Here we go with Part 1 of an experimental workshop of a new play that deals with politics, religion and on-going war. If you missed the brief outline of the purpose of this exercise, it is accessible on the archive list to the right of this as “And Now for Something Completely Different”.
Although The Radicalization of Ariadne draws some inspiration from actual places, events and people it is nevertheless a work of fiction.
The Radicalization of Ariadne
A play in Two Acts for 4 actors
Rev. Ariadne Brookfield: An attractive, poised woman in her late forties. Equally comfortable in a house dress or clerical vestments.
Hon. Harry Brewster: Same age as Ariadne, and her equally poised male counterpart.
Col. Robert G. Ingersoll: An affable, rather portly 65 year old gentleman with a charming manner and the richly textured voice of an experienced orator.
Marjorie: Only “Voice Over”. The synthesized female voice of a computer dictation program.
Place: Ariadne‛s apartment in Ottawa, and Ariadne‛s mind.
Time: The present.
Although there are some technical requirements for visual projection and recorded sound, the play as written is envisaged as being more reliant upon lighting than upon elaborate settings. In essence it requires an open stage able to accommodate three distinct lighting areas, with the lighting of each area having considerable flexibility. There is a requirement for some minimum set dressing in each area but the extent to which each may be elaborated upon is, of course, director‛s choice.
(Area lighting. To begin with only one small area is lit. It discloses Ariadne sitting at her own desk in her home office, looking very contemplative. Nothing happens for several moments and then –)
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over. Note: During Scene 1 this voice is somewhat muted – almost whispered. It is in Ariadne‛s head) As a book the Bible is far too exalted. It contains some good passages, a little poetry, some good sense, and some kindness, but its philosophy is frightful. If the Bible had never existed it would have been far better for mankind. (Echo) far better for mankind – far better for mankind —
(She puts her head in her hands. From a dark area of the stage we hear Harry‛s voice.)
HARRY: Computer. Start Listening. Go to House. Harry‛s den. Lights. On.
(Another area is lit, revealing Harry in his home office. He is standing beside an open laptop computer and a digital projector. The projector is placed on top of a square gift-wrapped package.)
HARRY: Go to Ariadne‛s den. Lights. Off.
(Lights go off in Ariadne‛s area.)
ARIADNE: (Calls) Harr-r-r-y-y — I‛m working.
ARIADNE: Thinking. And where is my laptop?
HARRY: (Calls) Ghostly voices prefer the dark. Your laptop is here. Computer. Ariadne‛s den. Lights. On.
(Lights go on in her area.)
HARRY: Computer. Harry‛s den. Lights. Off.
(His areas goes dark)
HARRY: Computer. Lights. On.
(His area is re-lit.)
HARRY: Ariadne‛s den. Lights. (Claps his hands twice)
(Lights in Ariadne‛s area go off.)
ARIADNE: (Calls) Harry, knock it off!
(Harry claps his hands twice. Her Lighting is restored. )
HARRY: Harry‛s den. Lights. (Claps twice. His area goes dark. Claps twice, area is re-lit. Thinks a moment then says – ) Projector.
(Claps twice. The projector turns on, throwing a large square of light on the wall screen)
HARRY: Dictation. My name is Harry Brewster. I am married to that curvaceous creature in the next room known professionally as the Reverend Ariadne Brookfield. My Rev wears my ring but not my name. She hears voices.
(The words have appeared while he talked, as though being typed.)
ARIADNE: (Calls) The only voice I hear is yours.
(Her words also appear on the screen. She leaves her desk and comes into his space and looks at the screen.. Harry claps twice and no more words are transcribed. After she enters his space the lights gradually fade off in her area)
ARIADNE: Harry, that‛s marvellous. It transcribes both of us! Without being taught our voices! I thought that was still a work in progress. Last time I tried it it was still a moron. At least for dictation. Your search engine was amazing.
HARRY : Oh Ady, you were doing so much research and writing using your laptop and the Internet that you gave me a wish list, remember? One thing you hated was dictating punctuation. No longer.
ARIADNE: It reads inflection?
HARRY: It does all kinds of things. Locks and unlocks the house, controls the frig, the furnace, the cat. (She takes a mock swing as though to cuff his ears) But that‛s just gilding existing lilies. It has hidden talents.
