KNOCK, KNOCK – WHO'S THERE? POLICE!
[ “Pum Pum! Chi è? La Polizia!” ]
by Dario Fo and the Theatre Collective
translated by Ed Emery
[Please note: This is a draft translation. For reference only. Please do not copy or circulate.]
All rights reserved. This text shall not by way of trade or otherwise be copied, reproduced or recorded in a retrieval system. Nor shall it be lent, resold, hire out or otherwise circulated without the owners' specific written consent.
For performance rights, please contact:
ed.emery [@] britishlibrary.net
Please be aware that this translation can only be performed with explicit permission in writing from the agency representing Dario Fo and Franca Rame, the Danese-Tolnay agency in Rome.
Original text copyright © Dario Fo
Translation copyright © Ed Emery
KNOCK, KNOCK – WHO'S THERE? POLICE!
[ “Pum Pum! Chi è? La Polizia!” ]
by Dario Fo and the Theatre Collective
translated by Ed Emery
At the start of the show the Actors are squatting at the back of the stage, behind a very large desk. During the song they get up slowly and advance to the front of the stage.
At the front of the stage are two other trestle tables, and at their ends they have small steps so that the Actors can walk up onto them.
On-stage there are fax machines, telephones, typewriters.
Throughout the show the scenic action consists of continuous comings and goings of Actors who read dispatches out loud, moving as if in a ballet. The TOP OFFICIAL will remain on-stage for the whole duration of the show.
Only a few of the entrances will be marked in the text by way of indication.
What we are about to tell
Is not a story of imagination.
What we are about to tell
Certainly is a true story.
In the world there is only one law,
That of violence.
Power founds itself on violence.
It has always been that way.
Those who behave like sheep know that the wolf will eat them.
The donkey that kicks out on its own will be put down.
But if there are many of them kicking,
You'll see all the scabs run away,
You'll see all the scabs run away,
It has always been that way.
What we are about to tell
Is not a story of imagination.
What we are about to tell
Certainly is a true story.
TOP OFFICIAL: This here is the secret affairs office of the Ministry for Home Affairs, the Viminale!
CHORUS: Yes. We know, we see, we control everything and everyone, we control the police too, and the magistrates. We have the whole world in our grip, the government, the organs of every ministry, we control the Vatican, the Pope…
TOP OFFICIAL: And even God himself. And for anyone who didn't get it the first time, this is the secret affairs office of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Viminale.
FIRST OFFICIAL [Entering] Dottore, if you'll allow me, here's the latest news… Disturbing facts!
TOP OFFICIAL: Let's hear!
FIRST OFFICIAL Today, 12th of December, at 4.30 in the afternoon, in Piazza Fontana, in Milan, in the Bank of Agriculture, while there was a crowd of people inside, of people depositing money, most of them small savers, small farmers, women, housewives, children… there was a tremendous explosion.
SECOND OFFICIAL: [Entering] Sixteen dead.
TOP OFFICIAL: [Entering] A hundred injured… Some in danger of their lives…
FOURTH OFFICIAL: [Entering] Children too…
TOP OFFICIAL: A slaughter! This is unheard of!!
SECOND OFFICIAL: They think it may have been an explosion of underground boilers…
TOP OFFICIAL: Has the Rescue Squad* arrived?
CHORUS: [All the Men enter] Yes.
TOP OFFICIAL: What do they say?
SECOND OFFICIAL: They say it was a dynamite attack.
CHORUS: A bomb!
SECOND OFFICIAL: With highpower explosives!
TOP OFFICIAL: Criminals!
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] Another bomb has been found… In another bank… In Milan again…
FIRST OFFICIAL The bomb was found intact in a back leather folder.
SIXTH OFFICIAL: The technicians assure us that this is an important clue in finding the criminals!
SECOND OFFICIAL: Who obviously are the same people who put the bomb in the first bank.
TOP OFFICIAL: Very good. Give orders for the intact bomb to be exploded immediately.
THIRD OFFICIAL: But Dottore, it's an important piece of evidence.
TOP OFFICIAL: Precisely… I mean, it's dangerous… It could explode at any minute…
FIRST OFFICIAL The defuser is arriving…
TOP OFFICIAL: Precisely, get on with it! Have it blown up!
CHORUS: [They make as if to exit, and come back on-stage immediately] Done. Carried out. Bomb blown up in a courtyard. Evidence disappeared. Stop, stop, stop.*
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: A bomb has gone off in Rome too, in the Bank of Labour!
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] Not much damage. Fragments of the bomb have been found, as well as the burnt remains of a mock leather bag.
SIXTH OFFICIAL: An identical bomb has exploded at the monument to the Unknown Soldier.
THIRD OFFICIAL: A lot of noise. Not much damage.
TOP OFFICIAL: What do the people think?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: People are alarmed… Terrorised… Some of them think it must have been done by criminals… By Leftwing organisations.
TOP OFFICIAL: Well thought! And what do the middle of the road* newspapers say?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Which tendency?
TOP OFFICIAL: Middle of the road has only one tendency!*
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: They are very upset! They say the criminals should be punished. They want the death penalty to be brought back!
CHORUS: Well said!
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: The Leftwing newspapers are describing it as a provocation.
TOP OFFICIAL: Excellent! As long as they limit themselves to accusing us of provocation, that's fine. And what are the unions doing?
FIRST OFFICIAL They've signed. They've signed all the contracts.
TOP OFFICIAL: Excellent! That's the real bomb! The working class disoriented, bewildered, no longer knws where to put its head… The trade unions sign. Put out a reward for 50 million!
CHORUS: Fifty million.
TOP OFFICIAL: As a reward for anyone who gets information.
CHORUS: Even if its false and tendentious?
TOP OFFICIAL: Especially if…! So as to identify the killers.
CHORUS: [They telephone] Done! Published in all the newspapers.
TOP OFFICIAL: Immediately find the guilty anarchists.
CHORUS: Here they are: already found!
FIRST OFFICIAL In Milan they're arresting them at this very minute. We already had them ready!
TOP OFFICIAL: Well done…! Er, I mean… In what sense, ready?
FIRST OFFICIAL In the sense that we wre already watching them, we had our eye on them.
SECOND OFFICIAL: We had planted a few informers in their group…
THIRD OFFICIAL: Two, to be precise…
FOURTH OFFICIAL: A policeman, and a fascist by name of Merlino.
TOP OFFICIAL: Idiots, irresponsible, they're going to say that we were the ones who actually organised the bombs… That we encouraged them to do the deed… Like with the massacre in the Diana Cinema in 1922… Come on… immediately find the brains behind the bombing… Find the MONSTER!
SECOND OFFICIAL: Only one?
TOP OFFICIAL: Well, the anarchists are few in number.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: He's an ex-dancer.
TOP OFFICIAL: An ex-dancer? It would have been better if you'd found an ex-butcher… A rock-breaker. And is being a dancer his only job?
SECOND OFFICIAL: No, he's also a lampshade maker… He threads coloured beads and sticks together different coloured bits of glass to make Liberty lampshades.
TOP OFFICIAL: Homosexual?
TOP OFFICIAL: What a shame!
SECOND OFFICIAL: He only goes with women. At any rate, L'Unità has already stated that Valpreda, that's the monster's name, is a disconcerting* individual with a mysterious and stormy past.
TOP OFFICIAL: Very good.
CHORUS: Well said, L'Unità.
TOP OFFICIAL: We're not there yet… There's nothing murderous in this anarchist… nothing perverted… nothing of the Monster… You are useless! Fancy finding me such a wishy-washy character … What kind of interest could a male dancer lampshade maker have in this crime? Why would he go chucking bombs?
FIRST OFFICIAL Because he's seriously sick.
TOP OFFICIAL: That's an interesting detail! Well done! What's his sickness?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Bürger's disease.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Which results in a rather serious deformation* of the lower limbs.
SIXTH OFFICIAL: In a while he won't be able to dance any longer.
TOP OFFICIAL: Very good! A dancer hit by a tragedy, who knows that he won't be able to dance any more… Very good… Amazing! That explains why he hates the society of happy men and women who dance and sing. Is he tone deaf too?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Very tone deaf.
TOP OFFICIAL: Good, a lame, tone deaf male dancer, hates singing society and puts bombs in banks near to La Scala, the temple of Italian opera! Pass the word* to the newspapers…
FOURTH OFFICIAL: The word? Really?
