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HELTER SKELTER | Geometries of love | Drama
by Paola Moretti
Her is about 35 years old, unkempt and eternally tired, a battered wife and a bored mother.
Sebastien is a man of just under forty, mysterious and sexually ambiguous, whose lonely life is cadenced by Sky-TV programmes and a cultish veneration for the Beatles’ songs from which he draws inspiration to create stories and fictitious identities.
Her and Sebastien are neighbours who spy on each other through the wall that separates their flats. They meet by “chance” on the landing, where, it seems, she has taken refuge to escape her husband’s violence. They spend a night together without, however, overcoming a veritable wall of fancies, lies and reciprocal manipulation, in a game which the stronger of the two has apparently orchestrated with great skill playing it out to its catastrophic conclusion.
Setting: a landing in a block of council flats
(Her is sitting on the steps of the proscenium: unkempt, tousle-haired, in socks and slippers. She is lost in contemplation of a mobile phone: she browses through photographs, she takes a picture of her hand, her feet and observes the results with a critical air.
Sebastien enters coming up the proscenium steps wearing very high heels, a long-haired wig, tight-fitting clothes, laden with shopping bags. At first glance he looks like a transvestite. He passes Her with great difficulty)
Seb – (to Her who does not seem to be aware of his presence and simply continues to take photos)
Eh, look here… right in the middle of the stairs..
The lift’s out of order
As if it ever worked…
On the one hand climbing stairs keeps the buttocks trim
No need for the gym
I hate the gym
I ‘m trying to pass if you wouldn’t mind ..
Come on, just a l a tiny bit further
there… that’ll do me… I’m through… no need to trouble yourself, no hassle
(to himself) today is a really… rotten day
(rummaging in his bag)
If I’ve lost the keys … I swear… I’ll kill myself…
these Vuitton bags
you can fit even the souls of the murdered dead in them
(he empties the contents on the floor)
I bet I left them at Blue Lingerie
that shop assistant babbling on, insisting
make you lose your mind with all that chatter
as if you didn’t know what you wanted to buy.
If I came in to get a black un push up with sequin straps
why do you want to sell me three pairs of white boxer shorts for the price of two?
yet she went on pushing and confused me…
Waste of breath
Waste of time
(to Her) Everything all right? (he touches Her)
Everything all right?
Her – Eh?
Seb –Taking shots of your feet? To post on Facebook?
Feet are in…
But… wouldn’t it be better if you added a high-heeled sandal?
My mother used to say that a woman should always be groomed even at home,
high heels, dressed and made up
She’d say it, but wouldn’t do it
When she went to bed she’s take off her apron
when she’d wake up she put it on again
some days she didn’t even comb her hair
God knows, there was little to comb and that white strip
a hairdresser wouldn’t cost too much, Ma.
wash yourself, put a little perfume on, Ma
and wash that apron too and your nightdress while you’re at it.
I am depressed, she’d say, don’t mind me
a housewife should dress like a model
high heels and all.
I say like Christ on the cross
high buttocks, slim waists, boobs like balls
women spend their lives crucified
because it’s all torment, a crown of thorns
and if you pull it off, even for one moment that’s the end
the thorns split,
the nails dig in
the wounds heal
and you’re old, worn out, not even a dog will look at you any longer.
(he begins rummaging for the keys again ) They’re not here …I must have lost them . Maybe I left them at the cash desk (he roots nosily among the various things in the bag) Once in the middle of the traffic
(He looks at his watch)
But it’s late now, they’ll have closed.
Now what can I do?
(he repeats shouting) Now what can I do?
Her – (suddenly raising her arm) looking for these?
Seb – (he takes the keys) My love! You’ve saved my life! What I cherish most is this Swarovski key ring… a gift from Lorenzo…
a friend of mine, let’s put it that way
an old story… but one of those you mull over in your mind
over and over again
it makes you watch the film again in your head
and pisses you off as if it were the first time.
It’s easy to say – you live in the present
I’m in the present now, not?
And I get a pain right here, at the pit of my stomach
Just because I’ve mentioned his name.
Racing heart beat…
(he sits down, takes off one of his shoes and begins to fan himself with it. She reaches over without looking, takes the show in one hand. She take a photo of it ).
Seb – Want to try it on? It slims the instep… you have to get used to walking in it, otherwise you’ll break your neck . You’ve no idea how often I’ve ended on my back.. come on, try it on! (slowly She takes off her slipper and puts the shoe on) Well, well… we take the same size… If they were mine I’d say – take a little walk, but I hired them for an occasion.
Her – With Lorenzo?
Seb – Yeah, rather… for him I’d have bought glass slippers… well the, keep them, walk around the house a little… put on a pair of fumè stockings and see if you like it.
Her – (lifting her head) What if I do like it?
(The light falls on her swollen, bloody face which we notice for the first time).
Seb – (he springs up pretending not to see) Let me know… (he moves in the direction where we presume the door to his flat is) You can hire them… whenever you like. (He vanishes into the darkness)
Her – (she holds out the glittering show in the direction of the point where Seb has vanished) Please! I can’t keep them! Please!
(Seb returns into the light)
Seb – What really pisses me off is that nobody ever tells the truth .
Every day they spit out streams of words
and that spit they call love
they call friendship
And it’s nothing.
Her – But what do you want? I don’t even know you.
Seb – I know you though. All day I hear you
shouting, knocking about, complaining, breathing
there, beyond that wall
Do you know how often I’ve said to myself
I’m going to knock now
Tell her to come and have a cup of coffee
Because when all come to all
we live under the same roof
the same water tanks… in asbestos…
every glassful more intimate, more death
Her – (in a droning chant) I have too much to do
A husband the house two children
No time for girlfriends. A pity.
Seb – Just think I’ve written a poem
Shall recite it for you? It’s short, just a few lines
(as if inspired)
Which separates and hides my soul
Limit and support
Of our solitude
Who are we?
Fish in an aquarium
(taking stock of the situation with the corner of his eye)
I write these things for myself
They’re not meant for the general public.
I should do what they all do,
not give a fuck
it’s the best way, the safest
I for one didn’t see you
Your face all bruised and streaked with blood
I’m off home, because I am one jaded lady, fed up with this damned warped day.
(he returns into the darkness; we hear a lock click).
Her – Take back these shoes… please… please (she collapses on the floor).
(Another click of the lock and Seb enters the light again; he bends over Her)
Seb – Shall I call an ambulance? The police?
You talk to them, though.
I want nothing to do with this.
Well? Won’t you answer? What must I do?
(Receiving no answer Sebastien lifts her under the armpits and drags her into the darkness. Stifled noises, the click of a lock, sound of a violently slammed door.)
(Setting: Sebastien’s flat. The inside is dignified, essential; there are obvious signs of attempts to make it comfortable: cheap curtains and blinds, fake plants, candles, cushions with sequins and bright colours, a plaster statue of the Virgin surrounded by photographs. Between two of the upstage wings are slung a number of sliding wires full of clothes like washing hung out to dry: costumes and other things required as the plot unfolds.
Centre stage a table and two chairs and, in full view, a TV almost always switched on, but mute, tuned into a repeat transmission of “But how you dress?”.
Back, a tailor’s dummy with an obviously homemade though gorgeous gown, a feminine variation of Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. Around the dummy, fabrics, trimmings and sewing equipment, showing that Seb works with loving care. This is a fundamental element of the set.
Downstage a dressing-table with a stool, a kind of vanity 1960s style with a mirror (where Seb puts on and removes makeup, dons and doffs the wigs and cosmetics he keeps in meticulous order) a stereo and various Beatles albums. The stereo, plays “Oh darling” at very low volume.
The phone rings, enter Seb in a dressing gown, barefooted, without his wig and wearing very light makeup. His ambiguous loveliness is highlighted by simplicity. He turns down the volume of the stereo).
Seb – Hello? Who’s speaking? Hello! (he snorts, lays the receiver down; the phone rings again immediately) But who is speaking? Who? (he changes his tome as if seeking to appear refined)
House of cashmere? Yes, course I remember, I’m afraid you’ve caught me at a rather bad time, I’m just leaving to go to work… yes, at night (he gestures his annoyance). You too, I believe… Ah, until eleven during holiday periods… what holidays?… All right, that’s for the thought, a pleasure having heard from you… Eh?… no, thanks, I’m fine, I don’t go out much, I lead a rather secluded life, a few friends to dinner, I don’t wear my clothes out. Those you sent me for Christmas as still in their wrapping… but no, really lovely… (gestures of impatience) it was just to say … Eh? Speak louder, please, i can’t hear you… I’ve lost my hearing… last year they beat me up… certain sons of a bitch, just like that for no reason… right outside the police station with all its close circuit cameras on the street… but inside they’re not always looking at the screen to see what’s happening outside… that’s only normal, no?… in the end you get tired… smoke a cigarette… and meanwhile they bashed my head in and left me there on the pavement… afterwards… a long time afterwards they saw me …what do you mean, who? The police… nice people… kind… they called the ambulance… they asked me if I wanted to lodge a formal complaint against unknown persons. What do you mean unknown? All you have to do is replay the footage and identify them. Well, unbelievable, they told me the cameras were not working and needed repairing… not that I swallowed that one… but they were so kind… in any case with my rotten luck, it all came to nothing, an ear operation and nobody to pay for the damages… Eh? No, I have white one… you’re not even listening to me… you might at least pretend, for politeness’ sake… no, it’s not a matter of being offended… it’s this continuous, unbearable way people have… lack of respect, as if others didn’t exist…
You call me and lack respect… and here I am expecting your lack of respect… I don’t really realise myself unless I allow others like you to treat me like shit… I was only trying to explain… I mistook you for a human being… yes I have the fuchsia one too, look here, I have them all… if I need something… no, I don’t need anything , cross it out… no, don’t call me, I’m always busy… don’t you dare call me ever again! Got the message? With the cashmere excuse… I’ll report you to the police, clear? Get it? (he puts the receiver down and cursing turns the volume up. The next song is “Girl”)
(Enter Her. She has been taken care of and has plasters on her face)
Seb – How are you feeling?
