The Story of the Play

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
“All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.”

-Jack Kerouac

Deaf, dumb and blind boy

He’s in a quiet vibration land.

Strange as it seems, his musical dreams

Ain’t quite so bad.

-The Who

Howdy cast,

At last night’s rehearsal, Anatoly told the full story of the play. Here it is:

Dr. Caligari is searching for immortality. He lost his wife in childbirth and never recovered from it. In a desperate moment, he strikes a deal with three witches for immortality. As everyone knows, witches never deal straight, and granted Caligari super-intelligence and told him that with this knowledge he could find immortality on his own. So began his research.

Caligari’s son Cesare was troubled from birth. The boy cried everyday, and sobbed in his sleep every night. One night while dreaming of his mother, the boy realized he could end his suffering by joining her in death. He looked inwardly and convinced his body to die. He told first his pulse to slow, then his arms to go numb, then his breathing to slow. But the boy was not going to die.

Caligari was reading when a familiar noise left his ear: his son’s crying. He discovered the dying boy and commanded him to stop this meditation. The boy, compelled by his father’s hypnotism, could will himself no closer to death. Letting go of his conscious mind, Cesare fell into coma.

His son’s attempted suicide sent Caligari into a deeper depression and mania. He lost his home and began wandering the streets carrying his shell of a son with him wherever he went. It was out of distorted love that he began parading his son in circus acts.

Then begins the play. These earlier events are discussed by three witches. The witches take some time to explain each principle character and the villagers as well. All characters of the village except the Old Woman who sits by the chapel are flawed soulless creatures destined for paralyzing Depression and Madness.

On Saturday evening, a girl, her father and her fiance go to the fair. The couple is to be wed the next day in the cathedral.  They see a new booth at the fair and pay to enter the tent, “Synambulism, what’s that?” Olympia, the girl, asks. They see Caligari strut out an old man. They seem him surge with life as he displays his son, a sleepwalker. They see this creature lurch from his coffin and point to Alan. Alan has been commanded to ask a question. “When will I die?” He whispers. “After the next moon,” is the reply. Alan is deeply shaken, and abandons his fiancee and father-in-law to run to his home. The father goes after him, the girl stays for a moment.

Olympia is fascinated with the creature. She sees into his dreaming soul and falls in love. Caligari does all he can to resist their attraction. If they were to fall in love, he reasons, he would be left completely alone in the world.   Caligari resolves to fulfill his son’s prophecy and kill Alan, then leave the village before the relationship can progress.

At Alan’s apartment, Caligari waits until everyone is asleep, then sets upon Alan. He commands sleepy Alan to destroy himself, and hands him a knife. Under the grip of mania, Alan cannot refuse. Alan doe! s not die, but runs from home and village into the wilderness. Caligari feels like he has won.

Alas, his son has spent the night wandering from his coffin. He searches for the soul of his love. They find each other in the streets and dance a soul dance.

The next day, Olympia and her father search for Alan. In his apartment, they find blood. The old woman knows where it leads and tries to tell them. They follow the blood to Caligari’s tent, and beyond into the wilderness. Along the! way they are set upon by Caligari and Cesare. Olympia’s father is driven mad. Instead of killing Olympia, Cesare attacks his father. Then he picks up the stunned Olympia and carries her further into the wilderness.

[–Church bells ring, the wedding is scheduled to begin, but the bride and groom are nowhere to be found. The gathered villagers begin murmuring rumors of murder and madness. An out-of-breath messenger arrives and tells the tale of the stolen bride and bloody groom, and of the madman’s monster carrying her away. The villagers grab their pitchforks, torches, etc. and march toward Cesare.–]

Cesare is short of breath, he has been running for too long. Olympia comes to her senses and calmly asks to be set down. Cesare obliges, and they face each other. Olympia takes Cesare’s head in her hands and kisses him. Cesare’s eyes shift, then blink, then stare. He looks around, and then at her, then around then at her. Olympia says, “Cesare, may I ask you a question?” Cesare nods. Olympia says, “How long will you live?” He takes a great gasp, then falls to his knees. Olympia calmly watches Cesare die. Olympia loses her soul at this moment, and takes no notice of the villagers gather around her, asking if she is okay. They grab her arm and lead her back to the village chapel.

[–At the chapel Olympia shakes lose of her guardians an d yells at them. They chalk it up to the stress of the situation and leave her alone in the village square. She collapses sobbing by the old woman, who takes her hand and coos her to calmness. Caligari walks through the village square carrying his Cesare puppet in one arm, and suitcases in the other. He is going to leave town quietly. Olympia sees the puppet. She runs at Caligari, grabbing for the puppet while wailing and crying. Caligari will not give up the puppet and she will not let go of it. Their fight escalates and the villagers run out to them. They surround the fight and Caligari lashes out at each as they attempt to restrain him. His touch drives them mad. Finally he reaches to touch Olympia. Instead of going mad, she falls asleep. Caligari is all alone with the old woman in a village square littered with gibbering mad men.  He picks up his puppet, his suitcase, then sets each down. He walks to the middle of the square and sits down quietly.–]

Fade to Black.

The lights come up on the madhouse. All villagers are present, including two senior and one novice nurse. They make the rounds to each mad character, and the senior nurses describe each madness. We find Olymipa and Alan dressed in torn wedding cloths, w! e find a policeman directing imaginary traffic, we find two prostitute s believing they are 5 years old, and we find Olympia’s father there too. The nurses finish their rounds and leave the hospital, then slip out of their outfits back into gypsy robes. The laugh and cackle to themselves. As they leave the stage they stop to glare at the old woman, who has Cesare and Olympia’s soul in each hand. They walk past the witches and into the House, then out the back of the theatre. “Mad, mad, we’re all mad here.” One witch says. “Well, they’ll be alright.” Says another witch pointing to the disappearing group. They cackle again, and the show fades to black.

MORALE OF THE PLAY: Without your soul, your body/mind will go nuts and eat itself.

This is the narrative that guides the play. Additional scenes can and will be developed.

[–The bracketed paragraph was not dictated from Anatoly. It just fills a plot hole.–]

Originally submitted February 25, 2009 by Assistant Director Brian Lyke

Press (articles, stories, reviews of “Caligari: Alaska”)

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Publicity. Click the image for the 195k pdf (full) version.

(left) Publicity article about the production “Caligari: Alaska” which appeared in the Fairbanks Daily-News Miner

Originally published Friday, April 17, 2009

Click the image to download a 195k PDF version of the article.


Review. Click the image for the 89k (full) version.

(Right) Theatre review about the production “Caligari: Alaska” which appeared in the Fairbanks Daily-News Miner

Originally published Friday, April 24, 2009

Click the image to download an 89k PDF version of the article.


Review. Click the image for the 353k (full) version.

(Left) Theatre review about the production “Caligari: Alaska” which appeared in the UAF Sun Star (student newspaper).

Originally published Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Click the image to download a 353k PDF version of the review.