Questions of the Executioner and the Victim

Sequential Monodrama in Two Parts

By: Sabah Alanbari

 

Part I:

The Executioner

{The stage is a carefully constructed half green lined with pieces of bright glass. The dome has one gate built in the form of jaws lined with long pointed fangs which are stained with blood. The gate is open throughout the show and in front of it, at the center of the stage, there are metal bars to which the victim is tied. The bars look like a big window, and to the audience the victim seems, as if she is   inside the predator's mouth, or that the mouth is about to devour her, in front of the bars and the victim there is a wooden chair stained with blood and surrounded by various torturing tools. The executioner sits on the chair, his back facing the audience.

Deformed creatures with weird bodies and shapes with mouths that have long iron tusks, dripping blood, and bloody claws of steel. Their appearance terrifies and disgusts the audience. Their tusks of iron appear, every now and then, On the domeís glass. Pointy fragments protrude from the wall of the dome forming isolated lumps.

 

On the inner wall of the dome, we can see the ghost of the executioner whipping the victim and enjoying her torture and screams. The man sitting on the wooden bloodstained chair raises his hands as a signal to stop the ghost and leave the place. The ghosts of the executioner and victim disappear. A spotlight focuses on the rails, the victim and the man sitting on the chair. The man gets off his chair and turns towards the audience. He looks very much like the victim, but in different clothes with exaggerated elegance. He comes close to the victim who seems to be hanging between life and death. He grabs her bloodstained hair and pulls back her head, which is difficult to identify because her features are makes with blood. When he releases it the head reverts to its former condition. He takes the water hose. Puts one end in the predator jaws, then picks up the other end of the water hose and direct it to the head of the victim. Blood coloured liquid rushes out of the hose - the face of the victim who slowly wakes up, and thatís when the monodrama of the executioner begins.}

Executioner: (Throwing the water hose close to the chair and directing his words to the victim); How strange you are, woman! Nothing can wake you up anymore but a spray of blood (he moves around her) you have been like this for thousands of years (he continues to move around her asking the victim one question after the other) Not enough for you what you have suffered? Not satisfied with pain yet? What astonishing lust controls your feelings? (He pauses for a moment and then continues to ask questions and move around. With each question he widens the circle of his rotation) Are you not a human being? If I were you I would give up the world and what is in it for just one day of relief. why the more you are tortured the more determined and secretive you become? (He pauses, then yells at her) Why? And for whom? (in a quiet and slow voice) Tell me who deserves all this suffering? (Silence. He screams again) Answer me. (No answer) Are not you a human being like any other human being? (He moves away quietly) Well. You are not human being. (He sits on the chair) at least, letís assume that you are a human being, and that have ethics and principles. Now the question is, are you the only one on  earth who has ethics and principles? Where are your ancestors who have the principles and manners? Were not they destined to be buried underground? What will you get being dead with a stay of execution? (Warning) Heh. you are dead now, and the dead do not taste life (He stands up. Approaching her) Believe me, I know this better than you (He looks the victim in the eyes), don't look at me as if i were one of those who tortured you not knowing why they did so. (He withdraws meanly) I torture you and I know why I do so. But what I do not know is why do you have to relish the meals of pain I give you day and night? Shouldn't you be taking care of yourself instead of waiting for meals of subsequent pain? (He pauses for a moment and then as if he heard the victim accusing him of cruelty) I am cruel? Hahahaha. Yes, I am, and I will not be other than this. do not you see that rigidity and compassion are what I get paid for? (He re-examines the victim) Are you surprised? You are right, I have mercy on everybody except you (A moment of silence. He comes so close to her that his face almost touches hers) Probably you are wondering why, in spite of being the closest to me (He stops suddenly and angrily) ..listen, whether you look at me or not, will not change my opinion nor will affect my feelings, nor will the case turn to be my executioner and I will not be your victim, the executioner has always been the executioner and the victim has always been a victim ever since the beginning of Creation. Wasn't Cain the executioner of his brother for a temporary lust? So what is your lust? Is it a lust for pain? Or blood? (Explaining) I do not mean exchanging our two lusts because since the time of Cain, the lust for blood has grown in me. The sad thing is that you did not know this and you will not, until you reach the lust of the end.

