Vlada Khmel

Translated into English by Volha Tsiashkevich, edited by Apeksha Harsh

Copyright by Vlada Khmel. All rights reserved.

A play about trying to find inner freedom. The roles here are not defined: sister, mother, grandmother, daughter or great-grandmother – the voices of generations are heard through the painful dialogue of two heroines. Women strive to break the vicious circle of ancestral memory and learn to love. However, acceptance and forgiveness turn out to be more difficult than hating. Especially when you notice in yourself the traits of those to whom you would never want to compare yourself.

Woman-1 a woman of an indefinite age

Woman-2 a woman of about the same age as Woman-1

empty room. long table with three chairs. three glasses of water, one near each of the chairs. Woman-1 and Woman-2 seated side by side at the table. the third chair is empty.

long pause.

a couple months ago i was in rome, in a church. no, i don’t believe in god, it’s just that it’s an architectural monument – there’re tons of those in rome – so i just popped in to have a look at the wall-paintings – or, no, those were mosaics, and i came to look at them because that’s what my term paper was about in my third year at the university, and that was the spring of my third year when i went to rome. i mean, the mosaics were not the reason, i wasn’t making that much money to go to rome just for the mosaics for my term paper. not like i’m making that much now, i’ve just expressed myself incorrectly. so, i was walking around looking at those mosaics – early morning it was, the church was almost empty – and a nun approached me and told me something in italian, and i didn’t understand a thing and just walked out. and there was a huge crowd outside on the stairs – a wedding ceremony was about to begin, that’s what it was. and i left, of course, like, why would i stare at strangers, and just… it’s a very intimate moment, isn’t it, i wouldn’t want some strange girl to stare at me at my wedding. i mean, if i believed in god and would go for a wedding ceremony in church, of course.

so i left, and then felt terribly sorry that i wouldn’t see it.

W2: you’ve been to rome?

W1: but, of course, i didn’t go back, because, i mean, i don’t care about god, i just wanted to learn what those catholic ceremonies looked like. so i clicked on the first website and read some father paul’s interview where he tells newly-wed couples how to prepare for their wedding. and it was all nice in the beginning, about the prayers, the catholic faith, and then he goes like, “we explain that our faith strictly forbids the use of any contraception.” and i thought, “oh, fuck you!” and closed the site. it’s been five years and i still don’t know what catholic weddings are about.