“Masquerade ball, wolfhound century” and THE BASTARDS’ PARADISE

Everett Shinn - The Black Cat Everett Shinn's image, Osip Mandelstam's poetry, both on my mind as THE BASTARDS' PARADISE begins its journey to this fall's release from Roadswell Editions.The POPPY trilogy has taken Istvan and Rupert on a very long, very private, very passionate journey; and offered to its readers a play, I hope, that's worth the sharing . . . Act Three, then, and bring the gentlemen home.   . . . as he climbs to the fourth floor garret, one room with one washstand and one bed, where by the bare window, in a wooden chair to watch the hidden stars, Rupert turns his head to greet him, smelling of good whiskey, drowsy to ask “Did you find them?” and “I did,” shrugging off the jester’s jacket, setting down his case to sit atop it, beside Rupert’s chair, sharing the cigarette in careful puffs; their hands link.“The place isn’t half what it should be—and the puppets, Christ!—but one gathers times are hard.” “Very hard, looks like. And we’re foxed, messire, the papers here say playing’s no longer allowed—” “Really?” with a little smile; someone curses, down the stairs; someone else begins to sing, a drunken, circular song with no words and no end. Mr. Loup waits, eye closed or open it is impossible to say, as in the corner, on drab hooks meant for hat and coat, Misters Castor and Pollux hang silked in silent tandem, returned in reprise to this city once their home, past a journey still unfurling in the twinned shadows of war and the god of the train station, his theatre now nameless, yet an outpost of paradise all the same.      

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