The Night of the Minotaurby Tew Bunnag (from: Southeast Asian Plays)


In the darkness there is the sound of a timpani drum roll, faint at first then steady rising to an almost deafening pitch.
(On a big screen) The image of a giant tsunami wave crashing down. Cities destroyed.
Darkness once more. Silence.
Stage begins to lighten.
Out of the darkness at the back of the stage and into the light, the strong figure of a man in rags slowly walks towards the audience. He has a faded red scarf wound round his head, long, white hair sticking out of the sides, and a straggly beard. He carries a stick and a shoulder bag. He mumbles to himself and hums a tune as he looks around him. Finally he sits on a rock and slowly unwindshis red scarf. Now he kneels to the ground, pats the earth, takes a handful of soil, brings it up close to his face, smelling it and letting it run slowly through his palm. Then takes a big breath and looks around him. He keeps shaking his head in puzzlement, as though he half-recalls where he is. Finally he gets up onto his feet and speaks to no one in particular.
Man It's all gone! All gone. They told me what had happened. I didn't believe it. Had to come back to see for myself.
Again he turns this way and that as though to establish his bearings.
Man But I never imagined the senses could bring back such memories. After so long, the scent of the pine resin, the taste of the sea in the morning breeze! It's as though I never left. Ah, what simple pleasures!Especially when one has come full circle.
(He smiles)
I went away looking for what I thought I was deprived of. I went after knowledge. I travelled the world. I lived the endless round of experience. I tasted the pleasures of love, the horrors of war. I visited magnificent cities. I conversed with famous and important people…
He pauses and scratches his head.
Man You know what? When it comes down to it, ignorance and desire are the same everywhere. That's what I discovered.When I was tired of it all I turned away from all the earthly distractions and I looked inward. I did strange practices. I used substances. I had visions beyond our limited minds. I followed wise men even though I couldn't understand half of what they were saying.
He laughs.
Man And the freedom I so longed for? My conclusion? Freedom is really here, (points to his head) , here, (points to his heart) , here, (points to his balls) and so is the prison, by the way.
He walks around in silence.
Man You know, sometimes, we have to go a great distance to see what is in front of our eyes.
He gets up and begins to execute a slow dance in front of the rock. Fade out on the man.
End of Overture.
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