Luigi Lunari: Three on the Seesaw, Act two, Scene two



Scene Two

A moment… Before. The trap-door is open, and out from the hole – thrown by an invisible hand – out comes a shapeless cloth, which falls onto the floor beside the opening. Mr. A falls to his knees. All – showing  different degrees of paralysis – stare at the trap-door. Out of which, immediately afterwards, an arm appears, which places a bucket, then a broom, then a bag or holdall beside the cloth.

Finally, after climbing laboriously up an invisible ladder, a dishevelled woman emerges from the hole. She is wearing a faded shirt which is somewhere between a dressing gown and an apron, and a headscarf half covering the curlers of a home-perm. The woman is smoking. She comes out awkwardly, arching her back, sticking out her behind, facing the audience, and with her back turned to the three men, whom she does not see. She stops for an instant, draws on the cigarette, blows the smoke out, watching it rise and disperse, snorts with annoyance and tiredness (obviously thinking about starting work), then she turns towards the bucket, picks it up, realises there is no water, and while so doing sees the three men staring motionless  at her.

THE WOMAN –  Oh, goo’ mornin’…

PROF. C (after a pause, cautiously): Good morning.

THE WOMAN –  I’m ‘ere to do the cleaning.

(She looks around for a moment):

Where’s the bog?

SGT. B –  The toilet?

(It’s the sergeant who shows her… But the woman has already seen it, or anyway she remembered)

THE WOMAN –  Oh yeah, it’s over there.

(with the bucket in her hand she walks past Mr. A):

The floor’s very dirty, watch your trousers!

(Goes into the bathroom. Mr. A gets up; with one hand on his heart, he leans on a chair)

MR. A –  Ever seen her before? Who is she?

SGT. B –  Well… I think it’s the cleaning lady.

PROF. C – She certainly looks like a cleaning lady.

MR. A –  Did you hear what she said? ‘I am here to do the cleaning’!

SGT. B –  Precisely: she’s the cleaning woman.

MR. A –  It depends. It can mean a lot of things…

(Solemn, oracle-like, despite the terror he feels)

‘I am here to do the cleaning!’

SGT. B –  No, she didn’t say that, she didn’t put on an act. She said “I’m ‘ere to do the cleanin’!”

MR. A –  “He will come to judge the living and the dead”

PROF. C –  The cleaning woman?!

SGT. B –  Oh, Lord in Heaven!…

MR. A –  Shh!

SGT. B –  You know you’re really impressionable? Even if she’d said…

(Imitates Mr. A’s tone of voice)

“I am here to do the house-cleaning’…”

(Normal again)

She then added: “Where’s the bog?”

PROF. C –  And anyway, let’s be reasonable, it’s a woman. A woman, gentlemen! While, according to tradition, and not only the Western ones… That ‘Someone’ you talk of… Is always nothing else but male.

MR. A –  Yes, but… God is also a mother! The Pope said so!

PROF. C –  Which Pope?

Mr. A –  John Paul I.

SGT. B (Amused) – The one that didn’t last long. He said it… And paid for it.

(He mimes the arrival of  a thunderbolt – or of an axe – striking the hapless victim)


MR. A –  What do you mean?

SGT.B –  I’m saying that as soon as he’d said it, down came the superior officer’s denial!

(Repeats the gesture, amused)


MR. A –  He’s mad! He’s mad and without a conscience!

PROF. C (To the sergeant) – Erm… Well… I’m sorry, but perhaps this time the gentleman here is right. One shouldn’t rdiicule other people’s convictions.

SGT. B –  Eh?… Ah, obviously not, but I… Really didn’t want to offend anyone. Let me apologize. Soldiers, you know, have a bit of a bawdy sense of humour…

The fact is I didn’t think you were so religious…

MR. A –  Well, and can I ask what made you think that?

SGT. B –  Ehm, well, I wouldn’t know. Maybe… The fact that you came here, for example, to…

MR. A –  To what?

