Translated from Serbian by Dragana Rajkov
The story takes place in the enclosed Balkan Universe.
Characters and appearances
• Maenad – Frenzied One
• Nymphs, Satyrs, Gods, Goddesses, Fates, Dead souls and Recruits.
(Silence. Sparking. Wheezy inhaling of old women. Water boils, fires crackle in the open space. Unpleasant electric sounds and discharges can be sensed from afar. Wheezy inhaling again, and fiddling with something from hand to hand. Batting of hands upon a hysterical body.)
LACHESIS: Speak, sister.
LACHESIS: Speak, dear sister Fate.
(Sound of a strike and a small moan. Throat-clearing and tentative counting and wailing.)
ATROPOS: When Orpheus, King of the Thracians and Slavic Twaddler, returned alive from Argonautic knavery, The-Fetters-of-the-World, the Balkans, started to sway.
LACHESIS: All has fallen silent.
CLOTHO: Dangerous it was to let him roam Thrace! Macedonia! Thessaly!
ATROPOS: Him, that would mingle with the gods with his rotten gift…
LACHESIS: Righteous rage sowing in us.
CLOTHO: Being stubborn with us!
ATROPOS: His intentions…
LACHESIS: ...are spitting in our throats.
CLOTHO: ...But in vain!
LACHESIS: … your fate…
CLOTHO: … without hesitation…
ATROPOS: … Orpheus!
(Groaning in the attempt to jointly pull something out and spin it.)
(A baby, right next to them, hollers with unease and fear. The old women laugh nervously.)
ATROPOS: Conjure up with sounds the stony sky of the Balkans!
LACHESIS: The honey tits of the still unborn Helen!
CLOTHO: The day when you will be the one to bury Sparkly Olympus, home of the gods!
ATROPOS: And conjure yourself up, oh Orpheus, you who laugh with your eyes!
CLOTHO: And use your mouth to bite while you kiss!
(All is still. Fabric rustles. The old women’s breaths quicken…)
ATROPOS: (Laughter.) Zeus The Lightening-Striker likes you. And send his regards. Asks: do you remember…
LACHESIS: … why you were born?
ATROPOS: … From the belly of your mother, pretty, stupid Calliope! Even then, so scrawny and screaming, we warned you: No crap from you, Orpheus! (Her sisters repeat like an echo.)
(Atropos clears her throat.)
ATROPOS: Tonight we might return the weight that belongs to the scales. So may the mortals be still. One day only mythographers will recall the dirty work we do for our Father the Thunderer.
ATROPOS: And all those around him said: "No, you shouldn’t mess around, Orpheus… May the secret known to the gods be not your ownership! Music is enough for you." But Orpheus…
(A loud holler from the newly born baby. Pause.)
LACHESIS: Leave him be, sister, this has not even happened yet.
LACHESIS: Let the scrawny thing live.
(Water boils, sparking increases all around.)
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(From the cacophony the sound of turning a radio scale and seeking a frequency emerges. News spoken hysterically fast in indiscernible languages can be heard. Military marches. Sharp military orders in barky and unfamiliar words. Musical announcement of news.)
FEMALE ANNOUNCER: And at the end of this news of the day, we remind you of the comment of god Dionysus, His Holiness Zagreus-Sabazios. We quote: "When Orpheus, Thracian Ruler and Slavic Enlightener, returned alive from his Argonautic heroics, the Fetters-of-the-World, the Balkans, started swaying with joy. Everything fell silent in happiness, seeing him stride once more through Thrace! Macedonia! Thessaly! He, that with his gentle gift would mingle with the gods… Sowing within us hope of overall progress." End of quote. Next: the prognosis of eruptions on the Sun.
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(Waves. Crickets and birds. Idyll. Girls sing and giggle lasciviously. Sound of a helicopter. Screaming and fleeing. The helicopter stops. Two persons stomp. They stop. Silence.)
DIONYSUS: Speak, son.
ORPHEUS: We have come to honour you, Bacchus, so you can see that the respect we owe you is not absent.
DIONYSUS: (To the nymphet.) Remind me.
NYMPH: This is Obrey, known to the Achaeans as Orpheus, Thracian prince.
DIONYSUS: The musician that entertained the Argonauts?
ORPHEUS: As far as it is in my power to entertain heroes.
DIONYSUS: Screw them all. And what is that beside you?
ORPHEUS: My wife: Eurydice.
DIONYSUS: Is she mute?
EURYDICE: I am not, master Dionysus.
DIONYSUS: Now I see you are not. Children, rid them of this road dust, may they present their requests as gentlefolk.
(Slapping of water and rinsing.)
DIONYSUS: Now reveal to me what you have come for.
ORPHEUS: For your grace, to serve you as a faithful dog. To be your priest.
DIONYSUS: You, Argonauts, were always beside Apollo’s coat-tail, dignified and well-mannered. Why come to me?
ORPHEUS: It is my wish to return to the parts where I was born, to serve them.
DIONYSUS: The Furies did not force you to gallivant around Egypt and gather the refuse of their studies. And now you bring this here to corrupt these babes of mine.
(The nymphets laugh.)
DIONYSUS: And the stupid people that hypocritically love me.
EURYDICE: Only the best Obrey brings, master Dionysus, the people to enlighten, and your glory to enhance.
DIONYSUS: Shame that you are not mute after all. Give them drink, it is hard to talk to the sober.
(The nymphets hand them goblets, these two drink.)
DIONYSUS: Do you still play?
DIONYSUS: And you still tame animals with your music?
ORPHEUS: When I feel like it.
DIONYSUS: We have here a nag, he can also trill a tune or two, so you can play together. Old man…?
(The old-timer starts playing quietly on his flute. All falls silent when melancholy pours over the air. Orpheus joins cautiously and then more determinedly into the melody of the old man. His lyre changes the melody into cold and magnificent festivity. When Orpheus finishes nobody dares speak. Nobody, but the old man.)
