wishes, he asks her, “had you heard my proclamation touching this matter?” Antigone replies: “It was not God’s proclamation [.]”
The play also deals with religion, fear of God and punishment. The maximum punishment that Creon can threaten to impose on whomever disobeys his orders is death. Antigone reminds the King that God’s laws’ are stronger than the laws of the human king, that her action carries honor instead of shame because giving a decent burial to her brother is in line with God’s wishes: “there is no guilt in reverence for the dead” (210). She shows no fear in disobeying the king’s orders, reminding him that we are mortal anyway, because of God’s law and not his, and that disregarding the laws of God concerning the honor due to the dead can be far more dangerous than disobeying the King, because God is the supreme power. The paradox of obedience is very clear in the postures of Antigone and Ismene. Antigone represents obedience to God, Ismene to the King. Creon himself is disobeying God’s laws with his actions. The Chorus warns him about the dangers of his hubris: “Fortunate is the man who has never tasted God’s vengeance” (215). The idea of religion and obedience to the Gods is pushed by Antigone to the extreme. “I shall be a criminal--but a religious one” (164), she proclaims dramatically.
The genesis of the tragedy is Creon’s proclamation about Polyneices’ dead body left unburied, and not Antigone’s disobedience. Creon’s proclamation violates God’s laws, and the people of the town feel disturbed by it. Antigone’s actions are honorable but illegal at the same time. She trusts that the people of the town would applaud her actions if they weren’t all afraid of Creon. “All these men would praise me/ Were their lips not frozen shut with fear of you” (210).
Ismene sees her sister becoming nobler with her actions, so she changes her position and decides to be “guilty” in the eyes of the King so she can be forgiven in the eyes of God.
As the play advances, Creon keeps losing authority. The first one to challenge him is Antigone, then his own son Haimon, then Ismene. Creon gets frustrated and angry because he is not getting the obedience that he feels he deserves as a king, and so his actions keep escalating, but ironically, he becomes weaker as he becomes more and more of a tyrant. Creon orders
to bury Antigone alive in a cave. Antigone, goes to her living tomb, and Tiresias warns Creon that the Gods will be on Antigone’s side.
In the end, the laws of God prove to be stronger. Creon, carrying the dead body of Haimon, is seen by Choragos: “Here is the king himself. Bearing his own damnation in his arms” (242). Soon after Creon finds out that his wife, the Queen, committed suicide out of grief, he realizes that his tragedy is the result of his own arrogant actions. He offended God and he is being punished for it. “I have been rash and foolish. I have killed my son and my wife” (244), he suddenly realizes. Creon feels the power of God falling on him for disobeying his laws and cries out, “Oh God, I am sick with fear” (244). He becomes at the end a sad, humble man who felt intensely the consequences of trying to supersede God’s wishes, but finally succumbs, lamenting that “fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust” (245).

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Idiot King

by Susana Cook. 2006
The Nurse
The Queen
The Gang
The Master of Counterinsurgency
The Tutor
The Secretary of War
The Head of Intelligence
The Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity
The Communist
The Performer
The GroomBride

The Parade of the King
Loud Music. The King appears in heelys parading with his court.
During the parade the King suffers an attack of paranoia. He starts having hallucinations, losing control and fighting against invisible ghosts.

King - Look at all this blood, it’s disgusting. Get all these bloody people out of my way. I can’t roller blade on top of dead bodies.
Courtiers - There’s no dead bodies Majesty.
King – Out! Out of my way!

Courtiers – Look at all the people who came to cheer you
King - Get them out! (Talkng to a chair) I didn’t kill you, leave me alone
Courtiers- There’s nobody in that chair majesty
King – You were supposed to be dead, why aren’t you dead?
Courtiers - Who are you talking to?
King - Stop looking at me! Go home
Courtiers- Relax Majesty, you are just very tired
King –Bloody terrorists, leave me alone!

His Court tries to make him feel better. They carry him to lie down. He will faint.
Courtiers – Call the nurse!
King – Make them shut up!
Courtiers - The nurse! The nurse!

