6c 1924 THERE'S A GLOWING KNIFE IN MY BREAST
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Chauffeur PAUL is trying to fix the car. He is humming Ich hab ein gluehend Messer - from Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen:
«Ich hab ein glühend Messer in meiner Brust
O weh! O weh! Das schneid't so tief
In jede Freud' und jede Lust,
So tief, so tief!»
ALMA Is there any chance at all of getting this thing repaired?
PAUL I'm doing my best, madam.
«Ach, was ist das für ein böser Gast!
Nimmer hält er Ruh',
Nimmer hält er Rast,
Nicht bei Tag, noch bei Nacht, wenn ich schlief!
O weh! O weh!»
ALMA Please, not so loud, please! I'm trying to get some rest.
PAUL Any thing you say, ma'am. .
(He lowers the volume of his singing.)
«Wenn ich den Himmel seh',
Seh' ich zwei blaue Augen steh'n!
O weh! O weh!»
ALMA Do you know who wrote that song you're singing?
PAUL Of course, madam, Gustav Mahler.
ALMA Is he well known in this... wasteland?
PAUL I don't know; I know him from Munich. I was a student there.
ALMA May I ask - what you are looking for in this wilderness?
PAUL I'm part of a group of Austrian and German Jews, ma'am. Some of us are disciples of Freud, others Siegfried Bernfeld's students.
ALMA And you --
PAUL I correspond only with Martin Buber and Max Brod.
ALMA So you've found your salvation in this country.
No, I'd better shut up.
ALMA No, say what's on your mind.
PAUL I'm ashamed of my thoughts.
ALMA Speak up.
PAUL Let's get out of here.
ALMA I beg your pardon?
PAUL I'll repair the car, and we'll drive away together.
ALMA Are you crazy?
PAUL Ma'am m, from the moment I saw you----
ALMA (She laughs.) Oh, no!
PAUL Oh, yes!
ALMA How old are you?
PAUL I'm twenty, but you make me feel sixteen.
ALMA Please! Don't make fun of me. I beg you. I'm forty-seven. I could be your mother. I have no strength left for that kind of nonsense anymore. I'm on the brink of a breakdown.
PAUL That's perfect . Break down! Break down! I am beyond despair myself. We can start from zero.
ALMA Where are we now exactly? Can you tell me where we are?
PAUL We're on the way. Always on the way!
(picking up the song as he carries on his messing around with the engine:)
" When I walk in the yellow fields,
From afar I see her blond hair blowing in the breeze!
O woe! O woe!"
ALMA Please, can you keep quiet , please!
PAUL With pleasure. Words are only barriers between people. Real communication happens in glances. Yes. Let's be quiet now, and look at each other.
ALMA That's enough.
PAUL Why? Is there anything immoral about that? (Alma stares at him) I don't know what's happening to me. I'm trembling.
ALMA Oh, God! why do you do this to me!...
PAUL You're trembling too, aren't you?
ALMA What am I going to do with you?
PAUL Are you scared?
ALMA I'm not scared.
PAUL You hate me.
ALMA I hate everything here.
PAUL Forgive me. I'm sorry I started .
ALMA Beautiful. Shut up then.
PAUL I will. You're right. I have to shut up. When I start talking, I don't know what I'm saying. I'm a bag full of holes. To hide my real feelings, I play the clown. Don't worry. I haven't fallen in love with you. I was just playing games, like I always do, trying to hide the truth from myself. I've never been in love. Never. But it's so goddamn easy to pretend you are. In love with people, with convictions, with beliefs. But Inside it's all hollow. Why is it that we all spend our only existence with the wrong people? Always saying the wrong words, always doing the wrong things. You know what I'm talking about. We are birds of a feather, you and me. Don't try to deny it. Don't play games with me. It's boring. It's all so boring. You don't owe me a thing, , and I don't owe you anything either. And there is no chance of us having a relationship. So we can tell the truth to one another. It's such a luxury! Wow!
Jackals start howling in the distance. Alma is startled.
ALMA What's that?!
ALMA Jackals?! Are you joking?
ALMA Aren't they dangerous?
PAUL No, they're just crazy.
PAUL Yes, that's why they howl like that.
ALMA They seem to be very near.
PAUL They are. Look into the dark. You can see their shadows all around us.
ALMA Get rid of them ! Do something!
