Tragicomedy in three acts
Maria – A girl 20-22 years old
Knight – Maria’s sweet-heart
Sona – Maria’s mother
Martin – Maria’s father
Grandpa – Maria’s GRANDPA, Martin’s father
A cat – Just a fat and lazy cat
Set: There is a wall of a human height made of large bricks on the rare-side of the stage. An abstract picture is hung on the wall. In front of it, in the centre of the stage there is a table with apples. There are several chairs around it. There is a sofa in the corner, at the back of the stage. Martin is on it, reading a newspaper and playing with the cat. Next to the sofa there is a shriveled ficus bush in the pot. From the other side of the stage appears GRANDPA in an old-fashioned, worn-out but well-groomed suit. The shirt is buttoned up but without a tie. He solemnly approaches the centre of the wall, puts a few flowers in the wall crack, bows his head and remains in that pose. Martin watches his father’s actions, going on playing with the cat. From the other side cheerfully and bouncingly enters Maria.
MARIA (cheerfully) – Hi, dad. Hi, grandpa. What a wonderful day!
MARTIN (rebuking Maria and pointing to his father) – Hush, hush…, don’t you see?
MARIA (moaning a little and lowering her voice). Ah, yeah, sure…Today is that day, right?
MARTIN(in a low voice) – Yeah, probably. If grandpa puts flowers, then it’s definitely that day.
MARIA (becoming pretentiously serious) – Well, well, I see…
Maria takes her seat on a chair, picks up an apple, bites with a snort and chews with a pleasure. At that moment the grandpa looks up, kisses the wall and a bit sadly takes his seat on a chair.
MARIA – Hi, grandpa! How are you? Say it’s a wonderful day today.
GRANDPA (looks closely at the apples, then looks up) – Hi, darling. Today is a very special day. Have I told you ever?
MARIA – Yeah, yeah. One hundred and twenty-eight times.
MARTIN (angrily) – Maria!
GRANDPA (as if not noticing the granddaughter’s ironic tone) – Many years ago, my grandpa was shot just under this wall. At that time I was a little boy, smaller than you. I’ve promised myself and my blissful father, that every year this day I ought to put flowers on the wall and pay tribute to my unjustly shot grandpa. As far as your grand-grandpa was alive we used to do it together. Then he also died and I’m alone now… That’s a pity your dad doesn’t join me (turns and glances at Martin). I do hope that you and your kids will continue with this tradition. When you’re smaller you liked to put flowers with me. Now you, too, have got wind in your head.
MARIA (smiling) – Not wind, grandpa, but love… Do you know what love is?
GRANDPA (smiling). Nope. How should I know? There was no love in our times.
MARIA (dreamingly) – Love’s always been, is and will be… (becoming serious). If Knight comes in now, don’t say a word about love at his presence. Deal?
MARTIN – Doesn’t he know that you love him?
MARIA – Surely he knows. But there’re things about which one shouldn’t speak aloud. And it’s good if the boy doesn’t know that the girl is in love with him. Otherwise he’ll be arrogant and feel himself quite safe.
MARTIN – Ah, you’ve taken after your mom.
MARIA (smiling) – And why shouldn’t I?
SONA – Good afternoon! Shall I bring coffee? Without sugar?
GRANDPA – With sugar on a separate plate.
MARTIN – With easy sugar. Don’t forget the ashtray and my cigarettes.
MARIA– With chocolate.
SONA – As if you’re in a restaurant. I’ll bring the same for everybody. There’s no chocolate. (turning to Martin). The ashtray and cigarettes you can take yourself. Otherwise you’ll stay there all day long, read a newspaper and play with the cat. And don’t forget to fasten the clothesline to the wall. This way (pointing from the flower to the sofa). And take care of this ficus bush, refresh the soil. Look, it nearly breathes its last breath. Maria, will you help me to hang up the washing?
MARTIN – I will, I will…
MARIA – It’s so annoying! How can you spoil such a nice day! Sun, love, flowers… And you’re speaking about the washing, ficus bush and suchlike stuff. Even there’s no chocolate.
KNIGHT – Hi, old and new generations! (approaching Maria). Hi, my love! I’ve missed you so much…
MARIA (pretentiously indifferent) – Hi…
KNIGHT – Won’t you say you’ve missed me, too?
MARTIN – She won’t say. She’s like her mum.
SONA (looks angrily at her husband) – Please… (walks out)
GRANDPA – Tell him you’ve missed him, my dear. What is wrong with it?
MARIA (looking at Knight) – What about the magic word?
