Or, why I’m having trouble getting to sleep.
Setting: A mostly bare stage, with two windows above one another in the middle – curtains across them. An easel, bearing a whiteboard, or large pad of scribble paper, is to one side. There are a scattering of unmatched, upright wooden chairs around the stage.
Standing, facing the audience, and next to the easel, is the Main Voice – Ego. She is firm, tries to be loud. She has the air of an older sister, who thinks she is in charge, but has no real power over the other characters.
The only other named voice is Id – wearing loose hair, flowing light dress, a hippy star child. She is what Ego wishes she had the courage to be, and is totally unself-conscious about it.
There are three or four others on stage. They walk on and off, and swap clothes (hats, scarves, jackets) None of them maintains a train of monologue for long – ideas are passed on with the clothes.
Ego (coughing sharply, to attract attention): Right. That’s enough. Time to sleep. Let’s start with Byron’s “Darkness”.
The Others mostly come to attention, and stop moving about the stage, briefly.
Ego: All together now:
Chorus (starts willingly enough): I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguished and the stars
Did wander darkling in eternal space.
Voice 1 (Wanders to the front of the stage, while the poem continues in the background. Not directly addressing the audience): Darkling – that shows up in another poem. What was it?
Voice 2 (joining her near the front): Once by the Pacific? “Great waves looked over others coming in…”
Voice 3: No, it wasn’t that. It was the port one, something about “vapour brooding”
Voice 2: “Life’s long darkling way”
Connection made, the Voices rejoin the chorus
Chorus: Morn came and went and came and brought no light
And they forgot their passions in despair…
One of the Voices wanders over to the back of the stage, and pulls aside the curtains. The two windows show the same image – an electric clock reading 11:23. The curtains are redrawn, but there is a slight pause in the recitation, as Id gets up, and slowly starts to gyrate around the stage, arms outspread. The Voices give a collective shake, and resume.
Chorus: …. forgot their passions in their dread,
Of this, their desperation, and all hearts…
Id (Starts humming through the Chorus, and then breaks into singing): I have decided to leave you forever
I have decided to start things from here.
Thunder and lightning won’t change what I’m feeling
Chorus (slightly louder): and all hearts
Were chilled into a selfish prayer for light.
Id: And the daffodils looked lovely todaa-a-ay
Looked lovely todaa–ay.
Voice 2: Thank goodness it’s the Cranberries!
Voice 3: She’s just as likely to take up Baby Shark.
Voice 4: Shhhh! Don’t suggest it!! Do you remember
Voice 1: When she was stuck on
Voice 2: that blasted school song
Voice 4: “Come to Lushie”
Voice 3: for two whole weeks! I’ll take
Voice 1: Cranberries any day!
The curtains are briefly opened again. The clock now reads 11:34.
Ego: (Very insistent) Can we please?!?
Ego (gesturing at the easel): forgot their passions in their dread…
Chorus (obediently): of this, their desperation, and all hearts
were chilled into a selfish prayer for light.
Voice 3:We’ve already had this line. What comes next?
Id: There’s nooo need to argue any more.
Voice 4: Are we totally sure about that bathroom colour?
Id: I took all I could find, and left me so sore.
Voice 3: I wonder if the lighter green might be better?
Voice 1: I must remember to look again tomorrow.
Id: But the thing which makes me sad
Is the one thing that I had…
Curtains again. Clock reads 11:42
Ego (loudly): And they did live by bonfires, the thrones
The palaces of crowned kings
Chorus: (joining in with the wrong person!): Iiii knew, Iiii knew, I’d lose you…
Ego: … the huts, the habitations of all things that dwelt
Id: You’ll always be, special to me, to me.
Chorus (Sheepishly): Were burnt for beacons, cities were consumed,
And they were gathered round their burning homes
Id: Doop doo doo doo, doop doo doo doo, dooop doo doo doo.
Chorus: You’ll always be, special to me, to me.
Ego snapping: Fine! Man from Snow River it is, then.
“There was movement at the station
Chorus: eagerly: for the word had got around
That the colt from Old Regret had got away.
And had joined the wild bush horses
Id In the background, fading: Doop doo doo doo, doop doo doo doo, dooop doo doo doo.
Chorus becoming slower and quieter: He was worth a thousand pounds
And all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
Ego carrying the poem now: There was Harrison, who made his pile
When Pardon won the cup
An old man with his hair as white as snow.
Voice 3 – startling – : All earth was but one thought, and that was death!
Ego (continuing over, as they all slump to sleep):
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up
He would go where-ever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow…