THE GRYPHON SAID
(A Play on Words)
EXTRACT ONE - ACT ONE
What am I doing here?
What are any of us doing here?
You, I suppose, think you are here to be entertained - and I guess that would make me the one Fool enough to do it! But I, the unwise, the unworldy, know differently. You would think you come to a schoolroom for pleasure? Since when? Is it not for the purpose of learning? And I, the unlessoned and unschooled, would seem to be the one to teach: that our education may be most entertaining and much may be learned in our laughter.
Will I succeed? Or will the curtain and evening close to the mark of the failure, a cross on my back, around my neck? Succeed? I do not need or want to suck-seed. What! Am I a wise but toothless crone that I would eschew that which the child within yearns to chew, for it brings no nourishment, no sustenance? No, I am the Fool and I would take the seed between my teeth and crack it. Pah! The crone knows no more than I; it is I who have the most whys - for I never stopped asking. And so it is I know that the ear of corn can hear more clearly than I; that the grain is not just the fruit, but the natural character; that the flour and the flower are one and the same. So it is I grow. I grow. I eat the seed, I do not suck.
Yet I would be a willing failure. Yes, I would wish to lure you with my fey and foolish words. I would reach to touch your heart, your mind, with crosses, crosses, more crosses! Marks of angels who have kissed - not cursed, angled marks. To be welcomed as a measure of love for me upon a page, precious; not loathed as a measure against me, paged to the precise.
But I digress - such is the way of the Fool. The mind wanders, for it is filled with wonders...
You have come to the schoolroom to be entertained. Let us then learn of entertainment..
Rise and cross to bookcase, take dictionary from shelf.
'Ment' - from the Latin mentum: forming nouns, expressing verbal noun action or result of this. Or, perhaps, 'meant' - intended? 'Tain' - a rod or twig. To be used to mark the cross upon flesh - or to support the flesh when weary? 'Enter': to come, go - physical; to occur, be in the thoughts of - mental; to join into - action; to make record or note; to carry out an action; to become a party to; to be a factor of; to sympathize with - emotional; to partake of or embark upon.
All this in an hour? You expect a lot for your money.
Well, here's the rod. (Pick up and present cane, found resting against the bookcase). But how does one provide all the rest? Does it matter? No: for it is not matter - it has no shape, no form, it is not solid - it is not real, is it? One can embark upon a ship for a long sea voyage - but how does one begin to embark upon a voyage when one cannot see that which would be sailed upon or sailed across? So easily, so easily... One does not mind that one cannot feel by touch the wood of the vessel - for one has the most perfect vessel by which to feel and touch and cross the sea in safety, the mind... The imagination.
You came for a play - but you will not find 'The Tempest' in this staged schoolroom. There need be no storm within the imagination to cross the oceans to Paradise. And who told you it didn't exist? That you would never find it? Schooled to look at the map and recognize Paraguay, Papua New Guinea and the Phillipines - how many of you were helped to find Paradise? It isn't in the atlas, it is in the mind; and it isn't found by chance. Para-dice is beyond the fall of numbered sides...
But though Paradise could make you reel with joy, it does not exist. Nothing exists beyond these four walls and this stage; you and I, breathing, thinking, feeling. You did not come to discover Paradise; you came for entertainment. To enjoy something real. To put aside the world and its woes and its wounds, life and its lack and its labours for a while...
Such is the power of Illusion.
But I am the Fool, the Jester, the Joker - and I will pander to your whims. Let me, then, add a little truth to your illusion. (Cross to teacher's desk and take up Dunce's Cap. Place on head)
"All the world is but a stage; and men and women merely players." And I the Fool who plays it cool according to the Golden Rule...
I have given truth to your illusion.
No! I have simply added illusion to your illusion. So I am not just Fool but Magician, too.
So, what does the Fool who is Magician? Or doesn't? As the case may be. I create illusions; and the greatest illusion is that I do not learn my lessons. And in my awkward, struggling ignorance, am sent to sit in the corner - until I do. (Cross d.s. to stool and sit with back to audience. Silence and stillness for a long moment - and then a moment longer.)
Boring, isn't it?
But I am not sure if it is you more bored by I, or self by your eyes upon my back...
(Suddenly jump off stool and turn to face audience)
No, you did not come to see my silent back; I would not wish to see yours, departing. So I should give you what you came for. A good buy, not goodbye: a play! But why play when you can party! (Pull party-poppers and blowers from the top shelf of the bookcase and throw to the audience) Let us begin to enter - be party to!
(Cross rapidly to teacher's desk and take out a filled cocktail glass, complete with fruit and umbrella)
Have you noticed how a little spirits seems to lift the little spirits? But have I got one cocktail for you! One sip of this and you cock your spirited tale at everyone and no-one! Forget the Pina Coladas... (I wonder what the plural of Pina is?)... Yo! Who needs Pina whatevers, when one can create a cocktail of a third encounter - with more fire in it than a Molotov, with the power to build not destroy; loaded with spirit which doesn't make you loaded, but lightened; and, far from giving you a headache, it takes them away....
Does the Fool not seemingly float through life and lives, seen to be unseeing of this world?
Do I not laugh when there is no reason? Give riddle to logic? Make no sense? There is only rhyme to the Fool.
People look. They tap their heads and say, "Something missing here". And the Fool grins in return and taps the heart. "Better everything here and nothing there, than everything there and nothing here. Here, there, everywhere; something, nothing, everything."
So they turn gaze from my I to look in that of each other. They shrug their shoulders and with a wave of their hand and pitying expression, say, "Touched."
And the Fool of the whys smiles sweetly, "Yes. Better touched here and untouched here, than touched here and untouched there."
Who, then, stands with idiot grin and blinking eyes?
"Which planet do you come from?"
"Then which are you living on?"
"No way, you don't live in the same world as me."
"No, I live in mine and share it with you. Be kind to it, please; as I will be kind to yours."
"Hey, what are you on?"
"One over the eight: Cloud Nine. Angel Dust: sprinkled liberally in my heart. Much-room for Magic: why?, why not? A magical Mystery tour... Just a common or garden Molotov. A High-ball. You use your spirits as an anaesthetic; I, an aesthetic, use spirit. You look for stimulants in your life; my stimulant is life. Your world is filled with poisoned thoughts in which antidotes are an essential matter; mine is filled with poise in thoughts, which essentially dotes upon anti-matter."
"Are you for real?"
"No more, no less, than you..."