LIVES OF THE BORROWED

matissethesnail1953

      A Play by David Erdos

 

CHARACTERS:

 

VALORY (VALI) VIMCES, LATE 50’S, A FOREIGN FILMMAKER

LUCIA VIMCES, 40’S, ACTRESS, PRODUCER AND WIFE

LAZLO KIRNOY, 50’S, DOP, COLLEAGUE

ANDRE MALRUE, 20’S, VALI’S 2ND AD.

AMBER WARD, 22, ASPIRING ACTESS

PETR BIANSKE , 30’S, RUSSIAN SOUNDMAN

MARCUS AUTEIL, 30, MIXED RACE FRENCH PERFORMER

‘SASHA,’ 30’S, PERFORMER, ADDICT

RAVI CALDA, 20’s, INVESTOR

 

                           NOTE:

 

This play is informed by aspects in the career of the film maker, Walerian Borocywk. The part pun of the title relates to the issues of pornography and how that word can be applied to other extreme states of being.

 

 

ACT ONE.

 

SCENE ONE.

 

From darkness, Frank Sinatra’s recording of REACHING FOR THE MOON. A semblance of moonlight grows. An empty ballroom suggested. At centre back, large gothic style windows, admitting a glimpse of the garden beyond.

Two men approach, coming in from the garden. The thickly accented hungarian Film maker VALORY VIMCES, late 50’s is talking to ANDRE MALRUE, 20’s his Anglo/French 1st  AD.

 

VALI.  ..So, we pan from half moon to a wide of her leaving garden..on the soundtrack, her running – we hear her breath, very close.. so then we follow straight through – we track with her through the window..the doors separate, so we build this – as she makes her way through, straight to here..

ANDRE.  Build?

VALI.  Renovate. They must slide. It is simple. You put them on rails.

ANDRE.  Rails..

VALI.  Ball-bearings. I have done this before..

ANDRE.  Right, Ok..

VALI(IMPATIENT) ..Cut to crane shot – up there, so that we get the whole ballroom..cut back to close up, so that we see the tears in the dress..

ANDRE.  Tears..

VALI.  It is torn.

ANDRE.  The dress is torn..

VALI.  Yes, exactly.

ANDRE.  Breasts.

VALI.  Hers are small ones?

ANDRE.  I wouldn’t like to say..

VALI.  Then we’ll see. (HE WALKS) Then we cut to door so that we see him now in the doorway. Silhouette. Light behind him. Thick, primary colour..

ANDRE.  Yellow?

VALI.  2 shot. Insert: over there, that high window. Window is open. Bird is landing. Rook. Close up.

ANDRE.  Yes. And then Close up on him?

VALI.  Close, on her.

ANDRE.  On her.

VALI.  As she bends. Cut to midshot behind her.

ANDRE.  And then the blowjob..

VALI.  Side angle..

ANDRE.  Side.

VALI.  Mouth. Storyboard.

ANDRE (SHOWS🙂  Rough..

VALI (THINKS)  Is ok. Then we cut to shoulder.

ANDRE.  OS.

VALI.  Exactly. And then hold until come.

ANDRE.  On the blowjob?

VALI (REMEMBERS:)  Eyes. Eyes!

ANDRE.  Ok..

VALI.  Extreme. Insert! But mostly the mouth.

ANDRE.  Mouth.

VALI.  Hers, moving. Then his.

ANDRE.  Yes.

VALI. Then cock.

ANDRE.  Ok. (WRITES) Cock.

VALI.  Is good. Is Hor’sd’oeuvres for the orgy..

ANDRE.  And for Dessert?

VALI.  Is the Anal. We film the desire by filming what’s in, through the skin.

ANDRE.  Thankyou, Vim.

VALI.  No. But this is how you learn the film business. And you call me, Vali.

ANDRE.  I’m sorry, of course. Vali, yes.

VALI.  And besides, I say this, so that you learn how to structure. I don’t need to tell Lazlo. He already knows what to shoot.

ANDRE.  Lazlo’s great, isn’t he?

VALI.  Lazlo is DP for DP. We grew up together. Same sense of perspective. Same war.

 

(PAUSE)

 

ANDRE.  You look tired.

VALI.  I am. I didn’t sleep. I was writing.

ANDRE.  For this?

VALI.  No, for Novel. This is just limerick!

ANDRE.  Would you like a drink?

VALI.  Yes. I would like a sambucca.

ANDRE.  Mais oui.

VALI.  And some coffee. Black. And a croissant. Fresh. Ham and cheeses. And I’d like some biscuits too, Andre.

ANDRE.  Si.

 

(Andre goes. VALI surveys the darkness. Out of it, steps LUCIA. She is glamourous, in her 40’s, Vimces’s business partner and wife.)

 

VALI.  You were listening.

LUCIA.  Yes. I’d just come in from the garden.

VALI.  Cold.

LUCIA.  I wore mittens and that scarf from last year.

VALI.  The red one?

LUCIA.  The blue. Though in certain lights it looks purple. The one you bought to say sorry.

VALI.  What had I done?

LUCIA.  Does it matter? It kept out the cold, anyway.

VALI.  I was planning the shots.

LUCIA.  What’s there to plan?

VALI.  I imagine.

LUCIA.  Its like squeezing a dream…

VALI.  Without sleeping.

LUCIA.  Its a nightmare for me, anyway. Have you eaten?

VALI.  Not yet. But he’s bringing me now.

LUCIA.  Who is?

VALI.  Andre.

LUCIA.  You should have eaten with me.

VALI.  I will, later.

LUCIA.  .. Especially as you’re starting so early..

VALI.  I chase the light. Milkish mornings..

LUCIA.  I had dinner with Yan.

VALI.  Yan the bore.

LUCIA.  He has the money.

VALI.  Of course. And yet Yan’s money bores me.

LUCIA.  And yet if you were so boring you could make the kind of films that we want!

VALI.  I am making films. We must move beyond subject. Adjust.

LUCIA.  ‘The Flesh Rises!’

VALI.  Don’t whine, Lucia. Is paying for more than a scarf! As I earn, I can work..

LUCIA.  Work?

VALI.  Write.

LUCIA.  The Novel? No-one will read it. Everybody knows you’re now this.

VALI.  Yes, I am this and yet I can still write my novel.

LUCIA.  Under another name?

VALI.  They will know me. The heroine masturbates on a horse.

LUCIA.  Oh, Vali.

VALI.  The sharp pressing everso close to the flower. The pain and the pleasure. The promise of both, endlessly. (SMILES) It is the Hungarian way!

LUCIA.  Tell that to Stalin’s survivors. And this is the result of such freedoms; a girl sucking our juice, spitting pips.

 

(Andre returns with a loaded tray.)

 

ANDRE.  Biscuits.

VALI.  Thankyou.

ANDRE.  Good morning, Lucia. I hope you’re well.

VALI.  She’s a circus. She balances the books on thin string.

LUCIA.  He jokes but he’s right.

VALI.  These are the things that must happen.. for the work to fly.

LUCIA.  This bird’s heavy.

VALI.  And yet it takes wing, fat but free.

 

(They settle down with the food. AMBER enters now from the doorway. She is young and pretty and seemingly a little unsure of herself.)

 

AMBER.  Mr Vimces?

VALI.  Hello. Everyone calls me Vali.

AMBER.  Hello, Vali. I’m Amber.

ANDRE.  Amber’s the girl.

VALI.  Oh! Hello. How are you?

AMBER.  I’m fine.

VALI.  My wife.

LUCIA.  Pleased to meet you.

VALI.  You have everything you need?

AMBER.  Yes. I’m nervous.

LUCIA.  But your room is –

AMBER.  Oh, lovely. The room, thankyou, yes. I just want to do a good job.

LUCIA.  You’ve been through the script?

AMBER.  Yes, I’ve learnt it.

LUCIA.  Not much to memorise..

AMBER.  There’s the actions – and I mean, there are still a few crucial lines.

VALI.  One or two.

AMBER.  I just wanted to thankyou, though.

VALI.  Yes.

AMBER.  For the opportunity. Really.

VALI.  This is my pleasure.

AMBER.  I studied acting. And some of your films. I enjoyed them. The PORT OF LOVE was amazing! That scene with the Priest..

VALI.  Very good..

AMBER.  Some I don’t know. But a friend of mine had some journals..

VALI.  Of mine?

AMBER.  Articles, features..

VALI.  Features, yes. Good. I see. Well, then, I’m glad. Information is progress. But this is not like those movies.

AMBER.  No, I realise this is different. But just to be here, all the same.

VALI.  Yes.

AMBER.  I’m very grateful.

VALI.  Is good.

LUCIA.  It’s just a few miles outside Paris.

AMBER.  Yes, but the countryside is so.. different. I’m from the London suburbs.

VALI.  I see.

AMBER.  Wembley.

LUCIA.  Where?

VALI.  This is the place they play football?

ANDRE.  Football,yes..

AMBER.  I played Hockey.

VALI.  Good. Hockey..

ANDRE.  Hockey.

AMBER.  I was wondering if I could ask you some questions..

VALI.  Yes! Questions, questions..

AMBER.  Could I ask them now?

VALI.  Oh, I see. Only, we’re –

AMBER.  Oh. Are you..

VALI.  We –

AMBER.  I meant to say, are you busy?

ANDRE.  We were just planning a sequence..

AMBER.  Oh, I see.

LUCIA.  Sequences.

AMBER.  I’m so sorry..

VALI.  No, no. You are involved, so please ask it..

LUCIA.  Have you been to makeup?

AMBER.  I asked to do my own.

LUCIA.  Oh, I see.

AMBER.  I have an allergy.

VALI.  Ah.

AMBER.  But my costume is sorted. They went through that when I got here. I brought a selection. I suppose I’d just like to know what to think.

VALI.  To think?

AMBER.  Yes.

VALI.  To think?

AMBER.  Yes. About the character.

LUCIA.  Vulva.

AMBER.  Vulva, yes.

LUCIA.  Vulva..

VALI.  Lucia, please..

AMBER.  Is there –

VALI.  No.

AMBER.  Oh, but I – Oh..

VALI.  You must think of what gives you pleasure.

ANDRE.  Chocolate.

LUCIA.  Marcus.

VALI.  Who is very.. –

LUCIA.  Yes.

AMBER.  Is he –

VALI.  Yes.

AMBER.  Ok, then, that’s good. Then I suppose I’d like background. I’d like to know what might drive her, and why she…

LUCIA.  What?

VALI.  Sex is cream.

AMBER.  Cream.

VALI.  From the jar. Or is that sweets..?

AMBER.  So, its childhood..?

VALI.  Childhood? Not really…

AMBER.  So is it the man..

ANDRE.  Marcus.

VALI.  Marcus.

AMBER.  Is it him? Is it Marcus?

LUCIA.  Marcus is here?

ANDRE.  He lives close.

VALI.  Marcus is nice.

LUCIA.  Marcus is very handsome.

VALI.  He is very big. Large. His penis. The source of your happiness.

LUCIA.  You mean the character’s?

VALI.  Yes. You are the Baron’s daughter. You are a princess in a kingdom of sex, all your own!

AMBER.  A kingdom of sex? That’s a useful image. I like that. But are you describing her choices, or a specific kingdom, or place?  Like Caligula..?

ANDRE.  Who?

AMBER.  Or a Bacchanale..? What’s the context? I adore context. Its part of my training, you see.

VALI.  I see.

AMBER.  Helps me.

LUCIA.  Right. So do they do sex at RADA?

AMBER.  I went to Goldsmiths.

VALI.  They play football there?

AMBER.  Sometimes. It was a very good course, actually.

VALI.  How old are you?

AMBER.  22.

VALI.  You’re clearly a very interesting person. Have you done this before?

AMBER.  Only theatre.

VALI.  No, I mean something like this?

AMBER.  Just at school.

VALI (He looks at her, laughs.) What sort of school did you go to?

AMBER.  An everyday comprehensive.

VALI.  And what are they like?

AMBER.  They’re like life. I’m not completely green. I do know. I just wanted to measure your thinking. To see what you thought. To gain something.

VALI.  Are you a reliable girl?

AMBER.  More than some. I think I just wanted to move beyond my expectation. And besides, I met Andre.

LUCIA.  Where did you meet?

