ANTIDOT (Antidote)
by Nicoleta Esinencu

Foto: Florin Tabirta


Samantha Smith

You are 10

And the teacher constantly repeats that you

Are a silly cow

Because you haven't done your homework again

And she whacks you on the fingers with a ruler

And says you will be punished

You have a sheet of paper in front of you

And on it you're again going to write

A peace letter

What are you all staring at

Everyone take a piece of paper out now

And start writing a peace letter

Shouts my teacher

She never reads them anyway

Puts them straight in envelopes

Slobbers all over the stamps

Throws them into a box

The box

As you've seen with your own eyes

Is collected by the handicrafts teacher

And put with the waste paper

You are 10 and every week

The teacher says you have to write

A peace letter

You are 10

And you can take a Kalashnikov apart in 3 minutes

And put it back together again

You are 10

And you can put your gas mask on in 0.01 seconds

And you also know that

The gasmask protects

Your lungs,

Face and eyes

From toxic substances,

Radiation and biological contaminants.

The radioactive contaminants

Poisoning the air

Are filtered by the layer in the gasmask's filter canister,

Activated carbon.

PDF-7, DP-6, DP-6m.

PDF - S - gasmask for young schoolchildren.

This mask comes in two sizes (3 and 4).

The mask size is determined by measuring the distance between

The chin and the crown of the head.

The best gas protection for pupils is

the PDF-2S with the mask


To protect children under 1 ½ years

You use the CZD-4,

From 1½ to 7, the PDFD;

And from 7 to 16, the PDF-S.

You are 10 and

You can make yourself a mask from gauze

And you also know that

The bandage is cotton wool and gauze

Made from one piece of

50 x 100 cm gauze.

A layer of cotton wool in the centre

1-2 cm thick measuring

30 x 20cm.

The gauze is wrapped around the cotton wool at either end.

The long ends of the gauze are cut in such a way that

The resulting strips can be used as ties.

The dressing is placed over the mouth and nose and the ends are tied tightly:

The top ones – on the back of the head above the ears

The lower ones – on the top of the head.

You are 10

And you can put on the gas mask in 0.01 seconds

You can make a gauze mask

You do defence exercises against weapons of mass destruction

You throw yourself on the floor in the opposite direction to the explosion

You know that if there is an attack with an atomic bomb

You have to take iodine

And after you take the iodine

You get another whack on the fingers

And you write another letter

And another

And another

And another

And in the break

You run

With your friend into the cellar

And he takes your hand

And whispers to you

Look over there

The cupboard contains

All the bombs for every kind of situation

And only the head has a key

And he'll only open the cupboard

When the Americans attack us

That's what my brother told me

He's big

And knows that

He saw it with his own eyes

How the head took

A belt of cartridges out from it

That's awesome


Extract from "Antidot“ (Antidote) by Nicoleta Esinencu, written as part of the Goethe-Institut's "After the Fall“ trans-European theatre project.

Translated from the German by Andrew Boreham.