Tell me, do you really claim that the lion is the sum of the digested sheep? (She does not answer. He moves as proud and boastful as a peacock, answering his own question) I'm the lion of this forest you called life, youíd better say: The executioner, me, is the sum of the digested victims (surprised by a sound so he is terrified in a way inconsistent with the alleged courage he pretends so he speaks confusedly) I, I, I, I, I'm not a coward, as you know, but I was just surprised by the sound .. I do not accept surprises nor accept the way my life goes. but you accept everything in cool nerves (changing the subject) I mean you do not mind being one of my victims and so I devour all of you?

(He leaves her, heading towards the front of the theatre, but then he stops and turns towards her)

Personally, I do not know why but life has given me enough strength to devour you all!

(He completes the walk to the front of the stage)

Once, I decided with myself to give all of you the freedom that you want

(silence. Then he confirms)

Which I actually did. But instead of planning to get rid of me you helped me to kill and swallow you one by one. Only a few of you got rid of me, with my approval, and chose to substitute me with the exile. and when I asked why you did not leave? You answered because of love, dignity and redemption. if we did not sacrifice who else would? I was shocked by you, and I started asking myself why? What did I do to make them turn into such strange creatures? I did not ask them for this. I did not ask for anything at all.

(He leaves the audience and returns to the victim)

Before I came, you did not like the way you were so you decided to have a full being of me to satisfy the lust in yourselves of living with me. you shaped me, you got me a face, features and limitations. I just agreed on being your holy cemetery. People like you did the same everywhere and everywhen, and so we agreed on devouring you as long as there is this strange pleasure but then I felt weary. I got sick and tired of you. and your strange continuance of what you are in. whatever I ask, you do. whoever I order to come he comes at once, whenever I decide for any of you to die he dies in my hands. With my nonstop lust, and my never ending thirst for bloodshed, I found you come submissively

(He moves away a few steps heading towards the audience remembering something)

 At first you were happy to death. excited bitterly. and whenever I hurt you, your insistence increases to achieve the lofty goals (He laughs). Hahahahahah is this what you call goals? lofty! What dreamers par excellence. Do you remember the day when I hanged three heads of yours by ropes of death?

(Three dolls land in the space of the theatre by hanging ropes. He takes a look at them reverently and then back to the audience)

Well, I hanged them to death. Was their death a victory for you?

(he repeatedly turns his face to the audience and then to the victim waiting for someone to say something. As they continue in their silence he bursts out laughing in a low voice gradually increasing until it turns into a loud chuckling. The gallows go up during his laugh and disappear in the space of the theatre. He stops the chuckling abruptly. casts the victim with a harsh look)

 You all changed me into a tool tasting pleasurably your fears. devising ways to torment you so I can sleep comfortably and with contentment until we accustomed to each other, and we became two sides of the same coin: the executioner and the victim (confessing as one who admits to the audience) Yes I am the executioner (pointing to the audience) and you are the victims. Each one of us has known his role, but I am weary (pauses for a moment) weary of being an executioner. but weariness never found its way to you (angrily) what kind of human beings are you?! Abel knew he would die by the hands of his brother, but he went to death with peace of mind when he knew that his death would turn his brother into an executioner (emotionally) a real executioner. An executioner with flesh and blood (pauses for a moment) he did not think twice because he had thought much about his parents than himself and this was his big mistake. They meant the world to him, the meant life that must go on, forgetting, or tried to forget that he was the one who had to go on and beget good offspring in order to fight evil and injustice left to us by Cain. he had a completely different lust contradicted with the lust of his brother. A lust you wanted to transmit its genes to you, be inherited to you. but I refused. strongly rejected because I did not want to give up my fate to misery, suffering, and death. and I will remain so until the end of time and I will not allow what it brings to us of fear and confusion. I've known a lot of people, they were mostly standing at a distance from it. Some of them invented ways to make them forget death and its hot pursuit and keeping away its horrible ghost. and those who like me were purified from it and by it (he turns to the victim), and this is exactly why you are still victims, and thatís why Iím still who I am. Well I've talked too much and you have not said a word (sarcastically) and if you do, you will be on my side for sure. And I want you to know that I do not want you to be on my side at all. Just as we were, we will be, so that the world continues to retains its balance.

