Tragi-farce in 1 act, 3 scenes
It’s an ordinary stage with a few chairs and empty candelabra. The lighting is pre-lit in the hall, without additional spotlights. Musical arrangement is at director’s discretion. The characters are in different ordinary civilian clothes. Even the Priest is in ordinary clothes, but with a dummy cross. The Politician wears a shirt with a ragged tie. Before the performance has started, the characters simultaneously at the same time enter the stage from different sides, sit quietly on the chairs or remain standing or lean against the wall. Some of them may even come out of the audience. Eventually everyone gathers on the stage. There is silence. The performance starts.
It’s silence. The lights of the stage are turned on, and the lights of the hall are turned off at the same time. The characters examine each other and the audience, but each is with their own thoughts. Suddenly, one of the lights starts flashing and an alarm horn sounds. The characters run around in panic. One of them even stumbles, rolls over, and lies flat on his face, covering his head with his hands. Others, disfigured and move chaotically, try to find a safe place on the stage. In the end, everyone cowers in a corner. The horn cuts off. The lights go out. Then they join slowly. The characters somehow come to their senses and look around in fear. A dummy stone appeared in the center of the stage.
FOOL – (Carefully and slowly approaching and pointing to the stone). What is this?
Everyone is silent. They all look around in fear, then, making incoherent movements, they gather around the stone and look at the stone, then at each other, then at the stone again.
POLITICIAN – (He approaches in surprise). Where is it from? Who brought it?
ACTOR – Is it real or dummy?
FOOL – (Cunningly smiling steps aside). It’s a vision, don’t take it seriously.
WOMAN – (Dreaming). I’ve been told about it. It’s the stone of happiness.
SOLDIER – Enemies have dropped it. I heard the voice. (Touches the stone). Look, it’s still hot.
TRADER – (Looking at the stone). It’s a suitable stone. It can be sold at a good price.
PRIEST – It’s God’s punishment. (Spuriously crosses himself).
STUDENT – I know what it is. This is the granite of science. See, there’re marks of teeth on it. My student brothers have gnawed it day and night.
WOMAN– (In a mocking tone). What? The granite of science ? No way! It’s the stone of happiness.
PRIEST – Then why is it black? (Pointing to a woman). Definitely it’s from the Devil, the Woman also liked it.
WOMAN- (Angrily turns to the Priest and puts her hands on her hips). So, that’s it, yeah?
FOOL – (With a cheeky smile)- A good hypothesis…
TRADER – Black color is a suitable color. It’s always paid well. It matches with everything. Once in India…
ACTOR- (interrupting). We can tile the stage with it. Not to be dusty. Or use it as a grotesque attribute.
SOLDIER- Hold on, folks! This has definitely been dropped by the enemies. Be careful! It might explode.
Everyone leaves the stone in panic. Confused, the woman embraces the Priest, who somewhat disgustedly tries to get rid of her. After a few seconds, everyone, changing their positions, approaches the stone cautiously again.
ACTOR –Don’t act. You aren’t actors, are you? I tell you, it’s dummy. We’ve learnt about it during the theory of stage art.
Politician – (With false-sounding seriousness). I suggest forming a committee and finding out the origin of this stone. I propose to involve in the committee (pointing in turn) the Student, the Fool, the Priest, the Woman, the Soldier, the Trader, the Actor, and of course (pointing to himself) your humble servant as a chairman of the committee. We’ll call a round table… (Turning to the woman) Tell them to prepare the order.
WOMAN- And why me?
POLITICIAN – Typing the order will suit you.
TRADER – Now they don’t type. They do it on the computer. I tell you what I’ve seen with my own eyes. Once in China….
STUDENT – He’s right. I’ve learnt it from Geography.
WOMAN- And no one wants to ask my opinion, do they?
PRIEST – The voice of many is the voice of God (Crosses himself).
POLITICIAN – (Without paying any attention) We’ll call a round table then …
ACTOR – What if we won’t be able to find a round table?
POLITICIAN – It’s not a problem, let it be right angular.
WOMAN – (Ironically). You aren’t consistent in any matter… What else can you expect from us – mere mortals?…
TRADER – It can be oval. Once in Thailand…
SOLDIER – (Interrupting). This job needs calmness.
STUDENT- First of all we need to read, to explore. There must be written somewhere about this stone.
SOLDIER- There’s no need to read. Everything is clear without it.
ACTOR- (Excited). Give me this job. I’m the master of it. It’s no coincidence that I’m an actor. Help, guys, don’t stand idle. Bring the chairs!
Everyone chooses a chair far from them, brings it closer, and arranges it in a semicircle around the stone, facing the audience. Without giving up space to each other, they somehow sit on the chairs. They are silent and look at the stone.
PRIEST – (Standing up)- Let’s pray together.
FOOL- Why? Should we have a meal?
PRIEST- Who knows? Why not? (Sits down confused).
