2013, Special Mention Section Theatre: A future within reach, by Matteo Taccola
(We are in a living room. There is a desk behind a large window that is covered by heavy curtains. On the desk there are notebooks, pencils, pens, bits and pieces, a computer. There is a chair behind the desk, in front of the computer. The audience can see only the back of the leading actor. The leading actor is wearing a blue shirt and a pair of jeans, he is a young man, with a blank look, ruffled hair, busy writing on the computer.)
The man (clearly stressed):I must drive! Yeah, I really must drive! A moment, please, I’ll answer you in a moment.
Here is twitter and there is facebook! Well, now I’ve got all that I want! Wait I said! (angrily shouting towards the bright screen).
I bet all this bip and bit and byte will make me crazy!
(Suddenly the young man turns to the audience and looks at it in surprise)
Who are you? I don’t think to know you… wait… oh, yes! Are you my twitter or facebook friends? Of curse! Aren’t you? What? What did you say over there? Yes, you! Don’t you know me? Aren’t you my network friends? Real people? Are you saying you are real?
(surprised, almost terrified and trembling) Where do you live? In which e-mail address do you live?
The real world… I heard it mentioned some years ago, when I was younger than now.
(he turns, touches his hair, takes the chair and brings it in the middle of the stage towards the audience and sits down.)
I’ll tell you a secret but, please, don’t reveal it: many years ago I said to my friends and my family that I would have liked to be a writer, my dream! I imagined to become like Hemingway or Dickens or somebody else! I used to throw myself in so many stories through my imagination: now I was a fisher, now a thief, now a Saint, many afternoons spent being someone else somewhere, (bitter smile), but someone thought I was mad and others fell in a depressed skepticism, I’ve been broken to pieces like a lamb to the slaughter.
I enrolled at the University hoping to find what I knew I could have found somewhere else, but I tried, just to give my family’s words credit, not to hear cloyed lectures by friends. The more time passes the less I believe in getting something from the world, I wasn’t able to look beyond the next day.
What there will be for me, I wondered, in a week, a month, a year? Questions that was tormenting me, without any answers.
What the future was holding for me? I hated what I studied… I gave up with my only passion because the others killed me without caring what has become of that despised body. But one day… (he starts to laugh, wide-open eyes) I met a friend, someone who believed in me, someone who wanted my soul and my body every seconds, every moment, everyday of my life… that one! (pointing to the computer, laughing hysterically).
Look at its light! Wonderful! He believed in me! I write and he takes up every words, he let me do what I want… Writing! I tell stories about lovers, deeply disillusioned people, strange and strong loves, about madness, about everything and he’s never sick and tired with me, this bright screen light of my life!
He thinks a lot of me, he’s a fortress from every kind of threat, of critic…
What are you saying? What do I write about? I write about what I want to do, about the future I want to get being a writer!
What about you? How making myself known if I stay in this room?
(self-confident) Didn’t you understand? He’s my publishing, my reader, my boundless book!
An old woman(she’s among the audience, not really tall, little lined, white hair, black bright eyes, wearing a hat with a flower, sprightly, excitedly): You don’t know what you’re saying! You write about empty things! How can you write in this old, damp and dirty room? Look! Those notebooks are white, pens don’t work, that computer doesn’t work, it’s just bright!
Open those curtains! Look out the window! That’s your future: the streets, people talking while walking fast, the offices, the hospitals, newspapers, friends and a worried family that is looking for you…
What do you think? The world doesn’t exist in that rusty box, you can’t create your future standing on a chair, biting listlessly a toothpick and pressing slowly the keyboard.
Stand up, walk! You’re worse than Lazarus! The world is yours, touch it, knock your head against it, get with effort your own piece that nobody will never be able to carry away, go and fight!
The young man (amazed, talking to himself): And if she was right? I can’t throw my life away! If she isn’t wrong… everything would be so close, almost… within reach.
What are you, then? (towards the computer), WHAT? (shouting) You aren’t the friend I thought! Did you lie to me? You made fun of me, why? I’ve been stupid, naive, I surrendered to my weakness, but no more! Stop!
Let me think… ( he goes up the window dubiously)
(having his back turned on the audience, turning a bit his head towards the audience) I’m almost scared, do you know? I’ve never looked out this window, I opened so many of them on that damn screen but not this one.. Actually I thought it was painted on the wall!
(he moves little the curtain aside, a beam comes inside) Ahhhh what a pain! The light in my eyes is intolerable!
(he closes his eyes, tries to shield himself with a hand and leans the other one on the desk tossing many things on the floor, the computer too. After a minute) At last… my eyes are getting used to the light… How wonderful! Is this your world?
(towards the audience) Those are people, houses, offices, schools, children, mothers and fathers, young couples… I must go, I must run, I must write everything, I must hold my future, that’s over there, I can see it, always ahead… What a stupid!
That’s the elementary school with its turquoise walls, that church, come on, fast (towards the audience) come and see, I can also see Emilio the priest, his ruddy nose, with always a glass of wine, while, over there, the hospital where I was born!
Oh my God, what have I done? (looking down for a moment)
I wasted so many years of my life… this is the time to change, I’m determined to do it!
First of all, away these curtains…away! (he wrenches the curtains), I’ve always obscured this wonderful window and only now I’m asking why.
I can also feel the fresh air coming from the clefts of the window… I like it, I like this air… it tastes like… like life! Yeah, life!
Hurry up a pen, a pen and a notebook (he bends down and takes a pen and a notebook),I go, sorry, I really have to go, I can’t stop, I’ve already wasted too much time!
A moment, just the time to switch off this contraption (he pulls out the plug). That’s done!
You chained me for so much time but now I’ve had enough! (he kicks brutally the computer)
Who would have said? The future is really within reach.
September 26, 2021