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Thistles

Setting: June, 1944, just outside of Philidephia, Pennsylvania at *Walswood Insane Asylum (*fictional)
Cast:
YVETTE: A young woman in her late teens to early twenties. Has dark hair and blue eyes. She’s a reporter for the local newspaper.
ANTON: A young, insane man. The son of German-Austrian immigrants, he has dark blonde hair and stormy green-grey eyes. Approximately 20 to 22 years of age. Speaks fluent German.


Yvette: (sitting in a retro armchair cir. 1940, seems fidgety with a notepad and pen as well as a small handbag) For Christ’s sake, stop staring at me like that! What the hell is it, already?
Anton: (clearly, a patient, smiles smugly, rocks back and forth in the solid chair, begins to whistle ‘Maybe’ by the Inkspots)
Yvette: (extremely agitated, unnerved, picks at her nails) What’s that supposed to mean? Why don’t you ever talk? Cat got your tongue, you senseless nut? (mutters quietly to herself) Lästige Junge.
Anton: (laughs hysterically, as though a very funny joke has been told to him) Nein! (Yvette looks startled at this answer) Everything! It means everything! Words, tunes mean nothing, yet are everything. (Suddenly stops laughing abruptly, eerily, he begins to whistle the same tune over)
Anton: (stops again abruptly, states very politely) What is the date, bitte?
Yvette: (puzzled, slightly afraid of this strange character, her voice quivers) June 1st, 1945.
Anton: (smiles thoughtfully) Ja, of course. (giggles with mirth then bellows riotously in a singsong voice, while a knock is heard on the adjacent door.) OPEN THE DOOR, RICHARD~!
(A burly older African American worker, dressed in a white suit comes in through a door)
Yvette: (Stands politely, offers her hand to shake, smiles) Hello, you must be Richard?
Man: No, ma’am, Names Gregory Williams. Harmless fool there just likes that song by Count Basie, ya know?
Yvette: (laughs) Oh! Why yes, now that does ring a bell! Well, I beg pardon Mr. Williams. I assume this means I should take my leave now?
Williams: (looks curiously at Anton, who is now quiet and intently studying Yvette) How, now, he seems to enjoy your company. That boy deserves some real quality time with a living, breathin’ soul, Ms. Holz. I’d hate to shoo you off now…
Yvette: (hastily) Nonsense, really I should be going, I haven’t made much progress with Mr. Anton… I don’t want Mr. Coles to think I’m wasting time when there are more articles to be written… Especially about those coastal Nazi attempts at sabotage… (attempts to make her way to the door)
Williams: Oh! I’ve read about that in the newspaper! So the stories ARE true! Man, my Martha will be terrified to bits to hear that… Well, no worries, our boys will march those damn Nat-see’s back to Hell’s gate! That name sounds familiar too! Mr. Frank Coles of the Delphia Post? (turns to Anton) Ya hear that boy? This lady is a news reporter! Ain’t that something?
Anton: (continues to stare only at Yvette) Eyes that blue, are causes of many lies. You can drown in eyes you know. They’re everywhere. Make sure Mr. Coles knows that….
(Williams and Yvette share a long look of confusion. Finally, Williams shrugs as if to say ‘Humor him’)
Yvette: Um, of course. I’ll be sure to let him know.
(Anton suddenly stands up from his seat, takes two long strides to her and snatches her hand swiftly)
Williams: (startled by how quickly Anton has gotten up) Whoa now, there boy. (Reaches over to block Yvette with a burly arm)
(Anton continues to hold Yvette’s hand. She’s very frightened, unmoving. He deftly presses his lips to the back of her hand and places a thistle and a note in her palm)
Williams: (grabs him suddenly, all paternal affection gone, and pulls his arms behind his back tightly. Anton winces, but grins immediately after) Now, son, you’ve gone too damn far! I beg pardon, Ms. Yvette. Normally he’s as dead as a doornail. (grabs Anton’s jaw roughly and pulls it to the side to see his profile) Now you tell me the truth, boy. You take your medicine this morning, when the Nurse kindly told you to?
Anton: ….
Williams: (shakes Anton’s jaw harder) You better answer me boy, so help me God, I’ll put you in solitary myself!
Anton: (struggles, stares grinning at Yvette, fervently) Du bist dumm! Yvette, können Sie sprechen Deutsch? Ich weiß, du kannst, ich sehe es, wenn du mich ansiehst.
Yvette: (looks frightened, cornered) Ja! Ich kannst sprechen Deutsch! Yes! Why do you need to know?
(Williams looks frantically to and fro between Anton and Yvette)
Anton: (smiles and chortles) It means the world! I have all you need to know! Everything! Eyes are everywhere, Yvette Holz. The Fatherland needs your patriotic duty to be fulfilled.
Yvette: (reads the tiny note Anton gave her. She smiles suddenly and reaches for her handbag near her feet)
Williams: (frightened, puts Anton in a headlock to which he struggles) WHAT THE HELL? Ms. Holz, please, call security! I need assistance, real quick!
Yvette: (suddenly draws a small pistol from her bag) Mr. Williams, I’d let go of Mr. Anton, if I were you.
Williams: What are you doing? Where’d you get that gun??
Yvette: (cocks the pistol and aims it at Williams) No need for such silly questions, now. Let him go.
Williams: (fearfully lets Anton go, who staggers to his feet) Please, now miss, I got a family, got me grandbabies!
Anton: (manically) Heil mein Fuhrer! (laughs uncontrollably)
(The stage goes black suddenly and the sound of a gun goes off)

[Intermission]



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