Аннотация: ... "Would you believe it, Ariadne?" said Theseus. "Minotaur scarcely defended himself." (The House of Asterion, Jorge Luis Borges)
THE HAPPY EYES OF MINOTAUR
Translated by Ivan Lyapin
... "Would you believe it, Ariadne?" said Theseus. "Minotaur scarcely defended himself." (The House of Asterion, Jorge Luis Borges) ...nobody can kill Minotaur.
Characters: George (Minotaur, a bull-headed monster) Veronica (Ariadne, King Minos of Crete and Pasiphae's daughter) Andrew (Theseus, King Aegeus of Athens' son) Helen (Pasiphae, Minos' wife and Minotaur's mother.)
...When I understood that I love you, honey, When I understood that I love you more than life, Above all that can be loved - The children, the Gods, the gold and the acacias - I dreamed about not pastures of Heaven, not apples of honey, Not autumn fields with flavor of wilting, I dreamed about the happy eyes of Minotaur, Betrayed by Ariadne, betrayed by the Gods, Betrayed by the all, betrayed by the fate, The happy eyes of Minotaur, Waiting for a punch Minotaur, The happy eyes of Minotaur, The deathful eyes of Minotaur.
There is a field beside the village. In the background, there is a wooden Palace of Culture.
George, Veronica, Andrew and Helen are sitting on the grass, made up as antic heroes.
VERONICA. We can't play today.
GEORGE. People have come to the theatre. The tickets are sold.
VERONICA. Why don't you understand? We can't play.
GEORGE (To Andrew). Do you think the same?
Andrew keeps silent.
GEORGE (To Helen). Well, you tell me...
HELEN. I can't stand you. I can't hear your voice. When I hear your voice, I'm getting sick.
GEORGE. That's what we need today. If we do not come on the stage, we won't pay for the lodging.
Remember, when we were coming here, you said it was your native-land, every dog knew you here. You were dining it into my ears. And what? We live in this Palace of Culture. We rehearse in the Palace of Culture. We have debts for the head of this damn Palace of Culture. Nobody took charge of us. Not a single dog. In the morning, I went to our best friends, as you'd sung to me, and bought there a chicken, wine and bread on our last money. If we do not play this damn show, we'll kick the bucket. And tomorrow I'll get married. I need money, guests, food, wine, musicians. Now we have sold-out. People have come to watch us... To see our acting and our shame. Do you know what they're talking about?
ANDREW. I do.
GEORGE. No, you don't. They're sure, you'll kill me during the performance. Me or Veronica. Or your mother will do that.
HELEN. I'll do that with great pleasure.
GEORGE. You see. That's why the Palace is full. That's why there is such silent here. That's why we will go to the stage. And we'll play for the last time. And we'll show everything, what I've taught you..., you, ham and shabby actors. No theatre will ever take you on. Because you worry about some outside matters, something else except that the audience dies away and the stage is empty, and the first word is escaping the lips.
VERONICA. Don't you fear?
GEORGE. I always do. I fear that my heart stops while I am making love with you. I fear that his mother will add poisonous herbs instead of flavorings in my chicken's broth. I fear that the drop-curtain is open and there is no one in the hall. Not a soul. And I won't be able to stop and I will speak, speak, and speak until I fall on dirty planks, terror and silence stricken. You can work out a whole spectacle out of my fears. Well, doesn't he fear? (To Helen)And do you?
HELEN. You brought us to this god-forsaken hole. You made us tell everybody that it was our homeland. I went to every family, looked into people's eyes and begged them to recognize me. And someone even did. You got laid with Veronica.
GEORGE. I fell in love with her.
HELEN. You got laid with Veronica yesterday. At night. In a haystack in the yard. Shamelessly. Insolently. When he couldn't stir out of desperation. You seduced the bride from my son. You broke his heart, or what's left after a betrayal of the best friend. You promised us the moon. We've just finished eating the last chicken.
ANDREW. We picked you up on the road. You were lying in mud. You were dying. But I stopped. You were ragged and grimy. Someone'd unmercifully beaten you and kicked you out to the roadside, far from the town. Where would you be, if I'd passed by you?
GEORGE. Most likely, I would've frozen to death in that mud.
ANDREW. We felt pity for you and took you along. Formerly we had a very good performance, a funny comedy. It was a success. Both grownups and children laughed in the hall. We easily earned a living. I bought a second-hand car. Veronica and I were going to get married.
GEORGE. Why are you talking about it? What for? It's time to go.
ANDREW. Not yet. Not all the spectaculars have gone mad with waiting. Can I recite a verse, I wrote last night, before we start?
GEORGE. You can do whatever you want. The main thing is to go on the stage.
ANDREW. ...while Veronica and you were romping like animals in hay under my windows.
GEORGE. I told you: do whatever you want. It's time.
ANDREW. ...while I was standing by the window, unable to move, nor to take my eyes off, nor to close them, nor to whisper, nor to exclaim, nor to mumble: Veronica!
... It is not time yet.
HELEN. They are dairymaids and tractor drivers. They are book-keepers, carpenters, and fishermen. They are drunkards, deaf little old men and women. They never heard of Minotaur. I made the round of the suburbs. No labyrinth is present. I questioned old bones and children. Nobody ever heard of a man with a bull's head. Never. You deceived us. This creature didn't exist. They lead their bulls either to a farm, or to a slaughter. They do not need Minotaur, and they are not to blame for this.
GEORGE. Do you hear their breath? They're sitting at an unheated hall and waiting.
HELEN. Waiting, but not for Minotaur. They're waiting for me to kill you.
GEORGE. It's time.
VERONICA. But me? What about me? What'll be with me?
GEORGE. The play will come to an end. We'll have some wine. You'll put a wedding gown on. I'll spend all my money on a buffet and musicians. All the country will come to us. They'll celebrate our wedding. They'll kiss us like near and dear ones. They'll break wooden tables with passion and sadness.
VERONICA. Won't he kill us?
GEORGE. Silly, this is just theatre.
HELEN. We lived so joyfully before you came.
GEORGE. Did you? Look at me. I'm frightful, awkward, hunchbacked. There is nothing to attract a beautiful girl. But she fell into my arms. She broke out of your "joyfully" with the first comer. Didn't she? Ask: why? Ask yourself. Ask your son.
HELEN. I have nothing to ask.
VERONICA. How odd. Probably we did live joyfully..., up to that day when Andrew and you..., you and he..., the mother and the son..., my sweet one, my fiancИ and his better half mammy..., at the shed, hidden like moles...
HELEN. It was just a harmless game.
ANDREW. We were drunk. We didn't answer for ourselves. Your eyes deceived you.
GEORGE. Her eyes deceived her... The same did her heart. Why to talk in vain?
HELEN. You're right. Why to talk in vain? It's really time to go.
VERONICA. We still have some time. I adjure you, we still have time.
HELEN. You don't know what means to be a mother. You've never been one. And most likely you'll never be. The country is too remote. The car is broken. I am exhausted.
You don't know what loneliness means, a first gray hair, impossibility to breathe from feeling that your life is irreparably lost, but a desperate thirst to make your only child happy. I so much wanted you to be happy. I so much wanted to teach him everything. I so much wanted you to deliver a grandson for me..., courageous, angry, free and strong like his father.
ANDREW. That's why you betrayed me.
GEORGE. I've always dreamed to narrate a story about Minotaur. Since childhood, babyhood, since maternal womb, a black star spiral, where I was going around, waiting and praying.
I heard this story for the first time at a railway beer shop. A consumptive bum, puking with vodka and joy, choking with tears, imparted to me what I wanted to know so much. He told me that here, in this part of the world, where nothing had happened before, where the field was overgrown, and people coolly saw action films at the Palace of Culture ... one old countrywoman gave birth to a boy with a bull's head.
I gave him everything I had: all my money, the suitcase and all the documents. He became me, and I became different. I had to come here. I didn't know that it'd be so painful and unbearable. If you had not picked me up on the road..., if you had not warmed me..., if you had not allowed to stay with you... I'd have surely died...
VERONICA. (To Andrew) Who is your father? (To George) And who is yours? ANDREW. I don't know.
GEORGE. I don't know.
HELEN. I don't know. I am so old. I forgot. I don't know. ... It's time.
They stand up and put the costumes straight. George puts on a bull's head and turns into Minotaur.
GEORGE (Shouting thewhistle down). Dear ladies and gentlemen! We are going to show you our play! Please, do not whistle. We are already beginning. (He introduces the actors)Ariadne - The Queen Pasiphae's daughter. Pasiphae - The Queen of Crete. Theseus - the son of Aegeus, King of Athens. And me - Minotaur, a bull-man, Pasiphae and Poseidon's son. The same as those who go free in your forests. A joke. I am just kidding. Jeering you. And inviting you. If you do not believe in this story, just go to the field, and then come up to the forest, and then call him and wait till his coming. And stay there forever.
(To Andrew) Theseus!
ANDREW (THESEUS). ...When I understood that I love you, honey, When I understood that I love you more than life, Above all that can be loved - The children, the Gods, the gold and the acacias - I dreamed about not pastures of Heaven, not apples of honey, Not the autumn fields with flavor of wilting, I dreamed about the happy eyes of Minotaur, Betrayed by Ariadne, betrayed by the Gods, Betrayed by the all, betrayed by the fate, The happy eyes of Minotaur, Waiting for a punch Minotaur, The happy eyes of Minotaur, The deathful eyes of Minotaur.
Andrew, Helen and Veronica leave the stage. Georgeis alone.
A labyrinth of Minotaur. Minotaur is alone. He's talking with an imaginary second Minotaur.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Hail, Minotaur.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Hail, Minotaur.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). How long I have been waiting for you. All my life. I knew you would come. I know that you exist.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). From now, we will always be together.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). And I will never be lone?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). And you will never be lone.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Oh, god, at last my nightmare is over. I rushed to anyone coming here, hoping that it was you. But each time they were just people: miserable, coward, armed with swords and daggers. They snatched their swords, but they were unable to do anything and fell in their own blood. Why did they hate me so? Why did they take my love and joy for the death?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Because they are only humans. They do not know how to behave with the son of Deity.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). You are so beautiful. Do I really look like you?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). You and I are like twins. Too many corpses are here!
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Yes. This is how I was looking for you. What do they say about us?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). They say we are mad. They say we're not like them.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). No, we are not. We are the Gods. Sometimes I feel sorry for people.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). They cannot be the Gods.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). They do not know what freedom is.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). They do not know what eternity is. The only thing they have is love.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Yes. I like their women better.
Second Minotaur disappears. Ariadne comes.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Is it you, Ariadne?
VERONICA (ARIADNE). It's me, my darling.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). I did not think you would come so early.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). I can no longer endure this torment. Every hour without you feels like eternity to me. I want to be your skin, cling to you and feel your warmth.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Everyone says you are beautiful. You say the same. There must be so many men falling in love with you in the town.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). I need only you.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). In people's eyes, I am hideous.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). You are beautiful like a star's lightning, dashing around an empty labyrinth. I want to take care of you, like of a child, and to strive for your protection, like for Deity.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Sometimes I want to send you packing. You take my precious time. You bother me. You prevent me from expecting the Second Minotaur.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). If you send me away, I'll just die.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). What do people say in the town?
VERONICA (ARIADNE). They are coward panic-mongers. Your visit has driven them mad. But how did you manage to get out?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). I am God and you are only a woman. It was not tough. You always come here with a clew, to find the way back. Last night, when you fell asleep, tired of my love, I just followed in the tracks of yours and came out of the labyrinth.
There was my sky there, my starry sky. I did not mean to do harm to those shepherds and wine-growers. I was just happy, looking at the starry sky and breathing a fresh sea air.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). You trampled them down, as if they were grapes.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). They made me sad. They should have been happy to see me. But there was no joy in their eyes. What did I have to do? I wandered around a bit and decided to return. I was afraid he would come without me, and we would miss each other.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). Who is he?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). The same as I am. The one, who will save me from loneliness. The one, I can talk to without condescension, anger and sadness.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). But there is nobody like you. That cannot be. Why are you looking for someone? Isn't my love enough for you?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Your love! Can your love give me anything I do not have?
VERONICA (ARIADNE). When I'm near you, I feel myself a grain of sand in the desert.
Oh, my God! It's hard to believe you are my brother. From my childhood, from the first time I saw you, I forgot maidenly modesty and lost the will. I wanted only you. I envied Mother because you'd come out of her womb. I stroked my belly and begged the Gods for giving me an opportunity to feel such happiness.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). All women are the same. You are the same as your mother.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). What?
VERONICA (ARIADNE). What did you say about my mother?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Before you came I had a dream. I saw the eyes of one of those wine-growers whom I had trampled down. There were horror and contempt in his eyes. He screamed that my time was near. Why are people so afraid of death?
VERONICA (ARIADNE). People are afraid of everything. They are afraid of giving birth and of dying. Afraid of lying and of telling the truth. Most of all, they are afraid of themselves and their own kind.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). How can one be afraid of that? It is a great happiness when at last you find someone like you... Who can understand you... Who is vigorous enough to kill you.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). We should be afraid of them in the first place. You speak like the God, but we are just people.
Why wasn't I there, among the shepherds and wine-growers?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). I could crush you many times. Every minute I can crush you.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). That's why my love is so sweet.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Tell them I will not come out any more. Deity cannot appear often. Crunch of their bones annoyed me.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). Fools, they placed detachments of soldiers at each exit from the labyrinth.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). They are truly foolish people. They have not deserved to see Deity.
Come here. I need you now.
VERONICA (ARIADNE) (Clinging to him). You can be so gentle and merciful.
Today, today I can conceive a son.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). You say this every time. Will he akin to me?
VERONICA (ARIADNE). Like two peas in a pod. He will shine like the sun. He will be as furious as the ocean.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). You go away from here alive just because I believe you. But with every day passed, I believe you less and less, Ariadne. Watch out, if you are deceiving Minotaur.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). You will have a son, Minotaur.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). This is one of your last nights. I wish I slept with your mother instead of you. At least she has already given birth to one Deity. And she is a pretty woman too.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). When did you see our mother?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). There are other clews at the Palace.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). Please, don't mock at me. Say that you're joking. I know, you love only me.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Gods do not know what love is. Gods themselves are love. Love is a human passion.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). You can belong only to me, because you are mine.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). What makes you better than other women?
VERONICA (ARIADNE). I've taught you to talk like humans. I've given you everything what I have. I... I love you.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Everyone is supposed to do so for the God. There is nothing special.
I must have many women to give birth to many sons. If not for my contempt and fastidiousness...
VERONICA (ARIADNE). Only I can give birth to Minotaur!!!
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Yes. I know. You are right. Unfortunately. Apparently, it is so. Only you. And your mother.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). She is too old.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR) (Paying no attention to her words). What kinds of wines did you bring today?
VERONICA (ARIADNE). I will block up all exits to the labyrinth with stones, so that nobody except me could come here.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). I am terribly hungry. I always feel hungry before the sacrifice time.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). But you just trample them down.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). It is another hunger. A spiritual one. It is a hunger of God.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). Sometimes you are hard to understand.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). A human cannot understand God.
Come here. I miss a human love.
VERONICA (ARIADNE) (Her arms again round his neck). You won't trample me down today, will you?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). If I do not fly into a rage from your coldness.
VERONICA (ARIADNE). I will be hot and tender as a flame of a sacrificial fire.
Ariadne kisses Minotaur. Minotaur embraces her.
A Palace of Pasiphae, Minos' wife and Minotaur's mother. Pasiphae's talking to Theseus, the son of Aegeus, King of Athens.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). Am I not Pasiphae? Am I not the Queen of Crete? Aren't Minotaur and Ariadne my son and daughter? Why? Why? Why? Why am I the last to learn everything? Why does everyone treat me like a servant? Why do I have a lump in my throat, Theseus? Why does everything go dark before my eyes and my hands reach for a dagger when I see her - laughing, running through the Palace rooms, running away from home?
Even you, Theseus, even you, the son of Aegeus, King of Athens...
ANDREW (THESEUS). I am your only friend, Pasiphae. The only one, who wants to help you. I'll do anything you want, if you help me to get Ariadne. Did you talk with the King?
HELEN (PASIPHAE). I did. He doesn't want to see you, Theseus. He says, he'll never give our daughter in this marriage.
ANDREW (THESEUS). I love Ariadne.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). I know. But she is indifferent to you. By the way, do you know where she is now?
ANDREW (THESEUS). People saw her near the labyrinth of Minotaur.
HELEN (PASIPHAE) (Furious). Harlot! I forbade her! I put the soldiers at each entrance to there and told them to keep her off with whips.
ANDREW (THESEUS). I'm afraid she is already inside. It's the talk of the town.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). Stupid bone-heads! What are they talking about?
ANDREW (THESEUS). About Ariadne and Minotaur.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). It's a lie! It's a damned lie! That is my Minotaur. He is my son!
ANDREW (THESEUS). Only I can save her from Minotaur.
HELEN (PASIPHAE) (Looking at Theseus' eyes). She is unworthy of his love.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Minotaur scarcely loves her.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). What are you going to do?
ANDREW (THESEUS). I'm going to kill Minotaur.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). Madman, he's my Minotaur. I could have ordered my soldiers to strip the skin off you for such words, if I didn't know that it's impossible. Nobody can kill Minotaur. He will crush anyone who challenges him to a duel.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Anyone?
HELEN (PASIPHAE). So it is predestined.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Even himself?
HELEN (PASIPHAE). What madman would kill himself?
ANDREW (THESEUS). Yes. What madman would kill himself?
HELEN (PASIPHAE). Well, Ariadne's passed all bounds. I do not want to hear about her any more. But she is my daughter.
ANDREW (THESEUS). So, give her to me.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). Do you have enough force to take her, Theseus?
ANDREW (THESEUS). I have plenty.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). But remember - Minotaur is my son.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Yes, Pasiphae, he is. He is more than just a son.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). You are a perspicacious young man, Theseus.
Take Ariadne and run away from the town.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Thanks, wise Pasiphae. That's exactly what I will do.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). I give you time till dawn. In the morning, I will order to catch the fugitives and bring them to the Palace. Alive. Or dead. Dead are always easier to bring.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Thanks, wise Pasiphae.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). But don't waste time on Minotaur. Remember about the predestination of the Gods. Minotaur is out of your depth.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Ariadne will be mine.
HELEN (PASIPHAE). Good luck to you, Theseus.
The labyrinth. Minotaurisalone. Theseuscomesin. Minotaurattackshim. Theseusdodgeseasily.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR) (Surprised). Why did not you prostrate yourself? Why do not you take out a sword in terror and despair? Why are you not dreaded?
ANDREW (THESEUS). Because I am the same as you.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). What? Are you Minotaur?
ANDREW (THESEUS). I amyour brother. I am the one you've been waiting for so long.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). We are completely different.
Minotaur takes out a knife and rushes to Theseus. Theseus evades, but Minotaur wounds him in the arm. Theseusstares at his wound.
ANDREW (Touchingthewound). It is blood. My blood.
GEORGE. I have ground the knife at a butcher's. Did you really think I would give in without a murmur?
Do not be afraid. Go on.
ANDREW (THESEUS). At sleepless nights, you begged the Gods to send me to you. You wanted to see somebody equal to yourself and the Gods harked to your prayers.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). You are by no means equal.
ANDREW (THESEUS). I am your brother. I am your elder brother. And I am sent to save you. To deliver you from your loneliness, from stupid people, from this crumbling labyrinth. I'll give your sky back to you.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). You are telling me the things I think about all the time. But you look so much like those unworthy fellows that are offered to me as sacrifices.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Your eyes just got tired of a long wait. If I were one of them, I would have died long ago.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). Yes. This is true. You are in blood, but you are not dead. An ordinary man cannot stand my presence.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Now you see.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). How did you find me here?
ANDREW (THESEUS). With Ariadne's clew. Tell me, where she is now?
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). She is sleeping. She is tired of love. It's not easy for her. And I am bored with her.
ANDREW (THESEUS). I will deliver you from Ariadne, from her tiresome love. I'll give your sky back to you.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). My starry sky?
ANDREW (THESEUS). ...the sky you dream of day and night ... that beckons you... that seems unattainable.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). I begin to believe that you are my brother. ... believe that when I was dying on the road, you picked me up not accidentally. ... believe that all the spectators have gathered to see the two equal and the two similar.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Hail, Minotaur.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). How long I have been waiting for you. All my life.
ANDREW (THESEUS). Now you'll never be lone.
GEORGE (MINOTAUR). I will show you every corner of my labyrinth, of my home. From now this is our home.
ANDREW (THESEUS). It's not necessary. We do not have much time.