By Clark Suprynowicz
Outline of Scenes:
Scene 1: Prelude:
Workers: Rust Rust Harvest Rust (repeat)
Red Shirt: (spoken) Revising efficiency paradigm… Integrate plasmonic extrusion… Fastening joining assembly prototype… Extrude ribcast design.
Brigid, Redshirt, William: Time!
The Machine comes to life.
William: (Semi-incoherent) Pain is a drill that spins, it reaches further and further in.
Pain is a rivet, a hammer. Something is not right with me...
Comfort comes with longitude steel press.
Red Shirt: Renewal
Interlude: Sonya is seen doing a renewal ritual on a worker, a ring of fire on the floor surrounds them. She passes a lit torch over the worker’s body, then paints him with a mysterious fluid. She finishes the worker, dismisses him and touches a switch on the wall to turn off the fire ring. William comes into the space escorted by Red Shirt.
SCENE 2: Renewal
Sonya: Take your usual place. (William moves to the center of the circle, Sonya removes his shirt.)
Sonya: Worker number?
William: (reading it from a tattoo on his wrist. 7593-421 (she notes it on her PDA)
Sonya touches the switch again and the fire ring lights. She lights another torch and begins to pass it over William’s body as she sings incantations in Gaelic.
Transliteration: Taw on gee reh im eh heh ooen. Ah moo-usk-lim hoo in-new. Cuss no-ee on Ban-dee-a breed to God-ot Iss bay to bee-oh Guh dare on low.
William: (suddenly) Not the same controller here as last time.
Sonya: (freezes... stares at William in disbelief...) Did you just speak to me?
William: (can’t get the words out) I did something wrong.
Sonya: (Comes closer to William, looks in his eyes.)You can speak... And you can... You can... What are you thinking now?
William: I am thinking I must have done something wrong.
Sonya: You can think and reason, how can that be?
William: Strange thoughts since yesterday
Sonya: How can this be? How is this possible?... Come over here!
(He goes to her and gets too close...)
Sonya: (Spoken): No! Don’t touch me! You’ll smear the sigils… the rust signs... You can’t do that!
William: (sadly) I don’t know what to do.
Sonya: (suddenly) Hop on your right leg. (without hesitation William hops) Now scratch your
William: I cannot stop the things that I remember. I can see things, those faces, that blue sky.
Redshirt: Hey! What is all this?
Sonya: Take this one back to his station. I want to see him later.
Redshirt: Well this is highly unusual.
Sonya: (spoken) Do as I wish, I’m the one who thinks around here.
Redshirt: (spoken) As you say.
Interlude: William puts his shirt back on, Redshirt takes William back to his station.
SCENE 3: Thought
Lengthy Interlude in which the machine goes full force including welding, grinding etc. The machine suddenly stops and we see William at his station clearly in mental and physical pain.
William: I can only try to lose myself in Longitude Steel Press 453209
William writhes in pain as Sonya enters the main playing space looking at her PDA
SCENE 4: Memory
William approaches Sonya looking at her in an uncomfortable way.
Sonya: My name is Sonya, I don’t think we got to that yesterday.
William: When I look at you... this is hard.
Sonya: It’s alright, you can say it…
William: But it’s hard, usually it is soft, but now, when I look at you...
Sonya: (blushes, but is obviously delighted)
(William has difficulty from his erection. He gets too close to Sonya, she looks panicked, scoots away, checking her tattoos)
Sonya: You mustn’t touch me, you mustn’t destroy these signs..
William: I want to ask a question. Dreams that I have, those faces, that blue sky.
Sonya: You must be careful. In this place not everyone can ask questions. I must give permission,
William: A fence on a long dusty road. Barley, a white house and blue sky.
Sonya: Do you remember faces and people?
William: My father.
William: My mother, my mother Margaret.
Sonya: That’s right.
William: and my sister. I can see her running.
Sonya: And you? Do you know your name? Who you were before?
William: (shakes his head no)
Sonya: William Bellemer
Interlude as William remembers. Part of the set opens to reveal the Bellemer kitchen. William’s Mother and sister stand by the kitchen table looking worried... William goes to the table and sits with posture of a younger man.
Margaret: William, your father would have said no to this. So much money, what is it for?
William: Times are hard for us and not getting better, you know it’s true.
Emily: Bill, don’t go!
Margaret: All this money, so much money… I don’t trust it.
William: Well you know mother, that’s just what we need.
Emily: and what will I do without my big brother?
Margaret: This company… I have heard stories. (spoken): I don’t trust them.
William: You don’t have to worry so. Lots of guys go to work in the factory.
