Citadel

By Sasho Ognenovski

Translated by Biljana Kitanovska

Volume 9, Issue 1 (Spring 2022)

In the play Citadel, the actor Sasho Ognenovski deals with the universal theme of human identity, with its annulment and extermination whose warnings are more and more often knocked on the door of humanity. The long-glorified ideas of a new human race, killing in the name of peace, and exterminating people for some new affiliation or feature are a great stain on human history. Unfortunately, there are still people who think that way, again in the name of “peace and tranquility” on the planet. Fear and panic are gaining momentum, and the space we live in, whether we like it or not, makes us more claustrophobic. Reading this play reminds us of a diachronism that leads us to a universality that engages and does not give us pleasure. This play carries a bitter taste in every line (although the lines are very lively and eloquent), and situations escalate to disaster. Although the characters bear the names that belong to this region, the situations, as the author himself points out, happen anywhere, somewhere, or everywhere and… it is better not to happen.

The conglomeration of characters gathering in a newly built hotel high in a mountain in the biggest winter they have ever remembered, is enough to tell a story of a desperate and panicked search for the last atom of existence, of self-preservation. Every civilization that intends in the name of human prosperity to deal with the transformation of human identity and entity, first gives man new buildings, new places for a better life. But these are not places for those old “human specimens,” they are places for those who will deserve another life, constructed by “thinkers” who have allowed themselves to appropriate the fate of the whole human species.

This story is futuristic. But should we have the comfort of readers and viewers who after reading will think that it is very far from us and that it will almost never happen? This is the crucial question of the play Citadel. The utopian surrealism of the play whose situations range from lively and occasionally witty to absurd and tense breathes behind our necks. The new century, unfortunately, offers us a subtle but very painful authoritarianism that is high above us, but with a power that can wipe us out in a split second.

This play has a very solid dramaturgy and quite fast dynamics. Sasho Ognenovski, as an experienced actor, knows how to feel the characters and outline them to the end with all their characteristics that in the situations that become more frequent from the first to the third act are presented to the end, to the last letter of their biography. Therefore, in case of eventual staging, this play could especially impress with well-built characters.

Citadel is a play that has hardly been encountered in Macedonian dramaturgy. Moreover, this work can draw the attention of theater artists, especially directors. Although seemingly realistic, this play lives an absurd tension, throwing out a tragic gamma in which the dead end is an intonation that the characters carry in the textual matter almost from beginning to end. The virtuality in the dramaturgy of Citadel is in the very escalation of situations that are complex, but quite skillfully managed. They range from a bit witty to extremely tense and surreal and end up with a catastrophe that, in my opinion, has a uniqueness worthy of respect.

The great playwright Miroslav Krleжаa once said that a successful playwright is the one who will write the third act. Sasho Ognenovski gave us a play of three excellently guided and artistically brilliantly determined acts. When you close the pages of this play you will not be able to forget it so easily. Some of the lines will make you think about what, I’m sure you do not want to think about, but it seems that sooner or later we will all have to think—human identity.

Sasho Ognenovskii, Ph.D (1964) is Macedonian writer and communicologist. His creative list includes five books of poetry (Avalanche, 1995; The Fruits of Hell, 2014; Desert Flower, 2015, Forrest, 2018, Changing of the Past, 2019), two books of children’s plays (A Simple Tale, 2001; The Magic Compass, 2011), two plays for adults (Grief, 2012; Citadel, 2016), two novels (The Grey Squarem 2019; The Tour, 2020), and papers in the fields of Communications, Semiotics, Multiculturalism, and Theater published in various journals and presented in conferences around the world (Gothenburg, Oslo, Milan, London, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Sofia). His latest play Citadel was published in English by Lulu Publishing House in Northern Carolina, USA, and his children’s play The Magic Compass has been published in Serbian by Alma Publishing house in Belgrade. He also writes theater and literary reviews, essays and columns for Macedonian, Serbian, and European magazines and websites. For his work he received the award IWA BOGDANI from Kosovo, the annual award from the Montenegro translation association, and the award “Literary Feather” from the Croatian Literary Association. His works have been translated into Albanian, English, Indian, Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, and Arabic. He is editor in chief of the literary magazine Literary Elements and of the web magazine Elements.

Biljana kitanovska (1969), is an English philologist and translator. She studied English philology at the Faculty of Philology “Blaze Koneski” at the University Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje. Her list of translations includes authors like: Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere’s Fan; Vera, or the Nihilists), Richard Sheridan (School for Scandal), James Joyce (Exiles), Ransom Riggs’ trilogy about the peculiar children, two novels by Stephanie Perkins, and Lucy Robinson novel The Day We Disappeared. She has also translated a number of texts for literary magazines in North Macedonia. Citadel and other plays by Sasho Ognenovski are her first translations from Macedonian to English language.

CITADEL

(a play in 3 acts)

Sasho Ognenovski

Translated by Biljana Kitanovska

CHARACTERS

IGOR, 27, journalist

VICTOR, 35, owner of the hotel CITADEL

SIMON, 35, owner of the hotel CITADEL

ANDREW, 30, painter

JOSEPH, 70, retired colonel

WILMA, 42, manager

KALINA, 55, a lady

MAXIM, 45, gentleman who passes through

MILA, 20, student

CONSTANTINE, 50, from the real CITADEL

TIME: It happens on…may it never happen

ACT ONE

(Lobby in the hotel CITADEL. VICTOR and SIMON expect the first guests. Late afternoon hours. VICTOR is looking through the window. SIMON is writing something on the reception desk.Some documents.)

VICTOR: Still shines red. Never goes out. For days. (Pause) It scares me.

SIMON: I am scared about possible omission in these papers. You know the fines.

VICTOR: Everything is OK. It’s been checked out over and over again. Don’t be paranoid. Where is your smile? The guests have almost arrived.

SIMON: Frankly, I expected around ten families with naughty children, ambitious mothers and henpecked fathers. This combination is somehow weird to me. Everyone is for separate rooms.

VICTOR: You know them?

SIMON: (Thoughtful. Pause) Excuse me?

VICTOR: Do you know them?

SIMON: (With a sour smile) Keep your fingers crossed for a happy beginning.

VICTOR: That’s how I like you! Put those papers in the drawer and keep practicing smiles for profit.

SIMON: And you stop watching the light and check out the rooms once again.

VICTOR: I will. (They are watching one another) Don’t we need another maid?

SIMON: Can we afford one? (VICTOR exits. SIMON takes out a list and looks at it) Again…again… (Sighs. ANDREW enters)

ANDREW: It’s been a long time since it’s snowed this much. I will take this snow for export. Mmmmm it smells brand new. Superb. Andrew Yablonski. Single room. With a view opposite of the Citadel.

SIMON: Of course. Welcome. You are the first.

ANDREW: Yeah? Magnificent! Ribbon-cutting ceremony or something, candies, homemade wine, two girls in traditional costumes, a sound of bagpipe…Nothing of that?

SIMON: We are not that traditional. You will have a welcome lunch tomorrow. On the house. Specialty, house plate and homemade wine as you said.

ANDREW: I am an urban painter. I draw the disintegration. Landfills, beggars on the streets, abandoned houses, empty schools, ghostly factories from the cruel transitional period. No conflict, no art.

SIMON: If you decide to paint here, you should turn to landscapes. (He laughs) You will have good rest here and save up on paint. Everything is white around you.

ANDREW: Witty, witty. Resting is boring here and I’ll let the curiosity to cheer me up, to excite me and to surprise me.

