ANTS

By Saviana Stanescu

300 15th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, NY 11215 savianas@yahoo.com www.saviana.com

Characters: KARA – 40, attractive, speaks with an accent (any race or ethnicity) MIA – Kara’s younger sister, 30, boyish, speaks with a strong accent (same race/ethnicity as Kara) Dr. ADAM KOHN – Professor of Biochemistry, 48, speaks with a mild accent (any race or ethnicity)

where: a small American town and a University in the same area. when: 2009 – The Chinese Year of the Ox and the American Year of the Big Recession.

a / signifies the point of overlapping dialogue

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1. Spotlight on Mia - downstage, addressing the audience. She constructs her speech carefully, paying attention to her newly found sophistication with the English language. It’s intense and weirdly funny  MIA Ladies and gentlemen, excuse me, I should start again. Thank you so much for taking the time to come to my lecture. So many wonderful people here, scientists I respect, family members from my old country. Hi, mom! My sister Kara who has been instrumental for my whole … I’m sorry, I will start again. That was again a little too… personal. Let’s keep it… scientific. (composure, scientific tone, it’s still intense and awkwardly funny) All societies are characterized by struggles for control: which individuals gain the spoils and which toil in the fields. In colonies of social insects this struggle is embodied by a reproductive division of labor. Some individuals (the queens) reproduce, while the workers provide the labor that maintains colony function. Kara enters. KARA Are you talking to the walls again? MIA I’m talking to people. Imaginary people. Kara turns the lights on: the living room of their house. A bunch of envelopes in Kara’s hand. KARA In darkness? You can’t “see” imaginary people with the lights on? MIA I can’t focus with the lights on. I suck at lecturing in English, I suck, I suck, / I suck… KARA You can’t suck, we speak only English in this house. So you can – how did you put it? – be immersed in English. “Swim” in English. Breathe in English. Dream in English. MIA Yes, I wanna be the best of the best. Would you please let me now continue my lecture? KARA (ironically) Oh, excuse my silly interruption, Miss Mia! I’m honored to have you around. May I humbly ask what is this lecture for? Did you get a teaching job?

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MIA No, it’s for a conference. KARA A conference? Are they paying you to go? MIA A future conference. A possible conference. I must be prepared. KARA Of course. An imaginary conference. MIA (half-joking) For when I get the Nobel Prize. KARA (seriously) Until you get the Nobel, miss Mia, we’ve got these… Kara waves the envelopes at her. MIA (teasing) Letters from my fans? KARA Bills - our most faithful fans. You wanna pay them? You’re more than welcome. Please, help yourself. Pick one. Gas, Electricity, Cable… MIA (steps away from the bills) More bills? Already? KARA Like you ever notice a month passing. Yes, bills, bills, bills. Fuck them. She throws them in the garbage. MIA You don’t open them? KARA I know what’s in there. Mortgage, Gas, Electricity, Cable&TV, my cell phone, YOUR cell phone, YOUR student loan… MIA But we need to pay them.

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so take this opportunity to advance your goals and your selfesteem. MIA We have to maintain control of the situation. you can “advance / your goals”. Joking my life here. isn’t it? KARA Yeah. He’s right. shut up! MIA We’ll start thinking of a new job for you. the automobile industry is having a hard time so we too. Nothing can be totally bad. an exciting one. You mean swim backwards? 4 . blah. We all must tighten the belt. He parked his car next to yours all the time so he could talk with you after / program. KARA Very nice. make sacrifices. I always thought you could do better than this factory. MIA It’s a joke. Bad news comes in avalanches. Your boss did you a favor! KARA Oh. my best joke ever. blah. Miss Mia. So you better get a job because… I’m… I can’t… I just… I got fired. MIA He was nice though.. KARA Too bad… I was kinda thinking to float on your back for a while… MIA “Float on your back”? I don’t know this expression.KARA That’s a very profound statement. blah. Our old proverb: a kick in the ass is a step forward!? You’ll find another job. And he kissed me on my cheek.. Wait to hear more. a better job. WE do. you’re still young. and he said: you’re attractive. Moron. cuz we are supplying for them. Oh. You’re a good worker. What did your boss say? Why – why you? You said he liked you. something like that. where your creative talent can express itself. Selfish moron. blah. MIA You mean you really… But you’ve been working in this factory for like 17 years. the factory is not working full capacity. Yes. KARA The economy is bad. you’ll find something better.

you’re going to “float on my back”… Kara nods. / a research on KARA I know. like studying a trapped animal. baby sis. follows Kara with her eyes. MIA OK. busy busy bee. I stay home for a while. your rats MIA Ants. KARA They’re yours. stopping from time to time to move an object (a vase. a magazine – anything) 1-2 inches left or right. Kara is pacing the room. unopened bills in her hand. KARA Rats. Then for a direction. She looks a little pale and sick but she starts walking around the living room.KARA No. a pen. why are you wandering around like a drunken fly? 5 . MIA Take a seat. taking care of your cockroaches. I waited for you. Figure things out. MIA Right. Mia. ants. I see… Kara takes the bills out of the garbage can and hands them to Mia. Give myself Tarot readings. whatever. You’re the head of the family now. KARA Did you cook anything? MIA I had to do some work. Ask the universe for a truce. I mean: YOU get a job. KARA Did you eat? MIA No.

What a blasphemy to ask! MIA I’m applying for a few fellowships. MIA It can. Now this PhD thing… You don’t need a PhD to teach in public schools. You give us pills and send us to the shrink. I’m too / tired to argue MIA Biochemistry. Mia. I am working on a revolutionary theory that will change our perception on ant colonies. Miss PhD in Biology. Does it bring any money? Noooo. Ants are just little… ugly. Like everything can be solved with a pill. MIA Are you depressed? KARA When one’s sad or mad or. MIA Why are you talking like this? I thought you understood. / it will KARA Fuck the ants! Think about people for a minute. New… Jersey. OK. yeah. Antarctica. KARA God knows how difficult it was for me to pay for your masters. New York! New-fuckingsomething. you scientists call it “depression”. Miss Know-it-all. Kara sinks in a chair. New… London. New Zeeland. MIA (morosely) What are you saying – I should give up? 6 . believe me: I’d love to drink my brains out and fly away to… China. just sick of life. Bio-fuckin’-chemistry. I dunno. KARA Right.KARA Oh. boring. KORA OK. They need teachers and your English is good enough. harmful … too many. small. most of the time.

A real job. Assembly line. He must hire you. KARA You must get a damn job.. Mia sits on the sofa. She puts the unopened bills on the coffee table. That professor of yours should help. Mia… I came here alone. Do you know what an assembly line is? You’re there with 80 others. To WORK.. MIA Maybe. same gestures… you 7 . You only have one more year and you’re done. MIA I should be a… loser… who can’t finish what she started? KARA Never mind. MIA I’ll have a course to teach next semester. He did. with no English. MIA Adam? He will give me a recommendation. In a factory. KARA And you’ll get a job. I’ll have to be an adjunct for a few years. He promised he would let you teach. A teaching job in a university. You told me so. To send money home. To YOU. You don’t know how things work in academia. won’t you? MIA I’ll be an ABD. You’ll be done. of course. same faces. KARA I’m not a loser.KARA You don’t need that PhD. KARA He must give you more than that. KARA What’s that? MIA All but dissertation. I hope so anyway. I had to rely on a stable salary. but it’s not like he’s gonna hire me full-time. You’re already over-educated.

Hormones in excess / can lead to KARA Maybe this is what “dead” means: boiled egg for breakfast.. KARA (explodes) I’m being… pregnant! MIA You’re pregnant? KARA Yeah. have disappeared from our lives. or sexy. to play… This is not a world for children… MIA You got laid off.try to think of something nice. bed. (trying to joke) You’ll meet a charming Cockroach Prince riding his golden winged rat. Literally. You should… date someone. the lunch break – back home. It’s not the end of the world.. But you can’t. and you’ll be happy / ever after. or clever. 8 . dinner. TV. Do-It-Yourself TAROT. car. factory. or imaginative. This is a world for robots. Did I have time to date? And what is dating anyway – another routine. KARA Stop those silly biology-jokes. Your brain shuts off. shower. You better create clones in your freakin’ lab. adult human-clones who have no desire to laugh. sleep. You become one of those little metal pieces. lunch break – that was actually nice. KARA That’s all you have to say? MIA What about the classical: Who’s the father? KARA It doesn’t matter. MIA You’re being overdramatic. You’re a little hysterical today. to love. He’s married. MIA Wow. Love. not for people. MIA The brain shuts off only when you’re dead. passion. We’re deep in… soap-opera. Mia! They make me puke.

