Academic journal article TheatreForum

Red and GREEN

Academic journal article TheatreForum

Red and GREEN

Article excerpt

Red and Green takes place for the most part in and around Katmandu, Nepal during the recent civil war. All of the characters work at the embassy or consulate of a minor European country (Denmark?), where they run several developmental aid projects. The play consists of 12 scenes, which are presented in a jumbled chronology.

There are several lines of intersecting action, of which two stand out. Petra, a senior advisor, discovers that the drinking water at a school they run contains high levels of arsenic. Her boss, Manne (the Danish ambassador?) refuses to do anything about it. She tries to go behind his back and gets fired. In the other, Kristine, the new junior advisor, discovers that another school they run is seriously deficient - in fact it's a cruel joke, with a gut-wrenching punch line. In between these lines of action, we are treated to the various couplings and decouplings of these souls in exile.

CHARACTERS:

PETRA: Early 40's, a senior advisor who still hopes her work makes a difference. A hands-on and immensely competent aid worker. A bit of a steamroller, she's impossible not to like, but difficult to be around Sexually aggressive.

KRISTINE: (Pronounced: kris-TEENuh) Around 30, the new junior advisor. Idealistic and very naive, she hasn't lived much. Yet. MORTEN: Late 30's, an advisor. Married with two children, he is the perfect diplomat. But he'll never make ambassador.

MANNE: (Pronounced MANN-uh) In his 50's but still in great shape. Their domineering, hypermasculine boss. A cynic with voracious appetites.

LILLI: Manne's wife, about the same age. She has adopted her ditzy manner in order to cover up a serious neurological injury: a small stroke a few years ago prevents her from forming new memories. This may be a blessing.

EXTRAS: A man, a woman, and girl about 9 years old, for various nonspeaking Nepalese roles. (The premiere production used only one woman in a variety of nonspeaking roles, and one young girl.) SCENE 1 (or 12)

The living room of a spacious house somewhere in South America. A couple of masks on the walls, and a drum. Remains of a reception. A black woman in maid's uniform is clearing up. Manne is in an armchair, his tie loosened, a glass in his hand. Lilli appears. She is in high heels and a cocktail dress.

LILLI: (To Manne) Coming!... (waving a small handbag) I found it! On a shelf with all of their own... How did it get there? To the maid) Our coats please, we're leaving. (The maid looks at her blankly.) ... Our

coats? The maid exits.) A bit dense, their maids... I wonder where they've gone to? I would like to say goodbye. . .

The maid enters with two coats, which she gives to Lilli. Lilli hands one of them to Manne.

MANNE: What's this for?

LILLI: Put it on. We're going home. . . The last to leave, as usual. I'm afraid they've gone to bed.

MANNE: Who? LILLI: Our hosts.

MANNE: Our hosts? That would be us... we live here now. This is our house... our furniture, our servants, our everything! D'you like it? [Photo 2]

LILLI: Looks around) Nice... maybe a bit too: flashy. What are those masks?

MANNE: Something you bought in one of the first places we were stationed... what was it called? The children stood on this raised thing and fed the giraffes. Our guards wore loincloths... carried spears instead of firearms. Razor sharp. Could hit anything from quite a distance...drank too much, especially one of them... went berserk every now and then. Screamed, hollered. Stormed around the garden with his spear. We had to lock all the doors. Barricade ourselves in...

LILLI: (Laughs) In our own house?

MANNE: (Nods) The kids were terrified.

LILLI: Oh.

MANNE: The next day he rode away on his bike, his spear strapped to his back... pedaling along while he talked on his cell phone! (Lilli laughs.) I miss it sometimes...the countryside... the people. …

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