The wooden table is rolled forward to form a podium and the NARRATOR, wearing a military hat, slinks into the light as the CENSOR.
The use of low floor lighting casts a looming shadow on the screens.
The CENSOR speaks in evangelical rhyme, gesticulating wildly and pounding fists on the podium for additional emphasis.
CENSOR: Good citizens, I have summoned you all to this urgent meeting, for it has come to my attention that once again the silence has been disturbed by a heart's … beat … beat … beating!
At each utterance of ‘beat’, ‘beat’, ‘beating’ the CENSOR bangs his clenched fist on the podium and the PERCUSSIONIST accompanies it with a drum.
CENSOR: And it's this, this beat … beat … beating.
This unlawful silence-defeating din!
That has caused you all to stop
with blatant disregard and in defiant fashion.
Awaken and regard your own false and foolish passion!
Good people of Tin Town.
Who has led you such depths of sin?
Who has unleashed the tyrannical beat,
the rhythmic devil …
The PERCUSSIONIST, growing a bit cocky, rolls his military drum for emphasis. The CENSOR shoots him a stern glance.
CENSOR: … that sounds and pounds within?
Who is it that sits amongst us today … Eh?
The CENSOR scans the audience suspiciously.
CENSOR: Pulls you into this depravity?
Who dares to challenge the Almighty's
sacred and silent decree?
Who is it that chooses to threaten this state?
Defy our leader?
Place our sacred silence in danger!
Another fist on the podium, accompanied by a drumbeat.
CENSOR: We must find the courage, good people.
To weed out the culprit.
Sniff out the stranger.
The CENSOR puts his nose in the air and sniffs rudely. He stops and glares into the crowd.
CENSOR: Wena [Who is it]? Woza [Come here].
He motions with an extended finger for the culprit to come forward from the audience. A dreadful silence as NANDI offers the child. He takes it carefully (in mime) and holds his ear to the babe's breast. A heartbeat pounds proudly (three times). He glances up at his congregation, appalled.
CENSOR: This….this…. child?
How can something so small, so harmless, make a racket so awful?