the libretto
 

by  Mark Morris
music by Mervyn Burtch

libretto Copyright 1998 Mark Morris

you may print out one copy only of this libretto for your own use
schools taking part in the KidsOp project may reproduce all or part of the libretto as needed

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Cast and instrumentalist list

The libretto
(note: many of these scenes are very short, and are divided for rehearsal purposes)

Scene 1  Opening scene in which the Wizard starts things off
Scene 2 Dawn dance of the animals
Scene 3  The wizard appears and wants to introduce humans to the island
Scene 4 The Wizard, alone, introduces the three humans
    Scene 5 Mirelda and her siblings react to this new world
Scene 6 The squirrels and rabbits discover the humans
Scene 7  The Leader of the Big cats appears to rescue the squirrels and rabbits
Scene 8 The animals discuss the humans
Scene 9 The insects and birds join in
Scene 10  The Raven King appears
Scene 11  The Raven King summons the Wizard
Scene 12   The Wizard appears
The Storm
Scene 14  Mirelda arrives to find the Raven
Scene 15  The animals worry after the Raven King and Mirelda leave
Scene 16  Proteus and Pisea arrive
Scene 17  They hear the animals
Scene 18  The animals surround them
Scene 19  The Raven King and Mirelda appear
Scene 20   The Wizard appears
Scene 21  The animals welcome the humans
Scene 22  Night approaches
Scene 23
  The stars and the moon


The Raven King


Characters:

Soloists
The Raven Adult
The Wizard Adult
Mirelda Child
Proteus/Protea Adult
Piseus/Pisea Adult
Leader of the Coyotes Child
Leader of the squirrels and rabbits (Derrick the squirrel) Child
Leader of the big cats Child
Owl, leader of the birds Child
Snake Child

Children's chorus:
The Tribe of Coyotes
The Tribe of Squirrels and Rabbits
The Tribe of the Big Cats
The Tribe of the Birds
The Tribe of the Insects


Piano, four hands (adult)
Percussionist (adult,. professional standard)
set of Orff instruments (8 or 16), played by children

3 (or more) other child percussionists


back to the top of the page


The Raven King

 

Scene 1



Centre stage, forming a semi-circle that curves down to the front of the stage, is a ritual structure of various levels. In the centre of the semi-circle, steps and a platform. Above, centre, a disk that will be the moon and sun.

The stage is bare, empty and black (no curtain).

Insect children (dragonflies or similar) enter and take their places centre front. Owl sits on the upper level. Wizard takes his place on the platform.

There is a moment of stillness.

The electronic chord starts (from bottom, F, F#, B flat, C#, F, B, E, F#, B) very softly at first, slowly seeping right round the auditorium .

Owl: (sung. Unlit) The isle is full
Of strange noises...


A single shaft of dim light illuminates the Wizard. He raises his staff, which glows.

Wizard: Great orb of the earth
Turn!

Mighty engines of the dark
Stoke the fires of the night.
Ignite the stars
The backdrop of stars on the rear wall slowly light up.
Let them burnish
darkened sky.

The stars reach their full brightness

Gentle moon
That rules the fortunes of the night
Show your light.
Shine bright
Across the turning world!
A thin sliver of a crescent moon hangs above the stage.
Now -
Let the play begin!

The light on the Wizard fades out. Wizard exits.

During the following the moon gradually fills with light so that it changes from a crescent moon to a full moon. General light level remains low.

Insects: (onstage)
Slowly at first, individually

tchik

tchik
rather randomly
tchik

tchik tchik

tchik
tchik
continuous

tchik
tchik
tchik
tchik
tchik
tchik
tchik
tchik
etc.

The Owl should occasional sing a hoot. ('ho-o-oo-oo' etc.)

Eventually they are joined by frogs 1 (just on the edge of the wings so they can see the conductor. Not in frog costume).

Randomly at first.

Frogs 1: dabb

dabb

dabb dabb

dabb
Then continuous
dabb
dabb
dabb
dabb
dabb
dabb
dabb
dabb
dabb
etc.

They are joined by Frogs 2, continuous immediately

dabb dabb ya ('ya' goes up)
dabb dabb ya
dabb dabb ya
dabb dabb ya
dabb dabb ya
dabb dabb ya
dabb dabb ya
etc.

As the moon becomes full, and the above continues, percussion joins in

As the above continues, a Coyote howls - two or three long, haunting howls.

The sun starts to dawn, across the face of the moon (so that the disk gradually becomes red). During the dawn, the light gradually becomes brighter in the stage area, to reveal the Raven standing where the Wizard has stood.

As the dawn is complete, the following chorus starts:

Scene 2        back to the top of the page
Animals:
Antiphonally, from the wings. The animals gradually move onto the stage during its opening in a dawn dance.
Li
Li
Li
Li
Li
Li
Li
Li
Li
Li //
Light
Light
Light
Light
Light
Light
Light
Light
Light
Light //
Light and dark
Light and dark
Light and dark
Light and dark
Light and dark
Light and dark
Light and dark
Light and dark
tutti
Light, light, light and darkness
Light, light, light and darkness
Light, light, light and darkness
Light, light, light and darkness
Light, light, light and darkness //
Light, light, light and darkness
earth, wind, stone and fire
Light, light, light and darkness
earth, wind, stone and fire
Light, light, light and darkness
earth, wind, stone and fire
Light, light, light and darkness
earth, wind, stone and fire
Light, light, light and darkness
earth, wind, stone and fire //

Light, light, light and darkness Raven: (very lyrical) Li -
earth, wind, stone and fire Li -
Light, light, light and darkness Li Li (bass rhythm starts)
earth, wind, stone and fire Li Li
Light, light, light and darkness Li Li Li Li
earth, wind, stone and fire Li Li Li Li
Light, light, light and darkness Light Light Light Light
earth, wind, stone and fire Light Light Light Light
Light, light, light and darkness Light of lights Light of lights
earth, wind, stone and fire Light of lights Light of lights

(chorus stop - dancing only)

