What follows is the libretto text for a comic operetta that I wrote in 1949, after the success of the chamber-opera A Day At Creed’s that my composer-friend Gordon Cyr and I created and (with two others) performed, first in our living room, then on the U.C. campus, and finally on Radio Station KPFA. (For that, see the libretto, published separately on this website under Writings of James Cahill--or, to hear the original radio performance, go to  The music for this new one, however, was never composed; Gordon was busy with other matters, such as getting his degree in the Music Department. He finished one song and a few sketches for others, but even those are now lost. I, meanwhile, was continuing to work in Creed’s Bookstore while working toward my own B.A., which I received (in Oriental Languages) in the summer of 1950. I was exposed daily to discussions about then-new theories of psychoanalysis, and was selling--and browsing--books by authors such as Karen Horney and Wilhelm Reich. It was natural, then, that I would choose psychoanalysis as the topic for satirical treatment in the new operetta. Rereading it, I still find it funny, and full of good rhymes--I had an ear for those back then. So, read it and (I hope) enjoy it. I will welcome written responses. If any composer wants to do music for it and arrange for a production, get in touch with me.


James Cahill, December 2011



A Comic Opera in Two Acts


Spoken Prologue and Epilogue


Music by Gordon Cyr

Libretto By James Cahill



Scene:  (before the curtain) the office of Dr. J. T. Paracelsus, famous psychoanalyst. Dr. P. Is seated at his desk, reading “The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis.”  In a chair beside him is Miss Endor, a woman of about fifty, taking notes.  At the other side of the stage, lying on a couch, is a Patient who is saying in a nasal voice as the lights go up:

Pat.  An’ there I was with this thing coming after me down the hall, see, and I tried to open doors and they were all locked, and then I came to the end of the hall, and I opened a window and there was no fire escape, and this thing was getting closer, so I jumped out, and then I woke up.

Dr. P.  (looking up) Very interesting, very revealing. You have all that, Miss Endor? (she nods). Now, Mr. Pixley, if you would continue from where you left off last Tuesday – you had just entered your fourteenth year, as I recall. (Goes back to reading his book.)

Pat.  Awright, so I’m fourteen years old again, and we move to Pennsylvania, and the first day i go to school there I meet this girl named Doris, and ... (his voice trails off into a murmur, but he is assumed to go on talking.)

Miss E.  Doctor Paracelsus. (lays down notebook and pencil.)

Dr. P.  Yes, Miss Endor?  What, you aren’t taking notes? What if he should say something important?

Miss E.  I have something rather important to say myself.

Dr. P.  Surely it can wait until ---

Miss E.  No I’m sorry, it won’t wait.  I’ve just made a decision.  You’ll have to find another assistant, Doctor; I’m leaving.

Dr. P. Impossible! Why should you want to leave?  Surely I’m paying you enough.

Miss E.  I suppose you are; that’s not the reason. I’m going home – I’ve been with you long enough.

Dr. P.  Long enough for what?  You told me, when you took this job, that you wanted to learn from me.  What has changed your mind? You still have much to learn, and many students of psychoanalytic techniques would leap at the opportunity to observe in action the most famous, the most successful practitioner in the country.

Miss E.  You needn’t tell me of your fame and success – I’ve been with you, you remember, all the time you’ve acquired them.  You’re very sure of yourself, Doctor.  Hasn’t it ever occurred to you to wonder how you became famous and successful?  Do you think it was entirely through your own brilliance?

Dr. P.  What else?  No one could accomplish what I have without being brilliant.  I’m recognized in the profession as a man who never fails; who can be relied upon to send his patients away completely cured, mentally sound, emotionally stable—and in half the time anyone else would require.  Every one of my cases during the past three years has been history-making.

Miss E.  True enough; but these are the years I’ve been with you.  Who had heard of you before?

Dr. P.  (voice rising) Just what are you implying?  (realizes he’s speaking too loud, stops. A moment of complete silence; then:)

Pat.  (thinking Dr. P. was speaking to him. )  I wasn’t implying anything; I was just telling you about what happened to me on my seventeenth  birthday.

Dr. P.  Seventeen already?  Mr. Pixley, in order to discover the real nature of your peculiar neurosis, as I have explained before, I must have more complete information – details.  You have passed over the years between fourteen and seventeen very quickly.

Pat.  Not much happened then.

Dr. P.  You will please tell me everything which comes into your mind, and I shall judge what is important and what is not.

Pat.  Awright; but when I’m paying you twenty-five dollars an hour to talk to you, it just seems like I oughta be saying something important.

Dr. P.  No more remarks about my fee, if you please, Mr. Pixley, or I shall be forced to read to you once more the passage from Miss Horney’s book which explains how objections to the cost of psychoanalysis are likely to be based on a neurotic fear of becoming destitute.  Now, once more at fifteen, and in greater detail ...

 Pat  Awright; so I’m fifteen again, and we’ve just moved to Chicago, and one day I’m walking in the park, and ...(trails off again.)

Dr. P.   Now then, Miss Ender; were you suggesting, before we were interrupted, that you’ve contributed somehow to my success?

Miss E.   I may as well tell you the truth, Doctor, because you’ll find out soon enough anyway when I’m gone.  You haven’t helped your patients at all; I have.

Dr. P.  You?  My dear woman, has the observation of so many diseased minds finally unhinged yours?  What sort of therapy could you be capable of?  Your knowledge of analytic procedures is negligible, and all of it acquired through association with me.

Miss E.  What does that matter?  I haven’t used your techniques at all, but my own.

Dr. P. And what, may I ask, are your techniques?

Miss E.  They belong to a study older than psychology.  To use the common term, Doctor, I am a witch.

Dr. P  (voice rising) A witch! (again a moment of silence.)

Pat.  Which what?  Which girl, you mean?  Well, it was really both of them, only not at once, of course.

Dr. P. Ah—yes, Mr. Pixley, I’m sure. But would you repeat your last words, please; several phrases escaped me.

Pat.  I don’t know as I want to repeat  ‘em in front of the lady.  They were sort of risqué.

Dr. P.  Ah, so we have finally begun your sex life.

Pat.  Yeah – I was telling you about Ethyl and Maybelle and me, and the day we – look, Doctor, do I have to tell you everything?

Dr. P. If we are to clarify the causes of your acute ophidiophobia – morbid fear of poisonous snakes, that is – we must have a complete understanding of your past life, including, and perhaps most important of all, your sex life.

Pat.  But I don’t see what all this has to do with my being scared of poisonous snakes.  I’ve told you that I was bitten by a snake when I was six, and –

Dr. P.  Your explanation is much too simple to be the correct one.  A snake, Mr. Pixley, even under the most favourable conditions, is much more than just a snake.  To a child of six especially, it is a symbol, and a  very obvious one; probably it is a symbol to another snake as well, though on this score the evidence is fragmentary.  But if you had told me that the snake bit your mother, it could not be more obvious; and I detest simple diagnoses, they make such dull reading for my followers.  I suspect that your trouble is connected with a neurotogenic self-castration urge, but then again it may be a repressed enisophobia.

Pat.  What’s that?

Dr. P.  Fear of having committed an unpardonable sin; the serpent, of course representing the original sin of mankind.  Now then, if you will begin again at sixteen –

Pat.  Awright, so I’m sixteen years old, an’ I meet Ethyl in a movie theatre, and after the movie we ...(trails off.)

Dr. P.  Miss Endor, I believe you were telling me that you are a witch.  Offhand, I would ascribe your delusion to some sort of paranoic state, but it will require  further study.  Just how that this –uh—professional status enabled you to help my patients?

Miss E.  Very simply.  Along with what you had me administer to them—barbiturates, tranquillizers and the rest—I’ve put in some preparations of my own: love potions, hate potions, potions of forgetfulness, whatever was needed to solve their particular problems.

Dr. P.  (voice rising) Potions! All this time you’ve been upsetting my patients with...(stops; moment of silence.)

Pat.  Awright, so maybe it does upset your patience to have to listen to me, but when I’m paying you so much for it, you don’t have to talk to me like that.