KNIGHT – Ah, yeah! Nearly forgot. Here is your dark chocolate.
MARIA (delightfully) – Hurray! Now I’ll tell you, that I’ve a bit missed you.
KNIGHT – A bit… It already means a lot…
MARTIN – Bonaparte used to say that the way to the woman’s heart goes through her stomach.
MARIA – Dad, don’t decompose the words. Still ancient times it’s been known that gluttonous are the men. I just like chocolate (breaks a piece and puts into her mouth). As well as flowers, sun and that actor…
KNIGHT (furiously) – Which actor? Is it something new?
MARIA – Well…
Sona enters and brings coffee for everyone. Then she sits by her husband.
SONA – Maria, don’t play with Knight’s heart. Let’s have a coffee.
GRANDPA – Better say, that you’ve missed him.
MARIA – Won’t say. He isn’t shaved today (pretentiously dreaming). But that actor…
KNIGHT (insultingly) – Don’t say a single word! I’ll talk to grandpa. How are you? GRANDPA – I’m well, my boy. Today is a memorable day. Can you see the flowers? (looking at the flowers on the wall).
KNIGHT (sipping from his coffee). What a good coffee! Yeah, yeah remember. Maria’s told me.
MARIA (dreamingly) – Washing, ficus bush, pretentious jealousy, coffee… You’ve shut yourself in this small world and don’t want to dream a bit… No romance at all…
MARTIN (sniggering and still looking at the newspaper). – Romance… I like that word.
MARIA – It isn’t just a word. There’re so many things in it – flowers, sun, love, chocolate and again flowers… And you even don’t think what’s there beyond that wall.
SONA – What can be there? The neighbor’s washing, grandpa, an idle husband and another lazy and fat cat, ficus bush… And a hopeless woman.
MARTIN – “Hopeless woman’’ sounds great!
SONA – Please…
KNIGHT – I don’t like walls, either. Maria can confirm it; I’ve pulled down all the walls in my house and created a big space. I wonder why you’re still keeping that wall. There’s a new architectural approach in the world – to avoid unnecessary walls and get as much open space as possible. That broadens one’s horizon and makes one’s heart bounce.
GRANDPA – What are you speaking about? How can one destroy this wall? Many years ago my grandpa was shot by this wall. This wall is sacred.
KNIGHT – I just meant that times are changing. One should live in harmony with those changes. One shouldn’t live in the past, no matter how much it’s connected with the memories. For example, your suit…
GRANDPA (angrily) – You can’t speak about it, as you don’t know what memories it’s connected with.
SONA – Dad, but Knight’s right. We can afford it. Let’s buy a new suit for you.
GRANDPA – I don’t want it. You should bury me in this suit.
SONA – Why are you exaggerating? I am talking nice things.
MARIA – Grandpa, aren’t you interested in what is there behind that wall?
GRANDPA (still offended) – Nope. I’m not interested in it. I know quite well what is there behind that wall. And you, youngsters, don’t care about the past. And nor about the sacred things.
MARIA – Grandpa, you just get insulted in vain. Sure, we do care about it. Knight and me just want to say the world is so interesting that it’s absurd to keep such a wall and, forgive me, sanctify it. This wall twice narrows our world. Our big and happy world.
SONA (with genuine concern) – If not the wall, where should I hang up my washing?
MARIA – Mummy, please, forget about the washing.
KNIGHT – I agree with Maria. Who knows what kind of miracles we can see behind that wall! I feel very excited about it.
MARTIN (rubbing the leaves of the ficus bush and soil) – Probably that’s because of adrenaline.
MARIA – Dad, don’t kid me! Isn’t it better to put that poor ficus bush into fertile soil instead of torturing it?
GRANDPA (finally looking up) – Actually, this wall protects ficus bush from the wind. And us, too. Don’t you feel yourself safer when there’s such a powerful wall behind your back? And if one day, God forbid, the enemy attacks you, what should you do? Behind what would you protect yourselves? If the wind blows everything will be turned over. This wall keeps us safe. You, youngsters, don’t understand anything.
SONA(worrying) – Dad, shall I bring heart drops?
GRANDPA – Nope. Thanks. Neither make my heart sick, nor bring heart drops.
MARIA – Grandpa, your ideas are outdated. Everything’s changed nowadays. People pull down walls. People want to live freely. People want to live in open spaces. People want to see the sun and the sky but not walls.
KNIGHT – I agree with Maria.
MARIA – Don’t flatter! Anyway, my heart and mind belongs to that actor…
The Knight angrily stops talking.
