Slash of music: Something Never
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The Rest Of Oedipus

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after Sophocles\' OEDIPUS AT COLONUS -- way after

words and music by Robert Montgomery

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The Rest Of Oedipus

  1. 1. Slash of music: Something Never Seen Before. Out of the dark: OEDIPUS I hate being blind!! (lights up on ANTIGONE tending to OEDIPUS, eyeless and old, who has fallen.) ANTIGONE Oedipus! OEDIPUS Antigone – I’m losing all my strength except the love you give me. ANTIGONE Athens is near. OEDIPUS Tell me something I don’t know! ANTIGONE I will. The land we've been walking is parched, but this place blooms as if a river ran underneath. OEDIPUS Is there some welcoming seat nearby? ANTIGONE How did you know? A nature-made throne. (SHE guides HIM to it.) OEDIPUS You're very good at helping those not always pleasant. ANTIGONE Years of practice. OEDIPUS (seated at last; sighs) May this moment rest in me always. ANTIGONE May it rest in ev'ryone.
  2. 2. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 2 OEDIPUS Suddenly I feel I could cry til I drown. But – no eyes. ANTIGONE Today was hard, too hard. OEDIPUS I'll die here, as sure as I live. (silence) ANTIGONE I've never heard you lie. OEDIPUS I'm not afraid. ANTIGONE That's a lie. OEDIPUS When I put out my eyes – ANTIGONE Ages ago. OEDIPUS At first the darkness was quiet which gave me some comfort. But then a kind of lightning came and painful words: You won’t die. Not until you’re king of a land where the sky will not weep! I have that same feeling now. ANTIGONE I hate your pain. OEDIPUS It's like a star in my forehead ready to burst. (SHE puts her hand on his forehead.) And my heart muscles – deeply aching for their first-ever rest. (Her other hand over his heart, she sings:) ANTIGONE SPIRIT OF THIS PLACE AND ALL BREATH! SWEET UNITY, SWALLOWER OF ALL DEATH!
  3. 3. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 3 OEDIPUS DEAR YOU-IN-ME, AS YOU ARE LIKE WHAT STAYED WITH ME WHEN SHAME AND FEAR TORE THE REST FROM ME, CONVINCING ME THEN WITH A WHISPER OF THUNDER THAT ONE DAY IN A BARREN LAND I WOULD RULE ON A THRONE WHERE MY PAIN WOULD END AND MY UNSHED TEARS WOULD TURN TO BLESSED RAIN. NOW YOUR THUNDER WHISPERS AGAIN… (distant thunder) AND I KNOW YOU INTEND TO BLESS WITH LIFE THE PLACE WHERE YOU BLESS ME WITH DEATH. I FEEL A STORM OF LIGHT GATHERING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF MY DARKNESS. LOVING UNKNOWN, END MY UNHAPPINESS SOON. TAKE THIS SHADOW HOME. (Enter the MINISTERS, singing:) MINISTERS MUSIC TO THE GOD WHO MADE THE EAR TO HEAR OUR MUSIC TO THE GOD WHO MADE THE EAR TO HEAR OUR MUSIC TO THE GOD WHO MADE THE EAR TO HEAR OUR MUSIC! MOTHER We are the minist’ring fam’ly here. FATHER & SON You are sitting on our holiest place! OEDIPUS All places on earth are holy – but not all places are comfortable. DAUGHTER Remove yourself from God our Rock! FATHER Now, daughter – if God is a rock, we have pebbles for brains.
  4. 4. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 4 MOTHER Who knows what our God is any more? Such knowledge has dried up worse than our land! OEDIPUS What name do you invoke? SON The Unity. ANTIGONE Then your God is one with ours. OEDIPUS The You-In-Me. DAUGHTER The U-ni-ty. FATHER Same thing. DAUGHTER Extremely debatable, father! SON Same thing! DAUGHTER Is not! MOTHER Breathe! (All do.) We worship a spirit that breathes with us, but is always more than what we know. ANTIGONE As hard to explain as this garden. MOTHER Yes! How does it grow in a drought? We don’t know, but when we inhale, we can smell rain. OEDIPUS Your God sounds believable. By what miracle did that
  5. 5. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 5 happen? FATHER & SON Colonus, our founder – (FATHER gestures for SON to continue.) SON – long ago, sat on that very rock and all at once saw ev'rything as energy pulsing with breath, fully understanding him. DAUGHTER And no one but him has ever been worthy to sit on that holy throne! OEDIPUS Is there any authority besides the power of breath you people have elected to follow? MOTHER Our king is the king of Athens, Theseus. DAUGHTER Who sat on that rock a year ago and ever since: drought! OEDIPUS I want to see this king! FATHER Many do. OEDIPUS I see us laughing. SON What a blind man sees – OEDIPUS Then tell him I'm the drought and I am dying! (distant rumble of thunder astounds MINISTERS.) FATHER Calling you a good man ... I think understates things.
  6. 6. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 6 MOTHER Though your life, I think, has not been good. SON & DAUGHTER Still – OEDIPUS I must remain on this throne – for the good of us all! MOTHER ... Colonus gave that throne a secret name. FATHER Only one who understands its riddle is worthy to sit there. MINISTERS Where do you come from and all things go? Where does the lover feel love and the knower know? OEDIPUS REST YOURSELF EASY AS I AM SITTING HERE ... IN ATTENTION’S HOME. DAUGHTER HE NAMED THE THRONE! MINISTERS “ATTENTION’S HOME!” OEDIPUS WHERE YOU COME FROM AND EV'RYTHING GOES. ALL ATTENTION'S HOME! OEDIPUS WHERE THE LOVER FEELS LOVE AND THE KNOWER KNOWS. MINISTERS ATTENTION’S HOME! OEDIPUS WHERE WE TAKE IN
  7. 7. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 7 AND GIVE OUT OUR GRACES MOTHER & FATHER THIS MAN HAS PLOWED THE RICHEST OASIS! MINISTERS HE'S MADE WHAT TO DO NOW AN ALL NEW THING, HE’S BROUGHT US AGAIN TO THE BREATHING GOD OF GODS! FOREVER ALIVE IN EV’RYONE AND EV’RYTHING AND EV’RYTHING ELSE! WE TURN TO SILENCE SO YOU MAY FILL US WITH THE SONG OF YOUR WILL FOR US .... THIS IS WHAT YOU SING: ... MINISTERS ASK HIM HIS NAME AND WHERE HE IS FROM THEN HE MUST TELL YOU WHAT HE HAS DONE. OEDIPUS MY NAME IS SOMEONE. I COME FROM NO MATTER. AND WHAT I HAVE DONE ... IS GET HERE. FATHER & MOTHER HOW CAN YOU REQUEST OUR HARBOR IF YOUR PAST MAY BRING US DANGER? FATHER YOU AND I, WE BOTH ARE FATHERS – FATHER & SON WOULD YOU TRUST HER FUTURE TO A STRANGER WHO GIVES YOUR HONEST QUESTIONS FATHER, SON & MOTHER HOLY BLATHER? DAUGHTER
  8. 8. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 8 WISDOM IS OUR MOTHER. MOTHER & SON CAN SHE CALL YOU SON? DAUGHTER FASTER FLIES SHE TRUTHWARD FATHER & MOTHER THAN AN EAGLE MOTHER, DAUGHTER & SON TO HER YOUNG. OEDIPUS (spoken) Wisdom was a crow when I was born! (A crow is heard cawing as it flies away, astonishing the MINISTERS as OEDIPUS confers with ANTIGONE:) ANTIGONE Tell them your story. FATHER & SON Its title, your name! DAUGHTER Or we will hound you until you beg to leave! OEDIPUS Do you know the one about the traveling youth who killed a king who attacked him? MOTHER Yes! ... But names fly from me these days as if they find me hideous! ANTIGONE He was the son of that king he killed, though neither knew this ill-fated truth. FATHER & SON Oh! That story! FATHER (trying to remember) Aaa – names for you, stories for me
  9. 9. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 9 – DAUGHTER & SON Oedipus! MOTHER That's the name! FATHER You did something not so good. MOTHER Yes! And brought a plague to Thebes! DAUGHTER & SON For the love of our God, fly from here before you infect our holy lives! ANTIGONE I'm confused. You serve a God you call "Unity," right, not "Separation"? FATHER & SON We serve Colonus! MOTHER Our fears and flaws help us understand only those who are local. ANTIGONE (goes to DAUGHTER) What fear? What flaw? DAUGHTER My flaw of wasting attention on terror I have suffered. ANTIGONE (to DAUGHTER) Memory of being raped freezes me and I wait. Whatever thaws me out I worship. Don't you feel that spirit moving here? MOTHER ... I feel it in the helpless grief of both your fathers over each of your traumas. ANTIGONE I feel it in your love! (to MOTHER) Woman! Mother I
  10. 10. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 10 never had! We come to you as all of us come to God: needing kindness, knowing we die. (embraces MOTHER) DAUGHTER Scriptures says: "Whoever carries evil to you, steals the One who gives you birth!" ANTIGONE (to DAUGHTER) Does the One your writings praise, who gives bodies such attraction to touch, who creates life in explosions of ecstacy, prefer a cold love of judgment – or a judgment of love? (eye to eye) I see myself in your eyes. Look plainly with them now into my soul. ... We really are one there. There is here. ... Yes, my loneliness is yours. And don’t we share a love for our fathers? Of course you see yourself as a daughter in me. And how right it is to be here with father as he dies with the least pain. MOTHER I have no spine, no steel! Ev'ry problem endlessly unfolds with opposites – my judgment is like mash you feed the pigs! FATHER & SON Our breathing God tells us the air now has turned ... FATHER – fearful – SON – fearful! FATHER – exhaling you away. OEDIPUS Then inhaling us back. WHAT IS BREATHING HERE? WHAT WE DON'T KNOW. MINISTERS & ANTIGONE: WHAT WE DON'T KNOW. OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: WHAT DO WE TEND TO FEAR? MINISTERS: OH! (with OED & ANT:) WHAT WE DON'T KNOW. OEDIPUS: LIKE NOW. AND NOW: WHAT DOES WISDOM LIKE? ALL: WHEN WE DON'T KNOW! OEDIPUS: Why?
