Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Timon of Athens Pt. 3

In this installment of Shakespeare's TIMON OF ATHENS, the dotcom bubble finally bursts, and Timon begins to realize his excess.

An imposing modern structure.

Demeas is sorting through a mound of paperwork at an ornate desk in a comfortable office. Across from him sits his hungry, attentive assistant, CAPHIS, laptop at hand.
From Demeas' point of view, we see the newspaper headline: ATHENS STOCK SINKS. He folds the newspaper over and rubs his scalp.

And late, five thousand; to Varro and to Isidore he owes nine thousand; besides my former sum, which makes it five and twenty. Still in motion of raging waste? It cannot hold; it will not. If I want gold, steal but a beggar's dog, and give it to Timon. Why, the dog coins gold. If I would sell my horse, and buy twenty more better than he, why, give my horse to Timon--ask nothing, give it to him--it foals me, straight and able horses. No porter at his gate, but rather one that smiles and still invites all that pass by. It cannot hold. No reason can found his state in safety.

Demeas pushes his files away in disgust. He turns his laser gaze to Caphis.

Get on your cloak, and haste you to Lord Timon; importune him for my moneys. Be not ceased with slight denial. Tell him my uses cry to me, I must serve my turn out of mine own. His days and times are past, and my reliances on his fracted dates have smit my credit. I love and honor him, but must not break my back to heal his finger.

I go, sir.

Get you gone; put on a most importunate aspect, a visage of demand. For, I do fear, when every feather sticks in his own wing, Lord Timon will be left a naked gull, which flashes now a phoenix.

Caphis nods and leaves the office. Demeas spins lazily in his chair and looks out the window, a great view below.

A clock ticks LOUDLY as Caphis stares straight ahead, seated rigidly in a seat in Timon's waiting room, ready to wait it out.
Flavia, from her desk, watches Caphis nervously, and thumbs through the file Caphis has handed her.

(to herself)
No care, no stop! So senseless of expense, that he will neither know how to maintain it, nor cease his flow of riot. Takes no account how things go from him, nor resumes no care of what is to continue. What shall be done? He will not hear, till feel. I must be round with him. Fie, fie, fie!

Timon saunters in, talking on his cell.

So soon as dinner's done, we'll forth again, my Alcibiades.

He hangs up as Caphis stands and takes the files from Flavia's desk.

What is your will?

My lord, here is a note of certain dues.

Timon hitches a thumb at Flavia.

Go to my steward.

Please it your lordship, she has put me off to the succession of new days this month. My master is awaked by great occasion to call upon his own, and humbly prays you that with your other noble parts you'll suit in giving him his right.

Mine honest friend, I prithee, but repair to me next morning.

Caphis tries to stand between Timon and his office door.

Nay, good my lord--

Timon looks surprised and angry.

Contain yourself, good friend!

If you did not know, my master wants--

Give me my breath, I do beseech you, keep on; I'll wait upon you instantly.

Timon glares at Flavia.

Come hither, pray you. How goes the world, that I am not encountered with clamorous demands of date-broke bonds, and the detention of long-since-due debts, against my honor?

Flavia looks cold, but turns and addresses Caphis politely.

Please you, the time is unagreeable to this business. Your importunacy cease 'till after dinner, that I may make his lordship understand wherefore you are not paid.
(to Timon)
Pray, draw near.

Flavia and Timon disappear into Timon's office, while Caphis reluctantly retreats.

Timon, glowering, crosses his arms and looks across the broad expanse of his desk at Flavia.

You make me marvel. Wherefore ere this time had you not fully laid my state before me, that I might so have rated my expense, as I had leave of means?

You would not hear me, at many leisures I proposed.

Go to: perchance some single vantages you took, when my indisposition put you back. And that unaptness made you minister, thus to excuse yourself.

Flavia gets angry herself.

