The Dictator (Part 3)

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The Dictator (Part 3)[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, Narrative Monologue, 58 minutes
Preceded by: The Dictator (Part 2)
Followed by: On The Edge

My picture can be seen on highway billboards...

The Dictator (Part 3) is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1991.


The dictator tells us that his picture is everywhere, offers himself as his people's salvation, in place of Jesus, god, religion.

13:30: The circus performer tells us that he left the circus, walked out to the highway. He fixes the flat tire of a limousine at the behest of a beautiful woman then drives her to a mansion. He sees a picture of General Ibrahim on the wall. She gives him the limousine. Joe dumps the corpse in its back into a gully. When he gets back to the car it has a baby in it. The baby is crying; the car is out of gas. A hoarse old woman calls the car's phone, denounces whoever is listening for his mistreatment of her.

26:20: Joe sees a shimmering figure, a great winged lion, hears a voice in the wind that says, 'Take care of the child. I will come back for him.' Joe walks towards the figure, sees that it's just rags on a pole. After that the baby stops crying, the car has gas.

27:30: Joe drives to a small church, leaves the baby in a pew, prays at the altar, promises to take care of the baby. After his prayer the baby has disappeared. He drives off, feeling happy and free.

34:00: The dictator fantasizes about turning defeat into victory, ruling the world.

40:20: Abandoning his fantasies the dictator imagines other things he could do: dental technician, pharmacy, computer maintenance, chef, chanteuse, dancer... then just enjoying life's simple pleasures.

46:40: The dictator, defiant, tells us what humiliations he won't allow his enemies to perpetrate upon him.

49:00: Joe repeats, with slight variations, in different voices, 'Help me unravel this knot and find my way back to the town where I first saw you, where all this started, this thirst'.

52:10: The dictator narrates slides: harvesting wheat in his childhood, praying on a prayer rug, leading soldiers in an assault, kicking a goal on the soccer pitch to the adulation of the crowd.

Legacy Synopsis

Dictator's picture is everywhere, man leaves circus in storm and finds woman in limo, driving with a dead man in the car, the dictator contemplates nothingness and defeat, "help me unravel this knot..."


Additional credits

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


  1. Joe added music to several of his shows when they were rebroadcast or digitized. The updated versions are usually available at