SIMON: (Tiny smile) We’ll be glad if you find it tempting.

ANDREW: We will be all tempted. (Pause. LKooking at each other.) May I have the key?

SIMON: Oh, yes, of course. (Giving him the key) I wish you a pleasant stay.

(ANDREW waves a hand and leaves. VICTOR enters at that moment. Meets ANDREW. They exchange greetings by nodding their heads. While walking out, ANDREW turns back to see VICTOR better and continues.)

VICTOR: The first one?

SIMON: Aha. Somewhat weird. Painter.

VICTOR: They are all like that…Everything is all right upstairs. (Looks through the window again)

SIMON: This red light never goes out.

VICTOR: It doesn’t worry you?

SIMON: Who’s paranoid? (Pause. Looking at each other) It’s starting to snow heavily. And only one guest until now.

(Colonel JOSEPH enters. Shakes Cuts the snow from his coat)

JOSEPH: The same weather back in sixty-eight. Our bedrooms were the only snowless spots. Good afternoon. The very beginning, ah?

VICTOR: Yes, welcome.

JOSEPH: Good thing I didn’t come by car. But I knew. My instinct never lies to me. So, may I be welcome to this house. And, may we have good luck.

VICTOR: Thank you very much. Your luggage?

JOSEPH: Everything is here. (Points to his head.) Small travel bag and a lot of memories. That’s our life. Joseph Greenhill. Colonel on retirement. I didn’t become general because of a lot of calculations and dirty games. But this pumpkin remembers everything. Everything. Who, and what, and how, and why. I wanted to bring my grandchildren with me but you know, who would chase them in this snow cover, and make hot tea afterwards. May they be alive and well!

VICTOR: Who is paying for you?

JOSEPH: Nobody. I don’t want anybody to pay for me. Leave those foolish things out. I do not owe anyone, and I will not owe anything to anyone.

VICTOR: But here we have…

JOSEPH: Doesn’t matter what you have…So, OK, we will figure it out in the end. There are lots more things here, but…Oh, I do not want to make it long. (He turns to go)

SIMON: Your key. (He hands him the key. Looking at each other)

JOSEPH: (Tiny coughs) Yes. Yes. Come on. (Exits)

VICTOR: Why did he look at you like that? You know each other?

SIMON: No…I don’t know why…Maybe he has mistaken me for somebody…He is old…Senile…

VICTOR: He seems very active.

SIMON: No, no, I’m meeting him for the first time. (Now he is looking through the window) It’s snowing more and more.

(The door opens. WILMA enters loudly with two huge suitcases and sunglasses. She is speaking on her cell phone while VICTOR and SIMON are helping her to bring the suitcases up. She doesn’t notice them.)

WILMA: Yeah, Kiki, I am telling you for the third time: for the snake in the morning, for the kitty around noon, and for the dog you could put it in its bowl, it will eat it by itself. No needs for the iguana and for the parrot, I have already fed them. What? You are afraid of them? Oh, they will not do anything bad to you! Don’t worry. Here, I arrived. Ughhh, what bad weather, horrible! I barely reached here. Yes, yes. All orders in the bank tomorrow. I canceled the meetings, and if there are still jerks who do not want to leave, you could tell Zhare, he will handle it. He will be very nice, he will behave, yes, no violence. Ha ha, Kiki, that’s it, that’s my life, it is so hard, you have to think of everything. (She approaches the reception, takes out her ID and continues talking. VICTOR tries to say something, but she waves with her hand.) Nothing with that, no more discussion. Executer, and that’s it. No, no, no. Excuse me, but I have to make my living out of something, too. (She moves aside. VICTOR and SIMON look at each other) The two three-bedroom apartments on the top floor are not for sale. Don’t even try to offer them. I’ll do what I’ll do when I get back. I won’t be here for a century, for God’s sake. (Louder.) So, Kiki, you know that, you will figure it out. (VICTOR shows her where to sign. WILMA looks at what she signs without turning off her phone. SIMON gives her the key. She takes it. Waves with her hand and sets off) Please, check her out. Check bags, pockets, socks, pants. No excuse. She promised she is clean, but something’s telling me that she will not keep her promise. It is for her own good. You have to, Kiki, please. Don’t make me cry here, please. (PAUSE) Yes, yes. Oh, I took it. You know what I like—Danielle Steel. It is a real life, baby, I can’t stand that Hesse, Jack London, descriptions, landscapes, my ass. You know I love reading books, but only the real ones. So, I am going to take a bath and pull myself together. Hear from you soon. Bye baby. (She leaves)

VICTOR: What was it?

SIMON: Given the weather, an avalanche.

VICTOR: See if she forgot something.

SIMON: I wouldn’t say so. She never forgets.

VICTOR: How do you know?

SIMON: She sounds like that.

VICTOR: (Looking at him) The rest of them are from the agency, right?

SIMON: She was also.

VICTOR: Oh, yes. And two more. The rest will be whoever comes by.

SIMON: If it stops snowing.

VICTOR: Yes. If it doesn’t, this very beginning, as the colonel says, will not be very glorious.

SIMON: It will be ok.

VICTOR: You sound convinced!

SIMON: You’re immediately disappointed.

VICTOR: Who is saying that? You were afraid that …

SIMON: That? (He laughs. Looks at VICTOR) You’re shivering?

VICTOR: No, you see things! These guests… some weird people.

SIMON: They paid. That’s what matters. The rest…

VICTOR: Yeah, you’re right …yet…

SIMON: Go to the kitchen and check if everything is ok with the dinner. It’s getting dark outside.

VICTOR: I’m going. (Looks again through the window) Still red.

SIMON: Victor, what difference does it make to you?

VICTOR: A lot. We have just begun. It’s not in our favor.

SIMON: It’s just the same for everyone.

VICTOR: I doubt that.

SIMON: Let it go for now.

VICTOR: Ok. (Heads to the kitchen. SIMON looks to the red light which is a little bit stronger.) It will be good.

(The main door opens and the wind mixed with the snowflakes enters. In a couple of seconds KALINA and MAXIM enter. MAXIM carries KALINA’s heavy suitcase. They struggle with the door. In the end MAXIM manages to close it.)

MAXIM: It is a storm. Definitely. (He puts the suitcase down. It falls with a thud. KALINA shakes the snow from her coat. She stops for a moment. Anxiously.)

KALINA: Don’t bump it like that. I could have done that myself.

MAXIM: I’m sorry.

KALINA: Oh my God, oh my God.

MAXIM: I didn’t do it on purpose. And it is heavy.

KALINA: Nobody asked you for help. (She takes her suitcase and carries it with difficulty to the reception) Good evening.

MAXIM: (He overtakes her) Good evening. (Submits his ID)

SIMON: Together?

KALINA: Never. God forbid.

MAXIM: No, I only helped her.

KALINA: Ha, ha… What a help! Only a few steps and he let it fall. And moreover, he is bad-mannered. Running through the queue. What a…

MAXIM: I didn’t want to… I am sorry. I…

KALINA: Go ahead, since you already went ahead. I will wait. Ughhhh. (She sits on one chair)

SIMON: It’s all right. Here is your key.

MAXIM: (Rises his shoulders) I didn’t want to…

SIMON: It’s OK, sir. We will help the lady.

MAXIM: All right. (He starts walking but then walks back ) Actually…good…later. (He leaves)

SIMON: Madam?

KALINA: He left? Oh, thank God. I barely reached this place.

