April 19. Theater.

Sunday, lazy sunday. Sometimes, you have to turn the hide of your experiences inside out in order to aerate it. In the process, you can study the pigments that have been formed over the years by the exposure to the world. Red spots, shiny freckles, tiny oily canals of capillaries carrying heavy blood to wide open venules, soft pink protuberances moving slowly like flan puddings, purple crumbles, and what have you in the world of this living metaphore. What I want to say is that you can lay off your experience for a moment like a coat and observe it. Or rather: I can do so. Or better still: I think I can do so. So I take a note about it. I have the heavy suspicion though, that it’s not going to take you anywhere. You read it and say “ahum” you know your experience it doesn’t need to be aired thus it has been useless to you (sorry) you read it and you think “so what?” but then, at a certain moment decided by me you feel itches on your ellbows. Not yet, not in this sentence or in the next, but soon enough. You think about your experience and yes, maybe, maybe it does need some air or at least you could try it just to see what happens. You read these lines and it’s like a little bug the size of a cucaracha crawling with a dozen moving legs on your upper arm the legs have tiny hairs on them and they move the bicho is crawling towards your ellbow it’s all tense, ouch! it’s itching – wait do not scratch not yet, you have to ventilate your experience first.

Theater can be so comforting. In our decadent Leitkultur, the goal of theater is to be thought-provoking, scandalous, critical, and discomforting. I want to write a theater play that is comforting for people that are used to think that comforting is kitsch and have developed a strong physiological allergy against it. They would have to be convinced in the opening scene that it is an intellectual, very provocative, unique, thought-provoking and utterly discomforting play they are seeing before their eyes, and then gradually the play would make a sharp turn to attack them by surprise, to catch them off guard, inducing a dose of comfort in an unguarded spot of the Achilles’ heel of their minds, making them feel like they received the penultimate unction of consolation, and want nothing more than to go out into their worlds and tell their friends about it. That is the plan.

Enter Tom and Jerry into what seem to be the ruins of an Inca village. A stone escalator with seventeen steps and a sign “to heaven” in an unknown language besides it. Clouds in the sky, but not too many. Red earth with some very large bugs (may be plastic) crawling on it. Two low houses without roofs and a well in between them.
TOM Haven’t I seen you here before?
JERRY Me? Before? Let me think…
It is possible, yes, I live here with my spouse.
TOM You live in this old bedraggled house?
JERRY I beg you pardon, sir, but the house is fine.
TOM It has no roof…
JERRY It never rains in this region.
TOM But someone could… peek.
JERRY Peek? You mean from above?
TOM That happens. I know people.
JERRY What kind of of people?
TOM People with ladders and curiosity. They will peek.
JERRY I have nothing to hide.
TOM But your spouse… I mean, the bed and everything.
JERRY We like to make love under the open sky.
TOM Yes, but when they see you. It’s perverse.
JERRY They are, not we.
TOM But they could see her… parts… are they not… for your eyes only?
JERRY I will think about that. It’s a very personal question.
TOM Why that?
JERRY You talk about her parts. You don’t even know her name.
TOM It’s just… I was curious how you could live together without a roof.
JERRY We just do. Enough?
TOM Shouldn’t we introduce ourselves?
JERRY Of what use is that?
— Tom points at the other house.
TOM I live here too.
JERRY Without a roof?
TOM I live alone. The laddermen are not interested in my type of happiness.
JERRY Why not?
TOM You should ask them.
JERRY Oh.
TOM So, what’s your name?
JERRY Jerry.
TOM That would make us look ridiculous.
JERRY Why?
TOM Since my name is Tom.
JERRY Yes, they might laugh.
TOM Laugh? They won’t take any of this seriously.
JERRY Seriously?
— Tom shouts at the public.
TOM Yes, this is supposed to be a critical play about the wretched human condition.
JERRY Always that wretched human condition…
TOM Do you have a better idea?
JERRY No.
TOM See? At least you could change your name.
JERRY I? I should change my name?
TOM Yes, into Tupac for example. Tom and Tupac alliterate and because of its indigenous association it’s more serious than Tom and Jerry.
JERRY But I don’t want to change my name.
TOM Why not? You’re an open minded guy. Come on…
JERRY No. I suggest you change your name since you’re the one who finds this whole thing so important. Change it into Jeronimo. Jerry and Jeronimo alliterate and it has an indigenous association. Besides, I don’t want my spouse to learn a new name.
TOM I refuse. My name was given to me by my beloved parents to remind them of my little brother who died of illness when he was only one week old. There has been a black cloud of grief amidst our family ever since. I will carry the name Tom, and my first son will carry the name Tom.
JERRY I am so sorry to hear that, Tom. I don’t know what to say. It’s… but my name comes from my grandfather who has been a hero in the Civil War and I am the only Jerry in my generation. I will never give that up.
TOM But think about the public. They won’t take us seriously.
JERRY So what? Should we care? Aren’t our names more important than our ability to get our point across to some decadent public?
TOM But it’s important to be critical of the human condition.
JERRY Listen. If we appear using false names, the public will only laugh at us even more.
TOM They don’t have to know we changed our names. We can change them just for the play, you know, just for tonight.
JERRY I am reluctant. It’s…confusing. You know what? I’ll ask my spouse.
TOM That’s exactly what I was going to suggest.
— Enter Snoopy, Jerry’s spouse.
JERRY Snoopy, what do you think about a name-change for tonight?
SNOOPY Why?
JERRY To make us look more serious.
SNOOPY I don’t know. You look very serious to me.
TOM Don’t you understand? The public would think we will be chasing each other all night.
SNOOPY Oh. Is that bad?
TOM That’s very bad. Nobody will attent the critical substance.
SNOOPY Oh. What’s that?
TOM About the human condition.
SNOOPY That sounds critical.
TOM Wait a minute. Your name isn’t Snoopy, is it?
SNOOPY Yes, it is.
TOM Oh no. We should change that too.
SNOOPY Why?
TOM Because it’s ridiculous!
SNOOPY But it sounds nice, doesn’t it. Jerry always says it sounds nice.
TOM Oh stop it. How could we ever be taken seriously?
JERRY We won’t change our names and that’s final.
— Tom pulls his own hair with both hands.
TOM It’s hopeless.
SNOOPY I have an idea. Why don’t we ask the public?
TOM Now you’re making fun of me too?
SNOOPY No, seriously.
TOM It’s typically a woman’s idea.
JERRY Why do you think that?
TOM The wish to make everything transparent, to communicate beyond the possible.
JERRY That would be a woman’s desire?
TOM Yes. And a useless one.
SNOOPY I’m sorry I brought it up.
JERRY You don’t need to be sorry, sweetheart. Don’t listen to that idiot.
TOM What did you say?
JERRY You heard me. My poor Snoopy is all confused because of you.
TOM Great. There goes our last chance to be taken seriously.
— they go into their houses and sleep. Curtain.

