Of Mice, Rats and Men

In 2013 I attended a subject on contemporary theatre at the UAB by Sara Martin. As part of the syllabus, she invited to come to class various peoples from different trades, all of them related to theatre. One of them, a fairly young and interesting man, subjected the class to a very curious and stimulating experiment: each of us was going to write a play. In 30 minutes. He gave us some time to take paper and pen, described the characters and the scene briefly and then proceeded to dictate a statement (actions or lines of dialogue) every 5 minutes for the next half an hour.

This is the result:

//

Empty room. Only one chair in the middle.

A is holding a book, it is the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman.

A and B are looking at each other.

[B]

I like your tie.

[A]

Thanks.

[B ]

I thought I would never see you again.

[A]

Sorry to disappoint you. We can change that.

[B]

No, it’s… ok. It’s only I didn’t expect to find you here.

[A]

So… how are things? It’s been a long time, I somehow expected you to have forgotten me.

[B]

Me too.

Pause.

Both smile and then laugh heartily.

A interrupts suddenly.

[A]

Do you have to keep accusing me of things I never did?

[B]

(tired) Oh please don’t start again… just don’t.

[A]

Why not? You love it. You love to remind me how bad I am for not being with you, for keeping always a distance. It makes you feel as if it were not your fault.

Silence.

A throws the book to B and it lands on her feet.

[A]

Here. I got what you asked for.

C comes in.

B picks the book up.

[C]

(looking at A) Oh, hello. I like your tie.

[A]

Thanks.

[B]

What are you doing here? I told you to wait outside.

[C]

(softly) I was worried about you. This doesn’t seem a safe neighborhood (glances at A)

[B]

I’m fine, I’m fine. Just go back to the car.

[A]

Is it him?

As if ignoring A’s question, B opens the book and takes a piece of paper out of it.

[B]

Where… when did you get this?

[A]

It doesn’t matter now. I just did.

[C]

(a bit angry and confused) Can anyone tell me what the hell is going on here and who the hell is this guy?

[B and A]

Get back to the car!

C stares at B. He has never seen her behaving like that.

B softens her expression.

[B]

Please, honey, go back, I’ll tell you everything later.

A realizes the chair is gone.

C looks at B and they kiss. Short, soft kiss.

[C]

I’ll see you now.

And leaves, glancing a last time at A.

[A]

The chair is gone.

B looks at A intensely. Both know what that means.

A terrible noise is heard somewhere outside the room.

[A]

They have found me.

[B]

Come with us. We can hide you.

B walks closer to A.

A smiles sadly.

[A]

No, you can’t. They are already coming. Besides, I don’t think your new boyfriend would like me.

[B]

Don’t be a fool! There is always a way, you told me that!

B gets closer as she speaks and takes A’s hand.

[B]

Stop it! Do you really want to know the truth?

[A]

The truth doesn’t matter now. The chair is gone. I can’t go back.

[B]

Please don’t//

There is a noise, louder, closer, inside the room.

A suddenly grabs B and kisses her passionately, almost fiercely.

[A]

You know what to do next. Just go!

B leaves looking  back a long, last time.

The noise grows louder and louder.

A takes a gun out of his pocket and shoots himself in the head.

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