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ΑΦΟΡΜΕΣ

ΤΜΗΜΑ ΑΓΓΛΙΚΗΣ ΓΛΩΣΣΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΦΙΛΟΛΟΓΙΑΣ ΕΘΝΙΚΟ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΠΟΔΙΣΤΡΙΑΚΟ ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟ ΑΘΗΝΩΝ 1


ΦΟΡΜΕΣ

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ΤΜΗΜΑ ΑΓΓΛΙΚΗΣ ΓΛΩΣΣΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΦΙΛΟΛΟΓΙΑΣ ΕΘΝΙΚΟ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΠΟΔΙΣΤΡΙΑΚΟ ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟ ΑΘΗΝΩΝ 14ο Τεύχος Συγγραφικής

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ΤΜΗΜΑ ΑΓΓΛΙΚΗΣ ΓΛΩΣΣΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΦΙΛΟΛΟΓΙΑΣ ΕΘΝΙΚΟ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΠΟΔΙΣΤΡΙΑΚΟ ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟ ΑΘΗΝΩΝ 14ο Τεύχος Συγγραφικής

ΦΟΡΜΕΣ

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ΑΘΗΝΑ 2009

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ΑΦΟΡΜΕΣ Επιστημονική επιμέλεια: Catherine Rogers ©Τμήμα Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας Φιλοσοφική Σχολή Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών Πανεπιστημιούπολη Ζωγράφου 157 84 Αθήνα

Θέατρο

ISSN: 960-6608-59-X

Drawings by S.

Απαγορεύεται η αναδημοσίευση μέρους ή όλου της παρούσας έκδοσης χωρίς την άδεια της Διευθύντριας του περιοδικού.

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ΠΕΡΙΕΧΟΜΕΝΑ

ΠΕΡΙΕΧΟΜΕΝΑ........................................................................................................................... 5 ΠΡΟΛΟΓΟΣ................................................................................................................................. 6 ΕΙΣΑΓΩΓΗ ................................................................................................................................... 7 DREAMCATCHER........................................................................................................................ 8 THE HEIST ................................................................................................................................ 14 THE HELLENIC POST ................................................................................................................. 21 PERFUME ................................................................................................................................. 25 THE MIRROR CRACKED ............................................................................................................ 28 WHAT ABOUT MY DREAMS? ................................................................................................... 35 THERE WERE NO FAIRIES ANYMORE ....................................................................................... 39 HOPELESS CHILD ...................................................................................................................... 43 DEALING WITH DRUGSFROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES........................................................ 45 LAUNDRY DAY.......................................................................................................................... 52 THE BOX ................................................................................................................................... 56 LETTER TO MYSELF .................................................................................................................. 59 THE BREATH-TAKING DANCE OF THE LITTLE PUPPET ............................................................. 63 CHANCES.................................................................................................................................. 67 CONFESSIONS OF A COMIC MIND ........................................................................................... 80 MASQUES & SHADOWS ........................................................................................................... 84

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ΠΡΟΛΟΓΟΣ Οι ΑΦΟΡΜΕΣ είναι συλλογικό προϊόν του μαθήματος της συγγραφικής, το οποίο αποτελεί μέρος του προγράμματος σπουδών του Τμήματος Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας. Το σεμινάριο αυτό, το οποίο προσφέρεται ετησίως από τον Τομέα Λογοτεχνίας και Πολιτισμού, το δίδαξε το 2009 η Αμερικανίδα θεατρική συγγραφέας και ηθοποιός Catherine Rogers ως υπότροφος του Ιδρύματος Fulbright στην Ελλάδα, στους φοιτητές και φοιτήτριες του Η’ (εαρινού) εξαμήνου. Βοήθεια στην ηλεκτρονική επιμέλεια των κειμένων προσέφερε η Ανθούλα Σαραφαντώνη. Λιάνα Σακελλίου-Σουλτς

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ΕΙΣΑΓΩΓΗ Off Broadway Students is an evening of monologues written and performed by students from the intensive 8-week Creative Writing workshop at the School of English, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in the spring semester 2009. In this class, titled “Performing (My) World History,” students explored---via creative writing exercises, research, impersonation, interviews, and theatrical improvisation---their individual and family stories in light of significant events in the world around them. The resulting monologues combine elements of the students’ own experience, their personal and public histories given flesh and voice in dramatic form. Stathis Gourgouris, in his analysis of Neohellenic history Dream Nation (1996), writes that “every history organizes vestiges into a coherent picture. It veils a fiction”. (175). I asked students to construct their own stories by “organizing vestiges” in Gourgouris’s sense. We used fragments of memory, news items, dialogues with parents and family members, works of literature and music, freewriting, and improvisational exercises as raw material for the monologues in development. We worked with well-established principles of dramatic structure to organize their materials. Gourgouris points out that we must consider the “actual materiality of the conditions in which [authors] wrote” (216). The students and I considered how the Iphigenia of Euripides (Greece, ~ 407 BCE) and the Iphigenia of Charles Mee (USA, 2007) come to us through the particular lenses of their authors. We observed that just as William Shakespeare brought 16th- and 17th-century English power struggles to Macbeth (~1603), Anton Chekhov brought the 19th-century emancipation of the Russian serfs to The Cherry Orchard (1904), and Anna Deavere Smith brought 20th century American race relations to Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (1994), so do young Greeks bring to the stage public worlds remade in their private images. Embedded in the student reports of these worlds are the material conditions of their own lives: their writing desks and Facebook pages, their grandparents’ tales and silences, their parents’ mandates and examples, their own experiences in the agora, in literature, music, and media, in the classic and the popular, the ancient and the modern, the past and the future. And if every history veils a fiction, perhaps every fiction veils a history. “Can you tell me who is the one who writes history,” asks one student, “the crazy man, the winner?”. Another student announces, “Audience has gathered./Today we’ll speak the story of Truth.” Indeed, from the mouths of these students fly truths in the guise of fictional states and nations, fictional feminisms, fictional workers’ tales, fictional hero[in]es’ journeys. These are tales told by nineteen- and twenty-year-olds with a passionate desire to tell: “I stop one hundred people…you hear me?” These are stories that carry life’s questions within them: “I would like to ask you . . . [h]ow a human being can feel happy while at the same time other human beings are suffering?” or “Can we be happy only in our imaginations?” The writer makes herself or himself “the singular subjectivity in the vortex of an entire culture” (Gourgouris 213). In the performance, the public telling, these young writerperformers move from analytical/ theoretical mode to creative/practical mode, from academic discussion to dramatic action. They appear in the flesh and speak in their own voices transforming private individual experience into a public chorus of cultural identity.

Catherine Rogers 7


DREAMCATCHER By Maria Doulgeri

This is my independent monologue, my independent Creative Writing; an attempt to discover and develop my inner thoughts and inspirations. It is a spontaneous result of thinking, my personal “travel” along all these feelings, even the most hidden inside me. It is a catharsis, a relief. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share it with you… With respect, M.D.

Eventually, everything begins from our childhood. From colours, perfumes, experiences, pictures of children's first glance. Once, I remember, they told me not to lie. Now I've learned that intelligent is not only the one that lies, but also the one that hides the truth and induces his audience. Once, they told me to share my games to give the old one to someone that has none. Now the clever man is whoever keeps and hides and takes everything from the other. Eventually, once they taught me to help and respect the others, especially those who are really important to me. Now it's easier to hide all of “them” and bury them behind walls that seem to write on them: “Everything is clear, as our consciousness is.” Every time I feel that I've approached for my very first time another dimension, something grabs me and leads me in a totally green tropical forest. It's like an Asiatic region. From where I stand, the view is charming. However when I lean in the ground, it has so much humidity that I cannot even breathe. I notice a little girl standing next to me with its imposing eyes staring at me. She wears a long blue skirt and a pair of shoes at least 5 seizes bigger. She approaches me with an enchanting smile. The only way in front of me leads to a dark path. I take a deep breath and I go on walking, I want to get lost in my thoughts and illusions.

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I want these dark pictures to go away from my mind, so I return to Africa, without even noticing it. An extremely thin baby, it cannot be over 4 months I guess, leaves himself in his own dark fate and looks at me as if it has to say something. I will never forget these eyes, that's for sure. Next to him a woman is dying, thirsty and abandoned from every wish she has made. She looks me crying, but her eyes have no tears. She tells me everything that I don't need to hear. Have you ever felt incapable and weak at the same time? That's exactly how I feel now. I'm shocked. I don't even know if I will ever have the chance to come back in my first thoughts. I can't breathe. My chair disappears. I feel falling and falling over and over again. The ground approaches threateningly above me more and more. The air screams in my ears and the low temperature hurts my whole body. It's like hell. I remember those days where our wooden swords seemed to be really strong weapons that only excitement caused the illusion that we could easily beat our enemies. Explorations in secret places where only WE could see them in reality. Our childhood was full not only of compassion but also of the need for war. This land seemed so little to bear our own actions. The fantasy covered with success any weakness of this reality. Enemies appeared to be easy to defeated and at the same time so necessary. Our best friend, fantasy. Where exactly this childhood ends, where are these borders that distinguish powerful superheroes from an escape? Where exactly is it when THE ONE feels so powerful so as to spread his wings and defend himself and his beliefs? I guess, when he is really free, isn’t it? And freedom presupposes critical thought, choice, and not just the right of choice. Critical thought means to know and to decide, without any fear or borders. It means that I’m not shamed to feel and accept MY feelings and needs, MY weaknesses and wills. This Dragon that controls my thoughts exists since my childhood. He wanted to become friend with me, but he really scared me. I always wanted to get rid of him. Tonight I decided to leave him behind and go away. I wanted to enter the submarine of my illusions, travel around, be an observer. Deaths and forgotten mermaids, and books that rotted the heart and mind of people, little fish that crave the moonlight… leave them all behind me, and cross a new Continent of my own. Find again this wild and innocent child looking at me, hidden behind the trees. There is no bigger disappointment than saying “goodbye”. It’s normal to seek life in death. It’s worst when death becomes life, isn’t it?

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I catch myself trying to fly. But the absence of this impossibility ruins my internal thoughts again and again. They slip in the rain and I’m only watching them from the window. Who is the Creator that has managed to make us stand in front of this illusion only with few mud? The only thing that left me is Love. This touch and expression highly enforces me. This is the only beauty left. Secret, blind Love. Just a thief of our moments‌ Sometimes I catch myself thinking so many things at the same time, things that might not interest me, not even have the essential knowledge in order to jump to a conclusion. But I never remember anyone of these pointless thoughts that come over my mind again and again. However, I have spent so many hours travelling through them that sometimes I feel like carrying all the time a suitcase with me. A suitcase with experiences, dreams, illusions. Of course, no one of these thoughts has ever led me to a destination, although they have filled so many endless hours in my mind. I sometimes try to remember their content that took my many nights by the hand and whispered me a journey or a story. A great idea would be to parallel all of them with the notion of dreams, that, eventually, seem so meaningless and insignificant in the morning. But I have gained them, and they are mine now. I want to write them down, but my fear that they will loose their meaning, eventually makes me close my eyes and leave myself up to them. It's getting late now, and as it is used, these memories are hidden by the sun. There are so many things that I haven't dreamt of. The only thing that I need is my free will my interest my humanity. Some people say that the world that we leave in is totally a lie, and the only moments that we share in reality, are our dreams. I cross the streets of the city. THAT city that THEY told me it belongs to me. That this is a piece of the world that they used to tell me about all these years. But how can I know for sure that this is really my home? I don't really know how I ended up here, and everything seems so strange to me. And as everything seems so unnatural, I look around me. Ugliness. I look around me and the only thing that appears in my sight is sad persons, empty eyes. And I really know that if everything is a part of this nature, then it is impossible for anyone to leave without it. I can't live in these cages anymore. These cages hide me the sun. I cannot look at these black walls anymore that have covered every green corner around me. No bird is singing as they go away frightened by the noise of town.

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But I go on this exploration. Only having THEIR instructions with me, in me. These, that tell me that we are something more than slaves, more than animals, more than apes. Because apes don't kill following their orders. They don't fight for “black gold” or “green papers”. They don't kill day by day their children with pesticides and antibiotics, in the name of profit. The more I walk, the more lost I feel. Now I see how far this world is from mine. I can see the ruins of Parthenon, I can meet many ancient pictures. I

can look a statue standing really sad in a square. A statue of a philosopher, of a fighter. I want to see a picture in a little church. A picture of people that lived for what they believed, and died for that. Without blessing any gun. It feels that everyone has abandoned this place, that humanity, hope, love.They are

all gone. And they took me with them. No. I haven’t lost my strength. Who could ever imagine that? I exist in every world. I walk among all of you. You don’t even observe me. I’m alone. Travelling is not my choice, you know! I haven’t chosen who I am, who I want to be, who I’m NOT. It was later when I learned all these paths and I realized how the compass of my consciousness works. Eventually, everything we live are supposed to happen. Don’t they? Every winter, when I feel that emptiness fill my inner world, I’m happy. “Do you know why you are empty?” I whisper to myself. And then I realize that choice is not easy. But I try to be free. I really DO! There are so many times of happiness. Believe me, there are! And I cry, not of sadness. Of happiness. Really happiness. I met people that walked on that same path. People that help me to deal with these thorns of the rose. What is most funny? I was trying to find out where mortality is. I did. I’ve been living in eternity. To go through all of this. To learn To think To imagine To study To feel To hear To breath

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To get hurt Time goes back. I’m, too. I will always know and learn. No one can hides from that, even if his ignorance. He can’t. Don’t hide; life is in front of you. Are you coming? Are you leaving? Don’t walk away from me

Don’t leave those rainbow colours They blind me Are you coming? Are you leaving? You are walking in a desert Your water is knowledge DRINK! And the desert will come to an end

As long as it's getting dark again, my steps become really heavy and tired. The air is so thick that almost blinds me. And my dreams seem to disappear in front of me. As if a dreamcatcher has covered this planet entirely. Not one of these that keep dreams safe in order to send them back, but of those that seem quite unnatural to me. Those that capture any beautiful thing in this world and send you only nightmares back. Those that tell you that no hope is left here, you cannot escape this prison no matter how hard you will try. I sit to rest in a bench for a while. I try to look the dark sky, but the light from the stars doesn't touch me at all. It is like those moments you feel everything around you is so pointless, even though that deeply inside you you hope that it could change. And I feel so lonely, so frozen inside my soul. And through the darkness that covered my mind, through this despair and silence, I might feel something. A presence, a sound, some music. I might hear something so pointless and little, but at the same time so strong that all nightmares are gone. And I'm given back this forgotten beauty and hope. And I see. I see for just a little moment the whole world around me. People with bright sights, with an honest smile in their hearts. Free people that work for themselves and not for “green papers.” People that don't depend on their boss in order to live. People that really live and not just exist. People that, yes, they will fight. But only against stupidity and inhumanity.

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Yes, they told me that this is a Utopian idealistic place, that doesn't exist in reality. But how can something that really exists in our nature be unreal, when this unnatural prison that we were told to live in exists in reality? Which of the two need more power to be “true”? Nightmare or dream? If our nightmare became true, then our dreams are able to become, too. As the time passes by, the song stops. The whole image trembles in front of my eyes. I am still “here”. It's time I should leave now. I should go back in my “cage” and rest. I have to wake up early tomorrow. Once again I didn't manage to go where I wanted. But I continue my travel, seeking to find my Ithaca, having as compass my wills. Those that I know they are real and come inside from my heart. And as I stand up, I see a light far away from a window, and immediately a smile rises in my lips. Now I understand that there are other people feeling just like me, outside there. I'm not alone in this. And who knows??? Maybe one day we'll meet each other. Maybe one day we'll discover that we are much many than they let us think we are. But if this won't happen, never mind. Not many of them are necessary in order to change a reality. Don't forget that those who order our lives are few, aren't they? We have to find ourselves first. Which one is that self? Is it one or more and what does it want really? By observing and listening ourselves we can easily notice that there are more than one “selves”. When we want to make a choice, we immediately start an internal monologue. I fought, obviously, until the steward shook me: “Is everything all right Miss??” I whispered politely: “No, no. Thank you. Everything is fine.”

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THE HEIST A screenplay by Konstantinos Eleftheriou

EXT. LONDON - DAY

London. A typical English day. It isn’t raining right now, however the presence of the rain is everywhere on the wet streets and cars and even in the air, in which the smell of rain is diffused. It’s morning and a tall and hump-backed man with a suitcase walks in a crowded London street and enters a jeweller’s shop. He walks through the store and enters an office where he meets a man. He sits in front of him. TOMMY My name is Tommy and what do I know about diamonds? What do I know about gangsters? At least I didn’t! Until this last fuckin’ week! I’m only a greengrocer! What do I know about diamonds?

I run a greengrocer’s shop with my partner Tim. When I say partner I don’t mean we go for walks hand-in-hand or share the same bed sleeping into each other’s arms! I just save him from troubles while he gets me into troubles! Last Monday, while I was there, I saw two men fighting outside my store. I joined them and tried to stop them. After a while the one left but forgot his suitcase. Fucking curiosity! I opened it! A diamond as big as a fist was in there. INT. CELLAR – DAY In the cellar of the Tommy’s shop.

