through the looking glass

 

Through the Looking Glass by Agnes Cecile

 

Through the Looking Glass

(excerpt: prologue + first three scenes)

CHARACTERS:

ALICE – Female. 35. Slight American accent. She wears monochromatic colors and layered clothing. (Alice at varying stages is played by manipulating hair and clothing as noted)

GAVIN – Male. 32. Slight British accent. He wears monochromatic colors and layered clothing. He also wears glasses. (Gavin at varying stages is played by manipulating clothing as noted)

SETTING:
In the center of the stage, there is a 9 x 9 three-sided box packed with items, extraneous home furnishings, and miscellaneous boxes, which are piled in a haphazard and seemingly precarious manner, painted white to resemble Louise Nevelson’s structural work. There is a large hanging mirror on the back of the box which is in reality a door, blocked by said items. Two working doors are on the left and right sides, obvious to the audience. The bottom of the box has a hidden space of about 12 inches with a sliding opening in which a pull out mattress can be revealed to position at front center stage. The bed/mattress is made up in black, white and grey sheets, blankets and pillows. On front stage right, there is a painted black bench or a small black couch. On front stage left, there is a desk painted black and two chairs (black). These four areas are reminiscent of the circular Celtic Cross position, and indicate four main components: the present problem and resolution (box), creativity (desk), analysis (couch), and intimacy (bed).

TIME:
The Present –1999
The Past –1996 –1999

Notes on Light, Colour, Sound: The entire stage setting is a mixture of monochromatic (black, white, grey) colours. At the end of the play, when the mirrored door is revealed and opened, the space should be filled with glowing, vibrant colour through use light and a dropped canvas painted in abstract colour. Lighting plays an extremely important role as each area of the stage is representative of different times and places and is illuminated or hidden by the light; also, the light indicates the movement of a circular pattern across each of the four areas on stage. The lighting in cases should incorporate shadows, sounds and emotions. Sound/music should be slightly dissonant and surrealistic.

Epilogue/Prologue: These poems (from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll) should be shown to the audience, either by screen painting or projection, on the front of the box.

Notes on Punctuation:
“…” slight pause
“-” interruption, continuous flow in dialogue
“/” point of overlapping speech (notated “/”at point and where next character begins)
“//” additional overlap in line (notated “//” at point and where next character begins)
“ ” quoted text, read as natural speech

 

PROLOGUE
ALICE and GAVIN stand to either side of the box, each holding a book, and a dim, surreal light shines above each of them. They are reading aloud this excerpt from the poem, addressing the audience, with awareness of each other.

ALICE
“A tale begun in other days,
When summer suns were glowing—
A simple chime, that served to time
The rhythm of our rowing—
Whose echoes live in memory yet,
Though envious years would say ‘forget’.

GAVIN
Come, hearken then, ere voice of dread,
With bitter tidings laden,
Shall summon to unwelcome bed
A melancholy maiden!
We are but older children, dear,
Who fret to find our bedtime near.

ALICE
Without, the frost, the blinding snow,
The storm-wind’s moody madness—
Within, the firelight’s ruddy glow,
And childhood’s nest of gladness.
The magic words shall hold thee fast:
Thou shalt not heed the raving blast.

GAVIN
And though the shadow of a sigh
May tremble through the story,
For ‘happy summer days’ gone by,
And vanish’d summer glory—
It shall not touch with breath of bale
The pleasance of our fairy-tale.”

Blackout.

 

SCENE 1 (excerpt)
The stage is dark. Lights come up within the three sided box at back center stage. ALICE sits profile inside the box- to the left, on the floor and against the wall. It is winter, 1999.

ALICE
I need to find the key.

GAVIN
What key?

ALICE
My key. I want to open the door.

GAVIN
What door?

ALICE
The door… The door is locked / and I can’t find the key.

GAVIN
/ No… the door is open. I just opened it.

ALICE
That’s your door.

GAVIN
My door?

ALICE
Yes.

GAVIN
If that’s my door, then where’s your door?

ALICE
Behind me.

GAVIN
I wasn’t aware that we had separate doors.

ALICE
They lead to different places.

GAVIN
One door leads to your study, the other one leads to the hallway…

ALICE
You’re so literal. Different places … different spheres of existence.

GAVIN
Which is our door?

ALICE
Our door?

GAVIN
If there’s a door for each of us individually, shouldn’t there be one for us collectively?

ALICE
I … don’t know.

GAVIN
Why did you lock it?

ALICE
I don’t remember locking it.

(holding back tears)
All I know is the door won’t open and I can’t find the key.

Gavin walks to closer to Alice. She turns away.

