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A
MODERN
CRUCIFIXION

A Play in Two-Acts



by

Christina Conrad



(Draft)





Copyright © 1999
Christina Conrad
PO Box 1321
Woodstock, NY, 12448
email:  grillostone@yahoo.com


	    
		   C H A R A C T E R S
    

	HERA:			Obsessed painter in early 50s. Dark, haunted, and 
				magnetic. Long, wild hair. Bare feet. Wears white, 
				paint-spattered trousers and a shirt bound round waist 
				with blood-red cord. Voice like an ancient instrument 
				wells up out of the throat. 

	THEA:			Hera’s daughter by first marriage. 24-year-old student. 				Child-like, petulant, small, yet full bosomed. Blonde 				hair falls in two plaits. Large green eyes. Short black 				dress, tight-fitting waist, black leggings, flesh-pink 					ankle socks. Leg shows between socks & leggings. 					Feet in brown, ankle boots. 

	JOSEPH:		Hera’s first husband. A lawyer in mid-50s. Tall, 
				thin, stooped. Little, sharp teeth. Sandy moustache.					Pale, fanatical blue eyes stare behind small, gold-					rimmed spectacles. Black, formal suit. Slim, black-					leather gloves (never removed), black tie, black 
				Homberg, white shirt, white handkerchief. Large 
				antique silver watch on chain hangs over hollow 
				stomach. Blood-red rose bud in lapel. Carries a 
				black, shiny cane, black  attaché case. Feet in 
				tight black shoes.   

	YVES:			Hera’s eldest son by second marriage. 17-years-old.
				His huge black eyes contain the sorrow of the world. 
Nose like the beak of an eagle. Long red-black hair falls to shoulders. Black top hat, dead white face. Torn, white-silk 
				pajamas. Feet bare. 
			
                          ___________________________________________


		             SETTING
	                     Hera’s  two-storey, studio/house.

		                   TIME
		                   The present
 
			ACT ONE




		SETTING:  	In a stark, white studio: two, blood-red stairways 
				wind to the left and right of  a tall, narrow, glass door 
				with an arched top. This door resembles an upturned
				coffin. A soft wind blows bits of paint-smeared toilet 
				paper causing seven, long white candles to flame in 
				the crudely carved candelabra hanging by a rope 
				from the ceiling. A tall, metal easel holds at a 
				precarious angle a sculptured painting of a man.  
				His grotesque, over-sized head falls hopelessly on to 
				his chest. 
				
				The space is furnished with a fat couch clad in 					crumpled grey-blue velvet. A table with claws, 	
				circular and scrubbed. A tall, full-throated, flesh-pink
				jug  (filled with goats’ milk). A bread board, black
				bread, goats’ cheese. A half-pecked seed bell sits on 				the edge of the table.


		AT RISE:	Stage dim.  HERA’s back is to audience.					She fanatically manipulates the papier-mâché head,
				wet with paint. Big, stiff, mutilated paint tubes
writhe in a heap on the floor. Everything is besmirched with paint, like dried blood.

				THEA appears at top of right stairway. Light distorts
				her doll-like beauty, transforming her temporarily 
				into a man.	



				THEA	
		(In a harsh, male voice)
	We dragged them out of their filthy caves,
	broke them on the wheel,
	bound them to the stake. 
	Burnt them by the thousands. 
	That stench of burning flesh terrorized the masses.
		(Beat)
	The ones who confessed fell to their knees
	begging to be cleansed.
		(SHE is shouting)


				THEA (Continued)
	The eyes!  
	The eyes gave them away! 

		(Stage lights up)

		(HERA stops manipulation of head,
		stares at painting)
	
		(THEA comes down stairs) 

				THEA (Continued)
		(In  soft, wheedling, female voice)
	What happened to that little egg pie you promised me? 
		(Pause)
	Hera?
		(Beat)
	What happened to that little egg pie you said you’d buy me?

				HERA
	There are no pies.

				THEA
	Which cake shop did you go to?

				HERA
	I was transported to the one down by the water.

				THEA
	I’m starving!

				HERA
	I did not see anything remotely resembling a little egg pie.
		(Beat)
	There were some rather brutal white buns.

				THEA
	Iced?

				HERA
	Naked. 
		(Beat)
	I took the opportunity to purchase a tube of white lead.

				THEA
	Only you could digest that.

				HERA
	The throat has a way of enlarging itself.

				THEA
	What about the cake shop by the bank?	

				HERA
	It was dark on the interior. She had gold teeth.

				THEA
	Who?

				HERA
	The one who takes the money.

				THEA
	Why didn’t you buy me one of their meringues?

				HERA
	She was hovering over a burial mound of old scones.

				THEA
	Scones! I love scones. Those fat white ones with real cream.

				HERA
	Artificial cream. 
		(Beat)
	There’s black bread and goats’ cheese on the table.

				THEA
	I only like processed cheese.

		(HERA continues manipulating the 
		head)

				THEA (Continued)
	Daddy used to feed me with little shellfish. He’d prise them 
	off the rocks.

				HERA
	Your father was subservient.
		(Beat)
	It’s been twenty years since I’ve eaten the flesh of an animal.

				THEA
	The perversity of your appetite has deprived me of a mother. 
	I want a mother!

				HERA
	I serve a grim apprenticeship to the Self. Ah! See how the 
	blood-red cord pulsates!

	
				THEA
	It was severed at birth.
		(Glancing sideways at the painting)
	Your last lover didn’t have such a big head.

				HERA	
	I have been manipulating it all morning.

				THEA
	So you didn’t go out!		

				HERA
	I went out…  of my body.

				THEA
	One day you won’t be able to get back into it.

				HERA
	When I put my fingers into the empty caverns of his eyes… 
	it’s as if I am being sucked into a vortex.

				THEA
	The head’s too big. You’ll never be able to keep it on.

				HERA
	There is a slippery element I dare not control.
		(Beat)
	He does not endure under my hands.

				THEA
	That’s an obvious aspect of your predicament. 
		(Beat)
	You’re in love with Death.

				HERA
	Yes. Fatally.  I finger him as I slide between grubby sheets on 
	that voracious bed of Ego.

				THEA
	Who is he, anyway?

				HERA
	Lucidity. 
		(Pause)
	Why do you come to haunt me?

				THEA
	I’m one of your ghosts.
		(Beat)

				THEA (Continued)
	I dream I’m lying in an open coffin. I call out… where are 
	you? Oh, why did you leave me?

				HERA
	I was in the hands of Obsession.
	
				THEA
	Another one of your lovers.

				HERA
	I gave up everything for him. Husbands, children, houses, 
	money… reputation.

				THEA
	You ruined my father.

				HERA
	His curls were wrapt mice.

				THEA
	You dropped a bag of white, powdered lead on the prize-winning
	painting of his mother.

				HERA
	There was a hole in the bottom of the bag.

				THEA
	You selected my father as your sole audience.

				HERA
	He knelt at an illusory altar, licking the gilt of deception.

				THEA
	All his teeth fell out.

				HERA
	There was no money to have them pulled.

				THEA
	He spent it all on paint… for you.
		(Beat)
	You never loved him. You ate him away whilst trying to impress
	your image on his gentle surface.
		(Beat)
	Daddy is too kind!

				HERA
	He hid me in his house.

					THEA
	It’s a wonder they didn’t lock you away.

				HERA
	Those who dare to speak the truth shall be taken for the 
	last ride.

				THEA
	If only you could drive.

				HERA
	I am driven. Driven to the edge.

				THEA
	Your rabbit-hutch mentality prevents you from taking part 
	in the world.

				HERA
	Yes! On the edge, I conduct the infamous ravings of Ego.

				THEA
	Do you think my eyes are too small?
		(Beat)
	The beautician said I should draw black lines around them.

				HERA
	Black lines drawn around eyes create the impression of 
	one looking out from behind the bars of a cage.
		(Beat)
	You have Jewish eyes, like your brother’s.

				THEA
	They float on my forehead. If only I could find a way to 
	bring them down.

				HERA
	Those who measure with calipers… 

		(The head falls to the floor with a dull thud.
		HERA picks it up, and slams it back on to 
		the canvas)

				THEA
	If only my eyes were bigger. Look at me! I’ve got no hips, no 
	eyebrows; my bosoms are too big.  I’ve never had a mother. 
	When you weren’t painting you were lying in bed, weeping 
	over your lovers. 


		
				HERA
	I was listening to the droning of the mason bees as they 
	made their nests in the broken knobs of the old brass bed.

				THEA
	You gave me nothing. I had to break open my money box
	to buy a jelly baby.

				HERA
	The hair of a rat’s nest shewed through a crack in the ceiling.

				THEA
	My stomach aches as if a rat gnaws.

				HERA
	Greed deprives.

				THEA
	Your black ego deprives me.

				HERA
	You have been talking to your father.

				THEA
	My father sustains me.

				HERA
		(Looking at painting)
	His head is too slippery.
		(Beat)
	How will I ever connect it to his body?

				THEA
	Daddy thought you were a genius. God knows why.

				HERA
	Your father collected objects…  
			(Pause)
	He had a face like a wall clock.

				THEA
	His punctuality never failed me.

				HERA
	It protected him from chaos, the chaos I needed to create
	with.

				THEA
	The only time you ever noticed me was when I drew.

				HERA
	You crouched at the table, drawing people with whirlpool 
	eyes, their hands exploding firecrackers.

				THEA
	Their hearts hung on their chests.

				HERA
	At spring tide, the sea ran up the steps, calling me out of my 
	body. I ate every pill I could find.

				THEA
	Save me from the squalor of your past.

				HERA
	We are the consequences of the act.

				THEA
	You never wanted me.

				HERA
	What appears to be cast off returns, not always in the shape 
	one expects.

				THEA
	How can you behave so indifferently ?

				HERA
	Blinded by oddments of deceit.

				THEA
	There are so many of them.

				HERA
	Precariously balanced on the hump of the world.
		(Beat)
	My paintings are my curséd children. I spill my blood for 
	them. I lift the lid off the top of my head so they can play 
	with inspiration.

				THEA
	I’d force-feed you with a bit of reality.

				HERA
	Whose reality?

				THEA
	The world’s!


				HERA
	I trace the full circle with the white stick of the blind.

				THEA
	You cast me aside so you could give full vent to your fantasies.

				HERA
	I was not acquainted with love. Fear and his brother, Torment, 
	took me at an early age.

				THEA
	God! I inherited your phenomenal fear.

				HERA
	Fear is the dominating factor in our struggle for union.
		(Beat)
	When I had taken too many pills, I’d crawl into your cot. Your 
	father brought me carrot juice with leaves of celery. He said it 
	would soothe my mind.
		(Beat)
	It shot up into the arc-shaped chamber, covering it with a 
	milky substance.

				THEA
	Everything went wrong after the birth of my brother.

				HERA
	They took him away. They would not let me see him.
	
				THEA
	A white, linen suit would give you credibility.

				HERA
	My body is hollow for the flame to rise.

				THEA
	Gas is dangerous. You could burn off your eyebrows. Why 
	don’t you buy one of those wands with the red handles to 
	light it with.

				HERA
	I wear a blood-red cord round my waist. I need more 
	paint! I must cover Lucidity in a coat of white lead.

				THEA
	What you need is an agent.




				HERA	
	No!  Don’t let them near me! They must be kept away from 
	the broken limbs of the tortured. 

		(HERA stares as if SHE has seen 
		a ghost)

				THEA
	Calm down. For God’s sake, they’re only paintings.

				HERA
	They are all my broken loves.
		(Pause)
	On the night of your brother’s birth, a huge, dark-blue bird 
	flew into the room. He bore down on me, beating his wings. 
		(Beat)
	Swords of light shot from his eyes. 
	
				THEA
	Daddy… Daddy always knew what to do.

				HERA
	He threw a black cloth over the bird.

				THEA
	The bird came to take my brother. 

				HERA
	The black cloth fell off the bird.

				THEA
	Daddy is a man of honor.

				HERA
	He left us alone with the bird.

				THEA
	Daddy wouldn’t have left you.

