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EMPTY HALLWAYS: Mirror and Marble (Draft)

Three women are trapped in a fever dream as they try and escape a world that binds them together.

Imaginary or Real, the human soul hides dark secrets that may leave them lost forever in the Hundred Acre Wood.

CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY

Reilly

Female, can be played by any actress at any age, from her 30s – 60s. She is the only character who understands the world of the play. Her objective is to keep the other characters, like children, from breaking the rules of the Hundred Acre Wood. Why else would she be there but to protect them?

Evelyn (Evie)

Female, can be played by any actress but keep in mind she represents the veracity of youth and the power of human passion. Why is she the most fragile of the three women?

Grace (Gracie)

Female, can be played by any actress but keep in mind she represents the honesty of youth and the power of human adaptation. What is it that Grace forgets to remember?

Christopher Robin

Male, can be played by any actor over the age of 45. He does not live in the world of the play and, as the A. A. Milne character he is named after, may come and go as he pleases. When will he come back again, we never know, but he always does. The question isn’t who Christopher Robin is but why will Christopher Robin abandon his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, leaving them in the eternal Limbo of lost innocence and youth.

_________________________________________

Enter REILLY. She sits in a chair and covers her eyes with her hand trying to see.

R: I have a secret. I am someone no one knows about. No one. Except for him.

Short pause. She points.

That man.

Beat.

I am wondering if this sounds familiar to you. If anyone else has heard this?

She gets out a tape player and presses play.

EVELYN VOICEOVER

No one sees me when I am a bird in flight. I go streaming through the halls of marble and mirrors…I have no reflection…no frame or figure…I am a ghost breezing through…She laughs. I am the one who leaves that vague scent that delicious and delicate perfume… No more remnants of presence as I slip with natural grace and precision into the elevator to be carried up, up, up… Somewhere between remembered and forgotten.

Reilly hits stop on the recorder. She shields her eyes again with her hand.

Can we cut the light please? Lights Change.

Thank you. I am trying to establish the chain of events that have lead us to an unfortunate predicament today. It would be to our benefit to remind ourselves once again of the 10 Commandments. Can you start the power point presentation?

The Following Appears on behind her on the back wall or on a scrim/screen Center:

Thou shalt not bear false witness to The Hundred Acre Wood.

Thou shalt not respresent The Hundred Acre Wood in any image, writing or sound.

Thou shalt not take your life in vain, nor the life of any creature the Wood contains.

Honor thy Christopher Robin, Tigger, Poo; Rabbit, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo….

Remember Assignation Day and keep it Holy.

Thou shalt not venture Out There.

Thou shalt obey the rules unique to each story.

Thou shalt not leave until the story is finished.

Thou shalt remain bound to The Commandments for Life.

Thou shalt not leave the wood and ever return.

R: Let’s see….number two, number two. That’s always been a problem, hasn’t it?

How many times do I have to say this?

There is a line between fantasy and reality. This is Fantasy! Out There is Reality, okay? Don’t be stupid enough to try and bring the two together.

BLACKOUT

Lights up on EVELYN smoking a cigarette at a vanity. She wears a robe and holds a drink, she is writing in a journal. She is slightly tipsy.


GRACE drops from above the stage and lands in a heap. Evelyn glances up and then goes back to writing.

Several Beats. Grace is gasping for breath.

GRACE (Voiceover):

I am…the shock and immediate pain that happens moments after you are thrown over the handle bars of your bike (remember as a kid?) meeting cold unforgiving hard pavement…numb, shock, fear and then excruciating blocked from all memory pain.

She gets up disoriented and then hastily exits through the door UR. The ladies have not acknowledged eachother. Evelyn looks up thinking, then writes and speaks:

E: I feel it like a weight on my heart.

I chain smoke cigarettes to try and ease it. I drink. It doesn’t help.

She slams the journal shut.

I think, what have I been doing? WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING??

She flops over, lays her arms and head down on the vanity.

There is no reasoning behind it. There is no rational explanation of it. What I remember is fragmented, leftovers……an overactive imagination….

Beat.

…Wow, I wish that I could have more accurately written as I am speaking now…

The thoughts, the emotions…triggered these actions, then reactions, the passion…snowball-crazy-rapid-increasing-sighing-erotic-sadistic-masocistic…

Hearing the rumble. Wondering if it is getting closer or moving finally farther away.

Beat.

I am so afraid.

Beat.

I don’t know. No one else was there. No one knows.

She picks up the remote and presses the button. Projection on the back wall.

They know not I knew thee

Who knew thee too well:–

Long, long shall I rue thee,

Too deeply to tell.

 

In secret we met—

In silence I grieve,

That thy heart could forget,

Thy spirit deceive.

If I should meet thee

After long years,

How should I greet thee?

With silence and tears.

 

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Oh fucking hell.

She picks up the remote, slams it off and then slams it on the vanity, knocking over a bottle of prescription pills…they spill on the vanity and onto the floor. She looks at the mess.

Ssiiiiiiiiiit…

Smoke…Cigarette, Lo-lee-tah…Cigarette…burn away the pain…

She starts digging through the drawers.

I know in my gut that THIS is not over yet. I just wish I knew if it will be sooner rather than later.

GRACE enters and watches, listening.

Some may argue that I have and have had a choice in all this.

There was NO CHOICE.

Grace shakes her head. We sense that she knows what is going on but she is slow and hesitant to realize.

I did not ask for this. I did not want this to happen. I didn’t know something like this could happen….

Grace echos the following line with Evelyn:

I love. I am loved.

Evelyn stops what she is doing and looks straight ahead. She reaches for her drink and finishes it.

G: If I remember correctly…

E: My memory is a bit hazy.

She snickers and shakes the ice in her glass. The two women stare at each other. Grace starts to realize…

G: What are you doing? She snatches the drink out of Evelyn’s hand, looks at it and then to her open diary, papers, etc… What the hell are you doing writing about this?

E: This is a story, isn’t it? I’m a little tipsy but I know how to write a story.

Grace holds her finger pointing at Evie as she goes to get more Scotch from the bar.

