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Act I

part 1


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Nicolae Sirius - Time Weeps (Timpul plânge)


Act I - part 1

Personages:
Gregor The Emperor
Relina The Emperor's wife
Oramov The Rival
Papace The Violin Player
Gogore The Scribe
Pengo The Painter
Soldier 1
Soldier 2
Sedom The Old Man
Oront The Superintendent
The Nameless Soldier
Arat The Priest
Patrin The Treasurer
Dalario The Lawyer
Garot The General
Almon The Palmist
Three maids
The Chamber Orchestra

Scene 1

Setting: An Imperial Chamber inside a Castle.
Three doors and two windows establish the connection between this room and the other parts of the castle. The furniture of the room consists of an old bookshelf filled with books, scrolls and papyruses, two armchairs, a cupboard filled with bottles and glasses of different descriptions, an inner staircase that leads to an inner balcony, a small table, a sofa, and a sand-clock.

Relina: (Looking through the window.) All I can see from this window is a hall. (Gazing towards Gregor.) And from that hall if I want to see further I cannot see more than a room. (Softly, sad, but ironically.) And from that room if I want to see further, I cannot see more than another hall. (Slightly agitated.) And from that hall...

Gregor: (Almost asleep in his armchair. Opens his eye only to have a short look at Relina.) Why then even a glimpse at the inside of this castle could make others happy?

Oramov: (Enters, after knocking at the door.) Your Majesty... (Gregor stares at him. Oramov smiles.) Your Majesty... (Gregor rises slowly from his armchair, yet undecided what he intends to do next he makes towards the sand-clock.)

Relina: (Softly, but decisive.) His Majesty is not feeling well!

Oramov: (Pretending he is in a good mood.) Would it be just because I was not here for a few days? (Gregor turns to Oramov.) Majesty! Papace... I brought him in to play for you. I brought him in with his entire orchestra.

Gregor: (Surprised.) Did I hear exactly what you said?

Oramov: (Smiling while makes it to the door.) Today I only brought him in with the Chamber Orchestra. (He opens widely the door so the Chamber Orchestra can be seen. Gregor turns his back on the scene and moves slowly towards his armchair.) As well, I brought in the painter. I know that once a year he has a day off but... (He opens another door. And Pengo appears on the threshold, holding in his hands a huge easel.) Would Your Majesty... (Approaching Gregor.) Would Your Majesty believe that?

Gregor: (Facing Oramov.) Should I believe what?

Oramov: (With a gesture in the air.) Papace... (Relina leaves the room.) Papace already has discovered...

Gregor: (Dubiously.) What else did he discover?

Oramov: (Full of importance.) While practicing his violin, he discovered sounds identical to the weeping of time.

Gregor: (Ironically.) And how does time weep?

Oramov: (Tactful.) This is why I brought Papace in... to prove it.

Gregor: But... why only Papace comes up with things like that?

Oramov: (Careful.) O, Majesty, how you take this news. (Short pause.) If Papace's discovery had not been real would I have allowed myself to come along with him in front of Your Majesty right in the first day of this year?

Gregor: (Still doubtful.) When then did he discover that?

Oramov: (Sure of himself.) Yesterday!

Gregor: Meaning?

Oramov: That's what he said!

Gregor: (Changing his mind.) Would the weeping of time be connected with the closing of the year... and nothing else...

Oramov: (Leaving the phrase in suspense.) I thought so, too... but...

Gregor: (Not pleased. Goes to the left door and looks sharply into the painter's eyes.) Is that true?

Pengo: (Frightened.) Ma... Ma...

Gregor: (Sarcastic.) Is Ma? what do you mean by ...Majesty?

Pengo: (As suffocated.) Ma...

Oramov: (Reverting Gregors' attention.) But does time weep everywhere the same? (Gregor turns and looks at Oramov as if the question were addressed to him. While Oramov tactfully continues.) This is exactly how I questioned Papace.

Gregor: (Trying to listen further, motions Pengo to arrange his easel by the window.) Quick... And put on the canvas what you hear! (To Oramov.) And?

