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Danton's Death
by Kálmán (k.corvus@yahoo.com)

Rated: R   Genre: Drama   User Review:

This screenplay is a translation and adaptation of Georg Büchner’s “Danton’s Tod”, written in 1836.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



France -1794. The French Revolution has succeeded, but it
is threatened by external enemies and internal sectarian
disputes. The "Terror", under the auspices of the Committee
of Public safety, has been used to systematically purge
France of it's internal enemies, real or imagined.
DANTON (34), the first and former President of the Committee
of Public Safety, is sitting on a stool at his wife JULIE'S
(20's) feet. He is commenting on the card game that HERAULT
(34), a diplomat and TWO LADIES are playing at a nearby
Look at that pretty slut. So
tricky. She gives her husband the
hearts and the others her diamond.
DANTON places his two thumbs and index fingers together to
shape a diamond, then pushes them closer so the diamond
turns into a slit.
She has pretty feet but she
stumbles and makes a "mistake" so
easily. Her husband calls his
cuckold horns "heart bumps" and
laughs it off. Woman so easily
make men fall in love with lies!
Don't you believe in me, Danton?
Why ask? We are strangers to one
another. With our thick-skinned
fumbling, trying to reach each
other. It's futile, leather rubs
against leather, and still we are
left alone.
But you know me!
One could call it knowing. You're
a dark haired, dark eyed fair
skinned beauty, and in your


                       DANTON (cont'd)
passion you cry "Danton!
      (he touches her
....but here, what's inside? Our
senses are so dull. Know each
other? We need crack our skulls
open and rifle through the remains
to do that!
HERAULT is twiddling his thumbs. He gazes at the 1st. LADY
and starts sticking his thumb up suggestively. A small
argument breaks out as a result.
                       1ST LADY
      (to Herault)
What are you doing with your
                       1ST LADY
Then don't twiddle you thumbs so!
It's unseemly!
DANTON watches HERAULT and the 1st. LADY argue, then turns
again to JULIE.
Julie, I love you like I love the
No! There is peace and quiet in
the tomb. I bury myself in your
lap, a sweet grave! Your voice
sings my dirge; your lips, my
church bells; your breasts, my
burial mound; your heart, my
The argument at the card table reaches it's conclusion.
                       2ND. LADY
You've lost!


A romantic tryst...I'll pay for it
like I do all the others!
                       1ST LADY
And you showed your passion on
your fingers, like a deaf mute!
Why not? Our fingers speak so
eloquently. I had a liaison with
the Queen, my fingers were princes
enchanted into spiders, and you
were the elf. But it went badly,
for the queen was so fecund she
whelped a brat a minute! I'd
forbid my daughter such a game,
for the lords and ladies so tumble
about with each other that every
instant a bastard's born!
the room.
Philippeaux! You look sad! Have
you a hole in your red cap? Did
Holy Jacob frown at you? Did it
rain at guillotine-time? Or
perhaps you got a bad place and
couldn't see the beheadings?
      (to Philippeaux)
He's parodying Socrates. Remember?
When he asked a moping Alcibiades
"Lose your shield in battle? or
were you bested at dice or
swordplay? or did another sing
better or pluck the lyre sweeter?"
      (to Herault)
You classical republicans are
anointed in guillotine
Twenty heads fell today, condemned
for killing without a system, or
because the Decembrists hated to
see others more feared them


They want to send us back before
the flood! St. Just would smile
to see us crawling like babies,
ready to be schooled by
Robespierre, that lawyer from
Arras!- he wants to use a Swiss
clockmaker's skill to construct
our school desks and our God!
For that they wouldn't mind adding
a few more zeros to Marat's death
reckoning. How much longer must
the revolution be as bloody and
slimy as a new-born squeezed out
from the womb? Our cradle is a
coffin, and our baubles human
heads! We must initiate an
amnesty council, and then move
Let the revolution end and the
republic begin! We should talk of
human rights- not of political
purity! All must be free to live
according to their own nature.
More or less, we are all fools, so
why should any have the right to
force their folly on another?
The constitution must be a
transparent garment on the body
politic, so our nation- whether
beautiful or ugly- can be seen
for what she is. Don't force her
to hide beneath a veil and gown!
We need a naked Grecian Goddess of
Liberty, and these dour Roman
republicans of our revolution can
sit solemnly munching roots in a
corner- as is their right!- but
they must stop shoving their
bloody gladiatorial games down our
throats! Holy Epicures and
callipygian Venus must stand at
the gates of our Republic, not the
Saints Marat and Chalier!
Danton! You must lead the attack
at the next Convention!


I must! you must! he must! If we
live long enough! In sixty
minutes an hour has passed, right
What's your point?
Who's the catalyst for all these
grand ideas?
Us! And all the good people!
And? There is quite the lengthy
step between us and them. The
"good people" will lose their
breath at traveling such a
If that's what you think, then why
did you start this fight in the
first place?
Oh, because I couldn't stand
seeing these Puritans tip-toeing
around. I just wanted to kick
their asses...it's only my nature.
DANTON rises.
Are you leaving?
I must go. All this politics is
irritating me. My prophecy to
you: our Statue to Freedom has yet
to be cast. The crucible is
red-hot, and we might all burn our
DANTON exits.


Let him go. Do you think he could
keep away if it happens?
No, but he'd only do it to pass
the time, like playing chess.
SIMON, a middle aged SANS-CULOTTE (the proletarian radicals,
many of whom wear a red, Phrygian cap), is beating his WIFE
You whore-peddler! Hag! Wormy
Help! Help!
A CROWD comes running. Among them CITIZEN #1, #2 and #3.
                       CITIZEN #1
Separate them!
CITIZEN #2 and #3 pull SIMON away from his WIFE.
Release me! I'll tear her apart!
      (to his wife)
You temple whore!
Temple whore? Ha!
You whore's stained bed-sheet!
There's sin between your every
wrinkle! Especially 'that' one!
                       CITIZEN #1
What happened?
Where's our young lady? Huh! No
lady, for she sold her virtue, and
a woman without virtue! That
wench! That...oh, I've no breath
for the name that fits!


                       CITIZEN #2
Good, for it would stink of
SIMON slips to the ground and starts MUMBLING.
Old man, cover your head, for a
shameful bird sits on your skull
and pecks at your eyes! Give me a
knife! A knife!
He's a good man, but he can't hold
his liquor.
      (to his wife)
Vampire! You've sucked my heart
      (to the crowd)
Just let him be. He'll get all
weepy soon enough.
                       CITIZEN #1
What happened?
I was just sunning myself on the
stoop, we've no firewood you see,
and my daughter had gone to her
street corner to support us.
She admits it!
Shut up you Judas! You wouldn't
have a pair of pants to pull up if
some didn't drop theirs for her!
Your brandy barrel will be empty
if her spring runs dry! We all
work with our bodies, and so does
she! I worked that part of me hard
enough bringing her into the
world! So why shouldn't she work
that part of her for me?


      (in drunken
Oh, bring me a knife! A knife!
                       CITIZEN #1
Yes, a knife! But not for the
poor corner slut! It's hunger
that made her a whore! A knife
for those who buy our wives and
daughters! Your bellies ache
because they're empty, theirs ache
because they're too full! Your
clothes are rags;theirs are nice
and warm! Your hands are callused-
theirs are soft! You slave while
they sit on their asses! You work
for the bread they steal! And when
you want some of your stolen goods
back, you need go whoring and
begging to get it! We must kill
these thieves!
The CROWD roars in approval. CITIZEN #3 steps forward to
                       CITIZEN #3
The only blood in their veins is
what they drained from ours! We
were told "kill the aristocrats,
for they are wolves" so we draped
the street lamps with their
dangling bodies! They told us
"the King has eaten your bread",
so we guillotined the King! They
told us "the Girondines have made
you starve", so we guillotined the
Girondines! But "they" then
plundered the corpses and left us
freezing in our ragged shoes.
Well, we should skin their legs to
stitch our pants, and render down
their fat to thicken our soup!
Let's go! Death to anyone with
fine clothes!
                       CITIZEN #1
Death to the intellectuals!
                       CITIZEN #2
Death to those who swagger like


                       THE CROWD
Death! Death!
A YOUNG GENTLEMAN is dragged forward. A VOICE cries out.
                       A VOICE
He has a silk handkerchief! An
                       CITIZEN #2
What! He's too good to blow his
nose through his fingers? The
streetlamps! The streetlamps!
                       YOUNG GENTLEMAN
                       CITIZEN #2
There are no gentlemen here!
String him up!
                       YOUNG GENTLEMAN
                       CITIZEN #3
Just a little rope-trick sir!
We'll be done in the blink of an
eye! We're more merciful than
you! We've been choking and
dancing in collars on a leash for
sixty years! But now we're free!
      (to the crowd)
To the streetlamp!
                       YOUNG GENTLEMAN
Dangling me from the lights won't
make you see any better!
                       VOICE #1
Ha! Good one! Bravo!
                       VOICE #2
Oh, let him go!
The YOUNG GENTLEMAN is released and he RUNS away.

ROBESPIERRE (36) dressed in plain, dark clothes enters the


Citizens! What's going on?
                       CITIZEN #3
What have we achieved? The drops
of blood in August and September
didn't put any color in our
cheeks! The guillotine is too
slow! We need a torrential rain!
                       CITIZEN #1
Our wives and children cry out for
bread! Let them gorge on the
flesh of aristocrats! Death to
anyone with no holes in their
                       THE CROWD
Death! Death!
In the name of the Law!
                       CITIZEN #1
What is the Law?
The will of the people!
                       CITIZEN #1
We are the people, and we want no
laws! Thus by our will- which is
law- no laws! Death! Death!
ROBESPIERRE'S eyes flicker around, judging, measuring. He
senses an opportunity. A REDCAP in the CROWD speaks up.
Hear our Messiah! Our
incorruptible judge who strikes
the wicked with his blade! His
eyes see the truth, and his hand
holds justice!
ROBESPIERRE breaks into a compassionate SMILE and opens his
arms wide, as if to embrace the CROWD.
Poor, virtuous people! You do
your duty and sacrifice your
enemies on the alter of justice!
You are great! Revealed in
lightening and thunderclaps! But


                       ROBESPIERRE (cont'd)
my people, you can only be brought
down by your own strength! Your
enemies know this! Yet your
lawgivers watch over you to
carefully guide your hands. Their
eyes see clearly and guide
unfailingly! Come! Follow me to
the Jacobin's Club where your
brothers will embrace you and we
will hold a bloody tribunal over
our enemies!
                       THE CROWD
To the Jacobin's! the Jacobin's!
Long live Robespierre!
ROBESPIERRE leads the CROWD off. SIMON and his WIFE are
Oh abandoned! All abandoned!
There there now!
You are heaping coals on my head!
Come on Simon, stand up!
You turn away?
      (in a maudlin tone)
Oh, can you forgive me? Did I hit
you? That was not my hand, not my
arm, but was my madness!
...his madness is poor Hamlets
enemy. Then Hamlet did it not!
Hamlet denies it.
      (to his wife)
Where is my daughter? my little
There. Around the corner.


Lets go to her! Come my good
A sparse room packed with PEOPLE sitting on the rows of
benches are against the walls. Upon a slightly elevated
stage is a pulpit. From the pulpit a CITIZEN FROM LYONS is
addressing the CROWD.
                       CITIZEN FROM LYONS
Our brothers from Lyon sent us to
speak of our bitterness! We
wonder if the tumbril cart that
carried Ronsin to the guillotine
was Liberties hearse, for now
Chaliers murderers swagger around
as if they'll never see the grave!
Have you forgotten that Lyons is
a stain upon the soil that must be
covered with these traitors
remains! You forget that Lyons,
that whore to Kings has only the
Rhine's river water with which to
wash her syphillic sores! You are
killing the Revolution with your
compassion! While aristocrats
breath, liberty chokes! Cowards
are content to die for the
Revolution; a Jacobin kills for
APPLAUSE and CHEERS from the members of the Jacobin Club.
LEGENDRE (42) rises to his feet to address the CROWD.
We needn't turn our eyes to Lyons,
for here in Paris some strut
around wearing silk, drive in fine
carriages, attend theater and
opera, and talk like dictionaries!
Their heads rest easy on their
shoulders as they exchange
witticisms and remark that Marat
and Chalier should endure another
martyrdom by being guillotined in
There are horrified OUTCRIES from the CROWD.


                       THE CROWD
They are dead! Their tongues have
guillotined them!
The blood of our dead heroes is
upon them! But why has the
Committee of Public Safety been so
hard of hearing?
COLLOT D'HERBOIS (45) rises to his feet.
                       COLLOT D'HERBOIS
And I ask you, Legendre, who
voices such thoughts aloud? It's
time to tear off the masks!
Listen, the cause denounces it's
effect! A cry, it's echo! The
Committee of Public Safety has
trained well in logic! I assure
you the heads of our dead hero's
will remain untouched, for they-
like Medusa -will turn the
traitors to stone!
ROBESPIERRE rises to address the room.
I demand my say!
                       THE CROWD
Hear him! Hear Robespierre out!
Citizens, I have waited for these
cries of outrage to come from all
quarters. I was watching, and saw
the enemy gather arms and reveal
themselves. I did not cry the
alarm, but waited for the people
to recognize their danger. The
people are now awake and have
grasped their weapons! We waited
for our enemies to reveal
themselves, and now we are ready
to act!
There are WHISTLES, CHEERS, and scattered APPLAUSE.
As I've said many a time before:
our internal enemies fall into two
factions! One, the Ultras,
surrendered to Nihilism's sweet


                       ROBESPIERRE (cont'd)
seduction, and made war on
all!-even the basic rights that
all societies holds dear! Theirs
was a caricature of revolution
which threatened to discredit it
with their excesses! They have
been vanquished, but had they
triumphed, all would be chaos, and
the despots return would have been
welcomed by the fearful masses!
ROBESPIERRE falls SILENT, gazing at the CROWD. The tension
rises as they wait for his words.
We now face the other faction! The
opposite of the first! And their
war cry is "Mercy"! They wish to
disarm the people and sap their
strength, leaving them defenseless
against the Kings!
There are SHOUTS of outrage from the CROWD. ROBESPIERRE
The weapon of the republic is
Terror! The strength of the
Republic: Virtue! Virtue! for
without virtue the Terror is
corrupting, and without Terror,
Virtue is emasculated!
ROBESPIERRE pauses, the CROWD waits silently.
Terror!..some say terror is the
weapon of a despot, and thus our
arms bear resemblance to
despotism. But this is true only
so far as a weapon in the hand of
a freedom fighter resembles a
sabre held by a Tyrants hireling!
If a despot uses Terror to rule
his brutalized subjects, he is
confirmed a despot, but if we use
the Terror to annihilate all the
enemies of our republic, we to are
Mercy for Royalists cry some?
mercy for the evildoers? No! Mercy
is for the innocent! for the
weak! the suffering! for humanity!


