Saturday, May 03, 2008

Timon of Athens Pt. 11

In this installment of my modern dress, original prose version of Shakespeare's TIMON OF ATHENS we see another use of the Greek chorus using video trickery (also a b-movie standby to seem like you have a fuller cast, but needing fewer people at a time); then the Athens OS Board of Directors try to use Timon to head off a hostile takeover.
Mercer is one of the mysterious figures in TIMON, often considered a "broken" play or a draft; in the original, he is listed amongst the actors but comes on stage and has no lines. Thus I named my non-speaking TV show host after him.

We see Sempronius and Ventidius on a talk show hosted by MERCER, a glib anchor.

When Fortune in her shift and change of mood spurns down her late beloved, all his dependents which labored after him to the mountain's top even on their knees and hands, let him slip down, not one accompanying his declining foot.

'Tis common. A thousand moral paintings I can show that shall demonstrate these quick blows of Fortune's more pregnantly than words. Yet you do well to show Lord Timon that mean eyes have seen the foot above the head.

We see a BURST OF STATIC like a channel changing.

We see "man on the street" interviews.

Why, this world's soul; and just of the same piece is every flatterer's spirit. Who can call him his friend that dips in the same dish? For, in my knowing, Timon has been this lord's father, and kept his credit with his purse, supported his estate; nay, Timon's money has paid his men their wages; he ne'er drinks, but Timon's silver treads upon his lip. And yet--O, see the monstrousness of man when he looks out in an ungrateful shape! He does deny him, in respect of his, what charitable men afford to beggars.

Religion groans at it.

For mine own part, I never tasted Timon in my life, nor came any of his bounties over me, to mark me for his friend; yet, I protest, for his right noble mind, illustrious virtue and honorable carriage, had his necessity made use of me, I would have put my wealth into donation, and the best half should have returned to him, so much I love his heart; But, I perceive, men must learn now with pity to dispense; for policy sits above conscience.

Another BURST OF STATIC like a channel changing.

We see a serious Alcibiades getting into his car, with Phrynia behind the wheel; somber NEWS MUSIC plays, and a CG reads: ATHENS TAKEOVER EMINENT? SHAREHOLDER BUYOUT?

Varro turns off the TV in the boardroom, looking sick. So does the rest of the board. Flavia is standing there, looking seriously from face to face, though nobody meets her eyes.

It is in vain that you would speak with Timon; for he is set so only to himself that nothing but himself which looks like a man is friendly with him.

Demeas shrugs wearily.

It is our part and promise to the Athenians to speak with Timon.

At all times alike men are not still the same; 'twas time and griefs that framed him thus. Time, with his fairer hand, offering the fortunes of his former days, the former man may make him. Bring us to him, and chance it as it may.
Flavia stands still, thinking.

Caphis is driving Varro, Demeas, and Flavia in the back seat, Flavia scrunched in the corner, looking morose.

Flavia leads Varro and Demeas through the trees.

Peace and content be here.
(calls out)
Lord Timon! Timon! Look out, and speak to friends; the Athenians, by two of their most reverend senate, greet thee. Speak to them, noble Timon.

Timon emerges from the trees.

Thou sun, that comfort'st, burn! Speak, and be hanged; for each true word, a blister! And each false be as cauterizing to the root of the tongue, consuming it with speaking!

Varro takes in the bedraggled Timon, then finds his voice.

Worthy Timon--

O none but such as you, and you of Timon.

The senators of Athens greet thee, Timon.

I thank them; and would send them back the plague, could I but catch it for them.

Varro stops cold, then tries to push on.

O, forget what we are sorry for ourselves in thee. The senators with one consent of love entreat thee back to Athens; who have thought on special dignities, which vacant lie for thy best use and wearing.

They confess toward thee forgetfulness too general, gross; which now the public body, which doth seldom play the recanter, feeling in itself a lack of Timon's aid, hath sense withal of its own fail, restraining aid to Timon; and send forth us, to make their sorrowed render, together with a recompense more fruitful than their offence can weigh down by the dram. Aye, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth as shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs and write in thee the figures of their love, ever to read them thine.

Timon scratches his matted hair.

You witch me in it; surprise me to the very brink of tears; lend me a fool's heart and a woman's eyes, and I'll besweep these comforts, worthy senators.

Therefore, so please thee to return with us and of our Athens, thine and ours, to take the captainship.

Flavia looks shocked.

Thou shalt be met with thanks, allowed with absolute power and they good name live with authority. So soon we shall drive back of Alcibiades the approaches wild, who, like a boar too savage, doth root up his country's peace.

And shakes his threatening sword against the walls of Athens.

Therefore, Timon--

Well, sir, I will. Therefore, I will, sir. Thus: if Alcibiades kill my countrymen, let Alcibiades know this of Timon; that Timon cares not. But if he sack fair Athens, and take our goodly aged men by the beards, giving our holy virgins to the stain of contumelious, beastly, mad-brained war, then let him know-- and tell him Timon speaks it--in pity of our aged and our youth, I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not, and let him take it at worst. For their knives care not, while you have throats to answer. For myself, there's not a whittle in the unruly camp but I do prize it at my love before the reverend'st throat in Athens. So I leave you to the protection of the prosperous gods, as thieves to keepers.

Varro and Demeas look on in amazement. Flavia shakes her head.

Stay not; all's in vain.

Why, I was writing my epitaph; it will be seen tomorrow. My long sickness of health and living now begins to mend, and nothing brings me all things. Go, live still; be Alcibiades your plague, you his, and last so long enough!

We speak in vain.

They begin to turn away. Suddenly, Timon smiles.

But I love my country, and am not one that rejoices in the common wreck, as common bruit doth put it.

That's well put.

Commend me to my loving countrymen--

Those words become your lips as they pass through them.

And enter in our ears like great triumphers in their applauding gates.

Commend me to them, and tell them that, to ease them of their griefs, their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses, their pangs of love, with other incident throes that nature's fragile vessel doth sustain in life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them. I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath.

(to Demeas)
I like this well; he will return again.

Timon points to a big tree.

I have a tree, which grows here in my close, that mine own use invites me to cut down, and shortly must I fell it. Tell my friends, tell Athens, in the sequence of degree from high to low throughout, that whoso please to stop affliction, let him take his haste, come hither, ere my tree hath felt the ax, and hang himself. I pray you, do my greeting.

Trouble him no further; thus you still shall find him.

Flavia ushers Varro and Demeas away, glancing over her shoulder with tears in her eyes.

Come not to me again; but say to Athens, Timon hath made his everlasting mansion upon the beached verge of the salt flood; who once a day with his embossed froth the turbulent surge shall cover. Thither come, and let my grave-stone be your oracle. Lips, let sour words go by and language end; what is amiss plague and infection mend! Graves only be men's works and death their gain! Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his reign.

Now Timon is alone.

He looks at the tree. We see him thinking. He looks at the tree.

Caphis sees the dejected group come out of the woods, and shakes his head.

His discontents are unremoveably coupled to nature.

Our hope in him is dead; let us return, and strain what other means is left unto us in our dear peril.

It requires swift foot.

They pile in, and Caphis pulls out.

We see the plush interior of the car, and Flavia staring out.
From her POV, we see outside the window, the trees going by.

Caphis suddenly SLAMS on the brakes and pulls over to the side.
Flavia jumps out the back door and starts running back down the road.

Flavia slaps aside branches, running faster and faster.
Suddenly, she stops short.
We see Timon's feet swinging above Flavia's head.
Flavia sees a note, speared on a branch. She leans in and reads it.She EXPELS a long breath. We see her pick up Timon's rusty ax, and lean against his broken shovel.

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