Act One. Scene One.
The three characters enter from stage right and look around them. The background reveals distant hills, fields, and trees. Around them are small mounds and the odd the bush or two. There is one small tree stage left. Bligh and Flo who are dressed in old clothes go towards the tree and touch it gingerly. Dogfish who is also dressed in old clothes stands on the edge of the stage and peers out at the auditorium.
Dogfish: The sky looks like a patient etherised upon a table. (He sniffs the air.) A dead patient. (Sniffs the air again.)A patient who has been left to fester for a few weeks.
Flo: I like trees.
Bligh: But do trees like you? That's a question people never ask themselves. They assume that trees like them because they like trees. However, when you consider what people do to trees it would be quite understandable if trees hated people. (Embraces the tree tenderly.)Treat trees as you would like to be treated, I say.
Flo: I've never mistreated a tree in my life. In fact, I've always had a soft spot for trees.
Dogfish: The air whiffs of something. (Sniffs the air.)
Flo: Those clothes of yours possibly, Dogfish.
Dogfish :( Looks back at Flo and pulls a face at her.)Maybe it's your clothes I can smell. It has a feminine odour about it. (Stares at Bligh and Flo for a few moments then looks back at the auditorium.)My clothes, indeed. The nerve.
Flo :( Sniffs her old dress and then under her arms. She shakes her head.)Not me, Dogfish.
Bligh: They have every right you know to be treated as people are. Trees are living things after all.
Flo :( She sniffs Bligh's old jacket. Bligh takes no notice.)It's not Bligh either, Dogfish. Go elsewhere for the cause of your smells.
Dogfish: Rain coming. Or snow. (Stands upright with his arms outstretched.)Imagine being crucified up here.
Flo: I can't imagine being crucified anywhere.
Bligh: Some say people were crucified on trees. (Tenderly stokes the tree.)Can you imagine how that tree felt having someone nailed to it? No respect for trees. Treated them badly all through history. Let alone the wars where they were cut down for ships and weapons.
Dogfish: Forget your damned trees, Bligh. Come and see this view. (Bligh reluctantly leaves the tree and walks to where dogfish is standing. Flo stands by the tree looking at its branches.)See that sky? The sky has an odd colour about it. Like someone's puked in it and stirred it up with a dirty stick.
Bligh :( Looks up at the sky.)Could be snow as you say, Dogfish. On the other hand, it could be just a storm coming.
Flo: This tree hasn't been here long. You can tell by the look of it.
Dogfish: Storms are always coming. It's the way of the sky. Storms and skies are like a married couple.
Flo: I wonder if this tree likes the view it has?
Bligh: We were caught in a storm last summer. Do you remember that, Flo? That storm?
Flo :( Leaves the tree and goes beside Bligh. All three stand looking out at the auditorium.) Summer it was. You don't expect a storm in summer. Winter, yes, but summer you don't expect it. It sort of crept upon us and caught us out and almost drowned us, didn't it Bligh?
Bligh: Caught us true and proper. Drowned us nigh on.
Dogfish: And that was where? Where was this storm?
Bligh: Miles from here.
Flo: Miles away from here.
Dogfish: Rome's miles away from here. So is China. Was it in either of those places?
Bligh: Not Rome. I'd have remembered Rome.
Flo: Not China either. We'd have remembered China.
Dogfish: Miles away you say?
Bligh: Miles away.
Flo: We never came this way last summer. We went up north.
Bligh: North was it? I thought it was west?
Flo: No, north. I know because that odd bloke said it was north.
Dogfish: What odd bloke was that?
Bligh: No one you know, Dogfish.
Flo: He was a stranger. A strange stranger. Had this funny look in his eye.
Dogfish: Which eye?
Flo: His left eye.
Bligh: He only had one eye. The other was closed up as if he was half asleep.
Dogfish: What was his name? Wotan?
Bligh: Don't know. We never asked.
Flo: Could have been Wotan. He has this big stick.
Dogfish: That was Wotan. Sounds like him. Sounds like him all right. He always has his stick with him. Never goes without his stick. He didn't have his girls with him, did he?
Flo: No. I didn't see any girls. Did you Bligh?
Bligh: No. I never saw anyone apart from the odd fellow with the stick. Who are these girls?