					HERA
	He went out and slammed the door. The baby was screaming,
	tearing at my hair. The bird circling, beating his body against
	the walls. 
		(Beat)
	It was a hot night… a vine, heavy with black plums, pushed 
	against the open window… he opened his eyes… they were 
	gleaming, as if he saw something I could not see. Then he fell 	
	back with a rattle.


				HERA (Continued)
		(Beat)
	Gone! Out of his body.

				THEA
	I never got any of those plums. They were the black kind. The
	ones with the thick, juicy flesh.

				HERA
	The bird flew out of the window.

				THEA
	Everything is a myth. Why can’t you be honest for once? You
	sent me away. I had to stay with Daddy’s aunt, the one with the 
	fork mark on her nose.

				HERA
	Branded by her inheritance.

				THEA
	I need sustenance. Give me sustenance!

				HERA
	Each life is a death.

				THEA
	You are oblivious to my needs.

				HERA
	You will find sustenance in the vital body of black bread.
				
				THEA
	I don’t want black bread! It’s only the white sort…

				HERA
	I need white paint. White paint!

		(Pause)

		(THEA gazes at the painting)

				THEA
	Paint is the last thing you need.
		(Beat)
	Daddy never let you have too many tubes at a time. 

				HERA
	He kept them locked in a cupboard.


				THEA
	I wouldn’t let you have any paint.

				HERA
	Without paint…  I cannot live.
	
				THEA
	You’d soon get used to it.

				HERA
	No! No!
		(Touching the head)
	I have a great body…

				THEA
	I see no evidence of this.
		(Beat)
`	Where’s the neck?

				HERA
	In this configuration, the neck is not necessary.

				THEA
	If only they could be sold. 

				HERA
	I do not want the destructive eyes.

				THEA
	Don’t speak of eyes!
		(Puts her hands over her eyes)

				HERA
	The superfluous eyes shall be wrapt in cotton wool and 
	shut in a black box.

				THEA
	And where is the love? The love!

				HERA
	A gnawing hunger for love drives me to paint. The act of 
	squeezing  tubes causes me to forget Insatiability and his 
	excessive demands.

				THEA
	Someone is sure to love me. So many men look at me in the
	street.


	
				HERA
	You are loved.
	
				THEA
	Not by you.

				HERA
	By Love herself.
		(Beat)
	Ah! How she claws at the bars of her cage!

				THEA
	Why can’t you just tell me?

				HERA
	You sound like your father. I cannot declare love on demand. 

				THEA
	Is that why you never had any milk for me?

				HERA
	That is not why.

				THEA
	You had milk for your sons.

				HERA
	Inspiration flowed.
	
				THEA
	It was the milk I never suckled.

				HERA
	I wept milk!
		(Beat)
	I was a river of milk!

				THEA
	They sucked and sucked. Yves would still be sucking if he 
	were here. Why wasn’t there any for me?

				HERA
	The vessel was empty.

				THEA
	I need milk. Milk!

				HERA	
	There’s goats’ milk in the jug.

				THEA
	I want real milk!

				HERA
	Goats’ milk is the nearest thing to mother’s milk.

				THEA
	That’s why you fed me with cow’s milk!

				HERA
	It was special babies’ milk. In a tin.

				THEA
	I was forced to suck on a rubber tit.

				HERA
	I was the sheep who couldn’t feed her lamb.

				THEA
	A sheep who popped pills and bleated for my father to buy 
	her cappuccino ice creams. You sent him out in a taxi!

				HERA
	I was addicted.

				THEA
	If only you’d been addicted to me!

				HERA
	I learnt my first lesson from the sheep.

				THEA
	Brainless submission.

				HERA
	No!  The dignity of acceptance.
		(Beat)
	In spring, the sheep dragged their swollen bodies over the 
	land. I, too, was pregnant. I could not submit to my fate. 
		(Beat)
	The sheep lifted their faces to the sky, chewing quietly whilst
	their lambs suckled.

				THEA
	The lambs were taken away from their mothers.

				HERA
	Big trucks came to take the sheep away.


				THEA
	The lambs bleated all day.

				HERA
	The sheep’s throats were cut. The land was drenched in 
	blood and suffering.

				THEA
	I was a lamb!

				HERA
	I was a sheep.
		(Pause)
	Every time the trucks came, I was sick with fear.

				THEA
	I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know!

				HERA
	We cannot hide from it. In the name of materialism, we 
	take the lives of people and animals. We sell their flesh.
		(Beat)
	We devour their flesh.

				THEA
	Yes…  I remember. I lay under a painting of this.

				HERA
	“As the sheep are slaughtered, so shall they be.”

				THEA
	It fell off the wall.  It nearly killed me.

				HERA
	The hook wasn’t big enough.

				THEA
	No one bought it.

				HERA
	It was not for sale.

				THEA
	My nerves were destroyed by a diet of white sugar.

				HERA
	I didn’t become a vegetarian until you were four.



				THEA
	My fingers were so dry, I had to keep licking them.

				HERA
	I licked mine, too.

				THEA
	Whilst you lay in bed.

				HERA
	As if offered on a swooning plate.

				THEA
	Daddy was the sacrifice.

				HERA
	Nailed to the vice of Self.

				THEA
	You overworked him. He could have been famous.

				HERA
	He was mediocre enough. He painted portraits of his 
	mother.
		(Beat)
	I was fed on silverbeet juice.

				THEA
	That’s probably what gave you your persecution complex.

				HERA
	I was stuck between two worlds.

				THEA
	Ego mania and child neglect.

				HERA
	I wear the continually changing masks of many lives. Under 
	the masks is this old, rotting skull.

				THEA
	I can see that.
		(Beat)
	I’m starving. 

				HERA
	Eat bread!



				THEA
	I long for Daddy’s moon biscuits.

				HERA 
	The memory of his moon biscuits overwhelms me. I will 
	not let him set foot in this house.

				THEA
	Don’t get paranoid. It took him ten years to recover.
		(SHE drifts over to the table)

				HERA
	I still lie on the crumbs.

		(THEA picks up an old, half-pecked seed
		bell)
				
				THEA
	What’s this?

				HERA
		(Dreamily)
	A seed bell.
		(Beat)
	All the little seeds clinging to the bell.

				THEA
	You should buy one of those fat ones with the big seeds. 
	Daddy… Daddy was telling me…

				HERA
	Don’t tell me!
		(Takes seed bell from THEA)

				THEA
	What would you do if you sold some of your paintings? 
				
				HERA
	I no longer wish to barter with Death.

					THEA
	There is a possibility they might buy one of the more palatable
	ones.
		(Beat)
	If I was a bird, I would peck up all the little seeds.

				HERA
	I long for the companionship of a white cockatoo.


				THEA
	Isn’t your lover enough?
		
				HERA
	Lucidity, Logic, Torment and his brother, Sorrow…

				THEA
	All concocted out of dreams.

				HERA
	If I reach out my hand… nothing is solid.


				THEA
	You’ve always been afraid of birds.
				
				HERA
	I have a recurring dream…  a huge bird… his wings beating…
	his eye riveted to mine…  rips open my heart. 
	
				THEA
	Tell me! How will you sustain the apparition of a white 
	cockatoo?

				HERA
		(Fondling the seed bell)
	I will learn to love his white, downy throat… the feel of his
	beak… his old, enchanted eye.

				THEA
	Put it down! It’s too old and shriveled.

				HERA
	However old and shriveled, the bell gives sustenance. See how
	its seeds glitter. They are the eyes of millions… terminated at
	the seed. Their dual qualities merging into one.

				THEA
	I’d throw that old seed bell away.

				HERA
	It shall hang in the cypress grove where the trees are green 
	flames. It is there I shall meet the white cockatoo.

		(THEA snatches the bell out of HERA’s
		hands, breaking it into little pieces)

				THEA
	A cage will be the answer. A cage with a tower.

				HERA
	At the sound of his wings I shall be delivered and laid in a 
	cypress grove.

				THEA
	Forget it.

				HERA
	I cannot forget. I must forge a way through darkness.

				THEA
	Everything is your way. What about my way?

				HERA
	Unless you can untie the knot that binds, you shall be as
	pitiless as the rest of us.

				THEA
	There are people who lead normal lives.

				HERA
	Under the grey scum of normality is the scream we all try to 
	smother.
		(Beat)
	The scream has a life of its own.

				THEA
	I intend to survive the holocaust of your ideas.

				HERA
	They are your inheritance.

				THEA
	I am ill without the sustenance of a little egg pie.

				HERA
	Raw inspiration sustains.

				THEA
	I cannot believe you are my mother!

				HERA
	We cannot believe. Caught in the futility of our own reflection,		  
	we hold up Ego as if he were a black chalice to drink from.

				THEA
	I have come to lay the futility of my life before you… You took
	everything… even the pearl buttons.


				HERA
	Pearl buttons!

				THEA
	Daddy’s mother’s.

				HERA
	I sucked them on long, dark nights.

				THEA
	I have been forced to use zips.

				HERA
	So many things get caught in the teeth of zips.

				THEA
	One day I’ll stop coming to see you.

				HERA
	Yes. I shall remain hidden, hidden by the walls.
		(Beat)
	Your brothers ate the stamens of lilies. They ran between 
	the legs of bulls in their diapers.

				THEA
	You are responsible for Yves’ mania. When he and Fer got
	in the way of your painting, you left them like you left me.

				HERA
	Yes… I abandoned you all. Took the pearl buttons. Little, fallen 
	moons, stitched to my breast with blood-red thread.

				THEA
	I’ll make you go down on your knees.

				HERA
	My paintings are my apology.

				THEA
	Those lead-based protrusions!
	
				HERA
	That which I called up and gave birth to demands a place to 
	hang. 
		(Beat)
	My paintings are orphans.

				THEA
	I had to force my way out of your womb.

				HERA
	You slipped past the sentry waving your rattle.

				THEA
	It was all your idea. I never would’ve chosen you for a mother. 
	Your paintings are out of date.

				HERA
	Yes! In darkness, I grope, devouring stagnation, manipulating my
	 damned existence.

				THEA
	You set my brothers against me. Fer doesn’t want anything to
	do with you.

				HERA
	They love me!

				THEA
	Their father is as crazy as you are.
		(Beat)
	My father is well-balanced. 

				HERA
	His lack of passion drove me mad.

				THEA
	Anyone who is not like you has no passion.

				HERA
	Estranged from life, we grovel before the myth.

				THEA
	This gets me nowhere.

				HERA
	Only the ambitious get somewhere. They slide up and down
	the glass mountain, slashing their wrists on its jagged contours.

				THEA
	I was unloved before birth and after.

				HERA
	A cloak of darkness fell around me, obscuring love in her
	wicker perambulator.

				THEA
	I smothered in your darkness.


				HERA
	Someone had taken over my body.

				THEA
	It was me!

				HERA
	I came to that conclusion.

				THEA
	I was stuck in a bloody tunnel.

				HERA
	The labyrinth.

				THEA
	You wouldn’t push me out. Why didn’t you push me out?

				HERA
	I flew out of my body. I looked down. People with masks 
	were tearing me to pieces.

				THEA
	I could have died choking on your blood.

				HERA
	I lay on a board people ice cakes on.

				THEA
	I said, why didn’t you push!?

				HERA
	Voices were calling me. The blood-red cord lay writhing 
	between 	us.
		(Beat)	
	I died without a name.

				THEA
	I looked straight into the blue flame of my father’s eyes.

				HERA
	I cradled you in a white shawl. Blood oozed between my legs.

				THEA
	I felt for your breasts. There was no milk. I tell you, there was no 
	milk!

				HERA
	Through the tortured haze of my mind…

				THEA
	I’m a victim of your imagination. There was no milk! Just this 
	blind tit.

				HERA
	Past, present, and future were clashing together. The doctor wore 
	the head of a crocodile. 

				THEA
	I was your whimper.

				HERA
	Even before birth we were at cross-purposes.

				THEA
	I was a fetus!

				HERA
	Do you think that is all you were?

				THEA
	Don’t question me!

				HERA
	When I last knew you, you were a man.

					THEA
	Oh God! This is what I have to deal with. Are you mad?

				HERA
	No. Only aware of the multiple complexities of Soul, and 
	the weird division we create between male and female.

				THEA
	You chose isolation.