TOMMY Oh God! Look at this Tim! A diamond! A large one. Diamond! What am I supposed to do with this? We shouldn’t have opened this suitcase!

TIM

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Oh shit! Keep it man! Are you dumb? Who knows you have kept it? It could have been taken by anyone! TOMMY Oh no man! I can get into trouble with this one! It seems it costs a fortune! TIM Don’t act like a little windy girl! Shut up and listen to me. I know a person, Johnny the Gun. He’s the ideal one to sell it. But he does illegal jobs! You know: man of the underworld! Go there, sell it but nothing more with him! Dangerous person! TOMMY (V.O.) This is the way he always reacts. Remember the troubles I was talking about, don’t you? This is Tim. We have been friends so many years and he acts the same way all the time. In fact, why are we still friends? I don’t know. Normally, we shouldn’t. But we are. What can I do? How could I forget the £10,000 I spent some years earlier to save him from the bad guys? He had just lost a game of cards with some dangerous persons. INT. TOMMY’S HOME – EARLY MORNING A few years earlier. TOMMY What do you want, Tim? It’s 3 o’clock in the morning! TIM Save me my friend! I owe them! They’ll kill me! TOMMY How much do you want, Tim? TIM £10,000, Tommy! Ten fuckin’ thousand pounds! TOMMY Oh! I don’t give a fuck! Die Tim! I don’t care! TOMMY (V.O.) But of course I did care! And I gave them! But let’s come to our subject again. Of course when I decided to open this suitcase, I didn’t know that the person who had forgotten it was a trooper of

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the notorious gangster Fred the Head! You know Fred the Head, don’t you? You should be careful not to owe him. If he takes the upper hand you can very easily put yourself in a deep grave with tons of flowers above! Well, he had just obtained the diamond and had arranged a meeting with an American to come and buy it! INT. VILLA – DAY In the villa of Fred the Head. FRED THE HEAD Hello, Archie boy! Everything’s all right? ARCHIE I’m afraid not, Fred. I lost the suitcase along with the diamond. FRED THE HEAD What do you mean you lost it, Archie? How did you lose it? As I remember suitcases are not like car keys! Not even as small as a fucking tack! ARCHIE I’m sorry, boss! I’m just… FRED THE HEAD Shut up, shithead! ARCHIE Everything was fine, Fred. Until the moment that a jerk fell on me. I drove crazy and we fought. Then, I don’t remember. I forgot it there. I went back…but… FRED THE HEAD Shut up! Are you insane? The fuckin’ American comes tomorrow. What am I supposed to tell him? That I’m surrounded by stupid bastards who just can’t finish successfully a simple job? You had just to bring it here! That was your only job, Archie! It wasn’t your job to pretend you’re a bully with every jerk you find in the street. Find it, Arch! Ask every informer we have in streets! Ask even the pavements, I don’t care. But for God’s sake find it! Find it, Arch! Or you’re fucked up! TOMMY (V.O.)

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Meanwhile, I followed my partner’s advice. I visited Johnny the Gun. Of course along with Tim. When he smells dirt, he’s the first one to attend. Just like pigs! But also the first one to leave the battlefield letting me alone, trying to save our skin. Johnny the Gun accepted to buy the diamond. But this sneaky bastard had different plans! INT. OFFICE – DAY In the office of Johnny the Gun. A PARTNER OF JOHNNY THE GUN Johnny…come on! Will you give so much money to him? I can’t believe it! It’s impossible! JOHNNY THE GUN (laughing) Of course not! Are you crazy? Do you know why I’m Johnny the Gun? Once a shithead tried to cheat on me! Before he managed to do anything, I emptied a loaded gun on his head! So, call Danny and Skinny, tell them to follow him to his home and bring this diamond to me. Like hell I make this dirty peasant rich! (He laughs loudly.) TOMMY (V.O.) They followed me and entered my home. What could I do? They’d kill me! Fuck you, Tim, with your inspired ideas! I gave it to them. The last thing I wanted was to be hunted by the London underworld. INT. TOMMY’S HOME - DAY DANNY Tommy. Where is the stone? TOMMY Wait a minute, fellas! Wait a minute! DANNY Tommy. Where is the stone? (He hits him with the gun on his head.) TOMMY Ahhhhh! DANNY Skinny, what are we supposed to do with him? TOMMY

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Wait! Wait! I’ll give it! Fuck you! Take it but let me live! DANNY Good boy, Tommy. (He takes the stone and hits for a last time Tommy’s head with his gun.) TOMMY (V.O.) You think it was the end of my troubles? Shit! Of course not! Fred learnt I was the guy that had taken his diamond. Otherwise, he was really too stressed, as the American had already been to London and demanded to have the stone in his possession by the end of the week. Fuckin’ rats! They lose no information! I know Archie is a stupid bully, but he’s an expert in such missions. Just a simple payoff to the informers and… guess what. The next day, returning home from my shop, I found myself in the back seat of a car, bound, with a hood on my head. Just on the way to Fred’s home I started to realize the truth. I owed him man. I owed him and he knew it! Nothing worse than this! INT. VILLA – DAY In the villa of Fred the Head. ARCHIE Fred, I give you this fuckin’ bastard! It cost me a little more, but everything’s OK. FRED THE HEAD Good work, Arch! No dog as a loyal dog! Remind me to feed you a bone later! But firstly, take this snake downstairs and give him a bath! Let’s go, girls! TOMMY (V.O.) You’ll certainly wonder what kind of bath it would be. Me too! However, I started dreaming of a royal bathroom made of gold, very hot water and other luxurious things that simply were not going to happen. Soon after, I landed to reality. Can you imagine anything? Of course you can’t! ‘Cause this sick bastard has got a large tank in the basement of his fucking villa. A tank in which he punishes every bad boy that thinks they will cheat on him. When you owe him.

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Simply there is no way out! You’re just fucked up! Have you ever found yourself bound on a wheelchair, hanging from a fuckin’ hoist with the water of a large and deep tank just under your feet? Of course not! I did! My only salvation was to shout just one name. INT. BASEMENT – LATER In the basement of the villa of Fred the Head. TOMMY Johnny the Gun! He’s got it! He stole that from me! Please let me live! Please don’t kill me! (Fred’s mobile phone rings.) FRED THE HEAD Hello! (pause) A diamond? (pause) What diamond, Johnny? (pause) And how much will it cost Johnny? (pause) OK. Where? (pause) Yeah! Tomorrow afternoon. Just outside East London! Deal Johnny! (He hangs up the phone.) Guess what. He came to us. This jerk believes I’ll give my millions to buy my stone. My own stone. Boys. Be ready for a massacre. I’ll let no-one from his fuckin’ business live. Not even him. TOMMY (V.O.) I heard them. Do you think I would let them do their business? Normally I should. But, they underestimated me. Great mistake. Because I knew that Fred would be late to his appointment. He would want his enemies to be there before him. He would want them to be bored to death waiting for him, and when he and his troops would arrive, they would simply find them unprepared and would execute them. You know what I needed? Just my friend Tim, two professional gunners and four Desert Eagle .50. We went there and staying in a safe distance. Yes. We knocked off every motherfucker along with Johnny the Gun. The sequel was very simple. I took the stone and here it is. Oh. I forgot to tell you about Fred. A simple call to the police was enough. Fred and his bullies were caught next to 6 corpses, not knowing what had happened and looking for the diamond. What do I know about gangsters? I didn’t. People often wonder: What’s a real gangster? Haven’t you watched

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The Scarface or The Godfather? Sure you have. So, now I tell you that a real gangster doesn’t just want to earn money and doesn’t just want to gain the other’s respect and fear. He doesn’t even want to be the number one gangster and beat all the others and not even wants all the time to shoot and kill. ‘Cause a real gangster wants the fuckin’ lot. That’s why they’re all buried now! They wanted everything! That’s why! So do you know anyone to be interested in this diamond? And be careful man! I’m dangerous! THE PERSON IN FRONT OF TOMMY Maybe I know! He takes the phone and he calls the American.

THE END

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THE HELLENIC POST A play for one actor by Lazaros Implikian

Stage. Room with just the necessary objects. It’s obvious that it’s the place of a single man. The room is untidy. In front of the audience, on the wall, there is the photo of the mother. One single bed, an electric ring. It’s raining outside. The audience can hear the unlocking of the door. JOHN enters the stage carrying a postbag. He is wet. He leaves the postbag on the floor and takes a towel in order to dry himself. JOHN (Dries his face and gives his nose a blow.) This was the last thing I was thinking of . . .To get cold these days . . . Now , that everyone depends on the readiness that the Hellenic Post is in . . . Now , that the whole earth sends its wishes for a Happy New Year’s Eve day with a deep desire that our life this year will be better than last year’s. Too often, I’m tired of trying to remember situations, events, minor and great things and suddenly I’m in a confusion. It’s impossible to understand if all these things that I’m thinking of are of the present or happened five or ten years ago, or even before I was born. This paranoid compression of time, that we all think, that we’ve lived everything , we know everything and there’s nothing else except for us, before us and after us. Blows loudly. Umbrella or raincoat? Raincoat for me. Umbrella when being on duty. I tried to explain to them the practical problems that a simple postman may face while trying to distribute the letters or count money. Put up and put down the umbrella, each time that I should enter a house or a store, it’s over and the result is that the depots of the post office are full of broken and useless umbrellas. The umbrella is useful to all these people who move from the place of their work to the house or when going shopping. But for us . . . What . . He takes a small pan,fills it with water and chamomile. He puts it on the electric ring. He moves suddenly like a shiver went up and down his spine. I’m cold. He puts his hand on his forehead.

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I run a slight temperature. There is a crazy guy from Romania, a worker. immigrant as he told me, from the Carpathian Mountains. If I remember well, Dracula who used to drink pure blood of innocent people in order to survive, lived there. This man, the crazy one, he cries when he stares at the sun and when it rains or even worse, when it snows, he wears off his clothes and dances. I saw him like this, naked, this huge guy in front of me, the last time that I brought him a letter. Then it was the time that he told me, “Today for us is a national celebration. A day of remembrance for Count-Dracula the liberator of Romania from the Turkish yoke.” I couldn’t move. Leave or wait in case that he gives me a tip, because indeed this poor guy always gives me a small gift when I knock his door. “You see, Mr. Postman, today it’s a great day for us. Count-Dracula the liberator of the Romanians.” There, when I was lost in my thoughts he comes next to me and unexpectedly, he holds five euros in his hand. “Take this, have a good time these days and in conclusion, know that the Count used to drink only Turkish blood. I guess you’ve got it.”I took the money and I left as fast as I could. He looks at the pan, takes a cup and fills it with chamomile. Sits comfortably at the only armchair that he has. He takes one sip and then he takes two or three continuous sips. That’s it. I start feeling better. It’s strange how much better you can feel after having a hot drink in the middle of the winter. He looks at the photo of his mother. Finally, can you tell me who is the one who writes history. The crazy man, the winner, the movie I saw concerning Dracula? I know what you’re gonna say. The strong people, those who have power. Like you. What do you have to do with this? Even if I’ve explained it to you, I ‘m going to repeat it. These four narrow walls that circle this limited environment of the family started to exist forty three years ago and today it’s history that you wrote, only for you along with two unworthy extras. The one is my dead father, a worker and the other is me, the young modest postman with the monotonous, grey uniform, the brown bag. That is what you used to see, mother. That was my portrait. Have you ever wondered about the content of this bag? About the millions of letters from all over the world, in my hands, in my own hands, to transfer happy news, sad, paradoxical, strange and the most important, the soul , the man’s heart. You wanted to keep your own history for forty-three years, when I learnt the whole world geography, countries, capitals, cities, towns, villages. Great personas, great scientists, athletes, Olympic champions, politicians and kings were my companions all these years and even though I didn’t pay attention to them in the beginning, I started to be interested by the time, to learn and every little colorful paper on the envelopes has its own history to narrate, a real history related to events, wars, great theatrical premieres, decorations, plagues, revolutions, dead people, weddings, heroes, births. Without looking at the portrait of his mother. Do we live, Do I live? Have I lived? Am I going to live? Forty-three year old and I seek the truth , I search for the reversals that can change the situation. 22


Stands up and moves in the room. Before some days the Managing Clerk insisted that we, on our own, are responsible for our fate and when we cannot do this on our own, then we can work altogether to succeed at something. But, have you ever wondered, Mr. Managing Clerk, if I’m in a mood to share all my insane secrets with you? Do you know how somebody feels when you shout his wellhidden secrets from the rooftops? ’Cause you speak a lot Mr. You open your mouth and you say many things. More than you should. Of course, as I’m thinking of this matter, I end up believing that the moral dimension of the events exists too. It’s not easy to open your mouth giving descriptions and images of human misery, even if someone has trusted you. Many years before, when I was seeing St. Vasilios at the Kremlin square, of course on the letters from Russia, I was disgusted. I wondered if these bad people may have any relation with this wonderful Christian church. And when they asked me at the café if it is real, I told them that it was a painting. When I’m thinking of this clearly, it is indeed like a painting, except for the fact that I can now see this church with its real colors and its real content. Quick motion of his body. When I changed my mind, some of them laughed and they told me that St. Vasilios has been there for over two hundred years. It was a matter of my blindness, as they said I’ve noticed many times, I cannot discriminate the colors and that some other times, I see different colors than the real ones. Reserved with a bit of shyness. Of course, there was a lady who had a five-year old child that played her role in all of this. I saw her photo for the first time on TV. It was the Mother’s Day, and people sent suggestions and examples of mothers being strong and powerful, so that their stories could be shown on TV. I didn’t believe that she was her when I met her. She opened the door to receive just an envelope. Some days after this happened, she stopped me and said, “That’s it. The end has arrived.” She was lost in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Through this end, I have to make a new beginning. Not only for me. For the child. And she’s lost. From then, I was lost too. In my insane search for the truth, if there is truth or everything is a lie. What can make me real, me, myself, her along with the kid, the many others. Who of us are real? Are we real through our small or big lies? Short pause. Me, could I ever have a kid? Be a father without a wife, a mother without a father for my baby? Silence. He wears his raincoat very slowly, grabs his postbag, puts up the umbrella.

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Is there a chance that I can feel the love of a woman with a baby? Can I? Can I manage to love someone else, apart from my raincoat and my umbrella? Deeply in my heavy winter soul. He walks to the exit of the room. Maybe a human. . . Maybe a child . . . Can I?

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PERFUME A play for one actor by Eleni Kalpia-Ilia

As the day is uncovered I’m sitting . . . I’m sitting here, I’m sitting there, negligently! I hear you, the key you’re holding, I hear you, you’re close, you will return and your return will be certain, cruel, tender, for me, you’re close, you’re coming. I’m sitting here, at the same clime, and my eyes tremble, start playing, start running, my apples . . . black ball on the marble floor, goes and comes, hits the walls, dead ends, open, open for me. Where are you…you would be here. I mourn and I will mourn, because that heartless, hard blunderbuss with five holes ablutes my passing, bullets from my cousin’s popgun. Memories, like lanterns beside me, like quilt-shaped torches which clench rest me and I’ll be sitting here. MY beloved you are. My strength you are and I’ll catch it, I’ll exercise it, for you I withstand, where are you? I’ll be sitting here, warming our place, our home, stitching and weaving our clothes, our socks! My hip is absorbed, it hurts, the sheet sticks like a bur, I’ m stuck on this chair. Is time negotiable? Days, nights, weeks, months, years, years, years. . . . Will it be redeemed? And if yes, will I survive? I’ m here, a fantasized and phantom, here I am. Where are you, you would be here, is time negotiable? Rusty screws of my grandpa’s wooden handmade tables. Chris! Stay here, make more tables, I am the screws, I save them! I’m the rust, the detriment is mine! Tables and wood . . . undying odor of oxygen. Like a fantasized and phantom I wander in the alleys, at your village I wander . . . burnt wood! Grandpa! Where are you? Where is he? Where is that? Where are you? My beloved, I’ m sitting here. The air sucks the filth, but he brings it in again. I’ll shut the windows. . . . My hands are stammering, I’m telling you, I’m faltering, my steps are faltering.