Her – Thanks for everything… (she touches the plasters) I’ll be off now…
Her – … I’m late.
Seb – Go, then…
Her – I’m just a little tired, but I’m always tired, nothing special.
I put a hand to the wall and felt the children breathe They’re sleeping, they haven’t noticed anything.
Now Mama will come back… all okay. Do you mind my going?
Seb – See you.
Her – Sorry, no compliments… but thanks for everything.
Seb – For what?
Her – What do you mean for what?
Seb – Goodbye until next time, like Lorenzo said.
Her – Is that what he used to say?
Seb – He said it only once. After that I never saw him again.
Her – Do you live alone?
Seb – I’m a lonely woman, man, whatever turns up.
Her – Lucky you without commitments, doing what you like… before, I did too… Now it’s the house… the children, Franco too who is demanding in some ways
Seb – Ah, his name is Franco…
Her – Yes, maybe you know him, you’ve met on the stairs…
Seb – Yes, i know him… he only knows two words… fucking woman… loud, yelled, rhythmic… (imitating him ) fucking woman fucking woman… (he approaches the dummy, touches it lightly). And the Pirate Queen comes to life… begin to tremble… you can see she’s love to strike a blow though the wall… She kills sons of a bitch, she saves women…
What you’re on about…
I’d just finished polishing the floor…
I slipped on the rug… things that happen in the house… (she looks at SEB who ignores her).
It doesn’t happen to you, of course… you’ve no such problems , have you?
You can go out, go to the cinema maybe, what would happen o you?
Seb – (he sets the table with two paper plates and two cups) Tea or coffee?
Her – Coffee!
Seb – Here you are, just made.
Her – Do you make it every day?
Seb – Do you want milk?
Her – Must I add milk?
Seb – No, you don’t have to… If you like to, have some.
Her – How do you take yours?
Seb – Neat.
Her – Me too. (she drinks) Are you going to the cinema this evening?
Seb – (bored) I’m working. I work at night.
Her – I’ll be off at once.
Seb – You can sleep here if you like.
Her – Sleep here ? If I don’t even know how I got here. And, according to you, I’m the type who’s sleep just any old where? Does a mother sleep with her children or just anywhere? You’ve no right to insult me just because you’ve offered me some coffee. (She drinks)
What do you do, anyway?
Seb – I’m late.
Her – Here there’s no smell of smoke… Franco since he began smoking those light cigarettes with no smell…
You can’t deprive a man of everything
Smoke clings to the air, the walls,
it’s bad for the children, that’s why they always have sore throats.
I was just saying yesterday
We could repaint the walls
It would take the two of us no time at all
Eh Franco, the whole house reeks of smoke
Can it be these light odourless cigarettes?
I liked him so much when we first met
That smell of tobacco and aftershave
Now it makes me retch.
All it takes is one pregnancy and your body changes.
I can do it alone if needs be
The painting I mean
A little bleach in the paint
A Little energy
At times even shifting a chair makes me feel
I’m being swallowed up in a hole
In a parallel world with no return
And he says…
Seb – Fucking woman, wash the curtains rather!
Her – (very annoyed) What did you say?
Seb – Fucking woman… wash the curtains!
Her – (interrupting) So, you spy on me… on my house… You cling to the wall and listen to all…
Seb – All what?
Her – All our life!
Seb – Your life?
You people haven’t got a life
Because you’ve discharged it this side of the wall
Knocking, hitting, yelling
Knocking, yelling, hitting
because you are all yelling , hitting, knocking
over and over again
to the point of absolute, infinite silence
when my breath ceases
until i hear you crying
and know you’re still alive…
Her – (furious) Well, you’ve got it all wrong
I spoke to you about my happiness
But you don’t listen
Or don’t believe me, which is worse
You envious, dull
I have delicate skin
As soon as you touch it it shows
A squeeze, a blow, a fall and
The mark remains for days on end
Months… Until it’s quite forgotten
Do you understand? Eh? Can’t you understand?
Seb – Enough. Go home. I know women like you…
Her – No, you don’t know me
Just because you’ve offered me a cup of coffee you claim to know everything
Whether I’m happy or unhappy
The amount of my happiness or unhappiness
But why you are so interested
I have no idea
You don’t even know me
We don’t even greet each other when we meet
You actually pretend not to notice me
But you hear me cry
As if there were a difference
Between crying and laughing
Beyond a wall
Because in the end that’s all that’s left
And you spying one other people’s lives
There’s nothing… nobody!
(She throws the cup of coffee at the dummy, which wobbles and falls, the dress is clearly stained.
Seb rushes, shouting, over to the dummy; he kneels down beside it as if it were a dying human being. He weeps, swears, gesticulates in despair. Repeating two or three phrases over and over again as he rocks his body back and forth).
Seb – Ruined… it’s ruined… forever… I feel ill…. My queen… my queen…
Her – (trying to make herself heard over Seb’s desperate outburst)
What an exaggeration… What’s the matter anyway
Do you want me to feel guilty? Is that what you want?
Haven’t the told you stains wash out?
In the case of coffee a slight trace may remain
It’s not a real dress
Just a carnival costume
Send it to the cleaner’s… or if you trust me
If you trust me, I’ll remove the stain… when I have some time
Not promising anything though
Because with all the things I have to do…
Enough of this wailing
You’ll wake the children
Maybe he’s back
And is taking a rest
Do you want to wake Franco?
Do you want Franco to wake up?
(Seb falls suddenly silent; he turns towards Her.
He springs to his feet and tries to catch hold of her, he chases her around making the furniture and the props fall
while Her, terrified, tries to hide.
Seb throws her to the ground, jumps on her and tightens his hands around her throat; despite this she uses all her strength to break free
The telephone rings.
Seb shakes himself and loosens his hold
Slowly, on his knees, he makes his way over to the television set and takes up the remote.
The telephone stops ringing.
He ups the volume of the TV and starts to look at the “How do you dress?” programme.
They remain there, in front of the TV, on their knees.
Her leans slightly in Seb’s direction who also leans towards Her.
For a few moments they remain close, as if expressing complicity, hypnotised by the images.
The telephone rings at length.)
Her – It’s your mobile. Aren’t you going to answer? Why don’t you answer? (she gets up, goes slowly to get Seb’s mobile; then she sits again holding the phone as if it were something precious. The telephone rings on and off, as if someone were calling every two or three minutes. As Her speaks her voice drowns out the sound of the phone and of the television as she draws her chair close to the proscenium).
Her – It’s convenient to sit there in front of the TV without even answering the phone.
You know I’m there for that
You just stay there thinking of clothes
I’m there to tidy everything up
Dead tired but no matter
I can manage
Yesterday I washed the curtains because I couldn’t stand the stench of the smoke
Today I’m drained
But no matter
I tidy everything up although you don’t deserve it
(she pulls the string that makes the clothes lines filled with clothes move).
Seb – (springing suddenly around) Don’t-touch-anything.
Her – Who ever saw anything of the kind.. (Seb lowers the volume of the TV and with a gesture of impatience throws down the remote) Clothes rotating as if in a laundry. If you like, I’ll fold them and put them in the wardrobe. Have you got a wardrobe?
Seb – (approaching threateningly ) Don’t-touch-anything! Didn’t you say you had to go? So, get out of here!
(he tries to make her get up, but Her clutches the chair screaming. Seb grasps the back of the chair and drags it away)
Her – Enough! You’re hurting me! I’m pregnant! Do you want me to miscarry? (Seb lets go and goes over to sit at the dressing table. Her speaks in an expressionless way, as if she were clockwork) All I ask is a little…
I don’t even want to call it respect
Acceptance… yes, almost
Like this chair… I’m tired and it allows me to sit
This chair is more human than…
Any chair is more human than any i…
It allows you to sit and doesn’t try to knock you down
Or strangle you
I don’t even have to say I’m tired
I’m here and that’s all
(she looks at Seb who has started again to get ready to go out)
What are you doing? Won’t you answer? Why don’t you answer?
I’m so confused…
Yet Silvietta only woke twice this night
and Piero slept right through
so you hardly remember the child
he grows up alone, makes no noise.
I can’t understand at all
Why I feel so washed out
As if I’d done who knows what…
Tomorrow I have to take the children
to the garden
have them play in the sun
so I can sit on a bench, listen to some music
I have to walk the dog too but I can’t manage both
today maybe I’ll take the dog
tomorrow the children or maybe all three
the two in the buggy
the dog tied
For a few minutes
There’s no danger.
Will you come too?
The other day a woman said to me:
but how do you treat these children
one on top of the other like dolls
and the dog
what if crossing the street he sees another dog
or end up in a wheelchair.
But the dog is old and cannot see
I told her
Well you’re not a good mother
You put the good of the dog before that of the children
Do you realise that?
Our children’s lives in a dog’s mouth.
I don’t know how I even made it back home
The children crying
I just took one step after another
One two one two
Trying not to go in the wrong direction
forward not backwards
Forward towards home
Every piece of my body seemed
Disjointed from the rest
And yet they managed to work
As if in harmony.
(The phone rings. Seb looks for it, then sees it in Her hands)
If you let things go
That day I go back home
And this morning too
Bones and muscles
They all agreed out of tiredness
They have decided
That I can’t do anything about it
Because they don’t recognise my authority.
Seb – Hello? Yes, hello!
Her – Who is it? Lorenzo? Is it him?
Seb – Keep quiet! (into the phone) Who? Ah , Father Lucas… I’d have called you later… in a moment of peace and quiet…
Her – (she looks fascinated at the clothes hanging on the lines, she tries to touch them) Is there one for a princess? (petulant) If there is, can I try it on?
Seb – (into the phone) Why do you always ask the same questions…
Her – And a wedding dress too…
Seb – (making a vulgar gesture showing annoyance) And how do you think things are? The usual useless question , excuse my frankness… the situation is always the same, stationary. Yes, the same, (louder) Igual! He stays in bed or in an armchair all day his legs don’t work… blocked. he doesn’t eat or drink, I give him a drip… but he gets fatter and fatter… to move him I risk getting a hernia… actually…
Her – Don’t you feel you’re suffocating in here? Why do you keep the windows closed?
Seb – One moment Father Lucas. (To Her, covering the mouthpiece of the phone with his hand) It’s a call about work, go away, get lost!
Her– But what’s your job? A carer?
Seb – Padre Lucas, I was wondering if you could send me someone in the morning… you come if you like… you can confess him and help me with the bath… Ah, you’re busy with the confirmations? I understand, but, look, I’ve got an appointment too, I’m preparing for an audition… the chance of a lifetime!… What? No, no foreigners , they don’t want them; he says they
Her – (she lifts up the statue of the Virgin making the candles and photos fall) Sweet heart of Mary, be my salvation… (she kisses the statue)
Seb – (he snatches the statue from her hand and brandishes it threateningly a her like a weapon) Yes, father Lucas, I know you are a foreigner, but you’re priest, you don’t have to wipe people’s arses, you’re on a different level…
Her – Arses… wipe people’s arses… (she repeats this like a mantra, bent in two laughing).
Seb – No, nothing, just interference… I’ll sign off now, I have to go to him and I’m late as it is or… as soon as possible everything will be done, tell the lady, it takes time, something natural without shadows and strains. Goodbye, then, yes, come whenever you like… I’ll be expecting you… no, I don’t need confession, I can’t do it, I’m so sorry… I agree with John Lennon… I just believe in me… no offense meant, thanks for the thought… adios (Ending the call).
Her – (shouting) Adios adios!!
Seb – (brandishing the statue) Get out of my house!
Her – Where’ll I go? Where can I go?
Seb – To tour own side of the wall.
Her – If I could… if I were free…
I wouldn’t be here pleading… you can rest assured…
Seb – try saying thanks.
Her – Thanks for what?
Thanks for dragging me inside your door
For sticking these on my face (tearing at the plasters)
Thanks too for
You like all of them
I’m still al bruises, I’m grateful to you for them
If that’s what you want, I‘m
But I can’t leave, I’m sorry
That I just can’t do
At least until the bruises have vanished, the cuts healed
I’m your prisoner now
How can I go back to the children
I’d have to tell the truth
All the facts
He’d come in here with a hatchet to hack you to pieces
Seb – He might hack you to pieces!
Her – You say so… only because you never saw him
How can i put it… when he loses it
A death machine
Seb – Look here, what do you want from me?
But why didn’t i mind my own fucking business?
Her – But if it’s what you do
Every day of your life…
I told you, you’re like all the rest of them.
Even worse, if it were possible
In your solitary home
All saints and candles
Spying, just like that, as a pastime
The panting and tears of others
Thinking to be at ease with your own conscience
because I have revealed your
You almost made me miscarry here
On the floor
Like an animal
In a pool of blood.
(bringing her hands to her abdomen)
My unfortunate child…
But what can you know of a mother’s love
You understand nothing
Nothing at all
Useless to waste words
I’ll call the police and report you
(she picks up the phone, Sebastien starts).
Seb – You don’t even know me
And think you know everything
But you are right Enough talk
Must be going…
Her – Going where?
Seb – To work.
Her – What work? You’ve no work
Only appointments, people to meet.
Seb – I’m late.
Her – You can’t leave me here all alone (threateningly she lifts the sorry).
Seb – Sorry, but I’ve a child to maintain.
Her – A child? You?
It’s not sure
I am expected another.
Her – (moved) Good God… but do you know that…
I had a kind of hunch
Why didn’t you tell me straightaway?
Didn’t you trust me?
Anyway… for these things
They say or don’t say it’s all the same
The heart feels
And a mother
Is the mother of other mothers.
(the phrase moves her)
Does Lorenzo know?
Seb – What must he know?
Her – But why… The good news! The baby!
Seb – It’s not Lorenzo’s.
Her – (confused) Ah, I see. But of course, how stupid of me…
You said it wasn’t an important story.
Seb – I said it? When did I say it?
Her – I think… no, maybe you didn’t.
Seb – I was married to an American bloke, year ago.
He was a free styling biker.
During a race in Beverly Hills, he took too great a risk. He met his end.
Her – You’re a widow?
Seb – I married again, a Mexican cook, we had a van equipped for street food… all the rage in the States, you make loads of money.
Her – God, what an extraordinary life!
Seb – But after a while he began to drink and take drugs, acid from morning to night. I got a separation after a year of sheer hell.
Her – Used he beat you?
Seb – (irked by the interruption) I sent our son to his grandmother as soon as I got back to Italy and I pay for his maintenance by working nights as a…
Her – As a?
Seb – What do you mean as a?
Her – What do you do?
Seb – Then I met Lorenzo and we got married in Las Vegas.
Her – Again? But is that allowed?
Seb – In America you can do what you like. The priest was dressed as John Lennon, a surprize from Lorenzo who knows how mad I am about the Beatles.
Her – But they aren’t priests…
Seb – (hard) Ours was a priest, not a catholic but a priest. As soon as he sees me… he kisses my hand… a real gentleman. (From the clothes lines he removes a white drape and with great dexterity wraps it around his body). I was beautiful, with a long, white, 5000-dollar dress, mermaid style, bought at Leigenfeld’s.
(He uses the remote to turn on the stereo which plays Don’t let me down. A strong spot lights Sebastien up and he pretends to sing like Lennon, with exaggerated movements, like a romantic bride.
Her’s telephone rings, she looks at the display and runs to turn the stereo off. Seb is petrified).
Her – (terrified) It’s Franco! (the phone continues to ring).
Seb – (cold) Well answer Franco!
Her – What’ll I do? Where’ll I say I am? Maybe he wants to say hello to the children.
Seb – And for this fucking Franco you interrupt a performance ?
(the phone stops ringing).
Her – Sorry, excuse me.
Seb– Do you know what it means for an artist to be interrupted like that, midway, when he’s naked, defenceless…
Her – Now you’re exaggerating. A moment’s panic. Come on, a nice song, I like it.
Seb – (he removes the white drape) A nice song (with scorn) You didn’t understand anything.
Her – I did understand. I’m not stupid.
Seb – What did you understand?
Her – Everything.
Her – That’s true
Seb – Well then?
Her – Do you want me to drive the knife into the wound? Is that what you want?
Seb – What the fuck are you saying? What wound?
Her – Don’t mention it… (as if the argument was over; business with the dummy trying to remove the coffee stain).
Seb – No, now explain yourself.
Those who say things by halves,
who say and don’t say,
piss me off.
Well? I’m talking to you!
Won’t you answer me?
Listen to me, damn it!
What’s the point of my talking if nobody listens
I’m talking to you,
To you, understand?
Do you know why you won’t say anything?
Because you’ve nothing to say
You just spit out badness
But then you run out of words
you’re so dull.