ARIADNE: Such as?
HARRY : (Hesitantly) Ady my Rev, remain innocent.
ARIADNE: Innocent. Me? Why?
HARRY: Let‛s just say national security might be involved.
ARIADNE: National Security! Oh hey, that old canard may work in the House on the Hill but not in our house.
HARRY: Yeah. I‛m sorry. Let‛s just say Tom knows more of the ins and outs of it than I do.
ARIADNE: (Probing) Let‛s just say I believe you.
HARRY: Well, uh – fact is – we really are selling the company. The partnership.
ARIADNE: Oh Harry dear, are you sure? You‛ve both worked so hard.
HARRY: Well, Tom thinks it‛s time. As for me, even when I‛m up home in Hackmatack there‛s been no time for this. Arm‛s length is the name of the game.
ARIADNE: Harry hon, it‛s still your design, your baby. The whole thing is you.
HARRY: No, no. The business end. That‛s Tom. I‛ve got the business drive but he has the know how. Always been that way. You know that, and in a way it‛s been for the better. Where the company is concerned I‛ve had to appear to be in limbo.
ARIADNE: (Teasing) Well, you are in limbo. As a government backbencher how much farther into shadowland can you get?
HARRY: (Non-committally) Well, we‛ll see. Uh – maybe we should talk about that some time. (Intentionally changing the subject) Here – (Indicates the laptop) Have a go at it. Don‛t verbalize your commas and periods. Shape them by inflection.
ARIADNE: Same code?
HARRY : Yep. One clap starts it. Two for start listening. Two again for stop listening. Three to shut down. Simple. Once, twice, thrice.
ARIADNE: Thrice. I love it. How very archaic for state of the art. Why the projector?
HARRY: Practising for a group demo.
ARIADNE: (Claps her hands twice) Continue dictation. My modest husband is really The Honourable Harry Brewster, Member of Parliament, representing the people of Hackmatack and Oshbegong in the Government led by the Regressive Party.
HARRY: Regressive? That‛s not fair.
ARIADNE: Well quit calling me Rev. My beloved is also the CEO and chief genius of Brewster Miracle Software. Or at least he has been. And I do not hear voices!
(The system has been transcribing and projecting all spoken words in one paragraph with punctuation but no line breaks.)
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) The probability is that we are all mistaken about almost everything.
ARIADNE: Nonsense! (Looks startled, hurriedly claps twice. and glances at Harry, but the Ingersoll words do not appear on the screen. )
HARRY: (Puzzled) It‛s not nonsense. Our baby‛s a genius.
ARIADNE: Your baby. (She blows him a loving air kiss)
HARRY: Hey, hey. We can do better than that. Listen. How do you like this? (Claps twice) Computer. Full text. Give voice.
ARIADNE: Give voice?
COMPUTER MARJORIE: (Voice Over. The voice is female but of a very different texture than Ariadne‛s.) Read or reproduce?
ARIADNE: What the —
COMPUTER MARJORIE: (Voice Over) My name is Harry Brewster. I am married to that curvaceous creature in the next room known professionally as the Reverend Ariadne Brookfield. My Rev wears my ring but not my name. She hears voices. The only voice I hear is yours.
ARIADNE: Well, it‛s got good hearing but doesn‛t care who‛s speaking.
HARRY: (Claps twice) Repeat. Reproduce.
COMPUTER (HARRY Voice over): My name is Harry Brewster. I am married to that curvaceous creature in the next room known professionally as the Reverend Ariadne Brookfield. My Rev wears my ring but not my name. She hears voices. (ARIADNE Voice over) The only voice I hear is yours.
HARRY: (Harry claps thrice and all text disappears.) And so on and so forth. How do you like them apples?
ARIADNE: (Truly amazed) Oh my gosh, you actually did it! Not only instant recognition but replay of actual voices. (Gives him a really big kiss and a hug.) Honourable Harry Brewster, you really are a genius.
HARRY: The Boss thinks so.
ARIADNE: The P.M. knows about this?
HARRY: Yep. It‛s already installed in his private office.
ARIADNE: Can you do that? Take private business into – into –
HARRY: My naive little Rev. There‛s a war on. The rules get bent. Besides, it‛s an office tool. And he‛s asked me to do a demo for the PMO. It‛ll probably be installed there, too.
