‘Ghosts of 400 Moons’
A Comic Book Opera by: Gerard Howland.
O.D.G, LADY-THANE MACBETH
MAMA ANGEL (narration)
PAPA ANGEL (narration)
The JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE
The GREAT ZOMBI
THANE PETER MACDUFF
(IMAGE # 1)
The setting: (Aboard the ‘Eagle’; the ‘Ghetto Galleon of Gerlach’) The on deck, fore stage is a stage floor; up stage is a movable set piece, a slice of the moon, containing a cauldron; at the rear a sail/ projection screen, flanked by two giant mirrors, spreading the image to infinity; mid stage is a removable black drape and the ship’s mast. A downstage removable (traveler) scrim/sail spans the apron. On this scrim/sail are the fourteen sequentially projected images of the comic book. The action takes place on stage, up stage of this scrim/sail, and is seen as a ‘bleed through’ in the front projected image, as are the projected images on the up stage projection screen. Live cameras, on stage, record the performers, projecting the images to the scrim/sails.
Song # 1: Prolog
O.D.G & MACBETH: “Marie – Marie, my Apocalyptic Queen…”
(Lights up to a music ensemble onstage, performing in front of projected epic vistas of our world’s natural wonders, interspersed with apocalyptic visions, as an elegant, withered, witches hand deals cards and pumps a billow. O.D.G and MACBETH perform in separate pools of light)
(IMAGE # 2)
Scene # 1: Heck’a-Tea’s Toast
(The two narrators raise their glasses to one and other as they read from their lecterns, and into microphones. The voices are treated with effects. On the rear sail the ‘live’ performances are projected across the stage width)
PAPA & MAMA ANGEL: To the Ghosts of 400 Moons!
PAPA ANGEL: We must live with the ‘hands’ we are dealt – we must live with the hands we are gave…
MAMA ANGEL: Says a thumb-less Thane – and a ‘Meddler’ SwingBlade. And to his Queens… we deals – we divines – we drinks and we wines - and now… my ‘free’ Ladies… now is the years: 9 – 10 - 11… now – and a bequieved moment… to our ‘Calendars in Heaven’.
PAPA ANGEL: So, cheers – my dears… my terrible three - to a ‘She-Thane Hurricane’ – a “hubble-bubble toil and trouble” – and a tale told allegorical – to a story of a ghost, an Ocean, and a Queen of deeds most diabolical… of the 400 moons… And of a ‘HE’ – a real ‘Retro-Contempo’… an Oracle… coz ‘HE’ – ‘ODIGY’S a comin’ – gonna slice that moon ‘orrible…
MAMA ANGEL: An’ it’s not what happens to us neither… coz its go’n happen – its go’n happen to us either-‘either’ … coz that ‘moon-sea’ there’s a’comin’ – comin’ soon… round the bend – gonna smack that damn soon!
So, ’Chink-Chink’, my cheeky-monkeys, my Jump Rope Divas Divine… here’s to our calendar - and a ‘Point Inspiration’ – the years… 22 – 29. There, where our grape, our veils, our vine… will pale – like a drop in a barrel… in an ocean of wine. There, where our ‘snap-shot’ - like it or not - our moment sublime - is our history – and our ‘Moment in Time’
PAPA ANGEL: So, my ‘Free Ladies of Crime’, lets us to a toast with this splendid bottle of wine… “For the Bard is dead – the Bard is dead… Long live thay Bard”… and to this - his greatest play – they say… ‘The Scottish Play’… to ‘MACBETH’… as with these years, 400 Moons hath passed - and to our host - our Bard… I now thank thee William, for letting the likes of me… play in your yard.
(A projected image of Shakespeare appears up-stage)
But seriously though Bard… much is known of he – this Thane Mac.B - but who was she – who is she - and who will she be… this O.D.G - this ‘free’ Lady Mac.B - WHO IS THIS LADY MACBETH? – this ‘FREE’ LADY MAC.B !!!
(Lights up on the tallest of the JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE as she performs, skipping on stage in ‘black-light’ (UV), set against a giant construction vista of the tallest building in the world; The Woolworth Building)
N.Y.C, 1913 - now can you just imagine a little girl skipping in front of you - twelve hundred links above the struggle - cocooned to the cracks of a building… exists the ’Ghetto Butterfly’… Ora Dell - O.D.G where are you? With the hummin’ of an angel, she may give you a thought… or she may disappear!
(The girl and image disappear)
MAMA ANGEL: (Projected images of the cosmos appear, set to a bass and a cellist performing ‘The Dogs of War’)
So, my “Posters of Land and Sea” – give me a ‘O’ – give me a ‘D’ – give me a ‘G’… yes, an inspiration for you – a cauldron… and a new heart for me!
PAPA ANGEL: And so, friend, when a tree falls in the forest – does it actually make a sound? Well, along those well trodden trails hangs this little tale… To understand this phenomena, this supernova, this natural, yet inevitable event, it will require some thought and some perhaps across an argument… Many, many moons past, two comets collided - an intergalactic helter-skelter… the result; a force unknown – un-chartered – unseen and a unique ‘free’ creation. Two identical worlds, traveling at the same speed, both surrounded with identical and uniquely explosively charged atmospheres, collide, explode and implode equally – instantly. Their action and counter-reaction-creation forming a unique crystallized molecular construct - a gigantic DIAMOND. Its shape… that of a heart, a spinning arrowhead, spinning faster than the eye can see – an invisible ‘Diamond Cutter from the Heavens’ with no discernable mass… or matter, but – BELIEVE ME… HE matters! He is a Vulcan – smatterizing – gouging - ripping through EVERYTHING in his path! A true rough diamond and a deep space drill bit… from nowhere. Yet He more than matters though, as our first warning of his very being revealed to us his Titanic, Apocalyptic powers on the 100th anniversary of the Stock Market Crash. In 2029, a lone Star Freak; Captain Odie G. Lavo, the astrological journalist of the Picayune, witnessed what he believed to be a asteroid collision in an adjacent galaxy… but 100 years later, a second, much greater and better observed collision, charts the course of this invisible hemispheric titan… In 100 further years he, ODIGY – the H’arrow, will EASE-BY our earth… if all the calculations are correct - but… he WILL slice off the eye of our unsuspecting moon, whipping her - sending her careening across space to the outer edges of our atmosphere, drawing us from our axis to an off-kilter - helter-skelter of an existence… and you think the oceans are rising fast now!