WOMAN – (In a romantic tone) I’d down something…
FOOL- (Elated) A good thing I’m going to tell you…
POLITICIAN- Everything in its good time. Hold on! We’ve got a serious issue to discuss.
WOMAN- What issue?
POLITICIAN- Well… I forgot… (turning to the audience). Folks, who can remember? Hmm…
STUDENT – Wasn’t it about free love? I’m ready to make a speech about it.
PRIEST – (Angrily stands up). I’ll show you ”free love”. Let them something and they’ll beat their shoot the bull… My Lord, forgive our sins!
WOMAN- What’s up? It’s a hot topic… (Smiles at the Student with an ambiguous smile).
PRIEST – (He crosses himself with a stern look). Reject Devil… My Lord, forgive our sins!
TRADER – Folks, hold on, I remembered… (Everybody looks at him). We should have decided how much we could sell this stone.
ALL- (Surprised) What stone?
POLITICIAN – (Addressing the Trader). Speak clearly!
SOLDIER- (Suddenly standing up) . Hold on! Silence!
Everyone falls in their seats. The Soldier carefully, as if in a minefield, approaches the stone, kneels down and touches his ear to it. Others take a step or two back. The Actor raises his hands in surrender.
FOOL – Do say! Don’t kill!…
The Soldier slowly gets up, carefully bypasses the stone, looks at the audience and walks along the edge of the stage, passes to the other characters, carefully examining them one by one, then approaches the stone again and looks carefully once again.
SOLDIER –(Very seriously). This stone has been dropped by our enemies.
ALL- (Disappointed) Eh, we thought you were going to say something serious.
SOLDIER – (Pointing to the stone, then raising his finger). But we can use this stone against our enemies.
POLITICIAN – (In a robotic voice as a quote). We have no enemies.
TRADER – All people are friends with each other. Let us peacefully trade. I remember once I was in Egypt…
PRIEST- (Interrupting) – Our enemy is the Devil. And this stone is from him. My Lord, forgive our sins! (In a lower voice). The snake, the Woman…
STUDENT – (Anxiously approaches the Woman).No need to worry, ma’am. Let me invite you to dance.
The woman looks left and right in uncertainty. She doesn’t know whether to dance or not.
FOOL- (In a cheeky laughter). Hmm, we’ve danced all the dances, only this one is left. So, dance!
WOMAN- (Hesitating) – Shall we dance?
STUDENT- (Stretching himself and willingly lowering his head). I’m your humble knight.
SOLDIER – (Worried). Folks, there’s a job to be done. How can you dance? Just imagine for a moment, that it’s the last day of your life. Soon this stone will explode and…What are you going to do then?
ACTOR- I’ll act. (Looking around and making an artistic pose). It’s a good hall for that.
TRADER – And I’ll do my trade. I remember once in Russia…
WOMAN- (Interrupting and dreamy). I’ll wear my best clothes.
STUDENT- (Looking ambiguously at the Woman). I’ll make love.
FOOL – I’ll drink… All the wines in the world… Everything is a deception; you have to enjoy your life.
PRIEST- (Angrily looking at the Student and crossing himself). Shame on you, a thousand times… My Lord, forgive our sins!
POLITICIAN- I’ll write a good conception. About the end of the world. Then we’ll translate it into different languages and distribute to all relevant institutions…
There’s a moment of silence. Everyone looks at the Soldier.
ALL- And you?
SOLDIER- (Concerned). Me what?
PRIEST- What are you going to do?
SOLDIER – What should I do? I’m a soldier. I have to fight.
TRADER – Fight? Against whom?
SOLDIER– (Uncertainly) – Enemies.
POLITICIAN- We don’t have enemies. Bear it in your mind. It’s even fixed in the law. I personally participated in the works of the committee.
PRIEST- (Crossing himself). Reject the Devil! My Lord, forgive our sins!
There’s silence. Everybody is in their place, looking at the others in bewilderment. The characters go around the stage, examining each other, then each of them takes a chair and walks away and places it at the ends of the stage. After that, everyone gathers around the stone again, continuing to examine each other.
FOOL – (Pointing to the stone in surprise). What is this?
POLITICIAN- Where is it from? Who brought it?
ACTOR- Is it real or dummy?
FOOL- I said it’s a vision, don’t take it seriously.
WOMAN- (Dreamy). I know. This is the stone of love.
SOLDIER- They were dropped by the enemies. I heard the voice. (Kneels down and touches the stone). It’s cold…
TRADER – It’s quite a good stone. We can cut it into slabs and sold at a good price.
PRIEST- (Crossing himself). It’s God’s punishment.
STUDENT-This is the granite of science. Look, there are marks of teeth on it.
POLITICIAN – This is the cornerstone of our state. But why is it here, in the very center of the capital’s central square? Isn’t there a free place in the suburbs?… There must be a free place beyond Hayk and Tork…
FOOL- (Ironically). It’s in the center because it is our cornerstone.
