18 January 2016

Inspired by Sophocles' Oedipus Rex: Oedipus Ram: Act One


OEDIPUS RAM
A Toon Tragedy 
inspired by Sophocles' Oedipus Rex
Directed, Staged and Written by
DC Hampton Jacobs
Original Characters and Archie Fan Art Images
Created and Drawn by
Stuffed Animal

THE PLAYERS:
Saddam Sharma, the father
Kharis Yongjaiyut, the mother
Vandanna, the witch
Hilo Herbie, the college buddy
Puddy Tat Tambo, the other college buddy
Madame Lan-Ying, the dominatrix
Donna Dante, the wife
Chaiwat Bunyasam, the sound engineer
and the star
Ramsay Khalid Sharma

ACT ONE:
RAGE

“I am a filthy f*ggot!” Saddam Khalid Sharma wails, as much out of anger as shame. “May Allah have mercy on me!” Kneeling on his prayer rug, the young Muslim tearfully begs forgiveness. Not fifteen minutes earlier, in this same Marrakesh hotel room, Saddam will have been having raw, sweaty sex with another man. If his same-sex orientation were to become publicly known, he'd be driven from his mosque in disgrace! His family and community would surely disown him as well.


As he's done many times in the past, the devout Islamist vows to abstain from “the sin of Sodom.” Many times more, he will break this vow; but his desperate efforts to keep it will change his life. 

Seeking to rid himself of homosexual cravings, the Mumbai native cultivates a playboy reputation. In public, he's all about wine, women and song: "I'd rather eat p*ssy than Butter Chicken!" he brags.  Saddam's high-profile womanizing scandalizes his mother, who urges him to marry.  In the year 2019, he complies and weds one of his many sham girlfriends: She's a beautiful Thai dancer named Kharis Yongjaiyut. Their son, Ramsay, is born the following year.

On the advice of Saddam's sister, Kharis takes her newborn son to be blessed by a hijra. Vandanna, a transgender woman of mixed French and Indian heritage, is also a witch. "She is known to have special powers of divination," claims the sister-in-law. Kharis is eager to believe it's true; however, her Islamic husband doesn’t approve of hijras.   "What should I do?" she asks.  "Have the blessing performed in secret", the sister advises.  "I'll help you arrange it, and I won't breathe a word!"


Vandanna’s black eyes flash mysteriously as she looks down @ the wriggling bundle cradled in her arms. “Was this child born with a veil?" she asks. "Why, yes," Kharis replies, recalling the membrane covering her newborn baby's face. "Bien sûr," the witch nods. "Such children always possess special gifts!" "What is his future?” Kharis wants to know. “Please tell me.”

Vandanna lifts her magic crystal down from a shelf and plumbs its murky depths with her gaze. "I see a triad of divinity over your son," she murmurs. "His father was born Muslim; his mother was born Sikh; and his nickname evokes the Hindu god Ramayan.  Divine triads foretell great fortune, great misery, or sometimes both." "Oh, dear!" Kharis exclaims. 

"Ramsay Khalid Sharma will be a handsome and charismatic man," Vandanna continues. "Many women will vie for his love. He will make music and excel @ any other creative endeavor he tries. Ramsay will be famous!  I see him traveling far and wide, bringing much pride to people of Asian heritage, but . . . “

Her voice suddenly trails off. A look of fear momentarily clouds her face. Kharis gasps in alarm: “What do you see?” In an instant, Vandanna’s frown disappears and is replaced by a broad smile. “Rien, ma chérie,” she assures her. “There is nothing more.  Do not worry.  My blessings are upon you and your son.” She accepts no payment for the blessing or the divination.

Expressing much gratitude, Kharis departs with her baby. The wise hijra’s eyes are sad as she watches them go. “Ramsay will bring much pride to his people,” she repeats in a whisper, “but oh! So much shame as well. His final years will be rife with suffering; and his death will be by his own hand." Vandanna sighs in resignation. "Alors . . . naître, c’est triste. Mourir, c’est joyeux.”

The marriage of Kharis and Saddam Sharma is far from happy. This is due to her reluctant conversion to Islam, as well as his volatile temper and complete lack of sexual desire for her. Dude also has a serious alcohol problem!  Often, when she isn't dealing with his explosive rages, Kharis is trying to rouse her husband out of a drunken stupor. "Hia!" she swears. "Why the Hell did I marry this man?" Her love for him is short-lived; just three months after their wedding, the spouses are sleeping in separate beds.  She only stays with him for the sake of their baby.

Saddam follows his father into government service; by his late 20s, he's a low-level diplomat. In the year 2022, he becomes an attaché to India's ambassador to Switzerland. The family moves to Bern, where Ram Sharma grows up.

