Joseph Mundy

Joseph Mundy was a playwright(1935-1994) born in Bucharest. He died in New York as he was rehearsing this play.



translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut

(The stage is empty. The author sits in a chair on a pedestal, stage rear. The Dead Man lies on the floor, dressed as a soldier. The author writes feverishly. Suddenly the soldier raises himself up but does not yet stand.)


THE DEAD MAN: (opens eyes) What is this?

AUTHOR: (to himself) I did it... I did it...

THE DEAD MAN: Where am I?


THE DEAD MAN: What do you mean here? What's here?

AUTHOR: What do you care? The important thing is that you're alive.

THE DEAD MAN: What's life?

AUTHOR: The exact opposite of death... life is what you feel... what you see... what you feel

THE DEAD MAN: I don't know what I feel. I hear only you and I feel emptiness...(In a sudden whisper) Are you God?

AUTHOR: God? Me? I have no such pretensions... After all I'm just a human creature... homo-sapiens.

THE DEAD MAN: But you gave me life.. you've got superhuman powers.

AUTHOR: No. Under no circumstances... I don't know how to stop clocks or bend forks either.. My profession is telling stories. That's the reason I invented you.

THE DEAD MAN: Are you saying I didn't exist before? That I suddenly appeared... with no previous preparation?

AUTHOR: Like all of us; before we were born we didn't exist. We came from chaos and we go back there.


AUTHOR: If I knew the answer I'd have gone into a different profession. Get up! Don't hesitate.. Give your feet the commands and they'll obey.

THE DEAD MAN: (commands himself) Get up! (He rises) It's fantastic. I can stand.

AUTHOR: You can move, walk, dance.. sing.. multiply... You can do whatever you feel like doing! (Author gets up, examines the creature)

THE DEAD MAN: (automatically making march strides) One two.. one two.. three four.. one two.. one two (stops, examines his uniform) What am I wearing?

AUTHOR: A uniform, an army uniform.

THE DEAD MAN: Am I a soldier?

AUTHOR: Yes, and you're not unique. In this country almost everyone's a soldier.

THE DEAD MAN: What force do I belong to?

AUTHOR: Did you belong to. You were killed. You probably belonged to the tank corps, because you were burned up in a tank. You caught an R.P.G. and they couldn't identify your body.

THE DEAD MAN: So there is life after death.. I'm breathing.. I'm alive.. Here's proof there's life after death!!

AUTHOR: That's not proof.. Though I did bring you to life.. I did it for my story, but under no circumstances did I bring you to another life or to life after death. (philosophizes) If the life you're living now is life after death, that means we're all dead.

THE DEAD MAN: I don't understand anything of your philosophizing.. I don't care about it either.. What's important is that I'm alive! (almost dancing) I see colors.. flowers... Creation is wonderful.. (stops) How old am I?

AUTHOR: Young, about 20 or 21.

THE DEAD MAN: You're not my father?

AUTHOR: No.. no.. I couldn't be your father... When it comes to family matters I'm not a responsible man.

THE DEAD MAN: (shocked) So you'll send me back to battle and I'll get killed again?!?!

AUTHOR: Not... right now.. I'm not a commander. Anyway I loathe war.

THE DEAD MAN: (mocking) What.. weren't you ever a soldier?

AUTHOR: Of course I was a soldier.. but not one of the most successful ones.. I was discharged for improper conduct.

THE DEAD MAN: So what am I to you?

AUTHOR: I need to examine something, to learn, and you're the only one who can help me.

THE DEAD MAN: I don't have a dime.. How can I help you?

AUTHOR: It's not money I need from you.

THE DEAD MAN: I don't know who I am... where I come from.. I don't even have a name.

AUTHOR: You have no significance.. Call yourself whatever you like.. Your memory of the past is a general one.

THE DEAD MAN: And what about the future?

AUTHOR: You have no future. You have a present, enjoy it. (starts to leave)

THE DEAD MAN: Where are you going?

AUTHOR: To work, I've got to start this story. (leaves the stage)

THE DEAD MAN: (to himself) Where do I live? What language am I speaking? It's clear that I'm making sounds.. Conclusion: I'm speaking. I have senses... He told me I was a soldier.. But why don't I have a weapon? And if the enemy surprises me? How can I defend myself, how? He shouldn't have left me in enemy territory exposed and defenseless.. If I make it out of here alive I'll file a complaint against him

.. he'll pay for this lawlessness... Someone has to pay for what's been done to me.


(The stage is as before. A group of revolutionaries enter - three men and a woman who is the leader of the group. They are armed. They notice the Dead Man.)

LEADER: Here's one of their soldiers!


REVOLUTIONARY 2: You're a prisoner!

(They handcuff and blindfold him)

LEADER: Take care of him!

(The revolutionaries kick him)

LEADER: Kneel, dog! Kneel! And answer our questions at once!

THE DEAD MAN: What do you want to know?

LEADER: Where's your unit.. Where's it hiding?

THE DEAD MAN: I wish I knew.

LEADER: Take care of him!

(The revolutionaries kick him)

LEADER: Talk! We don't have time!

THE DEAD MAN: I have no idea. I'm dead myself!

LEADER: Where do you think you are? On maneuvers? ... muckin' around... answer and stop fooling around.

THE DEAD MAN: I'm really dead... I was burned up in a tank, near Beirut. That I remember - near Beirut.

LEADER: This capitalistic turd is laughing at us... We're not near Beirut... We're near Shchem.

THE DEAD MAN: Impossible. I fell in Lebanon!

REVOLUTIONARY 1: This Jew is laughing at us, Commander. Listen to what he's saying. He claims he's dead, but we can see clearly that he's alive.

LEADER: If your life is dear to you, answer us immediately and stop complicating things with your lies. Where is your unit?

THE DEAD MAN: Near Beirut. I took part in the war in Lebanon.

LEADER: No more games.. I'm losing patience. Did you hear? No more stories. (One of the revolutionaries kicks the Dead Man) The war in Lebanon is an old story. They've been teaching it for years in the schools. And my logic tells me that you're avoiding answering, and you're pretending to be crazy. For the last time, answer my question. Where is your unit?

THE DEAD MAN: Madam, I have no idea.

LEADER: (Laughing almost crazily) Did you hear? Did you hear that stinking bourgeois... he called me madam! (spits coarsely) I am not madam to you, I am the commander of a unit of revolutionaries. We came here to free the Arabs, that you overpowered (To the revolutionary who is getting ready to kick the Dead Man again) Enough! Don't kick him. We'll give him a field trial. We'll wash that rotten masculine pride of his out of that brain. Get up! (The revolutionaries raise him up) Good. Attention! Your name and your identification number.

THE DEAD MAN: I lost my name tags. My name? I don't remember. Don't remember.

LEADER: Listen, thief. Even though I have no reason to accord with the Geneva Agreements, since we're Marxists, Houmeinists, Leninists, you should know that despite all the criticisms of our organizations we conform to a certain order. For the last time, give me your personal data.

THE DEAD MAN: Frankly, I have no idea.

REVOLUTIONARY 3: Let's get rid of him, Commander. This is a waste of time.

LEADER: No. We have to give him a fair trial. This bourgeois vermin must learn that there is an order in the universe. There is reward and punishment. What are you doing here in Shchem? Why have you forcibly conquered another people? Where did you get the nerve? Answer!

THE DEAD MAN: Are you Arabs?

LEADER: No, we are an international brigade. We've come to help these poor people whose pride has been crushed by your barbarian boot.

THE DEAD MAN: These poor people number 100 million. I don't live in Shchem. I don't care about Shchem. I don't even remember whereI did live. What do you want from my life?

REVOLUTIONARY 2: Commander, I propose we finish him off by the chinese method; in the nape.

LEADER: Don't give me advice. (to the Dead Man) Due to your refusal to cooperate with this court, I ( the accent is of course on the word "I") and my friends sentence you to death. Company, attention! Fire!

(Before they can act, the author enters, preventing them from killing the Dead Man again. The Leader spits on him and they leave the stage dissatisfied.)

THE DEAD MAN: (astonished) Are they your friends?

AUTHOR: (undoes his bonds and takes off the blindfold) No, but in the framework of this story they must obey my commands.

THE DEAD MAN: You just revived me and already you want me to get killed.

AUTHOR: I'm sorry. It was my mistake. I got confused and skipped you thirty years ahead. I've got problems and I drink too much (They sit down. The Author offers the Dead Man a bottle of whiskey). You want? It's good.

THE DEAD MAN: (tastes) It really is good. What is it?

AUTHOR: Whiskey. I decided to pamper myself. The truth is that because of you I got an advance payment for writing this...(grabs the bottle from the Dead Man's hand, drinks) What am I going to do with you? Just the fact that I'm working on this character of yours is a sign that I still care about something, that I'm looking for a way to belong to this place. This is a bitter mistake... bitter. I screwed myself. Everything is going the opposite of what I'd planned. I didn't expect to see such bestialization. ( suddenly decides)... You know what? The hell with my obligation! I'll give back the advance. Any way I got only pennies for it. I'll get out of the whole business. I'll send you back to the world of chaos and wash my hands of it.

THE DEAD MAN: No, I beg of you. Don't kill me.

AUTHOR: But you've already been killed, man. You've already been killed and it's not my fault. The heavens are a witness. I'm not the man who invented this war. I wasn't the one who sent you in to the valley of death. I wasn't the one who spoke on your behalf. I wasn't the man who uttered your name in vain.

THE DEAD MAN: What does it matter to me who was the one who sent me there? You are also partly responsible for it. I don't want to go through that same horror again. You know what it is to be burnt up? You understand the meaning of the pain? The minutes are an eternity, and liberating death lingers for ages. If life is holy to you, have pity on me.

AUTHOR: Good. As long as you're under my jurisdiction, you'll get authorial protection from me . (Breaks into hysterical laughter)

THE DEAD MAN: Are you mocking me?

AUTHOR: I'm mocking myself. Myself, my friend. Authorial protection. Literature can protect only words. Control over our lives is in other hands. (decides) O.K. What's important is that I get you out of here.

THE DEAD MAN: To where?

AUTHOR: There.

(Change of scene. The Master of Ceremonies enters. In this case the author himself can play the Master of Ceremonies. On the pedestal stands a transvestite. Actors are scattered on the stage. The Dead Man goes to the bar in the corner, with beer in his hand. Music of Mozart and Vivaldi.)

MASTER of CEREMONIES: Welcome to Berlin! This year, 1971, has been proclaimed as the year of love and unification. I am your Master of Ceremonies and my job is to reveal to you the mysteries of Berlin... A wonderful city... beautiful... Not long ago - the Pearl of Prussia... In the last war it was bombed to its foundations, but we built her up again. We erected an enviable architecture. We have a new opera, new theatres, and especially new slaughterhouses. And above all, Ladies and Gentlemen, above all - a new zoo. We've got everything - tortoises... lions... snakes and even dinosaurs. Unfortunately the city is divided in two. Though it isn't obvious, if you look carefully you will discover that this is purely a sexual division: the east is the male and the west is the female. We are in the feminine, the pleasant side of the city - that is to say, the west. In the east it's hell, in the west, paradise. And I, your Master of Ceremonies, shall bring you to the heart of paradise, so that you may cavort, frisk, and enjoy yourselves as you will. Ladies and gentlemen - Paradise!

(Change of lighting: discotheque, music - German punk - preferably Nina Hagen. The transvestite dances around and strips. The actors dance and talk)

- Give me a joint!

- You owe me fifty marks.

- I'll give it back tomorrow

- Karl Marx had no delusions

- Because Engels supported him.

- Why did they bury him in London? Was that in the Versailles agreement too?

- They buried him there because he was Jewish.

- Ha! Now I understand why he wrote the introduction to the poems of Heine.

- The Andy Warhol picture is fantastic.

- But why does he always deal with such garbage?

- Because life is garbage.

- But why can't his actor get it up?

- Because he hates women

- He's just a queer

- No, that's not right. He's a heroin junkie.

- Come on..he belongs to the new wave - he sniffs coke exclusively

- That costs a fortune.

- Only Don Carlos can save the Weimar Republic

- And I say that only the Bader-Meinhoff

(Enter Fabian. He is recognized, and the music stops)

TRANSVESTITE: Shhhh... Don't talk out loud. The place is crawling with informers!

(Everyone disappears. Fabian, who is wet, goes up to the Dead Man)

FABIAN: (to the Dead Man) I've been looking for you.

THE DEAD MAN: Me? Who are you?

FABIAN: Just don't be shocked by the way I look. My name is Fabian and - welcome to Berlin.

THE DEAD MAN: I'm in Berlin? How did I get here?

FABIAN: The power of a dream. (chuckles) Can I have a sip of your beer? (drinks) Not that I need water.. But I've missed a sip of beer (takes another sip) It's a bit flat... In my day the beer was better.

THE DEAD MAN: How did I get to Berlin? Just a few hours ago I was near Shchem!

FABIAN: So what? You don't live in my times. Your technology is more developed. Direct flight from Lod to Munich takes four hours and from Munich to Berlin is another hour. All together five hours. That's your answer.(whispers secretively) I know why you're here.

THE DEAD MAN: At last someone who can give me some clues... really, why?

FABIAN: You want to build a golem with the help of Japanese volunteers and you plan to set him up against the ruins of the Reichstag. Unfortunately I must clarify for you the fact that this plan is impossible.

THE DEAD MAN: What's the reason?

FABIAN: The Reichstag is located on the eastern side of the city and you Israelis don't have diplomatic relations with Eastern Germany, and if you try to enter you'll be arrested.

THE DEAD MAN: What golem are you talking about, man? What golem?

FABIAN: Shhhhh... I know everything... Don't be afraid, I'm not an journalist and I've never worked for Axel Springer, even though he's considered one of your most ardent supporters.. (to himself)... It would be interesting to know what his past was.... interesting...

THE DEAD MAN: Why are your clothes wet? Why do you look so terrible?

FABIAN: Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? We look very much alike, and we have identical interests as well.

THE DEAD MAN: What would I have in common with a man like you?

FABIAN: Everything... I committed suicide here fifty years ago. I drowned trying to save a boy who had the luck to know how to swim. I heard you'd arrived in Berlin and I wanted to say hello. By the way, when you start working on the golem I'll come and help you. I learned some tricks in Hades that'll make things easier. The destructive struggle between the two ideologies that make up the establishment and existence continues even after death. Come with me! Someone's waiting for us outside.

THE DEAD MAN: Wait, I've got to pay.

FABIAN: We've already paid our debt. Let's go!

(New scene. The stage is being set. Lena is already onstage. Music, preferably )

FABIAN: Lena, here's your Israeli parachutist. Guess where I found him. In New-Eden. Here he is!

LENA: Thank you, Fabian.

FABIAN: You will of course pardon me. I heard they opened a lesbian nightclub in the "Hansa" and I'm dying to go there. (to the Dead Man) I'll keep in touch! (exit Fabian)

LENA: (disgusted) What a degenerate...

THE DEAD MAN: Who are you?

LENA: Don't you remember me? Lena... my name is Lena. I was on the kibbutz.. a volunteer. I worked in the cowshed.. in the chicken coop... the dining room.

THE DEAD MAN: I was never in a kibbutz. I don't like the kibbutz.

LENA: What happened to you? You forgot me? But you were crazy about me... you would stroke my hair and murmur: its like wheat.. like wheat.. Don't you remember how good we had it together?


LENA: Oh, my parachutist... I loved your uniform... I was mad about your smell.

THE DEAD MAN: I'm not a parachutist. I'm in the tank corps.

LENA: You were a parachutist.

THE DEAD MAN: What's your name.. Lena.. look... it's clear you've mixed me up with someone else.

LENA: (moves closer) No, it's you for sure.. (smells him).. it's you... Fuck me!


LENA: What difference does it make? Let them all see... Nobody cares about anybody else... corrupted and rotten... a culture of homos and transvestites... I'm thirsty for something clean. Come, my parachutist... come to me... parachute into me (she draws him to her) Oh, I'm crazy about your health... your sun.. your middle-eastern moon shining like gold... I want your masculinity, to enter me and destroy me!

( The Dead Man gets on top of her, tries to lay her and fails)

LENA: What's happened to you?

THE DEAD MAN: (gets up) I'm not in shape.

LENA: (gets up, dresses. She is dissatisfied): It seems like you guys are only strong in your own home. In the diaspora you get weak in the knees. All right, I'm not angry with you... let's go!


LENA: Before you begin to build your golem, I want to introduce you to someone very important... If the meeting is successful, I'll take you to my place afterward. I've got a villa near the Vanse sea. I've made dinner and I bought an Alsace wine, "Gewuerz extraminaire".

THE DEAD MAN: What golem are you talking about? In the tank corps we never had anything to do with golems.

LENA: Ah, Panzer division... come quickly, we're wasting precious time. The man is waiting impatiently.

(From the rear stage, a man enters with a mask. The man is wearing an army coat and house slippers. The mask is of Hitler. At first he does not show it. Lena and the Dead Man are walking up stage, creating the illusion of a street. Concrete music: Stockhausen)

(The Dead Man, Lena, and the Figure)

LENA: Here he is! (indicating the Dead Man)

FIGURE: Thank you, Lena, for bringing him.

LENA: It wasn't a difficult mission... and how do you feel?

FIGURE: I'm cold, Lena, I'm cold. My bones ache. I need water, the warm waters of Baden-Baden, but I can't get out of here. They tied me to this city like Prometheus.

THE DEAD MAN: (to himself) The sea is far from here.

FIGURE: (purposely ignores the Dead Man's presence) Oh, Lena, Lena. If Rommel had listened to me. If only he had accepted my propositions, he could have easily had broken Montgomery's defense line. If only we had won in Africa, everything would have been different, and I could be sitting now in Marsa Matruch, warming my veins. Yes.. yes.. I know what you're thinking.. That I wouldn't have been able to bear the dirt of the Levant. I still can't understand why those lice, the Arabs, admired me so much. I know, I know... They thought we'd free them from British colonialism, but Lena, lice are lice, and they must be destroyed. I would have cleaned up the Levant and we would have transformed the whole coast of Africa to something European. (angry) Oh, Rommel, Rommel, Rommel. Stupid idiot. (contemptuously) Professional general! That was the difference between me and him. He operated according to the book, and I by inspiration. Because above all, I'm an artist.. I'm an artist.

THE DEAD MAN: Who are you?

FIGURE: Who is this man for whom my identity is so important? Let me look at you. (He puts the mask of Hitler on his face. His voice becomes metallic) And so you are the Israeli parachutist?

THE DEAD MAN: (understands that it is Hitler) It can't be. They burnt you. Nothing remained of you!

FIGURE: (breaks out laughing) And I revived, like a parachutist god, like a god.

THE DEAD MAN: I'm not a parachutist. I belong to the tank corps.

FIGURE: You speak with pride.. Soon I will begin to think you belong to the Aryan race. Ha.. ha.. ha.. (with petty malice) Only the nose betrays you. The nose is a bit crooked. Just a bit. Have you come to Berlin to make money?

THE DEAD MAN: I have no idea how I got to Berlin.

LENA: Fabian found him in New-Eden.

THE DEAD MAN: What is New-Eden?

LENA: I told you already what the New-Eden is. It's a discotheque.

FIGURE: Did you hear his insolence? And he still maintains that he didn't come here to make money. Fact - we expelled them, we threw them out. I thought we'd be rid of this sickness. And here they are, back again. And what do they deal with here? I ask you, with what? With bars, with discotheques, prostitutes, hard drugs, with everything that reeks of the death pits.

THE DEAD MAN: In my case you are entirely mistaken. I haven't come to Berlin on business. I'm a soldier.

LENA: He came here to build a golem.

FIGURE: Mysticism... mysticism.

LENA: It's in fashion.

FIGURE: Yes, mysticism. They think they can conquer us through mysticism and secret formulas of the cabala. If they have mysticism, we also have mysticism. And how is your Panzer division? Effective? I've heard you have managed to build a tank to be proud of.

THE DEAD MAN: I am not prepared to reveal military secrets.

FIGURE: I like this soldier. I see he has learned something from us.

THE DEAD MAN: In military school we learn all the battles, even the techniques of the devil.

FIGURE: The devil? Leave that poor creature alone. He only fulfills the missions of God. Stupid! Do you think I am Dr. Faust?

THE DEAD MAN: You are the devil.

FIGURE: Oh, Lena, what have you brought me? This is a simple soldier... A primitive mind... Listen, I am not the devil. I belong to humanity. I am part of it. Perhaps you don't like this, and you cannot accept this fact, but you should know that my deeds were entirely human. God and the devil have nothing to do with it.

THE DEAD MAN: If only I could kill you.