Mr. P.  Mr. Pixley, again I detect a tone of dissatisfaction over my fee.  When you have engaged the outstanding psychoanalyst of the nation, you must expect him to be the most expensive as well.  I have had considerable experience in cases like yours; in fact, I cured an almost identical one last year.

Pat.  Somebody else who was afraid of snakes?

Dr. P.  Yes, and I removed his fear entirely.  By now he would have paid off my bill and would be leading a normal healthy life, were it not for a quite unpredictable accident which occurred as he was in the act of caressing a viper.  And now if you will continue...

Pat.  (uncertainly)   Awright.. So now I’m eighteen, and I’m beginning to wonder if there’s anything new left in life, an’ then I meet a girl named Olive, and one night we drive out into the country, an’...(trails off.)

Dr. P.  To get back to your sensational revelations, Miss Endor; now how can you be so certain that your efforts, and not mine, have benefited these people?

Miss E.  Oh, I don’t deny you’ve done them some good; they seem to believe in your methods, and believe themselves to be cured when you’re through with them.  That’s a help, but it’s not always enough.

Dr. P. You speak as if you consider psychoanalysis to be another form of faith-healing.

Miss. E.  So I do; and a very effective form, since you command as deep a faith as any mystic cult ever did.  It amazes me that you can flourish so in the midst of a civilization which takes pride in its “scientific method of thought” and its scepticism of untestable theories; but you seem to somehow.  Well, so much the better; it’s good for people to believe in something without rational reasons.  But what if you were to apply your methods to people who didn’t have faith in you-who’d never heard of psychoanalysis at all?  What would you achieve then? 

Dr. P.  So long as it is a human mind I am treating, the result will be the same.  Psychoanalysis is universal.

Miss E.  Oh? Then perhaps you would be willing to come with me and try it on some human minds in my homeland.

Dr. P.  Your homeland?  You told me you were from New Jersey.  Surely everyone there has heard of psychoanalysis.

Miss E.  I deceived you, doctor, my home is in Euphoria, a very small and ancient culture located near the headwaters of the Orinoco River in South America.  We’ve been cut off from the rest of the world for centuries.  I came away four years ago to find out what new developments had occurred in my profession.  When I learned that witchcraft and sorcery were no longer widely practiced, I looked about for their closest equivalent, and settled upon psychoanalysis.  So I became your assistant, forging the necessary credentials.

Dr. P.  Forging! Then you were never analyzed by Freud and Jung?

Miss E.  Never.

Dr. P.  And it wasn’t you who spilled the fateful drop of ink on one of Dr. Rorschach’s books?

Miss. E.  No.

Dr. P. Fantastic! And yet you challenge me to accompany you to Euphoria, to prove that my techniques are as effective on your Euphorians as on civilized people.

Miss E.  Exactly.  Do you accept?

Dr. P.  I don’t know why I shouldn’t; I’ve been considering a vacation, and South America is as good a place as any.  Yes, I’ll come with you.

Miss E.  Good; shall we leave immediately?  We can probably get reservations on a plane for tonight, and we need to buy clothing and equipment for a trip through the jungle.

Dr. P.  (sarcastically) wouldn’t it be simpler to travel on broomsticks?

Miss E.  If you like.  But they’re not comfortable for such distances.

Dr. P.  You’re totally mad!  Potions! Broomsticks! (He grabs his copy of “The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis” and the two exit, leaving the patient running on unawares:)

Pat.  An’ there was Eileen and me on the couch, and before I knew it she’d grabbed my . . . (he is interrupted as this point by:)



Act 1.

Scene: a glade in the jungle at the foot of a mountain.  Tropical foliage.  At right rear, a cliff, and before it a ledge raised three feet or so above stage level; a ramp leads up to it. From this ledge a cave extends back into the cliff.  At left front in a large, low, flat boulder.  As the curtain rises, Eurphorians are revealed in attitudes.  They perform an exotic ballet.  Then one of them steps forward and sings:

Aria With Chorus.

Solo:                Come, our more enlightened brothers

                        With your harried, hurried lives,

                        All involved with one another’s

                        Boy friends, girl friends, husbands, wives –


                        Come, abandon your devotions;

                        To the overly-complex

                        And your misdirected notions

                        On the functioning of sex.


                        Come where no one is infected

                        With the urge to complicate,

                        Where emotions aren’t dissected,

                        Here in our Euphoric State.


Chorus:            Though our art may be rococo,

                        Yet our lives are not ornate,

                        Here upon the Orinoco,

                        Here in our Euphoric State.


Solo:                Here we lack the civilizing

                        Benefits that you possess—

                        Motion pictures, advertizing,

                        Radios and modern dress.


                        Here we have no daily papers

                        To provide us with our views,

                        Picture of the latest rapers,

                        Scandals and distorted news.


                        All these wonders you’ve invented,

                        Though we lack them, are not  missed;

                        So we live and die contented,

                        Unaware that they exist.


Chorus:            Though we live and die without them,

                        Yet our loss is not too great

                        Since we have not heard about them

                        Here in our Euphoric State.


(Leader of chorus goes to ledge, calls:) Mercuricromis!


(A man with a white beard, dressed in a white robe, comes out of the cave.)


Merc.  Who calls Mercuricromis, and wherefore?


Leader:  You know perfectly well who, and why.  We’ve come to find out what the weather will be, just as we do every morning.


Merc.  After lengthy deliberation, I have determined that today will be – sunny and warm!

                        (sounds of disappointment from Chorus.)


Leader.  Sunny again? We never have any interesting weather any more.  All the time sun, and in the rainy season the same old rain; nothing unexpected.  Enderonda used to give us whirlwinds and hailstorms and things.  And why haven’t we had an eclipse lately?


Merc.  I’ll listen to no more about Endoronda!  I’m your sorcerer now, and you’ll be satisfied with what weather I choose to give you; otherwise I shall refuse to give you any weather at all!


(Chorus draws back in fear, muttering.  Mercuricromis folds his arms triumphantly.  After a bit the Leader says:)


Leader.  But if there weren’t any weather, what would there be?  I mean....


Merc.  (unsure of himself)  Well—it would be – let’s see –


(Miss Endor and Paracelsus have entered, unnoticed.)


End.  You can stop the act now, Mercuricromis.  I’ve returned.

(Chorus rushes to her, saying “Endoronda! How glad we are to see you !  Make us a hailstorm, Endoronda! etc.)


End.  Be quiet, all of you, while I introduce to you Dr. Paracelsus, master of a new school of mystic art that’s flourishing now in  the outside world.  He’s come to practice it here.  Now, Mercuricromis, I’d be obliged if you’d pack up your things and vacate my cave.  The rest of you go to the village, and tell the king and queen that we’ve arrived, and that Doctor Paracelsus will see them at once.


(Exit Chorus. Mercuricromis disappears into the cave.)

Par.  (sitting down on the boulder).  Why such a hurry?  Why can’t we go to the village too, and meet your king there, and rest a bit before beginning?


End.  Because that isn’t the way a visiting sorcerer acts.  They must come to you.


Par.  (filled with an inner light).  Yes, you’re right!  They shall come to me for help, and I shall help them!  When I return to the United States I shall publish a monograph:  “A Psychoanalytic investigation Into Euphorian Cultural Patterns”  Anthropologists and Psychologists will fall together at my feet!  Who knows what unsuspected neuroses lie hidden in these unprobed minds?  The first I shall name “The Paracelsus Neurosis”, and the next –what shall I call the next—


(Mercuricromis comes from the cave, a sack over his back.)


Merc.  All right, Endoronda, you can have your cave.  I never liked it anyway—it’s damp, and my shoes mildewed. (He goes off.)


Par.  Who is that?


End.  Mercuricromis; he fancies himself as a sorcerer, but he can’t work the simplest charm without muffing it.


Par.  I shouldn’t have thought Euphoria would need two spell-casters.


End.  He only took over while I was gone; he won’t bother us now.  But you’d better unpack and prepare your setting, before the King and Queen arrive.