SIMON: (Takes her documents. Looks at them for a long time) You…

KALINA: Something’s wrong?

SIMON: (Startles) No, no, it is ok. (He is watching her hand. KALINA takes it back. Looks in his eyes. Then looks away from him)

KALINA: May I have the key?

SIMON: Yes, yes.

KALINA: (She takes it) It is…

SIMON: On the top.

KALINA: Does it have to be like that?

SIMON: Best for you.

KALINA: (Calmly. Even humbly.) Anyway. (Goes to the suitcase)

SIMON: We will bring it up.

KALINA: I can carry it on my own. (Turning her back to him, she drags her suitcase with difficulty and leaves. SIMON is deep in thought.Looks at the guestbook.VICTOR enters.)

VICTOR: It’s OK. Everything by the menu. We have everything we need. This is how my stage fright fades away. Everything for the business to prosper. Ah? What do you think? (Pause) What’s the matter with you? Has anyone else arrived?

SIMON: Huh? Oh, yes, two more. Man and woman.

VICTOR: That’s all for the beginning?

SIMON: No more reservations. If somebody arrives…

VICTOR: In this storm? We could only expecta penguin to come by chance.

SIMON: Yes. (He takes a look on the guestbook again) Stormy company.

VICTOR: It’s not our business. It’s important for us to show our hospitality, the summer is coming and…There will be more…

SIMON: If that light either changes?

VICTOR: Yes. (He is thoughtful too. Looking through the window.) Now it’s more intense. If something interrupts us in this very first beginning, we are dead.

SIMON: Did I get you down? Hopefully not.

VICTOR: Hopefully not.

SIMON: Let’s go change before those weird guys gather for coffee and chat.

VICTOR: Come on.

(They leave. For a moment, the stage remains empty. From the side where VICTOR and SIMON left, MILA enters. She is already here. She did not come from outside. She wears a backpack. Sits at the reception. Takes notebook from the backpack and making a list)

MILA: Not much left. I was on edge, and a little bit lucky. I’ll be the first. The history is moving only through the impasses. And the target is the Citadel. (She looks through the window) Kingdom of heaven. (Pause) Idiots. My imagination will become reality. Finally, I will leave this den of sick minds all by order. (She is making a list again) No obstacle at all. I checked it out a thousand times. He’s not coming. I am quite sure. His biorhythm is like a faulty metronome. He is having fun. Seriously. In a while, a new era will begin. A new time. I’ll pack the fear with which he pulled the people’s nose in his own coffin, so he could be with it as much as he wishes. There…there where none of us feels like going for the time being. We have just a bit more work here and we will take care of you, patron, the mentor of my soul, angel of my long-lasted useless pathetic, my dictator of the detained family…(The main door bangs open. Strong wind. Snowflakes. MILA watches it. Looks around. ) You are right. All in a due time.

(She leaves. Empty stage again. WILMA enters.)

WILMA: Who left the door open? It’s freezing. Oh my God. (Goes to close the door. Closes it andcomes back. Sits in the chair. Lights up a cigarette. JOSEPH enters.)

JOSEPH: No smoking here.

WILMA: Said the stork to the frog and ate it!

JOSEPH: What a noble Lady!

WILMA: You just take my word.

JOSEPH: You had a lot of opportunities to talk, but you were silent. Now it’s useless.

WILMA: If I only knew I would have reserved in another hotel.

JOSEPH: Not easy to find one. Hard times.

WILMA: I could find one.

JOSEPH: Why didn’t you?

WILMA: Wanted to see you.

JOSEPH: Good answer.

WILMA: You could start behaving for a change?

JOSEPH: Auuugh, you scared me to death. You have not lived as long as I have had moments of dignity.

WILMA: I am impressed!

JOSEPH: You were on the edge. But you were lucky.

WILMA: Everybody is lucky in their own way.

JOSEPH: I know how you earned it.

WILMA: (Shows her temple) Here, here colonel. God gave you this to use it.

JOSEPH: He gave us this, too. (Shows his cheek) You lost yours somewhere.

WILMA: There is nothing for free.

JOSEPH: Oh, you paid much more than it costs.

WILMA: So, go on barking and I will…

(KALINA enters. They shut up. WILMA extinguishes the cigarette and takes a book from her bag. JOSEPH nods “hi” to KALINA. She sits on the sofa. JOSEPH is obviously upset.)

KALINA: Somebody smoked. I have asthma. Hope it will not happen again.

WILMA: Can we open the window?

KALINA: You smoked?

WILMA: Will you not have asthma if I tell you? (Goes to the window)

KALINA: No need. I am talking about the future. (JOSEPH starts coughing.) You mind it too?

JOSEPH: Yes, dirty air is very dangerous. It is like dirty people. It strangles you.

KALINA: You are right. I used to live with a man who was strangling me. Now he is gone. I still feel strangled.

JOSEPH: Yes. Life leaves indelible traces.

KALINA: There is always time for revenge.

JOSEPH: That’s right. You only have to figure it out well.

KALINA: My life taught me to be careful in everything. But you can’t change people.

WILMA: As they can’t change you.

KALINA: Something’s not letting me tell you are right. (Takes out playing cards and arranges them on the sofa. WILMA continues reading. JOSEPH checks out his cell phone. Puts his glasses on because he can’t see well. ANDREW enters dressed in bright colors.)

ANDREW: Good evening. Where will the dinner be? I am as hungry as a wolf. Who said that the most famous artists created their best pieces when they were starving? (MAXIM appears suddenly. He is hurrying towards KALINA. Looks at the cards.)

MAXIM: The rooms are not too warm, are they? Solitaire?

KALINA: You are so persistent, and I am becoming nervous. And when I am nervous…

ANDREW: You bite. (Looks at her ironically. KALINA ignores him) My inspiration is wide-ranging, but everything has its limit.

WILMA: So I say. (Turns the page of the book and puts the book in her bag. Takes out a small mirror and looks at herself it.)

MAXIM: I think that the restaurant is that way.

ANDREW: (Still watches KALINA.) Where are the managers? (Sighs) We could do it by ourselves, couldn’t we?

WILMA: (Rises) Why not? Shall we go? (Gives hand to ANDREW)

ANDREW: Sure. We met before, didn’t we?

WILMA: We all met before. (Tiny smile. They leave.)

JOSEPH: (To KALINA) May I? (He submits his hand)

KALINA: No. (She leaves alone. ЈOSEPH is amazed and very angry. MAXIM shrugs his shoulders.)

MAXIM: No comment.

JOSEPH: Nobody needs your comment. (He leaves. MAXIM hurrying after him. VICTOR and SIMON enter.)

VICTOR: They haven’t come down yet?

SIMON: I doubt that. They went to dinner.

VICTOR: Tough nuts.

SIMON: We’ll survive.

VICTOR: (Sees KALINA’s cards) Somebody tells fortunes.

SIMON: Let’s go. I can feel their anxiety here.

VICTOR: She separated the king of spades.

SIMON: We called him the black king, remember?

VICTOR: Yes. (Looks at the red light coming through the window) Yes.

SIMON: Come on, Victor. They are already hissing there. (They leave. The stage sinks into darkness. Only the red light remains. The main door opens very slowly. The shadow of a tall man appears. He wears ablack coat. Steps inside. It’s CONSTANTINE. Comes mid-stage.)

CONSTANTINE: You’re not right. You’re not right my little beautiful girl. I am not missing any night.