FIGURE: And why not do it?

THE DEAD MAN: Because I am myself a dead man.

FIGURE: But you are alive.

THE DEAD MAN: For the purposes of this story. You make me sick. I must get out of here... (The Dead Man searches for a way out, but the walls appear to be blocked)

FIGURE: Lena...

LENA: Yes.

FIGURE: Come and help me. I want to get up. I must examine this soldier from close up. I wish to see if there has not been a mutation in him.

THE DEAD MAN: I don't give a damn about you. If only I knew how to get out of this maze... (searches for an opening to exit without success)

FIGURE: My feet hurt. As if knives cut my flesh. Here is the true hell, Lena. Physical pain.

(Lena helps him to get up, and they walk slowly on the stage. The figure tries to approach the soldier)

FIGURE: Why don't you come to me more often? I am so lonely..

Lena: Ah, Panzer division...come quickly, we're wasting precious time. That man is waiting impatiently.

LENA: That's what you think... And you know you're not alone. Every day more and more disciples join you. Though they don't know your hiding place, they know for sure you've been resurrected. Believe me, you've got millions of admirers.

FIGURE: And they express their admiration openly?

LENA: Not yet. They admire you in secret. Have patience. Our hour is near, belieme.

FIGURE: We won after all.

LENA: We won after all.

THE DEAD MAN: You didn't win. Your capital city is divided in two. The Reichstag has been burned. Russian soldiers crush your stinking pride every day. Like this! (he demonstrates by crushing an imaginative insect with disgust) I'm happy they're in control here.

FIGURE: (draws near to the Dead Man with Nazi march steps, with the mask on his face, and examines the Dead Man) Yes, yes, there... there has been a mutation, although slight... But something has definitely changed. (angrily) How do you dare to speak to me? Have you forgotten who stands before you? Even that disgusting Jew, Steiner, wrote a play full of admiration for my character, full of admiration.

THE DEAD MAN: (moves away from him in rage) I don't know who this Steiner is. Stinker. But your disgusting character has intrigued me for many years. Before I heard your name I said what I have to say to you thousands of times to myself.

THE DEAD MAN: Lena, I am tired. Help me to go back to my place.

(Lena helps him)

FIGURE: Pain, Pain, everything pains. I want to hear music.

(The figure sits down)

LENA: Bruckner or Wagner?

FIGURE: Wagner. Bruckner encompasses one with sadness, failure. I want the music to strengthen my spirit. Only Wagner.

(Lena turns on an imaginary tape. Wagner is heard)

FIGURE: (to the Dead Man who cannot bear the music): Ah, I have forgotten you. Don't be shocked. Wagner cannot be compared to the trash that is heard on all channels of the radio today... (enjoying himself) What heavenly music! It increases my concentration. (cold and brutal) You said before that you have spoken to me within the depths of your heart. Here now you have the opportunity to say everything that your spirit moves you to tell.

THE DEAD MAN: It's too bad you weren't destroyed when you were born.

FIGURE: Is that all you have to say to me? Do you think your problem would have been solved if I hadn't been born? On the contrary, you should thank me and my vast enterprises. Only because of me was your state created.

THE DEAD MAN: I am not prepared to hear these disgusting things. I want to get out of here. You've closed all the doors. Let me out of here!!!

( The music stops. The Figure rises, gathers strength, and plays with his mask)

FIGURE: You will not leave here until I have finished with what I have to say to you. Listen well. I have been following your progress with great curiosity. Yes, from here, from this hole, from this maze I have been forced to hide in. True, I wished to destroy your race. True, I saw in you sickness personified. The rot and the mildew that had succeeded in crumbling the most healthy social structures. You were to me like rats that spread the pestilence and multiply geometrically in order to destroy the human race. I saw in you a strange race, a race that had not been born on this earth... Parasites.... That had landed on our necks from outer space. Listen to me well, Panzer division soldier. That was the reason I wanted to destroy you all. And till today I am not sorry for all the death and destruction. It was a noble deed.

(The Figure becomes more and more excited, a typical Hitler speech)

FIGURE: Who in all mankind would dare to say that I should take on that humanistic approach that the eunuchs and pseudo-intellectuals call the "humanistic approach"? Who? The goal was to have been a final solution and for that goal I didn't hesitate to use all means to fight to destroy entire populations, to bomb cities, to kill women, children, everyone. The world we live in understands only one language and that is the language of force. Only by force is it possible to conquer the enemy. Otherwise he will conquer you. There is no mercy in nature. The lion devours the deer because he is hungry. What does the lion care about the aesthetic beauty of the deer? If he doesn't devour her, the lion will not survive.

THE DEAD MAN: You are sick, quite insane.

FIGURE: Insolent, and in addition also stupid. A madman is a single individual. I controlled an entire nation.

THE DEAD MAN: If they didn't finish the job, I'll finish it.(tries to attack the Figure)

LENA:(draws a gun) Don't come closer.

THE DEAD MAN: I'm not afraid of bullets. I have already been shot.

LENA: And you will be shot again, and that will be final, I promise you. Get out of here, Jude rags! Jude rags! Jude rags! To Palestine!

(Change of scene. Stockhausen music, that is to say concrete music.) All the actors come on stage, make a circle that includes the Dead Man. They begin to utter the word "truth" seven times. Their speech becomes stronger and stronger, as if they are holding in their hands an enormous balloon floating in the wind. Enter a West German policeman )

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: Police! Hands up! (The group disappears. On the stage only The Dead Man remains) I said hands up! Passport please.

THE DEAD MAN: I have no papers.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: Aha. You have no papers. What are these shouts in the middle of the night? In Berlin we like quiet. Who are you working for?

THE DEAD MAN: I have no idea. I suddenly found myself near the Kreutzer.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: I see that you are a soldier. Only of victory do you dream. Only of victory.

THE DEAD MAN: That's natural. Soldiers like to win.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: In this battle you are about to lose.

THE DEAD MAN: I'm not fighting here.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: Not true. You are fighting here as well. That is why we have decided to return you to East Germany.

THE DEAD MAN: What do I have to do with East Germany? I'm Israeli.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: What are you talking about? You don't look Jewish.

THE DEAD MAN: I am an Israeli, not a Jew. That is to say - a Jew, but first of all, an Israeli.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: You can tell that kind of nonsense to The KGB investigators. Come. I know that you are a despicable leftist. You came to West Berlin to make trouble. We will send you back home so that you'll taste and feel the pleasures on the Communist regime on your flesh.

THE DEAD MAN: I am an Israeli citizen. I will give you my name. You'll easily be able to check it out at our Embassy. And if you don't do it, our Shin Beit will take care of you.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: (laughing) What a joke. Your Shin Beit will be happy to be rid of you. In your country they like leftists as little as we do. No one will defend you. And I will even get a prize for trapping a red insect such as you. Come! They're waiting for us at Charlie Checkpoint.

THE DEAD MAN:(sits on the floor) I won't budge from here.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: Listen, Mr. Soldier. Don't force me to use violence. I don't like violence. Don't force me to call my colleagues and our dogs. They will drag you over the border like a doll.

THE DEAD MAN: Do whatever you like. I will not go to that side of the world of my own will. I don't even want to be caught dead there.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: You said it. (Goes to operate his walkie talkie, but the Author enters and prevents him)

AUTHOR: Leave him alone.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: I have my orders.

AUTHOR: They were cancelled. Here are the papers.

WEST GERMAN POLICEMAN: (examines the papers) Right. So why do they bother me? All right, I'm going to drink some "Schulteiss" beer. (before exiting) It's been a long time since I've taken a proper piss. (leaves,laughing wildly) Ha, ha, ha.


THE DEAD MAN: You... you've saved me again.

AUTHOR: In this framework it's possible

THE DEAD MAN: Now I understand. You are the person who brought me to Berlin.

AUTHOR: Maybe. I wanted to create a past for you, to complete your character with some content.

THE DEAD MAN: Please send me home.

AUTHOR: Which home?

THE DEAD MAN: My home is in Israel. I was born there. Send me back there. I don't like this place. The climate is unbearable. The smell is terrible. What do I have in common with this filth?

AUTHOR: At home, different filth awaits you.

THE DEAD MAN: What do I care that it's filth? At least it's my own filth. Send me back!

AUTHOR: On the one hand I'm jealous of you, and on the other hand I despise you.

THE DEAD MAN: What have I done to you?

AUTHOR: Nothing. And I can't reveal my hidden secrets to you. You are simple incapable of understanding me.

THE DEAD MAN:(hesitantly) Do you want to get rid of me?

AUTHOR: How can I get rid of you? You're everywhere.

THE DEAD MAN: So you've lied to me. I am a person who exists. I am not the creature of your invention. I knew I existed. I knew it.

AUTHOR: You are my invention.

THE DEAD MAN: You contradict yourself.

AUTHOR: This existence is full of contradictions.

THE DEAD MAN: Listen, talk to me straight. How can I exist and not exist? How?

AUTHOR: Because the life I gave you is entirely literary. It isn't real life.

THE DEAD MAN: For me it's real life. It's all I've got. I ask of you to send me home.

AUTHOR: If you want to go back to that hole, all right. Your form number 55 has been approved. On our way.




(Scene: An army camp in the Sinai Desert. In center stage the commander, a captain, and the soldier. The soldier pours water from his canteen onto the hands of the captain. At some distance two Arab prisoners are sitting on the ground. Their eyes are blindfolded with flannel, their hands tied. A soldier stands guard over them.

CAPTAIN: More... (indicating water)

SOLDIER: Sir, this is the second canteen.

CAPTAIN: Tell me, are you worried about the geophysical situation of spring water? Pour water on my hands and don't talk... ah, that's good... What a crazy dream I had... As if they had informed us that a cloud of poisonous gas is approaching the earth and only one place is left where we can escape to survive. Imagine, I was in France, in the Champagne valley. When I woke up I checked the map and discovered that this valley didn't exist. That was scary.

SOLDIER: Sir, you ate something spoiled, and that's why you dreamt.

CAPTAIN: I've been eating something spoiled for six months. So why did I dream only last night?

SOLDIER: I don't know Sir. Maybe we should ask the chaplain.

CAPTAIN: Just don't remind me of him. Just don't remind me (Enter the Broker. This is a woman soldier. A communications kit is hanging from her shoulder, including a telephone. She is dressed futuristically.)

BROKER: Good morning,sir.

CAPTAIN: Instead of "good morning" you should be saying "Another day in this crazy desert".