                       ROBESPIERRE (cont'd)
Our society must only defend the
peaceful! Our republic is for
it's citizens. Royalists and
foreigners are the enemies! To
punish the oppressors of mankind
is merciful! to forgive them-
But our enemies are not content to
disarm the masses; they wish to
poison the pure spring water of
their strength with vice! This is
the most subtle and obscene
outrage against Freedom!
Vice is the sign of Cain that
marks all Aristocrats brow.
Licentiousness is not just a
moral, but a political crime! and
the man of vice is a political
enemy of freedom!
The greater the apparent
usefulness of the the vice-ridden,
the more dangerous they are!
Our most dangerous enemy is he who
wears out twelve red caps before
working for liberty!
You will understand me if you
think of those who once lived in
attics but now drive carriages and
fornicate with former women of the
aristocracy! We ask this: have
they plundered the people, or been
touched by a Kings golden palm? We
have seen the peoples lawgivers
parade around with all the vices
and luxuries of the former
courtiers. Some princes of our
Revolution have married former
noblewomen and now have adopted
their habits: banquets, gambling,
servants and fine clothes. I am
amazed upon hearing their hollow
wordplay, their pretentious
displays of empty wit, good
taste.and mannered behavior. A
little while ago they parodied
Tacitus, I could answer with
Sallust and a travesty of
Cataline. But I think no other
brush stroke is needed, the
portrait is complete!


There is MUMBLING from the CROWD.
No treaty! no truce with those who
dream of plundering the people,
and hope they might carry out this
act with impunity! For these men
the Republic is a speculation and
the Revolution is a business!
Now terrified by the examples we
have made, with soft cunning they
seek to slack the hand of justice
saying "have mercy on our
The CROWS erupts in SHOUTS.
Calm down, my virtuous people! Be
still, patriots! Tell our
brothers in Lyon "The sword of the
Law will not rust in the hands of
those to whom you have entrusted
it!" We promise we will give the
Republic a great example!
Riotous APPLAUSE and CHEERS from the CROWD.
Long live the Republic! Long live
The session is now closed!
LEGENDRE and LACROIX (53) are walking down the street.
Legendre! What have you done? Do
you know whose heads you've
toppled with those effigies of
A few fancy women and some


You're a suicide! A shadow that
kills it's caster and thus kills
I don't follow your words.
But Collot spoke with clarity!
So what? He's like a champagne
cork popping...drunk, as usual.
What's the saying? Fools, children
and drunks speak the truth. Who
do you think Robespierre meant
when he talked of Catiline?
It's obvious! The
ultra-revolutionaries went to the
scaffold, but the people haven't
been helped. They run barefoot
through the alleyways saying
they'll make shoes from the
Aristocrats skin! The
guillotine's thermometer dare not
fall. A few degree's lower and
the Committee of Public Safety
will make their beds in the
Revolutionary Square! Extremism
has returned and none may lag
What have my effigies do with it?
You still don't see? You have
officially recognized the
counter-revolution! You have
re-energized the Decembrists and
forced their hand! The masses are
a Minotaur, they need their weekly
feast of corpses or they'll find
other victims upon which to feed!


Where is Danton?
What do I know? He's searching
for the Medici Venus among all the
whores in the Palais Royale. He
says he's making a mosaic
portrait: this one's legs; this
ones ass; that one's tits; that
one's lips. Heaven knows where he
is by now. It's a pity that nature
fragments beauty -like Medea's
brothers- and puts it in so many
bodies. Let's go to the Palais
DANTON is sitting in a chair, caressing MARION (23), a
whore, who sits on his lap. She pushes his hand away.
No! Let me be. I'll sit at your
feet and tell you a story.
MARION sits at his feet.
You could find a better use for
your mouth.
No! I'll be but a moment.
DANTON SIGHS and sinks back into the chair. MARION curls up
by his feet and rests her head on his knee.
My mother was a clever woman. She
told me that purity was the most
beautiful of all the virtues. When
people came to our house and
talked of "things", I was made to
leave the room. When I asked her
of what they spoke she said I'd be
ashamed if I knew. If she gave me
books to read I had to skip
certain parts; but I could read
all the holy Bible- some parts I
didn't understand, but I feared
asking anyone and so brooded upon


                       MARION (cont'd)
their meaning myself. Then one
springtime there were changes all
around me, yet I had no part of
them. I was alone -stifled in my
own atmosphere. Looking at my
body I felt like there were two of
me; then the two became one.
MARION pauses and slowly undoes a lace on her bodice.
A young man started visiting our
house. He was handsome and talked
of many strange things I didn't
understand and so I had to laugh.
My mother developed a passion for
him and asked him to visit often.
But sometimes when he came we
found ourselves alone. Before we
had sat on two chairs, but now
thought it would be more pleasant
to lay between two sheets. I
enjoyed that more than his words.
We did that secretly-and so it
Then I became like a sea, a sea
which absorbs all that pours into
it and grows wilder all the while.
All men became one to me, and I
drew them all in.
It was my nature- what could I do?
Finally he noticed. He came one
morning and gave me a suffocating
kiss then put his arms around my
neck. I was afraid he'd kill me!
Then he let go, laughed and said
he'd almost played a stupid trick.
He said "keep your flesh
coat-it's all you have- use it
well, it'll wear out soon enough."
He said he didn't want to spoil
my fun. Then he left and I didn't
know what he meant.
MARION opens her bodice further.
I'm very sensitive and can only
understand what I feel. That
evening at sunset I sat by the
window. I sank into the red waves
of the Sunset. Then a crowd came
down the road: children were


                       MARION (cont'd)
running about and women peering
out there windows. I saw him down
below, they carried him by in a
basket. The moon shone on his
pale forehead and his hair was
wet. He had drowned himself. I
had to weep. That was the only
break in my life. Other people
have Sundays and work-days. They
work six days and pray the
seventh. They mark their
birthdays and anticipate the New
Year; I don't understand that...I
know no pauses, no alteration. I
am one, a ceaseless yearning and
holding. A glowing ember, a
stream. My mother died of grief.
The people pointed their fingers
at me. That's stupid. It's all
the same what you love, what you
delight in: bodies; holy icons;
flowers; children's toys. It's
all the same feeling. Who enjoys
the most, prays the most.
MARION now opens her bodice so that her full, gorgeous
breasts are revealed naked.
Why can't I see all your beauty,
and enfold you completely?
MARION rises and sits again in his lap.
Danton. Your lips have eyes.
DANTON starts kissing her. Her face, her neck, he starts
sucking on one breast, and fondling the other.
I wish I was a part of the air. I
would bathe you in my flood, and
my waves would break on the curves
and crannies of your body!
There is LAUGHTER outside there door. MARION hurriedly
laces up her bodice and goes to the window. The door opens
and LACROIX enters with ADELAIDE and ROSALIE, two very young


      (standing by the
I need to laugh! I need to laugh!
I was thinking of the street!
What happened?
There were some dogs in the
street: a great Dane and a lapdog,
"bothering" each other!
LACROIX makes an obscene gesture with his two hands, and
bursts our LAUGHING.
So what?
I was just remembering it, and it
made me laugh! It was so
edifying! Girls were gaping ogle
eyed from their windows! People
ought to know better and forbid
them from sitting in the Sun!
Flies bustling away on their hands
will give them ideas! Legendre
and I visited every room here; our
darling little sisters of the
flesh incarnate clung to our coats
and begged for our blessings.
Legendre instructed one in
discipline, and now he needs fast
for a month! I brought you two
priestesses of the body.
Good day, Miss Adelaide, Miss
We haven't had your "pleasure" for
a while!


It's something I regret!
Oh God! We've been busy day and
      (to Rosalie)
Hey little pretty! Your haunches
have become more shapely!
ROSALIE turns to show her ass to greater advantage.
Oh yes, every day I become more
What's the difference between an
Adonis of antiquity and of today?
And Adelaide has such an
interesting modesty. A piquant
variation. Your face has a demure
beauty, like an innocent fig leaf
that discretely covers the body. A
fig tree that gives such a
refreshing shade on such a well
traveled road.
Puff! I'd be a cattle crossing if
All right my dear, all right,
don't be vulgar!
Listen here! A modern Adonis is
not savaged by boars, but by sows!
He is not wounded in the legs, but
in the loins! And roses don't
spring from his blood-drops, but
flowers of quicksilver to heal his
venereal sores!


      (snapping at
Oh, let is rest!
      (turning to
And dear Lady Rosalie; with such
hips and thighs, she is a Greek
statue restored! Her compass
needle turns from true north to
her warm south. Her midsection's
are the equator; whoever passes
that line receives a sublime
Such sisters of mercury, I mean
mercy-each serving in a hospital:
there own bodies!
Oh for Shame! You've made our
ears red!
You should have more manners!
Good night, pretty girls!
Good night, mercury mines!
They've failed to earn their
Listen Danton! I came from the
Jacobin Club.
Is that all?
The men form Lyon read a
proclamation. They acted as if
there was nothing else to do but
wrap themselves in Roman togas and
look nobly resigned like Paetus.


                       LACROIX (cont'd)
And Legendre was shouting how some
wanted to topple the marble busts
of Chalier and Marat. I think
he'll paint his face red again-the
previous Terror didn't touch him,
and children clutch onto to his
coattails, trailing him when he
walks in the street.
And Robespierre?
He grabbed onto the pulpit and
said "Virtue must rule through
Terror!", the phrase made my neck
It'll soon be planing down a plank
for the guillotine!
And Collot shrieked like one
possessed that "We must tear off
the masks!".
Some faces might get torn off in
the process.
PARIS FABRICIUS (36) enters the room.
What happened
I went from the Jacobin's Club to
Robespierre and demanded an
explanation. He did a pantomime
of Lucius Brutus sacrificing his
sons for the Roman Republic, he
spoke so generally-about duty and
such- then said that on behalf of
Liberty he had no self-concern,
but would sacrifice everything:
himself, his brothers, his


Spoken accurately- if the scale is
balanced conversely with his
friends sacrificed first and
himself last. We should thank
Legendre, he forced them out.
There are still many extremists
and the people still suffer
want...that's a powerful lever.
The weight of blood on the scale
must not grow light or the balance
will tip and the Committee of
Public Safety will be strung up
like lanterns from the
streetlights. The scale need
      (looking intently
       at Danton)
It needs a heavy head.
I know! The Revolution is like
Saturn: it eats its own children.
The wouldn't dare!
Danton, you're venerated like a
dead Saint, but the Revolution
allows no relics! It has
scattered the streets with the
bones of Kings and smashed the
statues in the churches! Do you
think they'll let you stand as a
My name! The people!
Your name? You are a moderate!
I'm another, as are Camille,
Philippeaux, Herault. To the
masses moderation and weakness are
synonymous. They kill all
laggards! The tailors in the Red
Cap section stitching away would
feel pressing down the historical
weight of the Roman Republic's
destiny flowing through their
needles if you - the hero of
September!- were seen as more


                       LACROIX (cont'd)
moderate then they!
Very true! And again-the masses
are like children, they love to
break things open so they can peer
Danton.. we are licentiousness,
like Robespierre says-we enjoy
life. The people are virtuous, for
they have few joys. Work has
dulled their sense of pleasure,
and they seldom have enough money
to get drunk. They can't go to
the brothels because they stink of
herring and cheese, and the girls
find that disgusting.
They hate pleasure like eunuchs
hate men!
They call us scoundrels!
      (bending and
But between ourselves, there's
some truth to what they say.
      (standing up again)
Robespierre and the people will be
pure, St. Just will compose the
revolution into an opera, and
Barre will tailor a song and hang
it like a bloody tapestry around
the convention-I see it all!
You're dreaming! They had no
courage without me, and will have
none against me! The Revolution
is not yet finished! They might
need me yet and want me in their
We must act!
We'll find a way.


