Femina notices the lack of color. Everything seems to be in black and white. That is confirmed having the stage in full view after the translucent blind was raised too. The scene is of a spacious room if not a small hall with white walls and large windows on each side. These are covered by white thin curtains, letting bright light shine through, and they move as if there was a breeze too. It creates a fresh airy atmosphere even more so as the floor-covering is of big black and white tiles for most of the floor except for a white rim along all sides, framing in a black and white field. The wall at the back has a big door, its wings closed, and the stage is empty apart from a small table in the front midway of the stage’s edge. It is flanked by two simple chairs, one left, one right, and one white, one black. The glass table-top carries a chess inlay, and figures in position set for a game.
The door in the back opens and in pour pairs of dancers, one side clad in white the other in black. They divide into single rows marching light footed and rhythmically along the white paths only to step on to the black and white fields placing themselves in a given order and then stay motionless in position. It becomes clear that this is a chess field with live figures.
The dancers wear headpieces that symbolize and signify their specific rank to ensure they are easily recognized in their function. That is particularly necessary as their general outfit does not follow the traditional styles. So is the black queen rather a contemporary interpretation of Cleopatra who, as everyone knows has the reputation of a temptress. The way the queen is portrayed here supports this without a doubt. She wears a figure hugging shoulder free satin dress with long slits at the sides showing off an hour-glass figure and long legs. Her straight hair down to the neck frames the attractive facial features highlighted by an exotic make-up. Her appearance is of arrogant majesty but truly alluring and full of promise. The white queen on the other hand is the perfect picture of a loving sovereign; white golden locks, softly shining clothes of fine silk enveloping her body like cotton-wool clouds, - all about her is round and warm and exuberanting grace and kindness.
Femina’s eyes wander from figure to figure. Fascinated she concludes that despite the rather simple clothing, - together with the truly artistic make-up, - they are not just the usual chess figures, - their symbolism is twofold; on the one hand they signify the rank they have, but they also express a specific attitude or rather their rank’s character. For example, the black queen is not just the queen but also temptress, and the white queen is queen and the symbol of love. It gives the whole chess a new dimension extending the traditional symbolic from the warlike-political level to the psychological.
Femina draws a mental picture of the game’s formation as presented here:
In the black rooks she sees the Hate and the Destroyer, in the knights the Doubt and the Immorality, and in the bishops the Insubordination and the Discontent.
The white team consist besides the before mentioned Love, of Moral and Tradition in the rooks, Duty and Justice in the knights, and Contentment and Responsibility in the bishops. The pawns clearly signify Obedience by wearing a uniform. They are the ‘good soldier’.
The black pawns however are a mixed crowd, nothing is uniform about them. There is the gypsy and the clown, tight trousers, baggy trousers, hot pants and mini skirt and even caftan, just anything goes, - and as their headpiece they wear shawls in all kinds of fashion, as headbands twisted and knotted, or as scarfs with long and loose ends. They look cheerful and merry, obviously they represent the Pleasure.
The game’s formation looks as follows:
Hate Doubt Discontent Temptation King Insubordination Immorality Destruction
Moral Duty Contentment Love King Responsibility Justice Tradition
Two men enter from the sides of the stage, one in a black outfit, the other in white. Both wear a tight bodysuit and a cape, loosely draped over the shoulder and falling down their backs but held in place in the middle of their chest by a hand sized round plaque, most likely a kind of clasp or locket. Though it is in itself simple it attracts immediate attention because it is of the opposite color. The men have a commanding demeanor being of equal size and of athletic stature with muscles in all the right places and well proportioned. They walk straight up to the table and sit down on the chairs according to their color. There they remain, facing each other but quietly gazing at nothing with no interest in the other at all. Femina finds their similarity outstanding. Their faces are immaculate, finely chiseled, but free of emotions and smooth like polished marble. It makes it hard to guess their age and though White has white hair he does not look older than Black, whose hair is as black as that of a raven. Both however are fond of the same hairstyle, the hair combed back smoothly reaching down to the neck. But not only their physique and external features, the way they move and behave, all suggests that they are brothers, if not twins.
A gong resounds, a sign they seemed to have been waiting for, because White immediately starts with the game.
