Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Play's the thing. ACT III, Scene 3 THE FIRE IN BRADFORD, a play



ACT III SCENE 5: EXT. NIGHT.

IT IS THE KISS 'N' RIDE SUBWAY TERMINAL ON YONGE STREET AT THE TOP OF TORONTO. THE GLASSED STRUCURE LOOKS A LOT LIKE A FIFTIES JUKEBOX, OR THE ROTUNDA-LIKE FRONT OF A HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ENTRANCE. OUTSIDE, THE WAGON-SPOKE WHITE LINES FANNING OUT IN THE ALL-ROUND PARKING SPACES WHERE COMMUERS ARE DROPPED OFF BY SPOUSES OR FAMILY MEMBERS, WHO ARE EITHER THEMSELVE DRIVING TO WORK NOW OR GOING BACK TO BED.
A QUICK KISS THEN THE SUBWAY RIDE.

IT IS EVENING NOW AND TIRED COMMUTERS AWAIT THEIR PICKUPS.

THE PROFESSOR IS ON HIS WAY TO HIS TORONTO STUDIO TO PICK UP SOME SCRIPTS. HIS ACTUAL HOME IS NEWMARKET, FARTHER NORTH OF TORONTO.

HE IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN THE STAIRS.

AHEAD OF HIM, BRISKLY MAKING FOR THE STAIRS LEADING DOWN, IS A WOMAN IN A GREEN POPLIN COAT, SHORT PAISELY DRESS, AND VERY HIGH HEELS TO SHOW BEAUTIFUL, YOUNG LEGS. BUT TO HIM, SHE SEEMS TO HAVE A HALO ATOP HER BLONDE HAIR...
IT IS CELIA.

THE PROFESSOR MOVES TO OVERTAKE HER.

SHE SENSE HIM BEHIND HER, TURNS.

CELIA

David! What are you doing here?

PROFESSOR

Down to my studio to pick up some stuff.

CELIA SEEMS DISTANT, PREOCCUPIED, NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN HIM.


CELIA

Still living in Newmarket?

PROFESSOR

Yes, of course. And you?

CELIA

I'm living here in Toronto now.


PROFESSOR

Yes. Er, living in Toronto.

But you are avec, no?

CELIA (NODS, A LITTLE SADLY).

PROFESSOR

Not Lief?

CELIA (QUICKLY)

David, I've got to meet somebody.

(SHE RESUMES HER CLACKETY-CLACK TOWARDS THE STAIRS). THE PROFESSSOR FOLLOWS. SHE PICKS UP HER PACE AS SHE GOES DOWN THE STAIRS, BUT HE IS RIGHT BEHIND HER.

CELIA (TURNING)

You've got to stop following me. Really, David. I have to meet somebody.

SHE TAKES UP HER HURRIED CLACKING DOWNTAIRS. THE PROFESSOR STILL TRYING TO CATCH UP.


THE PROFESSOR FOLLOWS HER OUT TO THE PARKING LOT.
A SILVER LATE MODEL BMW SPORTS SEDAN IS WAITING.
CELIA ENTERS ON THE PASSENGER SIDE, AND AS THE PROFESSOR APPROACHES, SHE LOCKS THE LATCH INSIDE.

A DARK, BEARDED MAN IS IN THE DRIVER'S BUCKET SEAT.
HE AND CELIA NOT SAY HELLO. THEY JUST EXCHANGE GLANCES, KNOWING GLANCES, AS IF THEY HAD BEEN IN LOVE FOR A LONG TIME.
THIS GIVES THE PROFESSOR A TWINGE. BUT HE IS CUROUS.
HE WALKS TO THE DRIVER'S SIDE, TAPS LIGHTLY ON THE WINDOW.

CELIA (TO THE STRANGER)

I think he wants to talk to you.

THERE IS THE HUM OF ELECTRIC MOTOR, AS THE MYSTERIOUS DRIVER LOWERS THE WINDOW.
THE PROFSSOR NEARLY STICKS HIS HEAD IN, BUT WITHDRAWS IT QUCKLY AS HE IS AWARE THE SWARTHY DRIVER CAN EASILY GUILOTINE HIM.

MYSTERIOUS DRIVER

You got a problem?

THE PROFSSOR, GAZING PAST THE DRIVER, AND AT CELIA. HE TRIES TO SMILE.

Yeah, I got a problem.

THERE IS THE HUM AGAIN AS THE STRANGER ROLLS UP THE WINDOW. DAVID BARELY MISSES BEING GARROTTED. THERE IS TALK NOW BETWEEN THE STRANGER AND CELIA. DAVID CAN HEAR ONLY PARTS OF IT.

STRANGER:

What, who is that?

CELIA.

He is a brillian writer

STRANGER

Well, I don't care if he's a brilliant writer. He's coming on agresssively...

THEY ARE TALKING, CALMLY RATHER WITHUT ANIMATION, BACK AND FORTH. IT IF OBVIOUS TO THE PROFESSSOR THAT THEY ARE IN LOVE. LIKE A MARRIED COUPLE NOW.

THE WINDOW STAYS UP. CELIA AND THE STRANGER TALK, BUT THEY ARE NOT LEAVING.
WHICH GIVES THE PROFESSOR AN OPPORTUNITY.

HE MOVES BEHIND THE DELICATELY CURVED, RATHER FEMINIE, JAGUAR STYLE REAR END OF THE CAR TO STARE AT, AND WRITE DOWN THE LICENCE PLATE NUMBER. JUA 552.