TOP OFFICIAL: Just a figwhere do you come from?
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Yes, yes, a news leak…
FIRST OFFICIAL Delicate.
SECOND OFFICIAL: Reserved…
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Yes, sir, general questor, I understand… An indicative leak… [He exits]
FIRST OFFICIAL [Entering] Here they are. The Corriere d'Informazione, and also La Nazione and Il Resto del Carlino have published your leak word for word. "A crippled male dancer hates society and carries out a massacre: he's a monster!
CHORUS: He's a monster!
TOP OFFICIAL: Long live the press! Ah! What would we do without them!
They all gather at the front of the stage. Enter a SINGER, who distributes newspapers as he sings.
The press serve so that
These imbeciles believe everything that
Is told to them
And the police will say
This person did such and such
And here and there and there
If we didn't have the press
These coups would be impossible to carry out
And then they speak badly of the press.
How is public opinion created?
With the press, television, we have astrength here.
Yes, poor things, they didn't turn stupid by themselves,
They turned stupid thanks
To the services which are rendered to them
Yes – yes indeed
The press is useful for that…
The all exit slowly, except the TOP OFFICIAL.
The phone rings. The TOP OFFICIAL answers it.
TOP OFFICIAL: Yes, this is the office of… Oh it's you, minister…? Yes, it was me who had the idea… Did you like it? No… Correct, you're right… Correct… But certainly… The trouble is, I have employees, collaborators who… Certainly. [He puts down the phone] Imbeciles! He has to be a monster, but not isolated…
THIRD OFFICIAL: Two monsters??
FOURTH OFFICIAL: [Entering] Three monsters?
SECOND OFFICIAL: [Entering] A family of monsters?
TOP OFFICIAL: Don't go too far with your idiocy. The responsibility has to come out of the subversive environment which pushed him. The propaganda of the Left… especially the extra-parliamentary Left, who stir up class hatred, push workers to go out on wildcat strikes… They're the ones who are responsible, the real villains… Down with Parliament!
CHORUS: [All on stage, apart from the three WOMEN OFFICIALS] A strong state! A presidential republic! Viva De Gaulle!
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] There's another of them… Another monster. His name's Pinelli!
FIRST OFFICIAL We were keeping an eye on him too…
SECOND OFFICIAL: A group in Milan.
TOP OFFICIAL: Anarchist?
TOP OFFICIAL: Is he a dancer too?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: A railway worker. Married with children.
TOP OFFICIAL: We didn't need that! Too normal a job! For God's sake, what kind of subversive are you finding me here? Does he have some kind of illness?
SECOND OFFICIAL: No, he's only a shunter.*
TOP OFFICIAL: Does he hate his job?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: No, he likes it.
TOP OFFICIAL: He's sick… You see…? [He laughs] Does he have some torrid relationship?
SIXTH OFFICIAL: No.
TOP OFFICIAL: Little vices?
TOP OFFICIAL: What does the Corriere say about his past?
CHORUS: Doesn't say.
TOP OFFICIAL: Why doesn't it say?
FIRST OFFICIAL It wasn't in time.*
CHORUS: He flew out of the window.
TOP OFFICIAL: Who was it?
Nobdy knows, nobody must know.
He was arrested, and that has to be enough.
An anarchist by name of Pinelli
Flew out of the window.
Who did it?
Nobody knows, nobody must know.
Who threw him out?
Nobody knows, nobody must know.
He was a red, and that must be enough.
TOP OFFICIAL: [Singing]
Pinelli found himself in the room
With three policemen
Who were all smoking.
Pinelli the anarchist was smoking too.
They opened the window to get a bit of
Air into the room
And Pinelli went over to the window
And threw out his cigarette end and then
He had second thoughts
My goodness, such a long dog-end,
What a shame to waste it,
And then he came flying out…
[He lifts a phone]
Hello…? Ah, minister… Yes, he sang… Yes, I was singing… Well, that's how I get my ideas, I sing, and ideas come to me… Did you hear that idea, that he threw himself out because of the cigarette… Eh…? What…? It's too much…? But there were so many of them… But it's still too much? Alright… alright… You tell me… What…. Oh yes, of course… Certainly… I shall pass the word around… immediately… [He puts down the phone and turns to the others] Send out the word to all the newspapers, the radio, the television, that he threw himself out because he felt he was trapped.
CHORUS: Already done!
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: [She enters carrying a very small television] They're saying it on television.
TOP OFFICIAL: That's Guida. He's doing a press conference. There's Calabresi and Allegra too… What a jolly bunch! What are they saying?
SECOND OFFICIAL: They're saying what you said. Suicide out of desperation… He had been identified as responsible for a number of bombs, on trains, on the trade fair* and in a chicken coop.* He felt himself lost. "It's the end of anarchy!" he shouted. And he threw himself out.
FIRST OFFICIAL Guida says that the anarchist behaved coherently by committing suicide… He says that he would have thrown himself out of the window too if he had been in the anarchist's position.
TOP OFFICIAL: What a shame, we shall never have that satisfaction, and not even the hope. Guida will never find himself in the place of an anarchist, right from the times when he used to run penitentiaries for Mussolini.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Doctor Guida had a tear of sympathy.
TOP OFFICIAL: Well done! Fine actor! If Agnelli sees it, he'll give him a pay-rise.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Dottore, things are in a mess, public opinion is upset.
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: Pinelli was arrested illegally, no arrest warrant was issued for him.
TOP OFFICIAL: Who cares about warrants?
THIRD OFFICIAL: Sure, but without the support pf public opinion, how do we proceed?
TOP OFFICIAL: Who cares about public opinion?
FIRST OFFICIAL But Pinelli had a cast-iron alibi. During the explosion of the bombs he was in a bar on the canal.
TOP OFFICIAL: Sink his canal, dismantle his alibi! [The FIRST and FOURTH officials exit]
SECOND OFFICIAL: The ambulance was called befor ethe anarchist flew out of the window.
TOP OFFICIAL: So that's why it's called "prompt response"?* You don't get mmore prompt than that! What are they complaining about?
SIXTH OFFICIAL: Pinelli has a big bruise at the back of his neck, evidently due to broken vertebrae. Which were not broken by the fall.
TOP OFFICIAL: Oh yes…? It's a congenital condition… He was born with it broken… Vanish that bruise…! Or rather, the proof that there was a bruise… I mean… In short, the doctors are not to notice that the vertebrae were broken!
CHORUS: Carried out! The doctors saw nothing, and there's ne mention of it in the coroner's report [The THIRD and FOURTH OFFICIALS exit]
FIRST OFFICIAL And there isn't even the indication regarding the mark of the intravenous injection done in haste… very probably carried out in order to help him recover from the blow.
TOP OFFICIAL: Well done… That group of doctors was so distracted.
CHORUS: [They all enter] Long live distracted medicine!
FOURTH OFFICIAL: More upsets.
TOP OFFICIAL: Let's hear.
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: Some people are expressing doubt about the correctness, the honesty of the judicial inquiries.
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL:* They're saying that Valpreda was indicated too early as the person responsible… almost before the explosion of the bombs, when they were still talking about exploding boilers.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: A radio ham recorded a police communication, a few hours after the explosion, which ordered all police cars to track down the taxi driver Rolandi, an eye witness.
FIRST OFFICIAL And the taxi driver Rolandi goes to give his witness statement, not immediately, but only a few days afterwards… and not to the police, but to the Carabinieri.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: While he is giving his witness statement, the colonel of the Carabinieri who is in the cathedral for the funeral of the victims already knows that a taxi driver has made a statement.
CHORUS: [All on stage] He had visions!
TOP OFFICIAL: Why not? Can't a Carabinieri colonel have visions? In a cathedral it's completely normal.
SECOND OFFICIAL: But he already knows what's written in the statement.
TOP OFFICIAL: Arrest the ham radio operator for spying!
FIRST OFFICIAL It's not a ham radio operator… but the radio of the newspaper Il Giorno.
TOP OFFICIAL: Arrest Il Giorno!
CHORUS: We can't.
TOP OFFICIAL: Arrest Bocca! I'm sure he was the ham radio operator! Damned red dressed up as a moderate! [The phone rings. He answers. He listens, and then:] Don't arrest Bocca!
