An intellectual's room: books, books, books. At his desk, Father is reading, taking notes, reading... the door cracks open and Puiu enters: he advances a few steps, sees Father absorbed in work, and makes for the door. FATHER (feels his presence): Puiu, is that you? Come to Dad. (Puiu draws near, docile and shy) Come closer, closer… good. Well, how was school today?PUIU (bored): I got an A in music.FATHER: Good for you, well done! What did you sing?PUIU (an obedient child): The Locomotive. FATHER (wishing to relax): The Locomotive? Good. Sing it to me, like you do at school, will you?PUIU (sings terribly out of tune): A locomotive Is coming at high speed With a row of railcars behind it.
Filled with eager joy, The whole village's waiting For many a great thing To come from the city.FATHER (roars with laughter): Very good! Bravo!PUIU (puzzled): I haven't finished, dad. FATHER (laughing with tears): All right, go ahead!PUIU (serious): Why are you laughing? The song is not for laughs. FATHER: What is it for then?PUIU (calm): It's for singing. (Suddenly) Dad, where does singing come from?FATHER: Who?PUIU: Singing.FATHER: What do you mean?PUIU (patiently): Singing, where does it come from? Who invented it?FATHER (amused): Nobody. People.PUIU: Nobody, or people?FATHER: People.PUIU: All of them?FATHER (slightly confused): Not all…PUIU: But who? What's the name of the one who invented it?FATHER: How shall I explain it to you… it wasn't just one… there were several.PUIU: And how did they invent it?FATHER: Just like that… in the process of work.PUIU (composed): In the what?FATHER: In… during their work.PUIU: Were they working in plants?FATHER: No, there were no plants then.PUIU: Why weren't there any plants?FATHER: It was during the Stone Age. PUIU: Stone what?FATHER: I mean it was long ago, when there were no plants.PUIU: You've already told me that there were no plants.FATHER: Yes, I have, haven't I! (Thinking) Look, there weren't any plants because people hadn't invented them yet. Got it?PUIU: Yes.FATHER (relieved from a heavy burden): Excellent! You're a clever boy. See how quickly you understood?PUIU: Yes, Dad. Who invented singing?FATHER (signs of irritation): I thought you said you understood.PUIU: About the plants. Not about the singing. FATHER (visibly annoyed): And please stop saying "the singing."PUIU: How shall I say then?FATHER: Songs.PUIU: But songs are many. The singing is one. I was asking about the singing. FATHER: All right, all right! Just call it as you wish. In fact, what do you want from me?PUIU: Who invented singing?FATHER: I've already told you. People.PUIU: Enough, it's all clear to me now. I won't ask you any more who, because you don't have any idea. Did birds learn to sing from people? FATHER (anticipates a new assault): No.PUIU: If people invented singing, how did birds learn to sing?FATHER (on the edge of enragement): Birds know how to sing from nature.PUIU: Whom did nature learn from?FATHER: Nature is everything around us, it's… nature is nature.PUIU: I understand. Nature is nature.FATHER (reckoning he's off the hook): You'll learn about that at school.PUIU: OK, Dad. But what's nature?FATHER (methodically): The earth, the trees, the grass, the flowers, the mountains, the waters. In brief, everything. PUIU: The TV too?FATHER: No, not the TV.PUIU: But we see in it trees, flowers, mountains and waters, don't we?FATHER: We do, but the trees and flowers and the other stuff are filmed in nature.PUIU: Is the Sun nature too?FATHER: Sure is.PUIU: And the Moon?FATHER: The Moon, and the stars, they are all part of nature.PUIU: The sky too?FATHER (unknowingly nearing the edge of the abyss): Of course.PUIU: What's the sky made of?FATHER: The sky? Of… of… what do you mean what it's made of?PUIU: What it's made of.FATHER (exasperated): Why do you keep asking me stupid things? The sky is made of atmosphere, of air.PUIU (unflappable): What, there is air up there? You told me once that spacemen float inside the rocket because there is no air up there. That's why they wear those masks.FATHER: Of course, that's true.PUIU: Then, if there's no air, what is the sky made of?FATHER (yells): There you go again!PUIU (innocent): But you didn't tell me!FATHER (has lost his patience): Be patient! You'll learn at school when you grow old.PUIU: Did you learn at school what the sky is made of?FATHER: Of course I did.PUIU: So what is it made of?FATHER: Leave me alone, will you? Can't you see I'm busy?PUIU (saddened): You called me…FATHER (faced with evidence): You're right. Stay. No, go do your homework. PUIU: I did my homework.FATHER: Then stay here, but shut up.PUIU: OK. (Keeps silent)FATHER: That's it, good boy! (Pause)PUIU: Dad, how many miles are there to the sky?FATHER (yells): Get out! (Almost crying, Puiu makes for the door) Wait! Don't go. (Puiu comes back, docile) It's not your fault, after all. (Caresses his head) That's how things are. We can't understand each other. PUIU: Why, Dad?FATHER (rather to himself): The impossibility of communication among people…PUIU: It's your fault.FATHER: Mine?!PUIU: Because you won't tell me. Our schoolma'am tells us everything we want to know.FATHER: So why don't you ask her the sky question? No, forget it, better not… leave her alone. (Resigned) Ask me. PUIU (as a consequence): What is the sky made of?FATHER: The sky does not exist.PUIU: Why didn't you tell me from the beginning? What's the blue thing up there then?FATHER: The sky. I mean, not the sky, the air. No, not the air, it's… it's… it's nothing.PUIU: Is nothing blue?FATHER: Always.PUIU: And how many miles are there to up there?FATHER (in a new fit of fury): Up where, you tyrant? Didn't I tell you it does not exist? It does not exist! It does not exist! (Overwhelmed) Five million miles.PUIU: If it doesn't exist, how can there be five million miles?FATHER (up in arms): See? You know! If it doesn't exist, it doesn't exist, there is no mile, no nothing, absolutely nothing!PUIU: But what is nothing made of?FATHER (worn out): Nothing.PUIU: Nothing is made of nothing?FATHER: Yes. Nothing is made of nothing. Ex nihilo, nihil. (Gets scared) I said nothing. PUIU: You did say "nothing."FATHER (hopeless): I did.PUIU: Dad, what does tyrant mean?FATHER: A bad man who does harm to other people.PUIU: Am I a tyrant?FATHER: No. Who put that into your head?PUIU: You did. You called me a tyrant a few minutes ago.FATHER: Tyrant also means a person who asks too many questions.PUIU: And I am a tyrant?FATHER: Yes.PUIU: But you just said I'm not, and who put that into my head!FATHER (on the verge of madness): You aren't. I can't take it any more! You're driving me crazy!PUIU: Dad, I don't love you any more.FATHER: Here comes a new one! Why?PUIU: Because you are selfish and you don't want to tell me anything.FATHER: Get out, you ingrate! PUIU (exits in tears): You are the ignorant!FATHER (alone, ditched, saddened): No, definitely, people can no longer communicate. This is how families are destroyed, this is how hate is born between parents and children… (Shouts desperately) Puiu! Puiu! Come back! I'll tell you everything you want to know! (Nobody enters through the open door) That's it… it's over! He ditched me… (Tragically) He went to play… The curtain drops

by Dumitru Solomon (1932-2003)