[In Montmartre – Paris, France, at a fancy outdoor terrace, served by a young American boy.]
[Enter Antigone, followed by Gregor Samsa, who pursues Antigone everywhere, declaring his true love for her]
ANTIGONE: By Zeus, dear Insect, please offer me no more dishonor and allow me to rest at this table, thinking of my own troubles.
GREGOR SAMSA [with a squeaky voice]: Good Lady, I mean no harm to your exquisite beauty. I ask only to listen to the soft tone of my voice, to sense my true soul and see me as a person. Because I am a deeply in loved person, who is hiding under this horrific creature.
[Enters Huckleberry Finn for taking the orders, addressing them in a polite and detached manner]
HUCKLEBERRY FINN: ‘Afternoon, Ma’am, Sir! What a fine day we have t’day, ain’t it so? What’ll be, folks?
ANTIGONE: [blurred by the Southern accent of the young man]: What thee just said, nan have I understood.
HUCKLEBERRY FINN [relaxed and self-confident] Ay, Ma’am. I am speaking good English, I am. What can I give ya?
GREGOR SAMSA [with the same squeaky voice]: Bring the lady an herbal tea and a dark beer for me, please. Thank you, buddy!
HUCKLEBERRY FINN [confused, not understanding Greogor]: Wha’ was that, Sir?
GREGOR SAMSA [aware of the weird sound of his voice enunciates]: her-bal-tea-and-a-dark-be-er.
HUCKLEBERRY FINN [repeating the order, as he understood it]: Rum would be, sir! By the way, sir, if you don’t mind me say. That’s a fine costume you’ve got there, sir! The costume of the misses ain’t bat at all either, but yours is damn right. They’ll be fools not to vote you the winner in that costume contest you’re in.
GREGOR SAMSA [resigned, in a silent voice]: Yes, I guess so. Thanks!
[As Huckleberry Finn walks away to bring the orders, a young Chinese lady approaches]
JING-MEI WOO [addressing to Gregor Samsa with a Chinese English accent]: Excuse me, kind Sir, may I disturb you for just one moment to ask you to take a picture with this photo camela?
GREGOR SAMSA: Excuse me, miss, but I do not know how to use this. I am not accustomed.
JING-MEI WOO [understands Gregor, as she has a fine ear, accustomed with decoding Chinese English; laughing]: Don’t be silly. We are in the 20th century. Everybody knows how to use a photo camera.
[Enters Huckleberry Finn with the drinks]:
HUCKLEBERRY FINN: ‘Afternoon, Ma’am! Seems to me that we are in the 19th century, according to my watch, here [indicating the old-style pocket watch].
ANTIGONE [dismayed]: Of what you talk about, I do not know. I can only testify that when I left from home this morning to search for my brother’s dead body to offer him a proper burial – I was in Ancient Greece. I fearfully admit I do not know how I got here.
GREGOR SAMSA: To fall in love with a Greek princess, what a destiny! A man metamorphosed into an ant at the beginning of the 20th century is just as odd.
[Everybody get accustomed with Gregor’s accent and listen to him carefully, impressed by his sad story. When, suddenly ]
JING-MEI WOO [panicked, in Chinese English accent]: Look, thel is a boy and his tigel coming ou’ way.
PI [holding his tiger by a leash, speaking in an Indian English accent]: Good afternoon! Can anyone please tell me what year it is? I have been sailing for years and I lost track of time. It was the spring of 2001 when me and Richard Parker over here adventured on the Pacific.
JING-MEI WOO [dazzled]: Wait, what? 2001? What are you talking about? We are in the seventies.
ANTIGONE: What in Zeus’ name are the seventies? We are in Ancient Greece.
HUCKLEBERRY FINN: Pardon me, Ma’am, but we’re in 1885, in Kentucky.
[In the meantime, Richard Parker, who was very hungry after travelling for many days without eating, breaks free from the leash and jumps on Gregor Samsa, determined to have him for his lunch].
HUCKLEBERRY FINN: Run, everybody!
JING-MEI WOO [screaming, with her hands on her eyes]: Nooo, my photo camela!
GREGOR SAMSA [petrified]: Take it off! Take it off!
[As Richard Parker grabs Gregor by his arm, Antigone approaches singing to the tiger’s ear, while PI pulls it of its leash and keeps it steady].
PI: Sir, I am very sorry. He might have thought you were a strange animal.
GREGOR SAMSA [rising his voice]: I am a strange animal.
ANTIGONE [peacefully, to Gregor]: Of danger thee escaped, kind man. Take comfort now, as you are safe.
JING-MEI WOO [excited, to Antigone]: How did you do that, Miss?
ANTIGONE [smiling calmly]: At my father’s court, in Ancient Greece, I played with wild animals and tamed them.
GREGOR SAMSA [touched]: You saved me! Thank you, Queen of my life.
[A brief moment, everybody comes around Gregor to see if he is fine, when PI remembers why he was there].
PI: So, you are from Ancient Greece, the two of you [indicating Gregor and Jing-Mei] are from the 20th century, the waiter comes from the 19th century and me from the future – the 21st century. What is the meaning of this?
GREGOR SAMSA [apart]: We are in a continuum. We all belong to different times and different places and we are brought here together for a purpose.
ANTIGONE [curious]: What purpose shall that be?
GREGOR SAMSA [profoundly]: To continue our stories.
PI: Hold on a minute: How come we understand each other if we belong to different worlds, different nationalities and different periods of time?
HUCKLEBERRY FINN: I reckon that’s cause even thou we’re different, we have somethin’ in common.
PI [impatiently]: What’s that?
JING-MEI WOO [deep]: It’s cultural diversity. We’re here to acknowledge and respect the others’ qualities and individualities.
HUCKLEBERRY FINN: So I reckon, Miss!
[End of act]