To Be A Better God
written by Karen Barna
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; The centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and every
where, The ceremony of innocence is
drowned; The best lack all conviction, while
the worst are full of passionate intensity.” ~
William Butler Yeats
Synopsis: There among the back roads of a southwestern farmland, there lives a young man. His story is no different from other men. He wishes to be free from the poverty, ignorance and hard physical labor that surrounds him. He desires to be so much more than what he’s become. It isn’t until a mysterious stranger, who possesses the ability to command time and space offers him an opportunity. (Is he the devil?, is he a magician?, is he God?, or is he the embodiment of Time itself? No one really knows but he has an ethereal ability not of this world) This stranger sees something special in Tom. So he decides to nurture Tom into what Tom so desperately wishes to be. Tom is a nice person and after personal tutelage by Derek, Tom is ready for the position Derek has set aside for him. He places Tom as an assistant to a major political figure. Soon Tom is wealthy and successful. Derek starts to see Tom faultering in his responsiblities. Derek’s seeks to teach Tom the human race has always called upon him for their darkes deepest wishes and despite his fidelity to mankind they have always deserted him. And that in fact, it is the human race that is selfish, unkind, and disloyal. Derek will attempt to do this all while trying to procure Tom as his eternal servant. As Tom struggles to face the challenges layed before him, he soon discovers that it takes more than influence, wealth, and prestige…..To Be A Better God.
Stage Direction: Present Stage. Old man Neder’s farm.
Tom: (Tom is outside Mr. Neder’s house. Mr. Neder is working under the hood of his truck.) Hey Mr. Neder, my Pop told me you were in need of some services.
Neder: Why yes Tom, the old storage shed out back is in need of cleaning.
Tom: At what wage?
Neder: Knowing your Pop and his circumstances you’ll receive a fine rate of $40.00 hourly. But, I want the shed emptied of all junk, cleaned and then painted. I’ll supply the paint. (Old man Neder gets in to his truck and drives in to town for supplies.)
Tom: Alright. (Tom begins to clean out the old storage shed. When from out of no where appears a man, well dressed, well spoken and educated with a proposition for Tom.)
Derek: Some of this stuff might fetch a nice price in the antique market.
Tom: (startled, Tom drops something and quickly turns around) I wouldn’t know about that, if your interested in buying any of it you’ll have to speak with old man Neder.
Derek: No, I’m not interested in antiques. Antiques aren’t my line of business. My business is the essence of dreams, that is to say, bringing forth the reality of one’s hopes and desires.
Tom: How does one become……..what did you call yourself?
Derek: (smiling) I didn’t, but I am a wish fulfiller. I help people get what they want.
Tom: What did you say your name was?
Derek: I go by many names, but you can call me Derek.
Tom: Are you the devil or the servant of the devil?
Derek: (laughingly) No I am not. I am simply a businessman. (The stage goes dark and the spotlight only on Derek in soliloquy) Throughout time and space I have been called many things, a magician, an illusionist, master of dark arts, servant of the devil, a god and still others call me a hellion, a rogue, the devil himself, Lucifer. But I am so much more and so frequently misunderstood. If they only embraced my power, the elegance of my work, they would then see the innocence of it all. I merely give to people what they most desperately desire so that they may live happily and attained. For all my fidelity to humanity, they but cast me aside. I grant them their most licentious desires and they desert me! (Stage grows bright and Derek is back in conversation with Tom)
Tom: Have you come to see old man Neder? He’s just drove in to town for some supplies.
Derek: I come when those whose wishes, desires, and longings are great. I’ve come to see you Tom. I feel a great desire in you Tom, to be something more than what you have become.
Tom: How do you know my name?
Derek: I know all mens names. (pause) Isn’t it true you feel short handed in this life you live.
Tom: Yes, I do. And it’s true I have a great desire to be more than just a farmhand or laborer.
Derek: Like these men?
(Derek twirls his fingers and STAGE PAST light up with politicians, lawyers and business men doing business in a capital building.)
Tom: Yes, the politicians, the lawyers, the doctors, the leaders of industry who live so wealthy and fulfilled lives, full of luxury, comfort and prestige. I want to be as achieved as they.
Derek: I know of what you speak, I have perched my presence in such company and sipped the finest champagne while listening to the symphony and smelling of the most exotic flowers. There’s beauty in the epithelium there.
Tom: I desire so to be a part of that beauty.
Derek: Yes well, it will take some training, grooming and that is going to take time. You’ll have to study a bit before you are to assimilate the culture.
Tom: Yes I know, but I haven’t any money.
Derek: No worry, I’ll handle the finances. Now there is a small matter we must attend for this exchange.
Tom: What small matter?
Derek: I’ll grant your wish, this most fervent desire. In return at some point in the future, you must bid my will with one small favor.
Tom: What will the favor be?
Derek: It’s not to be disclosed to you at this time, but will be, at some future date and you cannot say no or else you will be banished to a place which you fear most. For I know what you fear. I know every ones fears.
Tom: (thinking cautiously and in soliloquy and blinded by desire…….“To dine with lawyers, doctors and the like in the finest restaurant, wearing clothes that look so polished, to stare beauty down right in the eye. For he seems admirable, I sense no hate or deceit or ill will. Surely he would ask an honest favor. Driven by desire Tom turns quickly.) I ACCEPT! (upon turning back to accept Derek’s offer, Tom discovers the phantom has vanished.)
Julia Kristeva remarks on the work of mourning and literary creation in general:
“Literary creation is that adventure of the body and signs that bears witness to the affect: to sadness as the mark of separation and the beginnings of the dimension of the symbol, to joy as the mark of triumph, placing me in that universe of artifice and symbol which I tray to make correspond, as best as I can, to my experience of reality. But this testimony is one produced by literary creation in a medium entirely different from that of mood, the affect being transposed into rhythms, signs, forms.”