SATYR: You are young, but good.
ORPHEUS: Which flute is this, venerable old man?
SATYR: A Syrinx I call it.
ORPHEUS: There was one who called his flute by that name. A name from memories, evil, dark ones. Is this your fallen image, Pan, forest and shepherd god?!?
ORPHEUS: But you are dead!!!
(Silence. Dionysus breaks the unpleasant silence with a loud clap.)
DIONYSUS: Honour to the players! (To Orpheus, confidentially.) Since the nymph Syrinx, his love, turned into a reed, and he cut her off for a flute, since then to remind him of himself is not good. Of the difference that separates him from us.
ORPHEUS: So, he is dead?
(Dionysus merely laughs. He changes his tone, as though explaining to young children.)
DIONYSUS: And we, yet, are not! As though in spite of our Father, The Lightening-Striker. And you not only fill my belly with warmth by your music, but I suppose also bring me news. Surely you passed through Olympus, the nest woven by Zeus for my relations honourable.
EURYDICE: We did, but it could not be said, master, that your relations…
(Orpheus interrupts her abruptly.)
ORPHEUS: It is true that we visited Hallowed Olympus. Briefly, but gracefully.
DIONYSUS: Well, am I mentioned by any good there? Was luck wished me by my father-Zeus, stepmother dear - Cow-Eyed Hera? Or by my foster-sisters: Athena, Aphrodite, Artemis, and you, yet, forgot to retell me their sweet words?
ORPHEUS: All respect and love you. But, alas, briefly did we honour your person with talk, so I forgot even what news to bring you.
DIONYSUS: It is desirable then to fabricate if necessary, so as not to sadden me, god and lad. Still, I shall press you no more with the irrelevant, my little swans. As though I know not already with which loves my relatives greet me, as is in order. And above all my haughty and dear brother, Apollo-Phoebus, of refined taste. Drink this.
(They toast health. Drink. Laughter.)
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(Drums and heavy footsteps. The gods gather on Olympus. The atmosphere is heavy and hard. Full of covert aggression.)
HALF THE CHOIR: Not in a photon is the day comparable
THE OTHER HALF: Trouble starts from its snake egg
ZEUS: Need I anticipate your words
HERA: Doubt you always the happiness of kin?
ZEUS: Call me "sir", bitch!
APOLLO: My devotion is vowed to you, father.
ZEUS: Devotedly you incite my children?
(Leafing and hysterical tearing of daily newspapers.)
ZEUS: Speak, but that I be convinced!
APOLLO: What, that you do not already know?
ZEUS: A son’s words are eternally new.
CHOIR: Perhaps, oh Lord,
(Zeus pays no attention. He waits.)
HERA: The Lord will weight each of all.
ZEUS: May there be silence
(All, even the wind, falls silent. Apollo reacts perkily.)
APOLLO: And when Phoebus-Apollo compensates his,
APOLLO: To what?
ZEUS: Well, do you?
APOLLO: Steel and a plot? I do.
HERA: (Falsely.) Truly?
ZEUS: What wrong did lad Bacchus do you
(Apollo is silent.)
HALF THE CHOIR: Perhaps respect
THE OTHER HALF: Or are you, Golden-Haired God,
APOLLO: Fuck the attention!!! Phoebus cannot be jealous of drunken rodents!!!
HERA: (Afraid.) Speak in verse!
CHOIR: How will you excuse yourself
APOLLO: That is for your and our good, Father!
ZEUS: More strongly would your
APOLLO: Quick were my preparations,
ZEUS: But neither did you calmly sit…
CHOIR: Armies he raises,
CHOIR: He sent him, demure, to Dionysus,
ZEUS: But to which avail all this?
APOLLO: (Hysterically.) Because you all were blind
CHOIR: Hera would also gladly speak
ZEUS: Accuse you me of giving excess love
APOLLO: You surely know what you do,
APOLLO: Dionysus will see Delphi no more!
CHOIR: Apollo-Phoebus for order always cares.
ZEUS: You are afraid, son.
CHOIR: And The Universe will then
APOLLO: I am not haughty! I am not!
HALF THE CHOIR: And till then
THE OTHER HALF: Phoenician aeroplane carrier!
APOLLO: (Hysterically.) I am not haughty! I am not!
(Stirring of the many gods and whispering. Apollo roars in a rage of misunderstanding and rejection.)
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(Crickets and birds. Sounds of the lake. Cheeky awakening of a mass of bodies from an erotic dream.)
DIONYSUS: Did this little game of ours entertain you?
ORPHEUS: What game, master?
EURYDICE: A smile graces your face, Bacchus. Does this mean that you take Obrey as your priest servant?
(Eurydice’s sigh of relief,)
ORPHEUS: My heart rejoices that you, oh Wine God, showed pleasure in my worthless offer.
(Bacchus and his group do not reply. Sparking. Pause.)
EURYDICE: Where has everybody gone?
(Orpheus is silent, calmly tuning his lyre. He improvises a melody.)
EURYDICE: Why are you now silent as well?
ORPHEUS: (Blasé.) Let us bathe. Come.
(She is silent. He sprays her slightly with water.)
ORPHEUS: I said: come!
EURYDICE: Why should I come?
(Touching and groping. Heavy breathing. Pause.)
EURYDICE: I am pregnant.
EURYDICE: It’s a girl.
ORPHEUS: May Mother-Hera bless her.
EURYDICE: Blessed be your stupidity that got us into uncertainty.
(He is silent, and takes his lyre again. He improvises.)
EURYDICE: Tell me what is all this?
ORPHEUS: Payment of debts. The dawn of the Final Judgement.
EURYDICE: You lie and imagine, dude. (Pause.) All your life is one cracked mask. And someone else’s at that.
