Translated from Serbian by Dragana Rajkov
takes place in the enclosed Balkan Universe.
The era is the 13th century before our Saviour, which is probably a misinformation.
- ORPHEUS, but also "APOLLO" and LEADER-EVILBODER;
- DIONYSUS, but also "ZEUS", ARISTEAS-SERPENT and "HADES";
- EURYDICE, but also "HERA";
- LACHESIS, FATE
- ATROPOS, FATE
- CLOTHO, FATE
- PAN, but also "CERBERUS";
- MAENAD – FRENZIED ONE;
- NYMPHS and SATYRS, that are also "GODS", "GODDESSES", "DEAD SOULS" and "RECRUITS".
(When night draws back its coat-tails, through the rosy light three figures can be discerned: Fates. Clotho that spins the invisible thread of fate, Lachesis that measures it with gray hand, and the youngest and most fearful, Atropos, that with her scythe cuts the thread thoroughly. Dark hoods are upon them, and there faces are like milky porcelain, eternal masks resembling unborn children. On their feet are cothurni, and Atropos also has a bag on her hip. Their bodies are swaying, they are in a trance familiar to Maenads. The humming from their throats is multiple. Their hands are busied with somebody’s life thread. The effort is huge.)
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!
(Pause. All three stare at something in the darkness.)
LACHESIS: … your fate…
CLOTHO: … without hesitation…
ATROPOS: … Orpheus!
(With the strength of a muscles and with her sister Lachesis, Clotho drags from the darkness with an invisible thread a stumbling figure in white,)
(The apparition in white has unnaturally long hair, and face concealed. It groans bewilderedly, drawn to and from by the three threads with which the Moirés tease it.)
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. The Moirés lean over the exhausted victim. Atropos lifts it off the grown with determination. The apparition hangs over her hand as though it were dead.)
ATROPOS: (Whispers.) Zeus The Lightening-Striker likes you. And send his regards. Asks: do you remember…
LACHESIS: … when you were born?
(Atropos silences her with a sharp gesture, and continues her gentle speech to the tortured soul.)
ATROPOS: ...when you were born, 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.) We did not wait for three days to see you newborn!
LACHESIS: We dared not...
(Atropos hits her over the mouth.)
ATROPOS: We dare all! But even then he was already greedy, we needed to warn him... And he did not obey.
(Atropos gently strokes his hair.)
ATROPOS: Poseidon can always disturb the belly of the sea with a storm, but even he does not prevent the sea from returning to its original calm! Why do you think that is, Orpheus? He does not dare! (Inhaling.) In the Balkans, the Fetters-that-Hold-the-World, you wished to change the order! The order that breathes the Universe! Should we claw out your eyes for your insolence!?!
(Her sisters joyfully nod their heads. 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.
(Lachesis and Atropos take out their scythes in a trance. Their excitement grows. However, Atropos starts calmly removing the white robe from the victim. Instead of a man, there is a young female beneath the cloth. Lachesis and Clotho look, appalled, at the naked, unconscious body. They are confused)
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…
(Pause. Atropos takes off her mask. Beneath it is Orpheus' smiling face.)
ORPHEUS: Orpheus am I.
(Lachesis and Clotho scream. They are choking. Stumbling, they fall upon the ground. From his bag Orpheus takes out a head identical to his own. He kisses it upon both eyes and sets it upon the mound to watch out for the Fates. He removes his hood, throws it across the unconscious body of the real Atropos. Then he adorns his white robe, taken off her. He stretches his back and gazes at the dark sky. He feels his heart and smiles.)
End of Scene One
(Darkness. 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 - OFF: 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.
(Abrupt light. Dionysus's woods by the Dojran lake. Under the scorching of the Pelagonian sun a group of nymphs and satyrs, merry and tattooed, prepare the scene for evening orgies. Groggy Dionysus, with skin tattooed as the Aegeans painted their gods, reclining upon his throne, patiently permits two nymphs to set his hair. An old blind satyr crabbily picks at his lyre. Before the young god stand the confused Orpheus and Eurydice, the only ones in the group whose skin is white, and clothes simple. Dionysus fondles the younger nymphet. He looks Orpheus over, and Eurydice even more carefully.)
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.
(Nymphets wash with sponges the faces, hands and feet of the young guests. Long and carefully.)
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.(He holds the nymphet close.) 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.
(Nymphets hand them goblets, these two drink. The aged satyr touches Orpheus' hands.)
SATYR: Do you still play?
SATYR: 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 satyr turns his head towards Dionysus. Dionysus nods. The satyr lays down his lyre and takes from his bag a reed flute.)
SATYR: Well, tame, young 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.
(Confounded, Orpheus feels the old man’s blind face.)
ORPHEUS: There was one who called his flute by that name. A name from memories, evil, dark ones.
(The old man laughs.)
ORPHEUS: Is this your fallen image, Pan, forest and shepherd god?!?
(The old man removes the youth’s hand from his face.)
ORPHEUS: But you are dead!!!
(The old man calmly nods.)
(The old man parts his eyelids with his fingers: pupils empty like a windowless cell. Orpheus pulls back.)
SATYR (PAN): Have you counter-evidence perhaps, impetuous lad?
(Dionysus breaks the unpleasant silence with a loud clap. Nymphets lead the senile Pan to their bed in order to soothe and lull him with wine and breast-milk like a child.)
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 cheerfully confirms. He sets the poet and his wife beside him on the throne, like 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.
(Orpheus holds Eurydice lest she blurt out. Dionysus smiles charmingly. He gestures to the wine-pouring nymphs to fill their goblets.)
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.
(They toast health.)
