Origami Doves - by T. Kamal-Eldin
Stage is lit mostly by candle light: GROUP: Three people in the front row and three in the back row which is staged so we can see everyone. They are all dressed in black and hold candles at their waist with both hands so that it lights up their faces from below.
2019—Coronavirus, COVID 19.
GROUP MEMBER #2
The worst human pandemics and epidemics —
DIFFERENT GROUP MEMBERS
HIV, SARS, avian flu, swine flu, Ebola, Zika —
all stemmed from trading and consuming animals.
GROUP MEMBER #3
2020— (number to be filled in) are infected,
(number to be filled in) are dead.
We hold this vigil for COVID 19’s victims and
for the billions of animals who have been
commodified, exploited, abused, and killed.
LIGHTS FADE UP:
White Dove sendoff: Origami doves (that resemble paper airplanes) flutter above.
LIGHTS FADE DOWN/FADE UP:
ANIMALS—LION, ELEPHANT, BEAR, ZEBRA, WILDEBEESTS, MONKEY, RHINO--in a jungle setting; but far back on the horizon is an apocalyptic city scape.
TWO YOUNG WILDEBEESTS are about to bound off into the jungle.
Hey, don’t wander off too far.
There are still humans around.
YOUNG WILDEBEEST turns and looks back at adult wildebeests.
YOUNG WILDEBEEST #1
But they don’t eat animals anymore.
They’re still dangerous.
(under her breath)
Always have been; Always will.
GIRAFFE rambles through.
What are you up to, Giraffe?
Just stretching my legs.
(chuckling at his feeble quip. )
Not your neck.
Giraffe grimaces. Others express disapproval and/or annoyance.
Yup. It’s great to have our jungle back.
Well I wouldn’t say it’s quite back yet.
But it’s getting’ there.
The fewer humans there are, the greater
chance it has to restore itself.
Ain’t that the truth.
Why don’t you stick around, giraffe? Some
domesticated animals are visiting.
We’re welcoming them back to nature.
Helping them with the transition from
MONKEY in a tree.
The farm animals are arriving.
COW, CHICKEN, PIG, and CALF saunter in, clearly tired.
We’re not used to walking so much.
We’re not even used to being outdoors.
Have some water from the stream.
They drink from the stream.
(looking around in awe)
It’s amazing. I’ve never seen such beautiful
Humans destroyed most of it, you know.
It was a lot better. I remember childhood stories
from my mother… how it was before humans
encroached on our wild spaces.
I walked by the slaughterhouse where my
relatives were murdered. I wanted to show
She looks down at the calf who looks up at her.
I guess it’s a holocaust mooozeum for you.
Cow grimaces at him. Others express disapproval and/or annoyance.
At least you had some freedom and open space.
You mean sanctuaries. (sarcastically)
Nature preserves. Euphemisms for
It’s a lot better than what us farm animals
had to endure under Big Ag.
Farm animals chime in.
We were isolated and raised in miserable
conditions from the moment we were hatched
until the day we were killed.
I couldn’t even turn around in my confinement.
They kept me immobile and pregnant
Try being squashed into a wire cage with
several other terrified chickens.
How about being in a CAFO, standing up to
your ankles in excrement.
Well wildlife didn’t exactly fare any better.
We’re almost extinct. Loss of habitat,
poaching; My own species was being
exterminated for our horns.
Same thing with us, for our tusks.
And for our body parts and bush meat.
Our horns were considered aphrodisiacs.
We almost went extinct because of some
bogus claim that our horns helped men
Don’t forget us. We’re used in excruciating
How about trophy hunting. Why in the hell
do people stick our heads on their wall?
We’re not competing here. We’re here to
Just then a dog comes bounding in.
Sorry I’m late.
We’ve all been treated terribly my humans.
They weren’t ALL bad.
Tell that to your ancestors, the wolves .
What do you expect from “man’s best friend”?
Like I was saying, we were all victims of
human behavior, whether we were destined
for dinner plates, pharmacists, pet cages,
lab cages, trophies, sport, entertainment.
Everyone appears solemn.
In the end, it’s leading to mankind’s demise.
The way they treated us, the animal kingdom
and the planet in general.
What do you mean?
COVID 19. Like its predecessors, this virus
emerged from in those wildlife markets
of sick, crowded, stressed animals with
their feces, urine, blood…
Gross. Please stop.
Anyway, it was the perfect storm for
the virus. They were told to isolate themselves,
keep a distance from other humans but
most of them didn’t do that. So, the microbes
mutated and created…what we’re seeing now.
Serves them right.
Mother nature’s revenge?
Something like that.
Some kind of karma.
Not all humans are bad.
Now you’re just being DOGmatic.
Dog grimaces at him. Others express disapproval and/or annoyance.
No other animal fouled its own nest as
much as human beings.
And they didn’t heed the warning signs
of their damage.
Well, climate change for a start.
BEAT. A hushed silence is followed by a low growling sound.
It’s a human. He’s running this way.
All the animals duck for cover. The growling gets louder.
A HUMAN MALE ZOMBIE arrives swaying and darting around the stage. He stops in the center of the stage with his back facing the audience. He peruses all of the animals who no longer cower but stand upright and stare at him unflinchingly.
ZOMBIE turns to face the audience.
The food is cold here.
ZOMBIE examines the audience.
(wild grin and growling)
I bet you it’s warm down there.
He jumps off the stage and pretends to attack the audience members.