We'll remember the way when we are
already too far lost!
MARION puts her hand to DANTON'S cheek, then presses her
fingers to his lips.
Your lips have grown cold. Your
words have stifled your kisses!
      (to Marion)
So much time has lapsed. That has
made it worthwhile.
      (to Lacroix)
Tomorrow I'll go to Robespierre.
I'll make him angry and he can't
hold back. So tomorrow.
Good night my friends! Good
night! and thank you!
Hurry! my good friend, hurry!
      (turning to go)
Good night Danton. This ladies
legs will guillotine you! Her
mound of Venus will be you
Tarpeian Rock!
ROBESPIERRE sits at a desk. DANTON sits in front of him,
and FABRICIUS stands behind DANTON'S chair.
I say this: Anyone who holds back
my arm when I've drawn my sword is
my enemy-regardless of his
motives! If he hinders my defense,
he kills me as if he had attacked


When defense ends, murder begins!
I see no reason for the killing to
The social revolution is not yet
finished! If we end the
Revolution half-way, we dig our
own graves! The company of nobles
are not all dead. The healthy
vitality of the people must rise
to replace the degenerate class.
Vice must be punished! The
righteous must rule through
I don't understand using this word
"punished". And your
righteousness, Robespierre? You've
taken no bribes, nor fallen into
debt, you don't sleep with women,
and are always clean and sober;
Robespierre, you're an irritating
prude! I would be ashamed to
wear-for thirty years!- such a
conceited, self-righteous
expression as I walked between the
heavens and the earth, solely for
the small delight of finding
others less virtuous that myself!
Is there nothing in you that
softly whispers when you're
alone-You lie, you lie!
My conscience is clear.
Conscience is a looking glass
before which monkeys quake and
quail! Everyone primps themselves
up when they can go out to enjoy
themselves in their own way. Why
mess up someones hair because of
it? All have the right to defend
themselves when someone comes to
ruin their fun; but have you the
right to use the guillotine as a
tub to wash other peoples dirty
laundry? to use their heads as
soap-cakes just because your coat


                       DANTON (cont'd)
is so clean? Yes, defend yourself
if they tear it or spit at you,
but what's it to you if they leave
you alone? If they don't care
that they go as they are? Who
gives you the right to lock them
in their graves? Are you God's
policeman? and if you and your God
just can't bare the sight of them,
just put a handkerchief over your
Do you deny virtue?
And vice! There are only
Epicureans, either vulgar or
refined. Christ was the finest,
that's the only variable I've
found amongst Mankind! All act
according to their nature! That
is, whatever pleases themselves!
Isn't that right Mr.
Incorruptible? Do you find it
cruel to have me tread on the
heels of your shoes?
Danton! There are times when vice
is high treason!
You dare not proscribe it and ban
it before your heaven! That would
be unthankful, you owe it very
much-through the contrast. And,
to use your manner of speaking,
our blows must be of use to the
Republic; the innocent should not
be struck down with the guilty!
      (staring at Danton)
Who says, who says that any of the
innocent have been struck down?
DANTON LAUGHS, stands up and turns to FABRICIUS.
Did you hear that, Fabricius? None
of the innocent have been struck!
      (whispering as


                       DANTON (cont'd)
       they leave)
We can't hesitate an eye-blink!.
We must show ourselves!

ROBESPIERRE sitting in the darkening room.
Go then! He wants to halt the
steeds of the Revolution outside a
whorehouse, like a coachman with
his broken nags; they still have
enough energy to carry you to the
Plaza of the Revolution!
Tread on the heels of my shoes! In
your manner of speaking!-Wait,
wait, is that true? They will say
his colossal form cast too great a
shadow over me, and for that
reason I refused him the Sunlight.
Does that answer hold the truth?
Is it necessary? Yes! Yes! the
Republic! He must go!
It's absurd how my thoughts spy on
each other. He must go! In a
mass of people pushing forward,
one who stands still acts in
resistance as if he was moving
against it; he will be trampled!
We will not allow the Ship of the
Revolution to be stranded in the
mire of the shallow and selfish
calculations of these people! We
must cut off the hands of those
who hinder us-and when they clutch
on with their teeth?
Away with this company that has
rifled the dead aristocrats
wardrobe and inherited their
No purity! Purity the heels of my
shoes! In my manner of speaking?
Why can't I get rid of these
thoughts? They always point a
bloody finger here, and here! I
wrap as much cloth around the


                       ROBESPIERRE (cont'd)
wound as I can, but the blood
always soaks through!
I don't know what part of me tells
lies to the other.
ROBESPIERRE goes to the window and watches the twilight
The night snores over the earth
and wallows in wild dreams.
Thoughts and desires, secret
wishes, confused and formless that
timidly creep away shying from the
daylight, now finding form,
garments, then steal into the
secret house of dreams. opening
doors, peering from windows, they
become half corporeal, the limbs
stretch in sleep and lips murmur.
And isn't being awake just a
brighter dream? Are we not
sleepwalkers, all our dealings but
dreams, only clearer, firmer,
further defined. Who can blame us
for that? In an hour the spirit
performs more actions and
conceives of more deeds than this
lazy organism of our bodies has
the power to accomplish in years!
Sin is in our thoughts, If
thoughts become deeds, if they
become manifest in matter, is all
The room has fallen into darkness.

Enter ST.JUST (26), carrying a hooded lantern.
Ha? Who's in the shadows? Ha?
Light! Light!
                       ST. JUST
Do you know my voice?
Ah, you St. Just!


ST. JUST opens the hood of the lantern and the light fills
the room. He takes a taper, lights it with his lantern and
lights some candles around the room, he gives ROBESPIERRE a
curious glance as he does so.
                       ST. JUST
Have you been alone long?
Danton just left.
                       ST. JUST
I met him on the way by the Palais
Royale whorehouse! He wore a
revolutionary face and spoke in
epigrams; he fraternized with the
sans-culottes, and wenches chased
after his calves. The people stood
gawking and whispering his words
in one another's ears. We will
lose the advantage of the attack.
Do you further hesitate? We'll
act without you, for we are
What will you do?
                       ST. JUST
Convene the Legislative, Security
and Public Safety Committees in a
formal sitting!
Quite the ceremony!
                       ST. JUST
We must bury his huge corpse with
much ritual; acting as priests,
not murderers. We must not
mutilate his corpse, but send it
down with all its limbs.
Speak clearly!
                       ST. JUST
We must inter him in full armor
and slaughter his horses and
slaves on his burial mound.


ROBESPIERRE sits down, nods and TAPS his finger on the desk.
A blatant thief, previously a
lawyers clerk, and now Lieutenant
General of France. Continue.
                       ST. JUST
A pretty head!
      (taps his finger)
                       ST. JUST
He was the ornamental letter of
the Constitution. Such flourishes
are no longer necessary. He is
blotted out: obliterated!
      (his finger
Him too?
                       ST. JUST
I also considered that. Read
St. JUST hands ROBESPIERRE a pamphlet.
Aha, "...the old Franciscan", is
that all? He is a child; he's
joking with you!
                       ST. JUST
Read here! Here!
This bloody messiah Robespierre on
his Calvary between the two
thieves Couthon and Collot, where
he sacrifices, but is not
sacrificed. The prayerful sisters
of the guillotine stand like Mary
and the Magdalene below. St. Just
lays his head over the Messiah's
heart, and makes known to those


                       ROBESPIERRE (cont'd)
convened the apocalyptical
revelations of the master. He
carries his head like a
                       ST. JUST
I'll make him hold his in his
hands, like St. Dennis!
Ought one believe that the tidy
coat of the Messiah is the burial
shroud of France, and that his
thin fingers tapping on the pulpit
are the blades of a guillotine?
And you, Barère; who said only the
heads seen on coins would be
struck off. But-I won't bother
that old bag. He is like a widow
who has had a half dozen husbands
and buried them all. What can one
do about it? That is his gift. He
is like Hippocrates, who could
look in a mans face and discern
the time of his death. Who would
want to sit like a undertaker
surrounded by the stench of the
      (stops reading)
Oh, you too Camille?-Away with
them! Quickly! Only the dead do
not return!
Have you the charges ready?
                       ST. JUST
That's easy to do. You suggested
their form at the Jacobin Club.
I just wanted to frighten them!
                       ST. JUST
I only have to follow your lead;
The forgers will be the eggs and
the foreigners will be the apples.
Such pleasant hors d'oeuvres.
They'll die on the meal, I give
you my word.


Quickly then, in the morning. No
long death spasms! I've grown
sensitive these days. Now hurry!
St. JUST bows and exits.
Yes, a blood-messiah who
sacrifices and is not sacrificed!
Jesus redeems them with his blood,
and I redeem them with their own!
He has made them sinners, and I
take their sins upon myself. He
had the passion of his sorrow, and
I have the torment of the
executioner. Who has denied
himself more, he or I? But that
notion is born of madness, but why
do we only look at him? Truly, the
Son of Man is in all of us
Crucified. In the Garden of
Gethsemane we all writhe in a
bloody sweat, but ones own wounds
cannot redeem another!
      (in real anguish)
Camille! You all leave me! It is
all an empty wasteland! I am
DANTON dress in fastidious ostentation.
Quickly Danton, we have no time to
      (brushing off his
But the time has lost us. It is
very boring to put on a shirt, and
then pull up your pants, then in
the evening crawl into bed and on
the morrow crawl out again, then
put one foot in front of the
other. That's how it's done and
none can see how to do it another
way. It's very sad, and millions
have done so before, and millions
will do so again. And in the


                       DANTON (cont'd)
bargain we're made of two halves,
so we are always doing things
twice. It's very sad!
You're babbling like a child!
The dying often become childish.
Through your procrastinations
you're flinging yourself into
ruin! And you're pulling all your
friends down with you! Summon all
the timorous to your standard!
from the mountains! from the
plains! Scream about tyranny! Talk
about daggers! invoke Brutus! Then
frighten the Tribunal and gather
other allies around; the
associates of Hébert are also
under threat. You must unleash
your anger! Don't leave us
disarmed and degraded like the
abominable Hébert!
You have a bad memory; you called
me a dead saint. You spoke more
accurately than you thought. I
was in the sections; they were as
venerating as undertakers. I am a
relic, and relics are flung into
the street. You were correct!
Why did you let it come to this?
To this? It came through boredom.
To always wear the same coat and
the same expression. It was
pitiful, like some wretched
instrument with one string always
playing the same note. I couldn't
bare it! I wanted to be
comfortable, and I've achieved
that. The revolution will retire
me, but in a manner different than
I imagined. What support is left?
Our whores are a match for the


                       DANTON (cont'd)
guillotine-sisters, I don't know
of anyone else. You can count it
on your fingers:
      (Danton does so)
The Jacobins declare that purity
is the order of the day; The
Cordeliers consider me Hébert's
executioner; the Commune becomes
penitent; the Convention-now there
was a way! but they are not
willing to soak in blood;
Robespierre is the dogma of the
Revolution, he cannot be struck
out-that is not possible! We
didn't birth a Revolution, the
Revolution birthed us.
And if our stratagems work?...ah,
I would rather be guillotined than
guillotine others. I am done with
it! Why is it necessary for men
to war with each other? We ought
to sit next to each other in
tranquility. We were made flawed,
there is a nameless error
somewhere, and we'll not find it
through rummaging around in each
others entrails. Yet why do we
still find it necessary to break
open bodies to find it? Ghaa! We
are miserable alchemists!
CAMILLE, listening to DANTON'S speech with a sardonic smile,
slowly CLAPS his hands. DANTON smiles wryly.
Said with more pathos, one could
say: How long must Mankind, in
it's endless hunger, devour its
own limbs? Or: How long must we,
stranded on a wrecked ship, in
unquenchable thirst, drink the
blood from one another's
veins?-or:How long must us
algebraists in the flesh, search
for the unknown and eternally
hidden X, make our reckoning with
torn limbs!


      (smiling with
You are a strong echo!
Aren't you right! A pistol shot
sounds the same as a thunderbolt!
It would serve you better if you
always kept me by your side.
      (to Danton)
And so you'll let France be left
with her executioners?
Where's the fault there? The
People are well satisfied with
that. They have their troubles;
what more does one require to make
oneself noble, virtuous, or witty;
or simply to escape boredom! As
if it matters if it's the
guillotine, or a fever, or old age
that kills you! There is
something to be said in walking
from life with supple steps to the
wings and to acknowledge with an
elegant gesture and bow the
applause of the audience after the
finale. That is a very artful
We stand always within the Theater
until the end, when we are
finished with daggers!
It is quite appropriate that life
is thus curtailed. The coat is
too large, our limbs cannot fill
it. Life becomes a elegant
epigram. Who has the breath and
spirit for an epic of fifty or
sixty poems? It's the time for
men to drink life's essence as an
elixir from liqueur glasses in one
mouthful, not from tubs where one
can hardly get a taste from the
clumsy vessels.
Finally-I'd have to shout, and I
find that too much trouble! The
people are not worth the effort,
life's not worth the work required


                       DANTON (cont'd)
to sustain it!
So run, Danton!
Can one take your homeland with
you on the soles of your shoes?
And finally-and this is the main
reason: they wouldn't risk it!
      (to Camille)
Come along young man!
      (to the others)
I say to you, they wouldn't risk
Adieu, adieu.
There he goes.
And believing not a word of what
he's been saying. Nothing but
laziness! He'd rather be
guillotined than give a speech!
What next?
Go home, and like Lucretia, study
upon how to have a respectable
SIMON and CITIZEN #1 walk along the promenade.
                       CITIZEN #1
My good Jacqueline-I want to say
Corn...I want, Cor...
Cornelia, citizen, Cornelia.
                       CITIZEN #1
My dear Cornelia has blessed me
with a baby boy!


Has born to the Republic a son!
                       CITIZEN #1
The Republic...that sound too
general, some would say she...
That's precisely it, it is
necessary for the individual to
defer to the commune!
                       CITIZEN #1
Oh yes, that's what my wife always
They pass a singing BUSKER.
What could it be? what could it
be? that's all a man's passion
and delight?
                       CITIZEN #1
Ah, but the name. I can't decide
clearly on one.
SIMON and CITIZEN #1 walk past several pikes on which some
HEADS have been impaled.
      (pointing at the
Baptize him Pike, and Marat.
Under grief, under sorrow,
Troubled from the early morrow,
Until the day is o-ver.
                       CITIZEN #1
I would like three, there is
something about the number three.
One name that's useful, and one
that's righteous. I have it:
Plow, Robespierre- and then the


                       CITIZEN #1
I thank you, neighbor. Pike,
Plow, Robespierre. They are very
beautiful names. That sounds very
I wish for you that the breasts of
Cornelia will be like the udders
of the Roman she-wolf. No- that's
doesn't go well; Romulus was a
tyrant, that doesn't go well.
SIMON and CITIZEN #1 pass. The BUSKER continues his SINGING
to the PEOPLE passing.
A handful of dirt, and a little
bit of moss!
      (to some
Dear Gentlemen! Beautiful Ladies!
GENTLEMAN #1 and GENTLEMAN #2 stop at the BUSKER'S call.
                       GENTLEMAN #1
Fellow, work! You look very
                       GENTLEMAN #2
      (giving the busker
       a coin)
You have a hand like velvet.
That's an impudence!
      (to Gentleman #2)
Sir, how did you get your coat?
                       GENTLEMAN #2
Work, work! You can have the
same; I will give you work, come
with me.
      (points to the
I live....
Sir, why should I work?


