Sunday, November 17, 2013

a dramatic exercise

The Orchard Players
by Woodsie the Owl


the setting: a log cabin out in the middle of nowhere

enter Johnny Appleseed, Karl, Franz Kafka, Lao Tzu, Smokey the Bear, and Snug the Joiner.

JOHNNY<<< Is all our company here? 

KARL<<< You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip. 

JOHNNY<<< Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Washington D.C., to play in our interlude before Barack and Michelle after their final White House state dinner in 2016.

KARL<<< First, good Johnny Appleseed, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point. 

JOHNNY<<< Marry, our play is- The most lamentable comedy and most cruel divorce of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. 

KARL<<< A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry.  Now, good Johnny Appleseed, call forth your actors by the scroll.  Masters, spread yourselves. 

JOHNNY<<< Answer, as I call you.  Karl, my dearest friend, and imaginary companion. 

KARL<<< Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed. 

JOHNNY<<< You, Karl, are set down for Brad Pitt. 

KARL<<< What is Brad Pitt?  A lover, or a tyrant? 

JOHNNY<<< A lover, that chastises himself most gallantly for deceiving poor Jennifer Aniston.

KARL<<< Holy Toledo, good Johnny! That will ask some tears in the true performing of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms; I will condole in some measure. To the rest:—yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split. The raging rocks And shivering shocks Shall break the locks Of prison gates: And Phibbus' car Shall shine from far, And make and mar The foolish Fates. This was lofty.—Now name the rest of the players.—This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein;—a lover is more condoling. 

JOHNNY<<< Franz Kafka, novelist. 

FRANZ<<< Here, Johnny Appleseed. 

JOHNNY<<< Franz, you must take Jennifer Aniston on you. 

FRANZ<<< What is Jennifer Aniston? A wandering knight? 

JOHNNY<<< It is the lady that Brad Pitt must abandon. 

FRANZ<<< Nay, faith, let not me play a woman; I have a beard coming. 

JOHNNY<<< That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will. 

KARL<<< An I may hide my face, let me play Jennifer Aniston too: I'll speak in a monstrous little voice; 'Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Aniston!' - 'Ah, Brad Pitt, my lover dear; thy Jennifer Aniston dear! and lady dear!' 

JOHNNY<<< No, no, you must play Brad Pitt; and, Franz, you Jennifer Aniston . 

KARL<<< Well, proceed. 

JOHNNY<<< Lao Tzu, wandering hermit.

LAO<<< Here, Johnny Appleseed. 

JOHNNY<<< Lao Tzu, you must play Jennifer Aniston's mother.  Smokey the Bear, fire safety instructor. 

SMOKEY<<< Here, Johnny Appleseed. 

JOHNNY<<< You, William Shakespeare; myself, Angelina Jolie; Snug the joiner, you, the lion's part: -and, I hope, here is a play fitted. 

SNUG<<< Have you the lion's part written? Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study. 

JOHNNY<<< You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring. 

KARL<<< Let me play the lion too: I will roar that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will roar that I will make Barack say 'Let him roar again, let him roar again.' 

JOHNNY<<< An you should do it too terribly, you would fright Michelle and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all. 

ALL<<< That would hang us every mother's son. 

KARL<<< I grant you, friends, if you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale. 

JOHNNY<<< You can play no part but Brad Pitt; for Brad Pitt is a sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely gentleman-like man; therefore you must needs play Brad Pitt. 

KARL<<< Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in? 

JOHNNY<<< Why, what you will. 

KARL<<< I will discharge it in either your straw-colour beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow. 

JOHNNY<<< Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced.— But, masters, here are your parts: and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight; there will we rehearse: for if we meet in the city, we shall be dogg'd with company, and our devices known. In the meantime I will draw a bill of properties, such as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not. 

JOHNNY<<< We will meet; and there we may rehearse most obscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu. 

JOHNNY<<< At the apple orchard we meet. 

KARL<<< I am very excited about all of this! 

(lights down, change of scene)



the setting: an apple orchard
enter Johnny Appleseed, Karl, Franz Kafka, Lao Tzu, Smokey the Bear, Snug the Joiner.

KARL<<< Are we all met? 

JOHNNY<<< Pat, pat; and here's a marvelous convenient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tiring-house; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before Barack, Michelle, and their guests. 

KARL<<< Johnny?

JOHNNY<<< What sayest thou, dearest Karl? 

KARL<<< There are things in this comedy of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston that will never please. First, Brad Pitt must seduce Angelina Jolie, and leave poor Jennifer in the dust, which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that? 