Here I have something to say.MIA He can still recognize the child. I’ll find something. two weeks. we need to take care of the little Pupa. You’re a queen now. Please. MIA Someone from work? He needs to pay child support. I’ll find something. MIA Oh. No. no. I can’t afford it. Pilaf or mashed potatoes? 9 . We’ll love it. I won’t be that. I can’t afford it. MIA Don’t you worry! I’ll find something. I lost my job. a week. I gotta cook something. You’ll see. MIA I’ll talk with Adam. MIA Wait! Please wait a few days. No. remember. I’ll work at the library. Is he… your boss? KARA God. KARA It won’t be any child. She’s gonna / bring lots of KARA We can’t afford her or him. Something. (beat) I’m starving. at the… suicide hotline. KARA You’ll need a full-time job. anything. at the admissions office. I’ll find a solution. We can’t do that. You won’t have time for your research. You don’t need to work anymore. KARA Baby-ant… That makes me a… mommy-ant. no. It’s gonna be nice to have a little baby crawling around. KARA It’s not gonna be enough… we’re talking 3500 a month for just the two of us. KARA Pupa?! MIA Baby-ant. Sit on the sofa. without the little one.

some are not. I’ll cook. The egg is tiny. To open my body to that question and try to answer it. Kara feels unexpectedly dizzy and sits on the sofa. a YES-NO form. looking sad and surprised by her need to just sit) Kara. Maybe I wanted a child but I didn’t want to admit it. read your horoscopes. but… why did you… why didn’t you… if you didn’t want a child. (change of tone) 10 . Go and make notes on… larvae. I’m not a cripple. and cannot move around. I shouldn’t ask. To see what questions the universe sends towards me. The pupa looks somewhat like the adult but is soft. KARA Shut up. Mia heads to the kitchen. very soft and whitish in color. To be surprised. (beat) I guess I cheated a bit. OK? (Kara nods. Mia walks downstage and addresses the audience. Kara closes her eyes.) KARA I’m not just gonna sit here and .. It is also helpless and depends totally on workers for food and care.. unpigmented. almost microscopic in size. an assembly line with clearly defined questions and answers. Don’t you move. KARA Stop call it “pupa”. MIA Mashed potatoes. why didn’t you just use some… you know… contraceptives? KARA Is that what life is? A pack of pills. The larva is legless and grub-like. pupa. Or maybe I just wanted to let things happen naturally. larva. (she stands) MIA You can do your TAROT. MIA Ants develop through a complete life cycle of egg. See what’s gonna be pupa’s sign. and adult.MIA I’ll cook. MIA I like it better than “larva”. (she stands up and gets ready to go to the kitchen. Some are enclosed in a cocoon. 2.

MIA (in low voice) We framed these poor non-reproductive worker-ants… ADAM (into the microphone) This treatment induced nestmate aggression in colonies where a queen was present. She got a nice house. He gestures to Mia to record her observations. Adam and Mia work together. we mimicked reproductive cheaters by applying a synthetic compound typical of fertile individuals on nonreproductive workers. smart and happy. And she has me around. ADAM (to Mia) That’s another issue. She’s an American citizen. freedom… Who needs a man? Anyway. Focus on THIS experiment. Among other things . Pupa must have everything she needs. ADAM (into the microphone) In the ant Aphaenogaster cockerelli. ADAM (into the microphone) Cheaters are identified through information that is inherently reliable.a microphone above a computer on a desk. She’s on to a good start. but also to destroy their eggs. She will be big and strong. I will. I will.I didn’t realize Kara was so unhappy. The Biochemistry Lab at the University. looking from time to time through a microscope. He erases Mia’s recording. If I need to turn into a worker-ant for her. MIA (into the microphone) Some ant species are known not only to attack cheating workers. serving a major function in the regulation of reproduction in social insects. I’m telling you. Back home everybody envies her: she’s THE American. a job. MIA It’s not fair! 11 . This provides the first direct evidence that cuticular hydrocarbons are the informational basis of policing behaviors. 3. making notes. recording some observations.

ADAM An ethical question? Shoot. They are too small. but… We can at least help those ants we framed. They don’t correspond genetically. MIA We can help them have “babies”. Is that OK. We basically framed them. ADAM What are we – a fertility clinic? MIA It’s just fair to allow them now their… little thing. MIA No. it’s unfair for the ants! . ADAM 12 . We’ve been working on this project for a year now. MIA (into the microphone) We applied a synthetic compound typical of fertile individuals to non-reproductive worker ants.what we did. It’s too late. you must be very specific in these recordings.ADAM “Some ant species” is not reliable info. MIA Yes. ethically speaking? ADAM (stopping the recording) Mia! You knew very well what we were doing here when you joined our research team on “reproductive policing in ants colonies”. you’re saying you don’t consider it anymore for your dissertation? MIA I actually have a… an ethical question. Make them seem reproductive cheaters when they are honest workers. now that we’ve seen they were attacked / and ADAM Help them? How do you suggest to help them? We can’t make them queens. The parthenogenesis. I mean they’re getting attacked because of us… And they’re not even trying to reproduce… ADAM Do you have a question here? I don’t really see where are you going with this.

no sugar. ADAM A full-time job? That’s hard to get. the process that allows a female to produce offspring without a mate. And I’ve been here for 24 years now. just “butt”. In our countries it wasn’t such a big deal to be playful with a woman. 13 . go now. (he slaps her ass playfully) Go. Go. MIA But I wasn’t flirting with you. But not impossible for a smart girl like you. 4. I and the ants will wait for you.You must be tired. OK. 25 in August… Bring me a large coffee too! Milk. will you? You were raised differently. That’s very… sexist. There’s no “but” in science. I hate frozen veggies. This is the only thing I couldn’t get used to in America: ice in beverages and cold veggies. yeah. Take 10 and bring me a veggie sandwich from the cafeteria. (joking) We won’t reproduce without you. But you won’t do that. however. I won’t do it with the American girls. Mia addresses the audience. MIA But. That’s all we had back there: a tender playfulness and a beautiful woman’s scent when she flirts with you. ADAM Yeah. Adam… ADAM But-but-but. you’re right. they’d sue me. We are scientists. ADAM “But” again? You must be a little more disciplined if you want that course next semester. Warm it up a bit. MIA The worker ants are biologically capable of a type of parthenogenesis. we have to start the new series of tests. It relieves the tension accumulated in the shitty daily stuff. When they try. It’s fun to flirt a bit. they produce chemicals called pheromones that their sisters detect with antennas. as always. MIA I actually need a full-time job. MIA You’re not allowed to do that.

If a worker tries to "cheat. that would be a true revolution in science. KARA Sure. A motel room. workers are permitted to have their own babies. It’s not like I have eight kids like her. A horny ant’s scent. a biiiiig award. but – enough is enough. I only have a long stressful unlimited break. ADAM You should do something about getting a new job. Of course. I can’t hire Mia full-time. KARA The advantage of being unemployed: I don’t have to rush to get dressed anymore. three with the first husband – the lawyer. KARA If my daddy were the president of the University. but not really the smell we humans know. Kara is still in bed. If the colony lacks a queen. Four with you. you’d lick my toes and sign whatever paper I put in front of you… ADAM Leave my wife out of this. And I’ll get a full-time position. KARA But you must. leave the “queen of coins” out of this. 14 . But. Adam is getting dressed. it was important to figure out how they discover the cheaters. ADAM Must? May I remind you that you’re not my… boss. from theory to practice: I’ll make the worker-ants queens. / one with ADAM We agreed not to talk about her.It's basically smell. only she is allowed to produce the pheromone that signals fertility status. But when a queen is present. More of a scent. Now. we should stop framing those poor ants." her sisters will physically restrain the disobedient ant from successfully reproducing. (beat) It would be much more interesting if we can make them queens. Kara. under the sheets. a faaaaat fellowship. lunchtime. Impossible. I don’t have a lunch break anymore. Revolution and evolution… Yes. that’s it. something! 5. but.

ADAM I’m not gonna get angry. You are particularly bitter today. Kara gets out of the bed. I told you I wouldn’t leave my family / for this KARA Yes. Even bitchy. Did she turn 60? ADAM Enough. no feelings. Just sex. KARA Give Mia a full-time teaching position. KARA You are the Chair of the department. gimme the positive bullshit speech! You married her for the American citizenship. KARA Natural selection – that’s how Mia would call it. a wonderful mother. ADAM I didn’t say “no feelings”… KARA What did you tell… Beth? Just marriage.KARA And of course I’m not 12 years older than you. To tell you what you “must” do. wrapping the sheet around her body. you got laid off. you were very clear. all this family-dance to get ahead. She doesn’t have her PhD yet. yes. You can say whatever you want. it’s time to admit it! ADAM I think I was clear with you from the very beginning. I’ll do whatever I can to help. you can do whatever you want. c’mon. ADAM I can’t do that. She’s not even an ABD. Beth is a beautiful person. I understand. admit it. Kara. and wife. It’s not easy. no sex after 55? ADAM It’s only natural to lose the excitement after 20 years. 15 . KARA Yeah.