BROKER: I see you still have problems with your hands.

CAPTAIN: And how. Do you think they're clean already?

BROKER: Entirely.

CAPTAIN: To appearances. They're dirty, I tell you. Have you managed to make contact with the central office?

BROKER: Barely. The enemy interference is getting stronger.

CAPTAIN: If only we could figure out how they're jamming our lines.

BROKER: Sir. We won them in all the wars. You'll see in this war they'll get it too.

CAPTAIN: Yes, I believe that. But it goes on and on and there is no end to it. All right. You probably want my data. It's in the right pocket of my shirt. Take it out. My hands are wet.

BROKER: (takes it out. With idiotic humor) I might just tickle you.

CAPTAIN: Just if I lose. If I win, I don't need this foolishness.

BROKER: Ah, how unromantic these men are. I miss that film with Dracula and the call girl.

CAPTAIN: What's the problem? We'll request the film from the central office and you'll get your satisfaction.

SOLDIER: I have data too. Here. (Gives the Broker a slip of paper) By the way, yesterday I understood why the Stock Market in 1930 fell. The lecturer they sent us from the central office was great. Great. Wonderful.

BROKER: He's simply an idiot. He's a professor, a man who deals only with theories. History doesn't repeat itself. Oh, I just remembered. An hour ago I managed to pick up a broadcast.

CAPTAIN: They're sending us gas masks at last?

BROKER: They're sending us an actor's troupe to entertain us.

CAPTAIN: a troupe of entertainers. That's all I was missing.

(The sound of distant planes is heard, coming closer)

CAPTAIN: Here is our real entertainment. They're bombing again. (shouts) Run for cover, run to the shelters! (sound of planes, bombs, which subsequently diminishes)

SOLDIER (shouting a victory cry): I downed one! Here, that son of a bitch is falling. I did it!

(The disappearing noise of planes, returns)

CAPTAIN (shouts): Run for cover! They're coming back!

(The noise disappears)

SOLDIER: No, they're running away. They're out of ammunition.

(The Dead Man has entered the stage. He is in the corner and is not noticed.)

CAPTAIN: Are there wounded? Dead?

SOLDIER: No, sir. We were lucky, and I even managed to down one. I downed him and he dropped like a fly.

CAPTAIN: Did you see parachutes?

SOLDIER: No parachutes. They didn't make it. It fell nose down. Sunk like a stone. (illustrates) Like this:vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv And we heard boooooooooooooooom. I'm pleased, Sir, pleased.

CAPTAIN: Wonderful. First chance I get, I'll arrange a 48 hour leave for you. You deserve it.

SOLDIER: (still not calm) He fell towards me. He wanted to kill me. I wasn't scared, I aimed the cannon just like we learned, and the missile hit him. What a joy. Sit! What an event! I'm inviting all the guys to the PX on me.

CAPTAIN:.(contemptuously) What can you possibly get in this lousy PX? (to the soldier) Calm down, already. They'll think you're Napoleon winning out over the British at Waterloo. Let's begin our damned work. How many prisoners are left to examine?

SOLDIER: Here are two, but there are fifty left in the stock.

CAPTAIN: Go figure out which of them are soldiers and which are terrorists. They all look alike. The problem is that we have to live with them.

SOLDIER: Sir, we could finish them off.

CAPTAIN: How could you finish them off? How?

SOLDIER: With force. He is right who is last right.

CAPTAIN: Don't answer me. I didn't ask you. I was talking to myself. That's what happens when you're serving in this area. Even the most normal person begins to go crazy. Bring that creature here for investigation (indicating the Arab)

(The Captain begins to scratch his hands, walks nervously, and comes across the Dead Man lying on the ground)

CAPTAIN: Soldier! Soldier, come here. We've got wounded here. (examines him) No, he's not wounded. Hey you, get up. (The Dead Man doesn't react) I told you to get up, soldier. Get up on your feet.

THE DEAD MAN: I'm tired, simply tired, dead tired.

CAPTAIN: What are you so tired from?THE DEAD MAN: From the noise. From the bombings. From the boooooooom! (frightened) Where's my bulletproof vest? Who took it?

CAPTAIN: There are no bulletproof vests here. We're not on the front. Don't try to kid me. I'm sick of this whole thing and I can be very mean.

SOLDIER: (to The Dead Man) Get up. It's not worth it to you.

THE DEAD MAN: You don't understand how tired I am... How many nights I haven't slept, and days. I have no more days. (Gets up anyway, and stands on his feet) I come from a world that is all darkness.

CAPTAIN: I see we are dealing with a poet. Where did you crawl out of? I've never seen you before. Who are you?

THE DEAD MAN: I was a soldier.

CAPTAIN: Lucky you weren't a can of coca cola. I've got news for you: You're still a soldier. And I expect you to act accordingly. What happened? There was a little bombing. Nothing happened. You're not wounded. I'm not wounded. We were all saved.

SOLDIER: Until next time.

CAPTAIN: I don't care about "next time". I live for the moment. Tell me, who sent you here?

THE DEAD MAN: I got here somehow during the bombing.

CAPTAIN: This is war, buddy. War. What can you do? The governpeople sit in the center, and we're on the front, eating the shit. What do you do?

THE DEAD MAN: Tank corps.

CAPTAIN: What? Tank corps? They went stark raving mad and sent me a guy from the tank corps. What am I going to do with you? Here we interrogate prisoners. What a mess. And they said they drew conclusions... they learned their lessons. So that there wouldn't be any more SNAFUS. (sighs) Ha, this whole business is falling like a house of cards. (to the Dead Man) What am I going to do with you?

THE DEAD MAN: Return me to my unit? Of course, if you can find it, I'd be very grateful.

CAPTAIN: Are you crazy? Do you think I have time to call the central office? And until you make contact.... And after that all those complications with computers..And maybe your unit doesn't exist anymore. Maybe it's been destroyed, and you're the only survivor. What do you think this is? That I'm in charge of finding next-of-kin?

THE DEAD MAN: So what do I have in common with this whole camp?

CAPTAIN: The same thing that ties me to this place. Duty. You stay here with us. We're always in need of manpower. Do you know Arabic?

THE DEAD MAN: No. And I don't like it particularly.

CAPTAIN: And maybe you think I'm Saladin? That's good. O.K. you won't interrogate here. You'll simply join the staff that guards the prisoners.

THE DEAD MAN: That's a degrading job. I demand a transfer.

CAPTAIN: So do I. Imagine that. I also demanded that the Chief of Staff send me to Bermuda, and that he give me a million dollars and provide me with four beauties, Penthouse style. But I'm here because I'm a soldier, and I follow orders. And you have to follow orders too. (suddenly inspired) Wait a minute. Maybe you're scared? There was a little bombing and you've already shit in your pants.

THE DEAD MAN: Why is it that when a man wears a uniform he takes on the style of a beast?

CAPTAIN: (shocked) What did you say?

SOLDIER: Captain, this soldier isn't scared. He's the only one who didn't hide during the bombing.

CAPTAIN: So he's really crazy. Okay, okay, what am I philosophizing about? What is this place, a university? The department of the history of drama? I'm some impotent muttering about Shakespeare? Demonstrates for the left and eats the butter of the right? Listen, soldier, welcome to our unit. Whatever you think privately simply doesn't interest me. Your job from here on is guard duty (to the regular soldier) You give him arms and equipment and show him what to do.


CAPTAIN: (stops him) Enoughhhhh. Don't argue. I hate superfluous talking. Don't you see how much work I have? And I have no help at all. I have to interrogate the prisoners by myself. The entire war is on my shoulders. On my shoulders.

BROKER: (voice is heard offstage) Captain, telephone.

CAPTAIN: (shouts back) I'm commmmmming. (to Soldier) Take the prisoner to headquarters, and when you get back, show this guy what to do.

(The commander enters headquarters. The soldier goes up to one of the Arabs, raises him up roughly, cursing him with expressions such as: Yalla, Maniac, son of a bitch, etc. The Soldier takes the Arab offstage. From the other side of the stage the Broker enters with the two way radio. She sits down on one of the pedestals)

BROKER: Camp David here. Over. (speaking into the telephone) Camp David center here. Over. Finally I'm getting through. Over. Yes. Yes, they're jamming our lines and there was also a bombing. Over. I'm fine. Over. Good, let's get to work .(The Broker has a pile of papers she sifts through) For Haim, 200 shares "Electra". Over. Joshua sells 300 shares "Sanyo" and buys 500 "Honda"

(The Dead Man curiously approaches the Broker)

BROKER: Amos buys 600 "Westinghouse". Over. Sergeant Major Bentzi sells 700 "El Al A", and buys 2000 "El Al B". Over. Joshua buys 4000 "Shomron Boomerang". Over. Lieutenant Yehuda sells everything. Over. Yes, yes, I tried to convince him, but it didn't work. Over.

THE DEAD MAN: (playing with the papers of the Broker) Excuse me, what are you doing?

BROKER: (angrily) Soldier, don't bother me. You know how hard it is to make contact with the central office. (to the instrument) Just a minute. Over. (to the Dead Man) If you want to buy or sell, get back to me after the broadcast. (to the telephone) I'm still here. Over. Some noodnick was bothering me. Yakov Ben Bassat buys 400 "Ramona Towels". Over.

THE DEAD MAN: (still not recovered) What's being sold here? What's being bought here?

(The soldier returns, sees that the Dead Man is bothering the Broker)

SOLDIER: Stop bothering her. Don't you see how busy she is? Come on.

BROKER:(to the telephone) Tommy sells 600 "Zebra" and buys 1000 "Investment Company Coldex" and "Aspirin". Over. Wait a minute. Wait. For me.... 1500 of 15 and 10000 "Aqua Vitae". Over. Good. I'm listening. Over.

THE DEAD MAN: What's going on here?

SOLDIER: Our Broker.

(surprise is registered on the Dead Man's face)

SOLDIER:(to the Broker) Hi honey.

BROKER: Sh.h.h... Don't bother me. I'm listening to the electronic report.

SOLDIER:(throws a kiss in the air) Okay. (to The Dead Man) When's she's listening to the report, it's holy. She mustn't be disturbed. I'm hungry. Let's go. We'll make a meal fit for a king. I've got all the goodies in this bag. (takes out of his knapsack all kinds of canned goods) The cook and I are like brothers.

THE DEAD MAN: Aren't you sick of serving in the reserves?