FRUSTRATED NOW BY THE LOCKED CAR DOORS AND THE TWO LOVERS TALKING CALMLY AS IF AT A COCKTAIL CONVERSATION, DAVID FINALLY TURNS TO GO BACK INSIDE THE KISS'N'RIDE.
INSIDE, HE HOLDS HIS HEAD IN HIS HANDS AND PEERS THROUGH THE GLASS, AT THE BMW. WITH CELIA AND THE STRANGER INSIDE. THEY DO NOT PULL AWAY.
IT IS THE PROFESSOR WHO FINALLY LEAVES, HEADING FOR THE NEAREST BAR. IT is right there. Sign in font of the Kiss'n'rides says BAR.

...end scene

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The professor is stymied



INT. NIGHT.
GREY GOAT ENGLISH PUB AGAIN.MAIN ATTRACTION IS THE BAR. THE PLACE IS BUSY AND NOISY, BUT NOW DOWN TO A DULL ROAR. THE PROFESSOR IS DRINKING WITH HIS PUBLISHER ONCE MORE.

PUBLISHER (HAVING A DRAUGHT)

Well,why so glum, chum?

PROFESSOR.

Women.

PUBLISHER

It's alway women with you. (HE POINTS TO THE DARTBOARD WHERE TWO SCOTSMEN ARE PLAYING).

Why don't you take up darts. Or pool. You've had no luck with women at all. So tell me. What happened last night?

PROFESSOR

Ah, Professor Rath and the Blue Angel? Know the story?
Prof in love with a cabaret queen, but in my case, its worse, far worse. Maybe porn queen.

PUBLISHER:

Celia again?

PROFESSOR

Yep. Thought she was Helen of Troy with that face. More like The whore of Babylon.

PUBLISHER.

You're too crass.
But I have to agree with you.Helen of Troy. Face that launched a thousand ships.
But your Celia is more like, say, Phoebe Zeitgeist, perhaps the personification of the spirit of the age. Our age. What has been up has been pulled down. Superwoman rules. But still only a woman. Role models, Father, mother, teacher still in her psyche. Little girl wants to please. What do women want, what do I want, she is asking herself. "Why, I want what men want! Money, goods, sex, power, talent."

She is trying to find herself.. A little like a nun looking for salvation. But she keeps looking in the wrong places.

PROFESSOR.

You should see the place I saw her in last night!

PUBLISHER

Let me take a shot at it. Hotel California?

PROFESSOR

Something like that.

PUBLISHER (SHRUGS)

She is moving from the red to the black.

PROFESSOR

You're almost claivoyant. How do you know these things?

PUBLISHER

Ah, breakdown or breakthrough. I once had a crackup over a woman. Spent seven weeks in a rubber room...Makes you thoughtful. Who was the crazy one? Me or the woman who should be in the cage?
Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. We were all up there doing the same thing. Spend all day looking for a symbol on the wall. Finding the symbol, falling asleep.

THE PUBLISHER PICKS UP A KNIFE AND FORK AND STARTS JUGGLING THEM IN MID-AIR. HE IS TAPPED ON THE SHOULDER BY A SERVER.

SERVER

I think you need a sedative...More beer?

PROFESSOR.

Yeah. Calm down. You're scaring the family dog.

PUBLISHER.

Manic-depressive, I guess. We're all manic-depressives in this writing business. Graham Greene. Hemingway. Virginia Woolf.


PROFESSOR

And Heinrich Boll as the Clown?
You could be his character, will all that spoon tossing... I don't think I ever met a clown publisher before. But you're pretty damn surefooted as for a clown. You know what sells, and you encourage a writer to tell it true, to get to the heart of the matter.

PUBLISHER.

Heinrich Boll. Starved a lot. Maybe like you-- part-time teacher and bookwriter.

HE LIGHTS A CIGARETTE.

PUBLISHER
Okay, okay, enough of this Lewis Carroll stuff...And Carroll was mad like a genius.
So what happened last night?

PROFESSOR (RUNNING HIS HAND THROUGH HIS HAIR)

I thought I saw the real Celia last night, through the window. Good God! Scenes straight out of Fellini...Only thing missing was the gay guy--or was he missing?... I think Lief has a streak. ..Achean wooden warships -- and farting Gryphons. Orgy. And you'll neve guess who was the Magus of the piece.

PUBLISHER (QUICKLY)

Mayor Frank Tweedy?

PROFESSOR

How did you know that?

PUBLISHER

Claivoyance of the mad....Besides, I've been in town for a long time. Tweedy likes his porn, some of it live. He likes it live. Hires actors.

PUBLISHER (TAKES ANOTHER SWIG OF HIS BEER)

And I must say you're a bit like him. Voyeur! Like to watch, Well,tell me what happened. Was it like "He play with she, I play with me?" (HE TAKES ANOTHER SWIG OF THIS CHARRINGTON'S TOBY)


PROFESSOR.

Beer's making you garrulous, Willie.
It was darn near an orgy. And the Mayor was in it. And Celia was...

PUBLISHER

Ah Celia.

Poor little Justine.
She is moving from the red to the black.

PROFESSOR

What in hell are you talking about Willie? More stuff you learned at the jigsaw puzzle assembly plant?

PUBLISHER
She is moving from the red to the black.

PROFESSOR
You mean like out of Marat-Sade novel? Or maybe Stendhal. I can't read Stendhal. Frigging boring. That plot about the ambitious young priest who has the devil in him.

PUBLISHER.

Devil. That's it. Debbil's got ya.
I think you're a little bit obsessed--possessed?--over this Celia.
Hey, I mean this as a friend. But have you thought about some sort of therapy? Maybe even an exorcism.
Celia's got you. And she's possessed you.

PROFESSOR

You could say that. Sometimes she seems to me to be the servant of the devil. Witch.

PUBLISHER.

