The Salon

or, A Tryst Concluded

CHARACTERS
The Courtesan

The Author

The Detective

The Corpse

The Priest

The Chorus
INCIDENTAL MUSIC (Leitmotifs)
The Courtesan is represented by a flute

The Author is represented by a Cor anglais

The Detective is represented by a bassoon

The Corpse is represented by a contrabass clarinet

The Priest is represented by an alto saxophone

The Chorus is represented by a snare drum

The Apologia is a printed page placed on the theatre seats.

APOLOGIA
“The scenes of this prologue in and of themselves are insignificant in that they are only offered as benefit for those in attendance as clarifying illustration for the following acts that are to be seen in this entertainment. Patrons may obtain a pamphlet of footnoted references, in the foyer, as they depart.”

Curtains rise.

Scene 1

The Chorus is raised up though a trapdoor. He is dressed in evening wear. His head is a large acoustic horn pointed upwards. He is harnessed with a Victrola phonograph. He cranks its handle. He places the needle armature onto the phonograph record.

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 1.”
He removes the armature.
He descends.

An opulent salon. The electric floor lamps are lit; the glass lamps on the walls are turned low. The shadows on the walls are constantly changing. A very large half-portrait, hung over the fireplace, is of a beautiful woman. The mantle is a lion with its side split in half; bees have made a honeycomb in the wound; bees fly about the stage. Two large sideshow mirrors are set either side of the room. A statue of Athena stands in a corner; she wears a crown of murmuring wild flowers. A writing desk with a chair, several overstuffed chairs, a bench, and a bureau. A divan is situated on the shell of a large tortoise.

The Detective is dressed in a brown Herringbone suit with matching vest; and, a bustle. He wears a very long brown cape that drapes over his elongated bustle on wheels (which often squeak). He wears white spats on his shoes. He wears a stovepipe hat. He is scratching notes s and turns pages for more note scribbling in his small book. He wears his bustle as a disguise for fear of discovery and shame for his malformed shape.

The Author is dressed in his blue suit. He wears a white shirt with thin black tie. Silk socks and black shoes. He has had a common life of fits in Melancholy and Euphoria.

The third gentleman — The Corpse — is dressed in morning clothes, is seated in an overstuffed chair opposite from the divan. The Detective and The Author are standing on either side of the chair. They are shaking their heads. The Detective is staring at the seated gentleman; the Author is staring at the portrait. He suffered from still-birth as a child until his mother and nurse cured him from that childhood illness with the highest of hopes of his achieving preeminence in Society.

THE DETECTIVE
To the seated gentleman
“Papers.”

The seated gentleman does not speak.

THE DETECTIVE
“Papers.”

The Detective pokes the seated gentleman; he does not speak.

THE AUTHOR
“He is dead, perhaps.”

THE DETECTIVE
To the Author.
“Then most assuredly he should have those papers.”
He scratches notes furiously.
To the Corpse.
“Papers!”

Scene 2

The Chorus is raised up though a trapdoor. He cranks its handle. He places the needle armature onto the phonograph record.

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 2.”
He removes the armature.
He descends.

The Detective is wandering in circles about the room, scratching notes. He stops. He sniffs.

THE DETECTIVE
“Honeysuckle.”

He goes to the writing desk. He opens a drawer, withdrawing a large-sized journal. He scratches notes and turns pages for more note scribbling. He finds a door, stage left. He opens it.

THE DETECTIVE
“Staircase.”

The Detective ascends them.

The Author seats himself on the bench. He stars at the shadows frolicking. He stands, resolutely. He goes to the first mirror; he moves but watches the walls to see his shadows movement. Alas, he cannot. He goes to the second mirror and watches the mirror.

THE DETECTIVE
Distantly.
“It’s a garret.”

The Priest walks down the side aisle of the theatre stage left. The Author ascends the staircase.

Scene 3

The Chorus is raised up though a trapdoor. He cranks its handle. He places the needle armature onto the phonograph record.

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 3.“
He descends.

The Priest mounts the steps to the stage. He walks across the stage and enters the hallway stage right.

One hour passes.

The Detective and the Author exit from the garret’s staircase. They walk to the Corpse.

Scene 4

The Chorus is raised. He cranks its handle.

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 4.”
He descends.

