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Rada A Drama of War in One Act   By: (1880-1958)

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RADA

A DRAMA OF WAR IN ONE ACT

BY ALFRED NOYES

Author of "The Wine Press," "Tales of the Mermaid Tavern," Etc.

1913

PERSONS OF THE PLAY

RADA, wife of the village doctor . SUBKA, her daughter, aged twelve . ARRAM } two hostile soldiers quartered MICHAEL } in her house, in time of war . NANKO, a half witted schoolmaster .

Several soldiers.

THE SCENE is in the Balkans, in a village which has just been taken by the enemy, on Christmas Eve.

RADA

SCENE A guest chamber, the typical living room of a prosperous village doctor in the Balkans. On the left, a small window and an entrance door. On the right, a door leading into a bedroom. At the back, an open fire of logs is burning brightly. Over the fireplace is the eikonostasis, with three richly coloured and gilded eikons, the central one of the Madonna. The light, which is never allowed to go out, is burning before it. The room is lit at present only by this, the fire light, and two candles in brass candlesticks on a black wooden table under the window. Rows of porcelain plates round the walls gleam fitfully. On either side of the eikonostasis is a large chibouk, with inlaid bowl and amber mouth piece. There is a divan with scarlet rugs flung across it to the right of the fire; and there are several skins and rugs on the floor.

Two Roumanian soldiers , ARRAM and MICHAEL, are seated at the table, drinking .

RADA, a dark handsome woman, sits weeping with her head bowed in her hands, on the divan .

NANKO, the idiot, sits on the floor, rubbing his hands, snapping his fingers, chuckling to himself, and staring into the fire .

ARRAM Look here, my girl, where's the use of snivelling? You ought to think yourself damned lucky to be alive.

RADA O my God! My God!

MICHAEL This is war, this is! And you can't expect war to be all cakes and cream.

[ They laugh and drink .]

ARRAM You ought to think yourself damned lucky to be alive, and have two men quartered on you instead of one. If your husband and the rest of the villagers hadn't made such a disturbance, they might have been alive, too.

NANKO Exactly! Exactly! I used to be a schoolmaster, you know, in the old days; and, if you knew what I know, you'd understand, my dear, it's entirely a question of the survival of the fittest! The survival of the fittest! That's what it is.

ARRAM Wouldn't they have done the same to us, if they'd had the chance? We've got women and children at home snivelling and saying, "O my God, O my God," just like you. Don't you trouble about God. What can He do when both sides go down on their marrow bones? He can't make both sides win, can He?

RADA O God! God! God!

MICHAEL [ Getting up and standing in front of her .] Look here. We've had enough of this music. We've been cutting throats all day, and now we want to unbuckle a bit. There'll be hell to pay when the other boys come back. A pretty wild goose chase you've sent them on, too, with your tale about the old Jew's money bags. What was the game? You seemed mighty anxious to wheedle us all out of the house; and you'd never get out of the village alive to night. Listen to that!

[ There is an uproar outside, a shot, and a woman's scream, followed by the terrified cry of a child : "Ah! Ah! Father!"]

ARRAM The men are mad with zaki and blood and other things. There's no holding them in, even from the children. What chance would there be for a fine looking wench like yourself?

MICHAEL Don't tell me you were going out into that? [ He points in the direction of the uproar .] Something to hide on the spot, eh? Well, now you've got the others out of the way, we're going to have a look. What's in there? [ He points to the little door on the left .]

RADA [ Rising to her feet slowly, steadying herself with one hand against the wall, and fixing her eyes on his face .] This is war, isn't it? If I choose to revenge myself on those I hate listen to me. I suppose you want money. And I can tell you where to find it.

ARRAM Another wild goose chase to the other end of the valley?

RADA No... Continue reading book >>




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