The Ohio Theatre: local theatre legend has announced that he will have his last production tonight, one time only. He has set up his production for a single showing. Fellow who has got a great deal of renown and toured internationally. Not known by given name, but by the name that he feels fits him: Prospero. He has announced that final show will be his swan-song, his attempt to go out on top.
Summer Court: Ashlynn and Jo.
We have been called to show up at Café Kerouak. Short guy in casual vest. Not sure where summons came from. Go to upstairs which is neutral, accorded territory. Some minor practitioners in back of room. Pappy is at bar in human form. Nobody else is present yet. As we look around, feel a warm breeze from the entrance. See an amazingly beautiful young woman with green hair, flowing in silken waves to middle of the back. Recognise as Lily. Gesture at nearby table and have a seat. Jo stands, but I sit. I smile back at her, because I have a total crush at her. Asks for her favour. Production in town. Person calling in a certain debt from summer court. Sylph by name of Ariel, who died this morning. Stage light fell on her, but unlikely. Going to give artifact for services; gone for 300 years. Ashlynn will take part of Ariel. Certain person of certain level of power associated with summer court. Jo – another accident, left assistant director out of commission. Normally have a series of responsibilities, but Prospero is very much a control freak. Prospero is planning something big. Contract with theatre outlining roles and indicating dress rehearsal is later tonight.
Anthropology Office. Danielle and the Professor finishing up meeting where presenting rough draft of prospectus, and not going very well. As beginning to despair, encourages her by offering entertainment tonight. Says that needs more to do! Nephew has family engagement, and wants her to cover his back. Frank comes into office. Introduces to Danielle. Says that calls for similar purpose: parents had to pick up fresh corpse at Ohio Theatre. Given some specific, under-the-table instructions about how to care for corpse; body of fairy origin. Prospero: one-time show; friend of Professor. Cracks beginning to show, nothing on which he can put finger. Nothing he could pick out. He’s become more and more rash over the years. Rashness: quality that stands out for wizards; make their profession on being calm and prepared for problems. Reports of crazy accidents happening. Uncommon experiences, dark magic. Prospero says that he has something prepared for it. Worried that it might be a result of what Prospero is doing. Given a few passes to dress rehearsal and single performance. Passing on passes to them. Worst case scenario: mortician at hand! Frank reassures that quite the gentleman. Danielle has to grade undergrad essays for Saturday night.
Richard’s Shitty Apartment
Rotary, landline phone rings. Richard picks up phone. Hears message: “The sea is misty and salty.” Richard hangs up on them. Phone starts ringing again. Damnit, warden, don’t you have the pass-phrase book? Answer: I collect sea shells by the sea shore. Expired password. At war, so vital keep security measures close at hand. Recognise voice of Warden Lucio, commander of wardens. Got report of something coming up in town. Performance by Prospero. Prospero is White Council, with some pull in it. Word that he is performing some sort of extended ritual. Question marks around him. Need to keep eye to make sure that does not flaut seven years. Tickets at Will Call: invited to dress rehearsal as well as performance.
Gwen – friend of the shop has given you tickets, and has told you something on the downlow. She said that you’ll really like it, because he’s secretive about it . . . but Tempest based on foul copy, copy that thought to be lost forever. Sounds intriguing.
Archie – acquired special passes. Some rich trainers who are crooked are going to the event, and finagle way into dress rehearsal.
Gwen: researching foul copy. Copy supposedly found in 17th century, but shortly afterwards disappeared. Large scholarly debate about whether they existed, or whether it was a false boast. Furthermore, stumble onto rumours about foul papers being tied to arcane things; scholars believe that misinterpretations of obvious references to classical and fairytale elements.
Ashlynn: rehearses in dressing room. Done average. Got some of the lines down, but reading at end of lines rather than sentences.
Frank: make sure that tux is clean and pressed.
Archie: going to rent tux. Blue with ruffles.
Richard: prepares dagger and veil.
Danielle: grades papers.
Ashlynn and Jo: shared by the chorus. Comprises three members: Ceres, Io and Juno. Recognise them as women who have shown up at Café Kerouac. In the know. Probably minor practitioners. Bitchiness breaks out. Earrings are removed. Jo breaks it up.
