Forgotten, for a time . . .
It’s hard to make these posts these days, as I’ve been doing less music writing and more creative work, which is all being saved up for competitions and for paper publishing. Last year I had some incy-wincy playlets published here: http://www.talon-arts.com/play-of-the-day.html. Here are two that never made it up.
“Amygdala Hijack” Copyright © Joel Rowan Morgan –August 2012.
Two figures sit unmoving, opposite one another, on matching cushioned wooden armchairs. The light from a single window lights the small room they are in; it is a sunny day. The players appear relaxed and comfortable, as we survey the still scene. The therapist (stage right, near the window) is smart but casual in appearance; the patient, Alex (stage left, near the door), who sips water throughout, is more fashionable, but wears trainers, not proper shoes . . . After a time the action proceeds, and we join the conversation mid-sentence.
Alex . . . when you say my fear of spiders in general is a fear of the unknown, what do you actually mean, because to me the spider is there, it’s real, and it is the thing that I’m afraid of?
Therapist I’m suggesting that the spider may represent what you cannot control, be that internally or externally. It’s your alien dark place.
Alex Or it is literally alien. Maybe certain arachnids are descended from alien life forms that arrived via meteorites, and I am just connecting to a deep-rooted survival instinct; a fear that perhaps we all should share.
Therapist Indeed, everyone has their dark places, or at least it is not uncommon to feel that our fears, though irrational, are logical, and therefore we accept them more readily, and one may or may not face up one’s own so easily.
Alex I may have been being serious, either way, what if your “monsters under the bed theory” is still just that; a theory? For all we know the spider could be my mother, or simply a spider, or literally an alien, perhaps I offer up fantasy as a viable solution. It’s in my nature to solve these things creatively.
Therapist Your mother; now that’s interesting. Do you fear your mother?
Alex Yes, naturally, and what she represents. Let me rewind, perhaps I mention her and the alien theory because my fear of spiders is specific to certain species. The huntsman, for example, even a picture of that can strike fear into my heart and have me closing all the windows. The beastly house spider is obviously my chief concern, and in trying to find a root of my fear, I’m transported back to a young age, and a reliance on my mother to remove these creatures, but sometimes, well sometimes she couldn’t. I suppose now she has in part, become more like the spider, and no longer my rescuer at all.
Therapist How is your mother like a spider? Does she represent similar unknowns or uncontrollable elements in your life?
Alex She has been the main uncontrollable element for some time now. As glorious and beautiful as it is that she is the life-giver, the womb is a dark place, and I wear that darkness like . . . a shadow on an echocardiogram. She was once someone to look up to, she is now my decaying parallel, twisted and swollen in her tangled web, poison drips from her, and she longs to eat her young, or any intruder; anyone who seeks to break down her defences.
She’s a wounded beast; her legs torn off, but still she fights her dark and mysterious fight. I don’t know what her next move is, but I know the threat is always death, or just the threat of it, which is enough, and a bluff, and just as bad. The thought of her death hangs over me like the threat of the silent stalking spider; it is shadowy, yet comforting in its familiarity.
Therapist It could be argued that we choose to fear. Do you choose to view your mother this way, in order to rationalise her irrational behaviour; the unknown effects of her condition?
Alex Yes, I believe in this kind of free will; these moments of weakness may suit me well. The spider only seems symbolic because of its shape, the connotations of its colour, the silent threat etc. I can live with or without my arachnophobia, and in fact, I only chose to bring it up as a way of bringing us to the subject of my mother. However, to live without the fear of what my mother can do to me, would be to live with no mother at all. The truth is these fears are momentary; dark spots in the corner of my vision . . . most of the time I’m not bothered at all.
(Alex looks up to a clock that’s mounted on the wall)
“Bow Shock” Copyright © Joel Rowan Morgan –August 2012.
A couple in their fifties (approx) wear loose-fitting cotton garments, straw hats, and sandals and sit on the ground in the heart of an abundant vegetable plot that fills the stage, the sun beats down on them from overhead. They pod broad beans into wooden bowls.
Mela To be honest I’m nervous about Eva coming here; it’s been a long time since I felt this way and I don’t want it to signify the start of something.
Nico You’re not even that person anymore. I’m sorry; I thought you were fine with it. It was your call.
Mela I am fine with it, just nervous. (Looks up, smiling) What’s that smell? Is it just the garden? No it’s something else. I keep drifting out of time.
Nico I’ve got sun-cream on today, is it that?
Mela Oh my god. Yeah, it’s the combination of that and the breeze and the flowers; it’s so nice.
Nico It’s only sun-cream.
Mela I find it kind of erotic.
Nico Just concentrate on your beans will you.
Mela (Licks her lips) Mmm, yummy beans . . . Should I make up the spare room, or are we all going to sleep in the tipi?
Nico I could sleep right here, it’s so peaceful; I don’t think the garden has ever looked so good. I can barely picture what it was like when we came here.
Mela Let’s have a tipi night then, then you can crawl out here and get spiders in your eyes if you so wish.
(There’s a long pause as they concentrate their efforts on their work)
Nico Has Eva ditched the drugs?
Mela (Stops working) Good question; I think so. She told me on the phone that she was tired of the scene. She says that drugs have become cool again, and a celebrated alternative. She said . . . um, what was it? . . . Oh yeah, “all these hipsters have become so painfully self-aware, that when they pop-pills it’s just parody, so therefore it’s fine.”
Nico I could’ve told her that twenty years ago.
Mela That’s what I said; then she asked if she could come and stay.
Nico Well, you did the right thing.
Nico (Looks up) Now I don’t mean this in a bad way, but she reminds me of all the reasons why I bought this place in the first instance. The internet-only generation, all hiding behind their unqualified beliefs, defending themselves in packs, ignoring the universality of their own tool, all of them believing that what they do comes first. I had to come out here and watch all this grow to know that I could win. You know, ‘vintage’ always meant something different to me . . . and I could never apply the term to the 90s.
Mela (Looks up) Well you did the right thing.
Nico Thanks, but I couldn’t have done it without you.
Mela You won’t be too hard on her will you?
Nico (Looks up) Me, I’m a pussycat. . . She did what I couldn’t do; I have great respect for the woman. Stop worrying will you, and go a put the kettle on.
Mela What about the beans, can you do them without me?
Nico (Laughs) You’ve done about five pods; I think I’ll manage just fine.
Mela Ok bean-pod, meet me in the tipi when you’re done.
Mela stands and pushes Nico’s hat from her head then runs a hand through the hair beneath before exiting.