|DZIDZIA, the proprietor of the Common Hall
|COUNCILOR, representing the Council from the City
|The TAVERN BAND:
|NIKOLOZ, the band leader
|THE TRUMPET PLAYER
|MALKHAZI, the guitar player
When the audience arrives, the TAVERN BAND is already playing "tavern band music". The music is instrumental, very textural. Occasionally, though, a short, attention-grabbing musical phrase comes through. At the end of a phrase, the band holds for applause. These phrases may also act as cues for action from the VILLAGERS:
Listen to Space Mobilizing
Listen to Ideal
Listen to Technology Music
Listen to Progress Skin
Listen to Dogs Are Loyal
Listen to Ingratitude Sausage
Listen to Yawn
Listen to Erroneous Human
There are televisions screens throughout the space. One screen or small group of screens show "closed circuit" images of OZET exteriors: a barren field, the entrance of the Common Hall, the road out of the Village, etc. A different set of screens will soon show the official broadcast. Until then, they are showing a countdown. (The countdown will be decorated or interspersed with images of OZET life.)
At the bar, there are tall containers of mixers for the vodka. Each table also has small bottles of the mixers there.
The VILLAGERS are performing the actions assigned to them before the performance.
Snatches of conversation can be overheard.
The Broadcast Begins
The countdown comes to an end. As if controlled remotely, the lights in the Common Hall change, dim slightly. A fanfare announces the beginning of the broadcast.
Listen to The Broadcast Overture
Welcome to the celebration of the Festival of the Fifteenth Generation.
According to Festival Law, as decreed and enforced by the Grand Council of the OZET, each village having enjoyed a Children’s Tribute from the Present Generation to the Next and a shared meal in the fields, the adult Pioneers now gather together for these purposes:
The following are scrolled, or written on screen like title cards, not spoken:
To receive the good wishes and wisdom of a high member of the Grand Council
To lift voices in singing one of the canonical songs of the Golden Generations
To receive the good wishes of the mayor of their village
To recognize the accomplishments of the eldest children of the previous generation
To pledge their commitment to the harvest and procreation quotas for the Fifteenth Generation as set forth this night by the Minister of Population
To leave behind the dead
To listen to the cry of the first child of the new generation
Lullaby from the First Generation to the Last
A formal, operatic rendition of the Lullaby from the First Generation to the Last plays. The lyrics are shown on screen, and the villagers join in singing.
Listen to Lullaby from the First Generation to the Last
- Lullaby from the First Generation to the Last
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Our mothers were born down there.
Our fathers were born between
the Black Sea and the Caucasus
and so were we.
There! That farm was where they worked.
We were happy there.
Our brothers went to the city
and worked in the factories.
They made tractors.
The earth is beautiful.
All our children
And their children
And their children
on the OZET
You live on the OZET
Your father met your mother here.
They married and worked side by side
They were pioneers.
Wow! They went to live in space.
You should be proud of them.
We all grow old here and die here
then spread through the galaxy.
Now sing your children
this song about your life.
All our children
And their children
And their children
on the OZET
The Councilor's Speech
The song ends, and the COUNCILOR appears onscreen. As he speaks, DZIDZIA and her assistant are preparing shots for everyone in the Common Hall. Before the toast, which concludes the COUNCILOR's speech, they will distribute the shots.
I'm honored to speak to you on behalf of the Council. Though you've finished your work for the day, and tonight, in your villages, you are celebrating, here in the city, we cannot rest. A driver must keep his hand steady on the wheel, even across the flattest field, if his furrow is going to be straight.
Fortunately, some of our duties are happy ones. My first duty tonight is to remind you why you have gathered together, as your cousins did twenty years ago, and as they will twenty years from now; why you are drinking and singing and dancing for a generation of children that has not yet been born.
You and I, the Pioneers of the OZET... we are not people who look back. Our ancestors -- circling, circling -- returned each year to the place they had been the year before. We are alone in our destiny to travel forward, always, on this particular straight line.
Still, let us imagine what we might see if we turned around to look at the earth: a new empire rising on the ruins of the one that sent us away, old treaties disrupted by new wars, men lifting each other up and knocking each other down, dreaming the same dreams and making the same mistakes.
And now let's imagine that some people on earth still wonder about the OZET. They focus their telescopes on the 40,000-year-wide darkness beyond the last planet in their solar system, squinting for a glimpse of us.
What do they expect to see? A dead, frozen rock? Ghost towns? Would they feel satisfied if they learned that the pioneers were gone? Indifferent? Disappointed?
When they spot us, they are amazed. They are humbled to count the variety of crops thriving in every field in every village; to see our happy, industrious pioneers making water flow and mills run; to admire this city, cut from the rock. And if, on this night, they could hear the music!
Remember, then, that when we welcome this new generation of children, we pay tribute to ourselves. We haven't just survived: we have prospered. And tomorrow, the first child of a new generation will be born to share the riches we've mined from this comet, to claim for himself this home that wasn't of our own choosing, but is of our own making.
And now, my second duty. Raise your glasses, pioneers.
Twenty years ago, in the village where I was born, I celebrated the first generation to follow my own. Tonight, from far away, I ask you to drink to the last generation I will be privileged to welcome to the OZET.
Three generations, the span of our lives, pass so quickly. Enjoy yourselves. And tomorrow keep your promises to the children: fill your roles, trust the Council, make your home thrive as we safeguard OZET's course.
To the Fifteenth Generation!
To the Fifteenth Generation!
And to OZET!
An Ode to Our Travellers of the Constellations
Thank you. Your village band now joins us in playing An Ode to Our Travellers of the Constellations, composed by Pavle Bugadze in the Seventh Generation.
The music of the ode begins in the broadcast, but the tavern band quickly joins in. The NIKOLOZ, the band leader comes to the stage and leads the call-and-response of the song.
Listen to An Ode to Our Travellers of the Constellations
Today a glint of ice
in Serpens Caputs eye
at the point of Pyxis' needle
The scalpel drawing a line
Across the stellar dragon's spine
Gone from sight
We can leave behind our never home
Our never home
Into the sea of space
Among the shining spray of stars
The Mayor Speaks
Thank you. Your Mayor now speaks.
Another countdown begins on the screen. No one steps up to speak.
Is he here? Has anyone seen him? No? Was he at the feast? Who knows. Is there a card game happening somewhere? Don't bother looking. We have three minutes. Mayor Iakob has abandoned us without a word of comfort, so you'll have to settle for Dzidzia.
Well, look at you all. This is good, to see you here. Not you. It would be nice to not see you for once. The rest of you though. Where have you been? Brooding over your fallow fields? Greasing and re-greasing the axels of the tractors for the day they'll be needed again? Ninia? I try to guess. What could keep you away? Do you sit down to breakfast each morning and draw out your tea in sips and watch the dregs of your porridge harden until it's time for dinner?
Cousins. Listen to me.
You think our problem is in the soil. Or in the water. You think our problem is that our rye won't grow, and our trees are going bare. No. Our problem is that we are not accustomed to trouble. Work, yes. Toil. But not trouble. When the pioneers left earth they left trouble behind them. In OUR home, here, no one is unwanted, no one is abandoned to hunger, no one is exempt from work, no one is above the law, no one belongs to one family and not another. But one day trouble visits our village and before the light fades we become suspicious of each other, and afraid of our Council, and bitter.
Trouble passes, Cousins. I want to tell you an Earth Story. Bebur told me this, from right there on that stool.
There was a field mouse. Lived in a hole in a dry, scraggly little field. There were birds in the sky and the grass in the field was short and patchy so all day long he'd dash in and out of his hole, looking for grass seed to eat and trying not to get eaten himself. But he still thought his little field was paradise.
So one day, just as the field mouse is coming out of his hole, the shadow of a goat passes over him, and a second later, SPLAT. He's covered in shit. It's all over his fur, it's all over the ground next to his hole. It stinks. His pride is hurt even if he's only a mouse and he curses at the sky and ducks back into his hole to clean himself.
When he comes back out the worms have arrived, and they're squirming around in the wet soil where the shit fell, and eating the shit and having a fine time. The mouse yells at them, 'Get away from my hole! Leave my field alone!' But they don't listen to him. They go on eating. The next day he comes out of his hole and runs face first right right into a little woody shoot sticking up from the ground. It gets worse and worse. Roots from the plant start pushing through the walls of his hole. A little tree grows and its branches block the sun, and make his burrow cold.
But then one day the field mouse gets up. He rubs his eyes, crawls up the tunnel to see how bad things are today, and there on the ground is a beautiful red apple that's fallen from the tree. He takes a taste. It's the most delicious thing he's ever had, so delicious that for a minute he just sits and chews and forgets to look out for birds. Then suddenly he remembers he's in danger and his heart races and is about to run back into his hole, when he sees that the leaves on the branches are shielding him from the birds' sight. So he stays there and eats his apple in the sideways light of the morning.
Pick up your glasses.
A warning tone from the television: a thirty seconds remain in the countdown.
Shit comes from the sky, cousins. Help comes from strangers and we don't want it. But welcome both, trust, and you will have fruit.
I ache too, believe me. I eat the rye bread the Council has brought us from Village 19, and dream of tasting our own brown bread again.
Thank you. Now join us in congratulating the oldest children of the Fourteenth Generation, * who have already joined your esteemed ranks as Working Pioneers. Their diligence has proved them ready to carry on the work of the generations that came before, and their diverse intelligence and achievements have qualified them to occupy every position supporting life on the OZET.
*Stay with me.
A montage begins: iconic scenes of OZET life, the rolls that will be filled by these older children of the Fourteenth Generation. DZIDZIA continues her story over the music of the montage. The names of the children scroll by:
Bakhva Abuladze, machinist, Village Ten
Gultamze Khutsishvili, machinist, Village Twelve
Irema Giorgadze, agricultural scientist, OZET City
Kutsna Lomidze, assistant custodian, Village Three
I wait for our friends from the city over there in the corner to finally tell us what's wrong with the soil and how to fix it, and for the the police to open the roads again so Shota and Vasily and Ilia can travel to the exchange again, and bring me back the gossip from our cousins in Village 5.
But don't suffer alone. Things as they are now, you should be here. This is your Common Hall. Yes, I made this my home. I traded a bed in the Women's House for a blanket on the floor in the loft there, but only so I can keep this place running smoothly for you day and night. It is yours, and here is where we should be gathering together.
Don't disappoint me, cousins! Tonight the vodka is free. Drink until you are sick. Tomorrow morning, swear to never touch another drop. Tomorrow night, come back. I promise you this: 70 kopecks for a stack of vodka until our troubles are over. You won't find a better price on the OZET, even if you could go looking.
When My Children Arrive
As DZIDZIA is winding down her speech, and the villagers toast and drink, the NIKOLOZ, the band leader, jumps up to the stage and tells the band to start playing. He leads the villagers in a call and response to whip them up before sings. (Note to DB: you can improv the calls if you want.)
The river is wide!
Take my children across!
The voyage is long!
Take my children across!
The current is strong!
Take my children across!
Listen to When My Children Arrive
They'll be born on that river who make it across
for that river's eight childhoods wide
And the first that are born will be old on the day
they arrive on the opposite side
They'll be old on the opposite side.
No one here now will get there, our bodies are left
where they fall on this path they have trod
We end floating in space like a trail of old bread
leading back to the home where we starved
Far away from the home where we starved.
Though I won't get to see it, that river of stars
and I've never known freedom before
It is said the OZET on that day will be ours
When my children arrive on that shore
When my children arrive on that shore.
As the song is drawing toward its end, the sound of the official festival broadcast (which has continued on the televisions and the speakers) is taken over a few speakers at a time by something new. Then, when the sound has been completely hijacked, the official broadcast on the televisions is suddenly replaced by the image of a group of SUBVERSIVES. Their identities are somehow obscured, by the clothes they are wearing, or by some trick of the video feed. Neither is it clear from where they are broadcasting: it may be from several different locations. The image flickers between different faces, but for the first part of the interruption, one subversive seems to be speaking for all of them.
Cousins. Your attention. We don't have much time.
We are your neighbors. Each of you knows one of us. This you have to believe. We are not hiding our faces from you, but from the Council and the police, to buy ourselves just a little more time. When our names are discovered we will be found, and we will punished for telling you the truth.
Tonight, as you try to celebrate, each of you is wondering why misfortune has singled out your village. You ask why tomorrow your stomach will not be full, when in every other village, your cousins will be feasting. You look at the farmer next to you, staring into his drink, and you wonder if it is some carelessness on his part that caused the crops to fail. Did he do this? Is it because of him that the scientists and representatives of the Council came to your village and penned you in like goats?
We are here to tell you, Cousins, that it is not his fault. None of this is your fault, and you are not alone in your trouble. In every village, the same thing is happening: the same failures, the same blights, the same hunger, and from the Council, the same response. Not a village has been spared. Every gate is closed, every Pioneer a prisoner.
For the good of OZET, they said, stay at home. Do not spread the news. There will be a panic, and for what? We are here, and we will help, they said. But the months have drawn on. And in each village, one or two of your cousins said, "Why should we not turn to each other for help?" So they slipped past the guards, they stayed off the roads, and they found each other and together found out the truth.
The faces of other subversives compete for the screen. Their voices start to simultaneously come out of different channels around the common hall.
Now that we have shared the truth with you, the Council will try to isolate you from each other even more. Believe us. They will tell you it is for your safety. They will demand thanks for the freedom you once had. Thank them instead for taking it away. It is only now that you understand how small that pasture of freedom really was that you grazed in. Now you can begin to see the vast landscape of freedom in which you might roam.
You will hear more from us. Even when we are captured, we have confederates who will carry on the work. There are lines of communication that they will not be able to break.
Do not be still. Do not be silent. Let the council lose its voice instead. There are words to be spoken and words to be sung.
Let me tell you what I saw:
I like to take a walk at the end of the day. Along the far edge of the fields, where they meet the forest. I was kicking a clod along, looking at my feet when I heard a crumpling sound. Chittering in the air.
I looked up and covered my face.
On earth there were plagues of insects. Storm clouds of two inch long bugs, like little black gun barrels, with thorns on their legs and jaws like tin shears; they would come out of a clear sky and strip hundreds of hectares clean of crops. The old Jewish books say God sent bugs to punish his enemies.
But there were no bugs. The treetops had turned brown overnight, and brown leaves were coming sideways toward me in clouds, landing on my forearm and in my hair.
I told the Mayor. He notified the Council. The representatives arrived the next day. The junior ministers and the police. The scientists, they came later. That was the beginning, when we couldn't move any more.
We could have stopped this. I was watching the signs. I can tell you now. You should have been paying attention, but you weren't. When they changed the quotas. When they tinkered with the clocks. They took a minute here... A minute, another minute. Put one back at the end of the week. Moved them around. Daylight... I was watching and I wrote it all down. There's proof. Buried in a box. I have the dates and times and who said what. The ones who spoke at the local council meetings. I know who sided with the Grand Council, and I can prove to you that they were bought and controlled. Each one. With bottles of vodka. With new linens. They bought women for coffee and positions of influence. Then there were the cousins that they took to the city, to special rooms where they kept them awake, and when the cousins came back they stood up for the quotas and the appointments and the new calendars. The little changes... You weren't worried. You didn't think they mattered. You let them go. The ones who speak up, you thought, they must know a thing or two. But you can't hear the things they cannot say!
