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S C E N A : T h e a t r e ..A r t s ..R e v i e w
Novi Sad, 2008 . ..No. 21 . .January-December . .YU ISSN 0036-5743 .

d r a m a
Maja PELEVIĆ
MAYBE WE ARE MICKEY MOUSE
Translated by Marija Stojanović

 
MAJA PELEVIĆ

Born on February 13, 1981, in Belgrade. Graduated from the department of Dramaturgy of Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Belgrade, in 2005.
Student of doctoral studies of Theory of Arts and the Media at the University of Arts Interdisciplinary studies. In 2000/01, she attended the courses ‘Performance and Ritual’ with Richard Shechner, as well as the courses ‘Theory of Avantguard’ and ‘Contemporary American Theatre’ at Tisch School of Arts in New York (USA). In July/August 2005, she took part at the Royal Court International Residency in London, with the play Orange Peel. She is an associate of Teorija koja Hoda (TkH) (The Walking Theory) and the TkH Centre for theory and practice of performing arts in Belgrade and has taken part in several theoretical performances and productions. She is a co-director of the NADA (New Playwriting) project; starting this season, she is a dramaturg with the Belgrade National Theatre. She is also one of the founders of the archive website for the promotion of new Serbian plays www.nova-drama.org

Plays:
ESCape – Bitef Theatre 2004, directed by Jelena Bogavac;
Ler (Out of Gear) – Subotica National Theatre, 2005, directed by Slađana Kilibarda;
Operation Emotional Verbalization – West Yorkshire Playhouse (Leeds, UK), in May 2004, as a part of the Northern Exposure Festival (SUMMER SHORTS), directed by Svetlana Dimčović;
Operacija emocionalna verbalizacija (Operation Emotional Verbalisation) – directed by Iva Milošević, Radio Belgrade, 2004.
Fake Porno (alongside M. Bogavac, J. Bogavac and F. Vujošević) directed by Jelena Bogavac, BITEF 39, Bitef Art Cafe 2005.
Budite Lejdi na jedan dan (Be a Lady for a Day) – a play inspired by the life of Billie Holiday, directed by Ksenija Krnajski, BITEF 39, Bitef Theatre 2005.
Belgrade-Berlin - directed by Ksenija Krnajski, Zvezdara Theatre, 2005.
Belgrade- Berlin – directed by Predrag Kalaba, Volksbuhne Teatar (Parazit project), Berlin 2005.
Ler (Out of Gear)- directed by Miloš Lazin, Mostar National Theatre, Studio 64, as a graduation performance at the Dzemal Bijedic University, department of acting (co-produced by MTM and the Mappa Mundi theatre company – Paris)
Pomorandzina kora (Orange Peel) – directed by Goran Marković; Atelje 212, 2006.
Ja ili neko drugi (Me or Someone Else) – directed by Kokan Mladenović; Serbian National Theatre Novi Sad, 2007.
Skočiđevojka (Leapgirl) – directed by Kokan Mladenović; Budva Theatre City and Serbian National Theatre, 2007.


Dramaturgical note
THE TRAGEDY OF A SKETCHED AURA

Maybe We Are Mickey Mouse represents a text characterised by emotional force, poetics belonging to post-dramatic form and an extraordinary stage potential. This is a play – or rather, a type of post-dramatic script – in which Maja Pelevic speaks of man in today’s world, disoriented by the absence of God, moral, love, tolerance or value norms – and most of all purpose, in a critically engaged and formally innovative way that abounds with layers of meaning. From a broader poetical perspective, it can be observed that this text represents a logical step in the work of one of our most gifted young dramatists, even though slightly unexpected in terms of poetics. Following her undisputable dramatic sensibility, in her text Maybe We Are Mickey Mouse, Maja Pelević uses one of the key technological phenomena of modern electronic, post-modern and consumer civilisation – a photo booth – as a means of shaping a dramatic expression of the void of an automatised post-modern world and the barren abundance of the soul inhabiting it in search for fulfilment or, at least, comfort. In it, Maja Pelević follows the trend of convincingly broadening the list of motives she addresses, realising at the same time an increasing complexity, precision and convincingness of form.
Namely, whilst her first full length play Out of Gear represented a cynical melodrama, Belgrade-Berlin, on the other hand, a sullen allegory of an adventure, Orange Peel a hilarious satirical parable on the rebellion of the Body, and Me or Someone Else a postmodern tragicomic fugue on freedom and all types of enslavement, a new process of the author’s twofold maturing is evident in this play. On one hand, the form of this text corresponds with means, methods and even strategies of post-dramatic theatre – refraining from synthesis, overlapping layers of stage illusion, playing with the density and rhythm of dramatic and stage signs, simultaneity and synesthesia. On the other hand, this play, through its motifs, characters and non-fabulated elliptic story, embodies, in a representative and up-to-date manner, Walter Benjamin’s notion of a lost aura – ‘a disposable appearance of distance, however close it may be’. It is this said aura, as a lost source and unreachable goal, that the scant, and yet emotionally soaked leanings of all characters – or rather dramatic figures – of this elegiac Proustian ballad face. As testimonies of the precious transience of life and deceiving eternity of images, love and oblivion, memory and lack of understanding, protagonists of Pelević’s text at the same time point to the ancient Faustian cry for elusive dreams and everyday life that they themselves try to escape: ‘Verweile doch, du bist so schon!’ (Do not pass, you are so wonderful!).

