A Broken Tragedy

The following documents have been transcribed and translated from parchment scrolls recovered from a littoral cave on the coast of the Sea of Marmara. The scrolls contain play scripts and represent the only known examples of Mekhanite theater. Translation and commentary provided by Dr. Judith Low, Department of History - Religious GoI Analysis.

Redemption, or the Breaking of Mekhane1

By Kallikrates


Dramatis Personae

FRAGMENT OF TRUTH, narrator - face hidden by mask of bronze

YALDABAOTH, depicted on stage in effigy; speaks via offstage chorus

ARCHONS I-VI, servitors of YALDABAOTH - disguised by tentacle masks

MEKHANE, disguised by mask and crown of bronze

ATOM, the first man - disguised by mask of hope

NOREA, the first woman - disguised by mask of wisdom

Scene

At the court of YALDABAOTH within the kenoma. ARCHONS, six in number, dance in circles around YALDABAOTH.


TRUTH

How well it suits all mortal kin, on the subject of chaos, to say that it is darkness;
Yet most fail to see [several words illegible] this darkness - in that it is a shadow.
And the shadow is cast by an entity that has existed since the beginning2
[line illegible]
That which projects chaos, the first horror - we name YALDABAOTH.3

[stanza illegible]

[line illegible]
And as the dread theophage4 feasted, he exhaled life,
[TRUTH points to the audience]
You, his mortal progeny, hidebound and trapped in the eternal quagmire -
An unclean genesis in the primordial seas of sarkic pollution.
And from sickly pools and fever dreams did arise humanity.

A people as blind, as lost, as their creator.

The first people lived in a state of [illegible]
[line illegible]
Of eons [rest of line illegible]
NOREA and ATOM5 - they who asked the first and holiest of questions:

"Why?"6

ARCHONS dance from the stage, I-III to the left, IV-VI to the right. Effigy of YALDABAOTH is hoisted skywards, its tendrils are to remain visible. NOREA and ATOM enter from stage right; both fall to their knees and raise their arms to the heavens.

ATOM

Why do we suffer?

NOREA

Why do we weep?

ATOM

Why are we bound?

NOREA

Why are we weak?

YALDABAOTH

Iahaakl'dhruxr otrithr'zhur yavicn'thaxz.7

ARCHON I enters stage left.

ARCHON I

Still your tongues.

ARCHON IV enters stage right.

ARCHON IV

And bow your heads.

ARCHON II enters stage left.

ARCHON II

Give us blood.

ARCHON V enters stage right.

ARCHON V

And give us flesh.

ARCHON III enters stage left.

ARCHON III

Have you forgotten your place?

ARCHON VI enters stage right. All ARCHONS should now encircle ATOM and NOREA.

ARCHON VI

For it is we who rule in majesty.

ATOM and ATOM (in unison)

We wish to know the truth!

ARCHON I

You will know only suffering and tears.

ARCHON IV

Only [illegible] and rape.

ARCHON II

You are nothing.

ARCHON V

Insignificant.

ARCHON III

A mere speck.

ARCHON VI

And we are great and vast.

The ARCHONS draw closer, obscuring NOREA and ATOM from the view of the audience. Torches are extinguished, darkening the stage. YALDABAOTH (chorus) whispers chaos words. TRUTH raises a lantern, allowing the audience to see her. Musician strums a sorrowful harmony via lyre.

YALDABAOTH

Yocxiogn'thor…

TRUTH

They were no longer strangers to his powers.

YALDABAOTH

Ghaax'vhas…

TRUTH

And they served him in fear and slavery.

YALDABAOTH

Aiuvhaathrh'mil…

TRUTH

After these events their hearts darkened,

YALDABAOTH

Zhaioth'zhoxz…

TRUTH

And they slept in their heart’s darkened thought.

Over a period of two minutes, torches are lit one by one, revealing ATOM and NOREA at center stage. Both are on their knees with NOREA covering her face with her hands and ATOM raising his arms skyward, as if pleading. They are both disguised by mournful masks.

[illegible but presumably TRUTH]

[stanza illegible]

It was ATOM who prayed for [illegible].
It was NOREA who prayed for illumination.
YALDABAOTH remained indifferent,
While the ARCHONS laughed.

But one did hear their prayers;
From beyond the stars and the outer dark,
SHE arrived.

Enter MEKHANE, lowered to the stage by crane. Triumphant music is performed. Wait for applause.

MEKHANE

[Fragment missing; the remainder appears to have been torn from the scroll and has yet to be recovered.]