The Chemistry of the Dream

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    THE CHEMISTRY OF THE DREAM

    Theater

    Cacildo Marques

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    THE CHEMISTRY OF THE DREAMTheater

    Cacildo Marques

    For reading alone, doing group dramatic reading or mounting.

    Characters: Ulysses, Larissa, Polux, Aura, other six electrons (they can be the other characters,in alternation), Achilles, Lysander, Dalton, Helen, Thalia, Artemis.

    Material: Black balloon of cardboard (nucleus), the five polyhedrons of Plato, beakers,Erlenmeyers, colored balls of isopor, picture with periodic table, material for gunpowder (sulfur,saltpeter and crushed coal), silver rain, ten colored foils of tissue paper, laser pointer.

    SCENE 1

    (In the center of the stage there is a kind of black balloon representing the nucleus of an atom. In turn of it tencharacters dressed in red are turning around, representing electrons. In the right corner of the stage one sees an alchemistand his disciple. The alchemist gesticulates and, without emitting sounds, he represents to be speaking to his disciple.)Electrons (singing):

    I want now to explainBecause I need to know

    What I am doing in this

    Dream in that I don't know

    Where the real finishes

    And where it will begin

    The pure imagination

    Breaking my heart that leans.

    I am of this mechanism all

    A frenzied and shaken piece

    Nobody explained already

    Where this finally will give.Ulysses (one of the electrons): I don't get to understand: yesterday I was an entrepreneur of the branch ofplastics and today I am here as a simple electron. It is not possible to be real. But I already have madethe test. I pinched my arm and it hurt. I pinched the girl's arm there (he points to Larissa, one of the electrons)and she screamed. But I never imagined that I came changing in an electron without that it was adream. What do you think, Larissa?

    Larissa: I think you are not dreaming. We have been transformed in electrons. Of industrial chemistryI was transformed in a particle of tiny dimensions.

    Ulysses: You don't get to convince me. Would you be capable to solve a quadratic equation now? I

    don't know if I would be capable.Larissa: It is much more difficult to articulate a period of twenty words correctly than to solve any type

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    of equation. But we can take advantage of this situation for enriching our knowledge. Do you know thehistory of the chemistry?

    Ulysses: I know a little.

    Polux (other electron): It is not worthwhile to know this. Rest, boy. Don't warm up your brain at random.

    What will you make with the history of the chemistry, this science that serves for destroying the world?Have not you been seeing the smoke of the factories? Have not you been accompanying the news onacid rains, pesticides and the slaughter of fish at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, in Rio? This is theresult of the history of the chemistry. You don't need to know anything else.

    Larissa: Gee, what a retrograde subject you are, huh, Polux! You shouldn't worry with the one that hesays, Ulysses. He comes with this conversation that he is ecological militant, but the one that he is,really, is an enemy of the knowledge and of the progress.

    Polux: What is this, Larissa? Do you already begin so, disqualifying my speech? You don't imagine theamount of people that think in the same way as me.

    Larissa: Don't come to sell cat for hare, Polux. We know that you are an ecological opportunist andnot a serious environmentalist.

    Ulysses: In spite of the objection of Polux, I am hoping to know the history of this science that hedetests. How is it, Larissa?

    Larissa: We will accompany there the explanation that the alchemist is doing for the disciple that isbefore him. As we are electrons, we have those possibilities. Let's go to there.

    Polux: Ulysses, remember that I informed. It is not worthwhile to know that history.

    Ulysses: I only ask you grant me the freedom of being able to verify for me by myself.Larissa: It is this, Polux. You are being impertinent. We will hear the alchemist's class.

    Achilles (speaking loud to his disciple Lysander): There are a lot of people that insists on comparing me toParacelsus. Who had felt! In this time, in 1530, Paracelsus is the largest pharmacologist of the world.Me, Achilles, I am a common alchemist, a mere repeater of the processes that I learned with mymasters. Of course I have not been selling brass as if it was gold. If I will get to transform anothermetal in gold, there, yes, I will be rich. Through this that soon will be called the "Spanish gold", thebrass disguised of gold, it won't happen.

    Lysander: But, master Achilles, and the history of the alchemic processes what you promised to tellme?