SMOKEY<<< By'r lakin, a parlous fear. 

FRANZ<<< I believe we must leave the infidelity out, when all is done. 

KARL<<< Not a whit: I have a device to make all well. Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to say we will do no harm with our seductions, and that Jennifer Aniston is not wronged indeed; and for the more better assurance, tell them that I Brad Pitt am not Brad Pitt but Karl, Johnny's dearest friend and imaginary companion: this will put them out of fear. 

JOHNNY<<< Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six. 

KARL<<< No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight. 

SMOKEY<<< Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion? 

FRANZ<<< I fear it, I promise you. 

KARL<<< Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to bring in, God shield us! a lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing: for there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to look to it. 

SMOKEY<<< Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion. 

KARL<<< Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must be seen through the lion's neck; and he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect,—'Ladies,' or, 'Fair ladies, I would wish you, or, I would request you, or, I would entreat you, not to fear, not to tremble: my life for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life. No, I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are:'—and there, indeed, let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner. 

JOHNNY<<< Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard things; that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber: for, you know, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie meet by moonlight.

SMOKEY<<< Doth the moon shine that night we play our play? 

KARL<<< A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanack; find out moonshine, find out moonshine. 

JOHNNY<<< Yes, it doth shine that night. 

KARL<<< Why, then may you leave a casement of the great chamber-window, where we play, open; and the moon may shine in at the casement. 

JOHNNY<<< Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lantern, and say he comes to disfigure or to present the person of moonshine. Then there is another thing: we must have a wall in the great chamber; for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, says the story, did talk through the chink of a wall. 

SMOKEY<<< You can never bring in a wall.  Egads, what say you, friend Karl? 

KARL<<< Some man or other must present wall: and let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie whisper. 

JOHNNY<<< If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down, every mother's son, and rehearse your parts.  Brad Pitt, you begin: when you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake; and so every one according to his cue. Speak, Brad Pitt. Angelina Jolie, stand forth. 

BRAD PITT<<< Angelina Jolie, the flowers of odious savours sweet,' 

JOHNNY<<< Odours, odours. 

BRAD PITT<<< '—odours savours sweet: So hath thy breath, my dearest Angelina Jolie dear.— But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile, And by and by I will to thee appear.' [Exit.]

JENNIFER ANISTON<<< Must I speak now? 

JOHNNY<<< Ay, marry, must you: for you must understand he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again. 

ANGELINA JOLIE<<< 'Most radiant Brad Pitt, most lily white of hue, Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier, Most brisky juvenal, and eke most lovely Jew, As true as truest horse, that would never tire, I'll meet thee, Brad Pitt, at Ninny's tomb.' 

JOHNNY<<< Ninus' tomb, man: why, you must not speak that yet: that you answer to Brad Pitt. You speak all your part at once, cues, and all.  Brad Pitt, enter: your cue is past; it is 'never tire.' 

JENNIFER ANISTON<<< O,—'As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.' 

KARL<<< Johnny, hold on for a second- speak the truth for a moment: we are all here good friends, good companions, good thespians, verily?

JOHNNY<<< Aye, marry, we are!

KARL<<< And we enjoy conversation?

JOHNNY<<< More than anything in the world!

KARL<<< And after the play you still intend to go on planting apple trees by the thousands?

JOHNNY<<< With all of my heart and soul, dearest Karl.

FRANZ<<< Open your ears, then; for which of you will stop The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks? I, from the orient to the drooping west, Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold The acts commenced on this ball of earth: Upon my tongues continual slanders ride, The which in every language I pronounce, Stuffing the ears of men with false reports. I speak of peace, while covert emnity Under the smile of safety wounds the world: And who but Rumour, who but only I, Make fearful musters and prepared defence, Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief, Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war, And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures, And of so easy and so plain a stop That the blunt monster with uncounted heads, The still-discordant wavering multitude, Can play upon it. But what need I thus My well-known body to anatomize Among my household? Why is Rumour here?

JOHNNY<<< What! a young knave, and bragging! Is there not wars? is there not employment? doth not the king lack subjects? do not the rebels need soldiers?  

FRANZ<<< You mistake me, sir. 

JOHNNY<<< Why, sir, did I say you were an honest man? setting my knighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied in my throat, if I had said so. 

FRANZ<<< I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and your soldiership aside; and give me leave to tell you, you lie in your throat, if you say I am any other than an honest man. 

JOHNNY<<< I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that which grows to me! If thou gettest any leave of me, hang me; if thou takest leave, thou wert better be hanged. You hunt counter: hence! avaunt! 

FRANZ<<< Sir, Lao Tzu would speak with you. 

