I always used to think I was a bit loopy because I created characters in my head and-and acted them out. My family teased me and people must have thought I had multiple personality disorder (it was the 80s/90’s). My daughter does the exact same thing and I now realise that my mind creates stories and the best way to reveal those stories is by writing them down.
Here is the second draft for my TMA 3. I’ve finished the entire second draft this morning. YAY!
I’ve taken inspiration from the morality plays that were popular in medieval times. I hope that my tutor will see the relevance this play has in the message it sends out despite setting it nearly 90 years ago.
I think that all three characters have a bit of me inside them. I’m working on making the characters more well rounded. The next two scenes I’ve written shows a different side to the characters.
The play is set in the mid-1920’s -after the World War one and the Russian revolutions.
I want to thank Clarissa @ POETURJA for helping me develop an intriguing plot with her grimoire and insight into her ancestry of being a descendant of the misunderstood Roma Gypsies.
There is still a lot to polish and make it submission and MA worthy
Let me know what you think.
CAST LIST: (so far)
VLADIMIR- always wears gloves
THE CROWD- actors and the audience
LOCATION: Paris, 1925
SUGGESTED STAGE DIRECTIONS (my undeveloped vision) bare stage – (audience act as the crowd for further scenes) are seated in a circle. All action takes place in the centre of the audience. Characters sit amongst the audience or come from behind to enter the performing stage. All props are simulated by actor’s mannerisms and minimal props. A box can be at table, piano, bench. To evoke sensory surroundings multimedia like audio-piano music/ screens/ lightening etc. used to set the scene example to create the illusion of shadows, or people, to set the mood of the scene.
EVE is already playing as the audience find a seat.
NOTE TO SELF: BE VISUAL include all people who will be in the each scene setting. Hot seat 20 question for characters
EVE sits playing the saddest most melancholic piece of music at an old piano, in the jardinière outside. She sits in the centre of the room.THE CROWD sit and stand around her forming a circle. EVE plays on as the audience find a place to sit. EVE is absorbed in playing her music. After some time EVE stops playing. Bangs on the keys of the piano and begins to cry. EVE cries and cries and cries. Nobody comes to her. EVE stops crying.
EVE: Who’s there? I know someone there is there. Show yourself.
(EVE seems to gaze through the audience. A spotlight comes up and sweeps across the audience illuminating them. The room goes dark. EVE begins to play again –a wild angry, jazzy piece of music.EVE plays until she falls off her chair. From out of the audience PANACEA, plainly dressed in dark colours approaches EVE. PANACEA attempts to help her up)
EVE: Who are you?
PANACEA: Hush, I am but an old dear who admires your music.
EVE: How did you get in here? This is private land. If you are Vladimir’s friend…
PANACEA: Who? I was merely directed to your playing.
EVE: I tell you what I told him. No. I won’t do it.
PANACEA; Do what, dear?
EVE: You don’t know?
PANACEA: No. I found the gates open and was guided by your playing.
PANACEA: You seem almost… disappointed.
EVE: I made the right choice. It doesn’t matter.
PANACEA: A problem halved and all that.
EVE: Yet I feel so guilty
PANACEA: You seem /quite
EVE: I don’t even know who you are. I can’t even….
PANACEA: As you can see I’m rather old, nothing special – just a mere human – an old lady –nondescript
EVE: You blend in with the crowd.
PANACEA: Almost like I don’t exist.
EVE: But people can see you and you –you can see them?
PANACEA: Yes. I do and I suppose seeing they do. It is not the same as looking
EVE: All I want is to be see the people Vladimir says we help.
PANACEA: You have such a gift. The world must hear this and your face is –
EVE: He did send you! Times have changed. These new admirer’s talk so strange. So many people are poor. I wonder how we can maintain our standard of living just because I have a gift. How can they just ignore and approve?
PANACEA: Approve? I don’t see many who wouldn’t. We do have mirrors nowadays.
PANACEA: They don’t do me any good.
EVE: they aren’t much good to me either.
PANACEA: Who is Vladimir?
EVE: Someone. Someone who wants the best for me.
PANACEA: You have had a disagreement?
EVE: I can’t shift this feeling -Something doesn’t add up. How can one girl ease the suffering of a nation- a world trying to make sense of all the lives lost? All those men dead.
PANACEA: Is he ONE of those sorts of men?
EVE: What? A soldier, oh no.
PANACEA: The Don Juan types.
EVE: Don Juan? I can’t even visualise what that looks like
PANACEA: You know- charming, good looking. A bit of a lothario. Gets the blood rushing to the ears.
EVE: Oh no, nothing like that. (blushes) He’s more of a guardian- a brother of sorts.
PANACEA: Well, has he hurt you, dear? Roughed you up?
EVE: No, nothing like that. He cares for me. I owe him all this. I should be begging in the streets for my bread like the rest of them.
EVE: Hello? Are you still here?
PANACEA: Yes dear. I will sit next to you then perhaps you can see better.
EVE: That is part of the problem.
PANACEA: Well, turn your face to me. I’m not exactly beautiful as yourself. I get that reaction all the time.
EVE: I can’t see you.
PANACEA: You are…
EVE: Yes. I am –that is why I’m so flaming mad. How can he expect me to be on show? (takes on mock man’s voice) Entertainment is what the new World needs. The old world’s need. We are doing A service to our people, he says. I feel privileged -far too privileged.
PANACEA: I wish I could feel the world the way you do. It’s unique.
EVE: That’s the problem. Everyone always goes on about how unique I am. How lacking in sight makes me special. Everyone wants to take my picture with me or listen to my music, but then, soon, people seem to grow weary and they just disappear, and I’m left alone in the darkness again.