                       GENTLEMAN #2
Fool! To get a coat.
You tortured yourself to gain a
pleasure, for the coat is a
pleasure; a rag is enough.
                       GENTLEMAN #2
Certainly, otherwise you don't get
And I'm the fool! The two balance
one another out. The Sun is
shining warmly on the corner, and
things go very easily.
A handful of earth and a little
bit of moss.
ROSALIE and ADELAIDE walk by. They see some SOLDIERS.
      (to Adelaide)
Come on! See the soldiers! We
haven't had anything warm in our
bellies since yesterday!
                       SOLDIER #1
      (to the whores)
Halt! Where are you going, my
ROSALIE smiles, and rocks a bit on her heels, pushing her
body forward.
                       SOLDIER #1
      (to Rosalie)
How old are you?
      (wiggling her
       little finger)
As old as my little finger!
                       SOLDIER #1
You're very sharp!
And you're very dull!


                       SOLDIER #1
So I'll sharpen my blade on your
Christine, Christina, dear
Christina of mine!
      (takes a step
       closer to Rosalie)
Do I hurt you, do I hurt you, and
leave you so sore! sore! sore!
ROSALIE steps closer to SOLDIER #1, their pelvis's are
almost touching.
Oh no, Mr. Soldier! I can take
what you give me! Give me more!
more! more!
DANTON and CAMILLE walk by.
      (to Camille)
Isn't it wonderful? I smell
something in the Atmosphere; it is
likely the Sun is incubating some
sort of...lewdness!
Doesn't it make you want to jump
amongst them, tear the pants off
your legs and start humping them
from the rear like dogs in the
DANTON and CAMILLE stroll along past a YOUNG MAN escorting a
EUGENE (a teenage girl) and her MOTHER.
                       YOUNG MAN
      (to the mother)
Oh madam! The sound of the bells,
the evening light through the
trees, the blinking of the stars!
      (to the young man)
The scent of the flowers! These
natural wonders, the pure delight
of Nature!
      (to the teenaged
See Eugenie, only the innocent
have the eye to perceive it!


Oh mother, I only see you!
Lovely child!
The MOTHER wanders off ahead in her "rapture", and the YOUNG
MAN points at an OLD HUSBAND and his YOUNG BRIDE and
                       YOUNG MAN
Do you see that pretty lady with
that old man?
I see them.
                       YOUNG MAN
People say it was her hairdresser;
styled all her hairs! combed them
apart and gave her a child!
You have a naughty tongue!
The YOUNG MAN wiggles his tongue around. Then again
whispers in EUGENIE'S ear.
                       YOUNG MAN
The old fellow struts by her side.
He sees the bud swelling and
shows it around in the Sun,
thinking he's the thunderstorm
that made it grow!
How vulgar! You're making me
                       YOUNG MAN
That would make me pale!
      (to Camille)
Don't expect anything serious from
me. I don't understand why people
in the street don't laugh in one
another's faces. I think they
should laugh from the windows and
from the graves-and the heavens
burst apart and the earth rolls


                       DANTON (cont'd)
with laughter!
DANTON and CAMILLE walk past MAN #1 and MAN#2.
                       MAN #1
I assure you, an out of the
ordinary discovery! All our
technology will take another form.
Mankind hurries with giant
strides traveling to its higher
                       MAN #2
Have you seen the new play? A
tower of Babylon! A tangle of
vaults, stairways, corridors, and
all so light and daringly spanning
through the air. One grows dizzy
with every step! An original
There is a large puddle in the street. MAN #2 FREEZES upon
seeing it.
                       MAN #1
What's happened to you?
                       MAN #2
Oh, nothing! You hand, sir-the
puddle- so...I thank you. Come,
lets walk around it-it could be
                       MAN #1
You're not frightened of it?
                       MAN #2
Yes, the earth has a thin crust. I
believe one could fall through to
the center of the earth wherever
there is a hole. Men must tread
very carefully.
But go to the Theater, I suggest
to you.
DANTON is talking with CAMILLE whose wife LUCILLE (24)
watches CAMILLE with eyes full of love.


I tell you, if they don't get
wooden replicas of all life in
theaters, concerts, art galleries,
then they have neither the eyes
nor the ears to see or hear! But
whittle a marionette so people can
see from whence the string hangs,
and they clamber on and on and say
it's the level truth! Jangling
with every cracking step - what
character! how consequential! Grab
some sentiment, a trite phrase,
some notion and give it a jacket
and pants, craft it hands and
feet, color his face and let it
prattle about its agony through
three acts, until-finally- it
marries or shoots itself: an
Ideal! Fiddle out an opera which
renders the heights and depths of
the human mind as accurately as
water through a clay pipe mimics a
nightingale and: brilliance!
Culture! Take these people from
the theater and put them in the
street, the miserable reality!
They forget their God Almighty
over some poor copies.
From creation red-hot, roaring and
shining with brilliance, born anew
in every blink of an eye, and they
hear and see nothing! They go to
the theater, read trite poetry and
sentimental novels, then tailor
their faces to the expected
expressions! Then speak thus to
Gods creation: How commonplace!
How ordinary!-The Greeks knew what
they were saying when they told of
Pygmalion's statue coming to life:
it lived!-but could not bare
Our artists approach Nature as
David did during the September
massacres. The dead and dying were
thrown from the Prison into the
streets; he -with cold blood-
sketched them and said: I'm
snatching the last wisp of life
from these villains!


The door opens, and DANTON is summoned from the room.
      (to Lucile)
What do you say, Lucile?
Nothing, I love watching you talk.
Did you hear me?
But of course!
Was I right? Did you understand
what I said?
No, not really.
DANTON returns.
      (to Danton)
What happened?
The Committee of Public Safety has
decreed my arrest! I've been
warned and offered a sanctuary.
They want my head- I don't care!
I've eaten too much of this
farcical pantomime and I am
stuffed full! They can have my
head! That's how it stands, I know
how to die with courage...it's
easier than to live.
Danton, there is still time!
Impossible- yet I never thought...
You! Lazy!...laziness!


I'm not lazy-I'm tired, the soles
of my feet burn!
DANTON gets up and heads to the door.
Where are you going?
Yes, as if I knew!
On a walk, young man, on a walk.
DANTON leaves CAMILLE and LUCILE behind in the room.
      (suddenly, with
Oh, Camille!
Quiet, my dear child.
When I think that this head...
      (she gently
       touches his brow)
My Camille! That's nonsense! I'm
being crazy!
LUCILE looks at CAMILLE doubtfully, seeking reassurance. She
continues to stroke his head.
Be tranquil, my dear. I am not
The Earth is wide! There is much
upon it! Why would they turn there
attention upon this? Who would
take it from me? That's awful!
What would they do with it? And
why, why?
I've told you many times, you can
calm down..Yesterday I spoke with
Robespierre; he was...friendly. We


                       CAMILLE (cont'd)
are a little strained, true; a
difference of opinion, nothing
Go and see him again!
We sat on the same schoolbench. He
was very lonely and peculiar. Only
I used to search him out and
occasionally could make him laugh.
He's always shown me great
affection. I'll go see him again!
      (her mood changing)
Going so quickly, my love? Go!
      (kissing him)
Only that! and that!
Go! Go!
CAMILLE kisses her hand, bows, and leaves.
This is an evil age! It moves
thus. Who can escape it? I need
grab a hold of myself!
Oh parting, parting, parting,
Who thought we'd ever part?
LUCILE stops singing, shocked at her own words.
Why did that thought spring to
mind? It's not good that it found
a way to me just when he left! As
if in exchange for his presence,
knowing he must go and travel on
and on!
This room is so empty! The
windows are open as if a corpse
lay here. I can't bare it any


DANTON is TRUDGING through a meadow. Stopping.
I won't go further! I disturb the
silence with my plodding footfall
and gasping breath!
      (sitting down)
I once was told of a sickness that
dissolves memory; death must be
the same. Hopefully it is
stronger still!- one loses
everything! If that was the case
I'd run to death as Christ did!
I'd run at my enemy-my memory- to
save it!
They say this place is safe, yes,
for my memory, but not for me. The
grave will give me sanctuary, or
at least oblivion. I'll kill my
memory...there my memory lies and
I die. It, or I? It's an easy
      (Danton rises)
I'm playing with death, it's so
pleasant to eyeball him from afar
through opera-glasses. This is
laughable. A feeling stays with me
and says "there will be a morrow
after today, and another and it
will forever".
It's an empty threat! They want
to frighten me...they would never
DANTON'S stands like a sleepwalker at the window, looking
Will it never end? Will the
lights? the noises never fade?
Will there never be stillness?
darkness? So I needn't hear and
see those ghastly sins?-September!


Danton! Danton!
      (waking from his
JULIE enters the room.
What were you shouting?
I was shouting?
You spoke of ghastly sins, and
then you moaned "September".
Me? Me? No, I didn't speak.
Those were scarcely conscious
ideas! they were merely very
faint, hidden thoughts!
You're trembling! Danton!
And why shouldn't I tremble with
the walls gossiping so? When my
body is so shattered that my
restless thoughts run off and
speak with lips of stone.
George! My dear George!
Yes...Julie, it's very odd. I'd
rather think no longer if such
thoughts become speech! There are
thoughts, Julie, that are never
meant to be heard. It is not good
if they are born and cry out like
children! It is not good!
God preserve your senses! George,
George, do you recognize me?


Shouldn't I? You're a human, a
woman, and furthermore you're my
wife! And the Earth has five
continents: Europe, Asia, Africa,
the Americas and Australia. And
two times two is four. I am
reasonable, do you see?
I shouted out "September", is that
what you said?
Yes Danton, I heard it
reverberating through all the
rooms of the house!
      (turning to the
I had come to the window...
      (turning around to
       face Julie)
...the city is quiet, all the
lights are out.
The sound of a BABY CRYING.
A child weeping in the night.
I came to the window and heard
echoing through the streets the
cry "September"!
You dreamt, Danton! Calm down.
Dreamt? Yes, I dreamt, but there
was something else. I'll tell you
shortly-my poor heads
empty-shortly.. So! now I have
it!-Under me gasping was the
earth- the globe was swinging. I
was a sack on a wild horse! With
gigantic limbs I grabbed it's mane
and pressed it's ribs, my head
lowered, my hair flaming over the
abyss. Thus was I carried on! I
screamed in agony! Then I woke. I
lunged to the window-and I heard
it! Julie?


                       DANTON (cont'd)
What does that word "September"
want? What is it's distinction?
What have I to do with it? Why
does it stretch it's bloody hands
to me? I have injured it! Oh,
help me Julie, my senses are
clouded! What happened in
The Alliance of Kings was within
forty hours of Paris...
The fortresses fallen! The
aristocrats in the city!
The Republic was lost!
Yes! Lost! We couldn't leave the
enemies at our back! we would have
been fools! Two enemies on one
plank-us or them- the stronger
pushing the weaker down- isn't
that the cheap, tawdry truth?
Yes! Yes!
We killed them! It wasn't murder,
it was civil war!
You saved the country.
Yes, I did.! It was self-defense!
We had to! The man on the cross
said so easily "it is necessary
that troubles come, but cursed are
they through whom troubles must
come"! It was necessary! It was
my necessity! Who can curse the
hand on which the curse of
necessity falls! The "must' that
is required! Who commands that
necessity? Who? What within us
lies, whores, steals and murders!
The necessity of the must!


                       DANTON (cont'd)
We are puppets! Pulled,
manipulated by unknown
powers...nothing, we are nothing;
the swords with which spirits
battle, their hands unseen- like
in a fairy tale.
Now, I am calm.
Truly calm, dear heart?
      (turning to her)
Yes Julie, come to bed.
SIMON, armed with a musket and a sword, and MILITIAMEN #1,
#2 and #3, armed with pikes, gather in the street.
How far is it in the night?
                       MILITAMAN #1
What in the night?
How long?-the night?
                       MILITAMAN #1
The distance between sunset and
Bastard! What's the time!
                       MILITAMAN #1
Look at the face of your clock!
      (raising a finger
It's the time to beat the
perpendicular beneath the sheets.


Forward citizens! We must get up
      (points at
       Danton's house)
We're wagering our heads against
his! Death or life! He is a
strong man! I'll take the lead,
citizens. The road to freedom!
Tend to my wife, If I die I'll
leave her a victory wreath of
                       MILITAMAN #1
An oak-leaf wreath? I hear she
gets more then enough nuts in her
lap every day!
Forward citizens! You will earn
your countries gratitude!
                       MILITAMAN #2
I wish my country had earned mine.
Despite all the holes we've put
in other peoples bodies, there's
not a single one less in our
                       MILITAMAN #1
What do you want?- them to make
your fly less drafty?
Forward! Forward!
SIMON advances to DANTON'S door and starts KICKING it! It
BURSTS open. SIMON and the MILITIAMEN rush into DANTON'S
There is a podium surrounded by a semi-circle of benches.
The place is packed with DELEGATES loudly TALKING. LEGENDRE
is surrounded by DELEGATES #1, #2 and #3.