More prosaic. She is a seeker. But she's incomplete.
As I say, I think she is moving from conventional life to some kind of eerie cult, and she's hardly aware of it...Thinks it's learning, thinks it' art. It's probably that Tweedy. Got her into the hole that he's into. Got trapped in the Mafia. Mafia has his way with him. Makes him into a gangster, a pimp. Find all those good looking runaways from Suburgia. Brainwash them. Get them into Hieronymous Bosch, Peter Brueghel the Elder, H.P. Lovecraft, all those fantastic guys. Brainwash them. Administer drugs. Turn them into whores.

PROFESSOR
This is the mayor of our town?

PUBLISHER
He's in the Mafia so deep he has no idea how to get out...He's probably brainwashed too.

PROFESSOR
And I'm like a character in his goddamn film?
You know. Sort of like Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Have you seen the movie?

PUBLISHER

Of course.
You may turn out the blindfolded piano player at Lief and Celia's cult, brought to you by Mafia Tweedy.

PROFESSOR.
Willie, you're nuts.

PUBLISHER

And I have the paperwork to prove it. But I was a doctor once, as you knew. Mad doctor, mad scientist. Mad publisher.

But I still say your Celia is moving from the red to the black.

.PROFESSOR
(NOW LIFTING HS BEER AND HAVING A DEEP DRAUGHT)

Okay Willie. Explain it to me as if I were a little child.

PUBLISHER

Celia was like a nun, though in the clutches of some sort cult.
..Those enerby suckers, suburban vampires. She was like a nun looking for grace, looking in all the wrong places, including your place. You didn't have what she was looking for. So she chose the beast. Found him attractive.
But you've got something too. Your naivete. That is attractive. Because you werenaive and in the state of grace--I think you are in the state of grace. Are you?-you've strength. Strong because naive. Guard your naivete! You have the strength of a hundred men...At least until you get really involved with her. Then you'll be like Sampson. You'll pull the pillars down.
...She'll probably be at your window tonight.

PROFESSOR

Oh, if only it were true.

THERE ARE NOW FIVE BAND MEMBERS APPROACHING THE BANDSDAND. THERE IS SILENCE AS THE GROUP ASSEMBLES AND BIGINS TO PLAY.
THEY START WITH A B.B. KING BLUES.

MUSIC IN BACKROUND: THRILL IS GONE by BB King.

MUSIC: UP..

The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away.
You know you done me wrong baby
And you'll be sorry someday.

MUSIC: SONG ENDS.

THERE IS APPLAUSE.

IT IS QUIET IN THE PUB NOW.



THE PROFESSOR IS PLAYING WITH HIS BEER.

PUBLISHER

No, not gone for good. She was outside last night just after you had gotten back. She had to leave that party. It was getting to be too rough. Loving that cocaine too much. She needed you. Needed a sounding board, like all people hooked, but you guys were feuding, so she couldn't properly approach you.
Celia will find grace one day. And you'll be there. But thats so far into the future...
In the meantime, you have to impress her. Show her that you're worthy. Run for Mayor yourself!

PROFESSOR

Now there's a thought!

PUBLISHER

Why not? You're running for Professor every four semesters. Untenured. Got to be a politician for sure.

Run for Mayor. Chicks like Celia adore power. Look how tight she is with Mayor Tweedy. You must run for Mayor yourself!
Show that little Mafioso. Take his chick.

PROFESSOR.

Oh if it were only that simple.
I'm in a triangle. Celia. The Mayor. Me.
But there's a fourth corner to every triangle.

Who is that invisible masked man? Who is really riffing her?

PUBLISHER

Don't be surprised if he's Italian.

PROFESSOR

Why should I be? So is the Mayor.

PUBLISHER

Ah. Pretty little mill town perched atop Toronto.
Newmarket.
New Market for sure.
Cornfield subdivision and corn liquor from Bradford, bootlegging capital since the thirties.

THE PUBLIHER IS NOW DRUNK. HE SINGS.

Her father was a brewer
But she was a friggin' hooer

Her sister had bunions
And tits like friggin' onions...


PROFESSOR

Stop it, Keith.

But damn. You crazy bastards can be right on at times

AND FROM THE MANAGER ON THE MICROPHONE:

MANAGER

Time, ladies and gentlemen. Time!

...end scene.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The God out of the machine. ACT II, Scene four. THE FIRE IN BRADFORD. A play, by Ivan



ACT II SCENE FOUR. INT.NIGHT.

THE PROFESSOR IN HIS STUDIO OFFICE.

HE LOOKS A LITTLE DISHEVELLED WORRIED.

HE IS ON THE PHONE.

(PHONE SOUNDS)

PROFESSOR

Oh hi. Lief.. Hello Lief. How are you?

THERE IS A PAUSE.

PROFESSOR.

I'm Just wondering. Is Celia there? It''s About an assignment of hers.

THE PROFESSOR SEEMS TO CROSS HIS FINGERS..

THERE IS STILL A PAUSE.

LIEF

Celia can't come to the phone.

PROFESSOR.

What do you mean she can't come to the phone?

LEIF

She's busy.

PROFESSOR:

What do you mean she's busy.

LIEF

She's busy.

PROFESSOR(HEARS A MOAN FROM SOME MALE VOICE. THERE IS TECHNO MUSIC IN BACKGROUND)

MUSIC: LINGERS. OFF.

PROFESSOR

Is she talking to someone?

LEIF
Yes. She's busy!

PROFESSOR

What do you mean she's busy?

LIEF

She's busy!

THERE IS A CLICK.

THE PROFESSOR LOOKS AT THE HANDSET AS IF TRYING TO AUGUR AN IMAGE OF WHAT IS GOING ON AT LIEF'S HOUSE. HE HANGS UP.
HE GETS UP FROM THE DESK, GOES TO THE CLOSET, PICKS OUT A JACKET, PUTS IT ON, TURNS TO LEAVE THROUGH THE BACK DOOR.