The Nurse enters. The rest of the court will exit slowly, very concerned about the mental health of the King. Music stops. The King is lying on a coach. The Nurse is trying to feed him with a spoon. The food keeps falling out of his mouth.

Nurse – You have to swallow!
King – How?
Nurse – You have to send the food down your throat
King – I can’t
Nurse – Use the impulse
(He moves trying to create impulse)
Nurse – No, not like that, with your tongue.
(He sticks his tongue out)

Nurse – To the back!
King – What back?
Nurse – That little hole you have in the back of your mouth
King – (laughing) That’s my ass!
Nurse – No, that’s your throat, that hole sends the food to your esophagus, and then to your stomach
King – Why are you so biological today?
Nurse – I am not so biological, if you don’t swallow you can’t start the digestion process
King – And how am I supposed to know that?
Nurse – Everybody knows that. You can’t keep the food in your mouth like that, send it to your throat
King – Stop with that word, I am not a biologist!
Nurse – Forget it, we’ll try again later. Let me give you the supplement
Get it out

He takes his dick out she starts injecting it with supplements. The King screams. Then she starts rubbing it with lotion.

Nurse – Does it feel good?
King – Yes. This is not Viagra, is it? Because I don’t need no Viagra
Nurse – Of course you don’t. We all know that. Nobody would ever think that you need Viagra. Nobody, not one person would think that. We all know you are very virile and powerful
King – And it’s big
Nurse – Very big, huge, courageous, honorable, patriotic and holy

The Tutor enters

Tutor - Excuse me
Nurse - Hi Tutor. We were admiring his powerful and patriotic thing
Tutor - It’s beautiful
Nurse - I’ll leave you alone with your lesson. He has been very good, he was practicing those words you taught him, and the vowels, and he did his math homework.
Tutor - Could you find the map I brought for him?
Nurse - No, I couldn’t find it anywhere
Tutor - What a pity, that was a very expensive globe, it’s going to take me sometime to find another one like that, and he really needs to practice geography.
Nurse - It’s ok, he made his own map (She shows him a map) You see?
Tutor - This is beautiful, very creative.
King – Tutor!
Tutor - Your majesty
King - What is that thing about the apples that you were telling me yesterday?
Tutor - Sure your majesty. What I was saying is that if I have 2 apples and I give Peter one apple, I will have one apple
King - Exactly, that’s what I thought. And why would you give Peter one of your apples?
Tutor - Maybe because he is hungry, or he was asking me for one. The important thing is to count the apples. It’s just an example to help you count
King - No, it’s not just an example I think you are a communist Tutor. Who’s that Peter anyway and what’s this whole apple business about? I would like to find out what’s your relationship to Peter and these apples.
Tutor - Sir, we can use oranges to count if you want and different names
King – Yes, that would be better
Tutor - Alright. So you have 5 oranges, you give Mary 2 oranges. How many oranges will you have left?
King – That’s sexist socialism, Mary can get her own oranges

The Master of Counterinsurgency, the The Master of Counterinsurgency enters

The Master of Counterinsurgency – Your Majesty.

The King passes gas.

King – I love farting
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Great
King – I like the smell
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Great
King – Do you think people like the smell of my farts?
The Master of Counterinsurgency – They certainly do
King – I want mics on my ass. I want them to hear
The Master of Counterinsurgency - We can certainly arrange that majesty
King – Now
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Sure

The Master of Counterinsurgency brings a mic. He places it on the ass of the King. We can hear a loud fart. The farts turn into bombs.

