Turn the Hourglass, Quickly
Other Plays by Kathleen D. Tomko
Tomko, Kathleen D. (American playwright, academic, actor, choreographer, designer, 1941-____), “Turn the Hourglass, Quickly,”
a 10-minute satirical comedy in English, set in a convoluted time warp mostly in 455 A.D. before Fall of Rome,
© 2007 by Kathleen D. Tomko;
• in Kathleen D. Tomko’s Turn the Hourglass, Quickly (Brookings, Oregon, U.S.A.; The Author, 2007);
• script/rights available from Kathleen D. Tomko, 318 Memory Lane, Brookings, Oregon 97415, U.S.A., e-mail email@example.com, telephone (home) 541-469-3348.
• Cited by Kathleen D. Tomko via e-mail, September 9, 2008.
Emperor (m), middle aged, curly-haired, bearded, costumed in white, Roman toga tied at his waist with a gold cord, green wreath around his crown; Marcos Tacitus (m), indeterminate age, curly-haired, bearded, dressed in white, Roman toga tied at his waist with white cord, green wreath around his crown; Luciana/Head Legionnaire (f), indeterminate age, a golden-haired beauty, costumed in a long sleeveless, white, early Roman type gown tied at her waist with golden threads (as Head Legionnaire Luciana wears chest armor over her gown and a Roman helmet).
The beautiful slave, Luciana turns an hourglass: “Is the Roman Empire before its fall similar to the Empire of the United States?” Even with power, wealth, and worldly success, her Emperor is bored. Tacitus suggests expanding the Empire. However, having already debased their currency they will have to usurp the wealth of more countries. Luciana reappears again as Head Legionnaire telling them their legions are stretched and filled with untrustworthy mercenaries. She says, in a caustic aside, “Raise your hand if you knew mercenaries filled the Roman armies? History does repeat itself.” She’s ignored. They continue plans as Luciana shouts: “No one sleep! The barbarians are at the gate!” In a soliloquy she chastises: “…oh you vain, cruel lords who wield absolute sovereignty, do you not see the uprising? Threatened by corruption at home, impending military set backs abroad, is the end of civilization at hand?” Sensing we have enough information to make our judgments, she can’t leave us despondent: “…true leaders, who give us hope over despair can rise in time...No one sleep, maybe peace is at the gate.” She turns the hourglass, quickly, one more time, spreads her wings and slips to another time.
• “Turn the Hourglass, Quickly” is a technically easy, three-character satrical comedy with one scene, one set and general lighting.
• “Turn the Hourglass, Quickly” incorporates the themes of power and greed in the search of illusive happiness with the theme of hope for mankind’s future. On one level 'Hourglass' is a non-judgmental political statement about empire building and mercenaries; and, on a lesser level, a tribute to the memory of opera great Luciano Pavorotti and maybe even Barack Obama. The Emperor and Marcos Tacitus reveal some of their ambitions so the audience can judge for itself if the Roman Empire before its fall with its greed and mercenary armies is similar to what Luciana refers to as the Empire of the United States. Luciana moves from present to past, sometimes in caustic asides, as herself, as a slave and as a head legionnaire. Unless opera buffs recognize the 'No one sleep' reference that runs through the play, the secondary themes, which offer a sense of hope, don’t become clear until a twist at the end.
• I’m a former university instructor. In my theatre career, I designed, choreographed, directed plays, did some acting and summer stock, and was an adjudicator for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. I lived abroad in the eighties and nineties and now write plays full time. My full-length plays include: * Chetco River Defies the Big One (along with a murderous-spy and the FBI), a technically easy, six-actor farce explores the dynamics of small town government dealing with catastrophes. * Corker’s Waltz, a technically easy minimal set, four-actor comedy (a tour de force for a fifty-something female actor) weaves her metamorphose with conversations with old Corker, her talking dog. * The Forgiveness Tree a technically easy, minimal set drama with eight to nineteen actors (also in one-act form with only four actors) explores the universal theme of forgiveness. * Guga Chu: Path to Forgiveness, a technically challenging, large-cast fantasy with flying characters oozing out of computer animations, weaves the paths of two different young heroes as they save their land from evil, heal the wounds between their races, and grow strong within themselves.
empire building, greed, history, hope, hourglass (invented at Alexandria about the middle of the third century), mercenary, Obama (Barack Obama aka Barack Hussein Obama II aka Barry Obama, African American politician, b. August 4, 1961-____), opera, Pavorotti (Luciano Pavorotti, Italian tenor, international opera and popular music star, b. October 12, 1935-d. September 6, 2007), politics, power, Rome, uprising.