SGT. B –  Pardòn pardòn!

MR. A –  There he goes again. Anyway, since you’re interested, I’m not in the least religious; I’m not even a believer, I’m an agnostic –  in fact, I’m an atheist.


But… that’s under normal conditions, during the day… And anyway, I always thought you could change yout mind… Perhaps with age…

SGT. B –  I’ve always said that it’s better to believe in God, even to new recruits. After all, it doesn’t cost anything!…

PROF. C –  I have to confess that, as a modern man of a modern scientific world…  I don’t feeel God’s presence in history.

(He finds himself next to the toilet door and, almost without thinking, pricks his ear up. Mr. A makes an inquiring gesture, as if to ask if he can hear anything. The professor grimaces, indicating that there is no sign of life from the other side of the door)

One would expect to detect a design in history, and even in everyday life. The good are praised, the bad punished… But it’s not like that.

MR. A –  Quite the contrary.

PROF. C –  No, not even the contrary: because even the opposite would amount to a design! No! You can commit the worst crimes and the dirtiest low-down tricks, and it can turn out badly just as well as it can turn out right…You can be the most upright of people, and it’s the same: You can be tormented by disaster or live your life without any suffering. Instead nothing! Providence is nowhere to be seen! The Ancients were right when they said that the gods were  fickel. And inconstancy seems to explain things far better than Providence. Everything happens by chance… Life is nothing but…

(The lavatory door opens and the woman comes out, not very satisfied, as sometimes happens when leaving the toilet)

THE WOMAN –  ‘Ere we are again.

(She looks around)

‘as anyone seen…

PROF. C –  What?

THE WOMAN –  …. A bottle of Arial?

PROF. C –  A bottle of what?

THE WOMAN –  Arial… It’s a detergent.

PROF. C –  Nn… No.

SGT. B –  No.

THE WOMAN (to Mr. A) –  What about you?

(Mr. A, without saying a word, goes to the minibar, opens it, takes out a bottle of detergent which he hands to the woman with an almost lithurgical gesture, suggesting a small genuflexion. The woman accepts the bottle flattered, almost with coquetry)

Oh, thank you.

(Pours a little liquid into the bucket, goes back to the bathroom, and at the door turns round):

You’re all ‘ere because of the alarm, ain’t you?

(Affirmative monosyllabic replies and gestures)

A bit frightenin’, ain’t it? It’s a new thing. But it’ll be over soon enough.

(The woman goes into the bathroom, this time leaving the door open. Her words  have struck the three characters to varying degrees. Pause)

SGT. B (Softly, with indifference, but almost to break the uneasy tension that grown up)

Will I be happy

will I be rich

here’s what she said to me

(But a look and a nervous gesture from Mr. A stop him; the sergeant stops, makes a sign to apologize. From the bathroom comes the sound of flushing. Pause)

THE WOMAN (comes back into the room, closes the lavatory door, and takes the broom, singing softly the first lines of the Ave Maria by Schubert, or Onward Christian Soldiers) – Aaave-Mariiiiaaa…

(Mr. A, timidly, embarassed, joins in the singing at the third or fourth bar, also very softly, perhaps holding his hands as if praying, with his mouth shut)

MR. A –  Mm mm-mm-mm mmm mmm…

(But the woman stops. Mr. A also stops. Pause)

THE WOMAN (she pulls herself upright for a moment’s rest) – Yup, that’s how it goes! Six days’ work withou’ a moment to catch your breath, and a day off! In this building, where everybody works a five-day-week! But if I’m not here… Everyfing grinds to a standstill.


MR. A (Goes up to her, cautiously, with a touch of martyr-like elegance) – May I… Give you a hand?

THE WOMAN (Only momentary surprise) – Oh, fank you. Please…

(Hands him the broom)


PROF. C –  I’d gladly help out… Just to do something…

THE WOMAN –  Can you clean windows?