PANACEA: Some people only come out when it’s dark, child.
EVE: How would I know? My darkness is my light and I have nothing to compare it to.
PANACEA: I blend in with the world. Just another face in the crowd
EVE: You sound saddened by it?
PANACEA: No, it’s just normal.
EVE: That’s what I want. Normal. I feel everything.
PANACEA: To see is not-to-not feel.
EVE: Yes, but there are these things – filters. If I could see maybe, my other senses would be diluted. Not so overpowering. Not so smothering, I feel unbalanced.
PANACEA: Yes, a woman at odds with her world. I’ve seen years of the world. Felt it too. I often wonder what it would be like if I lacked in sight and well……
EVE: It’s frustrating. I feel the need to increase all my other senses to make up for what I lack. If I could only see with these eyes, what other people see-
PANACEA: What will you do about Vladimir?
EVE: I trust him but he doesn’t understand. He believes if I could see this world that my beauty would be lost. That me not seeing what I look like and the world looks like is what makes me- this “unique” word. I hate it.
PANACEA: So, he saved you….
EVE: from a life living on the streets, from the orphanage. With his business acumen, we are still able to afford all after all the devastation.
PANACEA: Doesn’t sound like such a bad fella.
EVE: He’s not. He just doesn’t understand how much I long to see Miss, Mrs?
PANACEA: Call me Panacea.
EVE: …Like the word? How droll.
PANACEA: Yes, I was born with a gift to help those at odds with themselves.
EVE: You can give me the sight I crave?
PANACEA: It’s not a simple process. It requires/
EVE: I don’t care. Name it. I have money. Anything. What is your price?
PANACEA: Money is useless. The elixir needed to seal this contract is what is known as trading your essence.
EVE: Essence? my soul?
PANACEA: Not quite. I’m not the devil. Think of essence as an ingredient. If you barter, your unique essence say- to me. What makes you taste different from the other cookies of the world is your flavour- your essence. You want vanilla. You inherit my essence, I yours
EVE: I wouldn’t even know where to find my essence. What would I gain?
PANACEA: you could gain your sight.
EVE: And you would want to lose yours! why?
PANACEA: I’m an old dear. I’ve seen enough of the world. You, however, have so much living to do. You have these unique gifts yet you are not happy with them because you can’t see them like the others.
EVE: You make me sound ungrateful.
PANACEA: Now that is what you said. Not I.
EVE: Forgive me. DO you have all your senses?
PANACEA: (laughs)I can hear you. Your music. I see your apparent beauty. I feel your soft skin, smooth – no wrinkles. Untouched by sunshine. (breaths in to smell EVE)
EVE: Why are you smelling me?
PANACEA: I long to use my other senses more…I’m not going to eat you, this is not a fairy-tale
EVE: I’m sorry. I feel so stupid.
PANACEA: Never mind, it shows you have a highly active imagination. Much sought after in the world where vision is so vital to be a part of this world.
EVE: How could you possibly have had enough seeing?
PANACEA: Maybe it is because I met you. You captivate me.
EVE: I wish I could see what you mean.
PANACEA: Maybe your male friend is right. It would ruin you to see the world. (begins to get up)
EVE: Where are you going?
PANACEA: Leaving you to work things out. All feelings pass (small pause) eventually.
EVE: No, that is an untruth. Mine grow. Intensify. Mine never leave. They haunt me day and night. Please don’t leave me alone.
PANACEA: (sits back down) Will you play again and let me consider your eyes.
EVE: I can’t see you, though.
PANACEA: (frustrated)I know a way to access your essence.
EVE: Panacea you can give me sight?
PANACEA: If you want it as much as you claim, then perhaps it may work in your favour.
PANACEA: You question far too much and believe in far too little.
EVE: Okay, I will play. What do you/ want?
PANACEA: Play me a song that reveals everything about you to me
(EVE begins to play, looks at PANACEA. PANACEA touches EVES face, her lips and leans into EVE as if to kiss her. EVE stops playing.?
EVE: What are you doing? You ‘re not one of those Lesbians are you/?
PANACEA: Does it matter? (laughs) More a Thespian.
EVE: what does kissing me must do with giving me my sight? I may be blind but don’t mistake that for being a fool.
PANACEA: Me? Mistake you for a fool. (long pause)
EVE: I apologise. I /just want….
PANACEA: Have faith that what we do on this day will give you what you say you desire.
EVE: I’m scared.
PANACEA: Scared didn’t win the war.
EVE: I never thought of it like that. Could we try again?
PANACEA: One more chance. In hindsight, I may change my mind and decide to keep my sight at this rate.
EVE: No! I mean, it’s yours of course, but I really want to see.
PANACEA: Let me taste your tears. (leans in to lick EVES tears) Such melancholy. Such innocence…. Play on, child. I must know your name.
EVE: I can tell you. My name/is…
PANACEA: (shouts) Don’t speak it. I will find your name. That is how I will find your essence. Now play.
(EVE begins to play, looks in the eyes of PANACEA. While EVE plays, PANACEA licks the tears from her face and begins to suck on the air of EVES parted lips. EVE falls to the floor. PANACEA looks down at her, PANACEA sits at the piano, begins to play a neurotic piece of music. PANACEA finishes the piece, gets up, nudges EVE with her foot.)
PANACEA: I dedicate this piece to you. The essence of Eve – foolish. foolish Eve. (gets up leaves pushing past the crowd)
(Outside in the garden, EVE sits at the piano playing – she keeps making mistakes. Stops and starts. VLADIMIR paces up and down wears gloves)
VLADIMIR: No. That is not it? Where is the haunting draw, the sweet enchanting forest where we forget all pain? Start again.