ARIADNE: What‛s in it for the Boss?
HARRY: Hey, this is all based on improving cutting edge communication technology. Who knows what future applications might be. (Cheerfully) Besides, he probably wants to claim having the smarts to be the encourager – for the dicto program, even the first user. As an entrepreneurial businessman who am I to object? More than happy to oblige.
ARIADNE: Cutting edge technology! The smarts! This is Science. He doesn‛t believe in – in —
HARRY: Hey, hey! Me Tarzan.
ARIADNE: Sorry. Me Jane.
HARRY: Me politics.
ARIADNE: Me religion.
BOTH: Firewall. (They bump fists)
ARIADNE: And don‛t keep saying I hear voices.
HARRY: You‛re not?
HARRY: (Laughs) That faraway look you get on your face.
ARIADNE: So what‛s new?
HARRY: And every now and then you respond to something that hasn‛t been said. Like just now. What was nonsense?
ARIADNE: (Cheerfully) Let‛s just say I‛m having attacks of introspection. A bad case of introspection. I‛ll work through it.
HARRY : You sure it has nothing to do with this new system? You‛d tell me? Seems to me it started when you were trying out our search engine. Jesus Christ, Ady, if you spotted a glitch, in God‛s name tell me!
ARIADNE: Harry, don‛t swear. Some day you‛ll do it in Parliament.
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) I often swear. I take the name of God in vain. Nothing practical results from it.
HARRY: Not sure how funny it would be.
ARIADNE: Funny? Oh no. No hon. Far from it. It‛s just that – that – well, doing some Internet browsing I came upon a – well, I guess you‛d say a voice from the past.
HARRY : How far past?
ARIADNE: (Trying to be casual) 19th century. Hundred and fifty years, give and take. A Colonel.
HARRY : (Laughs) A 19th century Colonel! And what did the old coot have to say? Some words of wisdom for fighting Islamic terrorism?
ARIADNE: Believe it or not, yes indeed.
HARRY : All help welcome. What was he a Colonel of?
ARIADNE: Cavalry. American Civil War.
HARRY: I suppose bums in saddles keep boots off the ground.
ARIADNE: Later became the Attorney General of Illinois.
HARRY : A politician!
ARIADNE: (Laughs) No, no. A lawyer. Much too radical to be a politician.
ARIADNE: He was known as The Great Atheist.
HARRY : (Chuckling) Back then not a great campaign label.
ARIADNE: Back then! Try it now. Try it in Hackmatack.
HARRY : Oh ho, no thanks.
ARIADNE: He was also known as The Great Orator.
HARRY: Hey, we could use some oratorical support. (Slight burst of anger) God knows some of the stuff I hear in the House is almost – (backing off) well, you know.
ARIADNE: No, Harry, I don‛t know.
HARRY: Forget it.
ARIADNE: You never say.
HARRY: Not now.
ARIADNE: Darling, are you alright?
HARRY: What about your so-called orator?
ARIADNE: Your brilliant search engine said he was “the most famous unknown American”. So I followed the trail. Couldn‛t resist. So there, if I‛m pre-occupied it‛s all your fault. I was using your search engine. His words make me think.
HARRY: Happy thoughts, I hope.
ARIADNE: Not particularly.
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) Religion is simply superstition.
HARRY: Try this. May cheer you up. We‛ve improved the search feature. Can now summarize. You‛ll love it. (Claps twice) Computer. Search. Summarize. Essentials only. Twenty-five words. Colonel — (glances questioningly at Ariadne)
ARIADNE: – Robert Green Ingersoll.
HARRY: Display. Read.
(Text is projected onto the screen. It ribbons on as it is read by “Marjorie”, the computer voice.)
MARJORIE: (Voice Over) Col. Robert Green Ingersoll 1833 to 1899. Attorney General Illinois. The Great Orator. The Great Infidel. Currently said to be ” the most famous unknown American”
ARIADNE: Why does that computer voice – the – the – that female voice – it sounds familiar.
HARRY: You caught that, eh? Marj. It‛s not her, but it‛s simulated. Marjorie.
ARIADNE: The Boss‛s secretary! Does she know?