MARIA – (standing up in front of the grandpa). Grandpa, don’t you want that we, as you call, youngsters, live in a better world? Freely, untroubled, happily, without walls and borders. Are we destined forever to carry the burden, that once your grandpas were carrying, then you, and now you want to put that heavy burden on our shoulders as a valuable gift for us to carry it heavily and pass it to our descendents? Do you want us to separate ourselves from the great world by that wall? You know quite well that life is given only once. Why should we suffer forever, and by deceiving ourselves feel happy from that suffering? And why should we fill the best moments of our life with washing, yellowish ficus bush leaves and suchlike trifle things? Forgive me grandpa, but I don’t want it. I wanna live freely and happily, enjoy the great world and sky, smile with a careless and sincere smile at people I meet. The same I wish for my future kids. Do I want something bad? And do I want much?
There is silence. Everybody looks first at Maria, then at the grandpa. The latter silently listens to his granddaughter’s monologue.
GRANDPA – And why do you think I don’t want your and your kids’ happiness? Sure I wish and even dream about it. I meant something else, dear.
MARTIN – The eternal problem between parents and their children.
MARIA – What if I say, there are no problems at all? We just create problems and then all life throughout we try to find solutions. Isn’t it possible to avoid them – washing, ficus bush, and clothesline – just at the start point?
KNIGHT – Otherwise they’ll accompany us all life long.
SONA – I don’t mind. Each parent dreams for his child’s happiness.
MARTIN – I don’t like and don’t accept revolutionary decisions. What if we pull down half of the wall and live for a time so? Then we’ll see. If we feel it’s better, we’ll pull the whole wall down.
MARIA – Half… Again the half…half-means, half-love, half-sky, half-sun… What is there worse? Let me add as well as half-washing, half-ficus bush, half-life, half-suffering, half-sofa, half-cat… Nope, with that half-wall we’ll still remain the same half…
SONA –And where can I tie the clothesline?
MARIA (angrily) – Mom…
KNIGHT – I promise to make a new, modern device for your washing. It’ll take so little space, that you even won’t notice it.
MARTIN – And isn’t it possible to invent such a device that there should be no need for the washing at all?
KNIGHT – Sure, it’s possible.
SONA (looking tenderly at her husband) – How much would I like to go somewhere together with you and walk around…
KNIGHT – Therefore, Mrs. Sona, you must first reject walls. The man is born in freedom, so he should live….
GRANDPA – (ironically smiling). Freedom… What do you know about freedom at all? Naive you are…
KNIGHT – We know it, grandpa. Don’t underestimate our generation. We’ve come to replace you. To bring fresh breath, new ideas and new sprouts.
GRANDPA –Fresh breath, new ideas… Nice words. It’s up to you. Do as you like it!
Grandpa stands up, slowly goes to the wall, takes the flowers, kisses the wall and goes out. Everybody silently watches him.
MARTIN – We broke his heart.
SONA – I’ll give him heart drops.
MARTIN – No need. His pain is in another place.
MARIA – I love my grandpa very much. I won’t let his heart break. When he sees us everybody happy he’ll breathe a sigh of relief.
KNIGHT – Yeah, he’ll get rid of the burden he’s been suffering from so many years.
MARIA – When people can’t solve their problems they build walls. A wall in a big city to separate the pious people and the villains of the society. A wall between countries so that the developed part couldn’t deal with the other second or third class people on the other side. Walls between countries, between fields – so that desperate people at war couldn’t save themselves and their children. Walls in different parts of the city, so that the rich could carelessly enjoy their wealth without seeing the oppressed at whose expense they’ve become rich.
SONA – Now what? Shall I water this ficus bush or not?
MARTIN- Nope, we’ll plant it in the soil and it’ll finally green.
MARIA – Yeah, let all the separating walls vanish!
KNIGHT – Viva freedom and the open sky!
MARIA – What a wonderful day today!
All walk to the wall. Firstly scared, then bolder and bolder start to pull down the wall, rolling the bricks. Behind them a beautiful scene starts to be drawn – the sun, the sky and green area with trees and flowers. Martin picks up the pot with the ficus bush and steps down to the stage. Sona hugs the cat and a bit scared follows his husband. Maria and Knight holding each other’s hands pass over the bricks and step forward looking at the sky.
Set: The same scene, but without the wall. The bricks are stuffed in one corner at the back of the stage. Maria and Knight are on the sofa. The same fat and lazy cat is on Knight’s knee.
KNIGHT – I’m very sorry for your grandpa.
MARIA – Thanks. He was quite old. After my grandma’s death he was counting his days.