I've been watching for years and now the cat's out of the bag. The Council will answer to the people!
As the SUBVERSIVES are finishing their broadcast, MALKHAZI, the guitar player slips away, off the bandstand. Under the voices of the SUBVERSIVES, the TRUMPET PLAYER and the DRUMMER begin playing. As their noise rises the lights shift, the voices of the subversives morph into pure sound, and their images freeze on the televisions.
An improvisation between drums and trumpet begins. They are somehow "out of time", playing in an expressionist state.
During the improvisation, MALKHAZI climbs the back staircase to DZIDZIA's loft. He vandalizes her sleeping area, urinates on her bed. On the long wall of the catwalk that leads to her loft, he writes in block letters:
DZIDZIA CHEATS HER COUSINS
SHE IS COUNCIL'S WHORE
Below, also during the improvisation, NIKOLOZ, the band leader goes to the bar. He drinks two shots of vodka, one after another. He leaves the bar and goes in turn to each of the male villagers. He whispers to each villager: "Follow me. We are going to the table in the corner. When you get there, stand near the table with your back to the rest of the common hall. Help me block what is happening from view."
When he arrives at the table in the corner, where the scientists are sitting, he puts his face right down between them. They have been instructed before the show to answer "No" or to shake their head no to each of his questions. NIKOLOZ should ask some of his questions loud enough that they might be heard by other members of the audience; some of them should be delivered as threatening whispers. The action should suggest menace and impending violence to the audience, but the particulars should be hard to make out, particularly with the noise from the bandstand increasing in volume and urgency.
Did you know about this?
The other villages? You didn't know about the other villages?
You were sent here to lie to us, weren't you? And spy on us?
He begins giving them orders, which they have been instructed to follow.
Get up. You are going outside. Leave the papers. Leave the papers!
To two of the other villagers:
Take them outside.
At the end of the improvisation, the drums and trumpet have largely dropped away, leaving the bare action between NIKOLOZ and the scientists. The other villagers take the scientists outside. There is a pause as NIKOLOZ starts to look through the papers in the portfolio.
A moment later one of the VILLAGERS comes back in. He goes back to NIKOLOZ and addresses him privately, not making a point of letting the rest of the audience hear.
The police are in the village. They're checking the schoolhouse. They're checking the barns. They are out there with lights. And Pepela said she saw three people come out of the tractor shed and run for the woods.
The Council Ends the Festival
The face of the COUNCILOR suddenly reappears on the screen.
We are afraid some of you may have experienced an interruption in our broadcast. Happiness is fragile, and we regret if your enjoyment of this historic festival was diminished. Unfortunately, we must now determine if tonight's event is a symptom of a more serious problem. For the safety of all, Pioneers must now return to their houses. The festival night is over. Tomorrow, you will work. The festival day will be postponed until uncertainty is erased, and order on the OZET is assured. Good night.
As abruptly as the Council broadcast resumed, it ends. The lights in the common hall simultaneously power down to the minimum necessary for people to leave. The villagers can hear the Official Sleep Song playing outside, across the village. After a long, bewildered pause, a few villagers finish their drinks and begin to leave.
Listen to Official Sleep Song
In the relative quiet, TAMAZ begins to sing: a cappella at first, but then with MALKHAZI's guitar, which was left behind. Eventually, the band joins him.
Listen to Tamaz's Song
In our fortieth year,
in the late nineteen sixties
when we hadn't passed Saturn
and the sun shone upon us,
which is now Village Twenty,
lived a man and his son
and his grandson together.
Just try to imagine
an OZET so different:
where children know parents
and serve them and love them.
