Play 15

2013-08-21

This, along with 2, 6 & 9, is one of my favorites. And, quite possibly, the last play I actually complete for this project.

Title: Pushed

Author: Peter Wood

Draft date: 13-08-15

Contact: peterwood2@gmail.com

On stage a young woman with dark hair and wearing a crown woven of flowers sits in a straight-backed chair looking out at the audience. She is creating another crown of flowers throughout. This is Ophelia. Behind her, a video projection shows the same woman walking along the bank of a fast-rushing river. It is spring, and the flowers are in abundance. She is singing.

Intercut with those images are extreme close-ups of Ophelia kissing a man. These images are fast, almost grotesque in their extremity. The live Ophelia is in conversation with the audience as well her own pre-recorded voice.

RECORDED OPHELIA

You all think I’m stupid, don’t you.

OPHELIA

Stupid. So stupid.

RECORDED OPHELIA

Poor little deluded girl, her mind cracked-

OPHELIA

Cracked. Deluded.

RECORDED OPHELIA

Killed herself.

OPHELIA

Killed herself. Killed herself. Killed herself.

RECORDED OPHELIA

To stupid to know.

OPHELIA

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Long pause.

OPHELIA

He was the Prince. The heir to the throne. You think we didn’t know, didn’t know what would happen if they found out, what would happen if we were too obvious. He could never have made me his Queen. We knew that.

Pause.

OPHELIA

But he loved me. I knew that. Never, ever doubted it.

The screen behind her shows Ophelia and Hamlet lying, naked, in bed, They touch each others lips, cheeks, stroke each other’s brows, hair. They kiss. They tenderly explore each other’s bodies. They laugh together. Fall into one another.

RECORDED OPHELIA

We knew that. We knew.

A figure enters, dressed all in black and wearing a neutral mask. Throughout the next monologue, the figure mimes grabbing another by the hair, throwing the other to the ground, etc.

RECORDED OPHELIA

Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.

OPHELIA

Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

RECORDED OPHELIA

You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it: I loved you not.

OPHELIA

I was the more deceived.

RECORDED OPHELIA

Get thee to a nunnery; why wouldst though be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest; and yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me: I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.

Long pause. The background video screen fades to black on a frozen image of Hamlet’s smiling face. The dark figure goes to stand, motionless, behind Ophelia.

OPHELIA

Really, you think I’m stupid?

RECORDED OPHELIA

Stupid.

OPHELIA

You all think that you, hundreds of years later, can figure out that he was putting on an act and I . . . I who had lain with him, who had kissed him, who had held him to my breast and tasted his tears on my lips . . . that I did not know?

Pause.

OPHELIA

The nunnery was what we called the old, disused room we had found together as children in one of the secret passages that had been forgotten in the west wing of the castle. The room we had turned into our private bed-chambers and where he held me, sometimes for an entire night if my father and brother had drunk enough so that I knew they would be passed out until after dawn. Where he held me and touched my skin and whispered my name.

RECORDED OPHELIA

(whispering)

Ophelia. Ophelia.

OPHELIA

Where he would weep for his father, where he would confess his fears and his plans. Where he would make love to me.

Pause.

RECORDED OPHELIA

(whispering)

Ophelia. Ophelia.

OPHELIA

And really, how much more obvious could he be with his admonition to “believe none of us.”

RECORDED OPHELIA

He loved me.

OPHELIA

Never stopped loving me.

RECORDED OPHELIA

(whispering)

Ophelia. Ophelia.

The lights begin to fade as Ophelia finishes the crown of flowers and holds it up. She smiles.

OPHELIA

I was pregnant with his child.

In a violent and sudden motion, the dark figure pushes Ophelia and her chair over. Ophelia sprawls, broken and drowning on the floor.

Blackout. On the projection screen, stuttering, broken images: Ophelia & Hamlet together, Ophelia drowning. From far away, and fading fast:

RECORDED OPHELIA

(singing)

Drown not with tears, my dearest Love, / Those eyes which my affections move; / Do not with weeping those lights blind / Which me in thy subjection bind. / Time, that made us two of one, / And forced thee now to live alone, / Will once again us re-unite / To show how she can Fortune spite. / Then will we our time redeem, / And hold our hours in more esteem, / Turning all our sweetest nights / Into millions of delights; / And strive with many thousand kisses / To multiply exchange of blisses.

[[http://archive.org/stream/lyricsfromsongbo96bull#page/158/mode/2up]]

The images fade along with the voice.

All is darkness.

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