Saturday, December 7, 2013

If Shakespeare Had Written DUNE

Photoshopped? Ya think?

"Oh, you arrogant girl! An Atreides daughter could've been wed to a Harkonnen heir and sealed the breach. You've hopelessly complicated matters. We may lose both bloodlines now...."  -Reverend Mother Mohiam* to Jessica, Dune, p 22.

If Shakespeare had written DUNE....

..... Lady Jessica would CERTAINLY have obeyed orders and given birth to a girl first.

The rest follows as night follows day, or perhaps as a sandworm follows a drunk Fremen on the drum sands.

Ladies and germs:

Rautha Feyd And Aliette

(Directed by Alan Smithee, Screenplay by Judas Booth)


Two households, both alike in dignity,
On foul Arrakis, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where change of fief makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of spiced-out lovers take their life;
Whose attempted imperial overthrow
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end,

        nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic on YOUTUBE;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss,

        you'll likely call us n00bs......

The play, set at Arrakeen, capital of the sand world Arrakis, portrays a struggle between Count Harkonnen and Duke Leto Atreides for control of the planet: a kanly, or 'vendetta' in the ancient tongue.

It begins with a street brawl between Harkonnen and Atreides supporters who are sworn enemies, as the fief is being given over from the Harkonnens to House Atreides. The Judge of the Change intervenes and declares that further breach of the peace will be punishable by death.

Later, one Count Fenring talks to Duke Leto Atreides about marrying his daughter Alia (called "Aliette" by everyone, as she is still considered under the age of consent on every other planet in the galaxy), but Duke Leto Atreides, put off by the rabbit-like Fenring's rather creepy request, asks Fenring to wait another two years and invites him to attend a planned Atriedes ball. Lady Jessica, his wife, and Alia's nurse, the Shadout Mapes, try to persuade the girl to accept Fenring's courtship.

Meanwhile, two Harkonnen courtiers, Piter de Vries, and The Beast Rabban, talk with Rabban’s half-cousine Rautha Feyd, Count Harkonnen's nephew, about Rautha's recent depression. The Beast Rabban discovers that it stems from unrequited infatuation for a girl named Lady Margot Fenring, one of Count Fenring’s sisters. Piter makes mock of Rautha’s infatuation, comparing it to a Spice overdose.

Persuaded by The Beast Rabban and Piter, Rautha attends the ball at the Atreides house in hopes of meeting Lady Margot. However, Rautha instead meets and falls in love with Alia. However Rautha is noticed by Alia's half-cousine, Thufir, who intends to kill him for sneaking into a Atreides ball but is only stopped by Alia's father, who doesn't wish to shed blood in his house. After the ball, in what is now called the "balcony scene", Rautha sneaks into the Atreides compound and overhears Alia at her window vowing her love to him in spite of her family's hatred of the Harkonnens. Rautha makes himself known to her and they agree to be married. With the help of Reverend Mother Gaius Mohiam, who hopes to reconcile the two families through their children's union, they are secretly married the next day.

Thufir, meanwhile, still incensed that Rautha had sneaked into the Atreides ball, challenges him to a duel. Rautha, now considering Thufir his kinsman, refuses to fight. Piter is offended by Thufir's insolence, as well as Rautha's "vile submission," and accepts the duel on Rautha's behalf. Piter is fatally wounded when Rautha attempts to break up the fight. Grief-stricken and wracked with guilt, Rautha confronts and slays Thufir.

Harkonnen argues that Rautha has justly executed Thufir for the murder of Piter. The Judge of the Change, now having lost a kinsman in the warring families' feud, exiles Rautha from Arrakis, with threat of execution upon return. Rautha secretly spends the night in Alia's chamber, where they consummate their marriage. Duke Leto Atreides, misinterpreting Alia's grief, agrees to marry her to Count Fenring and threatens to disown her when she refuses to become Fenring's "joyful bride." When she then pleads for the marriage to be delayed, her mother rejects her.

Alia visits Reverend Mother Gaius Mohiam for help, and she offers her a drug, the Juice of Sapho, that will put her give her ruby-stained lips and put her into a deathlike coma for "two and forty hours." The Reverend Mother promises to send a message via distrans to inform Rautha of the plan, so that he can rejoin her when she awakens. On the night before the wedding, she takes the drug and, when discovered apparently dead, she is laid in the family crypt.

The distrans, however, does not reach Rautha and, instead, Rautha learns of Alia's apparent death from his servant Gurney Halleck. Heartbroken, Rautha buys a poison, the ironically named "Water of Life", from a Fremen street seller and goes to the Atreides crypt. He encounters Fenring who has come to mourn Alia privately. Believing Rautha to be a vandal, Fenring confronts him and, in the ensuing battle, Rautha kills Fenring. Still believing Alia to be dead, he drinks the poison. Alia then awakens and, finding Rautha dead, stabs herself with his dagger; she was later canonized under the name St. Alia-of-the-Knife. The feuding families and the Judge of the Change meet at the tomb to find all three dead. Reverend Mother Gaius Mohiam recounts the story of the two "star-cross'd lovers". The families are reconciled by their children's deaths and agree to end their kanly.

The play ends with the Judge's elegy for the lovers: "For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Alia and her Rautha-o."

[Feyd to black.]

*Moral: Be careful what you wish for, Reverend Mother. You may get it.

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