Oramov: Nevertheless... that was the most important point... (Slight pause.) Papace looked at me, and, then... (Relina enters the room. Oramov approaches Gregor and speaks in a lower voice.) Then... (Relina takes a bottle from the bar and pours brandy in a glass. Oramov intends to show Gregor that what follows could not be told in the presence of others... Relina approaches the painter.) Then...

Gregor: (Looking around a little disturbed.) Then...?

Pengo: (Bows in front of Relina, murmuring.) Fascinated!

Oramov: (To Gregor. With a short look towards Pengo.) He is accustomed to mumble too much!

Relina: (To Pengo.) Why should you? (Stepping unintentionally on her long dress she loses her balance and spills some brandy... crying softly.) Why this?

Gregor: (Looks at Relina. And suddenly, as if in the army, he turns on his heels and takes from the bookshelf a small silver bell, which he rings loudly. Recognizing the signal, three maids appear on the threshold, jostling one another at the entrance.) Do you require a special invitation? (The maids feeling guilty bend their heads down, remain motionless. Relina leaves the room.) Her Majesty wanted to be waited on and had taken the trouble of going to the bar.

Oramov: (Towards the maids... almost whispering.) Such a tragedy!

Gregor: (Turning to Oramov.) Did you say something?

Oramov: (Pointing towards maids.) Yes. I said it would be better to offer them a place in the Chamber Orchestra.

Gregor: (As if enjoying a game.) Oh yes, to learn from them a lyrical song.

Oramov: (Entertaining to Gregor.) Or time how weeps.

Gregor: (As if pleased. Approaching the maids.) Suppose the time just weeps for me. But for how long has it been weeping for, I want to know.

Maid 1: (Raising her eyes.) Weeping for You, Your Majesty?

Oramov: (To himself.) No doubt that for him is weeping...

Gregor: (Gazing at maids.) ...If not for me, for whom then?

Oramov: (Moving towards maids.) It might be time weeping for me.

Maid 2: Neither for you nor for him alone.

Oramov: Is then time weeping in vain?

Maid 1: Would time weep... I even don't know that.

Relina enters the room wearing a new dress. She makes to the bar and fills a glass of brandy. Pengo looks at her attentively and bows. Relina looks in turn at him, sight, and moves to the window.

Gregor: Fiddler!

Papace: (From the hall.) At Your Orders... Your...

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) Come in. (Papace enters and bows in front of Gregor.) Explain to them what you discovered yesterday! Papace: (Examines the maids with a cool eye and then turns to Gregor.) Your Majesty, this is not for them...

Gregor: Why not?

Papace: (Tactful. Looking in Gregor's eyes.) Since I saw them... (Slight pause. Relina leaves the room, unnoticed.) Since I saw them first...

Gregor: Precisely!

Papace: (Emphatically.) ...Their minds!

Gregor: What is with their minds?

Papace: They are just good for assisting the negative not the positive forces.

Gregor: Why that?

Papace: Because their minds are not ripe!

Gregor: (While rings a silver bell twice.) Call the superintendent!

Oront: (Entering the room.) At Your orders...

Gregor: (Interrupting him while showing the maids.) Why were they employed here if their minds are not ripe?

Oront: (Perplexed.) Ripe?

Gregor: I mean able to understand subtle goings on.

Oront: (Looking in turn to Gregor and maids.) I doubt that I understand ...Your Majesty. You said subtle goings on?

Gregor: Papace has just discovered how time weeps... And I asked them whom the time is weeping for and they did not know.

Oront: Your Majesty... they are simply maids.

Gregor: And?

Oront: They would not understand more that the other maids understand.

Gregor: Then, why did you employ them here?

Oront: Count Marut asked me to employ them and that was that.

Gregor: Didn't the Count know who should be employed here?

Oront: I supposed he knew it.

Gregor: Has it not been your role to know if the Count would performed precisely his own role?

Oront: (Calm.) I should have paid more attention to this. But now...

Gregor: Now, what?

Oront: (Looking in turn at all of them.) Let's put ourselves in their situation...

Gregor: (Growing angry.) What? Should I replace the maids?

Oront: (Still calm.) Clemency, Your Majesty! If you don't take on their feelings, then whom...

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) Worth!

Oront: Clemency, Your Majesty. I lost myself and I made a mistake.

Gregor: (Coming towards Oront.) It was not a mistake... (Short pause.) You are skilful enough not to make any mistakes!

Oramov: (Coming towards Oront.) It was an insult with premeditation. This is why you have to be paid for...

Oront: What payment? (Gregor turns his back while ringing the bell. Somebody opens widely a door.) Majesty! Your Majesty! Time does not weep... Majesty, maybe Papace...

Oramov takes Oront by the hand to the door and closes the door behind him. Then he turns towards the maids. And with the gesture of a conductor in front an orchestra he suggests to the maids to recite together. The maids look at each other and mumble something unclear while he firmly goes on reciting: Oh, Oront does not yet know. Time weeps and weeps so softly. Is he the one who doesn't know why this weeping is secret? Not to share with him his faith join right now this string orchestra and sing why time weeps for those who do not obey the law.

Gregor: Too much! (Signaling Papace to come to him.) Play what you discovered yesterday!

Papace: (First bows to Gregor.) By myself?

Gregor: What do you mean?

Papace: Should I play it with the Chamber Orchestra?

Gregor: (Signals Papace to invite orchestra.) Bring them in! (Papace moves to the door where the Chamber Orchestra was left, and motions it to follow him.) To the balcony... (The Chamber Orchestra moves to the balcony. At Papace's signal the orchestra starts playing the weeping of time. Oramov fills a glass of wine, drinks it quickly. Re-fills the glass and drinks a bit... Then he takes the maids by the hand and leads them to the orchestra. He returns and drinks his glass of wine, looking attentively at Gregor. The maids cry softly. Gregor rings the silver bell a few times. Papace signals the orchestra to resume its playing. Gregor turns to Papace and makes a sign to continue playing.) Why did you stop playing?

Papace: (To Gregor.) The maids started to cry.

Gregor: And?

Papace: I don't understand what they think when they cry...

Gregor: This should not concern you. (Papace bows, turns and signals the orchestra to continue its playing.) Should not concern you too much.

Gogore: (From the threshold of the door keeping in his hands a few dossiers.) Right at Your Orders, Your Majesty!

Gregor: Why these dossiers with you?

Oramov: (To Gregor.) I gave him something to work the night of the New Year. (To Gogore.) Put them back! (Smiling at Gregor.) Not long ago a great composer invited me to conduct the Blue Orchestra.

Gregor: (Surprised.) Blue Orchestra?

Oramov: (Stressing.) Yes. A special orchestra... that used to play only at unusual funerals.

Gregor: Unusual?

Oramov: Yes. Unusual funerals...(Short pause.) Funerals... where no one used to cry.

Gregor: (Surprised.) ...No one?

Oramov: (Stressing.) During the ceremony those invited could dance, whisper, clap their hands at the entrance of a beautiful woman or, tired, had to go home.

Gregor: (Again captured by the story.) But the funerals... did the funerals take place in the daytime? (Relina opens the right door and listen.) Or did they take place at night?

Oramov: At twilight, and after.

Gregor: (Signals Oramov to resume his speech.) Why don't you take notes, Gogore? Don't you think that what you have just heard might concern you?

Gogore: (With a feeling of guilt.) It does concern Your Majesty!

Gregor: (Scornfully.) Don't sleep now in the shed of regrets and take notes carefully. (Signaling Oramov to continue.) Interesting!

Oramov: All those who were dying were worshiped because it was believed that they died here but arose in another life. There...

Relina: (Entering the room.) Should we listen to such sad music exactly the first day of the year?

Gregor: Why then Papace came to play for me?

Oramov: (Worried at Gregor's slight irony.) O, Majesty how you turn things round. I brought Papace to...

Gregor: (To Relina.) Leave this alone... because it is something utterly important.

Relina: Again about...

Gregor: (Avoiding a direct answer.) Yet... Yet I can not understand how this would be possible...

Relina: What do you mean?