Dogfish :( Sighs and scratches his nose.)Daughters of his. Wild bunch, they are. :( Scratches his nose.)Especially the eldest one.
Bligh: Eldest one? How old is she then, Dogfish?
Dogfish: Well, must be getting on a bit now. Hard to say. Brunei he calls her. Big woman. :( Spreads his arms as if were measuring a fish that got away.)Fell for this German bloke.
Flo: Those trees down there look almost human from here. ( Puts her hands to her forehead as if they were binoculars.)Some trees look like humans from a distance.
Bligh: What happened?
Dogfish: Happened? What do you mean happened? What am I, some soothsayer, or something? (Pause. Looks at Bligh and shakes his head.)I wonder about you Bligh sometimes. Things happen all the time.
Flo: I love trees.
Bligh: I only asked. I mean it's only natural to ask if you don't know.
Dogfish: Just as well you never saw Brunei; she'd have eaten you up and spat you out without as much as a burp.
Bligh: I know women. I know what they're like.
Flo: I love old trees that have a history.
Dogfish: That sky looks stormy. Better find shelter somewhere.
Flo: Trees move with the times.
Bligh: Women are less faithful than trees I know that much.
Dogfish: Trees and women? You two are mad as hatters. Trees and women, indeed. Shelter is what we need. That sky says storms to me. And storms mean cold, damp, and harsh winds. (Silence comes upon all three. Dogfish wanders off and sits on a mound. Flo takes hold of Bligh's right hand and pulls him to where there is another mound and they sit down staring at auditorium. Dogfish sniffs the air. Flo lays her head on Bligh's shoulder. Bligh sighs. The stage dims until all three have disappeared.)
End of Scene One.
Act One. Scene Two.
A little while later. The same scenery as before. Dogfish enters from stage left and stands on a mound looking out over the auditorium. Bligh and Flo enter from stage right and stand by the edge of the stage.
Dogfish: The storms passed. (Sighs. Takes out a pouch of tobacco and begins to roll a cigarette. This may take a while, as he seems distracted.)You can never trust the sky to tell the truth about the weather. It often deceives. I've been caught out many a time.
Flo: Those trees have a way about them. They love me I'm sure.
Bligh: Storms? Trees? What the hell are you two on about? Your eyes are deceiving you like whores for a good time.
Dogfish: Feel these damp clothes. I've the damp in my very bones. (Puts the cigarette to his lips, takes out a lighter, and tries to light the cigarette. However, is not successful. He tries repeatedly through the scene.)The very cold is eating into my very flesh.
Bligh: When evening comes, I want to be able to say I've had a good day. The likelihood of that is unlikely. In fact, I've more chance of meeting God on this mountainside.
Flo: I'd rather cuddle a tree than a man any day.
Dogfish: I'm sure the feeling's mutual, Florence. There's many a man who'd rather kiss a whale's backside than you.
Bligh: I've not a had a good day since my first wife died.
Flo: You, Dogfish, are a sight for sore eyes. There's many a woman who'd rather die than kiss you.
Dogfish: And many a woman's died in the attempt.
Bligh: Is that a skylark? (Points to the sky.) I've seen many a bird, but I'm not sure if that is one or not.
Flo: Cemeteries are full of women who've tried to kiss you, Dogfish.
Bligh: When I was a boy, I knew the birds like small change.
Flo: There ought to be a health warning on you, Dogfish, so that women can be warned.
Dogfish: Women are God's second attempt at creation. He was better off first time round.
Flo :( Walks to the tree and caresses it lovingly.)Men are God's first attempt and he got better there after. (Kisses the tree.) Bligh aren't you going to say something on my behalf?
Bligh: Now, the chaffinch, that's a bird I'd love to hold up to my eye and see its lovely feathers.
Dogfish: God knows things. He is the Almighty so he is.
Flo: Bligh are you going to stand there like a wet afternoon and say nothing in my defence? What does a woman have to do to get your attention?
Bligh: More than you are prepared to do, Florence. (He goes and stands by Dogfish.) Why do women always see things so black and white?
Dogfish :( Looks at Bligh with eyes screwed up.)Don't get me involved in your squabbles, Bligh. I've had enough of women in my life to make me sick to the back teeth with them. Even Florence has me feeling quite nauseous.
Flo: Bligh you traitorous Judas. Do you not have an honest bone in your smelly body for the likes of womankind and me?
Bligh: My mother had the notion that men were a mutation from God's real plan for creation.
Dogfish: Oh, mothers, Bligh, You don't want to pay attention to the words that drip from their mouths, as pure as they seem to us as children. Mothers are women after all.
Flo: Bligh! You two-faced swine! That's the last time I let you near me for warmth. (Hugs the tree more tenderly.)Mother of God. You're a traitor, Bligh, and that's a fact. And to think I was almost going to let you do things.
Dogfish: You see how close you came to damnation, Bligh? Stay with me my boy and see the Promised Land.
Bligh: Florence, don't be angry. I have to see things from two angles not just the one. Anyone who only sees things from one angle is sure to be blinded by it. (All three move to the centre of the stage and sit down. Silence settles amongst them for a few moments.) The storm's passed.
Dogfish: Gone far off for a while, but it'll be back mark my words, Bligh.
Flo: This fellow, Wotan, is he likely to be anywhere near here at this time of year?
Dogfish: As likely as not. He wanders where ever his spirit leads him.
Bligh: And his daughters? Are they likely to be anywhere near here?
Flo: You and women, Bligh. I hope you get the pox!
Dogfish: Who's to say where they are at this time of year. Those types go where they want. (His cigarette goes out and he attempts to relight it.) Beware of those daughters, Bligh. They'd eat you alive as soon as look at you.
Bligh: Oh, but what a way to go, Dogfish. To be eaten by such lovely women. It's a death to be wished for. (Flo thumps Bligh's right arm.)And, no, Florence, nothing you can say or do will make my thoughts any different. A man is what he is.
Flo: I know men, Bligh. They're the drips from God's mouth. They are nothing to get excited over. Mother of God be praised. I've seen more excitement on a child's face on Christmas Eve than on mine when seeing a man undress from his stinking rags.
Dogfish :( Lights his cigarette and puffs energetically.)You, Florence, have not a desire in your whole body. I doubt you've as much as a spoonful of desire in that body of yours. (Stares at Florence by the tree.) And that tree is unlikely to prove much better for you. (Both men laugh.) Come here, you little woman you, and settle your bones and flesh beside us.
Flo: This tree has more feeling than either of you two. (Kisses the tree.)Bligh, don't ask me to hold your feet when they're cold again.
Dogfish: Leave that damned tree! Come and see the sight before us. Life's too short for such nonsense with trees, Florence.
Bligh: A tree's a tree, Florence, and a man's a man.
Flo: Bligh, you cat's spittle! I've seen you through many a cold night. Don't tell me about trees and men. If you only know what men know then you're sunk.
Dogfish: Oh, Bligh, my boy. Do you hear the young girl, now? She's almost getting you to change sides so she is. Oh, beware, Bligh my boy. Women have such tongues, as gods would be jealous of them as soon as listen to them.
Bligh :( Goes to where Flo stands beside the tree and puts his arm around her.)My Florence. My dear sweet-tongued woman. Whatever makes you think that trees are more important than I am?
Flo: Is that your arm about me? Is that your breath breathing in my ear?
Dogfish: Bligh, my boy. You've the nerves of a horse's hooves. Why are you there and not here? Have you no pride?
Flo: That storm is still near, Dogfish. Are you sure it's safe out here in the open?
Bligh :( Both Bligh and Flo huddled beneath the tree.) Oh, Dogfish, is the storm not too near for such nonsense?
Dogfish :( Puts his cigarette out. Licks his finger and puts it in the air.)Too near to be standing here arguing the tits off a whore's breasts. Let's find shelter before we're blown back to the slagheaps of our births. You, Florence, bring that Bligh with you. Bligh get those skinny legs of yours into action and take shelter.
Bligh: Florence, Dogfish knows his weather and storms. Let's be going before our lives are taken like sweets from a sweet-eyed child.
Flo: Then move, you spineless man. Do you want me to be blown away? Do you want to hold me in your arms? Then, move your shiftless self! (All three move first to the centre of the stage, then after a pause for thought they run off stage right. The light dims and thunder is heard and lightening light ups the stage. Then after few moments, there is silence.)
