Cadence & Cassiopeia
CADENCE & CASSIOPEIA
CADENCE Slow down? No. I am a star. Aflame. Alight. Aglow. Sort of. The faster I fly the more I burn. The more I burn the more I shine. The more I shine the more I am loved. I fly SO fast. Zoom zoom zoom.
When humans see me in the sky they kiss and gather close… They point up and wish! They dream of me.
There are no winds or tides in the vacuum of space. Just gusts of plasma and radio waves. I let them be my guide. They all point to earth. Cadence is coming. I feel humans crying out. Desperately. I am coming! As fast as I can! Zoom zoom zoom. Nothing will stop me now!
CASSIOPEIA Stop. Now. Please. I need your help.
CADENCE Woah. You are a beautiful constellation. Who are you?
CASSIOPEIA I was a queen. Now I am ensnared in the night sky. Bound to this celestial pole. Who are you?
CADENCE My name is Cadence.
CASSIOPEIA Wrong. Names are immaterial. They are the first gift given to you and the sharpest weapon used against you. Tell me who you are.
CADENCE I am a shooting star. A traveller.
CADENCE Earth. I am running away from something. Or towards something. Sometimes I wonder if I have been dashing across the sky for so long I have forgotten which it is.
CASSIOPEIA Bide a while, little star. The earth is nearby. My home.
CADENCE I don’t understand… You are made of stars, are you not?
CASSIOPEIA What would you say if I told you that I was born on earth? That I was once a queen and a mother?
CADENCE GET OUT OF HERE!! Humans do not become stars!l
CASSIOPEIA Neither do small rocks shooting through the sky…
CADENCE Oof. You’ve got me there. So you were the queen of earth?
CASSIOPEIA Oh goodness- no. I was the Queen of Aethiopia.
CADENCE I thought you said you were born on Earth?
CASSIOPEIA I was.
CADENCE So what’s Aethio-
CASSIOPEIA It was a
nation on earth.
CASSIOPEIA It is no longer.
CADENCE Where did it go?
CASSIOPEIA It is still there- but is known by new names. The sands still
billow in mighty storms. But it is no longer my Aethiopia.
CADENCE Didn’t you tell me that names are
CASSIOPEIA [She chuckles gently] You’ve got me there, Cadence.
Could I know your name?
CASSIOPEIA I am called Cassiopeia.
CADENCE Why were you trapped in the stars?
CASSIOPEIA I made a mistake. Really a long, long list of mistakes. Humans do that… Make a lot of mistakes… you will come to learn that soon enough. Hmm. Can I tell you a story, little star?
CADENCE Yes please! I love stories!
CASSIOPEIA Many years ago, on earth, on the coast of the Aegean Sea, there was a poet, a dolphin, and a ghost aboard a small but mighty wooden ship... ah…
CADENCE What’s wrong..?
CASSIOPEIA Before I start, little star, will you do me a favour? Could you unchain my wrists? For the story?
CADENCE Just your hands, right? Hmm... Okay! Let me do some quick orbital circles, to build up speed…
CASSIOPEIA [she smirks] Ahh. It worked. Thank you. That feels so much better. Now... where was I? Ah. The poet, the dolphin, and the ghost. It was dusk. The air was thick with-
CADENCE WAIT! Wait wa-
CADENCE & CASSIOPEIA
CADENCE -it wait wait wait wait! The poet I can understand. But how does the dolphin ride on board the ship? Are they not a creature of the sea? And the ghost… How did they die? Is it the spirit of a human? A dolphin? A star?
CASSIOPEIA Shh. Patience. Time and myth will tell. The air was thick with early evening fog and mist over the water and the mixed scents of briny sea salt and lavender filled their noses. As each had their soggy passports stamped on the creaking wooden pier, they looked out and thought themselves mightier than the waves.
The first part of their journey was uneventful.
The seas calm and the night sky clear. They lounged and engaged in maritime
libations. They said:
THE POET [ a drunk young man] A bloodless blue sky. And a velvety breeze. I stare at the stars that are over the ocean.
THE GHOST [ a mournful old woman] This ouzo goes right through me. I remember having a body and writing beautiful words and drinking beautiful drinks. Oh joy. Troubles and drink pass through me like rain drops on moss.
THE DOLPHIN [a dolphin] EeEEee, eeE EEE e E eeeEE?
THE POET Good question, dolphin. They want to know why you are so cheerful, my spectral friend. Is the afterlife not filled enough of things dark and dreary for you?
THE GHOST From the moment I died I have felt more calm than the surface of the sea, even on the stillest of days with no wind or wake.
THE DOLPHIN Ee eee E!
THE POET I couldn’t agree more! To hell with the tides and those who try to chart the passage of our lives.
CASSIOPEIA Unbeknownst to them the cruel king of the sea listened from
fathoms below. His saltwater blood boiling with rage as they mocked his kingdom… He called down upon the ship a tempest of swirling eddys and crashing clouds. Wild horses
thundered through the sky as the ship was tossed about like a rag doll between the valleys and peaks of the waves.. The captain, the crew, all thrown overboard until only the poet, the dolphin, and the ghost remained. It was daybreak and they were alone on the sea, drenched in a blood red dawn. The cruel king emerged through the waves on a mighty
chariot of coral and blue flame, drawn by a sea
CADENCE And?! What happens next? What does the sea king do?
CASSIOPEIA Ah. The chains around my ankles. My back. The belt pulls and blisters me where I sit. If you can
release it- I may continue… If not I fear I can’t find the breath to sing the song…
CADENCE There’s a song?! Okay. Well. I suppose I can unshackle the stars that make up the rope wrapped around your body, Cass… Just for a little..?
CASSIOPEIA Mmm. Yes. Just for a moment, little star. You would really be helping me to teach that nasty sea king a lesson.
[CADENCE spins and undoes the belt shackling CASSIOPEIA’S back to her celestial seat. She grins ominously. Burning hotter.]
CADENCE You’re warming up to sing?
[CASSIOPEIA burns brighter and brighter. Hot yellows begin to flash]
CASSIOPEIA Ah. That’s much better. I will grow so big and burn so bright- the planets shall be kindling that keep my light.
CADENCE Uh oh…
CASSIOPEIA My hunger lashes in hollow spires-the planets shall be fuel that feeds my fire!
[In a flash CASSIOPEIA bursts free]
CADENCE & CASSIOPEIA
CADENCE Oh Cass. You’ve left your constellation. You’d
better go back…
CASSIOPEIA Don’t you want to hear how the story ends, little star? Of how cruel
Posiedon was to the poet, the ghost, and the dolphin?
CADENCE You are growing larger and brighter.
No longer a formation of
stars but a giant. You are-
CASSIOPEIA -starving. Have you been hungry before,
Cadence? Really so deeply
hungry that your soul cries out to be filled.
CADENCE I… I’m not sure…
CASSIOPEIA Thousands of years of stillness nearly
extinguished my light. Every day, tormented by memories of Andromeda, my daughter, being hung by a cliff as an offering to a horrible sea serpent, sent by the spiteful god of the sea. It’s scales shimmering greens and blues in the water as it made haste… licking it’s cold lips…the sickening sound of her chains against the soft stone… All my fault… But now, thanks to you I am free to scorch those who took everything away from me.
CADENCE Cassiopeia! Stop! Please. You don’t… You tricked me… The story… The song… a trick for me to unchain you… so you could… Why did Poisideon imprison you in the stars?
CASSIOPEIA I was arrogant. Aloof. My heart teemed with avarice and vanity. There were vile humors and smoke and fire in my heart which longed to be released. For this petty crime I was forsaken to the skies. Taken away from my family.
At the whim of a petulant
deity. Move out of my way, false star.
CADENCE No! You must not harm the earth. The humans are tender and fearful enough as it is. Please.
CASSIOPEIA Earth is only the beginning. I shall feast on planets. Make gods old and new quake in their realms for the fire with which I will consume their worlds. I will live so long and scorch so hot…
CADENCE WOAH. W-w-wait. Let’s talk about this. You… you never finished your story! Please. You said there was a song? I.. I.. I am sure you have a voice as velvety and warm as an old nebula. If you leave before I hear your song.. I- I would be so sad… Tell me more about Andromeda. She sounds beautiful.
CASSIOPEIA She was the most
beautiful creature in the universe. As you wish. I will sing you one song before my rampage.
CADENCE That is all I would ever ask of you. Why don’t you stand upon your pedestal? So your sound can echo through the plasma and particles?
CASSIOPEIA Yes. A wonderful
suggestion. A melody as a harbinger of the mighty queen of Aethiopia’s return to
CADENCE [squeaks nervously]
CASSIOPEIA It is an ever so apropos tune. The three survivors found their ship run aground by Posideon. Marooned on a sliver of land jutting out from the sea. The sun cast a gorgeous molten glow as it set across the sand. Sunsets on earth are truly spectacular and make humans think big scary thoughts. As they await their fate from the bitter king of the sea they sing:
THE POET Civilizations rise
and kingdoms burn. You lie in wait and wait your turn. On earth we rise and in earth we
fall, But friend, in the end, the stars will end it all.
[While CASSIOPEIA is distracted, CADENCE collects her shackles]
CADENCE It’s so beautiful. Keep singing! Who’s next? The ghost?
THE GHOST History ends and legends start, Your story beats as long as your heart. On earth we rise and in earth we fall, But friend, in the end, the stars will end it all.
CADENCE And the dolphin?
THE DOLPHIN eeEEE EeeeEEee!
[CADENCE binds the queen]
CASSIOPEIA STOP. WHAT ARE YOU DOING. BINDING ME. You wretched speck of dust! You tricked me! Unchain me from this celestial pole you-
CADENCE I’m sorry, Cass. I don’t believe that you deserve to be trapped and alone… But I also don’t believe you should hurt anyone because of it… I’m so sorry…
CASSIOPEIA No. Cadence. Please. I promise I won’t harm so much as a moon. I can tell you more stories. Of sunsets, thieves, forests and scars! Please don’t leave me here.
CADENCE I must keep moving. I can’t stop now. I will come back one day. From earth. I promise. I’m sorry, Cassiopeia.
Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the story "Cadence & Cassiopeia"
as a part of The Unnatural Disaster Theatre Co, LuLo, and Coreto's project "Cadence" at Nocturne Halifax 2023.
Cadence has been dreamed up, written and recorded in K’jipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki.
Mi’kma’ki is and has always been unceded. It is the ancestral home of the Mi’kmaq.
Created by Lucas Hernandes Nascimento & Logan Robins.
Narrator: Logan Robins Cadence: Jessie Walker
Cassiopeia: Lucas Hernandes Nascimento The Poet: Maddi Tang
The Ghost: Bödvar Ingi Hlifarsson Geirfinssonn The Dolphin: Alex Naus