Evelyn makes a face at her.

G: That’s funny—Tell me…

Short Pause. She looks at her, forgetting her name.

Evie… Are you a complete idiot? Just keep that goddamn mouth shut.

She hands her the drink.

Beat.

E: This is a story that needs to be told.

G: This is a story that is NEVER told.

Beat.

E: I want another cigarette.

She lights and takes a deep drag.

What? All of a sudden you change…a creature with purity and innocence….But I am…a creature of this existence…life…so are you…

G: Give me a drag off that. She takes the cigarette. Evelyn, stop trying to make this more than it is…

Evelyn glares at her.

G: You are when he wants it. You aren’t when he doesn’t.

E: Stop…She turns and drains her drink.

G: He fucks you.

E: Enough.

G: Has he said he loves you?

E: GODDAMMIT!

She throws the drink. It shatters on the floor, She thrashes at her vanity and knocks things off and spills more pills. She swears and starts frantically trying to pick them up off the floor, disoriented.

GRACE moves to the bar and gets the bottle, then goes over to where Evelyn is crying very quietly, muttering the opening voiveover (“No one sees me when I am a bird in flight. I go streaming through the halls of marble and mirrors…”) as she gathers the pills.

Grace puts the bottle on the ground and gets down on her knees and takes Evelyn’s hands.

Pause.

E: All I need is for someone to love me. That’s it…That’s not too much, is it, Gracie?

Grace, bored, picks up a pill from the floor, reaches for the bottle and kneels above her. Evelyn opens her mouth.

G: Nobody ever chooses this Evie and it doesn’t just happen. We get chosen.

She puts it in Evie’s mouth and hands her the bottle. Their eyes stay locked as Evie swigs and swallows.

E: magic

They reverse positions, like a ritual, as Grace proceeds to do the same.

G: magic

Short Pause.

G: Chosen for some reason, godknows…

E: Lost…Somewhere between remembered and forgotten.

Beat.

G: I should burn in hell.

Evelyn crawls over and wraps her arms around Grace.

E: Darling, this is hell. We live sin. We are evil. We are devils. We are red from lust, temptation…Ah, we are truly lovely lovely lovely Lolitas.

G: Cigarette, Lolita…Cigarette…

E: We are not doomed…We know what will happen in the end…

Grace cringes and shudders.

E: But we remain for the time being,  gloriously tragic.

G: Cigarette.

E: Cigarette.

Pause.

G: No one knows our story because no one wants to hear it.

Beat.

E: Grace?

G: Yes?

Long Beat.

E: I don’t think we should keep this secret—

G: Ssshhhhh…no…ssshhhh…

E: Why are we keeping this secret?

G: Because baby…it isn’t over yet.

BLACKOUT.

__________________________

Music plays. GRACE is seated silhouette DSR. Lights up slowly on GRACE, pulling her out of shadow.

Music fades and becomes just a simple rhythm. The lights fade up and down, the sound is only a pulsing heartbeat. The rise and fall of light feels like breath.

Grace turns, breathing in sync, wraps her legs in closer, hugging them with her arms.

She speaks almost to herself but there is the sense that she is speaking to Evelyn, sitting at her vanity SL, now in silhouette.

___________________________

G: It took two months to whiddle me down and get me to give in.

Beat.

What was I doing that night? …I had friends in town playing a gig in Tribeca.

I remember standing outside the club, looking at my cell phone…

…realizing I was about to make a decision. One of those big life choices…to phone or not to phone. It’s obvious, I made a choice.

We met at this wine bar in Greenwhich. It was the end of midsummer.

Short Pause.

I wore a yellow dress.

Lights up slowly to silhouette Evelyn sitting at her vanity writing. Grace continues talking…

We drank Shiraz. A bottle, maybe two? He asked me if I had eaten.

Lights begin coming up on Evelyn slowly.

E: You don’t eat.

G: I told him, “No,” and ordered Tuna Tataki, nibbled on it.

Beat.

We left. Crossing the street he reached for my hand. I started skipping, laughing, excited. We stopped. He asked me what I was most afraid of.

I said I didn’t know.

TOGETHER: I was different then.

G: We went to another bar and wrote poetry to each other on napkins.

E: You lost those napkins.

G: They were soaked in wine and turned into paper mache. The closer we came. And he asked me to go back with him.

Beat.

Grace stands suddenly in frustration and stomps into the kitchen. She begins searching through the cabinets.

Don’t ask me to explain it. Don’t ask me for understanding. Don’t tell me this or tell me that or this is what is happening.

E: Don’t get upset. She reaches into her purse and pulls out the bottle.

G: Of course I get upset! She glares at her. Of course I get upset!

E: You are redundant.

G: We are redundant, trying to make sense—

E: –when there is no sense.

G: Oh Christ.

E: No, I just know what you are talking about. What are you looking for?

G: I DON’T FUCKING KNOW!

Beat.

Evelyn takes out a pill and hands it to Grace.

E: Are we gonna keep this up or make it stop?

G: I told you Evelyn, it’s not done yet.

E: We were promised.

BLACKOUT


Reilly enters and sits center on the chair. Clicks and starts the slideshow, a montage of old home movies of a little girl growing up. The idea is to indicate that this is EVELYN.

Reilly speaks as a young adolescent.

R: Assumption One

I am an adolescent. I was raised on Disney movies and Nancy Drew books. I went to an all girls boarding school. I was taught to play by certain rules, to behave in a certain way and to translate Latin. I understand that I do not understand except when I am told I understand.

She drops the character.

Lights!

She pauses the presentation. Full Flush.

Shall we examine the dynamic of who I am in Reality? Pause.

Yes, the question is rhetorical.

Lights!

Drop Flush. Reilly assumes a seductive character, somewhat threatening.

I am Fantasy.

She resumes the presentation. Her seductive quality moves into a more complacent state. The video becomes dream like and blurry showing a naked woman, and then shots of GRACE being alarmingly endearing. The images coincide with the text…

Assumption Two

I am what you see. I am timeless, maleable, docile. I will give you what you want. I will be what you want when you need it. You can turn me off and you can turn me on. Invite me in and lock me out.

