ACT ONE. With a curious mixture of calmness and intensity, DOS PASSOS peers out at us and speaks:

Pages 27
Views 5

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 27
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
ACT ONE The stage is dark dark and quiet but not for long. A LOUD EXPLOSION sounds from offstage distant, but not too distant. An equally loud FLASH OF LIGHT accompanies the cacophony. Another EXPLOSION
ACT ONE The stage is dark dark and quiet but not for long. A LOUD EXPLOSION sounds from offstage distant, but not too distant. An equally loud FLASH OF LIGHT accompanies the cacophony. Another EXPLOSION follows then another then another growing in intensity each accompanied by one or more FLASHES OF LIGHT. We are in a war zone of some sort. Where, we don t know. Why, we don t know. All we know is that we can feel the intensity of the fighting in the air. The noise becomes almost unbearable for us as it rises and crescendos in greater and greater levels of clamor. Another LOUD EXPLOSION and another BLAST OF LIGHT but this one is different from the rest. It seems to be the end of the barrage. Instant silence follows the finale. The LIGHT, however, remains. It has lit up the figure of a gangly, bald twig of a man standing center stage. His name is JOHN DOS PASSOS and HE looks like a college professor who has become ensconced too long behind his lectern. We sense a calm, serene air about the man which might easily be mistaken for opaque banality but not quite. There is an inner drive within that propels DOS PASSOS towards climbing further heights of life in search of some larger, dream-filled purpose. With a curious mixture of calmness and intensity, peers out at us and speaks: What makes a man? I have often wondered wondered and wandered wandered for an answer that always seems to elude me. Is it the flesh and bone we see before our eyes? Is it the spiritual soul inside that somersaults like a breeze in our lungs? Or is it something grander still? It seems, indeed, at this time of history, that man only exists in the plural as men men who come together to fight for a cause that they cannot hope to understand or win on their own. Perhaps that unity of purpose is 2 (CONT) what makes us uniquely human and, if so, then we live in an age for celebrating that humanity. The year is 1937 and borders between countries have been replaced by borders between causes communism, fascism, socialism, capitalism ideas greater and grander than countries could ever be. Perhaps, just perhaps, a man is made by the cause to which he dedicates his fortune and his future... which is to say that anyone who does not take a cause might as well have been born a mongoose. Ah, my friend, you sound homesick. A SPOTLIGHT rises on a desk at the back of the stage. A stalwart-looking, handsome, determined man, aged 30-40, is sitting behind it JOSÉ. We immediately sense a certain grandiose bearing about HIM that demands our respect and excites our curiosity. HE wears official-looking attire that indicates some indeterminate position in both military and governmental circles. JOSÉ has heard DOS PASSOS speak and looks up to address HIM: I am - and for a home that isn t even mine. It s your home and I am most envious of you. Envious... of me? Let us say admiring. You are the world-famous novelist. You are the one who s the soldier. You flatter me. I am not a soldier. In my eyes, you have always been at least that. Not when there are actual men dying in the field. 3 Yet you at least set foot on the battlefield. I have never stepped within a thousand miles of a skirmish. I write about other people doing things without having done any of those things for myself. You are different. You ride the waves of history like a Neptune riding the ocean. For man, there is only one answer action. I would expect nothing else... from a soldier. Or anyone - for who else will act if man does not? And so you have acted. No. Not just me. All men all true men. It is our time to act, to take the future, to shake it loose from its cage. The people of Spain have spent too long sitting down, opening our mouths, waiting to be fed. The monarchy turned our country into a museum filled with victories from the past. People came here to stare at what we used to be. I want people to come here and stare at what we are. And after that? They can come here and they can dream about what we soon will be. A country of free men? A country of active men. Yes. I know the difference. We have grown evermore lethargic back in the States. The Depression still depresses, although the employment lines grow shorter. They shrink, however, thanks only to friendly fiats from Washington. We don t move anymore unless a bureaucrat points and says go there. I know. That is why I left. The revolution in Spain reminded me about the world that shrieks and writhes beyond Columbia beyond the books beyond the lecterns. I had grown too content to dream up the future in my head. I knew I had to be a part of what was happening in my country. So you left. So I left. 4 And I did not. It is not your country. Today, José, Spain is everyone s country. (A little forebodingly.) Let us hope it stays that way. (Not understanding.) Surely, Franco is losing. But we are not winning. You will. You must. The world will not let you fail. Hitler in Germany. Mussolini in Italy. There cannot be Franco in Spain. The knuckles of the civilized world are bone-white from too much clinging to our humanity. We can t let go - not this time or we will all fall into the abyss. God only knows what awaits us if the fascists win over the world. That is why you are a writer. A writer, but not a man of action. smiles again. The pen is mightier than the sword. You can tell that a writer wrote that. and smile together. Is Margara well? She is. And Coco and Marguerite? 