SIX MOONS IN BAKARULAKA

or how modernity came to its end deep in the Amazon rainforest
a play by Arthur Martin

7/11 SIX MOONS IN BAKARULAKA or how modernity came to its end deep in the Amazon rainforest __________________________________________________________ characters: Rachel and William, wife and husband – young anthropologists in the field. setting: a hut on the edge of an Amazon rainforest village – Bakarulaka every scene takes place on the night of a full moon __________________________________________________________ Academical background notes at end. __________________________________________________________ Scene 1: first night Inside a single room hut. On either side of the door is a desk with a laptop on it and a chair in front. There is window above each desk, and then further from the door in each direction a hammock. There are four travel trunks piled in William's half of the hut (stage left), and one in Rachel's (stage right) half. Rachel is sitting on the chair by her desk, her arms around her knees pulled to her chest, slumped, looking overwhelmed. William is organizing file folders and typing on his computer, organizing the same files in a database program. Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Oh god. What am I doing here? Uh... Your dissertation research. Your Ph.D. Everything you've been working toward for the last four years. [Moaning...] Uuuhh. Your future! Come on, Rach, it's natural to have some doubts when you first arrive in the field. It's like that stuff from Rodriguez's fieldwork seminar – culture shock, too much self awareness – you got the high grade in that class. [Sullen.]

Rachel:

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Yeah… William: Rachel: You're the princess of ethnographic field research, the first pre-ABD with an article published in the Journal of Qualitative Anthropology... Yeah. Thanks, Will. [Feeling a little better.] And you know, as I've told you before, I couldn't have done that without you as an example of how to really buckle down with some hard core dedication and focus. You taught me that by example. Well, you were a hard worker before that... Yeah, but I didn't really understand the- you know, the focus, the- quest for perfection kind of hard work until I saw you- particularly with the Kaplan Prize competitionYeah, I was really after that one... I know. And I saw that. And at first it was almost scary, the way you were. But then I realized that that kind of zeroing-in focus and dedication to the perfect result, that is the way, that's what- part of what made you great in the way that you were- or are, actually. Well, you really are great at what you do too. Hm. I just wish- I mean you probably wouldn't feel so insecure and on your own if you'd tried harder for the NSF qualitative research grant. Or the Wenner-Gren. Hm. Because they do fund the qualitative stuff sometimes.

William: Rachel:

William: Rachel:

William: Rachel: William:

Rachel: William: Pause. William: Rachel:

But, yeah, they tend to demand a bit more rigor in the structuring of youror one's inferences. [Slightly sarcastic.] Yeah, thanks again Will.

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William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

But I do sympathize. Relying on your parents' money is a scary way to finance a dissertation project. I did get some grants, Will. I know, I know – what is it, 150 dollars from the Presbyterian Womens Lunch Club? It was 800 dollars from the Society for Expressive Culture. Oh right. And 250 from the Association of Feminist Religious Studies. Right, right. I stand corrected. William, please don't revert to your jerky ways. I really can't take that right now. [Honestly.] I'm sorry. [Squeezes next to Rachel cutely on chair and puts arms around her.] You used to like when I was jerky. Yeah, but that was our debating period – when conflict brought us together, United in antagonism - made us one. But we agreed before we got married to move beyond that, agree to disagree and let each other have their perspective, and just move on – You're right. [Kissing her; she accepts the kiss and kisses back.] [Still a little whiny.] You agreed. I know. But you know I would have agreed to anything to get you to marry me! Come on... I'm just teasing. And anyway you have to admit we've been good.

Rachel: William: Rachel:

William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

That's true. We have been good. But it's only been three months. And now is when we really need to come together and look out for each other, Right. support each other in getting our bearings here Yeah. getting our projects going and finished. Wel, that's what I'm doing! [Gets back up and starts working at his equipment.] Yeah, but not just for yourself, I'm here too. [Gets up, goes to her trunk.] And you know I'm willing to help any way I can. But, you know, since I don't really get what you're doing, I don't know how much help I can be in that sense. [Changing into nightshirt.] Just be supportive, Will. And that includes- And you know what I'm doing. I've talked about my project for years. You read my proposal. I read it, but that doesn't mean I get it. Come on, it's not that hard to understand, William. [Continuing to attend to his equipment.] Tell me again. [Getting into her hammock.] The Wakaramaki express their religion, their world-view, in sacred dancerituals, messages of movement, symbolic action. Right. And if I can understand the symbols – the messages – I can understand what it means to be Wakaramaki. What it means to be Wakaramaki... Yeah, but- I'm sorry. I said I wouldn't-. But seriously, Rach, how can you even purport to understand that, let

Rachel:

William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

William: Rachel: William:

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alone know you do when you do, as opposed to thinking you do without ever being able really know you do? It's theRachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: You've got your knowledge, I've got mineIt makes no- I mean, that's the point. My knowledge is scienceHere we go. Standardized procedures, quantifiable data, replicable results – that's knowledge. [In a comically rehearsed/exhausted way, as if she has said these words many times...] That might be one particular, very limited form of knowledgeReal knowledge. and your inability to recognize or understand there are other valid forms of knowledge only shows how limited yours is. Knowledge is knowledge – I'm not apologizing for producing knowledge. Of course you're not. You never apologize for anything. Well if I have something to apologize for, I will. Yeah, actually, you won't. You've had plenty to apologize for, but you could never admit it. What?! Just like your father – you think you can't do anything wrong. What has my father done wrong? Hm. Well there's dumping your mother for the nurse. Refusing to lend you 2000 dollars to buy a car. Grabbing my butt at the rehearsal dinner? You just- you misunderstood thatHe put his hand on my butt and squeezed – it's not hard to understand. You blew it out of proportion. It's not what you thought it was.

William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

I know – it's what he thought it was, right? Right. And nothing to apologize for. I don't know why you try to make me feel bad by comparing me to my father. He's a very respected endocrinologist. He's arrogant, William. And insensitive. Practically oblivious on some points. I'm sorry, but those are not good qualities. You should not emulate him in that regard. I just don't see it the way you do Rachel. I guess it's "cultural relativity." No, actually it's denial. A wall of denial protecting a fortress of arrogance. What? Geez, you're so dramatic. I'm sorry but I can't play the jerk in your melodrama right now. I've got to get this equipment set up. [in her hammock, turning away from William] Wel, good luck with that.

William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

Silent moments. William unpacks stuff, arranging things, ... Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Will? Yeah? We've got to stop arguing, okay? Yeah, of course. I mean, we have our projectsYeah. and your heart condition. I know I shouldn't be upsetting you. Yeah, wel, try not to think about that. That's what I do. But you can't ignore itYes I can.

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Wel we have to-. It's-. We have to avoid arguing, okay? Yes Rachel, you're right, of course. Okay. Good night Will. Good night Rachel.

Silent moments as William continues unpacking, arranging, ... Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: Will? Yeah? If things don't work out- I mean if one of our projects flopped and- only one of us finished, got our PhD, we'd be okay right? Sure we would, Rach. Don't worry about that. We've been through a lot the last two years. Yeah. God, no one would have thought we would get together, the way we'd debate at parties. Yeah. In this corner, the beautiful ethnologist; in this corner, the pointy-headed evolutionary ecologist. People would gather around to listen. For about five minutes, then people would want to wring our necks. God, it's embarrassing. What is? Thinking back to those- I mean we would go on and on, back and forth for hours. So? At people's parties. Where they were trying to have a good time. Remember the time Suzanne asked us to leave? [Laughs.]

