cygnoir.net

cygnoir.net

repetition

Lights up. Nand Asit downstage right; we catch them mid-conversation.

N: Would I tell you a story with no point?

A: Yes.

N: I didn’t want you to answer that. It was a rhetorical question.

A: What does that mean?

N: It means I didn’t want you to answer that.

A: Ah. Okay.

N: Would I tell you a story with no point?

A: (Pause.) No.

N: You don’t have to answer!

A: But you asked me a question.

N: No, I didn’t.

A: Yes, you did!

N: I didn’t!

A: You DID.

N: I asked you a RHETORICAL question and I did not in any way want you to answer.

A: (Pause.) Ah.

N: Okay?

A: Why not?

N: Why not what?

A: Why did you ask me a question you didn’t want me to answer?

N: It’s rhetorical.

A: (getting it) It means you didn’t want me to answer that.

N: Yes.

A: Ah.

N: Okay?

A: Okay.

N: May I start the story again now?

A: Does it have a point?

N: Yes, but you really aren’t supposed to care.

A: But I do!

N: But you aren’t supposed to.

A: But I do.

N: Pretend.

A: Pretend what?

N: Pretend that you don’t care.

A: (quietly) But I do.

N: Pretend!

A: Ah.

N: Okay?

A: Okay.

N: I’m starting again now. The one with no point but you don’t know that and you really don’t care.

A: But Ió

N: Once upon a time!

A: Only once?

N: Yes.

A: Okay.

N: Once upon a time there roamed a brave knight.

A: How extraordinary. Nights usually stay in one place.

N: No, they don’t!

A: They don’t?

N: Of course not.

A: Well, I suppose they fall …

N: … off their horses, yes.

A: Nights ride horses?

N: Of course they do!

A: What kind?

N: What kind of horses do knights ride?

A: Yes?

N: Well … brave ones.

A: (Pause.) Nights ride brave horses. (obviously doesn’t get it, but adds cheerily) And when they fall … everything’s dark!

N: Passing out does that.

A: Passing out what?

N: They pass out.

A: What?

N: What?

A: What do they pass out?

N: Consciousness, of course.

A: (utterly blank) Of course.

N: Of course. I’ll continue.

A: Nights on brave horses falling and passing out consciousness.

N: (exasperated) Yes.

A: This is an absurd story.

N: I’ve barely STARTED.

A: So faró

N: Once upon a time, there roamed a brave knight.

A: (murmuring) Sometimes he fell.

N: It’s MY story, I WILL TELL IT.

A: Ah.

N: The knight roamed the land, saving damsels in distress, and just generally doing good deeds for all his kinsmen.

A: Saving damsels in distress?

N: Yes.

A: Weren’t they afraid?

N: What?

A: Weren’t they afraid of the night?

N: Why should they be? The knight saves them.

A: Well, the damsels I know wouldn’t be bumbling about around nightfall.

N: He’s not falling.

A: (Pause.) Ah.

N: I’m forging ahead …

A: Feel free. But please, be consistent.

N: (blankly) Consistent?

A: Yes. When night falls, make sure there are no damsels about. Consistency is key nowadays.

N: It’s very difficult to be consistent when you keep interrupting.

A: Ah. Forgive me. Please continue.

N: I will.

A: Now?

N: Yes, now!

A: Okay.

N: The knight roamed the land, saving damsels and whatnot, when he came across a large circle of gnarled trees.

A: “Whatnot”?

N: You know, the “doing good deeds” thing.

A: Ah. (Pause.) Why didn’t you just say that?

N: I didn’t want to repeat myself.

A: “Repetition is death.”

N: What’s that from?

A: A movie I saw once.

N: Aha! So you just contradicted yourself! You repeated it.

A: I did not.

N: Yes, you did. You heard “repetition is death” somewhere else first.

A: Iquoted. You repeated. Just now.

N: If you quoted, you would have said, “To quote from a movie I once saw …”

A: Everything we say is repetition, then.

N: What?

A: You said that earlier. Several times, if I recall.

N: So?

A: So every word we say is repetition, because someone had to say it before us, otherwise it wouldn’t be a word, and therefore have no meaning.

N: So what you’re saying is everything is repetition.

A: I just said that.

N: That’s ridiculous. Then, according to your quote, everything would be death.

A: (triumphantly) Of course.

Penters, dressed in a magician’s outfit, crosses to downstage left. He holds a rabbit.

P: (to the audience) For my next trick, I will pull a hat out of this rabbit.

N: (to A)That’s absurd.

A: (to N)What is?

N: That man. Is about to pull a hat out of his rabbit.

A: He’s a magician, perhaps?

N: Then he should be doing it the other way ‘round.

A: Not necessarily.

N: Of course necessarily! A hat is much larger than a rabbit! It would be much easier to pull a rabbit out of a hat!

A: But much less entertaining.

P: (visibly struggling with the rabbit) This reminds me of a story I once heard. Once upon a time, there roamed a brave knight …

A: Well, that certainly sounds familiar.

N: That’s impossible! He can’t know the same story! I was making it up as I went along!

P: The knight roamed the land, saving damsels in distress, and just generally doing good deeds for all his kinsmen.

A: He can know the same story, and he does .

N: (outraged, to P)You there!

P: Except when the night fell. (tugging on the rabbit absently) Then the damsels weren’t about.

A: Ah, he tells it the right way!

N: (to both Pand A)Stop this at once; this is ridiculous!

P: (ignoring N)For my next trick, I will pull a story out of my ass.

A: (chuckling) A comedian-magician. He must be popular!

N: He stole my story! Before I told it, even!

A: And a thief! Well, well! Very popular, indeed!

N: (sneering) Repetition.

A: (shrugging) Everything.

P: (smiling) Death.

Blackout.

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I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.