MAMA ANGEL: So, the world’s greatest minds - our Illuminate, over time, have come up with a plan… a plan of 5 damns, for this, an escape for 700 - the best of Man – The Illuminati… one freaky, ‘freakey’ Clan. As from this cosmically charged event, these damns will divert the remainder of the ocean’s 3,000 feet tall, tidal waves. For on that day, at 7.07 am, ODIGY will strike blind our unsuspecting Harvest moon… seventeen minutes later that moon will rest, spinning huge - battered and bruised, in our electrically charged skies, as we next twist and turn. Seventeen, further excruciating, minutes later a tidal wave will have blanketed the mountains beneath, on its way toward the first of the 5 damns; O.D.G’s Jump Rope Damn, at Point Inspiration.
So, the time is set and the clock is ticking, as a void, the size of an asteroid will arrive in exactly 100 further years time – and ripping… Yes, we’d better get ready – better get damn steady – coz he’s a’ comin’ - flyin’ blind an’ arrivin’ - bang on time – yer - GO OD’Y GO – IN 2 2 - 2 9 !!!
Song # 3:
O.D.G & MACBETH:“I Do Love…”
(An onstage ensemble performance, set against a ‘black & white’ projected biography of Martin Luther King’s life)
(IMAGE # 3)
Scene # 2: Two hundred years from now… The ARRIVAL of Thay KING DUNCAN – Thay Great!
(On stage; a procession of characters, drawn from history, each wearing a ‘Stove Pipe’ top hat, walk across a desert, set to musical underscoring)
PAPA ANGEL: It is now, the years 22-09, and this, a Scottish Play moment sublime, for six hundred years have now passed… and just in an instant of time…
And now friend, to further compound things, Man has had finally to concede that he has a tiny but a natural predator, an Oblivion, and… one invisible... A Diamond… a Cutter from the Heavens to contend with, and from a corner he never expected… it is SHE and SHE is O.D.G. - The ‘DOG GOD’ of you and me.
You and me baby – an’ a box Alabaster.
Its gonna go down – gonna live ever after!
(MAMA ANGEL holds the jump-rope and earrings, as she jangles them)
MAMA ANGEL: You and me baby – need thay ‘Chieve from thay ‘Jester’,
If thay gon’ ‘void thay Wrath of thay Master!
Now, it’s not what is here… it’s what is NOT here… thay ‘Chieve… someone stole thay ‘Chieve! - and you can’t blame thay bird either – as he’s not thay ‘Jester’ neither… So, someone’s got a surprise up his sleeve for this… on his special Eve. As this sack, this stolen Shroud, this ‘Handker-chieve’… will doubtless startle this ‘Mickey Mask’ of this rascal-Chieve thieve!
PAPA ANGEL: Six hundred moons have shone bright - from our Bard’s greatest moment tonight! So, “all hail MACBETH” – one and all – and thay “three weird sisters” - thay chain and thay plain - ugly ass WRECKING BALL!!
MAMA ANGEL: For on this very heath – this blasted heath… she – the city of O.D.G will grow… and with her perfect cauldron of damns to protect her so. And now with twenty years for these salty waters flow, this array, these artifacts – thay display… for this staging on this, thay special day, of THE play, will - through an auction fund, a city for another anniversary… where SHE will come! And all of this just in the nick of time… for on that night, there WILL be THE Perfect-Perfect-Perfect Cauldron of Crimes!
PAPA ANGEL: And so, my dear reader - lets go… back to that moment – that Incident – many, many moons - ago.
Song # 4:
O.D.G & MACBETH: “I am a Negro…”
(The ensemble performs, with MAMA ANGEL holding a baby. Projected images of Africa appear, interspersed with the faces of Africans across time)
(IMAGE # 4)
Scene # 3: The INCIDENT and Thay Pact… for thay first 300 years…
(In UV light the JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE perform to a chorus of clapping and thigh slapping)
PAPA ANGEL: And just who is our ‘free’ Lady Mac.B?
An’ her Sisters - Les Sisters ‘Gris-Gris’
THE JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE: (Singing)
Well – watch out fella’s – they black, white an’ yell’a…
An’ thay taller than y’awl ’re N’awleens!
MAMA ANGEL: My Jump-Rope Divas – my three...
My ‘Babies’ – my favors - my ‘Gee…
For tonight is the night – with this moonshine so bright…
For thay dreams and thay Mama Marie!
THE JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE:
So, you and me ‘Babies’ – need that box alabaster,
If we gon’ ‘void this natural disaster…
(The girls disappear)
(Music: ‘The Dogs of War’)
PAPA ANGEL: A giant Raven, Roptus Eagle silhouetted in flight against the vastness of New York City at twilight, it is 1929 and a city in vertical construction. The flight leads to the tallest of all the buildings, the partially completed South Tower, of the twin towered Cathedral of Commerce… the epic Woolworth Buildings.
The bird, Zombie – a soulless corpse and an eight clawed ancient, begins to glide majestically encircling the gigantic cathedral like structure, to an array of cantilevered steel beams used to hoist construction materials to the top of the tower. At the very tip of a single 'I' beam, with a city spread beneath, is the ghost of a young girl skipping, humming bird like; she is O.D.G’s, legendary performance at the opening of the smaller North Tower, in 1913. She sings the 'Shortnin' Bread Song': (A ‘UV’ image of Ora Dell skipping appears and sings)
O.D.G: I do love – I do love… Mama love – Papa love – everybody love… Two little babies – sick in the bed… one plays sick and one plays dead…
PAPA ANGEL: Zombie continues to encircle the vast towering structure, revealing a colony of steel workers and masons precariously going about their industry, in the building's creation. A huge temporary wooden deck, covered in building materials, spans the structure, along with cranes, cables and pulleys, all knitted into the fantastic construction. A steam whistle calls work to a halt, as day turns to night, beneath the giant harvest moon.
(On stage, silhouetted against the steam and the projected moon, ZOMBI appears. He is a very realistic, over dimensional, fully articulated flown puppet, operated internally by a performer. A fiery cauldron appears at stage center.)
