CASSANDRA: Part 10

Posted in Uncategorized on October 25th, 2013 by admin

Here’s another installment of Bryce Duzan’s CASSANDRA play, which we’re serializing this year to help build your appetite for the festival in November. Enjoy!

CASSANDRA

by Bryce Duzan

Act Two

Scene Four

(It is now the mid-1800s, in the lobby of the Ford Theater, the day of Abraham Lincoln’s death. CASSANDRA paces in the lobby. She is dressed for the times, wearing a fine gown. However, she looks tired. Eternally tired.)

CASSANDRA
Why am I here? On another fool’s errand? Trying to stop a future hurtling towards me with impossible speed? Towards this…gods-forsaken world? Why do I keep trying? All I do is fail. It seems insurmountable. Even more aggravating is the fact that every time I try to change the future…I always feel him.

(As she says this, APOLLO enters the theater, dressed in a fine suit.)

APOLLO
Thinking of me, love?

CASSANDRA
Apollo! What are you doing here?

APOLLO
I could ask the same of you! It doesn’t seem like you’re here to take in a night of theater. Though, if you are, I do have a spare ticket…

CASSANDRA
You’re right, I’m not here for the show. I’m here to save the president. He is going to be assassinated after the show.

APOLLO
By one of the actors, yes, a Mr. John Wilkes Booth. And, let me guess, you want to stop him?

CASSANDRA
Of course. President Lincoln’s assassination would send the country into turmoil, so shortly after it has settled into peace.

APOLLO
Let them tear themselves apart! This young country was founded on the wrong ideals anyhow.

CASSANDRA
Wrong ideals? The United States of America was founded on the principles of freedom, justice, liberty-

APOLLO
And in the same breath was built on the back of slavery and oppression!

CASSANDRA
They are young. They will learn.

APOLLO
You are…ever the optimist, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
Perhaps I am. I prefer wide-eyed optimism to harsh pessimism, at least.

(There is a pause.)

APOLLO
So where have you been for so long? I’d lost track of you in the seas of time.

CASSANDRA
That can’t be. I always felt your presence at times like these.

APOLLO
You must have been imagining things. “Times like these?” So you’ve tried to influence time before? After our little Caesar incident, that is.

CASSANDRA
Tried, yes. But rarely succeeded.

APOLLO
Do tell.

CASSANDRA
I don’t have time for this, Apollo.

APOLLO
Nonsense. You’re quite early. Booth won’t be here for some time, and the audience won’t be arriving until long after that.

CASSANDRA
(Sighs.) Fine. Where do I start…I hid myself from the world after Caesar’s death. I was ashamed that I had failed. For a long time I hid and lost myself in thought. When I emerged…the world had changed. The proud Roman people with their gladiators, their stolen gods, and their Senate had gone. In their place were knights clad in iron, monarchs ruling strips of land, and a strict system of honor. I saw an emperor rise to power, uniting the kingdoms. All of this and I stood by and watched. In Rome, the popes rose and fell, one after another, a line of religious leaders. Then, one of them sounded a call for action. He called them the Crusades. It was to be a massacre.

APOLLO
And so you acted?

CASSANDRA
I tried, yes. But my words could not convince the pope, and I feared if I said too much, I would be accused of blasphemy. The tenants of this religion called Christianity were much more strict when it came to…the old ways.

APOLLO
Yes, I’ve noticed.

CASSANDRA
…what is your life like now?

APOLLO
What?

CASSANDRA
Well, at least in Rome, they still knew you, though you were called by a different name.

APOLLO
They still know the name of Apollo here!

CASSANDRA
Hardly. They speak of you like a fairy tale. It’s just a word to them. They do not truly know you like the Greeks did. I’m surprised you haven’t…

APOLLO
Haven’t what?

CASSANDRA
No, nothing, don’t pay me any attention.

APOLLO
Well…it’s true. They do not worship me as the Greeks did. They do not tell my stories like the Romans did. They hardly acknowledge my existence except in some scattered writings. It is…infuriating. I was…I am a god! I deserve respect!

CASSANDRA
So…why do you not make them respect you?

APOLLO
I…I will. (For a moment, his composure is gone. He is lost. Then, it’s back, and he is all charm again.) But anyhow, this isn’t about me, is it? It’s about you. Please continue.

CASSANDRA
Alright…the next event I met a French girl named Jeanne. I saw her future, a future where her country was crushed, leading to England becoming too strong and crushing the world in a tyrannical grip. However, I saw that Jeanne was special, and that she could help me change fate.

APOLLO
How was she special?

CASSANDRA
Well, I do not know how, but when I spoke frankly and told her the future…she believed me. Immediately.

APOLLO
What? That isn’t possible!

CASSANDRA
Trust me, I know, Apollo. (Pause.) I told her what I had seen, and she said…she called me an angel sent by God to lead her people to victory. I…was just so happy that someone believed me for once.

APOLLO
So what went wrong?

CASSANDRA
What?

APOLLO
We both know how this story ends, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
She…was too eager. After she won battle after battle, I saw the future change. She would be captured and executed for heresy. Somehow, she knew I was hiding something. She demanded the full story.

APOLLO
Which was?

CASSANDRA
That her death would be a symbol for the French people. That years afterwards she would provide strength to them in times of need. She sacrificed herself, even when I begged her not to. I…let her die.

APOLLO
And what if you had protected her? Then your original vision would have come true! Would you protect one girl in exchange for a country?

CASSANDRA
No, but…I was close to her. I felt like a sister to her. I had…not been that close to someone in a long time.

APOLLO
Cassandra…

CASSANDRA
I am not like you, Apollo. I do not have godhood to keep me busy. I am merely a mortal who cannot age. Why…why make friends when they just die in a matter of time? Why try to get close to someone? All it ends with…is pain. Pain at the loss. By now, I have seen babies born, age, die, and decay to dust. I have seen empires rise and fall. But her death…I was there, Apollo.

APOLLO
I’m sorry, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
You wouldn’t understand, Apollo. You and your kind are much too alien to understand true grief.

APOLLO
I…did not intend to hurt you, Cassandra. I merely meant-

CASSANDRA
To punish me.

APOLLO
No! I was just trying-

CASSANDRA
Do not try to twist your words, Apollo! I know why you have cursed me. Cursed me twice, even. If you wanted to apologize for your actions, you have had plenty of time. I have wandered the world waiting for the end to come, and it still has not.

APOLLO
Is that what you want, Cassandra? The end to come?

CASSANDRA
I do not want to be timeless, Apollo. I do not want to see everyone I meet crumble into dust in front of me. I do not want to see this world crumble and rebuild itself anymore. I…I just can’t.

APOLLO
Then join me and give up this pain at last! You will never feel pain again by my side, I swear it.

CASSANDRA
Never. I would rather rot here and be free than be a slave to you.

APOLLO
You would not be a slave, Cassandra. I would treat you-

CASSANDRA
Hush! He’s coming.

(JOHN WILKES BOOTH enters. He is a proud Southern man. He is dressed well and seems to be in a hurry.)

APOLLO
That is him?

CASSANDRA
Yes. Excuse me, sir, Mr. Booth?

BOOTH
Yes? Can I help you, miss?

CASSANDRA
(Curtsies slightly.) Cassie Sanders, Mr. Booth. I wanted to speak with you before the play.

BOOTH
Well aren’t you a pretty face? (Glances at APOLLO.) This your husband?

CASSANDRA
(Chuckles.) God, no.

BOOTH
Well then, what can I do for you? Need an autograph signed?

CASSANDRA
Not exactly, no.

BOOTH
What is it then?

CASSANDRA
You need to not kill Lincoln today.

BOOTH
…I’m sorry, what?

CASSANDRA
You’re planning on assassinating President Lincoln today at the show. You can’t do it.

BOOTH
I’m sorry, lass, but you’re not making any sense! Why would I kill the president of the United States?

CASSANDRA
You’re an accomplished actor, Mr. Booth, but I know what you will do. You hate President Lincoln, and you think assassinating him is the only way to fix things. I’m here to tell you that you are very wrong.

BOOTH
So what, are you going to arrest me?

CASSANDRA
No, I’m here to simply ask you. Don’t do it.

BOOTH
How do you know I’m going to kill him?

CASSANDRA
I have my ways, Mr. Booth.

BOOTH
Look, why not? He smothered the South, that son of a bitch, he deserves to pay for what he did to my people!

