Act 2, Cont’d “THE RADICALIZATION OF ARIADNE”, Completed

This continues and completes the experimental blog workshop of my new play dealing with politics, radicalization, religion and on-going war. If you are catching up, the brief outline of the purpose (“And now for something completely different”) is available on the list to the right, along with  postings comprising ACT ONE and  Sc 1. of ACT TWO

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ACT TWO Sc. 1 ended like this:

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INGERSOLL: Very well, so you know that there is nothing within the lids of what they call “the sacred book” that can for one moment stand side by side with Lear or Hamlet or Julius Caesar. You know what poor human insight the Davids and the Abrahams and the rest of them give when on the stage with the great characters of Shakespeare.

ARIADNE: The Bible is not a play! My pulpit is not a stage!

INGERSOLL : Granted. There is this difference: The stage — the honesty of pretence. The pulpit – the pretence of honesty.

ARIADNE: You insufferable man! (Begins to weep)

(Ariadne runs off. Ingersoll sighs, picks up his cigar, fondles it with some longing, sighs, then puts it aside and pours himself a drink. As he does so —

(Lights fade to Black. Sound: The gentle musical transition. This time the hymn tune carries well over into the beginning of the next scene. It is the Welsh tune for How Firm a Foundation )

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So now, let’s continue and complete:

The Radicalization of Ariadne

by Munroe Scott

ACT TWO

Scene 2.

(Sound of the gentle musical transition continues on into this scene. 

Lights come up tight on Ariadne‛s desk. The laptop is on the desk but closed. On top of the laptop, and open, is the cardboard gift box. It is open and empty. Under it and around it is the gift wrapping that had contained it.

The Light slowly opens more widely and includes Ariadne. She is wearing new clerical vestments, They are elegant rather than ornate, but most definitely both ecclesiastical and becoming. She appears to be admiring herself in a full length mirror but after a moment she turns away and, lost in thought, takes the empty box, folds it, and drops it into a wastebasket. Then, slowly, and without really paying attention, she crumples the colourful wrapping paper and also drops it into the wastebasket.

Music continues to this point then comes to a natural end.

Ariadne sits down, opens the laptop and turns it on. The laptop is in front of her, the back of its open lid toward the audience. As it turns on its screenglow shows on her face. She rises and moves back and forth upstage of the laptop lost in thought. She unconsciously hums the transition tune as she ponders.

We hear the Sounds of computer programs loading as the laptop boots up. Then she glances at the screen and claps twice but remains standing.)

ARIADNE: Marjorie. Notes to myself. Today‛s date. To Do List. Bullet. Write letter to editor concerning unwarranted ongoing speculation in Religion Page column. (Claps twice) “Radicalized minister to challenge Christian Faith.” What nonsense. Sheer idiocy. (Claps twice) Resume. Explain I am not trying to be an ecumenical shit disturber. Be diplomatic. Bullet. Take Chair of my Official Board to lunch to enlist aid in calming nerves of more traditionalist members of the congregation. Bullet. Meet with Program Committee to ensure that nothing is as yet carved in stone. Bullet. Find an hour to really think about all this.

(Ariadne Claps twice and, lost in thought, moves around to downstage side of desk. Claps twice.)

Marjorie. Personal file. Thoughts to pursue. What do I really think about my friend the Colonel? Is he just as dangerous a literalist as any fundamentalist evangelical? He criticises religion, not spirituality. Is religion just organization, codes of conduct, beliefs that fly in the face of reason? I believe in us as spiritual beings but in these robes do I not represent organized religion just as surely as my father did standing in the pulpit in his black gown with the white tabs and the white dog collar and his Master‛s hood thrown across his shoulders? But how about Dad?

(Harry enters and for a moment simply stands watching her, and then whistles appreciatively.)
He was not a hellfire and brimstone preacher. He was a New Testament man and a product of the Social Gospel movement. More works than faith. Given today‛s scientific knowledge surely Dad would say, “Go for it girl.” Or would he? (Hears and sees Harry. Claps twice.) Darling, you still here? I thought you left right after breakfast.