The Master of Counterinsurgency – Beautiful
Nurse – Glorious
Tutor – Majestic
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Your majesty, we need to discuss some important issues, we are planning a meeting for this afternoon
King – What for?
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Well, we have to solve some problems related to foreign policy
King – I want them to hear my farts too
The Master of Counterinsurgency - They do majesty, they do hear, you shouldn’t worry about it
King – But they can’t smell
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Oh, yes, they can. I can assure you they can
King – (To Nurse and Tutor) Do you think they can smell my farts?
Nurse – I am pretty sure they can.
Tutor – Yes, the smell is very intense
The Master of Counterinsurgency - What I really wanted to discuss is the war sir
King – I like it
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Right, of course, we all do. What’s not to like about it?
King - So what’s your problem?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - No, I don’t have any problem sir
King - I am not sir
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Sorry majesty. What I wanted to discuss with you is that there’s some people who seem very upset
King - Kill them
The Master of Counterinsurgency - We are, we are trying our best, but they seem to reproduce like bunnies, they are coming from everywhere
King - What? Are you afraid of them sissy?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - No, your majesty, of course not
King - Do you think I am afraid of them sissy? ( he smiles, chuckles)
The Master of Counterinsurgency - No, of course not
King - They are all gays
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Of course
King – They are communists
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Terrorists majesty, terrorists
King – People love me
The Master of Counterinsurgency - They do
Nurse – They adore you
Tutor – Of course, indeed
King - I want to fart
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Let me bring the mic

Big fart. The Nurse, The Master of Counterinsurgency and Tutor clap. We hear the voice of God

King - God is calling me
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Would you like for us to step out?
King – Of course

The Master of Counterinsurgency, Nurse and Tutor exit to the side

King - Hi God. Yes, I called you. I wanted to talk to you about the pearly gates, the walls of alabaster and the floors made of gold. Suddenly I realized that it might look pretty gay in heaven. Yes, of course is up to you the decoration. Yes, I want to go to heaven. I just had the disturbing thought of Saint Peter with a pearly key holder. I can’t stop thinking about the pearly pearly gates…

The Nurse enters abruptly, interrupting him. The Master of Counterinsurgency and Tutor follow.

The Nurse - (Very loud) I have feelings too you know?
King - What?
Nurse - What are you doing in there? Are you masturbating?
King - I have a wife lady
The Master of Counterinsurgency - He was talking to God, please calm down. (To King) So, what did he say?
Nurse - God?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Of course, who else?
Nurse - Are you awaiting orders from God?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - I don’t think you can understand this
Nurse – Listen, I know about him better than you. I clean his shit
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Exactly, that’s what I mean
Nurse - I know him very intimately
Tutor - She means closely
The Master of Counterinsurgency – ( To Tutor) What is your job?
Tutor - I write when he asks me to, and I am teaching him how to write…
The Master of Counterinsurgency - He can’t write?
Nurse - You see? You didn’t even know that. No, he can’t write and he can’t talk, he tells him what he has to say
Tutor - Exactly, he has to memorize what I write for him
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Oh, I see. I thought it was God
Tutor - Yes, God talks to him too, but it’s very difficult for him to memorize God’s words, because God doesn’t like to repeat too many times, but I do.
The Master of Counterinsurgency - We could probably record God’s voice so we can make a tape for him to listen to
Tutor - That’s a very good idea
The Master of Counterinsurgency - People love to hear God’s voice through him
Tutor - It’s going to be fabulous
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Very intense
Nurse - He is not ready to speak in public. He can’t control his sphincters
The Master of Counterinsurgency – It’s ok, we can bring diapers
Nurse - I am the only one who can change his diapers
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Of course, we’ll bring you there
Tutor – It will be great, people will love him
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Yes, but I am not sure about the farts though
Nurse - He loves farting
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Oh, I know. But I don’t know how people will take that
Tutor - I don’t think people will get offended
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Well, he wants a mic amplifying them
Nurse - Yes, he loves that
Tutor - Well, it’s certainly very patriotic
The Master of Counterinsurgency - No doubt about that
Nurse - He also likes to puke
The Master of Counterinsurgency - I thought that was his father, the ex King
Tutor - No , no , he likes it too
The Master of Counterinsurgency - His father was so great at that
Tutor - Yes, he could aim and reach a long distance
Nurse - He is not bad either. There’s something very glorious about his puke too
Tutor - Pity people won’t be able to smell
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Oh, they will. I can assure you, they are smelling already
The Master of Counterinsurgency - All over the world
The Master of Counterinsurgency - You know, some people are not very happy about it, they are very dangerous people
Tutor - What are you going to do about it?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - We’ll kill them
Tutor - Good for you
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Well that was not my idea of course, it was the King’s genius