Assumption Three

I have no feelings. I have no memory except for what you tell me. I exist because you allow me to exist. And when you want to forget, I will disappear into oblivion.

The screen goes white. Reilly drops the character aggressively…

Lights!

Stage floods with white light.

Any questions?

Remember, there are no stupid questions…

If you’re smart enough not to ask them.

Lights flash to silhouette.

R: (VOICEOVER): Sssssshhhhhhh…Listen

BLACKOUT

_____________________

Lights up on Evelyn sitting at her vanity in her robe again. Grace is fingerpainting on the floor. Evelyn takes a sip of her drink and surveys the vanity, looking at the bottles of pills.

E: What to do, what to do…I take you. Or I take you. For some reason I want to keep taking you…what to do, what to do…What would happen if I took all of you? Well…duh…Yeah I think this is where we are running into our problem…

Beat.

E: Its so hard when you can’t sleep. When its late at night and seems like day will never come. I don’t want it to come. I don’t think you realize what this is doing to me, do you?

GRACE holds up her painting to show Evelyn.

G: This is you. She smiles happily, looks at the picture and back at Evie. See? IT IS ALL ABOUT YOU, DEARIE.

Beat.

E: Are you trying to distract me?

G: No. This is you. See? If you were a finger-painting, this is what you would look like according to me.

Beat.

E: You’re not helping.

G: That’s right. I’m finger-painting. Come play with me.

E: It’s the waiting…You know?

G: You think you are so brilliant Evelyn.

E: …thanks…its knowing and watching and not saying anything.

G: (overlaps) You’re Welcome.

Fast Beat.

E: Why are we here? Why keep doing this? How have we been doing this? How long?

Grace cannot answer. She is thinking furiously, paces about the room.

E: How have we been doing this, Gracie?

G: Stop asking stupid questions.

E: They’re not stupid.

G: Certain questions are ment for certain times…Evelyn is confused. Like the answer is a logical conclusion or predicatable result. Or you figure out the right formula for your questions so they produce a clear cumulative answer. Or the question is rhetorical.

E: That sounds stupid.

G: Watch TV.

E: Whatever.

G: Ooooo, rrrr-iiight, okay. Keep forgetting, sorry.

Phone rings. Beat. They look at each other. It rings again.

E: …Answer…

Grace picks up the phone.

G: Hello?

Pause. She listens, looks at Evie and nods. Evie picks up the phone on her vanity and transforms, laughing.

E: Hi Stranger. Pause. I’m fine. Its nice to hear your voice…..Oh, well what do you think? …Sure. …Of course.

They hang up. Long Beat. The air gets heavy. Evie, excited and youthful. Grace, serious and grave.

G: Game on.

Grace stares potently at Evelyn, stuffing things from her vanity drawers (pills, papers, books, cocoa butter…) into a small overnight bag. Busily getting ready and humming to herself, Evelyn is an excited young girl in love. Grace stares at her as if willing her to stop and calm down. She gives up and looks away, sighing sadly…

G: I used to be that way. She suddenly gets hit with a powerful wave of emotion. I never wanted this…I have a choice…

BLACKOUT

Reilly enters and stands behind her chair.

R: Reality is subjective.

She challenges a response but gets none.

R: But subject to the collective.

She waits and then shakes her head disappointed.

R: Fantasy has no limits. As long as you keep it hidden where it is. If you try to make it Real…

She scowls and then sits down in the chair. She huffs and adjusts her skirt. Her voice and mannerisms change, softening like a mother telling her daughter a story. She begins weaving the fantasy…

R: Consider that we are left on the Camino Real and it is the same day over and over again…Return to the Hundred Acre Wood and forget you are forgotten…Fantasy is in the moment…moments know no consequence….

Grace comes hurtling in from SL and pushes her over in the chair.

Beat.

Grace stands defensively taught. Reilly drops the character, wipes her mouth and stands up.

G: I’ve had enough of this shit.

R: Dammit.

G: I want out.

R: Its not over yet.

G: I quit.

R: You quit?

G: I’m done.

R: You’re done?

G: Rhetoric.

Beat. Reilly chuckles condescendingly.

G: I’m serious.

R: Snapping at her. And I don’t know what you expect me to do with it.

G: Fucking let me out.

Beat. Reilly just stares at her steadily. She is in control.

G: We always have a choice remember?

R: You made that choice and now you stay until it is over.

G: I want out.

R: Its too late.

G: Then I want to change the ending.

R: How do you know the end isn’t already changing?

Beat.

G: I think you and I…

R: Listen. Pause. She holds her hand up slowly. You can hear…

VO Christopher Robin: I’m right here.

R: Get some sleep.

G: Oh God. She starts crying softly.

R: Get some sleep. Like the mother telling the story. Listen. You can hear breathing…

G: All right. Enough. I’m going. She walks quickly towards USR.

She turns back.

G: But when I made that choice. When I dialed a phone number. And then went to dinner—

R: You don’t eat.

G: I DID NOT CHOOSE THIS.

R: Fantasy is limitless, isn’t it?

R: Listen.

CR VO: I’m right here.

GRACE can’t take it, exits.

Reilly chuckles and looks up, shadowing her eyes with her hand.

R: Stupid little girl. Can you cue the lights?

BLACKOUT

R: (With Blackout) Thanks. Cue the Flashback.

Transition back in time. This can be done through film and music.

GRACE out in the world, working, living. Shots of her life (no sound) before.

As this is being shown, the lights come up low on a similar room. The bed has been moved into the living room and the vanity is not there.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN enters quickly dressed in corporate suite, briefcase, bag etc…

He puts everything down routinely, rhythmically, smoothly, his jacket over the chair and then exits into the bathroom, while taking off his tie. We here water running, etc…

On the video screen, GRACE hails a taxi, gets in and takes out her cell phone. She dials as the lights go down. She turns her head so we cannot see her face. For a moment, we almost lose Grace. The lights are breathing with her, it seems: fading in and out, up and down, slowly rising and falling….

