Passport Control

Europe, 2068. Thirty years after World War III, also known as
The Islamic War, a Wall separates Europe from other nations.

 

 

Three officers in a training room.
One of the officers, an older man, has a clipboard. He is Character A.
The other two officers, a man and a woman, are waiting for the beginning of a drill.
B is a man. C is a woman.
Even though it’s the future, all – clothes, setting – seem ancient and rusty.

Character A: We’re extremely happy with the progress you are showing daily in your activities here at the Pangea Akademie, the stellar due diligence and doting dedication.

Character B, C: Thank you, sir.

Character A: We’re sure that once you start your careers at this very important corporation, this mission, not even the sky will be the limit for either of you.

Character B, C: Thank you, sir.

Character A: It’s not just a matter of belief because to carve out the responsibility of protecting the wall and our beautiful society on your very hearts is not enough.

Character B, C: We couldn’t agree more, sir.

Character A: It’s needed more than talent to read disguised intentions on the bottom of other people’s eyes. We’re seen as policemen, policewomen, law enforcers, but in the very end, the essence of what we do … we’re poets, do not ever forget that.

Character B, C: We will never forget, sir.

Character A: We’re poets and our reports are beauty and every stamp, denying or accepting, is a verse of the big poem that we all, as a organisation, are crafting together. (Pause) And the muse is the wall, now and forever.

Character B, C: Now and forever, sir.

Character A: So, without further ado, let’s start the drill. Today we will receive foreigners, talk to them and understand them and comprehend them as the very special human beings they are. Let’s do it twice, I’ll just describe a random person and you’re going to enquire, ask questions, mild and honest questions, to the very special human beings they are. Are you ready, officers?

Character B, C: We were born ready, sir.

Character A: You see this man, he walks toward us. (Pause.) He’s middle-aged, dresses very elegantly and moves smoothly, he has an undeniable charming groove as well as a penetrating candor in his warm gaze, and his smile – oh, his smile – is as inspiring as the sunset when you’re in love. (Pause.) But he is an Arab.

Silence.

Character B: First name?

Character C: Family name?

Character B: What’s your age, sir?

Character C: Any other name that you should inform us about, sir?

Character B: Sir, you sure look much younger than the age you’re telling me, sir.

Character C: Are you sure you don’t have any other name, sir? (Pause.) What’s the purpose of your travel, sir?

Character B: Where did you come from?

Character C: Why did you come here, sir?

Character B: How did you come from?

Character C: Why did you come?

Character B: What did you come from, sir?

Character C: Why here?

Character B: What are you, sir?

Character C: Why here at all, sir?

Character B: What are you, sir?

Character C: Why?

They look at each other.

Character C: Oh, the purpose of your travel is written on this letter, sir.

Character B: So, sir, we’ll read the letter.

Character C: I suppose I don’t need to read the letter to you, sir.

Character B: I suppose you already know what’s written in the letter that was sent to you, sir.

Character B, C: We suppose a lot, sir.

Character C: That’s our job.

Character B: That’s our vocation.

Character C: Our mission, as they say.

They read the “letter”.

Character B: It says here that you are invited to give a lecture at one of our very best colleges, sir. It says here that you’re a doctor, that you hold a PhD.

They clap their hands.

Silence.

Character C: Congratulations, sir. Congratulations, we hail you with all the tenderness in our hearts. (Pause) But that’s not how it’s going to be, sir.

Character B: I know your type.

Character C: I knew plenty.

Character B: We knew plenty indeed.

Character C: Are you listening to me, sir?

Character B: I know what you are up to, sir.

Character C: With your type, it’s never about what, but when, sir.

Character B: It’s always when.

Character C: An eternal never-ending when.

Pause.

Character B: So this means that actually with such a high level of education you suddenly feel overqualified to keep cleaning our toilets, sir?

Character C: Is there something wrong with our toilets, sir?

Character B: It means that our toilets are not what they used to be when we didn’t have the wall and your type just flooded our peaceful countries coming on boats and once you got here, you would fight amongst yourselves for a piece of bread and a toilet to clean, sir.

Character A, correcting: Any toilet.

Character B: Any toilet to clean, sir.

Pause.

Character C: Aren’t our toilets up to your new standards, sir?

Character B: Maybe with all the wisdom and knowledge bestowed upon you by one of our great colleges you could just design a toilet that suited your new talents, sir.

Character C: Sir, if I can suggest to you an improvement, apart from padded toilet seats – that is a must – we could have lined toilet paper so you can keep writing your books, sir.

Character B: Would that satisfy your new golden standard, sir?

Character C: If so, if that would satisfy you, that’s a shame. Because your Visa … is denied.

Pause.

Character A: I could not be prouder. I could not be prouder. Such objectivity and clarity demands brave hearts and clear minds. We’re not here to judge, we’re here to protect our good citizens.

Character B, C: Yes, sir. Very well said, sir.

Character A: What I just saw was two exemplary officers shielding the ears of our innocent college kids, of our future. We have enough knowledge. We are Europe. And this subject would not add anything. As we well know, in these fast postmodern times we live in if you don’t add, you subtract. Our beautiful kids deserve better. Great job. Next drill.

Character B, C: We’re ready, sir.

Character A: You see this woman, she walks toward us. (Pause.) She is young, curious, very much alive. She has her whole future in front of her, and her eyes are dark as coal. She is as optimistic as the bountiful cotton clouds that embrace us the very first morning after discovering new wonders. She feels that the world is hers and she exhales a globetrotter’s confidence in her talents. She is ready for the world. (Pause.) But she is an Arab.

Silence.

Character B: First name?

Character C: Family name?

Character B: What’s your age, Madame?

Character C: Oh, you’re not a Madame. You’re a Mademoiselle.

Character B: Why are you not married?

Character C: Are you against marriage?

Character B: Do you have any sons, Mademoiselle?

Character C: Why don’t you have any sons?

Character B: Why are you not married yet?

Character C: Is your womb fertile?

Pause.

Character B: Mademoiselle, being a Madame is the dream of every Mademoiselle.

Character C: Is your womb still fertile?

Character B: Mademoiselle, to be a Madame is much more trustworthy than to be just a Mademoiselle, Mademoiselle.

Character C: What’s your business bringing a fertile womb to our territory?

Character B: How can you trust a Mademoiselle that is not yet a Madame?

Character C: What’s your business bringing a fertile womb to our territory?

Character B: I think even you would agree with me on this subject, Mademoiselle.

Pause.

Character C: What’s the purpose of your travel?

Character B: You, of all people?

Pause.

Character C: Oh, I see, it’s just tourism.

Character B: Yes, tourism. It seems that it’s just a matter of walking and taking pictures of our natural beauty.

Character C: Very well, very-very well. (Pause.) And by any chance, and forgive me for my curiosity, it’s part of my job.

Character B: It’s the heart of our job, Mademoiselle.

Character C: But don’t you have rivers where you come from?

Character B: No rivers?

Character C: Don’t you have forests where you come from?

Character B: No forests?

Character C: Don’t you have mountains?

Character B: No mountains that deserve the privilege of your photographic prowers?

Character C: And blue skies with many birds singing sweet songs?

Character B: No blue skies, birds, songs?

Character C: It must be our rivers, our forests, our mountains and our birds?

Character B: Our birds, Mademoiselle? (Pause.) Our birds have been inspiring us since time immemorial.

Character A, disappointed: Not that long.

Character C: Our birds have been inspiring us as far back as I can remember.

Character A, dispirited: Too modest.

Character B, uplifted: Our birds have been inspiring us since my great-grandparents were harvesting our treasured soil with their bare hands.

Character A, effusively: That’s it!

Characters A and B celebrates.

Character C: Is this the plan?

Silence.

Characters A and B recover their composure.

Character B: Tell us, Mademoiselle.

Character C: Is this the plan?

Character B: Tell us, Mademoiselle. Confess.

Character C: Your plan is to come here and overwork our birds?

Character B: Confess, Mademoiselle.

Character C: Do our beautiful and kind birds have to produce happiness for everyone now?

Character B: To come here and overwork our fragile birds.

Character C: The happiness that our birds produce is ours by right.

Character B: Shame on you, Mademoiselle. Not our birds.

Character C: They will get tired and die very soon. Earlier than expected.

Character B: Our birds, our songs, our happiness, Mademoiselle.

Character C: European birds for European ears.

Character B, as if understanding everything: Oh, that’s the reason.

Character C: I know your type.

Character B: That’s the true reason.

Character C: We know plenty of your type.

Character B: That’s the reason we can’t trust a Mademoiselle until she becomes a Madame.

Character C: I’m really very-very sorry that you haven’t yet found the true great love of your life. (Pause.) Your Visa is … denied.

Pause.

Character A: Seeing both of you working together is music to my ears. The very finest tools of sharp objectivity applied with zeal and responsibility. This subject with all her candor would destroy our nature and kind birds for sure. Not just that, her presence would compromise a lot of marriages that are now in crisis, like mine. Danger. You saved me from a felony, and I could not be more thankful. (Pause.) And as the manual of the organisation preaches, “Every womb is a bomb”.

Character B, C: Every womb is a bomb, sir.

Character A: With you both on our side this society will always be safe.

Character B, C: Thanks you very much, sir.

Character A: And the good news is that today you each burnt 375 calories on this drill.

Character B, C: That’s fantastic, sir.

Character A: We must be safe, and we must be fit.

Character B, C: That’s true, sir.

Character A: Well, that’s enough for today. There is still a lot to learn, but the organisation is eager to throw you out into the world. For now, go home. But let’s keep focused, be vigilant.

Character B, C: Yessir.

Character A: Very well, very well. Let God bless the wall, and us all.

Character B, C: Let God bless the wall, and us all, sir.

Character A: Dismissed.

 

B, C exits.

 

The sketch Passport Control was created as a contribution for the Festival The Future of Europe by Schauspiel Stuttgart, June, 6 – June, 10, 2018. Graphic design by Denise Helene Sumi