Par.  You know I don’t need a setting –except, of course a couch.  I can’t operate effectively without a couch.


End.  You’ll have to use your air mattress, I’m afraid; I haven’t anything suitable.


Par.  It will have to do.  While I’m blowing it up, perhaps you can tell me what it is I’m supposed to accomplish here in Euphoria.


(He busies himself with unpacking an air mattress from his luggage, puts it on the ledge and blows it up during Endoronda’s aria, stopping only to sing his parts.  Perhaps some humorous business, involving escaping air as he stops to sing, will suggest itself.)


End.  I want you to try your skill on a problem at which I’ve failed – a problem much simpler than most of those that afflict your patients in America, and one which existed long before theirs were invented: The problem of unrequited love.


Aria, Endoronda with Paracelsus.  Rather fast.


End.     After many long years of continued success

            As Euphoria’s practicing sorceress,

              Misfortune came into my path;

            The girl Coleoptera, the King’s only child,

            Developed a passion both fervent and wild

              For a youth who is named Tamorath.


                        As such affairs so often occur,

                        Though she loved him, he didn’t love her,

                          And looked with scorn

                           Upon her intense



Par.                  A simple case, it seems to me,

                        And easily solved by sorcery—

                          Why didn’t you give

                             The young man your usual



End.                 I brewed a hundred different brews,

                        Recited many a mystic rune,

                          Called spirits from near and far;

                        But however strong the charms I’d use,

                        This strange young man was quite immune

                          To my magical repertoire!


Both:                                        A very curious case

                                                Of passion unrequited;

                                                The beauty of her face

                                                Left him quite unexcited.

                                                And all my/your magic art

                                                With failure now was blighted;

                                                The two remained apart

                                                And could not be united.


End.                 So after I failed in this circumstance tragic,

                        The people lost faith in the power of my magic

                          And scoffed at my old incantations;

                        At last I determined to travel afar

                        And add to the stock of my old repertoire

                          With the most up-to-date innovations.


                                    And so I came to the U.S. of A.

                                    And studied these sciences you purvey

                                    To see which one

                                      Would finally strike

                                        My fancy;


Par.                              And though it seems quite odd to me,

                                    You settled on psychotherapy

                                      As the modern equi-

                                        Valent of your nec-



End.                 I vowed that I would not return

                        Until I had found a way to solve

                          The dilemma I’d left behind;

                        But  four years passed, and all I could learn

                        From you was how to further involve

                          The entanglements of the mind.


Both.                                        Your/my journey was in vain;

                                                You/I found out nothing more

                                                Than how to make a brain

                                                More tangled than before.

                                                Since each Euphorian has

                                                Lost faith in witch’s lore,

                                                You/I brought me/you back here as

                                                A modern sorcerer!


Par.  (putting the plug in the air mattress, as Endoronda carries her luggage back into the cave).  This is an unusual capacity for an analyst to assume, but I have no doubt that I’m equal to it.  It’s only a matter of discovering the underlying causes of the young man’s apathy toward the girl, and of her failure to attract him, and making them both conscious of these causes.  It is axiomatic in my profession that a proper understanding on the part of all concerned in a given problem is the key to its solution.


End.  (Reappearing) Whatever you say; it’s your show from now on.  But remember that you can’t take months about it as you usually do – Euphorians aren’t used to waiting that long.  There’s no need to stretch it out anyway—they won’t be paying you by the hour.  I’ll do what I can to help, but you’ll have to put on your best act to impress them.


Par.  I shall do nothing of the sort; I shall behave in my usual manner.


End.  That will do perfectly.  (Enter King and Queen)


King.  Welcome back to Euphoria, Endoronda.  We were afraid you’d settled permanently in the outside world and forgotten us. 


End.  Your majesties, may I present to you the renowned Dr. Paracelsus.  (Dr. P. bows stiffly.)


King.  You are welcome to Euphoria also, Doctor.  We had hoped Endoronda would return from your country better able to help our daughter, but we are even more  happy to see that she has brought you with her.


Par.  Your majesty, I shall not only help your daughter; I plan to improve  Euphoria in many ways.  As I see it, you have been deprived too long of the benefits of civilization; it is time you abandoned your primitive practices and belief in the supernatural.  Since Miss Endor refuses to adopt the blessings of enlightened thought, it is up to me to pass them on to you.


Recitative:                   For primitive religions

                                    At modern science’s feet

                                    Become, like passenger pigeons,

                                    Extinct and obsolete.


Trio: Paracelsus, King and Queen.


Par.                              I’ll modernize Euphoria;

                                    I’ll end the senseless ravages

                                      Of long-outdated


                                    Blunderings of savages!


King.                            Our cultural traditions,

                                    Our customs and our ritual,

                                      Will not be missed;

                                      They just persist

                                    Because they’ve been habitual.


Queen.                        What fun to be converted!

                                    How dull to go on swallowing

                                      The same old blah

                                      That grandpapa

                                    Spent eighty years in following!


Par.                              For Truth is universal,

                                    And Science international!

                                      On every shore

                                      Its blessings pour,

                                    The triumph of the rational!




All:  (With appropriate changes for Paracelsus)


                                    The faith of our fathers

                                    When nobody bothers

                        To question it, gathers the dust of the past;

                                    We’re anxious to try a

                                    More modern Messiah –

                        And in Paracelsus we’ve found one at last!


Par.  As for this minor matter of your daughter and the young man, I shall demonstrate the validity of my techniques by disposing of that quickly.  Have them come to me, one at a time.


King.  Certainly, Doctor.  (the two start across the stage)


Queen.  Did you understand what he was talking about?


King.  Of course not, but I wouldn’t have thought him much of a sorcerer if I had.  (both go out).


End.  You certainly  sounded confident.


Par.  Why shouldn’t I be?  All of modern psychoanalytic science is at my disposal.  How can I fail!  Incidentally, I wonder whether you’ve considered fully the probable consequences of bringing me here.          


End.  What do you mean?


Par.  I mean, what will happen to you when they discover the vast superiority of the methods of analysis over those of witchcraft?


End.  Doctor Paracelsus, you’ll realize how much that possibility worries me when I tell you that I’m, just about to make up another potion, to have ready for use when you’ve exhausted your patience and gone home.


Par.  Pah!  Potions! Broomsticks! (begins to read P.T.O.N.)


(Endoronda disappears into the cave and begins to conjure.  Her voice may be heard clearly.  The stage gradually darkens, until the only light is a weird glimmer from within the cave, which waxes and wanes, with occasional bright flashes at suitable moments.  Paracelsus goes on reading by this light, completely absorbed.)


Endoronda conjures:  (chant, to musical background)

                        Spirits of the earth and air,

                        Spirits of black and spirits fair,

                        Arbaron, Elimigith,

                        Assimonem, Belamith,

                        Spirits of the sea and land,

                        Answer now to my command!


Voices:             We come, O Endoronda!


End.                 Though I may have failed before,

                        I would conjure yet once more

                        That I may, as I desire

                        Kindle up an amorous fire

                        In the persons who partake

                        Of the liquid I shall make!


Voices:             We hear, O Endoronda!


(Sounds of bubbling cauldron, and things dropping into it, with splashes.)


End.                 Cobra’s venom, scorpions’ tails,

                        Serutan, a jar of Mum,

                        Tongues of toads and shredded snails

                        And a wad of Spearmint gum—

                           Boil, boil, boil,

                          Simmer, seethe and moil,

                          For from this unsavoury stew

                          I’ll distil my witch’s brew!


                        Wings of moths and lizards’ legs,

                        Listerine and Jergens’ Lotion,

                        Roquefort cheese and rotten eggs,

                        Hadacol, that mystic potion –

                          Boil, boil, boil

                          To a loathsome oil –

                          For, from these ingredients rare

                          A magic philtre I’ll prepare!


(A great flash, smoke pours from the cave.  Lights up again.  Enter Tamorath.)


Tam.  Are you Doctor Paracelsus?  The King sent me here.