DIONYSUS: But still I would gladly be reminded of their words! Let the hunting grounds be formed!
(Nymphs and satyrs liven abruptly. The assembly swiftly organizes into its two halves. The remaining Orpheus, Eurydice and Dionysus adorn their capes and cothurni. Masks are handed out. Bagpipes and drums deafen the scene.)
HALF THE CHOIR: Not in a photon is the day comparable
when Cronos desired mad children to devour
with this dark day, restless hour
when clouds started to stifle
Olympus of the Balkans,
home to the Lord and the gods!
(Dionysus rises to his feet, terribly tall upon the cothurni. Everyone draws back when they notice Zeus's terrible face upon his body. Orpheus with the mask of Apollo, Eurydice with the mask of Hera, and Bacchus's gang with shapeless masks stand pummeled by the wind.)
THE OTHER HALF: Trouble starts from its snake egg
which to Zeus the Lightening-Striker
unfamiliar is not.
And so roar, God and Father!
may rage turn to ashes the irises
of zestful protestors,
and courage to dare blurt!
ZEUS: Need I anticipate your words
of rage and bitterness, my son?
Or will you gracefully inform
your senile father of your righteous rage?
HERA: Doubt you always the happiness of kin?
ZEUS: Call me "sir", bitch!
Well, Apollo, either speak,
or with steel will Hephaistos pull
speech from the throat.
APOLLO: My devotion is vowed to you, Father.
ZEUS: Devotedly you incite my children?
Devotedly you rebel Thrace?
Devotedly you shake Macedonia?
Devotedly you arm Tribalia?
Aegean rumbles with maggoty tongues,
Child of Snakes!
(Zeus, in a rage, looks over and crumples the daily papers of Balkan capitals.)
ZEUS: Speak, but that I be convinced!
APOLLO: What, that you do not already know?
(Zeus grabs him by the throat. Politely.)
ZEUS: A son’s words are eternally new.
(Apollo breaks free.)
CHOIR: Perhaps, oh Lord,
you boil reasonless?
Make evil blood with your son
to no avail?
(Zeus pays no attention. He waits.)
HERA: The Lord will weight each of all.
Only he is infallible,
more than Death itself.
ZEUS: May there be silence
when my debts
are being compensated!
(All, even the wind, falls silent. Apollo proudly raises his head.)
APOLLO: And when Phoebus-Apollo compensates his,
punishment avoids him not,
APOLLO: To what?
That I prepare steel and a plot
against your dear son, Bacchus?
Against Dionysus, drunken peasant
loved by the womenfolk?
ZEUS: Well, do you?
APOLLO: Steel and a plot? I do.
HERA: (Falsely.) Truly?
ZEUS: What wrong did lad Bacchus do you
when atrocities un-brotherly
you prepare for him?
(Apollo is silent.)
HALF THE CHOIR: Perhaps respect this youth
brazenly forgot for his brother,
more powerful and older?
THE OTHER HALF: Or are you, Golden-Haired God,
embittered by the attention
with which the ungrateful Balkans
treat the lad?
APOLLO: Fuck the attention!!! Phoebus cannot be jealous of drunken rodents!!!
HERA: (Afraid.) Speak in verse!
CHOIR: How will you excuse yourself
if not by jealousy, Mouse God?
Your vanity forces you to arm
unseen armies against Dionysus,
in order to get his fox-haired head…
APOLLO: That is for your and our good, Father!
ZEUS: More strongly would your
father's heart beat
were your well-being not formed
behind the back…
APOLLO: Quick were my preparations,
for the love of barbarians
your son-unson Dionysus
has already won for himself!
For rebellion he prepares the Slavic litter:
Thracians, Tribalians, Macedonians
and Holy Pelasgians,
merely to move your throne!
And the Hellenic litter: Danaeans, Ionians, Dorians,
will easily be won over and rebelled,
so as to drink the blood of us-Olympians!
ZEUS: But neither did you calmly sit…
CHOIR: Armies he raises,
with spies he schemes,
Phoebus the Order-Lover,
to turn the quaky Balkans
against overly dear Bacchus.
And Orpheus, poet, is his main dagger.
CHOIR: He sent him, demure, to Dionysus,
his faithful priest to be,
without even knowing
that in his harmless mind is planted
the intent to be the very one
to bring Bacchus down
-as revenge for Apollo’s pride.
ZEUS: But to which avail all this?
Rebellions, darker and worse,
already have I broken,
all the more so would I
the young drunk, Dionysus.
But, what forces you to flame, my dear?
APOLLO: (Hysterically.) Because you all were blind
when the pup was born,
and from your thigh
placed him in your hearts!
And then the bastard felt space enough
to feast his greed
on the account of others!
CHOIR: Hera would also gladly speak
her embittered words
at the premature baby of her rival Semele,
but she will hardly be a fool and blurt!
ZEUS: Accuse you me of giving excess love
to my flesh and blood?
APOLLO: You surely know what you do,
Still, know that ‘tis no joy
to a powerful creature like myself to cower.
To leave the Delphic oracle each winter
for the upstart to spread in another’s,
in mine place!
APOLLO: Dionysus will see Delphi no more!
This I, bitter, am good for.
Myself shall you praise, thy true son,
when the fox-haired head I hand you
that started upon you with drunken peasantry.
CHOIR: Apollo-Phoebus for order always cares.
Beauty in stability lies.
To bloodily quench
revolutions in the bud
for the mission order to remain!
ZEUS: You are afraid, son.
It is foretold that the young and vital
shall take their place by force,
as I also arose, against mine father.
Perhaps you would have
the lad removed from your path,
or have me hand you the throne,
for thy vain gut to settle.
