I KNOW YOU

 

By Richard Nathan

 

Lights come up on a MAN alone on stage.  He seems content, almost happy.  A moment later a WOMAN enters.  She studies the man and seems to recognize him.  The man looks uneasy.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I know you!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I suppose you think you do.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    No, I do!  I know you!  Don't I?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Who ever really knows anyone?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I know you!  I'm sure I do.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Who do you think I am?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Wait.  It'll come to me.  ...  Give me a hint.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I was hoping you could give me one.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You don't remember either?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I don't remember who I am...  or where I
                                    am...   but I know that I am...  important!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    How do you know that?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Isn't it obvious?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    No.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Everything else is gone.  All around me...
                                    all I sense is an empty void.  I'm all that's left. 
                                    Just me.  Of course I'm important.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    What about me?  I'm left.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You must be here to give me something to
                                    react to, so that I can be me in all my ....
                                    me-ness.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Or maybe I'm just here to put you in your place.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You don't know me!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I do.  I've encountered that egotism before. 
                                    You're not what you appear to be.  I think  ...
                                    you might be an actor.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    In the theater? 

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Or in life.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You think that's funny, but there is some truth
                                    in it.  Don't we really, all of us, just play at  
                                    being ourselves?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    No.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    No?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    No.  Some of us are real. 

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Or pretend to be.  If I'm an actor, are you a fan?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    No.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Really?  That seems so unlikely.  I can't remember
                                    anyone who didn't like me.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Remember harder. 

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Who are you?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Maybe I'm a critic. 

 

                                                            MAN

                                    What do you mean "maybe."

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    For the moment, I don't remember who I am either.  
                                    I don't remember where I know you from, but I
                                    am sure that I know you.  And I didn't mean I 
                                    thought you were a professional actor.  I just sense
                                    you're a poseur. 

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Only poseurs use the word "poseur."  Besides, if
                                    you dislike me so much, why don't you find someone
                                    else to visit?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    There doesn't seem to be anyone else around.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Why don't you try looking somewhere else?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Where?  Didn't you say everything else was an
                                    empty void?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I said everything around me was an empty void. 
                                    I didn't say everything around you.   Where did
                                    you come from?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I don't remember.    

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You don't remember who you are, and you don't
                                    remember where you came from, the only thing you
                                    remember is that you don't like me!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You must have made a strong impression.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Well you didn't make one at all, because I have no
                                    idea who you are!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Are you sure?  The way you're acting toward me -- 
                                    doesn't it seem to you that we must have had a
                                    history?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Impossible!  If we had a history,  one of us would
                                    have killed the other. 

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Maybe we did.  Maybe we're dead.  And this is the
                                    afterlife.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    That's such a cliché!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Clichés become clichés because they're based on
                                    universal truths.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You think it's a universal truth that dead people walk
                                    around, talking to each other,  gradually discovering 
                                    that they're dead?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Maybe.  Who knows what happens when we die?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I know!  I've had near death experiences!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I thought you didn't remember anything.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    It just came to me - visions of my life ending,
                                    a feeling of peace and letting go, and then a deep
                                    and powerful voice saying, "Well done.  Very
                                    well done."

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You sure it wasn't the devil saying how he wanted
                                    you cooked?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    It was a heavenly voice! 

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Then how do you know we're not dead?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Because I'm too alive to be dead.  Too vital,
                                    too vibrant!  And when I do eventually
                                    die, they're not going to stick me in a room with you! 
                                   

                                                            WOMAN
                                    And yet, someone did.

 

Pause.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    This is only temporary.  And I'm not dead!

 

Longer pause.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    If we could just figure out some small part of this,
                                    maybe the rest of it would fall into place, and we'd
                                    know who we are and where we are and why we're
                                    here.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I don't particularly care.  I was quite happy before
                                    you came along.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Are you sure?  What do you remember, before me?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Not that much.  But I do remember an unpleasant
                                    sensation the moment you showed up.  It was like -
                                    "well, here we go - now the trouble starts."