Even before the move, Kharis will have begun teaching her son to dance and play the flute. She soon discovers that she's only scraped the surface of his talent: The boy is a musical prodigy! He masters piano, sitar, guitar, drums and three other instruments by the age of 10. Little Ram also has Perfect Pitch (the ability to identify and recreate any musical note), and the rudiments of a fine singing voice.


By his teens, Ramsay Khalid Sharma is one of the youngest studio musicians working in Europe. His services are much in-demand; from 2035-40 he logs sessions in Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Italy and England. In 2036, Ram meets and befriends guitarist Lana Switchblade @ a London record date; she will later play an important part in his career. During this period, he graduates from The American School in Switzerland and attends Geneva University of Music on scholarship.

As a teenager, Ram is often @ loggerheads with his father; Saddam Sharma doesn't approve of his son playing Western music. "Rock ‘n’ Roll is Satanic American propaganda!" he bellows. “It’s part of the Jewish conspiracy to corrupt young minds.” Kharis must repeatedly intervene when he threatens to ban Ram's session work. Saddam’s stone-faced disapproval doesn't dissuade the boy from playing Rock or any other kind of music; however, it leaves him with a gnawing sense of inadequacy that will never go away.


To her horror, Kharis Sharma watches her husband become seduced by radical Islam.  Virulent speeches proclaiming fatwa on Jews, whores and homosexual Arabs blast constantly from Saddam's vidphone; Kharis covers her ears in exasperation.  Constant clashes over religious doctrine finally lead to their divorce in 2039. Subsequently, Saddam quits the ambassador’s corps and moves to Pakistan. There he (allegedly) becomes involved in terrorist activities! Rumor has it he's one of several jihadists who plan an aborted bomb attack on Haifa in 2043; but the conspirators are never caught.

Kharis remains in Bern until Ram enters college, and then returns to her native Thailand. The ex-dancer reclaims her birth religion, Sikhism; when her son visits her, she endeavors to convert him. "Haven't we seen, from your father's example, that Islam is nothing but a haven for extremism?" she asks. "Come and learn the gentle way in which I was raised. It's so different from what you've known!" Dude opens his heart and mind to Sikh teachings, officially becoming a disciple in his sophomore year.

The sexually-ravenous college boy is happy to leave behind the prudery of conservative Islam. @ Gurdwara, he’s often @ the center of lively interfaith discussions. “I love to have sex,” he admits during Paath discourse, “and I love the sexuality of women! There’s nothing shameful about their bodies. Why should they be forced to wear birqas and other stifling garments? I don’t see women as temptresses; but what if they were? Isn’t it up to the man, whether or not to yield to temptation?”

His mother beams with pride @ his words. “You are a good boy,” she sighs. However, Saddam Sharma is livid when he learns Ram has rejected Islam. Pounding his fist on a table, dude denounces his son as an "infidel" and swears by the Holy Qur'an to destroy him. Ironically, the elder Sharma will have committed infidelity with men throughout his marriage! Unbeknownst to his colleagues in ISIS and Al Quaeda, he continues to pursue same-sex affairs . . .

As an undergrad, Ram won’t take more than the minimum of voice courses required for graduation. Even so, many who hear him sing feel his vocal talents exceed his abilities as an arranger, composer and instrumentalist. By his junior year, Ram's high tenor will have deepened into a rich baritone resembling that of 20th century Blue-Eyed Soul singer Steve Alaimo. He has an instinctive grasp of phrasing in addition to flawless timing and Perfect Pitch. “You know how to get inside of a song lyric,” a voice instructor raves. “It’s a rare gift! You can’t teach someone how to do that.”


After obtaining his BA in Music in the year 2042, Ram joins a boy band called Tygerpenis. They have little success in Europe, but a sizable following develops for them in Japan.  The four bandmates travel to Tokyo for an extended gig.  Once there, ego clashes between Hans Noori, Trayvan Kashvili and lead singer Salman Dresden lead to an acrimonious breakup.  Ram will have been a member for less than six months; this negative experience will leave him wary of band membership!

Dude decides to remain in Japan. He enrolls @ Tokyo College of Music to study Instrumental Music, Composition and Film Scoring @ the graduate level. There he meets fellow students “Hilo” Herbie Shawmut and Elisha “Puddy Tat” Tambo. The native Hawaiians become his first of many Gay friends.

One day, he rushes into Herbie’s dorm room without knocking, anxious to play him a new music score. There Ram finds his two buddies bare-assed and humping like hamsters in heat!  In their haste to separate, both men end up sprawled on the floor.  “Now I know why they call it coitus interruptus,” he teases. Herbie and Puddy are too embarrassed for words!  Neither will have broached his sexual orientation.


“Do you think I’m blind?” Ram scoffs as they frantically climb into their underwear. “Not only did I know both of you were Gay from the jump; I knew you had a thing for each other. In fact, I was going to suggest you get together, but obviously,” he adds with a sly wink, ”I’m a little too late!” Messieurs Shawmut and Tambo will remain a couple for the rest of their lives, and become Ram's closest friends. Before graduating college, both will have occasion to surprise him in flagrante delicto with a girl or two . . . or three . . . or four!