(Sound of blizzard)

END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO

(The same lobby. Next day afternoon. After the welcome lunch, ANDREW, JOSEPH, WILMA and KALINA are in the lobby. ANDREW looks around and makes some sketches on his drawing paper. WILMA checks her cell phone and writes messages, JOSEPH reads a book and writes something in its margins, KALINA arranges the cards on the sofa again. They’re in a good mood. Small pause.)

ANDREW: Inspiration on a full stomach. This will turn into a very nice exhibition.

JOSEPH: If you are drawing us, let me know to leave on time.

KALINA: (Turns to him) Don’t you dare.

WILMA: You may draw me. (Takes a position) My place is in history. (She laughs. JOSEPH coughs) I’m afraid you’d choke. Shall we order a glass of water?

JOSEPH: I am not surprised. Our history is full of weird persons. Various no-name figures have been unearthed lately, so…Ha, ha…You are the only one missing, madam. You will not be uncomfortable.

ANDREW: Easy, easy. In my imagination, all of you will take on a different form.

WILMA: How do you mean: Will I not be myself?

KALINA: Oh, my God.

ANDREW: I’m not drawing portraits, madam. I am an impressionist in the depressive constellation. The feelings and the circumstances are important for me. All this here will get a different dimension. You are reflections of your conditions from which dark colors burst out. All I have to do is to incorporate them in the cycle.

JOSEPH: How will you entitle your cycle, young man?

KALINA: Misunderstanding. (She collects her cards. It is not working for her.) Group portrait with a sad end.

ANDREW: Nice title. Thank you.

JOSEPH: Cards don’t work? Any help?

KALINA: No, thank you.

WILMA: Be more social, please. Let’s play something together. I was champion in Macao a long time ago.

ANDREW: I used to play that when I was kid.

JOSEPH: He, he. We played cards every night after a well-developed strategic plan. Bridge.

WILMA: Bridge is for women. Come on madam. Don’t look at me so sadly. Everything has its beginning and its end. When all ends, you will regret failing to have some fun for a while. You understand me, don’t you?

KALINA: Yes, but…

ANDREW: But your state of mood does not let you do that. I’ll draw you like a vase from the ancient period of our country cracked from being frequently moved around on the shelves.

JOSEPH: And the dust…we can imagine. For tons…

WILMA: You go ahead – draw her completely broken, into pieces. (Everybody laughs except KALINA)

KALINA: Shame on you. (She opens the cards again. Counts them down. And again. Nervous, she leaves them on the sofa.)

ANDREW: Is this what you are looking for? (Shows her a card.)

KALINA: Why do you have it?

ANDREW: It fell down last time.

JOSEPH: King of spades again?

WILMA: She can’t keep hearts.

KALINA: Your insolence is limitless.

JOSEPH: Somebody here crossed boundaries a long time ago…for a lot of things. (He and KALINA are looking at each other.) Am I right?

KALINA: I don’t understand you, and I am not trying to.

WILMA: He was thinking of me, don’t be upset madam, please.

ANDREW: Here you go. And don’t get mad. (He returns the card)

KALINA: You will pay for this.

ANDREW: I don’t believe it is anything of relevance. I apologize.

WILMA: Madam is very sensitive. Gosh…She even threatens. They took a card from you, madam. They did not kidnap your child. (Pause. Everybody looks at each other.) You can’t die from that.

ANDREW: Are you OK?

KALINA: (Turns pale) I am speechless. (Rises and leaves.)

JOSEPH: You don’t need them. (MAXIM enters. Carries coffee for KALINA)

MAXIM: Madam is not here?

WILMA: She just left. Run after her.

MAXIM: She asked for coffee. It will get cold.

WILMA: Don’t worry about it. Here we have waiters, maids. Everything.

ANDREW: Only guests are missing. He, he.

MAXIM: Well, we’re the only ones left.

JOSEPH: Unfortunately, you are right. Come, take a seat.

MAXIM: Me?

JOSEPH: Yes. Sit.

MAXIM: I’m in a hurry. I just wanted to… (He takes the seat)

WILMA: Are you close with this lady?

MAXIM: Yes, in a way.

JOSEPH: In what way?

MAXIM: I helped her carry the suitcases here…And so…

JOSEPH: That close?

MAXIM: Not so much, I told you.

WILMA: Very unpleasant woman.

ANDREW: (Draws) It will pass. Everything passes.

MAXIM: What happened?

JOSEPH: Nothing special. Not a big deal.

MAXIM: Excuse me, I have to…

JOSEPH: It’s ok, just go.

MAXIM: See ya. (He leaves)

WILMA: Take the coffee to her room.

MAXIM: (Stops) I don’t know if…

ANDREW: If you can’t, I could take it to her. He, he.

WILMA: Don’t worry. Somebody will.

MAXIM: Yes, yes.

(MAXIM leaves. Тense silence. Even ANDREW stops drawing.)

JOSEPH: I am leaving, too. I’ve been waiting enough. (Rises)

ANDREW: (Watches WILMA) It’s getting dark. I should go, too.

JOSEPH: (To JOSEPH) Are you sure? (JOSEPH nods and leaves)

ANDREW: She didn’t take her card.

WILMA: She’ll be back for it.

ANDREW: I understand.

WILMA: (Her cell phone rings. She takes the call) I can’t talk right now. I will call you tonight. What?! (Exchanges glances with ANDREW. He leaves quickly. WILMA stays thoughtful. Puts her cell phone in her bag and starts leaving. At the door she encounters JOSEPH. They stare at each other. WILMA gets back.) Couldn’t be better.

JOSEPH: The things are becoming misty.

WILMA: Unfortunately, everything is already clear.

JOSEPH: It is not clear to me.

WILMA: You’ll be told.

JOSEPH: I’ll hear your voice or…

WILMA: Or what?! No more magic around, “general.” It’s over. Somebody yanked her. I am already informed. Hiding her proved useless. The last sample.

JOSEPH: Who? How…

WILMA: I don’t know how, but they did it. (She starts crying) Wasteland. Nobody there. Only elderly and unfortunate people. We’re pretending everything is OK. Smiling by force. Here too. Playing games. Fake outwitting. I am acting like a prosperous lady, but only I know who I am. I lost my child.

JOSEPH: Where could she be?

WILMA: You tell me. Ask the gentlemen from The Global Prosperity. They know. Golden cage and death penalty with lullaby for us and new life for them given by our children. They don’t even name them people, but samples. They succeeded transferring their chaos into our souls. We don’t have strength even for crying. Watching each other like zombies.

JOSEPH: Look at me.

WILMA: What use do I have of you? You were not here when I needed you.

JOSEPH: What are you looking for here?

WILMA: To see you.

JOSEPH: Don’t be ironic, that’s true. You knew I was going to be here.

WILMA: I knew.

JOSEPH: And?

WILMA: I found you here. (Pause. Looking at each other.) You could do much more. Actually, you didn’t do anything.

JOSEPH: Your little smiling friend with funny portraits stopped me. He thought I was not going to recognize him.

WILMA: He knows you very well. Don’t worry.

JOSEPH: I left Mila at yours because I thought nobody would search for her there. You know that we passed through a golgotha after our divorce. Court, interrogations, searches. It was over at your place. Nobody was supposed to search for anything. I wanted everything to be finished quietly. To be forgotten.

WILMA: It is not forgotten. Kiki said that she was not there that morning. There’s no way there to get out without being noticed.

