A play by:
Hynor Vitija, Belkisa Zhelegu, Fatbardha Zyberi, Delvis Bejleri, Klodjana Keco, Jenny Demi
written in Tirana, 24/29 April 2023
SCENE 1 / Hynor Vitija
In a semi-dark office, there are two people, one of them is the mayor. He takes a sip from the water in front of him.
The mayor: What you say seem dangerous…
The criminal: There isn’t any danger at all, you have manipulated them many times.
The mayor: Yes, but this is different, it’s a big step.
The criminal: We both can benefit from this deal; it is for our best interests.
The mayor: I don’t understand at what point is it in my best interest?
The criminal drinks the water in front of him.
The criminal: This is the last month of your mandate, right?
The mayor: Yes.
The criminal: Great, then you can see it from another point of view, in the upcoming elections you will have all the voting in your hand. You will know who is voting for you and who isn’t and I know you best, you wouldn’t miss an opportunity like this.
The mayor thinks for a moment.
The mayor: How does that work?
He takes the device in his hands.
The criminal: So, you should put it on your forehead. Then this chip is connected directly to the unconscious part of the brain, so that people cannot control it.
The mayor puts it on his head.
The mayor: Is it on?
Something is written in his forehead: “Will the secretary come to the motel?”
The criminal: (Smiling) Hopefully, yes.
The mayor takes it out of his head.
The mayor: Honestly, I don’t know what to say, they are not all sheep to accept it as nothing.
The criminal: Don’t worry, I thought about that too.
He takes out a letter.
The criminal: (Reading) Firstly it will be tested in one hundred and fifty randomly selected families. And they will be told that the reason why we have decided to create the “thought reader” is to clean the environment and not to cut down trees to create paper.
The mayor: Would they agree?
The criminal: Of course, yes.
The mayor: I don’t know.
The criminal: Well, I helped you become a mayor and I don’t care how will you deal with convincing them.
He stands up.
The criminal: I have to go now; I am waiting for good news.
The criminal walks toward the door leaving him with the “thought reader” in his hands.
SCENE 2 / Belkisa Zhelegu
Jenny, the director of the theater, asks for a meeting with the stage director Ricardo and Elvis’s wife Eve, an actress in his show. Eva has become part of a government program for mind reading, where 150 families participate, and thus she cannot be an actress anymore, because the words she says would be different from what she thinks. She asks the director to resign.
Jenny: What about the show, Eve?
Eve: I don’t know… maybe we can find a solution.
Jenny: What fucking solution can we find? Dear lady, do you understand that if you become part of that experiment, you can no longer be an actress, right? You will throw your entire career in the trash just to be another servile of the government.
Ricardo: Ladies please, I don’t think that’s the right thing to…
Jenny: You better shut up! Your turn is later, wait there!
Ricardo: As you say my lady.
Jenny: (Talking to Eve) But darling, why do you allow yourself to be the government’s guinea pig. How did you become such cowards… no, I honestly don’t get it.
Ricardo: Actually, I also applied to be part of the experiment but…
Jenny: Your brain is of no use to them. I’m talking to Eve.
Eve: Excuse me? I respect you but I don’t want to be judged for my choices. I don’t know why everyone judges me for what I want to do.
Jenny: Oh, really? Don’t worry, from tomorrow they will not only judge you for what you do, but also for what you think.
Eve: No, no, it doesn’t function like this. The government said…
Jenny: Oh, damn! You know what? Can you please not mention the government when I am present, it irritates me. Please!
Eve: Okay, fine. I just wanted to say that this experiment is about the environment, to save paper, to…
Jenny: Bullshit! I don’t care!
Eve: Well, your opinion.
Jenny: One day you will face the truth, no worries.
Ricardo: How about we talk a little about the show?
Jenny: We’ll talk, man, why are you in such a hurry? Soon it will be your turn to speak. (To Eve) Well then, I don’t know what else to say. You know better. For me, you are making a big mistake.
Eve: I understand. Where should I sign?
Jenny hands Eve a document, which she signs. Then she leaves. Ricardo also tries to run after her, but Jenny stops him.
