Romanian Voice
Act I

part 2

Nicolae Sirius - Time Weeps (Timpul plânge)

Act I - part 2

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 2

(Gregor, Sedom.)

Some noise. As if it heralds a fight between two men. And only the middle of the stage is covered in a yellow to red light. Gregor pushes Sedom to the floor. The light dims till nothing on the stage can be seen clearly.

Scene 3

(Yellow light. Back stage. Gregor, Almon.)

Almon: All roads come to an end here.

Gregor: Where?

Almon: Here. These roads resemble the shape of a man.

Gregor: (Softly.) It looks like it.

Almon: But here is a hand.

Gregor: Where?

Scene 4

Slight sound. As a summer wind whispers among the reeds. Yellow to red light increases in intensity. Gregor in his sleep moves his hands trying to catch something. A sharp noise and Gregor's voice accompanying it: Is this my own hand? (He gets up and looks around, frightened. The light dims until Gregor can not be seen clearly

Scene 5

(Gregor, Papace.)

Yellow light growing slowly in intensity. Papace enters the room. He stops bows. Gregor looks at Papace but says nothing. From behind the door a soft sound of steps. Both of them look in the same direction. Gregor signals Papace to open the door. Papace makes it to the door. Then, as if he needs a new confirmation before opening the door he looks again towards Gregor.

Papace: (Opens the door and looks briefly at the hall.) Nothing else but a shadow of a woman!

Gregor: (Surprised.) Shadow of a woman?

Papace: Maybe, Her Majesty Relina was passing by.

Gregor: (With a long sigh.) And I, ...never could I see her shadow. (Short pause) Would indeed be Her Majesty at this hour on the hall?

Papace: Because of Your Majesty she might not sleep.

Gregor: I, too, could not sleep. And so frequently I dream of my childhood.

The light goes off.

Scene 6

(Gregor. Sleeping in his armchair.)

Sound of stormy rain. And a lightening engulfs for a moment the whole room.

Scene 7

(Gregor, Papace.)

The room is bathed in a diffuse light.

Papace: (Quietly enters the room. Whispering.) I was about to rub noses with a soldier who intended to enter the Castle.

Gregor: (Opening large his eyes.) Shouldn't he sleep at this hour?

Papace: He wanted to inform Your Majesty that he saw the sea burning.

Gregor: He is mad! And just for this you came here?

Papace: No!

Gregor: Then?

Papace: Your personal guard already put that soldier under arrest.

Gregor: That's exactly how it should be! (Short pause.) And?

Papace: Now he is shouting to be executed in the castle.

Gregor: What good would that bring him?

Papace: He wishes to be buried with the homage granted to emperors.

Gregor: (Growing angry.) A real madman!

Papace: I think so, too. Yet Oramov asked me to play for him as he passed away and the funeral ceremony was about to take place right then in this very castle.

Gregor: And you?

Papace: I did not play as I would have done it for an emperor, but Oramov was not able to make that distinction.

Gregor: Only strange things...

Papace: I think so, too.

Gregor: (Sleepy.) Just pass my word to the guard to arrest that mad soldier once more.

Papace: (The light goes off.) I, too, think he should be arrested once more.

Scene 8

The stage is lighted gradually, to its full. Gregor gets up and looks attentively at the clock, mumbling something. Then he takes the small silver bell and rings it five times. Papace appears on the threshold and bows deeply.

Gregor: No doubt that the human history soon will change!

Papace: (Surprised. Preparing his answer carefully.) How could this not happen if Your Majesty decided on a wind of change.

Gregor: (Rubbing his eyes.) I cannot sleep! (Short pause.) And I dream… (Approaching Papace.) I dream when I sleep! (Looking into Papace's eyes.) How should I know what Oramov dreams? (Short pause.) Or he does not dream any more? (Pause.) Would Pengo be fulfilling Oramov's dreams? (Papace wants to say something but refrains...) Or dreams have nothing to say?

Papace: (On a mysterious tone.) They have Your Majesty. How otherwise would it be. Just hours before Your Majesty called on me I had a dream. ...I dreamt a hand knocking on my window... a hand... but resembling a branch of a tree. (Gregor turns his back on him and looks at the window. Short pause.) When this hand disappeared an eye appeared in the window and lightened my room as if it were the moon.

Gregor: Wasn't the moon?

Papace: It wasn't Your Majesty! Because the moon would rise or set in a while but this eye started to cry.

Gregor: Started to cry?

Papace: Then an old man arrived. He was thirsty and wanted to drink but he realized that the lake near by was nothing but the tears that flowed from that eye.

Gregor: Is that so?

Papace: Yes Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Interested.) And?