EVE: (hesitates) Can you just listen, please.
VLADIMIR: I am. This is not good enough. (realizes) How many times, Cherie? You are already behind and the show starts in less than a fortnight.
(EVE begins to play. EVE stops and puts her hands to her forehead. VLADIMIR stops pacing and rushes to EVE)
VLADIMIR: I know I push you. You know I want the best for you. You have another headache?
VLADIMIR: (takes a bottle from his jacket) Here take one as precited. This is all nerves. The mind plays horrible tricks on someone who is utterly gifted.
EVE: But don’t you find it most peculiar? What an unusual woman. It felt so real. Are you sure you didn’t see/her?
VLADIMER: Mon Cherie, no more with this talk of absurdness’ have a duty to provide for our community. (motions to ENTOURAGE to make EVE presentable) ah, here come the publicity people. (to EVE) Not now, Cherie. Performance face – smile –a little more- higher. Manifique (ENTOURAGE fix makeup and hair, take pictures. Flashes of light and voices commanding EVE what to do. EVE poses then frowns)
PHTOPGRAPHER: Turn left. No left. Chin up – Aliyah fix her make up. Liberty her hair is not staying static. Eve, place your hands just so. More delicately. Girl, move her into position.
EVE frowns, VLADIMIR with a wave of his hands clears away the entourage. Everything is quiet again.)
VLADIMER: Cherie, what do you want me to tell you? An untruth. I saw you were fatigued, I found you at the foot of your piano. I picked you up and called on Doctor soigneur immediately.
EVE: Please, Vlad. I haven’t stopped having nightmares. I don’t feel myself. The boy…He is Everywhere.
VLADIMIR: And that is precisely why you were to take the prescribed pills for your disorder. We’ve all been through a lot (more patient) I can’t collude with these fantasies.
EVE: I feel lost. No – I misplaced. Since Panacea, all I see is this boy. I feel more sickness in my heart/than ever.
VLADIMER: Ha! What a perfect name for someone to help you regain your sight. (laughs) I love your imagination. You cannot grasp how important this next performance is. People ae coming seeking for jubilee, peace, coming from afar, the Americas, England. Important writers, artistes. Don’t you see?
EVE: No, Vlad, I don’t.
VLADIMIR: Come repose with me on our favourite bench in the jardinière. We can play our favourite game. (helps EVE up and walks to the bench in the garden both sit down)
EVE: I don’t want to guess what the colours look like. Everything has become so triste. I know you want the best for me.for our community I – can we stop for today/ I..
VLADIMER: (Sits EVE down on the bench/VLADIMIRE sits down and admires the Garden) Feel the wind. Smell the fleurs. This always lifts your spirits.
(EVE puts her hands to her cover her face and screams out)
EVE: Don’t touch me! (lights flicker in multi colours- EVE stands up and stumbles backwards. VLADIMIR rushes to catch her) Eve, what is it? Control your senses.
(Sounds of houses exploding. Windows shatter, Gun shots. Screams of men, children and women.EVE points to a war zone. EVE starts to run towards the noise of screams)
EVE: The war. It’s started again. Run. Vlad.
VLADIMIR: looks around to where EVE is running. Looks confused)
VLADIMIR: Cherie, calm yourself. There is nothing there. Let’s get you back to your room.
EVE: It’s happening. I have sight. Can’t you see? Hear? What is wrong with you? They are shooting innocent people (A woman’s voices cries out as she is being raped. EVE runs to towards the attack, VLADIMIR stops her. There is a struggle, the cry of people burning alive and dying. Silence and then a BOY starts to howl in pain. EVE cries) That boy, he’s in pain. He’s oh – Mon Dieu -is ablaze
VLADIMIR: Enough! (picks up EVE and attempts to take EVE back inside)
EVE: There is a boy. He’s on fire. You can’t leave a child. (to DISFIGURED BOY) What is your name child?
VLADIMIR: (firmly)There is nothing there.
EVE: Look! That poor boy. (to BOY) It’s okay, we’re getting help.
VLADIMIR: (looks back and puts EVE down on the piano chair.) Take these. Now. You need to stop this. You want people to talk. Say how you are a crazy fool.
EVE: Talk? About what? People dying. Innocent people. We are at war, again. Why did you not summon the staff to help? We were the closest to -that boy.
VLADIMIR: There is no one there. (shouts). Nothing. No boy on fire. No war, you are hallucinating. Shut up!
EVE: That boy. (looks up and past VLADIMIR’S shoulder. Frightened she points) There he is, right behind you. His face. (walks towards the DISFIGURED BOY) How can you be alive, child?
VLADIMIR: Enough! I’m trying to look after you.
EVE|: (EVE touches VLADIMIR’S face) You know I wouldn’t ever lie to you. The boy is a mess. Disfigured for life. Who will look after him if we don’t? (to the DISFIGURED BOY,in darkness) Don’t be afraid- We can help you.
VLADIMIR: (slaps EVE across the face) How dare you! You vexed wrench
EVE: I’m not crazy. I’ telling you the truth.
VLADIMIR: Who have you been talking to? Tell me now.
EVE: Nobody, Panacea. She gave me. I can see…
VLADIMIR: She must be some spy. I get it now. Oh Merde, alors!
EVE: A spy? Why would you have spies? That is irrational.
VLADIMIR: What witchcraft is this? (Grabs EVE’s arms) close your eyes, wretched girl. You ungrateful wretched girl. Everything I’ve done. For you.
EVE: Why can’t you see him. He’s right behind you.