  11. 11. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 11 ALL: THAT'S WHEN WE NEED HER LIGHT -- MOTHER AND FATHER: RIGHT? ALL: WHEN WE DON'T KNOW. OEDIPUS: SHE'S THE PRANKSTER! MOTHER: WISDOM? OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: BECAUSE SHE ALWAYS WANTS TO PLAY. MINISTERS: AH-HAH. OEDIPUS: WHY'S SHE HIDE AND SAY COME LOOK FOR HER? ALL: BECAUSE SHE ALWAYS WANTS TO PLAY. MINISTERS: WISDOM LIVES TO PLAY. OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: SO WE'RE LOOKING FOR HER NOW – MINISTERS: YES, WE'RE LOOKING FOR HER NOW – OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: WHICH IS ALWAYS WISE OF US. MINISTERS: WISE OF ANYONE. OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: (echoed by MINISTERS:) AFTER ALL: SHE IS WITH HE WHO IS ALL: FOREVER! – SO IT'S ALWAYS WISE OF US. OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: LIKE A BLIND MAN (MINISTERS: OOO) LEAVING THE SHADE, MINISTERS: LEAVING THE SHADE. OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: FEEL THE SUN (MINISTERS: AHH!) TOUCH YOUR HEAD. MINISTERS: TOUCH YOUR HEAD! OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: WITHOUT FEAR – MINISTERS: WITHOUT FEAR OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: HER GAME IS PLAYED – MINISTERS: HER GAME IS PLAYED. ALL: FEEL THE SUN TOUCH YOUR HEAD. OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: HOW CAN HER LOVE – MINISTERS: HOW CAN HER LOVE – OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: (echoed by MINISTERS:) PLEASURIZE YOUR PATIENCE PLEASURIZE YOUR PATIENCE HOW CAN HER LOVE PLEASURIZE YOUR PATIENCE IF YOUR FEAR OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: OVERSHADOWS YOUR MIND? MINISTERS: WE BELIEVE IN THE COURAGE THAT YOU FIND IN FEAR! ALL: LET THE COURAGE THAT YOU FIND IN FEAR, LET IT PLEASURIZE OUR PATIENCE MINISTERS: AND WE'LL FIND? OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: AND YOU WILL FIND – MINISTERS: WE'LL FIND? OEDIPUS: THE ANSWER –
  12. 12. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 12 MINISTERS: THE ANSWER – OEDIPUS: YOU'RE LONG - ING TO HEAR. ANTIGONE: YOU'RE LONGING TO HEAR. MINISTERS: WE'RE LONGING TO HEAR. OEDIPUS My fear of seeing what was unknown in me exiled the comfort of color from my life. What will your fear do? Lose the blessing my death in the God of this place would plant here forever? FATHER (conferring with MOTHER & DAUGHTER:) He knows the meaning of words. That alone makes him mystic. MOTHER I don't know. ANTIGONE More than theology, father, plain emotion proves the truth. OEDIPUS (to MOTHER) The monster you see before you is loose of tooth, and blind! MOTHER (to FATHER & DAUGHTER) He sits there like the heart in my chest. (DAUGHTER is still skeptical.) ANTIGONE (to DAUGHTER) We pray your kindness bravely holds, as the clear lack of danger here builds. OEDIPUS The more settled we get in this calm, the more clearly we can counteract real threats. DAUGHTER ... Welcome, new citizens. Our land is yours. OEDIPUS Bless you! (sound of hoofbeats)
  13. 13. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 13 ANTIGONE God – my heart leaps! A woman on a horse, thrilling me but I don't know why. This is like being in a good dream! MINISTERS ALL THAT WE'VE LOST, ANTIGONE Waving – MINISTERS ALL THOSE WHO'VE LEFT ANTIGONE – smiling – MINISTERS TOUCH US LIKE THE SUN – ANTIGONE Sister! Ismene! MINISTERS WHEN A LOVED ONE RETURNS. ISMENE (off) Father! OEDIPUS Ismene! ISMENE (entering) And Antigone! ANTIGONE A full family embrace – the three of us! (THEY embrace.) OEDIPUS Flesh of my flesh of my flesh! ISMENE I missed you.
  14. 14. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 14 OEDIPUS You did? ISMENE Yes. OEDIPUS Ah. MINISTERS BUT RARE IS THE ONE WHO IS PARADISE FOR LONG. ISMENE I love you as dear as Poseidon, god of the water now in my eyes, that seeking you grew dry as Aeoleus’s breath in Aphrodite's ear. ANTIGONE Why are you oversalting your speech with gods? ISMENE Good news! I've become a reborn polytheist, and can help you all be the same! OEDIPUS Oh God. ISMENE Godzzz! (to MINISTERS) Athens so near, you priests must read entrails for the flashing-eyed Athena here! DAUGHTER Well, entrails are not really – ISMENE Blessed be Athena, goddess of hand-crafted headwear, such as this small totem. (indicating her headwear) As I wove it, I prayed, "Athena, weave my mind the same as these colors!" ANTIGONE Apparently she heard you. OEDIPUS What other news? Your two brothers?
  15. 15. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 15 ISMENE Oh Nemesis! I of course must first ask Mnemosyne – [nee-mah'-zih-nee] ANTIGONE Ismene! ISMENE – who, if you remember, is memory – to help you remember that when Melpomene [mel-pom'-inny], the muse of tragedy – OEDIPUS More matter, less myth! ISMENE – first spun your tragic fate – and you were exiled? Your sons acted like your crown had lice! "Uncle Creon, you be king! We'll just live in the palace eating ev’rything." But! Their take on things didn't take in Alecto – OEDIPUS Alecto? ISMENE – the most famous and furious fury, who gnawed at them til they too furiously craved the fame of being king. So! Polynices butchered his way to the throne – ANTIGONE No! ISMENE – so of course his dear little brother – OEDIPUS Eteocles! ISMENE – blood-bonded with Creon and spurted Poly from the open wound of our festering country! OEDIPUS And now?
  16. 16. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 16 ISMENE The god Rumor says it is more than a rumor that Poly has gathered armies from Argos. MINISTERS Meaning? ANTIGONE He’s planning to be a hero of heroes – OEDIPUS – in a war of wars – ISMENE – against our land of lands! Sing with me, dear family – our country’s anthem! ISMENE, ANTIGONE & OEDIPUS GLITTERING THEBES OF HARP AND SMILE! OLYMPUS IN A LOCKET ON THE NECK OF THE NILE. ISMENE Well, now it’s: defecating Ares, the stinking god of war – squatting over our land as our noble brothers cup their hands below. Aidos! MINISTERS AIDOS? ISMENE GODDESS THAT THE GOOD FOLK WITH GOOD LUCK FEEL FOR THE POOR FOLK FACING BAD – MINISTERS AIDOS! ISMENE THANK YOU FOR BEARING GOOD NEWS OF MY FATHER TO THE PRIESTS OF APOLLO THAT BEARS ON THIS WAR! (MUSIC continues as:)
  17. 17. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 17 DTR & ANT FATHER & MTHR & OED ISMENE Who? What? SON Who? Good Thank you Good news of What good news (of for bearing our/your news from Oedipus/ good news of father? the priests about me)? my father to From the of Apollo From the the priests priests of priests of of Apollo Apollo Apollo ALL that bears on this war?/! (MUSIC ends) FATHER Your words and your gods breed incestuously, child! SON What news do you have? Speak plainly! ISMENE The famous Delphi oracle, plainly not known for its plainspeaking ways – ANTIGONE Ismene! How much wine did you have on your horse? ISMENE The journey was endless. ANTIGONE Our patience is not! ISMENE The oracle said – I was just going to tell you – the oracle said – you're always so rude – it said: "Whoever takes in Oedipus, just as he is, will survive ev'ry war." MINISTERS “IF YOU TAKE IN ALL OF OEDIPUS YOU’LL SURVIVE EV’RY WAR.” ANTIGONE (to OEDIPUS) To survive his war with Poly, Creon’ll come to get you. How will he find you? (turns to ISMENE) By following babbling brook here.