End of Scene Two.
Act One. Scene Three.
Later that day towards evening. The background scenery shows a darkened sky. There are a few mounds and bushes stage left and right. In the centre is a small tree. After a few moments, Bligh and Flo enter stage right. They are both bedraggled and wet looking. They move around the stage looking about them, then see the tree and walk to it and touch it gingerly.
Bligh: Some bloody shelter that was. We might as well have stood in the rain and got ourselves wet properly without the pretence of that shelter.
Flo: Dogfish was adamant it was waterproof.
Bligh: It blatantly wasn't. I couldn't have got more wet if I'd sat out in the bloody rain and opened my arms and said, "Come and get me, you dark clouds and storm!"(Looks around him.)Dogfish must have stayed behind in that shelter. He's a pig-headed man when he wants to be.
Flo :( Embraces the tree.)Aren't all men pig-headed? Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, my father was so pig-headed he swore that my brother Matthew wasn't his, when Matthew was the spitting-image of him right down to his flat nose and large ears.
Bligh :( Embraces the tree from the other side and his and Flo's hands touch.)Are you saying I'm pig-headed? Me? You'll not find a man less pig-headed than me. I must be the least pig-headed man that ever walked God's good earth. (Moves away from the tree and looks at Flo.)I'll have you know Florence that I'm a very considerate man. I think of things and other people. I don't stick to an idea as if it were a piece of furniture. I think things out right to the end. (Sighs.)Even the nuns at the school said I had the making of a saint.
Flo :( Moves away from the tree.) So how wrong could they be. You're no nearer being a saint than Dogfish.
Bligh: Dogfish comes from the Devil's behind. Have you seen the way he looks at you sometimes?
Flo: I see the way you look at me, Bligh.
Bligh: How should I look at you? You're no nun yourself.
Flo: Where's Dogfish?
Bligh: Still sleeping I expect. He was dead to the world when we left. He sleeps like a hibernating bear.
Flo: And snores like one, too. (They both walk to the edge of the stage and peer out at the auditorium.)The evening is settling in. We'll not see a hand in front of us before long. Has the big man himself any idea where we're to sleep tonight?
Bligh: You'll have to ask him when he turns up. I expect he'll know of some place in these mountains where we can sleep.
Flo: He knows nothing about this area, I'm sure he doesn't. Yesterday we walked for three hours and ended up where we started.
Bligh: He said we took a wrong turning.
Flo: What turning? The bloody mountains are round and have up and down bits, but there are no turns or corners. He made a mistake and tried to blame us. (Dogfish enters stage right. He is bedraggled too. He walks slowly along the upper stage.) That's another thing men do. They blame others for their mistakes. My father would swear he was right when it was bloody obvious he was wrong. When he went to confession, which was a rare thing, he'd have the priest confessing to things that he himself had done too.
Bligh: Dogfish has age on his side. His knowledge of the world is greater than ours is. He's been here longer. He's seen things we have not seen. Done things we have not done. The man knows things we have yet to know about. (Dogfish walks around the tree.) He's experienced things we have yet to experience.
Flo: There are things I'd rather not experience if what he's said were true.
Bligh: I'd rather be with him than without him. We'd be lost up here if he weren't here with us.
Flo: We are lost. We'd not have come up here if he hadn't said he knew the place like the back of his hairy hand. (Dogfish comes up behinds them slowly.)Have you noticed how hairy his hands are?
Bligh: I can't say I've noticed. I'm not one to look at a man's hands. Unless he's about to hit me.
Dogfish: Whose hands are you talking about? (Both Flo and Bligh jump back and stare at Dogfish.)Are you talking about me behind my back?
Bligh: No, no, Dogfish, Florence here was talking about her father's hands. About how hairy they were.
Flo: No I wasn't. I was talking about your hands, Dogfish.
Dogfish: And what's wrong with my hands? (He holds his hand up in the air.)Eh, Bligh? What's wrong with my hands?
Bligh: Nothing, Dogfish. They're the best hands I've seen on a man.
Flo: We were saying how hairy they were. Like the paws of a bear.
Dogfish: They're no more hairy than most men's are.