FIRST OFFICIAL The serious problem is that Rolandi, the taxi driver, confides in an engineer, in his taxi, before he goes to make his statement. He says that he's agitated… that he is not sure whether to testify or not.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: He says different things to what he told the police, or rather, to the Carabinieri and the judge.
TOP OFFICIAL: Arrest the engineer for false testimony to the deposition of a witness. [The phone rings, as above] Or rather no, drop it… Show the photograph of Valpreda to Rolandi, for the ID parade.
CHORUS: Guida's already seeing to that.
SECOND OFFICIAL: Precisely: Guida is already showing it to him, and is saying to him: "My dear Rolandi, here is Valpreda's photograph. This is the face of the monster that you're going to have to identify. Tomorrow we shall show you six people, of whom five will be policemen… You will recognise the policemen by the fact that they are not in uniform… There is nothing that looks more like a policeman than a policeman in civilian clothes. You will recognise them immediately… Like dressing up a nun as a go-go dancer!
TOP OFFICIAL: [He laughs] At one time I did see a nun dressed up as a dancer, and she looked precisely like a policeman in civilian clothes… What else does Guida say?
FOURTH OFFICIAL: He says: "And now you can be sure that you've finished being a taxi driver!"
TOP OFFICIAL: Why? Does he already know that he's going to die? What a wizard, that Guida… If Agnelli were to see him he'd give him a pay rise.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: No, he means that with the reward of 50 million that he'll be getting, he'll be set up for life.
TOP OFFICIAL: Never count your chickens before they're hatched, I mean, your anarchist, before you've killed him…
CHORUS: It's bad luck!
THIRD OFFICIAL: Well, at least one of them we've already killed!
TOP OFFICIAL: What d'you mean, "we've killed"? He killed himself. Or rather, we were a factor in… no, I mean… We have…
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: The Milan judge to whom the Inquiry has been entrusted is a stickler for detail… He wants to carry out inquiries among the Right too…
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: He says that in his opinion there are fascists among them.
TOP OFFICIAL: Enough! Take him off the Inquiry!
?? Under what pretext?
TOP OFFICIAL: Any pretext. Or rather, take the Inquiry down to Rome. That way it'll be closer, and we can keep a better eye on it.
SECOND OFFICIAL: But at a second attempt, after having changed all the locks of the aforementioned doors, the respective keys worked in the locks: all the doors were opened!
TOP OFFICIAL: Well done! Hallelujah! What are they saying? What does public opinion say?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering with the FIRST OFFICIAL] They're non-plussed. Independent newspapers and television are putting out the line, and it's a pleasure to hear. An extra-parliamentary Left newspaper, bastard reds, however, is insintuating that this was a dirty manipulation. It is pointing out that the contract for renting the two cellars which were found to be fitted out with various weapons was set up four days after the death of Feltrinelli. And therefore the keys were acquired before the place was rented.
TOP OFFICIAL: Well, what's strange about that? It's perfectly normal. You always do it that way. First you buy the keys, and then you find a cellar with locks that fit the keys! It's the rule! And then they're going to have to lay off, all these people from the groups and groupuscules, making trouble… They drive me crazy. I hate them! I hate them!
FIRST OFFICIAL Oh, just ignore them, Dottore… Anyway, nobody believes them, they're isolated, who listens to them?
TOP OFFICIAL: Isolated be damned! They're beginning to move, and they're getting themselves arrested so that public opinion knows, and then the trials become trials of us, and then there's the workers, who are also moving a lot, and these vanguards which move the working class, and then the working class moves… I warn you that if it moves…. [He mimes an explosion] And meantime they've started putting some of those trouble-making journalists there too!! [The phone rings. He answers it. Enter the SIXTH OFFICIAL] Hello, yes? Oh minister… I forgot… Yes, I do rememberwhat month we're in, yes, in May… What do you mean, what month is May? ….It's the month of flowers, the month of the Madonna, the so-called Marian month… Oh of cours, you're right! I forgot to send you greetings, Minister! [To the bystanders] A bunch of flowers, quickly, to the Ministe, every day!
SIXTH OFFICIAL: Every day?
TOP OFFICIAL: Yes, for a whole month, this is the Marian name month [Into the phone] Ah, no? You don't want greetings? Yes, of course, there are elections in three days. Ah yes, you're right, the usual pre-election police operation, in big style, certainly. I'll order it immediately. Tell me, tell me, I'll take notes. Forty thousand arrests, yes, in all streets, ten thousand searches, eighteen thousand arrest warrants, sixteen thousand arrests, two thousand fogli di via… Suspicious materials found… contraband, drugs, stolen goods, arrests of prostitutes and homosexuals. Operation Order and Public Health… Morality… Maximum publicity. Certainly, that way the average citizen will feel himself to be in a secure state. It will be done, Minister, and many happy returns of the month! [He puts down the phone] Off you go, get moving… Round-up operation… fill the prisons… tomorrow we shall have several thousand flea-bitten proletarians the fewer, out of harm's way, and they won't be able to vote! [The phone rings and he answers]
Yes, yes, tell me… At the public meeting of Almirante, Birindelli, and the rest? A thousand police? Certainly, I'll send them straight away! Should we make it two thousand? Yes, and five hundred carabinieri too. Yes, special forces, with rubber bullets at man-height, pistols at child height, straight away, I'll send them straight away… Should I put them on account, or will you be paying? Yes, I mean… Nothing, nothing… I was just saying for the sake of saying. It will be done!
FIRST OFFICIAL [The FIRST OFFICIAL and the TWO WOMEN OFFICIALS enter] Worrying news, Dottore. In many meetings being held by the fascists, the young people from the groups that were disturbing the meeting itself wre attacked by the police, and defended by the citizens. Women and old people too started throwing stones at the police. All hell broke out in Alessandria. And the same in Siena.
TOP OFFICIAL: What is the man in the street saying? What's he doing?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: He's throwing stones too. [She exits]
TOP OFFICIAL: Give him a rubber bullet in the mouth! What are the parties of the parliamentary Left saying?
SECOND OFFICIAL: [Entering] They are calling for calm. They say don't accept the provocations, isolate the fascists.
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: What does that mean, "isolate the fascists"?
TOP OFFICIAL: It means ignore them. As if they didn't exist. That way, the fascists will hold their meetings, undisturbed, they'll find political space, supported by the small and medium bourgeoisie, supported by the army, by the police, benevolence and understanding on the part of the magistracy, they'll […] and burn red party headquarters, they'll stab workers and students, they'll walk all over people, still protected by the immunity, and even the affection, of the Vatican, which sends them little images with saints wrapped up in the tri-colour.
CHORUS: [They sing] Gloria! Gloria!
TOP OFFICIAL: What are the independent journalists saying?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] Some are in a very good mood. Others are grunting and grumbling under their breath, talking about the anti-fascism of the Risorgimento.
TOP OFFICIAL: What does that mean…? How can anti-fascism be of the Risorgimento…? Ah, through La Malfa… And what are the newspapers of the Parliamentary Left saying? What is L'Unitá saying?
FIRST OFFICIAL It is announcing petitions, appeals,* and is singing very sweet lullabies.
CHORUS: [They sing]
Sleep, sleep, and I will sing to you
Don't worry, the wind is not howling,
The red flag has been put in a convent*
Broken shoes are no use now.
Broken shoes, throw them in the toilet.
Buy another pair at the Standa* coop.
Broken shoes aren't used now.
Broken shoes, throw them in the toilet.
Buy another pair at the Standa coop.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Wow, wow, wow!
FIRST OFFICIAL What's all that "Wow, wow" abou? [The FIRST OFFICIAL exits]
FOURTH OFFICIAL: The ultra-democratic judge of Milan, D'Espinoza, has given the OK for two penal proceedings against Calabresi, for the death of Pinelli.
TOP OFFICIAL: Oh bother, oh bother… And how did Calabresi take it?
FIRST OFFICIAL [Entering] Badly. He went bonkers. He said that the Viminale have dropped him… that it's clear now that the state wants to use him as a scapegoat… He says that he can't take it any longer… that he's going to resign… and that he'll back the Judge Viola for his comic entries* which don't suit him any more.* He said that he doesn't want trials to block him,a nd that it* [The FIRST AND SECOND OFFICIALS exit]
TOP OFFICIAL: Give him a special post…
FIRST OFFICIAL No, no, nothing to be done… We've given him the most special post there is… the inquiry into the "Red Brigades"… He says that it's all a set-up, that it's all obvious now, a frame-up…
TOP OFFICIAL: [The SIXTH and FIFTH officials enter] Ah, if Machiavelli's rules for good government could only be applied…
SIXTH, THIRD AND FOURTH OFFICIALS: Why, what rules are those?