I tell you my story,
open up my soul to you
and you don’t even listen, you think only of your own business
of Franco, of those fucking children of yours
(imitating her) the children
Who don’t even cry, don’t even look for you
If you leave them on their own
You don’t give a damn for them,
You are all the same
Everyone plays alone
Damned sons of a bitch
Filthy fuckers how I hate you all!
You know everything and don’t even listen
You know damn all about anything
But I don’t give a tinker’s curse for you lot
So, that makes us even and that’s all right
When you say you understand
With that smug air of yours
You who are capable of crying on the other side of the wall
Are you listening to me?
I’m talking to you!
To you! (he curses)
Her –(unexpectedly maternal) What’s your name?
Seb – What?
Her – Come on, tell me your name.
Seb – In what sense?
Her – A name.
Seb – Why?
Her – To begin with.
Seb – I have many.
But now… suddenly… I have a blank (reflecting) I can’t even recall one of them…
My name… as if it didn’t matter…
when someone talks to you
I have nobody
No, nobody worthy of being here
in this story.
Do you understand me?
Her – This is a fixation of yours
This understanding and not understanding
when to understand, how and
But that will get you nowhere
At least not tonight…
What are you waiting for?
It’s almost over already… definite
Seb – Definitive?
Her –Yes, that too.
If you like I can give you a provisional name ,
a temporary one, no strings attached.
Then we’ll see whether to keep it or not
I’d say… Lucrezia!
(Seb with a grimace of disappointment)
What’s wrong? (hard) don’t you like it?
You haven’t even tried it out!
Seb– Lucrezia… let’s try Lucy!
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
John Lennon says he was inspired by a drawing done by his son
(laughing) nobody believed him.
He was stoned, rather…
Her – You’re not John Lennon! Enough of other people’s stories!
Lucrezia needs to tell her own
small light steps
back and forth
The days the years the people the names
let them go
They scatter, without a trace.
Why follow them ?
(the phone rings at length, but neither of them seems interested. Her goes over to the dummy, takes off a cloak and puts it on. Seb starts but does not react. The telephone falls silent).
Her – (assuming an authoritative pose, like a grand actress)
The true story of Lucrezia…
Seb – Mine?
What do you know of it?
Her – (she beckons to him to keep quiet) once upon a time, a long time ago a wild land was infested by
Horrible winged monsters
In those remote times
I, Lucrezia, travelled alone
Through that strange world devoid of compassion.
I was wounded in an atrocious fashion
I know not how or when
I do not wish to blame anyone because were I to recall a name
a fight , a face, unfamiliar maybe
even very familiar and beloved
at this point
it would not matter any longer
I hid my wound beneath my garments
So no-one might see it
so I too lost all recollection of it.
I crossed many lands
mountain pathways and woods
in perfect solitude.
Until one day some one came my way
burning with love for me
overflowing with passion
gripped me tight
right there where I had been wounded.
I felt a n agonising pain and so I hated him
Oh how I hated him who had gripped me
the cause of all my pain.
And so I moved to the vast lake shore
and travelled its length without respite
And one day I saw someone in splendid array
with eyes full of light…
I loved him passionately and wanted to hold him close to me
But he too was wounded beneath his clothes of silk and gold
he suffered and hated me
oh how he hated me
the cause of his pain
and so continued my story
until I met someone
willing to bare himself
and show me all his horrid wounds
and so I too bared myself and saw the gash
he saw it too
And then… (pause)
Seb – And then?
Her – And then you go on. I’m tired
Seb – I can’t go on, it’s not my story
Her – Then let’s say no more about it.
Seb – Give me two or three words…it can’t end like that… and then… and then… full stop.
Her –And why should I do you a favour?
Seb – Because I ask you to.
Her – In my condition and after all I’ve gone through
I should be in bed, attended to hand and foot
While, instead, here I am wasting time
Telling you what you don’t want to hear.
You’re a hopeless case, resigned
I too had asked you a favour…
And you? Did you do it? No!
On the contrary… you almost killed me…
Seb – That again? I begged your pardon, didn’t I?
Her – You begged my pardon? I don’t think so.
Anyway, I can’t trust you.
I could give you the right words for your story,
the truth, the remedies
but it’s no longer the time to throw things away
I wouldn’t like to look around me
And discover I’ve nothing left to say
Because of goodness and carelessness
Even if we two make a pact
And I stayed here to finish your story…
It’s too late now
The night is nearly over
I don’t understand,
you say things in such a way
I propose an agreement and you don’t even ask yourself
what I’ll give in exchange
as if I had nothing to offer
Seb – All I need is the end of the story
Her – That will come of its own accord, in its own time. Don’t hassle me
(she starts) Did you hear that ? Did you?
Seb – What’s the matter?
Her – Footsteps… someone is coming up Yes someone… my God
Don’t you hear someone coming up…
Don’t you realise someone’s coming up
Seb – I hear nothing
Her – I don’t believe
You can be here without hearing
Someone coming up the stairs
I don’t know if yours is recklessness
call it as we may
indifference envy rage maybe all together
Because you’ve nothing to lose
Nothing at all
You’ve no family, no children
If you live or die nobody cares.
It’s Franco! It’s him!
It was about time he came
He might have come earlier
But one is never prepared for things
We don’t know what to want
I recognise him because he limps
One of his feet is weaker than the other
(Sebastien’s phone rings).
Seb – (on the phone) Father Lucas? I was just going to call.
Her – Give me that phone!
Seb – (on the phone) I had a setback
No, father , don’t say that
No, you mustn’t say that,
no, I don’t deserve it
a setback can happen…
Her – Do you want him to discover us?
Seb – (on the phone) All in order, Father Lucas.
Yes, the drip, that’s it, don’t touch anything, I’ll handle it.
Can’t you wait just a little longer?
(loud) I’m outside the door already!
Her – Do you want him to kill you?
Seb – (on the phone) This evening? No, not this evening
I’m afraid not… no way
(Her hits him, the phone falls to the floor. Improvised imprecations by Sebastien).
This is work for me work,
have you ever worked?
how dare you…
Seb – Padre Lucas? Hello ! Who
House of Cashmere?
(yelling) Fucking ball breakers!
(Her grabs the mobile from him and throws it at the dummy which sways considerably).
Seb – Are you mad?
Her – Speak softly, softly, do you understand?
He’s arrived, he’s outside!
Seb – Well, go out and meet him, then!
(he tries to drag her outside, Her resists, they beat each other in absolute silence. During the struggle they bump into the stereo that stops and starts at random playing a mix of Beatles songs until the plug is pulled from the socket .
There is an indistinct sound, like a gurgle that builds up into a beastly howl vaguely containing the words “fucking woman” repeated in various tomes and at various volumes. The two freeze).
Her – The light… we must turn it off (she does).
Seb – No.. I feel ill in the dark. (He turns it on).
Her – Shut p a moment… (she turns it off).
(Sebastien is heard gasping in the dark).
Seb – I’m panicking…
Her – I’m here… here… do you hear me?
Don’t be afraid
(she sings a children’s song softly). Easy does it, Lucrezia
Seb – (in a tiny voice) I’m not Lucrezia.
Her – It doesn’t matter, we are all who we are.
Seb – I can’t breathe… I’m dying…
Her – Shhh… you’re not going to die…
Seb – (gasping) Open the door…
Her – let’s leave him out there. That’s all.
Seb – He won’t go away.
Her – He is going away…
Seb – Turn the light on! Let me go!
(a loud bang, followed by the sound of footsteps )
He’s going down… he’s going away…
Didn’t you hear? He’s going away…
We’ve won! The two of us, together…
(he laughs and begins to sing again)
Helter Skelter- Geometries of Love (part two)
(Scene: the same as the previous act but, at the same time, there is something different. Some things have changed place, some have vanished, as if in only a few moments a hand other than that of Sebastien had personalised the scene. In particular the colours are less vivid as if they were covered by a layer of dust. The dummy is undressed and the dress is on the ironing board. The only real difference is a large decorator’s ladder, lit from above, as if under a skylight. Noticeable among the ordinary commonly used objects a huge butcher’s carving knife).
Before the curtain rises we hear the opening strains of the song by the Italian singer Emma : Calore
Voglio vedere cosa succede
I want to see what happens
Se molli la presa e mi lasci cadere
If you loosen your grip and let me fall
Voglio capire cosa sarebbe
I want to understand what there might me
Oltre le nuvole quando yes cade…
Beyond the clouds when you fall…
(the curtain rises and Sebastien, lit by a lamp, half naked and wearing a flapping dressing gown like that in “ Priscilla queen of the desert” , he moves and acts like someone singing in playback, holding a hairbrush as if it were a microphone).
Sebastien – Voglio calore sulla mia pelle / I want warmth on my skin
Voglio le fiamme voglio scintille…ecc./ I want flames, I want sparks
(Her joins in at the second chorus, trying to imitate his movements. Then she applauds enthusiastically as Seb bows and blows kisses to an imaginary audience).
Her – You’ve an amazing voice
Even if it’s not yours
It’s clear you must have a great voice
I’m all goose flesh ..shivers…
I heard you singing every day when I was
In my own house
At night too
Franco banged on the wall more than once
Because you used to wake him up
The children too
One is not always in the mood
To appreciate music
But seeing you is quite something else
You’re like a rock star
You should go on television
why don’t you go on television?
