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NakedEurope

MILKO VALENT

CHARACTERS

URBAN GIRL

BIG MAMA

VETERAN OF WAR

DIRECTRESS

AUTHOR

FIRST MAJORETTE

SECOND MAJORETTE

THIRD MAJORETTE

Big Mama ... BIG MAMA grandiosely I am BIG MAMA. To all of you (With a wide gesture she points both to the ensemble and the audience.), to all of you I gave birth, in great labour pains (On the video screen pictures from the maternity ward.). I nurtured you and raised you, put you on your feet. Every morning you ate croissants and drank white coffee for breakfast. (Pictures of breakfast.) And look at you now! So pathetic and bourgeois. And thatís the thank you I get for all my troubles, you scoundrels! (Specifying theatrically, she points with her hand contemptuously to persons she enumerates.) This one here, Milk, with the lovely name of milk, unfortunately became a writer with a title of author, huh. I told him this while I was making tomato salad one day. Agata became a directress and she boasts with it. Elizabeta became a bank clerk with a strong inclination to alcoholism, debauchery, and candles (URBAN GIRL takes a big gulp. On the video screen a succession of pictures in accordance with the monologue.), and Robert became a deadman like so many others. Ah, and he had such a nice job in a famous car factory. And these right here, they became just ordinary high-class majorettes. No matter whoís in power, liberals, dictators, or democrats, they march in these black erotic uniforms of theirs. Politics and black evening dresses go together since beginning of time. (On the video screen black evening dresses and politicians.) When I ask them what their batons are for, they say itís for their own and everybody elseís pleasure. Yuck! And you, you became an audience, mere voyeurs of your own misery. You think youíre great men if youíve got three million dollars in Swiss banks. Albert Einstein, in Zurich, never had at one time more than 10,000 franks in his pocket, and he was stronger, smarter and more beautiful than any of you. And this one here! (She points at VETERAN OF WAR) I gave birth to him as well, and just look at him! He became my husband, for Christís sake! Isnít that blasphemous? While I was having kids, he was off gallivanting around in wars. He was always either gone to war or returning from a war, or working day in day out in the weapons factory. I was always alone with the kids, except for Easter, Christmas, and New Year. On those days I shared a bed with him and we made children. On other days I washed and ironed to exhaustion. Etcetera. You know Ö Wash, Iron, Fuck, Etc. On the rare days when we were in bed together, meaning during the holidays, he smelled of gunpowder, beer, and illiterate whores.

VETERAN OF WAR with indignation They were no ordinary whores. They were prostitutes, artists of their trade. They could fill an empty glass from a full one on their own, moreover naked, belly. Aha! Letís see you try doing that, my dear!

BIG MAMA Shut up, you wretch! All you can think of are weapons, bullets and whores. (BIG MAMA opening her arms wide.) Oh, God, what have I done to you to deserve such a huge cross to bear? (In a conciliatory manner and with a relative motherly mildness.) Oh, well, I forgive you all, because Iím BIG MAMA and I have a big heart. (On the video screen a big heart pumping time. On it are two time-hands. Itís five to twelve.) I have a big heart and I forgive you all. Iím a great free woman, a mother with good taste, a person with a sense for slow unification, flower arrangements, and impressive Gobelin tapestries. In addition, I adore garden architecture and honest feminism. I fight against male and female domination in the work place work and at home. Iím for unification and domination of taste. People, let there be a hundred of plants blossoming! And now, each of you will say something to BIG MAMA. (On the video screen a nightschool classroom. All the students are adults. A professor, who looks very much like Freud, is standing in front of the lectern and explaining something, mildly and sternly at the same time.) Iíll ask each of you one or more questions, and youíll answer. Then, accompanied by quiet or loud music, weíll talk, drink, dance, incorporate and merge. Tomorrowís the funeral of my son and once my son-in-law to be, may he rest in peace in this our European ground, so I want a little sophisticated yet sincere 399me, have you had a hard childhood and are now reliving your childhood traumas? Do you have nightmares? Do you dream tendentiously like doctor Freud?