Hear, loud roaring voice. Jo, where is that Jo? I say, girl, come here. Such a young, beautiful woman. You must be my assistant director. You must help us make magic. The magic of theatre. Prospero requires soy latte. Ashlynn asks for green tea, but is rejected!
Arrivals: Frank picks up Danielle from graduate hovel in ‘cuda. No idea that Weresasquatch. Assume that totally, totally normal. Giving to valet to park, and offering $50. Valet will totes take care of it. He is sincere too. Jerks off into the distance, because not used to stick.
Danielle: wearing interview suit.
Archie is hoofin’ it. Walking down High St. Good will tux and wearing black slip-on shoes. Threadbare and food stains and doesn’t fit well. Stroll up to front of theatre, present ticket to Will Call. Woman reads over ticket thoroughly, reads over, and allows in . . . with a sigh.
Gwen: driving self in old 50’s-60’s car; parks in cheap garage; wearing classy black dress and jewelry, and carrying book in purse. Gets in without conspicuous glances.
Richard: walk from cheap apartment; wearing decent business suit; pops veil over him, becomes non-descript and unnoticeable dude; won’t pay attention. Present ticket at counter and waved through without consideration. Notice a faint bit of power at doorway.
Richard opens his Sight. See a jumbling of things. A faint, blue-ish energy developing around place where threshold would be. Almost an attempt to look like threshold, like a fake wall. See ghost images of happy people after plays; see weeping of walls from tragedy; see door knobs laughing with comedy; see walls speaking out performances. On top of it all, shakiness, as if heavy step in background.
All stroll into house, and dress rehearsal is underway. Nearing a concluding scene. Two people on stage: older man in robes; cries out: “now my charms . . . .” Turns and looks at young, red-headed girl about 17 in fairy-like costume. Asks where prompter is. Prospero gives lecture about heart and not mind.
Prospero reveals wizardry. Decided that hullabaloo that marks our career. Last huzzah in theatre, swansong before fall into pits of mediocrity. Grant friends in community a boon. Too long theatre has been place of transience. Not transients, but transience. Too many have fallen victim to supernatural events that have plagued city, Ariel and director fallen victim. Theatre: will become place of safety. SHOW MUST GO ON.
People in audience: werepeople in audience. People who are clued in. Dress rehearsal audience seems clued in.
Frank makes beeline for Prospero. Family did quite the service; sad, sad thing, but handled so well. Ask what is planning. That is a surprise. Strokes ego. Problem with those in theatre community – not protected by such thing as threshold. Constant movement – theatre: beacon, protecting threshold. Accomplishing: will take great deal of power, but has tricks up sleeve. No-one will come to harm ever again.
Caliban: overly muscled guy; flesh mottled green.
Chorus of Greek women.
Woman playing Miranda whose name is Miranda.
Gwen: noting differences between performed text and printed text.
Ashlynn: pops open door to dressing room with hairpin. Look around room: mirrors, make-up, wigs, screen to change behind, bed set up in dressing room (large four-poster bed – expensive satin sheets): eww, casting couch, notice there is a briefcase on hand. Only one lock is latched. Pop open and discover two leather bound books inside them. One is a copy of the Tempest, the other feels comfortable to hold. As start flipping through them, see weird names like Cobweb and
Coming around corner is Prospero. Jo says problem on stage. Understand quibbles, jitters. Can see have a great deal of potential, and puts arm up on wall. Jo inches hand to sword. Jo: “Oh, look, a person!” Gwen: Prospero, you’ve been using an interesting foul copy text. Prospero: Denies; saying that follows scholarship.
Ashlynn sneaks out and says: I was so inspired by your words earlier, Prospero.
Ashlynn gets all flirty and weird, looks up at him through lowered lashes and compliments him. Jo is horrified.
Archie and Frank catch up at bar. Danielle jumps in and reminds about Gwen; Archie has no idea who that is. Backstory: Meg/Danielle.
Richard investigates, arcane symbols in doorway. Cannot interpret them. Rituals can have a near infinite amount of possibilities. Positioning of rocks on stage: laid out as if arcane circle. Richard is detecting some things he does not like.