Raven:
Light of lights in the dawn of the morning

Light of lights in the stars that are sleeping
Dance to the sun in the dawn of the morning
Dance to the blue in the brightness of dawning
Dance to the rain makers, dance to the cloud-givers
Dance to the river flow, dance to the morning breeze
Dance to the snow that dances on the mountain
Dance to the heat that shimmers in the noon
Dance to the new day
Dance to the dawning
Dance to the sunrise
Dance to the morning
Light of lights in the dawn of the morning
Light of lights in the stars that are sleeping
Dance to the blue in the brightness of dawning
Dance to the dance of the day that is calling
Dance to the rising sun, dance till the falling sun
Dance to the dancing dew, dance to the river run
Dance to the moon that dances through the day
Dance to the sway of the trees in the wind
Dance to the new day
Dance to the dawning
Dance to the sunrise
Dance to the morning
Light of lights in the dawn of the morning
Light of lights in the stars that are sleeping
Dance to the sun in the dawn of the morning
Dance to the blue in the brightness of dawning
Dance to the rain makers, dance to the cloud-givers
Dance to the river flow, dance to the morning breeze
Dance to the snow that dances on the mountain peak
Dance to the heat that shimmers in the noon
Dance to the new day
Dance to the dawning
Dance to the sunrise
Dance to the morning
Light of lights in the dawn of the morning
Light of lights in the stars that are sleeping
Dance to the blue in the brightness of dawning
Dance to the dance of the day that is calling
Dance to the rising sun, dance till the falling sun
Dance to the dancing dew, dance to the river run
Dance to the moon that dances through the day
Dance to the sway of the trees in the warm wind
Dance to the new day
Dance to the dawning
Dance to the sunrise
Dance to the morning
Dance to the new day
Dance to the dawning
Dance to the sunrise
Dance to the morning

Scene 3   back to the top of the page
As the dance is ending, the Wizard appears, pushing through the dancers. As he does so, there is a large clap of thunder. As it rolls around, the animals stop dancing, and fall back to let the Wizard through. The Wizard arrives at the Raven King. There is a moment of silence as the thunder continues to roll, dying away.

Raven: Welcome, Brother Wizard.
It is long since we have seen you here.
What brings you
out of the hours of the stars,
into the hours of the sun?

Wizard: Brother Raven,
the earth has aged since we first came to this island.
It has been kind to us.
(during the follow he ranges over the auditorium with his staff)
The woods are rich and plentiful
The plain are woven with flowers.
The rivers tumble from the mountains,
never too fast, never too slow.
The rains are gentle, healing.
There is room for all.
The owl and the nighthawk fly with me under the stars,
And you watch over the daytime sky.

Raven: You tell us what we already know,
But not
why you are here.

Wizard: I rule the realm of the night,
you that of the day.
That was understood between us.
I have no complaint over that.
But when we first divided night and day,
when I chose the rocky shore and you the upland plain,
mine was the lesser portion.
Then, on that day, we agreed
that when these years had passed,,
the island ready,
then I would have the right
to let humans
share our land.

Animals: Humans?
Humans?

Wizard: I have been patient.
I have waited.
I have watched you and your companions prosper.
Long have I been expecting a messenger
calling me to council,
but none have come.
I kept my silence.

No longer.
There is no reason for delay.
The time has come for you
to keep your side of the bargain.
The time has come for humankind
to walk this island.

Animals: (variously)
Humans?
Here with us?
Here in our land?
(continues, dying away, under first lines of Raven)

Raven: It is true that we made such a bargain.

Animals: (spoken mutterings, not sung)
What?
He never told us that.
He did that?

Raven: (holding up his hand)
However -
that was only part
of what we agreed.
It is true
that we have prospered.

This is an isle of peace
Here we may safely
take wing on the air
Here we may wander
the woods without fear
Here the plains are our playground,
here the rivers sustain us.
Here we may bathe in the cool of the lake,
here we may take the earth as our bed.
Here we sleep in the light of the stars,
awake to the warmth of the sun,
and all you see from the earth to the sky,
all that you see is ours.

But this I made,
we have made by ourselves.
You will remember
it was not easy at first.
And you will remember
you pledged you would help us.

But where were you
when we needed your help?
Where were you
when we needed your aid?

When lightning struck the plain,
and the island burst in flame,
and we fled before the fire,
where were you?

Animals: Where were you?

Raven: When the great wind struck the woods
and the forest cracked and fell
and we cried out for shelter
where were you?

Animals: Where were you?

Raven: When the floods came from the mountains
and the rivers foamed and raged
and we had need of rescue
where were you?

Animals: Where were you?

Raven: You were nowhere to be seen.
You kept the realm of dark.
You stayed close to the seashore.
You left us to our fate.

It is true
you have given us the moon by night,
you have kept faith with the stars
and for that we are grateful.
But do not speak of bargains,
do not make demands.
Until you keep yours
We have no need
To keep ours.

Wizard: (very angry)
There will be humans on this island
whether you like it or not!
Our bargain is at an end.
I will, by myself, ensure
the sound of the human voice
is heard from one end
of this island
to the other.
The Wizard crashes his staff into the ground. There is a great clap of thunder, and a stifled scream from the animals. The Wizard stalks out through the animals, who shrink from him.

Animals: (in groups; suggestions only)
Coyotes Humans are strange.
Cats Not like us.
Insects How do you know?
Rabbits No-one has seen one.
Birds They'll cut down the trees.
Rabbits They'll burn the grass.
Insects They'll dry up the rivers.
Coyotes Humans are strange,
Rabbits no-one has seen one,
Cats Not like us.
All They'll drive us away.

The Raven-King lifts his hand to silence them. The animals fall silent.
The Leader of the Big Cats steps forward.

Cougar: (dignified)
Raven King.
This is our land.
It was always our land
We like it like this.
Keep the humans away.

Animals: Keep the humans away.

Owl: (from above. Portentously)
The day
that human feet
leave their tread
on our land
that's the day
we will come
to regret.

Birds: (from above. Excitedly)
We'll regret it!
We'll regret it!
We'll regret it!
We'll regret it!

Owl: (from above. Portentously)
The Wizard returns, quietly watching, leaning on his staff, unnoticed.
Raven King.
You hear
what we say.
Keep the humans away.

Animals: Keep the humans away.

Snake: (coming forward. Emphasizes all the 's'es)
What's all the fuss about?
Humans can't be that bad.
animals just like us
Aren't they?
I say
we give it a try
keep the
Wizard at bay
A promisssse
Is a promisssse.

Animals: (they emphasize the 's' of saying in the first line)
What do you think you're saying?
Can't you keep your mouth shut?
Trust a snake to get it wrong
Trust a snake to get along
With humans.
Go away
and hiss up!

Snake: (rather abashed)
I didn't mean -
(but is cut off by)

Animals: Keep the humans away.

Raven: Silence.
Don't be unkind to the snake.
He may have a point.
I know you don't want
humans to come here,
Neither do I.
We may not be able
To prevent it.

I will see what I can do.
There are no humans here, yet.
The morning is still young, still bright.
Go, enjoy the day,
do not fear
the Wizard.
Leave that to me.

The animals all look at him, a little uncertain.

Leader of the Big Cats: What are we all hanging about here for?

The animals all disperse off-stage, except for Squirrel, who hasn't really been paying attention, and gets overlooked, nibbling at a pine cone. Raven stands for a moment thoughtfully, then leaves.

Scene 4  
back to the top of the page
The Wizard steps forward, looks around imperiously. The squirrel dashes behind stone, hoping he hasn't been seen, and hides.

The Wizard razes his hand, the staff high in one of them, towards the heavens.

Wizard: (in Latin)
Dark shadows of the underworld
Power of powers that waits its calling
Breath of Breath that breathes into all
Come forth!

As he says the last line he lowers his staff towards the ground and there is a great flash from it, and a great squeak from the terrified squirrel. The Wizard instantly stops, and looks around for the source of the sound. He marches over to where the squirrel is hiding, and pulls him out by the scruff of the neck.

Wizard: (in a terrible voice)
So. What do we have here?

Squirrel: Please, please O Great Wizard
It's only me.
A tiny little squirrel.
I didn't see a thing.
I didn't hear a thing.
Nothing at all.
Honest, honest, O Great Wizard.
I was fast asleep.
Very fast asleep.
Woken by the flash.
Wondered where I was.

Wizard: I ought to boil you in oil.

Squirrel: Oh, no sir

Wizard: Fry you in pitch

Squirrel: No, no, sir

Wizard: Give you to the sea-snakes

Squirrel: No, no, sir
I didn't do anything.
Honest.

Wizard: Hmm.
Very well.
This time I'll let you go.
But if you ever breath a word
that you were caught by the Wizard
the instant you open your mouth
a bolt of lightning will fall from the sky
and burn you to cinders.
Do you understand?

Squirrel: Oh, yes, sir, yes, sir,
thank you, sir, thank you, sir,
not a word,
sir.

Wizard: Very well.

He puts the squirrel down. The squirrel runs off at high speed. The Wizard watches him go for a moment, then turns, thoughtfully, summoning the energy in himself again. He razes his hand, the staff high in one of them, towards the heavens again. The electronic chord starts.

Wizard: (in Latin)
Dark shadows of the underworld
Power of powers that waits its calling
Breath of Breath that breathes into all
Come forth!

A great flash issues from his staff. The sky turns orange, and then purple. There is a huge deep throbbing sound. The Wizard disappears. The sound starts to decline, slowly. As it does so, three figures appear: Mirelda,Proteus and Pisea.

Scene 5   back to the top of the page
Mirelda: O brave new world -
so wide,
so bright -
it cannot be -
I'm still
dreaming -
the light
is real -
I can turn
and feel
the wind
and the wind
and the warmth
and the light,
so real.
I'm still dreaming -
what a wonderful dream -
what a wonderful dream -

That must be the sun so fiery in the sky
Look! I move my hand, my shadow follows me.
I want to dance across this magic land
But it would take us days to walk as far as we can see.

Proteus: Huh.
Doesn't look much to me.

Pisea: Why are we here?
What is this place?
How do we leave?

Mirelda: (shutting her eyes tight)
If I shut my eyes will it all disappear?
Please, I want to stay, and not return to night.
opening her eyes
The world's still here, it's still the bright new day.
In sleep I wake and in my dream the dark is full of light.

Pisea: Ahh -
Give me back the night -

Proteus: Nothing to do
Nothing to see
Just rocks and stones
:
Mirelda: Let me see those things of which I've only heard.
O, they must be here, the creatures of this land,
I know they are, I know they must be near.
O dream don't break until I've seen the wonders of this world.

Proteus:
It's all boring ---


Scene 6   back to the top of the page
He is interrupted by the rabbits and squirrels, who start coming out, curious, careful, circling the humans. Proteus's 'boring' is drawn out - he/she notices the animals just as he/she is singing the word. Neither animals nor humans have ever seen each other before, so they are both very curious and wary.

Squirrels and rabbits:
Hush, hush, hush, etc. - (ha-sh, very long ha and short sh)

Pisea: (scared) I want to go home!

Mirelda: (full of wonder)
Don't be afraid -

Proteus: (equally scared, hiding behind Mirelda)
I don't like this.
What are they?

Mirelda: I think they're animals -

Pisea: They're going to hurt us
I want to get out of here.
Do something.

Mirelda: I don't think they will.
Aren't they wonderful?

Singing stops, but instruments continue, very slow very magical, as slowly one of the rabbits comes forward to Mirelda to see what she is. Both rabbit and Mirelda are spellbound as the rabbit moves forward, as are the other animals. As the rabbit gets really close, Mirelda slowly stretches out her hand towards it.

Suddenly, Proteus leaps forward from behind Mirelda and grabs the rabbit by the scruff of the neck. The rabbit squeals. All the other animals squeal.