A spotlight falls on one of the human pawns and another lightens up a square on the field. The highlighted soldier marches obediently out of his row to the one highlighted. As the lights meet they vanish. Black makes his counter move, and sure enough, a light beam flashes up to pick out a dancer and another light shines pointing out a field. A ‘Baggy Pants’ hops gaily off his place on to the appointed one. Again, as the lights meet, they vanish. Obedience and Pleasure as they have moved to the new position face each other now field on field. There they remain motionless once more. Obviously, the game of the two men is linked with the life game on stage as every move they make at the table brings on the lights that point out the dancers and the fields, vanishing when the task is complete.
Femina likes to play chess herself but also likes to watch others play. These guys seem to be worthy adversaries and she believes she can look forward to a good game. Besides, it is even more interesting with the dancing figures on stage and the new dimension that is attached to the play as well.
The first few moves go quickly. White has his King well protected by Justice, Love and Obedience while Black is on the attack using particularly his Temptress, but also Disobedience, Immorality and Doubt. They constantly bombard White and his defenses. So far no party has any advantage, or disadvantage, but two pawns of each side get eliminated. Femina smiles. ‘The foot soldiers always are the first to cop it.’ The fallen dance figures leave the field but gather offside on the side of their enemy.
HUH! White was not paying attention. Contentment just fell victim to Temptation. Femina shakes her head. This is a loss not easily dealt with. White obviously understands that too taking his time before the next move. He picks after all again a soldier, obviously relying on Obedience more than anything else. He puts his soldier up as a blockade against Discontent and as a threat against Temptation.
Femina loses her sympathy for White. He has no vision! Not only because he sends his soldier into certain death, having no substantial cover to start with. Black of course acts swiftly. His queen eliminates the soldier and with that move she can threaten his King, ‘check’, and after White leaps out of the danger zone, Black takes his Duty too and puts him again into ‘check’. White is now in serious danger. Temptation and Discontent are ready to give him the final blow already preparing for the deadly move. White can avoid disaster by sacrificing once again one of his soldiers. He then takes refuge in the Moral putting all his hopes on it. But his hopes are crushed, Temptation quickly devouring it.
The best chances White has now is to become the attacker. He must keep his opponent on the move and under threat at all time, as this may push his enemy to make mistakes. Of course, it is a lame try to distract from his weakness but it may give him the chance to at least eliminate one or the other officer. His tactic brings some success. The quick moves and the constant attacks distract Black prompting a blunder. He has left his Temptress without cover and Responsibility swiftly ceases her. However, Black is still strong. His rooks, Hate and Destruction stand solid, his knights, Immorality and Doubt can jump into action any time and one bishop gives cover to his king.
For a while the game is no more than skirmish, each side trying to work out a new scheme by putting their figures into position in preparation for their next and may be final move. And then behold, unexpected and in a blink of time Love conquers Doubt. But there is little to celebrate! Femina shakes her head in disbelieve. What is the problem with White? What a loser! Either he pays not enough attention or he just is not good enough a player! Hate is able to kill off Love and at the same time puts the white King under threat. Now Black is certainly going to win, she suspects. But oddly no! Maybe Black is blinded by his apparent stronger presence or he is not as good a player either, - this or that, the fact is, he loses Hate to White’s Tradition and even further on his Immorality. Tradition sure is a strong force. So is love, but White did not use her effectively at all.
Femina knows the game must come to an end soon and it looks it will be a ’draw’; deservedly so, because none of them has shown to be a better player. Though Black has still two of his pawns, they have hardly a chance to reach the other side to take advantage of an exchange. Tradition is too effective, she eliminates the rest of Pleasure in no time at all. And so it leaves only the Kings and their two most faithful servants, Tradition and Destruction the last fighters on a now very empty field. In the end, even the two stalwarts of power are defeated with the Kings actively participating in the final stages of battle. Finally they stand all alone, opposite each other, separated only by one square of ‘No-Man’s-Land’ that they can never enter. It’s a ‘draw’. Nothing to win. The blue curtain falls.
Femina turns to Baba wondering if he was still meditating. He is not. His face shining like the sun on a bright summer day, he indicates amused that he had watched the performance. In moments like these she wishes fervently that they could communicate. She is more than interested in what he might have to say and why he seemed to enjoy it. She herself is not sure what to make of it all. Why was this theater staged anyway? But before she can give it more thought the curtain opens again.
The stage scenery is the same, but the stage is empty apart from the two men still sitting at the table.
Black: “Unbelievable! You just don’t get it, do you! Obedience as your pawns! Were Adam and Eve not enough to change your mind? How would it be to utilize Contentment instead, appeasing your folk?”