CASSANDRA
John, you don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t know the implications of your actions! If you kill him then the South will suffer even more.

BOOTH
How do you know what will happen to the South?

CASSANDRA
Because…I’ve seen it.

BOOTH
…right. And I’m the queen of England. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a show to perform.

CASSANDRA
Mr. Booth, please see reason! (He turns to leave.) They’ll catch you within the month. (He stops.) In that month, you will despair as you learn that the entire country, North and South, mourns. It will happen at a farm. You refuse to leave, so they set it on fire. An officer, full of rage, shoots you. You die in a puddle of your own blood. And you are vilified for the rest of history. Is that how you want this to happen?

BOOTH
You…who are you?

CASSANDRA
More than you can comprehend, Mr. Booth.

(Suddenly, audience members begin to trickle in.)

BOOTH
He’s coming…!

(He turns to leave.)

CASSANDRA
Booth, wait! (He leaves.) DAMN IT!

APOLLO
He seemed shaken by your words. Perhaps that was enough?

CASSANDRA
No. It hasn’t changed…nothing has changed! (She stares hard at APOLLO.) This isn’t over. It won’t happen. I won’t let it!

APOLLO
Let what happen, Cassandra? (She exits.) Cassandra, wait!

(BLACKOUT)

Check back next week for the last installment!

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CASSANDRA: Part 9

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22nd, 2013 by admin

Here’s another installment of Bryce Duzan’s CASSANDRA play, which we’re serializing this year to help build your appetite for the festival in November. Enjoy!

CASSANDRA

by Bryce Duzan

Act Two

Scene Two

(History has reversed. It is now the time of Ancient Rome, the day of Julius Caesar’s coronation as emperor. CASSANDRA paces back and forth, away from the cheering crowds that await Caesar’s approach.)

CASSANDRA
What shall I do now? I know the future that will come if I allow this. Caesar will be murdered if he is crowned king. His murder will lead, to a civil war in Rome and, eventually, to the downfall of Rome itself. Hundreds of thousands will be displaced or killed. But how do I seek an audience with him? How do I approach him? How do I even form an argument to sway him?

Ah! If only I had some contacts from the old days. The friends I had formed after escaping the palace of Agamemnon were great indeed, but…they have long since passed now. And I remain…unchanged. (She looks at her hands.) I cannot believe that Apollo would go to such lengths to curse me. First my sight, now my life. Both extend into eternity, and there is nothing I can do to stop either…and where has he gone? I have not seen him for many years, though I still feel his sight upon me from time to time. Has he slipped into the pages of history? I doubt I should be so lucky. If he were to disappear, I would hope that my curses would disappear with him.

Still, a small part of me is thankful for the strange things I have seen. Were I still mortal, I would not be privy to the rise of Rome. But the Roman people are strange to me. Their customs and ways seem far more brutish than those of Greece. I find more in common with their slaves than their royalty! Yet, slaves cannot grant you an audience with a king.

(A cheer erupts from the crowd.)

The parade has begun! He will be here within minutes. Perhaps I can give him some sort of warning…

(APOLLO emerges from the crowd.)

APOLLO
I see you are plotting again, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
Apollo! I knew you could not be far from me. Why are you here?

APOLLO
You are attempting to influence history, Cassandra. You are trying to change the future you see. Why?

CASSANDRA
I do not want what happened to my home to happen here. There are many people that would suffer in the coming war if Caesar is assassinated.

APOLLO
And what about the future you cannot see? What would happen if Caesar were to remain as king?

CASSANDRA
What do you mean?

APOLLO
Think of it. Caesar obtains the power he desires, but soon, it is not enough. He craves more. It becomes a hunger inside of himself, devouring all it can. Soon he is driven insane, and all of his subjects suffer under his rule. Can you not see it?

CASSANDRA
That…is not true! You are just trying to confuse me! There is only one future written as of now, and I am trying to change it.

APOLLO
There is one future that you can see, Cassandra. The future that will come to pass. But there are countless other possibilities.

CASSANDRA
How do you know what will happen?

(APOLLO chuckles.)

APOLLO
You may be immortal, my dear Cassandra, but you are not a god.

CASSANDRA
So…you say that whatever I do, I will not be able to affect fate?

APOLLO
Indeed. You cannot change humans. They will find a way to destroy themselves in
the end.

CASSANDRA
No, there must be something I can do!

APOLLO
Cassandra, stop this foolishness. When you have seen humans squabble amongst themselves for as long as I have, for as many petty reasons as there are stars in the sky, you realize the pointlessness of it all. I too, was once concerned for them. Then I grew angry at them. Then…well, it is all amusement to me now.

CASSANDRA
And you do not believe you sometimes squabble over petty reasons with your divine brothers and sisters?

APOLLO
Please, we are above such things!

CASSANDRA
Is that so? I seem to remember a certain story about a girl who resisted your advances, so you cruelly cursed her for the rest of time…

(They are silent for a moment.)

APOLLO
So you wish to try to save this Caesar?

CASSANDRA
His fate is less important to me. It is the fate of the Roman people whom I care for.

APOLLO
How interesting! How much you’ve changed already, Cassandra!

CASSANDRA
What?

APOLLO
I seem to remember a girl whose city had burned to the ground. Weeping, she returned to the ruins of her once-glorious home, and sought not for the common men and women, but her own family.

CASSANDRA
Are you accusing me of not caring for the common folk of Troy? I shed tears every day for my people-

APOLLO
Yes, “your people,” you say. It’s always “your people.” But what people? You call out for Hector, for Priam, for Hecuba, but never have a name for the commoners who lived and died serving you and yours! What about the peasants, the soldiers, the hundreds, no, thousands who died fighting for Troy and Troy’s royal family? What about the innocent merchants and craftsmen, the wives and children of the soldiers, all huddled in the city, looking to your family to save them from destruction? Whose salvation was never secured, and who died knowing it was you who had failed them? Those are your people, Cassandra, and you failed them!

CASSANDRA
Enough! You do not know about these people, Apollo, you knew nothing of their plight! How dare you suggest that I did not care for them! I poured my heart and soul into caring for them, and they knew it. They loved and respected me for everything I tried to do to help them!

APOLLO
But you hated them too, did you not?

CASSANDRA
What are you talking about?

APOLLO
When you first received your…gift, did you not feel hate in your heart when they turned their backs on you?

CASSANDRA
No, never! They…simply did not understand…they could not understand!

APOLLO
Yet they shunned you! For all the kindness you had shown them, they laughed at you, called you mad!

CASSANDRA
They…yes, they did.

APOLLO
And it pained you, did it not?

CASSANDRA
…it did. So very much. I needed them, and they all turned their backs on me.

APOLLO
So, tell me. Why do these people deserve your pity? What makes them so special?

CASSANDRA
…no! I will not hear these words from you! This is too much. Your words eat holes into my brain and drive me mad with fury. Enough! (She turns to leave, then stops.) No, wait…you are pushing me away. You are trying to make me leave, are you not? Why are you doing this? Why are you trying to stop me?

APOLLO
I simply do not want you to be crestfallen when you have failed, that is all.

CASSANDRA
You are hiding something from me. What is it? Tell me!

(APOLLO smirks and turns away. CASSANDRA grabs him by the arm and spins him to face her. He is genuinely shocked by the action.)

APOLLO
I…a mortal should not be able to change the future, Cassandra!

(Cheers erupt from the crowd once more.)

CASSANDRA
Watch me do so.

(CASSANDRA moves to the crowd.)

APOLLO
He will not believe you, Cassandra, try as you might!

CASSANDRA
I must try, Apollo. I must try.

(CASSANDRA pushes past the crowd and calls out to CAESAR, who is attended by CASCA and BRUTUS.)

CASSANDRA
Caesar!

CAESAR
Ha! who calls?

CASCA
Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

CAESAR
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.

CASSANDRA
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
What woman is that?

BRUTUS
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
Set her before me; let me see her face.

CASSIUS
You, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

CAESAR
What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.

CASSANDRA
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
She is a dreamer; let us leave her: pass.

(CAESAR, CASCA, and BRUTUS leave, the cheers of the crowd echoing all around. APOLLO is left as the crowd follows CAESAR.)

CASSANDRA
He…did not even heed my warning.

APOLLO
Indeed. ‘Tis a shame. I thought you might really make him believe for a moment.