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Calm me, lull me, quiet me, now leave me, and go, go! If you’re coming, you’re coming, go away. I won’t talk anymore, my teeth hurt, my jaw hurts. My feet are tired, I can’t stand. My bones are tired, my veins, my nerves bite me, I cannot move, my blood is tired; it slips from and on me like disgrace and sullies me. I’ll sit on this chair. . . . Something is changed, is that night? The chair’s feet are shaking, I’m shaking, the legs tilt on the front and I’m sitting here, the legs break in the middle, but this seat is standing in the air and I’m on it, a standing seat, half chair, broken, empty, my sweat is tired, it burns my head, I have to breathe, so . . . breathe Helen! Breathe. I’m leaving! I’ll write him I’m leaving. My face will freeze in the cold air, the cruel, the demanding, and the oppressor, the air blows my hair, but now what? It whisks me away? It blows me back, so . . . here . . . I remain here. I’ll sit here, applause for my failures, for my loneliness, for my misery? They’re clapping and my ears are buzzing. Clapping! And more clapping, stronger and harder. Hands, palms vibrate faster and faster, I grab them! I stop one hundred people, I force them to listen to me, you listen to me, you hear me? Leave me alone! Please. Oh, I’ll sit here, I’ll lie here, and I’ll lie aside, for I don’t want to see everything. I’ll lie with my face down, for I don’t want to see anything. Glassy and stony stares on me, auras, shadows figures, gestures, undone touches, they’re on their way to touch me. I, the fantasized and phantom, am scared! I am exposed! Am I? I don’t wanna look, I don’t wanna see even if there’s nothing! If it is to come, you’ll come! I won’t cry anymore and if the dead rise up from their graves, will you save me? And if they are the most sweet people in the world? I’ll eject them. I want to be saved, will you negotiate time? I am locked in time; take me out, to leave. . . . What? Stay here for ever? Will they be remembering me? Will you remember me? And who is gonna know me, who is gonna meet me? 100 years after? 1000 years after? And then? I’ll be a color? I’ll be the black? I’ll be the wall of the house? I’ll be the painting? I’ll be the photo frame? I’ll be just a photo? Alone in the photo? Are we all together in the photo? Are we just gonna be photos? For whom? Who is going to look at them? Will I be sitting here? Still here? I’ll stay in time, even if I’ll become a tie, you will be the neck that wears it or the coat rack that holds it and I’ll fit you, and you’ll fit me.

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I dote on you, my love, I’ll be sitting right here, I feel you! You’re near, you’re coming back, I hold you, and you embrace me! Closed are the windows, but break them. Break them and wake me up mightily, strongly, hardly, extortionately, repressively, break the doors, wake me up, I’ll be here, I’ll be sitting in here and dust will be stuck on me, playing cards charge my hands with dust, I riffle through these cards and dust sticks on my wrists, on my tongue dust. Dust in my ears. I breathe dust and cough. I goggle my eyes. Everything appears doubly, my eyes will explode. Smog comes out of my legs, smog out of my fingers, please. I won’t speak again, no more, enough for today, enough for tomorrow and the day next! I won’t speak anymore! But. . . . You drink that night. For you I’d come. The perfume of soul, all yours, my singer! But . . . while waiting, sometimes um . . . I think, I believe, I know, I’m sure that I hate you more and more! How much we miss things, right? How much you miss things? Do you miss her? Shove off! Go. Leave! An obscenity you are, a sickness in my lungs, your obnoxious lies! Mum . . . I regret everything that I just said . . .

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THE MIRROR CRACKED A play for one actor by Xanthi Keratsaki

Inspiration had long abandoned me. The story remained unfinished, the pages threateningly empty on the desk. My editor had warned me: If I wasn't going to finish the book soon, there would be no book at all. I took the last sip of the gin bottle and stared blankly on the manuscript. I was feeling dizzy, but the story should continue. I lifted my pen once again, praying to the Inspiration Muse for help. Why on earth did I choose to become a writer in the first place? Chapter One: Born and Reborn

It was late at night when her mother felt the pain and rushed to the hospital and it was early in the morning when she gave birth to her. The calendar had the date March 18, 1988, and the happy family soon returned home. Her mother would assure everyone that she was the prettiest baby in the world, that holding, kissing, feeding, feeling her was a part of what we today call “happiest moments of somebody's life.” She was always taken care of. Everybody loved her and soon admired her achievements. She could now smile, stand up, talk, walk, eat by herself, and so on. Her parents worked constantly, so she had to grow up with her grandmother. That woman was the first one to teach her the simple things in life and had a major role on the creation and development of her personality traits.

From the moment she stepped into the nursery school, one could tell she was a closed girl. She was not exactly what we call “popular,” but she certainly had her friends. However, making new ones always seemed to be a trouble. The sense of threat, of doubt and fear was evident in her childish face. Always hesitant, shy and with a glass defense wall around herself, she was observing people. Her big green eyes watched closely and reached conclusions. Too easily, one would say.

She was not a difficult child. She didn't whine or make trouble. Imagination had always been the key to approach her. She liked to watch cartoons or read comics. She loved to dance and transform herself. If you walked inside the room unexpectedly, you would find her searching

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her mother's shoes, trying them on and using long dresses and scarves as part of her game. She would smile to you and continue her game. You were not allowed to see, though. She was playing alone, living in her own world, where everything was the way she wanted. Soon her brother was born. Although she was very cautious in the beginning, she loved him eventually. The big age difference, though, almost seven years, made a potential friendship improbable. Only years later she could understand him fully and develop a stable and strong bond between them.

Primary school was usual. Friendships and rivalries, fights and make-ups, parties and games are the only things she could remember from that era. What certainly changed her whole point of view, though, was Junior High School. The memories of that time leave her with a bittersweet taste in her mouth. It is then when she started discovering herself. Self exploration, however, was not an easy job, and her findings were not always pleasant. Her personality was now expanding; her mind was strolling in several paths. By the end of Junior High School for only two things she was certain: One, that she was the most anti-romantic, pessimistic, and judgmental person ever, and two, that logic was the key to everything. Although her imagination was still vivid, when it came to everyday matters she was determined to explain them logically.

A realist, one might say. Yes, she definitely was that. One plus one equals two, and there's no discussion over it. She was confused by the other people who seemed too preoccupied with fate and luck. For her, everything had a reason, a beginning and an ending. The solutions to all problems were easy and simple as long as the person could accept the problem. There was no such thing as, “It was fate's call.” The only one that could make the decisions for someone was himself. As long as he could embrace his flaws and accept them, there was nothing difficult or impossible in life.

She was pretty aware of her own flaws and problems. She lacked self-confidence, but on the other hand, she didn't need reassurance from anybody. She had accepted the negative parts of herself but did nothing to improve. If anyone would say to her, “You're untidy,” she would respond, “That's the way I am” and not even give it a second thought. She also seemed to be unapproachable to other people, harsh and remote. Even her closest friends could not make her open herself to them. She was a great friend for the others, though. Her advices had the voice of logic in them and that's why her friends loved her. She was not a person that would

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say something just to flatter somebody or become more agreeable. Her opinion was always told when asked, even though she knew that sometimes it would not be what the other expected to hear. However, when it came to herself, she would not let go. She always said the least things possible, asked advice for minor things (and never followed it anyway) and got used to living, thinking, and acting alone. That was the only way for her to be well.

By the time she thought she had found her position in the world, she fell in love. Love itself is a very complex feeling. It is not bordered by logic, do's and don'ts and it certainly did not have only one aspect. It was the first time in her life that she felt so vulnerable. The idea that she had no control over her emotions frightened her, but she could not do otherwise. Even though her personality did not change drastically, she had to admit that life is not always black or white. Love was not a feeling to be explained or justified. She was just feeling. No thoughts, no evident way out, not a single easy decision. One would think that finally she had opened herself to another person and started thinking and behaving more rationally, romantically, freely. Sadly, that was definitely not the case. She became even more sure that logic should prevail and even more pessimistic. Rejection made her even more harsh. Worse, she could not understand why she insisted to love, despite the fact that everything pointed not to. It was then when she accepted that there might be some things in life you can't control or explain logically. It took her many years and much self-exploration to understand why people seemed so weak against love. And it took her even more time to let herself go and enjoy this strange feeling. Her whole world had changed. She had found the strength to be reborn and become (hopefully) better.

Chapter Two: Interferences

They say puberty is the right time for a person to know himself and create his personality. The views and opinions that someone has during that era usually accompany him for the rest of his life. It is an era of revolution and resistance towards practically everything and historical or political events play a major role.

She was different. Her revolution was quiet and peaceful; she did not make a big deal about things. She was not the kind of person to protest or fight in the streets. She had always been a good student; school was just an occupation she needed to be good at. Her parents never pushed her, but she could understand that they had expectations. She also had

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expectations, but things weren't easy. The distractions around her were many. People judged her for everything: her good grades, her nerdy looks, her indifference towards sociopolitical status.

However it was not her fault. She once tried to get in a political conversation. Soon she was bored to death. She just could not understand why all these people talked and talked and endlessly talked without ever reaching a decision. It seemed to her that the key was not to improve the state of being but to gain power and publicity. She never cared about any of those things, so she decided that politics was and should not be a part of her interests.

Her views of her future were constantly changing---a very painful experience. When she first entered Junior High School, she decided to become a vet. She loved animals very much, so it seemed a logical choice. Her parents were against it and tried to change her mind in every possible way. Then, she decided she could be a Maths teacher! The little detail that she was terrible at Maths was trivial to her. Luckily, she changed her mind again. She loved literature and read books manically, so becoming a teacher would also be part of her dreams. The way the children treated her teachers, though, made her reconsider it. In the beginning of High School, she was sure she wanted to be a lawyer, as people kept telling her she was very good at defending her positions. She felt it suited her too. A lawyer is a fearless person, eloquent and outgoing. Okay, it was totally different from what she was, but imagine the possibility! She would be well respected and there would no more be acid comments on her appearance or looks. A lawyer then. Great.

However, in her last school year things changed once again, much to her parents’ dismay. She decided to become an actress. She found herself practicing roles behind her closed bedroom door, memorizing movies and acting like the glamorous Hollywood people. The movies that she always wanted to play were psychological thrillers though she had never managed to see a whole romantic movie. It seemed so perfectly fake it disgusted her. Thrillers and adventures, then. She was imagining the dangerous scenes she would have to act out, the thrill and excitement running through her veins, the lights darting her straight in the face and herself, waving at people who worshiped her. The plan was already ready: she would finish High School, go to a Drama School in Greece for a couple of years and then move to America and become the next Hollywood diva. How simple life seems at seventeen!

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Her parents fought her decision with every means. In the end, she decided nothing. She just went and had her exams, and when the results came out, she stared blankly at the empty piece of paper in front of her. She had to pick a University. She chose one she didn't know if was suitable for her but seemed nice. Just nice. She was no longer intimate about anything regarding her studies. She would just study something random and she where life would drive her to. Luckily, she had choices. It was weird for her to see everyone around being sure for what they wanted to do. For the first time in her life, she didn't have a plan. Her logic was not responding to her constant questions. All the other people of her age knew what they wanted to do in their lives, but she didn't. She hated going with the flow, without any purpose in her mind. She always had a goal, a target. Now she was feeling empty and unimportant. She was just another person who didn't know what to do.

The thing that bugged her most, however, was the emotions she had for that particular person. It was weird. After all these years, after many unpleasant situations, she was still there, expecting things to change. He was so different from her! He had everything planned out for his life. He would follow his parents' careers; he would stay forever in the little town where he grew up; he would probably have a family and children. She wasn't sure if she wanted to be a part of this plan, another detail in the perfectly ruled life. But she loved him so much she couldn't even think of leaving him. So she stayed, hoping for the best.

She was now so afraid. As she was growing up, she had promised herself she wouldn't be just another woman in this world. She wanted to do something special. She took advantage of her talent in writing and started creating fiction. It was not enough. She decided to finish her studies and go for post graduate studies in another country, just to get away from the usual stuff. It was not enough. She wanted so much to make a difference but she didn't know how. She was desperate. She had fooled herself once again. What's so special around her anyway? Why was she always so sure she would be different from the others? She had betrayed herself, her views. She was just another person.

A few years later found her trapped in her own prejudices. On the outside, she was a great girl who should be grateful for what she had. Her grades in the University were excellent; she had a stable job in her field, a steady loving boyfriend and her family supporting her. Why was it, then, that she felt so empty inside? That a part was missing? Was it missing from

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herself or from her life in general? Why couldn't she for one moment feel happy without saying “but�?

What was it that she wanted after all? She felt anger towards herself. What was her problem? Why couldn't she accept and value the things that life had so generously given? She was healthy and had people who loved her. Those alone should be enough. Let alone the other things: that she was settled already in terms of work and her future. Maybe that was the actual problem. Settling down. Or maybe the fact that she never forgave herself for being another pawn in the big chess game of life. Her moves were always predictable, always forward. She was taking down other pawns, and she was well protected by the other pieces. It was not enough, no. All she wanted was to find the strength to move faster. To risk, even if it seemed illogical, even if the other pieces behind her did not support her decisions. To know that she might fail. To be alone in her struggle to reach the other side of the chess and become a queen. The queen was powerful, right? She could move so elegantly! So freely! So differently from the little trivial pawn! But what was the way? In front of her, huge pieces stood like unbearable obstacles. It was like having her allies that protected her from behind, now standing in the way in front of her. Could she really abandon everything and find the way all alone? What if the other pieces attacked her? What if they took her down eventually? Then she would be out of the game forever.

Chapter Three: The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side

As she was thinking over and over all these things, she stretched across her bed. She should be sleeping now. She had to work in the morning. But she couldn't sleep. She mentally slapped herself. What was happening now? Why was she thinking over her life again and again? It didn't really matter. Not right now. Even if she had the courage to change her life, not drastically, but just make it more complete, more intimate, more important, she didn't know the way. Although she was never afraid of anything, now she found herself in fear. She was human after all. She didn't want to lose everything in the blink of an eye.

She got up nervously. She was such an idiot believing she was different or special. Why would she be anyway? There were so many people around her, a hundred times better than her. They had achieved real things. Not only in their minds, like her. She was absolutely disappointed and disgusted with herself, so she tried to relieve the pain. She grabbed

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objects around the room and started tossing them on the floor. Oh how relieving! She threw some of her notes out in the balcony. “So long dreams! You are vain!” She moved to her beloved library. She had read so many books, and yet she never found the truth. She chose one of her puberty diaries and she opened it to the first page. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” she quoted. She turned around and tossed the diary in the bin. “Vain, vain, vain!” she yelled. “Everything is vain!” she shouted once more and burst into tears.

“You stupid little girl why are you crying now?” “Because there's nothing left to do” “Why is it? Have you tried everything? Even the slightest possibility?” “Yes” “No you haven't” “What do you want? Who are you anyway?”

And then she realized she was talking to herself. Oh great. Now she was crazy. Talking and responding all alone? Really, good work. Years and years of studying and reading books with no answers just to be taken away because she was crazy, for God's sake!

It was funny. She started to laugh. With what exactly, I don't know. The laughter soon died down. She touched one pebble she had once collected from a beach. She had painted it blue and yellow. Why had she done that? She couldn't remember. She tried to remember so hard, but yet she couldn't. Driven by anger, she threw it away with all her force. The pebble bounced and with a loud noise landed on the huge mirror she had on her wall. The mirror cracked and pieces of glass were everywhere. She regretted it instantly. It was a nice mirror. Such a waste. She got up hesitantly and approached the remaining of the mirror. She lifted her head up and stared at the idol in front of her. She gasped. The answer was right there. The key to everything was herself. To understand and interpret herself. Not the others. She moved even closer. The face reminded her of something . . . something she couldn't remember . . . something like . . . me.