Gregor: (Pointing to Oramov.) What he was just telling me not doubt would bewilder a weaker mind... yet I decipher the escape gate behind the story.

Relina: (Fed up.) Again about... Again the escape gate...

Gregor: (Firmly.) No! These of whom he spoke right now, had already rose in another world...

Relina: (Turns her back. While approaching Pengo.) I wish you would finish what I asked you to long ago.

Pengo: (To Gregor. As it complaining.) Your Majesty...

Gregor: (Kind, to Relina.) Leave him accomplish what I have just asked him to.

Relina: (Ironic.) Of course I leave him... Even he doesn't know what he is doing!

Relina exits. Gregor signals Pengo to continue his work. Meanwhile the back door is opened and two armed soldiers bring in an old man, by force. Gregor looks surprised towards them. Oramov approaches the orchestra and whispers a few words to Papace. Papace nods, looking towards Gregor, while Gogore catches a sight of them and takes notes.

Soldier 1: Your Majesty...

Gregor: What else has happened?

Soldier 1: We found him on the Island of Sadness. He was speaking...

Gregor: Let him speak, if he speaks, for himself. The danger arises when he speaks for a group.

Soldier 2: He was speaking in front of a rock.

Gregor: That's not bad either.

Soldier 1: Across the rock there is a valley.

Gregor: And?

Soldier 1: It echoes like any valley.

Gregor: Aha! (Passing in front of the painter's easel.) The valley you are drawing here looks like a mountain.

Oramov: (Coming closer and pointing at the drawing.) Indeed! (Softly in Pengo's ear.) Turn this mountain up-side down, you idiot!

Pengo: (To Gregor.) I will turn it!... Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Ignoring the painter. To the soldier.) Who exactly was behind that valley?

Soldier 2: A hill.

Gregor: Hill, hill... or something else?

Soldier 1: (Emphatically.) A hill, but on top of it was a boulder.

Gregor: (Vexed.) And?

Soldier 1: Behind that boulder was another man communicating with the one that we just caught.

Gregor: Hard to imagine where the old people find places to hide and conspire!

Soldier 2: If Your Majesty allows us, we'll tell you what they were talking about.

Gregor: (Smiling.) Would otherwise the story of the rock and the valley be important to me?

Soldier 2: (Oramov makes a discrete sign to the soldiers.) Should we bring the other old man?

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) There is no need, now. I'll first check on the gravity of their talk. (Pause. Oramov signals the soldiers to keep their heads down.) ...Then I will ask Gogore to pass in writing the judgement they should meet. (Gogore stands up and remains for a while motionless. Oramov whispers something to Papace. Gogore catches sight on them.) Or, simply, I will ring the bell!

Soldier 1: Majesty...

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) I will do the same with you!

Soldier 1: (Frightened.) We caught him, Your Majesty. We did not...

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) I could punish them even before they would see me. Yet this is not what I find important.

Oramov: (Makes a sign to the soldier to begin their narration quicker. To Gregor.) They related first what they saw... now they should relate what they heard.

Gregor: (Ignores Oramov. Signals the soldiers to begin their narration.) I'm listening!

Soldier 2: "Imagine! While I was playing chess..."

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) Who said this?

Soldier 2:The other old man.

Gregor: The one you did not bring in?

Soldier 2: Yes, Your Majesty. But we could not catch him... but heard him...

Gregor: Lift up your right hand when you narrate what he said.

Soldier 2: (Lifting his right arm and beginning again.) "Imagine. While I was playing chess with a general..."

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) Which general?

Soldier 2: (Letting his right hand down.) I don't know your Majesty.

Gregor: Aha!

Soldier 2: (Lifting his right hand up.) "The idiot started to cheat."

The sound of a church bell is heard in the vicinity.

Gregor: (Signaling him to resume his narration.) Can't you hear the bell of the church?

Sedom: (Looking towards Gregor.) What music!

Gregor: (Surprised.) Shut up!

Sedom: Oh, no...

Gregor: Shut up!

Sedom: Who is there singing for me?

Gregor: (Walking up and down the room.) Shut up!