As the workers leave, Zombie gracefully begins his approach and with wings outstretched, he lands on the structure, disappearing into the shadows by the fiery embers of the rivet cauldron.
MAMA ANGEL: A moment passes, as from these same shadows mysterious figures slowly emerge and go about a business of preparing the gigantic steel skeletal cathedral. (Music) The atmosphere changes as the drumming of the Congo begins, with the accompaniment of the Banjo… an elaborate production is being assembled, a 'Mask'. A troupe of players begin to erect, circus like, two gigantic structures, and with great athletic daring.
PAPA ANGEL: The first is a statue of a Diva, draped in a feathered shawl, carrying a jump rope; the other, an ornate wrought iron French Colonial gateway… they dominate the space. Between them is a mixture of seemingly conflicting icons from Voodounism and Christianity; kettles boil amidst statues of saints, bonfires and crucifixes hung from the beams. By the rivet cauldron a simple sign is hung saying: The Serenader.
It is Voodoun Queen Marie Laveau's St John's Eve Festival, a secret gathering, celebrating the opening of the South Tower’s elevator room. An eclectic and eccentric gathering of New Orleans French socialites, mulatto's, negro's, performers, mobsters and ministers mill, forming a slow moving vortex. At the center is a performer, an incarnation of the Supernatural Marie Laveau, a Superhero, dressed in Voodoun, gypsy queen attire; she begins a hypnotic dance
(MARIE-MARIE appears, dancing) draped with her poisonous snake, the Great Zombi. The crowd swirls, dancing the 'Bamboula', frenzy builds; the drinking of Rum, Tafia and the blood of swine, turns to the execution of animals, as Marie's scantily clad dancers intermingle with the guests in acts of debauchery. At the height of the bacchanal, Marie blows her 'Gris-gris' into the crowd and vanishes in front of thay very eyes (MARIE-MARIE vanishes). In astonishment the audience begins to chant… Damballa Oueddo – Damballa Oueddo – DAMBALLA OUEDDO!!! – our Serpent God! (The JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE appear skipping in front of a projected full moon with a vast New York City scape beneath) From nowhere three very tall, beautiful, mulatto’s appear, wearing tall Stove Pipe top hats, parting the crowd whilst skipping in perfect unison, metronome like, whilst performing extraordinary feats. At thay center is a taller figure… and it is she… O.D.G! (The girls disappear) She, who begins to elevate slowly from her two flanking sisters, whipping it, suspending herself in a flight above the now gobsmacked audience… as a chilling cry rings out, filling the air! From behind the rivet cauldron a giant of a man, thay bodyguard, emerges feverishly embattling Zombie, but to no avail. The bird stabs him repeatedly with his gargantuan central claws – whilst slashing and ripping into his flesh with his powerful beak, in bloodied frenzy. The guard falls to the ground as Zombie ravages him repeatedly, mercilessly, bloodily.
From above the fray O.D.G positions herself over the feverish bird, dropping onto his back, instantly whipping the jump rope around his head, and choking him, amidst the full fury of his giant flapping wings. The crowd dissipates, as her younger sister Olga lunges to her assistance, grabbing the flying loose handle of the jump rope, stabbing it into the bird’s eye, blinding him instantly. Zombie begins to writhe as both the women contain the now breathless and confused creature.
Song # 5:
O.D.G & MACBETH: “O.D.G – where are you...”
(MAMA ANGEL, PAPA ANGEL, the JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE, and the ensemble perform in front of projected, created, news photos of O.D.G integrated into history)
(IMAGE # 5)
Scene # 4; 1929 and thay PACT
(The following scene is enacted, mime fashion, to the narration by the ensemble and is staged around the rivet cauldron at the roof of the world, as the wind begins to howl)
PAPA ANGEL: From amidst the malaise, seemingly from within Zombie’s wing, Marie appears again, now holding a white blood spattered sack.
MAMA ANGEL: Ladies – Ladies please… hush-hush they are in sleep now – hush! All of you (pointing her long finger to the horrified crowd) leave now… we women have our work to do here, all except you my dear (pointing at the third sister, now crouching by O.D.G), you will stay – now away - all of you - this will be done amongst us women, leave now… LEAVE I SAY - LEAVE!!
PAPA ANGEL: The audience scatter, some screaming for their lives… within a matter of moments the group are the only ones left on the giant macabre, Cathedral structure at the top of the world.
Marie stands, she is very, very tall – unusually tall, unusually beautiful and fully composed. She points downwards to the completed, smaller North Tower of the Woolworth Buildings.
MAMA ANGEL: You too, my three, have been born from the shelter of great wings, a great man at the beginning of a new and un-chartered journey… as from this night, this crash, will begin a great depression, a migration. Now all that was… was. That protection, that particular protection was and now… (she begins to unfold her giant embroidered lace handkerchief by pulling it through a brass ring at the neck, revealing the contents… an alabaster box, a jump rope, a whisk, two broken steel wings and a baby alligator claw) now, my sisters three… Jump Rope Divas all… listen to me… (Marie takes the black alabaster box and hands it to O.D.G.) You are now thirty-three… all three, and with this potion you will be… preserved for three-hundred years… protected from all but oblivion and me! Throw it into the cauldron child, with this… (she takes the severed left thumb of the bodyguard and the gouged eye of the bird, and hands them to O.D.G, who, along with the powdered contents of the box, throws them into the fiery rivet cauldron) mix it well child, drain it through this handkerchief, return it to this box and with this finger, from this ‘gator, each day, each one of you… all of you - your protectors too, shall reap preservation. These hecka-protectors are man and bird… they are therefore simple, yet necessary. Cut his leg here child, quarterize it on this cauldron – he will survive… (taking the bodyguard’s giant curved knife from its sheath, O.D.G severs the gashed and gnawed lower right leg of the cloaked guard and drags the knee to the steel cauldron, jamming it into its side, as it sizzles and crackles… she holds it firm for a few seconds and then lets the lifeless form drop to the ground, as tears fill her eyes) now leave him so child.
You are now… the Sisters of Re-Invention… the Jump Rope Sisters Three, of New Orleans, and I look to thee, my O.D.G, to be there on this next eve… and with this rook to a cauldron and a blasted heath! Where we will celebrate a 1,000 years in 300, and on that night all - full of obsession - we’ll begin anew an even greater depression!
