"Behind the Scenes"
A Play in Three Acts
by Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters)
I wrote this first as a one act play. I was fifteen then. World War II was at its height. The first version of this play was not hopeful about the future of mankind. I saw self-interest as the stumbling block to every effort to achieve worldly perfection. The message that the play conveyed, finally, was that the human race, because of its determined selfishness, would end up blowing itself to bits.
I set the play in the days of the cave man. The fate it projected finally for mankind awaited us far in the future, when we've developed the means, through ever-more powerful weaponry, for the earth's final destruction.
In the play's present and greatly revised version, the same selfishness is presented as man's stumbling block to perfection, but the play holds out hope for individual and national improvement. It doesn't present the world as perfectible, but it shows human beings themselves as capable of seeking perfection individually, for themselves. Otherwise, the implication is that this world is a school. One doesn't try to perfect a school. The purpose of a school is to inspire in its students a longing for personal perfection.
The scene is an imaginary island, home to five imaginary "clans." I made the setting colorful and symbolic, so much so that my best suggestion is for prospective readers to read the printed introduction.