KNIGHT – And do you follow his advice? That every year the same day you should commemorate your grand-grandpa and others.
MARIA – Try not to. Don’t just think I ignore my ancestors and their bitter fate. I just don’t want to live with that burden. Moreover, I don’t want to pass it to my children.
KNIGHT – Maybe you’re right. I don’t want to see any grief and suffering in your charming eyes even once a year.
MARIA – Like that actress?
KNIGHT – Which one?
MARIA – The one that you’ve been in love with recently.
KNIGHT – Again? I haven’t been in love with anyone. And I’m not going to. I love only you.
MARIA (playfully) – Really? And I remembered that actor again… Unshaven with a deep look.
KNIGHT – Don’t play with my heart! I’ll also avoid shaving for some days and look at you deeply.
MARIA – I don’t like artificial things. Not being shaven and deep look should come from the depth of one’s soul.
KNIGHT – Especially not being shaven… A unique and brilliant idea!
MARIA (dreamingly) – I wonder how my parents are. I haven’t spoken to them for three days.
KNIGHT – Don’t disturb them! They are living their second youth. Wandering around the world, experiencing new things. When are they coming back?
MARIA – Today, if I’m not mistaken.
KNIGHT – Let me kiss you until they’ve come (trying to kiss Maria).
MARIA (avoiding the kiss) – Don’t get impudent! Play with the cat.
KNIGHT (slightly offended) – I had no idea kissing is an impudence.
MARIA – It’s. My heart’s filled with dreams and you’re only thinking of kissing.
KNIGHT – I don’t care a bit (demonstratively patting the cat). But I don’t understand what’s wrong with kissing.
MARIA – Everything is good in its proper time. Now it’s time for dreaming!
KNIGHT – I see. Well, I won’t disturb you. Dream on! I’ll play with the cat. Kitty, kitty…
MARIA – The only thing you can is just playing with that cat…
KNIGHT – I don’t understand you, you don’t let me flirt you and you get jealous when I’m playing with the cat.
MARIA – I don’t get jealous. I just want you to be more open-minded. You know what’s the most important thing for me?
KNIGHT – What?
MARIA – A feeling of safety. I want to feel myself safe with you whatever happens. Do you promise?
KNIGHT – I do. Would you like to go for a walk? Under those tress (pointing to the distant trees). We’ll also admire the flowers.
MARIA – I don’t want. Nor I want to go to the flowers. Our ficus bush, my grandpa’s ficus bush has dried up. I don’t want to see that scene. I was telling you about safety…
KNIGHT – The ficus bush has dried up, cause… Just dried up. It’s typical of plants.
MARIA – You know what I was thinking about today? Well or badly the ficus bush was growing in our house, under the wall. Sometimes it turned yellow, sometimes green, but it grew. When we planted it in the garden it dried up. Like my grandpa. As far as there was the wall, he was alive. Well or badly, with the heart drops but he lived. When we pulled down the wall, grandpa died.
KNIGHT – Don’t exaggerate. Don’t make an elephant out of a fly!
MARIA – My grandpa wasn’t a fly. He’s a human being. He wasn’t able to live without that wall.
Martin and Sona enter the room with cheerful voices and put their luggage down. Martin wears an unusual hat and Sona a strangely colored dress.
MARTIN – Hi, young lovers! (kisses Maria and shakes Knight’s hand).
SONA – At last we came home (kisses Maria and Knight).
KNIGHT – And we were just waiting for you.
SONA (dissatisfied) – Yeah, judging from the messy flat.
MARTIN – Nonsense. I’ve missed our coffee. Dear…
MARIA – I’ll make it. (walks out).
KNIGHT – Well, tell us how have you been doing? What have you seen, learnt?
SONA – One can’t describe it in words. How great and wonderful the world is! Here, shut behind the wall, we couldn’t even imagine that there’s another world beyond it. All the people were smiling at us. Even police officers.
MARTIN – Yeah, even police officers.
SONA – There are seas, vast forests, innumerable flowers, big cities, pretty buildings and shops, indifferent people…
KNIGHT – People are the same everywhere.
SONA – I was just telling it. And why did we think that humanity and love only we had – behind the wall?
KNIGHT (slightly sniggering) – What about the washing? How they deal with it there?
SONA – I didn’t see any washing there. As if they didn’t wash their clothes, though they’re all dressed neatly and tastefully. Even the elderly.
MARTIN – And there’s no need to wear the same suit for fifty-six years.
Maria enters the room with the coffee cups and treats everybody.
