turning point

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Act One

NEWSCASTER: Good evening, it’s January 3rd, 1970. No arrests yet in the vandalism at the Badger Ordnance works in Baraboo, where police suspect anti-war activists who they have dubbed the “New Year’s Gang.” In national news, bombing continued in Vietnam last night. French journalists counted 150 American casualties, but the American government put the number at 25. Nixon again denied that Cambodia was being bombed. Home in Madison, rioters threw rocks for the third night in a row at State Street and Layton Avenue, in spite of the snow and the cold. Have a safe New Year.
POLICEMAN: It’s hard keeping order in Madison, I tell you. This Vietnam War thing, you know. These students want to throw a brick or two, well, I’m getting sick of it! Between you and me, I’ll tell you something. Used to be, they’d go to University of Wisconsin, they’d get out of serving. But that’s not working any more. They’re calling everyone up. (points at audience). They’ll take you, and throw you in boot camp. Serves you right!

PROTESTER #1: Heck no, we won’t go! Stop the war! US out of Cambodia!
PROTESTER #2: 1, 2, 3, 4 what do you think we’re fighting for?
PROTESTER #3: US out of Vietnam! No more war! Stop the war now!
PROTESTER #4: 1, 2, 3, 4!
POLICEMAN: Get out of here! Git! Come on now! Out! (chases them out)

(enter LEO and SARAH)
LEO: Hey, don’t I know you from Chemistry class?
SARAH: Yeah, how did you do on that last test?
LEO: Not so well. But it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m probably going to die.
SARAH: What do you mean?
LEO: I’m worried about my draft number…I’m number 52.
SARAH: Oh, so you’ll go soon, won’t you?
LEO: Yeah, maybe September.
SARAH: Isn’t there some way out of it?
LEO: Yeah, cut off my toe, like my friend did. Or maybe come on to the draft officer…you know, pretend I’m gay.
SARAH: That won’t work, will it?
LEO: I don’t know. I’d try anything. I hate this war. I don’t want to die for what they’re doing. Every day you see it on tv…people dying, the government lying. Now they’re bombing Cambodia…but they’re lying about it!
SARAH: I don’t believe in this war either! They’re killing innocent civilians, and why? Because they think they know what’s best for Vietnam?
LEO: I feel like we have to do something about it, but I don’t know what.
SARAH: Well, I hope you don’t flunk Chemistry…that sure won’t help! See you tomorrow!
(they exit. Enter KARL and DAVID)
DAVID: Karl, have you heard the news? They’re using Army Math to help the Vietnam War effort! The pigs!
KARL: The university is just part of the whole system! That’s why I dropped out.
DAVID: You know, yesterday in my biology class, a bunch of guys came in and said, let’s go throw rocks down on State Street. And we did. Walked right out of class. The professor had to cancel.
KARL: Far out, man, did you throw rocks?
DAVID: Sure did.
KARL: Felt groovy, didn’t it? Did you hit anything?
DAVID: I hit that bank window, smashed it all over State Street. It felt good, actually. The pigs!
KARL: Right on, man. Power to the people. They started this war, not us. It’s going to be a revolution. And I’ll tell you what. We aren’t going to change things just by carrying signs.
(enter DWIGHT)
DWIGHT: Hear about the news? In the Daily Cardinal?
KARL: Yeah, the pigs! About Army Math, you mean?
DAVID: Yeah, they’ve been helping the government all along! I knew it! Off the pigs! Power to the people!
DWIGHT: Right on, man.
(they leave) (sign appears saying LAUNDROMAT. SARAH comes and folds laundry. STEPHANIE enters)
STEPHANIE: Sarah McBride! I haven’t seen you in twelve years! I used to babysit you!
SARAH: Stephanie Baker?
STEPHANIE: Well, it’s Stephanie Fassnacht now. I got married four years ago.
SARAH: Really? Congratulations! What does your husband do?
STEPHANIE: Robert? Oh, he’s a grad student. He does research on superconductivity. He’s one of these guys that walk around with a calculator in their shirt pocket, you know. But he’s pretty nice. We have a 3-year-old son and twin 1-year-old daughters. But they’re with their grandma now.
SARAH: Far out! Well, you got good practice babysitting me!
STEPHANIE: Actually, I think of you a lot. What have you been doing?
SARAH: Going to school mostly. Trying to pass Chemistry. Demonstrating against the war too. Actually, I met this guy in my Chemistry class, Leo, and I kind of like him…
SARAH: And he’s about to get drafted. So I’m trying to figure out how to help him.
STEPHANIE: Maybe he could join one of those religious groups. You know, like the Quakers or something. They don’t fight in wars.
SARAH: That’s a good idea. I’ll ask him. How do you find the Quakers?
STEPHANIE: Oh, you know Joe Elder? He’s a sociology professor. Just ask him. I’m sure you can find him on campus.
SARAH: It’s good to run into you, Stephanie. Let’s have coffee sometime!
STEPHANIE: OK, I promise! I’ll have you over this summer! (they leave)


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