ANDRE.  On a Bus.

LUCIA.  A Bus.

ANDRE.  London Bus. I’d done my degree. Accidental.

LUCIA.  Your degree?

ANDRE.  No, the meeting! We were going to the same party one night.

AMBER.  We’re going out.

VALI.  I see. Where?

ANDRE.  I was showing her Paris.

VALI.  I had no idea!

ANDRE.  You were looking. I recommended her to Francoise.

VALI.  And now here we are. Cojoined and co-workers…

AMBER.  Last question first: Do I swallow?

VALI.  My film is found in its angles. We must see what you eat through your eyes.

 

(Darkness.)

                        SCENE TWO.

 

The Morning has broken. VALI sits among cameras, sound equipment and lights. AMBER is there as is the Porn Actor, MARCUS. LUCIA, ANDRE, along with the cameraman and collaborator LAZLO, the sound man PETR and the naked actress SASHA, who lays there cradled in a large tigerskin rug.

 

VALI.  Pornography..passes the time. It is not a descent in my eyes..is not any form of compromise..altered. It is simply the place we arrive at when we have exhausted ideas. Then we look to ourselves, the animal housed within us. Even you, Petr. Lazlo. And as we can see, Sasha, too. We look to ourselves so that we may track the desire. The clock sticks as its ticking, staining the time we have left.

LAZLO.  What time is it?

ANDRE.  Seven.

VALI.  I want the milky mist of the morning. We should film this now. For the background. Slow clouds of sperm on the air.

MARCUS.  Can I rest? The last take –

SASHA.  Rest?

MARCUS.  Yes..

VALI.  I don’t know what you mean.

LAZLO.  There’s a problem?

MARCUS.  No. We’ve been working –

LAZLO.  But Vali wants the mist..

VALI.  Working, yes. And still we must work. That’s if we are to accomplish..You understand..

MARCUS.  But I’m asking..

VALI.  Asking me what?

PETR.  His machine –

AMBER.  I could do more..

VALI.  Thankyou. Good.

LUCIA.  Marcus, please, we’ve just started.

MARCUS.  It’s about the conditions. Its a little cold.

VALI.  You need warm? Do we have someone..?

LUCIA.  No.

ANDRE.  Yes. We have Sasha.

SASHA.  I can’t now. I’m bleeding.

VALI.  What do you mean, bleeding?

SASHA.  Gums.

ANDRE.  Her gums are bad.

SASHA.  Teeth.

LUCIA.  Also she has an ulcer.

VALI.  You knew all this?

LAZLO.  An infection. Her whole upper decks’s out of bounds.

AMBER.  Then why can’t I-

MARCUS.  No. I just need a rest. As I’ve told you.

VALI.  Marcus, please, there’s a schedule..

MARCUS.  But I’m not a machine!

PETR.  He needs oil.

 

(They stare at him. He shuts up.)

 

VALI.  We have to press on. I don’t know what it is I can tell you. I don’t know what to say. Lazlo.

LAZLO.  Vali. What do you want?

VALI.  Help me out.

LAZLO.  How, though? What help? I man the camera. Don’t look at me. I’m too tired. Don’t ask me for help. I’m too old. If the man is impaired then perhaps he needs feeding. A little breakfast. Tea, coffee. Croissants. Some cheese. Eggs and fruit. Protein perhaps. What else should I tell you? You want me to step in? I can’t do that. Hand held? I won’t do that. I keep it mounted. This tripod to me is a shield.

VALI.  Thankyou.

LAZLO.  Vali.

VALI.  And there is thirty years of film making. This film has been ordered and is wanted by the end of next week. Finished.

LUCIA.  Next week? You didn’t tell me that.

VALI.  Was a detail. I thought to myself, we have Marcus. He comes on command then he leaves.

MARCUS.  I need a few minutes, that’s all.

AMBER.  I can understand, when you’re older..

MARCUS.  What did you say?

AMBER.  When you’re older..

MARCUS.  What do you mean?

AMBER.  Older..

MARCUS.  Older? I’m 32!

PETR.  33.

LAZLO.  33?

PETR.  33.

LAZLO.  This is the same age as Jesus.

SASHA.  As Jesus when?

LAZLO.  Well, exactly..

MARCUS.  What do you mean?

AMBER.  Nothing..I…

MARCUS.  Are you insulting me?

AMBER.  No..

LAZLO.  Any minute now, will he fuck her?

MARCUS.  You think I can’t –

LUCIA/VALI.  Marcus..

MARCUS.  You think I don’t know what to do? It’s dawn here! It’s dawn. Nobody here has had breakfast. No-one has slept. We’re all tired.

AMBER.  I do Tai Chi. Have you tried?

LUCIA.  Vimmy.

VALI.  Not now.

AMBER.  I think we need to keep working.

VALI.  I think so too.

MARCUS.  Toilet.

VALI.  Marcus.

MARCUS.  I need to be a little sick. Then I’m fine.

LUCIA.  Marcus.

MARCUS.  I’m fine. I just need the toilet.

AMBER.  Is there something I could do alone?

MARCUS.  No.

VALI.  Take ten minutes.

MARCUS.  I can do it in five.

LUCIA.  Take your time.

 

(He exits. Silence.)

 

VALI.  Pornography has its pressures.

LAZLO.  Nobody said it was easy.

LUCIA.  Nobody said anything.

 

(Darkness falls.)

                         SCENE THREE.

 

Morning. The same. The Bay windows are open. LUCIA and LAZLO sit with german beer, coffee, cake.

 

LUCIA.  You remember Zosha.

LAZLO.  Who? No.

LUCIA.  She was in that loud year before you. The girl with the father..!

LAZLO.  I believe they all had fathers then, Chia..

LUCIA.  No! the Girl from the farm whose father deserted!

LAZLO.  The one who was –

LUCIA.  Zosha. Zosha Stovic.

LAZLO.  Oh,yes.. I think I do. Tell me.

LUCIA.  Dead.

 

(Silence.)

 

LAZLO.  She died?

LUCIA.  Yes, she did.

LAZLO.  I slept with her.

LUCIA.  I remember. She and I roomed together..

LAZLO.  Not when I was there!

LUCIA.  After!

LAZLO.  When did she die?

LUCIA.  Saturday. She was living in Prague. Not too far from the Palace. You remember her.

LAZLO.  I remember. She needed lots of –

LUCIA.  What?

LAZLO.  Confidence.

LUCIA.  Assurance, maybe. She became a Journalist.

LAZLO.  I remember.

LUCIA.  She interviewed Havel.

LAZLO.  When he was –

LUCIA.  No, no. Before.

LAZLO.  And she wrote a book, didn’t she?

LUCIA.  On Political Ethics. She was a wonderful woman.

LAZLO.  I lost touch with her..

LUCIA.  Lazlo, you’d lose touch with your thumb up your nose.

LAZLO.  Apart from Vimces, of course. I haven’t lost touch with your husband.

LUCIA.  And where are you now?

LAZLO.  I don’t mind it. Besides, I’ve always liked it round here. We were to buy a house not too far when Magda was alive, I remember. A white country cottage to put in all of our things from the town. It was a beautiful house. It had a small, compact orchard. Five or six trees grouped together, sharing the fruit, happily.

LUCIA.  I miss her.

LAZLO.  Magda?

LUCIA.  Of course. But also Zosha. I remember our evenings. Our nights in the bars. We were young.

LAZLO.  We were a bright group. We smiled. Now our faces look pale in the photos.

LUCIA.  Our faces do?

LAZLO.  You’ve not seen them?

LUCIA.  If I look at the past I see now. I see the disappointments I have. I see the compromise given.

LAZLO.  And you forget all that’s happened?

LUCIA.  If its brought us here, yes I do.

 

(PAUSE)

 

LAZLO.  That’s a pity.

LUCIA.  It’s true.

LAZLO.  Then you’re missing the things we accomplished. You should be greatful. You didn’t have to see what I saw.

LUCIA.  With Magda?

LAZLO.  Of course. And I think of her often.

LUCIA.  Only often?

LAZLO.  It’s misted. Cancer destroys everything.

LUCIA.  Yes.

LAZLO.  Its a grub. The proverbial worm in the apple. Shitting on fruit, staining slyly, then smearing the taste, bite by bite. That’s the problem, you see, with even the freshest apples. Straight from the tree. They’re God sanctioned but can lose what they had in a day. At least eggs can keep. Apples grow their own cancer. The brown. If you don’t eat the thing in an hour, it’ll eat itself and stain you. Cancer’s the king. It beats the human race at a distance. It is also the kiss of the serpent, the poison within, passed to Eve.

LUCIA.  And Adam, too.

LAZLO.  Yes. But she influenced him. And that’s when the serpent began to copy himself everywhere.

LUCIA.  He’s become an old King, influencing all kingdoms.

LAZLO.  Cancer?

LUCIA.  The Serpent, encrusted with age. Corpulent. We’re in his chamber now.

LAZLO.  We’re in a crumbling shack outside Paris..!

LUCIA.  The fat King grown bulbous..

LAZLO.  Lucia, please!

LUCIA.  It is so. We’ve also strayed from the path and lost our last chance at Eden. We’re in Gomorrah. Smears, stains and vapours. Pools of green slime everywhere. You’ve succumbed. I’ve succumbed. Vali dragged us down the dark mountain. We’re like a lost tribe.

LAZLO.  Be quiet. What is this, the drink?

LUCIA.  Wish it was. I can’t settle with this. He said it was an experiment, only. He told me. He promised.

LAZLO.  You know what this is? Frozen peas.

LUCIA.  What?

LAZLO.  Orson Welles. He did lots of voiceovers. Lots of bad work. For money. So that he could and make his own films. Art grows from shit. Its no different at all to a flower. So, this is just Vali doing his gardening. You should be proud of him.

LUCIA.  Proud?

LAZLO.  The artists adapts to his era. The past is gold, we all know that, but silver’s the thing they want now.

LUCIA.  Silver or brass..

LAZLO.  Copper or tin. Does it matter? We man the changes, steering the ship where we may.

LUCIA.  Oh, Lazlo.

LAZLO.  Relax.

LUCIA.  I don’t think I know what I’m doing.

LAZLO.  You are supporting your husband in his season of need.

LUCIA.  Season, yes.

LAZLO.  Have you met them?

LUCIA.  No.

LAZLO.  So..as you see, he protects you. You can imagine the pressure. And yet still he works, still protects. Almost this is fun. I know this is not how they would try to say it in English. But I’m here. I watch him. And what I see, Lucia is the very same Vimces of old. He couldn’t have made half his films without the right sense of humour. You can’t be that dark. Watch Bergman. He used to kid around all the time.

LUCIA.  Ingmar?

LAZLO.  That’s right. They say he often clucked like a chicken. Before he worked. He made noises. He tried to get everyone in the mood!

LUCIA (NOT LISTENING:)  You think I ought to meet them?

LAZLO.  I don’t. There’s clearly a reason why he protects you. These investors aren’t chickens. They’re beasts of the field. And the woods. And it is dark out there..

LUCIA.  Yes.

LAZLO.  And all he has a candle. But he holds it proudly. He – what should we say?

LUCIA.  Brandishes.

LAZLO.  You should be proud of him.

LUCIA.  Here?

LAZLO.  He carries on working.

LUCIA.  At the price of what, Novels? Stories and scripts no-one reads?

LAZLO.  They exist, though? They’re there. With every compromise a new story. A validation for anything else that’s gone wrong..

LUCIA.  Lazlo..

LAZLO.  I see the skill, still as he carves a world out of butter. His ideas are still solid even if everything else melts away. Most things things have gone. You know this isn’t the Sixties. It isn’t even the Fifties, and yet Valory balances. His eye is unchanged. In every shit he finds sweetcorn..

LUCIA.  What?

LAZLO.  Something growing. Something intact!

LUCIA.  Lazlo..

LAZLO.  True! And I’ll eat it, too. Not the shit, but the sweetcorn. Doing what I continue to do, to support him, just as I have, since we met. School. Those first days, arming ourselves with a camera, so as to picture all of the things we’d gone through. We needed new memories to blank out the burn of the old ones. White skies, white faces, smothered by ashed angel light. We were the children who starved in our parents absence. We fought to continue and in doing so, forged ideas. We had the Nazis and then to make it worse, we had Stalin! So now, these investors are a moustache away from the same. And so we adapt. I settle down with the image. And Vali creates it. However he can. And for you…

LUCIA.  For me?