PROF. C –  If a Ph.D. is sufficient…

THE WOMAN –  A professor?

PROF. C –  Yes.

THE WOMAN –  Wha’ abou’ you?

MR. A –  I have a small firm…

SGT. B –  Well, traditional Army gallantry… Doesn’t allow me to shirk my duty. May I…

THE WOMAN –  Dust.

(Gives him a duster)

You’re all very kind. Fank you. I’m glad to ‘ave a little rest. You know, I’m much older than I look. Sometimes I fink I’ve always been around… Tha’ there was no-one else before me…

(Goes up to the fridge. Opens it)

A drop of Chartreuse…

(Sits in the armchair, at the front of the stage, to one side, sipping at her drink. The other three are working: Mr. A sweeping the floor, the sergeant dusting the furniture, the professor cleaning the windows, standing on a chair. Pause)

MR. A (not without effort, as if confessing his sins) –  It’s true, I… I’ve always had the odd time. I have always paid, though. I’ve never been a great one for Mass… Confession… The last time was the day before I got married… I’v sometimes bad-mouthed priests, even though I’m convinced that on occasions… ‘anyone’ would have agreed. Blacks and Arabs bother me, I admit, and I know it’s not right… And I often regret it. And then, if I manage to avoid declaring the odd pound… I’m pleased, I confess. But I’ve never done any harm to anyone… At least not directly. Well, yes, once… I fired twenty workers, which wasn’t perhaps necessary.

(Thinks about it)

Yes, it could have been avoided.

THE WOMAN –  Eh, the same fing ‘appened to my son!

MR. A –  Fired?

THE WOMAN –  He got the axe. First, everyone loved ‘im, and ‘eaped tons of praise on ‘im… And then… From one day to the next…

MR. A –  An… Only son?

THE WOMAN (nods affirmatively)

MR. A –  I’m sorry.

THE WOMAN –  Well, you know dear, for every worker fired there’s a boss who does the firing! Ever though’ about it?

MR. A –  … I will do now…

THE WOMAN –  It’s too late now! My son’s gone through so much… They really crucified ‘im…

MR. A –  But then he… He…

(With his hands gripping the broom, nods upwards)

THE WOMAN –  Wha’?

MR. A –  Nn… Nothing… Nothing.

(Pause. They continue working)

SGT. B –  Well, I… Just to be on the safe side…What do you want me to say? I joined the Army at twenty-four, because I’d fallen in love with a gorg… With a young lady… Very pretty, or at least… I loved her. We were besotted, we wanted to get married, but I didn’t have a penny to my name, and the only way to do things honestly… And let me underline, honestly… According to the fifth… No, the sixth commandment…

MR. A (impatiently): We’ve got it, we’ve got it, go on!

SGT. B –  Well, the only way was to join the Army: steady employment, regular salary, canteen-lunches… Yes, if I indulge in self-criticism… I’d say I’ve sort of scrounged, coasted along. I haven’t really done anything, I haven’t been a great deal of use… But… I don’t know what else I could have done… I… Was made…. In the image and likeness… Of myself!


PROF. C (timidly) –  I…

(Then, rebelliously)

No! I refuse!

(With firm Euclidean lucidity)

I am a man of learning. Full stop. I know I’m here because, colon: having written a book, having sent it to the Olympus Press, having the said book accepted, and having come to the premises of the said publishing house in order to take possession of the proofs, I was therein – I mean herein – caught out by the emergency pollution  alarm. Full stop. I’m not a namby-pamby! I’m not a savage! I don’t even read horoscopes! Exclamation mark! I am firmly convinced that all that happens in the world is logical, natural, rational, or in any case can be rationally explained! All this without straying into banal determinism, as purposeless as the most abstract metaphysics! I believe “chance” a priori and “necessity” a posteriori…

(He has grown agitated, and the chair he is standing on collapses. The professor falls, but immediately gets up, furious, hurriedly, to avoid anyone intervening or making a comment)

The chair has collapsed. Right-ho! It was liable to break, and it has in fact done so. It was a forseeable possibility: chairs are made for sitting on, not for standing on. In fact, I’m sure that if we calculate my weight and the strength of the seat, and the wear and tear of the legs, it was a forgeone conclusion that the chair was going to collapse. I’m as right as rain.