Seb – I went for an audition
For Big Brother…
They should call me any time now
I presented a song of my own
And the Pirate Queen costume…
Her – (critically) Ah… that?
Seb – Yes, that, that!
The one you ruined on me
And I can’t even take it to the cleaner’s
Because it’s an exclusive model
Designed by me, using very special material.
Do you think I’d put it in the hands of total strangers??
Her – I told you I’d see to it…
I stained it, I’ll clean it
You’ll get t back good as new
Is tomorrow okay?
I only need to iron it
Seb – Iron? Are you out of your mind?
It’s shot silk, you don’t iron that.
Her – It’s synthetic.
Seb – What do you know?
Her – If you don’t iron it, it’s synthetic.
Seb – Okay then, it’s synthetic.
Her – You needn’t say it’s synthetic if you don’t think so.
Seb – It’s pure shot silk.
Her – That you don’t iron… well, okay… I’m not one to insist
Or a person who wants to be right at all costs… I know how to wait.
The fact is that… (with a quick glance at the ironing board).
Seb – Have you burnt it?
Her – Oooh… you can put up with someone like you?
Always criticising, accusing, threatening.
Do you never come up with an…accepting word?
Seb – You’re not to touch my things!
That annoys me, makes me mad.
Do you understand?
Her – Yes, yes, I do.
Seb – (imitating her) Yes, yes I do… You come here to act the bitch in my house…
Her – What are you saying? What have I done? I want to help you…
Seb – And then you stay there! Sitting or standing. Doing nothing!
Her – (she drops down into a sitting position) Like this?
Seb – And keep quiet.
(a long silence follows during which Seb sits at his dressing table).
Seb – (huffing) Not that quiet…a happy mean.
Her – Yes, happy mean…What’s the happy mean?
You tell me because I don’t know
It’s all a big mistake
I got it into my head
that I’d be okay in here
I don’t know why I think such things
they come to mind during the night…take my breath away
the whisper in my ears
you can do this , you can do that
one step forward…that’s a good idea…you can always try…
go to the other side of the wall…they’ll welcome you with open arms…
mad, deceitful voices…
but I believe them, grow excited
nobody welcomes you
Bang! A door in your face
Bang! Quiet !Sit!
Even if there’d be much more to say and do
Because all has been said already but nobody listens
(she rises) I’d better go back to my own house
Before I lose my strength
(she takes a few steps, dragging the chair behind her)
Seb – (shouting) I’m sorry! (Her stops but doesn’t turn around)
All this talking, thinking… looking
even if only two , only two
is so complicated…I am not used to it
I don’t know how i twill end
When I get home there’s never anybody there
Only my things
tidy, clean silent
just as I left them
I find them exactly the way I left them
No surprise … (a sigh of satisfaction)
once Lorenzo asked me
to live together for a while
no strings attached
and while he was asking he kept one hand on the fridge
(emphatically) my fridge
as new as when I bought it
white and sweet smelling
I only put a bottle of water in it
shiny as a crystal,
at most a lemon, for a dash of colour
That hand with that lighted cigarette
sweaty and stinking…unbearable…
on the handle
that had just been wiped with disinfectant …
the trial was over before it even began.
When I get back I take my shoes off outside the house,
I light a candle, put on a cd nice and low
eat some take-away so as not to dirty the place…
a clean place compensates
for all you have to put up with outside
if I could only go below the ground,
into a sterilised bunker
far away, invisible…
(he hugs the fridge at length, lingers and continues to hug it as if it were a lover)
No, here nobody shall touch my soul
(humming sotto voce)
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
(he continues to sing in falsetto, like the Beatles)
Her – What disinfectant?
Seb – (as if awakening from a dream) Eh?
Her – what disinfectant did you use? It’ worn away the chrome
Seb – From where?
Her – the handle…I saw it as soon as I came in…
Seb – (le looks at the handle, he wipes it)
Why didn’t you tell me?
Her – I am telling you.
Seb – Wjhy didn’t yopu tell me at once?
Her – It’s not possible to say everything at once.
Seb – Damned liar…
(he punches and kicks everything within reach)
(he takes her by the hair) It was you, wasn’t it?
Her – Let me go , you’re hurting me… for God’s sake, let me go!
Seb – You damned whore! I’ll kill you!
Her – (she clasps her abdomen, howling) the baby, the waters have broken
Seb – (letting go of her) Ugh, disgusting…ugh, ugh…
You’re capable of lying about everything! You are…immoral!
Her – You disgust me! You hypocrite!
First you cover me in plasters
Then you attack me… insult me…
How dare you? Who do you think you are?
Me, a liar… and you
You do nothing but talk shit…
Yours is a mental problem,
you’ve forgotten what truth is!
Seb – You’re great at changing the subject
Her – And what might the subject be?
Your fucking fridge?
I’ll have the handle changed
I’ll get you a new one, sparkling
glowing in the dark…like night-lights for children
Seb – you won’t do a bloody thing, understand?
Her – What is there to understand?
Seb – This is my house!
You’re not allowed to change anything!
Her – What a fucking character!
Who knows how you must have made your mother suffer…
Seb – What’s my mother to do with this?
Her – You must have made her suffer.
How is she now?
Seb – What do you mean, how is she now?
Her – It’s a question.
Seb – Why should she be unwell?
Her – I didn’t say she wasn’t well, I asked how she is.
Seb – But if you don’t even know her..
Her – If I don’t know her can’t I ask how she is?
Seb – She’s fine.
Her – How do you know?
Seb – One knows certain things..
Her is she still alive?
Seb – But what the hell do you care?
Her – Yet, it seems strange to me that you have a mother…
Still alive, then…
Who has survived… It can’t have been easy for her
Do you see her often? Do you go to see her?
I haven’t heard from my mother
I take it for granted that I’ve had one
Life passes so quickly…I’ve lost the beginning but it’s there somewhere.
Who knows a golden infancy, maybe, the life of a princess…
Maybe my mother…mummy, as you might put it,
thinks of me…
thinks of me as much as I think of her …
She’d love to embrace her grandchildren
Let them climb onto her knee…
Let them tear off her wig …
Her pearl earrings…her dentures…
But by now…
it’s useless to go back over these issues
even if they worked
nobody cares anymore
only a hindrance… nothing more.
(the phone rings)
Seb – (answering) Yes, hello, hello?
They’ve rung up.
Her – Who is it?
Seb – No number.
(the phone rings)
Seb – Hello? Who is it? I can’t hear a thing…Father Lucas?
By any chance was it you calling a few moments ago?
No, nothing, just out of curiosity.
Don’t waste all these calls, we can speak about things face to face
I’m on my way, on the road already.. What do you mean he’s not breathing …of course he’s breathing!
That’s just his way of seeking attention
Easy does it, Father Lucas, he’s breathing, he’s breathing…
I’ll get him to breathe, don’t you worry
A tiny touch of oxygen…there’s no oxygen?
I’ll go to get some at once in the pharmacy…just the time I need to arrive..
He’s hung up
(he sits at the dressing table, cursing)
Her – Who is it?
Seb – Have I got to tell you who rings me?
Her – (adjusting the dressing gown around his shoulders)
But where do you work? Can’t I be told? Are you a carer?
Seb – Hand me the wig.
Her – Which one?
Seb – The straight black one
Her – (looking around attentively) That it?
Seb – And the hairnet
Her – What do you need one for if your hair is short?
Seb – I know what I need
Her – Yes, sorry (trying to fit the net on Seb’s head)
Seb – What are you doing? Don’t touch me…I can’t stand having hands touch my head
Away ! Keep your distance!
(putting on the net) Give me the paper!
Her – The roll?
Seb – Only three sheets
Her – (after a number of attempts) Here..
Seb – (wrapping the paper around his head) Silver!
Her – Aluminium?
Seb – Half a metre
Her – (tearing some) Like this? Is that all right?
Seb – (wrapping it around his head) Pass me the foundation cream
Her – Where?
Seb – Near the face powder
Her – Have you sorted them by type?
Seb –(aggressive, putting on the wig)
I haven’t sorted by type.
I don’t sort things by type
It’s a matter of chance
Today beside the powder, tomorrow somewhere else..
Don’t even try!
Her –But what have I said?
You take umbrage at every little thing
first we get on famously
and then you flare up at every little thing
Seb – We don’t get on famously
I don’t even know you
You’re here and you should be on the other side of the wall
Here without any reason
Touching all my things
Judging, shifting, confusing
You and your damned sorting..
Her – Do you want blush?
Seb– Do you understand what I said?
Her – You’re edgy and take it out on me
Although I do my very best to help you
Seb – (laughing, evil) Tidy… but look at you…
You disgust me!
You stink of mouldy sweat
How long is it since you had a shower?
You don’t even brush your teeth, wash your hair
Slippers and socks
A housecoat stained with sauce
(Her starts and tries to hide the stains)
You’re not fit to be looked at
You make me vomit
and you want to tidy up in here?