Cell phone rings onstage. CR enters now dressed in a robe and takes cell phone out of his jacket.

CR: Hi….3060.  …Uh-huh….56th and 6th. Yeah. Bye.

GRACE hangs up her cell phone, giggling. She sighs and looks relieved. Stares out the window, dreamily.

Christopher Robin continues with the routine, opening a bottle of wine, getting settled

Meanwhile, Grace dials Travis (T). This exchange happens on film, cutting back and forth. Travis is outside what looks like a fun happening party.

T: Yo — watchya doin’

G: Nutin’. Callin’ you.

T: Well shit.

G: Siiiiiiit….

T: So…are you coming or aren’t you?

G: Naawwwww…I got shit I gotta do man, places to go, people to see….

T: Sounds like you’re up to something.

G: Never.

T: Well fine. You just go then.

G: Laughing. Will you find it in your heart to forgive me?

T: No.

G: Please?

T: No.

G: Please?

T: No.

G: Please?

T: No.

G: Please?

T: Grace, shut it.

G: No.

T: Shut it.

G: No.

T: SHUT IT.

G: NO.

They both bust up laughing.

G: I gotta go.

T: Yooooo….Dirty Slut.

G: Bite me, Turd Monkey.

T: Oooooo!

G: Ooooo! ‘kay, I love you.

T: Love you too.

GRACE hangs up and looks worried for a moment. The film image fades and lights down. CROSS FADE…

The lights begin to slowly come up on stage. There is a moment and then, a knock at the door. Christopher Robin goes to answer it.

EVELYN enters quickly (not Grace), taking off her coat, hat and sunglasses. She has her back to him as though she is collecting herself for the moment.

The air in the room is heavy. They move slowly and steadily through it.

There is a forboding and yet there is an innocence.

She turns to him finally and they look at each other steadily. Taking the moment in.

There is a sense that they are two soldiers returning from war.

CR:  C’mere

E: Oh….(long embrace, long pause) There you are.

CR: I’m right here.

E: I’ve missed you. Its good to be back.

CR: I know. I know. Me too.

E: So many looks…

CR: Secret glances…

E: Just for an instant…

CR: I hate waiting for this…

E: We finally made it…

They hold each other a moment longer. The sense that it is long overdue. She steps back to show him the dress she is wearing. He looks her up and down.

CR: So beautiful.

E: Thank you. Long Pause. I brought these for you.

She goes to her bag and pulls out several cards with writing on them. He reads them.

E: Lost, by David Wagoner. How To Make A DaDaist Poem by Tristan Tszrara.

CR: You know….You just get me. Most people don’t get me but you do.

E: Oh really?

CR: (Pouring the wine) You…..you just get it.

E: I hope so. Otherwise I’m pretty screwed.

CR: (Offering the wine) Oh, I think you’ll be fine.

E: (Going to him) I like you.

She kisses him. Pause, he kisses her back, almost fiercely. Long kiss. He overwhelms her and she breaks away.

CR: How are you? Are you okay?

E: I’m fine.

CR: What have you been doing?

E: A little bit of everything. I see a lot of plays. I go to museums. I’m writing.

CR: Ah, and a job?

E: Not yet.

Short Pause.

E: How are you?

CR: I’m okay. Not great.

Beat.

CR: Come here.

E: (Moving slowly towards him) Saving the world from World War Three.

CR: Hah. Come here.

E: Are we going to invade Iran this summer?

CR: Now what do you think you are doing?

He moves toward her.

CR: Enough talk for now. Drink.

He hands her the wine.

Beat.

She takes the wine and drinks. She stands for a moment, then looks at the robe, almost unsure of what to do. She gulps the wine and then begins to undress and put on the robe, awkward at first and then she smooths into the routine. Once dressed, she gulps the wine again. He is watching her.

CR: “There will be time, there will be time…”

Evelyn turns and looks at him shocked, excited, she knows it but for the moment cannot remember.

E: What’s that from?

CR: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

E: T.S. Eliot…Oh my god… (She laughs softly) “Let us go then you and I when the evening is spread against the sky like a patient etherised upon a table….”

CR: You. Who are you? (He pushes her down on the bed.)

E: “…Let us go through certain half deserted streets, the muttering retreats of one night cheap hotels and sawdust restaurants with oystershells….”

CR: And in the room the women come and go—

E: “Streets that follow like a tedious argument of insidious intent that leads you to an overwhelming question. Oh do not ask what is it? Let us go and make our visit.”

(Together) “And in the room the women come and go talking of Michelangelo.”

E: Oh….

CR: I’m right here.

BLACKOUT.

Dim Light DSL. Reilly, in a white lab coat with a clip board, steps into it and addresses the audience softly.

R: Forgive us. We know not what we do. We are trying to figure out what this is. What is happening here. From everything that came before us to all that has happened to bring each person here in this room, we are trying to somehow put a stop to it.

She checks on Evelyn who is rising in time with the Entrance of Grace, in silhouette. They do an alternate version of their ritual and trade places.

R: Before we lose ourselves and the last chances we have…why do we feel life slipping through our hands?

X FADE UP, DIM

Sometime later. GRACE (not Evelyn) is sitting upright wrapped in the sheet staring forward. He is in the middle of questioning her.

CR: A lot of people have hurt you, haven’t they?

She is silent.

Pause. She looks at him.

CR: Ah-hah.

They stare at each other.

CR: But there is something about you. I just see you as successful, different from the rest. Don’t lose that.

She has looked away.

CR: Look, if ever you need a quiet place to read…..to talk…..She looks back at him….to just get away….I’m in a bidding war for a one bedroom apartment….

She lies down with him and stares forward.

G: Where?

CR: 54th and 1st.

G: That’s a nice neighborhood.

Long Pause.

G: Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.

CR: What?

G: Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.

CR: What?

Silence. Anger.

CR: This is punishment. We come here. We ask for it.

G: Crazy Catholic.

Grace sighs. She looks at him and they embrace.

