Prose Header


by João Ventura

A versão original

(The stage is empty, neutral. Tony and Jeff enter from opposite sides.)

JEFF: Hi, Tony.

TONY: Hello, Jeff. How’re things going?

JEFF: I can’t tell you, man.

TONY: You can’t tell me what?

JEFF: I can’t tell you how things are going if you don’t give me the sign.

TONY: The sign? What sign?

JEFF (patiently): The sign you must give to know how things are going.

TONY: This “How are things going?” was a way of speaking, man, like saying “How are you getting on?”

JEFF: Yeah, yeah. They warned me about those questions.

TONY: They? Who are they?

JEFF (as if not listening): Yes, that sometimes there would be questions looking naive, but we ought to pay attention and be very cautious.

TONY: But who are they?

JEFF: I can’t tell you if you don’t know the sign.

TONY: The sign, again?

JEFF: Sure, the SIGN!

TONY: Okay, okay... And how can I get the sign?

JEFF: They are the ones who give it to you.

TONY: But who are they?

JEFF: I can’t tell you, because you don’t know the sign!

TONY (stays silent for a few seconds; then, cautiously): Are they the ones in command?

JEFF: Well... Yes and no.

TONY: Yes and no...? What does that mean?

JEFF (vaguely pointing to the back of the stage): Well, they command, but above them is... HIM...

TONY: Him?


TONY: Okay, okay, don’t stress... Then HE is really the one who commands?

JEFF: Of course!

TONY (cautious again): And HE commands what?

JEFF: HE commands whatever pleases HIM...


JEFF (with a stronger voice): But always for our own good!

TONY: Sure, of course. And you can’t tell me who they are?

JEFF: Don’t dream about it! If they knew that I had told who they are to someone who doesn’t know the sign, I would be punished.

TONY: Oh, do they punish?

JEFF: Sure, whenever we don’t follow the Rules.

TONY: Rules? What rules?

JEFF: I can’t tell you because-

TONY (interrupting): I know, I know! Because I don’t know the sign.

JEFF (with a happy smile): See, you are starting to understand!

TONY: Yeah, yeah... But tell me: those rules are like... err...

JEFF (a little annoyed): Rules are rules. Haven’t you ever seen a Book of Rules? It states what you can and can’t do.

TONY: I see... and if I want to speak to them, can I?

JEFF: No, because you don’t know the sign.

(They look at each other for a few seconds)

JEFF (speaking softly, as if telling a secret): They speak to you.

TONY: And how? When?

JEFF: When they feel that you are prepared.

TONY: Ah well, then I will have to wait until they contact me.

JEFF: Yes, they know everything; therefore they will discover when you are prepared.

TONY: Well, I feel less worried now. Bye, Jeff, see you around.

JEFF: See you, Tony.

TONY (leaving the stage, he comments to the audience): Some people are really nuts!

(JEFF stays alone on stage. He makes sure that Tony left, picks up his mobile phone, dials a number): Hello? Token accounting section? Just to say that I’ve made another contact. I think that with two more contacts I will be entitled to the bonus, isn’t that so? Thank you.

(He hangs off and strolls for a few seconds, looking happy. Alfred enters the stage)

JEFF: Hi, Alfred.

ALFRED: Hi, Jeff. You all right?

JEFF: I can’t tell you, man...

(The light dims quickly until the stage is totally dark)

Copyright © 2007 by João Ventura

Home Page