Power. In our old countries. hire virgins and fuck them. in the hypothesis of an unwanted pregnancy… (she looks at him: “unwanted”?) There are a few solutions: adoption. I’m here. We have a big house. abortion… or… I could take the child. and there are rules here. She’s really a generous person. 16 . we are in America. fuck everybody up and down. single-motherhood. KARA Fuck you! I won’t give her my child. if you are pregnant – but there are 98% chances that you are not as you haven’t gotten pregnant in the last 5 years – however. blah. ADAM You should have told me that. fire the husbands of the women he wanted to fuck. that’s why it’s called democracy. I like things… natural. he could do whatever he wanted: fuck all the pretty employees. That’s good. ADAM Well. blah. KARA How do you know? Is that a scientifically proven fact? ADAM Let’s say. they had power those bastards. (beat) What if I’m pregnant. KARA Wow. Kara. left and right. KARA I’m telling you now. each boss was a little dictator. I don’t “smell” any pregnancy. Kara. But I’m not there.ADAM Things don’t work like this here. doctor. ADAM You started all this “let’s have a little tragedy” game. Relax. Had I stayed there… I might have become one of them. KARA Blah. what then? ADAM You’re saying you don’t take any pills? KARA I hate pills. I’m sure Beth wouldn’t say no. You’re not pregnant. we’re not poor… see “the devil is not that dark” as we used to say in the old country.

same time? KARA I dunno. including the queen. ADAM (about to leave the room) You’ll feel better next week. You’re in a bad mood. It’s just… I don’t “smell” any future for us. sorry. KARA Give my regards to your “queen”. oh. KARA It’s not a game. ADAM So… next week. I don’t think so. Released from the everyday activity of the colony and focused only on reproductive tasks. wife. She has wings until after her mating flight. you’ll see. Even though these two types of ants begin life remarkably similar. It’s understandable. I’ll call you on Monday.ADAM I gotta go now. The workers are sterile. when she removes them. (change of tone) 17 . ADAM I don’t have time for games. I have a big faculty meeting at 2 pm. defend the nest. care for the brood. and feed both immature and adult ants. KARA Sure. KARA Don’t call me anymore. MIA A queen is generally the largest individual in the colony. She laughs nervously. 6. Good luck. He leaves. ADAM OK. Kara. wingless females who build and repair the nest. queens live up to 10 times longer than worker ants. their individual experiences and differences in aging sculpt their brains and behaviors in vastly different ways.

18 . OK. ride the wheel with composure. You’ve been defeated. All right. (beat) I’ll dedicate my life to finding a compound that makes them queens for life. I can’t get hired even in the admissions office or cafeteria without a green card. KARA (reading the cards as she turns them) In the Self position: Ten of swords. to Career Services. I admit it. that’s irreversible. Sometimes you are up. That’s nothing you can do and it’s appropriate to admit it. but… (beat) It’s because I’m a foreign student. to the IT labs. At least for a while. Poverty consciousness… Right. You’re feeling the taste of dust. For turning workers into queens. KARA Hey. 7. For giving them WINGS. Compose yourself… Four of coins in the Challenges position. the Campus Administration. Kara gives herself a TAROT reading. You never know what’s gonna come. This is gonna be my big discovery! I can “smell” the Nobel Prize. MIA What are the cards saying? KARA Same old shit: we are poor and aware of it. MIA Hey. Get used to it. In the Situation position: Wheel of Fortune. I’m gonna develop a synthetic compound that will make them “smell” like Queens. Nothing new here. The living room of Kara’s and Mia’s house. the Suicide Hotline. sometimes you are down.Here’s my big plan: I’m gonna transform those poor worker-ants we framed as reproductive cheaters into QUEENS. And their eggs will automatically be queen’s eggs. How was your day? Any news on the job front? MIA I went to the Library. Mia enters. Until they reproduce. throwing her bag on the sofa. can you believe that? KARA What’s not to believe.

And teaching of course. I guess I’m… paralyzed. for them it’s even worse than for us. Enough for a month of life and an abortion. they pay so little – like 10 bucks an hour. I’ll see. MIA We want this child! KARA I don’t want it. MIA You don’t have any savings. but they are hiding it… Rich people don’t like to admit they got poor. MIA What are we gonna do? How much do you have in savings? KARA There are 4 families on our street going through foreclosures. She wants to avoid the painful topics. or even more. This shitty work situation actually motivates me to focus fully on my research. 19 . no… That’s not an option. KARA It’s a necessity. time is progress. they’re used to having money… We can lose the house. (beat) Why don’t you say anything? KARA I dunno. You work 8 hours. It sucks! (beat) Anyway. I can do a lot in those 8 hours. KARA I have about… 4000 dollars. Time is important. but that’s a long shot. except for research and grants that I could get for my research. Which means I can’t really work there. sinking into a chair. I’ll look for some new boring job… MIA No. A waste of time. KARA We need a brighter light in the courtyard. I can progress my research. the whole day. Kara stands up and goes to the window. Mia sits down. and you can only buy like what: 2 books. I’m just… I dunno.MIA I can’t be “work-study”. Then.

Two prosperous Oxen. MIA I don’t think I did. KARA I know some people who knew him since he came to this country. MIA You never mentioned it. This year is gonna be good for him. That’s why he married her. He changed his name. Kohn is actually Kohnjevich or Konallo or Kohnagamba. His wife is an Ox too. MIA I didn’t say she was fat. He’s your boss. he cut the last part… he wanted so much to be an American. You’re a Goat and I’m a Rat. I’ve never seen her. MIA How do you know when Adam was born? KARA You mentioned he was 48. Good for them. something like that. KARA You did. MIA I thought I was a Tiger in the Chinese horoscope. 20 . not for goats and rats.MIA What? Oh. (beat) Your professor is an Ox. You told me he was 48 and all the gossip about his old fat wife. A 100 Watts bulb will do it. That one is a 40. KARA You wish. yeah. I guess that’s not for us. (shared silence) KARA The Year of the Ox is said to bring good fortune and prosperity. KARA I wanted you to respect him. MIA You just found out about all that? KARA I’ve known it for years.

MIA Why don’t you ask the father of the baby to help? That would make much more sense. But the father must pay / something. KARA He wants to take my baby and raise it with his wife. I’d rather kill him. The baby. I got accepted into the program based on my own merits. That’s not gonna happen. MIA No! We will take care of her. KARA 21 . MIA No. Mia’s revelation. KARA I’m sorry. He wrote the support letter for your student visa. Better to have everything out in the open. MIA It’s his… You fucked Adam. not my boss. He impregnated / you. Or him.MIA My professor and my thesis advisor. Mia takes it in. More or less. KARA (outburst) When is that Adam gonna really do something for us!? Pause. MIA Since… when? KARA Five years. KARA He must give you a teaching position or a grant. Silence. Mia. I should have… Anyway. MIA It sucks… KARA That’s how we got you here.

MIA No. party music can be heard in the background) Male ants are generally winged and usually keep their wings until death. drinking a beer. KARA Mia! Wait! 8. Mia. KARA But you don’t drink. to make some decisions. MIA (to a male student off stage) Fuck off. I didn’t get in because of you. something. The places were limited. anything. Not in my condition. MIA He liked my paper. MIA (heading out) I’m going to the campus. whisky. generally within two weeks. Apparently. You can’t stand swimming alone in your own DO-IT-YOURSELF shit. the male ant's only function is to mate with the queen. drinking) 22 . (pause.Of course. I got in because I’m good! I’m good! (she puts a jacket on) I need to go out. He really liked my work! KARA He did. slamming the door. Once he does. He said it was “revolutionary”. But he was able to accept you instead of other foreign students. / we… MIA It’s not WE. we are in a shitty situation. it was a stupid exchange of saliva and I DIDN’T LIKE IT! Nerd! (she gets outside. You want to drown both of us. YOU are in a shitty situation and dragged me down with you. He wouldn’t have accepted you otherwise. She leaves. I need… beer. he dies. that wasn’t a kiss. KARA You never go to those parties! You can’t leave me alone. or him. or because you and him. It’s a party there. Mia! We need to talk.

MIA You must help your baby. I got your point. it’s not OK to do such things to your professor. stupid! (pause. hasn’t she. This is a strategy to show me that framing non-reproductive ants as cheaters is wrong. I hate you!!! 9. My sister hasn’t had a real vacation in 17 years! 17 years of summers in that freakin’ factory while you and your wife – and your kids – were laying in the sun in Cancun or… fucking Jamaica. We are not in Hollywood here. drinking) That wife of yours. Adam is sitting. MIA So you don’t want to admit it’s your child. Do you deny that? ADAM Wait a minute. What do we have? Me and my sister – we have nothing. Adam Kohn. We have a mortgage and routines and worries and debt. she has money. you are dead! I’m gonna cut cut cut your wings! You don’t deserve them. she has it all. Mia stands. With you. bastard! You have a wife. ADAM OK.Adam Kohn. you are married. She’s the real Queen. drinking) It’s not that I don’t like you. ADAM Oh. ADAM What baby are you talking about? MIA Kara is pregnant. ADAM Mia. I do. I would. That shouldn’t interfere with our work here. The Biochemistry Lab. that. What is so important that it couldn’t wait? That you didn’t prepare the synthetic hydrocarbon? MIA I know about you and my sister. She has kids. I would have liked you as a brother-in-law. I hate you. she has a house. I was planning to help you guys but now… 23 . She has you. But guess what. No need for this kinda… soap-opera. why did you have to fuck around with my sister? (pause. Your thesis advisor.