Sedom: ...Again all is quiet!

Gregor: I'll kill you if you don't shut up!

Sedom: But the sound of the bell...

Gregor: (Growing angry.) Can't you shut up?

Sedom: O, no, they are my friends. And how I wish to be with them. But how could I ... when now I am here... and feel like in the womb of a spider.

Gregor: (Signaling the soldiers. The soldiers push the old man to the floor.) How dare you speak like that?

Sedom: (Struggling.) And who are you to punish me for what I speak?

Gregor: (To soldiers.) Is he mad?

Soldier 1: Your Majesty...

Sedom: (Almost breathlessly.) I know who I am!

Gregor: (Stoops over the old man. Stands up and signals the painter. The latter comes quickly.) What do you see here?

Pengo: Here?

Gregor: Don't look in my eyes, idiot! Look in the old man's eyes! (Turning towards the soldiers.) Take the old man in front of the easel! (To Pengo.) A good painter... a good one indeed, paints not with colors or brushes... a good painter sees through the eyes what is inside the self. Do you hear?

Pengo: Yes, Your Majesty?

Gregor: Then, not to offend the emperor's lance you have to understand the emperor's mind. Clear?

Pengo: Yes, Your Majesty!

Gregor: And you? (Soldiers look at each other in confusion.) The sound of the bell of the church faints away.

Soldier 1: (Confused.) Faints?

Gregor: Faints away, idiot!

Soldier 2: Should we pull the bell again?

Gregor: No, you poor thing. (Coming closer to them.) Continue your narration!

Soldier 2: (Lifting up his right arm.) "Imagine! While I was playing chess with a general, the idiot..."

Gregor: You already told me this.

Soldier 2: (Continuing.) "The idiot started to cheat."

Gregor: The general?

Soldier 2: Yes, Your Majesty.

Gregor: When you narrate lift up your right arm properly.

Soldier 2: (Lifting his right hand.) "I was deep in thought... I wasn't concentrating much on the game, because I knew I'd win it anyway."

Gregor: Aha!

Soldier 2: "But he was waiting for a sign of inattention on my part. And immediately stole a mountain and a hill from my enlarging domain."

Gregor: (Looking questioningly at the soldier.) Is that so?

Soldier 2: (Letting his right hand down.) Yes, Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Signaling to him to continue.) Aha!

Soldier 2: (Lifting his right hand.) "I let him do it pretending that I hadn't noticed it. He waited again for another moment of inattention. And tried to steal the greatest of seas from my oldest kingdom. (Short pause. Gregor looks suspiciously at the soldier. The latter looks frightened but tries to play his role better, taking a step forward and stressing.) I challenged him... demolished all his chessmen! And with a move of my sword in front of his head I made him checkmate."

Gregor: Would this be proven not to be true I will make you checkmate, too!

Soldier 2: (Frightened.) It is what I heard Your Majesty.

Soldier 1: (Signaled by Oramov to begin his narration.) "Oh, me, oh, me..."

Gregor: (Taken by surprise.) What's wrong with you?

Soldier 1: Nothing, Your Majesty. This is how the other old man began to speak...

Gregor: (Pointing to Sedom.) This man, you mean.

Soldier 1: Yes Your Majesty.

Gregor: Lift up your right hand then and continue!

Soldier 1: "Oh, me, while I was playing parido* with a soldier who had appeared in front of me to regain a province his empire claimed, I saw in his mind how the entire waters of the oceans were troubled and how he alone, as if the king of his empire, ordered the ships to leave or to anchor at shore, preparing hurriedly against me a war that was to bring him the greatest fame.

Gregor: I cannot believe it!

Soldier 1: (Continuing.) I was playing quietly; he was looking at me morosely. When the waters in his mind dried up, noticing how great my technique was, he retracted, throwing himself at my feet for a cigar butt I had thrown away. This is the habit of the penniless soldier. He quickly realize it, stood up and started to scream to an imaginary general, that if the latter ever contradicted an order again he would... "

Pengo: (Rushing towards Gregor.) Your Majesty...

Gregor: (Calm.) What happened?