The following is concerted, and should suggest pandemonium

Proteus: (dancing around with the rabbit)
I've got it
I've got it
I've got it
Repeat as required

Mirelda: No, no,
Don't do that!
Let it go!
Let it go!

Pisea: Squash it flat!
Throw it away!
Look out,
It'll bite you!

Squirrels and rabbits:
They've got Derrick,
The thing's got Derrick,
Look out,
Look out,
We've got to save him.
(Repeat as required)

Derrick the rabbit: Help!
Help!
Help!
(Repeat as required)

Scene 7   back to the top of the page
Suddenly, the Leader of the Big cats appears at the head of all the Big Cats. The concerted passage stops instantly, on a sudden. Everyone except the big cats freezes. Proteus is left standing still, still holding the rabbit, staring across the meeting place at the Leader of the Big Cats. If more voices are needed, the tribe of Coyotes should be with the Big Cats.

Leader of the Big Cats:
I think you have something
That belongs to us.

Big Cats: Something
That belongs to us

Pisea: I don't like this -

Leader of the Big Cats:
I think you had better
Let him go now.

Big Cats: Let him go now.

Leader of the Big Cats:
Right now -

Proteus carefully puts Derrick the rabbit on the ground. Derrick the Rabbit scuttles back to his friends.

Leader of the Big Cats:
Now you had all
better leave
Leave this place
and don't come back

Big Cats; Leave!
Leave!
And don't come back!
Leave!
Leave!
And don't come back!

Proteus and Pisea suddenly run, as fast as they can, offstage. Mirelda stays, hesitantly.

Mirelda: (hesitantly, slightly lyrical, drawn out)
But -

Leader of the Big Cats;
Leave
Leave at once
Before you find
You cannot leave.

Mirelda rather sadly turns away, and leaves, slowly, in a different direction, turning back once to look at the animals.

Scene 8   back to the top of the page
Squirrels, Rabbits, Big Cats:
So that's humans
That's what they're like
Just as they said
Just as they said
Did you see
the one with poor Derrick
Vicious
Mean
Cruel.
Poor Derrick -
Are you all right?

Derrick: I think so
A little scared -

Squirrels, rabbits, Big Cats:
So that's humans
That's what they're like
Just as they said
Just as they said
Vicious
mean
cruel -

Leader of the Big Cats:

I have to tell
The Raven King
that the Wizard has struck
that the humans
are here.
Go find the others.
Bring them out here.
I'll go and find
The Raven King.

Big Cats: Go find the others.
Bring them out here.
He must tell
The Raven King.

A couple of the wolves/coyotes exit to fetch the other animals. The Leader of the Big Cats exits to find the Raven King

Squirrels, rabbits, Big Cats:
So that's humans
That's what they're like
Just as they said
Just as they said
Vicious
mean
cruel -

Scene 9   back to the top of the page
Insects and birds: (as they enter, repeated as often as need, spoken on a single note, quite fast. The effect should be of a continual buzz. When everyone is on stage the conductor signals them to stops and starts the next singing [big cats, wolves, squirrels and rabbits])
What is it,
what is it
what is it
etc.

big cats, wolves, squirrels and rabbits: insects and birds:
The humans
The humans are here
The Wizard has brought them
We've seen them The humans?
The humans are here The humans are here?
The Wizard has brought them The Wizard has brought them?
The humans You've seen them?
The humans are here The humans are here?
The Wizard has brought them The Wizard has brought them?
We've seen them The humans?
The humans are here The humans are here?
The Wizard has brought them The Wizard has brought them?

etc. as required
leading straight into:

Scene 10   back to the top of the page
The Raven King appears at his place, accompanied by the Leader of the Big Cats

All animals:(tutti)
The humans
The humans are here
The Wizard has brought them
We've seen them
The humans are here
The Wizard has brought them

All animals: (angry, resentful, frightened, excited)
What did we tell you, humans here
You wouldn't listen, humans here
You let the Wizard cast his spell
You let the Wizard have his way.
What did we tell you, humans here
You wouldn't listen, humans here
Humans will start to spoil this isle
Humans will start to hurt us all.
What did we tell you, humans here
You wouldn't listen, humans here
We do not know what they will do
We are afraid of what will come
You have to save us, Raven King
You have to stop him, Raven King
You have to send them far away
You have to save us, Raven King

Scene 11   back to the top of the page
The Raven King spreads his wings wide in a great long gesture. The animals fall completely silent. The Raven King should dominate the stage.


Great musical stroke.

Raven King: (huge)
Wizard of the dark
Master of the night,
I, the Raven King,
summon you!

Nothing happens. complete silence.

Great musical stroke

Raven King:
Ruler of the ocean waters
Dweller of the northern reaches
I, the Raven King,
command your presence.

Nothing happens. Absolute silence.

Great musical stroke

Raven King:
Brother Wizard, born in fire,
In the name of the middle ending of the earth
By Sicoreth, who had your calling,
By the powers I had from birth,
I, the Raven King
issue this command:
appear before us!

There is a tremendous crash. Lightning. The Wizard appears.

Scene 12   back to the top of the page
Wizard: What is the meaning of this?
For what
have you disturbed my rest?
Why does the day call up the night
with the most dreadful
of all our summons?
I demand to know!

Raven: You have broken your oath.

Animals: Take the humans away!

Wizard: I have done no such thing.

Raven: The are humans on this isle
Where before there were none.

Animals: Take the humans away!

Raven: It can only be you that has brought them.
You have defiled the sanctity of this isle.

Wizard: I made no such oath.

Animals: Take the humans away!

Raven: You had agreed there would be
no human forms until we were ready.

Wizard: This I agreed.
The island is ready.
The time is now!

Animals: Take the humans away!

Raven: (building up)
You know well we do not agree.
You know well we do not accede.
Before more trouble is caused
Before more evil is done
You will take the humans away!

Wizard: I will do no such thing!

Animals: Take the humans away!

Raven: You will keep to your word
You will keep to your realm
You will cease your mischief
You will undo what is done
You will
take the humans away!