MIA But, but, but… now I found out that you cheated on your wife with my sister. That you got her pregnant. We are … family now. Her baby is your child and my niece. Or nephew. We both have some responsibility in all this. ADAM So this is serious. She’s really pregnant. MIA Yeah, she pukes like every five minutes. You don’t wanna be in our home now. We are facing foreclosure, she lost her job, we are in a kinda… desperate situation. ADAM Well. This is quite some news. MIA So I need you to do two things. ADAM I can take care of the baby. I already told that to Kara. MIA Liar. You said you didn’t know. ADAM She presented me with the hypothesis, not the fact. MIA We don’t want to give the baby to you and your wife. We want 4000 dollars each month, as child support, and we won’t even tell your wife. And I want something else too. ADAM You are not in the position to negotiate with me. MIA I’m not negotiating with you. I’m telling you what’s what. ADAM Don’t piss me off, I want to find a way to support you guys, but / if you piss me off MIA You will do what I’m telling you to do. And more. ADAM This is ridiculous. (He stands up.)

24

MIA I filed a sexual harassment complaint. Tomorrow is going to the dean. ADAM What?! You don’t have any reasons to complain. I didn’t do anything to you. Except slap your ass once or twice. That’s not sexual harassment. MIA I took the liberty to add some stuff. A “synthetic compound”. I said you forced me to give you a blowjob. ADAM (amused) That’s crazy. Nobody will believe you. (seriously) I have a certain prestige in this school, why would anyone believe you? MIA Because Mary Segal and Megan Kartis accused you of sexual harassment six years ago and you managed to come out clean, to get pushed back in business by your father-inlaw, the President of the University. But, but, but – that can’t happen again because he retired last year. I did my research. Silence. Finally Adam takes the whole situation in. ADAM What do you actually want? MIA 4000 dollars each month – baby support. Pause. They look at each other. ADAM OK. MIA And you won’t take the baby. ADAM That’s fine. Perfect. I don’t really need a new born. I have grown up children. (beat) So this is it. I’ll take 10 to calm myself. (beat) Do you want a coffee or anything from cafeteria? MIA I’m not done yet.

25

ADAM I won’t slap your ass anymore, I won’t touch you or your sister ever in my life. I swear to God. You’re troublemakers. MIA Great. But now comes what I really want, for myself I mean. The other stuff was for Kara. ADAM Shoot. MIA We stop the experiment, we won’t frame the ants as reproductive cheaters anymore. We will create a new compound that makes them seem queens to the other ants, so they can grow wings and reproduce as they please. That’s my final condition. ADAM Now this is really silly. We can’t interfere in the life of the ant colony in that way. We can’t create queens. It would be an elaborate and useless process – why would we want to do that? MIA Because we can. ADAM This is the most fantasist idea I’ve ever heard. MIA It’s not negotiable. The sexual harassment complaint is my most convincing piece of writing ever. ADAM Do you realize what you’re asking me? To stop the experiment we got funding from the Einstein Foundation and start something else, a completely ridiculous something else… a sort of high school utopia… a simplistic nonsense… a useless aberration… MIA You can “frame” the topic in a clever way so that we can still get funding. You’ve done it before. You thought I didn’t notice? I’m not stupid. ADAM You’re not stupid, I give you that. You’re just a little nuisance. A HUGE nuisance. You destroyed our nice time together in the lab. Our camaraderie. Our joy when a compound works and gives expected results. Everything is gone now… I can’t be friends with my blackmailer.

26

I wish I knew that from the beginning. MIA We don’t need to be friends. How American you’ve become. The fellow workers sniffed out the “cheater. Communism meets Amazon – I guess. Through pheromone 27 . she didn’t have any friends. so we understand better what’s at stake here. the solution for everything: a shrink. We are not in that business anymore. 10. she’d never socialize much. That’s how you solve problems. Not anymore. She’s touched but wouldn’t admit it. the cracks on the floor and in the wall… ADAM She needs to see somebody. KARA Right. When they were returned to the colony. We are now working on a compound that would allow the workers to be perceived as queens.He looks at her with sadness. just books. I would have never accepted her in my program! KARA Shhhh. Soon it’s gonna be an abundance of eggs and everybody will take care of everybody else. 11. She’s not crazy. She’s been like that since she was little. then pluck a few innocent ants from a nest and dab the chemical on them. Adam and Kara in a coffee shop. People can hear us. MIA (to the audience) Let me explain again.” biting and attacking her. she’s sort of a genius. books and notebooks. We used to produce a synthetic hydrocarbon in the lab that had the same olfactory properties as the natural one. they were promptly attacked. the girl has parasites in the… (pointing at his head) “attic”. I’m telling you. She’d take notes about everything. not the causes… Anything else you wanted to tell me? ADAM She stopped our experiment on reproductive cheaters! That experiment helped us understand the ways ants and other social insects communicate. The potent pentocosane painted on that little non-fertile (non-cheating) worker was making her a reproductive mimic. The crumbles of bread on the table. We can just… work together. books. Treating the symptoms. ADAM She’s insane.

although the methods of “reproductive policing” may be different. 28 . Mia thinks you’re framing those poor ants for this “huge discovery”. a sacrifice restores balance. But why am I telling you all this… KARA To justify your cheating on your wife maybe? ADAM You didn’t get a word from what I said. The temptation to cheat exists in any society. ADAM Yeah. But that crazy little bitch can spoil everything. pardon. KARA You see… Mia is probably still a virgin. Pause. I’m OK with giving money to you. for the good of all society. Except for Tarot Readings. It’s for people too. from insects to humans. she needs all the others to survive. KARA Don’t call her that. a little I-Ching maybe… ADAM Are you good at that kinda stuff? KARA I’ve become an expert. Some hormones could have gotten into her head. But I can actually understand that some people. their behavioral patterns help us make huge progress in the study of aging. ants must be sacrificed for… progress. A person is like a little ant. she must sacrifice her own interest for the greater good. I’m OK with that. ADAM A virgin? (beat) I don’t know what to do with her. Well. Social harmony is dependent on strict systems to prevent and punish cheating individuals. KARA I didn’t get the details. ADAM So… How do you feel? How do you spend your days? KARA Doing nothing. Like the TAROT card of The Hanged Man.signaling. something like that. It’s a huge discovery! It’s not just about ants. it’s for our baby. but I got the main points.

ADAM C’mon. A tensed laugh. you have plenty of time. Beth paid 200 dollars to a Gypsy lady who “cleansed our house of bad energies”… KARA (ironically) And I “cleansed your aura” for free. I have an hour at my disposal. Let’s go to the motel. Together. They laugh. Adam. I can’t do it anymore.your wife’s girlfriends? ADAM People make money from that. ADAM We really need a relief from all this bad energy and tension. We have this… little thing. They sip their coffees in silence. KARA There’s no “together”. KARA For the baby. ADAM What’s going on with your house? New threats of foreclosure? KARA 29 . ADAM But… I’m giving you all this money now. KARA I told you it’s over. not for sex.ADAM Shall I send you some paying customers? KARA Like who? . KARA No. I’m sorry. ADAM Now more than ever we need to see each other.

And now what? ADAM Now you’ll have a baby. ADAM You’re irritable. I have a meeting in 15 minutes. I gave you five years of my life. a grant. 30 . KARA Why? You think you’re the only man who’d sleep with me? ADAM No. something. ADAM (stopping her) Wait. I didn’t / mean to… KARA Listen. With my daily nausea. for Mia. Kara: you’re 40 now. I… KARA I’m gonna go now. 12.I’m thinking of selling that damn house… move to… New York maybe… reset my life… 17 years. for my parents. It’s normal in the first 3 months of pregnancy. KARA I don’t need a baby. ADAM Kara. It might be… your only chance to have a child. KARA (standing up) Thanks. it’s just… you’re not getting any younger. Sorry. KARA Fuck “normal”! ADAM You must look at the facts. working like a stupid ant – for the house. For the coffee. She leaves. Take care of her. Adam. You owe me this: give Mia a fellowship. He stares at her leaving.

starring at the nest of ants. I don’t like them. so they start emanate the fertility scent. with a queen and all that. KARA Those are the eggs? They’re like little salt spots. I can. rich and safe lives. They take care of the eggs. I’m sorry. not even for reproduction. MIA You don’t like ants’ infestation. and they begin procreating. They help and feed each other. But the difference is that in the ants’ world I can make a difference. but… This nest we have here is a peaceful one. MIA Exactly. Kara looks at the nest. This nest here is a communist nest. The one we created in the lab is a capitalist nest. everybody is equal. even in the ants colonies. They only eat your garbage.Mia is in the backyard of their house. I thought it was just propaganda. Mia. the ants that nest in homes and destroy furniture. there. Look. My ants are not attacking each other. full. KARA I don’t like to look at the ants. in this nest. 31 . We don’t need males here. They live like sisters. I’m cold. let’s go inside. they work together beautifully. I can see it applied everywhere. KARA OK. Now I understand it better. I removed the queen from this nest. MIA (to the audience) "The history of all past society has consisted in the development of class antagonisms…the exploitation of one part of society by the other" wrote Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in the Communist Manifesto. see. They don’t bother you if you don’t bother them. I am studying both societies. that’s what I did. Mia and Kara are in their house’s courtyard. I used to hate that quote in the old country. MIA We need to talk about Pupa. 13. and no one else interferes with that. My ants can decide when they want babies and concentrate on that.

