Pan Ross Collage
Jo Wickens 

There was no 'mini biography' of Jo Wickens in the original entry in this website.

Highland Culture

Catch 22 in Crete

Act 1, Scene 1
The curtain rises. The scene is the entrance to a Cretan Airport. A chorus of youthful Greeks dressed as waiters and waitresses are grouped on the steps. They move forward.

Chorus Boys: Behold the travellers from those far-off isles,
Far beyond the known and ordered world,
Descend from strange four-wheelëd vehicles
Unlike the chariots Greek youth knew of old,
In sunny days of yore, alas no more.
0 See how they swarm towards the double doors;
A magic doorway opened by the spirits
Of the air;  all happy to be carried
Far away to misty realms of rain,
Far beyond the known world's sheltering rim.

Chorus Girls: Look! They laugh and talk! Poor silly fools,
Their destinations, nay their lives, their fates
Are held within the hands of ancient Gods.
Yea, Zeus on high Olympus laughs aloud
On his great throne and calls a mighty gale
With dusty orange clouds to hide the sun.
Leaves are torn untimely from their boughs
And birds fly homeless in our storm-tossed skies.
The wretched travellers stand aghast, their hair
And raiment blown about in wild disorder.

Chorus Boys: O mighty Zeus, desist and spare their plight!
They are but foolish foreign men and women
Who cannot read our ancient script, nor speak
Our sacred mother tongue. They cannot know
Your laws and do not recognise the holy
Edicts and decrees which guide your realm.

Zeus descends on a cloud. The chorus prostrate themselves.

Zeus: The gods on high Olympus are not moved.
Those feet in heavy boots have trodden down
The pastures where the shepherds mind their sheep,
Intruded into hidden gorges, groves
And flowery meadows of Persephone,
And serve an upstart goddess, Botinee.

Chorus girls: They did not pick the flowers, great Zeus,
Although they did inhale their scent!

Zeus: It matters not! They trod the sacred soil
Of Greece and now the gods must punish them.

Enter Messenger with clipboard. He does not see Zeus or the chorus.

Messenger: Prepare yourselves, fair-skinned barbarians,
The news I bring is bad. The metal bird
That spews its fumes upon our sunny land,
And was to bear you from our noise-polluted
Shores, is grounded, cancelled; is "caput"!

Chorus Girks: Oh hear their lamentations, hear their cries:
"Oh woe!" they cry, and wring their pallid hands.
Ah, Zeus, thou wast unkind to these poor mortals,
Keeping them fast on Cretan soil to mourn
Their fate, and curse the masters of the bird.
Oh, hear their prayers, no evil have they done,
They are but guileless pawns in your great plan!

Travellers: Spare us! Spare us! Let our people go!
Our land is dear to us, though clad in mist!

The curtain comes down to general cries of lamentation from the travellers, and
menacing rumbles from the thunder sheet..

Act 1, Scene 2

Three days later. A beach hotel's pool and bar. Travellers lie around in various states of
undress and collapse.

Chorus boys: Ah, water with no waves, an unconvincing
Blue so near the wine-dark sea of Greece!
Lo, there our brother waiter stands, to serve
Poor fools demanding coffee, coffee and more
Coffee -- nectar of the gods it's not; while
Scanning far horizons for a wingëd
Chariot in the cloudy northern skies.
Now two of the abandoned travellers stir.

1st Traveller: Ah me! Two cappucinos if thou wilt
To while away the dull and empty hours!

2nd Traveller: Oh, may we join you?

Chorus girls: Foreigh words are these
Polluting air and ears! But sad the tales
They tell, of longings for their far-off land.

Chorus boys: Tales of children lonely and deserted,
Of old folk left beside cold hearths,
Employers angry, lectures not prepared;
Stilled the rush of their poor silly lives.

Messenger enters. He is waving a sheaf of tickets.

Messenger: The gods relented! They may go, once more
Returning into exile from our Cretan shores.
The gods do laugh at these poor humans,
So keen to come, rejoicing they can go.

Chorus boys: See them rushing, laughing, talking, crying.
Do not yet rejoice, poor fools! The Fates
Have many jests to play on you fair-skinned
Adventurers from your northern hills and dales
Before you see your native lands again!

Chorus girls: We are but playthings of the gods, but let us
Hope Olympic Airways doth succeed
And carries all these prisoners back to Athens;
But fear is plucking at our sleeve, we hear
Jove's thunderbolt afar, and fear they'll have
A sorry tale to tell before they reach
Their homes in their benighted land!

The curtain falls on Act 1; and did not rise on Act 2, as the few members of the audience who survived Scene 1 did not return after Scene 2.

Jo Wickens

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