Theatre is this section’s subject matter. For we love the stage and its (r)evolution. In this issue of Biweekly.pl we present an excerpt from Magda Fertacz’s play Trash Story.

Ursulka and her story. Scene 2.

URSULKA
I don’t go to the river. I watch over the house. I have my own key. I open the door and close it and open it again and close it again…My daddy had a bicycle. Green. He sat me on his shoulders and we flew down the hill. And I laughed and pressed my head against his face. His mustache scratched my neck. He had a tiny, evenly trimmed mustache. Like uncle Karl, the father of Sleeping Beauty. Because me and Elza’s favorite game was Sleeping Beauty. I was the evil witch, Elza was the good princess, my brother Hans was the prince…the prince was good too. He was really embarrassed by the kissing at the end. He always ran away. We didn’t want him to run away because without the prince there’s no game, and I came up with the idea for Eliza to have a sugar cube in her mouth and for her to push it into his mouth with her tongue while they were kissing. And Hans really liked that. He liked it so much we used to play just the ending. I was kind of jealous of Elza…Elza is still sleeping. You have to wake up Sleeping Beauty.

***

Sunburned figures taking refuge in the cool house

MOTHER
My legs are all swollen from the heat.

WIDOW
You need to elevate them.

MOTHER
Better to keep them on the ground, so they know their place.

SON
There are people looking at our house.

MOTHER
More German tourists. The look around, ask questions.

(Ursulka enters. Widow, Mother and Son don’t hear her.)

URSULKA
Be very afraid…I am the Witch of Bad Dreams. I will steal your secrets and lock them in a dark dungeon…

WIDOW
One time I saw them hugging a tree and kissing the ground.

MOTHER
That’s not very German.

WIDOW
They’d already been here once. They looked at the barn.

SON
Did they say anything?

WIDOW
I don’t know German.

MOTHER
And a good thing, too. Awful language.

SON
They’re standing behind the fence.

MOTHER
I’ll apologize and show them out. They’re not marching through our house, jackboots thumping.

URSULKA
The Witch of Bad Dreams sees all and knows all. And there’s nothing she can’t do.

WIDOW
German women sure are ugly.

MOTHER
And how! Our women age gracefully, unlike German women.

WIDOW
They have such manly faces.

MOTHER
Because that’s the kind of nation they are. Nothing but men.

SON
I’ll invite them in.

MOTHER
Stop!

SON
You’re right, they might start shooting.

URSULKA
She knows every story in the world, every man, woman, and child, because she knows all dreams, she knows all secrets.

MOTHER
So go up to them. Tell them about your grandfather.

SON
This place is a part of their history.

MOTHER
Well it’s not my history.

SON
Mom, cut it out.

WIDOW
Oh God…oh God…

MOTHER
They’ll arrive, they’ll leave, then we’ll have peace and quiet. There’s no point standing here. The house needs cleaning. So much to do before his birthday.

URSULKA
And your secrets are you.

***

URSULKA
In our village, they say that when someone with weak eyes can all of a sudden read without glasses, it means death is on the way. And Grandma Elza started reading newspapers without glasses even though she’d been almost blind for ten years…

We’re finished…We’re finished, my mother kept saying. The Russkies are coming. Die Russen kommen! Die Russen kommen! The whole village went crazy. Women running around packed wagons, ready to roll. Our neighbor, Renate, ran towards the river. Together with her daughters Alma and Erna. To drown themselves…

Mama is mumbling to herself strangely…she pulls me, Hans and little Liza to the hayloft in the barn. Hans runs away, and little Liza lets out an awful scream. There are other women already in the hayloft. They’re looking hurriedly for ropes, they’re taking off their stockings and belts. We’re going to hang ourselves, Mama says. Outside you can hear heavy boots thumping. I look through the window and hear a shot. Stupid Hans…Mama puts a rope around little Liza’s neck, doesn’t let her cry. Hits her on the face. She’s really in a hurry with the hanging. Other women are wheezing, they can’t die. I ran away. I wanted to go home…

Before the door stood a line of soldiers. Elza was lying there in the middle…Sleeping Beauty. She wasn’t moving. They went up to her one at a time and…tried to wake her. Just like Hans…other soldiers are singing by the stove. One of them put me on his knee and stroked my hair. He smelled a lot like my father. He must have had a hundred watches on his wrist, one linked to another. He smiled. He had a face like a troll. Where did they all come from? They must have come in through the chimney. I remembered that mama was still in the hayloft, so I went back to the barn. They let me leave. Little girl, little girl, they keep saying. It’s awfully dark in the loft. Old Friede has foam on her lips, but she’s still alive. She’s hanging too low. Little Liza isn’t crying anymore. She’s rocking back and forth like in a cradle. I stand on a sack of oats. Mama puts a rope around my neck. You have to jump, she says. Jump! I jump…

This is my house. White with a red roof. It has small windows and brown shutters. I just wanted to tell you my story…nothing wrong with that…is there?

(Ursulka exits, singing)

This post originally appeared on Biweekly.pl in July 2010 and has been reposted with permission.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.