5 Both well. And you? You are safe, my friend? No, thank God for that would mean I am not fighting in the battle. I am coming to see you. You are not serious, Dos! Yes. I am coming in a few months, in April. I am working with a genius director from Holland Joris Ivens. Perhaps you have heard of him? He is a friend of you, of me, of the revolution and he is producing a film to draw attention to the savagery of Franco and his army. I am coming to Madrid for the filming. I will be one of the narrators in the film. It s called The Spanish Earth and it will shine light on your new republic for all the world to see. The world cannot keep its eyes closed anymore. It has done that for far too long. Yes, it is true and it has been equally far too long since I last saw you. Five years. Six years. All the more reason to see you. I will count the days. I will count them with you. And, when they are done, I will count the hours. Another LOUD EXPLOSION causes the SPOTLIGHT on to fall. is now standing on the stage alone. HE looks at the loneliness around HIM and then turns to us with a smile: 6 What does make a man? Perhaps... his friends. ANOTHER LOUD EXPLOSION causes the LIGHTS abruptly to rise on the set. We are in the lobby of the Hotel Florida. The hotel itself is bathed in a lurid gaudiness of stucco painted over with an unsightly (if intriguing) cacophony of pastel. One might perhaps be able to describe the décor as a cross between a grimy motor lodge in Arizona and an elite resort in Barcelona. Sometimes one impression wins, sometimes the other and, indeed, it s rather enjoyable that way. We can t help but stare at the hotel as if it were some relic of the age that should be treasured before it is bombed into rubble. In terms of layout, the lobby is large, open, airy, with very limited furniture. There is a couch and some chairs around the center of the stage to create some illusion of comfort. There is a front door off to one side of the stage that exits onto the tumultuous streets of Madrid. A reception desk for the concierge stands rather proudly in back of the stage. A small door behind the desk leads into a small office. A stairway is also present that leads up to a second and even a third story of the building. Off to the far side we find a small carvedout area with a small dining table, a clock on the wall, and glass doors that lead out into a garden just beyond. Most noticeable of all a huge banner strung across the wall proclaiming: Welcome, allies from America! courtesy of the Spanish government. Various other posters broadcast patriotic declarations: Viva la República! Viva el Socialismo! At first, remains alone onstage amid this tacky site until: Dos! You bastard! MALE VOICE 7 It s nice to see you, too, Ernest. turns to face a huge volcano of a man standing on the stairway ERNEST. HE is aged a vibrant 40 and looks not like a statue of some great bearded general who has managed to jump off his perch and stomp through the world like Godzilla. has a personality not unlike a vodka breath that can knock over unsuspecting people in a 50-mile radius. We can t help but feel nervous taking our eyes off this giant for even a second. Perhaps, in doing so, we will miss some great moment of history. Spying the mountain before HIM, DOS PASSOS smiles patiently: I suppose I should wish you a good morning. I d appreciate that, if it weren t the afternoon. Shit. I m guessing you just woke up. I have. I shall refrain from asking. It doesn t matter. I m telling anyway. Of course you are. I went to this little bar down the block the Casa Cobana. The air was thick and the women were thicker. I mean thick thick and juicy like a guava. You need not elaborate. 8 One of the women even had a name Marta. Call me Marta, she said to me so I called her Marta. I called her Marta the whole damn night. And you lived happily ever after? No - the morning came and I didn t give a shit anymore. And here you are. And here you are. You look surprised to see me. I bet Juan that you would run crying back to Valencia before you were within ten miles of Madrid. I owe him three shots of anís. You have more balls than I thought. I am flattered. Don t be. You still have one more to go. You haven t changed a bit, I see. smiles wryly. I don t see any improvements with you either. I would have to agree with you on those sentiments. (A beat.) How is the filming going? It s been going swell. You might as well turn around and go home. I couldn t do that. You