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WHAT ABOUT MY DREAMS? A play for three voices by Xanthi Keratzaki, Amalia Kiousi, and Zacharoula Kompoliti

XANTHI Inspiration had long abandoned me. The story remained unfinished, the pages threateningly empty on the desk. My editor had warned me: If I wasn't going to finish the book soon, there would be no book at all. I took the last sip of the gin bottle and stared blankly on the manuscript. I was feeling dizzy but the story should continue. I lifted my pen once again, praying to the Inspiration Muse for help. Why on earth did I choose to become a writer in the first place? AMALIA Circular movements around the table. Such a boring day. I couldn’t stay quiet. Tik, tok, tik, tok. Am I going to break the vase? Do I want to break the vase? My mom always used to be so proud of it. “We bought it from Italy; it’s made from Murano glass!” Few minutes after, the vase is broken: “I told you to stop making noise,” my father yelled at me. “You’re driving me crazy child!” And here comes the slap. However, I really loved the moment I broke the vase. Sometimes I think I am waiting for my father to react, to shout, to judge everything I do. I am not insane; I just hate tranquility; I love being intense all the time .Besides, I was always a naughty child. My parents should have acknowledged that. The slap didn’t hurt. He used to slap me. Rarely, but he did. With my cheeks all blushed, I went to my room. Sometimes I couldn’t understand why did my father always scold me, but instead said nothing to my little sister. I was rarely crying. I can’t forget when my father locked me in my room for two days because I didn’t take care of my sister when we were playing at the yard, so she fell and broke her leg. He only gave me water. “You should be punished in order to understand that you should always keep an eye on your sister. She’s too small to understand.” I loved my sister so much, but I couldn’t see my father’s weaknesses. Those years were so tough. People used to gossip a lot in the village when they saw my mother crying, or her father always yelling. HARA Ambitions, dreams, high goals meant nothing to you. There were just a few empty words that only naive people considered important. Foolish people, always overestimating their abilities and qualities. Always chasing goals they would never reach. Always dreaming, trying to forget their misery, while they think that one day their dreams will come true. Stupid people, unaware of their condition. Vain, so vain that they never stop dreaming not even when they are proved wrong. So vain that they are finally lead to destruction. You are not exaggerating. Their vanity doesn’t allow them to see how tough life is, how unfair it is, and when their hope starts fading away they fall apart. They collapse. Thank God, you’re not one 35


of them. You have to admit, though, that once you used to be. You were as foolish as them, but not anymore. You don’t dream, don’t hope, don’t expect anything extraordinary to happen to you. You don’t expect anything at all. You’re fine, just fine. XANTHI A realist, one might say. Yes, she definitely was that. One plus one equals two, and there's no discussion over it. She was confused by the other people who seemed too preoccupied with fate and luck. For her, everything had a reason, a beginning and an ending. The solutions to all problems were easy and simple, as long as the person could accept the problem. There was no such thing as “It was fate's call.” The only one that could make the decisions for someone was himself. As long as he could embrace his flaws and accept them, there was nothing difficult or impossible in life. She was pretty aware of her own flaws and problems. She lacked self-confidence, but on the other hand she didn't need reassurance from anybody. She had accepted the negative parts of herself but did nothing to improve. If anyone would say to her “You're untidy” she would respond “That's the way I am” and not even give it a second thought. She also seemed to be unapproachable to other people, harsh and remote. Even her closest friends could not make her open herself to them. She was a great friend for the others though. Her advice had the voice of logic in it, and that's why her friends loved her. She was not a person that would say something just to flatter somebody or become more agreeable. Her opinion was always told when asked, even though she knew that sometimes it would not be what the other expected to hear. However, when it came to herself, she would not let go. She always said the least things possible, asked advice for minor things (and never followed it anyway) and got used to living, thinking, and acting alone. That was the only way for her to be well. AMALIA At school I was a lonesome girl. Spring time. The kids were playing “War and Peace” in the sun. I didn’t want to play. Tulips used to blossom in spring. I climbed a fence and went to a field full of tulips. Oh, if anyone could see me. The villagers were so brutish with everything they owned. Sheep and goats were their favorite property, so I lay down among the tulips. The sun all above me made me close my eyes, and my cheeks were fully blushed again. While hearing the noise of the kids who were playing, I was in another world. My own world. I started dreaming. I was always a dreamer. I wanted to be a photographer so I could travel all over the world and take pictures of so many places. Argentina, Paris, Rome, USA. Could I do that? Later I thought of becoming a director. Once I had seen the Last Tango in Paris, I wanted to become a bohemian artist, an innovative director. I could travel all over Europe, or even better, to Hollywood, where I could meet many interesting people and thus achieve my dream. A painter was included in my dreams too. I had a talent in painting, mostly abstract paintings. I could be another Pollock. A female Pollock. That’s what I’d do. Alright, my dad’s not watching. He always used to say: "What’s that piece of shit you’re looking at? These movies, these actors, bohemian bullshit! These can corrupt you, they’re evil! Turn the TV off!” I can open it when he leaves, I thought.

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XANTHI Her views of her future were constantly changing. When she first entered Junior High School, she decided to become a vet. She loved animals very much so it seemed a logical choice. Then, she decided she could be a Math teacher! The little detail that she was terrible at Math was trivial to her. Luckily, she changed her mind again. In the beginning of High School she was sure she wanted to be a lawyer. She felt it suited her. A lawyer is a fearless person, eloquent and outgoing. Okay, it was totally different from what she was, but imagine the possibility! She would be well respected and there would no more be acid comments on her appearance or looks. However in her last school year things changed once again, much to her parents’ dismay. She decided to become an actress. She found herself practicing roles behind her closed bedroom door, memorizing movies and acting like the glamorous Hollywood people. She loved horror movies, so she was imagining the dangerous scenes she would have to act out, the thrill and excitement running through her veins, the lights darting her straight in the face, and herself waving at people who worshiped her. The plan was already ready: she would finish High School, go to a Drama School in Greece for a couple of years and then move to America and become the next Hollywood diva. How simple life seems at seventeen! HARA Wake up! Wake up! Come on, you have to wake up. It’s 5:30 in the morning, you have to open your eyes and this stupid alarm clock won’t stop ringing until you do. You have to go to work. Yes, to work, that fuckin’ job you never thought you would do. “It’s something temporary, until I’ll find a better one,” you used to say then. But you never did. What did you expect? You had no qualities, no qualities to find a better one. Every time you were interviewed for a job, your possible employers were making it clear to you that they would never hire you. Yes every time, waiting to hear something encouraging, but you ended up listening to their calm, arrogant voice saying: “We are sorry, sir, but we are looking for someone else. We are sorry, sir, but you do not have the qualities needed to get that job.” Yeah right, of course they were sorry, as sorry as everyone around you was. No, they weren’t sorry, not at all. Everyone was expecting you to become someone else, someone successful. AMALIA The thought of all these dreams made my eyes sparkle more than the sun did. But could I do all that? Why are people trapped into their own desires? Why can’t we escape from our harsh routine? Do dreams come true, or do they exist only for the dreamers? Are we happy only in our imagination? Are we able to create only through depression or even pot? I could be an existentialist author. All these questions are worth being answered! I remember the song: “Where do I begin, to see the story of how great a love can be.” I can be so existentialist. All those worries. Wait! What about my father? I forgot about him. Will he react? Well, I won’t let his severity hold me back. Most probably, he would want me to stay in the village and take care of the family. Do I want that? What about my dreams? Dust in the wind? It’s not fair, I thought. I could think of something else. Indeed, is it so hard to pursue your own dreams? People always gossip, they care for no one but themselves. It was 37


my dreams that kept me alive and optimistic about the future. “No one gives a shit about you,” my father once told me. “You can’t do anything without your family.” Bullshit, I thought, too. I definitely can. Einstein, Jane Austen, Marie Curie, Elvis Presley, even Mrs. Giotas’ daughter from the bakery could do it. “Now it’s my turn,” I thought. Keeping on dreaming, suddenly a shadow covered my body and made the sun hide. Something smelled awful, too. Few minutes later I saw a sheep peeing on me. “Welcome to reality,” I thought.

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THERE WERE NO FAIRIES ANYMORE A play for one actor by Nefeli Ladaki

BALLERINA While sitting in my bedroom, observing all of my surroundings and wondering what is the most important thing in my life, a pair of ballet shoes caught my attention. That’s it, I said. Ballet. Ballet is the most important thing in my life. And if you want to know why let me tell you a story that begins in my early years and still goes on. I think it was my third birthday when my mother gave me as a birthday present my first ballet shoes. After a week I attended my first ballet class. By entering the room I felt a little strange. My teacher smiled at me and told me to go and sit with the other girls. I smiled her back and sat down. She mentioned that we were going to collect flowers and butterflies. Mrs. Mary, that was her name, started first and we followed her to her magical world by imitating her movements. In a few minutes I was completely lost in that magical world where fairies and magical beings lived. She taught us how to use and play with our imagination. I took such a pleasure. Since then my teacher became my “good fairy”. Time was passing very quickly when I was dancing and playing. I was impatient for each of my ballet classes. I was making new friends and I was doing strange things with my body that seemed to be taken from a fairytale. In my first performance we actually danced a fairytale; “The Sleeping Beauty.” I was too excited and believed that I was going to become a fairy, a real one. Our performance took place, but unfortunately for me I did not turn into a fairy. I was not disappointed at all. I was just looking forward for my next ballet performance. Four happy years past, too fast. One afternoon my mother wanted to make a kind of serious discussion with me. She began to talk, but her sayings did not make sense to me until she made a pause and said: “Your ballet school is folding up.” My magical world was vanished into thin air. I was crying for many nights and days. I did not want to go to a new ballet school, but I had no other choice. If I wanted to continue dancing, I had to abandon my ballet dreamland and enter a new environment that consisted of unknown evil fairies. The time and the date of my first class in my mew school came, but I still did not want to go. I was crying. My mother was trying to dress me, but it was impossible. Finally, she managed to do it. While we were walking to my dance studio, my mother told me that I could go to another if I did not like this one. I stopped crying. When we entered the school, the owner of it, Mr. Panos who was also a ballet teacher, introduced me to my teacher and told me where the changing room and my class were. Two other girls were already in the changing room waiting for our teacher to come upstairs. Our teacher came at five o’clock sharp. Five eight-year-old girls entered the class accompanied by their teddy bears and dolls. I felt extremely lonely. On the other hand I thought that ballet was in that classroom waiting for me. Mrs. Gogo, that was her name, told us to sit down and 39


listen carefully to her “guidelines.”

She becomes a thin, severe figure and talks. DANCE TEACHER Girls, you are not expected to bring your teddy bears or dolls in my classroom. Ballet must not be a play for you anymore. Music begins; the dance teacher dances and talks. If you want one day to dance and perform as I do, you have to start working really hard from today’s lesson. So, let’s start our lesson. I want to see you dancing know.” BALLERINA The first thought that came to my mind was that my predictions for my new ballet school were very correct. There were no fairies anymore. I had to face reality and to deal with my body’s disabilities. I had to listen to the music and not to my teacher’s songs. I had to follow my teacher’s guidelines and not to her fairytales. I had to be a pupil and not a “princess.” At the end of the course she let us free dance for a few minutes, but I was not easy anymore. I had to follow a million of rules. When the time was up she thanked us and said: “We are going to meet in two days. Please girls, don’t forget what you’ve learned today.” I went to the changing room; I changed and walked downstairs. My mother was waiting for me. When she saw me, she gave me a huge hug and asked me how my lesson was. Hopefully for her I did not mention anything about changing school. During our way back I was humming Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and trying to imitate my teacher’s movements. My mother came to the conclusion that I liked the lesson, although it was difficult, but I did not want to admit it. After many years of hard work and a lot of effort I managed to enter the professional classes of ballet. From my first class I found out that I had to attend every day classes which lasted four to six hours. I had not only to overcome my body’s disabilities but also my body’s potentials in order to be able to sit for my first ballet exams and to hope for a passing grade. Eventually, I made it. The date of my first examination came. I went to the examination studio accompanied by my teacher and two of my classmates. When we arrived the secretary of the examination centre gave me an identity with a number on it and told us were to go. Only three of the candidates entered the room. The fourth did not come. The room was bigger than that in which I was trained. I was seized with panic. Two persons were in the room; our examiner and the pianist. I focused on our examiner. Her face was pale and expressionless. She was very thin but very tall for a dancer.

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EXAMINER (She rises up and talks) My name is Ann Rose. I am going to be your examiner for today. Your pianist is Mr. John Brown. As you know, you are sitting for the level three Vocational Graded Examination in Dance-Classical Ballet of the Royal Academy of Dancing. Based on your identity numbers you must be Mary No 1, Eleni No 2 and Nefeli No 3. CANDIDATES raise their hands when hearing their names. They say nothing. EXAMINER sits down and talks. Your first exercise is going to be the demi-plies. So, go to the bar on your left and take your positions. BALLERINA When we finished the exercise, she thanked us and moved to the next exercise and then to the next and to the next until she reached the last exercise of our syllabus. She was observing us all the time, without taking her eyes from us and she was keeping notes continuously. We were very nervous and the fact that she was not smiling made it harder for us. EXAMINER stands up and talks. Her voice has an ironic tone. EXAMINER Girls, you are very lucky because our time is up. I hope not to see you again in this level’s examination, but I have some doubts about it. Anyway, thank you in advance for your time and for the efforts you have made so as to be here. Goodbye to all of you! CANDIDATES (All in one voice) Thanks a lot Mrs. Rose! Goodbye! And then they come out of the room. BALLERINA A couple of weeks later our results arrived. Our teacher gave to each one of us an envelope which wrote our name. I opened mine willingly. My heart was beating very fast. I soon found out that I had passed the exams. I was the happiest person in the world until I read these lines: “Nefeli you are not fat but neither are you thin enough for ballet. You must loose some weight. Five to six kilos would be a good starting point.” I assumed that my fifty kilos were too much for ballet. From that day my weight became an obsession to me. I began a very strict diet. I was counting every calorie that I was consuming. What is more, I was not following the diet exactly. I thought that it would be a good idea to omit some meals when I was not hungry. 41


As it was proven it was not a brilliant thought. I fainted. I was taken to the hospital by my parents and we found out that I was suffering from anorexia nervosa. I stayed for two months in the hospital and the worst of it was that I was not allowed to see anyone. Not even my family. While I was there I came to the conclusion that ballet was my life. But it was also my death. After my recovery I had to follow a balanced diet that was suggested by my doctors. A few weeks later I went to school; I started my ballet lessons, which was the most important for me because I had a performance in four months, and all of my other activities. Six months later I went to the hospital again for a check-up. The doctors said that I was fine. To use their words, “Nefeli you are a normal person again.� Since then I managed to pass two more professional classes, and only one is left. I am still dancing, and I am going to dance as far as my body allows me to do it. I will never neglect my body’s needs and possibilities. Looking forward to my future, I hope to enter the Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD) in London, for which I have applied already and to become a professional dancer and teacher one day.

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HOPELESS CHILD A play for one actor by Philippos Leontiou

Moment of silence. A guy who is just looking around like nothing happened. Hey. What’s going on? Why are you staring at me? Oh my god. You look awful. You look like you were just hit by a thunder. Or maybe you are always like this. What? I can’t hear youuuuuuuuuu. Oh you are bored. I see. Your life is meaningless. You are in a routine, and you don’t know how to escape from it. But really? Have you even tried once to do this? Pause. I don’t think so. But I feel you at a point. I was one of you once. I used to live in a big city like you do. And I was feeling happy. But please answer me. Have you ever felt really happy even for a moment in your life? Can you say for sure that in this life you have everything you ever wanted? Of course not. You are too young. You can succeed at more and more things in the future. If I am happy? Of course I’m happy. Yes now I am happy. And you know why? I have everything I ever wanted. Peace and quiet. Yeap. These are what I was always dreaming of. I live in a small wooden house up in the mountains. Where exactly? It doesn’t really matter. Where I come from birds still sing. Where I come from everybody is happy. Where I come from you feel free and alive every single moment of the day. Where I come from I have no worries. I am happy. Sighs happily. But I would like to ask you one more thing. How a human being can feel happy while at the same time other human beings are suffering? Where can a person find the power and will to laugh while at the same time on television two desperate little eyes ask for help. Yes these two eyes of an African boy whom might not see again. He is gonna die. He knows it. You are his last chance to live. Don’t let these eyes close forever. Not so soon, for God’s sake. I know, my friends, that most of you helped even once these children by offering some money or donated some of your old clothing. But can anyone say that he or she has done enough for these children? That they can’t help them anymore? That they don’t want to see them completely happy at least for one time? That they won’t feel better if they don’t try to survive anymore but will be like all the other kids in this world. Think what you could do for these children. You must demand more for them the same as you do for yourselves. Pause.

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You must not feel guilty for them. But you must feel guilty that you don’t do enough for them. Not only for these kids but for all the poor people you meet everyday. Yes some of them are fakes and cheaters. But look around you. Some of them are sleeping on a bench because they have no home, they have no country. Now please close your eyes for two seconds and think yourselves in their position sleeping on a bench in the middle of nowhere…….. It’s cold isn’t it?

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DEALING WITH DRUGSFROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES A play in one act by Despina Levogianni

Four friends sitting at a table in a coffee shop. DUTCH

Well, of course there are many different ways to treat a problem, but I believe in the Netherlands we dealt with drugs in a revolutionary and at the same time effective way. I know that legalizing soft drugs may at first sound shocking, but if you think about it you’ll see that it has many advantages. You are eliminating the so-called “desire for the forbidden.” This plays an important role in their spreading. If they become something not special, they won’t be considered as a unique experience and young people will lose their interest. GERMAN Yes, we all know that young people dream about living outside limits, having unique experiences. They don’t realize the damage they could actually cause to themselves. I can also accept that they overestimate their power. They think they can stop taking drugs or smoking, for example, whenever they want. Indeed, you may have eliminated the “desire for the forbidden,” as you say, but you’ve also made drugs more accessible, and this is dangerous. You’ve made it easier for someone to find and try soft drugs. Despite what you say, I’ve seen statistic elements which prove that the number of drug addicts in your country has increased. And don’t try to put the blame on the foreigners for this. Your plan just didn’t work! That’s why I believe that the focus should be on blocking drug trafficking and on arresting drug dealers. We should have established more severe punishment and better guarding of the borders a long time ago. We could learn much by interrogating the drug dealers or drug addicts who are arrested. This would be an effective way of dealing with drugs. GREEK Well, if we managed to achieve that, certainly the result would be great but, at least for my country, I have very little hope of succeeding. Most of the times the “big sharks,” as we call them, are not even questioned let alone arrested. The only ones who go to jail are the poor drug addicts who can’t afford to pay the money needed for their freedom. They are not important to anyone. They are in need of special attention, and the only thing we can give them is punishment and a system which makes them find more expensive drugs. As they say “In prison you can find anything if you have enough money.” The cops themselves are involved in such scandals as they don’t only conceal drug trafficking but they do it themselves. It’s really frustrating seeing the people actually responsible for drug trafficking not being punished or, even worse, punishing the ones that harm no one but 45


themselves. Policemen and drug dealers continue living a wealthy life while destroying other people. DUTCH You see? We don’t have such kind of problems. By legalizing soft drugs we take those who use them away from drug dealers. We protect them in a way. They are not pushed into harder drugs or forced to initiate others into using them. Besides this, the state has a financial advantage from the new situation. Drugs are not tax free, and in addition to that, the state controls the amount getting in and out of the country. GERMAN It seems ridiculous! The state in control of drugs? You are about to say that the state should promote their use! DUTCH No! Of course not! I completely agree with you in forcing more severe punishment to drug dealers. I’m just saying they don’t have as much power as they do in you countries. GERMAN I hope you are right, but I think you are misled. DUTCH No, no! You see? You focus, for example, on arresting drug dealers. It’s something really hard to succeed. You are neglecting the conditions on the rehabilitation centers which could function as motives, but they suck. They definitely need great improvement, and they’re not nearly enough. GREEK Yes, that’s true. In Greece drug addicts have to wait up to three or four years to get admitted in a rehabilitation center. Too long! They are certainly insufficient. GERMAN If we are talking about rehabilitation centers, I think that their number is not their only insufficiency. Is it reasonable to treat a drug addict with methadone? INDIFFERENT What’s your problem with that now? GERMAN Really? Am I the only one who sees that? You think it’s reasonable to try to cure an addiction by creating another one? I mean, who was the one that thought that kind of cure? It is like trying to cure an alcoholic who drinks whiskey by treating him with vodka?