HARRY: You look gorgeous. I loitered to see if you‛d open it. Who you talking to?

ARIADNE: To me. Myself. Marjorie. Dictation, remember? The Brewster DDD?

HARRY: You look alluringly – authoritative. Very – reassuring.

ARIADNE: (Looking down, contemplatively, at her robe) Yes, the robes of authority. The pulpit, the friend of the throne. (Brightening) Thank you, darling. They’re lovely. But I‛m the one who needs reassuring. You remember that play at university? “Exit Muttering”? Where the insecure guy went around with his own voice on a small tape recorder telling him how great he was? Thought I‛d try it.

HARRY: You‛re beautiful. But nuts.

ARIADNE: Of course I am. Nuts. That‛s why I‛m, you know, taking stock. You run along. What is it today? War Justification Committee and an extortion vote this evening?

HARRY: Please – National Safety Committee.

ARIADNE: Of course. I keep forgetting. To be safe we have to be at war.

HARRY: Honey, I know I had suggested dinner and theatre –

ARIADNE: And nooky.

HARRY: Definitely. But there is a vote tonight. A Ways and Means addendum to the budget.

ARIADNE: Meaning it‛s about freeing up more money to buy superjets for peace?

HARRY: You have no comprehension, have you. It‛s not just hardware. We‛ve got to keep this a high tech war. It mustn‛t ever again become a war of sheer manpower.

ARIADNE: No, no. Definitely not. No more of that old fashioned stuff in which folk on our side get killed or maimed.

HARRY: If technology can protect our service people then —

ARIADNE: Service people? What does the word service even mean? An officer, on TV, just the other day, was talking about servicing a target. Servicing. From forty thousand feet. Hello down there, if you‛re not a jihadist move aside a little, we‛re going to service the guy beside you. Ah, there. How was the service? Harry, service used to be a noble word.

HARRY: It had a dark side.

ARIADNE: Servicing a woman as slang for rape?

HARRY: So?

ARIADNE: So in this age of doublethink and obfuscation what are we to understand when an officer, full uniform, chest ablaze with ribbons, calmly talks on national TV about servicing a target?

HARRY: You know what to understand.

ARIADNE: Yes, we‛re looking down from on high and saying, yoohoo, down there, you‛re about to be screwed, fucked, shredded, serviced and can go to hell while we‛re up here viewing the kingdoms from our various oh so profitable corporate mountain tops.

HARRY: Oh, oh. Enough. Honey, for Christ‛s sake, enough. Within these walls. Within these walls.

(Harry exits)

ARIADNE: (Calls) Harry darling, I‛m sorry. (A deep sigh, long pause, then claps twice.) Marjorie. Where was I? Read last.

MARJORIE: (Voice over) Given today‛s scientific knowledge surely Dad would say, “Go for it girl.” Or would he?

ARIADNE: (Claps twice. To herself – ) I wonder. Was I called or did I just follow? Not sure I really thought about it. What was, was. Natural as breathing to be in the choir. Christmas, Easter, loved the simple theatrics of those occasions, the music, the decorations, the stories, the ceremony. I knew that the Anglicans and Romans did it with more style and the evangelicals with more joy, but again, what was, was. Loved the occasional special service that took place on a winter‛s evening. How did that PK poem go?.

(She stops downstage and stands motionless, finger tips together, almost as though in prayer, and recites. The transitional instrument slides gentle music under her words. )

Soft the organ, softly muted,
Pipes in shadows, soaring, fluted,
Singers adding sweet dimension,
Time and worry in suspension.

Father praying, heads are bending,
Asking God, His love extending,
Please forgive our worldly errors,
Lead us through our human terrors.

Books are opened, pages turning,
Words are found to answer yearning,
Ancient psalm in lovely phrase,
The alchemy of love is praise.