    Achilles: I arrive in this point soon, Lysander. Before I need to talk about the principles of thealchemy. They are traditionally two: the sulfur principle, masculine, and the mercury principle,feminine. Those principles are not the substances of same name. They are principles because they formthe theoretical base of our work. The sulfur principle is masculine because it burns and the mercuryprinciple is feminine because it is malleable. Paracelsus introduced a third principle, the salt, which isneutral and means life, because the salt is to conserve.

    Lysander: And so we have the key of the alchemy...

    Achilles: Those principles would not serve us for anything if they were not the techniques that our

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    predecessors developed and delegated us. Since the god Hermes Trismegistus granted the knowledge tomen we have been creating and improving our techniques, trying to arrive close of Hermes some day.

    Then they taught us the techniques of fusion, obtaining of leagues, distillation, sublimation, calcination,dissolution, filtration and crystallization. Whatever the future development of the science comes to be,those processes will serve as shore for the studies on the part of the researchers.

    Lysander: And the origins of all these things?

    Achilles: I am arriving in this point, boy. It is so. Those techniques were developed starting fromcertain presuppositions. The first is that the matter can be transformed. And the first conscioustransformation process of the matter happened with the discovery of the fire, 400,000 years ago. Thecopper became explored circa the year 4000 before Christ, and around the year 3000 B.C. what thehistorians will call "the Bronze Age" took place, and then, for the first time, man gets to produce ametallic league: the bronze contains 90% of copper and 10% of tin. The Bronze Age lasted 2000 years.In the new phase, 1000 years before Christ, the production of the iron overcame the one of the bronze.For that time the glass was already manufactured in Egypt.

    Lysander: And certainly the theory of the four elements was already known there...

    Achilles: No! You are missed! The theory of the four elements only came to the light in classic Greece.First, Thales of Miletus, in the 7th century before Christ, defended the hypothesis that the water is thebasic element, the fundamental element in the construction of the universe.

    Lysander: He was a great man!

    Achilles: Thales is the inventor of the speculative science, but in this point he didn't convince thephilosophers that came just after him, because Anaximenes started to defend that the basic element isthe air. This didn't also convince, therefore Heraclitus soon appeared with the theory that the

    fundamental element is the fire. Parmenides didn't agree with none of them and he came affirming thateverything was one, that the universe was formed by a identical whole and who saw differences was us,because of the imprecision of our senses. And Empedocles? He went far away, because he thoughtthat, besides the elements, the universe was built starting from two contrary forces: the love and thehate, being the love the attraction force and the hate the repulsion force. Now, see those solids there.

    Lysander: Those there, of cardboard?

    Achilles: Exactly. Catch them for me.

    Lysander: What do these solids have with the science of the transformation of the matter?

    Achilles: They have much more than you think, my boy. How many solids do you have here?

    Lysander: Five solids. Or is it for me to say another thing?

    Achilles: It is quite so. Five solids. And which solids are these? What type are they?Lysander: My geometry teacher already taught this point. They are the five polyhedrons of Plato. Allof the faces have the same number of edges and of each vertex the same amount of those edges itdeparts. The regular polyhedrons are peculiar cases of the polyhedrons of Plato.

    Achilles: This! This! And what does the five polyhedrons of Plato represent?

    Lysander: Certainly, they are not the four elements, because we have five polyhedrons.

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    Achilles: No! You are missed! Four of them represent fire, earth, air and water: the four elements. Thatis it. At that time of Plato, 4th century before Christ, the theory of the four elements was alreadyconsolidated and he then imagined this representation. The fire is the tetrahedron, four equilateraltriangles. The earth is the hexahedron, formed by six square faces, each one of them being divided intwo isosceles right triangles. The air is the octahedron, eight equilateral triangles. Finally, the water is

    formed starting from the icosahedron, a shape with twenty faces, being each one of them an equilateraltriangle. But, for despair of Plato, suddenly he discovered that a fifth regular polyhedron existed: thedodecahedron, with twelve pentagonal faces. As the elements that compose the nature were only four,he decided to associate to this new polyhedron the invisible substance that formed the bed where thecelestial stars move, denominated ether.Lysander: Plato was very creative.

    Achilles: He was. As much Plato as his student Aristotle was.

    Lysander: Which was Aristotle's contribution in that theory of the four elements?

    Achilles: He introduced the idea of the associated properties to those elements. The properties are alsofour: hot, cold, dry and humid. The fire is hot and dry, the air is hot and humid, and so on.

    Lysander: Master, and the theory of the atoms? Where does it enter?

