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13.10 - Assignment

Play: Jan van der Hoek. A fisherman.

Narrator: Meet Jan van der Hoek; he is a fisherman in Enkhuizen. A village on the shores of what was once the South Sea.

   Jan is preparing his boat, picking up the nets, fixing some holes, and getting ready to take his boat     out to see.

It is the year 1935, three years after the completion of the Afsluitdijk, which turned this sea into a lake: Ijsselmeer.

   Seagulls cawing.

Jan is one of the last fishermen here, he does this out of habit. His father was a fisherman, his grandfather, his great grandfather, and his great-great grandfather before him.
In 1916, after the big flood, a decision was made to build a dike. Turning the salt water into fresh water.

Ja, lekker, what a beautiful day. But it no longer smells salty, I guess it is the price you pay to stay afloat…

Narrator: This means that Jan cannot catch herring or anchovies any longer.

    Jan gets on his boat and starts to travel into the water. He closes his eyes and faces the sun.

Water: Jan! Hello again…I missed your boat. What is keeping the rest of you from coming back?

Jan: Water, you are turning sweet, and we cannot continue to catch the herring.

Water: Men like to put things where they don’t belong. The land is swallowing me up.

Jan: I remember when I was a child, you came into our homes, drowned our gardens, and tore down our walls. But you also give me my life, I am sad to see you go.

Water: I will no longer stay the same, the same fish do not accompany me, and the land is keeping me still, not even the moon moves me anymore.

   Jan continues on his boat.

Fish: Jan! We have swum under your boat, your father’s boat, your grandfather’s boat, and your great grandfather’s boat. We cannot swim any longer.

Narrator: Says the fish.

Jan: But you must keep swimming! I need you to live, to feed my family, so that my children and grandchildren, and great grandchildren can continue to catch you.

Fish: We have no food, the water tastes sweet, and the tide no longer moves. They have put land in our water and sealed our escape.

   Jan catches the fish and puts it in its boat.

Fish: You are freer than we, you can sail away, take your family to the sea.

Jan: I-

Land: Jan! You can stay here with me…I was put here for you, your children, and your great-grandchildren. I will feed you better than the sea has, you will have milk, meat, wheat.

Narrator: Beckons the land


    Surprised, boat moves, and he almost falls, looks around aimlessly to see where the voice is                 coming from.

I am Jan van der Hoek! A fisher man, a man of the sea! I was born a fisherman and will die one.

Land: You know gold glitters more than fish scales…and that this is no longer a sea. This fresh water will feed cows and fields.

Jan: But…this is how it has always been. I need to fish.

Land: Who are you to fight me? The dyke was put here to protect you. In me lies your future. Look around! Your neighbor has already bought a cow.

Jan: Peter has never been a good fisherman; he has little patience.

Land: Jan…I will see your hands in the earth.

   Jan rushes back to shore. Distraught.

Narrator: Jan brings back his catch. He wonders if tomorrow there will be more. He sees Peter’s cow and breathes in the air turning sweet.