Old dance school, not used any more, all shut up.
Lani strolls onstage, slowly, looking round. She stops and looks up at the dance school.
To one side of the stage, lights come up on two ballet dancers, jazz music starts to play softly and they do a small routine on a barre. They then twirl offstage, then two tap dancers come on and do a small routine. They go off, then the lights go down for a second and then come back up on an old woman, lying in bed.
Old woman: This will all be yours, Lani.
Lights fade on the old woman. Lani stands and looks up at the building for a few more seconds, then walks across the stage and off the other side.
The ballet dancers then twirl back on to the centre of the stage and start to dance a routine, and the tap dancers come on shortly after. They all dance together.
Lights come up on the old woman in bed again; she slowly sits up, gets out of bed, and wanders very slowly across to the middle of the stage, in front of the dancers.
Lights fade on the dance school but spotlights remain on the dancers and the old woman.
She stands there, staring out into space, while the dancers dance their routine round her.
Then she shuts her eyes, and very slowly, the tap dancers, who are behind her, take her arms. She gently leans backwards and the tap dancers support her back, while the ballet dancers come to the front and take her legs. They slowly carry her offstage.
Lights fade to BLACKOUT.
Inside the dance school. It is deserted, quiet. It is very posh, there is an air of glamour and sophistication even though it is empty and closed.
Suddenly the main doors are opened and a man in a suit walks in, followed by Lani. She stops and looks around.
Man: Pretty impressive, huh?
Lani: I had no idea.
Man: You'd never been here?
She looks around in amazement.
Lani: We, um, we were never on very good terms. I didn't see her much. We didn't.....
She looks at the floor. The man wanders away a little way, not wanting to be in Lani's way.
Lani keeps quiet for a moment or so. Then she walks over to the man.
Lani: We did love each other. We just never saw eye to eye. Pretty usual for theatrical types, I guess.
The man just smiles at her. He doesn't really know what to say.
Lani: This just all seems so weird. It feels strange. We never spoke when she was alive, and now she's gone I feel like a vulture, swooping in on what she's left. It doesn't seem fair.
Man: She left it to you.
Lani: I know. I just feel bad, that's all.
She looks around again.
Lani: It's a beautiful place.
Man: Plenty of scope for conversions.
Lani: No. I want it left the way it is. I want it to be the way it was when she was alive. A dance school, filled with music. Her dance school.
Lani starts to walk around.
Lani: If only I had the time to devote myself to it totally.
Man: Other commitments, eh?
Lani: Hundreds. Acting, writing and directing is what takes up all of my time. (she sighs) God, this is all so sudden. I don't know where to begin.
He hands her a bunch of keys and smiles.
Man: It's all yours now. Begin whenever you like.
Lani: Thanks ever so much.
Man: My pleasure.
He kisses Lani on the cheek.
Man: Good luck with it all, Lani.
Lani: Thank you.
The man leaves. He closes the doors behind him. Lani turns round, looking all about her, jingling the keys in her hand. She sighs and paces up and down.
Lani: All the things I should have done. We should have done. All those missed opportunities. Just because we were both too damn proud to step down and admit we were wrong.
Lani walks to the front of the stage and sits down on the floor.
The lights fade on the background.
As Lani sits, jazz music starts to play quietly, and the ballet dancers come onstage and do their routine.
The lights then fade on the dancers. Lani gets up and walks slowly offstage.
Lights come back up on a huge mirror at the back of the stage; the set for a dance studio. Lani strolls in, still looking around.
Lani: My God.
She looks at herself in the mirror for a few seconds, fiddles with her hair, then turns to face the front and looks all around the huge studio.
Even though she is facing the front, her reflection is also still facing the front; the first sign that something strange is happening.
Behind her, in the mirror, a young guy suddenly appears next to her reflection, although there is no-one beside her in the studio.
Sexy jazz music starts to play again, very quietly.
The young guy kisses her reflection on the neck very gently, and although there is no-one next to her, Lani moves her head to the side exactly the same as her reflection. He puts his arms round her waist, and Lani slides her hands over his, except that there is no-one actually there. He continues to kiss her neck in the mirror, and Lani does exactly what her reflection does in reaction to him.