CHOIR: And The Universe will then
breathe more peacefully
if Apollo the Haughty reigns wisely.
APOLLO: I am not haughty! I am not!
(Dionysus removes the mask of Zeus and, sadly serious, gazes at the trembling "Apollo".)
HALF THE CHOIR: And till then
the Golden-Haired One
tediously prepares tools
to preserve Pax Olympica.
THE OTHER HALF: Phoenician aeroplane carrier!
Twenty thousand long rifles!
Cruising missiles of Egyptian diseases!
Marine units from Crete!
APOLLO: (Hysterically.) I am not haughty! I am not!
(The members of the assembly remove their masks. With frozen interest they watch "Apollo's" hysteria and "Hera's" fear.)
APOLLO: I am not!!!
(Dionysus signals for the mask of Apollo to be removed from Orpheus. Beneath it Orpheus' blazing face is awash with tears and snot. They remove the mask from the frozen Eurydice as well.)
ORPHEUS: (Whispers.) Not I...
(Dionysus snaps his fingers. All the muscles upon Orpheus and Eurydice relax and they droop like rag dolls. The nymphs run to wash them with wine, in order to restore them to reality.)
DIONYSUS: Did this little game of ours entertain you?
ORPHEUS: What game, master?
(Eurydice kneels before the throne.)
EURYDICE: A smile graces your face, Bacchus. Does this mean that you take Obrey as your priest servant?
(Dionysus looks questioningly at his group. Nobody dares look him in the eye.)
(Orpheus falls to his knees.)
ORPHEUS: My heart rejoices that you, oh Wine God, showed pleasure in my worthless offer.
(Bacchus and his group do not reply, but swiftly throw upon themselves cloaks sprinkled with stars. Thus they merged into the sparkly night that choked the lonely and confused Orpheus and Eurydice.)
End of Scene Two
(Orpheus' tent beside the lake is a large, milky-white cube of canvas. The sleeping bodies of Orpheus and Eurydice upon the beds can be discerned through the canvas, as though lying in state. She rises slowly, indecisively. She draws in a tunic. Starts to go outside, but his hand stops her with determination. He draws her towards him. Flailing through the tent begins. Eurydice, ruffled and flushed, exits. She enters the lake up to her knees, gazing upon the mountains on the other side. Orpheus comes out to the sand, calmly tuning his lyre. He sits upon the beach, watching his wife. He improvises a tune.)
(She is silent. He sprays her slightly with water.)
ORPHEUS: I said: come!
(Eurydice turns towards him. He averts his gaze.)
EURYDICE: Why should I come?
(He throws down his lyre and enters the water after her.)
EURYDICE: I am pregnant.
EURYDICE: It’s a girl.
ORPHEUS: May Mother-Hera bless her.
(He raises her tunic. She strikes him with the back of her hand. He stumbles through the water.)
EURYDICE: Blessed be your stupidity that got us into uncertainty.
(He walks out of the water, picks up his lyre. 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. Power 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 turns and, playing gently, melts into the darkness.)
EURYDICE: You think you are the cleverest? You think only you will survive? That in their own game you can screw the gods? What reward do you expect? Immortality?! Power?! Quasars and super-novas?!?
(She stops hollering because Orpheus has already left. She starts splashing herself to calm down. Two nymphets emerge from the water beside her. With an iron grip they embrace her. She struggles to no avail.)
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 pushes them roughly into the water. She starts for the shore, out of breath. The nymphets laugh.)
EURYDICE: Thank you. I will manage by myself.
(When she steps onto the sand she collides with the rock-firm Dionysus. The young god is very cheerful about something. He embraces her tightly, and together they fall to the sand. Her head calmly rests upon his lap. Bacchus strokes her hair in a fatherly manner.)
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.
(Dionysus puts his hands into her shirt.)
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.
(Dionysus moves between her legs. She grabs him by the throat with her nails. The nymphs run over and seize her hands.)
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.
(She hugs and kisses him. But, disgusted, she pushes him away after all, jumps up and rushes into the water. She plunges in before the nymphs can prevent her.)
DIONYSUS: After her, mares! Save her.
FIRST NYMPH: But master…
DIONYSUS: After her! Do not let the bitch kill herself!
(The nymphs dive in to get her. Only in the third attempt do they succeed. They drag Eurydice's still body out onto the sand. The nymphs perform artificial respiration without success.)
DIONYSUS: Is she alive?
FIRST NYMPH: She is not.
SECOND NYMPH: You give her your breath, master. Quickly.
DIONYSUS: Set the table, let us refresh ourselves.
(He takes up the resuscitation while the nymphs lay out bread, cheese and wine onto a cloth. When Eurydice begins to show the first signs of life, he seats her, pale and helpless, beside him. He slaps her. Gives her more air. Orpheus arrives.)
DIONYSUS: Sit, let us eat as a family.
ORPHEUS: What happened to her?
(She answers him inarticulately.)
DIONYSUS: The lake tried to snatch her, but it spat her out in the end.
(Orpheus throws his hands upon his head. He embraces 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 places pieces of cheese into the mouths of the two lovers.)
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?
End of Scene Three
(The sound of turning a radio scale and seeking a frequency.)
FEMALE ANNOUNCER - OFF: … 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…
(The aged Dionysus, with light glowing from his face, stands upon the mound, smilingly anticipating the arrival of someone. The dull sound of drums and squeal of bagpipes breaks through the darkness. A short flash of curiosity flickers upon Bacchus's content face. From the darkness, one after the other, emerge torches carried by evil hands: the Evilboders have arrived. They are dressed in white wraps with black masks. They carry serpents. Treading heavily arrives the one that leads them, in ash-colored clothes. Dionysus and the Evilboder-Leader stare at each other. At the Leader’s gesture the others draw back. Only the flutter of a flock of storks breaks the silence in which the mighty ones judge one another.)
