The Dream Engine - A Rock Odyssey

By Jim Steinman

(Performance at Mount Holyoke College, May 1969)

PREFACE (excerpted from Jim Steinman's draft manuscript)

The stage is set as follows: there is a large black disc in the center. It extends over almost the entire playing area. Up front, stage right and left are two elevated platforms. All the songs are sung "out of the action," i.e. sung by SOLOISTS, like rock "arias" on the platforms, while simultaneously on the disc, the strongly choreographed or "directed" dances and rituals are performed. These rituals cannot be loose or ragged or have anything to do with pop dance steps. Neither can they be "dancy," i.e. completely part of the world of calculated deliberate modern dance. They must convey a ceremonial quality and epic texture...strenuous, strong, muscular, sensual and extreme. Never cute. The best examples I can think of are the works of Robert Joffrey, Grotowski, and perhaps, most strongly, the richly choreographed theatrical textures that Peter Brook created for "Marat/Sade" and Seneca's "Oedipus." There must be physical intensity and power on stage capable of equaling and finally merging with the power and ritualistic drive of the rock music. The work is, in essence, a rock opera, despite the fact that it is not all music. Music runs behind and weaves through almost all the scenes, and in the next draft I am preparing, the most important changes have to do with making the entire piece more operatic, more totally ritualistic and ceremonial; the dialogue should be much more incantation-like...more chants, visions, deliriums...Ideally, I would like the work to unite the "music-drama" structure of Wagner's opera with the more immediate political and social bite of Brecht-Weill's "Mahagonny," still retaining a modern equivalent of "Mahagonny's" epic scope...and adding, especially in keeping with the nature of rock, elements explored by the Living Theater, Grotowski, Joseph Chaikin, and Peter Brook...all of whom have created astounding works which, for me, push the theater of today right to the edge of magic - "religious" and ritualistic theater for the future, capable of awe and holy immediate power: to arouse and then to cleanse.

I can't help thinking that Artaud would have adored rock and found in its sources and textures a true example of "Theater of Cruelty," a truly new an paradoxically primitive but electronic Church. It seems to me that rock is now the perfect musical tool for welding together the theatrical styles mentioned before...A new form of music drama based on rock's inherent theatricality and immense power of communication and a new form of Brechtian "epic" theater and a new form of Artaudian ritualized theater of cruelty..."The Dream Engine" is certainly far from achieving this complete synthesis now. I wouldn't presume to put it in the company of Brecht, Wagner or Artaud. But I wanted to indicate the direction I've tried to make it go, and also to suggest the nature of the staging when it was first performed in America for 10 performances at colleges on the east coast...

The BAND is on stage behind the disc. THEY are covered by a scrim in front. During the "play" sections, THEY are not seen. But during the "musical" sections, THEY are lighted from behind the scrim, usually with a very pure blue, giving the effect of being on water...

The primary force to creating the visual quality of the work is an extensive use of projections, never easy multi-media or strobe effects, but more the "visionary" work best exemplified by Wieland Wagner in his Bayreuth productions and Robert O'Hearn in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Strauss' "Die Frau Ohne Schatten," or the N.Y. City Opera's work in Boito's "Mephistopheles." In essence, what I'm trying to say is, the nature of the lighting has more to do with the stylized textures of epic opera than the whining, bouncing, clumsy stuff of discotheques.

In summary, the texture used in staging the entire work was derived primarily from three really "inspirational" sources: the mythic density of Wagner's Bayreuth work ("the hypnotic force of an heroic hallucination, taking place in a strange god-inhabited world of the primeval future!")...the unique and prophetic writings of Antonin Artaud and the realizations of so many of these visions, and more, by Peter Brook in his work and the book by Mr. Brook, "The Empty Space."

"Excerpts from the draft manuscript are indicated by quotation marks"

The Dream Engine


[Empty Stage.]

[HISTORIAN enters from the Audience. He stands in the orchestra pit, where a desk and a blackboard are standing, to the left of the stage.]

["The HISTORIAN is the Narrator of the entire play. He is a dirty, crotchety, withered old man. But He should be played by a young man, and though He suggest menace, decay and evil, He must be appealing to the audience, a character from farce...a cosmic W.C. Fields on amphetamines, without the accent...

"He enters, stares at the audience, spits a few times, utters some absurdly guttural noises. From his filthy desk, He brings forth a collection of model airplanes, ships, toy soldiers, dusty books, raw meat and large plastic anatomical models of the male and female bodies. Methodically He smashes the soldiers to the floor, rips the pages from the books and hurls them away in a cloud of dust, shatters the airplanes and ships with a hammer, cracks off limbs from the anatomical models and caresses them, and finally throws chunks of raw meat over the whole thing and smothers it all with ketchup...

"He... goes over to his blackboard and writes 'KETCHUP OR BLOOD' in big letters as if beginning a lecture. He turns back to the audience as He finishes, wipes his hands to signify that the time has come to officially begin, takes one step forward and promptly falls off the stage. After one 'SHUT UP!' at the audience, He regains his dignity."]

HISTORIAN: Shut up! I don't need this!

[He picks up his pointer, slaps the blackboard, table, blackboard - while glaring at the audience. Rings bell. He pauses, begins to cough, as though getting sick. More business with items on his table.]

HISTORIAN: Ladies and gentlemen, I am an historian.

Ketchup or blood? Yes...No...Yes...Ketchup or blood? And which is which? Yes...No...Yes...Ketchup or blood? Does it matter? They both disgust me. Ketchup or blood? Does it matter? Ketchup or blood? I asked you a question. Ketchup or blood? Ketchup or blood? KETCHUP OR BLOOD? Does it matter??

We pour one on our meat to make our meals more colorful, we pour the other on our flesh to make our deaths more colorful, to make our banquets more colorful, to make our wars more colorful, to make our stockyards shine brighter, to make our streets run richer with red, so...[He has been pouring ketchup over raw hamburger meat during his speech, and now he shows the glop to the audience as he finishes.] Yes...No...Yes...We pour one on our meat to make our meals more colorful, one on our flesh to make our wars more colorful, to make our slaughter more colorful for the movies, and YES! we do have colorful movies, YES!

Do you like movies? I find them immeasurably more entertaining than the theater, don't you?

