Copyright by Joe DiMino, who retains all rights. No part of this document may be reproduced without written permission from Light Cards and Enterprises.This is a new work. Generally librettos are not written ahead of time (Before the music has been commissioned or a performance guaranteed), but I've never been one to do things the way everyone else if there is a budding composer out there, email me if you would like to take on this project--and I will wait until you are through...or have given up--before looking elsewhere for production. This work would also make a wonderful play.

Joseph P. DiMino
9020 N. 11th Place
Phoenix Arizona, 85020-5311




The audience can only see the first two stories of framework for what is obviously a very tall building under construction in the heart of a major city. Hoists loaded with materials and workers lower and lift out of sight at regular intervals. Workers with tools and plans move about the stage. Plenty of activity. One would expect a lot of noise from such a busy environment--however, all is strangely silent. Workers are conspicuously speaking with one another, but the audience hears no voices. Cars, buses, pedestrians flit by without a sound.

An architect, in a charge-full manner, moves briskly about the site. He is youthful. Tall. Well proportioned, and appears quite confident.

(ARCHITECT) DONOVAN, TENOR: Sings out loudly.

"No! No! No!"


He starts a further inspection,--touring the site. He nods his approval. He shakes his head from side to side, and then makes suggestions to other workers at their jobs as to refinements needed (still no voices--no construction or normal city noise. The action is pantomime).

Still looking over the blueprints, he arrives center stage. Then looking at the audience, he begins to sing (no music).

"Sad the old church
had to come down.
I remember as a boy passing
on my way to school--
It's windows
like eyes
looked out at me--
looked in at me--
I had no secrets from the windows.

They knew--
knew it all:
the sister leaning out the window
shook her finger
hurrying me along--
the little boy
in oversize galoshes
got no sympathy
from her knowing hand--
yes, I'm sure she knew:
some day
that little boy
when a grown man
would stand on hallowed ground
the church no more
its blood
beneath the trampling of ambitious feet..."

Brief silence. Sudden crescendo of music. The orchestra imitates the clash of construction noise... city traffic...frustrated human voices trying to communicate over unrelenting clamor. The music is harsh...assaulting the recognizable pattern or purpose other than to irritate, disrupt and confuse.

It is silent again. Donovan is visibly shaken. However, he seems to be the only one who has heard anything--the other workers continue about their business undaunted.

And again comes another interruption of the same kind.

Donovan turns in frantic circles. He looks for help...starts in the direction of a fellow worker...but stops before reaching him. He doubts his own senses...wonders why everyone else is so oblivious to what is going on? A worker crossing the stage carrying a pail walks into Donovan, almost knocking him over as if he wasn't there. Other workers begin doing the same, apparently now not even aware of his presence.

DONOVAN wraps his arms around himself, as if to assure himself that he is awake. Perhaps he wonders if he is hallucinating.

Another clash of music--the same disturbing nature, but slightly longer duration causing him to fall to his knees while cupping his hands over his ears.

Pulling himself together, he rises to his feet...adjusts his clothing...appearing to compose himself somewhat.

DONOVAN sings (the music is soft and hauntingly introspective):

"Am I losing my mind?
Me--who has always been in control...
and if I I really want to know?
for in the presence of such truth
at a time such as this
silence may be the only compassionate answer
an ailing mind can offer...

Some joke then perhaps?
Yes! It must be!
a joke you are all in on--
well...come clean...come clean...
see--I'm laughing...ha! ha!
and let no one (ha! ha!)
ever accuse me of not having
a sense of humor--
even when sense,
like a sliver of light
compresses into nothingness
with the closing of a closet door
leaving me
trapped inside...

Perhaps I'm playing a joke on myself?
This can't be true...
but if so? now I find it difficult to laugh--
to laugh at myself...
I--the plan maker...
whose precise lines
like a scalpel
in the hand of a surgeon
moves across aging, useless form...
replacing decay
with fresh steel
and concrete,
and glass like the sun
to deliver a new morning
a bright infant
that grows before our eyes
taller and sturdier
than the temples of that child God
we pray to...
but more and more
worship only
during torrents of need..."

There comes another loud outburst of music...discord--violent projectiles of sound...

The other workers on the stage begin going about their jobs even faster. In a hyper state of frenzy. Faster. And faster. In frantic bursts of energy. In furies of motion they change places on the stage...

More workers crowd onto the stage...

They move like a great wave...swelling toward the center and DONOVAN; and then back toward the perimeters. This action is repeated several times. The wave presses in on DONOVAN, and then abates. He pushes back, fighting for his threatened bit of space.