    Achilles: Atoms? Are you crazy? Where did you hear this history about atoms?

    Lysander: Thereabout, with my friends.

    Achilles: Since now, forget this absurd idea! Our objective, the alchemists' objective, is to reach three

    results: the philosopher's stone, which is the transformation of other materials in gold; the universalpanacea, which is the medicine to cure all of the diseases; and, finally, the elixir of the long life, theyouth's source. Only with the idea of the continuous matter we can conquer these goals. Now youcome with this conversation about atoms! You are walking in bad company, Lysander!Lysander: I didn't know that the atom idea was so contrary to the alchemists' purposes.

    Achilles: Then you should know that it is. In the 5th century before Christ a nut one called Leucippusand his student named Democritus introduced this idea that the nature is formed by corpuscles calledatoms. And how then the atoms are held some in the other ones? Another nut, a Roman one calledLucretius invented the explanation that the atoms have hooks. This is nonsense and attacks the gods'

    memory. (Severe.) Never again speak here to me about atom in my laboratory!

    Lysander: There is no problem, master. Never again I will speak about these things in this house.

    Achilles: Quite so. You are a wise boy. Therefore I think you will be a great alchemist. But we will takeour meal. (Both leave the room.)

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    SCENE 2

    (Electrons again rotate around the nucleus and sing.)

    I see the chemistry of the dream,

    Of my dreams as an young man,It comes show me the history

    And too leads me to know

    The construction of the science

    Which in the beginning was occult

    And today it has transparency

    Oh my days are more smiling

    When the information sprout

    From the chemistry of my dreams.

    Larissa (to Ulysses): Did you see? He doesn't believe in our existence...

    Ulysses: This is why he didn't see us.

    Larissa: But he could not see us really. Nobody never got to see an atom, what about an electron, stillone more alchemist, who believes in the continuous matter, in the way Aristotle guaranteed. For thoseand for other, only in the 8th century the existence of the chemistry was proposed as independentscience, for an Arab researcher called Jabir Ibn Haian. Before this time there was alone alchemy. Infact, it suits to remind that this idea of ether only persisted up to 1905, when it was discarded by thetheory of the special relativity, of Einstein. But, returning to the atom, only for you to have an idea, aproton is 1800 times heavier than an electron.

    Ulysses: Gee! Are we, electrons, so much light?

    Polux: Don't believe in this, Ulysses. It is more madness of this impure science named chemistry.

    Larissa: Shut up, Polux! Or else I will make you to enter in a reaction with a substance that will makeyou to turn soap.

    Polux: This is a good idea. If I turn me soap I will help to clean the dirt that the chemical industry hasbeen spreading around the world. But you don't have power to rush me in a reaction. You are a mereelectron, like me.

    Larissa: Don't forget that besides electron I am industrial chemist.

    Ulysses: The chemist of my dreams.

    Polux: Uh! He is lost, poor!

    Ulysses: Is this not Jealousy, Polux? Larissa doesn't call a lot for you...

    Polux: I would jump out. I have chemistry horror, still more of industrial chemistry.

    Aura (leaving the middle of electrons and going to Ulysses): Are you by chance suggesting that my husband isbeing interested in this destructor of the ozone layer?

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    Ulysses: Ah, are you his wife? I only spoke it because I didn't know that you were there to the side.

    Polux: Aura, you don't have anything to enter in the conversation!

    Aura: Ah, it is because I was with jealousy. (She goes back to the middle of the other electrons.)

    Larissa: Did you already imagine, Ulysses, if that alchemist, Achilles, knew where the science of thetransformation of the matter would arrive in? He could not dream that one day there would be the eraof plastics, superconductors, penicillin, aspirin, milk-in-powder, vulcanized rubber...

    Ulysses: Asphalt, gasoline, pasteurization, drops, electronics of colors in the video, anhydrous alcohol,nylon, polypropylene, magnetic ribbon, PVC...

    Polux (ironic): CFC, mercury residue, nuclear dust, carbon gas, pesticides, anencephaly, non-degradablegarbage...

    Larissa (going to Ulysses): Of the imbecility of given pseudo-environmentalists...

    Ulysses: You are right. There are certain types of environmentalists that think we only get to seesolutions, never problems. (Going to the audience.) My company has been engaging in practice of thesocial responsibility, because this, besides giving a participation feeling and usefulness in general to t...

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