ORPHEUS: The world is a mask. I am merely the slot for the eyes.
EURYDICE: Who looks through the slot? Whose are you, in fact? Apollo’s? Dionysus’s? Your own?
ORPHEUS: My role is to hasten The Judgement.
EURYDICE: You are mad. Leadership you will not grab, if this is your intention…
ORPHEUS: You think there is need for me to grab? The time has come anyway for the mighty vermin to pay for atrocities. And these atrocities I shall then set right!
EURYDICE: Speak not thus! You shall be heard!
(He laughs, and playing absently slowly walks away. She shouts after him.)
EURYDICE: You think only you will survive? That in their own game you can screw the gods? What reward do you expect? Immortality?! Leadership?! Quasars and super-novas?!?
(She stops hollering because Orpheus has already left. She starts splashing herself to calm down. She swears through her teeth. Suddenly a strong splash, she screams.)
EURYDICE: What do you two want?
FIRST NYMPH: Are you not lonely, sister nymph? Is your sweet Slavic soul melancholy?
SECOND NYMPH: Or perhaps your husband has hurt you to the core? Or you would gladly exchange him for a better one?
FIRST NYMPH: Perhaps to us you would turn for help?
EURYDICE: Thank you. I will manage by myself.
DIONYSUS: Are you sure?
EURYDICE: How… How did you do that? From where could you have…
(The sound of groping. Eurydice screams again. Heavy breathing of two clinging persons.)
DIONYSUS: In Hyperborea, Apollo’s unnatural heaven, as a child I slept beneath the never-setting sun… There Phoebus sent aging nymphs to recall their vivid youth among the Hyperboreans. Watching their shrivelled breasts I feared my own death. Although it is believed that gods do not die, I would note that this too is just a prejudice. And I dreamt of coming to the feet of the aged Apollo on the heavy day of my demise, placing my head on his brotherly chest and begging him for forgiveness, for he never loved me. The dream ended with Phoebus being unable to open his eyes to see me. For, we were both already dead, by Hades consecrated.
EURYDICE: Why do you laugh?
DIONYSUS: Those are twitches. I am crying, in fact. Look, if you can save him, do so. If not, it will be interesting anyway…
EURYDICE: I do not follow.
DIONYSUS: Where is your husband?
EURYDICE: Among the trees. Seducing bears with his music.
DIONYSUS: He feels well in naïve skin?
EURYDICE: Ask him, master. These are male affairs.
(Rustle of fabric.)
DIONYSUS: And these are female...
EURYDICE: I do not feel like it, master.
DIONYSUS: I am somewhat sad.
EURYDICE: The cure for that is different.
(Wrestling of two bodies. Heavy breathing.)
EURYDICE: Let me go, master.
DIONYSUS: Do you wish us to consider the position of your champion in all this or will you settle down after all?
EURYDICE: I don’t understand.
DIONYSUS: Neither do I.
EURYDICE: Well let me go.
(Struggling. Fuss. Splash of water.)
DIONYSUS: After her, mares! Save her.
FIRST NYMPH: But master…
DIONYSUS: After her! Do not let the bitch kill herself!
(One and then another body jump into the water. Gurgling, silence. Emerging. Dragging of a body across sand.)
DIONYSUS: Is she alive?
FIST NYMPH: She is not.
SECOND NYMPH: You give her your breath, master. Quickly.
(Artificial respiration. Eurydice coughs and starts breathing.)
DIONYSUS: Set the table, let us refresh ourselves.
(Everyone chews. Eurydice trembles and her teeth chatter. A lyre is heard – Orpheus is coming.)
DIONYSUS: Sit, let us eat as a family.
ORPHEUS: What happened to her? Why is she wet?
(She answers him inarticulately.)
DIONYSUS: The lake tried to snatch her, but it spat her out in the end.
(Orpheus hollers. He whispers and coos soothing words to his wife.)
DIONYSUS: Blame not yourself. She would not like that. Proud she was of you.
ORPHEUS: Do not speak as though she were dead, master!
DIONYSUS: Do not snivel. We were just praising you for your firmness and determination when you right injustice and atrocities. (To her.) Eat that, dear!
(In silence the three of them chew cheese, each in his own thoughts, each in his own trouble. The sound of aeroplanes.)
DIONYSUS: Children, do you see the invisible one?
(Crickets and aeroplanes.)
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(The sound of turning a radio scale and seeking a frequency.)
FEMALE ANNOUNCER: … but because of the constant questions of our listeners that god Dionysus, His Holiness Zagreus-Sabazios, Bringer-of-Life and Hater-of-Death gives us all tonight one more chance to mourn his ritual death, drink of his warm blood and be anxious whether He will resurrect Life for us once more. The big news is that Orpheus, Thracian Ruler and Slavic Enlightener, will have tonight the role of the main priest, Slayer of the Holy Goat. Girls under the age of twelve are not welcome, and places can be reserved at the numbers of the temple or by e-mail…
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(The droning sound of drums and squeal of bagpipes breaks through the air. Heavy steps bring the evil-boding mass to the field. Sudden silence. Only the flutter of a mass of wings.)
ORPHEUS: Perhaps it is too early?
DIONYSUS: As long as this is your fate do not be merciful.
(Orpheus is silent. The group behind him already growls nervously and dully.)
ORPHEUS: Will this be forgiven us?
(Instead of an answer, from their throats he receives a holler of unearthly force and length: a hurricane that moves people. And Orpheus breathes with difficulty. His growl explodes into a holler. However, from Dionysus only mild goatish bleating can be heard.)
ORPHEUS: Drop dead, Bacchus-god!!!
(The evil-boders tear at the goat ripping his limbs. Their yelping and growling, like the Hound of Death, fills the air. Some of them imitate the goatish sounds. Blood and pieces of meat are squelchily and splashily dragged from hand to hand. For a while they eat and drink, until someone chokes with horror and starts vomiting – Orpheus.)
