Ellen Zweig & Lou Robinson


Blanche Wittman (a plump and dimpled blond girl): He developed the habit of ripping in half deities he has just finished decorating.

Louis: If more is needed, we'll make more difficulty walking and standing. The person who is gazing expectantly won't ever lie.

Blanche: Let him stop living in the basement, looking at the living optic nerve.

Louis: Sugar overstimulated her, peculiar twists and turns, bizarre and grotesque feats of dexterity were performed. The development of modern science can hold back sobs.

Blanche: Leaving Dorrians, male or female, you've got claws to capture the split second commotion. All the musicians were there: battered thirty-five millimeter jugglers, court bards, actors, dancers, athletes, wrestlers, tambourine players, buffoons.

Louis: Those who play with ropes won't let me do service.

Blanche: The devotee who made the call referred to them by their diseased body parts.

Louis: See what you can do to resolve the perceiver into that which was perceived. Get him something decent, pure in eye.

Blanche: Some ecstatic children were rolling it down the hall when the fictive mother made those marks herself. A man grown suddenly old may be a physiognomist or picture- explainer.

Louis: Many married women will always be in your footsteps.

Blanche: He had his history there, too, walking on tiptoes.

Louis: Her arms shot out numb and rigid.

Blanche: The more I work on these plants the more the fascination of them grows upon me.



(Third character enters: Gabrielle Russier--30 yr old french schoolteacher who had an affair with 16 yr old male student of hers. Police, govt., family drove her to imprisonment, madness, suicide.)

Set: (loose stones lying on the ground are generally white but otherwise dark)

Blanche: collecting seaweed during a seaside holiday relaxes in the long run.

Louis: those long lines of gentle puppets. Continued her plant experiments. Lombroso's skull collection.

Blanche: In whose shadow such alternative relationships had always been conducted.

Louis: Knows how to deserve her--flash, flit, shine, look like, adorn who amuse others by uttering the same thing in two or three.

Blanche: Not after she told those two dreams but later. Like those who depict infernoes. Might have simply fallen back.

Louis: Very different arms receive him.

Blanche: That's why he associates with us, using a picture of a skeleton.

Louis: To bring the machine into perfect timing.

Blanche: We want him alive and we want him agile. Balancing on her heels and head like an acrobat.

Julian: (the runaway should suddenly decide to talk)

Gabrielle: I wasn't there.

Blanche: Fathers who encouraged daughters, every kind of caution. Try to have more presence of mind.

Gabrielle: I thought it would be safe to see you again.

Blanche: Could not drive in poor light.

Gabrielle: The charges against me may be reduced.

Louis: The opportunity to study birds. I really must settle down to drawing horses.

Julian: (his angels haul him off to the stall)

Blanche: Who make drawings on paper of such things as men, birds, beasts, eagles, or insects. The erection of a palace set with jewels. Objects or images by which you may earn a living. really meant tottering.

Gabrielle: I didn't waste too much time.

Julian: (she hands her a sheet of paper typed on both sides)

Blanche: We whisper, we go over the same ground again, again. Texts confiscated and destroyed.

Gabrielle: Look for chinks.



In a circular chamber, quite dark

Blanche: Her grief spreads throughout her body: hybridism, artificial breeding, rudimentary organs. She looked for a victim, anyone who had dissected the hand, the viscera, or even a feather.

Louis: Who dare say whether it is or it isn't more beautiful than nature?

One or two small shrouded lamps placed on the floor serve dimly to light the way to a few descending steps. He, who is beginning to suffer under her domination, becomes conscious that the scene before him is slowly moving away. This room in reddish-blue, ruined windows, half choked with ivy.

Gabrielle: Here is clearly seen what's left of me from before: bits of stone that happen to look like organic forms.

Blanche: Have you really experienced all that? The wish to capture evanescent reflections?

Gabrielle: Instead of staring at an ancient photograph, he resorted to a peculiar technique.

Blanche: If you want to study seriously, right after the first woman you mention in your book, go out into the open air.

Gabrielle: The whole night with her, threatened by a revolver, kept alive by rumors...