The Corpse’s mouth opens: thirteen larks begin issuing in a single column. The Detective withdraws a short-stemmed clay pipe from his vest. The Detective raps the first lark with his pipe. The lark disappears in serpentine wisps of smoke. A wasp appears from the smoke. The wasp lets spit-bubble fall. The wasp disappears up the chimney. The Author sits himself on the divan and watches.

(The spit-bubble explodes like a fire-cracker.)

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“Most”

The Detective hits second lark with his pipe. The lark disappears; wasp appears. The second wasp lets spit-bubble fall; it disappears.

(The spit-bubble explodes like a fire-cracker.)

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“Assuredly”

The Detective stands knocking the larks with his pipe as they appear. The Author goes to the statue. Flowers begin tittering. They begin circling the room until they become a crown on the Author’s head.

The Detective, larks and wasps continue.

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“My”

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“papers”

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“are”

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“in”

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“my”

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“great”

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“coat”

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“fair”

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“Athena”

VOICE
Faintly heard.
“holds”

The Detective sits at the writing desk and furiously writes.

Scene 5

The Chorus is raised.

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 5.”

The Author rummages in the pockets of the coat Athena holds. He withdraws a billfold. He withdraws papers. They are folded; they are blank. He walks over to the Corpse.

THE AUTHOR
To the Corpse.
“Papers.”

The Corpse sighs. More larks escape; they fly off. He slumps in his chair. He begins bleeding from his eyes and ears and nose. The blood rivulets rise and pool on the ceiling.

Scene 6

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 6.”

The Author and the Detective unfold the papers until they have unfolded but a single sheet that is the size of a large carpet. The blood begins forming characters; and, after all blood has fallen, black typeset letters appear.

The audience can read the text.

My folly was caused by unfaithful Eros’s alchemy;

my belief in Temptation’s entr’actes;

my adoration by Venus rising.

Adieu, my fairest.

The paper becomes two large skeleton wings; they fly over the audience; and, exit.

The Detective goes to the bureau and withdraws a large scroll of paper. He takes a valise from the side of the bureau and tosses an unimaginable about of papers and books in the valise. He sits at the writing desk, writing.

Scene 7

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 7.”

The Priest exits backwards from the hallway to the Courtesan’s private chambers.

THE PRIEST
To the Courtesan.
“Thank you, Madame.”

He turns. He replaces his hat.

THE PRIEST
To himself as he exits.
“Remarkable woman. Such beauty! Such grace! ‘Tis pity she did not take vows.”

He shrugs.

He notices the Author staring at him.

THE PRIEST
To the Author.
“My confessor.”
The Priest notices the Corpse. He laughs. He looks around the room.
“Ah.”
He goes to the side bureau. He retrieves a hat. He strides determinedly to the Corpse. He smashes the hat on its head.
“There!”
The Corpse startles.
“Come! You wagered me supper and lost. That supper awaits.”

The Corpse stands. He shrugs. He adjusts his hat.

They exits across the stage, down the steps and up the side aisle. They have an animated conversation as they exit.

Scene 8

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 8.”

The Detective is watching the shadows. He is stomping about the room. He stands at the left mirror; he admires himself. He stands at the right mirror; he amuses himself. He walks downstage, stares at the audience and views the different walls of the theatre. He shake his head, mystified. He turns and returns to viewing the back wall.

THE DETECTIVE
“Why do they act in frolic such as this?”

THE COURTESAN
Off-stage.
“They amuse themselves with those mirrors.”

Scene 9

THE CHORUS
“Her Ladyship was born to a family preeminent in Society. She was seventeen when she ran away from home never to return. She took an assumed name. She became the protégée of a circus equestrian and—Later—became one the most daring of aerialists and trapeze artist of the Century. She was courted by many Stagedoor Johnnies, to wit, popes, kings, emperors, potentates, statesmen and all manner of other lesser suitors.”

He descends.

The Courtesan enters. She is a tall woman of exceptional beauty and grace. She is wearing an exquisite evening gown. She is holding large volume in her pale arms. Her tentacles are seen beneath her gown. The Courtesan stands at her full height of 10 feet.

THE DETECTIVE
“Miss.”

THE COURTESAN
“Sir.”

THE AUTHOR
Embarassed.
“Mademoiselle.”

THE COURTESAN
She hands the large volume to the Author.
“Shoo.”

The flowers fly. They arrange themselves as mustaches and beard on the Detective. He does not notice. The Courtesan goes to the divan and arranges herself as if posing for a second portrait by John Everett Millais. The Author continues staring at the Courtesan as he holds the volume.

