Yet another whole new theory

Okay, so there are several parts to the play at this point: the prehistoric story, the modern story, and the documentary-style commentary going on over top of it.  The prehistoric story seemed for the longest time to be the most solid bit we have worked out, but it’s also been bothering me and I’m not totally sure why.  I think it has to do with the kind of forced business of our main character envisioning some abstract possible world, and then believing that it’s out there, so leaving the cave, et cetera et cetera… wasn’t really landing emotionally.  Philosophically, maybe, but that’s not really enough.

So here’s a kind of ridiculous idea, or maybe not so ridiculous, can’t tell at the moment.   I referred in an earlier post to the prehistoric story as being a kind of cave-Genesis story, and just now finally thought about what that could actually mean — an attempt to tell the ur-story that is the primal source for Genesis… almost in the way that Quest for Fire, God love it, tells a kind of ur-hero’s journey thing.  Somewhere or other the marvellous Sir Frazer says (I can’t find the dang quote) something to this effect — the story changes, whereas the ritual remains the same; the ritual is vital, but whether the characters have Roman names or Christian ones or names that are long forgotten, the fundamental features must remain the same because they tell the deep truth, whether we understand it or not… that was a wild paraphrasing of something I might have imagined him to say, but, it being said, what if the prehistoric plot was like this:

The cave-puppeteers enter, and blow on the fire so that the cave begins to light up. They reveal a crude puppet of a caveman.  They breathe into his nostrils to make him come to life.  He is all overjoyed to be alive, and maybe names things around him with moans and grunts.  But then enter a cavewoman: she’s wonderful, and they’re in love.

But then: enter the King Caveman, the alpha male, still mostly ape.  He’s dragging in a lump of old meat he’s found out in the wastes; everybody feasts, he beats his chest victoriously, and takes our cavewoman as his woman.

Our caveman is distraught.

The cavewoman has a vision in the night, a wild and powerful event, with slithering spirits and animated shadows and who-knows-what-else — the first time in history that someone imagines something — the first vision of a better possibility — she imagines being with our hero caveman, a world where the might of the cave King wouldn’t impede their love.

She tries to describe it to our caveman, but he’s a bit too dim to get it.  She paints a picture on the wall of them together.  He sort of gets it: he paints himself as King. They make-a-the-love.

But enter cave King!  They’re ashamed, and try to cover their offending genitals with leaves… or something?  The King beats his chest and thrashes them both soundly, but they manage to escape, maybe by setting things on fire, the furs in the cave, so that they escape but the cave itself is full of fire and smoke and so the King has died in there probably.

Off they run into the wastes.  They are soon starving, and eating dust.  They travel and travel across vast landscapes.  The caveman gets angry at the cavewoman, because he feels like they never should have messed with the King.  They fight, even.  And the cavewoman is more and more pregnant.

In the night, they see the ghost of the King appear to haunt them.  But it turns out it’s a crazed hallucination: it’s actually some huge predator, who attacks!  And the caveman throws himself in front of the predator, to save the cavewoman; he is mortally wounded, but manages to distract the beast long enough for the cavewoman to kill it.

Now she’s all alone, and everything seems lost and miserable.

But then she has her baby!

Or something.  Not sure how to end it exactly.

Is this a terrible idea?

About Judd Trout

Judd Palmer is one of the Old Trouts.

This entry was posted in General Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Yet another whole new theory

  1. Terminator E says:

    Love it!

  2. Neandertaler says:

    Maybe it ends in modern times… Charles Darwin digs up the puppet?

    I wonder if the puppet could be there from early on. Here’s another take, at least for part of the story:

    “Juliet,” with her strange visions, scary behaviour and possibly odd appearance, could be a bit of an outcast. “Romeo’s” whole life so far has revolved solely around his unsuccessful attempts to get in on the action exclusively reserved for King Urgh and his Alpha Male Goons. He has gotten so desperate for some nookie that he’s gone looking for the only female that no one else ever wants, unless the King isn’t doling out harem privileges and they’re drunk enough on fermented berries not to care who or what they shag. Torn between his lust and the disgust he’s been taught for this particular female, he doesn’t dare come too close to her hang-out but stays near enough to become intrigued by what he sees.

    Not only is Juliet’s outfit just plain weird, even by prehistoric standards, her place is filled with the strangest objects she’s collected and with things she’s dyed and placed or tied together in strange configurations. She has been experimenting with things no one else in their right mind would try, in an effort to give form to the visions that haunt her. She’s also been whacked around enough to have developed her own strategies for keeping intruders at bay when they do happen to come stumbling after her. But when she tries one or two of her more spectacular tricks on the one that’s come skulking around today, it doesn’t seem to have the desired effect. Sure, he scampers into the bushes screaming when she jumps at him in full regalia and a cloud of smoke, banging her drum and spitting blood, but it doesn’t take long before he comes back for more!

