by Micheal Curtis

A verse play concerning the conceits of old-fashioned modernist theatre, the obsequiousness of post-modern imitation, its actors and fawning causes; then too, Greek tragedy, in brief.


A stage: Black drapery or a black wall.  Masks, a lyre, a grave stele hung upon the wall.  The stele inscribed, “I, a tombstone, an icon.  Seikilos placed me here, an everlasting sign of deathless remembrance.”  Both stele and lyre might be fashioned of cardboard.  Actors dress in Dada, Neo-Dada, or Performance Art pretense.


Evening dress rehearsal; friends and family present.


Stark.  Archaic.


A prologue.  Following the prologue, Sekleos offers to Dionysos a conceited song; the offering is by Dionysos rejected; Sekleos vows to deny song and is by Dionysos cursed, “The singing tongue shall taste of death in rock, spittle of Kerberos.”  Euterpe loves Sekleos for his song.  Sekleos must sing for his love, he sings, and dies.  An epilogue.


(1) Kleos (Greek: ?????): Translation, “renown” or “glory”, related to the word “to hear”: A Greek hero earns kleos through accomplishing great deeds, often by his own death.  (2) The Seikilos epitaph is the world’s oldest surviving complete musical composition, musical notated.  (3) Sekleos, “say-kleos”.


A Tetralogy of Ten-Minute Plays: Pygmalions, Gownsmen, Thespians, Flutterbys.


Actors Two and Three, stage right; actors One, Four, and Five, stage left.

A One:             Not it is for the sawed-off imps

Worship still the navel who to.

A Two:                                                (In warm-up.)

Hah.  Hah.  Hah.  Hah breaths.  Hah breaths.  Hah.

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About Michael Curtis

Michael Curtis is a classical sculptor, painter, and architect who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. His verses have been published in Candelabrum, Blue Unicorn, The New Formalist, The Lyric, American Arts Quarterly, Amphora, Pivot, and many other journals. His translation of Afrikaans verse, “Land of Sunlight and Stars” will be published in 2012.