Dali - Hallucinogenic Toreador by Carl Caulfield

This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent

We are in Dali dreamscape of surrealist objects: lobster telephone and a Dali stool with the hands extended

The main set itself is a surreal Dalinian room with a door at one side with a peephole, some locks and a chain

Upstage, against the wall, a surreal series of drawers – some closed - some open - some with a few things spilling out of them perhaps. (See Dali’s Anthropomorphic Chest of Drawers, 1936.) A crutch hangs out of one perhaps. These drawers will contain objects which evoke various Dalinian obsessions

A wheelchair somewhere to the side or offstage until required

A bell or buzzer.

An old record player or Victrola on the desk.

A full-length mirror

A chair and a “throne” - a small desk

An easel covered in a sheet right now. Paint box and brushes, palette, etc.

The dates which are projected at various times during the play should be drawn/painted in Dalinian style

Brief Projection in pre-set of the Mae West face and her lips as a sofa. (See Dali’s painting: The Mae West room.)

Fade this as play begins. A large egg is visible downstage

DALI sits in the throne, cradling one of the Dalinian crutches. He looks out, suspiciously

He stands and looks out, beyond audience, suspiciously. He swipes blindly with the crutch, puts it to one side or back in a draw

DALI: He’s gone. Beaten him again. You have no chance. I am

the hallucinogenic toreador. (He grabs a white cloak and swirls it around.) My life has been a contest from the first breath and I don’t intend to throw in the towel yet. (Lobster telephone rings. DALI picks it up.) I’m not to be disturbed. No more lawyers…no more signing documents! I refuse to see anyone! (He slams down phone.) And the fight continues. I have to be three steps ahead. Fate is conspiring, but I have a secret weapon. The Dali brain and body will survive throughout eternity. Dali will be frozen in a cryonics chamber and scientifically suspended in a kind of dream or sleep. Dali on ice! My only anxiety is how long it will take to thaw out! Then I will awake renewed - and step into the future…preserved, pickled, transformed into the resurrected Dali mark 2. I will spread my seed again. There will be Dali clones germinating everywhere. The world will once again be my lobster! My life on a loop - and I will have defeated death. He’s out there, I know, waiting…or maybe it’s a she, an old crone with knitting needles clack-clack-ing.

Lights up on DALI’s MOTHER, (Felipa Domenech Ferres) She is dressed in black mourning weeds and wears a veil.

MOTHER: Are you ready, Salvador? We have to go now.

DALI: Don’t want.

She comes closer.

MOTHER: You must. Please come…you need to leave this place. (Sniffs.) Burning, Salvador. Flames.

DALI:..in a dream…sleepwalking…

MOTHER: It’s time. Come…

DALI: I answer to no one now. I’ve conquered the world, mother. Made that vow to you. They’re all under my heel.

He stamps his foot, twists heel.

MOTHER: You need to see your brother. Pay your respects.

DALI: I don’t answer to the dead.

MOTHER: The dead always look down on and judge us. He’s watching…I’ll get the flowers.

She exits.

DALI: That’s the smell…rotting petals! Putrescence! Cadavers! That’s what you can smell! My double’s a stiff! (He goes to Lobster telephone.) I’ve said I’m not to be disturbed. I’m trying to work in here. I need every protection….so that I can complete my masterpiece…I can do it…once I stop all these waking dreams…it’s the drugs…Let me be!

He slams the phone down. He goes to a blank canvas, tries to paint, but his hand trembles.
We see a light upstage tight on a young man’s face. It may come out of a draw perhaps – as though floating - a surreal effect. The face is blindfolded.

YOUNG MAN: It’s time, Salvador. They’re about to do it. Last requests, they said. No dream or fantasy. No more counterfeit! But you have to fight for what you believe in!

Light on face suddenly snaps out. DALI returns to the canvas and tries to paint.

DALI: Long live Dali! Long Live the Divine Dali! Viva Espana! (Back to canvas. But his MOTHER appears again in mourning.) Why does my mind go back to this? Tell me, mother.

She goes to one of the drawers at the back and opens. She takes out a photograph, framed, a young boy. Projection: Figueres, 1910.

MOTHER: …Your beautiful brother. He died at the age of seven. Meningitis, three years before you were born. Salvador the first!

DALI: Why did you call me Salvador, mother? And why am I wearing the clothes of my dead brother?

MOTHER: In remembrance. We must never forget him. (She puts the photo on the wall.) Here! Above your dressing table. You’ll be able to see him every day. Little Salvador has risen to heaven and looks down on us!