ORPHEUS: We killed him! We are the murderers of Dionysus!!!
(Utter silence. Wailing and sighs of confusion, as the news reaches their minds. Cries of mourning and thumping of chests already starts. They sing hysterically and incomprehensibly, ravingly. Orpheus screams with rage.)
ORPHEUS: Let’s have a Frenzied One! May she tell us her visions!!!
CIRCLE-CHOIR: Come, come, hop, hey!
(The playing is in full blow, melancholy and nonsensical. Suddenly, all are silent in anticipation.)
ORPHEUS: Awake, sister, we need you.
(The Frenzied One rants. Someone slaps her across the face. Orpheus chews and drinks, and spits the frenzied one in the face with that mixture.)
ORPHEUS: Foretell finally, sister, may you never rise.
(The Frenzied One speaks her warning in an unearthly tone.)
FRENZIED ONE: Dark side… The dark side of power has visited us… Our lips are dry… Our blood is sucked by the frost that is coming… God, young god, fail us not today! If from the heart I hear your voice no more, all living of bearing will be deprived because of us sinners! From now! From now! From now!!!
(She weeps. The ritual has ended, leaving all the bystanders horrified with the knowledge of the level of their guilt. Regret and lamentation all around.)
EURYDICE: You… You have slain him…
(She cries quietly.)
ORPHEUS: Call the god!
(All are still engrossed in their horror.)
ORPHEUS: (Screams.) Call the god!!!
(Some tentatively start calling.)
GROUP: Son of Semele, Iakhos, Giver of Wealth…
(The rest join them. The choir becomes more and more harmonious, repeating tirelessly.)
GROUP: Son of Semele, Iakhos, Giver of Wealth!!!
ORPHEUS: Louder! Louder! Louder!
The action continues and signs of tiring can already be noticed in some. But the desire to correct the mistake is stronger. Even Eurydice, moved, joins in. Liquid boils and bubbles. Branches rustle and winds arise.
Orpheus ritually sings with joy:)
ORPHEUS:(Sings.) Here he is!
(Screams of glee. Tears of joy.)
CHOIR: Evil I escaped, better I found!
DIONYSUS: May I be welcome among you, children.
(Laughter and cheering all around. Drunken music is a good introduction for the orgy that starts.)
DIONYSUS: You led them well, as I did.
ORPHEUS: Thank you, master Dionysus.
DIONYSUS: If he who leads them knows not or wishes not to force the crowd to give full feelings – I cannot come back to life. Did you know of this?
ORPHEUS: This is the first I hear of it.
DIONYSUS: Next time you will know.
ORPHEUS: You should not have mentioned this to me, Bacchus. It is dangerous to give a man the responsibility to kill a god for ever.
DIONYSUS: With pure intentions did you come to me, and supposedly that is how you serve me…
ORPHEUS: As opposed to will, carelessness or inattention are frequently far more efficient. I would not like to regret if something were to happen to you due to my weakness.
DIONYSUS: If I understood, you would gladly make yourself stronger than people are?
ORPHEUS: People are scum. They do not appreciate music, they do not appreciate love, they do not appreciate sense.
DIONYSUS: True, they do not, but at least by sensing they enjoy them. Is that not a miracle unto itself, my dear?
ORPHEUS: (Ecitedly. On the verge of rage) What is a creature of mud that it may work miracles? It is in sin, from the mother’s womb till old age, in sin of infidelity. And I, I personally, have found that there is no justness with Man! And that the life of the sons of Man is not on firm foundations. And the spirit, that God created for them, should make life perfect, so that they may recognize His deeds in the force of His glory and the fullness of His grace over all sons, over all his daughters.
DIONYSUS: I know another that claims similarly. (Pause.) But he is not a mortal.
EURYDICE: Yes, this was indeed taught to us by your brother Apollo.
DIONYSUS: I see that you are hot, Obrey, to improve the world. I shall free you of your service, and you can go to Apollo who already has a vision of renewal ready. Perhaps you will help him to return the Golden Era to these grey provinces as soon as possible. But permit this gay peasant to finish this orgy, before you leave me.
(Rustle of a dress. Eurydice screams.)
EURYDICE: I am pregnant, master Dionysus, if you permit.
ORPHEUS: I have not the face to leave you now, master.
DIONYSUS: I shall live.
ORPHEUS: It is not that, but that it is an honour to me to keep by your side the people in order and fear of God. Although I myself have sinned, as is known.
DIONYSUS: Sinning-Justness-Purification! It is praiseworthy that you learn in time. You are free.
(The orgy is in full blow.)
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(The sound of turning a radio scale and seeking a frequency.)
FEMALE ANNOUNCER: Protocolar news. In a friendly and working visit the god Dionysus, His Holiness Zagreus-Sabazios, visited his native Olympus where with his brother, His Triholiness, The-Purple-Day, Apollo-Phoebus, he had this morning hearty and open talks that for who knows how many times…
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(Birds are chirping, Italian hit songs can be heard. The buzzing of flies. Footsteps, heavy and tired. The newly-arrived stops. He politely waits for someone to address him. Nothing. He clears his throat.)
DIONYSUS: A hot day, you do not feel like conversing, Olympians?
DIONYSUS: I have come to warn you–something strange is happening… (Silence.) There are indications that we are losing our strength… That we will soon be trampled, I mean we–gods.
(Cheeky giggles of goddesses.)
(He laughs nervously. He is hysterical.)
APOLLO: You said "we"? You count yourself amongst "us", brother?
DIONYSUS: Hello to you, brother Apollo.
APOLLO: "We", then. Well what so terrible will happen to "us", that you are so upset about "us", little brother?
DIONYSUS: Do not underestimate, I too am from the Olympian circle. I am worried because of the plots that the days are preparing for us…
APOLLO: Oh, paranoid child, you have been drinking and doing drugs again. There are no plots.
