a play


Jason Lamport

Copyright © 2003
by Jason Lamport

(206) 570-3116


: We are in a small, “artsy” black-box theatre space. The house staff seem nice enough, though they are all wearing white t-shirts with the word “sober” printed on the front, and are all consuming “energy drinks” (some are drinking two or three at once), which all seems slightly to blur the line between performers and non-performers. The program notes include the following quip: “There are only two professions that refer to their customers as ‘users’, and one of them is illegal.”


SETTING: A cramped and cluttered office. Upstage is a desk with desk chair. On the desk is a reasonably modern computer dressed to look like an old-fashioned computer terminal, and a clownishly over-sized alarm clock. Downstage is a filing cabinet next to a stool. There is a projection screen on stage, which displays a news article discussing the Delphic Oracle, and the recent archeological evidence that the oracle’s mystic trances were induced by hydrocarbon gases seeping through fissures in the rocks beneath the temple.

: The ORACLE sits at the computer terminal, while TIRESIUS sits by a filing cabinet, doing lines of cocaine.

(The projection changes to show a web browser window with the home page of “oracle@delphi.com”. The unseen user clicks a tab marked “search” to bring up a search form, then enters “SWADDLING CLOTHES” into a text box and clicks a “SEARCH NOW” button. The computer terminal on stage beeps and displays SQL-like gibberish, something like “SELECT * FROM EVERYTHING WHERE RLIKE ‘SWADDLING’ AND RLIKE ‘CLOTHES’ ORDER BY CHANCE LIMIT (1,10)”, though it is not imperative that the audience be able to read this text.)

(reading text on terminal screen)
Okay, coffee break’s over, we’ve got another one. “Swaddling clothes.”

(TIRESIUS stops doing lines, opens top filing cabinet drawer. His gestures become highly stylized as he searches through hanging files, occasionally removing documents. TIRESIUS shuts top filing cabinet drawer, then goes through similar business with the bottom drawer, and finally hands the documents HE has collected back to ORACLE.)

Here’s the first ten out of
(quickly rifles through both filing cabinet drawers, again using highly stylized gestures)
two-hundred and sixty-seven thousand three hundred and three.

(typing into terminal)
“Results one through ten of approximately two-hundred and sixty-seven thousand. Search took...
(looks at stopwatch)
oh-point-two-three seconds. You’re running a little slow there, Ti. Better have some more tweek.


(ORACLE produces a large bottle labeled “AMPHETAMINE” and hands it to TIRESIUS. TIRESIUS opens bottle, removes a large red pill, puts it back in the bottle, removes another red pill, puts it back in bottle, repeats.)

What are you doing?

I hate the cherry-flavored ones. I’m trying to find an orange, or maybe a lemon.

I think there’s only cherry left. You ate all the others.

No, no, I see a green one.
(reaches into jar to produce a green pill and pops it in his mouth)
Mmm. Minty.

(On the projection, the unseen user clicks a tab marked “PROPHECY”. After appropriate user input TBD, the on-stage terminal beeps and displays more SQL-like gibberish.)

‘nother one coming in. Prophecy this time. Ooh, it’s the royal family. Seems they want to know what their newborn’s going to be when he grows up.

Oh man, not another prophecy. Okay, I’ll get out the entrails.

(TIRESIUS produces a rubber chicken from one of the filing cabinets, grabs it by the throat, and shakes it vigorously for some time.)

Tiresius, will you quit choking the chicken and get on with it?

I’m going just as fast as I can, pussycat.
(TIRESIUS’s squeezing and shaking eventually causes entrails to leak from the chicken.)
There we go. Let’s see, what do have here.
(digs around in entrails with finger)
Seems the little tyke is totally unexceptional in every way. Average intelligence. Average success. Average life. Nothing of significance to report in any regard.

Well shit, Dick. We can’t tell the royal family that.

(licking off his entrail-covered finger.)
No, I suppose we can’t. Let’s make something up.

Their reign’s been kind of dull so far. Let’s give them something spicy. I know!
(types into computer. The projection shows a “prophecy results” page that reads: “Your son will grow up to kill his father and have sex with his mother.”)
That ought to scare the pants off them.

It would certainly cause me to remove my trousers in a hurry.