How we think the fight will go
SCENE ONE: Desert Island
On the sandy shore of a small island stands a group of people. As you get closer, one starts to notice the group is made up of four females and something shaped like a human male. Standing by the fire is a crying young girl. The girl is known as MIRANDA. She has her arms wrapped around a young beautiful woman dressed all in black. She seems to be consoling the crying MIRANDA. Nearby, sitting slightly to the right are two older women. They too are dressed in black. One is middle-aged with sad eyes but has a serene look on her face. The other, an OLD CRONE, is sitting with her back to the sea and searching the wooded area at the edge of the beach. The OLD CRONE is dressed in a black aba with a hood drawn over her forehead. Her sunken cheeks, an overlong nose, skin mottled, and with protruding veins are gruesome in the glare of the sun. By her feet is a trembling human-shaped male named CALIBAN. He is lying face down in the dirt, whimpering.
Entering the scene is an old man dressed in long, dark, green robe, with a staff at his side. He surveys the scene in front of him. The wind starts to whip around the beach and the skies darken. CALIBAN’s whimpering intensifies.
What is havoc had been wrought here?
What persons come to my isle without my leave?
Miranda, so stop your noise and come hither.
(Miranda continues to cry in the young women’s arms, seemly unwilling to obey her father. The old crone’s head tilts and her eyes glow with knowing.)
(Now speaks in low, soothing voice.)
Miranda, no harm will come to thee.
I have done nothing but in care of thee,
Of thee, my dear one — thee my daughter, who
Art ignorant of what thou art, naught knowing
Of whence I am, nor that I am more better
Than Prospero, And thy no greater father.
(The tears slowly come to a stop and she turns to look at him.)
Oh, woe this day! This horrible, horrible day!
Caliban is an evil one, father. I don’t like him.
Again say I, what havoc has been wrought?
Good and kind Sir,
thy daughter’s gift was almost ripped away by this slave,
who tried to take what he had not earned.
But pray, lay thy fears to rest,
her virgin-knot still holds true.
(He begins to shake and becomes red in the face. He looks from the girl and women down to CALIBAN. He picks up his staff as if calling on his power.)
Thou most lying slave,
Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have used thee,
Filth as thou art, with human care, and lodged thee
In mine own cell. And thou seek to violate
The honor of my child!
Thy forget the spirits that I command.
I’ll wrack thee with old cramps,
Fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar
That beasts shall tremble at thy din.
For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps,
Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up. Urchins
Shall, forth at vast of night that they may work,
All exercise on thee. Thou shalt be pinched
As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging
Than bees that made ‘em.
(CALIBAN starts to squirm around on the ground as if he is in pain.)
Enough of thee crying foul. Thy daughter is here
Alone with you on this forgotten isle.
What will you do stop this madness
From happening again. Tie him to a tree
Bind him with rope. Kill him
With poisoned dew?
What of the next man to come here?
I can and will protect what is mine, old woman!
(Her voice shifts to a lower pitch to give it a more hypnotic tone.)
What foul play had brought thy thence?
(PROSPERO stares at the OLD CRONE as if trying to read her face.)
Twelve years since,
I was the Duke of Milan and
A prince of power.
Master, Tis be thy child?
Her mother was a piece of virtue and
She said thou wast my daughter and only heir
And princess no worse issued.
But how Prospero? Tell me, Sir,
Do you come here by choice or the winds of fate?
My brother and her uncle, called Antonio—
(that a brother should be so perfidious!)
—he whom next herself
Of all the world I loved and to him put
The management of my state. The government
I cast upon my brother. Enrapture with my studies
I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated
To closeness and the bettering of my mind.
My trust was, which had indeed no limit,
A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded,
Not only with what my revenue yielded
But what my power might else exact, like one
Who having into truth, by telling of it,
Made such a sinner of his memory
To credit his own lie—he did believe
He was indeed the duke, out o’ th’ substitution
And executing th’ outward face of royalty,
With all prerogative. Hence his ambition growing
He plotted wi’ th’ King of Naples
To give him annual tribute, do him homage,
Subject his coronet to his crown and bend
The King of Naples, being an enemy
To me inveterate, hearkens my brother’s suit,
Which was that he, in lieu o’ th’ premises
Of homage and I know not how much tribute,
Should presently extirpate me and mine
Out of the dukedom, and confer fair Milan
With all the honors on my brother. Whereon,
A treacherous army levied, one midnight
Fated to th’ purpose did Antonio open
The gates of Milan, and, i’ th’ dead of darkness,
The ministers for th’ purpose hurried thence
Me and my crying daughter.