Ketchup or blood? We enjoy them both. Ketchup or blood? We love our movies. Ketchup or blood? We love our lives. Ketchup or blood? We love our dramas. Ketchup or blood? We love our bodies. Ketchup or blood? We love our meat. Well, don't we? Well don't we love our meat, now? Don't we? I asked you a question - don't we love our meat, now? Yes, no...YES! We love our meat! Altogether now, look at me! - altogether now: "Yes we love our meat!" [Pause.]

So why do we smother it in ketchup? Why do we drown it in blood? Yes...No...Yes... Yes, yes...

Ladies and gentlemen, I am an historian. I have to keep reminding myself, something that hideous you try to forget. I deal in life: so little to do, and so much time to do it in.

I think I'm going to puke.

Well, forget what I said - it's irrelevant. It has nothing to do with tonight's subject, nothing to do with at all.


I've been watching you. I've been watching every one of you and I know what you're trying to do to me. But it won't work. You can't hold me here, you can't keep me prisoner, you can't bind me in chains, you can't stuff me with nails! Take your shiny spikes away. I protect nobody's filthy secrets, nobody's! So it does no good to try and surround me, no good to try to torture me, no good to destroy me or my sick, swollen memory. I'll remember everything. I protect nobody's filthy secrets, nobody's - so SHUT UP!

I know just what you're thinking. FORGET IT!

Ladies and gentlemen, I am an historian. I am also your narrator for tonight.


Don't anybody speak. Don't anybody so much as look around, or blink, or wince, or laugh, or convulse or cry - stare straight ahead, stony as a corpse! Now that shouldn't be too difficult. Most of you look like rigor mortise was a way of life. Fools! You bore me! Only the slightest breathing. Only the slightest.

Ladies and gentlemen, how do I appear to you? Oh, I can guess your answer. You see one very slimy, very greasy, perhaps even repulsive man. Don't let it bother you. It's only my business manner. My own special brand of distilled insanity. It's not easy being caretaker to the largest, most inevitable, most relentless, most rancid, and most inescapable cemetery is the scope of the human imagination. It is not easy being an historian. For centuries we have continued, oblivious and diseased. For years we have been on the brink of eternal coma, and I am sick of playing nurse to a patient without hope! There's nothing you can do about it. And the vomit and blood and shit and piss get thicker and thicker...crawl up your legs...nest in your at your balls and your prick...tear at your stomach....strain at your brain...and blindfold your eyes. Oh! The scabs are extraordinary.

For a while I tried to be optimistic. I wrote long tracts on the grandeur of man, the progress of civilization, the sublime hopes of humanity...Gradually it made me sick to my stomach. At least now I am honest with myself. THERE IS A MAJOR LESSON TO BE LEARNED HERE!...What is it?

[He rummages through notes on his desk.]

Oh yes! Vaseline is no cure for cancer! I offer no more comforting lubrication. Only the facts. Therefore my admittedly putrid business manner. I am what you see, no more, no less. You can ignore me for now. Do you think I care? Most of you mean nothing to me.


My vein is twitching. A vein in the middle of my eye. It's twitching again and again and again. There. Now it's quiet. It's waiting to catch me off-guard. I can feel it out of the corner of my eye. It's waiting. I can see you all smirking. Hm! How amusing this all is. The little man is making a fool of himself. At least that's what the young ones think. The older ones, they're closer to me now. But the young ones! Sometimes they never really do understand, until the time comes...The ludicrous parade of young boys, the ludicrous display of young girls, stuffed to their cruel mouths with exhaustive breathing, ecstatic moaning and voluptuous coupling...


I'm going to cough. Again, and again, and again. It's expected of me. I always do what's expected of me. That's why I've lived so long. I think...

AAGGHH! Watch the vein! WATCH THE VEIN! [He clutches at his face, stumbles into the lap of someone sitting in the first row.] We can't go on meeting like this. It just won't work.

Now where was I? Oh, yes. The young. The fine young boys and fine young girls. First the girls: the girls who submerge themselves night after night in long strenuous swims against the hard stiff undertow of young boys' waves - and don't give a damn if they drown or not. How long do you think it will last? How long before you find yourself sweating from one supermarket to the other, looking with horror at your own flabby, irrigated flesh? I can see you now, waddling down the street...your fat tits erupting in front of you - your fat, hideous tits smothered in silicone, bouncing hysterically like two middle-aged cheerleaders trying desperately but hopelessly to arouse enthusiasm for the tired antique body that follows far behind...I use the word 'body' loosely. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt, to say the least.

AAGGHH! Where is my vein!? You fools, you let it get away! I warned you! Don't just sit there like assholes...WHERE IS IT?! [Pause.] I got it. Forgive me. My body has a tendency to drift and flake. I have to be careful at all times. It won't happen again.

Where was I? Oh, yes. The fine young boys. The blue-eyed boys. How proud they are, hurtling themselves through space, in the middle of a clear green field, legs tightly wrapped around a pliant apple tree. They rip open their pants, they pull out that panting naked capsule which they softly call their own, that sadistically exulted prick burning in their hands. I can see them, I can see them watching with monstrous desire. The goddamn bullet goes shooting its way up towards the sky, a bullet of flesh pointing its way up towards the heavens like some divine gargoyle accusing God himself and challenging HIM to a confrontation! One spurt of rushing youth to cleanse the polluted sky! [Pause.] How I hate them all.

And how long do you think it will last? How long before your shattered remains are found in some enemy swamp, somewhere far off in some enemy swampland, and sent home to Mother in a tin-can coffin with your name inscribed on your ass and the lid opened wide? How long before your lovely head explodes in a blaze of blonde chaos, after just one golden overdose more than you can stand?

You can't escape. The battlefield of eternal, undeclared wars is unbounded and endless. There are no limits there, there never will be. And terrified young men, very much like yourselves, will continue to lob one another's skulls across the wings of strange birds that are burning themselves alive - just like you are. There's no way out. [Pause.]

And after that, how soon before you find yourself trapped in a business suit...a prisoner in your own nightly bath, with pink soap balls for eyes, and nothing to see, and no reason to try. The perfect American marriage, perhaps: the vegetable husband and his vegetarian wife!

[He laughs. Then yells.] SHUT UP!

An empty shell, nothing more, a shell, in which you can't even hear the ocean, no matter how hard you try, no matter how close to your ear. An empty shell...

