THE BODY OF A WOMAN AS A BATTLEFIELD IN THE BOSNIAN WAR

by

Matei Visniec

Translated from the French by Alison Sinclair

Characters

KATE DORRA

1

Copyright © 1987 by Matei Visniec All performance rights, including professional, amateur, stock, motion picture, radio, television, recitation, public reading, etc. are strictly reserved. All inquiries should be addressed to the author's agent: SACD (Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques) 11 bis, rue Ballu, 75009 Paris, France Tel. 33 - (0)1 40 23 44 44 Fax. 33 - (0)1 40 23 45 58 E-mail: dsv@sacd.fr First performed at the Studio des Champs Elysées, Paris, November 1997 directed by Michel Fagadau Original title in French: DU SEXE DE LA FEMME COMME CHAMP DE BATAILLE DANS LA GUERRE EN BOSNIE (published by ACTES SUD PAPIERS, Paris, France 1997)

2

SCENE 1 KATE reads extracts from her diary. KATE: Slavonski Brod Hospital, Croatia, May 1994. (A beat.) In inter-ethnic wars, the body of a woman becomes a battlefield. Witness Europe at the end of the twentieth century. The penis of the modern fighter is soaked in the screams of raped women, just as the knight’s blade was once soaked in the blood of his enemy. (A beat.) An attempt to apply psychoanalytical concepts to the autopsy of horror. This inter-ethnic violence could perhaps be better understood by the use of Freudian terms. Certain Freudian notions that belong to the world of primal urges, can shed more light on this world of nationalist violence than a more conventional terminology. See if the following concepts can better explain the sources of ethnic violence in Bosnia: Nationalistic libido. Libidinous nationalism. Infantile ethnic sadism. The fantasy world of a national minority. Nationalist neurosis. Narcissistic neurosis of the ethnic majority. Obsessive neurosis of the ethnic minority. The nationalistic imperative: the urge to dominate, the urge to threaten, the urge to destroy.

SCENE 2 KATE enters DORRA’s room. DORRA sits motionless on a chair. She stares vacantly. KATE: Hello. DORRA: …
3

KATE: It’s me, Kate. DORRA: … KATE: It’s a beautiful day. DORRA: … KATE: Some people are walking in the garden. DORRA: … KATE: If you’d like to go into the garden, I’ll come with you. DORRA: … KATE: I’m not asking you to talk to me. DORRA: … KATE: But, if you’d like to go into the garden, I’ll come with you. DORRA: … KATE: Or you could go by yourself if you’d prefer. DORRA: … KATE: Do whatever you like. DORRA: … KATE: I’m going to open a window. DORRA: … KATE: Can you feel the Spring? SCENE 3 KATE reads from extracts from her diary. KATE: Doboj Camp, Bosnia, June 1994. (A beat.)

Are those ethnic groups who have never had their own nation state most vulnerable to such atrocity? Are they more at risk than others of becoming caught up in the primitive sadism? Amazing parallels exist between nationalistic sadism, and Freud’s description of infantile sadism. (A beat.) Do members of ethnic groups who have never had their own nation state react in a similar way to those people who have never sublimated their sexual urges? First thought: the manifestations of nationalistic frustration have much in common with the manifestations of sexual frustration. Following this logic, the nationalist explosion could be analysed from a Freudian perspective, as an urge born frustration. (A beat.) See if the following concepts can explain something: Growing anxiety in the ethnic group. Nationalist explosion. Nationalist depression. Depressive nationalism.
4

The ethnic neurosis of abandonment. DORRA: … KATE: It's a pretty name. Dorra. Dorra. DORRA: … KATE: Because I know you can hear me.The neurotic phobia of ethnic groups who share the same territory. DORRA: … KATE: I’m Kate. KATE: I know you can hear me. DORRA: … KATE: I’m not asking you to answer me. DORRA: … KATE: Hello. DORRA: … KATE: You’re Dorra. 5 . DORRA: … KATE: I’m Kate. Dorra. I'm no totally vegetarian. The neurosis of destiny and the neurosis of failure. DORRA: … KATE: I’m not asking anything. DORRA: … KATE: I feel you can hear me. SCENE 4 KATE enters Dorra's room. DORRA: … KATE: What would you like for lunch? DORRA: … KATE: Would you like me to read the menu? DORRA: … KATE: There’s soup… zucchini soup… cream of vegetable soup… cabbage lasagne… I like soup. Dorra? DORRA: … KATE: Goodbye. Hello Dorra. DORRA: … KATE: That’s why I’m talking to you. You can tick off the dish you’d like… And the dessert… Is that okay. but I do like vegetable soups… I’ll leave the menu for you here on the table.

Fascinated by western wealth. can have a proper conversation in Russian. 6 . Literate. humiliated his country. the West is a whore. He doesn’t have a clearly defined battlefield. (A beat. often to the level of high school certificate. knows a few words of Italian and French. And the West is always to blame: the West has forgotten him. he hasn’t been given a country. Bosnia. the West hasn’t kept its promises. who have never had a country. Identifying with the aggressor. He fights in the name of his people. he doesn’t really know who his enemy is.) And what if nationalism is nothing but a suicidal impulse? Are there nationalities more disposed to melancholia? Nationalistic hysteria. Frustration inherited from his ancestors. He speaks a little English.SCENE 5 KATE reads extracts from her diary. Nations on the brink of disintegration. KATE: Modrica. he can be melancholic. The sexual impulse and nationalistic libido can be useful concepts when we try to understand the incidents of rape that take place in ethnic wars. but also full of nostalgia for the communist past because it was “stable”. can get by in German. the West has betrayed him. He’s anti-communist. The distortion of a dream. even college. Mass hysteria. A portrait of today’s Balkan “soldier”. He can be obnoxious. He feels depressed when he has to admit to himself that he has no country. (A beat. His dream: to move to Germany or the States. The break-up of self. Let’s see if these concepts can explain something: Seeking refuge in horror.) The frustrations of history. amputated his country. But. people have stolen his country from him. educated. The fantasy world of the “soldier”. Defensive ethnic hysteria. they’ve occupied his country. August 1994. Drinks a lot: anything he can get his hands on.

this is called traumatische Neurose. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you… She is silent for a moment. in French. The subject doesn’t respond to any external stimuli. I hate you. I hate you. under the blanket. I hate you. I hate you. pours herself a glass of water and drinks it. I hate you. Then she sits up. I hate you. She speaks in a quiet voice. in Italian. KATE: Observation number 1. I hate you. traumatic paralysis. gets out of bed. DORRA: I hate you. I hate you. curled up in her bed. DORRA: I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. as if praying. The state of the subject: mental confusion. The root cause of this trauma is the rape to which she was subjected about two weeks ago. She goes back to bed and covers herself with the blanket. so.The “soldier” finally finds his ideal conditions in frustration and. turns on the tap. Her determined refusal to answer my questions makes me think that she understands everything I say. nevrose traumatique. SCENE 8 DORRA kneels. It would appear that there was no neurological harm done. I hate you. in war. I hate you. DORRA is alone. The subject is suffering from traumatic neurosis. I hate you. I hate you. In German. 7 . nevrosa traumatica. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you… SCENE 7 KATE enters DORRA’s room. I hate you. This is exactly Freud’s analysis in the case of frustrated subjects who become ill just at that precise moment when they achieve the object of their desire. I hate you. goes to the bathroom. crosses the room. permanent exhaustion. SCENE 6 Night. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.

No. you can’t deliver us from evil. I don’t believe that we can speak about everything. truth has been buried along with heaven. It just can’t. For her. Lord. This behaviour is simply a defence mechanism. a house of the dead. which is dead like you. No. in French. No. Lord. SCENE 10 8 . you can’t forgive us our trespasses because we don’t ask to be forgiven. No. of the believer over the non-believer. Every attempt to communicate with her is perceived by the subject as an act of aggression. we can’t accept your will be done. of beauty over ugliness… No. of the weak over the strong. I don’t believe that time can heal everything.DORRA: I hate you… I hate you… I hate you… No. modificazione dell’io. the rape continues. there is no victory of good over evil. of the poor over the rich. because truth has been murdered. Lord. No. No. because your house. you are not the truth. I cannot describe my suffering. No. The subject seeks refuge in silence and offers positive resistance to every attempt at communication from the outside world. Lord. yes. this is called Ichveränderung. I don’t believe that there is any sense in what I am saying. because we can’t forgive you. I don’t believe that we can understand everything. the evil does will never be punished and what’s more they will go on to inherit the earth. The subject is suffering an alteration of the ego. SCENE 9 KATE stands by DORRA’s bed. you can’t give us our daily bread. Lord. altération du moi. I don’t believe that there is sense in everything we hear. Lord. nothing more. KATE: Observation number 2. don’t tell me that time heals everything. No. in Italian. In German. of life over death. Time can only do what time can do. because your will brings only blood and fire and madness. Lord. is now a house of the dead. Time can’t heal wounds that are unhealable. Lord. Lord.

