The Art of Occupation


There is an apartment on stage left. The apartment looks like a gallery in that its walls are completely white and minimalistic. A dark, wooden table surrounded by six Bauhaus chairs sits in the center of the apartment. Igor will sit at the head of the table and Christopher will sit in any of the other chairs. A painting hangs directly behind the table. The painting is a Picasso; the title is not important. The focus of the painting is a woman described in a Cubist fashion. She wears a wreath on her head. Her clothes are white like the walls she adorns. Details of color can be seen in her embarrassed cheeks and her startling blue eyes; eyes that seem to be looking down at the two men at the table. No windows are visible in the apartment. There is a gallery space on stage right. The gallery looks like an apartment in that it looks lived in. The floor is covered with sleeping bags, empty pizza boxes, and abandoned beer cans. The floor is also scattered with poster boards and sharpies. The words ARTISTS SPACE are written in bold letters on the empty, back wall. Below these words the following is written: “Core Contributors: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Louise Bourgeois Trust, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts.” The two other walls show remnants of an exhibition. Silver nails adorn the walls. There may even be a canvas, or two, leaning against the walls. It is unclear whether these canvases are waiting to be hung, or waiting to be taken away. Two steel chairs sit on the far left of the space. STEFAN will sit in one chair, and GEORGIA will sit in the other. The time is almost mid-day on a Monday in autumn.

[The sound of protestors is heard. The sound does not die when the curtain opens. It does, however, seem to be muffled. When the curtain rises, STEFAN is scribbling on a notepad. The sound of his pencil as it hits the crisp page should be unusually noticeable. CHRISTOPHER and GEORGIA begin to tilt back in their respected chairs, the floors creak.]


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] This is an occupation!


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] We have to deal with this occupation.




CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] What occupation?


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] It had to be occupied. You had to be occupied.


IGOR: [TO CHRISTOPHER] We have to do something.


CHRISTOPHER: [TO IGOR] What’s to be done? What occupation?


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] I had to be occupied?




IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] What do you suggest we do about this?


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] It was rather necessary.


 [CHRISTOPHER’S cell phone goes off.]


CHRISTOPHER: [On the phone] Honey, I’m occupied right now. I already booked the restaurant. Okay, bye. [He hangs up the phone.] What did you say was occupied?


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] Artists Space. The board is beginning to get concerned.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] Why are you concerned about this space?


IGOR: [TO CHRISTOPHER] Occupied by scoundrels no less.


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] Art is not capital!


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] I am confused.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] Art is certainly not capital.


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] Art is not capital! Don’t say it is!


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] Art is not capital!


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] I saw some scoundrels near my office. Are they the same ones?


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] This is an occupation! We’re angry here!


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] They may be the same ones but that is beside the point. The board is getting nervous.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] I can see your anger. It’s scattered all over this floor. [Gestures to the space around him]


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] What are they calling it? Occupy, occupy…


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] Wall Street! It’s all about Wall Street. [She stands] The people of Wall Street are the ones ruining art. They’ve taken the aesthetic value away from art. [She sits]


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] I’m not sure why they would come to Artists Space. That curator Stefan let them stay. Scoundrel.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] And you’re saving it, right?


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] I never liked that Stefan. You’ll remember I voted against his hiring. Far too radical.


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] We’re saving it. All those people here last night. We’re saving art together.


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] Perhaps you knew better than all of us then.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] We? I saw no “we” last night. [He checks his phone]


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] You didn’t see us?


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] Occupy…. Wall Street! That’s what it is. Why are they at Artists Space? I thought they were protesting Wall Street.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] Seemed more like a dictatorship to me. It was a nice idea though.


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] They are protesting Wall Street.


GEORGIA: [To STEPHAN] That wasn’t just an idea. That actually happened. It’s still happening.


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] So they are the same protestors?


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] It was not a bad idea as a project.


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] There’s no way to know for sure. I’m certainly not going down there unless I need to go into the office.


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] Picasso! Rivera! Kandinsky! Now Georgia! It’s my, I mean our time. We are starting a revolution here.


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] I’m not going down there either. I suppose they could be the same occupiers. What does Artists Space have to do with all this?


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] What revolution?


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] How should I know? The board. The board is concerned.


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] The art world needs to change.


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] It’s simple, isn’t it? Evict them.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] You want to change the art world?


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] Is that easy?




CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] Yes. We support the space, we should decide what goes on there.


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] Yes, you’re right.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] Where’s the laptop?


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] What laptop?


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] A laptop was stolen.


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] What did you expect?


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] I don’t know anything about a laptop.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] I let you people stay here because I understand your anger.


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] I don’t understand why Stefan let them stay.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] Artists Space is a center for new ideas in a radically changing world. I understand you.


GEORGIA: [to STEFAN] Yeah, well I hear the board doesn’t.


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] Where do they think the money comes from for that laptop.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] I called the board. The stolen laptop.


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] The money comes from us. We will pay for that stolen laptop.


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] So you’re going to evict us?


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] A waste if you ask me.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] I won’t evict you.


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] The board will vote tomorrow.


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] Of course not. They will.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] So you understand.


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] They’ll be gone by tomorrow night.


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] You’ll put us all out on the streets.


STEFAN: [To GEORGIA] I won’t. They will, like you said.


CHRISTOPHER: [CHRISTOPHER checks his watch.] The time!


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] It’s supposed to snow. It will be cold.


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] You have somewhere to be?




CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] Yes. I’m going to this gallery opening tonight. I am meeting my wife for dinner beforehand.


GEORGIA: [To STEFAN] They won’t stop us. We will occupy everything.




IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] Who is the artist?


CHRISTOPHER: [To IGOR] Some new artist, Georgia Sagri.


IGOR: [To CHRISTOPHER] Never heard of her.


CHRISTOPHER [To IGOR] Oh, you will.


CHRISTOPHER gets up from his chair. CHRISTOPHER and IGOR exchange silent goodbyes.  CHRISTOPHER leaves the apartment by walking towards the audience. His feet shuffle against the floor. He walks off stage left. As CHRISTOPHER leaves, IGOR turns his chair around to look at the painting on the wall. The chair scratches the floor below as he moves it to face the painting. On the other side of the stage, STEFAN is beginning to tidy up the space. He moves the sleeping bags, pizza boxes, and beer cans towards the audience. They make their own respective sounds as he pushes them towards the audience. The moving of these items breaks the silence that has been enveloping the stage. STEFAN picks up a sign that reads, “Push the Barricades! Take the Street!” He gives it to GEORGIA. She looks at the sign and smiles. GEORGIA gets up from her chair and begins to walk off stage. She exits the gallery in the same way CHRISTOPHER exited the apartment, towards the audience.


GEORGIA: [She shouts] Push the barricades! Take the street… [She walks off stage]


Curtain closes.

Samantha Rosenthal
Age 17, Grade 12
Trinity School
Silver Key

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