Fools, young boys! Fools, young girls! I warn you but you never listen. FOOLS! All of you!

Well, I could go on, but I won't.

Tonight's a festive occasion and I let myself get carried away. Forgive me! It won't happen again!

I am an Historian. I don't ask for pity. I don't ask for compassion. I don't ask for condolences. I don't ask for hope. I don't ask for promises. I don't ask for feelings. I ask only that you keep your distance as I have tried to keep mine, though we have both failed too many times to count! I am an Historian. I ask only to be left alone. After all these years, I think I deserve that. I think I deserve that, don't you?

[Suddenly passionate.]

IF YOU'D ALL JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!! Give my vein some peace! Leave me alone! Die faster, die more cleanly, die in black and white and fuck the colors! But please - give history the rest it has earned! Give us all some mercy! Take your confessions somewhere else! Give history the rest it deserves. TAKE YOUR CONFESSIONS SOMEWHERE ELSE!!

[Long pause.]

I'm sorry. There is nowhere else. I'm really very sorry.

[Muffled sobs. Pause.]

I suppose I seem to be crying...

[Suddenly harsh.] Well, don't let it fool you, shitholes!

I'll admit it. There is nowhere else. I'll do my best. I'll do what's expected of me.

[Long pause. Then he speaks very calmly.]

Can't you see how much I hate you?

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, tonight's history!

Let us begin with our location. We are on the coast of northern California. On the shining rim of the searing edge of the west, the farthest dream of essential America, in the near future. On the cliffs, overlooking the purple water, we find our main character. His name is BAAL. B-A-A-L. BAAL! Get it right! He has left his home to live on the rocks in the open air. Young men and women will follow him there.

And now, a song for your pleasure. BAAL and his followers express their disgust with our society and offer an alternative.


["While BAAL sings, the TRIBE is formed from all sides. All the other 19 members of the TRIBE enter the stage from 'tunnels.' First a Boy and a Girl come from opposite sides of the disc. They come and kneel next to each other in the center of the disc. The Boy stares at her, then raises his arm high into the air and brings it smashing down on her body. She clutches at his flesh. In essence, then, they inflict pain on each other at first...then they embrace desperately and sensuously. They 'bring each other into the TRIBE.' Then they go and bring forth a third and perform and initiation ritual on him, always consisting of a cruel painful act, then a coming-together. Then those three bring in a forth, etc. until all 19 are there by the end. The first part of the song is sung by BAAL alone, then he is joined by other voices, and finally the whole TRIBE at the end. All staging is violent, sexual, and often exultant, rising to a high pitch of dark celebration at the end when the TRIBE is bound together."]

[In the actual production of The Dream Engine, the rituals developed by the TRIBE through rehearsal turned out more sensual than violent; the cruelty appeared more at the end of the drama, during the pantomimes of the Revolution.]


Come, in the night, come in the day
Anytime, and play our game
It's all right
Special flight
You'll fly home into our game
See the light
Shining bright
Shining down upon our game
In the night
Come in the day
Play our game, come away!

Turn around!
It's a black day dawning
Turn around!
There's a corpse in mourning
Turn around!
To your tin can graveyard
Turn around!
To your tin foil savior
Turn around, bright eyes!
Turn around, bright eyes!

Turn around!
There are napalm babies screaming
Turn around!
There are rivers steaming
Turn around!

Don't let the slaughter drag you down
Who ever said that madness was a sin?
It's too late for the rain to wash you down
Who ever killed the ocean and the wind?

Down on your knees, now. What do you see now?
Down on your knees, now. What do you see now?

How do you bury the skull of your country?
How do you bury a nation of fears?
Where do you put all your long years of dying?
Give me a tombstone and a wreath of all your tears.

Bring in all the children, with their bodies up against the wall
No time for crying and there's no time left to stall
No time for love now and there's no peace left at all
We're on the edge of now -

Turn around!
For the blood on your highways
Turn around!
Fuck up with a new war each day, now
Turn around!
For your skies are hungry
Turn around!
For your earth is thirsty
Turn around, bright eyes.
Turn around, bright eyes.

Turn around!
Let a new world in, now
Turn around!
Let the final dance begin, now
Turn around!
Give us all your guns, now
Turn around!
Look at us! We're your outlaw sons, now
Turn around, bright eyes.
Turn around, bright eyes.

Don't let the slaughter drag you down
Who ever said that madness was a sin?
It's too late for the rain to wash you down
Who ever killed the ocean and the wind?

Down on your knees, now. What do you see now?
Down on your knees, now. What do you see now?

How do you bury the skull of your country?
How do you bury a nation of fears?
Where do you put all the long years of dying?
Give me a tombstone and a wreath of all your tears.

Come, in the night, come in the day
Anytime, and play our game
It's all right
Special flight
You'll fly home into our game
See the light
Shining bright
Shining down upon our game
In the night
Come in the day
Play our game, come away!

[The TRIBE now having been formed, the members group themselves on the stage, performing various pantomimes, and making animal-like noises while the HISTORIAN speaks.]

HISTORIAN: It is said that strange orgiastic and brutal rites are performed on these rocks. Nearby is a huge black city, a monster that breeds on its own inescapable pollution. The citizens of this nearby metropolis are terrified, worried that BAAL and his savage tribe might leave their cliffs and come wandering into the city limits, thus destroying the peaceful balance of urban life.

Action is taken! BAAL's youth and apparent freedom are a threat! The city sends out MAX and EMILY, two special agents, masters of impersonation and assassins of the young. Their job is simple: tame the Wild Beasts and bring them back alive.

[MAX and EMILY appear on either side of the stage. They await the completion of the Indoctrination Chant below.]

[No music]

Seek and find America's children. Send them back.
Send them back.
Seek and find America's children, 1969.
And America came with her outlaw son,
She came with her outlaw son,
Her eyes full of lightning,
Her hair all undone,
And her genes melting into the sun.
She came with her outlaw son,
And she bathed in a sheath of silk,
With the sweet smell of sperm
And the warm smell of milk.
She came with her outlaw son,
And she gave birth till the night decayed away
To a hint of gun dust, tinged with hairspray.
America's children, 1969.
Aren't we beautiful?
Answer me!
Answer me!
This is not a microscope and we are not your specimens!
I am sick of the smell of your laboratories.
Fuck your laboratories!
Your experiments are over!
Your test tubes are starting to bleed!
Your mutants are fighting back and this is the result!
America's children, 1969.
Aren't we beautiful?
Aren't we filthy?
Aren't we real? Yes!
There are no lies on my body! Yes!
Worship the truth and look at me. Yes!
We have no need of a God!
Each of us is his own!
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

HISTORIAN: PHASE TWO: THE INTERROGATION! Max becomes the Chief of Police.

