Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the first half of my scene adaptation for the Dream Chain

Life is a Dream
Adam Szymkowicz


Act 1, Scene 1


(SEGISMUNDO in a spotlight wears heavy chains that
restrict his movement. He is shackled, weighed down,
and sad.)

SEGISMUNDO
Misery! Woe am I! Woe! I have seen from the jail
window the calm water, the laughing children, the
flowers in bloom, birds of many colors—I don't know
their names—if they see me with a book, they take it
away before I can learn the difference between a
sparrow and a hawk. They don't want me to know things
in case . . . in case I might do something. You don't
know what I could do. Misery! All I know is misery.
Woe. Woe. Woe-Woe. The day I was born they knew to
put me in shackles. Before they washed me off even,
I was in irons. Cleanliness don't come before public
safety. I'm a menace, you see. Look real close.
Can't you see I'm a menace? They could see it in my
eyes. They could hear it when they pressed their ears
up to the womb. They learned something then I guess.
Don't get too close. I'm not safe. I'm evil. They
tell me I'm evil.

(ROSAURA rides in on CLARIN's back, a riding crop in
one hand and reins in the other. She is dressed as a
man. CLARIN wears a clown nose and, besides ROSAURA,
carries two heavy suitcases. They do not see
SEGISMUNDO.)

ROSAURA
Whoa! Whoa! Hold up there, horsey!

CLARIN
I'm not a horse. I'm Clarin.

ROSAURA
I'll say you're not a horse. A horse is quick and
intelligent and brave and strong.

CLARIN
Right. I'm none of them things. I can't even neigh
proper.

ROSAURA
You should have thought of that before you shot our
horses.

CLARIN
They were moving too slow.

ROSAURA
They're moving much slower now.

CLARIN
I hate Poland. Remind me again why we came to Poland.

ROSAURA
I have business.

CLARIN
Right, what does that mean? And why are you dressed
like a man?

ROSAURA
It's better to dress like a man.

CLARIN
Yeah but no one will believe you.

ROSAURA
Everyone will believe me.

CLARIN
No one will believe you.

ROSAURA
Clarin!

CLARIN
I mean you're not very manly.

ROSAURA
Is it because I'm so beautiful?

CLARIN
No, that's not it.

ROSAURA
You don't think I'm beautiful?

CLARIN
Are you propositioning the help?

ROSAURA
Clarin!

CLARIN
Because I heard rumors, sure, but I never thought--

ROSAURA
Let's look for a place to stay.

CLARIN
I guess I could sleep here and you could sleep over
there. Or I could sleep over there and you here. Or
I guess if you wanted me to sleep with you I guess I
could make an exception because it's only you and me
here alone and I'm lonely and you're lonely and I'm a
man and you're a woman and your hair looks quite nice
in this light if I squint, like this.

(The rustling of chains.)

ROSAURA
Shh! What's that?

CLARIN
I don't know. Don't let it ruin the mood.

ROSAURA
Is this a building?

SEGISMUNDO
Woe! Woe is me! Misery! Sadness! Oh-Woe!

ROSAURA
Did you hear that?

CLARIN
No. Take off your pants.

(ROSAURA enters the building and CLARIN follows,
undoing his belt. They stop when they see
SEGISMUNDO.)

SEGISMUNDO
Why was I built like this? Why? I was born this way,
don't you see? My heart they say is the largest heart
ever found in a person's chest. When it beats, it
shakes the walls. They are terrified of it, which is
why I'm here. Or it is my eyes. My eyes they say are
more destructive than any hammer ever made. Birds
fall from the sky if they chance to look at me
head-on. Or my voice. The wild beasts I the
forest, in the ground, in the ocean all tremble when
they hear the sound that can come from the back of my
throat. Or it was these fingers.

ROSAURA
Fingers.

SEGISMUNDO
Or this skin.

ROSAURA
Skin.

SEGISMUNDO
Or this tongue.

ROSAURA
Oh!

SEGISMUNDO
What was that?!

ROSAURA
He's so beautiful.

CLARIN
He's OK.

SEGISMUNDO
What's that? Who's that? A spy? Who sent you? Have
you come here to beat me?

ROSAURA
(stepping forward)
No.

(SEGISMUNDO grabs her in his large arms.)

SEGISMUNDO
I can't let you live.

ROSAURA
No!

CLARIN
Let her live!

SEGISMUNDO
What, another one?

CLARIN
No.


ROSAURA
Please, sir.

SEGISMUNDO
You shouldn't have heard me.

ROSAURA
But, your voice. It made me feel—

(Romantic music begins to play. ROSAURA touches his
face.)

SEGISMUNDO
I've never been touched like this.

ROSAURA
Your skin is so rough.

SEGISMUNDO
I've never felt like this.

ROSAURA
Your body is so warm.

SEGISMUNDO
I don't understand what's happening.

ROSAURA
Your eyes are so strong.

SEGISMUNDO
I feel a rising in my chest, a swelling of my throat.
It's like the first moment of something unexpected.

ROSAURA
I feel it too.

SEGISMUNDO
It's like something I can't explain.

ROSAURA
I can't explain it either.

SEGISMUNDO
Stay here with me.


CLOTALDO
(Offstage)
Intruders! Intruders!

(The music stops)

CLARIN
Oh, shit!

ROSAURA
What's going on?

SEGISMUNDO
You're not supposed to be here. No one is supposed to
see me.

ROSAURA
Not ever?

SEGISMUNDO
They will kill you.

CLARIN
They will what?!!

(CLOTALDO enters shouting followed by armed GUARDS.)

CLOTALDO
Intruders! Seize them

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