She sobs quietly. DALI stares at the photo.

DALI: A very beautiful child, all dressed in lace, whose face had been touched up, you see. I pictured this ideal brother in a state of putrefaction.

DALI’s father (Salvador Dali y Cusi) appears. He wears a bowler hat and a conservative suit. He places a painting of Christ by Velasquez on the wall next to the portrait of his brother.

FATHER: Velasquez portrait of Christ. Next to your brother. Never forget him. Never!

FATHER and MOTHER hold hands and stare at the portrait. DALI steps back and watches.

DALI: And so – I realised – that my parents were preparing me to become a cadaver. (Checks himself in full-length mirror.) I’m caught in this game of mirrors, of mirages, of doubles and imaginary twins. This dead double constantly at my side, hounding me.

During this, MOTHER has picked up a bunch of flowers. FATHER waits, beside her.

MOTHER: Are you ready, Salvador?

FATHER: Come, little boy. Every Sunday. You know the drill.

She puts the flowers down a moment and carefully wraps the scarf around his neck. She pecks him, picks up the flowers.

MOTHER: We must go and visit little Salvador.

She takes his hand and leads him towards an area which evokes cemetery. We hear crows cawing and lighting evokes the trees. She places flowers on the floor. DALI stares in horror and points.

DALI: Look, mama! My name on the tombstone!

MOTHER: Don’t be silly, my love. (Gestures.) Salvador the first.

DALI: But I’m not the dead brother, mother. Do you hear me?


DALI: I can’t breathe! (He takes the scarf off and throws it on the floor.) I don’t want to come here. I want to go out and play, but you won’t let me!

MOTHER: You’ll get sick.

She picks up scarf and goes towards him, gives him the scarf back. FATHER points, threateningly. He puts it back on. She touches his cheek, tenderly.

DALI: Why are we here…at the grave again? The flowers are all rotting around here…the stench…Can we go now? Why do we come here so many times? (She suddenly sobs, gently. FATHER consoles her.) Please stop crying, mother…I’m alive! Is she mourning me? She told me that my brother was identical…we were like drops of water…(MOTHER mouths the words to DALI at the same time – “like drops of water.” Then, her and FATHER exuent, slowly.) …and so he haunted my childhood like a ghost or some terrestrial divine being. He was a first version of myself…but conceived too much in the absolute… (He stares at the photo.) How could I compete with him? He was perfect and lived in the clouds and majestic skies - like God or like a saint who could do no wrong. I was being dragged into the cold earth to join him - to hurry my way towards the grave to be beside my brother. But I hadn’t yet had my life! Look at me! I was getting smaller and smaller and fading into nothingness…disappearing into the ether - my little voice – no one hears me! - and dressed up like a little sailor boy, all in lace…(DALI’s FATHER goes to one of the drawers and gets a bowl with some seafood, prawns, scallops, etc. FATHER begins to eat, greedily and stares at DALI.) I see my father at the table, this big man with a big mouth…(FATHER chomps at food, licks lips, belches.)…and then it hits me…He thinks I’m a shrimp, that’s it…My father wants to eat me for breakfast and then shit me out!

FATHER: There you go, my boy! Yum yum! Little Dali tastes good!

He belches, laughs.

DALI: I’m alive! You can’t eat me! You can’t belch me out for breakfast!

FATHER laughs.

FATHER: Why are you so afraid of life, boy. You’re a Spaniard! A Catalan. Be strong! Like a matador! A toreador!

FATHER exits. DALI tries to paint, but his hand trembles.

DALI: It’s true…fear….Why so afraid…? My childhood was dominated by an infinity of fears…fear of blushing…fear of the dark…fear of insects…fear of fear…but my main fear was reserved for the grasshopper. These bugs would infect my skin…and eat me…! Imagine that - to be eaten by a grasshopper…In Figueres - grasshoppers grow to be enormous giants…I saw them everywhere…they filled my imagination…and then they jump – hup! Cadaverous, half dead creatures that leap into the air…(Projection: image of schoolchildren.) And the children at school soon realised that I was fearful of these creatures…and so they’d catch one and chase me and I would run…like a madman possessed…What if the grasshopper landed on me? What if the grasshopper ate me!? (Projection: large grasshoppers. We hear the cruel laughter of children and teasing. He runs to the side and crouches in fear.) How do I fight against all these fears?

[End of Extract]

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