29 Plays Later – Day 4 – Play 4 – MÁTHĒMA

This is deeply weird… And no idea where this came from… My id has a lot to answer for… Also copying and pasting. Formatting is getting weirder but too tired to correct it.

 

lFx FAde up:

SCENE 1 – The Library of alexandria

Palladas and Hypatia are in discourse in the Library of Alexandra. Men are draped around them, most of them in various states of dishabilles and asleep. Hypatia wear a neat pointy beard in the Alexandrian style. She is playing idly with an astrolabe, draped in a chair. Palladas is fussing around her. A stout, older man, precise in word and movement. In the darkness at the edge of this scene, stand the Chorus.

Palladas

Revered Hypatia, ornament of learning, stainless star of wise teaching, when I see thee and thy discourse I worship thee, looking on the starry house of the Virgin Virgo; for thy business is in heaven.

hypatia

And yet, Palladas, you make me wear a beard to discourse with you.

PALLADAS

All the most cultivated minds of Alexandria wear beards.

hypatia

Because that is all these “cultivated’ minds are capable of growing.

PALLADAS

Come now, good lady

hypatia

Palladas. I will not be good lady’d into submission. You will have to find a more bovine subject that I.

Hypatia places her beard in her head and ‘moos’ at Palladas.

Palladas

One of the greatest minds in Alexandria and all she can do it bray like a beast of burden.

hypatia

You know it’s a damn slight better conversation than you will get anywhere else in the city. I had mastered the finer points of Euclidean geometry before I was weaned. Conversation came later. But I am not less talented because of that.

chorus

Behold great lady

Of Theon and Philospohy bred

A female beguiled

With Satanic whiles

Wed to none

But magic, astrolabes and music

Pagan Hypatia

Hypatia

Come now Palladas, you do not interrupt my study for idle chatter or faint praise. What’s goes with you?

palladas

Your intervention with the mighty Orestes-

Hypatia

Intervention?! For an intelligent man, Palladas, you spout the most enormous amount of horse shit. Our sainted guvnor Orestes would not be swayed by me, even if I were his wife. Especially if I were his wife.

Palladas

Or his mistress?

chorus

Oh innocent virgin

Take a king between your legs

And turn his head

Away from the one true God

From perfect believer

To eloquent infidelity

Whore Hypatia

palladas

There is unrest in the city.

hypatia

It is a city. Unrest is in it’s very nature.

palladas

I say again, there is unrest in the city, Hypatia.

hypatia

And what of that to me?

palladas

There Homoousian party-

hypatia

The God bothers.

palladas

The believers in the one true God. They are not believers in the one true devilment that is Hypatia of Alexandria.

hypatia

They are just scared of what they don’t know.

palladas

They call you a witch.

hypatia

Because no man could listen to me else? It must be a spell. To take logic, mathematics, the heavens and explain it to sharp intellects and have them turn away from downy childhood myths?

palladas

This is folly.

hypatia

Believing in what you can’t see, when there is so much to observe at the end of your nose. That is folly.

palladas

This is not an exercise in rhetoric. There have been riots.

hypatia

The people are hungry.

palladas

The people are crying out for your blood.

chorus

Blood of Hypatia

Satiate our souls

Fill our bellies with fire

Hear the sound

Doom drags at the doors

Feel it’s breath on your neck

Most hated Hypatia

The Chorus retreat to the darkness.

hypatia

Palladas. I’m grown cold.

palladas

My cloak.

hypatia

Thanks friend.

palladas

I only council caution. These are dangerous times.

hypatia

As the old way, make way for the new?

palladas

As the old King Theophilus makes way for his nephew, Cyril.

hypatia

That our lord and master should have such a name.

palladas

There is unrest in the city, my lady.

hypatia

It is a city. It’s unresting by nature.

palladas

The good and the gentle pass away all to soon.

hypatia

It is fortunate that I am neither.

palladas

You are both. And you are yet young and a woman. With no guardian or protector.

hypatia

I live on my wits.

palladas

Wits won’t stave off spears and cudgels.

hypatia

It won’t come to that. Let’s talk of happier things.

palladas

Of wine and vittles!

hypatia

Of the stars, Palladas.

palladas

I’d rather consider my dinner.

hypatia

I’ve seen it, Palladas. All of creation, in the sky. Measurable yet incalculable. Laid bare before us.

palladas

Where did you witness this?

hypatia

A dream, I think/

palladas

Dreams are not methodical observation.

hypatia

No. But it felt so… It was so tangible. My body was enfolded in blackness, velvet space and despite the darkness there was light. I was surrounded by numbers. They held me. Caressed me. And yet I was being torn. Rent apart, scattering me to the corners of the sky. I became stars and eternity was mine.

palladas

With respect my lady, this sounds like bad wine.

hypatia

Maybe. Right, I have engagements.

palladas

Where to now?

hypatia

Kom el-Dikka. To educate the masses.

Palladas

I would beg you not to.

Palladas

It’s my duty to answer questions and explain canonical theory or Diophantus’ solutions or the movement of the stars. And no god can stop that.

Palladas

Go safe, my friend.

Hypatia nods and drifts out over the prostrate intellectuals.