SONA – Here it is, I’ve brought some chocolate. Enjoy it with your coffee!
KNIGHT – Thanks. Coffee, chocolate and Maria. Here is the algorithm to happiness.
MARIA – You may have mixed the order.
KNIGHT – Let it be – chocolate, Maria and coffee.
MARIA – Again you’re getting impudent.
MARTIN – Let the boy alone! (in a lower voice). She’s after her mother, one hundred percent.
MARIA (not paying attention to her father’s remark) – Didn’t you miss our home?
MARTIN – A lot. You, this sofa (lying on the sofa), our kitty and our coffee. Where’re the newspapers?
SONA – So did I… (sits by her husband).
MARIA – I meant the house, the walls, the scent of the house, grandpa’s tomb…
SONA – Yeah, sure…Didn’t you say that people should live freely? It’s the first time I’ve enjoyed that freedom – you can go wherever you want, do whatever you wish….
MARTIN (staring at his wife and making fun of her) – “go wherever you want, do whatever you wish….’’
SONA – I didn’t mean this, darling. I’m just so glad that we pulled that wall down. I hope our grandpa wouldn’t get insulted out of that world. Just for hanging up the washing and putting flowers on it just once a year we had build a whole wall and sanctified it. One of these days let’s also get rid of the bricks, so that we wouldn’t remember that wall at all. There’re so many things to remember and enjoy…
MARTIN – Look here! ‘…again hostilities have resumed, there are many victims among the civilian population…’’
KNIGHT – Let’s speak about pleasant things. Wars always take place.
MARIA – And probably they will always happen. What else did you see?
MARTIN – Well, one day we deviated from our usual tourist route and, to be honest, we got lost. The telephone connection was also lost.
KNIGHT – I wonder what you saw.
MARTIN – What isn’t shown on TV. Poor neighborhoods. Children with thin and hungry eyes, anxious mums, suffering dads…And everywhere garbage and despair. And do you know what was most surprising? There were walls everywhere. Wherever possible the space was divided into infinitely small squares. To find our way I started speaking to an old man.
SONA – He was like our grandpa… Only in different clothes.
MARTIN – I asked ‘’why don’t you pull down this dilapidated walls and open your field of vision’’? He surprisingly looked at me for a while, then said: ‘’These walls keep us safe’’.
KNIGHT – What did he mean?
MARTIN – I have no idea. That’s all. I tried to explain something but he wouldn’t talk, just continued looking surprisingly at me. At that moment finally the telephone worked and we hurried to get out of that nightmare. Anyway, it interesting.
MARIA – Maybe you should have spoken to the youth and explain. The old men have old-fashioned attitude towards walls and the world. They’re remnants of the past.
MARTIN – Maybe… But I’m sure their descendents will think the same way.
KNIGHT – Wasn’t there a new Bonaparte to call for a revolution?
MARTIN – Have no idea. Probably no. I strongly doubt that a new Bonaparte could be born in such small cages.
MARIA – Remember what Bonaparte said, when he’s reported a new revolution had started?
SONA – What did he say? Maybe – Suppress it?
MARIA – Nope. He quoted Dumas’ words Checrchez la femme, i.e. look for the woman.
MARTIN (sniggering) – Yeah, where there’s a disaster, there’s a woman or just the opposite.
SONA – (turning to his husband). Please…
KNIGHT – Where there’s a woman, there’s love and beauty.
MARIA – There must be a woman everywhere to spark. Thousands of wise men can express an idea for thousands of years, but one day a woman must come to turn that smoking mass into a fire.
MARTIN (ironically) – Yeah, just to set on fire the temples of Troy and Hephaestus.
MARIA – Don’t kid, dad. If not me you would sit under your wall and waste the remaining days of your life. Half-distance, half-love, half-world, half-imagination of the world and eventually – half-life…Aren’t you happy that there’s no wall, instead a great and complete world is set before us? Would you like to continue your incomplete life?
SONA – Oh, no, never… We’re so grateful to you for opening our eyes.
KNIGHT – I can’t even imagine how you could have tolerated that wall’s existence so many years?
MARTIN – No idea, no idea. But grandpa and that old man might have known something.
MARIA – Dad, is it possible to live in two worlds? Open or closed. Both are agreeable and possible. But explain to me, why to live in templates and become captives of sufferings if one can live freely and happily? I’m young and life is in front of me. I don’t want to go through everything that grandpa and, to some extent you, have gone through. I myself haven’t completely avoided walls. But my child will live in another world, as there’ll be no need for walls. I’m sure the walls you’ve seen will be pulled down one day. Man is freely born. Who can explain to me, what the walls are for? We just build them. And where there’re walls, there’re incomplete things. I don’t want to wait all my life until all the walls are pulled down. I want to live freely.