And try to imagine
that blood is still greedy
and air hard to come by
and food even scarcer.
With wings on each morning,
he sets out for Albazin
which is now Village Fourteen.
He sits with a quorum
of old men like him
who remember the Volga
and how one could ache
from the effort of walking.
They read from a book
that was smuggled in pieces
from earth, then stitched back together.
They argue the meaning
of things said on mountains:
the word in the desert.
Believe me, my cousins,
that life isn't always
like what came before it:
The soil is changed by each harvest.
At home, in his hammock,
his son hasn't risen.
He sags in the darkness
and curses the father
who traded his birthright
of meadows for nothing
but stories and statutes
and stale incantations.
With hours of driving
a shovel before him.
The vacuum above him,
a vacuum inside him,
he boils a porridge
of buckwheat and leaves it:
his son is still growing
and trusting, and needs it.
Believe me, my cousins,
that life isn't always
like what came before it:
The soil is changed by each harvest.
The child is not like his father.
The grandson is dreaming.
A boy he knows told him
they're building a city in the desert.
He's there, under towers
where laws will be written.
He dreams he can climb these mountains.
The soil is changed by each harvest.
The child is not like his father.
The law is rewrit with each judgement.
As he sings the coda, joined by the band, NIKOLOZ begins leading the villagers in a slow dance around the common hall. They circle the stage and sing until the show is over.
Unless your instructions say otherwise, you may talk freely with other villagers, but not with regular audience members.
If another villager asks you to do something for or with him, you may accept or refuse. If you accept, you should still perform the other actions required of you.
Whenever possible, stay behind the bar with Dzidzia.
If the bar runs out of glasses, get fresh glasses and bring them over.
Every so often, take the tub collect abandoned glasses from around the Common Hall and bring them back to the bar.
If Dzidzia leaves the bar, stay back there and pour drinks for the villagers.
Do not make eye contact with anyone.
You will spend the evening sitting at the corner table, down at the very end. You have a portfolio full of papers. When the house opens, you are sitting and writing on a piece of paper. Do your best to write down what you see happening all around you throughout the opening of the piece. Any observations are fine, but do not make it obvious that you are watching and recording. Do not let anyone else see what you are writing, or see what is written on any other piece of paper in the portfolio. Never leave the portfolio unattended at the table.
After about 10 minutes, get up and get yourself a drink. Bring your portfolio with you.
You may sing along with the first and second songs of the evening if you wish. Do not sing along with "When My Children Arrive."
Toward the end of the evening, you will be approached by the Band Leader and several other villagers. Answer all his questions in the negative with a simple "No" or a shake of the head. Whenever he tells you to do something, do it.
Sit by the chess board. The board is set up as follows:
The row of pawns is set up in the standard way. The back row, however, is also all pawns except for two rooks in the middle.
Play against yourself for five minutes. If no one asks you for a game, find another villager and ask him if he'd like to play. Keep asking around until of of them accepts.
Before you start playing your opponent, get a drink. Nurse it for the rest of the show.
Take the knot book. Sit with NONA and, using yarn, tie a Turk's Head knot as a woggle around her wrist. When you have finished, give the book to IRMA, and let her tie a Turk's Head around your wrist.
Sit with IRMA and let her tie a Turk's Head around your wrist. When she has finished, take the Knot book from her and tie a Turk's Head around her wrist.
The railing of the Common Hall needs to be decorated.
Get a drink from the bar. Find a spot at a table as far from the railing as possible; hidden from Dzidzia's site is even better. Relax and drink half of your drink over the course of three minutes. Put down your glass and go decorate the bar. Stop after the one minutes and return to your drink. Drink for three minutes. Decorate for one minute. Repeat. Get new drinks when necessary.
Look around the room for people without drinks, villagers or audience members. When you see one, approach him and tell him you are going to buy him a drink. Go to the bar and tell the bartender you are buying a drink for your friend, and you'll have another too. Bring "your friend" the drink, raise your glass to him, and drink.