G: I understand. But if you say those kinds of things then…I will imagine or daydream about… I let this finally happen only because I knew that we’d make up a good adventure together. It would not be left unfinished. I do not need or expect those other things. Just an honest ending, that leaves me in one piece.

They laugh for several moments. The laughter passes…

G: If we make promises we cannot keep, then our story will never end, it will be trapped in purgatory.

She chuckles at her cleverness. He smiles. Then his face gets grave.

G: What’s wrong?

CR: This is punishment. I think I underestimated how much you would have to take…

G: You underestimate a lot of things. I want you inside of me.

BLACKOUT.


Grace comes tumbling from the ceiling, landing behind the couch. There is a moment and she gets up. She is frustrated.

Evelyn is at her vanity writing in her journal and drinking. She is bursting with happiness.

E: I’m going to go to Rome.

G: Really?

E: Yes. I am going to see Rome.

G: Really?

E: I never thought that I would see Rome.

Beat.

E: Can you imagine? I feel like I’m flying. I have wings. I have grace.

G: I am going to have a drink.

E: I can feel it, Gracie! I feel it.

G: Have a drink. Settle down.

E: I’m in love! I’m in love! I’m in love!

Short Beat.

G: ….Evie?

E: …Yeah? Pause. I know…

Grace waits. Evie knows what she is asking.

E: I can hang on a little bit longer. I just can’t be left alone too much longer. But that doesn’t matter. We’re almost through the Winter. And Spring always makes things better. Festina Lente.

G: Latin. ‘Make haste slowly.’

Silence. Grace brings Evelyn a drink. They do the pill ritual.

C: magic.

E: magic.

Pause.

E: Now what?

G: We wait. Fingerpaint.

Beat. Evelyn has become extremely anxious and flighty.

E: No. Not this time.

G: Its too bad this room didn’t come with Internet. Something.

E: (Overlapping) It will be different, you’ll see. Something happened. Something is happening.

G: Okay, Evie.

E: This has gone on too long for it to be nothing.

G: Do you think this is Real?

Beat.

E: You heard it. Didn’t you?

G: I heard it, Evie.

E: You heard it. It was REAL.

G: Then why can’t we hear anything now? Why is nothing happening now? If the story was finishing, why is nothing changing? She goes to the front door and tries to open it.

See, it doesn’t budge. I can’t open it. That rule hasn’t changed.

Pause. Grace is gathering her thoughts and trying to get Evelyn’s attention. She kneels down in front of her and takes her hands…

G: Evelyn, I don’t know the ending anymore. I don’t know when this will be over.

She raises her hands and holds Evelyn’s face, firm but gentle. Evelyn places her hands along Grace’s jaw line.

We have lost control of it.

Evelyn is shaking with rage and instinctively, squeezes Grace’s jaw and then neck, the rage erupting from her as a low howl increases.

G: Evie—hey….OW! OW! Evelyn STOP. STOP IT! OW!

They both scream and Evie throws her hands off and turns to dig furiously in her drawer.

E: Give me a goddamn cigarette.

Grace is irritated and now, looking at her with a new fear and loathing.

G: Rome. She chuckles. Long Pause. Rome-antic said in the moment. It makes the Fantasy all the more exciting, not Real.

SILENCE.

Evelyn suddenly jumps, terrified, runs toward the phone, picking it up. Frantically, she tries the door to the room after failing to dial out.

Grace watches, exhausted and too tired to keep up with the dramatics. Mostly, Grace appears stunned. Finally:

G: WHAT THE FUCK?? Evelyn? What are you…

She rushes over and snatches her up in her arms, holding her, cooing and stroking her hair as Evie sobs.

What Grace is about to say comes from a place of genuine caring and fear. Did Grace almost lose Evie? Why? Both women are shaking:

You never, ever use the goddamn phone! You know that! And don’t you dare ever answer it if I am not here. We don’t know what could happen if you even talk to him without me knowing about it.

E: I think I am really losing it. I mean…I can’t take it. Please. Please can we end this?

G: I told you we lost control of it. The ending isn’t really up to us anymore. Unless I go Out There.

E: Into…but you won’t be able to come back. Rules of the wood.

Grace nods. Now truly exhausted, she flops onto the couch and sighs.

E: Noooooo…Nooooo…I have to be Real. I was supposed to become Real, not…we can’t break that rule…Gracie-Lah?

Grace shakes her head and sighs.

What happened? Pause.

We were supposed to be able to go together. You told me I would get to see Rome. Short Pause.

You said he promised. I never thought I would see Rome and now so close…

Don’t give up on me, please. We don’t have to keep this secret forever. It’s almost over…

As she turns in towards the couch, covering her head with a pillow and groaning a sigh, Grace tries to bring the energy down.

Evelyn tries to get Grace’s attention.

Grace, oh GRACE! I feel it…love so much and soon we’re all going to be together, it will be Real…Out There…The story will finish and end and then there won’t be a secret anymore.

That Fantasy will become Reality…

Grace turns and looks at Evelyn.

Beat.

G: Time. Finger-paint.

BLACKOUT

The stage is dark. Silent. The first strains of a sad and noble electric guitar begin echoing in the theatre. Evelyn enters and sits down in the darkness, humming as the opening comes up to ‘Halleluliah’ by Leonard Cohen

Evelyn lights a candle. She proceeds to light several around her. She speaks and moves like this is a ritual she finds refuge in.

E: I am pretending that I am in a church. That I am in a convent. I’m a nun. I’m pure. I’m a virgin. I am an angel and I am innocent.

E: Please. I know you hear me. I know you are near me. Please listen. Please find me. Don’t leave me between remembered and forgotten. Haunting halls of marbles and mirrors…trapped and locked from heaven, lost between remembered and forgotten. Please.

BLACKOUT.

Reilly in spot, standing as if on a subway, almost in a trance…

R: After the long days journey, the passing of another cold damp winter, the merging of time from past to present…

They stood on that street corner, looking at eachother in silence. Eyes locked, she took a step back off the curb, her face melting into a question. His eyes never moved but his jaw locked in reaction…

Even in silence the simple movements carried the communication. The evening settled in around them.