Jenny: Hey you! Come here! We’re not done together yet!
Ricardo: About what? I have nothing to do with her resignation. I swear!
Jenny: Sit down, sit down! You look tired.
Ricardo: Not at all my honorable lady, I am always on the alert.
Jenny: Oh please, don’t call me like this, as you can imagine how much I enjoy this kind of… bullshit. Call me Jenny.
Ricardo: Sure, my la… I mean Jenny.
Jenny: So, what will happen with the show now that Eve is gone?
Ricardo: Hmm, I really don’t know…
Jenny: Great! May I ask you a question? What do I pay you for?
Ricardo: As the stage director of the play ma’am… Jenny.
Jenny: Which play?
Ricardo: My play ma’am, “The dead Aladdin”
Jenny: There will be no show, so you are fired. If there is no main actress, how will you do the show?
Ricardo: But please my honorable…
Jenny: Call me Jenny.
Ricardo: But this… this is unfair. You know that I have written more than 100 plays, and this is the first one that I am putting on stage. Moreover, it is a show about global warming, the government would like it as it coincides with the program it has launched.
Jenny: The government doesn’t give a fuck about your plays! Why do you act like an ignorant?
Ricardo: (Begging her) Please, ma’am, don’t fire me, I’m sorry! This is my opportunity as an excellent director, to show the world who I truly am.
Jenny: (Regretfully) Okay, fine. I resent seeing people crying. Open an audition and look for an actress. If you are able to find it, continue with the show, if not don’t step on my office again.
Ricardo: Oh, thank you my lady, how can I…
Jenny: (Showing him the door) You can go!
SCENE 3 / Fatbardha Zyberi
Drita turns on the radio. She searches for different show and finally selected the one where Lady A was speaking.
Lady A: Yes, I have talked to God…Drita seems interested while listening the woman and turns up the volume of the radio.
Lady A: God told me the solutions on environmental pollution, lack and increase of water, electric energy—
Drita tired and apparently uninterested of what just heard turns off the radio.
Drita: I haven’t eaten cake since morning…
Drita looks at her large picture on the wall, with a cake in her hand, smiling.
Drita: Mom, is there water?
Mother: Not yet.
Drita: Didn’t that woman talk to God about these things?
Drita goes to the kitchen.
She gets ready the ingredients to make a cake.
Then she takes her phone and calls Leo.
Drita: Leo, my love. Will you come to make a cake together?
Leo: (on the phone) I can’t, I am going to the theater.
Drita: Waa, is the theater more important than my cake?!
Leo: (on the phone) I am tired of your cakes. It just wastes electricity.
Drita: Never in my life has anyone offended me in this way. You know what, it’s over… (The call is cut off.)
Drita: Hello… hello?
Drita sees the phone.
Drita: No Wi-Fi?!(She noticed that the electricity is cut off.)
Drita: On one hand Leo… on the other global warming. How will I make the cake now?
SCENE 4 / Hynor Vitija
In the year 7997 in Hynoropolis City, due to the destruction of flora and fauna, the production of paper is strictly prohibited.
The first scene
Elvis (40), puts on his tie and gets ready to leave the house, suddenly the news anchor is heard speaking.
The anchor: Dear viewers, we just received news from the editorial office. From today paper and all products created with it are strictly prohibited. From moment to moment, residents will be provided with the “Thought Reader”.
The phone rings.
Elvis’ lawyer: Did you hear it?
Elvis: Yes… what will happen now?
Elvis’ lawyer: Now everything will be displayed through the thought reader… thus… I can’t assure you that we will win the case.
Elvis: Pardon?! You promised me that I would win the trial.
Elvis’ lawyer: The court hearing is in two hours, come to the court and we’ll talk.
Elvis goes to the court.
The second scene.
Elvis is in front of his wife (40).
Elvis’s lawyer: Honorable judge, the defendant betrayed the victim and we have facts about this.
He takes out some photos.
The wife’s lawyer: I object… The picture is made of paper and as we all know; it is forbidden to use it. So, these cannot be taken as evidence.
The judge: The lawyer is right; the facts are not accepted.