Pengo: The old man... the old man... (Gregor approaching Sedom.) He can not wake up!

Gregor: Why not?

Pengo: I found myself wandering while looking in his eyes...

Gregor: Wondering?

Pengo: There was a valley... (Relina opens the door and listen.) And...

Gregor: How could there be a valley in his eyes?

Pengo: Yes, and not only...

Gregor: (Surprised.) What else could you see?

Pengo: I could see a hill...

Gregor: A Hill?

Pengo: Three rivers sprang from the foot of this hill. Three virgins were bathing in those rivers, singing.

Gregor: Hills? Singing?

Pengo: Green hills.

Gregor: (Ironically) And virgins singing!

Pengo: Yes, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Singing what?

Pengo: The passing of time.

Gregor: Passing of time?

Pengo: (Singing.) The passing of time, the passing of time is the only thing we are sure of.

Gregor: Then why did the old man died?

Pengo: I did not ask him.

Gregor: Idiot! You cast an evil eye on him, for sure. (Turning to Gogore.) Tell me how those bewitched by the evil eye die... What can be seen in their eyes?

Relina comes in. Tells Oramov something that could not be heard on the stage and leaves. Oramov follows her.

Gogore: (Rummaging through the books on a library-shelf.) I am looking, Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Addressing the Solder 1) When you heard the old man speaking was it day or was it night?

Soldier 1: It was twilight when we saw and heard him but we caught him just a little bit after nightfall.

Gregor: Oramov... (Looking around.) Did he leave? (Shouting.) Oramov!

Oramov: (Coming in quickly.) What happened?

Gregor: The old man...

Oramov: What about him?

Gregor: Don't look at me, look at him! (Signaling Papace, who approaches Gregor in haste. Papace listens carefully, makes a bow and signaling the orchestra they leave quietly the room.)

Oramov: Is this not amazing?

Gregor: Amazing?

Oramov: Did he...

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) You've just told me that you have conducted the Blue Orchestra.

Oramov: (Frightened.) Yes I did.

Gregor: Did you see him while you conducted that orchestra?

Oramov: (As for himself.) Who can he be?

Gregor: Or maybe he...

Oramov: I've seen him only once... but in my mind.

Gogore: (Reading from a book.) When one dies bewitched by the evil eye what is left in his eyes is a valley flooded with grass, a snake, an apple and a woman offering one a jug of water.

Gregor: Gogore, you lost your mind! Is that the Book of Death, or you cited a passage from somewhere else?

Gogore: (Walking towards Gregor.) This is the Book...

Gregor: (Signaling him not to come closer.) I can hear. You don't need to come closer. (Pause.) Explain it to me.

Gogore: (Reading carefully from the book.) The valley represents the depth of your resting place. The snake is the one taking you there. The apple is the hill you cannot climb up anymore, and the woman offering you a jug of water is the empire always weeping for you, if you were an emperor.

Gregor: Then it is true that he was an emperor, as the soldiers said.

Soldier 1: Yes, Your Majesty!

Soldier 2: How could we tell a lie?

Gregor: (Turning towards the soldiers.) Shut up!

Oramov: (Bending over the old man and looking into his eyes for a few seconds than departing.) Except darkness no other thing could be seen in his eyes.

Pengo: (Bending over the old man.) Here is a valley... Here is a hill...

Gregor: (Without moving close to the old man.) I don't see anything.

Oramov: (To Pengo.) What does that valley look like?

Pengo: Green.

Gregor: (Takes out of his pocket a magnifying glass. Oramov signals Pengo to step away. Gregor bends over the old man.) It is not green. And it is not purple. (To Gogore.) What else did you say?

Gogore: (Trembling.) What?

Gregor: What else did you describe...

Gogore: A snake...

Gregor: Snake?

Pengo: Yes, Your Majesty, a snake. And an apple and...

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) Wait till I check on it.

Gogore: That's what the book says.

Gregor: I will see if it is so or if you read from your own mind.

Gogore: I try not to make any mistake, Your Majesty.

Oramov: Your Majesty, I don't think that we need the soldiers here anymore.