fills a glass of water. his enemy having once been his “brother”. The body of a woman who is his ethnic enemy becomes a battlefield in its own right. And. he knows that the women surrounding him are at one and the same time his enemy’s source of greatest strength. mother and sister.DORRA. Throughout the following monologue DORRA continues to look at herself in the mirror and to sing. the body of the wife of his old schoolmate. he knows all the members of his enemy’s family. A woman’s body symbolises resistance. and he thrusts himself into it regarding rape as a weapon of war. The words are just about audible. KATE enters. In short. the “soldier” goes in pursuit of his enemy’s wife. rape has the taste of total victory. he knows his enemy’s habits. out of which has grown this national frustration. For him. alone. or whose paths they have crossed frequently within a radius of 60 kilometres or less. and also of greatest weakness. this is the real powder-keg in the Balkans. He merely has to expose himself to the screams of a woman. She washes her face. turns on the tap. daughter. daughter. and nothing can destabilise the enemy more than the rape of his women. he knows what these sources are. Having secured shelter for his own wife. In today’s ethnic conflicts. rape is a kind of blitzkrieg. He doesn’t have to expose himself to the dangers of bullets. because today’s “soldier” prefers to destroy the sources of his enemy’s strength rather than have a face to face confrontation with that enemy. Around 9 . KATE: (To the audience) Communism: the force that obliged everyone to be “brothers” is a time-bomb. shells or tanks. She sings to herself. and the modern Balkan “soldier” rapes the wife of his ethnic enemy in order to smash that resistance and to strike a coup de grâce at this enemy. It’s the Freudian revenge of peoples who have never had a country to call their own. She gets up. More than half of the women raped in ethnic wars are victims of aggressors whom they know personally. night. mother and sister. and these only inspire him to serve his country to his last breath. And what precisely is this new battlefield for this new “soldier”? It is the body of the wife of his ex-neighbour. Nowhere does this ethnic hate manifest itself more strongly than in the new “battlefield”. Because once he was the neighbour of his enemy. She looks at herself in the mirror. the body of the wife of his best friend whom for nearly half a century he has called “brother”. goes to the bathroom.

10 . DORRA: … KATE: Or. or names. I’m not here to force you to get better. just ring. In today’s ethnic wars. Dorra. For them. were raped by men of the same ethnic group as themselves. of their violators. Dorra. Kate. you know you’d be very welcome. or out of sexual frustration. SCENE 11 KATE enters DORRA’s room. DORRA: … KATE: They’ve lit a big fire in the drawing room. his places of worship. DORRA: … KATE: You have a little bell here. his cultural heritage and his values. just say. So. DORRA: … KATE: Do you like an open fire? DORRA: … KATE: I think it’s really beautiful. married to men from a different ethnic group. DORRA: … KATE: Would you like to go down? DORRA: … KATE: If you’d like to go down. I’m not here as a doctor. rape fulfils the same purpose as the destruction of the enemy’s houses.half the women whom we were able to question state that the men who raped them came from the same village. or from a neighbouring village. DORRA: … KATE: Do come down if you’d like. KATE Hello. Dorra. if you’d rather I stay with you here. as punishment for entering into a mixed marriage. DORRA: … KATE: We’re all down there. If you’d like me to come up and sit with you. DORRA: … KATE: It’s me. Almost a quarter of the women we questioned are able to give the name. OK? DORRA: … KATE: I’m not a doctor. rape is a form of military strategy aimed at demoralising the enemy. It seems that many women. DORRA sits motionless on her chair. these “soldiers” don’t rape for animal pleasure.

let’s go and have a drink. He pisses tears of anxiety. having spent time drinking with his friends. In the evenings. then you can go home. just a bit. She doesn’t understand that her man has been struck by a melancholia passed down to him by his ancestors. then it’s OK. DORRA: … KATE: Bye-bye then. All he can do is piss and cry. she doesn’t understand anything at all. it’s like this: an emotional time-bomb. She doesn’t understand why he suddenly starts to question the meaning of life. And he’s going to vomit. The only thing she knows is how to nag her husband from the moment he comes in. SCENE 12 DORRA: (To the audience)The Balkans. having knocked back several dozen bottles of beer with his friends. a meaningless shit-hole. Because.you can’t bear not to see each other for three whole weeks. and spend a few minutes with the kids. Or two. that’s a long time. He begins to get obsessed and tortured by great metaphysical questions. Any excuse to booze till five in the morning. In the evenings. No. You don’t understand the first thing about history. That’s really the best moment for his wife to have a go at him. we really know how to drink. Balkan man suddenly becomes sad. Because . Balkan man starts to despair at the sheer inadequacy of language. he has a hangover. so let’s go and have a drink. 11 . every single day. Or with your wife. tears of sorrow. my dear.DORRA: … KATE: I’m here because I need you. And you drink till midnight. she doesn’t dare say too much. Haven’t seen you for a week. oh. dear. To make the separation of friends bearable. Hey. tears for the helplessness of humankind in the face of the mystery of the universe. Dorra. And that’s why the husband comes home late and goes out early. from about 6 o’clock till about 10 o’clock. His soul feels pain. that’s unbearable. And you drink till the small hours. in the evenings. that’s a long time.in the Balkans. Where do we come from? Where are we going? The world is a shit-hole. In the evening. Your wife who is nothing but a childbearing machine. a sense of honour is very strong in Balkan man. you have to drink. we haven’t seen each other for three weeks. the thing to do is to go drinking every day after work. he’ll just get angry and knock back another bottle. Or three. In the mornings. In the Balkans. So. In the evenings. if his wife oversteps the mark with her nagging. if you’re mates .

a swindler. And even then. we’re a nation of gypsies. you have to make absolutely sure that the labels haven’t been faked. in fact he doesn’t answer. all you want to do is take my pay packet every week and shut me up in this house… (Change of tone. a swindler.) Yes. it has to be foreign. We’ve never had a proper country.) At 3 in the morning. we don’t… (“Balkan man” vomits. because his mother has been dead for two years. me and the children. his mother. you’re unrecognisable. That’s why this country will never get out of the hole it’s in. look at your trousers all torn. why. you no longer even recognise yourself… Look at the state you’re in. He’s in 12 . But his wife can get at him later.) And in the world of business. (DORRA becomes “Balkan man”. you don’t care. communism has changed us down to the very marrow. who always loved him. the only person in the whole world who always understood him. they’ve faked our future. because his mother has been dead for ten years. at 3 in the morning. If you want a decent beer. we’ve never been independent. DORRA becomes herself again. because his mother has grown old. reminds him of his mother… Oh. so warm and sweet and welcoming. we’re the scum of Europe. we don’t even know where we really come from. he lays his head on his wife’s breast. That’s when she can get at him. one you have to deal with gently. we’ve missed the boat. you don’t understand at all. when he’s getting ready for work. we’ll never free ourselves of communism. Balkan man is a fragile creature. why are you doing this to me. we don’t stand a chance. Because everything is fake nowadays. look at the state you came home in. Look at you.) Do you? Shit. because his mother left him when he was only five… Do you realise what kind of a childhood I had? Deprived of a mother’s love from the age of five? (DORRA once again becomes “Balkan man”. who always had faith in him… In the arms of his wife (though he thinks she’s a bitch) he hopes to find the security he felt nestled in the arms of his mother.though not just yet. why are you doing this to me? Because of his hangover he finds it hard to answer. And his soul is bleeding. you don’t care do you. cosmic tears… He lays his head on his wife’s breast because this breast. They’ve faked our history. not till around 3 in the morning. look at your shirt. he needs her to caress him while he sheds his bitter. because his mother is far away. Because everybody’s a crook. when the pain in his head becomes unbearable because those bastards have made the beer with rotten malt. He needs her warmth. everybody’s a crook. we’ve never been free. transcendental. otherwise his soul will be in danger of breaking into a thousand pieces. because he hasn’t seen his mother since his sister’s wedding.) Aaaargh… (Pause. as he shaves lethargically in front of the mirror in which he doesn’t even recognise himself. look at the stains.

Dorra. as if in a bubble separating him from the outside world. but I’m not making a report for the Boston Psychiatric Clinic. I don’t want you to tell me anything at all. I don’t want to know. Yes you are. You come from Boston. KATE DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: Do you want me to tell you how I was raped? No. hardly even looking at his children. Dorra. All day this clean shirt will be his wife’s silent reproach. I don’t want to know. And you’re called Kate. SCENE 13 DORRA. Yes you do. And you’re American. Dorra. Yes. Soon you’ll be going back to Boston. I’m not making a report. it’s for your report. Dorra. Yes. No. you’re making a report for the Boston Psychiatric Clinic. without looking at his wife. and I am called Kate. Dorra. impossible to forget. No. all clean and freshly ironed. There were five of them. Yes you do. you want me to tell you how they raped me.a stupor. but I won’t be going back there for a while. but he doesn’t eat anything because when you’ve got a hangover like that you can’t face eating… And then he goes off to work without saying a word. not least his own. You come from Boston. There were five of them. a reproach that she has stuck to his skin. Dorra. Dorra. extremely uncomfortable in the shirt his wife has made him put on. very black and very strong. Yes you do. I’m not making a report for the Boston Psychiatric Clinic. 13 . But you do work for the clinic. I don’t. a sort of cage which will remind him with every move he makes that he is a prisoner for life and that he has all those mouths to feed. Then he drinks a coffee. heavy to bear. No. I am American. I do live in Boston. you want me to tell you in detail how they raped me.