LFX: Spotlight on Palladas.

palladas

We never see our fate coming. And, more importantly, we never hear about it after the fact. When the inevitable finally happens, we cease to exist. Hypatia. My friend. My colleague. My superior. In every way. Embraced philosophy with a zeal most cultists would envy. Putting on the philosopher’s cloak although a woman and advancing through the middle of the city, she would explain publicly to those who wished to hear either Plato or Aristotle or any other of the philosophers. History will record her as just, chaste and beautiful. In a couple of millennia, scientists will tell us we are and bald balladeers will tells us that we’re all made of stars. So, this is all but dust in the end. Only the passing of time for sentient organic matter, fighting it’s basest needs. I only wish, my only wish, is that she live a quiet life. That she know the joy of children and the quiet satisfaction of growing old. That the spreading and drooping of age, marvel at her reflection, would be her. I wish I was not so disappointed.

FAde Out:

LFX: Spotlight on Chorus.

Chorus

Enter Peter

Man of God

Jew hater

Magistrate

Of Justice

True apostle

Enter and deliver us

FAde Out:

LFX: Spotlight on Peter. He tries to speak but merely moos. The crowd roars it’s approval. The sound grows and becomes deafening, drowning out Peter’s noises. He stops talking. He smiles widely. Punches the air. Earsplitting cheers. The silence.

FAde Out:

lFx FAde up:

SCENE 2 – The central hall of Kom el-Dikka

SFX: Two Chorus members enter. The sing ‘Pou Estin H Tou Kosmou’, an ancient Greek funeral music. They are accompanied by drums. The music repeats and builds over the scene.

The following takes place under the music. It should feel like watching a silent film. Jerky and unreal. Melodramatic. No dialogue is actually spoken.

Hypatia is seated on a chair, slightly raised from her audience, on a low platform. She is delivering a lecture on mathematics. An elderly man is discoursing with her when there is loud banging at the door. Everyone else is shaken but Hypatia invites the elderly man to continue the conversation. He tries but again the hall is shaken by an attack on the door. The doors are rammed repeatedly until they burst open. Men and women stream in, with horses and cattle which have aided in breaking down the doors. The audience are trampled and beaten.

CHORUS

Our hero steps forward, brave and strong

Peter climbs the raised platform and seizes Hypatia. She does not struggle. He pulls of her beard and throws it. He caresses her face and hair. She remains calm. He grabs her breasts. He bends her over the chair, forcing her cloak aside. He forces himself into her. Hypatia doesn’t react. She merely starts repeating something under her breath. Over and over again. She does not stop, regardless of what is happening to her. Peter tears off her clothes. He grabs a boy from the crowd and forces him to rape her too.

CHORUS

The men step forward, good and true

Peter grabs more men and sets them on Hypatia. They beat her and drag here off the platform and into the centre of the crowd. They throw her down.

CHORUS

The woman step forward, gentle and fair

The women produce tiles, stones and large oyster shells. They stone Hypatia, cutting her. One woman steps forward, and with a knife cuts Hypatia’s hair. The then slashes her face.

CHORUS

Hush

Hear the devil

Heed her words

What spells

What daemons

Everyone freezes. Absolute silence. We can finally hear what Hyaptia is repeating under her breath. It’s Euclid’s explanation of Pythoagorean Theory.

hypatia

Let ABC be a right-angled triangle having the angle BAC right. The square on BC equals the sum of the squares on BA and AC. Describe the square BDEC on BC, and the squares GB and HC on BA and AC. Draw AL through A parallel to either BD or CE, and join AD and FC. Since each of the angles BAC and BAG is right, it follows that with a straight line BA, and at the point A on it, the two straight lines AC and AG not lying on the same side make the adjacent angles equal to two right angles, therefore CA is in a straight line with AG. For the same reason BA is also in a straight line with AH. And, since the angle DBC equals the angle FBA, for each is right, add the angle ABC to each, therefore the whole angle DBA equals the whole angle FBC. And, since DB equals BC, and FB equals BA, the two sides AB and BD equal the two sides FB and BC respectively, and the angle ABD equals the angle FBC, therefore the base AD equals the base FC, and the triangle ABD equals the triangle FBC. The parallelogram BL is double the triangle ABD, for they have the same base BD and are in the same parallels BD and AL. And the square GB is double the triangle FBC, for they again have the same base FB and are in the same parallels FB and GC. Therefore the parallelogram BL also equals the square GB. Similarly, if AE and BK are joined, the parallelogram CL can also be proved equal to the square HC. Therefore the whole square BDEC equals the sum of the two squares GB and HC. And the square BDEC is described on BC, and the squares GB and HC on BA and AC. Therefore the square on BC equals the sum of the squares on BA and AC. Therefore etc. Q.E.D..

CHORUS

No more

The thirsty need blood to moisten their lips

The hungry need flesh to fill their bellies

The righteous need fire to cleanse their souls

The fearful need mortality to quell their fears

God demands sacrifice

On this our fast day

A holy day

A high day

Hypatia’s chant mixes with the funeral music, blending into one sound. Hypatia is ceased by the crowd. They tug and cut at her limbs. Finally she is ripped apart. Blood covers the crowd. Her corpse and limbs are passed over the crowd. They dance as her blood falls on them. So much blood. A fire is started. Her torso is placed in the fire. Smoke fills the room. Black and acrid. The space gets darker, and darker. The light is blocked out.

The noise crescendos.

BLACKOUT.

The End

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Lyn Mann says:

    Interesting … I think you are fantastic getting such a range of plays completed in time. See you later. Mum X

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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