Two character scene:
First character wants a tangible object from the second character while the second character wants something intangible from the first character. Neither character can get what they want, at least not easily.
Look at what time it is
Time – such a silly little human construct
Was I not made for greater things than this?
You washed your hair
How did you know I like lavender
It was the shampoo in the shower
Shall we get started
Maestro strikes a chord on his piano and straightens the blank sheet music in front of him
Nice piano – Your pencil’s not sharp
Maestro takes a small hand-held plastic pencil sharpener and sharpens his pencil
Where are we tonight?
I prefer Florence
Jacopo Peri would hold me on his lap as he worked, you know
I would turn pages for him
A page-turner is not what I’m looking for
Let’s get to work
I enjoyed twirling his moustache until it stuck straight out
Why do men shave these days?
I’m getting to work
Will you come?
If you fondle me right, I just might
I’m working now
Something new, if you like
It struck me crossing Waterlooplein square
So you want to play then?
I like to play
As do I
What you have in mind will keep me from my work
We have an understanding, you and I
Ah my composer, you think you know me so well
After sixty-years I’ve picked up a thing or two about you
Sixty years – You’re a child compared to the giants I’ve worked with
There’s a reason you are here and it’s not to distract me
What are you doing in this time-riddled, shit-hole of a culture anyway
This is the only time I have been given (yelling)
I get angry when people waste my time
Oh, is that it? You’re comparing me to people now?
Let’s get to work
Just imagine me lying naked in your bed
wrapped in your sheets
ripe for the plucking
I want to write
I need insight
Your help would be appreciated
You arrogant bastard
You must work for my attention
I’m not some easy thing you can get at any opening night party
I don’t do that…
I know, my darling, I know.
Did I call you or did you grace me with your presence? I can’t remember now. How have we ever managed to work together
I can’t remember
Tell me now – what do you feel?
My feelings border on hatred
Do you hate when you make love
Of course not
Do you hate when you compose
I cannot hate when I compose
Hate is a mear mask people hide behind
What are you holding on to then?
I’m holding on
I’m holding on to
I’m holding onto the one who bears witness to my work
And who, pray tell, is that?
It is Phil
The Phil who washes his hair with lavender soap
The Phil who sets a watch and calls you at midnight
The Phil sitting here arguing with his muse
He is insufficient to the task
He will never get this done
And besides he’s really no fun
He does the best he can in a mad world
Take him off the shelf where you keep him
Smash his ceramic face upon the floor
Have sex with me
You’re my muse not my lover
Our session is over
No, it is not.
You don’t want corporeal sex, Calliope
I am old and counting every heartbeat
You want a sacrifice
The Greek choir slowly enters singing
You’re the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne
A goddess of music, song and dance
You want the “I” that is watching me talk to you*
The witness has to go* – I relinquish him to you
the one always peering over my shoulder|
commenting on every thing I do
Have your way with him
Slit his throat for all I care
Take it – this power for me to see myself – take it, Calliope
Take it and suck away at his delicious banality
A Greek choir walks around the two – conveying the thoughts of the maestro as he separates his daily-self from his artist-self and sets to compose in earnest. The choir echoes the mans constant comment…the incessantly nagging voice in his head droning on and on about nothing of consequence. They keep this up while the Maestro and Calliope sing their duet and the Maestro takes his place at the piano while Calliope takes her place on the floor eating away at a puppet that resembles the Maestro. In the end her face and dress is covered in a sticky, grotesque mass of humanity. Her glee cannot be contained.
I am sitting on a music bench
There is music on the stand in front of me
I am trying to write an opera
The piano has white and black keys
My nose has an itch
It might snow tomorrow
Calliope has beautiful breasts
Did I remember to plug my phone in?
Is this an A or an A flat?
What should I have for breakfast
Should I just stop now and go to sleep
How far is the taxi stand from the airport terminal
Will someone be there to pick me up tomorrow
I hope Paris will be a safe place to be
Did I pack an extra pair of underwear
The back of my head is itchy
Imagination is now open to you at every single moment of time*
Give me the guy who pays taxes and takes out the garbage
The guy who watches and has to remark on every little thing
Give him to me – I’ll get him done
While you swim in the spontaneous unfolding of life*
One foot in the world of clarity and power*
Don’t think about now it doesn’t matter
The sounds of Amsterdam at 3am overtake the music and drown out everything while the light tightens on the Maestro’s face as he composes, unaware of anything else going on around him. The the light clicks to black.
*Much of the inspiration for this piece came from Philip Glass’ memoir Words Without Music a gift that my husband gave to me for Hanukkah. I gobbled the book up in short order. There are a few lines marked with the * that are taken directly out of his book.
Glass, Philip: Words Without Music Liveright Publishing Company a Division of WW Norton & Co 2015 Pages 382 & 383
The picture of Philip Glass was taken by Anne Leibovitz
The picture of Calliope was taken by some guy who posted it on Google reference has been lost
If you have an issue with my using these images send me a message and I’ll take them down. I’m not making any money with this stuff right now – I’m just keeping one foot in the world of clarity and power and the other in the every day banality of daily life.