CASSANDRA
You had something to do with this. I know it!

APOLLO
I did not.

CASSANDRA
You must have! You did something, empowered my curse, made my truths seem like greater lies!

APOLLO
Cassandra, you were the daughter of a king once. But that was many, many years ago. Who are you now? Troy is all but forgotten by these people. And you, by all accounts, should be dead…for a great number of reasons, I might add. You are just another woman wandering the world now.

CASSANDRA
That is where you are wrong, Apollo. I am so much more. This is not over. I will change this world, I swear it.

APOLLO
Why do you bother, Cassandra? This war is lost. Caesar heads to his doom.

CASSANDRA
Do you not see it? Far ahead, hundreds of years in the future…fire enveloping the earth…tragedy like Troy a hundredfold.

APOLLO
(Chuckles.) Perhaps you are mad, dear. Come, end this-

CASSANDRA
No! Leave me be, Apollo. I have much to do now.

(CASSANDRA storms off. APOLLO makes no move to follow her.)

APOLLO
Run as much as you want, Cassandra. One day you will realize how pointless it is. All I have to do is wait…and time is on my side.

(BLACKOUT)

Keep checking for more installments!

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CASSANDRA: Part 8

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30th, 2013 by admin

Here’s another installment of Bryce Duzan’s CASSANDRA play, which we’re serializing this year to help build your appetite for the festival in November. Enjoy!

Act Two

Scene Two

(HELEN and HECUBA are in the kitchen, having breakfast. CASSANDRA wanders into the kitchen, looking like a living zombie. She clearly has not slept at all. HELEN slightly jumps when she sees CASSANDRA.)

HELEN
Mom! Are you okay?

CASSANDRA
Huh? What do you mean, sweetheart?

HELEN
You look dead! (HECUBA elbows her.) Ow! What was that for?

HECUBA
Rude!

CASSANDRA
Oh…I didn’t get any sleep at all last night…

HECUBA
You were thinking about him, weren’t you?

HELEN
Now who’s rude?

(HECUBA gives HELEN a severe stare.)

CASSANDRA
Don’t be silly, Hec.

HECUBA
Mom…

CASSANDRA
I’m fine, dear. Just tired, that’s all. Nothing a cup of coffee can’t fix!

HELEN
Are you sure you’ll be okay, Mom? I can stay home from school if you need someone around.

CASSANDRA
Very funny, Helen. You know you’ve missed enough school this year already!

HELEN
Just trying to help…

HECUBA
Uh-huh, sure, sis.

HELEN
Oh wait! Does this mean you can actually pick us up from school today?

CASSANDRA
I think so. It depends on how long the cable guy takes.

HELEN
Can we go out to dinner tonight for once?

(CASSANDRA chuckles.)

CASSANDRA
What, you don’t like my refrigerated dinners?

HELEN
They’re good! I just…sometimes want something that’s just been cooked…

HECUBA
Helen!

CASSANDRA
It’s okay, Helen. I understand. Sure, we can do that tonight.

HELEN
Really? Thanks Mom! You’re the best!

CASSANDRA
You’re welcome, dear. I love you both. Alright, let’s get you girls to school.

(HELEN and HECUBA bound out of their seats, grabbing their belongings. CASSANDRA wearily follows.
The office. CASSANDRA stares at her computer screen, inches from falling asleep. KEVIN pokes his head into the office.)

KEVIN
Cassie, before you go, can you get those reports to me? (Pause.) Cassie? (He enters.) Cassie, are you listening? (He approaches CASSANDRA.) Jesus, Cass, are you okay?

(KEVIN puts his hand on CASSANDRA’s shoulder. She immediately recoils, pushing him away.)

CASSANDRA
Don’t touch me!

KEVIN
Woah! I’m sorry!

CASSANDRA
Oh god, Kevin, it’s just you. I’m so sorry, you startled me.

KEVIN
Are you alright, Cassie? You look like you’ve seen a ghost. I didn’t frighten you that bad, did I?

CASSANDRA
I’m sorry, Kevin. I’ve just been out of it all day.

KEVIN
Even more than yesterday?

CASSANDRA
Yeah, sorry, I didn’t get any sleep last night.

KEVIN
Did something happen?

CASSANDRA
Well, I…no, it’s nothing.

KEVIN
Are you sure?

CASSANDRA
Yes, I’m fine.

KEVIN
Cassie…do you need to head home early? You look exhausted.

CASSANDRA
I’m heading home in an hour. I’m okay, I promise.

KEVIN
I never believe your promises…

CASSANDRA
What’s that supposed to mean? Is this about-

KEVIN
No, sorry, that’s not what I meant to say. I just meant that you’re…

CASSANDRA
Untrustworthy.

KEVIN
Magnanimous.

(CASSANDRA arches an eyebrow.)

CASSANDRA
What?

KEVIN
That’s not right, is it?

CASSANDRA
I don’t think so…

KEVIN
I never know what to say around you. Words stop making sense. They lose definition.

CASSANDRA
Kevin, stop…

KEVIN
Why do you keep pushing me away? I’m just trying to be friendly.

CASSANDRA
You…remind me of someone when you do that.

KEVIN
What? Who?

CASSANDRA
I’d rather not say.

KEVIN
I’m…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to open up old wounds.

CASSANDRA
No, it’s fine…(There is a pause.) Look, I need to finish up my work before I go home.

KEVIN
Right. Well…take care of yourself. Get some rest.

CASSANDRA
Will do.

(KEVIN leaves. CASSANDRA goes back to her desk, then packs up and leaves.

The street. APOLLO waits in the same location as the previous evening. He makes eye contact with CASSANDRA as she passes by. It lasts far too long. She picks up speed, quickly walking by. Leisurely, he eventually follows.

Home, the living room. CASSANDRA sits on the couch. She looks around nervously and checks her phone.)

CASSANDRA
Where is he? He was supposed to be here already. Ugh, never trust the cable company.

(The doorbell rings and CASSANDRA jumps slightly. She catches her breath and puts her phone on the table. She goes to the door and opens it. APOLLO is standing outside.)

CASSANDRA
You!

(She tries to slam the door, but APOLLO pushes his way in. CASSANDRA backs away from him as he closes and locks the door.)

CASSANDRA
You followed me. How? I drove like hell out of there.

APOLLO
I knew where you lived, Cassandra. I’ve been watching you for a very long time.

CASSANDRA
Who the hell are you?

APOLLO
Do names matter anymore? I am. I have been. You know me, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
Stop calling me that! That’s not my name!

APOLLO
I’m impressed. You made yourself forget everything, just like you said. You truly are a brilliant woman. I thought I had lost you for good this time. But I always sniff you out in the end.

CASSANDRA
Forget? I don’t understand. What are you talking about?

APOLLO
Remember, Cassandra. Remember your destiny, your fate. Remember what has transpired, and remember what will come to be. You have two gifts, gifts that I instilled in you. I am Apollo of the Sun, and I am your lord.

CASSANDRA
Apollo? You’re fucking insane, is what you are.

APOLLO
And yet you know the truth, Cassandra of Troy.

CASSANDRA
Troy…?

(APOLLO quickly approaches CASSANDRA, backing her up against the wall. He reaches towards her as she tries to jerk away. He touches his fingers to her temple, and she gasps as her mind floods with images of the past.)

Bryce Duzan will be wrapping up his play this month, just in time for this year’s festival to begin on November 6! Keep your eyes on the site for the conclusion, this year’s exciting schedule, and more!

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A Giant Thank You To All Of Our 2013 Donors!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26th, 2013 by admin

We’re excited to publish the list of our 2013 Olympians Festival donors!

This list is only partial. Some donors choose to remain anonymous, and many people donate in ways other than cash: their time, their energy, their expertize, their network, etc. Behind every festival, every theater production, there is always a plethora of people coming together in a myriad of ways to make it happen. No donor list or program credits are ever truly comprehensive.

To all the people on this list, and all the people who aren’t on it, thank you for all you do to make this vision a reality. The festival couldn’t happen without you, and we hope you love all the great work that comes out of it, the result of all the love and support you put in.