Veteran of war ... VETERAN OF WAR militarily self-possessed Look, mother, woman and wife, my companion, you know, I wait for a new call to go to war. Balkans are always interesting. Kosovo isnít quieting down, and Montenegro wants independence. Yugoslavia, that is Serbia, doesnít want to grant independence to that cute little state which has sea access on the Adriatic. They need that sea access very much. And I like Montenegro. We spent our summer there in 1977, remember! Maybe Iíll help them a bit. But only after Christmas. Youíll have the baby in a week and I have to be there. But then, after a short recuperation of a month or two, so you have time to get yourself together, Iíll have to make you another baby before I leave to free Montenegro. (On the video screen making of a baby.) Weíll be done by Easter or Christmas, and Iíll be coming back. If I donít get killed, of course. But even if I do, Iíll be returning anyway. Just as this one here. (He points to the coffin.) But Iím not worried about you much, though. I see that our old family friend, mister Rudi, has had his eye on your abundant beauty for quite some time now. And if I survive, which is also one of the options, on Christmas weíll be making another baby. But after Christmas theyíll call me again. As usual, itíll be the hardest in Serbia. Radio-Belgrade will again play some beautiful song like Lili Marlen, but the dictatorship will still fall. (The melody of the mentioned song can be heard, while on the video screen a fall of a dictatorship is taking place, very similar to the fall of dictatorship in Romania) Not even the prettiest of songs can save a dictatorship, and Iíll again be back home by next Christmas. Weíll go to midnight mass again, eat a lot and drink a lot, and make another baby till morning comes. (On the video screen a midnight mass and the two of them in church. Then they eat and drink a lot, and then they make a child.) If the one from the previous Christmas is a boy, weíll call him Bozidar, and if itís a girl, sheíll be Bozidarka. And the ones to come can be Ivan, or Ivana. And if theyíll be twins weíll come to some sort of an agreement. Is that OK?

BIG MAMA pleased Oh, very much so. I like the part about making babies. Itís a legitimate activity. But wars, theyíre strange. Them I can hardly grasp. The politics of giving birth I can understand, but the politics of killing not as easily as that. Anyway, hereís a 100 German marks. Go and buy yourself 5 pairs of new underpants. You know, those boxer shorts. I like those very much. I like them on you, but I especially like the way it turns me on when youíre taking them off. Then they arouse my erotic little ego. The rest of the money you can spend at Oktoberfest, as many other Croats will do, not to mention immigrants from other countries at work in Germany. (On the video screen Oktoberfest.) Have some fun and think of your wife while looking at those full-bosomed Bavarian barmaids, who can carry five one-litre beer-mugs of beer in one hand. (Then she turns to the DIRECTRESS.) And you, my Agata, howís work? Iím referring to the boards that mean life, to theatre as such. Ö VETERAN OF WAR recites in a strong experienced tone of subordination

Madness to Amsterdam comes from southern parts. The night is like made for Amsterdam. People lying down at Schipol airport and drinking cold Heineken beer.

(On the video screen pictures of Amsterdam.)

Loves happen at museums. VINCENT VAN GOGH is the best for quick romance without future. Skinheads with lovely yellow tulips beating homosexuals, because they themselves are the same only slightly different. Compensation is the mother of history.

(On the video screen Skinheads gently tapping homosexuals, who are self-sacrificingly performing fellation on them, on their heads with yellow tulips. With their eyes closed, they all look happy, enraptured)

Oh, boy, you must one day experience Amsterdam madness. The night is like made for Amsterdam. Stars falling on universities, parents watching television, and cows without exception giving milk.

(On the video screen cows grazing.)

Oh, girl, you must one day experience Amsterdam madness. Itís a city where milk never dies. Every white drop is young.

