Theatre, arts, culture, politics, and snark from a practicing playwright and recovering journalist.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Bombardment Episode 6: A Glittering, Crystal Price Tag
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 may occur a day or so apart. So please be patient.
CORNO: Evening, dear. You look a fright. Nothing to say? You? The old silent treatment? What could I have done? Too much time at the office? Neglected your delicate filigree of need? Philandering? Me? Come now. Why would I want anyone else? You're a goddess. Very nearly. (Sits beside her.) Perhaps you weren’t always a goddess. Maybe I wasn’t always a god. Even those born to it must be proven. As must those, my dear, who have risen to their esteemed positions through more circuitous routes. Through sweat or marriage or combinations of the two. Perhaps you feared, from experience, that you could be replaced by firmer flesh and more malleable aspirations. A tactical error. Happens when one brings intrigue into nostalgia. If anything about that formless creature attracted me, it was her resemblance you! Ah, strike that. Um, well, um…the wench had already been paid for! I was supposed to let that go to waste? You know how you feel about waste. I did as expected. As taught. If a grape dangles above one's mouth, one eats. With savor. Ever seeking perfection. It’s right there. Waiting. Dangling. A glittering, crystal price tag. Hell. Let us simply kill the damned servants and start anew! No shame in admitting a mistake! There’s plenty to pick from, and they cost a pittance! A nice polished skein of muscle for you! And for me. . .for me, a creature of…ice. Whose very touch would freeze. Who is there but to look upon, as to say: as perfect as you are, you’ll never come even this close to my true desire! My purest love! That’s you, dear. There is a time for a man to grow up. Accept his place. I have arrived at that crossroads, and realize I was…perhaps miscalculating. So just. . .pull yourself together. We'll go on as we've always gone. The choice is yours. That’s an order. Get up, Aretha. Quit playing around! (Shakes her.) Get up, goddamn it! It's morning! It's past-morning! I'm not lying to you! (Pulls her into his arms. She's limp.) Goddamn, woman, this just isn't done! Sleeping in all day! What will that cook say? Only one for breakfast, sir? What about the guests? They'll long to see you. You know how they are. The way they talk. Then the pictures. The rumors. Rot in the magazines. Goddamn it! I can't do this alone!
CORNO shakes her. She doesn’t respond. He lets her sink down. Lights fade to silhouette the players. In the background, the sounds of planes return.
CORNO: Ah. That will be fine. Your services are no longer required. Presently. (Planes louder.) Abort your mission. That’s your commander-in-chief talking. (Planes louder.) I said your presence…. Hello? Will no one in this kingdom play the slightest attention to their…? Those are my planes? Surely a radio problem. A failure to communicate. Misplaced coordinates. Friendlies about to correct their…. (Planes deafening.) Or. Perhaps not.
Lights out. Rolling thunder of airstrike. Planes and bombs fade out.
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.