Elvis’ lawyer: Then, can I ask some question to the defendant?
The judge: Yes.
Elvis’ lawyer: Defendant, have you cheated more than once?
The wife: No.
In her forehead appears “Yes”.
Elvis’ lawyer: So, as you all can see it’s obvious that she is a cheater.
Elvis: Can I ask a question too?
The judge: Yes.
Elvis: Who are they?
The wife: Okay then, I am telling the truth: the football coach and your best friend.
In her forehead appears “even your lawyer”.
Elvis’ Lawyer: It seems that the gadget is defective… maybe it would be better to reconsider the paper.
Elvis: Even with my lawyer, really?! Oh, my generous wife.
The judge (In his forehead appears this): OH, today I want to be in the beach and not talk about this bitch!!
SCENE 5 / Fatbardha Zyberi
Drita is preparing a cake. She looks at the kitchen shelves to see if there is chocolate but she notices that there is not. Then she gets her wallet and gets ready to go. Her mother stops her when she’s about to come out.
Mother: Where are you going Drita?
Drita: To the supermarket, I have to buy chocolate.
Mother: But you were once earlier.
Drita: Don’t worry, nobody is going to notice me.
Drita wants to go out while the mother follows her.
Mother: Drita, come back! Immediately!
Drita goes out.
Drita is walking in the empty streets of her neighborhood.
A soldier is walking toward her.
The soldier: To were?
Drita: To the supermarket.
The soldier: You have been earlier there; go home. You cannot go out twice.
Drita: Waa… but I have to do the cake, I need to buy that chocolate.
The soldier: Waa, really?! If I help you, would you give me a slice of your cake?
The soldier: Then, go home. It has been a week since the order came out and people should obey and go out as little as possible, as the order provides. Your excessive walking is damaging the environment.
Drita: But I didn’t go out by car.
The soldier: You people are more harmful than cars.
Drita: You, ugly cow, I want to eat cake.
The soldier is chatting with someone in his phone.
The soldier: It’s forbidden to eat sweets. This order will be announced tomorrow.
Drita: So, I still have time. Until tomorrow I can eat the whole cake, I promise!
The soldier grabs Drita’s arm and forces her to go home.
Drita: Oh, if the supermarket is closed when I go there, I will break your head!
The soldier: It’s already closed; we have to save the electricity.
The soldier accompanies Drita to her house.
Drita enters. The electricity is cut off. Nervous, she takes a glass of water but just when she was to drink it the mother takes it from her hand.
Mother: You drank a glass of water for today. Better save that for tomorrow.
Drita: Waa, I can’t even drink water as much as I want?
Mother: We have to save the water. We are running out of it.
Drita goes towards the refrigerator to open it. Immediately the mother stops her, terrified, stepping in front of her.
Mother: What are you doing?! You crazy?
Drita: I just wanted an ice cream.
Mother: No current is coming through; you will melt the ice. We’re ordered to save the ice in order to send it to the glaciers.
Drita opens the refrigerator.
Mother: Go away! Don’t dare telling anyone that you opened the fridge. Otherwise, you will be appointed as an enemy. The environment’s enemy.
Drita gets nervous.
Drita: I am going to kill myself.
Mother: You are not allowed. No one should die before the age of sixty. It burdens the earth. As few bodies in the graves as possible.
Drita: Since it is forbidden being buried then you can burn me.
Mother: Oh no, no! Fire is strictly prohibited!
SCENE 6 / Delvis Bejleri
Leo: In almost impossible conditions to live in the mountains, because the water was poisoned, we decided to return to our home in Tirana. I am walking alone, seeing that the whole neighborhood is empty; I walk as if I’m searching, as if I’ve lost something. I think about what I lost when we were there, happiness. But what’s happiness to me? Everyone seeks happiness alone, we go in search of it alone, but we forget that our happiness depends on each other.
SCENE 7 / Hynor Vitija
The mayor is writing some documents in his office when suddenly there is a knock on the door.
The mayor: Come in!
The criminal enters.