SOLDIER- Then it isn’t dummy, is it?
TRADER – (Knees down and rattles the stone.) It’s real. (Looking thoughtfully at the ceiling). If we cut it down, the square meter will be… The total will be … Minus transport costs… Taxes… It’ll be… (scratches his head and thinks). Well, taxes can be avoided in a way… It’ll be…
WOMAN- (Angrilly). It’ll be several… I tell you, stupid ones, it’s the stone of love. Venus has sent it.
ACTOR- ( Concerned). Is she venereal?
WOMAN- (Looks at the Actor with disgust). Cheeky one…
TRADER – Let’s sell and finish with it. We’re pointlessly arguing with each other.
POLITICIAN – No way! It’s the cornerstone of our country.
STUDENT – It’s the stone of Tork Angegh. I studied it from Literature. (Taking a rhetorical pose, pronounces) “Many centuries ago in ancient Armenia…”
PRIEST- (Angrily). Don’t touch Ancient Armenia, shameless man.
STUDENT- (In a guilty tone)- But I meant well…
SOLDIER- Shut up, you ignorant… And they are considered our advanced generation. Phew…
STUDENT- (Scared). But I meant well…
ACTOR- Don’t argue. This is one of our theater decorations.
PRIEST – My Lord, forgive our sins! (Crossing himself) What other devilish words do you know?
FOOL– Mise en scène and grotesque.
PRIEST- My , forgive our sins! Let’s pray together…
WOMAN- (Sincerely surprised). Why? Should we have a meal?
FOOL- (Excited). Don’t forget the wine…
WOMAN- (Dreamy). It’d be nice…
TRADER – Let’s all lift this stone and put it aside to understand what it is and whose it is. Guys, come on!
Male characters try to lift the stone, but in vain.
WOMAN- And what should I do? I also want to participate in a public life.
TRADER – ( In a painful voice). Make some coffee! You’re a female.
WOMAN- (Offended). What you said is sexist, to say the least. I’ll complain.
PRIEST- My dear, calm down! First make coffee, we’ll drink it, then complain as much as you want.
ACTOR- Or help us move the stone together.
WOMAN- (Again offended). What you say is exploitation of a woman. I’ll complain.
FOOL – No wonder! A complainer will always find a topic to complain.
STUDENT- It doesn’t work. Hold on! It won’t work, ‘cause we all push it to different sides. According to Newton’s law…
Suddenly, the alarm horn sounds again. Everyone quits the attempt of lifting the stone, they get confused again, but not as alarmed as the first time. One slips on a rock and falls. They do a little back and forth on the stage, staying close to the walls. The light diminishes, remaining only on the stone. In the flickering light, the Fool carefully approaches the stone, pushes it with both hands and drops it into the hole. A muffled thump is heard. The Fool backs away to the corner of the stage. The lights are getting stronger again. The characters begin to walk on the stage, each in their own thoughts.
SOLDIER- (Seriously). Folks!…
Everyone freezes and turns to the Soldier.
ALL- Now what happened?
SOLDIER- Folks, the stone is gone…
The characters slowly approach the place where the stone was a little while ago. They carefully inspect the place, then turn their surprised eyes at each other.
STUDENT- (Again excited). I got it… I got it all… (Does happy dance movements).
STUDENT- (Solemnly). Do you know where all our problems came from? Instead of eating and drinking wine, we behaved like fools doing foolish things. One trades, another makes love, the other prays. Eight people sing eighteen songs. There’ll never be any unity like this.
ALL- So what should we do?
FOOL- I’ve already done it.
ALL- What have you done?
FOOL- What you all dreamed of, but weren’t able. I did it instead of you. It was difficult, of course. But I did it, for the sake of all of us.
WOMAN- (Impatiently). What did you do?
FOOL- Look carefully. Don’t you see?
All the characters look left and right in bewilderment and then stare back at the Fool. The Fool points to the place where the stone used to be.
POLITICIAN- (Putting his hand on his forehead). The stone is gone, folks…
Everyone looks at the place of the stone in surprise. The trader kneels down and sniffs the floor.
TRADER – Yeah, it isn’t here…
The characters start searching left and right. The actor tries to look under the woman’s skirt, but he is slapped by the latter.
FOOL- (Elated). I say there’s no stone. Don’t search for it any longer. No-oo stone!
PRIEST- Where is it, brother Fool?
FOOL- (Pointing to the hole). I rolled it up and dropped it into the pit.
The fool stands smugly. The others crouch and look into the hole. Then they leave anxiously and scatter around the stage.
FOOL- (With regret). And there’s no one to tell me, well done, brother Fool!
ACTOR- (Approaching the Fool). Are you a fool?
FOOL- (Angrily). Me?
TRADER – Yeah, you are.
