Cont’d, “THE RADICALIZATION OF ARIADNE” Act 1, Sc. 2 & 3

This continues the workshop of a play dealing with politics, religion and on-going war. If you missed Act One, Scene 1, see the archive  list to the right.  The brief outline of the purpose is there as well, titled “And now for something completely different”.

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ACT ONE, Scene 1 ended with this:

………

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”.)

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So now let’s continue with —

ACT ONE

Scene 2

(The gentle musical transition of St Anne, the tune for “Oh God our help in ages past”, bridges to this scene as the lights come up on Ariadne‛s area. She is standing beside her desk, looking very thoughtful. The parcel is on the floor, unopened, on edge, leaning against the side of the desk. Her laptop is on the desk but not opened. After a moment she sits down and slowly opens the laptop and boots it up. The laptop is in front of her, lid open, its back toward the audience. As it boots up its screenlight shows on her face. She stares at the screen for a few moments as though still lost in thought, then claps her hands twice.)

ARIADNE: Computer. Search. Ingersoll Robert Green. Profile. Display. Read.

(Wavering light reflecting on her face from the computer screen verifies that the laptop is in action.)

MARJORIE (Voice Over): (Very deliberately) Robert Green Ingersoll was born in Dresden, State of New York, on August 11th, 1833. During the Civil War he raised the 11th Illinois Cavalry Regiment. As Colonel he took command and fought bravely.

(Ingersoll appears behind Ariadne and peers at the screen over her shoulder. She is not immediately aware of him.)

Ingersoll’s radical views on religion, slavery, woman’s suffrage, and other issues of the day prevented him from political office higher than that of Attorney General of the State of Illinois.

(Ariadne gradually becomes aware of a presence behind her and appears almost afraid to turn around.)

Ingersoll was heralded by the press not only as “The Great Agnostic” and “The Great Infidel” but as one of the great orators of his time.

INGERSOLL: “One of the great orators of my time.” My, my. Very flattering indeed.

ARIADNE: (Gasps) Oh! Oh my goodness, who – who – You! It‛s not possible.

(Light from the screen continues to be active. Ariadne leaps up, staring from the screen to Ingersoll and back again)

MARJORIE : (Voice over, reading) Robert Ingersoll died at the age of 65 on July 21, 1899.

INGERSOLL: So that’s exactly when it happened? Well, well, how interesting.

ARIADNE: No, no. Oh, no. (She claps her hands three times) Computer. Computer. Off.

(The computer does not shut down.)

INGERSOLL: My dear Madam, thank you for the applause but I have done nothing to deserve it. (Bewildered) Or – have I alarmed you, Madam? I do apologize.

ARIADNE: No, no. (Trying to laugh) This can‛t be. This is a bad joke. (Calls) Harry!

INGERSOLL: (Bewildered) What’s all this about? Where am I? Have I been – summoned? Did you summon me, Madam? (Irate) How can I be summoned!

ARIADNE: (Calls) Harry!

INGERSOLL: I‛ll have you know, Madam, that I am dead. Quite dead. What effrontery is this? It goes against my philosophy to be – uh – resurrected –

ARIADNE: Okay now, buster —

INGERSOLL: (Recovering his gallantry) – even, with your indulgence, Madame,–

ARIADNE: – let‛s not push this too far.

INGERSOLL: – by someone as charming as yourself.

ARIADNE: (To herself) Okay now, Ariadne. You know who he thinks he is or is pretending to be. But it can‛t be. Not here. Not now. It‛s either a joke or you‛ve been working too hard. This is just – just – (Does some deep breathing) – If you relax it will go away. (Calls) Harry!

INGERSOLL: Madam, are you alright? You seem highly disturbed.

(Harry enters. He is, and remains, unaware of Ingersoll )

HARRY: Darling, what‛s wrong? Are you not well?

ARIADNE: Harry, are you two playing games?

HARRY: (Cautiously) No-o-o. Two? Wh – what are you looking at?

ARIADNE: Does this Dandy Dicto Devil have holograph capabilities?

HARRY: How I wish. Maybe, sometime, eventually. Dandy Dicto Devil. I still like that. The DDD.

ARIADNE: I can‛t shut it off.

(Harry, somewhat puzzled, goes to he laptop and turns it off by closing the lid.. Ingersoll does not leave.)

HARRY: (Gently concerned) Darling, please. Give it a rest. You‛re taking it too seriously – your whole wacky idea of organizing a weekly Wednesday session googling Colonel what‛s-his-name along with your ditzy dialogue group of armchair social radicals – it‛s not worth a – a breakdown.

ARIADNE: Taking it seriously! Of course it‛s serious. It – it – it‛s my – job. How can I be too serious about my job?

HARRY: A nervous breakdown won‛t help. Why don‛t you lie down for a while. Rest. You‛ve not been sleeping well. I have to get up to the Hill. By the way, our date for your anniversary – might have to cancel – could be a Defence Committee meeting and a vote that evening.

(Harry exits)

ARIADNE: (Calls after him, irately) Defence Committee! A vote! What happened to dinner theatre and nooky?

HARRY: (Off, calls) There‛s a war on.

ARIADNE: (Swings toward Ingersoll.) Okay, you‛re a figment of my imagination. So begone. You‛re not real.

INGERSOLL: That concerned gentleman apparently agreed.

ARIADNE: That gentleman is my husband. We have different ideas of reality.

INGERSOLL: Perhaps it is you who is not real.

ARIADNE: (Adamantly) You‛re not here.

INGERSOLL: (Cheerfully) Is there any “here” here?

ARIADNE: (Almost amused) That‛s debatable. We‛re in Ottawa. At least I am.

INGERSOLL: (Amazed and amused) What? In Canada? Well, I suppose that is possible. It always did seem like a most improbable country. Oh yes, I’ve been here before. Toronto, Victoria – (chuckles) Victoria – The authorities endeavoured to prevent my lecture. Can you imagine that?

ARIADNE: I can indeed.

INGERSOLL: They refused the license, on the ground that the theatre was unsafe, and —

ARIADNE: Yes, yes. I know. The theatre was changed, the fire commissioner said okay, you got your license. I‛ve read all this.

INGERSOLL: You have?

ARIADNE: Sure. Obviously, so have you. A newspaper interview back in, oh I don‛t know, 1884.

INGERSOLL: My goodness. So you know that on the night of the lecture –

ARIADNE: Yes I do know!

INGERSOLL: — when the new hall was about two-thirds full, the police appeared again, said the house was unsafe, there should be another door —

ARIADNE: (To herself) He can‛t have memorized all this.

INGERSOLL: — whereupon my friends, in a few minutes, made another door with an axe and a saw, the crowd was admitted and the lecture was delivered.

ARIADNE: Oh my gosh, you really are in my head. Harry‛s right. I‛ve been pushing this too hard.

INGERSOLL: Well then, Madam, if I am in your head that would explain why the gentleman just now did not see me.

ARIADNE: (Almost laughing) Yes it would, wouldn‛t it. And I was afraid you might be a ghost.

INGERSOLL: (Affronted) I do not believe in the supernatural.

ARIADNE: Not even spirits?

INGERSOLL: There may be spirits. They may communicate with some people, but thus far they have been successful in avoiding me. Of course, I know nothing for certain on the subject. —

ARIADNE: Really! But if you died in 1899 how can you not – oh, never mind. If my research is correct, you don‛t, or didn‛t, even believe in God.

INGERSOLL: The idea of an infinite Being outside and independent of nature is both inconceivable and absurd —

ARIADNE: Oh come now.

INGERSOLL: – and to make something out of nothing cannot be more absurd than to believe that an infinite intelligence made this world —

ARIADNE: Most cultures are rooted in both “absurd” beliefs!

INGERSOLL: May I finish my thought, Madam? To make something out of nothing cannot be more absurd than to believe that an infinite intelligence made this world and proceeded to fill it with crime and want and agony, and, yes, war, and then, not satisfied with the evil he had wrought, made a hell in which to consummate the great mistake. But, Madam, these questions of origin and destiny are beyond the powers of the human mind. They cannot be solved. We might as well try to travel fast enough to get beyond the horizon. (Concerned) You seem unduly agitated by my presence in your mind.

ARIADNE: “Unduly agitated”? I build my career on something you call inconceivable and then stumble onto your trail on the Internet. Of course I‛m agitated.

INGERSOLL: My trail? The Internet?

ARIADNE: Not that I was unaware of other freethinkers – I am educated, after all – Einstein, Thomas Paine, Jefferson – theologs bat those types around as part of the game. We did that in college. Stimulating. I read Bishop Robinson. And Bishop Spong. Heard Spong, in person! But oh my goodness, they didn‛t really penetrate until – Canadians with an axe and a saw hacking another doorway? Once I found you – reams of you – out in cyber space –

INGERSOLL: Cyber space?