Suddenly, a voice calls Lani from another room; it is Kara, her cousin.
The music stops, Lani jumps and looks round. The guy disappears from the mirror.
Kara: Lani? You there?
Lani walks offstage, out of the studio.
Lights fade to almost black, when they come back up a split second later, the mirror has gone, the scene is back in the main hallway. Kara is standing to one side, looking all round, her back to the place where Lani appears.
Lani walks onstage from the other side. She sees Kara and stops.
Kara turns round. She isn't smiling.
Lani: I thought you might show up.
Kara: (looking round) Nice place you've got.
Lani: I needn't ask why you're here.
Kara: Just come to look. At what should have been mine.
Lani: Kara, that's not fair.
Kara: No, shall I tell you what's not fair? This. The fact that you're standing here with those damn keys in your hand.
Lani: I don't know what you want me to say.
Kara: Nothing, Lani. Just don't say anything. No point. Nothing you can say will change anything.
Lani: I don't want to change anything.
Kara: No, of course you don't. This is all just perfect, isn't it? You don't bother with her for years and yet she still leaves you this place. Wonderful.
Lani: I didn't know. I didn't expect her to leave me this. I always thought you'd get it.
Kara looks round again.
Kara: She used to say I would, years ago. She always promised me it would be mine.
Lani: I don't know what changed.
Kara: You did, Lani. It was because of you.
Lani looks blank.
Kara: Well, no, maybe that's not entirely true. It was that bloke you got engaged to.
Lani looks at the floor
Lani: Don't talk about Jason like that. Anyway, what's any of it got to do with him?
Kara: Oh, I wonder. Could it have anything to do with the fact that after he got himself killed in a road accident, Gran felt sorry for you and wanted you to have something to make you happy?
Lani: How can you blame Jason for this? He's dead, Kara! How can you just talk about it as if he moved away?
Kara: It pisses me off, Lani, that's why!
Lani looks at the floor again.
Lani: He was everything to me. I loved him more than I've ever loved anyone in my whole life.
Lani wipes a tear off her face.
Kara: Gran never thought he was good enough for you.
Lani: You think I don't know that? That was the reason we never spoke half the time! I'm sick of people telling me what's good for me and forcing their opinions on me! I loved him so much, and I wasn't going to take any notice of anyone else's opinions of him! I loved him.
Kara: And it's because of him that you're standing here with those keys and not me. He's got you this. A future I should have had. Well I hope he's happy now, wherever he is.
Lani: How can you be so heartless?
Kara: You're so innocent of it all, aren't you? So naive.
Kara looks coldly at Lani, then stalks out and slams the door.
Lani glares after her, then throws the keys down on the floor and bursts into tears.
Lights fade to BLACKOUT
The dance studio. It is night time. The door opens and Lani comes in. She is wearing different clothes. She closes the door quietly and stands, looking around.
Lani: God, Jason, I love you so much.
The slow, sexy jazz music starts up again, very quietly. Lights fade to black except for a spot on Lani.
Lani listens to the music, intrigued. She walks slowly across the stage and offstage. The spot fades, then the lights come up again on the mirror in the dance studio. Lani walks onstage slowly from the other side. She stops and looks at herself in the mirror, then looks across the stage to the other side.
While she is looking, the young guy appears in the mirror again and touches the back of her neck gently. Lani feels it and immediately reaches up to her neck. She looks all around, then suddenly catches sight of the guy in the mirror. Suddenly, her reflection isn't doing what she is doing, her reflection has turned round and is kissing the young guy.
Lani's reflection then turns to the front, and the guy starts to dance with her to the music. Lani herself finds herself facing the front, as her reflection is, and dancing too, exactly the same as her reflection, except that she is doing it by herself. It is as if he is there with her but can only be seen in the mirror.
They dance a routine,which ends with Lani sitting on the floor. The guy then kisses her reflection on the side of her neck, then disappears from in the mirror. The music fades away.
Lani looks round as if she has just come out of a trance. Her reflection does exactly as she does now, everything is normal.
She reaches up and touches her neck, then gets up slowly and turns and stares into the mirror.
She walks slowly up to the mirror and puts her hands on it.
She turns back to the front, and puts her arms round herself as if she is cold. She stands like that for a few seconds, then walks slowly offstage.
