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Here it is, my first entry for 31 Plays in 31 Days 2015!

This one is a possible scene for an Adonis sequel. I scribbled a little bit of this last year, but my ideas and thinking on it have changed a lot as Bernie and I discussed it. I originally conceived of the big bad of the next stories, the general commanding the Roman armies trying to put down the resistence, to be an embodiment of "the-establishment-as-rapist" idea that runs throughout the story. I thought maybe she could be a previous abuser of Aidan's to give her that psychological edge, and make it clear that just because Aidan's in a better place it doesn't mean he's completely conquered his trauma.

Bernie kind of talked me out of that. He felt it was too pat and coincidental for the big bad to happen to have abused our hero in the past, and I had to concede that point. So this character, Saturnina, is becoming by Bernie's suggestion more of an embodiment of "The Edifice of Rome," a True Believer who felt she was defending all the good things that the empire brought to the world, things that she felt would not exist without it. This scene tries to get at exposing some of that thinking.

I kind of miss the old idea-- enough that I'm trying to preserve at least the spirit of it in another character --but this change is a good example of how Bernie tempers me.

Day #1 - "Who Was Your Mother?"
By Phoebe Roberts

DIANA, formerly a general of Rome, now leading a slave rebellion
SATURNINA, another great general, commanding the imperial legions

SATURNINA: Would you say you know me, general?

DIANA: All of Rome knows you.

SATURNINA: My deeds, perhaps. The name they gave me.

DIANA: Saturnina. The stern soldier.

SATURNINA: Lyca Martia Saturnina. I earned all of it. None of it was mine at my birth. You’d never heard that.


SATURNINA: Who was your mother?

DIANA: Artemisia Aurelia. She was a camp aide in the taking of Carthage.

SATURNINA: I know. Do you know who my mother was?

Diana shakes her head.

SATURNINA: A freedwoman, born in the driest desert on the outskirts of the empire. She was brought here in chains, and labored for twenty years to buy herself free. I was born when she was still a slave.

DIANA: Then you should understand why they fight.

SATURNINA: I understand that everything I am is because my mother was brought a slave to Rome. Here they saw my potential. They sent me to school. They gave me the chance to build my own destiny. Now the greatest legions of earth are under my command and I have won a name that echoes across the empire. A name I can pass on to my daughters and sons. Without Rome, who would I be? Who would my children be? No one, back in a desert in the east.


DIANA: And there are some who are nothing because of Rome. What of them?

SATURNINA: The hard road lays before us all. It will not grow easier if no one paved it.

DIANA: There is another way. One where you need not live forever beholden for your very worth.

SATURNINA: But still. I am beholden. Without Rome, there is no Saturnina. You forget that when you rest easy in the certainty that you remain Aurelia. But in the world you speak of, your name may last no longer than mine.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2015 03:40 pm (UTC)
I don't necessarily agree with Bernie, but I do like what you've done here. It does speak to how people's experience with empire differs wildly -- it can be an edifying force or a destructive force, based on context, class and even luck. I find that an interesting topic, one I'm exploring myself in Lioness.

I love the line "The hard road lays before us all. It will not grow easier if no one paved it." Really gets to the heart of this dichotomy.
Aug. 8th, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC)
I *quite* like this character -- she nicely illustrates the notion that Rome (sort of like the modern US) was a meme rather than a people, and it thrived at least as much due to assimilation as conquest. Excellent addition to the story...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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April 2017


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