FOOL – I’m a fool. And I’m proud of it. We saw where your wits took you.
WOMAN- He’s fool, though…
PRIEST- (Crossing himself). My Lord, forgive our sins!
FOOL- You call me Fool, but you yourselves are fools. Everyone. Don’t you understand that if there’s no stone, then there’re no problems, either? I’ve freed all of you from that great pain.
POLITICIAN- There’s no stone, there’re no problems. Hmm… I think they said it in ancient Rome.
SOLDIER- (Angrily). I don’t know what they said in Rome. My pain is we. A stone would make a good weapon.
PRIEST- (Crossing himself). Don’t stand against evil, my child…
SOLDIER- Priest, go and say that to our enemies, will you?
PRIEST- My Lord, forgive our sins!
WOMAN- (Uncertainly). I don’t know, maybe this was the best…
STUDENT- All’s well that ends well. Newton said.
PRIEST- (Crossing himself). My Lord, forgive our sins!
ACTOR- (Underlining the syllables). Sta-nis –lav-ski…
PRIEST- (Crossing himself). My Lord, forgive our sins!
FOOL – You call me a fool, but you all are fools. My friend said it. The bottle fell off the table and, can you imagine, it didn’t break. Not even a drop was spilled. And then my friend said, ‘’All’s well that ends well’’.
TRADER– Hmm, I disagree a bit. Once in Beirut…
WOMAN- (Interrupting). No, that’s what my ex-husband said when we broke up.
POLITICIAN- These are the words of Napoleon. By the way, Napoleon was Armenian. I assure you.
SOLDIER- Uh, that’s it. Napoleon was our battalion commander’s dog. Now, wise man, explain to us how the dog could be Armenian. Let them speak and they will say irrelevant things…
PRIEST-The quote is from the Holy Book. When God banished Adam and (pointing to the Woman reprovingly) Eve from Eden, He said, ‘’All’s well that ends well.’’ My Lord, forgive our sins! WOMAN- (Demonstratively turning her back to the Priest). You clever guy…
POLITICIAN- Hold on! We went to a completely different place. We can state that there’s no stone anymore. That’s the first and most important step.
STUDENT- There isn’t.
ACTOR- Wait a minute!
ALL – What happened to you?…
ACTOR- The stone has been, is and will always be.
TRADER – (In a funny tone). Where is it?
ACTOR- (Pointing to the hole). The stone, folks, is in the pit.
Everyone gathers again at the pit and looks down.
POLITICIAN- Are you sure?
SOLDIER- (Knees down again and sniffs the hole.) Exactly. I smell it.
WOMAN- Does the stone smell?
SOLDIER – Of course, it does.
WOMAN- What smell?
SOLDIER- A smell of stone.
STUDENT – The stone has no smell. I learnt it at university.
SOLDIER- (Standing up and shaking his knees, addresses the Student). In fact, you are a fool too.
PRIEST – My Lord, forgive our sins!
STUDENT- (Upset). Why? Why am I a fool?
SOLDIER- ‘cause the stone has a smell.
SOLDIER – (Mystified). A smell of stone.
Everyone looks at the Soldier in surprise. There is silence.
TRADER – It’s clear. (Pointing to the soldier and twisting his finger at the temple so that the soldier doesn’t see). These are the consequences of concussion. So what should we do now?
There is silence again for a moment.
ACTOR- I’ll act. (Looks around the hall). It’s a suitable hall for that.
TRADER – And I’ll do my trading. (Excited) I remember once in Poland…
WOMAN- (Interrupting and dreamy). You’ve already said that. Shut up, please! And do you know what I’ll do?
STUDENT- (Gallantly). What will you do, a beauty ?…
WOMAN- I’ll wear my best clothes.
STUDENT- (Looking dreamily at the Woman). And I’ll make love.
PRIEST- Shame on you, a thousand times!… (Crossing himself ). My Lord, forgive our sins!
TRADER – Father, what will you do?
PRIEST- I’ll pray, my child.
FOOL- And I’ll drink… Everything is a deception, you should enjoy life.
POLITICIAN- I’ll prepare for the elections.
Everyone looks at the Soldier.
SOLDIER- (Concerned). Me?
PRIEST- What are you going to do?
SOLDIER- I’m a soldier. I must fight. I’m not able to do anything else…
TRADER – (Laughing). Fight? Against whom?
SOLDIER- Enemies. Who else?
POLITICIAN – We have no enemies, brother… Enemies are in your imagination.
SOLDIER- Who threw this stone? My imagination?
ALL- (With sincere surprise). What stone?
SOLDIER- (Pointing to the pit). This stone.
The alarm horn sounds again. The lights flash. The characters get very little excited this time. They do a little bit here and there and take new positions. The lights are back on at their previous intensity.
TRADER- Probably it was a fake alarm. Or it was an exercise… They have nothing to do, do they?…
There is silence. The actor bends down and sniffs the pit.