Svetislav JOVANOV

The play is inspired by and dedicated to the characters of the graffiti in Ivo Lola Ribar Street in Belgrade, who left the wall in order to tell this story, in October 2007

Insert note
Coins will not be accepted
Damaged notes will not be accepted
The note must not be crumpled, torn or pasted together
Pull the curtain
Adjust the seat to make your head level with the
square on the screen
Look at the red dot
Press the green button
Wait for a few seconds
FLASH
The photographs will be ready in five minutes
The automaton maintains the right to all photographs

The moment before: Usually related to looking at oneself in the mirror, adjusting one’s hair, taking glasses, hats, scarves on and off, and applying make up. Lasts for three to five minutes. The person makes an effort to look their best, and sometimes deliberately perverts themselves. They mostly do that by themselves, and often in the presence of other people.

During: The person is rarely in an adequate position. Mainly it’s the head that dominates the area of the square, but sometimes other extremities find their way in there too. In ninety percent of cases the person looks at the red dot, nine percent does not, and one percent puts on glasses or otherwise covers their eyes.

The moment after: In the majority of cases the person leaves the booth immediately and nervously waits to see the photographs. In the meantime they look at themselves in the mirror again, adjust their hair or touch up their make up. In ninety seven percent of the cases the person will take the photograph, two percent leaves it in the slot and one percent burns it.

Ninety eight percent of the persons abides by the rules of using the apparatus.

The apparatus reserves the rights to the negatives and production of photographs for advertising purposes.
Only users who follow the rules of the apparatus have the right to complaints.
All persons who misuse and damage the apparatus will be prosecuted.

They enter.
He puts on a white shirt with black stripes and black trousers.
She puts on a white shirt and black trousers.
They put big black plastic ears on their heads.
They embrace each other.

FLASH

He I love life. If I hadn’t been born I would never have known life is one big adventure. I could never have enjoyed the small joys that surround me. I could never have put on my new black trousers and my new white striped shirt and walk around the city. I could never have looked at myself in the shop windows and thought about how handsome I am. And how fortunate I am to have been born in this body and no other. And how fortunate I am that it was ME who flew out of my mother’s womb. Life counts from that moment on. When a little part of your head or your leg sees the world for the first time. In my case, my life commenced with the big toe of my left foot. They say I was born on the wrong side of the bed, showing my left foot first like that. I know when I started counting. I felt an opening and I knew I had to get out as soon as possible. Before they managed to get hold of all those tools for slicing my mother open I was out. Counting one, two, three, four, five, six... up until today, four hundred seventy three million and one and two and three and four... Suicides, bums, vagrants, none of you has realised the beauty of living. From birth to death so much excitement at every step!

He You have to laugh.

She Why?

He Because you have to. You’re prettier that way. Little girls are prettier when they laugh. When they have pretty teeth. When their milk teeth have still not fallen out. When they’re not temporarily toothless.

She I don’t like to laugh.

He You have to.

She What about you?

He I’ll laugh too.

She But your teeth are not showing.

He No they aren’t.

She Why not?

He Little boys have to be mindful of what they show.

She You have nice teeth.

He All the more reason for not showing them. Not everybody has to know that.

She I’ve never been to Disneyland. They say it’s like in a fairytale. But only those parts of a fairytale in which nothing bad happens. Like the beginning and the end. Why are the beginning and the end the best? Once upon a time there was this one and they lived happily ever after. Why does anything have to happen in between?

He It’s ugly.

She No it’s not.

He I told you you had to laugh so your teeth show.

She Why do my teeth have to show?

He Because you have pretty teeth. Once your teeth are no longer pretty, when your teeth are old and rotten and your breath stinks, you won’t have to laugh anymore.

He To kill oneself before it’s too late. I’ve considered that too. But that’s no solution either. Understanding life the right way. Not letting things in your way slow you down. Like a rollercoaster ride. It’s an incredible feeling. I’ve never done it but I’ve seen it more than once. On the telly. Now, that’s what life’s supposed to look like. Before, when you’re sick to your stomach, and afterwards, when you’re dizzy, you just look around you and you feel better straight away. Then you go to the castle or go for a ride on the river with the pirates and you instantly forget everything that’s happened before. People keep making mistakes because they remember their past. I’ve already forgotten what was doing a couple of seconds ago. It’s the only solution.

She I don’t want to tear it up.

He You have to. We don’t need it.

She But I think it’s pretty.

He No it’s not. And it will never be pretty.

She But...

He It will never be pretty. Not that one. Not any other one. Ever.

The girl with a blue hat
Takes her hat off.
Adjusts her hair.
Puts her hat on.
Sees something in the mirror.
Turns around abruptly.
Says a name softly.
Says a name a bit more loudly.
She closes her mouth and freezes.
A boy with a backpack on his back
Walks briskly.
Stops.
Looks in the direction of the girl with a blue hat.
Opens his mouth as though he wants to say something.
Closes his mouth.
Stands motionless, as if implanted.
The girl with the blue hat
Takes a couple of steps.
Stops.
Takes another couple of steps.
Stops.
Inhales.
Exhales.
Takes another couple of steps.
Stops in front of the boy with the backpack on his
back.
She smiles imperceptibly.
Places her hand on his shoulder.
The boy with the backpack on his back winces.
The girl with the blue hat removes her hand.
A pause.
The girl with the blue hat takes her hat off.
The boy with the backpack on his back bows his head.
Looks up.
Looks at her hair.