White: “Nonsense! Your queen, the snake, will never let them alone. Besides! To keep folks satisfied you need a river of gold. ‘Give them bread and games’, as Caesar has stated so wisely, but without his conquests he would have never been able to afford it. He needed Obedience just as well because only then can you succeed and fill the volts with treasure. Of course, the wise statesman dispatches their share freely, not like under your governance, where exploitation rules.”
Black (shrugging his shoulders): “Whatever! I am bored with our game. We have been playing now since beginning of time for nothing more than the honor to win. This is not enough! Let’s play for something to make it more interesting!”
White: “What do you mean, we play for nothing? Our pool is the world! Is it not enough your pleasure when you win that you can reduce her to rubble and ashes and that there is whaling and crying of suffering and floods of tears?”
Black (dismissive): “Safe me your twaddle and don’t give me this pretentious indignation! Though you may feed into the illusion of paradise when you win, you know as well as I that it can never last for I will win again. The best outcome of our games is a draw, giving the world some time to recover from the battles and fights. Just admit it, - you don’t give a dam what is going on in the world. Did you ever try to educate this ignorant and useless creatures? This is your duty being the good, the King of all Glory who loves all!”
White (irritated): “No, that is not my duty! They must find out themselves, by experience not indoctrination. They have the freedom to choose how they want their world to be. They need not to listen to you. They only need to listen to me and all will be just perfect. Besides! To inform them would spell the end of our power. You can’t be serious!”
Black (sneering): “You don’t say! It only would spell the end of your time! You are upheld as their god. You are the one they worship, believe in and seek to please by all means, fearing me if they don’t. And I get blamed for everything, your and their own wrong doings because they know me only as the devil, the foul and evil, tormenter and destroyer. That this stupid superstition still exists is a disgrace in itself! But whatever! Be it as it may! Let us play instead for something worthwhile, time for example. Let us play for the next decade, or better, the next century, and the planet. That would make for an interesting game! All or nothing! What d’you say?”
White: “Ridiculous! Why destroy the planet? It is a masterpiece. Just stop this nonsense! You only want to stir me up, probably to make me angry so you get a better chance to win the next game!”
Black (dismissive): “Not necessary at all! I am very certain about me winning over this world and its vermin. But you have a tiny tiny chance to save the planet, particularly now, having a little reasoning sprouting up amongst the worms. Some have become aware of the precarious situation they are in. Of course, it means that you have to give up your status and that the world has to learn the truth about us. Well, I have no problem with that, contrary to you! You were able to indulge yourself for too long in your self-proclaimed glory. It makes you shudder at the thought of losing your myth. After all, it would uncover, reduce you to what you really are, that is my twin, and nothing more than a tool, unable to act independently or unrestrained on your own. You are no god, nor am I the devil. Neither have you cast me out of your realm, nor can you ever get rid of me. Whoever made up these fairy tales did service to power not truth. The truth is conveniently enough hidden by ignorance. How fed up I am about it all, about you as much as the vermin!”
White (defensively): “You are talking nonsense. You know exactly how necessary our separation was. One cannot live in peace with you for long. You do need your own place! Besides, no worlds would exist if we had not separated. How did a Greek philosopher put it so accurately? ‘War is the father of all things!’”
Black (shaking his head): “Unbelievable, I thought you said it was love! And yes, the philosopher was correctly stating a fact, though not justifying it, as you try to do. Yes, our battles need to be fought, but it does not mean that their generative power has to be turned into overall destruction.” (Shaking his head again): “You prefer to let the worms die in ignorance instead advising them of the elementary nature of our existence. You rather emphasize on an ideological aspect to the effect of turning war well and truly into the ‘destroyer of all things.’ But take note, not all that crawls is blind. And their numbers are growing.”
Weiss (dismissive): “There always were, there always will be a few who are above the rest. They are mayflies, no more. The time for enlightenment is not ripe. But why are you lamenting? The world has kept neat records of our battles. As long as they don’t learn from it, - I see no reason why we should change course.”
Black (angrily): “Idiot! When they are gone, so are our games and so are we.”
White (self-assured and condescending): “We are eternity. We cannot die. We are indestructible. When one world dies, another will come. Indeed, it is nothing more than a coming and going, it is our game. What do you think this worms would do if we let them in on the truth?! They would ridicule us. They would never take us seriously, they would not understand, they would continue to believe their leaders, because that’s all they know to do, no matter what kind of stories they tell them. It is absolutely ridiculous to consider them intelligent. Look at them! They destroy and devour everything in their way if not killing themselves off anyway, but believing to be the ‘crown of creation’! No! I am not responsible for their actions, nor for their superstitions. They have chosen all for themselves. If they vanish I don’t really care. In fact, I find it more desirable if they gave way for something better, because I find them nothing more than useless, if not disgusting in their attitude and demeanor. So, here you have it! Now you have my explanation of why our game has become boring. I have indeed no interest in what becomes of them. They are your creatures. They follow the word of the snake. Have them! Do as you please!”
