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Act II

part 1


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Nicolae Sirius - Time Weeps (Timpul plânge)


Act II - 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

The same setting.

(Gregor, The Nameless Soldier.)

From the window, diffuse light covering a part of the room.

Soldier: (Opens and closes the door carefully behind him. Whispering.) Majesty!

Gregor: (Trying to wake up.) Who's there?

Soldier: It's me... (Short pause.) Majesty... I found...

Gregor: What did you find?

Soldier: (Slowly. Whispering.) What I could never dream of!

Gregor: Dream what?

Soldier: That I could find...

Gregor: (Surprised.) What did you find then?

Soldier: A plate.

Gregor: (Surprised.) A plate? What kind of plate?

Soldier: (On the same tone.) They have invented a new kind of writing

Gregor: (Concerned.) A new kind of writing? (Short pause.) And who are those who invented it?

Soldier: Count Marut, Dalario the lawyer, Patrin the treasurer, and Arat the priest.

Gregor: (Coming towards the soldier.) When did they invent such a thing?

Soldier: Yesterday, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Yesterday?

Soldier: Everything was worked out before hand... Everything!

Gregor: Worked out before hand?

Soldier: Everything!

Gregor: And you... How did you find out?

Soldier: The day before yesterday, I heard Dalario, the lawyer, whispering something to Arat, the priest.

Gregor: Whispering what?

Soldier: He said: (Imitating the lawyer's voice) "Don't forget..."

Gregor: Don't forget what?

Soldier: That tomorrow, it does not matter what else would come up, they must meet.

Gregor: Where should they meet?

Soldier: In the church.

Gregor: In the church? (Short pause.) Tomorrow?

Soldier: Your Majesty... the lawyer spoke with the priest the day before yesterday.

Gregor: You already told me that.

Soldier: It means that the 'tomorrow', the lawyer referred to, was yesterday.

Gregor: Aren't you mistaken?

Soldier: I am not!

Gregor: Why didn't you tell me from the beginning that the lawyer wanted to meet the priest yesterday.

Soldier: How would I have said that the lawyer asked Arat, the priest: let's meet yesterday!

Gregor: (Louder.) And?

Soldier: As I heard the lawyer saying: "That was the last of him!"

Gregor: Whom was he referring to?

Soldier: He was looking towards Your Majesty's castle!

Gregor: Aha! And?

Soldier: Before they parted the lawyer reminded the priest not to forget of their plan for tomorrow. And that he wanted to enter the church before sunrise.

Gregor: Aha! And?

Soldier: But I got to the church before them.

Gregor: (Satisfied.) Good! (Short pause.) ...And? Go on!

Soldier: I can just see the lawyer coming in, looking around, scared But when he saw the priest coming out of the altar alone, to meet him, he shouted: "I brought it in my arms all the way." The priest said nothing but laughed.

Gregor: What did he carry in his arms?

Soldier: The plate!

Gregor: Aha! And?

Soldier: The priest read it breathlessly, seemed extremely pleased with it, wrote a sermon on the spot and asked the lawyer to follow him because they were expected at the Castle.

Gregor: By me?

Soldier: No, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Then?

Soldier: By Count Marut, and Patrin, the treasurer.

Gregor: This can't be true!

Soldier: You can imagine Your Majesty how difficult it was for me...

Gregor: Difficult?

Soldier: By myself... (Gregor looks at him, surprised.) Alone... surrounded by saints!

Gregor: What do you mean?

Soldier: I'm still haunted by that feeling. (Short pause.) The lawyer left the church, first... The priest waited a bit not to be seen leaving together, put off the light, opened and closed the backdoor behind him, and...

Gregor: And?

Soldier: When I tried to get out... in front of the altar... two eyes were looking straight at me!

Gregor: Who else was in the church?

Soldier: I thought the same. (Short pause.) And made up my mind that no matter who it might be I should ram my fist down his throat (Looking straight into Gregor's eyes.) even if it would cost my life.

Gregor: And?

Soldier: It was so dark that I felt the Devil wanted to catch me there to stitch my skin with the black rays of the night.

Gregor: It must have been just before the sunrise! Then the dark is at its darkest.

Soldier: (With a shaky voice.) Those eyes looked straight at me just straight! (Short pause.) Straight!

Gregor: And?

Soldier: I grabbed a chair... quickly lifted it up... and struck!

Gregor: (Curious.) And?