Bligh: That's true, Dogfish. I've seen many a man with hairy hands. Even my father had more hair on his hands than on his head.
Flo: Bligh, why don't you say what's in your heart and not what your cowardly backbone tells you to say.
Dogfish: Hands are hands and feet are feet.
Flo: You always were observant, Dogfish. I'm surprised you never became a detective. (Dogfish shakes his head and wanders back to the tree where sits down. Flo watches him and then stares at Bligh.)So are you going to ask him or not, Bligh?
Bligh: In my own good time, Florence. (Looks at Dogfish beneath the tree.)Dogfish, where are we to rest tonight?
Dogfish: Beneath the stars and moon, my boy. With the holy angels looking down at you and the fairies dancing about your feet as you sleep.
Flo: What if the storm comes back?
Dogfish: It won't. It's passed by. It's going to be a fine night. (He looks up at the sky.)You can smell a storm coming. (Breathes in deeply.)No storm in the air. Just fresh, clean air to send you to sleep like a baby.
Bligh :( Sniffs the air.)There's a smell of something in the air.
Flo: Your wet clothes, no doubt.
Bligh :( Sniffs his clothes.)Just dampness. However, there's another smell.
Flo :( Sniffs her clothes and under her arms.)Well it isn't me. I still smell of pine.
Dogfish: Will you two stop the smelling about. You're like a couple of bloodhounds.
Flo: You couldn't smell a corpse if it lay beside you, Dogfish.
Bligh: I can still smell something. (Sniffs)Sort of unpleasant smell.
Flo :( Walks to where Bligh stands and sniffs him.)You've laid in something.
(Stands back from him.)Something in that shelter.
Bligh :( Sniffs his clothes again.)What is it?
Flo: Something you can't eat. Get the coat off and clean the bloody thing. You're not sleeping next to me with that on your coat.
Bligh :( Takes off the coat and looks at it.)What dirty beasts did that?
Flo: Does it matter what the beast was? Do you want a diagnosis of it?
Dogfish: Will you two come here and shut the noise about smells and things. This is the wild. This is nature in the raw. What did you expect? Lace curtains and carpet?
Flo :( Walks to the tree and sits beside Dogfish.)I expected nothing. When I'm with you, I expect the least and get less.
Bligh :( Carries his coat with him to the tree and sits down. He tries to clean the coat with an old rag from his trouser pocket.)Beasts. Dirty beasts. Look at my coat. (He continues to mumble. Flo lays her head against the tree and closes her eyes. Dogfish stares at the auditorium in silence. The lights dim until all the stage is darkness.)
End of Scene Three.
Act One. Scene Four.
The stage is dimly lit. Flo is beneath the tree asleep. Bligh is asleep beside her snuggled up close to her. Dogfish is lying asleep on the edge of the stage. In the background, distant thunder and lightening are seen and heard. After few moments, Dogfish wakes and sits up staring out at the auditorium.
Dogfish: When you sleep, you feel free. You feel as if nothing can set limits to what you can do or be. (Looks back at Flo and Bligh.)Then you wake and see your life as it really is and wish to hell you'd not bothered to wake up at all. Look at those two. Like babes in the bloody wood they are. (Shakes his head and sighs.)I don't know what this present generation are coming to. They've no ambition. No sense of duty. No understanding of life's perils. (Stands up slowly and stretches his arms wide.)Crucify the lot of them. Hang them high by their pink hands and feet and let them rot! (Sighs deeply.)This is the generation of doubters and soft living fairies. They've no sense of being alive. No feel about them. You can touch them and feel nothing. Nothing but their soft skins and weak bones. (Bligh moves in his dreams. Flo mumbles in her sleep.)What doesn't actually kill me makes me stronger. Makes me feel alive and ready to take on life with both my hands and squeeze every bloody juice of life from its precious moments. None of this see what tomorrow brings. None of this save today and live tomorrow nonsense. Oh, no... (Pause. Looks up at the sky and lowers his arms.)Makes your arms ache all this crucifixion business. No wonder it was the Roman's prize means of punishment. Bloody makes your arms ache. (Bligh wakes up and looks around him.)It must have been hell being nailed up there like that. All those jeering Romans. Those on-lookers nosing as they do. Muttering about what it was you'd supposed to have done to have got yourself nailed up like that. (Bligh stands up and walks slowly towards Dogfish. Dogfish turns and sees Bligh coming towards him.)So, you've woken up then, Bligh. Welcome to a new day.
