ACT VScene 2
(Low light. Same setting as previous scene, with FAST FOR
WORLD PEACE sign in soft spotlight indicating "DAY 77." NORMAN
stands leaning on the FAST sign, keenly observant. JONAH and FEY
work on papers on the other side of the sign.
In one corner of stage, spotlight rises on 78-year-old SITA AKKA
(from ACT I, Scene 1) watching a silent TV while lying on
cot in her apartment. She's also listening to the "Hallelujah
Chorus" on the radio. Suddenly she sits up and turns up the TV
volume, turns down the radio volume. REPORTER appears on TV
screen -- and in spotlight on stage being filmed by video crew
-- with White House in the background. At significant pauses,
the "Hallelujah Chorus" swells briefly (OFFSTAGE).)
REPORTER: "Today the President apologized for
'making a mistake' when he authorized the sale of arms to a
terrorist Middle Eastern country to fund Central American
terrorist revolutionaries. According to informed sources,
advisers fear his apology comes too late. His popularity polls
have hit a new low, and even the most staunch Republicans are
deserting what appears to be a presidency on the skids."
(SITA shakes her head sorrowfully.)
REPORTER: "Meanwhile, in Rome, the Pope called for
an international day of fasting for global nuclear disarmament on
Christmas day, and asked for a world-wide cease fire.
The leaders of 40 third world countries are meeting in New Delhi
to discuss an economic boycott on both Superpowers, whose credi-
bility has been seriously disabled in the wake of the USSR's
Chernobyl disaster and the USA's Iran arms deal."
(SITA climbs off the cot, picks up her tambourine,
freezes as REPORTER continues.)
REPORTER: "Today marks the fourth anniversary of
the death of Norman Mayer, who held the American media's
attention for ten hours December 8, l982, by threatening to
dynamite the Washington Monument. On the other side of the White
House, today marks the 77th day of a fast in Lafayette Park which
has captured the attention of the world.
"Dr. Charles Hyder, ex-NASA physicist, has been consuming only
water since September 23rd, demanding that the U.S. government
commit to nuclear disarmament by the year 2000, and to an end to
its aggressive war and weapons policies."
(Swells to crescendo. TV camera pans as REPORTER walks over
to CHARLES, angular in overalls and heavy coat that hang limp
about his frame. His "MR. PRESIDENT: HISTORY AWAITS YOU" sign
has been modified by red "X" through "MR. PRESIDENT" and "YOU"
and addition of the words "OUR FASTING.")
REPORTER: "I'm sure you've been told your demands
CHARLES: "Too often."
REPORTER: "Have you received any attention from
Congress or the President?"
CHARLES: "Of course not. Indeed, why should they
treat the life of a U.S. citizen with any more feeling or regard
than they've shown for the lives of citizens in Central America
or in the Middle East?"
REPORTER: "I must confess, it seems inconceivable a
person could fast 77 days and be as healthy and alert as you
seem. Are you sure you haven't cheated?"
CHARLES: (Chuckles.) "Sure, I cheat all the
"I'm consuming the energy of everyone who hugs me -- and I'm
getting lots of hugs these days."
(REPORTER looks up.)
"Other than hugs and a little sea salt for electrolyte balance, I
haven't taken anything but water into my digestive system for 77
days. Honest. But 300-plus pounds and energy- conservation
efforts have kept me going long past the point almost all fasters
have been dead or comatose."
REPORTER: "You know, I heard about your fast two
months ago, but it's taken me this long to come talk to you
because, frankly, I resented what seems to be a growing tendency
to hold the press responsible for the survival of any and
everybody with a gripe who decides to starve himself."
CHARLES: "I wonder where I got the idea that a
democracy requires an informed constituency?"
REPORTER: "Well, you broke me down, Dr. Hyder.
What can I recommend my readers do to convince you to eat?"
CHARLES: "You can start by making Christmas a
national day of fasting dedicated against the intimidating threat
of a worldwide nuclear holocaust. Keep it up -- fast every
holiday. Use every means you can to convince the President,
Congress, the Supreme Court, whoever will do it, to salvage us
from worldwide scorn. The President COULD neutralize his long
parade of lies and bungling by setting a leader's example. If he
fails to realize this and I die ... then make EVERY holiday a day
of national public fasting. It's no longer enough to provide
minimum funding and verbal support and 'let someone else' do the
job. YOU MUST ACT! Or a holocaust is inevitable."