THE WOMAN (calmly): You’ve torn your trousers.

PROF. C (vehement, but gradually becoming quieter, until silence): So, I have torn my trousers. It’s absolutely normal that, falling from a broken chair, one’s trousers should tear. My suit, unfortunately, is new. It’s very irritating: It cost me a hundred and fifty pounds at the sales, and it’s in cashmere, bugger it! It was for special occasions, I almost feel like crying at the thought of buying another suit, ufff…

(Long pause. The three continue working. The sergeant bustles around in order to move next to Mr. A, downstage. With a conspiring air and tone of voice):

SGT. B –  Listen, do you want me to ask her? Just to be done with it…

MR. A –  Ask what?

SGT. B –  I’ll ask: “Excuse me, who are you?” or “Excuse me, are you God?”

MR. A –  Excuse me, are you mad?

SGT. B –  What’s wrong with it? Asking’s allowed, answering’s courtesy.

(The professor, having noticed them talking secreterely, goes up to them)

PROF. C –  What’s going on? Has anything happened?

SGT. B –  Nothing. I only said: ‘Do you want me to ask her, without beating about the bush, if she is… Or isn’t…’ If she isn’t, she’ll think we’re mad, but who cares! And if she is… Well, she can’t lie.

PROF. C –  That’s enough! Come on, gentlemen, it’s ludicrous!

MR. A –  How many times have you cleaned windows in your life?

PROF. C –  I… Never.

MR. A –  Is this the first time?

PROF. C –  Yes.

MR. A –  So you see it’s not that ridiculous.

PROF. C (turning to look the woman up and down) – There is nothing about her that might remotely make you think…

MR. A –  Yes, but these people are smart!

PROF. C (Cautious) – Perhaps we could try with an indirect question, raising some matter that’ll force her to show her hand…

SGT. B (he’s turned round to look at the woman) –  She’s smoking.

(The woman has in fact lit a cigarette. All three look at her)

THE WOMAN –  Does the smoke bother you?

ALL – Noooo!

THE WOMAN (contemplating the cigarette) – Eh, the work of the devil!

MR. A (exasperated) –  There you go: can you  hear what she said?

SGT. B –  Well, what did she say  that’s so strange?

MR. A –  What need is there to bring the devil into it? Why didn’t she just say that tobacco is harmful, eh? Or that smoking causes cancer? Why is everything she says strange, ambiguous, and hard to understand…

PROF. C –  There’s nothing strange about it.

SGT. B –  I’ve no trouble understanding.

PROF. C –  Yes, of course! He understands everything!

SGT. B –  No, I’m not saying I understand everything; but when someone says that cigarettes are the work of the devil, I understand very well. In fact, I don’t understand what there is to not understand.

PROF. C (stops the conversation with a gesture, turns to the woman, and with a slightly stentorian tone of voice): – Do you know that smoking causes cancer?

THE WOMAN –  Do you think I don’t know?

MR. A (conspiring again) – Have you heard?

PROF. C –  Heard what?

MR. A –  “Do you think I don’t know?”. What does it mean?

SGT. B –  It means “I know”.

MR. A (Too easy!) – Well… I don’t know.

SGT. B (sure of himself): No, no: “Do you think I don’t know?” is a rheumatic form.

PROF. C –  A rhetorical form.

SGT. B –  It really means “I know”.

MR. A –  And why doesn’t she say so, then? Why doesn’t she simply say ‘I know’? Why must she say ‘Do you think I don’t know’? As if to say “do you think I don’t know, I who know everything, I who am all-knowing?