But I don’t know if they were Muslims. You can call me whenever you want. Go back to where you belong. or Croats or Serbs. DORRA: … KATE: May I put them on the table? DORRA: … KATE: I’d really like us to talk. or Croats or Serbs. SCENE 14 KATE: Observation number 3. Dorra.DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: There were five of them. Dorra. The subject suddenly comes out of her state of torpor. DORRA: … KATE: I’d like us to be friends. Dorra. KATE: Hello. Kate. I have to go now. DORRA: … KATE: Tomorrow is the longest day of the year. SCENE 15 DORRA. Dorra. in Bosnia. You see. Dorra. Dorra. DORRA: … KATE: I’d like to talk to you. and the shortest night… DORRA: … KATE: It’s the summer solstice… DORRA: … KATE: There’s going to be a party… DORRA: … 14 . Good-bye. KATE. That doesn’t mean she’s getting better. DORRA: … KATE: I’ve brought you some tulips. You have to put in your report that I don’t know whether they were Muslims. everyone speaks SerboCroat. (In tears) Go back home. It is absolutely imperative that somebody is with her every single minute in order to absorb her negative energy. DORRA: … KATE: I hope you like tulips. She’s just trying to come to terms with the world by means of aggression.

Mommy. what does the word ‘Kate’ mean? It doesn’t mean anything. (She describes the horizontal plane with her hand. we could go for a walk by the lake. When I told Betty my nanny that Europe was full of black stones. You’ve got a very smart daughter here.999 stones. It’s called Lake Constance. And I started to cry. That’s Europe. not as black as Betty. So. But aren’t there stones that are good for something? No. sure it does mean something. You should have called her Europe. why did you leave Ireland? Because there were too many stones on my land. what’s an old stone like? Much bigger.KATE: Everyone’s going down to the lake… DORRA: … KATE: If you like. and almost black… Black like Betty? No. How many were there? One day I started to count them. And so we went to America. what does that mean? It means McNoil. she started to laugh. Go and ask him and let me be! Grandpa. Every day. they’re all good for nothing. And why did the McNoils leave Ireland? What!? Well. Mrs McNoil. I know you left Ireland. what is Europe? It’s just a pile of old stones. it means Kate. but not as black as she was. And I counted them for 10 years.000 every year. is that an old stone? No. And McNoil. that’s a lump of cement. 15 . DORRA: … KATE: It’s a very beautiful lake. SCENE 16 KATE: (Looking at her collection of rare stones) Daddy. Dorra.999. enough. Daddy. I picked up about 100 stones… That’s about 36. Grandpa. a country made of stones scattered like this. DORRA: … KATE: Good-bye then. After 10 years. Too many stones. But I wasn’t called Europe.) Just stones. I was called Kate. what is Ireland? It’s a stone country. Too many stones. And that’s when I said stop. How could my name mean nothing? Well. Nothing? Nothing. there are just too many stones. or old stones? Stones that are good for nothing. I’d picked up 99. but why? Why did you? Grandpa told me that all the McNoils left Ireland.

No. You lied to me.Too many stones. that’s Europe: one day. You don’t. But at the foot of this mountain there was something else: a little garden with two or three little. withered trees… and that’s where I used to imagine my grandfather. Yes I do. I’m not. it was corpses. I do. Dorra. (KATE does her daily jog. a sort of iceberg made of stones gradually sinking on the other side of the ocean. though. I was suddenly struck with this image of my grandfather digging up stones. she will sink under the weight of all those stones. scratching out 100 stones a day from his little piece of land. What’s Boston like? It’s beautiful. I think it’s this image that made me go to Bosnia. running on the spot) Actually. Do you have children? Two girls. This was the first image I conjured up of Europe: a huge mountain of stones. What are you trying to understand? I don’t know. What do you want to know? I don’t know. When I was told that I’d be helping specialist teams responsible for locating mass graves and exhuming their contents. For me. All I know is that I had a breakdown. Do you have any photos? 16 . You don’t need me. Dorra. You’re mad. SCENE 17 DORRA and KATE KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: Hello. I never lied to you. she has already begun to sink. I do need you. Every one of us McNoils is a born digger. armed with a pickaxe. on his knees. Dorra. it wasn’t stones. And I haven’t seen them for six months.

Dorra. Death is stronger. Kate? Do you believe in God. Yes you are. You have to. I hate him so much that I cannot let myself die. your clever therapy. I swear to you. Kate? No… Yes… Because I discovered that God does exist. Yes. You have to go on living. Before. Yes. I hate him.KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: Of my daughters? No. Why should I care what you think. even though I don’t really believe in him. And since then. no. And that’s what keeps me hanging on. You’re all the same. Kate. blah. Dorra. You make it seem as if you’re not interrogating me. I said to myself. I don’t think I want to. Do you understand. so much evil. But I’m not interrogating you. I can’t die because hate is keeping me alive. I won’t. You and your clever techniques. I hate being interrogated. And I hate him. blah. DORRA: You couldn’t force me to live if I didn’t want to. blah. Dorra. Don’t try and sell me all those old clichés about a better life. No. 17 . that only makes any sense if God exists and this is what he wants for us: to feed us on a diet of atrocities. I’ll bring them to show you tomorrow. DORRA begins to methodically pull the petals off the tulips that KATE brought on her last visit. Do you know why I’m still alive. you Americans: obsessed with psychotherapy. that I’m not here as a doctor. Kate. Kate. I’m not sure. of Boston. But I’m not interrogating you. But after. You’re all so obsessed with psychotherapy. Life isn’t the strongest force. I’m not sure. Kate? I don’t know. but what you’re actually doing is torturing me with all your clever techniques. And I hate being interrogated. I didn’t believe he existed. I’m not sure. they just make me laugh. And it’s brute force that’s stronger than anything. Quite simply. Kate. Dorra.

I haven’t yet decided when I’m going to. one day before… SCENE 18 KATE: Observation number 5. Yes. You’re so naïve. because you’re so nice. Dorra? … Do you know there’s a t. you’ll understand why I can’t go on living like this. I really think I like you. Would you like to see them? DORRA: … KATE: (Putting the album on the table) I’ll leave them there. Kate.KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: I know. KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: Hello. The subject’s mood swings from outward aggression to periods of complete self-absorption. because I like you so much. DORRA: … KATE: Would you like me to show them to you now? DORRA: … 18 . I’m going to do something for you. And. and only you. downstairs? You can watch it if you want. Dorra. Because you’re an intelligent woman. I’m going to tell you.v. Kate. But. one can only assess her ability to recall by patiently employing various psychological techniques. Kate. When? I’ll tell you soon. that I’m actually starting to like you. These apparent whims are actually a good sign. …. You can look at them when you feel like it. SCENE 19 KATE and DORR. What? You know. a sign that she is in fact capable of entering into some kind of new relationship with the outside world. It’s too early to submit her to questions about the circumstances that provoked her trauma. At this stage. when I’m going to die. DORRA: … KATE: I’ve brought some photos of Boston. … How are you. I know exactly how I’m going to die.A. Kate. And.

