Sangam Playhouse






When I woke up today, I got up and washed, and suddenly it seemed that everything on this earth was clear to me, and I now know how I must live

A Play by

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X
When I woke up today, I got up and washed, and suddenly it seemed that everything on this earth was clear to me, and I now know how I must live.

Y
Really?

X
No, that’s just a quotation.

Y
That’s what I thought.

X
It’s really completely different. When I wake up I usually get annoyed about the fact that I’ve woken up.

Y
Why?

X
Don’t you think sleeping is much nicer than being awake?

Z
Do you know that scene from “Mystery Train”, where the Japanese woman whose boyfriend criticises her for sleeping too much and tells her that she can sleep when she’s dead, and she tells him that when she’s dead she won’t be able to sleep any more, so she has to sleep as much as possible while she’s still alive?

Y
You hear a lot of people say that these days.

Z
Great is the need for dreams, when times are bleak and people without hope.

X
No, seriously.
In winter it’s particularly bad. Sometimes it’s already dark again by the time I’ve managed to get up. I always try as long as possible to get back into my last dream, but at some point it just won’t work any more.

Z
Yes.

X
Then it’s like the bed doesn’t want me any more.

Y
Like being aborted every morning.

X
But today, right after I got up I smoked a spliff and ran a bath with eucalyptus oil and citrus bubble pearls. I played some music and then things gradually improved. Floating in the water I was hardly aware of myself any more. If you want you can have some of my weed. I got enough.

Y
No, but thanks.

X
Why? Don’t you smoke any more?

Y
Since my dealer told me that he’d voted Conservative at the last election, I suddenly lost the urge to take drugs.

Z
What kind of times are we living in, where even drug dealers vote Conservative?

Y
Times when it’s better to stay clean.

X
Well, anyway, then I lay in the bath for over an hour, smoked, listened to music, thought about Sylvia Plath and kept letting in warm water.

Y
Why Sylvia Plath?

X
She always liked taking baths, didn’t she?

Y
And then?

Z
Then she killed herself.

Y
No, I mean, what did you do then, after your bath?

X
I went to the solarium. 15 minutes on high, and some kind of esoteric music with panpipes and humming Tibetan monks in the headphones. A good thing I’d smoked something before that.

Z
By the way, have you noticed, there’s practically nobody left who doesn’t smoke? Even in Moscow everybody was stoned.

Y (mocking)
Great is the need for dreams, when times are bleak and people without hope.

X
How was it this time in Moscow? When did you get back?

Z
Yesterday. It was ok, as always, but I’ve been there too often now to be really impressed.

Y
What did you get up to?

Z
The usual. Party at the “Bunker”, at the “Zeppelin” and a few new clubs. A fashion thing at the “Most”. I definitely had a great time. They’re still really into it there. It’s just that the buzz has gone somehow. I don’t know why, either. I was standing in the middle of Red Square and suddenly wished I was in Sydney or in Kathmandu, or even in New York – whatever. Absurd, don’t you think? There you are in a place and still you wish you were somewhere else. I honestly couldn’t quite get why I wasn’t happy with what I had. I didn’t understand what I was missing there… but the city’s still interesting, you can’t really argue with that. In Moscow you sit in a huge restaurant, you don’t know anyone, and nobody knows you, but all the same you don’t feel yourself to be a stranger. But here you know everyone and everyone knows you, but you’re a stranger, a stranger. You’re a stranger and you’re alone. That’s just how it is
even Moscow ‘s boring if you go there too often. Maybe I’ll go once more for the love parade. We’ll see.

(soft music begins to play)

Y (holds up the time-out card, X&Z put their plastic bags on their heads, as if on cue, and freeze)
Time-out! My impotence is etched into every sentence, every movement and even other people’s sentences and movements, do you understand? I hardly dare say it out loud, but my own impotence paralyses me nearly to death. This inaction. I often have to think about a theme that’s common in music videos
you see somebody suddenly stop in the middle of the stream of traffic in a city, while everything around him becomes more and more hectic and rushed and eventually turns into a great even flow. And all alone in the middle, part of the surroundings, but still alone, stands this person, and when I see this I always wonder
is he waiting for something, standing there? For what? He looks so sure of himself, confident, so superior, rebellious, like a savage.
(Recites pensively) But he, the rebellious one, seeks out the storm, As if in the heart of storms there might be peace…

I sometimes feel like that. Then I feel I’m like the hero in this video. And when I’m walking through the crowds, I often think
…now I don’t remember anything. Nothing. It may be that I do not exist as a man, that I just give the appearance of having arms and legs and a head; it may be that I do not exist at all, but it only appears to me that I walk, eat and sleep. I’m twenty-five. And the other day as I was walking through town I even thought that I might as well be invisible. Nobody took any notice of me. The next day I happened to walk past the wall of a house where someone had spray-painted in red letters
“If I had the ego of a Nazi, I’d be invisible.” I was quite taken aback. life [...] has smothered us, like choking weeds. As you were!
(X&Z remove their plastic bags and move normally again)

Z
What did you say?

Y
I said life [...] has smothered us, like choking weeds.

