“Of Harbingers, Of Malcontents: An Opera” by Michael Tesney

Act 9 Scene I


The skull of a rat. Above the eye cavities on either side are two small boxes one black and one yellow. The skull itself is to be painted with yellow and black stripes running vertically from the center to the outside.

Enter Red Balloon (bouncing, as it hits parts of the stage it leaves a slimy black residue).

Balloon bounces around the skull seven times before finally disappearing into its left eye socket, as it disappears Handle’s Messiah, (played on five kazoos, washtub bass, tambourine, banjo and a toaster) begins to emanate from the right eye socket.

Enter a Dead Salmon (fillet).

Fillet #1: I used to be a king fish but now with the way things are, I would be happy to just be whole again.

Fillet #2: Beans! I wish I were a halibut, that way I would be a crispy stick in some child’s hand! That is happiness.

Fillet #1: Always fighting to be something else. Why can you not accept the state of things? CHALLENGE!!

They step six paces away from each other, compose their posture and charge one another in a duel, using their bodies as swords.

As they begin to fight the balloon peeks out of the giant skull.

Balloon (From inside the skull): You can’t duel without a witness! The law won’t stand for it!

Fillet #1 (still fighting fiercely): What is the law to a half dead fish!

Enter rusty green wheelbarrow filled with ping pong balls.

The balloon sees the wheelbarrow of ping-pong balls and hops down from the skull to the dueling ground below. Once he is on the field the fish stop fighting and they all begin to sing, and dance in a chorus line.

Fillet (whole, i.e both) and Balloon (in unison, with the Balloon trailing slightly behind):
I’d like to see the sea
Of that my dead decree
Of what once was whole and sure
Bow to the Bow the whore is pure.

If the Cadillac did whack
Why’d Mc’Gill get the sack
When all the sorry strikebreakers came
to torture all the  minors lame.

They all laugh and jump in the wheelbarrow sending the ping-pong balls all over.

The wheel-barrow begins to circle the stage in figure eights. As it does so the two boxes above the eye cavities begin to turn into Jars of Marmalade. The wheelbarrow should go around  the stage until the boxes have fully transformed.

Lights down.

Act 89 scene 0


A graveyard of incandescent wheelbarrows and Lincoln Logs.

Enter an electron cloud.

Electron Cloud (talking to itself):
a. You there!
b. What me?
c. Or me?
d. All of you.
e. You mean all of I.
f. Where are we?
g. When are we.
h. How are we?
i. Fine.
(In Unison)    j. Fine.
k. Fine.
l. Where is the nucleus?
m. Along the bathwater again.
n. When?
o. From long ago.
p. Death, Death from long ago.

Enter Einstein’s skeleton (it still has his hair).

Skeleton (to the electron cloud): Why are you behaving this way?

Electron cloud # N: Cold fusion is true! Ham and cheese! Bittleyfor! You need a degree of heat in your arse!

Skeleton: Bold of heat your wit lacking, my my little feather (pointing to Lincoln Logs that are protruding from the ground) aren’t they the perfect picture of prefecture!

Electron cloud #B: Only when that was in nothingness (pause) only neutrinos have their pie!

Skeleton: Of boob and book ask me not, lets you and I smoke some pot!

Skeleton pulls a tin pot from his jaw, lights it on fire and dances around in the smoke.

Electron cloud #P: The intellectual has gruel for brains, (to all electrons) let us away from here.

Electron Cloud #C: The walls of space are curved indeed.
too bad the human foot is flat.

Electron Cloud #F: A war, a war! Lets start a war!!!

A tortoise shell falls from the sky and crashes down on the Skeleton causing it to break into many, many pieces.

Electron cloud #A: Must have been an Eagle mistaking him for a rock. It always happens to the best of them.

The Electron cloud begins to sing “Amazing Grace” in ragtime style. Once the song is over the graveyard bursts into flames.

Act 56, 748 scene 8


The vacuum of space, deep in the Alpha Quadrant.

The stars go up lighting the playing area.

Enter One Hundred Billion Neutrinos (they speed quickly through).

There is a bright flash as the Universe inverts itself.

Enter One Hundred Billion Trillion Neutrinos (heading the opposite direction as the previous).

The Universe explodes.

Enter God.

God: What is going on! I demand to know!

Enter One Hundred Thousand Billion Trillion Neutrinos.

God (To the Neutrinos): You there, stop!

Neutrino # 684,232,323,343,345,762,234: No time man, no time, can’t you see we’re in a hurry?

God: Where are you going?

Neutrino #283,346,768,232: When are we going is the question?

God: What do you mean, when?

Neutrino# 2: We can escape this pathetic vacuum called time.

God: So, what’s your point?

All the Neutrinos laugh

God: What are you laughing at?

Neutrino # 443: Beings!

God: I did not fit you into my calculations, therefore you do not exist!

Neutrino #234: Eat it!

All Neutrinos exit leaving God alone in the center of the universe

God begins to get angry and implodes.

Lights, not existing anymore, go down.

Act #E , section for act 46.25 ½


The corner of that Tuesday when we fucked for the first time.