ORPHEUS: Perhaps it is too early?
DIONYSUS: As long as this is your fate do not be merciful.
(The Leader turns towards his gang which is already growling, 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. The Leader hesitatingly shrugs, and bends his body like a beast. His growling explodes into a roar as he turns towards Bacchus. However, Dionysus has already changed from human to goat shape, patiently awaiting his fate.)
ORPHEUS: Drop dead, Bacchus-god!!!
(The Evilboders tear at the goat ripping his limbs. Their yelping and growling, like the Hound of Death, fills the space. Some of them imitate the goatish sounds. Their arms are bloody to the elbows while they drink from the sacrificial bowl quelling eternal thirst. From the crowd encircling the former goat shakily rises the Leader. He draws back.)
ORPHEUS: We killed him! We are the murderers of Dionysus!!!
(Utter silence. The group is frozen. The Leader removes his mask showing beneath it Orpheus' smiling face. Nymphs and satyrs remove their masks of Evilboders, shocked by the news.
They wipe their tearful faces and already lamentation and chest-pounding starts. The guilty ones cover themselves in mud and bran. As a sign of repentance some of them break vessels. The nymphs scar their faces with their nails. They are consumed with mass hysteria, ritual frenzy. They spin around in circles until they become whirls of colour. There is singing, waving of long knives, rolling upon the ground and shallow water.
Orpheus screams with rage.)
ORPHEUS: Let’s have a Frenzied One! May she tell us her visions!!!
(The tallest nymph, of androgynous looks, twitches in a trance, bloats, rants, screams, tears her clothes. They cannot approach her because of her flailing.
Orpheus with two young satyrs, and Eurydice with two young nymphs gather around the Nymph-Frenzied One. Orpheus approaches her first with a curved knife in his right hand, and Eurydice with herbs and flowers. After them the followers approach. All six of them join hands in an open circle and hopping, unevenly and forward, chant.)
CIRCLE-CHOIR: Come, come, hop, hey!
Come, pretty, hop,
From the mouth,
come, pretty, hey!
(Thrice the assembly dances around the Frenzied One, starting from her head, from her right shoulder towards her left. Then Orpheus crosses her breast with the knife. Two nymphs take her by the hands, satyrs by the legs, and they carry her for several metres, They repeat the ritual. Once more they carry her and once more repeat the ritual. The music is speeding up: melodious and crazy. Suddenly, all fall silent in expectation. Orpheus approaches the Frenzied One and hits her feet hard with his left foot. Spittle starts drooling from her mouth.
Orpheus chews wormwood, sips a little wine and then sprays the Frenzied One upon the face with that mixture. She starts to revive.)
ORPHEUS: Awake, sister, we need you.
(Eurydice and the nymphs start to raise the Frenzied One, but pull back in fear, because the trance is not yet over.
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!!!
(Frenzied One opens her eyes, sweaty and afraid. Eurydice and the nymphs raise her, and Orpheus and the satyrs cross their knives above her head. The women pour water upon the knives, so that it drips on the head of the Frenzied One. The tearful satyrs form an arch with their right hands under which the stumbling Frenzied One passes three times. She weeps, she would break free from the hands of the nymphs that wash her face. The ritual is over, leaving all onlookers horrified with the knowledge of their level of guilt. All-round repentance and mourning have no influence on Orpheus. He waits. The crawling crowd gathers around his feet in fear.
For a moment Orpheus glances at Eurydice who, apart from the crowd, crouches in the dark. She has wrapped her arms around her knees and weeps.)
ORPHEUS: Call the god!
(The repented ones look at one another as though he spoke without sound.)
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. Slowly a large, sparkling figure rises from the remains of the goat behind their backs.
The rejuvenated Dionysus has returned, holding a stick wrapped in ivy. The world sparkled with a new light, rejuvenated also. Orpheus raises his arms in joy.)
ORPHEUS:(Sings.) Here he is!
(They all turn towards the resurrected god. Explosively swift change of mood: from desperation to rejoicing. They kiss the feet of the returnee, washing them with tears of joy.)
CHOIR: Evil I escaped, better I found!
Evil I escaped, better I found!
Evil I escaped, better I found!
(Wine is poured all around, being drunk even more religiously than the blood a short while ago. Enraptured, naked circles of figures dance. Drunken music is a good introduction for the orgy that is starting. Couples and threesomes divide the crowd.
Nymphets would move mainly towards Orpheus, but when they notice his questioning glance towards Bacchus some of them move indecisively back towards the god and lay beside him.)
DIONYSUS: (To Orpheus.) You led them well, as I did.
ORPHEUS: Thank you, master.
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 pushes the nymphets away. He raises himself in order to better view the poet.)
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: (Excitedly. 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 recognise 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 sits her beside him.)
DIONYSUS: It is good of you, Obrey, to wish to improve the entire world, and I see that you are rearing to do so as well. I shall free you of your service, and you can go to Apollo who already has a vision of renewal ready. You are gifted, perhaps you will help him to return the Golden Era to these gray provinces as soon as possible. But permit this gay peasant to finish this orgy, before you leave me.
(Dionysus draws Eurydice upon himself, not sparing kisses. Eurydice breaks away, stands beside her husband.)
EURYDICE: I am pregnant, master, if you permit.
(Dionysus glances questioningly at Orpheus. He nods.)
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.
(Orpheus indecisively leads his wife away, glancing back. The young god is already actively engaged in the orgy.)
