by Cara Winter
Inspired by the play MISTER FUGUE, by Liliane Atlan
Fugue State (definition): "... a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality." ~ Wikipedia
LIGHTS UP ON:
The Make America Great Again Detention Centers of America (Now Great Again)
a desert outside Las Vegas, NV in the not-too-distant future
The Detention Center is empty, save for four children who have been hiding in the sewers and surrounding desert. They have been on their own for so long, they are now like wild animals in almost every way, except they are human children:
SARAI (a different brown)
OLIVIA (sort of white but not really)
A man (BEN, white, 30-45) walks into view. He is carrying a Nintendo 3DS, and a brown paper sack.
Another man (JOHN, white, 25-30) in a uniform enters behind him, tapping him on the shoulder. They whisper to each other.
BEN: John, I told you to fucking stay out of sight!
JOHN: Yeah, dude, but I forgot to give you this.
John hands him a gun, concealed in a bag.
BEN: A gun?! They’re kids; I won’t need this.
JOHN: Dude, their parents were illegals, Muslims, blacks… you can never be too careful.
Ben takes the gun.
BEN: Fine, Jesus Christ. Now get lost, alright?
Ben sits down on an overturned garbage can, and begins to play his Nintendo, with the volume all the way up. After a few moments, we see a child’s head (JUAN) popping up out of a nearby sewer cover. Ben pretends not to notice it, absent-mindedly grabs a potato chip out of the bag with one hand, trying to beat the game with only one hand. Juan approaches him.
JUAN: You’ve gotta keep both hands on that thing. You gotta, you're gonna miss the-- you've gotta catch those, dude, and you're running out of power, so -- watch out! Watch out, you're gonna ---
The game 'bleep-bleeps' indicating Ben has lost.
JUAN: --lose. Moron.
Ben glances at Juan, and then puts both hands back on the Nintendo. He plays again, more feverishly, and Juan becomes involved in the outcome, jumping up and down, pumping his fist, etc.
Two other children (KEVIN and OLIVIA) emerge from their hiding places, drawn by the sounds of the game, and/or the food.
KEVIN: Can I see? Lemmie see.
OLIVIA: There are no grownups. Should be no grownups. Only kids. Grownups hung and shot, fucking hung and shot, or just raped and shot and then taken away. Or just taken away, maybe raped there. Wait, is there food in there?
Olivia peers into the bag beside Ben.
OLIVIA: Chips! O.M.G., shit, can I have some?
Ben nods absent-mindedly. Olivia begins to eat as though she's never seen food before.
KEVIN: Lemmie have some!
Kevin grabs the bag away; Olivia and Kevin fight over the food.
Ben has now allowed Juan to play his Nintendo. The children are in heaven.
Finally, SARAI emerges. She wears a tattered headscarf; she is the most elder of the children.
SARAI: Stop! All of you! Olivia! Kevin! Juan! Go back to into hiding, you idiots, this could be a trap!
From out of nowhere, John and a second soldier (DAVID) grab the children, pointing guns at them. Ben also grabs one of the children, and brandishes his gun.
DAVID: Hands up, kids. You’re illegal and you're coming with us.
This play is derivative of a copyrrighted work by the late playwright Liliane Atlan. Please email me directly if you are interested in staging this play, so that we may discuss rights & fees with the copyright holder of the original piece.