["The TRIBE crawls about almost as animals, making strange sounds, as if speaking a new language. MAX...slashes at the bodies with a confetti-streamer, used as a whip. He wipes the sweat from his face with an American-flag handkerchief."]

MAX: All right, where is he? Give him to me! It won't do you any good. I'm going to find him sooner or later...sooner or later! I don't have time to waste here. My cereal's boiling, my uniform needs pressing, and my bath is waiting. You understand that, animals!? Ha? MY BATH IS WAITING! My bath is calling me home.

We have order to our lives. We have to live within boundaries. Complete freedom is destructive. Total license is sick.


MAX: You can't escape me Baal. Sooner or later I'm here and sooner or later I'm all that's left. I always win in the end, Baal, I thought we understood that from the beginning, hmm? No? There must be an interrogation. There must be questions, there must be answers. There must be QUIET! [Blows a toy whistle.] There must be limits, there must be boundaries. There must be law, there must be order. And I must have Baal.

BAAL: You can have me Max. You can have me.


[BAAL and MAX sit at a table. MAX often stands and walks around. He conducts himself as a policeman. BAAL faces the audience, sometimes leans back in his chair, looks at MAX only occasionally.]

MAX: [Begins strongly, becomes weaker as Baal ignores him.] Baal. Answer me! Confess! Baal. Answer me. Confess! Listen to me! Remember me! Look at me Baal! Think of me Baal, think of me. Confess! Remember me, Baal! Remember me? Taste me. Smell me. Hold me, Baal. Don't, don't hurt me, Baal, don't hurt me Baal. You won't hurt me, will you Baal? You won't hurt me?

[Rapid fire dialogue begins.]

BAAL: I can't hear you, Max.

MAX: Baal...

BAAL: I can't see you Max.

MAX: Answer me...

BAAL: I can't reach you, Max.

MAX: Confess!

BAAL: I can't taste you, Max.

MAX: Baal!

BAAL: I can't feel you, Max.

MAX: Answer me.

BAAL: I can't smell you, Max.

MAX: Confess!

BAAL: I can't remember you.

MAX: Listen to me!

BAAL: I can't touch you.

MAX: Remember me.

BAAL: I can't smell you.

MAX: Look at me, Baal.

BAAL: I can't hear you, Max.

MAX: Think of me, Baal.

BAAL: I can't remember you.

MAX: Confess!

BAAL: I can't reach you, Max.

MAX: Remember me, Baal.

BAAL: I can't feel you, Max.

MAX: Taste me.

BAAL: I can't smell you, Max.

MAX: Smell me.

BAAL: I can't see you.

MAX: Hold me.

BAAL: I can't touch you.

MAX: Don't hurt me, Baal.

BAAL: I don't need you, Max.

MAX: Don't hurt me, Baal.

BAAL: I don't need you, Max!

MAX: Don't hurt me, Baal!


[Rapid-fire dialogue ends.]

MAX: You won't hurt me?

BAAL: Only if you ask. Only if you ask, nicely.

[Rapid-fire dialogue starts up again.]

MAX: Let me hear you Baal.

BAAL: Think of me, Max.

MAX: Let me taste you.

BAAL: Remember me, Max?

MAX: Let me smell you.

BAAL: Taste me.

MAX: Let me hold you.

BAAL: Smell me.

MAX: Let me reach you.

BAAL: Farther!

MAX: Let me see you.

BAAL: Darker!

MAX: Let me hurt you.

BAAL: More!

MAX: Let me answer you.


MAX: No, enough.

BAAL: Answer me.

MAX: No, please.

BAAL: Answer me.

MAX: No, no, there's nothing...

BAAL: Answer me, Max.

MAX: There's nothing...

BAAL: There are no lies on my body, answer me.

MAX: Boundaries, limits...

BAAL: Confess!

MAX: I can't remember!

BAAL: Confess!

MAX: Boundaries, Baal...

BAAL: Confess!

MAX: ...boundaries!

BAAL: Confess!

MAX: We agreed!

BAAL: There's always more, Max right behind you: SHRIEKS!


[End of rapid fire dialogue.]

BAAL: Silent shrieks...dripping from every single body. Listen to them Max. They've heard you. You've seen them. Silent shrieks dripping from every single body, silent shrieks.


BAAL: You can't hurt me, Max.

MAX: Why?

BAAL: You can't hurt me.

MAX: Why!? WHY? Why? Confess! Why? Stop! Why? Confess! I can't taste you. I can't answer you. STOP! I can't feel you. STOP! I can't hurt you. STOP! I can't remember you. STOP!

BAAL: I can't stop.

MAX: Why?

BAAL: Because I'm too young to stop.

MAX: Remember me, Baal? Remember me?

BAAL: I'm sorry, no.

MAX: Why?

BAAL: Because you're too old to remember.

MAX: Then touch me, Baal, just once. Touch me.

BAAL: I never touch what I don't want to remember.

MAX: You're very young, aren't you? Nineteen? Nineteen...

We're getting nowhere. You're going to have to cooperate sooner or later.

[Assumes a German accent.] Ve have vays of making people talk. [End of accent.]
Now where were you last night?

BAAL: I was here.

MAX: Where were you last night?

BAAL: Here!

MAX: And the night before?

BAAL: Here!

MAX: Before?

BAAL: Here!

MAX: Before?

BAAL: Here!

MAX: Where were you before you were here?

BAAL: Before I was here, I was on my way over here. I was either here or on my way over here. It's only here that matters now.

MAX: So, you would have us believe that you were always here or on your way over here.

BAAL: Yes, that's all.

MAX: Just where do you think you are now?

BAAL: Here.

MAX: Where is here?

BAAL: Right here on the edge!

MAX: Well just what are you doing here on the edge?

BAAL: Balancing myself.

MAX: Just answer the questions! [Pause.]

That's better. How long are your legs?

BAAL: They're hard.

MAX: How long are your legs without your clothes on?

BAAL: Five inches.

MAX: Is that all?

BAAL: Eight when erect.

MAX: Are your arms very white?

BAAL: In the sun they're gold.

MAX: And at night?

BAAL: Sliver.

MAX: How long are the legs of all your friends laid end to end?

BAAL: Silver.

MAX: Are they hard or soft?

BAAL: Silver.

MAX: Why is your hair so long!? [Pause.] It disgusts me. [Baal is silent. Max stands beside Baal's chair and begins touching his hair.] Is it soft? Does it glow in the dark? Does it curl at the nape of your neck? If I touched your thigh with an ice pick, would you blink?

BAAL: I might.

MAX: You're very young, aren't you?

BAAL: About nineteen.

MAX: I'm rather old, don't you think?

BAAL: Yes. What does it taste like, Max?

MAX: I don't know. I can't remember.

BAAL: Then you're very old, then you're past the limits.

MAX: There are no limits.

BAAL: Is this the end, Max? Is this when you win?

MAX: There are no limits!

BAAL: Is this the end, Max? Is this when you win?

MAX: Your hair is long and dirty, you have no sense of morality. Your body's distasteful, exposed and caked with earth. You've forgotten how to wash. Violence means nothing to you, you're a sick dangerous outlaw, an offense to the society we all know and love as our own, a danger, a threat to the ideals we fought for, the principles we stood for, the life we hoped for our children, and the hopes we lived for our fathers. You disgust me!

[Max is standing beside an American flag, caressing it.]

BAAL: I know thirty-six positions.

MAX: [Looking at his hands.] Why am I so pale?

BAAL: Your face is like chalk.

MAX: It must be the moon.

BAAL: Eighty-two positions if three are involved.

MAX: There are no limits at all?

BAAL: And I'm only nineteen.

MAX: Give or take a little?

BAAL: Just a little.

MAX: Just a little?

BAAL: You can have more later, but just a little for now. You can have more later.

[Emily appears as a Policewoman. She draws near to Max.]

MAX: No. I'm going to count to three. One! Confess!

EMILY: Confess!

MAX: Two! Confess! Three! Confess!

[The TRIBE hurriedly assembles in center stage and begin to recite their "confession" in unison. It's the Pledge of Allegiance.]

TRIBE: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands...

[Members of the TRIBE begin getting sick on stage. Pantomime vomiting, gurgle horrible noises. Then they transform their noises into raucous laughter. Lights suddenly go off. The stage is very dark. TRIBE makes sounds of the wind.]

MAX: Baal, where are you? Where's the flag, Baal? Where's the light?

BAAL: Is it the moon, Max? Is it the moon?

MAX: Give me my bath. Give me my flag.

BAAL: It's dark forever, Max. It's over and gone.

MAX: I can't see, help me.

BAAL: Listen to me Max, the flag is extinguished, the flag has blown a fuse.

MAX: No.

BAAL: You've gone blind and this is only the beginning.

MAX: We agreed.

BAAL: We're all you have now, Max. We're your only chance. Look at us! Do we glow in the dark, Max, do we glow in the dark?

MAX: I don't need it, I'll find my way.

BAAL: There's no light for you, there's no room for you, I'm only nineteen and you've gone past the limits - do you understand that? You've gone past the limits and I'm right behind you.

MAX: What have I done. Where is the sun, Baal?

BAAL: It's down, Max, it's down.

MAX: Baal, let me in. Let me in, Baal!


[The TRIBE's wind noises have gathered into the sound of heavy breathing. They now all are breathing together, like a single being, breathing in a sensual sleep. MAX stands right next to BAAL, leans over him.]

MAX: [Speaks quietly] Baal, listen. If I touch my lips to your shoulder, is it my mouth or your shoulder that's giving the kiss? Hmm? And is it my mouth or your shoulder that is receiving it?

BAAL: Does it matter, Max?

MAX: Yes, it does matter. I need answers, help me.

BAAL: Then you're even older than I thought.

MAX: Does it matter?

BAAL: Yes Max. Yes, it matters. Yes, Max, yes. Yesssss.

[Merges with the sounds of the TRIBE, then the breathing stops. TRIBE leaves the stage. Lights come on. MAX and EMILY come center stage for their song and dance.]

HISTORIAN: Max and Emily are trapped and threatened. A dark warning has been issued. Girding their loins for the task before them, Max and Emily sing "Who Needs The Young" - their bitter creed and fervent anthem.


Who needs the young?
The revelation of their faces and their hair
When all we have are withered traces of the faces we once were
And suffocation in the dirty, fatal air
Who needs the young bodies floating in the sun
Who needs the young?
The celebration of the races they have won
The sado-masochistic things we've never done
And all the places that we never will have gone
Who needs the young bodies floating in the sun
Who needs the young?

My eyes just aren't what they were. (repeat)
Is there anyone left who can see? Blind him!

My lips just aren't what they were. (repeat)
Is there anyone left who can kiss? Spit on him!

My legs just aren't what they were. (repeat)
Is there anyone left who can dance? Cripple him!

My mind just isn't what it was. (repeat)
Is there anyone left who can dream? Wake him!

My voice just isn't what it was. (repeat)
Is there anyone left who can sing? Silence him!

My sex just isn't what is was. (repeat)
Is there anyone left who can fuck? Screw him!

[Max and Emily dance.]

Who needs the young?
The perfect star of flesh that's free from questions why
Who needs the whispered moaning passed from thigh to thigh
Who need to see them do the things we'll never try
Who needs the young when we're spending all the rest of our miserable lives learning to die!

HISTORIAN: Ladies and Gentlemen, to keep things moving right along here, PHASE THREE: THE SEDUCTION SCENE! A seventeen year old girl escapes from the iron grip of the city and having heard of Baal and his followers, she comes to the rocks of the coast. First she sings a bitter tune in honor of her homeland, and then love takes its course.


Come home, child!
Take a look at your pages all shining
Come home, child!
Take whiff of your sweet scented gas.
Come home, child!
But don't let the pigs catch you crying.
Come home, child!
Where your flowers get shoved up your ass!