LAO TZU<<< Johnny Appleseed, a word with you. 

JOHNNY<<< My good lord! God give your lordship good time of day. I am glad to see your lordship abroad: I heard say your lordship was sick: I hope your lordship goes abroad by advice. Your lordship, though not clean past your youth, hath yet some smack of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time; and I most humbly beseech your lordship to have a reverend care of your health. 

LAO TZU<<< Johnny, I sent for you before your expedition to Pittsburgh. 

JOHNNY<<< An 't please your lordship, I hear his majesty is returned with some discomfort from Cleveland. 

LAO TZU<<< I talk not of his majesty: you would not come when I sent for you. 

JOHNNY<<< And I hear, moreover, his highness is fall'n into this same whoreson apoplexy. 

LAO TZU<<< Well God mend him! I pray you, let me speak with you. 

JOHNNY<<< This apoplexy is, as I take it, a kind of lethargy, an 't please your lordship; a kind of sleeping in the blood, a whoreson tingling. 

LAO TZU<<< What tell you me of it? be it as it is. 

JOHNNY<<< It hath it original from much grief, from study and perturbation of the brain: I have read the cause of his effects on Wikipedia: it is a kind of deafness. 

LAO TZU<<< I think you are fallen into the disease, for you hear not what I say to you. 

JOHNNY<<< Very well, my lord, very well: rather, an 't please you, it is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal. 

LAO TZU<<< To punish you by the heels would amend the attention of your ears; and I care not if I do become your physician. T
he truth is, Johnny Appleseed, you live in great infamy. You have misled your best friend and imaginary companion, simple Karl. 

JOHNNY<<< Not so, Lao Tzu. Virtue is of so little regard in these costermonger times that true valour is turned bear-herd; pregnancy is made a tapster, and hath his quick wit wasted in giving reckonings: all the other gifts appertinent to man, as the malice of this age shapes them, are not worth a gooseberry. You that are old consider not the capacities of us that are young; you do measure the heat of our livers with the bitterness of your galls: and we that are in the vanguard of our youth, I must confess, are wags too. 

LAO TZU<<< Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are written down old with all the characters of age? Have you not a moist eye? a dry hand? a yellow cheek? a white beard? a decreasing leg? an increasing belly? is not your voice broken? your wind short? your chin double? your wit single? and every part about you blasted with antiquity? and will you yet call yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Johnny Appleseed! 

JOHNNY<<< Holy Toledo!  I am Johnny Appleseed, orchardist! call not me honour nor lordship! I ne'er drank sack in my life; and if you give me any conserves, give me Slim Jims or Combos. Ne'er ask me what raiment I'll wear, for I have no more doublets than backs, no more stockings than legs, nor no more shoes than feet: nay, sometime more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the over-leather. 

KARL<<< Heaven cease this idle humour in your honour! O, that a mighty man of such descent, Of such possessions, and so high esteem, Should be infused with so foul a spirit! 

JOHNNY<<< What! would you make me mad? Am not I Johnny Appleseed, old Appleseed's son of Burton-heath; by birth a pedlar, by education a card-maker, by transmutation a bear-herd, and now by present profession an arborist? Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, if she know me not: if she say I am not fourteen pence on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lyingest knave in Christendom. 

SNUG<<< O! this it is that makes your lady mourn. 

SMOKEY<<< O! this is it that makes your servants droop. 

KARL<<< Hence comes it that your kindred shuns your house, As beaten hence by your strange lunacy. O noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth, Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment, And banish hence these abject lowly dreams. Look how thy servants do attend on thee, Each in his office ready at thy beck: Wilt thou have music? Hark! Apollo plays, [Music] And twenty caged nightingales do sing: Or wilt thou sleep? We'll have thee to a couch Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed On purpose trimm'd up for Semiramis. Say thou wilt walk: we will bestrew the ground: Or wilt thou ride? Thy horses shall be trapp'd, Their harness studded all with gold and pearl. Dost thou love hawking? Thou hast hawks will soar Above the morning lark: or wilt thou hunt? Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them And fetch shall echoes from the hollow earth. 

SNUG<<< Say thou wilt course; thy greyhounds are as swift As breathed stags; ay, fleeter than the roe. 

SMOKEY<<< Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight Adonis painted by a running brook, And Cytherea all in sedges hid, Which seem to move and wanton with her breath Even as the waving sedges play with wind. 

KARL<<< We'll show thee Io as she was a maid And how she was beguiled and surpris'd, As lively painted as the deed was done. 

LAO TZU<<< Or Daphne roaming through a thorny wood, Scratching her legs, that one shall swear she bleeds And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep, So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn. 

KARL<<< Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord: Thou hast a lady far more beautiful Than any woman in this waning age. 

SNUG<<< And, till the tears that she hath shed for thee Like envious floods o'er-run her lovely face, She was the fairest creature in the world; And yet she is inferior to none. 

JOHNNY<<< Am I a lord? and have I such a lady? Or do I dream? Or have I dream'd till now? I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak; I smell sweet savours, and I feel soft things: Upon my life, I am a lord indeed; And not a tinker, nor Johnny Appleseed, orchardist. Well, bring our lady hither to our sight; And once again, a pot o' the smallest ale. 

SMOKEY<<< Will't please your mightiness to wash your hands? [Servants present a ewer, basin, and napkin.] O, how we joy to see your wit restor'd! O, that once more you knew but what you are! These fifteen years you have been in a dream, Or, when you wak'd, so wak'd as if you slept. 

JOHNNY<<< These fifteen years! by my fay, a goodly nap. But did I never speak of all that time? 

SNUG<<< O! yes, my lord, but very idle words; For though you lay here in this goodly chamber,Yet would you say ye were beaten out of door, And rail upon the hostess of the house, And say you would present her at the leet, Because she brought stone jugs and no seal'd quarts. Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket. 

JOHNNY<<< Ay, the woman's maid of the house. 

LAO TZU<<< Why, sir, you know no house nor no such maid, Nor no such men as you have reckon'd up, As Stephen Sly, and old John Naps of Greece, And Peter Turf, and Henry Pimpernell; And twenty more such names and men as these, Which never were, nor no man ever saw. 

FRANZ<<<the clock indicates the moment-
but what does eternity indicate?
we have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers-
there are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them.
births have brought us richness and variety,
and other births will bring us more richness and variety.
I do not call one greater and one smaller-
that which fills its period and place is equal to any.
I open my scuttle at night and see the far-sprinkled systems,
and all I see, multiplied as high as I can cypher, edge but the rim of the farthest-flung systems.
there is no stoppage and never can be any stoppage-
if I, you, and the worlds, and all beneath or upon their surfaces, were this moment reduced back to a pallid float,
it would not avail in the long run-
we should surely bring it up again where we now stand,
and surely go as much farther, and then farther and farther.
a few quadrillions of eras, a few octillions of cubic leagues,
do not hazard the span or make it impatient-
they are but parts, anything is but a part.
my rendezvous is appointed, it is certain,
the lord will be there and wait til I come on perfect terms,
the great camerado, the lover true for whom I pine will be there, my friend... 

KARL<<<There is a thing, Johnny, confusedly formed
born way way before any of this recent stuff even got underway- silent and void, it stands alone and does not change, goes round and round and does not weary.

JOHNNY<<< Uh... beg your pardon?

KARL<<< There was something formless and perfect, young Johnny, before the universe was set into motion- serene, empty, unchanging, silent, infinite, utterly present.

JOHNNY<<< Uh... are you sure?

KARL<<< Completely undifferentiated and yet complete precise.  I'm not kidding! But at the the same time, radically nebulous, like morning fog over the orchard. Hence, Johnny, empty yourself of desires in order to observe its profound and inscrutable subtlety.

JOHNNY <<<uh... ok... maybe.

KARL<<< But also allow yourself to have desires so as to observe what it is after.

JOHNNY<<< Where'd you hear all this stuff?

KARL<<< empty yourself of questions and you just might understand the thing suddenly.

JOHNNY<<< oh.

FRANZ<<< Godzilla usually lets his mighty roar be heard
when he makes his initial appearance in a production,
even if there is no discernible reason for doing so.
During destruction and fighting sequences
he usually roars multiple times.
Directors tend to re-use Akira’s original recording,
but in more recent years variations of this terrible roar
have been exquisitely crafted to express
some of Godzilla’s more complex emotions.

KARL<<< The way can be spoken of, Johnny,
but it will not be the constant way.
the unnameable is the eternally real.
naming is the origin of particular entities.

JOHNNY<<< But I like particular entities.

KARL<<< So do I, friend!  So do I.
And yet, free from hard and fast identifications,
you enter into the mystery.
Wedded to them, you see only the manifestations.

JOHNNY<<< But I like manifestations!

KARL<<< And again, so do I!
But mystery and manifestations arise from the very same source! I'm not joking around about this!

JOHNNY<<< And what is this source, may I ask?

KARL<<< I'm sorry, Johnny.  it would be better for us both if you didn't.

JOHNNY<<< Why am I relieved to hear that...