Vireo Episode Three - Needle

Episode 3: Needle

Libretto

Vireo escapes from her room, but is caught by her mother, the doctor, and his assistant Raphael.

Featuring 

Vijay Gupta, violin; Bridget Kibbey, harp; Joshua Roman, cello

 

(Lights up, and Vireo is running along an iron fence. Mother, and the Doctor dressed as a Priest are in pursuit. All run in the stutter of shadows thrown by the bars. The Doctor carries a torch.)

 

MOTHER
Come home, Vireo. Don’t be afraid.

(Vireo is cornered; she grips the fence tightly. The doctor pulls the mother aside.)

 

DOCTOR
Let me talk to her alone.

 

MOTHER
Let’s both – As you see fit.

(The Doctor approaches her carefully.)

 

DOCTOR
Why are you trying to hide?

 

VIREO
You are hurting me more than you know.

 

DOCTOR
It’s all been worked out carefully. We have it all worked out. Wee wee wee, all the way home.

(Pulling her fingers from the bars.)

Resign – Why are you frightened? I’ve never been as scared as you are now. Candy Your mouth will be full of candy any shape you want it poured. Keep a peppermint under your tongue. Your mother will be right there too.

(He is working her down the fence, one bar at a time.)

 

VIREO
I said the words. I prayed.

 

MOTHER
We have it all worked out.

 

DOCTOR
Don’t explain. You lose me.

 

VIREO
I said the name of Jesus –

 

MOTHER
Your mother will be right there. Your mother will be right there.

 

DOCTOR
Your mother will be right there. Your mother will be right there too.

 

VIREO
900 times –
And here I am now.

 

DOCTOR
You are home now.

(The scene repeats as a more formal song. The Doctor, Vireo, and Mother overlap.)

 

DOCTOR
What can I do

What can be done

What can you do

What have you done

Put a peppermint under your tongue

Go a little further

I’ll see you when I get there

The birds are crying bloody murder
They suture empty air

Come a little further

You’re very nearly there

Your hurt is crying for a suture
You concentrate on empty air

Help me understand your impossibles
When you make the impossible
Something that can be done

You wound it. I want to know

What you’ve done

What the savor of this new language is
Delicious on your tongue

 

MOTHER
It’s all been worked out carefully
We have it all worked out

Wee wee wee all the way home
Resign

I am right here with you

 

VIREO
I said the words

I prayed

I said the name of Jesus 900 times

And here I am now

 

MOTHER
You are here now.

(The fence is gone, but Vireo stands face forward with her hands in fists, as if she were still holding on. Pernette appears, only a face.)

 

DOCTOR
(To Mother.)

The bars are gone but the rigor remains.

(He loosens Vireo’s dress.)

 

PERNETTE
The doctor has a long silver needle inside his jacket. When he takes it out, it sings:

To find the mark of Satan

You test her skin with needles
For a spot that feels

Nothing

(There is a needle, but it isn’t literally represented. Each touch of the doctor’s fingertips is a piercing. Pernette disappears and the process of examination begins; Vireo’s speech is conditioned by the peppermint under her tongue.)

Vireo has escaped from her room and into an abandoned warehouse. She pursued by the Doctor and Mother, who are now trying to convince her to come with them for treatment. Vireo has a tentative hold on reality and she slips in and out of time. Her 16th-century religious beliefs seem to run up against the 19th-century psychoanalysis that the Doctor is proposing. Even the Doctor and Mother seem to slip in and out of time now, bringing their sense of reality into question. The Doctor eventually traps Vireo and takes her back to his office for further testing.

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