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from the December 2016 issue

No Direction

Miguel Alcantud and Santiago Molero present the mysterious call-and-response of a nameless man and the woman who appears to be holding him captive. 
 

Characters

HIM
HER


The room appears to be a bedroom but with a bit of everything thrown in. It looks like a kind of basement area or shed, although it is well set up. There is a bed, a piece of low furniture that could be a dresser or chest of drawers, and a chair. As the audience enters a man can be seen lying on the floor, apparently dead. The man sits up and clutches his stomach in pain. The pain passes and he takes a drink from a bottle. He shakes it. He takes some ash from an urn and puts it in the bottle. He closes the urn. He goes to take a drink and stops. He shakes the bottle and adds some white powder from a small glass box. He places everything on a chair and looks around, downcast. He puts the bottle and box of powder in a simple bag from the supermarket and the urn in a backpack. He puts the chest of drawers back in its place, picks up the bags, looks around as if disoriented, and leaves through the door. Momentarily he comes back in again, without the bags. He puts the keys underneath the chest of drawers. He lies down beside the door looking at the keys and disconnects. He falls asleep. The light goes out. Only a faint, yellowish glow remains, similar to an emergency light. He bangs his head against the floor. The light comes on. He is in the same position, but awake. The light goes out. He does not move. He gets up.
 

HIM  Ana! Help!

(He tries to leave through the door, but it is locked. He goes to the chest of drawers and looks at the cell phone.)

No! No! (He looks at the cell in disbelief. The battery has run out.) Where have you taken her? Hello? Hello? What’s going on? She’s . . . No . . . No, I can’t speak to . . . No, that’s not possible. (Shouting.) What? Put her on! I want to speak to her. Where is Ana? Who? (Immediately his expression changes. He smiles.) You’re back already?  

(He presses a button on the cell phone, which starts to make a noise. He puts the cell down. Music plays: “No puedo estar sin ti” by Coque Malla. He lets himself go to the music while he gets undressed. He presses a button and the music stops. He breathes deeply and presses a button again.)

I love you. You’ve always been my better half, you know that, even if I am more of a quarter these days than a half. When I’m better it’ll be me who takes care of you. I’ll treat you like a queen. You’ve no idea how much it means to me. You’ve . . . You’ve . . . I want you to know that . . . I’m always asking you to forgive me . . . I’m sorry. I know you’re doing all of this for me, Ana. I wouldn’t have it any other way . . .

(He still has the phone to his ear, as if he is listening. He dials again and leaves the phone on the table. He takes off his trousers and picks up the phone.)

Don’t pick up.

(He listens and smiles. He dials again. He hangs up.)

Alright, hang up. Yes, I’m fine . . . I’ve told you a hundred times not to answer the phone while you’re driving. So don’t pick up. I wanted to . . . Ana, it’s me . . .

(He dials a number and listens. He picks up a cell phone, takes off his shirt, and sits on the bed. He takes off his shoes. He takes off a sock and turns it around in his hand. He turns it inside out and puts it back on. He looks at the sock, half-surprised, half-amused. He takes off both socks, sitting on the bed, pensive. A girl enters.)

HER  The battery’s nearly gone. I won’t be long.

HIM  Ana . . .

(He looks at a cell phone on the bed. He picks it up and gives it to her. She puts it in her handbag.)

Can you give me your phone, please? Yours does the music . . . Yes . . .

HER  You have the phone. I have to go.

HIM  I had an idea yesterday for a picture . . .

(He settles.)

HER  You know what we’re doing here. No one would be happier than me to see you get out of here, but it’s too soon . . . I don’t want to have to say it again.

HIM  It’s for my own good.

HER  It’s all for you, isn’t it? Who else?

(He does not reply.)

What are we doing?

HIM  Why do you say that?

HER  You make everything I do seem so senseless.

HIM  I just want to go out for a while and keep you company, do the shopping with you . . .

HER  Please don’t make me say it again.

HIM  I won’t do anything stupid. You said it yourself . . . I’m fine . . .

HER  I won’t be long. I wouldn’t . . . I wouldn’t be able to relax.

HIM  What if I need to go to the bathroom? At least leave the door unlocked.

HER  No.

HIM  I’ll get dressed quickly and come with you. Hang on.

HER  I have to go. I’m tired, that’s all . . .

HIM  You used to say it’s good to talk about it. You hardly talk at all any more . . .

HER  Jesus, I look awful!

(She looks at herself in a small mirror on the wall.) 

HIM  I don’t understand.

HER  Sometimes I feel like everything used to be so much easier. I’m sorry . . . It’s good to see you looking better.