  18. 18. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 18 ISMENE Father, she's calling me things I am not! OEDIPUS (to the MINISTERS) Creon – this now is a real threat. ISMENE Polynices is too! He knows the prophecy! OEDIPUS How? ISMENE From his allies. They call themselves "Soldiers of the Oracle." OEDIPUS Why “Soldiers”? ISMENE They use Delphi scriptures to avoid the problems logic gives them in justifying slaughter. ANTIGONE So here comes Poly again, with his clouded eyes and scar of a smile. ISMENE (to OEDIPUS) Creon or Polynices – who will you choose? OEDIPUS Neither, Ismene. The Oracle promises a blessing to those who take me in. Everyone here has extended peace to me. My gratitude extends that blessing beyond me into this place. ISMENE Then Thebes will be cursed. OEDIPUS The war will eat the same raw meal, no matter how my bones would dish out the portions. My sons and Creon are worms on hooks and we are fish! This ocean has better things to taste.
  19. 19. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 19 FATHER Still, Oedipus, you have not made full peace with yourself. SON That remaining conflict is our most imminent threat. MOTHER We have a cleansing ritual for you that – OEDIPUS I am defiled, not cleansed if I do what I don't need or want! What mud do you people see clogging my spirit? FATHER & SON A slough of resistance. DAUGHTER Hurry down the hill to the spring, take fleece from the lambs, wrap it on a cup, fill it with water and sage, then put three drops on each leaf of nine olive sprigs! OEDIPUS How in the name of what clayheaded god do you think a blind man who barely has strength to sit can race down a hill, chase after sheep, and aim drops of water at foliage!? ANTIGONE In ritual–doing, Ismene far exceeds us in rankness. ISMENE It’s true. Much as I shy from bringing attention to myself. I did win third prize in last year’s Vestal Virgin Contest (doing a Nubian prostration) with this humble Nubian prostration. FATHER Humility one can be proud of! DAUGHTER Father! She's a polytheist! OEDIPUS But sincere as sunlight!
  20. 20. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 20 ISMENE Hill, spring, fleece, cup, water, sage, olive – then? DAUGHTER Sing: "GOD OF GODS." ISMENE GOD OF GODS? ZEUS, YOU MEAN? THOUGH SOME SAY THE FATES RULE THE EMPYREAN. DIONYSUS! NO! DEMETER! OH! YOU MEAN HEAVEN AND EARTH WHO GAVE BIRTH TO THE GODS! FATHER & SON OUR GOD IS HOW YOU ARE HONEST. ISMENE HONESTLY? I LIKE THIS! WHAT NAME? MOTHER A MILLION NAMES. ISMENE NAME ONE. FATHER & SON ATTENTION-GIVER. ISMENE ATTENTION TO ME? OR ATTENTION I GIVE? MINISTERS ATTENTION I GET OR ATTENTION I GIVE ... DAUGHTER ASK THE ATTENTIVE ATTENDANT BY THE RIVER. ISMENE HOW YOU TALK! HOW YOU SING! FATHER! SISTER! I'LL BE BY THE SPRING! (running off:) I'll miss you! OEDIPUS Stronger than ritual – bring your King here with his body-guarding force!
  21. 21. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 21 FATHER The majesty you seek and usurpers you fear all lie within you. OEDIPUS (with mounting fury) Now is no time to play out-is-in! One day, maybe, we'll open meekly enough to fill with the Almighty and fear no more those who live by might. But since that time has not yet come– MOTHER & SON If it doesn't come now, it never will. DAUGHTER Where does your great anger snake its roots!? OEDIPUS In your blind stupidity! MINISTERS (spoken) WHY DID YOU STUPIDLY BLIND YOURSELF? OEDIPUS Who doesn't!! (pause) ANTIGONE Father! Your fury must die before you do or who knows what beast will haunt any dream skills you have that survive. MOTHER (to OEDIPUS) Kill clutter. Distill your story. OEDIPUS My song is a dirge, sung by a clown, an absurd plague of coincidence! I came to Thebes as a cold young man, and met a woman with a smile so warm, such a way with words, I wanted to tell her ev'rything. No wine was better than how we talked. So often would one of us say what the other was thinking, there was no chance of hiding our love. She was a tent that smelled of incense. Her philosophy: truth is a fruit picked when it's ripe. My only desire
  22. 22. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 22 was to treat her more royally each day. We were king and queen of Thebes – and then came the plague. Rosy sores on lily skin. Children piled like logs in the street. Wailing parents, dead-eyed lovers, and helpless king and queen, trying to reason why their world had ripened so far beyond reason. Then we discovered my wife was my mother. She kills herself, I poke out my eyes with her brooch, and the plague ends. Time stopped being time, and swallowed me. Next thing I knew: a cool hand here (his forehead): Antigone. Then pain-shot lightning: insights. My plunge into darkness, and Jocasta's, wasn't what ended the plague. Ending our infection of the natural law – that's what stopped its reflection in our realm. My tragic fault was blinding myself, bequeathing darkness to my nation. There lies the guilt I have to purge here, not in my blindness to who my parents were. SON You killed your father and married your mother! OEDIPUS As my sweet-talking mother, I mean wife once said: "It's only something ev'ry boy dreams of." FATHER So Antigone and Ismene are your daughters, and also – OEDIPUS All people are always more than any people say they are! FATHER & SON Also your sisters! MOTHER This reeks – this blood-tie! Family life – it’s domestic! This wildness – DAUGHTER My father as my brother – I can't – it's too – ANTIGONE He’s my world!
  23. 23. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 23 DAUGHTER They save me from the world. ANTIGONE & DAUGHTER: FAMILY! THE REST (OED, FR-SON-MTHR:)WHERE WE’RE FROM. WOMEN: RARE UNDERSTANDING ALL: BUT A TOO COMMON TONGUE MEN: PEOPLE YOU'D DIE FOR ALL: WHO MAKE YOU CRY WOMEN: PEOPLE YOU TIRE OF ALL: WHO DRIVE YOU MAD! ANTIGONE: WHO KNOW YOU TOO WELL DAUGHTER: BUT DON'T KNOW YOU AT ALL. REST: TOO MUCH LIKE YOU: ALL: WHY DON'T THEY IMPROVE? FAMILY! THE HEART OF ME. THE STALEST, PALEST PART OF ME. REST: MORE THAN FRIENDS ANTIGONE & DAUGHTER: LESS THAN FRIENDS ALL: TINIEST COSMOS OF WONDER AND PAIN HUNGER AND GAIN, LOVE AND THE INANE. (a capella) FAMILY. YOU AND ME. HUMANITY. STEALING, SHARING, KILLING, CARING: FAM'LY! MOTHER & FATHER: STARTED BY TWO, UNRELATED USUALLY, DTR. & SON: (to OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE) BUT NOT YOU MINISTERS: AND YOUR FAMILY. FAMILY. FAMILYFAMILYFAMILY FAM'LY FAM'LY FAM'LY FAM'LY FAM'LY FAM'LY FAM'LY OUR FAM'LY VALUES OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: LOYALTY, HONESTY? MINISTERS: OUR FOULLY VAMUES – OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE: ACCEPTANCE, ASSISTANCE? MINISTERS OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE OUR FUMELY VALLEES ARE OUR FAMILY VALUES ARE YOURS! NOT YOURS! FAMILY VALUES! FAMILY FAMILYFAMILYFAMILY! VALUES! FATHER & SON The law is clear.
