Vireo Episode Seven - Dismal Pure Inane

Episode 7: Dismal Pure Inane

Libretto

Vireo returns to school where she and her new friend Caroline share a room and plot together, practicing “fits.” Caroline wants to accuse more witches. Raphael spies on them.
 

Featuring 

PARTCH; PRISM Quartet
 

 

(Vireo at home with her Mother, eating dinner by candlelight. The tick tock of clock, fork on plate, water.)

VIREO
When do I go back?

 

MOTHER
Back to school?

 

VIREO
I’m afraid of my room.

 

MOTHER
No one will come anymore.

(The Mother turns away and busies herself with chores, elbows high as she works.)

 

VIREO
I have friends at school. They write:

(Caroline enters separately, reading a letter as she writes it.)

 

VIREO, CAROLINE
I’m afraid of my room
Tick tock water clock get me out alive -
Vireo goes back to school

(A door slams; time leaps. A month later, Vireo and Caroline are together in their room at school. The tick tock sounds are gone. Mother knocks at their door.)

 

MOTHER
It’s visitor’s day.

 

VIREO
Nobody home.

 

MOTHER
I’m a visitor.

 

CAROLINE
We’re studying, Madame.

 

MOTHER
What are you studying?

 

VIREO
You said I didn’t have to answer any questions.

 

MOTHER
Would you like me to get a ladder and break my neck climbing in?

(Looking about her person. Starting to sing.)

I brought you something
I want you to look at.
What was it I brought?

It’s too wise for my mouth.
You would laugh if I said it.
I hold it in my hands.
Let me see your face

Father died a shopkeeper
We bought a coffin from another shop.

Born with little, you will
Die with less.
The less said the better.
Too many die poor
In this day of many dead.

What was that word?
I had it right here.
My hands are empty.
That’s what I brought -
A hollow for your face.

Father died a shopkeeper
We bought a coffin from another shop.
Born with little, you will
Die with less.
The less said
the better.

I believe you when you say
You are lost in a century of plague.
Believe me when I offer:
You’re a shopkeeper’s daughter
Die in your proper

Place.

(Speaking.)

Trust the Doctor - the man I call “The Priest” for you. I’m not smart but I know he is.

(Vireo rises towards the door. Caroline stops her, speaking under Mother’s hearing, as a joke for Vireo.)

 

CAROLINE
We could let our hair down to let you in if we wanted to.

 

VIREO (To her Mother.)

No. Visitor’s day is over. You left a week ago.

 

CAROLINE
Show me again.

 

VIREO
Why you?

 

CAROLINE
We made a witch die. We will have been good at what we do.

 

VIREO

(Teaching Caroline how to have fits.)

Prodrome:

(The Doctor enters as a Psychiatrist and leads Mother home.)

 

DOCTOR
Have you noticed any change?

 

VIREO

(Continued, defining “prodrome”.)

Inability to concentrate.

(They practice synchronized inattention.)

 

MOTHER
She won’t look me in the eye.

 

VIREO
Clonic:

 

DOCTOR
Is she responsive to commands?

 

MOTHER
Not to mine.

 

DOCTOR
But to someone else’s?

 

MOTHER
I overhear her spasming.

(The girls practice neat, precise spasms.)

 

VIREO
This has its origins in the hearing of words which are larger single units than human speech can control. They have difficulty passing through the brain.

(Raphael rushes in.)

 

RAPHAEL
Does her hair still smell like apples?

(The Doctor and Mother stare at him.) I need to know. For the paper I’m writing.

 

VIREO
Clown:

 

MOTHER
I want him out of here.

(The girls bark and belly dance.)

 

DOCTOR
He writes everything down. I need him.

 

DOCTOR, VIREO
Grandes Attitudes:

 

MOTHER
- Is her favorite.

 

VIREO
This is where you fly and collapse. This is where your dress gets loose.

(They take their dresses off their shoulders and lean back. Raphael sings, remembering.)

 

RAPHAEL
I held her when she fainted
Throat shown bright as highlight in the world’s dark eye

 

VIREO
Resolution:

(Singing.)

Vireo goes back to school

 

VIREO, CAROLINE

(Rehearsing the fit together, from the top.)

Prodrome clonic clown
Prodrome clonic clown
Prodrome clonic clown
Grandes attitudes and resolution
What the – what the – show – um – I, I, I
Urr – parsimony – ay (as in “ouch”)
Aroo – I (yelping) aye aye aye aye
My hero, love, has taken my soul out to play (they faint)
Here we are now back at school

(A school bell. Mother turns again to the school.)

 

MOTHER
Time to come home.

 

VIREO
Time to go home for the summer.

 

CAROLINE
Wait! School can’t be over yet!

(She goes to the window.)

Raphael, we’re still not any better.

(The girls overlap, competing.)

 

CAROLINE, VIREO
I’ve seen a witch. I’ve seen a witch.

 

VIREO
I’ve seen a witch.

 

RAPHAEL
Both of you?

 

VIREO, CAROLINE
Me.

 

RAPHAEL
What sort of witch is she?

 

CAROLINE
I’ll show you.

 

VIREO

(Overlapping, but unsure.)

I’ll show you.

 

RAPHAEL
What will you show me?

 

VIREO, CAROLINE
You’ll see. You’ll see.

 

RAPHAEL
Who will I go with?

 

VIREO, CAROLINE
With me, with me.
You’ll see
With me.
You’ll see
With me.

(A change.)

Bored at home on vacation, Vireo can hardly wait to return to school where she and Caroline share a room and plot together. Once back in school, Caroline wants to know more about witches and witch-hunting but they are quickly interrupted by a visit from Vireo’s mother. She is once again reaching out to the daughter she loves but no longer understands. Growing ever more distant under Caroline’s influence, Vireo wants nothing to do with her mother and drives her away.

Finally alone again, Vireo gives hysteria “lessons” to Caroline so that they can both have a fit in tandem when forced to undergo medical testing. The girls grow closer. Meanwhile the Doctor, Raphael and the Mother spy on the girls as part of the Doctor’s study. Raphael seems to find new romantic interest in Caroline, who is more receptive to his advances than Vireo has been. At the end of the scene, he is invited to leave with them on a hunt for supernatural experiences.

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