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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

RADIO SLOVENIJA
Department of Drama Programmes

THE ORGAN DONOR


(A sound play of recollections)

Text written by
MARIJA MERCINA

Adaptation and sound script by


IGOR LIKAR

Duration: 20 min. 22 sec.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

CHARACTERS
THE ORGAN DONOR: VIKTORIJA BENCIK
THE LETTER WOMAN: TJAŠA ŽELEZNIK
THE NURSE: JANA ZUPANČIČ
THE DOCTOR: UROŠ SMOLEJ
THE DRIVER'S FATHER: UROŠ MAČEK
THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR

Author of the text: MARIJA MERCINA


Dramaturgist: VILMA ŠTRITOF
Recording coordinator: ŠPELA KRAVOGEL
Editor: GABRIJELA GRUDEN

Adaptation and sound script by IGOR LIKAR


Sound engineer: MATJAŽ MIKLIČ
Music editor: DARJA HLAVKA GODINA
Director: IGOR LIKAR

Recorded in the studios of Radio Slovenija in October 2016

Note on the adaptation of the text as a sound script:

The sounds in the sequences represent a parallel course of events or sound


events surrounding the characters – events that took place sometime in the past.
However, they do not explain the events (until an individual moment in the
story, explaining or representing it parallely); they are simply time sketches,
records of something that has already happened or is going to happen, an
anticipation belonging to a time period other than the present one.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

The scenes therefore proceed like a parallel world (of experiences in) time. In
between the scenes the sounds, together with the music, are at times set up like
short time loops (e.g. a wheel – a respirator in action).

SOUND SCENE 1: THE ELEVATOR

AN ELEVATOR RUNNING. HUSHED MUSIC.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The door is going to close. (The door.
The ride begins.) The elevator is going up. First floor. (A bell rings.) The door is
going to open. The door is going to close. The elevator is going up. Second
floor. The door is going to open...

SOUND SCENE 2: A RECOLLECTION

MUSIC. DROPS FALLING.

THE ORGAN DONOR (intro): Until this moment I was indifferent, hollow,
empty. Emptiness can hurt as well. I never knew how much I could take.

SOUND SCENE 3: IN THE HALL

SOMEONE OPENING A MAILBOX IN THE HALL, TAKING OUT MAIL,


TURNING A LETTER AROUND TO SEE IT FROM ALL SIDES.

THE ORGAN DONOR (against background music): The letter has a Ljubljana
postal stamp. I won’t even open it. I know what’s in it even though there’s no
sign saying Slovenia Transplant.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

SOUND SCENE 4: A TIME LOOP - A WHEEL


AND A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT

AGAINST A MUSIC BACKGROUND: THE SOUNDS OF A BICYCLE


RUNNING (recorded close by) – BREATHING – A RESPIRATOR – A BLOOD
PRESSURE METRE. A CAR BREAKING. A COLLISION. THE FALL OF A
BICYCLE RIDER. A WHEEL ON THE GROUND IS TURNING UNTIL IT
FINALLY STOPS.

SOUND SCENE 5: A ROOM

A TELEPHONE RINGING IN THE ROOM. THE RECEIVER BEING LIFTED.


CUT.

THE ORGAN DONOR (recollection acoustics against some background


action): I must have dozed off. I didn’t hear the phone ringing right away. They
told me it was the third time they called to ask me to come to the hospital.

EXIT THROUGH THE DOOR.

SOUND SCENE 6: INSIDE THE ELEVATOR

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The door is going to close. The elevator
is going up.

THE ORGAN DONOR: I wasn’t making haste.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: First floor.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

THE ORGAN DONOR: I wasn’t in a hurry at all.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The door is going to open.

THE ORGAN DONOR: Well, what can happen to a healthy young man in the
city centre on a cycle track close to home?

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The elevator is going up. Second floor.
The door is going to open.

THE ORGAN DONOR: I’m going there even though they don’t have visiting
hours right now. They’ll let me see you anyway.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The door is going to open.

THE ORGAN DONOR: If not right away then later perhaps.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The door is going to close. The elevator
is going up.

SOUND SCENE 7: THE HOSPITAL – THE INTENSIVE CARE ROOM

IN THE BACKGROUND, AS IF IN A RECOLLECTION, WE OCCASIONALY


HEAR THE SOUND OF A BICYCLE RUNNING. IN THE ROOM WE HEAR
THE SOUNDS OF A RESPIRATOR AND A HEART MONITOR.

THE NURSE (intro – a thought – against the background sounds in the ward):
I started working in the intensive care department five years ago. I’ve seen a lot,

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

but never such an odd visitor. She behaved as if she’d called to pay her respects
to someone.

THE ORGAN DONOR (against the background sounds in the ward): Hello. Is
he asleep?

THE NURSE (background sounds – intro – a thought): Whoever let her come
up here?

THE ORGAN DONOR (against the background sounds in the ward): When is
he going to wake up?

THE NURSE (background sounds – intro – a thought): Why hasn’t anybody


told her? I’m not going to, that’s for sure; it’s not my job to do it.

THE ORGAN DONOR (against the background sounds in the ward): May I
wake him up?

THE NURSE: I told her I’d call the duty doctor. I’ll go out of the room for a
short time to let her be alone with him.

MUSIC FADES OUT. BREATHING. A RESPIRATOR. A BLOOD PRESSURE


METRE. NEGLIGIBLE BLOOD PRESSURE. THE SOUNDS OF THE
MACHINES SEEM TO BE IN SLOW MOTION.

THE ORGAN DONOR: Just a short time ago we were making love. I nuzzled
under your armpit, nibbled at your belly. »You are so handsome, you smell so
nice.« I wanted to doze off for a while longer, stay in our nest, in my little
house, under my little blanket in order to keep our nest warm.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

SOUND SCENE 8: LEAVING TO GO ON A BICYCLE RIDE

THE ENTRYPHONE RINGS. A BICYCLE RUNNNG.

THE ORGAN DONOR (a recollection): I slept a little late that Saturday


morning. You rode to the farmers’ market alone on your bike; usually we’d walk
together. You took your helmet, of course. We were making love just moments
before.

A CAR BREAKING. DULL SOUNDS.

SOUND SCENE 9: THE HOSPITAL AGAIN

THE SOUNDS OF INSTRUMENTS BEING HANDLED IN THE NEARBY


INTENSIVE CARE ROOM.

THE NURSE: She knew nothing about his condition. I should have prepared
her for the truth, at least to a certain extent, but I didn’t know how. I rummaged
around the machines for a bit and told her that the doctor was expecting her.

MUSIC.

THE DOCTOR: He’s in an apneic nonresponsive coma. His vital functions are
being upheld purely with the help of machines.

MUSIC.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

THE NURSE: I didn’t want to hear him tell her that he’s not sleeping but rather
that he’s unconscious. And when she asks him what the prognosis is, when is he
going to wake up, what will he tell her?

THE DOCTOR: All his brain functions are gone.

THE NURSE (intro – a thought): She kept looking at him and I knew she
didn’t understand at all.

THE ORGAN DONOR (a recollection): The doctor never looked me in the


eye when he said…

THE DOCTOR: He is not going to wake up at all.

MUSIC. A PIANO PLAYING.

THE ORGAN DONOR (recollection acoustics): He kept talking and finally he


popped the question of donating organs.

BROOM SOUNDS.

THE ORGAN DONOR: I told him yes, of course, you decide on donating,
you’re a donor, it says so on the donor’s card, just leave me here a little longer.

QUIET MUSIC. A PIANO PLAYING.

THE ORGAN DONOR: Can I stay with him a little longer?

THE DOCTOR: Yes, by all means. Say good-bye to him.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

SOUND SCENE 10

HUSHED MUSIC. THE SOUNDS OF INRAVENOUS LIQUIDS DRIPPING IN


THE BACKGROUND.

THE ORGAN DONOR: Into whose veins shall your heart push blood after the
surgeons grab hold of you? I told you to make me a baby, I wanted to propagate.
You shall start bleeding, oh how much blood there is in a healthy grown-up man
even when he’s dead…

A MUSIC PASSAGE. PULSE AND WHEEL. THE WHEEL STOPS.

SOUND SCENE 11: IN THE STREET

A BUSY STREET. CARS DRIVING BY.

THE ORGAN DONOR (a recollection): We both meant it when we registered


ourselves as donors. We got organ donors’ cards: you don’t need yours any
longer while mine is in a bedroom drawer.
My love, you started it and I automatically followed so that we’d be together
always and in every possible way.

SOUND SCENE 12: LETTER NO. II

SOMEONE OPENING THE MAILBOX. SOUNDS FROM UP CLOSE.

THE ORGAN DONOR (a recollection): The letter. It’s still here. I’ve been
looking at it for hours, tormenting myself. I know what’s in it. I’m going to open
it no matter how painful the truth may be.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

SOMEONE CLOSING THE MAILBOX, CUTTING THE ENVELOPE OPEN,


PULLING THE LETTER OUT OF THE ENVELOPE (all registered from close
up).

BACKGROUND SOUNDS IN THE ROOM. A WOMAN’S FOOTSTEPS.

THE LETTER WOMAN: Dear sir or lady! I don’t know you. According to the
law I shall never find out who you are. Never has anyone given me as much as
you did by signing your permission for organ harvesting. By doing it you have
given us the ultimate present that a person can give: life.

INSERT: BREATHING – A WHEEL.

THE ORGAN DONOR: What a presumptuous letter! How dare she write it!

INSERT: BREATHING – A WHEEL.

THE LETTER WOMAN: You have given our three children their father back
and rendered me back my husband, but believe me that I can feel your pain, too.

INSERT: BREATHING – A WHEEL.

THE ORGAN DONOR: Why did they give her my address? She doesn’t know
the first thing about me and yet she dares write about my feelings and my loss.

INSERT: BREATHING – A WHEEL.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

THE LETTER WOMAN: I realize that the source of our happiness is also
your irreparable los. We sympathize with you.

A HAND CRUMPLING THE LETTER.

INSERT: BREATHING – A WHEEL.

THE ORGAN DONOR: I refuse to read the letter to the end. She writes to me
about perfect family happiness, the hypocrite, lying that by expressing sympathy
she has me and my beloved in mind. She wants to comfort me as if there existed
solace for the greatest possible loss.

INSERT: BREATHING – A WHEEL.

THE ORGAN DONOR: It makes me feel even worse than before, imagining a
family glowing with happiness while I’m here alone, all empty inside.

INSERT: BREATHING – A WHEEL.

SOUND SCENE 13: THE FUNERAL AND LATER ON A PHONE CALL

THE SOUNDS OF A FUNERAL IN THE BACKGROUND. FOOTSTEPS OF A


PROCESSION OF FEET ON SAND. FUNERAL MUSIC IN THE
BACKGROUND, e.g. ALBINIONI. FOORSTEPS CLOSE BY.

THE ORGAN DONOR (a recollection): I can hardly remember signing this or


that piece of paper, waiting for the cremation, the funeral, words of sympathy;
blood has flown from me, too; my womb trembled. I, too, was left there with my
emptied belly even before the funeral was over.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

THE MOURNERS’ FOOTSTEPS SOUND ON DURING THE TEXT.


ALBINONI’S MUSIC CONTINUES.

A PHONE RINGS IN THE APARTMENT.

THE DRIVER’S FATHER (a confession): My wife and I attended the


funeral. Our daughter stayed at home, she was too upset. She was given a large
dose of sedatives. Nobody knew us and we didn’t have the courage to introduce
ourselves to anybody. It was only a week later that I mustered the courage to
phone the widow. I had to. I told her everything was my fault.

MUSICAL FRAGMENTS. IN THE APARTMENT A PHIONE RINGS THREE


TIMES.

THE ORGAN DONOR (intro: very slow speech): The phone call that broke
the silence that afternoon a week after the funeral made me go completely nuts.

MUSIC RESEMBLING THE SOUNDS OF GLASS SHARDS. FAR IN THE


BACKGROUND THERE’S A PHONE RINGING IN THE PAST. A RECEIVER
IS BEING PICKED UP. THE DONOR CRYING FAR IN THE BACKGROUND,
BUT HER CRYING IS GRADUALLY TURNING TO HYSTERICAL
LAUGHTER. A RECOLLECTION. THE DONOR IS LAUGHING
HYSTERICALLY.

THE ORGAN DONOR (a thought): This person – whom I don’t want to meet,
neither him nor his daughter –, this person has upended the universe by a single
phone call.

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HER PHONE CONNECTION IS INTERRUPTED. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP.


HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER.

THE DRIVER’S FATHER: I have never experienced anything like it. She
laughed. And she never stopped laughing.

THE PHONE CONNECTION IS CUT OFF.

THE DRIVER’S FATHER: I had to cut the conversation short. I’d give
everything I own if it only meant that I never called her.

MUSIC RESEMBLING BREATHING.

THE ORGAN DONOR: Why did you make that phone call?

A RECOLLECTION: THE PHONE IN THE APARTMENT RINGS AGAIN. THE


ORGAN DONOR PICKS UP THE RECEIVER.

THE DRIVER’S FATHER: I had to. I told her it was my fault entirely.

MUSIC RESEMBLING THE SOUNDS OF GLASS SHARDS.

THE DRIVER’S FATHER (talking to her over the receiver): My daughter


was on a trip. I was worried so I called her.

MUSIC RESEMBLING THE SOUNDS OF GLASS SHARDS.

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

SOUND RECOLLECTION: RIDING IN A CAR – INTERIOR. A MOBILE


PHONE RINGING ON A CAR SEAT. A HAND PICKS UP THE PHONE,
OPENS IT.

THE ORGAN DONOR (intro – slowly): Why was the daughter looking for
her phone without stopping the car first?

MUSIC RESEMBLING THE SOUNDS OF GLASS SHARDS.

THE ORGAN DONOR: Why did my beloved have to ride by on his bicycle at
that very moment?

THE DRIVER’S FATHER (to his daughter – over the mobile phone): Hallo?
Hallo, can you hear me?

A CAR BREAKING. OUTSIDE THE CAR: A THUD AS THE CAR HITS THE
BODY OF A CYCLIST. A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT. THE BICYCLE WHEEL IS
WINDING DOWN. MUSIC CHORDS.

THE DRIVER’S FATHER (a confession): She didn’t stop. Looking for her
mobile phone, she veered off the road, knocking a man off his bicycle in the
process.

THE WHEEL STOPS SPINNING. DARK SOUNDS.

THE ORGAN DONOR (Intro): Why did the corner of that house have to be
there?

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THE DONOR – A SOUND PLAY

A CAR DRIVING ALONG THE ROAD. ON A SEAT IN THE CAR A MOBILE


PHONE IS RINGING.

THE DONOR: Why did it have to happen exactly the way it happened and with
such merciless, killing precision?

A RECOLLECTION: VAGUE, DISTANT SOUNDS. A MOBILE PHONE IN


THE CAR IS RINGING ON ONE OF THE SEATS. A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT.

THE DRIVER’S FATHER (from the mobile phone on the seat): Hello? Hello,
can you hear me?

MUSIC RESEMBLING THE SOUNDS OF GLASS SHARDS.

THE ORGAN DONOR: A single phone call less and my beloved would still
be alive today!

MUSIC RESEMBLING THE SOUNDS OF GLASS SHARDS.

THE DRIVER’S FATHER: She never stopped. She was looking for her
phone.

MUSIC RESEMBLING THE SOUNDS OF GLASS SHARDS.

THE ORGAN DONOR: I don’t understand anything. There’s no logic in it.

MUSIC FADES OUT.

THE ORGAN DONOR: She got everything and I lost everything.

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MUSIC.

SOUND SCENE 14: A LETTER OF THANKS

THE LETTER WOMAN: There was never a moment when I forgot about
you.

MUSIC ACCOMPANIMENT TO THE LETTER. FOOTSTEPS OF THE


DONOR IN THE ROOM WHILE SHE IS READING THE LETER SHE HAD
RECEIVED.

THE LETTER WOMAN: I find it easier to express myself than my husband,


so he asked me to describe his feelings for you. When he was awakened after the
operation all his doctors were gathered around his bed. In a moment of infinite
happiness he realized that someone had to die so that he could go on living.

HER FOOTSTEPS STOP.

SOUND SCENE 15: ALONE IN THE STREET


OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL

IN THE STREET. SOUNDS FROM OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL.

THE ORGAN DONOR (a recollection): In spite of my pain I can feel


somebody else’s happiness for the first time. I have accepted the light and dark
half of the terrible event.

SOUNDS FROM THE STREET. FOOTSTEPS.

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THE ORGAN DONOR: I shall keep my donor’s card.

CARS DRIVING BY.

THE ORGAN DONOR: The wheel of my experiences and understanding has


turned around: donating made a tragic death become a face of life.

SOUND SCENE 15: THE ELEVATOR GOING DOWN

THE SOUND OF A BELL IN THE ELEVATOR. THE DOOR OPENS. MUSIC.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The door is going to open.

THE SOUND OF A BELL IN THE ELEVATOR. THE DOOR STOPS AND


THEN CLOSES.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The door is going to close.

THE DOOR CLOSES. THE ELEVATOR STARTS MOVING.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The elevator is going down.

QUIET SOBBING IN THE ELEVATOR.

THE ORGAN DONOR (a thought): After that phone call at least I knew what
had happened.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The door is going to open.

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THE ORGAN DONOR (a thought): I knew that life is generally not regulated
by any sensible laws.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The door is going to close.

THE ORGAN DONOR: The universe is deaf.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The elevator is going down.

THE ORGAN DONOR: What is worse, if there is anyone up there at all –

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: Ground floor. The door is going to open.

THE DOOR OPENS.

THE ORGAN DONOR: Is that someone keeps cracking jokes at our expense.

A FEW BARS OF MUSIC.

THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR: The door is going to close. The elevator
is going down.

MUSIC. THE DOOR TO THE ELEVATOR OPENING AND CLOSING


CONTINUOUSLY IN THE BACKGROUND. THE VOICE KEEPS REPEATING
PERSISTENTLY.

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THE VOICE IN THE ELEVATOR (repeating): The door is going to open…


The door is going to close… The door is going to open… The door is going to
close… The door is going to open… The door is going to close…

FADE-OUT.

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