ACT 2. A starry night. Tom sits at a small table and writes. Snoopy steps out of her and Jerry’s house in pyjamas and with a worried face.
SNOOPY Tom?
TOM What do you want?
SNOOPY Will you forgive me?
TOM For what?
SNOOPY That I suggested to ask the public for a solution to our problem?
TOM Alright, Alright, let’s forget about that.
SNOOPY I don’t feel very well today.
TOM Why not? It’s such a beautiful starry night.
SNOOPY I’m afraid.
TOM Why?
SNOOPY I saw faces, Tom. When I was sleeping last night, I saw dark faces watching me from above. It was so scary. And I don’t want to tell Jerry about it.
TOM What kind of faces? What did they look like?
SNOOPY Just, hairy faces. They all looked very scary.
TOM What can I do about it?
SNOOPY I didn’t ask you to do something about it. I just wanted someone to talk to.
TOM You have to tell Jerry.
SNOOPY No, no, no. He won’t understand me.
TOM You could try.
SNOOPY I know, but, Tom, come on, you’re a smart guy. You know what I mean. Jerry should not understand me. That way our relation remains exciting.
TOM You should not live your life by silly marriage guidebook principles. It’s time to get a roof, Snoop.
SNOOPY Snoopy.
TOM I can help you. I’ll buy some wood and tiles and tomorrow I’ll make you guys a roof.
SNOOPY And what about yourself?
TOM I don’t need a roof. Remember the laddermen? They don’t find interesting what happens in my house. T’is the very fact, you know / that I do live with no spouse.
SNOOPY I understand. But Jerry wouldn’t want to have a roof either. He wants to look at the stars.
TOM He can move to my place…
SNOOPY What?
TOM That was a joke. No, I get the point. Here’s what we gonna do. You go drink a lot with your man. Not just a few glasses. Make him really drunk. Meanwhile, I’ll make you a roof and paint the starriest sky on your ceiling. Tomorrow, he won’t see any difference. How’s that for a plan?
SNOOPY That sounds smart. But I don’t want to betray my husband.
TOM Ah, come on silly. That’s no betrayal. The stars I paint look very real.
SNOOPY Still not convinced…
TOM Then I’ll make a nice roof on my house. That will convince you…
SNOOPY Can I visit you then?
TOM Of course you can. Anytime, sweetheart, anytime…

Curtain.

At night, I will prepare some unyeasted Indian-style fried bread to go with the red meat. We buy everything at the market; everyone knows each other, the meat is cut in thin slices and we will prepare it with a fine Mentha-like herb and garlic. Did I make you hungry and very much so?

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Published by

Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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