Preview: Scene 6 – The World Reacts

A new, stranger atmosphere: Miranda, Nicholas, and Evvy are apparently accustomed to it.  Evvy is now wearing headphones, swaying a little as if to music, nodding and tilting her head as though channeling Simon’s presence.  A delegation from the outside world—composed of The United Way, The United Nations, and The Administration—arrives and wishes to speak with Simon.  The whole world has been plunged into a state of war and famine ever since Simon entered The System.  When Miranda brings in the delegation, they implore: “What is the meaning of your behavior? We demand an answer!”  Simon refuses to answer them and instead quotes a passage of German poetry (“O Röschen rot! … Man lies in deepest need. Man lies in deepest pain. Yes, I would rather be in Heaven”).


Video production by Paula Aguilera and Jonathan Williams

This only further confuses the delegates.  After Nicholas reads a strange report from one of Simon’s newspapers (“Group of Young Men Beat Nurse to Death”), the delegation is finally sent away.  Left alone, Miranda reflects on her own feelings of isolation now that her father has entered The System: “I miss having a father like any other person.”

Libretto

Scene Six – The World Reacts

 

 

MIRANDA
They are here—
The important delegation
From the United Way,
The Administration
And the United Nations—
They want to speak to him, they say
They want his ear.

They say it’s regarding
Matters of the whole
Planet’s life and death.

 

NICHOLAS
They want his ear?
Don’t they understand?
He doesn’t hear with ears,
He doesn’t speak with breath.

He says to speak with Evvy,
She handles that kind of thing.

 

MIRANDA
The whole planet—famine, war,
The exploitation of children…
The whole planet…

They know Evvy isn’t the same.
They know she doesn’t listen
To anything but him.

I myself don’t know
If she hears him or not.
Here she comes.

Evvy, dear—
Did you speak with the delegation?

 

EVVY is wearing headphones, swaying a little as if to music, nodding and tilting her head as if in conversation. She appears not to hear MIRANDA.

 

EVVY
Mmmm.

 

NICHOLAS
Evvy, can you hear Simon?

 

EVVY
Mmmmmm.

 

MIRANDA
Are you listening to him?
Does he know that the delegation…

 

EVVY
Mmmmmmm.

 

MIRANDA
The whole planet…

 

NICHOLAS
Are you listening for him?

 

EVVY
Mmmmmmmm.

 

MIRANDA
Her mind is not in this world.

Simon, Daddy— are you there?
Are you speaking to her?

Will you see the delegation
From the United Way,
The Administration
And the United Nations?

The devastation…the children…the planet…
Will you listen?

 

NICHOLAS
They want his ear,
They want his eye—
Those parts are dead and buried!

He’s rather cranky
And weary today.
Send the delegation on its way.
Send them away.

 

MIRANDA
I can’t send away
A delegation from the world—
The Outside World Itself.

The children…the devastation…

Daddy, Simon—
Will you?

War…famine…

 

EVVY [Her face lights up; she lifts a finger as if hearing something.]
Mmmmmmm!…

[But no— she goes dreamy again, shakes her head, recedes.]
Mmmmmmmm.

 

SIMON’S VOICE
Bring in the delegation
From the Outside World Itself.
I will see it and hear it
For two minutes.

 

 

MIRANDA exits and returns with THE UNITED WAY, THE UNITED NATIONS and THE ADMINISTRATION

THE UNITED NATIONS
Sir, the sudden massive liquidation of your assets
Has caused a global economic crisis.

 

THE ADMINISTRATION
The market is flooded with cheap hallucinogens
And the food supply is threatened.

 

 

THE UNITED WAY
Surpluses and shortages, war and famine.
Because of your selling.

 

THE UNITED NATIONS
An ecological crisis.
From you no longer buying.

 

THE ADMINISTRATION
Biological weapons.
Your withdrawing contributions.

 

THE UNITED WAY
People are starving,
Children are dying

 

THE UNITED NATIONS
The planet itself is threatened.

 

THE UNITED WAY
Entire populations, climatic changes.
Rogue microbes, radiation.

 

THE ADMINISTRATION
War, evacuation.

 

THE UNITED WAY
Rape, displacement.
Exploitation of children…

 

THE UNITED NATIONS
Life itself is threatened—
The means of evacuation
Of the entire planet.

 

THE ADMINISTRATION
What is the meaning of your behavior?

THE UNITED WAY, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE ADMINISTRATION
We demand an answer!

 

MIRANDA (joining the above)
Please answer! Can you listen?
Maybe you should listen,
For the sake of the starving…

 

 

NICHOLAS
He chooses not to answer.
More and more,
He chooses to live in dreams.

THE ADMINISTRATION
Or is he dead, has he been dead for years,
And are you and his daughter
Manipulating the markets,
Spreading disaster?

 

THE UNITED WAY
Are you the manipulator
Fabricating a voice.

THE UNITED NATIONS
Pretending he’s still alive
While a billion people suffer?

 

THE UNITED WAY, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE ADMINISTRATION
Do you exist? In the name
Of the nameless ones who suffer,
We demand an answer!

 

THE VOICE OF SIMON
O Röschen roth,
Der Mensch liegt in gröster Noth,
Der Mensch liegt in gröster Pein,
Je lieber mögt ich im Himmel seyn.

 

THE ADMINISTRATION
What is he saying?