  24. 24. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 24 MOTHER & DAUGHTER You have to go. OEDIPUS If I have to go, who can stay?! In everyone's past there are stories harder than a blade in the chest to forgive. God of breath! (Inhales deeply) I smell a kingly air! (THESEUS enters.) Theseus! It’s about time! We need a ruler here, not a slew of laws! THESEUS Oedipus. I say your name and my heart starts pounding. There’s a spell your story casts. Somehow it makes me feel I’ve just escaped an odious family function. I don’t know why. Just me I suppose. I too was the death of my father. Told him, “I’ll come home with a white sail if I’m alive.” Came home with the black, forgot to change it – dreaming of my mother, I swear, handing me a new-washed robe. Making my father Aegeus, high on his lookout hill, fly like a wounded gull into the sea below that now bears his name. OEDIPUS The good Aegean. THESEUS A sea of sorrow. God, the grief we carry. And I'm also a king whose people are plagued by a wrong I did without knowing. OEDIPUS Peace to your heart, good King. Who knows why your land went dry? Maybe just so some long-suff'ring fool can come here and get rained on some more. THESEUS May that seed be planted in our most fertile nature. OEDIPUS Theseus – I'd embrace you, but – waves of revulsion at over-ripe actions this body remembers –
  25. 25. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 25 THESEUS I welcome you here. (THESEUS embraces OEDIPUS. Then opens his arms toward ANTIGONE) And you, Antigone. ANTIGONE The waves that make me hesitate are diff'rent from his. THESEUS I embrace you, then, invisibly. (silence) OEDIPUS She thanks you, I’m sure, silently. THESEUS (to ANTIGONE) It is our belief that what most makes us who we are is what we pay attention to. Your face makes that view most welcome. OEDIPUS Fully welcome at last! Forgiven sufficiently! Theseus, my monstrous sons and brother-in-law are coming! They will tie me to a board as a talisman for troops. And worse! Worse! ANTIGONE Murder in this holy place, splattering war on Athens! THESEUS Thebes won't fight us – we’re their biggest market. Troops won’t attack their paysource! That’s (HOW THINGS ARE) OEDIPUS HOW THINGS ARE AND HOW THEY HAVE BEEN ARE NOT HOW THEY WILL BE! THESEUS YES, THEY WILL IN HEALTHY TRADE! OEDIPUS EVEN THE BEST HEALTH ONE DAY VEERS SHARPLY TO DEATH.
  26. 26. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 26 THESEUS BETWEEN OUR COUNTRIES, THE CLIMATE'S CONSTANT. OEDIPUS RAIN DOESN'T ALWAYS COME, DOES IT, AS OFTEN THESEUS MAYBE RAIN DOESN’T – OEDIPUS AS ALWAYS. THESEUS BUT GOOD NEIGHBORS DO. OEDIPUS FRIENDS COMMONLY STOP – THESEUS & FATHER ... COMMONLY STOP? OEDIPUS TALKING TO YOU. DAUGHTER & SON THEY DO? FATHER & MOTHER THEY DO. EVEN GOOD FRIENDS, TOO. MINISTERS & OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE (to DAUGHTER) ONE DAY THEY STOP TALKING TO YOU. OEDIPUS AND A ONCE-FRIENDLY CITY PREPARES TO ATTACK. (spoken as music continues:) You think now the sky between Athens and Thebes has no cloud the color of shield and sword? (Distant thunder. All look up and see what might be darkening clouds on the horizon.) Antigone! Lead me away! I infect even the place of forgiveness! THESEUS Remain!
  27. 27. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 27 (OEDIPUS screams in agony.) ANTIGONE Father! (OEDIPUS screams again in long agony, and is reseated.) THESEUS FRIEND, CAN YOU SPEAK? OEDIPUS IF I SAY NO – ? THESEUS I THINK I'D HAVE A PROBLEM BELIEVING YOU. OEDIPUS & THESEUS THIS FRIENDSHIP HAS A CHANCE TO LAST TILL DEATH DO US PART. MAYBE EVEN LONGER AS A SMILE IN MY HEART. OEDIPUS Friend, the source of all movement commands me: "Go nowhere!” I must try with all my might to obey. THESEUS I see my people in you: a good man in distress. All power I have to help you is yours, God help me. OEDIPUS All I can do to help you is die. (Murmurs of dissent from MINISTERS, silenced by a rumble of thunder.) THESEUS We do need rain. MOTHER & SON It will or will not rain no matter where he dies. FATHER & DAUGHTER But war is something we still can prevent.
  28. 28. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 28 THESEUS AND ALL THAT WE DO SHOULD HAVE THAT INTENT, A NEAR-MAD RESPONSIVENESS THAT SPARKS MORE INT'REST THAN CONFLICT. MILITANT MEN WILL CONFRONT YOU. CATCH FIRE FROM THE SPARKS IN THEIR FLINTY EYES. YOUR REFLECTIVE SURPRISE IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO SURVIVE! THAT'S WHERE WAR IS REWORDED AND IF WAR IS NOT REWORDED, WAR IS NOT AVERTED. EQUALIZE THE SAME WAY YOU WIN THE CONSTANT WAR YOU FIND WITHIN. MINISTERS EQUALIZE BY HOW WE WIN THE CONSTANT WAR WE FIND WITHIN. THESEUS THESE WARRIORS THAT COME NOW I SWEAR TO YOU WITH ALL THEIR FIERCENESS: NONE HAS MORE POWER TO TAKE YOUR LIFE THAN SOME SERPENTINE DISPIRITER SNARLED IN YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS. SPY THAT VIPER, MILK ITS VENOM, PAINT YOUR ARROW TIPS AND STAND LIKE ARCHERS AROUND THIS MAN. (meaning OEDIPUS) HE'S THE KING OF THIS DREAM. (MIN: WHY?) DYING IS SACRED. (MIN: WHY?) IT ASKS THE WARRIOR QUESTION: (MIN: WHICH IS?) WHAT ARE WE LIVING FOR? (MIN: WHAT ARE WE LIVING FOR? continuing:) WE'RE ALL IN THE MIDDLE OF A WITHERING ASSAULT ON THE PASSION WE KNOW WE WERE BORN TO PURSUE – ALL THE WHILE SEARCHING FOR WHICH WAY TO FACE SO THE RAY THAT GIVES LIFE KEEPS LIGHTING OUR EYES THROUGH DEATH. WE NEED HIS BLESSING. IT'S OUR OWN LIFE WE'RE SAVING BY HELPING HIM SLING HIMSELF INTO A JOURNEY THAT'S FASTER THAN LIGHT! MINISTERS UNTIL THEN?
  29. 29. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 29 THESEUS UNTIL THEN, WE MOVE WITH GRAVITY. EACH OF YOU TO SET FREE THE TRUTH OF YOUR WRATH; AND I TO MY DEMOCRACY FOR THE FREE VOTE OF ALL ATHENS TO GRANT THIS MAN (gestures to OEDIPUS) SANCTUARY AND TO MAKE A LAW TO HOLD AS SACRED THE INDIVIDUAL PATH. (with MINISTERS:) TO GUARD WITH OUR LIFE AND HOLD AS SACRED THE INDIVIDUAL PATH! (THESEUS exits) MINISTERS (spoken in unison to the audience:) Like Oedipus each of you came here from a world of troubles to the center seat in the Theater of Where You Are. You rest there in harmless pause a state we might wish on the world. You've decided to stay and have blessing to do so. So then ... what now? (sung:) SECURE IN THE CENTER OF LIFE AS WE KNOW IT WE'VE READIED OUR NATURE TO TAKE IN WHAT SHOWS UP. ROUGHLY PREPARED FOR WHAT CAN'T BE PREPARED FOR, NOT REALLY SCARED THOUGH WE'RE TOLD THAT BEFORE LONG SOME TERROR WILL RAM US HEAD ON. HERE COMES THE WORLD HERE COMES THE WORLD HERE COMES THE SUFF'RING THEY SAY IS THE PRICE THAT YOU PAY FOR THE WISDOM YOU GAIN IN TIME, HERE COMES THE OCCASION I'M MEANT TO RISE TO; HERE COMES THE ACCIDENT, THE INCIDENT, THE SAD EVENT; THE VIOLENT PAIN; THE SOLDIERS, THE DOCTORS – HERE COMES THE WORLD! HERE COMES THE WORLD! WE'RE IN OUR OWN WORLD. WE STRUGGLE HARD LEARNING TO STOP THE WHIRLING WAR INSIDE
  30. 30. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 30 SO WE CAN BE CLEAR: HERE COMES THE WORLD. HERE COMES THE FEAR. HERE COMES THE MIRROR. HERE COMES WHAT'S HERE. (CREON and his GUARD have arrived.) CREON No love between us. OEDIPUS You’re part of me. My heart has a numb spot where you reign. CREON I interest you. OEDIPUS I make you smile. CREON Brother-in-law, or nephew-in-law, whatever law or un-law you are – OEDIPUS You're more tired than I am. CREON I do more than sit. OEDIPUS I do less than oppress. CREON I need your guidance! Thebes has turned into a sinkhole without us! Like it or not, the time of Oedipus comes round again. Ride back with me and we can hack out how to get another gold age going. OEDIPUS Why ask advice from someone you threw out like broken pottery? CREON Everyone knows you’ve grown, wisdom-wise. Songs about you ev'rywhere.