Will this slaughter of deputies
never end? Who is safe if Danton
                       DELEGATE #1
What can be done?
                       DELEGATE #2
He must be heard within the wall's
of this convention!-what other
means of success is there? What
resistance can they offer against
his voice?
                       DELEGATE #3
Impossible! A decree prohibits
It must be revoked, or an
exception made-I will make the
motion; I'll count on your
The CONVENTION PRESIDENT advances to the podium and
addresses the convention.
                       CONVENTION PRESIDENT
The session is now open!
LEGENDRE rises and addresses the Convention.
Four members of the National
Convention were apprehended last
night! Danton was among them! I
don't know the others! Bring them
here, whoever they are! I demand
that they be heard before our
The Convention erupts into COMMOTION.
      (almost shouting)
Citizens! I state this: I hold
Danton to be as blameless as
myself! and I don't believe any
can make accusations against me. I
make no attacks against the
members of the Committee's of
Public Safety or General Security,
but I fear there is cause to


                       LEGENDRE (cont'd)
believe that private passions and
hatreds may steal from Liberty a
man who has rendered her great
services! The man who, in the
year 1792 rescued France through
his energies, deserves to be
heard! If he is accused of
treason, he must be allowed to
                       SOME VOICES
We support Legendre's motion!
                       DELEGATE #1
We are here in the name of the
people! we cannot be torn from our
office without the will of our
                       DELEGATE #4
      (to Delegate #1)
Your words stink of corpses! You
have taken them from the mouths of
the Girondins! You want
privileges?-the ax of the Law
hovers equally over every head!
                       DELEGATE #5
We cannot withhold from our
legislators the asylum of the Law
and send them to the guillotine!
                       DELEGATE #6
Crime has no asylum! It was only
criminals wearing crowns that
found it on the throne!
                       DELEGATE #7
Only scoundrels appeal for asylum!
                       DELEGATE #8
Only murderers do not recognize
ROBESPIERRE, dressed in black garb, rises. We see his COLD
CHARISMA, sense his POWER. The Convention falls silent
before his persona.
For a long time this assembly has
not seen such disorder! This is
telling! It tells of great events
at hand! Today, we decide if a


                       ROBESPIERRE (cont'd)
single man may carry off a victory
against his country! How are you
all so distant from your
principles as to now deny them?-to
grant for one man today what
yesterday you refused to grant for
Chalot? for Delaunay? for Fabre?
They all fought for the
Revolution! Then betrayed it! Why
are we obliged to offer a singular
distinction to this one man named
      (to Legendre)
And what does it concern me?-your
words of self praise which you
spend so freely on yourself and
your friends?
Only great experience can divine
what this moment holds! We should
not now ask if a man has acted in
this or that patriotic manner! We
must now inquire about his whole
life and political career!
And yet still now I am asked to
believe that Legendre appears not
to know the names of those held?
      (shakes his head)
The whole Convention knows them!
His friend Lacroix is among them!
And Legendre was unaware of
this?-because he knows that only
the shameless can defend Lacroix!
Thus he names only Danton because
he believes privilege is tied to
that name! No!-we want no
privileges!-we want no saints to
worship! No false idols!
The Convention erupts into APPLAUSE.
What has Danton before Lafayette?
before Dumouriez? before Brissot?
Fabre? Chabot? Herbert? What
could one say about them that one
cannot say about him? Nonetheless,
were they spared? Why then does he
deserve a privilege before his
fellow citizens? Since some
deceived individuals, and


                       ROBESPIERRE (cont'd)
...some not so deluded; joined
together in a company under his
wing and his journey to power and
wealth? The more he has deceived
patriots who trusted him, the
sharper the severity he will find
from the Friends of Liberty.
They wish to make you fearful,
saying you will abuse your power,
a power you have already
exercised! They shriek about the
despotism of our Committees, as if
the trust the people have given
you, and which you have conferred
upon these Committees were not a
true guarantee of your Patriotism!
They stand trembling, but I say to
you: who in this moment trembles,
is guilty! The innocent do not
tremble before public vigilance!
The Convention ERUPTS into APPLAUSE.
They even tried to intimidate
me!-saying the danger approaching
Danton could approach me as well!
They wrote to me saying I could be
counted in the company of Danton's
friends! They believed that the
memory of our old alliance,
believing blind faith and a
pantomime of virtue could stir me,
to dilute my zeal and passion for
Liberty! But nothing will hold me
back, even if Danton's danger is
my own! We all require the
breadth of spirit and the
necessary courage! Only criminals
and the mean spirited fear the
sight of their fallen comrades,
for no longer hidden in the mass
of their company, they stand
revealed in the light of the
truth! We must only attend to a
few heads and the country is


I demand that Legendre's proposal
be rejected!
Many DELEGATES rise APPLAUDING to show their agreement.
After the APPLAUSE dies,, they sit down again, ROBESPIERRE
with them. ST. JUST then rises.
                       ST. JUST
It seems in this assemble are some
whose delicate ears cannot endure
the word "blood". But some
general observations may convince
them that we are not more awful
than Nature or Time. Nature
quietly, inexorably follows her
own Laws- men are destroyed upon
coming in conflict with them. A
change in the components of the
air; a flare up of the Tellurian
fires; an oscillation in the
equilibrium of the mass of water-
a plague!-a volcanic eruption!-a
flood burying thousands!
This results in a slight, hardly
perceptible change in physical
nature, nearly imperceptible had
it not left corpses in it's wake!
I ask: Shall spiritual Nature in
her Revolutions be more
considerate than physical Nature?
Is an idea not just as likely as a
physical law to destroy what comes
into contact with it? Isn't an
event which changes the whole
development of mankind not be
likely to occur through blood? The
Spirit of the Times makes use of
our arms in the spiritual sphere
just as it uses volcano's and
floods in the physical. What does
it matter whether one dies of a
plague or a revolution?
Humanity strides forward slowly,
one can count it's steps in
centuries; behind every one rises
the grave mounds of generations.
The achievement of a single
invention, principle or axiom has
cost the lives of millions!
      (waves his hand


                       ST. JUST (cont'd)
All dead along the way! Is it not
obvious that in this age when the
tempo of history has quickened
that more men should run out of
My conclusion: As all are made in
equal portions; then all are of
equal distinction-other than those
differences Nature had given-all
are equally entitled and all are
without privilege, neither the
smallest nor the greatest class of
All of these links in actuality
are seen in these phrases whose
application has killed men. July
the 14th! August the 10th! May
31! These were it's punctuation
marks. It needed only four years
to manifest in physical reality
which under ordinary circumstances
would have taken a hundred years
to come forth and been punctuated
with generations? Is it so
amazing that the torrential river
of our revolution, at every bend
and break throws up some corpses?
Shall creating several hundred
corpses hinder us? Moses led his
people through the Red Sea and
into the wasteland until the old,
decayed and corrupt generation
died out, only then could he found
a new nation! We have neither the
Red Sea or the wasteland, but we
have war and the guillotine!
The Revolution is like the
daughters of Pelias: they hack
apart mankind to renew it!
Humanity will rise from this
cauldron of blood like the Earth
from the waters of the flood,
shaped in a fresh form, a pristine
                       ST. JUST
May all the hidden enemies of
Tyranny, whether in Europe or
across the whole globe, may all


                       ST. JUST (cont'd)
those who carry the dagger of
Brutus under their robes come
forth to share with us this
exalted moment!
APPLAUSE and the SINGING of the "Marseillaise".
In the large, communal cell CHAUMETTE (31), THOMAS PAINE
(58), MERCIER (54), HERAULT and several other PRISONERS are
gathered. CHAUMETTE TUGS at PAINE"S sleeve.
      (to Paine)
Listen Paine, a while ago I
understood it!
      (shakes his head)
Today I have a headache! Help me
a bit with your reasoning's...I'm
not feeling well.
Come, Philosopher Anaxagoras, I
will give you your catechism!
There is no God; as God either did
or did not create the world. If he
did not create it, then the world
has it's cause in itself, thus
there is no God, as God is only
qualified as such through holding
the being of all creation. But
God cannot have created the world,
as either the creation is
eternal-like God- or it has a
beginning. If the latter is the
case, then God must have created
it at a specific point in time,
thus God must have- after an
eternal stillness- become active;
must have suffered a change in
himself and allowed a personal
application of the concept of
Time...but both concepts conflict
with the nature of God. Thus God
cannot have created the world.
However, we do have a very
distinct knowledge: that the
world-or at least our notion of "I
am" exists; thus consequentially
it must have in it's foundation
something else that is not God.


                       PAINE (cont'd)
Thus God cannot be! Quod erat
Ah huh!
      (taps his head)
Again you've given me light! Thank
you, thank you!
Wait Paine! If, however, creation
is eternal?
Then it qualifies no longer as a
creation. It is one with God, or
an attribute and- as Spinoza said-
God is in everything: in your
worthy self, in the Philosopher
Anaxagoras, and in me. That's not
so bad, but you must agree that
it's not so appropriate to our
concept of a heavenly majesty when
the dear Lord God suffers a
toothache, or gonorrhea-or is
buried alive; or he must have a
rather awkward impression about
But there must be a first cause!
Who denies that? But what of this
first cause tells us it's God?
What we consider perfection. Do
you consider the world to be
Then how could it be that an
imperfect effect split off from a
perfect cause? Voltaire reasoned
thus because he only dared upset
God just a little- like he did the
One who has the ability to reason
and lacks the daring to arrive at
the conclusions of that reasoning


                       PAINE (cont'd)
is a blunderer!
My counter question: Can a
perfect cause have a perfect
effect? Can a perfection craft
something perfect? Isn't that
impossible since a creation
cannot contain it's Genesis in
itself, which- as you said- is an
attribute of perfection?
      (holding his head)
Stop it! Stop!
      (to Chaumette)
Calm down, Philosopher!
      (to Mercier)
You are right- but if God out of
necessity can only craft
imperfectly, he should let it all
Is is not a human quality to
conceive of God only as a creator?
Since we're always moving and
scurrying about as a means of
saying "we exist". Must we also
give God this miserable
requirement? Must we, when our
spirit is harmonious with a being
in such tranquility, descending
into eternal happiness then
immediately assume it must stretch
out a finger and kneed a
gingerbread man on a table? Why?
From an overflowing of love? How
we all whisper of this mystery in
each others ears! Do we have such
a stark need to turn ourselves
into God's children? I'd prefer a
lesser father. At least I'd not
have to say of him that he placed
me below my station by raising me
in a pig-stall or bringing me up
to be a galley-slave.
Remove our imperfections only then
can you demonstrate God. Spinoza
tried it: "man can deny evil, but
not suffering". Through reason you
can theorize a God, but emotion


                       PAINE (cont'd)
rebels and denies it.
      (to Chaumette)
Mark this, Anaxagoras: Why do I
suffer? That is the rock of
Atheism. The smallest twitch of
pain, even if it stirs only an
atom, causes a tear in Creation
from top to bottom!
And morality?
First you prove God from morality,
then morality from God. What do
you want from your morality? I
don't know if a thing in itself is
a given Good or Evil, thus it is
unnecessary for me to change my
conduct. I act according to my
nature. What is appropriate for
it is my good, and I do it, and
what is loathsome to it is my
Evil, and I don't do it and defend
myself against it when it comes
along the way. You can remain
virtuous and defend yourself
against so called vice, only if
you act without contempt for your
opponent, for such contempt is a
half baked and pitiful sentiment.
True! Very true!
Oh philosopher Anaxagoras, one
could also say that since God is
everything, he must also be his
opponent; therefore perfect and
imperfect, evil and good; blessed
and suffering, sorrowful and
joyful: the result would be null,
it cancels itself out-the equation
is balanced and we arrive at zero,
be cheerful! Luckily you've come
through! You can, with total
tranquility worship the lovely
Madam Momoro as Natures
masterpiece, at least she has
given you a crown of roses in your


                       PAINE (cont'd)
I thank you heartily, gentlemen.
      (he leaves)
      (to Mercier)
He's still not convinced. He'll
take the last rites, turn to face
Mecca, and get circumcised so as
to leave no road untraveled.
rushes to DANTON and embraces him.
Good morning! I should say good
night! I can't ask how you have
slept- how will you sleep?
Well enough. One should go to bed
      (to Paine)
These war dogs with doves wings.
He is the evil genius of the
Revolution which birthed him; he
dared contest with his mother, but
she proved the stronger.
His life and his death are an
equally great tragedy.
I didn't expect that you'd come
here so quickly.
I had fore-knowledge, someone had
warned me.
And you said nothing?
      (to Lacroix)
Why? Death at one stroke is the
best; or would you rather a
sickness first? And...I didn't


                       DANTON (cont'd)
think they'd dare.
      (to Herault)
It is better to lie in the Earth
than get corns running about on
top of it. I'd much rather her my
cushion than a footstool.
We'll not- at least - stroke our
dear Lady of Decay with calloused
DANTON is about to reply but CAMILLE silences him with a
Don't bother to expend any effort
now! Now you should twiddle and
dangle your tongue as far as your
neck - yet you still can't lick
the death-sweat from your brow.
      (an aside)
Oh Lucille! This is too great a
The OTHER PRISONERS gather around the new arrivals.

DANTON now has an audience and can again play a role.
      (to Paine)
What you did for the good of your
country, I tried to do for mine!
I've had less luck; they're
sending me to the scaffold - I
don't care, I won't stumble!
      (to Danton)
You're drenched in the blood of
the twenty- two!
                       PRISONER #1
      (mocking Herault)
The power of the people and the
power of reason are one!
                       PRISONER #2
      (to Camille)
Now then, General procurator of
Lanterns; your improvements in the
streetlights have not made France


                       PRISONER #2 (cont'd)
any brighter.
                       PRISONER #3
Leave him!
      (pointing at
Those are the lips which uttered
the word "mercy".
PRISONER #3 embraces CAMILLE. SEVERAL OTHERS do the same.
We are the priests who prayed over
the dying, and having become
infected, will die of the same
                       PRISONER #4
The blow that hits you, kills us
Gentlemen, I am very sad that our
efforts were fruitless! I go to
the scaffold because my eyes wept
over the fate of a few unlucky
FOUQUIER (47), the public prosecutor of the Revolutionary
Tribunal, and HERMAN (45), presiding Judge of the
Revolutionary Court, sit in a small room before a desk
covered with somewhat organized piles of papers.
All is ready?
It will be heavy work. Were
Danton not among them, it would be
He must dance first.
He will terrify the jury! He is
the scarecrow of the revolution.