(ENTER MONK, BO and LUTHER carrying new 4' x 4' signs
onstage: "LOVE YOUR MOTHER: SAVE THE EARTH,"
"LISTEN TO REASON,
NOT TO RULES,"
"GIVE PEACE A CHANCE, NOW!"
"DARE TO CARE."
After depositing the signs, they all surround Charles and embrace
him. REPORTER steps back for camera crew. Enter USPP ROOKIE;
MONK and BO quickly step over to their signs and sit down.
LUTHER leans against sycamore tree; pulls small leather
hackiesack out of his pocket, bounces it in his hand and from his
knee and foot awkwardly during scene. NORMAN's interest is
STUDENTS 1 and 2 enter, wearing backpacks; they too hug CHARLES
and kneel beside him as SITA, in her corner of the stage, dons
her coat, hat, gloves, singing.)
"World Leaders, please:
"We are all one human family!
Must now learn to live together
And shine, shine, shine, just as we are!"
(SITA exits. One of LUTHER's hackiesack kicks lands in
front of NORMAN, who steps forward, having watched LUTHER'S
efforts with wry amusement.)
NORMAN: "Luther. Let me show you how that's done.
Now look. This little bag is the repository of the wisdom of the
ages. Hackiesack is civilized. No competition. Everybody wins.
It's a game of cooperation. Here's how it works: Each player
can kick it many times before lobbing the sack on to the next
(NORMAN expertly bumps the little leather bag from his left
instep to right knee to left heel to right hip, e.g.
"A 'sack' is when each of the players has kicked it at least once
without the sack hitting the ground. A 'hackiesack' is when each
player kicks the sack twice."
(Norman lobs it gently over to LUTHER, who unself-consciously
kicks it back.)
"That's a SACK!"
(NORMAN taps the sack back over to LUTHER, who kicks it back
lustily. NORMAN receives the sack by kicking it back to Luther,
who kicks it straight up. Norman catches it.)
"And that, dear fellow, is a HACKIESACK!"
(STUDENTS 1 and 2 look up from CHARLES.)
STUDENT 1: "Hackiesack, did you say? How ZEN!"
NORMAN: (Yodels.) "HACKIESACK! HACKIESACK!"
(LUTHER joins in.)"HACKIESACK!"
(STUDENTS l & 2 shed their backpacks, and with MONK, LUTHER,
and NORMAN form a circle.)
NORMAN: "Perfect! A Pentagon!"
(All face each other individually, place hands together as in
prayer, bow solemnly and greet each other.)
ALL (together): "Shanti ... Shanti ... Shanti ...
(LUTHER kicks the sack in the air and a choreographed game
ensues. As they play, they make up lyrics to a song*, each
player receiving the sack as he/she finishes speaking/ singing
his/her line.)HACKIESACK SONG
[*lyrics by ANDHI HAMMERMAN]
"GO ON THEN!
THE GAME IS OPEN,
ONE AND ALL:
JOIN THE GREAT AMERICAN FASTIVAL!"
MONK: "I am a taxpayer!"
"I watch TV,
I eat preservatives,
I work for money,
I pay for the military,
I am a whore!"
"I wear make-up,
I have mind-rot,
I want a raise,
(Player groans. Some laugh. Players join (one-by-one)
after greeting Charles, as cast assembles onstage.)
"I like pro wrestling,
I have tunnel vision,
I support the local police department,
I go to church on Sunday, sometimes,
I have a college degree,
I am happy,
I am rich,
I am brainwashed,
I have new clothes,
I drink lite-beer,
I eat wonderbread,
I go to the movies,
I don't want a nuclear war,"
"I don't want to be a communist,
I'm a prostitute,
I am a mindless pawn, I am in love,
I love money,
I have insurance,
I have a flag,
I have guns,
I love my family,
I love Big Macs,
I own property,
I rent property,
I eat meat,
I have cancer,
John Wayne is my hero,
Ronald Reagan rides a horse!"
"I want my M.T.V.,
I want a swimming pool in the back yard,
I don't know how to swim,
I am a slave,
I am racist,
I am a vegetarian,
I am proud of my country,
I am Santa Claus,
I am both Rambo and Buddha,
I work 40 hours,
I use contraceptives,
I eat Ritz crackers,
I'm an alcoholic,
I think I'm GOD,"
BO: "Ain't it great to be free?"