SOLDIER: What do you mean reserves? I'm in the regular army. Let's sit here. We'll eat fast, and then I'll get you the rifle. The war and the prisoners won't run away. What was it Napoleon said? First the stomach.

THE DEAD MAN: You serve in the regular army as a corporal?

SOLDIER: (preparing the meal) So what? There's no shame in it. The truth is that after the big crisis - you know what I mean - I was like lots of others without work. Just like that. Without a dime in my pocket. At first I thought I'd get out of here. But my wife didn't want to leave the country because of her family so when the Defence Department announced that it was enlisting people with special talents in the regular army, I decided to gamble on it, and so you see, I've been in this situation for over five years.

THE DEAD MAN: So what are your special talents?

SOLDIER: Physical strength. I'm strong. When I served in the air force, I used to tow the airplanes to underground hangars with my own hands. After that I was injured, and I was transferred here. (offers him food) Have some.

THE DEAD MAN: It's luncheon meat.(returns the plate) No thanks. I'm lucky my stomach can survive without that delicacy.

SOLDIER: You're spoiled. I eat everything. The only problem with places like this is that we have to drink a lot of water. It's worse than Ras Sudar. You dry up without noticing. Yesterday we sent two soldiers up north in a helicopter. They were almost dying.

THE DEAD MAN: Where are we actually?

SOLDIER: Oh God, don't start that with me. I'm not the captain. As far as I'm concerned, if you're enough of a bastard, I have no objections to your leaving. Because serving in this area of the Sinai is a real nightmare.

THE DEAD MAN: We're not in Lebanon?

SOLDIER: Wishful thinking. Ha. Mountain air. Deluxe hashish and video machines.

THE DEAD MAN: (completely upset) What? We're back in the Sinai?

SOLDIER: And how!

THE DEAD MAN: But there was peace. There were Camp David agreements. Sadat came to Jerusalem. I saw it with my own eyes. There was peace.

SOLDIER: (laughing) And now there's no peace. Do I have to remind you that the Egyptians broke the agreement and we were forced to attack them? Even though as usual, they maintain that we broke the agreements. But that's just enemy propaganda. The difference between this and the other wars is in that fact that this is a static war. Yes, static to the pof nausea. True, they attack us. You tasted the taste of the bombings yourself. But usually they miss. Only, (looking worried) we were informed that they're planning to drop gas bombs on us.

THE DEAD MAN: It's against the Geneva agreement.

SOLDIER: So what? They want to revenge our destruction of Cairo. If you ask me, they should thank us for that destruction. That city was already unbearable. Now they have the opportunity to build themselves a modern and efficient city.

THE DEAD MAN: Like Berlin.

SOLDIER: Now I understand you. You've just got here from abroad. Had a good time in Germany. Tell me, is it true that the whores in Hamburg shave their hair? You know where. (sighs) Ha, I'm dying to lay a fraulein. Blond. That's what I'm dreaming of. Here, I screwed up. That's the trouble with serving far away from home and the wife is not around. You begin to fantasize, and when you see someone, even if she's a monster, you think she's a beauty queen. And when there are no real women around, we beat off (laughs wildly) shoot and beat off (imitates the sound of shooting) boom.. boom... boom.. boom.

( The Dead Man looks for shelter)

SOLDIER: Hey, what happened to you? I wasn't shooting, I was just fooling around. I see your nerves are really shot. (He finishes eating) So, take your weapon and two canteens, and guard this shit. (indicating the Arab left on the stage) Until they come to relieve you (The soldier gives the Dead Man the arms and canteens).

THE DEAD MAN: Why do you call him shit?

SOLDIER: Because he is shit.

THE DEAD MAN: He's a man just like you and me.

SOLDIER: Not true. He's shit and son of shit... Oh, you're one of those who love them. Now I understand.

THE DEAD MAN: I have no reason to love them. On the contrary.

SOLDIER: So what do you care that I called him shit? You know how he looks at you and what he thinks to himself. If you don't know, I'll tell you. You're a dog to him, not more than a dog. Something unclean. You're a dog and the son of a dog to him.

THE DEAD MAN: As long as he's a prisoner and helpless I don't permit you to call him "shit".

SOLDIER: You're lucky I gave you arms. Otherwise I'd teach you a lesson. Even though I'm injured, I still have strength. Now that I think of it, give me back the weapon.

THE DEAD MAN: Wishful thinking.

SOLDIER: Okay. I'll speak to the Captain about you. You'll eat dirt here. (notices the Broker) Ha, here's the person I'm looking for... (approaches her) I forgot to tell you. I want to buy 600 shares of ....

BROKER: (angrily) They're jamming the wires again. Let's go to the office and I'll write it down. My brain isn't a computer.

SOLDIER: Willingly, willingly. (to the Dead Man) Don't pull anything. Or else the captain will take you apart. (the Soldier and the Broker exit. The Soldier tries to grab her buttocks, but she takes his hand off coarsely. They exit.)

THE DEAD MAN:(alone with the Arab, aware of his situation) What kind of place is this? Why do they blindfold them? What could they possibly see here? (takes the flannel blindfold from the Arab's eyes) Are you thirsty? (puts a canteen to his mouth. The Arab spits out the water and refuses to drink.) How dare you? I gave you water and you refuse to drink? (Examines him carefully) Ha, your expression. How you hate me. I know that expression. I know it on my flesh. You'd stab me or shoot a magazine into me, or an R.P.G. with such joy. With such pleasure you'd watch me lie in a pool of my blood. You'd be willing to drink my blood. To drink it. I'm not afraid of you. Here, I look you straight in your eyes. I'm 20 times crazier than you. I've got nothing left to lose. You refused to drink my water. You're dreaming only of revenge. You think only of that. Of revenge. That I cheated you of your lands. Your cruddy desert. Your disgusting primitivism. Your levantine filth. If you claim it's your land, then what did you do for it? Did you plant a tree? Dig a well? Find water? Invent a sprinkler? Answer me. Oh, I forgot he can't understand me... I forgot....

ARAB: I understand a little Hebrew.

THE DEAD MAN: Ah, you've opened your mouth. Why did you refuse to drink my water?

ARAB: I was beaten... before... I was beaten brutally.

THE DEAD MAN: Who hit you?

ARAB: They.

( The Dead Man examines him)

THE DEAD MAN: You weren't beaten. You're just making it up. There aren't any signs on you.

ARAB: I'm not a soldier and not a terrorist.

THE DEAD MAN: So what are you?

ARAB: An Arab from Gaza.

THE DEAD MAN: Soon you'll be complaining that you were arrested for no reason.

ARAB: Exactly. I was looking for something in the neighborhood. I have business here with a few Bedouins.

THE DEAD MAN: The commander here seems like an honest man. If you tell him the truth, he'll free you.

ARAB: From the Jew only death will free me.

THE DEAD MAN: Death didn't free me, for example. Fact: I'm drafted again.... How long have you been arrested?

ARAB: Two days. We sleep in that pen like animals.

THE DEAD MAN: War is no picnic.

ARAB: You'll never be victorious over us. We are more than you. Your time is running out like sand in an hourglass... running out.

THE DEAD MAN: (with a crazy smile) Are you threatening me?

ARAB: How can I? My hands are tied.

(The Dead Man unties his bonds.)

ARAB: What are you doing? Don't untie these bonds, in the name of Allah! Don't do it!

THE DEAD MAN: Why not?

ARAB: You'll shoot me. You'll say I tried to escape. You want to kill me.

THE DEAD MAN: Who do you think you are, you insect, that I'd want to kill you?

ARAB: I beg of you, tie my hands again.

THE DEAD MAN: Are you questioning my honesty?

ARAB: You'll kill me. You want to kill me and degrade me. You want to crush my pride.... Please (extending his hands) tie them.. (angrily).. What a cruel man.. Ha, when we had weapons in Beirut, we taught you a lesson... We stood with honor against you... no... no... I didn't say anything against you... I'm delirious... I'm crazy... (to himself).. no, I'm not crazy... (almost weeping with rage at himself).. ha, Allah, why am I so frightened.. such a coward. Allah, punish me!

THE DEAD MAN: Do you want a weapon? Here. (extends his weapon to him) Take it. Feel yourself a man. I told you take my weapon. That's an order.

(The Arab at first doesn't believe his ears, then suddenly grabs the weapon.)

THE DEAD MAN: You wanted to be a man. Here's your chance. Allah has heard you. Kill me. Empty the magazine. (mocking) in the name of your Eastern Honor, Yallah, kill.

ARAB: You're crazy.

THE DEAD MAN: No, I'm not crazy. I'm simply a dead man. A corpse. Shoot. Let's see you. Even if you shoot 1000 bullets into me, you can't kill me. No one of you can kill me any more... No one... I'm out of this game... Your problems don't interest me anymore, nor the Jews either... I'm a free man... I was granted an eternal leave!!!

ARAB: You're crazy.. madshnoon!

THE DEAD MAN: (approaches the Arab, ignoring the weapon entirely) How dare you insult me, you dog? (slaps his face) Who permitted you to question my reliability? (hits him in the head) You killed me.. killed me.. And you call me a liar? (kicks the Arab in the testicles. The Arab is on the floor)

ARAB: (thinking he's dealing with a madman) It was not me that killed you.

THE DEAD MAN: So it was your brothers. There by Beirut, when I caught the R.P.G.

ARAB: My brothers never left Gaza.

THE DEAD MAN: So your cousins.. or your uncles, your distant uncles.. Ha, how I hate you... (kicks him).. That's for making me like you... you wanted violence, so that's what you'll get (kicking him violently until the Arab faints. Suddenly the Dead Man comprehends that he has been drawn into a confrontation against his will) What have I done? (pacing the stage without finding a place to sit down) I was drawn into his language (examines him) No, he's not dead, he just ... (sighs).. Oh God... God.

(the Chaplain enters, in uniform, wearing a knitted skullcap)

CHAPLAIN: Did you call me? Hey soldier, did you call me?

THE DEAD MAN: (shocked) Who are you?

CHAPLAIN: I'm the chaplain. What happened to him ?(indicating the Arab) Oh, he tried to get away.

THE DEAD MAN: Help me.

CHAPLAIN: I won't touch him.

THE DEAD MAN: Why not? Isn't he a man like you and me?

CHAPLAIN: I won't touch him.

(The Dead Man ties the Arab's hands again, drags him back to his place, takes out a canteen and gives him water)

CHAPLAIN: I see you are merciful.