LAZLO.  There will be things in this film that I promise you now, elevate it. Maybe hidden things. Signals. Sweetcorn you’ll see in the shit. There will be shapes on the walls or something perhaps in a painting. The handling of breasts like fine pages. The suckling of the soul through fucked fruit. Something to say that a small light continues. Some special ember. Tickling the tongue. Slicing through.

LUCIA.  I want to believe you.

LAZLO.  You should. This is the church of the body. Pornography is a fiction tapered around happiness.

LUCIA.  And compliance?

LAZLO.  What’s that? No-one complies. We just cover.

LUCIA.  What do you mean? You’ve surrendered!

LAZLO.  But this is the path we’re now on!

LUCIA.  Rubbish!

LAZLO.  Listen, the view may have changed but it is still the same subject. The inner flame. The soul engine powered by dreams, fuelled by sex. These are action films now, rather than those of behaviour. Vali shows the heart’s nature by exposing the blush on the cheek! Sex is a mirror.

LUCIA.  It’s not. Sex is a –

LAZLO.  What?

LUCIA.  ..Conversation.

LAZLO.  The action is, but the purpose is to truly reveal what you are. You don’t see this? Its true. Sex is a mirror. A private screen filming backwards and then filtering out through the skin. We’re so close to it we can start to scrutinise and be clever. We can make statements with what we choose to show – and how long. Fuck a girl in the ass. Strap a man to a table. Come in their mouths. Light is shining. You just have to pick it out through the skin.

LUCIA.  You’re impossible.

LAZLO.  Why? Aren’t I allowed to play Artist? He writes. I capture. He points me towards. I collate. I have it all in my frame. And what’s more, I see the same project. This is our process, the very same line through the films.

LUCIA.  The same as PORT OF LOVE?

LAZLO.  Yes!

LUCIA.  The same as ARMS OF THE FATHER?

LAZLO,  Lucia, you let him..You’re producing him!

LUCIA.  Its support. I’m his wife. I protect. His name is mud and its raining. No light is shining. And if I wasn’t here –

LAZLO.  Yes, then what?

LUCIA.  I expected you to care more..!

LAZLO.  I do!

LUCIA.  I expected respect from you, Lazlo..

LAZLO.  We are elevating the subject!

LUCIA.  Then I don’t believe the illusion of this girl’s happiness!

LAZLO.  Lucia, Pornography’s based on the performers enjoyment. That’s what you’re selling. There’s your compliance..

LUCIA.  And what of those who are forced?

LAZLO.  Forced?

LUCIA.  There are girls –

LAZLO.  Who here among us is jesus? You? Who here among us can save us in the grandest sense? In our hour of need, do we ever get a word from the sponsor? Or do we comply and keep trying to balance ourselves, as he does? We may, with God’s grace save ourselves, but it is always at the sake of another. This is the animal kingdom and we are all animals.  The girl smiles and is fucked. Then returns to abandon. The boy grins. He’s happy as his secret need has been gloved. He has been turned inside out and what do you know? There’s no difference? These films are morals and the people within them are teachers exercising a new sacrifice.

LUCIA.  You’re mad!

LAZLO.  We must learn. Art is a ghetto. I know. I lived there. Vali as well, years ago. Why am I mad? Because I see what we are and ca say it? Because I understand human nature in its darkest sense. If I am, so is he. And yet you have stayed married..

LUCIA.  Lazlo, that is not what I’m saying. I refer, and you know I do, to your views..

LAZLO.  Why? I’m informed. We grew up in the pit and we have taken it with us. We have evolved and continued. Lucia, this should be quite clear to you. There are individuals, I’m sure, for whom this is torture. People who remain trapped having fallen into the fetid pit of the self. There will be stories of course of vast exploitation. A woman spit roasted having never said a word to each man. Gangbangs of hate. Even kisses, perhaps of intrusion. But these are all individuals who have the possible chance to say no…They can change circumstance. No-one is killed in these movies. Below ground is different. But here in the light, all can see. All acquiesce because of what it affords them.

LUCIA.  Yes, but what does it cost them?

LAZLO.  That is their own stance to take. Vali’s stance is the same, which is to showcase the beauty. Hidden as it is in the ugly he uses what light there is to shine through. Why take this long to make scenes of fucking? He is telling a story whether he likes it or not. The choice has been made. He is performing a service. And those paying for it are coming today to be served. Pornography pays. It is our deepest trigger. If it is not acted upon, its imagined. I want, therefore I am. Mass Debate.

LUCIA.  Lazlo..

LAZLO.  And more than that, more: it places the frame around pleasure. How thick or thin is the canvas that the spurt of life oozes through? Zosha knew this. She stayed within her own picture. And thus could never see through it, see what it was she could do. You husband can. So can I. But this does not make us clever. We just see through the picture to take in the whole gallery.

LUCIA.  Its diabolical!

LAZLO.  No..

LUCIA.  You’re disturbing me, Lazlo.

LAZLO.  The heart and the penis are both agents for change! Celebrate!

LUCIA.  Jesus..

LAZLO.  The girl here is keen!

LUCIA.  She doesn’t know what she’s thinking.

LAZLO.  You make her sound a child. She’s a woman..

LUCIA.  And what does that mean?

LAZLO.  Different things. The young’s goals aren’t ours. We were often scared of the body. Or those of us whom religion had managed to wipe itself on, between sheets. Now, there’s no need. The body is the real point of worship. The young have made a show of the body as a separate end in itself! Before theirs decline, they seek to celebrate what’s been given. Their fashion commands it. We didn’t even have fashion then. Only clothes. Workers clothes. Those of the just liberated. We’d have worn packing boxes, so greatful were we to be free. We were not London, New York or even Paris. All we had was survival and the memories of old meat. We just had the moustache and that was copied from Stalin. So we started over with absence to get to wherever it is we now are. There are no new ideas, just a sense of arrangement. So as he says we look inward..to locate the truth, we go in.

LUCIA.  Meaning what?

LAZLO.  We’ll look in.

LUCIA. Inside?

LAZLO.  Within.

LUCIAWhat?

LAZLO.  He’s filming the evidence of desire.

LUCIA.  So, you mean you’ll put a camera inside her?

LAZLO.  Now you’re being hysteric. Relax.

LUCIA.  Why?

LAZLO.  Because that’s too much. Although that may well be the future. But for us now, illusion is the crest and the crux of our work. Pleasure as Art. And Art found in darkness. Pictured in panels. The work we are making is like a comic strip of the body. A Graphic Novel. A cartoon of intention. Desire, too. In its way. But it shows what we are. Happiness through acceptance. Happiness through belonging. Commitment too, to the act. That is what I’m shooting now. That is the thing I am watching. The last great connection. The Bee and the Bud. Honey. Sperm.

LUCIA.  Jesus..

LAZLO.  What’s wrong? You must try accept this..

LUCIA.  No.

LAZLO.  Then you’re stubborn. And the stubborn remain trapped inside.

LUCIA.  Lazlo, I really don’t see  –

LAZLO.  We are all of us involved in the lie, that we are doing something else, something honest. Valory isn’t. He tells his special truth. You know this. You married him.

LUCIA.  Yes.

LAZLO.  You had his children. How are the children?

LUCIA.  The girls are in America.

LAZLO.  Ah.

LUCIA.  What do you mean?

LAZLO.  Not so good.

LUCIA.  What does that mean!

LAZLO.  Lucia, please: where is the honesty in that country? Where is the freedom beyond the larger bars they have placed? Freedom is here, defined by what we choose to do with our bodies. Pornography is a nation living inside every man. Every woman, too. This is how it was with Pop Music. Both breed excitement in the girls and the boys, equally.

LUCIA.  Lazlo..

LAZLO.  You need no passport, no books, no green card, just desire. Your belief is your body and so you pay with it.

LUCIA.  And this girl?

LAZLO.  She’s a purse.

LUCIA.  She could be your grand-daughter!

LAZLO.  No. She holds promise.

LUCIA.  So what will you do?

LAZLO.  Spend it wisely..

LUCIA.  Lazlo, that’s monstrous!

LAZLO.  Only if you don’t count your change.

 

(Darkness.)

                         SCENE FOUR.

 

Amber’s room. Her travel bag and a suitcase. A small pile of papers, books, files, magazines. ANDRE is sat watching a sleeping SASHA. A perturbed AMBER enters, her tone is aggressive and tense.

 

AMBER.  You need to do something –

ANDRE.  Me?

AMBER (NOTICING:) What is she doing there?

ANDRE.  Sleeping.

AMBER.  Why is she sleeping?

ANDRE.  She’s tired? Why else would she sleep?

AMBER.  Come outside.

ANDRE.  No, I’m writing this..

AMBER.  What?

ANDRE.  If you must know, a poem. Its for you.

AMBER.  What?

ANDRE.  The Poem.

AMBER.  What do I need poems for? What do I need poems for? I don’t understand why you’d write it. What do poems do? Nothing. Why would a poem help me? I think you’re still on that bus, gazing posily out the window. Wondering if i’d notice. And hoping it, too, I expect. I need to talk to you. Now. You need to do something, Andre. I can’t even believe you’re called Andre. You’re not even French.

ANDRE.  My Mum is.

AMBER.  Mothers don’t count. Mothers let you down.

ANDRE.  That’s your problem.

AMBER.  I know. I’m a cliché. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less. Mine was a whore. She was a total slut. I despised her. Young girls in Wembley live their lives very close to the ground.

ANDRE.  You got out.

AMBER.  Yes, to here. Thanks to you. Its a shambles. Don’t expect me to greatful, because this is not at all what I thought.

ANDRE.  Its a Vimces film – of a sort. With Vimces directing!

AMBER.  Its supposed to be porn. All this waiting! Why should we wait? We should shoot. I could do most of it on my own. I’m finely tuned. I played hockey. I don’t need poseurs trying to put their gay cocks in ice.

ANDRE.  Poseurs?

AMBER.  Marcus. He’s clearly fucking the soundman.

ANDRE.  Petr?

AMBER.  They’re partners. A penis that big befriends all. We need to blow him out!

ANDRE.  Do we?

AMBER.  No. I don’t want to be another hole in his bedpost. Just another cunt that he’s lied in and lied to, come to that. If this is to work, then its going to need something extra. Some new exposure. You’re supposed to suggest it..

ANDRE.  Who to?

AMBER.  Valory!

ANDRE.  Oh.

AMBER.  You’re his First AD.

ANDRE.  I’m the Runner. I’m First in name only. He doesn’t really share all that stuff. He dictates. I take down. I’m just a private space for his thinking.

AMBER.  You said you would help me..

ANDRE.  Help you to do what?

AMBER.  Don’t you know? Why do you think we met beyond that first conversation? Why do you –

ANDRE.  What?

AMBER.  You moron!

SASHA (WAKES)  What time is it now?

ANDRE.  Sasha..

SASHA.  Late? It must be, I bet. I sleep now. Never used to. There was a time when sleep chased me, begging me to succumb. But I said no to sleep. I was dancing with drugs and whoever. Hungarian Princes. Keith Richards. Moneymen. Mummy’s men.. Boys. My head hurts. There must be something wrong with that sofa…

AMBER.  Actually, we were talking..

SASHA.  Talking to who?

ANDRE.  We were.

SASHA.  Oh. I interrupted.

AMBER.  You did.

SASHA.  I wonder, could you fetch me some breakfast? Suddenly, I feel hungry. First time this year. Would you?

AMBER.  No.

SASHA.  She’s a cold one, this one. Sharp. I’d say she wants her revenge on somebody. What’s wrong with you, sugar? You’re a shower of piss in low heels.

AMBER.  I’m a what?

SASHA.  Piss. I need one now. Where’s the toilet? What’s that, a bucket? I shall go in that.

ANDRE.  Its a bath.

SASHA.  Is it..?

 

(She moves to the tin bath in the corner. She crouches in it. She pisses. They both watch her, appalled.)

 

SASHA..What?

AMBER.  You’re insane.

 

(She turns and exits.)

 

SASHA.  That worked. (TO ANDRE:) How are you? I’ve been asleep. What a dream.