The jury must!...will!...it!
I know a way, but it will violate
legal formality.
Go on!
We won't draw lots, but will seek
out those jury members most
appropriate to our aims.
It will work - it will light a
good bonfire! There are nineteen
of them, a motley mix: four
counterfeiters, several banker and
some foreigners. The people need
The reliable men? Who, for
Leroi. He is deaf and will hear
none of them! Danton can shout
his throat raw!
Very good, go on!
Vilatte and Lumiere. The first is
always in a tavern, the other is
always asleep; they both only
open their mouths to say the word
Girard , he has a ground rule that
none who stand before the tribunal
be allowed to escape.
Him? He once helped some priests


Don't worry. Several days ago he
came to me requesting we let the
veins a bit of all those facing
execution; their defiant attitudes
anger him.
      (cheerfully amused)
Oh, - very good. So I'll rely on
Leave the workings to me.
about in a corridor leading to the courtroom. LACROIX
addresses PRISONER #5..
So many unfortunates? How? And in
such miserable condition!
                       PRISONER #5
Have the guillotine carts not told
you? Paris is a butchers block.
      (to Lacroix)
Isn't it right, Lacroix?- equality
swings her sickle over ALL heads!
The guillotine and the Republic
are one! There is clapping the
the galleries, and the Romans rub
their hands, but none hear that
each of these words is a victims
death gasp! Follow your words
through to the point when they
become incarnate - then look
      (gesturing with
       his hands)
...their executioners and the
guillotine are the living words of
your speeches! You built your
system as Bajazet did his
Pyramids, out of men's decapitated


      (to Mercier)
You have apprehended the truth!
These day men do all their work in
human flesh...That is the curse of
our times!
      (an aside)
My corpse will be used thus.
      (addressing all)
It's just now a year since I
created the Revolutionary
Tribunal! I pray to both God and
Man to pardon me for it; I
intended to deter another
September Massacre. I hoped to
save the innocent, but this slow
murder with it's formalities is
even more gruesome, and just as
inevitable. Gentlemen, I hope I'm
able to release you all from this
Oh, we'll be leaving all right.
But now I am here with
you...heaven knows how this will
The French Revolutionary Courtroom: there is a raised jury
box for the twelve jurors: LEROI,VILATTE, LUMIERE, GIRARD
and RENAUDIN among them.

There is another raised desk for the FIVE JUDGES, with
FOUQIER presiding.

The prosecutor: HERMAN
The defendant: DANTON
Your name, citizen!
The Revolution has baptized me! My
future home will soon be in the
Nothingness! And my name will
live in the Pantheon of History!


      (glaring at Danton)
Danton, the convention accuses you
of entering into conspiracy!-with
Mirabeau! with Dumouriez! with the
Prince of Orleans! with the
Girondists! with foreigners and
the faction of Louis XVII!
My voice, which I has so often
resounded on behalf of the people,
finds no difficulty in refuting
these...slanders! The wretches
who have accused me? I'd like them
to appear here, and I will drape
them in shame! May the Committee
Of Public Safety gather here in a
conclave - I will answer them, and
only then! I hold that necessary
expectation of them as they are
both my accusers and my witnesses!
Let them reveal themselves!
Otherwise, what do I care about
you and your verdicts? I have
already told you the outcome!
Oblivion will soon be my refuge!
My life is a burden, you may
wrench it from me. I'll easily
shake it off!
Danton, boldness is a quality of
criminals! Tranquility that of the
Selfish boldness is doubtlessly
blameworthy, but that patriotic
boldness which I have and have
shown so often in the fight for
Liberty? It is the highest of
virtues! That is my boldness! That
is the boldness which I show here
against my pitiful accusers as an
example to the Republic I serve!
Can I hold myself back when I see
myself slandered in so vicious a
fashion? From a revolutionary such
as I you should not expect a tepid
defense! Men of my timber are
invaluable in revolutions, for


                       DANTON (cont'd)
from our brows shine the spirit of
I am accused of conspiring with
Mirabeau, with Dumoriez, with
Orleans; to have groveled at the
feet of miserable despots! It was
demanded that I answer in the
Halls of Justice!
You!- miserable St. Just! - will
answer to posterity for your
I order you to answer calmly!
Think of Marat who walked before
his judges with awe!
Your hands have grasped me in my
totality, but you are astounded
that I rise up and fight you? I
will bury you under the weight of
my deeds! I do not boast! Destiny
guides our arms, but only powerful
characters are it's instruments!
On the field of Mars I declared
war against the monarchy! On the
tenth of August I defeated it! On
the 21 of January I killed it and
threw a Kings head to all the
Kings of Europe as a gauntlet!

DANTON picks up the indictment.
When I take a look at this
shameful document, I feel my whole
being shake! Who are they who
forced Danton to show himself on
that memorable day, the 10th of
August? Who are these privileged
beings from whom I have borrowed
my energy?
I want my accusers to appear! I


                       DANTON (cont'd)
am completely within my senses as
I demand this! I will expose the
faces of these rascals, and fling
them back into the nothingness
from which they should never have
      (loudly ringing a
Do you hear this bell?
The voice of a man; with which he
defends his honor and his life,
cries out louder than you bell!
In September I weaned the young
brood of the Revolution on the
severed limbs of the Aristocracy!
My voice has forged weapons for
the people from the gold and
wealth of the nobility! My voice
was the hurricane which buried the
minions of despotism under a wave
of bayonets!
Danton, your voice is tired. You
are too violently agitated. You
can wind up your defense another
time. You need rest. This
session is closed.
You now recognize Danton!- but a
few more hours and he will slumber
in the arms of fame!
A prison cell with a table, two chairs and two mats on the
floor. Within are DILLON (43), an English born former
Revolutionary General, and LAFLOTTE, a young man. The
JAILER has brought some food and a bottle of rum for DILLON.
The JAILER bends down to set the food on the table.
Sir, don't stick your shiny nose
in my face like that!


And keep your mouth closed! Your
moonface has a stinking halo.
      (waving a paper)
Do you think you can read by it's
      (reaching for the
Give it here!
General, my crescent moon has
entered it's ebb.
Seeing your trousers, I'd say
there was a flood.
      (to Laflotte)
No, they let the water out.
      (to Dillon)
Sir, it has crept away before your
Sun. You must give me something
to make it's glow return if you
wish to read by it.
      (giving the jailer
       some money)
There fellow. Get going!
The JAILER leaves.

DILLON reads the pamphlet.
Danton has scared the Tribunal!
The jury wavered, the audience
grumbled. The crowds were
extraordinary! People massed
around the Palace of Justice and
stood all the way right up to the
A handful of money, a free arm -
if only! if only!


DILLON gets up and starts pacing and drinking from the
Had I only one foot on the street!
I don't want to let myself be
slaughtered like this. Yes, only
a foot on the street!
And in the tumbril carts, it's all
the same.
You think so? There's still a few
steps between them. Long
enough...long enough to measure
with corpses! It's finally the
time for decent people to raise
their heads!
All the better. Easier for them to
be chopped off!
      (an aside)
Go on, old man, one more glass and
I'll float away to freedom!
The fools! They will end it by
guillotining themselves.
      (an aside)
Once again I could again- child
like- love a normal life by giving
it to myself. It doesn't come
around so often that one can
commit incest with luck and birth
oneself! Parent and child at once.
A cozy Oedipus.
One can't feed the people with
corpses. Danton and Camilles
wives should throw money to the
masses; that is better than heads.
DILLON becomes mesmerized by his vision.


      (an aside)
I will, with hindsight, not tear
my eyes out. I'll have need of
them to weep for the good General.
Laying hands on Danton! Afterward,
who is safe? Fear will unite
He is already lost! What does it
matter then, if I tread upon a
corpse so as to climb from a
Only a foot upon the street! I
would find enough people, old
soldiers, Girondists, ex-nobles!
We'd break open the prisons! We
form an alliance with the
      (an aside)
Now of course, it has some stench
of villainy to it. So what's
that? I have the desire to
attempt it! I have been, till
now, too one sided. One can
become too conscience ridden. That
is, of course, a diverting hobby.
It is not so unpleasant to be cast
from that company, and then smell
the stench of one's own villainy!
Anticipating the guillotine has
become boring for me; I have long
waited for the ...matter. I have
already gone through it twenty
times in spirit. It does not
become any more piquant a spice.
It has become mundane.
      (struck by an idea)
Someone must be able to reach
Danton's wife with a letter!


      (an aside)
And then - I don't fear death,
but the pain! The knowledge of
it's anguish, who can profess it
to me? It is said, without doubt,
it's all in the blink of an eye;
but pain has a fine tempo, it well
segments a second! No! Pain is
the only sin, and suffering is the
only vice; I will stay virtuous
and refuse them both!
Laflotte, where has that jailer
gone? I have money! It must work!
We must forge the iron and hammer
out the Plan to make it ready!
It equals itself out!
      (to Dillon)
Quickly now! I know the turnkey.
You can count on me, General. We
will climb from this hole!
And into another: I into the
widest, the world; he into the
narrowest, the grave!
sit around a table in the office. There is the feeling of
wickedness in the dingy room. These men have sent hundreds,
shortly thousands, to the guillotine. COLLOT D' HERBOIS is
smoking a long stemmed pipe which seems to elongate his
angular features.
      (to St. Just)
What does Foupuier write?
                       ST. JUST
The second hearing is over. The
prisoners demanded the presence of
several members of the Convention
and of the Committee of Public
Safety; they appealed to the
people in regards to the ban on
witnesses. The seething emotions
were indescribable - Danton


                       ST. JUST (cont'd)
imitated Jupiter...
      (St. Just shakes
       his hair)
...and shook his locks.
                       COLLOT D'HERBOIS
Good! It will be easier to grasp
the mane of our Samson!
We dare not show ourselves at the
Tribunal! The fish-wives and the
rag-pickers will finally learn we
are not so imposing!
The masses have an instinct, they
yearn to be tread upon, if only
with an insolent look. Such faces
delight them!
I find such brows more irritating
than a nobleman's heraldry! He
wears the demeanor of an
aristocrats refined cynicism!
All who receive such haughty
glances should be obliged to smash
the faces that give them!
He is like the horned Siegfried,
the blood of the Septembrists has
made him invulnerable...What does
Robespierre say?
                       ST. JUST
He acts as if he has already
The jurors must announce they have
been sufficiently informed and
must close the case!
Impossible! It won't work!
                       ST. JUST
They must proceed thus at any
price! Even if we are obliged to
strangle them with our own hands!
Dare! It's not for nothing that


                       ST. JUST (cont'd)
Danton taught us that word! The
Revolution does not stumble over
corpses, but if Danton lives, he
will seize her by her robes, and
something about him tells that he
is capable of raping Liberty
A door opens and ST. JUST is called away; a GAOLER enters.
In St. Pélagie some prisoners lay
dying. They ask for a doctor.
That is unnecessary. This way
there will be a few less troubles
for the executioner!
There are some pregnant women
among them.
All the better, their children
won't need coffins.
Aristocrats with tuberculosis save
the Revolutionary Tribunal a
session. Supplying medicine would
be counter-revolutionary!
                       COLLOT D'HERBOIS
      (taking a paper)
A petition! A woman's name!
Probably one among those who
wishes the option of a choice
between the guillotine frame board
or a Jacobin's bed!
Like Lucretia, they want to die
after loosing their honor, but
somewhat later than did that Roman
Perhaps in childbirth, or from
cancer, better yet, in old age.
But it might be pleasant to drive
a Tarquin from the virtuous


                       BARèRE (cont'd)
republic of decent women!
                       COLLOT D'HERBOIS
      (looking at the
No, she is too old. Madam wants
death, she expresses herself
clearly: the prison lays upon her
like a coffin lid. It's an easy
      (speaking as he
Citizen, as of yet, you have not
wished for death long enough.
Well said! But Collot, it's not
good to start laughing about the
Guillotine, otherwise the people
will no longer fear it; one must
not let it become mundane.
ST. JUST returns waving a paper.
                       ST. JUST
I've just received a denunciation!
Some conspiracy in the prisons! A
young man named Laflotte has
discovered it all! He shares a
cell with General Dillon! Dillon
got drunk and talked!
He cut his own throat with his
bottle; that has happened before.
                       ST. JUST
The wives of Danton and Camille
plan to throw money to the people!
Dillon will break out and free the
prisoners! The Convention will be
blown up!
Huh, fairy tales!
                       ST. JUST
Yes, but we will put them to sleep
with these fairy tales! I hold the
document in hand! In addition,
consider Danton's impudence; the
people's discontent and the jury's


                       ST. JUST (cont'd)
I will make a report.
Yes, go, St. Just. and spin you
phrases, where every comma is a
saber and every dot is a severed
                       ST. JUST
The Convention must decree the
Tribunal continue it's proceedings
without interruption! Any
defendant guilty of injurious
action towards the court- or who
causes a disturbance- will be
excluded from the debate!
You have the revolutionary
instinct! The decree sounds very
moderate, yet it will work! They
cannot keep silent, Danton must
                       ST. JUST
I will count on your support!
There are those in the Convention
as sick as Danton, and who fear
the same cure! They have regained
their courage - they will howl
over the violation of the legal
I will remind them of Rome: the
Counsel who discovered Senator
Catiline's conspiracy against the
Republic punished the criminals by
summery execution! He too was
accused of violating legal
formalities, but who were his
                       COLLOT D'HERBOIS
      (with pathos)
Go, St. Just! The lava of the
Revolution is flowing. Liberty
will smother with her embrace the
weaklings who desire to lie in her
lap and impregnate her! The
people will reveal themselves in


                       COLLOT D'HERBOIS (cont'd)
great majesty, like Jupiter did to
Semele - among thunder and
lightening - and then transform
them into ashes.
Go St. Just! We will help you
fling your thunderbolt upon the
skulls of these cowards!
ST. JUST leaves. The SOUND of his FOOTSTEPS gradually
Did you hear the word "cure"? Soon
they will prescribe the guillotine
for venereal disease! They are
not fighting the moderates, they
are fighting vice!
Until now those two have walked as
Robespierre wants the Revolution
as a classroom for morality, and
the guillotine as his podium.
Or his bedstool.
                       COLLOT D'HERBOIS
Upon which he will not stand but
will lay.
That could easily happen. The
world must be standing on it's
head if the so-called rascals were
to be hanged by the so-called
honest men!
                       COLLOT D'HERBOIS
      (to Barere)
When are you coming again to the
brothel at Clichy?
When the doctor no longer comes to


                       COLLOT D'HERBOIS
Isn't is so- over that place
stands a fiery star whose
scorching beams shrivel the spinal
Soon the pretty fingers of the
lovely Demaly will pull it from
it's case so it hang from your
back like a pigtail!
Shhh! About all this "The
Incorruptible " must know nothing!
He is an impotent bookworm!
BILLARD and COLLOT stand up, bow and LEAVE.