TOP OFFICIAL: You ignorant people! Machiavelli, in his "Prince": "If one of your men at arms* has offended* the people too far, with his extortions and misdeeds, even though it may be in your favour of your power and government, he who has committed them, should not have any second thought. You should have that man-at-arms killed by the men-at-arms themselves… Immediately…* Because once your faithful servant has given death, the people will feel themselves happy… But be mos careful that you must immediately let it be known to the people that it was people from the people who killed him out of revenge… The people will feel themselves to have been repaid. Some will weep…. big tears… and you cry along with them, and it hurts you, and you make big monuments and orations for that servant of yours… on his tomb. Because there is no better cover of all deaths that you have caused among the people than putting as a cover over those graves one of your own men-at-arms killed by your very own men-at-arms. In eternam, amen!
CHORUS: [Singing] Gloria!
SECOND OFFICIAL: [Entering] This is madness! Listen to this, Dottore.
TOP OFFICIAL: Let's hear.
SO Near Trento, on the road coming from the Austrian border, a finance guard stopped a lorry driven by a certain Biondaro, a known local fascist. When the lorry was inspected it was found to be absolutely packed full of weapons… TNT, rifles, submachine guns, etc… All contraband material from neighbouring Austria. Biondaro smiled happily at the finance guard, and declared that he was carrying out arms smuggling for the Carabinieri…
FIRST OFFICIAL What a son of a whore!
SECOND OFFICIAL: Then he gave the phone number of the colonel of the local provincial carabinieri… When the Colonel was phoned, he said that, yes, those weapons had been commissioned by the Carabinieri…
FIRST OFFICIAL Imbecile! I'll have him stripped of his rank, down to a private I'll take him! [He goes to phone]
SECOND OFFICIAL: Biondaro was immediately released…
FIRST OFFICIAL Oh my goodness, what idiots!
TOP OFFICIAL: But why are you complaining, don't telephone anyone… [The FIRST OFFICIAL puts down the phone] What were they supposed to do… Is it or is it not true that these fascists are working for us…? How many of them are there…? Dozens, hundreds, eh? And what would you want to do, drop them? Let them be sent to prison? And afterwards how would we manage to find others ready to collaborate with us…? Do you want them all to run off? We've already made right fools of ourselves with Merlino, that noted local Roman fascist, whom we caught, banged him inside for three years, to play the game of "opposing extremisms": "We put Valpreda inside, and to demonstrate that the opposing extremisms are the same thing, we'll put that one inside too…", threey years! To such an extent that now, if we need some little job done by a known local fascists, we go, and we say: "Excuse me, Mr Known Local Fascist, we in the police need you to do a little job for us…" "Who, me?" "Umm, yes…" "Do I have Merlino written all across my forehead?!"
FIRST OFFICIAL But public opinion will realise what's going on, their stomachs will churn.*
TOP OFFICIAL: No, it's us who makes public opinion, our television, our newspapers, our radio…
CHOIR: [They begin singing] La Stampa, [They're immediately silenced by the SECOND OFFICIAL, who enters with the newspapers in his hand]
SECOND OFFICIAL: Silence! Those from the various red groups and clubs aren't letting go. They've published the whole Biondaro business in their bastard leaflets. They've pointed out that the weapons found in the van were the same that were found in the cellars of the " Red Brigades", with right next door, unfailingly, Feltrinelli's photo memento.*
THIRD and FOURTH OFFICIALS: They are suggesting that it was us who brought them there!
FIRST OFFICIAL So who cares? Anyway, nobody believes them… They've got no following, that handful of extremely mad subversives!
TOP OFFICIAL: Anyway, bring charges agains them, arrest them, put as many of them on trial as you can… [The SECOND, THIRD and FOURTH OFFICIALS exit. He telephones] Calamari… Falco… Coniglio? Wake up…! [He puts the phone down] How strange, did you notice…? These sympathising judges of our order, almost always have names of animals, except Sossi, who has the name of a known local fascist… It's really strange.
SECOND OFFICIAL: [The SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH and FIFTH OFFICIALS enter] They've killed him!
TOP OFFICIAL: Who, Sossi?
SECOND OFFICIAL: No, Calabresi… With two shots from a pistol… American technique.
TOP OFFICIAL: Who was it?
SIXTH OFFICIAL: Machiavelli!
TOP OFFICIAL: Silence, you, cretin. Who was it?
CHORUS: [All entering] It is not known, nor must it be known.
Now he is dead.
And that must be enough.
Calabresi, killed with two shots.
There are some who say that it was a crime of the state
A favour requested and carried out,
A killer specially sent, all free
All ready, all paid for.
Who was it? The CIA? It is not know, it must not be known.
Now he is dea, and this must suffice.
They shot him while he was bending over to open the door.
Two shots in the back, the other to the brain.
It's the technique of the slaughter-man, like you do with a calf.
It is not a technique of ours, it is an American technique.
The killer was informed of everything.
He knew that Calabresi's bodyguard had been removed six days previously.
Who told them? It is not known, it must be known. Now he is dead and this must suffice.
The killer, after having fired, calmly got into the car.
Calmly, and even brushed down
With one hand his trousers, which had been dirtied.
The car stopped after a hundred metres.
The killer and his driver
In full sight casually got out
And casually disappeared.
They knew that nobody would have followed them.
Who helped them, assured them that they could act undistrubed?
It is not known, it must not be known.
Now he is dead, and this must suffice.
SECOND OFFICIAL: [The phone rings. He answers. Then:] Oh goodness, what a mess. A number of officers, one in Rome and two in Naples, and three from other cities, are threatening to resign!
TOP OFFICIAL: Why?
SECOND OFFICIAL: They say that they don't necessarily object to being killed on duty, for the state… but to be killed on the orders of the state by other policemen in civilian clothes, no, they can't go along with that. [He puts down the phone]
TOP OFFICIAL: [During this speech all the OFFICIALS exit and re-enter] Woah, woah, sweeten up… Have them retract, sweeten them up, threaten them… kiss them do them some favours,* speed up their promotion, and next time send them down to Calabria, on an island, pensioned off! Away! Dead, buried! [Exit all]
FIRST OFFICIAL [Entering] The extra-parliamentary Left are agitating. The "Manifesto" group has launched a campaign for Valpreda. They are actually talking about putting him on their list as a parliamentary candidate, to get him out before the trial.
TOP OFFICIAL: Does Manifesto have the support of the other groups…?
FIRST OFFICIAL Little support…
TOP OFFICIAL: Good, Valpreda is stuffed. [The FIRST OFFICAL exits]
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] Start the Valpreda trial here in Rome. Things are getting bad for us.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: [Entering] All the political groups are in the street.
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] There are so many of them… Fortunately the parties of the parliamentary Left are keeping out of it.
FIFTH OFFICIAL: [Entering] It has been discovered that Occorsio has stolen the trial off to Milan!
TOP OFFICIAL: Send a bunch of flowers to Occorsio, and tell him that even if he is making a fool of himself worthy to be ashamed of, the Viminale is entirely with him, in the disgusting matter!
THIRD OFFICIAL: [Entering] The Valpreda trial has been called off. It's no longer being done in Rome…
CHORUS: Cuckoo, cuckoo, it's not going to be done in Rome any more… The trial has been put off to the song of the cuckoo…*
TOP OFFICIAL: Silence! Put it off again. Send it to Milan first, and then tell De Peppo to get it put on somewhere else. [Slowly, they all exit and re-enter] There we go, the dance begins. The Court of Cassation must accept the legitimate suspicion: Milan is a dangerous city, full of subvesives, and in particular there is a working class which is beginning to be too angered. It is dangerous. Go on, get this trial sent down to Catanzaro. Dance…! And in Catanzaro they should not accept it. So off we go to somewhere else. Dance…! This trial is not to take place, this trial is never to take place.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Valpreda is ill, he's seriously sick. [Everyone on stage]
TOP OFFICIAL: Exactly. May he die, that's just what we need. Unfortunately, I'm sorry, but we're going to have to get him out. In a few months we're going to have to get him out, we're going to leave him at liberty for five, six months, then we'll wait for the Inquiry to be ready, on the Padova fascists, Freda and Ventura, and we'll have two trials. Think, what a nice caldron: the fascist people who ordered the slaughter, and the anarchists who carried it out. What a stroke of genius! What a fine mish-mash, what a poweder-keg!