The other actors continue to appear unaware of Donavan's presence. Their expressions give the impression that all must seem normal from each individual's perspective. DONOVAN continues to fend off the assault of backs, and arms, and shoulders...

The music shrieks with chilling highs and rumbling lows...

"Enough! Enough!"

He continues till his voice clearly rings out above the other disturbances. All is quiet again, except for the echo of his voice.

Everyone else on the stage has collapsed...and remain still and silent upon the floor...

The stage lights begin to dim...all except the muted spotlight that remains on the center of the stage and Donovan. The light is a smoky blue and red. It swirls in a restless, circular motion...the atmosphere eerily permeated with color. Nothing is distinct.

Now slow, slithering music...

The cast, except for Donovan, begin to writhe off the stage like serpents...

"Am I loosing my mind?"

(He is interrupted--angel forms light up, high in the lofty darkness of the stage. A choir of lovely boy voices, softly answer):

"Glory! Glory!
Glory in the highest!
Christ, our Spiritual Sun!
lights the way for all who seek him...
awakens those sleeping in darkness..."

(DONOVAN---shaking his HEAD...trying to rid himself of the voices...)

"Loosing my mind...
I--always having been in control...
To the city I bring new life--
take away the blemishes...
and in place
my solid structures
rise bright and tall as the sky...

Am I loosing my mind?

I see life in stone...
put veins through steel and glass
for the daily pulse
of people and their dreams...
judging no one--
nor their aspirations--large or small...

Surely we,
who touch the face of God
from the height of our labor,
must be the ascending children...
and not the offspring of shadows--
if one were to believe in such things...

Am I loosing my mind?
For I speak as a mad man--
of shadows...
touching the face of God...

Oh, a God
I pray exists!--
Though I question his attributes?

Indeed, a God of heavenly
art and poetry!--
I truly believe this--
A God of quiet meditation--
where in that twilight rest
I have seen things
I dare not express...even to my own reflection--
But, also a God of Deprivation:
of lifeless figures
climbing stone paths at daybreak
which never seems to arrive...
but is always approaching
as two points
seeking one and other
through the dark stretches of eternity...

Oh those penitent monks!
their shameless, lust secrets...
their hearts scraped blood red
from jagged edges
of the long, stone path they have traveled...
I want to hold them...
console them
with sympathy they deserve--
all of us deserve..."

The HOUSE LIGHTS come on in a burst. The room is filled with naked male and female dancers. Erotic performance...

"Am I loosing my mind?
Or is God mad?
At me...
at all of us--
God help us!"

More dancers crowd onto the stage from every direction. They begin to come from the orchestra pit. Donovan is panicky. He doesn't know which way to turn. He is surrounded; prodded...pushed and tempted by the sweat and scent of lustful, naked bodies...
He begins to push through the dancers...fighting his way back toward the rear of the stage. Finally he is lost behind a mass of undulating bodies, arms and legs entangled, the audience unable to distinguish one form from the other.

(DONOVAN)(From somewhere OFF STAGE):
"Am I loosing my mind?
speaking of a God
I have never known...
speaking of old churches,
and monasteries
and sins along the stone path..."

(His voice fades into the distance...)

"Glory! Glory!
Glory in the highest!
Christ our spiritual sun....
He lights the way
for all who seek him...
awakens those
sleeping in darkness..."



Somewhere in South America. A group of nuns and poor villagers, harvesting corn. The peasant men, women and children are shabbily dressed, emaciated appearance.
"The corn never changes...
throughout the ages
it has been sown and harvested in the sun--
and the sun watches over us...
therefore we are blessed
with sun
and corn
and labor to share with good friends..."

"Good sisters they are--
pure in their garments of white--
gentle as the sun today;
and the corn
giving easily
to our blades
rising and descending in joyful labor:
rising, and touched by the sun,
our blades swiftly fall
like great angel wings
blessing the corn with harvest..."

(Several young peasants girls are at the back of an old pickup truck. One girl is passing the others cups of water which she fills from a barrel resting on the open tailgate. Playfully they tease one and other...giggling...sashaying about--pretending they are dancing--perhaps with a young, handsome boy. They gather around a magazine, making fun of the women and styles of fancy clothing. Perhaps they are a little envious also.)

"Manuel thinks I have the prettiest legs
he has ever seen..."

She lifts her dress above her knees and shamelessly dances in circles so the other girls can admire them and be jealous...

He told me that also..."

(THIRD PEASANT GIRL):(Playfully continues:)
"Oh that Manuel!"

They all laugh. More giggling. Light hearted carrying on. The music is cheerful--full of youthful energy.