				HERA
	Yes!
		(Beat)
	It is that curséd womb that cuts across inspiration, that turns an
	artist into a woman. From birth, she is a flower to be plucked,
	left to wilt in houses filled with incestuous clutter, whilst the men
	go out to hunt the mystery of life.

				THEA
	You are your own curse… and mine!




				HERA
	We are all cursed. In the name of Desire, we call up Life and 
	her lover, Death.

				THEA
	I had no choice.

				HERA
	We choose! We grasp the fetish! Multiplying in our weakness. 
	We stare into the face of Doom.
		(Beat)
	I could not succumb to being a woman. I struggled to give birth 
	to an idea. It was stuck inside me, blinding me in spasms of light.

				THEA
	They had to cut you open to let me out.

				HERA
	They broke into the labyrinth… they… they… 

				THEA
	There’s just one of you against the world.

				HERA
	Yes. Every way I look, I am confronted with Self. I stare at this
	huge, gloating creature who goads me into desiring… devouring.
		(Beat)
	Who am I? I have pondered this before Life, before Death.
	Yea, I am viciously spotted; heinous in velvet darkness. I 
	stroke monstrosity.
			
				THEA
	Listen to you! My mother’s a snake with a flaming tongue. 
	Fiendish 	in her fascination with herself. Shut away in a 
	stone house as if she were her own concubine.
		(Beat)
	Pity me in my exposure as your child.

				HERA
	I search the labyrinth for an answer, for a way to slay Ego.

				THEA
	You wouldn’t be anything without your ego. None of us 
	would…  though you’ve gone too far with yours. Built it up 
	disproportionately.

				HERA
	In the name of Ego we commit crimes against Self and each 
	other. These crimes are perpetuated through aeons.

				THEA
		(In a harsh, male voice)
	You! You wear the eyes! Heretic’s eyes!

		(HERA breaks away from THEA’s stare)

				HERA
	Memory haunts the Soul.

				THEA
		(In a male voice)
	We will wipe you out.

				HERA
	Light awakens Heart. Empties Mind of its paltry assumptions.

				THEA
		(Male voice)
	We will destroy every man, woman, and child.

				HERA
	I shall no longer cower under the black shroud of despotism, 
	where Treachery gives birth to Death.

				THEA
		(In a male voice)
	The door of God’s house shall be flung open to receive those 
	sheep who have sinned against divine law. If they swear 
	allegiance to the church, they will be cleansed and forgiven.
		(Beat)
	Let us kneel and eat the bread, drink the wine.

				HERA
	Never!
		(Runs up left stairway. THEA follows. 
		HERA stops halfway as THEA clamps 
		her hand down on HERA’s  shoulder)

					THEA
		(Male voice)
	Listen child to the voice of God, and you shall be saved! 
	Many rich and powerful men have invested in you. Your 
	strange talents, if used for devotional purposes, shall bloom.

				THEA (Continued)
		(Lays her hand on HERA’s arm)
	It is not too late to shelter under God’s hallowed roof.



				HERA
	Your insidious power shall never draw me into that circle 
	of rampant saints.

				THEA
		(Male voice)
	Renounce your diabolic beliefs!

				HERA
	Bind me to the stake at one of your mass burnings. I shall 
	never bow before Hypocrisy and Corruption.
		(Beat)
	In the name of God, you drain the earth of justice; slaughter 
	the innocent who have vowed not to kill.

		(There is a loud knock at the door.
		JOSEPH can be seen through the glass,
		seemingly magnified, and menacing 
		in his black attire. The knocking
		becomes louder. Knock after knock…
		relentless)

		(HERA clutches frantically at THEA’s 
		arm. THEA throws her off. HERA staggers 
		against the wall)

				HERA
	They have come for me! Don’t let them take me!

				THEA
		(In a male voice)
	You have made your choice.

		(The knocking continues. HERA climbs the
		stairs to the landing where she crouches in fear)

		(THEA descends the stairs and opens the 
		door. JOSEPH steps in, puts his briefcase and
		hat on a chair by the table. HE looks round, 
		zealously)

				JOSEPH
	Is she here?

				THEA
		(Male voice)
	 Yes, she is here.



				JOSEPH
	I intend to take her quietly.

				THEA
		(Male voice)
	She is hysterical.
		(Beat)
	If…  if we could keep her…  hidden…

				JOSEPH
	Only the devout are safe.
		(Beat)
	I took five hundred heretics this morning.

				THEA
		(Male voice)
	Will they stand trial?

				JOSEPH	
	They shall burn at midnight under a full moon.
		(Staring at THEA with zealous eyes,
		shows his teeth)
	A spectacle you cannot afford to miss… Agony in a tarred 
	bonnet.
				THEA
		(Male voice)
	A little more time… a little more faith, and we shall bring the
	Virgin to her knees.

				JOSEPH
	I intend to shew no mercy. Whilst wood is dry and abundant, 
	there shall be no obstacle to mass burnings.
		(Beat)
	Even our great forests must be sacrificed.
			
				THEA
		(Male voice)
	Trees… Trees I have cherished… spiritual willows… sustaining
	oaks…
		(Beat)
	I dream of lithe branches. 

				JOSEPH
		(Showing teeth)
	In the name of God, they shall fall under the bright blade.

				THEA
		(Falling to knees as if to pray)
	Brother! I implore you… as a prominent member…
	
				JOSEPH
		(Prods her with cane)
	Get up! You fool!
	In our quest for Light and Truth we must negate all sense of
	Self.

				THEA
		(Staggers to feet)
	Together, we nurtured… instructed our little Virgin.

				JOSEPH
	Never allow the salacious eyes of the Devil’s children to defile
	the sacred. You must believe implicitly in the power of the
	Church.	

				THEA
	Even after they have been consumed by fire, their disembodied
	eyes stare, stare at me. As if I am the one who has denied God.

					JOSEPH
		(Shows teeth)
	A clattering tongue earns an unexpected penalty. Remain tacit, 
	or you shall be taken in an instant. 
		(Beat)
	Quite devoid of Grace.

		(A loud bang as the papier-mâché 
		head falls off HERA’s painting)

		(HERA’s shadow falls across the stage 
		as 	SHE slowly descends the stairs. A 
		spotlight illuminates her face as SHE 
		raises it to the audience)

				HERA
	Soul cannot be destroyed by fire.

				JOSEPH
	Fire shall burn up the insolence of your tongue.
		(Turning to THEA)
	Darling! You look a trifle pale. You may need an iron tonic.

				THEA
	Daddy! Not that vile kind in the brown bottle!

				JOSEPH
	Please refrain from judging medicinal merit by the color of
	the bottle. This is the type of thing your mother…


				THEA
	She promised to buy me a little egg pie.

				JOSEPH
	My darling, your mother does not nurture little egg pies. 
	However, I shall procure some for you in due course.
	
		(HERA picks up head, and stares at it)

				JOSEPH
	Still nursing dementia, Hera?

					HERA
	His forehead is a temple. I must ignite the candle in the 
	arc-shaped chamber.

				THEA
	I inherited Daddy’s legs.

				JOSEPH
	Your mother never liked my legs. Just as well they have taken
	refuge in the legal profession.

				HERA
	Where they pursue their victims with zeal.

				JOSEPH
	May I remind you in your dangerous oblivion, Hera, my calling
	is to defend the innocent… to expose the guilty.

		(HERA fumbles with the head, trying
		to put it back on the painting)

				HERA
	I cannot attach his head… 

				JOSEPH
	Your attention, please, Hera!

				HERA
	I will not listen to you.

				JOSEPH
	All my life, I have been an audience. I have learnt to subdue
	my desire, to perform unnaturally. However, through laborious
	exposure I have earned a right to speak.

				HERA
	I have no desire to witness the croak of mediocrity.

				JOSEPH
	Please! Decorum is a vital ingredient to the threat of life.

				HERA
	I do not wish to know.

				JOSEPH
	My dear Hera, your father and I shared the anguish of a 
	grave injustice inflicted by an outrageous daughter and totally
	callow wife. Together we nursed this injury – oh yes! I, 
	acting as his confidante, solicitous in undying loyalty to 
	the cause.

		(Pause)

				HERA
	My concern is with Lucidity’s head.

				JOSEPH
	There comes a time when one must awaken to reality. Your
	father has passed away. He was most tastefully cremated. He
	choked on a crumb, Hera. Passing rapidly from these troubled
 	realms, he left himself fully accounted for.

				HERA
	I severed all ties with him thirty years ago.	

				JOSEPH
	He was slowly eaten away by pain and disappointment.

				THEA
	I would have thought as one of his heirs…

				JOSEPH
	Patience, my sweet. All shall be revealed in the full glory of time.

				THEA
	I’m hungry.

				JOSEPH
	My darling, one must be careful not to eat when one is excited.

				THEA
	I’m not excited.

				JOSEPH
	One must be very careful of the type of flesh… 



				THEA
	I’m tired of being treated like a child!

				JOSEPH
	You must learn to wait your turn. Bread and cheese is all you 
	need.
		(Beat)
	I was rather efficient at making goats’ cheese in the days when
	we lived off the land.
		(Beat)
	Unfortunately, my legal calling put an end these earthy activities.

				HERA
	The head! The head will be the death of me!
			(Beat)
	The Soul rises from the body like a sheath from a sword.

				JOSEPH
	My dear, you must stay your hand.

				HERA
	I must leap through a hoop of white flame.

				JOSEPH
	You are endangered by excessive behavior.

				HERA
	You are afraid of the Truth!

				JOSEPH
	I would not be too quick to judge, my dear. This suit hides
	faculties that may surprise you.

				HERA
	It does not hide them well enough.

				JOSEPH
	A little charity may prove helpful. Part of your problem is 
	your complete lack of order. An impediment to your talent. 
	A talent which I am pleased to remind you was discovered 
	and carefully nurtured by me!
		(Beat)
	Regard the way you conduct your life. Paintings and people 
	strewn with no regard for love or consequence.

				THEA
		(To audience)
	Every time she didn’t get her own way she threw herself on 
	the floor, banging her head, and screaming. 

				THEA (Continued)
		(To JOSEPH)
	You were her nurse. Nothing more. 

				HERA
	The lid was lifting off the top of my head. A huge bubble fixed
	itself to one eye. I saw everything double. 
		(Looking at JOSEPH)
	Someone was manipulating my brain.

				JOSEPH
	I functioned at a grave disadvantage. Bowled over by your
	extraordinary character. I could refuse you nothing, not even
	the loss of my teeth. No longer able to grind them, what was 
	I to do in the face of my introversion? Yes, Hera, a galling pain, 
	my fusion with you.

				HERA
	I cry for paint as I once cried for firewood. My apprenticeship
	to the invisible blinds me to human need.

				JOSEPH
	One must lift oneself… high above degradation.

				HERA
	In my obscurity I have willingly worn the hat of the fool. Yet,
	unexpected help comes from invisible realms.

				THEA
	She’s insane.

				JOSEPH
	My darling! In the realm of untimely speculation, one must 
	apply caution. If she is willing to submit to God, she will be 
	saved.

				THEA
	Before she became obsessed with Lucidity, she painted her 
	lover, only him. Part of him was so big it was all you could see…
	plus a pair of spectacles. 

				JOSEPH
	Under guidance, she could show in the best galleries in the 
	world.

				HERA
	I shall not submit to the sordid presumptions of the art world. 
	They extol mediocrity; they slay inspiration.
		(Beat)

				HERA (Continued)
	I have given form to dreams. Ruthlessly, I have torn them out
	of their nebulous state.
		(Beat)
	I would rather burn!  than hang… in a gallery.

				JOSEPH
	Fear is your enemy, Hera. Unadulterated fear of exposure. Take
	my advice - a public airing would lighten dark thought-patterns.
	I have influential friends…

				HERA
		(Backing towards the left stairway)
	No, No! Do not bring them near me!

				JOSEPH
	They are already here.

		(HERA begins backing up the stairs.
		JOSEPH follows her. HE places an 
		authoritative hand on her shoulder)

				JOSEPH (Continued)
	Please quieten your vehicles.

		(HERA shakes uncontrollably)

					THEA
	You’re still fascinated by her.