 

(Darkness.)

                         SCENE FIVE.

 

Later on. lAZLO sorts lenses. VALI comes in from the garden. He finds a chair near the doorway and sits looking out. Finally:

 

VALI.  Marcus’s cock. We may need to call prop department.

LAZLO.  Perhaps he’s like a genie, or lenses. Give him a rube he comes clean.

VALI.  I’m not sure. I can’t tell. The girl is certainly keen to keep working. She at least finds solutions. That’s what I like.

LAZLO.  If they work.

VALI.  It wasn’t always like this.

LAZLO.  That’s because you did it all yourself to begin with.

VALI.  Not with cock.

LAZLO.  Didn’t need it. You had your dreams, comrade!

 

(They laugh.)

 

Do you regret this?

VALI.  We work. We borrow each day from our credits. We translate ourselves.

LAZLO.  To what language?

VALI.  The language of commerce, my friend. Like an animal. Fox. What would you say, Lazlo?

LAZLO.  Vulture.

VALI.  Vulture, no.

LAZLO.  Eagle?

VALI.  The Eagle is a grand noble bird. He flies. He observes. He makes Americans feel they’re worthy.

LAZLO.  Americans are not worthy.

VALI.  What are they, then?

LAZLO.  Broken down.

VALI.  We should repair them, then?

LAZLO.  Why?

VALI.  Because then they’d be greatful.

LAZLO.  Greatful to who?

VALI.  They have money. And they could help us –

LAZLO.  What?

VALI.  Wouldn’t they?

LAZLO.  Vali, the Americans don’t like films. The Americans prefer movies. The Americans hate our pictures. Also, they do not understand. We give them subtitles but they do not wish to read them. We are not Eagles. We are the grease on their grain.

VALI.  The grease?

LAZLO.  On their grain. We were not made like Milos.

VALI.  I know. Fucking Milos.

LAZLO.  Don’t be lemon, now. Bitter.

VALI.  I’m not, I assure you. I’m not at all. Good for Milos, as Milos clearly knows what they want. Or rather he did the first time that he went there. I was never sure, to be honest what they, in turn, saw in him. His films were set on wastegrounds –

LAZLO.  They were, but there was also the factory one, you remember?

VALI.  Of course, yes, you shot it – and yet, suddenly all those wastegrounds were full of drugs and carchases.. they were full of young black men and Policemen. They were full of skinny girls, streetgangs, guns…

LAZLO.  He adapted.

VALI.  He did. And changed his name.

LAZLO.  Yes, to Michael.

VALI.  Are people still called that?

LAZLO.  Everywhere I know. Round the world.

VALI.  I didn’t adapt. And nor has Lucia.

LAZLO.  No. She’s too mindful of all of the things in the past. (BEAT) If you don’t mind me saying. It’s pride. We remember her as an actress. It isn’t so easy when you’ve given your best years away.

 

(Silence.)

 

I mean to the children.

VALI.  Of course.

LAZLO.  And then when you come back you are older. No more heroines.

VALI.  Only Mothers.

LAZLO.  Where is Danil now?

VALI.  India.

LAZLO.  Will he find his soul?

VALI.  No, he won’t. My son is a freeloading bastard. He’ll find anothers, then sell it back to them, caked in rice! Maya’s in New York. Zara is in Television!

LAZLO.  God save her!

VALI.  The future.

LAZLO.  Whereas you and I, comrade remain forever glued the past.

 

(Silence.)

VALI.  I had an idea yesterday. Or rather, early today. Early morning. I wrote it down. For my novel.

LAZLO.  Don’t tell me: there’s something sexual with a horse!

VALI.  And flowers..

LAZLO.  Ok!

VALI.  But this is because she’s a florist. The girl in the story. She is a thief. She steals ashes. Plants them in pots, tubs and grows.

LAZLO.  Ashes, you mean?

VALI.  Of the dead. She befriends the bereaved and steals ashes. She stalks crematoriums also, stealing her samples by night. These she places in plants, hoping that the world is repeopled. Her name is Nora. The story is called Nora’s Ark.

LAZLO.  Is there a flood?

VALI.  There’s no flood. Only a day of rain in one chapter.

LAZLO.  It seems confused, Vali. But it could be a film.

VALI.  What?

LAZLO.  A short. An animation perhaps..what do you think? You could draw it.

VALI.  Those films are over. Books are the only place to find voice.

LAZLO.  Books are dying my friend.

VALI.  Everything is. Its all dying! Books become the last shelter: paper thin walls for the soul. I have control of the page.. for as long as I keep it. I persevere and preserve it. And it lasts as long as the thought.

LAZLO.  And yet it could be a film. Like one of those polish  –

VALI.  Enough! You insult me and now you repeat! POLISH!

LAZLO.  Ah. It wasn’t always like this. You remember Wajda and Varda.

VALI.  Of course.

LAZLO.  We revered them.

VALI.  But I do not conform. Do not pray.

 

(PETR enters.)

 

PETR.  The sound is bad.. I just checked it. Marcus is quiet. He’s too low in the mix..

LAZLO.  He can’t come.

PETR.  Do we think its the girl?

VALI.  It isn’t the girl..

LAZLO.  Would you fuck her?

PETR.  Would you?

LAZLO.  Listen, Petr…with a long enough spoon, I’d fuck you.

PETR.  He isn’t joking! I might if I wasn’t so good at my business. Vali.

VALI.  What?

PETR.  Please direct him. He needs to know what to do.

VALI.  I’m sorry..?

LAZLO.  Oh, shit..

PETR.  ..You know, If you want my advice, he needs handling. She’s a young girl. She’s pushy and now here he is. He’s the pro. He’s sensitive. He’s concerned. He’s a quite different person. He is –

VALI.  What?

PETR.  An Artist..

VALI.  An Artist of what? Empty fucks!

PETR.  Vali..

VALI.  What’s this? What on earth are you saying? We make a film. We agree it. We send him ideas, storyboards. I describe images that all he has to do is live upto. But now he cannot live or get upto..and because of what?

PETR.  It’s the girl.

VALI.  The girl..

PETR.  Its the girl.

LAZLO.  We just said it wasn’t.

PETR.  I reconsidered.

VALI.  Because you wish it was you? Is it you?

PETR.  Me?

VALI.  Is it? Queer? You suck him dry? Throw his game off? You drain the blood from his thinking so that he can’t get it up?

PETR.  Valory..

VALI.  Well? Answer me, Russian! Russian Queer! They will kill you! They don’t like your sort over there!

 

(VALI strikes him.)

 

LAZLO.  VALI!

VALI.  You think you can come..come in here and just tell me..? You think I don’t know to direct him? You think I don’t know?

LAZLO.  Vali, please!

PETR.  Vali..

 

(Vali kicks and lunges. Petr retreats and avoids him. Lazlo tries to prevent.)

 

VALI.  What else should I do, train his cock like a greyhound? Or tie it with string to your arsehole just to make sure you feel good?

PETR.  Vali – !

VALI.  HUH? WHAT DID YOU MEAN, PETR? TELL ME! WHAT DID YOU MEAN?

LAZLO.  Vali, please.

VALI.  Please? There’s no please! Are you even aware of the pressure? You say please to his penis..smile your little smile..blow a kiss! THERE IS NO PLEASE! THERE IS ONLY PROJECT! THIS FILM MUST FINISH! AND FINISH TODAY! THEY WILL COME!

PETR.  I hit a nerve, I think..

VALI.  What?

PETR.  I mean –

VALI (GRABS HIM) What do you want, that I kill you? DO YOU WANT ME TO KILL YOU? I USED TO KILL SHEEP AS A CHILD! BACK ON THE FARM.. I WAS TEN YEARS OLD..I WOULD PUNCH THEM.. I punched and I blinded. I had a fist and a punch like sharp stone!

LAZLO.  Vali..

VALI.  Not to mention of course the work I’ve been doing! Best animations..1967 and then best Director in Viennese Biennale! 1969! 1974, five and seven..!

PETR.  Yes, and now its the eighties..

VALI.  What did you say?

PETR.  Times go on. People need handling. There are other things to consider. Priorities differ. There is now a new marketplace.

VALI.  What does he say?

LAZLO.  Valory..

PETR.  Think what you like. I know Marcus. Marcus is romantic.

VALI.  Yes. Chocolate cock. Nice for you.

PETR.  No.

VALI.  Oh, ok. Not chocolate, then. Maybe flowers?

PETR.  No.

VALI.  Arranged! Scattered! Placed all around!

PETR.  Vali, please listen!

VALI.  Why should I, to you? Why should I?

PETR.  Because I know what he wants. And we have been thinking. Talking too.

VALI.  Talking..

PETR.  And we have a suggestion to make..

VALI.  Oh, you do?

 

(Vali makes a fist. Lazlo gestures caution.)

 

PETR.  This is difficult time for our people..

VALI.  Who, the Russians?

LAZLO.  When isn’t it?

PETR.  No.

VALI.  Who, the blacks?

LAZLO.  Petr isn’t black.

VALI.  We need escape. There’s a sickness. A threat. We need something ..

VALI.  How interesting! Well, I have investors and they come with a  threat, coming soon!

PETR.  If you were to make this –

VALI.  What?

LAZLO.  What?

PETR.  If you could change..

LAZLO.  If we made it? What’s wrong? I don’t get it.

PETR.  I suppose we just think – Its the girl.

VALI.  What?

PETR.  The girl. Its the girl.

LAZLO.  The girl again?

PETR.  She’s the problem.

VALI.  The girl?

PETR.  She’s disruption..

VALI.  So, what we dump the girl and get you? You want me to make gay? You want the cocksuckers’ cock sucker? My God..

PETR.  If you –

VALI.  Bastard!

PETR.  I just think we could be mindful of all the other things to be done.

 

(SASHA enters, drapped in her Tigerskin.)

 

SASHA.  What’s going on?

LAZLO.  Sasha..shit.

SASHA.  What’s going on? What’s commotion?

LAZLO.  Sasha, no..

VALI.  Its fine, Sasha…

SASHA.  What do you mean? All this noise! I was asleep. Had a dream. I was in a very green desert. A desert with orchards, scattered about here and there. The fruit though, was cocks. Peel back the skin, black man’s penis. Pluck from the earth, balls with layers, heavy like tongues on their sacks. River was piss. Fat buds were spunking. Birds had vaginas, all pussy in fact, but with wings. Eyes grew on stalks. Jelly fish tits by the shoreline. Ground grass was pubic. You stepped on a mouth. Suck your toe. It was incredible there. I could happily remain dreaming. But then you were shouting. You woke me up and I lost it. Suddenly, the dream shattered, like glass in a Church. Its cold here.

PETR.  There must be a window up there..

LAZLO.  Almost certainly.

PETR.  No, I mean high up there, that’s been broken. The wind’s got in.

LAZLO.  And choked Marcus..

PETR.  I wouldn’t say that..

VALI.  He’s frozen. Its drained his colour by placing his cock into chill.

PETR.  I can hear it.

VALI.  His cock?

PETR.  No, Vali. The weather.

LAZLO.  There is a hole, then..

SASHA.  Skies falling. Luckily my Tiger saved me.

LAZLO.  Your tiger?

SASHA.  My skin. This has become my Protector. He is clothes now and costume and the only thing I want to wear from now on. I hear him here, too. The Spirit of the animal, talking. And when I sleep he is breathing, his breath hot as syrup, trickling its way down by back. His breath at my sex. I feel his bone, his lost muscle. His cock, a dark penis, coiled like an oak at my crotch. When he looks at me in the dream I feel my bones flap and flutter. As if there were birdbones, bones made of glass, feathers, air. He even speaks to me too. His stare alone is a music. The soul of the Tiger, clawing at me, claiming me. I should thankyou, you know..

VALI.  What is she on?

LAZLO.  She’s been using..

PETR.  Opium.

VALI.  You, be quiet. Sasha, please listen –

SASHA (TO VALI:) I should thankyou,I think..for the introduction..no.. for the invitation..

VALI.  No..

SASHA.  ..to continue my association with you.

LAZLO.  Sasha..

SASHA.  You did not introduce.. Lazlo, how old am I?

LAZLO.  37..

SASHA.  I was a girl, a teenager..Did I know you then?

LAZLO.  No, you met.