FOURTH PEASANT GIRL moves several steps toward the audience and away from the rest of the group...she begins to SING

Well, I don't know about you girls...
but some day I will leave this place..."

Listen to her--"Cinderella!
waiting for her prince to come...
Ha! Ha!--doesn't she know,
there is only sun for her...
and corn to be harvested?--
corn and sun, and at day's end,
a hard cot and evening cold--
her dreams soiled, like ours,
by the field..."

For all of you--perhaps, that is true...
but for me, it will be different--
the Holy Mother has given me a sign...

"Quick--give her some water!"

The girls rush about in a teasing manner...)

"The poor child needs some water!
She has been in the sun too long...
She is delirious...
We all know, sun makes the corn grow tall--
but it can also make you crazy--
like Manuel's lies..."

(They all laugh...)

"Laugh, if you wish...
but I tell you, it's true:
last night--listen to this!"

She has captured their attention. The girls come closer to her... gather around her, but still leaving the audience an opening to see...

(She continues in a mysterious manner:)

Shortly after retiring--
tired as I was, I could not sleep--
moonlight flooded through my window,
brighter and clearer
than I have ever seen....
Then the light seemed to become
a living form...I don't know how else to explain it's appearance....
It glowed...and moved
like the comforting light I feel in my heart
when things seem hopeless....
And it was a gentle light--like a mother--and spoke to me....
Oh! Not words...but a sense of loving...and caring...
assuring me, that things would get better--
and said to me--to all of us:
that we should never lose sight of our dreams..."

(She pauses to compose herself....)

"So what happened next?"

"What happened?--What happened?

Well...I don't think you really want to know..."

She turns from the group and begins to walk away)--

(They seize hold of her...and drag her back...)

(FOURTH PEASANT GIRL)(Continuing her tale):
Filled with holy assurance,
free as sunlight--
there appeared before me a bright star
that could lead me a billion miles away
or to the most hidden jewel within...

I saw myself laboring as a doctor...

in a quaint village like ours...

taking care of children--
seeing to their shots,
and that their bodies grew
strong as their youthful features--
but also gentle as birds
who awaken us with song
every morning,
softly so not to scatter
stars from our minds;
but one of the children became sick--
I had to operate
right there in the village
with only myself and God to lean upon.
In one hand He placed golden nuggets of determination;
while the other was filled with fire
that burned away all of my fears..."

There is a pantomime. She pretends to do surgery while the other girls pretend to assist her:
Her brow is mopped.

"Glory to God and the angels!"

The other girls sighing in triumph and relief.

"So you are to be a doctor, the Holy Mother has told you:
but did she also tell you
you would find a pot of pesos to pay for all of this...
or perhaps you are to grow wings
and fly to medical school--
live in the trees free as birds
while attending classes
as long as you promised to keep your feathers
out of the test tubes..."

(They all laugh)--

"But that is not all--"

(She has their attention)--

Now listen to this:

Then everything changed--
I was no longer in a tiny village--
I was in a large arena
with thousands cheering me...
a great female matador:
Toro! Toro! Toro! Ataco!"

One of the girls pretends to be a charging bull...chases her around the stage. Toreador music. Laughter. Playful bantering. FOURTH PEASANT GIRL twirls with her cape...holds her sword high...sets...and then lunges forward in triumph.

(Hand on hip...sword held high above the head, she struts her victory):

It is no longer just a man's world!"

"Now there is woman...and bull!"


"Are you certain the Holy Mother
wasn't simply dizzy
from her spiraling descent?"

(She makes expressive circles with hands and body)...

For a surgeon is very much like a matador--
but only a shorter
less impaling blade...."

She thrusts into Maria the tip of an imaginary if to say, so much for your dream--and the hope of even parts of it coming true.

"Quiet yourselves--"

(Speaking in a soft voice):

Here comes Sister Catherine.
We may offend her
with our reckless carrying on..."

"Her? I'm not so sure?
She is different from the others:
Young--so beautiful!
I can see the infant Jesus
being held in her arms...
yet, there is a sadness about her;
a melancholy you would think
someone so close to God
would be spared.
Yes! In many ways she is like us--
she dreams!"

"Shh! Quiet!"

Sister Catherine walks tiredly to the back of the truck, excusing herself so that she can pass and get a drink of water. She pours herself a cup...then sips slowly. Pours a second cup...and stepping to the side of the truck and several feet away from the others, she removes from her head a small cap...and after splashing some water on her face, she bows her head and pours the rest over her short cropped hair. She straightens up...then smoothes her hair back. We get a good look at her fine features--almost too perfect a face.