Par.  Yes, I am Paracelsus.  I thought we might have a little talk.


Tam.  What about?


Par.  About yourself.  Lie down here, and tell me all about yourself.


Tam.  (Lying on air mattress.)  Well, I was born on the eighteenth of January, nineteen –


Par.  No, no, we haven’t time now for all that.  Tell me:  what are your feelings toward this girl Coleoptera?


Tam.  She annoys me – she’s always following me around.


Par.  Ah, but most young men wouldn’t object to that; you must admit that your reaction is odd.  


Tam.  What’s odd about it, if I’m not in love with her?


Par. How do you know whether you are or not? Have you ever loved anyone?


Tam.  Well, no—except my mother, of course,  but –


Par.  Ah, very interesting, very revealing. Perhaps we have begun to understand already.  While I do not hold with the outdated theory of Freud that the Oedipus complex is the foundation of all masculine neurosis –


Tam.  (sitting up) Oedipus what?


Par.  Complex; but it’s nothing you would understand.  Tell me more about how you feel toward your mother.


Tam.  How I feel?  Well, just – (tries to get up, Paracelsus pushes him down.)


Par.  Ah, you may say “just”; but there’s more to it than that.  Of course you wouldn’t recognize the truth of this relationship  with your mother--it exists largely in your subconscious.  And yet, if you don’t emerge from this phase satisfactorily, it may prevent you from forming an erotic attachment to anyone else.  Tell me, how does your mother feel toward this girl Coleoptera?


Tam.  I don’t think I ever asked her, but she seems –


Par.  As I thought, you’ve been avoiding the problem.  Can’t you see that yourself?  But of course you can’t; that’s your whole trouble.


Tam.  I didn’t really know I had any trouble, I—


Par.  You certainly have, and a serious one, and our first task is to make you aware of it.  Have you never wondered why you don’t love anyone but your mother?


Tam.  (manages finally to get up, starts backing across stage).  No, I didn’t think I needed a reason...


Par.  (following him)  An irrational refusal to recognize one’s aberrations is characteristic of most cases.  Now, then, tell me more about –


Tam.  (turning)  Look – Coleoptera’s coming in a minute.  I’d better leave you alone with her.


Par.  Ah, you’re frightened of me.  That’s a good sign; your complacency is shaken.  (Exit Tamorath, rather furtively, no longer carefree.  Paracelsus calls after him:)  Come back later and we shall continue our talk.  And bring several of your most recent dreams.


(Endoronda comes out of the cave, carrying two bottles and several little vials.)


End.  In the  words of your poet, the charm’s wound up, I’ll put it out here to cool.  Did you learn anything from Tamorath?


Par.  Not much, but enough to clarify the situation somewhat.  The girl’s on her way here now.


End.  I’ll go back in and leave you with her.  I think I’ll nap a bit anyway; conjuring is more strenuous than you’d think.  (Goes back into cave.  Paracelsus settles down to read P.T.O.N)  (Enter Coleoptera.)


Col.  Are you Dr. Paracelsus, the new sorcerer?


Par.  I am Paracelsus; and you are Coleoptera.  Lie down here, please, and –


Col.  No, thanks, I’m not tired. (sits down). I suppose my parents have told you about me, and my unrewarding love life.  Do you really think, Doctor, that you can make him see how thoroughly desirable I am?


Par.  My dear girl, it isn’t merely a matter of your being attractive or not; there are deep-seated psychoneurotic manifestations – (pushes her down).


Col.  (popping up again)  You needn’t waste your incantations on me.  I don’t need them—he does.


Par.  Incantations!  My dear young woman, may I tell you that – (he is interrupted by the introductory music for:)



Aria, Coleoptera (rather like a bad popular song)



            I’m quite convinced that I’m beautiful,

            For modesty is such a lot of sham –

               It’s tommyrot

              To say I’m not

            When I so very obviously am;


                        Oh, how could anybody

                        Be so undiscerning

                          As not to recognize my charm?

                        Anybody else would

                        Be passionate and burning,

                          But he isn’t even luke-warm.

                                    It isn’t as if

                                    I were ordinary,

                                    For I’m the sort that everyone

                                    Wants to marry –

                        Oh, how could anybody

                        Be so very stupid

                             As not to recognize my charm?


            I’m well aware I’m intelligent,

            My wit’s the very opposite of dim;

                I have no doubt

                Or fear about

            By clear superiority to him;


                        Oh, how could anybody

                        Be so unobservant

                            As not to fall in love with me?

                        Anybody else would

                        Be amorous and fervent,

                                    But he isn’t able to see –

                                    It isn’t as if

                                    I were feeble-minded,

                                    For I’m so very well-endowed

                                    And he’s so blinded –

                        Oh, how could anybody

                        Be so very stupid

                           As not to fall in love with me?


Par.  But even if we grant all that for the moment, we still must explore your relations with your parents, particularly with your father.  Is your father fond of you?


Col.  Oh, yes; I’m an only child, and he’s always doted on me.


Par.  A common and dangerous situation.  Very likely he regards Tamorath as an unwelcome rival for your love.


Col.  Oh, that can’t be true; he likes Tamorath.


Par.  That’s easily explained.  So long as Tamorath refuses to marry you, your father is in no danger of losing you.  But if Tamorath were to change and want to take you away, your father’s hidden antagonism would rise to the surface, and might ruin everything again.


Col.  My goodness, that would be terrible!  Isn’t there any way we can prevent it?


Par.  No, it’s almost sure to happen.  When it does, though, I’ll see what I can do.  The first problem, of course, is to make Tamorath erotically attached to you.


Col.  You mean in love with me, I suppose.  Will you do it with a potion, like Endoronda does?


Par. No, I never – spies the bottles on the ledge.)  Wait, on second thought, I think I shall give you a potion, if that’s what you want.  (goes over and pours two little vials, one from each bottle.  (Aside:) One must, after all, adapt one’s methods to the cultural level of the patient.  (back to Coleoptera).  Miss  Endor prepared this under my direction.  Each part is to be taken by one of you, in  the usual manner.


Col.  Thank you, Doctor; I’ll go right now and try it.


Par.  Come back this afternoon, and we’ll continue our discussion.  (He sits down again and reads.  Coleoptera starts to go out, stops.)


Col.  (solus) One for me and one for Tamorath.  If only it works this time!  But it must – Dr.  Paracelsus seems so very competent.  But even if it should work, there’s still the danger he warned me about!  My father secretly hating Tamorath!.  Perhaps – of course!  Why should I drink a love potion, when I love him already?  The best thing to do, obviously, is to solve both problems at once.  I shall give one to Tamorath, to make him love me, and the other to my father, so that he will become as fond of Tamorath as I am.  Yes, that’s surely the best plan.  At any rate, it can’t do any harm. (exit.)


(Enter, rather furtively, Mercuricromis.)


Merc.  Doctor Paracelsus...


Par.  (looking up from P.T.O.N.) Ah, it’s you.


Merc.  I waited until I saw you were alone—if you have a few minutes, I’d like –


Par.  I understand perfectly.  Lie down here.  Now, why do you need my help?


Merc.  Probably Endoronda has  told you already...


Par.  What she has told me is of no value for diagnosis but that I can manage for myself.  I suspect you are troubled by feelings of inadequacy.


Merc.  (sitting up)  Yes, that’s it exactly – and well I might be, for I am, as a human being, totally inadequate.


Par.  Nonesense!  Many times in the past I’ve heard men make statements like that; and usually, when I had subjected them to analysis, their lack of confidence proved to be based on a simple fear of having lost their potency!  You are a bachelor, I take it?


Merc.  No – I’m married, but unhappily, in fact, that what you say may be true, for I’ve had no opportunity for many years to test whether or not I am potent.  To be best of my memory, I was once, but –


Par.  Well, then!  All we need do is give you a chance to prove to yourself that you are still as virile as ever.


Merc.  That’s all very well to talk about, but my wife –


Par.  Stop thinking about her--your trouble probably originates in guilt feelings arising from repressed desire for polygamous experience.  Forget about your wife – try someone new.


