October 20, 2008

Etude 4 - Practical example

Scene 1
We enter and get settled.

[Mood music: complete silence]

In the womblike darkness, ORIXA sits alone, completely still and absorbed in thought. Clothed completely in white, her face is covered by an expressionless white mask. There is a stillness to her that makes her seem pristine, ethereal, spooky - as if she could be a virgin, a saint, or a ghost.

Once we are in place, Orixa looks at us and sees us - really sees us. Her gaze is intent, laserlike, not so much just seeing as dissecting. And for a moment we all have a foot in 2 different worlds: the ordinary world and the world beneath it.

The ordinary world fades away.

Scene 2
[Mood music: "Teardrop" by Massive Attack]

We are now trees and/or spirits in a forest on a moonlit night, a sanctuary of dreams both dark and light. Shadowy SHAPES - they could be trees, animals (cats? owls? wolves?), or even ghosts - move subtly in the background as if blown by a gentle wind or floating on their own. Several pairs of eyes could watch from the darkness.

Orixa decorates us with lotus blossoms (origami?). Focused and graceful, she resembles a priestess making offerings at a holy shrine. She finds a clear spot, sits, and meditates.

A CATERPILLAR enters the forest carrying a spinning wheel.

Orixa notices it.

Slow and deliberate, the caterpillar finds a spot with plenty of moonlight then carefully arranges itself and the wheel.

Orixa watches, transfixed.

The caterpillar spins and spins, weaving yards and yards of enchanted "fabric" (more like a silken shawl) of a mystically significant color (maybe royal blue). Unrushed and methodical, there is a meditative quality to the way the caterpillar goes about its work.

Orixa inches closer - but not too close.

The caterpillar slowly and carefully wraps itself in the cloth. It forms a cocoon around itself, covering its feet, body, and head. It goes perfectly still.

Orixa approaches the cocoon. She tries to peek inside, listens at it, taps it. Nothing happens.

Orixa goes to the spinning wheel, examining it like a crash-landed UFO.

The cocoon stirs, slightly at first but soon it stretches the fabric until it starts to split.

Orixa waits.

Scene 3

[Mood music: dubstep]

The cocoon unravels. A FAIRY emerges, peeling off the cocoon. A creature of dark glamor that resembles a blood red rose in all its contradictory beauty - soft petal and sharp thorn, red blossom and green stem. She may even have wings like a lunar moth, making her look like a kind of feral angel of forest and roses and moonlight. Fluid and ininhibited, her slightest movements in tune with a strange, hypnotic rhythm. Even the least of her movements is part of a dance.

Orixa marvels, orbiting around the fairy as she rids herself of the cocoon.

Her cocoon shed, the fairy holds a hand out to Orixa, inviting her to the spinning wheel. She leads Orixa to the wheel the way a great dancer leads an inexperienced partner - smooth, confident, even seductive. She patiently guides Orixa through the motions of the wheel. As Orixa gets used to the wheel, the fairy gradually lets Orixa weave by herself.

Orixa's hand slips, and she stabs herself on the spindle. The fairy gently examines the wound. Orixa drifts to sleep. The fairy catches her as she slumps, wrapping her in her discarded cocoon and guiding her to the floor as the shadowy shapes transform into BRIARS. The fairy disappears into the night.

The briars gather around Orixa, forming a thorny cocoon around her as she dreams . . .


  1. You know what I think? I think this needs to be experienced. In this show I was watching last night, the performer told a story about how she looked out of her window and saw a rainbow that in its particular setting was so shockingly beautiful that it took her breath away, and her automatic reaction was to rush around the house trying to get a camera and take a photo of it. And when she finally found the camera, and the batteries for the camera, and pointed it at the sky, the rainbow was gone. And she had tried so hard to capture and hold onto it (when a photo would never have really been the same, anyway) that she missed the opportunity to experience it. And I thought, what a beautiful metaphor for theatre. You can't ever capture it and save it for later. It is in the moment of communion between the artists and the audience. This is what I think of when I read your work. It is intriguing and haunting, but I imagine I could never really, truly "get" it just by reading it. I want to experience it instead. Your work is clearly meant for nothing so much as experience. So there's your task, my friend. I plan to visit friends in NYC in late Feb. Think you can get up a show by then? :)

  2. I'll see about it. I live in a loft now, and it has a little stage. I have to write and cast this ASAP.

    I'm glad you think my work needs to be experienced. That's sort of what I was going for.

    BTW - if you're ever bored at work, go here. Lots of cool stuff there.