THE PRINCE OF PEASANTMANIA
(Fairy-tale Extravaganza for grownups)
“INNOCENT: What is there in them that makes them mean and ugly and vicious? —makes them, in their agony, need to punish each other? Yes: EACH OTHER! The answer’s there —there in that daisy chain of pain! Each one the torturer! Each one the victim! Chasing each other with electric prods around the rim of — what . . . —the Cardinal’s abyss! How can that be? When it’s only for the amusement of the Mainland? —Oh, God; there’s the horror! Performing that dance of pain for their sick laughter! —I’m babbling, Glorabella! But the answer is simply . . .I must stay. Because, finally — and I’ll never understand this — . . .the ones who chased me, beat me, betrayed me . . . I love them all.” (from Act 2, Scene 4)
Prince Innocent is summoned to Peasantmania to attend his mother’s funeral and, he thinks, to meet, finally, a younger brother he’s never met—Rudolph.
His mother had kept Innocent away from the politics of Peasantmania, isolated on the Island of Arcadia, to shield him from corruption.
Innocent’s first indication that all is not well in Peasantmania is when a woman sneaks into his rooms and paints his throat with her tongue.
Then Innocent discovers that his brother Rudolph is some kind of a perverted tyrant who wants the throne. Then there’s the laughter that comes from the heavens and quickly goes. And there’s the creaking and sudden shift of the ground that keeps you tilted for a few seconds, before the earth rights it’s self again.
Then —the Insurrection! And Innocent takes flight through his kingdom, with Rudolf and the Rudolph forces in pursuit.
Accompanying, or also pursuing Innocent, are:
Glorabella, Innocent’s sweet companion from Arcadia—and the wise-mouth, beautiful Sauna, who falls in love with Innocent —and Sauna’s ambitious deadly sister Magda —and the despairing Jester, who desires Glorabella —and Pina, the warn-out Seer —and The alcoholic Cardinal, suffering from doubt and existential fatigue —and at times, it seems, the entire populace of Peasantmania are against Prince Innocent and are hot on his heels.
The play ends in the sewers of Peasantmania with a duel to the death confrontation between Innocent and Rudolph.