Main house doors slam open and harsh breeze blows in. Down the center aisle comes a figure dressed in a smart business suit and wearing a grey cloak. This is a Warden, who is not Richard. Calls out for Prospero.
Asks Ashlynn where he is. Communing with Muses in room. Warden asks for directions there. Ashlynn claims not to know, but Jo assists him.
Can hear heated words, and Warden storms back out. Goes, takes seat in middle of house, watches everything. Richard is trying to make way to him, and sits next to him. Looks over, considers, identifies Veil. Richard snaps fingers and drops veil. Richard gives him information. Warden says that they know he was doing something. Breaking of Rule #1. Warden is here looking for books – vault in Dublin (two texts w/ unID’d power) – Shakespearean plays. Something at hand, but can’t act until see evidence.
White Court is neutral, but meant to be sided with Red Court. Long-term war. White Court vampires: masters of emotional manipulation; view as untrustworthy outright.
Archie is going to head over and go: “Rich!” “Hey, what are you doing here?” “Play, chasing vamp types.” “Taking in scenery.” Warden: “Business.” “Doing what wardens do.” “Looking for people playing dirty pool at racetrack.” “Out of jurisdiction.” Warden: “Deal with other things. NB things.” “What are you doing?” “NB things.” Archie: “Don’t have such a long face.” “Making sure bystanders not squashed by magic.” “Little old me won’t be squashed by things.”
Jo: have to deal with Gwen. Gwen: “Very curious production. Where text from?” Ashlynn: “Prospero a genius. Came up with it himself out of his own genius.” Jo tries to demur, but Gwen is persistent.
Very angry, strikingly beautiful brunette woman comes up to Jo. Where is my Perrier? Female lead; Prospero’s daughter. Jo: What is Perrier? Prospero’s daughter throws a tantrum.
Ashlynn: asks Gwen about Peasebottom, Cobweb and Mustardseed. Finds out that Midsummer’s Night Dream. Lies about being in off-off-Broadway Play in New York. I’m very in demand.
Danielle: gets box of cold cuts from buffet.
Grip appears. Ten minutes until play.
Richard: moves central column to right in order to disrupt ritual. Cast force spell.
Archie: trying to sneak backstage. Start to sneak, and grip notices: “Hey, hey, no audience back stage.” Archie lies about being member of ca . . . crew. Dubious, because of blue tuxedo and black shoes. Archie: didn’t get memo on costume change. Recognise a few owners of horses from track. Going to sit as close to them as possible and eavesdrop.
All have remarkably good seats. Frank and Danielle in fifth row. Danielle feels an inexplicable depression.
Gwen: Front row balcony. Lore: set up like ritual, can feel energy beginning to build.
Richard: back row of ground floor.
Archie: in nose-bleeds. :(
Lights go down. Jo in wings, with clipboard and headset. Ashlynn in position in costume, applying more glitter.
Gwen: comparison. Differences: lines changed are Prospero’s towards end, where talking about giving up of power. Seem more specific. Sound more structured and rhythmic.
Performance goes well. No intermission, no abridgement. Four hour play.
As show progresses, tension in air, as energy builds. See a person pull out phone to check time, so they fizzle out and die. People getting nervous and acting odd. Person gets up, tries to open door, and finds that don’t open. Prospero becomes focussed, moves become more rhythmic and pronounced.
But this rough magic
I here abjure, and, when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for, I’ll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I’ll drown my book.
Breaks staff over knee, and energy seems to burst out of it. Wardens notice that not special effects, but power going crazy. Reminds very much of death curse. Warden cries out and starts running towards front. Richard jumps up and runs with knife out. Archie is going to jump up and charge towards stage, transforming into horse in the air. Not just Prospero; out of book comes a humanoid form. Looks like an old and deformed woman with pustules on face, overextended nose, wearing rags. Jo pulls sword on side. She cries out: “Free at last, Sycorax will take back her island and her power.”
Initial action as charging: Sycorax gestures, and several people on stage and in wings. Act strangely: Greek chorus > jerks up and begins walking to her. Caliban > falls to ground and shakes head. Miranda > looks confused.
Archie: jump off balcony and change into horse. Shift zones. Transform in mid-air and do it in a way that does not hurt legs and positioned in stage. Audience is confused. Wearing shreds of blue tuxedo. OMG, it’s a post-modern device.
