Theatre, arts, culture, politics, and snark from a practicing playwright and recovering journalist.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Bombardment, Episode 9: Oozing and Open
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.
ARETHA: You what?
CARMELITA: You were so unhappy! So weary! To help, to ease your suffering, I…put them in your brandy, Aretha.
ARETHA: Do not speak my name!
Slaps CARMELITA hard.
CARMELITA: As you wish. Ma’am.
ARETHA: My question. You are here. In my bed. Now. Barely dressed. Explain this.
CARMELITA: Yes. After the…in the. . .night. You try to sleep, your eyes closed. Your head side-to-side. Your breath fitful. All you can do is call Corno. Mr. Corno. Come home. Finally, sleep descends, easing round the castle. Servants sigh. Dab their eyes. Prepare their own beds. Then the cook says, the phone! If the phone rings! So we run to your room, and your head is thrown back, your mouth is open, your skin is blue! Behind your eyelids, your eyes flicked back and forth! Panicked. Searching. Dreaming. She's dreaming, says the cook! She's dreaming of Mr. Corno! She's chasing him in her dreams! Chasing after love! Quiet her, Carmelita. Quiet her before her heart bursts. How do I do this? What do I do? The servants, they grab me. They pull from me my uniform. Force me into bed. Beside you. I say this is wrong! I am soiled! But you are cold! Frozen cold! The touch--my touch--does something. Warms you. Calms you. Quiets you. Your breath turns to fuchsia. Your spirit to green. Stars return. Here. At this intersection of dream and desire. Your sweat blending with mine. Our tears. Our breath. For a moment…peace.
ARETHA: I see. How very creative of you. But I know. Why you’re here. Who you wait for. You exploit my confidence, poison me with your drink and medicines, and your perfect tales of selflessness. Then have the gall to wait, an orchid, oozing and open, for him. Blooming beside my rapidly cooling corpse.
CARMELITA: No, ma’am. I would never--
ARETHA: You already have. Remove your oily stench from my bed. And conceal your hideousness. At once.
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.