(he turns to the audience)

 Life and survival are mine. Death and evanescence are yours. this gives us a precise answer to what we are now: You, with your killing silence, and me, with my wondrous chat, but despite that, (He turns to the victim) I insist that you confess about what you have, to say something that will bring you salvation from this horrific, endless torture. (He comes close) Listen, let me confess to you Ė although I am not obliged to confess- I mock at your philosophy, and your claim for struggling for a beautiful and happy life, and for the lost paradise of the poor as life has limitless happiness if you are good at making trivialities. life is trivial and fragile enough to ridicule. or let me say, that is what I want from you to be rejoiced in what you have but you always choose what makes life difficult, bitter, and deadly. You are all my children, but I do not like those who are similar to you. I'm not evil, as some of you might think, but you have created evil in the hearts of my children by claiming that you are the best and the finest and I have to dicipline you the way I see is convenient to save what I should save from vanishing (He goes around the victim) It is time to tell me the whole truth about who you are, you voiceless! (A few things move on the glazed wall of the dome then some voices come out)

- We are the ones who you gave birth to, to listen to your tedious chatter.

- Who are you and who allowed you to storm the place?

- We did not storm the place we have always been in.

- (Looking for the sound source) Where, where are you?

- We are inside you. even closer to you than your veins.

- (He laughs) hee hee hee hee hee hee huh. Then you are the mirage of the soul and its vapour that rises up towards the Calvary. get away from me, you have no place in my existance.

- We will not get away.

- (He screams) get away.

- We will not.

- (He screams more) Get away. get away, get away (He stops yelling, his features change) Who gets away? Why am I shouting at at at at what? Or, or at who? (He turns to the victim) Hey, you, have you heard anything or anyone calling me or, or (He pauses for a moment) No. No. Consider that I did not ask you a question. (for himself) am I imagining their voices? But who are they? Why do they direct their speech specifically to me? Do I have to include them in the list of the sufferers on my land or on the wide land of God? There is no difference. Torture is torture whether it is in my hell or Godís

(He moves towards the audience)

These wretched people think that I want them suffering to satisfy my lust to disperse them from each other, forgetting that they are all from my loin, and that I am the cruel father, and the kind custodian who is not be relentless or tolerate their curious ingratitude.

I heard from a fellow that his sons wanted to construct a beautiful world where all live in brotherhood and equal in rights and duties. I laughed out loud. and when he asked me why I burst out laughing, I told him: Because your children have strange anomaly. he said, echoing after me emotionally "Strange anomaly. strange anomaly", what do you mean by that? Breaking the norms and every breaking the norms is considered an anomaly, I said. I did not understand, he said, what anomaly you are talking about? Cain killed his brother, I said, so he deviated from the base of God, and inherited deviation to his descendants until the Day of Resurrection. Have you ever seen the good being victorious? Maybe this happened once, but evil was and still victorious ever since Cain. Why? Because his construction is the strongest and the most powerful in building the human being. my fellow kept silent as if he was trying to introspect himself then he left me, the astonishment holding his tongue (He turns to the victim, moving towards her, pointing at her) You are the building block of Abel and that is why you coldly relish the suffering and death. You wonít see victory unless each one of you get rid of his Abel that lies deep in your souls. Abel did not resist. did not defend himself. and consents for the good inside him to be his deadly fate and since then I have been trying to grab the good from you so that you will be stiff against injustice (He pauses a bit, then) Have you seen how much affectionate I am to my children and those who keep from talking just like you? you dead buried in the coffin of life? Umm. Let me tell you what another fellow said to me, claiming I was wrong. He said: Prophets of Goodwill have always triumphed, and lit up the universe with the light of truth and righteousness, so why would you turn your back to these victories? I told him: You are right in this, but tell me what happened after every victory they have achieved? Didnít people kill each other? Did not they conspire against each other? I mean, did the bad leave the good to enjoy the victories of the prophets of Goodwill? Didnít the sedition intensify after the death of the Prophet Mohammed? Didnít people conspire to his successors in power until toppled the four of them? My little girl, evil has become a norm dominant on the norm of good so be kind to yourself a little and get rid of what Satan inspired you of enmity of yourself against yourself and follow me towards the life I want, and not the life you want for me, you are vulnerable (the victim does not talk) Listen. for the last time I say it and you have no other choice after that. Confess to get my contentment otherwise Iíll call the executioner to let you taste the bitterness of humiliation (He starts to walk out. stops in the middle of the way. turns to the victim) Now Iím walking out of that gate (He points to the gate he came from), If I leave. and close the door behind me, be informed that the executioner is coming to you with the whole lust to get rid of you and throw you away to the nearest garbage in the city