Wonder what her hair would look like--if it were long?
Would it wave
like golden grain
when late afternoon breeze
lifts the fields
into seas
that can carry a heart
one can imagine...?"

"Or would her hair
be long and straight--
like a great waterfall...
the sun making rainbow curtains
to pass beyond...
that lead anywhere...
never to return--
if one had a mind not to?"

The REVEREND MOTHER, leaving the other workers in the field, walks over to the truck.
The girls, preoccupied with wondering about Sister Catherine, are surprised by her:

"Come girls--there is much to be done!
To drink when thirsty
is prudent...
but to drown ones self
seems a terrible abuse of water--"

Forgive us, Reverend Mother--
we didn't mean
to appear lazy...
see--we think,
sometimes--like Manuel's lies--
the sun can make us crazy!"

(Innocent laugher)

The Reverend Mother Playfully scoots all of them off in direction of the fields and the harvesting.

Alone, the Reverend Mother's attention turns to Sister Catherine who is still near the side of the truck. She senses that something is wrong.

(She approaches slowly)...

"The corn is hard at work
for us
all season long--
so we can nourish
on its golden blossoms--
asking of us
only two weeks of harvest..."

(Sister Catherine doesn't respond)

"Obviously--there is a problem, Sister!
I see...
and understand...a lot more
than I am given credit for--"

She comes closer to Sister Catherine...attempting to put her arms around her.

But Sister Catherine moves further out of reach, closer to the rear of the truck, where she pauses--to look longingly up at the sky.

Feeling helpless, Reverend Mother lowers and shakes her head from side to side, bothered by the young Sister's apparent distress. Emotional silence between them.

"Perhaps if you spoke about it--
whatever it may help!

You know...ever since you came to us--
as a small child; so beautiful,
so helpless, so all alone in the world;
well...what I suspect I'm trying to say is,
had that been my calling--to serve God
by giving birth to a child--
by all that is holy, Catherine,
I could never imagine a child more lovelier
than you were. No. Never. And you are still
very lovely, my child. Very--very special."

Another emotional pause. Then, while still looking up at the sky, Sister Catherine begins a Heavenly aria. The music filled with ethereal longing. With moments of entrancing intensity.

"Listen to the sunset...
Its hot voice
deepening into coolness;
the tone of air
less ardent--
more agreeable.

Sunset has a voice--
all its own...
a voice that beckons stars near--
tempting one
to see the sky with wings;
to fly to another world, perhaps--
one a bit more forgiving--
a world not born of fire....

Yes! Listen to the sunset!
Translucent voice
calling moon and stars to attention;
fading light--a descending baton;
followed by celestial strings
and other, heavenly, awakenings....

Listen! Listen! Listen!
one can hear
the dimmest
glow of light--
not dying
but born again of night
it sparkles a billion miles from here
where the heart can soar
in an instant
while angels recline
on rainbows
strung between stars
and infinite time...."

(REVEREND MOTHER)(Reverend Mother replies with great feeling):
"Dear Catherine...
Once I felt as you--
perhaps my calling true
was not a celestial jewel
divinely clear
to adorn an earthly crown
or wear
as an enlightened tear...

Yes...I had my doubts...

My tremulous fears--
that heaven was hell--
forgive me..."

(Sign of the cross)--

and our servitude, foolish faith--
no more than delirious escape
to some Godforsaken spot of earth
behind a convent gate...

We deal so much
with pain of others--
as if our hearts
existed solely
in bodies of brothers--
and we existed only
by God's grace
to serve
in some barren place...

But Catherine...Catherine! Catherine!
as the sound of your name
and the lyric of your voice
are one in the same--
I have sown through this mission
no seed of ill fate,
but a vine of blossoms
round the arch of Heaven's gate...

Our divine blossoms, my sweet Catherine,
come forth from rondos of faith--
conceived in heaven
though harvested here
in the dust of earth...."

(Reverend Mother repeats the last two stanzas in her aria while Sister Catherine sings the last two stanzas in hers:)

Toward the end of the duet, Sister Catherine begins to walk slowly off stage, her back to the field and the Reverend Mother. Duet ends. Catherine stops, as Reverend mother repeats again:

"Our divine blossoms come forth
from rondos of faith--
conceived in heaven
though harvested here
in the dust of earth."

Sister Catherine, looking up at the sky...her back still to the field, and the Reverend Mother:

"Listen! Listen! Listen!
one can hear
the dimmest glow of light--
not dying;
but born again of night
it sparkles
a billion miles from here--
where the heart can soar,
in an instant;
where angels recline
on rainbows
strung between stars
and infinite time."


Continued Acts 3-4 -------------------------------------------back to Poets' Corner