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: People will no longer understand a thing.
TOP OFFICIAL: Precisely. That's precisely what we want! Off you go, dance, dance…!
CHORUS: First here, then there, and the people won't understand.
They will remain stunned. And the press will help us.
If it wasn't for the press,
and all because the workers, the workers,
Once they are prostrate, bewildered,*
Will have to accept their contracts
Will have to accept all the blackmail,
And pay, by God,
Pay for the downturn, for the crisis,
in order to re-animate and give a transfusion* to capital
To piss blood.
[Almost all exit]
THIRD OFFICIAL: [Entering] Excellent news… Elections have left things as they were before, but also Giulio Andreotti is now in government, a right-wing government with the Liberals.
FIRST OFFICIAL [Entering] Mafia ministers, swindlers* being investigated for diversion of funds,* building swindles…
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: The fascists support and they feel themselves all in order.*
THIRD OFFICER: They threaten violence, and carry it out. [He exists]%
TOP OFFICIAL: OK… And what does public opinion say?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] The man in the street is asking whether the Resistance ever took place, or whether he dreamed it. [He exits]
TOP OFFICIAL: Tell him that he dreamed it. There never was a Resistance, for heaven's sake! The results is what counts…
FIRST OFFICIAL The worker feels bewildered: he asks himself what was the point of giving so many votes to the Parliamentary Left if then the bosses don't give a damn for your votes, they set you up such a filthy bastard government, that anything more to the right of it and you would die.
TOP OFFICIAL: That's good, that the worker is bewildered like that… That's how I want to see him, at the moment of the signing of the contracts, with his crest down, destroyed! The working class down on its knees! Let it be clear, the Italian police work for the working class.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: [Entering] A telegram: Agnelli sends his thanks.
THIRD OFFICIAL: [Entering] There's also a present for the lady, outside there.
TOP OFFICIAL: Pass it to the Minister.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] Other telegrams… Pirelli, Falk, Borletti, Monti, everyone sends their thanks. [The FOURTH OFFICIAL exits]
TOP OFFICIAL: And they are also sending their pesenti?** I'm sorry, presents…?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Yes, always for the Lady.
TOP OFFICIAL: Yes. Good… Pass it to the Lady… I mean, to the Signor Minister.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: But they are flowers! Roses and gladioli…
TOP OFFICIAL: Precisely… The Signor Minister loves roses.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: But it's no longer the one with the Marian month…*
TOP OFFICIAL: Makes no difference. He loves them equally! [Exit FIRST WOMAN OFFICER]
SIXTH OFFICIAL: [Entering] Other fascists attempts… In Vallterrina*.
FIFTH OFFICIAL: [Entering] Three carabinieri opening an abandoned FIAT 500, in the Veneto, are blown up.
TOP OFFICIAL: What, we're beginning to shoot among ourselves? To act disrespectfully to each other?*
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: Once again in the Veneto, a group of fascists have been discovered in SS uniform with a car full of TNT. [She exits]
TOP OFFICIAL: Release them immediately. I don't want problems with the German government!
FOURTH OFFICIAL: [Entering] More workers have been attacked and stabbed.
THIRD OFFICIAL: [Entering] The fascists who stabbed them have been arrested.
TOP OFFICIAL: Away, away, let them go free… Immediately! Arrest the ones who were stabbed for unauthorised appropriation of the knife.
THIRD OFFFICIAL: The extra-parliamentary groups are reacting, they'r fighting too, they're defending themselves and resisting as best they can.
TOP OFFICIAL: Arrest them for aggravated resistance to a fascist public.* How are the parelimanetary parties reacting? [The SECOND, FOURTH and FIRST* officials exit]
SECOND OFFICIAL: the usual lullaby.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] But nevertheless people are beginnign to agitate. They're saying "enough"! They're saying it's clear… The fascis on their own would not hav ebeen able to achieve so much, if they hadn't had the state behind them, and its organs to support them, defend them, back them up.
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] Another telegram: Monti and Pesenti say "Well done, carry on like that".
FIRST OFFICIAL [Entering] And Agnelli and Pirelli, as a pair, say: "Don't [….] to San Gennaro! About turn… Here we're […]" [He exits]
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: What does it mean…?
TOP OFFICIAL: It means that we must no longer pay attention to Monti, Pesenti, and co…. That those are stupid right-wingers…* That we have pulled the rope too tight… And that if the rope is pulled too much, then the shower which comes down is a cascade which risks to become a cataract and sweeps us all away!
SECOND OFFICIAL: In other words, the Andreotti government is in danger… The order is to throw it down…
TOP OFFICIAL: Down the toilet!
FIRST OFFICIAL [Entering] Latest news. Surprise finale. Andreotti gets a whiff of the smell of toilet and gives a flick of his tail, and does a double somersault without back-up* and without a net.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] In order not to allow himself to be thrown in the sea, he and his stinky government, Giulio Andreotti attacks head-on his competitors in the Christian Democrats who wanted to do him the service.*
FIRST OFFICIAL To start with, he who got into government with the votes of the fascists, is now making like an anti-fascist. In fact, when he heard than in Sesto San Giovanni, the red city of the North, the fascists had thrown bombs and walked all over warm reds and hot subversives, he goes running up to Sesto San Giovanni himself, to hang on the banner of said city the gold medal for Resistance.
SECOND OFFICIAL: [Entering] The parties of the parliamentary Left lay on the stewarding… and keep subversives and agry workers at a distance…
TOP OFFICIAL: Disorders, a rout,* rubber bullets… Wailing sirens!
FIRST OFFICIAL But Giulio, unperturbed, continues talking the same, even if it's all totally incomprehensible! What is important is the image for TV… The sound can always be dubbed!
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Leone too, a president also elected with fascist votes, doesn't want to be left out, and two days after a worker in Parma, a certain Lupo of "Lotta Continua", was stabbed and killed by fascists, he runs like a boy to an adjacent locality called Montefiorino and gives it a gold medal for Resistance. The leaders of the parliamentary Left applaud deliriously!
SECOND OFFICIAL: For goodness sake… But I no longer understand anything… What game are we playing…? I'm seeing black… Here the big fish of the Christian Democract party are clashing with each other within the governing establishment, which is scary! I would not want that in this clash between bisons we got stuck in the middle: it's always the rags* that fly first! [The THIRD OFFICIAL exits].
TOP OFFICIAL: And who told you that we are rags? We are macigni*! Get this well into your head! [The phone rings] Hello… Yes… Signor Minister… Give the off…? A free road….? But isn't it a bit…. But certainly… certainly… consider it done… It's an order. [He puts the phone down, and turns to the FIRST WOMAN OFFICER] Telephone Milan… They must give a free hand to D'Ambrosio's researches, and the other judges, who are conducting the investigation into Freda and Ventura…. No interference…*
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Yes, but I mean… You know that we…. Don't forget the stock exchanges… Padova…!
THIRD and FOURTH OFFICIALS: [Entering] Indeed, Padova!
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: If they discover that we…
TOP OFFICIAL: It's an order… This absolutely nothing to do with us, we carried out orders… Nobody's going to throw us in the air because we are macigni, understood? Not rags. And if you throw a macigno into the air, then it falls onto your foot, and it hurts!
SECOND OFFICIAL: More trouble on the line: the business of the death of Calabresi is coming back as an issue,. Public opinion is beginning to believe the voices of the extra-parliamentary groups, around the fact that the police were not at all external to his death.
TOP OFFICIAL: Find a portrait bust of Calabresi, and put it in the police station, in courtyard near to the place where Pinelli fell. Big quantities of flowers. They will be much moved! [The SECOND OFFICIAL, and the FIRST and SECOND WOMEN OFFICIALS exit]
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL [Entering] Public opinion is not sufficiently moved. They say that, in fact, the death of Calabresi went entirely to the advantage of the police and the incriminated organs!
SECOND OFFICIAL: [Entering] In fact, when the first responsible figure disappeared, Calabresi, two trials for the death of Pinelli were blocked, the post mortem* was carried out inn a way that was entirely sloopy,* and nobody even any more talked about the dead man!