EXEUNT PROFESSOR.
LIGHTS DIM

....end scene

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

SCENE 5 EXT. NIGHT.

THE PROFESSOR IS NOW AGAIN IN FRONT OF CELIA AND LIEF'S HOUSE BUT THIS TIME ALONE. HE STANDS BETEEN THE TWO MOCK CYPRESS TREES, PEERING THROUGH CELIA'S PICTURE WINDOW FROM OUTSIDE.

A TOGA PARTY IS IN FULL PROGRESS. EVERY ONE IN ROMAN DRESS.
THERE IS REVELRY AND OBVIOUS DEBAUCHERY.
CELIA NO LONGER A BLONDE, BUT NOW A HENNA REDHEAD. THERE IS MOCK PADDOCK ACTION. CELIA IS BEING RIDDEN, AS IF SHE WERE MARE BY A DARK, BEARDED STRANGER, VERY HAIRY, WHO, WERE IT NOT FOR HIS HIKED-UP TOGA AND SANDALS, WOULD LOOK LIKE A BIKER.

LIEF, MEANWHILE, HAS A "MARE" OF HIS OWN, NOT CELIA. CELIA IS IN A SHORTENED PLEATED ROMAN DRESS, ALMOST MINI IS NOW A FILLY, BEING RIDDEN BY THE HIRSUTE STRANGER, SAME AS THE UNIDENTIFIED OTHER WOMAN IN HER OWN CALPURNIA MINIDRESS AND UPTURENED, STACKED HAIRSTYLE WHO IS LIEF'S "MARE"... LIEF AND THE BEN HUR BIKER SPUR THE "MARES" TOWARD EACH OTHER.
BOTH "MARES" AND RIDERS NOW FACE EACH OTHER. THIS CAUSING BOTH LIEF AND THE STRANGER TO MEET FACE TO FACE. BOTH THE STRANGER AND LIEF HAVE ON HEAVY MAKEUP. THE STRANGER IS WEARING AN OLIVE WREATH. LEIF TOO, HAS ON A GREEN WREATH AND WHITE TOGA... THE GIRLS NOW FACE EACH OTHER. THE MEN ATOP DO THE SAME.
THE PROFESSOR TURNS AWAY AS THE MEN SEEM ABOUT TO EMBRACE, ATOP THEIR FILLIES.

HE IS ABOUT TO TURN AND WALK AWAY IN WOE AND DISGUST,BUT THERE IS MORE.

SUDDENLY THERE IS MUSIC.

MUSIC: UP

FROM THE CEILING CUBBYHOLE, A GOD IS BEING LOWERED DOWN ON A THICK ROPE.

IT IS MERCURY, REPLETE WITH HELMET AND WINGED ADIDAS. YOU CAN SEE HIS GENITALS UP THE TOGA.

IT IS THE MAYOR OF THE TOWN.

ALL PADDOCK ACTION BELOW NOW STOPS. HORSES AND RIDERS NOW ALL KNEEL AND GIVE HOSANNAS TO THE GOD OUT OF THE MACHINE. THE GOD IS LOWERED TO THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

MUSIC: ENTRANCE MARCH FROM AIDA.

MUSIC. FADES.


ON THE FLOOR NOW, THE GOD CAVORTS TO THE OPEN KITECHENETTE TABLE WHERE FROM THE PURSE ON HIS BEELT, HE PRODUCES A CAKE OF APPARENT WHITE COKE AS THE WORSHIPPERS GATHER AROUND HIM. HE SITS DOWN NOW WHILE THE REVELLERS WAIT AS IF FAMISHED, WAITING ANXIOUSLY FOR DINNER. THE GOD BEGINS FLAKING THE COCAINE WITH AN OLDFASHIONED STRAIGHT RAZOR. HE BEGINS BY GIVING EACH SUPPLICAT A LINE ON THE ARBORITE TABLE, BUT CELIA CAN'T WAIT AND SNIFFS AT LIEF'S PORTION WHILE LIEF SEARCHES FOR A STRAW.

AT THE WINDOW, THE PROFESSOR TURNS AWAY.

PROFESSOR:

Jesu Christo. Mercury. Mayor Tweedy!

THE PROFESSOR TURNS ON HIS HEEL AND WALKS TOWARDS HIS CAR. HE IS HOLDING HIS HEAD WITH BOTH PALMS.

MUSIC: FROM THE ENTRANCE MARCH OF AIDA.

MUSIC: UP.

CURTAIN.



end scene.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

ACT II, SCENE THREE. PLAY. The Fire in Bradford.."Her father was a brewer, but she was a ....



SCENE INT. RIVEREDGE RESTAURANT.
CELIA AND THE PROFESSOR ARE HAVING AND ELABORATE THREE COURSE MEAL OF SURF AND TURF. THE RESTAURANT IS ONE SIDE ALL WINDOWS WHERE FISHING BOATS AND CABIN CRUISERS CAN BE SEEN THROUGH THE CLEAR GLASS. CELIA AND THE PROFESSOR ARE DRINKING WHITE WINE BEFORE THE NEXT COURSE. THEIR EYES ARE ON EACH OTHER OVER THE LINEN TABLECLOTH AND THE CANDLE LIGHT. THE WINE IS BEGINNING TO AFFECT THEM. THEY GET A LITTLE MUSHY.

THE PROFESSOR INDULGES A LONG GAZE AT CELIA, WHILE HAVING HIS DRINK.
SHE IS VERY BEAUTIFUL, PETITE, BLONDE

PROFESSOR(MAKING A SOUND OF CONTENTMENT)

Hmmm.

CELIA (ANSWERING)

Hmmmm!

