ďApocalypseĒ

 

[Scene: Darkness. A girl, dressed as a 17th century Puritan, lights a candle, then sits down in a chair, center stage. A door is located stage right. She looks frightened, nervous. The sound of marching feet fades in and out throughout the performance.]

 

Girl:††††† They tell me that itís coming, but I donít want to go.

††††††††††† They tell me that itís coming. They warn me blood will flow.

††††††††††† Still, I wait here with the door locked, and I force my heartbeat slow.

††††††††††† They tell me that itís coming, but I donít want to go.

††††††††††† They tell me that theyíre coming with their thumbscrews and their racks,

††††††††††† They speak of forced confessions and the dreaded headmanís ax.

††††††††††† They tell me that the clergy donít care about the facts.

††††††††††† But still Iíll stay. God saves the innocent, they say.

 

[Caller #1 (Goodwife) enters stage right.]

 

Caller #1: (banging on door) Sarah!

 

Girl: I donít want to go.

 

Caller #1: Sarah, I beg thee, come out.

 

Girl: Iíll force my heartbeat slow...

 

Caller #1: There is a place for thee beneath my house, Sarah. I will hide thee. I fear not for my life.

 

Girl: And they speak of forced confessions...

 

Caller #1: Sarah! (bangs on door) They have built a pyre, Sarah! They will burn thee!

 

Girl: God saves the innocent, they say.

 

Caller #1: (looking offstage) Sarah, please!

 

[The sound of a mob approaching, slowly increasing in volume. Perhaps cries of ĎHeretic!í or ĎWitch!í]

 

Caller #1: Sarah? (pauses, looks fearfully over shoulder) May God have mercy on your soul, child.

 

[Caller #1 exits hurriedly. As the noise increases, the girl gets up, paces nervously around her chair, eyeing the door, trembling.]

 

Girl: (frantic) On my soul, the air has grown hot, so hot--

 

[The girl rips off her bonnet and overdress and throws them down, leaving something appropriate for a 19th century Southerner underneath. As the clothing hits the stage, the noise of the mob cuts off abruptly. She shudders, collapses into the chair.]

 

Girl: †††† They tell me that itís coming, and young blood will be shed.

††††††††††† They tell me that itís coming, that my brothers are all dead.

††††††††††† They tell me that the soldiers will take my maidenhead.

††††††††††† But still Iíll stay. God saves the innocent, they say.

 

[Caller #2 (Confederate soldier) limps in from the right. A badly tied, blood-stained bandage is about his left leg. Southern accent.]

 

Caller #2: (banging on door) Charity, come out! William has sent me for you!

 

Girl: My brothers are all dead.

 

Caller #2: Charity! Charity, please... (pounding on door, desperately) Theyíre only a few minutes behind me, Charity, you must come with me!

 

Girl: And they tell me that the soldiers...

 

Caller #2: (banging harder) Charity! For Godís sake! William told me... (pauses, choking) Your brother William is dead. He died in my arms, Charity, his blood is all over meÖ all over meÖ Please! I must see yousafely away! (pounds) Open the damned door!

 

Girl: (sighs) Young blood will be shed.

 

[Caller #2 tries to force the door, then backs up to try to ram it with his shoulder, but his wounded leg prevents him.]

 

Caller #2: (almost a scream) Charity!

 

[Sound of soldiers approaching. Caller #2 spins, looks offstage, then draws a saber.]

 

Caller #2: (charging awkwardly) For William!

 

[Caller #2 exits stage right. As the sound of battle intensifies. The girl claps her hands over her ears and rocks back and forth as if the noise pains her.]

 

Girl: Oh please God, protect him, protect him, Lord, oh God the heat...!

 

[The girl stands to remove her outer garment. This reveals a Star of David and attire appropriate for the mid-twentieth century. As she drops the garment, the sound of battle stops. She turns shudderingly and looks at the door.]

 

Girl: †††† They tell me that itís coming, but I cannot leave my home.

††††††††††† At night I draw the bolt across; I donít pick up the phone.

††††††††††† In dreams I see grey chimney smoke, remains less flesh than bone.

††††††††††† But still I stay. G-d saves the innocent, they say.

 

[Caller #3 (German Jew), in tattered clothing, enters from the right. Faint Yiddish accent.]

 

Caller #3: (knocking very softly on door) Anna, let me in, I have news!

 

Girl: I donít pick up the phone.

 

Caller #3: Anna! (knocking a bit louder) Open the door.

 

Girl: In dreams I see grey chimney smoke...

 

Caller #3: Anna, no one but you must hear this... (knocking) Anna... (sighs) Anna, your name is on the lists. You will be deported.

 

Girl: (touching her face, then looking at her hands)Remains, less flesh than bone.

 

Caller #3: I have friends that can help you. Send you to Switzerland, perhaps. Youíll be safe there...

 

Girl: I cannot leave my home.

 

Caller #3: Anna?

 

[Sound of heavy boots approaching, in step. Caller #3 cowers involuntarily.]

 

Caller #3: Anna, hide yourself, I must go!

 

[Caller #3 exits. The girl looks at the door with fear, and then with anger. She stands, tries to rip the Star of David off her clothing, and fails; then, almost in a frenzy, she tears off her dress, leaving modern clothing beneath. As the dress hits the floor, the sound of marching stops. She remains standing, lifts her chin defiantly; as she delivers the last verse, she picks up the candle and slowly pulls a gun from where it has been tucked at the small of her back. She cocks it.]

 

Girl: (resonantly) They tell me that itís coming, but I refuse to go.

††††††††††† They tell me that itís coming. They warn me blood will flow.

††††††††††† Still I wait here with the door locked, and I force my heartbeat slow.

 

[Sound of three loud, threatening knocks. The girl whirls to face the door in fear, then looks at the audience.]

 

Girl: My God! Theyíre here!

††††††††††† But I -will- stay. God saves the innocent, they say.

 

[She turns towards the sound of the knocking, holding the gun upraised (duellist style), then blows out the candle.]

 

[Simultaneous with candle: Lights go out.]

 

 

 

 

Copyright (c) 2002 by Christine Hoff Kraemer.