The Girl This is the place where we’re allowed to erase our past. This is the place where we can start over. Why can’t we start over like when you forgot those things from when you were little, why is only that part of your life susceptible to oblivion?

The Boy We met in a neutral territory. This is all I think about it. Everything happened by chance. New technologies do not recognise higher powers and the laws of the Gods.

The Girl Five firecrackers went off in a row. I thought firecrackers were prohibited around here. I knew I’d meet you.

The Boy A cock you can stick into everyone’s hole without anyone feeling a thing. That’s what this is.

The Girl I’ve been thinking of you for the past year. Why did you leave?

The Boy You were a bitch that last time. I felt the knockout approaching. I was too good to you.

The Girl I’ve dreamt of us. We were sitting in a boat on the high seas. We were throwing grapes in the water even though we felt like eating them. Then the boat caught on fire but we were fine with it so we just carried on throwing grapes at each other in the water as if nothing had happened and black boards from the burnt boat floated around us.

The Boy I haven’t dreamt for months now. They say it happens when your subconsciousness dies or when you get hooked on demetrine because you think your heart keeps skipping a beat.

The Girl You ran away. I loved you.

The Boy Everything got fucked up and I knew I had to go. I had this idea about sorting out the last remains. I pasted my ID card photograph on the door of my room I’ve never seen again and wrote on it with a half-used black felt pen RIGHT WHERE I AM. As soon as W, the letters could barely be seen. I felt myself on that piece paper. I’m there even now, recycled, torn or burnt down. My mum says I’d misplaced myself while packing. I say I stayed misplaced for good. Thank you mum for not looking after me. That’s why I’m going to kill you one day.

The Girl I used to love you.

FLASH

The Boy Done?

The girl with the blue hat
takes the photograph.

ENCOUNTER: Portrait type. The boy with the backpack on his back is looking at the lens with pursed lips. Ruptured capillaries in one eye, the other one is clear. His shoulders are slumped and his is head tilted to one side. The girl with the blue hat is biting her lower lip. She’s looking down. Her eyes are bright and slightly teary. Her shoulders are tense and her head is tilted to the right.

The boy with the backpack on his back stands still.
The girl with the blue hat is looking at the floor.
The boy with the backpack on his back leaves.
The girl with the blue hat watches him leave.
The girl with the blue hat leaves.

He Your face is so beautiful.

She Why are you telling me this?

He Your face is still so beautiful. Such young skin.

She What about yours?

He Mine too. We could be a perfect couple.

She A perfect couple!

He We could go for a walk holding hands.

She And feed the birds.

He And have people have their pictures taken with us.

She Everyone would admire us.

He We would walk along the street in our best clothes.

She We would laugh all the time.

He We would say hello to everybody.

She We’d wave.

He Good morning.

She Would you like to have your picture taken with us?

He We wouldn’t even have to ask.

She They would ask us themselves.

He And they would treasure us on their walls for the rest of their lives.

She Whilst we would forget them instantly.

He And carry on.

She Good day!

He Good day!

She I always wanted everyone to have their picture taken with me. For everyone to want to have their picture taken with me. I wanted my day to start by my putting on my new, freshly pressed sparkling costume, adjusting my gorgeous long blond wig and looking at the sky. And the sun in the sky. Shining on my face and gliding down my dress in countless shades of colour. I laugh and spread my arms. People, children come up to me, they revel in my beauty, they bounce and rejoice. They give me presents and hide underneath my dress. I caress their heads, I spin and utter cries of joy. Flashes go off around me, they blend in with the sunlight, they blend together, they blind me and help me to forget. But sometimes I don’t want to forget, and yet I have to. My pictures hang on all the walls in the world. I have to forget.

She What are you doing?

He I want to set my palm on fire.

She Why?

He To destroy my life line. On my left palm. No use for it.

She You’ll hurt yourself. It will hurt.

He What difference does it make. It only hurts for a bit. It heals quickly and hurts no longer.

He Irregularities should be corrected when you’re young. When your skin is quickly renewed. I don’t want anyone in the future to know how long I’ll live. To take a glance at my palm and make an estimate. The palms should be smooth. Like other parts of the body. My body will always be the same. There are no marks of existence on it. I will lie on drift ice till the end of the world if there is any ice whatsoever.

She Light up one for me too.

A man in his late thirties with a funny hairdo.
Walks confidently.
Slows down a bit.
Looks at his mobile.
Frowns.
Approaches the booth.
Looks at it suspiciously.
Produces his wallet.
Takes out some money.
Looks at the notes.
His phone rings.
The man in his late thirties with a funny hairdo answers his phone.

The Man Yes, love... yes, I sorted it all out. Are you alright... good... super... all’s well... I sorted it all out... yes... right... I left it there by the table... yes... yes, there... right.. .I will... I will... alright... kisses... as soon as possible... kiss... go on... go on, off you go, love... me too... right... go on... kisses...