Margaret: Worry: That’s what Mothers do.
William: Mother I’ll be back in two years.
Margaret Unless we never see you again! Don’t go.
William: Now stop all this there is no other choice.
Margaret and Emily sadly withdraw into the kitchen and the set closes.
William: How long have I been here?
Sonya: Nine years, seven months.
William: What is happening to me? I’m so hungry and tired and I remember so many things…
Brigid becomes aware of William and begins to sing as if in deep meditation.
Sonya: You are waking up. When you are the machine there is no need for food or thought. You are waking up. You were not renewed last month, the cycle was broken.
William: (spoken:) Why?
Sonya: (spoken): There was an error.... (starts to say something) .....this is dangerous. The last controller… The last controller died.
Sonya: Now that you have been awakened to the truth, the company can’t know. Understand: for me to help you, you must never touch these signs. No one must know that you can think for yourself, and you must stay at your station.
SCENE 5: Interlude.
This six and a half minute interlude is designed to show off the capabilities of the machine. At the Crucible, there was a molten glass pour, fire breathing, plasma sculpture and titanium grinding.
William: Who is that?
Brigid: A question! No one asks questions.
William: I don’t understand.
Brigid: Come closer… I want to see you.
William: (moving toward her) Who are you?
I’ve been waiting for you.
I was born on a sunbeam in first light of dawn.
They learned to use the rust, they harvest from machine.
I’ve been waiting for you,
Brigid: Only to free you and to free the woman you love.
William: Sonya? Is she the woman I love?
Brigid: I have known such love William, I can see.
William: But she is not imprisoned as I am.
Brigid: She is imprisoned.
William: What must I do?
Brigid: She dreams of your hands on her body.
William: But I must not touch her.
Brigid: She dreams of your hands on her body. (Brigid fades away)
Red Shirt: (entering) Your units per hour to productivity ratio is down!.
Sonya: Come with me to the loading dock.
Sonya: Come outside.....(he doesn’t) It’s ok, I give you permission. (Sonya opens the small door revealing a blue light. he still doesn’t go) I order you to come outside.
(William forces himself to move toward the door, but is immediately wracked with pain and has to go to the rail to retch)
Sonya: You can’t obey, it’s very clear, the trance is still on you. Well now we know.
William: You mean I cannot leave the factory?
Sonya: You are bound to this place. (spoken:) The plant could be on fire and you still wouldn’t be able to leave.
William: (spoken) What?
Sonya: (spoken:) Come to the lower level, I need to run a few tests. (she climbs down followed by William) Take off your shirt. (he does… She pulls over a computer that is hooked up to a testing contraption. He is reluctant but she is able to strap him into the contraption. All of this is underscored by the orchestra who vamp until they are ready.
Sonya: First your sleep cycle... (she presses a button and William immediately collapses asleep, snoring) That’s good, that’sgood! (with her back turned) I see that your sleep cycle is at fifty percent of normal and that is more or less what I projected for the amount of time that you’ve been conscious....(turns.) William? William? (she presses another button, he wakes instantly)
William: (Suddenly as if waking from a dream!) (spoken;) Longitude Steel Press!
Sonya: And that means your sleep functions are already almost back to normal. Now Gastro-intestinal. (She presses a button-William suddenly begins licking his lips!) How do you feel?
William: Asparagus, I need Asparagus!. (She pushes another button, he relaxes)
Sonya: And what about this? (She pushes another button, William immediately looks very uncomfortable)
William: Oh my god! I need a bathroom… Is there one?
Sonya: Spoken: There is no place for that. Workers don’t need that.
William: Spoken: Please!
Sonya: (she pushes a button and he relaxes) I think that you will feel better now. And now just one more thing and we’re done. (She pulls his pants down)
Sonya: Let me just put this on you. (She closes a metal door over his groin and begins to connect tubes and wires to it.)We can determine if the changes here are what I believe them to be.
William: I’m not sure I like this.
Sonya: It’s alright, William, I am a scientist. (he looks skeptical) Please, it’s very important that I find out the information that this test will provide. Try not to move. You’re moving! (she continues to type and monitor information coming through the computer)
William: I feel so strange, like my skin and my mind are racing.
Sonya: Oh, this is good.
(Sonya attaches a collar connected with wires to the computer around her own neck) William begins to orgasm in operatic coloratura. Sonya is entranced by the computer screen eventually turning to William and participating in the cyber sex that she has found herself a partner to, though through it all, they never touch. They finally climax and Sonya removes her collar).
Sonya: (spoken:) That was... Interesting.
Sonya: They protect me.