ACTOR- It wasn’t training. The stone is here. I feel like I can smell it, too.
FOOL- (Disheartened). After all, I freed you all from that stone. At least treat me with a glass of wine…
PRIEST- My Lord, forgive our sins! But I’d also drink with pleasure… the blood of the Lord…
ALL – Me too, me too…
One pours wine and everyone drinks. The Student and the Woman – Budershaft. Happy music plays. The Student and Woman dance. The Soldier and the Priest stand in a corner talking. The Trader counts something on his fingers. The Actor tries to soar like a bird. The Politician takes out a piece of paper and starts writing something. The Fool, sprawled on one of the chairs, is in bliss. Suddenly, the alarm horn sounds again. The music falls silent, everyone freezes for a moment, then continues their deeds without any alarm, reuniting to the sound of the music. The music volume is lowered but not interrupted.
FOOL- (Getting up and holding his glass aloft). The life should be like this: carefree and happy.
TRADER – (Delighted). I agree, brother Fool. Or why do we live?
POLITICIAN- But our Fool says a lot of clever things. I wish we were all as fool as him.
ALL –Oh Might it be! The Fool’s toast.
Everyone drinks. The woman leaves the Student and comes to the center of the stage.
WOMAN- I wanted to ask something.
ALL – (Interested) Come on!
WOMAN- If this were your last day, what would you do?
Suddenly, everyone gets serious. The music is silent.
ACTOR- I’d get engaged in politics.
TRADER – And I’d dance. I adore dancing…
WOMAN- (In a romantic voice). I’d say prayers and sing psalms… Or if that didn’t work, I’d teach nuclear physics at university. Why not?…
ACTOR- Really… Her breasts and (paints her butt in the air with his hands) … are all right. So you can also see her legs… In a word: perfection… You can totally teach physics. If I were a student, I wouldn’t miss any of your lectures. (Approaches and kisses flattered by the compliment woman’s hand).
STUDENT- I’d fight… What else can I do? I’m not able to do anything else….
PRIEST- Hmm… I’d study. I’m keen on studying.
FOOL- I’d trade. I’ve always dreamed about it…
POLITICIAN- (Dreamy). And I’d do one good thing…
WOMAN- Like what?
POLITICIAN – I’d grow tomatoes and cucumbers in my garden. I’d give you a share too. Do not doubt. It would be enough for all of us.
Everyone looks at the Soldier standing in thought.
ALL- And you?
SOLDIER – Me?
ALL – Yes, you.
SOLDIER- I… I… I don’t know… I’d find colored chalks and draw flowers on this asphalt…
Everyone is silent… Then they scatter to the corners of the stage and come back seriously and without wine glasses.
ACTOR- We’re completely fooled.
FOOL – Be like me and you won’t regret it… Life is happy and carefree…
PRIEST- (Crossing himself). Go behind me, devil!… My Lord, forgive our sins!
WOMAN- Something is wrong. My sixth sense says.
TRADER – I remember there was a stone here. As long as it existed, there was some purpose in my life. It is in this pit. Guys, let’s try to pull it out.
Three of them try to pull the stone out, but it doesn’t work.
POLITICIAN- Hold on, it won’t work like that. It’s necessary to write a plan, organize hearings, inform the public, approve in the National Assembly so that it becomes a law. You’re torturing yourselves in vain.
The Trader and two others try to pull the stone out, but in vain. Tired and panting, they sit on the floor.
SOLDIER- No hearing is needed. Especially since a listener needs a teller. And we have no one to tell.
POLITICIAN- I’ll tell. That’s my job.
SOLDIER- (Ironically). If you had said something smart, there would definitely be someone listening. So you definitely didn’t say anything smart.
ACTOR- The Fool has more listeners than you.
POLITICIAN- I’ve said. But a teller needs a listener, right? Who’s listening now? Now everyone is writing, but no one is reading. Now people look at pictures and put that thing… I forgot the name… Well, which is small and red.
WOMAN- (Dreamily drawing a heart in the air). Heart. Or at least Like .
ACTOR- (to the Woman, love-sick ). Hmm… Let me lay my heart at your feet…
TRADER – (to the Actor). Don’t act. All the same, no one believes in actors now. That age is over.
ACTOR- You are mistaken, Mr. Trader. That age will never be over.
TRADER – Really? Well, see what I’m saying. Let’s not go far. Once in France…
SOLDIER- (Interrupting). We go further and further. Now we reached France… It’s easy for the French- they have the sea.
TRADER- Maybe… But what I want to say, I feel pity for that stone. It was possible to cut it into pieces, make tiles and sell them to the same French people. They would give a good price. They’re good with taste. Not like us.
WOMAN- (Angrily). So we’re tasteless, right?
TRADER- (Confused). I meant well.