BARèRE is SILENT for a while, thinking.
      (to himself)
The monster! You have not wished
for death long enough! Those
words should have withered the
tongue that spoke them!
What of me? When the Septembrists
stormed the prisons, a prisoner
grabbed a knife and joined with
the murderers, stabbing a priest
in the chest - he was saved! Who
can hold anything against him.
Shall I join with the assassins by
sitting with the Committee of
Public Safety? Weather I use a
knife or a guillotine, it's the
same matter, only with a few more
tangles in the details; the finite
reality is the same-.
He who dares murder one, also
dares two, also three, also one
more? Where is the end? It comes
to grains of barley! Does two
make a heap, three, four, how
much? Come, my conscience!- come
my chickens, Tch, tch, tch, these
grains, these corpses are your


                       BARèRE (cont'd)
Yet was I a prisoner? I was under
suspicion! - that course has only
one end! My death was certain!
You shouted well enough Danton! If
you'd taken such trouble earlier
your life would be different now!
But it's true, Death was bold, and
approached you so that her stench
was in your throat! - whereas she
had previously always passed you
If she only came with passionate
violence, like a robber or rapist
to wrestle us under and tear our
limbs asunder! This way, with
it's formalities, is like marriage
with an old woman; with the dry
legal documents, with witnesses
called and Amens said; then she
lifts the bedspread and crawls in
with her cold, bony limbs and
Would that it was a fight with
arms and teeth, tearing and
seizing and rending! But this is
like falling into a mill works and
having one's limbs slowly,
systematically ripped with cold
physical violence! To be killed
so mechanically!
And then to lie alone: cold,
stiff, in the damp debris of
decay- perhaps death slowly
tortures the life from us through
every fiber; perhaps we have
consciousness throughout the
process of our bodies own decay!


Calm down, my friends! We are
those of the Autumn time; we will
only bear seeds after the cold
Like flowers that quietly
germinate over a season. the only
difference between us and them is
that we stink somewhat more when
we attempt it! Is that so awful?
An edifying prospect! From one
manure pile to another! Isn't
that so? The divine theory of
classification: From the primary
to the secondary, from the
secondary to the tertiary, and so
I've had my fill of school desks!
I've sat therein long enough! Like
a monkey on my ass!
Then what do you want?
That is in God.
In the nothingness. To sink
yourself into what is more
peaceful than that? When the
highest peace is God, isn't the
nothingness God? But I am an
atheist. Damn he who said
"Something cannot become nothing"!
And I am something, that is the
misery! Creation has spread
herself so broad there is nothing
empty, all is full of a fecund
swarming! Nothingness has
murdered itself. Creation is a
wound, we are the drops of blood,
the world is the grave wherein it
rots! It sounds like madness, yet
there is truth in it.


The world is the wandering Jew,
and nothingness is death. But it
is impossible. "Oh, I will never
know death, never know death!" as
the song goes.
We are all buried alive- like the
ancient Kings -in a threefold,
fourfold coffins: under the sky,
in our houses, in our jackets and
shirts. We scratch for fifty
years on the coffin lids! Yes,
who can believe in destruction! He
would be saved. - There is little
hope in death; a simple life
achieves a more complicated and
organize decay, that is the whole
distinction! Yet I have come to
terms and am used to this type of
decay. The devil knows how I will
deal with the other!
Oh Julie! If I could go
alone!...she leaves me lonely!
If fell to pieces, was completely
decomposed; was a handful of
tortured dust, all my atoms would
not find peace without her!
I cannot die! No! I can not die!
We are- as yet- not yet defeated!
We must roar! they must tear
every drop of life from my limbs!
We must stand by our demands! Our
accusers-and the Committee- must
appear before the Tribunal!
I don't know what more to say.
What should my answer be? They
demand a Commission!


We've got the scoundrels! This is
for you!
      (hands Fouquier a
It's what you hoped for!
That will satisfy them!
Truthfully, we needed this!
Now to work!
That will allow us clear this task
from our throats!...clear out
their throats as well!
The Republic is in danger and is
without guidance! We appeal to
the people, for my voice is still
strong enough to deliver a funeral
oration for the Decembrists! I
repeat it: We demand a commission!
We have important disclosures to
make! I will withdraw into the
citadel of Reason and will attack
with the artillery of Truth and
crush my enemies!
Silence in the name of the
Republic! Attend to the Law! The
Convention has decided the
following: Upon observing the
signs of rebellion in the prisons;
in consideration of the fact that
the wives of Danton and Camille
are spreading money amongst masses
and General Dillon is plotting to
break out and lead a revolt to
free the defendants; in summation:
that the defendants are striving


                       FOUQUIER (cont'd)
to create anarchy here, and have
so insulted the Tribunal, We
decree that the Tribunal continue
it's investigations without
interruption, and any defendant
judged guilty of lacking respect
for the Law, will be banned from
the debate!
I ask those present: have we
spoken scornfully of the Tribunal?
the People? or the National
                       MANY VOICES
No! No!
The wretches! They want to murder
my Lucile!
One day the truth will be known. I
see a great misfortune breaking
over France! It is a dictatorship!
It has torn off its veil and
carries its head high as it steps
over our corpses!
      (pointing at Amar
       and Vouland)
You see those cowardly murderers!
Those carrion crows of the
Committee of Public Safety! I
accuse Robespierre, St. Just and
their hangmen of high-treason!
They want to smother the Republic
in blood! The tracks of the
guillotine carts are the roads
upon which foreign armies will
march upon into the heart of our
motherland! How long must
Liberties footsteps be graves?
You want bread; and they throw you
heads! You thirst, and they make
you lick the blood from the steps
of the Guillotine!


                       MANY VOICES
Let Danton live! Viva Danton!
Viva Danton! Down with the
A CROWD presses against the doors of the Palace of Justice.
SHOUT at one another.
                       A VOICE
Down with the Decembrists! Long
live Danton!
                       CITIZEN #1
Its true! We are given heads
instead of bread! Blood instead of
                       SEVERAL WOMAN
The guillotine is a bad mill and
the executioner is a worse baker!
We want bread!
                       CITIZEN #2
Danton has eaten you bread! His
head will give you all a
bread-feast! It's the truth!
                       CITIZEN #1
Danton was with us on the 10th. of
August! Danton was with us in
September! Where were those who
have accused him?
                       CITIZEN #2
Lafayette was with you in
Versailles! Yet he still proved a
                       CITIZEN #1
Who says that Danton is a traitor?
                       CITIZEN #2
                       CITIZEN #1
Robespierre is the traitor!
                       CITIZEN #2
Who says that?


                       CITIZEN #1
                       CITIZEN #2
Danton has fine clothes! Danton
has a beautiful house! Danton has
a pretty wife! He bathes in
Burgundy and eats venison off
silver plates! He sleeps with you
wives and daughters when he is
drunk! -Danton was as poor as you!
From whence did his wealth come?
The King gave it to him so as to
keep his crown! The Duke
d'Orleans gifted it to him so as
to steal the crown! The foreigners
payed it to him so he would betray
you all! -What does Robespierre
have? Robespierre the virtuous!
The Incorruptible! You!... all of
you know him!
                       THE CROWD
Long live Robespierre! Viva! Viva!
Robespierre! Robespierre!
Down with Danton! Down with the
JULIE is attended by a YOUNG BOY.
      (to herself)
It is finished. They trembled
before him, and now they'll kill
him from fear!
      (to the Young Boy)
Go! I have seen him for the last
time! Say to him, I can't see him
as he is now!
JULIE takes some scissors and cuts off a lock of her hair.
She hands him the lock.
There! Take this to him and say he
will not go alone - he will
understand. And then quickly
hurry back!- I will read his
expression in your eyes!


DUMAS (32), a mixed race French Revolutionary General,
progenitor of poets and writers, and CITIZEN #3 are
                       CITIZEN #3
After such a trial, how could they
sentence so many innocent people
to death?
It is extraordinary! But these
revolutionaries have a sense that
others lack... this sense never
deceives them!
                       CITIZEN #3
A tigers intuition!
You have a wife?
I will soon "have" had one!
                       CITIZEN #3
So it is true?
The Revolutionary Tribunal will
announce our divorce; the
guillotine will separate us from
the same bed and table!
                       CITIZEN #3
You are a monster!
Idiot! Do you admire Brutus?
                       CITIZEN #3
With all my soul!
Must one be an honest Roman
Counsel and have a toga under
which to hide ones head after
sacrificing love for the sake of
ones country?
I will wipe my weeping eyes with
the sleeve of my red coat; that is
the only difference!


                       CITIZEN #3
That is horrible!
Ah, you still don't understand!
The cell has a table, chairs and two beds, between which is
a nightstand with some books.

LACROIX and HERAULT one bed, CAMILLE and DANTON the other.

DANTON is ostentatiously cleaning his nail and HUMMING.

LACROIX is looking glum.
It's embarrassing! The way ones
hair and nails grow.
      (He sneezes)
Take some care, you sneezed grit
right into my face!
Don't smash my feet thus, my
friend, I have corns!
And lice!
Oh, when will I be finally free of
all these worms!
All right then, go to sleep! We'll
see how well we can get along! We
have little enough room - Don't
scratch me with your nails- and
don't steal all our grave
shroud...it's cold!
Camille, tomorrow we'll be like
those worn and tattered shoes that
people throw in the lap of the
beggarly Earth!


The cowhide, according to Plato,
from which angels cut their
slippers to shamble around upon
the earth.
      (losing composure)
Calm down, my boy.
Can I? Do you believe, Danton,
that I can? You know they can't
lay a hand on her! The light of
her beauty that shines from her
sweet body is inexhaustible.
Look, the earth wouldn't dare
entomb her! It would raise an arch
over her! The grave dust would
sparkle like dew on her lashes;
crystals would bloom like flowers
around her body and clear bright
springs would sing her to sleep!
      (with a sad smile)
Sleep, young fellow, sleep!
Listen, Danton, just between us,
it is so miserable to die! It's
so useless! I will...at the
end...take a last look with the
lovely eyes of life! I will have
my eyes open to the last!
As it now stands the executioner
does not blindfold the condemned!
Camille, sleep is merciful. Sleep,
young man, sleep!
Lucille! Your invisible kisses are
on my lips! Every kiss is a dream!
My eyes will shut and capture
every one!
CAMILLE closes his eyes, and his breathing slows.


Will the clock not rest? With
every tick the walls close in on
me until they are as close as a
coffin! I heard a tale like that
as a child, my hair stood up like
a mountain. Yes as a child! It
was troublesome to simply fatten
me up and keep me warm merely to
make work for the gravedigger!
The stench of death is already
upon me. Dear body of mine! I will
stop up my nose and imagine you a
wench who comes from the dance all
sweaty and stinking, and I pay you
compliments and say pleasantries,
though previously we had spent
better times together!
Oh, tomorrow you'll be a broken
fiddle- it's the melody played!
Tomorrow you'll be a broken
bottle- the wine drunk! But I'm
not drunk, and have gone to bed
sober! There are people still
lucky enough to get drunk!
Tomorrow you will be pants worn
through; you will be thrown in the
closet and the moths will feast on
you, however you may stink!
Ah, It doesn't help! Yes, it is
so useless to die! The dead mimic
birth; in death we are as
helpless and naked as newborn
Of course we get a shroud as a
swaddling cloth. How can this
help? We can whimper as well in
the grave as in the cradle!
Camille? He sleeps. A dream plays
between his eyelashes. I won't
brush the dew of sleep from his
DANTON rises, then goes to the window.


I will not die alone! Thank you,
Julia! Of course I'd have wished
for a different death. One totally
effortless, like a star falling, a
note of music fading. It's fading
breath it's own goodbye kiss!
Like a light beam burying itself
in clear waters...how the stars
shimmer, scattered across the
night like tears... their must be
great grief in the eyes that wept
CAMILLE sits up and gropes at the ceiling.
What's possessed you, Camille?
Oh! Oh!
      (shaking him)
Do you want to scratch the ceiling
Oh you, you- oh hold me! Speak!
You are all a tumble! The sweat
stands out on your forehead!
That's you! It's me - so! That's
my hand! Yes, now my sense
returns. Oh Danton, that was
horrible! I lay between waking
and a dream! The ceiling faded
and the moon sank down in here -
very close, very heavy, within my
arms! The bright heavens sank
down, stifling me! I touched the
stars, and reeled like a drowning
man under an ice-slab! It was
horrible, Danton!


The lamp cast a round light on the
ceiling, you saw that.
Not much is needed to make us lose
our bit of reason. On my account
at least... madness grabbed me by
my hairs!
I don't want to sleep any more! I
don't want to go insane!
CAMILLE grabs a book from the stand.
Which one did you take?
Pffft! You want death before its
required? I'll take "the Maid". I
will not leave life as from a
stuffy chair! I'll part like I
was sneaking away from the bed of
one of the merciful sisters of
pleasure! Life is a whore, it
plays its slutty tricks with the
whole world!
JAILER #2 stands by the loading dock, surrounded by a CROWD

CARTER #1 and CARTER #2 drive up in their tumbril carts.
                       JAILER #2
      (to the carters)
Who called you here!
                       CARTER #1
I'm not called "Here", that is an
odd name!
                       JAILER #2
Dolt! Who's given you this


                       CARTER #1
I've caught no contract, nothing
but ten Sous a head.
                       CARTER #2
      (to carter #1)
This wretch will take our bread
from us!
                       CARTER #1
What do you take for bread?
      (pointing at the
       prison window)
That's worms-meat!
                       CARTER #2
My little boy is also like a worm,
and he also wants his part of it!
Oh, it's going badly with this
work, and yet we're the best of
                       CARTER #1
How's that?
                       CARTER #2
Who is the best carter?
                       CARTER #1
He who hauls the farthest and the
                       CARTER #2
Well, donkey, we haul the
farthest, for we haul our load
from the world! And we haul the
fastest, for isn't it done in a
quarter of an hour?
It's precisely fifteen minutes
from here to the Revolutionary
                       JAILER #2
      (to the carters)
Quickly, you laggards!
JAILER #2 turns to the CROWD OF WOMEN.
                       JAILER #2
Make way, woman.


