04 May, 2015

Oedpius at Colonus

[ALL except the leader of the CHORUS and OEDIPUS leave the stage…
The crowd reveals the body of OEDIPUS laying on the ground, who after a moment, rises.
OEDIPUS blinks hard
—HE can see. HE looks deeply at the face of the CHORUS…]

OEDIPUS. Father?

[The CHORUS nods]

I remember you.

CHORUS [now LAIUS].  And I you.


OEDIPUS. … I’m sorry.

LAIUS.  I know.

OEDIPUS. Where have you been, father?

LAIUS.  Here.  With you.  Always.

OEDIPUS.  All along?

LAIUS.  Yes.

OEDIPUS. I knew that. I did.

LAIUS.  Most men believe only what they can see…
You didn’t have that hindrance.

[THEY share an ironic smile]

OEDIPUS.  What happens now?

LAIUS.  The next chapter.

OEDIPUS.  And that is something you can see, from there?

LAIUS.  There is not much you can’t see.

OEDIPUS.  What is it like?

[After a beat, LAIUS concedes…]

LAIUSI will say this:
The term is over: the holidays have begun.
The dream is ended: this is the morning…
[LAIUS reveals to OEDIPUS a world made completely of light…]

OEDIPUS: I have come home at last!
This is my real country!
I belong here.
This is the land I have been looking for all my life,
    though I never knew it till now... [1]

LAIUS: Come, son. It’s time to go.

OEDIPUS: But wait…What comes after me?


LAIUS: More.


LAIUS.  There’s always more.

OEDIPUS: … Is that all?

LAIUS: Oh, my son. That’s always all.

[Father and son, exit.
                         ... Enter ANTIGONE]

ANTIGONE:  He’s gone.
Gone the way one might well wish to go.

The best way possible.

I endured the pain of constant care for him… I loved it. 

What now?

There is misery even in the loss of misery.

Oh father—you are clothed now in eternal peace.

Never, father—never will I, never will either of us, stop loving you!

I must return home.
To save my brothers.
From themselves.

[Enter THESEUS visibly shaken.  ANTIGONE runs to HIM]

Theseus, I beg of you—let me see my father’s tomb.
With my own eyes.

THESEUS:  [Heavily] I can not permit you to go there.
Your father has ordered me never to return to that place,
    Or, to tell anyone of the whereabouts of his tomb.

ANTIGONE:  [Hurt, but understanding]  Very well.

[THESEUS moves to go, and ANTIGONE speaks abruptly]

…What were my father’s final words?

THESEUS:  Antigone—
ANTIGONE: —Please—
ANTIGONE: —I beg you.
THESEUS: —I do not know what they meant—
ANTIGONE: —Please Theseus. [Beat.] He was my world.

[A long pause]

THESEUS:  ‘What comes after me?”
—That was his final utterance.
I do not understand it.
He seemed to be speaking to the air…

ANTIGONE:  … ‘After me?’


[ANTIGONE thinks for a long while...]

ANTIGONE.  …What does, my friend?
What follows the reign of a father?
Of a King?
What comes after him?

THESEUS: …You do.
You do, Antigone.
The child follows the parent.
And so on.
On and on.
…Until the end of us all.

ANTIGONE:  . . . And after all of us?

THESEUS: … I don't know.
But something is eternal.
It has to be.

[During the following song, the entire COMPANY performs the ancient burial rites on the body of OEDIPUS… before all go off to their various futures… on and on… until the end of us all…]
. . .

‘After Me’ by Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker

There's one thing on the tip of your tongue.

It will still be there when all your speaking's done

It's cold and it's proud
But you feel no need to say the words aloud.

There's cool breeze in the air

You can feel September playing with your hair

And only now faintly hear the sound
It's rising up and slowly drifting down…

After me
After me…

You crawl to safety underneath the stairs

For time and tide will search for no man there

And there you say the words you meant for me
And write the letters I never receive
After me
After me…
There's one thing on the tip of your tongue
It will still be there when all your speaking's done… [2]

[1] © C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
[2] © by Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker

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