You don’t even look like a woman
You’re simply a leftover, a living corpse
(Her lowers her head)
God, what a bore
Are you going to cry?
There’s no reason to cry.
Didn’t you want the truth?
And now you can bear it?
Her – But why must you ruin everything?
It’s so hard to find someone
To feel in peace with.
I can look after you
Fell reassured in here
and do all that’s needed
Just you and I together
I’m not sad, well, hardly ever
I can do all that’s needed
In silence…like a little angel
I don’t need a lot
Just to sleep in peace in a little bed
have a little window
enough to see the moon. .. or hear the rain beating against the glass
I can look after you like a mother…
My little Lucrezia
Seb – And you keep on insisting on these crappy notions…
If you want to act the mother, who not go back to your children?
Why have you left them alone?
Where are they?
(Her raises her arm slowly to indicate her own home)
Ah, they’re at home ..yes, yes
How is it they don’t cry, don’t call you..
Your only thought is whether I’m Lucrezia or JR
I wouldn’t like someone like you for a mother
Her – Is your name JR? Like JR?
(excited) Then, you’re not …
Seb – But what an unbearable idiot…
Were I to tell you my whole life story
of pain and humiliation
were I to cry and scratch my face
hang myself before your very eyes.
your expression wouldn’t change
indifferent like all the others
blind and deaf, shut off, dead,
but if I say my name is JR
and that I have a Vuitton bag…
Her – (excited) Have you a Vuitton bag?
(Sebastien curses, the dressing gown slips off his shoulder)
Her – (she picks it up and hands it to him) Don’t catch cold.
Seb – (he tears the dressing gown from her hands and throws it away)
Look at me, come on, look at me ! Touch me don’t feel ashamed,
it’s clear you’d love to
look at my lovely legs, not a hair
I bet you’ve more hairs than a goat
(he grabs her hands and forces her to put them on his chest and then run them over his body)
Feel this soft skin..
Yours looks a bit grey,
come on, don’t create any problems for yourself
touch, control, take a ride around this marvel
that Franco of yours doesn’t when he meets me on the stairs
Her – (releasing her hands angrily)
You deceived me…because I was weak and desperate
you took advantage of my weakness
and now you are… molesting me
because I’m a really beautiful woman
You’ve never seen such a beautiful woman before
You’ve gone crazy with anger, envy, jealousy
Because you’d love me to be your woman
And you’ve already made plans
to go somewhere else
far away from here…in another place
who knows where, who knows for how long
slamming the door on the face of the past
as if I were a whore
to be taken and dragged away just any old where …
No, I’m sorry,
it’s not possible
it’s not what I want
All I want is one night
To sleep and forget
in a lonely bed
Seb – (he sits at the dressing table, opens a lip stick)
Here there’s only one, mine
I change the sheets every day
I wash them in the morning
And put them back on in the evening
But you can’t sleep in them
I’d smell your stench for the rest of my days
Her – Where can sleep then?
On the ground like a dog?
(the phone rings)
Her – Answer it.
Seb – No
Her – I’ll answer it.
(Seb takes the phone and puts it in a drawer)
Her – Are you just going to let it go on ringing?
You can’t have a phone
and let it ring like that
give it to me, I’ll say you’re not here
that you’ve gone to work
and not to call back
because I’m going to bed now
and won’t answer anyone
Seb – This fucking lipstick…shit!
Her – I’ll put it on for you, I’m good at that
Seb – Go away! Get off my back!
(he throws the lipstick to the ground)
Fucking shitty lipstick!
(shouting with rage)
Her – “>(she picks it up) It’s broken, you need a knife
Have you got a knife? With a nice blade, a sharp one…
(her eyes fall on the butcher’s knife and she is almost mesmerised by it.
She picks it up slowly and tests the blade’s edge with her fingers as if she were an expert butcher.
She speaks slowly as if in a trance)
You should learn to trust others
You can’t be in charge of everything
Nobody can do everything on their own
(she puts the lipstick down, calmly aims the knife
and brings it heavily down on it, more than once with exaggerated anger.
In theory she should only be cutting a tiny piece off the tip of the lipstick
But her fury is homicidal. Seb looks at her petrified)
There we are.
(she cleans the blade wiping it with the end of her dressing gown , with a mechanical gesture
thus adding a red stain to those already there, She examined the lipstick with a critical air)
There, it’s like new
A mother knows how to lots of things…
more than you can even imagine…
she’s go a solution for everything, the quickest, shortest route.
Now let’s try
(she straddles Sebastien who stiffens
and makes a feeble effort to break free)
Her – Your mouth…don’t purse it like that
Half close it as if you wanted to kiss me.
Seb – I’d rather die
Her – Always so rude, JR
Yet, since I’ve entered your life
you’ve had nothing but advantages
Seb – (his moth half closed) You …you haven’t entered…
Her – (putting on the lipstick any old way)
Just think if someone sees us now
They’ll say…look at those two, what a lovely couple
It’s clear there’s love there. .trust.. intimacy
Who knows how long they’ve loved each other
They’ll envy our happiness
They’ll say: look , they’re playing like children
She’s making him up and he’s letting her do it
because he loves her and would do anything for her
such happiness cannot exist
Let’s stay hidden JR
otherwise they’ll put the evil eye all over our kisses
our secret love affair…
(Seb springs to his feet and Her falls to the ground screaming.
As she falls she draws a long line down his face and chest , like a wound)
Her – Idiot! What an idiot!
Fuck off, you turd!
Do you want to kill me?
People like you
Yes, people like you
Don’t deserve anything!
(Seb removes the wig and false, eyelashes while the lights dim imperceptibly
Seb smears his face with make-up remover and wipes the lipstick, producing a mask effect)
Her – But what are you doing? Aren’t you going out
Are you not going out anymore? Have you changed your mind?
Aren’t you going to work?
I’m talking to you.. do you hear me?
(the telephone rings)
For God’s sake, answer
Re you angry with me?
What have I said? That we could love each other…
What would be wrong with that?
Nothing at all
Seb – (with one swift move Seb draws her close to him,
as if he wanted to suffocate her. )
You shouldn’t say certain things
I don’t need your love
Or anybody else’s either
But he doesn’t say these things
Out of respect!
(he lets go of her and she slides to the floor. The telephone rings.)
Her – Please, answer
I beg you… I can’t stand it…
(Seb takes the phone out of the drawer and flings it away from him.. The lights dim further
creating a half light in which it is possible to glimpse the characters and the action. He gets some very elegant male clothes and puts them on . he stops now and then to look at Her.
Her goes back to the ironing board and the costume. Now and then she turns to look at him.
Light on the ladder as Seb exits and enters with a small suitcase he places open on the proscenium. He exits again.
The telephone rings. Her ignores it , then gesturing her annoyance, she looks for it, finds it and answers)
Her – Hello ..yes …I can’t hear a think… hello …yes, better now.. coverage comes and goes in this area, more than anything else it goes ..then JR has half wrecked the phone… Who is JR? But who are you looking for? Who am I? and who is Mariana? No, here there’s no Mariana, wrong number …This is JR’s house and I’m a neighbour, yes, just calling in…But who are you? She listens) Ah… And how did it happen? Suddenly? I’m sorry even if I didn’t know him …Did he live here in this block of flats? (louder) In this block of flats? Eh? Yes, yes, all right…I’ll tell him. Don’t worry… before I got married I worked as a secretary, I liked being a secretary…I had a bent for it, as they say
Then the house, two children…I’m always tired
At times a mist clouds my mind…as if I were dying
When I wake again I don’t know who I am..
then the children kill you
yes, the kill you… they’re asleep now… can’t see them, can’t hear them…
but when you least expect it they wake up and that’s it for me …
Pardon? Yes, if i meet Mariana, if she calls in…but you can’t tell…
I live here in the same block but I’ve never met her…
True, don’t go out much.. just with the children to the gardens…
I drop into the supermarket…twice a week
The rest of the time I’m shut up in here…see nobody…
Hello? Hello! He’s rung off (looking at the phone disappointed)
(She puts the phone in her pocket and resumes her ironing cursing)
(The telephone rings)
Her -Hello? Who? No, look here, there must be a false connection..
There’s no Sebastien here, I’m sorry
The last call was a wrong number too…
They were looking for Mariana… never heard of her
to date I’ve been living here since I got married…
Don’t insist, get some sleep
And try again tomorrow with a clear mind
But what shall i tell him?
Okay I’ll tell him should he call in…
But if I’m telling then you must be mistaken…
How can I call him? If he’s not here…
Oh all right then…
(shouting ) Sebastien! On you’re wanted on the phone!!
Did you hear? No answer..
Are you satisfied now?
(enter Sebastien, he snatches the phone from her)
Her – it’s the House of Cashmere,
looking for Sebastien… do you know him?
They say the sales are starting tomorrow…
Seb – (on the phone) is thuis any hour to be breaking my balls?
Yes, it’s me, I told you not to call me anymore.