Black (bewildered): “Ah, that’s news to me! So you really sacrifice them for your sake and power? Unbelievable! Besides! We are not eternity! We have our beginning and our end just as good. True, we don’t die with the vermin but that does not mean we are eternal. However, as their idols we die with them. That’s what I meant before; and our games can only take place in a world divided into black and white. Impossible that you should confuse that!” Short silence, then (angry): “AH! Now I get it! YOU have betrayed m e ! You let me believe that our separation was meant for the purpose of creation, progress, development. But you had all the way only your interest in mind. You were after power, absolute power! But a world divided into good and bad is a failure! Such a world can never and will never be paradise. You demonstrated that clearly with Adam and Eve expelling them from paradise because of the ‘deadly sin’. And you did not even give their offspring a chance either. Of course not, because you have no love, you only pretend and let all believe, you do. HA! You are blacker than I am. You are the manipulator, not I! And I? (Rhetorical pause) then: “I am your victim just as well.” (Very angry): “Enough is enough! Down you come from your pedestal! Enough of your megalomania! The time of our equality has come, if you like it or not! Your mask is off now and all that creeps and crawls should hear it. I make sure they do!”
White (angrily): “No way! I will not let it happen! Only because you seek recognition you want to bring chaos to the worldly order?! Only over my dead body!”
Black (loud and angry): “Oh you can have that!”
And as he says it he jumps up and around the table behind White so speedily that it takes White by surprise. Before he can react, Black has pinned him down on his chair with the left arm around his chest, and suddenly having a knife in his left hand, he holds it against White’s throat.
Black (now shouting and aggressive): “You hypocrite! Pretending to be the all loving and caring and forgiving father while doing nothing to ease the pain and accusing me to be the cause of all evil. It is my pleasure to cut your throat and I am glad to have been able to do whatever I wanted while you had to hide in an imaginary kingdom with no-one to play with but me. But now you played your last game!”
White does not say a word nor does he make the slightest move. The knife at his throat seems to freeze him solid but he does not look as if he has resigned to his fate. He looks like a cat ready for the kill. And so it is! All of a sudden, with a jolt backwards he rams himself and his chair into Black with such a force that Black loses balance while White dives down to the floor pushing both his arms hard up against Black’s chest and under his arms thrusting them forward, and by doing so opening his opponent’s grip. Though he lands on his back down on the ground he swiftly catapults himself on to his feet and immediately into a fighting position ready to attack. Black too, assuming control again, takes up the fighting stance. Despite that this was such a sudden, well calculated action from White, Femina is not sure about Black. Was he really not expecting such reaction from White, and why did he not use the knife after all as he threatened? In fact, it just fell with a clang down to the floor slithering away from them both.
The two men now stand in safe distance grimly eying each other’s every move. They get rid of their cape opening the clasp on their chest and kicking the garment out of their way as soon as it hits the ground. The knife lies out of their reach but its blade glistens as if it was signaling that it was ready to serve.
Black moves in and starts the attack. The fight unfolds like a dance of forces, an electric storm that lightens up a lead sky. It is an amazing display. One could easily forget how bitter a fight it is, and that only absolute submission will put an end to it. Though nobody seems to be interested in the knife, not even glancing at it, the fight moves slowly towards and around it. And as soon as it has come into reach Black takes the leap. But White reacts like lightning itself. He throws himself to the ground and slithering on the smooth floor like a missile, he snatches it before Black has the chance who already has bent down for the grasp. White swings up his arm with the knife’s blade blinking triumphantly, he thrusts it into Black being still bent over.
Black sinks on to his knees. He stares in disbelieve at the knife’s handle sticking out from the lower left part of his chest. White gets up quickly moving backwards. In realization of his final deed he seems somehow not sure what to do next. Black looks up. Their eyes meet and they stare at each other somewhat bewildered and perplexed. Though White cannot hold the gaze. He turns quickly away and hurries to the back door for a hasty escape.
Black rises up while pulling out the knife. Under a roaring laughter he throws it after White. Then he goes to the table, picks up the white chair and sits down, still laughing as the blue curtain falls.