KNIGHT – I agree with Maria.
MARIA – Don’t flatter! Anyway, I’m thinking about that actor.
KNIGHT – I’m not flattering. My actions have shown that I’m against walls. Even if they are made of white marbles. You know why the Japanese wear glasses so much?
SONA – Indeed… All the Japanese that I’ve seen do wear glasses.
KNIGHT – Cause in their stony jungles they don’t have spare spaces to look farther. Their eyes gradually get accustomed to short distances and lose the ability to see far.
MARTIN – If I were asked which nation were the most forward-looking, I’d answer the Japanese.
SONA – Let’s leave the Japanese alone.
MARTIN – Sure, we’ll. But they’re sure very forward-looking.
KNIGHT – I mean the usual field of vision. You’re speaking about ideological vision.
MARTIN – Yeah, maybe.
KNIGHT – And one shouldn’t idealize the Japanese. They’re human beings just like us.
MARTIN – Yeah, they only see much farther through their eyes of mind.
MARIA – And I’m speaking about our soul’s eyes, every day we build walls in our souls and minds. Don’t you agree that without this wall, without these bricks (pointing to the pile of bricks in the corner, at the back of the stage) we live much more freely?
MARTIN – I’m thinking over human wisdom, darling. Probably our grandpa and that old man weren’t silly…
MARIA – Nobody says they were silly. But times change. One should look forward like your favorite Japanese. And if many centuries ago there was a necessity to build the Great Chinese Wall, today it’s absurd to think about it. Nowadays the world rejects walls.
MARTIN – No idea, no idea… Your mum and I have seen many walls during our travelling. Both the Great Chinese Wall and other walls. In Jerusalem we saw the Western Wall, in Berlin – the remnants of another wall which now are kept in museums or have been cut up and sold as souvenirs.
KNIGHT – Yeah, one needs courage to break the wall. And the youth did it. If not the youth’s enthusiasm and revolutionary character, that wall would probably still exist today.
MARTIN- Maybe. At least I wouldn’t hurry to break it.
SONA – Sure, you prefer to lie on the sofa, read a newspaper and play with the cat.
MARTIN – In this position I come up with bright ideas.
SONA – Good. And do you have bright ideas about tying a new clothesline?
MARTIN – Shut up, woman! Don’t distort my sublime ideas with the household stuff!
SONA – (turning to Knight). Please, don’t be like him. Pity my daughter.
KNIGHT – I’m not like him. But Maria seems to have fallen in love with an unshaven and deep- looking actor.
SONA – (turning to Maria). Maria? Does Knight tell the truth?
MARIA – I’m in pursuits and dreams. Don’t put me into chains.
KNIGHT – I only wish to give you freedom and happiness.
MARIA – I’m grateful to you for that. But remember I also need safety. I don’t want you to leave me when you come across a tiny wall.
KNIGHT – You know that by nature I’m a wall-breaker. You’ve seen my house.
MARIA – I have seen it. I’m speaking more generally. Think broader.
KNIGHT – I love you Maria. I’ll always be beside you.
Knight hugs Maria. Sona shamefully turns her face to her husband. Martin becks not to disturb him and continues reading the newspaper, patting the cat.
Set: The same scene. Knight sits at the table. There is a vase of flowers on the table. Martin reads a newspaper on the sofa. Maria is next to him, playing with the cat. Sona hangs up the washing on a newly tied clothesline.
SONA – Oh, my back hurts. I wish I had a good daughter or a good husband who would help me. Or at least a good son-in-law…
No one moves or responds. Sona continues hanging up the washing.
MARTIN (looking at the newspaper). Look here! ‘’…the government has decided to build a wall along the whole border to prevent illegal intrusions’’.
KNIGHT – History repeats itself? Like the Great Chinese wall?
MARTIN – A more powerful, high one with barbed wire, armed military units, headlamps, electricity and various types of signaling systems.
KNIGHT – That was once made for the animals. Today is used against the mankind.
MARTIN- I’d say for mankind.
KNIGHT – What do you mean?
MARTIN- Remember that people live on both sides.
MARIA – Otherwise, what border is it?
MARTIN- I’m just telling this. If for some people it’s a wall to stop their free movement, for others it’s a means of defense.
KNIGHT – Defense from what?
MARTIN – From people on the opposite side.
KNIGHT – And what should the people on the side do to them?