And the world held its breath waiting to see who would move next. Statues, these moments for statues holding in their seconds a sense for both of them, that they were timeless. Captured in the glow of the setting sun, preserved in twilight…She was a wax figure and he was a porceline doll…

As she began melting, cracks began weaving a netting from the top of his head, down his body. As she dropped in slow molasses lumps, he finally shattered all in one instant.

Breaking the silence.

Burying the past with the present. Announcing the arrival of night.

And purging the future.

There is a slow fade up. Grace sits in the corner. It is days later at night.

Evelyn has passed out on her vanity, two pill bottles knocked over and spilled.

Grace stares forward as if hypnotized. She begins speaking.

G: I was in bed with the devil in more ways than one. But I think my soul was sold a long time ago.

Was it the wine? The red, red wine…

I remember green eyes. I remember my yellow dress. It was summer. Night. He took my hand. I gave in.

I started jumping up and down on the bed like a kid and is that when it happened?

Beat.

I created her one night. The same night I found myself here, I think. I don’t remember too much, I was drunk. But she is me. I don’t know why. The only way I survive, I guess. That’s the deal apparently…I was under the impression that I could always…just change my mind…but once the first choice was made…

Long Beat.

I got curious and fell down the rabbit hole. I am trapped. In marble and mirrors. Locked away in a tower.

I am lost in the Hundred Acre Wood.

Beat. She notices the telephone. She stares at it.

Damn you.

Dorothy Parker’s A Telephone Call — Damn you to HELL!

Beat. She starts laughing, calling and heckling Reilly.

What is this? Name the famous philosopher…Sartre. NO EXIT. What the fuck? No Exit meets Waiting for Godot? You are such a twisted fuck.

Look at her. I think she’s overdosed on me. Oh God.

She goes over to Evelyn and tries to wake her up. She topples over onto the ground bringing a lamp down with her.

Grace frantically checks her pulse and to see if she is breathing.

TIME OUT! LIGHTS! CUE THE LIGHTS!

Shift to work lights. Reilly lowers herself from the ceiling in a harness.

Reilly’s looks like she’s in the middle of a light hang and is sucking on a red lollipop.

R: Annoyed. What?

G: What?

R: What?

G: What?

R: Can you ask a stupid question?

Short Beat.

G: What’s the deal with Evelyn?

R: Looks like she’s passed out.

G: She hasn’t overdosed?

R: No.

G: She’s not dead?

R: No.

G: Oh.

Beat.

R: Can I get back to work now?

G: Wait! Please. Please, just allow me a moment. Please.

R: You’ve got 90 seconds. Go.

G: How much longer?

R: Hard to tell.

G: Can you get a message out for me?

R: Sure.

G: Tell them, Tell him: Let me go. This is killing me. Finish the story. Don’t leave me here.

R: Right.

Reilly starts to pull herself up.

G: Wait—

R: BLACKOUT!!

G: NO! DAMMIT! NO BLACK—

BLACKOUT.

Lights Up on Evelyn. She stirs, no longer passed out, she steadily surfaces into consciousness. She reaches clumsily for a cigarette, her hand shaking, she lights it. She reaches for a bottle of wine and notices the pills spilled again. She rolls her eyes and takes a drink from the bottle. She picks up a pill and takes it. Her movement is heavy and she rests her head again on the vanity.

E: Each time felt as though it was both the first time and the last time. Ever get that? I mean, ever get that?

I know that it will never go beyond the halls of marble and mirrors. It will never be more than what this is. And I am only so much.

I will never be Real.

She starts to lose it and then regains drunken composure.

Left without wings for flight. I lose precision…I fall from grace.

Cold street pavement

‘Whore’ written in blackened ash across my forehead. Reeling…roiling

Rapidly she sits up straight and, swaying a bit, she chuckles, slightly crazed.

Maudlin melencholy fate. Icy formality on 48th street. Unfinished.  Not something that could be considered until…

She drinks and drags her cigarette. Chillingly sober and stoic.

When the wine is drunk. When words lose meaning. All the damage necessary is done.

The phone rings. She looks at it. It rings again. She looks around, nervous because Grace is not there. The third ring. She has never answered it before. Fourth Ring. She immediately picks up—

Hello?

BLACKOUT.

Lights up dim, living room. GRACE is asleep. It is silent. She stirs and then wakes up suddenly, confused. She doesn’t know where she is and cannot remember…

Evelyn?

Evie?

She begins moving around hastily, remembering… making her way around the space.

Evelyn? Goddamit, Ev, where the hell are you? Don’t do this…Evie…

She turns to the phone, sees it off the hook, puts it back. Pauses. She realizes what this means. She picks it up, with an increasing sense of urgency and hits the receiver.

Hello? Hello?

Hello, you stupid….ugh? !

Shit-hole chewing bastards.

…Fuck.

She hangs up the phone and goes to sit on the sofa. Beat. She lays down. She sits up and looks SR (towards Reality).

If I just go…If I just try it…If I do it alone…To the stagehands.

She knocks on the fourth wall (to the audience).

Do you want to know what the fuck is really going on here? Its some virtual theatrical psychological experiment. And I am stuck in it and I can’t get the FUCK out. This is crazy 1984 holadeck shit and I got put in it because I…

I did something bad…I…I FELL IN LOVE.

Beat.

And I fell in love with someone I can never truly have except for HERE.

Not OUT THERE.

Get it?

It was one of those things we just couldn’t stop…

And so I am STUCK in this Johns Hopkins experiment or sick version of reality television.

I am a stupid human…

BUT I HAVE A SOUL.

Beat.

Oh fuck. No one knows. No one sees…

Christopher Robin has been away too long. I don’t know…if he will leave this unfinished. Abandon me here. Unfinished. Incomplete…

WHY DID EVELYN LEAVE?? WHERE DID SHE GO?

There is a knock at the front door.