Bligh: What are you ranting about at this time of the morning? A fellow can't sleep with you ranting and raving like a loon.
Dogfish: Sleep? You've been asleep for the good part of nine hours.
Bligh: Nine hours my auntie's backside. We've just got down a few hours ago. That damned storm kept me awake.
Dogfish :( Puts his arm around Bligh's shoulder.)Oh, you poor sod you. Sleep is a luxury. You've got to take life as it comes, boy! None of this wishy-washy nonsense. (Releases Bligh and walks along the edge of the stage. Bligh brushes off his coat as if it has become infested with fleas.)
A storm, my boy is God's good voice to us all.
Bligh: Well, I like to sleep when I'm tired. I like my sleep. I have a great appreciation for sleep. Ever since I was a child, I have liked my sleep.
Dogfish :( Looks over at Flo.)And look at her. Sleeping as if she were dead.
Bligh: I'd snuggle down with my teddy bear and sleep and sleep.
Dogfish: Wake up, Florence! (Claps his hands.)Wake up you weaker sex you. (Flo stirs.) Get your feminine body up and moving, you lazy little woman you. (Flo sits up and rubs her eyes.)Look about you. Life has started without you. Life doesn't hang around. It is up and at you before you can wipe the sleep from your eyes or scratch your backside
Bligh: There's something comforting about a good sleep.
Flo: What's all the fuss about?
Dogfish: Fuss? Fuss? Life's no fuss, my girl. Life's what people die for.
Bligh: Do you not agree, Florence?
Flo :( Gets up from beneath the tree and stands looking around her.)Agree with what? What are you talking about, Bligh? Have you woken up with a voice in your head like your sister Bridget?
Dogfish: I'll not understand you young ones. You've no respect for life anymore. You take it for granted. As if, you were entitled to life.
Bligh: Sleep. I'm talking about sleep, Florence.
Flo :( Walks to Bligh and walks around him as if he were a statue.) Have you lost your sense of reality, Bligh? This is morning and sleep has fled like the dirty dreams you probably had last night. (Bligh and Flo stare at each other for a few moments.)
Dogfish: Life is wasted on the young. It's not until you get to my age that you realise the full significance of life. The actual meaning of it all.
Flo :( Flo shakes Bligh by the arms.)Have you slept badly, Bligh?
Bligh :( Pushes Flo away from him. She walks away from him, goes back to the tree, and embraces it.)I've not slept at all. I've not had a wink of sleep since setting out on this damned pilgrimage.
Flo: Go rot in your sleep, Bligh. I don't care if you never sleep again.
Dogfish :( Takes Bligh by the arm and stands him on the edge of the stage.)Forget your damned sleep, Bligh. Look out at the view. Look at the sky. Look at those birds across the damned horizon. Hear their singing?
Bligh :( Looks where Dogfish indicates.)Sure, I hear their singing. Is it not pestering my ears? Has it not been squawking at me since I first opened my eyes this morning?
Flo :( Kisses the tree.) If you were a tree, Bligh I'd love you a lot more.
Dogfish: See the colour on that field? See the variation of greens and yellows?
Bligh: See it? Doesn't it make my eyes want to puke?
Flo :( Kisses the tree again.)I'd hold you closer to me, Bligh if you had the sensitivity of a tree.
Dogfish: And look at the way the mist moves across the hills like silk on a fine woman's body. (Smiles as if he had remembered something.)Fine silk indeed. A fine woman's body. The flesh as smooth as a peach.
Bligh: I've yet to meet a woman that had the flesh of a peach. I've met many with figure of a pear.
Flo :( Walks around the tree slowly.)For what notice you take of a woman, Bligh, she could be dressed in a suit of armour and you'd not know if she were dressed or not.
Bligh :( Looks over at Flo.)You have the tongue of a viper. I'm sure Eve's tongue was the bloody snake in the Garden of Eden. Yak yak yak.
Dogfish :( Looks at Flo.)Bligh, my boy. Take no notice of a woman's tongue. It's as useless as dead dog's penis.
Bligh :( Bligh and Dogfish stand together and stare at Flo.)Why did we take a woman with us on this pilgrimage? Would it not have been better to have taken another fellow with us?
Dogfish: It was you insisted I bring her along. Said you wanted the softness of yon woman's arms about you at night.
Flo: He'll get the softness of my arms around his scrawny neck if his lips aren't more guarded.
Dogfish: There, my boy, you have the soft words to comfort you on your pilgrimage.
Bligh: Your lips are like crab's claws, Florence.
Flo: And yours are like the back end of a cow.
Dogfish: Now, now, my young pilgrims. (Raises his arms.)Let's not start the day on bad footings. We've many a mile to go yet. We need our energy to walk not to throw jibes at each other like schoolchildren in a playground.
Bligh: She's the child.
Flo: It's a known fact that women mature quicker than men.
Dogfish :( Claps his hands loudly.)Will you two shut up your nonsense and prepare yourselves for the day ahead.
Flo :( Stands with her arms folded with her head turned away from the men.)If men were trees, what a better world it would be.
Bligh :( Looks out at the auditorium with his arms folded.)If you were turned to a pillar of salt, I'd be happy man.
Dogfish :( Looks at Flo and then at Bligh.)If you two don't stop this nonsense, I'll bang your heads together like two bloody cymbals so I will. (Bligh looks at Dogfish. He then looks at Flo.)Now, bloody apologise to the woman and lets get moving or the sun will boil your head. (Flo looks at Dogfish and then looks at Bligh.)And you, Florence, get those soft arms of yours about this fool and get him to move his carcass before I put my boot where he sits.
Flo :( Moves reluctantly towards Bligh and stands staring at him.)I'm waiting.
Bligh: So's Christmas.
Flo: And you'll be waiting for any embraces from me again, you crab head you. ( They reluctantly embrace and the stand back staring at each other. Dogfish then walks off stage right with the other two following slowly behind him.)
End of Scene Four.
Act One. Scene Five.
Later that morning. The scenery is of hills, fields, and trees. The stage has a few mounds and a tree centre stage. Flo enters first, goes to the tree, and touches the bark. Bligh follows with Dogfish behind him. The two men walk around the stage, then walk to the edge of the stage, and peer out at the auditorium.
Flo: This tree will be my new friend. I hate leaving trees behind. That one we had near us last night was nice.
Dogfish: The sky is clear.
Bligh: My sister Bridget heard voices.
Flo: I can imagine that Eve's relationship with the Tree of Life was very intimate.
Dogfish: That bodes well for us. A day without a storm or rain. No more walking around in wet clothes.
Bligh: Heard them for years she did. She'd drive us mad with her talking to them. Sometimes she'd get in a real argument with them. Trouble was we could only hear one side of it. We never got to hear what the voices said in reply. If they did reply, that is.
Flo: I could get very intimate with trees myself. I like the touch of them. (Strokes the bark gently.)I like the smell of them (Sniffs the bark.)I like to embrace them. (Puts her arms around the tree.)And kiss them. (Kiss the tree.)Oh, to be in the Black Forest. Trees upon trees upon trees.
Dogfish :( Looks back at Flo.)Will you leave that damned tree alone, Florence. You'll come out in rash getting so close to it.
Bligh :( Looks at Flo.)She's always been the same since we met, Dogfish. Can't pass a tree without touching it or embracing it.
Flo :( Folds her arms and pouts her lips.)What business is of yours what I do with trees? Do you I tell you what to do? Bligh? Dogfish? Do I tell you what to do?
Dogfish: You're a woman. Women haven't the authority about them to give orders. My mother wouldn't as much as open her mouth without my father's permission.
Bligh: Bridget wouldn't stop talking. She'd talk the jaw off a herd of cows.
Flo: Then I pity your mother, Dogfish. No woman should be treated like that. Women have as much right to talk as any man has.
Dogfish: Talk? Talk do you say? I've yet to meet a woman that was silent for more than a few minutes. Except the Cistercian nuns where my Aunt Beth was a nun herself. They'd say next to nothing. Now, wouldn't they be a good choice for a wife, Bligh? The silence, man would be worth the celibacy that went with it. (Both men laugh. Flo shakes her head and turns her back on them.) This sister of yours, Bligh, what happened to her?