The man in his late thirties with a funny hairdo
looks at himself in the mirror
adjusts his funny hairdo
touches a wrinkle under his right eye
as if trying to remove it
Looks at his mobile
Adjusts the seat

The Man I got up. I sorted out the papers. I sent emails. I went to all the meetings. Withdrew money from the account. Looked in the direction of my bed this morning and saw her. She was lying there with her hair tousled, her arm was on the edge of the bed, immobile. She looked like a used teabag I need to throw in the garbage. I hate a mess. That’s all I thought of at that moment. And I wished for her to disappear. To disappear, her and all the teabags I’ve ever put in boiling water. They say these industrial teabags should not be kept in water for more than three minutes because they turn carcinogenic. I’ve kept mine in for too long. I haven’t tasted real mountain tea for such a long time. I’ve never had the time to go out and buy some.

FLASH

The man in his late thirties with a funny hairdo is waiting
a photograph of him emerges
of a man in his late thirties with a funny hairdo

ENCOUNTER: Four identical photographs in a row. In each of them a man in his late thirties with a funny hairdo is looking at the lens. His eyes bulging. His eyes sullen worried bulging. Sullen worried slightly moist bulging eyes that overwhelm the lens. His eyes sullen worried slightly moist bulging, having put up with eyelids for too long. Above them, the heavy lids, about to drop. A sparkle of sweat at the right side of his forehead. His lower lip swollen. A birthmark on his left cheek. His right hand touching his hair accidentally.

The photograph drops.
The sound of paper.
He takes it clumsily
and blots out the eyes in the last photograph.

He Whatcha looking at me for?

She I remembered that time we made a little house of plastic plates we stole from the hotel.

He Why did you remember this now?

She I don’t know. I remembered.

He Something must’ve made you remember.

She Probably.

He Well, what made you? Tell me what made you!

She I don’t know. Why are you shouting?

He You’ll die.

She So what.

He You’ll die in agony by piling up memories that will eventually kill you because you don’t know how to free yourself of them and you don’t know how to live in the present moment. The things you remember smother you like a filthy old blanket you’re sorry to throw away, like a wardrobe full of your dead relatives’ belongings.

She I like to keep things.

He That’s why you’ll die one day.

She You’ll die too.

He Only happy.

He I hate photo albums, particularly the pictures of when I was born. Pictures steal moments and each one of them makes me feel a second older. Pictures take away time and pieces of the soul. They scatter you in places you don’t want to be in. They enclose
you between the covers, they tear you and remind you of how one day you will cease to be.

A girl with green hair
and
A girl with a beer in her hand
are singing.
Unpleasant voices.
Drunken unpleasant teenage voices.
They walk arm in arm.
Staggering.
They reach the photo booth.
The girl with the green hair
kisses the mirror
and leaves the print of her lips.
The girl with a beer in her hand
spills the beer.
They shout.
They laugh.
They fall into the booth.
The girl with the green hair
is sitting
on the lap of
the girl with a beer in her hand.
They look at the red dot.

The girl with the green hair Press.

The girl with a beer in her hand Wait till I get ready.

The girl with the green hair Go on! No getting ready!

The girl with a beer in her hand Easy for you to say with that hair and all.

The girl with the green hair It’s all washed out.

The girl with a beer in her hand It’s still green.

The girl with the green hair Really!

The girl with a beer in her hand You didn’t!

FLASH

The girl with the green hair
and
The girl with a beer in her hand
are waiting.

The girl with the green hair Insecure cow. She can’t do anything spontaneously. It’s always like this. Whatever we do. And now the pic will turn out like crap. Since I have to do everything abruptly and by force.

The girl with a beer in her hand I don’t feel so well. I think I’m going to be sick.

The girl with a beer in her hand
throws her beer on the floor.
Throws up.
The girl with the green hair
laughs.
The photographs emerge.

ENCOUNTER: Four different photographs in a row. In the first one the girl with the green hair and the girl with a beer in her hand are looking at the lens sticking their tongues out. The beer barged in on the shot from the right hand side. In the second one, the girl with the green hair is pulling the girl with a beer in her hand by the hair. The girl with a beer in her hand is pulling her head to the left. In the third one there’s only the girl with the green hair. She looks at the lens with a confident grin and holds the head of the girl with a beer in her hand on her lap. In the fourth one the hand of the girl with a beer in her hand and in her hand the beer.

The girl with the green hair tears up the photograph.
The pieces fall to the floor.
She leaves.
The girl holding the beer collects the pieces of the
photographs
puts them in her pocket
and leaves.

She I feel sick.

He Why?

She I swallowed something.

He What did you swallow? Open your mouth.

She No, don’t want to.

He Open your mouth!

She Paper.

He What paper?

She Our photograph.

He Why did you do that?

She To preserve us.

He How did you think you could preserve us? By swallowing some paper? You couldn’t preserve us if you sat in the lotus position and thought about us as intensely as possible. Stupid cow.

She I love you.

He You’re stupid.

She I love you.

He I hate stupid people.

She I just wanted us to be here for a little while longer like we used to be when we took our pictures back then. I felt some surge of warmth when you stroked my hair for the first time and laughed faintly. Like when you let me touch your cheek.

He You’re pathetic. All this is no longer there! It will never be there again! Why can’t you just realise this.

She Kiss me.

He No, don’t want to.

She Why not?

He Because.

She But you wanted to.

He Back then.

She How about now?

He Not anymore.

She That’s why I swallowed the photograph.

She I’m not allowed to talk about this. He won’t let me. But I remember it all. I remember the first time we went to the beach together and when we left our imprints in the sand an infinite number of times. He was building a big castle and I helped him. Every time the castle happened to collapse, he would accuse me, but we were still happy. And we swam in the sea. And had ice cream. And swam in the sea again. It is all ordered in the album and nowhere does it show that the castle ever collapsed. And that the grown ups helped us rebuild it. It looks as though we were on our own and this was our little kingdom. That’s where it all began.