Offering given, sermon offered,
Homily from pulpit proffered,
Shorter, simpler, seldom searing,
Evening’s not a time for fearing.

Mystic shadows, vaulted ceiling,
Shepherd figures in glass kneeling,
Warmth of oak in amber light,
All is safe within the night.

Final hymn and service ended,
Father standing, arms extended,
Go in peace, the Lord be with you.
Shaking hands at foyer door,
Bless you, keep you,
and the shining of His face
be upon you, now
and forever
ever more,
amen.

(The music fades to an end.)

ARIADNE: My biological father in the pulpit appealing directly to Our Father in Heaven, reading carefully selected verses from the Holy Bible, the Word of God – what was not to believe?

(Claps three times and takes off the vestments, revealing an ordinary but becoming house dress beneath, and folds the vestments, moving just upstage of the desk. The screenglow has shut down. While she does this we hear Ingersoll.)

INGERSOLL: (Voice Over) Is there an intelligent man or woman now in the world who believes in the Garden of Eden story? If you find any man who believes it, strike his forehead and you will hear an echo. Something is for rent.
The priests of one religion never credit the miracles of another religion. Now, when a Christian tells a Buddhist some of the miracles of the Testament, the Buddhist smiles. When a Buddhist tells a Christian the miracles performed by Buddha, the Christian laughs. This reminds me of an incident. A man told a most wonderful story. Everybody present expressed surprise and astonishment, except one man. He said nothing; he did not even change countenance. One who noticed that the story had no effect on this man, said to him: “You do not seem to be astonished in the least at this marvellous tale.” The man replied, “No; I am a liar myself.”

( Ariadne laughs. Closes the laptop lid , places the folded vestments on top of it and strides across to Ingersoll‛s area, the light following her as she goes so it is not technically a scene break.

Ingersoll is asleep in his chair but is awakened as Ariadne energetically bursts in on him.)

ARIADNE: Colonel. You asked, “Was it ‘the Call? The prestige of the pulpit? Father‛s footsteps?‛” So okay. It was never so much a matter of believing as of simply accepting. Isn‛t that true of many of us? So I followed father into the ministry. What could be more natural? The U of C, doors wide open for academically qualified female clergy. A good, worthy, uplifting career with as much challenge built into it as one wants to create. A big tent with few intellectual boundaries.

INGERSOLL: Even so, boundaries which you have just recently decided to explore?

ARIADNE: Yes.

INGERSOLL: Why through me?

ARIADNE: (Pleasantly) When I met you I met ordinary Canadians, ages ago, with an axe and a saw, chopping access to liberating ideas.

INGERSOLL: But you did say that at college – before you came across me – you read other dissenters?

ARIADNE:: Of course.

INGERSOLL: Thomas Jefferson?

ARIADNE: The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States? Yes. And after meeting you I refreshed my memory on line. Marjorie has condensed notes in my laptop. I have them in my head.

INGERSOLL: (Puzzled) This line you talk about being on –

MARJORIE: (Voice over) Letter to John Adams, October 13, 1813. Quote. Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God. Unquote.

INGERSOLL: Notes in your head I understand, but –

MARJORIE: (Voice over) Jefferson called the writers of the New Testament ignorant, unlettered men producing superstitions, fanaticisms, and fabrications. Said the Apostle Paul was the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.

INGERSOLL: These notes are also on the top of your lap?

MARJORIE: (Voice over) Jefferson dismissed the concept of the Trinity as mere abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.

ARIADNE: And in case you‛re wondering, dear Colonel, Thomas Paine, author of Age of Reason, champion of the American Revolution, is also available at my fingertips

INGERSOLL: Now we add fingertips to your head and to the top of your lap.

MARJORIE: (Voice over) Paine said, quote, I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. Unquote.

INGERSOLL: They had no effect on you in college?

ARIADNE: (She is in high gear) Academic titillation, trumped by the Faith of our Fathers. Now, of course, any seeker doing a little surfing can hardly miss Albert Einstein.