ARIADNE: – and realized you‛d once been applauded by thousands of ordinary people all over the continent –

INGERSOLL: I don‛t recall visiting anywhere called Cyber Space.

ARIADNE: You were popular in some areas where today their descendants would – would – Oh my God to think I was – see? “God” is entrenched in the vocabulary. My congregation is not very – well, let‛s say not establishment. More of a blue collar group. I doubt many have read Tillich, or Spong, or even Dawkins.

INGERSOLL: Nor have I.

ARIADNE: The idea of people very like mine picking up an axe and a saw to gain access to – to radical ideas – well —

INGERSOLL: That audience was well-behaved, intelligent and appreciative.

ARIADNE: I was thinking of carefully exposing a small weekly study group to your once populist ideas –

INGERSOLL: A charming thought.

ARIADNE: Given today‛s events, historical context might prove thought provoking –

INGERSOLL: Historical?

ARIADNE: My “ditzy dialogue group”. My own Harry called it ditzy. Just now. Ditzy.

INGERSOLL: An interesting adjective. I believe I also heard – wacky, was it?

ARIADNE: But now, with you here –

INGERSOLL: If I may be of service –

ARIADNE: Service! Of course! That‛s the key. (Excited) A full series of Sunday morning services dedicated to exploring you – a once popular 19th century freethinker – Robert Green Ingersoll. How can I avoid it? It‛s inevitable. I‛ve been wanting to bring my people into the progressive stream.

INGERSOLL: (Puzzled) Sunday services? Pastor? You are talking like a clergyman.

ARIADNE: Woman.

INGERSOLL: Most assuredly that.

ARIADNE: Are you sure you‛re dead?

INGERSOLL: Apparently my heart gave up and I don‛t believe in immortality.

ARIADNE: There‛s the nub of it. In today‛s world unquestioning belief in immortality is dangerous. Oh so dangerous.

INGERSOLL: If we take the Old Testament for authority, man is not immortal. The Old Testament shows man how he lost immortality.

ARIADNE: And woman.

INGERSOLL: (Puzzled) Madam?

ARIADNE: Sorry. A reflex. Immaterial.

INGERSOLL: You interest me. A reflex, you say?

ARIADNE: I suppose women never were immortal? A typical male construct.

INGERSOLL: (Still puzzled) The term “man” is generic.

ARIADNE: Not any longer. Not here.

INGERSOLL: Really – very well – The Old testament still shows man – uh – mankind – humanki – (cheerfully) us all. Yes. The Old testament shows us all how we lost immortality. My opinion of immortality is this: First.– I live, or did live, and that of itself is, was, infinitely wonderful. Second.–There was a time when I was not, and after I was not, I was. Third — Now that I am, or was, I may be again; and it is no more wonderful that I may be again, if I have been, which I was, than that I am, which I’m not, having once been nothing.
How‛s that? I should have been a preacher.
Madam, forgive me. I am somewhat disoriented. We have established the here but not the when. I have no idea into what era you and your technology have dragged me.

ARIADNE: My dear Colonel – may I call you Colonel?

INGERSOLL: I‛d be honoured. My friends called me Colonel. The public called me Bob.

ARIADNE: How quaintly topsy turvy. My name is Ariadne.

INGERSOLL: Delighted. The era, Madam, if you please?

ARIADNE: Try the year two thousand and fifteen. Welcome, dear Colonel, to the transplanting of hearts and lungs, to instant global personal communication, to space travel, to men walking on the moon, to a robot landing on a comet a few million miles away. Welcome, dear Colonel, to the 21st century.

INGERSOLL: (Astonished) What! Well over a hundred years? (Delighted) Given the relentless progress of enlightenment by now there can be no more popes or prelates, no congressmen or parliamentarians personally motivated by irrational superstitions, no political parties drawing strength from those who believe in the absurdities of book-based “inspired” religions! How marvellous. (Puzzled) But yet – forgive me, but – well, Madam, you yourself have been speaking like some kind of a – (apologetically) a cleric?

ARIADNE: Granted. Some kind.

INGERSOLL: A deaconess?

ARIADNE: No. Ordained.

INGERSOLL: A woman minister!

ARIADNE: (Coldly) Do you have something against women?