What do you you want.. what the hell do you want?
Yes, I work too but I don’t break people’s balls in the middle of the night!
(he flings the phone to the ground but it rings again although he tramples on it)
Her – why don’t you turn it off?
I leave mine on because nobody calls me ..
I use it only for photographs..
But they won’t leave you alone, they hassle you,
after all it’s nice that people look for you
I don’t understand why so treat people so badly
The last caller wanted to be nice to you, give you discount
So you’re not JR?
Seb – Shut up!
Her – as far as I’m concerned… you can be whoever you like
The previous caller wanted Mariana
He said not to go anymore because the person you know is dead …
E said you don’t do your job well
if you continue like that he won’t send you any more clients…
Seb – You’re making this up…
Her – …and that you need to be certain people will do their job well
I was upset by this,
after all we’re friends and I’d have liked to respond…
let’s say, with an excuse, a justification..
but I wasn’t able to
I know nothing about you, all one big secret…
Seb – But what do you want from me?
(shouting) What else do you want?
The house? Take it, take it all!!
(cursing ad lib, he rushes at the ironing board and knocks it over with a kick
He tries to tear the costume to shreds
Her remains unperturbed, iron in hand
Calmly she picks the costume up)
Her – Now I don’t know if this can be mended
You’ve destroyed it
And you’ve destroyed the phone.
You should have turned it off…
And you’re Sebastien
A strange name
Why didn’t you tell me at once? They say there’s
no shame in a name
A name is only a name.
(she fondles and smoothens the costume)
The pirates won’t recognise you
without your dress
only the cloak was saved…
I’ll put it on the dummy, okay? (she does so)
Seb – No, put it in my case
Her – (looking around her) what case?
(she spots the case on the proscenium)
What’s that for? Here nobody’s leaving
(her voice betrays anxiety)
Even if they wanted to
I’ll admit similar ideas do come to mind
when you reach the end of your tether, despair, maybe…
but lo and behold , the very next moment you abandon them
because there’s no way out of here
we need to realise that and speak of it no more
Franco’s out there
spying on us , listening to every word we say
even words we whisper, the ones we leave unsaid
or simply think or
imagine in secret.
He’s a person who never forgets
you can never tell what he might do..
and don’t fool yourself that the problem’s only mine
do you understand yes, you’re in it too up to your neck
We must remain here in safety
As long as necessary.
There’s someone dead besides
because you didn’t bring him that oxygen.
You committed yourself but you didn’t go.
Mariana wash ere singing and making herself up.
They’ll report you, you’ll see.
And the police will come to get you
No way are you leaving now, I’m sorry
Whoever you may be
Lucrezia, Mariana, JR or Sebastien
you’re fucked, the lot of you.
Seb – Give me the cloak!
(Her hands it to him, Seb folds it and puts it in the case)
I’m sorry to disappoint you but
he died because his time was up
I simply hastened his end
That’s why they pay me.
Her – To kill people?
Seb – I am a facilitator.
Her – A carer?
Seb – Facilitator
Her – And what do you facilitate?
Seb – I adjust to meet their demands…
Padre Lucas sends the clients
He knows loads of people…it’s all perfectly above board…
All old people have their foibles
I do what their relatives ask me to
I become what they want me to be
waiting for that fleeting moment.
It’s simply a matter of style
until I become a star
When others will adapt to me.
For that old man who’s just died
I was Rosy, a character I invented
last year for the Big Brother
A mouth-watering cunt…
And when that swine took
his last fling , that’s what he called it
you had to coax him to eat ..
but you learn to put up with the work, the loathing …
because when you get home to your own things
always the same, quiet, motionless
waiting here for me, without ever judging .
But now you have contaminated them
They’ve gone over to your side
they don’t recognise me any longer
and I don’t recognise them either.
Her – If it’s because of the handle of the fridge
I’ll have it replaced for you
Don’t go away, you’ve been happy here…
Seb – you can’t be happy all the time.
Happiness doesn’t last
It goes bad
Dissolves like a cobweb…
Like shot silk…
and gets a hole in it that lasts forever after
(case in hand he begins to climb slowly up the ladder)
Her – (agitated) Are you leaving me all alone?
You’re not leaving me here all on my own, are you?
Ehi, answer me!
I want a dress! You have to give me a dress!
Seb –Take the fucking dress then!
Her – I can’t… I don’t know how to…
I get mixed up…
I’m a mother ; can’t you see the state I’m in?
Can’t you understand?
I have a dirty, dilated, bleeding body …..
(on the TV screen a scene from Sky’s “But how do you dress?,
one of Sebastien’s cult programmes)
nobody is aware of it
and there’s nothing can be done
I don’t even know myself how I should be
and when Franco kicks and beats me
I understand… because
Disgusting people shouldn’t even exist …
Do you see this belly?
I’d hack it off with an axe…
(she mimes the action, then stop as she remembers something.
She looks in the direction of her own flat, confused)
Seb – Do you know what John Lennon said to Yoko Ono?
Her – (she shakes her head angrily) What did he say? Eh? What did he say?
What the fuck did John Lennon say?
He wouldn’t have said anything to me
He wouldn’t even have looked at me
Not even a look of compassion!
(Music: Oh my love by John Lennon. Sebastien climbs down the ladder again slowly case in hand. He goes over to Her who clings to him crying)
Seb – What kind of dress would you like?
(Her shakes her head)
(imitating Aldo Miccio)
Evening ior leisure wear?
Show me what you like..
Her – (taking hold of herself she chooses a dress) I like this one!
Seb – No!
Her – Why not?
Seb – Too tight.
Her – And this?
Seb – For formal occasions. (Her points to various other dresses)
No, that’s an old model, I kept it for remembrance
No, no, total black , not worth looking at …too banal
Come on…stripes enlarge the hips…
For goodness’ sake… that’s OTT
Her – So, none of them suits me. Leave me alone.
Seb – Come on, undress, take off that rag
Her – Undress? In front of you?
Seb – To see what you look like
Her – That’s the way I am. No need for anything else.
Seb – If you put yourself in the hands of a fashion stylist
you’ll have to let go of all your veils
and all that hypocrisy.
Her – All I want is a dress.
Seb – Let’s begin with the foundation garments. Here we are, a push up bra..
(he hands her a sexy underwear set)
Her – You can’t see it, I don’t need it
Seb – it’s the basis, the scaffolding.
(Her tries to put on the underwear without taking off her housecoat,
then she goes to hide behind the furniture
to complete the operation)
The self—supporting stockings…
Then…yes, this should slim the critical areas…
(he chooses a dress)
Then, let’s see a jacket..
A large bag, like a shopper
Shoes with 12cm heels… can you manage these?
Her – I don’t know
Seb – (imitating Aldo Miccio)
Let’s say 10cm and a platform.. A few jewels..
After all, it’s night time..
You need glamour
To shine like a star …
There, let’s see how they fit
Out you come, then!
(Her come out from behind the furniture, wearing panties, bra and self-supporting.
Sebastien observes her with a critical air)
Seb – You’re well proportioned
You should valorise yourself
A touch of makeup
The odd highlight
A nice dress
Not even your own children will recognise you…
Her – My children…where are they?
Seb – At home, asleep. Afterwards you can wake them and have them look.
Her – I can’t wake them, it’s too late…
Seb – Tomorrow, quietly…
I’m sure they won’t know you.
Her – Nobody should recognise me
Seb – (he helps her on with the dress) this is a favour I’m doing you
I don’t know if you realise this
It’s not something that happens every day
(he adjusts the dress, touching her persistently but as if she were a dummy)
Now, put this necklace on, it brings light to your face …
The bracelet; come now, have I to tell you everything?
shoes… I’ll fetch a mirror
(Her puts on the shoes, wobbles, slips)
Her – I can’t manage.
Seb – Come on, walk…
A nice catwalk…eyes straight ahead, shoulders up.
Remember never again without high heels
No more housecoats or tracksuits.
Elegance is not comfort.
There we are, you look like another already…
Take a walk around … one foot before the other
(Her does so, at first uncertain, then she gains confidence)
(Music: Ain’t she sweet by the Beatles;
As usual Seb, pretends to sing
Bringing his fist to his mouth as if it were a microphone)
Seb – Ain’t she sweet
See her walking down the street
Yes I ask you very confidentially
Ain’t she sweet
(Seb dances Las Vega styles. Her joins him,
clumsy at first ,then, unexpectedly at ease, fluid. They both give way to the music.
The dance ends in front of the mirror)
Seb – Who’s that in the mirror there?
Her – Those two…but I don’t know them
Seb – Describe them?
Her – Beautiful…very elegant… What are they doing?
Seb – Embracing.
Her –in love?
Seb – She’s laughing. What are her eyes like?
Her – I can’t see them…I can’t look at them
Seb – They’re big dark…slim hips, small waist…her breasts barely visible
Her – Do you like her?
Seb – I do.
Her – Do you love her?
Seb – I don’t know
Her – When will you know?
Seb – Soon
Her – How will you know?
