Sunday, 22 January 2012
Wax and Feathers
Wax and Feathers An ancient Greek tragedy in which Icarus learns his last lesson when he ignores the advice of his father, the famed craftsman Daedalus.
Yes, my son?
Why are we confined here?
Because King Minos has said so.
What happened, Father; I thought you worked for him?
It was my fault: I did some things; some regrettable things; things which displeased the king.
I don’t like it here, can’t we just escape?
We’d have fly out of here, like birds.
Why can't we just go down to the harbour and take a boat?
I'm afraid it's not that simple; the king has the favour of Poseidon; he knows all who pass to and from the island by the sea.
Icarus, where are you?
Ah! I see you have brought more feathers.
Yes, I found some big ones by the high tide mark.
These are very good; perfect for the second tier; you have done well.
Thank you Father.
Now, if you could stir the pot of wax; I don't want it to boil; the bubbles will set in its matrix and weaken the joins.
It helps to have something to do, doesn't it?
Yes, Father, but…
I was just wondering, do you think they will really work?
They don't call me the cleverest artisan in all the civilized world out of mere flattery.
But nobody has ever made such things work before.
They will work. We don't have the best materials to work with, but they should hold if we are careful.
If they do, will be the greatest thing ever. Just think: flying, up over the houses, flying away from here.
Aye, away from here...stir it, don't spill it lad!
…I’ll just tighten the shoulder harness here...Now, how does that feel?
A bit precarious! I feel like the breeze is trying to push me away.
That’s good, that’s what we want. Today the wind is our friend; it will help to keep us in the air. Praise Aeolus. Praise Zephyr.
I’m afraid, Father.
Don’t worry lad, even Theseus was afraid before he entered the labyrinth.
But, how did he overcome it, the fear, I mean.
He didn’t. The trick is to use your fear to keep you alive, not to rob you of your sense. Without fear you overreach, make mistakes.
I don’t think the Minotaur was afraid.
Exactly my point Icarus. Look what happened to him.
Now lad if you could…just help me do up my wings.
A bit higher.
Is that right?
Perfect! We’re ready to fly.
Now, do like I said, face into the wind and move your arms slowly, or you’ll tire. Let the air do the work.
Father, I can feel it, my toes are barely touching the ground!
You’re doing well lad. Now remember not to fly too low or the water will clog the feathers and you’ll fall into the sea.
Am I flying Father, am I actually flying?
And one more thing: don’t go too high; if you get too close to the sun, Helios will scorch your wings!
Yes, but isn’t this tremendous, we are actually flying!
Icarus, listen to me; don’t get carried away. Now stay close behind me.
See the shepherds Father, they are cowering in fear; they think we’re gods!
Don’t mock the gods, boy!
Look at all the boats in the harbour below, like toys!
We need to head West whilst the…
We’ve escaped Father. We’re free; free as birds.
Icarus, enough, we need to fly straight, if we are to reach Sicily by nightfall.
That’s Lebynthos below, we’ve done well.
Don’t be so serious Father. Look, I can rise up just on the winds!
Icarus, stay close now.
I am like a god; I can touch the heavens!
Fool, do not get carried away.
I can see…
COME BACK DOWN HERE AT ONCE!
What’s happening Father? The feathers!
Icarus, no! You’re going to…
The wings, the wax, it’s melted!
What did I tell you!
Father, I can’t…
Wax and Feathers was written and edited by Simon Cornish @UnforgivingMuse