Jokasta – A Puppet Opera

Written, composed and directed by Adam Donen

A site-specific puppet opera
performed in Abney Park Cemetery, London

concerning an old woman who has only ever loved a puppet and wishes to turn into a puppet, to be forever perfect with her love.


(from Jokasta):


The Magician

My ladies my gentlemen, pay no heed to the gravestones. We have been laughing around them for centuries. One night, I recall like yesterday, it was your grandparents laughed above them, exchanged the requisite fluids, and continued the human comedy, and now they laugh beneath them. C’est la vie.


We have been through the cycles. The tragedies, the comedies, the tragedies become comedy become… entertainment. Yes. Why bother with window-dressing! In these dark times, mostly, we are entertainers.


But still, the divisions persist. Boy pretends to be girl who pretends to be boy who pretends to be girl who pretends to be boy, surely that is comedy.


And girl who meets… no-one…that is a tragedy. Or perhaps it is not. Perhaps there is no tragedy. Just life, day upon day upon day…

Ach, but we do what we can, yes?  We take a woman. If we can, we have her lying down. Then, where possible, ourselves, where impossible, with aid, we…


Mood music plays.


saw her in half…


A woman in a box is wheeled out. Unceremoniously, the entertainer saws her in two.


The Magician waves away the insult dismissively. He pauses briefly for gasps, then shakes his head.


In tragedy, two try to become one but cannot.                 [moves boxes together]

In comedy, they were always one to begin with. The one become two was an illusion.


[He opens the first box, which is empty, but for a pair of plastic feet.]


[The woman crawls out of the second box.]


If there was a conflict, it was an imagined conflict. A conflict must have 2. But there is no conflict. There is and was always just the self, deluded but undivided.


The one who loves, the actor… they are the subject. They are broken and want to be whole. And what will cure them? Love! Pfff.


And the one who is loved, what of them? That could be anybody, any boy any girl, a boy who acts as girl, or a goat or a block of wood.