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TALE 1. The Enlightnement Encyclopaedia

Osoxile Productions Presents:

El Gran Teatro de Maese Travieso

 

Today: The Encyclopaedia of Enlightenment

The first! The second! And the third!

Justo, we are in on top shape. It's going to be a fantastic play.

Yes, it is not about changing sets, this is like zapping.

Today's play is about the Enlightenment, the 18th century, the Century of Reason and all that

The Century of Enlightenment.

Ssssh. It's about to start.

I did not understand anything you said, Mr Voltaire.

That’s clear, Mademoiselle Liberté. I offered you to go somewhere to eat something and then go dancing... this is the Century of Enlightenment.

No, no, no! I mean about everything you said before. The enquirotaedia, you said?

Yes. That's it. Is a new word, you won't find it in any encyclopaedia. The first encyclopaedia is being invented right now. Voilà!

But what is an enquiropaedia?

Look. We have entrusted the best artists of our time to design all instruments, mechanisms and explanations about all the trades that are useful for the progress of humanity. The Encyclopaedia, dear, is a book that will compile all human knowledge. People will consult it and learn everything a wise man has learnt after many years of study. We'll prove forever that a picture can be worth more than thousand words.

Oh là là! That's fantastic, monsieur.

Oui, Mademoiselle Liberté. Encyclopaedia will make us more wise, more free and, in short, more man-like.

What about us, women?

Mmm... well, the same. More women and more free.

My dear Voltaire, you are going too fast. Mon Dieu! Qu'est-ce que c'est ça?

Nothing to be afraid of, mon chéri. Those are the lights that will finish off the darkness that has accompanied humanity for centuries.

I’m infected by your optimism, Voltaire.

I'm just a humble consultant of this wonderful work. Mr Diderot and Mr Delambert are the real editors of this work. But if you want to see this project behind the scenes, follow me, Mademoiselle. Let's go to the printer’s!

Let's go!

The door! Close it, for God sake! Oh! All the A section of the encyclopaedia is messed up! Three hours of work down the drain!

But what happened to the A section?

The same thing that happened to me when I saw you for the first time. It has gone haywire.

Oh, pardon monsieur.

Enchanté de vous connaître, Mademoiselle Liberté.

It's a pleasure, citizen Libreté.

The pleasure is mine. Can I help you?

Yes please. Can you help us to collect the A section?

Majesty, this encyclopaedia will be our ruin. It must be forbidden.

You said that it is supported by Prussian and Russian kings?

Yes, sir.

This is treason. I won't permit it! Marquis of Gerignac, send my guard to stop it. It must be censored. Arrest, if it's necessary, those revolutionary printers.

A great decision, my lord. Your orders will be carried out diligently!

Finally, my friend! The first volumes of the encyclopaedia are finished.

Yes, let's bring them to the other room. When Diderot and Delambert come back from the palace, they will be surprised.

Why don't you surprise me and accept my invitation to have a cocktail in Les Tuileries?

Oh! You are incorrigible, Voltaire. At the height of the Century of Reason and you are losing your mind.

Dix-sept…

And eighteen!

And... Voilà!

Encyclopaedia c’est fini. The masters are coming! But what's that? Something terrible has happened at the palace.

Yes, yes... The king of France has stopped us.

It's impossible! C’est incroyable? This cannot continue like that.

The Encyclopaedia has been forbidden. What a disaster for humanity!

Come on, calm down, Mademoiselle.

Shame on me! I never missed a shot from that distance.

You haven’t, Sire. Undoubtedly, it is that wretched pheasant's fault.

It was the gunpowder, Sire. It was defective.

Do you mean, Marquis, that there is a specific formula to manufacture gunpowder?

Oui indeed! There's a specific formula for gunpowder, Majesty. And that formula appears perfectly detailed in Diderot's and Delambert's books.

The books you recommended me to forbid, aren't they, Gerignac? I hope you are not making to put my foot in it, silly.

But... That's impossible! You don’t have a foot, but statuesque legs. Legs I said? Alabaster columns, my Lord!

Good afternoon, gentlemen. How was the hunting?

Very bad, Madame, the gunpowder failed.

Incidentally, lady, I was just telling the king how the perfect gunpowder's formula is written in the volumes of the encyclopaedia.

What are you saying? A book revealing the secrets to manufacture things? C’est incroyable.

Oh, heavens! Those lights are starting again! Let's refuge us in the palace.

Be careful with the hill, sire! Don't stumble! Oh, sire! Are you alright?

It's only a fall, Madame.

Those are the lights of the Age of Enlightenment.

I'm getting on a bad mood. I feel I have made a mistake with that prohibition, and then those horrible lights.

Calm down, majesty. I have prepared a surprise for you.

I hope it will be nice, Madame.

Have you heard about a British band called Tubular Bells? They are highly successful in Newton's country. I brought them here, at the court of Paris. You'll see how modern they are.

Messieurs!

It is said that music tames statesmen. Do you feel better, sire?

Oh, oui! This is something else.

And tell me, Bonaire. Could Diderot's and Delambert’s book reveal me how to manufacture the carmine we make up our lips with?

Sure, lady.

And how those extremely expensive silk tights are weaved?

Oui, undoubtedly, lady.

Louis, you never will go down in history if you insist on censoring such a praiseworthy work. Books with answers to this sort of enigmas must be public knowledge.

Damned Gerignac!

Majesty, excuse my appearance. I slipped like you, but I felt in the middle of a puddle.

Tell me, Gerignac. Which is my farthest territory?

Probably the lands of Québec, in North America.

Well, go there right now and ask if I am there.

Right now, Majesty.

And you, Marquis, please, go to see the encyclopaedists, apologize on my behalf to them and let them know about my change of mind. Are you pleased now my lady?

Completely, majesty. But let accompany Marquis to the temple of knowledge.

Go, go. Don't be long. Frankly, now I feel extremely better.

Gentlemen, gentlemen! Someone is coming from the palace!

Well, gentlemen. What is the reason of your visit?

Wasn't it enough with the prohibition of our encyclopaedia?

Gentlemen, lady. Madame Pompadour and me are sent personally by Louis 3,1416, the Pi king, to give you his apologies.

His Majesty had been awfully advised by the Marquis of Gerignac, who is now having a break in Quebec. The King himself encourages you to publish that wonderful source of wisdom that is your encyclopaedia. We brought his blessing.

Oh! Finally everything is going well!

Fantastic!

Our work wasn't in vain.

I'm so happy!

Lady, we would like to make a present for his Majesty.

We just printed the first edition of our Encyclopaedia. It will be for him.

It’s alright, please! The intention is enough!

I don’t know if I’ll manage. So much for the saying that the knowledge fits everywhere! Good bye, bye!

With all our best wishes for Majesty.

Good luck!

Look at them! The whole of Paris will see them! It will be our best publicity!

I'll bring a bottle of wine I kept for this occasion. I'll be back!

Voilà! We did it.

And everything only because of gunpowder, carmine and glass tights.

They say that the king modelled this glasses on the most striking part of Madame Pompadour's anatomy.