Repeat this until the festival broadcast begins.
Stand in front of the band platform and listen to the band until the broadcast begins, at which point you can sit down or find another place to stand.
Four times, over the course of your listening, pick one of the moves from the final dance, and in an understated way, use this move to dance along with the music.
Find a seat at one of the tables.
Only get a drink from the bar when someone other than the proprietor, Dzidzia, can pour it for you.
Before the broadcast begins, the tavern band will be playing. Twice during that part of the show, play along with them from the floor.
You have misplaced your hat. Look around the common hall for it until you find it. If the broadcast begins and you still have not found it, continue looking but only in the transitions between sections. Otherwise, sit still watch from wherever you are in your search.
Sit with NONA and, using yarn, tie a Turk's Head knot as a woggle around her arm. When you have finished, look for another woman in the community and tie a Turk's Head around her arm.
How to tie the knot
The following conversations are pre-recorded and played in the space during the opening of the show. They are intended to be remixed into something more impressionistic.
She looks like she doesn't wash. I like that. I haven't gotten close enough to smell her though.
Maybe she'll let herself get drunk, because of the festival and all.
Maybe if someone brought her a drink.
Yeah. No one is going near her.
Gives you a chance in hell anyway.
I love the harvest. I was the Hero of Threshing for the village last year. I brought in twelve hundred bushels of corn. Now the corn dies overnight. I see it withering. I race to the thresher. I drive and drive but I can't save the harvest.
We did everything right. We plow. We disk, we harrow. Spring tooth and spike tooth.
We fertilize. Look out there. Beautiful fields.
It's like losing a baby. You have hopes. You wait. And suddenly, it's gone.
Goats in the schoolroom. Goat shit on the floor.
The police pulled up the pasture fences and put them across the road out of the village.
Through the night.
Who would leave?
As if she owns it. As if it's hers. Locks the door when she goes out. Never leaves anyone else in charge for a minute. Sleeps here. Up there. Not always alone. No. Locks the door during the day too when she's here, sometimes, especially when she's got a visitor. Counts the bottles. She has more stock than she lets on. She tried to raise the price of vodka once and said the Council set the cost. But Torgva spent the night in Village 12 and paid less there for his drink. He came back and told her to her face. Called her a liar. She blamed the price on the man who delivers the vodka. She said the distributor had to pay the distiller more last time because the distiller said the Council raised the price of potatoes. So she wasn't lying, she says to Torgva, just simplifying. But who knows if that part is even true. I don't believe her. She has too many stories. Now watch. Now that we can't leave the village, she'll raise the price again and who will be able say it's different in Village 12?
A child in Village 1 will be the last. A child in Village 4 will be the first.
Come here. Come over here. Why are you walking by? I know you saw me.
I didn't see you.
Yes you did. As you came in the door.
I didn't see you, Uta.
You don't even come in to meals at the same time as you used to. Why are you avoiding me?
Uta. I'm not. It's good to see you.
Oh, it's good to see you too. So why don't you sit down?
I told Levan I'd join him.
He'll be here all night. Sit down and tell me what you have to say for yourself.
What do you mean?
Well, Niko said you're talking about me. Said you were planning to go to the council with some complaints.
You should know better than to listen to him. Good to see you, Uta.
What did I do to you? Heh? What did I do? Son of a bitch.
The two from the city
Why did I have to end up here. Couldn't they send us to our own villages?
Think about it.
I hate Village 20.
They probably think we'd spill the beans.
What do you mean?
If you were back in the village where you were raised, you would probably think: I should tell these people the truth. Old Petre there, he taught me how to carve a boat out of brick of soap. He deserves to know what is really happening.
And what is happening?
You know what I mean. You might tell people about the other villages. You might tell them...
It's better this way.