Blanche: Systematically to construct the head, the sensitive condition of the eye, I mean, your head, which unites the shape of the landscape as we know it with this apparent mirage.

Louis: Concept and execution reveal a touching effort, occasionally obscured. His striving for extreme naturalism also holds good for hues and broken colors.

Blanche: The eye soon became sufficiently accumstomed to the priviledged case of a parallel projection, the various ways it can be disturbed or made to look strange as a process of degeneration.

Gabrielle: When speaking parts are forbidden, the ear has no direction.

Louis: The same sentence has three meanings: they were consumed with curiosity as to how it was done. And now something strange happened to our Charlotte: the desire for newsreels and travel films.



A long, very brightly lit room, where there are several long tables on which you can see, standing side by side in wooden supports, test tubes containing powders of the same dazzling colour as the streams in the courtyard . . . liquids of the same colour are being heated in retorts suspended above little flames.

Blanche: What is he talking to you about?

Louis: The son of an itinerant miniature painter found it fun to make his entry upside down. Lost all judgment of time and place. Joined believers. Finally found the marginal. In exploration lies disillusionment.

Blanche: Has she forgotten you for casting colored shadows on the floor?

Louis: Effects that had to be achieved with oil lamps. Each time she took a photograph, they insisted these gaps serve to remind us--images are hardier. My brain burns under a kind of writing table.

Blanche: Where did you steal it?

Louis: I can't understand why you scientific people feverishly examine his clothes. Rarity and distance permit oddly beautiful disregard. Better to shun science altogether. All we need for process to appear as plot-- shoot a sudden . . .

Blanche: Why are we doing this?

Louis: To perform extraordinary feats of endurance, haphazard visions dumped allowing anyone wild locusts and miraculous relics. The discovery that an actual thunderstorm was going on at the same time spread like wildfire all over Europe . . .

Blanche: Up to his neck in water, a seam opened and he followed her foolishly up. As are as we are sane, lumpen, stranded, witness of the invisible world, placed in sudden darkness, barely trace her scowl.



Louis: Past a certain degree, the old show business premise persisted.

(The grotesque object, witnessed at all times, in squalid, cramped quarters)

Gabrielle: Mediums can be physical: in a kind of silent transparency.

Julian: Deprived of memory and understanding, balance helps to orient us in mental space.

(The only space we experience assumes the terrible appearance of a desert.)

Gabrielle: A skateboard-sized device reveals this secret like a rebus. One person and not another entered his memory as a disconnected sequence of optical displays.

Louis: You must stop moving away from us, threatening to shake the whole building down.

Blanche: All the drifters on earth provide cases and covers for their possessions.

Louis: Such feelings were exaggerated for the mere gratification of gazers.

Blanche: The end of any alliance with them: the random gestures and words.

Julian: Lavish all these considerations on a broken brain?

Gabrielle: Continue the journey, proud, vindictive; slip into this excess.

Blanche: Monstrous and alive, quite close, the face is removed like a mask.

Gabrielle: You thought you held someone, the apparent dryness and coolness of the skin.

(His memory is suddenly flooded with her shoes, in the final flash)

Louis: Words were threadbare; the tin cascade was done away with.

Gabrielle: Why do you try so desperately to explain everything in abnormally cautious language?

Blanche: Swimming back and forth across the river without stopping in the serene world.



Set: ottomans and sofas are dispersed around awkwardly shaped rooms and niches. magnifying glasses mounted around the platform to provide maximum display.

Gabrielle: I lay on the backseat.

Julian: The scene of secret and hidden experiments. Stricken on the road, both repulsed and grateful.

Gabrielle: The doctor gave me Stelazine. Peril followed by beauty. Then, invasion, sickness, whiteness. . .

Julian: The many shapes of the agony of imprisonment decompose into images . . .

Gabrielle: Not into narrations, all those stammered, imperfect words. Julian, there were people who couldn't move. There I was, kindling their spirits.

Julian: Whoever looks on this from outside, some culpability, even complicity.

Gabrielle: With the addition of Julian and his monstrous music inserted mysteriously into the background, as he lies embedded in the 19th century, with chains still on his feet. Julian, the mind is luminous. From the running, I like to brag.