Soldier: I heard a sharp echo... (Short pause. Gregor looks frightened.) One of the chair's legs broke in two, bounced off where I had struck, and broke my head.

Gregor: I can not believe it.

Soldier: When I came to my senses... I saw the same eyes in front of me! But now they looked as if they were two little stones petrified on the floor.

Gregor: You killed him!

Soldier: I thought so, too, but...

Gregor: What else?

Soldier: I tried to touch the person but there was nothing nothing.

Gregor: (Frightened.) It must have been the Spirit

Soldier: I thought so, too and went groping aboutfound a candle lit it And (Short pause.) would Your Majesty believe it?

Gregor: What happened?

Soldier: There was not even a shadow of a person there.

Gregor: I told you. It must have been the Spirit!

Soldier: I blew off the candle...

Gregor: And?

Soldier: The same eyes... again in front of me.

Gregor: Strange!

Soldier: I had lost all my courage!

Gregor: For sure!

Soldier: Again I lit the candle and looked around carefully.

Gregor: What to see the Spirit?

Soldier: I started to pray then.

Gregor: You should have done this right from the beginning!

Soldier: A veil that seemed to have covered my eyes, suddenly lifted!

Gregor: And?

Soldier: On the floor... exactly at the spot where those eyes were looking straight at me... (Short pause.)

Gregor: (Frightened.) What was there?

Soldier: The priest's glasses... Motionless

Gregor: (Vexed.) You idiot! And where did you smash the chair?

Soldier: Against the table, Your Majesty.

Gregor: (Angry.) The holy table?

Soldier: As I said Your Majesty the dark was so deep as if the Devil

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) You idiot! You kept me thinking that you started to destroy the church, instead of spying on the priest to see where he was going.

(Short pause. Gregor moves agitated.)

Soldier: After that I went out exactly the way I had come in.

Gregor: (Still angry.) And?

Soldier: On my way I found that the lawyer and the priest had already entered the castle.

Gregor: Didn't the guard stop them?

Soldier: They didn't Your Majesty...

Gregor: They didn't!

Soldier: But the guard stopped me!

Gregor: (Furious.) And? Tell me what happened And be quick!

Soldier: I showed the guard the priest's glasses and told them that the priest had sent me to fetch them.

Gregor: Good!

Soldier: I listen carefully down the hall and suddenly from behind a door I heard the priest's voice... (mimics the priest voice): "I feel that this is not a suitable place... Let's go to the armory room. There no one dares to enter."

Gregor: (Ironically.) Aha! Let's remember what His Holiness said!

Soldier: When I heard that, I ran into the armory room and hid carefully in a wardrobe.

Gregor: And?

Soldier: Minutes later, I saw Arat, the priest, Dalario, the lawyer, Patrin, the treasurer and Marut, the count, pouring in.

Gregor: What do you mean by "pouring in"?

Soldier: That's how I saw them through the keyhole of the wardrobe I squeezed in.

Gregor: Forget about strange metaphors... and just be clear in what you say!

Soldier: Dalario, the lawyer walked in front of the priest.

Gregor: Leave out the succession in which they walked...

Soldier: The treasurer seemed horrified.

Gregor: (Upset.) Forget the succession in which they walked in and what they looked like... it is not important. Tell me what they were speaking about!

Soldier: The priest, first, made a sign of blessing in the air.

Gregor: Aha

Soldier: But the count, smiled ironically, set on the table a map and silently invited them all to have a closer look.

Gregor: And?

Soldier: Softly, the priest began to speak.

Gregor: (Curious but ironic.) What was His Holiness speaking about?

Relina: (To Gregor while she enters the room.) You don't sleep even at this hour?

Gregor: (Pointing to the soldier.) He just came in to bring me the latest news. (Closer to Relina.) I feel the past is coming back...

Relina: What do you mean?

Gregor: I feel it. It seems as if a river is running towards its springs.

Relina: May it have been your sword, not a river.

Gregor: My sword?

Relina: Yes! Instead of using it as before, to cut heads, you have decided to return it to its scabbard!

Gregor: (Angry.) It would be better for you to go to bed!

Relina: Why don't you do the same?

Gregor: (Motions the soldier to continue his story. And then turns to Relina.) Listen to see why I could neither sleep nor even have a rest!

Soldier: (Imitating the priest's voice.) "He is finished now. That was the last of him." (To Relina.) Forgiveness Your Majesty. That was the priest's voice.

Relina: Who's voice?

Soldier: Arat,'s voice, the priest.