				JOSEPH
	When I first saw her, I knew I would have to accommodate 
	her. It was almost as if I owed her something. My hand was
	forced by an urge I could not control. She was a prize! A 
	dubious prize. She stripped me of my middle-class background,
	attacking my sense of dignity in the most appalling way. Her 
	view of the world was unreal and precarious. She wanted to 
	hide. She selected me to hide her. Unfortunately, I was 
	dangerously exposed.

				THEA
	You couldn’t live without her.

				JOSEPH
		(Voice rising to a thin scream)
	Darling please! I was forced to take restraining measures.

				THEA
	I was stuck between the two of you like a mad bolster.

				JOSEPH
	I was bound by duty. Compelled to perform!
		(Beat)
	I gave you the best, my sweet.

				THEA	
	I had nothing! I played with a dried seahorse.

				JOSEPH
	She hated my hands.

				THEA
	You were excited by her repulsion.

				JOSEPH
	A worthy vessel does not leak. You must study circumspection,
	my darling.
			(JOSEPH goes to the table, pours milk
		into a goblet, holds it to THEA’s lips)
	Drink this milk.

		(SHE sips. JOSEPH tears off a morsel
		 bread)

				JOSEPH (Continued)
	Partake of this bread.


		(SHE gobbles the bread, angrily)

				THEA
	All I wanted was a little egg pie.
		(To the audience)
	Don’t stare at me!
		(To JOSEPH)
	Take them away!

				JOSEPH
	My darling, they have paid for their seats. They are the children
	of God.

				THEA
	They don’t look like it. Why do they crouch in the dark?

				JOSEPH
	They are here to witness… Truth! … as we perform it.

				THEA
	They have eyes… like the eyes in her paintings.

				JOSEPH
	Her paintings are shockingly part of her.

				THEA
	They stare at people and follow them around.

				JOSEPH
	One cannot afford to come too close, or one could be dragged
	into the void.

				THEA
	Some of them are filled with eyes weeping blood.

				HERA
	They are the eyes of those who were taken…  They float 
	disembodied, eternally staring.
		
				JOSEPH
	The eye is forced to witness the unhealthy relationship between
	the painter and her creation.

				THEA
	Some of them are filled with arms and legs, piled up into weird-
	looking pyramids.

				JOSEPH
	They should be restrained in iron frames.

				HERA
		(As if in a dream)
	Their bodies were broken…

		(JOSEPH advances towards HERA.
		HE places his hand on her shoulder)

				JOSEPH
	Whose bodies? Hera!

				HERA
		(In a child-like voice, cringing)
	The ones…

				JOSEPH
	Speak up, Hera!

				HERA
	The ones… the ones… the ones who… who…



				JOSEPH
	If you wish to keep the door unlocked you will hold your
	tongue.

				HERA
	Don’t shut me away! Don’t hurt my paintings! 
		(Goes to painting, cradling the 
		head to her bosom)

				JOSEPH
	You must be careful not to be taken over. It could lead to the
	most unpleasant circumstances. Please don’t think I lack sympathy,
	but I will not tolerate female hysteria. It could rise up and drown 
	me.
		(Beat)
	There is something horribly cloying, from the precarious
	position of my maleness. I advise an oblique approach.

				THEA
	You never had eyes for me when she was around. Just the bare 
	essentials, really. You neglected yourself. That’s why your teeth 
	fell out.
		(Beat)
	She keeps her’s hidden. Have you noticed mine?
		(SHE bares her teeth)
	They’re one of my best assets.
		(Beat)
	Of course she’s always primping herself.

				JOSEPH
	Darling, please! Consider your audience. Their fulsome body 
	must be fed with economy. You would not like them to tire 
	of you before you have attained their belief.

				THEA
	Remember the way she behaved once she became a 
	vegetarian? We were never allowed to eat flesh. Yet she gave 
	full vent 	to her own proclivities.

				JOSEPH
	Darling, where is your sense of dignity?

				HERA
	It will be as if we are walking in our sleep. If we wake, we will
	fall.

		(HERA cradles the bloody, painted-smeared
		head of Lucidity in her arms)


				THEA
	Don’t think we’re fooled by you. You’re not motherly.
		(To JOSEPH)
	You’re afraid of her.

				HERA
	He has the hard, blue stare of a canary, pecking an eternal 
	seed bell.

				JOSEPH
	Seed bells are very cheap, my dear!

				THEA
	I want both of you to realize what you’ve done to me!

				JOSEPH
	Darling, please don’t puff yourself up. It could prove repellent.

					HERA
	We must all realize the danger of demanding evidence of our
	existence.

				THEA
	You’re not interested in me.

				JOSEPH
	But you have me, darling. My heart spills over.

				HERA
	Too much spilling has been done already.

				JOSEPH
	One must attain temperance of thought, deed and emotion.
	One must beware of blatancy. 

		(THEA sits down at the table. 
		JOSEPH joins her. THEA angrily 
		punches the bread, flings it down)

				JOSEPH (Continued)
	Unfortunately, I didn’t have the mental or physical attributes 
	to satisfy the appetite of an artist.
		(Beat)
	She had a taste for fetishes. She fell in love with my best friend.
	Alas, he was unable to endure her extreme demands. He was
	compelled to withdraw.
		(Beat)
	This gave her the scope to turn him in to a fetish.


				HERA
	The sacred proportions of the fetish inspire one to unfold
	into the nebulous ethers of the dream world. It is here one
	can realize the abstract potency of the archetype.

				JOSEPH
	It was spring when I met her. She was already pregnant.

				HERA
	He took me to a back-street abortionist.

				THEA
	Daddy rescued you! If only you had loved him, I would’ve
	had the milk. The milk I was denied!

				JOSEPH
	Please!

				HERA
	My flesh crept at the sight of him.

				JOSEPH
	 She had an insurmountable lack of taste.

				HERA
	I could not bear the smell of you.

					THEA
	What kind of smell was it?

				HERA
	Not a physical smell.

				JOSEPH
		(Wringing his hands, shrieking)
	Please! Please!

				HERA
	More of a soul smell… a woolen blue clashing with a swollen 
	red.
	
		(JOSEPH takes a sip of goats’ milk,
		and splutters)

				JOSEPH
	Really, my dear, this exposure of your fantasies is entirely  
	unnecessary. Your brutal disregard for my person could force me 
	to leave before I divulge the entirety of the news I hold in my 
	black receptacle. 

				JOSEPH (Continued)
		(To audience)
	I was foolish enough to lay my modest potential before 
	her so repeatedly it could cause me to blush. Owing to 
	extreme anemia, I am unable to spare the blood. 

				THEA
	Your anemia is due to your long-term of vegetarianism at 
	the hands of my mother.

				JOSEPH
	Darling, I was anemic long before I met your mother.
		(Takes off spectacles and polishes
		them with a handkerchief)

				JOSEPH (Continued)
	Certain deprivations in early childhood… I find a moderate
	intake of steamed flesh… the tender breast of a turkey. . .

		(As JOSEPH finishes, YVES makes
		the bizarre imitation of a turkey gobbler. 
		They all look up. An eccentric figure – 
		YVES - in shabby, white-silk pajamas 
		and top hat, appears at the top of the 
		left stairway. His hair is long and untidy. 
		He slowly descends the stairs, gobbling 
		spasmodically. THEA stands and 
		rushes to embrace him)

				THEA
. 	Yves!

		(YVES steps backwards, hands up as
		if HE is about to be shot)

				YVES
	Don’t touch me!
	
		(THEA falls back, frowns)

				THEA
		(To JOSEPH)
	My  brother does not allow me to touch him.

				JOSEPH
	One must apply caution to one’s approach… to physical 
	contact. 	A discreet touch is applicable only with permission.



		(YVES stands as if in a dream.
		HERA continues to manipulate 
		the head)

				JOSEPH (Continued)
		(To audience)
	Let me introduce you to Hera’s eldest son… of course, I 
	had nothing to do with his conception.

				YVES
	My mother was released from your clutches long before the 
	tragedy of my conception… or should I say…  my fall.

				JOSEPH
	I have had to guard my reputation.

				THEA
	She hid my brother from me.

				HERA
	I rocked his cradle. His legs lay… ivory bones in his diapers.

				YVES
	My cradle rocks on a dead sea of incestuous refuse. My stay 
	here is but transitory.

				HERA
	Long time I have awaited your return, vigilant before the memory 	
	of your eagle’s beak.

				YVES
	Stiff with the curse of memory. I choke on Death’s flower.		 

				HERA
	I have tended thorns. Laid waste to ignorance.

				YVES
	In secret groves, I walk amongst ghost trees… ripping their
	bark with holey teeth. I scream for an answer.

				JOSEPH
	I have no time for this hysterical euphemism. The boy must
	make an appointment with a reputable dentist… I am here
	strictly on business. I must ask you to conform…

				YVES
	I hung on her nipple. Marbled and grim with Life’s blood, I 
	trail the umbilical cord as if it were a bloody toy.


				HERA
	A milky sea lapped over us.

		(THEA leaps up and grasps the jug
		by the throat)

				THEA
	He got all the milk!
		(SHE bangs the jug down on the table, 
		sits down)

				YVES
	I dipped my spoon into a prolific junket.

				JOSEPH
		(To THEA)
	I fed you on warm cow’s milk, my darling.

				THEA
		(Staring angrily at YVES)
	I wanted her milk!

				JOSEPH
	Calm down, my dove.

				THEA
	She worships men!

				HERA
	I have erected too many icons in glittering distance of Love.

				YVES
		(To THEA)
	I dribbled on a velvet bib.

				HERA
	I attended the fires of my femaleness. In a parody of Love, I
	selected the largest logs. Ruthless in the final hour when ideas 
	spill… I drown alone, washed up at the feet of men.

				THEA
	She is old and cunning.

				JOSEPH
	We must bide our time.





				THEA
		(Seizing the bread knife, hacking 
		at the bread)
	I have waited long enough in the shade of her neglect!

				HERA
	I struggled to cast off my womanhood. Fumbling beneath 
	that weird disguise, I discover I am both male and female. 
	I feed off  these dual qualities with the forked tongue of a 
	serpent.

				YVES
	She left me on my seventh birthday… she took my brother… 
	I could not live without him.

				THEA
	She left me when I was seven.

		(JOSEPH coughs discreetly, polishes 
		spectacles)

				JOSEPH
	She left me in my thirty-fourth year. An auspicious year. I won
	first prize for portraiture. It was a large, flat oil on canvas.

				THEA
	Your mother. She was rising out of a kind of black cloud.

				JOSEPH
	The cloud depicted her long and chronic illness.

				YVES
	I crouched in the pentagonal room where I was born. It smelt 
	of mother’s milk, dripping onto the fleece of a dead animal.

				THEA
	Daddy made me a cake. It was white all over. He decorated it
	with little silver balls.

				YVES
	Mercury.

				JOSEPH
	Please! They are manufactured out of a type of hardened icing… 
	of course, it is not advisable to… crunch them.

				YVES
	She never came back.


				THEA
	She didn’t keep Fer for long. She sent him back.

				YVES
	It was always cold under the pine trees. We searched for pine
	cones in the long grass. They felt like warm owls in our hands. 
	The sack had a hole in it. When we reached the house, it was 
	empty.
		(Beat)
	The house was her body. The wood was old and mellow. Sunk
	in dreams, we ran our hands over its satiny surface.

				THEA
	It was riddled with worms.

				JOSEPH
	Borers, my darling.

				THEA
	Daddy had a borer gun.

				YVES
	The doorknobs were her breasts.

				THEA
	Not those porcelain ones.

				JOSEPH
	Darling, decorum, please!

				THEA
	They were probably those brown Bakelite ones. They make 
	them out of the husks of peanuts.

				YVES
	The house was full of old velvet. We pretended it was her.
		(Beat)
	We began to hate the game. We hated her. I stopped going to 
	school.  I stayed at home… so I could watch.

				THEA
	What did you watch?

				YVES
	My life. It appeared before me like a black and white movie. 
	I would get stuck in one scene… images blew up in my mind… 
	I kept watching. Nothing else mattered.



				JOSEPH
	I have come strictly on business…

				YVES
	I thought if I kept watching, the pain would go away. It got
	worse. I struck a match. Snakes of flame licked the pink velvet.
	They leapt into the eyes of her winter portraits.