Now you’ll have to be Ladies and you’ll have to play games… and I’ll share with thee my favorite – three players - O’s & X’s… - EVERY day, winner takes ALL! So, work it out ladies – and work it through, your way. My favorite is ‘O’… and oh, I give this to thee… (Marie hands O.D.G the jump rope from the handkerchief, with the mixer and the steel wings) here is the riddle child – here is the key and look to this carving – made anew and special for thee. So, my weird sisters 3, now just 33, shall upon my return be to 66… just like me, and I’ll to 99… I do thank thee – and to my mother - Mary Marie!
PAPA ANGEL: Taking a deck of cards from her robe, Marie then begins an elaborate shuffle; holding them towards O.D.G.
MAMA ANGEL: Take any card child… and one for thee - Dee – and one for thee – my Olga Dollar Gee - and I’ll take one - just for me… (Marie takes the fourth card and scatters the remainder of the deck up into to the wind; she looks at her card) a Queen of Hearts… and a Mother Irish. And for you, my child (O.D.G turns over her card), a Queen of Spades… O.D.G, an Overseer, a Deceptor, or maybe the Guidance of Gravity… O.D.G, a famous woman already, infamous even, an icon with access to all powerful men of this natural earth and a Woman of State. You are a blessed child who will grow very, very tall… just like me. And to your young twin now… (O.D.G’s sister Dee turns over her card) a Queen of Diamonds… Queen Diamond Dee shall be - the mother of reflection and refraction… just like me. And to you, my youngest sister of 3, my Olga Dollar Gee, a Queen of Clubs, to be free, and to an ‘O’’… and a mother - JUST like me!
PAPA ANGEL: (Over the howling wind a theatrically staged storm begins on stage, with the reprieve of ‘The Dogs of War’, as motif) Marie surveys the scene of carnage on the roof top and to the spectacular buildings surrounding them, as a storm begins to gather rapidly. She takes the ‘gator claw and taps the alabaster box with it, gathering the remnants of powder to a corner where she pushes a single claw into it. She places the claw under the noses of the sisters, who each in turn inhale. She does the same for the bird and the body guard, who immediately begin to stir.
MAMA ANGEL: As my mother Mary would say: ”Waste not - want not Marie”. My work is done here ladies and the rules are now clear… I’ll to the Mother Irish, and just for this hurlyburly, and with thay Rook, to a smaller tombstone and the warmth of its nook. I’ll give thee a wind Zombie!
PAPA ANGEL: Zombie stumbles to his feet, stretching out his huge wings, still with the jump rope tied around his head, he begins to flap, as Marie vanishes yet again, Zombie leaps up into the tempest, as she screams…
MAMA ANGEL: Yet again – yet again – YET AGAIN ! ! !
And to a cauldron and a BLASTED HEATH in 300 MOONS… or am I INSANE. . . or is that TOO SOON ! ! !
(IMAGE # 6)
Scene 5: 300 years later… The Auction.
PAPA ANGEL: (Holding a copy) “An Invitation … to my worthy Thane Macbeth; my friend and SwingBlade – join me… King Duncan, on this Eve and on this Blasted Heath - #700 - signature – thumbprint!”
MAMA ANGEL: A life and death AUCTION of 700 Condos - 700 spectacular, purpose crafted, created, cultured and conditioned, high desert Condos, kitted out… super cliquey! And 700 Swingblades, no kids, only bananas, water, vaults and fowl – Oh, and THE Jump Rope… super freakey y’awl!
PAPA ANGEL: (Fanfare) So, Ladies and Gentlemen, one and all, I’ll bid thee a welcome… to this… this ugly bug ball (The top hatted guests appear in a half light, dressed as in the desert scene before – they mingle and pose to the music) - and to ALL on this Dead Heath Scroll – party on dude, everyone… one and ’AWL!
MAMA ANGEL: 700 guests will arrive, by hook or by crook, to this place, on this blasted heath, this very evening, and to this city built by the Irish... and thay Rook. Here they will celebrate and begin a life anew. Seven hundred of the King’s closest friends, with each coveted invitation, each with a ticket and a key, to an escape from Oblivion!
PAPA ANGEL: The remainder of the world’s Illuminati, and all under one roof, with King Duncan as our host… as it is his show after all, his insistence for it to be done his way – in this… HIS Mickey Mouse Play!
For an elaborate Shakespearian Mask will be performed this very evening for these very, very special guests. There will be chants of “Damballa Oueddo” (our Serpent God), with the promise of a special appearance by an immortal, the icon herself, the free mulatto and Voodoun Queen, Marie Laveau. Her appearance is much, much anticipated, for she made a promise to her three illustrious daughters, on that fateful night, back in 1929, to return, and now just in the nick of time… as 300 years have now passed… they are ready, and now ALL in thay prime!
MAMA ANGEL: So, who made up the party list, a list and set of rules as long as a Swingblade’s arm. They will all arrive as they are, with all thay worldly possessions under thay hats… there is no currency here - no need, no grid, just hats… very tall hats indeed!
PAPA ANGEL: And just what is a Swingblade any way… well, he is a Warrior and Defender of the Realm… he who wears his blade on his right arm - that is, if he is not their inventor, Macbeth… The Meddler - thay leader, a lefty, and with no thumb!
MAMA ANGEL: (Over a huge sound effect) An outrageous fly by… by a Count, who takes ONLY Gold – and has no blind eye!
And why Shakespeare… well, just like the Russian aristocracy spoke French with one and other, before the revolution, this very affluent societ’a speaks in thay language of Thay Bard, in thay evolution. They have even taken it to the extent of naming themselves after his characters. Life, for thay Bardy partiers, is a play within a play, within a play, that will play out… and on this very SPECIAL day - OKAY! (The ensemble cheer)
AND SO TO...