DIONYSUS: Lying scum!!!
(Both cock their weapons. Dead silence, both wait to see who will relent first. Apollo reacts first–he laughs.)
APOLLO: I believe that I will listen to you after all, little brother… Do you have a smoke?
(He lights it for him. They smoke.)
DIONYSUS: You made a stupid mistake. You should have confronted me differently.
APOLLO: I am as innocent as an old maid’s tear. I only want what is mine by law. Give up Delphi.
DIONYSUS: Why should I? After all, the Delphic Oracle is yours nine months a year, and mine only three.
APOLLO: That too is too much.
(They frequently swat themselves because of flies.)
DIONYSUS: I am returning for my own, brother. I was in the Balkans before people came and I shall be there when the gods are covered with mould. Why should I beg for my existence to be acknowledged?
APOLLO: Do not be greedy.
DIONYSUS: You forced the people and the gods to forget that Delphi was once mine!
APOLLO: Drugs are inducing youthful psychoses. Everywhere you see bad intentions.
DIONYSUS: Why did you send me Orpheus?
APOLLO: He came to you on his own.
DIONYSUS: No. You sent him to overthrow me. And the fool that you are, you did not even realise that it would bring us all down.
APOLLO: Listen, the kid is talented and beloved both by the people and on television. Perhaps your time is passing, perhaps you will die. And this time you will not come back to life, nor will there be that oaf Perseus to found you a cult. And do not blame the kid. If he can harm you then you truly are not even good for…
(They are silent. Apollo is reconciliatory.)
APOLLO: Why do you dislike Orpheus? Why do you have the hots for Eurydice? They are just crazy kids with a joy for life! They think that they have felt every pulse of The Universe! Breathing of the grass! Every shadowy thrust in intercourse! And you tell me that they will overthrow you! Madness is drinking your blood, brother!
(They are both overcome by emotional music. Dionysus comes to his senses.)
DIONYSUS: A lie! With obscenities you defend the atrocities that you prepared! It would have been better had you had the guts to stand up yourself! If Orpheus overthrew me you know what would happen?
APOLLO: I would fall asleep more peacefully.
DIONYSUS: Yes, forever. Something strange is going on. The other day I almost did not come back to life in the ritual. You tried to introduce order, work and discipline to the Balkans. And see, our strength has begun to dissipate. That same Orpheus who thinks that he can rule the forces of sleep and awakening brings new fear. He has taken seriously the notion that a priest is god himself.
APOLLO: He does it with the purest intentions.
DIONYSUS: I know. All the worse. I ask of you to stop all actions. Dismiss the intelligence networks and pension Orpheus off.
APOLLO: Wait, I’ll take that down.
DIONYSUS: Fuck you. And dismiss the invasion troops! In return you shall receive Delphi forever. And if you do not listen to me, I shall raise every force in the Balkans, my drunken Slavs, to prevent the times that are to come!
APOLLO: What times?
DIONYSUS: Times in which our, the gods', flesh will drop from our bodies, and the cosmos will drink the last swallows of our consciousness. Times when people will play gods, and we shall not be around. And everywhere there will be peace and order, there shall be labour that liberates, but no life do I see there. And the point shall no longer be in understanding and living the world but in changing it, and the gods will be the puppets of this change. Because of your vanity you bring unknown forces to the Balkans, Apollo, I ask of you to stop this crazy game immediately.
APOLLO: … And if pigs had wings they wouldn’t walk but fly.
DIONYSUS: Well said.
(Dionysus cocks his pistol and fires. Nothing. They both laugh.)
APOLLO: Your ammunition got damp. Let our Father, Zeus the Lightening-Striker, decide! I want his to be the final say!
(All are silent in expectation.
Suddenly Zeus’s voice roars from all around, as though Olympus itself speaks for its unmoving master.)
ZEUS: We, Zeus, Master Of The World, Have Considered The Dispute Of Our Dear Descendants, Apollo And Dionysus. Conclusion: The Obedience Of The Entire Nature Has Weakened. I Applaud The Efforts Of Son Apollo To Restore Order And Our Blessing Has Been Bestowed. Order Cannot Be Set As Should Be Until The Fetters-That-Hold-the-World, The Balkans, Are Fastened. And Especially Until Decent Creatures Are Made Of The Local Sorts. The Fear Of Our Son Dionysus Is Unfounded, And It Would Be Good For It Not To Be Harmful. The Question Of Delphi And Orpheus Lies With The Authorised, That Is – With Apollo-Phoebus.
APOLLO: Now all is clear and we can all return to our tasks.
DIONYSUS: Yes… I have a surprise for you as well.
APOLLO: Whe… Where did you get that?
DIONYSUS: I see that you recognise it. From this egg a child dear to you, named Plato, will be born. Shall I break it?
(Dionysus drops the egg. Apollo yelps with dismay. Too late. Bacchus walks away.
Apollo tries to return the yolk into the shell.)
APOLLO: I shall return you to the eggshell, my precious. I’ll gather you up.. Hey, pops, what shall I do with this? Hey, Zeus…?
(Silence. Apollo laughs.)
APOLLO: Oh, I was just saying that. I know that you are already both dead and white. But, you were up to the task.
ZEUS: We – We Zeus, Master Of The World – We – Zeus – Considered The Dispute – We Zeus Master Of The World – Of Our Dear Dear – Descendants, Weakened Dear – We – We Zeus,
APOLLO: … and I expect you to be that way in the future. The party has started.
ZEUS: We – We Zeus…
FADE OUT / FADE IN
FEMALE ANNOUNCER: All of Thrace is today drowning in tears…
EURYDICE: Master Dionysus? Where did you come from?