I’ll show you. You can see Switzerland and Germany from it. On the left. “USA. Kate… Yes. Is that in Switzerland? No. KATE: Can you see those houses there. that’s Switzerland. a hospital? It’s a sort of convalescent home. For the insane? No. It’s funny. DORRA: Where? KATE: Come here. that’s Germany. Dorra… How did I get here? You were transferred here because you were very ill. for the sick. … 19 . America has sent a chair for me. it’s in Germany. I always wanted to see Switzerland… And Germany… And now you can. Kate… Yes… That lake. DORRA: And what’s on the other side of the lake? KATE: Still Switzerland.” There’s also an inventory number: 6632D. A moment’s silence. So. You can actually see Switzerland from the window. number 6632D? It’s because this used to be an American army medical centre. KATE leads DORRA to the window.KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: I’ll show them to you whenever you want. What is this place. I want to leave here now. DORRA: Are you sure? KATE: Yes. And here. is it really Lake Constance? Yes. And why are the letters “USA” stamped on everything? Where’ve you seen that? (Turns the chair round) Here. Yes. But the Swiss border is only a few hundred yards away. On the right. not for the insane. at the foot of the hill? That’s Switzerland. I like this window. DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: Kate… Yes. we’re in Germany.

she really enters into the skin of “the Balkan man” who churns out. The atmosphere is relaxed. Kate? … Kate? … Kate! Yes… (Hysterical) I want to leave here now. wherever he can get pissed. I want to leave here now. Bucharest. They go back a long way. they have something about them that’s deep and mysterious. and a bottle of rosé. but at the same time light-hearted and joyful. brimming with love for his nearest and dearest. I’ve really got absolutely nothing against them. sheep. children. No. Balkan man all of a sudden becomes an internationalist. DORRA: (As “Balkan man”) I do like gypsies. those same over-used insults and those same spiteful comments directed at his “Balkan brothers” of another nationality. number 32507F. I don’t want chair number 6632D from the Americans. Gypsy music. DORRA: (Eating) As soon as he’s had a drink. Each time. In the seediest bar. Athens. Where to. whether it’s in Zagreb. a sense of history is awakened in Balkan man. they’ve both got a bit tipsy and there’s a real complicity between them. year in year out. but her memories and her life experience. gypsy. give me a song. I don’t want this blanket. chickens. let’s face it. And he starts to judge the whole world using the philosophy of “but”. Come on. (Tearful) I want to go away. it isn’t really DORRA who speaks.DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: Did you hear what I said. they’re even stealing our own sacred folklore. our own most beautiful 20 . But is the mirror of Balkan man’s thinking. In the following monologues. Ljubliana or Skopje. it’s the word that makes ordinary conversation take a sudden turn into subtle diatribe. it’s the key to his soul. But. gypsies are really great. Dorra? SCENE 20 DORRA and KATE are eating together. Or perhaps it’s DORRA who starts to sing a snatch of a gypsy tune. you can’t take your eyes off them for a minute. and now. those same old clichés. don’t get me wrong. There are flowers on the table. Sofia. to top it all. Tirana. they’re all thieves. this minute. they steal horses.

so he’s not really Albanian at all. They’ve bulgarised the names of all the Turks who live in their country. it’s Albanian music. let’s face it.songs that they bring out on western CDs. who are Catholics. my university colleague actually came from Kosovo. I really like the Bulgarians… But. I really like the Albanians. they say that Macedonians are really Bulgarians. And their rose petal jam. they’re a disappointed and frustrated race. Luckily. have you ever tried it? It’s wonderful. He’s quiet. letting herself go more and more. and the whole world had them knocking on the door: the Yugoslavians. Bulgarian yoghurt really is the best in the world. And the Bulgarians have great taste… and their roses… they’re simply fantastic. clicks her fingers and sings. I mean. This time. They’re really good gardeners. let’s face it. oh the Bulgarians. That’s the Bulgarians for 21 . they’re really good people. even today. Enver Hodja really dumped them in the shit. I can’t say I’ve got anything against the Albanians. the Albanians. and you have to admit that in today’s Europe the Albanians are the lowest of the low. Yes. keeps himself to himself. You should have seen the gherkins he had. those Bulgarians. especially those from the north. I’ve got an Albanian colleague at the university. speaking of his “Balkan brothers”) The Bulgarians. and now they’re the poorest people in Europe. DORRA: (As yet another “Balkan man”. don’t get me wrong. look what happened to that idea… They clink glasses. Cheers! KATE: Cheers! Bulgarian music. Yes. making millions of dollars… Their game continues. No. It’s they who started the Balkan war in 1913. don’t get me wrong. They wanted the whole of Macedonia to grow their gherkins in. the Russians. people fed them. is careful with his money: he’s done really well. DORRA. My mother only ever bought vegetables from a Bulgarian greengrocer. like wanting to annex Kosovo. they’re really nice. They’re probably the oldest race in the Balkans… But. But then they fell out with everybody. They wanted a country bigger than they actually needed. even their ideas are poor. the Chinese. And. and the yoghurt.

they’re not even Europeans. yes. Amazingly every single Turk managed to get work. I’m not in favour of that. So. and once I had Jewish neighbours… 22 . KATE fills up their glasses and enters more and more into the spirit of the game. KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: That’s… Jewish… Oh. And they still have a huge empire. it’s really good.I do respect them as a people. a Turk opened a bakers’ shop near where I live. But. you’ll see. DORRA starts the game again.KATE: you. And the Turks just barge in wanting to show us how to do it. KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: It’s Turkish! Yes. you can only get along with them if you keep them in their place. There are 4 million unemployed in Germany but not one of them is a Turk. They clink glasses and drink. I don’t actually have any Turkish friends myself. and just you wait. because the French. They do most of their business with us now. and yet they’ve been accepted into NATO. And on top of that. one foot in Europe. the Italians and the English are too far away. They really are a force to be reckoned with. And it’s those same Turks who’ve looted our country for four centuries. Yes. let’s face it. Jewish music. now I do respect the Turks. still – don’t get me wrong . the Turks. they’ll soon worm their way into the European Union. the Turks are really good workers. it can’t be right that they put our own bakers out of business. I really like the Jews… Some of my friends are Jews. a few months ago. Honest to God. and they’re all in work. Cheers! Cheers! They clink glasses and kiss. and now I only ever eat Turkish bread. they don’t understand the meaning of the word “border”. Five centuries actually. You’ve seen how many there are in Germany. them coming in with their electric cookers that they’ve bought in the west with our money. It’s amazing what you can buy there. Turkish music. Never underestimate the Turks! This spring I went to Istanbul. it’s Turkish. People will think we’re no longer capable of making our own bread. The Turks will come back to the Balkans bit and bit. the Turks… (As yet another “Balkan man”) The Turks. One foot in Asia.

they’re nationalists through and through. between the two world wars. Now I really like the Serbs… Actually my wife is a Serb. I think it’s a shame that the Jews have left our country over the years. there were 5. They have a melancholy that’s been in their veins for generations. they have an annoying tendency to exaggerate everything. 5. we mustn’t forget that it was the Yids that crucified our Lord Jesus Christ. In the town where I was born. personally. the Serbs are actually rather attractive.000 Jews. let’s face it. considering that by nature they’re rather morose. But… But.KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: When I was little. the Jews are OK.. the Serbs. they exaggerate all the time. the Serbs.000 Germans. and so was the dentist my mother used to drag me to. And. don’t get me wrong. let’s face it. And it’s strange how charming they can be. They’ve got no concept of moderation. They’re bloody great drinkers. the woman who taught me was Jewish. and I should know. And then nearly all of them went to Palestine.what’s more . personally. No. KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: So what’s next… The Serbs… Ah. Cheers! Cheers! Serbian music. because all the Jews were businessmen or intellectuals. they left en masse. he was a Jew. My history professor. wild side to them. Of all the Slavs in the Balkans the Serbs are the toughest. at high school. and they’re bloody great fighters. Their blood sometimes literally boils. I saw nothing wrong with that. not the least bit grateful that those same countries had given them their nationality.000 of us. They’re completely crazy. and when I started to learn the violin. All they 23 . unpredictable…. and . off the wall. my wife’s a Serb. They always have to be on the move. They have a very primitive. and there were only 4. I used to play with Jewish kids who lived near us… Yes. So. They’re full of surprises. Did you know that? But.wherever they go the economy flourishes… But… Ah ha! You learn quickly… But. they’re always restless. when they saw that communism wasn’t really working in the east and that the quality of life there was getting worse and worse. But they can be hot-blooded. that has often made the world quake over the centuries. don’t get me wrong.

here’s to the Greeks.think about is their empire. I adore the Greeks… DORRA: You can really have a good time with the Greeks. ustashi. I like the Croats… It’s lovely in Croatia. they’re like the Adriatic Sea: open. this shows they’re Catholics. I know that. That’s what they’re like. the Pope. DORRA: (Dancing) Ah. The Croats have first-class minds. eat and drink. KATE: Have you seen them playing their crazy bazoukis? 24 . and their martyred king. Germany’s their real country. they’ll stab you in the back. Latin. the spirit of Venice. Because that’s what they’re like. dreaming of a Great Serbia. But they haven’t done much since then. the Croats: bastard collaborators. they’re Slavs but they’re westernised. nobody can hurt you like your own brother. No. And even today they’re thick as thieves with the Germans. the Croats are great. for a good for nothing mother-fucker of a Serb. let’s face it. King Stefan. Oh. They sided with the Nazis and massacred the Serbs. The women kiss each other. the Croats… Here’s to us! To us! KATE: DORRA: KATE: Greek music. Croatian music. they have insight. You saw what they did in ’41. all of them in the end. the Holy Roman Empire. KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: (With her mouth full) That’s… (With her mouth full) The Croats… The Croats. Now they’re just pig-farmers. And what’s more. You must have seen the cathedral they’ve got in Zagreb. that put them a hundred years ahead of everybody else. Oh. I’ve had them up to here. they’ll betray you as soon as look at you. yes. so beautiful. all except Tito. They did well to get rid of the Cyrillic alphabet and start to write in Roman letters. It’s so clean. the Croats. they went over to the Nazis. my ex-wife who was a Serb left me for a mother-fucker of a Serb. it’s Greek. The game continues. lost in the 14th century by the way. they’re like our twin brothers… (Stuffing her mouth) But… But. you can tell they’re part of the Roman civilisation. DORRA makes dancing movements whilst still seated on her chair. they’re sharp. Zorba the Greek… KATE: The Greeks. don’t get me wrong.