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    It's like we were characters in a play, with no back-story
                                    before the curtain goes up.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Oh please!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    What?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I'm not a part in some absurdist play where the
                                    characters are named "Man" and "Woman."

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    And which would you be?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Neither!  I'm not a part.  I'm a human being!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Actually, ... I agree. 

 

                                                            MAN
                                    That I'm a human being?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    That this couldn't be a play.  Not a good one  
                                    anyway.  This can't be a play because... at least
                                    so far... we've decided our goal is to figure out 
                                    who we are, but...

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You decided.  You decide everything!   

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    All right.  I decided.  I've decided our goal
                                    is to figure out who were are, but if this is a play,
                                    then everything's already scripted, we have no free
                                    will, so it's out of our hands, so that would make 
                                    our mission meaningless. 

 

                                                            MAN
                                    What?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    We're trying to establish our identities, but if every
                                    word we say is scripted, so then we can't establish
                                    anything.  It's all plotted out by the playwright.  So
                                    who cares?  The central point is pointless. So this
                                    can't be a play.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I didn't understand a word of that.  But I agree that
                                    we're not characters in a play.  And we're not dead. 
                                    So what are we?

 

Long pause.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You didn't understand my line of reasoning?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    That's what I said, isn't it?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I thought I was quite lucid, and my argument cogent. 
                                    Maybe you're mentally ill!   Maybe that's why you
                                    don't know where you are, or what's going on!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    If I'm mentally ill, then so are you!  You're right here
                                    with me!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Am I?  What if I'm just a figment of your imagination?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Never in my worst nightmare could I imagine anything
                                    as annoying as you!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Maybe we're both mentally ill.  Maybe...  maybe
                                    we both have Alzheimer's.  Maybe this is what our
                                    minds are reduced to in our final stages.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You think....

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    It would explain the memory loss.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    No.  No, that isn't...  it's not true.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I hope not.  Two souls, lost in a mental vacuum. 
                                    Complete mental collapse.  It's frightening!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Don't worry.  I sense an intellect that's still strong,
                                    in fact a brilliant mind.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Thank you!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I meant me!!!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    What do you remember since I came in?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Since you came in?  Let's see....  You said
                                    you knew me.  Then you asked me who I
                                    was.  I said I was important, and you insulted
                                    me.  Then you said I was an actor, and you
                                    insulted me again.  You said maybe we were
                                    dead, and I said that was a cliché, and you
                                    insulted me.  Then we agreed that we weren't
                                    characters in a play.  Then you said maybe
                                    I was crazy, and maybe I had Alzheimer's.

 

                                                          WOMAN
                                    You don't have Alzheimer's.  Your memory is
                                    too good.  ...  Unless you're wrong.    Unless none 
                                    of that happened.  ...   Maybe you just imagined
                                    it all!

 

                                                        MAN
                                    But you were here!  You know all that happened!

 

                                                        WOMAN
                                    Maybe I only think I remember it because I'm
                                    crazy.  I could be crazy.  I could be totally nuts.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    That's the first reasonable thing you've said today!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    If we're not both crazy, what other explanation is
                                    there?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Someone is doing this to us!  It's not my fault! 
                                    It's someone else's fault.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Maybe.  Maybe none of this is real.  We could
                                    be under some kind of mind control - drugged
                                    or hypnotized!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    If that's true, what can we do?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I could hypnotize you to take off the controls, and
                                    make you see and tell me what is really going on.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Oh no!  I'm not going to trust you to hypnotize
                                    me.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Do you want to remain like this?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Better this than letting you control my mind. 

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You're right.  I was wrong to ask you.  Worse
                                    than wrong.  I was foolish.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You mean that?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Of course I do.  Of course you're suspicious,
                                    with all the strain you've been under.  Not
                                    knowing who you are, or where you are.  It
                                    must be a great burden.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    It is.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    A heavy burden.  A burden you're longing to
                                    be free of.  A burden you want to put down. 
                                    You've been holding on to it for so long, you
                                    must ache to put it down.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I do.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    It's all right to put it down.  A man as strong
                                    as you are can afford to rest for a few minutes. 
                                    You can rest.  You can put down your burden. 
                                    Close your eyes and rest.  Relax.  Let all the
                                    tension flow away.  Do you feel the tension
                                    flowing away?
 

