SCENE 1: In a prisoner hospital block
Characters required (By order of appearance)
ETTA (A little Russian Jewish girl of about six or seven years of age)
ANTON (Her twin brother)
KARL (A little German Jewish boy around the same age as Etta and Anton)
HANSON (His twin brother)
MENGELE (Dr. Josef Mengele, a notoriously evil Nazi doctor and the true personification of mortal playing the role of evil deity. Thirty-two years old with dark hair and overall ominous disposition)
[Open on dark stage]
[Echoing eerily about the stage] Ring around the rosie, pocketful of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down! [A series of childish giggles follow this playful nursery rhyme]
[Loudly amidst the chortles] Anton, you're so silly!
Not as silly as you, sister!
[Immediately interjects after ETTA and ANTON'S exchange, sounding eager as the giggles from the four voices dissipate] Let us play again! That was fun!
Even if Anton did try to trip Etta.
Anton, you're so mean!
Come on! Let us play the game again!
Yes, you two, stop arguing!
[Disgruntled in tone] Okay.
Join hands again! And Anton, don't try and trip me again!
[Lights up on far Stage Left to ETTA, ANTON, KARL, and HANSON all standing alone in a circle, the four of them all holding hands with the child beside them. All are adorned in traditional prisoner uniforms––small white and blue striped ensembles created especially for children. HANSON, KARL, and ANTON are all wearing the pattern with a shirt and trousers; ETTA is wearing a miniature dress with the navy and white stripes. All have a yellow triangle overlapping a red one sewn onto the breasts of their uniforms]
[Who seems to be the misfit leader of the group of boys] Ready?
[HANSON, KARL and ANTON all nod eagerly]
Okay then! Here we go!
[The four children start jumping up and down and spinning around their imaginary circle, singing "Ring Around the Rosie" again. At the pinnacle of the song, "we all fall down," they obligingly do so]
[Breathless and lying on the floor with his friends] Even more fun the second time!
[The first to rise] I don't think so. I think this game is stupid.
[Getting up after ANTON and stands to glare at him, placing his hands on his hips] Well, of course you don't find it fun! You never find anything fun! You're a killjoy!
[Confused] What's that?
[Rising to glower as well] It means you're a dummy, you dummy!
[The last to pick himself up off the ground; takes a stance in a copycat motion of ETTA] Yeah, dummy!
Geez, you three! I'm not a dummy! I'm just bored! We should play another game!
[A voice suddenly cuts in from offstage, penetrating the darkness]
MENEGLE'S VOICE (From offstage right)
[With a foreboding, sinisterly cadence] Oh, no. You should keep playing. I like this game.
[All four children gasp simultaneously and whip their heads toward Stage Right. Mere seconds after this, bootfalls ensue, walking very slowly but surely onto stage. When the pair of black leather boots arrive on Stage Right, a second spotlight illuminates them––only that and no other part of MENGELE––and follows their path toward the children. A hint of a long white lab coat skirts near the top of the boots. The children are frozen with fear and awe, hardly daring to breathe as they watch the boots draw closer, their eyes wandering nowhere else. Finally, the boots halt mere inches from the children, but none of them cower in fear––they only stare. ]
[Stammering in a meek voice] Uncle?
MENGELE'S VOICE (Or boots, rather)
Yes, Etta. It's me.
[Stage goes completely black]
[Amid the pitch black] It's your Uncle Mengele.
[Curtain closes despite the dark. End of Scene 1]