Gregor: Precisely! What did Arat, the priest, meant by that?

Soldier: That Your Majesty no longer is at peace!

Gregor: (To Relina.) Remember that well.

Soldier: (Imitating the lawyer's voice.) "I fully share your opinion." (To Relina.) This was Dalario's, ...the lawyer's voice.

Relina: It's strange how you tell the story

Gregor: (To the soldier.) And why did Dalario have to stress a thing, the priest had already mentioned?

Soldier: To state that they are two, yet thinking with a single mind.

Gregor: (To the soldier.) And what can these two or three or four do, when they have already chosen to use their minds as a single one?

Soldier: (Handing the plate to Gregor.) A plot! ...plot, Your Majesty! A plot!

Gregor: A plot? (Trying to read the plate.) A plot because they wrote, backwards, their intention on this plate? (To Relina, while handing her the plate.) Could you imagine that?

Relina: (Reading the plate.) Why should I imagine it? I see the situation, anyway!

Gregor: Your lack of understanding keeps you away of me.

Relina: Since I live here, the crimes committed...

Gregor: You are too young to understand

Relina: (Turning her back to Gregor.) And what exactly did you mean by that? Gregor takes a map from the bookshelf, unfolds it and sets it on the table. Relina turns the hourglass upside-down, pushes the hands of the clock forward, hides the black plate under her blouse and leaves the room. She returns the next moment, goes to the bar, fills a glass of brandy, makes a discrete sign to the soldier and goes slowly to the window.

Soldier: Your Majesty!

Gregor: (Turning around.) What has happened?

Soldier: Her Majesty... (showing the hourglass and the clock.) has changed the correct flow of time.

Relina:(Takes the silver bell from the bookshelf and gives it to Gregor.) Ring it once! (Gregor moves towards the hourglass and looks at it in silence. Relina follows him.) Ring it once! (Gregor takes the bell from her and puts it in his pocket. Then he goes to the clock, trying to fix its hands.) Ring it once... I want to share the feelings of those you've killed without reason!

Gregor: Emperors don't commit crimes! (To the soldier.) Go on!

Soldier: Then, Arat, the priest, whispered: "I've been dreaming about him for a long time now. For a long time now he has been like a thorn in my brain. Does he think this circus will never end?"

Gregor: (Approaching the soldier and looking straight in his eyes.) Did Arat, the priest, said that word by word exactly as you are telling it to me now?

Soldier: Yes, Your Majesty!

Gregor: You are not mistaken?

Soldier: I am sure not!

Gregor: (Rings the silver bell four times. Gogore enters the room.) Were you sleeping?

Gogore: (Guilty.) I was sleeping, Your Majesty.

Gregor: You sleep and know nothing of the plot!

Gogore: (Rubbing his eyes.) What kind of plot Your Majesty?

Gregor: Plot, you idiot! Plot!

Gogore: (Shocked.) Against whom?

Gregor: Would it be absurd to hear that somebody has made an attempt on your life!

Gogore: Am I good for nothing, Your Majesty?

Gregor: Shut up and try to find what you need!

Gogore: What should I look for?

Gregor: What does it mean when the priest dreams about you.

Gogore: What priest dreamt about me?

Gregor: (Angry.) The priest dreamt about me!

Gogore: (Softly to himself.) The priest had nothing better to do...

Relina laughs silently and leaves the room. Gregor summons the soldier to continue his story.

Soldier: Three times the guard came in and said that there was no danger.

Gregor: Tell me everything and then we will see if indeed the guard was right...

Gogore: (Loudly.) When the priest dreams about you, but hasn't met you...

Gregor: (To Gogore.) Let's see what does it mean when the priest knows you...

Gogore: When the priest dreams about you only once...

Gregor: (To the soldier.) Did he say that he dreamt about me only once?

Soldier: Yes... He did say that...

Gregor: (To Gogore.) Tell me what happens!

Gogore: (Worried.) Your Majesty that's not a good sign!

Gregor: Meaning?

Gogore: It means that the priest is after your life.

Gregor: Don't worry Gogore! I'll cool the priest's mind before he has the chance to dream about me a second time! (To the soldier.) And about the circus did he say?

Soldier: "Does he think this circus will never end?"

Gregor: Aha! (To Gogore.) Search for that!

Soldier: Then I made the door squeak.

Gregor: (Surprised.) What door?

Soldier: The door at the wardrobe you keep the armor in.

