Monday, May 05, 2008

Here We Go Again




Here we go again.

Compulsive neuroticism. Trying to get this act right.

Ah well, like Charlie Chaplin in the movie, Modern Times I am putting bolt #13 into Frame 2, over and over again, trying to get it right if for no other reason than to set this act up for the next one.

THE FIRE IN BRADFORD. A Play, by Ivan Prokopchuk (Continued)

ACT II, Scene One.

INT.
NIGHT.

IT IS HALLOWEEN. BOTH CELIA AND THE PROFESSOR HAD JUST COME BACK FROM A PARTY. THE THEME OF THE PARTY WAS ELIZABETHAN. THEY ARE IN THE PROFESSOR'S NEWMARKET APARTMENT, NOT FAR FROM CELIA'S HOUSE IN HOLLAND LANDING .HE IS DRESSED IN PONTALOONS AND JERKIN AND SHE IN A FLOWING ELIZABETHAN DRESS, WITH A SILVER WIG WITH AN ELABORATE HAIR DESIGN.
THEY ARE HAVING DRINKS AFTER A DINNER AT THE GRAY GOAT PUB, WHERE THE PARTY HAD BEEN IN FULL SWING. THE THEME OF THE PARTY HAD BEEN SHAKEPEAREAN. HE HAD GONE TO CONSIDERABLE EXPENSE TO OUTFIT HIMSELF IN THESE RENTED PANTALOONS AND BOOTS, WITH THE RUFFLED SHIRT FLOWING OUT OF THE JERKIN
.CELIA
My, don't you look handsome. Ben Jonson. Elizabethan man! You look great. Shouldn't just do this on Halloween.You are a doll!
And apublished writer. I tried to call you at the Goat the other night when I noticed your book was reviewed in TOPIC Magazine. But I couldn't get through. When I finally did, I didn't quite know what to say.

THE PROFESSOR IS A LITTLE STUNNED AT ALL THIS. HE FIGDETS A LITTLE, TRIED STO SCRATCH HIS EAR, BUT IT IS COVERED BY THE WIG.

HE LOOKS BEHIND HIM. ON A WALL THERE IS A LUTE, THERE LARGELY FOR DECORATION.
HE TURNS AROUND, TAKES THE INSRUMENT OFF THE WALL, AND SITS DOWN ON HIS COT, WHICH IS ACROSS THE COFFE TABLE FROM CELIA.HE STARTS TO TUNE THE BEAUTIFUL INSTRUMENT AND IS ABOUT TO PLAY:

CELIA

I didnt' know you played.

PROFESSOR

Play at it really.

HE BEGINS A BAROQUE CHORD RUN DETERMINES THE KEY AND BEGINS SINGING.

With hey, ho, the wind and the rain
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.
And the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man's estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
'Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.


But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

CELIA (INTERRUPTING A LITTLE. SHE DOES AN EXUBERANT CLAP

That's wonderful. The professor sings an plays very well.

THE PROFESSOR (PUTTING IT ON A LITTLE BIT)

Years of self-denial!

CELIA.
Heh. Betcha you never denied youself very much.
Tell, me, David, if you can do music, why do you write?

THE PROFESSOR SHRUGS.
Part of the same family, I guess.

HE RESUMES SINGING AND PLAYING.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.

CELIA IS RAPT. HER EYES ARE OPEN WIDE UNDER THE SILVER WIG.

.CELIA .
Those things are hard to play. I notice you really have to work at it.

THE PROFESSOR
Lutes are tuned differently from guitars. I had to detune a string here and there.
Trying to fake it in guitar A-minor.

HE RESUMES THE SONG.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day.

THE PROFESSOR PAUSES AFTER THE STANZA. HE PUTS THE LUTE TO ONE SIDE OF THE COFFEE TABLE, AND KISSES CELIA.THERE IS A CLATTER OF THE LUTE FALLING ON THE FLOOR, BUT THE KISS ISINTENSE. SHE IS KISSING BACK AND THEY BOTH ROLL TO THE FLOOR.

THEY ARE FACE TO FACE. THE PROFESSOR IS TRYING TO FONDLE CELIA, BUT SHE IN IN LONG DRESS AND PETTICOATS, WHICH CASCADE DOWN FROM HER BODICE. AND BLOOMERS.