GAVIN
Are you really thinking about leaving me?

The lights in the box dim. End Scene I.

 

SCENE 2
Lights up on front stage right. The light is slightly dim and holds passing shadows. It is Fall, 1996. GAVIN sits uncomfortably on a couch; his tie is loosened and he is holding a plastic cup. A party is going on; music, laughter and chatter permeate the space. ALICE saunters into the light, holding a joint out to Gavin. He declines, holding up his cup to her. She laughs and sits down unceremoniously on the couch, putting out the joint in his cup.

GAVIN
(placing the cup on the floor)
Well, that’s the end of that, then.

ALICE
Boo.

GAVIN
I was quite done, anyway.

ALICE
Don’t lie. There was nothing in there but warm sediment. You were nursing the cup out of security … working yourself up, but too afraid to come over and talk to me.

GAVIN
I wouldn’t say that.

ALICE
What would you say?

GAVIN
I was working my way up to leaving actually.

ALICE
Boo-hoo.

GAVIN
It’s almost midnight.

ALICE
Didn’t you know that the fun always starts after midnight?

GAVIN
Does it?

ALICE
What, do you need to leave the ball before you change into your galley clothes?

GAVIN
No –

ALICE
Or perhaps you’re afraid your coach will turn back into a pumpkin?

GAVIN
I hate to disappoint you, but I am quite ordinary.

ALICE
I’m sure you’re anything but.

GAVIN
Well, it’s true. No fairy godmother beckoning my arrival. Just work … I have to wake up early for –

ALICE
You must be terrified.

GAVIN
Terrified? … I don’t quite know what you’re –

ALICE
You’ve been watching me all night / and here –

GAVIN
/ I haven’t!

ALICE
Yes, yes you have!

GAVIN
Well, perhaps I looked your way –

ALICE
Perhaps?

GAVIN
I … I wasn’t –

ALICE
It’s okay. There’s no need to falsify the evidence. I saw you. I waited. You never approached me, so… here I am.

GAVIN
Okay…

ALICE
So what are you going to do now?

GAVIN
(standing up, wavering)
I really must be –

ALICE
(pulling him back down)
Oh, no, no. Sit back down. You have … some time before the clock strikes.

GAVIN
Okay.

ALICE
Am I making you nervous?

I don’t mean to be… Although, you probably should be nervous, considering it’s almost the witching hour.

GAVIN
And why would that be?

ALICE
Don’t you know?

GAVIN
Are you telling me that you are some sort of …witch?

ALICE
(laughing)
Would things begin to make sense then?

GAVIN
I feel like your words are spinning around me…

ALICE
So now we’re getting somewhere…

GAVIN
Are you casting a spell on me?

ALICE
Do you want me to cast a spell on you?

GAVIN
“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”

ALICE
“Why, I am not a witch at all…”

GAVIN
You’re lovely.

ALICE
That’s a promising statement.

GAVIN
You’ll have to excuse me but… I don’t recall your name –

ALICE
(laughing, holding out her hand)
Alice Lewis.

Gavin takes her hand and kisses it, then holds it lightly. She looks at him questioningly.

ALICE
And you are…?

GAVIN
Gavin. Gavin Carroll.

ALICE
So. Gavin. Carroll? / You seem to have my hand? //

GAVIN
(letting go)
/ Yes. // Oh, sorry.

ALICE
No, no. It’s fine. Lewis. (pointing to self) Carroll. (pointing to him)

They laugh.

ALICE
“In another moment, down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.”

GAVIN
What’s that?

ALICE
(laughing)
What? Oh. Lewis Carroll.

GAVIN
I do rather feel that way myself.

You are bewitching.

ALICE
It must be the hour.

GAVIN
How are you getting home?

ALICE
I thought you were taking me in your pumpkin?

GAVIN
Ah, but what if it is only a pumpkin shell?

ALICE
Then I should never be your wife.

GAVIN
Well, we needn’t worry about that… It is still before midnight after all.

ALICE
A few minutes.

GAVIN
Where do you live?

ALICE
Too far. How about you?

GAVIN
Very close.

ALICE
Well, that sounds about right.

GAVIN
Do you need to say your goodbyes?

ALICE
I never say good-bye.

Lights fade to black. End Scene 2

 

SCENE 3
It is later the same evening as Scene 2. The sound changes to that of night and traffic; a car driving, music played on the radio, doors slamming shut. Lights up on the bed front center stage. GAVIN and ALICE enter the stream of light, kissing passionately, removing clothing. They fall onto the bed as lights fade to black. End Scene 3.

 

*

 

 

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