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Daiva Čepauskaitė is a well-known poet and playwright. Her poetic voice is unique: the classic form of poetry infused with (self-)irony, sting, and criticism of modern life perfectly complements her lyricism and gentler humour.  Her texts crawl into the brain, where they are promptly memorized, and they do not become banal even when frequently repeated. In her dramaturgy she remains a bit of a poet, too, as her plays abound in metaphors and transformations. For a long time Daiva has been writing plays for children, and many of them have been produced in various Lithuanian theatres. Recently, a book of her plays for adults has appeared. Her colleague, the writer Gintaras Grajauskas says, “To me, the most beautiful thing is how Daiva observes and sees people—and she still finds people interesting. The most interesting.”
The excerpt from the play Duobė (The Pit) featured here is painful and stinging, and addresses the theme which has just begun being discussed openly in Lithuania: she writes about the Holocaust and about Lithuanians killing Jews, about an entire layer of our society that was massacred.   This play brought Daiva Čepkauskaitė the  Person of Tolerance award in 2011.

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Mindaugas Lukošaitis, From series "Jews. My History". 2010-2012, paper, pencil, 21 x 29,7. From The Modern Art Center collection.

 

THE PIT

 

A Play

(An excerpt)[1]

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

MILDA (also GOLDA in her youth), a young woman

GOLDA, her grandmother

FRUMA, Golda's mother, Milda's great grandmother

ANDRIUS (also KOSTAS), Milda’s friend

YOUNG MAN I and II, friends of Andrius (and Kostas)

KOSTAS, Golda’s love

BEREL TEITZ, Golda's father (Milda's great grandfather)

SARA and RACHELE, Berel's sisters

 

 

Scene 5

KOSTAS (ANDRIUS). YOUNG MAN I and II barge in, white armbands on their sleeves.

 

 

YOUNG MAN II    Where are you, damn it! How long can we wait?

KOSTAS        Why are you shouting?

YOUNG MAN I    Did we interrupt you? Who's she? When will you let us see her?

YOUNG MAN II    Let's get moving, quick.

KOSTAS        Where to?

YOUNG MAN II    Lots of work to do. Volunteers needed.

KOSTAS        What work?

YOUNG MAN II    Serious work. Not just feeling up some girl.

YOUNG MAN I    Read this.

KOSTAS        What is it?

YOUNG MAN I    Read, read.

KOSTAS        (reads the leaflet) "A new Lithuanian state will be restored by the power, labor, heart and wisdom of the Lithuanian people. Jews are excluded from it completely and for all time. In the newly restored Lithuanian state, no Jew shall have either civil rights or any possibility of making a living. This shall serve to redress mistakes of the past and Jewish knavery…"[2]  What's this?

YOUNG MAN II    Another illiterate! Some friends I've got…  Let's go.

KOSTAS        Where?

YOUNG MAN II    To fight for Lithuania.

YOUNG MAN I    To kick some Communist ass.

YOUNG MAN II    Jewish too.

KOSTAS        Why Jewish?

YOUNG MAN I    For the same shit. Are we going?

YOUNG MAN II    Hold on, let's have a smoke. Do you have a cigarette?

    KOSTAS hands them cigarettes. YOUNG MEN light up.

YOUNG MAN I    That’s good… Where’d you get them?

KOSTAS        I bought them.

YOUNG MAN II    Bought them from a Jew or a man?

KOSTAS        A man.

YOUNG MAN I    Jews are done for.

KOSTAS        Why's that?

YOUNG MAN II    For those who didn't get it the first time. (Reads the leaflet) "Lithuanians, if you     are still alive…" Are you alive?

KOSTAS        Alive…

YOUNG MAN II    Not deaf?

KOSTAS        No…

YOUNG MAN II    Good, so listen. "We vow to take hundredfold revenge on the Jews and communists for the innocent blood of our citizens they have spilt. And right here it says: P dot S dot. "This announcement, either in writing or by word of mouth, must reach the farthest corners of Lithuania." (to YOUNG MAN I) Listen, explain it to this corner here, my nerves are going bad…

YOUNG MAN I       Are you going or not?