  31. 31. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 31 OEDIPUS They must be awful. CREON Actually – I mean, I'm no musician, but – this one tune keeps going through my head when I wash: POOR WAND'RING MAN SOMETHING SOMETHING WISE. HE ONCE WAS KING BUT NOW HE HAS NO EYES. HE ONCE WAS KING BUT NOW HE HAS NO EYES, POOR WAND'RING WISE MAN SOMETHING SOMETHING ... something – (waves the wine sack under Oedipus's nose) Thirsty? OEDIPUS I never drink on the throne. CREON See, that’s wise! I remember getting really drunk once, trampling guards with my horse. A lot of people with money though, thought it made me more human. (takes a long quaff) God, being king. Such a stupid job. Wearing fifty masks a day, breaking your brain trying to figure out out how to phrase things so throngs’ll cough up all they can to friends of mine who only like me for the cough-ups. (drinks another long quaff) OEDIPUS You call that ruling? Backclapping the few, at the expense of the many? CREON In the real light of day, my friend, something you’ve maybe forgotten, that’s how the strongest kingdom gets the strength it needs to help the most! FATHER In the real light of day, that's how a kingdom dines on its own heart! CREON ... (to OEDIPUS) Is this what you want? Sitting around with hypocrites who live by a stream in a land of drought? Who mistake their airy criticism for how things are on earth?
  32. 32. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 32 ANTIGONE We were walking this earth on foot while you were on a horse trampling guards! CREON Niece! You speak! ANTIGONE And Delphi spoke to me. CREON Of what? ANTIGONE Your son. CREON How much I love him? ANTIGONE How he and I will marry. CREON How I give him a sword to kill you with? ANTIGONE So goes the prophecy. CREON It does? ANTIGONE Pure silver, the color of his soul– CREON I wasn’t serious. ANTIGONE – which pierces and chases me into the moonlit forest. CREON Wait! (HE can't break from her trembling clutch) ANTIGONE He runs himself through to run after me.
  33. 33. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 33 CREON You’re making this up! ANTIGONE Before your widening eyes his life bleeds from yours into mine, and trembling as we are here you remember my face now as truth. (Staring pause. CREON breaks away. Silence.) OEDIPUS I hear twitching. Your slug antennae? CREON Let’s be honest. Delphi is idiocy. Double talk. But people like believing more than thinking so we have to use it. I swear on the grave of your mother, we’ll use Delphi to help our people despite themselves. Already I have men in place at the oracle to heat up the rhetoric. Fiery Godtalk! To scare fat Thebes off its pillows! Enough of “Peace. Dignity.” Frenzy with Dionysus! Fountains of holy blood! Get ‘em addicted to diction like that and they’ll fight wherever you point! OEDIPUS You have the imagination of a hyena. The god you worship is the smell of blood. CREON See the light, man! Never a war without god! OEDIPUS Or a lie without language. CREON Enough. Delphi's the language today, and you are its most recent war cry. OEDIPUS Grab me, Creon, you grab Theseus. CREON Hap'ly there are more pleasurable things around to grab. OEDIPUS Ismene!
  34. 34. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 34 CREON And – (gestures for GUARD to take ANTIGONE) ANTIGONE Father! OEDIPUS What is happening? ANTIGONE He's dragging me away! (GUARD and ANTIGONE are gone.) OEDIPUS Antigone!! CREON Save your voice. OEDIPUS What do I have left but my voice? If I don't speak, I'm dead already! CREON What would kill you is never seeing your daughters again. Come to Thebes with us. OEDIPUS I would die on the way, Creon. Look at me. I'm hardly here any more. Bring back my daughters, and I promise – my corpse will be very quiet! DAUGHTER Our king will be here soon! CREON Not soon. He has so many votes to get first from people whose opinions don’t matter. (gasps) Apollo the Compassionate in my ear: "Cripple this man and drag him with you as if you were me!" Yes, Lord! (HE raises his staff and goes for OEDIPUS. THE MINISTERS get between them.) MINISTERS: GOD –
  35. 35. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 35 CREON (drunkenly amused): Yes? MINISTERS: HELP! CREON: How? MINISTERS: HELP US FEEL YOU WILL HELP! CREON: I promise! MINISTERS: HELP US FEEL THAT SO STRONGLY THAT WE WILL ACT AS IF YOU'VE HELPED US ALREADY. CREON: That'll help how? MINISTERS: THE STRENGTH OF OUR ACTING YOUR PROMISE INSPIRES CREON: "Strength"! HA! MINISTERS: WILL PROMPT YOU TO GIVE US A HAND – CREON: I'll give you a hand! MINISTERS: WHICH IS ALL THAT ANYONE ACTING FOR YOU DESIRES. CREON: (mock applauding) – for your delusion! MINISTERS: (kneeling, praying) THANK YOU, GOD – YOU SAVED US IN TIME! CREON: NOW WHAT'RE YOU DOING? MINISTERS: WHAT A RELIEF! CREON: YOU'RE ACTING ON THE BLIND BELIEF THAT THE MORE YOU ACT AS IF YOUR WISH IS FACT THE MORE YOU HELP IT COME TO THAT?! MINISTERS: WHEW! I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER! CREON: (laughing, raising his staff) HAH, TELL THAT TO YOUR BONESETTER! MINISTERS: I WAS REALLY SCARED. CREON: (to FATHER) YOU ALMOST AMUSE ME TOO MUCH TO BREAK YOUR LEG – MINISTERS: AHH! THANK YOU, GOD! CREON: BUT I THINK I CAN STILL TAKE A WHACK AT IT! (readies to strike FATHER; THESEUS enters.) THESEUS: PEACE! CREON: (turning toward THESEUS) Peace? (FATHER grabs CREON's staff away, tosses it to THESEUS) MINISTERS, OEDIPUS & THESEUS PEACE! CREON Who's this merchant?
  36. 36. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 36 THESEUS Where is Antigone? OEDIPUS His soldiers have taken my daughters! THESEUS (to DAUGHTER & SON) My guards in the temple – post them to the river! (DAUGHTER & SON exit.) OEDIPUS Thank you, Theseus. CREON Theseus! Of course! The democracy man! King of "Let them do it!" Nice robes. (drinking) Nice war, too, you're starting. Legend'ry. You've made my life. THESEUS The only war I see from here is your struggle to stay calm. I'm on your side for that. CREON Make no mistake, Athens: the price of those peahens is one monstrous butcher called Thebes. THESEUS As if you’re Thebes. The real king of Thebes – we all know this – is its market. I love my meals with your merchants. I report your actions to them, and your soldiers – just like that (claps hands) – will be broke. CREON Your small talk with merchants has small effect. It’s the big stories bankers hear that (claps hands) change geography. You haven’t heard the news? Two Delphi prophets, just this morning – dismissed. The charge? Basically, favoring ashes over fire. Two of my bastards take their place, making a quorum of Creon concerns. Woooo – I see the future! The oracle speaks: "Theseus and Athens are thugs against Thebes, befouled by incest and patricide!"
  37. 37. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 37 OEDIPUS No patricide! A stranger attacks you with sword drawn, do you raise your hand and shout, "Wait! First – are you my father"?! CREON Fight a man, your souls rut. Kill him, and you’re pregnant with his ghost. You knew your father all the way, brother. As you also knew your mother – don't tell me her taste was not familiar! OEDIPUS I did not know she was my mother! She did not know I was her son! Hissing about your sister like that: "Incessst! Incessst!" CREON That strange excitement when she smoothed your robe against your thigh the first time? Mmm, feels forbidden, makes you want it more! Being a bad boy’s so good, right? Means you don’t have to be a man! OEDIPUS Your reverie only betrays a hunger for your mother kin to mine. CREON But I didn't make my daughters into sisters, did I? OEDIPUS Where are they?! CREON On their way to serve their country, as you taught them to do from birth! Whatever our differences, Oedipus, our honor is bound up with Thebes! There are real people there who need our help, who will give back twice what we give them. Unlike these human clouds (indicating MINISTERS & THESEUS) with nothing for their land! THESEUS You cockroach. You're like so many so-called leaders these days – you open your mouth and out come the flowers and flies. Words are meant to help, not fool! Problems get uglier the prettier you paint them!
  38. 38. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 38 DAUGHTER (entering with SON) We've stopped his troops by the river. (as THESEUS and CREON exit:) THESEUS (to OEDIPUS) We'll get your daughters. CREON (to OEDIPUS) Never! I'll be back for your bones! OEDIPUS FRIENDS! WE KNOW WE NOW ARE SAFE THESE VERY FEW SECONDS HERE SURROUNDED BY A VIOLENT AGONIZED WORLD WHERE ALL OUR FAMILY SUFFERS OUTSIDE OF OUR REACH. WHAT CAN WE DO IF WE TRULY ARE ONE – MINISTERS WE TRULY ARE ONE. OEDIPUS TO SEND THEM – MINISTERS SEND THEM? OEDIPUS OUR SAFETY OEDIPUS & MINISTERS RIGHT NOW? (OEDIPUS silently prays with all his heart, as the MINISTERS sing:) MINISTERS RISE, GOD – YOUR PART OF US CRYING: "JUSTICE BE DONE!" MURDER IN US WHATEVER DESPAIRS OF A FAIR SHARE FOR EV'RYONE! MOTHER FATHER & SON DAUGHTER CALM EVERY TURN DOWN EV'RY CALM EV'RY STATE OF NATION DOWN HATE TO CREATION'S SOUND
  39. 39. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 39 MINISTERS AROUND YOU. INSPIRE US WITH OPTIONS TO WAR ALL APPROVE! AND MAY THERE BE AN ENDING TO WAR! PANIC IN OUR STREETS NO MORE! (as ANTIGONE & ISMENE reunite with OEDIPUS:) HAPPY THE NATION FOR WHOM THIS IS TRUE. HAPPY THE NATION WHOSE GOD IS REALLY YOU, TURN EV’RY BURNING HATE INTO FIRE FOR WHAT’S FOUND AROUND YOU REALLY YOU. (THESEUS enters, all wet.) THESEUS I fell off my horse as we crossed the river. There was this huge bug – unbelievably persistent! And so elusive – I believe it was a god. I swatted and flailed and – (gesture) into the drink. Creon’s troops thought this was funny. But when I climbed back up my royal steed and fell off the other side – they were mine. Writhing on the ground, howling. I could still hear their helpless moans and dying gasps as I traded Creon for Ismene, who was sober but smelled of wine; and you (to ANTIGONE), drunk only on gratitude, tasting of grapes and salt. ANTIGONE I'll thank you again. OEDIPUS No! Don't slacken your hold on me yet, neither of you! Spirit of union and reunion! This is the best time to die! Inhale me now! Ah, God .... ISMENE (afraid HE's dead) Father! ANTIGONE (knowing HE's alive) Oedipus. OEDIPUS ... Still here? Heaven, stay with us then.
  40. 40. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 40 MINISTERS & THESEUS THE WIND IS STRONG THE SEASONS FLY SOMETHING WRONG ALWAYS NEARBY. NOW IS THE TIME, IT'S ALL NOW. STAY HERE, STAY – OR LEARN HOW. GOOD FOR NOW HOW LONG CAN IT LAST? DON'T TRUST THE FUTURE, WATCH OUT FOR THE PAST. ANTIGONE Polynices has come. OEDIPUS Polynices! That name is like ice in my ear! ANTIGONE I haven't seen him for as long as you haven't seen! ISMENE What do you think you’ve missed?! OEDIPUS I cannot speak with him! THESEUS His voice is not a sword – it can pass through you without spilling blood. ANTIGONE Agree with agreeable Theseus, father. Perhaps he's come to repent. OEDIPUS & ISMENE Polynices has not come to repent! THESEUS He was kneeling in the temple, humbly requesting audience with you.
  41. 41. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 41 DAUGHTER What is he like? ISMENE A statue! Pus! OEDIPUS He stabbed the heart of my life! I will not let him kill my death! THESEUS Oedipus, hate makes the hated too much with us. Will he be your dying thought? Anger will not stop him haunting you. OEDIPUS I know that! MOTHER It's rare to find a father and son at ease with each other. FATHER Even more rarely is this the fault of the son. ANTIGONE Father, you are my day, but Poly is my night. When I shut my eyes to sleep, it's his face that rises in my blindness, smiling to see me. There’s a curl on his forehead, down on his lip, gold flecks in his iris! ISMENE Sister, your dreams are homesick. He's nothing now, his eyes are cold, dead! ANTIGONE My tears for him are warm! When he looks on someone who loves him his eyes will find life! Hear him, father – brother! If for no other reason than he's my brother, too! I have to see him. And so do you. (OEDIPUS finally nods in consent.) THESEUS I will send him here. (exits)
  42. 42. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 42 MINISTERS OUR FRIENDS AND OUR FAMILY END LIKE A DREAM. WE WAKE ON OUR DEATHBED, CRYING, WHERE WE MOST LIVE: WHO THAT WE LOVE HAVE WE HARMED? WHO ARE WE DYING TO FORGIVE? (Enter POLYNICES.) ANTIGONE Poly! (He gives Oedipus the onceover.) POLYNICES (aside to ANTIGONE) Sad. Age is no friend. Life is not meant for the old. My own problems compound ev'ry second, but at least I have muscled youth, dark hair – eyes. And some comfort from food and clothes that aren't repellant. But him – besides hope of losing his memory – what else does that sickening body have? ANTIGONE Extra-acute hearing. POLYNICES ... Father? I apologize – from alpha to omega – for not protesting more when they exiled you. What can I say – the blindness of youth! But who understands that better than you? I know now how you care for me – always have, always will. To know you forgive me makes me so happy! Thank you! ... Could anything be more wonderful, father, than being together again? (Silence.) Has he gouged out his tongue as well? ANTIGONE Will you be staying long? POLYNICES For what – silence? ANTIGONE (furious) How long since he's heard from you?! ... Sorry, I must be hungry. You mentioned food?
  43. 43. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 43 POLYNICES With my men. ISMENE I'll get it. Dionysus at an orgy couldn't be gladder than I am to leave your pseudo-presence. (exits) ANTIGONE You see? Already you've heard Ismene's voice, and she hates the very air you breathe. Maybe in time your father will heal enough to speak from the heart you ran the spear of exile through. POLYNICES I do not have time to flatter and pet him! Let him be a man and honor the man I've become! ANTIGONE You're still so handsome. POLYNICES At least I know you'll be fair to me. ANTIGONE Give you what you deserve? I'd never do that. To you I can only be kind. POLYNICES You are the best in our family. ANTIGONE Hierarchies change every moment. You're right, you're no longer a boy. So tell him as a man why you're here. POLYNICES Father – I work hard. Command battalions, visit the wounded. There's need for me in the eyes of my men, which I'm told doesn't leave when I do. That need is Thebes. Thebes beloved as it was under you! And was when the crown fell to me off your head. Something happened, father, when I put that crown on. I felt my bones turn to gold. I can't say it any diff'rently. Apollo or whatever gives meaning to stuff sent down this obvious sign that I'm the true king.
  44. 44. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 44 Theseus told me you both share a faith in something called "the Unity." I did feel a unity with you when my brother stole my crown and exiled me! I cried! Men can cry for their fathers, I believe, and also when watching the Olympics. Praise Delphi for prophesying our union! It’s inspired six of the holiest Soldiers of the Oracle to ally with me, each with invincible scripture on his shield. The famous orator, Flapadopolous, whose speech on dying for your country would work in any land! His shield reads: “Spill my word upon the world like blood from the tender young sacrifice.” And Stygios the Dark, Head of Enforcement – his shield: “Make yourselves poor that our temples may prosper.” A truth that commands respect, no? His soldiers give him half their loot within an hour of rape and pillage. High Priest Makino – his shield reads, “No one wants your death – except the God we serve!” A real morale booster. He does this harlot dance with a severed head – you can’t help but laugh. Who else. Tyrocles, our strategist. Big letters on his shield: “Obey your leaders lest you stray unto the beast!” No mutiny with him around – damn well knows how to siphon hope from any protest group. And our money men. Prespis – richer than Croesus but never acts above us. His shield: “Seek not what is not.” So down to earth, he sleeps with a new slave every night. And Kacocian, the “King of Ships”! A true visionary! His shield: “All people shall worship me.” His vision: our Theban way of life spread so far across the earth, never again will it be confusing to be in a foreign country! And who leads the leaders? Their Olympic torch! Polynices, Son of Oedipus! On my shield: “One with the Father!” Do you see? The light you lost you can find again shining for us! Return with me now to these thrilling champions! Be one with we seven against Thebes! For the glory of Delphi, the health of our homeland and,
  45. 45. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 45 most of all, new life for our father-son unity! ANTIGONE ... Echoing his silence would have served you better. FATHER You have nothing to fear, Oedipus, not even your own voice. OEDIPUS If I speak to him, who would hear? The soldier shrunk in his horror, or the child he is maiming? For he is both, and both are beyond the reach of utterance. Look at him! Only posed as a listener, is he not? Hearing no more now than he did from my silence, so anxious is he to get back to his severed-head frenzy, and the great cause of shattering jaws, hacking flesh to the bone, unimaginable gore, imagination itself whoring in hell – all to put our Thebes in the hands of a nervous, two-legged mask, whose empty eyes don't even notice his own father dying before him. Son! Do you want me to be your father again? Stay then with the family here in this place, and hold my hand as I die.... But I do not think you will. You've joined that hideous family of those who claim family only when they want help. You're buried already in your grand plan to father your childish idea of yourself into a pantheon bust. Spectacularly hollow spectacle, a cold hole in the air. You lost the last of your majesty to the greedy rich men who made you their slave-king. King of the ant hill! Oldest son of the latest ideas! I am your father, Polynices!! The first time you walked, it was toward me! I held out my arms, and you staggered over and fell into my hands. You let them drive your father, blind and lost, into torturous hardship and wilderness! How could you do that and still call yourself human? Polynices! Polynices: his name will never cross my lips again. He broke my heart, condemned my ev’ry bone, but now I am pulling free of him at last. He is an abortion that refused to die! May God save the world from him and the fiends he calls friends – for I surely cannot. POLYNICES ... (to ANTIGONE) Two years planning this campaign! (To OEDIPUS) You’re letting ancient history hold back a
  46. 46. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 46 dawning age! (silence) Silence again. Criticism or silence – the two horns of the father! Damn this journey! What will I tell them? We're all going to die! ANTIGONE Live, Poly. Stay and watch this man find out what light is again. That’s your new dawn. It’s Antigone! Your truth teller! POLYNICES Truth from the narrow world of caretakers. But in the wide world, sister, where history's made, truth is political health; and wavering, the main disease. What you decide – fair, unfair; stay, go – doesn't matter. Deciding is what gives you power. I can't change my mind now. ANTIGONE You want power– (points to OEDIPUS) he's where it's gathering! Your problem's not where you find yourself, but where you aim your eyes. (Rumbling thunder) OEDIPUS Help! MOTHER What do you need? OEDIPUS More time! ANTIGONE You have it. OEDIPUS Less pride! FATHER & SON That takes more time. OEDIPUS (sings:) YOU DIE WITH EVERY MOMENT. (MINISTERS echo) YOU DIE WHEN YOU FIND HUMILITY. (MINISTERS echo)
  47. 47. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 47 OEDIPUS & ANTIGONE AND YOU DIE WHEN YOU SAY GOOD-BYE OEDIPUS & MINISTERS TO YOUR BODY. POLYNICES AND I WILL DIE ON A BATTLEFIELD LIT BY THE MOON – I SEE IT CLEAR AS DAY. THAT'S NOT THE WIND HOWLING – IT'S ME. FATHER! I’M HEARING THE SOUND ALREADY OF THE LAST SONG I SING! I’M SCREAMING WITH BARELY A VOICE LEFT IN THE SAME PAIN I’M NOW FEELING WONDERING WHAT I WAS BORN TO DO AND WHY I WAS BORN OF YOU MY BLOOD POURS OUT LIKE THESE UNHEARD WORDS AND ALL MY BROTHERS-IN-ARMS TURN BUT THE ONLY ONE WHO SEES ME HAS A SPEAR IN HIS EYE AND I DIE. THIS IS SOON, FATHER. SO LET US MEET SOON IN THE RED FAM’LY ROOM IN THE AFTERPLACE. THERE INTRODUCE ME TO YOUR FATHER WHO YOU WERE FAR MEANER TO THAN I EVER WAS TO YOU. THEN IF WE BLOODSTAIN EACH OTHER IN A GLORIOUS THREE-WAY EMBRACE. WILL WE FIND PEACE THERE, FATHER? OR STILL THE WAR OF WHAT WE WERE WITH WHO WE ARE? ANTIGONE One more hour! POLYNICES Fate, Antigone. All of us have it. (starts to leave; ANTIGONE tackles him.) ANTIGONE Fate's what comes at you, not something rushing your
  48. 48. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 48 will to death! Right now I’m your fate! Poly! You haven't even kissed me. Ev'ry night you would, mother'd make you, you'd say No! she'd say, "Yes!" and you'd hate it. Until that one night – POLYNICES That was once! ANTIGONE It was just a kiss. Not so wrong, just like this – (kisses him) POLYNICES What has he taught you? You are obscene! ANTIGONE You're obscene! POLYNICES You are! ANTIGONE You are! Gored flesh! Spilled blood! You love that more than your own flesh and blood! POLYNICES When you hear of my death – say my name out loud. If I can listen – ANTIGONE Your death is my death! (ISMENE returns with food.) ISMENE Rushing off again, I see! May the red eyes of the Furies fill your brain, and may you and your idiot brother stick swords in each other at the same exact time. (POLYNICES exits.) (SUDDEN, TRULY STARTLING THUNDERCLAP) OEDIPUS That sound – in me? Or around?! (hand over heart)
  49. 49. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 49 (EVEN LOUDER THUNDERCLAP!) PLEASE WASH THE DUST FROM MY FACE AND MY FEET AND MY HANDS. (ANTIGONE & ISMENE set about washing OEDIPUS. Lightning and thunder.) ANTIGONE IF THIS THUNDER MEANS NOTHING NO SOUND MAKES SENSE. (thunder) BUT IF ALL THE MEN I KNOW ARE LEAVING – WHAT SENSE IS PRESENCE? OEDIPUS MY CHILDREN, I WILL BE DEAD BEFORE YOU HEAR THE FIRST DROP OF RAIN LAND ON THIS HOLY GROUND. ANTIGONE & ISMENE HOW CAN YOU KNOW THAT? OEDIPUS MY LIFE HAS SERVED TO TEACH ME ONE THING FOREVER: HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE TRUTH WHEN IT APPEARS. I'M SHAKING INSIDE TO KNOW THIS, BUT I KNOW THIS SURE AS MUSIC. (loud marching volley of thunder; enter the SPHINX:) SPHINX YOU CANNOT COME INTO THE KINGDOM BECAUSE YOU NEVER ROSE ABOVE THINGDOM IN YOUR DARK STUMBLINGS AS A HUMAN, IN YOUR DARK STUMBLING TO BE A TRUE MAN. SPHINX & OFFSTAGE CHORUS YOU CANNOT COME INTO THE KINGDOM NO NO NO NO BECAUSE YOU NEVER ROSE ABOVE THINGDOM UNH-UH! IN YOUR DARK STUMBLINGS AS A HUMAN, NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER IN YOUR DARK STUMBLING TO BE A TRUE MAN. (repeated, whisper-sung under:)
  50. 50. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 50 OEDIPUS (on all fours, like a baby:) Help! Please! Mama! Mama (still crawling, “sees” father:) Father! King! Mother – what is he – ?! (standing) Leave her alone!! ... Yes, I killed him. Bastard deserved it. Now who’s king! Have you ever seen such majesty as youth? (weakening, getting a cane) Time – time – time... “Wake up,” says Time. The king is dead. SPHINX (mortally threatening) No kingdom for you. OEDIPUS But I know a king! SPHINX No kingdom of light. OEDIPUS I know a king in darkness! (Thunder and sudden darkness.) OEDIPUS’s VOICE Theseus! (Lightning reveals in a flash THESEUS entering, somewhat electrified.) THESEUS Oedipus! (Darkness and rumbling thunder. The cover of darkness in this scene will give the audience a sense of the dark waking life of OEDIPUS. OEDIPUS is in a dream state, not on the rock, but the others address his body still there.) OEDIPUS Are we sleeping?