Nightsticks smashing on innocent heads, now:
A broken skull, but the brain escapes and flies away free.
Phantom policemen counting up all their dead, now,
Maybe four, maybe more, extra corpses.
People living just like slabs in a ruin,
Greasy women linked to tired old men, and
Not a trace can be seen of the land, now,
Nails are piercing every orphan's hand, now,
The city feels like a cold cancer tomb,
We live and die in an open wound.

Hunchback writhing on an oily street, now,
He's dying slow, he's dying fast, but he's finally dying!
Tourists crowd around and they (unintelligible)
They're hurling stone, they're hurling spit and they're spitting curses.
All the people just don't feel the pain, now,
All the children waiting for the rain, now,
Skies are covered with a nauseous stain, now,
Anywhere you look you know it's all the same, and
The city feels like a cold cancer tomb
We live and die in an open wound.

HISTORIAN: Ladies and Gentlemen, THE INITIATION!

[BAAL stands center stage on the disc. The GIRL crawls onto the disc and sits at his feet.]

["This scene should go fast, since the real point of it is contained in the...songs that come at its climax."]

GIRL: Let me in.

BAAL: [Disinterested and harsh.] Why?

GIRL: It's getting hungry, I can feel it.

BAAL: I know.

GIRL: The air is hard and my face is dry.

BAAL: And your eyes are empty. Empty space. It's very sad.

GIRL: It's not my fault.

BAAL: Ask me for something.

GIRL: What do I need?

BAAL: A hiding place?

GIRL: Yes, please.

BAAL: I'm sorry. There are no more hiding places. All the hiding places are hiding.

GIRL: Tell me what's left? Tell me what I need?

BAAL: Mattress of velvet?

GIRL: Let me in now! Hurry! Tell me!

BAAL: Mattress of velvet and a clear water candle...How old are you?

GIRL: Seventeen.

BAAL: Years?

GIRL: Yes.

BAAL: Good, that makes things easier.

GIRL: I can't go back. It might be following me. You can never see it when it does, you can never feel it, or hear it, or know that it's there, until it comes from behind and grabs you and pulls you back. All the way back.

BAAL: How did you get here?

GIRL: I escaped.

BAAL: From where?

GIRL: I can't go back.


GIRL: Where I came from.


GIRL: [Pause] The city.

They know about it. They know about me. They all know by this time. The city is following me. It sends out assassins. It breeds assassins and then it spits them out to bring us back. The city is creeping up behind me, you can never see it when it does, you can never feel it when it does, you never even know it's there!

BAAL: You haven't escaped anything. Not yet. Maybe soon.

GIRL: I can't wait any more!

BAAL: You'll have to. Tell me about yourself.

GIRL: What do you want to know?

BAAL: Well... [slowly] are you... [then rapid-fire] anal, rectal, vaginal, oral, genital bestial, hetero, homo, bi-, tri-, quatre-, cinq, six, sick, lonely, desperate, monolingual, bilingual, cunnilingual, passionate, poetic, hallucinogenic, barbarian, Cesarean, mammalian, cornucopian, horn of plenty, plenty horny...??

GIRL: ALL RIGHT! Stop! What do you want me to say!?


GIRL: Yes, I'm all of them, I'm everything you want!

BAAL: Aren't you exhausted?

GIRL: Yes. Very.

BAAL: How do you like it out here?

GIRL: It's very lovely.

BAAL: On a clear night you can see the labia minor.

GIRL: Can I stay?

BAAL: Yes, you can stay. I need you here. What do you know about mirrors?

GIRL: What kind of a question is that?

BAAL: What do you know about mirrors? Just that.

GIRL: Nothing. Just nothing.

BAAL: I believe that. Nothing at all. But you'll have to meet my mirrors. They're very strange.

[Members of the TRIBE spread themselves across the disc, here, and begin pantomiming in couples some of what BAAL describes.]

BAAL: You see my mirrors keep getting larger. They keep growing, they keep spreading out, they keep getting larger and I can't seem to stop them. I have to keep filling them up, I have to keep feeding them, and they're still getting larger and larger and larger and larger. My mirrors have become vast, and beautiful, and very, very hungry. My mirrors have become vast, and beautiful and hungry, and pretty soon they are going to devour me. They are going to swallow me up, consume me, piece by piece, bit by bit, flesh on flesh, limb by limb, kiss on kiss, tremble by tremble, shiver by shiver, sliver by sliver, and splinter by splinter. But you're going to help me. You're going to help me fill them out. You're going to help me spread them out. I'm going to feed you to my mirrors. I'm going to make you one of my reflections and feed you to my mirrors. I'm going to pin you to the cold glass and watch you soak up the sunlight on the surface of the water.

I need you here. We're going to share a little chromosome damage. With your genes melting into the sun!

GIRL: Now, please now! It's been too long.

BAAL: Soon! Soon! Come here. [GIRL comes closer to BAAL. She is sitting on the stage as he stands above her.]

You're so soft. I like to finger clay. Soft clay. Come here, soft clay. I'm going to make a shape - don't be frightened, it will be beautiful. Soft clay. We're going to make a shape.

GIRL: Hurry!

BAAL: Slowly! [Pause.] Look at me.

GIRL: I can't see anything else.

BAAL: Touch my leg.

GIRL: It's wet.

BAAL: It's soaked. There's a flood coming.

GIRL: I can swim.

BAAL: No, it's not good enough.

GIRL: Why?

BAAL: It's not good enough!

GIRL: I don't understand.

BAAL: Louder!

GIRL: I can swim!

BAAL: Again!


BAAL: NO! It's just not good enough.

GIRL: What do you want, I can only go so far.

BAAL: Then you're going to have to get there faster, that's all.

GIRL: I will not be tortured like this.

BAAL: Oh, but you will. You will be tortured like this. You will be tortured and celebrated and worshipped and suffered and exulted and caressed and submerged and awakened and pierced and shattered and sucked on and spit upon and cried into and held onto and lovingly torn apart until we are ready to stop. Until we are ready to put you back together again and you are ready to open your eyes and begin to see!

GIRL: See what?

BAAL: You'll see.

GIRL: I'm not an object.

BAAL: I know. I am trying to show you that - step by step. Don't deny the soft, white, underbelly. Don't defy the dark black forest. Let the coachman drive you through until you reach the end. Bumper to bumper all the way. Bumper to bumper all the way. BUMPER TO BUMPER ALL THE WAY!