Papace: Your Majesty came up... and showed something to the old man. And he suddenly started to laugh.

Gregor: What did I show him?

Papace: A sign in the air.

Gregor: A sign in the air?

Papace: Yes, Your Majesty. And after that you started to speak to the old man.

Gregor: I started to speak?

Papace: "Don't drink the tears of this eye" you said, "Don't drink them. Here is my work." Then you stood up and kissed the old man's hand.

Gregor: Did I kiss his hand?

Papace: Yes, Your Majesty. But don't blame me... That was only in my dream. (Pause.) And the old man said that he would be waiting for you.

Gregor: Why?

Papace: I don't know Your Majesty.

Gregor: Where does he live?

Papace: I don't know Your Majesty.

Gregor: (To himself.) Which old man could he be?

Papace: I don't know Your Majesty.

Gregor: The last old man I have seen is the man who yesterday was brought in because of his wrong doing... (Short pause.) Would it be that old man?

Papace: (Preparing his answer carefully.) Your Majesty it doesn't resemble him in body.

Gregor: Does it not?

Papace: But according to the way he spoke, it resembles him in voice.

Gregor: (A little troubled.) Aren't you mistaken?

Papace: I am not Your Majesty.

Gregor: Maybe you are!

Papace: Your Majesty, as soon as I had woken up from that uneasy dream I started to write an overture to play it to you today.

Gregor: Blast! That's the last straw! Only this I did not expect to hear...

Papace: I have the score with me.

Gregor: Score? Show it to me. (Papace shows him the score.) Which one is my voice?

Papace: Your Majesty, it is difficult to show which notes are your voice and which notes are the old man's voice, on this score.

Gregor: Then?

Papace: Don't worry Your Majesty.

Gregor: How not?

Papace: I'll play it.

Gregor: And, is still my voice?

Papace: Don't worry Your Majesty...

Gregor: (Signals Papace to start playing. He plays a few notes, he signals him to resume his playing.) Whose voice was here?

Papace: The old man's voice.

Gregor: What did he say?

Papace: He said "...there was a black river".

Gregor: Was this in your dream?

Papace: Yes, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Don't make up something...

Papace: How could I?

Gregor: (Signaling him to play.) Whose voice was now?

Papace: (Resuming his play.) It is still the old man's voice.

Gregor: What did he say?

Papace: "Which springs from the base of a temple."

Gregor: What springs from there?

Papace: That river.

Gregor: (As soon as Papace starts playing.) Whose voice is this?

Papace: (Resuming his play.) Still the old man...

Gregor: (Agitated.) Is he the only one speaking?

Papace: No, he isn't, Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Passing up and down the room.) What else did he say?

Papace: That "...somebody tries to drown the hands of the clock in that river".

Gregor: Is that part of your dreamt, too?

Papace: It was Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Agitated.) I feel that you try to make up things...

Papace: How could I?

Gregor: Tell me the dream once again.

Papace: A hand was knocking on my window.

Gregor: Did I say this?

Papace: No, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Did the old man say this?

Papace: He didn't either, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Then who said that?

Papace: That's what I had seen in my dream... A simple image...

Gregor: (Vexed.) This does not concern me at all!

Papace: Your Majesty, at the beginning there were images that heralded the discussion you had with the old man.

Gregor: I am not interested in images... Let me know where I started to speak with the old man.

Papace: "There was a black river..."

Gregor: You've played that.

Papace: "That springs from..."

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) You played this also.

Papace: (Troubled.) Yes.

Gregor: Then?

Papace: (Looking at his bowstring.) Your Majesty...

Gregor: (Turning his back on him.) How long did I speak with the old man?

Papace: You met him at twilight and parted after midnight.

Gregor: Twilight? (Pause.) It just happened yesterday that the soldiers brought in this man at twilight. So I might say that I met him at twilight. Otherwise at that time I go for a walk. (Ironically.) Anyhow, you mentioned that this old man does not resemble with the one who appeared in your dream. Yet you have not doubt that his voice resemble the voice of one in your dream. How could this have come about?

Papace: Have you ever seen him before, Your Majesty?

Gregor: No. The soldiers brought him in because he spoke differently from what he should.

Papace: How did he explain his wrong doings?

Gregor: Explaining? On the contrary! Instead of asking for forgiveness as soon as the bells of the church began to ring for prayer he wondered as if he were listening to an exciting music.

Papace: And did you forbid him to wonder?

Gregor: Of course.

Papace: What else did the old man say?

Gregor: Listening further when the bells were ringing he suddenly whispered " is silence". (Short pause.) And after that he claimed that his friends were weeping for him.

Papace: (A little embarrassed.) Your Majesty, did you kiss his hand?