PROFESSOR

I wonder what the poor people are doing

THERE IS A LOW SOUND OF A TUGBOAT.

CELIA

Your boat is coming in

PROFESSOR:

Don't I know it.

THE MOOD IS SUDDENLY AFFECTED BY A COMMOTION OUTSIDE. THE VERY RESTAURANT SEEMS TO ROCK, AS THERE IS SUDDENLY A LOUD BANG.

IT GIVES BOTH CELIA AND THE PROFESSOR A START.

PROFESSOR.

What, who the hell is that?

OUTSIDE, SOMEBODY YELLS:

Minga!

CELIA GIVES A SLIGHT SHUDDER.

CELIA SUDDENLY BEGINS TO FIDDLE WITH HER RINGS.
THE PROFESSOR NOTICES NOW, IN THE LIGHTS JUST GONE ON THAT THERE IS A SLIGHT SCAR ON HER LEFT CHEEK. SHE HAD TRIED TO COVER IT OVER WITH MAKEUP, BUT IT SEEMS THAT THERE WAS A FINE CUT.

PROFESSOR (HIS MOOD NOW SLIGHTLY BROKEN)

What's wrong?

CELIA

It's Lana.

PROFESSOR

What Lana

CELIA

My girlfriend. Sort of a mentor, really.

PROFESSOR

What's that got to do with anything?

CELIA

Oh David..I... Lana's teaching me about life. I want to learn about life...It's Lana's friends....Pretty baroque.

PROFESSOR (TAKES A HUGE GULP OF HIS DRINK)

Heh. Baroque...elements of the fantastical.

CELIA

Or rococo. I took romance languages. Remember? More rococo, common.

PROFESSOR (SUDDENLY SMILING)

Well,not too bad with the romance.

And what strange Whitney Streeber characters are around you and Lief? He in the club too?

CELIA

Why don't you ask him?

PROFESSOR

Oh damn your Lana and your Lief. What is this? The Adam and Eve show? Do I meet he local god? Is Adam your father and Lilith your mother? Forget those other people,Lana, it's just you and I tonight. You and me! Damn the noises, damn the snake, damn the lumber, damn the torpedoes.

HE HAS ANOTHER SIP OF HIS DRINK.

ACROSS THE TABLE,HE MOVES HIS HANDS TOWARDS HER.


CELIA(STOPS FIDDLING WITH HER RINGS. BOTH HER HANDS REACH OUT ACROSS THE LINEN AND CANDLELIGHT TO SEEK DAVIDS. THE PROFESSOR PUTS AWAY HIS DRINK AND HIS FINGERS NOW SEEK HERS. BUT THE MOVES ARE HALTING, TENTATIVE. THEY BOTH PULL AWAY.THE MOMENT IS LOST.

SUDDENLY THERE IS A TALL BEARDED MAN ENTERING THE RESTAURANT. HE GOES RIGHT BY THE RECEPTIONIST, THE CASHIER, STANDS IN THE DINING ROOM EXTENDS HIS RINGED LEFT HAND AND POINTS A FINGER RIGHT AT CELIA. THE PROFESSOR RISES, IS ABOUT TO ENCOUNTER THE STRANGER, BUT THE MANS UDDELY TURNS,GOES TO LEAVE, PACES BISKLY PAST THE CASH COUNTER,WHERE THE CASHIER IS ABOUT TO INTERFERE,PACES THROUGH THE LOBBY AND THEN OUT.
THERE IS THE SLAM OF A DOOR.

PROFESSOR:

Who, what was that?

CELIA

It's Marko.

PROFESSOR:

Who the hell is Marko?

CELIA.

Marko....And Lewis. I've got a lot of problems, David.

DAVID.

Of course...But what in...?

Like I told you. Leif has male friends. He has female friends. I have male friends. I have female friends. Finding out about life. Heh. I might as well tell you what happened.
I was on the edges of a homosexual circle, playing it cool, you might say, and the next thing, I was right in the middle of it.

THE PROFESSOR HAS ANOTHER LOOK AT CELIA.
HER HAIR DOES SEEM A LITTLE DISHEVELED. THE LITTLE SCAR. AND THERE SEEMS ONE LITTLE SORE
ON THE CORNER OF HER PRETTY MOUTH.

CELIA
I've got problems, David. The agents. Its Marko. ..and Lewis..

THE PROFESSOR, SUDDENLY MIFFED.

And Yogi? Yogi baby....And Boo-Boo?

CELIA

You're too streetwise for a prof.

PROFESSOR

I used to be an investigative reporter.

CELIA

That's why I didn't give you your own key to my place...A journalist.

PROFESSOR

What have you got there? A key club? Lief running a house of the rising sun?

CELIA, REACHING ACROSS THE TABLE SUDDENLY SLAPS HIM, UNEXPECTEDLY HARD.

THE PROFESSOR IS STUNNED.

SHE RISES SUDDENLY, ALMOST RUNS INTO THE WAITRESS WHO HAD NOW BEEN BRINGING THE FOOD.

PROFESSOR(HOLDING HIS CHEEK)

Celia, I...You're always running away from me.

CELIA (AT THE GLASS DOOR TO THE RESTAURANT BY NOW)

Jumping away from you, the way you are.

....end scene

Sunday, March 07, 2010

THRILL IS GONE



ACT TWO SCENE TWO. "THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.--A PLAY.

SCENE. INT NIGHT.

THE PROFESSOR IS STILL IN HIS STUDIO. HE IS LYING B ACK ON HIS COT. HE HAS THE HI FI ON. HE IS SMOKING A CIGARETTE:

MUSIC. B.B. KING. THRILL IS GONE
UP

Thrill is gone babe
My sweet love's gone away
Thrill is gone
My sweet love's gone away
Well, she left me all alone now
But she'll be sorry some day
MUSIC:

(Now the long, haunting blues guitar ride)

THERE IS A KNOCK ON THE DOOR.