INGERSOLL:  A seeker surfing.

ARIADNE: Yes, surfing. Einstein. Physicist, philosopher. He was only 20 when you shuffled off so you missed out on the whole world being turned on its head.

MARJORIE: (Voice over) Albert Einstein, 1954. Quote: I cannot prove to you there is no personal God, but if I were to speak of him, I would be a liar.

INGERSOLL: A man after my own heart!

ARIADNE: Yes, but we now agree with everything he said about science and pay little attention to what he said about God.

MARJORIE: (Voice over) I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil. His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking, but by immutable laws. Unquote.

INGERSOLL: “The universe is not ruled by wishful thinking but by immutable laws!” Admirably said! I could not have stated it better myself. Alas, if I could have but met this Mr. Einstein!

ARIADNE: (Looks startled fora moment, then exclaims – ) Of course! Not a ditzy week day study group. Not Sunday services exploring roots. Theatre! Our Drama Club! The stage! The honesty of pretence! Thank you, Colonel.

(Lights fade to Black. Sound: Musical transition with an upbeat. Beethoven‛s 9th — Song of Joy. This transition is extended in black a little longer than usual.)

Sc 2: c18 min

Act 2, Scene 3.

(Lights fade up on Harry‛s space. Harry enters.)

HARRY: (Calls) Darling, it‛s me. I‛m home.

ARIADNE: (Off) You‛re late. I‛ve eaten. Your dinner is in the oven on warm. I‛m working on my play.

HARRY: (Calls) Thanks. Have fun.

(Musical but harsh Sound of Harry‛s i-phone calling. First few bars of “Oh Love that will not let me go.” He answers)

HARRY: Hello Chuck. What‛s up? — Yes, I guess so. Sure – (Hesitant) Where? — The one just around the corner? (Puzzled) You deserting the old haunts? — Oh? –- What! – Just a sec while I take a look. You said U-Tube? (He taps and brushes the screen and stares at it a moment, then – ) Jesus Christ! Yes, I‛ll be right with you.  (He pockets the phone.  Calls —  ) Honey, have to go out. Won‛t be long. I hope.

(Harry exits. Lights fade to black.)

(Sound: The same musical transition as before.)

Sc 3: c2 min

Act 2, Scene 4.

(Lights fade up on Ariadne in her space with a full playscript in her hands. She is reading the various parts out loud, checking out her own script. )

ARIADNE: (As M.C.) — and we welcome you here tonight for this astonishing technological triumph which brings together a most remarkable panel. On my left Mr. Thomas Paine – please hold your applause until after introductions – author of The Age of Reason, next to him, Mr.Thomas Jefferson, co-author of the American Declaration of Independence, and next to him, Mr. Albert Einstein who requires no introduction.

(Harry enters her space. He seems highly agitated)

HARRY: Honey, I‛m sorry, but –

ARIADNE: Harry, just in time. Tell me if I‛m okay. It‛s already in rehearsal but I‛m still learning my lines. (Reading as M.C.) And to my far right, two former Moderators of the United Church, first Dr. Robert “Bob” McClure and next to him the Rev. Bill Phipps, and here, immediately beside me —

HARRY: (Urgently) Ady, please.

ARIADNE: – Colonel Robert Ingersoll, the Great Orator. And now, to get our panel going –

HARRY: But Ady, — –

ARIADNE: (To Harry) Sh-h-h. Please. How‛s this for the kick-off? (As though to the panel) Dr. McClure, speaking as both a church Moderator and a surgeon, how did you feel about the doctrine of bodily resurrection? (To Harry) And then the McClure actor says – “The bodily resurrection means much to many people. I respect their belief. It is something that, personally, I can‛t understand.”

HARRY: Well, that‛s a conversation starter, but –

ARIADNE: And then, as M.C., I turn to the Reverend Phipps. Mr. Phipps, also as a former moderator of the U of C, did you believe in Heaven and Hell? (To Harry) And that actor says, and it‛s a quote. (As Phipps) “I have no idea if there is a hell. Is Heaven a place? I have no idea. But your soul is lost unless you care about people starving in the streets.”