				JOSEPH
		(With a sinister voice)
	Economy of mind and emotion is the key. The key must fit the
	lock… We shall watch with a stringent eye, rooting out those 
	marked with profanity.

				YVES
	I fell through days, nights, years…  my head is lit with tongues
	of flame.

				HERA
	The white flame of inspiration.

				YVES
	My father made a sculpture of a blood-red cow. She stood on
	her hind legs. She wore a skull cap with the twelve astrological 
	symbols engraved on it… He nailed her tail to the floor so
	she would not fall when we climbed over her.

				HERA
	He took over my studio…  the gray dust of chiseled stone
	fell on my paintings. I begged him to leave.

				YVES
	He called her an old cow.

				HERA
	I seized an axe.

				YVES
	My brother and I stood one on each side of her. She chopped 
	the door down. She pushed a huge stone woman on to my 
	father. He threw her off. He pushed her into her painting. She 
	was crying.

				HERA
	I fell on to the wet throat of a jug…
		(To YVES)
	You were nearly seven. 
		(Beat)
	The jug was broken.

		(YVES and HERA move together. 
		THEA and JOSEPH move together)

				THEA
	In dreams, I pursue her, touch her. 
		(Beat)
	She is as cold as Death.

				HERA
	Death! Death on a bed of flames!

				YVES
		(Agonized, slow, choking)
	Bring me wet leaves… wet leaves.

		(HERA moves towards YVES as if in 
		sleep; her voice is long and drawn out)

				HERA
	Lift your arms above the flames.

		(Yves lifts his arms, slowly, painfully. 
		HERA’s and YVES’ eyes are shut, faces 
		anguished)

				HERA (Continued)
	Put your head on my shoulder.

		(YVES’ head slowly falls on to her
		shoulder. HERA’s head falls to her 
		breast. A smoky light encircles them)
		
		(Stage lights dim)
								
				JOSEPH
	The Devil has freed their arms.

				THEA
	They cannot run away now. The little flames are dancing.

				JOSEPH
	The wood is too wet.

				THEA
	Our lovely lady, Venus - the evening star - is partially obscured.

				JOSEPH
	They will burn slowly. 


				THEA
	The ecstasy of anguish plays exquisitely under a fulsome moon.

				JOSEPH
	I prefer the cleansing calm of a new moon. The dense body of 
	smoke disappears with a clarity which causes the heart to thump 
	as the flame leaps into heretic eyes, burning up all evidence.

				THEA
	It is our task to eradicate darkness.

				JOSEPH
	Under the heavenly eye of God all shall be illuminated!

		(THEA and JOSEPH are in darkness. 
		Light encircles the heads of HERA and 
		YVES)

		(A black curtain falls)





END ACT ONE
 				
				ACT TWO


		SETTING:	The same studio, as in Act One.


		AT RISE:	YVES paces up and down in his white, silk pajamas, 				top hat and bare feet. JOSEPH stands mid-stage,
				beside his black briefcase. HERA stands beside her
				painting. THEA stands at the table. She fiddles with
				the throat of the jug.


				HERA
	A lake with an azure eye weeps!

				YVES
	I drown in this lake of blood!

				THEA
	Listen to the frogs croak!

				HERA
	Whilst Hypocrisy exposes his dual intentions.

				JOSEPH
	It is my duty to reveal… the terms of the will.

				THEA
	Daddy was always wiping things down with a dish cloth.

				JOSEPH
	My dove! Please respect the man who has performed the most 
	menial duties in the name of father and mother.

				THEA
	It was made out of a kind of furry nylon.

				JOSEPH
	Imitation velvet, darling. They do not effectively soak up water.
	The foam rubber ones are considerably more durable.

				THEA
	You used them until they were a greyish pink.

				JOSEPH
	Please!

				JOSEPH (Continued)
		(Beat)
	The life of a male is fraught with the preconceptions of
	dangerously presumptuous women. I am afraid denial and
	misunderstanding inhibit the boldest of men.		
		(HE polishes his spectacles)

				THEA
		(To YVES)
	Daddy teetered from Mummy to law.

				JOSEPH
	Too true, my dove. You speak with your mother’s tongue. 
	You will, perhaps, go a long way.
		(Turning to YVES)
	Yes, I crave security… and a powerful position. I am one of 
	Life’s contradictions. Hideously reflected in the privacy of a 
	mirror. I dare not scream and turn back. I must edge onwards.

				THEA
	Daddy’s got one foot bigger	than the other. He has to ease
	his left one in with a shoe horn.

				JOSEPH
	Darling! Why must you persist in exposing the terrifying secrets
	of a man doing his best to facilitate his own imperfections and
	other people’s… whilst trying to present a bland exterior? 
		(HE glances at the audience)

				THEA
	The shoehorn had a picture on it of a lake with a volcano 
	rising out of it. It was painted on the bit he used to wedge 
	his foot in with.  Even when I scratched it with a knife, the 
	picture wouldn’t come off.

				JOSEPH
	Darling, your destructive instincts come to the fore far too
	frequently.
		(Beat)
	It was presented to me by a nun from the Home of 
	Compassion. Now, if you will settle down, I shall proceed.
		(HE takes the will from his 
		briefcase, polishes his spectacles)
	Hera, your late father… 

				THEA
		(To HERA)
	He had the same type of floppy earlobes as you’ve got. He  
	used to let me feel them.

				HERA
	I put my head in a gas oven.

				THEA
		(To HERA)
	It was full of crumbs. Daddy had a big, stainless steel, pop-
	up toaster.

				HERA
	I was afraid they would come and take me away.

				JOSEPH
		(Staring at HERA with fanatical eyes)
	Those you have denied shall come back to haunt you.

				HERA
	I hid all evidence of my life. What was I to do with the body?

				YVES
	Our goat died with a chain around her neck.

				JOSEPH
	In grave respect to my late friend… your father… 

				HERA
	He was not my father!

				JOSEPH
	Legally yours, my dear! Legally yours.

				HERA
	When I lay in bed at night, I saw an eye pressed to the keyhole. 
	It swelled up. Bursting through the keyhole, it floated,
	disembodied, around the room.

				JOSEPH
		(To YVES)
	Please ignore this unbalanced emotionalism. Please let me 
	explain: 	she was sixteen when she ran away from the security 
	of her father’s home! A dangerous and totally-impressionable 
	age.

				HERA
	I was afraid of him.

				JOSEPH
	He was full of the milk…  of human kindness.



				THEA
	I never got the milk.

				JOSEPH
	A little more control, darling, and we shall be on top of 
	things.

				HERA
	I was afraid of them both.

				JOSEPH
	Of two, prudent and respectable men?
		(To Yves)
	She was inclined to stampede, reminding one of a wild 
	pony. Seemingly untamable. Yet I held the oats… gradually 
	she ate from my hand until… she was quite unable to live 
	without me.

				HERA
	That which I had pulled down upon myself and swallowed 
	I vomited up in the shape of apparitions which slid around 
	me, formless yet solid in their cruel consequences.

				JOSEPH
	Where is the justice for a man who knelt before you, totally
	subjugating his own desires? My multiple talents were left to
	wilt.
		(HE plucks at his lapel)

				HERA
	The hand of justice is deceptively gloved.  You pontificate 
	in the coat of a liar.

				JOSEPH
	Hand-made, my dear. Please, take some professional advice,
	the sadly inevitable outcome which you draw towards yourself 
	in such unseemly haste shall not be quite so violent if you
	were willing to surrender to those people who know what is 
	good for you.
		(Beat)
	Now, in regard to the last will and testament.

				HERA
	The Will and Ego are fatally entwined.  Awesomely erected 
	on a black throne, they demand audience.

				JOSEPH	
	My dear, you lack reverence for those who have passed on 
	to heavenly regions, and those who live in accordance with 

				JOSEPH (Continued)
	Light and Truth, quietly applying a tenacious will in the face 
	of those who plot to destroy the Tower of God.
		(Beat)
	You shall be forced to face reality.

				HERA
	Stripped of reality, I trace the shadow of Death, plunging
	deeper and deeper into corruption.
		(Beat)
	The throat is long and dark… blood-red.

				JOSEPH
	The unchaste shall be demolished in the sight of God.

				THEA
	Who will love me?

				HERA
	Ego! He serves us all! The throat is silvered, ready for the
	knife to rip, slicing the Soul in half.

				JOSEPH
		(To THEA)
	Darling, I am here for you.	

				HERA
	Skating on the icy confines that guard realization.

				THEA
	Daddy!

				HERA
	Slithers in dishonest secretions, insidiously leaking into the
	sponge of life.

		(JOSEPH feels in his pocket, 
		takes out a bottle of pills, gobbles
		a few)

				JOSEPH
	Your father was a man…

				HERA
	Hidden in the crevices of time, I fondled the pendulum 
	of a grandfather clock… shut inside its mahogany case. 
	I pressed my lips to the glass.



				JOSEPH
	You should have been nipped in the bud at an early age.

				HERA
	I grasped the pole of a revolving clothes line. Someone 
	with rodent eyes screamed: He is not your father!

				JOSEPH
	This disgraceful rejection is…

				HERA
	Driven by an ever-sharpening hunger for love, I crouched under 
	the macrocarpa trees.  I gnawed on their hard, poisonous nuts.

				JOSEPH
		(To THEA)
	She will pay the full price.

				HERA
	Suffocated by the density of universal guilt, I lie at night as 
	a corpse lies.

				JOSEPH
	She will be dealt with.

				HERA
	I cry out as loss straddles the body, his fingers caught in 
	the fetid fur of the beast.

				JOSEPH
		(Polishing spectacles)
	I will not tolerate this obscene display.

				HERA
	I probe the sky with a broken wand, whilst Life peers 
	through a bleary monocle, demanding proof of Death and 
	his properties.

				JOSEPH
	Have you no compassion?

				HERA
	The man you so mercilessly offer is mine… by law only!

				JOSEPH
	Law prevails, my dear. Anything else would prove to be purely
	speculative.



				HERA
	At an early age I tested the unpalatable qualities of his suit…  
	slid down the grey artifice of fatherhood...

				JOSEPH
	In the pride of your obstinacy you are both calculating and 
	relentless.
		(HE feels the rose in his button-
		hole, then turns to THEA)
	His last thoughts were for you, my dove.

				THEA
	He loved me!
		(Beat)
	What happened to his long, black umbrella with the goose’s
	head?

				JOSEPH
	The head cracked years ago, darling.

				THEA
	The goose was white and slippery.

				JOSEPH 
	It was made out of porcelain, my sweet.

				THEA
	When the umbrella opened, the goose’s head shot up 
	the handle.

				JOSEPH
		(Peers over spectacles)
	Most unsuitable!
		(Beat)
	Darling, he has bequeathed you his house with the red 
	tower.

				THEA
	You said I could have the white house!

				JOSEPH
	Totally incorrect.
		(Beat)
	My little pet is prone to hallucinations - something we may 
	have to work on or she may become the spitting image of 
	her mother.
		(Beat)
	He wanted me to possess the big, white house, darling. Owing
	to its extremely isolated position, he felt it was a suitable 

				JOSEPH (Continued)
	location for those fallen prey to dark influences. After much 
	soul-searching he perceived I was the one to penetrate his 
	long-accumulated ideals into the light.
		(Turning towards the audience, 
		his face changes to a fiendish 
		aspect. HE shows his teeth; his
		eyes stare)
	All the doors possess double locks. The windows are all well-
	situated and barred… No, No! Please don’t misunderstand. 
	The bars are charmingly wrought with fruit and flowers… leaves.

		(YVES looks stunned. HE 
		jumps up and runs 	towards 
		the left stairway. JOSEPH 
		pursues, puts his hand on his 
		shoulder, turns him to face 
		the audience. YVES is 
		passive)

				JOSEPH (Continued)
	I am afraid we shall have to detain you. Please stifle any impulse
	relating to your immediate departure.
		(Turning to THEA)
	Come now, my little sweet! You must try to comprehend the
	magnitude of your grandfather’s intentions. A valuable house
	in a harmonious neighborhood, complete with a large, red
	tower. What more could a girl desire!

