Theatre, arts, culture, politics, and snark from a practicing playwright and recovering journalist.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Bombardment, Episode 16: Sometimes a Pipe is Just a Pipe
Splattworks continues its presentation of Bombardment, a two-act drama by Steve Patterson. The author will attempt to post an installment each day, but, if events intercede, installments could arrive a day or so apart. So please be patient.
CARMELITA: I see him on his boat. Wearing his thick sweater, his plush woolen trousers. His hands upon the wheel. Steering. Turning. The prow cutting the waves. The spray. He's standing in the sun. He's standing in the sun, and he's got that smile. Wind catching his hair, but he's got that smile. The brilliant, too-large teeth. The trembling lips. His eyes squinting at the sun, at the wind, and you see through his eyes. You see tomorrow. It's bright and it glistens in the wind, sharp and brilliant with promise. Oh yes. It's right there in his eyes. In his smile. It's there. There. It is right there. It's still there. Oh god, it's still there. Here. It's here. He's still here! Dear lord, he's still here!
CARMELITA's breath breaks into moans. PLACID continues reading. In the background and from opposite ends of the stage, ARETHA and CORNO slowly emerge from darkness. Dressed like PLACID and CARMELITA in Act I. Distant. Cool in shades. They are invisible to PLACID and CARMELITA. Everyone should be in place just as CARMELITA is about to orgasm. Suddenly, she stands.
CARMELITA: No! No.
Carefully, she places the pipe back in the rack. She grabs the carving knife.
CARMELITA: It’s here. The beast is here. I can smell it. Thought the smell was something else. Placid. Placid!
CARMELITA walks in front of PLACID, and cuts his paper in half.
PLACID: What the hell was that?
CARMELITA: Stock split.
PLACID: You know what that was? That was the newspaper. That was the last newspaper. There won't be any more. That means we're out of news. We won't know what's going on.
CARMELITA: What’s happening is--
CARMELITA: Wind? What wind?
PLACID: Winds of change. Yeah. Winds of change blowing. We got to be ready. Gotta be prepared.
CARMELITA: Or what?
PLACID: Or else we get blown away, babe. Plain and simple.
CARMELITA: A regular hurricane.
PLACID: That's right. We're right in the eyes and--
CARMELITA: Eye. Hurricane's only have one eye. Go ahead.
PLACID: We're right in that eye. Here, it's calm. Real calm. But out there, right out there, it's the worst midnight on the worst road of the worst winter. Believe you me. Right out that door it's trees pulled out of the ground, roof tiles flying like hatchets, little girls and their dogs carried off.
CARMELITA: So we stay in the eye? We never move because of this hurricane?
PLACID: No. The hurricane shifts. Today it's here, tomorrow it's over there. And the eye moves with it. The stuff. We got this stuff now.
Steve Patterson has written over 50 plays, with works staged in Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Tampa, and other U.S. cities as well as in Canada and New Zealand. His works include: Waiting on Sean Flynn, Next of Kin, Farmhouse, Malaria, Shelter, Altered States of America, The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Grandamnus, Bluer Than Midnight, Bombardment, Dead of Winter, and Delusion of Darkness. In 2006, his bittersweet Lost Wavelengths was a mainstage selection at Portland Center Stage's JAW/West festival, and, in 2008, won the Oregon Book Award (he also was an OBA finalist in 1992 and 2002). In 1997, he won the inaugural Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for his play Turquoise and Obsidian.