INGERSOLL: (Hastily) Certainly not. Woman is naturally the equal of man. In time, when she has had the opportunity and the training, she will produce as great pictures, as great statues, as great books, dramas and poems as man has produced or will produce. So I say equal rights, equal education, equal advantages. But, if you, a woman, are not only ordained then – well — dear me — churches are still functioning?

ARIADNE: (Almost snaps) Of course.

INGERSOLL: You‛re a Sally then! Here, in Canada.

ARIADNE: If you mean Sally Ann, no.

INGERSOLL: But if ordained – then what sect – ?

ARIADNE: If you mean denomination – Protestant, major, Canadian – believe me. And well after your time.

INGERSOLL: And you are ministering here, in the capital city? With a congregation? A pastorate?

ARIADNE: Yes.

INGERSOLL: And you, a pastor, are questioning your own belief in immortality? (Pleased) Well, well, at least that is progress. Slow, but progress. I always said I hope that woman will not continue to be the serf of superstition, that she will not be the support of the church and priest, that she will not stand for the conservation of superstition, but that in the east of her mind the sun of progress will rise. And now, you, a pastor are questioning your own belief in immortality. Well done.

ARIADNE: No. You question it.

INGERSOLL: Not at all. I simply say that if there is another world we ought to make the best of it after arriving there. If there is not another world, or if there is another world, we ought to make the best of this. And since nobody knows, all should be permitted to have their opinions, and my opinion is that nobody knows.

ARIADNE: When “what nobody knows” but claim to know is a core belief at the root of escalating global violence, terrorism and endless wars – perhaps, then – we all should question it?

INGERSOLL: But the very hucksters of immortality are you, and always have been, the clergy! Of all Faiths. Over the centuries you and your churches and temples and mosques have turned immortality into a commodity. Have the chickens come home to roost?

ARIADNE: All Sects, all Denominations, all Faiths. Believe, donate, die, and go to Heaven. Quite liturgical, isn‛t it.

INGERSOLL: Even so, if the churches only advocated immortality, I never would say a solitary word against them —

ARIADNE: Ah yes, but now, for some fundamentalists in some Faiths it‛s Believe, Kill, Destroy and go to Heaven. Or don‛t believe, and go to Hell.

INGERSOLL: Ah, the unfortunate corollary – and just as long as anyone preaches that the majority of mankind will suffer eternal pain in a Hereafter, just so long I shall oppose them; that is to say, as long as I live. Or, given the current circumstances, as long as my thoughts live.

I get the impression, Madam, that you are with me?

ARIADNE: (Hesitant) Possibly. – No. No! I can‛t be. (Highly agitated) You‛re a – a – an intellectual CF 18 –

INGERSOLL: CF 18?

ARIADNE: – dropping philosophical bombs onto Christian targets – onto believers – onto me – onto us – and oh my goodness – the possible collateral damage – I have to think about the collateral damage. Can a pastor question faith without destroying it? Can a pastor not question faith? Does questioning lead to denial?

INGERSOLL: (Kindly) Dear Madam, if we are going to ponder such disturbing thoughts may we not at least be comfortable?

(A comfortable wingback armchair slides diagonally into the area. On the downstage side of the chair there is an ashtray on a stand, with an unlit cigar, and on the upstage side a small end table with a bottle of port and two wine glasses. )

INGERSOLL: Ah, my own chair. How hospitable.

(Lights Fade to Black)

(Sound: The gentle musical transition, the tune Melita, for “Eternal Father Strong to Save”. )

Act 1, Sc 2: c 18 min

Act 1. Scene 3
(Lights Fade up in Harry‛s area.  Harry, highly agitated, paces back and forth as he reads a folded tabloid newspaper. Music transition ends and he speaks.)

HARRY: Ady my Rev, this is going too far. Last time we talked about your ditzy Colonel you were going to have a harmless mid week study group. This interview with you says you‛re now planning an entire series of Sunday morning services. “Examining Roots”.

(The light expands to include Ariadne in his area.)

ARIADNE: Think of it as committing sociology.

HARRY: Featuring your kooky 19th century retired Colonel? Give me a break

ARIADNE: I think he‛s rather charming.

HARRY: Is?

ARIADNE: (Hurriedly) Was. Away back in 1894 an English reporter said the Colonel was interesting, big-hearted, decisive, with a manner entirely delightful, yet tinged with a certain reserve. Doesn‛t sound too dangerous.