The man in his late thirties with a funny hairdo
quite bald by now
walks confidently
pauses
starts again
pauses
stops
looks at his shoes
his mobile rings

The Man Yes, love... yes, I sorted it all out. Are you alright... good... super... all is well... I sorted it all out... yes... right... I left it there for you, by the table... yes... yes, there... right... I will... I will... right... kiss... as soon as possible... kiss... go on... off you go now, love... me too... right... go on... kiss....

The girl with the green hair
is kicking a beer bottle
she passes by him
looks at him

The girl with the green hair We could have...

Man Yes we could have.

The girl with the green hair If only I’d stopped?

The Man You wouldn’t stop.

The girl with the green hair I was running.

The Man Too much.

The girl with the green hair Where were you?

The Man Nowhere.

The girl How about now?

FLASH

The man with the funny hairdo
is waiting
The girl with the green hair
is waiting
Their eyes don’t touch in the slightest
Maybe only in the corners

ENCOUNTER: Portrait type. The man with a funny hairdo quite bald by now looks at the red dot confidently. A trace of a slight convulsion of the jaw. The girl with the green hair is seen from the side. Her head lowered. She is looking at her hands. The green hair covers her face.

The girl with the green hair
takes the photograph
The man with the funny hairdo
quite bald by now
is looking at the photograph

The girl with the green hair You want to?

The man with a funny hairdo
extends his hand
removes his hand

The girl with the green hair You want to?
The man with a funny hairdo leaves
The girl with the green hair
Remains standing.

The girl with the green hair Never. I have never had game soup but I’ve always wanted to. I went to a restaurant a few times with the intention of trying it but it happened that they had no game that particular day. Never mind. I’d given up soon. So when they do have it somewhere I’ll taste it. It’s not like I’m going to the woods to hunt wild animals in order to be able to eat game soup. Some people do. But I won’t.

The girl with the green hair
crumples the photograph
that falls on the floor.

She Your hair is nice.

He Get off me.

She Want me to scratch you?

He No. Get off!

She Let’s have our picture taken.

He No!

She And then we can tear it up.

He Alright. But we do it my way.

She We do it your way.

He Sometimes she just doesn’t get it. Sometimes she’s so stupid. Sometimes she can just tear it all down in a second. Like that castle. She keeps going on about that castle. But I don’t want to know anything about it. I don’t remember it. And I wouldn’t remember it if she didn’t go on about it all the time. Images take longer to reach her brain. That’s why they linger there for so long. When all the things are where they’re supposed to be she’ll understand that every second is behind us, like now, it’s already behind us, behind us, behind us... that’s why it’s stupid to remember. Throw your plush photo album in the garbage, you stupid cow!

She Want me to laugh?

He No.

She To be serious?

He Do what you want.

She When will you forgive me?

He Leave me alone.

She Look at me. I’m looking at you. I’m looking at you.

He Shut up!

FLASH

A woman with a baby in a pram.
Looks at the baby.
Looks up.
Looks at the baby.
Stops.
The baby cries a bit.
She takes the baby from the pram.
Holds it close.
She goes shhhhhh
The baby stops crying.
The woman with the baby in the pram
smiles.
Puts the baby back in the pram.
Looks at herself in the mirror.
Puts on some lip gloss.
Takes the baby from the pram.
Shows the baby the reflection in the mirror
The child laughs
The woman with the baby in the pram
laughs.

They enter the booth.

The woman Things are much better now. Now that you’re here. Before this I thought everything had lost its meaning. I’d been getting ready for days. I even used to carry razors in my purse although I’d heard it was better to swallow a sufficient amount of sleeping pills. They say it’s better to do it at once because when you take them one by one you can just fall asleep and end up not doing anything. But then you showed up, all of a sudden. Like an angel. You appeared within me and you grew and you came out and now you’re here. I wish you could be so little forever. I’m afraid you’ll just grow up and leave me. And I mustn’t be alone. If you leave me, I might be tempted to carry things in my purse again. You’ve grown inside me, that was enough. Don’t keep growing. Stay as you are. Little. And mine. And with me.

FLASH

The woman with the baby in the pram
kisses the baby on the head
The baby laughs
The woman with the baby in the pram
puts the baby back in the pram
waits
Looks at herself in the mirror

ENCOUNTER: Portrait type. The woman with the baby in the pram is looking at the lens with a huge grin. The child is squeezed tight against her head as though it is a two-headed monster and is puzzled. The baby is looking in the direction of its mother.

The woman with the child in the pram
stands still for a couple of seconds
takes the photograph
and

He Where do you think you’re going?

She Just wanted to have a look.

He A look at what?

She Her.

He Who?

She The baby.

He Why would you look at it?

She Touch me.

He No.

She Just a bit.

He No.

She I’ll be off then.

He You can’t.

She But I have to.

He You can’t.

She Come here.

The girl with the blue hat
Is laughing
She is laughing hysterically
She is laughing hysterically
so much that tears well up in her eyes
She screams

The girl with the blue hat I feel so relieved. I bought three T-shirts and walked along by the river with a carrier bag. Then I ran in the sun and rode a bike and looked at the river and had coffee and looked at the river again. I adore daytime. I jump! I run! I can’t see anything behind me! Some small children were running past me. They were playing ball. They flew by. The clouds were passing faster than ever! They were passing faster than ever! Faster than ever!