CELIA

David. Stop

THE PROFESSOR (HEATEDLY)

Celia, I'm in love with you.

CELIA.(ROLLING AWAY FROM DAVID A LITTLE)

And I'm very, very fond of you too, but this is not the time or the place.

THE PROFESSOR

Why not?

HE ADDS A LITTLE ELIZABETHAN TO THIS.

Pray tell?
HE IS HOLDING HER FACE WITH HIS HANDS.

CELIA
Can you make baby.

THE PROFESSOR

Huh? Why, yes. Of course... My former wife got done. I didn't.

CELIA

I didn't bring anything.

PROFESSOR.

What do you mean "not bring anyhting"

CELIA.

I use foam.

THE MOMENT IS GONE. CELIA RISES FROM THE FLOOR

THERE IS FRUSTRATION

CELIA.(SUDDENLY BUSTLING AND BUSY TRYING TO FIND HER PURSE).

I have to go.

PROFESSOR

You have to go? Just like that?

Celia, every time I try to get busy with you, I just see your beautiful ass going out the door.
What's with all that?

CELIA.

It's the way you are. It's the way I am.

SHE FINDS HER PURSE, ARRANGES HERSELF AND MAKES FOR THE DOOR IMMEDIATLY BEHIND. SHE OPENS THE DOOR AND HE CAN SEE HER GRANNY BOOT AS SHE LEAVES.

THE PROFESSOR

Celia, everytime I see you it's just your beatiful ass floating away in a Victorian dress.
What's up with you. You're alway moving away from me.

CELIA( FROM OUTSIDE
Jumping away from you, the way you are!

PROFESSOR

Celia.

BUT SHE IS GONE.

LIGHTS: DIM.

...........................

Ah well, the first draft of this act is down below if anybody is interested.





THE FIRE IN BRADFORD. A Play, by Ivan Prokopchuk (Continued)

ACT II, Scene One.

INT. NIGHT.
IT IS HALLOWEEN.

BOTH CELIA AND THE PROFESSOR HAD JUST COME BACK FROM A PARTY. THE THEME OF THE PARTY WAS ELIZABETHAN. THEY ARE IN THE PROFESSOR'S NEWMARKET APARTMENT, NOT FAR FROM CELIA'S HOUSE IN HOLLAND LANDING.

HE IS DRESSED IN PONTALOONS AND JERKIN AND SHE IN A FLOWING ELIZABETHAN DRESS, WITH A SILVER WIG WITH AN ELABORATE HAIR DESIGN.

THEY ARE HAVING DRINKS AFTER A DINNER AT THE GRAY GOAT PUB, WHERE THE PARTY HAD BEEN IN FULL SWING. THE THEME OF THE PARTY HAD BEEN SHAKEPEAREAN.
HE HAD GONE TO CONSIDERABLE EXKPENSE TO OUTFIT HIMSELF IN THESE RENTED PANTALOONS AND BOOTS, WITH THE RUFFLED SHIRT FLOWING OUT OF THE JERKIN.

CELIA
My, don't you look handsome. Ben Jonson. Elizabethan man! You look great. Shouldn't just do this on Halloween.
You are a doll!

THE PROFESSOR, WHO TAKES A LUTE LONG DISPLAYED ON A WALL AS AN ORNAMENT, STARTS TO TUNE IT AND IS ABOUT TO PLAY:
Oh piffle. The lady is about to be entertained.

HE BEGINS A BAROQUE CHORD RUN DETERMINES THE KEY AND BEGINS SINGING.


With hey, ho, the wind and the rain
,A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.
And the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man's estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
'Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.

CELIA IS RAPT. HER EYES ARE OPEN WIDE UNDER THE SILVER WIG.

CELIA
I didn't know you played. And a lute. Those things are hard to play.

THE PROFESSOR

Not if you tune it like a guitar and play in A-minor. HE RESUMES THE SONG.
A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,And we'll strive to please you every day.


THE PROFESSOR PAUSES AFTER THE STANZA. HE PUTS THE LUTE TO ONE SIDE OF THE COFFEE TABLE, AND KISSES CELIA.

THERE IS A CLATTER OF THE LUTE FALLING ON THE FLOOR, BUT THE KISS IS
INTENSE. SHE IS KISSING BACK AND THEY BOTH ROLL TO THE FLOOR.

