Act 3, Scene 2: Give me a Reason


%ACT% Rana reads a letter to her father

Dear Father,

I am writing this letter in the hope that you will never have to read it. I will always carry it with me, so that it will be found and delivered to you, should something bad happen to be.

I have followed Malika to the Oasis, Al Waha Ta'lab. Malika is a close friend of mine, and she has taught me so many things, I could not bring myself to let her down. And she is right. We can't just sit there and watch our friends and children die, and say it is Allah's will. We must bring Adham and Rashid back to reason. The only way to save our city is to make the water flow again. We're not doing this for ourselves. We're doing it for you: Our fathers, mothers, children, friends, families - everyone.

If I could I would send you a letter every day and let you know what is going on, and how I am doing. But our only contact to the outside world is a telephone we stole from a worker who was trying to pass our road block on his way to the reservoir dam, and we can consider us lucky that the oasis is close enough to the new settlement to make it work.

I'm struggling to keep up my hopes. It's not easy. There is still no reaction from the dam yet, the oasis is drying out, and a growing number of women is beginning to question Malika's decisions. And also in me, the urge to give up and go back to my home and my family is growing stronger and stronger.

I can imagine that - at home - everyone is whispering about me behind my back. And rightfully so. I know that I am terribly neglecting my duties as a good wife, disobeying my husband and leaving everyone who used to depend on me alone like that. If you think I'm a disgrace because of that, I don't blame you. I'm sorry for making your life more difficult than it already is. I am praying to Allah the allmighty that he may lead our paths, and make it worth all the pain in the end. I miss you.

Your beloved daughter,



%HND% Curtain open

%LIG% Main light on (Yellow 100%, red 100%, white 100%)

%ACT% Malika is standing on some boxes in [5]

%AMB% 14 - Desert Camp and Distant thunder

%ACT% Fennecs 1, Fennec 2, Nashida and some others are sitting in front of Malika, listening to her

Malika: "Women of Al Waha Ta'lab! As of today, we have been controlling the entrance to the dam for more than four months, but it seems that Rashid and Adam have a better stock of supplies than we thought. I had really hoped it would be possible to end this conflict peacefully. But our water supply is depleting faster than expected. Without fresh water from upstream the oasis will dry out soon. That means we must change our strategy fundamentally. We can no longer afford to remain passive. We must ATTACK the new settlement."

%ACT% Everyone gasps in shock, starting to talk excitedly

%SND% 0901 - Gasps, Mumbling

%SND% 0901 (cont.) - Fennec 1: "Wait a minute! When we left the city there was no mention of fighting! We're no soldiers!"

%SND% 0901 (cont.) - Fennec 2: "Yeah, and it's not our fault your plan didn't work! Go and find someone else to make up for your failures!"

Malika: "Please, stay calm everybody! I understand that you're afraid of attacking an opponent that looks vastly superior. But let's have a look at the facts, and see if our enemy is really as strong as he wants us to believe."

%ACT% Malika points to the diagram behind her

Malika: "There are only three locations where guards are likely to be positioned. The main gate, the engine house, and the administrative building. The number of personnel has most likely been reduced to the bare minimum necessary to maintain the site, and the main gate is probably guarded by not more than two or three men. That's all. The dam is hardly the fortress it seems to be."

%ACT% Everyone disagrees loudly

%ACT% The situation gets out of control. Everyone moves towards Malika, threatening her, grabbing at her, shaking her. (Everyone talks at the same time)

%SND% 0902 - Protest!

%SND% 0902 - Fennec 1: "And what if you're wrong? What if they DO have an army in there?"

Malika: "They don't have the money for that!"

%SND% 0903 - Fennec 2: "And what do you think will Emir Sayyid do when he finds out we're attacking his sons?"

Malika: "That's not going to …"

%SND% 0904 - Fennec 1: "Yes! This is madness! You must be totally out of your mind!"

Malika: "Stop! Listen to me! Silence! SILENCE!"

%SND% 0905 - Fennec 2: "We're all doomed!"

%ACT% They try to overwhelm Malika

%ACT% Malika takes out her machine gun, firing in to the air

%SND% 0906 - Machine Gun
%SND% 0902 (STOP)

Malika (screams): "I SAID SILENCE!"

%ACT% everyone is stunned. Total silence

Malika (angry): "What are you? A flock of headless chicken? Pull yourselves together and show some discipline!"

%SND% 0907 - Fennec 1: "If blindly doing what you're told is YOUR definition of discipline, I could as well have stayed with my husband!"