HARRY: Well, Ady, this sounds dangerous. Up home in Hackmatack folk would just have said, “Well there goes Airy Ari again,” but here –

ARIADNE: Airy Ari?

HARRY: Surely you knew they called you that? Airy Ari. Lovingly. Don‛t count on it down here. Not in the capital with the country at war with Jihadis abroad, and at home with the propaganda mills of those same Jihadis.

ARIADNE: As soon as you use the word Jihadi you make it Muslim. As soon as you make it Muslim you make it religious.

HARRY: So?

ARIADNE: So since we seem to be embroiled upon a century of endless war and since every war so far seems to be rooted in somebody‛s religion, and every side always invokes God‛s aid, maybe we should take a look at our own beliefs? Is it possible there are some motes in our own eyes?

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area, revealing Ingersoll, comfortably seated in the armchair to one side, facing downstage but at an angle. Throughout this scene he speaks conversationally, as though addressing Ariadne, even though she is with Harry in another area. )

INGERSOLL: Religion is superstition – a sanctified mistake, and heresy a slandered fact.

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

ARIADNE: Don‛t you find it interesting that the Colonel drew huge audiences a hundred and fifty years ago?

HARRY : This implies he didn‛t even believe in God.

ARIADNE: I don‛t know. They called him The Great Atheist, but also The Great Agnostic.

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: In what is called religion man is asked to do something for God.

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

ARIADNE: He certainly didn‛t believe in an interfering, demanding God.

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: As God wants nothing, and can by no possibility accept anything, such a religion is simply superstition.

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

ARIADNE: And darling, you and I both know, anybody with a modest education knows that any religion is partly superstition. We just don‛t usually admit it or act on it. Or do we? Bush claimed it was God‛s plan for him to go into Iraq. Are we Canadians following somebody‛s idea of God‛s plan? If so let‛s know about – think about it.

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: Whoever imagines that he can do anything for God is mistaken

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

HARRY : (Continuing to peruse the newspaper) You can‛t mean to open this debate. Not with this war going on. Not with our government –

ARIADNE: Your government.

HARRY : – with its core support rooted in – in – well, people of Faith.

ARIADNE: Ah yes. Faith. Precisely. That‛s the whole point of “Examining Roots”.

HARRY : This interviewer says it sounds as though you‛re planning on challenging the Bible.

ARIADNE: I‛m not planning on challenging anything except minds. I want to present some old ideas for re-examination. Old ideas expounded by a 19th century retired Colonel who became a famous orator. What‛s so scary about that?

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: I do not believe in any Supreme personality or in any Supreme Being who made the universe and governs nature. I do not say that there is no such Being — all I say is that I do not believe that such a Being exists. But if there is such a Being, he certainly never wrote the Old Testament

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

HARRY : (Still perusing the article) Oh, oh, oh, if this goes where I think it might go – my God, darling –

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: As for who did write the Old Testament, that book so beloved by some Christians, I have always taken pains to say that Moses, if he ever existed at all, had nothing to do with the books that bear his name..

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

HARRY : Tell me you‛re not going where this implies. You‛ll have B‛Nai B‛rith and the Anti-Defamation League and everyone else down on you.

ARIADNE: Does “everyone else” include the Boss?

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: Thinking of Moses as a man, admitting that he may have been the founder of the Jewish people – that he found them barbarians and endeavoured to control them by thunder and lightning, and found it necessary to pretend that he was in partnership with the power governing the universe – that he took advantage of their ignorance and fear, just as politicians do now, and as theologians always will – still, I see no evidence that the man Moses was any nearer to God than his descendants.

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

HARRY : (Still referring to the article) Is this just, just a columnist‛s over the top speculation, or is it — Jesus Christ, darling, don‛t go there.

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: Moses was a believer in slavery, in polygamy, in wars of extermination, in religious persecution and intolerance and in almost everything that is now regarded with loathing, contempt and scorn. The Jehovah of whom he speaks violated, or commands the violation of at least nine of the Ten Commandments he gave.

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

ARIADNE: If we examine roots how can we not go there? Isn‛t the Old Testament the tap root of the New? The Old Testament forms two thirds of the “Holy Bible” that sits every Sunday on my pulpit. How can I not go there?

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: The truth is that the Jews adopted the stories of Creation, the Garden of Eden, Forbidden Fruit, and the Fall of Man. They were told by older barbarians than they, and the Jews gave those stories to us.

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

HARRY : Where on earth will it take you?

