Thespis: Act II

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

  GODS

Jupiter, Aged Diety
Apollo, Aged Diety
Mars, Aged Diety
Diana, Aged Diety
Mercury

  THESPIANS

Thespis
Sillimon
TimidonTipseion
Preposteros
Stupidas
Sparkeio n
Nicemis
Pretteia
Daphne
Cymon

  ACT II - The same Scene, with the Ruins Restored

SCENE-the same scene as in Act I with the exception that in place
of the ruins that filled the foreground of the stage, the
interior of a magnificent temple is seen showing the background
of the scene of Act I, through the columns of the portico at the
back. High throne. L.U.E. Low seats below it. All the substitute
gods and goddesses [that is to say, Thespians] are discovered
grouped in picturesque attitudes about the stage, eating and
drinking, and smoking and singing the following verses.

CHO. Of all symposia
  The best by half
  Upon Olympus, here await us.
  We eat ambrosia.
  And nectar quaff,
  It cheers but don't inebriate us.
  We know the fallacies,
  Of human food
  So please to pass Olympian rosy,
  We built up palaces,
  Where ruins stood,
  And find them much more snug and cosy.

SILL. To work and think, my dear,
  Up here would be,
  The height of conscientious folly.
  So eat and drink, my dear,
  I like to see,
  Young people gay--young people jolly.
  Olympian food my love,
  I'll lay long odds,
  Will please your lips--those rosy portals,
  What is the good, my love
  Of being gods,
  If we must work like common mortals?

CHO. Of all symposia...etc.

[Exeunt all but Nicemis, who is dressed as Diana and Pretteia,
who is dressed as Venus. They take Sillimon's arm and bring him
down]

SILL. Bless their little hearts, I can refuse them nothing. As
the Olympian stage-manager I ought to be strict with them and
make them do their duty, but i can't. Bless their little hearts,
when I see the pretty little craft come sailing up to me with a
wheedling smile on their pretty little figure-heads, I can't turn
my back on 'em. I'm all bow, though I'm sure I try to be stern.

PRET. You certainly are a dear old thing.

SILL. She says I'm a dear old thing. Deputy Venus says I'm a
dear old thing.

NICE. It's her affectionate habit to describe everybody in those
terms. I am more particular, but still even I am bound to admit
that you are certainly a very dear old thing.

SILL. Deputy Venus says I'm a dear old thing, and Deputy Diana
who is much more particular, endorses it. Who could be severe
with such deputy divinities.

PRET. Do you know, I'm going to ask you a favour.

SILL. Venus is going to ask me a favour.

PRET. You see, I am Venus.

SILL. No one who saw your face would doubt it.

NICE. [aside] No one who knew her character would.

PRET. Well Venus, you know, is married to Mars.

SILL. To Vulcan, my dear, to Vulcan. The exact connubial relation
of the different gods and goddesses is a point on which we must
be extremely particular.

PRET. I beg your pardon--Venus is married to Mars.

NICE. If she isn't married to Mars, she ought to be.

SILL. Then that decides it--call it married to Mars.

PRET. Married to Vulcan or married to Mars, what does it signify?

SILL. My dear, it's a matter on which I have no personal feeling
whatever.

PRET. So that she is married to someone.

SILL. Exactly. So that she is married to someone. Call it married
to Mars.

PRET. Now here's my difficulty. Presumptios takes the place of
Mars, and Presumptios is my father.

SILL. Then why object to Vulcan?

PRET. Because Vulcan is my grandfather.

SILL. But, my dear, what an objection. You are playing a part
till the real gods return. That's all. Whether you are supposed
to be married to your father--or your grandfather, what does it
matter? This passion for realism is the curse of the stage.

PRET. That's all very well, but I can't throw myself into a part
that has already lasted a twelvemonth, when I have to make love
to my father. It interferes with my conception of the
characters. It spoils the part.

SILL. Well, well. I'll see what can be done. [Exit Pretteia,
L.U.E.) That's always the way with beginners, they've no
imaginative power. A true artist ought to be superior to such
considerations. [Nicemis comes down R.] Well, Nicemis, I should
say, Diana, what's wrong with y
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