THE DEAD MAN: That's what you think.. (to the Arab) drink!.. if only I were in your situation. You were beaten, but at least you're alive (The Arab, giving in, drinks heartily this time) Before the next war, it'll pass. (to the chaplain) How did you get here?

CHAPLAIN: The commander sent me to you.

THE DEAD MAN: Did you come to relieve me?

CHAPLAIN: I'm the chaplain, I told you. I don't guard the prisoners. I've got more important things to do.

THE DEAD MAN: So the commander is making sure I won't be lonely. What a good guy he is... really considerate.

CHAPLAIN: He told me that you're unstable and that maybe I can help you.

THE DEAD MAN: (to the Arab) Do you want more water?

ARAB: Thanks. Shukran. Thank you very much.

THE DEAD MAN: Take the whole canteen... Its yours.. drink as much as you want.

CHAPLAIN: You shouldn't behave so well to the devil, De lerna for example.

THE DEAD MAN: (interrupts him) Who is the devil here?

CHAPLAIN: The one you gave water to. That is Amalek.

THE DEAD MAN: And you?

CHAPLAIN: I'm a Jew and it is written in the Torah that a Jew is a Jew and Amalek is Amalek. You're a Jew too, so it stands that you're not Amalek.

THE DEAD MAN: How do you know I'm a Jew?

CHAPLAIN: I feel it... Anyway, you're wearing our uniform.

THE DEAD MAN: And you think that after death the same distinction exists.

CHAPLAIN: Of course, of course.

THE DEAD MAN: Where do you get your confidence?

CHAPLAIN: From faith. I believe in God, blessed be his name. Let me explain.. I like you... listen.. the world we live in is like ice cream.

THE DEAD MAN: (allergic to his speech) What do you want from me?

CHAPLAIN: (doesn't leave him alone) Do you put on Tefillim? If so, I have a set for you.

THE DEAD MAN: Save them for yourself.

CHAPLAIN: The Tefillim is like a radio transmitter between us and the Divine Presence. The more you pray and the more fervent your concentration the faster you will rise up to heaven.

THE DEAD MAN: In my case, I prefer the earth... wait a minute... If I have emotional problems, why didn't they send me a military psychologist?

CHAPLAIN: (spits, as the religious do) Phooey, may their name and their memory be erased.. Don't you know? There are no more psychologists in the army. We got rid of them... we managed to get rid of them in the last election. As usual, there were those who opposed it and wrote about it in the papers. (with disgust) The reporters. Those leftists. Those bastards... So what? We were victorious. From now the rabbinate has the psychiatrists' office. Admit it... it's a pretty good accomplishment.

THE DEAD MAN: And you can solve my problems.

CHAPLAIN: I'll try, with the help of God, I'll try.

THE DEAD MAN: And how will you do it?

CHAPLAIN: First, you must fulfill the necessary obligations... that is the first step in returning you to the fold.

THE DEAD MAN: I came from there.

CHAPLAIN: What, you were once religious?

THE DEAD MAN: That's what my problem is. You see? You hit it right on target. What was I once: If you help me to find my identity, I'll do anything you ask of me. Anyhow, I'm a great believer in psychology. Look (quite seriously).. I have blurred memories of Lebanon. I was in a tank and I heard a loud boom. Later I woke up in Berlin... Imagine! A girl named Lena introduced me to Hitler, and that satan thought I was a parachutist, but I'm not a parachutist, I'm in the tank corps. (The Chaplain begins to get frightened) What's wrong? Ha! you think I'm crazy... maybe. So solve my problems for me, if God sent you to me.

CHAPLAIN: The Divinity.

THE DEAD MAN: Okay, the Divinity. What do I care what they call him... Please... find my identity.

CHAPLAIN: You belong to the People of Israel.

THE DEAD MAN: (in a rage) The people of Israel don't interest me.. I want to know who my family is.. those dear to me. Who were my parents? Did I have a wife and children and friends... What are their names? What do they look like? Where was I born? How did I spend my childhood? It's hard for me. It's hard for me to jump back and forth between the worlds like a soul that has no peace... oh, how hard it is.

CHAPLAIN: If you give me your identity number and your last name, I'll check it out right away.

THE DEAD MAN: Don't you understand that I have no name.. and no name tags.. I'm a corpse.. If you represent religion here, solve my problem for me.

CHAPLAIN: (convinced he is dealing with a raving maniac) We must ask for mercy from heaven...

THE DEAD MAN: I really need it.. mercy from heaven.. Say the prayer for the dead, kaddish.

CHAPLAIN: Who died here?

THE DEAD MAN: Me. I'm dead. Say a prayer for me.

CHAPLAIN: You aren't dead and I won't say kaddish over you.

THE DEAD MAN: If you don't say the prayer for the dead over me, I'll send you to heaven like an urgent telegram and then I'll say the prayer for the dead over you.

CHAPLAIN: You're crazy. Put that gun down.

(The Dead Man primes his weapon)

CHAPLAIN: You would kill a Jew? You're an anti-semite!

THE DEAD MAN: I'll be fair to you - like a Jew to a Jew. Before I crack your skull, I'll permit you to say the "prayer before a journey."

CHAPLAIN:(terrified) No... no.. mercy.

(The Commander's voice is heard)

VOICE: Where is my lieutenant? Where did he disappear to? He's always running away from me... where are you? (The Commander enters, understands the situation)

CAPTAIN: What's going on here?

CHAPLAIN: Captain, he wants to kill me! Save me!

CAPTAIN: What is this here? (approaches the Dead Man) What's with you? Have you gone mad?

THE DEAD MAN: This clown was bothering me, and I don't have a sense of humor any more. No more.

CHAPLAIN: I'm not a clown. I'm a chaplain.

CAPTAIN: (to the Chaplain) Shut up!!! We all know you're a chaplain. He's been buzzing around this camp like a wasp.

THE DEAD MAN: You're the commander. Get rid of him.

CAPTAIN: What can I do, buddy? I have no power against them. I don't have to tell you to what size their strength has grown. They've become an army within an army and a state within a state.(getting angry) I don't want to justify myself before you, because I am after all a soldier, an officer, and if I want to stay alive I have to adjust... to adjust... I'm not the one who makes the policies.. My job is to fulfill them. If you ask me whether I like this situation, the answer is negative. (to the Dead Man in a friendly tone) What do you care about these flies? Let them hum, and you be faithful to your inner voice.

THE DEAD MAN: My inner voice tells me right now to empty a magazine into this creature.

CAPTAIN: And then you'll sit in prison for the rest of your life.

THE DEAD MAN: If we're talking about life, I'm ready.

CAPTAIN: Leave him alone, by your life. You and I both know what they're worth.

CHAPLAIN: Why does he hate me so much, Sir? I didn't do anything to him. I just talked to him. That's all.

CAPTAIN: Because of one little fact... You symbolize the diaspora for him.

THE DEAD MAN: (happy) I'll leave him alone on condition that you promise me a transfer and that you find my original unit.

CAPTAIN: What a people this is. What a people. Okay. Give me a day at least to arrange matters.

THE DEAD MAN: I'm ready. But no more than a day.

CAPTAIN: So we've got a deal.

(Chaplain moves away and begins to pray joy that he was saved from certain death)

CAPTAIN: My hands. Dirty again.. (to the Dead Man) Have you got some water here?

THE DEAD MAN: Take the whole canteen. I don't need water.

(The Dead Man sits down next to the Arab, depressed. The commander approaches, tries to strike up a conversation)

CAPTAIN: Do you smoke? (offers him a cigarette)

THE DEAD MAN: Thanks.. once, not anymore... even that taste is gone...

CAPTAIN: (lights himself a cigarette) It's true that to be in the desert all day is depressing, but at night... you know what night in the desert is like... like a magic trick of nature... the sky fills up with billions of sparkling stars... I go out and look up, up... and I recognize the Milky Way here, and here is the earth, after all only a speck of dust in this creation.. a speck of dust.. and mankind fights each other like beasts... Why? I have no answer.. And then I throw off all bad thoughts and try to take the light of the stars into myself, into my head.

(The commander barely manages to finish the sentence and the roar of a squadron of planes is heard overhead)

SOLDIER: (enters, acting like a madman) They're attacking again, sir!

CAPTAIN: Run for cover.. Run for shelter!!!

(A squadron of planes gets closer. Terrible noise. Bombing. The stage darkens.

CAPTAIN: They're bombing with gas!!! (the figures on the stage choke, groans. Before the stage becomes dark entirely, the voice of the commander is heard)

CAPTAIN: This is against the Geneva agreements!



(The stage is empty. In the center is a sturdy chair on a pedestal. The Author and Dead Man enter, running. The Dead Man

is wearing a gas mask.)

THE DEAD MAN: (removing the gas mask): Where next?

AUTHOR: To our present.

THE DEAD MAN: We have a present in common?

AUTHOR: As long as you exist within my possibilities, the answer is positive. (points toward to chair) Go over there and sit on that chair.

THE DEAD MAN: I'm sitting. What next?

AUTHOR: Listen to me closely. Soon I'll be bringing all kinds of people here. With their help we'll examine your true identity.

THE DEAD MAN: Tell me, is it true that I was killed in the War in Lebanon?

AUTHOR: I have no idea which war you were killed in.. I fished you out of a whole pile of corpses. What's clear is that you were killed as a result of violence and madness.

THE DEAD MAN: What will I do with the gas mask? What do I need it for?

AUTHOR: For self defence... (voices are heard)... Ah, here they are.

(Enter the two parents. The father is carrying a suitcase and the mother a few bags. The author disappears)

FATHER: I'm always late because of you.

MOTHER: But we got here on time.

FATHER: That's not what counts. What counts is the principle. I like punctuality. We're late because you forced me to go to the synagogue and say Kaddish... It's not possible that I had a son.. I'm a young man myself.. I could be the son myself.

MOTHER: You aren't young, and you had a son, yours and my son.

FATHER: What are you blubbering about? You're old. Look at yourself. You could be my mother.

MOTHER: Wishful thinking. Me, your mother? I'm your wife and you're my age.

FATHER: I'm not your age.. no... no... What am I doing with this woman? (Wants to run away, but sees the Dead Man) What is this? Who are you? You look familiar. Your face is familiar.

MOTHER: (looking off in space) That's our son.

FATHER: So what's he doing there?

MOTHER: (expression vague) He's working.. he's successful... he's married... He has very nice children... he has...