Gregor: I understand. But lock them in a cell.

Oramov: (Making a discrete sign to the soldiers.) In a cell?

Gregor: (Firmly.) Until the cause of the death of the old man can be elucidated...

Oramov followed by the soldiers leave the room.

Gogore: Your Majesty...

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) Where is the snake Gogore?

Gogore: (Dropping the book from his hands.) The snake?

Gregor: (Turning towards Pengo.) You have just described what you saw in the old man's eyes... "I could see a valley, I could see a hill... Three rivers sprang from the foot of the hill. Three virgins were bathing in those rivers, singing." (Pengo nods in agreement.) Where exactly did you see all these?

Pengo: In the eyes of the old man... I already drew them to present them to Your Majesty...

Gregor: (Oramov enters the room without being noticed, stops in front of the bar, takes a bottle of wine and drinks from it breathlessly.) Why, if you saw in the eyes of the old man those things I could not see them too? And instead I saw three spears and the Moon and the Sun and the Earth fallen through them?

Pengo: O, Your Majesty!

Gregor: Shut up! (Turning towards Gogore.) Try to find out why this old man died! (To Pengo.) Show me what you have drawn!

Pengo: (Brings a drawing.) This is what...

Gregor: (Surprised.) What's this?

Pengo: Ma... Ma... Ma...

Gregor: (Nervous.) Ma!

Gogore: (Taking from the bookshelf a book and reading.) The Moon, the Sun, the Earth...and... and...

Oramov: (To Gogore. Whispering.) And three spears!

Gogore: (Turning his back on Oramov.) If it were for a single star... he might had been a poet.

Gregor: (Angry.) Look for what you must! (Sarcastically.) Or you want me to get rid of you? (To Pengo.) Bring in, Oramov!

Pengo: (Looking towards Oramov.) Ma...

Oramov: (Letting the bottle down.) I just came in, Your Majesty. And exactly what I was thinking about. How this won't be true?

Gregor: (Surprised.) True? What do you mean by that?

Oramov: I mean the Moon, the Sun and the Earth...

Gregor: (To Pengo.) Look after Papace! (To Oramov.) Where are the soldiers?

Oramov: Both of them in the same cell!

Papace: (Coming in, followed by Pengo.) At Your orders, Your Majesty!

Gregor: (To Papace.) What does Oramov know and I don't know?

Papace: How should I know that, Your Majesty?

Gregor: Even you don't know what he knows?

Gogore: Your Majesty, if You allow me...

Gregor: (Ignoring Gogore he looks in turn at Oramov, Papace and Pengo.) Three spears! But who could see this?

Gogore: (Insisting.) I have just found... and the book reads in part...

Gregor: (Signaling Pengo, Oramov and Papace to leave the room. Then he turns to Gogore.) How are you sure Gogore that I could see the Moon, the Sun and the Earth in the eyes of the old man?

Gogore: (Hardly keeping the book in his hands.) Your Majesty, the book reads in part: the Moon is the valley, the Sun is the apple, the Earth is the snake and the spears...

Gregor: I know the spear... (Short pause.) Look for Pengo.

Pengo: (Enters, followed by Gogore.) At Your orders...

Gregor: (Ignoring his salute.) Are the virgins still bathing in those rivers?

Pengo: (Afraid.) I don't know Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Angry.) Bring in Oramov! (To Gogore.) Don't look on the walls! Try to find what you must!

Oramov: (Enters, followed by Pengo.) It seems that something went wrong today...

Gregor: (Pointing at the old man.) You told me that once you saw him in your mind.

Oramov: (Sure of himself.) Yes!

Gregor: How was he traveling? By sea? By land?

Oramov: He was no traveling.

Gregor: No?

Oramov: He was just sitting on a rock on the top of a hill.

Gregor: (Turning towards Gogore.) At my request concerning the death of the old man you confirmed: "When you die of the evil eye what is left in your eyes is a valley flooded with grass, a snake, an apple and a woman offering one a jug of water".

Gogore: (Shocked.) I was just reading this from The Book of Dying and Living, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Nothing is clear... (Pointing towards Pengo and Oramov to leave the room. To Gogore.) Fetch Almon! Gogore exits and returns followed by Almon.

Almon: At your service, Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Pointing towards Sedon.) Let me know why his life came to an end when no one was expecting it!

Almon: Your Majesty, from the very beginning everyone's life has a mark on it.

Gregor: Meaning?

Almon: (Looking into the old man's palm.) Who cut his life?

Gregor: (Relina opens a door and listens...) Meaning?

Almon: (Reading the old man's palm.) His life starts at the bottom free of any danger. (Pause.) And...

Gregor: And?

Almon: He comes to a main road.

Gregor: Who?

Almon: I mean his life. And is going on so for a while. But... (Short pause.) There...

Gregor: There what?

Almon: (Pointing.) There are a few paths intersecting with his life.

Gregor: Leave out all those paths that intersect with his life... and say clearly the cause of his death.

Almon: I'll get to that also, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Tell me if he was doomed to die by the hand of a man or if his days were numbered.

Almon: Yes, Your Majesty. (Looking more carefully.) He gets to a hill. And...

Gregor: And?

Almon: (Wondering.) So many... so many...

Gregor: So many, what?

Almon: (Still wondering.) So many paths and crossroads close to the top of this hill that his life moves through them almost unseen, as a river runs under the earth.

Gregor: (Nervously.) Forget this jungle of paths and crossroads... and see solely why he died of.

Almon: (Pointing.) This is the place from where he looks back with a kind of regret.

Gregor: Leave out his regrets...

Almon: (Concentrated.) But, strange... Here, he is on the margin of the river and, there he is on the other side of the river. How could he be in two places at the same time...

Gregor: (Nervous.) Leave out the crossroads, paths, margins of the river and regrets...

Almon: To live them out?

Gregor: Yes!

Almon: (Frightened.) Without them I can not explain...

Gregor: Then be quick, or I'll die by the time you explain it to me.

Almon: Yes, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Come on, you idiot!

Almon: There is something unusual here.

Gregor: Namely?

Almon: There is a something...

Gregor: Namely?

Gregor: Could it be taken as a snake but it is not. And it is neither a road.

Gregor: Precisely!

Almon: It is similar to a draft of wind, which still unseen can move up or down small branch of trees.

Gregor: (Furious.) Are you dreaming? (Short pause.) ....Let me know what this man died of!

Almon: I'll get there too, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Quicker!

Almon: There are tree rivers. I mean two smaller rivers spring from a bigger one.

Gregor: (Fed up.) Now you are learning, scoundrel!

Almon: Forgiveness, Your Majesty. They are not rivers they are tongues of the snake.

Gregor: Tongues of snake?

Almon: Tongues of the snake coming out of an apple.

Gregor: Don't they come out of the snake any more or have you lost your mind?

Almon: Oh yes, Your Majesty! But they are all so close here that you don't know where they come out anymore.

Gregor: Look carefully scoundrel... Don't mistake anything anymore... or you'll lose your life!

Almon: Oh, here we are!

Gregor: Aha!

Almon: Here is a hand... grasping with all its might. The old man tries to escape but... he cannot. He is like in the web of a spider...

Gregor: (Shocked.) Hand? (Taking the magnifying glass out of his pocket and looking through it.) I still can not see that hand...

Almon: Right here... If this hand were not to come against him, he could have lived his life on.

Gregor: (Looking carefully into Almons' eyes.) Who's been that hand?

Almon: I don't know, Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Fainting. Almon helps him to sit on his armchair.) How a hand could cut short somebody's life?

Almon: I really don't know...

Gregor: (Breathlessly.) But how this could be true?

Almon: I don't know...

The lights dim from white to red as in a sunset. Short pause. And the silence is broken by Oramov's voice: Time weeps, and weeps so softly... If you want...

The Chamber Orchestra starts playing the same song. Gregor opens his eyes a bit but closes them again. As a distant echo Gogore's voice is heard: Your Majesty, anything I have just read to you were passages from the Book of Dead. The light dims slowly till the stage is covered in darkness.


Inapoi