Tilda — A Comedy in Six Acts — 1.5

Tachybaptus, Going Postal
ACT 1
SCENE 5
A Room at an Inn. RADIO and the PLAYERS are changing their Costumes.
HOB, JESS and TILDA are disguised as Bears. A sound of Booing and
Catcalling. Enter VIDEO, a PLAYER.
VIDEO: Another lousy audience, forsooth!
I did To Be or Not to Be. They booed me.
Th’ immortal bard, and look at the reception!
What shall we do?
RADIO:        Go back and do Once More
Into the Breach; they always lap that up.
VIDEO: I’ll try, but can the bears come with me?
RADIO:        No.
Quick, man, get on and do the bloody thing.
TILDA: Are all your audiences so obnoxious?
RADIO: Nay, usually they eat out of my hand:
‘Tis a bad night. Hark at the way they jeer
At Video, the poor man’s not that bad.
There’s only one thing left to do – a song,
And thou must do it. They will really love thee.
HOB: Dost thou think we be far enough from th’ village
For that t’ be safe?
RADIO:         Aye, we are three days from it:
Ye cannot spend your lives as bears and camels.
Come ye, do off those pelts. Tilda, my dear,
Sit beside me and listen carefully:
I’ll teach thee a song will knock their little socks off.
Admirante melos, phthongitates
Malleorum, secutus aequora
Per ponderum inaequilitates
Adinvenit musae qualitates.
Epitritum ac emioliam,
Epogdoi duplam perducunt.
Nam tessaron pente convenientiam
Nec non phthongum et pason adducunt,
Monocordi dum genus conducunt.
– Can ye remember that?
TILDA:        Why, certainly. (She sings the whole Song herself.)
JESS: Ah, that were lovely, Tilda my little pet,
Though I did understand no word of it.
RADIO: ‘Tis th’ Latin tongue – that always goes down well:
They cannot boo it, for it might be holy.
The meaning’s thus: When, at the water organ
Pythagoras did wonder at the tunes
And thought upon the notes made by the hammers,
Seeking equality, through inequalities
He thus discovered th’ virtues of the muse.
One and a third, and then one and a half,
And then one and an eighth lead to the double.
For thus the fourth and fifth comply together,
The note also, and the whole span of notes,
When they are used i’ th’ monochord kind.
TILDA:        I see:
‘Tis most enlightening.
RADIO:         Truly, it will slay them.
(Louder Booing and Whistling. Enter VIDEO, flecked with Rubbish.)
VIDEO: ‘Tis anarchy out there. I did my best
But they are in no mood for lofty thoughts.
– Still, we have got some useful vegetables.
RADIO: There’s only one thing we can do. Tilda,
Go out and sing thy song, and make it good.
TILDA: O mother, I am afeared.
JESS:        They be but folk:
They will not harm thee. Go and sing thy song.
(Exit TILDA. The Booing changes to Cheering and Applause.)
RADIO: There, do ye see? One pretty face is all
That is required to turn them sweet as honey.
We’ll have no troubles for the rest o’ th’ night
As long as we keep off soliloquies.
Audio, now, the disappearing act. (Exit one of the PLAYERS.)
We’ll end the show with th’ Dance o’ th’ Seven Veils.
 JESS: Thou be not thinking of unveiling th’ lass?
‘Twould not be decent.
RADIO:        Nay, ’tis highly tasteful:
We douse the lamps as the last veil comes off.
HOB: Well, I suppose we do owe thee a favour.
JESS: But I must ask my Tilda if she’ll do it.
(Loud Applause and Cheers. Re-enter TILDA.)
TILDA: They loved it, mother! O, ’tis so exciting:
Radio, please, may I go on again?
RADIO: Could ye perform the Dance o’ th’ Seven Veils?
TILDA: Pray, what is that?
RADIO: Ye wear these seven veils,
And then ye dance, and doff them one by one
And at the instant ye take off the seventh
We blow out all the lights.
TILDA:        Why d’ye do that?
RADIO: Thou’rt wearing nothing underneath the veils.
TILDA: O my! O mother, may I do the dance?
JESS: Yes, if thou wilt. (To RADIO) And thou, keep thou thy word
About the lights, or I shall moither thee.
RADIO: I’ll keep it to the letter. Tilda, thou’rt next:
Take off thy clothes and swathe thyself in veils.
Here, go behind this curtain. (Exit TILDA.) She’s a natural:
I’ve never seen them clap that song so much,
Not even when I sang it in Damario
Before the king and all his courtiers.
(Re-enter TILDA, clad in Veils. Applause. Re-enter the PLAYER.)
Tilda, ’tis time. Go out and kill them, girl.
(Exit TILDA. Loud and prolonged Applause.)
The show is almost done: let’s to the bar
And drown our troubles in a foaming jar.
(Exeunt.)