(Heading towards the gate. Stands at the entrance. Turns to the victim, waiting for a reaction from her, and as he sees none, he smiles mischievously and then comes out of the mouth of the gate with iron fangs. The executionerís ghost enters and starts torturing the victim, as in the beginning of the play. the victim resists more and more, and the executioner intensifies the force in the beating and torture with awful hysteria until the tormented loses her consciousness again, and the color of the dome turns to the colour of blood and gradual dark declares the end of the executionerís monodrama to start the monodrama of the victim).

 

Part II:

The victim

Before the show

{The same previous view on the stage: the green dome, the ravenous jaws, the chair, and the torturing devices. Darkness fades gradually and we see the tormented victim regaining her consciousness. She gets up and gets rid of the barsÖShe moves a few steps towards the front of the stage. For the audience she looks like the executioner himself, but in the victim's clothes}

The Victim:  He went out of that blood gate (She refers to the predatorís mouth) and he will not be back, until I am a rotten corpse, torn by the bloody fangs. Many people, before me, have faced the same fate, and left, leaving behind a history of blood and waiting, as if waiting and blood are our inevitable destiny throughout the ages. All their fault is that they chose free life and so they were rewarded with death or went far away despite being deep in love with their charming land and its soil.

Since the dawn of the ancestries and perhaps much before that, they have been victims of their deep-rooted affection. Since then, he has been torturing them professionally (She pauses and then begin by asking a barrage of questions) Do you think that he is an actual executioner? Did you ask yourselves, for once, why he feels we came out of his loins? Is he the father from whom our descendants came? Maybe you have asked yourselves. perhaps you discussed the answer or you decided to reach for it. But before this and that, let me tell you: prove the truth by doubt as doubt is the way to truth. Do not believe what he said about me and my lust for pain and suffering. For what he said is only half of the truth. He has always ignored the other half, intentionally or unintentionally. I love life and do not want death to be equated to it although I am fully aware that they are twins and I should not hate any of them, but in spite of that, I hated death. I hated it with all the power I have of hatred, perhaps because of the large number of the dead people I saw on the roads, or in the corridors of hospitals, hearses, houses, television, or. or...

(suddenly stops as if she remembers something. She moves absent minded, slow-paced, then she strongly startles after a terrible thunderous explosion, so she lies down on the ground lightly and briskly. She continues talking while still on the ground)

That was the last blast that hit me in the last hours of daylight. I did not know at any hour specifically, all I exactly know or remember. is that I found myself immersed in a pool of blood. I was buried under the fragments of flesh and bones and covered with heads, legs, and hands that were either cut to pieces or in one whole piece. (she puts away fragments, bones, and what was accumulated on her body of the chopped human organs) A pregnant woman was lying there (indicating to the place) her bowls spilt out and she hold them to prevent her baby from falling. she realized that she was close to death, and despite the deadly pain she tried to postpone her death hoping someone would come to receive her baby but at these crucial moments, no one did. She gave me pleading and imploring looks. So I tried to come close, I told her: I'm coming to you, be brave, I am coming. do not suffocate the fetus and open your legs more if you can. Bear the pain a little more for him .. when I reached her crawling and caught the top of her baby a speeding car passed in front of us and shot us with a hail of bullets that broke through our bodies, turning us into lifeless corpses, covered with blood

(we hear the voice of the bullets, and see the shivering of the lights, and their strong reactions. She gets a bullet. She puts her hand on the wound and gets up relying on her other hand)

I got one bullet, and fortunately, it was not lethal enough to make me embrace the spirits of the dead in their disastrous plight. the woman died, and her baby drowned in the basin of her blood before leaving the darkness of the womb to birth, where the light of life, the warmth of the sun. from the womb to the grave. oh what infringed innocence! The newborn baby died. everyone died by their random shooting. and I was the only one who survived, however, I did not feel happy to survive because I know they will come back again, and a again, and again to kill whoever survived. perhaps the same group returns and possibly another ones who practise murder against us under various names, such as Al-Qaida or the ISIS, the sectarians, gangsters, those with silence guns, hired groups, militias, professional from the government. etc.

