FIND in
<--prev V5 next-->

From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) The play's the thing
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 1997 13:35:57 

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

Here’s my take on Dr. Talos’s play:

I think it clearly parallels the only other pageant in the series, that in
Urth (V), where the aquastors gather before Tzadkiel (who represents the
Increate) to speak for and against Severian. In the play, the
representatives of those who live on Urth gather before the Autarch, who
represents the Increate, to debate the coming of the New Sun. (Note that the
Autarch makes it clear that, even as an actor, he is –not- the Increate, he
is merely standing in for him as the owner of the garden.)

Meschia and Meschiane represent mankind. The Contessa represents us—that
small segment of first-world mankind that owns computers and reads books—as
well as the exultant class. Small roles are given to the military, to a
religious/philosopher type, to a servant, a judge, even to a torturer. Thus
virtually everyone we meet in the book is seen in the play.

Gabriel represents the angels, and, as has been pointed out, more angelic
beings are to appear in the unfinished portion of the play. Jahi represents
the demon world—I think it extremely decent of Dr. Talos to give demons a
say—and thus not only Shaitan, Ahriman, Erebus, Abaia, the Aschians etc.,
but, as mantis says, Agia. Two demons disguised as merchants also appear,
and it would seem that there might be a debate with the angelic beings to
come, though how this would be staged is hard to say, since I believe they
are played by the women.

Baldanders’s  roles are downright fascinating. As Nod, he represents the
elementals, the children of Urth, not only the Nephilim, Titans, Jontun,
ogres, giants, trolls, creatures in the cave, Gayomart, Enkidu, etc, but
also the dumb beasts who cannot speak for themselves. As the Statue, he
stands for androids, demi-humans and the cacogens, but also, I think, for
ruins, monuments, the nobler detritus of mankind. It’s possible that he,
rather than Dr. T, will play the Old Sun in the last act, yet he is crucial
to the development of Ushas, or so I think.

The time is out of time, a magical midnight between the end of the Old Sun
and the start of the New. The destruction which we witness in V is
predicted. The actors know what their roles were in ages past, but they
cannot say for sure what their new roles will be. Note that there will be a
mirror in V, when Odilo, Pega and Thetis take on Meschia, Meschiane and

Over to you.


<--prev V5 next-->