They look at the King, he is lost looking at the wall

Tutor - What is he doing now?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - He is thinking
Tutor - Right, of course
The Master of Counterinsurgency - He is probably planning the next war
Tutor - Oh, we shouldn’t interrupt him then

Loud Music. The Queen enters with the gang

The Tutor, The Master of Counterinsurgency - The Queen is coming!
King – The Queen!

The Queen arrives, sits and smiles.

The Master of Counterinsurgency – Glamorous lady
Tutor – Most refined, beautiful madam, your majesty
Queen – Thanks
King – Queen!!
Queen - Darling! What are you doing?
King – Nothing
Queen - Great !
King - What did you bring honey? What’s that?
Queen – A Gang
King - And why in the world did you bring a gang to the palace?
Queen – I want to show them how honest people live. They are going to spend some time with us. It’s part of their rehabilitation
King – Honey, those people are dangerous
Queen – I know, I know everything about gangs. That’s why I wanted them to see how we live, without killing. (To the gang) Don’t worry Gang, he’ll understand. Now we are going to pray. (To King) Let’s pray honey so we show The Gang the way to God. (She prays) Thou shall not kill
King – Where in the world did you get that?
Queen – It’s in the bible
King – No, it’s not. You don’t understand the bible. That means You People (Pointing at The Gang) Thou shall not kill, got it Gang? Thou… (He feels intimidated by the Gang)
(To the Queen) Honey, come here for a second
Queen – Sure sweetie
King – I love you
Queen - I love you too honey
King - And our beautiful twins
Queen - Me too, I adore them. Aren’t they cute?
King - Yes, they are. We are a beautiful family
Queen - Yes, I love your mother
King - I love her too, she is beautiful
Queen - Yes, very beautiful lady indeed. I wish I was like her
King - You’ll never be
Queen - Well, you are not exactly like your father either
King - I am better
Queen - What is that you wanted to tell me?
King - We’ll have to kill that gang
Queen – Why?
King – They are dangerous. Did you see the way they were looking at me?
Queen – No
King- It doesn’t matter, I did, that’s enough. Take them to the back and get them killed, I have an important meeting. (To The Gang) Sorry Gang, you have to go now, I have an important meeting with very important people.
Quintus, please call the Minister of Defense, the Secretary of War, the Head of Intelligence, the Chief Justice, The Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity and the Chief Cardinal.
Quintus – They are all here sir, they are waiting for you. I’ll go get them

The Secretary of War, The Head of Intelligence and the Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity enter. They hold hands introducing themselves and each other. They will sit in chairs facing the audience.

The Master of Counterinsurgency - Gentleman, we have very important matters to discuss. The first topic in our agenda is: Satan
Queen - That’s the mean guy
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Number 2: Adam and Eve.
Queen – My favorite couple
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Number 3 - Evil. Does evil come from Eve?
All - mmmmm
The Master of Counterinsurgency - We’ll also talk about family and abstinence.
All – Abstinence
Queen - That’s a keeper
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Then we’ll design a map to infinite justice through the war of peace
All – Abstinence
The Queen – Every family needs one of those
Secretary of War - It’s important to remember that Adam was a man

They All clap

Queen- And that Eve was a woman
All- Exactly
King – It is also important to remember that Jesus was not gay
All – Of course!
King – He got married and had two beautiful twins. He built a very happy family
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Are you sure majesty? I mean I didn’t read the bible lately but.
Secretary of Charity,compassion and Pity - I don’t remember anything like that.
Secretary of War - I think I read something about twins, yes.
Head of Intelligence - No, no, I don’t think so.
Quintus - Are you sure majesty?
King – Absolutely, I had to make a little amendment in the bible

They All Clap

King – Thank you. People read nasty things everywhere. We need to protect Jesus and the American Family
All – Yes! The American family. Let’s protect the American family!

