Excerpt from “The Long Century” concerning Communism and WW2
Below is an excerpt from a Verbatim theatre play called ‘The Long Century’ I have being writing recently. It is based on newspaper articles from the turn of the century for 100 years, 1900–2000 AD, quoted directly between two speakers. It is mainly from the Manchester Guardian, but the Times and Daily Mail are used too.
This particular excerpt concerns Communism, the end of prohibition and mainly the rise of Nazism concluding in the beginning of World War Two.
“Voice 1: Confusion was caused in the United States today…
Voice 2: We must collectivise agriculture!
Voice 1: …when it became known that Utah had decided to postpone her ratification from three o’clock this afternoon until this evening.
Voice 2: We must root out Kulak, rich peasants!
Voice 1: But the United States was determined to celebrate, even if it was with illegal liquor.
Voice 2: Communists, “Marxists”, and Reichsbanner leaders who endangered the security of the State would be kept in custody.
Voice 1: Storm Troops …
Voice 2: Hitler’s Followers
Voice 1:…are arresting Communists in their homes or on the streets.
Voice 2: it is widely held that the drive against the Socialists will reach its height after the adjournment of the Reichstag next week.
Voice 1: Charlie Chaplin’s new film Modern Times has been prohibited in Germany.
Voice 2: The German team gave their national salute; there followed a speech by the president of the German Olympic Committee; Herr Hitler declared the games open and then the Olympic flag was hoisted.
Voice 1: Thousands of pigeons were released.
Voice 2: Storm Troops calling for stricter discipline.
Voice 1: What truth, if any, is there in the gloomy reports of collectivisation that have been reaching Moscow? A country covering a sixth of the earth’s surface?
Voice 2: Shirley temple is an exceptional child everyone believes should be seen and heard.
Voice 1: Richard Strauss’s Olympic hymn was played, and then all eyes were turned to the eastern gates.
Voice 2: I picked up an incendiary shell, liberally stamped with German eagles.
Voice 1: Goodbye to Berlin is one of smouldering indignation that is only kept from blazing up by an artistically assumed detachment.
Voice 2: Countless numbers of German planes, rubble, Guernica, even flocks of sheep were machine-gunned. Thousands of homeless people evacuated with efficiency by the Basque authorities.
Voice 1: This is the second time in our history…
Voice 2: the cries were all for ’Neville’, and he stood there blinking…
Voice 1: that there has come back from Germany ‘peace with honour’. I believe it is peace in our time.
Voice 2: The Storm troopers assured them that “they would put an end to the Jewish shops”.
Voice 1: Margaritomancy! Hyacinthous pervinciveness! Flowers. A cloud. But Bruto and Cassio are ware only of trifid tongues the whispered wilfulness (’tis demonal!) and shadows shadows multiplicating (il folsoletto nel falsoletto col fazzolotto dal fuzzolezzo), totients quotients, they tackle their quarrel.
Voice 2: Mass Observation can provide the historian of the future with a true documentation of contemporary life.
Voice 1: indeed?
Voice 2: Yes!
Voice 1: including?
Voice 2: a) a short report on themselves
b) a description of their environment
c) a list of objects on their mantelpieces
Bell starts ringing, louder and louder…
d) a day survey an account of all that they saw and heard on the twelfth da….
Voice 1: Quiet living has ended. There is no further room for argument. We are now at war.
Voice 2: Peace in our time.
Voice 1: The German government let the sands run out. It had counted the risks and it took them.
Voice 2: Before us, in the words of Churchill;
Voice 1: Many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. Bloody and toil and tears and sweat.”