(On the video screen white drops slowly slide down the faces of exhausted girls.)

long live Amsterdam madness! (VETERAN OF WAR bows gently.)

DIRECTRESS calmly explains I kicked that poem of yours out, mister author, because it slows down the action. Naked Europe must truly be naked, and not enveloped in poetry, lies, fog, videotapes, etcetera. Right? (Pause.) But now I see it all functions well after all. Good job, sir. I admit. Ö

Majorettes

Ö

FIRST MAJORETTE readily Mother, Iím OK. Everythingís cool. School is cool. Iím very satisfied with the general state of the society Iím surrounded by. I donít give a damn about Bosnia and Herzegovina. (On the video screen pictures of wartime Sarajevo.) The food is good at your place, and the musicís not half bad either. I like Laibach and Iron Maiden, and I support social democrats in shadow. (On the video screen the mentioned groups and a group of social democrats in the shadow of tall lime-trees in the garden of a restaurant.) I think theyíre, like, way cool, you know!

Ö

THIRD MAJORETTE relaxed Ah, listen mum, I donít think so. I ride my bike every day, as usual, and shower three times a day. At length and thoroughly, if you know what I mean. (On the video screen a girl riding a bike, and then taking a long, long shower. She points the spray of the shower to that especially provokative place of every female being.) It gives me great pleasure. In the evening I attend rehearsals. I dance and practice a lot. Yesterday we rehearsed Radetzky March, and then the English, German, French, and Croatian anthem. We also rehearsed the American anthem, just in case or to be sure, as our boss and conductor says. (On the video screen flags of those countries.) You know, we have to learn to stand still and march in place to all European anthems, and now to the American also. And marching helps us a lot to practise the discipline of even movements. In my free time I study mechanical engineering. Itís a very demanding college and Iím very happy. Guys at college are jealous Ďcause I pass all my exams regularly. Even the hardest ones. Ö THIRD MAJORETTE eating and drinking cheerfully I bet youíre referring to the flag of European Union in creation. Still, no offence, but I like the American flag more. And besides, it has many more stars. Good poetry lives in them. Just like the one our URBAN GIRL writesÖ (On the video screen, European and American flag.)

AUTHOR still chewing interrupts her impatiently

Directress

DIRECTRESS I donít agree. That piece is at the same time a tragedy and tragicomedy with addition of farce on the sides. Naked Europe also has that true tragic intensity, because the heroes -- and thatís all of us -- at the end die outside of theatre and canít help themselves in any way, and canít ever change that fateful fact. (On the video screen strikes, a mass of people carrying many transparents, shouting, protesting, probably asking for pay-raises.) Death is their destiny and they relentlessly go headlong to meet it.

The urban girl VETERAN OF WAR You speak beautifully, urban girl called Elza. The smells of asphalt and television breed chaos in you.