The mayor: Oh, you forgot the thought reader…
The criminal: No, you can keep it, consider it as a gift from me. Here are two more for you to try on your workers. Now I came for something else.
The mayor leaves the documents aside.
The mayor: Yes?
The criminal: We need a construction permit, as we want to destroy the city’s theater.
The mayor: Are you planning to destroy the theater?
The criminal: We will, that’s why we need a construction permit; the construction of the cleaning factory will start in two weeks.
The mayor: And you don’t even consider asking me first?
The criminal: You serve only to sign, nothing more.
The mayor sits in his chair.
The mayor: The permit can be issued the day after tomorrow.
The mayor: I need it today.
The mayor: It’s impossible!
The criminal: Well, there is nothing left to discuss; I will be back in an hour and I want the construction permit to be ready.
The mayor: But…
The criminal comes out.
The mayor: Why did I become a mayor?
The lawyer comes in.
The mayor: We need legal protection; things don’t seem to be good.
The lawyer: What has happened?
The mayor: They will explode the theatre.
The lawyer: Why?
The mayor: I don’t know what’s behind this, but they have planned something for sure.
He sees the thought reader on the table.
The mayor: This is for you.
The lawyer: For me?
The mayor: Yes, we don’t have enough time to talk, so we will communicate through our thoughts.
The lawyer puts it in his head.
The lawyer: Alright.
The mayor: (to himself): Same as the folk, just like sheep.
The lawyer: Did you say something?
The mayor: Nothing, go get the documents at the factory.
The lawyer goes out.
SCENE 8 / Belkisa Zhelegu
National Theater of the city. The day of the show “The dead Aladdin”. Ricardo hides behind the stage curtains in anxiety.
Actor 1: (To the other actor) How is the weather?
Actor 2: For now, it is raining, but who knows what it will be like in the next 10 minutes.
Actor 1: Storm?
Actor 2: Yes, probably nobody will come!
Actor 3: The government announced some new rules yesterday. According to them, when there is a storm, the air can be more dangerous than it usually is, and thus we are not allowed to leave the house.
Actor 1: What if it is done on purpose for the protest that is being held in the center of the city?
Ricardo: It starts in 5 minutes! Are you ready?
Actor 2: We’re ready but… it’s raining heavily outside.
Ricardo: Yes, and what then?
Actor 2: But how can anyone come in this weather?
Actor 3: In fact, the government has…
Ricardo: Shut your face, please!
Actor 3: How dare you?
Ricardo: You mean… how dare you?
Actor 3 goes to his place calmly.
Ricardo: All, please, focus! Soon they will come.
15 minutes later. Nobody comes.
Actor 2: (Again; asking the actor 2) How is the weather?
Actor 2: Still raining.
Ricardo: I am pretty sure that soon the hall will be full!
Actor 3: I don’t think so.
Ricardo: Oh, really? Then what do you think? (He doesn’t respond). Common, tell us! Don’t hesitate, tell us what’s your opinion.
Actor 3: Nothing special.
Ricardo: And which “thoughts” do you consider as special?
Actor 3: For example… going home.
Ricardo: Are you insane?! Leaving the show?
Actor 3: Apparently, I am not the only one. Nobody will come to see your play because it sucks and yeah… we all are aware of it.
30 minutes later. The hall is still empty.
Actor 3: Oh, shit! I can’t wait anymore. I’m leaving!
Ricardo: (Nervous) How selfish!
Actor 3: Who? Me?!
Ricardo: Who else?
Actor 3: (Referring to others) They.
Actors: What’s wrong with you?
Actor 3: No, what’s wrong with you all! Are you blind? Are you stupid? No one will come. The activists…
Ricardo: Shut up and leave!
Actor 3: Sure!
Ricardo: We are artists, not activists.
Actor 3: Artists… we are allowed to come to the theater and then they don’t allow us to perform. How the hell can we be called artists if we can’t perform?
Ricardo: No one is stopping you performing. You are leaving willingly.
Actor 3: I’m going to perform in the city center.
Ricardo: The scene is here.
Actor 3: But the audience there.
Actor 2: (To actor 1) I think we should follow him. Surely, he has accepted another project and there will definitely be an audience.