				THEA
	I hate the red tower! He used to shut… 

				JOSEPH
	We must not allow our fertile imagination to lead us astray, 
	darling. 

				THEA
	It’s a creepy, dark red.

				JOSEPH
	We can arrange for it to be stripped and sanded, painted 
	a suitable color… a glossy white, perhaps… with a hard 
	finish.

				THEA
	There’s a crack where it’s joined to the house. I used to put 
	my finger…



				JOSEPH
	A laborer cemented up the crack last spring, darling. 
	Around the time my friend realized his declining health.

				THEA
	He had a lump!

				JOSEPH
	Darling! I beg you not to stimulate feelings of grief. He was 
	a humble man, prone to partaking of a slice of light Madeira 
	in the late afternoon, with a cup of weak tea balanced on his 
	lap.  He would gaze out at the lighthouse. He possessed just 
	the two houses - the house with the red tower, and the majestic 
	white one on the coast in quite an inaccessible position. Many 
	times I have been doused by unruly waves as I picked my way 
	around the rocks. There is something almost heathen about 
	the way one is forced to approach. They say the crumb was 
	most lethally lodged near the uvula, blocking any chance of 
	air. He had set his heart on establishing a house for those 
	deprived of moral fiber.
		(Shoots a glance at YVES)
	He felt these unfortunates could be… re-educated.

				HERA
	In the sight of dictators who torture and brain-wash those
	wretches who stumble on Truth, who try to break away
	from the iron claw of a vicious hierarchy.

				THEA
	I hope the silver nutmeg grater is still there.

				JOSEPH
	In the campaign for truth we must not allow ourselves to 
	be weighed down by trivia, darling. The nutmeg grater shall 
	be situated in the mahogany spice cupboard. Your grandfather 
	kept it locked for reasons never disputed.

				HERA
	Those orphans of love shall be fed on red jelly crystals.

				JOSEPH
	The profane shall be disciplined according to a programme
	suitable to those who willfully stray in impertinent fields.

				HERA
	Spotted from birth, they skip the black stones of oblivion.




				JOSEPH
	I intend to drain the swampy land where a profusion of bull-
	rushes grow, quite unsuitably near the house. 

				THEA
	I have heard people stuff cushions with the fluffy white seeds
	inside the bull-rushes. They burst out when the bull-rush…

				JOSEPH
	Please! The swamp is not congenial to my health, which could
	deteriorate at the drop of a hat.
		(Beat)
	Let us not stray from the path.

				HERA
	The path is a wilderness. 
		(Beat)
	We wander in the multifarious traps Ego has set for soul.

				JOSEPH
	Some paths lead to unpleasant places, however we must flee
	onwards towards our glorious goal.
		(To THEA)
	He has left you the red, Morris Oxford, darling.

				THEA
	 I hate the Morris Oxford!

				JOSEPH
	It is an excellent vehicle for a young woman who is not yet 
	able to handle excessive amounts of traffic. The gear box is 
	in spanking order.
		(Beat)
	There are just the two cars. I shall take the black Bentley. It 
	is quite a collector’s piece.

				THEA
	I used to wipe my hands on the red velvet seats.
		(Beat)
	Why should you have the Bentley? You’re not even related 
	to him!

				JOSEPH
	The wire wheels shall be replaced with normal wheels.
		(Beat)
	My  dove,  please try to assimilate my connection. I was a 
	mere ex-son-in-law, uncertain of my role. It was the objectivity 
	of a common goal that drew us into brotherhood. United, we 
	knelt before the Cross - shepherds in the grim pastures of Life.

				HERA
	I dream of a huge, black cross. It sways in a burnt and ravaged 
	landscape.

				JOSEPH
	The Bentley has an impudent horn.

				THEA
	It’s a rubber one. When you squeeze it… 

				JOSEPH
	We do not wish to be served extraneous details. I shall seek 
	a horn that relates to the eardrums…
		(Beat)
	He has placed his entire library in my care.

				THEA
	I suppose you’re taking everything.

				JOSEPH
	On the contrary, darling.
		(Beat)
	He possessed a truly riveting collection of rare books. Books 
	fastidiously bound… in blood-red kid.
				
				THEA
	The dye comes off on your tongue.

				JOSEPH
	Great books! So heavy with truth they appear to be stone - 
	stone tablets balanced in the hallway of knowledge. So close 
	to the heart, one’s very fingers smolder. These books 
	instruct the reader on the complexities of the Inquisition, 
	the astounding valor, the total commitment of those disciples 
	of God who fought to wipe out the filth of heresy… those 
	infamous recalcitrants who denied the divine hierarchy… 
	these books are kept under lock and key in a black chest.

				THEA
	It looks like an upturned coffin.

				JOSEPH
	Light falls around this sturdy vehicle. An old tree constantly 
	taps at the crossed window. It has some very unpleasant spots
	on the trunk. I shall have it hewn down
		(To THEA)
	You shew a grievous lack of faith for one who rocked you in 
	the cradle.

	
				THEA
	I’ve got this softish bit on my head where I fell out while you 
	were singing “Pop Goes The Weasel”.

				JOSEPH
	Humiliation floods the heart of a hollow-chested, flat…
		
					THEA
	I love you Daddy!

				JOSEPH
	Me too, darling! I shall arrange to have the seats in the Morris 
	Oxford re-upholstered. 

				THEA
	In red, crushed velvet?

				JOSEPH
	Plush will suffice.
		(Beat)
	However, I can no longer tolerate these constant deviations. 
	Let us now focus on the palpable phenomena of the will.
		(Pause)
	He has left a considerable fortune in stocks and bonds. Not 
	to mention extraneous amounts of cash in a variety of world 
	banks. Banks where he secreted jewels quite monumental 
	under a naked eye.
		(Beat)
	I once beheld a religious ruby…

				THEA
	He kept his jewels in velvet bags.

				JOSEPH
	Only the meek shall inherit.

				THEA
	I thought it was the discreet. 
		(Beat)
	He had a gold ring with ruby bits…

				HERA
	Those who have eaten shall fall beneath the voracious eye 
	of the ruby!

				THEA
	The crust is always hard on the egg pies you get at the shop
	by the bank.


				JOSEPH
	It was a great source of grief that he was never granted an
	introduction to his grandsons. However, I feel this was most
	merciful.
		(Stares at YVES)
	They do not feature in the will.

				THEA
	He always offered me big, sugared nuts out of a red tin. 
	Sometimes the lid got stuck and he’d…

				JOSEPH
	You will have to learn to structure your appetite.
		(To HERA)
	He has bestowed one million English pounds on our little 
	pet.

				THEA
	I’m rich.

				JOSEPH
	That is a matter of opinion, darling. There are legal documents 
	yet to be signed before one can grasp those fruits that dangle.

				THEA
	I signed them.

				JOSEPH
	Come now, darling, your mental vehicles appear to be gravely 
	disordered. There could be a penalty for those who cast a 
	slanderous light… on…

				THEA
	But I signed them with his pen. It had a chewed end. He…

				JOSEPH
	Purely fictitious! My late friend lost his own  vital teeth in a fall
	prior to an early retirement from a vastly competitive field in
	criminal law, where he was a fount of strength in the harbor of
	debauchery.

				THEA
	You told me!

				JOSEPH
	I told you precisely nothing!
		(Beat)
	I would not like to think I have reared a pernicious person.
		(Beat)

				JOSEPH (Continued)
	Now, if you will count to ten whilst taking deep breaths. . .
	I am sure the truth shall prevail.
	
		(SHE puffs indignantly)

				JOSEPH (Continued)
	Not like a bullfrog, my sweet!

				THEA
	I’ll be rich and famous. 
		(Looks at YVES and HERA)
	They’ll be forced to stand by and watch.

				JOSEPH
	Everything in the fullness of time, my darling!  Meanwhile, 
	you must learn to conceal your attributes, however dazzling.
		(Beat)
	There are dangerous predators on every corner.

				THEA
	Daddy is paranoid.

				JOSEPH
	Cautious, my sweet.
		(Pause)
	One million English pounds bequeathed to Joseph Cordell.

				THEA
	You!?

				JOSEPH
		(Coughs, feels rosebud)
	The man who never let his baby down…  not like some 
	people who…

				HERA
	Cough up abominations.

				JOSEPH
		(To HERA)
	There are those who say your father was in line to be bestowed the 
	honor of acting as judge in the law courts.
		(Beat)
	That was before he folded up.

				THEA
	He had thick, white hair.


				JOSEPH
	It fell out at the pinnacle of his career.

				THEA
	He swallowed dark-red medicine out of a thing you squeeze 
	eye-drops in with.

		(JOSEPH squeezes THEA’s arm)

				JOSEPH
	Come now, darling, our audience must be feeling quite stiff.
		(To audience)
	Refreshments will be served later, in the lobby, for those who
	can afford them…

				THEA
	They have Eskimo Pies in long, thin boxes. There’s a kind 
	of cardboard flap you pull…

				JOSEPH
	The habitual habit of interrupting is a dubious method of 
	attracting attention. My little pet must learn to harvest her 
	own silence.
		(Beat)
	The boy is dangerously quiet. What has become of your 
	tongue, boy?

		(YVES raises his eyes, stares at JOSEPH
		as if in a dream)

				YVES
	Tongue is weary of wagging in dark interior of mouth. 
	Weary of Treachery.
		(Beat)
	Teeth hang at slanderous angles, gnawing on Truth…  teasing 
	throat who swallows crumbs with an ease resplendent of 
	Mercury at his most superficial.
					
				JOSEPH
	He has inherited his mother’s salacious tongue.

				YVES
	Mania plays leap frog with madness, testing the virility of a white
	flame trapped in the lower regions of brain.

				JOSEPH
	She has wormed her way into your mind. You will have to be
	re-educated… somewhere solitary.


				YVES
	Memory haunts, twists…  the stench of your soul wafts familiar…
	fatalistically fashioned, I hasten to my doom.
		(Beat)
	Fatefully fateful…  your tick on its ignoble chain.

				JOSEPH
	This unfortunate bears the taint of the beast… queerly, his marked 
	orbs flare with a decidedly putrid flame.

				YVES
	I am but a strange bird, born in captivity. Would somebody please 
	drape a black cloth over my head.

				JOSEPH
	An unwholesome seed.

				THEA
	You can buy seeds compressed into a square block with a 
	black loop to hang them from.

				JOSEPH
	One must take the state of his economy into account.
		(To HERA)
	My dear, you are extraordinarily privileged. A bestowal coming 
	as it were out of a dark corner, late in an unfortunate’s life.

				HERA
	Fervidly, he wheedles inheritance as if taunting a slobbering
	beast.

				JOSEPH
	Please don’t deny you have not longed for hard… cash.

				HERA
	I have longed for Love! Yet I am fatally bound to falsehood.

				JOSEPH
	He was most concerned for the welfare of his daughter.

				HERA
	Dilapidated by an endless quest for the golden seed.

				JOSEPH
	You must remember… he had not laid his eyes on her for years.

				HERA
	Forced to stare at the indecency of Self, whilst parading before 
	Doom.

				HERA (Continued)
		(Beat)
	The world is a bag of dust.

				JOSEPH
	My dear, your late father laid aside the respectable sum of four 
	hundred thousand pounds.

				HERA
	Give me Solitude to study the universal plight of Greed and 
	Treachery.

				JOSEPH
	However, there is a clause that may entail unexpected 
	repercussions.

				HERA
	For those who devour the dead moon?

				JOSEPH
	He instinctively felt…  that a woman of your mentality would 
	be totally incapable of handling… money. Of course,  he acted 
	strictly on my advice.

				HERA
	Treachery erects his own monument.

				JOSEPH
	My dear! These funds shall in no way be legally accessible to 
	you. Your late father fortuitously selected Thea to preside over 
	what may appear  as a weighty fortune.

				THEA
	I am the Chosen One. I know what she needs! After all, I am
	her legal daughter.

				HERA
	Cut off from the placenta, the festering cord hangs.

				JOSEPH	
			(To HERA)
	My dear, you will apply to Thea for whatever you imagine you
	need. The results of this application shall rest entirely in her hands.

				HERA
	Glory tests the flesh of the disinherited.