GIRL: All right - stop! There's a flood coming.

BAAL: Well, what are you going to do?

GIRL: I don't know.

BAAL: We're going to have to teach you, then. We're going to have to teach you a little bit more.

GIRL: A little more?

BAAL: We're going to have to teach you to drown!

GIRL: More?

BAAL: Drown!

GIRL: Yes!

BAAL: Show me! [Pause.] Say it.

GIRL: Teach me to drown.

BAAL: Again, you know the rules!

GIRL: Teach me to drown.

BAAL: Slowly...There's time. We're young and in love and the whole world is springtime. Your skin is so white. There are no scars on your body.

GIRL: I'm sorry.

BAAL: ["Gently, smiling."] We'll have to make some.

GIRL: My skin is white. Incredibly white.

BAAL: There are no scars.

GIRL: You will have to make some

BAAL: We'll have to make some.

["Pause. They stare at each other. Her back is to the audience. He rubs his clothes and body. She runs her hands along her face and chest. She turns around. There is blood coming from a wound in her forehead, neck and breasts. She touches it sweetly. She smiles. She has entered the game."]

GIRL: Mattress of velvet?

BAAL: Mattress of velvet and a clear water candle.

GIRL: Don't move. There's a spider on your leg.

BAAL: Good! You know the rules.

GIRL: I have very shiny eyes.

BAAL: Bullshit!

GIRL: You want to see?

BAAL: Fuck off!

[The TRIBE begins to gather around BAAL and the GIRL. I do not remember what ritual the stage production embarked upon at this point. I believe it was only between BAAL and the GIRL, with the TRIBE pantomiming stuff. Steinman's earlier vision of this scene is more violent than what occurred in the original production:

"When the lights go on, the GIRL is in the center of the disc. She is tightly bound with leather straps; they tear and pull at her body. The straps are very long. They are wrapped about her body and held on the other end by members of the tribe. Each tribe member has a strap that goes around her body. The tribe members surround her and are standing all about the outer rim of the disc in a circle. One by one, they fall backwards, thus causing, one by one, each leather strap to pull viciously tight on the GIRL's body. While this strange ritual goes on, BAAL speaks from behind her, like a man in a delirium. While he speaks, he pulls at her skull, as if to detach it from her body in a slow, strange, hypnotic manner."]

GIRL: [Touching BAAL's clothing.] Leather.

BAAL: Yeah. Leather. Black and tight. Leather, clinging, black and tight.

[As BAAL speaks, other members of the TRIBE start echoing his words. Eventually they are all chanting together, but not in unison.]

BAAL: The revolution likes leather. The revolution wears leather to survive in the streets. And leather looks for holes to hide in. Dark holes. Damp holes. Dark damp holes, black and tight and clinging. Deep holes, dark dank deep holes, black and tight and clinging. Dangerous holes. Dark damp deep dangerous holes, black and tight and clinging. Do you want to come inside now? Do you want to come inside and look for hiding places now? Do you want to come inside and look for holes now? Do you want to come inside and look for deep dark damp dangerous holes now? Do you want to come inside and look for dark damp dangerous deep holes now? Do you want to come inside and look for damp dangerous deep dark holes now? Do you want to come inside and look for dangerous deep dark damp holes now? Do you want to come inside now? Do you want to come inside and look for hiding places now? Do you want to come inside and look for mattress of velvet now? Do you want to come inside and look for clear water candle now? Do you want to come inside at all now?? Do you ever want to leave? Do you ever think you can?

GIRL: The sun is too bright!

BAAL: You're melting, like vanilla syrup...soft and loose and thin, white and sweet.

GIRL: I love the dawn!

BAAL: Prove it!

GIRL: The sun's too bright!

BAAL: You're melting!

GIRL: Make it go away!

BAAL: Soft and loose and thin and white and sweet!

GIRL: TURN IT OFF! [Sudden silence.]

BAAL: Leather. Slash! Leather. Slash! Leather. Slash! The skin of a beast. Slash! The skin of a creature. Slash! The skin of a mammal. Slash! You have to work for it. You have to earn it. Have you ever been clawed?

GIRL: What?

BAAL: You heard me. [Pause.]

[The TRIBE has withdrawn from the disc now as has BAAL. The GIRL is suddenly all by herself in the middle of the stage. The TRIBE is hidden around the outside of the disc. When the GIRL starts talking, the TRIBE repeats her words in mocking whispers. The whispers grow louder as she panics.]

GIRL: I don't want to be on this stage alone. I don't want to be on this stage alone. I don't want to be on this stage alone! Why don't they touch me. Why don't they touch me. Why don't they touch me!


BAAL: [Still standing at a distance from her.] Quiet. It's only theater. It's nothing to be afraid of. Be still. I'll guide you. We're all watching. We're all listening.

[The GIRL turns her head in despair.]

DON'T TURN AWAY! [She looks back at him.] Don't you ever turn away!


GIRL: I can't do it.

BAAL: Every single muscle is in revolt. Every single muscle wants to love you. There are no lies on my body. I want you to swell to my size. Swell to my size. SWELL TO MY SIZE! SWELL TO MY SIZE!! I want you to spread forever and swell to my size.

GIRL: I don't want to be on this stage alone. Why don't they touch me?

BAAL: They will. When you're ready. When you've learned to scream.

GIRL: I have screamed!

BAAL: No, not really! Only words, that's only part of it. We want something purer.

GIRL: Why must I scream?

BAAL: So they'll know you're here. So we'll all know you're here. So I'll know you're here. So I'll be sure.

GIRL: I don't want to be on this stage alone.

BAAL: It's all right, it's only theater, it's nothing to be afraid of. I'll guide you. And I'm really very beautiful. I look like I was made up on the phone by two fags. A hint of gun dust, tinged with hairspray.

GIRL: I can't see anything else.

BAAL: That's enough. That's enough.

[The TRIBE begins making strange wind noises. BAAL goes off to a corner of the stage, as though looking down at the ocean.]

GIRL: I don't want anymore dreams. I'm stuffed with dreams. There's no more room. Can't you understand that? There's no more room!

BAAL: Listen to it. [Becomes increasingly excited.] Listen to it beating on the rocks! Listen to it beating down on the cold rocks! Is this what you want?