FEMALE ANNOUNCER: … because of the difficult fate that has struck the favourite noble family…
EURYDICE: Orpheus isn’t here, but he will arrive soon…
FEMALE ANNOUNCER: … Disbelief is still strong in the fields and woods…
EURYDICE: Why such a look, master? Why that serpent mask? Why do your ears disappear, master, and your teeth flash…
FEMALE ANNOUNCER: … Donations for funeral oil can be paid to the following account…
EURYDICE: What have I got to do with all of you? Am I at fault for anything?
DIONYSUS: I disagree with the question.
(Hissing of a snake. A female scream that tears at the heart and chills the spine. Pause.
The calm and sad voice of Dionysus emerges from somewhere.)
DIONYSUS: Not having managed to wait for you,
(Thousand of matches are lit with a hissing sound, thousand of feet arrive, thousands of drums beat the rhythm of a funeral song. Thousands of throats sing. Orpheus weeps.)
ORPHEUS: What… What are you doing with that knife?
SATYR: I shall slice into her. So she does not turn vampire.
ORPHEUS: Get out! (Pause.) Eurydice isn’t dead! Does anyone think otherwise?
(Nobody dares answer.)
ORPHEUS: This body belongs to me… And her soul I will… return to her. I shall return. (Pause.) With her.
(Sobbing crazily Orpheus walks away.)
NYMPH: When the Balkans are aboil with blood and molten steel, we shall look back to see souls dear to us that have fallen behind. But I fear that it will then already be too late.
(Some in the group scream. Air-raid sirens begin.)
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(Wind and sand and footsteps. Myriads of dead souls murmur and call to Orpheus, to somehow discourage him, He starts clumsily to quasi-play in order to shut them up.)
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(Dead souls tortured by their demons whine no more, but sing a song of after-death force. Cerberus growls, irritated by something. The applause of demons echoes through Tartarus.)
HADES: Well, boy, not to nit-pick, but you are truly persistent.
ORPHEUS: Master… Master Hades!
HADES: Welcome to Tartarus, son.
ORPHEUS: I am Obrey, a Slav from Thrace.
HADES: Slavs we do not hold in this hell. And what are you doing here before your death hour?
ORPHEUS: Your son, Dionysus, has in the form of a viper killed my wife.
HADES: Is that not Zeus’ son?
ORPHEUS: The aged tell me that you made him, with Persephone.
HADES: Possibly. I know the boy, he stops by here too.
ORPHEUS: Will you return my wife to me?
HADES: Do not confuse me. There is no key to the exit. Therefore, you, too, stay.
ORPHEUS: Her name is Eurydice, master.
HADES: Eurydice? Turn on spot-light number three! Where the stripper is…
(Sensual music starts.)
HADES: She cannot hear you, young man.
ORPHEUS: Why is she constantly undressing and dressing…
HADES: Oh, that… That is her hell. Some have met worse fates. I think that what she is nursing is your unborn daughter. Say "hello" to daddy, honey.
ORPHEUS: I am taking them with me.
HADES: We cannot let you go, either. After all, what would you do with a small and a big vampire?
(The music that Eurydice is endlessly undressing to speeds up.)
ORPHEUS: Master Hades!
(All is silent.)
HADES: What now? Will you perchance also shoot arrows at me like that peasant Heracles? If you are musical perhaps I shall take you to lull me to sleep.
ORPHEUS: Deep would your sleep be.
(Orpheus abruptly and wildly strums a string on the lyre.
Everyone screams from the vibration that tears at them.)
ORPHEUS: Too late.
(Orpheus mercilessly strikes the lyre almost destroying the bodies of those present. A holler from all mingles with the inhuman cacophony of the lyre. Cerberus whines.)
ORPHEUS: It is said that you will let my wife come with me. It is said that you will permit her to take the child. It is said that you will wish us a safe voyage, too. Also, it is said that you are the ultimate fool if today you do not grant me these modest wishes….
HADES: She… She is free.
ORPHEUS: And thank you for your warm hospitality.
HADES: It was nothing, my son, nothing… And do not turn around until you return above.
(Orpheus does not comment. He plays lightly and leaves. Pause. Someone dials a mobile number, it is ringing on the other side.)
HADES: Son? They have departed…
DIONYSUS: What do you think, pops?
HADES: After this he will be a ruin of a man.
DIONYSUS: Let’s hope so, pops, let’s hope so…
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(Orpheus, playing, persistently treads somewhere. Eurydice, weeping quietly, mechanically plods after him forced by the sound of his lyre. Suddenly, her sob is more audible, so he too stops walking.)
(Silence. He plays a little faster.)
ORPHEUS: Eurydice, are you there?
(She does not reply. A mild sob seems to be heard from her mouth for an instant, but from another, then a third, then a fourth direction… Orpheus is extremely confused.)
ORPHEUS: Eurydice… Eurydice!!! I cannot see you!
HADES-OFF: … and do not turn around until you are back above.
(Everything explodes in painfully strong blasts. The hum of cosmic spaces barely manages to stifle someone’s joyous demonic laughter and the stifled sob of a woman.)
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(The sound of changing the frequency on a radio, until the right one is found. The impersonal voice of a female announcer with impeccable diction booms out.)
FEMALE ANNOUNCER: The voice of Lemuria, midnight news. As all the world agencies are reporting, Orpheus, Thracian king and Slavic Enlightener, did not succeed in returning his wife Eurydice from Tartarus, world of the dead. The cause of failure is the naïve turning backwards when the rules of the game strictly forbade it. It is believed that the lady fell as a victim of the political conflict of her husband and god Dionysus. Mr. god Dionysus, His Holiness Zagreus-Sabazios, strongly denied that, adding his regrets that Mr. Orpheus departed from public activities due to a nervous breakdown. We quote: "He was a worthy follower, it’s a pity that he is a ruin of a man now".
(Orpheus repeats as though learning to speak.)
ORPHEUS: He was… and we all… regret… it is nice that… public… decided… decided.