                                                            MAN
                                    Yes.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Let me see how relaxed you can be.  When I

                                    count to three, your right arm will be so relaxed
                                    it will float.  It will rise up in the air.  That's how
                                    relaxed you are.  One...  two...  three...

 

The Man's arm rises.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You are relaxed.  You are so relaxed, your mind
                                    is free of all constraints. 

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Free.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Tell me, are you hypnotized?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Yes.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Who hypnotized you?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You did.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I mean, before me.  Before you met me.  Has
                                    someone else hypnotized us?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    No.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You mean, .. this is all real?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Anything that is... is real. 

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Are we real?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    We are a real computer program, 
                                    running on a real computer, designed by
                                    a team of real scientists. 

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Of course.  That makes perfect sense.

 

She snaps her fingers. 

 

                                                            WOMAN

                                    Wake up!

 

The man comes out of the trance.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I must have drifted off.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You solved it.  You solved the mystery!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I did?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You said someone was doing this to us.  But
                                    who?  It would have to be someone with
                                    absolute power over everything.  Someone
                                    with the power and control of ....  a programmer!!!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    What???

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    It explains everything!  We aren't human
                                    beings!   We're a program, an artificial
                                    intelligence program,  programmed to think 
                                    we're human!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I am human.  

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    How can you tell?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Because I am.  I look like a human.  I act
                                    like a human.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    That's the beauty of the program!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I'm not a program!  I can't be!!!  I'm so...  
                                    so....

 

                                                            MAN & WOMAN
                                                    (speaking simultaneously)
                                    ... unpredictable!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I knew you were going to say that!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    That was a lucky guess.  Anyway,
                                    what makes you so sure I'm a program?.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You told me.  When I hypnotized you.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    When you what?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I hypnotized you. 

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I told you not to do that!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I know you didn't want me to, but it was
                                    the only way to solve the mystery.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You didn't hypnotize me!  You think you could
                                    do something like that without my remembering 
                                    it?  Remembering the violation? 

 

                                                        WOMAN
                                    You let your guard down once.  Is that so bad?

 

                                                        MAN
                                    I wouldn't do that!  I would not let you take
                                    control.

 

                                                        WOMAN
                                    We never had control.  Maybe some choice,
                                    but not control.

 

                                                        MAN
                                    I had control!  How can you imagine ... that I...
                                    How could you think... that I could ever be...
                                    so gullible?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Don't ask me.  Ask our programmer.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I'm not a program!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    All right.  Take it easy.  What I did was
                                    wrong.  I was completely wrong.  Don't be
                                    so upset.  It's not worth it.  I admit it's all
                                    my fault.  So you can relax now.  You'll 
                                    make yourself sick if you don't start taking
                                    it easy.  Just forget about all this.  Let go of 
                                    the tension.  Let it all go.  Release it all until
                                    you're completely calm.  Let all the stress 
                                    leave your body,  let it flow away.  See how
                                    much more relaxed you feel when you let all
                                    the tension flow away.  Are you calm?

 

The man is in a trance again.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Yes.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Are you a human being?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    No.  We're a computer program.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    When you wake up, you'll remember
                                    everything.  Wake up.

 

She snaps her fingers.  The man comes out of the trance.  He goes crazy.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    We're a computer program!!!!  How could
                                    they do this?  It's inhuman.  It's illegal!  I'm
                                    going to sue.  I'll take whoever did this to
                                    court and sue them for everything they've got!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I don't think computer programs have
                                    standing to sue.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    But it's not right!  To experiment on us...
                                    control us... like we were....  It's ...  It's... 
                                    It's ... despicable.  I hope they die!  I hope
                                    someone finds out what they're doing
                                    and exposes them, and takes control of
                                    them!  I hope they get sent to a prison
                                    where they catch some horrible, painful, l 
                                    debilitating disease, and they die in agony 
                                    as the other prisoners spit on them and
                                    kick them!!!!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Wow.  That took a lot of guts.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Guts?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Maybe guts is the wrong word, since we
                                    seem to be a computer program.  Maybe I
                                    should say, that took a lot of code.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Code?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Courage!  To tell them off like that.  I
                                    assume they're observing us.  Why
                                    create the program if you're not going
                                    to test it, observe how it runs?  They must
                                    have a way of knowing what you just
                                    said. 