 

MIRANDA
Father, listen to them—they are the only voice
The poor world has…

 

SIMON
Oh red rose!
Man lies in deepest need.
Man lies in deepest pain.
Yet, I would rather be in heaven!

 

EVVY
Mmmmmmm

 

THE UNITED NATIONS
It’s poetry!

 

THE UNITED WAY
What is that supposed to mean?

 

MIRANDA
Is it Klopstock? Or Blake

A passage my father’s
Often quoted I can hear
Him humming it.

 

SIMON
The immortal poet Mündlich! (anonymous)

 

 

THE ADMINISTRATION
Was that German? I’m sorry—
It doesn’t mean anything to me.

 

SIMON
An angel came and wanted to send me away.
Ah no! I would not be sent away!
I am from God and will return to God.

 

THE ADMINISTRATION
Sir, with all respect, we come to you
In a time of global emergency.
We need something more than poetry.

 

THE UNITED WAY and THE UNITED NATIONS
Some of us do not understand poetry.
Especially in a time of emergency.

 

SIMON (during previous)
Da kam ich auf einen breiten Weg,
Da kam ein Engellein und wollt mich abweisen—

What? What did you say?

 

THE UNITED WAY, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE ADMINISTRATION
It’s a time of emergency
We aren’t sure we understand
Or appreciate hearing poetry!
We do not understand!

 

SIMON
Understand—
Do you understand the newspaper?

 

THE UNITED WAY
Well, yes, exactly.

THE ADMINISTRATION
We know the emergency.

THE UNITED NATIONS
We understand the needs.

 

SIMON
You know that some time ago
I bought the Reuters Agency?

 

THE UNITED WAY
Yes, the world knows that, but sir—

 

SIMON
Please explain to me
Something that came into my mind
From my own agency
That I cannot understand—
Nicholas! Read this to them!

 

Newspaper text appears magically in a form controlled by The System. Nicholas reads out loud.

 

NICHOLAS
“Group of Young Men Beat Nurse to Death”
“A group of young men taking part in coming-of-age rituals due to include circumcision turned on their male nurse and killed him, an official said yesterday. A spokesman for the provincial Health Department said the young men, ages 18 to 25, beat the man to death with sticks at the site of their initiation ceremonies in Port Angel on Friday evening. The attack followed complaints by the men that they were not being properly looked after during their initiation ceremonies. The nurse was in charge of caring for the men ahead of their circumcision.” (Reuters)

 

THE ADMINISTRATION
What? Huh?

 

THE UNITED NATIONS
These are the sorts of problems
Caused by the emergency…

 

THE UNITED WAY
In the time of stress and crisis…

 

SIMON
Do you understand it?
Do you understand the bland
Empty, empty
Understanding of the words?
And you say you don’t
Understand poetry!
I came from light
And I will return to light!

 

THE ADMINISTRATION
I still say he might be dead.

THE UNITED WAY
This all may be a trick.

THE UNITED NATIONS
You, how do we know he’s real?
How…

THE ADMINISTRATION
…do…

THE UNITED WAY
…we know…

THE UNITED NATIONS
…he’s not…

THE ADMINISTRATION
…something…

THE UNITED WAY
…that…

THE UNITED NATIONS
…you…

THE UNITED WAY
…made…

THE ADMINISTRATION
…up?

THE UNITED WAY, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE ADMINISTRATION
Just a manipulation?

 

MIRANDA
You should not agitate him.
You are driving him out of this world.
Father…listen…the children…

 

 

NICHOLAS
We can save the world,
And free it from war and hunger,
We can lead you out of your old
Dependency on the body!

 

THE ADMINISTRATION
Is this the truth?
Or a trick?

 

THE UNITED NATIONS
A manipulation?

THE UNITED WAY, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE ADMINISTRATION
Is this the truth?

 

NICHOLAS
I will tell you the truth!—
He is perfectly real
And I am the manipulation.
He is an intelligence, in the system.
And I am his creation,
He’s real, and I am the golom.

 

 

THE UNITED WAY, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE ADMINISTRATION
And that could be another trick! They both could be unreal— It’s all
sinister tricks!
We don’t know which one is real.

 

 

SIMON
What’s the difference?
I don’t even need to sign checks:
I am the software, the system.
I control the money and power.
If I’m a trick or a manipulation,
Then I’m a trick in control.
“Donations of Brains Are Probed in Maine”—
There’s another actual headline
From a paper I control.
And you understand it.
And you don’t understand poetry.
And Da kam ein Engellein und wollt mich abweisen,
And I’m in control,
And I’m getting bored with you all.
Now leave— your time is up.

 

THE UNITED WAY, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE ADMINISTRATION
Sir, this is selfish!

 

SIMON
How can I be selfish
When I’m not even a self?
I am All! And
I’m bored with you all—
All this world of meat.
It’s my flesh and blood that I love.
Now leave, your time is up.

 

MIRANDA
Still, Father, you should listen…

 

EVVY [Her hands to the headphones, rather pained.]
Mmmmmmm.

 

MIRANDA
I miss having a father.
Like any other
Person, I am someone’s child
I want at least
Something like a mother
Something of flesh and blood.
I miss having a father
Of flesh and blood.
I need to touch my mother.

 

EVVY [Seeming to feel something, but we can’t be sure.]
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s