The sun and moon, together light the stage.

Enter a thought, Black along with three strings (one red wool, one orange leather, one white steel).

Black Thought: The holocaust of time is a farcical romp of utter stupidity!

Orange Leather String: Leave it to you to mock the existence of light. It is truly that which keeps us separate from the starving class.

White Steel: The Dung is what keeps me fresh, the banality of pleasantness, enemy to our dark friends.

Red Wool: I came once from a lamb. No I am afraid I don’t know the answer to that question.

Black Thought: Words are meaningless, leave them to they which have lost the desire for actions

Enter a Punctured left testicle, with its entrails lagging behind.

Black Thought: I’d never thought I’d see the day when mans best friends get treated
this way.  (pause, then to testicle) What happened?


The red wool and white steel begin to braid themselves.

Orange Leather: That’s not very nice. Can’t you see we have an injury?

Black Thought: Destruction of mass it what created the little ones, it’s amazing how fast  they go, I hate that it is they who can escape this prison but not I.

Testicle (Gathering his entrails): The wish is what I would give if I had it.

Fusion clouds begin to form above.

From somewhere in the distance we hear a grand piano drop from the sky onto a pyramid of glass and pumperknickle stilettos.

Staplers begin to rain down from the Fusion Clouds.

The Testicle picks one up and seals his wound.

The Black Thought dissipates as the Red Wool and White Steel begins to ejaculate on the floor.

Once together again the Testicle divides like a cell forming another identical unit. They stand together and chant.

Testicles (In unison):

A small penis begins to form


The penis grows larger


It is now normal size.

They all three exit together.

The sun cums, and drifts off to sleep, dissatisfied. The moon fades out.

Act 349 scene –2


A rusted metal oak tree in the center of a forest grove late on a dark winter night. A full moon lights the playing area.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (played on 1,000 harmonicas, in double-time) begins.

Enter a Babblefish and a raccoon (blind in one eye) dancing.

They dance to the music around the tree, as they dance they speak.

Raccoon: In this where is the loss?

Babblefish: The loss is in the making my dear.

Raccoon: But what of the others? How should they know the Glory we share?

Babblefish: The shit that we leave in our place when we pass, its strong odor will give some clue as to the depth of our love.

Raccoon: When I look into your scales I see myself, content with the world.

Babblefish: When I look into you empty brown eye I see a water paradise.

They kiss.

Enter a Bear, on a unicycle unnoticed by the two.

They continue to dance cooing and cawing to one another.

The bear leaps up into the air and stops above their heads.

They look up at the Bear but mistake him for the moon.

The bear opens his mouth and sucks them into his great big belly.

The music shifts to the Star Spangled Banner sung by 7 1990 Macintosh Laptops, a capella.

As the Star Spangled Banner is sung the bear rides the unicycle in figure eights while in salute to an invisible flag.

Enter a fifty-foot penguin with a tattoo of a fifty foot penguin on his forehead.

The penguin sees the bear and eats him, then crushes the laptops.

The penguin begins to pull caviar from its eyes and places it in little pools across the limbs of the tree.

The Moon
causing the rivers to rise a
nd flood the earth,

Darkening it.

Act 429.bc
Scene III


The pages of history

Enter Rome, Burning, she is carrying the nose of the sphinx, laughing hysterically.

(400 hundred blenders filled with small jade stones shaped like the Buddha begin to hum “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”)

Rome drops the nose of the sphinx

(The 400 blenders filled with jade Buddha’s now begin to sing the same song)

Rome, still in flames, clutches her belly and dies.

Enter Axiom (stage left)

As Axiom crosses the stage it sees Rome dead and still burning. The Axiom approaches her, picks up the sphinx’s nose and holds it high above its head.

As the Axiom holds the nose as high as it can the Blenders stop singing.

Enter 2 Angles (One 90 degree, the other 45 degrees).

The angles see the Axiom and attack it.

The Axiom tries to fight them off with the nose of the sphinx.

(The 400 blenders filled with Jade begin to hum Carmena Burrinna).

They fight for about five minutes as the song reaches it crescendo the Angles overtake the Axiom causing it to drop  the nose of the sphinx, which falls off to the side.

(The 400 blenders filled with jade Buddha’s begin to strum out a New Orleans Death March)

The fight of the Angles and Axiom mutates the combatants into an eight-dimensional sphere which rolls around the stage seven times, then on its last lap around disappears into the left nostril of the sphinx.

Enter two t-bone steaks (from opposite side of the stage).

As they enter they approach the nose of the sphinx and stare at each other from either side.

Re-enter the eight dimensional sphere, from the opposite nostril it disappeared into.

The eight-dimensional Sphere begins to circle around the nose as well as the t-bone steaks.

(The 400 blenders filled with jade begin to play “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies”)

The t-bones begin to dance
a tango as the glory that
once was Rome

-Fades to Black-

Michael Tesney is an associate editor at Steel Toe Review. He helps us out with a lot of random things such as graphic design and fielding drama submissions. He is also a playwright and the former director of Greencup Books.