				JOSEPH
			(Feeling the rose in his lapel)
	He was a sincere man who possessed visionary facilities. We 
	shared uncanny likenesses.

				HERA
	You have not yet been cremated.

				JOSEPH
	My dear, what on earth gave you the idea he was cremated?
		(Beat)
	He was buried in a plot of great depth and magnitude. 
		(Beat)
	A monument resting upon a cliff…
 
				THEA
	With an iron fence around it.

				JOSEPH
	Please!

				THEA
	It’s a huge, black-marble cross with blood-red veins.

				JOSEPH
	A costly venture.

				THEA
	There’s a naked Christ with a bleeding heart nailed on it.

				JOSEPH
	Naturally, he left more than enough to cover… the costs.

				HERA
	What fiendish depths have I plumbed to attract this 	mercenary? 
	How shall I cast off the black shroud of the past, the present, the 
	future? Yea, I succumbed to fear… laid out on a black bed.

				JOSEPH
	There is a breathtaking view of the ocean.
		(To HERA)
	Come now, my dear, we must not deviate from the 
	systematically laid-out boundaries of divine realism. The 
	journey is fraught with danger. There are some who shall 
	never reach God’s pastures.
		(Beat)
	We must draw on the sustenance He hath provided.



				THEA
	The egg part of the egg pie often sinks to the bottom.

				JOSEPH
	A uniform for the fallen is not entirely out of the question…  
	spun from serviceable thread.

				HERA
	The green hair of the stinging nettle?

					THEA
		(To JOSEPH)
	You forced me to wear a uniform.

				JOSEPH
	Come, come, it was compulsory, darling. Those gentlemen on
	the school board felt it would neutralize vanity…  so unfortunately
	prominent in the female species.

				THEA
	I wanted to wear black leggings, and boots. Boots that laced all
	the way up…

				JOSEPH
	I was forced to resort to punishment!
		(Beat)
	Punishment for rebellion. It was entirely for your own good,
	darling.

				THEA
	You never believed in me.

				JOSEPH
	A father’s love is indisputable.
		(Looking at audience)
	I am sure God’s children. . .

				THEA
	Why should you suck up all the limelight?

				JOSEPH
	Not lime, darling. Light! Ineffable Light!
		(To YVES)
	Do not presume you are forsaken. Just temporarily 	forgotten by 
	one who is overworked up to his eyeballs. As you know, you do 
	not feature in the Last Will and Testament, although you are 
	irrefutably  part of the divine plan.
		(Shows his teeth, then turns to
		audience)

				JOSEPH (Continued)
	Please, please do not misinterpret. My conscience is as clear as 
	jelly.

				THEA
	What happened to that aluminum jelly mould of a hare on 
	his hind legs?

				JOSEPH
		(Stares at HERA and YVES, fiendishly)
	Like attracts like.
		(Lifting gloved hand)
	The maladjusted seeds.

				THEA
	I’ll have the cypress trees clipped into long, buffy shapes.

				JOSEPH
		(To THEA)
	They grow too close to the tower. I shall have them rooted out.
		(To HERA)
	My dear, you must apply to Thea for whatever you imagine 
	you need.

				HERA
	Multiplying in vacuous neglect, we suck on our own extremities, 
	scaling up the totem of a worn-out God…

				JOSEPH
			(Staring zealously at HERA)
	Thea may feel  sedation is the answer.

				HERA
	Perishing on the vicious talons of Ego…

				JOSEPH
			(To THEA)
	I firmly advise tranquilizers… in a conveniently liquid form. 
	So much easier to swallow. We do not wish for a recurrence 
	of foreign matter lodged between the uvula and the...

				THEA
	I told you… those long, green and black pills melt instantly.

				JOSEPH
	I would not be so sure, darling. You must get this into your 
	little head, that I am the one who shall ultimately take the reins.



				JOSEPH (Continued)
		(To HERA)
	You shall be attended to in a multitude of ways that a woman
	of your caliber deserves.
		(Beat)
	We are totally in the hands of the Almighty.
		(HE turns to THEA, a movement 
		of his head indicating the door)
	Darling, if you would be so kind.

		(THEA goes out, and returns 
		carrying a large, luminous, golden-
		colored harp. SHE places it in 
		the centre of the room)

				HERA
	The harp!

				JOSEPH
	Your late father’s harp.

				HERA
	My father’s harp!

				THEA
	He kept it locked in the tower.

				JOSEPH
	He possessed an astounding talent. Latent for many years,
	it streamed like living water from Heart to fingertips.

				THEA
	He gave off a kind of white vapor.

				JOSEPH
	He was a private man.

				THEA
	He kept it in a black case lined with blood-red velvet.

				JOSEPH
	Modest to a fault, he plucked it with a gold fork.

				THEA
	His fork flashed.

				JOSEPH
	He played like an Angel. Restrained,  yet full on those obtuse
	angles of Life.

				JOSEPH (Continued)
		(Beat)
	 I do not intend to dwell upon the sinister, yet there were shocking 
	episodes that he was quite unable to control. The wretched instrument 
	possessed…  a voice.

				THEA
	You could hear it long after he locked it up in the tower.

				JOSEPH
	Blasphemous lamentations that caused the tower to vibrate.

				THEA
	He used to grind his teeth.

				JOSEPH
	The grinding was a technical issue. The lower plate did not
	adapt to his jaw. He wept as he plucked… tears appeared
	as if illuminated on the Instrument’s body.

				THEA
	He always admired my teeth.

				JOSEPH
	He was most susceptible to beauty.
		(Beat)
	He was far too soft. My hands itched to destroy the Instrument.

				THEA
			(To JOSEPH)
	What do you think of my teeth?
		
				JOSEPH
	Far too prominent, my sweet. Perhaps we will have them forced 
	back with a wire brace. To be worn only at night, of course. 
		(Best)
	We must all apply forbearance. His wife, tragically, passed away
	whilst giving birth… to Hera.
	
					THEA
	They pulled her out with forceps.

					JOSEPH
	I have always thought they squeezed the unfortunate’s head 
	a little too tightly.

				THEA
	They had to tie her down in an iron cot.


				JOSEPH
	For security reasons only.
		(Beat)
	She was subsequently denied mother’s milk.

				HERA
	The throat is an ugly receptacle for propaganda.

				JOSEPH
	Apparently she was a wonderful wife, possessing a most-angelic
	soul. Her chances of living were extremely slight.
		(Beat)
	He loved her to death.

				HERA
	He stole the harp from my father.

				JOSEPH
	Really!  Who is this mysterious man, my dear? We crave an 
	introduction.

				HERA
	He is no longer in his body.

				JOSEPH
	An amazing coincidence.

				HERA
	Professional vultures siphoned off his power.

				JOSEPH
	Do you realize exactly what you are insinuating?  A totally 
	professional man steals harp from a totally non-existent man!
		(Beat)
	He was a pillar of society!

				HERA
	They took everything.

				JOSEPH
	Imagination becomes an exceedingly dangerous vice when 
	devoid of logic.

				HERA
	You and my false father passed as towers of respectability. 
	You erected falsehood in the form of a serviceable reality.




				JOSEPH
	I am afraid the power of institutions… Institutionalization is 	
	a very necessary accessory to mental disease, however. Madness
	is an unfortunate term. I should not like to feel it is contagious
	on the eve of revelations disturbing to the distortions of some.

				HERA
	His moustache served to hide that which could not be revealed.

				THEA
	He used a walking stick with a ruby eye.

				JOSEPH
	Immediate removal has always been the most effective method.
	Fully condoned by the Law, of course!
		(Beat)
	We might have been twins…

				THEA
	The stick was hollow.

				JOSEPH
	He was a benevolent man. He wanted his daughter to possess 
	the instrument.
		(Looks at HERA)
	As his fingers plucked… so shall yours.

				THEA
	He used a fork!

				JOSEPH
	I have no desire to continuously expose the tool which he 
	used to draw out the divine music.

				HERA
	My father’s voice… was the voice of the harp.

				THEA
	He wore a tight waistcoat.

				HERA
	His fingers were fire salamanders.

				JOSEPH
	Fire has been used most successfully… on many historic 
	occasions.




				HERA
	I dreamed life’s bloody thread slipped in a noose around 
	his neck.

				JOSEPH
	Passion is an illness. It must be forcibly eliminated.
			
				HERA
	He died in a mental institution. I was twelve-years-old. It was as 
	if he had never existed.
		(Beat)
	Yet I saw things. In twisted colors, I perceived the world as a
	configuration of snakes. Devouring one another, nesting on black 	
	eggs that exploded into millions of shards.
		(Beat)
	Each shard… a life.

				THEA
	He had a big, milky opal. I looked into it… I saw… 
	someone burning. . .  yes . . .
		(To JOSEPH, accusingly)
	It was me!

				JOSEPH
	A total impossibility!

				THEA
	I was a really powerful man in high boots. A big gold cross…
	it hung on my…

				JOSEPH
	My sweet, as one of the pillars of the Church you chose the type 
	of death suitable to each individual betrayal. 
		(Beat)
	One could say burning at the stake was your forte. You condemned
	millions of Heretics to Death by Fire. 

				THEA
	Liar!

				JOSEPH
	Ah yes, she sacrificed many famous forests…	
		(Beat)
	Without trial, I might add.

				THEA
	You’re a liar!  You betrayed me!



				JOSEPH
	I cannot stand the odor of female hysteria. Please lower your 
	voice. The ear is too sensitive an organ without ear plugs. 

		(THEA spits at him)
	
				THEA
	You filthy traitor!

		(JOSEPH takes handkerchief from 
		pocket, wipes his forehead, fussily)

					JOSEPH
	Our little pet is well-acquainted with the punishment for Liars.
		(To HERA and YVES)
	The jaws are forced open whilst a reasonable amount of soap
	is carefully placed under the tongue.

				THEA
	You threw me into the flames as if I was any old piece of rubbish.

				JOSEPH
	She is dangerously mediumistic.

				THEA
	My  blood-red velvet cloak swept the ground. It was clasped at
	the breast with real gold claws that held a huge diamond.

				JOSEPH
	A bulbous affair - it protruded as if something was secreted
	behind it, the source of which was never investigated.
		(To HERA)
	He went up in flames in a instant. Most inflammable stuff, 
	velvet.

				THEA
	Coward! Murderer!

				JOSEPH
	My dove! You must not identify with those wretches who
	became victims of their own treason.
		(Aside, to audience)
	The mother is a pernicious influence.

				THEA
	I hate you!




				JOSEPH
		(To audience)
	I fed the little pet with goats’ milk… sucked from a teat with
	a large hole in it.

				THEA
	I wanted mother’s milk!

				JOSEPH
		(Stretching out arms)
	Come now! Take sanction beside me and my Piety.

				THEA
	Your Piety stinks.
				JOSEPH
	All foul and ill-placed thoughts shall be put to rest.

		(THEA runs towards the right
		stairway, pursued by JOSEPH.
		HE puts a gloved hand on her 
		shoulder, leads her back to 
		center stage)
			
					JOSEPH (Continued)
	You shall stay precisely where I choose to put you!. My little
	pet.

				HERA
	All day, he walked up and down on the edge of a precipice.

				YVES
	A crowd of people gathered to watch.

				THEA
	He hid inside the harp.

				JOSEPH
	Please!

				THEA
		(To audience)
	Sometimes they shut me in the tower with the harp. It smelt 
	like someone had died. There was a black box. I tried to prise 
	it open.
		(Beat)
	I’d take the harp out of its case. If I spat on its body, then 
	polished 	it, I could see the face of an old man. One day,  I 
	found the key. I unlocked the box. There were some moth-
	eaten papers in a foreign language, and a photograph of the 

				THEA (Continued)
	old man. He was cowering against a wall. He had a number 
	on his arm.
		(Stares at YVES)

				THEA (Continued)			
	He had eyes like yours! Staring! Like a mad owl.

				YVES
	Owl perches in tree of Life and Death. Pecks hollow trunk,
	watches berries explode into flames.

				HERA
	They took him away. They locked him up. 

				YVES
		(Slowly)
	I see it all.
		(Beat)
	As if it happened to me.

