A translated excerpt of a play by Amérique Nakamura

The Fucking Consequences of Your Health and Salvation!

THE CHARACTERS

Anna Wang: A woman in her late thirties. Anarchist.

Marciel Karina: Her lawyer.

THE SCENE

The following excerpt from ACT ONE takes place in an interrogation room.

Interrogation room. Anna and Marciel sit across from one another.

MARCIEL: Nervous? (Pause.) Well? (Pause.)

ANNA: Nervous? Why? What do I have to be nervous for?

MARCIEL: That a real question? You have a lot to be nervous for actually. Should I read it out loud top to bottom like it’s a goddamn grocery list?

ANNA: Not like anyone else is here. We’re not on a stage. There’s no audience. I don’t need to hear it again.

MARCIEL: I think you do. I think I should read it out to you as if there is an audience listening because maybe there will be in that audience someone who will find it within their heart to be nervous for you. And then maybe you can begin to understand your predicament.

ANNA: Your question wasn’t if I understand my predicament or even if I can begin to understand it. Your question was if I am nervous. And so I answered your question with my question, what do I have to be nervous for?

MARCIEL: (Your circular bull…) Fine.

ANNA: Fine what?

MARCIEL: You won’t answer my question. That’s fine.

ANNA: Sure.

MARCIEL: But I’ll tell you why I asked in the first place. (Pause.) Because I need to understand where you’re at right now, right here. Because I want to help you. Because it is your legal right that I have to help you. Because I want to help you. (Pause.) Anna. You’re being accused of robbery and murder. We can go over the specifics at a later date but I do want you to know that despite the first word having three syllables and the second having only two… those words carry a hell of a lot of weight. Do you at least understand that much?

ANNA: Sure.

MARCIEL: Are you?

ANNA: I said what I said.

MARCIEL: And what did you say?

ANNA: Sure.

MARCIEL: No. That’s not good enough. If you really and truly understand what I’m getting at here I want to hear those exact words coming out of your mouth.

ANNA: What exact words?

MARCIEL: ‘I understand.’

ANNA: (Pause.) Why?

MARCIEL: For chrissake. Because of that apparently, that’s why. Because of this. Are you trying to get yourself into the electric chair? Is that what you’re doing?

ANNA: I’m not doing anything. In fact, that’s the point. I would prefer not to.

MARCIEL: (Sits back and breathes.) I am trying to help you. Trying because right now it’s nothing more than an attempt. It is my job to help you. (And to not sound like a goddamn broken record.) Maybe you don’t believe in jobs or work at a fundamental level but I for one take pride in mine and it would make mine much much much more easier if you could just help me help you.

ANNA: Easier.

MARCIEL: Excuse me?

ANNA: Or easy.

MARCIEL: What is?

ANNA: If you’re going to use ‘much’ then you just use ‘easier.’ Or if you’re going to use ‘more’ then it’s just ‘easy.’

MARCIEL: So you do care about something.

ANNA: I care about a lot of things.

MARCIEL: Any of them including your own wellbeing?

ANNA: I care about a lot of things more important than me.

MARCIEL: Like what? I read in the briefs that the police found anarchist literature in your possessions. Is that what you believe in? Anarchism?

ANNA: (Pause.) I believe in a world without borders. A world of and for freedom, because anarchism means freedom. ‘The abolition of societies divided by classes. Respect for the other. To me, these are the things that matter in life.’ That’s what I believe in, the things I care about that are more important than me.

MARCIEL: That’s beautiful. Really is. And the .32 automatic pistol, do you believe in that too?

ANNA: I do not believe in violence.

MARCIEL: But they found…

ANNA: I do not believe in violence.

MARCIEL: What are you saying there? What do you mean by that?

ANNA: I have never owned a gun or fired a gun my entire life.

MARCIEL: Saying that means you’re saying something else too. Are you saying the gun, the .32 automatic pistol the police found in your apartment, that gun, is not yours?

ANNA: No.

MARCIEL: No that the gun is not yours?

ANNA: No.

MARCIEL: Then who put it there?

ANNA: Whichever officer was there when they found it.

MARCIEL: Do you… do you have any proof of that?

ANNA: I don’t need any.

MARCIEL: If you want to make it out of this alive you do.

ANNA: No.

MARCIEL: No?

ANNA: No.

MARCIEL: Why no?

ANNA: Because I do not believe in violence, I do not believe in the government, and the government does not believe in me.

MARCIEL: (Pause.) Ah. I see now.

ANNA: See what?

MARCIEL: Your face.

ANNA: (Pause.) My face?

MARCIEL: Yes. Your face. Because I can read it like a book, like literature. You think because you read a couple books you can just give up and let fate or the government or whatever have its way with you. You’re in despair.

ANNA: (Pause.) I’m not in anything but this room.

MARCIEL: Like hell you aren’t.

ANNA: You don’t know the first thing about me.

MARCIEL: And that’s the first thing we can agree on. And that’s because you won’t tell me anything, Anna. You’re hurt, Anna, you’re hurting. Someone sold you out and you don’t know who and your belief in the system is so not there that you’ve just done this to yourself instead.

ANNA: I’d be impressed if you were right about any of that.

MARCIEL: It’s fine, Anna. Really it is.

ANNA: If you were right about any of that.

MARCIEL: (She sets her hand on Anna’s.) Anna. (Pause.) It’s okay. It’s okay to feel that way. You know why? Because it’s just a feeling. And once you and I know how you feel, we can know what to do about it.

ANNA: I would prefer…

MARCIEL: I don’t give a shit about what you would not prefer to do. Maybe in an ideal world, maybe in your ideal world, but that world isn’t here right now. This one is. It’s a world in which action is necessary. If you believe in something, if you feel it to be true, then you have to with every fiber of what makes you fight for that belief. I believe you’re innocent, Anna, and I’m not the only one.

ANNA: What does that mean?

MARCIEL: It means… your story’s already reached the press. Most of the details aren’t out yet but the public? They are not happy. There are riots and protests, most spearheaded by your fellow factory workers who vouch for your innocence and for your alibi. People believe in you, Anna, it’s a shame you don’t believe in yourself.

ANNA: (She begins to shake. Tears welling.) You don’t know that.

MARCIEL: Now you’re just talking nonsense. Anna. You said there’s no stage, no audience. Well I’m telling you there will be. And they will all be watching. So, what do you want to do? Do you want to give into your despair? Or do you want to fight for what you believe in?

ANNA: (Pause.) Sure.

MARCIEL: That’s not good enough.

ANNA: (She nods and looks Marciel straight in the eyes.) I understand.

MARCIEL: (She smiles.) And that’s fine.

End of excerpt.

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