Dorothy is a Jewish Name

[1944. This takes place in a small town in Berlin where Johnsons are facing a rough time, with all Aryan resources flowing to the central treasury and their son about to attain seventeen. Their Jewish relative, Dorothy has to face the surge of their daily remorse.]
Characters:- Mr. Adam Johnson, Mrs. Janice Johnson, Charlie Johnson, Edla Johnson, Dorothy, Mr. Purkinson.

[Begin]


SCENE I
[Janice and Edla Johnson enter the parlour.]

Edla: But it's not over yet, Mum!
Janice: At least, we are women. We get to bask in the shadows.
Edla: Charlie doesn't. Soon, he'll be seventeen.
Janice: Don't talk like that. Your brother won't be leaving. I won't let him walk to his death.
Edla: No way! Swastikas drape every corner of our streets now. Not long before they come recruiting freshmen.
Janice: Then we'll go in hiding. I don't care. We're peaceful folks and have no bussiness letting our only son die! Adam must agree.
Edla: Oh! If only the scum left our country, the war would end in peace.
Janice: And to think we are suckling one amongst us is-

[Dorothy enters, carrying muslin and chinaware.]

Edla: And the little devil is here, eating and breathing, while her likes are elsewere, starving and expiring!
Janice: Why your father won't turn her in-
Dorothy: The steak is hot.
Edla: That's all we get nowadays, Mum! You ought to keep better watch on the kitchen.
Dorothy: Come to the supermarket yourself, Edla. It's a short walk and you are getting unfit by the day. Check the pantry too!

[in soliloquy]

The pantry is emptier than her head. Edla: Oh! You wicked, little git! I am telling you that I'll turn you in.
Janice: Stop screaming, stupid girl.

[turns towards Dorothy]

For God's sake, serve us the wretched steak then.

[Charlie enters]

Janice: There is my sweet lad. Come, food is ready.

[All four bow their heads and chant The Lord's Prayer together.]

Edla: You, faithless girl! Why do you pray with us? Your God and ours ain't the same. Your like worship the devil, don't they?

Dorothy [laughs] : Does it count that I am an atheist?
Charlie: Let's have steak.

[whispers]

Keep some for yourself.


SCENE II
[Adam and Charlie Johnson enter the parlour.]
Charlie: No use trying to stop it, Dad! I am not scared about myself. Dorothy is the one in danger.
Adam: That's one more mould on our plate! The only reason I'm not turning her in is that we'll face interrogation. Put us all in more danger, she has.
Charlie: She is your niece, our own blood.
Adam: Not our blood, no. That wretched spoil my treacherous sister left behind has more Jewish blood in her than there is rum in my peg. She is not-
Charlie: Like us, I know. More free-spirited than other women. I need you to promise something while I'm gone.
Adam: I'll talk to the cantonment and-Charlie: Make it more difficult? I want your word.
Adam: What is it, son?
Charlie: You'll take care of Dorothy. Adam: But that is disgusting.

[There is a knock on the door. A startled Mr. Johnson answers it. The local police-officer, Mr. Purkinson enters.]

Adam: You?
Mr. Purkinson: Heil Hitler.
Adam: Heil!
Mr. Purkinson: The census reveals that Charlie Johnson is seventeen years and a week now, is it true?
Adam: But-
Charlie: Yes.
Mr. Purkinson: Mr. Johnson, are you not aware of your national duty? What has kept you from reporting to the cantonment immediately?
Adam: Me, Officer. Charlie is my only son!
Mr. Purkinson: Then you must be proud to give him to our fatherland. Your sacrifice will be awarded.
Charlie: I am ready, Officer.
Mr. Purkinson: Better for you.

[Janice Johnson enters.]

Janice: Please, don't do this, Officer. His father can volenteer.
Mr. Purkinson: We need vigour, stupid woman. Young blood. Consider it your good fortune that I am not reporting this neglect of national duty.

[Dorothy enters with a cup of mint tea.]

Dorothy: That's all the mint we have, Officer.
Mr. Purkinson: What is your name, smart mouth?
Dorothy: I'm Dorothy.
Mr. Purkinson: But Dorothy is a Jewish name!
Charlie: She is my sister. As Christian as any of us in this room. Mr. Purkinson: Keeping her name after them, eh, blood traitors? You'll change it at once.
Adam: We'll, Officer.
Dorothy: I won't change my name. Janice [whispers] : Shut up, you idiot. Get lost and don't show me your face again.


SCENE III
[Charlie Johnson and Dorothy enter the terrace.]
Charlie: I know it sucks. But not much we could do about it.
Dorothy: They are going to change my name. But I can't be complaining. Unlike most, I have a roof above my head.
Charlie: I admit. It's a pity, you know?
Adam: What is?
Charlie: This soil is as much yours as it is mine. I don't believe in their concept of a "purge". We have it all wrong. Following a fanatic obsessed over superiority.
Dorothy: They'll punish you for saying things like that.
Charlie: I'm not afraid of punishments.
Dorothy: Aren't you scared?
Charlie: To die? No. I'm scared of fighting for a cause I don't believe in.

[sighs]

And Dorothy, understand this. Even if they change your name, don't part with it. Bury it somewhere deep- the pages of your diary, in your heart. That name is your identity.
Dorothy: They could call me 'Dor' or something.
Charlie: Bet they won't. They will call you something fowl. They feel your name is what landed me in the front farthest from here and the hefty fine.
Dorothy: It's difficult to convince them that my Jewish name ain't my doing!
Charlie: It's a disgrace to be ashamed of your name.
Dorothy: But that's what made it more difficult for everyone!
Charlie: It's not. Prejudice is what plagued our brains.
Dorothy: I'll miss Algebra lessons and Secular Studies with you. The house will be dull without you. I will miss your passion in Buddhism.
Charlie: What about scaling Mt. Everest?
Dorothy: That can wait till you come back.
Charlie: It's subtle, this "come back" thing. Even if I don't-
Dorothy: You will and we'll go together. Don't say otherwise.
Charlie: I don't know if Everest will still be as white and pure. Bet war will leave it all bloodied.
Dorothy: You think so?
Charlie: Why do you think Edla hates you so much?
Dorothy: Maybe because she is jealous that you hang out more with me. Charlie: I don't enjoy her company, true.
Dorothy: But you enjoy mine?
Charlie: You're like me; you believe in greater things.
Dorothy: I'm scared, Charlie! Scared of losing you.

[Dorothy hugs Charlie.]

Charlie: Well, if I return with all my limbs in zest-
You and I will scale the untainted side of Everest.


[End]





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