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Yeah. William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Remember what we did? Of course I remember. Our first kiss. Our first a lot more than that! Right in Suzanne's backyard. Geez, that was quite the night. You really opened my eyes. Captured the virgin scientist. But, yeah, we've made it this far, Rachel. We'll make it, we'll stick together, that's how it works. Okay. Even when we disagree, we're really working together, that's what people don't understand. Hm. We're always building toward something. The dynamic tension creating forward propulsion, right? Hm, yeah. That's how we make progress. And together we'll move forward, we'll make it! And I'll do whatever it takes to help you achieve your goals, just know that, okay sweetie? Yeah. Thanks Will. Me too. Okay, now get some sleep. I'm going to keep setting this stuff up. Okay. Good night Will. Good night Rach.

Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Silent moments as William finishes up some task. Rachel: William: Rachel: Will? Yeah Rach? I'm sorry I went off on your dad-

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William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

OhI know you admire him, and some of your good qualities come from him. [Now getting ready for sleep – changes t-shirt, drops pants.] Well I don't know about that, but thanks. The way you strive to excel, your ability to charm[Laughs.] I guess. But I have to say, seriously, you're better than him. You have a sense of responsibility that I don't see in him[Climbs into his hammock.] Well... I mean, the way you put off your freshman year to take care of your mom after he ran off with Miss Secretary. That was the opposite of himI don't know about thatWell, it shows you have a heart – that selfishness is not your driving value – you're not trying to be slick. Hm. Unlike some people. And I don't just mean your dad. I mean, most of the people in the Anthro Department are the same way. Everything is all about them. [Now tired.] Yeah, there's a lot of that. Or at least the character they're trying to play. But you're nothing like that, and that's why I love you. [Sleepy, yawning...] I love you too Rach.

William: Rachel: William: Pause. William:

[Falling asleep.]

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Nighty-night. Rachel: Good night Will.

END SCENE __________________________________________________________ Scene 2: first moon William is attending to equipment parts scattered on his table and the floor. Rachel, wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and tennis shoes, enters the hut, worn out from a long day, and kisses William on the top of the head. Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: Hello sweetie. [Squeezes past William's equipment, sits at her desk, and opens laptop.] [Barely looking up.] Hey Rachel, where've you been? I told you I was going to be helping Manahulira with her manioc garden. They do that in the dark? Well after we got back, they had me eat with them. Mmm, what'd they have tonight? Yes, there were monkey brains, if that's what you're driving at. Well, if you're nice, you can have one of my power bars. No thanks. So, sounds like you had a productive day of research – working in the garden, getting asked to eat. Yeah, I guess. I don't know, it's just that -. What? I mean I'm sitting there and people are talking and I have no idea what's going on. And then all the sudden they're all looking at me and laughing. I mean, it's humiliating and I don't even know why. And I guess that's whypartly why it's-. I'm like on the other side of a two-foot thick glass wall.

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William: Rachel:

Hm. I mean I just sit there with a stupid half smile stuck on my face, trying to give off the right meaning, or no meaning in case that's the right meaning. And I'm sitting there, in the middle of all these people, but stuck outside of them. And it's almost like hard to breathe. Like the air is all with them, on the other side of the glass, the impenetrable two-foot thick glass. [Hangs head and sighs deeply.] Well, you seemed to be getting the language down pretty well when we were doing the village census. Wel, bits. Here and there. Hanging around the mothers with their toddlers helps. Hm. But god, I'll never get it really. There's just too much to know. Come on Rach. It's language – child's play, right? It's language plus action plus feeling plus actual people and their whole world. Well, if the kids get it, I'm sure you can too. [To self.] Alright. Stop whining. Get to work. [Starts typing.] And thanks again for helping me with the village census these last few days. I couldn't have done that without you and your language skills. You're welcome; it was fun. I know that's not part of your project, and I appreciate you taking the time. Well it was fun. And I was really impressed with how well you dealt with people. Well thank you.

William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

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William:

And with the both of us, it worked perfectly. While you were chatting them up and getting the names and ages, I was able to do a quick inventory of the household. [Still typing.] Uh huh. And as soon as I get the info entered into the database, I'll be ready to go. [Moves to stand behind Rachel at her desk.] What are you doing now? Fieldnotes, as usual. Well, take a break and sit with me while I eat my power bar. I'm sorry Will, I can't right now. I've got to keep this up every night, especially after busy days like today. I mean these notes are the key to my project once we get back to Chicago. Without them, I'll have nothing. [Stepping back to his equipment.] Alright, I don't want to interfere with your progress. Geez, with the monkey brains and field notes – you really have to suffer for your nonscience. Well, yeah, as opposed to your science making other people suffer. What do you mean by that? All this equipment you have taking over the hut. Oh, yeah. I'm sorry about all this Rachel. I'm getting it in order, though. Maybe you should build a storage hut. Oh no. I have to have this stuff totally secure. All the data depends on it. The Center emphasized don't trust anyone with the equipment or the data. Well that's a nice way to do anthropology. You can't do science without data, babe. And you can't have your people messing up your data. Or you don't have science, you have… well [trailing off] [somewhat mocking, finishing his thought] You have what I do – 'fuzzy headed human studies.'

Rachel: William:

Rachel: William: Rachel:

William:

Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Rachel:

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William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

That's not what I was going to say, but anyway, Rach, I need your help again. Yeah? There might be a problem with my ELISA machine. I need some blood samples to calibrate the enzyme analytics. Uh- wel you know I don't like having blood drawnNot you. Some of the villagers is what I need. Wel that's your project. What do you need me for? To get some of em to let me draw blood. I though that Penperi guy was going to help me but when he saw the needle, he disappeared. So I need a new assistant. And some blood donors. His name is Penperahi, first of all. And from what I heard he never agreed to be your assistantWel, I was working on him. Exactly, and he probably understood you were "working on him," which is why he disappeared. It was going okay till he saw the needle. Yeah, well nobody likes five-inch medical needles, William. I've been telling you that for months. And the Wakamaraki have their very particular blood taboos. I mean, we knew that back in Chicago – Professor Jackson told you it was going to be a problem to get anyone to agree to give blood. Yeah well, Professor Hill said rationality would prevail. Rationality? Yes, give them something they want and can use in exchange for something they have a surplus of. Well their rationality might not be based on the same values as yours. That's a big ethnocentric assumption.

Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

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William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

That's bull. Trading something you have too much of for something you can use is rational anywhere anytime. It's all based on your assumptions. What makes you think they have too much blood? Or that you have anything they want? Well, as you know, I'm going to pay for samples. I know. You're going to dole out cutlery till the cows come home. You really should rethink that. You're going to mess them upMess them up? By giving them tools they want? It's- wel, you don't know what that might do – you know, provoke competition, destabilize relations, inject foreign conceptsSo even if it's something they want – something that will make their lives easier – the cultural anthropologist is going to save them from themselvesOr at least from you. Oh right, the evil scientist. When the missionaries came through this area, the clan structure was disrupted, a lot of the religious dances disappeared, And they stopped killing each other. whole villages disbanded. And that was by their own choice – the missionaries didn't force them to abandon any villages. It was an external effect they responded to in a rational way. It had to happen, right? Wel- the missionaries didn't have to show up, but once they did, the group reaction would necessarily be rational, yes. Rational as you define it, right? Right, rationality as it's properly defined. And there's no such thing as irrationality, of course. So everywhere you look you're going to find your precious rationality.