(She stops talking and then goes on again)

Anyway, they all could not prevent me from what I wanted to achieve, except for him. Whenever I come close to the goal, he comes to deprive me of the lust of achieving it, thinking that I am making a tremendous rift in the balance between life and death or as he claims between the executioner and the victim.

(She pauses, hearing a sound coming from outside the place. approaches the predatorís mouth. She listens for a while. She screaming and appeals for help)

 They brought new victims and that will inevitably accelerate ending me. (to the audience) By the way, He is right in what he said that his existence is associated with my existence because it is me who has given him a name, a title, limits, identity and a holiness that is second to none. No matter how angry or agitated I get, I cannot prevent him from practicing against me all his methods in punishment and reward, whatever that punishment individually or collectively,

(Some chattering can be heard in the hall or it may be heard from a recording device. She moves here and there in an attempt to stop the noise)

Please. please do not think me wrong, I am not the one who enjoy the torture, or relish by it in order to quench their bizarre and strange desires. I'm exactly like you, distinguished only by my stubbornness and my determination to build a new life which is not controlled by the hands that are stained with the blood of the innocent people (The chattering continues. she tries to control the noise) Ok, Ok, Iíll call a spade a spade if this is what you really want, but please rest assured that he is not a terrorist, and he is not the one who licks the blood of innocent people, and he is not the bearer of the virus of political, or religious, or sectarian terrorism, or of what their hands possess of different viruses. He is the closest to us, and the most merciful on us, do not be tempted by his talking about torturing me because he never did. At the end of the day he would leave me free to lie eternally between his merciful arms

(intense objection and boos)

Believe me (they do not listen to her so she raises her voice higher) Believe me, I am not defending him (the noise stops) I just want to tell you the truth: his truth, my truth, and your truth, and you have the right to suspect this or that fact, because as I said doubt is the way to certainty, and be informed. I am not the only one who suffers from his horrible cruelty and love. there are people (hypothetically interrupted by someone who asks her and she repeats his question) Where? Well. They are in exile in very distant countries, sleep on live coals wishing to come home, and wake up on the fire of nostalgia. and when they die they wish to be buried near it. near the uterus, from which they came out, once upon a birth .. do you ever wonder why they want that? Why they get tortured for its sake? (Silence) because their roots are extended here in its depths. I mean in the depths of the earth upon which I stand now (she points to the ground), let me tell you this story (She is about to speak but then stops. She looks at the chair and torture devices) Sorry. I have to get rid of this obnoxious waste first (She carries the chair and throws it away in the predatorís mouth) We do not need you in this place anymore (She picks up the torture devices and throws them away in the predatorís mouth also) go to hell, O fascist lethal tools (She goes back to her first position) well. I can now start from the beginning of the story:

(She imitates the storyteller)

It had been told in the legends of Mesopotamia, ladies and gentlemen, that the great gods felt lonely and useless of living without creatures similar to them, or different from them to end their loneliness, and take care of the celestial affairs on the vast land, so they decided after a thoughtful discussion, and an extensive talk, to create a new creature from the dust of earth and its water and they entrust the job of creation to the great God who took a handful of dust of earth. mixed it with drops of water and when the mixture became soft he chewed it a little, and when he threw the embryo out of his mouth the human being was born. Thus, his feelings associated with the land that have moved its genes to that creature carrying the water energy and the tyranny of the earth. At first the gods thought that the new creatures will do nothing but serve them, but when they grew up they started thinking, day and night, to use the power of the gods, their influence, their dominance in the extension and harness of everything that moves on the surface of earth, in the name of the gods, but for their own interests. and so declared the kings, after pulling out the rug of power from under the feet of the priests completely, that they are the shadows of God on earth, and they left the clergy the mission to give them the sacred power of attorney to represent the divine power. I did not want to bother you with this bizarre and strange story, I just wanted to emphasize on manís strong bond with the soil of his homeland where he was born.

