blackbirdonline journalSpring 2011  Vol. 10  No. 1
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from The Fallen | Kalinovik    
a monologue and introductory commentary

“Kalinovik,” the third act in The Fallen following Anais’s monologue “Rooftops” (Blackbird Fall 2010), recalls the systematic rapes during the Bosnian War that took place in a Kalinovik primary school in 1992. This scene traces the origins of Anais through the rape of her mother, Mirela.


Earlier readings and presentations of this play included collaborations with Caroline Reddick Lawson of Nora’s Playhouse at the Irondale Center’s Passion Play Coalition Festival in Brooklyn, George Ferencz of Theatre for the New City’s Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, and James Glossman of Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey’s Forum Reading Series. Kenneth Cosby’s direction of The Fallen brought the piece to a different level through the use of multimedia, including music and documentary news footage.


Character:     MIRELA—A Bosnian woman, 19
                      ANDREJ—White Eagle Militia, 19
Time:             Summer 1992
Setting:         A holding room in Kalinovik Camp, Bosnia

(The stage is stark as a cot is placed in the center. Mirela, chained from her wrists to the legs of the cot, speaks to the audience.)


I’ve awoken in this bed, so perhaps this is a nightmare, and this isn’t real. Perhaps I’m not really here, and I’m imagining this. And it really doesn’t smell like death, and there really aren’t any bloodstains on this cot, and there really aren’t those noises, those sounds, those screams I hear. I’m imagining this, and I’m not real. I’m dreaming this moment, because I’m dead, a fracture, nothing else but a talking, limping, bloodied fracture. This isn’t real. I’m not really here. (MIRELA hysterically attempts to break loose from the chains and screams)I’m not here! I’m not here! This isn’t me, and I’m not really here! (MIRELA collapses) So where am I? Nowhere but here, in this room, in Kalinovik, this bizarre place of systematic purpose. Trapped. Finished. I’m finished. Who’ll want me now? No one, because I’m finished, done with. Destroyed. Why do I still feel this? Why can’t I be numb? Why do I care? Why do I fear? I thought by now I’d feel . . . nothing. I’m waiting for that moment when all this doesn’t matter, and I’m just a body, without heart, without memory, without any feeling, any thought, just an object . . . a thing, a filthy thing, but still a thing. (Beat)I should have said yes. I should have said yes to him, to the one who liked me, even loved me, before all this. I used to laugh at him. He would get angry, but then I’d tell him I was laughing about something else, someone else, not him. But he knew; without saying another word, he knew. I thought . . . he was silly, and we were young, and I had so many things I wanted to do, whatever the hell those things were, and so many places I wanted to see, wherever I thought was so damned important, and that . . . he would interfere. And yes, I thought maybe I could find someone better than he was. Someone more . . . important, intelligent, handsome . . . just better, because he was so damned local and familiar and uncomplicated . . . and kind. Why couldn’t he have been more tragic or difficult or angry or hurtful? That would have been more exciting, right? Then I would have loved him back, and then I would have said . . . yes. And I wouldn’t have been here. Perhaps not. Where would we be now? Maybe he would have been a disappointment or weak or quiet . . . unmoved, and I would have still been here. I don’t know. Why do I think of him now? He was nothing. So why is he in my head? Of all the people who should have their place in my conscience, in my memory, in my heart, which I wish I didn’t have, why does he hold that place? Someone whose name I can’t even remember, though everything else about him and us is so clear. What if? What if? What if? . . . What if I had said yes to my local fool without a name? If I had said yes . . . yes, I’ll take you, and I’ll be content, and make myself be happy with you and never look for anyone else, and only be with you! Then perhaps I wouldn’t have been here. I wouldn’t have been chained. And I wouldn’t have been beaten and raped again and again and again! I wouldn’t have been finished. I hate myself for remembering him now. I have no tears for my family or for my home or for this place, only for him. Why? What if . . . ? Where is he now? Safe? Distant? Hated? (Beat . . . Sentimental)Loved? In love? Does he wonder? Is he thinking of me? Of where I am? Of my fate? Does he miss me? (Beat . . . Hardened) Miss me? No! What a joke! And who’s the fool now? I’m sure he’s fine. They always seem to be just fine in the end. Even without . . . without their wives and mothers and daughters. They scrape off the dirt and walk away and be . . . just . . . fine . . . without us . . . without me. They laugh at me, the ones who keep me here and enter this room. They laugh at us, me and the others like me here. They laugh at the tears they’ve caused. I wonder if that’s funny to watch. (Beat)Perhaps he’s laughing at me right now, laughing at my tears he’s caused.

(A light rises upstage right where ANDREJ as a White Eagle Militia member stands. He approaches MIRELA and sits next to her on the cot. MIRELA is distant. ANDREJ is afflicted.)

This isn’t what I am. Say something.

           (MIRELA’s silent)


Do you want to kill me? I bet you do. I bet if I turned around and unchained you, you’d grab my gun and shoot me, not once, but several times, over and over again, until you were sure I was dead. Right? So that’s why I’m not letting you go. Not to punish you, but to protect myself. This is not about you, but I have to watch out for myself. You could kill me. You want to, right? Say something. Say something so I know you’re alive. I have to keep you alive for the next guy or else I get in trouble, and I don’t want to get into trouble. I don’t need any trouble. (Beat)Aren’t you sick of this? I am. I don’t even think you’re pretty or anything like that. You’re not my type. You’re not ugly, you’re just . . .  someone I’d never notice. (Beat)No, I would notice. I would, because you’re nice. I think you are . . . I really don’t know you. You won’t talk to me, but I can guess. I know you hate me. I hate myself, kind of. But this is not really my fault, you know. I didn’t start this! Look at yourself for that! Yeah . . .  well, I don’t know anything. I just . . .  I just go along with it all, you know? You don’t know. (Beat)No, wait, you . . . you’re okay looking. Pretty, a little. Say something. I don’t want to hurt you, but I need you to speak. I don’t even know what your voice sounds like. Maybe you’ve lost it. Maybe you can’t speak anymore. Then that’s okay. Then I’ll know . . .  it’s not because of me. (Quietly distraught) I never hurt anyone before this. I never did. I would never have done anything . . .  like this! Like this? Whatever this is . . .  I still don’t understand it, but I was never good enough at school to understand anything. So I never asked about anything. It’s not like I didn’t care . . .  it was more like . . . why should I care? Did you care? I think you did. You’re looking into the distance and I don’t even know what you’re looking at. What is it? A hole in the wall? A fly? Air? Whatever air looks like. What does it look like? I don’t know. (Beat)I don’t even want kids. I don’t even know you. Why would I want a kid with you? This makes no sense. I don’t get it. I wish you could explain this to me, because I’m lost right now. (Beat) But I always was. I don’t know where I am. But you know where we are. You’re very aware of where we are and what this is.

(Lights Dim)  end

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