(IMAGE # 7)
Scene 6: The AUCTION and the ‘ACCIDENT’…
PAPA ANGEL: And so, will this all go according to thay plan? Well – what do you think… Ladies and Gentlemen - introducing: Thay HAND! (The ensemble applause and continue to mingle)
MAMA ANGEL: A Christie’s and Sotheby’s ‘retro societ’a’, where its either in your hat, or up your sleeve – OKAY… A KING, a Cathedral and a Count… 5 boroughs – 4 buildings and 1 Empire State… 4 QUEENS, 3 sisters - 2 terrible twins and 1 H E C K A P A R T A Y ! (The ensemble, cheer and throw confetti bombs into the air, covering the entire stage)
PAPA ANGEL: (Cheering) Scotland!
MAMA ANGEL: Ireland!
PAPA ANGEL: England!
MAMA ANGEL: And Wales…
(IMAGE # 8)
Scene 7: Journey’s End.
(General hubbub and applause)
MAMA ANGEL: So, they each will arrive, to end thay missions, and each in thay spectacular fashions, and each to thrive… to this sweet promise – TO BE LIVE – LIVE ALIVE!!
PAPA ANGEL: Now each of thay five Clans hath built thay fine damns… Thay Thanes, thay Queens and thay ‘HAND’. And I hear the tip-tap-whip-crackalackin’ of a jump rope… can you hear her? Yer - it’s a freak show - girl, and O’Dee go’n whip it all right – a freak show - girl – with her hair so tight… go’n make that hair curl – she go’n make her come twice!
THE JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE: (The girls appear skipping, with each batting the lines back and forth) O.D.G, Queenie Dee and Olga Dollar Gee… the jump rope sisters from New Orleans – thay go’n go nuts… and you go’n see! Four Queens - three weird sisters and thay Mama Marie – now you know about two… but what about three? So, gowned pretty Thanes (a Scottish Lord) from around the world, we go’n party-party-hardy, an’ let thay story unfurl…
They Hecka-protecta and thay ‘freakey’ THANES… Thay go’n party all right – THAY GO’N PARTY ALL NIGHT!!! (They disappear)
MAMA ANGEL: So, just how did this happen – this madness… with earth’s oldest, tallest and most illustrious family, the only known immortals, taking refuge in this inert environment, an elaborate, artificial and expensive experiment at the center of an ancient alkaline lake bed in the once ‘high’ desert. Well, like most things, it was born of necessity - like most things…
PAPA ANGEL: ‘O B L I V I O N’ . . . the un-doing of man, the perfect virus and the perfect crime… delivered by a communal garden fly. Fear of it has driven thay migration, through war, faster than the rising waters… and who would have thunk it… the mosquito, man’s ultimate nemesis, would drive him to a church on The ENDLESS PIT!
(IMAGE # 9)
Scene 8: The BLASTED HEATH!
(The fiery cauldron appears on stage in front of a projected desert vista)
PAPA ANGEL: Marie – Marie, my apocalyptic Queen… she puts a spell on me…
This is the little known story of Ora Dell Grey, a ghetto hummingbird, who sang her songs from a church in the sky…
THE JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE: (Singing and skipping) “Old Lady Dollar-sick in the bed,
Went to the doctor-doctor said:
All she needs some shortnin’ bread...
I do love - I do love.
Mama love - Papa love - everybody love…
An’ a rooster crows - she lie,
She drank coffee - she lie,
She drank tea - she lie,
She drank ‘hecka’ tea-an’ she lie,
She Hecate - an’ she lie!”
PAPA ANGEL: She - whose feet have never touched the ground… I hear the tip-tappin’ of a jump rope – O.D.G, G.O.D / D.O.G – who - and where are you?
You make mystery of immortality.
She’s somebody in the shadows…
Can you hear her?
Ora Dell - in your bag of tricks, what do you contain?
Are they remedies of insanity… or are they remedies of pain… so, my sisters -
THE JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE: (Now as Witches around the cauldron, speaking to one and other) When shall we three meet again - in thunder, lightning, or in rain?
When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.
That will be ere the set of sun.
Where’s the place – upon the heath.
There to meet with Macbeth.
Fair is foul, and foul is fair.
Hover through fog and filthy air. (They all scream and vanish)
MAMA ANGEL: So, what is it… and who is it? This Lady Macbeth – this O.D.G. She; with whom the whip-crack of a jump rope, now takes to the air – PUURRRRRRRR-WINGGGG!!
Whip it baby and whip it right!
(IMAGE # 10)
Scene 9: Sandstorm.
(Music: ‘Sandstorm’. The ensemble dance on stage, in the desert, to the music as the floor dust rises)
PAPA ANGEL: THE SETTING: Black Rock Desert, Nevada; the year: 2229 - where things ain’t so pretty - in thay states of mind! It is the beginning of The Great Depression and a last night on natural earth. A ‘freaks’ ball – So, come as you are… coz thay freaky Thanes gon turn this muther OUT!!! – “The roof – the roof – THE ROOF IS ON FIRE! – we don’t need no roof - let the Martha Fokker BURN!!!”
MAMA ANGEL: The five boroughs of New York represented by the iconic and somewhat exact external re-creations of the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Fuller Building and the infamous Twin Towers of the Woolworth Buildings - home to be, of the enigmatic, immortal Ora Dell Grey; O.D.G – The Jump Rope Diva, her husband Thane Macbeth; ‘The Swingblade Centurion’ and thay assassin, thay Roptus, Raven Eagle, Zombie.
PAPA ANGEL: The structures sit atop a gigantic bunker flanked by two equally gigantic mirrored Swingblade Centurions; a power station and gateway to the city of ORA DELL GREY.
MAMA ANGEL: The city has been constructed since Nevada’s ascension from the union, during the new prohibition, by the oligarch King Duncan, the reigning minister of ‘The Church of Science; Latter Day Saints and Larry Harvey. The five boroughs, however, are effectively ruled by organized Voodoun Crime Lords; Thay Thanes and their Supernaturals; thay Sisters. Each is vying for control of their territories from the elevator rooms of each of the buildings, under the tenuous leadership of Duncan and the Diamond Queen of New Orleans.
PAPA ANGEL: And when all the smoke is clear, just who did put all this madness here - this Empire’s state – where: “Enough is never enough”… why, it’s Count Orlotto, the erstwhile pirate… Thane Peter Macduff.