But, did thy come hence?
By providence divine.
(The glassy-eyed PROSPERO closes eyes and falls a sleep.)
Thou art inclined to sleep. ‘Tis a good dullness,
And give it way. I know thou canst not choose.
(Now the glassy-eyed PROSPERO closes his eyes and falls asleep. The OLD CRONE turns and looks now at vacant-eyed MIRANDA in the YOUNG WOMAN’s arms, and then to the squirming CALIBAN on the ground.)
So what do you think? What do you sense?
Our sister, Sycorax, is dead and her seed will not bear the fruit we seek. The girl is curious, willing, and compliant. So she can be useful. Whisk her away? And leave Prospero for dead?
No… I have a better idea. (Hypnotic quality returns to her voice.)
Awake Prospero and heed my words.
Prithee, what havoc has been wrought here?
Caliban is not the only one who has wronged thee
and taken what he should have not
Mark my words, with the patience and power
Thee have the skills to bring all to a close.
But thy plan has a flaw.
Flaw, you say, old woman. Pray tell, what do thee know?
Thy art Duke of Milan and
A Prince of power
The hour grows nigh
When justice will flower
But how will thee protect thy daughter?
For she is a rose not yet bloomed
She needs thorns and roots and charms
To help keep thy mantle from harm.
I can keep my own power. I need not dance behind the skirt of my child.
Knowledge is power, good sir.
Will thy let her in to wander into the world,
where friend, foe and family art all like.
Oh no, Prospero, thy art a great Father
and Milan is place of great power.
Let us take your greatest prize
and teach her what a man cannot
To know of a woman’s pride.
To teach her skills and arts when applied
with tender heart and willful mind
will keep her safe all the hours of her life.
When the time is right and thy power is most high,
we will help get thee justice and thy palace returned.
All for small price, if you so will it.
What devil’s bargain wish thee make, old woman?
Share the isle and thy daughter.
We have been of the world and have a little power
But our power grows with every hour
And every seed that bares fruit and flower.
So Sir, let us stay and we will do your bidding.
We have power enough to make this place tower
For she will be a princess again or even a Queen.
Mark my words and heed my warning. Thy flower
Is near blooming.
(He stares intently at the women and the moaning CALIBAN, then his daughter. She is smiling and looks hopeful.)
Come hither, Miranda. You have enough of a thrill.
I will spend my time pondering thy proposal
But break our peace and I will
Destroy thee with all at my disposal.
(Prospero and Miranda walk off into the wooden area. The women are silent until the footfalls fade.)
Stop moving, you misshapen knave
Your mother was a sister, and one so strong too
Did she not teach the way? The way to endure the pain,feigning death that you might kill the trapper and remove a threat.
Fear is the mind-killer, and pain is its companion.
(CALIBAN continues to moan in pain on the ground.)
Why take this risk? Are they part of the path, Mother?
Will they lead us Kwisatz Haderach?
Maybe. The old man has power and power is always useful. The girl is pretty and moldable. Something stirs the others in me. Time will tell.
(She bends to tend to the fire.)
So we wait and play the obedient witches. Why?
Because survival is the ability to swim in strange water. Also I have planted a seed. His fear and ambition will grow now into a poison flower. Prospero will not settle for a dukedom, he will want a crown. As for his daughter, we will waken the sleeper within and we will be one step closer to him.
Predicted Winner: Bene Gesserit wins… in the long term!
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON Friday, March 15th, 2013, AT 5 PM, EST
Prospero is a character from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest; Bene Gesserit is a character from Dune by Frank Herbert.
Prospero image courtesy of William Hamilton. Bene Gesserit image courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Cage Match fans: We are looking forward to hearing your responses! If possible, please abstain from including potential spoilers about the books in your comments (and if you need spoilers to make your case, start your comments with: “SPOILER ALERT!”