				JOSEPH
	The authorities permanently detained him. He was a threat to 
	himself and the community.

				YVES
	They put him in a straitjacket.

				HERA
	They exploded his brain with bolts of electricity.

				YVES
	He no longer played the harp.

				JOSEPH
		(To HERA)
	Your father kindly sheltered the instrument.

				YVES
	They took away his voice.
		(Beat)
	It was winter; pine needles lay on the ground.

				JOSEPH
		(Clears his throat)
	As a legal man, your father was trained in the formalities of 
	the world.



				HERA
	His coat became a skeleton… sleeves rigid, buttons staring.

				JOSEPH
	Black vermin crawled over the instrument. Your father was 
	forced to disinfect it at regular intervals.
		(Beat)
	The body was horrendously tarnished.
		(Beat)
	In time, he was able to siphon off the heavenly music. I 
	advised him to wear gloves. He preferred the fork. I do not 
	think one should presume to tamper with the Fallen or the 
	Fallen’s properties. A swift strike with a flint, and a young 
	flame multiplies, shoots up to gigantic proportions, licking 
	at the unclean. It rapidly devours.
		(Beat)
	However, the fate of the instrument is not yet in my hands. 
		(Turns to HERA)
	I have passed it on to you as your father instructed.
		(Beat)
	How could I act otherwise. In the service of Christ, I 
	continuously kneel and pray, thereby renewing Godly 
	power. I wear rubber ear-plugs at night so that the voice of 
	the instrument shall not penetrate… my dreams.

				THEA
	His earplugs are a kind of dirty-yellow rubber.

				JOSEPH
	Please leave me my modesty. Do not divest me of everything.

				HERA
	He cometh as an undertaker in a black suit.

				YVES
	He professionally mourns.

				HERA
	Concealing the hands… in black gloves.

				JOSEPH
	I am elected as the bearer of God’s wisdom. I prefer to keep 
	the hands concealed. They bear signs that could threaten my 
	safety.
		(HE touches the rosebud on 
		his lapel, looks at THEA, shows 
		teeth in a snarl)



				JOSEPH (Continued)
	In the delicate bud of a rose, one can recognize the essence 
	of a virgin. In her purity, she shall be sacrificed to God!

				THEA
		(As if calling him)
	Daddy! Daddy!

				JOSEPH
		(To HERA)
	My path has been infamously crossed by three women. I shall
	name these women before my audience. . .
		(Facing audience)
	They shall bear witness to my extended suffering.
		(Staring at audience in rapt zeal)
	The mother…!    the wife…!    the daughter…!
	(Pause)
	Culprits of horrendous cunning, they have all applied the ancient 
	art of smothering divine tendencies to perform before the Father…
		(Beat)
	the Son…
		(Beat)
	and the Holy Ghost.	
		(Pause)
	No man of worship would dare to plumb the fathomless depths 
	of this shameless triptych.
		(Beat)
	My late father-in-law suffered from a shockingly similar plight. 
	We were predestined to meet on legal grounds… harassed as if by 
	hornets.

				THEA
	He had a black, rubber fly swat!

				JOSEPH
	I suffer from a modern-type of crucifixion.

				HERA
	In sight of love…  suckling a donkey.

				THEA
		(To HERA)
	You have slain your own daughter’s dream of a mother.
	Burnt and branded, you wander terrified of the one you 
	have deserted.
		(Beat)
	I am the innocent one! I lick the wounds you have inflicted.
	My own father is worn to a deranged stick.


				JOSEPH
	Please! Only the irreligious dare to expose that which must 
	remain gloriously shaded… on a palm Sunday. The tower 
	must be resurrected. 

				THEA
	Daddy has been heavily taxed by the demands of the instrument.

				JOSEPH
	Once the red paint has been stripped away… and a glossy-
	surface applied…
				
				THEA
	Daddy is on pills. Not the long, green and black ones. Little 
	pink ones. He could easily take an overdose like my 
	grandfather.

				JOSEPH
	Please excuse the little pet. Her mind is seriously impaired 
	by loss. We may be forced to jolt it with the most modern 
	methods possible, so subtly applied the patient need never 
	suspect heavenly hands crushing vice.
		(Beat)
	I wear white, kid gloves at night, so essential for perfect 
	performance. My wounds become considerably lighter when 
	the moon slides behind a cloud.
		(Beat)
	It is a long and arduous commitment, rigorously seeking in 
	the dead 	of night for those secretly cloaked in indigo to imitate 
	the night sky.
		(Beat)
	Order! I shall create order on earth as it is in heaven! I shall 
	not crush the merest ant as she creeps beneath my feet.
				
				THEA
	He kills cockroaches with his shoehorn.

					JOSEPH
	My heart ticks with divine precision. As Christ is merciful, so 
	shall I be.

				HERA
	A wall clock affects untimely sainthood.

				JOSEPH
		(Stares fanatically at HERA and YVES)
	They shall land lightly in those fields of divine correction… their
	punishments shall…


				HERA
	Reek of dishonor.

				JOSEPH
	The wicked fall…  into fathomless darkness.

				THEA
		(To audience)
	Daddy’s got a huge black cloak. He only wears it at night. 
	The hood covers his…

				JOSEPH
	The cloak is worn on those official occasions whence I am 
	called to administer the stamp of authority.

				THEA
			(To YVES)
	My  father is a highly-educated man. My mother left school 
	when she was fifteen. My  brother…

				YVES
	Tediously wheedles his spoon, chasing the chalk of calcification, 
	dreadful on the tongue.

				HERA
	In the struggle for education, humanity plummets.
		(Beat)
	The mind is a book, fatally bound in human skin. Ceaselessly, 
	we turn the pages.

				THEA
		(In a man’s voice)
	My God! She’s a one-off!
		(To HERA)
	How do you do it?

				HERA
`	By conducting raw energy as it shoots up into that mysterious
	vehicle, brain. It is transformed into white flames. These flames
	burn up all knowledge.

				THEA
	She’s got the low forehead of a bushland monkey.

				HERA
	I long for dense jungle.




				JOSEPH
	There is an unfortunate lack of true intelligence.
		(Beat)
	She is unable to recognize the God head!

				HERA
	The womb is the throne of emotion. Those who allow 
	Desire to seduce mount the blood-red throne.
		(Beat)
	The throne of Life and Death must remain empty.
		(Beat)
	The fetus floats in the high-walled tomb. Sweet waters lap, 
	lulling memory. A deadly flash of light awakens Soul. 
	Bursting 	out of the skin coracle, he pushes his way down 
	the dark labyrinth to light, Imitation light!
		(Pause)
	The horror of full materialization is contained in the blood-
	red moon. The blood-red cord dangles, like a hang-man’s 
	rope.

				YVES
	Clothed in flesh, we peddle life on the black market.

				HERA
	All my seeds! Doomed, shriveled, violated by the artifice of
	Ego, bowing before hypocrisy of self-surrender. Like carrion
	crow, we swoop down on love and her chattels. We must break
	this curséd chain.  Tied to the wheel of Life and Death, our 
	screams echo in the Soul.

				THEA
	I’ll get the Morris Oxford hotted-up with mag wheels. They’re 
	really high off the ground. I’m getting the steering wheel covered 
	in blood-red velvet.
		(Beat)
	You can do anything with money. There’s a shop in Queen 
	Street…

				YVES
	I have lived all my life in empty rooms, screwed by Ego to 
	an unwieldy philosophy. I take ghosts as lovers, unable to 
	come… 	or go. I hack at the circumference of the circle. 
	Haunted by a thin veneer of Love, I howl with ruby eyes. 
	There is a fly screen over my heart. I burst with the curséd 
	juice of multitudes.

		(JOSEPH stares fanatically at 
		YVES. YVES stands, head 
		bowed)

				JOSEPH
	There is a distinct probability the tongue shall be forcibly 
	removed. In sight of God’s children, a certain economy shall
	prevail. Of course… I pray for eternal decency. I care for 
	humanity as a whole. A complete whole!

				THEA
	I’ll hang blood-red curtains to hide the eyes. I’ll tie them 
	back in the daytime with thick, golden cords.
		(With a male voice, staring 
		at 	HERA, who has her head 
		bowed)
	I was a man in my prime. My task was to break her will. She 
	burnt with the majesty of a tree goddess.

				JOSEPH
	She called out God’s name, in vain. A holy flame shot up 
	in the fatal direction of her eyes…

				THEA
		(Looking at YVES)
	His flesh was determined; heavily smoked, the swine 
	would not burn.

				JOSEPH
	One of God’s faithful servants stabbed him with a pitchfork! 
	He fell forward into the heart of fire.

				THEA
	The moon, fat and bursting in the first night of her fullness, 
	though a fickle cloud brought unwelcome shade.

				JOSEPH
		(Feeling rosebud)
	At the crucial moment she was radiant. We all knelt on the 
	ever-blackening earth, weeping before Divine Love sacrificed 
	on the altar. The Holy Eye gazed down as if upon a miracle.

				YVES
	If this is Truth, give it to me inside-out that I might view it 
	with a dead eye.

				JOSEPH
	All punishments shall be meted out with a truly charitable 
	hand.
		(Beat)
	Fathomless! Fathomless is darkness!



				YVES
	Crudely sandwiched between Life and Death, I am wet 
	with the blood of the world.
	
				JOSEPH
	Your request for a black cloth shall be answered.

				HERA
	I speak for the sightless, the formless. In the stillness of 
	night I hear the soundless cry of the persecuted… the 
	heart spins slowly, a great wheel beheading flowers.

				THEA
	The horn on the Morris Oxford doesn’t work.

				YVES
	Bring me the square block of compressed seeds that I may
	twitter and peck, that I may hang from the black loop.

		(JOSEPH tears open his bag, takes
		out a big, black cloth, throws it over
		YVES’ head. YVES gives a long, 
		bird cry)

				JOSEPH
	The servants of God shall not permit light to shine upon 
	heretics. The last will and testament must under no 
	circumstances be lost.
		(Pause… then to THEA)
	Please turn out the light.

		(THEA turns out the light, 
		yet the room remains eerily lit.
		The figures appear ghostly, as
		if they are drowning in misty 
		water. A gentle light wavers 
		over their faces)

				JOSEPH (Continued)
		(Facing audience)
	I have always felt under cover of darkness much can be achieved.
		(Beat)
	One must never be forced to gaze upon agony undisguised. Subtle 
	is most suitable for the Soul, the Spirit. Subtle on the night’s 
	hidden eye.

				THEA
		(A chilling scream)
	Daddy!

				JOSEPH
	Let us kneel.

		(They all kneel. The black cloth 
		slips off  YVES’ head)

				HERA
	We have battled with the elements for too long. Weary, dying 
	out from our own cause, thrown from realms shadowing the 
	Soul as long trees divine the night.


		(A black curtain falls from above)





				THE END



                        
                          SYNOPSIS
                              A Modern Crucifixion


A Modern Crucifixion explores the predicament of an obsessed painter who in the name of inspiration loses everything: children, husbands, lovers, money, reputation. Caught in the act of creation, she is in a dangerous position; the fear of being locked away devours her. Working with forces more potent than herself, she dares to reach into the whirlpool. However, expectations placed upon a woman do not harmonize with raw, creative power. This power, in its unconducted shape, tears through the creator causing her to behave in a manner that appears ruthless. The artist has no choice; she must journey on. Rejecting the past she must seize the present. The blood-red cord unwinds. She must follow it. 

This play is about a self-induced sentence, about persecution in the name of righteousness, and the slow and terrible realization of the artist who in the act of creation has caused much suffering to her family. The ideas she has given birth to take on a life of their own… a haunting story unfolds. 




NOTE:  This play is a tragic comedy. The act of birthing a play is a seemingly solitary endeavor, where one is drawn to stare at self’s plight in a universal mirror. Into this distorted mirror one stares, eternally reaching out with ghostly hand to touch that which appears out of reach. At last the eye loses sight of self. One calls up characters who speak of truth draped in lies, of justice mounting dishonor, of kindness swathed in cruelty. A rent is torn in the veil. Through this the audience shall stare as if into the heart of desire – at fame and fortune swaddled in hypocrisy, at love and hate falling into the dust of the arena, rising again and again to grasp that which appears as reality.