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Sixteen Lines: Finish Line

The run is over, but the memory lingers on. At the end of the scene, as the Child leaves, the Husband (who is (or is posing as) a scholar) asks if a Philosopher could deduce the Child’s father from what we know of the Child and the Woman.

Nay, let us not invoke secular philosophy. Better to fast and pray upon the question. Still better, leave this mystery as we find it, till Providence reveal in its own accord.

I make a clear distinction between the first two sentences, which are to the Husband, and the last, which is to the Governmental Authority. I also use this to sort of build on the triumph of my protégé (or what I perceive as a triumph); the Governmental Authority is bound to agree with me, not only because it means less work for him but because after nine years, the subject has been nigh exhausted.

As such, I am against secular philosophy, of course, and fasting and praying, as well as for this mystery (in this context) and obviously for Providence and its accord. It is a major-key speech, and it has a taste of the lectern about it; this is the moment where I try to let peek through the circumstances the nature of the Other Clergyman to be, by his natural instinct, a rather dull village rector who likes to hear himself speak, and is considered a harmless and pleasant dullard by residents who fondly avoid him. In the context of his religious doctrine and the requirements of a new settlement, the Other Clergyman is all brimstone and no treacle, but I want ideally to have just a taste of the sweetness present if possible.

…and that’s my last line. I do have two further entrances: I come through in the storm, through fog and lightning, under the Man as he rants on the gibbet, but I don’t see him or hear him and exit without speaking. That’s near the end of the first act. The second act gets rid of the crowd for 40 minutes or so, concentrating entirely on the Woman, the Husband, the Man and the Child; only in the last scene do all the townsfolk (and there are seven of us) come out to witness the dread revelation of sin and redemption. But we don’t have lines, other than some verbalization to cover our getting in to position for the tableau.

Which reminds me that I have given a tremendous emphasis to the lines and the words in them, in large part because (as Nearly Legendary Director puts it) this is a play of words, not a play of actions. It’s also easier to talk about the words, as YHB can quote them and a G.R. can go back and forth between what I’m saying and what I’m saying, if you know what I mean. I am also making choices (or embodying Nearly Legendary Director’s choices) about actions, how I sit and stand, how I gesture, what sort of faces to pull while some other sorry bastard is speaking his lines, who to stare at when, all that sort of thing, and while in this play it is perhaps less important than deciding whether to end a line on a rising or falling pitch, it’s still pretty important. So I wanted to mention, as I get to the end of this series of notes about lines, that I am aware the lines aren’t everything.

I should have two more notes about this play, and then turn to the next one. You are warned.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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