Аннотация: A dialog between two men about the meaning of the American dream for AMERICAN and about T. Jefferson ,
who was author of the Declaration of Indepence.
By Ludmila Anselm and Jim Clinton
Joshua: old, skinny, ascetic man.
Peter: young not skinny, not ascetic man.
Time: Current, nighttime.
Place: Small one room hut in the woods. No path. This play could be real, supernatural or a dream but we will never know one way or the other. A dim light shows in the window. Peter approaches the light, comes to the small hut, knocks on the door. No answer. He first tries then opens the door. Inside the hut are a table and two chairs. A lamp and an electrical receptacle.
Peter (standing in the doorway): Hello! ... Anybody home? Can I come in?
Peter peers into the dimly lit hut. A person is sitting and writing at a table.
Peter: Can I come in? Are you OK? Why don"t you answer?
Josh: I"m busy!
Peter: Can... I?
Josh: You all ready have!
Peter: Thanks! Damn! I"m tired...
(Peter sits in the other chair. On the table are a pitcher of water and two glasses)
Can I have a drink?
(He pours a glass of water, and hands it to Peter, Peter looks around,,)
Peter: Thanks! Why so dark? OK, if to turn on more light?
Joshua: It"s fine for me... Everything is clear enough.
Peter: I"m Peter...
Joshua: I"m Joshua...
Peter: I"m parked out on the highway. Phone is dead.
Lucky I could see your light from the road. Do you have a phone?
Joshua: What"s the problem... if I may ask?
Peter: I"m out of gas. And the tire tore... Need to call "Triple A".
Joshua: I don"t have a phone.
Peter: How can you live without a phone? OK, if I recharge mine?
Joshua: Go ahead.
(Peter fiddles with his phone and charger and plugs them in)
Peter: What"re you so busy with?
Joshua: I"m writing something. Would you like to help me while you wait?
Joshua: Where have you been?
Peter: Tides Beach, windsurfing.
Josh: Did you have fun?
(Pause, Peter smiles and shrugs)
Come here, please. Look at what I wrote
Peter (approaches): Too dark! I can"t make any thing out.
Joshua: Turn on the light.
(Peter obeys. The room fills with light. Joshua tips a page up.)
Can you make it out now?
Peter (studies): Sorry, I can"t read your writing.
Joshua: I"m writing a philosophy tract... and toward the end I find contradictions.
Peter: How can I help? I"m just a computer programmer. You want me to understand philosophy?
Joshua: You may be just the person I need...
Peter: What"s your tract about?
Joshua: The Country needs a national idea that will unite the Americans into a single nation. I know...
Joshua: It is necessary to unite in the face of dangers: terrorists, economic crisis, global warming...
Peter: But we already have an idea...
Peter: What can you say about the "American dream"?
Joshua: Now many authoritative people believe that the "American dream" has been "eroded". So I decided to look into the matter.
Peter: Figured out?
Joshua: I think it's a bad idea, it can only divide the nation... Every person has their own dream.
Peter: All people are the same. Everyone wants to be happy and believes that only in America he can achieve his happiness.
Joshua: Please, explain me what is the "American dream"...
Peter: It"s not an easy question... It does exist, but not exactly... It"s sort of a gut feeling that every body has... involving... free choice... self-actualization...
"American dream" exists only in the minds of people in America... It's a kind of hope, a promise that in America dreams can come true...
Joshua: Good... Now, what a dream you have?
Peter: Why me?
Joshua: I"m just curious...
Peter: I want a family, good salary, some children, and a house in a good neighborhood...
Joshua: And you don"t want to be famous or... a millionaire?
Peter: Earlier maybe, but now I know it practically impossible.
Joshua: Do you have a wife?
Peter: Girl friend...
Joshua: Why aren"t you married?
Peter: Because we don"t have enough money for children yet.
Joshua: So, your dream needs money! How do you plan to get money?
Peter: Save... work hard! I"ll probably have to take some job or business risks in the future. When we have enough money to get married my dream will be half there. I"ll be happy.
Josh: Money can"t buy happiness!
Peter: Money can buy a house!
Joshua: Honest work doesn"t always result in prosperity. There are many poor people who strive and never will improve their fate.
