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a play in parts
KALI, MAMA: the
the Berber, Hadji Baba,
played by a robot,
Hadji Sy.id too has changed. He is now Noname Khan Sayid, "the oldest man in the world". He appears in a long white beard and an ill-fitting suit. He sits in a chair, doddering, leaning on a stick. (Saliva dribbles from his lips.)
Kali too has turned blue.
MAMA: Well here we are again, Papa. You like the show?
PAPA: Is alright, but what we do?
MAMA: Maybe we do the pin the heart on the gorilla. It's child's play. Is a famous audience participation, no?
NONAME KHAN: Ahm. (MAMA IS A LEAN EAR TO KHAN WHO WHISPERS)
MAMA: Right. We have to wait the fall of night to play king kong heart stick up. It’s the project image of a little person with the arms to the sides, hands dangling from the elbows grunting, onto the big big screen to make an enormous King a Kong. Can’t do now. So, we will teach you to juggle. Carlo!
ENTER CARLO CARRYING TWO ORANGES ONE IN EACH HAND TOSSING THEM ALTERNATIVALLY INTO THE AIR AND CATCHING THEM IN THE SAME HAND.
KALI: This is the first
stage. My master said he is doing this for many years, with the two hands, until
he is perfection. Watch both balls. Then maybe one day they are crossing over.
NONANE KHAN SA.ID: The explanation is this. The first is the two, like the life and death, and the second stage is three, like the womb world and verms. And you are moving the two and the three digits together (LIKE WITH THE DODDERING FINGERS) and you cannot see...
KALI: But I show you. Carlo, you have three balls?
CARLO: (DROPPING THE ORANGES. HE HAS A COVENTRY CITY ACCENT. "THEY USET TO MAKE CARS YOU KNOW." THE SOUND IS QUITE HIGH PITCHED, VERY NASAL.) Aum, balls, you say? Aum. (HE SCRATCHES HIS HEAD) Click. Aum, no. Aum, the children a, ate them for breakfast. No more oranges. There are some lemon.
MAMA: (KALI TO CHRIS) Papa. This is no good. I can’t put up with these conditions. No props, I go home.
NONAME: (SHARP AS A BELL) Wheresthat?
KALI: I am foreign. A long way, is where iz at.
NONAME and PAPA: (TOGETHER) Is whereizat?
KALI KALI: I come from. I come from, is all. Papa! Carlo! Do something!
CARLO: Right, brothers. Down tools. We’re a, a striking.
KALI: No more Blue Lady.
CARLO: Well, a, I'm afraid that due to unforeseen grievances, a, the show can’t go on. Ummm, whom should I be addressing?
KALI: It's Noname's circus. Tryhim.
NONAME: I am not responsible. I am incorperated and limited.
MAMA: Limited is right. No oranges, no juggling.
PAPA PASHA: Oranges grow on trees in these parts. Yes, (PAPA POINTS TO A TANGERINE TREE.) Look, over there.
KALI: Papa, be a honey.
PAPA IS WITHDRONE TO FETCH THE FRUIT FOR KALI. HE JUMPS DOWN FROM THE STAGE TO the ground and without breaking stride runs over to the collage orange tree,
"Throw," calls Kali, and catches them with her teeth (they are small near Tangiers). She spits them out to juggle. "Nine is enough she calls. "Carlo, bring the two oranges and we’ll juggle together."
Carlo and Kali juggle the two oranges and nine tangerines between them. Carlo is a windmill of arms. He is spitting the tangerines back to Kali, but conjuring so that eye cannot quicker than sleight of hand to mouth.
The old man, Noname Khan, hobbles over to watch trying to puzzle out how the Tangiers get into the juggler's mouth. Chris comes back to stand beneath the stage gazing up wide-eyed at the flying fruit.
"Make the introduction," says Kali.
The old man moves up stage. He has changed again (since Chris left the stage). He is no longer old and he is now dressed long tailed, a silent movie villainesque ring-master, he twirls his moustache.
he change costumes so quickly?" Chris asked.
"Ahem!" the ring-master barks. "And now, and sparing no expense, Noname Khan's Circus, the very first and last word in travelling entertainment, the aardvark and zygote of astonishment and mystery..."
Kali, impatient, is mouthing "hurry up".
"… presents, for your enjoyment and edification, Kali, world famous and renowned, the unique and inimitable Blue Lady, from no one know where, unless she now cares..."
Mama interrupts to complain. "Carlo, you say it."
Carlo turns upstage, the tangerines showering round him, popping from his mouth. "Aum, it's a… Kali is going to juggle more balls than any human creature. Ladies and Gentlemen, a aum NEW WORLD RECORD..."
"Oh yeah!" says Khan. "Where is the Guinness Book of Records?"
Kali calls out, "Carlo!" and robot cartwheels off stage right: instantaneously re-enters stage left. Stops on a dime and presents to Noname Khan the record book opened at the appropriate page.
Kali, with contempt: "Read your Guinness Book of Records."
Noname Khan: " "The greatest feat of juggling (as opposed to a "shower") was eight plates or ten balls achieved by Alfonso Ricketti shortly before his death in 1857." "
Mama: "Carlo, make for me the fanfare."
Carlo strums upon his chest with the fingers of one hand creating a drum-roll like thunder. With the other hand he tosses in precision, one by one, the tangerines, and oranges, to Kali, who juggles.
Kali: "Three... Four... Five..."
Carlo speaking super-quickly: "Please remember, if you would that each a additional item must be added at the bottom ..."
Kali: "Six... "
"...where travelling fastest it covers the greatest distance in the least time using the most space."
Mama, tottering, swaying, under the mountain fountain of balls, counts out, "Seven..." and Carlo sings on that "Each increase in height necessitates an increased thrust..."
Mama, breathlessly; "Eight…"
"...and therefore entails some small increase in the force..."
"Nine..." calls Mama, while Noname Khan spits venomously at Carlo "You make the balls juggling the words, Hyperboles."
"Aum..." Carlo stutters, "a, fortunately we are not required to computate the mathematicals of the almost incalculable factors…"
"…involved in this feat, but simply to observe as Kali, Kali Kali, attempts to juggle for us eleven items, an achievement never before recorded in the history of the Academy of Balls."
"It's a trick," insists Noname loudly. "0r magic."
And Kali answers, "Is no trick. Is the coordinationals with the expert touching only." And standing beneath the great ellipse of fruit she calls out once more in a commanding voice, "Read for me again your Guinness Book of Records! Eleven! Read it"
Noname complies. "The greatest feat of juggling,
as opposed to a shower..." And the nine tangerines, two oranges, shower down on