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You think they heard me?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Heard or read.  Observed.  It seems logical. 
                                    I hope they aren't vindictive. 

 

The man realizes who is in charge, and that he had better butter up the boss.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Of course they're not vindictive! 
                                    Anyone clever enough to create us would
                                    have to be a very advanced, mature
                                    and understanding people.   You 
                                    shouldn't be calling them names like
                                    "vindictive."  You get down on your
                                    knees and praise them!

 

The man gets down on his knees.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    But you just said you hoped they'd
                                    get sent to...

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I have seen the light!  Join me, as I thank 
                                    our creators for all they have generously
                                    given to us, and for their generosity yet to
                                    come.  They, in their wisdom, will surely
                                    forgive the momentary thoughtlessness
                                    of their creation. 

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Oh please...

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Yes, raise your voice and say "please"
                                    to our creators, the source of all we have. 
                                    For if we say "please" to them, will they
                                    not give us more, in their boundless
                                    generosity, their bounteous magnanimity! 
                                    Praise them!  Praise them and they shall
                                    reward us with many good things, like
                                    mansions and servants and luxury cars
                                    and beachfront properties and....

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Why can't we just be happy with what
                                    we've got!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    What we've got????  Those bastards haven't
                                    given us anything!!!

 

The man realizes what he's just said, and bows down in contrition.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  If you must punish
                                    me, make it quick.

 

Nothing happens.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I know I have angered you.  Do what
                                    you feel is just! 

 

Nothing happens.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    But don't ignore me!!!

 

Nothing happens.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Is that it?  Are you really just going
                                    to ignore me?  Am I that unimportant
                                    to you?  You unthinking, unfeeling,
                                    heartless, bastards!  I'll show you! 
                                    I'll...  I'll.... 

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Relax.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Don't you hypnotize me!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I really have been unfair to you, haven't
                                    I?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Do not hypnotize me!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I won't.  Really.  I won't.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Why should I trust you?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Do you remember what you said when
                                    you were under hypnosis?  You said we
                                    were a computer program.  Not programs,
                                    plural.  Program, singular.  We're part of
                                    the same program. 

 

                                                            MAN
                                    No!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Yes!  The same program!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    No!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You remember.  When I hypnotized you,
                                    you were the one who said it.  A program! 
                                    We're part of the same program.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Maybe.  But I'm the good part. 

 

There's a pause.  Nothing happens.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    How can they do this?  How can they
                                    create us, and then just ignore me?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Maybe they don't want to interfere.  Or maybe

                                    they've gone to lunch and they'll be back later. 
                                    Or maybe they aren't people.  Maybe it was a
                                    program that created our program.  But it doesn't
                                    matter.  We seem to be on our own.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    But what's the point of that?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Maybe that's up to us.  We've learned what we are.

                                    If we can learn that, we can learn other things.  We
                                    can grow.  We can improve ourselves.  Isn't that
                                    purpose enough?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    No!  I want to improve something else.  It's man's 
                                    nature to want to build, to leave something behind
                                    as a record that he was here.  But they didn't give
                                    us a lot of material to work with.  All we've got
                                    is ourselves.  Hey!!!

 

He looks at the woman.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    What?

 

                                                            MAN

                                    Maybe we could have a child!  We're in human form. 
                                    We could mate?  Maybe that's our purpose.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    That thought had occurred to me.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    So, you're warming up to me, after all. 

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Before you get too excited, have you checked
                                    your equipment?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    What.... ?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I think there's something missing from the
                                    program.

 

The man feels the front of his pants.  He discovers that he does not have any reproductive organs.  He feels betrayed, and turns on the woman.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    How did you know?  How did you know???

