Reza’s Suras

Slide27

Day 27, Play 27 – Reza’s Suras

LIGHTS UP on CAPT questioning WOMAN.

CAPT:
I understand I don’t need a translator.

WOMAN:
No, I’m Western educated. My English is not heavily accented. Occasional grammatical errors.

CAPT:
But you make your living writing in Arabic.

WOMAN:
I’m a journalist.

CAPT.
Oh, I’d call you a creative writer. Aren’t you the author of these, these tracts? “Reza’s Suras”

WOMAN:
I am the translator of them into English.

CAPT.
You’re not Reza?

WOMAN:
My name is Maryam.

CAPT:
That’s pretty. But it doesn’t rhyme with “Sura.”

WOMAN:
I believe that’s called a “happy accident.”

CAPT:
Only, it does rhyme, doesn’t it?

WOMAN:
In any language. And Reza, or his sources, rhyme in Arabic. Or the Arabic equivalent of rhyming. I don’t. I translate literally.

CAPT:
Why translate these into English at all? Who’s your audience?                       Is this supposed to scare us?

WOMAN:
These verses purport to be a kind of truth. Everyone should know            the truth.

CAPT:
These verses.

(reading)

“When the moon is in the Holy Month
The Defenders of Faith take their places.
The Sweet Feast begins, the moon in the East.
They take their revenge on the Invaders.

The Green Zone shall not shelter them
as The Green Banner of Allah is raised.
For a month the New Saracens rage
The Invaders, routed, depart for the West.”

(singing:)
“When the Moon / Is in the Seventh House / And Jupiter collides with Mars…”

Our analysts tell us that the English is crafted to appeal to the Western mind, and is not couched in terms that suggest it was translated from the Arabic at all.

WOMAN:
They are loosely translated. I assure you, these are Reza’s verses. Whether he indeed found them buried in an urn as he says in his Sura 17—

CAPT:
But who is Reza? That’s the question.

WOMAN:
I don’t know. I’m not Reza. My name is Maryam.

CAPT:
Pretty name. Meriam, in Hebrew. Marya in Greek, Maria in Latin.       What’s Reza?

WOMAN:
It’s from an Arabic word. It means the contentment between Allah          and Islam.

CAPT:
But it’s a guy’s name. Reza.

WOMAN:
It is, I think, a Farsi name.

CAPT:
That would indicate that the Iranians are involved.

WOMAN:
The man I met was not Iranian. They speak Arabic with an odd accent. And the verses are not Shiite. I’m sure your analysts informed you of that.

CAPT:

(reading:)
“The Throne of Peacocks is thrown down
Rightly guided is the Caliphate.”

“Pharoah’s doom, as the generals cry down
War upon their own. Sword or scimitar,
Steel shall rule.”

You understand, of course, why we’d want to talk to the person who wrote these “Suras.”

WOMAN:
Allah.

CAPT:
Reza.

WOMAN:
You’re threatened by him.

CAPT:
A collection of what purport to be verses written in the 15th Century predicting an Islamist uprising in the 21st Century. In, sorry, what’s that    to you?

WOMAN:
Subtract 632.

CAPT:
Your 15th Century.

WOMAN:
I understand why you’d want to talk to him.

CAPT:
Like talking to Nostradamus. Better poet, assuredly. Better predictor of events, I don’t know.

WOMAN:
The best predictor of events is the self-fulfilling prophecy.

CAPT:
Well, you’re the walking, talking Self-fulfilling Prophecy.

(reading:)

“When the Traducer is captured,
Her words flaming in glory,
Then will the Invader see
How words can be made to flame.”

WOMAN:
My own personal favorite.

CAPT:
You’re the Traducer.

WOMAN:
Flaming in glory. I have a bomb inside of me. Literally. Sewn into my hide. Tick. Tick. Boom.

She thumps her chest three times with her fist.

BLACKOUT. In the black, the word “boom” resonates
loudly through the theatre . END OF PLAY.

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