Gregor: Hell! What were you doing there?

Soldier: I have told you before, Your Majesty, that I was hiding in the wardrobe and how I was squeezed in there, peeping through the keyhole, the door squeaked. (Gregor signals the soldier to hold on, while he fills and drinks a glass of water. Then he motions the soldier to continue.) The priest gazed attentively at the door and...

Gregor: And?

Soldier: He came slowly towards the door stopped arranged his cassock... (Short pause.) and...

Gregor: And?

Soldier: And slowly he started to caress the door.

Gregor: (Vexed.) I can not believe it!

Soldier: When the priest touched the door I felt his hands rhythmically fall on my head as if a hammer.

Gregor: Did he see you?

Soldier: He didn't. He stood like that for a while and...

Gregor: And?

Soldier: Then he prayed that the door wouldn't squeak anymore.

Gregor: I can't believe such a thing!

Soldier: Yet, the lawyer approached the priest and whispered to him to speak faster to the door as it was not out of the question the devil would come up from behind it.

Gregor: Did the lawyer know you were behind the door?

Soldier: No, Your Majesty.

Gregor: Then?

Soldier: While the lawyer said that, he was looking towards Your Majesty's room.

Gregor: (Angry.) What else did they speak about?

Soldier: Count Marut, seeing that the priest became sad, made a discrete sign to Dalario, the lawyer, to leave the priest to finish.

Gregor: And?

Soldier: Maybe I moved a bit and the door squeaked again. Then you should have seen the priest how he fell down on his knees, asking the lawyer to pray too. (Mimics the priest's voice) "If you don't believe I do, and where I am you must believe. So, start praying".

Gogore: Majesty...

Gregor: (Signals Gogore to wait. To the soldier.) Did the lawyer pray too?

Soldier: Yes, Your Majesty! But not too long because the treasurer Patrin became agitated and interrupted them, stating that it was not time for prayers.

Gregor: Aha! (Signaling Gogore to come closer. Relina comes in. Takes her glass of brandy and goes to the window.) Did you find...

Gogore: I found it, Your Majesty.

Gregor: What about?

Gogore: The book says: "The circus artist doesn't like dreaming".

Gregor: That's not clear!

Gogore: The book says: "The careless don't like dreaming".

Gregor: That's not clear, either!

Gogore: The book says: "The unwise doesn't die wise".

Gregor: (To Gogore.) Must be a better explanation somewhere else. (Signaling the soldier to continue.) Go on!

Soldier: And only then general Garot showed up.

Gregor: (Surprised.) How did he come in?

Soldier: I don't know Your Majesty but he was full of perspiration and soon he faced them said that the situation is unbearable and they must do something to escape the misery. The lawyer cut in stating (mimics the lawyer's voice) "He'll kill us all and there'll be no-one left to protect the law". And he was looking straight in their eyes like a fox.

Gregor: Look how the lawyer tries to twist their minds!

Soldier: Right on the spot the priest stared at the lawyer and told him that he could not die in the same place as he or the others.

Gregor: (Surprised.) Why couldn't he?

Soldier: That's precisely what the lawyer asked him: "In accordance with which law Your Holiness can not die in the same place as us, if we die for the same cause? "

Gregor: (Takes the bell out of his pocket and sets it on the table. He moves to the hourglass.) And? (Relina takes the silver bell and leaves the room.) And?

Soldier: The priest bent over the table as if he wanted to whisper something to the lawyer... The latter stretched his neck so as to be only a few inches from the priest's mouth... And suddenly I heard as if a beat of waves on the rocks.

Gregor: What happened?

Soldier: The priest, simply boxed the lawyer's ears. Claiming that he is part of the holy orders.

Gregor: I can not believe that! And?

Soldier: In less than a second the lawyer took off his gun, but the general stopped him with a discrete sign, while speaking calmly. (Mimics the general's voice.) "How would we survive without religion?"...

Gregor: Aha! And?

Soldier: The treasurer, angry, cut in!

Gregor: Why did he?

Soldier: (Imitating the treasurer's voice.) "You are right! But would religion survive without me?"

Gregor: What did he mean?

Soldier: This is what the general asked him: "What do you mean?" But seeing that the treasurer said nothing, the general went on "You speak as if religion was born in your treasure-house!"

Gregor: And?

Soldier: The general began to speak very slowly! At every word he said he touched his gun... another word and yet again he touched his gun, to show them that he meant it, and left!

Gregor: Where?

