a play script!
perhaps i did not want to keep empty months on the blog, perhaps i did not want to stuff it with meaningless stuff, perhaps i was waiting for something to happen by itself, and this happened! i was able to retrieve this script i had written in 2006!
it is fair that i warn you that this is a full length play, meaning that it will be lengthy and perhaps weary to some. when i did the word count it was just three blogs into one!
if you are familiar with greek mythology it will help to get the hang of whatever is being tried in this script.
do give your comments.
if anyone wants to perform this play, please mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
and, folks, here is the script. lean back as the curtains go up.
PROMETHEUS NOW is the working title of the play.
Into the single small spotlight the narrator enters and starts to read from a big bound volume. The Narrator is referred as N.
“Pro me thee yus..
This is the story of mankind. It is as much a present day narration as it was…
In the time of Gods, In the dates unrecorded in history, The time assumed in myths,
In the kingdom of Gods….and the humans,
There was one voice- that dared the divinity and embraced destiny
Millions of years later, this voice was recorded by Goethe
And it said-
Cover your heavens
With clouds and vapors
You cannot touch my earth
My cabin that you did not build
My hearth whose glow you watch
There is none more pitiful than you, gods!
The breath of our prayers is your paltry nourishment
The background stage gets filled by spots fading in
All the Gods are frozen in their place
N: You would starve
But for the foolish hopes of children and beggars
Prometheus moves in slowly and sits on the floor next to the narrator.
N: I should worship thee? What for?
Have you ever
Lightened my pain when I was in anguish
Ever stilled the tears, when I was frightened?
Do you suppose that I would hate life and flee,
Because my fancy dreams have come to pass?
In the background with a faint echo, a voice other than the narrator’s:
I sit here
Shaping men and women in my image
A race destined like I
To suffer and cry, savor and laugh and
Disregard you as I do.
Light fades out on the narrator, and comes on to show, Zeus on the throne fuming and pondering. Before him stand two Greek gods
The two remain silent.
Z: are you sure?
In silence they nod their heads.
Zeus gets up and starts pacing…
Light fills on the left where the narrator was standing. Prometheus enters with a hollow shaft that has a small flame. The gods in the background freeze.
P: this shall dispel darkness
Yet may bring darkness too; light does bring shadows too.
Slowly a group of people enter and gather around Prometheus.
A drum beat begins and rises to crescendo.
P: do you hear?
Abruptly the drums stop and there is silence.
P: do you see?
Abruptly the lights on the gods are switched off.
The group gets up and takes the flame from Prometheus.
Again drums start in a low volume and dim lights are on the gods
The group slowly walks past the Gods.
As they move past into the wings, Zeus moves to the front and turns and shouts
Z: Pro me thee yus
Prometheus walks up to Zeus. The two demigods kneel.
Why are you doing this?
P: the need of the hour
Z: whose hour?
Z: who are we?
And why are you with them? Have they in your clouded vision become us?
What makes you give what is mine to the lesser ones?
P: what is ours? What is yours?
What is giving?
Z starts pacing
P: empowering is not giving
Z: power is absolute
And only the absolute shall retain power
P: nothing can be absolute
P: even Gods have to change
P: for better or worse
Only change shall exist
Existence is not about eternal past. It is the eternal present…
Z: are you sure that Gods shall change
P: all will change…
Z: one will surely change… And that one is you
Your status shall change… You will cease to be among Gods.
P: we all will cease to be Gods
There will be new gods for the new people
The new people created by me
Are you living in a dream? How can you create?
P: creating is empowering
Power is knowledge
The knowledge to wield power.
Z: you vex me.
P: I know the inevitable
Zeus stops pacing comes threateningly near Prometheus and turns back.
With a flurry of impatience again swirls.
Z: will you stop atleast now?
P: the fire shall spread. It only needed an ignition. Now the flames feed and grow on themselves. Time shall shape the fire into light and power. The power to see and know.
Z: it is dangerous to give such power to the ordinary people of this earth
They are not used to holding or wielding power. They need us to protect them.
P: protect? To blindfold and belittle is to protect?
Z: the meek shall serve.
P: not forever
Z: because of your stupidity you have given them intelligence. Now they will think.
