- A Portrait of the Times
Cast of Characters
Suparman, former student in Rotterdam; unemployed
Harsini, Suparman’s fiancée; teacher
Kartono, Harsini’s younger brother; student at the Netherlands Indies School for the Arts (Nerderlands Indische Artsen School)
Martono, volunteer at a government office
Suratman, graduate of Holland’s Islands Kweekschool (Hoogere Inlandsche Kweekschool); unemployed
Sarti, Harsini’s friend
Abu Talib, Sarti’s husband
Puspohadi, father of Harsini and Kartono
Mrs. Puspohadi, mother of Harsini and Kartono
Sumardjo, Sarti’s father; doctor
The central room of a home. In the middle of the room but a little to the rear is a low table, around which are several matching chairs. The chairs are placed around the table so that none has its back to the audience. Seated in the left, right, and rear chairs are Martono, Kartono, and Suratman, playing a game of bridge. Kartono, who is playing the “blind,” plays quickly, rapidly deciding which card to put down, his concentration focused solely on the game. Suratman’s movements are slow. Martono takes a long time to think before playing, but then throws his cards down quickly. With his right hand, Kartono pulls the blind to the center, then looks at Martono and beckons with his index finger.
Now, where’s your queen? I’m going to take her! [Martono looks at his cards.] Hurry up … I’ll take her anyway. [Suratman yawns, leans back, and stretches his legs.] Your friend has yawned again.
[Throwing down his queen with force.] What can I do?
[Putting down a king.] I told you. [Suratman looks at his [End Page 1] cards for a moment, yawns, then plays his card.] What kind of a hand do you have?
I’m unlucky tonight. I didn’t want to play, did I?
Don’t argue, look at this.
[After looking at the card that Kartono played, examines his own cards, then looks at the played card again.] Let’s go! Hit him with a good card! [Suratman puts a card down.] Ugh, it’s really bad luck playing with you.
[Smiles, takes the cards already played.] Here …
[Silent for a second.] Well, what can I do?
[Puts down all of his cards.] Four down! [He writes it down. Martono examines Kartono’s cards, looks at his own cards, repeats this several times.] Well, how about it? Am I right or not? [Martono lays down his cards. As Kartono speaks, Suratman also lays down his cards.]
[Looking outside.] It’s still raining.
[To Suratman.] So, shuffle the cards. I’ll deal. [After the shuffling, he extends the deck of cards to Martono.] Cut.
Let’s just stop playing.
Yes, that would be better. It’s bad luck playing with you.
There’s no end to this rain … Hey, it stopped. Let’s go home.
It’s still early and you want to go home.
What, this late and you say it’s still early? Yes, it’s time to go home.
[About to get up.] Ach, it’s raining again. [Sits back down.]
It’s not going to end soon. We can use an umbrella. [To Kartono.] Do you have one?
Wait a bit more, until the rain stops, alright? It won’t be long.
[Exits, then re-enters with an umbrella and raincoat.] Here, the two of you can use this umbrella. But this coat is for you, Suratman. You’re always complaining about the cold.
[To Suratman.] You can hold the umbrella. [Suratman takes the umbrella and raincoat from Kartono.] [End Page 2]
Come again tomorrow night, Tono. Ni will be here.
Sure, I’d like to come.
[To Suratman.] Why don’t you keep me company tomorrow? You don’t have any work, do you? We could go for a bike ride. [All exit.]
[Offstage, loudly.] Look out, man, don’t get wet!
Kartono enters. He collects the cards from the table and places the deck on a small table to one side of the room. He picks...