Seb – What?
Her – that you love her
Seb – I’ll feel like kissing her
Her – Kiss her now.
Seb – Not now, I’m leaving
Her – That’s true, you’re leaving.. So, our story’s over, then.
Seb – have we got a story?
Her – What do you say?
Seb – I don’t know
Her – you don’t know
Seb – You can’t know everything.
Her – All right. Go then, what are you waiting for? Who’s holding you back?
Seb – You’re holding me back! With your constant calls for help…for care
…all these words that squirt all over the place
You can’t get away from them…
maybe in time I might be able to put up with you , but at the moment it’s impossible…
I wouldn’t know how…how…
Her – (interrupting him) Are you telling me? Are you talking to me?
(she looks around ostentatiously) Yes, there’s nobody else…so, you’re talking to me..
God, how you disgust me…hypocrite…false…
Are you anyone to judge others… you with your ridiculous stories
Who doesn’t do a thing.. not even take a step in real life…
or look around you…
fake from head to toe
going away and leaving me here all alone
waiting for Franco to come and beat me to death
you’ll leave me here to die!
Seb – Real life… I wouldn’t know what to do with it!
with you either…don’t insist
(he picks up the case, looks around)
Where’s my bag? The Vuitton. Where is it? You’ve taken it haven’t you?
(The bag is on a chair between them)
Her – I didn’t even know…
Seb – you knew damned well!
Her – That you had a Vuitton? Are you mad?
Seb – My car keys are in i.
Her – You’re leaving by car? Where is it parked?
Seb – Then the documents, my diary, my stomach medication, the keys of the house at Torrepaliento.
Her – Where’s Torrepaliento?
Seb – At the seaside.
Her – Have you a house at the seaside?
Seb – On the ocean
Her – Where? Where?
Seb – Between the Caribbean and Hawaii.
Her – Half way?
Seb – it depends on how you look at it… (with as vague gesture) Further out to sea…
Her 2 – How…
Seb 2 – Give me the bag!
Her 2 – …do you get there?
Seb 2 – Lorenzo is waiting for me there…
Her 2 – I need to know!
Seb 2 – you’re wasting my time!
Wasting my time, time!
Her – Nobody is waiting for you
There are only the two of us
on the ocean
we’re alone…you and I
nobody will come to love us..
JR or Sebastien or whoever you may be..
Seb – (he falls to his knees) How…tired I feel…
What else do you want from me?
I’m begging you you, enough words, let me go….
(he bends forward his face towards the wings)
I’m begging you..
Her – Oh yes, beg me…beg me..
Seb – I’m begging you..
Her – I’m a little disappointed in you…
Not that I was expecting much…
From the beginning I knew there was little to hope for …
From someone like you there’s nothing to be hoped for,
yes, nothing at all
but you go on because you have no other plans
Even now I never thought for one moment
Of us two walking towards the ocean
joined together in peace
the one in the heart of the other..
Seb – enough.. dopn’t speak any more…
Give me my bag…
Her – (sarcastic) The Vuitton?
But it’s here, right beside you like the things that matter…
Who do you think would want to take it?
(she verifies the contents emptying them on the floor)
Keys, passport, medication, diary, more keys, remote
And even more keys…is that all?
Yes.. your things…they’re all here.
(she throws the bag on the ground and sits down assuming a vulgar position and facing the opposite wings)
(The television goes black for a few moments, as if there had been interference.
When it comes back Sebastien 2 and Her 2 appear as the two characters’ come alter egos; they are seated side by side. They stare right in front of themselves. As the dialogue on TV is transmitted Seb e Her turn around, rise, and look thunderstruck at their avatars on the screen.)
(Background music: Oh my love by John Lennon. Seb 2 and Her 2, like robots sing without expression over Lennon’s voice)
Seb and Her 2 – (together)
Oh my love for the first time in my life
My eyes are wide open
Oh my lover for the first time in my life
My eyes can see
I see the wind, oh I see the trees
Everything is clear In my heart
I see the cloud, oh I see the sky
Everything is clear in our world…
(the music fades out)
Her 2 – Excuse me…
Seb 2 – Yes?
Her 2 – Are you Mister JR, Lucrezia, Mariana, Sebastien, John Lennon?
Seb 2 – I don’t know.
Her 2 – Excuse me, can’t you be a little more precise?
Are you or are you not?
Seb 2 – I am not myself.
Her 2 – Perfect! I have a letter for you ..(she hands him an envelope which Sebastien
Takes reluctantly) Come on, open it …it’s important
Seb 2 – I’m not interested.
Her 2 – Don’t be afraid, it’s fake. Just the way you like it.
Go on, read it out loud.
Seb 2 – (reluctant) To John from his own Yoko.(he lets it fall)
The story is over.
Her 2 – What a pity..
Do you really not want to read it?
Do you want to miss the chance of a lifetime?
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love…
Love is all you need
This is a train that passes only once.
Seb 2 – It could pass twice, three times
It might go on passing and passing forever
There could be many such trains…
Her 2 – (interrupting him) So, you don’t get it.
It seems that you don’t listen to the end
you don’t actually listen at all
Better still, you only listen to what doesn’t hurt you
Seb 2 – What is it that…
Her 2 – your little Yoko is about to die.
Seb 2 – Then John must die too,
because he can’t live without her.
Her 2 – Do you want them t die together?
Seb 2 – Did I say that?
Her 2 – What do you want, then?
Seb 2 – I don’t know.
Her 2 – Is there anything you know?
Seb 2 – I need time
Her 2 – Time has run out.
Franco will return to kill Yoko.
He said he would and he will.
Seb 2 – When did he say so?
Her 2 – Don’t let yourself be distracted by insignificant details.
He’s probably circling the house, looking for a way in.
He won’t go away.
He’ll go on circling… circling
And suddenly we’ll find him right in here.
Seb 2 – The door is locked. The windows barred.
Her 2 – We cannot just wait
Seb 2 – What about your children?
Her 2 – What children
Seb 2 – Yours. The ones sleeping in there.
What will happen to them?
Her 2 – (she passes her hand over her face, confused, as if trying to chase away a memory, then she recovers)
Yoko came through the wall because she believed John would save her.
He cried when he heard her cry…
Franco.. every day… every day…
Do we have to repeat what we know so well?
Why didn’t he go in and save her? Vindicate her?
Seb 2 – I told you why
Her 2 – No you didn’t
Seb 2 – I never know what to do.
Her 2 – You haven’t the courage to act .
And yet you’re so lucky
Because life is on your side,
and you met at last. Overflowing with love…
But nothing happened.
Seb 2 – You mean… you’re talking about…
Her 2 – Nothing at all
Seb 2 – I should have kissed you?
Her 2 – It doesn’t matter any longer.
little Yoko is pale and trembling…
Nobody can save her… she has no choice…
She must save herself
Yet between you there was something coming to the fore
It touched you, moved you
Light as a sea of stars
(Seb and Her take each other by the hand)
Seb 2 – Something touched us, moved us…
Her 2 – An impressive expanse of love
such as was never seen before
drenched with your sighs …
Seb 2 – it touched us…moved us…
that impressive expanse of love
and now she’s leaving…
What shall I do?
What shall I do?
(he repeats the question obsessively.
The voice grows distorted, becomes a falsetto, like the voice of a child)
The screen turns off.
Sebastien goes to his case, takes out his Pirate Queen costume, smoothens it, strokes it, kisses it ; this is his moment of absolute truth and his face shows all the pain, fear determination, regret…a brief but highly intense moment of inner struggle.
He puts on the cloak, takes up his case and puts on the glittering female shoes with the extremely high heels, velvet gloves and all the other things that he believes denote a queen. He puts some lipstick on his mouth and cheeks without looking in the mirror.
The heavy footsteps of someone coming up the stairs can be heard and, at low volume, the Beatles’ song “Helter Skelter”.
An indistinct gurgle rises in crescendo to a beastly howl in the midst of which we can distinguish the words “fucking woman”
Her lifts the butcher’s knife up and hands it to Sebastien, with pondered, solemn almost ritual movements, her face completely expressionless.
Sebastien takes the knife with both his hands and goes down to the back of the stage, as the lights go out and the volume of the music increases considerably.
A victorious yell from Sebastien in the dark.
A spot goes on to show him on the proscenium, covered in blood.
Seb – (shouting) Yoko! We are free! (he falls to the ground)
(Her goes over and pokes at Sebastien’s body repeatedly with her toe).
Her – At last…some silence
On the screen the final scene from Zabriskie Point, showing the explosion of the house.. The explosions follow in sequence and from various angulations as thousands of fragments of fridges, clothes and other everyday objects fly sky high .
All is destroyed, pulverised.
Her throws a fleeting glance at the screen, at the images and sounds of the explosions , she sits at the dressing table, puts on makeup and does her hair with the care.
She then picks up the documents, keys, an everything else that was in Sebastien’s bag from the floor and puts them carefully back into it.
Then, she lifts the Vuitton up, strokes it smiling, slings it over her shoulder and begins climbing up the ladder.