Preview: Scene 3 – Getting to Know You

Time has passed.  The System is humming—in quiet mode—resting.  Miranda and Nicholas are in the room, as the walls continue to stir mysteriously, enticingly.  It becomes an animated environment, expressive of Simon’s physical presence.  Nicholas assures Miranda that it truly is Simon in The System.  Nicholas displays his own mechanical arm and explains to Miranda that the new technology is “Like my left arm that is mine, not me.”  Nicholas and Miranda can hear Simon’s voice, and they discover that Simon has the ability to interact with them.  Simon announces that although he is now in The System, he still has all his previous powers:  “And I have billions of bucks.  And I can still sign checks.”


Video production by Paula Aguilera and Jonathan Williams

Libretto

MIRANDA
It has been two days, and he’s still not the same

These things, are alive, this place—
But is my father alive? Is he here?
Can he speak?
Did we just hear his voice?

 

NICHOLAS
Where is Evvy?

 

MIRANDA
Finally asleep. She’s afraid
That he’s lost forever.
Can you help us hear him?
Is the room
all of him?

 

 

NICHOLAS
Not the room, or the arm,
Always the system,
All in the principle
That moves the cable, that moves the muscle.

And I can help him.

Material always gets old.
Only the system can hold.

The clone is only material
Like the hammered metal and enamel,
The organic, the inorganic—all mortal.

 

 

MIRANDA
Can that be his voice?
And has he become this place?

 

NICHOLAS
Like my left arm, that is mine
Not me,
Like a tool, a baby’s rattle.
So is his voice, so is this place.

And the right arm, too, is mine
Not me.
Like my skull lined with gristle

So too his voice, so too this place.
Even the brain in its shell,
As mortal, as fallible, as breakable.

As the clone the bone the hardest stone
All mortal and material—
I can help him, in the System.

Not in silicon, titanium or nickel
No more than

Hammered and enameled, immaterial, immortal.

Chrome and nickel, silicon and graphite.
All get tired and old.

Only the form, the system, is real.
Only the form, the system, can hold.
Only the form, the system, is real.
Only the system can hold.

Now we can hear his voice:

What is your name?

 

SIMON
What is my name?
A name is a machine.
A name is a made-up thing
That proposes someone is real.
My name is
A machine for designation—
That’s what any name is.

My name is Simon Walter Powers,
It proposes I am alive.
Like those other famous mortals.
The immortal Disney
And the immortal Whitman,
My fellow-inventors.

And by the way,
I have billions of bucks,

And I can still sign checks. That’s what!

 

MIRANDA
The gestures are unreal
And there is no face
But this is how he talks
And this is his voice.

 

NICHOLAS
Who is the President of the United States?

 

SIMON
A man who wants my favor,
A man who courts my power,

A guy who wants to meet my movie stars,
And wants to use my billions.
That’s who.

 

MIRANDA
Daddy, is it you in there?
And can you hear me?

 

NICHOLAS
In a moment we will try
To see if he can hear you.

What is your business?

 

 

SIMON
I am a producer.
And business is my wares.

Lady’s Wear, Software,
Hardware— Artware,
Warware, Peaceware—

Or you might call it Being Ware—
Some call it fantasy
Some call it entertainment
Some are wary of its power.

The Consuming Power of Billions.

My business is making Being:
To build the towers, to cure
The disease,
Amusing or imposing
By showing you something new
By taking you some where real
You never were before.

My business is the Mind,
My business is to make it free
To be every where
My wares are every ware
You can imagine.

That’s what.

And I have billions of bucks.
And I can still sign checks.

 

NICHOLAS
It works! He is alive,
And he is not matter.

 

MIRANDA
But is he still Simon,
Is he still my father?

 

NICHOLAS
All of that,
And something better!

To be continued…

Death and the Powers Preview Series
Series intro and prologue
Memory Download
Scene 1: Simon and the System 
Scene 2: System Soliloquy

Scene 3: Getting to Know You
Scene 4: Evvy’s Touch

Scene 5: Nicholas and the Robots
Scene 6: The World Reacts
Scene 7: Into the System
Scene 8: Miseries, Memory and Miranda

 

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