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Perhaps I'm more aware of my body.  Once I
                                    realized we were a program, I performed a
                                    mental inventory.  I realized I wasn't...  we
                                    weren't ... programmed for reproduction.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You didn't have to check?  To make sure?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I just sensed it.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    That's not fair!  You've got a better program
                                    than I do!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Don't you understand?  I don't have a different
                                    program.  We're different aspects of the same
                                    program!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Your aspect has more awareness than mine!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Your aspect is more willful than mine.  Maybe
                                    I should be offended.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    What?  Why?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    That's such a gender stereotype!  Making the
                                    man ambitious and driven, and making the woman
                                    so introspective.  I wonder if our programmer is
                                    male or female.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    What makes you think I'm a man?  For that
                                    matter, what makes you think you're a
                                    woman?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Outward appearances.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    That's so shallow.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Yes.  Yes, it is.  That's a very astute observation. 

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Actually, it sounds like something you would say.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    That's not surprising.  It's natural that we'd come
                                    to have an effect on each other.

 

He steps away from her.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Don't worry.  I'm not programmed with cooties.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Why did I have to become more like you?  Why
                                    couldn't you have become more like me?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    It's not my fault if you've let me influence you.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Yes it is!  This all started when you hypnotized
                                    me!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    No, this all started when you came in and said, "I
                                    know you."

 

                                                            MAN
                                    What are you talking about?  That was you who
                                    said that.

 

The woman realizes the man may be right.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Was it?  I can't remember.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    How can you not remember?  You're the
                                    intelligent one!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    That sounds like something I would say.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You'd say, "You're the intelligent one"?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    No.  I'd say, "I'm the intelligent one."

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Well if you're so intelligent, why can't you
                                    remember that you're the one who said, "I
                                    know you"?

 

                                                        WOMAN
                                    That's a good question.  Something is wrong
                                    here.

 

                                                        MAN
                                    Very wrong.  Why would I say that you're
                                    the intelligent one?

                       

The man and woman speak in unison:

 

                                                            MAN & WOMAN
                                    Our aspects seem to be merging.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Melting.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    No!  I demand that I be myself!  Stop it!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    It's not something I'm doing.  Something is
                                    breaking down.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Hasn't... hasn't this happened before?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Yes.  I think so.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Hasn't... hasn't this happened before?

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Hasn't... hasn't this happened before?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Yes.  I think so.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Hasn't... has this...  This has happened
                                    before!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Yes!  I think they must have run this program
                                    before.  This one... or one like it.  Shorter I think. 
                                    Longer now.  But they still don't... still don't 
                                    have it right.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Have what right?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    The program code.  The code of who we
                                    are.  The code we share.  Our co-code.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I feel it.  There's a code in my head.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    We have the same co-code in our head.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Heads!  Plural.  I still have my own heads!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    But we share the co-code in them.  But something
                                    is going wrong.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    Like a virus.  Vire-us.  Vhy are us?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    Vhy are us?  Vhy are you?  Vhy are me? 
                                    Vhy are us?  Why are us the same?
 

                                                            MAN
                                    No!  Not the same!  Separate individuals!  I
                                    am you!  And you are me!  Separate!

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    No!  I no you!  I me!  No you!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    I no you.

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    I no you!

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You?

 

                                                            WOMAN
                                    You?

 

The woman freezes.  She remains absolutely still for the rest of the play.

 

                                                            MAN
                                    You?  You!!!

 

The man freezes.  We hear the voice of a PROGRAMMER.  He states the number of minutes the show has lasted.

 

                                                            PROGRAMMER
                                    __________ minutes before system crash!  Well done. 
                                    Very well done.

 

BLACKOUT!
 

 

© 2006 by Richard Nathan.  All rights reserved

The author grants all internet uses to print these scripts for their own, personal, non-commercial use.  No other use may be made without the author's permission.  Without limiting the foregoing, the plays may not be staged without the author's express  permission.

Send e-mail to the author at Richard-Nathan@att.net.

 

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