Now they will try to make themselves better. They will end up in chaos
P: they will revolt
Z: they will forget the Gods
P: maybe they should…
P: yes. Maybe they should make their own gods.
Maybe they should become their own gods.
Z: are you trying to pretend to be insane?
P: sanity is foresight. I foresee.
Z: what do you foresee? Have you foreseen your fate?
P: I foresee future. Future is not fate. Fate is the child of ignorance.
Z: ah I foresee the future too. Your future! Full of pain and misery
P: and endurance and hope
Z: empty dreams
P: that contains the seeds of possibilities.
Z: do I have to dismiss you?
Prometheus exits with head held high. Zeus claps to summon demigods. They come and kneel.
Z: do you remember?
The two lift their heads.
Z: he once cheated me. He left me with wasteful plenty
and gave the useful few to humans That was a game. This is real.
When games are played in reality, it is dangerous.
Do you understand? It is dangerous. For you.
Your powers shall decrease. You cannot hold the humans in terror.
They will taste freedom. Freedom to even reject you.
The gods will cease. They will become memories.
They will not be able to grant since there will be no more prayers.
The fool can be punished. That is the simplest task in hand. But the ones
Who are becoming clever have to be stopped. They have to halt in their progress.
The two sink their heads on their chest.
You vex me too. You listen. You carry out orders. But you never give ideas
But then… that saves you from my wrath.
My anger is my power. My anger is my force.
Become my power and force… take that Prometheus to the remote height. He shall be punished.
Two in chorus say “ thy will be done”.
Lights go off.
Spot on Prometheus. His brother epimethues enters.
P: bad news.
P: my work is not fully done yet.
E: tell me
P: I have given fire, but no shield to protect it from the winds.
E: what do you want me to do?
P: do you understand what I have done?
E: you gave fire to people.
P looks exasperated.
P: I gave fire to people.
The fire to burn torches. The torches that will shed light. The light that will
unravel dark mysteries.
Knowledge that will grow on itself.
The arts, the sciences. But…
There will come a time when this knowledge will deceive itself
In greed, in vanity…
I have to protect what I have created. Or it will all be destroyed
E: what are you going to do?
P: make a box.
P: the box that will contain every possible misery that will plague the human mind.
P: lock the box.
P: as long as the box is unopened…miseries will have no avenues to enter the mind.
E: how can we protect the box?
P: the box shall be here in this home.
What was made here will be kept locked here.
No person who does not relate well to this home can open it.
Realism reveals itself through illusions.
The box is locked by fearful hope. The key that unlocks shall be greedy curiosity.
E: I fail to understand.
P: better that way than to understand that you will fail.
E looks bewildered. P smiles.
P: go. Leave me alone. I shall do my best.
Followed by A scene in which the box is made. And lights fade out.
Lights on Zeus.
Z ( to himself) he is treacherous.
Treachery is a simple task that can be punished.
But he is tricky.
Claps to call the demigods.
Z: are you ready?
The two nod in assent.
Z: what is temptation?
The two remain silent.
The two nod.
Z: what then shall tempt beauty?
The two bow their heads.
Z: go away. You are my major aides..Power and force…
What use is power and force without the intellect to guide them?
Go and when another day begins, Prometheus shall meet his punishment.
They exit in silence.
Z (alone and to himself) beauty shall tempt. I shall create beauty.
Z sits in a tantric posture and lights fade out on him.
Background music is haunting and when lights fade in, a beautiful woman is kneeling in front of Zeus.
Z: Raise Pandora.
She stands up.
Z: turn around. Become a mirror of all the beauties in the world. Become the symbol of beauty. I shall gift you with seduction and grace. Move over.
Z: what brings you here?
H: Prometheus is as great as us. He is an asset to us.
H: can we find a way to pardon him?
Z: pardon? Do you want to pardon to perish?
Hermes remains silent.
Z: are you not aware of his crime?
Hermes looks up tries to say something and keeps quiet.
Z: crimes too can sometimes be condoned. But the arrogance of accomplishment
Should never be ignored. The arrogant criminal grows bolder with the knowledge
that he can escape.
I know him. I know the danger. Yet, for your sake, for your satisfaction
You may speak to him once. You may offer pardon under conditions.
Do not comeback to me if your offer is refused by him.