%ACT% Malika walks towards Fennec 1, and goes nose-to-nose

Malika (serious): "What? Do you think just because your house is no longer ruled by a man, you can do whatever you like? Have you forgotten that what we did is against the law, the shari'a and all decency? The ONLY reason why Allah might forgive us our sins is, that we believe in the Quran, which says: If anyone slew an innocent person, it would be as if he slew the whole mankind. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole mankind."

%ACT% A second of Silence

Malika: "I'm not forcing anyone to follow me. But keep in mind that it's the only alternative to staying here and dying of thirst. And what fate could be worse than that?"

%ACT% Lubab enters from below

Lubab: "Dinner is ready!"

%ACT% Everyone shrieks and panics and runs away, except Malika, Nashida, Lubab and Fennec 1

%SND% 0908 - Dinner Panic

Lubab: "Hey! Where did everyone go?"

Malika: "Never mind, Lubab. They're a little bit edgy today. So what's for dinner?"

Lubab: "Chicken Kebab a la Fruitistani!"

%ACT% Malika tries the food

Malika: "Wow! Lubab! This is really good! How did you do that?"

Lubab: "Well, I put the chicken on a wire rack set in a shallow roasting tin, and greased it with olive oil. For the special taste, I seasoned the inside with a selection of fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, tarragon, garlic and onions. When I saw that it was browning to quickly, I took a large sheet of …"

%ACT% Malika looks at Lubab as if she were some kind of alien

Malika: "Okay. Who are you, and what did you do to Lubab?"

Lubab: "What?"

Malika: "I can't believe you've suddenly learned how to cook!"

Lubab: "Well, what shall I say, I'm a natural talent!"

Malika: "No, Lubab, you're just the worst liar ever. This morning you didn't know the difference between turnips and carrots, and now you're suddenly serving "Chicken a la fruitistani"? Honestly. Who cooked this chicken?"

Lubab: "OH! I think I smell something burning! I have to run!"

%ACT% Lubab runs away, takes the foodtray with her

%SND% 0909 - Meep Meep, Swooooosh!

Malika (resigned): "*SIGH* Nashida?"

Nashida: "Uhm, yes, what is it?"

Malika: "Who cooked the chicken?"

Nashida: "Uhm … don't you like it?"

Malika: "Don't try to change the subject. Who. cooked. the. chicken. Either someone has been skiping work, or …"

%ACT% Malika looks at Nashida, waiting for her to finish the sentence

Nashida: "Or … what?"

Malika: "Did you take prisoners again, without telling me?"

Nashida: "Oh! Noooononononono! Oh mighty Malika, I would neeeever do that! THOSE are definitely no prisoners! Noononono!"

Malika: "Those? Who are 'those'?"

Nashida: "Those? Those? Oh … THOSE! They are … uhm … I mean."

Malika (angry): "Nashida! This is not a game! It's essential that ALL new prisoners are reported to me, and that NOBODY manages to pass the road block unnoticed. When the observers I sent to follow the snow leopard reached the dam, they ran right into a stranger who must have passed our camp during the sandstorm last night."

Nashida: "Oh!"

Malika: "If you weren't such a good friend, I would have suspended you right now. You realize that, don't you?"

Nashida (timidly): "Yes, Malika. I'm sorry."

Malika: "Now go, and bring me your 'non-prisoners'. I need to talk to them."

Nashida (humble): "Uhm … okay."

%ACT% Nashida leaves to [1]

%ACT% Malika turns to Fennec 1

Malika: "And you, get me the guy who was waiting for mika. Allright?"

%SND% 0910 - Fennec1: "Aye aye!"

%ACT% Fennec 1 nods and leaves to [7]

%ACT% Nashida comes back in from [1], shoving Poke and Lori along in front of her

%ACT% Poke and Lori are complaining

Poke, Lori: "Hey! What do you think you doing!"

Nashida: "Theeere you go, shoo shoo shoo! The miiiighty Malika wants to talk to you! Yeeeesyesyesyes!"

Malika: "Salam Aleikum. I am Malika ibnat Sirah Ash Maqwa'iyya."

Poke: "Gesundheit! I'm Poke!"

%ACT% Fennec 1 leads Lionel in from [7], who is bound with a rope around his neck

Lori: "E Aleikum Salam. My Name is Loreena Mc Folkmanis, and I ….. OH! LIONEL! WHEEEE!"

%ACT% Lori runs towards Lionel and hugs him

Lori: "You're alive! I'm so glad to see you!"

