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ALLEGIANCE OF THE DRONES [Characters: He, She, Canetti, chorus of union and police and protesters. 11/30/2009 and flashback of 11/30/1999. Opening Scene: Spotlight on a long table with three oversize microphone/props and water glasses. It’s like a roomy war court tribunal. Three chairs – one for Canetti who sits midtable facing the audience. He & She will sit at opposite ends of the table. He and She may be marked by some sort of distinctive apparel – very similar to each other, eg., blue-jackets (windbreakers) that define them or some funny hat. Canetti perhaps in black jacket to suggest a soft allegiance to anarchists.]

Chorus: (singing in wings) Ten livelong years have rolled away, Since the twin towers bayed away, By Market endowed with pride of place The doughty chiefs of the Capitalist race Went forth of yore, To plead with the police, face to face, Before the judgment-seat of War!

[He and she enter stage right/left and embrace – showing tenderness. Towards the end of following chorus, before Canetti starts – they sit on opposite chairs at long table.]

Chorus: (singing in wings): Truce to this bootless waiting here without! To see the beacon fires arise And then beneath some thwarting word Sicken anon with hope deferred

Canetti: (a crowd slowly gathers)

The most important occurrence within the crowd is the discharge. Before this the crowd does not actually exist; it is the discharge, which creates it. This is the moment when all who belong to the crowd get rid of their differences and feel equal. … Only together can people free themselves from their burdens of distance; and this, precisely, is what happens in a crowd... In density, where there is scarcely any space between, and body presses against body, each person is as near the other as he is to

himself; and an immense feeling of relief ensues. It is for the sake of this blessed moment, when no one is greater or better than another, that people become a crowd.

Chorus /Union song: (the crowd gathered, singing, still growing; She is present in this group, and rises to sing nd rd the first stanza alone – somewhat softly, as if to herself—the 2 and 3 stanzas sung by 2 or more, growing in number; final stanza a crowd sings – maybe pointing at audience – freezing when they finish)

I'm going down to join the union I'm going to join it for myself Aint nobody here can join it for me I'm going down to join the union for myself [Brother's going down to join the union He's gotta join it for himself Aint nobody here can join it for him He's gotta go down and join the union for himself] [possible deletion?] Sister's going down to join the union She's gotta join it for herself Aint nobody here can join it for her She's gotta go down and join the union for herself You gotta go down and join the union You gotta join it for yourself Aint nobody here can join it for you You gotta go down and join the union for yourself [Short music interlude and then silence before C speaks; crowd frozen until he starts]

Canetti: (singing/talking?) (the frozen crowd slowly disperses leaving 3 to 5 people; She returns to table)

But the moment of discharge, so desired and so happy, contains its own danger. It is based on an illusion; [music can restart here] the people who suddenly feel equal have not really become equal; nor will they feel equal for ever. They return to their separate houses, they lie down on their own beds, they keep their possessions and their names. They do not cast out their relations nor run away from their families. Only true conversion leads men to give up old associations and form new

ones. These new associations by their very nature can only accept a limited number of members. Such groups I call crowd crystals.

Chorus/Union Song: (3 to 5 singers- union organizers – singing in quieter/lower tone) [Sound of police off stage, perhaps an announcement to disperse – towards the end of the song, when the 3-5 singers quickly exit stage in different directions]

We're going down to join the union We're going to join it for ourselves Aint nobody here can join it for us We're going down to join the union for ourselves Though the roads be rough and rocky And the hills be steep and high We will sing as we go marching And we'll join the One Big Union by and by

Canetti: (singing)

Crowd crystals are the small, rigid groups of men .. which serve to precipitate crowds. Their structure can be comprehended and taken in at a glance. Their unity is more important than their size. Their role must be familiar.. [talking] They should preferably appear the same; a uniform or a definite sphere of operation... The crowd crystal is constant; it never changes its size. Its members are trained in both action and faith. They may be allotted different parts, as in an orchestra, but they must appear as a unit, and the first feeling of anyone seeing … them should be that this is a unit which will never fall apart.

(Police enter in [possibly a pyramid] formation) [Over next several sections, the protesters loll along – pacing like a river- moving like a cloud. Slowing building and meandering until the police eventually start to try to corral them. Density of the crowd grows]

Chorus- Police Song: (He gets up from table and joins to sing corporal or private part. Sung by 8 different singers assigned a rank;)

privates three corporals three sergeants three

lieuies three (pronounced loo-ee) captains three majors three colonels three generals three privates three - "when do I get my check?" corporals three - "war, war, war" sergeants three - "file from the left, column right said Sgts" lieuies three (pronounced loo-ee) - "I'll lead the way said the lieuies" captains three - "take that hill said the captains" majors three - "who's gonna shine my boots said the majors" colonels three - "where's my star said the colonels" generals three - "war, war, war" (Police standing in formation, while the crowd rushes up to them and/or around them. The police line moves but slowly, bending to hold their position – a riverbank to the flows they contain.)

