In the Silence

In the Silence

A Stage Play by Miss Alex
"

Final script for a solo work performed at Santa Cruz Fringe Festival 2012

"

In the Silence

by Alex Mercedes

premiere:  14-21 July 2012, Santa Cruz Fringe Festival

Center Stage

 

(light up gradually on single chair DC. Once lights up to full, let the chair exist alone for 5 beats. Walk to chair and stand close DR. See the audience. I am ready but at a loss for words. for approx 10 sec)

 

Please believe me:  I’m really glad you came     

Show Time just wouldn’t be the same without you here

(cross close DL of chair)

It’s just that

sometimes

it feels like there’s nothing left to say

nothing new to say

like everything funny or profound enough to merit saying onstage

has already been said �"

by somebody else

and probably more eloquently

And as for value-laden talking out there (gesture)

in the real world ….

(One  step right to chair and sit.)

I just got back from a long trip

multiple cities, lots of scenes

and everywhere I went --

from New Orleans to Chicago to San Francisco --

There was a lot of talking going on.

In airports and train stations

In bars and restaurants and living rooms and churches and

On the street…

and cell phones…my god! 

so much talking (pause; sit back, get familiar)

I’ve been ambivalent about talking for years

Yes, there are times when I talk a lot

Performing        teaching

Drinking champagne with friends and not even TRYING to make a long story short.

(Light begins to dim on me while light up gradually UL)

And there are other times

just as many perhaps

when what I crave most is Silence.  (sit back; breathe)

Silence surrounds us.  (in slow-ish motion stand and right above chair toward UL light…)

It is infinite

essential.

Pervasive.  

(land in UL light and say) Talking emerges from Silence but never breaks free --

All talking inevitably returns to silence.

Silence always gets the last word.

Without slender strands of silence winding

between the words talking becomes noise.

(light up on chair; See it. Walk to it.)

Silence is a space to rest in

(sit)

To rest. (breathe)

And listen.

(beat)

There is nothing more luxurious than being listened to.

Conversation with people who sit

in attentive silence while I speak

And I love falling into that attentive silence

when it is my turn to listen

It’s so intimate. It’s like dancing. (move; feel the groove )

So even if we’re standing on a noisy crowded street

it feels like we are

sitting in a cozy, well-appointed room

With tea spread for two and no clock.

(stand) The most important things

Are in the silence between words.

(notice light UR; walk toward light on next line)

I remember being with my father once.

(Arrive in the light; lights dim on chair but not to black) I was 5 years old. 

It was early morning and we were on the tiny back porch

of our shotgun house, his work room.

It was just the two of us! It felt so special:  I had Daddy all to myself.

He was explaining why it is important to always tell the Truth

I do not remember today what he said.

I remember the warmth of his large hands, grasping my upper arms

He spoke so gently and I also felt an urgency in his voice.

I knew he was telling me something important

Something he cared about deeply.

I remember how sunlight slowly flooded the room

(lights brighten to full)

And I watched dust motes dance in yellow-white beams of light.

The tools lay on the work bench, inert but alive. They seemed to breathe.

And I remember feeling my tiny heart pulled (pull all the way out)

toward something great. Truth!  It was one of my earliest experiences of passion.

(hold a beat then cross to chair and stand up and right of chair)

A great poet once said truth is neither simple nor easy.

It is an increasing complexity

and lying is an attempt to make things simpler than they really are.

(cross to up and left of chair)

When we speak truthfully, we acknowledge the complex potential between us �"

the unpredictable, possibly dangerous, magnificent journey we might make together. (travel to back of chair on “journey”; stand behind chair, hands on back and lean forward)

When we lie,

(lean back and two short steps backward)

we seek a simpler, safer path.  

(right light fades out)

(cross DL of chair) When I was young and arrogant, I equated “small” talk with lying. 

(step DR of chair on the line)    Hey! How are ya?

Hey there! I’m good. Wow…  How are you?

Oh, I’m good. I didn’t know if that was you…

Yeah, it’s me. One of a kind.

Well one’s enough.

(chuckle)  Been a long time.

Yeah, time just flies…..  You still live over at…

Yeah, we’re still over there…

Well,… ….. How’s your mother?

She’s good.  Just came from there.  She made a pie!

(chuckle) Well isn’t she something! Listen, tell her I said hi.

I will. I definitely will tell her I ran into you.

Well, it is good to see you.  I’m gonna have to run now…

OK.  OK.  Won’t hold you. Take it easy.

Yeah, you too.  Take it easy.

(return to chair; stand) 

I was a very serious young woman with high conversational standards.

“Small” talk was an inexcusable squandering of the precious present moment.

(sit)

Since then I’ve learned that small talk is as deep and real

as the people making it

and that listening with my ears to the talk

and with my heart to the silence

the truth and depth of small talk are revealed.

(lights up DR)

(notice light and stand)

I stopped in to see my grandmother while I was traveling. 

I hadn’t seen her for OVER 20 YEARS. Some of her progeny had died in the meantime, including my mother �" but to her 120 surviving children, grand-children, great-grand and great-great grand-children, (see her) she was still “Mother”.

(one step right)

When I entered her room, she was watching cartoons holding a Hidden Word puzzle on her lap. She was seated in front of the window and a light breeze stirred her snow white, shoulder-length hair.

(to her) “Mother….  “ 

She looked up (step/lean right and embody her)

and smiled at me. “Well, looka here! My Lord! Come on in here!”

(back to my body; one step right) I walked toward her thinking “So this is what 105 years of living looks like…”

“Mother, do you know who I am?”