FATHER: (cuts her off brusquely) He isn't working... he's sitting there like a mummy... He sleep most of the day like a failure... He refuses to speak with us (approaches him).. Hey, are you my son? Tell me. Speak and don't make me mad. Because of you I'll get a heart attack yet. Are you my son??????

THE DEAD MAN: I have no idea. Maybe...

FATHER: You look like him, but you're not my son. Anyway we're the same age. You're as young as I am.. It's not possible that we gave birth to a twenty year old baby.

MOTHER: You're always denying reality, avoiding it.

FATHER: Ah, wife, you're so stupid... Don't you understand that escape is my only weapon? (sits down on the suitcase)... I never imagined... I never imagined (tired) that it would happen to me... to others, yes. Maybe... but me? (gets up, deciding suddenly) Let's get out of here.

THE DEAD MAN: Where are you rushing off to, Mister?

FATHER: Did you call me Mister? Why? Since when have we been strangers? I'm your father.

MOTHER: This is not our son. He called you Mister. That means he doesn't recognize you at all. Any way you're only dreaming.

FATHER: My dream or yours?

THE DEAD MAN: The goal is clarity, the shining and endless horizon.

MOTHER: We have to get out of this hell. We'll lose our places yet.

FATHER: What do you mean hell? Your aging femininity - that's your hell, not mine. You'll never escape from that.

MOTHER: (begins to rummage through her bag crazily) I took everything, passports, travellers checks.. (in panic) Where are the sandwiches? I'm sure I took them. Where are they? Oh, here they are.

FATHER: What do we need sandwiches for? Don't you know that they have meals on the plane?

MOTHER: They told me that it's not much, and I know your appetite.

FATHER: Throw the food out. I don't want sandwiches. I don't want anything! Who needs food here anyway?

MOTHER: Maybe our son would like them?

FATHER: That's not our son. He doesn't even look like him.

MOTHER: What do I care? I want to adopt him.

FATHER: This boy is not a baby. He's a grown up man.. (with a crazy thought) Maybe you want to betray me? (The mother draws near the Dead Man with the sandwiches)

MOTHER: (to the Dead Man) Here. Take it. I made exactly what you like... meatballs with garlic... (whispers a secret) Your father thinks they're for him, but I made them for you, only for you.

THE DEAD MAN: No thanks, I'm not hungry. I wish I were.

FATHER: (having listened to the conversation) Another proof that he isn't our son. He used to eat like a whale.

MOTHER: (hysterical) It is our son!!! It's my son!!! (as if she was seeing the messenger of Job coming to tell her of her son's death) Noooo!!! Noooo!!! Don't tell me!!! I don't permit it.. I don't want to hear... (wildly)... I don't want to hearrrrr!!!!

FATHER: (approaches her, gently) Enough, calm down. Believe me it isn't our son. You're imagining things because you're dreaming... We're in the middle of a dream... and the laws that operate here we have no understanding of or control over.

MOTHER: (sadly) So why have I aged so much? Just yesterday I was a young, attractive woman.. just yesterday.. (frees herself from her husband brusquely) Don't put your hands on me!! You're always pushing me around. All your life you betrayed me!! You ran after other women... The smell of a strange dress miles away drove you wild. And after you'd go home to your mother. I'm not your mother, I'm your wife!

THE DEAD MAN: Why do you have to fight in front of me?

FATHER: (to the Dead Man) Don't interrupt. Better go study. Your grades are terrible. What are you going to make of your life? You'll be a slave, a nothing? (In a rage, wants to hit him) You're nothing, nothing! Nothing! Nothing!

MOTHER: (protecting the Dead Man) Don't you dare hit him, you hear? Don't you dare raise your hand to him! He's a good boy! So he doesn't want to be a hero, so what? He doesn't have a right to live?

FATHER: (calms down) Oh, woman, woman, I'm not going to hit anyone... you understand that we have no one in this world.. we're alone.. only you and me in this entire universe. We're alone... Let's go already.

THE DEAD MAN: Where are you going?

FATHER: To Canada... and because of you we just may miss our flight. You're holding us up.

THE DEAD MAN: You're moving to Canada.. what luck you've got... what luc.

FATHER: At my age. My digestion is shot. And I've got pains all over. I'm an old man. What hopes do I have left? What hopes? It's all because of this country. We worked like beasts and didn't accomplish anything... Actually it's your fault. Yes, yes, yes, you're guilty! You brought us here, you and your ideals and your illusions. You're responsible for us, and now you've left us alone, and there's no one to support us. (to the woman) Let's go already.

(The parents leave, and the author is already on stage)

THE DEAD MAN: Were those my parents? Do you mean to tell me that that's what my parents look like?

AUTHOR: How do I know? I told you that I can bring people here, but I have no way of knowing that these are your relatives... in any case they were elderly people.

THE DEAD MAN: No, they looked as young as me.

AUTHOR: Because they dream themselves young. The truth is otherwise. They're old... shattered... restless... lost.. They've been victimized along with you.

(Two young girls enter. One is dressed in bra and panties, and the other brings with her a bridal gown. They are happy. The author disappears)

BRIDE: You really are my best friend... How nice of you to come and help me put my bridal gown on.

GIRLFRIEND: Wait a minute.. we should check to see if it doesn't have any defects.

BRIDE: In the store they swore to me this is the most expensive and the most beautiful dress there is.

(They spread out the gown)

GIRLFRIEND: Actually, you never told me: Is this your first or your second wedding?

BRIDE: My first. The other one doesn't count.

GIRLFRIEND: Tell me, is he really such a good looker?

BRIDE: You can see for yourself... look, he's sitting over there.. Go on up to him.. He doesn't bite.. don't be scared.. he won't start up with you... he loves only me.

GIRLFRIEND: (close to the Dead Man) You're right, he really is nice.

BRIDE: The only problem is that he's got no money.

GIRLFRIEND: But he's young. You're both young. I'm sure he'll succeed.

BRIDE: Yes, I believe in his potential.. you see, that's the reason I want to marry him... and he has a wonderful dream, and both of us will make it come true. After the wedding we'll take knapsacks, we'll sell the wedding presents, and we'll go travelling. In Greece we'll see the Olympus.. We'll go to Rome... we'll sleep and make love in the "Villa Borghese". We'll go to Paris, and we'll appear as a pair of clowns in Pompidou center, and we'll rake in a lot of money.... We'll drink good wine and eat a lot of oysters, and then we'll go to Seville, and we'll dance the flamenco in Barcelona.

GIRLFRIEND: (finds a defect in the dress) Oh, there's something wrong with this fold.

BRIDE: You're right, I've been cheated.... Those bastards! Imagine! The storeowner told me that the chocolate queen got married in this dress.

GIRLFRIEND: You're getting upset over nothing. What have you got a friend for? I'll fix this extra fold in a jiffy. (takes sewing equipment out of a pocket. Mocking herself) I have everything a woman needs to protect her femininity.

BRIDE: Don't worry, dear. You'll see, you'll get married soon.

GIRLFRIEND: (fixes the dress) I'll never get married. I want to stay single.

BRIDE: Don't you want children?

GIRLFRIEND: To have children a woman doesn't have to get married and become a slave.

BRIDE: They all talk that way.. All.. I know you women heroes. A man comes along and proposes and you throw all the principles in the garbage.

GIRLFRIEND: I'm not like everyone else. I've finished fixing your fold. The dress is ready. Let me help you put it on. She helps her put the dress on.)

GIRLFRIEND: (examining the bride) You've got a perfect figure. You'll be a beautiful bride.

BRIDE: (examines herself in an imaginary mirror) They say that even the most ugly woman becomes beautiful on her wedding day.

GIRLFRIEND: That's a legend. Ugly is always ugly.

BRIDE: (worried) You'll see, even if I get pregnant I'll stay beautiful.

GIRLFRIEND: What's the rush? Anyway you're going to travel.

BRIDE: He wants to travel. I want a baby... you'll see.. you'll see.. I'll tame him yet.GIRLFRIEND: (indicating the Dead Man) Why is he sitting there so quiet without doing anything? Why doesn't he get dressed? Is he planning to come to his wedding in a dirty uniform?

BRIDE: Don't worry about him. He's getting dressed right now.

GIRLFRIEND: But look, he's sitting there and not moving.

BRIDE: That's what you think. He knows how to fool you.

GIRLFRIEND: That's not true. He's sitting there like a statue.

BRIDE: Don't get into a panic. I'm going to get made up and then put the veil on. (The Bride makes up with her back to the audience. The friend draws near the Dead Man)

GIRLFRIEND: Why aren't you getting dressed? Wake up, man. Your bride is gorgeous... Have you changed you mind? Too bad... do you know what those crazy people have prepared for you? An enormous hall.. they invited more than 1000 people for dinner... and think of all the presents you'll going to get. You'll be able to change them into dollars right away.. Don't be scared of her. You're the man... she'll do everything you want her to... You won't have a baby, and you'll go abroad just like you planned... like you dreamed. You'll go to some quiet place where there are no Jews and no Arabs... no wars.. you'll be in some nowhere place. Yes, a place where madness is out of bounds. Get up, man. Go get dressed. You're wasting valuable time.

BRIDE: (finished making up) I'm ready, look at me. Now I'm the most beautiful of all... the veil.. quick... quick... He's supposed to be here any minute.

(The Girlfriend helps the bride put the veil on her head)

BRIDE: Careful.. I don't want to ruin my hairstyle.. It cost me a fortune.

(A young man enters, dressed as a groom)

BRIDE: (sees him) You made it on time. You're a honey. Let's go.

GIRLFRIEND: Wait a minute! But that's not your groom. (points to the Dead Man) That's your groom.

BRIDE: That's right (indicating the young man)

GIRLFRIEND: So what is this stranger doing here?

BRIDE: He's my groom.

GIRLFRIEND: You're confusing me. Your groom is over there.

BRIDE: Right.

GIRLFRIEND: So tell this guy he's got the wrong address.

BRIDE: He hasn't made a mistake. I'm his bride.

GROOM: What's going on here?

BRIDE: Nothing, sweetheart. My friend is just seeing things.

GIRLFRIEND: How dare you? I am not seeing things. You're pulling some dirty trick here.

BRIDE: Who are you to talk to me like that? What gall! How dare you question my honesty and loyalty? Do you think I don't know whom I'm marrying? Is it my fault that you see double? And on top of that, what's the difference between them? He who lives, lives, and he who's dead, is dead. (to the groom) Come, dear, they're waiting for us.