Gregor: (Furious.) Kissed? Kissed his hand?

Papace: Forgiveness, Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Still angry.) How could I do that? I rammed my fist down his throat because he wouldn't keep quiet. Haven't you seen?

Papace: I was playing then and I only heard "...but who are you to punish me for what I speak?"

Gregor: What were you playing?

Papace: The weeping of time.

Gregor: That's clear. You killed him!

Papace: (Frightened.) How could I, Your Majesty...

Gregor: Did he pass away in vain then?

Papace: That song was for Your Majesty.

Gregor: Why did you need that song for me? (Short pause.) What did you play for the old man?

Papace: The same song… (Frightened.) But he was like a guest.

Gregor: Play that song to me now. (Papace picks up his violin and starts playing.) What does it say here?

Papace: (Stops playing.) "Your body rolling down..."

Gregor: Where?

Papace: (Terrified.) Your body rolling down... on the verge of death.

Gregor: (Sure of himself.) Go on playing. (Papace picks up the violin and starts again playing.) What do you say here?

Papace: (Stops playing.) "On the verge of death you can't escape..."

Gregor: Then while you are saying that you did not play exclusively to the old man?

Papace: That's the song...

Gregor: (Ironic.) That's true! How would otherwise be a song composed by you?

Papace: (Defending himself in desperation.) How was I to know that the old man would be brought in?

Gregor: (Calm. Sure of himself.) And then why did you play it for me if I were not on the verge of death?

Papace: (Tactful.) If someone indeed understands this song it would benefit him.

Gregor: (Ironic.) That's exactly what we could see!

Oramov: (Coming in without knocking at the door.) Did you call on me, Your Majesty?

Gregor: No! But I knew that you come when I don't need you.

Oramov: O, Majesty, how you play with words...

Gregor: (With a sharp look at Oramov.) Bring in Pengo!

Oramov leaves. Papace wants to say something. Gregor takes his bowstring. He has a close look at it and gives it back to Papace. Pengo enters the room and bows.

Pengo: At your orders...

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) Did Oramov call on you?

Pengo: (Oramov enters the room.) Yes, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Could you still remember what you saw yesterday in the eyes of the old man, who was brought in by force?

Pengo: Yes, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Were there in his eyes "...three virgins ... bathing and singing..."

Pengo: (Taken aback.) Yes, Your Majesty.

Gregor: And what were they singing?

Pengo: Something very sad...

Gregor: (To Papace.) You see! (To Pengo.) Namely, what did you say that they were singing about?

Pengo: Something about a year.

Gregor: Meaning?

Pengo: The passing of time.

Gregor: (To Papace.) You see! (To Pengo.) But don't you think that this song brought about his death?

Pengo: (Looking less stressed.) Yes, Your Majesty.

Papace: (Horrified.) Your Majesty, I have played only the violin.

Gregor: (To Pengo.) Then you are convinced that the sound could bring good or bad things to our minds or bodies?

Pengo: (Avoiding Papace's eye.) Certainly!

Gregor: (To Papace.) You see! (To Oramov.) Bring in Gogore.)

Papace: I was invited to play...

Gregor: (Ignoring Papace. To Gogore, who enters followed by Oramov.) What did Pengo see yesterday in the eyes of the old man who was brought in by the guards?

Gogore: Three virgins who were bathing and singing.

Gregor: And you read its meaning...

Gogore: (Frightened.) Taking at random a book from the shelf: A woman who offers you a jug of waters..."

Gregor: Forget it! This is for the evil eye.

Gogore: (Reading at random from another book.) "When there are three virgins showing up on the same day and you don't know which of them to choose, then..."

Gregor: What a choice, Gogore? You lost your mind! Here it is a matter of death not of marriage.

Oramov: (Making a discrete sign to Papace.) Maybe he was forced to die.

Gregor: (Turning towards Oramov.) How this could come about?

Oramov: (Looking to each of them in turn.) Or, maybe he solely gave up his life.

Gregor: You might say so when one of us is guilty... But wait to see who is the guilty one.

Gogore: (Coming up towards Gregor.) I found it. (He reads from a book.) "When three virgins are bathing and singing in your mind..."

Gregor: See as well what happens...

Gogore: Then the time is up and nothing would protect you farther.

Gregor: (To Papace.) You see?

Papace: (Almost crying.) I have only played the violin.

Gregor: (Turning his back on them and looking at the window. Oramov signals Papace not to be afraid.) What is a law? (Short pause.) A law is a handful of words! But who makes this law? (Short pause.) In this very castle so many have been judged... but who cared if they were guilty or we've just played with their lives in vain?