O my good lord, at many times I brought in my accounts, laid them before you. You would throw them off, and say, you found them in mine honesty. When, for some trifling present, you have bid me return so much, I have shook my head and wept. Yea, against the authority of manners, prayed you to hold your hand more close. I did endure not seldom, nor no slight cheques, when I have prompted you in the ebb of your estate, and your great flow of debts. My loved lord, though you hear now, too late--yet now's a time--the greatest of your having lacks a half to pay your present debts.

Timon waves his hand dismissively.

Let all my land be sold!

Flavia leans forward, intently.

'Tis all engaged, some forfeited and gone. And what remains will hardly stop the mouth of present dues. The future comes apace; what shall defend the interim? And, at length, how goes our reckoning?

Timon finally looks a little ill.

To Lacedaemon did my land extend.

Flavia softens.

O my good lord, the world is but a word. Were it all yours to give it in a breath, how quickly were it gone!

Timon slumps.

You tell me true.

Flavia is on her feet, pacing.

If you suspect my husbandry or falsehood, call me before the exactest auditors and set me on the proof. So the gods bless me, when all our offices have been oppressed with riotous feeders, when our vaults have wept with drunken spills of wine, when every room hath blazed with lights and brayed with minstrelsy, I have retired to me a wasteful cock, and set mine eyes at flow.

Timon rubs his scalp.

Come, sermon me no further. No villainous bounty yet hath passed my heart; unwisely, not ignobly, have I given. Why dost thou weep? Canst thou the conscience lack, to think I shall lack friends? Secure thy heart. If I would breach the vessels of my love, and try the argument of hearts by borrowing, men and men's fortunes could I frankly use as I can bid thee speak.

Assurance bless your thoughts!

And, in some sort, these wants of mine are crowned, that I account them blessings; for by these shall I try friends. You shall perceive how you mistake my fortunes. I am wealthy in my friends.

Timon studies Flavia as he leans forward and picks up his phone.

Servilius and another tech-head, FLAMINIUS, are tossing a foam ball back in forth between cubicles. A lot of funky personal decorations lend the area a slightly unprofessional air.
Servilius' phone RINGS. He casually picks it up, then straightens.

My lord?

He hangs up abruptly, as if scalded. He indicates the door, and both take off at a run.

We see the two young employees at a dead run, zooming past other surprised cubicle serfs.

Servilius and Flaminius burst in, breathless, trying to straighten their wrinkled polos and Dockers.

Timon gives them a measuring look.

My lord!

I will dispatch you severally, you to Lord Lucius; to Lord Lucullus, you.
(looks at Flavia)
You, to Sempronius. Commend me to their loves, and--I am proud, say--that my occasions have found time to use them toward a supply of money. Let the request be fifty talents.

As you have said, my lord.

Lord Lucius and Lucullus? Hum.

Timon glances at her out of the corner of his eye, then looks at her full on.

Go you to the senators--of whom, even to the state's best health, I have deserved this hearing--bid them send of the instant a thousand talents to me.

Flavia looks down, considers, then looks back up.

I have been bold--for that I knew it the most general way--to them to use your signet and your name. But they do shake their heads, and I am here no richer in return.

Timon gets another blow.

Is it true? Can it be?

They answer, in a joint and corporate voice, that now they are at fall, want treasure, cannot do what they would.

The fight goes out of Timon. He looks at Flavia and tries to smile.

Prithee, be not sad. Thou art true and honest; ingeniously I speak. No blame belongs to thee.
Ventidius lately buried his father, by whose death he's stepped into a great estate. When he was poor, imprisoned and in scarcity of friends, I cleared him with five talents. Greet him from me, bid him suppose some good necessity touches his friend, which craves to be remembered with those five talents.

Flavia nods and stands up. Flaminius and Servilius exchange glances and start to back out of the office, following her lead.

Timon watches them go, and tries to rally a bit.

Never speak, or think, that Timon's fortunes among his friends can sink.

Flavia pauses at the door.

I would I could not think it; that thought is bounty's foe. Being free itself, it thinks all others are so.

Flavia shuts the door with finality.

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