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GREEK Well. Don’t be so absolute. It is a bit strange, but you have to understand that curing an addiction is not something easy. You can’t give up cigarettes, let alone drugs. Most people who try to quit smoking turn to gum or food! And of course the difficulty with drugs is greater. GERMAN Ok, yes! But with methadone? It is considered one of the most addictive drugs! Besides this, they don’t give it only to addicts who are trying to quit drugs. For example, cancer patients are often in treatment with methadone. How is this rational? You are making someone addicted to a soft drug as part of a cure? INDIFFERENT Well, let me guess. You are also against the use of drugs for medical purposes. Right? GERMAN Of course! DUTCH And what’s the treatment that you suggest to cancer patients, doctor? GERMAN There are alternative methods which could be used instead of methadone. Saying at the same time. INDIFFERENT (Bored) Oh God! GREEK As far as I know, these alternative methods are not so effective. I think there is no point in leaving someone who is about to die, in pain, just in order to proudly say that you don’t use drugs for any reason. Humanity comes first. You have to consider the pros and cons and to be more flexible. DUTCH You see? You are just a bloody pessimist who sees things from the dark side. You don’t like anything new or unconventional, and this is why you can’t appreciate our way of dealing with drugs. GREEK Well, to say the truth, I don’t find your plan brilliant either! All speaking at the same time. GERMAN You see? 47


INDIFFERENT Oh God, no! DUTCH Why? GREEK I think you’ve left too many things undefined. I mean, who is responsible for the categorization of drugs as soft and hard ones? What’s his profession? What criteria is he based on? The illusion that they cause to the user? The damage? Their price? Besides this, how do you ensure that young people---I mean younger than eighteen or twenty-one years old---don’t have access to them? Or that they don’t get so used to the very idea of them and turn to drug dealers for harder ones? As far as I know you haven’t established a law that restricts the use of drugs within the area of the coffee shop. DUTCH How would this be possible? No one wants to be forced to use the drugs he bought right away and in a public place. This way, a great number of drug addicts will approach the drug dealers in order to have some freedom and be able to use them in a more private space. GERMAN Or sell them to people who are not allowed to buy. She is right! If you want to keep up with this ridiculous plan of yours, find a way to improve it and make it tolerable. Don’t quit on the first difficulty you face. Unless you admit it is unfixable? INDIFFERENT Oh boy. Why do you spend so much time discussing about drugs? What do you care? As a cute boyfriend I once had said, “It depends on the family. If they treat you right and help you, you won’t become a junkie!” I mean why didn’t we turn out to be junkies? DUTCH Well, I’ve smoked once… INDIFFERENT (Snobbishly) I’ve always thought that your family was not one of the best. GREEK Well, your friend might have a point in saying that family is a very important institution that should be supported and could help against drugs, but it’s too simplistic. Besides this, I don’t think he was the smartest guy.

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INDIFFERENT Perhaps not, but he was a good kisser. A great kisser! I still remember the first time we kissed. He was so cute. We were in front of a trash bin…. All laughing, GERMAN DUTCH at the same time.

and

GERMAN (Ironic) Oh yes! A great place to kiss. DUTCH (Ironic) Of course! I always do it. INDIFFERENT Yes, yes, I know, not the most romantic place for a first kiss. But his kiss was so good. I still remember it. Shy and reluctant at first, but then… I think I scared him a little. You know, I liked him a lot, but he was clearly the relationship type and I… GERMAN You were seeing someone else. INDIFFERENT (Annoyed) No, no! It was just too soon to know. I think he guessed. Either that or he realized that we were not standing at the most romantic spot. He thought twice before kissing me again, but it was great…despite the bin. All laughing. GERMAN Ok, yeah. We got that part. I think you’ve ruined our conversation enough. DUTCH Well despite the good kissing, he didn’t manage to inspire you to get more involved with social issues, eh? INDIFFERENT Well, as I recall, we had better things to do than discussing about drugs. GREEK I don’t remember him. How long were you together? INDIFFERENT Not for long. But we had some good moments together. He was my first love. DUTCH And you are still more interested in talking about him than about social matters? We are talking about drugs, and you are thinking of your first love. I mean, things like 49


that affect your life more than your precious love, and you simply don’t care? You are not even interested in telling what you think. INDIFFERENT You want to know what I think? I think that you are so naïve to be wasting your time discussing about things that have already been decided for you and you can’t do anything to change them. So what’s the point? GREEK What’s the point? How do you expect to change the social things you don’t like if you are just sitting and do nothing? INDIFFERENT (Telling it to herself) Why is suddenly everyone so interested in what I think? (Turning to others) Well, I know that at the end I will have to do everything on my own, so I will try as much as I can to achieve what I want without asking for help or depending on anyone. GERMAN No matter how hard you try, you are a member of this society, and it affects you, even subconsciously, whether you like it or not. So why not try to make things better for you? INDIFFERENT Do you actually believe you’ve made a difference in the world by sitting here and discussing about how we could deal with drugs? GERMAN No, but it’s better than doing nothing and letting others decide for me. It’s a start. GREEK What is it that you suggest? To be indifferent and mind our own business? This is why we are getting worse and worse. If everyone does that, someday you’ll find yourself needing help or support to react against an injustice and nobody caring about your problem. INDIFFERENT Do you really think that there is something different now? GREEK Yes. Perhaps it’s hard to find support, but yes there is. I’ve seen that when we decided to go to court to stop a port which was about to be constructed at my village. It was hard, but people cared to prevent an incurable natural damage. Some couldn’t see it and were for it. But most of us were against, and we actually succeeded. You think we should have let it happen?

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INDIFFERENT May be yes. They would see their mistake in action afterwards. GREEK But it would be too late! The village would have been ruined due to our indifference to our environment. We would no longer see the sky or swim at the sea. It would be polluted and the natural damage irreversible. What kind of vacation could we enjoy in such a place where the sea is its major element? Why would I go there? INDIFFERENT I wouldn’t. I would choose another place for vacation. GREEK You would give up a place you love just to avoid getting involved in a conflict? That’s your suggestion? What about your house? Would you abandon it? INDIFFERENT I would sell it. DUTCH Really? This is what you would prefer to do? You think that’s the right choice? INDIFFERENT I won’t get involved to such a soul-destroying situation. GERMAN You would give up your home, the place you love and grew up, just because you don’t want to get involved in a conflict? Really? Ok! I quit! You are beyond saving. (Ironically) If only most people were thinking like you. The world would be a better place, but without natural environment.

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LAUNDRY DAY Α short story by Lena Korkovelou

Five years ago. The card is black, printed in faint yellow writing, and there’s a kind of rock beauty about the way it hangs from the back pocket of the frayed and patched pair of jeans. She’s caressing the holes on its knees, observing the intentionally faded seams. ‘’Warning: Wash separately, always. Discolor danger.’’ A pair of jeans that looks like him. With the charm of an old faded Indiana Jones movie. Of a piece of leather, strapped around some muscular male arm. Of a rusted jazz guitar. And that careless loose cut on its hips, striking a female note, like his hair falling softly round the base of his neck. It has been through a lot: Stone washing, in order for it to gain its grey color, the carefully careless tearing in the factory’s machines, so that, untouched as it is, it still looks worn. Only an hour ago, it hung, mercilessly tormented still irresistibly fashionable and expensive behind the shop’s window. Buy me. Like a young handsome boy, singing ‘’It is older men who are the real thing.’’ Or vice-versa. Proudly ill-used and for this ‘’tough enough,” a street-wise tramp raised in bourgeois living- rooms, watching from a distance and writing verse while his friends sniffed coke. A garment that might look ordinary, but is still washed separately of the rest. That’s how he is, too. Worn, still arrogant, walking the streets alone, heading nowhere. Sensitive, still tough, his gaze ignoring everyone’s but her own, only to deny her too, a moment later: He is late. Neverland is far, far away, and Captain Hook is lurking for him around the corner. So he appears and disappears, unexpectedly, always a renegade on the run, a whirlwind of spice and the smell of freshly cropped grass, and young trees and rain on damp earth, all colors and smiles and teasing blinks of the eye. The girl sighs, wears the brand new pair of jeans, and stares at herself in the mirror, realizing that it suits her too. Provocatively innocent, a Lolita in lipstick and Doc Martens. From time to time she can transform herself into ‘’tonight’s beauty-queen’’ as well, but there are always signs about her betraying that until yesterday she might have been something else. There is, in her mirror, the deceiving image of a flesh-eating flower, or a white flame that devours unsuspecting moths. But it is nothing but that---an image, which is there because she has been the butterfly in someone else’s web herself---although she was not unsuspecting at all, it was she who trapped herself there. You see, he looked then so sad and serious and lonely…

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Losers and chains look good together, baby, she reads, on the pages of a black and white graphic novel. She seriously considers wearing chains herself, the remnants of an era full of wild children and loud, thundering music, but then decides that tonight she does not want rock tunes about intellectuals with troubled souls and weary minds, and sharp, glassy eyes with rivers of hot tears crushing angrily behind the walls of polar ice their owners have shielded them with. She would rather discover the one who hides on the mirror’s other side, behind her own polar vortex She throws the pair of jeans back on the chair, and watches half-contemplatively, halfresigned, the kaleidoscope of colored clothes, that whirls round and round behind the washing machine’s lid. They embrace and unfold, they fuse and tangle, skirts and trousers, lingerie and shirts. A strange romance of stains, washing powder, lavender, and white soap – bubbles. Across the veranda, a neighboring housewife’s laundry is blowing in the wind like a colorful flag under the sun, and the sleeve of a shirt suddenly wraps itself around the waist of a happy negligee. She laughs to herself, and is now thinking that this is by far the sexiest thing that has ever taken place in the balconies of the monotonously noisy suburban street, with the desperate housewives, their chamber maids, and their almost always single, comme-il-faut daughters, that crowd the cafeterias like a flock of birds---when they do not march up and down in duos gossiping about each other in the main-street catwalk, that is. A sparrow‘s singing to a white dove, its wings flapping wildly, and then flies away scared when the dove lands by its side. Sometimes birds are a lot like people. She turns on the radio, and now the shirt and the nightgown are dancing in the air, always tightly embraced, to a loving, nostalgic old Swing. The Callasor did the presenter just say the Canons?- are coming to Greece, and that old wild child, Iggy Pop stripped himself on stage while his band blasted sacrilegious solos and riffs, shocking each and every female or male old maid –with the riffs, of course, not his nakedness, no matter what they say. The tree’s singing too outside her window, and she is wondering, what suddenly happened to the world and they ‘re frightened of a naked old man, what is it that is so scary about him and an allegra guitar, compared to the non-socking, now banal bass sound of, let’s say, hydrogen bombs. Up in the terraces, the water heaters sparkle in the sun, and a single ray of light loses its way and reflects itself on the girl’ s white wall, dances on her mirror and lands on the abandoned pair of jeans. So, it must be fate that she is going to spend the rest of this afternoon thinking about him again. Neverland. The pair of jeans. Him and her. Peter Pan and Wendy. The young girl and the older man, the ‘real thing,’ staring at their reflections on the window-shops of Ermou Street, on a forgotten November day, like two sides of the same coin. The older man with just one silver strand of hair in his beard, and the young girl with the many silver lines that show themselves here and there from time to time among her hair’s raven black. Both of them bright and obscure, used and new, truly story-like, and story-likely fake. For a while they fused and faded, under the sudden Viennese summer rain---do you remember it now, that grand hotel in Vienna, where, like you said, your shadow first crossed hers and fell upon it? The black and the red, uniting in a fathomless crimson, which, after so many laundries, has now turned stained grey. That’s life. Peter Pan and Wendy, the mother and father of the lost 53


dream-children, which were hunted down by the evil pirate, Time, with his iron hook. But the house that was once hiding them from him under the earth got deserted, for Wendy was left alone and grew old, and Peter was ultimately won over by Tinker Bell, who bound him forever to her loveless loneliness. What a shame. And shame on them at the same time. Now he works again, tied up on his frozen office-desk and his laptop. ‘’When you are thirtyfive, you sacrifice nothing from yourself for the sake of love. You sacrifice love for the sake of your own advancement and desires.’’ So he told her cynically, and returned to his homeland across the ocean to be a great manager. His mansion by the lake had no place for any Wendy. He had built it himself, and for himself, solely. Wendy had no idea her Peter had a mansion before. She thought he only owned the little house beneath the ground. ‘’The one I was at eighteen…Would hate me for what I’ m going to do to you now. But you make me think too much. I’ m… growing old with you. You are an old little soul. And I want to be young and free as the wind, inside. I am only older than you, in the sense that I can see why my life in the U.S matters more than anything and you cannot. You…Believe in ‘love.’ He spat at the word, while Brian Molko sang ‘’Sometimes it’s fated, we assassinate it for fear of growing old’ on the stereo somewhere in the background, but he was oblivious to her songs, as always. He left and took with him all her pictures of him. That would make it easier, he said. She said nothing, bit her lips and shut her self alone for years in an empty house. And now, only the shirt and the nightgown dance eternally to their fiery swing, wuthering and dried and crimson, under the sun. The washing machine stops whirling, and announces the End in cold, digital letters. Like the final scene of a futuristic movie, wide on the screen of some multiplex, with no pop-corn, break, or couples touching secretly in the dark room. The clothes got washed, faded, fused, grew old, but always together, reminiscing their blood-stained stories. ‘’She wore me to see him,’’ says the black lace dress proudly. ‘’She chose me.’’ ‘’He wore me so that he looked younger,‘’ says the T-shirt with the Looney Tunes logo. ‘’You don’t know him well…His heart is younger than the girl’s. That’s how it always goes, you know.’’ The bra with the pink ribbons, more of a libertine than the rest, chuckles carelessly and whispers to the neighboring shirt, which, despite the many laundries it has gone through, still smells of his after-shave. ‘’She wore me so that your man could take me off…Just for that, you know…’’ Only the pair of jeans sleeps alone on its chair inside the cool, shaded room, far from the sun, the wind and the soap-bubbles. It has no need of tangling, fading, getting older than it looks already. It will not share its color with any other garment. It does not need them. It is always washed alone, like most people. It is dangerous for it to fuse and fade, look older than what it fashionably looks already. It will lose its tough charm. It will get more tattered than trend commands, and from looking like a dandy rock star, it will end up looking like a weary worker, like those who first wore jeans in a lost era that is in vogue no more.

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Now, it would loathe that‌But if it did end up like that, it would also have its own tales to tell, and from faded grey, it might as well slowly turn to pink. She decides to throw it in her closet unworn. It does not care. It would rather stay there in the dark for five years, than fade. She walks out the door, in her separate house, her separate country, her hemisphere that is divided from his by an ocean. And inside the silent room, only a card moves to and fro, while the pair of jeans slides slowly on the floor, the card’s yellow message glittering unimportant, meaningless words. Warning. Wash separately. Discolor danger.

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THE BOX A play for one actor by Eleni Menegakou

A young girl’s room, or a woman in her late thirties. A chair, a table, a bed, the background in white. Maybe a window can be seen, in a white frame. There shouldn’t be anything on the table with the exception of a small black box, slightly decorated with pearls and rubies, one side full of scratches. Enter the GIRL. The GIRL/WOMAN should wear white clothes, looking a little shabby and absent minded. Her hair can be messy, or in braids.