Julian: No denial however vehement, with her mechanical smile, fugitive and waning. Expresses on the ground, rotten field, ideas only rendered partially visible by plays on the surface of things. Does not remain loyal to the spectacle of the skeleton.

Gabrielle: But when I kneel, certainty vanishes.

Julian: The wish to be twisted.

Gabrielle: These are no angels. An implicit conspiracy or something when they give me money. It is very important that you pay for what you brought.



Louis: Did you sleep with everyday objects and profane texts?

Blanche: The brain can see desire drawing a curtain. Eau de nile, the name of a color, an unbounded fragment of a world open to everything that lives, but not admonitions.

Gabrielle: Take white pillowcases to the ocean to scatter the guts out on the ground. Different surfaces on panels, colored or not, a woman reading a letter.

Blanche: Didn't you feel it didn't you hear it, a piece of white satin?

Gabrielle: Why have you come back to their monotonous nights?

Blanche: The skies are scanned with pity from close up a decline, a breath to the pride, a trust to devices, thing devoid of hope which opened intimate links to the world of shadows, phantom content unfolding, like that of the eye itself.

Gabrielle: You cannot tell what is causing unfolding shadows.

Blanche: Something is happening that is going to happen in caves or in rooms without windows.

Gabrielle: Only oblivion can suppress unceasing interplay of sound and sense.

Blanche: An arm dangling in the bus aisle, the world staining the surface as if it were an outside force, a certain disposition of the heart.

Louis: They become them without my permission, monsters - that is, etymologically, beings or things to be shown.

Gabrielle: The task of healing these broken vessels projects itself out of me.



Blanche: You can't just walk in here you know, with the same gestures to set them apart.

Gabrielle: In the geography of haunted places she would walk him to the water.

Louis: Prudence, about to put his foot in a puddle, blasts apart.

Gabrielle: He seldom omitted to introduce Mem, a woman, a being in unlimited space.

Blanche: (With a firm, apparently brutal grasp) You didn't try hard enough.

Louis: The phenomena, curiosities, and philosophy of the sense of sight, they warned me not to get inflated ideas

Gabrielle: He's getting weaker every day.

Blanche: Has actually married his gallery of statues. Shadows from the stag antlers on the wall. To think such nights will never return.

Louis: We live in the picture, we were all great pretenders.

Gabrielle: To conceal and reveal, that's not a lot, is it?

Blanche: Do not speak in a human voice. Speak as if they were true.

Gabrielle: Everyone knew I was writing something about that night--faces torn by bites. But an animal with strange mechanisms. Doing the work of a machine.

Louis: Every second was the narrow portal become special and set apart. The bleak world of beasts and things, of my magical prowess.

Gabrielle: So perfectly solid. Leaves little space for aberration.

Louis: An arguable relationship to the knowledge of cadavers. Time itself moves slowly, if at all.

Gabrielle: He has color, he is calm, he speaks of the prior world. This wedge of light, would you wander around in it?



(Lit by two sad white neon shells of sea-green light.)

Blanche: I did not know in what vague manner I would see myself on some pages, what counts as evidence: strange, forgotten, lovely things.

Gabrielle: The ramparts of his solitude deep in our genes feel safe now with me, locked within the theater of his body. There were these candles and he was moaning through intricate, recurrent sequences.

Louis: To be able to see clearly distant things inside the usual Parisian thunderstorms, select four sentences which you think are keys; scribble, breathing hard. If you don't like the words or gestures, revisualize the opulent flesh which once covered these bones, amoeba-like fissioning wherein the word exudes an erotic aura.

Julian: What really matters is that she was a foreigner without ever being at a loss for words, a condition acquired in a green chair in the park in the afternoon.

(Scattering various sheets of paper and maps over the reeking carnage of the furniture with their legs, the angels straddle corridors of quaint and amusing things.)

Blanche: Revelations are unclear: I pacify the bloody- minded.

(Huge thorns or soldiers in uniform quiver, extend, grow small)

Gabrielle: All these pretended peddlers of the future are susceptible to the ceremony of her hands.


© Ellen Zweig & Lou Robinson, 1994
From GRIST On-Line, an original publication
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