Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oedipus--Act 5-A

Seats for Snow

Oedipus Act 5A

KING OEDIPUS NEW Based on Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex”

© Eso A. B., 2015

Act Five A

(The stage as before. Enter guards with Herder.)
King, here’s your man.

We found him hiding

In the hollow trunk of a tree trunk.

King Ludi (looking the man over):
A bony creature, isn’t he?
No matter.
I need is pluck his memory clean.

We sacrificed our children,

Sent them deep into the wood,

told them they had to run from the bees

for their sweetness,

Then shamed by our guilt,

we built Thebes to their memory.

What a laugh!

The city is crumbling.

Sacrifice is dismissed.

Our foreign ministers are blue.

They lay with each other

to prove themselves capable

and something doing.

as in Latvia.

In our day no man has the courage

to take the place of the babes.

Grown to adulthood,

our young today grow into cowards

for the  suck of the nail of their yodi

The Gods demand a knowing deed,

a sacrifice of effort,

a facing up to,

to build our place in the sun.

But we have forgot that God, too,

must die to prove Himself real.

Else but bureaucrats appear so.

Right in the middle of the bridge

Are nine planks missing.

Death comes when it will.
We die unknowing into the unknowing.
We leave behind unknowing.

Who holds the hands of our dying?

King Oedipus:
You, merc, from
Is this the man you spoke of?

Yes, I recognize him.

King Oedipys:
Old man, what’s your name?
Were you a herder of reindeer for King Lauis?

My name is Gans,

Some call me Yan, or Zhan, most call me John.

King Oedipusi:
Where did you drive your reindeer?

Some distance from here,
Thebes meets Corinth,
in the wood and dales of Mt. Citheron.

King Ludi:
John, did you ever meet
the man standing next to me?

John (looks at the messenger):
I don’t know. I don’t remember.

King Ludi, it’s been a long time.
But John knows the mountains well.
He and I herded reindeer in adjacent valleys

for three years from first grass of spring ‘til autumn.

When winter came,
we drove our herds to the barns of our Kings.

Damn you! You didn’t ask

if you could speak for me.

King Oedupus
You handed this man a child,
a boy, is it true?

Look at me:

today back then I was that child.

By the Gods and Thebes!

I wish I had died that day,

and this fool from Corinth has a cracked head.

He speaks now as he has been

pushed by a mountain goat off a cliff.

King Oedipus:
If you keep on being disrespectful,

I can arrange death for you.

If kings refuse to give their lives for the People,
I refuse to do them better.
I’ll call on Thebans to come

and pass judgment on your court.

Your breed will take flight fromThebes in all directions.

Thebes will be left to raise birch trees

in the crevices of its ruins.

King Oedipus:
This bag of old skin and stinking fur

is a stubborn bull.

I’m a Ludi of Thebes, born in the wood,

where I own my own house.
I gave you my answer:
I was already old, when this Corinthian

hadn’t reached twenty yet.

King Ludi:
Where did you find the child

you gave this man?
Who gave the child to you?
Did a twig or a wire of gold bind its ankles?

There was a gold wire.
I gifted it to the Queen,

and got back gifts worth its double.

King Ludi:
Whose child was I?

If that babe was you,

You were not my child.
I only passed you on.

King Oedipus:
Who were my parents?
Was it someone standing about?

I’m of the people of Thebes.

You reign with my consent.

My house stands in what is left

of the wood ofThebes.

I am here ever since King Cadmus

gave his finger to the Gods—

and earned the right to found a kingdom here.

His sacrifice awed his sons, Otus and Ephialtes,

who made peace among themselves

and helped build the city of Thebes,

a city of peace, some call it Jerusalem,

the city of dreams.
Though King Laius took my firstborn,

I remain faithful

and abide by his will.

King Oedipus:
If you refuse to answer me
consider yourself as dead.

If you kill me, do you believe

That the People of Ludiorum will

ever trust in you enough to obey you?

King Ludi:
Are you suicidal, John?

If I am to believe you,

you were a King’s son once.

Once I would have given my life

if you had asked me for it.
I’m not sure who you are now

or that I sould commit to you.

King Oedipus:
How dare you say such crap?
Guards, twist the man’s arm

until he speaks soberly.

Drunkenness is one of our plagues.

I know ‘such crap’ from her, Ludi.

King Oedipus:
Her? Who is ‘her’?

(Tiresias appears at the back of the stage. He’s crawling on all fours and obviously suffering from a mortal wound. His face and dress are splotched with blood. The Chorus makes half turn as if to wait for the answer to the King’s questions, but sees Tiresias and gasps: “O! O! O! O!”. Even so, the Herder’s shout, in answer to Ludi's question, drowns out the gasp of the chorus—perhaps because of it.)

John (shouting):
Your mother and wife! The Queen!

She who saved you from your father

who would take you to the wood,

for the Gods to take a look at you

and see if they approved of you!

Yes, the Gods can tell who you are

from simply looing!

Your mother stole you from King Laius,

Who blinded himself from sorrow

when he was shown your corpse.

Then your mother took you

to the temple of the whores of Corinth

for suckling and safe keeping.

Now she does not know

how to save you from yourself.

King Oedipus:
How dare you!

When you learned to walk
your mother went and visited you often.

Sometimes I accompanied her

and we had a good time.
Perhaps you’ve not been told,
--the Queen of Corinth, Merope, is your aunt.
She and your stepfather, King Polybus,
were king and queen unable to have children of their own.
They needed a gift from the Gods.

Urged by Queen Iocaste,
they took you in and raised you as their own.
Whores were your nannies.
And a whore who become a Queen
Also became your mother and wife.

King Oediuos:
How muddled can old age make a man?!
(pointing at Tiresias, but taking no note of his wounds):
Look, old clown, there crawls your twin in fate.
Who says the Gods have no blood to drink?

Chorus (gasps): Dear Gods!


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