PROF. C –  “Do you think I don’t know” is a banal everyday expression…

MR. A –  And when she said that she works six days and has the seventh off?

PROF. C –  Obviously an old trade union agreement.

MR. A –  And that when she’s not there everything grinds to a standstill?

PROF. C –  But how many people really accept they aren’t indispensable?

MR. A –  You are both mad. And the only child?

PROF. C –  Many people have only children. I am one myself.

SGT. B –  I’ve got a sister, but we hardly ever see each other.

MR. A –  Why don’t you ask her what her son did?

PROF. C –  Do you want me to ask her what her son did?

MR. A (defiantly) – Yes!

PROF. C –  I can do even better than that.

(To the woman, still a bit stentorian, with Verfremdungeffekt)

Excuse me, was your son by any chance a carpenter?


PROF. C (to Mr. A, with an air of revenge) – There!

THE WOMAN (After a pause) – ‘is father was a carpenter.

(Pause. The woman, almost to herself, adds):

The poor wretch!

(The woman has finished the cigarette, gets up, looks at the three men as if to urge them on with their work):

Anyway… I’m sorry… But in a few minutes I’ve got to go…

(The three don’t understand)

I can finish off if you like…

(The three understand and immediately set about remedying the situation)

MR. A –  No, no!…

SGT. B –  I’m nearly finished.

PROF. C –  We just started chatting…

(They start the housework again with vigour: Mr. A with the broom, the sergeant dusting the furniture, the professor cleaning the windows…)

THE WOMAN –  I’ve got tons of fings to do this mornin’. I’ve got to rush off the minute they give the all clear. But firs’ I got to change, take out me curlers…

(Takes the holdall and walks towards the bathroom. At the door she stops, turns round, and contemplates the scene with satisfaction)

It’s good to see… For once…

SGT. B –  What?

THE WOMAN –  Well… A professah, a sergean’, a boss…’elping out the poor! What do you think… ‘as it got somefink to do with the alarm? Who knows! Life is a game o’ cards! Anyway, as they say…”while the boat stays afloat, let it sail on”.

(Goes into the bathroom and closes the door)

MR. A –  ‘…While the boat stays afloat, let it sail on’. Is it a message? Is it an order? Is it a challenge? What does it mean?

SGT. B –  Eh?…But it’s only an old song, from about a hundred years ago. I remember it well, it goes:

(Hints at the tune)

‘While the boat stays afloat, let it sail on…’

MR. A –  And then?

SGT. B –  Then nothing. It goes on repeating ‘while the boat stays afloat, let it sail on’.

MR. A –  Yes, but she hasn’t sung it: she’s only said it!

SGT. B –  So what?

MR. A –  So, maybe the song hasn’t got anything to do with it, maybe it’s just what the words say that means something.

SGT. B –  So what do the words mean?

MR. A –  That’s what I’d like to know!

SGT. B –  In my opinion they don’t mean anything.

MR. A –  And I don’t feel like taking risks.

PROF. C –  If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to say something…

SGT. B –  What is it, a joke?

PROF. C –  No, a comment.

MR. A –  If it’s one of your usual rational explanations, please spare us.

SGT. B –  No, no, I like them. Then I can re-tell them at the mess…

PROF. C –  This, strictly speaking, may agree with what you were saying. It’s a reflection on… Erm… The intrinsic value of a statement out of its context.

SGT. B –  Oh dear, oh dear, I can’t tell this one at the mess!

PROF. C –  No, no, it’s not very complicated. For example, the phrase ‘While the boat stays afloat, let it sail on’. Taken, as you say, from a song… Not a particularly intelligent one. Correct?

SGT. B –  Correct.

PROF. C –  Good. Now listen.

