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Orestes CharlesL. Mee,Jr A Note on the Text Based on the play by Euripides The text for this piece was composed the way Max Ernst made his Fatagaga series of pictures after World War I, so that passages of the play were inspired by or taken from twentieth-century texts by Apollinaire, William Burroughs, Cindy, Bret Easton Ellis, John Wayne Gacy, Mai Lin, Elaine Scarry, Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Vogue, and Soap OperaDigest. The piece was developed in collaboration with Robert Woodruff, in a workshop he directed at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. (Thrillingsounds of bombs, rockets, whistle flares, and other explosions and sonic marvels make the theatrerock and shudder A greenfog covers the stage,graduallyclearing,and revealingapalatial white Newport-style orPalm Beach-style beach house whosefacade we see, across a broad expanse ofgrass,from the oceanside. The lawn is ruined,with dug up sections of dirt and water And we heara radio-asthough it were the only thing still working in a backyardin which all life has been recently annihilated-goingon with the weather report,local traffic, news, and music. But the setting is both inside and out. Four very brightwhite hospital beds areset out on the lawn, in two of which are damaged war victims-William andJohn-who wear camouflage hospital gowns. They have occasional nightmares. Nod, similarly dressed,sits nearby in a wooden chair,his head hanging down. 29 Orestes, in one of the other beds, hands covered in dried blood, wears a red satin hospitalgown. There are three nurses in attendance.They wear basic black. A person is tied up in a wheelchairwith tape over his mouth. From time to time he is able to work free of the tape to speak. A yellow police line tape surroundsthe stage. The stage is lit with yellow tungsten outdoorparking lot lights. Overhead operatingroom lightshang over the beds. Chairand table center stage. A radio is on the table. Microphonesare scatteredabout. It is six days after the murder of Clytemnestra. Electrasits at the table,smoking a cigarette,drinking coffee. Her hands are covered in dried blood. She wears an Armani-designedpink ensemble, which she hasn'tchangedfor a week. A forensics expert in gray suit stands downstage,pointing to a cut-up female corpse on a silver autopsy slab.) FORENSICS EXPERT: White female, age 38, presented to pathology with a slashed throat. The subject was in good general health at the time of death. Approximately 5'7", 110 pounds. Skin unremarkable. Breasts small, no masses, everted nipples. Lungs clear to P & A. Abdomen sound-no masses. We made a circular incision with a sharp razor around the umbilicus, deep enough to penetrate the skin, then from the middle of the pectoral bone a straight, lengthwise incision to the umbilicus, and from the lower region of the umbilicus as far as the region of the pubic bone between the little mounds of the vulva. We found no abdominal abnormalities or complications of the genitourinary system. The fatal wound to the neck was initiated with considerable force in the anterior and posterior triangles, in the levator scapulae and the scalene muscles and through the posterior belly of the digastric and the stylyhyoid muscles. The blade proceeded through the carotid artery on the left side of the head and thence through the larynx and the vocal cords and on into the cervical vertebrae where the blade lodged and remained embedded . Since the subject had presumably been in a warm bath, she hemorrhaged into the warm water and bled out rapidly. The cause of death was heart failure. ELECTRA: (Completely shatteredandspent,having been awakefor six days and nights drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes; long silence as she stares off into space; then as though speakingfor the hundredth time to 30 ajury, and/orto homicide detectives in a room at the stationhouse,way beyond exhaustion and control, or without any affect at all, taking her time; herjob is to explain, make sense of it, make it cohere, and escape blame while accepting it.) You could say: "There is no form of anguish however terrible that human beings might not have to bear." Well. There's a way of putting things in order. You could say...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 29-79
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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