Leon Katz


Forthcoming from Applause Books, spring 2004!

THE GREEK MYTHS

THE GREEK MYTHS ran for ten years in the Vagabond Puppet Company's production, and during that time, toured throughout the U.S., and was seen by thousands of children and adults.


Excerpt from EPISODE FOUR: THE BIRTH OF ZEUS

VOICE
Cronus, now ruler in heaven,
Forgetting his mother's lament
For her sons, his elder brothers,
Imprisoned in Tartarus,
Thrilled to be God of all Gods
Pleasures himself as he pleases,
Taking Rhea, his sister, to wife,
The beautiful Titaness.
Rhea one day announces:

RHEA
Cronus, my husband, my God--

CRONUS
True.

RHEA
A fifth child is born, a child
To bring us joy beyond joy.

CRONUS
False.

RHEA
False?

CRONUS
False.
No child of mine, my wife,
Can bring me joy beyond joy
Since the prophecy foretold
That the child I father will be
The betrayer and death of me.

RHEA
(handing him the babe)
Husband, my God of All Gods--

CRONUS
True.

RHEA
I beg you to tell me, my love:
The children that spring from my womb,
I bring them to you, each one--

CRONUS
And then?

RHEA
I bring them, and never--
It is strange, but never--

CRONUS
Yes?

RHEA
I never do see them again.

CRONUS
And so?

RHEA
I don’t complain,
My Lord, my God,
But could you tell me--

CRONUS
What?

RHEA
What happens to the babes I bear?

CRONUS
Oh, idle curiosity,
A woman’s way.
“Never see the babes I bear!”
Ah, so like a woman to ask!

RHEA
But could you hint--

CRONUS
I swallow them.

RHEA
Swallow--?

CRONUS
Eat.
A demonstration?
Here, you see?
(He swallows the babe.)
One gulp, and babe is gone.
Best way, my dear, the best.
Swallowed,
Safely in my belly,
No harm can come from them.
And I, your Lord and God,
Ruler of heaven and earth
(And this household, dear)
Can rest at ease.

RHEA
With all those babies
Cluttering your belly?

CRONUS
At ease, secure, and sure
That none will bring me harm.--
Ah, wife who worships me,
I see, perhaps, another
Child is on the way?

RHEA
Another? No.

CRONUS
Damn!
My eyes are keen!
My appetite is keen!
Do you deceive...?

RHEA
Deceive!
May heaven be my witness--

CRONUS
True.
I am.

RHEA
Then witness,
Heaven, God of Gods,
The truth is written in my eyes,
My face--

CRONUS
But when another comes--?

RHEA
He shall be yours,
My joy, my heaven--

CRONUS
Good. Ah, me, the pleasures of
A simple, good and mindless wife!
My blessing on your perfect innocence!

RHEA
My love, my joy, my holy one, my God--
(Cronus is gone.)
A black destruction burn your eyes
And scorch your stomach and your tongue!
Choke, you swine and glutton, when you swallow
My darling new-born babes!
First, pretty Hestia,
Then Demeter, my lovely thing,
Then Hera, Hades, and Poseidon,
All gourmandized by him, that beast.
But not this one
Not this one sleeping in my womb!
Swinish Cronus, monster,
You've dined your last!
May fire, fire and lightning, burn your eyes!

Selected Works

Playwriting
Play Collection
Midnight Plays consists of four plays: Marquis de Sade’s Justine, Swellfoot’s Tears, Dracula: Sabbat, and The Dybbuk.
Children's Plays
A collection of 11 puppet plays based on the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses.