In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Ought
  • Putu Wijaya (bio)
    Translated by Cobina Gillitt (bio)

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

Sick One

Sympathetic One / Possessed One

Propositioner

Balsam Owner

Brave One

Envious One

Leader

Pathfinder

Angry One

Spokesperson

The One

The Other

Cucumber Eater

Investigator

Act 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.

someone

What’s wrong? [End Page 107]


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Untitled, Yogyakarta, 2011. Kurniadi Widodo

[End Page 108]

Through gestures, the Sick One indicates his condition is worsening. A different Someone then addresses him.

someone

What is it? Are you sick?

someone

[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.

someone

Are you sick?

someone

Do you have a cold?

someone

A fever? Dizziness?

someone

It’s probably epilepsy.

The Sick One moans.

someone

What’s wrong? Out with it. Don’t be shy, we want to help you.

someone

Poor thing. See how old his face looks. Could be from overwork. Have you eaten yet?

someone

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!

someone

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.

someone

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.

someone

Are you alone?

The Sick One groans pathetically.

someone

What hurts? What is it? What?

someone

What did he say?

someone

He doesn’t look like he’s from around here.

someone

Where are you from? The mountains? The islands?

someone

Maybe he’s Javanese.

someone

Try speaking to him in Javanese!

Someone asks a question in Javanese. [End Page 109]

someone

No, he’s not!

someone

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.

someone

No, he’s not Javanese.

The Sick One tries to speak.

someone

That’s right! Don’t be scared. Is it your stomach? Your chest? Your feet?

someone

He’s probably deaf. [Yells.] What hurts? Hey! What hurts?

someone

See! He heard that!

someone

Maybe he’s mute!

Someone asks a question using sign language.

someone

Again! Do it again! That wasn’t clear enough!

Someone repeats the sign language. Still no response.

someone

Hey, guys, maybe he just doesn’t want to talk.

someone

Enough already. Quit bugging him.

someone

But he needs help, and right away.

someone

Definitely. He looks like shit.

someone

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.

someone

So, why did he come here if it wasn’t to ask for help? What for, if not for help?

someone

He was just passing through.

someone

No way!

someone

Why not? His not talking proves it.

someone

No way, believe me.

someone

Maybe it is true. Come on, is everyone who passes by here supposed to ask for help?

someone

Maybe not, but this wasn’t by chance. He came here on purpose.

someone

Let’s...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-943x
Print ISSN
1045-7909
Pages
pp. 107-158
Launched on MUSE
2015-02-12
Open Access
No
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