Ivan Kraus

Cast: 2 women, 2 men, 4 tape-recorded voices

Poker without an Ace is a metaphor for contemporary Western society which functions on the principle “Accumulation, consumption, frustration”. The play distinguishes itself by grotesque elements and absurd verbal comedy; in the tradition of the drama of the absurd it lays emphasis on an analysis of language; with the help of language games it reveals the hidden stereotypes of communications. The first scene is played on the stand of two tramps who spend the day aside from life’s commotion, philosophising and perusing telephone directories. They are not short of anything essential. Into their seclusion falls the tramp Zrzavec whose existence is absurd; although a tramp, his hunt for “trampish” luxury works on him in an unfree way. After him comes the Sociologist, who in the course of work on one of her statistics falls into a deep depression because of her own alienated existence. The second scene is the tramps’ dream of heaven. Voices of a heavenly radio can be heard. The scene ends with the tramps’ attempt to be heard by the Creator. However, all they can hear on the phone is the eternally repeated recording “Don’t hang up, you are in a queue…”. In the third scene we find ourselves back on earth. The Sociologist again appears on the tramps’ stand, having decided to end her consumer existence and become a tramp as well. However, she cannot accept the idea of surrendering civilisation’s gains. In the end she hesitatingly leaves with the energetic Zrzavec. In the moonlit night the tramps again return to reading the endless rows of numbers in the telephone directory. 

Two dossers, He and She … are woven from the material of Steinbeck’s voluntary renegades and rebels against success. (Richard Erml: Sadomaso, Divadelní noviny, 8.6.1999)

  The play is available also in German translation.