Merc.  But the difficulty is that no woman will have me as I am now, and from what you say, I won’t change until one does.  There’s no hope for me.


Par.  (aside)  Here’s another chance to use Miss Endor’s ridiculous mixtures, to give him confidence.  No doubt he believes in such nonsense.  (To Mercuricromis).  How does it happen that Miss Endor has never repaired your love life, as she claims to have done for others?


Merc.  It’s a long and complex story, and one I’d rather not tell. –


Par.  Never mind; the story, no doubt another revelation of her incompetence. It can wait until later, when we continue your treatment.  For now, I shall give you a potion of my own, so that you may possess any woman you desire, and thereby assert yourself, exercise your male aggressiveness.  You are filled now with repressed hostilities: against your wife, against society.  You must release them, let go, do what you want.  You must work your will on other people, indulge your desires, yield to your temptations.  Then you will be a new man.  (goes to pour vials of potion).  Here, I’ll give you several of these – use them all.  Choose yourself a woman, and slip some into her papaya juice, or whatever you drink here.  (Pours several vials of the potion.)


Merc.  (solus) Truly he is wonderful!  How insignificant are the spells of Endoronda beside these resounding utterances!  Already I feel us if my cure were begun.  As he says so magnificently, I shall be a new man!


Duet, Paracelsus and Mercuricromis:


Par.                  Hair upon the chest

                        May be hidden by a vest,

                        And a handsome face will always be

                        A surface thing at best;


Both.                   But Potency!  Potency!  Potency!

                           It is something you have got

                             Or have not


Merc.                          Every woman’s quite aware

                                      When it’s there;


Both.                            They’ll despise you if they doubt it,

                                    You’re a nobody without it,

                                      And will never get beyond your first affair.

                        But... (faster)


Par.                  If you can preserve your virility

                        From puberty unto senility,

                        You’ll have the adventures

                        That everyone censures

                        As lacking in proper gentility;


Merc.              Your life won’t be one of tranquillity,

                        And you may lose your respectability,

                        But you must sacrifice

                        The desire to be nice

                        If you’d work off your inner hostility.


Par.                              Obsession, psychoses,

                                    Repressions, neuroses,

                                    All sorts of complexes,

                                    Confusion of sexes,

Both.                              They all come about

                                      If you think you’re without

                                                Your Potency! Potency! Potency!

(Exit Mercuricromis.)


Par.      If they continue to come with such rapidity, I shall have the whole tribe adjusted in a week or so.  (Begins to read again.  Enter Tamorath, half running, glancing behind him.)


Par.      Ah, you’re back.  What’s wrong, is Coleoptera following you again?


Tam.    No, it’s not her this time, it’s her father.  Something odd is going on.


Par.      Why do you say that?  What has happened since you were here before?  Have you developed any insights into your relationships?


Tam.  I haven’t really had time to, even if I know what insights were.  I met Coleoptera, and she gave me something to drink, and I drank it; and then she started to make love to me again.


Par.  And what was your emotional response to that?


Tam.  Do you mean, how did I feel?  Sort of embarrassed, as I always do.  Then she went off crying,  and saying that something hadn’t worked.  What did she mean?


Par.  Don’t concern yourself over it; just leave everything to me, and in a few days... (Enter King.)


King.  Tamorath!  I’ve been looking everywhere for you.


Tam.  Look, if it’s about me and Coleoptera again, I wish you wouldn’t.  She’s a nice girl, but –


King.  It isn’t about her at all – I’ve changed my mind completely.  It was silly of me to try to interest you in my daughter, when she isn’t very interesting anyway, and wise of you not to want her, or any woman, for that matter.  After all, are they really necessary?


Duet, King and Tamorath:


King.                I won’t deny that women

                          Have their place;

                        They provide for propagation

                          Of the race.

                        But if you take away

                          The pretty face,

                        What’s left?  Nothing that’s really

                          Worth the chase.

Tam.                            They’ve always seemed

                                      The same to me,

                                    But I never dreamed

                                      That you’d agree –


King.                Their charms are temporary –

                          Soon they’ve passed;

                        And the ending of the honeymoon

                          Is fast;

                        And babies come, each meant to be

                          The last,

                        And you look upon your life

                          And are aghast.


Tam.                            I’ve always thought

                                      To be a father

                                    Would be a lot

                                      Of fuss and bother –


Both.                We men are a much superior lot –

                        We have intelligence, they have not –

                        We have muscles where they have fat –

                        We never bring forth a squalling brat –


King.  (Waltz Serenade)


                        Let’s get away from it all –

            Out yonder we’ll meander through the tangle of the jungle;

                        Nothing holds us in, no fence, no wall,

            A man can always wander if he’s single.

                        You and I, hand in hand,

                        Through our wide Euphorian land,

            Abandoning our stupid friends, who cannot understand –

                        Let’s go answer the call,

                        And get away from it all!


Tam.                I don’t quite see what you mean;

                                    You want me to go on a camping  trip?


King.                            Exactly, my boy, a camping trip!


Tam.                            But what about the Queen?


King.                We’ll go and leave her behind;

            We’ll leave her here forever, for I hate her silly chatter –

                        If I never see her, I don’t mind;

            I didn’t really love her when I met her.

                        Since we both think the same

                        Of this amatory game,

            Why should we stay around where life is flat and dull and tame?

                        If you’re so inclined,

                        We’ll go and leave them behind!


(Tamorath confused, King affectionate, as Paracelsus, standing to one side, begins to sing: 


Par.                              This turn of his affection

                                    Even I must find perplexing

                                    And unless it can be thwarted

                                    It may caused a bit of bother

                                    In a case of this complexion

                                    It is really rather vexing

                                    For one’ patient to be courted

                                    By the other patient’s father.


                                    But in spite of my perplexity,

                                    I’ll win out none the less;

                                    An additional complexity

                                    Won’t hinder my success.

                                    For homosexuality

                                    Is nothing much to cure;

                                    I’ll return him to normality

                                    Within a week for sure.


(He continues to sing the last four lines over and over as Tamorath enters with:)


Tam.                Things are occurring so terribly strange

                          I cannot understand them;

                        How can he possibly want to change

                          His plans as he had planned them?

                        After he’s tried for so long to arrange

                          My marriage with his daughter,

                        Now all of a sudden he’s arguing

                        She’s really completely uninteresting,

                          Just as I’ve always thought her.


(He repents this quietly as the King comes in with:)


King.                            What has come over me?

                                    Why do I say these things?

                              Always I’ve led an exemplary life;

                                    Why do I find this young

                                    Man so attractive and

                             Feel such an urge to be rid of my wife?


(As this becomes quite chaotic, Mercuricromis enters with the Queen and Coleoptera, one on each arm.  Paracelsus sees this, groans and lies down on the air mattress.)


Merc.              I’ve followed your advice,

                        Paracelsus, to the letter;

                        Or, to be more precise,

                        I have followed it twice,

                        Which I think is even better.


                                    For if keeping one


                                 Will banish my repressions,

                                    It follows then

                                    That pleasing two

                                 Will fill me with aggressions.


                                 I’m aggressive

                                 To excessive

                                     Degree –

                                 So virile

                                 That I fear I’ll

                                                Need three,

                                  Or six or eight

                                  To demonstrate

                                                My new-found potency –

                                  But two

                                  Will do



Queen and Col.           He has changed,

                                    We have changed,

                                    Everything is rearranged,

                                    We are all of us estranged

                                      From our natural connections;

                                                Please tell us,


                                     What has altered our affections!


Par.  (sitting up)          What a mess!

                                    I confess

                                    I’m not meeting with success,

                                    And I simply cannot guess

                                      What has made this case so muddled;

                                         But I really

                                         Must conceal the

                                      Awkward fact that I’m befuddled.  (lie down again)


Queen. (going to King)            Something has come over me—

                                                I simply cannot help myself –

                                                  Forgive me, forgive me!


