Aria de Capo, by Edna St. Vincent Millay Part VIII

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Every day on Daily Readers' Book Club we offer an article length section of a book until that book is done.  We are currently reading Edna St. Vincent Millay's Aria de Capo.  This book will have 11 parts.

THYRSIS: Corydon!  [Dies.]

CORYDON: You’ve poisoned me in earnest. . . . I feel so cold. . . . So cold . . . this is a very silly game. . . . Why do we play it?—let’s not play this game A minute more . . . let’s make a little song About a lamb. . . . I’m coming over the wall, No matter what you say,—I want to be near you. . . .

[Groping his way, with arms wide before him, he strides through the frail papers of the wall without knowing it, and continues seeking for the wall straight across the stage.]

Where is the wall?

[Gropes his way back, and stands very near THYRSIS without seeing him; he speaks slowly.]

There isn’t any wall, I think.

[Takes a step forward, his foot touches THYRSIS’ body, and he falls down beside him.]

Thyrsis, where is your cloak?—just give me A little bit of your cloak! . . .

[Draws corner of THYRSIS’ cloak over his shoulders, falls across THYRSIS’ body, and dies.]

[COTHURNUS closes the prompt‐book with a bang, arises matter‐of‐factly, comes down stage, and places the table over the two bodies, drawing down the cover so that they are hidden from any actors on the stage, but visible to the audience, pushing in their feet and hands with his boot.  He then turns his back to the audience, and claps his hands twice.]

COTHURNUS: Strike the scene!  [Exit COTHURNUS.]

[Enter PIERROT and COLUMBINE.]

PIERROT: Don’t puff so, Columbine!

COLUMBINE: Lord, what a mess This set is in!  If there’s one thing I hate Above everything else,—even more than getting my feet wet— It’s clutter!—He might at least have left the scene The way he found it ... don’t you say so, Pierrot?

[She picks up punch bowl.  They arrange chairs as before at ends of table.]

PIERROT: Well, I don’t know.  I think it rather diverting The way it is.

[Yawns, picks up confetti bowl.]

Shall we begin?

COLUMBINE: [Screams.] My God!  What’s that there under the table?

PIERROT: It is the bodies Of the two shepherds from the other play.

COLUMBINE: [Slowly.] How curious to strangle him like that, With colored paper ribbons.

PIERROT: Yes, and yet I dare say he is just as dead.  [Pauses.  Calls.] Cothurnus!  Come drag these bodies out of here!  We can’t Sit down and eat with two dead bodies lying Under the table! . . . The audience wouldn’t stand for it!

COTHURNUS: (Off stage.) What makes you think so?— Pull down the tablecloth On the other side, and hide them from the house, And play the farce.  The audience will forget.

PIERROT: That’s so.  Give me a hand there, Columbine.

[PIERROT and COLUMBINE pull down the table cover in such a way that the two bodies are hidden from the house, then merrily set their bowls back on the table, draw up their chairs, and begin the play exactly as before.]

COLUMBINE: Pierrot, a macaroon,—I cannot live without a macaroon!

PIERROT: My only love, You are so intense! ... Is it Tuesday, Columbine?— I’ll kiss you if it’s Tuesday.

[Curtains begin to close slowly.]

COLUMBINE: It is Wednesday, If you must know. ... Is this my artichoke Or yours?

PIERROT: Ah, Columbine, as if it mattered!  Wednesday. . . . Will it be Tuesday, then, to‐morrow, By any chance? . . .

[CURTAIN.]

AUTHOR’S NOTE

ON THE PLAYING PO

ARIA DA CAPO

ORIGINAL CAST

AS PLAYED BY THE PROVINCETOWN PLAYERS, NEW YORK CITY

PIERROT HARRISON DOWD

COLUMBINE NORMA MILLAY

COTHURNUS HUGH FERRISS

CORYDON CHARLES ELLIS

THYRSIS JAMES LIGHT


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