excerpt from: The Internationalist

13P’s production of The Internationalist, by Anne Washburn. Left to right: Travis York, Kristen Kosmas, Gibson Frazier. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Lowell, an American on his first business trip to a unnamed west or west-eastern European country, is met unexpectedly at the airport by a beautiful colleague, Sara. This scene takes place that evening.


LOWELL

Hmmm. And is that interesting here, to be foreign?



Sara laughs.



You know, the accent, is that mysterious.



SARA

But we’re speaking English so you don’t have an accent. If you were trying to speak my language—people are always more appealing when they’re unintelligible.



Lowell starts to laugh.



LOWELL

(He thinks it’s an artful mispeak.)

That’s witty



SARA

Yes, I know



She calls out:



yald ain tant amora koi psam psitay ald imitricikts dor ald tioforian korim tic. Seldis umicktrig orit inial tse hambit orderist il rarin di dam tid norris dimit ona alagoric toyfay int timit oil ald harrick mono borin tam pist i sawan taiya t’noiding lola ka dita hiya fimolla naid he tiad ald terrim kimal doi pimmick ori horind dalna imp porrie gala hondick tibald timiharu. Ai be a toman idat tora abala mot.



She looks back at him.



SARA

I ordered us drinks.

LOWELL

That was ordering drinks?



SARA

There’s more than one way to order drinks. Okay.



The waiter lowers a tray with two really very tiny glasses, like half-shot glasses, brim full with viscous red-brown liquid.



(To the waiter)

Nad um it orrit imhala tasang al bamadia oritio ib saman.



(To Lowell)

You might like this. It’s local. Very typical. But we don’t usually serve it to tourists. Are you certain you’re game?



LOWELL

Absolutely. What is it?



Gingerly picks up the bauble, in a toast.



SARA

No I mean really, you’re going to have a hard time.



LOWELL

You’re joking.



SARA

I’m not.



LOWELL

I’m not at all afraid of a hard time.



SARA

You’re not.



LOWELL

No. There’s a Latin phrase about that. I forget what. Something about knowledge.



SARA

Well then. Caveat emptor



LOWELL

Buyer beware.



As he’s raising it to his lips.





SARA

It’s not like a…(thinking of the word) shot, you sip it.



He does so. His face totally screws up.



LOWELL

Oh my God.



SARA

Yeah it’s—



LOWELL

Oh my God.



SARA

Try to live through it. Try to just—



His hands are sort of floundering around on the table.



LOWELL

Water. Water.



SARA

No you can’t—



He calls out to the waiter.



LOWELL

Water! Water!



SARA

It’s a chemical thing. You’ve got to take another sip You’ve got to (she demonstrates)—see? sip. It’s counterintuitive.



LOWELL

What?!?



SARA

Take another sip. Take another sip.



LOWELL

Oh no. Water!



SARA

He’s not going to bring you water no you’ve got to, just you’ve got to, you’ve got to take another sip.



Take another sip. Believe me.



He does so, his face wrenches up and then clears.



See?



LOWELL

Oh my God.



SARA

Take another one.



He does so. It registers.



LOWELL

That’s bizarre.



SARA

Yes it’s peculiar.



LOWELL

That’s just bizarre.



SARA

You see. Now you take another.



He takes another tiny sip.



LOWELL

What is this?



SARA

Aren’t you glad now that you did it?



Take another sip



LOWELL

It’s insane.



SARA

Do you like it?



LOWELL

It’s really good.



SARA

You have to suffer first. It’s a philosophic beverage.





The Internationalist, written by Anne Washburn, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll, produced by 13P, will run April 17–May 9, 2004 at The Culture Project@45 Bleecker Street

for more info: www.13P.org, tickets: $15


Contributor

Anne Washburn

Anne Washburn's transadaptation of Euripides' Orestes runs through April 11.

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