Narrator (In top hat 🎩 and tails):
Damien und Herren, as usual, in a dialectical, deontological, confrontational Expressionist Play we provide three, yet mutually – exclusive philosophical world-views in sharp contrast. Please enjoy: (Narrator bows low and exits stage left)
ACT I, SCENE I APRIL 1916. A Trench Line Somewhere in South-Western Germany.
Private Leviné: So, have you got a Cigaretu my good friend Adolf?
Corporal Adolf: I have no Cigaretu, dear Eugen.
Lieutenant Güttmann: Here (opens a silver Cigaretu case with a small iron cross on it and hands a Cigaretu to Private Leviné). Please?
Leviné: Many thanks, sir.
Adolf: The same, good lieutenant.
Güttman: It’s odd, that I find myself in a trench in the Imperial German army with two of my good soldiers, but neither of them German. Adolf is from Vienna and Leviné is from Saint Petersburg. My family has been in Stuttgart for at least five centuries, but some would say that I am not a German, but a demonic Jew. Yes?
Adolf: I cannot comment, my Lieutenant. You are an officer. I know nothing else but that. Officers must be obeyed without question. If it is not a violation of protocol, may I inquire if you have seen my sketchbook?
Leviné: The artist is actually quite talented, if I may, my Lieutenant. (Clicking heels with a slight bow).
Güttman: I very much want to see you artwork Corporal Adolf.
A shell cracks overhead and the men dive into the mud. They all stand up and brush themselves off. Adolf reaches between some timbers and extracts a lovely pastel drawing of a Swiss cottage.
Güttman: Brilliant use of color, surprising, really.
Leviné: Sharp lines, excellent work.
Adolf: Despite your being a Jew, I find you to be an excellent, strong German officer.
Leviné: Yes, it is pretty remarkable, I am a Jew, but I also expect a Jewish officer to show weakness to be honest, but you never show weakness. You are never on holiday.
Güttman: I ‘m glad both of you approve. (Takes a long drag on his Cigaretu). Do not worry about it. My father was in the German army and his father and his father, as long as it is recorded in Stuttgart, my family has been in the army.
Adolf: You make your evil Hebrew extraction irrelevant. I am proud to serve in your command.
Leviné: And I also, I see Adolf as my brother and you as a rather strict uncle.
Adolf: Ah, the stern eye of the commander!
Güttman: I am proud to serve the Emperor. It is the Emperor, who ensures that it is Germany above all. Our security, our freedom, our prosperity, it is all because we have a strong Emperor, the defender of peace. Our Protector against foreign enemies. In our country, one is not permitted to step on the other, so that we all live well and in safety. Imperialism is clearly the best form of government for most people.
Artillery shells crash and the three soldiers fall to the ground. Men are screaming and blood spurts everywhere. Lieutenant Güttman crawls through the mud to hand another Cigaretu to Corporal Adolf and Private Leviné.
Adolf: I agree that a strong leader is important for the prosperity and security of the fatherland. But while I believe that you must love your nation and its people and defend them with blood and iron, it must also be required that the government provides for the general welfare. Essentially, the best form of government, for the preservation of the heritage and the blood of the German people is a rather nationalistic form of socialism.
Adolf covers his head as shells crash in and medics run past with a stretcher. He takes a drag from his Cigaretu.
Leviné: If I might, Imperialism has many weaknesses. The rich can just set on the mass of the workers, the proletariat alone is crushed by the ruling oligarchs. I agree with Adolf, provision for social welfare is important, but we also need to break the bonds of nationalist tendencies that serve to separate the workers in one country from another. I’m more in favor of a pure form of socialism combined with the dictatorship of the proletariat.
An officer wades through the carnage in the trenches. He is thin, older, with a bald head, a dueling scar and a monocle.
The three men come to attention. Lieutenant Guttman salutes.
Oberst: I have unfortunate news. The 15th Regiment is down to 3% strength. Everyone is dead or seriously wounded. Everyone from Regimental headquarters is dead except for the four of us. An attack is necessary on the British trenches to allow the 71st Cavalry to mount an attack to the south. I will lead the diversionary attack. Does each of you have a rifle.
Levine: Jawohl!, Herr Oberst.
Guttman: JaWohl!, Herr Oberst.
Adolf: (grabbing a rifle from the hands of a dead man.) JaWohl! Herr Oberst.
The four men line up at the wall of the muddy trench. It is pitch dark and the sky clears enough for the moon to break through. Levine peers over the top and sees a scene of death and destruction, bodies strewn everywhere mixed with dead horses in wild grimaces of death agony.
The Oberst blows the whistle and the men climb over the top. The Oberst is killed instantly by water-cooled British machine-gun fire. A massive shell explodes stopping the British fusillade, but violently throwing the three men back into the trench.
The disoriented men scramble for their equipment, glasses and weapons. Levine wipes the mud off of his glasses.
Levine: Lieutenant? Corporal?
Guttman: I’m well.
Adolf: I’m no worse for the wear. Where is the Oberst?
Levine: He was annihilated.
Guttman: May I offer Cigaretu?
Adolf and Eugen accept Cigaretu. Ein Kapitän comes from HQ.
A Kapitän appears in the gloaming.
Kapitän Lügosi: I just heard from HQ. Everyone on the last charge is either dead, mortally wounded or missing. HQ needs the remaining Soldaten to hold the trenchline against die Englischen. Do you have any mittrailleuse?
Güttman: Nein! Meinen Geehrter Kapitän.
Lügosi: I have to stay here with you. I have orders. In real life I am an Actor in Budä Pescht I am on loan from the Österreich 🇦🇹 en Armee. What about you?
Bela accepts Cigaretu.
Adolf: I am an Artist 👨🎤 a painter 👩🎨 🎨 from Austria 🇦🇹.
Güttman: I am a Münchener Jewish Business machine store owner Originally from Stuttgart
Leviné: I am a college Student 👨🎓 from St. Petersburg, Imperial Russ.
Another Shell 🐚 comes in. All duck 🦆 in the mud. A pile of dismembered body parts rains down on them. They stand up and Leviné lights each one ☝️ a new Cigaretu.
Adolf: We were discussing der Philosophie dem Regierungen.
Güttman: So was für diskutieren neue existentiellen Philosophie?
Adolf: It is too French… the être en soi und so weiter.
Leviné: So the existentialiste states that we exist only as we are perceived by others.
Lügosi: Meaning we have no extrinsic purpose such as in Teleological ethical theory where each thing has a purpose?
Leviné: Of course I believe that we as Arbeiten have an extrinsic purpose to revolution leading to dictatorship of the Proletarier and by any means necessary implying Utilitarian Consequentialist Ethik.
Adolf: What if the higher purpose is Nationalist Ethos? To achieve a Kollektiv destiny? What if Nationalism is the bridge between man and the higher man?
Güttman: I prefer Deontological Ethik whereby each Männer performs his duty as the Kaiser Kommanden?