King.                                        It doesn’t matter anyway –

                                                I really don’t care what you do --

                                                  Believe me, believe me!


Queen. (aside)                        How terribly curious;

                                    I thought he’d be furious;

                                 Instead I discover he’s rather glad!


King (aside)                 I thought when we parted

                                    She’d be broken-hearted;

                                 But she doesn’t seem the least bit sad!


Col. (going to Tamorath)        I should be still in love with you,

                                                And yet this man attracts me so –

                                                  Forgive me, forgive me!

                                                At last you’ll stop annoying me;

                                                To tell the truth, these happenings

                                                   Relieve me, relieve me!


Col. (aside)                  Although I don’t love him,

                                    The very sight of him

                                 Affects me with feelings I cannot name!


Tam.                            Although I avoid her,

                                    I rather enjoyed her

                                 Persistent attentions, all the same!


(This falls naturally into a quartet, after which Mercuricromis enters with:)




Merc.             There’s really little cause

                        For becoming so upset;

                        It’s just that we are simple folk

                        And unaware as yet

                        Of the marvellous developments

                        Of this new art, Psychology;

                        We’ve all believed in silly things

                        Like witchcraft and astrology.


  (religiously)               If anyone can explain this,

                                    Paracelsus is the man!

                                    I suspect it all is part

                                    Of his very subtle plan!

                                     For we are only pawns

                                    In the hands of Paracelsus –

                                    We move as he directs,

                                    Do everything he tells us.



Trio:  King, Queen Coleoptera.           Though we know that something’s wrong

                                                            Deep down within our soul,

                                                            We’re being pushed along

                                                            By what we can’t control.

                                                            So let’s forget what was

                                                            And think about what is;

                                                            We needn’t fear, because

            (indicating Paracelsus)           The responsibility’s his.


(Tableau: Mercuricromis embraces Queen and Coleoptera; King attempts to embrace Tamorath, who repulses him; Paracelsus motionless on air mattress.  Enderonda from the cave, looking sleepy.)


End.     What in the world – (observes situation, sees empty bottles on ledge, bursts out laughing.)


Par.      It isn’t funny – these people of yours have all gone mad!


End.     Congratulations, Doctor, for I hardly would have thought

            That you’d so very quickly have them acting as they ought.

            Behold, Euphorian people, what Analysis hath wrought!

                        By following what he advised,

                        Already you are civilized!









Par.  (unwilling to admit he’s in a quandary.  Fast.)




                        Ate ration –

                        All clinical mind

                        Is not to

                        Be brought to

                        A state of this  kind,

            For reason is ever supreme;

                        The notion

                        That potions

                        Can ever succeed –

                        It surely

                        Is purely

                        For primitive breed,

            And not for humanity’s cream!


End.     You

                        Appear to

                        Adhere to

                        Your faith as before

                        And follow

                        Your hollow

                        Professional lore,

            Though it’s brought you to this sorry plight;


                        Your planned-on

                        Success in this land –


                        And tender

                        The case to my hand,

            And soon I shall set it aright.


Par.                              You forget Miss Endor,

                                    That I represent

                                    The forces of modern


                                    And such a surrender

                                    Would be, in effect,

                                    Superstition’s defeat

                                    Of intellect!



End.     (to others, shrugging shoulders.)


            Doctor Paracelsus has the problem well in hand

            He says the case is working out precisely as he’d planned.

            Be patient with these happenings you cannot understand –

              They’re all a necessary part

              Of psychoanalytic art!


Ensemble (except End. And Paracelsus)


                        Yes, we are merely pawns

                        In the hands of Paracelsus;

                        We move as he directs,

                        Do everything he tells us.

                        So let’s forget what was

                        And think about what is;

                        We needn’t fear, because

                        The responsibility’s his!


(Endoronda begins to laugh again.  Curtain.)



Act II. 


Scene:  same as Act I.  Euphorians (including King, Queen, Tamorath and Coleoptera) are seen in moping attitudes.  They dance a bit, languidly, then stop in more weary attitudes.)


Lender of the Chorus (with choral background)


                        All the splendour of the scenery

                        Of the orchids and the greenery

                          Would formerly have brought us

                                    To a rapture unconfined;

                        But we’ve lost our taste for nature

                        Since we learned the nomenclature

                          That Paracelsus taught us

                                    For the mysteries of the mind.


                                                Can a pleasure be the same

                                                With a scientific name?

                                    No longer may we wander

                                    Through the forest as we did;

                                    Instead we sit and ponder

                                    The gyrations of our Id.


                        By the Orinoco’s torrent

                        In a lassitude abhorrent

                          We lean upon the rubber trees

                                    And hang our whirling heads;

                        When the monkeys cease their riot

                        And the parakeets are quiet

                                    We come back to realities

                                                And go off to our beds.


                                                            Truly ignorance is bliss

                                                            If knowledge leads to this!

                                    We are party to persecutions,

                                    We’re inflamed with inner fires,

                                    With our cranial convolutions

                                    Full of devious desires.






(They continue to recline dispiritedly.  Enter Mercuricromis.)


Merc.  (solus.)             Now that events have worked so to my advantage,

                                    I must act quickly and decisively.

                                    Paracelsus claims the mix-up he has caused

                                    Is only temporary, a transitional stage

                                    In the psychoanalytic cures he’s working.

                                    Moreover, Coleoptera, realizing

                                    That her attraction to me is unstable

                                    Refuses to allow me to consummate my conquest.

                                    But I, the virile and aggressive I,

                                    Will stabilize the situation in my own way,

                                    Which is to dispose at once of Paracelsus

                                    And seize power while the others are still

                                    In this state of bewilderment.  For, after all,

                                    I only follow his advice on self-assertion.

                                    I’m sure that he’d approve this course himself

                                    If he could view the matter objectively.


(To the others)  People of Euphoria!  (they arise) The truth about Paracelsus has become clear to me!  He claims to be helping us, but what has he done?  Made us more unsettled than ever before.  Why is he  doing this?  So as to control our  minds.  He is working to make us like his own people, dependent upon his professional services.  In the great tradition of his culture, he is creating a need so that he can satisfy it.  We have all heard the stories Endoronda and Paracelsus tell about the achievements of the outside world and its progressive techniques; but have we ever heard that it is happier because of them?  No.  And why?  It’s very simple.


Aria on Progress:        A curious phenomenon

                                    One cannot help but muse upon

                                      Where modern progress touches

                                    Is that, however great its speed

                                    Its goals persistently recede

                                      To just beyond its clutches.


            (The Ravenous Wolf of Progress

             Can Never Devour its Prey:

                 Whenever you think you’ve mastered the means,

                 The end has slipped away.)


                                    They mass-produce necessities

                                    So everyone can live at ease;

                                      But are they then contented?

                                    It’s just the other way about;

                                    New things that they can’t live without

                                      Are endlessly invented.


            (Biting the Bosom of Progress

             Is the Following Venomous Asp:       

                        To the end of time, man’s reach

                        Must always exceed his grasp.)


                                    Their Medicine becomes more sure

                                    Of its ability to cure

                                      Most anything it pleases;

                                    What happens then?  In several years

                                    From out of nowhere there appears

                                      A host of new diseases!


            (The stately Ship of Progress

             On the Following Reef is Wrecked:

                        The old Law of Compensation

                        Is certain to take effect.)


                                    And so this principle persists

                                    And makes their psychoanalysts

                                      Depended on and trusted;

                                   For every step that they advance,

                                  The people, by some curious chance,

                                    Become more maladjusted!


            (The Eccentric Wheel of Progress

             Must Ever be Made to Revolve:

                        By solving a problem you’ll create

                        A dozen more to solve.)


King.  Then the longer Paracelsus works his spells on us, the more disordered our minds will become!


Merc.  I’m sure of it!  Look at what’s happened to us since he arrived!


King.  If this is true, we must banish Paracelsus from Euphoria at once.


