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RequestConcert

ByFranzXaverKroetz

TranslatedbyPeterSander

ThisplaypresentsasituationwhichIhaveoftennotedinpolicereports.
Suicideis,inmanycases,unbelievablytidy.Thepreparationsforsuicide
donotviolatethevictim'smundane,everydayactivities;andtheactitself
isperformedwiththesameloveoforder,asneatly,asuprightly,andas
silentlydesperateasthelifewhichprovokedit.

Thissaysagreatdealaboutone'slifetoday;itsunfulfilledexpectations,
itshopelessprospects,itslittledaydreams.Itdocumentsone'sinability
toshakeloosetheslaveryofproduction;itcanshowthatone'slifeand
one'spassingfromliferesemblethatofbeastsofburden.

Likeanimalsthesepeoplecommunicatetheirdesperatesituationsby
remainingmute,whichimpliesasternmeasureoforder,ofresignation,
oranunquestioningacceptanceof"thingsastheyare,"ofexploitation,
andofrepressiontothepointofinfirmityandcollapse.

Iftheexplosiveforceresultingfromthisexploitationandrepressionwere
notselfdirected,thatis,againsttheexploitedandrepressedthemselves,
wewouldhavearevolutionarysituation.Insteadwehavemanycasesof
suicideandmurderwhichonlyserveapositivepurposeinthatthe
perpetrators,havingsummonedupenoughpowerandcouragetothrow
theirownlivesintothebalance,deliverthemselvesupuntothe
jurisdictionoftheirnaturalenemies.Therebytheyinvoluntarilycleanse
thesocietytheycondemn.So,inbecomingthecondemnedthemselves
theydisappearintoprisonsorintograves,whichamounttothesame
thing.

Thisistheonlywaythattheinhumanorderinwhichweliveandmust
continuetolivecanbemaintained.

TheSetting

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Anaturalisticsetofarentedapartment.Asisusualwitholdsubdivided
housesofthissort,onecanimaginehowtheotherapartmentsaresetup
andrentedout.Onegetstothetoiletviaalonghallway.

Theroomitselfstandsincontrasttowhatoneimaginestheother
apartmentsmightlooklike.Itisexceptionallyclean,conventionallypetit
bourgeois,neat,andarrangedwithhominess,love,andwarmth.

Thespectatormustbeabletovisualizethatinaseaofcheerless,un
inhabitabletenementhouses,someonehaswithgreatlove,effort,and
tastecreatedaplacethatrisesaboveitsenvironment.

Naturally,ontheotherhand,anindustrialandworker'satmosphere
pervadeseverything.

CharacterDescription

FruleinRaschisbetween40and45yearsold,blackhair,aboutfivefeet
tall.Shestillhasagoodfigure.Onlyherlegsareratherthick,asifshe
sufferedfromwaterretention.

Hercomplexionisdark,notthesortoftanoneaspirestoandfinds
attractive,butratherwhatonemightcalldirty.FruleinRaschmakesa
ratherplain,averageimpression,sothatherapparentunattractiveness,
althoughnottotallyhidden,issomewhatsoftened.

Herchoiceofdressproveshertobeawomanofdiscretion.Herclothes
areconservativeandofgoodquality.Onesensesthatshepaysagreat
dealforthem.FruleinRaschisemployedinastationeryfactory,where
herjobistotendtotheenvelopes.

Atanyrate,wefindourselvesinasmallcity,andFruleinRasch's
monthlytakehomepayis615.50DM(about$205.00).

Becauseofherinvoluntaryvirginity,orwhatamountstothesamething,
herinvoluntarysexualabstinenceafteroneearly,short,andpainfullysad
loveaffairFruleinRaschisparticularlysusceptibletoromance.
Thereforeshespendsasfreelyasherincomeallows,whichmaybeseen
inherfurnishings,herwardrobe,andherpersonalgrooming.

AboutTheLengthofThisPlay

Naturallytheplaymustnotirritatetheaudience,butitmustprovidein
sightsforthem,abouttheemptinessofFruleinRasch'slife.Caremust
betakenthattheactualactivitiesintheplayarenotdrawnoutsoasto
becometediousandaggravating.Whentheinformativecontentofan
activityisexhaustedanditonlyrepeatsitself,itshouldbebrokeoff,even
ifitviolatestheformoftheplay,namelythatstagetimeisequivalentto
realtime.Iwouldguessthattheplaywouldnotlastanylongerthana
goodhour.