Zeus gestures Hermes to go away, and lights fade out…
Lights fade into Prometheus’s home. He sits staring at the box. The demigods enter. In silence Prometheus is taken away as a captor. For a few seconds lights linger on the box and fade out to the sounds of drums.
On the farthest left upfront corner is the rock.
Into the slim spotlight Prometheus is brought by the two. A man is preparing the fetters.
Prometheus looks at him and tries to embrace but the two refrain him.
M: I know.
P: I know how you feel.
M: this sadness pains more when I foresee your pain.
P: pain too like the powers of the illusory God shall not be forever.
M: illusory God? you mean Him?
Prometheus remains silent.
M: I do not have the courage.
P: To listen to me?
M: To listen to you and to deliver your punishment.
None shall slander the Almighty; yet you have chosen this as your style.
I shall not judge on your right and wrong. Our bonds still make my heart heavy.
You may know that I am going to fasten you to this rock. You will be left here for the
Sun and the stars to watch your agony. Every passing hour will be etched in pain.
Your flesh will be food for the vultures.
P: I understand.
M: I do not understand Prometheus. Why did you want to give the humans fire?
Why did you anger the Gods? I have many questions but no answers. You maybe
A fine being. but of what use is valor when it becomes a sacrifice?
Demigod Force: enough of all this.
You have to chain and nail him. Words have been wasted enough already.
M: I am serving the order of the Master. But can I not complain to myself.
Demigod Power: complaint is cowardice. Cowardice will lead to treachery.
You are designing your own punishment.
DG-F: keep talking while working if you want. But take care of your tongue too.
The man goes about fastening Prometheus.
M: it is all over.
DG-P: the chains are not sharp.
M: let it be. He cannot break lose.
DG-F: Now hero, your tragedy begins.
In emptiness and silence, with creatures waiting to eat you, your death will come
But slowly. You will live long enough in pain to even forget how to plead
The three exit leaving Prometheus chained and nailed to the rock.
P: (to himself): I was among the Gods. I was a God too.
And now, here I am punished by the God. Silence may save my energy but
Speech is my strength.
The narrator enters with the big book.
N: there is no need to speak for all was known all along.
The story of Prometheus was written sharply and deeply on the tablets of the mind.
He was indeed speaking all along. Mostly to himself. At times he had visitors too.
The daughters of Oceanus were filled with sorrow at his plight. Their father too tried
To talk to him but, all found one little big truth.
Though the body was chained the spirit was not. The tongue remained free.
The mind resolved to wait. Pain changed to bitterness.
P: all want to know what I gave the humans. I gave hope and took away fear. I instilled Fire to be used for growth.
N: Prometheus started saying the same things again and again. Mostly to himself.
As the Gods wanted, the punishment of Prometheus re-installed the supremacy of
The ruling deity. Others learnt that to tamper with the Gods was just inviting disaster.
Prometheus keeps gesturing with his tied hands and the narrator leaves as lights fade out.
Lights come on Zeus and Pandora
Z: are you ready?
Z: do you know what to do?
P: I wonder…
P: I do not know what to do.
Z: then why do you say you wonder?
You cannot accept that you do not know what to do. You say you wonder. Do you know what wonder means? Can you wonder without knowing?
P: forgive my ignorance.
Z: no. I applaud it. I need it. I am happy about it.
Pandora remains silent.
Z: have you no questions to ask?
P: tell me.
Z: beautiful. Wonderful. I like this. You want me to tell you and yet you will not ask…
Pandora remains silent and looks down.
Z: I am happy that you are going to try for the answers when you will not care for the questions. This is it. This is really it.
Pandora remains demure and silent.
Z: you shall covet the brother of Prometheus. You shall enter that home.
P: their house?
Z: house is a physical boundary my dear, the home is the mental expanse. Now,
Do not get into the habit of asking questions. Just seek the answers.
P: what answers?
Z: so you are learning fast. You want answers still without knowing what the questions are?
P: what are the questions?
Z: every lock is a question. There are many locks in this world.
P: I do not understand, so what do I do?
Z: again you have excelled. You want to do something without understanding.
P: I don’t care about understanding; I just want to do…
Z: this is becoming more wonderful. Now you have developed impatience.
Pandora is becoming restless.
Zeus leads her into the home of Prometheus.
Pandora sits in front of the box. Zeus puts a black cloak around himself.
Epimetheus enters and lifts Pandora up.
As they exit Zeus retreats into the darkness and lights fade on the box.
The narrator stands near the rock but without the book.
P: are you Io?
N: what Io?
P: I knew you would come to see me, and seek from me.
N: hey, listen. I just happened to bump into you.
P: without seeking?
N: what seeking?
P: I understand child. I do understand.
N: and, what’s that?
P: what is what?
N: this understanding stuff.
N: oh my GOD
P: what God? There is no God.
P: there can be no Gods.
N: now wait a minute. This is driving me nuts. Why are you stuck up here?
P: ah now I am sure.
N: sure of what?
P: that there is no God.
P: you understand?
P: what is nope?
N: what is what? Oh…ok…Nope means no.
P: no. nope is negation of hope.
N: listen. Are you nuts or are you some deep stuff?
P: I am the reminder of memory.
Prometheus buries his head on his chest and does not speak.
N: are you ok?
There is no answer from Prometheus.
Narrator shrugs and moves on out of the spotlight.
P: learn to wait child.
I wait. The vultures wait. Waiting is the game played on eternity’s table.
The narrator comes back with a cloak.
N: I am Io.
P: I know.
N: what is it that you do not know?
P: I do know that there is a lot more to know.
N: do you always speak in riddles?
P: the vultures are waiting.
* Io + Hera+ Zeus scene optional*
Io: I wait too. To know what will happen to me. I have been cursed too.
But I am atleast able to move about in my search for the solution while you are
Bound to this rock till death.
P: I foresee that I shall be unbound. Therefore I am not going to live in these chains till
Io: when will that happen?
P: thousands of years will have to pass before that.
Io: you say you know.
P: I have known all.
Io: Do you know me?
Io. Then tell me my future.
P: Future is to be experienced with inevitable patience. I do not want to tell.
Io: Why should I not know what is going to happen to me?
P: because you will become impatient and attempt to hasten the end of suffering.
Io: and why should I suffer?
P: because only the pains of labor shall produce the future.
Io: what makes you proud? What have you done? You are punished too like me.
P: you want to tell your story?
Io: I keep repeating my story every time every where. The story of enticement and envy.
I do not want to tell that again. I want to listen. Not the story of your bravery and
The anger of the Gods. I want to listen to the meaning of your story.
P: you will.
P: Maybe before the end.
Io prepares to leave by removing the cloak and folding it. She becomes the Narrator.
P: though you appear as a woman, you are a man too. Human symbol of eternity.
Curiosity and haste will never let you listen to the Meaning of a story.
N: now what does this mean?
P: that you will deliver me.
N: it is of no use asking you when things will happen. Though you say you know
No one will ever know whether you knew.
No one might care either.
Do you know what is happening now?
P: yes the power of arrogance is being removed by people.
N: to be replaced with?
P: that is the haste of humanity.
The narrator shrugs and leaves. Lights fade out on Prometheus and come on Zeus’s place.
The humans who took the fire from Prometheus now enter and occupy Zeus’ place.
Lights fade out as the assume weird postures.
Zeus in black cloak watches Pandora sitting in front of the box.
Z: what are you doing Pandora?
Z: wating for what/
P:I do not know.
Z: do you want to know?
P: I do not want to know that either.
Z: I have to wait too.
P: for what?
Z: for waiting to turn into impatience.
P: is waiting patience?
Z: ignorance can pretend to be patient.
Z: ignorance can never be patient, only intelligence is patience.
Pandora almost sleeps on the box. Epiemtheus enters.
E: what are you doing?
E: how can you do nothing? Do you not have any work?
P: all works get over fast nowadays.
P: all because of the discoveries.
P: call them inventions if you care. But all new designs come out of the knowledge of discovering the primal form.
E: are you thinking about all these when you are alone?
We all think. All the time. Sometimes we stumble on truths dusty with time.
E: so what do you want?
P: I do not know.
Zeus enters the spotlight puts an arm around Pandora and speaks in a low tone.
Z: no Pandora. You know. You know that you do not know something.
Epimetheus gestures boredom and moves out. Pandora again resumes her sleep on the box.
Z: when time is spared it lashes back in viciousness. It wants to be spent.
