New me, new play writing   Leave a comment

Scene one, the Exhibition Gallery

The gallery is mostly bare, with two large doorways (one on stage left and one on stage right), a bench or two, a sign for the upcoming Giovanni di Como exhibit, and one painting: a large portrait of a fashionable woman of the Italian Renaissance. This painting is totally not the Mona Lisa and Giovanni di Como is absolutely not Leonardo da Vinci.

There are two people on stage: Officer Dupin, and Ellen Corby. Dupin is a security guard, several hours into his shift. Ellen is a lady in her 70s, retired, hunched and frail. She is standing and studying the painting, which we’re going to call Lady Madonna.

On the other side of the stage from Dupin, Officer Eskars enters. Despite looking like a security guard, the uniform is slightly different from Dupin’s. Eskars and Ellen look at each other. Eskars nods. Ellen stares. Eskars departs before Dupin can look up.

Ellen turns to leave through the other entryway, when Rachel Smith, museum curator, enters. She stops when she sees Ellen.

Rachel: Oh, admiring the Lady Madonna?
Ellen: I’m surprised you have it out already. This sign says the exhibit doesn’t start until the twenty-fifth.
Rachel: I decided to bring it out early. Why would you have a painting as famous as the Lady and keep it in storage?
Ellen: I take it you’re a woman of some importance here.
Rachel: I am. I’m a curator of this institution. Rachel Smith. Can I have your name please?
Ellen: Yes, Ellen. Ellen Corby.
Rachel: Wonderful, it’s very nice to meet you, Ellen. There’s a reason this painting is so famous. Just look at its use of classical Renaissance techniques. In this case, the triangle framing, formed by the arch of her arms, meeting just above her eyes. And most creatively, the background is terrible. The perspective is all off, making it look flat and dull when it’s actually a beautiful Italian countryside. It all works to draw you into her marvelous eyes.
Dupin: I thought this painting was so famous because it was stolen in the 1920s.
Rachel: Yes, that did increase the notoriety of the piece. It was gone for eight years until it showed up one day at an auction.
Dupin: Did they ever figure out who stole it?
Ellen: No.
Dupin: I bet it was someone in the auction house.
Ellen: No…
Rachel: I don’t think they were involved in the theft, necessarily. But I bet they knew who stole it. It’s a very thin line between art collection and art crime. They probably ran in the same circles.
Ellen: You’re a very astute woman, aren’t you?
Rachel: Art is a cutthroat world, Ellen. I’m very fortunate to make it to where I am legitimately. It’s a shame painting isn’t as valued in the modern day. Picasso drew on his napkins to pay for his lunches. There’s so many choices in every brushstroke. Every painting is the result of so many choices. It’s so much more personal than…anything, really.
Ellen: You are a wonderful young woman.
Rachel: Oh, thank you.
Ellen: When are you here? Monday through Friday?
Rachel: Oh, most days. I practically live here. My cats never see me. I come home and they say, “Who are you? Are you going to feed us?”

Jake enters.

Jake: Babe!
Rachel: Oh, hey handsome.

They embrace. He grabs her butt as they part, making her laugh. At some point in this conversation, Dupin exits.

Rachel: (to Ellen) This is my boyfriend, Jake. (to Jake) We were just talking about the Lady Madonna.
Jake: What, like the Beatles song?
Rachel: No, like-
Jake: Lady Madonna, children at her feet-
Rachel: You know what I-
Jake: Wonder how you manage to make ends meet?
Rachel: Like the painting right behind us.
Jake: That painting?
Rachel: Yes.
Jake: The one right behind you.
Rachel: Yes.
Jake: The one you’ve been talking about nonstop for eight months now?
Rachel: Jake.
Jake: No, I don’t know what painting you’re talking about.
Rachel: Anyway, what are you doing here? I’m at work.
Jake: Oh, work, you’re never at work.
Rachel: Jake.
Jake: I just wanted to see you.
Rachel: You couldn’t wait until dinner?
Jake: No, I wanted to tell you, my buddy Paul is arranging for a boy’s night tonight, and I thought, since you’re always busy, especially with this new exhibition…
Rachel: Oh. Okay. Go ahead.
Jake: You’re not mad?
Rachel: No.
Jake: Yeah, I thought, if I told you in person, maybe you wouldn’t be so mad.
Rachel: You have fun. I need a night to myself anyway. My cats miss me.
Jake: Thanks babe.
Rachel: You don’t need my permission. You’re a grown man.
Jake: Yup. Thanks. Bye babe.

He squeezes her butt and then leaves.

Rachel: He’s so sweet, isn’t he?
Ellen: Very sweet. What is his name again?
Rachel: Jake Barfknecht.
Ellen: What an unusual last name.
Rachel: I know!
Ellen: Well, Miss Smith, it was very nice to meet you.
Rachel: It was very nice to see you too. Thank you for visiting. I hope to see you here again soon!
Ellen: Oh I’ll be back.

Rachel exits. Ellen turns back to the Lady Madonna painting. She steps closer to it, looking at the frame. Officer Eskars enters.

Ellen: This painting reminds me of my late husband. Beautiful, but flat.
Eskars: I find it rather dull.
Ellen: You would, wouldn’t you? Doing this every day. (when Eskars does not answer) You’re just waiting for me to leave, aren’t you? When does the museum close?
Eskars: At five o’clock most days, at eight o’clock on Saturdays.
Ellen: I do like Saturdays.
Eskars: I see.
Ellen: My late husband and I had a regular dinner date every Saturday at 7:45 precisely. It would mess with the crowds, you know.
Eskars: That seems risky.
Ellen: Why should young people be the only ones to have fun?
Eskars: This isn’t fun.
Ellen: Why, officer!

Ellen exits.

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Posted June 21, 2017 by agentksilver in writing

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