Friday, 18 May 2012

Mini Opera


Here is the entry for the mini opera competition run by the ENO based on a story 'The Dream Sweeper' by Neil Gaiman.

Setting, a huge tip consisting of mountains of rags. Ghost like people sort through the rags scavenging for those that can be sold. A man, the rag man, swaggers towards them.

Rag Man:  Come on over ladies and gents,
                   let’s be having you, penny for old mares,
                   a quid for something new.
                   Found a sailor drowning in a whisky sea,
                   a man trying to open doors with a melting key?
                   A check-out girl, glued to her swivel chair,
                   she spits teeth onto the belt
                   watched by a queue that doesn’t care?
                   How about a soldier watching his mates die,
                   he screams to warn them over and over
                   but they never hear his cry?
                   A timid teenage girl running
                   through her school, suddenly she’s naked,
                   I’d give a fiver for that but I won’t take any tat.
                   Top price paid for terror, misery and pain
                   mare stuff I can recycle again and again and again
Scavengers: We can sell you all their nights,
                     but there are no dreams for us,
                     only theirs to sift and to sort;
                     bad to worse, worse to this ,
                     the last resort for us.
                    We are the dreamless,
                     the scavengers, the lost.
                     and no one gives a toss.
Rag man:    Listen I’m no bleeding heart,
                     I’m only here to play a part, 
                     my job is just to buy the mares.
                    Who cares about you...No one cares
Sweeper enters with his broom pushing a hand cart piled high with rags. The scavengers all gather around his cart examining its contents. He sits down, exhausted.

Sweeper:   The nights these days seem longer,
                  each pavement and every gutter
                  clogged with all their dreams,
                  the clutter of designer histories,
                  words they mutter into pillows,
                  and into the ear of the dark
                  that listens at their window.
                  Each dream roars in my head
                  and this old dragon breathes
                  a fire into the shadows,
                  into the fabric of the night
                  then it slashes, tears and rips
                  and I sweep it up, sweep it up
                  and bring it to the tip

Scavengers:   We need new fears, new tears,
                        bring us something new.
                        These old sorrows, bad tomorrows,
                        are two a penny now.
Sweeper’s Lover:  Leave him be, leave him be
                               can’t you see he’s had enough
                               night after night he sweeps alone
                               sweeps the dark for us.
                               Let him have some peace 
                               all their ragged dreams
                               have worn him to the bone.

The Sweeper: Their dreams have worn me down.
                        I am the man they don’t quite see,
                        a roll-up glow in a back alley.
                        I am that maybe, an almost sound
                        they believe they don’t quite hear,
                        the constant foot- fall behind them
                        that suddenly disappears.
                        That old moon is this white silk,
                        a soft noose around my neck,
                        those stars a million holes pecked
                        in black velvet by dark crows.

Scavengers: We need new fears, new tears,
                      bring us something new.
                      These old sorrows, bad tomorrows,
                      are two a penny now.
Sweeper’s Lover: Remember Sweeper what I find as well
                               those scraps of hope I never sell;
                               odds and ends of wonder, happiness,
                               bright threads of memories.
                                                                            We sort and sell the torn dreams
                                                                            but there are always those I keep
                                                                            that makes it worth the sweep.
    Scavengers: A girl whose wedding dress is slashed and cut.
                         An opera singer whose mouth is sewn tight shut.
                         A mother who sees her dead son in the house.
                         A man being chased by a giant Minnie Mouse

Rag Man:     A penny for that giant Mouse,
                      tenner for the mother’s haunted house.

Sweeper’s Lover: Hold her rag to the moonlight,
                              see the tight warp and weft
                              the close weave of her longing
                              is all that she has left,
                              the silky slivers of her heart
                              that shimmer in the dark.
The Sweeper:  I bring it all here, the scraps
                         of teeth bared, bolting mares,
                         the ragged dreams of life,
                         their Kevlar loves, their flimsy cares,
                         I bring them home to you.
                         A panic at losing something,
                         the wanting that comes first,
                         all their best dreams and worst,
                         I bring them home to you,

Sweeper’s Lover: I have made a quilt to keep you warm
                              out of dreams that may be torn
                              but are flecked with love and hope
                              stitches of better tomorrows.
                              I know the strands of cold 
                              that wrap around your soul,
                              those frayed chill fingers
                             of lost dreams that linger
                             on your face and in the air you breathe.
Rag Man: A hundred, no a thousand for that quilt.
                  It’s wasted on the sweeper; 
                  he’s the one who built
                  this wasteland, rag, by rag, by rag

 Scavengers: He swept and swept,
                       and built this wasteland,
                       rag, by rag, by rag

 Sweeper: I swept and swept,
                  and built this wasteland,
                  rag, by rag, by rag
Sweeper’s Lover:  No, you swept for us, for me,
                                we forgot how to dream and
                                we built our own wasteland
                                here, rag, by rag, by rag

1 comment:

John said...

Your post really helped me to understand the Article. It has great details and yet it is easy to understand. I will definitely share it with others.Thanks for sharing.

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