ARIADNE: I have no idea. But the Bible says the truth will set us free, so maybe we should find out?

HARRY: (Backing off) The Bible is your domain, not mine. Mine is science. Technology. Remember?

ARIADNE: And politics.

HARRY: And politics. You‛re damn right!

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: Probably Moses, if he existed, did the best he could. He had never talked with Humboldt or Laplace. He knew nothing of geology or astronomy. He had not the slightest suspicion of Kepler’s Three Laws. He never saw a copy of Newton’s Principia. Taking all these things into consideration, let us say Moses did the best he could.

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

ARIADNE: Harry darling, with all your technical knowledge, your skill, inventiveness, even intuitive understanding of, of, well of how things work – in this – this government, are you really doing the best you can do?

HARRY : Ady my Rev, you stick to your Sunday services, your weekday meetings, your pastoral visits, charities, bazaars, whatever, but for Pete‛s sake try to stay within the bounds of – of –

ARIADNE: (Incensed) Of what?

HARRY : (Frustrated and angry) How the hell should I know. Orthodox Christianity?

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: I can imagine no man who can be benefited by being made a Catholic or a Presbyterian or a Baptist or a Methodist – or, in other words, by being made an orthodox Christian. The orthodox church retards civilization, always has retarded it, always will.

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

ARIADNE: Harry hon, all I know is it‛s time we Christians took a look at ourselves before we continue marching off into all kinds of religion-infected wars. I know, I know, it‛s always someone else‛s religion that is the current root of all evil, never our own. All I know is, I can‛t help thinking about it. Your business, darling, you just said it, is technology – and politics. My business is not just religion but specifically – Christianity.

(Both Harry and Ariadne freeze. Light comes up on Ingersoll‛s area.)

INGERSOLL: But by Christianity I do not mean morality, kindness, forgiveness, justice. Those virtues are not distinctively Christian. They are claimed by Mohammedans and Buddhists, by Infidels and Atheists – and practised by some of all classes. Christianity consists of the miraculous, the marvellous, and the impossible. In its doctrine of eternal damnation it is a disgrace to human nature.

(Lights go down on Ingersoll. Ariadne and Harry unfreeze.)

HARRY : Well for Christ‛s sake be careful. With this war going on and –

ARIADNE: (Exploding) War, war, war. There‛s always a war. Each one morphs into the next. What are we to do? Wait for eternal peace before trying to figure out why there‛s so much insanity in the world? Shouldn‛t we be trying to figure out if maybe we and our beliefs are at least a tiny part of it? And if we want others to examine their beliefs should we not examine our own?

HARRY : You may be right, but you know I opted out of all the religious dogma years ago.

ARIADNE: While adopting the rhetoric.

HARRY: Ouch.

ARIADNE: But maybe you and your parliamentary business buddies up on the Hill should be looking at your corporate dogma.

HARRY: Hold the phone! Where are you going with that one!

ARIADNE: It seems to me that the government you serve has also made business a religion.

HARRY: (Laughing uncomfortably) Honey, you are nuts.

ARIADNE: Oh? The new churches are Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Agro, Big Chem and their ecumenical convocations issue Free Trade declarations of Faith based on the holy doctrines of guaranteed Profits, eternal Growth, Tax Cuts and Greed. That‛s the real New Age colonial religion and the Boss appears to be its high priest.

HARRY: Come now.

ARIADNE: Our country has been colonized – again. A new Theocracy, and he and his cabinet are a corporate Family Compact, a corporate Chateau Clique. But darling, there are too many Gods. No Government can follow the God of the Old Testament, the God of the New Testament, and the God of the Corporations all at the same time and remain sane.

HARRY: Holy smokes! And you‛re not into politics? You‛re the one should have run for parliament. You have the passion. Where did we go wrong?

ARIADNE: I was in the pulpit.

HARRY: There are preachers in parliament. The NDP was built by them.

ARIADNE: (Relaxes. Laughs) So I should have run against you? Great. Hon, we built our firewall to protect our love. But with your smarts, Harry Brewster, you should be questioning both the religion and the colonizing.

HARRY: Should be?

ARIADNE: (Hastily) Could be. If you wanted. At one time, early on, I actually thought that was your aim. To hopefully subvert those corporate creature imperialists – from inside.

HARRY: (Uneasy) It may well have been, but now? With a war on? Cut my own throat? Fat lot of good I‛d be to anybody. I‛m not going there.

ARIADNE: You don‛t have to go anywhere. But I do.