Lights fade to BLACKOUT
Lani lets herself in. She looks tired, on edge. She throws her keys down on the table, goes over to the sofa, and sits down. She puts her feet up, and rests her head on her hand.
She starts to cry. She looks at the engagement ring on her finger and holds it to her mouth, still crying. She sits like this for a moment.
The buzzer for the door rings. Lani ignores it to start with but it keeps ringing so eventually she gets up, wipes her tears away and answers it.
Kara: It's me.
Lani: What do you want?
Kara: I think you'd better let me in. We need to talk.
Lani: I haven't got anything else to say to you.
Kara: Well I'm the one who needs to do the talking.
Lani: What - more slagging off Jason?
Kara: Lani, just let me in.
Lani presses the button to open the door, and goes back to the sofa. She sits down. A few seconds later, Kara opens the door and comes in. She looks at Lani. She goes and sits down on the other sofa, opposite Lani. Neither of them say anything.
Kara: I don't know how to start.
Kara looks at the floor.
Kara: I just don't know.
Lani: What is it?
Kara bites her lip and leans forward. She looks Lani right in the eyes.
Kara: Lani, I'm going to tell you something that......
She looks at the floor again.
Kara: Shit, I can't do this.
Lani: Kara, just tell me. What is it?
Kara: I just don't know how to say it.
Kara: I can't.
Lani looks at Kara, who is still looking at the floor. She then looks up at Lani.
Kara: You know what I said earlier about you inheriting the dance school because Jason had that accident?
Lani: It's not true.
Kara: God, Lani, you don't know the half of it.
Lani: And you do?
Kara: It is true. Lani, it was no accident.
Kara: Jason's death. It wasn't an accident.
Lani: What are you saying?
Kara looks at the floor again, wringing her hands.
Kara: God this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
Lani: Kara, what are you saying?
Kara: He was murdered, Lani. Jason was murdered.
Lani's hands start to shake. She can't take in what Kara is saying.
Lani: Murdered? What are you talking about?
Kara: I've known about it all along.
Lani: Known about what?
Kara: Lani, it was our Gran that murdered Jason.
Lani leaps up from the sofa.
Lani: You lying cow!
Kara gets up too. Lani is about to go for her, but Kara grabs Lani's arms.
Kara: Lani, I swear I'm not lying! Lani! Stop it! I swear to you I'm telling you the truth!
Kara pushes Lani back down on the sofa. She sits, shaking.
Lani: You're lying. You're lying.
Kara: I wish I was. (she kneels down on the floor in front of Lani and takes her hands) Lani, listen to me. Gran always thought Jason wasn't good enough for you, you know that.
Lani: (crying) I know.
Kara: But you'd never listen. You loved him and you wouldn't listen. Gran couldn't have you getting married to someone who she thought wasn't good enough for her precious granddaughter. It was her that knocked him down in her car, then drove off and left him.
Lani breaks down totally and cries hysterically.
Kara: Lani, I'm sorry.
She takes hold of Lani and tries to comfort her.
But Lani pushes her away fiercely and slaps her.
Lani: Get off me! You cow, you bitch! You knew all along and you never told me! You knew that my own Gran killed the man I loved and you just kept quiet! You know how much I adored him! I would have died for him, Kara! And you just kept it all to yourself! Why? Just tell me why!
Kara: She pleaded with me not to tell you while she was still alive. She told me that I'd never want for anything if I kept quiet about it. So, me being the selfish cow that I am, did as I was told.
Lani: You've kept that to yourself for a year just because you thought you'd get the bloody dance school? You're a selfish, evil bitch, Kara! And what good did it do you? I got the damn place after all!
Kara: Because she felt so guilty near the end that she felt she had to give it to you! She had taken away the man you adored, even if she did think he wasn't good enough, she'd robbed you of happiness and felt she owed you!
Lani: Owed me? OWED me?
Kara: She, um, she wrote you a letter.
Kara fumbles in her bag and takes out an envelope.
Kara: I found it in a box of her stuff. Lani, I swear I didn't know that she had left the dance school to you. I've only found out from this since she died. Up until the day she died I honestly thought that she had left it to me.