HIM  What’s wrong?

HER  (Indifferent.) Yes.

HIM  It’s the nurse’s fault.

HER  You’re fine now.

HIM  (Suddenly happy.) Would you still love me even if I wasn’t sick?

(She finishes getting undressed and goes back to the bed. He lies down with his head hanging over the edge of the bed.)

HIM  Ana . . . It sounds just the same . . . Ana . . . Ana. I like saying your name with my head upside down.

(He starts moving nervously as if overcome by tics. He tries to place his hand on her.)

HER  (Amused, in spite of herself.) Silly.

HIM  I’ve got . . . Parkinson’s . . .

HER  You’re shaking.

(They embrace. They kiss. They look at one another.)

HIM  Don’t laugh at me.

HER  (Laughing.) You’re too much.

HIM  I can’t imagine life without you.

HER  It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed. You’re so close to the finishing line.

HIM  I was losing you . . . and everything went . . . like it did before.

HER  You know you still can’t leave.

HIM  I want to go with you.

HER  I have to go to the store.

HIM  Why?

HER  I have to go. It’s late.

HIM  I dreamed you weren’t coming back.

HER  What happened?

HIM  It was a nightmare.

HER  You were dreaming.

(They are lying down on the bed. He turns his back to her, she shakes him. He moves, restless, as if he is having nightmares. She looks at the alarm clock on the chair and falls asleep. Momentarily she wakes again. He moves restlessly. She looks at the clock on the chair. She turns to look at him affectionately and wakes him gently.)

You were dreaming.

HIM  It was a nightmare.

HER  What happened?

HIM  I dreamed you weren’t coming back.

(Everything is repeated from this point until the end.)

HER  It’s late. I have to go.

HIM  Why?

HER  I have to go to the store.

HIM  I want to go with you.

HER  You know you still can’t leave.

HIM  I was losing you . . . and everything went . . . like it did before.

HER  You’re so close to the finishing line. It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed.

HIM  I can’t imagine life without you.

HER  (Laughing.) You’re too much.

HIM  Don’t laugh at me.

(Silence. They look at one another. They kiss. They embrace.)

HER  You’re shaking.

HIM  I’ve got . . . Parkinson’s . . .

(He starts moving nervously as if overcome by tics. He tries to place his hand on her.)

HER  (Amused, in spite of herself.) Silly.

(He lies down with his head hanging over the edge of the bed.)

HIM  I like saying your name with my head upside down. Ana . . . Ana. It sounds just the same . . . Ana.

(She starts getting dressed.)

HIM  (Suddenly serious.) Would you still love me even if I wasn’t sick?

HER  You’re fine now.

HIM  It’s the nurse’s fault.

HER  (Indifferent.) Yes.

HIM  What’s wrong?

HER  I’m sorry . . . It’s good to see you looking better. Sometimes I feel like everything used to be so much easier.

HIM  I don’t understand.

HER (Looking at herself in a small mirror on the wall.) Jesus, I look awful!

HIM  You hardly talk at all any more. . . You used to say it’s good to talk about it.

HER  I’m tired, that’s all . . . . I have to go.

HIM  Hang on, I’ll get dressed quickly and come with you.

HER  (She hesitates a moment, somewhat bewildered.) No.

HIM  At least leave the door unlocked. What if I need to go to the bathroom?

HER  No . . . No, I wouldn’t be able to relax. I won’t be long.

HIM  I’m fine . . . you said it yourself . . . I won’t do anything stupid.

HER  Please don’t make me say it again.

HIM  I just want to go out for a while and keep you company, do the shopping with you . . .

HER  You make everything I do seem so senseless.

HIM  Why do you say that?

HER  What are we doing?

(He does not reply.)

It’s all for you, isn’t it? Who else?

HIM  It’s for my own good.

HER  I don’t want to have to say it again. No one would be happier than me to see you get out of here, but it’s too soon . . . you know that.

(He settles.)

HIM  (Trying to calm things down and keep the conversation going.) I had an idea yesterday for a picture . . .

HER  (She acknowledges this and looks away.)

(Addressing him.) I have to go. You have the phone.

HIM  Yes . . . (Before she leaves.) Can you give me your phone, please? Yours does the music . . .

(She takes out a cell phone from her handbag, looks at it, and places it on the bed.)

Ana . . .

HER  The battery’s nearly gone. I won’t be long.

(She leaves. He remains alone in the room.)


“No Direction” © Miguel Alcantud and Santiago Molero. By arrangement with the authors. Translation © 2016 by Sarah Maitland. All rights reserved.

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