ACT 3 SCENE 4 What Is To Be Done?

JILL: I’m scared. Scared that they are going to blow up some small quiet town in Podunk, Maine to prove that nobody is safe no matter where they are.

fiddle music

LUCIEN: I’m scared that terrorists are going to take over another country and that Bush will start another war before these two are done.

fiddle music

REVEREND: I’m scared that the whole country will become a police state. That my phone will be wiretapped, that my emails read.

fiddle music

LUCIEN: I’ve got another one. I’m scared that Social Security is going to go bust. I’m too old to worry about it for myself, but - my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren - the debt we’re building. How the hell are we ever going to get out of it?

fiddle music

BILLY: I’m afraid that it’ll turn into another Vietnam and 50,000 poor soldiers will get killed. And I don’t ride boxcars anymore. They welded up the maintenance holes on the grainers.

fiddle music

OLIVER: I’m not scared of anything for myself, but I am scared that you people are going to lose your freedoms which you’ve cherished for so long. Taking freedom for granted is the first step towards dictatorship.

guitar music underneath dialogue

BILLY: When I come back to my site at night, I always wonder if some trooper has trashed it in the name of national security. Don’t they realize that people like me are “First Responders?”

HEATHER: I’m scared that Emmeliene is not going to be allowed to travel freely back and forth between Canada. We have dual citizenship because of an international agreement, but laws can be changed.

JILL: What don’t I do that I used to? I don’t make jokes in public about Bush anymore.

OLIVER: I haven’t changed anything. You see the Sudanese try to be very proper. You want to see our papers…here are our papers. We keep them with us at all times. For us manners are very important. That is who we are.

REVEREND: Well I don’t put bumper stickers on my car anymore.

HEATHER: Around lunchtime on September 11th, our faculty advisor - she’s Penobscot - called an emergency meeting for all the multi-cultural students. She said she wanted us to all go buy flags pins, buttons, stickers for our cars.. She told us what store sold them. And to make sure people could see us wearing them. She said we needed to pool what money we had to make these stickers saying “Remember” and hand them out to the other students at USM – which meant the white students basically. I know she meant well and was only thinking of our safety, but I ended up feeling so incredibly alone.

REVEREND: Your story reminded me, right after the Trade Center was attacked, I was leaving a restaurant run by an El Salvadorian family in town. Their six year old son came running out to the parking lot and looked over my car. “Where’s your flag? Where’s your flag?” I asked him what he meant? “Your flag –“ he tells me, “You need to put a flag on your car so you can be safe.”

guitar out, drums begin

JILL: Almost an opposite reaction, I became more determined to not give in to my fears. I don’t lock my car. I would rather pay the cost of replacing whatever was taken than live a life closed offd by fear and paranoia.

OLIVER: Don’t hate me for this. But I felt a strange sense of relief. Like now you will get involved in the rest of the world’s business.

REVEREND: None of you have said the word ‘panic’ but ever since the 11th, I’ve been terrified that I’m going to be deported and beaten up. And I was born here. I’m frightened that my difference will create some kind of drama around me. I don’t fool myself to think that it couldn’t happen to me.

LUCIEN: I do whatever I damn please. They can’t shut me up. Not back then, not now.

drum and fiddle, music out.

SCENE 5 Where Do You Find Hope?

JILL: Hope? That’s been a reach these days. Where do I find hope? Knowing that if I get engaged, I can make a difference. That I can find a sense of myself in this town and among generations of black people in Maine. Knowing that my name will be show up in Maine’s history books. And knowing I won’t be the last.

REVEREND: My faith and the people I minister to. The fine line between the Divine and human. The “is-ness.” When I am confused or don’t know what to do, that is where I go. Nature. Trees. The night sky. That silent place within each of us where we remember hope.

OLIVER: Many things that I fought for most of my life are coming true. That is hope enough for me.


(sounds of ice storm and trees snapping in forest)


RADIO ANNOUNCER: Good evening. Today marks seven years since the ice storm where four out of five households found themselves without electricity. Hundreds of thousands of Mainers moved in together, finding support and solace in the unexpected company of friends, family and neighbors. The storm was proceeded by four days of a gentle mist followed by plummeting temperatures. Earlier this week, Maine Emergency Management Agency reported that the trees are coming back in the deep woods. Tens of thousands residents braved the downed electrical lines and debris-strewn roads to head for the relative safety of Portland. One year ago today the Calais Free Library was in the news when Director Marilyn Sotirelis began informing library users about the Patriot Act. Handing out pamphlets, informing the public of the fact that the FBI was now allowed to find out what material users check out. In other news, Maine ACLU - in response to complaints - began an investigation of the temporary Custom and Border Patrol checkpoint on I-95 near Old Town. The Border Patrol - in a statement released today – responded…asking the citizens of Maine how they can be expected to do their job if the basic use of checkpoints is being called into question? And as fuel costs continue to rise, geologic evidence shows Maine has experienced both tropical and polar climates over the eons. Harold Borns at U of M believes we are in another interglacial period and headed sooner or later for more snow and ice, making this as good a time as any to get your storm windows in, load up on supplies, and call a friend or neighbor. This is Tavia Gilbert, Maine Community Radio, wishing you a very good evening.