JOSEPH: Ask the little painter. He is always on the hot spot. Dirty car accidents, homicides, rapes, frauds. The tiny guy knows everything.

WILMA: You think so?

JOSEPH: He knows you, too. He knows you very well.

WILMA: What do you mean by that?

JOSEPH: Or is this your little game to find my weak spot. Be careful, be careful.

(He leaves. WILMA remains thoughtful. She leaves, too. The lobby is empty for a while. The light slowly goes down. The red light still comes from the window. MAXIM enters. Looks around. Takes a small flat bottle fro his inner pocket. Drinks a sip. Once again. Once again. Puts it back in his pocket. Wipes his mouth with his hand.)

MAXIM: Doors bang constantly. It seems there are ghosts in this hotel. From time to time laughter, cackling. She is resting. She probably sleeps. And they’re taking the girl from one room to another. They think nobody is watching. Or maybe they’re doing that just to be noticed. She is scared. I know she is scared. I know both of them. I will tell her tonight. I have to tell her. May she not lose everything in vain. They’re only making promises to her. And even those times when people in black were visiting her, I shouldn’t have remained with my hands folded. Stupid! Stupid! It’s our child. She has to know. She has to know. They filled her head with nonsense, and what now? We have to leave tonight. Me, my beauty and the girl. I have to gather courage. Finally together. Yes. I have to…I have to…

(He leaves. VICTOR and SIMON enter.)

VICTOR: It’s not fair.

SIMON: I had to!

VICTOR: Look at my eyes!

SIMON: Here! (Stares at him)

VICTOR: Simon, do you know what are you doing?

SIMON: And you? Our whole business is on the edge.

VICTOR: It could be solved. And this?

SIMON: It can be solved, too.

VICTOR: You don’t know what you are talking about, man!

SIMON: I know very well what I’m talking about, only you don’t want to understand me.

VICTOR: You are playing games with somebody’s life.

SIMON: I am a human being. You too. Didn’t they play games with us?

VICTOR: We made a promise we’ll be out of this.

SIMON: And we didn’t keep it. Either of us.

VICTOR: Mine will pass quietly. Nobody will notice.

SIMON: You think so.

VICTOR: You’re scaring me. You’ll set me up, won’t you?

SIMON: What do you think? Would I set you up? (VICTOR doesn’t speak) You could expect everything from me, couldn’t you?

VICTOR: I didn’t say that.

SIMON: But you meant it. We’ve known each other for a very long time. Since when we were kids. (VICTOR returns from where they came from.) Don’t go there. Don’t touch it! You’ll screw yourself up!

VICTOR: Come with me. (They look at each other) Please. (Pause) Please.

SIMON: Be clever. (Goes with him. Both leave. ANDREW enters looking around. Looks at the red light. WILMA enters and comes near him. They’re whispering.)

ANDREW: You’re late.

WILMA: He knows…Or surmises. That’s why he came here.

ANDREW: And what will we do now?

WILMA: I don’t know. I loved her like my own daughter. Doesn’t matter she wasn’t mine. He’s very upset.

ANDREW: I am asking you what we will do?

WILMA: I didn’t believe they would find her so easily.

ANDREW: I believed.

WILMA: I don’t understand.

ANDREW: She’s taken a long time ago.

WILMA: She was at home before I left to come here.

ANDREW: Did you see her?

WILMA: I don’t understand you at all.

ANDREW: Did you see her face?

WILMA: She was locked in her room for a couple of days.

ANDREW: Did she show you to the door when you were leaving?

WILMA: You…

ANDREW: Me…And that woman you left home to look after her.

WILMA: (She slaps him in his face) You little shit.

ANDREW: Moving on. (He leaves).

(The light fades out. It’s almost dark. Only the red light remains. KALINA enters and goes to the sofa. Sits on it. Looks at the card.)

KALINA: Joker. Maybe we could find our way out. May God help us. (Drinks a sip from the coffee left by MAXIM.) Cold. (Looks at the red light. Spreads the cards. As she spreads them she gets in a better mood.) If it is as you say, there is hope. (Somebody whose face can not be seen comes from her right side. Comes near to KALINA who’s lost in the cards. In his hand, the silhouette carries something like scarf. He strangles her with the scarf. KALINA struggles for a while. Doesn’t make it. The silhouette strangles her. At one point the outer door opens by itself and snowflakes and wind enter. The frightened silhouette goes to close it. Closing it he drops the scarf. Then he exits on the opposite side. VICTOR enters.)

VICTOR: Sorry Madam, I didn’t turn on the lights. Everybody went back to their rooms and Simon and I were busy with some stuff here around. I will right now. (He turns the lights on. He is curious. Goes to KALINA) Excuse me, Madam. Madam, please. Madam. (He shakes her.Moves away from her. Realizes she’s dead.) Oh, my God. What is this? (He dials on his cell phone.) Simon come quickly! Come here! It’s horrible! Simon come, now!!! This is “just what we needed.” What should I do now? Somebody could come. Should I call the po… Our business may be ruined completely. But, I must. (Very scared, he takes her from the sofa and lays her on the floor. Notices the scarf. SIMON enters with white sheet and covers KALINA over her head.)

SIMON: Why are you staring at me? I told you, no way back.

VICTOR: How did you know why I called you?

SIMON: Calm down and help me take her out of here.

VICTOR: (Helps him take her out) Shouldn’t we call . . .?

SIMON: Are you nuts? Who will find out? I’ll hide her luggage. She left and that’s it. She is alone. Nobody in her life.

VICTOR: Who did this?

SIMON: Let’s go downstairs. It’s safe there. Nobody enters there.

VICTOR: You know.

SIMON: Oh, don’t pretend you’re naïve. (They drag KALINA’s body away. The stage is empty again. MAXIM passes and stops at the sofa. Takes KALINA’s scarf. Smells it.)

MAXIM: It was a long time ago. You’ll never come back again. (He puts the scarf in his pocket, looks around and passes to the other side)

VICTOR: (Enters, still upset) It’s hard for me to pretend nothing has happened. (Absentmindedly he puts the sofa where KALINA was strangled. Stops.) The scarf. Where’s the scarf? Who took it? Simon…Where is it… (Knocking on the main door.) Who is it now? Who locked the door? Coming! (Scared he goes to open the door. He opens it. IGOR enters.) Why don’t you come in? The door is not locked.

IGOR: I always knock.

VICTOR: Welcome. (Goes to the reception.) Do you have a reservation?

IGOR: Are you ok?

VICTOR: Excuse me? Yes, yes. Sure. (Tiny smile.)

IGOR: You’re looking a little bit absentminded and nervous.

VICTOR: Оh, no. So it seems. We opened this hotel recently and you know…

IGOR: I don’t know.

VICTOR: Excuse me?

IGOR: I said I don’t know. I’ve never opened a hotel in my life. (Pause. Looking ateach other.) Јоke. Feel better?

VICTOR: Oh, yes, yes. Of course. (He laughs sourly.) You didn’t make a reservation. But, no problem, we have roomsavailable.

IGOR: (Gives him a piece of paper) Here.

VICTOR: (Reads) Yes, yes, of course. Here’s your key.

IGOR: Thank you. See you later. (He leaves.)

VICTOR: This is the last thing we needed!

SIMON: (Enters.) Your face betrays that you are frightened. Pull yourself together.

VICTOR: (Thoughtfully, staring) How much time do we need for our blood to boil?