Wizard: I will do
no such thing!

Animals: Take the humans away!

Raven: The peace of the island is broken
You will restore it!
The pledge that we promised is shattered
You will renew it!
The evil of earth is upon us
You will prevent it!
The shadow of discord has come
You will remove it!
You have brought us
the disruption of night
Now
you will
take the humans away!

Wizard: I will do
no such thing!

Animals: Take the humans away!

Wizard: The humans
will stay!

Scene 13 - the storm    back to the top of the page
As the Wizard says the last word, he crashes his staff to the ground. There is an enormous crash of thunder. The sky goes black. All the animals scream, a great long scream. The storm begins.

Wizard: [incantation 10 seconds]
Amargar -
Farsorkarth -
Ungareth!

The wind starts. The day starts to darken.
A deep elemental sound is heard.

A great peal of thunder starts and continues. It is now really dark (note: the sun should stay as a very dim red disk until indicated). Lightning. The animals all scream a great long scream.

[timings refer to length of each section]

Raven: [Cease. 10 seconds]
Cease your evil, Brother Wizard!

Wizard: [incantation 10 seconds]
Come, terror of the day,
Break out, O light of Storm!

The thunder dies away. The deep sound gets a little stronger. The wind dies, but not completely away. The sky starts to turn a terrible ominous pink-purple colour.

Raven: [Cease. 10 seconds]
Brother Wizard
No more!

The sky is now a terrible colour. The wind starts to rise again.

The Wizard strikes his staff on the ground again. Lightning, but no thunder.

Raven: [Cease. 10 seconds]
Cease
I say
Cease!

[incantation. 15 seconds]
Powers of the Middle Earth
turn away his face
shattered now
be his staff!

The sky starts to revert to darkness. The wind and deep sound die down a little as Raven's incantation starts to take effect.

Wizard: [the Wizard's reply. 15 seconds]
The Wizard's staff glows
Mine are the Powers!
Your day is done!
Gone is the Middle Age!
The humans will stay!
As he finishes another electronic layer starts

Raven: [continuous. 1' 40"

Wizard:

16 secs Ill-a-a-a-shath!
Be gone, darkness
Be gone,
10 secs Fires of the darkness!
Now claim the daylight!
Banish it!
The trees catch fire. Peal of thunder. Swell from electronic music. Raven starts to visibly weaken.
20 secs
10 secs Fires of the deep earth!
Yours is the mighty rock,
Take command!
Fire runs along the main structure. Peal of thunder. Swell from electronic music. Raven weakens further.
20 secs
10 secs Fires of the inner Soul
Yours is the Raven King!
Consume him!
The Raven is ringed in fire. Peal of thunder. Swell from electronic music. He is near collapse.
25 secs

Wizard: [incantation of the darkness. 30 seconds]
The following should not be entirely defiant, but there should be a real beauty, a real emotion in his calling up darkness.
Come Sister Darkness
Smother out the daylight
The wind and the electronic sounds start to Suffocate the noonday sun fade away. The sun's disk blacks out.

Come to my command!
Slow fade towards blackout.

So do they deny me
So will be their fate.
Come my Sister,
Sister Darkness
spread your wings across the earth
take the isle in your embrace!
The Wizard disappears.
Blackout.
Silence.
Hold silence for 4 or 5 seconds

Wizard: (from far away, but very big)
The humans will stay!
Exits

Scene 14   back to the top of the page
The storm has died down into total silence. The Raven is slumped over. Total darkness except for a very very dim ray on the Raven.

With a great effort, Raven half lifts himself up.

Raven: (very weakly)
O Great Sun
light of dawn
light of daylight
reach down your hand to me -
(a little stronger)
Great Sun
shine on us!

The light gets stronger, but it is still dark, like a very dark stormy day.

The Raven slumps back, his great wings folded over himself.


Slowly, one or two at a time, the animals gingerly come forward, not daring to come to close, inspecting him, wondering, hesitant, anxious.

Mirelda enters, and goes towards the Raven.

Animals: (hastily pulling back)
Great sound, like a sigh, but also threatening

Mirelda: (tenderly)
I am looking for the Raven King -

Raven: (without opening his wings)
And why do you seek him?

Mirelda: I need his help -

Raven: (opening his wings very slowly in a grand movement, but still weak)
Now you have found him.
I am the Raven King.
Why does a human
need the help of a raven?

Mirelda: (touching him)
Are you hurt?

Raven: I asked you
why you wanted my help.

Mirelda: There were
terrible noises,
and the sky went black.
I don't understand
what happened.

Raven: (now looking up at her)
I have failed.
(the next line to himself without changing the dynamic)
He is stronger
(To Mirelda again)
The Isle is ended
The humans will conquer

Mirelda: No, don't say so
Don't be saddened.
I want to live here
In this island of wonder.

Raven: Wizard's magic
gave you life breath.
The Wizard will rule
You will be at his bidding.

Mirelda: (flashing anger)
No I will not
Not his or yours!
My life is my own
Not yours or the Wizard's.

Raven: Perhaps I was wrong -
Perhaps it is not
as clear as I thought -

Mirelda: I don't really know
what you are saying
but I know
that all is not ended
I know there is something
that you can do.

Raven: Perhaps there is...
Perhaps there is not...

Mirelda: Please don't say so
don't despair...

Duet proper starts

Raven: I have tried to keep this island safe for all who live here -

Mirelda: I want to stay and find a place that I can call my home -

Raven: It is a sacred trust that I may now no longer hold -

Mirelda: I want to learn, I want to know, I want to share this isle -

Raven:
The island keeps us The island feeds us
The isle is shelter The isle is homeland
This isle is our world This isle is our isle
This land is our land This isle is our home
Mirelda:
I want to see the sunlight shining on the silver sea
I want to hear the forest moving in the winter wind
I want to run across a field that's full of new spring flowers
I want to see the mountains dancing in the morning sky
Here is our shoreland Here is our high land
Here is our prairie Here is our forest
Here is our dawning Here is our ending
Here is our living Here is our home
I want to know the names of all the creatures living here
I want to share their joy, to be there when they're sad
I want to learn those things that they can teach me of this isle
I want a home I want a place that I can call my own -

Animals: We are in danger. He shouldn't trust her.

