Prologue for Curae Non Ipsa In Morte Relinquunt. I often use prologues for historical/mythical pieces, but because this piece is such a quick bang I don't think that one in general is useful. However, with the desire to not intentionally confuse any given audience...
(VIRGIL sits at a bar on stage. He looks like Sinatra at 7 in the morning after a night out on the town, and is staring down at a rather full wine glass in front of him After a moment, he acknowledges the presence of the audience with a nod.)
My name is Publius Vergilius Maro. More commonly known as Vergil. You may know me from the Divine Comedy. I'm the guy who was with Dante. As we went through Hell. Christian Hell. Kinda weird for me, a Pagan, but there you have it.
(Heads further DS.)
I wrote the Georgics. Nobody reads those anymore. I also wrote The Aeneid. Nobody reads that anymore either, but more people don't read the Georgics. Why you people don't care about farming, I don't know. The Aeneid's about this guy. His name's Aeneas. Yeah, I know, real creative title. Shut up.
(VIRGIL sits at edge of stage. As he describes the various characters and other individuals, lights come up on them. To some extent, there's some pantomiming of what he describes)
You know the Trojan War? Well, Aenas is the only surviving Trojan hero. His destiny – and I know it sounds weird – but it's to found Rome. Yes, that Rome.
The thing is, as heroes go, he's kind of a nebbish. I mean, he's the son of Venus for crying out loud. His dad was one lucky, lucky man, but being the son of the goddess of love does not put you in high standing for the Bad Ass of the year award. And it's not that he's stupid – he's actually a pretty smart guy – but, man, is he oblivious to what's going on half the time.
Like, for instance, in Carthage. After getting bounced around the Mediterranean like his name was Ulysses, he winds up in Carthage. Carthage is ruled by Dido. Dido's husband, Sychaeus, died a spot back, and, at the time Aeneas showed up, she'd been fending off kingly suitors from the neighboring cities for years. But Aeneas, this crazy Anatolan Greek, shows up and they fall head over heels for one another.
I said that his mom was involved, but, well, that's kind of why I'm telling you this story right now. I didn't necessarily keep everything exactly on the level when I was telling the story in The Aeneid. I skipped past the dull bits, so to speak, and rearranged facts when I needed to.
And let me tell you, the Prince of Illium and the Queen of Carthage needed no divine aid to get all nook nook, if you know what I mean. And this pissed everyone off. The Trojans wanted to get on with founding Rome, the Carthaginans didn't like their defiant Queen turning into a giggling schoolgirl with her knees held perpetually skyward, Hera didn't like it, Zeus didn't like it, nobody liked it, except for the lovebirds.
And when Mister Observation over here finally gets the clue from gods – plural – visiting him, he pretty much does a "wow, would you look at the time," gets his men, and bolts.
Dido, she's pissed. She stabs herself, swears vengeance against the Roman race, and burns down her palace. Aeneas goes on, and finally, like in book 6, makes it to Italy. The first thing he does is hunt down a prophetess, the Sybil, one of Apollo's many spurned lovers, who lived near Cumae. He's looking for advice. She doesn't have any, but knows that his dead father does, and she knows how to get into the Underworld.
So, arm in arm, Aeneas and the Sybil follow the shadow brick road, cross the Styx and – well, I glossed over a bit in my poem, but ...
- Prolouge: Curae Non...