Bokeh

By Ziggy

*Avant-garde meta-theatricality. Breaking down the "fourth wall" between performer and audience. From an actors point of view, it's open to total improvisation. The idea is that this is about a recorded image, the photograph, and i like the idea of the audience recording a play about the recorded image, in a tragicomedic sense.

This is a draft of a short three act play i wrote for University, an expansion of a one act play i posted on hitRECord nearly a month ago. It could be audience interactive. Inspired by the Theatre of the Absurd, the likes of Ionesco, Stoppard, Beckett etc, especially the plays Waiting for Godot and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

*********************************************






BOKEH

Act One

The stage is dark. A bright flash momentarily illuminates two men. The stage then becomes totally illuminated. The two men are standing like statuettes mid-handshake. Both are in their late twenties to early thirties. MAN#1 is handsome, youthful looking and is wearing a suit and tie. MAN#2 wears the same but has a more genteel appearance. MAN#1 becomes aware. He blinks for a short while, glaring at MAN#2.

MAN#1
Uhhh… excuse me.

He clears his throat.

MAN#1
Excuse me sir.

MAN#2 becomes aware (short pause).

MAN#2
Who are you?

MAN#1
I can’t move… where are we?

MAN#2
I can’t move either.

MAN#1
I can’t move a thing.

MAN#2
Not even a limb? (a pause)

MAN#1
Not even a twinge. (a pause)

MAN#2
Not even a twitch? (a pause)

MAN#1
Not even a tic (long pause)

MAN#2
Not even a spasm?

MAN#1
Not even…a pang

They look at each other confusedly and self-conscious.

MAN#2
Not even a… stitch?

MAN#1
Not even a cramp…or a single ache to be found anywhere…

They continue to glare at each other confusedly and self-conscious for a short while.

MAN#2
(matter of fact)
I can blink.

MAN#1
So can I… what is your name? Seeing as we seem to already be in a… solidified handshake salutation.

MAN#2
My name is, my name is, my name is… my name is, my name is, my name is, my… name…is…my name is? you know what?… I can’t recall my name. How about you?

MAN#1
Well, my name is…(a long think) something.

MAN#2
Oh dear.

MAN#1
Yes.

MAN#2 seems perturbed.

MAN#2
Wait…I can see a blur to my right.

MAN#1
And… I can see a blur to my left.

MAN#2
What ever is this obscurity? I sense presences (long pause)

MAN#1
Where could we possibly be?

MAN#2
Well, we don’t seem to be made out of wax or have any kind of…apparitional appearance…yet… it does appear that we are in some kind of… twingeless…twitchyless… inexplicable… realm… of… inexplicable… occurrences.. Of…

MAN#1
Calm down, friend. For now… this is too intangible an experience… for us to add any sense or meaning to it.

MAN#2
Yes, not a good time for semantics, agreed.

MAN#1
All we know, is that we’re in a place where…we can’t recall our names…we can’t twinge or twitch… or pang or stitch…and there is a blur to my left…and a blur to your right… which seems to have a human presence… (a pause)

MAN#2
I can move my left hand.

MAN#1
So you can…

MAN#2
What do I do with it?

MAN#1
Wave at me.

MAN#2 waves at MAN#1

MAN#2
I’m going to point in the direction of the blur to my right.

MAN#1
That is impressive.

MAN#2
I am going to put my left hand in my pocket. (rummages in his pocket) What’s this?

He takes out a small shaving mirror.

MAN#1
A mirror. How convenient.

MAN#2 looks in the mirror.

MAN#2
Oh my…

MAN#1
What do you see?

MAN#2
I see… people.

MAN#1
People?

MAN#2
Yes.

MAN#1
What are they doing?

MAN#2
I see faces…and upper bodies… sitting in seats. Some look amused, one looks like Aleister Crowley…

MAN#1
Do they look as perplexed as we do?

MAN#2
Well, they… they can…they seem to be able to twinge and twitch and blink…(long pause)

MAN#1
And pang, stitch….

MAN#2
Cramp, ache, yes, I’d imagine they have their tendons in usage…

MAN#1
I’m too afraid to converse.

MAN#2
I can hear them, but we must remain composed…

Long pause of the two men glaring at each other confusedly.

MAN#1
Anyway, the blur reminds me of something… it reminds me of the blur In photographs… you know… there’s a name for it… I’m sure you know what I mean.

MAN#2
Sort of.

MAN#1
Doesn’t it look like that to you?

MAN#2
Yes…yes it does.

MAN#1 starts to move his left arm and hand.

MAN#1
Aha, I can move my left hand.

MAN#2
Excellent.

MAN#1 checks his pocket. He takes out a mirror.

MAN#2
Interesting…

MAN#1
(looking in the mirror)
My god, you are right. People. Faces that can twinge, twitch and blink…and Aleister Crowley…

MAN#2
Yes…It’s nice to put a face to a blur isn’t it?

MAN#1
It so is.

