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“The Darkling Plain”

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Lanci, Gabriel (American playwright, February 18, 1940, 19__-____), “The Darkling Plain,”

a 10-minute drama, in English, set in a rocky cliff near a mountain top in central Italy, a dark night in 771 A.D.,


© 1996 by Gabriel Lanci, script/rights available from Gabriel Lanci, 32 Baltimore Street, Lynn, Massachusetts 01902, U.S.A., telephone (home) 781-593-1085, (work) 781-593-1085, e-mail GabeLanci@aol.com. Cited Lanci Gabriel via ftp, June 5, 1998; Lanci says,
Dramatis Personae Willabard (m), a Benedictine monk; Hulogu (m), leader of the Mogol hordes.

Synopsis “In the dead of night, on Mount Cassino in central Italy, Willabard, a Benedictine monk has climbed to an isolated cliff in the mountainside. He plunges a torch into the ground, its light reveals Hulogu, leader of the Mogol hordes, a bound prisoner. He is about to be executed by the Italians. Willibard, the abbot of the destroyed monastery that crowns the mountain, is curious about the mind of the man who has terrified all of Europe. He makes an effort to speak to Hulogu, he wants him to understand that he has destroyed priceless manuscripts, records and ideas of civilization. Hulogu laughs at this, what could he possibly care for civilization—it blocks his way to possession. He ridicules Chritians’ trust in other men. He relates to Willibard his joy in destroying his enemies; the Abbot is both horrified and furious. If Hulogu is executed there will be retaliation from the Mogols, then revenge taken by the Italians, it will never end. If Hulogu is set free, perhaps some seed of peace will be planted. Willibard raises a dagger. Hulogu thinks he is about to die at his hands, but Willibard slashes at his bonds and drops the knife in anguish. Hulogu snatches it up, he tells the monk that now he can kill him. Willibard makes the sign of the cross and bows his head. When he looks up, Hulogu has escaped to the plain below.

Comment See also Gabriel Lanci’s

  • Holding Breath,” a 10-minute drama in English, set in a hospital room, a summer afternoon, 1996, 1m2f
  • Light Falling On A Distant Shore,” a 30-minute suspense drama in English, set in conference room in city skyscraper, 3:00 p.m., business day, 1996-98, 3m1f
  • The Passion Play,” a 30-minute drama, in English, set in bar in an elegant restaurant, early evening, 1985 or any time since, 3m
  • Undine,” a 30-minute drama-fantasy in English, set beside a pool in a forest glade, dawn now and night long ago, 2m2f
  • Waiting for the Lion,” a 15-minute drama, in English, set in a a cave in the Jordanian desert, high noon in 430 AD, 1m1f
  • Water Songs,” a 10-minute drama, in English, set upstairs room in a large house by the sea, late afternoon, 1987 or any time after, 1f
  • Themes abbot, Benedictine, bondage, captivity, Christianity, civilization, cliff, climbed, communication, curiosity, dagger, destruction, destruction, escape, Europe, execution, freedom, horde, idea, isolation, Italians, Italy, leadership, manuscript, Mogol, monastery, monk, Mount Cassino, mountain, peace, possession, prisoner, record, retaliation, revenge, ridicule, terror, trust.


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