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.