20151204

The Epic of Gilgamesh - Tablet III - You gave my boy a restless heart



The scene ends in darkness and, on the gauze the words “Tablet III – You gave my boy a restless heart” appear.

 The city’s Council of Elders, informed of Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s intention to go to the Cedar Forest and slay Humbaba, gives all kinds of advice, and places the burden of responsibility on Enkidu to ensure the king’s safe return.

 With each hit of the Council of Elders’ booming gavel the spotlight intensifies until it splits in two, each beam encasing our heroes in a pyramid of light. Gilgamesh and Enkidu are now standing upright, facing the audience with legs apart and heads down, arms slightly out to the sides with their hands clenched into fists.
 They stand defiant as anonymous voices berate and harangue them from all around.
 
Gilgamesh “So, dude, you were out in the wilderness for lots of years…

The instant the Elders’ nagging about the keeping safe and the wives etc. concludes Gilgamesh and Enkidu raise up their heads seemingly unconcerned about what has just been said..

Gilgamesh : “Dude, let's get ourselves to the Egalmah Temple…

The pair then go to the Egalmah Temple, where Gilgamesh’s mother, the goddess NINSUN, resides.
She makes preparations and goes up to the roof of the temple to communicate with Shamash, the sun god, with whom she has a close bond. She asks Shamash for support in protecting the boys on their mission. He agrees, acknowledging that he never liked Humbaba anyway.

 Gilgamesh and Enkidu exit the stage and are replaced by NINSUN (a Goddess and Gilgamesh’s mother) followed by busy ATTENDANTS (clutching various objects; robes, a crown, clippings etc.). As they sing they make their way up the stairs to the TEMPLE ROOF.

Ninsun : “It’s every mother’s deepest fear…


Ninsun adopts Enkidu as her son, and Gilgamesh’s brother, and gives Enkidu the pendant she wore up to the roof. (Unbeknownst to Enkidu, this is a device allowing communication with Shamash.)

 As Ninsun takes Enkidu to one side and sings to him alone, Gilgamesh whistles and shuffles about from the lack of attention. She gives Enkidu her pendant and he examines it, looking at it with one eye and shaking it next to his head to see if it makes a noise, like he somehow senses it’s some kind of gadget rather than an ordinary object, but has no idea what.

Ninsun: “Come here, Enkidu, I want to speak before your journey…

As the music swells Ninsun waves them goodbye. The whole stage becomes illuminated making it seem much more expansive than before and the backdrop now shows the gates of Uruk opening as the two head off on their journey.

20150601

The Epic of Gilgamesh - Tablet II – Drink the beer, as is the custom of the land



The stage darkens and the gauze descends. Projected onto it are the words: “Tablet II – Drink the beer, as is the custom of the land”. Chirping crickets can be heard as the sky turns slowly into a new day.
 SHAMHAT and ENKIDU stand and as she sings he stretches himself awake, his posture becoming much more upright and human than before.

 SHAMHAT: “Wake up, Enkidu…

 As SHAMHAT sings her song a group of cast members arrive on stage dressed as SHEPHERDS. Like all Shepherds at this time of the morning they are visibly quite drunk and swig heartily from skins of ale.
ENKIDU approaches them and is offered bread and beer, which he takes enthusiastically. As he downs skin after skin of beer the rowdy Shepherds goad him on.

 ENKIDU: (with SHEPHERDS backing) “Well, I’ve had my first taste of bread today…

Now dressed in a borrowed Shepherd cloak and brandishing a Shepherd Knife, Enkidu’s attention is grabbed by a WEDDING GUEST who scurries on to the stage from the left. The guest is carrying a large platter of tasty looking Fancy Things.


 ENKIDU : “Heyayayayay…

Enkidu strides off in earnest in the direction that everyone points too and the gauze projection shows the scrolling image of the mighty City Walls of URUK HAVEN.


PERSON OF URUK #1 “He's as mighty as they come…

ENKIDU stands his ground, arms folded to block GILGAMESH’S way. A stand-off ensues and as they exchange words they move back and forth across the stage.

 Gilgamesh: “Out of the way, stranger…


The gauze descends and the bright back lights, flashing in time to the beat, shows the pair in silhouette. They begin an elegant, slow-motion street fight. Eventually as the last beats of the kick drum play out, the figures exchange their final blows.

 As the gauze retracts the fight ends in deadlock and they crumple exhausted to the floor.


ENKIDU: “Well you bested me this time…

Instantly reconciled, they end their song dancing around arm in arm, embracing each other as equals and brothers.

 GILGAMESH: “So, dude, you were out in the wilderness for lots of years…

20150501

The Epic of Gilgamesh - Tablet I - Two parts god, one part man



Pre-show: As the audience enter the venue a quiet sound loop plays the sounds of gentle winds, chirping crickets, etc. The gauze on the stage has the title card projected onto it: The Epic of Gilgamesh or “He who saw the deep”

The house lights go down as ANCIENT VOICES begins to play (pre-recorded), the title card projected onto the gauze changes to: Tablet I – Two parts god, one part man Behind the gauze, the cast are taking their starting positions on stage. Subdued over-head stage lighting flashes in sync as thunder rolls across the stage.

 THE OVERTURE builds, allowing the audience to catch glimpses of the band in silhouette, fully costumed, some sporting strange headgear, through the gauze.

As THE OVERTURE concludes, the projection on the gauze ceases and the gauze parts, revealing a dark stage.

THE CHANT begins, spotlights picking out each member of the cast as they sing… THE CAST: (chanting) "He who saw the deep….

After THE CHANT, the sky backdrop slowly begins edging towards sunrise, and with it lights begin to come up reveal the full band on stage. Front of stage and to the right is a LARGE FLAT ROCK. The gods are identifiable by their elaborate oversized heads.

 ENLIL: (as a disembodied voice, perhaps over a megaphone) "People of the City of Uruk-Haven….. The sun reaches it’s apex as a pyrotechnic explosion accompanies Gilgamesh’s burst to the front of the stage...

GILGAMESH: "Here I am!....

The ill treated PEOPLE OF URUK-HAVEN move about centre stage, imploring the gods for help. The gods on the mothership platform upstage left can be seen to react to the people’s entreaties.

 PEOPLE OF URUK-HAVEN: "O gods above, you’ve got to save us…

ENLIL AND SHAMASH: "It’s up to you, Anu…

As ARURU begins work on creating the Wild Man ENKIDU, a spotlight homes in on her, projections of whirling wind and sand fill the stage gradually taking human form until ENKIDU appears running wild across the stage.

 TRAPPER: "King Gilgamesh, I tell you, I saw this creature…

Shamhat stands by the LARGE FLAT ROCK with her back to the audience, and opens her robe, revealing herself to Enkidu, who is still running about in his wilderness.
He stops dead in his tracks when he see's her and then slowly draws near, taking her behind the rock out of view of the audience.

 As ENKIDU'S THEME plays, he whoops and hollers (like he does), and occasionally a leg or head peeps above the rock as they make wild love for six nights and seven days.
The frantic lovemaking grinds to a halt out as ENKIDU'S THEME slows down, the sun setting into night...

SHAMHAT: "Yeah, G?...

ENKIDU stops dead in his tracks with eye's wide in amazement when he see's her open robe and slowly draws nearer until taking her behind the rock out of view of the audience.
As ENKIDU'S THEME plays, he whoops and hollers (like he does), and occasionally a leg or head peeps above the rock as they make wild love for six nights and seven days. The frantic lovemaking grinds to a halt as ENKIDU'S THEME slows down, the sun setting into night...

As ON THIS NIGHT begins, they move back downstage of the rock. She sits, back against it, with Enkidu laid back, head in her lap. She strokes his forehead as she sings the opening verses. Only their area of the stage is lit.

SHAMHAT: "All alone on this evening quiet…

GILGAMESH appears on the opposite side of the stage with a city of Uruk backdrop, distinguishing it from the Wilderness back drop for Enkidu and Shamhat.

 "On this night…

At the close of ON THIS NIGHT, ENKIDU'S THEME resumes, slowly, building up, as the stage turns black with only Enkidu and Shamhat silhouetted to the audience as they resume their frantic lovemaking. When ENKIDU’s THEME ends, stage plunges into darkness with Enkidu’s last grunts.

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