Raven: This isle is blessed This isle is peaceful
It has cherished us We have cared for it
It is our heritage It is our home
That's why we didn't want any humans

Mirelda: So you don't want me here
You have already
made up your mind

Raven: You are a strange creature
ugly but wise
more than your years

Mirelda: Who says that I'm ugly?
I am not ugly - (Raven staggers a little)
Oh - but you're hurt!

Raven: It is nothing -
I need to rest -
Come -you will tell me
about yourself - he is faint

Leader of the Big Cats: (coming forward to the Raven King)
Here, let me help you
You have been weakened -
I will come with you -

Raven King: Very well -

Mirelda: (scared of the Leader of the Big Cats)
I -

Raven King:
Do not be worried -
He will not harm you -

The Raven King exits, helped by Mirelda and the Leader of the Big Cats

Scene 15   back to the top of the page
There is a moment of complete silence

some Animals: (slow chant)
Where is the daylight?

slight pause

other Animals:
Where has the Raven gone?

slight pause

some Animals:
What will happen to us?

slight pause

other Animals:
What will happen to us?

some Animals:
What is going to happen to us?

other Animals:
What is going to happen to us?

antiphonal and continuous between some Animals and other Animals:
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?
Whatisgoingtohappentous?

all Animals:

What is going to happen to us?
When will the daylight come?
Will we ever see the Raven?
What is going to happen to us?
Instant interruption

Birds
: agitated but commanding, slightly hushed

Humans, humans, humans coming!
Humans, humans, humans coming!
All the animals, with a hushing sound like the wind, disappear and take places around the clearing, hidden in the half-darkness.

Animals:
sssssssssssshhhhhhhhh -


Scene 16   back to the top of the page
Proteus and Pisea enter


Pisea: (starting at edge of stage or off stage)
Proteus,
Proteus -
Why's it gone dark?
` I don't like it.
Don't go so fast.
Proteus
Proteus
I don't like it
What is happening
What is happening?

Proteus: (reaching centre stage during the following. When he does, he stops and looks around)
I don't know.
Come on
You've got to keep up.

Pisea: Where's Mirelda?
Where has she gone?
I don't like it.

Proteus: I don't know.
How should I know?

Both have now stopped centre-stage

Pisea: Where are we,
Proteus,
Where are we?
I'm frightened
I'm frightened

Proteus: he has stopped and is looking around thoughtfully
I think
we are back
where we started

Pisea: Also looking around to see if he is right, slowly
extended - a little fearfully
Ah -
suddenly very fast, very scared
eyes,
eyes,
eyes,
eyes,
eyes,
there are eyes -

Proteus: startled
Where,
where?
he looks around and sees nothing. Slow
There is nothing.
You imagined it.

Pisea: (crestfallen rather than petulant)
No I didn't.
What will we do?

during the following they both sit down (as indicated in the text). The effect should be very lonely, with a sense of half-dark vastness - this is the first time we have seen the stage bare (apparently - the animals are there!) except for two sitting figures (as opposed to the powerful presence of the solo Wizard).

Proteus: I have to think -
Let's sit down here -

they sit

Pisea: Oh Proteus
I'm frightened -

Proteus: putting his arm around her
Don't be scared -
nothing will happen.
We'll soon find out
Why we are here.

Pisea: This is a dark and frightening world
Full of strange noises
Proteus and Pisea: I do not know why we are here
or where we are now.
I've never seen a sky like this before
it will not guide us
We seem to be alone in this strange land
Without Mirelda

Pisea: I want to be among the things I know
that do not scare me
Proteus: I have to think of what is best to do
and where to go to

Protea and Proteus: I've never seen the kind of creatures here
They're -

Scene 17   back to the top of the page
They are stopped by the start of a new animals noise, repeated through the following and getting louder until indicated. It should be a deep or low elemental noise, like an Ah.
Animals: ah ah ah ah
ah ah ah ah
ah ah ah ah
(repeated as needed until indicated)

From now on there should be a return to the element of the comic, of Shakespeare's mechanics, in Proteus and Protea. Alone, they have showed us their internal side - back again with company they revert to their outward manner

Pisea: (turning around fast, looking around, agitated
What was that?

Proteus: making sure during the following that he is always behind Protea. Scared.
I don't know
I heard it too!

Pisea: Proteus,
there are eyes,
I tell you,
there are eyes!

The animals start to come slowly and very deliberately out of hiding to form a big arc around Proteus and Pisea, the wings of the arc coming right down to the front of the stage

Proteus: I can see them
I can see them
too
aaaa (wail)

They start revolving around looking for a way out

Pisea: I don't like this
Please can we go - ?

Proteus: sobbing a little, hence the repetition of 'you', like a little stutter
You, you, you
you go, go go,
go ahead -
I'll follow behind you -

Pisea: They're getting closer
What shall we do?

Proteus: Start start moving
Slowly
Slowly
That way -

Pisea: They're already there!

Proteus: Then, then, then,
then
that way? -

Pisea:` They're already there

Proteus: Then, then, then
that way -
too, too, too
it's too
late!

Scene 18   back to the top of the page
The animals have now formed the full arc, making escape impossible. Proteus and Pisea have, of course, not succeeded in moving from where they were in the first place, so they are in the centre of the arc.

Accompaniment to Proteus and Pisea stops. The animals stop their sound. Silence

There is a short pause.

Animals: (spoken, deep, like a whisper, ominous, very rigidly together. They are absolutely still)
Humans!

Absolute silence for a moment. Drums start.

Leader of the Wolves: (slow, menacing)
What shall we do with them?

Animals: (low, menacing)
Give them to the wind and blow them off the cliff!