Bligh: The Sisters of Jesus took in as lay sister.
Flo :( Speaks, but doesn't turn around.)And took her out three months later because she caused so much confusion amongst the novices.
Bligh: I was coming that.
Dogfish: So where is she now?
Bligh: About. Here and there.
Flo: She teamed up with a fellow who passed her off as a medium.
Bligh: I was coming to that.
Dogfish: So where is she now, Bligh?
Flo: Last heard of in Wexford. The fellow left her there. Said she drove him mad.
Bligh: I was coming to that.
Dogfish: And so you've left your sister in Wexford? Is that the way a man should be with his sister, Bligh?
Flo: Bligh's embarrassed by her. He'd leave her in hell itself if he could.
Bligh: Will you shut up about her, Florence. You've only met her once.
Dogfish: So how often does she hear the voices, Bligh? (Walks upstage to the tree and looks at it.)Is it a regular thing?
Flo :( Moves away from the tree, goes, and sits on mound stage left.)It comes and goes. One minute she's a normal the next she ranting and raving like a fish wife with a sore head.
Bligh :( Walks to where Flo is sitting and stands over her.)Will you leave my sister out of it. She's of no concern of yours.
Dogfish: Nor yours it sounds like, Bligh. A man should not abandon his sister.
Flo :( Looks up at Bligh.) She's good at fortune telling.
Bligh :( Stares at Flo with a grim expression.)How do you know?
Flo: She told me.
Dogfish: Did she tell you about this pilgrimage. Florence?
Flo: She did. Said I was going on a long trip.
Bligh: She says that to all the people she tells fortunes to. They all think she's so wonderful at the fortune-telling. She does the cards as well. Tarot cards or playing cards. She's a tricking one. Says the voices tell her things.
Flo: Perhaps they do.
Dogfish: Perhaps she's just a sick woman with screwed up brain.
Bligh: Nice of you to say so, Dogfish.
Flo: Voices of angels, maybe.
Bligh: Or demons as my father said.
Dogfish: Did they not want to put her away?
Bligh: Sure but they were closing places down as quickly as they looked. You have to be nigh on a complete idiot to get a place anywhere now. Even then, you've no guarantee.
Dogfish :( Turns and walks back to the edge of the stage where he stares out at the auditorium.)We should move on. We've many a mile to go before nightfall.
Bligh :( Turns and walks back to where Dogfish stands.)Do you think Bridget has any hope, Dogfish?
Dogfish: Faith, Bligh, my boy, can move mountains. There's every chance she'll find a man to marry her and look after her.
Flo :( Gets off the mound and walks to where the two men are standing.) That'd be some mountain to move, Dogfish. The man who'd marry her would have to be a complete idiot himself. And what a couple they'd make. And what if they were to have children, Bligh?
Bligh: It was Dogfish who mentioned that not me. I never had her down as a wife to any man, idiot or not. I hoped she'd recover her senses and become like the rest of us.
Dogfish: Oh, no, Bligh, don't inflict that upon the poor woman. Bad enough hearing voices let alone being like the rest of us.
Bligh: Father said she was cursed from the womb.
Flo :( Points out over the auditorium.) Are we going down there amongst those trees, Dogfish?
Dogfish: Yes. That's part of the pilgrimage. To be amongst nature.
Bligh: Mother said she was blessed.
Flo: Are there pines there?
Dogfish: Pines as far as the eye can see.
Bligh: I think mother is wrong. Damned would be the best way to see it.
Flo: Come on, Bligh, forget Bridget. Trees ahead. Pines. The scent.
Bligh :( Looks at Flo.)The scent of pines can turn a man's head.
Dogfish :( Nods his head.)A woman's smile can do the same. (They walk slowly off stage left. The light dims.)
End of Act One and Scene Five.
by Terry Collett
November 1, 2006
PLAY: AN EVENING SPREAD OUT AGAINST THE SKY. ACT ONE OF TWO.
March 09, 2009 05:12 PM UTCviews: 0 comments: 9
Act One. Scene One.
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