Merc.  That wouldn’t break the spells he’s already cast over us, or prevent him from casting more after he’s gone.  There’s only one way to handle this situation, and that’s the way our ancestors handled it.  On this very rock, before the Cave  of Sorcery (pointing), evil magicians once were put to death.  Let us bring him here and kill him!


King.  Do you really think that’s necessary?  No one has ever been killed in our time.


Merc.  That’s because the occasion has never arisen.  What our ancestors did, we must do!  At this  very moment he is in the village, teaching his evil doctrines to our children!  Shall we allow our children to become psychiatric patients?  For the future of Euphoria, come!


(They rush off to fast music, which continues through the Storm.  Endoronda has appeared at the entrance to the cave, and has heard this last bit.  She rushes back into the cave, reappears with a heavy old book, riffles frantically through the pages as she sings:)


End.     It is up to me to rescue him—

            I thought his pompous antics

            Would be amusing but harmless;

            And now my joke has led to this!

            I  knew he’d fail with Tamorath,

            But not that he’d involve so many others,

            Or succeed so well with Mercuricromis.


(She stops at a page, reads it.)


            Here’s one in archaic Euphorian

            I’ve never dared to try.

            “The Full-Scale Tempest, Allegro con Brio.”

            Well, it would seem to be

            What the predicament calls for. (She goes back into the cave.)


(The Euphorians rush in, carrying Paracelsus, who is still clutching “The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis” and shouting, as they hold him on the altar-rock:)


Par:  Stop this nonsense! It’s all here in Chapter Six, you fools!  You’re Dramatizing your Insecurity Feelings!  You’re Making Me a Transference Symbol of Repressed Father Resentment Drives!  Acting Out your Psychodrama may in some cases by Therapeutically Effective, but is never a Satisfactory Substitute for Acquisition of Insight through Analytic Procedures!  I do not endorse the school which recommends Dramatization as a Means of Resolving Psychic Conflicts!  You must Verbalize them, Verbalize, Verbalize!  You must become Aware that it is not Me you are killing, but a Symbol of your Repressed Feelings of Rebellion against the Authority of a Superior Level of Civilization!  Stop this at once, Verbalize, Verbalize!


(Mercuricromis finally manages to stop this by holding his hand over Paracelsus’ mouth)


Merc.  (uneasily)  Gag him, quickly!  Who knows what further spells he may be casting upon us?


(The Euphorians tie a gag over Paracelsus’ mouth with great difficulty;  Mercuricromis produces a knife and begins to dance around the altar, while other Euphorians stand by swaying or stamping their feet to the music, which is rhythmic and savage.  The Euphorians are clearly awed by the shouting of Paracelsus, and wonder what it may portend.  Meanwhile, Endoronda has reappeared at the mouth of the cave, unnoticed in the excitement; she begins to fling powders into the air as she chants from the book:)


End.     Let all violent, perverse and aberrational

            Meteorological phenomena,

            The afflictions of our tropical environment,

            Occur in simultaneous intensity!


            Let the troposphere be mingled with the stratosphere,

            And both become tumultuous and turbulent!

            Let the nethermost foundation of the continent

            Be racked with seismological disturbances!


(A storm arises, and continues for some time.  The stage darkens, lightning flashes, an earthquake is indicated by stagehands shaking the scenery from behind, and, if the composer has his way, a stray Valkyrie passes through.  The Euphorians stop their dancing and are confused; they look at Paracelsus in fear, pointing, indicating they believe him to have caused the storm.  Then it does down, they and Mercuricromis are prostrate in postures of worship around the altar-rock, Endoronda standing motionless before the cave.  Paracelsus gets up from the altar, slowly and hesitantly, removes the gag from his mouth, looks around, sees Endoronda and comes over to her.)


Par.  Oof!  That was a narrow escape!  I believe they actually meant to kill me!  And if that storm hadn’t occurred just then—


End.  Be quiet and listen to me.  The people believe you caused that storm with all your shouting.


Par.  I caused it?  How preposterous.  Ignorant as they are, they can’t suppose that I, or anyone else, could produce a storm, which, as any intelligent person can tell them, is a natural phenomenon, the result of  an area of low atmospheric pressure occurring in the middle of –


End.  Be quiet, I tell you, if you want to save your life.   If you admit now that it wasn’t your doing, they’ll proceed with the execution, and you’ll still be the victim.  But for the moment they believe in you.


Par.  They seemed to believe in me before.


End.  In a way, they did; but, as you should know, there are two sorts of belief.  Your people have been educated to believe what they read and are told, but mine still depend chiefly upon what they see and feel and hear.  And that’s the sort they have now.  Quick, go over and start talking.  They’ll accept anything you tell them.


Par.  (going to Euphorians; still uncertainly, but putting up a front)  Arise, Euphorians! (they do so.)  You angered me, and you saw the result.  Will you dare to try it again?  


All.  No!  Don’t verbalize any more!


King.  We were wrong in doubting you.  But tell us; since you’re omnipotent, as we’ve just seen demonstrated so forcibly, why have you allowed our lives to become so disorderly?  Why have you seemed to create disturbances in us instead of removing them?


(Paracelsus turns to Endoronda for assistance.)       


End.  Remember, they’ll believe whatever you tell them.


Par.  (to Euphorians)  I’ve explained again and again that in the process of analysis you must pass through a number of emotional crises before you arrive at psychological soundness.  All that has happened was necessary.  But the time has now come for the culmination of your cures – the driving out of the neuroses!


(He turns to Endoronda for assurance; she nods her head.)


Par.      (To the King, pointing, quite fast, like an incantation:)


                        Your partial regression

                        To times adolescent

                        Revived obsolescent

                        Bivalent expression;

                        But now the compulsion

                        Which made you disparage   

                        The virtues of marriage

                        Your view with revulsion,

                                    And you’re cured, cured, cured!


(to Queen)       Romantic rejection

                        Of marital status

                        Produced a hiatus

                        In normal affection;

                        But now with maturing

                        You feel an aversion

                        Toward that excursion

                        You found so alluring

                                    And you’re cured, cured, cured!


(King and Queen rush together, embrace, sing:)


K. & Q.                         Oh, matrimonial comforts!

                                      We scorned you then,

                                      But now again

                                          We find you most inviting!

                                      Though lacking in

                                      The taste of sin

                                          And hardly so exciting,

                                              We choose the social peace you bring

                                              To pleasures of philandering!


Paracelsus.  (To Coleoptera, still as an incantation)


                        A father fixation

                        Quite common to meet with

                        Caused you to compete with

                        Your mother’s flirtation;

                        But now that your mother

                        Renounces her  lover

                        You’re free to recover

                        And marry another,

                           And you’re cured, cured, cured!


(To Tamorath) I’ve caused you to question

                        Your  normal behaviour

                        And so can enslave your

                        Desires by suggestion;

                        Your self-satisfaction

                        Is thus counteracted;

                        You find you’re attracted

                        To her by reaction,

                           And you’re cured, cured, cured!


(Coleoptera and Tamorath also rush together, embrace, sing:)


C. & T.             Oh, virginal condition!

                          We trusted in you

                          To continue;

                              Now desire is stronger –

                          We can’t endure

                          To be so pure

                              More than a moment longer!

                                    As soon as all this singing ends

                                    We’ll taste the raptures Love extends!


King.  At last!  He has succeeded where Endoronda could not!  He has a power greater than hers!


End. (coming over to them)  That would seem to be so; and I’ll probably never know why I failed with Tamorath.


Merc.  It’s easily explained, Endoronda; and since there’s no longer any reason for concealing the truth, I may as well reveal it.  (To Paracelsus). If I tell you the unhappy facts of the matter, perhaps you will be able to help me as you have the others.  To begin with, this woman (indicating Endoronda) is, and has been for twenty-odd years, my wife.


Par.  (astounded, to Endoronda) Is that true?


End.  Now that you bring it to my attention, I do recall that we were married.  After I had paired off everyone else in Euphoria satisfactorily, only he and I remained; and I had no choice, as our laws forbid celibacy.  However, since magic won’t work on anyone of witch’s blood, my potions were of no use in making my own marriage successful.  So I concentrated instead on forgetting it, through the mental disciplines practiced in my profession.


