David L. Meth
A Full-Length Dramatic Comedy
5 CURRIES is a dramatic comedy that takes place in India and the United States. It is about an American man who will die without a kidney transplant, but the waiting list is too long for him to receive one in the United States. Lonely and burdened with a decision that divides his family, he goes to India where the sale of kidneys is easy to arrange on the black market, and there is no responsibility on his part other than to pay for it. Of course, it is not until he actually arrives in India that he realizes he is in a country and culture so completely alien to him that if anything goes wrong there is no accountability. But he is there and there is no turning back. Neither can he turn his back on his past, as his life becomes a series of frames in flashbacks: all the mistakes he has made, all the opportunities he has missed, all the reasons that could have prevented going to what he considers a “third world country” to look for new life. Now he finds himself not quite stranded, and not quite alone, but questioning his life in India, a country of enormous poverty and dramatic contradictions, where the kidney he gets might come from a man or woman so desperate that the choice is between selling a child and selling a body organ. Should he care?
Six months later he is at home and fully recovered when there is a knock on the door. A young Indian couple stands before him and claims that her husband has donated the kidney. Or is it the wife? It becomes clear that they both have sold parts of their bodies. Of course, Irv, the American man, denies knowing anything about it; but when the Indian couple provides more details, Irv gives in. But how does he know it is actually one of them, despite the large scars they show him to prove it? Thus, the central theme of the play arises: What difference does it make who gave him the kidney? He went to India on the verge of death and returned with a new life. The Indian couple, desperate for a new life, has sold more than they have to sell and borrowed more than they can pay back in order to come to America. How can he refuse? Through this play I hope to dramatize the decisions and conflicts between Americans who have the wealth and luxury to afford medical care, but cannot get it in the United States, and poverty stricken Indians who must sell their own flesh and blood just to live another day. And when seeking or offering help to those in dire need, is it important to know who the donor and the recipient are? When giving blood to a blood bank, is it necessary to know who will receive it? Must the donor receive personal thanks from the recipient?
This drama is also a comedy because any time cultures are crossed and different languages are used everything that one has previously learned must be disregarded … and this makes for very funny, sometimes embarrassing situations no matter how serious the intent.