PROLOGUE—Someone in Gray called He, speaking of the Life of Man
SCENE I—The Birth of Man and the Mother’s Travail
SCENE II—Love and Poverty
SCENE III—Wealth. Man’s Ball
SCENE IV—Man’s Misfortune
SCENE V—The Death of Man
SOMEONE IN GRAY CALLED HE, SPEAKING OF THE LIFE OF MAN
A large, rectangular space resembling a room without doors or windows and quite empty. Everything is gray, monocolored, drab—the watts gray, and the ceiling, and the floor. A feeble, even light enters from some invisible source. It too is gray, monotonous, spectral, producing neither lights nor shadows.
Someone in Gray moves noiselessly away from the wall, close against which He has been standing. He wears a broad, gray, formless smock, vaguely outlining the contours of His body; and a hat of the same gray throws the upper part of His face into heavy shadow. His eyes are invisible. All that is seen are His cheekbones, His nose, and His chin, which is massive, heavy, and blunt, as if hewn out of rock. His lips are pressed tight together. Raising His head slightly, He begins to speak in a firm, cold, unemotional, unimpassioned voice, like a reader hired by the hour reading the Book of Fate with brutal indifference._
Look and listen, you who have come here to laugh and be amused. There will pass before you the whole life of Man, from his dark beginning to his dark ending. Previously non-existant, mysteriously hidden in the infiniteness of time, neither feeling nor thinking and known to no one, he will mysteriously break through the prison of non-being and with a cry announce the beginning of his brief life. In the night of non-existence a light will go up, kindled by an unseen hand. It is the life of Man. Behold the flame—it is the life of Man.
Being born, he will take the form and the name of Man, and in all things will become like other men already living. And their hard lot will be his lot, and his hard lot will be the lot of all human beings. Inexorably impelled by time, he will, with inavertible necessity, pass through all the stages of human life, from the bottom to the top, from the top to the bottom. Limited in vision, he will never see the next step which his unsteady foot, poised in the air, is in the very act of taking. Limited in knowledge, he will never know what the coming day will bring, or the coming hour, or the coming minute. In his unseeing blindness, troubled by premonitions, agitated by hope and fear, he will submissively complete the iron-traced circle foreordained.