SIMON: Not much in these places. Why? What is it? (Pause) Victor! (Pause) Don’t screw everything up. We’ll be pulled out to nowhere. (VICTOR stares at him.) Who scares you so much? I know, this one down stairs…

VICTOR: On the contrary, I am no longer afraid. Why should I be? Everything is all right, isn’t it?

SIMON: Yes, perfectly OK.

VICTOR: That’s right.

SIMON: I love you for that. (They look ateach other. Both smile. VICTOR suddenly runs to the rooms.) Where are you going, Victor? Victor! I am coming with you. (Runs after him. Stage is empty again. IGOR enters dragging MILA out by her hair. Throws her on the floor.)

IGOR: There is no place on Earth where you could hide from me.

MILA: Love at first sight.

IGOR: Why?

MILA: For your curiosity only. Because you are a miscreant conformist.

IGOR: Oh, no, please. You’ll make me cry right now.

MILA: You’ll not cry for much longer. You’ll be OK soon.

IGOR: You’re coming with me.

MILA: You read this in the papers.

IGOR: If it’s necessary everybody will.

MILA: If you are ordered to, you will not hesitate to do it.

IGOR: You don’t want to, do you?

MILA: (Rises. Wants to leave. IGOR catches her by her chin. She tears out of his grasp.) Without her I would have been dead. Accidently, like last spring. Run over, car accident, somebody else would be charged. Who wanted to set that up? Leave me alone.

IGOR: It’s over. It’s passed.

MILA: You gave them your asshole, that’s why.

IGOR: That’s my sacrifice for you, and you pay me back like this.

MILA: I don’t need you like that. With a torn soul.

IGOR: I love you. So much. (Tries to kiss her. She steps aside.)

MILA: Too late. You broke the vows. And the global changes are not in our favor. We’ll be further apart. It’s better like this. For both of us.

IGOR: You don’t have time to think it over. (He tries to kiss her again. She steps aside again.) It should only be days. If you enter the list.

MILA: (Slaps him) I will not. I will not be there and I will not enter.

IGOR: You will. You will be there. With me together.

MILA: Jealous? Who knows who will go wild around me up there in the heaven, huh?

IGOR: Everything is ready.

MILA: Yes, you are right. No worries. She helped me. I’ll be with her.

IGOR: Who her?

MILA: With her.

IGOR: (Laughs) Where?

MILA: Anywhere. Where we, human beings can look at each other eyes to eyes, and where we can live our lives worth for real people. Human beings who have their feelings and needs, not subjects with numbers and reports. I’ll not be Orwell’s product only because on that pile of stones some creatures similar to us decided so. I have where and with whom. Maybe in the pure nature. From the very beginning again. With water, grass, produce and animals around. Think about what you will do? He can’t stand it any longer. His people will smelt him down sooner or later, and there are no others on the other side. The result will be: big nothing. The big project will be destroyed, and everything will really get back on it’s very beginning. I will leave on time.

IGOR: I asked you: who?

MILA: I told you. Now, leave me alone.

IGOR: (He leaves her) You screwed yourself up. Here, you fucked up. You’re alone.

MILA: Are you sure?

IGOR: I’m sure.

MILA: We will see.

IGOR: We’ll see. Everybody’s looking for you.

MILA: And you will tell them nothing.

IGOR: I won’t. (MILA leaves. The main door opens. CONSTANTINE enters. Comes close to IGOR.)

CONSTANTINE: We don’t have a lot of time. We’ve done a lot for you. I will not remind you anymore. These are redundant situations. All sections are almost ready and clearly consolidated. Here is the biggest problem. We built this hotel to kill two birds with one stone. Remember? This project cannot be ruined by a couple of clumsy individuals. They have no right to do that. Is it clear?

IGOR: Yes, completely clear.

CONSTANTINE: What are you waiting for, then? You were supposed to come earlier.

IGOR: Someone committed imprudent homicide.

CONSTANTINE: I don’t care.

IGOR: Additional headache for me.

CONSTANTINE: (Grabs him by his neck.) Have you ever heard about collateral damage? Typical for these places. While I am up there, I will not let this tradition to be continued. Who was what – I don’t give a shit about it. I want them, all. If only one sample remains, everything goes to hell. So, move your little journalist’s ass with the same speed like when you were running through hills and streets before. Move it, because we’ll activate a bomb together. We’ll hug it and boom!!! No more heroes, and even better, nobody to make monuments for them. And this retards’ company here would like to make it. Instant anarchy with far-reaching casualties.

IGOR: Unfortunately, you are right.

CONSTANTINE: I don’t want to choose anymore between two evils. From now on, I want to choose between two possibilities. Remember? These are your words.

IGOR: That’s the only thing I can think of.

CONSTANTINE: I’ll not give you a deadline. You’ll set it by yourself. (He leaves. IGOR stands thoughtful. Blackout.)

ACT THREE

(Same lobby. Morning. Red light coming through the window starts flashing which means the situation is alarming. MAXIM, WILMA and JOSEPH enter. JOSEPH throws ANDREW down on the floor.)

JOSEPH: We used to shoot shits like you in a second.

WILMA: Something told me I should not believe you.

MAXIM: Why? Why?

ANDREW: You went crazy, all of you.

JOSEPH: I could smash you.

MAXIM: How could you?

WILMA: Speak up, I know it was you.

ANDREW: Your imagination got corrupted. You’re delirious. I have nothing to do with it.

WILMA: You were seen.

ANDREW: Who saw me? (MAXIM points at him all the time. He is furious and teary. ) Him?

JOSEPH: (Grabs him by his collar) The killers are lying in chatterboxes like these, like you are. That’s unwritten rule.

ANDREW: And, true people are never born. Grumpy old apes share justice as they wish. In short, we will be all gone.

WILMA: We hoped…You destroyed everything…

ANDREW: You lost your compass.

JOSEPH: I’ll take your tongue out.

MAXIM: Youuuuuu…youuuuu…. (Grimaces)

WILMA: Let’s lock him upat least. He could reveal all kinds of rubbish.

JOSEPH: Yes. We’ll judge him later.

ANDREW: Leave me alone, you crazy idiots. I didn’t do anything.

MAXIM: In my room. Let him draw his own death. I’ll move intoher room.

WILMA: Good. It is a mess here anyway.

ANDREW: And then you’ll cut me into pieces and scatter me around wetlands. Like the one a few years ago. Isn’t it true “general”?

JOSEPH: Stand up! (Hits him)

(They raise him up. ANDREW is despaired and resists, all bloody. JOSEPH hits him again, ANDREW hits him back. MAXIM kicks him with the leg, WILMA tries to do the same, but ANDREW rises and runs to the main door. The door opens and he encounters IGOR who enters. All are taken aback. Pause. Watching each other for a long time. MAXIM, JOSEPH and WILMA slowly withdraw back. They vanish.)

IGOR: (Points to the chair. ANDREW slowly sits on it.) I’d like to tell you I’m glad to see you, but unfortunately the situation is different.

ANDREW: (Wipes the blood with the handkerchief) And you are…?

IGOR: Worn out answer, but very true: I am asking questions here.

ANDREW: I paid to have a rest, not for…

IGOR: …homicides and to be beaten for that.

ANDREW: That’s right. It has nothing to do with me. I’m shocked and I’d like to see the owners.

IGOR: They’re also shocked and you cannot see them soon.

ANDREW: Where are they?

IGOR: Would you like to refresh yourself with a glass of water and continue our work, or you prefer interrogation in a different ambiance ?