MAMA ANGEL: THE EVENT: The St. John’s Eve Festival and the canonization of William Shakespeare and Voodoun Queen Marie Laveau. Tonight we will celebrate the spirit of party – come what may - as tonight, with this Harvest Moon the waters of this world will breach these five damns soon… and now, with ice caps gone, we will live in this state, from here on and on and on... anon.
(IMAGE # 11)
Scene 10: Introducing Thane MACBETH.
(Projected images of War, set to ‘The Dogs of War’ motif)
PAPA ANGEL: A STATE of WAR exists… and with this, I welcome you to all my OBLIVION! – and to a pitiful commentary by the spiritual leader - and card carrying member of the Swiss/French resistance…
The truth of my identity – I can never reveal to you, as I am – I am now - a man of mirrors, known simply as: The Meddler – a simple SwingBlade.
So remember folks old M.L.K, when he say: We may have come here in different ships – but we ALL in the same boat now… and now is the winter of OUR discontent – made glorious summer by this King Duncan – this PRINCE of WALES!
MAMA ANGEL: For brave Thane Macbeth (well he deserves that name), disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution, like valor’s minion carved out his passage till he faced the slave; which ne’er shook hands nor bade farewell to him till he unseamed him from the nave to th’chops!
Point against point rebellious, arm’gainst arm, curbing his lavish spirit: and to conclude, THE VICTORY FELL ON US damnit!
(IMAGE # 12)
Scene 11: The Arrival of She… MARIE – MARIE!
PAPA ANGEL: Sunset on the Twin Towers, the CATHEDRAL of COMMERCE, as Ora Dell enters her apartments, above the loading of Duncan’s yacht onto the roof of the Opera house… yes, an Opera house!
Macbeth and Banquo ponder the blasted heath – the endless pit, as the last two Swingblades, and men, on natural earth, when shrieking from the heavens…!!
MAMA ANGEL: Thay mixer, thay muddler, thay meddler, thay Thane…
“Macbeth – look what I have…”
(The fiery cauldron is now swinging, encircling the stage, around the galleon’s mast, with THE JUMP ROPE SISTERS THREE, as Witches, hanging from it)
JUMP ROPE SISTERS: “Show me - show me”
MAMA ANGEL: “Here I have a Pilot’s thumb, wracked as homeward he did come… Though shalt get Kings, though thou be none – so all hail Macbeth… and Banquo... a drum, a drum, MACBETH DOTH COME!!!“
BANQUO: (Appearing on stage, holding his Swingblade) “What are these, so withered and so wild in their attire…”
PAPA ANGEL: “MY THUMB!!! MY THUMB!!! – I am undone – yet how does she know?
Marie – Marie… you have come! “Your children shall be Kings. YOU shall be KING – went it not so?” AND now BANQUO knows… now is THAT not so…? Zombie – I must report of this to our Queen”.
Song # 6: ‘Trust’
(A ‘Maske’ of the ‘Last Supper’, performed by the entire ensemble, in front of projected images of the 20th century)
(IMAGE # 13)
Scene # 12: Marie-Marie’s letter to O.D.G.
MAMA ANGEL: From the domes of the ‘Dream-catcher’, Macbeth and Banquo rise from the endless Heath in an eerie silence… each suspended in thought… each with a mission unfolding they board Duncan’s most secret ‘Dreadnought’.
And on to this island Sundial, both men, both friends, take respite for a while… for nothing is what it was before… nor will it ever be, ever again.
PAPA ANGEL: Ora Dell arrives in her dressing room to a letter, Marie-Marie has placed, on a billow, beneath a beautiful pair of high heeled red dress shoes; she reads… and breathes.
MAMA ANGEL: “My, my, my, child… and you thought I left with the bird… a bird with one eye! – “I’ll give thee a wind”… you’re busted – don’t trip – so am I.
But naughty-naughty! - a bird fly – a bird do… my-my – me - you… and a bright red pair of snazzy shoes!
O.D.G, I would that thee were a fraction so loving for thy Thane as for thy bird… his steel wing not enough for thee? Naughty – naughty!
Shuuush… It’ll be our secret… at least for a while, as there is a much more serious, devious matter at hand… a betrayal, a beheading – ghastly stuff – truly evil… you’ll to the betrayal - thy bird to the ‘snuff’ and I to my ‘Chieve’s’ retrieval!
That Queen Diamond Dee and all her men – all three… in the left heel – a dart – a poison… in the right – a pill - you’ll see. Steady aim – use thy Thane - and she’ll be comin’ round the bend - again, again and again… but you, my child, must to it, for thy Thane is too full of the “milk of human kindness” for such is this game… and I’ll to our business’s once this King Duncan is slain.
For 300 moons hath now passed and I too am in pain… so patience my O.D.G - slowly take aim and remember… USE THY THANE and a shuuuush! to thee, from Marie-Marie… again – again and again!!
PAPA ANGEL: Macbeth arrives in the doorway as Ora Dell quickly crushes the letter.
“She hath came - she hath seen and I am undone, my Lady - my apocalyptic Queen… yet “Our children shall be Kings” … I “shall be King”, or so it is deemed… and Banquo; he too hath seen and bore me this single question: “Will you of this to our King… or to your Queen?”
So, the pace a’quickens; the plot a’thickens, and I am all a’quiver… the King is onboard; the countdown has begun – its ‘curtain up’, my Lady, and ‘a cauldron down’ - lets rock – lets go to town… yes, this ‘Strike’ is neigh on our moon so high… so be alert for the ‘Chieve’ and this little squirt, yes, this Duncan… this thieve must surely die!”
MAMA ANGEL: “Who’s Shirley? – just kidding”.
(IMAGE # 14)
Scene # 13: The betrayal; the murder of King Duncan and the escape of Banquo and Fleance.
PAPA ANGEL: So, Ladies and Gentlemen, whilst our two heroes are now secure in thay ‘sealed’ apartments, contemplating thay respective navels, two great ‘plays’ are already underway…
MAMA ANGEL: The countdown continues to ODIGY’s ‘Strike’, at 7.07 … as it is, after all, THE “Half Time Show from Heaven”.