End of Scene Four
(The sound of turning a radio scale and seeking a frequency.)
FEMALE ANNOUNCER-OFF: 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…
(The Balkan Olympus, there where pure light meets the gaudy colours of the clothes and skin of the gods. Olympian gods sit upon their thrones that circle the hill in a spiral, at the top of which is Zeus.
Birds are chirping, Italian hit songs can be heard. The gods are still and silent beneath their terrible masks. Occasionally they slap themselves because of mosquitoes. Dionysus approaches slowly, without a mask, still dusty from the road. He politely waits for someone to address him. Nothing. He clears his throat.)
DIONYSUS: And I bought you offerings.
(He throws the candied fruit over his shoulder. He lights a cigarette and sits "the Turkish way".)
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.
(Behind the masks the cheeky giggles of goddesses is heard.)
(Dionysus turns. Behind him stands Apollo, without a mask, in a semi-military leather suit. He wears dark glasses. Nervously he slaps his whip against his boot.)
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!!!
(Behind Apollo a group of his followers emerges. They are very young, and carry automatic weapons. They are dresses similarly to their boss.)
APOLLO: I believe that I will listen to you after all, little brother…
(He takes a cigarette from Dionysus, and sits across from him.)
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 mosquitoes.)
DIONYSUS: It is over, brother. 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: You shall not get Delphi. You have the only oracle in Fokidian Amphiclea, 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.
(He starts to rise.)
DIONYSUS: Why did you send me Orpheus?
APOLLO: He came to you on his own.
DIONYSUS: He did not. You sent him to overthrow me. And the fool that you are you never realised 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. Strength replaces weakness. And do not blame the kid. If he can harm you then you truly are not even good for shit.
(At Apollo’s gesture the darkness parts and in the crack something akin to a stage painted upon a vase can be discerned. On the stage, like in an aquarium, are Orpheus and Eurydice, surrounded by sunny scenery. They are merry, wrapped in a breeze and unearthly music. Their movements are slow as though through water. Dionysus is enraptured by the heavenly scene.)
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!
(Dionysus is softened by the idyllic scene of harmlessness. But in the very next moment he sobers.)
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.
(Apollo brazenly turns his back upon the enraged Dionysus. The young god shakily takes out his pistol, pulls back the hammer and aims it at his brother’s back. Apollo’s company swiftly aim their guns at Dionysus. Dionysus draws the trigger. 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!
(Weapons are lowered. Everybody turns expectantly towards Zeus's throne. 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.
We Have Spoken.
(Silence. Dionysus fastens his boots, preparing to leave. Apollo pats him on the back.)
APOLLO: Now all is clear and we can all return to our tasks.
DIONYSUS: Yes… I have a surprise for you as well.
(Dionysus draws an egg from his bosom. Apollo trembles with recognition.)
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, leaps to prevent him. Too late. Apollo tries to return the yolk into the shell. Bacchus walks away. Apollo rises carefully holding the shell so as not to spill the content.)
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…?
(He glances at his "swatch".)
APOLLO: The important thing is that it has started.
(He glances at the scene in which Orpheus and Eurydice still rejoice.)
APOLLO: Be still, bugs!!!
(The two of them droop as though their strength had been drained. The fairy-tale scene slowly fades. Apollo gives the eggshell to his companion, who receives it carefully. Phoebus climbs wearily up to Zeus. He kneels, kisses his feet.)
APOLLO: Than you, oh almighty, for all your grace!!
(He then laughs cheekily, rises and strikes Zeus over his ears protruding from beneath his mask.)
APOLLO: Oh, I was just saying that. I know that you are already both dead and white. But, you were up to the task.
(He removes his father’s mask. Beneath the mask is Zeus’s corpse from which the dried skin has already started to peel, as though some inner fire had dried the meat from within.)
ZEUS-OFF: 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.
(His followers greet him with a holler that befits a god.)
End of Scene Five
(From the darkness of the Dojran night a bluish light shines through.
The same scene with Orpheus and Eurydice appears that was shown to Dionysus
on Olympus. It is no more real this time.
The two young people move through the dense air in their bluish heaven,
like senseless little fish. The cold night does not affect the world
within. The repeated actions seem as though they were petrified in time.
This lasts until the mechanism is disturbed by a slow but strong wind
beginning to suck Eurydice out into the outer world. She tries to resist,
knots can be seen in her face and muscles. Orpheus seems not to notice
that something dreadful is happening. He is still occupied with sailing
in his aquarium and releasing singing fish voices. The wind has managed
to drag the desperate Eurydice out, where her movements and breathing
need to be abruptly adjusted to the outer world. When she catches her
breath a little she tries to warn Orpheus of her plight by screaming
and banging upon the invisible walls that separate the two worlds. To
She glances around, in animal-like fear of unfamiliar territory. She
tries to return by force to their blue world. The collision with the
invisible wall is rather painful. Orpheus still self-sufficiently circles
the narrow borders of their aquarium. She gives up and pays attention
to the grim reality. She is somewhat encouraged by the humming wind
and its soothing melody. Beguiled she steps into the darkness. Suddenly,
from the darkness before her a figure appears, of naked breast and deadly
Dionysus has appeared in his after-death form, terrifyingly focused
and seemingly a bit melancholy. She screams violently. Orpheus in the
aquarium looks around to see where the sound is coming from. Harmlessly
he attempts to invite the sound again by singing an imitation of it.
Dionysus stretches his arms towards Eurydice. She pulls back. Dionysus
opens his mouth, but the voice comes from all around.
And it is not his voice, but the motherly voice of some elderly woman.)
FEMALE ANNOUNCER-OFF: All of Thrace is today drowning in tears…
EURYDICE: Master Dionysus? Where did you come from?
FEMALE ANNOUNCER-OFF: … because of the difficult fate that has struck the favourite noble family…
EURYDICE: Orpheus isn’t here, but he will arrive soon…
FEMALE ANNOUNCER-OFF: … 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-OFF: … 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.
(She jumps to the other end of the arena. They watch each other for an instant, both out of breath. She glances towards Orpheus, but no help will she receive from him. Dionysus calmly removes from his cape the mask of Aristeas-Serpent.)
DIONYSUS: The sooner we finish, the sooner we shall calm down.
EURYDICE: Drop dead!
DIONYSUS: Not today.
(He puts on the mask and rushes at her. They flail around the space like a lynx and a hamster. The calm and sad voice of Dionysus emerges from the ground.)
DIONYSUS: Not having managed to wait for you,
under the whipping dark clouds
forest executors that tempt us
I settle easily for those pieces of ice
that I squeeze in my hand.
With peace-spreading calm
I would wave my hand
Therefore I shall sit on the grave mound
greeting with my eye your white steeds
sprung from Scythian zones
of uncounted summers,
And when warrior-like we stand
eye to eye
may there be times
when the liver shrivels
in fear of eternity
that the Secret Prince would gladly give us.
And we only wish
for skeins of darkness
our bodies to join
but our soul not to drown
like first kittens.
(Eurydice tries to reach the lake. However, Aristeas-Serpent is faster. He grabs her by the leg and drags her towards him. His serpent teeth he buries into her belly and holds the bite until the poison completely overcomes her twitching body. Eurydice crashes to the ground. Aristeas wipes his mouth and then methodically rapes the dead girl.
He rises breathless, removes the mask beneath which is the sweaty face of Dionysus, all atwitch. Horrifies, he stares at the body, then at his sticky clothes, then at Orpheus, still oblivious in his golden cage. The murmur of dead souls washes through the space. Dionysus starts sobbing. He collides with the invisible creatures that have surrounded him.
He manages to push through the darkness and disappear.
The hum of the invisibles is stronger and stronger. It starts to shake Orpheus' little world as well. Shocked, he tries to retain his balance. In a strong shudder and clap the magic disappears. The light of the heavenly world dims and it expels Orpheus, as from the womb, into the cold night.
The Thracian catches his breath, still stunned from the shaking. When he realises that the sticky stuff on his hands is blood – the sobers in an instant. Stumbling over the grass he follows the blood to its source – the sucked-out body of Eurydice. It looks more like a leather doll now. He raises it gently. His face twists in a long and horrible, voiceless scream. Then he places the remains into a neat position, mechanically doing what is to be done.
Thousands of matches are lit with a hiss, thousands of feet arrive, thousands of drums beat the rhythm of a funeral song. Thousands of voices sing. Orpheus weeps.
From the darkness nymphs and satyrs pour out from all around, bearing lighted candles and the things necessary for the pre-burial ritual. They take over the arranging of the deceased from the confused Orpheus. They place candles around her. The nymphs comb Eurydice, wash her head and limbs. They dress her in fresh clothes. The old clothes are burned. They place coins upon her eyes. They apply makeup, blush. Water is carefully spilt into the lake. At the end of the ritual an old satyr approaches the body with a long awl and knife. Orpheus grabs him by the hand.)
ORPHEUS: What… What are you doing with that knife?
SATYR: I shall slice into her. So she does not turn vampire.
(Orpheus harshly pushes him to the ground. With a madman’s glow in his eyes he topples the candles, removes the coins from his wife’s eyes. With sweet basil he forms a circle around her. In an instant that area shines of itself. When the Thracian looks at them everyone draws back.)
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.
(He stands another moment, and then turns on his heel and disappears into the darkness, madly fast. Immediately after this the Nymph-Frenzied One runs to Eurydice, but she cannot pass the circle that Orpheus formed. Still she manages with her finger to gather a little of the spilt blood of the deceased. Focused, she reads the meanings of the liquid while the others patiently await the outcome.
The nymph raises her head. Her eyes are tearful.)
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.)
End of Scene Six
(With dry lips, heavy feet and eyes full of sand, Orpheus has treaded through the desert for Eons.
Myriads of dead souls address him in a murmur to somehow change his mind.
He merely presses colon wool to his ears more firmly and starts playing in order to silence them.
And thus long hour after hour until exhaustion.
Finally he arrives at the Gates of the Worlds, dug into the ground.
He looks at the sky above him.
With a sigh he enters.)
End of Scene Seven
(When the military spotlight blinds his eyes, Orpheus is in a deep hole from which he can merely sense Hades' throne above him. Hades and his assistants are in black hoods. Dead souls tortured by their demons whine and twist in the semi-darkness. By Hades' feet growls the anthropomorphic Cerberus irritated by Orpheus' appearance. Sincere applause of the demons greets Orpheus when the light go on.)
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 spotlight number three! Where the stripper is…
VOICE-OFF: Hitting three!
(Spotlight number three, from the mass of creatures writhing in the dark, picks out Eurydice. She is dressed in black leather, made-up, and to peep-show music she performs her ceaseless striptease. All falls silent watching the girl oblivious to her damnation.)
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.
(From time to time she takes and nurses a pinkish creature hanging in a bag upon her back.)
HADES: 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?
(Orpheus tries to reach it. Cerberus nearly bites his hand off. Orpheus falls back into the hole, out of breath. Everybody laughs, even the victims. The music to which Eurydice endlessly strips gets faster, forcing her too to reach a frenzied tempo. Orpheus raises his bloody eyes. He watches them. Hades signals for silence. All is still.)