HARRY : No you don‛t. Do your pastoral duties, perform your priestly rituals –

ARIADNE: Priestly!

HARRY : Well, (Teasing) Vestal Virgin rituals?

(She takes a mock swing at him and loses her balance. He ducks but catches her. Holds her lovingly.)

HARRY : Ady my Rev, do – be – careful. (Kisses her) And stop worrying.

(Lights fade to Black)

Sc. 3: c 10 min

Act l : c 58 min

END OF ACT ONE

To Be Continued

The Radicalization of Ariadne Copyright © Munroe Scott All rights reserved.

 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.

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About Munroe Scott

Munroe Scott is a veteran of the freelance writing world.
This entry was posted in Opinion, Play, Politics, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Cont’d, “THE RADICALIZATION OF ARIADNE” Act 1, Sc. 2 & 3

  1. Earle Gray says:

    Munroe, you have invaded the territory of Voltaire and his fellow social philosophers—and done a damn good job. The play grabs and holds with conflict, tension, and suspense. I am eager to find out where radicalization takes Ariadne, what happens to Harry’s business and his politics, and what happens to their relationship and marriage. There is good characterization, dialog that sounds authentic, and a big load of intellectual, or even emotional, stimulation. As one who has gone from quite deeply religious to agnostic to atheism to humanism, the subject is one that particularly interests me.

    I have what I hope is one small, constructive criticism; a tiny nit-picking correction; a question, and a comment.

    I suggest you consider avoiding the term Regressive Party. It sounds sophomoric, an instant cliché, hackneyed on the day it is born. You might consider Patriot Party, Traditional Party, Maple Leaf Party, etc.

    My nit-picking correction is Harry’s line near the end of the second scene: “Hold the line! Where are you going with that!” It should end with a question mark, not an exclamation.

    My question is about Ingersoll’s dialogue. Does it include some of his verbatim words, or is it entirely paraphrased? Just curious. Either way it is effective.

    Here’s my comment, for what it’s worth. I’m in complete agreement with the view that comes from the script, until I get to Ariardne’s line very near the end of scene 2: “Oh, the new churches are Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Agro,” etc. That struck me as casting all business as innately bad. Business competition is still by far the best means to provide goods and service. But even Adam Smith warned that business people never meet but what they talk about how to make monopolies that screw the public. He also warned against placing government in the hands of business people. Business competition, however, can’t work effectively without strong rules and enforcement, any more than hockey can be played without rules and referees. In business, government must be the rule makers and referees. What I find unholy is business captivation of government. I suspect even some business people agree, and certainly most economists would. I also suspect you might find somewhat greater agreement if Ariadne alluded to an unholy alliance of government, Big Oil, etc.

    But I’m thrilled with the play, look forward to reading Act 2, and to seeing the performance in due course. I’m especially delighted to have a copy of the script, which makes it much more meaningful to me than just seeing the performance.

    Earle Gray

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Earle, you are very kind and I hope may encourage others — not to be kind but to comment 🙂 At this point, it being a “workshop” experiment, I won’t try to defend or even debate. Perhaps later. Others may want to elaborate on something you have said. For now I take it all, as the politicians like to say, under advisement. But I must answer your question about Ingersoll’s words. A great proportion, particularly when he is voicing a direct opinion, are direct quotations from numerous newspaper interviews. Not reports, interviews. I have tried to listen to those and capture his voice for the linkage dialogue.

  2. Jason Wallwork says:

    Very good. The debates between Harry and Ariadne and Ingersoll makes me feel a bit uncomfortable and I’m sure that’s by design. All good debate and confrontation should make the listeners a little uncomfortable if they’re actually listening (or reading). I’m certainly not a professional when it comes to reviewing works but I like what you’ve done here.

    I have to agree Mr. Grey that Ariadne’s comment about “Oh, the new churches are Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Agro…” just seems out of place but perhaps not for the same reason. After what appears to be a very thoughtful approach on her thoughts about Ingersoll, it seems with that statement she has chased reason away with radical left-wing talking points. I see a big gulf between being pro-business and worshipping gods. Businesses actually exist, for one.

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Interesting comments. Useful. Thank you, Jason. However, re “businesses actually exist”. Do they really? Or are Big Corporations figments of our imagination hallucinated into reality on pieces of paper?
      That is not to suggest that I don’t take seriously your comment about Ariadne’s rant possibly going a bit over the top.

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