Peter: Except for the lazy or impaired... Honest work will improve their lot... Somewhat ... anyway... "A rising tide raises all ships"...
Peter: You sit alone in this dark corner and thinks that know America? Do you know what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence?
Joshua: It"s weird that you remind me of him. What did he say?
Peter: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights that are among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Josh: "A" plus! Seems many are quoting this now.
Peter: Are you a teacher?
Josh: In some way... Do you know that The French Constitution, written at about the same time, said: "Freedom, Equality, and Brotherhood" sidestepping the words "Pursuit of Happiness"...
Peter: The words "Pursuit of Happiness" are very important for Americans... They are at the heart of "American dream".
Josh: Peter, why do you need a family, for your happiness?
Peter: Jefferson wrote a person could be their real self in a family.
Josh: Why do you harp on "Jefferson", "Jefferson"? ... Do you know Jefferson was a large plantation owner and a racist?
Peter: That was a different time...
Josh: He wrote against mixing blood of blacks and whites but he had children with his slave Sally Hemings.
Peter: What about his wife?
Joshua: His wife died very young.
Peter: Maybe Sally is just hearsay.
Joshua: Recent DNA tests of descendent of Sally and Jefferson are statistically conclusive.
Peter: Oh! ... Was Sally pretty? Figure? Face?
Joshua: She had straight black hair. She was only one quarter black, light brown. She was a slave but also a daughter of Jefferson"s father-in-law.
Peter: I'm sure Jefferson didn"t think about her bloodlines especially during sex. And how were Sally"s children?
Joshua: His children were one eighth black but Jefferson treated them as slaves. His son Madison Hemings never forgave Jefferson for this. ... Imagine... the great house in Monticello; Jefferson is sitting at dinner surrounded by his white family and guests - being served by a white slave, his son... Madison Hemings... A resentful Madison would come to his mother and ask her something like: "Why does daddy treat his other children different from me?" Sally would reply "Quiet, quiet ... when we were in Paris he promised to free you and your brothers and sisters... Patience, patience"
Peter: Jefferson did as he promised?
Joshua: No... and yes! Only after his death were they freed.
Peter: When did Sally"s and Jefferson"s relationship start?
Joshua: In Paris when Sally was fourteen years old!
Peter: Fourteen! Yikes!
Josh: Then young girls were considered women. Madison Hemings said later, "...Jefferson took his mother like a concubine".
Peter: So? How do you know that Jefferson still treated her as a slave?
Joshua: Не didn"t give her freedom...
Joshua: I think if he gave her freedom he couldn"t control her and keep her in his house. Once the relationship with Sally begins, he is living a lie.
Peter: Funny, it is known that Jefferson was a progressive politician, opposed slavery...
Joshua: Funny more... From the moment his relationship with Sally began, Jefferson changed his progressive ideas about the slavery system...
Peter: Dangerous... politically! Can you explain this man?
Joshua: I don"t know, maybe you have some thoughts?
Peter: I find it hard for me to think that Jefferson was just a hypocrite and a liar...
Joshua: So... Continue.
Peter: Don"t expect so much from me... What are you getting at?
Joshua: How do you think?
Joshua: What I find strange is that Jefferson"s oldest daughter Martha maintained that there was no relationship between her father and Sally. I don"t see how the white members of his family couldn"t know about the relationship.
Peter (bored): Family secret...
Joshua: I don"t think so. A grandchild of Jefferson, Helen, wrote that the relationship was impossible! The door to Jefferson"s room was very public, all entering and exiting were in sight of the family.
Peter (bored): Where"d they meet, then?
Joshua: He met Sally in a secret corner, a corridor, or a storeroom...
Peter (bored): You"re telling me he was waiting for Sally as she walked down the hall ... and ...
Joshua: I image how he was waiting for Sally and pursued her...
Peter: It was dangerous... but he found a way... Risky, but the more risk the more pleasure.
Joshua: In the newspaper of Virginia has published an article about their relations. Despite the dangers the relationships continued... I think he spent great effort to keep Sally near him. Who knows, maybe his secret gave rise to the Declaration"s words: "...all men... Pursue... Happiness."
Peter: It was a challenge. He enjoyed challenges... I like, he wanted to be happy ... And... was...
Joshua: But he was living a lie... He was a man of double morality...