Act One

 

Lawrence Fane’s Studio

 

Lawrence Fane

Mephistopheles Smith

 

 

Lawrence Fane 

 

mit Zeigeist, ohne Zeitgeist, mit Geduld,

ohne Geduld, mit Nachträglichkeit, ohne 

Nachträglichkeit, mit …  mit …  mit … 

Unheimlichkeit, und ohne Unheimlichkeit, 

mit Geduld, ohne Geduld; Geduld im Kreuz

ist die beste Arznei. And my Geduld is wearing 

out. I’ve beaten out the words who knows how 

many times, on crucial issues conferred with 

the weird sisters, did all the prescribed hocus 

pocus and I see no Taccola spriting up from 

my circle of chalk. 

 

[BRIEF PAUSE]

             

                               O.K. I will see it through, 

one more  time: mit Zeitgeist, ohne Zeitgeist, 

mit Geduld, ohne Geduld, mit Nachträglichkeit, 

ohne Nachträglichkeit, mit Unheimlichkeit,

ohne Unheimlichkeit … mit Zeitgeist, ohne 

Zeitgeist, mit Geduld, ohne Geduld, oh meine 

Gott, will these ejaculations ever conjure up

anyone? Will Signor Taccola, my feverish

obsession, my mischievous brother of old,    

ever pierce through the ground encircled

by this ivory pale? He must, he must show, 

for the sake of my relentless devotion, for 

the burning questions his alluring machines 

have planted in my soul: Mit Herrschaft, 

ohne Herrschaft, 

mit Knechtschaft

ohne Knechtschaft, 

mit Narrheit, 

ohne Narrheit, 

mit Bedeutung, ohne Bedeutung, 

mit Aufhebung …  

                      nothing, nothing, Alas! 

In this prison must I stick? This hollow darkened 

hole of brick, where even the lovely light of heaven                                                    

shines dimly through the stained glass. And the wolfs 

are howling, the moon is livid, streetcars are no longer 

named desire … and nothing yet, just a handful of 

flies, just a handful of lies, while my thirst grows

deeper for my own kind of Aufhebung, a leap beyond 

the jam of consequential logic, beyond the wish 

to let imperscrutable objects burgeon out of the twists

and turns of an unfathomable making … to do as 

nature does … ohne Title, ohne Narrheit …

 

I am, you see, an object maker, the creator

of unyielding machines, de-functional devices 

assembled without screws (well, you don’t 

see them). Merely banking on tension and 

compression, I claim for my inventions 

the same right to exist of a gust of wind, 

or an exciting scent in the air, One day. 

I came across Messer Taccola’s Books 

of drawings: such contraptions, such 

awkward engines, such unstable ferries, 

pontoons no water would ever bear to keep 

afloat, and pipes and sieves, oh yes so many 

pipes and sieves, that could neither carry 

nor filter water. I was doomed: I had found

my ancestor, my etymology, my hidden root. 

I must bring him back, hear from his lips

what secret powers make his work so real

and yet so uncanny.

.                     

Alas, dawn is here. 

I will attempt the rite anew, and in a softer 

tone: Mit Götterauspruck, ohne Götterauspruck, 

mit blumenwort und ohne Blumewort, mit 

Händerdruck, and, of course, ohne Händerdruck, 

mit Gretchen, mit Marlene, mit Sigliende … 

Oh, … meine Gott … something is stirring 

 

 

MEPHISTOPHELES SMITH APPEARS

 

 

Mephistopheles 

Che vuoi?

 

LF. 

He doesn’t look one bit like what I thought he would

 

M. 

Pray, sir, who is the subject of your curiosity?

 

LF. 

Taccola, of course

 

M. 

Taccola who?

 

LF. 

There is only one Taccola.

 

M. 

The architect? The Renaissance hydraulic engineer?

 

LF. 

Precisely. Do you know him? Have you met him?

Unknown Track - Unknown Artist
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