You spoiled everything. baby-in-the-belly support. until you get a job. Growing a colony of ants in my backyard. You study ants at the lab. Ew. MIA Don’t kill her! KARA I’m going inside.KARA What’s to talk about? It grows inside me. I decided to go. With the abortion clinic. my decision. Adam is paying child support. 32 . Well. why did you have to do this here? MIA I brought a queen and I let her create the colony from scratch. Then I removed the queen / and KARA Great. It was magnificent to see it growing. I got an ant on my leg. You didn’t get any job. In my own backyard. I guess I should be grateful you didn’t bring them in the house. MIA But you promised me… KARA I said I’d wait a few days. It makes me irritable. I had enough of this… ants-zoo. It / makes me MIA I answered the phone when you were in the bathroom. It was a lady confirming your appointment. KARA That’s not what I wanted. MIA But we need the money. And not tell anyone about it. KARA Yes. MIA But I got money for us. I told you to leave him out of this. Kara shakes her leg. It makes me vomit. It’s my body. In the kitchen. KARA I don’t want his money. To eat at the same table with us.

I’d finally benefit from all those “exciting” evenings filled with horoscopes and DO-ITYOURSELF TAROT. I would. I’d move to New York and open a small fortune-telling business. would you? KARA Actually. a backyard. that’s their karma. mom and dad sleeping in the living room and the two us in the bedroom? You forgot all that. MIA But. working and / multiplying MIA Please. KARA I don’t need a big house. work. KARA No. in my heart. she’s the new energy. I feel all this energy growing inside me. working and multiplying. I could live in a small one-bedroom apartment in New York and use the living room for readings. You wouldn’t like to have your house destroyed. a deck? Don’t you remember us crammed in 2 rooms. it’s not in my belly. It’s even in my legs. KARA No. Their home. 33 . MIA Be careful not to step on them! KARA (stopping and acting like she’s ready to step on the ants) What if I step on them and kill a few. I’ll do it for others. and down here.Kara walks away... astrology. MIA It’s the baby. go. asking me to go. go. It’s the chemical signal of you being pregnant. It’s their nest. Then nothing would keep me here . It’s somewhere else. You know how many people back home would die to have a house like this: 4 rooms.. We have this beautiful house. Why struggle to be like everyone else here: work. I can now open myself to a question and the Universe answers me. who’s gonna care? They just multiply and multiply. numerology. in my brain. don’t. TAROT and I-Ching readings. anything. far away… She walks towards the house without stepping on the ants’ nest.. MIA It’s Pupa. it’s not the baby. Tell people that nothing is fixed. you can start all over again if you want.

MIA There are extraordinary circumstances when creating a compound to attract attention is acceptable. She stops. The natural outcome. Mia is speechless. Do me a big. is to make the eggs impossible to be recognized as “second-class”. For our little Pupa… 15. MIA You can’t just… pack and go.. we must see what can be done for the eggs now. The Biochemistry Lab. including nestmate recognition and sexual attraction. The chemicals are used in other contexts as well. Me. Of triggering the right response. as the first step of transforming a worker into a queen. I was wrong to focus on the workers. 34 . Adam is immersed in a microscope observation. When the stakes are so high that something apparently unethical is necessary. the American dream? I’d rather have my own little nightmare. ADAM Your synthetic hydrocarbon seems to work well on the eggs. Workers use hydrocarbons to discriminate between eggs laid by workers and those laid by queens. husband. house. pupa. what we must do now. The desired response.work. They are not being destroyed by the other ants. Because the final goal is ethical. Mia writes a huge U on the front wall of their house. big favor: grow up! She heads towards the house. MIA (into the microphone) All aspects of reproduction in insect societies are regulated through cuticular hydrocarbon signals. towards… what?. pushing. There are … things… responsibilities… people who are relying on you. car. We tested that and indeed.. turn towards the audience and addresses it. Mia is recording. YOU are actually my baby. kids? I’m sooo tired of pushing. When your act is actually a form of nurturing. the ants can say which are queen’s eggs and which are workers. so they must be seen as queen’s eggs. When the goal excuses the means. I’m contradicting myself… No. 14. / mom KARA Right. Maybe “right” is not the… right word.

soldier. worker. pupa. I mean really growing.MIA Yes. ADAM That’s a bit too much to ask from the poor brainless ants. we can see how long the worker turned queen lives compared to the worker that remains a worker. MIA I want workers to be treated like queens. MIA I want to make them realize that it’s OK to be both. (he looks at Mia who seems concerned with something else) What’s the matter? We are getting closer to your dream. Soon I could write a whole dictionary. Isn’t that what you wanted? MIA I want more now. egg. queen… anything else you can think of? MIA Worker-queen. it’s working. The NYU researchers are already making a lot of progress in a study about epigenetics’ influence on behavior and aging. MIA I’m not particularly interested in the studies of aging. ADAM That would be impossible. war. it can actually help us understand better the aging process too. I’m beginning to be quite fluent in this hydrocarbon sign language. ADAM You can have them start new colonies. The ants will be perceived as either workers or queens. the workers we “framed” will soon be recognized as queens. I thought we’re working on making a few workers queens and I give you that. It’s a field that’s new and growing. ADAM 35 . reproduction. ADAM You should be. ADAM What dictionary: food. I’ve grown to find this experiment quite fascinating. larva. There are no hyphenated words in the ants’ world.

but you know. You should see somebody. Everybody is equal there and they can reproduce as they please. I created a “pregnancy” signal for her. Similar to the chemical signal of the reproductive ants. We must go there before it happens. MIA Like what. MIA I’ve already taken a few important steps. Please. you know that. I want to help them! ADAM Mia. MIA You screwed everything up. It would make it clear to everybody that it’s my baby… Kara doesn’t want that. You can draw a parallel that involves social psychology and even political studies. ADAM I don’t know if it’s wise for me to go there. maybe? ADAM I’m not gonna say an extra word about that. ADAM What did you do? MIA I wrote on the front wall of our house. MIA (compulsively) I want to make a difference in the ants’ life! I don’t want just to study them. Kara has an appointment for an abortion on Thursday morning. DON’T LET HER HAVE AN ABORTION! ADAM That’s not / gonna help. Your career can progress very well. your behavior worries me. you’re closer than ever to that teaching position. a man? Have sex with somebody? With you. with a non-washable marker. in the humans’ language. Stop her literally. in big capital letters: UNEMPLOYED PREGNANT WOMAN. It won’t help. A true democratic society compared to the totalitarian one with a queen. OK? I’m worried as a teacher for his favorite student. I could even get you the Dean’s Fellowship for outstanding research. I’m not sexually harassing you. We can publish it in Current Biology. we can write together an article summing up our new study about the worker turned queen. We made some very interesting new explorations thanks to you. 36 . Don’t screw everything up. Mia. at 11 am.That’s possible in a colony without a queen.

ADAM We are not ants. Adam. Any neighbor or person at the supermarket will address that somehow. you’ll come to take me to the Lab or check on my ants nest. I have to talk with her directly. people will know about it. ADAM I’m not sure / this is a good MIA We must stop her.MIA I also wrote it on her car. I’m calling Kara. There’s no way to hide it now. Wake up! There are similarities between the ant society and the human one. ADAM OK. MIA No! She doesn’t want to hear from you. It’s exactly what I’m talking about. ADAM Regarding the process of aging and the factors that influence it. The society will impose its self-regulating rules. Mia. We make decisions for ourselves. We have a consciousness. You must come to our house on Thursday morning. People wouldn’t think anything bad. Like five minutes ago you were drawing parallels between the two societies. a brain. MIA Like behavior and reproductive policies. ADAM Are you crazy. but there are also HUGE differences. Mia? MIA Do you want your Pupa to be born or not? ADAM Pupa? MIA Your baby. MIA The ants make decisions too. something like that. 37 .

ADAM I’ve never been to your house. MIA She never invited you? ADAM Never. MIA Well. ADAM (inappropriately amused) OK. Thank you. MIA I swear on my never getting the Nobel Prize. Mia opens the door for Adam. you know. MIA Good. 38 . they enter the living room together. I invite you. 16. I’ll be at your house at 9 am. Yesterday when I got home at 8. ADAM What you did on the wall… Crazy. You shouldn’t have done that. (a short awkward moment) ADAM Let’s see what those little queens are doing. Mia’s and Kara’s house. she was already sleeping.30. Wake her up? This is not like her. I don’t know what to do. ADAM Let her sleep. Where is Kara? MIA She’s not up yet. yes? You won’t frame me. They go back to the microscope.ADAM (beat) You’ll say I’m there for a research matter.