The woman with the baby in the pram
Passes her by
without the baby in the pram
She pauses

FLASH

ENCOUNTER: Portrait type. The girl with the blue hat is looking towards something that’s supposed to be the sky. Her mouth is open. Her arms spread out. On her cheek a tear or a trace of sweat or a tear after all.

He You are so soft. Your skin is so smooth. When I touch you I stop counting. I disintegrate. Four hundred and seventy three million eight hundred and fifty four and five and six and seven and eight...

She You have a sore on your right knee. Does it hurt?

He It will get infected.

She No it won’t.

He Millions of bacteria eating up my flesh and my skin develop there. The body is fighting it. My body is fighting it persistently. I mustn’t be damaged. Our bodies must not be damaged.

She Where are you going? Come here.

He I can’t touch you.

She Why?

He We’ll die.

She Kiss me.

He But it will all be gone in the next moment.

She I’m waiting.

He We have to stand as firmly as possible. Every movement causes the passage of time. We exist to be admired and to be kept on mantelpieces, in nurseries, in institutions, at supermarkets. I mustn’t kiss you. I don’t want to feel my transience. Get off me.

She Give me your hand.

He Our hands are icy. Suddenly, blood. Blood appears. Red sticky blood. Blood that contains us within it, the blood we contain within us. Spilling out of me, out of her, all around us, like a flood. It floods the city, it spreads, it covers the pavements and falls in to the drains, among the rats, it spills over their goose bumped skin and their sharp teeth. The blood that opens us up and eats us up. We spit it out and then take it in again. We spread it on our bodies. We feel its warmth. We feel it eating us up from the inside. We take it off by rubbing ourselves against the floor. We take it off of our smooth white bodies. We polish ourselves to complete whiteness. We shine in the sun.

She Give me your hand.

A man with a stick in his hand
A woman in a white fur coat
They stop.
They look at each other.
The man with the stick in his hand
Takes a breath
He breathes heavily
The woman in the white fur coat
Fidgets
Puts her gloves on

The Woman He’s been gone for a few days already.

The Man He disappears but he comes back.

The Woman I’m scared.

The Man Nothing will happen to him. The city is a safe place. He’s not little.

The Woman We may have been a bit too rough.

The Man Strict. We were strict.

The Woman We should’ve taken him to Disneyland.

The Man Disneyland spoils children.

The Woman He’s not a child anymore.

The Man What would he do in Disneyland then?

The Woman Maybe he wanted to remember.

The Man Remember what?

The Woman How he used to love Disneyland.

The Man He masturbated in front of us. Several times.

The Woman He wasn’t feeling well.

The Man That’s no excuse.

The Woman He wanted to attract attention.

The Man That’s not the way.

The Woman No, it’s not.

The Man He’ll be back.

The Woman When?

The Man When he gets hungry and when he runs out of money.

FLASH

The Woman When they’re little you can hand them a toy and they calm down at once. They engage in playing and then throw it away. Then you hand them a new one and then it all starts over again. That’s how childhood passes. In a constant change of toys. They get bored quickly and they forget quickly. Before they start talking they can’t ask questions. When they start talking they take time before they can say what they want. Then they ask for one thing and then another and then another. The days pass quickly in repeated actions. There, take this one, you want that one now and so on ad nauseam. Then they grow up and get complicated. They ask for a lot and give little. They’re ungrateful and crude. They come and go as they please. They forget where they came from. They forget whose womb it was that they were ripping. They forget very quickly. When they’re little, they don’t know about Disneyland.

The Man I look at his photographs from when he was a child. They sit on the mantelpiece, framed. Good and quiet. Withdrawn and capable of playing on his own. Interested in playing with other children but at the same time able to create his own world. A child you could only wish for. Now he stands in front of these photographs, grown up and naked, stark naked and masturbating. He’s masturbating even though we are trying to watch television. He distracts us with his already large and mature genitals. Eventually he stains our new Persian carpet. And expects us to react. But we won’t be provoked. We have read about puberty.

The man with the stick in his hand
and
The woman in the white fur coat
are waiting
A photograph drops
The woman in the white fur coat
reaches out for it
The man with a stick in his hand
beats her to it
he drops his stick
takes the photograph
looks at it

ENCOUNTER: Portrait type. The woman in the white fur coat. The man with the stick in his hand. The woman has a sour smile. The man is sitting up straight and is serious. A hint of someone’s shadow is behind their backs.

The man with a stick in his hand
drops the photograph on the floor.
The woman in the white fur coat
Bends over to retrieve it
The man with the stick in his hand
pulls her up
They leave.
The woman in white fur coat
looks at the photograph
on the floor.

She I’m bleeding.

He I can see that.

She What’s happening to me is not normal.

He Blood is not normal. Wash yourself.

She I feel dirty.

He You are dirty.

She What do I do?

He Stop the bleeding.

She How?

He I don’t know. How should I know? Think of something. How should I know?

She Help me.

He I can’t. I can’t bear to look.

She You’re scared of blood?

He It disgusts me.

She I miss home.

He You don’t know what home is.

She Your beard’s growing.

He My beard’s not growing.

She It’s growing, look in the mirror.

He My beard’s not growing.