SEX 101

Focusing on indigenous Asian music genres, Ram obtains a Master of Arts in 2044. His Pop/Rock session experience and Folk music knowledge will prove useful later on when he starts scoring films. Pop, Classical and movie soundtrack sessions, as well as freelance arranging assignments for New National Opera and the Tokyo Symphony occupy his time until 2048.

That year, 28-year-old Ramsay Khalid Sharma goes to work in the record business.  He becomes head of A & R @ the Tokyo office of Santi Music. Santi is a Hong Kong-based label catering to artists who perform traditional Asian genres. While he's well-compensated, dude ends up not being a good fit for this corporate job; he’ll go back to freelancing in 2050. However, his association with Santi Music will continue. In the year 2059, Ram will sign to the label as an artist.  In 2063, the company will begin releasing albums by him.

The CEO of Santi Music, Madame Lan-Ying, fixes lustful eyes on her new A & R chief! On his first day, she takes him aside. “In addition to your work in the studio,” she rasps, “you have other duties as assigned. We must meet privately so I can discuss them in detail.”  @ that private meeting, it becomes clear that these “other duties” amount to servicing the boss sexually!


The randy septuagenarian proves to be a most demanding lover, too. She introduces Ram to bondage and discipline in the bedroom.  @ her behest, he learns what a “golden shower” is; experiences “enema ecstasies”; obtains a Prince Albert piercing; and makes the intimate acquaintance of Black Beauty, her eight-inch strap-on dildo!

One of Madame’s favorite after-work pastimes is lashing his naked thighs and buttocks with a rattan switch! On other occasions, she attaches a chain leash to his Prince Albert and leads him doggy-style through her office suite. The randy young man is game for anything, even though he finds this kind of lovemaking bizarre! Little does he suspect how profound an influence the Taiwanese cougar’s tastes will have on him.  Madame will subject Ram to erotic humiliation on a regular basis until her death in 2055!

PAYING THE COST TO BE THE BOSS

Much of his freelancing takes place @ Vox Populi Studios in Tokyo's seedy Shinjuki ward. There, in 2051, Ram re-connects with his old friend Lana Switchblade.  Now known as Lana Suzuki, she's a member of The New Archies, a famous American Rock band; Susu is also the group's producer. She hires him as music director for their penultimate studio album. The following year, he performs the same role on tour. His professional association with New Archies members Mal Hypster, Toby Maxx and Rikki Ninja quickly becomes personal, and lasts through an extended recording hiatus.

When former New Archies member Donna Dante cuts a solo album in 2053, Ram is on hand to write her arrangements. Donna is an action movie star, famous for portraying ghetto-fabulous detective Christie Love; dude is a major fan!  He falls head-over-heels for her and is thrilled to learn that the feeling is mutual. They quickly become inseparable, and marry up the following year.

Ram’s mother Kharis is delighted, but Saddam Sharma has the opposite reaction. Incensed @ his son marrying an American girl, he boycotts the wedding ceremony! "I didn't expect him to show up anyway," Ram shrugs. "It makes no difference to me!" Many years will pass before the elder Sharma meets his daughter-in-law.

BREE'S BRATS

Right after he completes work on their KitschANNETTE album, The New Archies offer Ram membership. He declines, but the offer remains open. Finally @ Donna Dante’s urging, he officially joins the group in time for their September 2057 farewell concert. Shortly afterward, The New Archies call it quits by unanimous vote; Ram will have been a member for less than a year. "I've got a talent for joining bands @ the point of breakup," he'll later joke.  He and Donna move to Asia, where they split their time between homes in Mumbai and Bangkok.

Ramsay Khalid Sharma’s wife is a tantalizing blend of sugar and spice: As piquant as she is sweet! Although Donna Dante was born Blossom Luongo, and friends call her Dee Dee, Ram has a special name for her: “Dody.” Her nickname for him is more provocative: “Nipples,” in honor of the pierced pectorals he's sported since college. “Those are the body parts I like best on you,” she teases. “But sometimes, there’s another one I like just as well!" "And that one is pierced, too," he laughs.

His wife also has a fiery side: More often than not, their lovemaking is preceded by an explosive altercation. Conflict seems to stoke their passion! Ram gives back as good as he gets from her, and Dody appreciates having a husband who isn’t a doormat. “Sometimes,” she admits, “I like being bossed around by a strong man.” It’s a different story, though, once the bedroom door closes!