    Needless to say, they develop an unlikely alliance, even friendship; he visits her whenever he can. She begins to trust him and even like him, this odd man who’s not like the others. Eventually she creates the Puppet as a way to give her rather thick-skulled Romeo some idea of the visions she has, by making it dance and tease him and hunt shadows she projects on the wall of the cave. It takes a while, but Romeo does catch on. The game of creating and exploring magical worlds becomes a strong bond between them. And the sex is good, too.

    Of course, before long King Urgh, on one of his territorial pissing rounds, gets wind of the shenanigans going on somewhere on the fringes of his turf. Rounding up his side-kicks, he raids the woman’s place with a brutal show of force…

    … Long after Romeo’s death, the woman continues to entertain her Twins with the Puppet, the only thing she was able to save from the fire when she and her man escaped the wrath of the King. To them, it becomes the centre of their mother’s teachings but also the incarnation of a magical world of beauty and harmony, of their Dad’s love and his mythical powers…

    …Eons later, does this very first cave-puppet become the one Missing Link that Darwin can’t figure out how fit into his book? Instead, does it become a picture in a little girl’s diary, who grows up to be a famous artist, or suffragette? Or does it inspire an underprivileged child that’s been watching the documentary to end its abusive circumstances with a simple act of primal magic?

  3. Terminator E says:

    This is a good one, I feel it emotionally and it would also be a lot of fun to watch… it makes me want more and i would probably see it a bunch of times. I would especially like it if cave-man’s story were the prologue to the even more hare-raising tale of the cavewoman and her daughter (son? twins). So in my mind, to end cave-man’s story one should tell theirs .

    • Terminator E says:

      Part 2 is the childbirth, part 3 begins with the young family in a broad meadow. This is home to cavemom and her twins, and we watch them learn and grow together. Cavemom preserves Cavedad’s memory with a puppet, acting out their story and singing nursery rhymes. There is a new awareness of cycles and seasons, there is a fear and a delight at each new insect, and of course the persistent mysteries of the sky.

      One day the kids find a curious creature down by the stream, and they bring it home to mom. It turns out to be King Urgh, he has an extended rampage and carries cavemom away. The twins are left trampled in the dust, moaning, blaming each other for this bad thing that just happened.

      After a while, one of them holds up Puppet Cavedad , who farts to cheer them up. They giggle, and sigh. Puppet Cavedad coaxes them up by reciting their childhood rhymes. They dust themselves off, make a few preparations, then set off on the trail of mom. Puppet Cavedad leads the way, each of the twins takes turns being the puppeteer.

      Past strange creatures of the land, lake and sky, in and out of days and years. Almost eaten, almost fell off a cliff, almost blown away in a storm…lots of near misses because this trip is serious peril. At times they scuffle and argue about who’s turn it is to have Puppet Cavedad, but his rhymes always bring the twins back to focus on their rescue mission.

      At the edge of the land there is a giving tree loaded with fruit, which is an opportune boat for them. They set sail, following the horizon towards a darkness visible in the distance.

      It’s the cave… they sneak in, and overcome King Urgh with assorted acts of imagination- a faux bull painted on the wall, the call of an eagle, some wool mistaken for a ram in the darkness, so forth, with these things they wear him down with his own strength. But he has considerable strength left, and he is about to find them.

      He approaches them as they are hiding behind a rock. They’re giggling, chanting their nursery rhymes together. At this point it becomes apparent that the rhythm of their rhymes matches the drip-drip-drip rhythm of the cave, and when they hold their breath and all-fall-down, a geyser erupts and carries King away on a cloud.

      When it all clears, they find mom. Hugs, kisses giggles. The kids have a sense that they have crossed a certain threshold between reality and perception, so they give each other high fives, and then they highfive the cavewall, leaving the hand prints that we know today.

      • Terminator E says:

        So I’m not sure how to end it either.

        I think I read that there’s a guy who’s doing a one-man-show, he does all five episodes of “the fast and the furious” in 23 minutes.

        • Terminator E says:

          I mean, so “Game On!” We can beat that guy, right? We got a lot of good material here, and it’s starting to come together.

  4. Neandertaler says:

    I meant “to re-enact for the child the story of its Heroic Father” of course. It sucks that you can’t edit comments…

  5. Neandertaler says:

    Me like too.
    I think it would be very interesting to explore the connection between cave-Romeo and cave-Juliet further. She’s the one having the visions, he’s the one slowly getting it. It might become something special between them, something very different from the eat-fight-fuck-sleep universe that King Urgh represents.
    What if cavewoman, after her lover’s big self-sacrifice, creates the first puppet, a strange little doll to remind her of him and of what they shared, to help her baby sleep, to re-enact the child with the story of its Heroic Father… The resurrection-as-a-puppet would refer back to the beginning of the play but would give a whole new twist to this Genesis story.

  6. Judd Trout says:

    Our caveman, mortally wounded by the beast, knowing that the cavewoman is starving, offers himself to eat. And then dies. And then she eats him. Which is good, because she has to give birth.

    • cimmeron says:

      Me like.
      The inciting incident in this version of the story is more interesting to me for sure. Can’t quite articulate why. Maybe it’s the idea that it’s love that instigates things. Ya.