Wait. What is this? Everything here is white. The walls, the chair, the table, the frame of the window, everything, everything is white. They even made me wear white clothes; I wonder if it has something to do with the purity of the soul. I am here in order to be purified, to "become a good, normal person again." Mama said so. But what is this? This box. The only thing in this miniscule room that is not white. It’s black, ivory black. At first, I thought I was hallucinating, and I was really worried because, as mama was always saying, "Hallucinations are the first sign of madness. Don't ever hallucinate, my little girl, and if you do, keep it secret." So I did. I told nobody about the black box. In the beginning, it was just there, a black dot in the corner of the white room. But the more I found myself preoccupied with it, the closer it came and seemed bigger. It 56


moved on its own. Of course I told nobody. They would think that I am crazy, and as far as I know, I am not. But the box was coming closer and closer, and it seemed more real to me. I never saw it moving, but every morning I would find it in a different place. Under the chair, on the table, near the bed. I said "find" because the box seemed to want to play hide and seek with me. So I would search for it. But I never touched it. Never. I would find it each time and gaze upon it. For hours. Because it was a beautiful box. I hadn’t noticed when I first saw it, but it was decorated with black diamonds (I think it was diamonds), grey pearls and stones red like the colour of blood. Simply beautiful, astonishingly beautiful. One morning I woke up and the box was there. Near the pillow, so close to my head and I thought I heard it whispering. Hallucinations again, I muttered to myself, but who cares about the hallucination of a hallucination? If the box did not exist, nor did the whisperings, but as long as I keep it secret, no one will know. So I listened carefully for what the box had to say. It was the first time I could observe it like this, admire its pearls and its blackness and the wonderful rubies. So I decided to touch it. She touches the box a little reluctantly, but then grabs it. I noticed strange markings on one of its sides, but I did not care. And I touched it. Nothing happened but I was very happy. I had my treasure in my hands now; I even skipped meals for its sake, because I could not do anything calmly if I could not find it at least once a day. Like a drug. Since the moment I touched it the box would not fade. It would remain in my hands, so I caressed it gently, like a baby. I was convinced that it was real but I also realised it was a magic box. It would no longer whisper to me, but images would flow in my head whenever I had it in my hands. Beautiful, beautiful images of far away landscapes, and trees and stars. I felt myself floating in the middle of nowhere, it was like I was dreaming, but with my eyes wide open. Sometimes I would feel a hand on my lap or fingers playing with my hair, but I did not care. It was my liberation. Oh, what mama would say. It was so nice, having the box in my hands that I never let it go. I did not care even for my meals; they were served on white plates anyway, with white forks and knives. I even slept holding the box tightly in my arms, in case someone would steal it from me. It was real, so the other people with the white robes would see it and would take it away from me. Thieves. As the time went by, the images grew stronger and stronger, so I could not see anything but the images the box showed to me. I was happy, because the images were so colourful and bright, so I didn’t mind the fact that I could not see my room 57


at all. But it was alright; I hated the white colour they made me wear and see. I could still fly like a bird or swim like a fish or roar like a lion. I enjoyed myself very much. The box was very kind to me; it was my best friend. I would even give it a name, but nothing came in mind that would describe its gentleness, so I gave up. But for some reason, the images grew darker and darker; I would see grey sunsets and pale moons, starless skies and black clouds. I wasn't worried because anything, I mean anything, is better than white. So came the day that I would no longer be able to see. I was engulfed in deep darkness the box offered to me so intensively. I could still feel it in my hands, its size, its texture, its decorations. I examined it carefully with the tips of my fingers; I even felt the side of the box where I had seen those strange markings. Those markings were not made by something sharp and were relatively shallow. Five horizontal markings, like five fingers. Could they be markings made by human nails? No way. I got used to the darkness and held the box tightly. I could not hear anything, the people with the white robes never bothered me again, but something happened and the box disappeared. Like that. I got up and started to search it---maybe it wanted to play hide and seek again, I don t know---and realised that I was no longer in my room. Lights turned off, only a single ray of light falls on the GIRL. It was a small, crammed place with four walls surrounding me, the floor under me, the ceiling above. I could not get out. I cannot get out. It’s pitch black; I cannot scream; I can only scratch one of the walls---the other ones are too hard---but I cannot feel the markings I make; they disappear. I scratch and scratch but nothing happens. I do not know how long I've been here, but it’s far too long for just one person. I'm lonely. It’s dark. So, find me. Let’s play hide and seek. Lights go out.

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LETTER TO MYSELF A play for one actor by Eleftherios Messios

Dear Lefteris, How are you? I honestly hope and pray that you’re doing well and that things have turned out the way you planned them to. But I guess they haven’t. I cannot say for sure why I am writing to you, but probably I’m doing so because I know that there are a lot of things on your mind which drive you crazy. Maybe I can help you structure your thoughts; or perhaps I can help you get a trace of what you think at this specific time in your life. However you will be wondering. Why now and not before even later? I really don’t know. I just feel that now you need my support, you need me more than ever. Writing is another way to communicate and share our feelings. It’s been a long time since I have started to find the benefit of writing and hundreds, thousands of worlds opened to me at once ever since. Perhaps it’s the idea of being in touch with other human beings’ ideas, feelings, and thoughts; or dealing with my own. Sometimes I can be right, and sometimes I can be wrong. In both cases the aim is the same: to create myself by words. Writing is a way of growing. It takes you into other minds and enriches your own. No one would argue that being able to write will make you morally better, but it will definitely make you more complex and more interesting. In a word, more human! It is the easiest way to set yourself free. You are so fucking confused, and I can feel it! I suppose I know you better than anyone else does, or not? I haven’t talked to you for a long time now, but a couple nights ago around midnight I opened up my desk and I got out that black notebook from the old house and the writers’ conference and reread all the lists and stories scrawled in the dark—tried to read actually—you had terrible handwriting in the dark, do you know that? But it gets better, don’t worry. I reread them all to the best of my ability, and I reread all the little notes and the little torn-out pieces of paper. I read the negative spaces of that, because I knew what was there, and it brought back so many memories of who I used to be, who you used to be, who we are! Boy, I want to, I want to tell you…you have no idea; you don’t have a clue what you are doing. And neither do I, but now I know how things have gone for you, and maybe a year from now I’ll know how things will go for me, and I’ll keep jumping from year to year; and I still don’t know what’s ahead, but at least I can look behind and know whether I’ve sunk or not. Whether I’m drowning or whether I recovered. 59


Boy, you think you’re drowning. And you had all this pressure inside of you building up and pushing in from every direction, and you didn’t know what to do. But, Boy, you are not drowning! It’s just that there are so many different things in your mind which you think that cannot be combined. But do you know something? Everything in life can be combined. Chain of events! This particular time you cannot say for sure if you are happy, sad, anxious, or nervous. However, you should be happy. You are healthy; you have a lovely family and true friends and also a girlfriend who probably loves you more than I do! So, what else would you ask for your life? Wouldn’t you be ungrateful to ask for more? Things will get better. I would propose that life is very much like a game. In any game you need to be fit, possess certain skills and have a good knowledge of the rules in order to participate. In life we need to be aware of the rules that apply and use this knowledge continuously in order to assess and make decisions in every situation that we face. The more intensely we play the game of life, the better our knowledge and application of the rules, the better the results will be. But wait! What am I talking about? Is life a game? If it is, then the rules are applied by whom? We can’t perceive life as a game perhaps because we simply hate unfair games. Some people say we should all live our lives without caring what happens to the rest of the world; always to seek for our own happiness and success. You are successful though, but not happy, and I know the exact reason. You have never been that kind of person. You always wanted life to be fair and kind not just to you but to all. There are so many horrible things happening in the world right now which we are all aware of, but we do totally nothing. There are so many oppressed black people, so many kids starving to death, so many mothers who lost their sons during a war, and so many assholes who are responsible for all these. Boy, we are assholes! People used to say that everything happens for a reason. But what if you just can’t see that reason? Yesterday is a memory, another written page, a history! But I am sure that you hate that history, and most of all you hate those who are responsible for it. You can possibly leave the past behind and live the present. Look at the bright side of life. Wait! You can’t see the bright side, huh? Me neither. We are so alike! You just can’t look behind the deaths of those starving kids in Africa, and you can’t open your eyes and see behind the violation of human rights simply because there is nothing behind it but unfairness. As far as war is concerned, there is no positive side to look at unless you are blind. Justice nowadays is like money. Instead of having it, we work hard to gain it. Having in mind one single sentence may help the construction of our new fair self. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” as Martin Luther King used to say.

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Take responsibility, Boy! When I say responsibility, I don't mean accountability, nor blame or guilt. When I say responsibility, I mean taking the issues that have been given to you and methodically and wisely dealing with them. From this day forward, if you do not accept this responsibility, you will then become accountable, and this will be the blame for all that is going to happen. And only then you will have the right to feel guilty, because you will be. They say there are stages in the grieving process: shock, depression, anger, acceptance. Did you hear that? Anger! That's it, isn't it, Boy? You are an angry man! But remember the definition of sadness. Sadness is anger withheld and that’s wonderful news! Do you know why? Because anger is one of the last steps in the grieving process. And do you know what that means? That means that you are near the end of grieving. It's been a long time, and you are feeling the birthing process. You are being born again, Boy! You are being labored into a new life! There is one more thing I want to say. I've never told you this before, because I thought you knew. And please think of this often: Nobody can do for you what I can; nobody can help you like I can; nobody can love you the way I can. I am your only best friend. You cannot hide yourself from me because I can see what others can never see and know what others can never know. Boy, memory is a bitch. She is evil. She will take the worst possible moments of your life, and she will present them to you in her long-fingered hands, and she will show them to you one by one. No, not one by one, she will lay them on top of each other and little arrows pointing from one to the other until you’re overwhelmed and you’re on your knees on the floor among your friend’s CDs and the books for the term paper that you still haven’t fucking done—yeah, that doesn’t get better either—and you don’t know what to do but clutch your head in your hands and beg Memory to stop. And try and tie her to a pole in the middle of your mind; try and burn her like they used to burn witches. But Memory doesn’t burn like photographs and letters do; Memory just burns your fingers anyway. And the more you fight with her, the more she fights back. And the more you try to squeeze her throat, well, it’s your hands on your own throat, Boy, and you’re suffocating yourself. And you still have a fucking term paper to write. Writing makes all my problems bigger than they really are because once you put them on paper they just expand. And it’s so poetic and it’s so perfect, but life isn’t like that, Boy, and it’ll take you a long time to realize it, that people aren’t perfect and that you can’t be perfect, and it seems so easy the way I put it, and. . . . You’re nodding; I can see you nodding and rolling your eyes. You know what I did? I didn’t beat her. She’s still there. No, and instead of squeezing tighter and tighter, I finally gave up and I let go. I let go and she flowed through me and not out, but she found her own little corner somewhere. And she stays there, for the most part. 61


Now listen to me, Boy. It’s important, ok? People are assholes sometimes. And you can’t be blind to that. And the world looks so much better in the dark with twilight falling as it is right now, yes, in the dark with your glasses off and your contacts still in that case and the little details blurring; the little details that make everything real. But you don’t want to see them because they are imperfect and more than imperfect, and really fucking strange. You don’t want your life to be like that. You want it to be poetic; you want it to be art, like the very act of living is something that people will look at in a museum someday. You’re trying to say something, but the words don’t form because you’re not really alive anymore. Boy, I want you to know that it gets better, ok? That a year will pass and you will have survived this year and you may even survive this term paper, hopefully. And you will survive the next month, and you will survive until summer, and you will go on, and you will become yet another person, and you’ll forget who you were. I’m not. . . . No. I don’t even know who I’m talking to anymore; which part of me. Oh, I don’t even know what to say to you anymore. Boy, I want you to know that it gets better, ok? I want you to know that you can get through this confusion, and then as soon as you think you have it something new will come along; but it has its beauty too. And though it will cause you so much pain it will turn you into somebody completely different, and for a while you’ll be happy with that. And then you’ll hate it. And then you’ll be happy again, and then you’ll really hate it. And then you’re back to not knowing what the fuck you are or what you like or who you are or where you fit into this world; the world you have constructed for yourself that’s moving faster and faster and ahead of you, and you’re running to keep up, and you’ve never been much good at running; I’m sorry, Boy, that doesn’t get much better. You want to be able to look yourself straight in the eye, huh? And not to hate yourself for the things you have or have not done. Well, Boy, I am here; look at me straight in the eye! Are you confused? I am confused! Boy, things are going to be better, ok? Sincerely, Yourself

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THE BREATH-TAKING DANCE OF THE LITTLE PUPPET A play with video by Argiro Mitritsaki

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She is standing alone; there is only her, in a messy room with a clock behind her. The clock tics . . . tics. I hate this sound; I hate this clock . . . stupid clock! It tics . . . it tics . . . I hate it! Too many thoughts are inside my head . . . too many pictures . . . too many emotions . . . too many tears, and I 'm only 22. I am alone in this messy room, thinking of the past, the present, the future. Who am I? Who am I going to be? Who are the people around me? It’s difficult to answer though, isn't it? And the clock tics . . . tics . . . time is running. Dark faces, happy faces, betrayed faces, disappointed ones . . . many faces around me. Who are those people? How can you trust them? How can you trust yourself? The point is and will always be you, the person, the movement, the self, the idea. You, only you . . . who are you, anyway? I am entering the bus. Dark faces all around me, unhappy people, tired from the sadness of life, alone people, trying to capture your eye. And all this hidden behind a smile, a smile that if you look at it carefully you will understand that it is not true; it doesn't come from inside; it's only a picture . . . a fake one. And I am in the middle, like you, like everyone, trying to find something real inside this lie, searching and searching, but nothing is there . . . Nothing! Look at the other side. Look. Look carefully! Just look. There has to be light somewhere. I turned my head, but still I wasn't able to see something. All the time was like this one, trying to find the light in a corner of a bus, but despite how carefully I was looking each time, the only thing I could hear was the awful noise of this stupid clock . . . and darkness everywhere . . . and it tics . . . tics . . . tics. Times of loneliness, voices all around, laughs, jokes, happy moments, moments of loneliness. This is my life, your life. Who are you anyway? Who am I? I am an idea who tries to find a solution. All my life I was trying to find a way to get through the black hole, to reach something that everybody else had. I was steps behind everyone. I was late . . . tic . . . tac . . . tic . . . tac. . . .the clock is always behind me, and it tics. It tics. I hate this sound. I hate this clock. I hate it! Everything leaves, dies . . . even the thoughts, the pictures, the emotions. Nothing lasts for ever . . . apart from this clock. Her parents bought it for her before she was born. It's a pink one with the picture of a young lady. That clock was always in her room, her messy room. There are lots of clothes everywhere, and the clock is the only thing clearly seen in the room, upon her bed. At this particular moment she is standing on a pair of trousers. 64


Shame on me! I have to tidy up. That’s not my room . . . clothes everywhere . . . thoughts, events. And I am standing in the middle, not knowing where to place what, in what drawer to put each one. And this shirt, I always wear this shirt . . . for years. It doesn't matter that it has a stain. I tried to wash it, but it doesn't come out. But I continue wearing it, thinking that people will not realize that it is dirty; I will cover it with my hair. No one will notice. But the stain was always there. And I kept the shirt. It’s an old one. I refused to throw it away. I even refused to place it in a drawer. But the clock continues to tic . . . tic. And time was passing, days, months, even years, and I still have this shirt. Sometimes, I try to pretend that the clothes are not here, and I try to get out. It works . . . not all the time, but it works. I m sitting on the rocks near the sea. I can see all the town from there. It is so peaceful; it smells like home. In front of me there is an old man, tired from his life, holding too many memories in his blue eyes. He is silent. He feels like home too, I am sure! Nearby, is this old neoclassical house that we used to gather when we were children. We used to leave from school, and we went there . . . laughs, jokes, love, tears . . . happy moments, moments of loneliness. Even now, I feel like home, when I step on its wooden stairs, too many memories, too many pictures, too many years ago. Why? Because the clock continues; time is passing, and I am standing again inside my room, nearly covered with clothes, wearing this dirty shirt, standing . . . waiting . . . time is passing . . . waiting . . . the clock tics . . . and I am standing . . . clothes everywhere. I have to stop the clock. It makes me nervous. I have to tidy up; this is not my room. These are not my clothes anymore. Should I remove the battery? I need to stop the clock. But if I pull the battery off, I will not know the time, the place. I will not recognize things. I can’t live without my clock, the one my parents gave me. I will not be able to reconcile with reality, past, present, future. And I am still standing there. I want to leave, but the clothes are there. I will fall if I try to move, and the clock tics. It tics. The young lady there is nice though, makes me think of a fairytale. There is this young girl who fears to be alone. She is at a dark path, alone, walking, ready to burst into tears, but still walking in this terrifying forest. Now the walking becomes crawling on her knees. She tries to find strength to continue, and suddenly she hears a noise. Someone is walking behind her, and she is trying to stay motionless in case there is a monster there. Her heart beats so fast. Someone is near. She is ready to run away, when someone says, “Are you ok? What are you doing here so late? Let me help you stand. I won’t hurt you, I promise; just let me help.” The girl stands on her feet; her heart still beats fast. There is a young boy holding her arm. He is nice. He seems nice. “Don't be afraid of the forest; I will help you. I will be next to you. Please, sweep these tears. Now is better, see?” The girl remained silent, and they continue walking through the dark path. Now she is calm, not afraid anymore. What happened next? Who knows. I hope they lived happy ever after.

She sits on the floor, listening to the sound of the clock. Her heart is beating fast . . . tic . . . tic . . . tic. 65


I wish I could turn back time. I wish I could tidy up my room. Would it be nice if I could throw all the old clothes and buy new ones? Is this the decision I have to take? In this thought, the sound of the clock doesn't seem so frustrating. All of the time I was in here, in my messy room, with my old clothes. Whatever I did, whatever decision I took, I always returned here, in my messy room, with my old clothes. I can't throw them. These are my memories, my pictures. The only thing I can do is to place them somewhere, inside a drawer, in the past, even my old shirt with the stain. You are my favorite one, but you should be in there too. What time is it? Time to tidy up I think. The clock seems less than a threat now. She starts putting clothes inside the drawers. The only thing that is left is her favorite shirt. She holds it for a few more minutes, and then she places it with the others. When the room is ready, she sits back on her bed, takes a deep breath and looks around. My new room . . . my girlish room. She turns her head towards the clock. Your color goes with my new room. I promise, it does! What time is it? Time to go for shopping, don't you think? I need new clothes, and I have to hurry up, before the stores are closed, and I run out of money. How much time do I have? My whole life . . . yeahhhh! I will be on time, I promise! Where is my bag? My cigarettes, my cell phone? Ok I am ready! She runs through the door, and a few seconds before she closes the door behind her, she has a last look at her tidy room and her pink clock. The best is yet to come. I promise that from now on, I will place the new clothes in new drawers. SDOYPPPPPPPP. . . and the door is closed. Now, the old man is still sitting next to her on the rocks, silent like always, but now things have changed.

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CHANCES A play for one actor by Pinelopi Papagianni

WOMAN Time goes by so quickly. I am already seventy years old, and all I have left is daydreaming. Thinking about the chances I have been given and have not taken advantage of. She looks a bit nostalgic. Now my hair is white and my body is curved. She looks at the mirror and touches her hair. I try not to remember the unbelievable situations I have experienced but sometimes it is inevitable. I was sitting behind my desk, this full of paperwork desk writing this report that the boss asked for. She looks at her watch. Shit, it is midnight already! It was late at night and I had to work a double shift. Again! For the fourth time this week! She looks frustrated. I tried to remember when was the last time I went out to have a drink and have fun but I couldn’t. So, I stopped trying; it was too frustrating. I have to admit I said to myself that at least I earn a lot of money. Maybe too much money for just one person. How could I spend all this by myself? I had no one to share it with. She smiles in a sad way. Oh, let it go. I have already come to terms with the fact that my busy life would never give me the chance to live a normal life with a husband and children. Children. I am already forty five I reminded myself. This has to remain unapproachable I guess. She looks depressed. Why am I thinking all this now, I wondered. Maybe it is inevitable. Ghosts used to appear after midnight, and the ghosts of my past came back to me. All those years of hard studying, endless hours of work so as to get a promotion, more double shifts so 67


as to become a manager. And now I am one. So what? Stress, anxiety, and panic are in my daily routine. And this city. This city never sleeps! When I get stuck in traffic, I feel I’m going to have a stroke! She looks stressed. Even spots on my face appear so often that it’s like I’m a teenager again! A teenager. She gets a nostalgic but also strange look. Oh yes, it’s her fault. It has to be her fault! I remember her coming to my room shouting, “Hurry up, there’s no time! You have to leave for school, you have to study, you have to tidy your room!” She looks angry. And I was just thinking, “I want a boyfriend” or “Should I wear this T-shirt?” She smiles. Oh, this can also be very stressful, believe me! But, we always have to blame someone, don’t we? Whatever… No time! No time! Sometimes I feel that I haven’t slept for days. She has a tired expression on her face. If only there was a way to get everything done by just blinking my eyes. If only I were a witch! Look at me; I am a forty-five-year-old woman wishing to become a witch. Ridiculous. She laughs. I guess I’ve learnt to work under pressure. Sometimes pressure and stress make me creative. Am I a masochist or just a perfectionist? Oh, no need to go deeper; truth is always terrifying. Maybe it’s just how I was brought up. A life full of stress. What if I can’t always do the right thing? That’s my problem I guess. At the end everything has to be done perfectly. She looks anxious. OK, there’s no need bringing back all these memories. There’s no turning back now, and there’s plenty of work to do. It’s four o’clock in the morning and time to go home at last! I decided to walk so as to clear my mind a bit. Not a wise decision as it was proved later. It was a notorious neighborhood, but I wasn’t scared. I had walked these streets countless times.

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She talks calmly. But that night was darker, with no moon and no stars. Humidity made the air suffocating, and the shadows on the walls were spooky, but home was near. Suddenly a man appeared from an alley but he didn’t seem threatening. A man appears. He was well dressed so I was quite surprised when he asked me for some money so as to come closer. When I gave him some change, he unexpectedly told me, “You look tired. Those wrinkles on your face prove that you work all day long. So much stress.” She looks surprised. Yes, I do work long hours and this may make me look older but it keeps me fit at least! I don’t even have to go to the gym since I constantly move around! I answered. He talks slowly. “You are so funny” he noticed. “How about telling you a secret? Take this and use it in a wise way. It will give you whatever you desire. You just have to believe that present reality changes; it’s temporary. We are the results of our thoughts till now. You should make some new ones. You just have to be grateful for what you already have, decide what you want, believe that you can make it, and you will get it! You can attract whatever you desire. Just imagine it, and everything is possible! But be careful. You shouldn’t abuse this power or else you will regret it. I warn you.” He looks mysterious. He started acting a bit strangely and I didn’t want to make him angry so I took the strange object, thanked him and ran home. She looks scared. Was it my idea or did he seem relieved? Nevermind. After half an hour I was sitting on my bed looking at the small crystal ball. Earlier that night I wished I were a witch and now I had my own crystal ball. How ironical! She laughs ironically. People have gone mad, I thought. Is it because of watching too much TV? She looks confused. But I couldn’t get any sleep. I admit it, I was curious. I just had to try it! After all, Einstein himself said that imagination is everything. It’s the preview of the 69


attractions that are about to follow in our life. Right! The law of attraction suggests that you can accomplish everything in your life if you really want it! I had to give it a shot. She looks curious. I touched the ball with my finger and with hesitation I whispered, “No work for me tomorrow.” I waited for a while but nothing seemed different. When I woke up in the morning I waited for the phone to ring and hear my secretary telling me that the boss gave me the day off, but nothing happened. “Think positive, what a cliché,” I screamed and put on my clothes. She looks angry. When I got to the office I was prepared for another hard day of work, but suddenly the earth started shaking. It was an earthquake! She talks loudly and she looks surprised. We were immediately asked to evacuate the building and return home. This must be a coincidence I thought, but I couldn’t resist. I touched my ball again and silently asked for a car to get me home. After all, I was wearing high heels and my feet were killing me! Of course no white horse, no red Ferrari, but not even a taxi appeared! You’re a fool, I said to myself and started walking again. She looks disappointed. A couple of hours later, while I was reading my newspaper I suddenly froze. This couldn’t be just luck! A coupon on the paper informed me that I was the lucky reader who had won the big present. A Porsche! I was terrified! She looks scared. This stupid ball that looked like a toy really worked! What am I supposed to do with this power? I wondered. And then I realized. Everything! I can do everything! I screamed. I can travel, I can be really rich, I can fire my annoying boss, I can even wish for world peace! She screams with excitement. Joy, surprise and excitement overwhelmed me! But the man said I shouldn’t abuse it, I recalled. I shall use it for real problems I decided at last. And so I did at the beginning. She has an apologetic look.

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I tried to live my life in a normal way and go to work daily. The only difference was that I was driving to work with my new luxurious car. I admit that I used my secret power now and then, but I couldn’t imagine what would follow. It was so addictive. She looks like having regrets. Holding the whole world in your hands is not an easy task. So, day after day I started not going to work since I could have the whole wealth of the world if I wished for it. I thought about travelling, but I always postponed it. I’ll do it tomorrow, I used to say. I have all the time in the world, I have all the wealth of the world, I have the world! And the months passed. And then the years. Time is so fluid and shows no mercy. I wished for a house and I got it. I wished for a swimming pool and I also got it. Even when I wished for tiny things like a sandwich or Chinese food they immediately appeared. But everything seemed to have lost their meaning, their taste. Everything was so easy to get that it became pointless. I didn’t travel, I didn’t bring world peace, I didn’t come in contact with other people. I didn’t even go to the trouble to go out to get cigarettes. I just wished for them and they used to appear in front of my eyes! I was trapped by the ball. I was trapped by my personal desires. I shouldn’t have used this power in such an irresponsible way…But now it’s late. I’m too old now to start over. I try to figure out what happened. How I let it happen. I wanted it all, and I ended up with nothing. She looks sorry and sad. Was it better before? Living in stress? How about now? Living in boredom? She looks confused. Feeling useless, having everything already. This takes all the satisfaction, all the joy away, you know. Only if you get tired and work hard for something, only then you can feel proud of yourself. Be happy because you managed it! Happiness…I hadn’t experienced it for years. Now I feel empty. And then I finally got it! I wasn’t supposed to use the power. The man had warned me! He just wanted to show me that one should find balance in his life. Neither living a stressful life nor living with having everything! Life isn’t supposed to be like this. Life is a gift and we must make the best of it. Nothing should come easily. We must earn it. I’m so vain, I whispered. That guy gave me the chance to see another perspective, to discover the real values in life and I used it to satisfy my material needs. I had the power to wish for love, for happiness but I didn’t. All the material things seemed sufficient. I’ve never let anyone invade my life and mess it up, make it a bit more interesting. I wanted to have the control. By using my work as an excuse I used to avoid people and even later when I could have anything, I continued marginalizing people. I didn’t want

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them to get my secret power! Throughout my life I couldn’t distinguish the significant values. What can I say now? What can I do? She looks depressed and talks quickly. Suddenly I got up! I must let the world know, I said. She talks loudly. It was the first time after many years that I left the house. It was late at night. I stood by the wall and waited. I realized that what I really wanted was to get rid of that ball and its secret. I wanted to feel relieved. I waited and waited. She looks impatient. I saw a young woman walking, a woman like me twenty five years ago. She looks relieved. I started approaching her.

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CONFESSIONS OF A COMIC MIND A play for one actor by Theoni Spiliopoulou

I walk to the center of the stage holding a couple of CDs on one hand and a couple of comics on the other. I sit on a chair placing the CDs on my left and the comics on my right. I’m wearing a t-shirt, blue jeans, and a scarf round my neck. Then I start talking. Ever since I was a little child I had two great loves. Ok, three if I have to put in also my parents and my little sister. Apart from my family, though, the other two significant things in my life are comic books and rock music. We hear from the CD player a brief part of a rock song, only for a couple of seconds. I nod my head, and then I go on. I was so crazy about both of them that at the age of eleven when the average kid dreams from Barbie’s new mansion to G.I. Joe action figures, I dreamt about owning a store that would sell only those two beloved things. I have never woken up in a better mood. No really, since I can remember myself, I look like hell in the mornings. My parents don’t even try to talk to me before the clock strikes ten. That was the only day of my life that I woke up in a good mood. What am I saying? In a great mood. My mother was so worried from that sudden change that she even told me not to go to school if I wasn’t feeling so well. On a Monday morning, on a school morning, can you imagine that? Unfortunately it was just a passing moment, and even if I could, I didn’t take advantage of it. Well what can one do? I remember clearly that when I was going to high school my classmates used to laugh at me ‘cause during the breaks I was not even at least interested in my handsome classmates, but I was totally in love with Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, and Alan Moore. --Look, Theoni, look there comes Jimmy; isn’t he just gorgeous!!! --Oh shut up. I’m trying to read over here. I’m holding an open comic book pretending that I’m reading. Then I raise my eyes and continue speaking. “I want him brought in by the book, we have to show him that our way works!” screamed commissioner Gordon as Batman ran after Joker. Anyway where was I? Oh yes, I was a geek. Yes I know, I admit that, I mean there is no point in hiding it. After all, give me a copy of

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Moore’s “The Killing Joke” and some Blue Oyster Cult CDs and leave me without food for the weekend. I will be just fine. As I have already mentioned, I was never the most popular kid in school. I wasn’t even considered to be an average kid. Oh, apart from the last class of high school when they found out that I was an excellent volleyball player and my long-damaged self-esteem was starting to repair itself and I was starting to feel good about myself when the school year ended. If that isn’t bad luck then I really don’t know what it is. “When it’s good ain’t nothing better; when it’s bad ain't nothing worse,” as it was very well posed from my fellow Lynyrd Skynyrd. Well, time flew and my love for comics and music was not only reducing, but in fact it was becoming even greater as I was growing older. I had occupied myself with a full time job. In the morning I was inspecting Asgard with Thor preventing Loki from ruining the day; at lunch time I was cleaning the ship of planet express with Fry and Leela, and I admit that I also had a couple of beers with Bender while reading the Daily Planet news from Clark Kent. In the evenings I was riding along with Sinister and Dexter, and of course at night I was protecting Gotham with the most awesome bat in the world. “In the bat-mobile,” said the voice in my head. All these, of course, happened during my so called “breaks from reality” that my doctor had so strongly recommended. Boy, those were such great times. Strangely enough, in addition to my past, I was becoming more and more popular. Yes, indeed, it seemed as if everyone tended to be occupied with what I was doing. The great thing was that it all started from the inside; it started from my very own family. My mother was complaining that I’ve thrown away all my other stuff in order to store my comics, which wasn’t a lie, actually, but I wasn’t going to admit it. And those great quarrels at dinner time. Soooo boring... We still have one from time to time. --Theoni! --Yes, mum. --Dinner’s ready --In a minute. --Not in a minute, young lady. Leave those things; turn down the music; and come to table! --Muuuuuum!!! --Nooow!!! And as if my mother wasn’t enough trouble, I also had my grandmother who was very anxious about my future and used to ask me at least twice a day when I will decide to stop reading those Mickey Mouse books and start doing something with my life. Quoting from her last speech:

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--Look, Theoni, you are an adult now. You’ve grown up; you need to have a plan to study and find a job and make a family and have children and bla bla bla. --By the way, Granny, I’m studying at the university. The complete victim of the day, though, was my poor father whom I’ve almost driven to the Looney Toon house due to my very annoying habit to ask him all the time to download for me million titles of CDs. But he does it anyway; after all aren’t I his favorite daughter? I put on a fake moustache. --For Christ’s sake, Theoni, can’t I have a moment of peace in that house? I work for over ten hours a day; doesn’t that buy me a few minutes of peace. --What is that always with God when you have troubles? Aren’t you an atheist? Do you betray your beliefs so easily? I’m really disappointed in you. --God, what have I done to deserve all this? --Like father like son, Dad. Like father like son. But it doesn’t stay in the family. Noooo ma’m. Even the strangers nowadays are interested in me. For example, a couple of days ago as I was sitting in the bus heading to my home after a long day at the university, a kind old lady sitting just in front of me told her friend sitting next to her: Here I take off my scarf and wear it in my head resembling the old lady, and with slightly trembling voice I say . . . --With that garbage that they read, it doesn’t surprise you when they end up in prison. These are the devil’s works, I tell you. God have mercy on their souls. And of course her friend agreed with a little nod of her head. I take off the scarf and place it to the ground. Son of a . . . punch line from Hellboy; it comes almost naturally. What a nice thing to hear from a fellow human. Isn’t it? However, it was amusing at the same time. Pardon me, but I am not every day blamed to be a Satan worshiper. The usual lines that I get are something between “Some people never grow up; look at her. Those are books for kids,” and “Dude, look what she’s reading. Is your mother coming to get you from school today?” That always comes with this nice gesture of the pointing finger. Sit back, relax, and smile like you don’t care; everything is under control. Take a big breath. I take two big breaths.

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“That’s ok; that’s nice; do you feel better now?” said the voice in my head. I was always afraid to reveal that I have an inner voice talking to me from time to time ever since I read about that French girl, that Jeanne something, I can’t recall her last name, that heard voices too, and she didn’t exactly have a movie-style happy ending, you know. Anyway, those moments of my life were always creating for me a bitter feeling of unfairness that even at this moment is still hanging from the edge of my lips. And I ask myself and I ask you too: Why is everyone criticizing what I’m doing? Not only what I’m doing but what anyone is doing? “Holy maracas, what has happened to the world,” screams Hermes Conrad in my ear. I mean I do no one no harm. I yam what I yam, as Popeye puts it. I am what I always was, what I’ll always be. I’m genuine and sincere in a world that is not quite so. So why can’t they just leave me alone, leave me be? I mean, it’s not right to reject me because I’m different and not afraid to show it. I mean, we’re all different everyone in his special little way. And, yes, it’s cool to have personality, to speak your mind, to create new possibilities. “Dare to dream dudes, I am Bart Simpson, and I do what I want when I want. Gimme the crusty burger you there.” My mother used to tell me a bedtime story when I was a child. I can’t recall the details, but I remember clearly that it was about two brothers, two artists to be more precise, two musicians both with classical studies in piano and guitar and this and that. The one loved blues; the other loved jazz. The second brother committed to his studies, kept playing the already existing classical compositions gaining money and fame. However, from time to time he felt depressed for quitting his music and eventually that affected his work that became shallow and vain. The first became a blues player working mostly at night in clubs. I won’t tell you any lies. He didn’t gain his brother’s money, and he gained nothing but love and appreciation and this feeling of wholeness in his soul, and he offered that to the world, and he made the world better as much as he was able, at least. What I meant to say with that story is that the world doesn’t evolve by itself, doesn’t just go on magically. We have pioneers, people who are not afraid of who they are and what they do, that make this world turn. Imagine Socrates, DaVinci, or even Galileo. What if they had said we’ll go with the flow, we’ll mind our own business, and the hell with the rest of humanity. We would still be in the Middle Ages, people, or even worse, who knows. The thing is to be you, to be original. To get to know yourself and share it with the world. And if the world criticizes you for this, tell them just to kiss your shiny metal you know what. My friend Bender from Futurama does it anyway. But if you feel that that’s something upon your powers and that you can’t take the chance to share your soul, your mind, and maybe your heart with us, I can only say that it’s fine with me, but . . . how I wish you were here. My monologue ends with the introduction on Pink Floyd’s “How I Wish You Were Here.” Thank you.

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MASQUES & SHADOWS

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by Athena Zapounidi , 2009

Special Thanks to Ms. Catherine Rogers Creative Writing Class 2009 - Final

Drawings by S.

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... tribute to G.H. ...

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Masques & Shadows

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DRAMATIS PERSONAE Protagonists: Truth & The Individual (female-male) Narrators: Love & Rage (female-male) Characters: Faith (male or female) – The Individual’s servant Time, Death, Danger (males) – Truth’s suitors Oblivion - Mutual friend The Fool The seven deadly Sins & various Emotions Time & Place: Close to sunset at a carnival in The city of the Floating Chess Settings: The ball hall: fireplace - piano - dance floor The garden: tree - pond - bench The Individual’s bedroom: window - bed - small desk

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The Seven Deadly Sins :

Various Emotions :

Gluttony Greed Pride Sloth Wrath Envy Lust

Remorse Grief Desire Disgust Despair Frustration Surprise Sadness Fear Disappointment Worry Suffering Felicity Affection Compassion Curiosity Horror Ache Regret Gratitude Solitude Hope Misery Anxiety Ecstasy Boredom Angst

All secondary characters (Faith, Time, Death, Danger, Oblivion, The Fool, The Seven Deadly Sins and Various Emotions) though not having lines, appear on stage as indicated in the script.

Protagonists, Narrators & All other Characters perform while wearing Masks‌

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Love: (addressing the audience) Oh, welcome to this carnival a theater awaits the curtains are still closed but audience has gathered 84


Today we’ll speak the story of Truth, The Individual And their friends Their lives of misery and sorrow Is everybody dressed? Oh, yes…I see your glittering costumes And the dazzling masks I now believe that we are ready… Remember the protagonists are nude Parental advisory required Also remember there’s no drinking for those under age… Oh, what do I see now? Rage? (to Rage) How are you doing? Rage: Do not trust the smooth veil of the night… Do you see the omens written on the burning sky? Please let me warn you on what’s going on down here In this forsaken city of The Floating Chess White snow is falling on this summer’s night My heart filled with an unspoken fear of the future I see your broken bodies Trying to crawl on rivers of reality Your clouded minds that wish to see Through the dim mists of tears I am as you too, just a viewer That has no power of reaction And though I’m Rage…I feel now weak myself facing the darkness of this theater…of the Absurd! And do believe me that I too, wish for a soon closing of the curtains on this stage Thus now in rage, my mind misgives forgotten fears No! Forgotten they are not They can still haunt you… (addressing the audience) I have a question to you all… Since you have been molested by the winds And damned to hurt by prince of darkness Do you still walk through wet, dark, desert alleys? Or, are you just dead corpses lying on this earth? (sigh) I won’t suspend the opening of this story Already hear him approaching 85


this small universe of lies… Let me remind you of his company and daily orders Though you all know already… (we see The Individual performing the acts described and The Deadly Sins appearing one by one and treating him as below) When morning comes Gluttony whispers to his ears He calls Greed to escort him on his trip While shaving in the mirror Pride enters Then Sloth knocks on his door just to delay him But Wrath suddenly grabs him and he flees (The Individual is shown walking & changing masks) He wanders through the valleys of hostility hysteria, loathing and shame He battles obstacles with masks His fingers like a fan (Rage opens his fingers in a fan) Each shift presents a different face A smile…a tear...a wrinkle or a cough A laugh...a cry...or irony affection, cruelty or pain His fan can play any game! (Rage actually opens a fan and starts wagging it) Then dusk comes and he freezes... (Lights on Time standing at a corner and flirting Truth; Death is also shown kissing her neck. The Individual drops a crystal glass upon seeing this scene, Envy hugs him but he turns away and kisses Lust; All actions performed while Rage speaks…) He sees Time flirting her… Death’s kiss upon her neck He drops his glass… Envy is smoothly piercing his white heart This night he’ll hang around with Lust… (Rage points at Truth and The Individual at the ball 86


and leaves the stage with Love) Truth: …Oh, there is no point talking about the past... What happened now, did you get a visit from Remorse? (Lights on Remorse closing the door while leaving the house) The Individual: Something much worse… Truth: What is it now? Stop fooling around with Grief or, is it now Desire? (Lights on Grief and Desire, standing behind The Individual, their hands around him while Truth speaks) The Individual: I’d tell you that I met Disgust (Instant lights on Disgust standing by the fireplace …quick fading - she vanishes...black corner again) But this red fire… (Looking at the fire place) Drives me now closer to Despair (The Individual grabs Despair from the black corner - where Disgust was standing and they make a tango move … she’s lying on his arms…then strolls away) Truth: Oh, do not mess around with her Translucent promises of false affection Others have been deceived by her direction And ended lunatics… The Individual: So…you will not tell me about your knight… Truth: My night? (slowly going out - moving to the garden) The Individual: Really…what is it you are dressed? Truth: You should have guessed….I am a wire... 87


(holds a wire) The Individual: A wire?... Truth: The wire…of communication… I am Frustration and Surprise (stretches her hands backwards… instant lights on Frustration and Surprise respectively) The Individual: Oh, really? Truth: See…You win a prize! The Individual: (Furiously addressing Truth …) Oh! You elusive bitch! Do you really exist? You perfect, crystal, sliding witch… How I ache and die for just a glance… a blinking … your blue eyes (Caressing her face) How can I combat this devout wish? Your snake made body and your hands Those black gloves that caress my scars and follow me like shadows (touching her lips…) Your lips...strawberry liquor (turning elsewhere) Drives me mad! Intoxication…Fire… (now grabbing her - crying) Liar! Truth: (pushes him away) "Noli me tangere"… (1) You are afraid of me and often hide me in the dark (touches a tree) This bark reflects the curves of your betrayal…

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The Individual: Oh, you manoeuvring harlot… You scarlet! Upon the vandals’ touch you change your skin! Oh, what a rainbow! Do not dare lecture me on the banality of evil (2) Self destruction and the vanity of our lenient existence (lights on Sadness, Fear and Disappointment surrounding Truth... passionately kissing her & caressing her body) How could you sell yourself to Sadness, Fear and Disappointment? (Sadness, Fear and Disappointment leave, Worry and Suffering enter and start conversing with Truth) Worry and Suffering are those your only friends? (lights off Worry and Suffering) Truth: How dare you judge my poor emotions? My fragile choices… While you have chosen to be blind! Weren’t you the one who raped Felicity out of hunger (lights on The Individual passionately making love to Felicity) pure hatred and blur guilt? (Lights on Horror and Curiosity dragging The individual away from Affection and Compassion) Weren’t you the one who abandoned Affection and Compassion? Didn’t Curiosity lead you to their contempt? Wasn’t it Horror that has driven you away…? Go now... Please go to your beloved whores That feed you sugar words of insincerity and surface (she grabs him and forces him to look at himself in the window glass) Go look your face in the mirror Can you recognize the man behind the mask? Your pace is slow Your body bruised and betrayed by lust Mistakes have left off their task It’s getting late… Let me return to Ache… (lights on Ache kissing her stretched hand… lights off Ache) The Individual: I now see what Danger sees in you 89


I feel the heartbreak of Regret (Danger & Regret are standing under the tree... looking sad…then leaving the stage… The Individual, now on his knees, screams… lights on Gratitude) Gratitude soothe my broken loins…! (stands up & looks at Truth) Your corpse is broken into bits (he grabs her and forces her to look in the garden’s pond) A drained swamp reflects your flesh and obscure colors Truth: (pushing him away) Leave now…just let me be… Don’t look at me for I bring pain And toxic rain… (a clap of thunder is heard, She turns away from him…eyes cast on the ground – Starts talking to herself while sitting on a bench) I used to look upon my dreams With weeping eyes Now I see fate And eagle wings of wax Doomed…damned infinity On ocean bottoms The Individual: Faith call on Solitude… (Faith quickly enters) Where’s my beloved mistress? I am dying for a kiss…! (lights on Solitude dancing at the ball...lights fade, He is addressing Truth while looking in the void) When sunset comes …I wonder Are you a pearl on deep oblivious waters? So glamorous… so cold You can’t forget You cannot see You can just dream of (looking in the pond) On bottoms blue and dark? And then I start to kneel and cry… (kneeling and hiding his face, then looks at her) Vanished am I from thy cloudless mind? 90


Do I hate me for our forsaken nights? Why do I still dream of seas and forests of salvation? Do I doom my soul to dreaming? (slowly heading towards Truth, He caresses her cheeks and neck) Please forgive me for not allowing Convenient words and phrases to just slip, like smoke from my bloody…burning lips But you can see through eyes and mirrors and my spirit Do I drive myself to madness? (turning away from her and back again to her) Or, have I showed you all that I fear and dream of? Have you sealed thy lips in silence? Am I just paranoid…? (starts wandering in the garden) Seeing your ungraceful mask wherever that I look and listening to your fading voice on every alley I may walk? Echoing voice... (looking at her) Am I dead or dreaming of salvation in seas and forests of forsaken paradise?! Truth: (eyes cast down, still sitting) I have a message for the angels That lie up on velvet clouds (looks up at the sky) To them I bestow the glaring stars of hidden skies And them I envy When they listen to my tears Like piano key-sounds (piano sound heard , she stands up) To them I cast a woe, a challenge and a spell (in rage she screams) Drug me …drag me away from pain, reality and lies (on her knees..) I beg thee to silence their dark and sacred cries! (Lights off) (Love enters) Love: Now…it seems that this small theatre of the grotesque Has fallen into pieces... 91


I call upon Oblivion to bring her force (drags Oblivion -from a dark corner- towards her) Come now and clean away the mess As their mutual friend (lights on Rage standing nearby) Rage: Please do not tell me that the act is ... over? I do not usually take such things so calm... (Oblivion leaves the stage) Love: Look at the audience...What is it fellows? Can you feel the harsh shower of rain...? The whipping on your cracked skin? Do you hear the whispers of change...? And did you exchange … ...Your masks?! (taking off her mask, still having another underneath) Rage: Damned for I am still alive (addressing the audience) Darkness in your hearts when I prevail… Love Oh, do not rush…there are still some final, broken lines… (Points at Truth and The Individual, now in his bedroom Both sitting back to back on his bed Lights off Rage & Love) The Individual: This night unbearable and never ending … Truth: The knight you are afraid of... ...does not really exist… The Individual: Am I afraid of how I feel? Is it too late for me to kneel? The kisses now turn to dust My veins desert roads of infinite realities and past Captured am I now in a web of insanity? 92


I feel your breath Like spider crawling on my arms I wonder if I should surrender… Though shadows whisper…carpe diem… (3) Truth: (stands up - looking through the window) Is this a requiem? What has been lost? Do you hear the cheerless bells of broken promises and lies? (Hope is passing by the pond behind the window, then vanishes) I see Hope’s ghost is drowning in the pond This bond too is now renounced … (Truth is still looking through the window, The Individual sits on the bed looking down) (Love enters...) Love: (approaching & addressing Truth) Didn’t you tell him not to wait for the train to come? Didn’t you warn him about the non-stopping rain when you are gone? Didn’t you show him that there will be no sun rising … told him he’s alone? (then Rage appears…) Rage (approaching & addressing The Individual) Didn’t she wait for the snow to stop falling... just a calling…Realized she’s not the only one... Didn’t you see her crying to the moon... Talking to stars all afternoon … Come undone …? (Love leaves the stage…, Rage withdraws at a corner) Pieces now scattered on this wooden floor No one to blame… What is she waiting for? (lights off Rage) Truth: (turning to The Individual) I will surrender now to Misery (lights on Misery hugging her) 93


And should you wish… Please do pretend to your lawful right (intensely looking at him) The Individual: (driving Anxiety and Ecstasy to his bed) I choose a night with Anxiety and Ecstasy and their tricks Need to obtain balance and forget (points to the balcony where blond Boredom and the red haired Angst sit and laugh) Blond Boredom and the red haired Angst (turns to Truth) For you confuse me and abuse me...and… Truth: I see…so call on Faith to change (pointing his bed, all other characters have vanished) these burning chaste sheets (grabs and yanks the bed sheets) saturated with lust… the sphere has now turned to past dawn will bring us both...oblivion! (Blue Lights on Truth & The Individual who stand frozen...motionless on stage) (Love and Rage interrupt the scene...) Rage: What is it with these lovers? now... Are they aware of the sacrifice… The suicide committed? Love: (sighs) Oh...they do not get along these last few…centuries… But love each other and console their hearts By talking to the moon (points at the moon…) Rage: What's their relationship? Are they like foes in battle…or just fools? Love: Now that you mentioned it… See how he 94


(points at The Fool , who is now on stage entertaining the audience) entertains our masquerade… (turning to Rage & pointing at Truth & The Individual) Damned they are by wheel of fortune Mind they each other’s every step Crashing they are on fossil walls They whisper in their dreams Each other’s names But Time’s games bring down the bridges Erase their memory each night Thus he wakes up and struggles to gather The scattered pieces of the puzzle… In his quest…he seeks her out in wilderness Infinite time and space… Centuries now they’re walking hand in hand But do not seem to get along by sunset Never realizing… Never confiding to each other (Love crying…addressing the crowd) oh, look inside… she is therein… Unique for each… Immaculate! (turning to Rage) Doomed they are Doomed like the leaves of this shabby manuscript (throws a manuscript from The Individual’s desk on the floor) Hard to read A concealed veil… Rage This sad-mad tale now is wearing me away… (addressing the audience) Let me just finish this insane story As I consider appropriate and fair! Now listen to me pale fleeting creatures of the soil Two sides there are on every coin! (throws a coin in the air, then catches it) Remember! And please drop your masks (drops his mask but has another underneath) Face yourselves! Naked become… Translucent!

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Love: For... (Love’s voice is heard in the dark lights on Love , standing at a corner… lights off Rage, Truth & The Individual, Love slowly moves to the center of the stage … addressing the audience) we have one life that we consider granted but only have few moments to breathe air we lust, we dance and twist in our deceptions we fake and lie…we shade the truth we spin and crawl like snakes on our dirt we hurt ; but our screams fall silent we laugh and fight, but in the night ... we creep like turtles…hiding in disrupted huts we slowly cut the strings of our lives in hives we taste the sweetest wine we bleed to escape our own desires then in their fires , we burn our fragile bones ashes we are , translucent ghosts we cry behind our smiles trying to figure out the scenes we have to act the roles that we must play like clay we gather broken pieces and go on we beg for light to hold on but pray to silver moons to give us peace and kiss forsaken wizards Ridicules! this is what we are betrayed by our own conceptions we die... and ashes we remain meaningless sand grains memories and summer breeze

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we tease like insects our former friends thus life ends and makes its circles. (Lights off)

ECHOES : (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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(1) Noli me tangere, meaning "don't touch me" , is the Latin version of words spoken, according to John 20:17, by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognizes him after his resurrection. (2) Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975) was an influential German-Jewish political theorist... In her reporting of the Eichmann trial for The New Yorker, which evolved into Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963), she coined the phrase "the banality of evil" to describe Eichmann. She raised the question of whether evil is radical or simply a function of thoughtlessness—the tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without critically thinking about the results of their action or inaction. (3) Carpe diem is a phrase from a Latin poem by Horace . It is popularly translated as "seize the day".

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To be

performed in The Theater of Mirrors …

... a theater where the performance-show is performed through mirrors (see next page - approximate design). On top we find the backstage (B) and in front of the backstage lays the actual stage (S) where actors perform. However the stage is concealed by a “wall” (W). The actors perform through mirrors (M1) & (M2) that are placed on the left and right (respectively) of the audience seats (A). The seats (A) 99


rotate either to the left mirror or the right, according to the act performed. Thus the audience watches the play through mirrors {either (M1) or (M2)}. The transaction from mirror (M1) to (M2) is facilitated by a “wall” (W) on which as the seats slowly rotate, the audience watches monitored photos’ slide shows or scenes. The audience never faces the actors directly… AZ∞

The Theatre of Mirrors (approximate design)

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αΦορμες