HARRY: Both know. They like it. Suggest I nickname the program Marjorie. If it goes commercial it will imply everyone using it is sharing the PM‛s secretary. The verbal command to take dictation can be either “dictation” or simply, “Marjorie”. How of-the-people can you get? Right up there with music and sport.
ARIADNE: (Laughs) You‛re shameless.
HARRY: If it works, work it. And word is filtering out. Members of the caucus are already asking to have it installed. They know I‛m doing a demo for the PMO.
ARIADNE: And after the caucus comes the Party?
HARRY: With luck, then everybody. Like I say, if it works, work it.
ARIADNE: You weren‛t always so cynical.
HARRY: (Claps three times and the whole computer system shuts down. He begins to put the projector and screen away while talking.) I wasn‛t always in politics.
ARIADNE: Well, Harry my sweet, at least you‛re still honest. Say – can you program your dandy Dicto Devil here —
HARRY: Dandy Dicto Devil. I like that. As in the old Printer‛s Devil? Did all the tedious work? The Brewster Dandy Dicto Devil. Catchy. Before we lose total control I‛ll pass that on to Tom.
ARIADNE: From out of limbo.
HARRY: The darkest corner of. And just a suggestion, of course. Hands off, that‛s me.
ARIADNE: Since the Boss has it can you program it so it will accidentally find the Colonel?
HARRY : You mean drop an infidel atheist —
HARRY : — into the lap of a believer? Oh no. You‛re not leading me down that path. Besides, you‛re trespassing again.
ARIADNE: Sorry. (They bump fists) You‛re probably right. I doubt the Boss would agree with him. The Colonel led a one-man assault against the very idea of Hell.
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) As long as the smallest coal is red in hell I am going to keep on.
HARRY: How can you lead a one-man assault?
ARIADNE: Hell isn‛t high on the agenda these days but since it is essential to the idea of Heaven and we seem to be fighting endless wars over – Say, I hope you‛re installing Dicto Devil in my laptop too?
HARRY: I told you, this is your laptop. You‛ve been using the search but now you‛ve got Dicto.
ARIADNE: You‛re sweet. (Blows Harry a little kiss of thanks, then – ) You know, the Colonel held audiences spellbound – paying audiences – more than a thousand at a time – all across the continent. Here in Canada, even. Toronto to Victoria. Would you believe it? In Victoria, the haven of tea, crumpets and British rectitude – he was barred by fire regulations. One exit short.
ARIADNE: So the crowd took an axe and a saw, hacked another doorway. I find it fascinating.
HARRY: Well, if he could gather big crowds you‛d have thought he might have gathered votes. Maybe he was nuts.
ARIADNE: I almost wish he had been.
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) If the Bible had never existed it would have been far better for mankind
ARIADNE: Hon, surely you must understand that – that – well, as an ordained minister, and a – a –
HARRY: Woman. All woman. Trust me.
ARIADNE: Thanks for the endorsement.
HARRY: Any time.
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) Its philosophy is frightful.
ARIADNE: When my professional roots are challenged I have to – to – well, at least think about it.
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) If the Bible had never existed it would have been far better for mankind.
HARRY: Whatever it is you‛re thinking about, I understand the Boss is already nervous about you. What with this war escalating, confidence votes, Islamic phobia on the rise –
ARIADNE: On the rise! Islamic phobia! (Laughs) He encourages it every time he swears to protect us. (More serious) How about their Western phobia?
HARRY: Come again?
ARIADNE: Fear of us. Us. The West. Through the years we‛ve kept promoting fear in others with bombs, assassinations, embargoes, you name it.
ARIADNE: To the East and mid-East are we not part of The West?
HARRY: When they shoot a war memorial guard and shoot up the Centre Block I draw the line!
ARIADNE: Yes, I agree. That‛s awful, just awful. But they, they, they. The guy was a criminal, a drug addict, he‛d been trying to get himself locked up, religion may have put him over the edge, yes indeed,, but “they, they they” – who says?
HARRY: The Boss says. And thanks for the demo. That‛s why he‛s nervous about you. Ady my Rev, I‛ve been wanting to mention that.
ARIADNE: I‛d never voice that outside here! Not with you in government. Not with our firewall.
HARRY: Even so, he‛s nervous. And being nervous about you can make him nervous about me. I understand he has plans for me.
HARRY: A possible route out of limbo.
ARIADNE: Cabinet? Oh my!
HARRY: I‛m not sure that gasp sounded enthusiastic.
ARIADNE: Nonsense. If you‛re enthusiastic then I‛m enthusiastic.
HARRY: Yes, cabinet. At least Minister of State. A good possibility.
ARIADNE: How do you know?
HARRY: Not important. Point is, it‛s bad timing to risk being shut out.
ARIADNE: And I‛m a risk?
HARRY: Things are escalating.
HARRY: Well, you know, more fighters being sent over. Ground troops at the ready, and, well, with my technical background I‛ve got to step up. We‛re at war for the long haul. I‛m sure of it. And – and – well – like I said, we are selling the company. (Hesitant) In fact, Ady hon, it‛s – well, it‛s sold.
ARIADNE: And this – your latest baby – your most beloved gadget! Oh Harry.
HARRY: This beloved gadget is the heart and soul of the company, so yes, it‛s gone. The whole kit and kaboodle. Tom finalized it for us.
ARIADNE: Gone where?
HARRY : (Hedging) Let‛s just say into a high tech heaven for its just rewards. And those rewards mean that you, my darling Ady, can quit working – if you want.
INGERSOLL: What I do isn‛t just a job!
HARRY: If Tom has played our cards right, and I‛m sure he has, you can even set up that foundation you‛ve dreamt of. Not quit work, change work. How‛s that sound?
ARIADNE: Oh my – I‛d have to think about that.
HARRY : Well, as far as I‛m concerned, in the meantime keep a low profile while I get sorted out. I‛ve got to keep campaigning.
ARIADNE: For your seat or for cabinet?
HARRY: Well, you‛ve got to have a seat to get a head.
ARIADNE: I don‛t think you apply for cabinet.
HARRY: Too right. Appointed.
ARIADNE: By the Boss.
HARRY; Who else. And Chuck says –
ARIADNE: Chuck? Ah, your friend in the PMO?
HARRY : Yes.
ARIADNE: (Alarmed) Darling, is it all conditional on selling off –
HARRY : Brewster Electro? Not in so many words. Nothing on paper. But there are such things as perceived political encumbrances – and rewards.
ARIADNE: And your ownership of a booming little electronic superkid of a firm was an encumbrance?
HARRY : (Carefully) Well, Brewster Electro under new owners can help fight the war without me and I can help fight my war —
ARIADNE: Your war?
HARRY: (Hastily) The war — any war. More effective from inside the government. Really inside.
ARIADNE: So you do buy it?
HARRY: Buy what?
ARIADNE: The meme, the rote, the b.s. that we‛re in an ongoing war between civilizations?
HARRY: Well, I can tell you this, whatever it is, selective high tech war is a hell of a lot better than mass destruction. Which do you prefer? Lazer guided surgical strikes or Hiroshima bombs?
ARIADNE: (Suddenly angry) Either way, how great for business! Are you and Tom getting royalties?
HARRY: That‛s not fair.
ARIADNE: Are you?
HARRY: On patents, yes. Damn it all I didn‛t start the God damned war. And this one is not for oil or pipelines, it really is ideological.
ARIADNE: The main ideology is one of ongoing intentional ignorance. Harry Brewster, you‛ve got the smarts and the technology to fight that, not wage it. Is politics your best avenue? Your Party politics?
HARRY: (Holds both hands up, palms forward) Ouch, ouch!, the wall‛s getting hot.
ARIADNE: (Backing off) Sorry, sorry. Hon, it‛s your choice. Must be. Your career is your business, my career is mine.
HARRY: Agreed. Again.
ARIADNE: I‛ve never stood in your way.
ARIADNE: Hey, you‛ve been elected twice since we were married. I never interfered.
HARRY: No, but you didn‛t help, either. I know, I know. That was when you were only shepherding that sleepy congregation up home in Hackmatack.
ARIADNE: And both times I kept my nose clean. I kept out of politics.
HARRY: Until you answered the call from this gang down here in Ottawa.
ARIADNE: (Flaring again) That “gang” is a congregation – in a mainline church – a United Church. You were spending more time here than at home so I took a job here to be near my husband.
HARRY: I know, I know.
ARIADNE: A job that came with an apartment. Before, you‛d come home to the riding on weekends when I was the busiest on weekends.
