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Oskar Panizza, The Council of Love (1895)

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Cherub: in urgent, commanding tone: The slumber cushion!

An Angel: brings it: The slumber cushion.

Cherub: as above: The back warmer!

An Angel: brings a soft piece of flannel material that has been folded together six times: The back warmer!

Cherub: demanding more and more urgently: The arm cushions!

An Angel: brings two hollow pads for the arm rests: The arm cushions.

Cherub: as above: The foulard!

An Angel: brings a cherry-red silk scarf: The foulard! While the cherub wraps the material around the neck of the old man, one hears

God the Father: unarticulated, gravelly moaning and groaning: Ah! – Ah! – Ah! – Ah! –

Several different Angels: What’s the matter? – What is it? – Help! Help! – What’s the matter?

God the Father: with his head bent forward, continuing to groan: Ah! – Ah! – Ah! – Ah! – All the Angels: gathering together in great consternation around the throne; some of them kneel down and look up anxiously, tensely to God the Father: Help! – Help! – What’s the matter? – What’s the matter? – Divine Majesty, what’s the matter? – He’s going to die on us! – Go get Maria! – Go get the man! – Help! – Help! –

God the Father: continuing to moan and groan; his face draws together stiffly; from his tear ducts large tears roll down his cheeks, the result of his exertion: Ah! – Ah! – Spi! – Spi! – Spi! –

An Angel: jumps up, triumphantly, with clear, loud voice: The spittoon!

All the Angels: jumping up, in a resounding, cathartic soprano: The spittoon!!

They rush to a table, on which medicine bottles, wine carafes, biscuit jars and the like are standing, and fetch a reddish-pink crystal vase.

God the Father: clearing his throat, making a gobbling sound, struggling, he finally relieves himself.

An angel retrieves the spittoon, and, accompanied by others, carries it ceremoniously towards the back of the stage; another angel wipes off the beard of the old man with a silk towel; then everyone present gathers closely around God the Father with great anticipation. – With a glassy, rigid stare, HE first looks all around him for a long while, then with shaking hands he suddenly grabs the crutches in his lap and, with unexpected force, thrusts them at the angels surrounding him with a hoarse, frightening, feigned roar: Wow! – Wow! The angels run away screeching, scattering in all directions and out the doors. – Only one cherub remains behind. Kneeling with his face buried in his hands, he throws himself down before HIM. – long pause. –

Source: Oskar Panizza, Das Liebeskonzil. Eine Himmelstragödie in fünf Aufzügen [The Council of Love. A Celestial Tragedy in Five Acts] (1895). Frankfurt am Main: Luchterhand, 1982, pp. 8-19.

Translation: Richard Pettit

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