KOSTAS                Where?

YOUNG MAN I    No, you're really out of it. Under what rock have you been hiding? Has this girl kneaded your brain into putty, or what? Come on and get with the program.

KOSTAS        What's all this shit you're spouting? Maybe you can explain it to me.

YOUNG MAN I    Listen, jackass. A national Home Guard battalion is being formed by the Kaunas Military Command. You'll join our company. On Gediminas street. Bring your ID.

YOUNG MAN II    Maybe you’re not going?

KOSTAS        Of course, I am.

YOUNG MAN II    Why of course?

KOSTAS        Because I'm a Lithuanian. And I hate communists.

YOUNG MAN I    What about Jews?

KOSTAS        And Jews.

YOUNG MAN II    All right, there’s no time. You'll join. We'll be in touch.

YOUNG MAN I    They'll give us guns!

    YOUNG MEN exit. Only KOSTAS (ANDRIUS) remains.

***

    Enter MILDA.

ANDRIUS    I hate Jews. And I hate you.

MILDA    Same to you.

ANDRIUS    Why are you telling me all this?

MILDA    So you would know.

ANDRIUS    I don't want to know anything. I just wanted to love you. What have you done? Why?

MILDA    Don't worry, you'll be dead soon. And you'll forget everything. I will too.

ANDRIUS    All this was so long ago. It's dead and gone. The wounds have all healed. What difference does it make now?

MILDA    None at all. Everything is now.

ANDRIUS    Nobody is shooting Jews now. Why are you crying about it?

MILDA    I'm not crying about it. I'm just telling you.

ANDRIUS    Can't we just be together, without any stories? I love you, damn it!

MILDA    Will you still love me when you know?

ANDRIUS    What should I know? That you’re Jewish? I know that already.

MILDA    No, you don't.

ANDRIUS    Go to hell.

MILDA    You don't know what it means to be Jewish.

ANDRIUS    But you do.

MILDA    Aren't you disgusted?

ANDRIUS    With what?

MILDA    Kissing a Jew.

ANDRIUS    It’s disgusting. And how! Is that what you want to hear? Do you want me to hate you, pity you, sympathize? What do you want? Should I apologize? For all those Jew-shooters, for the entire Holocaust? For what your granny had to experience? I'm sorry! Can we continue with our lives now?

MILDA    My granny had to experience love. No one says sorry for that.

ANDRIUS    I don't understand you.

MILDA    Get out.

ANDRIUS    No, those Jews… It's impossible. They're the unhappiest, they've suffered the most, their pains are the greatest, their wounds are the deepest, their tears the saltiest. As if other nations weren't murdered, exiled, shot, exterminated. They're eternal martyrs, and everyone's guilty before them. Everybody and for ever! Do you think I don’t have things to tell you? You should know this then – my grandfather was an army officer in independent Lithuania. When the Soviets came, he tried to escape to Germany. He was caught, accused of spying, and thrown into the Kaunas hard labour prison. There, they pulled off his fingernails, burned the soles of his feet, broke his bones. And you know who did all this? A Jew working for the NKVD. My grandfather's whole family was deported to Siberia where they froze to their bunks in the barrack, together with their little children. The order for their deportation was signed by a Jewish NKVD officer. When the war began, my grandfather got out of prison and served in the national Home Guard battalion. He fought for a free Lithuania! Against the communist terror! Do you think there was much love for Jews in his heart?

MILDA    Get out.

ANDRIUS    I will!

MILDA    And don't come back.

ANDRIUS    I won't!

MILDA    I hate you! You killed my parents! Murderer, murderer, go to hell, you murderer!

ANDRIUS    I didn’t kill anyone!

MILDA    I love a murderer. So kill me too. Kill me, I beg you, shoot me, I don't want to live… My hair reeks of blood, ashes, the bottom of the pit, burnt lime, screams and fear, fear, fear. I'm afraid, Kostas…

ANDRIUS    Shhh, calm down, enough, Milda, Milda… Hush, hush… It’s Andrius… I didn't kill anyone…

MILDA    Not yet… Later, later… I remember. I remember everything… I don't want to…. Kostas, don't come here anymore, don't…

ANDRIUS    I'll be back. Soon.