Scene 10

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 10.”

THE DETECTIVE
“Miss, would you please tell how these events as did this came to pass?”

THE COURTESAN
Sweetly.
“Yes.”

A slideshow is projected. The slideshow is shown on both the Courtesan and wall due to the divan being against that wall. The one half-hour slideshow is comprised of interspersed images of picture postcards, newspaper headlines, handwritten letters, train billets, steamship papers, restaurant menus, theatre tickets, photographs of idyllic landscapes and symphonic scores. The Detective writes furiously on every blank paper sheet he has at hand.

It has concluded.

THE DETECTIVE
“I’m obliged, miss.”

Scene 11

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 11.”

The tortoise shudders.

THE DETECTIVE
Gesturing to the tortoise.
“That?”

THE COURTESAN
“Poor thing. It has taken sanctuary. It could no longer suffer its days with an elephant standing on it. It sometimes shudders when it dreams during sleep.”

THE AUTHOR
Gesturing to the lion.
“And, that?”

THE COURTESAN
“I found it there one morning. It was Autumn.”

The Author sets himself in the chair vacated by the Corpse. He reads the tome.

THE DETECTIVE
Gesturing to the Author.
“Him?”

THE COURTESAN
“He was a paramour of my sister, Constance. She had hung herself. The newspapers of the time were scabrous with their columns against her. He had read the papers and hurried to visit me with thought of condolence. Though, I believe he came for the purpose my condoling him. Constance was fond of him but that was all. I told to him the circumstances of her unfortunate act after which he ceased.”

THE DETECTIVE
“Self-murder?”

THE COURTESAN
Laughing.
“My dear Sir, No. Self-indulgence. It was a game in which she was very fond of playing in her rooms.”

THE DETECTIVE
Gesturing to the Author.
“This was when?”

THE COURTESAN
“Several years ago. He was charming company. My guests were fascinated by his demeanor. When asked a question, he would reply ‘Constance’. It was the only word he spoke for the first year. And, after— he did not speak. Very sad.”

THE DETECTIVE
“Again, miss, I am obliged for your candor during this affair. I have all that was required.”

The Detective collects all of the newly written papers into the valise (which has grown much larger since he found it). He peers about the room.

THE DETECTIVE
“Ah! The observatory-atrium!”

He ascends staircase. A few moments later, the flowers flutter from the staircase to resume their station on Athena’s statue.

Scene 12

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 12.”

The Author continues turning pages, reading the tome. The Courtesan watches him.

Three hours pass.

The Author stands. He tosses the tome onto the chair. He approaches the Courtesan.

THE AUTHOR
Indignantly.
“All of those photographs and painting are an injustice, vulgar and repugnant, against your grace, radiance and beauty. And, they are well jealoused of you.”

THE COURTESAN
“Can this be true?”

The Author unbuttons his trousers and lets them fall to his ankles. He is wearing a lustrous chemise. The Courtesan stares in subdued but delighted disbelief.

THE AUTHOR
Recites softly.
“She flies through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring young girl on the flying trapeze. Her movements are graceful, her charms do appease—”

THE COURTESAN
Passionately interrupting.
“My dearest!”

THE AUTHOR
“And, you?”

She stands. She adjusts her height to face him. She lifts the front of her gown with her hands. Several tentacles — after much effort — withdraw and show him an ostrich egg. She is smiling, tearfully.

THE AUTHOR
Passionately interrupting.
“My Simone!”

They embrace. The Courtesan has one tentacle holding the egg, the two other tentacles embracing him into her ample bosom and her arms were around his neck. The Author has one arm around her waist and one arm around her neck.

Curtains fall.

The silhouette of the Courtesan and her lover in their embrace are seen on the curtains.

Scene 13

THE CHORUS
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Scene 13.”

“The Girl on the Flying Trapeze” was played on his phonograph.

The two lovers began dancing a waltz.

The musical-piece ended.

The Chorus descended.

The lovers continued.

The lights in the salon were slowly extinguished excepting one: it showed the lovers still slow-waltzing.

The end-titles are played on the curtain until all that remained was
FIN

They continued.

The projector ceased.

They continued.

The theatre lights and the laughter were slowly extinguished.

They continued.

The silhouette of their waltzing grew until it covered all of the curtains.

All of the theatre had gone dark.

An Indian-head test pattern appeared.

Their leitmotifs remained.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s