BANGKOK BY ANTONIO MORCILLO LÓPEZ (ENGLISH TRANSLATION)

Posted by

A deviation here from the regular focus on Latin America.  Earlier this year, I completed a translation of the play Bangkok by Spanish playwright Antonio Morcillo Lopez.  The play won the prestigious SGAE theatre prize, Morcillo Lopez’s second win, and has been performed in various cities of Spain.  Here is a link to an article (Spanish) from newspaper La Razon about the win.  Antonio has written several other plays and is also a theatre director and university professor.  He lives in Barcelona.

Bangkok
Antonio Morcillo López (centre) with Bangkok actors.  Photo:  Twitter

Here is the synopsis I wrote for the play:

In Bangkok,a single act play, Antonio Morcillo Lopez explores the relationship between a security guard of an abandoned airport somewhere in Spain and an elderly passenger who arrives at the airport with a ticket and luggage and the intention to fly to Bangkok.  An extended dialogue ensues between the two covering a wide range of themes. With the use of ample black humour, sarcasm and irony, Morcillo presents a fierce critique of the political and economic situation in Spain and a system which has created grotesque situations.

Embedded below is a clip from one of the performances of Bangkok.  I have then added the first few pages of my English translation.  If you are interested in reading the entire play you can download it in pdf by clicking on the link below.

Bangkok in English

 

 

Bangkok by Antonio Morcillo López

 Translation by Peter W Davies

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS

 SECURITY GUARD: Thirty-four years old

  TRAVELLER: Sixty-eight years old

 

The action takes place somewhere in Spain.

 

 An empty airport terminal with long rows of seats. Behind them large windows filter the light of a sunny day. Outside, a hooded falcon flies majestically. A standing traveller watches it, his back to the audience. Next to him stands a wheeled suitcase. On top of the suitcase, there is a light brown coat, neatly folded. Shortly afterwards a security guard appears. He is surprised to see the traveller. After looking in his direction, he continues to observe the figure of the traveller curiously. The guard is wearing a falconry glove on his left hand. The traveller continues to watch the flight of the falcon in silence until it suddenly disappears out of view.

SECURITY GUARD

What are you doing here?

TRAVELLER

Me? I’m waiting.

SECURITY GUARD

Waiting? What are you waiting for?

TRAVELLER

My plane.

Silence.

SECURITY GUARD

I’m sorry but I can’t let you stay in the airport. It’s not allowed.

TRAVELLER

I don’t want to stay in the airport.

SECURITY GUARD

I’d be fired.

TRAVELLER

I’m telling you that I don’t want to sleep in the airport. I want to go to Bangkok.

SECURITY GUARD

Bangkok?

TRAVELLER

Bangkok. Thailand. Scheduled departure at 2pm. Sunrisefly

SECURITY GUARD

Sunrisefly?

TRAVELLER

Why aren’t the screens on? Why isn’t there anybody around?

            Silence.

SECURITY GUARD

May I see your boarding pass?

TRAVELLER

Of course.

The traveller looks in one of the coat pockets, removes a scrap of paper and hands it over. The guard reads it carefully.

 

SECURITY GUARD

Where did you get this?

TRAVELLER

From the Internet. (Pause) What’s the matter? Is there some kind of problem?

SECURITY GUARD

How much did you pay for your ticket?

TRAVELLER

One thousand five hundred euros return. With a hotel included.

SECURITY GUARD

What a bargain!

TRAVELLER

With breakfast as well.

SECURITY GUARD

Right. Scrambled eggs, bacon and chocolate croissants. Now listen…

TRAVELLER

Why are you wearing that glove?

SECURITY GUARD

For the falcons.

TRAVELLER

Falcons? What falcons?

SECURITY GUARD

The falcons that we have in the airport. (Pause) A lot of people don’t know it but falcons are essential for good air traffic control. Can you hear the little bustards? Really annoying birds with black and white necks? The little bustards get into the plane engines and can cause a disaster. They fly like this. (He extends his arms and imitates the flight of a bird) flapflapflapflap.

TRAVELLER

And the falcons scare them off?

SECURITY GUARD

Exactly. They cost a fortune but they’re worth it.

TRAVELLER

So, you train them?

SECURITY GUARD

That’s right. I train them and look after them.

TRAVELLER

Since when have security guards in airports trained falcons?

SECURITY GUARD

Since when?

TRAVELLER

Yes, since when?

SECURITY GUARD

I don’t know. Maybe since everything turned to shit. Since when? I couldn’t tell you the exact date. 1588? 1898? Or maybe 1939. Around then.

TRAVELLER

I see. Cost cutting. The economic crisis.

SECURITY GUARD

Cost cutting, the economic crisis and a weekend course on the fundamentals of falconry. Adapt or die. I’m also in charge of the ferrets. But they’re not as interesting. Before there were ten of us guarding the airport. Now it’s only Wei and I left and Wei finds animals disgusting so I’m in charge of them. It seems that’s the way all the Chinese are. Well, the Chinese from Wei’s region anyway. China’s very big. Maybe in Beijing they love ferrets, I don’t know.

TRAVELLER

So what do the ferrets do?

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s