(Brigid begins to sing a vocalese)
William: From what?
Sonya: There are forces here that you don’t understand. My turn for questions: What thought do you have the most? (she opens the contraption and pulls up his pants.)
William: You and me. Naked. Together.
Spoken: I want to help you. How can I do that? tell me.
William: I see the face of my mother and sister all the time. If you do care about me, please let me see them, or let me go to them.
Sonya: (After a moment) There had to be a time for you to be told. After we put you in a trance…Your mother was killed, your sister went missing, and no one saw any money. This is how things work here. (She tries to go to him to comfort him, but he rejects her. She runs out of the room in shame.)
Scene 7: Anger
William: I want to be sick but can’t. She says she did not know, but she’s the face of all that is wrong... I could walk out that door. She knew!
Redshirt: Program schematic capture of neuron field.
William: ( joins him in a bizarre duet) Estimate non equilibrium transport sites. Aggregate fixed base line simulate stochastic logic array. Cover optical fluidic traffic. Specification specification verifying all bipolar thermal triggered fluidic modular baseline display. Plasmonic field integrate bipolar extruded loss manifest close. Initiate!
(Sonya and Brigid both become visible in contemplation of the loud cranking machine attended by the workers.)
William, RedShirt, Brigid and Sonya: Just look at what man can do!
RedShirt: Let no one say that I haven’t done all that I can do to maintain order!
William: Will I miss this machine that once confined me?
RedShirt: Spoken: Ratio of Units to productivity manifest for the fiscal cycle not computing with
Scene 8: Emily
William: Emily... Where are you? I would give anything to see you.
(Emily appears as a vision)
Emily: William… Momma is gone and I am all alone. All the lies that we were told that put a price on you. Where are you now? I am losing my mind. I would give anything to see you.
Emily: I’m cold William.
They wouldn’t tell us where you were
Forced from the road, It rolled.
I must have have been dead to the world…
I didn’t know what it was like to die.
William: Leaving here is not so easy. (Spoken: ) My machine needs me!
Scene 9: The Release:
Brigid: Listen to me William the time has come. Let her remove the stains from your body that
Sonya: (entering) Listen, William this is the only chance we have to do this.
William: What are you going to do?
Sonya: I will free you.
William: You say you want to free me…
Sonya: You were not meant for this life of machine.We can be free together. I will erase the signs that bind you here.
William: How will freedom feel after all these year years? What will I do out there without the comfort and poison that is the Machine.
Sonya: (She removes his shirt) You will understand the feel of freedom when it envelops you. I swear that you will be free of this place at days end.
Sonya retrieves a bucket and sponge and squeezes water from the sponge. The water drips down on Brigid who reaches out for it. Sonya begins to perform the ritual, singing in Gaelic. The removal of William’s signs causes him great pain, he writhes in agony.
Tá an geimhreadh imithe uainn
Brigid joins her in harmony as the water pours off William’s body and into the prison chamber. .. He collapses. She kneels over him.
Sonya/Brigid: Cosnóidh an Bandia Bríd tú go deo/inniu
Sonya: Why would you do such a thing? I wanted to free you. Sonya catches sight of Brigid.
Brigid: Turn away William... not for you to see
The set is almost completely on fire. William hides his eyes and looks away, but reacts as Sonya screams as Brigid attacks her. Sonya is able to escape to the lower level but everywhere she turns is fire. The workers and machine are going full force in the loudest most physical movement we have yet seen.
Brigid: (words that are barely inteligable) Abomination, hellfire!
William: No, no, It wasn’t supposed to happen this way!
Brigid: Turn away, William.
William reaches down to Sonya who continues to writhe in pain. She pulls away from him and runs to the center of the machine. Brigid waves her hand and a giant mushroom cloud of fire explodes obliterating Sonya completely. The machine stops. At this moment the workers turn off the two furnaces removing the constant low pitched roar for the first time of the evening. This gives the sudden visceral feel of cleansed purity.
Brigid: (after a moment of silence) Your machine is no longer part of you. I have taken it back.
William: I can no longer lose myself in Longitude steel press 453209
In a ritualistic manner, Brigid waves her hands and the huge doors to the side open magically revealing a blinding blue sky with clouds over a field of flowers. William looks at both Brigid and the outside in terror. Brigid calms him and causes him to rise, ritualistically helping him to move toward the door. Once she sees that he is on his way, she begins to sing a vocalese of freedom. She moves to the release area and the ritual fire alights around her. As her voice soars, the lights begin to go down and the last image is of William silhouetted against the brilliant light of the outside gazing into the future.