ANDREW: Sir, I am an artist and by doing this, you are making unbelievable precedent.

IGOR: Ok, you chose the playing ground by yourself. (Starts a call on his cell phone)

ANDREW: Ok, ok…I am mute. Go… ask. (Tears in his eyes)

IGOR: Finally. How long have you known the victim?

ANDREW: Only two days.

IGOR: Are you sure? (Pause) Are you sure?

ANDREW: She was a friend to a lady who leased me her apartment. I have seen her a couple of times. But never talked to her.

IGOR: So, you know who she is.

ANDREW: Mrs. Kalina.

IGOR: So called acquaintance by sight. No conflict with her before the homicide?

ANDREW: Yesterday as a joke I stole, pardon, I borrowed a card from her. She always arranges Solitaire. She got angry. Nothing serious.

IGOR: When did you hear about the murder?

ANDREW: When the others did.

IGOR: Everybody heard at a different time. As I could notice, they are angry at you.

ANDREW: It’s their own business. Last night, I heard last night about it…why is it so important.

IGOR: Everything is important and nothing is important. In your opinion, who could do it?

ANDREW: One of them, that middle aged guy who’s around her all the time. She was in the room next to mine. I listened them arguing. I don’t know what he wanted from her, but from the moment they arrived, he was bothering her. How should I say…I don’t want to be sinful in these moments…

IGOR: Maxim?

ANDREW: Yes, yes. He is passing through, here and there, almost all day. He is not speaking too much. Strange guy.

IGOR: That’s your assumption.

ANDREW: Not necessarily. Ughhh…why I am speaking at all.

IGOR: Not a big deal. Worse if you are silent. (Pause. He watches ANDREW. ANDREW becomes uncomfortable.) You are free. (ANDREW takes his drawing papers and his colors and quickly leaves. IGOR thinks for a while. Writes something on his notebook. MAXIM passes.)

MAXIM: Excuse me. I would like to go to the restaurant.

IGOR: You’ll stop here and sit down.

MAXIM: I know, but…

IGOR: You will SIT. (They look ateach other.)

MAXIM: Yes, yes, of course. (Sits on the chair.)

IGOR: You were with the victim all the time?

MAXIM: (Starts crying) She didn’t like me, but I, I couldn’t.

IGOR: Take it easy. What couldn’t you do?

MAXIM: I couldn’t leave her.

IGOR: Explain it better.

MAXIM: Youth love. I never stopped thinking about her. She couldn’t remember it. She couldn’t or she didn’t want to. She acted as if she has met me for the first time here, at the door. I returned to town only because of her.

IGOR: How did that youth love end?

MAXIM: With abortion. Spontaneous. Car accident actually. Afterwards, love ended also. She left without a clue. Concussion, I was told so. She can’t remember anything. Until her last day. She perceived me like an unknown person who was trying to come near her.

IGOR: How did you feel when you lost her?

MAXIM: I lost her a long time ago.

IGOR: Who do you suspect of killing your love

MAXIM: Me.

IGOR: What?

MAXIM: Me and my youthful naivety. I couldn’t keep her.

IGOR: Who could kill her?

MAXIM: Any of us.

IGOR: You too?

MAXIM: I’ve told you about myself. (Pause) Now, when everything is over, may I leave?

IGOR: No. Why did you beat the young painter? (Maxim is silent) You said everybody could kill her but you pointed at him before.

MAXIM: Him…I don’t know. The others told me so. They convinced me. Аaaaagh…it looks like it. Now, I’m not sure. May I leave?

IGOR: Yes.

MAXIM: Thank you. (Starts leaving and goes back again) You know…

IGOR: Yes? Tell me.

MAXIM: She’ll never leave us. (Points at his temple) She’ll be here, Forever. Everybody knows that. (Leaves.)

IGOR: Why all this. Duty culprit when everything is over. (Pause. Thoughtful.) Who, whom, what and how. All directed to the essential one. Up there. (JOSEPH enters. Sits on the chair. They look at each other for a minute.)

JOSEPH: I knew the lady for a very long time. Maybe she didn’t remember me, but I know her very well. They set up a huge game for her. They took away her child. She lived alone. She searched for her child for some time, but in vain. She was invited up there a couple of times. She would return like zombie. Never found her son. I visited her once a month. The last time, she made a scandal. Called the police and I didn’t come there anymore. Climax. She was full of all. Cards were a sort of relief for her.

IGOR: I didn’t have a chance to ask you anything.

JOSEPH: And what else would you ask me? My child, my life is over. I passed through a lot around. Saw many clowns passing by us and behind us. Now it’s all the same to me. What you’re doing is so-called “the end of the world.” But, every end is a new beginning. There is always hope here.

IGOR: Did anyone ever find her son?

JOSEPH: Nobody found anybody here. They recruited a small number of people, washed up their brains, now those people are level zero. What a powerful leadership, you could bet. Where could the child be?

IGOR: Who could kill her?

JOSEPH: Your closest people are usually your biggest enemies. If she stayed alive she could probably reveal somebody, or unearth something. That’s what I think.

IGOR: Reveal what?

JOSEPH: There’s always something else, or somebody else.

IGOR: You’re not together here by accident.

JOSEPH: No. Not at all. And you?

IGOR: Excuse me?

JOSEPH: Where are you coming from?

IGOR: Newspapers.

JOSEPH: Tell me lies and I’ll believe.

IGOR: Aren’t you exaggerating here?

JOSEPH: It only looks like that to you. And that little guy with the wooden colors. (Shows his fist)

IGOR: Something else. (JOSEPH stands up and starts walking away) Sir, we didn’t finish yet. (JOSEPH doesn’t hear him. Leaves.) You’re running your head against a brick wall. (WILMA enters. Goes to IGOR and stops abruptly.)

WILMA: He’s lying.

IGOR: Take it easy. Have a seat.

WILMA: (Sits down.) I swallowed a bunch of pills. All this upsets me so much. In principal, I am a positive person. We had some relations with this aged person when he was much younger. But he is lying like a punk. Bloody soldier. Fucked me up to the bone. He left me a sort of legacy. Never confesses anything. I meet him from time to time. It’s like he is following me.

IGOR: I have feeling that you’re all here for somebody.

WILMA: So…it’s such a small world. This world here is even smaller.

IGOR: What was your relationship with the lady?

WILMA: Only a good friend. But she had a problem . Amnesia. She couldn’t remember anything.

IGOR: You have a kind of mission here?

WILMA: She needed protection.

IGOR: From what? That mister was around her all the time.

WILMA: What do you think—why?

IGOR: Unfortunate love.

WILMA: Ha- ha. (Shows the sign for money with her fingers) Rustling love.

IGOR: And you?

WILMA: Me—what?

IGOR: Why you?

WILMA: All I wanted was a short vacation and the chance to help her. There were a times when she was with me.

IGOR: Really?

WILMA: She was taking care of my girl. Legacy from the old man.

IGOR: You all set up this meeting here.

WILMA: It looks like it’s accidental.

IGOR: Nothing’s accidental. You were keeping children for each other, having them one from each other.

WILMA: Sodom and Gomorrah, ah? Though, children are our biggest treasure. That’s why they are taking them from our arms. For higher goals.

IGOR: Who do you think took her life?

WILMA: They still didn’t take her whole life. They searched for something else.

IGOR: What is it?

WILMA: Her daughter. Nobody could find her.

IGOR: And now? Is she found?

WILMA: Ugh, I really don’t know. Everything became very messy.

