Plays Directory : The Exception and the Rule

Welcome to The Mandy Network Plays Directory.

The information below is intended to give you a brief guide to the show and highlight some of the other The Mandy Network members who have also been involved in this show.

  • Author
    Bertolt Brecht
  • Overview
    The play itself is short, and lasts no longer than 30 minutes if performed in its entirety.

    It tells the story of a rich merchant, who must cross the fictional Yahi Desert to close an oil deal. During the trip the class differences between him and his working-class porter (or "coolie" as he is called in most English language editions) are shown. Eventually when the Merchant fires his guide, the porter and the Merchant himself get lost, and the water supplies are running low, the Merchant mistakenly shoots the coolie, thinking he was being attacked, when he was in reality being offered some water the coolie still had left in his bottle. After doing so, he becomes increasingly afraid of the desert. The merchant's terror and brutality increases; he fires a guide, and feels terribly alone without police nearby to protect him.

    Later, in a court room scene, the evidence of the murder is presented, and ultimately the Merchant is acquitted. The Judge concludes that the Merchant had every right to fear a potential threat from the coolie, and that he was justified in shooting the coolie in self-defense regardless of whether there was an actual threat, or whether the Merchant simply felt threatened.

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