The Broom that Swept the Dreams: A Mini Opera Libretto

May 18, 2012

Click here for the Neil Gaiman short story upon which this script is based.
Click here for more information about the Mini Operas contest, and how you can participate with your own script, music, or video!

And without further distraction, allow me to present…

THE BROOM THAT SWEPT THE DREAMS

By: Nash High

ACT I

CLARA:
I just want to dream of Richard,
I just want to see his face,
But instead I find I’m lifted
To this dank and dusty place.
I just want to dream of Richard,
I just want to meet his gaze,
I just want to throw him overboard
And drown him in the lake–
But instead I’m here.
In this awful room,
With nothing to keep me occupied
Except a table and a broom.

BROOM: Clara….
CLARA:   Aah!  …Richard?
BROOM:  No… Clara… sweep with me….
CLARA:   Sleep with you?!
BROOM:  No… sweep with me, and I will tell you my story….
CLARA:   You mean… like this?
BROOM:  Yes….

I once belonged to the Sweeper,
Who cleans all dreams away,
Who sweeps them up with the powder and dust,
And burns them in the burnished light
That solders the night with the day.

The moss of ancient castle stones,
And the slick of alien steel,
They all have grazed my patient frame,
As my bristles inched them toward the flames.
I have swept the lines that so rudely define
What is from what isn’t real.

I’ve played my part in the genocide
Of countless enchanted beasts.
I’ve purged the world of demons,
Discomfort, and disease.
In the marble hands of my Master,
I dutifully managed my task.
I’ve swept away sets, props, and actors,
Hell, I’ve swept away entire acts.
For Ages I have sacrificed:
I’ve devoted my life to upholding my place,
And all was well,
And all was quiet,
But now I’ll tell you
Of how I’ve been–
Oh, I’ve been betrayed!

I’d been accused of residue,
Of what I’d left behind,
In the corners and the crevices
Of hazy waking minds.
But I’ve only done the finest work
That my fibers would allow,
And it always pleased the Master well–
At least… until now.

I don’t know what
Could’ve made him change his mind.
Now I’m not good enough
When I’ve been here all this time–
And suddenly he feels the need to improve,
So he hobbles off to find himself a better sort of broom!
Oh, I’ve been betrayed!

Now I’m divine among the staves;
There is no better broom.
Dusters just divert the dirt,
And besoms streak the room.
But imagine what grave countenance,
Encased my dark demeanor,
On finding that I’d been replaced
By a mindless vacuum cleaner.

Now I’ve been,
How I’ve been,
Oh, I’ve been betrayed!

Abandoned… Neglected…
Mishandled… Rejected…
But mostly, oh mostly
Betrayed!

END ACT I

ACT II

CLARA:
I don’t know what you want from me;
What can I hope to offer you?
I’ll try and stay to lend my ear–
But the bright of day will take me soon—
Too soon!

Enter the SWEEPER, who empties the contents of a vacuum cleaner onto the table and lights it aflame.

BROOM:
My timid reign has ended now:
I have no place to be.
Oh, Clara, find it in your mind,
To try and remember me–
Remember me!

SWEEPER:
Broom! You don’t have to do this!
You can come back and live in my home.
I’ll treat you as an honored guest,
Your life will finally be yours entirely–
Yours and yours alone.

BROOM:
No! I won’t hang over your fireplace.
I won’t gather dust in your shed.
My purpose decayed when you made your sick trade
Now your flames will put me to rest.
Your flames will put what’s left of me to rest!

So stand aside, my old keeper,
You know well the job you must do:
To purge in fire last night’s tired ideas
To leave the ground clear for the new.
So let’s leave the ground clear for the new!

BROOM casts himself into the fire.

END ACT II

EPILOGUE

CLARA is alone.

CLARA:
I just wanted to dream of Richard.
I just wanted to savor his fear.
But instead I dreamed of… something.

Huh.

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