Paul Anderson
Kendra Arimoto
Christina Augello
Mary Ann Bell
Jane Bousel
Robin Bousel
Megan Briggs
Rachel Bublitz
Randall Bublitz
John Caldon
Linda-Ruth Cardozo
Jonathan Carpenter
Nat Cassidy
Louise Castaldi
Christie Chew
Andrew Chung
Shelley F. Cohen
Nancy Cooper Frank
Ashley Cowan
Jan Cox
Lisa Darter
Layla Muran de Assereto
Norm DeVeyra
Laura Domingo
Danielle Doyle
Susan Dunn
Colleen Egan
Alisha Ehrlich
Robert Estes
Susan Fairbrook
Margery Fairchild
Sean Fenton
Josh Galyen
Dori Gillam
James Grady
Matt Gunnison
Donald Hardwick
Neil Higgins
Paul Jennings
Barbara Jwanouskos
Meghan Kane
Brian Katz
Katherine Kessinger
Melissa Kelepetar
Dan Kurtz
Carol Lashof
Joyce C. Lashof
Charles Lewis III
Carl Lucania
Morgan Ludlow
Cat Luedtke
Alison Luterman
Brian Martin
T Davina McClain
Jose Mosqueda
Anita Nallathamby
Tonya Narvaez
Scott Neilson
William Newton
Debra O’Connor
Meghan O’Connor
Hector Osorio
Allison Lynn Page
Seanan Palmero
Sunil Patel
Kate Payne
Jacqueline Peters
Bridgette Portman
Tracy Held Potter
Madeline Puccioni
Diane Regas
Martha Richards
Diana Rishell
Jessica Rudholm
Celeste Russi
Carina Salazar
Brian Salomaki
Barbara Selfridge
Kirk Shimano
Dave Sikula
Paul Stout
Marissa Skudlarek
Laura Thompson
Kevin Trowbridge
Eileen Tull
Miguel Veloz
Pete Warden
Wolfgang Weber
Matt Werner
Teri Whipple
Colin Williams
Jason Wong
Lily Yang
Jeffrey Yasskin

CASSANDRA: Part 7

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20th, 2013 by admin

Here’s another installment of Bryce Duzan’s CASSANDRA play, which we’re serializing this year to help build your appetite for the festival in November. Enjoy!

CASSANDRA

by Bryce Duzan


Act Two

Scene One

(CASSANDRA’s bedroom. CASSANDRA is asleep. It is now modern day. CASSANDRA awakes with a start, gasping. She looks wildly about the room, a look of confusion on her face. Finally, she lies back down, looking fearful.

The sun rises, and CASSANDRA awakes again. She dresses and goes to the dining room, where HELEN and HECUBA. They are not the characters from the first act; rather, CASSANDRA’s teenage daughters. They greet her with a chorus of “Hi, Mom!” CASSANDRA stands, looking confused again. Then, she slowly smiles.)

CASSANDRA
Good morning, girls.

HELEN
How’d you sleep?

CASSANDRA
Alright. I had the strangest dream, though.

HECUBA
What was it about?

CASSANDRA
I don’t…exactly remember. It’s all a haze right now. But it was so vivid!

HELEN
I’m sure it’ll come back to you.

CASSANDRA
Me too. How did you two sleep?

HELEN
Good! I was exhausted from our soccer game last night, so I was out like a light.

HECUBA
I slept good—

CASSANDRA
Slept well.

HECUBA
–I slept well, except for Helen snoring all night.

HELEN
Hec!

CASSANDRA
Mmhmm, I heard it too!

HELEN
Oh stop it, Mom!

(They all laugh.)

HECUBA
Can you pick us up from school today, Mom?

CASSANDRA
I don’t know. I’ll probably have to stay late tonight since I have to leave early tomorrow. We’re in crunch time right now and Kevin isn’t very happy about me leaving early, but I know all three of us will go insane if we go another day without internet. You’ll probably have to ask Stacey’s mom if she can drive you home today. I’m sorry.

HECUBA
That should be fine. Stacey said her mom was happy to drive us home.

CASSANDRA
That’s good. I just don’t want to be a burden on her.

HECUBA
I know.

HELEN
She just lives next door, Mom. I don’t think it’s that much of a burden.

CASSANDRA
I know, I know. Still, it’s the principle of the thing.

HELEN
Ooookay, Mom. (HELEN checks her phone.) Oh, we should go soon!

CASSANDRA
Okay, let me grab my stuff and I’ll drive you to school.

(CASSANDRA gets up, leaves for a moment, then comes back with a briefcase. HELEN and HECUBA both stand and hug CASSANDRA.)

HELEN
Love you, Mom.

(For a moment, CASSANDRA is frozen. She is unsure how to react. Her eyes well with tears, but she pushes them back and smiles.)

CASSANDRA
I…I love you too, girls. (She hugs them back.) Come on, let’s get you to school!

(CASSANDRA, HELEN, and HECUBA leave. The scene shifts to CASSANDRA’s office. She sits at her desk, giving her computer an odd look. A few moments pass before she shakes off her confusion and powers it on. She begins to work, slowly at first, her fingers clumsily hitting the keys on the keyboard. Eventually, she speeds up to a regular working pace. Office workers come and go, giving her documents or talking to her or other basic tasks. Each thing takes CASSANDRA a bit longer than normal to do. She is having trouble remembering everything. Soon, CASSANDRA is alone again. Then, KEVIN enters. KEVIN is a genial man in his mid-40s.)

KEVIN
Hey, Cassie, mind if I come in?

CASSANDRA
Oh…Kevin! Yeah, come in. What’s up?

KEVIN
Is everything alright?

CASSANDRA
What do you mean?

KEVIN
Everyone has been saying that you’re not yourself today.

CASSANDRA
Not myself?

KEVIN
Yeah…like you’re a zombie or something.

CASSANDRA
Oh…no, everything’s fine.

KEVIN
Are you sure?

CASSANDRA
I’ve just felt like I’m in a daze today, that’s all.

KEVIN
Why?

CASSANDRA
I’m not sure…I had a weird dream last night that I can’t even remember, and now I feel all strange.

KEVIN
Hmm…do you want to take the rest of the day off?

CASSANDRA
What? No, I’m fine. Really.

KEVIN
Are you sure?

CASSANDRA
Yes! Plus I’m already leaving early tomorrow. I don’t want to do that two days in a row.

KEVIN
Look, I know I was upset about you leaving early tomorrow, but your health is more important to me than quarterly reports.

CASSANDRA
I appreciate it, Kevin. But I’m fine, trust me! (She smiles.)

KEVIN
…alright. Well, let me know if you need anything, okay?

CASSANDRA
Thank you.

(KEVIN leaves and CASSANDRA continues to work. Eventually, night descends and CASSANDRA prepares to leave. The scene shifts to the street as CASSANDRA walks to her car. Under a street light, APOLLO stands watching her. He is much less resplendent than before, wearing plain clothes now. They lock eyes as CASSANDRA walks by. There is a moment of recognition from CASSANDRA.)

CASSANDRA
Who are you?

APOLLO
You know me, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
What? No, I don’t. How do you know my name?

APOLLO
Remember, Cassandra. Remember.

CASSANDRA
I said I don’t know you! Leave me alone!

(CASSANDRA flees. APOLLO makes no attempt to follow her.)

APOLLO
Soon, Cassandra.

(The scene shifts again to CASSANDRA’s home. She is having dinner with HELEN and HECUBA. She is visibly shaken from the earlier encounter.)

HELEN
Mom? Mom. Mom. Mom!

(CASSANDRA snaps put of her trance.)

CASSANDRA
What…what is it, sweetie?

HELEN
You were spacing out again.

HECUBA
Are you okay, Mom?

CASSANDRA
Oh, yes, I’m fine.

HECUBA
Are you sure? You don’t look well.

CASSANDRA
I…ran into this guy when I was walking to my car after work. He…knew my name. But I didn’t know him. And…he frightened me. I don’t know why.

HELEN
That’s…really scary, Mom.

HECUBA
Did you call the police?

CASSANDRA
No…he didn’t follow me.

HECUBA
You should have someone walk you to your car tomorrow.

CASSANDRA
I should be fine. I’m going home early tomorrow.

HECUBA
Okay…just be careful, Mom.

CASSANDRA
I will.

(CASSANDRA hugs her daughters, then retires to her room. She lays in bed, but does not fall asleep. Her eyes are wide open, and she is afraid. Before long, it is morning again. She drags herself out of bed, dresses, and meets her daughters for breakfast in the kitchen.)

Keep checking in every month for more installments!