 

 

Scene 6

The same YOUNG MEN and KOSTAS (Andrius), all of them wearing the white armbands.

 

YOUNG MAN I    Now to the pharmacy.

KOSTAS        What pharmacy?

YOUNG MAN II    What, what – the Jewish one, of course. Teitz's.

YOUNG MAN I    What's the address?

YOUNG MAN II    It's right there, ‘round the corner, you know it.

KOSTAS        Why there?

YOUNG MAN I    To arrest the Jew.

KOSTAS        Teitz? The pharmacist?

YOUNG MAN I    No, Abraham.

KOSTAS        But Teitz isn’t a communist.

YOUNG MAN I    They're all the same. Jews, communists, bolsheviks, no difference. All leaches.

KOSTAS        And then where to?

YOUNG MAN II    Then to the Kaplans, to the print-shop.

KOSTAS        Maybe we should split up? I'll go to Teitz, you to the print-shop. It’ll be quicker.

YOUNG MAN II    You figure?

KOSTAS        Of course.

YOUNG MAN I    Will you manage on your own?

KOSTAS        Oh, come on…

YOUNG MAN II    You sure?

YOUNG MAN I    Bring him to the headquarters. Then follow the instructions.

KOSTAS        Got it.

YOUNG MAN I    You can smack him.

KOSTAS        Smack him?

YOUNG MAN II    Why not hit a Jew?

YOUNG MAN I    And remember: "One step to the left – bang! One step to the right – bang! Just     one word – I shoot! Now scram!"

KOSTAS        I get it, I get it.

YOUNG MAN II    At the headquarters. See you there.

    The white-armbands exit. KOSTAS (Andrius) goes to the pharmacy, to BEREL TEITZ.

KOSTAS    Where’s Golda?

BEREL    What do you want with her?

KOSTAS    Mr. Teitz, where's Golda?

BEREL    I’m not telling you.

KOSTAS    I'm here to arrest you, Mr. Teitz…

BEREL    So it’s like that… And I thought you're going on a date. So what are you waiting for? Take me.

KOSTAS    Tell me where Golda is, and I'll say I didn't find you.

BEREL    What are you offering me here? A deal? I should betray my daughter? Are you in your right mind, kid? Don’t bother waiting around.

KOSTAS    Run wherever you can. The quicker, the better. It’s going to be bad.

BEREL    For whom is it good now?

KOSTAS    I'm not joking, God is my witness…

BEREL    God also has some problems, kid. A Jew comes to his rabbi and says: "Rabbi, help me, I don't know what to do. My son wants to convert to Christianity… Rabbi, you're closer to the Almighty – ask him, what should I do?" The Rabbi says: "I can't promise you anything, but I’ll try, come back tomorrow… “ The next day, the Jew returns to the rabbi, who only sighs: "God said: ‘Oy vey!’ He told me He has similar problems: his son has also become a Christian."

KOSTAS    Do you have a place to hide?

BEREL    Sit down, I'll make some tea. My wife will be back soon.

KOSTAS    And Golda?

BEREL    Forget her.

KOSTAS    I want to help her. And you too. It would be much better if you spent a few nights away from home.

BEREL    Nonsense. I haven't done anything, I didn't join any party. Why should I wander about?

KOSTAS    You raised the red flag by your pharmacy when the Soviets came… Greeted the Russian tanks with flowers… People remember.

BEREL    I'd rather give my pharmacy to Stalin than my bones to Hitler.

KOSTAS    You’re still making jokes… I came here to arrest you, and you find this funny?

BEREL    It's not funny. I’m not a communist, as you know yourself. I was born here, I grew up here. I did honest work here. My daughters were born here. Where should I move and why? For what?

KOSTAS    You’re a Jew.

BEREL    Quite possibly. So what?

KOSTAS    Wherever a stone falls, it finds a Jew. Those were your words.

