St. Joan of Now
5 Acts:- Prison, Office, Train, Rouen market square , Murder
Gilles de Rais
Chorus of Men and Women
Forward to Act One
This is a cubist play. The action is seen from more than one point of view. As a consequence time in the play is fluid and discontinuous.
The almost simultaneous advent of cubism and quantum theory destroyed the foundations of the modern world. The impact was so profound that now, after a century, the effects are only just starting to become apparent.
Gilles, Baron de Rais (1404–1440) , was a Breton knight, Marshal of France, and a companion-in-arms of Joan the Maid. He had the honour of carrying the Oriflamme (the Battle Standard of France) at the coronation of the King in Rheims. In common with Joan and probably a consequence of his vast wealth, which vanished, he was murdered by the French Crown after a show trial. Farfetched black propaganda surrounding his end is still current in the legend of Blue Beard.
His story is similar to the extirpation of the Knights Templar by the French Crown (1312) and the dissolution of the Church by the English Crown (1540).
“Put not your trust in princes…” Psalm 146
Act l. Prison
Two uniformed men and a Newsperson with a microphone drag Gilles along the corridor of a shattered office block.
Newsperson We’re giving you the chance to have your say…
To get it off your chest.
Gilles Get what
Off my chest?
Newsperson Your dirty little secret,
Newsperson How about…
Serial child killer?
Gilles That must be one of the world’s worst kept secrets!
Newsperson Or best known lies.
Newsperson Suppose you hadn’t done it?
Gilles Oh come on,
Pull yourself together.
Newsperson No seriously.
“Cover-up At Top!”
I can see it!
Gilles Steady now,
Don’t get carried away.
Newsperson Yea, suppose your right,
Gotta tell it like it was…
Gilles So it goes…
Newsperson …Oi! You don’t care.
Gilles Well you know
All this happened half a thousand years ago.
Newsperson Nothing so deep buried
We can’t dig it from the snow.
Gilles Nothing too low.
There you go
Making people look small.
Look what we’d like
What we’d like,
Is your side of the story.
Cannibal Earl Tells All
Something catchy, but tasteful.
Gilles My side of the story?
Newsperson We’re giving you the chance to have your say.
Gilles Frightfully kind an’ all that.
Newsperson You’re saying you did it?
Newsperson You’re saying you didn’t do it.
Newsperson What, what?
Gilles What am I saying I didn’t do?
Newsperson You know,
The Bluebeard stuff
Face all smeared with gore.
Your time inside.
The names of parties now no more,
The date and places where they died.
The last pathetic words they sighed
The evil details you can’t hide.
You know… the score.
Giles There is no story.
Newsperson There’s always a story.
First there’s a story
And then there’s the telling.
Gilles Its the telling that matters
Not the story.
Newsperson Fast, aren’t we.
Gilles Do you know this play?
Newsperson I’m not daf
Gilles But, it’s the telling that matters?
Newsperso Of course.
Were getting there!
Now spill the beans.
Gilles Oh that.
Well I have not been up to scratch .
I’ve been under the weather,
Under the doctor,
Under the cosh,
Under any part of the rainbow except where the treasures buried.
How easy it is to confess
Newsperson Y’ what?
You know that you’re the prisoner
Of the people.
Gilles Nice people.
Newsperson No racks,
Electric shocks or force fed paraffin.
Simply symbol working tools,
You don’t need to be afraid of it.
Gilles Just falling dominoes
In a cascade,
Where fear replaces gravity
And the beginning of the collapsing line
Is so far from the end
Go separate ways.
I’ve every reason to be afraid.
Newsperson Guest of the guardians of the state:
Prisoner of the sole of the state.
You got it made.
Gilles The sole may be battered, fried and eaten with lemon
Boots have soles…
But the state…
Has no soul.
The State has nightmares,
And short sight,
The state is human in many respects…
But no soul.
Newsperson They’re gonna get you.
Newsperson You’re pathetic.
Just whose side are you on?
Gilles Side of what?
Newsperson Side of beef.
They are going to burn you.
And eternal obloquy.
Gilles Can’t win them all.
Newsperson But you can win too many.
Gilles Yes, there is that…
I really didn’t do much.
Newsperson France’s richest subject,
The King only owes you his crown.
Didn’t do much at all?
Gilles No. It was all very ordinary.
You’re a sump of depravity,
A well of evil.
Gilles That’s ordinary.
Mouth full of clotted children’s blood.
Gilles I never lifted a finger,
I left her to burn.
Newsperson Only decent thing you did in your entire life…
You’ve got a reputation
You’re the pits.
You did in 200 kids.
Gilles I have killed since I was a lad:
I am a soldier, killing is my trade.
But I have never killed except in war
And never did murder
Nor deliberate harm against the young.
Newsperson She’d didn’t add up to much.
Newsperson Teenage troublemaker.
Gilles For what it’s worth
She is the spirit of the first modern state.
Everyone who thinks
They are a member of a nation
Is a figment of her imagination.