Cut’s Last (But One) Seance by Marat Dakunin

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This Play is the copyright of the Author and may not be performed, copied or sold without the Author’s prior consent

*CUT – to penetrate, to separate, to edit (film or recording tape),
    a wound made by cutting, a name or a surname of a male character in
    the play


    Formal comments:

    1)    The structure of the play requires a video recording to be made,
    which is going to be played back on a stage, every time with an
    actress acting the ISIS part and with an actor playing CUT according
    to descriptions given in the “PROJECTION” stage directions.

    2)    Behind the actual curtain, at the beginning of an act, there is an
    opaque fabric that covers whole stage (the second curtain); the best
    would be a red one. This is going to be taken off and laid on the
    stage. At the end of an act, the actual curtain drops.


    Characters (Dramatis personae):

    CUT – male, unkempt

    ISIS – female, beautiful

    Curtain up.

    Curtain
    [the proper curtain in a place of an usual curtain]
    is down.

    On a proscenium there is a chair and a small table with a lamp, a DVD
    player and few dozen disordered compact disks (DVD, CDR etc.) on it.
    On a table there are also several bulky volumes in red, decorated
    bindings, which resemble missals; colorful bookmarks are sticking out
    of them like strings bent in different directions.

    ISIS’S casual laugh is heard.

    CUT
    (voice from behind the curtain)
    He who laughs last but one, laughs best.

    ISIS
    (voice from behind the curtain)
    Why?

    CUT
    (voice from behind the curtain)
    Because the last laughs alone…
    (with resignation)
    Former days..

    ISIS
    (voice from behind the curtain, interrupting)
    Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than
    these? For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
    Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why
    shouldest thou destroy thyself?
    Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou
    die before thy time?
    Take no notice of all the conversations, do not think too much…
    O b s e r v e…


    CUT enters the scene from the left, wearing a faultless evening suit.
    He stands for a moment and watch. He sits at the table turning his
    back on the audience. He crosses his legs and straightens them.
    Crosses, straightens. Crosses.


    CUT
    (in the curtain’s direction)
    Are you there??

    ISIS
    (from behind the curtain)
    Yes.

    CUT
    Yes that is who?

    ISIS
    Me.

    CUT
    I can’t see you.

    ISIS
    I can’t see either… anybody.

    CUT
    Hmm… so you are alone there..

    ISIS
    And you?

    CUT
    I think I am alone too…

    ISIS
    Maybe it’s a misunderstanding?

    CUT
    Miss - (drawling) - interpretation..
    Doesn’t this mean: exegesis of longing?

    CUT stands up and leaves.
    Curtain drops (it does not come up, but drops and lies on the
    proscenium) – see the formal comments.
    In the background of the stage there is a metal hospital bed placed
    with its longer side to the audience.
    On a bed there is ISIS, who lies on her side, she supports her head
    with her arm and looks ahead at undefined point (in the direction of
    the audience).
    She is wearing a nightdress, but she is not covered. A left frame of
    the bed is covered with thick linen – a white bedspread – a
    shroud.

    Above the bed there is a Byzantine decorated painting or a picture in
    which there is a man similar to CUT.
    Below the painting, there is a large caption, placed in a stylized
    ribbon of parchment paper (supported at both its sides by little
    angels who play the trumpets):
    „Dominus Dicis – Et – Non – Facis”
    [Below the painting there is a backlight that enables to turn on a
    lamp which lights up the painting from the bottom]

    On the right side of the stage (and the bed) – looking from the
    audience point of view – there is a small screen (approximately 2x2
    meters – it should allow last row viewers to see something) on a
    stand or hung. [It can be a large screen hung in the background –
    which is a background for a whole scene].

    The woman stretches herself looking at the audience. She yawns. She
    freezes with a blank expression of her face.

    CUT enters the scene, he is unshaven, he could have disheveled hair,
    and he wears worn jeans and a stained t-shirt.

    CUT
    (to the audience)
    We’ve met as everybody else does…by chance.

    He is disoriented and he looks around; he starts to collect the
    curtain laid on the stage, he tries to fold it like a sheet but he is
    unsuccessful.

    CUT
    Making a bed… For you… Hmm (pause)
    For - you. Interesting…(he scratches his head).
    After – you.
    By – you. Behind – you. After – you.
    For something.. After something.. After someone.. Before someone..
    (he bends, touches the curtain, and then quits and straightens up)
    Why the hell I should weed… why the hell I should hoe and pull out
    weed

    ISIS
    (she nods at Cut and the curtain lying in disarray)
    My sun..


    CUT
    Or para – sol.
    ..damn it..Quasi Sun..
    No – para – hmm..but as a para-vento (he stresses a syllable),
    that is a barrier… does it separate something?
    No..para means the opposite.. not this one, something else..
    Completely wrong.
    So it protects against the Sun.
    So. Is that so?
    This question of the reason is poor..
    (he strengthens up and declaims)
    Parasols were invented to protect us against the Sun, not against
    rain; hence their delicate, open-work construction. Have you ever
    destroyed your parasol during the rain and gale? That’s what I
    think… because a parasol is designed for windless heat. Those faces
    formed from flour torture (next words are drawled emphatically and
    slowly), those alabaster, delicate, hands, milky, cow’s, impossibly
    high towers made of bones.
    We will manage during a drizzly weather; only the one who is not
    hungry feed on thoughts. But light burns..Don’t you think my
    sunshine?
    Silva rerum. Re..Ra.. What’s the difference?
    The Sun and a ray.
    Two things or one? Oh, one of many. Observe…(he giggles).
    To the end..

    ISIS
    My friend..
    (she drawls, nodding her head at the curtain laid on the ground)
    Curtain.

    CUT heaves a sigh.
    He turns to the audience, mutters.

    CUT
    The Sun, Red giant, White dwarf, black dwarf, but maybe a supernova,
    a black hole, my sweet black hole…
    (giggles quite lustfully)


    He once again takes one of the curtain’s corners.

    CUT
    The first rate evolution, isn’t it?
    It shines, it is proud of itself, and then bang – and like a
    balloon – whirr…- a dwarf – and then – it devours everything
    that crops up. The first rate… All in all it’s not (he giggles).
    It’s not subject to judgment… it’s not subject to observation…
    (he stops with fixation). So it does not devour, it is not a dwarf.
    The observers have been gone much earlier..
    Much earlier..


    He catches the curtain’s corner and tiresomely drags it backstage
    disappearing from the stage.


    ISIS (to herself):
    I remember.. when he cried his eyes were dry…
    But laughter was moist.


    CUT returns after several dozen seconds. His hair is neatly done; the
    dirty t-shirt is replaced by a smart, classic dress shirt; he looks
    much better [an actor must change really quickly so that a viewer
    would be surprised that he manages to change clothes. It is also
    allowed for an actor to return without facial hair to intensify the
    effect – in this case facial hair should be false].

    He sits at the small table standing on the proscenium with DVDs on
    it. He starts to fumble in the DVDs scattered on the table. He rises,
    approaches a bed, standing for a minute as if he hesitates.
    He draws down the sheet suspended on a bed’s frame; he covers the
    woman’s legs with the sheet; ISIS does not react.
    CUT grubs around the bed, he finds a remote for a DVD player; he
    returns to his seat at the small table. He browses DVDs scattered on
    the table. He pulls out his hand with the remote. He presses a button
    – nothing happens. He laughs shortly and pointedly.
    He draws out one of the DVDs randomly and puts it in the DVD player.

    PROJECTION: A meadow appears on the screen, there is ISIS wearing a
    polka dotted dress chasing a dog, trying to catch it, staggering and
    laughing. Cut.
    A semi close-up, ISIS looks at the camera; she is a little abashed,
    at one moment her face expression is playful and self-confident, next
    it is abashed and uncertain. She tilts her head to the left and to the
    right.
    She runs for a moment.

    Up to the end of the drama, when what happens on the screen is not
    precisely indicated (that is, a described picture, behavior or spoken
    words), and when the stage directions say that the projection is on,
    there is the following continued picture on the screen: a close-up or
    detail of ISIS face who looks with affection and care trying to say
    something once in a while but something disturbs her; sometimes she
    stifles with what is left unspoken.


    CUT
    (talks to ISIS on the screen)
    It is only worth to lie to intimates.
    But..Do you know this burden when you cannot be honest?
    Yes yes – no no.
    You cannot be honest not because of fear, or egoism, love, but
    because honesty practically does not exist, i t     d o e s n o t
    h a v e a p o i n t of
    r e f e r e n c e, it is indefinable, neither towards itself, nor
    towards you,… towards God… Silence between yes and no.


    PROJECTION: ISIS tilts her head, approaches, nearly goes out of the
    screen; she whispers:
    You are lacking of a small spring, what creates a reality which must
    be accepted as it is. I cannot understand a torture of unbelief in
    your own love.

    CUT
    (talks to ISIS on the stage)
    Spring. Spriii..nn..(g).
    A spring should wind up.
    A propos, mind a mattress (nods his head towards a bed).

    ISIS
    Think..thiii..nn (k).

    CUT
    By thinking you can reconcile contradictions.

    ISIS
    By thinking you can reconcile with contradictions.

    CUT
    A word can spring or feather his nest in a conch.

    ISIS
    (sadly)
    You only play with words..


    CUT
    Or what? Words should create?
    An then redeem? (he derides)

    CUT stands up, he makes several goose steps to the right and then to
    the left declaiming.

    CUT
    In the beginning was the Word

    And then people started to play with words.
    You need a principle. (he salutes at one side of the stage)
    You need a ceremonial. (he salutes at the other side of the stage)
    (he makes one step to the right, one step to the left, then stops
    helplessly, and ascertains)

    E v e r y t h i n g i s a c e r e m o n i a l b e c a u s e e v e r y t h i n g   i s a
    r e f e r e n c e.

[end of extract]

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