They All get up, scream and hug

The Master of Counterinsurgency – Majesty, I have a request, can you change the part that says that rich people will not enter Heaven?
All - Yes, yes, please amend that
Quintus- Could you change the camel for a flea?
Secretary of War- We can always manufacture bigger needles
All – Brilliant!
King – No, we can’t change that. That’s good stuff
How do you think you keep millions of poor people quiet?
All – How?
King - You tell them that they will go to heaven
All – oh
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity – But how can we arrange that?
King – Very easily, they have to die first
All - Fantastic
King - We get it here, they get it there

They all admire the idea

The Master of Counterinsurgency – ok, we have to talk about Joseph now
Secretary of War – We didn’t talk about Leviticus yet
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity – I think the war spending comes first
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Ok, We spent 3 trillion dollars in the war. We are running out of money
King – Alright, we’ll cut taxes to the billionaires then
All – Brilliant idea

They clap

The Master of Counterinsurgency – So where are we going to get the money from?
King – From the rest of the people. Cut water. They don’t need water
The Secretary of War- But you know, your majesty, if I may. The rich are actually the ones who like the war
Quintus – Exactly, we need it , I mean they need it
King – Yes, but they don’t have to go to war. Why should they pay for it? People think that we have to pay for everything. The ones who go to war should pay for it, for their guns, their food, their bombs, they will be the ones throwing them, aren’t they? People think we have to pay for everything. They get those ideas from socialism, communism or something.
All – Yes, you are right. It makes sense
The Head of Intelligence - But, what are we going to say to the people?
King - We’ll tell them that if we cut taxes from the billionaires it creates jobs

They all laugh and clap

Secretary of War - I have a proposal sir
King – Majesty
Secretary of War- Sorry, Majesty. I have a proposal regarding trophies as a valiant remembrance of our accomplishments
Queen – Beautiful
Secretary of War - I am a hunter majesty
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity – Macho
Head of Intelligence - Admirable.
Quintus - Praise worthy
Secretary of War - Thank you. You know how glorious it is to cut the head of the animal you kill and to hang it in your living room
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity - Beautiful
Head of Intelligence - glorious,
The Master of Counterinsurgency - So Manly.
Head of Intelligence - Courageous
Secretary of War - I was thinking Majesty, that we should also be allowed to hang the heads of the people we kill, to remember our struggle for peace

They clap

Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity – Exactly, we are spending a fair amount of money in those killings, we should keep the trophies
All – Yes, the trophies
King – It’s a very compassionate idea gentlemen. Unfortunately I don’t think I have enough room in the house for so many heads
Secretary of War- Exactly, that’s my point. We need bigger houses

They clap

Queen - (We hear sentimental music in the background) Sorry to interrupt, I believe trophies are very important, but there are many ways to remember glorious times. When my husband was the governor, for example, he had to sign so many authorizations for executions. He was so modest, he was not saving them. But I did, and I put them in a frame, one after the other. They are now decorating our 200 foot long hallway , the one that takes you to the gardens. They remind us of the hard work to become a King

They sigh full of admiration. She smiles

King - We don’t need to show off. We know we killed them, that should be enough to feel good about ourselves. What’s the next topic?
Sir - The Enemy
All – The get up. The Enemy!
King – What about the enemy?
Head of Intelligence - Where is the enemy?
King - Who cares? We’ll destroy the enemy
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Yes, we’ll destroy the enemy.
Secretary of Charity , Compassion and Pity - The enemy is somewhere, that’s for sure,
Secretary of War - We’ll find the enemy.
King - I don’t have time for that. Who cares where he is?
All – Nobody cares!
King - Next topic!
The Master of Counterinsurgency - The sanctity of marriage
King - Very simple. All saints were married. And everyone who gets married is a saint. Marriage comes from Adam and Eve, who were married, and were saints and a man and a woman. After that we all kept doing the same thing, in the name of God and the Saints
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity - Some saints didn’t marry sir
King – Because they were too holy
Head of Intelligence – God bless the holy saints in the name of God
King – Next Topic !
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Masturbation
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity- What do you mean masturbation?
All - What’s that?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - I am not sure. I am sorry, I don’t know who put that in the agenda