but they wanted to throw out communism as far back as ’56. after that. The alcohol is clearly going to their heads. let’s face it. The game continues. they’re not like anybody else.DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: But they are crazy. I love the Greeks… But… (She stops dancing) But. the Greeks. they’re absolutely unique. they lived better than we did. Ha. Even so. born leaders. And they paid for it. the Hungarians. even under Janos Kadar: more freedom. I love the Hungarians… They’re real originals. more small businesses. he’ll give you everything. the Greeks. crazy but beautiful. They’re indomitable. the Greeks. you know. It’s all just… Hungarian! That’s the thing about the Hungarians. Hungarian music. the Greeks nowadays have absolutely nothing in common with the ancient Greeks. don’t get me wrong. they laid the foundations of civilisation as we know it. Have you heard the language they speak? It’s not like any other language at all… Right. So. And they’ve certainly left their mark on history. KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: The… The Hungarians… Oh. even though they believe they’re the direct descendants of Pericles. that makes me laugh. They had a bloody nerve. Now they’re starting to build motorways with money they wheedled out of the European Union… (Starts to open a bottle of champagne) No! Yes! The sound of the cork popping. you can’t understand a word. they’re just an unscrupulous nation of shopkeepers. Have you seen those stupid little outfits their National Guard wear… Peasant costume! Ah. proof that big brother Russia had more respect for his little 25 . They start to drink the champagne. The second a Greek becomes your friend. those Hungarians. It hasn’t got any Latin in it… It hasn’t got any Slav… It hasn’t got any Greek… Certainly no Turkish! No German. You remember how they had the audacity to rise up against Moscow in ’56? It’s crazy.

that the Balkans stop at the Danube. don’t get me wrong. and megalomaniacs. So they’re traitors?! Actually. and they’re really two-faced. Yes. their language is riddled with Slavic words. They always somehow manage to pop up on the winning side. tough as old boots. And then Tito came along. the Bosnian Muslims. And their women! It’s amazing what a hit Romanian whores are now in Turkey. Do you remember how they held out in Sarajevo? I take my hat off to them. I really like the Romanians… But… … but. That’s the Hungarians for you. but there’s nothing more Balkan than a Romanian. don’t get me wrong. But… … but. there are rather a lot of us in the Balkans. it’s… The game continues. KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: Oh no. they’re all doom and gloom. And. their unbelievable arrogance.KATE: DORRA: Hungarian brother than he had for his other little brothers. or Italian. take my word for it… (Egging DORRA on to speed up the game) The Muslims… The Bosnian Muslims? They’ve really had their share of suffering.. they’re profiteers. They say they’re not really Balkan. And between the two wars. The Turkish whores are even starting to learn Romanian so that they can pass themselves off as Romanians in Istanbul. let’s face it. you’d think it was French. let’s face it. So. these Hungarians. their virility…. you know. They’ve got guts. I admire their strength. Last century. it’s hard to know what to call them. I really like them… But… … but. I really like the Romanians. you know. and actually they’re servants of the Austrians. is there more? Well. actually. What did they think. let’s face it. do you know what they called Bucharest? They called it “little Paris”. They deserve a country of their own. don’t get me wrong. When you hear them speak. The Romanians… (Feigning exhaustion) I like the Romanians a whole lot… They’re the Latins here. with his idea of KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: 26 . they’re actually just Slavs who’ve converted to Islam. people called them “Turks”. Romanian music. throughout history… So. that their empire was going to last for a thousand years? It’s their arrogance that ruined them.

the Saudis protested… KATE: (Now completely drunk. the blacks did. very decorative… DORRA: But… KATE: But… DORRA: But… KATE: But it’s better when they’re deeeaad! A good Injun is a dead Injun! DORRA: Shiiiiit! KATE: Oh. We have to be politically correct here… Because they are “people of colour”… But they’re uncultured “people of colour”… and they stink… and they’re violent… and they’re always causing riots… and they’re trouble-makers… and they’re drug-dealers… There! And don’t think it’s just the goddamn fucking niggers who fuck us up… No… there’s also… DORRA: (More and more drunk) The Indians… KATE: That’s riiiight! The “Native American Indians”… DORRA: Who are rather beautiful… KATE: … with their feathers and things. At the time. but… DORRA: But… KATE: But. yeah. really great. the blacks are really. this but .inventing a Muslim nation. I like the blacks. honey… Come to my country one day if you want to hear the “Balkan but” sung to an American tune…. something that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. And then there’s the Mexicans… DORRA: Not in the Balkans…? KATE: But… DORRA & KATE: The “Balkan but” gets everywhere… 27 . And they’re terrific boxers… DORRA: I like the blacks. They invented the blues. and victorious) The blacks… DORRA: Who? KATE: The blacks… DORRA: There aren’t any blacks in the Balkans. DORRA: “A black question”… KATE: Because. it’s amazing. The blacks’ blues! And they invented gospel music. Music seems to run in their veins. you’re wrong there. they’re not like us… DORRA: (Pretending to “fall in” quickly) Because they’re black! KATE: No. The blacks are great. KATE: Yes. frankly.it’s everywhere. Do you think this Balkan “but” is really only found in the Balkans? No. too… KATE: But… DORRA: But… KATE: But… DORRA: But… KATE: But the problem is… there’s “a black problem”.

and they don’t even bloody try to learn our language… Oh. building up to dancing rock and roll. banging her fist on the table) I’ve had the bloody Puerto Ricans up to here.DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: So. in my United States of America. yes… KATE: The Patagonians… they’re nice the Patagonians… DORRA: But… KATE: But… DORRA & KATE:They’re Patagonians! Shit! Rock music. they all want is to come and live in my country. taking jobs away from honest Americans. the Puerto Ricans… DORRA: I like the Puerto Ricans… KATE: But… DORRA: But… KATE: (Now acting like a full-blooded racist. every single day. 28 . the goddamn fucking Mexicans. They dance. they make me puke! DORRA: Then there’s the… KATE: The… DORRA: The Aztecs… KATE: Oh. my God. DORRA: Then there’s the Puerto Ricans… KATE: Oh yes. thousands of them sneak across the border to come and work illegally in my country. what about the Mexicans? I like the Mexicans… Yes. the Aztecs… KATE: Yes. Every day. but… DORRA: But… KATE: But… DORRA: But they’re Aztecs! That’s the problem! KATE: That’s it. I like the Aztecs… DORRA: Yes. the Mexicans are nice… They wear big hats… They’re called sombreros… And they have ponchos… And guitars… But… But… But… But. those bastard Mexicans. And their bloody kids are a burden on our education system and on our health system. That’s fucking it… They’re fucking Aztecs… DORRA: Just like the… KATE: The Patagonians… DORRA: The Patagonians. they’re nice.

Every single object found in the vicinity of the victim (or victims) in a mass grave has a legal significance. and on their composition (earth. Depending on how many layers of earth there are. he has to intervene and remove him from the site. The second stage is to record the layers of earth. This work is always done by a team. He must make an inventory of every single thing. I took a course in the excavation of mass graves. very often. and the way in which the various layers cover the body (or bodies). at one and the same time. The fourth stage involves the preservation of the excavated materials.) he has to choose the right tools for that particular excavation. the person doing this work carries an enormous responsibility. after all. because it could help reconstruct the crime and reveal the context in which the crime was committed. and a psychologist. experts to examine the military context in which the victim (or victims) were killed. The psychologist is there to make sure that the other members of the team don’t break under the stress. for example bullets if the victim (or victims) were shot. You can’t just go into one and rummage around.SCENE 21 KATE: When you open up a mass grave. he is in danger of covering up the very evidence of murder that he should be uncovering. a photographer. and identify any potential mass grave. Consequently. sand. down to the last detail. dig up the body of the victim (or victims) and yet not actually touch anything. a doctor. In every team there’s a topographer. concrete etc. The person undertaking the job is in the same position as someone who uncovers a murder. then he’ll make an evaluation of his mental state and advise 29 . He must. laws governing such excavations. There are. If he is not perfectly trained to do this work. The third stage is the excavation itself. evidence of how the crime was committed. If he notices that a member of the team is no longer in a fit state to continue. The fifth stage is the interpretation of what’s been found. stone. He will discover not only the body (or bodies) but also. making sure not to damage anything. The first stage is to survey the area. a lawyer. there are certain techniques you have to use. So. Under no circumstances must he separate the corpse (or corpses) from personal effects that could help identify the victim (or victims). an archaeologist. He has to work in stages.

to excavate mass graves in Bosnia in the name of the United States of America. in the name of western civilisation. DORRA stares into space. It’s moving already! I can feel it. it could be. Kate McNoil.him (or. a graduate from Harvard University. 35 years old. her) to take a break from the excavation for a while. I should be ashamed of myself. a specialist in obsessional neurosis and psychoanalysis. excavate. 30 . It’s hard to carry such a burden on your shoulders. in the name of the UN. author of a 770 page doctorate thesis on Freud and his concepts of child narcissism. I don’t want it to start moving. I don’t want to wait. married and a mother of two daughters. That’s how I came to Bosnia: to work as a psychologist with the teams of people excavating the mass graves. in the name of justice. She rings several times. in the name of truth. SCENE 22 DORRA rings the bell. excavate. but you’ll never be able to regain your balance of mind unless you understand why. I’m unclean because of this thing inside me… Yes… Kate. in the name of the past and of the future. KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: But you’ll have to wait just a little. KATE arrives) DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: I want an abortion! Yes. Dorra… Now… Yes. me. in the name of the Allies. I’m unclean. It won’t move. Dorra… Now! Whatever you want… A moment’s silence. And so I became an excavator myself. Kate McNoil. Me. becoming more and more desperate. Another moment’s silence. Kate McNoil. I haven’t seen my family for six months and I don’t have time to think about them much because there’s now something else that’s taken over my life: to excavate.

