The Dictator (Part 1)

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The Dictator (Part 1)[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, Narrative Monologue, 55 minutes
Preceded by: Iceland (Part 2)
Followed by: The Dictator (Part 2)

I'll always remember the great drought, when it didn't rain for two years.

The Dictator (Part 1) is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1991.


A great drought decimates a village and is followed by flood. A band of raiders attacks a village and cuts off the thumbs of the villagers. Joe is a dictator in a fortified underground bunker. He delivers a speech on the battlefield. Rooting out enemies. Sounds of battle. Eating dirt. Moral relativism. Is there a moral imperative to cause suffering in others? Meditation on power. Joe falls for a contortionist in a circus. Joe claims his is on the verge of victory as his forces are decimated, taunts the enemy. "help me unravel this knot and find my way back to the town where I first saw you, where all this started, this thirst."



Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "Written by Joe Frank, and created in collaboration with Arthur Miller and David Rapkin. Mixed by Theo Mondle. War bed created by Jerry Summers. Special thanks to Sheila Bjornlie and Ariana Morgenstern."