Merc.  But, although our marriage was unhappy, it was not without issue.  Some months after it took place, you bore a son.


End.  I did?  I seem to have forgotten that also.  Doubtless I considered it one of my minor achievements – we who engage in magic take no pride in accomplishments of which ordinary people are equally capable.  What became of the child?


Merc.  Since you took no interest in it, I secretly mixed it in among an especially prolific family of the village, trusting that they would fail to notice such a small addition to their number.   And so it proved; only I knew the truth, and the boy was brought up in the ordinary way.  You see him before you:  Tamorath!


Tam.  Mother! (goes as if to embrace her, then stops, looks guiltily at Paracelsus, steps back, saying:) Oh, I forgot.


End.  So that’s why my potions had no effect on him – he too is of witch’s blood!


Merc.  I’d hoped that by showing you to be fallible, I could supplant you as a sorcerer; but now I see that neither of us can compete with Paracelsus.


King.  Yes! Our choice is Paracelsus!  We can no longer be content with primitive practices and the outmoded language of witchcraft!  We must catch up with the outside world—we too must have a Psychoanalyst!


All (shouting) Yes!  Away with witches and sorcerers!  Paracelsus!  Psychoanalysis!


Par.  Although i am deeply moved by your conversation, and happy that you have at last seen the folly of the supernatural, it is quite impossible for me to remain here; my practice in the United States cannot be neglected.  My people need me, I cannot abandon them; without me and the fellow-workers who depend upon me for guidance, the whole country would soon become a vast asylum for the mentally deranged—


(He backs off to the side of the stage; the Euphorians surround him, singing:)


Chorus.            Stay, Paracelsus, stay!

                        We need you more than they!

                        Down with Witchcraft, down with Potions!

                        Down with all outmoded notions!

                        Only Science satisfies us!

                        Stay and psychoanalyze us!


(Paracelsus shies away from them, over to Endoronda)


Par.  Surely they can’t mean to keep me here!


End.  Ha!  Try and get away.  You’re surrounded by jungle – no one will lead you out.  You may as well make the best of it.  You’ll be a success here now, anyway; they have faith in you (laughs.)


Par.  This is preposterous!  I don’t want to be tribal sorcerer to a lot of ignorant – (Euphorians approach him threateningly)  Well, it is a good opportunity for research;  if I ever escape, I’ll publish a monograph that will electrify the scholarly world!


End.  Come along, Mercuricromis, let’s pack our things and be off.  They’ve no further use for us.  Besides, with everyone (except for course Paracelsus) happily married to everyone else, we’d be misfits here.  In the civilized world, on the other hand, we’ll conform to the common pattern—what they speak of there as being socially adjusted.  Goodbye, Paracelsus; take good care of my people.  You’ll answer their needs as well as I did.


Merc.  But why can’t we stay here?  Paracelsus can speak an incantation over us, and –


End.  Don’t argue, come along.  Where we’re going, you’ll find as many as you want just like him.


(They exit unobtrusively as Paracelsus looks after them in despair.  The Euphorians are still too fascinated with him to notice.)


King.  A new age dawns in Euphoria: an age of enlightenment!  Unhappiness will be unknown!


Par.  (brightening a bit as he sees the virtues of the situation).  You have seen only a minor sample of what my techniques can accomplish!  Great new revelations of their versatility await you!


Finale, Paracelsus and Euphorians:


Par.                              My predecessor seemed to find

                                    The treatment of the ailing mind

                                    Sufficient interest, and resigned

                                      All others to their neighbours;

                                    The modern psychoanalyst

                                    Feels obligated to assist

                                    His erring brothers, who have missed

                                       The point in all their labours.

                                                            We’re not content to linger

                                                              Only where psychoses lurk;

                                                            No, we must have our finger

                                                              Into every human work.


                                    Oh, bring me your mythology,

                                    Your folk-lore, your cosmology,

                                    Religion, eschatology—

                                      I’ll interpret them anew;

                                    And all that now seems sensible

                                    Will be incomprehensible.

                                      And useless when I’m through.


Chorus:                                    How silly of us, blundering

                                                  Through centuries, content

                                                To tell our myths, not wondering

                                                  Just what they really meant!


Par.                              Bring me your arts poetical –

                                    By methods theoretical

                                    And wholly un-aesthetical

                                        I’ll probe the poets’ lives;

                                    And all their ingenuity

                                    I’ll show to be fatuity

                                       And sublimated drives.


Chorus:                                    Alas, what blindness curses

                                                  The ignorant and rough!

                                                We only sang our verse

                                                  And thought that was enough!


Par.                              Your arts representational

                                    By means associational

                                    I’ll prove are derivational

                                       From simple sexual scrawls;

                                    For art is all reducible

                                    In the psychiatric crucible

                                       To lavatory walls.


Chorus:                                    We thought our art was beautiful

                                                  And wonder what you mean –

                                                We’ll try now to be dutiful

                                                  And see it as obscene.


Par.                              For the truth is that humanity

                                    From pagans to Christianity

                                    In its poor misguided vanity

                                       Has thought to see the light;

                                    But now psychoanalysis

                                    Dispels its mind-paralysis

                                       And sets it all aright!


Chorus:                                    Our primitive behaviour

                                                  Inspires us with disgust;

                                                Deliver us, our saviour!

                                                  In you alone we trust!


All  (devoutly, as a hymn)


                                    How have we been content to linger

                                    While modern progress passed us by,

                                       Satisfied to possess

                                       An illusion of happiness?

                                    Now Paracelsus will have a finger

                                    Into each Euphorian pie –

                                       Our golden age is come,

                                       A new millennium!


(They carry Paracelsus off the stage on their shoulders.  Curtain.)





Scene:  the same as that of the Prologue, Paracelsus’ office; but in the chair which he occupied before, Miss Endor is now sitting, and beside her Mercuricromis, who is taking notes.  One side of the stage, separated from the rest by a screen, is dark.  Another patient is lying on the couch, and as the lights go up he is saying in an affected voice:)


Pat.  At the age of five I was taken by my mother to her analyst, who found that I was suffering from persecution feeling contracted at school, where I was in continual fear of being accosted by the little girls.  However, as the analyst was a follower of Wilhelm Reich, there was little he could do for one of my age without being quite improper.  He therefore recommended that my mother have me transferred to a school for boys only; but as it turned out, this was decidedly not a wise move, for no sooner had I arrived than...(etc.)


(Meanwhile, Miss Endor has listened patiently to some of this, then shaken her head sadly, arisen from her chair and gone behind the screen.  Lights go up there to reveal, on a table, a tripod and cauldron with alcohol stove under it; she lights the stove and begins to drop ingredients into the cauldron, chanting as she does so:)


End.                             Spirits of the earth and air,

                                    Spirits black and spirits fair –



What follows is the libretto text for a comic operetta that I wrote in 1949, after the success of the chamber-opera A Day At Creed’s that my composer-friend Gordon Cyr and I created and (with two others) performed, first in our living room, then on the U.C. campus, and finally on Radio Station KPFA. (For that, see the libretto, published separately on this website under Writings of James Cahill--or, to hear the original radio performance, go to  The music for this new one, however, was never composed; Gordon was busy with other matters, such as getting his degree in the Music Department. He finished one song and a few sketches for others, but even those are now lost. I, meanwhile, was continuing to work in Creed’s Bookstore while working toward my own B.A., which I received (in Oriental Languages) in the summer of 1950. I was exposed daily to discussions about then-new theories of psychoanalysis, and was selling--and browsing--books by authors such as Karen Horney and Wilhelm Reich. It was natural, then, that I would choose psychoanalysis as the topic for satirical treatment in the new operetta. Rereading it, I still find it funny, and full of good rhymes--I had an ear for those back then. So, read it and (I hope) enjoy it. I will welcome written responses. If any composer wants to do music for it and arrange for a production, get in touch with me.


James Cahill, December 2011

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