ORPHEUS: Master Hades!
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. With its strong vibration the sound shakes the bodies of all present. Hades bends in two upon his throne.)
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. Only Eurydice continues with her given activity. Hades starts to vomit from the pain. Cerberus is writhing beside his master. Orpheus pays no heed to them. He only has eyes for Eurydice.)
ORPHEUS: There are rumours that you will let my wife come with me. There are rumours that you will permit her to take the child. There are rumours 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 barely manages to nod affirmatively. Orpheus stops playing. Hades raises his hand and the demons switch off spotlight number three. Eurydice goes limp like a puppet on a string. Before she falls Orpheus, by playing, raises her. With gentle music he keeps her body straight.)
ORPHEUS: And thank you for your warm hospitality.
(With gentle music he draws his wife to start after him. She obeys, mechanically, like a zombie. Hades speaks out in a small voice.)
HADES: It was nothing, my son, nothing… And do not turn around until you return above.
(Orpheus makes a gesture with his hand. He continues to extract himself from his hole. Whines of the dead souls and Cerberus see them out. Orpheus and Eurydice disappear in the dark.
When the last soft tones of the lyre fade away all ordinary light are suddenly lit in Tartarus. The set and scene are dismantled. Both victims and demons are returned to reality. Hoods are removed. Beneath Hades’s mask lies a sweaty but content Dionysus. The former Cerberus, and actual satyr brings a jug for the god to wash his face.)
SATYR: What do you think?
DIONYSUS: He is tough, but we made it.
SATYR: After this he will be a ruin of a man.
DIONYSUS: Let’s hope so.
End of Scene Eight
(Orpheus, playing, plods persistently on towards the world of the living. Eurydice, pressing her babe to her breast, walks mechanically after him driven by the sound of his lyre. After a long while he senses that something strange is going on behind his back: she, confused, has stopped. Women – from little girls to deteriorated old women – have surrounded her with sad questioning in their eyes. Eurydice smiles at them with recognition. Orpheus stops, not daring to turn around.)
(Silence. He plays a little faster. At one moment the sound is no longer heard although he is still playing.)
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.)
(In an instant he turns around abruptly. But, even before he manages to discern his wife in the darkness, the sky above him explodes with painfully bright lights. The hum of cosmic spaces barely manages to stifle someone’s joyous demonic laughter and the stifled sob of a woman.
Eurydice has gone for ever.
Orpheus falls to his knees, torn by internal cramps. He curls into the fetal position, crawling through the dust. From the sky comes 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-OFF: 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".
(While the news is heard, Orpheus slowly comes to his senses. He rubs his face with sand in order to regain consciousness. He listens to the news with interest. When it is over he self-pityingly wipes his tears. Spits. Caresses his lyre. He picks it up. 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 and colours. Roars of animals mingle with the rustling of oak trees that move from their beds. Their shadows shade Orpheus.
While the raid of oaks is going on, Orpheus adorns a white priest’s tunic and picks up a divine sceptre.
He has completely transformed into a godly being.)
ORPHEUS: (Roars.) Let there be light!
(Nothing. 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.
(He turns and slowly moves towards his dark destination. 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…
(Somewhere from the Balkan wastelands come the sounds of morning troop line-ups.)
End of Scene Nine
(To their assembly ground come Orpheus' followers. They are the former satyrs of Dionysus and a few nymphs. Adorned in white uniforms, with faces hardened too soon. In perfectly straight lines they await the arrival of their leader. Onto the stage before them steps Orpheus accompanied by the roar of the crowd and the hollers of bagpipes and horns. He has gone completely grey in the meanwhile. He is dressed in white, with a cape. A firm gesture of greeting to the crowd, that settles down in an instant.)
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!
(From his sparkly hands he throws dust from which upon objects and people the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet start to appear and dance through the air. Orphics rhythmically pronounce "Az, Booky, Vyedi, Glagol', Dobro, Yest…")
ORPHEUS: Az, Booky, Vyedi, Glagol', 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?
(They all turn towards the old lady, Sybil, who leads by the elbow the limping and run-down Dionysus.)
SIBYL: He is blind. For ever.
(Orpheus jumps down to the ground before them. He waves before Dionysus’s eyes.)
SIBYL: 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…
(Orpheus sharply removes the hand with which she is holding Bacchus. He falls to the ground. Some laugh at Dionysus writhing in the dust. Some fall silent with the tragedy of the scene.)
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 manages to get into a kneeling position. Then he abruptly rises to his full height. Transformed, he smiles roguishly.)
DIONYSUS: There always have been days for conflict. And they have just arrived.
(Before Dionysus flies at Orpheus, four of the Thracian’s followers surround him, faces painted white. They neutralize Dionysus by showing him his reflection in a mirror. Slightly stunned, Dionysus does not let them near him. He places upon himself masks of a goat and bull, thus reveicing the strength of his totems, but his attackers knock the masks out of his hand with long sticks. The crowd mocks him by imitating a bull, as though at bacchanalias.)
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.
(Dionysus throws himself backwards with desperate strength, outside of the scope of the mirrors. He rises, powerful and dangerous once more. People draw back, for it is obvious what is to follow. In a swift, fierce battle neither Orpheus nor Dionysus manage to gain the advantage. But when Dionysus slips Orpheus takes a gun from his followers, approaches Dionysus and shoots him in the back of the head. The young god stops twitching.)
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!
(They raise Dionysus. His limbs they nail to a wall of oak. They cover him with sheets. Surgeons arrive. After the dissection, methodical and so different from the Bacchean mutilation, they hand the still hot heart to Orpheus. He barely manages to control his desire to taste the heart. Clapping is heard. On Orpheus' stage sits Apollo dressed in Zeus's clothes, and his father’s mummy lies in his lap, like a child. Apollo's gestures are pronouncedly feminine. Derangement is noticeable.)