  51. 51. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 51 THESEUS (lit by intermittent lightning flashes) I was, just now. The length of this day conspired with the length of my life, and I closed my eyes under a tree, and saw as you do: bright sounds in the dark. Then – (lightning and thunder) – lightning split the tree. My hair stood up like a field of little arms beseeching the sky. ANTIGONE It's not all down yet! (lightning reveals her smoothing his hair down) OEDIPUS Who gives you orders!? (silence) Who gives the king orders!!? THESEUS All I have is the power of reason given me at birth. OEDIPUS Who gave it to you?! Where is that vaunted giver! I need him now!! (LOUDEST THUNDER YET, THE SPHINX POUNDING A HUGE DRUM CRAZILY. STILL DARKNESS LIT BY LIGHTNING.) MINISTERS TOO MUCH THUNDER! THE CRACKING HEAVENS WILL BREAK THE EARTH WE WILL DIE! WE WILL ALL DIE! THE END IS HERE, THE END OF THE WORLD! THE END IS HERE, THE END OF THE WORLD! SPHINX (seen only by OEDIPUS:) My riddle has evolved! Solve it or be swallowed! (LOUDEST THUNDER YET) OEDIPUS (back on the rock) Why is there still so much shit all around me!? ISMENE
  52. 52. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 52 He's not himself any more! OEDIPUS What sphincter is trying to expel me from life!? (DREAMLIGHT dawns again. The caretakers mime actions of those on a deathwatch when the dying person drifts into sleep. They share water, massage, look at him sleeping. OEDIPUS is in two worlds, the visible and invisible – it’s hard to tell which is which.) SPHINX WHAT IS BIGGER THAN A COUNTRY, HAS MORE TERROR THAN WAR AND CAN'T BE PRECISELY LOCATED? OEDIPUS BIGGER THAN A COUNTRY, MORE TERROR THAN WAR AND CAN'T BE PRECISELY LOCATED.... SPHINX You have three counts. Morning! OEDIPUS Please, Reason! Where have you gone? THESEUS Where have you gone, King Oedipus? SPHINX Noon! (LOUDEST THUNDER YET) MINISTERS (comfort for OEDIPUS) Peace, Oedipus – How can inspiration leave the day which God makes up as we go along? SPHINX Nnnn–
  53. 53. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 53 OEDIPUS (screams) NOOO! ANTIGONE Father! (SHE puts her hand on his forehead. HE wakes and takes her hand reverently.) OEDIPUS All my treasure here is in this hand. ISMENE My hand too! OEDIPUS Ismene! ISMENE This is too hard! (moves away) OEDIPUS Oh Antigone! I gave you too hard a road! ANTIGONE I loved our road. OEDIPUS ONLY YOUR LOVE MADE MY COMPANY GOOD. YOUR BEAUTIFUL EYES (drifts off) ... SPHINX I smell dessert! ANTIGONE (waking him up) MY BEAUTIFUL EYES? OEDIPUS – FILLED ME WITH TRUTH. YOUR COURAGE, BEYOND ANY SOLDIER'S. IF GOD ACCEPTS MY PRAYER – MINISTERS : MAY GOD ACCEPT YOUR PRAYER. OEDIPUS: IF GOD ACCEPTS MY PRAYER YOU'LL FEEL FOR SOMEONE, TOO,
  54. 54. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 54 THE GREATNESS OF HOW MUCH I CARE FOR YOU! ANTIGONE: FATHER! OEDIPUS: DAUGHTER! SWEET LOVE! ANTIGONE: LEAVING ALREADY? OEDIPUS: I'VE LEARNED WHAT I CAME FOR: TO ACCESS YOUR PRESENCE. ANTIGONE & OEDIPUS: I'VE LEARNED WHAT I CAME FOR: TO ACCESS YOUR PRESENCE. ANTIGONE I WILL MISS YOU MORE THAN YOU MISS LIGHT! WHO WILL UNDERSTAND ME AS CLEARLY, AS TRULY? WHO WILL TURN MY TALKING ENJOYABLE? WHO WILL COMFORT ME WHEN THE ONLY ONE WHO COMFORTS ME IS GONE? ANTIGONE & OEDIPUS OUR TWO HEARTS, BREAKING INTO ONE: EMPTYING YOURS, FILLING MINE. CALL IT AWFUL, CALL IT AWESOME, HUMAN, DIVINE – ALL IT IS IS LOVE FOR YOU CRASHING NOW INTO TIME. TIME – OUR TIME. OEDIPUS: SWEET SHORES! ANTIGONE: DEADLY SHOALS! ANTIGONE & OEDIPUS YOU ARE MY EV'RYONE – NEVER BEEN ANYONE LIKE YOU AND NEVER WILL BE. (OEDIPUS begins breathing as if he’s in labor.) DAUGHTER Oedipus! ANTIGONE His lungs are in labor. MOTHER He’s giving birth to a new self. (OEDIPUS groans in labor pain. ANTIGONE calms him; HE sleeps on, moaning occasionally. Comforting embraces and gestures among his caretakers, as:)
  55. 55. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 55 F: BETTER NOT TO’VE BEEN BORN, S: OR BETTER TO’VE DIED AS A CHILD F&S: THAN TO SUFFER AS MUCH AS MOST PEOPLE DO. D: ARE YOU THESE DAYS ONE OF THE LUCKY FEW WHOSE DAYS DO NOT GO HAND IN HAND WITH SORROW? M: YOU DON'T LOSE HEART AT HOW MUCH WORK THERE SEEMS TO BE FOR SUCH LITTLE REWARD? F&S: STILL, YOU KNOW, WE'RE JUST A STONE'S THROW FROM POVERTY OR AGONY OR WAR. AND WHO'S SURE OF A FAR-OFF OR EASY DEATH? YOUNG OR OLD, WE'LL LOSE CONTROL OVER BODY AND BREATH – WHAT WILL WE HAVE LEFT? F, S &D: NO MORE WAR, AT LEAST. M: NO MORE BEING POOR, MINISTERS: AND NO MORE WISHING YOU HAD NEVER BEEN BORN. AND SUDDENLY THOSE YOU LOVE DISAPPEAR S: AND YOU ARE HERE WITHOUT THEM. MINISTERS: OEDIPUS IS IN THE BONES OF ALL OF US. HE CALLS TO US: OED: (revelation:) I TOO AM AN ISLAND FORMING IN THE OCEAN, CARVED ON ALL SIDES BY ENDLESS COMMOTION OF WAVE AND WIND AND NUMBING ISOLATION! MINISTERS: BE WARM WITH YOUR FRIENDS AS LONG AS YOU CAN, F&S: AND IN TIMES OF DARKNESS, TELL YOURSELF LIGHTLY: THESE DAYS OF PAIN AND COMPLAINING AND STRUGGLE AND BARRENNESS MAY END UP ONE DAY THE HAPPIEST YOU CAN REMEMBER. MINISTERS: FROM ONE END OF LIFE TO THE OTHER: MINISTERS & SPHINX MORNING, NOON, AND – NNN– MIN & SPH: NIGHT – OEDIPUS: NO! I KNOW THE ANSWER! MINISTERS & SPHINX DEATH!
  56. 56. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 56 OEDIPUS NO! DEATH IS NOT THE ANSWER! THOUGH IT IS BIGGER THAN ANY COUNTRY AND HAS MORE TERROR THAN WAR, DEATH CAN BE LOCATED DEEP IN THE ANSWER. OEDIPUS & MINISTERS WHAT THEN IS MORE VAST THAN EV'RY LAST COUNTRY, WHAT HAS MORE TERROR AND HORROR THAN WAR, AND CANNOT BE PRECISELY MAPPED OR MEASURED? OEDIPUS THE INDIVIDUAL! EACH AND EV'RY SOUL, EACH PERSON, EV'RY HUMAN. WHO ELSE CAN SUFFER MORE ALONE OR BE ENDLESSLY GRATEFUL FOR LOVE? SPHINX You are the luckiest man in the world. OEDIPUS If I am, who isn't? MINISTERS: FROM ONE END OF LIFE TO THE OTHER: MINISTERS & SPHINX (SPHINX fading away) MORNING, NOON, AND NIGHT! F&S: DEATH IS OUR SISTER AND BROTHER! MINISTERS: DO YOU WANT MORE LIFE – F: OR LESS? MINISTERS: WHAT IS THIS YOU WANT MORE OR LESS OF? S: OR IS YOUR AMEN CONTINUOUS? DO YOU FINALLY WANT ONLY WHAT IS COMING TO YOU? (It starts to rain, which crescendos with the following:)
  57. 57. The Rest of Oedipus 4-21-10 57 OEDIPUS: (rising, dancing) I see! MINISTERS: AMEN! OEDIPUS: – through eyes that see in dreams! MINISTERS: AMEN! OEDIPUS: The stars! Our senses! MINISTERS: AMEN! OEDIPUS: Stop trembling, little lights! MINISTERS: AMEN! OEDIPUS: My spine branches to eternity! MINISTERS: AMEN! OEDIPUS: Drowning now! MINISTERS: AMEN! OEDIPUS: Ocean of light! MINISTERS: A – A – OEDIPUS: (sings:) RADIANT MOTHER! MINISTERS: – MEN! (Blinding lightning. BLACKOUT. The sound of rain, fading to silence.) END

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