REVEREND: This collar means I’m trying. I’m no hero. Just ask anybody. But I’ve fought to realize my dreams all my life. This collar means I won. What happens to me is no better or no worse than what happens to lots of Latinos. Money or status doesn’t buy you much protection. My skin is brown or maybe you didn’t notice. I guess I got lucky.

OLIVER: I lead by listening. After being around me many times, this man who doesn’t say very much but watches all the time, they learn to trust me, to come to me when they have something they are not sure how to solve. My people have a saying. “Ini ra kporo mbiko ageno.” It means “Guests are the foundation of a home.” The first time I was a refugee in nearby Congo, some people were nice, others not very nice. A few years after we returned home, the same Congolese came to us as refugees. A few of my people asked me if they could treat them badly in return. I said “No, for we may be refugees again in the future.” So I will finish my time with you tonight by saying “Remember, you might end up being a guest yourselves one day.”

JILL: You will never know me. The layers that keep me sane. The complexities of being brown in a very white world. And I don’t only mean color. When I was five I made the decision to not ‘go along’ with things. To not pretend something wasn’t happening when it was. To intercede. Not on my own behalf, but to never stand by while someone else was being hurt. My son is a large, beautiful, dark skinned 13 year old man-child. That puts him at grave risk. The other day driving home with him we passed someone laid out on a sidewalk. I started to turn the car around to make sure the man was all right. My son protested. My own son doesn’t even get it. If I don’t turn around and make sure someone isn’t ill or dying, who will turn around for me? For my son? I expect this community to protect my son. I expect that of every single one of you here tonight. To turn around. No matter how busy, how tired, how unsure you are. I would do that for you.

LUCIEN: I’m depending on the young people to fix things. Maybe that’s wrong and we should have fixed it ourselves. My great granddaughter Chloe is living in a completely different world. She’s making friends with people from countries that I didn’t even know existed when I was growing up. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not quitting. I’ll be around as long as I last, just in case you could use a hand steering the ship. It looks like we’re in for a rocky ride.

HEATHER: That battle I told you about? I can see the park outside the window in one of my classes at USM. I’m not a morbid person but everyday I look out that window I don’t how many times a day. I can almost see the men, women and babies getting killed. This is the world I have to live in. Am I an American? I am a mother, a nursing student, a daughter, a sister, a white person, an Indian, and a member of my tribe. My people were almost lost. The Abenaki Nation gone. Yet I am here. And people know it. When I was growing up, the kids all ganged up on me. Calling me “Redskin” - going after me. The first time, I ran home, cried with my mother. I couldn’t figure out how they knew I was Indian. I didn’t even know I was Indian. I guess they helped me see myself . We are getting stronger. We are growing, gathering the knowledge that is there to discover, reclaim, making it up if we have to. ‘Micmac’…it means ‘My friends.’

BILLY: (looks at rest of cast) Looks like I’m closing the barn door tonight. Hope the horse is still in there. I appreciate what Portland does for people like me. And I hope it doesn’t turn back on itself. Decide to treat some people like criminals just cause they don’t have as much money as some other people.

When I lived over around Pine Tree Shopping Center I’d see this man sometimes. Fella lived by himself like me. He’d been living there two years. We discovered we was both fathers. He had three alimonies and three child-supports to take care of for eleven more years. He said the only way he could keep up was to live in the woods. I couldn’t decide if I thought he was crazy, what with all the men I know who left their wives to deal.

I decided for me, he was doing the right thing. Wish I’d done it differently. My daughter’s all grown up now. As a parent I’m kind of freaking out about the future. Don’t you wonder what it’s going to be like ten, twenty, one hundred years from now?

I can see I’m just about to talk too much which I don’t have to tell you wouldn’t the first time. So good night. Thanks for coming. If you see me, don’t feel like you have to give me money.


JILL: You meet Lucien, you meet Maine.

LUCIEN: You meet the Mayor, you meet Maine.

OLIVER: You meet Reverend Virginia Marie, you meet Maine.

REVEREND: You meet Oliver, you meet Maine.

BILLY: You meet Heather, you meet Maine.

HEATHER: You meet Billy, you meet Maine.