TOP OFFICIAL: What are the leftwing newspapers saying?
FIRST OFFICIAL [Entering] L'Unità is asking that light should be shed.
TOP OFFICIAL: Light shed? And then?
FIRST OFFICIAL Light, that's all.
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] News from Milan: the judge D'Ambrosio is laying into things. He's blown all the alibis of Freda and Ventura, he has shown that the timers from the banks are their stuff.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: [Entering with the SECOND OFFICIAL] Throughout the whole of Italy there have been street demonstrations supporting Valpreda.
THIRD OFFICIAL: Stuff organised by the usual Left groups. They're shouting:
CHORUS: Free Valpreda! Lock up the fascists, their backers and their protectors…" [The THIRD and FOURTH OFFICIALS are chased away by the TOP OFFICIAL]
TOP OFFICIAL: But they're still got it in for us!
FIRST OFFICIAL But who cares! They're isolated anyway.
SECOND OFFICIAL: [Entering] No, not so much. This time it's not only those from the groups… There are also quite a lot of workers getting involved, and also the so-called consequent* democrats…. They're picking up courage too.
TOP OFFICIAL: And the parties of the parliamentary Left?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Absent.
TOP OFFICIAL: What are they saying?
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Let there be light.
TOP OFFICIAL: Enlightenment parties?
FIFTH OFFICIAL: They have found the presumed killer of Calabresi. It appears we're dealing with a fascist… Nardi is his name.
TOP OFFICIAL: No, he's not the killer.
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: So why then, if you knew that he's nothing to do with it, did you have him arrested?
TOP OFFICIAL: We were keeping him on the boil…. He's a maniac for firearms, involved in amurder. The fact that we pulled him out in this moment enables us to reassure the man in the street… It's a way of telling him: "You see, dear street-walker,* we of the police do also hunt down rightwing criminals, so go home quietly, get off the street, sit yourself down in front of the television, and watch "Canzonissima" or the football live, or read yourself a nice little porno-drama… Or go out, go to the first cinema on the right, because they're showing a porno movie there too… Thighs and big round breasts and nipples and bottoms of all the kinds you could want, and you, dirty old man, you could get your pleasure there too, go and relax, because even the Pope is closing his eyes to it, and has said that it's the devil, dirty beast, that's tempting us… not Capital. The police is watching over you. And don't any longer cause trouble.
You sleep, and let us shoot in peace. Amen.
CHORUS: [Singing] Gloria!
THIRD and FOURTH OFFICIALS: [Entering] Oh hell and damnation, we really didn't need this!
TOP OFFICIAL: What's up? Stop frightening me like that! What's the matter?
FOURTH OFFICIAL: D'Ambrosio has discovered the affair of the exchanges* in Padova, and also that we have removed the findings* of the German company, and also the fact of the little rope…* which Alegra had swallowed.
CHORUS: They're going to stick a charge on us all?
TOP OFFICIAL: Calm down, calm down!
SECOND OFFICIAL: We should have him thrown out, that one, blocked, replace him!*
TOP OFFICIAL: Calm, calm, start to frighten him a bit, start by having his closest collaborator shot.
[The THIRD and FOURTH OFFICIALS exit]
FIRST OFFICIAL [Entering] Judge Fiasconaro, his right-hand man, has disappeared.
CHORUS: Taken away for other duties.
SECOND WOMAN OFFICIAL: Forty judges in Milan have signed a petition for him to be removed from duties. Stop.
TOP OFFICIAL: Ah, these cornuti are rearing their heads! I said it, I said it, that with all this coming and going* those fucking red pigs, with their little newspapers and their demonstrations, would set public opnion against us.
SECOND OFFICIAL: But what's public opinion got to do with it….? Here, I already told you, it's entirely a question of a clash between bisons. The order for throwing shit comes from Giulio Andreotti in person, Giulio against Mariano… Contradictions within Power.
FIRST OFFICIAL Exactly, and who made these contradictions explain then?
TOP OFFICIAL: Only the […] for power. Or there are in the middle also these effing subversives, and the workers who are beginning to prick up their ears? And together they are pushing and pulling…
THIRD OFFICIALS: [Entering] Look here, even Il Corriere della Sera are now firing at us. It has to, we realise, in order not to be left behind and lose face, but they're shooting at us… Dottore…. Montanelli too…
TOP OFFICIAL: Indro! Indro! That leaves us only with Spadolini now.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Now he's shouting, and getting angry… because of the unjust detention of Valpreda… while two years ago he was shouting about him as a "monster", do you remember?
TOP OFFICIAL: Of course, we advised him ourselves. Relax, we are not rags to fly in the air. Other rags will fly, not us. All we have to do is to be alert,* as Molière said, in Tartuffe.
THIRD OFFICIAL: I really am not interested in Tartuffe and Molière!
TOP OFFICIAL: Don't become trivial. "The first symptom of the mediocre person when he is losing is that he immediately lets you smell the unmistakable whiff of his lowly origins," Molière, Don Giovanni, Act Three, advice to the hypocrite. You see the importance of the classics? And listen again to what Molière says in our regard:
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: What does he say?
TOP OFFICIAL: "Always reach out your hand to the powerful person, even if momentarily he is losing."
FIRST OFFICIAL He's alluding to Mariano.
TOP OFFICIAL: "He will be immensely grateful to you when his star will rise again."
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: I adore the classics! Continue, Dottore.
TP: However, watch out, in your support for him, that he does not then become so hated by the powerful man who is more powerful than him"!
SECOND OFFICIAL: Is he referring to Agnelli or Pirelli?
FIRST OFFICIAL To both.
TOP OFFICIAL: "Always clothe yourself in dark clothes and your face in white…"
SIXTH OFFICIAL: It's a portrait of Colombo.
TOP OFFICIAL: "You must smile, but not laugh, when your old patron is crushed by the new! When you see the archangel transfixing the dragon, do not applaud…"
SECOND OFFICIAL: I can't quite see Andreotti as an archangel, and neither Rumor as a dragon… A baby dragon at most!
TOP OFFICIAL: "Shed a tear for the widow in weeds…"*
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: If you ask me, now he's talking about Colombo again! He's the widow of the dragon!
TOP OFFICIAL: "It'll help you when she ends up marrying a new ruler…"
FIRST OFFICIAL No, he's talking about Moro, Aldo Moro,… He's the widow!
SECOND OFFICIAL: Widow of whom?
FIRST OFFICIAL Of Fanfani.
SECOND OFFICIAL: Really?! So small? A teeny-weeny dragon, an itsy-bitsy dragon… a dwarf lizard!
FIRST OFFICIAL But poisonous! You should know how poisonous it is!
FWP: Silence! Don't interrupt the classics. Go ahead, Dottore, with the advice to the hypocrite!
TOP OFFICIAL: "Weep in consternation when you see injustice, or rather when others notice it and it is so overt that you aren't able to hide it… Then rend your clothes, and your hair, and do it in such a way that everybody sees your discomfort, when you're suffering, especially if the injustice was committed thanks to your efforts"!
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Ah, now I also understand. Now he's referring to the Corriere della Sera, which is finally getting indignant over the unjust detention of Valpreda, a poor innocent victim,a nd only two years ago, you remember? It was shouting about "monsters".
TOP OFFICIAL: On our advice!
FIRST OFFICIAL Certainly, and it was lamenting the fact that the death penalty had been removed!
SIXTH OFFICIAL: So, then, are you saying that we too have to tear our clothes and hair?
TOP OFFICIAL: No, not necessary. Again, as Molière says: "Let the clouds pass, be attentive to how the wind changes, let the obtuse ones go forward at the wrong moment when too many people are disgusted,* but for now you too should breathe in the […] . Go, make a big din of groaning. Go quickly, shed tears, yell! Yell that it is unworthy"! It's uncivilised! Enough! Stop! I added the "stop" myself. Free version! Weep again, denounce, but don't give names. Stop! Let it be understood that you know, but don't say. Stop!
SECOND OFFICIAL: For me here the reference is to Forlani!
TOP OFFICIAL: Dry your tears, say that it's all the fault of the wicked laws, of God, not of men.
FIRST OFFICIAL That's Gonnella.
TOP OFFICIAL: Tear your clothes.