At first, Dody is taken off guard by his requests for sexual subjugation: “Handcuff me, honey. Chain me to the wall!” However, she gradually takes to the role of dominatrix and comes to enjoy the kinky aspects of their marriage. Ram’s favorite gift from her will be a jumbo butt plug she presents to him on Christmas morning, 2061! She’ll never forget the ecstatic look on his face as he eagerly drops trou, bends over their sofa and spreads his golden cheeks, awaiting penetration! Other BDSM gifts include "bracelets of submission", a pair of black wristbands inspired by Wonder Woman, Ram's favorite comic book character.  He prefers to wear the faux slave manacles instead of a wedding ring.

Dude is always down for sex toys and fetish gear, but he's nowhere near as eager to sing! Dody adores his rumbling baritone voice and encourages him constantly. For a period in the late '50s, husband and wife perform @ charitable events as a vocal duo called Sharmante. In late 2058 and early ‘59, they even cut demos for a proposed duet album.  It's during this time that Ram signs an artist contract with Santi Music.


Yet he's never happy with the sound of his singing voice. “It’s just too deep,” he complains. “I come across like a third-rate Barry White imitator!” “That’s because you’re imitating Barry White,” Dody retorts. “Why don't you sing in your natural voice?” They cut an album's worth of demos, but a date for recording the actual album gets pushed back repeatedly; this is mainly due to Ram's reticence.

Then, in early 2060, Dody acquires financial backing to start her own acting school.  Donna Dante Actors Academy will have been her dream project for nearly a decade: Suddenly, she’s too busy to even see her husband, much less record with him!  @ the same time, Ram gets an offer to score a Bollywood movie. Brown Shoulders, released in 2061, makes a big splash at the box office; quite unexpectedly, more soundtrack work starts flowing in his direction.

The Sharmante album never gets off the ground. Instead, Ram begins churning out hit movie scores: Red Yellow Honey, Under The Sari, Smoke, Lillies and Jade, Black Cumin Kisses. These films are among early examples of New Eroticism, a wave of sexually explicit productions that revolutionize Indian cinema. Quite by accident, Ramsay Khalid Sharma becomes the go-to composer for this genre; by 2062, he’s being called Bollywood’s Sex Music King!

PRODUCTION TEAM

Until the early 2070s, Ram’s recording base will be DALEKtable Sound, the same studio where he and Dody cut their album demos. ("Dalek" is late-21st-century slang for Dalit, India's so-called untouchable caste; the Sharma family is of Biradari descent.)  It’s actually a small home studio installed on the ground floor of their Bangkok house. He hires a veteran sound engineer to help him turn out movie product: Chaiwat Bunyasam, who boasts an extensive background in film and TV audio production. Dude will also have worked Thailand's Gay party circuit as one of its most popular deejays. The old man will become Ram's close friend, mentor, and eventually, producer.


Santi Music SM-63394
Joy
Satisfaction
Rage
Confusion
Terror
Sadness
Shame
Wonder
Jealousy
Fascination
(RK Sharma)
Emotional
Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Arranged, Performed + Produced by
Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Sound Engineer:
Chaiwat
Recorded @ DALEKtable Sound Studios, Bangkok
released in Asia
2063

By the time he cuts a solo album, Ram doesn’t think of himself as a singer @ all. Dude is totally submerged in his instrumentalist persona.  Accordingly, the first Ramsay Khalid Sharma album is an all-instrumental affair: Ten musical compositions showcasing a variety of indigenous Folk genres. “I’ve titled it ‘Emotional’,” Ram tells the Indian music press. “What better name for a collection inspired by intense human emotions?”

His songs celebrate the Asian musical diaspora: "Sadness" is swathed in Vietnamese dan bao chords. "Joy" is Thai luk thung music at its most exuberant! "Fascination" is straight-ahead Indian raga; "Confusion" is a cat's cradle of Chinese jiangnan sizhu rhythms; and "Shame" is a Blues ballad strongly influenced by Indonesian kecapi suling. "Terror" is balls-out Rock 'n' Roll with a Japanese taiko foundation. The wispy "Satisfaction" has a suggestion of Turkish agir zybek. "Jealousy" jumps to the beat of Cambodian kantrum. "Wonder" is an exciting Korean sanjo workout; and on "Rage", 1970s-era Disco meets Burmese hsaing waing music.

No session musicians are hired; Chaiwat overdubs Ram playing every single instrument. Dude even performs as his own string quartet! Though both are pleased with his début, Donna Dante is underwhelmed. “When we were cutting our demos, I heard the best you had to offer,” she tells Ram. “This album is good, Nipples, but isn't your best.”

Music reviews are glowing, but the record yields no breakout hits; the public all but ignores it. Dody takes time out from her busy school schedule to do publicity for Emotional, but sales remain flat. “So much for my dreams of becoming the new Yanni,” Ram sighs. His wife reproaches him: “Reach for a higher goal! You’ve got the potential to be much bigger than Yanni.” He rolls his eyes @ her: "Dream on, baby!"