BEREL    All right, you hit the nail on the head. Now take me. Where do you have to deliver me? Or do you have to confiscate my possessions too? Gold, precious stones, money, jewellery – will that do? Take everything. I've earned it with my own sweat, saved it up for my daughters' dowry. Three beautiful brides at home. No matter, the brides can wait. Take it, take it, I don't begrudge a good man having it. And you're a good man, after all, I know, you grew under my nose, one could even say you're close, one of us.

KOSTAS    Mr. Teitz, it is the law – all people of Jewish descent…

BEREL    Yes, yes, I understand, now you're enforcing laws passed by the government. And most likely you have orders to take care of Golda too? And here I thought it was love…

KOSTAS    Believe me, I don't wish you any harm. I’m trying to help you.

BEREL    Wait, wait, so what’s it you want? To help me or to arrest me?

KOSTAS    I…

BEREL    Make up your mind, young man. I'm completely in your power! With all my little bottles. The rest of the biography of Berel Teitz depends solely on you. Even the inscription on my gravestone is up to you. Born in 1891 (well, of course, you had no part in that), but – died in 1941… or not? You decide… See, how powerful you are.

KOSTAS    I'll say I didn't find you at home.

BEREL    Too bad you didn’t find me, but come another time. Come by tomorrow. Or the day after. Come by as often as you like.

KOSTAS    You're still joking… Do you know, Mr. Teitz that Jews will soon stop laughing… for ever.

BEREL    Forgive me, officer.

KOSTAS    Please... Run… And tell Golda …

BEREL    I'll tell her nothing.

KOSTAS    I'm leaving. But others will come.

Scene 7

MILDA and ANDRIUS

 

MILDA    Then others came. They took away my father. Nobody ever saw him again. Golda's mother Fruma had a nice ring. She would never take it off. A white-armband ordered her to hand it over. She couldn’t get it off, no matter how she tried. So he just chopped off her finger along with the ring. Several weeks later, Golda went to search for her father.

ANDRIUS    Where did she go?

MILDA    Now you're an SS officer.

ANDRIUS    No.

MILDA    It's just a game. Please. You're sitting in your office. I come in dressed in my best outfit, with hat and gloves. We speak in German.

Daiva Cepauskaite 4Mindaugas Lukošaitis, From series "Jews. My History".
2010-2012, paper, pencil, 21 x 29,7.
From The Modern Art Center collection
ANDRIUS
    I don't know German.

MILDA    I'm Golda. You're an SS officer.

ANDRIUS    What should I do?

MILDA    Just look at me. Look.

ANDRIUS    I'm looking.

MILDA    I would like to know why and for what my father Berel Teitz was arrested in our home three weeks ago. He was taken away by young Lithuanian officers, probably on orders from their superiors. As of yet, I haven't heard from him. I would like to find out where he is and whether it’s possible to see him. Here are his documents and mine. Before the Soviet rule, my father owned a pharmacy. After it was nationalised, he worked there as a regular pharmacist. He did not belong to any party.

ANDRIUS    What do I say?

MILDA    Nothing. Just look at me.

ANDRIUS    I'm looking.

MILDA    If this isn’t something you can help me with, please, show me a person who can answer my questions. I'm sorry for disturbing you.

ANDRIUS    I'm looking.

MILDA    Now go and bring a bucket of water.

    ANDRIUS brings a bucket of water.

MILDA    Order me to wash the floor.

ANDRIUS    Wash the floor.

    MILDA looks at him in silence.

MILDA    Wash my office.

    MILDA looks at him in silence.
    
ANDRIUS    Wash!

MILDA    I've never washed a floor, sir. We have hardwood floors at home, which I've never waxed.

ANDRIUS    Wash.

MILDA    Maybe you didn't quite understand me, sir…

ANDRIUS    Warum wäschst du denn nicht? Why aren't you washing?

MILDA    I haven't got a rag, sir.

ANDRIUS    Use your panties, Freulein.

    MILDA puts down her purse, puts her hat on a chair, takes off her gloves, and slips off her panties. She balls them up and begins to scrub the floor.

