Short Dramas and Plays
THE MADNESS OF PHINEAS GALEN (Act I Scene 4b)
[Continued from Act I Scene 4a; same setting]
Inquirer: The Court has no further investigation with Mr. Randall at this time. You are dismissed, although you may be recalled at a later time.
Randall: Thank you.
(RANDALL walks by PHINEAS)
Phineas: (whispers to Randall) When the student has become the master, the master becomes the student.
Justice: (Irritated) Subject, is there a remark you wish to make to the Court?
Phineas: Justice Academia, I would like to make a motion before the Inquirer starts his next line of inquiry.
Justice: What is the nature of this motion?
Phineas: I would like to submit myself for examination by the Inquirer.
Advocate: The Subject has already been examined on numerous occasions.
Phineas: I believe that in doing so we can eliminate the necessity for calling any more Observers.
Justice: That would be welcome, Subject, if what you bring to examination will do so.
Phineas: I am quite prepared, Academia. Full disclosure of events.
Justice: Objections, Advocate?
Advocate: If the Subject waives his censure against self-incrimination, none, Justice.
Phineas: So waived, Academia.
Justice: Then letís proceed. Inquirer, examine the Subject.
Inquirer: Yes, Academia. Subject, you have already made your Pledge of Truth, we shall hold you to that.
Inquirer: Tell us, Subject, in your own words, your perception as to what occurred on the evening before your revelation to your class.
Phineas: At the very least, it was life changing. And from events that followed, leading up to this examination by the Court of Trials, I guess you could say that it was life changing. I made a choice, to accept what had happened, despite it flying in the face of accepted models, and to accept it at face value.
Inquirer: You keep on referring to ďItĒ; the Court is quite interested in what this ďitĒ is. In your own words, Subject, what was ďItĒ that you experienced.
Phineas: This was a personal event, one which cannot be proven outside of my own experience. Empirically, it cannot be proven through a recreation of stimuli -- it is, in itself, a singular and unique event.
Inquireer: Describe to the Court what it was.
Phineas: I canít.
Inquirer: You canít or you wonít?
Phineas: It is indescribable, it defies description, it is unlike anything Iíve ever known before.
Justice: This isnít the sort of enlightenment we were promised, Subject.
Phineas: I am not being uncooperative, Justice Academia. To say that it defies a human description is defining in itself. It is the nature of a personal understanding, a personal revelation.
Justice: But it does not shed light on this Courtís proceedings, Subject.
Phineas: Telling you what it isnít is the road to telling you what it is. It is so personal and real to me, it cannot be conveyed to this court. But I can convey it to you, Justice.
Justice: Howís this?
Phineas: This Court is not a vessel for receiving what I did, but an individual is. What the Court canít receive, can be received by you as a person. Then you may use your discretion as to how to properly quantify or qualify or categorize it to the Court yourself.
Justice: This is highly irregular, Subject.
Phineas: Yes, yes it is, Justice. This whole business is highly irregular. But it is the only way that I can think of to present my experience to the Court and it become received as it is meant to. In this unique instance, a court body cannot receive what a person can.
Justice: In the interest of brevity, Subject, what do you propose?
Phineas: Allow me to whisper something to you, Justice. Thatís all. Then you can decide how best to deal with it.
Justice: I donít understand this distinction you are making, Subject, but weíll allow this if it will break open this logjam and get things moving. Approach.
(PHINEAS steps up to the Bench of Academia. JUSTICE leans forward and PHINEAS begins whispering in the ear of JUSTICE. JUSTICE gives a look of disbelief.
Justice: How did you Ė What did you -- ? I never thought Iídó
Psychology: (in quick succession) What?
Justice: This Court is hereby recessed until further notice!
(Academics are in a general confusion, JUSTICE Exits SR, INQUIRER & ADVOCATE Rush to the Academia bench. Phineas returns to his podium. OFFICER takes PHINEAS and escorts him off SL)
End ACT I
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