Friday, November 03, 2006
Ah, how we anima-haunted men like to put on the dog.
The Sixteenth Century Shakepearean outfits, the pantaloons, the Marquis boots, the big, pregnant lute in one hand , cigarette in the other, coughing, perhaps a little fruitily, hoping not to go off into a coughing fit that would scare away the damsel in front of us.
The professor is an accomplished phoney. He knows all the ins- and -outs of intelligent women, prefers intelligent women, in fact, because he could say cutting things to them and they would get it, these qualities picked up from a mother who should have been locked up, beating the young professor with an ugly stick so he would know something of the world. Women run the world, dontcha know. Thre is no defence against them. But they have one weakness, a big one: They fall in love.
And so this evening, the professor has somehow lured Celia into his office-apartment in Newmarket ON, the back of which is a bedroom. The room had just been redone. The professor is trying to make it into a bachelor's apartment.
It is this bedroom that the professor has lured Celia into (Or did she lure him--she had come to his studio's back
door, wearing a long white skirt this time. No jeans to pull off. No fumbles. No mistakes.
And so we come to ACT IV, Scene 3 of our play, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD
Scene: We are in the bedroom portion of the professor's studio apartment. There are two doors to the place and Celia has entered directly from an alleyway into the professors bedroom. The professor notices that she has long sleeves to her top. Fitting somehow, yet long sleeves. Long sleeves of late. The professor is mildly retarded, a tad
dyslexic, but he is, like a colour-blind furniture maker or an illiterate waiter, very streewise.
Celia seems flustered, hurried. As he greetsw her at this back door, she answers his embrace with only one arm, the other up against her little bicep under the green sleeve. The meetingj is slightly awkward
Celia( In her slightly musical way): Hellloo.
Professor: Hi lady.
Celia: Hey What's that on your cot? A lute?
Professor: Tipple, actually. It's a lot like a guitar. I'm trying to learn to play it.
Celia is still standing, just inside, the door not yet closed behind her. She closes the door, but it is plain to the professor that she is favouring the inside of her left arm.Very awkwardly, she takes off her long, fake-fur coat.
Professor (helping her and putting the coat on chair: You seem a little defensive.
Celia( rather suddenly): You are too observant.
The professor points to a typewriter in a corner, on a raised stand: Comes with the territory.
Professor, to Celia, who is wondering where to sit: He motions to the cot: Sit here.
Professor: A little white wine? I fear I've had a bit already.
Celia indicates yes. He has a little Lazy Susan liquor cabinet that hed liberated from some garage sale. He goes to it, pulls out a bottle of Bright's Catawba, a really cheap Canadian wine, tries to hide the label and pours Celia a drink into a rather heavy goblet from the Salvaion Army. He offers the goblet to Celia. She is sitting a little tensely, knees together on his cot. She is now clutching both arms, a little akimbo. The professor sits next to her, causing the cot to sag a little. He had observed previously that Celia, though very petite, was very heavy, like a possessed person. The arrangement brings them close together. Celia is physically hot.
Professor: Woo. You are hot, and I don't mean skateboard talk.
He touches her shoulder. She pulls away a bit, rises and takes a chair across the antique coffee table from the cot. The professor is sitting on his cot, the little guitar by his side, almost riding into the hollow they had made in the cot.
Celia (indicating to the little tipple) Play me something.Can you?
Professor (sotto voce, and starting to grin) Does a cat have a tail?
He picks up the guitar, plays a few medieval progressions, easy, as they are mostly in A-minor and D, and begins:
With a hey, ho the wind and the rain
A foolish thing is but a toy
For the rain it raineth every day
For the rain it raineth every day
But when I came to man's estate
With a hey ho, the wind and the rain
'Gainst knaves and thieves
men shut their gate
For the rain it raineth every day.
Music: The refrain is picked up by medieval recording, by Medieval Baebes, an English baroque singing group. UP
Lights dim, to dark.
The heretofore nattily dressed tweedy professor is now in full Elizabethan regalia, replete with chancellor's hat, tunic and pantaloons and hose, buckled shoes. Celia is transfixed.
Music by Medieval Baebes now down, to fade. Professor does a natural segue and goes on to sing:
But when I came alas to wive
With a hey, ho, the wind and the rain
By swaggering could I never thrive
For the rain it raineth every day
For the rain it raineth every doy.
The professor now segues to an instrumental from the same period, Greensleeves, the ongoing deadly intrigue between Henry VIII and Anne Bolyin.
"Alas my love, you're mean to me, to treat me so discourteously."--but the professor keeps it strictly instrumental.
Celia is looking at the professor, rapt.
He puts down the little guitar for a bit and kisses her right on her mouth
He puts the tipple away, like a pianist in a painting, and they embrace. This they keep up for a long while, until the professor finally unhands Celia and says: Whoo. I'm feeling a bit woozy. More wine?
Celia: Oh yes. Oh, yest please, offering him her glass.
They drink their wine, both on the couch now. Celia is beginning to check her little gold wristwatch. A little nervously. The professor goes to embrace her again. She draws back a little, starting to reach for her fake fur coat, which is sitting on a chair.
Celia: "I've got to go now.
Professor: Go? We're just getting started.
Celia: I've got to go. Lief is in the house all alone.
Professor. Screw Lief. You are my woman, goddamit!
The professor notices that Celia has now become fidgety again.
Professor: You have a temperature. You are very hot. Are you all right?
Celia is about to reach for her coat again.
Professor (upset now): You do this every time. You come to my place cranked up on something, get me all hot and then you take off!
Celia, herself a little angry now: There are things about yourself you can't see. Your heavy drinking and chain smoking, for example.It scares me sometimes.
Professor: My drinking and chainsmoking? And what are you doing up there with Lief in Bradford?
Like a parady on an old country song: "Silver Chains and Golden Needles."
Celia: What's that supposed to mean?
Professor: You're needling it.
Celia: Lay off!
She now has her coat on and is moving toward the door.
Professor: Well lay you too! And if I had another drink I wouldn't put it that gently.
He flollows her out the door. Presently there is the cranking sound of a Mustang starting up. The professor has a good look and there seems to be a man alongside Celia as she goes to drive away. He is wearing a white leather team jacked with numbers on it. It is not Lief.
The professor closes the door, gulps down his drink and turns up the Stones again on the Stereo.
I saw her at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was going to make her connection
In her glass there was a footloose man.
The professor reaches into the cabinet and pulls out a bottle of Jack Daniels. He takes a huge swig from the bottle.He takes the tipply by the fingerboard and smashes it against the cot.
............end Act IV, Scene 3