Animals: The animals start a wind noise. This continues until indicated.
Stage note: This is easy to do, great fun, very effective, and the children really enjoy it. It is suggested that experiments are made with different wind noises made with the voice, such as woosh and shsssh, until one or more are found that you want to use. It is also suggested that you try sending the wind around the arc, with more and more animals joining in one by one and dropping out one by one. There are lots of possibilities.
It is further suggested that you try these out, settle on what you want to do, and then time it, making sure it is longer that the Proteus/Pisea exchange below. Having done that, insert the Proteus/Pisea singing section when you want it in the overall wind noise, and then you will have the timings and organization for this little section. It's less difficult than it sounds!


Pisea: Proteus, Proteus -

Proteus: I don't think they like us -

Pisea: You've got to do something -

Proteus: What can I do?
O, O, do you see that one
big, mean and ugly -
O, O -

Pisea: Don't just stand there
Do something
Do something -

Proteus: Why don't you?

Pisea: (thrusting Proteus forward)
Go, go, go -

Proteus: (who has half-stumbled on being pushed forward, now standing up straight and pulling himself together, taking a step forward. Strong)
Now look -
suddenly deflated, turning around to look at Pisea

Pisea: Go, go, go -

Proteus: (taking another step forward, addressing the animals)
Nice, dear, kind, generous
animals -

A wolf: howls long and very loud and very obviously

Proteus: (rushing back to hide behind Pisea)
Aee, aee, aee, aee -

The Snake comes out from the arc and addresses the animals. As soon as he/she does, the wind noise stops.

Snake: Sssstop! Ssstop!
Think what you are doing.
We should wait for the Raven.

Animals: Too late! Too late!
Light the fires, burn them in oil!

Snake: No!

Animals: Sssssss!

The animals start fire noises - snapping their fingers and using vocal sounds deemed necessary. See Stage Note above. Note this is considerably shorter.
As they start the fire noise, they start moving very slowly in on Proteus and Pisea - they shouldn't have got too far by the time the passage ends.

Proteus: I think they're coming for us -

Pisea: There is nothing we can do!
It was nice knowing you, Proteus -

Pisea: And you, Pisea -
Ahhhh -

Scene 19   back to the top of the page
Suddenly at that moment the Raven appears, with Mirelda and the Leader of the Big Cats.

Raven: Cease!

The animals fall back. Mirelda runs to Proteus and Pisea, followed by the Leader of the Big Cats

Mirelda: Are you hurt?
Are you harmed?

Pisea: Where have you been?

Proteus:(cowering away from the Leader of the Big Cats)
Stay away, stay away -

Mirelda: He won't hurt you!

Leader of the Big Cats:
Come.
Give me your paw.
Weird though it is.
I'll help you up.

Proteus: Well -
He looks at Mirelda, who nods
If -

He very very slowly stretches out his hand to the Leader of the Big Cats, who takes it and helps him up.

Raven: Looking around at the animals.
I see that I returned
just in time
before you harmed the humans.

Was it for this we found our island?
Was it for this we forged our country?
Was it for this we love this land?
Was it for this we formed our fellowship,
faced our dangers,
shared our joys?

That, when something strange, something new
something we do not understand
appears here among our company
all we can do
is try to cast them out?

So - the humans are strange
So - the humans are different -

Animal: (calling out, one or more together as suitable)
The humans are ugly!

Raven: So - the humans look ugly -
except to themselves.
And so - the humans may think
in unusual ways.
But were not we all
at one time
strangers to each other?
Were we not once distrustful of one another
until we found that
each has our own qualities?

I too am to blame.
I was hasty.
If it had not been
for this child here
I might not have
realized the human's worth
or had the courage
to survive.

(to Proteus)
And you -
you will have to learn
what hinders
and what harms.

Leader of the Big Cats:
I will show you
if you would like,
and around the isle.

Proteus: Why, yes,
I think so -
I think
I would like that -
As the following starts, a couple of animals very hesitantly come up to Pisea, who is equally hesitant back, but they establish a rapport.

Raven: The mountains that inspire us -
as they are ours, so are they yours.
Cherish them.
The rivers that bring us water -
as they are ours, so are they yours.
Guard them well.
The woods that shelter us -
as they are ours, so are they yours.
Honour them.
The plains that feed us -
as they are ours, so are they yours -
Have care for them..

Scene 20   back to the top of the page
The Wizard appears. The animals shrink back, except those around Proteus and Pisea, who huddle together.

Wizard: Fine words, brother.
A stirring speech.
Well worthy of you.

Leader of the Big Cats: (spoken, to Proteus)
Don’t trust him

He says one thing
and he means another.

Wizard: So, what do we have here?
Brotherhood and fellowship,
The island welcomes the humans -
(to Proteus)
You don’t believe them,
do you?

Proteus: Well, I -

Wizard: No, of course you didn’t.
(with passion)
Silvered words from a quicksilver tongue.
But when the words are ended and the day is done,
And then they turn on you,
Where will you run,
Indeed,
Where will you run?
No, my boy,
don’t you believe
their honeyed words,
their kindliness,
their promises.
Instead,
look.
(slow, noble)
Look at the mountains, high over there -
They will be yours.
Look at the forests, dark with timber -
They will be yours.
Look at the grasslands, running with the wind -
They will be yours.
Look at the rivers, gliding through the plain -
They will be yours.
Yours.
Not theirs.
Yours to command.
Yours to control.
You the master
they the servants.
The island is yours.
I can teach you how.
Why do you think
I brought you here,
if it was not
to learn from me?
All you need to do
Is agree,
and we will begin.
 
(pause)
Well?

Proteus:
I don’t know -

(looks at Mirelda)

Mirelda:
The island is wonderful as it is -


Proteus:
Maybe -

(looks at the Wizard)

Wizard: Think how much more splendid
You could make it -
But you must make up your own mind.
Which is it to be?
Here, with these creatures -
A miserable existence,
if they don’t eat you first -
Or out there,
striding the island,
Your island,
our island
and the power
to command -

Proteus:
If what you say is true -


(looks at Pisea)


Pisea:
I don’t know -


Proteus:
(to the Leader of the Big Cats)

What do you think?
 