Well-decorated… MIA It’s big. we kinda have our own / forest ADAM It’s Kara’s design. She has a gift for artsy stuff. ADAM Guess what. And now is 9. ADAM (sips from his coffee) It’s a good sign if she misses the appointment. I LOVE the backyard. I guess. hasn’t she. You should see the backyard. wait half an hour. MIA Please. Couldn’t focus on anything else. MIA (sips from her coffee) I’m worried. even on weekends she can’t sleep more than 8. Your biorhythm changes. To be sure she doesn’t get to the appointment. Mia gestures towards the table: two cups with coffee are waiting for them.MIA She’s always up at 7. yes. They sip their coffees. (looking around) You guys have a nice house.15! ADAM It must be the pregnancy. (beat) Do you want a coffee or something? ADAM Coffee sounds good. MIA I’ve already made the coffee. ADAM I don’t think it’s good for her to find me here. Something is not right. It means that deep down her conscience she doesn’t want to do it. MIA (excited) Really?! 39 . One of your worker ants separated from the nest. MIA She’s stylish.

it didn’t make much sense. laying eggs. mating. that’s not fair! ADAM I didn’t plan that. she seems to want to start a new colony.ADAM She couldn’t move too far but she behaves like a queen. I promise. she looks sick. I’m not sure yet. Kara. MIA Why didn’t you go home? You wanted to be the first one who sees the queen-worker. she spills some coffee on her blouse. Kara appears. 40 . Our experiment gave an unexpected positive result. I just… it was too late to drive for an hour. I just came to take Mia to the lab. KARA What is he doing here? ADAM (standing up) Good morning. (pointing at her blouse) You need to put cold water on those coffee stains. MIA I don’t care about this blouse! ADAM You’ll be the first one who sees her growing wings. but I think she’s growing wings too. to begin laying eggs. She had huge black circles around her eyes. ADAM I was feeling tired. On the couch in my office. MIA YES! Can’t wait to see her! Did you go to the lab first thing in the morning? ADAM I slept there. Mia is surprised. MIA That wasn’t fair… ADAM It wasn’t premeditated. MIA But you never sleep in the lab.

ADAM She’s right. But she wasn’t really crushing me. MIA That’s not possible. MIA What do you mean? KARA I got rid of that little ant in my belly. You’ve never slept until 9. KARA I can do it.MIA You look like shit. you must be / careful KARA There’s no “condition” anymore. Kara pours herself coffee. MIA You don’t look good. Go to your lab. are you feeling OK? KARA I had an awful dream. Mia tries to help. And she kept growing until she almost crushed me under her weight. We should take you to the hospital. she was writing on me: “Unemployed Pregnant Woman”… Horrible dream. to crush me again and again. KARA Like you know what’s a normal nausea. You don’t look well. I was giving birth to a fucking ant and it was growing and growing and growing and I had to breast feed her but I couldn’t because she was so ugly and disgusting. This doesn’t look like a normal nausea. You and your ants… leave me alone. There are probably things changing in your body because your condition but still. Your appointment was / for today. KARA 41 . Then she grew wings and tried to fly but the ceiling would stop her so she’d come back to me. MIA We just… we wanted to make sure you’re OK.

In a supportive environment. I’m not dumb. down and down. Nothing. lunch break. Pause. there’s nothing that we have “together”. (checking her pulse and her temperature. Why should they. work. reproduce! Give me a break with your reproduction. dinner. Kara moans) She’s gonna be OK. MIA Kara! Let’s take her to the hospital! ADAM Help me put her on the bed. My mistake. up and down. KARA It’s my body. ADAM You shouldn’t have done this. I changed the appointment. ants. I understand everything about your “experiment”. She’s exhausted. work. 42 . ADAM You had an abortion? MIA No! KARA Yes. I’m not an ant in your lab. MIA I’ll stay home with her. Emotionally more than physically. to pour fertility chemicals on me and see how I give birth and how other ants attack me. to ride the Wheel of Fortune. ants… She faints. work. TV. She just needs to relax. ants. I’m free. I’m smarter. up and down. I went yesterday afternoon. car. MIA We stopped that study. My decision. (to Adam) There’s no such thing as “our” baby anymore.You think you’re smart. breakfast. It’s done. why should we reproduce? To bring more ants into this world. We are now changing worker ants into queens so they can reproduce / freely KARA Reproduce.

but… (Kara) Let’s see how she responds to the wings’ growing. I wish I could paint this past week white and write new deeds on it. 43 . observing the ants. I changed the environment.ADAM Good. It doesn’t matter anymore. 17. Adam and Mia in the Lab. How can I still give Kara wings? Is money wings? Is love wings? Hope? Fun? Relaxation? A plane ticket to Cancun? To Paris? To fucking Jamaica? What gives wings to humans? 18. ADAM Could. ADAM It should happen AFTER the mating ritual. I triggered a new set of consequences. Maybe this is the best for her. is she? (change of tone – she stops painting) Kara’s abortion is my fault. Mia paints the front wall of the house white. MIA My worker-ant is growing wings! I should be sooo happy. What’s done is done. addressing the audience. Then she’s not a queen. Is she gonna fly to mate with a male? Or choose to do it by herself… What if she chooses not to mate and not to do it by herself? That’s impossible. Should. MIA We could have stopped it. (beat) I’m wondering if… MIA You are responsible for this? ADAM I should have called her yesterday… MIA I should have checked with the clinic again… ADAM Well.

MIA But she could reproduce. The genetic drive. even if we made the other ants take her for one. Your bet is on nurture. MIA So… are we doing it? Shall I prepare the compound for the eggs? ADAM Are you taking the bet? MIA Yes. / you’ll see. I told you. give them a chance to a different life! ADAM She knows she’s not really a queen. We need to change the focus: the eggs. they will become queens while other eggs with the same genetic attributes will just be workers or soldiers. MIA No. In a nourishing environment. ADAM It’s genetic. Or. if she’s treated like a queen since she’s an egg. ADAM And what do I get if I’m right? MIA Nothing. MIA I thought she’d start a new colony. she’ll start to behave like a queen. 44 . What? A sandwich? A coffee? A book? (joking) A kick in the ass? A kiss? But you’re not right. Mine is on nature. ADAM She doesn’t have what it takes. If you nurture them appropriately.MIA I can’t believe she got rid of her wings. it can’t be that. believing they are meant to be queens. ADAM The old nature versus nurture debate. It’s about the eggs! We give them “princess” chemical scent. they’ll develop into queens! Real queens. make her eggs look like the queen’s eggs.

I meant to tell you this earlier. I recommended you and you got it. ADAM I can drive you home if we leave now. are you? ADAM (beat) You got the Dean’s Fellowship. Take a seat.000 dollars. She’s immersed in Tarot readings. ADAM It’s 9 pm. A therapist I mean. are you? 45 . MIA What? You’re not firing me. MIA No. A little awkward moment. I kept waiting for the right moment. MIA You’re not kidding. I-Ching. 35. How’s your sister doing? MIA She doesn’t talk much. you name it… She walks around home “cleansing energies”. ADAM She should see somebody. MIA What?! ADAM Yeah. Adam. I must do it today so we can apply it tomorrow. baby. But I’m glad she’s into something. Feng Shui.ADAM A kiss. Without a sexual harassment complaint attached to it. Like we have money for a therapist when a foreclosure is looming over our heads… ADAM Listen. Mandala. MIA I’m gonna prepare the hydrocarbon. MIA That’s a good “joke”. leave it for tomorrow.

you gotta go home and tell Kara. 15. MIA Adam… You really… I mean… you’ve just washed all your sins. Kara is at the table. Help my researcher to focus on her work. MIA Adam. ADAM You’ll get it in two installments.. Mia is speechlessly happy. She starts jumping like a child. and that I can’t continue the project without your knowledge and dedication. I said and she agreed. Mia. It means I should trust my intuition.ADAM I told the Dean that you are in the middle of a very important research. this is… I mean this is like really… Oh. You’re my best researcher. MIA I can focus on research!!! (beat) We can pay the bills… and the mortgage… we can keep the house! ADAM See. Adam. 46 . Pause. doing a TAROT reading for herself. So I’ll get all that money?! I’ve never had that kind of money in my life.000 upfront. MIA What are the cards telling you? KARA (showing her a card) The Star. 20.. but some personal and material circumstances are putting lots of pressure on you. my God!. 19. I should do whatever I feel like doing. ADAM You deserve this fellowship.000 at the end of the semester. MIA (half-joking) You should do one of those readings for me too. Mia enters the living room. I’m attuned to divine wisdom.

MIA (sitting at the table) OK. MIA “Illuminated”? KARA Get answers or insights. Shoot. KARA Come over here. MIA I’m curious. KARA (arranges the cards on the table) OK. Pick a card. 47 . MIA Do I have to think of something in particular? KARA Yes. KARA I know what it means. KARA You really want a reading? Are you sure? MIA Yes. MIA All right. KARA Shoot?! MIA It means “go on”. focus on an issue that you want illuminated by this reading.KARA You don’t believe in TAROT. I’m thinking of something. But you never used it before.

) This one doesn’t look good. KARA Pick another one.Mia picks a card and shows it to Kara. KARA C’mon. (She picks one and shows it to Kara. I don’t want this Genius card spoiled with a… Broken Heart or Death or something. You’re able to do something out of nothing. KARA Very interesting. no. MIA What does that mean? KARA You spend too much time alone. This is the so-called Genius card. You’re studying life in all its forms. we need three cards. KARA It’s the Hermit in the Challenges position. Three of coins. MIA I like this game. 48 . MIA No. To find a soul-mate. MIA Don’t give me that. never ceasing to wonder. MIA OK. The Hermit is old but at heart he’s actually a child. KARA Pick another one. MIA Nothing new. To nurture / other people. KARA Your challenge is to try to connect with people. to question and explore the universe.

money. Really great. KARA Maybe they’ll give you a teaching position. (She picks one and shows it to Kara. singing the Abba refrain. money… MIA You know what… there’s some truth in this game. Kara joins her. 49 . money. Don’t move. money . It means wealth. my God.) What now? KARA Ten of coins. It means you are moving among the Privileged. Tah-dah-daaaam! I got the Dean’s Fellowship! KARA How much? MIA 35. money. MIA (standing up) OK. the rest in June! KARA Oh.must be funny… in the rich man’s world…! KARA This is great. Don’t faint. Mia! MIA Yes. KARA Yes! MIA (dancing) Money. yes! She throws some TAROT cards up in the air.MIA The last one. money! Money.000 next week. money! They both dance. happy. That’s a good one. KARA/MIA Money.000! 20. yes.

MIA What are you talking about? It’s WE. MIA 50 . You lost at poker! KARA (ironically) Yeah. He understands.MIA We can keep the house. No hard feelings. We can pay the bills. I don’t have to worry about you anymore. He knows what’s what. They look at me / like MIA I’ll tell everyone it was a… joke. I don’t wanna feel like a whore anymore… MIA Kara. but… I think he doesn’t want it back. MIA Adam is not a bad guy. I got poked… MIA I painted the front wall. KARA You didn’t paint white my brain too. you can’t see those letters anymore. KARA I still have Adam’s money: 4000 dollars. have you lost your mind? Nobody associates the word “whore” with you. KARA Except everybody in the neighborhood and the people at the supermarket. And justice. KARA I can go to New York now. KARA You can stay in the house. (beat) He got me the grant. a prank. We are saved. KARA See. I was thinking to give it back. Just a sense of closure. MIA You can’t be serious.

(singing) Money. I checked. I’m not able to freakin’ find something convincing to say! I suck. KARA You have… your ants. It’s 1100 a month. (beat) You can come with me if you want. money. no. I really am. We have money now. in the rich man’s world… MIA You don’t have enough money for New York! KARA I can rent a one-bedroom in Queens. MIA No. Kara… I’m sorry. money… KARA (without singing) Must be funny. We sell the house / and… MIA I can’t leave the university. I suck. Pause. MIA You really want to… leave me here. The best day for a fresh start. my whole research… now the fellowship… and Adam has been so supportive lately… KARA You’ll be all right then. MIA (beat) When do you wanna leave? KARA On Monday.C’mon. 51 . You’ll be OK. MIA I’m… I don’t know what else to say. Mia. / I suck KARA Stop the self-pity show. We’ll make things right. KARA We can get you transferred to NYU.

in her little retreat… She waits. studying the ants’ nest. Let’s see if it works out. Mia enters the Lab. I’ll adjust. the zero moment of her new life. She addresses the audience. MIA You slept in your office again. Kara. Mia is the backyard of the house. Pause. I must explore this mating thing further… there are things I don’t fully comprehend because… (I am a virgin) I need to do more research on this.MIA But… I’ve never lived alone. I’ll have to. under a stone or a piece of bark. MIA I guess… I’ll just… I can… I will… get used to it. MIA No?! What happened? 52 . what’s going on? ADAM It’s just until… I find a nice little place for myself. very small… An inseminated queen rids herself of her wings and attempts to start a new nest in a cavity. KARA At least for a while. However. MIA Most ants establish new colonies through swarming. Adam looks slightly disheveled. 20. or by excavating a hole in the ground … For a while. she takes her chances… Mating was just the starting point. You’ll be the “queen” of the house. of a whole colony’s life… (change of tone) Mating…. for a while. 21. I will. KARA (trying to joke) You’ll start a new “colony”. she’s all alone there. an apartment… (beat) I’m leaving my wife. A small house. the percentage of queens that successfully begin new colonies is very.

MIA That’s good enough. No flux of feelings.Adam has an outburst. honey. there’s one month left. but there is something truthful about it. let’s say that we can apply this compound for 6-8 weeks. You have exquisite taste. I can take some of them home. so I apply the hydrocarbon both in the morning and in the evening every day. of course. MIA I will. Let’s inspect the ants’ nest. working. until they become adults. I will apply the compound regularly. MIA For 6-8 weeks. MIA I’ve already done it for two weeks. balanced. in college. (beat) Enough personal drama. as always.” MIA What about your kids? ADAM They are big now. Your compound will help them not to be recognized and destroyed for a while but not forever. honey.” “Did you give a good tip to the gardener? Yes. ADAM You still need to nurture them for at least one year to have them grow as big as the real queens. Winged adults. I just realized that actually nothing happens between us. No communication. but there’s nothing between us. ADAM Kara will kill you if you bring more ants at home. Just silence interrupted by sentences like “do you like the new antique vase that I bought for the salon? – Yes. And I can see Elisabeth better. kind. She’s a wonderful person. absolutely nothing. that’s not good enough. 53 . ADAM OK. honey. The house is empty without them.) You can see that the born-queen’s eggs are much bigger than the worker’s eggs.” “Did you order French shampoo for the dogs? Yes. ADAM Nothing happened. ADAM No. I can see that all we have in common are the kids. Back to work. (Mia does so too. Nothing.

To cut the “umbilical” cord between me and her. And the nasty cord between you and her. You go to parties in the campus? MIA Just once. ADAM If that makes her happy… MIA I guess. ADAM (beat) And who’s taking care of you now. it wasn’t my intention. She needed badly some change in her life. I thought the circumstances were clear for both of us. if Kara’s gone? 54 .MIA Kara is gone. I and Kara enjoyed each other’s company. A fresh start. uncommitted terms. ADAM Good to know. I am sorry if I hurt her in any way. in those particular. She had to go. After Kara told me about the two of you. MIA Very poetic. ADAM Do you hate me too? MIA I hated you for about… 2 hours and three vodka tonics. ADAM New York? MIA She’s resetting her life. As a fortune-teller. She’s growing wings… ADAM Tell her… I wish her… good luck and silver wings. a “hope compound”. she moved to New York. ADAM Let’s make things clear once forever. at a stupid party in the campus. MIA It’s fine.

MIA I can take care of myself. Actually I enjoy being alone in the whole house. ADAM Don’t do that. What’s this form about? Mia shows him a form. Life in all its forms and shapes and emotions and desires… MIA I’ve been thinking about that actually. thanks. what a cliché for a scientist. You’re an attractive woman.MIA Do I seem to need a babysitter? ADAM Not a babysitter. Adam. Nobody is disturbing my research. I might extend it to the whole night. it’s a shame to close yourself up to life. It’s the Losing-My-Virginity event. I mention that at the end of the application form. ADAM You’ll start dating? MIA I created an application form. MIA Right. Adam considers whether he should continue the personal conversation. ADAM Between 5 and 8? MIA If things go well. just a “daily-care” compound. Mia. I have to do it before I turn 30. MIA They can apply to mate with me. Do you want one? 55 . when I’m at the peak of my monthly fertility curve. I scheduled it for next Sunday between 5 and 8 pm. ADAM You’ll become a hermit. All healthy males aged between 20 and 50 can apply. ADAM (joking) I still qualify.

I won the bet. ADAM (perplexed) But Mia… MIA But. Genes are important. but. but! There’s no but. it should be about love. MIA OK. I am not ready to study it. ADAM Of course genetic characteristics are crucial. ADAM Aha. Your words. maybe. ADAM To lose your virginity with some immature horny student who doesn’t / know what MIA I’ll be very careful with the selection process. back to nature! Genetic attributes. you can’t… (Mia kisses him on the cheek timidly. Love might actually be out of my league in terms of research. I owe you a kiss.ADAM This is a bit… abrupt. just butt. Are you sure this is the way you want to have your first sexual experience? It should be more… romantic. I want someone from the academic world. ADAM The bottom line is: you arrived at my conclusion. Love is not something I’m prepared to research right now.) 56 . It’s a too complex and irrational chemical equation. Mia. MIA It’s just about mating. posters in the campus. MIA I can’t take the risk I’m taking with the ants’ eggs with my own possible baby. yeah. ADAM Where did you advertise… THIS? MIA On the student e-lists. I want to apply a nature&nurture mix in this case. he must have certain genetic attributes.

their future. ADAM OK… MIA Gotta go now. grow wings. everyone wants that in the depth of his/her heart… I don’t know how much money I can make with these TAROT and I-CHING readings. you’re the specialist. For me at least. I guess it makes them feel… alive. There are so many people here and you don’t need a car. sorry. I am enjoying New York VERY much. Can I have one of those application forms? 22. You can’t / just… MIA Why not? I can leave a few at the / reception… She’s about to leave.. lots of people came to our door to look down at me and preach and make me feel like trash… I’m happy I had the abortion. someone who can talk with them about themselves. enjoy life. find someone to love you. with your ants and obsession. This is what makes life exciting. feelings. Finally a neighborhood that’s not all white and stiff as ours over there. marriages.MIA There. even their past. ADAM Wait. divorces. these unpredictable creatures with emotions. To put some applications at the Health Center. I know you can’t understand this. Except for that crazy day when you wrote that thing about me on the wall. problems. Mia. research on reproductive patterns. I like to study people. KARA Dear Mia. ADAM That’s ridiculous. and you are among people! I always liked human beings. give them someone who listens to their stories. you know how to do it. sister. I paid my debt. but I know that people love to hear about their destiny. 57 . people. where nobody would visit us or say hello on the street. passions. That day. So be happy. you just take the subway or walk.. And it’s full of immigrants from everywhere! Nobody cares about your accent. and help them. Mia. You like to study ants. I have many Latino and Black clients. Everybody has an accent. Mia. It gave me wings and I know wings matter to you almost as much as reproduction. But it freed myself. and let those ants rest at least on weekend! Go out. their present.