PAUL (picks up a stone and throws it into the dark:) Hi hi hi! A lady from Europe came to look for the bluebird in the east! Hi hi hi! (He is howling at Alma like a jackal.) So you believed in love, didn't you? You believed the love of others would save you? It can't save you. All it can do is help you fall asleep. But that's no salvation. And then there is always the morning after. mornings are not the time of love. Mornings are the time of waking up. And when the morning is without love, the end of the day is without hope. I'll tell you what I discovered about myself: when I'm making love, there are at least four people involved. And I'm only twenty. I wonder how it is when you are forty-seven! How many people are involved when you're making love? Ten? Six? Two? Not even one.... I see. It must be very sad, eh?... I don't ever want to be forty-seven. Never! If I get to forty seven, something very bad will happen. You know what I'm talking about. We're full of destructive drives, aren't we. We have a strong death wish. We've come to this country because of our death impulse, haven't we.
ALMA Stop it.
PAUL I've read every line your Franzel has written. Our Ahaswuerian destiny starts with emancipation, which til now has forced us to play a false game, until it came to Weininger's symbolic death. And what did he do, your Franz, after he wrote that sentence? Did he stop playing his false game? Did he give up his Ahaswuerian destiny? No! It's all words, words, words! He's coming for a visit to Palestine. Then he'll return to his false games, and write a another useless book or a some dispensable play. I even have a title for his play: Paul among the Jews! You know why? Because that's my name, Paul.
ALMA You people down here are well read.
PAUL You don't know anything about me, madam. I'm a clown. You're laughing. You think I'm a pleasant joke. The truth is - I am an empty shell. A dummy. A mock man. I'm a creature who must rage and scream in order to know that he is angry. Sigh and weep to know he is sad. Laugh and sing to know he is happy. I'll know I was alive only when I'm dying. But you are different, aren't you. You are the subject of glorious love stories. Gustav Mahler, Oskar Kokoschka, Walter Gropius, Franz Werfel! Woofff!... What exorbitant emotions and strong feelings your existence is made of! What a miserable comedy. It's all so pitiful.
ALMA How dare you speak about my life? You don't know anything about me.
PAUL Who cares about you? I'm talking about myself. I wanted so much to come to this country! I wanted so much to go to Eretz-Israel! And I said to myself: if you do something that important, , you will finally become a man. With big ideas and a history and morals. But here I am, and it hasn't happened. I'm the same old tasteless stuff. So when I saw you I said to myself: Alma! Yes! Fall in love with Alma! Yes! This will finally fill you up and turn you into something ! She will give your life meaning. Look at me: I'm still waiting for this great event to happen, to be filled with love for you. I'm preparing myself for the moment when my feelings will explode into flames and my arms will open and you will fall into them! Yes, I stay alert at all time, keeping an eye on myself so I won't miss that moment when the useless lump that I am turns into a legendary love hero whose mighty passion will quicken the pulse of coming generations. People will say: there were mighty lovers once on earth! Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, Bonnie and Clyde; Paul and Alma! They'll be naming us in the same breath. In the meantime, you can take your Franzl and go back to your petit-bourgeois life in Vienna...
ALMA Stop it.....
PAUL (He sings:) «Ich hab ein glühend Messer in meiner Brust
ALMA Stop it!... Stop it!...
PAUL «O weh! O weh! Das schneid't so tief
In jede Freud' und jede Lust,
So tief, so tief!»
ALMA Stop it! You infantile man! I said stop it! You crazy loon ! My God! Why the hell did I ever let him drag me into this nuthouse! I want to get out of this insane country! I want to get out of here! I want to get out!! I want to go back to Vienna! - Leave me alone! Leave me in peace, you idiot! Don't touch me! You mad jackal! Get out! Leave me alone! I want to go home! To Vienna! Leave me alone! Let me die! I'm sick of myself!
PAUL Alma! You're a wonderful woman!
ALMA No! I'm not a woman!
PAUL You are the most wonderful woman that there ever was. !
ALMA No! I don't want to be a woman! I won't listen to that dirty word woman! I hate being a woman! I'm a monster !
PAUL I love you, Alma!
ALMA No! I won't listen ! Not that word! It makes me puke!
PAUL We all love you.
ALMA No! I'm not a woman at all
I won't listen to that word any more, you hear! I hate being a woman! I hate it. I'm not a woman. I'm a monster! I disgust even myself. Leave me alone.
PAUL Alma, I love you! Alma, we all love you!! All of us!
ALMA No, no one loves me. No-one loves me, you hear? No one ever loved me. And I don't either. I don't love anyone else either. I've never loved anybody. Not plug-ugly Burckhard, not Klimt running after me with his drooling mouth, not Gustav with his intolerable stench, not Gropius boring me to death with his dullness, and least of all Franzl, with his ridiculous bow legs and his insatiable lust, wanting to have me everywhere, in every imaginable and unimaginable position! You understand nothing! You understand nothing at all!! I'd like to die, you hear? Oh my God, I'd like to die!! O God! The only thing I want to do is die!! I want to die! I want to die! I want to die!... Franz! Franz! Where are you?