Rachel: William: Raachel: William: Rachel:

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William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

Wel, yeah, on a group level, irrationality is pretty much nonexistent, that's right. Except for ethnologists, right? Hm, good point. Maybe that will be my next project – "The Struggle For Irrationality Among American Cultural Anthropologists." I'm sure your corporate science funders will love that.

Silent moments. William: Rachel: William: You know, Rachel, when it comes down to it, you really just don't support me. Well, I support you, Will, but you're right in that, when it comes down to it, I can't really support your project. And I just don't get that. What's wrong with determining the relations between resource competition, reproductive success, and immunogenicity

William and Rachel simultaneously: in the context of an evolutionarily stable strategy. William: Rachel: William: Rachel: Wel, what's wrong with that? It'll help identify biological parameters of social stasis and change. Yeah, wel, what's wrong with that – from my point of view – Of courseis that you are trying to explain people's behaviors, their lives, the way they live, as the result of some material process that grants them basically no agency or autonomy or ability to be anything other than the epiphenomena of organic evolution in an environment. Wel, yeah, evolution in environments. That's what reality is, Rachel. That's what you think it is, but that doesn't mean you're right. Right. And the fact is, the people here would not accept such a deadened down, impotent version of their reality.

William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

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William: Rachel:

Of course not! – and that doesn't matter one tiny bit! That's what you don't get. I get that- you're wrong. I get that human evolutionary ecology people think that. What I don't get is how- your inability to reflect on what you're doing and what it says about humansYeah, whatever. and the fact that you certainly don't go through your life as if reality was just the following of tracks laid down by the big bang. Yeah, but that doesn't mean it's not. Actually, it does Will. Because reality- human reality, the reality any particular humans live in and experience- is a human construction, it's something we're actually doing, creating, maintaining. Right. So as usual, it comes back to the fact that we define reality differently. Yeah, I guess so.

William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

William: Rachel: Pause. William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

So you're not going to help me? I'm not going to drum up blood donors for you [Whiny.] Geez Rachel. Will, you'd be- it would compromise my study. I'm here to learn about their way of life, their worldview, their social structure. I can't be coming at them from your- some weird scienc-y doctor angle. Especially given the taboos about blood. It would ruin my rapport. I'd be just another outsider. Yeah, wel, I guess your rapport is more important than my project. My rapport is my project, Will. If I can't get inside with them, be on their side of that divide, and then bring that experience of the inside back into my dissertation, then I fail. And so- I mean you'd rather my project get undermined to get yours going. That's not what I'd call support.

William: Rachel:

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William: Rachel:

Well, I guess science will be proceeding without your help. Thanks a lot. Hey – I have offered to help. I will help. But that doesn't mean I have to do whatever you demand. And messing up my project. You got yourself in this mess, needing blood and relying on all this equipment. Maybe if you approached people as people rather than evolution's automatons, you could actually get something done. Wel, I am sorry about the equipment, Rachel. I had to pull the ELISA apart to see what's wrong with it. And the cooler is draining the generator too fast. So I took it apart to see if I could adjust it. That's why you need a separate work hut. Yeah- sorry, can't do that. Need to protect the data. Yeah, but- protect it from what? I told you. The nat- the locals, the people in the village. So you get this "data" from the people and then you have to protect it from them? Exactly. Do you really think they care about your stupid data? They think it's hilarious that you tell them you want to learn about them and then ask questions that make no sense and never even look them in the eyes. What? Someone said that? Who? Forget it... Penper-? You know, I really don't appreciate your taking their side against me. Their side? I didn't know there were sides. Which side are you on? Just forget it. Oh yeah, the side of "science" and "knowledge" and against the people who you have to trick or buy your precious data from. [As William speaks this passage, he gets madder until the end when he sort of peters out, realizing he has gone too far.

William:

Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

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As William rants, Rachel closes up her laptop and gets in her hammock, turning her back away from William and the audience.] You know you can say all you want about the ethics of my science, but at least we're not flagrant moral hypocrites. – I mean, you take your knowledge or understanding or whatever it is you think you produce back to the university and add some utopian theory or whatever it is and give a paper and get a job and get a book published with a well-designed cover that 300 people will read. And then get granted tenure by people more or less exactly like you, except they studied the educational experiences of preteen Amish girls or something. But somehow you guys always find the same thing no matter where you look – plucky folks resisting the overarching power of capitalism or modernity or some evil Western force, thereby giving hope to the urban American educated class that they can somehow shed the chains of oppression holding back the liberal utopia. --God, it's so tired, such a pathetic cliché. And you elitist first-world saviors go out spanning the globe, finding anything that is different or strange so you can suck it into your liberal dystopia. Capturing the "Others" and dragging them back to your faculty offices so you can build a career on them, capitalize on whatever it is that makes them "different." --- So, yeah, you congratulate yourselves for not 'pretending' to be doing science – but then what are you doing? You ethnologists are the parasites. Elitist parasites who survive off the lives and stories of the poorest people in the world. I mean how can you live with yourself? Rachel: William: Rachel: Geez, wel, I guess it's good to know- better to face the reality of how exactly you feel about me. [Wishing he hadn't said it.] You know – it's not how I feel about you, Rachel, it'sOh come on. Those things you just said – I mean you've never gone quite that far, out loud I mean. But you obviously think those things. You are expressing what you think and feel and that's- well you know what it is, it's-. Come on, it's just thatNo, it's good, actually, Will. We can just focusYou know, I can- think ethnology is a bogus form of knowledge, without despising you. I wonder.

William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

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William: Rachel: William:

I can and I do keep those separate. You- you're separate. And you said you support me but not my project. So you can do that, but I can't? You know, we really have to focus on our work, Will. That's what we're here for, right? Yeah, right. Yes. We're here to work. [Getting back to his instruments...] I've really got to get this stuff up and running.

William works on his equipment in silence for a few moments. William: Rachel: William: But we are married, Rachel. There's no getting around that. [sleepily] No getting around that. We've got a license, a contract. On paper. That means something. You can't just walk away from that, you know?

Rachel has fallen asleep and does not answer. END SCENE __________________________________________________________ Scene 3: second moon Rachel enters hut wearing grass skirt and t-shirt and holding a feather; William gets up from Rachel's table/computer. Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: Look at my new feather! Huh. Where'd you get that? From Penperahi. It's a wanookari. WanooA ritual invitation – it means I'm in! The dookanara – the elders – asked me to be a novice! It's happening William! What's happening? My project – this is huge! It pretty much assures my project is going to work!

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William: Rachel:

Wel that's great Rach. If I don't blow it somehow. I mean, the knowledge they will impart, the ritual processes I'll be able to observe, it's really more than I could have hoped for. Wel that's great. And it's a lovely feather. Thank you! Yeah! Wel, I got your database working right again. Oh you did? [Hugging Will] That was nice. WelWhat would I do without you? [Sitting at her computer.] You know, I wanted to be productive. [Starts typing.] Well I really appreciate it. And when it doesn't work I feel responsible for itYou know writing this program for me, with the fieldnotes and the database integrated, that was really sweet. Wel, I wanted to help. And the database is a great way to handle data. [Still typing.] Thank you Will. I hope I can get the ELISA working right soon so I can join you on the success track. Yeah. Me too.

