Act 1 of the three-act stage play, "Salep & Silk".
Two travelers, three time periods, a princess and a cop. Mahzun comes from west of Samerkand; Jamuk from the Eastern frontiers of Central Asia. Once a year they meet along the Silk Road to share food, stories, and the latest ideas. Each act takes place in a different time period, but our heroes remain the same, representing an ancestral tradition that runs from 550CE to 1800CE and beyond.
The original stage play, “Salep & Silk” was written early in the summer of 2010, and produced that fall by Montana Actor’s Theater Company at the Crystal Theater behind the Silk Road Restaurant in Missoula, MT.
Several parallels weave the three acts together, not the least of which are the other principle characters: Parsa, a strong arm regulator with authority over the road, and the Chinese Princess and her attendant, who change most of all from act to act. In the first they are renegade saviors, the second a mad queen and her lady in waiting, and finally an android from France and her merchant deliverer. Act One takes place in around 550CE when the two travelers encounter a pair of monks fleeing to the west, who turn out to be smuggling the secret of silk from China to Rome. Act Two begins in 1280CE, on the eve of Mongol power in Central Asia and includes a lesson on binary math and an investigation on the mysteries of love. Act Three takes us to the early 1800s, when our two heroes confront a Frenchman on his way to China to deliver the world’s first functioning android to the Emperor.