VLADIMIR: I forbid you to speak. Spies trying to plot my demise. You see nothing – only what you have ever felt. You see the real me. (places EVES hands on his face)
SCENE THREE Pain
(It is the day of the concerto. EVE is led by VLADIMIR to her piano in the centre of the courtyard. It is a bright day. EVE sits down to play. EVE starts and stops. Composes herself. A collective intake of breath from a crowd. Silence. EVE looks around and then begins to play a song so painful tears stream down her face. There is the wail of cries from THE CROWD. They are being drawn into EVE’S song. The song takes on a hauntingly melancholic tone. MAN cries out from the darkness of the crowd)
MAN: I thought you were here to light our sorrows not waddle in them
(THE CROWD murmurs in agreement. EVE continues to play. The melody grows more and more melancholic. Then furious and choppy)
MAN: (to VLADIMIR) What’s wrong with the ole girl, Scar? I want my heart to forgot about all my woes, little dove. Play something else. Play something else.
CROWD: (whispers and chants over and over) play something else.
(EVE carries on Tears streaming down her face. VLADIMIR comes into the arena and whispers in EVES ear. EVE changes the tune to a more upbeat piece –one with more cheer and spirit. The crowd cheers- shadows draw closer to her like a moth to a flame. EVE bangs hard on the piano. EVE stands up. She looks to the crowd – the audience and points out at the AMERICAN MAN)
EVE: How can you delude yourself – when last night your honest and loyal wife questioned you about your whereabouts/ You beat her. That is why she has pain around her eye. (All lights focus on AMERICAN MAN and his WIFE. WIFE takes a hand to her battered eye to hide it.)
MAN: What would you know about my whereabouts when you can’t even see?
EVE: Your wife knows the truth, you should leave her to get on without you.
MAN: You leave my business to me and you concentrate on yourself on entertaining us. Don’t need some woman thinking.
EVE: (to WIFE) You know he’s with another. Day and night. He beats you because he knows she will never leave her husband. You don’t have to live like this. You don’t have to live with this abuse.
MAN: (shoves WIFE behind him) how dare you speak such lies. You are a witch. A temptress. An evil mark shows itself on you. You may be fair but those exotic features.
EVE: No. the evil mark likes on you.
MAN: You are supposed to be blind. What a charade – looks at this trickster (to THE CROWD) How would she know I am in the crowd if she has no sight?
EVE: I’ve been cursed with sight.
THE CROWD: (CHANTS) Gypsy! Gyspy! Gypsy
EVE: I’m not a Gypsy! France is my home. You flock to me to forget about your vices, your impulses, your humdrum existence. I am not your remedy. I play from my heart. My heart sees what it sees.
VLADIMIR: Eve! Enough, Sit down and play for your welcoming audience. (softer) Now.
EVE: In my heart, I see your old man and you (she points to EUROPEAN LADY in the crowd)
You! that sparkly watch that doesn’t fit your wrist is from a day haggling at the market. Ripping off fancy men. After this show, you will sell all you have – including your flesh to escape from the world you despise.
LADY: Trollope- we’ve heard the rumours Gypsy girl .
VLADIMIR: My esteemed friends. – this is but part o the show. An experimental piece, if you like. Our eve here is tired. the gifted do sometimes have a bit of those head malaises, non?
EVE: You all pour your sorrows into me-I can only play what I see and feel and this is what you will hear tonight.
VLADIMIR: sit down (THE CROWD jeer at EVE. VLADIMIR forces EVE down into her seat.) Play. Do your job.
(EVE sits still, the light is dim, so dim and when she begins to play again she pounds at the keys with anger, cholere. EVE cackles sneers – kicks at the piano in rage)
EVE: Damn you – all of you! I’m not your plaster. I’m not your cure. I am a young woman who absorbs all your pain. I want to be free. free. Go all of you.
VLADIMIR: apologies friends. You heard of her fall. The accident? she has been unwell. (EVE doesn’t look at him or the crowd – she walks out of the circle of the crowd and into the dark. A moan comes out that doesn’t sound human. An animal sound of a cow being slaughtered. EVE stands and looks past VLADIMIR’S shoulder)
EVE: Panacea! You. What did you do to me?
VLADIMIR: (carries on trying to calm the crowd) Please, apologies. She is ill. She – I will make sure you all are reimbursed for this terrible, I mean uneventful experimental performance.
EVE: Don’t just stand there. You lied to me. You lied. What is this curse you give me? Why?
(PANACEA comes out from the shadows and walks through the crowd and past VLADIMIR and EVE and sits down at the piano and begins to play that frenetic piece of music – ‘Eve’s Essence’. VLADIMIR freezes and goespale. The CROWD quieten.)
EVE: My song. (runs towards PANACEA) Give me back my essence-evil woman.
VLADIMIR: (catches hold of EVE by the arm) How can you know this song?
EVE: Now? Now you can hear what I hear. Why not what I see, your stupid fool of a man. Look! I implore thee.
VLADIMIR: (To EVE) Enough with these games. What is it you want from? Tell me. Who corrupted you?
EVE: That is my song. My essence. She is playing my song.
VLADIMIR: Your song. Ha! Who told you? Don’t make me strike out at you again.
EVE: You know this song? I’ve tried to remember since Panacea stole it from me. Sight she promised. A gift. A trade off. I’ve been bamboozled.
VLADIMIR: Don’t make me turn around and march over to that damn piano and chop it up then burn it. I gave you everything. After everything I did for you – for us. This. (THE CROWD is silent. Shadows of THE CROWD draw to PANACEA playing ‘Eve’s essence’.
EVE: I’m not doing anything. Please, Vlad. I would never hurt you.
VLADIMIR: Who found you at the orphanage? Took you in? promised to nurture you? Who promised to take care of my blued eyed Fair haired gypsy girl? you betray me- like this.
EVE: Gypsy girl?
VLADIMER: I can never forgive you. This is not the girl I knew. You are ruined.
EVE: Vlad, (looks over at PANACEA, eyes widen) Why is that boy there? ( to DISFIGURED BOY) come here. Stay away from her. (to VLADIMIR) Why is that boy close to her. He is beckoning you….
VLADIMIR: (begins to cry) You can’t do this to me.
EVE: Do what? See with your own eyes. Don’t do this to me! Make me out to be a mad vexed woman.
(PANACEA stops playing, abruptly.)
PANACEA: Don’t be afraid boy. (VLADIMIR jumps in fright) You can’t escape who you are. Don’t worry I can assure you I can’t see. Not even your bloodied parents anymore.
EVE What are you? What is she talking about?
PANACEA: You were all I had… you deserted me. And I’m evil? I didn’t choose this gifted curse. I was born with it – Just like Eve except she saw nothing
VLADIMIR: No, you are not real. I don’t believe it. (to EVE) Stop torturing me. You are playing with me.
PANACEA: Boy. I don’t blame you for leaving the revolution but to leave a lady to those priggish animals and steal my money.
VLADIMIR: Shut up You evil wrench. I left you for dead. It’s impossible. That was my family’s inheritance.
EVE: Impossible? what’s impossible? How do you know this creature? Answer me. Who is she?
VLADIMIR: No woman in your condition could have survived – in those conditions. I refuse to /believe this.
EVE: You know her. (PANACEA laughs)
VLADIMIR: These are… Eve, these are extraordinary circumstances I find myself in. Stop laughing your old cow. Stop it. (PANACEA begins to play ‘Eve’s essence’)
EVE: These are certainly not circumstances I foresaw. If you know something about this then spit it out or damn you both to hell.
VLADIMIR: (quietly)We never spoke of –well, I demanded that when I took you as my own we would never talk about how I found myself in that orphanage.
EVE: You are an honourable man. Are you not?
VLADIMIR: You were born in Romaine. The orphanage- was both of our home’s. Few places like that are kind and they were, especially during those times. Our country was in flames. Blood everywhere. Corpses. Vile acts. There you were- abandoned.
VLADIMIR: We survived. You were a baby. I didn’t know you were impaired. I knew what our people would do to a fair-haired Roma like yourself. We escapNo-one-one would suspect us, they said. They promised freedom, n new life. All I must do was help smuggle in weapons. You were the only one who wasn’t frightened of me. You only saw the good in me. Your lack of sight was my rebirth- our rebirth
EVE: Lies. Obsession with fame and my looks and glory and… I thought I was helping people.
VLADIMIR: You are. You were… The world with eyes is a hell of its own, I tell you. Your greatest gift was to give your heart to those who so desperately needed to forget – what they see- have seen.
PANACEA: Boy. How long are you going to drag this out? Get on with it. We shall make a man out of you yet.
EVE: (to PANACEA) Who are you?
VLADIMIR: (softly)My grand mere – she was – is (turns around see’s PANACEA is horrified) is… but how?
PANACEA: No, boy. I’m not a ghost, not a witch just cursed with unusual gift of seeing the past of every filthy boar piggish human. Yes, what are the odds? I should never have been discovered but life has its twists… and magic of sorts.
VLADIMIR: I didn’t mean to leave you.
PANACEA: I have been waiting for the right moment. Biding my time. Waiting to sense what kind of man you become- and Eve was truly a find.
EVE: you can’t see, Grandmere. Only the.
PANCEA: Past- I struck a deal with mad Bolshevik. I got more than I bargained for. The senile old man missed his wife –wanted to live in the past and I would settle for the future – we merely wanted it so much –we got what we wished for.
EVE: What have you inflicted me with?
PANACEA: How he adores you, loves you. You see Eve. Vladimir for all his grandiose gestures is superficial. Not the benevolent man he pretends to be.
VLADIMIR: Grand’Mere stop. I’m sorry. I was a child…
PANACEA: (ignores VLADIMIR) The only reason people accept him is because of you. Or what you had. Beauty, innocence, the gift to soothe all pain from others with your playing.
EVE: No, he has been there for me.
PANCEA: If you had eyes like I now do or indeed like the rest of this crowd you would see he is a monster. A disfigurement. You were his key to this fickle world accepting him.
EVE: What is she talking about?
VLADIMIR: Grand’Mere I was haunted by your recantations of my dead family. You terrified me. I still don’t understand this curse.
PANACEA: Maybe you understand it a little better now – it is your curse too. Life is all about lessons and there is as lesson to be learned here. Something about appearances etcetera etcetera… but what do I know? (starts to play – THE CROWD are lured by PANACEA’S playing, under a spell)
VLADIMIR: You must restore her. Grand’Mere –she is innocent. Please.
PANACEA: We all are at some point.
EVE: I wanted it so much. I wanted to see. How wrong was I?
VLADIMIR: give it back. Give Eve what is rightly hers. It’s me you seek to punish
PANACEA: (stops playing) Stop trying to fight it. You know what you really want to do.
VLADIMIR: She is an innocent
PANACEA: Used by the likes of you, boy.
VLADIMIR: I can take care of you. I have money, estate everything. Let me make it up to you.
PANACEA: Doesn’t work like that. I’m not some conjurer. I was merely born into this world with my fate and somehow that fate changed. I haven’t the answers.
EVE: But I don’t want this sight. I don’t want it.
PANACEA: Those touched can’t ever be untouched again.
VLADIMIR: But you. You see.
PANACEA: Keep up. I saw the future. Now I see nothing. Just like Eve. I feel and I play and I have what I want.
EVE: But if you can see the future, how is it I can see the past?
PANACEA: Obviously, I should have taken you for a fool. I think you are missing the point. I don’t decide how the universe decides. I saw an opportunity and I took it. I’m merely human after all. (starts playing again)
(EVE and VLADIMIR look at each other)
VLADIMIR: I’m sorry Eve. I was…
EVE: I can’t bear to live like this.
VLADIMIR: Yes. Life is…. You didn’t have to see that.
EVE: We can’t undo this? (unwillingly moves towards PANACEA.)
VLADIMIR: I’m sorry, mon Cherie but I can’t stop myself much longer. I must forget. I must forget if only for a while.
(VLADIMIR walks up to PANACEA and strokes her hair, kisses her, then listens to her play.
EVE: You can’t leave me. I can’t do this. Panacea please! (starts walking closer and closer to soft music) I will never forgive you but alas, I can’t fight this pain any longer. Make it go it away. (slumps at the feet of PANACEA who plays on. lights down.)
IF YOU MADE IT TO THE END. I SALUTE YOU 🙂
(copyright Daisy Willows/ Natasha Bodley)
Another deadline has passed. I should get my marks back after the 12 th February. I haven’t had a chance to pause and I’m already drafting my 3rd TMA (due 30th March).
For those interested in the conclusion to my dalliance in the supernatural genre, it starts where it is underlined.
BEHOLD! This hopefully makes up for any let downs anyone reading this may have after reading the story. Thank you, Scott, @ The Order of the Dog/ Horace, and Winston Churchill, for inspiring the title of this story.
THE ORDER OF THE BLACK DOG
My family. Here we all are, sitting around the circular dining room table- flecked with bits of gold. Ma sits under a hanging portrait of this Christmas just gone. Three weeks ago. We are all smiling in it including Poppy. Poppy sits playing with her Annabelle doll, on my husband’s lap. Sat opposite from Ma, closest to the electric fire hearth is Gran. I find myself sitting across from Gran. An iciness breathes mist over us. It separates me from them, cloaks me in a fog. I try to swallow. The air is so thick it chokes me, I’m forced to put my hands to my throat. Nobody notices me. Nobody notices me the way they used to. I tune in to the conversation-taking place.
‘Of course I’m not suggesting this is your fault. I should have known. Done more…’ Nan bursts into tears. A cry out for:
I need attention I’m suffering the most.
My skin bristles. Nan pulls her scarf tighter around her neck, and then throws out a familiar comment about it being draughty.
‘You know I could catch pneumonia with my Asthma.’ She coughs. Ma gets up to put on the electric fire.
‘I didn’t take her seriously. You know what Angie was like?’ Ma’s eyes are red as the rosary beads she is thumbing; she looks over to an unusually quiet Poppy.
‘Did she just do it to spite me?’ How could she just leave her own…?’
My husband throws a warning look at Ma,
‘Marie, for Poppies sake. Our Angie suffered more than she let on.’ Ma sits back down. ‘Let’s put on a cartoon, luv?’ Poppy shakes her head.
She doesn’t look at us. I look straight at her, willing her to leave this table. Leave this conversation. She lifts her head and looks me dead on in the eyes. I instinctively smile. Eddie and me always stood together when it came to Poppy. Her face is pale, her eyes sunken, her skin is drawn in so tight I can see cheek bones protrude. Beneath her eyes-, veiled shadows betray her youthful face. She clings onto Annabelle, still looking me dead on in the eyes.
‘When’s Mummy coming home?’
Silence. Her words enmesh with the silence. Her question disarms me. Marks me. The arrow leaves its bow splintering my heart. I open my mouth to scream out as many words as I can. Condensation steams the air distilling me into silence. I reach my hand across the table to grab hers. She doesn’t see me. I glare at my family sitting at the round table. They say nothing. Smothering themselves in sorrow, they witheringly curl inwards. I urge to shake them, uproot them from winters glaze.
-Answer her! Answer my daughter.
Instead, Gran succumbs to a puddle of wrinkled tears, mechanically Ma gets off her chair, attempts to console Gran and naturally it’s up to Eddie to mediate. My calm, rational Eddie. His eyes read as vacant –his beard is wild and unkempt. It’s impossible to read his face. He clears his throat,
‘We’re gonna see Mummy when we give her… say a proper goodbye.’
Gran flounders in her anglers net of remorse. Great splotchy splashes of grief escape. She wails,
‘She’s with the angels –looking down at you, darling!’
I roll my eyes. Of course I love her! Lately, she grates my skin more frequently with her, melodramatics.
– Confess how you truly feel. Relieved!
I’m so fixated on evoking a response from Gran; unnoticed, a light flickers with an intensity to match my own. Eddie carries Poppy over to the sofa, sits her down to watch a cartoon. He covers her with a blanket then kisses her forehead.
‘We’ll see mummy soon? To say goodbye?’
Eddie nods his head, his voice cracks.
‘When will mummy come back from saying goodbye? In spring? My teacher says it’s winter – everything goes to sleep like her?’ Poppy points to ‘Sleeping Beauty’ on the television.
Eddie focuses on the image. The Prince is just about to kiss Aurora on the lips. He turns his head away from the television before he can see Aurora wake up to her true loves kiss. He grinds down on his teeth. Poppy’s eyes remain transfixed on the television. Eddie gets up, crosses the dining room table; I’m compelled to follow him, I have to stop him. Tell him I’m still here. I haven’t gone anywhere. I’ve so much to tell him.
-There is no God! We were right all along. Religion is for people who can’t think for themselves. We were right to take the piss.
Eddie flinches, puts his hands in his jean pockets. I follow him down Ma’s hallway and into the bathroom. He closes the door on me. It doesn’t ever close fully. I slip through the crack of the door that is always ajar.
Head down. Still. He sits on the toilet seat. I kneel down before him; go to lay my head on his knee. He flinches again. Hits himself in the head. Bangs his fist on the wall screams out:
‘Why? We could’ve figured it out, you fucking stubborn mare’ I bring out the best and worst in Eddie. Till death do us part. What are the chances?
He still refuses to let me go. Stubborn.
My symptoms intensify in the days leading up to the funeral. Everything‘s heightened especially emotions that seemingly walk precariously on stilts. I can’t walk through walls or levitate. Nothing like any of the horrors Eddie and me used to watch together, on the sofa.
Unheard, I bellow continuously,
-Just let me go!
Every time I hear my name called reflections of nostalgia flash and beam over and around me. Prompted, I gravitate towards the source. Someone needs me. These past three weeks, I’ve been teleported from one conversation to another. I find myself in a room; familiar or not familiar, with people I know and people I don’t know.
Today I’m summoned to the usual bickering between Ma and Gran. The familiar sound of Gran’s kettle boils in the background.
‘I want that picture of her on her graduation day and flowers- blown up .With azaleas. And roses – she loved roses- pink.’
‘She hates that picture! And she loves- loved yellow roses…’ Ma’s wobbly voice mirrors her jelly struck legs propping her up in her work shoes. She staggers backwards. Like the black dog with a bone, Gran won’t give in,
‘No, she’s my eldest grand daughter and I know her – it is… was pink!’
Ma sits down, doesn’t speak. I go over to her to put my arms around her then she dissolves into tears. Gran bulldozes her way over to us. Intimidated, I move out of her way. Gran holds Ma and Ma lets Gran hug her. Ma calms down, mentions something about pink and yellow roses
Vexed, I shriek
– don’t back down Ma, I love yellow. Yellow roses. The kettle whistles for attention. My voice is lost to an object.
‘I’ll go make that cup of tea’ Nan retreats to her kitchen.
Another opportunity to get close to Ma again. I need to hug her, give her some of my energy. As if on cue, Mum’s tear-stained face crumples just like my heart. A poking hot iron burns a hole right through it. Gran re-enters the room I scarper.
‘Here you go, love. Lost three of my own …, as you know, mind, they never got to Angie’s age. Yellow’s more of a quirky colour like our Angie… was.’ They smile at each other. I move back, the distance seems to illuminate their smiles.
Tonight, I beg for there to be a heaven. This has to be hell. The familiar, incongruous, gravitational pull lures me out of my cavernous abyss. I blink my eyes several times to focus: orientate myself. Hung up around the wall are vintage Disney posters. My eyes settle on Poppies bed. Eddie bends over Poppy and kisses her goodnight,
‘Mummy loves you just as much as I do.’ He tucks her in.
He switches off the light before walking out. I stand and watch my worn out daughter in her bed. She sings herself to sleep just as she does every night. She sings our song: twinkle twinkle little star. With each inflection of her sweet singing voice, the words serve as a needle. Each word stipulates smelting hot ink into my flesh. My neck is ablaze. Before closing her eyes, she whispers,
‘I love you mummy.’
When I reply, scorching chains wrap and lasso me around my neck. My skin swells up in blisters. The familiar sound of her breathing evaporates the pain. I need to be close to her, I need to smell her, kiss her. Carelessly, I run over to her bed to touch her sleeping head. Startled I lunge backward as Poppy instantly wakes up screaming.
– I’m powerless
. Eddie barges into the room, throws on the light and takes Poppy into his arms. I watch her body stiffen; then relax. I watch him settle my daughter back to sleep. My hands ball into tight fists.
-She must know I’m here.
Before I can touch her face, she wakes up screaming like – like she has seen a- ghost.
-I’m that Ghost! I put my hands to my mouth in horror.
Envy bubbles inside me as I witness Eddie consoling Poppy again. I’m half hoping he won’t succeed.
What kind of a mother am I?
I’ve been telling everyone to let me go.
Where will I go?
I can’t drive, no one can see me. There are no other lost souls wondering about telling me to join the dead community!
I won’t give up on my daughter. She needs me. I have to be here.
The stroke of our clock announces its time; a primitive realisation slithers down my very core. Nausea spirals up into my throat. I run into our bathroom, heave over the toilet, nothing comes out. I catch sight of my reflection in the mirror; I see vicious V-shaped welts where the noose of the rope has cut into my neck. This is what Eddie came home to.
The cloying black dog of depression haunted me. Its delivered dose of pain was exquisite- nothing took it away. Not drinking, overdosing, drugging myself, talking-nothing. Eventually, I told it to sit down. I told Eddie repeatedly,
– I just want to disappear.
– How can I help you? His eyes pleaded for an answer. I would always lash out,
-Unless you help me disappear, you can’t!
I remained imprisoned in our bed and he would go back to work and look after Poppy and the house. He could walk away from me. I couldn’t. I resent him for that. I can see myself now, googling the various ways people commit suicide. One article struck my eye ‘Men are more successful at committing suicide’.
-They don’t mess about with poisoning themselves –they resort to more violent means.
That is the moment I reached out to the wrong Alpha.
The black dog and I began sleeping together. It became my obsession. Up-close, I could analyse it, experiment with it. As a couple, it didn’t take much to find that Alpha rage. One phone call from Ma,
-Just snap out of it. If you’re going to do it, get on with it.
-Fine, I will! I hung up on her before she could hang up on me.
