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Is It Worse to Be A Good Citizen?

My Thoughts on Alone in Berlin (Play) by Hans Falida

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  • i read the play because it was on kindle lol and the original currently isnt, but i really liked reading the stage play itself actually
  • courage is sometimes not about being a good citizen in times of peace, or a bad citizen in times of dissent, but to be a good person

A Bench in the Paupers’ Graveyard, Friedrichshain Elsie enters, wanders, glances at the graves, sits down, takes out a bottle and swigs. Elsie (spoken) I like it here. It’s nice sometimes To sit upon the grass And park your arse On someone’s grave. No need to ask permission (Points down into the earth.) This lot don’t even have names. The paupers’ graveyard of Berlin Would not have let them in If big inscriptions and memorials Were what they’d hoped for. (Sings.) No stones, no carved poetic lines, No grand funereal designs Were ever offered here. No sure and certain hope Had ever come their way in life So why begin in death? They tossed ’em in In groups of five or six or ten or twenty Shovelled earth on top And shrugged and headed home. Not one of those inglorious dead Had lived a life of plenty Though plenty had of course been promised them. And now they lie unsung, unhonoured and unwept, For promises are promises And very rarely kept.

(Spoken.) I need a smoke.

Elsie (sings) At night the SS boss’s boss is Lying in the dark Trembling at the thought Of what the day could bring, Pondering his chances of survival. While far above him, Far, far above him, The boss of bosses Author of the Reich designed to last a thousand years Ordains another thousand deaths To help conceal his fears.

The music transitions to a much jauntier tone as the next scene is set up.

Elsie (sings) Good citizens Can always be relied upon. Good citizens Who dress for church on Sunday And on Monday Go about their business And are never late for work. Good citizens who never shirk Responsibility and duty. The beauty of a system That’s both tragedy and farce Is a citizen’s ability To kiss official arse.

Elsie (sings) You may despise bad citizens Who lie in bed on Sunday And on Monday Duck and dive To stay alive Breaking every rule Hiding from the law Hoping that some fool Will give them money For a drink. Cheating, lying, stealing. Ruthless and unfeeling And not averse To little acts of violence. But … in bad times, Bad citizens (Beat.) Good citizens. (Beat.) Who knows which is worse?