X
Thank God we’re good-looking. Thank God we’re intelligent. Thank God we can talk about Bachmann, Brecht, Schlingensief and Lars von Trier. When we walk into a trendy club, we know at least one DJ, a film-maker, a painter and an author. And the owner of the joint, thank God. Thank God we’re intelligent and good-looking.

Z
Do you know what I wonder? Even when I was in Moscow, I was longing for something else, something… I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s the longing for a kind of not-being, like as a child when in a way you weren’t and so you were, even more. It’s difficult to say. But is it really just wishing to be a child again? Is it that easy? Do we work so simply? Is it just wanting to get back all the things we lost at one time or another? And if so, then I ask myself
Where has it all gone? Where is it? Oh my God, my God! I have forgotten everything, forgotten everything… I am forgetting everything, I forget more every day, and life flies past and never returns, never, my brain is drying up, I’m growing ugly and old, and nothing I do, nothing at all gives me any joy, and time goes flying by and all the time it seems as if you are abandoning real life, life that is beautiful, you are going farther and farther away from it, over some sort of precipice.

X
Only childhood is a precipice. You shouldn’t look over it for too long.

Y
You know, I often think, what if one were to start one’s life again, with full consciousness? You probably shouldn’t repeat anything. You should start everything from scratch. You should…

(again the soft music)

X (holds up the time-out card, Y&Z put their plastic bags on their heads and freeze)
Time-out! I’m fed up. I’m sick of it. I play with the idea. But the idea also plays with me. I’m twenty-three. I’m waiting. I’m waiting. But waiting dispossesses. Each second nags
Now!, but follows close on the heels of the next. The predictability of this relay race… I’m alone here, living in boredom with nothing to do, and the room I am in is hateful… Of course I’m clever, cleverer than so many others, but that doesn’t make for happiness… Gentlemen, how dull it is to live on this planet.
Like anybody else, I enjoy going to the cinema or reading a good book or going on an outing when the sun’s shining, or going out when I feel like it. Like anybody else, I enjoy listening to music or getting stoned with friends and watching videos or going out for a few beers in the evening. Like anybody else, I have good days and bad days, or I want to be alone, or need company, have diarrhoea, or long for love. I’m fed up. I’ve had enough. But you can’t say that out loud any more nowadays, or you get good advice
go bungee-jumping or something. Infinitely depressing. Sometimes I feel so happy, sometimes I feel so sad. Don’t move. You are under arrest. You are beautiful. You are the winner. So, don’t move. Customers who are interested in this product have also bought those products. Dot. Dot. Dot. Delete all? Yes! Gentlemen, how dull it is to live on this planet. As you were!

(Y&Z start to move again and, gasping for air, remove the plastic bags from their heads)

Y
What did you say?

X
I said
Gentlemen, how dull it is to live on this planet.

Y
And we still have so much time. What should we do?

Z
Anyway, what’s happening today?

X
Nothing. We’re staying here. Today’s …(the actual day of the week). The only thing you could really do is go to the theatre.

Z
Let’s just chill out.

X
Ok. (turns to the audience) We’ll be back shortly. Coming up
topics including trauma, travel, terrorism – Or

Y
What

Z
Can, should, may

Y
I

Z Know, do, hope

(you hear the jingle indicating the start of commercials)

Y
The good thing about being rich
you can do whatever you want. We’re in favour of that. The Generali Group. With our finance coaching.

Z We were young. We partied and we all dreamt a common dream
“Summer of Love”. That summer, we believed we could change the world. And where would we have been without the music. Our heroes were
The Byrds, The Mamas & Papas, Barry McGuire. And they are now available on four CDs at “Shop direct” for only € 49 plus postage.

X
If you had your life all over again, would you do everything exactly the same?
No. I would buy my glasses at Specsaver’s from the start.

Y
Parliament has decided
there is a solid basis for secure pensions. Initially it was claimed that women would be the big losers. Now that the pension reform has been voted in, it’s clear that this is not so. The childcare years are counted separately, and that’s fair. We’re thinking about tomorrow.

(You hear the jingle indicating the end of the commercials)

Z Now we’re back.

X
What d’you fancy doing?

Z Let’s play a game.

Y
Trivialise Pursuits…

X
No, let’s play “What do you know?”

Y
Ok. So
do you know what period you’d like to have lived in?

Z Rather than living today … I’d like to … I don’t know. Shanghai in 1914? Berlin in the Weimar Republic? Vienna at the turn of the century? San Francisco in 1967? Paris in Henry Miller’s time? And you?

X
What a question! In the sixties, naturally. And you?

Y
I think I’d like to live in the future. Live the last years of humankind.

Z The future doesn’t count.

Y
Why not?

Z Because we don’t know what it’s going to be like.

Y
Let’s dream … of life as it will be after two or three hundred years, perhaps after a thousand…

X
Very well. When we are no more, people will fly around in balloons, they’ll change the style of jackets, perhaps they’ll discover a sixth sense and develop it, but life will remain more or less the same, a difficult life, full of mysteries, and sometimes it will be a happy life. And after a thousand years men will still sigh and say ‘Ah, what a wearisome life,’ – and at the same time, just as now, they will fear death and not wish to accept it.

Z You think? It seems to me that everything on this earth must gradually change, and it is changing already in front of our eyes.

X
But everything will stay as it is.

Z No. I myself am changing. I can change. I have the ability to change, to become someone completely different, to be someone that I’m not yet.

Y
That’s what you dream of.

Z Yes, that’s what I dream of.

Y
And in your dreams who or what would you like to be?

Z I would quite like to be, for example, an ingenious inventor. I would construct a machine which would let you travel from one place to another at great speed. I’d like to be the inventor of beaming. Or maybe even a magician.

Y
What kind of magic would you do?

Z Well, for example, I’d stop time, or wind it back when I’ve made a mistake. Or when I’ve just experienced something really good, I would relive it. What would you like to be?

Y
I’d like to be black. That way I could do the moves and cool dances, and I’d look great in any outfit. But not a black in the third world, of course.

X
I’d like to be a hip-hopper, a white guy who has to survive in his black surroundings, first of all with blood, sweat and tears, but then he becomes a world-famous star. Hi, my name is…

Z I’d like to be a drug baron, but a likeable one. One of the ones who’s done it all, but who sides with the good, a personality like James Bond. A Mr. Nice.

Y
I’d like to be Christiane F. Or Anne Frank. Or Sophie Scholl.

Z Or Mother Theresa.

Y
Doesn’t count.

Z Why not?

Y
Too irrational.

X
I’d maybe like to be a top journalist. An ace reporter. A whistle-blower. An exposer. I would uncover the greatest scandal of the early 21st century. Steven Spielberg would make a film about my life, if he hasn’t died before me.

Y
I’d like to be one of the Beatles. We’d be sitting in the limo taking us from the airport to the ritzy hotel, and outside fans would be pressing their faces against the darkened windows and jumping on to the roof of the car, and we’d be a bit scared, but it would also be really exciting, and we’d have the time of our lives. By the waY
which of the Beatles is going to die next?

X
Paul McCartney. Go on.

Z I’d like to be a supermodel. Only that. Then I’d have made it. Karl Lagerfeld would just discover me on the street and hire me on the spot. I wouldn’t let myself be affected by the de-personalisation or the drugs in the fashion industry. I would always stay myself. At forty I’d create my own perfume brand and name my daughter after an Indian deity.

X
I’d like to be a Nobel laureate for genetic research.

Y
Nobel Peace laureate.

Z Nobel Literature laureate.

X
Film star.

Y
Pop star.

Z Con man.

X
Smuggler.

Y
White-slaver

Z Discoverer of unknown Amazon tribes.

X
This is getting boring.

Y (quoting ironically)
Ah well, life is sweet, so I suppose we might as well make another effort.

X
Oh what a cursed, wretched, unbearable life…

Y
What do you want to do about it? What do you want to happen to you?

X (dreamily)
I’d like to be kidnapped by guerrillas in the jungle. I’d live in bamboo huts for a year, sleep on the ground and be forced to do hard labour. I would then be able to escape, even though those people were basically quite nice to me, and find my way home, getting into all sorts of adventures. At first nobody recognises me, because they’ve all given up on me and declared me dead. But then the reunion is incredible, as you can imagine. And the best thing is
because of the year’s hard labour I’ve got huge muscles, and it only takes a scornful look to shut up those fitness freaks.

Y
And then?

X
Then I’d talk about it for the rest of my life.

Z I’d like to be a partisan. This is how
some appalling military dictator takes power here. All dissenters are locked up in concentration camps. Me and a few like-minded people go underground and form a resistance group. We distribute flyers against the regime. We write slogans on the walls of the parliament at night, help victims of persecution to escape across the border. But one day we’re betrayed. Only by chance do I escape the death squad that cruelly murders my friends. My husband and kids are also killed. I flee to the country dressed as a peasant woman and join a different resistance group. There are violent clashes. When the military junta is eventually overthrown, we parade through the magnificent boulevards of the capital waving our flags and singing our songs. The liberated people cheer us and we’re shown on the front pages of all the important magazines in the world. Bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao …

Y
And then?

Z Then I’d talk about it for the rest of my life. But only when asked.

X
And you? What about you?

Y
I want to be a terrorist like Ulrike Meinhof, a member of a small but feared brigade, an urban jungle fighter. Me and my friends have sworn to fight to the death. We have false names, false passports and constantly change our location. We’re armed. We plan and carry out attacks on US embassies and neo-liberal politicians. We have lots of supporters among the people. Rock musicians write songs about us. Our logo, a snake coiled around a Kalashnikov, appears increasingly on walls and T-shirts. The police wanted list with our faces is a popular decoration in flat-shares. We fight for the people and against globalisation. Teleological materialism – that’s our slogan. But one day we’re betrayed, caught by the pigs and locked up in the maximum security wing of a prison. Later they’ll tell you that we committed suicide, but don’t believe a word they say. Lotta continua!

X
And then?

Y
Nothing then. That should be enough.

(…)

Translated by Fiona Schamberger






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