Lani snatches the letter off Kara and reads it. Kara sits watching her solemnly. Lani cries as she reads the letter. Then she screws it up and throws it on the floor. Kara goes to give Lani a hug but she pushes her away.
Lani: Just get out, Kara. Get out of my flat.
Kara: Lani, I'm sorry.
Lani gets up off the sofa.
Lani: GET OUT!
Kara picks up her bag and leaves in silence.
Lani sits back down with a bump and cries.
Lights fade to BLACKOUT
The dance studio. It is empty, dark.
Lani walks slowly in, still crying. She looks all round, then goes up to the mirror. She stands looking at herself, then touches it gingerly. There is no sign of Jason. She turns away and walks forward to the front of the stage. She is still crying bitterly.
Lani: Jason, I'm so sorry. What have I done to you? It's my fault you're dead. Jason!
She screams his name, then collapses in a heap on the floor and cries.
Jason appears in the mirror and walks slowly to her sobbing reflection. He kneels down beside her and puts his hand on her shoulder.
Lani looks up hopefully and pushes her hair away from her eyes.
She looks round and sees Jason in the mirror, and her own reflection still in a heap on the floor. Jason puts his hand under her chin, lifts her head and kisses her. She puts her arms round his neck and kisses him back. Lani sits watching her reflection, still sobbing.
Lani: Jason, I love you. I'll never stop loving you. Never.
Jason gets up and slowly disappears. Lani's reflection goes back to sitting the way Lani is. Lani breaks down and cries hysterically.
Lights fade to BLACKOUT.
Lani's apartment. It is the next morning. Lani comes out of the bedroom in a vest and shorts. She goes over to the fridge and pours herself a glass of juice, then comes over and sits on the sofa. She drinks the juice, then catches sight of her gran's letter, which is still on the floor, screwed up.
She puts her juice down on the table, then picks up the letter and smoothes it out. She reads it again, and as she does, she starts to cry again.
Lani: Forgive you? Forgive you in time? How could you ever think I could even think about forgiving you?
The apartment door opens and Lani's mum comes in. She is cheerful.
Mum: Lani! Hi darling! Someone else was coming in and they let me in. How are you?
She sees that Lani is crying, and comes over to her.
Mum: Lani! What ever's the matter?
She sits down beside Lani, concerned.
Lani: You mean you didn't know about this?
Mum: Know about what, darling?
Lani: That your mother was a murderer?
Lani: Yes, it's all come out now. Your mother was so set against me marrying Jason that she mowed him down in her own car while he was on his way......... on his way to see me. Then she left him there. She just left him.
Mum: Oh my God.
She puts her arms round Lani and holds her.
Mum: Lani, it can't be true.
Lani: Oh, it's true all right. She even wrote it in a letter for me. As if that would make it any better.
Mum: Where did you find that?
Lani: Kara found it. Oh, and of course, Kara knew all along, but Gran begged her not to say anything in return for the dance school when she died.
Mum: But she left the school to you.
Lani: Because she felt guilty. She felt she owed me after murdering my fiance.
Mum: Don't say it like that, Lani.
Lani: Why not? That's how it is.Here - read it for yourself.
Lani gives her mum the letter, then gets up and goes into the kitchen. She starts to make some toast.
Her mum reads the letter, and when she's read it, she just screws it up and looks at the floor. Lani looks over at her.
Lani: Well I'm sure she can rest easily now. She's got rid of the guy that wasn't good enough for me and she's left me the dance school, so that's OK. I can't be happy with the man I loved, but that doesn't matter, does it? I've got the dance school. That's all she wanted for me, so that's what I've got.
She bangs a plate down.
Lani: Sometimes I just think I'll go and set fire to the place.
She looks over at her mum, who is just sitting staring into space.
Lani: I'm sorry, Mum. I know it must have been a terrible shock to you.
Mum: I know how she felt about Jason. She would spends hours persuading me to try and make you see sense and leave him.
Lani: I would never have left him.
She comes over with the toast and puts it down on the table. She sits back down.
Lani: I loved him, and no matter what anyone else said, I would never have left him. When it comes to something like that, I never listen to anyone else.
