| up a level
from the hope-for-the-beth dept.
[As performed September 19, 2001 e.v., at Metaversal Lightcraft, Berkeley.]
In the foreground is the front of a giant TV set with the screen cut away, through which can be seen (when the veil is open) a newsroom. In the center is a desk-shaped altar with chairs for the Co-anchors. Multiple TV sets are on, placed in front of the audience and playing appropriate images (e.g., Koyanisqaatsi, Flash Gordon, Baraka, good sci-fi anime, etc.). In the background is a large image of a caduceus, with the serpents' bodies formed from a DNA chain. The veil is closed.
Virgo leads audience in breathing exercise.
All participants' voices should be well-projected, clearly ennunciated, and just a little slower than conversational speed.
The Speech in the Silence.
Probationers enter and arrange themselves in front of TV.
PROBATIONER 1: 333-333-22. This must be the place. Hey, I know, let's all get high and watch TV!
OTHER PROBATIONERS: (Ad lib general agreement, cheers.)
Probationers sit facing each other m/f and torsos oriented toward TV at about 30-45 degrees leaving enough space for Frater Gemini to come out and do Hexagram Ritual. A legal herbal substitute, such as salvia divinorum, is used in place of cannabis.
PROBATIONER 2: Wait a minute... how do we turn this thing on? Who's in charge of the remote control?
PROBATIONER 1: Oh, I know, this is probably one of those new models that operate on a proximity eye-movement detector switch. All we have to do is focus our gaze on it for a minute to get it to work. (Points from 6th Chakra to switches on T.V. beginning at "...focus our gaze...")
All focus and vibrate three Ahs. A slight pause, then the sound of a modem logging on. Virgo parts veil and moves over to West, remaining visible and producer-like. Mercury is in the center but further back than Frater and Soror Gemini, who chatter to each other rapidly in binary code (0100011101001, etc.), but emote normally as if in regular conversation.
PROBATIONER 2: Ahhh, there we go. (Pause) This is kind of boring though. Wouldn't it be cool if there was some way to interact directly with the people on the screen?
All ad-lib agreement or scoffing.
FRATER GEMINI: We're really a lot closer than you think! (Comes through TV screen to the astonishment and surprise of Probationers who lean back a little in their amazement, and the dismay of Virgo. Performs BRH.)
FRATER GEMINI: And now, we pause a moment for station identification. (Returns to seat.)
Virgo shuts veil shaking his head. Mercury changes from robe into suit.
Musical interlude (approx. 2-3 min).
PROBATIONERS: (ad lib) Whoa! What the hell was that? Did you see that? Did anyone catch what happened? I'll bet it was a... (etc.)
Virgo re-opens veil.
PROBATIONER 1: Hey wait, quiet down you guys! The news is coming on. Maybe we can find out more about what just happened.
Frater and Soror Gemini move back and Mercury moves to front & center. Virgo re-opens veil.
ANNOUNCER: (from offstage) We interrupt our normal broadcast to bring you this instant update from the Mercury newsroom.
MERCURY: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It seems that the Cocteau twins have once again been spotted riding into town, this time on the back of a giant, emotionally defensive Dungeoness crab. The latest reports indicate that they are moving westward down Lyon Street and headed towards the Sunset, reveling in the attention all the way. This is the culminating step in an apparently well organized journey that began months ago in Virginia. It's clear that the fate of our fair city hangs in the balance, but it's important to hear all sides of the story before taking any action. After eight legs in this expedition, two strategic pincer movements, and propelled by a stinging tail wind, it could very well end in an orgy of death. There is little cause for concern however, as squads of blue silk clad archers have been dispatched to the scene with fire arrows. This promises to be quite a struggle and local residents are already calling in complaints of an overpowering stench described as a cross between a goat farm and a seafood processing plant. Our weather analyst predicts unusual gusts of wind, running counter to the normal direction for this time of year, bringing rain which should help clear the air by morning. Authorities say they intend to get these fishy characters under control, and quote "wake them out of their daydream" unquote. It is apparent that these willful individuals are moving full speed ahead and capable of ramming through any obstacles they encounter. The brute force of their inertia is so strong that it is reminiscent of the running of the bulls in Pamplona. What an incredible series of events, ladies and gentlemen. This certainly changes everything. This reporter has been around for quite a while and has never seen anything quite like this anywhere. Glory, and Glory upon Glory, Everlastingly. Amen, and Amen, and Amen. And now, an in-depth analysis by our co-anchors.
