While this play is presented for an all male cast, there is no reason why it should not be performed by an all female cast instead. Simply change the appropriate pronouns. If a mixed cast is desired, then the Slave may be of the opposite gender to the other characters.
CASTRONGO: A short man, Rongo is extremely obese. He looks like a beach ball with arms and legs. His hair is black, and his eyebrows are large and bushy.
MORT: Mort is thin and tall, so much so that he has to stoop to walk through doorways. His skin is pale and his eyes yellowed and rheumy.
MR DEATH: Mr Death is the stereotypical innkeeper. He is of midling height, wears a dirty apron, and has ruddy cheeks. He is rather fat, and could almost be described as Roly-Poly.
THE SLAVE: The slave is thin and emaciated. He crawls along the ground, never looking up.
SCENE 1The four characters are on dusty barren plain. Some dull looking hills can be seen in the far distance. There are no plants or animals visible. No sun, moon, or stars can be seen in the sky which is a washed out blue. The light is dim, like that when the sun is just below the horizon in the long night of the high latitudes. The companions are standing around a pile of sea-chests, trunks and suitcases. Some small flags on bamboo poles are stuck in top of the pile. The Slave is snuffling along on the ground. He is dressed in simple threadbare clothes of dull colours. Rongo is shading his eyes with his hand, and staring off into the distance. He is dressed in black trousers with suspenders, black shoes with spats, and a white ruffled shirt. All are splattered with food and dirt. Mort is sitting on a chest, his head balenced on his hands. Although he appears to be staring at a globe of the world on the ground in front of him, he is clearly deep in thought. Mr Death, a wide grin on his face is standing to one side, holding a flag on a bamboo pole. He thrusts the pole into the ground.
MR DEATH: Companions! We have crossed the etheric divide and are now standing on a new world! We have acomplished what no others in the history of the realm have thought, for we alone are here, and are therefore pioneers. Inhabitants of this sphere! I call on you to submit yourselves to our scrutiny!A roll of thunder is heard, far away and in the distance. The Slave stops snuffling and cowers in fear. None of the others seem to notice. Rongo walks across and kicks the Slave.
RONGO: (Still staring) I do not beleive that we are here. This is but an illusion. We are standing in a huge Lanthorn Electrica and before long my ceasless scrutiny will percieve the line between ground and sky, and we shall escape from this madman's folly. There! (starting forward, then stopping) No! I thought I had it, but it was just the wind on the horizon. (He continues searching)
MORT: On considering our situation, I believe Death is right. We are on a new continent, although where it could be I have no perception. (He spins the globe) I tentitavely suggest it lies somewhere to the east of New Holland, and west of the Sandwich Isles. I suggest we deploy the sextant, and take readings from the stars to determine our exact location. (He peers into the sky, looking for stars) When the stars come out, that is.
MR DEATH: Capital! A reading of the stars should determine exactly where in the Etheric Plane this world lies. In the meantime I again call on the inhabitants of this sphere to show themselves. Arise! Arise! Mglw Wfthagn! (He strides aound the pile of cases shouting "Arise". The Slave continues snuffling the ground)
RONGO: Lift yourself sniveling cretin! That you should live while others are left alone! I question the wisdom of the almighty! (He strides away from the Slave as another rumble is heard. The Slave creeps across towards the cases and hudles against one.) I don't understand why you insisted on bringing him Mort! He is nothing but extra bagage, a human portmanteu or overnight bag.He begins pulling cases out of the pile and putting them into another pile, softly whistling an eerie off key tune. It is one strange phrase, obviously part of a larger whole, repeated over and over.
MORT: He is a well trained scholar and geographer, esential to my mapping of this continent. Here! (Shouting at the Slave) Map those hills! Use the scale of Mercator, and a twenty cubit sheet. You have ten minutes! (He kicks sand at the Slave who nods his head and begins making vauge scratchings in the sand with his finger)
MR DEATH: I propose that we begin a trek towards those hills. This plain is clearly too baren to support life. The hills will trap rain and create a veritable Eden. The inhabitants will obviously live there.
MORT: (Walking over to check on the Slave's progress) Tripe! Offal! (He scuffs out the Slave's scratchings with his shoe.) You have five minutes!He strides across and begins removing cases from Mr Death's pile and placing them on a pile of his own. The Slave begins scratching at the earth again, but starts when another rumble of thunder is heard, this time louder and noticably closer.
RONGO: Arragh! Fuullghg! Oorgghf! (He falls to the ground clutching at his throat and rolls around) It moved! It moved! (Regaining his composure and sitting up) Or did it remain still? My memory is clouded. It was certainly terible, but which would be more terrible? Movement or the lack thereof? (He shakes his head, and stands up) I must clear my mind, it has become most.......He slowly begins removing cases from Mort's pile, and puts them on the origional pile. The Slave begins to softly hum as he scratches. It is a strange melody, similar to Mr Death's but with more variation. No one notices
MR DEATH: (Ceasing to pile cases) I beleive the time is right! We will start for the hills imediately. (He pulls a compass out of his pocket and starts planting flags in the ground, seemingly at random, but taking compass bearings before planting each one.) The journey will take one day and one night. (The impression is given that this is an order rather than a supposition. The thunder comes again, this time almost overhead. The Slave flinches.)He walks away and sits on a chest. He pulls a snuff box out of his pocket. Opening it up he pulls out a short metal twig, and with this proceeds to stir the contents of the box around. Rongo continues to sit by the Slave who begins scratching at the ground again. The thunder sounds directly above. The Slave looks up with an expresion of fear. None of the others notice.
RONGO: I say! (He stops piling cases and walks over towards the Slave). Mort! Have you ever seen anything so singular! (He points at the Slave's scratchings)
MORT: (Dropping a case and walking over) What has he done now? (He stares at the scratchings uninterestedly) A map of the hills, what is so singular about that?
RONGO: Do not you see? (He crouches down and points at the various scratchings.) This is the symbol for "He" or "It". This for "Large" or "Great". This one here means "Discovery"!
MORT: Nonsense. I see no such thing. (He scuffs out the markings with his foot) Do it again! Two minutes.
MORT: (Snapping the box shut decisively and standing up). Death! That pole is in the wrong place. (He strides over and pulls it out the ground. He wanders around for a second and puts it back in almost the same place) There! You should find your task easier now!A huge roll of thunder sounds. The lights go out. The Slave screams.
MR DEATH: And by what means do you divine this? My calculations are perfect!
MORT: None the less, that pole was positioned incorrectly. As is this one. (He pulls up another flag and throws it aside.) And this one! (He continues around pulling up all the flags, becoming more violent with each one. Death races around behind him, planting them back in the ground)
MR DEATH: No! Do not! Cease! You don't understand!
RONGO: What old chap?
SLAVE: Na ma ta la! Ro mor go! (He points at the sky) Momomomomo (His voice fades away as he hides his head in his arms)
RONGO: I say (Standing up) You two! Come and look at this!
This bizzare tract is ©Copyright Denys the Purple Wyrm 1996-2001