(She gets out an old photo) Here. She talks. (She describes the vertical plane with her hand. Or. he’s even littler than me. As big as this house? No. bigger. Grandpa. what is America? America is a pile of stones built like this. KATE: Grandpa. Tell me. Some vodka. Look. perhaps. trying to console DORRA. here. As big as the house and the garden and the chicken-shed put together. And that’s your father. hardly pausing for breath. her belly swollen. She shudders and trembles. how did you get to America? We came on a big boat. SCENE 23 DORRA. Everything she says resembles more a kind of therapy than a confession. You just have to wait one more month… Kate… Yes? I want something to drink. Something strong. As big as the whole street. And 31 .DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: KATE exits. lies on her bed. And I don’t want it to… I want someone to get it out. As big as this room? No. bigger. even littler than you. her tone is not a normal tone. So. Well. And who’s that? It’s your Uncle Sean. I don’t believe you. on the third class deck. he was then. I can feel it pushing. even bigger than that. DORRA barely listens to her. that’s me. at Christmas. she doesn’t listen at all. or at New Year’s. in a state of great agitation. look at this boat. And she’s sweating. But it can’t be him. As big as this? No. And that’s your great-grandmother. when the family was gathered together at Thanksgiving. Yes. Right. Dorra. And that’s your Uncle Simon. And that’s your Uncle William. KATE stands by the bed. Yes.) (To DORRA) My grandfather used to tell us the story about when he first came to the States at least two or three times every year.

Yes it does. It’ll have your name. But it will have.”? No child could understand that. Then we had to go into the Immigration Office. my precious. It will never be my child. Nobody wanted it. we got off at Ellis Island. And the boat? What about the boat? Is the boat made of stones too? No. It’s moving inside you. She speaks in her grandfather’s voice. I saw a man waving a placard that said: “Woolworth Building Company. And that’s your Aunt Elizabeth. we were accepted straightaway.” 32 . Another silence. my angel. Kate! Yes it does. It doesn’t exist. It will understand one day. A moment’s silence. The stones never forgave him. These stones from his land that he’d gathered all those long years. This child doesn’t have a name. But you must let me tell you how my grandfather became a stonecutter. I knew that we’d have to look clean and neat and make a good impression. You’re its mother. So then we took the boat to Manhattan. what will I say? Who is its father? War. How could I tell it that? How could you say to a child: “Listen. And that’s your grandmother who died last year. And its father? Who will be its father? If it ever asks me who its father is. DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: This child doesn’t have a father. as well as those he hadn’t. (Almost delirious) No! No! No! Once he got to America. I didn’t want it. He was always convinced that the stones from Ireland and the stones from America had joined forces to trap him. War is its father. And why aren’t I there? Because you weren’t born yet. the boat isn’t made of stones. This child doesn’t have a mother or a father. First of all. my grandfather became a stonecutter. all pursued him to the United States. And the minute we arrived. I could never tell a child that.DORRA: KATE: that’s your Aunt Molly. As we were Irish and spoke good English. war is your father. Good stone workers wanted.

stairs. none of whom knew where we were going to sleep that night. and then the Irving Trust Company Building and the Rockerfeller Centre and so on and so on… I cut thousands of stones. And I looked behind me and I saw that there was already a queue of about twenty men who wanted to cut stones. I’ll stay with you. It’s eating away at me. which was 787 feet high. Then I worked on the Empire State Building. lobbies. 33 . And I said “OK”. for every skyscraper in New York. There’s nothing to worry about. and my mother. I can feel it pushing… It’s climbing up my insides… And it’s hurting… I can’t stand it… I feel sick… You have to get it out. it’s devouring me from the inside.050 feet high. I can hear it munching… I’m here. No! No! No! But I only had 10 dollars in my pocket. ceilings. “In my garden. which beat the Woolworth Building because it was over 1. balconies.246 feet high. It was the first offer of work that I stumbled on when I got to America and I was frightened that I wouldn’t find another one.” And the man thought my answer was good enough and he offered me the job at 50 cents an hour. A moment’s silence. So I went up to the man and I said: “I like stones. It’s always hungry. I looked at my wife. pillars. and my children. I’ll stay with you. It’s eating too much. and I decided to take my chance. For thirty years I placed like this (she describes the vertical plane with her hand) all those stones I had picked up like that (she describes the horizontal plane with her hand) in Ireland. And then I worked on the Walter Chrysler Building. DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: Kate! Yes? It’s moving! Are you sure? It woke me up. It’s always hungry.” And he asked me: “Have you ever cut stones?” And I said “Yes. the little beast. All I wanted was to find a little plot of land with no stones in it. for floors. arches.DORRA: KATE: I’d never been a stone worker. which was 1. somewhere in the west.” And he said: “And where was that?” “In my garden.” I replied. I worked on the Woolworth Building. decorations. and to work it with my family. terraces… That’s what I did. Kate. And I cut stones for twenty years.

a kidney. he’d say. and it’s making me cold. My Dad would look up at the stars and say: Tonight it’ll be quiet. 34 . maybe two or three times a year. The donor was either dead or dying. not for a skin graft. a heart. Other days. DORRA is in a restless sleep. for the emergency transport of a kidney to Springfield. Usually. even at 2 o’clock in the morning. I’m cold. he used to say rather enigmatically: for the emergency services at the biggest bank on the East Coast! That was his little joke. Daddy? I just feel it. staring into space. he’d get home just when we were having breakfast. I only ever saw him sleeping. with the telephone by his bed. He fell straight to sleep. after every “delivery”. All through my childhood. or coming home and sitting straight down at the table where my Mom would give him something to eat. and the quality of the organ depended on the speed at which the two unfortunate people could be brought together in the same operating theatre. He hardly ever got the chance to sleep a whole eight hours. he would say at breakfast. KATE: When people asked my Dad where he worked. A donor usually meant someone who’d been smashed to pieces on the freeway or somewhere. into the black night. blood. Daddy? I had to deliver a heart. nights when things were quiet. as if some unseen messenger was giving him a secret sign that tonight everything would be OK. or dashing out.KATE: DORRA: KATE: It’s too soon. He actually worked for a donor bank! And they could wake him at any time of the day or night. So what did you deliver last night. I saved him. That meant that nobody would need him that night. one of whose organs was going to be speedily sewn into some other poor creature who needed a lung or a pancreas or a liver. KATE continues sotto voce. he’d say. I’m here. I’m the size of a barrel… It’s taking up more and more space… I can’t stand it any more… Go to sleep. Daddy? I delivered a “donor”. But there were. Another moment’s silence. marrow… But how do you know that tonight’ll be quiet. It’s making me cold. I can’t sleep any more. or Worcester or Fall River or anywhere else in Massachusetts. I’m shivering. Sometimes. or an eye-transplant. looking out of the window. he only managed to get two or three hours rest. and his face reminded me of the face of a priest just after his Sunday sermon. my Dad would have to provide transport for the “receiver”. So what did you have to deliver last night. he wouldn’t have to go anywhere. It’s cold like a snake.

You’ve already eaten my flesh. So what? “You have to give me something to eat”. You’ve eaten all of me. He was bending over me. SCENE 24 DORRA alone in the darkness. You have to give me something to eat”. DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: I saw him! What do you mean you saw him? In the darkness! When? Just now. I’m not your mother. You’re my mother. “Yes you can”. I’m here. 35 .” I’ve got nothing left to give you. No face? No. What else can I give you? “I’m hungry. just a… A what… A mouth… He was just a gaping mouth.” Who are you? “It’s me”. “I’m hungry”. We hear a horrible scream. It’s the scream of a woman being raped. stop it! Stop it! These are perhaps the words of a woman being raped. What do you want? Go away. I will never be your mother.DORRA wakes up suddenly. Scream then! I want to hear you scream. You’re my mother. Who? “Me”. I can’t see you. and you have to give me something to eat. Go to sleep. What did he look like? He didn’t have a face. “Yes I do. You have no mother. No! No! For God’s sake. What else can I give you? “You have to give me something to eat”. I didn’t want to be your mother. DORRA: “I’m here. And you’ve emptied me. “If you don’t give me something to eat. No! No! Stop it! We still hear the scream. I’ve given you every drop of my blood. You’ve even emptied my soul. Dorra. I’ll scream”.