Mum: You shouldn't. It's your life, your love, you should do what you feel. I always told her not to interfere. It was nothing to do with her who you saw.
Lani: And then when we announced we were getting married, it was too much. She couldn't see me marry him. She couldn't dissuade me, and she certainly couldn't dissuade him. So what else could she do?
Mum: Well there'll be another murder when I get my hands on Kara. Little cow. She knew all along and kept quiet in the hope of inheriting the school?
Lani: She came to see me yesterday when I was at the school. She blamed me. She said that it was my fault for getting involved with Jason. My fault that the dance school was left to me and not her. Come to think of it, she hinted about Gran and Jason's death. She said that after Jason's death, Gran felt sorry for me and wanted me to have something to make me happy. Then she told me I was naive. She was just laughing at me inside the whole time. "I know the truth about your fiance".
Mum: I just can't believe this is happening.
Lani: I'm surprisingly calm about it, actually. I don't think it's sunk in yet. Or maybe it has and I'm just not bothered.
Mum: Of course you're bothered.
Lani: I went to the dance school last night.
Mum: Last night?
Lani: After Kara came here and gave me the letter. I just wanted to be there. I don't know why.
Mum: I would have thought that was the last place you'd want to be.
Lani: You would, wouldn't you. I just really needed to be there. The atmosphere, the emptiness of it.
They both look at the floor.
Lani: And yet, when I was there, it didn't feel empty at all. I didn't feel alone. I felt amazing, actually. Like there was this warmth all over me and that I wanted to stay in there forever.
Mum: Your way of dealing with it.
Lani: No, it was more than that. I didn't feel like I had anything to deal with. Somehow none of it seemed so bad when I was there.
Lani's Mum kisses Lani's cheek.
Lani: Actually, after I've spoken to you this morning, I feel fine.
Mum: Are you sure? I don't want to leave you in a state.
Lani: No, I'm fine. Honestly. Being there last night and then getting a good night's sleep seem to have helped a lot. And talking to you.
Mum: Are you going to work today?
Lani: No, I think I'll have a day to myself. I'll go out.
Mum: (smiles) Good for you.
Lani's Mum gets up.
Mum: I'll drop by later, see how you are.
Lani: Thanks Mum. Well I won't be in till after 6 probably.
Mum: OK darling. See you later.
Lani's Mum leaves the flat. Lani sits and eats her toast for a moment, then picks up the letter, unscrews it, goes over to the unit at the side of the room, takes a box of matches out of the drawer, then lights the paper and throws it into the fireplace. She stands and watches it burn, then dusts her hands off, goes back round to the table, picks up a bit of toast and puts it into her mouth, has a sip of juice, then goes into the bedroom and shuts the door.
Lights fade to BLACKOUT
The dance studio.
Lani wanders in, with lots of shopping bags. She stops and looks round.
Suddenly, lights come up on Kara, sitting on the floor at the side, near the front of the stage.
Kara turns round.
Kara: I thought you might show your face.
She has a bottle of vodka, which is two thirds empty. She takes another swig out of it.
Lani: Kara, what are you doing?
Kara looks at Lani, then bursts into giggles.
Lani puts her shopping bags down and walks towards Kara. Kara gets up and nearly overbalances.
Kara: Don't you come near me.
Lani: Kara, you're very drunk. Give me that bottle.
Kara: Oh, piss off.
Lani: What are you doing?
Lani: What is?
Kara: You asking me what I'm doing.
Kara can't stand still. She is still swigging from the bottle.
Suddenly, Jason appears in the mirror. He stands perfectly still, watching.
Kara: That's what she said too.
Kara: Our dear old Gran. Dear old murderous Gran.
Lani: What are you talking about?
Kara: I did you a favour, you know that? What is it they say, en eye for an eye?
Lani: Kara, you've had enough.
She takes a step towards Kara but Kara brandishes the bottle at her.
Kara: Just keep away from me!
The vodka pours out on the floor. Kara looks down at it.
Kara: Oh dear. What a waste. Like her, really.
Lani: I'm going.
She turns to go.
Kara: No, don't go! Don't you want to be here, in your very own dance school, when I tell you what happened?
Lani: What do you mean?
Kara: Surely you want to be here, the place Gran left YOU, when I tell you how I smothered her with a bloody pillow?