IGOR: How close were you with the young painter?

WILMA: (Spreads her arms) This close.

IGOR: Honesty. Excellent. Is that why you beat him so much?

WILMA: He knows why.

IGOR: Will we not find out?

WILMA: Not important. May I ask you something?

IGOR: Not necessarily, but I’ll allow.

WILMA: You interrogated all of us. You didn’t ask—why?

IGOR: Excuse me?

WILMA: All the time you were interested who killed Mrs. Kalina. You don’t wonder why? Why?!

IGOR: You all know why.

WILMA: You’re right. You are damn right. This bunch, this mixed conglomerate of creatures has been asked for years “who,” not “why.”

IGOR: You may go.

WILMA: Nobody’s clean here. (Leaves.)

IGOR: Her little girl. Her son. Ha ha. That’s right. I didn’t hope for this, ladies and gentlemen. (He also leaves on the side where WILMA left. Stage is empty for a while. It gets dark. Only the red light is still blinking. MILA runs in, SIMON after her.)

MILA: We didn’t agree so!

SIMON: I had to. If I left her she could talk somewhere.

MILA: She was supposed to come with me. What is your nasty plan? You took a huge amount of money from her.

SIMON: Just a few days. Please, be patient. Everything’s ready. There is an underground passage here. Nobody knows it, except me. Not even him. You’ll be somewhere else. Completely different. You’ll avoid it all.

MILA: I don’t believe you.

SIMON: Why?

MILA: You killed her. (Pause) Are you coming with me?

SIMON: Well…

MILA: Well what?

SIMON: I don’t know.

MILA: Something tells me that…

SIMON: Why are you so suspicious?

MILA: (Slaps him) Because you killed the woman who gave her life for me. She looked after me until her last second.

SIMON: Where could she look after you if I didn’t take you here?

MILA: Fuck you! There something else here. Who are you working for now?

SIMON: You know I love you.

MILA: Leave it…Look into my eyes. (Looking at each other) That’s it. Silence is gold. (She turns back to leave. VICTOR enters and intercepts her.)

VICTOR: With cool mind, doll, with cool mind.

MILA: Who…

VICTOR: Him. (Grabs her) Let’s finish all this.

MILA: You son of a… Noooo! (She resists. He shuts her mouth and takes her from the stage. SIMON turns his back. He is shivering.)

SIMON: No, it was not supposed to be like that! (IGOR enters.)

IGOR: So, how it was supposed to be like? (Pause. Looking at each other.) New twist? Only you are left for interrogation.

CONSTANTINE: (Enters) Not necessarily. We lost a lot of time. (VICTOR enters from the other side. Nothing’s clear to IGOR) Your time is up.

IGOR: I did my best. And I succeeded.

CONSTANTINE: Go call them.

IGOR: Who?

CONSTANTINE: All of them.

IGOR: Her as well?

CONSTANTINE: It’s all over, you little journalist. Over.

IGOR: I have a full report. Very interesting things.

CONSTANTINE: For nothing.

IGOR: (Very frightened) So, that’s the plan. You knew everything. From the beginning.

CONSTANTINE: You had your chance.

IGOR: I can’t understand.

CONSTANTINE: You’ve done everything you’ve been told, haven’t you?

IGOR: Yes, of course.

CONSTANTINE: That’s your mistake. (Pause. Looking at each other.) You were better when you were against us. Go!

(IGOR goes to call the guests. CONSTANTINE turns to VICTOR and SIMON. They sit at the reception. Bright blue light is seen through the windows. In a short time, ANDREW, MAXIM, JOSEPH and WILMA enter. They look at each other. They sit on the few chairs and on the sofa. IGOR is servile and goes to CONSTANTINE)

IGOR: They are all here.

CONSTANTINE: Yes, I see.

(Long pause. They all look at the audience. VICTOR and SIMON are on the both sides of CONSTANTINE. IGOR, extremely frightened, next to him.)

JOSEPH: The last meeting.

CONSTANTINE: Kind of. The end for a new beginning. New time interval. New hopes, new life. All of this looks as if you have already heard it somewhere and soundslike pure rhetoric, but this time it’s damn real. There is a new spirit up there, new views, new smiles, new energy. You can’t imagine. We had to cut off the links with your hearts to establish the new identity. We tried everything, all kind of processes, exhausted ourselves. You, too. This one was a global salutary solution. For now, it looks tragic to you. You hate us, we have taken your children from you, you will never see them again. Pathetic relationships which seem painful now, but later, you will be proud of them. If you still exist, you will say it. And I will say—we ought to live our lives with eyes more widely opened. We received the last sample. This charade that you are not so proud of is the last useless action we got used to in our, now already passed over, history. From tomorrow we start a new book, a blank page, which will be written with events by the people with clean identity—without conflicts, uncertainties, compromises and depressions. And, most importantly, with no influences from the outside world. Seemingly hermetic, but exceptionally progressive. That new race will bring the genetically clean population. We will have our first samples in a year or two. (Laughs.) That’s most important. The passions in the young exemplars are boiling. We’ll have a tempest of pure and limpid youth. New age, new humanistic order. There will be no room for turpitudes and blackmails anymore, there will be no tectonic social disorders anymore too, no more ethnic short circuits, no more demographic movements here and there. (Watches IGOR) This was a mistake. These viralindecisives should have been castrated a long time ago. But, it’s never late. (Gives sign to VICTOR and SIMON. They take IGOR between them andtear out his eyes. He lets out muffled screams and falls dead. They give IGOR’s eyes to CONSTANTINE. He throws them in front of the others. They panic and look at each other. WILMA starts crying.) This will be left of us. Unfortunately, this world here will be a world of middle aged and old people who will slowly die out. But, they will spend the rest of their lives with only one thought. With the thought that their descendants up there are building the new civilization, the new order. We always dreamt about it, didn’t we? (Pause) I know, we confess to ourselves and don’t want to speak about it in public. This has happened before. Painful truth. Now, all this will be only between you all. Every civilization was created on the ashes of the previous one. You will be the remains from an earthquake, lava after eruptions, from the cataclysm, from Sodom and Gomorrah. Death will be your salvation, and hope your cure. Maybe you will have a chance to take a look to their future like through the lock, however, maybe you will only guess, but you will be sure that they will be OK. They will build a new world, a new dimension all ofwhich constitutes their spiritual and physical body. In your position, I would not be sad. I’d be joyful. I would sing, jump and dance, the same way as we knew in the world we are leaving behind us. That boring and noisy world full of noise and screams which have dampened us, and from which we couldn’t think soberly and finally find a solution. We found it, you like it or not. And processed it. (Pause) Proud and happy. And again: for you, and only for you. Actually, we are existing only for you. All you have to do is to understand us. To be part of our globally human project, a project which will bring endless peace and quietness to this piece of earth. A project which will remove that mist of useless pathetic and finally make EVERYTHING LOGICAL AND EVERYTHING ALL RIGHT. (Sighs) We don’t have any more time. It’s all over. Remain with everything you have inside you, with yourself and on you and don’t lose your hope. Even in all those ruins in front of you, something that will fill your stomach and your soul can be found.

(He gives another sign to VICTOR and SIMON and they follow him. They exit through the front door. ANDREW, JOSEPH, WILMA and MAXIM sit motionless. The walls of the hotel start are demolished. Only the reception remains. Snow starts falling very intensively. It falls for a long, very long time. It coversthe four people as still as stone until they turn into four Snowmen.)

THE END

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