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Announcing San Francisco Olympians V: Monster Ball

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1st, 2013 by admin

Want to write for the Olympians Festival?

Well, now is your chance!

We are now accepting submissions for the 2014 San Francisco Olympians Festival, a multi-discipline, nationally recognized new works theater festival based at the Exit Theater in San Francisco!

Proposals due by midnight on September 30th, with the line-up for next year’s festival to be announced 11/1/2013. Our first meeting will be on December 12 of 2013.

The festival will take place in November of 2014, from November 5-November 22, Wedesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Each night of the festival will consist of the staged reading of either a full-length play or a series of shorts, inspired by the mythical creatures of Ancient Greece. The subjects, and the lengths of the plays we’re looking for, are specified below. Some nights of the festival will be a competition, with a pair of one acts pitted against each other and the audience given a chance to vote. Those nights are also specified below.

There are no submission fees. The Olympians Festival is non-exclusive and does not retain ownership of any play created for it, beyond the initial staged reading. Participating writers should be local (San Francisco and the greater Bay Area), and will be expected to help promote the festival and contribute a raffle prize of their choosing to be raffled off to the audience on the night their play is read, or awarded to the winner of their night should they be involved in one of the competitive evenings of the festival. Writers are also expected to attend 4-6 meetings over the course of the year, and our auditions, which happen about a month before the festival.

Writers are encouraged to submit as many proposals as they want for as many topics as they like. Applications for a topic can be submitted by individuals or writers can work in pairs, or teams of three or more. Writers may be picked for more than one project, and should note that they’d like to be considered for more than one (or not). Each proposal should be 500 words or less and answer three questions:

1) Why you?
2) Why this monster?
3) What is your idea?

All proposals should be submitted electronically to Stuart at sfolympians@gmail.com.

2014′s subjects are as follows. Only one is currently claimed and submissions are encouraged for all of the rest:

Week One: Guardians Of Nature (11/5-11/8)

Wednesday, November 5: Nymphs! Nymphs! Nymphs!
Short: Austere
Short: Nephele
Short: Oreads
Short: Dryads
Short: Nereids
Short: Naiads
Short: Oceanids
Short: Lampades

Thursday, November 6: Pastoral Masters
One Act: Centaurs
One Act: Saytrs

Friday, November 7: Winged Wonder
Full-Length: Pegasus

Saturday, November 8: The Lord of the Dance
Full-Length: Pan (CLAIMED)

Week Two: Celebrity Monster Deathmatch! (Audience Judged Dueling One Acts) 

Wednesday, November 12: Dangerous Dragons
One Act: Hydra
One Act: Typhon

Thursday, November 13: Evil Eyes
One Act: Argus
One Act: Polyphemus

Friday, November 14: Three Headed Trouble
One Act: Cerberus
One Act: Chimera

Saturday, November 15: Hero-Makers
One Act: Geryon
One Act: Minotaur

Week Three: Femme Fatales (11/19-11/22) 

Wednesday, November 19: She-Beasts Triads
One-Act: Sirens
One-Act: Harpies
One-Act: Graeae

Thursday, November 20: Lethal Wisdom
Full Length: Sphinx

Friday, November 21: Deadly Beauty
Full Length: Medusa

Saturday, November 22: Vagina Dentata
Short: Scylla
Full Length: Echidna
Short: Charybdis

Definitions:

Short- Ten to Fifteen Minutes
One-Act- Twenty-five to Fifty Minutes
Full Length- Sixty-Five Minutes to Two Hours

Happy Brainstorming! We look forward to your submissions!

CASSANDRA: Part 6

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3rd, 2013 by admin

Here’s another installment of Bryce Duzan’s CASSANDRA play, which we’re serializing this year to help build your appetite for the festival in November. Enjoy!

CASSANDRA

by Bryce Duzan

ACT ONE

Scene 4

(CASSANDRA enters another section of the ruins of Troy. She is panting, clearly out of breath. She looks around wildly. Seeing nothing, she turns back to where she was running from. From behind her, APOLLO enters. He is resplendent, shining like the sun. CASSANDRA strains to try to see from where she came. APOLLO approaches her until almost right on top of her. CASSANDRA turns, sees APOLLO, gasps, stumbles backwards, trips, almost falls, but catches herself.)

CASSANDRA
You…!

APOLLO
I’ve finally found you, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
Apollo…

APOLLO
It was difficult, I must say. You have traveled the length of the Greek world. And for what? To evade me?

CASSANDRA
Not everything revolves around you, Apollo. I have done this for myself.

APOLLO
Hm, yes, I see. And you have done much. Helped the Queen of Sparta. Eased your family and one of your enemies to the Underworld. Impressive, really.

CASSANDRA
Why have you followed me?

APOLLO
I have always been watching you, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
But why?

APOLLO
(Looking confused.) Because I love you. Do you doubt that?

(CASSANDRA looks appalled.)

CASSANDRA
Do I…doubt that? Of course I doubt that! You cursed me when I rejected your advances!

APOLLO
I was angry, yes, and I am sorry.

CASSANDRA
Sorry? If you are sorry, then remove it and release me from this hell!

APOLLO
(Chuckles.) Oh, Cassandra, why would I do such a thing? Look how you have turned adversity into strength! How could I take that away from you?

CASSANDRA
I don’t want strength. I want to be normal.

APOLLO
That will never happen, Cassandra. You will always be special. Even if to nobody else, you will be special to me.

CASSANDRA
Truly?

APOLLO
Yes.

CASSANDRA
I…thank you.

(Pause.)

CASSANDRA
My family…maybe you have heard of such things. Have you seen spirits who are resistant to leaving for the Underworld?

APOLLO
It’s not normal, to be sure. But Hades is open to deals.

CASSANDRA
What do you mean?

APOLLO
Well, if, for instance, one makes a deal with him to leave some souls wandering until you come along and teach them understanding or some such nonsense….he makes sure to uphold his end of the bargain.

CASSANDRA
That…was your doing?

APOLLO
Oh yes! You must admit it was quite brilliant. I helped you soothe the spirits not only of your family, but of Achilles as well! Truly a clever idea, yes?

CASSANDRA
That…is disgusting!

APOLLO
What?

CASSANDRA
You tormented the spirits of those departed to make me feel better about myself!

APOLLO
Indeed I did. They are dead, Cassandra. Gone and past. What do they matter anymore?

CASSANDRA
How can you say that you love me when you have done such cruel things to those I love? I see now. You are just toying with me, as a cat toys with its prey.

APOLLO
Nonsense, Cassandra. I love you, truly!

CASSANDRA
No, I cannot believe that. No person would do what you have done. Cursed me for the rest of my life. Manipulated those I cared about.

APOLLO
I am not a person, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
You’re right. You’re more…and less. You have such power…and yet you lack the understanding required to use it correctly.

APOLLO
(His demeanor darkens.) Be careful what you say, Cassandra. You know not what you are dealing with.

CASSANDRA
So smite me! Strike me down and cure me of this blight!

APOLLO
No. You will live with your sight. You must endure your mistakes.

CASSANDRA
Mistakes? It was no mistake to reject your “love.”

APOLLO
If you believe that, then you have not learned your lesson, my dear.

CASSANDRA
My lesson.

APOLLO
Learning to love me, of course.

CASSANDRA
That will never happen.

APOLLO
It shall. I don’t care how long it takes, but you will learn to love me!

CASSANDRA
I will die first.

APOLLO
How dare you!

(APOLLO begins to walk towards CASSANDRA, malice in his eyes. CASSANDRA shrinks back. APOLLO soon stops, however, suddenly getting an idea.)

APOLLO
No… I see now. You need time, that’s all.

CASSANDRA
W…what?

APOLLO
If it will take you that long to change your mind, then I will give you all the time you need.

CASSANDRA
What do you mean?

APOLLO
I’ll make you like me, Cassandra. Immortal.

CASSANDRA
N…no. No, please!

APOLLO
Then you’ll have all the time in the world to make your choice. In fact, you’ll have…forever.

CASSANDRA
You…bitter fool. You’d do such an evil thing? You’d make me watch as the few friends I have left wither and die around me, while I remain unchanged?

APOLLO
Soon you will see, Cassandra. I am the only one who matters. I am your light, Cassandra, your sun. I will never wither, never die. Just think of it! You will be a goddess by my side.