Mercury moves back, Frater and Soror Gemini move to front and resume binary chatter at normal tone of voice for about thirty seconds or so then diminish in volume when Probationers begin talking.
PROBATIONER 1: What the hell was that supposed to mean? Could somebody please tell me what he was talking about? That didn't make anything clearer for me at all!
OTHER PROBATIONERS: Ssssshhhh! We can't hear the TV!
Mercury moves up while Frater and Soror Gemini move back.
PROBATIONER 2: Man, I sure hope this guy gives us the whole story this time. I hate feeling ignorant about important stuff.
PROBATIONER 1: I wish I could ask him a few questions directly to help clear this up.
MERCURY: For those of you just joining us, we have an instant update from our central bureau in this rapidly changing situation. Scientists have just discovered that the universe is a virgin. (Holds ear.) Wait, some new information is coming in, it seems that it's actually a scorpion, I'm getting some conflicting reports here... it's become a centaur armed with a bow and arrow, apparently. Hold on, from another angle, it looks just like a half goat-half fish. It keeps getting weirder and weirder, ladies and gentlemen. Now it's a Water Bearer, next some fish, no, wait... a ram, no, a bull, no, a set of twins, it's all changing so rapidly it's hard to keep up, ok, it's a crab, no, hold on, it's a lion, no, wait... I've got definite confirmation that the universe is something that looks very much like a scale. Even stranger is the discovery that a simpler but deeper and more coherent image appears if one looks at these images simultaneously in just the right way, much like those amazing 3-D pictures you have to practically go cross-eyed to see. Well, there you have it. What an age we live in, folks. Glory, and Glory upon Glory, Everlastingly. Amen, and Amen, and Amen.
PROBATIONER 1: Oh come on! He just made that up! Just tell us the pure truth for once!
OTHER PROBATIONERS: Please inform and guide us!
PROBATIONER 1: Oh holder of great Divine mysteries, we beseech you to be real with us! Lead us from our ignorance! Give us cultural identity! Remind us of whom we are!
OTHER PROBATIONERS: Please, oh mighty news team, we call upon you to tell us what the deal is!
PROBATIONER 1: Oh honest reporters of goodness and truth, we call upon thee!
VIRGO: (Smug and patronizing) Not all news is good news, my friends! You must include all perspectives to attain Perfect Equilibrium.
FRATER GEMINI: Yes! He's absolutely right. Sister, let's get him to tell us the whole story this time.
VIRGO: He has also given you the power to speak the truth and affect the collective consciousness. Reach out to him with your own god-like voices!
FRATER GEMINI: (Rises and stands in front of Mercury) Oh Ace Reporter, Divine Messenger, All-seeing and Understanding Bearer of Truth, Hail! Self-less yet All-encompassing, Innocent and Pure, hail to Thee. Through thee alone can we hope to get the facts once and for all. Right after these important messages!
All probationers groan. Frater Gemini returns to seat and Virgo closes veil again.
Mercury changes back into robe. Frater and Soror Gemini hide behind desk or go offstage or something.
Musical interlude (2-3 min.)
MERCURY: (Opens veil.)
At the ending of the Light
PROBATIONER 2: Oh man, not another commercial!
Musical interlude (approx. 5 min.). Veil remains closed.
MERCURY: (Recites "Remember" by Joy Harjo.)
Remember the sky you were born under,
Musical interlude (2-3 min.)
Virgo parts veil.
FRATER GEMINI: Oh, Great Talking Head, break it down for us!
