Adagio

AUDIO: Music fades in: Adagio.

Lights slowly fade up on a small table, CENTER RIGHT, with a vase of 6 red roses. There is an open window suspended RIGHT, a phone on a small table DOWN CENTER and a television, LEFT, facing upstage. The tv has no power cord and the screen is not visible to the audience.

A MAN crosses towards the table from UP STAGE RIGHT. He is wearing underwear under a long, flowing silk bathrobe, open at the front. He stops to the RIGHT of the table. He takes a flower in his right hand, smells it, brushes his face with it, then drops it on the floor to his left.

MAN
December 24, 1959. A baby was found in a dumpster behind a movie theatre in Franklin, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb.

He takes another flower in his right hand, smells it, brushes his face with it, then drops it on the floor to his right.

MAN
The child was three months old.

He takes a third flower in his left hand, smells it, then plucks a petal with his right hand and slowly brings it to his mouth. He eats the petal. He then drops the flower on the floor to his in front of him.

MAN
May 27, 1993. Five people were killed when a car bomb exploded outside the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Three paintings were destroyed. Thirty more were damaged. Two of the killed were children.

He takes a flower in each hand. Gripping the stems tightly in his fists he holds his arms outstretched. His face is contorted, showing first pain, then pleasure. He drops the flowers to the ground and opens his palms toward the audience. His palms are bleeding. One at a time he brings the palms to his face and licks the blood which smears across his lips. He drops his arms to his side.

AUDIO: Thunder. The music fades out as the sound of rain fades in.

He crosses DOWN FRONT CENTER and picks up the phone. His gaze moves through the audience making eye contact with various people as he speaks.

MAN
it’s me... No, I'm kind of freaked out, actually... I was having one of my dreams and then I was woken up by it…. God, it was spooky... I think it struck the museum... The only thing I can see from here are flashing lights... Yeah, me too... No, it’s pouring rain, I'm on the fourth floor and I'm not dressed... I don't know... Nothing, I guess... It helps to hear your voice... God, I wish I could be home right now... No, I still don't know... It could be days, weeks... It could be longer... I know... It is for me, too... Yeah, someday... OK, well, I'll let you go... No, I'll be ok... Really, I feel better already... I love you... Bye.

AUDIO: A cat screeches OFF STAGE.

He hangs up the phone crosses to the window, RIGHT, and looks out. A cool light comes in from the window. Faint red and orange lights flash on and off, the light from distant emergency vehicles.

MAN
I thought it was a baby crying in the alley. But it was a cat on the balcony below. It was acting strangely. Lying on it’s side, oblivious to the rain, it’s front legs stretched forward as if reaching for something. it’s back legs were scratching and kicking against the floor. it’s orange coat was wet and matted down, it looked so thin. Suddenly, it stood and looked up at me. Slowly it backed up and began rubbing itself against a large clay pot. I realized it must be in heat. It threw herself down on the floor again, stretching and thrashing for a while and then returned to rubbing against the clay. I watched its primitive dance and forgot about explosion, the bomb.

AUDIO: Music fades in: Ne Me Quitte Pas.

He leaves the window and crosses to stand facing the TV. He closes the robe and wraps his arms around himself. The TV light fades up illuminating him from the chest up.

MAN

Speaking to the TV, swaying gently to the music.

I don't understand French
but I know what he sings.
He says,

Don't leave me.
Love can be lost
but it can't be forgotten.
When I'm with you
I forget the time
and my heart is happy.
Showers of pearls
fall into an empty grave.
A bed of white is waiting.
Love is a King who dies
with no Queen.
My words are invented.
It is for you I speak.
Love is a heart on fire.
I don't understand French but I know what he sings.
He sings of volcanoes
and of burnt earth.
Heaven is a heart on fire.
He sings
Love is red
Love is black.
I will not cry anymore.
I need not speak anymore.
I am only going to smile.
I am only going to laugh.
I am only going to dance.
I don't understand French
but I know what he sings.

Fade to Black.