Short Dramas and Plays
THE MADNESS OF PHINEAS GALEN (Act II Scene 3)
(Setting: Cell Room as in the first scene. PHINEAS is in cell face in hands as lights come up. We hold on this for a short time. Enter OFFICER, CHRISTINE)
Officer: Phineas Galen. By order of the Court of Trials and the finding of the collective Academia, you are hereby released and declared a free man. (OFFICER turns off “wall” to cell) You are free to go, Mr. Galen.
Phineas: Christine! (long embrace)
Christine: The kids are waiting for you. We’re so glad it’s finally over.
Phineas: The kids! They’re safe? You’re sure?
Christine: Of course, right outside.
Phineas: They haven’t left your sight?
Christine: No, Finney. What’s wrong?
Phineas: Nothing. Nothing Chris. Let’s just get out of here.
Christine: Phineas. You sound different. You look different. What happened?
Phineas: Nothing, Christine. Let’s just get out of here.
Christine: Finney. You remember what I said? You promised me.
Phineas: What’s that Christine?
Christine: That you wouldn’t sell your soul. You didn’t, did you?
(PHINEAS stands, long pause)
Christine: Phineas Galen. I told you not to sacrifice your integrity and buckle to those people. They were bullying you and you stood up for your integrity and that’s what I love about you.
(PHINEAS still stands)
Christine: Phineas? Tell me you didn’t compromise yourself just to be with us? Just to get the trial over with.
Phineas: No. No, Christine. I didn’t compromise myself just to get out of the Inquiry, of that I can assure you.
Christine: Well, good. If you caved in just because you thought it was hard on us to bear through it all, I don’t think I could live with myself.
Phineas: Well, I promise, you can live with yourself. And I -- I can live with myself, too.
Christine: And I think I can live with you, too, Mr. Galen.
Phineas: You’re sure you’re all right? Nobody’s approached you? Nobody’s harassed you?
Christine: Not as such. I mean, certain members of the teacher’s cadre made themselves scarce, and there’s been a few academic social events we’ve been conspicuously not invited to.
Oh, sure we get some correspondence that find its way from some of the more vocal detractors, but we’ve been pretty well insulated. And the Advocate who was helping me with visitation rights was extremely kind and took a great interest personally in your inquiry.
Phineas: I can imagine. Chris, I’ve been thinking, I’ve had a lot of time to think, actually. My career here is finished—
Christine: And I have no regrets, Finney. You did what you felt you had to do.
Phineas: Yes. I think we should move away, get a fresh start. Maybe get an agriculture grant, go someplace remote.
Christine: Be farmers? Finney, we don’t know anything about farming.
Phineas: It doesn’t have to be agriculture. Just something, something so we can be together, that’s all that’s important.
Christine: We’ll make it, Finney. Whatever we decide. We’re flexible, and you’re a resourceful man.
Phineas: Someone else said that, once.
Christine: That someone was right.
Phineas: I wouldn’t be so quick to agree with all he has to say. We should be going now.
Christine: Of course, Finney. The girls are very excited to see you.
Phineas: Oh, to be called “daddy” again. For that, I would sell my soul.
Christine: None of that, Phineas. Your soul is not for sale, and that’s final.
Phineas: Well, for sale, no. But perhaps as a bargaining chip.
Christine: Honestly, Phineas! You stop that kind of talk right now, I don’t like it. We’ve got you back, and that’s all that matters.
Phineas: Yes dear. Whatever you say, dear. Oh, how I love to say that.
Christine: You go ahead and get the girls ready. I’ll be along shortly.
Phineas: Christine, I just need a short moment to get my composure back before I can be ‘daddy” again. I’ve been answering court officials for so long, I -- I don’t want to sound like a strange man to my children.
Christine: Well, all right. But don’t take too long, Finney. We’ve waited a very long time to be together again.
(Played is a recording to act as PHINEAS recalling a Courtroom scene.)
Justice McCroskey: Subject Phineas Galen. These past months you have been examined in the court of Trials under the hypothesis that you have violated Directives derived from the current accepted models, and have further acted in such a way as to teach against these models to the students under your instruction. These are serious allegations, to be sure, Subject.
Advocate: Justice Academia, if I may make a motion, sir?
McCroskey: Proceed, Advocate.
Advocate: The Subject has signed and wishes to enter the following submission to the Court: “I, Subject identified as Phineas Galen to the Court’s satisfaction, do hereby affirm…
Advocate & Phineas: (speak at the same time) “…that the actions for which I am under examination were committed under a brief period of mental instability following an unexplainable episode of euphoria which was mistakenly attributed to mythical beliefs which have been my field of study. All claims of factual encounters or other experiences I now deem false, with a clarity of mind…”
(Advocate only:) “…and renewed perspective.”
Phineas: …and renewed perspective.
Can we put a ruler up to infinity?
Can we put infinity on a scale?
Can we say anymore about the nature of infinity except that it goes on and on endlessly? By its nature it confounds us, and yet, we still try to grapple with it by attempting to make it less than it is.
Insist on sanity and be thought mad
or feign madness to be thought sane?
Hold steadfast to the truth to be deemed false
or falsify to preserve the Truth?
And so we hide and cower and shield our eyes
From the blinding Light of Truth
And revere its palest cast of reflection
As idols to the terrifying, consuming and glorious Light.
The darkness is Mercy,
And it is to our shame,
We worship the Darkness for its kindness,
For its protection, and cuddle to the comfort it brings
And fear and revile the light.
O dying ember within
Bright was thy Light
Which revealed all that was hidden
Within thy infinite radiance.
Brighter than a sky of novas
or a galaxy of quasars,
How it grieves me that I must
Blot out this glory
Would that I could separate
All that prevents me from
Basking in Your presence
Drinking Your illumination
Would that I…
Would that I…
But bound am I forever
In this, the mundane of all worlds
I blot my eyes out
And numb my mind to your calling
Vex me no more I beseech
Lest I cast aside the conventions of the temporal
And hurl myself into the madness
Of the Infinite
A madness sublime
A madness incomprehensible
A madness inevitable
(Shouting) VEX ME NO MORE!
(pleading) Vex me no more…
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