HARRY: (Finally having to burst in – ) Darling, your radical stuff has gone too far! Enough! Desist!

ARIADNE: Radical! I‛m taking us back to the past!

HARRY: For Christ sake listen! Everything is coming unstuck. I‛ve just had a private one on one with Chuck.

ARIADNE: Chuck. Yes, your PMO pal. I know What‛s he got to do with this?

HARRY: More than you know. In this, this play of yours, you‛ve got an actor playing –

ARIADNE: Not real actors. They are members of my congregation.

HARRY: Okay, okay, but playing Ingersoll, the Colonel?

ARIADNE: Yes, Gerry Green, you know him. One of our younger retirees, time on his hands and enthusiastic.

HARRY: Enthusiastically enacting genuine Ingersoll quotes? A big one about blunders?

ARIADNE: Of course. (Leafing through her script) It‛s right here.

(Ariadne and Harry freeze.)

(Lights snap on in Ingersoll‛s area)

INGERSOLL: When I say that Christianity is a blunder, I mean all those things distinctively Christian are blunders. It is a blunder to say that an infinite being lived in Palestine, raised the dead, cured the blind, and cast out devils, and that this God was finally assassinated by the Jews. This is absurd. All these statements are blunders, if not worse. I do not believe that Christ ever claimed that he was of supernatural origin, or that he wrought miracles, or that he would rise from the dead. If he did, he was mistaken – honestly mistaken, perhaps, but still mistaken.

(Lights snap off in Ingersoll‛s area)

( Harry and Ariadne unfreeze.)

HARRY: Well one of your gang videoed you rehearsing Gerry in that bit and hung it on U-Tube. As a promo!

ARIADNE: I didn‛t authorize that!

HARRY: Maybe not but it hit the Boss‛s screen and the shit has hit the fan. So has my political career.

ARIADNE: That‛s terrible!

HARRY: In his eyes you‛re a raving radical. A subversive using the Internet to undermine social values.

ARIADNE: The Internet is our axe and our saw!

HARRY: Come again?

ARIADNE: Nothing.

HARRY: If only you‛d stuck to the church basement.

ARIADNE: We will. (Warning) But we‛re still staging my play. The church basement is still the church basement.

HARRY: It‛s all worse than you think. We – well, never mind.

ARIADNE: We? Darling, who is “we”?

HARRY: Me, Tom, Chuck.

ARIADNE: Chuck again?

HARRY: Yes. Well for Heaven‛s sake, Ady! Chuck‛s our PMO mole. He wasn‛t, but some of the recent stuff, more Trojan Horse Bills, dissing the courts, trashing the waterways, trashing public servants – nothing safe, nobody safe – well, you know. Yes, a mole.

ARIADNE: And you and Tom?

HARRY: All three of us. Trying to head more disaster off at the pass. I was somewhat disillusioned in my first term, you must remember that. Then Tom and I began to realize what we had on our hands with our little DDD – dicto devil indeed. We decided to get it into the Boss‛s own computer because Tom devised a trigger code that would let us, just us, access it.

ARIADNE: Spying! You!

HARRY: It was a stroke of luck when I realized how Chuck was feeling – through him we pushed the national security angle, let ourselves be “negotiated” into selling the whole kit and kaboodle to a Crown security agency, oh sure, for some good money but other perks – like Tom being hired into the PMO as the IT advisor with, of course, some very secret Dicto Devil passwords already in his head.

ARIADNE: The Crown security knew all this?

HARRY: Of course not. Just logical negotiation. Even execs who sell their business may still want useful employment. Tom is a good catch for the PMO. Chuck, of course, already in the PMO, already there. The Boss‛s DDD, by the way, can be triggered to listen and transmit even if it‛s not taking dictation or doesn‛t even appear to be on.