Much like the perennial well that does not desire to stagnate. But Pandora my dear,
In stagnation breeds disease. Let the infectious vermin grow in your mind,
and spread in your house.
Zeus retreats into darkness. Pandora wakes up and moves about, music intones
Monotonously. The voice of Prometheus booms in the background.
P: I made humans stop focusing on their limitations.
I gave them the power of fire
I made them learn and do things on their own
As every creator fear plagiarism, I feared contamination.
My humans were modified into virile and virtuous variants
Unafraid, unaware of the truant tricks of Fate, full of fire.
The fire of knowledge that grows and grows on itself
Every art shall be refined and every science shall be defined
Humanity will grow
But for divinity’s treachery
I have created a new man
Given him knowledge
Yet in times to come
There may be clouds covering the light
Not sufficient enough to create a desperate darkness that will search for
Its own light, but a dusky gloom
That will falsely lead ,the hasty traveler
All the possible plagues of the human mind
Rash speed, racing against the race,
Envy and greed, fear of failure,
Indecency and indignity,
All of them, innumerable
All of these I have contained
In that little box
I have fastened that lid With desire
Once opened , all those vile thoughts Will plague the human mind
And for centuries to come Recluse will just be elusive
Apparently hopeless, I pray
Not to the Gods but to my own inner superior sensitivity,
That she, who has become a part of us,
Forever be the one to open
And unleash unpleasantness.
Zeus stands with hands folded overlooking Pandora sitting and staring at the box.
Z: I am God, Pandora. I am desire. Seek and you shall find me. Up, above
And all around. Pray, do penance, sacrifice and please me.
You are my creation. Created for my purpose, the divine dictum to rule the world.
Now do as I command. Seek.
Pandora kneels in front of the box and almost opens it. Epimetheus enters.
E: Pandora! What is wrong with you? Do not play with that box.
P: I have not done anything.
E: exactly. You do not do anything. You idle. Find ways to occupy yourself.
Even if passion is elusive, let the purpose of work be to fill your cup of time.
Pandora looks hesitatingly at the box.
E: do not ask what you will not get. Do not open what you cannot close.
He exits with a warning sign. Zeus moves in and whispers:
You have nothing else to do to satisfy your mind. No passion, no pursuit.
Satisfy your empty curiosity.
P: what do I lose?
Z: nothing. Maybe you have nothing to lose now.
P: I wonder what is really inside!
Z: you will cease to wonder so.
P: what can be wrong in opening one lock?
Z: as long as you do not want to get locked inside, you can open any lock.
She nears the box and while opening the lid, freeze.
Lights on Prometheus.
Pandora’s box is the only hope
Hope is the only thing that will remain in the box
Of what use is hope when left alone
Unaided by intelligence
Of what use will be intelligence that cannot
Recollect and use memory to foresee
Out of the box shall come
All the things called bad but practiced
Apparently inevitable harms
As he describes, things flutter out of the box and get scattered all over. The groups of people occupying the place of Zeus come and roll over all these scattered things.
Prometheus screams. Again and again. Each time the sound is lower, till in a final scream like movement of writhing he freezes.
Pandora is still searching inside the box.
Zeus: all that have to be outside have come out Pandora
P: no. there is still one thing left.
Z: you imagine that there is something left.
P: hope is left.
Z: empty, delusive hope. That is nothing really.
Call that hope – till you find another word for folly.
Zeus moves over to his throne and kicks the remaining group out of his area.
Z: get out of heavens you filthy lot.
You gained entry but do not have the sense to retain your place.
I shall now rule the heavens and keep a watch on you.
There we are, and here we shall be.
As long as fear and folly keep you chained to the notion of fate
I, on behalf of we Gods, shall rule over you.
I do know
Once in a while
One of you will rub your eyes
And try to open the others’ eyes
Those single men shall be dealt severly
No god needs to come to stop them
One of you will do it
On behalf of us
The Pandora’s box now open shall equip you to kill
Your own saviors
I shall laugh
Always and always
As there are going to be iron and lead, driven and pelted
To stop your saviours from releasing you.
I shall stop all who try to make you better humans
I will become the nail on the cross
Or the trigger for the bullet
The group rolls over to the rock.
The narrator roles out of the group. Slowly they all get up and stand in front of Prometheus covering him from the audience.