CASSANDRA
A goddess?

APOLLO
Yes! Cassandra, the goddess of prophecy. Oracles will pray to you daily, asking that you make their predictions true and hone their second sight.

CASSANDRA
Not as influential as the god of the sun, of course.

APOLLO
Perhaps not, but what does it matter? You will still be recognized in all of Greece. The wife of Apollo! We will last…and love…forever.

(A look of recognition passes over CASSANDRA’s face.)

CASSANDRA
….No, we won’t.

APOLLO
What?

CASSANDRA
We won’t last forever. I see it. I see Greece falling. I see your power and faith waning, sometimes slowly, sometimes with much haste. Over time, the only power you will wield is in the stories that some tell. You will only be a distant, hazy memory.

(APOLLO tries to laugh, but he can’t. He is pale.)

APOLLO
You…can’t possibly see all of that.

CASSANDRA
It seems that even gods can die, though not by a sword or poison. No, it is a slow and painful death, without malice…yet without mercy too. The ignominious death of being forgotten.

APOLLO
Stop! You deceitful harlot! Do not try to scare me with your lies!

CASSANDRA
You, out of anyone, should know the weight of my words.

APOLLO
Enough! You clearly need time…much time…until you see the error of your ways. Very well, we will meet again, Cassandra. Next time…I hope your opinions have changed.

CASSANDRA
You do this thing, Apollo, you make me immortal, and I will stop at nothing to break it! I will be your undoing, I swear it! I will find a way!

(APOLLO storms away. CASSANDRA falls to her knees, weeping, angry and afraid. The familiar look of seeing into the future crosses her face again.)

CASSANDRA
No…he can’t possibly be able to do such a thing…yet I can see it. I can see my life stretching into eternity. I see Greece falling…I see the endless future ahead of me. And I am there…as I am now. Broken.

(BLACKOUT End of Act One.)

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CASSANDRA: Part 5

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3rd, 2013 by admin

Here’s another installment of Bryce Duzan’s CASSANDRA play, which we’re serializing this year to help build your appetite for the festival in November. Enjoy!

CASSANDRA

by Bryce Duzan

CASSANDRA
And I’m alone again. No…Paris is nearby. My brother…how tortured does he feel? Afraid? Where is he, I wonder? Why is he not with the others? (Pause.) I hear something. Who is there?

(ACHILLES enters. Like the others, he is a spirit.)

ACHILLES
I see. You help the others…but not me. Is it because they are your family, and I am not? Or is it because I am your enemy, even in death?

CASSANDRA
You are not my enemy, Achilles. You never were.

ACHILLES
Ha. Even though I killed your brother? Killed your people? Don’t lie to me.

CASSANDRA
Greece never was my enemy. Troy was theirs. (ACHILLES scoffs.) I mean what I say. Why do you linger here, surrounded by your enemies?

ACHILLES
I…am full of anger. My rage continues to burn.

CASSANDRA
Why?

ACHILLES
You think the atrocities committed here happened only to your own people? What about mine? I lost friends too…and more.

CASSANDRA
More?

ACHILLES
Yes. A…good friend. Almost a brother. His name was Patroclus.

CASSANDRA
I have heard of him. He led your Myrmidons against my people in your stead. And…

ACHILLES
And he was killed. By your brother.

CASSANDRA
I’m…sorry. But we were at war.

ACHILLES
I did not even see him die. I had to hear about it afterward. I did not even know. I could only imagine how he suffered…

CASSANDRA
What did you expect to happen, Achilles? That he and his small cadre of men would take Troy themselves?

ACHILLES
He wasn’t supposed to go! I forbade it! But…he did. He left…against my wishes…I should have known…should have gone after him…

CASSANDRA
We all wish we could change the past, Achilles. Trust me, I know. But-

ACHILLES
You don’t understand! He wasn’t supposed to die! He…was…

CASSANDRA
He was what? Immortal? What made him so important that he could outlive death itself?

ACHILLES
I…loved him.

(CASSANDRA is taken aback.)

CASSANDRA
Oh. I…I see. I’m sorry, Achilles. I…didn’t know.

ACHILLES
He wanted to prove something. Prove that he was as strong a warrior as I. That he was capable. That he was…worth my time.

CASSANDRA
Are those his words…or yours?

ACHILLES
What? His. I would never say something like that to him. I respected him! For his strength…and his tenderness. But he never believed that he was good enough for me. It was childish. I treated him like an equal!

CASSANDRA
And yet he left. Perhaps he didn’t feel like you treated him as you say?

ACHILLES
…perhaps not. There’s so many things I wish I could have done differently…treated him better. Supported him more. Followed him when he left that day.

CASSANDRA
I know, Achilles. But…that was his destiny.

ACHILLES
What?

CASSANDRA
To die. His death spurred you on to fight against Troy. Then your destiny was to die as well. Both of your futures changed when you came here.

ACHILLES
How do you know this?

CASSANDRA
Because we all have our futures set out. Troy’s fate was to burn…and so it did. I saw that future and I was unable to stop it. I wish I could have…I wish I could have saved you as well, Achilles.

ACHILLES
…thank you, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
I’m sorry.

ACHILLES
Don’t be. I am not angry at you. And I am not angry at your brother. No…I see now that I am only angry at myself. A foolish, stupid anger at not being able to see the future.

CASSANDRA
Even if you could see the future, Achilles, I believe you would find it quite difficult to understand it.

(ACHILLES looks hard at CASSANDRA for a moment. Then, he cracks a smile.)

ACHILLES
I believe you are quite right.

CASSANDRA
Is Patroclus here as well?

ACHILLES
No. He has departed already.

CASSANDRA
Then you should go as well. I am sure he is waiting for you.

ACHILLLES
Do you believe so?

CASSANDRA
I do.

ACHILLES
…thank you, Cassandra. And…I am sorry. For your brother.

CASSANDRA
I forgive you, Achilles, if you forgive him. And me.

(ACHILLES smiles again. This time, it is warm.)

ACHILLLES
I do.

(ACHILLES fades away. CASSANDRA breathes a sigh of relief.)

CASSANDRA
Rest in peace, hero of the Greeks.

(PARIS enters slowly, looking around. He too is a ghost.)

PARIS
Is he gone?

CASSANDRA
Paris? Oh, brother, it is you! Who is gone?

PARIS
Achilles.

CASSANDRA
Yes, he has just departed. Why?

PARIS
Because…I was the one who killed him. I did not wish to confront him if he bore a grudge.

CASSANDRA
He seemed to not even care about his own death. He was only concerned with the death of his…love.

PARIS
I see…

(There is a pause.)

PARIS
I am sure you are wondering why I am still here.

CASSANDRA
I think I have an idea…it’s Helen, isn’t it?

PARIS
Yes. Have you seen her? Recently, I mean.

CASSANDRA
Indeed I have, Paris.

PARIS
And? Did she…say anything? About me?

CASSANDRA
She did.

(PARIS immediately lightens. He seems relieved.)

PARIS
She did? I’m…so glad.

CASSANDRA
She misses you. Terribly. She still mourns you, in fact.

PARIS
I miss her as well. Terribly. Does her husband…treat her well?

CASSANDRA
He was planning to kill her. He decided against it. He treats her as you’d expect.

PARIS
Gods…! That’s terrible! I…can’t believe such a thing.

CASSANDRA
I imagined you wanted the truth, Paris. Would you have preferred a lie?

PARIS
No. (A long pause.) I’m…sorry.

CASSANDRA
For what?

PARIS
For everything. This is all my fault.

CASSANDRA
Paris, it’s not-

PARIS
Everything. Is my. Fault. This whole…gods-damned thing. My city…my people…gone. Because of me. Every day I look back into the past. Every day I count the things–the hundred of things–that I have done wrong. If I only had the sense to never listen to the gods…the sense not to take a married woman from her crazed husband. If I had just stopped and thought about what I was doing…I would realize how insane it all was!

CASSANDRA
It was not your fault, Paris.

PARIS
How can you say that?

CASSANDRA
The gods tricked you! Aphrodite tricked you! Tricked Helen too! She hypnotized the poor woman! Made her leave her husband!

PARIS
Well she didn’t make me do anything. I went of my own free will. I just wanted someone to love. Is that so wrong?

CASSANDRA
Of course not, brother. How could you know such a terrible thing would happen?