She We used to love to get lost in supermarkets. We ran from toy to toy, we looked dolls in the eye and stuck our tongues out at them. We would wake them up, play with them. We used to sit in their places pretending we’re for sale. We wanted someone to buy us and take us with them. We wanted them to carry us with them at all times. To boast of having us and compete in the prettiest doll competitions. And we were the prettiest. Of the best make. Best quality. Unsurpassed.

The boy with the backpack on his back
Passes
Pauses.
Takes a photograph from the floor.
Looks at it.
Puts it in his pocket.

The boy with the backpack on his back Mum. Dad. I’m back.

FLASH

ENCOUNTER: Portrait type. The boy with the backpack on his back. He’s laughing. He’s laughing so that his teeth are showing. He’s laughing so that his skin hurts from being overstretched. He’s laughing.

The boy with the backpack on his back
Leaves.

She I saw them.

He Who?

She Them. I saw everything.

He I don’t know what you’re talking about.

She You think they don’t love us?

He No.

She You think they’ve never loved us?

He No.

She Why?

He Because it’s mere inertia that gets us all to be born in the first place.

He Production of toys and objects for entertaining children is on the sharp rise. Every year an increasing number of upgrades is produced. They get ever more complicated, more colourful, more attractive, all with the purpose of completely engaging children’s attention. Parents surge to shops like an avalanche and grab plastic hair and automated bodies. While I jerk off behind the stall with plastic soldiers. No one can hear or see me.

He There were plans.

She What sort of plans?

He The plans of how to make us into what they wanted us to be.

She Who?

He All those people we forgot. All those people who smiled at us in passing. All those people who had known what we were going to be before we were born. All those people we are never going to become.

She I feel like a woman.

He Your body is smooth. Your body is not the body of a woman.

She I’m afraid you don’t see me.

He I see you.

She But you’re not looking at me.

He I have no need to look at you.

She I cry often. There in the corner. So he won’t see me. He wouldn’t understand. A couple of times I tried to explain to him that I see it all. To explain to him that I do care. That I see them passing. That I recognise. He doesn’t listen to me. Doesn’t want to listen or he just keeps quiet. I shiver. I shiver like an animal before a disaster. There’s no one to hold me. There’s no one to understand it. There’s no one.

The woman in the white fur coat
Dishevelled
Searches for something
Searches for someone
Searches

The woman Make the sauce from two mashed boiled eggs, chopped onions, pickles, drained sardines, caper, chopped parsley and celery leaf. Put the chicken in a bowl. Add grated apple. Serve the salad decorated in this way at all festive occasions with fine pastry and chilled wine.

FLASH

ENCOUNTER: Portrait type. The woman in the white fur coat is looking at the red dot. Her lips are pursed. Her fur coat has dropped from her right shoulder. As though she is beckoning someone with her right hand.

She You haven’t asked me. You’ve never asked me.

He They were all random passers-by. Just ordinary passers-by. Any passers-by. The first to come along.

She You had to ask me.

He You don’t understand a thing. These are all normal people. They pass this way and can’t linger for a long time. They have their pictures taken and leave. They take the picture. They throw the picture away. A couple of seconds out of eight hundred million seconds or more in their lives. They don’t know it themselves. Then they play. One with the other. They buy toys. They throw the toys away. They step on them. They tangle their hair. Pluck. Tear. Just some people, any people.

The girl with the beer in her hand
throws up in the corner
She stands up
She crouches
Throws up
Stands up
Crouches
Throws up

The girl with the beer in her hand I’ve had tomato. Cucumber and fish soup. I think I’ve also had some bread but I’m not sure. Some mushroom pie too. A woman was once poisoned by mushrooms she picked in her own garden. Who planted poisonous mushrooms in her garden?

FLASH

ENCOUNTER The girl with the beer in her hand has vomit smeared all over her face. Traces of the remains of tomato, cucumber and bread can be seen. And mushrooms.

She These were not just any people.

He No, they weren’t.

She They weren’t just random passers-by.

He They probably weren’t. That’s just a figure of speech. No one is just a random passer-by.

The man with the stick in his hand
the boy with the backpack on his back
meet.
The man with the stick in his hand
waves his stick
and strikes the boy with the backpack on his back
in the head.
He falls down.
The man with the stick in his hand.
Carries on striking
and striking
and striking.
He leaves.

FLASH

ENCOUNTER: Portrait type. The boy with the backpack on his back. Blood running from his nose. One of his eyes is half open. His lower lip is split. His head is tilted to the right.

She It was us.

He Perhaps.

She It was our parents.

He Perhaps.

She It was all the toys that were on the shelf with us. It was all those people who had their pictures taken with us and in whose homes we now reside framed on the mantelpieces. It was all those people who looked at the figures on our price tags. And all those people whom we hugged and next to whom we laughed while a big glass castle made of ice could be seen in the distance behind us.

He I wanted to forget the moment when I stopped counting. Four hundred seventy three million one hundred and twenty five.

The woman with the baby in the pram
passes by
overturns the pram
shakes it
The child is not there.
She puts them back on their wheels
carries on.

FLASH

He There is something about that blinding light that resembles an explosion. There is something in that act of dispersing. In the act of disassembling the view. When energy makes an unexpected move forward. When things that were standing there are no longer there. When someone’s pictures become just a part of the past. When any picture becomes a part of the past. When the pupils respond to light and go blind for a moment. When we can’t seen anything from the smoke and then the traces of the remains emerge. People are puppets until you parse them into pieces. Four hundred and seventy three million one hundred and twenty six.

She Dear mum, I stuck a pencil in my mouth today. I stuck it so deep that it ruptured my larynx. I choked for a long time and there was a lot of blood.

He I have been preparing myself for it for years. I was counting. I knew exactly when it was supposed to happen.

She You were gazing ahead again and I think you didn’t see me when I waved. I told you I was going to school. And you said alright.

He I put on my white striped shirt and black trousers. I looked at myself in the mirror and assumed a soldier’s stance. I will never be a proper soldier but I will do a good deed for this world.

She I no longer feel pain. I’ve crossed the threshold of your body going numb for good.

He I march in even steps across the bridge. I march so as to tear the bridge down. I observe people walking without any awareness. I observe people surviving in the moment. I observe them.

She It is all ordered and arranged by colours in a row. At the toy shop. In albums. And then someone walks in, takes out one item and it all collapses. It is all disordered for a moment but gets readjusted very soon. And once again it’s as if nothing had happened.

He Anything transient is of no concern to me. No one looks back. Have your picture taken with us and let’s move on. We are your children. We are your dolls. We are what you have been and what you will be. She No one asks you if you want to be born. No one asks you if you want to sit on that shelf. No one asks you anything. You are born with screams. And then you start screaming yourself. Where is the stop button?

He We move on. Four hundred and seventy three million one hundred and twenty two. We’re close.

She Have your picture taken with us. We are the prettiest! We are the greatest fun! We will make your life more beautiful for a moment! You will remember us forever! Hey, you two who got pissed last night and you with the funny hairdo, mum, dad, whoever you are, we don’t care, it could’ve been us, but no! We’ve never left our shelves. We never wanted to follow you! We’ve never seen any sense in stopping the time and admiring it. There’s only one way to stop the time.

He Four hundred and seventy three million one hundred and twenty six. A strange silence and the crackling of skin. The head of the man with the funny hairdo. The hand of the girl with the beer in her hand with no beer in it. The pram with no child. The woman in the fur coat with no head. Ashes. Scents. Daybreak.

Enter the girl with the blue hat
She puts black plastic ears on her head

She She thought blue looked good on her. That’s why she was wearing this hat. She’s often thought she was right and she’s never found out what it really meant to be right. She wanted to feel good. She didn’t want to suffer, she didn’t want to cry. She thought people who often cried were weak, and people who cried in public were insane. Whenever she found herself in an uncomfortable situation she found a way to get out of it skilfully. Whenever she felt pain she thought she was sick. When she was driving, she drove around the holes in the road. The wheels remained pretty and intact. When she met a boy with a backpack on his back after a long sequence of years she told him it was too late. He tried to touch her icy cheeks but she asked him to leave. She believed she hadd one the right thing.

The girl with the blue hat
smile

FLASH

Enter a man with a backpack on his back
he puts black plastic ears on his head

She There was nothing in his backpack. He wanted to go back to his home. He didn’t believe in memories. He always threw everything away. When he left home a few years ago he didn’t take anything with him. When he decided to go back he knew he was going to come with nothing. He found his mother and father in the same position he had left them in. He laughed at that cliché and went for a walk. When he moved his hand towards the face of the girl with the blue hat he already knew he was leaving again. He said have a nice trip.

The man with the backpack on his back
smile

FLASH

Enter the man with the funny hairdo
quite bald by now
he puts the black plastic ears on his head

She He went bald too early. It made him special. He thought himself special and irreplaceable. He lived by strictly prescribed rules. He worked often and much so he wouldn’t have to think about life. Whenever he’d think about his life he felt pathetic. That’s why he never thought. He hated vague things. He hated unreliability. He feared bright colours and ran away from light.

The man with the funny hairdo
smile

FLASH

Enter the girl with the green hair
she puts black plastic ears on her head

She She dyed her hair all sorts of colours. A different colour every week. Whenever she changed her hair colour she felt different. But not like when just anyone else makes a change, she really felt different. She’d often lie about herself because she was afraid she’d be boring otherwise. She liked to run away and check if anyone was running after her. She’s never cried in her life because she was ashamed even of herself.

The girl with the green hair
smile

FLASH

Enter the girl with the beer in her hand
she puts black plastic ears on her head

She She was always one of those people sitting in the back row of the classroom. But one of those people no one ever notices. She lived on others’ stories and events. She soaked them up and then she’d throw them all up. She’d feel slightly better afterwards, for a while. Empty and relieved.

The girl with the beer in her hand
smile

FLASH

Enter the woman with the child in the pram
she puts plastic ears on her head

She The only thing she’s wanted is to have a child and for the child never to grow up. To stay little like dogs when they are small and sweet and devoted. For the child never to leave her. The child has grown up and left her nevertheless.

The woman with the child in the pram
smile

FLASH

Enter the man with the stick in his hand
he puts plastic ears on his head

She A man. The father of a family. Bringing home the money. He expects to be obeyed. When everything does not go according to plan he loses control. Otherwise he’s calm and sits by the television.

The man with the stick in his hand
smile

FLASH

Enter the woman in the white fur coat
she puts black plastic ears on her head

She Mother.

The woman in the white fur coat
smile

FLASH

He What’s the time?

She and he
lower the metal fence.

END
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