ACTOR- What’s the good point of that? And sorry, but we’ve got good taste. See what performances we stage! (with pathos pointing to the characters and the stage). Twelve actions, fifty-seven actors… Both fable, and peripetia…
PRIEST- My Lord, forgive our sins! (Crosses himself ).
STUDENT- I’ve seen them! But they were staged by the French two hundred years ago. And the Russians, one hundred and fifty years ago. And, Sundukyan, of course. Would you think that in the twenty-first year of the twenty-first century, Pepo would still be actual for us?
PRIEST- Pepo is quite good. If it’s left to you, you’d watch all day… My Lord, forgive our sins! We don’t need new things like that. We’re a pure nation and we must remain so. For the glory of our country. (Crosses).
POLITICIAN – (Not addressing anyone in particular). So what should we do?
FOOL- We need some good advice.
PRIEST – You need to pray…
POLITICIAN – Hmm…
STUDENT- And maybe we can do a job, yeah? Come on, guys!
Some of them try again to pull the stone out of the pit, but again in vain. Tired, they sit on the stage and keep silent…
SOLDIER- It won’t work like this… One fool threw a stone into the pit and a hundred smart people have gathered and can’t get it out.
TRADER – Well done! I also say that we’re a smart nation. I remember one day I was in Poland…
STUDENT- (Interrupting). But we’re very cute. We let a fool drop the granite of science into the pit. Now science will also die… (Desperately) What should my friends and I study?…
WOMAN- (Dreamy). It was the Love Stone. Now love will also disappear from us.
SOLDIER- You’re saying the same stupid things again. Are you stupid friends of the Fool? I say that stone was a weapon, a weapon. Now we won’t even have weapons. (in a desperate voice). I don’t know what we have to fight with…
TRADER – It was quite a good stone. We could cut it into slabs and sold at a good price. (in a sad voice) What trade should we make now?
PRIEST- I tell you, that stone was from God. Now God’s blessing will be removed from us.
STUDENT – The granite of science was…
POLITICIAN – It was the cornerstone of our state.
ACTOR- It was one of the decorations in our theater. It was left from Artavazd and brought from Tigranakert.
WOMAN- (Anxious). So what are we going to do now? We’re deprived of all that because of one fool. Men, you are our hope. Come on, do your best!
Some of them try again to pull the stone out, but it doesn’t works. Tired, they lie on the stage or on chairs. There is silence.
The alarm horn sounds again. Lights flash. Nobody moves. Everyone stares at one point until the horn fades and the lights stop flashing.
POLITICIAN- (Advances a few steps towards the Fool). We call you Fool, but we are fools. It’s not your fault. You’re just fool. From birth. And it’s no coincidence that your name is Fool. (Turns to the audience). But I say we’re more foolish because we have made fools of ourselves. And we allowed ourselves to be fooled. And we foolishly entrusted that important stone to a fool like you (points to the Fool). We didn’t feel like it or we got calm… You alone threw the stone into the pit, and now we’re gathered with the whole nation and can’t get it out… Maybe we deserve it.
STUDENT- (Sad and unconcerned). Many centuries ago in ancient Armenia…
PRIEST- (In a quiet voice). Don’t touch ancient Armenia, my child.
STUDENT- But I…
SOLDIER- (Angrily). Shut up! Everyone shut up! If there’s nothing to say, it’s better to be silent.
WOMAN- There’s a silence worth a thousand words.
There is silence.
POLITICIAN- (Looking around). Is everyone here?
ALL: Yeah, yeah…
ACTOR – Where else should we be?… Life is a stage and we are fools…
POLITICIAN – Looks like we’re all here (pointing to everyone in turn) The Student, The Woman, The Fool, The Parson…
PRIEST- (With dignity). I’m not parson. I am a priest. My Lord, forgive our sins!
POLITICIAN – Excuse me, Father… You looked a bit like that. There’s no sense left at all. Ah, what I was saying, the Soldier, the Actor, the Trader , and me, your humble servant.
ACTOR- Yeah, it’s like the whole nation is here. (Looks at the hall). Whoever is not here is probably doing a job.
POLITICIAN – (Indignant). What? Aren’t we doing a job?
ACTOR- I meant well. Don’t make a fuss!
STUDENT – History is being made today. Then they’ll write about this in history textbooks. The cream of the nation has gathered here. We have to make a decision.
WOMAN -(Contemptuously). The cream of the nation…! The Brains of society!
SOLDIER- We need a bell hanger. There’s no shortage of talkers.
ACTOR- That’s a pity, there’s no one listening.
TRADER – No one, no one… Didn’t I tell you let’s cut it up and sell at a good price. (With regret). Now there probably won’t even be a buyer.
STUDENT- Cut what?
TRADER – Well, that black thing… I forgot the name…
POLITICIAN – Stone?
TRADER – Yeah, the stone. We’d divide it into parts, and surely each of us would get something . We aren’t many, but we’re a wise nation. We should be able to fairly sell and share everything. I don’t remember if I told you. Once I don’t remember where…
ACTOR- (Interrupting and doubting). But are we wise?
SOLDIER – It’s necessary to fight… There’re many talkers…
POLITICIAN- But who should we fight against?
SOLDIER- (In a furious voice). Everyone!
PRIEST- Damn the warmongers! (Crosses himself) . My Lord, forgive our sins!
WOMAN- Fight ? Again? For as long as I can remember, we’ve been always fighting.
STUDENT- That’s right. It’s written also in the textbooks. We’ve been making a revolution for thirty years.
SOLDIER- We don’t fight well then.
POLITICIAN – (Thoughtfully rubs his head). We’re a smart nation. We’ll find a way.
ACTOR – So we’re not that smart. We fight when there’s no need for it and we don’t fight when it’s necessary to fight.
WOMAN- We must be stupid, yeah?
ALL – (Shocked). Perhaps…
ACTOR – In fact, there’s only one smart person among us, the Fool. At least he doesn’t lie.
PRIEST- Lying is a sin. (Crossing himself) My Lord, forgive our sins!
STUDENT- Isn’t suicide a sin?
PRIEST- Of course, it’s a sin. (Crossing himself). My Lord, forgive our sins!
WOMAN- So why do we kill ourselves?
ACTOR- It’s a rhetorical question.
POLITICIAN – I suggest the Fool to be elected our leader…
SOLDIER- A military leader?
POLITICIAN – Leader of everything.
STUDENT- Also, High Priest.
PRIEST- Don’t touch the church, shameless man. It’s a sin!
TRADER – The important thing is to allow us trade in peace.
WOMAN- (Ironically). You will. Had anything to sell.
TRADER – I pay my taxes. I’m not doing any scams. Everything within the law. Law governs man.
SOLDIER- The trouble is just that you’re selling the country within the limits of your law.
ACTOR- Yeah, I don’t remember who said (with pathos) the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
POLITICIAN – I think they said it in ancient Greece.
SOLDIER- I don’t know what they said in Greece. My pain is we. So that one day our words become deeds. It’s necessary to fight and fight!
PRIEST- Don’t stand against the evil, my child… (changing his voice) And those words are from the Prophets. Read the Old Testament.
STUDENT- Father, say your prayer, will you?
PRIEST- My Lord, forgive our sins! (Crosses himself).
WOMAN- It’s well-said. I think Dumas said it with the lips of the Lady with the Camellias.
STUDENT- Einstein said it. We learnt it. While we were working on the theory of nuclear weapons.
PRIEST- My Lord, forgive our sins! (Crosses himself).
ACTOR – They’re Florian Zeller’s words. We studied it during stage art.
PRIEST- (Turning to the actor and crossing himself). My child, there are minors in the hall. Don’t swear! It’s a sin…
FOOL – You call me a fool, but you all are fools. These are my friend’s words. He said just like that, Oh, your way is hard…
TRADER – Hmm, I disagree a bit. Once I was in Tiflis…
WOMAN- (Interrupting). No, that’s what my ex-husband said at the wedding. The cheeky said, ‘’With you, my dear, even heaven will become hell…’’
ACTOR- (Sniggering). Perhaps he meant the opposite.
WOMAN- (To the Actor, in an angry voice). Cheeky.
POLITICIAN- Don’t argue! These are Napoleon’s words. By the way, Napoleon was Armenian. It’s for sure.
SOLDIER- Uh, we’re here, get off. We’ll cure you, too.
PRIEST- It’s from the Holy Book. When God banished Adam and (pointing to the Woman reprimanding) Eve from Eden, he also said, ‘’Love each other and reproduce yourselves’’. And let the snake be part of hell.
The woman looks at the Priest with hatred. Everyone is silent.
POLITICIAN – Hold on, we went to a completely different place. We can state… I’d say we have to state that…
It’s silent. Everyone waits for his word, but he has nothing to say.
ALL – What ?…
POLITICIAN – I forgot…
WOMAN- It probably didn’t matter.
Everyone chaotically paces the stage trying to remember.
FOOL- (Standing still). Wait a minute, folks, what do we want? Why have we got together here?
POLITICIAN- You’re right, brother Fool. There’re a thousand and one things to do. The report is left…
TRADER – My trade is left…
WOMAN – My laundry, my ironing…
ACTOR – I don’t even feel like acting…
SOLDIER – We need to fight…
STUDENT – I need to prepare for the exams…
PRIEST- Prayer will save…
FOOL – It will, Father, but I still didn’t understand why we gathered here.
WOMAN- (Excited). Let’s sing.
PRIEST- My Lord, forgive our sins!
They start singing, each one a song. Gradually everyone moves to the same song and enjoys singing along.
ACTOR- This is how it should be, we’ll all sing one song.