(embody her) She cocked her head for a moment but a crash and a giggle on TV snatched her attention away and

I stood there awkwardly for a moment, wondering if she was hard of hearing

or senile...

I walked over, embraced her and kissed her on the cheek. (small step right to do this)

She looked up then; her eyes bright and fixed on me. “Well, suit yourself but you come all this way…you might as well have a seat.”

I took a seat on the little bed. (step back a little)

She was glowing. Waves of contented amusement flowed from her.

“Do you know who I am, Mother?” I asked one more time.

She laughed a little and looked right into me.

“Well, I know for sure you’re one of mine.”

And I thought, wow, yes, I am one of yours.

In the silent spaces of our small talk, I understood: 

I am fruit and seed of that tree

and I didn’t ask again if she “knew” who I was.

(light up on chair; fade DR)

When my son was little, he used kid-style small talk at bedtime:

I’d read him a story and kiss him goodnight

and just as I leaned to turn off the lamp, he’d say

“Oh! Mama…I forgot something.”

“Oh yeah?  What did you forget?

“Well, it was one thing and I think it was something important about…ummm…Teddy,” his cherished stuffed-bear companion.

His 4-year-old face would grow very serious. You could almost see the wheels turning in his little head. I called this his “scheming look.”

 “Teddy was looking and looking and looking…”

His eyes scanning the room now for a prop to inspire and extend his monologue.

“He was looking for… a…brush and he said ‘May I please’ and I said ‘yes, please’ and we shared.” 

“Oh….you love Teddy don’t you?” (show his nodding yes)

And I love you, Baby. Time for sleep.”

Another kiss, another lean to turn off the lamp.

“Mama! We cooperated!”

“Yes, you cooperated. Like Bert and Ernie. Goodnight, baby.”(mime the kiss and lamp)

“And, and, and, also I know a joke, Mama…”

And the joke was always complex and hard to remember and required a few minutes of meandering.

Kid-style small talk. 

Precious. 

Listening to the talk AND the silence

I heard: 

“Please don’t go.

I don’t want to go to sleep

I want to be with you.”

The heart, seeking connection, listens for its own echo in Silence.

(make space for Silence; stand, 2 steps left)

One night, a girlfriend and I came out of a club in San Francisco’s Mission District.

We were discussing where to go next when two men approached us.  One was about my height, sort of nondescript. 

The other was a head shorter than me and extremely well-dressed.

I would have guessed he worked in the music industry

or in organized crime.

We made late-night, street-scene small-talk for a few minutes,

and he asked if  we wanted to drive over and party in Vegas.

My friend and I looked at each other.. 

The night was  still young.

We both worked as temps

and didn’t have assignments the next morning

and I had been feeling a little overdue for an adventure

but who was this guy? 

We talked a little more and at some point, (extend hand) he kissed my hand. (swoon)

I had an immediate urge to go to Las Vegas with this man.

(Wake from the swoon but do not lower arm)

In the silence I heard my naked feeling

There is some kiss we want

 with our whole lives,

(arm down)

and I heard the wheels turning in his head

the chatter in him

(light up halfway to full UL) where attentive silence would have been.

My heart heard no echo. (back away on the line)

And I did not go with him to Las Vegas. (turn away left and move toward UL light)

We negotiate co-existence through talking and listening.

Talking and listening in a vast ocean of Silence

We negotiate co-existence

Truth  (light UR)

and lies (light center)

small talk (light DR)

and kisses (light DL)

(Walk DR to front of chair) There’s nothing new to say

All the words have been spoken

The redeeming mystery lives on

in the vast ocean

and slender strands

of Silence

where naked hearts echo

and listen

and dream dreams

like primordial memory

of breathing under water

 (pause. Allow Silence to return.  Exit.  Light lingers on chair….then fades)

 

THE END

 

© 2013 Miss Alex


Author's Note

Miss Alex
Apologies for stage directions; just too lazy this morning to delete them.

My Review

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Featured Review

Actually it's the stage directions that I found interesting, I sort of got to imagine the performance because of them, although there were some I couldn't understand. The one thing that is lacking is you could have described the characters though her dialogue. I'm glad you mentioned the silence between the words because without them there would be no understanding as the spaces between musical notes it would just be noise. I enjoyed it immensely.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Miss Alex

6 Years Ago

Thanks for reading, Jack Dawkins. I am first and foremost a performing artist. Writing runs a close .. read more
Jack Dawkins

6 Years Ago

I'd like to help you with that but I'm old school, I prefer a fountain pen to a computer and I am he.. read more



Reviews

Actually it's the stage directions that I found interesting, I sort of got to imagine the performance because of them, although there were some I couldn't understand. The one thing that is lacking is you could have described the characters though her dialogue. I'm glad you mentioned the silence between the words because without them there would be no understanding as the spaces between musical notes it would just be noise. I enjoyed it immensely.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Miss Alex

6 Years Ago

Thanks for reading, Jack Dawkins. I am first and foremost a performing artist. Writing runs a close .. read more
Jack Dawkins

6 Years Ago

I'd like to help you with that but I'm old school, I prefer a fountain pen to a computer and I am he.. read more

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Added on February 7, 2013
Last Updated on February 7, 2013
Tags: biography, spirituality, family

Author

Miss Alex
Miss Alex

Holly Springs, MS



About
I've had a lifelong love-hate relationship to/with writing. Never published but lots of strong positive feedback. I most frequently write at my blog (Sojourner in the 21st Century at Blogspot), script.. more..