Leader of the Big Cats:

What I think
does not matter.
It is your choice.
One way lies harmony.
The other way lies power.
To be noble is to be wise.
Follow your heart.

Proteus:
Yes -

Follow your heart -
(looks at Mirelda. Looks at Pisea)
Hmmm -
(looks at the animals)
Funny looking creatures.
Probably not boring.
Heart -
Yes -
(makes up his mind)
Well.
I’ve made up my mind.
Everyone looks at him expectantly.

Singing - to the Wizard

You can go now.
We don’t need you anymore.
 
Sung from now on except Wizard

Wizard:
(roaring)
What!
You spurn my offer?
 
Proteus:
(standing up to him. Singing)
I said you can go now.
You’re not needed.
Be
off with you -
 
Leader of the Big Cats:

You heard what he said -
 
Wizard:
(roaring)
I - - -
 
He lifts his staff, lets it fall. He glowers at Proteus, then looks long and hard around at the animals, then fast and furious turns on his heel and storms out.

Scene 21   back to the top of the page

Raven:
(laughing)
Well, well, brother human,
that was a worthy answer.
The Wizard only has power
when he is feared.
And you told him
you didn’t need him -
What a reply!
There is more to you humans
than meets the eye.
 
Turning to the animals
 
The blue sky is bright again
The evening not far away
The shadow of strife has lifted
The island is waiting for us to honour the day
The island is waiting for us to honour the day.
 
Solo animals, Mirelda, Proteus, Pisea:

The blue sky is bright again
The evening not far away
The shadow of strife has lifted
The island is waiting for us to honour the day
The island is waiting for us to honour the day.

Raven:
Rich and marvellous is our isle

Vast and lovely are its lands
This is our home
Here there is a place, a place for all
The humans have chosen, and chosen well.
Welcome them to our island, welcome them as our friends
 
Animals: (antiphonal or overlapping, building to the climax)
Rich and marvellous
    Rich and marvellous
Vast and lovely
    Vast and lovely
Is our island
    Is our island
Let us welcome
    let us welcome
The humans to their home
    The humans to their home

All:
The humans to their home
The humans to their home

(great climax)
Wonderful, wonderful

Wonderful is our land
here there is plenty
here there is peace
here there is fellowship
here are your friends.
Wonderful, wonderful,
wonderful is our isle.
Wonderful, wonderful
Wonderful is our island, our home.
Welcome!
Welcome!
Welcome to your/our home!

Scene 22   back to the top of the page

Raven:
The long day’s course is almost run.

Evening comes, and night is calling
To bring us gentle rest.
Let us remember this day, when we all almost failed
ourselves, and these,
our fellow creatures,
and now leave it
far behind us.
 
Leader of the Wolves:

The day is almost ended.
The night comes.
What sort of night?
We have forgotten
The Wizard.

Animals: What about the Wizard?
He is gone.

The human sent him away.
 
Leader of the Wolves:

Do you think
The Wizard
will thank us
for that?

Pisea: (to Proteus) What does he(/she) mean?

Proteus: I don’t know.
 
It starts to get quite dark


Leader of the Wolves:

The night comes,
and with it the darkness.
Will the stars come out?
Will the moon appear?
Will there be
another day?

Animals: He’s (/she’s) right.
It’s getting dark.

The Wizard will be angry.
What will happen?
 
Raven:
(trying to stop their agitation)
Wait!

Animals: There aren’t any stars
There isn’t any moon

It’s getting blacker
It’s getting darker.

Raven:
Wait!


Animals:
Now look what’s happened.

Now the Wizard’s angry.
Why did we listen?
Look what you have done!

Raven:
Wait!


Animals: The Wizard isn’t finished.
We knew he was stronger.
The night is getting darker.
The night is getting blacker.
There aren’t any stars
There isn’t any moon.
There won’t be any daylight
There won’t be any sunshine
They’ve made the Wizard angry
The humans have to go -

Raven:
Wait!

 
(by now almost complete darkness)

Animals: Why did we listen?
They’ve made the Wizard angry
(to Raven) Why did we trust you
You’ve made the Wizard angry
What is going to happen
The night is getting blacker
Why did we listen?
The humans have to go!
The humans have to go!
The humans have to go!
The humans have to go!
The humans have to go! (repeat)

Snake:
(will probably need some reinforcement from humans)
Sssssshhhhhhh!

Animals:
The humans have to go! (etc.)

 
Snake:
(will probably need some reinforcement from humans)
Sssssshhhhhhh!

Birds:
Look!!!!

 
Instant silence from the chorus. All look. electronic sound, as at start of opera. The Wizard is seen, rear centre stage.


Scene 23   back to the top of the page 


A single shaft of dim light illuminates the Wizard. He raises his staff, which glows
.

Wizard:
Great orb of the earth

Turn!
Mighty engines of the dark
Stoke the fires of the night.
Ignite the stars
 
The backdrop of stars on the rear wall slowly light up.

Let them burnish
darkened sky.
 
The stars reach their full brightness


Gentle moon
That rules the fortunes of the night
Show your light.
Shine bright
Across the turning world!
 
A thin sliver of a crescent moon hangs above the stage.

 
The Wizard turns to the animals (and the audience)

Go in peace, gentle creatures,
Take your rest
In gentle sleep.
May your slumbers be untroubled
until the dawning of the day.
For if this play
has not turned out
as I expected,
yet,
there are humans on this isle,
not quite as I intended, but
still,
humans on this isle.
My part is ended. And
until
I next need to bring you
something new,
I, too,
the Wizard,
can be magnanimous.

Wizard exits


Animals:

The long day's course is run
The sun is falling in the midnight sea
Evening closes, night is calling
The troubles of the day are done.

Soft sleep will slumber soon,
The moon embraces all the starlit sky.
The isle is quiet now, no more traces
Of the stranger noises of the day.

The troubles of the day are done
The morning of the morrow rolls around.
Banished anger, banished sorrow,
Sleep until the dawning of the dawn.

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