(Opens the big black book that we’ve already seen Mr. A holding, and, on a biblical note, reads):

“And so he saw the boat Simon Peter and his brothers were on breaking its moorings and being swept by the current out to the middle of Lake Tiberiades. Simon Peter leant overboard, and, holding his arms out toward him, cried out tearfully: ‘Rabbi, Rabbi, can’t you see the moorings have broken, and the current is drawing us toward wicked Samaria? Why won’t you come to our aid?’ And he, without leaving the faithful who gathered  around him, answered him thus: ‘Simon Peter, thee of little faith, do you think a mooring can break without my Heavenly Father having forseen that it would from the beginning of time? In truth, in truth I say unto thee: while the boat stays afloat, let it sail on’.


SGT. B –  These song-writers… They copy everything!

MR. A –  And that’s in the Gospel?

PROF. C –  No, I’ve made it up.

SGT. B –  What?

PROF. C –  But it’s terribly simple. In literature – But what am I saying: not only in literature, in life too! – it’s not true that clothes don’t make the man! Clothes do make the man! The very same phrase set in a pop song is stupid, but set in its right context – on Lake Tiberiades, spouting forth from someone all dressed up, with the right kind of staging, preceded by ‘in truth in truth I say unto thee’ – becomes one of those things they then sermonize about from the pulpit for two thousand years.

(Pause and perplexity)

SGT. B –  Well, I’m not the quickest one around when it comes to grasping things. But I want to think about it…

MR. A –  So?… What does it mean?

PROF. C –  Wittgenstein said it: philosophy is man’s struggle with the ambiguities of language.

MR. A –  Forget Witt… Whatever his name is. Round off and conclude.

PROF. C –  The conclusion is that you might be right. The meaning of all that woman said depends on who she is, or, better still, on who we think she is. If she is the Holy Ghost… Well, in that case everything she’s said has an incredible and mysterious meaning. But if she’s the charlady, as she no doubt really is, there’s no double entendre: the stupidity is nothing but stupidity.

SGT. B –  She might be a clever charlady.

PROF. C –  Yes, but let’s not digress.

SGT. B –  In any case, God bless the Army! If you brainy boots understand each other so well that you don’t even know whether it’s Sheherazade or the village fool that has spoken, I’d like to know what the point of all that studying was. In the Army, thank God, there aren’t any misunderstandings: the rulebook says what it means, ‘Forward!’ means ‘move’,  ‘Halt’ means ‘stop’,  ‘Eyes… Right! Eyes… Left! Right-left, right-left…. Chaaarge!… Aaattention!

(He carries on with more military instructions, ad lib, getting more and more excited. Then):

Imagine if the sergeant said left, and half the platoon went left, half went off to the right, and the other half jumped in the pool. For God’s sake! You academics should all come and join up for a bit…


PROF. C –  Zarathustra.

SGT. B –  What?

PROF. C –  It’s not Sheherazade, it’s Zarathustra.

MR. A –  Meanwhile, we haven’t solved anything here…

PROF. C –  But there is absolutely nothing to solve!…

(A noise from the bathroom door, and they all turn that way. The door opens, and the Woman comes out. She has changed – she is holding the holdall – and has grown elegant, with a well-cut coat, her hair combed and without curlers, high-heeled shoes, skilfully applied make-up… Just long enough to take stock of the ‘transfiguration’, and we hear the wailing of the siren giving the all-clear)

THE WOMAN –  The alarm is over. Just in time.

(She looks around)

Thank you. It’s not spotless… But it’ll do. You’ve been very kind. It doesn’t ‘appen every day.

(She notices the three astounded looks)

The coat? A present from my son. Wif wha’ I get I certainly couldn’t afford it!

(She opens the bag, and puts in the things the three men hand to her: the broom, which is collapsable, the duster, the window cloth… Then she goes to the trapdoor, opens it, puts the holdall down beside the opening…)

Good-bye, and thank you again. Do you mind ‘anding me the bag?

