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Under The Boabab Tree: A Closet Drama (collaboration with RevolutionAL)

Dramatis personae

Chorus (heard, but not seen)
Hannah, a widow
The narrator, a vagabond
Tom, Hannah's husband's ghost

SCENE 1

Hannah stands to the left of the Baobab tree, the right of which contains a hollow from which light and soft but happy music can be heard, as well as the occasional chink of glass to indicate a bar.

HANNAH: "We live in beauty", so you said.
A crib from Lord Byron felt appropriate
back then.
I won't cry this time,
(an observation, not a promise),
but the sadness, of course, is still there.
"The sadness lasts forever." (A crib from Lord Byron,
a suicide note from Vincent Van Gogh.)

CHORUS: Under the Baobab tree we met,
One thousand five hundred seasons ago,
Just as the sun was preparing to set,
And our bodies were starting to slow.

The ghost (an almost hidden figure) enters from the left but never completes the entrance, almost hidden but partly seen.

TOM: Fear not my love,
I returned to live in the shaded
safety of this tree, I protect the youth
clean up behind the used
and listen to broken drunkards
tell of their life's defeat

I found my calling and fulfil my needs.

The vagabond approaches from the right. Hannah does not see (or hear) him, and vice versa.

VAGABOND: Six thousand years
of life seasoned
in its trunk

Forty seven metres
of circumference has
entertained, wined and dined
vagabonds and tagalongs
brides and dames
businessmen and thieves

Secrets and lies
live stealthily in its leaves

Truth and wisdom
live a jaded history
In branched arms

The grey barked
provider
of vitamins to
monkeys and elephants

Feeder
of quality Scotch and Tequila
to one night stands
stressed moms
and yuppies with a plan

The vagabond enters the bar, thus exiting the scene. Hannah sits cross-legged and takes a sheet of powder-blue notepaper from her blouse. She reads from it.

HANNAH: We live in beauty, like a summer star.
Whatever darkness there may be,
The light it holds cannot enflame or char
If seen by ships across the sea.
A shaded life was what I owned before
The day in June, when some old fox
Alighted near and brought my gaze to shore:
A sea of green approached its locks...

The dress of powder blue you wore that day,
Curtained with locks of dusty blonde -
A beach on which I longed to bathe away
The cares of Death's eternal bond...

Under a tree, six thousand summers old,
We met, and walked inside the star.

SCENE 2

The tree rotates, revealing the bar: a small space, containing good, varnished wood furniture and a tiny bar of the same material. The vagabond sits at a table, nursing a near-empty glass.

VAGABOND: Life’s catastrophes
Loves endings
The ownership of loneliness
never ceases to amaze
There is a wisdom that lives
in dead wood
and broken bark

Here stands a devout woman
a providing man
separated by uncontrolled
circumstance

I remember their
wedding day
an elaborate affair
That day when vows
filled love through the air

It saddens veins
leaves blood in despair
knowing death
caused her visit
Left her sitting there

Promoting the ghost to
nature’s Capo Dei Capi
The people's angel
A fantasyland rooted in
Satan's hand

CHORUS: Under the Baobab tree we met,
One thousand five hundred seasons ago,
Just as the sun was beginning to set,
And our bodies were starting to slow.

The tree rotates again, hiding the bar and the vagabond.

HANNAH: Ten years...
A decade since you left.
We could have raised a child in that time.
Or realised our dream
of returning here, to the Baobab tree.
But all is only memories,
poems, letters, photographs,
our marriage just a scrapbook now.

The Baobab tree, however, lives,
and shades a multitude of lovers...

I suppose we can take comfort in that.

Enter Tom, behind.

TOM: I suppose we must.

CHORUS: Under the Baobab tree we met,
One thousand five hundred seasons ago,
Just as the sun was beginning to set,
And our bodies were starting to slow.
Written by The_Silly_Sibyl (Jack Thomas)
Published
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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