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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Truncated Play
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 97 00:49:00 GMT

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Reply:  Item #7230818 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET#

Tony Ellis,

Re: the length of the play and the completeness of the drama we are
shown.  First off, please count the number of times the stage
direction "stage darkens" appears--this traditionally indicates the
end of one "act" and the beginning of the next "act."  (The dramatic
equivalent of chapters, I suppose.)  I count five, myself, but I also
think the play has been cut off: so six acts, at least.

Second, if this =really= is all the play that there is, then how do
you explain the presence of the following characters in the list
preceeding the play: Angelic Beings, The New Sun, The Old Sun, The
Moon?  In other words, if the play really is supposed to end with
Baldanders going berserk (which might be a good stunt for getting
stuff from country bumpkins but I could've sworn that Talos and
Baldanders admitted that it was a bad, bad mistake to pull such a
trick on the hierodules--a mistake that may have cost Baldanders the
autarchy), then why would these other characters be listed?  (They
seem logical to the flow, and they seem to appear in the Ushas or
"real" enactment of the play.)

(My theory, fwiw, is that Baldanders always really does go nuts when
they get to that part of the "play."  Under his cool, sluggish
exterior is not only a detatched scientist but also a raging maniac.
One of his hot buttons is "superstition," and based upon his
inability to maintain his composure during the drama, the idea that
the New Sun will triumph in the end sends him into a real mindless
and murderous rage.)

(Reminder: Baldy jumps twice--once at Ctesiphon's Cross in Nessus,
the first time we glimpse the play; and second at House Absolute,
when the text of the play is given.)

You write:

"How else can the play end but on a knife-edge, with the New Sun
battling Darkness and everything else still in doubt?"

Uh, is this a trick question? <g> It can end with the triumph of the
New Sun, naturally!  Be careful--you are assigning allegorical
qualities to a play already steeped in mythos: the battle at the
truncation is not between "the New Sun" (a character on the list who has
not yet appeared in the play--though he probably was spotted by the
countessa) and "Darkness" (a character who does not exist in the
play); rather, it is between the Familiar (a torturer) played by a
torturer and Nod (a titan who would retake the throne of Zeus) played
by a titan who would retake the throne of Zeus.

Re: "Agia as a typo for Jolenta."  Nope.  Granted, I can see how that
might appear to be a mistake, since Agia never appears in the play.
However, Agia really =is= Lilith to Severian.  Jolenta, who only plays
Lilith in the stage production, is really only a victim with a
capital V; a living puppet.


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