Oramov: This is true, Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Shouting.) Now another man was deprived of his life. And right in front of us. Still no one has the courage to say who is the author of this crime.

Oramov: This is true, also, Your Majesty.

Gregor: (To Pengo.) Show me your last records...

Pengo: Records... or drawings?

Gregor: Lets name them from now on "as unveiled records of a dramatic case".

Pengo: (Frightened. In a haste to bring the sketches.) Records! ... Records!... I cannot believe it...

Papace: (Approaching Gregor.) Your Majesty, maybe...

Gregor: May be! ...but what?

Papace: (Showing.) On the retina...

Gregor: Mine... or yours?

Papace: The old man's retina...

Gregor: What happened with it?

Papace: (With a trembling voice.) The last image that remained on his retina could be a proof...

Gregor: Would it?

Papace: For sure reflected in the old man's eyes was nothing but the maids.

Gregor: (Questioning Pengo.) Would it be true?

Pengo: (Showing the drawings to Gregor.) It's exactly what I saw in the eyes of the old man! ...they were three... and...

Papace: (Trying in desperation to protect himself) And three were our maids...

Gregor: (As if playing a game.) But not virgins! (To Gogore.) Look what happens when the maids just weep for you!

Gogore: (Reading at random from a book.) When you are dreaming of maids...

Gregor: (Angry.) Do you think that the old man was dreaming of maids?

Gogore: For sure not, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Then? Look for what you must!

Gogore: (Citing from a book.) "When the maids don't obey..."

Gregor: They obeyed, Gogore. Don't read the whole book!

Gogore: (Citing at random.) "When the maids trick you..."

Gregor: I don't care what they do to you!

Gogore: "When maids weep for you, you are "as good as dead."

Gregor: "As good as dead"? Show me! (To Pengo.) So clever is Papace!

Pengo: Your Majesty...

Gregor: Is the book lying?

Pengo: It isn't, Your Majesty.

Papace: (Falling at Gregors feet.) So much wisdom... So much wisdom Majesty...

Gregor: (Sharp. Turing to Oramov.) What harm did he do to you that you should kill him?

Oramov: (Smiling sarcastic.) Did I?

Gregor: Didn't you tell me that once the old man showed up in your mind?

Oramov: Yes. But this is not connected to what happened...

Gregor: What is not connected in this world?

Oramov: (Laughing.) Everything looks absurd...

Gregor: (Calm. Decisive. As reciting the words.) What is absurd? ...that you brought in Papace to prove how time weep? Was it absurd when carefully, by the hand, you managed to take the maids to the orchestra together then to play for me? (To Gogore.) Let Oramov know once more what happens when the maids weep for you...

Oramov: There is no need to read it again. Because there is not the slightest connection between the maids simple appearance in this room and the subdued death of the old man.

Gregor: Then why did you say, referring to the maids, that "they precisely know for whom time is weeping". And this is why...

Oramov: (Cutting in.) Why, what?

Gregor: (Stressing.) You wanted to do away with the old man in front of me...

Oramov: (Furious.) We go too far... and anyone here...

Gregor: (Calm. Looking around.) Who is in here?

Oramov: (Sure of himself.) Who did not see how the old man died?

Gregor: I doubt that there is someone around that could see!

Oramov: (Towards Papace.) Papace! (Papace does not answer.) Papace!

Gregor: Who is Papace? (Papace looks down.)

Oramov: (Horrified.) Why I brought you in, Papace? (Looking at Pengo.) Pengo!

Gregor: (Ironic.) Who could not say that Pengo was here? But is that true? (Pengo looks down.)

Oramov: (Hopeless.) Papace!

Gregor: (Moving slowly and sure towards Oramov.) And, now, why should it be different?

Oramov: (Angry.) What do you mean?

Gregor: How many times out of your own desire you brought for judgement defenseless subjects... While at my back you laughed and played with others crippled games! But now...

Oramov: (Still angry.) Now, what?

Gregor: Came the most expected time...

Oramov: What for?

Gregor: To pay for your dear work!

Oramov: Probably to keep my mouth shut... not to comment as witness on your endless crimes.

Gregor: (Rings loudly the silver bell.) Not even this! (A door opens wide. Gregor turns his back on Oramov and speaks to the man behind the door.) No one was on my rival's side! Take him away!

Pengo: (Whispering while withdrawing in a corner of the room.) I thought the emperor is mad... but no... he keeps a card in his long sleeves and plays it when he needs it... but ...very well. (The light dims. Somebody comes in, and grabs Oramov from behind. Oramovs fights in desperation, calling on Papace and Pengo. The light goes off.)

Gregor: (Laughing loudly.) And now let's think if Oramov were here.