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The Drunkards

Author: Antonio Álamo
Translated by: Tony Baring
Language: English
ISBN: 84-95683-33-4
Price: 2,00 €
File size: (Drunkard.pdf) 629 Kb.
Available in: Spanish Italian

(1 woman and 9 men)
Illustrated with photographs from the production directed by Alfonso Zurro.
The La Fonda Hotel of Santa Fe, capital of New Mexico is the setting of the macabre dinner that took place on August 6, 1945 to celebrate the drop of the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. The dinner was attended by J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the city-lab of Los Álamos, and other seven scientists of international renown, who, together with him and many others, were in charge of the project’s technical aspects. The alcohol, undisputed protagonist of the nonsensical banquet, intoxicates the minds of the distinguished guests and, by temporarily freeing their consciences from the delusion of omnipotence in which they are caught, makes weakness, oddity and humanity come into the open. The increased awareness of the real and catastrophic effects of the invention, the doubts, remorse and dissociation from the official power grow hand in hand with the ethylic fog enfolding the scene, to result in a desperate and hallucinated spiral that belongs to metahistory.

The Drunkards

KISTIAWSKY  I want to propose a quite different bet...


(At that moment, Teller enters, wearing a loosened tie and a not-very-clean, creased suit. He hasn’t shaved properly and tonight—because of the desert sand of Los Alamos—his orthopedic leg has a terrible tendency to jam. When this happens, he’s immobilized in a determined position putting his balance at risk. It’s quite clear that Teller has also drunk quite a lot.)


BUSH  (Who is the first one to notice his arrival.) Hello, Edward!

TELLER  Hello to everybody!


BAKER  How are you?

KISTIAWSKY  Where is Oppie?

BAKER  Is everything all right?

FELONY  Yes, where have you left Oppie?

TELLER  He’s...


TELLER  ...In the dining room.


TELLER  Nobody. Everybody’s gone back to Los Alamos.

KISTIAWSKY  Is he with anybody?

TELLER  Not exactly. He’s with the waiter! He’s arguing with the waiter!

BUSH  What about, if we may ask?

TELLER  He promised me he’d come soon.

BUSH  But, what does he have to talk to the waiter about?

TELLER  I couldn’t stand it anymore. I told him: “Oppie, you’re making him dizzy”.


(He laughs.)


KISTIAWSKY  What are they talking about?

TELLER  Guess.

GÖLAM  About martinis.

TELLER  A prize for Gölam. Exactly: martinis. What’s exactly the right quantity of gin and what’s exactly the right quantity of martini? For Oppie that’s a physics problem of prime importance. I think he feels prouder of his thesis on martini cocktails than making the Bomb.

MOONLEY  He’ll be dazzling him.

TELLER  The waiter doesn’t dare to say a word. He’s impressed! Do you remember when the hotel manager wanted to kick us out? Then Oppie goes and says: “I’ll speak to Harry”.

FELONY  His lawyer?


GÖLAM  And did he do it? Did he call the President just for that?

TELLER  Of course he did! He rang the White House and talked to the President JUST FOR THAT: “Listen, we want to carry on drinking, what do you say?”.


(They laugh.)


BUSH  Are you serious?

TELLER  ...And the good old Harry talks to the manager and tells him: “Let my boys drink till they burst”. Do you understand? In a certain way, we’re already free: the Bomb is not a secret anymore, but SOMETHING REAL. And for the same reason we are also REAL. We don’t have to be hiding ourselves anymore and changing our identities as if we were MAFIA RATS.

FELONY  So the waiter hasn’t got the balls to contradict a man who can wake the President up in the middle of his dreams because of a whim.

BUSH  A whim? We have spent more than three years devoted to the Bomb in body and soul. Three years of reclusion, with endless problems and headaches, isolated from the majority of our friends and family. And at last we’ve finished making it, and a few hours ago the device was dropped and everything has gone well. Much more than well: FUCKING WELL. It’s very probable that RIGHT NOW the bloody Japanese Emperor will be sitting in the golden seat of his imperial toilet, very constipated, seriously thinking about sending the President a post card by express post saying: “WE FUCKING SURRENDER”. I’m not joking: the Bomb won’t only finish off this war, it’s also the most important technical achievement in the history of humanity. And it’s been us, ALL OF US, who have made it. How should we feel? I think great, don’t you?, fucking great. So great that I don’t think that it’s asking too much for them to let us drink a couple or three more drinks, is it? It would be INHUMAN for them to turn off the martini tap tonight after what we’ve done.

TELLER  Bush, this is just the beginning. At the moment we have made the fission bomb, but this is just the first step to...the Super. Now, Bush...

KISTIAWSKY  Stop dreaming.

GÖLAM  What Teller says is completely true. The hydrogen bomb in no less real than the atomic bomb. It’s not a daydream. It’s possible. You only have to want it.

KISTIAWSKY  I don’t doubt it but, what for? The fact that there are no limits to the destructive capacity of the new arm you propose, that H bomb, makes it something necessarily PERVERSE. What worries me is not the technical problem, although of course I’m not as convinced as you that that horrible thing could ever work, or could reach any target unless it’s dropped by a Ukrainian ox cart. What I don’t like and I don’t understand is that that thing seems to have captivated the imagination of some of you; what I don’t understand is how can you talk about this when not even six hours have passed since Hiroshima was DEVASTATED.

BAKER  Bush isn’t off base when he says that, after tonight, war hasn’t got any meaning. Hirohito must be crazy if he doesn’t come down from his golden toilet. What use would that other bomb be?

TELLER  You speaks as if…as if you weren’t a real scientist.

KISTIAWSKY  What is a real scientist?

TELLER  Somebody who looks for the truth, as simple as that.

KISTIAWSKY  And what, is Truth like that, with capital letters? The H Bomb?

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