Part0ne

OnanormalworkdayFruleinRaschcomeshomeatabout6:30P.m.
afterworkandafterhershopping.Sheenterstheapartmenthouse,checks
hermail,findsonlyanadvertisement,takesit,goestoherdoor,unlocks
it,andstepsin.Shelayshershoppingbagwithhergroceriesanda
newspaperonthetable,setsherpurseonachair,hangsthead
vertisementonthesideboard,andlocksthedoor.

Shetakesoffhercoat,pullsitoverahanger,andhangsitonahookon
thedoor.Shespiesaspotonthebackofthecoat.Thenshecrossestothe
window,touchestheradiatortofeelifitishotyet.Carefullyshepullsthe
curtainasideandopensthewindowacrack.

Shediscoverssomedirtonthewindowsill,takesaragoffthepipeunder
thesink,andcleansoffthewholesill.Sheputstheragbackandbeginsto
unpackthegroceriesandputthemawayintherefrigerator,thesideboard,
andthebreadbox.Thenshehangshershoppingnetonanailnexttothe
stove.

Shetakesoffherhighheels,putstheminthecloset,andslipsonher
houseshoesthatstandnexttothecloset.

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Shetakesoffthejacketofherattractivelytailoredsuitandhangsitinthe
closetonahanger.Fromtheclosetsheremovesanoldcardiganandputs
iton.

Thenshewalksovertothemirrornexttothestovebythesinkand
removesherearrings,hernecklace,andherring.Shelaysthiscostume
jewelryinadishonherchestofdrawers,returnstothemirror,looksat
herselfforalongtime,andfixesherhairdowithacombandbrush.

Shepaysparticularlycloseattentiontoapimplethathasgottenworse
sincethemorning;andaftershehaswashedherhandssherubsthespot
withcream.

Sheheatssomewateronthegasstoveforwashingdisheseventhough
therearenotmanytowash.Itisacoldwaterflat,andsheusesherlarge
sinkforallherwashing,cleaningitthoroughlyaftereachuse.

ShegoestotheTVsetinthecornerandturnsiton.Then,sittingatthe
table,shetakestheadvertisementfromthesideboardandopensitup.She
readsitcarefullyandsetsitaside.Fromherpurseonthechairshepulls
outapackofcigarettesLordExtraandalighter.Shelightsone.
MeanwhiletheTVhaswarmedupandshewatchesit.Itisacommercial
orsomeotherpreprimetimeprogram.Slowlyandthoughtfullyshe
smokeshercigarette.Thensheputsitintheashtrayonthesideboard,
goestothechestofdrawersandtakesuptheTVprogramlyingontopof
it.Shereturnstothetable,laystheprogramoutonit,getstheashtray
withthelitcigarettefromthesideboard,takesherpurseoffthechairand
putsitattheendofthesideboard.

Shesitsdownagain,leafsthroughtheTVprogramtoseewhatisonthis
evening.Shetakesalastpuffofhercigaretteandcarefullysnuffsitout.

Shegetsup,goestothestoveandturnsthegasoff,returnstothetable,
standsthere,andleafsthroughtheTVtotheradiosection.Shestudiesit
andfinallycrossestotheTVsetandturnsitoff.Shelooksatherwrist
watchandtakesitoff,layingitnexttotheotherjewelry.Shetakesthe
program,foldsitup,andputsitbackinitsplace.

(Note:InBavaria,onWednesdaynightsat7:15thereisaradioprogram
called"AsYouWish"withFredRauch,whichisespeciallypopularwhen
itpresentspopularmusicorlightclassicalselectionssometimesit
alternatespopular,lightclassical,operetta,andopera.Atanyrate,one

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gathersthatadulltelevisionprogramislessinterestingtoherthanthis
popularradioshow.)

Shetiesonanapron,letssomecoldwaterrunintothesink,andpoursthe
hotwaterin.Shetakesapileofdishesfromhersmallmealandwashes
themquicklyandefficiently.