William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

Pause – Rachel keeps typing. William: So you're sticking with the grass skirt, huh?

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Rachel: William: Rachel:

Yes, William. Our method is called participant observation you know. I know, but. By participating in the culture to the extent possible, it creates greater opportunities for the experiences and observations that lead to understanding. Wel that skirt creates a lot of opportunities for observation, if ya know what I mean. Wel geez William. Everyone here is pretty much naked, soNot me. It's the rainforest. And yeah, I noticed. Not you. Wel there's no reason for me to- well whatever. I know. No reason for you to actually know the people, or participate, or even observe, as long as you can get your data. Wel that requires observation. Yeah right. Observation. To get the data. I know, honey. I think it's the humidity. What's the humidity? The problem with ELISA. Your poor ELISA. Calibrations won't-. And all that smoke this morning couldn't have helped. I wonder what that was about? That was Tanari's ascent- or nakabiridoo. I'm translating it as ascent. Ascent?

William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: Rachel: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

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Rachel:

Yeah. Or maybe departure would be a better translation. It's the point at which an initiate joins the dookanara, the wise ones in the space of spiritual knowledge. And so, the fire? That was her hut. That's what they do when you- depart, I guess. You burn your hut and move into the longhouse with the dookanara. Hm. Wel that smoke was not helpful. Oh, that reminds me [turning back to computer] – I haven't finished my fieldnotes about that. About what? Tanari's dookanara. What do you mean? You were there? Yeah. Last night? After I fell asleep? Yes Will. But you were asleep when I went to bed. They came and woke me up before it started. Huh? What? Someone came into our hut and woke you up?! Yes Will, that's what I'm saying.

William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: Pause. William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

Geez, I really can't believe that. It's not a big deal, Will. I asked him to get me before it started. Well I don't like strangers creeping around my hut while I'm asleep. Yeah, well, he's- they're not strangers.

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William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Wel, I really wish you would have told me what was going on. Wel you were asleep. Yeah, but you were planning to go, right? Yeah, welBefore I went to sleep. Wil- I mean, you don't care about my project, so whyI care about my wife. Okay Will. And knowing where you are. And if you're going to be dancing around a fire or something Okay. in the middle of the night. Okay Will. Not to mention inviting strangers into my hut while I'm sleeping. [William moves around his half of the hut, doing a quick inventory of his things to make sure nothing is missing.] Look, I'm an- as much as you can't bear to think about it, I'm an ethnographer. And I have to do what I can, take significant opportunities to get in with the peopleYeah, but that doesn't mean you can't tell me what you're doing. Wel, yeah. But I'm sorry, sometimes it does mean filling you in is not my top priority. Oh, well that's just great. Especially when you'll probab- wel, it's easy to imagine you trying to discourage me from doing something I really have to do. So that's the reason you didn't tell me – you didn't want my input.

Rachel:

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

No. I didn't want to argue about a decision that's mine to make. Exactly. Wel, it's my project Wil. Yeah, well, if you're going to be doing something that's too dangerous, it's my business too. And I really can't spend my time or energy arguing with you about things I need to do, or that you think are dangerous. That's not fair, IAnd, you know - it's the exact same for you. Huh? That's what we're here for, right? Our projects. Yeah, wel, I think you're changing the issue. I'm not playing with fire. Wel the issue is, I have- we have to do what we have to do. To make our projects go. So I'm sorry but you're going to have to, you know, let stuff goLet you go? Let me do what I need to do. And you do what you need to do. I mean you have to get going Will. I know... It's-. You know, we're two months in I know... And you're still- struggling with your machines. I know. But the ELISA's pretty much there. Good. And then I have to re-check the generator.

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What have you been doing all day? Wel, fixing your database for one thing. Yeah? And- wel I've been making sure my budget projections are on track. Huh? And I have to- going back through these numbers, some of 'em aren't lining up. So I'm trying to figure out if I can shift some categories around to make the accounting work. Geez, Wil, make the accounting work? You're in the middle of the Amazon rainforest and you're worried about making the accounting work? Wel, if you don't stay on top of the numbers, things can spin out of control. Pretty fast. Hm. Wel maybe if you weren't so dependent on all that crapWel, you know, I need to be rational about it, Rachel. Yeah, well. You're right – that's what I was saying – you have to do what you have to do. Yeah.

Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Pause – Rachel keeps working on computer. William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: So, she burned her own hut down, huh? Yeah, it was really intense. So I'm sure that's one of your "symbolic actions," right? Uh, yeah. You could say that. So what does it "mean"? [William does finger quotes on the word "mean".] Wel, like I said it's an initiation. The final step to becoming one of the dookanara, which is like the elders or the- the knowing ones, the ones with the special knowledge.

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Uh huh. And part of that initiation- it's like a shedding of the old skin and becoming anew, if that makes sense. Uh. And so, you know, burning down the hut symbolizes that radical break. And the initiate, or now the wise one, then moves into the dookanara longhouse I see. and the family from the hut disperses among other family members or friends. Huh. So there's a little reshuffling of residences and social relations in the wake of a successful initiation. Yeah, hm. Oh! [Saying slowly as she types the words...] And there's a renewed sociality within the village through the strengthened links among the family and the various people taking them in. Hm. You know what it sounds like to me? Umm, let me guess. It's an evolutionarily stable strategy! [Facetiously.] Huh, really? Yeah, see, it's- it's like you said, dispersal. And that kind of dispersal functions to even disruptions in the resource allocation equilibrium. [Facetiously.] Yeah, exactly. It makes sense.

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Of course it makes sense Wil – you just gave it the sense that makes sense in your world-view! Wel, you yourself said it was a dispersalI think I said the family disperses. and that that dispersal had a function. I'm pretty sure I didn't say that. Yeah, and that function is to maintain an equilibrium of resource allocation. [Pained.] Uuh. And thus it is a strategy for evolutionary stability! Oh yes, and it's all sewed up so perfectly! And you've created some real knowledge, Rach! Pff. And you didn't even have to talk about symbolic action. I mean, what even is that? It's- symbols and actions – those are totally different categories of concepts – it's a contradiction in terms. It sure is. I mean, can't you see how it is a function of evolutionary ecology? Maybe I can even use it as a way into my theory. Let's see. If I could get some biohistorical data relative to the equilibrium practice, and then correlate immunogenicity with those blood lines, yeah, wow! Your religious ritual becomes a perfect social evolutionary function for my hypothesis! If immunogenicity in an isolated population is a zero sum game that correlates with differential protein production and social status, maybe this genetic dispersal through ritual takes the role I was associating with reciprocal altruism, functioning to level imbalances in immunogenicity introduced by external environmental fluctuations. Wow, we might really be on to something here, Rach! [Pause.] Rachel?

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Yeah? You're not listening are you? I am, Will – wel sort of. But I- I just can't debate theory right now. I have to get these notes entered. I'm not debating theory, I'm creating knowledge. Or at least data-based hypotheses testable through the accumulation of further data. Hm. Might really be on to something. I'm sorry. I really have to focus on this right now. Yeah, wel, I guess one of us should make some actual progress in data collection. I still can't get anyone to agree to a blood draw, which I need just to calibrate ELISA. Yeah, well, as I've told you, that's going to be hard to do. Seeing their own blood or the blood of a friend or neighbor has a scary meaning, it's foreboding. Yeah, wel, that's why I brought all this silverware to exchange. Yeah... [Closing up computer.] I mean this is good stuff, right? It's the best stuff in the village! Yeah, but they don't need it. They eat fine without silverware. [Changing into night-clothes.] Yeah, but this is nice stuff. Hm. I'm sure they'll come around as soon as I get the first person and they start cruising around the village with their silverware. Everybody will want some. I don't know Will. Well, I do. Rationality will prevail. Superstitions will fall. [Getting in hammock.]

