Rodrigo Toscano

 

 

Humana Ante Oculos

 

an anti-masque for three players

 

Players {P1, P2, M, master of ceremonies; all three can be of any age, gender, or accent}

Props:  a cape, two large placards (one reads, DEUS NOVUM, the other, Runaway Ideas Rule The World), confetti (preferably shiny)

 

{P1, wearing a cape, swirling around, quixotically intoning; P2 looking on nonchalantly}

{P1}

Mars of
         mournful
final
         rocky
resting
         places

 

Venus of
         vapor hot
sultry
        fleeting
surfaces

 

Pluto proves
                  a distant object’s
tug
however slight
            towards the center

 

My peeps
buck
in saturnalia      

 

                      I beg Mercury
for a speedier response-time
mimesis?

 

Failed Exit Strategy

            Representation
is escalation

{P1 whips off the cape and flings it to the ground}

{P2, directly to the audience, straightforward, with little affectation}

You can disassemble an RPG-7V in the thick of night, break it into four parts, stuff it into a sack, less than 20 lbs, glide by checkpoint, angry sprite.

Without the spray of glorious daylight, other sprite—can't find his prick, confuses aim-tip with firing pin, likely to back-bust, retro-madre…en la madre…{P2 turns to P1} lieutenant, your hand.

{P1 puts out a hand, tentatively, and then withdraws it}

{M approaches one member of the audience for each word; M places his/her hand on the audience members hand before saying each word; this is done in a calm, stately manner}

 
            FEMININE

MASCULINE

 

         EMASCULINE

FEMASCULINE
                       

            MASCUFEMASCULINE

FEMIFEMASCULINE

            EFEMIFEMASCULINE

MASCUMASCUFEM

                             FEMFEMIMASCFEM

MASCUEFIMIMASC

{P2}

And ask no questions
  
The Special Op is at 11:00 am sharp
                                   
            ACE of
                     CRUSADER
fuss

{P1 quickly picks up the cape and flings it high and away}

{P2}

hallowed white light of
gray clay
stuffed
hiss

currency of
                     zero

ONE
         is captured—
           
                     The voltage
—is undependable
                                   
but the lust—nay

               New Information
               New
In
Formation

{M walks into the space holding a large placard towards the audience that reads}

DEUS NOVUM
           
{P1 and P2 get behind M (to the left and right respectively) and have a silent conversation, pointing to things behind the placard, as if decoding an ancient alphabet}

{P1 and P2 suddenly jump in front of the placard and begin gracefully spreading confetti on the floor, saying}

fulmina 
            fulmina

fulmina
            fulmina

fulmina
            fulmina

{P2, with head raised high, straining to see what's behind the audience}

The bright stained glass, warm
color washes the quiet listener's face

lulls-it-at-the-point-of-waking-it, faith

(soft faith, faint faith)

{with suddenness}

—smashes through the western atrium!

{gestures toward confetti on the ground}

commanders of a half-million fragments

e n t r a n c e 

{matter-of-factly}

Art Pimp
with a full clip:  

{P1 thundering as if to someone present}         

"move you!"     "sit!"    

"stand!"     "spread' em!"

{M carries a placard to the center of the area, then exits in the same direction; the placard reads}

Runaway Ideas Rule The World

{P1 gets on knees; P2,with outstretched arm pointing to P1}

{P2}

Niño
            all grown up
Niño
            tremulous
 
bears down

not like in the movies
not like at State Department private party moods

{P2 points to P1, again, this time accusingly}

{P2}

nasce te ipsum 

Bowery Poetry Club, NYC, Spring 2006

{P1 stands up and animatingly enacts what P2 is saying}

…glides toward the bar counter…

…achieves eye contact…

…nods for the usual…

{“Tomb of Sargon” songlets are read by M; songlets are well-articulated according to line breaks}

Tomb of Sargon
is deep, undiscovered
and unstirred

…analyzes the situation…

discriminates between

slipstreams and eddies of—

Tomb of Sargon
might contain
a few jewels, hard
as Sargon

…interventionist artwork…

a decision is made
to fully engage—

Tomb of Sargon
fascinating
for students of

{P1 suddenly blurts out, as if possessed}

Elementary sex!
Elementary bliss!
Elementary torment!

Beads of sweat
                        on your artifacts
are appreciated!

(mild spasms of the belly
                                     also)
{P2 continues}

…is almost instantly

cornered

{P1 squats and covers ears as if an explosion is about to occur}

{after 20 seconds of P1 squatting, P2 says}

New Information
             
{P1 pops up and starts (along with P2 and M) applauding enthusiastically in the direction of the audience}

omne gens plaudit            omne gens plaudit

{applause slows}

{M slowy rips the strip of velco}

{P2}

Rotator kneecap twisting in true-velcro sound

{P1 suddenly and only momentarily holds knee in agony}

{P1 hurriedly retrieves cape and puts it on, twirls, and quixotically intones as before, P2 looking on nonchalantly)

{P1}

Jupiter of
              citizen-big
orbitry of
              micro
clandestine
              basura

 

Neptune of
              emerald-distant
lonely 
        costly
enlightenment

 

Uranus
            of 
stand-alone      
            stray-elliptical
                                 direction
—talk to me baby

{P1 flings off the cape; falls to the ground, holding knee, grimacing}

{P2}

Lieutenant, your hand

{P1 confused, unable to hear P2}

{P2}

Lieutenant, your hand
                       
{P1 pops up and starts acting in a hip gallery schmoozy way—hugs, double cheeked kisses, etc}

{P2, unaffected, looks at P1 doing antics to the air}

{P2}

Lulls you at the point waking you, faith

(soft faith, faint faith)

{M holds up the DEUS NOVUM placard; P2 politely but firmly tries to cover up P1's antics with the placard (print facing the audience)}

{P1, still in glad-handing mode, politely resists and strives to peek out from behind the placard, trying to get a glimpse of the audience}

{the cover-up / peek-a-boo thing goes on for about five minutes}

 

end of anti-masque