Finallyshedriesthemandsetsthemawayinthesideboard.Sheputsa
plateandasilverwaresettingonthetableforhersupper.Shedrainsthe
wateroutofthesinkandcleansitupcarefully.Thenshewashesher
handsandrubslotiononthem.Shetakesseveralthingsoutofthere
frigeratorandputsthemonthetable.Becauseshecangetahotmealat
work,sheeatsonlyacoldsnackforsupper.

PartTwo

Shegoestotheradioandturnsiton.Thenshewalksovertothetableand
sitsdown.Shebuttersasliceofbread.Withawaveofherfingershe
indicatesthatshehasforgottensomething.

Shestandsupagainandtakesabottleoffruitjuiceoutofthere
frigerator.Shegetsaglassfromthesideboard,pourssomejuiceintoit,
andfillsitupwithwater.Sheputstheglassonthetablewiththeother
thingsandsetsthebottlebackintherefrigerator.Thenshesitsdown
beginstoeat.

Sheeatsthoughtfully;lovinglysheprepareseachsliceofbread.She
listenstotherequestconcertattentivelyandlaughswheneverFredRauch
tellsajoke.Shedaintilyswallowssmallsipsofjuice.

Aftersuppershemeticulouslyputsthethingstogether,wrapsupthe
butterandthesausage,putsthelidsbackonthejars.Thenshelightsa
cigaretteandsmokesitallwithoutdoinganythingelse.

Shegetsup,clearsthetable,andputseverythingbackinitsoriginal
place.Sheputsthedishes(aplate,afork,andaknife)onthesink
counter.

Sheleavestheroomandgoestothetoilet.Ittakesquiteawhileuntilshe

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canwipeherself.This,too,isdoneaspedanticallyandashygienicallyas
onecanimagine.Shepullsthechainandcleansoutthebowlwiththe
brushstandingnexttothetoilet.Sheopensthelavatorywindowacrack.

Shereturnstoherroomandwashesherhands,thoroughly,crossestothe
radio,andadjuststhetuningbecausesomestatichasdriftedintothe
reception.Sheworkswithgreatconcentrationinordertogetthesharpest
signalshecan.

Shereturnstothemirrorandinvestigatesthespotshesmearedcreamon
before.Shefeelsit,runsherfingeroverit,andrubssomemoreonit.

Thenshetakestherestofthewateroffthestoveandpoursitintothe
sink.Sheaddssomemorecoldwater.Shegoestothecloset,getssome
nylonstockings,putsthemintothesinkandwashesthem.

Shedrapesahandtowel,takenfromthetowelracknexttothesink,over
thebackofthesecondchair,andverycarefullyhangsthestockingsover
ittodry.

Assheisdrainingthewatershewashesoutthesinkanddoesalittle
dancesteptothemusic.Thensheleavestheroomtoclosethewindowin
thelavatoryandcomesback.

PartThree

Fromthelargeclosetshetakesadoityourselfwallhangingthatisal
mostfinished.Shelaysitoutoverthebackoftheotherchairandcon
templatesit.Shepullsatsomethingonit.Thensheclearsthewhole
tablesheputstheashtrayonthesideboardandthecigarettesandlighter
nexttoit.Shedrinksthelastofthejuiceandputstheglassonthe
counter.

Thenshespreadsouttherugonthetable.Shepullsaheavypieceofiron
outfromunderthesofaandsetsitontopoftherugsothatitwon'tslide
around.Shegoesbacktotheclosetandtakesdownasmallwoodenbox,
putsitonthetable,goestothesideboard,opensthedrawer,andtakesa

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patternout.Intheotherdrawershekeepsherscissors,whichshegetsout
aswell.

Shearrangeseverythingonthetableandturnsthefloorlampon.Shetries
outthelightanddecidestoturnthelargeoverheadlighton,too.To
switchiton,shecrossesovertothelightswitchbythedoor.

Shesitsintheotherchair,adjustsittosuither,andbeginstoworkafter
takingthewoolandtheneedlesoutofthebox.