They all look very confused and guilty

All - Next topic, next topic
The Master of Counterinsurgency – I am so sorry , yes the next topic is Global warming.
All – What’s that?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Basically, they hate democracy and our freedom of business
All – So scary
Head of Intelligence – Why?
King – It’s the immigrants!
Secretary - No, it’s the environmentalists.
King - Oh, I know those, they hate carbon Monoxide, they call it a pollutant, we call it…
All together with sweet voice– Life
Sir - They are threatening us, with stronger hurricanes, food shortage, the destruction of the rain forest, a rise of the level of the oceans, the melting of the glaciers
King – They are such sissies, we are going to rapture anyway
All - Stop them! They are killing the Polar bears, and the birds
King - It’s ok, we can solve that with atomic energy
All – Brilliant
The Master of Counterinsurgency - We need more Plutonium
All- Yes, more Plutonium!
Secretary of War – We can cut all the trees and make bigger cars instead to give some shade

We hear loud noise of people yelling, banging at the door

King - What’s that?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - People are very angry sir. They are coming from everywhere. They are screaming and breaking things. It’s the Revolution.
King – Commodify it!
All - Yes, buy it
Queen - Yes, honey, buy the revolution. I want to be cool

Loud Music. They start running around, this is a RUN! choreography.

The Fall of the King.

All - The King is falling!!!!!

The King starts feeling sick and falls on the floor

King –I am falling! I am falling!
All - The King is falling!
King - Traitors! I’ve been poisoned!
All - Oh, he is falling poisoned!

The King falls dead on the floor. Everybody cries sad and melodramatic

Queen – The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away
Head of Intelligence – The King is dead, that’s awful!
The Master of Counterinsurgency – He was not really the King
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity – What are we going to do now?
Queen – We’ll find another one
The Head of Intelligence - We should try to get one without an accent
Queen – (yes, he shouldn’t be Hispanic, people will notice). Yes, He should speak good English
Secretary of War - The King is dead!
All- Long live The King!

We hear sacred music

Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity– Majesty! The Pope is here! He is coming in The Pope Mobile!

The Pope enters in The Pope Mobile. The King rises. Everybody goes back to character.

King – Oh, to whom do I owe this honor?
The Pope - Oh, Majesty

The Pope kneels to the King

King – No, Pope, you shouldn’t kneel
The Pope- Yes, majesty, I want to kneel in front of my King
King - You are my King, the King of all of us (He jumps on him to kiss his feet)
King – Holy Pope, I am so honored you came to visit us. What’s the holy reason of your visit?
Pope - I came to discuss the Sanctity of Marriage
All – Bravo, we love it (They hug and kiss passionately)
Pope - There are many ways to look at the sanctity of marriage. You need at least, at the very least one dick, but certainly Not 2. God said that very clearly: A man and a woman. He says that in Leviticus
Queen - Excuse me your holiness, I believe He says that in Genesis
Pope - Yes, in Genesis too
Head of Intelligence - It wasn’t God, I think it was Joseph
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Joseph, the father of Jesus Christ?
Secretary of War - Excuse me, God was the father of Jesus Christ
The Master of Counterinsurgency - I know, what I mean is that he was the husband of Mary
Secretary of War - That doesn’t make him the father of Jesus
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Of course not
Queen - Well. He was a father in a way too
King - (Jumping off his throne horrified) Jesus had 2 fathers???!!!!
All – Noooo!!!!!!
Pope - It’s ok, relax. Those 2 fathers were not married. They were not even a couple
King - We have to fix this
Pope - It’s ok, we’ll focus more attention in the 3 Kings. Just the three of them, for days and nights, three men alone in the desert, following a star …

Pause. They look at each other uncomfortable.