think we need you? 9 It is more about my needing the cause. Killing fascists. Saving the Spanish people. By helping to kill fascists. You re like a little boy, Ernest. Better than being like a little girl, Dos. shakes HIS head wearily. Perhaps. You know what happens to little girls? No. They grow up and they get fucked. Of course. DOS PASSO Do you want to grow up and get fucked? Not particularly. That s because it s always better to be the fucker than the fuckee. It s the same with the fascists. They re either going to fuck us or we re going to fuck them. It s not about workers frolicking like fairies in the corn fields together. Perhaps not but we ll agree to disagree. I suppose I shouldn t be so spoiled either way. I m just glad you ve managed to find a cause greater than yourself. I m sure a wonderful novel will come out of it - maybe even be a sequel. 10 Only losers write sequels. (A beat.) By the way congratulations on finishing your trilogy. I appreciate that thank you. I saw your mug on the cover of Time. You liked the picture, I hope. It rivals anything by Picasso. You are too kind. No - I m not. I took the goddamn thing and I tossed it out of the window. I take it you did not approve. I was conducting an experiment. Did you learn anything? Yeah - Time doesn t fly. smiles wryly. For us, Ernest, I think it does and has. We have been friends for a long time, you and I. Too long. I doubt friendship can ever be too long. That s because you haven t met you yet. Granted, yes, I lack a certain perspective. 11 You do and do you know what I lack? Do I only get one option? Food. That wasn t going to be my guess. So where is it? Where is what? Damn it, Dos - I asked you to bring food from Valencia. Franco s army is outside the city and they re blockading my stomach. I ve been reduced to a sex and whiskey diet. My sincere apologies, then to you and your liver. I m afraid I forgot about picking up food in Valencia. I only have some chocolates and a bag of oranges. gestures to a large suitcase near the reception desk. What the hell am I going to do with a bag of oranges? I m sure you and Marta can think of something. Then what in God s name were you doing in Valencia? I was looking for someone. Looking for who? For whom. Screw you. A friend of mine José Robles. 12 I remember him. You ve never met him. I have in my nightmares from your drawling on and on about him. He s my friend. Well, what the hell am I? You are my friend, as well. So you re going to let your friend starve? Oh, Ernest, I think you have enough grain in your silo. is pointing at s stomach. I wish we weren t friends, so I could hate you. Why should that stop you? looks up and notices a sphinx-like statue of a woman descending the staircase. HER name is MARTHA and SHE has a solid, hard, intense, but ultimately sexual nature about HER. SHE reminds one of a female praying mantis that would gladly bite off the head of her mate if given a chance. SHE also has an all-knowing way about HER that radiates a certain eeriness. immediately blooms with cockiness upon s entrance. Ah! Dos! I d like to introduce you to Martha Gellhorn. Collier s sent her to report on the war. She s the best goddamn journalist I ve ever known - Biblically or otherwise. She knows more about this war than anyone, including Franco. 13 (CONT) (To.) This is John Dos Passos, the second greatest novelist in America. (To ) You may have met Gellhorn here. I m afraid not, no. The pleasure is mutual. It s an honor to meet you, Miss Gellhorn. Please, don t call me Miss. It makes me sound so virginal. I m not, you know. I can vouch for that. (To.) Should I call you by your first name? No. What should I call you, then? Don t. extends HER hand roughly towards. considers the hand a moment and then shakes it. I understand you are a woman who knows many things. Perhaps you have heard of a friend of mine - José Robles. I ve heard the name. Do you know where he is? No. I only keep track of important people. 14 He is my friend. Precisely. starts to move to the exit. (To.) Where are you going now? I m going to the top of the Telefonica Building to show my ass to Franco s gunners on the hill. Sounds like fun. I ll be up soon. Don t be late. I hate men who come late. So, Ernest, how s Pauline? snarls and exits. turns and grins cockily at. stares back with a paper smile hiding a vague revulsion. Pauline who? Your wife. My current wife. Of course, yes. Same as always getting older. How s Katy? She is doing well. She didn t come with me to Spain. She decided to stay back in Paris. Glad to know she hasn t left you. 15 We ve managed to stay together. It must be your mind. Is that what you like about Miss Gellhorn - her mind? Only when she s thinking about me. I m sure she doesn t disappoint you. Wait till she takes her clothes off. It gets better. (Mockingly.) Oh, to be Franco s gunners... Careful, my friend those sentiments may get you arrested. turns to find a good-natured looking man has entered through the front door. His name is JUAN and HE is Chief of Police of Madrid. HE appears not unlike a Sancho Panza who has managed to break out of his subservient role and take on the