LIGHTS: OUT.

11 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Hey, that's a terrible place to leave us with "lights out." Dramatic yes. But what about our puerile and prurient interests?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Heh.

Anonymous said...

obviously,she is pulling at his jerkin,in search of a missing chord...what a way to treat a lute...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Anonynous,

That is quite an observation. Almost close to the scene I had intended to put in. ;).

Yeah, first the profe miss-tunes the lute, then he lets it clatter to the floor...Then he collapses on top of Celia....Seriously, this needs work.

the walking man said...

Ivan, now that you are tuned up in the technical aspects and got the flow going the reading and understanding is easier.

Last we saw old cuckolding professor was in the pub talking to his editor, taking a hang up call, being assaulted by a stranger, and looking up the butt of a kilted pool player.

It may be me and my non play writing self, but I think (to me) there needs to be more of an introduction to this romp in the hay. Or the information for the flow must come post coitus. Who was on the phone, did the prof hook up with the stranger for a night, he does seem to think with his primal brain.

What is the symbolism of the lute, both hanging on the wall and his instrument of woo choice? Why not a guitar or a piccolo? A lute is interesting but is it something more than what it appears?

*Shrug* These are the immediate questions I have after digesting this for a day.

Peace

mark

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

Thanks for staying with this.

I had pretty well the same questions as I was composing this act.
But I was somehow so enamored witth the song, probably written by old Willie S. himself, that I let it override the writng.

Very pertinent comments.
I really need to do some work here.

Floored that you took all his time to think about the episode.

Cheers

Josie said...

Ivan, I have left a couple of comments here on your blog, and they don't show up *sigh*

Well, I am popping in to say hello. Will be back to read your posts when I have some more time.

How are you Boychik?

Cheers,
Josie

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,

Small wonder youc couldn't get through.

I've been working his post over and over again. Probly indicates some sort of busy signal here and there (in my head?) and comments don't always get through.

Me? This banty rooster is footsore and wing-weary. My pension can't carry me expecially with my Champagne tastes.

Looking for work all of yesterday.

the walking man said...

Ivan, the rewrite is more satisfying to me, more realistic, the way the dialog interrupts the song. And meatier in that it connects with the pub scene by answering the question of the phone. It shows Celia is connected to the professor in a way that belies her image of "party girl."

There is one question though that is running at me, is there generally any rule for how long the actors stay on stage in a scene? Or better said, is there any length of time a scene should take?

Peace

mark

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

Apposite observation and a good question.


I am a novice at playwrighting, but it seems to me that a scene has to, above all,to have life. It can not be just "content".
The life seems to come outside the scene itself; it is integral to the action and dilogue, but it seems to float above what is actually said and done...I am tempted to say "ghost out of the machine", but that term is specific and means something else altogether.
So when it comes to scenes, I try to impute life into them.
In a word, when it comes to the quick and the dead in script writing, it has to be quick, that is to say full of life. If the scene does not have life, it is dead, whether it is long or short.

So, at his stage, I would say it is an artistic decision as to length of a scene. If it has life, it can be as long as the life of the scene demands.
I sincerely wish I had been introduced to playwriting earlier. It strikes me that you need to follow theatre very early and for a long time before you attempt to write a play. I am going by the seat of my pants informed only by whatever success I have had as a novelist.
I am just at this stage using the same techniques as if I were writing a novel, which is qite a different thing, though a novel too, is a kind of drama.

It is a kind of vehemence, and without it, a scene, or an entrie play will be dead, and not quick.

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

p.s.

The symbolism of he lute might be the shattering of the character's creativity.
It would be a little pretentious to cet Shelley "When the lamp is shatterd."
When the lute is "shattered"?

The professor seems to move from a kind of innocence to an experiece.
The experience is a proximity to a woman who may be a servant of the devil. Or a devil?
There is a witchiness about Celia, a Loreli-like quality and the professor may well be drawn to a deep well or river. She is perfectly capable of drowning him.

Poor cossack, galloping along on his horse, meeting a Rusalka, a siren, who may well drown him by the river. LOck, stock and lute.

The way out of tragedy, says the late Lionel Trilling, is intelligence and right intention.
The prof has to have the right intention, or he will drown emotionally.