Istoria comunismului, povestită pentru bolnavii mintal, de Matei Visniec


SCENE 8 
 

YURI PETROVSKI in front of a seated audience of “slightly disturbed” patients 
 

YURI: Open your mouth wide 
 

The patients do. 
 

YURI: Say “u”. 

PATIENTS: Uuuuu… uuuuu 

YURI: Breathe. 

PATIENTS: Uuuuu 

YURI: Fill your lungs with air… breathe deeper… again. 

PATIENTS: Pfouuuu…  

YURI: Again. Fill your lungs with air. 

PATIENTS: Pfouuuu… 

YURI: Say “utopia”. 

PATIENT 1: Don’t shoot, comrade. 

KATIA: Be quiet, Piotr. 

YURI: One more time… ”Utopia”. 

PATIENT 1: Don’t shoot, comrade. 

KATIA: Piotr, shut up. 

YURI: Concentrate hard. It is a word with a rising curve. Like a horse rearing up to the sky… “utopia”. 

PATIENT 2: A horse pisses standing up so why… 

KATIA: Can it, Ivan. 

YURI: You understand how it rises. It rises and embraces the sky. 
 

Several of the patients make the sign of the cross. 
 

KATIA: Go on, Yuri Petrovski. 

YURI: It begins in your mouth and ends in the stars. Utopiahhhh... 

PATIENTS: Utopiahhhh… utopiahhh 

YURI: Very good. 

PATIENTS: Utopiahhhh… utopiahhh 

KATIA: Enough! Go on, Yuri Petrovski. 

YURI: Well then what is a “utopia”? 

PATIENTS: Utopiahhhh… utopiahhh 

PATIENT 2: I want to pee standing up! I want… 

KATIA: Stuff it, Ivan. Go on, Yuri Petrovski. 

YURI: A utopia is when you’re in deep shit and you want to get out.  
 

Frozen silence. The patients are in total dismay 
 

YURI: But before you can get out of the shit, you’ve got to examine your situation. 

PATIENT 2: (in a soft voice to his neighbor PATIENT 3) - Does that mean we’ll get to pee standing up? 

PATIENT 3: Shhh! 

YURI: And if you’re smart, you’ll see, one: you’re not the only one in deep shit and two: you’re not the only one who wants to get out. And if you follow these thoughts further, you’ll soon realize that you’ll never get out of the shit by yourself. Oh no. The only way to get out is with the help of all the others: all the comrades who find themselves like you in deep shit. 

PATIENT 3: Yuri Petrovski, may I ask you a question? 

YURI: Yes. 

PATIENT 3: Why does it always go “click, clack clunk.”? 

KATIA: Don’t start, Sasha. 

PATIENT 1: Is your mother always on a plane, Yuri Petrovski? 

YURI: My mother is dead, Piotr. 

KATIA: Continue, Yuri Petrovski. 

YURI: Right. The more you think about it, the more you realize that you can’t get out of the shit by yourself. You can only make it out with the help of all the comrades who are stuck in the shit with you.

(Silence in the audience.)

But the ones who stuck you in the shit don’t want you to get out of the shit. They won’t let you get out of the shit, not you or your comrades who are with you there, stuck in the shit. And the ones who stuck you in the shit can keep you there because they are strong and united. 

PATIENTS: (speaking at the same time, losing all concentration) Uuuu…

Yuri Petrovski, a question. . .

Horses aren’t the only ones who pee standing up…

Click, clack, clunk!

Place your bets, Mesdames et Messieurs.

Riebbentrop-Molotov! Ribbentrop-Molotov!

No, no, no… No, no, no, it’s not true… no, no, no…

Is Henri Barbusse still alive?

Utopiahh, Utopiahhh…

Shoot, comrades, shoot!

There are no such things as airplanes. 

KATIA: Silence, comrades! Go on, Yuri Petrovski. 

YURI: So it follows, to get out of the shit, you and your comrades must also be united. That’s what comrade Lenin said one day. . .  