ANDRIUS    I don't know, my dear Freulein, where you've been all this time, but it seems to me like you’ve fallen from the moon. I can't believe it… (He kicks the bucket) Decree Nr. 11 (reads):
    "1. All individuals of Jewish ethnicity, from July 12th  of this year, regardless of their gender or age, shall wear on the left side of their chest the following sign: a yellow Star of David with a diameter of 8 to 10 cm. If noticed without this sign, individuals of Jewish ethnicity shall be subject to arrest.
    2. Individuals of Jewish ethnicity are forbidden from using sidewalks. Jews shall walk only on the right side of the street in single file.
    3. Individuals of Jewish ethnicity are forbidden to take walks in all gardens, parks and squares...
    4. Individuals of Jewish ethnicity are forbidden...
    5. Individuals of Jewish ethnicity are forbidden…
    And so on… And also:  All individuals of Jewish ethnicity residing within the Kaunas city limits, from July 15th  to August 15th of this year, regardless of gender or age, must relocate to Vilijampole, a suburb of Kaunas. They are only allowed to bring with them their tools of  trade and belongings essential for life under new conditions."[3]
    I could arrest you right away for failing to obey the law. But, I must admit, you've made quite an impression on me. So stand up. As you well know, I still have to punish you…

    He smacks MILDA. MILDA remains silent.

ANDRIUS    I must admit, you've impressed me. (He grabs MILDA by the hair and pushes his face close to hers, looks right into her eyes, then lets her go) I would kiss you but it’s disgusting to kiss a Jew…

MILDA    Darf ich schon gehen? Can I go now?

ANDRIUS    Yes! (He kicks the bucket) And don't forget the “tools of your trade”.

    MILDA stares at ANDRIUS.

ANDRIUS    What? Did it play out differently? Maybe he kissed her anyway? Or maybe he didn’t just kiss her? What are you staring at? Did I botch my role? Were you expecting more?

MILDA    Andrius…

ANDRIUS    Is that why you slipped your panties off? Have I failed to meet your expectations?

MILDA    Cut it out…

ANDRIUS    Maybe we should try again?

MILDA    Enough.

ANDRIUS    It was you who wanted it.

MILDA    What's wrong with you?

    ANDRIUS starts ripping off MILDA's clothes.

ANDRIUS    It's just a game, like you said. Just a game!

MILDA    Stop it! Let me go.

ANDRIUS    You like it?! Maybe like this? Or like that?

MILDA    Stop!!!

ANDRIUS    And those white-armbands who came to take you away, maybe that's what they also wanted? Did you actually resist them? Just like you're doing now? Or even more?

MILDA    It hurts…

ANDRIUS    Down, bitch! (He throws MILDA to the floor) Wash the floor! Wash it with your body! With your breasts! Now with you back! Crawl! And now my shoes! Shine my shoes! With your tongue! More! You missed a spot, here too. That's the ticket. Gott mit uns. God is with us.

MILDA    Darf ich schon gehen? Can I go now?

ANDRIUS    All right. All right. I'll be an SS officer, policeman, whatever you want, just so you look at me the way you’re doing right now. Like that… Look at me. Look. Just look. With smell of wet floors, sweat, rags, tears, saliva, slop… Fear.

    He lets go of MILDA.


    ***

    GOLDA (MILDA) and KOSTAS (ANDRIUS)

GOLDA    …then they took us all outside. Me, my mother, sisters, aunts… everyone. Blows of  wooden rifle butts. I rememder the pits. Deep and wet. Gunshots. I didn't see it, but I remember. I didn't want to stand there with my back to them. I wanted to see the barrel. The red spark. The shining bullet. There were many of us. More than the barrels. I didn't know which one was mine. I didn't know into which one to look. I fell with all the others. It didn't hurt. Bodies all around. Then silence. I opened my eyes. Felt something in my mouth. Hair. Not mine… A braid. A girl's braid in my mouth. A girl lay on top of me. And then I realized, I’m still alive. Probably the only one in the entire pit. No, in the whole world. I lay there for some time and listened. I couldn’t hear anything. Silence. I climbed out. I ran. It was getting dark. I ran. To you.

