copyright © 1989 Todd Ristau


A: I saw him. Hideous.

B: Yes. Of course, I haven’t seen him, but the reports are not good.

A: Divine. Its an odd name for a man.

B: Not for him, somehow. Apt.

A: An odd man.

B: They say that he could heal wounds just by singing over them.

A: No. That’s the myth building. It wasn’t healing he did. His voice, it made you stop feeling pain. Nothing miraculous in that. Its just wonderful.

B: It doesn’t seem possible that its happening to him. A tragedy.

A: An upright, devout man destroyed.

B: He’s alive.

A: Alive but silent now. Ordinary.

B: Sad that such things happen. I remember my father telling me of a tall man with long hair and olive skin walking through the fields.....singing hymns and touching the workers. The pain left their backs.

A: My father was in one of those fields. I was too, though too young to do much work. I remember the feeling, like his voice filled you so full there wasn’t any room for cares or worry, they just spilled out onto the ground.

B: They hated him. Called him "Bolshevik".

A: Threw him in jail.

B: On a chain gang.

A: Sang to the rocks and asked them to break.

B: Yes. And they did.

A: They cut out his tongue.

B: They say he hummed his pain away and the birds tried to nest in his hair.

A: Seems so odd. Do you believe any of it?

B: Well, you’ve seen him.

A: I saw him today. Hollow eyed. He didn’t make a sound. A guard spat on him and he didn’t move.

B: People treat badly what they fear.

A: He’s nothing to be afraid of. A broken old man they tell wild stories about.

B: Stories he can neither confirm nor deny.

A: So. Divine is alone in the world.

Lights out


Written in 1988-89 in a Maria Irene Forness workshop, not performed until 2001 in Charlottesville. The excercise was to just do free writing and to incorporate words or sentences as she tossed them out. Not sure which are which in this piece. Its supposed to be about a Jesus figure, but of course everyone assumed I meant Divine from the John Waters films, that’s why I never performed it at No Shame IC, too many people there were too familiar with that Divine. He’d been dead for a while when I did it at Charlottesville, and I figured since a lot of our audience is too young to make that connection right away. I think it was performed by Scott Silet and Sean Nitchman.

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