Mercury gets up. Virgo hands him the mirror in such a way as to make it apparent to the audience that it is a mirror. Mercury gazes at his own reflection while reciting the Invocation of Mercury. He hands the mirror back to Virgo and returns to his throne.
FRATER GEMINI: (Mocking) Oh Wow Mr. V., didja hear all that?
VIRGO: (Proudly, not catching Frater Gemini's tone) How could I miss it?
FRATER GEMINI: (Same tone) Is this guy cool or what?
VIRGO: The greatest on any channel.
FRATER GEMINI: (Indulgent but still sarcastic) Damn straight!
SOROR GEMINI: (Innocently, trying to be helpful) Maybe, but there is that guy Sol, over on (network of choice), you know. He's pretty cool, too.
VIRGO: (Reprovingly) Yes, but what does he have to show for it? Does he have three Emmys like our Hero?
Soror Gemini bows her head bashfully and shakes it.
VIRGO: I didn't think so. Mercury rules!
SOROR GEMINI: Hail, O Dream boss.
FRATER GEMINI: Hail, O Champion of the Little Guy! (Maintains slight mocking tone)
MERCURY: (Warmly) Hail, twins!
PROBATIONER 1: Wow, he really is the best!
All: Hail Mercury!
MERCURY: (To audience) Sure, they love me while I'm up, but we'll see how quickly they find a new God to worship. I'll be dropped like a hot potato and forgotten in no time flat!
Musical interlude (2-3 min.)
1 minute pause
VIRGO: O who are you that rules this network so effortlessly?
MERCURY: You've made what I am today. I couldn't do it without you!
VIRGO: This man is a god! (To Frather & Soror Gemini) We are so lucky to have him as boss.
FRATER GEMINI: (Chidingly sarcastic) Do you really think so? Is he any better than the alternative? Hell, I should take over. I could probably do just as well or better!
VIRGO: What are you saying? You should worship at his feet! What's wrong with you? (Continues to act fretful and shocked, etc, with a stressed-out expression on his face.)
MERCURY: Hey, relax, man! Get over yourself. You're totally missing the point. You are God, Priest, and congregation all rolled into one!
SOROR GEMINI: I'm with you! Your journeys are mine, your followers are mine, and your spirit is mine! (Takes down TV, folds it up neatly, puts it in purse or pocket or whatever, walks back to throne.)
MERCURY: Now you're getting it, my sweet, but there is another truth here as well. Even Mercury is not immune from the constant erosion of time.
In the name of Annah the Allmaziful,
FRATER GEMINI: Hey Mr. Big Shot Producer, won't you join us in something a little more non-verbal?
VIRGO: (Clearly in denial, and distressed) It's all about Mercury news! We complete their day! Our Great Talking Head is the brightest star in the heavens!
MERCURY: Don't worry about him, friends. He's just freaking out a little. He'll get over it. Brother Gemini, won't you please do something spontaneous and expressive in honor of your Sister the Virgin?
Danceable music plays, something a little sensuous (Arabian, Indian, Funk, etc.). Frater Gemini dances, expressing energy at Soror Gemini from all seven Chakras, making one complete circuit around Soror Gemini for each, starting with Muladhara. By Crown Chakra, he should be spinning as he moves around. He falls before altar. Soror Gemini and all Probationers circumambulate him three times, then face Mercury, with Soror Gemini nearby.
MERCURY: Come with me sister, and I'll show you the stars! (Takes Soror Gemini by the hand and joins Probationers, who help Frater Gemini up and walk to the West.)
VIRGO: (Alone at the altar) They're wrong, not me! It's all about Mercury!
Virgo has his moment of "collapse," culminating in speaking in tongues and convulsions on the floor. Mercury and others look on with bowed heads and compassionate but sad expressions. When he is done, he is helped up gently and escorted off by Probationers.
TV screens cut to static.
MERCURY: (Moves to center, whispers) StiBeTTChePhMeFShiSS
Another musical interlude (1-2 min.)
FRATER GEMINI: It is Accomplished! This concludes our Broadcast for today!
Segue soundtrack neatly for transition into all-night dancing.
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