SASHA.  Yes, I remember. I do. I was an Extra.. On THE OTHER REALM.. I was..

VALI.  Sixteen. You were sixteen years old when we met. You were exceptional.

SASHA.  Oh.

VALI.  Your body was bronze. We were copper.

SASHA.  What is it now?

VALI.  Tarnished.

SASHA.  Tarnished but bronze?

VALI.  Buckling.

 

(Pause.)

 

PETR.  I should go..

VALI.  No, you’ll stay as you want to stand here and accuse me..!

PETR.  Vallory, truly..I did not intend to do that! I merely thought, made a joke..

VALI.  If you knew me at all you would know that I have no sense of humour. Not anymore. I’m an Artist. Art has no time to relax.

 

(ANDRE enters, nervous.)

ANDRE.  Excuse me, Vali..

VALI.  Andre.

ANDRE.  Amber was just wanting to know – she just asked me – will she be in the same scene with Sasha..

SASHA.  I have not done my scene yet.

ANDRE.  No. Yes. She knows. That’s what she wanted to know.

VALI.  So she asked you?

ANDRE.  Yes.

LAZLO.  She’s demanding, this little –

VALI.  What?

LAZLO.  Ingenue.

VALI.  She will be in the scene when I am ready to shoot it. When I am I will tell you. Anything else she wants to know, she asks me. We are in the same place, afterall. How many times have you fucked her? Because I would be careful that she doesn’t lock your balls in a vice. Go. Tell her that.

 

(HE GOES)

 

SASHA.  This is bad. I don’t like it. I see the future and it is small, let me tell you. I am an oracle of it. In fact, its so small I’m a gorgon. I’m only going to need the one eye.

 

(Darkness.)

                           SCENE SIX.

 

A film plays from a small projector. It is black and white, silent and plays straight onto the wall. VALI and MARCUS watch. The film is of a lovely young woman. Different shots, a mixed sequence: some handheld and looser, some crafted and staged. There is a story of sorts as she is seen in all seasons. In every mood, also. A Poem of sorts, without words.

 

 

MARCUS.  She’s very beautiful

VALI.  Yes. She was my first inspiration. Her name was Sofia. She was a very beautiful girl. She was also a witch, as she both beguiled and entranced me. She captivated.

MARCUS.  Does Lucia know?

VALI.  Good God no. She was my sister. And she was my second heart.

MARCUS.  My God.

VALI.  I wrote for her. I filmed this. I was 16. She remained slightly older. And then she was gone. In the war. Some people just do. They simply disappear from you. People you loved. Those you cherished..they suddenly become something else. Just as the fish left the sea to become the snakes and the monkeys, love soon disperses, all to be hidden away in new air. These shots are ashes to me. But inside the fire’s still raging. To me, they’re a signal that I send out to show I’m still here.

MARCUS.  That you are?

VALI.  I, yes. By which I mean, waiting for her. I love my wife, love Lucia. But there is a side to me, I’ll be honest, whole parts of me, can’t forget. And so I show this to you. I present my vulernability to you.

 

(He stops the film.)

 

She’s light only. Yet every frame of this fuels my heart.

 

(Silence. He rewinds and then repacks the reel.)

 

MARCUS.  I wanted to write, actually. That was the first thing I wanted. I even showed talent for it.

VALI.  And what did you write?

MARCUS.  Poetry.

VALI.  Yes, poetry. I also wrote poems.

MARCUS.  For Sofia?

VALI.  Yes. As a student. It was always what you did before films. A correct treatment of course has a kind of poetry to it. Condense the film. Picture. Capture. Distill what it is you would say. I made my animations of course and they worked too, like small poems. One action, one image, igniting the next and so on. Surreal perhaps in their style but very logical also. For even dreams have an order. Which is what I want to say, Marcus.

MARCUS.  No.

VALI.  Marcus..

MARCUS.  It isn’t me! It’s the girl.

VALI.  Marcus, please –

MARCUS.  It’s the ancient fear! Its true, Vali! Teeth on the inside. The vagina’sa mouth, swallowing! Also, there’s a rasp..As you go in, something catches. I swear! Look, she cut me..

VALI.  You want me to look –

MARCUS.  By all means!

 

(Marcus shows him.)

 

VALI.  Ok.

MARCUS.  You see, Vali? Scratches!

VALI.  Teethmarks?

MARCUS.  Same difference!

VALI.  Well, what should we do, punch her?

MARCUS.  No!

 

(They laugh.)

 

No, of course no.. And anyway, that’s not funny.

VALI.  I have no humour, as I’ve said before. I reflect.

MARCUS.  You think I’m not serious..?

VALI.  Marcus, are you telling me that you fear her..? That she –

MARCUS.  No. No! Of course not..But some people you meet – they just –

VALI.  What?

MARCUS.  They’re just – I can’t say.

VALI.  Say.

MARCUS.  No, I can’t..

VALI.  Say!

MARCUS.  They’re just viruses, Vali..

VALI.  You mean they’re diseased?

MARCUS.  No, there’s something. An ominous cloud..

VALI. That bites down?

 

(Pause)

 

Marcus...

MARCUS.  Its true! You don’t have to fuck her. There’s something in and about her, a kind of coldness, which chills.. A darkness, Vali. Do you know what I mean? A closed window. Ice strewn. Dark. Misted. Rain on the eye, obscures. Snow..

VALI.  Snow?

MARCUS.  Crusted..

VALI.  Snow? Have you been drinking?

MARCUS.  No.

VALI.  Then have you perhaps taken something?

MARCUS.  No! No! I swear it!

VALI.  I don’t know what to say to you..I am stumped!

MARCUS.  Then don’t be! Believe!

VALI.  This is just some young actress. She is no-one at all. No-one knows her. And yet she has you spooked,Marcus..

MARCUS.  More.

VALI.  Why?

MARCUS.  Its her way. I felt it once when I met her. You’re aware of it as you fuck her. She’s sees it as her –

VALI.  What?

MARCUS.  Privilige.

 

(Pause.)

 

VALI.  And you object to this?

MARCUS.  Yes.

VALI.  I don’t know what to say, Marcus. ‘Actors..’

MARCUS.  I’m not an actor. I’m just a fucking rod in the dark. A prick in a suit. And yet I have understanding. I know what I’m doing and where it is I would be.

 

(Silence. PETR now enters. He looks somewhat awkward.)

 

PETR.  Vali.

VALI.  Petr. What are you doing here?

MARCUS.  He’s been waiting.

VALI.  How do you know?

MARCUS.  I asked him.

VALI.  Asked him to wait, or to help you with erection?

MARCUS.  Can we not at least talk about it?

VALI.  No, you bloody know we cannot! You want me to – what? You want me to bend for you, Marcus? You want me to go deeper and further away from my truth? Isn’t enough that I make – just to provide me with money.. that I make these concessions in the very form? Not enough? All I have is my style. Let them all know that I made this. Let them all see camera angles people always associate with my films. Let me not be subdued. Let me not descend to Soap Opera. Your fucking wife can’t persuade me and nor can my wife forgive! So you see the trap I’m now in? And it us a trap with no trigger. You want to talk, then you help me do what I came to do.

MARCUS.  I’m not sure I can. I have these beliefs.

VALI.  Then they’ll kill you.

MARCUS.  Who will?

VALI.  His people. When they find out what you are.

 

(Petr just stares. There falls a tense silence.)

LAZLO.  Hello.

 

(LAZLO has entered. He takes in the moment and lingers close to Vali.)

 

MARCUS.  We’re leaving.

LAZLO.  A walk?

VALI.  Leave and possibly I will kill you. Then I kill myself. No-one’s leaving.

PETR.  Why, what will you do?

VALI.  I’ll inform.

LAZLO.  Vali..?

VALI.  I will spread the word. They will get you. It will be like America in the fifties. Only the reverse.

PETR.  You’re depraved.

VALI.  I do this for Art.

PETR.  That’s your argument? Really? That this is art?

VALI.  You’re a soundman. You listen for planes, buzz and farts. I still look in. I see what there is to uncover.

MARCUS.  No-one is bothered about what I do at home.

VALI.  Someone is. The people out there, who’ll come for me, will know people. And they care for money, which at this point in my life I can’t lose.

MARCUS.  This is really what you are now?

VALI.  For now. Yes. I’m a custodian.

MARCUS.  Vali.

VALI.  I showed you my sister..

LAZLO.  What?

VALI.  Now, I’m asking for your company.

MARCUS.  Against a common foe.

VALI.  Let us fight.

MARCUS.  Mine is the Devil.

VALI.  She is just a vagina.

MARCUS.  That’s an unpopular thought.

VALI.  Between us.

LAZLO.  I don’t understand.

VALI.  The homosexuals have blocked us.

LAZLO.  I see.

VALI.  This one’s crazy. He thinks the vagina has teeth.

LAZLO.  It doesn’t.

PETR.  He knows. He was being metaphorical, Vali! He just thinks she’s evil!

LAZLO.  Who, Amber?

PETR.  Yes! Amber!

LAZLO.  Who could think that of her with that ass?

MARCUS.  This – is a farce.

VALI.  A second ago was soap opera.

LAZLO.  Pornography’s dying. Give it the kiss of life. On its cock.

VALI.  Will you leave the film?

MARCUS.  No. I’m a professional.

VALI.  Then you’ll prove it. When its finished, retire. Become a catholic Priest. That should suit.

LAZLO.  Vous Etes Fou.

MARCUS.  We’re all mad.

LAZLO.  So what can be done then to save us?

VALI.  It used to be sex was simple.

MARCUS.  Sex is, I assure you. Its everything else that is hard.

 

(Marcus leaves. Petr follows after.)

 

VALI.  What is it the French say?

LAZLO.  Well, they wouldn’t like this. That’s for sure.

VALI.  ‘I am myself so far steeped…’ From the scottish…

LAZLO.  What time are they coming?

VALI.  It doesn’t matter when. They’ll be here.

LAZLO.  Only they’re not Scottish..

VALI.  No. I was just trying to remember some Shakespeare.

LAZLO.  I wouldn’t bother. He never once thinks of you.

                           ACT TWO.

 

SCENE SEVEN.

 

Later still. VALI writes at a table. AMBER enters, lingers, unsure of how to start, what to do. He ignores her. Writes on. She makes an approach, reconsiders. He lets her suffer as he finishes what he writes.

 

VALI.  I can see you.

AMBER.  I know. I wanted to apologise to you.

VALI.  You should.

AMBER.  I know. Its what happens..whenever I do something new. (She dawdles.) If it feels right, I relax and then lose track of my             manners. It was meant as a thankyou.. a sense of collaboration..

VALI.  I lead.

 

(Silence.)

 

AMBER.  I know.

VALI.  You used my First A.D. as your servant.

AMBER.  We’re going out..

VALI.  Not for long. Soon you’ll come in and then he will fall prey to harsh weathers.. I have three daughters, much older than you. Women now.

AMBER.  But that doesn’t mean –

VALI.  No. But I am also director. I’ve worked with actors longer than you’ve been alive. I’ve looked in their eyes and seen all sorts of behaviours. I know about people, having filmed their souls. Not their holes. These days, things have changed. My work is entrances and dark exits. But I have looked within. I know people and looking at you, all is clear. You have been in my lens. I have you on my slide. You’re a sample. A smear that I study. An undressed particle. I know you.

AMBER.  You don’t.

VALI.  So you say..

AMBER.  How can you know every person? How can you even say you can do that? You don’t know me..

VALI.  But I do. I know your type. I’ve seen girls, whether Model or actress. The life of the body or else the life of the mind is at stake. In the end, all is same. They do what they can to project it. Then they do what they can to protect it, after they have lost everything. No-one grows up. Has nobody said, no-one’s told you? No-one alive lives the lessons they think they have learnt, spread or have preached. We all of us fall onto our weakest behaviour. Our basic instinct, to coin a phrase. This is true. I’m old. I have seen. We never escape that first playground. That is our first field of battle and our last  resting place. What we learn, what we see both haunts and sustains us…

AMBER.  What?

VALI.  Victim or bully. Smoker or slut, which are you?

AMBER.  Smoker?

