Play # 18: I Want! I Want!

The play is set on the curvature of the earth, where we see a very long spindly ladder, set on the ground and stretching up into deep space bright with stars where, finally, it rests against the cradling curve of the new moon.  The setting is, of course, taken from the 10th etching of William, Blake’s For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise (1793-1818).
We see a young man—naked in the frosty night—who seems on the point of climbing the ladder.  His parents—we assume they are his parents—stand to one side, looking on.  They are also naked (this is Blake, after all).

PARENTS:  Is there nothing we can say to dissuade you?

BOY:  No, nothing.  I’m off in pursuit of my heart’s desire.

PARENTS: You’re heart’s desire lies somewhere at the end of that spiderweb ladder?  Up on the rockinghorse moon?

BOY: We’ll see.

PARENTS:  When will you see?  The climb is fearfully long.

BOY: But at least the way is unobstructed.

PARENTS:  That’s because nobody else would be so foolish.   And besides, you’ll freeze.

BOY: No more than down here.

PARENTS:  What is it you want so desperately?

BOY:  Wanting-in-itself, I think.  Pure desire.

PARENTS: You have to climb all the way to the moon in order to want?

BOY:  Up in the thinning air, yes.  Up where there’s no air at all.  Up there, my desire will grow hard as a star.  Clean as light.

PARENTS: Will we ever see you again?

BOY:  No.