Queen - Eve, for example was a rib
Secretary of War - No, she was made out of a rib. That’s why she was so…tiny
Pope - You are missing the point. The point is The Sanctity of Marriage
King - Pope, please we need to add something in the bible about The American Family
Pope - It is in there!
Queen - Did God talk about The American Family?
Pope – Yes

They get happy and moved, looking up to God

Pope - It’s all symbolic, you know. America didn’t’ exist at the time (they all look disappointed and confused)

Queen - That’s a lie
Pope - But we know that when He said: (he will say these lines very fast) King’s heart is in the hands of the lord, as the rivers of water
Every purpose is established by counsel; and with good advice makes war
He meant: God Bless America!

They all fall to the feet of The Pope

Pope - Ok, gentleman, we are trying our best, you know. We might need a contribution, I mean a check. We’ll use the money to ease hunger in the world

All - Awwww (They all write him a check)

Pope - Yes, so many people dying of hunger, we’ll save them. And now, if you don’t mind, I need to sit down, I am feeling a little dizzy. You have to excuse me Majesty, but I think I am going to throw up.

The Pope dies throwing up

The Master of Counterinsurgency - Wow, I think he is dead.
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity – Should we call the police?
Queen - Maybe the Vatican would be more appropriate
Secretary of War - Yes, forget the police, he is not human, he is like a saint. You don’t report saint’s deaths to the police
The Master of Counterinsurgency – Exactly it’s a totally different thing. Let’s not call the police, maybe tomorrow

A character appears with a container with smoke

Head of Intelligence - Look! The smoke! They have a new Pope already!
Queen – So fast? How could it be?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Maybe this one wasn’t the real pope then
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity - Maybe for security reasons they have an extra pope, for traveling circumstances and things like that

Queen - Yes, that would make sense. It wouldn’t be safe to have the real pope traveling , showing up in people’s homes like that
King – I was wondering, how come, The Pope just showed up, without a holy announcement or something.
Queen – Or a badge…
Secretary of War - I have no doubt that he was the real pope, he was brilliant
All - Yes, it’s true, he was
Head of Intelligence - But then, how come they have a new pope already? . That’s such a tough decision to make, I mean finding a new pope , imagine
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity – Oh yeah.

The Pope wakes up.

The Pope - Oh, I am really sorry. It was a long trip and The Pope mobile goes really fast. I suffer from motion sickness. I guess you cleaned the vomit already. That’s so nice of you, thank you. I had some peanuts in the airplane. We never eat peanuts at the Vatican. I shouldn’t have. Maybe I am allergic to peanuts. I am sure they were good peanuts. I am sure they were not poisoned or anything. There were a lot of people taking good care of my food, experts, food experts. When they offered me peanuts, I doubted for a second, then I thought, yeah, why not? It wasn’t a big bag, just tiny, but it looks like my stomach couldn’t tolerate it. We had a lot of turbulence. It wasn’t an easy trip. There was a storm I think. The landing was harsh. I am not blaming the pilot, I am sure it was the weather, but it was very nauseating. I was holding the vomit all this time. I thought it was going to reabsorb, but it looks like it didn’t. I apologize.
Secretary of War - Sir, I am so sorry to tell you this, but they have a new Pope
The Pope - What do you mean?

They show him the smoke

The Pope - Oh, no. What am I going to do?
King - It’s ok, you can stay with us
Queen – What?
The Pope - Do you have any use for an ex-pope?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - We can give him a job, majesty
King - Sure, what can you do?
The Pope - Not much
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Come on, you are a pope. I am sure you know a lot of things
The Pope - Oh yes, I know about God, Jesus, abortion, pedophilia…
King - Perfect. You could be our Chief Justice

They all clap

King - Join us, we were about to do our nails.
They start doing their nails.

