Performances on tour


A solo by Mark Tompkins

Premiered april 1, 2005
in the project Têtes Coupées

at Subsistances in Lyon

Text : Extracts from Salomé, Oscar Wilde
Music : Per Buhl Acs, Tomas Ortved,
             Mark Tompkins, Isnel da Silveira


John the Baptist, prophet beheaded be King Herod, circa 30

Smelling of garlic he comes to me and he is lank with long hands and I rejoice that he enjoys his food and that in my own mouth there was only the bitter crunch of locust and the sour berry and the cloying of wild honey as I waited for him and I draw my face close to his mouth as I hold him in my arms to smell his very breath and I feel the hardness of his back and his hand curls up to cup my elbow angled by his side I pull that arm closer laying it along his body feeling his ribs and the Jordan rushes about us the fish rubbing at my legs like hungry dogs and I am hungry too and I would rub against him, my Lord my face of God, his eyes dark and narrowing at me as I hesitate to press him under and he whispers to me, John you must do this, and my mouth would speak but it is so close to his now and I lift him slightly toward me this man I have waited for all my life, waited to kiss, thinking it would be his feet but now I would have him open his mouth and devour me take me in his mouth and let me disappear into his very flesh and I would be sweet to his taste I am certain and he says, John

Robert Olen Butler

Oscar Wilde

e x t r a c t s

Ah ! you would not suffer me to kiss your mouth, Jokanaan. Well ! I will kiss it now. I will bite it with my teeth as one bites a ripe fruit. Yes, I will kiss your mouth, Jokanaan. I said it. Did I not say it ? I said it. Ah ! I will kiss it now…But why do you not look at me, Jokanaan? Your eyes that were so terrible, so full of rage and scorn, are shut now. Why are they shut ? Open your eyes ! Lift up your eyelids, Jokanaan. Why do you not look at me ? Are you afraid of me, Jokanaan, that you will not look at me…? And your tongue, that was like a red snake darting poison, it moves no more, it says nothing now, Jokanaan, that scarlet viper that spat its venom upon me. It is strange, is it not ? How is it that the red viper stirs no longer…? You would have none of me, Jokanaan. You rejected me. You spoke evil words against me. You treated me as a harlot, as a wanton, me, Salomé, daughter of Herodias, Princess of Judaea. Well, Jokanaan, I still live, but you, you are dead, and your head belongs to me. I can do with it what I will. I can throw it to the dogs and to the birds of the air. That which the dogs leave, the birds of the air shall devour…

Ah, Jokanaan, Jokanaan, you were the only man that I have loved. All other men are hateful to me. But you, you were beautiful ! Your body was a column of ivory set on a silver socket. It was a garden full of doves and of silver lilies. It was a tower of silver decked with shields of ivory. There was nothing in the world so white as your body. There was nothing in the world so black as your hair. In the whole world there was nothing so red as your mouth. Your voice was a censer that scattered strange perfumes, and when I looked at you I heard a strange music. Ah ! why did you not look at me, Jokanaan ? Behind your hands and your curses you hid your face. You put over your eyes the covering of him who would see his God. Well, you have seen your God, Jokanaan, but me, me, you did never see. If you had seen me, you would have loved me. I, I saw you, Jokanaan, and I loved you. Oh, how I loved you ! I love you yet, Jokanaan, I love you only.

I am thirsty for your beauty, I am hungry for your body, and neither wine nor fruits can appease my desire. What shall I do now, Jokanaan ? Neither the floods nor the great waters can quench my passion. I was a princess, and you scorned me. I was a virgin, and you took my virginity from me. I was chaste, and you filled my veins with fire…Ah ! ah ! why did you not look at me, Jokanaan ? If you had looked at me you would have loved me. I know that you would have loved me, and the mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death. Love only should one consider…Ah ! I have kissed your mouth, Jokanaan. I have kissed your mouth. There was a bitter taste upon your lips. Is it the taste of blood…? But perchance it is the taste of love…They say that love has a bitter taste… But what of that ? What of that ? I have kissed your mouth, Jokanaan.

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