1587 c/o Buster Jones

On what remains of the demolished theatre, The Rose.

Philip Henslowe, John Foxe, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Francesco I de' Medici and Otomo Sorin enter, sharing a packet of biscuits.

PHILIP to himself, breaking away from the group, dancing with gusto: My body is here to incubate many, many shits. Yeah! He attempts to high-five TOYOTOMI, who ignores him.

TOYOTOMI to himself, shouting in the face of a Matryoshka doll: You’re so fucking full of yourself.

The audience laughs. Toyotomi hurls the doll into the audience. It hits a child in the face. The child bursts into flames. His neighbours catch fire but sit patiently.

JOHN to himself, stripping off his t-shirt sexily: The Gospel having spread itself into Persia, the pagan priests, who worshipped the sun, were greatly alarmed. To the audience. Do you like that, guys? Huh?

FRANCESCO to himself, holding a snail’s shell: You see, I thought that if I pulled this off, the little guy would be able move faster, but it just made him more... sluggish. Curtsies to audience, winks and lays down. After a short while he proceeds to hump a crack in the stage.

OTOMO to himself, looking in his satchel, panicked: Where is my wife?!

The audience laughs. A time machine appears on stage, tinkling.

TOYOTOMI to himself, punching his palm: How many times has a semi-colon even been used in a text message outside the context of a wink?! He pulls at his hair, walks aggressively towards the front of the stage, screams, jumps into the audience.

PHILIP to himself: My body is here as a vessel through which money passes! Huzzah! He attempts to ‘bump fists’ with JOHN, who ignores him.

Mary, Queen of Scots steps out of the time machine, drinking a beer, smelling of old milk.

JOHN to himself, chewing gum wearily, absent-mindedly removing his pantaloons: The first persecution of the Church took place in the year 67, under Nero, the sixth emperor of Rome. Mmmm. He puts his hands behind his head and rotates his hips while addressing the audience. Do you like that? Oh yeah.

OTOMO to himself, weeping gently, watching as hair pushes itself out of his palms toward the ceiling: I am a gigantic chalk rabbit. I need my wife. I am afraid. I need my mother. I am afraid. I have no wife. I am a Buddhist monk. I am a Christian.

MARY to herself, in a monotone, drinking a beer: These guys Jesus what the fuck

FRANCESCO to himself, standing slowly, blowing kisses down at the crack in the stage: I am the tallest clock tower. My family are murderers. My child is a changeling. My first wife died. My second wife died. I am about to die.

Francesco dies of malaria or else he has been poisoned.

TOYOTOMI to himself, trying clumsily to climb back on to the stage: I would like to hug someone or else kick them through a window. Whichever. Probably kicking them would be better. He finally scrambles on to stage but screams and jumps into the audience again where he is torn to shreds and then eaten by three teenage girls in school uniform.

MARY to herself, bored, patting her various pockets. Her confusion is followed by a flicker of recognition: That fucking Stegosaurus. She walks over to the time machine and steps through the door cracking her knuckles.

OTOMO to himself, curling up, becoming an ever smaller ball of wool: Where is my wife? Every time I would say something purple and gentle and she would punch me until I became a stone windmill. I need my wife. Only that. He begins to cry more violently. His face rolls off his skull down into his hands, his body becomes a skeleton.

JOHN to himself, now nude, pouting, penisless: Many eminent persons in the church and state fell martyrs to the ignorance and ferocity of the pagans. To the audience. How about that, huh? You like that? A huge timber moon falls on John and crushes him quietly.

PHILIP attempting to ride a unicycle: I am the emotional centre of this play. I am here. I am the most important part. I am alive.


Several billion years pass.

The sound of a didgeridoo.

The end.