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Study Of The Soul By Ral Carpentier

1. ACT I Scene 1 INT: Classroom At rise, a middle-aged college professor is sitting at his desk CS. There is an empty student desk at SR facing SL. We here a voice-over of the professor narrating. DR. DINA (VOICE-OVER) My name is Dr. Ray Dina. Ive been a professor of psychology here at NYU for the last 25 years. In all my years of teaching, Ive always been confident that what I taught was sound and compelling. Semesters come and go, as do the students. New student faces every semester keep me loving this job, as they keep it always extremely interesting. Each student has his or her special story to tell. I have my stories also, but some are more important than others. The story Im about to tell you, is one that changed my life forever. Thanks to a very special student who came to me unannounced and unexpected. (The professor rises and continues a lecture that was started previously. He speaks to the audience, as they are the students.) DR. DINA Is everyone done their class assignment? Good. As I was saying earlier, the term psychology finds its origin in Germany by a man named Philip Melanchthon. It was probably coined in the mid 16th century as psychologia. The word logia, meaning "the study of", and the word psykhe, meaning "breath, spirit, or soul". And so the "study of the soul" was born, and soon after, "the study of the mind" was recorded in 1748. (A young female student walks in late and, thus, interrupts the class. The professor appears annoyed.) Yes? May I help you?

SARAH Sorry Im late. I just had my schedule changed. I need this course to satisfy my degree audit. I wont graduate without it. DR. DINA Are you telling me that you belong in this class, young lady?

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SARAH Yes. DR. DINA Well, class is almost over. Why even bother coming in at this time? SARAH I didnt want to miss a minute of your lecture. sorry. Heres my schedule. (She hands him her schedule.) Oh, Im

I just had it changed. (He takes her schedule to his desk and writes her name in his roster.) DR. DINA Take a seat...er...(He looks at her schedule, as he hands it back to her)...Sarah... SARAH Goldman. DR. DINA Take a seat, Sarah Goldman. And heres your syllabus. Theres a report due on Tuesday. SARAH Thank you, sir. (She sits at the student desk SR, and is silent until the end of class. He continues his lecture.) DR. DINA Now, where was I? I hate interruptions. Oh yes... The origin of psychology is important in that it probably began in Germany. And one of the most interesting, and terrifying moments in history, was the holocaust during WWII. In that period of time, about 6 million Jews, among others, were persecuted, to say the least, by the Nazi regime. So, my question to you is how do you think the Jews were affected psychologically by what was happening to them during the holocaust?...James?...yes of course they were scared. They were terrified. But what was their fear? They had a fear of what?...Michelle?...Yes...they were afraid to die. It was a terrible fear of death. Can you imagine waiting, and knowing that you would surely die because you belonged to a certain group of people. I mean, all our lives we fear being made fun of...being shunned...being rejected by peers because we may not meet someone elses standards of what a human being should be. How much worse was their fear, knowing they would die? And a horrible death at that. Now, let me ask you another pertinent question. Do you think the

3. DR. DINA Jews would have persecuted an entire group of people as the Nazis did, if they had been part of the Nazi regime?...Virginia?...What makes you say no?...Because they were a more benevolent people? Are you suggesting there were no Nazis who were benevolent? What about loyalty to government? Wouldnt some of the Jews have gone along with the movement, if for no other reason, but to save their own lives? (he looks at his watch.) Well have to ponder on that, its time to go. Your reports are due when you return on Tuesday. In the meantime, have a good weekend. (He returns to his desk and gets busy writing. Sarah stays behind and approaches him.) SARAH Professor Dina? DR. DINA Yes? SARAH You were wrong, sir. DR. DINA Excuse me? SARAH You were wrong about the Jews fear of death. (He stands.) Well, thats interesting. DR. DINA How so?

SARAH They werent afraid to die. I see. No. DR. DINA Then, what did they fear? SARAH They were afraid to lose their humanity. They feared being reduced to mere cattle, being butchered and burned as though they had no worth as human beings. DR. DINA Are you suggesting there was no fear at all? SARAH

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DR. DINA What about death? SARAH Death was accepted because there was no way to stop it. DR. DINA I see. SARAH And your other question concerning their ability to do the same as the Nazis? DR. DINA Yes? SARAH The Jews would not have done the same thing. DR. DINA What makes you so sure? SARAH The Jews believe in God. As such, they could not have gone against their convictions. It would have been as though they were killing themselves. DR. DINA You make some very profound statements. You seem to be almost intuitive with regards to that particular subject matter. Is it safe to assume that youre of Jewish descent? SARAH Yes. My grandmother was the second to the youngest child to be captive during the war. She was also waiting to die, but she survived. So, Ive had first hand accounts of what it was like, and how people thought and felt. DR. DINA Im sorry to hear that. SARAH Thank you, youre very kind. DR. DINA But very wrong? (smiles) SARAH No, were all trying to figure things out. We live a life of asking questions and learning. We just need to make sure we learn the truth.

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DR. DINA How do we discern what the truth really is. I mean, all our lives were taught that we can achieve anything if we only have faith in ourselves and keep trying. As we get older, we come to recognize that thats clearly false. Dont you agree? SARAH Yes, I do agree that thats clearly false. But the opposite is clearly true...that if you dont have faith in yourself and dont keep trying, youll never achieve anything. DR. DINA Youre a very perceptive woman, Sarah. Thank you. SARAH But Ive been told I can be very sassy as well. Youre more of a

DR. DINA Well, Ive yet to see evidence of that. mystery than anything, if I may say so. SARAH Yes, Ive been told that too.

DR. DINA Well, I must say, itll be a pleasure to have you in this class. Thank you. SARAH Im looking forward to it.

DR. DINA So, Ill see you next Tuesday, then? SARAH Sooner if its at all possible. Id like to ask you to be my mentor for the empirical research Im doing with another class. DR. DINA Why me? SARAH I was told you were the most knowledgeable on qualitative and quantitative research, not to mention statistical formulas. I hope you have the time. DR. DINA I always make the time for any of my students with such high prospects.

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SARAH Great! I need to come up with an introduction and methodology by Monday. Can I stop by your office this weekend? DR. DINA Im afraid I wont be in my office at all this weekend. have a very busy schedule, and Ill be out of the city. I

SARAH I hate to impose but I really need the help, and its due Monday. If I dont get it done by then, Ill be too far behind to catch up. (almost in tears) I also have a report due for you on Tuesday. DR. DINA Im sorry, but Im very busy. SARAH But you have to take time out to eat, right? We can have lunch or something. It shouldnt take that long. DR. DINA Lunch with a student would be inappropriate. There are too many ramifications to consider...favoritism, unethical conduct, not to mention sexual harassment, and being accused of inappropriate behavior. I love my job and would love to keep it. SARAH Theres nothing inappropriate about a mentor getting together with a student outside of class, Dr. Dina. I certainly would appreciate your time. And you have to consider that it would motivate me to do well in your class. As far as unethical conduct is concerned, wouldnt it be unethical to not meet with me to help me with my course work? DR. DINA Did I say it would be a pleasure to have you in this class? (smiles) There must be some way of retracting that statement. (They laugh) Im sorry. SARAH Ive also been told I always get my way. (Professor thinks for a while, then walks over to his desk and writes something down. He hands her a piece of paper.)

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DR. DINA OK. Meet me there at 12:30 tomorrow. for lunch, so dont be late.

I only have an hour

SARAH (smiling) I promise I wont. Thank you so much, Dr. Dina. Bye for now.

(exiting)

DR. DINA Bye for now, Sarah. (She leaves, as he goes back to his desk.)