Your left, your left, your left, right, get on down Your left, your left, your left, right, get on down Now drop, and beat your face [our neo-liberal] platoon's gonna rock this place Boom, check it out, check it out Boom, check it out, check it out [possible repeat; as C starts, He sits down. Police stay on stage in formation and moving]

Canetti: (singing/talking?—possible overlay of first list with this speech)

The crowd likes destroying houses and objects: breakable objects like window panes and crockery; …it is the fragility of these objects which stimulates … the crowd. …The banging of windows and crashing of glass are robust sounds of fresh life, the cries of something new-born. Everything shouts; the din is the applause of objects. There is a special need for this kind of noise at the beginning of events, when the crowd is small and little or nothing has happened. The noise is a promise of the reinforcements the crowd hopes for, and a happy omen for deeds to come.

Union Chorus: (She rises from table to join chorus)

We’re taking security fencing and closing the streets We’re setting fires in the streets We’re chaining ourselves to each other We’re blocking the streets with dumpsters – throwing concrete onto the street We’re building platforms and stages We’re flooding all intersections simultaneously - flooding them with people

Police Chorus: ( Canetti silent. She sits back at table in front of their prop mics. He reads left column alternating with She, who reads the right column. Police line and protesters continue to test limits and the crowd builds/loses density)

Seattle Police Department: 1800 officers

31 hand held Oleoresin Caps; 111 hand

and personnel; Washington State Patrol: 27

held dispensers of OC; 340 hand thrown

motorcycles and 40 patrol cars for escort

continuous discharge tear gas grenades;

duty, 55 troopers for demonstration

100 multi-shot pyrotechnic tear gas

management duty, 13 SWAT officers, 4

rounds. 5 rounds instantaneous CS powder

bomb squad technicians and 2 explosives

designed for crowd management at close

detection K-9 teams


King County Sheriff: 13 motorcycles, 90

459 rubber ball bodies containing

officers for demonstration management, 35

additional small rubber balls; 25 rubber

officers for Key Arena, 8 SWAT officers

ball bodies containing additional small

and 1 bomb squad

rubber balls and OC powder dispensed when the ball is deployed;

Port of Seattle: security personnel, a bomb

172 rubber ball bodies containing

squad, and an explosives detection K-9

additional small rubber balls dispersing in


a circular pattern and containing tear gas.

Bellevue Police: 8 motorcycles. Kent

230 37mm less than lethal rounds each

Police: 5 motorcycles. Auburn, Renton,

with 5 wood batons; 64 less than lethal

Tukwila Police: 10 officers

rounds of single hard plastic batons designed to be direct fired in a crowd for control; 361 less than lethal bean bag rounds designed to be direct fired.

[He and She rise and mill with their respective groups/crowds.]

Canetti: (singing/talking?)

The crowd "wants to experience for itself the strongest possible feeling of its own animal force..." It remains hungry for human beings it has not reached. But everyone carries within him a small traitor who wants to eat drink make love and be left alone … The crowd here is like a besieged city… it has enemies before its walls and enemies within them. During the fighting it attracts more and more partisans. These slip through the enemy lines and collect in front of the gates, begging to be let in.

Union & Police -- Allied CHORUS: [[He and She with their respective groups. Tension continuing to wax and wane-- the union shout the locations while the police shout the action—aka text in italic. The back and forth builds in volume here.) (NOTE—alt idea was to have the blue and the black – not a union chorus but a protester chorus – have different tones or positive/neg body language – union in disapproval – the black-jackets stoked]

We’re on 5th & Pine -- looters in the Starbuck’s. We’re on 5th & Union – 7 patrol cars were disabled with all tires flattened. We’re on Seneca & Hubbell Place – report of delegates being pushed around by protestors. We’re on 3rd & Pike – people throwing barricades through windows. We’re on 4th Ave. and Lenora, south on 4th Ave. to Seneca St. East on Seneca St. to I-5 We’re North on Boren Ave. to Pine St. We’re West on Pine St. to 6th Ave. We’re North on 6th Ave. to Lenora St. We’re West on Lenora to 4th Ave. and 8th & Seneca – large disturbance with people chaining themselves to manholes and setting items on fire. We’re at the Convention Center – people observed carrying bottles filled with flammable liquids. We’re Eastbound on Olive – people pushing a dumpster We’re on 6th & Pike – 65-100 protestors lying in the street We’re on Boren & Pike – people attacking moving cars and fighting with possible property damage

We’re on 8th & Seneca – 100 protestors jumping on cars We’re on 9th & Olive – protestors putting chains across the intersection – light post to light post

Canetti: (Motions of crowd and police escalating to panic and pushing/shoving.) (singing/talking)

Animals flee from the burning forest; …. but the crowd which used to run from fire now feels strongly attracted by it. As is well known, conflagrations of all kinds have a magical effect on men. … If … large enough, a curious reversal of their old mass fear commands them to hurry to its site, [to] feel there something of the glowing warmth which formerly united them. … one of the strongest instincts of the crowd, as soon as it has formed at all, is to create such a fire … to use its attraction to further its own growth. (SHE falls in the struggle of the crowd w/police, which suddenly disperses leaving her behind. The police line moves on and alone, HE arrests her and puts handcuffs on her)

SHE: My hands met three times behind me, and returned, as often, empty, to my breast. I paled, with wonder, I believe, and begged him to stop a while, and speak to me.

HE: ‘Just as I loved you in the mortal body, so I love you, freed: so I stay: but you, where are you going?’

(HE walks SHE off stage)

Draft 6/20/09 -Nico Vassilakis & Robert Mittenthal &

Allegiance of the Drones: WTO Libretto  

WTO Libretto

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