Soldier: To bring the Emperor.

Gregor: Meaning he was looking for me?

In the hall, the silver bell is sounded once. Relina enters the room unnoticed, takes her glass of brandy, and looks towards the window. Gregor shudders... looking at the table where he left the bell. The door is opened wide and somebody waits in front of it.

Gregor: There was a mistake (The door is closed, slowly.) Find the silver bell, Gogore! Without it I don't' feel I am alive.

Papace: (Knocks at the door and then enters.) Majesty...

Gregor: Fiddler, somebody stole my bell!

Papace: How would this be possible?

Gregor: I feel as if I lost my soul

Relina: (Softly.) You would have lost it if you had it.

Gregor: What can I do now?

Relina: (To Gregor.) If you don't want to sleep I will go to bed...

Gregor: (Ignoring Relina.) Papace... Did the day showed up?

Papace: To whom?

Gregor: (Angry.) Did the sun rise?

Papace: It hasn't, Your Majesty, but I heard the bell ring in the hall and I did not know what happened.

Gregor: Somebody took my bell. But who Here we were four: I, Gogore, Relina, and, this soldier. And, suddenly, the sound of the bell came from the hall. (Short pause.) Maybe you took it.

Papace: How would I, if I was not here.

Gogore: (Reading from a book.) "When the silver bell is stolen"

Gregor: (Agitated.) Find the bell! Don't read from books!

Relina: (Leaving.) That's the way you taught him...

Gogore: I will Your Majesty

Gregor: If the bell sounds again in the hall it means that Relina took it.

Papace: Would Her Majesty play such a joke?

Gregor: I feel I lost my soul! (Short pause.) Right now when the bandits are planing a plot against me.

Papace: I've heard of it!

Gregor: (Surprised.) Heard of it?

Papace: Why I could not sleep any more...

Gregor: When did you hear that?

Papace: This night.

Gregor: Shouldn't you have come to inform me?

Papace: Would I disturb Your Majesty?

Gregor: Disturb? You should do your duty!

Papace: Would I interrupt when Your Majesty was speaking...

Gregor: I was speaking with this soldier who had just came to bring me this news.

Papace: I know Your Majesty. I covered my ears when I heard the soldier saying...

Gregor: Heard? Did you listen at the door?

Papace: How could I listen at the door when I was in bed?

Gregor: Then?

Papace: How could one sleep while hearing such a news?

Gregor: Who came to bring you this news? (To the soldier.) Who else knows

Soldier: It is no...

Papace: (Interrupting him.) Who would come to tell me if this is secret?

Gregor: Make me understand that... (To Gogore, who is looking into a pair of boots.) Did you find the bell Gogore?

Gogore: It is not even in these boots.

Papace: I did listen on the radio, Majesty.

Gregor: Radio?

Papace: Yes. When Your Majesty was speaking to the soldier.

Gregor: What radio?

Papace: Oront, the administrator...

Gregor: What about him? He is in the dungeon!

Papace: When I was called in, to play for Your Majesty that song that almost brought me bad luck if Your Majesty...

Gregor: Forget about that

Papace: He told me...

Gregor: (Interrupting him.) Oront, you mean?

Papace: Yes, Your Majesty!

Gregor: Go on...

Papace: That Your Majesty asked him to inform all subjects...

Gregor: To inform them what?

Papace: How time weeps.

Gregor: Did I ask him that?

Papace: He told me that.

Gregor: Oront?

Papace: Precisely!

Gregor: When did he tell you that?

Papace: Yesterday!

Gregor: Yesterday?

Papace: Yesterday!

Gregor: When then yesterday?

Papace: Before I was brought in, to play the weeping of time.

Gregor: Even then he told you this how could the subjects hear such a thing if you played for me here between these four walls...

Papace: O, Majesty! (Gregor looks at him in astonishment.) We know that Your Majesty asked Oront to install receivers in all the beds in the castle so as to be up-to-date with everything you say.

Gregor: (Stupefied.) Receivers?

Papace: The radio station was on since yesterday. You sent Oront to the dungeon so he could not turn off the radio... this is how the news went on air.

Gregor: (Stuttering.) I'll kill him! For all the subjects to know the secret life of the emperor. Is that what Oront wanted. (Staggering.) Gogore! (Gogore helps Gregor to sit on his armchair.) And no one to inform me about this...

Papace: This was how the plot started.

Gregor: (Raving.) This is what I needed now...

(The light goes off.)


Inapoi