“Listen to me. if you don’t bring me into the world. No I don’t. OK?” What do you want? “I’ve already told you. don’t. please. You are a child of horror. She sobs as she eats. KATE enters. I’d like to have it. She eats. All right. You don’t exist. staring into space. “Yes you will. give it to me. No. Either you give me something to eat. She is devouring a huge breakfast. if you bring it into the world and give it to me. I don’t know who you are. I’ll give you something to eat. I can’t take it now. but I don’t want to… Why is it screaming like that? Tell it to stop screaming. or I’ll start screaming again. But take it now. You were born of horror. “What’s your problem?” Stop it. And it’s you who are going to bring me into the world”. I’ll never bring you into the world. sitting up in bed. I want something to eat. “Yes I do. You don’t have any parents. hunched over a plate of food. I will.” No.No! No! Help! Help! Stop it! Just kill me! Kill me! A few seconds of silence. I’ll scream”. But. I do exist. with jam and butter on her lips and on her chin) DORRA: “I’m here”. KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: I’m here. I don’t have to bring you into the world. you have to”. You know exactly who I am”. No. Dorra… I don’t want to bring this into the world… It’s asking me to bring it into the world. You’re a war child. I don’t. her mouth too full. Who? “Me”. Dorra. If you really want it. Stop it. I don’t want to bring this into the world. “You don’t have any choice. this minute. And it’s a mother’s job to bring a child into the world”. take it now. You don’t have the right to be brought into the world. The terrifying scream of a woman being raped. “Stop pretending. I will. 36 . You’re my mother. I don’t know you. take it now. if you don’t want this child. “I’ve stopped. I’ll give you something to eat… SCENE 25 DORRA. then I’ll take it. Who are you? “It’s me”. No.

Her face looks twisted. Come on. burnt black. If you’re in a forest near Srebrenica and you find these things scattered around in the grass. But nobody knew anything about it. SCENE 26 KATE is smoking. I’ll take it now. KATE: What do you do if you’re in a forest near Srebrenica and you find the following objects in a clearing. A diary lies open on the table. DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: (Without looking at KATE) And is that why you had a breakdown? Yes. We hardly recognise her. scattered in the grass over an area of about 10 yards: two hundred and forty seven cartridges a bicycle wheel a teat from a baby’s bottle a beret with the letters UN barely decipherable pieces of a stretcher three packets of Drina cigarettes eleven empty cans of Croatian beer a broken alarm clock a squashed tube of toothpaste a piece of barbed wire about three and a half metres long a rifle butt a plastic bag full of rotting potatoes an Elvis T-shirt a leather belt. After how many mass graves? 37 . Her stomach is now much bigger than when we last saw her. that’s why I had a breakdown. there’s a 50/50 chance that you’re in the vicinity of a mass grave. (She lies down next to DORRA. DORRA enters. with the pouches where you keep the grenades ripped off a postcard of the Eiffel Tower with a few lines written on the back which are completely illegible.KATE: All right then. because I was the team’s psychologist. let’s go to sleep. No. She takes DORRA in her arms).

here: to apply a new method. You could no longer bear to hear the sound of the pickaxes. You could no longer bear to read the inventories they attached to each body they dug up. the trowels and the crowbars that were beating and digging and grating and sweeping.” I can’t cuddle 38 . DORRA: “I’m here. you weren’t able to deal with any of that either. “It’s not. on the verge of tears) Yes.” I want to go to sleep. in the psychotherapy treatment of women in Bosnia who’ve suffered rape. we have to know that DORRA has already read it) For example. but I’m frightened. KATE is motionless. the state of their decomposition. So. shut up. I don’t want to hear you again.KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: Sedamnaest. And everything you’d learnt about excavating corpses made you feel ashamed? Yes. (Coming towards Kate and taking her by the shoulders) So you asked to be sent somewhere else. I want to rest. I can’t cuddle you. Leave me alone. what do you want now? “I don’t know. Seventeen. “I can’t shut up: I’m frightened. For example.” I don’t want to cuddle you.” Shut up. that’s enough. No. and I want you to cuddle me. SCENE 27 DORRA is alone in the darkness. perhaps in tears. rule number one for the excavator: you have to keep the site clean. the handling of the corpses. No. I want you to cuddle me a bit. “I want you to give me a cuddle. I’ve given you something to eat. For example… Yes. I need to rest. (Looking at KATE’s open diary. No. a frequent sweeping of the site is one of the best methods for guaranteeing proper observation of an excavation… (Smoking. “Yes.” I don’t want to hear from you again. I’m frightened. And the preservation of the “excavated matter”. I’ve given you something to eat. DORRA kisses her.” What do you want? I’ve given you something to eat. your cathartic method.

you. Kate? 39 . Kate? I don’t know. You weren’t born here. It’s almost not part of Europe at all. Are you sure? No. DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: Why do you want this child. You’re American. And you have a husband. but Ireland. Another moment’s silence. You weren’t even born in Europe. And I’m frightened. I don’t know how to. Kate? Are you mad or something? You’ve got two children already. You’re not the Special Envoy of America’s guilty conscience. Kate? KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: Because I do. it’s because I love children. waving the American flag. Why do you want this child. So. beating your breast with mea culpa. why do you want the child. I’ll scream…” SCENE 28 DORRA is alone. it’s not up to you to come here. You’ve got a family. “If you don’t cuddle me. So it is because you love children? Yes. KATE enters. you’re not guilty. DORRA: Why do you want this child. you have roots in Ireland. A moment’s silence. I’m not. Kate. it’s a world of its own. it’s just an island. Why do you stay here? You’re not responsible for this. Your own children. too. You’re not the President of the United States. You’re mad. Can’t you have any more of your own? Yes I can. Your life is somewhere else. You were born in the United States. No I’m not. Anyway. OK. Stop acting as if you had the whole of America’s subconscious guilt on your shoulders. Do you want it for your Freudian experiments? No.

SCENE 29 KATE(A letter in her hand): 40 . Dorra. I had the insane hope that I’d find just one survivor… This child is a survivor. My roots are in Ireland! I’d rather it died than give it to the United States. Kate. in your country. I’m going back to my children. She pursues her work relentlessly. but not addressing her directly. that the laws of nature have nothing to do with the impulses behind man’s barbarity. Dorra. When I think of your belly. your baby is a boy. (At breaking point) I want it! That’s all there is to it! After all the corpses I’ve dug up here. Nature. a suspended moment) How can I explain to you. And her work remains. And it has to be saved. that nature doesn’t acknowledge rape. I came to your country to learn how to excavate mass graves. Dorra. (Calm again. Dorra. Why not? I’m not giving this child to the United States. And every time I excavated one. Kate. mysterious and full of beauty. I’m not the United States. at the bottom of this pit. I’m going home soon. that nature abhors a vacuum. Dorra. there are more boys born than girls. rotting… But. So. I have the right to go back home with this child! Stop it. dried up. You’ll never have it. I’m not a representative of the American government. his inhumanity. swollen. it has to be pulled out. there’s someone alive… Someone asking to be let out… I’ll never let you kill your child. That’s it… It’s as simple as that… We have to rescue it from the mass grave… The noise of an aeroplane about to take off. I’m not the President of the United States. is impervious to man’s stupidity. staring into the distance) Your belly is a mass grave. there’s something moving… A living being… Amongst all the dead. As always seems to happen after a war. Dorra.KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: Why? I’m not going to give it to you. KATE: (Speaking to and for DORRA. I see a pit full of corpses. as it always was. despite the evils perpetrated by mankind.

Kate. the people who live there will rack their brains to try and understand how all this could have been possible. in Massachusetts. and that at my request I was transferred to a NATO medical centre in Germany. May I remind you briefly that I was a member of the mission evaluating medical needs in Croatia and Bosnia. I’m sending you. the report on my activities in Bosnia over the past twenty-two months. For years and years. but not addressing her directly. DORRA: (Speaking to and for KATE. I confirm that. another suspended moment) How can I tell you. that I then became part of one of the teams responsible for identifying the mass graves in the Krajna and Srebrenica areas. That I no longer have a God. that I hate my country. as from the 1st of April. by hatred and by shame. It’ll be haunted by the cries of victims. 41 . That in fact I no longer have a country. Even if the war ends. sink to such a level… Another moment’s silence. as requested. I don’t want to know if my family is still living. A moment’s silence. That all I want is to get as far away as possible from this accursed nightmare place. they’ll ask the same questions: Who started it? Who was responsible? Who was the most evil? How could people. this place will stay cursed for a long time to come. Thanking you for your understanding. Till the very end of time.Dear Chief Commander. That I don’t want to go back there. Kate. DORRA: KATE: DORRA: KATE: (To herself) How can I tell you. or individually. either collectively. that I hate my country? One can’t hate one’s country. Kate McNoil. I would like to return to my post in the Boston Psychiatric Clinic. this hell… I don’t want to see my home again… Because I don’t have a home. How can I tell you that I no longer have a country? We’re all born somewhere.

