Act One, Scene One

In a room in the king’s palace, dimly lit with an oil lamp. Two chairs placed adjacent to each other. The king’s wife, INE, enters listlessly in a sad mood, her eyes filled with tears. She is wrapped in white clothing from head to toe, leaving the face open. Entering, she hears some sound, experiences some unusualness in the calmness of the room and begins a sorrowful monologue. She looks round the room horrifyingly and centres her monologue on the sound, sound of music in the realm. She sees  herself between the physical world and the spiritual realm. Song number six – ‘So’ (Heaven), seems to echo in her ears as if she is pleading with death for her innocence in a crime she had no hands. This is the darkest moment of the morning before twilight when fairy agents are believed to haunt humans.

INE: The air is thick and dry,
Making breathing difficult.
My body is weak, my legs are heavy;
Making movement uneasy.
With unfriendly body and soul,
Like the tortoise-shell,
Filled with heavy stones.

(The gong sounds. Gommm-gommm-gommm…)

That is the message of the hour.
They have clustered around my world,
And in silence clamour my doom.
Senseless agents of the air,
Playing the music for macabre.
Dance! Dance! Dance!
I will dance to your tune,

And the princes of my womb shall gather
At the end of an inglorious lifetime.
Rarely men dispense tears for the dead,
Though they have tempest in their hearts.
Indeed one among them shall cry womanly,
But, have I a princess, born of my replica,
To sing elegies while I lie on my back,
In rapture I will go to the sacred kingdom.

(Seats herself, wiping her tears, calls IBIBO.)

Ibibo! Ibibo! Ibibo!

IBIBO: (Fear grips him as he rushes in and sees his mother
bathed in tears.)
I am here, Mother.
Your voice is sonorous with uncertainty.

INE: My little son, sit down and listen to me
With rapt attention for your betterment.
Be manly, let not the sleeping tears in your eyes
To wake by my words or the tears in my eyes.
I have seen danger beclouding my motherhood
For you to offer untimely honour in sadness.

IBIBO: (Frightened.) Mother, is anything the matter?
Tell me the state of your motherhood.
Your painful, touching tears rain on me,
Not quenching thirst but embitters my mind.
You look strange and diffident.
Speak of your motherhood, I’m with you.

(Talks with an unusual voice and cries intermittently. IBIBO
is now masked with a sad countenance…)