FIRST OFFICIAL You see? Justice for* Gonnella.
TOP OFFICIAL: Throw yourself on the ground… Stop! You're just right. "Strike when they don't see you. Never let the goons* rear their heads! Stop! Say that you'll do everything you can to free the innocent from hunger and prison. Make it a question of style and good taste, but don't press too far. Stop! You may name as your witness, if you believe in him, Christ himself, but don't remind anyone that he came to earth to make us free and equal, that's not necessary, and it's dangerous too… Stop!"
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Nice, nice, really good, that Molière! He understood everything. What clear allusions! He even understood that Giulio Andreotti is making great efforts to be the first one to set Valpreda free. That way everyone will say: "Giulio the Liberator"!
SECOND OFFICIAL: It's true! Have you noticed? All of a sudden now everyone's busying themselves to get him freed, even those who wanted him dead, all running headlong! It seems like a horse race, the betting's opened! [The FIRST OFFICAL exits]
TOP OFFICIAL: First there was just that handful of ne'er-do-wells* in the political groups, and a few isolated individuals, who busied themselves, who got themselves arrested, persecuted, beaten, risking their necks.
TOP OFFICIAL: Now, all of a sudden, everyone's popping out… Now that it's all too clear that the anarchists have nothing to do with this, everyone's coming out, those of the parliamentary Left, barefoot Republicans,* Americanising socialists, Indian nuns, Piedmontese bishops, bersaglieri on leave… They all come running, shouting: "Free Valpreda". And the first to arrive gets the prize. How strange life is. [The FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL exits] No, you're not going to screw me! [Turning to the others]. Don't tell me that stuff. There's rot here! There's something stinking in here! But do you really think that I swallowed the little story about Stiz… Judge Stiz, brave, intelligent, a judge from the provinces who gets up every morning, puts on his little hat and his coat, takes his little dog and says: "Now that's enough, I want to go to see this business about the red trail… But this trail doesn't seem so red to me… Go, go, little dog, go because you're a […] dog…" A provincial 007, alone, isolated, who goes… No, this one moved because he had a support… And somebody told him "Go on, because we'll support you from behind without anyone seeing us, we'll sustain you, we'll give you backing and we'll be the ones supplying the leaks.* …From here. [He looks threateningly at the others] Here is where the traitor is! The Judas Iscariot is inside here! I warn you that I don't want to end up like Jesus Christ… I warn you that the first person who in a more or less familiar dinner,* comes over to me… Do you have a […]? …Crack! I'll break everything. Clear? And I'll also tell you that I know who is the Judas among you.* [He suddenly points to one of the people present] It's him! [The person he points to is immobilised by the others. The TOP OFFICIAL pulls out a programme] Here is a telegram, in code, which asks the Milan magistracy to go and check out the central police station in Milan, itself. Here it is, here, [He shows it to the semi-immobilised person] It's in code, but it's signed, and the signature is yours, in code!
THIRD OFFICIAL: But Dottore, why would I have had to…? What were we supposed to find in the police station…?
TOP OFFICIAL: I don't know what you were supposed to find, but what they have found. They have found a whole series of verbals and evidence* on the Pinelli, Valpreda and Feltrinelli cases, not handed over to the magistrates by the inquirers, and kept out of justice! Clear?
FIRST OFFICIAL Dottore, look what I've found! A roll of film… [The immobilised person is manhandled]
TOP OFFICIAL: Now, would you be so kind as to speak? On whose behalf wree you spreading rumours? On the orders of whom? Move it!
THIRD OFFICIAL: It was entirely my own personal initiative.
TOP OFFICIAL: It's a very fine thing when a policeman sacrifices himself to cover a superior. I thank you for this delicatesse of yours… But if you don't talk now, I'll make you swallow this entire roll, by God! Speak!
THIRD OFFICIAL: [Ill-treated] No, no, he'll kill me if I talk!
TOP OFFICIAL: Who?
THIRD OFFICIAL: The director of the Special Services.
CHORUS: Him! [They point to another of those present, who is in turn immobilised. The THIRD OFFICIAL launches himself at the SECOND OFFICIAL, and by mistake gives the TOP OFFICIAL a punch, hitting him on the jaw. From his mouth fall dozens and dozens of teeth]
TOP OFFICIAL: Seventy-four teeth… New false teeth… Just as well I've got another set in reserve… [He takes it from a drawer and puts it in]
FIRST OFFICIAL [Entering] I said it, I said it would end up like this. Look, have you seen?!
TOP OFFICIAL: What?
FIRST OFFICIAL Now they're firing at us point-blank! They're telling us purely and simply that we are murderers. Here, look, Calamari too is washing his hands of it. Serentini*, that anarchist lad from Pisa whom our men in the Roman battalion killed by clubbing him…
TOP OFFICIAL: Well?
FIRST OFFICIAL Look, the inquest verdict says that the police broke his head, that they massacred it for him. Do you understand? An inquest which says the truth, and which incriminates us!
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: [Entering] And now they also want to know the name of the police who did the killing, and of their commander!
CHORUS: And we're going to have to give them that!
TOP OFFICIAL: Calm down! Calm down! [He phones] Hello, Calmari… Yes… Ah, there you are! Correct. There's nothing to worry about, it has never happened that a policeman has ever been charged with having killed a subversive. Up until the presnet day we have killed more than 160, what with workers, peasants and students, and none of our lads has ever taken a day in prison, or even a fine! [Turning to the IMMOBILISED OFFICIAL] But we are going to send you to prison, in fact I'm going to give you a good drubbing.* [To one of the others] Go and get me a can of petrol,* we'll soak him in petrol, a nice sprinkling, then we'll light it and we'll throw him from the window, and we'll say that he was a meteorite, a suicidal meteorite! Come on, speak! Who were you working for?
SECOND OFFICIAL: I gave the orders myself, but the initiative came from above.
TOP OFFICIAL: From whom…? Wait, let me guess… Restivo, eh?
SECOND OFFICIAL: Higher up…
TOP OFFICIAL: Rumor.
SECOND OFFICIAL: Higher up…
TOP OFFICIAL: …Colombo…?
SECOND OFFICIAL: Higher up…
TOP OFFICIAL: Moro?
SECOND OFFICIAL: Higher up…
TOP OFFICIAL: Let's see… Fanfani?
SECOND OFFICIAL: Higher up…
TOP OFFICIAL: Nixon!
SECOND OFFICIAL: …No, lower down…
TOP OFFICIAL: Giulio Andreotti!
SECOND OFFICIAL: Yes, him…
TOP OFFICIAL: And how does it come about that Giulio Andreotti gave this order?
SECOND OFFICIAL: Because the others were trying to make fun of* him, that's why!
FIRST OFFICIAL A clash between bisons, contradictions within the powers of the Christian Democrats.
SECOND OFFICIAL: That's exactly right, Giulio Andreotti, in order to make them look bad, gave me orders to dredge up some nasty business from the last government… Rumor… Restivo… etc…
TOP OFFICIAL: Oh for goodness' sake… set him free… He received orders from above… Now I understand, why Forlani, the general secretary of the DC, made that speech a little while ago, where he says that too much pressure was being put: "Watch out, that's enough jostling among yourselves, because now […] pull out a little something, won't I, Andreotti? I shall name names, and all hell's going to break loose.
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Mamma mia, but I we start talking here, emptying the bag, one after another, it'll be the end of the world.
TOP OFFICIAL: No, nothing's happening! These people snarl* and bark, but they don't bite, they don't start slashing* at each other, they are wolves but of the same breed. Relax. They are all in the same boat, and all of them are rowing in time. Relax. These are the sons of the the same Great Whore… All it needs is a few idiots, and slightly ingenuous people, like certain leaders of the regulation Left, to delude themselves* to create and explode contradictions within the heart of the Christian Democrats. Can you imagine it,* these big bad priests* and their gang* have teamed up together, and have actually formed a united anti-fascist front! With them! Anti-fascit with them, who invented fascism for you! Not only that, they were made pregnant by fascism. They gave birth to you, they raised you, come on dear, come on, tomorrow I'll give you a toy train, and a little bomb so that you can blow it up. They've teamed up with them, who went to school in the finest sacristies in the region, in the finest bishops' beds in the region. These Christian Democrat ministers who could recite you the whole pantomime of Molière's Tartuffe even with their eyes shut…
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Tartuffe's pantomime?
