Play # 74: Cupid Stung By Bees

The play, which is derived from a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder called Venus with Cupid Stung by a Bee (1532), is set in a small decorous wilderness—a tidy tempered forest—not far from a small German city.  Venus naked and serene, is strolling among the trees, accompanied by a plump little cupid, who floats around her like a pink balloon.  It is a sunny summer afternoon.

Cupid (hovering in the still air, suddenly alert):  What is that buzzing?

Venus (languidly): Birds perhaps.

Cupid (surprised):  Birds?  Do birds buzz?

Venus (abstractly):  I don’t know…do they not?  I’ve forgotten.

Cupid:  I bet they’re bees! 

Venus (quietly):  Well, perhaps.

Cupid (giggling):  And where there are bees, there may be honey!

Venus:  Yes, perhaps.  Whatever that is.

Cupid (eagerly, boyishly):  The bees make it.  Would you like to try some honey, Goddess?

Venus (almost alarmed):  Me?  Well, I don’t know.  I don’t remember it.  It’s something to eat, is that right?

Cupid (eager):  It’s sweet like candy!

Venus (suspicious):  Insect candy.

Cupid (even more eager):  I’ll be right back [he flies up into the buzzing tree]

[The buzzing of the bees grows louder and there is a sudden affrighted cry from Cupid]

Venus (languidly alarmed):  Are you alright, Little One?

[Cupid returns, holding a chunk of honeycomb in one plump hand.  He is covered with bee stings.  A few angry bees cling to him still]

Cupid (breathless, trembling from his ordeal, holds out the honeycomb for Venus to see):  Look, Goddess.  This is Honey!

Venus (wary):  The bees didn’t seem very pleased about your visit.

Cupid (laughing):  They weren’t.  They’re still not!

Venus (dejected): And look at yourself!  You’re covered with stings.

Cupid (happy to have demonstrated his valour):  It was worth it!

Venus (dubious) I’m not at all certain it was.  The bees have spoiled your perfect, infantile beauty. 

Cupid (gaily): Have some honey.  I got it just for you.

Venus (gingerly dipping he finger into the honeycomb and cautiously tasting the worrisome honey):  Mmmmm.

Cupid (proudly, as if he’d made the honey himself):  You like it?

Venus (smiling): It’s as delicate and gentle as a rainbow.

Cupid (happily):  Ambrosia!  Food of the gods!

Venus (smiling happily):  Of the Goddess, rather.  It’s much too fine for all those boisterous, rough-hewn gods!

Cupid (grinning): If you like.  It will be our secret then

Venus (delighted):  Yes.  Just for us.  Beautiful Venus Honey—just for the two of us!


Cupid, Honeybees and Pain: The Bee's Sting