Grace sits up straight, pauses, reaches forward and lights a cigarette. There is a knock again, more persistent. She gets up, goes to the liquor cabinet, gets out a bottle of The Macallan, takes the cork out and swigs. There is another knock and she waits, staring at the door. Prepared for something. The sound of a key in the lock and then it opens abruptly.

The only light coming in is from the hallway. Standing in the doorframe is a Bogart-esque character in a fedora, the features concealed. He moves and closes the door, the stage goes black and as the slow fade up happens, Christopher Robin is taking off the fedora and hanging up the trenchcoat. Grace has ducked behind the bar, terrified. CR turns and surveys the room. There is a moment. He walks forward to the sofa, looks around.

CR: The room’s bigger…

Pause. Grace is grappling with the situation. It has no precedent.

G: Is that…the same hotel? Is that you?

CR: I’m right here.

Long Beat. Grace stands slowly gaining her bearings.

G: You’re right here. Pause. She crosses to him.

Christopher Robin. The one who grows tired of his toys.

CR: Stop it. Sighs and shakes his head like she doesn’t get it.

G: Where…Why…

She goes up to him steadily to check and see if he is real.

Long Moment.

They embrace finally, the same embrace as before. It is in this we see the innocence. What they share is powerfully honest.

G: You’re here.

CR: I’m here. And so are you. Its good to see you. You.

G: Me. You. Here. Wherever this may be…Here…What happened to you?

He shakes his head. His movements have become noticably heavier and sustained. She reaches for him, shaking her head.

G: That’s okay, just please…it doesn’t matter. Whatever happens…its almost over now, right? let’s find Evelyn and make up some fabulous ending…

He gets up and changes, Throughout the rest of the scene there is the sense that he is stiffening as if he might shatter.

CR: She’s sleeping.

G: What do you mean, sleeping?

CR: She’s resting. She took too many of those little white pills, threw some emotional temper fit when I tried to fuck her up the ass and then she passed out.

Grace stops. She is terrified. She cannot speak. She stares at him and begins to understand…

G: She’s okay?

CR: For now.

Awkward Pause.

Grace sits on the couch and stares at him thinking, “How could you do this to me?”

She is unable to say it.

CR: I think I made a mistake.

G: Yes.

He sits down next to her. She continues her stare, melting into sadness.

CR: I think I underestimated how much you would have to go through.

G: Yes.

Pause. He is expecting her to elaborate. She doesn’t.

CR: You know you always had a choice. I wanted this to be because you wanted it too.

G: Yes.

Pause.

G: All your hard work in the beginning?

CR: Hey—

G: The poems, the novels, the tomatoes from your garden, the croissants in the morning, the messages, the letters…

She is suddenly very sad.

Why did you have to pick me? Out of all…why me?

CR: You’re special.

G: Bullshit…No…Very quick pause.

I was vulnerable. I was young. I needed to be loved and to feel safe.

LONG Beat.

Strategy. Pros play to hurt.

CR: That’s not it, Grace, and you know it.

G: See, the funny thing is…She laughs, understanding it for the first time…

I don’t trust you at all.

Pause. This time she is expecting him to respond. He doesn’t. He cannot think of the right thing to say.

You’ve been GONE. You got BORED.

I have not heard from you in months. MONTHS.

You have trapped me in this. Do you understand? I cannot go Out There. I cannot live my life the way I want to live it. I am stuck here with the last of my innocence, holding onto it, passed out in some king size down comforter.

Beat.

She has no idea. None. She’s scared…so scared…She wants to believe…she wants this to be Real…She loves you with all her heart and offers nothing but unconditional loyalty and admiration. She still thinks you mean what you say when you say it. She thinks you care about her. HA! You never fucking cared. Never…

CR: Hey, Grace…Grace. Pause. I have lost control of this too. I didn’t want this to happen. I didn’t know what I wanted…but…

He is searching for the words and moves in closer, hesitantly…

You have to understand that I never promised you anything. We never made any promises to each other.

You are one beautiful, talented, ebullient young woman. I don’t want to be anything but a happy memory of times past…

G: Sycophant.

He huffs and rolls his eyes.

Pause, she studies him.

What are you doing?

CR: I am trying to help you understand the situation.

G: What happened to you?

CR: I have to go away.

G: What does that mean if you are leaving?

CR: I go to where I go. And you go…

G: But then what? That’s not how it ends? What happens to Evelyn?

CR: Evelyn stays here…

G: …I have to leave but she can’t come with me?

CR: She stays here. You leave. The story is finished. I can’t think of anything more to make up.

G: What? What are you talking about?

CR: I have to go.

G: What are you doing?

She goes to him. Long Beat.

Please. Please. CHRISTOPHER ROBIN PLEASE DON”T GO. I can’t leave her behind. Do you understand me? She’s part of me. Without her, I will be incomplete. Please. Just make up this one last part with me and you will never see me here, or anywhere, again…

Beat.

You promised you would see this finished.

That means making her Real.

Otherwise, this story has had no purpose but to hurt.

I cannot leave. That’s the last of my innocence. She’s a part of me. Please. You did promise me. You promised me you would leave only if the story was complete, finished.

She is trying not to cry.

I have kept my mouth shut. I have always allowed you to drive the course of this, never demanding or even asking for anything.

CR: Your actions are part of the reason you are here.

G: I know that! You know what this will do to us?

CR: That is a risk both of us took. A leap of passion.

G: What are you doing?

CR: I am trying to get you to understand, kid. This is how it has to be. This is how its going to end.

G: And I never see you again. Never hear from you again.

CR: Well…

G: Don’t. Just don’t.

She takes a breath to unsuccessfully collect herself.

Can you give me a minute? I have to sit down. Is there any water?

CR: I have wine.

G: Fine. She drinks from the flask he passes her. Then she realizes what she has done and looks up at him. He reaches down and touches her face tenderly. She leans into his hand and closes her eyes.

CR: You know that I can’t tell you anything.

G: Rules of the Wood.

CR: I care about you. Grace, you helped me rediscover something…. Feel something that I honestly believed was lost.

G: Help me then. I need you.

CR: There is nothing I can do. He looks at his watch.