PAPA ANGEL: The Macbeths, therefore, will not be attending the first act of Duncan’s ‘silly’ play; nor will thay attend the ‘salty encounter’ at the Jump Rope Damn, as expected… they have let that be known; instead, they are ‘sealed’ from the outside world in thay apartments. Instructions have been given… absolutely no interruptions for the Royals until the ‘Strike’, where thay will appear on Zombi’s walkway to the elevator room, high above the lagoon and the crowded Playa. But all great ‘plays’ require thay rehearsals – they really do… and this one - most especially too… as this is where, they say; “Thay own ‘Vanitay’ hath made thay fowl play”… as now, all three – including thay Mama-Marie, can now but see thay history go down on this Heath, on this grave day.
MAMA ANGEL: The youngest Queen, Olga Dollar Gee, has also let it be known that she and her husband, Thane Banquo, (Banquo and his son appear on stage, hugging one and other) will also spend the moments, before the ‘Strike’, alone with their only son, the widely believed ‘Heir Apparent’, Fleance. Queenie Dee, Duncan’s Queen, has remained silent as to where she and her two sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, will be… and last - but never least… ‘The Great Zombi’ will, quite naturally, fly free…
PAPA ANGEL: At the commencement of the play’s second act, all 700 Illuminate will have descended the stairs of the Sundial, back down into the Opera House, back to the now ‘sealed’ bunker for the ‘Strike’ and the following storm that will rage tonight!
MAMA ANGEL: In the next seventeen minutes, before the earth’s salty waters will smack the second ‘Whipping Damn of Ghetto Girlach’, the outside world will be ravaged by a tempest… as earth spins – heavens will turn black, torn by a cauldron, from darkness to light – and to darkness back!
PAPA ANGEL: It is also assumed that King Duncan will reveal the Chieve with the customary placing of a handkerchief, on the rail of the Royal Box, to begin the second act of the play… but to assume anything, thay say, is to make an ‘ass’ of you and me… okay!
MAMA ANGEL: Un-beknowns to the Macbeths; Banquo, fearful for his son’s life, has already grasped young Fleance, and both have secretly ridden up on the roof of Macbeth’s elevator, into the ‘sealed’ apartments (Banquo and Fleance appear at the base of a chain and mirror the following actions described). Banquo, now having removed his SwingBlade, begins to scale the cable of the elevator with Fleance clung to his shoulders. Reaching the winch room level, he prizes open the elevator door to Ora Dell’s infamous, vaulted spire; the ‘Cathedral of Commerce’ .
PAPA ANGEL: Downstairs, all 700 Illuminate are now seated, hats on their laps, eagerly awaiting King Duncan’s solo first act. Suddenly, Zombi flies in from the Sundial above, landing gracefully, menacingly, on the bow of Duncan’s Dreadnought, as it is being lowered from the roof of the Opera House to the stage below. A hush falls on the proceedings… King Duncan appears, alone, in the Royal Box; as the lights dim he slowly pulls out the Chieve, from his sleeve, and loudly - proudly blows his nose into it, sending the Illuminate into frenzy! (The ensemble roar)
MAMA ANGEL: (Banquo and Fleance mime the following actions with the boat) Upstairs; Banquo has now dragged Ora Dell’s beloved row boat, her only inheritance from her father, past her giant sculpture of the jump rope / winged whisk, to Zombi’s walkway entry. With his, and Fleance’s shoelaces, he feverishly ties the two oars to the rowlocks and to one and other, where they cross at the boat’s center. He lifts the entire boat - upside down, high above his head and instructs Fleance to again grasp onto his shoulders, by his cloak. Holding onto the oars, he leaps off the walkway into the swirling skies, gliding fast over the lagoon to the relative safety of the Heath below. He lands skillfully, still holding the boat above his head, as a shield, he begins to run, with his young son, past the ‘Tombstones of Humanity’, to the supposed safety of the ‘Ghetto Galleon of Gerlach’.
PAPA ANGEL: Downstairs, in the Opera House, Duncan raises the Chieve high over the giant malaise… Zombie leaps to the air and flies across the heads of the startled Illuminate to grab the Chieve. With claws outstretched and in the very moment before snatching it from Duncan’s hand, a giant net falls on the confused ancient in flight, sending him to the floor and to the throws of an array of Duncan’s personal pirate SwingBlades, who arrest the now hysterical bird. Taunting Zombi with the Chieve, Duncan petulantly, somewhat tipsily, addresses the Illuminate… “Ladies-ladies and Gentlemen – Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention please! I’m so sorry to shout - thank you! Ahem-ahem! There has been a sudden, unexpected change in this evening’s proceedings - EVERY SwingBlade to the attention now!!! Gentlemen, don’t EVER doubt my intention!!! – one – single – move!!
To explain, my dearest Thanes – tonight’s performance, slash canonization and auction, will be cancelled due to a sudden change of plan… by this ‘silly’ Clan…. So, hats off everyone – hats on stage – every last one… or the bird gets it… then we’re all done! Hats off – I’ll say! – one last time – before we’ll kill ya, oooooh!... what foul play – and the very perfect crime, my Thanes… in every way - I do thank ye all - everyone - most especially the ugly ones – I really do!”
MAMA ANGEL: The Illuminate, each very reluctantly, remove thay hats and bring them to the edge of the stage, where they are loaded straight onto the Dreadnought by the Duncan’s SwingBlades. Zombi is taken, struggling, chattering, knawing, and is tied to a perch atop of the vessel, as the last of the hats are loaded into the saloon by the SwingBlades. The boat is next lifted back up to through the roof, by crane, out of the Sundial and placed carefully back into the lagoon. Standing on the ship fore deck, Duncan beckons the audience to follow, as the Dreadnought now begins its transformation. The boat slowly rotates, revealing Queen Diamond Dee and her sons of the aft balcony; she is mockingly tearful. The Illuminate look on in amazement as both hulls of the vessel now begin to arc outwards and rotate, forming wings, revealing a giant rocket engine within the boat’s form. Breaking away from her tears, Queenie Dee screams: “Gentlemen – start that engine!” With a deafening roar the rocket ignites as the now winged Dreadnought races across the lagoon to take flight - in the very moment of the moon’s fateful ‘Strike’! (An on stage ‘white-out’ blitz of light)
PAPA ANGEL: From high above, Ora Dell has now arrived on Zombi’s walkway to the elevator room, distressed at the disappearance of her beloved row boat. The skies darken, as the moon disappears amidst a black, spitting cloud from ODIGY’s careless ‘Strike’. Seeing the calamity below, Ora Dell whips the jump rope, leaps to the air and flies down to the Sundial. Macbeth, having summoned his elevator, is already en-route.
