A 1 act 2-scene play
The lamp on the bridge looked older than the bridge itself. The people of the town referred to the bridge, proudly, as the Roman Bridge, impressive and ancient. To the children, however, it was the ‘Roamin’ Bridge: a prehistoric haunted thing that wandered during the wee small hours, returning every magic time with a telling souvenir.
This was how the lamp had appeared, they said, suddenly and weather-worn; a spot light from a theatre past now beaming its enchanted orb across the cobbled span.
Enter the limping woman into the circled skirt of light.
She moves slowly toward its periphery. She rests her elbows onto the railings of the bridge and begins to sob quietly and to swallow soundlessly, as though she is afraid of awakening the moon; bits of her dropping, dropping, hitting the ground like glass beads, unstrung and reckless and splintering like a rosary of disregarded prayers.
The stiletto heel of one of her shoes had snapped off earlier that evening. (A delicate ankle’s noble error!) Removing it from her bag she places it tenderly onto the stone balustrade, steadying it so that its shadow in the lamplight becomes that of a pensive bird anticipating flight.
A passing stray dog stunned by lamplight, attracted by warmth, settles itself at the feet of the woman (one-shoe-on, one-shoe-off) arranging itself comfortably with its chin on its paws and eyes, droopy-lidded, staring straight ahead, so that all three (the woman, the shoe-heel-bird, the dog) are gazing with fused understanding into a yearned for distance.
The whole scene is desperately sad as though all three are witnessing a score of abandoned music floating weightless on a breeze; each priceless page drifting further and further away from each other priceless page, drifting further and further away from them. A fragmented musical dream floating like confetti above the watery face of a sleeping moon and into an unknown void. As though all three (the woman, the shoe-heel-bird, the dog) are powerless
End Act 1, Scene 1
Pan to me, the play’s secret spectator sitting tired as a ghost awaiting the rebirth of music
Act 1 Scene 2
THE REBIRTH OF MUSIC
It has rained, light and prolonged, covering the cobbled village in a polished satin camouflage; buffed and comfortable like a worn grey suit. From an upstairs window two furtive eyes puncture the darkness like iced daggers, assessing the blackened streets, then, content at the gloom, looking away, returning to a friendless bed and broken restless dreams.
From a darkened alleyway below a stranger emerges, carrying with him an elongated suitcase and a leather-bound book with all its pages missing save three: the book’s handwritten dedication (illegible), a moving account of kindness (improbable) and a final and inconclusive sentence ‘…and the memory of you…’ (flawless).
He grips his treasures tight and pads his gentle way fused to shadows, his bandit footsteps guarded, his breath a tender trembling.
Meanwhile the watery moon floats bleary eyed and tranquil as a lily, and time continues the slow march of happenstance.
Meanwhile the bridge’s peculiar trio (the woman, the shoe-heel bird, the dog) fixes its gaze toward kismet withdrawing.
Secure in night’s shelter, the man begins to whistle a floating melody.
Suddenly the woman blinks nervously.
The shoe-heel-bird quivers.
The dog pricks up its ears.
Footsteps approach…heartbeats flutter: A trio breathless and a man bewitched by the moving scene before him crossing the veiled threshold into the lamplight.
With unruffled elegance, he places the suitcase and the book (open at its third and last page) onto the bridge’s railing.
The woman shivers.
The shoe-heel-bird teeters.
The dog growls.
The man does not falter….
With theatrical flair he snaps the locks open (Tick! Tick!) and removes from the case his cherished violin. He taps a fitting rhythm. He plucks the tightened string.
He pauses, momentarily, and then begins to play.
The atmosphere electrifies.
The scene is Chagall and his Satyrs and abandonment and joy.
The woman is dance: barefoot and wild.
The shoe-heel-bird leaps into the night carrying a tune like an olive branch.
The dog begins to serenade the moon.
And somewhere in a galaxy far away a memory is scrawled across the heavens.
The theatre is hushed.
The curtain closes slowly on a lamp-lit silhouette and on hearts inflamed and on the future’s insistence on mystery.