VALI.  Perhaps. Some people hide away in their playground, while others prowl it, bully’s perhaps to the end. Is all a game, all a game. And yet we keep playing. Because if we don’t, we start thinking and nobody wants to do that. Thinking reveals. The enlightened mind is a mirror. Suddenly you see people and yourself, fatally. You see your last wound, as well as your first motivation. Only then do you realise that they are just one and the same. The line between the adult and the child has no set age and no limit. One only has to consider dementia; a return to the womb you pull on. Do you think that if you do grown up things it will necessarily make you an adult? Do you think of sex as extension to all of those old childhood games? Girls do. I have seen. And boys do it, also. As if life was rehearsal for all the different stages to come. This is the way the world thinks but this is not what I believe, how I see it. To me, life is reading: experienced at once as you see it and then reflected on and consulted when you look back on it the next day. It is about action. Moments. In which we must be aware of what it is we are doing. Writer and Critic. Observer and yes, character. We are invented, briefly. But what are we, really? And to who will we show that; who we really are – who will see? You have shown yourself up. You should look at me. I’m perceptive. This is why I make movies. This is how I won awards.

AMBER.  You won awards.

VALI.  Yes.

AMBER.  But not any longer. You don’t make films like you used to.

VALI.  You should speak to my wife. She agrees.

AMBER.  I do know who you are, or who you have been..

VALI.  I look grateful?

AMBER.  I’ve read articles. I’m not empty. I’m diligent. I research.

VALI.  Part of the training.

AMBER.  Your films, the ones I’ve seen have connections..

VALI.  You mean themes?

AMBER.  Concerns, mostly. You like girls like me. With my shape.

VALI.  I like women.

AMBER.  Your wife. She’s not like me.

VALI.  No, she’s better.

AMBER.  She’s bigger. Broader. Is that what you like, bigger girls?

VALI.  You should go back to your room. Clean yourself. I’ll be ready to film again in an hour. We do the anal scene..

AMBER.  Who with, Marcus?

VALI.  Marcus, of course..

AMBER.  Are you sure?

VALI.  Of course! Why not sure?

AMBER.  Because I know what’s involved, what’s required.

VALI.  Lube.

AMBER.  Relaxation. And more than a little trust, actually.

 

(He stares at her.)

 

VALI.  Quite.

AMBER.  I think you understand what I’m saying. I know you do. As you told me. I mean, you’ve won awards.

VALI.  Yes, I have.

Then you know. You tell me, you say that you understand people. You tell me that Art is a question. Then why don’t you answer me? I can walk to you now. Would you like me to? I will, gladly.  This world you’ve shown is much brighter than the drab little box I was in. I’ve only been here a day and I can feel all the changes. They feel..sensual. Seismic. As if all of me, what I was.. I’m very greatful to you. I really am, Mr Vimces. I want you to know. Yes, I’ve said it. But I want you to know I’m sincere. Its so quiet here. In this house. On top of everything else that we’re doing. And the woods outside. Its a dreamscape. A film of its own! So intense! I’m thrilled. I’m just thrilled. I can’t be casual when I say this. I can’t begin to show my excitement..or portray how it affects me inside! I never dreamt this. You don’t. We were just Drama students. We wanted work. TV. Theatre. Some crappy old English film. Or America. Yes. Some equally crappy project. But this is so different..Not crap at all. This is cream.

VALI.  Cream?

AMBER.  This is cream.

 

(She removes her skirt and goes to him.)

 

VALI.  So, what is this? Screw Director, fuck yourself into what –

LUCIA.  Vallory..

VALI.  ..history..

AMBER.  Oh.

 

(LUCIA stands in the doorway. She takes her time, talking and taking over the room.)

 

LUCIA.  Hello. My husband has made three of these films in the last two years. I abhor them. They represent a compromise to me of a quite different kind. He has lost energy and become somewhat jaded. He has lost control of a future that was once practically bound with a spine. Yes, there was once a kind of book to our lives and it was one we had written. I knew from the start the whole story and I revelled in each episode. Each incident. Every page. We enjoyed them together. Those early tales, early stories. All of our early days. You write as you live. Its only at the end life is chapters. Its only at the end it is published in some deep and dark library. By this, I mean memory. Or a kind of legacy, even. Everyone has them, though they are not always ours to define. That task remains for whoever remembers. For those who keep reading as they in turn write their book. Everyone has a plot and an idea of their progress. They  do not welcome intrusion, even if they are unaffected by it. And they do not look for change, even if change approaches. For true change simply happens, like rain on the wind turned to ice.

AMBER.  Look –

LUCIA.  Are you change, or just rain? I look at you and I wonder. What are your reasons? What kind of tale would you share?

AMBER.  Listen, Mrs Vimces..

LUCIA.  We have been speared by that ice through a change in circumstance, really. Something has happened to the world we once thought we could change. I was an Actress. I knew the kind of work I was after. Strong, crucial theatre. Language as alive as that wind. And films that contained the sort of prophecies dreams can capture. That’s what I wanted, just as you were selecting your infamous route, your bad film. You want exposure perhaps. I wouldn’t risk it in here. Broken window. The wind maybe blowing and yet freedom remains at the roof.

AMBER.  Freedom?

VALI.  The roof.

LUCIA.  You can still see it from here in the deep and dank moral basement. Mostly because our seclusion is the beginnings and hope for escape. We want escape and the people we know to be helpful. Are you helpful, Amber? Or are you the one who needs help?

AMBER.  If I’ve offended you –

LUCIA.  Who?

AMBER (DISTRESSED)  Both of you.. Either..

LUCIA.  No. Vali?

VALI.  Darling.

LUCIA.  I’m not offended. Are you?

AMBER.  No.

LUCIA.  Vali?

VALI.  No.

LUCIA.  But you see, my husband won’t fuck you.

AMBER.  I didn’t expect –

LUCIA.  Am I stupid? And besides, he loves me too much.

VALI.  Yes, I do. She’s my wife.

AMBER.  I didn’t..

VALI.  But, yes I will still film you..

AMBER.  Please..

VALI.  I will offer your vagina agenda.

LUCIA.  Yes. We’ll be certain to pencil your cunt on our list. Now take it away.

AMBER.  I only meant –

LUCIA.  Its still talking? Perhaps you should train it. Looking at you now I’d wager it needs an entirely fresh etiquette.

 

(Distressed, Amber goes.)

 

VALI.  Her skirt.

LUCIA.  What about her skirt? Will she need it?

VALI.  Do you think I should take it?

LUCIA.  Where?

VALI.  Or return it?

LUCIA.  That’s a choice you will have to make, Vallory.

 

(Darkness.)

 

                         SCENE EIGHT.

 

Moonlight once more, through the window. The figure of RAVI enters, expensively dressed, menacing. He lights a cigar then thinks better of it. He looks around, throws it. It is still lit, the eye glows. ANDRE enters and stops looking at  him. Unconcerned Ravi watches, smoke from the cigar slowly rise.

 

RAVI.  Who are you?

ANDRE.  Andre.

RAVI.  Hi. I am the money. I’d put that out. They’ll be fire and the entire expense will burn down.

 

(ANDRE does so.)

 

Thankyou. Where’s the old man?

ANDRE.  The old..?

RAVI.   The old man. YES. The Film maker.

ANDRE.  There’s actually two.

RAVI.  Two film makers?

ANDRE.  Well, yes, of course. Two old men.

RAVI.  Then you’d better tell them I’m here.

ANDRE.  Who should I say?

RAVI.  What do you think you should say? Mr Rubel. No.. Shekel. Mr Sterling. No. Dollar? No. I can’t decide. Franc. Just say Franc is waiting. Say I’m here. There’s an armchair? Somewhere to sit?

ANDRE.  Yes, I’ll go.

 

(He goes for one.)

 

RAVI.  Good. Don’t want to stand. Legs are tired. Its a long walk from the driveway and I can never truly relax in a Rolls.    

 

(Andre returns with the chair.)

 

That looks old. Are you maybe one of the actors?

ANDRE.  No. I’m the Runner.

RAVI.  Where do you run?

ANDRE.  All around.

RAVI.  All around’s good. I also run round. For money. I have a special car. I collect it. Then keep all the cash in the car. It has a safe in the boot, attached to the car by a mainbrace. This is wired in turn to the body. The electrics within. It goes off.

ANDRE.  Does it?

RAVI.  Or will. Should my car be stolen. The sound is piercing. It will make your ears and eyes bleed. Its very dramatic.

ANDRE.  Of course.

RAVI.  Why are the two of us talking? I gave you a message.

ANDRE.  I’m sorry.

RAVI.  Goodbye.

ANDRE.  Yes, of course.

 

(Andre goes. Ravi looks round. And now SASHA enters. She seems drugged. She stumbles. She settles down with her rug. Ravi watches her. Her effect on him is a strange one. He seems in an instant excited, but remains in control.)

 

RAVI.  Good evening.

SASHA.  Ok. What time is it now? Did I fuck you? Are you new?

RAVI.  I’m a guest here.

SASHA.  I’m sorry, a what?

RAVI.  Visiting.

SASHA.  What do you mean? Like a tour? Is this a grand house or something? I don’t think they shouldn’t open porn to the public. There might be children around. Its insane. But people are stupid these days and try to stir shit together. Maybe they’re after new colours. But at the end of the day, shit’s the same. What are you, Indian?

RAVI.  No. I’m from Romania.

SASHA.  That’s surprising. Aren’t we in France?

RAVI.  We’re near Paris. There are lot of Romanians here.

SASHA.  Everywhere.

RAVI.  Yes.

SASHA.  Pomeranians?

RAVI.  No.

SASHA.  Aren’t they a dog?

RAVI.  I don’t know them.

SASHA.  What do you know?

RAVI.  Money. And also of course, I know you.

SASHA.  Me, you know?

RAVI.  You.

SASHA.  Then what do you know? Did I fuck you?

RAVI.  No.

SASHAWill I fuck you?

RAVI.  I don’t think so, no.

SASHA.  Are you queer?

RAVI.  No.

SASHA.  Look I’m old, but my tits are fantastic. I mean, I’m sorry to ask it, but then I don’t know why – what’s gone wrong? I fuck everyone. They used to call me ‘The Pink Tunnel.’ Its what I do. I’m a passport that only your cock gets to know. I started young.

RAVI.  Yes, I’ve read.

SASHA.  Someone spotted me at a picnic. What did you read?

RAVI.  Information. Clippings. A File.

SASHA.  CIA?

(She is shocked, suddenly, out of her stupor. She backs away very quickly, growing quite panicky.)

 

RAVI.  No.

SASHA (PANICED)  FBI?

RAVI.  No, please..I assure you. I’m just an admirer. When I knew you were here.. I’m a fan.

SASHA.  Yes, but you’re saying you came here for me? You’re here for me..?

RAVI.  No, its extra. I represent the investors. The people bankrolling the film. But when I read the contracts I was both amazed and delighted. This is chance.

SASHA.  Chance?

RAVI.  Yes.

SASHA.  Yes, Ok. But I mean, will you fuck me? Please don’t! Don’t fuck me. Because I mean there’s no tax..!

RAVI.  I know. Not at all..

SASHA.  I don’t want you to do that. I’m broken. I mean I’m not ready. I’ve had a drink, or too..

RAVI.  Yes, I see.

SASHA.  How old are you?

RAVI.  Young. How old are you?

SASHA.  37.

RAVI.  You are not 37.

SASHA.  Lazlo says I am.

RAVI.  Lazlo who?

SASHA.  Lazlo the cameraman.

LAZLO.  Me. How can I help you?

 

(LAZLO has entered. Ravi is frustrated, suddenly torn between states.)

 

SASHA.  He’s a Pomeranian.

LAZLO.  Pardon?

RAVI.  I would like to see the old man.

LAZLO.  I’m one.

RAVI.  Not you.

LAZlO.  We do not have a selection.

RAVI.  But you have one other. Or so I’m informed.

SASHA.  He’s informed! You have to help him, Lazlo.. He works for the taxman!

RAVI.  I assure you. Please. I’m the money but I do not concern myself with the tax.

LUCIA (ENTERS) What’s going on here?

RAVI.  Good day.

SASHA.  Lucia, don’t!

LUCIA.  What’s wrong, Sasha? Come here.

(Sasha joins her. Lucia puts an arm around her.)

 

RAVI.  Please.

LUCIA.  Can we help you in someway?

