La Dissection d'un Homme Armé

a play by Stijn Devillé

3 acts for 3 voices (3 to 9 actors)
in each act :
a soldier, in his twenties
a man, between 30 and 40
a colonel, in his fifties
A colonel, from the K-for peacekeeping division in Kosovo, has to testify about his conduct during his Unamir mission in Rwanda some years earlier. After ten belgian paratroopers were killed in Kigali and the subsequent genocide started, the colonel had written a flaming report about the ridiculous UN mandate and the malfunctioning of the army staff. He couldn’t care less if he were demoted now. He saw thousands of men, women and children killed, but couldn’t intervene because of UN policy. But his report disappeared, and the colonel got promoted. If he would keep silent about it.
But now the report has leaked. And it seems the army staff is doing everything they can to blame him for what has happened in Rwanda. He knows things don’t look too well for him.
A flash back. There’s gun fire everywhere. The ten paratroopers are surrounded by heavily armed militiamen. They’re scared as hell. Their colonel does nothing to intervene. That’s a fact. They die, all ten of them. That’s a fact. No, things don’t look too well for him. And now, he’s alone in this room in Kosovo. His gun lies next to him.
The second part brings us to World War II. A resistance hero doesn’t know what he’s doing amidst this colonel and the young soldier. He’s got a brother killed, back in the war. Right in front of his eyes. When he blinks, he can still see him falling. And that’s where it snaps: he suddenly sees another man, shot, falling in the same way as his brother. It’s Julien Lahaut, a politician, leader of the communist party, being shot on his doorstep in 1950. How does the young soldier know about this? Why does he ask all these questions? All of the sudden, there seems to be a cross-examination taking place.
But then, part three. A young soldier is accusing his superior officers because of the conditions they have to fight in during the war of the trenches. We’re back in 1917. One night, his brother climbs out of the trench and disappears in the dark. Stay here, he says, back me up. So the young soldier waits and waits. For two days. The next night, he goes out to look for his brother. All he finds, is a body, torn apart – but it still lives, and it starts to scream. It’s his brother, and he’s waking both sides of No Man’s Land. Flares go up, the whole area is lit, dogs are barking, guns are pointed. And that’s when he stabs: he stabs his brother to death, so the screaming would stop, and it stops. Lights go out, dogs go silent. And he sits there, with his dead brother’s body. Who’s to blame.
The play can be staged as three subsequent parts, but all of the three parts can also be intertwined, to form one dramatical stream, one major flashback, played by three actors only. By weaving the different parts, the parallels in the different stories can be made more obvious.
In the text, each character/voice starts at another tabulator distance of the left margin. There are no other indications of characters (no names, numbers etc.).