Actor 3 leaves. The other two, bored, start to collect their things.
Actor 1: Is it still raining outside?
Actor 2: That’s what the government says.
SCENE 9 / Klodjana Keco
TV SHOW Scene
C: Hello, everyone! We’re today with our usual friends, which means with our philosopher and theologian friend, Mister D…
C: Miss Greta, who is a fashionista, blogger, professor and commentator.
Greta: Oh, hi Mister C. I’m so happy to be here, as I’m launching my new invention, a jacket that can be used in the three seasons we already have left: Hot Season, Cold Season and the Rainy Season, there is no more Spring and Autumn (laughs).
C: Yes, we will have the opportunity to talk more about that during the SHOW. And since we are talking about inventions, I want to introduce you to a very interesting matter. This is Lady A. She says she has spoken to God and has the ultimate solution for humanity.
D: At this point I would interrupt you as we need to know what kind of ultimate solution the lady is talking about. So, Christians and Muslims believe that the ultimate solution comes after death and there we have hell and heaven.
C: Director, yes? (To the guests) One moment please! (In headphones) Ah, he is here? (Again, to guests and cameras) He came, dear viewers. Of course, it was impossible to confirm the participation because the commitments he has. Before you, we welcome the mayor with a round of applause.
The mayor: Oh, hello to everyone, hello Mister C! Thank you very much for the invitation! I was hearing that Ms. Greta has an invention to present. We have always encouraged such environmentally friendly initiatives. In fact, this is also the reason why I accepted to be here today. I will present to the public a very ambitious and eco-friendly project entitled ‘Beyond Art’. You know the close relationship I have with art, theater, painting. For this reason, we will build a factory which will produce clean energy, right in the heart of the city with zero toxic waste.
C: Any initiative friendly to the environment and the earth is definitely welcomed. But I know you want to build this factory on a territory that is already in the hands of Jenny’s ecological theater… is that right? On the other hand, Lady A, have you talked about these problems with God? It means what should we do with overpopulation, environmental pollution, global warming…
Lady A: Greetings. In addition to these problems just mentioned, I believe that one of the points that we should add is the equal distribution of resources and responsibilities for them…
C: Director? Ah! We have a direct connection with Mrs. Jenny from the city center. She wants to read a letter to the mayor entitled ‘No Dear Mayor!’… We should appreciate this.
While Jenny reads the letter, Lady A gets up and leaves the studio.
SCENE 10 / Delvis Bejleri
Leo and Drita are talking in the phone, and he is explaining to her the reasons why they can’t meet.
Leo: Drita, I can’t come today honey, as I have an audition.
Drita: Waa, what was that?
Leo: You have to understand me, can you? You know how long I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this.
Drita: Oh yeah, yeah bullshit! I’m sick of these theater stuff. But you have to understand something, in the theater there is no food for you artists, while I’m preparing a wonderful cake, just for you, my love.
Leo: No, you have to understand that I can’t miss such a chance…
Drita: Waa, did you just refuse my invitation, again?! You will regret it, Leo!
Leo: What! You’re overreacting, look…
Drita: The one who is overreacting is you! Waa, you seem very brave, daring to talk to me like this…
Leo: I love you so much my sweetie, never forget that.
Drita: Yes sure, I see… how much you love the theater.
Leo: You will never change! I have to hang up the phone because the battery is dying.
Drita: Waa, I can’t! Really, I can’t deal with these justifications anymore. If you dare not to come today… forget me! Forever! Did you understand? There will not have sweetness in your salty, tasteless life anymore… never ever!
SCENE 11 / Belkisa Zhelegu
Ricardo is still trying to convince the actors not to leave the show.
Ricardo: What protest? Where are you going?! What about the show?
Actor 1: Obviously, no one will come to see the show. Thus, what are we supposed to do here anymore?
Ricardo: Theater! You’re supposed to do theater, my friends! A professional never gives up…
Actor 2: I assume you are aware that the main actor of your show is missing?
Ricardo: No, that problem is solved. A guy just called me and is coming for the audition. Please don’t leave me! This is my first show.
