Detta manus är en översättning till engelska av Bengt Ahlfors och Ritva Siikalas pjäs Zambesi. Översättning av Neil Howard, 2011.
The story of a refugee family.
Place: Zambezi, somewhere in Africa
Time: The mass migration era, late 2010s.
In the original production (Kassandra ,Helsingfors 2008) Zambezi consisted of the following languages: Somali (Mamadou and Mariama), Hausa (Binta), Tsonga (Ismail), Wolof (Pape) and Japanese (Ariel). Moreover, in the market scene, both Indian English and Russian were spoken.
All the actors participate both in creating the auditory world of the performance and as members of the choir, with or without black or white masks.
The music combines Swedish songs and African rhythms.
The manuscript is based on the Swedish production. The suggested Swedish songs are retained and literal translations of these given in brackets.
Pape and Ariel greet the audience; Ariel’s dance.
Twilight. Distant sound of drums which transforms into the sound of water. A small raft
approaches, gliding across a river. On it, five people stand closely together. At first they can
only be seen in silhouette but, as they come closer, we can see that they are a Swedish middleclass
family. Their Swedish middle-class clothes were once crisp and presentable but they now
bear the marks of a long, strenuous journey.
The people are tired, frozen and worn. Calle has a large suitcase, Birgit a briefcase, Christina a
box, Frida a rucksack and Linnéa a cage, which later turns out to house her guinea-pig Axel.
As the raft glides forward and gradually stops at the water’s edge, the Zambezi may be glimpsed
in the background, wearing black masks.
Hiwalungo lava! (Immigrants)
Silence. The Zambezi stare at the family, who try to make contact.
Hello! We come from Europe. Sweden. (No reaction. Pause.)
We have travelled a long way. (Pause.)
We are very tired. (Pause.)
Can we stay here? At least for the night?
They don’t understand.
(Ariel goes off.)
Excuse me, where is the toilet?
The Swedish family: CHRISTINA, pensioner; her daughter BIRGIT, bank director; Birgit's husband CALLE, dentist; their daughters FRIDA, army officer, and LINNÉA, schoolgirl.
The Zambezi: BINTA, immigration officer; MAMADOU, police officer; MARIAMA, Red Crescent worker; ISMAIL, student, later university lecturer, her fiancé; PAPE, musician; and ARIEL, dancer, who also plays other roles. They speak Zambezi; this means that they each speak their own non-European mother tongue (English translation in brackets), as well as English and Swedish.
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