PATIENT 3: Who? (He starts crying hysterically.) Who? Click clack clunk? 

KATIA: Stop it, Sasha. 

YURI: That’s what comrade Lenin said one day in 1915 when he was in Zurich which is a city in Switzerland… 

PATIENT 4: That’s not in Switzerland… 

YURI: …which is a country which was not stuck in shit. “Comrades”, said comrade Lenin… 

PATIENT 4: That’s not in Switzerland.  

YURI: …in order to get out of deep shit, it’s not enough simply to want to get out of shit, you must unite.”

That’s precisely what comrade Lenin said one day in 1915 in Zurich where he and other comrades had found a safe haven… 

PATIENT 1: Long Live Great Lenin! 

OTHER PATIENTS: Long live Great Lenin! 

YURI: …to make plans. And then all those who were stuck in deep shit back in Russia said, “Yes, comrade Lenin is right”. And they united.  

PATIENT 1: Long live Great Lenin! 

OTHER PATIENTS: Long live Great Lenin! 

PATIENT 2: Lenin never said you shouldn’t pee standing up. 

KATIA: Shut your traps and listen to Yuri Petrovski. 

YURI: And they united and  joined hands with each other and with great effort they pulled themselves up out of the shit. And the people who had stuck the others in shit were killed or thrown into camps. And then Stalin, great comrade of Lenin, said, “Comrades, it isn’t over, we must now build a country where no one will ever have shit dumped on them again.” And Stalin said, “Comrades, I have a scientific method to build a country where no one will ever have shit dumped on them again.” 

PATIENT 4: That’s not in Switzerland. 

PATIENT 3: (crying) Katia Ezova, Katia Ezova, Katia Ezova, it’s not right, Katia Ezova. 

KATIA: Calm down, Sasha. 

YURI: And all the people who had just gotten out of the shit began to construct this new country where no one will ever have shit dumped on them again.  
 

The patients listen as if hypnotized. 
 

YURI: And then Stalin saw that certain people who had begun with him to build this country where no one would ever have shit dumped on them again, didn’t want to see it through. And Stalin said, this is not  good because those who don’t want to see things through will slow us down. You can’t  build a country where no one will ever have shit dumped on them again with people who won’t see things through. I’m through with people who won’t see things through.

(Silence. No one reacts.)

And then, a pal of Stalin’s, comrade Dzerjinski , who’s first name is Felix and whom we’ll call Felix because it’s easier to say than Dzerjinski, anyway Felix says to Stalin, “Comrade Stalin, I have a scientific method to separate the men who don’t want to see things through from the men who do want to see things through.

(The patients listen with more and more dismay, but a sort of heat invades their faces.)

The problem was that those who didn’t want to see things through did not acknowledge that they didn’t want to see things through. And that’s why Felix had to apply his scientific method to separate the men who don’t want to see things through from the men that do want to see things through.

      

And those who didn’t want to see things through were sent to Siberia, to the Gulag. 

Then one day a man turns up in the Gulag, a good friend of Stalin and Felix, and the people who had been sent there for not seeing things through asked him, “Why are you here with us who didn’t want to see things through, you who did want to see things through?” And the friend of Stalin and Felix replied, “ I believed I wanted to see things through but Felix showed me using his scientific method that actually, without my even being aware of it, I didn’t want to see things through. 

And this friend of Stalin and Felix demanded to be shot; for as he said to Felix, those who don’t realize that they don’t want to see things through are more dangerous than those who know they don’t want to see things through. But Felix told him: wait, we’ll shoot you later when you once again desire with all your heart to see things through because then you will be really dangerous. 
 

Heavy silence. The patients are  transfixed. 
 

PATIENT 1: He’s dead. So is he dead? 

KATIA: Let’s stop here, comrade Yuri Petrovski. We’ve worked hard enough for today. Go comrades, it’s time for your walk in the garden. 
 

Traducere de Catherine Popesco

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