                       CARTER #1
Hold still in place! With women
you don't take your load around
the side, always split them right
down the middle!
                       CARTER #2
I think that if you get a horse
and cart in there, you'll find a
well worn track! Though it's the
doctor for you when you get out!
The CARTERS drive forward through the CROWD OF WOMEN.
                       CARTER #2
      (to the women)
What are you gaping at?
                       WOMAN #1
We're waiting for old customers.
                       CARTER #2
You saying my cart's become a
It's a decent cart! It has carried
the King and all the ancient names
of Paris nobility to the chopping
LUCILLE enters. She sits on a stone underneath the prison's
high window, gazing up like one lost.
Camille, Camille!
CAMILLE appears at the window.
      (softly laughing)
Camille! Listen! You're making
me laugh with your long granite
coat and iron mask! Can't you
bend? Where are your arms? I
will enchant them out, dear birdy!
Shines, shines, two stars in the
brighter than the moon!
Shines, shines, before my dear
loves window,
And shines, the door, before her


                       LUCILLE (cont'd)
      (again addressing
       the window)
Come! Come quick my friend! I've
spelled the soldiers asleep!
Quietly!- my love! The Moon has
helped me with tenderness! But
you can certainly not come in
through that door! It's such a
horrible costume!- too awful a
joke! Make it end! Make it end!
You're not moving... why don't you
speak? You make me scared!
Listen! People say you must die,
then make such long, serious
Ha ha! Ha ha! Die! I have to
laugh in their faces. Die! What
sort of word is that? Tell me,
Camille. Die!... I will think
about it. There! there it is! I
will chase it! Come sweet friend,
help me catch it! Come! come!

CAMILLE SHOUTS from the window.
Lucille! Lucille!
DANTON stands by a window that looks into the adjoining
cell, occupied by FABRE (43) -FABRE D'ÉGLANTINE, a French
You are very quiet, Fabre.
      (from the
       adjoining cell)
Like death.
Do you kow what we'll do now?


What you have spent your whole
life doing: the poetry of
putrescence, verses for worms!
Ha! Ha! Ha!
Good one Danton!
      (to himself)
Madness dwelt at the back of her
eyes, peering out. It seems more
people are going mad these day. It
is the way of the world. What can
we do? - wash our hands of it?
It's better that way.
I'll leave everything in a
terrible confusion! None of them
know how to rule!
Perhaps it can work if I leave
Robespierre my whores and
      (admiring his
my pretty legs!
We have turned Liberty into a
What else was she! Freedom and
whores are the most cosmopolitan
creatures under the Sun! She will
now prostitute herself honestly in
the bed of Robespierre, that
lawyer from Arras!
But I think she will play
Clytemnestra on him. I only give
him six months grace!... I'll pull
him down with me!
      (in agony)
Pray Heavens help her arrive at
some pleasing notion!
This universal Idea which the


                       CAMILLE (cont'd)
sound men have baptized "Reason",
is intolerably boring!
The luckiest men among us are
those who can imagine themselves
God the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost all at once!
The asinine public will scream
"Long live the Republic" when we
pass by, oblivious to the fact
that they are burying it!
What does it matter? The flood of
the Revolution may drop our bodies
where it will.
Someone could find our fossils and
use them to smash in the skulls of
tyrants and Kings!
Yes, but only if there is an other
Samson around to find our
They are all of Cains blood!
Nothing more proves that
Robespierre is as Nero than the
fact that he was never friendlier
to Camille than he was two days
before the arrest. Is that not
so, Camille?
On my sake (for my sake) what do I
      (to himself)
What a charming child was born
from her madness. Why must I now
be off? We could have laughed
with it, cradled and kissed it.


If ever once history opens our
graves, the Despots can always
choke on the fragrance of our
We were already sufficiently
smelly in our own lifetime!
Danton, these are phrases, you are
saying them for posterity...isn't
that right? None of this really
concerns us now.
He feels obliged to put on his
best face so when posterity digs
it up as a fossil it will serve as
a worthy antique!
It won't pay you for your
troubles: mouthing phrases,
putting on rogue and speaking with
a fine accent! We should at once
tear off our masks, how then we'd
see a roomful of mirrors,
everywhere nothing but an ancient,
toothless, indestructible sheep's
head! Nothing more, nothing less!
The differences are not so great,
we are all angels and wastrels,
both genius and fool, truly they
are one! Those four qualities find
room enough in the same body, they
are not so vast as people imagine.
Sleeping, digesting, procreating -
all these instincts; anything
remaining is only a variation in a
different key upon the same
As that is the case why does one
need stand on tip-toes and make
faces, why do we need be
embarrassed in front of each
another? We have all eaten
ourselves sick from the same table
and now have bellyaches! Why do
we daintily hold a serviette
before our faces? Only scream and
groan!-whichever comes to you-
don't pantomime such a virtuous,


                       CAMILLE (cont'd)
witty, and oh so heroic
brilliance! We know one another,
you can spare the effort!
Camille, you're right! we should
cry out and rage against fate!
There is nothing more stupid than
to be tight lipped under
suffering! The Greeks and the
Gods cried out, the Romans and the
Stoics made heroic faces!
They were both equally skilled
Epicureans. It allowed them to
pleasantly add to their
self-regard. It's not so bad to
drape oneself in a toga so as to
see the length of the shadow it
casts. What concern should it be
if one is wreathed in Laurel, or
Roses, or wears plated vines
before our genitals...or wear the
nasty things open and let the dogs
lick them?
Friends, one needs not go high
above the earth to see coherence
emerge- a godlike vision with
divine parameters emerging from
all this flickering, glimmering
Some have an ear whereby which the
swell of cacophonous cries which
so stir us become a harmonious
But we are the poor musicians- our
bodies the instruments! Are the
horrible tones wrung out from
these only to be forced higher and
higher, only to finally, faintly
resonate and die as a voluptuous
sigh in some heavenly ears?
DANTON GROANS as if finish COITUS, the others CHUCKLE.
HERAULT and CAMILLE join the word play.


Or are we as suckling pigs, chosen
for some princely table- to be
whipped to death to make our
succulent flesh more tender?
Or are we as children roasting in
the red-hot Moloch arms of this
world, tickled with light-beams
so that the Gods can find pleasant
Laughter in it all?
Is then the Aether with it's
golden eyes a bowl of golden carp
set atop the table of the blessed
gods, over which the gods
eternally laugh and delight over
the play of colors on their scales
as they suffer their death throes
DANTON gives a small bow and HERAULT lightly claps his hands
at this cleaver analogy.
The world is Chaos, birthing
Nothingness as the World's God.
A JAILER enters.
Gentlemen, you can now be carted
away. Your carriages wait at the
Good night my friends! We must
now lay quietly under the great
blanket below which all heartbeats
end and all eyes close.
All embrace.
      (taking Camille's
Cheer up, Camille, it will be a
beautiful night. The clouds are
hanging in the still evening sky
like the burnt out embers of
Olympus with its fading, fallen


                       HéRAULT (cont'd)
All exit the cell.
JULIE sits alone, a vial of poison in her hand.
The people in the streets were
running to see, now all is still.
I shouldn't make him wait an eye
blink longer.
      (opening the vial)
Come, dear priest, your Amen will
send me to bed.
      (going to the
It is such a pretty good bye; I
need only to close the door
behind me.
      (she drinks)
I'd like to stand this way
forever. The Sun is descending;
the earths features were so severe
in its harsh light, yet now the
Earth's face is so calm and
solemn, like some gently dying
woman. How beautifully the evening
light plays on her brow and cheeks
as she gets paler and paler.
Like a corpse floating, drifting,
drowning in the waters of the
ether; will no arm to fasten upon
her golden locks, and pull her
from the stream to bury her? I'll
go softly. I'll not kiss her,
without that breath, that breeze,
or sigh to wake her from her
slumber - Sleep, Sleep!
Julie DIES.
The tumbril carts halt before the Guillotine. MEN and WOMEN
sing and dance the carmagnole. PRISONERS sing the


                       WOMAN #1
      (holding two
Make way! Make way! The children
are crying! They are hungry! I
have to let them see so they'll be
quiet! Make way!
                       WOMAN #2
Hey Danton, now you can deflower
the worms!
                       WOMAN #3
Herault! I'll be sure to have a
wig made from you beautiful hair!
I haven't enough of a forest for
your worn and ragged mound of
Damn hags! Witches! You'll soon
come to shout for the mountains to
fall on you!
                       WOMAN #4
The Mountains are falling on you!,
Or rather you'll be tumbling down
head over heels!
      (to Camille)
Quiet, my boy! You'll scream
yourself hoarse.
CAMILLE searches his pockets and gives the CARTER his money.
There, old Charon! Your cart is a
good serving tray!
      (to the others)
Gentleman, I will be the first
course. This will be a classical
banquet: we'll lie down in the
courtyard and spill some blood as
a libation. Adieu, Danton!
CAMILLE climbs off the cart onto the scaffold.

A line is formed at the scaffolds steps, LACROIX,


CAMILLE is secured to the plank board, which swings on its
fulcrum, placing his head in the Guillotine.

The CROWD is SILENT. The Guillotine falls and CAMILLE dies.


LACROIX is led up to the scaffold. CAMILLE'S body is
removed from the plank board, and LACROIX is next secured.
      (from the scaffold)
You're killing us today for you
have lost your reason! You will
kill them on the day when you
regained it!
                       SOME VOICES
Ah, boring! Someone already said
The tyrants will break their heads
upon our gravestones!
      (to Danton)
He took his corpse for freedoms
PHILIPPEAUX is led up onto the scaffold
I forgive you all! I hope your
hour of death is not more bitter
than mine!
The Guillotine falls, the CROWD ROARS.
I knew it! He had to, as a
finale, show his chest so the
people below could see how clean
his laundry was!
FABRE, next in line, turns to DANTON.
Farewell Danton! I'm dying twice!
FABRE is led up on the scaffold.


Adieu, my friend! The guillotine
is the best doctor.
The Guillotine falls.

HERAULT is next. He tries to embrace DANTON.
Oh Danton! I can't call forth any
more jokes! It is time!
An EXECUTIONER pulls him back and pushes him onto the
      (to the
Do you strive to be more cruel
than Death? Can you hinder our
heads from a fraternal kiss in the
bottom of the basket?
HERAULT is killed.

DANTON is led up onto the scaffold.
LUCILLE is standing in a deserted street near the
Revolutionary Square.
Of course there is something
serious therein! I will think
about it at once! I'm...touching
something...have captured it!
Death! Death! Certainly
everything should live!
Everything! The little gnat over
there! that bird! Why not him?
The river of life must stop even
if only a mere drop was spilled!
The earth would be wounded from
the strike.
It's all still moving... the hours
flow, the clocks tick, the people
laugh... and so all continues
No! No No NO No NO!


                       LUCILLE (cont'd)
There is.. No! no, no! It ought
not happen!
No! I will sit myself down and
scream! That will scare the World
into stillness and everything will
stop! It won't stir any more!
LUCILE sits down in the street. She covers her eyes and a
broken WAIL of pain comes from her throat.
This then turns into a SCREAM of pain and deep human agony.
The SCREAM dies.

LUCILE drops her hands. There is a moment of lucidity in her
That didn't help...didn't help at
all! Its just the same! It's all
the same..... houses, street...
the wind blowing...the clouds.
I must suffer through this...
THREE WOMAN come down the street.
                       WOMAN #1
A handsome man, that Herault!
                       WOMAN #2
That's what I thought! When I
first saw him - how he stood by
the triumphal arches at the
Constitutional celebration... ? I
though how good he'd look on the
It was sort of an omen!
                       WOMAN #3
Yes, one should see people in all
circumstances. It is quite good
that death is so public.
The THREE WOMAN pass by.

LUCILE is broken.
Camille...where should I look for
you now?


Two EXECUTIONERS are cleaning and securing the Guillotine.

EXECUTIONER #1 stands on the scaffold and plays the Tom
                       EXECUTIONER #1
And when I go home!
The moon shining bright!
                       EXECUTIONER #2
Hey, holla! Are you finished?
                       EXECUTIONER #1
Soon, soon!
My grandfather appeared at the
high window,
Fellow, with whom have you tarried
so long?
      (to executioner #2)
Hey! That jacket there!
      (resuming singing)
And when I go home
The moon shining bright...!
The TWO EXECUTIONERS wander off singing. LUCILE enters the
Revolutionary Plaza and sits on the scaffolds steps.
There! I'll sit in your lap!
You're silent!...Deaths Angel.
There! there!...is a reaper!
And his name is Death!
LUCILLE stops singing, then looks at the guillotine, all
secured, oiled and ready for tomorrow's business.
You!... good cradle. You rocked
Camille to sleep. My dear
Camille! He suffocated under your
roses. Your bells of death, you
sang him into the grave with your
sweet tongue.
Many thousands,
countless hundreds of thousands,
have under his sickle fell!


Enter a patrol composed of CITIZEN #1, #2 and #3,
                       CITIZEN #1
Hey! whose there?
LUCILLE reflects a moment, then leaps to a decision.
Long live the King!
                       CITIZEN #1
In the name of the Republic!
LUCILLE is surrounded by the patrol and led away.


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