HE GOES TO OPEN IT.

IT IS CELIA.
SHE IS DRESSED IN A LONG SILK PAISELEY DRESS AND IS WEARING A BLOND WIG, AS IF SHE HAD NO TIME TO COMB HER HAIR AFTER WORK.

SHE IS HOLDING WHAT APPLEARS TO BE THE PROFESSOR'S LETTER SHE SEEMS FLUSTERED, ANNOYED.

PROFESSOR

Celia, why I ...

CELIA (COMING IN AND CLOSING THE DOOR BEHIND HER)

Don't Celia me. Why did you send me that horrible letter?

PROFESSOR (AS HE GOES TO TAKE HER HAND...SHE DRAWS AWAY SLIGHTLY)

Well, you sent me a couple of doozers...Like "let's turn this into the spiritual"...And "don't expect anything."

CELIA (SOFTENING A LITTLE. HER EYES LOWER)

Well, yes. I Guess I've been sort of playing with your head. I'm sorry.

PROFESSOR

Well, you got me in the head. Right between the pillars.

THEY BOTH NOW MOVE TOWARD THE COUCH, WHERE THEY SIT. SHE HAS COME TO BEING NERVOUS AGAIN.

CELIA.
So how have you been?

THE PROFESSOR.
Not well. The work is coming hard, and the college is trying to fire me.

CELIA
Why?

THE PROFESSOR IS LOOKING AT HER LEVELLY.

Well.
Guess.

CELIA (BUTTING HER CIGARETTE)

Oh David. I didn't mean to cause you trouble. The last thing I want to do is cause you pain.

THE PROFESSOR GOES TO KISS HER, BUT SHE TURNS AWAY. SHE IS NOW NERVOUSLY LOOKING AT HER WATCH.

THE PROFESSOR:

You got an appointment somewhere?

CELIA (LOOKING AGAIN AT HER WATCH)

Oh, if only things were simple. Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl....But it is not that simple. It's very, very complicated.

PROFESSOR
Complicated? It's drivin me crazy.Jeesus. For the last two weeks I have been pretty heavily immersed in JUng and old Ziggie Freud. And B. B. King too. Not that simple. What do women want?

CELIA

Freud? He never figured it out? Women want men.
I like men. I like men with power, money. I like money. Lots of it. I am especially impressed by successful politicians. You can feel the power coming right off them.

PROFESSOR (SMILING)

I will become a politician at once!

CELIA (A LITTLE SETTLED DOWN NOW)

David, Lets go out. Let's go out right now. Let's go out to the marina, to the Riveredge restaurant. Have dinner. Watch the big cabin cruisers come in at night. .

PROFESSOR:

Ships passing in the night?

CELIA

No more ships passing in the night.

PROFESSOR

Well, let's go then..I love seafood. And I know you do too. Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.

THEY BOTH GET DRESSED AND LEAVE THROUGH THE BACK DOOR.

...end scene

Thursday, March 04, 2010

THE PLAY. CELIA'S BABY SENDS HER A LETTER



THE FIRE IN BRADFORD

A PLAY

ACT II SCENE 2


INT. NIGHT.

THE PROFESSOR IS BACK IN HIS STUDIO APARTMENT.THIS TIME, HE IS ALONE.

HE IS AGAIN SITTING ON HIS COT. HE REACHES FOR HIS GUITAR FROM UNDER THE COT. HE PICKS IT UP AND BEGIN TINKERING WITH IT..

PROFESSOR (STRIKES A BLUES RIFF...THEN AGAIN THE BLUES RIFF, AND NOW ALMOST ROCK AND ROLL):

PROFESSOR (NOW SINGING):

I know that you love me baby but you dont know how to show it

I know that you love me baby but you don't know how to show it.

HE PLAYS A RIFF. ANOTHER.

SUDDENLY HE PUTS THE GUITAR TO ONE END OF THE COT GOES OVER TO HIS DESK AND BEGINS TO WRITE.

DAVID'S VOICEOVER:

Dear Celia,


This is a missive that may have us both wondering whether to laugh or cry.

It has struck me, over this past long weekend, that all is not hunky-dory in the state of Denmark, allusions to ethnic origin or Newfoundland be damned. My lifeboat seems to have this great big hole in it and I'm not sure whether you can appear as your usual fetching self in a U-boat uniform or, more accurately be my angel of the mists who has only know guided me to a firm shore. The lifeboat, is, at any rate, safely moored, but I'd been feeling for the longest time that I'd been torpedoed.

When we first met, really met, I was a bit like the hero out of Simon and Garfunkel, was a rock, was an island, was fairly insular in myself, needing little that stemmed from elsewhere; the asbestos suit was on snugly and some of the King's horses and some of the king's men had succeeded in doing a fair patch job on old Daniel.

Then along came Celia. Well. I went from a fairly self-possessed man of 47 to a love-struck young paranoid of 18 who possessed all the filigree of love without its fruit and enjoying the pain even so.

You had me hooked, almost grounded and on the road to more obscurity than I already possess. The situation was hopeless, no man would touch it with a ten-foot pole, but I was and am deeply attracted to you, as we are both alike, and like tends to attract like, right down to the multiple personalities, changes of appearance, attempts at being Honore de Cossack, guitar-playing, stroking, hugging, making strange warm love somewhere on the far side of the moon through an amber alcoholic mist.

We were and are (even after this past year) in the first stages of falling in love, and I do mean love, for I am every bit as vain as you and we were bound to start a pretty strong mutual admiration society, a country of two near-extraterrestrials in a fairly ugly and acquisitive world.

