PROLOGUE: Good morrow, my lords and ladies fair, nobles esteem’d, patrons to the arts—
PROLOGUE: --and vulgar groundlings one and all. Scorn not, I prithee, this bare stage set before you, utterly lack’d in gilded adornment.
These humble boards 'pon which I stand shall furnish us our palaces, our homes, our deserts, our staterooms our halls and courtyards by wondrous transformation by eye and mind, and by the humble labors of our players herein.
PROLOGUE: (a take to PLAYERS) Esteem it not by its appearance to the naked eye, but instead dress it with what thou canst conjure in sight and smell and sound and texture, far superior is in thy mind than contained in our poor physic.
Journey with us now, and wind the sun back until gilded Byzantium, noble Rome and Classic Greece snuff away like smoke to the wind. Settle us now in this place of the Crescent Fertile, surrounded by desert and wilderness, where built upon the ashes of Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon rests the seat of mighty Persia and Media and its mighty king and ruler Xerxes.
PLAYERS: Hail mighty Xerxes!
PROLOGUE: For now, let us dress this maiden place, as Suza, a capital of this kingdom, its palace pillared and floored in marble, rich linens hanging from silver rings, and polished silver couches to recline ‘pon.
Sooth! Bend thine ear and hear in echo from end to end of this mighty palace such merriment and feasting in all the halls and staterooms, for it is by the king’s command that such feasting and drinking be so indulged--
PLAYERS: Hail, Hail mighty Xerxes! Huzzah!
PROLOGUE: (To PLAYERS) Get thee gone! (PLAYERS scatter) But even amid such revelries and joyous splendor, comes ripples of malcontent, and even wisps of treason under the king’s own roof. Indeed, something is amiss, something is – rotten – in the kingdom of Persia…