ARIADNE: Still sounds like spying to me.

HARRY: Not spying. Let’s call it Boomerang Surveillance.

ARIADNE: Is it ethical?

HARRY: Ethical! Sauce for the goose. The Government, our Government, says the country is in danger and uses that as an excuse to go to war –

ARIADNE: With your support.

HARRY: – and to cut back on civil liberties –

ARIADNE: Such as?

HARRY: How about expanded surveillance? How about preventative arrest without a warrant for something you might be thinking but haven’t done? How about lack of democratic oversight? How about ignoring the Press Gallery and running a 24/7 propaganda news machine? How about triple life sentences without any hope of parole, ever. Hope. Taking hope away from any human being, that’s the ultimate cruelty.

ARIADNE: (Momentarily taken aback) Heaven! ( Hurriedly) Even so –

HARRY: Hold on. So we the people lose democratic civil liberties supposedly to protect the country – very well, we the people, to protect ourselves, launch surveillance of the Government Executive, so we know what they have in mind before they do it. Unfortunately we can’t lock them up before they act as they can us. But we have a better tool than a jailhouse key. It’s known as a vote. But to make it work one has to acquire knowledge and then communicate it. That, my darling Ady, is my turf. Our turf.

ARIADNE: My Harry, and Tom – secret agents for democracy!

HARRY: You could say that.

ARIADNE: But – the Crown security agency? They‛ll shut you down.

HARRY: Of course. Soon as they find our access code they‛ll use it themselves but block us. We‛ll apologize. Woops, sorry fellas, forgot about that. Glad you noticed.

ARIADNE: Then?

HARRY: We‛ve already built a back entrance.

ARIADNE: Looking for what?

HARRY: For stuff being planned on high – for stuff to leak – and for like minded dissidents within the damned Party. Hoping to motivate them to oppose incomprehensible, basically illegal undemocratic legislation. After all, none of it could happen without us, the back benchers, rubber stamping it all.. And sweetheart, I agree with you about the – how did you put it? Corporate Creature Imperialists? But it‛s so hard to prove the string pulling because – well – it‛s all so obvious. Hiding in plain sight. Every omnibus bill, every free trade agreement, who wins? The Creatures. Always. It‛s all there but a done deal with another on the way before any of us can concentrate long enough to prevent. And, yes, it may very well all be sanctified by, well, a certain person‛s personal perception of God‛s plan, but we‛ll never know.

ARIADNE: Darling, you hang in there. I‛ll cancel the play —  withdraw the U-tube promo –

HARRY: The Boss has already seen it.

ARIADNE: But that‛s all he knows?

HARRY: So far. But he knows you.

ARIADNE: I‛ll apologize. I‛ll recant. I‛ll grovel. I‛ll scrap it. I‛ll forget about Ingersoll.

HARRY: No, no. You carry on. The damage is already done. In the Boss‛s mind you‛re now confirmed as a religious radical, a heretic, although you‛re not, and by association my political career is already toast.

ARIADNE: You can cross the floor.

HARRY: No use. With our rotten first-past-the-post electoral system, no use. With that awful system and multiple entrenched centre-to-left Parties the country is crossing the Rubicon to one-party government. This has to be fought from inside the Party, inside the Government.

ARIADNE: Darling, is that really why you‛re –

HARRY: Inside? No. Not at first. I ran on a genuine small business oriented ticket but as soon as we came to majority power I began to realize – my God, those monstrous omnibus bills – I doubt even the ministers read them, not even the ones who can read. The sheer malevolent dishonesty of those bills, and the destruction they wreak –

ARIADNE: But what can you, one member, do about that?

HARRY: Just as you have begun fighting for reason within the minds of church folk I‛ve been trying to make contact with reasonable minds inside the Party. It‛s all been quiet conversations, hallway comments, cafeteria chat, corner of the caucus room whispers, and now inside the PMO and, yes, with our own electronic early warning alert system. I tell you this, if the ice curtain ever breaks there‛ll be one hell of a flood but there‛s so little time, so little time.