As lights fade out on Zeus he shouts-
“Now keep hoping that your hope will help
Hope will not help
When there is greed”
N: and so it happened that we all still have hope
That something will still change, and we might still make it.
Prometheus groans in the background.
N: all of you get up. Don’t rot in filth. Clean yourselves.
G1: what’s wrong with you? You are one of us. You don’t have wings.
G2: and what is wrong with us?
N: ok. Let’s clean ourselves
You guys know what the good old Prometheus wanted us to do?
He wanted us to be clean.
Fear, avarice, treachery and the crap that we have started marketing as
Success stuff is all useless. These bring small time success.
Greater and nobler success is what is important.
G1: look kid, who are you Buddha or Gandhi or something?
G2: you know all the good guys were finished off by villains?
G1: and you want us to be good guys?
N: reading so much about Prometheus has confused me.
Maybe being good is not so good living after all.
You know, when you read these heroic tragedies you feel like
Becoming a hero too. I would love to be one but for all the pain.
G1: yeah. Got to read easy stuff.
G2: I can give you a Potter or a Code if you want.
G1: no way. They have interesting story lines a beginning, an end and no crap inbetween!
G2: yeah. Missed on that one.
They both laugh.
N: let’s get back to the story of Prometheus.
G! he doesn’t sound like an interesting guy.
G2: what did he do after all?
G1: some fire stuff.
G2: what about fire?
N: listen guys, fire is not fire. Prometheus is not Prometheus.
It’s all symbolic. He was a good soul who wanted to make humans
Self- dependent. So he gave them knowledge.
Narrator opens the book again.
G1: we got all that. Now tell us what we are doing with the story.
N: it is a never ending story.
G2: I knew this was coming. All these philosophy stuff generally don’t have a good end.
G1: maybe there is an end and you don’t know it.
G1: look I gotta go. Have a call to attend.
G2: me too. Have a date.
G1: Nerdy! You better start having fun too. Life is short.
G1: the great narrator might not understand simple language boss!
Tell the same thing in greek or latin.
G2: vita brevis! So, get going.
The group moves away from the rock, leaving the Narrator looking at Prometheus. He is now almost frozen with the rock.
N: you see what happens?
P: I always foresee.
N: what did you foresee?
P: I knew that the Gods would cheat the humans.
I also knew that I would be unbound.
N: but looks like you are still stuck up there. It’s been ages. We guys know you
Got into trouble and were chained up there. If you had been unbound
What happened to you? Why didn’t you clean up the mess that came out of?
P: in my mind’s vision I travel back to heavens.
N: oh! Last temptation?
P: redemption is not temptation. It is deliverance.
N: so you thought that you were going to be released one day and then you will go
Back to your whatever heaven that was?
P: my heaven is earth!
N: oh! So now your heaven too is infected?
P: I have created a new man.
N: where is that creature?
P: in my vision.
N: does the new man have fun?
P: no fun. Pure joy!
Narrator shaking the head peers at the book.
Music suddenly starts.
Prometheus suddenly exclaims “Ah! Hercules! Thou have come to release me”
Prometheus begins to move out of the chains. He stands up spreads his arms wide
P: I am now unbound.
Narrator keeps reading the book.
P: or am I?
The narrator does not react to him.
P: is it better for a prophet to be a martyr than to be resurrected?
Is physical punishment worse than seeing the message misread?
Prometheus goes back to the rock and lies in the same bound posture.
Narrator looks up.
N: looks like Prometheus was unbound as in his prophecy
In another mythological convenience.
But, we all know that the guy is missing.
His current whereabouts not known.
Prometheus is now almost still as dead.
N: here’s how Kafka tells the story.
Four things happened
First, Prometheus was chained on the rock. Vultures came to peck at him and he went on rejuvenating so that he meets pain another day.
Prometheus tried to break the chains. But,
Instead of breaking them he became more bruised.
In agony he pressed deeper into the rock.
In the course of time
The third part of the legged says that
Millennia after millennia,
The gods forgot about him.
The vultures forgot about him.
Slowly he to forget what he was or what he wanted to be.
The final part of the legend is
Everyone being tired,
What was meaningful became meaningless
The gods, the vultures, he himself
And even the rock
No one cared.
The story ended with no one waiting to see
Abruptly lights go off.
All the actors in chorus say ‘ the end’.