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Trousered Ape
An exercise in presumption.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
This was written for The Authoress, who shares my taste both for slasher films and for Shakespeare...


.

THIRTEENTH NIGHT

or

WHAT YOU KILL

.

Dramatis Personae

.

.

.

Jason Andronicus

.

Agonist

.

Moros & Hippolyta

.

Counselors

.

Satyrus & Carnalia

.

ditto

.

Impudicus & Lascivia

.

ditto

.

Turpino & Bimbona

.

ditto

.

Ralph

.

A village lunatic

.

Harold

.

A clown

.

Constable

..
.

Chorus

..
...
ACT I
.
Scene 1: A forest; in the background, a lake.
.
Enter Chorus.
.
Chorus."O for a Muse of fire that would ascend
The brightest Heaven of in–"
Oops, wrong play.
Today, no grand historic spectacle,
Nor tragedy of somber awful depth,
Nor witty comedy – Instead, we have
A festival of slaughter and cheap gore,
In course of which, my task will be, at times,
To explicate an incoherent plot,
Centered on the shadowed figure of
A hero, villain, monster: three-in-one,
Who soon our stage with bloodshed shall imbrue.
Jason Andronicus: speak, it is your cue!
.
Enter Jason Andronicus.
.
Jason A.Before my second lustrum had run out,
I ventured forth in waters deep to swim,
Though ignorant of natatory art.
I trusted in the vigilance and care
Of two appointed guardians; this pair
Proved faithless to their trust and stole away
To play in wantonness; meantime the lake
Crystal in name, but inky in its depths
Engulfed me.
.
Chorus.                     It was thought by all concerned
That Jason – poor unfortunate! – had drowned,
But – strange to say – the corpse was never found.
His mother, unforgiving, took revenge
Upon that thoughtless couple – with their lives
They paid the price for his supposéd death.
.
Jason A.Somehow I made my way back to the shore,
My brain quite addled by th’experience;
Somehow I made a life within this wood:
Contrived a shelter, learned to stalk and snare
And fill my stomach with warm blood and flesh.
The wider world forgotten, in due time
I grew a man – in years but not in mind.
Waiting and watching was my life, but what
I waited for, or why, I never knew.
.
Chorus.By evil chance, or by malicious Fate
Drawn thither, came a youthful covey, bound
For camping, to the very lake and wood
Where Jason lurked; and where nearby still lived
She who had given birth to him and mourned
His death. The coming of this careless band
Aroused in her chaotic fleeting thoughts:
"He’s dead – he’s living – she must go to him –
She must avenge him – how have they returned,
Bearing still the burden of their guilt?"
.
Jason A.My memory undimmed by passing years,
I recognized her; in that moonlit night
My maddened mother murd’rous mayhem made:
She fancied she was striking down all those
Whose negligence had brought about my death,
As Ajax in his fury slaughtered sheep
That he deludedly supposed to be
Ulysses, Agamemnon, and the Greeks.
Yet ere I could come forth and cry, “Mama!
Your Jason lives!” and still her stormy rage,
The one remaining of that feckless crew,
That hellish vixen, cut the business short
By cutting off my mother’s head – and so,
For us no joyful meeting, only woe.
.
Exeunt.
.
ACT II
.
Scene 1: A village in New Jersey.
.
Enter Chorus.
.
Chorus.And now the sequel (second, third, or fourth,
It matters not, they vary ne’er a whit):
Another hopeless, hapless, heedless lot
Appears, to sport and wanton – and to die;
For Jason is by filial duty sworn
To carry on his mother’s bloody work.
.
Exit Chorus; enter Moros & Hippolyta, Satyrus & Carnalia, Impudicus & Lascivia, Turpino & Bimbona.
.
Moros.Come, we must find the camp, and all prepare
For opening – then, frolic without care.
.
Hippolyta.Some passing chill brings goosebumps to my skin,
Some strange foreboding quivers up my spine...
.
Satyrus.From all such foolish fancies am I free;
I think of nought but coming revelry!
.
Carnalia.Aye, thinking on it warms my quickened heart;
In revelry I’ll play no modest part!
.
Impudicus.My thoughts turn to my fair Lascivia’s charms,
And what we'll find when in each other’s arms.
.
Lascivia.You are too froward, sir – think all you please:
You may find I am nothing but a tease.
.
Turpino.Here is much beer and wine – I shall drink deep
And pass the night in sotted swinish sleep.
.
Bimbona.So nothing shall we lack of what we need,
I have with me a casket of fine weed.
.
Enter Ralph.
.
Moros.Good sir, can you direct us how to take
The road that straightest leads to Crystal Lake?
.
Ralph.Oh, go not there! Blood drips upon the moon,
Now hoots the owl, and now croaks the frog,
The night wind howls and gibbers in the trees,
The geese fly south though ‘tis Midsummer Eve,
And butterflies, enraged, do peck at crows,
And dogs and cats turn cartwheels in the street –
By which grim portents I foresee that Death
Has spread his spectral bony fingers out
And clutches at you – Flee! Avaunt! Begone!
.
Turpino.The fellow’s daft. Oh, bid him shut his trap.
The camp is surely shown upon the map.
.
Enter Constable.
.
Constable.Be off with you, who can see nought but doom!
.
Exit Ralph; also, Moros et al.
.
Constable.And yet there is a pricking in my thumbs
That tells me something is not right – oh, well,
I‘ll sleep tonight, then with tomorrow’s sun,