ARIADNE: Oh my darling Harry, I had no idea.

HARRY: That‛s because you and I stupidly thought we had to keep your religion and my politics separate.

ARIADNE: Darling –

HARRY: Our country is being dissolved by the Party you call Regressive and yet that Regressive Party is composed of good people, fine people, honest people who are being propagandized and bribed with their own money and kept ignorant by decree and blinded by rhetorical obfuscation of Orwellian dimensions. “For evil to triumph only requires good men to do nothing.”

ARIADNE: And women.

HARRY: Whoever said that knew what he was talking about. Oh yes, he knew.

ARIADNE: Harry, this really has been boiling inside you ever since the last election?

HARRY: Been coming to a boil. Too slowly, too slowly.

ARIADNE: Oh my poor dear Harry.. And you feel that strongly about the country – our beloved country?

HARRY: Of course.

ARIADNE: And if you can run again, for the Party, and be elected, you‛ll keep on fighting? From the inside?

HARRY: Yes, but sweetheart –

ARIADNE: Then, Harry Brewster, you‛ve got to. You must.

HARRY: You‛re not listening. I‛m toast.

ARIADNE: Perhaps not.

HARRY: Come an election my nomination papers won‛t be signed.

ARIADNE: Because of me. Guilt by association you said.

INGERSOLL: It‛s all calculated on keeping the loyal base. Keeping that 38% come hell or high water. No one else matters. The sixty odd percent simply don‛t matter in a multiple party system using a first-past-the-post voting system. Why the other Parties don‛t understand that beats me.

ARIADNE: There may be a way to – to – insulate you.

HARRY: (Ruefully) Ady my Rev, it‛s too late for fire proofing. (Worried) Oh, oh. What are you thinking? Hey. Hey. What‛s going on in that mind of yours!

( The lights swiftly fade to black.  Sound: The musical transition. Reprise of “The Old Rugged Cross” from Act 2, Sc.1. It overlaps well into the next scene. )

Sc.4: c14 min

Act 2, Scene 5

(The lights come up on Ingersoll‛s area. He is seated in his chair, rather longingly fingering a cigar. Ariadne enters.)

ARIADNE: Please, don‛t even think about it. (She paces around for a few moments in obvious agitation, then – ) Although I could use a drink. How about you?

(Ingersoll puts the cigar away and, while speaking, pours her a glass of wine)

INGERSOLL: Forgive me, Ms Ariadne, but have you and your Harry been quarreling?

ARIADNE: Certainly not. (Accepts the wine, then apologetically –) It‛s more like – let‛s just say we‛re having a domestic confessional involving firewalls and insulation.

INGERSOLL: Oh my. (Puzzled but sympathetic) The crosses of this world are mostly born by wives, by mothers and by daughters. You live and suffer and die for others. It is almost enough to make one insane to think of what woman, in the years of savagery and civilization, has suffered. Every true man will sympathize with woman, and will do all in his power to lighten her burdens and increase the sunshine of her life.

ARIADNE: You dear, compassionate man. But woman has her responsibilities, too. Tell me, what do you think of divorce?

INGERSOLL: (Taken aback) Marriage is the most sacred contract, the most important contract, that human beings can make. People marry, or should marry, because it increases the happiness of each and all. (Hesitantly) But where the marriage turns out to have been a mistake, and where the result is misery, and not happiness, the quicker they are divorced the better, not only for themselves, but for the community at large.

ARIADNE: Ah yes. The community at large.

INGERSOLL: Yes, as well. But whom are you leaving? Your Harry or the Church?

ARIADNE: (In anguish) Is there an alternative? To insulate Harry —  Both?

INGERSOLL: Oh!

ARIADNE: Well?

INGERSOLL: Yes, I see. (After a pause — ) Of course the probability is that we are all mistaken about almost everything.