PARIS
I should have expected consequences of some kind! But I was in love. Stupid, blind, and in love.

CASSANDRA
And nobody can fault you for that. You heard the others. Father, brother, nobody cursed your name. Not even the one you slew! Helen doesn’t hate you. She misses you. Deeply. You two were in love. Nobody can hate a man who loves with all his heart as you did.

PARIS
You…you mean that?

CASSANDRA
Of course, Paris.

PARIS
And…you don’t hate me?

CASSANDRA
No. I love you. As I always shall.

(PARIS weeps.)

PARIS
Thank you, sister. Thank you for bringing peace to this foolish soul.

(PARIS slowly begins to fade.)

CASSANDRA
Farewell, brother. Tell the others that I love you all and I will never forget you.

PARIS
I shall, sister. We will always watch over you.

(PARIS disappears. For a moment, there is silence.)

CASSANDRA
And so I’m alone again. But I feel…happy. Fulfilled. I have done something right…strange. I don’t feel alone. Hello? Is there somebody there?

A VOICE
Cassandra…

CASSANDRA
N…no. No, stay away!

(CASSANDRA flees.)

(BLACKOUT)

More to come! Check back soon!

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CASSANDRA: Part 4

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7th, 2013 by admin

Here’s another installment of Bryce Duzan’s CASSANDRA play, which we’re serializing this year to help build your appetite for the festival in November. Enjoy!

CASSANDRA

by Bryce Duzan

ACT ONE

Scene Three

(The ruins of Troy. CASSANDRA enters.)

CASSANDRA
And so I return to the place of my birth. How strange it feels to be back. I could swear that years had passed since I had seen Troy last, and yet it has been a scant few months. This place…was it really Troy? It is colder now. The wind bites harder than it did. And the silence…is pervading. Where are the children, running and laughing in the streets? Where are the noble men and women, dressed in their fineries? Where…is my home?

King Priam, my father, died here. Noble Hector, my brother, died here. Paris…he is gone too. And the rest…all gone. Ashes by now. This city of splendors, once magnificent, is now just rubble and ashes.

Why did I return? What was I expecting to happen? Did I imagine that my family would be here waiting for me? They are gone now. I just…wish I could see their faces again. I wish I could bid them farewell. I wish I could tell them that I am sorry.

VOICE
Cassandra…

CASSANDRA
Who is there?

VOICE
Cassandra…you’ve returned to us…

(PRIAM enters. He is a specter, wearing torn robes and a broken crown.)

CASSANDRA
F…father? Is that you? It can’t be…

PRIAM
It is, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
But how? I saw you die. I saw you…

PRIAM
And die I did. But my spirit lingers here. As do others.

CASSANDRA
Others? Who?

PRIAM
Your brothers, Hector and Paris, still linger.

CASSANDRA
Hector? Paris?

PRIAM
Yes. One approaches.

(HECTOR enters. He is dressed much like PRIAM, in cracked armor.)

HECTOR
Sister…?

CASSANDRA
Brother! It is really you!

(CASSANDRA rushes to embrace HECTOR, but he puts out his hand, stopping her.)

HECTOR
You cannot, Cassandra. I am sorry. If I could embrace you, I would. But I am flesh and blood no more. I am a mere phantom, a remnant of what I once was.

CASSANDRA
I see. Father…brother…I am so happy to see you both again. But…why are you here?

PRIAM
I do not know, my daughter. Something holds us here. We are unable to pass on, to descend to the River Styx.

HECTOR
I cannot go! I can’t leave this place knowing I have failed my people!

CASSANDRA
Hector, you did not fail us!

HECTOR
Look around you, sister! Look at our beloved city. Look what they have done to it! And I am to blame. If I had fought harder…

CASSANDRA
No, Hector. Blame me. It is my fault. I saw what would happen and I did nothing to stop it.

PRIAM
You saw what was to come, Cassandra. You saw the future. But we did not believe you. Could not believe you. Yet you tried. You cannot say you did nothing.

CASSANDRA
Then I didn’t do enough! If I could have made you believe me…if I could have found a way…

HECTOR
Then what would we have done, Cassandra? If you had made us believe, then what? We surrender? Give up Paris for execution and Helen to be carried away by that mongrel Menelaus? Why, the Greeks would have burned Troy to the ground anyway!

CASSANDRA
Then…the outcome would have been the same…but no, there must have been something I could have done!

HECTOR
We were at war, dear sister, with a man mad with rage and jealousy. Nothing short of total destruction would have satisfied him. You cannot reason with a man like that.

CASSANDRA
No, I can’t believe that! Father, what do you say? Do you agree with Hector?

PRIAM
What Hector says makes sense. I would like to argue against it, but I find no fault in what he says.

CASSANDRA
If that is true…then I could have done nothing? It was my fate to watch my people die?

PRIAM
Perhaps it was…but that is something we will never know for sure. What you seem to forget, my dear daughter, is that Troy has fallen. It is done. Any impact you could have made or mistakes you think you could have rectified make no difference. The past has been set down in stone, and no mortal force can change that. Do not apologize for what you think you should have done. Rather, look at what you can do now. You have a gift, Cassandra, that is raw and not yet honed. Channel that gift, realize its potential, and use it so that this…doesn’t happen again.

CASSANDRA
…is that what I needed? Simply to hear you say what I knew was the truth? I do not know what miracle, divine or natural, has brought you to me today, father, brother…but I am grateful for it. Your wisdom persists, Lord Priam, even past your untimely demise, and I heed it still.

PRIAM
I am glad that my words still hold some meaning for you, my daughter.

CASSANDRA
Of course, father. You were my inspiration in life. You…meant the world to me.

PRIAM
…and in my hubris, I shunned you.

CASSANDRA
That’s not what I meant–

PRIAM
No, I understand. Forgive me, Cassandra. You are family. You are my daughter. I should have never turned away from you.

HECTOR
Agreed. I, too, am sorry for what I have done, Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
You had no choice. That is my curse. You cannot believe me. You do not need to apologize for what happened. It too…is in the past.

HECTOR
Regardless, I am ashamed that I did not side with you.

PRIAM
It is a powerful curse indeed that would have such an effect…(PRIAM suddenly looks at his hands.) I…I feel the pull. I’m being called to Hades.

CASSANDRA
Father? You must leave so quickly?

PRIAM
It would seem so. It appears that I was waiting for you to return.

CASSANDRA
Then please, stay longer! I am not ready for you to go!

PRIAM
Forgive me, Cassandra. I must…

CASSANDRA
Father, no! Father, please wait!

(PRIAM disappears.)

CASSANDRA

He…is gone. (She turns to HECTOR.) At least you are still here, Hector. You do not feel the pull as well?

HECTOR
No, sister. I remain.

CASSANDRA
Then you still feel like you have failed us?

HECTOR
Look around you, Cassandra. This is what I see every day. Corpses of my people and our homes. How can I think otherwise?

CASSANDRA
I am still here and alive.

HECTOR
You, mother, my love Andromache…and Helen. You four are the remnants of Troy.

CASSANDRA
Do you hate her?

HECTOR
She was the love of my brother. I cannot hate her. But…I wish she had never come here. I wish she had never existed.

CASSANDRA
I understand what you mean, Hector. But she is not responsible for what happened. The gods came in their unknowable ways, cast a spell on her, and brought her here. She loved Paris, truly, and despised Menelaus. She did not wish harm on any of us.

HECTOR
That is true. She was a kind soul, and I saw how she wept with the others at my death.

CASSANDRA
She weeps still for Troy. In her heart.

HECTOR
Truly?

CASSANDRA
Indeed. (Pause.) I think you are a hero, Hector.

HECTOR
(Scoffs.) Please do not patronize me, sister.

CASSANDRA
Hector. You gave your life for us. I will never forget what you did. None of us will, alive or not.

HECTOR
I still failed.

CASSANDRA
But you did what needed to be done. You faced insurmountable odds. Lesser men would have fled, but you stood your ground and fought. It doesn’t matter that you ultimately fell. What matters is that you protected the weak and upheld your duties.

HECTOR
I did…I fought with all my strength. I fought with my dying breath. I fought until I could not move my limbs. (Pause.) Do you forgive me?

CASSANDRA
There is nothing to forgive, Hector. You are my brother and I love you. You could never do anything wrong in my eyes…and you still cannot. (Tears form in her eyes.)

