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Origami Doves - by T. Kamal-Eldin

FADE IN:

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.

GROUP MEMBER#1

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.

GROUP MEMBERS

(in unison)

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.

FEMALE WILDEBEEST

Hey, don’t wander off too far.

MALE WILDEBEEST

There are still humans around.

YOUNG WILDEBEEST turns and looks back at adult wildebeests.

YOUNG WILDEBEEST #1

But they don’t eat animals anymore.

FEMALE WILDEBEEST

They’re still dangerous.

(under her breath)

Always have been; Always will.

GIRAFFE rambles through.

MALE WILDEBEEST

What are you up to, Giraffe?

GIRAFFE

Just stretching my legs.

MALE WILDEBEEST

(chuckling at his feeble quip. )

Not your neck.

Giraffe grimaces. Others express disapproval and/or annoyance.

.

LION

Yup. It’s great to have our jungle back.

BEAR

Well I wouldn’t say it’s quite back yet.

LION

But it’s getting’ there.

ZEBRA

The fewer humans there are, the greater

chance it has to restore itself.

ELEPHANT

Ain’t that the truth.

RHINO

Why don’t you stick around, giraffe? Some

domesticated animals are visiting.

ZEBRA

We’re welcoming them back to nature.

Helping them with the transition from

dependency and…

MONKEY in a tree.

MONKEY

The farm animals are arriving.

COW, CHICKEN, PIG, and CALF saunter in, clearly tired.

PIG

(huffing)

We’re not used to walking so much.

CHICKEN

We’re not even used to being outdoors.

GIRAFFE

Have some water from the stream.

They drink from the stream.

PIG

(looking around in awe)

It’s amazing. I’ve never seen such beautiful

nature.

LION

Humans destroyed most of it, you know.

BEAR

It was a lot better. I remember childhood stories

from my mother… how it was before humans

encroached on our wild spaces.

COW

(somber)

I walked by the slaughterhouse where my

relatives were murdered. I wanted to show

my son…

She looks down at the calf who looks up at her.

BEAT.

MALE WILDEBEEST

I guess it’s a holocaust mooozeum for you.

Cow grimaces at him. Others express disapproval and/or annoyance.

COW

(overwrought)

At least you had some freedom and open space.

LION

(guffaws)

You mean sanctuaries. (sarcastically)

Nature preserves. Euphemisms for

CAPTIVITY.

PIG

It’s a lot better than what us farm animals

had to endure under Big Ag.

Farm animals chime in.

CHICKEN

We were isolated and raised in miserable

conditions from the moment we were hatched

until the day we were killed.

PIG

I couldn’t even turn around in my confinement.

They kept me immobile and pregnant

CHICKEN

Try being squashed into a wire cage with

several other terrified chickens.

COW

How about being in a CAFO, standing up to

your ankles in excrement.

LION

Well wildlife didn’t exactly fare any better.

RHINO

We’re almost extinct. Loss of habitat,

poaching; My own species was being

exterminated for our horns.

ELEPHANT

Same thing with us, for our tusks.

GORILLA

And for our body parts and bush meat.

RHINO

Our horns were considered aphrodisiacs.

We almost went extinct because of some

bogus claim that our horns helped men

get erections.

MONKEY

Don’t forget us. We’re used in excruciating

lab experiments.

LION

How about trophy hunting. Why in the hell

do people stick our heads on their wall?

FEMALE WILDEBEEST

We’re not competing here. We’re here to

show solidarity.

Just then a dog comes bounding in.

DOG

Sorry I’m late.

ZEBRA

We’ve all been treated terribly my humans.

DOG

They weren’t ALL bad.

GIRAFFE

Tell that to your ancestors, the wolves .

DOG

Huh?

BEAR

(scoffing)

What do you expect from “man’s best friend”?

ZEBRA

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.

PIG

In the end, it’s leading to mankind’s demise.

The way they treated us, the animal kingdom

and the planet in general.

CALF

What do you mean?

PIG

COVID 19. Like its predecessors, this virus

emerged from in those wildlife markets

of sick, crowded, stressed animals with

their feces, urine, blood…

CALF

Gross. Please stop.

PIG

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.

LION

Serves them right.

GIRAFFE

Mother nature’s revenge?

LION

Something like that.

ELEPHANT

Some kind of karma.

DOG

(emphatically)

Not all humans are bad.

MALE WILDEBEEST

Now you’re just being DOGmatic.

Dog grimaces at him. Others express disapproval and/or annoyance.

ZEBRA

No other animal fouled its own nest as

much as human beings.

PIG

And they didn’t heed the warning signs

of their damage.

BEAR

Like?

PIG

Well, climate change for a start.

MONKEY

(shouting)

Quiet!

BEAT. A hushed silence is followed by a low growling sound.

MONKEY

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.

ZOMBIE

The food is cold here.

ZOMBIE examines the audience.

ZOMBIE

(wild grin and growling)

I bet you it’s warm down there.

He jumps off the stage and pretends to attack the audience members.

The End.

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