Ö URBAN GIRL

Iím a truly happy urban girl. Global village is only my excuse. I donít like going into global. I like truth and asphalt. When I was a kid I adored true stories, Tarzan, chocolate, and Mick Jagger. (On the video screen, Tarzan, chocolate, and Mick Jagger) I never knew much about depression, although I often felt dispirited. Especially in highschool, when there was a full moon (On the video screen, a full moon.) and during the now ever more popular PMS. (On the video screen, URBAN GIRL shouting at the full moon: P-M-S, P-M-S, and then: I love the premenstrual syndrome.) Every now and then I write poetry. Nothing special, just urban elegies. Iím semi-happy now. Thatís why Iím tippling out of this bottle. A little of brandy is always better than a lot of sedatives. My boyfriend, knock on wood (She knocks on wood three times with her free hand.), always loved me passionately and clearly uncompromisingly. Before he went to war he told me heíd always love me, even if he died. It came true. He died and here he is, in the coffin, and I know he loves me. The funeral is tomorrow. I have a feeling itís constantly nighttime and the whole continent wakes with me. He died, and two days before he died I got his letter. (She takes out a crumpled letter out of the pocket of her chequered cowboy-shirt. Takes a large mouthful of brandy and reads) ď My dear Elizabeta. A day like any other. Shelling continues, and the bodycount is getting higher and higher. They bury them on the soccer-field, as thereís no more room in the cemeteries. (On the video screen, film-footage or photos of wartime Sarajevo, particularly of the mentioned soccer-field cemetery.) My friend from Holland, we call him Fat Man because heís really fat, he says this is nothing. He says itíll end, as all wars do, and weíll be home once again, eating big greasy apple strudels and kissing our plump fiancťes. He also said that what he most likes is Sarajevo Blues, a sad song about love. (Folk music of some Bosnian oriental-style love song.) Heís a music professor, you know, and I believe him. Dear Elizabeta, I think of you so much, and of the disco club Aquarius where we danced till morning last time. When I return, which could be in a month or two, weíll dance all through the night. Sorry, but I gotta go out on patrol now. My armoured-car is called Elza. I love you, and think of you and your cherry-strudel. Your Robert.Ē (The girl puts the note into her pocket, takes a long sip from the bottle, and takes the candle on a candlestick, which is on the coffin.) Oh, dear Robert. Yes, Iím an urban girl and I grieve for my boyfriend my own way. I love good rockíníroll, but most of all Folk and New Age. Now Iíll light this candle and hold it a while in my hand, for Robert. Listen to music and sip some brandy every now and then. Iím sure heíd do the same if he were in my place and I in his. Tomorrow Iíll bury him and the day after tomorrow Iíll return to work. (On the video screen scenes from the funeral. URBAN GIRL wearing black. Her mother holding her up.) Iím an urban girl, but also a bank clerk. Even if someone dies it must be business as usual, as one European proverb says. Robert is forever in me and Iím sad, but yesterday we got a fax from Geneva that all counters must be painted red. And whereís that rockíníroll? I could use at least a good New Age piece. Ö URBAN GIRL slightly intoxicated by alcohol, masturbation, and the smoke of the candle Mother, itís hard, I admit. But life must go on. Washing machines must continue to wash dirty laundry, and hairdryers must blow dandruff across our blue seas like white ashes of death. My dandruff, for instance, adores the Adriatic Sea. (On the video screen a map of the Adriatic Sea.) Particularly the parts around Opatija and the islands of BraŤ and Hvar, and around Dubrovnik. (Again she touches the candle, takes a gulp of brandy, sits up on the coffin and looks earnestly at BIG MAMA.) When Dubrovnik was burning in 1991, I went out on the streets and protested against the war in Croatia. (On the video screen video-footage of the shelling of Dubrovnik.) During the air raids in Zagreb I ran to the bomb-shelter 59 times. You covered me with a blanket so I wouldnít get cold. There was a lady with a little dog, her favourite pet, who wouldnít go to the shelter. They didnít allow dogs inside, so she preferred to stay outside. (On the video screen a lady with a dog while sirens are wailing.) But, thank God, thatís over with. (Pause.) I feel sorry for Robert. If he were alive weíd be dancing at Aquarius now. But things being as they are, now Iíll recite two poems I wrote this morning sitting on the coffin. Yes, I write poetry when times are difficult. I believe everybody does; only theyíre not aware of it. Iím an urban girl and I write urban elegies. (She gets up, takes a notepad from the back pocket of her jeans. She takes a sip of brandy, puts the bottle down on the coffin, wipes her mouth with the back of her free hand and begins to recite.) Listen to this, mother! Perhaps itís not better than Rilke is, but I like it. The first urban elegy is called Buses are not Safe, and the other one is Eclipse of the Zucchini. Ö. EVERYONE encourages the girl Show us naked Europe! Show us eclipse!

URBAN GIRL slowly taking off the rest of her clothes recites gently

Eclipse of the Zucchini (On the video screen the poem is accompanied by appropriate video materials.)