MARTIN – No idea… Maybe people on the one side don’t want people on the other side visit them and stay there.
SONA – There’s nothing worse than a guest coming without an invitation.
KNIGHT – I’m absolutely against artificial barriers. Artificial barriers against the nature and natural things make the life harder. This’ll never lead to anything good.
SONA – I wouldn’t like uninvited guests to come and stay in our house and behave themselves like the hosts.
MARIA – And what are those people running from? Maybe, it’s necessary to make such conditions in their countries that they could stay and live there with pleasure?
KNIGHT – Can you imagine how much money will be spent on building that wall? That money could be spent on much better things. Building schools, roads, parks, sports grounds, cycling roads, new hospitals and so on.
MARTIN- You’re saying good things but it sounds like a fairytale. Do you think all people think the same way? Or are you cleverer than those men? The wall isn’t just a wall and a means of restraining movement. By doing that the government tries to put an end to illegal flows. Drugs, diseases, criminals, pimps and prostitute…We forget about this. I’ll say in your own words – look broader at the things.
KNIGHT – I mean all those negative phenomena could be reduced with that money.
MARTIN- Reduce… Well said. But there’s one more thing. Uninvited guests come and start to wrap their moral principles around your neck.
SONA – And you’ve got only one moral principle – to lie on the sofa and read a newspaper.
MARTIN- Indeed, that’s my own way of living. And nobody has the right to force me into another lifestyle. I don’t want to do physical exercises every morning no matter how good or healthy it is. I want to keep my personality. Yeah, lying on the sofa and read a newspaper.
SONA – And drink coffee and play with the cat.
MARTIN- Yeah, also drink coffee and play with the cat. By the way, it’s a high time for a cup of coffee.
SONA – When I finish my washing, I’ll make it. Maria?
MARIA (not paying attention to her mother’s remark) – “My liberty ends where yours begins”. I think these words belong to Confucius.
KNIGHT – Everybody could say that.
MARIA – But Confucius said it.
KNIGHT – It isn’t important. The idea is good but it’s out of date.
MARIA – Bravo! Now you have to counter to Confucius.
KNIGHT – Nope. I’ll just make a little correction. Freedom is a universal phenomenon. It doesn’t recognize any borders.
MARTIN – Actually it recognizes as they’ve decided to build a wall from one ocean to another.
KNIGHT – But will it solve the problem?
MARTIN- It’ll solve for one side of the wall. For the other side it might make other problems. Sona, where’s the coffee?
SONA – Be patient…
MARTIN- I don’t want to be patient all my life.
MARIA – You see? The people on the other side of the wall don’t want to be patient either. People wear black glasses. It’s also a kind of wall in order not see what they don’t want to see. They build walls between themselves, for the parents not to see their children’s immoralities. Walls between the couples, as people don’t want to speak and solve their problems, they’d rather build walls than see the problems. Walls are everywhere and it’s in vain to wish to get rid of them. Whenever they pull down any walls, they do it just to build other, more powerful and modern ones. The internet is also a kind of a wall, that cuts people off from the reality and real communication.
KNIGHT – You’re right, Maria… But people also like changes. Positive changes.
MARIA – All changes are positive.
MARTIN- Hmm…No idea, no idea… Then why people wish old days come back?
MARIA – Cause they’re afraid of changes. Cause they’re afraid of walls, but at the same time rely on them.
MARTIN- To be honest I’m afraid of the changes that won’t do any good.
SONA – For example, losing your sofa.
MARTIN – Yeah. That’ll be a great blow for me.
MARTIN- Don’t you think that one day you may be pleased that you’ve lost your sofa and started doing gymnastics and leading a healthy lifestyle?
MARIA – To feel happier yourself.
MARTIN- I feel myself happy now. I’ve a good house, a good daughter, a good son-in-law, a good sofa, a good cat, fresh newspapers and a good wife who’s hanging up the washing and doesn’t hurry to bring coffee.
MARIA – I’ll bring (walks out).
MARTIN (loudly calling out after her daughter) – With easy sugar…
SONA – While Maria is out… Knight, recently I’ve noticed some changes in my daughter. Is everything all right?
KNIGHT – Yeah, but she’s started to avoid active life. She’s become more introvert. Often remembers the grandpa. Avoids walking she used to like a lot. I don’t understand…
SONA – Well. It’ll pass soon. They’re typical of girls.
MARTIN – She’s taken after her mother…
SONA (staring at her husband) – Please…
KNIGHT – To be honest. I’m a bit tired of all this. Freedom is a wonderful thing, I admit it, but when it becomes a routine, it makes you bored.