I know you are surprised by my behaviour, and deplore my acceptance of all forms of torture he afflicted on me. You deny these words of mine because I never showed him the spirit of hostility and hatred as a natural reaction to what he has committed against me. Can the daughter hate her father? To bring him down to status of the arch-enemy? I know he is my only executioner whom I will never leave, no matter how hard he goes on torturing me. I am not a masochistic who takes pleasure in his torture as some of you might think, and he is not the executioner who tampers with us as he wishes or laughs at his victims as others do. Do you imagine what happened to my brother who was a prisoner of some of the black rats? They let him sit in front of one of his companions and then they ordered them to slap each other on the face calling him as apostate. If any one of them did not slap hard his companion or was been slapped hard, they kick him severely to force him to do that strongly. He was hurt the most, not only because of the blows he receives from his companion, but from the weight of humiliation, and the violation of the sanctity of humanity in them together, while the rats laughed and joked and called their names with atrocious insults. When they get fed up of the game, they were doubling the number until the slaps tuned on the faces of the prisoners.

I'm tormented and I know why as one who is burned by the fire of love he always burned by it. I work hard and tirelessly to make his life different from what they have chosen for his confused and troubled self, or on the contrary to what they wanted him or planned, to throw him in the strange, stinking swamp of ignorance.

 (Some sounds come from a very distant place like coming from the depths of the universe. She listens a bit, lays her head inside the predatorís mouth. She turns her head to the right and the left. She screams strongly as she gets tossed away to fall on the ground, as if she was strongly kicked by some kind of a mythical power. she stands up. imagines that there are ghosts or a hidden power following her steps so she moves backwards. Vague sounds raid her yet she does not distinguish but the tumult and the whining as if they were coming from the depths of history.)

Stop O slaughtered voices, tens of the murdered ones are waiting at the gates of absence. Cain is not satisfied from his brother's flesh yet. he is still in a voracious hunger for humanís flesh. Stop and listen to the voice of the suffered people on the ground

(She listens to the coming moan sometimes like a choral church murmuring and in other times like a hymning. She sings or repeats a sad lullaby. then the hymns gradually begin to fade. She bursts into tears at the end of the song and then stops)

I am not crying over myself and my state. I am crying over those queuing in the lines of death, light and heavy, over the bereaved and those who laid under the claws of barbaric death. Abel was killed and you blamed me for it, you blamed the woman who was loved and desired by Cain who decided to possess her whatever the consequences.

  In front of the desire of reckless possession, taboos lose their deterrent ability and this is exactly the reason for murder. the reason that has nothing to do with me from near or far. to blame me O people. You did not understand, nor did that who calls himself an executioner understand that I refuse to turn these people's lives into eternal hell, into an executioner and a victim, a killer and a murdered one, I also reject the idea of trivializing life and superficialize it as he wants, naively and in excessive goodness

(Addresses the audience directly)

For Godís sake, don't the tormented deserve sacrificing whatever valuable or precious? Do not they deserve that we bear much of what we endured for them? Do not these voices coming from the depth of history with all their moaning and sorrow deserve to be lulled to sleep in peace at least? you see? I did not enjoy torment, and did not turn off, by it, the lust of the desires of our lives conducive to the extinction? He will soon come to me, and make me taste much of his turtore. He will make you bear so much pain, even more than mountains can carry, and yet, you will still love him deeply. Until that time comes (she goes to the predator mouth) we will close this dreaded mouth (She closes it firmly and the lights dim)

 

The End

 

* Sequential Monodrama: An innovative serious project posed theoretically by the director Farouk Sabri in an attempt to break the rigid rules from the traditional Monodrama. This play is a leader in this project, on which Sabri is working on directing it hoping to present it as avant-garde applied model on ďSequential MonodramaĒ.

Translated by:

Soheil Najm