Europe is naked, beautiful, and ugly. but anyone can have crepuscular moments. thatís good for psychiatrists. they live from and for twilight. from eclipse to eclipse they write books about it in sunlight. I say, it can happen to anyone. there is a man who came on Wednesday. he brought zucchini. disrupted the privacy of the hard black corals. I said so many things to that city cowboy. the black rings under my eyes spoke of my anger. I didnít want to play. I am a coral and I occupy myself with love of myself. I said to him: go and sin even more. in his eyes an astonished moon covered the pale-yellow zucchini. I knew; in time he too will get used to the eclipse. heíll realise that corals arenít communicative and that they rarely go to the supermarket. bread, drugs, and love for themselves they find within.

night again is dripping. Godís tap is broken. once again Iíll put silver on my eyelids. Iím urban Salome. I wish I were African wool. again Iíll dance alone in a black see-through nightdress. all the veils have long ago fallen from my eyes. Oh God, itís because Iíve had to dance with ants. yes, once again Iíll put silver on my eyelids. what a crazy day! a man with books and zucchini. pure comedy of errors. not even Borges could come up with that. do books and zucchini even go together? it isnít my birthday today. if by chance it is, as a present I crave an impressive work of art. a story, for instance, which would at least hint at my existence, corals and algae in the spacious yet cramped room of my childhood. but this is an urban fireplace. has this town a man who doesnít bestow mediocrity, routine gifts of chaos before falling asleep in the big death or Ďla petite mortí. if I ever meet him Iíll say to him: come! I am now the immense joy. approach! my name is sinner. enter! I am a dancer, I am sin.

Ö

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream: 'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vautingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion, A home and a country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation; Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation! The conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!" And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

URBAN GIRL standing relaxedly on the coffin, calmly, collected, in a voice full of sadness makes her final monologue. (On the video screen video-footage accompanies the monologue) Iím an urban girl. I feel constructive. I know there exists a blue chaos in which my ego vibrates its short-lived music. I know Iíll soon again be behind the counter in the bank, daydreaming of Robert for some three months. Will things change in our world, in Croatia, France, Brittain, Germany, in Venice or Zagreb? Will the Adriatic Sea still be blue? I donít know. I told my mum Iíd get married and have kids. Is that the right decision? Can Europe bear two more kids? I donít know. Iím a bank clerk full of vivid imagination, with a blurred outlook of the world. When I was in Switzerland I noticed that the grass over there is no greener than in Croatia. They say itís the same in America. I donít know. I know nothing of grass. Iím an urban girl who notices trash on the streets of many European cities and towns. Only Dubrovnik is entirely clean. In Dubrovnik I feel as a complete woman. Although the funeral of my boyfriend, who died thinking of me and my cherry-strudels, is very soon, I still canít think of it for too long. Iím a sensitive person, Iím a true woman and I desire a lot of consorting, merging. I want to unite with the blue sky and vibrate my womanhood, my quiet yet passionate sensibility. I want to be a limitless girl; I want to be blue and to carry in my eyes all the stars of this world. I love all that is beautiful, especially myself. Especially when Iím naked. Iím an urban naked girl and I love myself. I also love apples. In them I see the blue colour of a ripe sky. Yes, I love apples. Yes, I love applesÖ

A characteristic funeral tune can be heard, then a funeral march. It lasts a few moments and then fades and slowly dies down. From afar sounds of church bells. It gets closer and closer. Suddenly it stops. Only one bell can be heard now. The one that tolls for every Robert and every Roberta. Then complete silence again. Fadeout. Darkness. The only light comes from the video screen, which is blue, filled with numerous yellow stars that are now completely motionless. After about ten seconds on that blue and yellow background appears a sentence written in large red letters: ALL STORIES ARE TRUE.

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Page last modified on August 19, 2004, at 12:01 AM