Actor 1: And maybe the last one.
Ricardo: Everything depends on you. Please don’t run away! Stay…
At that moment, the theater door is forced open and Leo enters, wet from the rain.
Ricardo: The guy for the audition?
Leo: Get out everyone! All! They will blow up the theater!
Ricardo faints. The other two try to bring him back to his senses.
Actor 1: What the hell?! Who told you?
Leo: They have installed mind-reading machines; I saw it on someone’s forehead that in a few minutes they will blow up the theater.
Ricardo: (Unconsciously) My show, “The dead Aladdin” …
Actor 1: The show is cancelled. We all have to leave, otherwise we will burn in here.
Ricardo faints again. The three of them lift him in their arms and take him out. Then Leo takes the car and leaves for Drita’s house.
SCENE 12 / Jenny Demi
A letter addressed to the mayor!
Not dear mayor!
I feel nothing but remorse for all the times that I have given you the opportunity to use the stages of my theater, built with love, to deliver your speeches about the future of a clean and ecological city, through the construction of this factory and today you’re targeting my theater. Why? Not dear mayor, why… aren’t there enough places outside the center of this city to do this?!
Precisely in our beloved center, which it’s losing its identity day by day. You’re destroying it little by little! The sky can no longer be seen as your towers have occupied its view. I well remember your undeserved joy as this theater was being built until the day it was inaugurated, of course with your beautiful, pompous and chosen speech with such pretense.
You will build a factory in the center of the city claiming to improve the air quality, but the truth is that endless money will go into your pocket from this project that you are presenting today and the result will be a dirtier city. In fact, since you’ve been appointed mayor, you’ve done nothing but ruin this city. Not dear mayor, you are just a mayor like any other mayor and I am convinced that everything you are planning to do is not at all in the best interest of our city and even less in the best interest of planet earth.
Not dear mayor, when you didn’t know where to collect the city’s garbage and let it spill into the streets, bursting the bins of every neighborhood, I collected them… I collected cardboard and made walls, I collected bags and made curtains, I collected cans and made metal constructions. When you created places where car tires would burn, I would take them and make chairs and tables. Not dear mister mayor, then you used to thank me, but now you tell me that if I don’t accept the construction of this factory, the city will sink. Not dear mayor… I don’t believe you, so today I will choose to play “ALL IN”.
I choose theater, culture, development, knowledge, promotion of young artists, who will be a model of society for the future of my city. Not dear mayor… the days when wars were fought in the name of peace are long gone… we got rid of this deception… we live in a world where today wars are supposedly fought for the sake of oil, but water itself produces energy… thus NOT DEAR MAYOR “FUCK OFF”!
SCENE 13 / Fatbardha Zyberi
Sitting on her bed, Drita cries while is looking at some pictures of her making cake with Leo.
Drita: It’s been a long time since I ate cake today.
Drita hears the sound of a car outside. She looks very surprised about it.
Drita: Waa, who dared to come by car?
Drita looks at the window, her face looks very surprised.
Drita: He brought cake!!
Drita leaves the room through the window.
SCENE 14 / Klodjana Keco
Lady A is doing housework, takes 3 pots of soil and starts planting flowers. She is singing ‘What a wonderful world’, then suddenly stops. She remembers a phrase.
Lady A: ‘Love your relative as you love yourself’… But if you don’t love yourself, how can you love others?! How can one remain silent to listen?! I was in front of God and God was not that Whitebeard on the golden throne with clouds around. God was an infinite, white light that spoke without words in front of my small silence. From up there, I saw this planet, our house. Small and vulnerable, very beautiful and fragile. It seemed like the Paradise in which we should live, but we have filled it with borders, meaningless rules and a lot of noise, which now does not allow us to listen to our loved ones. This is why we cannot love each other.
Then, while I was returning home, I saw two young people in love eating a cake; although at that time it is forbidden to stay on the street. But they loved each other as themselves. They were under the stars and the world, for them, was a paradise. This is why we must take care of it and protect it. (Takes the vases of flowers to place them by the window and sings…)
‘And I think to myself, what a wonderful world’!