GIRL: I don't want to hear it.

[Wind noises from the TRIBE are very loud now.]

BAAL: It's going to break out very soon now. It's going to break out! Listen to it. Listen to it! LISTEN TO THE REVOLUTION!

GIRL: What revolution?! Tell me! Give me something I can hold onto! Tell me, WHAT REVOLUTION?

BAAL: All of them!!

[TRIBE falls silent. Pause. BAAL lights up a joint.]

GIRL: There's no more room. Just no more room.

BAAL: Step by step. Lie down. Don't move. Don't move!

["She lies down facing up at him on the bottom of the disc, center stage, her head pointing up the disc, turned away from the audience...BAAL stands over her and very methodically flicks ashes in her eyes from a burning cigarette. She writhes and tries to cover her eyes."]

BAAL: No! Don't cover them! Look at it...look at the tip. Look at it burn. Slim, slow, slider...Look at it. Look at it! Breathe...More! Breathe! Harder!

GIRL: It's burning my eyelids off!

BAAL: Good! Without eyelids you can't close your eyes. And if you can't close your eyes then you won't miss anything.

GIRL: No more!

[BAAL kneels down over the girl, still flicking his cigarette ash.]

BAAL: Now. Beating down on the rocks! Beating down on the cold rocks. We're there! We're there! Breathe! Scream! Fly! Breathe, scream, fly! BREATHE, SCREAM, FLY! LET IT OUT NOW!!

[BAAL stuffs the cigarette out in her eyes and slams his hand down next to her on the stage.]


[Pause. BAAL stands up.]

BAAL: I already have stopped. [Pause.] Pain is the flashiest high. Insanity, of course, is the ultimate high. I'm still working on it.

GIRL: I'm sorry. No.

BAAL: It's all over, don't rub them.

GIRL: I can't do it. I'm sweating.

BAAL: Well, that's something. Mattress of velvet.

GIRL: Mattress of velvet.

BAAL: And a clear water candle.

GIRL: And a clear water candle. I don't know if I'll ever be able to go through with it.

BAAL: Yeah, you will. Listen: Breathe with me. Breathe with me.

[TRIBE begins deep breathing, as BAAL bends down and puts the GIRL's face against his chest. They're breathing becomes a humming.]

BAAL: Make it even. Make it rhyme. Can you hear it?

GIRL: Yes.

BAAL: Our breathing will rhyme. Don't stop it.

GIRL: Don't let it stop.

BAAL: And the fragrance of forests clings to my skin.

GIRL: The smell of...

BAAL: No, fragrance.

GIRL: The fragrance of forests clings to your skin.

BAAL: It's been missing from this country for too long, and we're going to bring it back.

GIRL: The fragrance of forests clings to my skin.

BAAL: Give me some.

GIRL: Don't let it stop.

BAAL: And finally, what I mean by revolution is that very moment when my prick becomes a political force. Now...finish it up.

GIRL: The fragrance of forests clings to your skin.

BAAL: Clings to my leather clothes wherever I go. Even to the whip hidden in my boots.

GIRL: Even the whip.

BAAL: Don't let it stop.

GIRL: Our breathing will rhyme.

BAAL: And your eyes are empty holes. Empty space.

GIRL: Hurry!

[TRIBES noises are now a distinct buzzing, which grows louder here.]

BAAL: Slowly!

GIRL: What is all of this for? What are we trying to do?

BAAL: Finally - we're filling a space, that's all. Bit by bit. We're filling space. Spacccce...[BAAL rises from the GIRL and starts walking off stage.]

GIRL: The ashes!

BAAL: Leave them alone!

GIRL: They're still burning!

BAAL: Don't touch them! I just wanted to teach you. Never protect your eyes. Let everything in. Let it all come through.

[BAAL exits. The TRIBE assembles for the next number.]


["During the singing of this song...the TRIBE enacts 'pain dances,' stylized representations of all forms of agony. Their appearance is like those seized by convulsions and controlled by horror. The GIRL is surrounded by them and tries to reach out to comfort them. Each time she touches one, the pain is intensified. The pain spreads to her. She tries to escape. They hurl her from one to the other. At the climax, she is thrown into the air and caught at the last minute, with the TRIBE clutching every part of her body, like many knives. After the song, she stands in the corner of the whole TRIBE, starting with a low humming sound, builds up almost into a monstrous howl. Just as the howl is about to break, the GIRL gives off a powerful scream that racks her body."]

Take me down to the firebird,
Try and teach me how to fly.
Take me down to the firebird,
Make me free from questions why.

Fly free, burn free.
Please, teach me to burn!

Take me down to the firebird,
Try and teach me how to burn.
Take me down to the firebird,
Teach me all the screams I've earned.

Scream free, burn free.
Please teach, teach me scream!

Oh, take me down to the firebird
Try and teach me how to die [?]
Take me down to the firebird
Make me [unintelligible]

Burn free, run free (repeat ad lib)
They'll all burn down...(repeat)
We'll all burn down...

[TRIBE howl builds towards a scream.]

GIRL: [Tremendous scream.]

[BAAL appears. Walks to GIRL, who is center stage, facing audience. BAAL stands behind her, puts his hands on her shoulder.]

BAAL: On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with red roses?

GIRL: Will he offer me his mouth?

BAAL: Yes.

GIRL: Will he offer me his teeth?

BAAL: Yes.

GIRL: Will he offer me his jaws?

BAAL: Yes.

GIRL: Will he offer me his hunger?

BAAL: Yes.

GIRL: Again.

BAAL: On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?

GIRL: Yes.

BAAL: Then you're ready.

["The last stage of the GIRL's initiation is now undertaken. It is a form of stylized 'orgy' where in the GIRL is 'sucked into' the pleasures of the tribe. What is most important about this segment is that, in contrast to the 'heat' of the 'Liberation Through Pain,' this ritual is cool, icy, strangely muted though extremely sensual. The TRIBE is almost like children rediscovering their bodies. The tone is very narcissistic and yet very innocent. The main theme of the music is set to 'Ride A Cock Horse,' the nursery rhyme which starts off very prettily, then becomes darker and sinister, and builds finally to hard rock..."]


Ride a cock horse
To Bambury Cross
You'll see a fine lady
Upon a white horse

Continue to Transcript Part II


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