The Madness of Kronus: A Solstice Play

December 11, 2006 at 12:32 pm (A Stranger Christmas)

(As Performed by the Stranger Creek Platonic Club at the Oracle Theatre)


Beautiful child
Protector of the poor and oppressed
We celebrate your holy birth
As we celebrate our own

Do not disappear in the darkness
But in the darkness be our Sun
For in the play all are saved
And joined to the invisible One
Some through Logos, others through Eros
But the wise through Theurgy
By far the greatest of the three

An old servant enters


How did you arrive here? You don’t remember? Don’t worry. Almost no one does. Where will you go once you leave? Hmm, not sure of that either. Well, there is plenty to eat here. So don’t worry.

First, let me introduce you to our host. He has many names as befits a sovereign of his stature. Tonight we will call him King Kronos. There he is at the head of the table. What? You don’t see anyone… He is so still, he is hard to spot. You must take my word for it. He is the master of the dance.

Perhaps you know of him as Kronos, husband of Rhea. You remember don’t you? He’s the one who devoured all his children save Lord Zeus, who brought our age to be. Or as Kronos, Ruler of that Golden Time when gods and men lived in peace and harmony as they yet do on the Isles of the Blest.

Surely, you have glimpsed the Grand Watchmaker who slowly marks the hours and minutes of our short lived days.

Or Father Time who comes withou warning with a sharp scythe ready for the harvest.

Or Minos who sits in judgment at the court of the dead where deeds are weighed against a feather.

Or Saturn, the dark one, with heavy chains who guards the turnstile of eternity.

So many faces, so many forms. And so quickly, one changes to another.

Here, have a seat and help yourself to all that is present. Watch as fortunes get shuffled from top to bottom and from bottom to top as the elements make reparation to each other for all their injustice.

Observe how the numbers intertwine themselves with our destiny. Now one, now two, now one again. See how the dancers shuffle to keep the lightness of the tune. How they stumble, and fall, weary and intoxicated into ever more frenzied steps. But Kronos is patient. After all he is time who can restore it all in just a moment. As if we could see it! No, not even Kronos knows where the spiral leads. And that is the delight of the dance.


(As Narrator):

The fire blazes in the huge stone hearth. Around it on three sides are long wooden tables groaning with the weight of food and drink. Here, the musicians never stop playing. Outdoors the night sky is full of stars. There are forests in the distance and nearby, the murmur of a river. Everywhere there is laughter. Yet the king sits quietly on his throne as couriers and attendants flutter with messages that disappear as they are read. The queen dances with one guest after another and the silent clock never strikes an hour. This is the court of the Ancient King, whose charm has swayed us all. Let us join in the feast and see what fortune awaits us.

(Addressing Kronus):

My Lord it doth draw close to midnight on the longest night of the year

Kronus: We shall light candles

Hermes: All the spirits of heaven are flying through the air to present fortunes for the New Year

Ops: We shall light incense

Hecate: Thrice round the juniper tree
Thrice we walk in arms all thre
The thread is spun, the year is done
The earth erupts and bears a Sun

(Morpheus enters)

Kronus: We shall speak of time and the dream

Morpheus: That will be a long discussion. We must have something to sustain us if we are to journey so far

Ops: This ale we brew of elixers rare
Mandrake root and hemlock fair
The golden grain of a dying stem
Stirred by fire till it gains life again

(They drink)

Kronus: Let us raise this toast to philosophy
Which consumes all elixirs cheerfully
Then let us talk of time and the dream
And how things are not what they seem

Morpheus: We are brothers are we not?
And with Hypnos we make three
For what dreams could there possibly be
Without sleep, and death, and time to heed?

We spin no mischief of our own
But let each his deep desire behold
This, mortals call their destiny
But what is destiny in a dream

Kronos: We are brothers it is true
But I am older and preceded you
When the sleepers awake, then where am I?
Only at birth and death do I thrive
As each moment dissolves into sleep
Then everyone is reminded
Of the clock I keep
For only within the rhyme
Does one see the face of time

Ops, Hecate & Hermes: We don’t know about the face of time, but we do know it is time for more food and drink. As long as we are fed time is our friend. We will toast time and whether it stays or goes is all the same with us.

(They drink)

Ops: Gentlemen, your mischief is in thinking
Eternity lies in such unreal things
As time and sleep and circular dreaming
When what exists in abundantly clear
And is falling out of the cornucopia that’s near
Eat and drink and talk no more


Yes, if we are to have any commerce
We must be well fed and amply nourished
But if we are to talk of wonders
And marvelous things

We must not bind ourselves to mere philosophy
When we could free ourselves in theurgy


In the darkness and the weakening of the light
Let us draw closer and find
In the bright fires of well tended hearths
Cheerfulness and joy and mystery
The cool air of darkness is so pristine
What could be fresher than this to drink?
The frozen world is strangely warm
Don’t you wonder how this has come to be?

Hypnos: All of your words make me tired
One must put the mind to sleep
There when everything is clear
Timeless, Dreamless, Deathless
You’ll find the drink you need


I will toast to that, may you all join me too
For now we part company and return
We to our dream, you to yours
The old dies, the new is born
There is nothing one should mourn
The winter dance now begins
Who will lose and who will win?
Who will rise and who will fall?
Who will never dance at all?

All Exit)

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