MARTIN – Freedom implies great responsibility. Not everybody is able to bear it.
Maria enters and treats everybody with coffee.
MARTIN – Well done, darling! Now I’m absolutely happy.
SONA – Actually you need very little to become happy?
MARTIN – I’ve already said – a sofa, coffee, fresh newspapers, a wise wife like you and a fat, lazy cat.
SONA – Uh.., you’re incorrigible. Don’t want even to hit a nail.
KNIGHT – Thank you, Maria. Yummy coffee!
MARIA – Enjoy!
KNIGHT – While you’re away, I made some changes in my house. I built a wall inside the big room and made two rooms instead.
MARTIN (laughing) – It’s the law of surface conservation.
KNIGHT – I estimate your humor. Actually it’d be more comfortable when Maria and I start living together. An extra room is always needed. There’re times when one wants to be alone. What’s your opinion, Maria?
MARIA – No idea…I should consult the unshaven and deep-looking actor.
SONA – Stop playing with Knight’s heart! Two rooms will be definitely more comfortable for a young family than a big one.
KNIGHT – Definitely. Then we can also build one more wall and make another room, when we have got a baby.
MARIA – Hold on… I’m not going to have a baby yet. The world’s become too unsafe and unstable, while you’re working out your farthest plans.
MARTIN – And when is the world safe and stable? People have always lived, arranged their lives and had kids.
MARIA – I don’t want my kid to see all the immoralities that exist in the world.
SONA – Shall I bring some chocolate?
KNIGHT (without paying attention to the woman’s words) – Maria, why have you started to notice only immoralities? Didn’t you use to say that the world was a bliss of happiness? You yourself rejected all incomplete things.
MARIA – Therefore I don’t want. When there was still the wall, it seemed to me that there was an infinite paradise behind it. I did like to destroy it and live happily.
MARTIN – Freedom, first of all, is inside a person.
MARIA – Yeah, maybe…
SONA – You can go to another place in the world where there are no walls and fear.
MARIA – Mum, I’m just afraid of this, that there isn’t such a place where there’re no walls and fear. For me the most important thing is the feeling of safety. I want to my and especially my future kid’s life be safe.
KNIGHT – Well, that’s why I’ve set up solid walls in my house for you to feel safe. I’ll always be at your back, Maria.
MARIA – You’ll break my back. Then do you think the walls will keep me safe?
KNIGHT – The walls and me.
MARIA – You’re just another wall.
SONA – Maria, don’t say such things. Knight does love you.
MARIA – I know, but he’ll become a wall for me, if not yet.
MARTIN – And what do you want, darling? How do you imagine your life in this great world, where walls are ruined every day and new ones rise in their places?
MARIA – I want to feel myself safe. I want to wake up fearlessly and go to bed fearlessly. When Knight began building a wall in his big room, I got furious and disappointed.
KNIGHT – You didn’t speak to me for three days and didn’t want to see me.
MARIA – But later I understood that he’s right. Not asking me he’s just doing what my heart wanted.
KNIGHT – For your and our safety, my dear. If we think deeply, a wall is only a good thing. One can even hang an abstract picture on it. Or an old carpet. The house will get warmer.
MARIA – I also remember grandpa quite often. He might have known something telling that the wall was our safety. I’m sure you’ll laugh at me but I’m missing our wall. It kept us safe from all the winds and evils that the world’s full of.
SONA – The wall was nice. I didn’t have to see our neighbor’s washings and work under their curious looks.
MARTIN – As you’ve confessed so much, I’ll also speak. About something I’ve wanted to do recently but cannot. Something like the challenge of the spirit …
SONA – Hit a nail and tie the clothesline?
MARTIN (angrily) – Shut up, woman! I want to follow my dad and put some flowers on the wall and bow my head. You won’t understand what kind of feeling it is. I even haven’t seen my dad’s grandpa who had been shot. But I feel an inexplicable inner urge to pay tribute. Perhaps my dad’s exhortation is reaching me at last.
SONA – It’d be better if there’s the wall… We’d tie the clothesline. Put the ficus bush under it. To be protected from the wind.
MARIA – Granny would be delighted…
Maria slowly approaches the pile of the bricks picks up one and puts on the wall line. Knight follows her and eagerly starts to put bricks. Then Sona and Martin join them and build the wall as it was before. Martin takes the bunch of flowers from the vase, solemnly fixes them into the wall crack, kisses it and bows his head. Sona holds her husband’s hand and also bows her head. Maria and Knight hand in hand bow their heads in front of the wall.