Carefullyshelooksatthepattern,althoughshedoesn'tspreaditoutall
theway,countstheknots,threadstheneedle,arrangestherestofthe
needles,andbeginstowork.

Sheworksverypainstakingly,withprecisionandexpertise.Everytime
shefinisheswithonecolor,accordingtothepattern,sheputsdownthe
needle,cutsthethreadwiththescissors,andtrimstheleftoverpieceof
threadontherug.(Inthestagingonemustworkoutexactlythemaking
ofdoityourselfrugs.)

Afterawhileshegetsupandputsonsomemorewater,afterwhichshe
returnstoherwork.Whenthewaterboilsshegoestothesideboard,gets
ateabagandtheteapot,andfixesherselfsometea.Sheputsitonthe
counter,getsacup,andsetsitnexttothepot.Thensheworkssome
more.

Afterawhile,whentheteahassteepedenough,shepoursherselfacup,
getssomesugaroutofthesideboard,stirsitin,andtakestheteawithher
tothetable.Shegetsaboxofcookiesoutofthechestofdrawerswhich
shealsoputsonthetablenexttotherug.

Shecontinuesworking,eatingtwoorthreecookies,drinkingthecupof
tea,andpouringherselfasecondcupaftershefinishesthefirst.

PartFour

Graduallyherinterestintheworkbeginstowanenoticeably.Sheblinks

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often;comparesherworkwiththepatternforadisproportionatelylong
time.Shestopsworking,getsacigarette,herlighter,andtheashtrayfrom
thesideboard,putsthethingsonthetable,andsmokesacigarettewithout
working.

Shereturnstoherrug,butworksrestlesslyandwithdistractionand
irritation.Shestandsup,takesherwristwatchoutofthebowl,andlooks
toseehowlateitis.Shegoesovertotheradioandturnsitdown.Then
shesitsagainandcontinuestowork,moreslowlythistimebutstill
efficiently.Shegetsupagain,takestheemptyteacupandputsitonthe
counter.Sherunswaterintotheteapot,rinsesitout,andthrowstheused
teabagintothegarbagecanunderthecounter.

Shegetstheashtray,emptiesitintothecan,wipesitwithacloth,and
putsitonthesideboard.Thenshegoestothemirrorandcontemplates
herselfinit.Sheseemssatisfied.

Shereturnstothetableandsits.Shestudiesthepatterncarefully,counts,
andthenworksveryquicklyandexactlyuntilshefinishestherug,even
thoughthereisnorealwayoftellingthatitisfinished.Sheputsthe
needlesinthebox,foldsupthepattern,laysthescissorswithit;thenshe
standupandsurveysherworkfromadistance.(Tomakewallhanging45
cm.by70cm.approx.18"x28"onemustworkanhouradayfor
aboutamonthandahalftotwomonths.)Shesmiles,takestherugand
spreadsitoutoverthewidthofthecouchbythewall,totakealookatit.
Shemovesbackasfarawayfromitaspossibleandexaminesherwork
criticallyandforalongtime.Sheissatisfied.

Lovinglyshetakestherugandhangsitovertheotherchairwithout
foldingitup.

Thenshebeginstocleanupthethingsonthetable,puttingthembackin
exactlythesameordershetookthemout.

Aftershehasfinishedthis,shetakesanothercontentedbutcautiouslook
atherfinishedwallhangingandpicksatitonemoretime.Theonlyeffect
ofherpickingisthatshelooksatitanxiouslytoseeifshehasn'truinedit.

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PartFive

FredRauchsignsoff;hisprogramisover.Clearlyonerecognizesthat
FruleinRaschhasheardthis.Sheturnsofftheradiobeforeanother
programisannounced.

Shegoestothewindowandcarefullypullsthecurtainback,staringout.
Atlengthshelocksthewindowandpullstheshadedownsothatnoone
canlookin.

Finallyshesetsthetableforthenextday.Bytheeggcup,etc.,onecan
tellthatsheispreparingthetableforbreakfast.

Thensheopensupherhideawaybed.(Itwouldbebesttohavea
convertiblecouchwiththebedlinenstoredinaboxunderneath.)

