Pyrrha: A Play, scenes 12, 13 and 14

Published August 16, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

For the earlier scenes, see this page.  Scene 12 is going to feel pretty weird, fair warning, but it’s directly adapting a scene out of the 18th century opera this is based on.  I’ll explain in more detail after I’ve posted the full play.


Scene: A wide courtyard (Day)

{It’s a wide courtyard, surrounded by columns, which hold up the upper level of the palace. There would be a balcony overlooking the courtyard, but likely the balcony would just be part of the matte painting. Mycenaean columns, like Minoan columns, were wider at the top than at the base; they’re very cool-looking. The courtyard would be brightly painted and highly decorated.}

Lycomedes is just entering from one side of the stage as Pyrrha enters from the other.

Lycomedes: Ah, I’ve been looking for you, Pyrrha.

Pyrrha: Hmm? Why?

Lycomedes: Surely you know why.

Pyrrha: This isn’t about the silver vessel, is it?

Lycomedes: Vessel?

Pyrrha: I guess not. In that case, I can’t imagine what business you could have with me. But I’m expected in the garden, so—

Lycomedes: You will accept this token from me.

He holds out the ring.

Pyrrha: Zeus, give me strength! (to Lycomedes) Sire, I have no interest in your ring.

Lycomedes: There’s no need to play coy, my dear. No one can overhear us here.

Pyrrha: As I told your sycophant last night, I have not the slightest interest in receiving love tokens from you or any other man. I had hoped, for Deidameia’s sake, that he did not actually act on your instructions, but it would seem that my hopes were in vain.

Lycomedes: I will not have my hopes be in vain. Accept the ring, and with it my affections.

Pyrrha: I don’t want either.

She tries to leave, but Lycomedes blocks her path.

Lycomedes: I do understand your concerns, my child. But you have no reason to fear. So long as you can provide me with the son my wife has failed to produce, I assure you that I will—

Pyrrha: Are you mad!? I, produce a son? With you? I will hear no more of this nonsense! Out of my way!

Lycomedes: While you live under my roof, you must obey my commands.

Pyrrha: Nature and the gods forbid any man from giving commands of that sort to his guest. Do you want to struck by a thunderbolt? I’ll have you know, I carry the blood of Zeus himself in my veins!

Lycomedes: That will make you all the more valuable as a wife and mother, then. Don’t worry for your virtue. The honor of becoming a queen will more than make up for it.

Pyrrha: If you do not step aside immediately, I will tell the queen what you’re after. Do you want to lose the wife you already have?

Lycomedes: I have no fear of any woman, and even less fear of a girl. Now, accept the ring, and agree to be my own.

Pyrrha: I will not.

Lycomedes: Do not make me resort to force against you!

Pyrrha: No old man can overpower me! Step aside before you get hurt.

Lycomedes lays hold of her shoulders.

Lycomedes: Surrender. I don’t wish to injure you.

Pyrrha: Release me. I can’t promise I won’t kill you.

Lycomedes laughs. Pyrrha shoves him in the chest, and the king goes flying, with a shout of alarm.

Pyrrha: I did warn you.

Pyrrha runs offstage as Polyphonos and other courtiers run up to the dazed king.

Polyphonos: My liege! What happened here?!

Lycomedes: Nothing. I tripped.

Polyphonos: Never the less, I believe a healer should have a look at you, in case you’ve injured yourself.

Lycomedes nods. Polyphonos and the other courtiers help Lycomedes to his feet, and then half-carry him off the stage.

Scene: The royal garden (Day)

Patroclos is sitting on the bench in the garden as Pyrrha runs in. She stops dead on seeing him.

Pyrrha: You know, Deidameia was telling the truth when she said men aren’t allowed here. You’ll get in trouble if they catch you here.

Patroclos rises.

Patroclos: The queen said it was all right.

Pyrrha: Really?

Patroclos: She said I could wait here to talk to you.

Pyrrha: Unlike her to be so nice to me…what’s she up to?

Patroclos: Up to?

Pyrrha: No, it’s nothing. Don’t worry about it. What did you want?

Patroclos: Just to talk. If that’s all right?

Pyrrha glances nervously in the direction she came from, then turns back to him.

Pyrrha: It should be. Probably.

Patroclos: If I’m imposing, I can leave.

Pyrrha: No, it’s not that! I just…it’s nothing. What did you want to talk about?

Patroclos: Just…anything? I could tell you more about Phthia, if you’d like.

Pyrrha nods eagerly, and crosses over to him. They both sit down on the bench, and start talking quietly; mostly Patroclos is talking with the occasional animated gesture, while Pyrrha watches him raptly.

Deidameia and Theaspe enter at the back of the garden.

Deidameia: Not again!

Theaspe: Again?

Deidameia: That fellow spent forever talking to Pyrrha already! And just look at the lecherous way he leers at her! The ignorant dolt!

Theaspe: That isn’t leering, my dear. It’s the tender look of a man in love. Don’t mock it, child. Someday, you’ll receive such looks yourself.

Deidameia: (to herself) I used to…

Theaspe: Did you say something?

Deidameia: I said I’m going to be sick!

She runs back inside. Her mother watches her go.

Theaspe: She’s so often ill these days that if I didn’t know better, I would think…

Pyrrha laughs merrily, distracting the queen, who turns back towards the garden.

Pyrrha: I wish I’d seen those games! It sounds like it was really exciting!

Patroclos: It was, but…a young lady like yourself couldn’t have watched the games. Most of the time, we were competing in the nude…

Pyrrha: I don’t care about that. But you won, so now you get to sail to the war in Troy?

Patroclos: No, I was going anyway. But my performance in the games is the reason I was given temporary control over the Myrmidons.

Pyrrha: How far is it to Troy from here?

Patroclos: With good winds, about two or three days of sailing. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve not been there yet.

Pyrrha: But you’ll go there soon. Ah, how I wish I could go with you!

Patroclos flushes bright crimson.

Theaspe: Those two really do seem to get on well. Surprising to see that intemperate child behaving so pleasantly with anyone other than Deidameia….

There is a long pause in which she simply watches Pyrrha and Patroclos talking.

Theaspe: It gives me an excellent idea…

She goes back inside the palace.

Scene: Megaron of Lycomedes (Day)

Lycomedes is sitting on his throne, scowling at a messenger. Polyphonos and several other courtiers stand nearby, watching.

Lycomedes: State your business quickly and be gone.

Messenger: My master is a trader, recently come into port. He would like permission to ply his wares in your palace.

Lycomedes: Oh, really? Scyros has many fine goods to trade, but what does your master bring in return?

Messenger: Fine worked jewels from Egypt and Babylon, and the most ingenious cloths from Phoenicia, such as would make the most elegant dresses even for a queen.

Lycomedes: Hmm. I certainly have plenty of daughters who have been pestering me for new fripperies. But has your master no useful items to trade with?

Messenger: He has, your majesty. He brings vats of olive oil from Pylos, enhanced with the most lovely and ingenious scents. And he has wheat from Anatolia, and—ah, no.

Lycomedes: “Ah, no,” what?

The messenger bows deeply.

Messenger: Under normal times, my master would have many fine weapons and pieces of armor to trade, and he certainly has many in his hold, but due to the coming war, he is holding onto them, for barter with Mycenae for gold.

Lycomedes: Ah. That’s all right, then. Scyros has no need of weapons beyond what we already have. The island’s natural defenses are so fortress-like that only a madman would try to conquer us.

Messenger: Then may my master pay a visit with his wares?

Lycomedes: Hmm. Polyphonos!

Polyphonos: Yes, sire?

Lycomedes: Go with this fellow back to his ship. Inspect the quality of his oil and wheat. (to messenger) If it’s worthy of trading for, then your master may come up tomorrow to discuss terms.

The messenger bows.

Messenger: Many thanks, your majesty. I promise, you won’t be disappointed in the quality of my master’s goods.

The messenger and Polyphonos leave.

Lycomedes: I have much more important matters on my mind than a few measly trade goods.

He looks around.

Lycomedes: Where is that wretch Diphilos?

Courtier: I haven’t seen him since yesterday, my lord.

Lycomedes scowls, and gets to his feet.

Lycomedes: Find him, and tell him that I want to see him immediately!

He storms deeper into the palace, and the courtiers scatter in every direction.

Lest anyone point this out as an error, yes, I know that the trader’s goods come from radically different directions.  That’s intentional.  It’s just that Lycomedes is too stupid (or too distracted) to notice that and have warning bells go off.


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