A Greek Slave
Dialogue Following Song No. 5 Act I
Heliodorus: (to Archias) Here, you get on with your work. I want that statue finished before my next reception (coming down LC). It's wonderful how a show of riches helps a fortune-teller in his business (Closes curtains
Iris: Oh, you are alone now! (bringing him downstage) Can you bear a terrible shock?
Heliodorus: A terrible shock! Why, what's the matter?
Iris: Something dreadful is going to happen to you.
Heliodorus: (alarmed) Something DREADFUL!
Iris: Yes awful! You are going to have a new customer to-day.
Heliodorus: (pleased) Customers mean money. I shan't mind that.
Iris: (waryingly) Oh,yes, you will. You will mind this one very mich indeed.
Heliodorus: Who can it be?
Iris: Marcus Pomponius, Prefect of Rome! (Heliodorus is staggered) Keep as calm as you can.
Heliodorus: (Frightened) Marcus Pomponius, Prefect of Rome! The most dangerous man in the world. Oh dear! Oh dear! Melanopis! Melanopis!
(Enter Melanopis from arch left to down left center)
Melanopis : Is anything wrong?
Heliodorus: Yes, everything. The prefect fo Rome is coming here and I am utterly done for.
Melanopis : Why done for?
Heliodorus: Because we are going to be completely broken up.
Melanopis : Don't wait to be broken up, master. Trust your Mepanopis. I will fly with you anywhere even if we two have to go out into the world alone!
Iris: You had better not do that until you've heard what the Prefect wants.
Heliodorus: (goes up right) No, no more shall I. Thank you, Melanopis, but I think I prefer Rome with the Prefect and all his Guards, to peaceful banishment alone with you.
Melanopis : You shall never know a moment's unhappiness when I am by your side.
Heliodorus: Thanks. I appreciate your devotion, but I select the other punishment. (To Iris) What does Marcus Pomponius want?
Iris: Well, you see, he is in love with my mistress. She is beautiful, very rich and first cousin of Caesar.
Heliodorus: Well, and Marcus is Prefect of Rome, and may be Emperor some day, if he gets the right people assassinated. It's a capital match. Won't he be satisfied if I prophesy a happy and immediate marriage?
Iris: I'm afraid not. You see my mistress has refused him over and over again. You will want a lot of magic to persuade him that she doesn't mean it.
Heliodorus: What can I do for him? He won't stand a love philtre.
Iris: Rather not! He's much too clever.
Heliodorus: That's in my favor. Love often makes a clever man very stupid.
Iris: It's just as often maked a stupid man very clever. But Marcus is a terror, and just now he's perfectly bloodthirsty with love. You'll have to get out of it, or (Makes sign across her throat)
Heliodorus: (frightened) Or he'll have me strangled!
Iris: Or thrown into the Tiber with a stone tied to your feet.
Melanopis : Yes, Master. I know that Marcus is rather merciful what way. He generally gives a man his choice of violent deaths.
Iris: Which will you select, Heliodorus?
Heliodorus: (in despair) Don't talk about it.
Melanopis : Those double-edged swords must be dreadful just between the ribs.
Iris: Take my advice, Heliodorus, and be drowned. The Tiber is nice and tepid in the summer...
Heliodorus: Tiber! Double-edged swords! How awful! Tepid! What does the temperature matter if you are going to be killed? Well, it's no use trying Aeromancy, or Hydromancy, or Geomancy, or Pessomancy, or Gastromancy, or Ichthyomancy or Cleromancy or Anthropomancy. He'll lauch at the ordinary text of Chiromancy and Meteoromancy, and if I venture so suggest Myromancy, Lithomancy or Geloscopy, he'll have me torn to pieces by wild bulls. I wsh he'd take his custom somewhere else!
(Exit Heliodorus. Melanopis and Iris both laugh has he exists)
Iris: (to Melanopis) Poor old Heliodorus! I've given him a fright!
Melanopis : Yes, you have. But do you think the Prefect will be very hard on him?
Iris: I am afraid so. You see, the prefect is a clever man and knows it; Heliodorus is a fool who doesn't know it so it is an equal match. But I can't help that and 'm going on my own business now.
Melanopis : To see Archias, the sculptor slave? I can sympathise with lovers.
Iris: YES. And if I get Heliodorus out of his muddle with the Prefect, I don't mean Archias to remain a slave, (Turns to go but returns) or a bachelor.
(Iris runs off)
Nepia : (to Melanopis)
Several ladies are assking for Heliodorus. Ought I to admit them? The last audience was interrupted.
Melanopis : Certainly. Summon the slaves. The master may be going to have his head cut off. But we musn't let sentiment interfere with business. (Sounds gong)
(Slaves and Circe enter and range themselves. Enter Heliodorus)
Heliodorus: (Dejectedly) Now I'm in for it! She said double-edged swords and the Tiber!
(Melanopis and Ladies down left, Enter Slaves from back. Enter Nepia
Melanopis : And wild bulls! Don't forget the wild bulls.
Heliodorus: Well, who is waiting?
Nepia : Several ladies ask for an audience.
Heliodorus: Only ladies! A short respite. My manners won't be good enough today to receive ladies. Here, Melanopis! Tell Maia to play the Oracle on them.
(Exit Melanopis followed by Nepia left into arch)
Circe can be high priestess.
(Circe comes forward)
Circe: What is my master's will?
Heliodorus: You're to be High Priestess of the Oracle. Make it tell the ladies' fortunes, the same as usual, you know.
Circe: Yes, master.
Heliodorus: And beware of the rod. If anything goes wrong, look out for a merry quarter of an hour in the flagitorium!
Page created 14 October 2001