I was delighted to get your letters, nicely written, well thought out, neat as pins. Then came a change. I wasn't going to respond too heavily to sentiments that suddenly became those of a younger woman, perhaps a girl of 22, rather than an experienced woman of 35. The letters began to get love-lornish, a little broody, references to "collecting hearts like notches on a gun" and and a quick denial of all that, the mark of a hand used to dealing with younger men of a long time back, in a style of hearts and flowers that began to have less and less reference to experienced people who know what it is to walk through fire, to even trade their bodies in situations that surely approach World War Three, while (strangely) possessing the altruism--the love, if you will--to get each back to where each belongs.

I know for certain that you have the altruism, to "get us back to where each belongs". You might even have the love.

But I'm starting to have me doubts.

Perhaps the letters were so young, so direct and full of unmistakable knowledge of their effect that there was no mistake as to the message sent and the message received. You were telling me that we could only be friends, that sex outside your marriage was out of the question, that our love could only be spiritual, all the things you tell a man who is afraid of women, who gets their egos up, a man not "together" at all. This is the kind of man you can only keep as a friend, a borderline gay like John Losell, though I am not altogether sure.


Now I know I have enough fear to know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I also know that it'll be much easier to deal with the husband of a child whom your dog has bitten rather than the wife, for a man is a man, the man I'm dealing with now and he is infinitely easy to deal with, because there is no doubt that Lief and I like each other...Yet in the words that lovers say to each other at night, when they reveal everything, the subject of old Daniel comes up and Lana is told to the last detail what to do or to say next.

Yet I know you are making a hellish sacrifice and showing quite a bit of love for me by sticking with me, with a fair appraisal of the consequences. That kind of loyalty has to be appreciated. And yet, and yet. We come to the bone of contention.

When we first met, you said you would "find a way." Later, when I brought up the subject of sex in what you had termed your "open marriage", you said it was "only sex", perhaps a mere fillip to two people who were attracted to each other. Sex didn't seem important to you. It is sure as hell important to me!

Along comes a developing Daniel, halfway a teacher and halfway an alcohol-crazed sex maniac driven half-mad by a woman's beauty, not used at all to a woman who well yet she won't, too used to having women make the first move and not the other way around. I am somewhat vain, spoiled, much like you. Like you, I suppose, I am carrying the auras of too many lovers, who had in the initial meetings, come to me and not me to them.

So I was secure in my resolve, knew that you would come around. I was too secure. I did not go to you soon enough, and here we are at this impasse, where the man struggles with the teacher, explaining to the woman that why certain things should not be done, are not right, while at the same time trying to do those very things. (The sober Daniel is very different from the tipsy Daniel, much as the sober Lana is different from the wonderful blues-loving doll that you really are). Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Methinks the lady has explored all her intuitive machinery, which involves a man's income, social position, access to power, personal attractiveness and the lady has found old Daniel wanting; she does not want sex outside her marriage. Why should she?

But the chilling though comes: What if sex is possible within the marriage and what if those are the only terms through which it can come, and what if it involves not only the lover, but the husband too.. Take a drink of something bracing.

I am not any more modest than I should be; I am not any more naive than I should be; I am a writer, like you hungry for truth, but if I practise duplicity more or less routinely among my friends and lovers, I can not make the words come straight and clean, because my heart is not straight and clean, and so I am reduced to the mass of men and women who long ago made their emotional and financial compromises, so therefore I cannot write with my heart coupled with my mind, the emotion divorced from the logic. Only half of me is up to the task now.

So if there is a sourness to my mood, and effeminacy in my style through all my accusations and all the ways I now move and act, it is not because I am, to you, still one more would-be lover. I have some idea of the dynamic, though I think I'd have to be an outright homosexual to get it all.

I am a writer and a man, not a truck driver, not a jock, a person of some consequence who should be treated with some consideration, for I am vain enough to know that I am not like anybody else; I should not possess the emotional calluses of everybody else in a world of fleshy Fitzgerald characters who go around and devour each other and everything around them, a world of devourers and the devoured.

Many years ago, my then-wife, watching me struggling with an angel, said she was watching the breakdown of a once fine man, and in fact, she was witnessing me having some sort of breakdown, the breakdown of a man in a profession that was somehow not for him, in a marriage that was somehow not for him. That man has since broken and mended and he is not a semiliterate fuckup that falls heavily for a bit of ginch and then has to be treated like the clerk at the local McDonald's.

I have long observed you as a person and a writer, and ambitious person, not at all a little bit of fluff, a woman of great drive and talent. But like many another of us, you have more than your share of personal attractiveness, a fact that gets all the other sisty-uglers upset, and then you get treated like poor Cinderfella, much as in the case of my own life. I have been treated like Cenderfella by many of the sisty-uglers.


You are not a sisty-ugler, but a beautiful woman trying to reach her proper place. For Christ's sake, get us back to where we belong. I am running short of patience, too old now for the waiting game and I am audacious enough to make some demands and set down a contract for you and me. The contract, startling as it seems, runs like so:

You will keep me only through showing me complete and unconditional adulation. I am a jealous god, yes.

You will revolve around me, kiss my ass upon request, and generally put your man forward as best you can without constantly operating in "megahurts", like a radio station. You leave me alone most times, encrusted with the deepest attention- sapping pain. There are times when I feel you are some sort of energy vampire, though, I suppose, six must complement nine, at the risk of being vulgar. We may be drawing our energies from each other.


I am now your lord and master, know it, and I hope I don't blow it. The time has come to separate sheep from men. I will not be your uncle; I will not be enslaved, like poor Lief and go along with anything that you do just to have a little peace as he watches you change into more and more of a tyrant the older you get. This is the path of Anna Karenina. Make no mistake about it, for when a woman first goes to night school, she risks either the convent or the house of the rising sun.