TO; Yes, Scapino's one. Antonio Scapino… the actor… No, he's not on the wanted list… In 1500 this Scapino went, precisely, to France, and there he met Molière, and they embraced, because they knew each other, and immediately Molière said: "You saved me… You can save me, because they've censored my latest play, Tartuffe, the whole last act… and you could help me." "But I'm a poor actor… and then… in French…" "Yes, but you act with gestures, with your face, with your hands, you're an extraordinary mime… You come and act with gestures, a word or two just to give the sensation, you can even burp* chew, say outrageous things, it doesn't matter… you will make yourself understood with your hands, with gestures, with pantomime, they won't be able to censor that."
"Yes, agreed… But what am I supposed to act, whet should I be saying… What's my character…?"
"You'll be a servant. You'll be called Scapino, and you'll serve in one of the richest houses in France. And there's a young man, the first-born son, who's entering the world of politics… And you're going to teach this young man the whole trick, the art, of hypocrisy, of Tartuffinage, of full-scale jesuitry… The true art of a minister of the Christian Democrats…"
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Dottore, would you act it for us!
TOP OFFICIAL: Alright… I should tell you that this splendid way of speaking is called grammelot… It's all chewed up, all spat out…* The important thing is not to listen to the words, but watch the gestures, it's the gestures which are important…
He begins, this servant, by describing the wig that the man in power usually wear… No, you shouldn't wear that to become a true politician… And you should not wear certain too showy things, like certain collars…, or too big mantles… No, you shouldn't wear them… You should dress soberly, without being too apparent… Look… Now I'll begin with the description of the wig… [All the actions are mimed; he begins with the mime's description of a wig full of curls and great circumvolutions. With a sudden gesture he rejects it] … Pas de perruque…! [He gathers his hair behind his neck] … [Description of an extremely rich mantle, large, full of folds, and then he comes out of it, rejecting it] Pas de manteau…! [With indicative gestures he shows how the politician should ress: with his hair gathered at the back of the neck, a simple subdued set of clothing, a jacket,* with a lot of buttons, which constrain him and limit him in his gestures. He makes the sign of the cross] …Ca suffit de se signer… [He describes very [….] which limit his steps, and he makes as if to genuflect] …Ca suffit de se genufler!… [He indicates how one should not speak in a loud voice, but on the contrary should figure* the mouth in subdued tones, with a nasal voice, entirely in the style of the Jesuit… He mimes a duel, and immediately rejects it. He shows how one should behave towards the poor, when there are a lot of people around and, on the contrary, how you should give them a kick when nobody is watching… He mimes a fierce mourning*, and then checks himself and shouts] …Pas de violence… directe! Pour ca il ya a la loi… ["No violence… direct… for that there is the law"] [He mimes the action of thumbing through huge law books, he mimes the arrest of someone, he mimes the trial in its entirety, with all witnesses, reading of articles, consultations of law books… At the end, almost at the end of an edition of the various articles, he decrees the result: the death sentence] …A mort! …Pendu…! ["To death… hanged…"] [He mimes the action of the condemned man being hanged] … [He repeats the trial and sentencing with another defendant, in an even more exasperated form, and then – after having hanged him – he hurls himself to his knees, spluttering out* prayers of horror, whinging against the cruelty of men, he exalts the goodness of God, and Christ in particular… Then he opens his mouth in the act of receiving the blessed Host, then another Host… and another… and gradually the rite is transformed into a punch. He becomes starving hungry… The action finishes with a "Gloria" sung by the whole CHORUS.]
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: Yes, yes… well said, Dottore, those hooded ones* up there are good, but I wouldn't want it to happen that that we ended up in the middle of this confrontation between Jesuit bisons, and that we ended up being the ones to be eaten.
TOP OFFICIAL: There's no danger. We too have learned the lesson of Tartuffe; we can perform it easily as well as them. Sure, there's going to be a few inquiries… because there are too many people… for light to be shed… and you will be the subject of an inquiry to…. And he'll carry it forward, and there will be an inquiry into you as well… and you'll carry it out… [He continues, pointing to the various characters] …And there'll be an inquiry into you, and it'll be him carrying it out, and you two together will do an inquiry into me, and I'll do one into you… And then we'll go and deliver the results of our inquiries, because the results of inquiries always have to be delivered, and when they're delivered, all of us together we'll begin with a […] [He sings]
How fine it is to go and deliver inquiries together
You take it, you put it under, you cover it up
You bury it, you conceal it.
If anyone wants to know where it is, it can't be found.
Shame, it was nice, it was a day for a party.
We can't find the inquiry any more
I've lost the inquiry… Fiat Lux! Let there be light… for FIAT!
FIRST OFFICIAL No, Dottore! No light there, regarding FIAT… There it's total darkness, Dottore!
TOP OFFICIAL: Why?
FIRST OFFICIAL But can't you see, we're continuing to go forward, that makes four years now… Disaffection, they're disaffected from work, they're striking, they're going ahead, we make a fuss and they're even worse. Look, read it there. [He opens the newspaper] A hundred thousand, two hundred thousand… Now they've reached half a million… And their slogans, as you said, it's true, I went to see… I checked them out… Once again the trade unions are obliged to pedal* if they don't want to lose the workers…
SECOND OFFICIAL: And as for the trade union struggles, look here… [He too has an open newspaper] Something which has never happened in twenty years of government… Fourteen thousand chemical workers have rejected an agreement that had already been signed by the trade unions. tore it up in their faces… gave the bosses a heart attack!
TOP OFFICIAL: I can believe it!
SECOND OFFICIAL: And then, at the mass assembly in Alfa Romeo… they were shouting: "Fight to the end!"… "Fight to the end, this time"! And what about the struggles over housing? Over rents? The struggles which are picking up in schools again? And we thought that we had buried them forever!
FIRST WOMAN OFFICIAL: And what do you think, that these workers and students and housewives will have unerstood these things all by themselves, or was it always these… what do they call them… "vanguards", which have continued to work like blacks throughout these years, was it they who opened their eyes?
FIRST OFFICIAL Well, there was also the fact that with Vietnam, Cambodia, the Middle East… people are looking around them, and understand from there too.
TOP OFFICIAL: That's the mistake, letting people look around too much. We should put their necks in plaster. First break their necks and then plaster them, that'll teach them to go turning their heads.
SECOND OFFICIAL: Listen to what I say, things are looking bad here, I'mm telling you! There's no attacks, no bombs on trains that are going to stop this lot… You can't hold them any more, you can no longer frighten them with anything.
TOP OFFICIAL: Oh! For heaven's sake! Do something! Introduce preventive arrest!
TOP OFFICIAL: Preventive arrest which not even Mussolini in 1926 had the courage to pull out. And here we are, finally, the democratic state, born from the Resistance, hopla! [He laughs] I want to see what's going to happen now! With arrest on suspicion… "Halt there," says the policeman, "You're under suspicion." "What for?" "A… a… I'm not telling you, I can suspect you without having to tell you what you're suspected of! And the game is done… I come to your house, I look in a drawer, in the kitchen, find a knife! Murderer! And what's this? A nutcracker? To break policemen's fingers, eh?" And then I can hardly imagine that they're going to go arresting people in Parliament… The problem is that they won't arrest them in Parliament, but elsewhere, in the factories, in the struggles in the streets. For heaven's sake! This is the problem, that they have started moving… I told you so, they're moving they've understood what's going on… They have understood an old proverb: "Those who keep their heads down, the bosses break their heads," as the song dsays.
CHORUS: What song?
TOP OFFICIAL: This one. [All the actors on the forestage sing]
Those who keep their heads down, the boss breaks their heads.
Raise your head high, comrade.
It's true, comrade, if you're on your own raising your head,
The boss will smash it.
But if there are very many heads raising themselves
The boss will have some difficulty.
So raise your head too, comrade.
But certainly we can't expect to be many of us.
In order to move, we need to become many.
Only if someone has already started,
Started in order not to be alone,
A sole hero, but because it is useful to the masses
In all mass struggles
There's always someone who had to begin
Raise your head
And walk with us
If we walk shoulder to shoulder we shall not fall.
I have seen armies of steel fall apart before women and children
Armed only with hatred and rage
It's precisely with this rage that we must arm ourselves, comrade.
We cannot expect to be many,
We will become many once we have begun,
Even if we are only a few of us.