G: YOU CAN MAKE HER REAL.

LIKE YOU PROMISED. INSTEAD OF KILLING OFF THE LAST OF IT.

ITS LAZY. LAZY!

BAD WRITING.

There is a knock at the door. CR stands up.

G: No…wait…Don’t answer it. Just stay with me and talk to me a little longer. Don’t shut me off.

CR goes and opens the door. Reilly comes in to escort him out.

G: Christopher Robin don’t go. Christopher Robin don’t go.

R: Ease off.

G: When are you coming back?

R: Questions, Grace…

G: Will you come back for us?

R: Cue the Lights.

CR: Get some sleep, beautiful.

Reilly closes the door. Grace screams and runs into it, slamming herself up against the door. She tries to open it and it does not budge. She sinks down crying.

BLACKOUT.

There is a sequence showing a short passage of time. GRACE has fallen asleep on the couch.

Suddenly EVELYN comes crashing through the door. She’s been ravished and is in almost a comical state. She is Ophelia, with flowers in her hair. She holds her breast like Juliet with a kercheif from Desdemona, lightly bloodied, there are bruises around her neck. She is high as a kite.

E: Calloo-Callay it’s a beautiful day!

G: Oh SHIT.

E: There are whispers in the corner of the room…

G: Oh Evelyn…

E: And WHOOOooooo are YOOOooooo?

G: Christopher Robin came my dear.

E: ‘Dear, he called me, dear and dahling

She stumbles and falls, doing a faceplant. There is a short beat.

E: Owwwww…my faaaaaaccceee…

G: Let’s get you on the couch.

E: My faaaaaccceee…

Evelyn is looking intensely at Clayton as she tries to help her onto the couch. Like she knows something is terribly wrong. Her manner is like one possessed, passive-agressive.

E: Eez a handsome, ya? Go’t ah li’l arh tha’t, blahck Ireesh t’ing goin’ fer ‘im thar, ya…

Awwhhhh, Graaac-ee, ‘ees Catholic, is he? Why’sssss’it arlways thah Blahck Aaahyyreesh Cahth-lic boys, hmm? Wh’dem green eyes? Dohs grrrrrr-EEN ahyeeeees.

They lay her on the couch. Her manner becomes disoriented, she slaps her face several times, gasps for breath. Then flops her head toward the audience and goes limp.

E: (Somewhat normal) Oh…where am I? My head…its spinning…

She moves like she’s going to vomit and holds it, falls back on the sofa gasping, staring upwards.

G: Oh shit. Evie. Evie?

Short Pause.

G: I am getting the trash can.

She emerges first with a trash can and she follows with a bowl of water with lemons a towel and a knife.

E: Oh whoa…whisee..st00 havseen wha iuhvseeen…

She is sitting slowly up, Grace moving towards her. Evelyn suddenly grabs Grace by the wrist.

…SsssseeeeeeWhaaawtAaaaaahSsssseeeeeee… She moves to vomit again and holds it in. She falls back on the couch.

G: Hold on Evie. Just hold it.

E: Gasping for air. AhhhhhYooooduhnuh…Like a tiger…RRRRrrrrrrrrrowwrrrrrowwrrrrre

She holds Evie’s head up while she vomits with considerable pain into the trashcan, gasping between wretchs.

E: Oh-god-oh-god-oh-god She bends over and wretches again. Not much is coming out. Gasping for air. No-No-No-No She wretches. Wh-ha-WHY? Final wretching.

Evelyn, sobbing, sling-shots back on the couch, exhausted, half-concious, muttering ‘There will be time. There will be time. Before the taking of toast and tea.”

Grace folds one of the first towels and dips it in a large bowl. She squeezes the water out and then slices a large piece of lemon, squeezing it onto the towl.

G: Evie, now Shhhhhh, just put your teeth down on this and suck on it. Its just a terry cloth towel with water on it. Okay?

Grace repeats the set up, puts one on Evelyn’s head, wipes her face, nose and mouth, smeared makeup away, what’s left of the vomit.

E: (half-awake) I smell lemons.

G: That’s because we use a little lemon juice on these towels.

E: That’s like summer…

G: Uh-huh.

E: Gracie, I smell lemons…is it Summer? Is it summer and can I go play with Tigger?

She weakly shifts on the couch, grimaces in pain. Grace begins wiping down her neck and chest, removing the scarf around Evie’s neck, revealing the bruises and chaffing. Grace jumps and gasps abruptly. Evelyn frantically tries to cover it up but tumbles forward into the bowl of ice and lemons. The dress she is wearing falls to pieces, as do the scarfs around her wrists.

Her body is covered in bruises. Embarassed, Evie crawls over by the chair on her vanity, reaching for her robe she turns her back to cover herself. Evie’s eyes are wild again, she is breathing like a cornered animal. Grace is in shock.

C: Sssssshhhhh…Ease up now, okay…

Pause.

Evie, what happened? Evie, you can tell me. She shakes her head. Evelyn. This me. You are me. You have to tell me what happened.

E: Overlapping. Hallways, marble and mirrors. Whore, written in ash across me forhead, my faaaaace. She cries. HE HURT ME! WHY??

G: Okay, quiet…Evie. She taps her face. No one was ever supposed to get hurt. Its time for us to stop this okay? We have to end this. Help me remember. Help me remember. I have to now. It’s the way we end this.

E: But I thought this is a story no one tells. No one is supposed to know.

Enter Reilly

R: No. Rules of the Wood.

This is a secret no one knows about. Grace, it’s time for him to know he broke the rules.

It is a story you, Grace, have to tell. This choice is yours to make.

She goes to the vanity and opens the top drawer, removing Evelyn’s journals.

R: He broke the rules….And he broke the commandments without a thought to the consequence:

Thou shalt not leave the story unfinished.

Grace, you may choose now how this story will end. She gestures with the notebooks. You take these with you and never come back. Evelyn must go with you.

Or, you leave without her, without her journals and the story ends there.

Choose.

BLACKOUT

THE END.

Copyright 2009 By Kimberly Cox, All rights reserved.

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