(With an inhuman cry he starts his music that moves the world. As though the order of the universe is crashing in the confusion of sounds. Roars of animals mingle with the rustling of oak trees that move from their beds.)
ORPHEUS: (Roars.) Let there be light!
(The oaks still thunder.)
ORPHEUS: (Reconciliatory.) Perhaps I have confused…
ORPHEUS: I belong to evil Mankind, a mass of rotten meat. Evil meat. My sins, my offenses, my omissions with all the rottenness of my heart belong to a mass of worms and those that walk in the dark…
ORPHEUS: ...For no man determines his road and no man rules his step. Justness is only with God. From his hand comes perfect life and by his knowledge it all began. Over all that exists he rules by his own plan, and nothing happens without him…
(He is silent. He laughs. He roars.)
ORPHEUS: Did I not say: Let there be light!
ORPHEUS: Did I not say: Let there be sound!
(Deadly silence. Murmuring.)
ORPHEUS: ...But for myself, when I stumble, God’s wondrous gifts are my assistance for all times.
ORPHEUS: And when I stumble because of envy of the meat, my justness exists unto eternity…
ORPHEUS: ...because of God’s Justness.
(Footsteps leaving. The voice of the announcer tirelessly informs us.)
FEMALE ANNOUNCER – OFF: The spectacular return of Mr. Orpheus to the public scene resulted in the organising of his followers into an attractive fancy sect with a dynamic outlook. At today’s press conference Mr. Dionysus claimed them to be paramilitary formations. The statement of Mr. Apollo-Phoebus concerning this matter, as well as the current situation on Olympus and the Balkans, we were unable to obtain. The situation is still extremely interesting and you stay tuned to your screens because after the show "Owl of dreams" we shall hand out ritual breads…
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(Morning trumpets. Running, exercise, fast barking orders in strange languages. Suddenly, silence. Murmur of a crowd and fanfares. Orpheus is speaking in a manly, General-like manner.)
ORPHEUS: The mission has neared its end. The Balkans are already rejoicing the New Order. Peace and order shall fill our souls and they are already preparing for the blessing of future and repeated lives. So far Phanes, Nyx, Cronos, Uranus, Zeus have been the masters of the world! And the sixth is not as some had hoped the perverse Dionysus, but Apollo the Triholly and Three-Layered! He gives us eternal existence. Thankful we are to him! But in order for all to be spiritually and physically purified I bring you a gift that will bring your souls closer to divine unity. With these engravings and bars you shall bake words! And that which is named lends itself to control and leadership!
(Orphics rhythmically pronounce "Az, Booky, Vyedi, Glagoly, Dobro, Yest…")
ORPHEUS: Az, Booky, Vyedi, Glagoly, Dobro, Yest! Let us petrify time through words. Let us set tender souls to rest in peace. Let us cleanse ourselves of excess passion and debauchery. Eternal being has already been given, but you are still unaware of it. Where is the cure if not where Apollo is great and where Orpheus is his prophet, brother Slavs? Where is the cure if not in the universe where of stars fallen apart we are all created, wolf sisters?
SIBYL: And can you cure this one as well?
(A roar of surprise from all throats.)
ORPHEUS: Dionysus!!! Where did you get that scum, lady? And what happened to him? Why is he stumbling so?
SIBYL: He is blind. For ever. Is there mercy for him?
ORPHEUS: For those that prevent progress–there is none! What is your name, lady, when you are so naïve?
SIBYL: Sibyl, prophet.
ORPHEUS: Sibyl is dead. For 900 years at least. And perhaps you are only alive by a bureaucratic error?
SIBYL: Death has forgotten me. I wander, gathering first litters… Like this unfortunate Dionysus.
ORPHEUS: There is nothing wrong with him. He is an old whore always ready for atrocities.
SIBYL: Not today. He is good for nothing any more…
DIONYSUS: There always have been days for conflict. And they have just arrived.
(Orpheus also laughs. The situation is tense.)
ORPHEUS: Oh, you old, lying knave… Do you remember, Wine God, when a babe you were and when Hera sent white-faced Titans to kill you? Then you also transformed yourself in this manner, and came back to life after dismembering. This time you will scarcely be so lucky.
DIONYSUS: You err. My time is not also my life.
(Burst of fire.)
SIBYL: Master Orpheus, you… You killed him?
ORPHEUS: What am I to do, but with whom? Yes, I did… You can manage by yourselves from here. Raise him!
APOLLO: Bravo! Encore! Eagle eye.
ORPHEUS: Welcome, master Apollo, our triholly apple, song Arian and ancestral.
APOLLO: Beautifully have I found you, my dear. Kiss the hand of father Zeus. He is pleased that the day of the execution of the dog has arrived.
ORPHEUS: To you have we devoted him, master.
APOLLO: Well done, daughter.
ORPHEUS: I am not your daughter, master.
APOLLO: So did my daughter Athena once bring me this same heart. Except that the oaf came back to life later on.
ORPHEUS: Bacchus’s heart was then brought to you by your sister, and Zeus’s daughter – Athena, master!
APOLLO: You understand nothing! But Dionysus understands. (To Dionysus.) Are you alive, oaf?
DIONYSUS: (Grinning in throes of death) For a little while yet.
APOLLO: All right, and when that little while passes we shall bury you in Delphi, under Mount Parnassus. Your grave by the Corycian cave we shall show to German tourists, so they can take pictures and yodel! (Laughter.) I am witty and full of life today, son…
ORPHEUS: Take Bacchus to the graveyard of dogs.
NYMPH: Aye, aye, sir.
ORPHEUS: I am tired and melancholy, master Apollo…
APOLLO: Beddie-bies and think not too much. And take anti-depressives. And Delphi I shall leave entirely! It is unworthy of me! (Pause) Hey! Hey, you, Orpheus! Boy! My father wishes you to tell him something!
