Play 06

Title: Lift-Off

Author: Peter Wood

Draft date: 13-08-07


A cave. Slowly dripping water. Occasionally the sound of small animals scurrying along wet stone.

An old woman enters. She is dressed in rags and carring a bundle of sticks. She hums softly to herself as she places the sticks in a fire circle. She lights them using an old and battered Zippo lighter.

She laughs. A distant sound of children. She stops laughing. The sound of water: drip, drip, drip. She quickly shuffles off stage.

The fire burns. The sticks pop and shrivel. The water drips.




A small, dirty, and nearly naked child runs through the space. Then is gone.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

A tall woman wearing an astronaut suit enters, goes to the fire, sits, and removes her helmet. She spits at the flames. Pokes at them with a gloved hand. Sneezes. Yawns.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

She falls asleep. She dreams.

A young girl helps her father repair the carburetor on an old, red, Ford Fairmont. The car turns to a dragon with a tiger’s head. It licks the little girl who giggles in ticklish delight. Then a full moon is shattered into precisely 1172 pieces and all is dark.

The fire fades. The cave is lit only by the glowing moss that covers the cave walls in a bluish-green tint.

Nearby, the sound of Tuvan throat singing wakens the astronaut. Then the song fades. Distant sounds of a car engine revving.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The astronaut stands, tiredly, nearly stumbling. She puts her helmet back on and exits, walking slowly and carefully.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The old woman returns with more sticks. The child follows, making faces at the old woman. From far, far away, the sound of a NASA countdown.

Skittering animals in the dark.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The old woman lights another fire. The child curls at her feet and sleeps . . . without dreams. The old woman runs her shaking hand along the child’s dirty, matted hair. In a voice weak and trembling, she says:


Once upon a time.


Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.


Then, faintly, very faintly:


We have lift-off.

Drip. Drip.


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