My impulsiveness finds me trapped within this mirror. It’s cold. Everything I read is back to front. Everything I do is back to front. It doesn’t reflect my true intentions. When I reach out, in fact, the more I reach out the more pain I inflict. I back away from the mirror until I’m pressed up, with my back against the bathroom wall.
What have I done?
What right do I have trying to tell my family how to deal with their loss?
Eddie will never know that I was messing about; I didn’t know if I could actually go through with it. From a great height in a corner of the bathroom my body feels cut loose from itself. I can see it happen in front of my eyes. Like a rerun episode, I can’t pause. The noose around my neck, in the shower. Steam shrouds the mirror, with slippery feet, I accidently knock myself off that chair and in that moment I realise,
– I don’t want to die.
I can’t scream and tell anyone. I made the decision when I decided to sleep with my enemy. I’ve interrupted the natural course of life. A lost soul in life: a lost soul in death. There are no bright lights to come with this epiphany. I exit the bathroom, stumble down the staircase, out the front door, and walk aimlessly down the street. I sense a familiar pair of eyes examining me; I look up and see the black dog in its true form. It waits for me to catch up. We walk side by side. I don’t look back. I am the one preventing people from moving on. I have to let go.
I won’t go into the commentary in this post. I think my reference and citations pages came up to about 15 pages! Which is nuts!
My next TMA is about a highly gifted and beautiful girl who plays the classical piano. She is also being groomed by her manager/lover to be a super model. She is adored by her fans around the world. Her biggest wish is to beable to have sight.
The scene begins with Eve playing a melancholic piece of music and a seemingly lovely old lady offers to exchange her sight for Eve’s essence. The whole script ends in tragedy. Eve soon finds out why people are attracted to her. She can now see the world with eyes and she loses touch with her other senses. People hate that she can see them. They feel exposed, judged.
What makes Eve so special and endearing to people is her lack of sight. She is unable to see the world the way people with sight do. It is a horrible world we live in, isn’t it? Oddly enough, I’m inspired by Shakespeare – the play has a somewhat midsummer nights /fantastical dream-like feel to it – the main theme focuses on human conditions and relationships. Something Shakespeare flaunted well.
Guess who becomes the new darling of the music world? The rest is still being written in my head. It only has to be 18 minutes and then it’s back to the homeless piece.
It is a horrible world we live in, isn’t it?
Oddly enough, I’m inspired by Shakespeare – the play has a somewhat midsummer’s night /fantastical dream-like feel to it – the main theme focuses on the human condition and relationships. Something Shakespeare flaunted well.
I’m catching up on blogs. I am missing you all so much.
I will leave you with the words of the inimitable Charles Bukowski. He wasn’t a misogynist!
Deadline for TMA 2 : 02 February 2017 – 7 days from now.
TMA (tutor marked assignment )
EMA ( end of module assignment)
WRAP ( Wellness Recovery Action Plan)
I’m kind of organized. I’ve finally got my tutor speaking to me by email. I think the sun just came out.
I put on my big girl trousers and waved the white flag. I need some of her input on my final EMA project proposal.
She has kindly passed it on to a scriptwriting colleague to look at. I am waiting for a reply.
It would be great to get a reply ……………….. NOW! 😀
Just so I can plan my life and round up the first year of this MA. Nothing Major.
I’m thinking of doing a parody/satire piece (18-minute stage script) based on a society who are afraid of people who don’t believe in superstitions and who don’t take the necessary precautions to make sure that superstitions don’t manifest in their life.
My current draft (being written in my head) focuses on the Main Character as being a bit of a rebel.
Maybe she mocks someone for walking around a ladder and gets cursed?
Then she starts to get extreme symptoms of superstitions she has ignored most of her life.
This has a massive impact on her life, mental state and how people react to her and treat her because of course, society hates dealing with things that we can’t understand ( mental health issues alert).
So, maybe she gets locked away for her own protection and for the protection of others in an asylum for the superstitious dissidents.
Where is this script going? Ah, we need a climax and resolution?
In the asylum, they drug them so that can’t enact their superstitions and cause bedlam (even if they want to or don’t want to)
There is Drug therapy/ECT/CBT therapy – sound familiar?
Maybe an awesome volunteer arrives at Main Characters asylum and introduces the Main character to a way to help herself help herself-
I can use the core values of WRAP for inspiration.
I can make it surreal and the dialogue will be purposeful and amazing and drive the plot and be the action.
It’s going to be fun to do. I have to try and be funny. Something I don’t really do in my writing.
My EMA will (hopefully) still be Act two to my TMA 1 piece – about the homeless couple.
The ending is bittersweet. It needs to be told. I’ve had orders from my characters and they will not shut up.
Okay, so I started TMA 2 with a crime genre then I delved into a drama/love affair betray genre
I’ve strayed into a supernatural genre – without the cliche ghost things I’ve read. I’ve focused on a simple setting and the Main Characters’ character and dialogue of how others describe her as exposition.
The time scale within the piece is set within a 3 week period. My narration/or is in the First point of view.
Plot? I have an unexpected anti-climax reversal. This came about by committing to telling (and show) this characters back story towards the climax resolution of the piece.
At this point, with my MA and with all the other things I’ve got going on in my life, I am going with what feels right for me.
If my tutor hates it- oh well!
Don’t you think it’s just a bit bizarre that for this first year our marks don’t count towards the overall degree?
All we need is a PASS! what?
That doesn’t mean I don’t work like a scared elf on his last strike at work, who got doped up the night before Christmas. I do worry and I do care but I also have a life to live.
I’ve written my commentary explaining why I took the decisions I have done to do write this piece.
Things I’ve focused on
not starting in media res etc…
I’m participating and doing well in the forums. I’m backing up my decisions with a an awesome free Harvard ref app. I’m in love with it.