MAN#2
Wow.

MAN#1
What?

MAN#2
I seem to be able to clench a buttock.

MAN#1
Really? Left or right?

MAN#2
Right.

MAN#1
I see…

MAN#2
I have to say… this is a wonderful discovery…

MAN#1
What good is a buttock clench going to do in our situation?

MAN#2
Well, maybe other parts of our bodies will start to work.

MAN#1
Aha! As soon as you said that… I can feel a tingly feeling in my right bum cheek.

MAN#2
This is very exciting.

Long pause. The two men look at each other with eyebrows raised.

MAN#2
I do believe we are being watched right now.

MAN#1
I am too afraid to engage with them.

MAN#2
Me too.

MAN#1
Yes…

MAN#1 takes a look in his mirror.

MAN#1
I just saw…a flash…coming from the audience…

MAN#2
Just one flash?

MAN#1
Yes.

MAN#2
A camera?

MAN#1
Yes. I think so…

They solidify in their position.

Act Two

Darkness. Then a flash of light. MAN#1 and MAN#2 are now in a different solidified position. MAN#1 is facing the audience and has his hand over his mouth. MAN#2 is laying down, hands on chest, facing the ceiling, and mid-laugher. MAN#1 becomes responsive. He rolls his eyes about, perceiving his surroundings, then he looks straight ahead with an outraged glare.

MAN#1
(barely audible)
I can’t believe it.

MAN#2 becomes attentive. He laughs, then stops.

MAN#2
Why am I laughing? (a pause)

MAN#2
Are you there sir?

MAN#1
(muffled)
Yes, I am… I have a hand over my mouth.

MAN#2 hears a mumble.

MAN#2
Pardon me?

MAN#1
(muffled)
I have a hand over my mouth… my hand.

MAN#2
You have a hound over your muff? What does that mean? You sound like audio from another room. Speak plainly.

MAN#1
(muffled)
I can’t. I have my hand over my mouth!

MAN#2
Your hand?

MAN#1
(muffled)
Yes.

MAN#2
Oh I see, over your mouth?

MAN#1
(muffled)
Yes. (long pause)

MAN#2
Oh dear.

MAN#1
(muffled)
I can see the audience.

MAN#2
Which way are you facing? Can you see the audience?

MAN#1
(muffled)
I can see the audience. I am facing directly ahead.

MAN#2
Can you see the audience?

MAN#1
(muffled)
Yes!

MAN#2
Ok… I can’t… all I can see is a melancholy ceiling. It is making me feel melancholic. (long pause)

MAN#2
I have been thinking about that flash you saw. We must not stifle the obvious. Our situation is rather confounding, yes. It’s sinister and physical, yet non-physical at the same time. It’s like becoming alive inside a microsecond…(long pause)

MAN#2
I can’t move, you can’t move, we’re in a new-fangled position,. You have a hand over your mouth and therefore you are a muffled audio… you saw a flash, there is an audience that occasionally interacts with us…and curiously of all you saw a man who looked like Aleister Crowley…

MAN#1
(muffled)
Yes… he was bald.

MAN#2 starts laughing hysterically.

MAN#1
(muffled)
What’s so funny?

MAN#2
I’ve just remembered my name.

Starts laughing again. Stops.

MAN#2
My name is… Garland (long pause)

MAN#1
(muffled)
Nice to meet you Garland.

GARLAND
My name is Garland… and I was born in Dorset, England. I come from a well-heeled family… and for a number of years I decided to travel the world… without asking for a single penny from my family (long pause) that is who I am.

Silence…

GARLAND
At least that is the fiction I have told myself…

The curtain is pulled, and MAN#1 is left alone on the stage. He stares at the audience for two whole minutes. Lights go out.

Act Three

The stage is dark. A bright flash momentarily illuminates MAN#1 and GARLAND. They are now totally illuminated. MAN#1 is sitting in a chair looking at a photograph in his hands. GARLAND is sitting opposite him in the exact same position, with the exact same photo, a parallel image. They are both clad in the same black suits and tie.

GARLAND
Are you aware?

MAN#1
Yes.

GARLAND
Im looking at a photo.

MAN#1
Me too.

GARLAND
Im looking at a photo of two men on a stage sitting in seats looking at a photo.

MAN#1
Me too.

GARLAND
I do believe we are looking at photographs of ourselves looking at photographs.

MAN#1
Yes (long pause)

MAN#1
Call me Francis.

GARLAND
Oh, you’ve remembered your name?

FRANCIS
Not really, but seeing as you have a name, it’s only fair I have one too.

GARLAND
Any reason why you chose that name?

FRANCIS
First name that came into my head.

GARLAND
Ok, well, hello Francis.

FRANCIS
Hello (long pause)

GARLAND
So, now we know that we are in a photograph, we need to work out how to get out of it, because there is no point dwelling on the why.

FRANCIS
Why?

GARLAND
Save that for after we work out how to leave this realm. We have no past or sense of future, we only have the present moment.

FRANCIS
We are not in control. We are slaves… we are a record.

GARLAND
Maybe we’re not slaves… maybe the door has been wide open all along…

FRANCIS
Can you feel the breeze coming through the door? The air of freedom?

GARLAND
Yes. Can you?

FRANCIS
No. Can you really feel the air of freedom?

GARLAND
No. Nearest thing I have felt to freedom is a clenched buttock.

FRANCIS chuckles to himself.

FRANCIS
We are a recorded image…(long pause)

FRANCIS
I faced them.

GARLAND
Who?

FRANCIS
The blur. The faces.

GARLAND
Really? When?

FRANCIS
After you ceased to exist. For two minutes I was left to face the faces… it was like… like facing my own shadow. Like facing aspects of myself. And though I could use my voice, my own hand stifled it.

GARLAND
I ceased to exist?

FRANCIS
You were gone, friend.

GARLAND
Wherever could I have gone?

FRANCIS
Gone.

GARLAND
I must have went somewhere?

FRANCIS
Gone like a fart in the wind (long pause)

FRANCIS
Maybe we are being taught something.

GARLAND
By who?

FRANCIS
By something. Some kind of intelligence.

GARLAND
God?

FRANCIS
Perhaps… and I’m not talking deity in the sky. And I don’t mean we’re in a limbo hell awaiting judgement. Perhaps we do have lives elsewhere… and right now we could be asleep next to our wives, with our children fast asleep in their beds. Perhaps we have stepped into our minds, and we’re being shown something…

GARLAND
A dream within a dream?

FRANCIS
Perhaps we are just aspects of somebody else’s mind…

GARLAND
We can’t think like this forever… we’ll go mad. We are much more than just fragments of a persons mind.

FRANCIS
I know.

GARLAND
I prefer what you said about stepping into our minds. But it suggests that we share a mind.

FRANCIS
Or a dreamscape.

GARLAND
Perhaps we are brothers.

FRANCIS
We looking nothing alike. Though we could be step-brothers or best friends.

GARLANDS
Not lovers.

FRANCIS
No. I have no homosexual tendencies towards you.

GARLAND
Me neither (long pause)

GARLAND
Perhaps this is some kind of judgement. Maybe we were Hitler and Stalin in a previous life.

FRANCIS
This doesn’t feel like a punishment. But it does feel like a consequence.

GARLAND
Interesting. What do you mean?

FRANCIS
I feel, myself, personally, that I have done something that has resulted in this quandary. This literal tight-spot.

GARLAND
You see, I don’t.

FRANCIS
Really?

GARLAND
No, I feel as if I wanted to come here, but have made a mistake. Made the wrong choice.

FRANCIS
Interesting.

GARLAND
And I shuddered when I saw Aleister Crowley. What bothers me is that I know more about this man than I do myself.

FRANCIS
All I know of the man is that he was an occultist.

GARLAND
He was many things. A Magus, an astrologer, a bisexual, a playwright, a mountaineer, a yogi, a psychonaut. Known in his day as the “wickedest man in the world” or the Prophet of the Modern Age by his devotees. Why do I know so much about this particular man and so little about myself?

FRANCIS
Who were his devotees?

GARLAND
Members of Ordo Templi Orientis…a secret fraternity.

FRANCIS
What are you suggesting, that Crowley has something to do with our situation?

GARLAND
I am only suggesting it in the same boat as our previous evocations. We are dwelling too much on the why, we have no direction.

FRANCIS
There is no panoramic view. We are at the bottom of the mountain, in a valley… we cannot see past the nearest house. How ever do we expect to find our way home?

GARLAND
And the blur? The faces?

FRANCIS
It is the watchful eyes of the unknown. In the forest, they are the eyes of the silent beasts. At least that is what it feels like. And felt like.

GARLAND
My daughter’s name is Elwyn.

FRANCIS
Are you sure?

GARLAND
Yes, she is eight years old. She has long red hair, and… green eyes. She looks more like her mother (long pause) she is getting good at the violin and… every weekend during the summer we go to Chesil Beach and fly a kite that we made ourselves.

FRANCIS
My wife’s name is… Madelene (long pause) sorry, I cannot do this.

GARLAND
Do what?

FRANCIS
Create a fiction of myself (pause)I prefer the stillness. I prefer what is. (long pause) it’s the only thing that makes any real… sense…

The photo falls out of GARLAND’s hand and falls to the ground. The same happens to FRANCIS. The stage goes dark. A few moments pass. Then the bright flash comes on again, and FRANCIS and GARLAND are nowhere to be seen.

Curtains pull.

THE END
































Document
Bokeh

Created: Feb 08, 2010

Tags: avant garde, absurdism, beckett, tom stoppard, absurd, audience, stage play, acting, an, interactive emotion, improvisation, ionesco, screenplay short, theatre, waiting for godot beckett existentialism, bokeh

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