The image of my country is that of an old man leaving a column of refugees to lie in the grass for a rest. who’s been dead for 346 days. then spits on the corpse of the man whose throat he has just cut.DORRA: How can I tell you that I never want to go back there. my people killed Him. KATE: You will find the need to believe again. My country is a father who spends all his time making a doll for his 7-year. KATE: You will one day. who dies in a village in Hungary where there is no Muslim cemetery and where nobody knows how to bury a Muslim. DORRA: Do you want to know what image of my country I carry with me? Do you? It’s the image of a drunken soldier.kisses the porch. KATE: There must be an image of your country that you’ll always carry with you. DORRA: There’s nobody left alive in my heart any more. raki. wine. then goes to take his position in the trenches. with a rather surprised expression on his face. DORRA: How can I tell you that my country no longer has a God. and any other alcohol he can put his hands on. 42 . My country is an old peasant who looks at the soldiers entering his village and asks them: “Are you on our side?”. puts it back in its sheath. My country is a mother who notices that her dead son’s uniform is missing a button. He knocks it back. this hell… KATE: One day you’ll see your home again. The drink is called a fighting cocktail. KATE: One day you’ll want to know if your family is still alive. DORRA: I don’t have a home anymore. and who . whiskey. My country is a grandmother who has to flee from the approaching soldiers.old daughter. where I was born. She hurries to sew one back on before he’s buried. who wipes his dagger on his trouser leg. My country is a soldier who mixes in his glass cognac. one day. My country is a Muslim refugee. grass that hides an antipersonnel mine. My country is three soldiers pissing on the embers of a house they’ve just torched.before leaving her house . My country is a residential district of Vukovar renamed “Burnt Tank Avenue”. DORRA: How can I tell you that all I want to do is to get as far away as possible from this accursed place.

A few days after that. THIS IS A POST OFFICE! My country is an inscription written on a tree in Sarajevo: HELLO! I’M STILL ALIVE! SCENE 30 DORRA writes a letter. for a joke. One day. because he can no longer bear to hear their bellowing… My country is a soldier writing on a door with red spray-paint: THIS IS SERBIA. you wanted to know the precise moment at which I decided to keep him. but who can only get his hands on three rounds of ammunition a day. 43 . just after you left. He’s killed three days later when he decides to go home to feed his starving cows. I don’t really know what I’m going to do now. even newer words say: IDIOTS. My country is a peasant who hides in the forest because “chetniks” or Muslims “fighting for Islam” have arrived in his village. a notice nailed to a tree caught my eye. My country is an American tv series that nobody wants to miss in Mostar. and this is what I read: WE WOULD LIKE TO INFORM YOU THAT THIS TREE IS DEAD. just like on those packets of instant soup. new words cover the old ones. and by Croats on the other. I looked at the trees and the water… All of a sudden. saying: THIS IS CROATIA. I’ve filed applications for emigration at the Canadian. I’ll tell you. Australian and South African embassies.My country is the inscription you see all over the place in Sarajevo: PAZI! SNAJPER! BEWARE! SNIPERS! And the taste of my country is the soup handed out by the Red Cross. My country is an 18-year-old soldier who. My country is that young Karlovac who wants to become a sniper to defend his people. I don’t want to go to America. I went to take a closer look. He weighs 13 pounds now. even when the town is besieged by Serbs on one side. I went for a walk by the lake. Two weeks later. As I walked. When you last called. DORRA: Dear Kate. My baby is fine. writes: CUT HERE on his neck. IT WILL BE CUT DOWN WEEK COMMENCING APRIL 2ND.

Dorra. WE WILL BE PLANTING A SAPLING. I read this once. Ljubim-te. then again. And that’s when I decided to keep my baby.IN ITS PLACE. THE END 44 . Signed: THE DEPARTMENT OF PARKS & GARDENS. then several times more. AND FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF ALL VISITORS TO THIS PARK.

The author has nonetheless made use of some eye-witness reports (for example "Chronique des oubliés". remains a work of fiction. Edition La Digitale. by Velibor Čolić) both for the description of the uncovering of mass graves in Scene 26 and the "image" of Dorra's country in scene 29.Author's Note: This play was written in residence at La Chartreuse de Villeneuve-lez-Avignon in November and December of 1996. with horrors like these. because. reality beggars the imagination. 1994. France. This play. inspired by the Bosnian crisis. 45 .

.DECOMPOSED THEATRE. . Great Britain. Romania. 33 .OLD CLOWN WANTED was performed in: France. Germany. Since then. Compagnie Nice-Théâtre Vivant . Théâtre du Rond-Point de Champs Elysées . performed in: France. Théâtre Le Jodel . Brazil. Hungary. Italy. Moldavia. Belgium. Hungary.HORSES AT THE WINDOW. Germany. Belgium.POCKETS FULL OF BREAD.fr Matéi VISNIEC . and "Clown wanted" at the BONNER BIENNALE.THE STORY OF PANDA BEARS TOLD BY A SAXOPHONIST WITH A GIRLFRIEND IN FRANKFURT. with the play "Horses at the Windows" performed in France. Germany. Belgium. with more then 30 plays put on in Bucharest and other towns. Germany. Island. Romania. Studio des Champs-Elysées. . Italy. Théâtre de Lenche and Théâtre de la Minoterie . In Romania he studied history and philosophy before starting writing for the theatre in 1977. Russia. born 29 January 1956 in Romania. but all of them were banned by the Romanian censors.Address: 10. Romania. 33 – (0)6 19 66 05 98 E-Mail: visniec@yahoo. performed in: France. in December 1989. Bulgaria.HOW TO EXPLAIN THE HISTORY OF COMMUNISM TO MENTAL PATIENTS: United States. Switzerland. During the following ten years he wrote some 20 plays. and he has received French nationality. . Holland. Moldavia. Italy. and he asked for political asylum. Matei Visniec has had more then 20 plays performed in France (Théâtre Guichet Montparnasse. Finland. Turkey.THREE NIGHTS WITH MADOX. performed in: France. performed in: Canada.THE SPECTATOR SENTENCED TO DEATH. France. Romania.Nice. In October 1996 the National Theatre of Timisoara organised a "Matei Visniec Festival" with 12 companies presenting his plays.Paris. Compagnie Pli Urgent . 46 . Denmark.(0)1 47 07 31 89 Mobile. Austria. Romania. . Great Britain.La Rochelle. performed in: France. Russia. Romania. rue Watteau 75013 Paris FRANCE Tel. performed in: France. United States. Morocco. working as a journalist at Radio France Internationale. His international audience as a playwright started in 1992. In September 1987 he was invited to France by a literary foundation. Canada. France. Fax. performed in: France. etc. Matei Visniec became one of the most performed playwrights in the country. Switzerland.WOMAN AS BATTLEFIELD.playwright. Moldavia. poet and journalist.Avignon. . Since then he has been writing mostly in French. Moldavia . Poland. After the fall of communism in Romania. Romania. Switzerland.). Romania. . Théâtre de l'Utopie .Lyon. now settled in Paris.Marseille. . Sweden.

The Chekhov Machine . for the play THE STORY OF THE PANDA BEARS TOLD BY A SAXOPHONEPLAYER WITH A GIRLFRIEND IN FRANKFORT 1991 . the best play of the year in 1991 in Romania Plays published in France by "Les Editions L’Harmattan".How to explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients . in Germany by "Editions Palais Jalta".Horses at the Window . in Romania by "Cartea Romaneasca" and "Expansion Armonia".Drama Award of the Academy of Romania 1995 and 1996 . in Poland by the theatrical review "Dialog".Award of The French Society of Authors and Composers.Award of The Romanian Theatrical Society for CLOWN WANTED. in Belgium by "Les Editions Lansman". "Les Editions Crater" et "Les Editions Actes Sud Papiers".Drama Award of the Romanian Union of Writers 1998 .National Drama Award of the Romanian Ministry of Culture 2002 and 1999 . the Rat and the King's Fool 47 .Old Clown wanted .The King. in Hungary by "DUNA pART".The Story of Pandas told by a Saxophonist with a Girlfriend in Frankfurt .Pockets full of Bread .AWARDS 2002 . in Bulgaria by the theatrical review "Panorama" Plays by Matéi Visniec available in English .The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War .Award Avignon-off at the Avignon Theatrical Festival 1994 .Three Nights with Madox .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful