"Issue of the Day"
Consent in the Dawn of the
of Romantic Enlightenment
The following essay is adapted from a speech delivered by director/choreographer Tyr Throne during the first Romantic Enlightenment Variety Show. (Please note that in this essay, kiss may be substituted for all terms of passion.)
"Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Allow me to introduce to you Prepare to Meet Your Maker, the heavenly new musical I am directing, in its fifth performance here in New York. This surrealist masterwork depicts the meeting of a corpse, Cementeria, and a gravedigger, Quasimodo, who, through contact with one another, are both invigorated and revitalized.
"The action takes place in and around a pearly-gated community, called the Ordered World. Only people who have been to the baptist may enter this exclusive enclave. Cementeria takes drastic, and some might say offensive, steps to be with the baptist -- in doing so she follows in the footsteps of Salome. By beheading the baptist, she gains entrance to the Ordered World, but, once inside, she meets her maker, dies and is promptly removed by Quasimodo and other hunchbacked gravediggers, who treat her lifeless body like so much garbage.
"The male romantic lead in this work, Quasimodo, initially sees himself as repellent and solitary, certainly not above administering rohypnol, the date/rape drug, if it were available, but, having no access to it, he must satisfy himself with the dead. Therefore, the only Ordered World residents he embraces are corpses.
"The discarded Cementeria offers much to those with whom she comes in contact, and Quasimodo is the first to discover this. When his graveyard lovemaking awakens her, her first order of business is to improve his health and posture. Then, applying lessons in personal hygene learned from her experience with the baptist, she and Quasimodo present themselves as a proud couple that the residents of the Ordered World wish to embrace and include among the best of them.
"All goes well for a time until Quasimodo reveals their secret, that she's dead and that he is fucking her to keep her alive. Upon learning this, a strong-arm coalition of necrophiliac-bashers force them to separate. The rest of the story portrays their reunion and subsequent rehabilitation as participants in an ancient Egyptian tale of resurrection, the legend of Isis and Osiris.
(Kerrigan Webb as Cementeria and Charles Herold as Quasimodo)
"Along with the dead, many issues are raised within the breathtaking scope of this work, not the least of which is the issue of preservation or disposal of the dead, currently an issue of cryonics or cremation. Furthermore, as a surrealist work, Prepare to Meet Your Maker defies explanation, yet one issue does reoccur which is worth considering in the Dawn of Romantic Enlightenment, and that is why, tonight, at the Variety Show introducing this new era, I suggest we consider Prepare to Meet Your Maker and the issue of consent.
"'At the moment of consent I say, 'It wasn't what I meant.'
It only takes an instant to be cured of a forfeiture.'
"That quote from one of the 12 songs in the show (The Cage is Chilly) is important because both Quasimodo and Cementeria act in ignorance of consent at some point early in the story, Cementeria in kissing the baptist, and Quasimodo in kissing and fucking Cementeria; both actions occur at times when the object of their affection is unable to refuse, the baptist because he has been beheaded and Cementeria because she is dead.
"There is little more to be said on the subject except that Cementeria does come to appreciate and instruct Quasimodo on the importance of consent for mutual satisfaction in long-lasting growth relationships. It is she who advises him that 'a woman should be conscious before you start getting excited about her.'
"Here is yet another example of how Prepare to Meet Your Maker contributes to the greater goal of Romantic Enlightenment for all. Go forth in a state of exuberance. Thank you."
MORE ESSAYS ABOUT PREPARE TO MEET YOUR MAKER
Back to Prepare to Meet Your Maker Home Page
From a May 10, 2002 Email Note to John Seroff:
asked what changes you want to make in the script. I wrote back the
"He (John) wants to elaborate on the couple's relationship and the suggestion, amidst the rejection of religion, of a new religion based on love. "
Then I added thinking about the idea of building something upon the carnage...
"Thinking about this I'm remembering a feeling that these two just want a comfortable place for themselves, where they can explore and investigate, like they are Sherlock Holmes and Watson, living within the structure of a religious construct that leaves them independent of the construct, but benefiting from its full services, like they are GUESTS AT A REALLY NICE HOTEL."