Theritualofbodymaintenancebegins.Thisgoesfromhaircurlingto
footcare,fromdeodorantspraytotoothbrushing.Everythingisdonewith
tremendousthoroughness.

Sheobservesastrictregimenwithherunderwearaswell.Herpantiesare
putwithherdirtyclothesinalaundrybaginthecloset,andafreshpairis
laidoutforthenextmorning.Shealsoselectstheclothesshewillwear
forthenextday,whichshehangsneatlyontheoutsidewallofthecloset.
Thepersonalthingsshelaysontheemptyseatofthechair.Alltheother
clothessheputsintheclosetsothattheycanhangoutandbewornagain.

Shepullsawarmattractivenightgownoutfrombetweenthesheets,
drawsiton,andputsadressinggownonoverit.Thenshegoestothe
toilet.Thistimesheonlyhastourinate;neverthelessshewipesherself
neatlywithtoiletpaperandopensthewindowacrack.Shecomesback
intotheroomandwashesherhandsagain.

Thenshebeginshersecuritycheck.Shedoublelocksthedoor,makes
surethegasisturnedoff,thegarbagecantightlyclosed,andthefaucet
notdripping.Carefullysheopensthewindow,spendingalongtimeto
makesurethatitisattheproperheightandthataircancomeinsothat
shecanpulltheshadeagain.

Thenshesetsuphertemporarynighttable.Shepullsaclothcovered

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stooloutfrombehindthebackofthecouch.

Onitissetanalarmclock,abook,anemptyglass,andamagazine.

Shetakestheglass,rinsesitout,fillsitwithfreshwater,andputsitback
initsplaceonthetable.

Shesitsdownontheedgeofthebed,picksupthealarmclock,windsit
up,andsetsitforsixo'clock.Shetriesittomakesureitworks;andthen,
satisfied,sheputsitback.

Nottoolongafter,shegetsupagain,turnsoffthebiglight,looksaround
theroom,takesoffherrobe,andlaysitacrossthefootofthebed.

Thensheliesdowninbed.Indoingso,sheisverycarefulanddoesnot
liecomfortablybecauseshehastowatchoutforherhaircurlers.

Shepicksupthebook,looksforherplace,findsit,butshedoesnotread;
shejuststaresaheadofher.Thislastsforquitesometime.Thenshelays
thebookdown,looksaroundtheroomoncemore,andturnsoffthelight.

Atfirstsheliesquietly;thensheturnsaroundcarefullybecauseofthe
haircurlersandtriestosleep.

Finallyshemakesanextremelyrestlessmovementinbedandturnsthe
lighton.Shegetsup,putsherrobebackon,unlocksthedoor,andgoesto
thetoiletallofthisveryquietly.Inthetoiletsheclosesthewindow.
Shereturnstotheroom,locksthedoorbehindher,washesherhands,and
driesthem.Thenshewalksovertotherugandtakesanotherlookatit.

Afewmomentslatershegoestothesideboard,opensthetopdrawer,and
takesoutaboxofpills.Shetakesthemtothetable,putsthemdown,gets
theglassofwaterfromthenighttable,andsetsitdownnexttothepills.

Cautiouslyshesitsdownonthechairwithherstockings,withoutleaning
back,soasnottowrinklethem.Shetakesapilloutandswallowsitwith
asipofwater.Fromtheboxsheremovesthedosagesheetandreadsit
through.

Sheopenstheboxallthewayandletsallthepillsspillout.Shecounts
themoutintworows.Thereareninepillsleftfromaboxoftwenty.
Slowlyshetakesoneafteranother,untilthewaterwhichsheswallowsin
smallsipsisallgone.Shegetsuptogotothesink,stops,goestothe

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refrigerator,takesoutasmallbottleofwinewhichishalffull,returnsto
thetable,opensthebottle,poursalittleintotheglass,andtakestherest
ofthepills.Thenshewaitsabit.

Shepourstherestofthewineintotheglass.Itspillsoverandrunsonto
thetablecloth.Sheliftsuptheglassandwipesthespotoffwiththesleeve
ofherrobe.Shesipsthewine.

Thenshewaitsquietlyandthoughtfully,butpresentlyonecandetecta
signofinterestinherface.

Pause,then

[End]

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