HARRY : (Ruefully agreeing) Granted, that was a bitch.
ARIADNE: Now you have a house in Hackmatack and I have an apartment here. We both have careers and this, last time I looked, was the twenty first century. Your career took you away from home, mine let me bring my home to you. Where‛s the problem in all that?
HARRY: (Smilingly) In this Ottawa bubble that bit of iconoclastic feminism has made you high profile. (Cheerfully approving) And I must say you‛ve got the pitch down pat.
ARIADNE: (Laughs) Sure. We‛ve been doing the taxpayers and ourselves a favour.
HARRY : (Chuckles) Don‛t think that line hasn‛t registered on the Hill.
ARIADNE: This way we have had more time together and here you get free accommodation.
HARRY: (Lasciviously) Accomodating accommodation.
ARIADNE: Stop it. And I‛ve still kept out of politics.
HARRY: That may now be the problem..
ARIADNE: Our firewall, remember? That was your idea and I agreed. Wholeheartedly.
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) The religious question should be left out of politics .
HARRY: The Boss likes couples to campaign as a team.
ARIADNE: Ah, family values.
HARRY: Something like that.
ARIADNE: First an election and then a promotion.
HARRY: Makes sense.
ARIADNE: But as a wife I‛ve proved to be dangerously independent by coming to a congregation here in Ottawa so that, without cost to the taxpayer, I can keep my husband closer to my bosom?
HARRY : (Teasing) Metaphorically and physically.
ARIADNE: (Laughing) Stop it.
HARRY: Darling, you‛re a living paradox and you make the Boss nervous.
ARIADNE: Nervous. About me?
HARRY: Well, you‛ve been pretty outspoken for gay rights, women‛s rights, Choice, you name it.
ARIADNE: I will name it. It‛s called Human Rights. Being for them doesn‛t make me political. Harry, was that hint of a charitable foundation a ploy to sidetrack me?
HARRY: Oh hey, Ady my Rev, be fair.
ARIADNE: I‛ve noticed that you‛ve developed a political urge for uncharacteristic devoutness. Uncharacteristic for you. More and more you invoke “God-given” rights and at some point in every speech. say “with God‛s help”.
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) The crusade and prayer-meeting will not do in politics
ARIADNE: You‛ve begun to invoke God more than I do. Harry hon, you were elected because you‛re smart, compassionate, well liked, respected, and honest.
HARRY: Many thanks
ARIADNE: Did it ever occur to you that even in Hackmatack Falls it may have helped to have a non-campaigning mainline pastor for a loving wife? Maybe even in Hackmatack Falls our relationship, our love for each other, maybe that leavened the lump?
HARRY: Leavened the lump?
ARIADNE: The electorate‛s nervousness about the fundamentalist led Party that you chose to run for?
HARRY: Fundamentalist? The Party? Hey, hold the phone – You don‛t know that!
ARIADNE: I know the legislative record. I‛m just not sure of its source. But when I see PMO and cabinet roots going deep into the fundamentalist God-fearing Bible Belt I have to wonder.
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) The politician who thinks he‛s pleasing an imaginary phantom that he calls God, is dangerous.
ARIADNE: When I saw a creationist as a science advisor – well –
HARRY: Jesus Christ!
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) I often swear.
ARIADNE: Do be quiet.
HARRY : Quiet?
ARIADNE: Not you.
HARRY: (Alarmed) Ady, neither of us know. This is politically dangerous territory.
ARIADNE: Certainly we know. Thanks to you and your predecessors we can google our way to almost anything we really want to know. Your own new search engine is a wizard.
HARRY: You can‛t google motivation. And outside these walls you and I are not speculating.
ARIADNE: But we‛re within these walls. Our walls. You know and I know that the minute, the very minute to the day that your Party made it to power a really right wing southern spawned evangelical lobby group opened an office right across from Parliament Hill. I mentioned it at the time.
HARRY: I heard you.
ARIADNE: Didn‛t seem to bother you.
HARRY: It‛s a free country. And they weren‛t lobbying.
ARIADNE: You mean they didn‛t register as a lobby because – how did it go, their purpose was simply to preserve traditional values and the institution of the family –
HARRY: Yes. Sure. I know.