PRIEST-The song is a prayer. Say a psalm…
TRADER- (Excited). You mentioned a psalm and I remembered. Once in Jerusalem…
FOOL- (Interrupting). I seem to remember what we were supposed to do.
FOOL – Do you remember everything started with a stone?
ALL – What stone?
FOOL- (Approaches the pit and points to the stone). This stone.
Everyone gathers around the stone. The light falls on the stone from above. All other lights go out.
POLITICIAN- From where? Who brought it? Why is it in the pit?
ACTOR- Is it real or dummy?
WOMAN- I’ve been told about it. It’s the stone of love.
SOLDIER- They’ve been dropped by the enemies. But we can use it against enemies.
TRADER– It’s a suitable stone. Can be sold at a good price.
PRIEST- It’s the stone of God, fallen from the heaven.
STUDENT- This is the granite of science. My student brothers have gnawed it. Look, there are marks of teeth on it.
WOMAN- You don’t say so! I say, this is the stone of love and happiness.
PRIEST- It’s the stone of God. A cross should be made and erected in a high place for all to see.
TRADER – Black is a suitable color. Black is always well-paid. It matches with everything. Once upon a time in India…
ACTOR- (Interrupting). The stage can be tiled. So that there is no dust. One position will be laid off. And our salary will also increase.
FOOL – (Nervous). We’re all fools, but you nicknamed me so. Actually, we all needed this stone, right?
ALL- Yeah, yeah… We really needed it.
FOOL- Do you still need it now?
ALL- Yeah, yeah… Very much.
FOOL – But when I was throwing it into the pit, why didn’t you grasp my hand?… Why didn’t anyone say, man, what are you doing? I saw it was disturbing all of you, and I threw it into the pit. Did I do anything wrong?
Suddenly the sound of the alarm horn is heard. The lights start flashing. Nobody moves. Suddenly all the lights go out and everything is plunged into darkness.
POLITICIAN- The lights went out. Let’s state this fact.
ACTOR- Don’t take it seriously. It’s a theatrical light trick.
WOMAN- (In a romantic voice). It’s time for love…
SOLDIER- It was done by the enemies. I tell it for sure.
TRADER – So what should we do now? What a trade in the dark!
PRIEST- It’s God’s punishment. Let’s pray…
STUDENT- I’m tired of all this, extremely tired. I need to sleep…
WOMAN- (In a romantic voice). Maybe dream…
ACTOR- Oh, the trouble is there, for in that death sleep
What kind of dreams you will have ?
Perhaps when we’ve thrown off this deadly bond…
Here’s what we should think about…
FOOL – (He takes out a candle and a match from his pocket and lights it. At the same time, the lights on the stage light up). When it’s dark, you don’t need to complain, you need to light a candle.
The Fool walks slowly across the stage with the candle in his hand, brings the candelabra to the center and places the candle on it.
WOMAN- (Excited). Men, you know what to do. And I’ll make a good coffee for you.
ACTOR – Cherchez la femme!
Everyone sticks together and although with difficulty and several attempts, they eventually pull the stone out of the pit. Light falls on the stone from above.
TRADER – What a good stone! It can be a good tombstone…
STUDENT- Or a good table for studying or playing poker.
POLITICIAN – A cornerstone…
WOMAN – Talisman of love…
PRIEST – It’ll become a Cross Stone…
SOLDIER – Cannon projectiles!
ACTOR- I’ll stand on it and recite Dante…
STUDENT – It’s better. Many centuries ago in ancient Armenia…
PRIEST- My Lord, forgive our sins! (Crosses himself).
FOOL- For thirty years this stone was placed here. It was a gift to us: both God’s blessing, and love, and science, and art, and everything… And what did we do? We despised it, each of us as much as we could. We even spat on it. Perhaps we had to throw it into the pit to understand its real value.
WOMAN- Only after losing something you realize the price of it. My husband used to say…
There is silence.
FOOL – What are we going to do now? Here’s the stone and here we are… What are we going to do?
POLITICIAN- I don’t know…
STUDENT- Neither do I…
SOLDIER- Me too…
PRIEST- (Crossing himself). God knows…
ACTOR- I don’t know, either…
WOMAN- I don’t know…
TRADER – Neither do I…
Everyone falls silent and slowly disperses across the stage, as if ashamed of each other. Everyone sits somewhere.
FOOL – (Looking at the balcony of the stage masters). I know. Turn on the lights! Light up the stone.
The stage is flooded with lights. The Fool carefully blows out the candle and puts it in his pocket.
FOOL – Before we do something, let’s sit down and think. Let’s think and try to understand what we want. In general… Maybe we’ll get somewhere…
The Fool approaches the dark corner with the candelabra in his hand, places it and sits down among the others. The lights gradually fade. In the end, only the light that illuminates the stone remains, and it slowly fades away.