"Happiness is a warm gun,
I got a bus transfer,
I am a number, I work hard,
I don't sweat,
I have a microwave,
I feed my dog Alpo,
I can't afford S.D.I.,
I begin bombing in five minutes (harde har har),
may the force be with you,
I am born again,
I am who I am,
I'm waiting for the Messiah,
I'm waiting to punch out,
I wasn't born yesterday,
I wear polyester,
I live the American Dream,
I am impoverished,
I have 2-1/2 kids,
I have season tickets,
I'm on a paid vacation,
I demand respect,
I respect authority,
I believe in the death penalty,
I'm a member of the National Rifle Association,
I sold arms to Iran,
I smoke pot,"
ALL (together): "Naaww...."
"I fly like an eagle,
go fly a kite,
I fly the friendly skies,
I eat wheat bread,
I drive a big car,
I am constipated,
I am a tourist,
I am not crazy,
I pay my bills,
I am hung over,
I am hung up,
I shave my legs and my face,
I read the paper,
I write on walls,
I am a wishy-washy stockbroker picking my nose,
I support the military-industrial complex,
I have a complex, I wear sunglasses,
I am doing time,
I am the Pepsi generation,
I drink Classic Coke,
I have a white picket fence,
I want a nose job,
I want a sex change,
I am a Contra,
I am a Peacekeeper,
I'm a lover,
I'm a peacenik,
I'm a beatnik,
I am Uncle Sam,
I am homeless,
I don't read the writing on the walls."
(The players congratulate each other. ENTER a group of PEACE
MARCHERS bearing a variety of anti-nuke, anti-Star Wars banners,
their own Great Peace March flag ("3,800 miles and 9 months,
marching for global nuclear disarmament"), and a
newly-created PEACE PARK flag, which they plant in the ground
next to the FAST sign. FEY and JONAH, remaining within three
feet of their own signs, pass out flyers, then produce
JONAH: "WELCOME to PEACE PARK, PEACE MARCHERS!
FEY: "Please, stay! Stay and help us ring the White
House so Mr. and Mrs. President can't exit through ANY gate
without being reminded:
We're TIRED of being held hostage to nuclear terrorism!
And we INSIST the U.S. and all other nuclear powers STOP NUKING
JONAH: "In honor of your arrival, the vigilers now
lining Pennsylvania Avenue renew our pledge that PEACE PARK is a
NUCLEAR-FREE WORLD TERRITORY, open to all species, peacefully
governed by co-occupants under the laws of logic, physics, and
"We assume as our Constitution the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF
(PEACE MARCHERS cheer, dance. CHARLES beams at them,
mouthing the words "I LOVE YOU!"
PEACE MARCHERS begin setting up pup tents. A police siren wails,
and MARCHERS look up, confused.
Suddenly, what sounds like a missile taking off freezes everyone.
NORMAN silently points at the backdrop. The cast turns in that
direction. House/stage lights fade to accentuate slide/backdrop
at rear of theater showing the tip of the Washington Monument --
poised cobra-like above the White House roof, two malevolent red
eyes winking in the night sky....
All voices join in spontaneous "Ohmmmmm." Hands grope for each
other. As the sound builds in power, stage lights fade; the
malevolent red lights blink out; the White House continues to
glow for a moment. REPORTER steps forward from the shadows.)
REPORTER: "OF course, in real life The Story
doesn't end that way. Although Charles Hyder did his best, he
announced the end of his fast 217 days after it began."
(Spotlight rises briefly on FEY)
FEY: "Thank God THAT's over!"
REPORTER: "Shortly after a treaty to eliminate
short-range nuclear missiles in Europe was signed by Gorbachev
and Reagan in the White House, five Peace Park vigilers were
sentenced to spend the winter in prison."
(Spotlight rises on JONAH, MONK, BO, STUDENT 1, and FEY, in
prison uniforms and chains, being led to cells. Reporter turns
and addresses question to JONAH.)"Jonah, you said back in '84 the First Amendment was being
nickled and dimed to death. Got anything to add?"
JONAH: (JONAH swivels, cuffed hands behind him, and
peers impatiently at the REPORTER. His impatience dissolves as
the REPORTER returns his stare.)
"Okay. One more time.... Hooliganism carries three years in Red
Square. Presently camping carries only six months in Lafayette
Park, but under new sentencing guidelines a repeat camper can
increase his imprisonment, making Lafayette Park more equal to
Red Square ..... Of course, we DO have a choice. We can knuckle
under to police state tactics and continue to allow the
governments to hold us hostage.
"I prefer to imagine a more perfect Earth."
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