VERA
A drama in six parts
Agata Tuszyńska, Jerzy Żurek

Translated by David A. Goldfarb

Dramatis personae
VERA
60 years old, Jewish actress and singer, star of the cabaret “Sztuka” (“Art”) in the Warsaw Ghetto, whose career and life after the war were destroyed by accusations of collaboration with the Nazis. A pretty woman of intelligence and wit, unknown whether she is insane.

SHE
25 years old, journalist making her debut, fascinated with the singer and her tragic history. Trying to interest the media in the subject of Vera, she becomes entangled in a bitter romance with her French mentor, and experiences her own hell of rejection, misunderstanding, and posturing. [Reveals her name to be Aleksandra (“Ola”), but referred to as “SHE” or “HER” with capital letters for the purpose of the script.]

WOMAN’S VOICE
Voiceover that is heard briefly during a videotaped interview with Vera.

Setting
The action takes place in Paris in the 1990s.

I
I –1.
Loud, somber music – Verdi’s Requiem in the most dynamic section of the “Deis Irae.” A light is burning in the staircase of an old Parisian building. SHE is standing in front of Vera’s door. SHE rings several times, knocks more and more boldly. The music cuts off violently.
SHE
Madame Vera, it’s me! We spoke over the telephone. Just an hour ago. I wanted to talk with you. I know that you don’t like journalists, but I am not a journalist. And I have greetings for you – from Warsaw,
(short pause)
from a friend.
(SHE listens, but silence reigns in the apartment.)
Please open the door. We had an appointment. I’ve really been counting on this meeting.
(Silence)
You don’t even know how much.
(Presses herself to the door. Nothing. Are they both holding their breath? The light goes out. When she tries to turn it on again, her phone rings inside her bag. Everything almost falls out at her feet before she grabs her phone.)
Yes. Of course. She doesn’t want to let me in. She’s there. Definitely. But please. I heard music. She practically never leaves the house any more. What? Ach – old bitch, I understand.
(SHE rings the bell again.)
Madame Vera. I know what they did to you.
(SHE sits in front of the door and takes an apple from her bag. The light goes out)

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