KOSTAS    Your hair was caked with blood. You smelled of the earth. I washed you. And I hid you. I tore up the floorboards and dug a ditch under the house. There, we were finally together.

GOLDA    You used to come to me. We’d be silent, make love… I ate from your hands like a dog. I licked your hands and cried. Sometimes I prayed and begged God that this would go on for ever. Let there be war, let them shoot and bomb, let all the cities of the world be destroyed, all the people killed… Only to have you by my side. My savior, my executioner. My love.

KOSTAS    I brought you food.

    MILDA eats out of ANDRIUS's hands like a dog. Licks them.

GOLDA    Is this blood?

KOSTAS    It's bread.

GOLDA    Dried blood on your hands.

KOSTAS    Maybe dirt…

GOLDA    Blood tastes good. Dirt tastes good.

KOSTAS    Your hair smells of mould. Of mud, rainworms, acidic groundwater, gravel, mouse piss.

GOLDA    Let it go.

KOSTAS    Come here…

GOLDA    You're using me. My helplessness. You can turn me in, shoot me, throw me out on the street. I'm your prisoner. You can do whatever you want with me.

KOSTAS    It's you who can do whatever you want with me. I'm your prisoner. A bat in your hair.

GOLDA    My hair smells of you.

KOSTAS    Golda…

    KOSTAS (ANDRIUS) embraces her tightly. GOLDA (MILDA) screams.

KOSTAS    What?

GOLDA    A needle.

KOSTAS    What?

GOLDA    Here, a needle. (She points to her heart) I wanted to kill myself. I have no strength left. I found a needle. Stuck it in right there. But it didn't reach my heart, it was too short. It's there. It hurts… Am I going to die? Kostas, I don't want to die…

KOSTAS    I'll pull it out. You won't die.

GOLDA    I’ll just forget.

KOSTAS    And so for two years. In the ditch with you. You were my bandage, impossible to rip off.

GOLDA    You were my blood, impossible to wash off.

KOSTAS    You were my saliva, impossible to swallow.

GOLDA    You were my life, impossible to live without.

KOSTAS    You were my death, which I feared and desired.

GOLDA    Soil under my fingernails.

KOSTAS    Sweat in my pores.

GOLDA    Air in my lungs.

KOSTAS    The pulse in my temples.

GOLDA    A fish in my water.

KOSTAS    Gravel in my teeth.

GOLDA    A beast in my snare.

KOSTAS    A bullet in my chest.

GOLDA    A snowstorm in my belly.

KOSTAS    A bell in my head.

GOLDA    Rust on my palms.

KOSTAS    Powder in my guns.

GOLDA    Ice under my tongue.

KOSTAS    You're trembling. Are you cold?

GOLDA    Is it night now?

KOSTAS    Night, and war.

GOLDA    Are there any people left?

KOSTAS    Where?

GOLDA    There, up above… Is anyone still alive?

KOSTAS    No. I've killed them all. So it would be just us. So no one could disturb us.

GOLDA    Have you shot them all?

KOSTAS    Yes, all.

GOLDA    And my mother?

KOSTAS    Your mother too.

GOLDA    She was missing a finger on one hand. She loved hats and could speak five languages. And my aunts? My sisters?

KOSTAS    And your aunts. And your sisters.

GOLDA    The eldest one, Frida, she was in love with this young man from the hardware store. She made me carry notes to him… For some reason, I wished he would dump her. To get her pregnant and leave her. She seemed so strong, like a padlock from that hardware store. Oh, I wanted to feel sorry for her, comfort her. The middle sister, Riva, was very good at chess. She beat our father once. He was terribly angry. As if it wasn't enough that God didn't give him a son, but gave him a daughter with brains to boot… Did you shoot her too?

KOSTAS    Her too. And all her chess pieces.

GOLDA    And Pooky?

KOSTAS    Pooky?

GOLDA    My rabbit.

KOSTAS    No, I didn't shoot Pooky… He starved to death.

GOLDA    And what about God? Did you shoot him, or did he starve to death?

KOSTAS    God was on vacation.

GOLDA    Will he return?