I’ll go and see if aught needs to be done.
.
Exit Constable.
.
Scene 2: A part of the forest.
.
Enter Harold.
.
Harold.How came I here, to wander in this wood?
It is no place for quips and merry japes.
.
Enter Jason A.; cuts Harold’s throat.
.
Jason A.There lie, thou clown, and welter in thy blood.
I slew thee but to try my hand; the task
My mother left unfinished calls: I must
Wreak vengeance on these counselors of lust.
.
Exit Jason A.
.
Scene 3. Another part of the forest.
.
Enter Satyrus.
.
Satyrus.Carnalia! Oh sweet and spicy trull!
Satyrus sweats most moistly with desire!
.
Enter Jason A.; stabs Satyrus.
.
Jason A.Sweat thou no more – desire is cooled and done.
Desire nothing but a grave and stone.
.
Exit Jason A.; enter Carnalia.
.
Carnalia.Satyrus! Oh, what horrid thing is this?
Carnalia now shall scream and run away.
.
Enter Jason A.; runs through Carnalia with a pitchfork.
.
Jason A.Thy running days are over, nimble bitch –
Lie still beside thy lover in the ditch.
.
Exit Jason A.
.
Scene 4. A bedroom in the lodge.
.
Enter Lascivia. Gets into bed.
.
Lascivia.No longer teasing, now I long for him.
Impudicus, I listen for your step.
.
Jason A. stabs her from beneath, through the bed; emerges.
.
Jason A.Longing and listening alike are at an end.
Patience! Impudicus shall soon attend.
.
Exit Jason A.; enter Impudicus.
.
Impudicus.Equivocate no more! By Cupid’s bow,
I swear your blissful body shall be mine!
.
Re-enter Jason A.; shoots an arrow into Impudicus’ heart.
.
Jason A.Plain, unequivocal, let it be said:
Two bodies, but no bliss, are in thy bed.
.
Exit Jason A.
.
Scene 5. A downstairs room in the lodge.
.
Enter Turpino, drunk.
.
Turpino.Staggering, singing, so I make my way;
Strong drink may rage, but I am cheerful still.
.
Enter Jason A.; impales Turpino on the poker.
.
Jason A.Nor beer nor wine shalt thou in future drink:
Slake thirst with bitter draughts from Styx’s brink.
.
Exit Jason A.; enter Bimbona, stoned.
.
Bimbona.There are no words that can describe my dreams.
How peaceful is the night, and loving-kind!
.
Re-enter Jason A.; buries an axe in Bimbona’s head.
.
Jason A.Yea, sleep, dream on, beside thy sottish fellow –
Malignant Death hath surely harshed thy mellow.
.
Exit Jason A.
.
ACT III
.
Scene 1: Outside the lodge.
.
Enter Moros & Hippolyta.
.
Moros.This night has not gone on as I expected:
Our several friends are brought to grisly deaths,
And you and I remain – what shall we do?
How can we ‘scape the gruesome fate in store?
.
Hippolyta.Our surest safety lies in swiftest flight:
Go now and fetch the car; I’ll pack our things;
I would not wish to flee quite unprovided.
.
Exit Moros & Hippolyta, separately; enter Chorus.
.
Chorus.Why will they never learn? To go alone
When horror stalks you is flat foolishness!
.
Exit Chorus; re-enter Hippolyta, bearing bags, golf clubs, etc.
.
Hippolyta.I wait, a-tremble; why does Moros take
So long a time in going and returning?
But hark! I hear the car! Here, Moros, here!
.
Enter the car. Jason A. gets out, carrying Moros’ head. Hippolyta screams and stumbles back and falls. Jason attacks her with a machete. Hippolyta reaches behind her, grasps a five-iron, and bats away the weapon; gets up and runs away.
.
Jason A.Alas! My doom, my Nemesis is come:
Again I must confront the Final Girl.
For ‘tis my fate that if I fail to kill
At once, th’intended victim grows in power
And what she gains, I lose – so now begins
The contest, which, I know, can only end
With her victorious; but, as did Macbeth,
Bear-like I fight. Oh, fickle goddess Chance,
I pray you, help me knock stern Fate askance!
.
Scene 2: In the forest.
.
Enter Jason A. and Hippolyta. They fight; Hippolyta fells him lifeless to the earth.
.
Enter Chorus.
.
Chorus.Now is the time to end this fiend for aye!
Chop off his head and sever all his limbs,
Consume them in a fierce and cleansing fire,
And grind the ashes to the finest dust,
And summon up a gale, a mighty blast,
And hurl the dust straightway into its heart,
That to the furthest corners of the globe,
It may be scattered! No – she heeds me not,
Spent, exhausted, stumbling away,
As birds with joyful song announce the dawn;
The Constable and Ralph arrive at last
To take the heroine into their care
And gather in and tally all the slain.
And what of Jason?
.
Jason A. stands.
.
Jason A.                    Here I stand, condemned
To life eternal – how I curse my stars!
Old Sisyphus was never such a drudge
As I; more multiplying foes I face,
Than mighty Hercules, when he went forth
To battle with the Hydra; I would trade
Place gladly with that other Jason, who
Opposed himself to Cadmus’ earthborn men
Sprung from the dragon’s teeth. A slave am I:
I die to live again, I fall to rise,
So bloody lucrative is this franchise.
.
* * * CURTAIN * * *
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
The Authoress accidentally found this the other day: The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey (in which the unfortunate moppets are brought - very briefly - to life).

 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.


Please pray for the souls in Purgatory

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.


New address bobtheape88...at...gmail...dot...com


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