Crone's Lament (log)
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Cirri recites: "Our First Play is entitled The Crone's Lament." Cirri turns a crank on the side of the wagon and you hear the mechanical whir of gears turning. The wall of the wagon slowly begins to lower, sturdy legs extending from its side, and a thick crimson curtain follows behind it. As the wall settles into place it becomes the floor of a sprawling stage that is ringed by tiny globes illuminated by flickering lights. The curtain slowly closes to obscure the back half of the stage, and a frill extends over the top. A red-cheeked crone marionette is set in the middle of an open space, her limbs hanging loosely and her wooden body slumped to one side. She is a dead thing, lifeless and motionless. A single violin plays a quick note, loud and sharp. The marionette jerks once. Her body flops, as if struck. A second violin joins the first, the two trilling discordantly. The marionette jerks again. Her limbs fly out in a spastic tangle. A third violin begins playing. The trio of instruments is shrill and out of sync. The marionette jerks a third time. Her legs fly out and she rises, shakily. She lives. The violins swell, coming together at last in something resembling harmony. A red-cheeked crone marionette glances down at herself. She raises one segmented arm, looking at it in wonder. A red-cheeked crone marionette leans forward, as if speaking, but no sound emerges from her painted-on mouth. The marionette tries to speak again. The violin music lowers to a hum. A red-cheeked crone marionette presses her carved hand to her face. Her body shakes with soundless sobs, the pieces clacking woodenly against one another. A red-cheeked crone marionette visibly trembles. The sound of her upset is the sound of thin tree-limbs rubbing against one another in the breeze. One of the Crone marionette's stiff arms moves, reaching into a pocket of her woolen gown. She retrieves a mask, displaying it to the crowd. The mask is clearly her own face, but younger. Where the Crone marionette has a lined, weary countenance, the mask is youthful and dewy. Where the Crone marionette has wrinkled, slightly sagging red cheeks, the mask is taut, with two perky dimples. The marionette carefully sets the mask over her face. The violins sing, rising to a combined note of joy. A red-cheeked crone marionette begins to twirl in exultation, slowly at first, but building speed rapidly. Twirling and twirling, the marionette's red skirt billows around her legs. She comes to a stop, one hand raised in the air, one hand extended towards the crowd. Her skirt swishes. A red-cheeked crone marionette puts one hand to her heart. The Crone marionette, creaking, rests her second hand atop her first, clasping her fingers in the age-old gesture of youthful, all-encompassing love. A thin, warbling voice begins to sing, joining the sound of the violins. The words seem to come from out of the marionette's wooden body, though her mouth does not move. A red-cheeked crone marionette sings: "Sing, children Sing of your youth and of the loss of youth Sing of your joy in your limbs and in their movement Never again will you feel this free Never will you be so completely your own" A red-cheeked crone marionette sings: "In wooded glade I stopped My reflection upon the water was a temptation How beautiful I was How beautiful in the still water I could not bring myself to move" A red-cheeked crone marionette sings: "A vision, beyond myself, appeared His face was a temptation, his arms an invitation to bliss How handsome he was How handsome and well-formed in the moonlight I was not moving, but I was not standing still" A red-cheeked crone marionette sings: "Laugh, children Laugh in peals and hold that sound until your heart bursts Laugh in your vigor and your unrestrained gaiety Never again will you be this free Never again will you be so completely your own" A red-cheeked crone marionette sings: "Our doubles, small and squalling, appeared Their daily pursuits a temptation, we watched them grow How like us they were How like us and how uniquely themselves, always I moved in circles, never stopping" A red-cheeked crone marionette sings: "Sigh, children Sigh for the things undone, the things unsaid Sigh for the weight of a life and its choices Never again will you be this free Never again will you be so completely your own" A red-cheeked crone marionette sings: "In the mirrored water, in his face, in their growth, old age appeared It came upon us quietly, each and every one, growing older How silent the passage of loud years How insidious, sapping our strength and our vitality I began to slow, approaching stop" A red-cheeked crone marionette sings: "Weep, children Weep for the vision fading of your dreams Weep for the days that are gone, irretrievable and lost Never again will you be this free Never again will you be." The voice and the violins stop suddenly, one instrument eking out a last shrieking note before twanging with the sound of a snapping string. A red-cheeked crone marionette visibly trembles. One hand jerks out in entreaty. Woodenly, with exaggerated movements, the marionette removes her mask, again revealing her aged face. Her stiff arms drop to the sides of her body and her wired legs crumple beneath her. She tumbles in a heap of whittled joints, resting in a lifeless pile on the ground. A red-cheeked crone marionette stills. Cirri carefully moves the marionette from the stage and places her upon the ground. She quickly passes a hand over the marionette and says to it, "You are free for a time, but remember to behave." Cirri turns a crank on the side of the wagon and you hear the mechanical whir of gears turning. The floor of the stage slowly lifts, the legs supporting it lowering into sleeves on the underside. As the stage floor retracts into the side of the wagon the lights that ring it dim and the curtain neatly folds away inside. A red-cheeked crone marionette creaks to a standing position. >look marionette The segmented body and limbs of the marionette are tied loosely together with green patinated copper wire. Also attached with the verdigris binding is a round, silver and black-haired head, its smiling, feminine face painted with two spots of bright red on the cheeks. The marionette has a distinctly aged cast to its features, but is dressed vividly in a carmine gown, with a contrasting black beadwork and white linen sleeves and ruff. Tiny red shoes with curly toes complete the figure's ensemble. A red-cheeked crone marionette waves her hand in a wooden gesture. A red-cheeked crone marionette presses one hand to her face, turning her head to the side in embarrassment.