KOSTAS    He should.

GOLDA    Were there many like you?

KOSTAS    What do you mean, like me?

GOLDA    Lithuanians who were shooting Jews.

KOSTAS    Not many.

GOLDA    But they shot a lot of people…

KOSTAS    More than were saved.

GOLDA    It was ordinary to kill people. For that, you didn't even need cruelty. Indifference was enough.

KOSTAS    The instinct of self-preservation was enough, just the thought that, thank God, it's not my turn yet.

GOLDA    Were there many like you?

KOSTAS    What do you mean, like me?

GOLDA    Lithuanians who were saving Jews.

KOSTAS    Many.

GOLDA    But they saved so few...

KOSTAS    Fewer than those killed.

GOLDA    You needed ten miracles to survive. Nine were not enough.

KOSTAS    I brought you something to eat… Here.

    GOLDA (MILDA) eats from KOSTAS's (ANDRIUS’s) hands like a dog.

GOLDA    Did you save me or kill me?

    GOLDA (MILDA) lies down at KOSTAS’s (ANDRIUS's) feet and falls asleep.

    Enter mother FRUMA aunts SARA and RACHELE, bringing a bucket. They make a bed in it, arranging, straightening, and tucking in the bedding.

SARA    I let my little white goat out
To graze around the house.
My little goat, I've paid for her
Two golden crowns,
Two golden crowns.

RACHELE    Ssh… Quiet, you'll wake her…

SARA    My little goat keeps walking on,
I follow close behind…
Through ancient woods and fields we roam
All day, all night,
All day, all night.
    My little white goat, in the afternoon, Friday,
    Suddenly stops.
    And I see before me a beautiful land
    In the pale blue light,
    In the pale blue light.[4]

RACHELE    Let her sleep, let her sleep… Did you make a warm bed?

SARA    I did…

RACHELE    Tuck her in some more here… Shall I spread a blanket?

SARA    All right now, quit your fussing, let's go…

RACHELE    Let's go, let's go, let her sleep.

    THE WOMEN exit on their tiptoes, taking the bucket with them. Enter BEREL, quietly.

BEREL    A quarter to five.

ANDRIUS    What?

BEREL    Ssh… I said, a quarter to five. You asked me, back then in the pharmacy, what time it was.

ANDRIUS    Ah…

BEREL    You understand, had I told you right away, we would've started talking… You would’ve turned out to be a nice guy… And I, as a decent man, would have to offer you a drink. But I have a young beautiful daughter, and maybe you would seduce her… And, most likely, she would get pregnant, and you, as a decent guy, would want to marry her. So this is what I thought: why do I need a son-in-law who doesn't even own a watch?

Scene 8

MILDA is asleep. Enter grandmother GOLDA with a bucket.

 

GOLDA    I have to tell you…

MILDA    Hm? What time is it? Oh my God… Granny, go to sleep…

GOLDA    I have to tell you…

MILDA    I want to sleep. Tomorrow, all right? Tomorrow…

Daiva Cepauskaite 3Mindaugas Lukošaitis, From series "Jews. My History".
2010-2012, paper, pencil, 21 x 29,7.
From The Modern Art Center collection
GOLDA    It's important.

MILDA    Granny, please, go to bed…

GOLDA    I’m with child.

MILDA    What?

GOLDA    I’m pregnant.

MILDA    Ah… All right, granny, all right… When is your due date? Be a good granny, not now. Tomorrow, all right?

GOLDA    We’re going to have a baby.

MILDA    We?

GOLDA    Yes, we… After two years of living in the ditch, I gave birth to a daughter.

MILDA    Yes, I know.

GOLDA    They hid her in a bucket and took her away.

MILDA    You told me already.

GOLDA    No, I haven't. I couldn't have, because I forgot.

MILDA    Yes, yes…

    GOLDA quietly exits. MILDA sleeps.


    ***


    Enter KOSTAS (ANDRIUS)

GOLDA    Where is she?

KOSTAS    Who?

GOLDA    Our daughter.

KOSTAS    She’s safe.

GOLDA    I want to see her.