Lots of love. Please. You look pretty. ADAM Can I take a seat? MIA Sure. MIA Oh. The bell rings again. ADAM Come. They’ve been very very helpful… PPS: I’m dating! I met this guy. Just mating. And again. Mia is paralyzed. She’s made some effort to wear a nice dress and make up. ADAM (handing the flowers) For you. She comes back with Adam. MIA Thanks. your sister. MIA Thanks. God! She goes off-stage to open the door. MIA I’m not nervous. Mia paces the living room back and forth. 58 . He holds a bouquet of flowers and seems nervous too. Awkward silence. PS: Thanks for the 2000 dollars. I’m not nervous. ADAM I’ve never seen you wearing a dress. An exchange of fluids. Pedro. Kara. She looks very pretty. Adam sits on the couch. I’m not nervous. The bell rings. Sit next to me. The Losing-My-Virginity Sunday. A real man… 23. It’s nothing special.

MIA Yes. When you don’t shut up your estrogen signals. For now. you’re very pretty. You’re my sister’s ex-lover. No one else applied. ADAM I’m sure what matters for her more is for you to be in safe hands. MIA Well… ADAM Was it difficult – the selection process? MIA There were serious arguments against you. We will use a bed. ADAM That’s not true.MIA Not yet. When you want to be. ADAM (attempting to joke) I’m happy I got selected. a bed would be more appropriate. ADAM Don’t worry. I’m OK with standing. ADAM May I emphasize the EX? MIA I’m not sure if Kara… would like this. You won’t lose your virginity on this couch. that’s why nobody applied? ADAM 59 . (pause) So … How many people applied? MIA (beat) I guess men don’t find me pretty enough to mate with me. MIA I didn’t emit the right fertility signal. Awkward silence. I hope.

Or get an STD. The size of the worker’s larva is growing closer to the one of the queen’s. That’s how you advertised it. ADAM Good. It is an experiment. And I mentioned STD-free in the application form! Awkward silence. ADAM I hope I’m not worse than the ugliest nerd. Are you applying the compound twice a day? MIA Three times. 60 . ADAM Why? We have covered all the possible discussions on reproductive patterns. But only one time for the eggs in the lab. it’s just… ADAM The professor-student thing? MIA It’s gonna be weird to work together after this.You mentioned “no condom” in the application form. Yes. MIA In theory. ADAM Take it like an experiment. just to make sure that nothing unexpected happens. yes. MIA You’re not worse. MIA Of course. so we can see the difference when applying different degrees of nurturing. ADAM How are our ants doing? MIA It’s going very well. / Or MIA Not even the ugliest nerd. Young men today don’t want to take the risk of having a child.

MIA All right then. MIA I have champagne too. freshness and spontaneity give the most profound insights. but it’s very important to note the first thoughts on an experiment. ADAM You gotta start working on it. ADAM These are champagne glasses. Silence. ADAM It generally affects it positively. Bordeaux. She brings a bottle of red wine and two champagne glasses. ADAM Have you finished the first draft of the article? And we’ll have to work on a lecture version. Is that OK? ADAM Perfect. Of mating. to present at LAMA conference in May… MIA We still have 6 months for that. Or whisky. I wasn’t sure what would be the most appropriate… for the process. You’ll be revising it. It might affect it negatively. or champagne. MIA I’m not sure what’s the effect of red wine on the process. ADAM I should have brought a bottle of red wine.Awkward silence. 61 . I’ll start to put them together. MIA I have red wine. MIA I’m taking notes.

ADAM Red wine is fine. (He pours red wine in the champagne glasses. (he hands her a glass) Cheers! ADAM Cheers! MIA For the experiment! ADAM Which one are we talking about? MIA Because it’s you and not another applicant. MIA She’s still legally your wife. for the Nobel Prize! MIA For the Nobel Prize! ADAM And for Mia’s Virginity Prize! MIA You’re making fun of me. ADAM No. ADAM Ex-wife. MIA Don’t call me “honey”. 62 . She downs the glass and fills it again herself. like in your breaking-the-silence daily ritual with your wife. we are toasting first for THE BIG experiment.) MIA Yes. honey. ADAM Cheers. and then we get into my little personal one. the Nobel Prize winning experiment.

the second. And again. Patience. the third and the home-run. We nicknamed her The Queen.ADAM We’ll be divorcing. He kisses her again. Definitely. It must be the red wine. He kisses her tenderly. Or making love. again. One of her sons is moving back with her. I’m sorry. ADAM Shall I… apply the compound again? MIA Sure. (she drinks) So what would be the first step for… you know. with his wife and baby girl. I’m trying to avoid that. ADAM How was that? MIA Unexpectedly… sweet. MIA I read about a few stages called: the first base. (he takes her hand) This is the first step. me and Kara… ADAM Your application form didn’t mention “never married and virgin”… Pause. They drink. ADAM Please. MIA Right. Beth is fine with that. the process of mating. MIA I keep thinking of her. ADAM Good? 63 . my dear. They both drink. She’s not gonna be alone. He caresses her face. ADAM We’ll go through all the stages. call it sex. (giggles) Yeah. Wow. That was too… emotional. I’m talking too much. Again. He fills the glasses.

He kisses her again tenderly. they’re surprised – it’s too good! ADAM Are we still talking 5-8 pm or can I start thinking “the whole night”? MIA “Whole night” sounds surprisingly plausible. Spotlight on Kara dressing up for a date. ADAM Little lioness! Bit me… MIA I didn’t bite you. ADAM It’s a “maybe”… MIA (giggling) Maybe… yes. passionately. Stains are sexy. They look at each other and laugh. aggressively. A projection of a short film with ants and a cheerful soundtrack. She looks good. Lights fade. she’s happy with herself. looking in a mirror. They drink. They stop. They kiss again. ADAM Is that a yes? MIA It’s a… let’s-wait-a-bit-to-be-more-advanced-in-the-process. A queen-ant is a must in the film. She spills red wine on her blouse. 64 . Bio-chemically speaking.MIA Not bad. ADAM Are you gonna put cold water on those stains? MIA No. she heads out. She kisses him back. They kiss.

lunch and dinner (recorded laughter) our worker’s offspring grew wings and subsequently became queens. Our experiment proves that NURTURING worker-ants and their eggs with the right chemical compound can not only change the way in which the worker-ants are perceived by the other ants. She's actually at home. 65 . but there must be a chemical compound that sorts that out too. are very pleased to have succeeded to demonstrate that social roles in ants colonies can be modified chemically not only genetically. Spotlight on Mia. my PhD thesis advisor and my husband (recorded applauses). for breakfast. but also the way in which they perceive themselves. Adam enters. but their eggs received royal treatment and subsequently their larvae and pupae were perceived as royal. Lights up. sliding away one by one. cooperation and personal fulfillment. people. She takes a pillow from under her dress/skirt. Back to the film with ants. non-imaginary people (recorded laughter&applauses) thank you from all my heart – and my belly (recorded laughter&applauses) – for the opportunity to be in front of you today. As not everybody here is an expert in ants. Our ants don’t attack each other anymore. real people. ready to fly to mate and establish a new colony. I am not going to give you all the dirty details (recorded laughter). dressed for a conference. their values are sisterhood. And they get along remarkably well even with the male-ants now! (recorded laughter) Well. I and Professor Adam Kohn. All I can say now is that it feels pretty good to be able to produce a little revolution in the ants’ world and turn workers into queens. we will be doing that in the focus group tomorrow. She addresses the audience. Adam and (she puts her hands on her belly) our little Pupa (recorded laughter) thank you for your attention and we wish you a great royal weekend. visibly pregnant. of course. that’s my personal utopia. We’ll work on that! (recorded laughter) I already took a lot of your precious time. She's not pregnant.The ants film is now cross-cut or overlapped with a sort of calendar of TAROT cards. to present the results of our experiment THE WORKER-QUEEN. MIA Thank you. We allowed them to reproduce and we are now keeping under observation 4 queens who successfully started a colony. Not only their reproductive behavior has changed from sterile workers to horny queens (recorded laughter). 24. I. After 6 months of sustained care and a synthetic compound applied three times a day.

END OF PLAY 66 .ADAM Are you talking to the walls again? She throws the pillow at him. He throws it back. They laugh. Blackout. Lights fade.

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