HECTOR
Please…do not cry for me, Cassandra. I could not…I could not bear it.

(HECTOR reaches out to dry CASSANDRA’s eyes, but he vanishes before he reaches her.)


To be continued…

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CASSANDRA: Part 3

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2nd, 2013 by admin

Here’s another installment of Bryce Duzan’s CASSANDRA play, which we’re serializing this year to help build your appetite for the festival in November. Enjoy!

CASSANDRA

by Bryce Duzan

ACT ONE

Scene Two (cont.)

CASSANDRA
…indeed it is. I pay the price now for what I did not do, rather than what I did.

HELEN
I see. But I still do not understand. Why do you come to me?

CASSANDRA
I seek…finality.

HELEN
What?

CASSANDRA
I…have evaded fate. I should have died at the hands of Agamemnon’s scorned wife. Now I am lost. Stuck between what is and what should have been.

HELEN\
I’m not sure I understand…

CASSANDRA
Fate wove me a web, and I fell off of it, tricky fly that I am. But all I have known is that insidious spider’s home. This place in the fog is new to me, alien and unknown.

HELEN
Cassandra, I…

(MENELAUS can be heard from offstage.)

MENELAUS
Helen!

HELEN
Ugh, the bastard returns.

(CASSANDRA replaces her veil as MENELAUS enters.)

MENELAUS
Helen, are you still sulking here? (He sees CASSANDRA.) Oh! (His demeanor immediately changes.) My sweet, you did not tell me you were expecting guests!

HELEN
My dear, this is…a traveler. From a distant land.

MENELAUS
A traveler, hm? What’s your name, traveler?

CASSANDRA
…Athena.

MENELAUS
Ha! A god walks amongst us, my sweet!

CASSANDRA
I tell fortunes.

MENELAUS
Oh? I have heard of a fortune teller from the now destroyed Troy, a mad prophetess whom my brother took as a trophy. Know you of Cassandra?

CASSANDRA
…The only one I know of that holds the gift of prophecy is myself.

MENELAUS
Hm, I see. Well then, Athena, tell me my fortune!

(HELEN steals a pleading look at CASSANDRA.)

CASSANDRA
As you wish, my lord.

(CASSANDRA makes a show of feeling MENELAUS’ temples and chanting loudly. She then stops and withdraws.)

CASSANDRA
I see…I see a green garden under a cloudless, blue sky. I see your enemies all around you, knees bent as they pay homage. I see a feast, with each of your friends and loved ones, past, present, and some you do not yet even know seated at the table, all toasting your name. I see you, aged but still full of health, laughing and drinking, never a smile fading from your lips. Then…I see you close your eyes and drift into an eternal sleep, still smiling.

MENELAUS
You see all of that?

CASSANDRA
Indeed. I see a life never devoid of happiness.

MENELAUS
Incredible! You hear that, my queen? A life full of happiness. Surely then this Trojan War was the last of my troubles!

CASSANDRA
It would seem so, my lord.

MENELAUS
Truly a remarkable gift you have, dear Athena. Go on, then! Divine my queen’s fate.

(CASSANDRA and HELEN exchange a glance.)

HELEN
My husband, surely our fates are intertwined-

MENELAUS
Oh come, my love, don’t be so bashful! Athena, read her fortune.

CASSANDRA
…very well, my lord.

(CASSANDRA goes to HELEN, again making a spectacle of chanting and feeling HELEN’s temples. Then she takes a step back and clears her throat.)

CASSANDRA
I see…I see dear Queen Helen falling in love…with the one she has married. Too often royal marriages are out of pacts of power and land rather than the true value of love, but Helen and Menelaus soon will find a way to claim the heart of the other.

MENELAUS
Is that so? Truly a happy fortune then! I already love my dear Helen, but it is heartening to hear that she will feel the same soon enough. What do you see after that?

CASSANDRA
I…am unsure. It would appear that the rest of Helen’s fate is untold.

MENELAUS
What do you mean? The gods divine our fates the moments we are born. How can Helen’s fate be in question?

CASSANDRA
Perhaps she has the chance to change it.

MENELAUS
Why would she want to change it? She is the queen to the most powerful king in the world! She has everything she would ever want here!

CASSANDRA
Forgive me, my lord. I did not mean to say that Helen would want to change her fate, only that she the ability to do so.

MENELAUS
And I do not?

CASSANDRA
The vision I received of your fate was complete, my king. The messages of the gods are…often inscrutable.

MENELAUS
(Quickly regaining his composure.)…you are right, my dear. The gods are strange and incomprehensible, and it is a rare gift indeed that you are to interpret their messages as well as you can. (He digs into his pockets and presses a few coins into CASSANDRA’s hand.) Thank you for your gift, Athena. May the gods bless you on your wanderings. (He turns to HELEN.) Helen, I am going to retire now. I expect you will be joining me soon, so ah…please do not tarry too long.

HELEN
As you wish, my king.

(MENELAUS takes another look at CASSANDRA, then exits. CASSANDRA slowly removes her veil.)

HELEN
None of that was true, was it?

CASSANDRA
Of course not. How ironic that the only time someone believes my visions is the time that I have told an utter lie.

HELEN
What did you really see?

CASSANDRA
(A slight smile.) You wouldn’t believe me.

HELEN
No, I…suppose I wouldn’t. I do not, however, see myself falling in love with that man.

CASSANDRA
Neither do I. Even a lie can have truth in it. Your fate is indeed your own if you wish to change it.

HELEN
Change it? But the last time I tried to change it, terrible things happened.

CASSANDRA
The last time the gods were involved. This time it is just you and me. Helen…I changed my fate. You can as well. I can’t tell you what I saw, but I can assure you that your happiness was not a part of it.

HELEN
Will I become like you? Out of sorts with the world? Why are you trying to help me, Cassandra? I, the reason for your people’s demise?

CASSANDRA
I…want to help…because…

HELEN
Because you couldn’t help them. Is that it? You couldn’t help the people of Troy, because they would not believe you. Now you want to help me, because I do believe you?

CASSANDRA
Yes! How do you think it feels, to plead with your own family until your throat is raw and your voice gone just to be laughed at? I tried! I tried to help! I saw the flames approaching, the murder and blood, and I could do nothing!

HELEN
…you blame yourself, don’t you? For what happened?

CASSANDRA
No. What happened was not my fault. I blame myself because I did nothing to prevent it.

HELEN
Cassandra, what could you have done? The people did not, could not believe you. What more-

CASSANDRA
I could have tried! I could have done something, anything! Instead I hid, sunk into insanity and depression. When I emerged from my haze, my people were decimated. I…failed.

HELEN
What happened was not your fault, Cassandra. If anyone is to blame, it is me.

CASSANDRA
I could have made them believe! Like you!

HELEN
I only believe you because I have proof, Cassandra. If I did not have that, I wouldn’t be able to believe you either. (CASSANDRA is silent.) Cassandra…what happened in Troy…whether you want to change it or not, it is done. It is in the past and cannot be changed.

CASSANDRA
I know, Helen…but I only wish…if I could so easily read the future, why is it I cannot also change the past?

HELEN
You have a gift, Cassandra, a strange and powerful gift. Unfortunately, that gift only works one way. Your people…they are gone now. But their spirits do not resent you. They do not blame you for what happened. You were merely a bystander, a survivor of a terrible tragedy. Do not blame yourself.

CASSANDRA
…you are right. I cannot change the past…but I can influence the future, if I put my mind to it. Helen…thank you.

(CASSANDRA embraces HELEN.)

HELEN
You are welcome…Cassandra.

CASSANDRA
You were once my sister, Helen. In my mind…you still are.

HELEN
I…thank you.

CASSANDRA
I should go now. Menelaus is expecting you.

HELEN
Where shall you go, Cassandra?

CASSANDRA
I am not sure where my path leads. However, I wish to return to Troy, to pay my respects.

HELEN
A pleasant journey to you, then. If you need my help, never fear to ask me. I will do everything in my power to assist you.

(CASSANDRA bows slightly.)

CASSANDRA
Thank you, sister. And farewell.

HELEN
Farewell…sister.

(HELEN exits. CASSANDRA turns to leave, then suddenly turns back.)

CASSANDRA
What was that, sister? (Pause.) She is gone. Strange, I thought I heard…

(CASSANDRA suddenly looks afraid. She hurriedly exits. BLACKOUT)

More to come!

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