RAVI.  I am –

 

(VALI has entered and lingers now at the door.)

 

VALI.  Yes..

RAVI.  ..Expected.

VALI.  Hello.

RAVI.  Mr Vimces.

LUCIA.  So this is –

VALI.  Yes. This is.

LAZLO.  Oh.

 

(Silence.)

 

RAVI.  You are completed?

VALI.  Not yet.

RAVI.  Our employer will not want to hear that.

VALI.  No.

RAVI.  As a matter of fact, he’ll be angered.

VALI.  Yes, I’m sure he will.

RAVI.  We are fans.

VALI.  That is most gracious, of course. But we have experienced problems. Certain human issues. And perhaps a few technical. Making films as I do requires more preparation. Adaptation too, has been called for, as the needs of what I prepared were not met. The location for one is not as sound as expected. There have also been power issues.

RAVI.  You’re a creative man. Recreate. Work of this sort is not rocket science. If you only have so much water then you must put the right sized plug in the hole. But you misunderstand me. As fans we would not wished to have given you problems. We have of course seen some movies, which someone said, had been yours. But we were not fans of yours. Your skills have been borrowed. Myself, my employers we are in fact, fans of hers.

 

(Silence.)

 

VALI.  I beg your pardon..?

LAZLO.  Sasha..?

 

(They all look to Sasha. She looks alarmed.)

 

SASHA.  What’s the?

VALISasha?

RAVI.  Hers is the mouth in our dreams.

 

(Darkness.)

 

 

                       SCENE NINE.

 

Music – from an antique gramophone or old record player, Sinatra’s first cracked recording of ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL. Like a filmic dissolve, lights pick out the scene slowly. The empty ballroom has been made to resemble an ancient boudoir. SASHA stands posed, dressed as a period Duchess. Her make up is ghostly, heavily lined and applied. RAVI and the crew are nearby. Filming is in progress. AMBER now enters, a slow motion maid, with the light. The effect must be strange, almost unworldly. Ravi watches intently, clutching an old megaphone. Amber draws near. Sasha turns to regard her. Amber arrives and curtsies taking the move to the floor. She lifts Sasha’s dress and moves beneath it. Sasha remains posing. Light focuses on her eyes.

 

RAVI.  Dig deep..

 

(Amber does. Her feet protrude. Sasha freezes. Something falls and shatters.)

 

Jesus! What was that?

PETR.  A bulb blew.

RAVI.  A bulb?

LAZLO.  They can blow.

RAVI.  How long will it take?

ANDRE.  I can do it..

RAVI.  What’s the next shot. Where’s my writer?

MARCUS.  Yours to command.

AMBER.  Her cunt stinks.

 

(Amber emerges.)

 

It does.

RAVI.  Go to your room and remain there.

AMBER.  Tell me again.

MARCUS.  Andre, take her..

ANDRE.  I can fix the bulb..

RAVI.  Lazlo will.

 

(LAZLO does. Andre goes to Amber. She glares at him.)

 

Hit her.

 

(Andre does.)

 

AMBER.  Thankyou.

RAVI.  Go.

 

(They leave. Lazlo is at the equipment.)

 

Are you alright, Lazlo?

LAZLO.  Yes.

RAVI.  How long will it take?

LAZLO.  Needs a new one.

MARCUS.  Van, Petr.

PETR. Going.

 

(PETR goes.)

 

RAVI.  Keep her warm.

 

(Marcus takes a gown and goes to Sasha. She stares at him.)

 

SASHA.  Please stop watching.

RAVI.  I can’t. And more, I won’t, as I like to.

SASHA.  It does me no good, Ravi..

RAVI.  Really?

SASHA.  No good at all.

RAVI.  It does me.

 

(Pause.)

 

SASHA.  This is unnatural.

RAVI.  This is what it is being sober.

SASHA.  I was never drunk.

RAVI.  You’d not noticed with all the heroin in your glass. I am honouring you, as it dictates in the Bible. I just want to be close to you.

SASHA.  Ravi.

LAZLO.  The whole thing needs replacing.

RAVI.  Then go and replace it.

 

(Lazlo goes.)

 

You are the star now.

SASHA.  I know. But the sky feels as if it were folding.

RAVI.  I can buy us a change in the weather. The only thing you have to do now, is say.

SASHA.  I don’t feel well.

RAVI.  Relax.

SASHA.  This isn’t correct. Its disjointed. Everything should feel different. Its because he’s not here.

RAVI.  Death does that.

MARCUS.  ‘We cannot sleep for grief..’ is that something perhaps from a novel?

SASHA.  Such a long time since I read one. Or since I read anything. My eyes can’t adjust. As if I suddenly had too much focus. For so long I was hazy. Now I can’t seem to find my way between lights.

RAVI.  Then let me help you.

SASHA.  I can’t. Because then I would have to accept you.

RAVI.  But I want you to accept me..

SASHA.  Yes, but then I would have to face certain things. I’ve had my head turned for years. Smoke in my eyes. The heart burning. Just like –

RAVI.  Cole Porter.

MARCUS.  You’ve heard of that song?

RAVI.  Beautiful. You forget that we are sensitive men or we could not do as we want to. Why do you think I’m so different?

SASHA.  Because of what you did?

RAVI.  He was done. His talent was gone. He had just the memory of it. There was taste, but no substance. He had become sausage skin. He could not make what we wanted, so I had to complete it.

SASHA.  But you’re copying him!

RAVI.  What’s been borrowed? There’s nothing to return!

MARCUS.  Its too late.

SASHA.  That’s very convenient.

RAVI.  Yes. But I see it all, talking to you.  Hold my hand.

SASHA.  I can’t touch you.

RAVI.  Why ever not?

SASHA.  Makes you real. If I pretend, I can still deny everybody. I can distract myself and remember the haze I was in, before this. Your conditions. This change. I’m at the grace of the moon, but dawn’s breaking. The dark I knew before has been forsaken. But I liked living there. I lived well.

RAVI.  You did not live well. You lived in the shell of an addict..

SASHA.  If it was a shell, it protected. Now I’m just a fucking snail with no home.

RAVI.  I will fuck you home.

SASHA.  How? Why would you want to fuck me? How could you?

RAVI.  I’m honest. I will play at what you are. Raise your game.

MARCUS.  Perhaps I should go..

RAVI.  Why? I believe I’ve proved we’ve no secrets. I came here to deliver and deliver I did.

SASHA.  The wrong post.

 

(Lazlo returns with new equipment.)

 

LAZLO.  New bulb.

RAVI.  Old idea. And with an old man to serve it. Set it up.

SASHA.  You’re disgusting.

RAVI.  Clearly I was just made that way. My family do not mind. Or if they did, they pay for me. They paid for this, for your treatment and for his funeral. All his debts settled too. As well as a settlement for his widow. Where is she now?

LAZLO.  With her children. Getting away from her past.

MARCUS.  You fucked hers.

 

(She stands, helpess.)

 

SASHA.  I’m lost.

RAVI.  Luckily, I have found you.

 

(Andre returns.)

 

ANDRE.  She’s been chastened.

SASHA.  Someone please take the sex out of me.

 

 

(Darkness.)

 

                           SCENE TEN.

 

Later. Lamplight. LAZLO smokes and is drinking. The window are open. LUCIA appears, glazed by moonlight, conjured it seems by his haze.

 

LAZLO.  What is this?

LUCIA.  What you want. I suppose you could say its creative.

LAZLO.  Drunken thoughts?

LUCIA.  Stoned delusion. Confession, too, I expect.

LAZLO.  Its dark here.

LUCIA.  You’re trapped. Turn on the light and I’ll vanish.

LAZLO.  You already did.

LUCIA.  Had to..

LAZLO.  No.

LUCIA.  Its what you wish you could do.

LAZLO.  Its too late.

 

(Pause.)

 

LUCIA.  This is a penance, then.

LAZLO.  Drink?

LUCIA.  I can’t. I’m a lightweight.

LAZLO.  A shadowy conscience..

LUCIA.  Or stab in the dark. I’m much less.

LAZLO.  Perhaps this is my writing..?

LUCIA.  Perhaps.

LAZLO.  My dialogue. My small story. My chance to –

LUCIA.  No, Lazlo. The mistakes we have made aren’t undone.

LAZLO.  You’re talking about Zosha..or you?

LUCIA.  Do you have no concern for poor Sasha?

LAZLO.  Sasha? She –

LUCIA.  Nothing. This is why I could not stay with you.

LAZLO.  You want me to rescue her?

LUCIA.  No.

LAZLO.  I want you to be here. You’d advise me.

LUCIA.  Shame I’m not.

LAZLO.  You and Zosha. She always had a good head. Gave it too.

LUCIA.  You’ve grown crude.

LAZLO.  I am not. I’m as I was. I’m just courdroy. I was technical only. Vali always had the words and idea. I assisted, is all. I was – what’s the word, or phrase?

LUCIA.  His factotum.

LAZLO.  In that case, I factoted.

LUCIA.  That’s what I did too.

LAZLO.  You did more. You were his wife. Where are you now?

LUCIA.  On some ocean.

LAZLO.  You’ve gone back in time..

LUCIA.  You’re stoned, Lazlo. You should never smoke.

LAZLO.  Helps me see. How I loved you.

LUCIA.  She knows.

LAZLO.  I wanted to borrow you, only. Just for a weekend. Or an evening! But he would never allow, all those years. I asked him. I tried. I said, ‘As a gesture of friendship… Friendship and support..’ He laughed at me. I worked for you.

LUCIA.  But he loved me.

LAZLO.  And yet he dragged you down, all the same. You took the money and ran. I would have done something to help if you’d touched me.

LUCIA.  Lazlo, you can’t touch me..

LAZLO.  I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU TOUCHING ME! I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU..TOUCHING ME! THAT’S WHAT I’M SAYING! DO YOU SEE? CAN YOU HEAR THAT? I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU TOUCHING ME!

 

(Silence.)

 

I loved you.. Zosha, she couldn’t compare. Nor good Magda. A little white house in the country..I wanted to be in a room this size, fucking you. Smearing you with my love. Writing my name with sperm, in you. Writing my name in spit kisses. In hunger and touch. Burn and blood.

 

LUCIA.  You talk about love but you’re just describing sex, Lazlo. You talk about friendship but that’s the actual shadow for you. You betrayed him for years because of the pornography in you. Your dream and desire.

LAZLO.  To cuddle your cunt. My blood sang.

LUCIA.  Incredible.

LAZLO.  Yes. But at least I kept silent. Outside the dream.

LUCIA.  You’re not dreaming..

LAZLO.  What am I,then?

LUCIA.  Worn away.

LAZLO.  No.

LUCIA.  Murderous, too.

LAZLO.  What, you think I killed, Vali? Heart attacks happen!

LUCIA.  The door was unlocked.

LAZLO.  It was him! THE POMERANIAN!

LUCIA.  No.

LAZLO.  The mediocrity..

LUCIA.  Nonsense.

LAZLO.  He’d reach the end of his talent..AND YET I STAYED WITH HIM! HE BETRAYED ALL WE WORKED FOR BUT STILL I REMAINED! I WAS THERE!

LUCIA.  For me.

LAZLO.  Not just you.

LUCIA.  Ever since that performance. You went with him. Yet he charmed me. And that’s when I first met with him.

LAZLO.  Your audition.

LUCIA.  COLD CHAIRS. Is yours cold now?

LAZLO.  Ice and fire.

LUCIA.  Shame burns and freezes.

LAZLO.  I am not ashamed.

LUCIA.  You should be.

LAZLO.  What I did –

LUCIA.  To me –

LAZLO.  For love –

LUCIA.  Love was banished –

LAZLO.  Perhaps in that moment –

LUCIA.  Should never have been –

LAZLO.  Years ago –

LUCIA.  I remember that room and the chair I was strapped in. Much like the one you now sit in –

LAZLO.  No, yours was –

LUCIA.  What –

LAZLO.  Comfortable..

LUCIA.  Comfortable? Strapped!

LAZLO.  Tied –

LUCIA.  Kink –

LAZLO.  Desire –

LUCIA.  Youth –

LAZLO.  Vim and vigour..such passion I had –

LUCIA.  Passion?

LAZLO.  Yes. We were students – we –

LUCIA.  No –

LAZLO.  We were in the ‘land of abandon’ –

LUCIA.  The land..?