Jo: Rush across and push Ashlynn back. Successful. On hands: slimy residue. Temporary aspect of stumbled.
Frank: Run up to stage and ask what she wants. Sycorax remarks that she wants her power back and her freedom and revenge on every human left on earth. Aspect: monologuing.
Danielle: run towards the back of house so that can shift and force doors open. Break the wall in 10×10 square around the door. Shout out FIRE. Some people start to leave, but others are transfixed.
Ashlynn: runs out and goes backstage to Prospero’s dressing room.
Richard: senses intense, antagonistic power. Metzer running forward. Imbues knife with spirit, and runs onto stage. Aspect: spirit knife.
Gwen: attacks book with fire. At first seemed like going to lose it, but controlled and burned book. Sycorax cries out and seems to fade.
Caliban: stands up and starts striding towards Jo. Tries to tackle, but does not quite take her down. Has arms around waist, and head under solar plexus, but she manages to sprawl.
Metzer: pulls out tiny crystal orb and points at Prospero, and sends rush of water against him. Launches a huge amount of pressure, but Prospero manages to keep going.
Sycorax: starting to fade, but looks around desperately. Sees Miranda and fingers elongate, and she passes into Miranda’s body through ear-hole.
Archie: Hit Prospero with his hooves. Want to knock him unconscious. Hit him and he takes two physical stress.
Jo: Caliban feels fae. He is Wildfae. Drop elbow to top of his head. Knock him off enough to break his grip.
Frank: Goes over to Prospero, and begins to make very depressed. Drain will to keep on chanting. Prospero is out, but ritual is continuing.
Danielle: Heads to stage; flip switches so lights are off on stage and on at back of house.
Ashlynn: breaks into Prospero’s dressing room.
Richard inspects circle and realizes culpability. Disrupting it has spoilt Prospero’s control. Options to deal with excess energy.
Gwen: run down from balcony.
Caliban: hit with right cross. Jo manages to dodge.
Metzer: stands over Prospero’s body and draws silver shortsword.
Sycorax: Miranda stands up and wall of force forms around her. 10ft square around her. Looks pretty strong. Recognise it as spirit.
Archie: Gallop towards it, charge into it. Break through the shield; horse-sized hole in it.
Jo: Attacks back. He gains two physical stress. Looks like he’s getting hurt, and he’s shaking his head.
Frank: Ask why Metzer is killing. Warden is resolute – will not second-guess decisions. Now is perfect time to execute him. Metzer pauses and seems to consider.
Prospero: starts to wake up a little; asks to finish ritual; says more will be hurt if he does not.
Ashlynn: retrieves briefcase with book in it; climbs out of window which mysteriously is there. Prospero is a fan of natural light. Plans to contact Summer Court immediately.
Richard: Lot of energy. Equivalent of death curse of powerful wizard. Going to use thaumaturgy to ground energy.
Gwen: Ask Prospero. Becoming more and more violent, so have to give up power to keep people and theatre safe. Turn back on power forever, and will die soon. Sycorax: didn’t know that she was trapped within it. Can draw back within, redirect power and use it to strike against her. Points at moved pillar – move back into alignment. Energy has become a hum.
Caliban: Stops. Going to try and break free of control. But fails.
Sycorax: looks around her, sees potential foes all around her. Turns around and attempts to open door to NeverNever.
Metzer: pausing and looking at Prospero.
Archie: Sees NeverNever door open. Like a curtain has been drawn back in the air, and resultant portal leads out to dark, scary woods. Remind of Silver Horseshoe, and make sure that don’t freak out as horse. Manages to control self, but very disturbed. Rear and kick out at Miranda. Club her in the head, and she is taken out. Can see spirit trying to seep out again.
Jo: Hurting Caliban. One stress left.
Frank: Warden’s blade is down. Help Prospero stand. Last and most NB performance. Prospero takes moment to concentrate and begins to do end of ritual. Helping Hand. Recites the end of the epilogue. Calls out final lines of Tempest. With that, takes ruby from around neck and crushes it with hand. Power lashes out and latches around Sycorax, pulling her back into shard of amulet. Prospero coughes, looks down at shard, and then falls over dead. “I did it for the theatre.”