Translator’s Note: Pronouns are not gender specific in Indonesian. In fact, the playwright purposefully employs this characteristic as a source of humor and ambiguity. Therefore, the use of he/she or his/her in this English translation is arbitrary.
Cast of Characters
Sympathetic One / Possessed One
A large group of people is engaged in activity, which stops suddenly when a siren goes off. The siren begins quietly, then gets louder and louder until it is deafening. The group waits for something to happen. And waits. Gradually the siren fades away. Emptiness. The people look around. One person laughs. Others join in. They resume their activity but are interrupted by the arrival of the Sick One wrapped in a blanket. This new arrival appears to be both mentally and physically ill, and advances as if wanting to complain to the group.
What’s wrong? [End Page 107]
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[End Page 108]
Through gestures, the Sick One indicates his condition is worsening. A different Someone then addresses him.
What is it? Are you sick?
[Together or individually.] What’s wrong? What hurts?
Because the Sick One doesn’t answer, the crowd carefully and sympathetically examines him. Then they launch again into a series of questions.
Are you sick?
Do you have a cold?
A fever? Dizziness?
It’s probably epilepsy.
The Sick One moans.
What’s wrong? Out with it. Don’t be shy, we want to help you.
Poor thing. See how old his face looks. Could be from overwork. Have you eaten yet?
It’s windy here, and what with this weather, you’ll likely pass out if you don’t eat. You really shouldn’t be here!
You’d better go home or to the hospital. There’s a hospital if you walk due north of here for about one kilometer. Straight that way.
It’s probably a better idea to rent a buggy or use public transport. What’s a little money out of pocket if you’re less than well? And alone too.
Are you alone?
The Sick One groans pathetically.
What hurts? What is it? What?
What did he say?
He doesn’t look like he’s from around here.
Where are you from? The mountains? The islands?
Maybe he’s Javanese.
Try speaking to him in Javanese!
Someone asks a question in Javanese. [End Page 109]
No, he’s not!
Don’t be afraid. No one is trying to trick you. Don’t be afraid, we want to help.
Someone asks another question in Javanese.
No, he’s not Javanese.
The Sick One tries to speak.
That’s right! Don’t be scared. Is it your stomach? Your chest? Your feet?
He’s probably deaf. [Yells.] What hurts? Hey! What hurts?
See! He heard that!
Maybe he’s mute!
Someone asks a question using sign language.
Again! Do it again! That wasn’t clear enough!
Someone repeats the sign language. Still no response.
Hey, guys, maybe he just doesn’t want to talk.
Enough already. Quit bugging him.
But he needs help, and right away.
Definitely. He looks like shit.
Well, I think that if he really needed help, he would have asked for it already. The fact is, he’s just been silent no matter how many questions we ask.
So, why did he come here if it wasn’t to ask for help? What for, if not for help?
He was just passing through.
Why not? His not talking proves it.
No way, believe me.
Maybe it is true. Come on, is everyone who passes by here supposed to ask for help?
Maybe not, but this wasn’t by chance. He came here on purpose.