APOLLO: Bravo! Encore! Eagle eye.
(Orpheus kisses his foot.)
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 must kiss the parched hand. He gives the heart to Apollo.)
ORPHEUS: To you have we devoted him, master.
(Apollo grabs the heart and licks it. Orpheus is nauseous.)
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 does not open his eyes. He smiles.)
DIONYSUS: 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 speaks respectfully to the mummy.)
ORPHEUS: 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!
(Apollo proudly points towards himself. Orpheus repeats patiently. One of the Orphics approaches Orpheus and hands him a mobile phone.)
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 is speechless. Lost in thought he turns off the phone and returns it to her. Then he flares.)
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!
(Orpheus stops when he notices the sleeping Apollo. The god, with his thumb in his mouth and the mummy instead of his favourite toy, is smiling in his sleep, which probably caused him to unconsciously wet himself.)
ORPHEUS: Change his clothes!
(They carefully carry away the sleeping god. Orpheus 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 dum-dum 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. The Orphics are silent. Orpheus glances at the heavy sky sprinkled with traces of rockets.)
End of Scene Ten
(Orpheus and Sybil perch like crows upon a hill. 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.
(While he confesses, both Sybil and the area around him fade into the darkness. Behind him a person of gleaming white slowly rises: Eurydice has returned. She is already marked by decay, but she is still very pretty. A child’s head peers from her shirt. Eurydice covers the oblivious Orpheus with a cape. Even under the cloth he continues talking, carried away by his thoughts.)
ORPHEUS: … and it was neither warm nor soft any more… No, No… Neither warm nor soft…
(Orpheus is already starting to choke beneath the cloth. His panic can be seen by the jerky movements of his arms and face, but the grip is of steel. Sibyl screams from the darkness)
SIBYL: Come back, Thracian!!!
(Sybil, frightened, stands with two candles. Orpheus, curled into a fetal position and covered in cold sweat stares frenetically at the reality around him. The apparition has gone. He hugs Sybil's feet.)
SIBYL: It is worst if you dream of children. Evil inevitable.
ORPHEUS: Sibyl, I… I do not know of whom I dreamt!
(Sybil closes his eyes and strokes his hair. For, he told the truth.
Somewhere in the background the regular training of Orphean troops begins.)
End of Scene Eleven
(Orpheus stands upon his assembly grounds. Two nymphets that have joined his movement are preparing for the ritual. They have male clothes and haircuts. The three of them are alone on the assembly grounds. 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?
FIRST NYMPH: If he awakes he will come with his danc…
SECOND NYMPH: With master Zeus!
ORPHEUS: We shall survive without Apollo.
(He is interrupted in mid-sentence because Dionysus's maenads are coming down from all directions and encircling the confused trio. They are lead by the old Sybil. The maenads start shooting from automatic revolvers. 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…?
(Sybil is holding a postcard in her hands and reading it with a smile.)
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. Start alone.
(Three maenads throw long ropes on Orpheus and try to strangle him. Sybil peacefully watches the struggle. From time to time she looks at the postcard tenderly.)
SIBYL: In Iadera they have already started whipping women to compensate for not sacrificing men! Will you be the last to laugh, Orpheus?
(Orpheus tries to break free and pulls the maenads across the hill. He disappears from sight. The three of them strain to hold him. The rest flies after him.)
SIBYL: (Shouts after them.) Tear off the whole head. He deserved at least as much.
(Very quickly, amidst cries and squeals, a maenad returns with the ripped-off and smiling head of Orpheus, raised high to light the area.)
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-OFF: 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 stabilisation comes. Order… Life will be easier… And I am the one who tried… And then…
(Laughter of the comforted head.)
ORPHEUS-OFF: Would you like a prophesy?
(The panicked maenad is just lucid enough to lay the head down upon the altar. They all fall to their knees and pray. When Sibyl rises and starts to flee, all of the others follow her example.)
ORPHEUS-OFF: Prophesy… Yes?
"A legacy so far removed one day will be improved. Eternal rights we left behind-we were the better kind".
Who said that? Nobody. And it is better that he killed himself. It is time for the prophesy. Or not?
I am a hawk:
I am myself
I thought I was
but am merely a head
a head crying in the desert. (Laughter.)
Kitsch dear to gods…
(Impeccable beating of drums. Impeccable marching. Impeccable march music.
Onto the clearing come handsome, young men and women in white uniforms: Orphic recruits. They almost do not notice the head as they cruise the space in slow motion. They arrange their backpacks and weapons. They are relaxed and smiling. The new generation of a better order.
Onto the stage, by the altar with the head, blunders groggy Apollo. He is carrying his pet, the mummy of his father onto which the mask of Batman has been stuck. He sits and lovingly watches the young men and girls that almost do not notice his presence.)
APOLLO: (To the head.) Aren’t they pretty?
ORPHEUS-OFF … 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 rises with his toy and exaltedly tries to attract the attention of the recruits. to hold a speech. Some of them turn towards him.)
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 sits beside Orpheus, sighing happily.)
APOLLO: I really like them… (Pause.) We will win… As far as I can see. And I like them very much…
(The young übermenchen do not notice him. Their movements, murmurs and smiles are as though through water.
Suddenly, the whole group turns towards the east, filled with tense expectation. But, the atmosphere is still positive.
Abruptly, the dawn of a new day explodes in its reds and yellows. Forcefully, as those present never remembered during their lifetimes.
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
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