ORPHEUS: (Tired) The beginning is Zeus, Zeus is the middle, in Zeus it all ends!
APOLLO: Excellent! But why do you speak to the mummy? Speak here! Here is my ear.
(Orpheus repeats patiently. A mobile phone rings.)
NYMPH: Master, Dionysus sends you the message that he has died. He says you will soon, too, and your soul with you as well. And all ours with us, and all yours with you.
ORPHEUS: My soul? Die? It is immortal. I have given everyone another chance, to be immortal with me and Mr. Apollo. For this drunken peninsula to be orderly and focused! And here you are reporting to me the message from that pervert!
(He hangs up. He takes a megaphone.)
ORPHEUS: Go with god, heroes!
ALL: May god be with you!
ORPHEUS: Soldiers, heroes. This was a rough day. And it hasn’t even started yet. Paint your faces. Bring doom-doom bullets. Pass around rum and joints. Tomorrow we have three more villages to pacify. And if Tribalia does not fall to you soon, I personally will come and clear things up! And rejoice in the kingdom you discovered within you. The civilisation that you guarded by a wolven heart and won back by a silver axe. Fire!
(Rocket launchers launch rockets.)
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(Crickets can be heard. A calm and melancholic atmosphere.)
ORPHEUS: Sibyl, tell me the prophesy and comfort me. Will my soul truly die?
SIBYL: Well, you are the one telling the people of the migration of souls.
ORPHEUS: Last night I dreamt of passing through a door, a fifth, a tenth… I came to a mirror, sat, lit a cigarette, although I no longer smoke. I waited. For a woman that did not come. And then I shrunk and returned to mother’s womb. But there it was neither warm nor soft any more.
(From the darkness the sobbing of a child is heard and Eurydice’s soft singing in the attempt to calm the baby.)
ORPHEUS: … and it was neither warm nor soft any more… No, No… Neither warm nor soft…
(Orpheus weeps and chokes.)
SIBYL: Come back, Thracian!!!
(Orpheus returns to consciousness.)
ORPHEUS: … What… What happened to me…?
SIBYL: It is worst if you dream of children. Evil inevitable.
ORPHEUS: Sibyl, I… I do not know of whom I dreamt!
(The sound of crickets is winding, as though on a deforming cassette.)
FADE OUT / FADE IN
(Line-up trumpet. The noise of young soldiers at exercise.)
NYMPH: Commander, permission to speak.
ORPHEUS: Granted, warrior.
NYMPH: We are ready.
ORPHEUS: Did you fast?
NYMPHS: We did.
ORPHEUS: Ritual bathing?
ORPHEUS: You did not touch yourselves? Nor did anyone else touch you?
ORPHEUS: Latest news?
FIRST NYMPH: From Laibach to Crete the Order has taken root. In some places by arms, and in some they approached us as sons.
SECOND NYMPH: Das ist wunderbar!
FIRST NYMPH: Today we shall receive new recruits from the Vlach Mountains.
SECOND NYMPH: And beware of the snipers…
FIRST NYMPH: Some ambassadors and heralds as well.
SECOND NYMPH: And-really-beware of the snipers…
ORPHEUS: And master Apollo?
SECOND NYMPH: With master Zeus!
ORPHEUS: We shall survive without them. Who are these women coming with Sibyl?
FIRST NYMPH: I don’t know, master.
(Bursts of fire. The nymphs scream and fall.)
SIBYL: May the light be with you, Thracian and Slavic master.
ORPHEUS: Why did you kill them? They were not yet sixteen…?
SIBYL: Our master Dionysus sent word from the dead and asked you to be so kind as to send him your head, master Orpheus.
ORPHEUS: Not yet sixteen, and already they saw the dead universe in ancestral hollow eyes.
SIBYL: The gentleman is embarrassed. Throw the ropes.
(Ropes whistle through the air. Orpheus chokes, bound.)
SIBYL: In Iadera they have already started whipping women to compensate for not sacrificing men! Will you be the last to laugh, Orpheus?
(Pulling and tearing.)
SIBYL: Tear off the whole head. He deserved at least as much.
MAENAD: Is this all right, mother?
SIBYL: It will have to be washed.
(Suddenly, the head starts murmuring softly, but the voice seems to come from all around.)
ORPHEUS: Wash… me? By cleansing the soul… floats… for someone to… pick it up. To have mercy… As though it were not… Deserved… Been… Only when our turn comes. Order… Life will be easier… And I am the one who tried… And then…
(Laughter of the comforted head.)
ORPHEUS: Would you like a prophesy?
(The panicking Maenad starts praying. Sibyl screams, and all the rest after her. Thudding of fleeing feet.)
ORPHEUS: Prophesy… Yes?
(Impeccable beating of drums. Impeccable marching. Impeccable march music.)
APOLLO: Isn’t this army of ours pretty?
ORPHEUS: … And what if I foretell, say, the truth, and nobody can grasp that… Like when you and an abyss stare each other down… Or was that a swimming pool?
(The head continues murmuring. Apollo excitedly tries to attract the attention of the recruits, to give a speech.)
APOLLO: My dears, just you continue preparing yourselves for your tasks. We shall not disturb you. See: this is your commander – Obrey. How that one plays… And I, I am your god! Yes, the one with whose name you shall die, um, on your lips and in your ears… And so… That’s what I wanted. Just you rejoice, fight and multiply… Yes, multiply… Thank you…
(Apollo sighs contentedly.)
APOLLO: I really like them… (Pause.) We will win… As far as I can see. And I like them very much…
(The laughter and sounds are dulled as though heard through water.)
APOLLO: Orpheus dear, why do you not sing to us?
(Orpheus is silent. Aeroplanes fly overhead. Sirens wail.
The pulse of the universe engulfs them. A new Big Bang is starting.
End of ritual event
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