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Rachel:

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God Will – didn't you learn any anthropology the last five years? William: Rachel: William: Rachel: Oh, yeah, right – they're not "superstitions" [air quotes], they're what? Symbolic actions I guess? Whatever. But yeah, whatever, superstitions, symbolic actions – in the end, rationality and silverware will prevail. [Turning away from William and audience.] Good night Will.

END SCENE __________________________________________________________ Scene 4: third moon Rachel walks into the hut. William is sitting at his desk, fiddling with one of his takenapart machines. Rachel gives him a one-arm hug around his shoulders as he keeps working. Rachel: William: Rachel: How's your day going, honey? Oh, all right I guess. How's yours? [Sits at desk, opens up laptop.] Good! The elders decided I've learned enough of the dance ritual to have a kanatikooramori. Which is like a banquet, marking the next step in the nakabiridoo. Huh. So when's that supposed to happen? Tomorrow! It goes all day, starting at sunrise. We went out and got the main course today – your favorite! Monkey brains! You went hunting with them? Yeah. It's part of the whole ritual process. I actually shot some arrows! Wow, geez, that's great. You didn't actually hit anything, did you? [a little hesitant] Well...

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You hit something?! A monkey, yes! I shot it! Holy shit! [Excited.] I know! [A little guilty...] But it's part of the ritual, I had to! Geez, three months in the jungle and you go from vegetarian to monkey brain eater to monkey killer! I had to, Will – it's participant observation – it's my project. I know, but still. I know, I know! It's mind-bending. [Giddily.] I know!

William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

Pause. William keeps working with small screwdriver on machine parts Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: So you'll come right? Huh? To the banquet tonight? Oh. Hm. I don't know, Rachel... Oh come one Will! It's important to me! Yeah, well, I don't know. I just don't feel comfortable in- when there's a big group around. I want to show you off! Takiroo was teasing me today, saying I was married to a ghost. Yeah, well, I am busy with stuff, so-

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It'll be fun. And you can- I don't know- analyze the meat sharing or something. Hm. Could I tell who killed it? Uh, no. It's all in the big village pot at this point. Yeah, that makes it useless to me. I mean- I really don't understand the lack of concern with individual achievement. Well, it's a- it's like a party, Will. It's for everyone. Yeah, well, at a party back home, people who bring the good beer make sure everyone knows who brought it. And I suppose that's somehow more rational, right? Well, yeah. Individual achievement or contributions are noted. That's how individuals set themselves apart. Right. And that's somehow more rational, right? Anyway. I really have to stick with this, get ELISA ready so when the new spectrophotometer arrives, I can get rolling.

Silence. Rachel turns back to her laptop and resumes typing. William: Rachel: Pause. Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: So when is your ELISA part supposed to arrive anyway? I don't know. Soon hopefully. Well yeah, it better. We've been here three months and you haven't even startedI am well aware of the calendar Rachel. I don't need you monitoring me. So that letter you got- was that from your supplier? But I hope you have a good party or whatever. Thanks.

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William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

No. It was my grant auditor. Reminding me I didn't send in my bi-monthly progress report. As if I didn't know. Well, there's nothing they can do to you at this point, right? I don't know. There's an ominous reference to the funding contract. Hm. Maybe I should have one of the lackey lawyers at my brother's firm go back over the contract. Although I don't even know if my mail is getting out. I mean the part for ELISA- what if they didn't even get the order? I don't know. Try not to worry, I guess. I just have to bear down. Get this going. Well let me know what I can do to help. Wel, I am going to proceed with the non-blood data collectionSo what's that? Meat weighing? Yeah, the protein assessment. I mean, I should have been- I don't need blood tests to start on that. But I need an assistant who will help me keep track of which hunters are using which patches, as well as with the actual weighing. And then any I have to track sharing patterns. Do they share their meat? Uh. Yeah. So I guess I spooked Penperiha or whatever I his name is. Penperahi. He was looking like my best choice for an assistant, but he doesn't seem to be around anymore. He's around. He's preparing an initiation. Oh great, another hut on fire show? Maybe.

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William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Wel, do you think he'd have time to help me out? Or who else would be good? I don't know. But- please don't ask Penperahi. You did spook him. And he's a really good informant for my projectOh, the truth comes out! Huh? You stole him! You stole my assistant! What? That's ridiculous. He wasn't yours to steal, first of all. And he started being an informant for me after you spooked him with the needle. Geez, Rachel. I can't believe you'd steal an informant from me. You really are impenetrable, aren't you? So who else would be good? That Manu-whatever guy seems too dumb. Hey, what do you think about about Ana-?, the guy who's name starts with an A. Anakaruki. What about him? I thought I saw him spying on me. Hm. I doubt it. I mean, what happened? What was he doing? Wel, I had just come into the hut and I heard some rustling on the back wall. So I went back out there and he was walking away all quickly and nervous-seeming, sort of looking back over his shoulder. Oh, I'm sure it was nothing. Well, it better be. If push comes to shove, I'm the only one around here with a gun. A gun? What?! Yeah, a gun. You didn't think I was going to have all this equipment, and my wife, down here in the jungle without some protection did you? Your equipment and your wife? God, you are just- I can't believe you brought a gun! You know that's not allowed!

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William:

Yeah, wel, sometimes a man has to do things to protect his- even if it's "wrong." [doing finger quotes on "wrong"] Besides, they have weapons. Why should theyIt's not a war, William! Not right now. What? And we're guests here! This is their place! I can't believe you did this. And god, without telling me?! Well, I knew you'd- you know. Exactly. You knew I wouldn't go along with it, Right. so you just make the executive decision. Wel somebody has to. No. Nobody had to make that decision. [Tears welling up.] I really can't believe you did that. Don't be so dramatic. If there are no problems, no one will ever know. God, William, it is a problem. You're making a problem. Whatever. And meanwhile – you're the one with a heart condition. You're going to kill yourself with your paranoiaTaking preventive measures does not mean I'm paranoid, just cautious. Geezus. But it's nice to know you care about me. God, William. Maybe your biology is defeating your quest to be all culturally autonomous.