LAZLO.  Of abandon..

LUCIA.  Yes..

LAZLO.  After the war –

LUCIA.  The war? No..

LAZLO.  The war –

LUCIA.  Don’t –

LAZLO.  The chair..we had borrowed it from the theatre. Some of the theatre students, the actors had been using it for their play. They needed a backdrop. King Lear. The chair –

LUCIA.  It was thronelike –

LAZLO.  The closest we had –

LUCIA.  You –

LAZLO.  We were peasants and we didn’t know what to do. I had filmed battle scenes, footage of course from the ghetto.. from the streets..there were bodies..falling like rain from windows..some of the people, like rats when the boat begins sinking.. Lemmings from the windows..people we knew..recognised..the baker..

LUCIA.  The –

LALZO.  Man who sold the newspaper..some of the people we had known before who’d been hiding..like bedraggled rain, dying there..

LUCIA.  Better there –

LAZLO.  Than elsewhere –

LUCIA.  Better there –

LAZLO.  Than an oven..and then soldiers marching, trampling over their hands..

LUCIA.  Their –

LAZLO.  Clothes –

LUCIA.  Hands..

LAZLO.  Their –

LUCIA.  Feet..

LAZLO.  Feet..and then of course the newspaper..why is there always newspaper when there are –

LUCIA.  Explosions –

LAZLO.  No news..

LUCIA.  No news ever comes –

LAZLO.  No more news –

LUCIA.  To capture –

LAZLO.  What they were –

LUCIA.  All those stories..

LAZLO.  Stories and stains –

LUCIA.  Photographs..

LAZLO.  I was a boy..I wanted to use what I had, make it useful..

LUCIA.  So the –

LAZLO.  Yes, so the actors..

LUCIA.  It was so –

LAZLO.  Unbelievably grim..

LUCIA.  We wanted to –

LAZLO.  I –

LUCIA.  To use –

LAZLO.  Be creative..

LUCIA.  To turn all I’d witnessed, all that I’d seen –

LAZLO.  Into –

LUCIA.  Art?

LAZLO.  We had had lunch, all of us..the four of us..you and Vali..Zosha..

LUCIA.  Poor Zosha –

LAZLO.  Too much lunch..

LUCIA.  Too much drink..

LAZLO.  Those first months, those weeks..A riot they were –

LUCIA.  Of indulgence..

LAZLO.  Wine –

LUCIA.  We were children –

LAZLO.  And all of it ran to our heads..Vali went first..he had been up all night, writing stories..he raged, yes –

LUCIA.  He fired –

LAZLO.  Plans he had would lay, films he’d make..

LUCIA.  Books, lots of books –

LAZLO.  I remember he wrote you a poem..

LUCIA.  Conjured it up –

LAZLO.  He was raging, a riot words..

LUCIA.  Freedom..wine..

LAZLO.  He passed out, then came back..stumbled out into the night..

LUCIA.  Freedom –

LAZLO.  Poems..

LUCIA.  His –

LAZLO.  Celebration..I remember it well..we were left..

LUCIA.  All of those bodies, the limbs – The peopled rain.. The starved bodies..

LAZLO.  And yet we were fuelled..

LUCIA.  We were children..

LAZLO.  Beautiful..

LUCIA.  Free –

LAZLO.  We were full..I walked with you afterwards..you told me that you –

LUCIA.  Yes, the theatre –

LAZLO.  The place where you –

LUCIA.  Liberation –

LAZLO.  The place you had found –

LUCIA.  Then the chair..

LAZLO.  You were –

LUCIA.  I –

LAZLO.  YOU

LUCIA.  I was wearing a scarf..

LAZLO.  Not the blue –

LUCIA.  No..

LAZLO.  The purple..I tied your hands..

LUCIA.  Did you ask me?

LAZLO.  Did I ask you?

LUCIA.  Both my hands..

LAZLO.  I kissed you –

LUCIA.  The drink –

LAZLO.  I could taste your life in those kisses.

LUCIA.  Mine too

LAZLO.  Your body..

LUCIA.  My hand on –

LAZLO.  Your –

LUCIA.  My –

LAZLO.  Breasts –

LUCIA.  Your –

LAZLO.  Tied –

LUCIA.  Forced –

LAZLO.  Forced..

LUCIA.  I was –

LAZLO.  But I only wanted to borrow..your breasts, your whole body..the sweetness..

LUCIA.  My

LAZLO.  Face..

LUCIA.  All of me

LAZLO.  Then my pornography

LUCIA.  Your

LAZLO.  First spell

LUCIA.  My

LAZLO.  Nightmare

LUCIA.  Haunting me

LAZLO.  Stolen

LUCIA.  Dragging me down

LAZLO.  Dragging me

LUCIA.  Such plans we made

LAZLO.  Art. Those first years’ concentration..a riot of

LUCIA.  Wine

LAZLO.  Work

LUCIA.  Indulgence

LAZLO.  A frenzy

LUCIA.  Of

LAZLO.  You

LUCIA.  To forget

LAZLO.  I’m sorry, I –

LUCIA.  You

LAZLO.  Unbelieveably sorry

LUCIA.  Your

LAZLO.  First act

LUCIA.  Temptation

LALZO.  And all of it now

LUCIA.  Legacy

 

(Silence.)

 

LAZLO.  A feast of the flesh after such a long ruination

LUCIA.  After the

LAZLO.  The

LUCIA.  Subjugation

LUCIA.  The denial of all

LAZLO.  I had left

 

(Silence.)

 

LUCIA.  You buried it

LAZLO.  Yes

LUCIA.  Feeding yourself on the bodies

LAZLO.  No

LUCIA.  Stoking them, using..Coming, no doubt.. Over them

 

(He retches.)

 

LAZLO.  I couldn’t

LUCIA.  All this has been your destiny

LAZLO.  Lazlo

LUCIA.  You fed on him

LAZLO.  No

LUCIA.  On Vali. Fed on the bones, old and new.

LAZLO.  What’s been borrowed?

LUCIA.  Me, now. But I had already been stolen.

LAZLO.  You

LUCIA.  Yes. Some shadows, dense as they are still reflect.

LAZLO.  Some.

LUCIA.  You survive. Your time has been borrowed.

LAZLO.  The moon is withdrawing..

LUCIA.  Return it at once.

LAZLO.  What, the moon?

 

(Silence.)

 

You can’t. Not the moon – you can’t return what’s been stolen. You want me to transcend my limits. Well, I shrivelled from those years ago..

My dishonesty –

Look

Lucia, please.. won’t you help me?

For old times sake, if –

For Vali..

Lucia, please

Are you

 

(A silence. She’s gone. Lazlo moves to the window. He puts his hand through. Glass smashes. He watches the blood. Darkness falls.)

 

                        SCENE ELEVEN.

 

Morning. Light builds through the window. MARCUS, PETR and ANDRE are now clearing things from the room.

 

MARCUS.  What would you like me to say?

ANDRE.  Well, where do you want the camera?

PETR.  I’m not sure it makes any difference. It doesn’t really matter, does it?

ANDRE.  I’d say it does.

PETR.  Why?

ANDRE.  Because certain positions excite them.

MARCUS.  Positions mean nothing. This is about –

ANDRE.  What?

MARCUS.  Attitude. Or, rather attitude and approach. Its a new pornography, Andre!

ANDRE.  New?

MARCUS.  Everything’s dirty! The chair and the lamp..

PETR.  Cunt and dust.

MARCUS.  You’re rising up through the ranks. That is best achieved without questions.

PETR.  Or without the wrong questions..

MARCUS.  Exactly.

ANDRE.  How long do we have?

MARCUS.  Oh, all day. Now that our Boss has become our main player. We can play. Set for moonlight.

ANDRE.  So, do you want to –

PETR.  What?

ANDRE.  Walk me through.

 

(Marcus looks to Petr, who nods in assent.)

 

MARCUS.  Right, Ok..So, we pan from half moon to a wide of her leaving garden..on the soundtrack, her running – we hear her breath, very close..

ANDRE.  Right..

MARCUS.  ..so then we follow straight through – we track with her through the window..the doors separate, so we build this – as she makes her way through, straight to here..

ANDRE.  Build?

PETR.  Renovate. They must slide. It is very simple. You put them on rails.

ANDRE.  Rails..

PETR.  Ball-bearings. I have done this before..

ANDRE.  Yes, of course..

MARCUS(IMPATIENT) ..Cut to crane shot – up there, so that we get the whole ballroom..cut back to close up, so that we see the tears in the dress..

ANDRE.  Tears..

MARCUS.  Yes, its torn.

ANDRE.  The dress is torn..

MARCUS.  Yes, exactly.

ANDRE.  Breasts?

PETR.  Hers are sturdy.

 

(Marcus gives him a look.)

 

Well, they are.

MARCUS.  Then we cut to door so that we see him now in the doorway. Silhouette. Light behind him. Thick, primary colour..

ANDRE.  Yellow?

MARCUS.  2 shot. Insert: over there, that high window. Window is open. Bird lands. Raven. Close.

ANDRE.  And then Close up on him?

MARCUS.  Close, on her.

ANDRE.  On her.

MARCUS.  As she bends. Cut to midshot behind her.

ANDRE.  And then the blowjob..

PETR.  Side angle..

MARCUS.  Then we cut to shoulder.

ANDRE.  OS.

MARCUS.  Exactly. And then hold until come.

ANDRE.  On the blowjob?

PETR.  Eyes. Eyes!

ANDRE.  Ok..

PETR.  Extreme.

MARCUS.  Maybe insert..

PETR.  But mostly the mouth.

ANDRE.  Mouth.

MARCUS.  Hers, moving. Then his.

PETR.  Then Anal. Everything goes hand in hand.

MARCUS.  The camera roams..close up on the wall: hear her swallow. The lens is intrusive. You stick it in her, we see sparks.

PETR.  Its new.

ANDRE.  Monstrous.

PETR.  Fresh. People want something different. The insides are the workings and that’s what people want to see truly fucked.

MARCUS.  Here they are..

RAVI.  Welcome all!

 

(RAVI, SASHA and AMBER enter in a kind of procession. Ravi leads Sasha with Amber trailing behind. They wear silk dressing gowns and have been made up in a superstar’s fashion. The effect is as alluring as it is also grotesque.)

 

ANDRE.  Jesus..

RAVI.  We have climbed down from the tower..!

 

(Sasha is rigid. Ravi escorts her to a seat.)

 

ANDRE.  Sasha..?

RAVI.  There she is, the Princess. The soon to be Queen. Are we ready?

AMBER.  Am I in this?

PETR.  You’re the fluffer.

AMBER.  On both?

PETR.  Get them tingling..

AMBER.  I’ll need a cushion, for my knees. Can you

PETR.  No.

 

(Ravi takes the scarf that Sasha has clutched tightly to her. Although it takes effort, his insistence wins through.)

 

RAVI.  Mother has a scarf. Perhaps you could fold it?

AMBER.  I will, thankyou.

RAVI.  Purple.

AMBER.  Goes with my eyes.

PETR.  Or your bruise.

(Ravi passes it.)

 

AMBER.  Nice.

MARCUS.  How are you, Sasha?

RAVI.  She is complete.

ANDRE.  She looks done for.

RAVI.  I assure you that I will now rescue her.

MARCUS.  Shall we rehearse?

RAVI.  We can film.

MARCUS.  Oh..no, I thought later. I want it at night.

RAVI.  Close the drapes. We can borrow the night if we shut out all this morning. Film now. I’m ready. And so is my love. Mother..

ANDRE.  Fuck.

 

(A strange silence.)

 

PETR.  Ok.

AMBER.  I’m ready, also. This is the start of my claim on the future. Is everyone set? I’ll start sucking. Are you going to

ANDRE.  What?

AMBER.  Close on me?

 

(She folds the scarf and kneels on it, as Marcus moves to the curtains. VALI is glimpsed at the window as both of the curtains are closed.)

 

PETR.  Speed.

ANDRE.  Camera rolling.

AMBER (SMILES) Who here comes before me? And who comes late?

SASHA.  We, the fucked.

 

 

(They look at her. They laugh. Ravi stands before Amber. She puts her hands on him as Darkness falls. End of Play.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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