For everyone but us. I can't even sit down to breakfast with these people. How can you stand it? Watching them with their pickled eggs. I grew up with a dish of yogurt in the morning. And to smell the eggs on their breath all day long. It's unbearable.
You'll be back in the city soon enough. You can have all the yogurt you want.
Torgva and Irma
Torgva. Come here. What is this? Tea? On the Festival night? And no work tomorrow!
I don't like getting drunk.
This will be your last festival, Torgva. Twenty years from now we'll both be dead. Try the vodka flavored with celery. It's not so strong that way.
I'm fine without it, darling.
All right. But I'm not giving up on you. You aren't dead yet.
No. Not yet.
What do they say?
Of course. What do they think caused this?
They won't say for sure. They think it's probably some kind of infection. Something that went into the seeds.
But they don't think there is something wrong with the soil? Or the water? It doesn't make any sense. If the problem was seeds, then why did the corn sprout at all? Why did corn stalks grow three feet then suddenly rot where they stood? And why have the trees lost their leaves?
Go and ask them. They are right over there.
Maybe I will.
They won't say what they've found. I think it is something bad.
That's what I'm telling you. That's why we need to know.
A villager (A) and a scientist from the city (B)
You are... Your name. What is it?
Cousin Kokhta. You're almost done with your vodka. I'll bring you another.
No thank you, Cousin. I'll just sip this one for a while.
When you finish this one then. The vodka is free tonight. I'm not trying to bribe you.
Of course not.
You've heard that in Village Twenty you should be on your guard?
What is our reputation, would you say? In the city? What does the Council think of us?
I wouldn't know. I report to them, not them to me.
Don't they give you a dossier? A list of troublemakers, maybe?
Nothing like that at all. What about you? Maybe you've been taught not to like people from the city?
Don't have to be taught. I don't like you just from talking to you.
Give me some time.
Why don't you and your friend come and sit with us?
Who is us?
Sula. Drives a tractor. Zviad, with the moustache. Uta, teaches in the school.
What does Zviad do?
He's here most of the day. Injured his leg so he's not working right now.
He was swimming in the river and his leg got pulled into a filter. Broke the bone clean in two. You don't believe me? You've heard that they're lazy in Village Twenty.
I've heard it said. Don't put much stock in it.
Our numbers are lower than the other villages. Have been for generations.
Is that because you are all lazy?
We got a bad patch of soil. The air is deader here. The solder joints in our irrigation system weren't done right and we have breakdowns.
Those reasons are harder to believe than the rumors of laziness.
Yeah, well who has lived here for forty-four years?
Then you don't have anything to compare Village Twenty to, do you?
I spent almost a year training in Village Two. It's much nicer than this shithole.
According to the council, there are no differences between the Villages. All have comparable resources. All have comparable structures. All have diversified populations.
See how you feel after another month here. You may start to change. You may develop a stronger thirst for vodka. You may start taking bribes.
Though you aren't offering one.
I'm offering you a place at a table with your neighbors. I'm offering to reserve my judgement of you. Things I might offer any man. Whether you call those things a bribe really has more to do with what those offers mean to you.
He told me he had a dream about me. We were in the City. Not together at first. He said he was in the City. He was supposed to meet with the superintendent of something.
Where do you come in?
I'm getting to that.
Get to it now.
You don't like him.
No, I don't. He wants you to fall in love with him.
Do you think he's in love with you?
He might be.
Fine. Get back to the dream.
You don't think he could be in love with me?
Would you choose him if he was? And live apart from us? Petition for a child?
I never said anything about that. I'm not so old fashioned, Xatia.
Listening to a man's dreams is old fashioned.
Listen to what I'm telling you: they don't think like we do.
The law serves the people. The councilors serve the law.
At fifteen, the future councilors are plucked from the villages and they go to the city.
Yes. For fifteen years they live just like...
Let me finish. They go to the city. It consumes them. An OZET within OZET. That's what I've heard. The City is its own world. An OZET within OZET.