Poke (imitaging lori): "OH! LIONEL! WHEEEE!"

%ACT% Poke runs towards Lionel

Poke: "Thank you for leaving us alone in the desert, asshole!"

%ACT% Poke kicks Lionel in the groin

%SND% 0911 - PUNCH


Malika: "Oh, how nice. If you weren't all different species, I'd say you're a family."

Lionel (through his teeth): "If it goes on like this, I will never have one …"

Lori: "Lionel! We were so afraid something might have happened to you! Did you manage to find Mika?"

Lionel: "Yes."

Lori: "Yes? And?"

Lionel: "Nothing. I found her. That's all."

Lori: "What do you mean, that's all? Didn't you even talk to each other, or what?"

Malika: "Stop! Stop! Timeout! You're still MY prisoners, and that means I am the one who asks the questions here! So, let me get this straight. You are Lori, Poke and Lionel. You all know each other, and you all know Mika. But what in Allah's name are you doing here? Mika didn't mention any companions."

Lionel: "That's because she probably didn't expect us to be following her."

Malika: "And why DID you follow her?"

Poke: "Because he thought she was cheating on him!"

Malika: "With whom? Rashid?"


%ACT% Malika laughs out loud

Malika: "Really? You thought she was … I mean … with … Rashid?"

Lionel: "What is so funny about this?"

Malika: "You're talking about Rashid, son of Sayyid, the Emir of Dawlat al Nimr."

Lionel: "THE WHAT????"

Malika: "The Emir's son. Royalty. He's the legitimate ruler of this land. Not quite the kind of person to secretly cheat your husband with."

Lionel: "Okay, now I'm lost. It all makes no sense. She left without notice, and all we found was her telephone with this message from a guy called "Rashid" on it. And when I heard him call her 'my love' I thought …"

Poke: "You thought? No. You didn't. And that's precisely the problem."

Malika: "Do you know about the challenge?"

Lori: "What challenge?"

Malika: "Okay, here's the short version: Rashid and Adham are controlling the reservoir dam, refusing their own people the water they need to live. We have set up this camp to cut them off from their supplies to force them to negotiate with us. Without success. But then came Mika. She said she had to clear an old debt, and she would talk to Rashid on our behalf if we let her go. So I did."

Lionel: "And what do WE have to do to make you let US go?"

Malika: "How about telling me everything you know?"

Lionel: "You already know a lot more than I. The recorded message on her telephone is still the only information I have."

Malika: "Then please play it to me."

Lionel: "Allright. Just one second."

%ACT% Lionel gets out the phone, playing the message

%SND% 0912 - Message

%ACT% Wait for the words "I need your help, and I need it now."

Malika: "Now that's odd."

Lionel: "What?"

Malika: "That doesn't sound like Rashid. It sounds more like the voice of Adham."

Lori: "What? You mean, Adham is pretending to be his brother?"

Poke: "Holy Shit! Mika will be in for a surprise when she arrives!"

Malika (worried): "Yes. I don't know what Adham might be plotting, but it can't be good."

Lionel (sarcastic): "Whatever it is, I'm sure she can handle it. She's a tough girl. Nobody messes with Mika, you know? And if she wants something done, she'll do it herself."

Malika: "I beg your pardon? Your wife is being lured into the leopards den under a false pretense, and you're not even worried? What kind of husband are you?"

Lionel (angry): "All along the way everyone has been telling me I'm worrying too much, and that I should leave Mika alone. And now suddenly, everyone's telling me I'm not worrying ENOUGH! Could you guys please make up your mind?"

Lori: "Lionel! You're the last one who saw Mika. Where is she now?"

Lionel: "I saw her passing the gatehouse just before I was arrested."

Lori: "Okay. We don't know if she's in trouble, but just in case she were … would there be any way for us to get inside?"

Malika: "Just the four of us? Hardly. The whole camp? Maybe. But oh, the irony. I've JUST tried to convince the pack that attacking the dam is our last remaining option. But to no avail. If we had proof that something really bad was going on on the other side of the lake, I might be able to change their minds. But I'm sure they aren't going to risk their lives based on a vague suspicion."

Lori: "Could you please play the message again, Lionel? Maybe we missed something …"

Lionel: "Sure. Just one second. Oh! Look!"

Lori: "What is it?"

%SND% 0913 - BEEP - "You have … 1 NEW message. TODAY, 8:35 PM"

%LIG% Main light off

%SND% 0913 (cont.) - Ending music

%HND% Curtain close