(exit Bride and Groom)

GIRLFRIEND: (to Dead Man) She's just a bitch, believe me. You shouldn't take it seriously. One girl goes, another comes... I like you just as you are... I'd marry you dressed just as you are... After the wedding I'd wash your uniform, stroke you, kiss your chest, let you penetrate me again and again and again. Come my love, don't be afraid... come, my baby... come..

(the Girlfriend is in an erotic trance, without touching the Dead Man. The Dead Man puts on the gas mask)

GIRLFRIEND: What are you waiting for... come...

(She raises her eyes, sees the gas mask he's wearing, and grasps his situation) Nooooooooo!!!! (The shout is silent)

(The Girlfriend runs off the stage)

(on the other side of the stage enters the Boyfriend. The lights are concentrated on him and the Dead Man. The Boyfriend is dressed in sport clothes. He's jogging. His movements are as in a dream, sometimes slow, sometimes quick. Obviously he is running in place. To the Director: This scene is not absolutely necessary to the play itself and may be omitted)

THE BOYFRIEND: Don't come any closer.. I w't the one who killed you... I'm far away from you... 4000 kilometers... You see yourself that I'm jogging in the Bois de Bologne... You have no right to accuse me... I didn't desert the battle.. I was simply sick of living in your crazy place. I have an alibi... it's my right to live and not be the victim for the sake of others... it's my right to love beauty and the easy life... When you went to fight, it was your problem... I knew you'd want to run after me. That's why I'm getting myself in shape.. You'll never.. never.. be able to catch me.. Don't complain that you died instead of me.. And even if it's true, be happy that at least I'm alive... If I were dead too, what would you get out of it... two more dead men? Don't you dare spray me with blood. I know its your blood... It wasn't me who spilled it. No, no. Don't come closer. I want to live. Just don't shoot... I'm not the enemy. I was your friend. We played hide-and-go-seek together. We screwed the same girl. I let you copy on the matrics.. We planned to visit Niagara Falls together.. Don't touch my neck.. You're spilling blood on me... assassin... Don't drown me in this sea of blood... Don't tie my hands.. Let me swim.. let me swim.. to get out of this, get out of this.. to get ouuuuuuuuuuuut!!

(the Boyfriend manages to free himself from the nightmare, exits)

(Enter the Author and the Commander-in-Chief)

COMMANDER in CHIEF: I don't have time. In a few minutes I have to wake up. Get out of my dream.

AUTHOR: I'm sorry. I have to refuse. You must meet someone.

COMMANDER in CHIEF: Let him come to my office. My secretary will make an appointment for him. I'm a busy man. Do you know who you're talking to? Who you're bothering? Who you're holding up?

AUTHOR: Of course. You're the Commander-in-Chief, and I won't leave you alone until you come with me.

COMMANDER in CHIEF: I can't. In another hour I have to be at an important meeting. I have no time for dreams. I don't have time.

AUTHOR: So make time. I'll take you to him by force! Here is the man! Here is the person I command you to see. Here is the man! (The Commander in Chief grasps the situation and pushes the Author away. He lifts his glance slowly and does not dare to look straight into the eyes of the Dead Man)

COMMANDER in CHIEF: I'm not afraid of you. I dare look you in the face. And your relatives as well. What unit did you serve in?

THE DEAD MAN: (doesn't look at the Commander in Chief. He behaves almost like an Egyptian statue, his gaze out in eternity. His sentences are clipped, metallic) I didn't want to go to eternity. But I was given my orders. I didn't refuse. I attacked. The wall stopped me. I couldn't climb it. Someone helped go backward.

COMMANDER in CHIEF: War is a result of reality. We had to break down that wall. If we hadn't beaten the enemy, he would have beaten us. I can prove it to you... Here's the war map... you see.. here we sent in a battalion of tanks to encircle the enemy.. you can see for yourself I'm right... We captured the road and we managed to lay siege to that mountain. The problem was the passage. We had to capture it, because whoever has road number 3 holds the entire globe in his hand. And don't forget that the enemy had enormous ammunition dumps of secret weapons, but our fantastic air force wiped them all out with the help of the complex alpha 7 bombs.

THE DEAD MAN: (as before) I don't remember who brought me to the party. We drank a lot. We laughed. We ate great. After, I found myself in bed with that girl... she wanted us to get married.. she swallowed me.. she knew how to keep me for hours. She wanted us to set up a household..

COMMANDER in CHIEF: So we destroyed a few houses... we blew up a few villas and a few neighborhoods. So what? There were ammunition dumps there. I had to defend our soldiers... I know the world is angry with us. I know why, and I have an answer... we've simply stopped being used as a victim.. As simple as that... we slipped out of their fingers... let them shout... let them scream... It hurts them that from now on they can't destroy us... Force must be answered with force... Violence with violence... an eye for an eye... If they kill one of our soldiers, we'll kill a thousand of theirs. If they blow up one of our houses, we'll destroy a whole city. Three times they made war on us, and seven times we made them fly.

THE DEAD MAN: I remember that boy out in the garden. We built clay houses together. I was happy. Really happy.

COMMANDER in CHIEF: So there are deaths in war. I know. It's not child's play. (He imitates shooting sounds in a childish manner ) ratatatatatatat.... It's not child's play. We're dealing with live fire. Hell fire. You can't accuse me of cowardice. I endangered myself hundreds of times when it was necessary and when it wasn't. I could have died myself. Me too. But I was lucky and I'm alive.(to the Author) I understand. It seems that someone has turned you against me... yes.. yes.. that one.. (indicating the Author) Don't listen to those weak hearted people.. They're vampires who live on our blood... They are a flock of impotents... They're not capable of doing anything except talk, interrupt, bother... They're jealous of our capabilities for action. They can't bear the fact that we are serving the world and not them... I know those lily livered ones.. For a bowl of pottage they're willing to lick the dirt between their toes. Be proud you were on our side. Be proud you were on the strong side!THE DEAD MAN: After we went to that stadium... we were such lovely children... I remember the sky... blue... very blue...

COMMANDER in CHIEF: You cannot stop me... the work is not yet completed... You think we're finished with the war? You know how many more victims will fall? You think you're the only one? What's this pampering? Why did you disturb me? I've got to wake up soon, and I've got three meetings and seven field trips.

THE DEAD MAN: The number three is the human answer. The number seven is the divine answer.

COMMANDER in CHIEF: Do want to talk to me in numbers? In data? Fine, I'm more informed than you are. I know all the secrets. For your information, we destroyed 1000 tanks in the southern frontier, and 600 tanks on the eastern border. We destroyed 6000 cannons in the western front, and 10000 on the eastern front.

THE DEAD MAN: (his voice becoming louder and louder) The number three is the human answer. The number seven is the divine answer.

COMMANDER in CHIEF: (his voice also becoming louder and louder) We took 50000 shells on the southern front, 10000 Kalatchnikovs, 100000 Katyushas, 2000 heavy trucks, 600 T.188 tanks on the western front, and on the northern front hundreds of R.P.G.s, 1000 Leopard/105 tanks, and 20000 East-German made Schrapnel bombs.

THE DEAD MAN: (really shouting now) The number three in the human answer. The number seven is the divine answer.

COMMANDER in CHIEF: (screaming equally loud) We killed 6000 enemy soldiers, and injured over 20000 - severe and intermediate - on the southern front. We took 50000 prisoners on the northern front, and destroyed 20000 on the eastern front.

THE DEAD MAN: (returns to his quiet and metallic voice) The resurrection will be made by the heavenly ghost who will sweep the universe. The angel in the wind will not say, Dead - Rise Up. He will order - Those Who Are Alive, Get Up.

COMMANDER in CHIEF: That's your answer. Those who are alive, must get up... to get up, to finish their mission... to fulfill the job they've been given. I've got to rush to catch my flight in order to get up. They're waiting for me.. The army is me and I'm the army. I didn't have the luck to be born in that time, but only in this time that's smart enough to accept my strategic contribution. Oh, how this dream has held me up. I just hope they don't start the meeting without me. They're capable of doing just such a thing... they're capable of it.

(The Commander disappears, worried angry.)



(Same setting. Silence. The lighting shaded. The Dead Man and the Author)

AUTHOR (Carrying the manuscript in his hand.) Let's go!


AUTHOR: I've got to return you.

THE DEAD MAN: (afraid) No!

AUTHOR: I have to.

THE DEAD MAN: You used me. You're a bastard... you used me finally... you're living on my account... You didn't even manage to discover my identity.

AUTHOR: I tried. I did the best I could. Believe me.

THE DEAD MAN: I'm asking from you... it's cold there. Actually, I don't really know what is there. I'm afraid, afraid.

AUTHOR: I can't go against nature.

THE DEAD MAN: Fact: you did. Fact: I'm alive.

AUTHOR: You exist in the framework of literary illusion. You're almost my invention.

THE DEAD MAN: Invention, illusion.... What does it matter, as long as I'm alive.

AUTHOR: I'm sorry. Our time is over.

THE DEAD MAN: (begging, to the point of crawling, perhaps, or the point of weeping) Leave me here. It doesn't matter as what.. just leave me here... Let me live, even as a lizard, a frog, a mouse, a worm. I want to see the sunlight.. to sense the smell of earth, to roll in sand, to see the dawn... to the sunset... I don't need women... don't need anything... only to be in this world, this life. Are you crying? It's a sign that my existence touched your heart. Have mercy on me.

AUTHOR: The life I can give you can only be an illusion.. that's a lie... this is a literary invention.. It isn't really life.

THE DEAD MAN: I don't care how you call this life, I don't want to leave it.

AUTHOR: You're forcing me to do something irresponsible.

THE DEAD MAN: Do you consider the very fact that you brought me back to life a responsible act? Answer me. Don't try to avoid answering. Answer me. (he grabs the manuscript from the Author's hand, and tries to tears it up)

AUTHOR: (wavers, then decides) All right, I'll let you go. (grabs the manuscript from the Dead Man's hand)

THE DEAD MAN: And where am I supposed to go?

AUTHOR: Wherever you want. You're free, man... free.. That's what you wanted.

THE DEAD MAN: Life!!!! Do you hear? Life!!!!(with a cry of joy) I'm commmmmmmming!!!!

(The Dead Man excitedly leaves the stage .. A few seconds pass. An enormous noise of bombs, planes, and so forth is heard.)

AUTHOR: I warned him. It's not my fault. I warned him... it's not my fault.. I warned him... It's not my fault...

(The spotlight on the Author dims)