There is a way out for both of us in a love that promises to be much bigger than last year's bestseller. I do not expect you to change overnight, nor do I try to coerce you into a roll in the hay by just fluffing some of my sharpest feathers. I want you to love me as your really do; I expect you to be perfectly honest in telling me whom you're involved with besides Leif and me. I am not a wimp, nor an uncle, nor a homosexual, your strange preference in men to date. I am a man, a damned good one and that is the source of all your roil and occasional spurts of poison as you seem to roll off the anima of your own animus. Hell indeed hath no fury like a woman scorned. I do not mean to scorn you Lana. I just don't want to be in a contract where you get everything and I get nothing, literally nothing.

Yes, yes, I have robbed Lief's pantry and sampled some of his goods. I see a hell of a good man in Lief and I blame him not at all for your staying with him. But how you stay with him! I am not the only threat to a marriage in which the initial trust has been broken...don't cry now, for I have been there and it will take a hell of a lot more tears and a hell of a lot more years until it is all resolved. I have been successful in totally destroying a lover of my ex wife's. I am experienced at this now. I am perfectly capable, Machiavellian as it sounds, of destroying Lief. But if I were to, it would be to someone else you would go and not to me.

Love me, love me unconditionally in a for you can find and stop this high school confidential bullshit. I am still the naive, slightly incompetent Inspector Clouseau of the literary world you initially met, though a little older now and very much in love with you. Find a way. Find a way for both of us.

Love,

Daniel


THE PROFESSOR STILL SITTING AT HIS DESK HE STOPS WRITING AND LOOKS STRAIGHT OUT AT US.

MUSIC IN BG:(THE PROFESSOR'S TAPE OF HIS OWN SONG, WHICH HE HAS ON TAPE:
I know that you love me baby, but you don' know how to show it.
I know that you love me baby, but you don't know how to show it...

LIGHTS DIM
LIGHTS OUT


....end ACT II, SCENE TWO.

Monday, March 01, 2010

You Can't always get what you want--PLAY. ACT II, The Fire in Bradford



ACT II
SCENE ONE. INT. DAY.

WE ARE INSIDE COPPERFIED'S RESTAURANT. DICKENSIAN SETTING. LOTS OF RED CARPETTING. UPHOLSTERY OF RED LEATHER AND OAK. BOOTHS WITH HIGH OAK WALLS.
CELIA IS WAITING FOR THE PROFESSOR IN ONE OF THE HIGH-WALLED BOOTHS.

THE PROFESSOR APPROACHES HER BOOTH. SHE STANDS, BUT SHE SEEMS TO DO A LITTLE TURN, LIKE A BALLERINA, HER LEFT HAND OUTSTRECHED TO REVEAL AND ENGAGEMENT RING AND A WEDDING BAND. HE GOES TO KISS HER, IN SEEMING MID-PIROUTTE, BUT SHE NOW DRAWS AWAY.

CELIA (SOUNDING A LITTLE CROSS):
You'd think you hadn't seen me for a couple of months!

PROFESSOR
It's the way I feel.

CELIA.

You think you're the only one? This isn't easy for me


THE PROFESSOR

Well then...Maybe we should....

CELIA (NOW SEATED)
Don't say anything. I know what you're thinking.I know you better than you know yourself.

THE PROFESSOR DOES A SLIGHT DOUBLE- TAKE AND SITS DOWN.

PROFESSOR
This is getting a little hard-edged.

CELIA (LEFT HAND OUT AGAIN TO EXPOSE THE RINGS)

Is it?

THE WAITRESS APPROACHES. THEY ORDER DRINKS

THE PROFESSOR MOVES TO TAKE HER LEFT HAND. NOTICES THE RINGS. HE MOVES TO TAKE HER OTHER HAND, SHE ALMOST COMPLETES THE CONTACT, BUT THEN VERY SLOWLY, DELIBERATELY MOVES BOTH HANDS AWAY TOWARDS HERSELF. THERE COULD HAVE BEEN A MOMENT OF CONTACT, OF INTIMACY HERE, BUT IT IS NOW LOST.

PROFESSOR

Un voyage d'aller et retour. Where are we going with this?

CELIA
You think you're the only one? This isn't easy for me.

PROFESSOR

Well, I'd say this whole situation is getting close to intolerable. What does Lief say about all this?

CELIA
Lief understands. But if we want to keep going out together, I'm going to have to bring Lief along...(SHE AGAIN GIVES A FLASH OF RINGS).


THE PROFESSOR QUIETLY DRINKS THE BEER, NOW BEFORE HIM.

PROFESSOR

Ooh. The plot thickens.

Lief. Lief the Unlucky. Damn Lief. I thought you said you and Lief had an open marriage.
That's what my wife wanted before she went to the house of the rising sun.

CELIA

David....!

PROFESSOR.

Sorry. But aren't people odd.

CELIA.

You can't get everything from one person.

THE PROFESSOR.

Sure you can. It's what used to be called marriage. The rest you can get from yourself. It's called creativity. You can't eat from three tables at once... It's crazy.

CELIA

So why are you here?

PROFESSOR
Au contraire! It was you who phoned me. What do you want from me?

CELIA (LOOKING AT HIM LEVELLY.

Just what I'm getting.


MUSIC IN BG. STONES.
"YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT." UP.
THE PROFESSOR GOES TO TAKE BOTH CELIA' HANDS AGAIN SHE RESPONDS. BUT THIS TIME, THE PROFESSOR DRAWS HIS OWN HANDS AWAY.

LIGHT: GRADUALLY DIM.
MUSIC FADE TO BG.

FADEOUT.

....end scene