world. Perhaps HE is not quite ready for the responsibility, perhaps HE is still too jovial for the part, but we can t help but root for HIM nonetheless. is eminently likeable perhaps too likeable forever sporting a smiling façade regardless of the storm raging on around HIM. One wonders if HE notices the storm at all or particularly cares who it displaces. The answer is probably no either way. Upon seeing, smiles broadly. HE goes to and THEY embrace. Juan. Dos. 16 You look like a fascist in that suit. Is it not true? I look like one, yes but, you know, I still feel like the little boy stealing bread from the grocer s cart. Who would ever think it? Now the little crook is Chief of Police of Madrid. I wear the uniform, yes, but my heart is still the heart of that little boy. And now? Now most of the men who used to arrest me have themselves been arrested. I suppose that s justice. I suppose that s life. I do not pretend it all is just. You owe me three shot of anís, Hem. smiles gently and then abruptly turns to : I know, goddamit. You don t have to remind me. Ah, but I do. The Casa Cobana, tonight. Don t be late. Miss Gellhorn hates men who come late. Now, if you ll excuse me, I have a date on top of the Telefonica Building. loosens HIS pants, crosses to the front door, and turns sharply to : Don t do anything I would do. You probably wouldn t survive it. I sense some fury in our friend. drops his pants, showing off some gaudy shorts, and exits through the front door. Fury, yes but that is how Ernest expresses friendship these days. He spoke a different language when he and I were struggling writers in search of company. When poverty smiles on you, you are happy for companionship. When success slaps you in the face, you come to expect adulation. Companionship, in 17 (CONT) comparison, is a rather awkward step down. It s worse when one of a pair is more successful than the other. You mean you... or him? No one knows. That s the problem. Ah, well, let us talk about other things. This is your first night in our beautiful city. I would say Welcome to Madrid, but it is rather a mocking phrase. A LOUD EXPLOSION sounds. Miss Gellhorn must be disrobed by now. She and Hem are attached at the hip. And elsewhere, as well, it seems. smiles broadly. Did you just arrive? Yes, about half an hour ago. Have you checked into the hotel? Not yet, no. I haven t seen any member of the staff. Forgive us. We are civilized, too, in Spain but bread comes before etiquette. The city has not been the same since Franco s army besieged us last year. The government fled, I say with shame, but most of the people stayed. You see, my friend, the people are the root of the tree. Governments are merely the leaves and, like leaves, they fall. I remember your saying that to me twenty years ago on that mountainside in Toledo. Back then I was more concerned about my falling than the government. 18 That is because you are an American. Your governments don t fall. They just change colors with the seasons. Another LOUD EXPLOSION. (Peering at intently.) You noticed the Mexicans? How do you mean... Mexicans? That s what we call the Russians. It is a joke. I suppose you need as many as you can get. And more! They speak the same language as we, the Russians, but only of the heart. We would be dead by now if not for the international brigades they are organizing and the arms they are shipping to us. Comrade Stalin s support is turning many people here against the democracies. We do not get help from the American, French, and British governments. I m afraid brave actions are not typically found on the resumes of our statesmen. A gentleman comes down the stairway RAMON. HE looks intriguingly like José Robles. sees HIM and immediately shoots towards HIM. My God! José, is that... freezes upon getting a closer glimpse of the man. is clearly not José Robles. HE has a mustache that distinguishes his face and adds a dark, mysterious nature to the man. HIS dress is very matter-offact, colorless, drab, business-like. is actually the hotel concierge. There is an ambiguous nature about the man that reminds one of the sinister. HE seems too composed, too quiet, too plain, as if putting on an act to cover up some burning secret. 19 You must be Señor Dos Passos. I am, yes. I don t believe we ve met. You haven t. That s Ramon Mayaguez, the hotel concierge. has moved behind the concierge s desk. (To.) I apologize, Señor, that I was not here to serve you. I was assisting another guest with her window. It shattered after the last barrage. We are short of staff. How many people work here? Including me one. You must be exhausted. It is no worry. I have my work, you have yours. I am only narrating a film. Your film, Dos, could play an important part in saving the Republic. The American, British, and French governments will only declare for us if they are pressured by t
Related Documents
View more...
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks

We need your sign to support Project to invent "SMART AND CONTROLLABLE REFLECTIVE BALLOONS" to cover the Sun and Save Our Earth.

More details...

Sign Now!

We are very appreciated for your Prompt Action!