KOSTAS    Later. You need to recover.

GOLDA    Where am I?

KOSTAS    In a village. I brought you to my relatives. You need to regain your strength.

GOLDA    Did I give birth in the ditch, under the floor?

KOSTAS    Rest.

GOLDA    Are you alive?

KOSTAS    Alive.

GOLDA    And am I?

KOSTAS    Alive.

GOLDA    And she?

KOSTAS    Alive.

GOLDA    I want to sleep.

KOSTAS    Sleep. You'll stay here for a while. I'll visit you. Soon the war will be over. We'll go away and get married. Really soon.

GOLDA    Where is our girl?

KOSTAS    My aunt took her in. You can't live here with a child, it's too dangerous. We put her in a bucket and took her away.

GOLDA    In a bucket?

KOSTAS    So no one would suspect.

GOLDA    You're lying. Was she stillborn?

    KOSTAS (ANDRIUS) is silent.

GOLDA    Don't look at me.

KOSTAS    I'm not.

GOLDA    My hair has lost its scent.

KOSTAS    It smells of milk.

GOLDA    Can I get up already?

KOSTAS    Try.

GOLDA    I want to go out for a walk.

KOSTAS    All right. When it gets dark, we'll go to the garden.

    GOLDA (MILDA) gets up, walking slowly, looking around

GOLDA    What stars… All of them 8 to 10 cm in diameter. One on the front, one on the back. The sky is full of Jews, you see… No, the sky is my father's jacket… Black black… Somewhat faded.


    ***


ANDRIUS    It's getting light.

MILDA    And now – a gunshot.

ANDRIUS    Already?

MILDA    Already.

ANDRIUS    Please, not yet.

MILDA    It's just a game.

ANDRIUS    Still… Let me smell you. Your hair has the scent of gunshot residue, of healing wounds, of prisoners freed, of hope…

MILDA    Is the war ending?

ANDRIUS    It is.

MILDA    Three hundred thirty-seven, three hundred thirty-eight, three hundred thirty-nine…

ANDRIUS    Why are you smiling?

MILDA    From pain.

ANDRIUS    You’ll forget.

MILDA    I'm so sure now that I can't live without you – that’s why I'm smiling.

ANDRIUS    And now?

MILDA    Now. A gunshot. You’re falling.

    ANDRIUS slowly lies down.

MILDA    The gunshot came from behind the garden. Maybe they were aiming at me, I don't know. I don't know who shot or why. I lay down on your chest and stayed there. Until the war was over. It rained, the sun shone, it rained again… My body started to decay, to rot… Our body. My hair reeked of putrefying flesh, carrion. Under us, the grass didn’t grow… I turned nineteen.

ANDRIUS    They took me away. Buried me. Where – I don't remember.

MILDA    Someone picked me up and carried me off. Somebody gave me shelter. I don't remember. They say I became deranged. It’not true. My madness had ended. You were my madness.

    MILDA hugs the bucket, rocks it, and hums a lullaby.

MILDA    Sleep, daughter, sleep... A little white goat sits under your bed. While you sleep, it will travel the world, bringing you raisins and almonds. Sleep, sleep. Raisins and almonds, the color of your eyes. You’ll grow up beautiful, and your pretty form will be known far and wide. You’ll be so beautiful – like a lily among blackthorn, like an apple among the trees of the forest. Your curls like a tribe of goats descending the slopes of Gilead... Your teeth like a herd of shorn sheep climbing out of a swimming hole... Sleep, baby, sleep. Your cheeks like the two halves of a pomegranate. Your neck like the tower of David... Sleep...

 

© Translation into English by Aivaras Mockus, 2012
Translation edited by Rimas Uzgiris

 

1. In Lithuanian this play was published as Aš tave užmiršau (I’ve Forgotten You). Name change to "The Pit" was suggested by author.

2. This and the following quotes from the Lithuanian Activist Front proclamation, circulated in 1941.

3. Citing the orders of Jurgis Bobelis, Kaunas commander, July 10, 1941.

4. From the poem “Little Goat” by Moyshe Kulbak

 

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