(Lights go to Black)

Sc.5: c3 min
Act ll : c49 min.

THE END

Total play time: c107 min

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 of this workshop has been for feedback.  Don’t be inhibited.  Now is your chance.    And having a comment posted may encourage others.  Be courageous.  There is no right or wrong.  Some comments may be edited for length or demeanor.

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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, War and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Act 2, Cont’d “THE RADICALIZATION OF ARIADNE”, Completed

  1. Earle Gray says:

    My disappointment about The Radicalization of Ariadne is that it is not scheduled for national broadcast on prime time television. It might not be the proper format for TV, but this provocative, intellectually challenging drama about two paramount matters—politics and religion—demands a national audience. If not television, hopefully at least a video that goes viral on the internet. If you think Canada is troubled by politics and religion, you need to see this play, or perhaps better yet, also read the script. If you don’t think the country is troubled, then you really do need to see this play with an open mind.

    More about that in a minute. First, a hopefully helpful criticism. In the climatic closing lines, I think Ariadne’s anguish should be more strongly etched. When she asks Ingersoll, “You dear, compassionate man… Tell me, what do you think of divorce,” the words strike me as those too much of a blithe spirit, rather than an anguished one. I’d prefer her to ask something like: “Tell me, can something great and good come from something as troubling as divorce?” On her final line, when Ingersoll asks her whom she is leaving, I’d like to see a more explicit response. Again, if I may be so bold, an answer something like: “Both. Harry must be unencumbered to carry his crucial cause. Can I choose other than both?” Perhaps my suggestions are too melodramatic. I’d be interested in what other reviewers think.

    On the broad issues of the drama, Ariadne’s swift journey of religious conversion matches national change. Canada is not a Christian nation. It is a nation of many religions, and no religions—the fastest growing denomination. In the 20-year period 1991 to 2011, the number of Canadians claiming “no religious affiliation” has almost doubled, from fewer than 3.9 million to more than 7.8 million, from 12.6 percent of us to 23.9 percent, according to Statistics Canada census. Seventy-seven percent cast themselves as Christians. But if you eliminate nominal Christians who never attend church except for funerals and weddings, the number of active Christians might be no more than half the total, and the number is declining as the number of non-affiliated increases. Some surveys say most Canadians believe in God, while also claiming religion is not importance to them. We are more religious than Europeans but much less religious than Americans. For all this, we are afflicted with fear and bigotry by the presence of more than one million Muslims amongst us. And the fear is stoked by Stephen Harper in his quest for votes.

    On politics, Munroe hits every button in the final scene, none as threatening as government elected by 38 percent, and determinedly reshaping Canada with policies most Canadians oppose. Dictatorship, by definition, is government of the minority, and the Harper government has moved Canada closer to the border of dictatorship than at any other time in our 148-year history.

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Earle, you are more than kind. Surely there will be some who disagree with you. Your comments about the ending are much appreciated. An ending is often a real puzzlement and this one has been no exception. How far to elucidate? How much simply to drop into the playgoers’ laps and leave them to debate? I actually changed it twice while transferring to the blog.

  2. lionel strange says:

    I found the play fascinating, especially the religious aspects. I did however have trouble understanding the comment by the Colonel. ” Of course the probability is that we are all mistaken about almost everything”. He seems to have lost his usual dogmatic approach. Lionel.

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Thanks for the “fascinating”, and thanks too for the concern about the last line. I was quite pleased when I let Ingersoll repeat that statement but when I look again am not at all sure. The ending does need some revision.
      I wish others would follow you and Earle and speak up 🙂

  3. Jason Wallwork says:

    I’ve read all the acts and scenes but the first scene in quick succession. I’ve quite enjoyed it but am sad it was over. I wanted to see where this Trojan Horse MP took things.

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Jason, you have had a busy weekend. I am pleased you wanted more but I must point out that it is the “radicalization” of Ariadne, not of Harry. Surely you don’t want a sequel?
      Many thanks for your feedback.

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