(She lowers herself through the trapdoor, takes the bag the sergeant hands her, and puts it under the floor out of sight. But before she disappears, Mr. A cries out…)

MR. A –  The directory!

(He hands her the directory, as if pleading)

THE WOMAN (Still half above the floor): It’s not mine.

MR. A –  … It’s from Singapore!…

THE WOMAN (shrugging) –  Send it  back there.

(The Woman disappears, the trapdoor closes. Pause)

PROF. C (at the window) – The streets are filling up again. The pedestrians have gone back to polluting…

SGT. B –  All clear.

MR. A –  Well, I really wonder what these things are for…

PROF. C –  It’s been a peculiar experience.

SGT. B –  I’ve enjoyed myself. Well, there are better ways to spend the night, aren’t there? Ha, ha, erm… Pardon pardon!

MR. A –  Look, that’s enough, all right? I have tons of things to do… I don’t find wasting a whole day either enjoyable or peculiar… And in fact, if I think about it, it really seems to me that – and I know I’ve already said it – that…

PROF. C –  What?

MR. A – That we haven’t come to any conclusion. He’s washed his feet, you’ve played cards, you’ve torn your trousers, you’ve sung…

SGT. B –  I told a joke, you got really scared… Ha, ha!

MR. A –  What does it all mean?…

PROF. C (willingly, delighted to show off) – Shakespeare: What’s life about? “A tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing”

MR.A  – We’ve talked a great deal of nonsense…

SGT. B –  You can’t always play Hamlet.

MR. A –  No, but you could find a compromise! Well… I… erm… I’m leaving. Good-bye, it’s been a pleasure…

(Shakes the Prof.’s hand…)

(Shakes the sergeant’s hand)

… A pleasure.

(In a hurry, embarassed, anxious to leave)

Sorry about the hurry… Good… Good-bye.

(He struts hurriedly out of the door through which he came in… Climbs off the stage and walks away through the audience)

SGT. B –  He was in a hurry to leave!

PROF. C –  Well, I think it’s almost the end of a nightmare for him.

SGT. B –  Yes, but… Leaving… Just like that…

PROF. C –  I don’t think he’ll want to see us again.

(Hands him a card)

My card… Just in case.

SGT. B –  Thank you. I’m afraid I haven’t got one; cards obviously aren’t allowed in the Secret Service. But I’m in the directory anyway. Sergeant Springthorpe. Es-es.

PROF. C –  Es-es?

SGT. B –  Secret Service. Should you ever need gambling lessons. Ha, ha!

PROF. C –  Ha, ha!

SGT. B –  Are you going that way?

PROF. C –  No, that way.

SGT. B –  Well, hope to see you soon… And again, it’s been a pleasure!

PROF. C –  The pleasure was mine.

(They go out, each one through his own door. After a short pause Mr. A comes back in, in a hurry, in a panic. He goes up to the ‘phone, unhooks it, tries dialling a number, the telephone doesn’t seem to work. Mr. A vandalizes it, shouting):

Mr. A –  Hello! Hello! Damn it! Helloooo! Is anyone there?  Hello!

(Through their respective doors first the sergeant, then the professor, come back in. Both stop on their respective thresholds…)

My front door was locked…

(The other two fail to reply).

           Blackout without haste.



Copyright © Luigi Lunari – All rights worldwide reserved





Thanks. Make Yours Italy would like to thank Luigi Lunari for his kindness and availability. We are honored to have been allowed by him to publish on our website his play Three on the Seesaw, represented around the world and soon staged in Canada. If there is anyone among our readers in Calgary and surroundings, we suggest you to go and see it!

Fire Exit Theatre of Calgary:

Three men walk into a room, each with a different destination, yet all three end up exactly where they are supposed to be. […].




Luigi Lunari Wikipedia (Italian)

Luigi Lunari (English)



Learn Italian: Tre sull’altalena (Three on the Seesaw)