ARIADNE: Which, for them, meant being for the spanking of children and opposed to abortion, divorce, same-sex marriage, LGBT rights, including adoption, and so on and on and – for goodness sake, darling, a former president of the Canadian chapter of that outfit became the Boss‛s Director of Policy. Policy! Take a look at your Party‛s policy right from withholding Charity fundings through to unwavering support for Israel.
HARRY: Hold it! We‛re not going there. I can‛t afford to go there.
ARIADNE: We‛re at home! Inside our own walls! We go where we want!
HARRY : Where you want.
ARIADNE: Harry —
HARRY: The Policy Advisor is not —
ARIADNE: A previous one. It‛s all there on the Internet – if you search for it. Do you even know what church the Boss attends?
HARRY: Why should I?
ARIADNE: Because every crime has a motivation.
HARRY: Hold the phone!
HARRY: You talking politics or religion? Define your territory.
ARIADNE: That‛s the whole point. In his case I can‛t. The Internet tells me that his church‛s statement of faith says that every word in the Bible is divinely inspired, Christ will physically come again, there will be Armageddon after which the true Christians will go to heaven, all others will go to hell. Tell me, is our government‛s foreign policy based on hopefully converting, thus saving, the Israelis? Or on encouraging Armageddon?
HARRY: Great God in Heaven!
ARIADNE: Darling, you and Tom have created one humdinger of a search engine and a dictation program. Why don‛t you use it. The Jihadis will love it.
HARRY: I know. That‛s why we‛ve been forced into selling it all. National Defence is analyzing it – they have it.
ARIADNE: Well in the meantime it‛s in my laptop and I‛m using it. And Marjorie is my secretary.
HARRY: (Trying to laugh it off) Well, thank God this is all within these walls. And, Ady my Rev, yes, you probably did help by just being you, and being there – back home – in Hackmatack and Oshkabong. Down here? On the Hill? I‛m not so sure. (Kisses her) Look, I must run. Play with the toys. Do your off-the-wall research
(He hands her the closed laptop)
ARIADNE: Off-the-wall! Thanks a bunch. So you are running again.
HARRY: (Puzzled) I didn‛t say that. I might not be allowed to if you carry on.
ARIADNE: (Laughing) You just said, and I quote, I must run. I heard you.
HARRY: (Laughing) You should be an Opposition spin doctor.
ARIADNE:. If you hadn‛t turned her off Marjorie here would have heard you too. So, Mister politician, be careful. Every word you speak can be used against you.
HARRY: Make sure it‛s not every word you speak. (Wrapping her in a hug) I know what I‛d like to use against you, but no time.
(They kiss. Harry is on his way off but Ariadne stops him by picking up the gift wrapped package that had been under the projector.)
ARIADNE: What‛s this? You forgetting something? There‛s no card.
HARRY : Oh damn. I meant to give it to you – proper like. It‛s for you. Your anniversary.
ARIADNE: It‛s not my birthday.
HARRY : Your anniversary. Fifteen years ago today – you were ordained.
ARIADNE: You are a sweetheart. (Kisses him on the cheek) You‛re also an idiot. It was fifteen years ago, yes, and the day is right, yes, but next month. (Kisses him on the other cheek) Tell you what, I won‛t open it until a month today.
HARRY: Done. (Laughs) Marjorie there should have told me. Okay hon, hang onto it. And keep that evening clear. Dinner. Theatre. A little nooky?
ARIADNE: (Pleased) Dinner, theatre and a little nooky. (Teasing) Sound like good family values. Okay with the boss?
HARRY: I wasn‛t planning a threesome.
ARIADNE: May it ever be so.
HARRY: Amen to that. And stop worrying. You‛ll have a breakdown.
(Harry exits. Ariadne stands a moment staring after him)
INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) The probability is that we are all mistaken about almost everything.
ARIADNE: Oh hush up. (She picks up the parcel and her laptop.)
(Light fades to black. Sound: Gentle musical transition. Small bells or harp playing a few bars of St. Anne, the tune for “Oh God Our Help in Ages Past”.)
Act 1, Sc.1: c 30 min
The Radicalization of Ariadne Copyright © Munroe Scott All rights reserved.
To Be Continued
Although The Radicalization of Ariadne draws some inspiration from actual places, events and people it is nevertheless a work of fiction.
Remember. The purpose of a workshop is for feedback. Don’t be inhibited.