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

Pfff. It's all coming together out here in the rainforest. [Sarcastic.] Haha. ['Joking.'] Reality is evolution in environment – admit it! As you would surely know if you ever really listened, as opposed to just waiting for what sounds like a pause so you can jump in with your points – That's not fair, just because I know what you're saying and have thoughts formed to reply doesn't mean I'm not listeningYou're doing it againI'm responding to what you're saying – doesn't that show I'm listening? Actually, no, it doesn't. If you haven't let me finishOh, god. then you're not responding to what I'm saying. You're responding to what you're assuming I'm going to say, which is usuallyOK, yeah – so what is this point that I would have gotten if I had been listening all these years. Well, one, that you're a fu- no that's not right. The point is- the big point is, that if you're trying to understand the reality that people are living in, you have to understand their point of viewI know that's what you think Rachel. I really do. I just think it's wrong. Or mostly wrong. The people's reality is an objective fact, composed of many factors, or framed by many factors, that are not in their control – And I never said that the point of view we're trying to understand is notdoesn't have framing factors that are beyond the everyday comprehension or perception – that's why anthropology exists-

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William:

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William:

Anyway, you do deny what we consider basic – that evolutionary adaptation is the- or a primary determinant of the people's reality. That's the issue. Yeah, well, at least how you frame it. But you- you know this because we've been through it all before, but I can't not say it- if we're talking about 'what's the issue.' You're in a vicious circle of reasoning that becomes irrational – either your perspective has somehow jumped outside of the evolutionarily-conditioned closed system, or you are just practicing another version of it, as you fill in some little holes in some elders' story in hopes of advancing your career, or – and I realize, or think this is what you think, even if you won't admit it or don't realize it – you are part of some grand evolution – human-wide, Louis Morgan-style – where humans, led now by the valiant scientists, are evolving into objective knowledge. Yeah well, we don- first of all you're right – we've been through it all before – I feel- this is all pre-programmed or repeats of shows we've seen way too many times. Yawn. Right. Yawn. Exactly. But we, as scientists seeking scientific knowledge, understand that obsessions with epistemology, or the philosophy of science, are just mental roadblocks to the production of knowledge, "science!" God, you're soSo terms like "objectivity" – I mean, just give it up. Your attempts to insult me with that shit are futile. I knowGood – then stop wasting breath on it. I know you don't care about the social or historical context of your- of your "science!" You'll bash ethnology for failing to account for objectivity, but as soon as someone pokes into the basis of your so-called knowledge, it's all, 'oh objectivity is just a delusion,' all that matters is "knowledge." Right, it's not that objectivity is a delusion, it's that the knowledge is what matters.

Rachel:

William:

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William:

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Right, and context and society and history be damned. Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, and that's pretty much why, in all seriousness, you might as well be a nazi. Oh god, here we go again! I'm not listening to your calling me a nazi crap. I told you that was a last straw. Never again!

William storms toward the door, and into the jungle night. Rachel: William: Rachel: Pause. William: Rachel: William: Rachel: What is that, some mythic creature? You're an anthropologist. You've been here three months – haven't you comprehended that part of their reality yet? Whatever. [William walks away.] [Rachel gets up and calls after him out the window, concerned.] It's a snake! I think it's poisonous! [somewhat mockingly] Watch out for the kikitaboori! [sticks head in hut window] The what? The kikitaboori – the reason the people don't leave the compound at night?

END SCENE __________________________________________________________ Scene 5: fourth moon Rachel walks into the hut in her native/modern dress mix as a slightly disheveled William, working on a machine, slams his fist on his table. William: Rachel: Godamit! Whoa! Such language!

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[Surprised she was there.] Oh, Rachel. Sorry. I just can't get this damn thing working! Oh honey, I'm sorry. It's just so- fuck! This was my ticket. My whole immunogenicity projectit was going to make me a star! Fuck! Oh Will, I'm sorry. I mean at least- even if you can't get the immunogenicity, you'll get the other stuff, right? That was only one part of your project. Yeah, the best part. The only good part. The rest is just run of the mill foraging shit. Damn! [opening laptop and starting to enter data.] Will, come on. You're brilliant. You are a star, top of the class, you'll make the best optimal foraging project anyone's ever seen. You'll be fine. Well I can't even get the fucking foraging data, Rachel! I mean, I've been trying. But I- I can't track the sharing strategies. I mean the people- I can't understand them, they can't understand me. If I can't tell who is related to who, I can't tell anything. There's no fucking data! They overshare or something, there's meat flying all over the place. It doesn't fit. It makes no sense. Oh Will. You gotta help me Rach. I need data. Well, sorry Will, I don't have your data. You do Rachel. Help me fill in a kinship chart. So I can see where the meat's going. Oh. I can't- It's not that easy Will. Sure it is. I've got the template right here. [William holds of a piece of paper with a kinship diagram on it.] Help me fill it in. No. We can start with your precious Penpereehi.

William: Rachel:

William:

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Penperahi. Right. I'll put him here in the ego position. No Will. So you want to start with his siblings or his nuclear family? No Will, it doesn't work that way. Sure it does! Kinship – blood and marriage. How many siblings does he have? No Will. That's not how it works. Your idea of kinship, the American idea of kinship I mean, is not kinship for everybody. You know thatNo, I know you think that kind of stuff, but I also know you're wrong. Kinship is consanguinity and affinity – blood and marriage. It doesn't matter what crazy symbols people apply to it, it always fits on the chart and the chart is what's real. You really have no ideaDon't fukin patronize me Rachel. I have a perfectly clear idea. You're the one whose ideas are wisps of smoke. Wakaramaki kinship revolves around contrasting claims to spirit realmsWakaramaki kinship revolves around screwing and squeezing out babies. and alliances in the ritual defense of those realmsIt has nothing to do with any fukin symbols! Shouting doesn't change anything you know. Okay, you're right. I'm sorry. Shouting doesn't help. Okay. But you have to help me. Who're his siblings? Will, I can't – that's not their kinship and I'm not helping you force their reality into your grid.

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William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Come on Rachel! No. You said you'd help. No, not that way. It's violating their ontology. It's what? It's stabbing them in the back. So it's okay to stab me in the back? Leave me high and dry? I need you! I'm sorry. It's not going to happen. I'm not doing that. Godam, Rachel! Be rational! Geez! Keep your voice down. I help you with your project! No you don't – what do you do for my project? Only created the fukin database that makes sense of all your data. Without that- without me, you project would just be a bunch of incoherent syllables, What? You fuking arrogant jerk! I don't need your stupid program. symbols, bleatings. Or even this computer. It's just holding me back. [Slams laptop shut.] My knowledge is embodied in movementHere we go. When I get the ritual dance down, at that point, all the knowledge will be therePff. Without this piece of shit and your idiotic program. [Rachel throws her laptop out the hut window.]

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What the- hell are you doing!? You're gonna break that! Yeah, you're right. I'm gonna break that.

Rachel runs out of hut and smashing sounds are heard. William: Oh my god! What are you doing?!

Rachel walks back into the hut. Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Moving forward. Are you fuking crazy? Did you just smash your computer? Yep. Geezus Rachel. Moving forward. Well, sorry but you can't use mine. I don't want to use yours Will. Don't you get it, it'sNo, I don't get it at all. You just threw away the one legitimate tool for producing knowledge you had. Give it a break. You're the one whose project is flailing, not me. Oh, I get it. You want me to fail, don't you? Oh, come on. I can see it now. You can't see anything. Yeah. It makes sense. You want me to fail. Pff. You were always in my shadow in school, really. My project was the one the foundations wanted to fund. And now's your big chance to make sure I fail while you succeed.

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Are you serious? And then you can claim your anthropology wins if you can make sure I fail. Make sure you fail? So now you're paranoid? What happened to being rational? Oh, I'm perfectly rational. Everything is much clearer now. Oh geez. You obviously want me to fail. I can see that now. Everything you say these days is so obviously aimed at killing me. Oh, who's being overdramatic now? You insist on pulling apart the little bit of order we can create. Huh? What happened to the dynamic tension holding us together? We gave that up Tlik moons ago, remember? To focus on our projects? Wel fuck! You won't help me with my project! That's the whole point! Could you just shut up now? [Stands behind Rachel in her chair and puts his hands on her shoulders.] Half my dreams are us fighting, the other half is us having sex.

Rachel shudders and pulls away from William. William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: [Stomping back to his part of the hut.] Well you better not be dreaming about fucking Penperahi! What?! You heard me! Have you really lost it? I know what's going on with you two!

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Oh my god, don't be loosh ubardari! What? Speak English dammit! Paka noorikat. And you're with him like ten hours every day! What am I supposed to think? Maybe you could think he's my informant, you know, for my project? Only after you took him from me! Oh shit, William! He was never your informant; he was never going to be your informant. He was! He thought you were a creep from the start. What? He said that? Well, not exactly, but that's my translation. Wel fuck you and your translation and your informant and all your fuking friends sitting around laughing at me! Gawd, maybe you should grow up a little. Fuck you! I'm the only rational person for hundreds of miles! Pff – wel have fun with that. Well, it's no fun being the dupe, I can assure you of that. No one cares enough to make you a dupe, okay? And I've never heard of an anthropologist spending ten hours a day with an informant they weren't fucking. He's my nukurari. Shi- could you speak fucking English please?

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: END SCENE

He's my- guide into the spirit realm. Oh, yeah, right. Exactly. What's that supposed to mean? Your guide into the "spirit realm"? Is that what they call it? You've really lost it. Aren't you supposed to be an anthropologist? Whatever. And an atheist for that matter. You're the one who claims to be an atheist. I always said I was agnostic. Oh right – the position based on your inability to know. Actually, the position based on the available evidence. Oh, I see. So now out here in the jungle you see evidence of the "spirit realm"? It- I- It doesn't require the same kind of proof is how I'll explain it to you. Wel that's not much of an explanation. [climbing into her hammock] Wel that's what you're getting. Typical. You can't even explain your explanation. I know it's beyond your comprehension at this point, but experience is a form of knowledge, and I have experience of the Wakaramaki spirit realm. Pff. And that's going to get you a PhD? Good night. What a joke. Brakanaroo. Speak English!

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__________________________________________________________ Scene 6: fifth moon William is sitting at his table fiddling with machine parts. He is disheveled, somewhat wild-eyed, and trembling slightly. Rachel enters the hut in full native dress. William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Geezus – do you know what you look like? Like a Wakam- like an anthropologist studying the Wakamaraki, doing participant observation? No – you were right the first time. This is way beyond participant observation. You're fucking going native! The cardinal sin! No I'm not. You are – you're slipping away! Anyway. It's like Professor Schneider warned us – you're using your natives for therapy. It's called participant observation. It's called going native! It's how you understand people and gain knowledge. God, Rachel, can't you- don't you see? There's no knowledge here. There's just chaos – darkness, otherness, the fuking jungle! You're so wrong. A solid void space There is so much knowledge here. of green and black. The knowledge here is so profound, The hideous noises from the jungle.

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so beyond anything your scientism could comprehend. Then it's not knowledgeIt may be beyond what you call knowledgeKnowledge doesn't depend on what you call it- those are just beliefs. it's knowing, it's being those 'just beliefs' in ways that make a difference. And you can't understand that. I can understand that that's not knowledge. That's feeling. Exactly. And that's not knowledge. Can't you see how naïve that is? Yasoonakari, William. You ethnologists- you're all over the world. You're as much modern imperialists as your imaginary nazi scientists. But you do it with feelings, so it's alright. Mashamnisha! And you fucking pretend you're them! I mean look at you, you're playing them. You're playing them for your fucking dissertation! [Bored.] Fuck you. Oh, well at least you're still speaking English. I mean the whole fucking thing – [sarcastically] performance, experience, symbolic action , ritual language – the whole thing is just a big fucking therapy session. A therapy for overeducated, guilty liberals. I'm guilty? Wel, you feel guilty – guilty for the ravages of imperialism on the poor oppressed people at the margins, getting squished by the advance of modernity. You don't deny that. No, yeah, we are guilty of that.

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William:

No, what I said was you feel guilty, not that we're guilty. The people you treat as victims want modernity too. Ethnologists- you want them frozen in time even when they want to advance with the tide. Some do, some don't. We just want them to decide for themselves. Wel, you didn't want them to decide for themselves about my silverware. You said don't offer it because it would mess with themWel that's- theyThere's no "they," Rachel. It's you, all you. It's your fucking therapy, don't you see that? Oh, your old therapy kick. It's your talking cure, don't you see? You think you can talk and perform, play your way to authenticity, but you can't. Just shut up now, okay? Reality is scientific facts, and you can't talk your way out of that. Just like therapy couldn't keep your psycho sister from killing herself. [Shocked.] What?! Oh kamakalee! I can't believe you would try to use that against me! What's wrong with you? Biology is what makes things real, not talk! If your parents had gone ahead with the shock treatment instead of turning to that new age psychotherapist, Susan would still beYou don't know what you're talking about! You know it's true! [Mad.] I'm leaving! [Starts toward door of the hut.] Oh, look Rachel. [William gets up and moves in front of the door, grabbing Rachel's arms and stopping her from leaving.] I'm sorry. I'm really sorry I-. I shouldn't have brought up your sister.

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William:

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Rachel: William:

[Now more tired than mad.] No. That was just-. I mean, you're right, you just have to do what you have to, right? I- I get that. It's your project. I understand what you're doing. Okay, Rach? [Pulling free of William's grasp and moving back to her part of the hut.] Yeah, okay. Just-. I'm just stressed out, you know. But Rachel, um- things can work out because- I need your help now, okay? I- I got ELISA working, see? Huh? I think-. But I need a sample, okay? I need your blood to test, to calibrate her, the ELISA, okay Rachel? You need my blood? Yeah, I need female blood to run through ELISA, calibrate, get everything back on track, working again. After everything you just said, you expect me to help you? Come on Rachel. I said I was sorry. I am sorry. This is going to get everything back on track, see? Everything will be okay again. I just need your blood. I'm sorry, that can't happen. What? Why? No. It's the-. The initiation process has started and I can't shed any blood. What? Once the initiation starts, losing any blood means you have start over at the next moon. [Moving toward Rachel with a hypodermic needle.] Wel, no one has to know. Just one unit, let me draw one unit. [Moving behind chair so it is between her and William.]

Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

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No! You're not getting any blood! William: Rachel: William: Come on! You don't- They won't know! You can still do your little ritual. No! It'll mess it up! Stop William! Ranarisuku! [Stops, holding needle.] Rachel, be rational! It's just a fucking ritual – it's not real! Giving me some blood to test is not going to mean anything! Please! Tok! You're not getting my blood! [Drops needle and head. Walks to and slumps in the chair at his desk.] It's not real! Please, be rational! My project! ELISA! I'm sorry Will. I really am. But I can't mess up my initiation at this point. And losing blood will mess it up. This doesn't make sense. Nothing makes sense! It makes perfect sense. The karoobatanabi ["step through"] requires nawilikramlib, completeness or centeredness. So you can't bleed. No puncturing of the body. That's raranimikora, it messes up the nawilikramlib, see? See?! Of course I don't see! A scientist can't see your superstitions, Wel that's too bad. just you making a feathered idiot of yourself. [Angry] You fucking[Catches herself and breathes out, calming down.] Sakakaroonibi. What? Oh god, would you fucking speak English? Tanakaroonikibaroomila. Stringing together random syllables does not make words – it doesn't mean anything! Nasakoori takanirumukala.

Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

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William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William:

Don't you see what's happening to you?! Sakalirumikli. You've gone mad! You don't understand. You're speaking gibberish! It's language. Strings of meaningless syllables. It's Wakamaraki. I've lost you Rachel. Or whatever you go by now. Laki. I've lost my project and now I've lost you. Don't be so dramatic. Are you still my wife? Geez, Will. Wel are you? Do all those people out there know you're still mine? Just- calm down now. Do they? Just calm down. Well, prove you're my wife! You need to stop. Have sex with me! Stop. Rachel, if you're my wife, have sex with me.

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Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel: William: Rachel:

Taka – I'm not having sex with you! Taka! Why the fuck not?! Nawilikramlib, the ritual process, like I told you. No raranimikora- er, no puncturing, in any way. So, fuck! No puncturing! So you're not my wife, you're a fucking Wakaramaki! Just- stop being so dramatic. And not only that, you're fucking a Wakamaraki too! Not this again! You need to just shut up now, I'm serious! That's really why, isn't it? You're fucking Penperahi – you're his now! I've had enough of your shit! You've made me into a jungle monkey cuckold! Fakanisinko! What's that supposed to mean? Whatever you are, you've made yourself! FAKA!FAKA!FAKA! [Moves to grab Rachel.] [Moving defensively to avoid William's clutch.] Kasakinaa! [Rachel darts out of the hut and away.] [Clutches at the air where he expected to grab Rachel. Comes up empty handed (she's gone). Turns forlornly away from door and back towards his equipment.] Wel at least I've got ELISA.

William:

William picks up the ELISA machine from his desk and puts it on the floor, where he sits next to and leans on it as a friend. END SCENE

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__________________________________________________________ Scene 7: sixth moon William appears deranged, sitting on the floor with dismantled machines, parts tied to himself, and banging metal pieces of equipment in a non-rhythmic pattern. Rachel enters the hut in ceremonial native dress, her face painted. William looks at Rachel who stares straight ahead. William returns to banging. Rachel begins to sing-speak in the local language and does what appears to be a ritual dance around the hut [dance to be improvised within guidelines: alternating smooth and jerky movements around room for about 40 seconds, expressing to the extent possible the contrasting ideas of "falling apart" and "building up"]. Rhythmic drumming is heard from outside the hut, drawing nearer and louder as Rachel dances and chants and William bangs his equipment. Rachel: Nirooka nod prainilimdart ko. Samram kleegnorspis nirooleerak losmil rakaliri sumnor. ...

After her dance, Rachel stops in the middle of the room and drops her head then slowly lifts it to be staring straight up. She give another cry. Rachel: Parnakarookee!

Rachel appears as if to come out of a trance, turns toward William and speaks to him, but he doesn't hear her over the drumming outside. Rachel then screams at him in the local language. Rachel: Kakroosparee! Madaramiwiki! Naskamakrookoo!

William hears and looks up at her, but he cannot understand. The drumming is louder. Rachel runs from the hut. William's banging on machines turns into smashing. Flickering orange lights indicate the hut is on fire. William looks around wildly, jumps up, digs into one of his trunks, and takes out a pistol. He fires wildly in the air, but the sound of the gun is drowned out by the now very loud drumming and the fire. William drops the gun and runs madly around the hut for a moment, then curls up among his broken machines as fire finally consumes the hut. END PLAY __________________________________________________________

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****************** NOTES Thematic background Since the culture of modernity emerged in Enlightenment Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, its core notion of the individual in a secular world has had two crucial aspects or orientations: the rational/utilitarian individual and the romantic/expressive individual. The rational/utilitarian seeks to explain and account for the world so that it can be strategically controlled and managed. The romantic/expressive seeks to understand and creatively constitute the world through experience and action. Although putatively opposed to each other, the existence of both orientations (both between and within individual persons), and their relation of dynamic tension, drive the continuous expansion and "newness" that is a defining feature of modernity as a cultural world and way of life. If modernity lost that dynamism and stopped moving in that way, it would no longer be modernity. The rational/romantic divide is notably observable in the academic discipline of anthropology, the project of incorporating "otherness" into modernity through, depending on the anthropologist's orientation, "scientific knowledge" or "interpretive understanding." The dissertation projects Rachel's project falls within the theoretical subfield of anthropology called "ethnology" or cultural anthropology. In a general and stereotypical sense, ethnologists analyze and explain cultural behavior as the creative reproduction of a socially-inherited way of life or cultural reality. Ethnologists typically start from the principle that human beings live in socially-constructed realities that are continually enacted, in mundane or creative ways, using language and practices learned from preceding generations. Ethnologists analyze cultural practices for the way they creatively reproduce or change the cultural reality of which they are a part, and how they express culturally-significant meanings and experiences. Rachel's project in Bakarulaka involves interpreting religious rituals as "symbolic action." She seeks to understand the "native ontology" or world-view of the Wakamaraki as reflected in sacred dance rituals and how the meanings and values expressed in the dance-rituals are reflected in everyday life, that is, how the dances contribute to the making of meaning in people's lives in Bakarulaka. William's project is within the theoretical subfield of anthropology called "human behavioral ecology" or biosocial anthropology. In a general and stereotypical sense, practitioners of human behavioral ecology seek to analyze and explain some cultural behavior as an adaptation to ecological conditions, an adaptation that increases the chance of reproductive success among individuals. In other words, human behavioral ecologists start from the principle that reproductive success is the goal of life, and they study the behaviors that advance that goal within particular environments. William's particular project within biosocial anthropology seeks to explore Wakamaraki society as an "evolutionarily stable system" by analyzing the relations between the levels of "immunogenicity" in members of different families, on the one hand, and on the other, the amounts of protein the different families consume, the various "foraging strategies"

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they employ, and their trans-generational reproductive success. "Immunogenicity" is the ability to induce a humoral and/or cell-mediated immune response; it can be measured in blood samples using a special machine, the "enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay," or ELISA. William's hypothesis is that Wakaramaki society is an "evolutionarily stable strategy" in which immunogenicity – interpreted as an adaptive, biological relation to the external environment – operates as a finite resource subject to competition, a zero sum game that the most successful hunters win at a rate reflecting their reproductive success; in such a system, William hypothesizes, altruism – the opposite of competition and therefore a recurring puzzle for evolutionary theory – can be explained as a special adaptive function leveling imbalances in immunogenicity introduced by external environmental fluctuations.

Staging recommendations A. For Rachel's laptop, get two similar-looking old laptops. Smash one, and then dismantle it into component parts. The other one should be on Rachel's desk through Scene 5 when she throws it out the window. Arrange for the thrown laptop to land on something soft so it can be reused. Create a sound effect for the laptop hitting the ground, and another for Rachel smashing it out of view. For Scenes 6 and 7, place pieces of the second (smashed and dismantled) laptop around William's part of the hut as if he has been pulling it apart somewhat haphazardly. B. If the actor playing Rachel is reluctant to go topless as part of her native dress in Scenes 6 and 7, body-colored tights with anatomically-appropriate markings will work. C. When Rachel speaks the Wakaramaki language, the actor does not need to replicate the exact phonetic constructions in the text. If, as part of her rehearsal, the actor playing Rachel reads the Wakamaraki words out loud to herself repeatedly, she will hopefully develop a sense of the sound of the language sufficient to replace the written words with improvisations reflecting the spirit of the language in the text.

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