The Moon spins and races into view huge, as the Dreadnought encircles the skyscrapers surrounding the Playa, with the Illuminate (appearing on stage, with shoes in hand) - ‘Thay Gowned Pretty Thanes’, reduced to hurling thay shoes at the Royal swindlers!
MAMA ANGEL: Arriving at the scene Ora Dell takes Macbeth’s blow pipe and places her left red shoe’s heel at the tip… “Steady Thane” - she takes aim at her twin sister, circling the skies above, and with a gigantic “shuuuush” she fires the dart straight to the neck of Queenie Dee – “Ha!”
PAPA ANGEL: In that same moment Zombi wrestles himself free from the net and flies from the Dreadnought behind a skyscraper. As he re-appears he holds the Chieve in his beak from the now decapitated – fallen - King Duncan on the Dreadnought’s fore deck.
(IMAGE # 15)
Scene #14: The Killing of Banquo.
MAMA ANGEL: (The winds begin to howl, as overhead Zombi appears flying) Zombi continues unabated in flight, over the heads of the now cheering Illuminate. Ora Dell composes herself momentarily before letting out a blood curdling scream: “Where’s my BOAT Zombi Zee? ... look – look he sees it – look Thane - look to the Heath! - HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? And YOU sister DEE – you’ll be comin’ round the bend again – you’ll see! SUMMON the ‘ROPTER’! My Thane... who would do such a thing to me?”
PAPA ANGEL: (Over the building sound effect) Now, just what is a Ropter anyway - you might ask… well, she’s a fury incarnate… there for the task - SHE ‘Hecka Protecta’ – on wheels… and SHE FAST!
MAMA ANGEL: Vaulting from the Heath, the deadly giant looms… the screeching, screaming, shrilling, ‘science’ bird maneuvers and re-configures itself in menacing attitude, hovering as it nears the Sundial. The noise is simply deafening, sending everyone running, in chaos, back down into the Opera House below. A thin gangway opens from the belly of the beast as it lands on the Playa amidst a gigantic, billowing sand cloud.
PAPA ANGEL: (Sounds and projections of a tempest appear) Skies circle and crackle - the moon slows, sliced, diced - its darkness glows, as earth now twists… and winds now blow!
MAMA ANGEL: (Banqo, the boat, Fleance and Zombi appear on stage for the following mimed action sequences) Zombi, still holding the Chieve in his beak, has arrived directly above the exhausted Banquo, now dragging the boat across the Heath, past the ‘Tombstones of Man’ towards the galleon, still running! Seeing the bird, he beckons Fleance to get inside the boat, knowing that the ancient will not – must never touch the beloved boat. The winds howl, as dust races across the Heath; ahead, the ‘Whisk Damn of Ghetto Girlach’, the border creation those salt waters will smack!
From the now distant city of O.D.G, the fury of the Ropter shrieks and shrills as it takes flight, up into the darkening heavens. Banquo quickens his pace arriving at the giant sculpture of the winged whisk, he pauses for a moment; placing Fleance on his shoulders, he lifts the boat again, above his head, and begins to scale the gigantic tilted wing. Zombi lunges at him, swiping him across his chest with his huge claws, but Banquo, pushing the boat into the confused bird, continues un-abated in his mission. From the tilted wing he travels the curved steel of the whisk up toward the crest of the damn – now clearly shattered from fatigue. The Ropter closes in but stays in shadow mode, its occupants knowing that its sound alone, that of pure distortion, will pierce the drums of the fleeing Royals and the angry ancient. Thay can but watch what will now go down…
PAPA ANGEL: Reaching the tip of the whisk, Banquo leaps down to glide to the top of the gigantic damn - to a lone figure, a pirate, silhouetted against the vast underside of his, pendulum like, galleon. (Thane Peter MacDuff appears at the base of the chain on stage, taking part in the action) Thane Peter MacDuff holds on to the chain stretching up into the belly of his galleon, whilst standing in waiting, wresting the blasting winds. As Banquo circles and lands, he collapses… Zombi lunges, spearing him with his ‘dagger’ claw, through his neck, killing him instantly. Fleance screams; “father!”
FLEANCE: “Father – FATHER - NO!”
PAPA ANGEL: The pirate punches the bird, hard in the head – blind-siding him - breaking loose the Chieve from his jaw - pushing the screeching ancient from the Damn. The earth begins to shudder as the gigantic tidal wave roars into sight. The figure picks up Fleance, flips over the boat, with his boot, jumps inside and places the Chieve on their heads - as Zombi rises again, recovered from the fall, hovers, flapping furiously overhead. The figure hugs the whimpering, terrified child, whilst whispering, over the roar, into his ear: THANE PETER MACDUFF: “Grab on this chain my son, for your father is slain… and it is done!
(The boat rises) This boat - this boy - this Chieve! … which we’ll now tuck - right up - this sleeve.
So, “Enough is Enough’, said Thane Peter MacDuff… I’ll raise this boy, as if he was my own… coz its go’n be rough – an’ you go’n get tough! … coz this go’n be your new home”.
PAPA ANGEL: They begin to rise up into the galleon, as standing – watching on the gravity bridge, within the Ropter, Fleance’s mother, Olga Dollar Gee, mysteriously appears holding the Black Alabaster Box. Marie-Marie turns to Ora Dell, who is surveying the scene below…
MAMA ANGEL: (Music: ‘The Dogs of War’) “Well, well, well, my child – we’d better get out of here - I’d say… time to fight another day. The battle is lost, but just begun – “Winner takes all”, my dear… your time is done!”
Song # 7: ‘The Chain’
MACBETH: “Ha! . . . Pick the path”
(An on stage ensemble performance as the cast approach the galleon’s mast and rigging, eventually forming a human tableaux; a pyramid in half light. The boat, with its two occupants, continues to rise. At the song’s conclusion FLEANCE has climbed to the very tip of the boat, now at the top of the pyramid)
THANE PETER MACDUFF: Pick the path - my son… Pick your path.
(Slow fade to black)