The Master of Counterinsurgency - You have a very nice shape
King – You think so?
Secretary of War - I have pellicle problems
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity - They look good though
Secretary of War - No, you see, the skin it’s too high, it’s the cuticle
The Master of Counterinsurgency - You hands are so soft
Head of Intelligence – Thank you
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity - My skin is pretty soft too
King - Who has the nail polish?
Secretary of War - Here, this is my favorite color. (To the Queen) I love your hair
Queen - Thank you honey, you have pretty nice hair yourself

A person with a mask enters.

The Pope – Oh, a bear
The Master of Counterinsurgency – I think it’s a horse
Secretary of War – I hope it’s not the Trojan horse
King – It’s The Communist!
All- The Communist!
King - Back up Satan! What do you want with our freedom?!
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity - You, anti patriotic!
Queen - Leave my private property alone!
The Master of Counterinsurgency - You, with your stem cells research will destroy nature and human beings
Head of Intelligence - And babies!
King- You Darwin!
Secretary of War - You baby eater!
Queen - He came to kill The Pope!
The Pope – Me?
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Oh, my god! He is going to bomb us!
Secretary of Charity, Compassion and Pity - Oh, you terrorist!
King - It’s so terrifying the Terror of terrorists. We love penguins!
Queen - You are so scary!
Head of Intelligence- Terrifying
Secretary of War - What’s most scary about you is the terror
All - the bombs !
Secretary of War - Stop throwing bombs terrorist. We are free people here!
The Pope - Leave my Democracy alone!
King – Let’s defend our holy democracy

They get up
They will start grabbing food from inside the (clothes) body of the communist. They will eat with greediness and desperation.
Then they stop exhausted, burping, looking at the dead body

The Master of Counterinsurgency - Next topic: Abortion
King - Abortion is evil.
Secretary of War – Yes, it’s terrorism. Against nature. And the rule of god.
King - We need to protect the sanctity of rape. A life is created in the Kingdom of the Lord.
All – Amen Pause. (Burp)
Queen - Oh, honey, the performers are here. They came to entertain us
All - Great, bravo

The Pope offers them some glasses of wine

The Pope - Here, let me offer you a glass
The Master of Counterinsurgency - What’s that?
The Pope - The blood of the Lord
Head of Intelligence - Which Lord?
The Pope - The son of the Lord

A performer enters. She will do an” exotic” dance-poetry piece. The court will comment nervously and disturbed on her performance. She will speak a language they cannot understand, her movements get very sensual at times, and her performance involves screaming and shaking

King - What is she saying exactly?
Queen – I don’t know darling, maybe she is from some other country.
The Master of Counterinsurgency - I like her, she is exotic
The Pope - We never have shows in the Vatican. This is fun!

At t he end of her performance she will introduce The Groom Bride. The Court feels released that her performance it’s over.

The Performer - And Now The Groom Bride!

The groom Bride Appears, it’s a gender variant person, or a man in a bride’s dress.

Queen - Oh, she was just the opener for some other act
King – It looks like it’s a ballet
Queen – Yes, it looks like a … fisherman ballet
The Groom-Bride - I represent the sanctity of marriage. A man, a woman, becoming one, under god

Ze starts a sweet dance without music

King - So what is this, a man or a woman?
Queen - She is both, she represents the sanctity of marriage
Secretary of charity, Compassion and Pity - maybe she is a magician
Head of Intelligence - yes, it looks like a magic trick
Secretary of War - I think she/he is adorable
The Pope - The hat represents god
Queen – Right
King - I would rather see the man and the woman
Queen - It’s symbolic sweetie
King - I know
The Pope - It is true that through marriage we become one, I mean you
Queen – Yes, under God
The Pope – Right.
The Master of Counterinsurgency - That’s why gays cannot marry
Secretary of War - Exactly, it’s like you need both parts… to reproduce
The Pope - It’s nature too. Like fish for example, or oranges. There’s no lesbian fish, faggot oranges
Queen - Right, it’s always male and female… oranges
Head of Intelligence - But she is both
The Pope - No, she is the symbol of marriage
King - It’s not she
The Pope - He, it whatever, it’s the unity
Secretary of War - It’s love
The Master of Counterinsurgency - Exactly love
The End