Allison Scarpulla


by Lee Scrivner

Music murmurs through the Notted Would1 as LORD GARDEN2 and his two assistants FALL and FELL come into view, forming a solemn procession. LORD GARDEN holds open a large blank book in which he sketches a map of the surrounding terrain. Meanwhile at LORD GARDEN’s nod, FALL and FELL tie bows around various local trees to signify that they have been entered into the map’s inventory. A short distance away, sitting under a tree, a young vagabond ASCIAN plays a tune on a small reed pipe. LORD GARDEN takes notice of ASCIAN’s song. FALL and FELL, in turn, notice that LORD GARDEN has become suddenly transfixed.




               Listen! Such a beautiful, and yet

An unfamiliar song! Some little bird,

So tender-breasted as to thus beget

The sweetest singing ears have ever heard

Has perched itself upon yon distant branch!

What feather would this clear voice wear about

Its throat? We must approach while there's a chance

To see, and in our notes record its notes.

With a telescope, FALL searches out the source of the sounds. Meanwhile, FELL jots down some of the musical notes in his notebook.

And when we get a fix on them, and fix

Them in our books, we’ll plan a seminar

And teach this song to all uncultured hicks

Who would improve, refine themselves at our

Soon-to-be-opened institution huge:

Lord Garden’s Institute of Art and Song!

A tow’ring monument that’s coming through

In planning stages vast. It won’t be long

Before it will be bliss to be alive,

Before we’re this bird, as our collective voice

Becomes this voice. From which does it derive?

A finch?


                  Lord Garden, it's a little boy:   

Young Ascian, sent to count the grass blades in

The meadow. Now he's resting and beneath

A tree he sits alone.


                                 But what makes, then,

These notes? For never could a mere boy breathe

So clearly as to sing such beauty.



Believe it's on a reed pipe that he plays.



I see.

(Concealing his suspicion.)

            Well, like a songbird he can pipe.

And, thus, for such a gift, he must be praised!


(Checking his notes.)

It is most like a bird, Lord Garden.



Let us as birds become to him, as if

In answer to his call. We shall from this

High maypole tree and hill descend to give

Young Ascian praise. Let us proceed with all

The proper fanfare as is fitting for

My highness.


                       Yes, Lord Garden.

LORD GARDEN, FALL and FELL hold crow masks to their faces as they flit between the trees. FALL sings “Lord Garden's Fanfare.”


Hearken and rise! Hearken and rise!

The Ruler of the Land, Lord Garden!

He is Keeper of the Would.

He is Tender to the Trees.3

So hearken and rise before his eyes.

ASCIAN, startled, hides his reedpipe in his coat, and begins to rise, but FALL and FELL force him to his knees.

And when you've seen

That he is king,

Fall upon your knees

So you can hearken and rise!

Again ASCIAN begins to rise, but FALL and FELL force him to his knees, where he remains.

Hearken and rise! Hearken and rise!

He is the King of Crows, Lord Garden!

Lord Garden has descended

From where the maypole grows,

So hearken and rise before his eyes.


Dear Ascian, you proved a worthy friend.

You have enchanted us and charmed us by

The pipe within your hand. The King of Crows

Thus must do honor to your name.


                                                       And that

He shall with lofty language he composed

In his descent. He made this charming chant

When your enchanting charm he did reverse,

To thus return the gift that you've embraced

Us with in song.


                             For one good turn deserves

To be returned.


                           And so at last your praise

Is hereby rebestowed. So hearken to

And rise before the charming King of Crows.

LORD GARDEN begins making a guttural, wheezing sound with his throat.


Lord Garden? Is there something wrong? Oh! You Are

choking! Are you choking?


                                            Do not pose

A question till Lord Garden's fully blessed

Us with his song.


                                 It's quite alright. I am

Not choking. I am Crowking.



The King of Crows is Crow-King.


                                                        Oh. His name


Allows for notes no more melodious

It seems.


                  Ah! Were I but a crow that would

Be so. But see! A Crow-King's throat has, thus,

A coat of kings. And such a vestment should

Soon prove a sound investment, too, when one,

To earn my presence, teaches me to sing.

So not to worry, duty shall be done.

I just must find one lesser than a king!


I’m not sure I understand.


I understand you are a peasant, child?


I am?


You are . And so: a treatise on

The reed pipe you must give, for my delight,

An then a demonstration of your art.


Since you’re lesser than a king.


Indeed. But if you prove your worth,

I might admit you to our tenured fowl

Faculty. So be brave, Ascian. Show

Me what you’ve got.


Very well. I’ll try. So...

(Producing the reedpipe from under his coat.)

These are the stops. You govern these ventages

with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth. Like so.

ASCIAN blows into the pipe, producing one or two rudimentary notes. LORD GARDEN removes his crow’s mask from his face (abolishing the pretence of the play-within-a-play), stares with an expression of horror at the untied bow dangling around the reed, then faints into the arms of FALL and FELL.


Lord Garden?


What is this? A sight which blinds my pupils dark

And leaves me lost within the Notted Would



             You've shut your eyes, Lord Garden.


Are they shut? For I know not; I cannot see.

My mind’s monomania banishes

All else except this untied bow, which bleeds

Red ‘round this arrow-wand, which vanishes

My best laid plans. He’s played me for a fool.

Like a pipe.


Lord Garden? What’s the matter? Oh, are you choking again?


No I am not choking, you fool. Tell me:

How did you acquire that?


What, the reed pipe? Well, I was counting up your grass blades in the north meadow. Mind-numbing work. These jobs you fling at me are just scraps, aren’t they? So there I was counting grass blade after grass blade after grass blade. I’d been counting all afternoon, taking inventory and all that. Then a fog rolled in. Or maybe things just got foggy. I found myself on a desolate waste, on some slough out past Zandvoort. Haggard mariners were there. Shipwrecked, starved, but still counting waves and bits of spray—taking inventory, but loosing count, and having to start again. The waves kept coming in, then the tide. Their dog starts howling in the north wind. I sympathized with their plight, of man and beast, and grabbed the nearest thing, something that might make a kind of instrument, with which I might howl back to them, to keep them company, or to guide them like a foghorn towards a hamlet or habitation.

ASCIAN blows into his pipe again, causing LORD GARDEN to wince as if the sound pained his ears. FALL grabs the pipe away as LORD GARDEN checks his map.



                                                     Make no

Such childish tale, dear child.


(Checking his map.)

                                               Behold! Within

the meadow there are nine such reeds. They grow

beneath a birch that’s perched beside a pond.

So I’d say this reed was one of these.


That very well could be.


Then it must be returned to that place.


But why Lord Garden?


Because I’m making this...

(Unfurling his map in Ascian’s face to sounds of thunder.)

                                             My Mighty Map.

In doing so, my one and only aim

Is to perfectly mimic these, my grounds.

Yea, in it even slightest saplings must

Be found if they are bound within these bounds

Kept since ere you were conceived.





When you take, pluck, or re-arrange my reeds,

Then all MY work is done in vain—for naught!

For see you not how your careless misdeeds

Have made my map...inaccurate?




Your reed is clearly marked here in my map.

But you have pulled it out of place, the world

is out of joint, as they say.


But why must you make a map?




                                             Poor boy. Let’s

Forgive him his benighted state, which itself

Proves the need for my map. For my great plans

It doth facilitate to make a school

For soft’ning all such wrong and uncouth modes.

My map’s a model, a blueprint to guide

A vast public-works construction project:

Lord Garden’s Institute of Art and Song.

Which will be built on this self-same site

All in due time. And if you wish to join, attend, enroll,

You had better let construction go as planned,

And not put cracks in its very foundation.

Ahem. Now, orchestra, play my other theme.

That I might express myself more effectively, in song.


You can sing after all?


Of course. I was not really Crow-King, you know.

I was only jo-king!

Laughter from FALL and FELL. LORD GARDEN begins to sing “Lost” as he and FALL and FELL continue their original parade through the Notted Would. Eventually their procession comes to the place where ASCIAN’s reed originated, and there they tie it back securely into place.


Lost. We are lost in the wood.

No way to know the way out.

Lost. We are lost in the world.

No way to dispel our doubt.

How can you build a civilization

Without a map of the world?

And how can you build, on misinformation,

An accurate map of the world?

We would not survive.

We would not survive

We would not survive... very long.

Lost. We are lost in the world,

Bread crumbs to show us the way?

Lost. We are lost in the woods.

My map will show us the way.

How can you build a civilization

Without a map of the world?

And how can you build, on misinformation,

An accurate map of the world?

We would not survive.

We would not survive

We would not survive... very long.

From LORD GARDEN’s processional cart, FALL and FELL take some bulky enrollment papers and course catalogs for Lord Garden’s Institute of Art and Song and set them on the ground, near ASCIAN. LORD GARDEN, FLALL and FELL, in procession, then roll on into the distance and out of the immediate vicinity, leaving ASCIAN kneeling on the ground, defeated. He picks up the enrollment papers and reads aloud about the coming curriculum.



Enrolment is open for fall term at Lord Garden’s Institute of Art and Song. Music 101: Exploring narcissistic echoes with safe, sanitary,  and inexpensive plastic recorders...theory helps us deconstruct…our constructed relation to music as evidence of a neo-colonialist paradigm....motivated by the very desire it purports to transcend. The essentialist full presence of the individualized subject rightly deconstructed, we will break off into discussion groups and therapy sessions and…[academic jargon etc.]

ASCIAN yawns, and, using the enrollment materials as a pillow, falls asleep. Sound of wind. Birds.



1 The Notted Would is an imaginary forest where the flora is knotted to the ground. This knotting to the ground is symbolic and literal: each flower, reed, weed, and tree has a red bow tied around it to indicate that it has been entered into inventory.

2 Lord Garden can be seen as a sort of euhemeristic syncretism between various tax-collecting, town-planning entities such as Count Floris V, Albrecht V Duke of Bavaria, or the Frankfurt School.

3 Tender to the Trees: the etymological derivation of tender is here significant, from the Latin tenere, which has connotations of tenderness, but also means to hold, to grasp. The French verb tenir is relevant here. One might even say “he’s tenir to the trees.”

Antimasque was recorded via Skype on September 29 of this year, with actors from London, Chicago, Washington DC, and Las Vegas. It was originally performed on stage at De Appel in Amsterdam.


Lord Garden...............Jonathan Law

Fall...............Helena Bonett

Fell...............Kevin Brewer

Ascian...............Burr the Exploder


Clarinet...............Laura Carmichael

Baroque Cello...............Johanna Calderon Ochoa

Harp...............Victoria Davies

Guitar...............Lee Scrivner                                                                               


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