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Where are you, Ulalume? Where are you?

Author: Alfonso Sastre
Translated by: Paul Rankin
Language: English
ISBN: 978-84-95683-44-1
Price: 2,00 €
File size: (UlalumeEN.pdf) 878 Kb.
Available in: Spanish Italian

(5 women and 17 men. Can be performed with only 1 woman and 3 men.)
Edgar Allen Poe journeys to Fordham to collect his belongings before returning to Richmond, Virginia, where his first love, recently rediscovered, and the promise of a new life, free from alcohol, awaits him. After making a scheduled stop in Baltimore to take a train to New York, he disappears and then reappears two days later in hospital, delirious, and dying. What happened in those two days? In this play of great tenderness, humour and humanity, one of Spain’s greatest living dramatists explores Poe’s final odyssey through the city . . .
Excerpt

Where are you, Ulalume? Where are you?

(Once more in the interior of the tavern managed by the red‑bearded sailor, who is still drinking his unending gin. Eddy enters, agitated, and addresses the sailor, as if in a request for assistance.)

 

EDDY  It is you! I was running away when suddenly I saw Ulalume’s beautiful sepulchre, and I cried:

‘It was surely October

On this very night of last year

That I journeyed- I journeyed down here-

That I brought a dread burden down here-

On this night of all nights in the year,

Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber-

This misty mid region of Weir-:

Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,

This ghoul‑haunted woodland of Weir.’

REDBEARD  Where have you come from? Is someone following you?

EDDY  Yes.

REDBEARD  Drink something with me like that same night last year.

EDDY  Have I been in Baltimore a year?

REDBEARD  I know neither that nor any other thing about the passing of time. (He offers him a drink, which Eddy accepts. They drink) ‘It was surely October, on this very night of last year.’ It was you that said it.

EDDY  I feel ill and am pursued by strange larvae. In a garden of fantasy I have succeeded in decapitating the serpent, but in in so doing I have liberated a world of larvae which have flowed out with its blood.

REDBEARD  And now?

EDDY  When I came in here, they suddenly disappeared.

REDBEARD  Rest, then, a time. Drink in peace.

EDDY  (With colourless enthusiasm) Let us sail, good sir, the sea of gin!

REDBEARD  (As though recalling a time past) ‘This foggy and comfortable night, under these ashen lights.’

EDDY  (The same) ‘Your glass of gin isn’t going anywhere.’

REDBEARD  (The same) ‘You can also reach your journey’s end sailing the sea of gin.’ (They drink) How goes that sailing?

EDDY  The seas are very dark and swampy. In their depths lie, submerged since the beginning of time, the old velveted salons of the House of Usher, and Berenice shows me her said and toothless jaw.

REDBEARD  That sounded very good. But I have no idea what it means.

EDDY  I am drowning, drowning in the depths of the maelstrom.

REDBEARD  Do not let yourself go under, my good friend. Can you not swim?

EDDY  (Anguished) Listen, listen. Something is happening to me. Just now I suddenly have suddenly sensed a light. I am in Baltimore. Here I have a friend. If something were to happen to me, please call him. Do you understand? I am dying. My name is Edgar Allan Poe. Please call my friend, Doctor Snodgrass, in Saint Luke’s Hospital. And I try to but now no longer the serpent the larvae I am-going-to-make-a-great-literary-review America is infernal and I do not know Only But no The darkness has increased materially. It is only modified somewhat by the glittering of the water reflected in the white veil which stretches out before us . . . Some gigantic birds, ghostly‑white, are flying incessantly, coming out from behind that veil, and their cry is the eternal ‘Tekeli‑li’ as they flee from us . . . Nu‑Nu has just died at the bottom of the canoe . . . and we plunge toward the great cataract, where an abyss opens to receive us. But suddenly there rises above us, wrapped in a white shroud, a very great human figure . . . greater than any other earthly being . . . And the skin of this great figure has the perfect whiteness of the snow . . . (Eddy’s head slumps forward onto the table. Then the solitary Waitress appears.)

WAITRESS  Is that the customer?

REDBEARD  Yes. He has come twice.

WAITRESS  And is he dead?

REDBEARD  No, nothing of the sort. Here, take this note to the Washington Hospital. Go on your bicycle.

WAITRESS  What does it say here? Doctor Snodgrass?

REDBEARD  More or less. (As the girl exits, it grows dark.)

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