Kara: Yeah, that's right, Lani! Little innocent, perfect Lani! Got involved with an idiot and yet still comes out of it OK! That's right, I killed her!
Lani: I can't believe I'm hearing this. Kara, grow up.
Lani turns to go again.
Kara: I wouldn't go if I were you.
She pulls a gun out of her pocket. Lani turns round and sees the gun. She panics.
Lani: Kara, what the hell are you doing with that?
Kara waves it round.
Kara: Do you reckon I could get in the circus? You know, trick shot? Shall I practise?
She raises her arm and points the gun at Lani.
Lani instinctively covers her face with her arms.
Kara laughs and drops the gun on the floor. She takes another swig from the bottle.
Lani: What's come over you?
Kara: I don't know. Something to do with killing Gran, I think.
Lani: You didn't kill her.
Kara: I damn well did.
Lani: Why, Kara?
Kara: This place. I wanted this place. I wanted it more than anything. Like I said, I had no idea that Gran had left it to you.
Lani: So you killed her because you thought you'd inherit it?
Kara: Pretty much, yep. And then I found that letter. That bloody letter. Telling you how sorry she was. Darling Lani, etc. I'm ever so sorry, etc. Yeah right. I'm the one who's sorry. Sorry to see this place go to you.
Lani: Kara, no-one forced Gran to change her will. It was her decision and her decision alone.
Kara: But she wouldnt have been feeling guilty if it hadn't have been for your boyfriend! Then it would have been mine!
Lani: All this fighting just over a dance school. It's a building, Kara! An empty shell! We're family.
Kara: You think I care? It's always been you, Lani. You've always landed on your feet with everything. You even thought you landed on your feet with him. All great, wasn't it? Yeah. Yeah well, it wasn't so great. It's because of you that all this started. If you look at it that way it's your fault that Gran died.
Lani: Don't you ever say that again!
Kara: Why not?
Lani: It's not my fault! You just said yourself that you killed her because you thought YOU'D get the place! It was nothing to do with me!
Kara: Hmm. Whatever.
She bends down and picks up the gun again. Lani looks frightened.
She backs away.
Lani: Kara, put it down.
Lani: Because you're going to do some damage with it.
Kara: I haven't got it just to look pretty, Lani.
Lani: I'm just going to go. I'm sorry I came here and disturbed you.
Kara: But I'm glad you did. I wanted you to come. I knew you would.
Lani: Well now I'm leaving.
Lani turns to go, walks a few paces, then Kara points the gun at her back and shoots her. Lani screams and drops to the floor.
Kara: No, you're not.
She stands, holding the gun, looking at Lani for a few seconds, then suddenly comes to her senses and throws the gun aside, a look of horror on her face. She puts her hands over her mouth and backs away from Lani. She is shaking. She starts to cry. She drops to her knees.
Kara: Always you. Always been you. You're the success. Director, actress, even written your own bloody plays. Toast of the family, aren't you? Lani this, Lani that. Ooh, Lanis' got her own dance school now. How? Oh, her Gran left it to her. Really? That's generous. No, not really. Her Gran killed Lani's fiance and felt guilty. The one I feel sorry for is Lani's cousin. That dance school should have been hers by rights. She's suffered again because of Lani. I hate you Lani! You've always got on better! Always! Look at you! You were getting married! You had plays on stage! If Gran hadn't have finished him off I think I would have. Why coudn't I have had a bit of success just once? Just a little bit! No, I always had to sit by and watch you! Got an audition for this. Got an audition for that. Seeing this director today. Going to Bristol tomorrow to see a producer. Well you aint going to be going to see anyone now, are you?
Kara bursts into tears.
Suddenly, the gun, lying a way away on the floor, goes off by itself and shoots Kara. She screams and falls foward.
Both girls lie dead on the floor. Spotlights on both of them.
Then, for the first time, Jason steps out of the mirror and walks slowly forward to Lani. Lani gets up very slowly and they stand close together, looking at each other. The music starts up again. Jason takes hold of Lani slowly and they start to dance; a very sexy dance. As they dance, the spotlight on Kara fades very slowly to black.
Jason and Lani do a whole dance routine, then finish standing close together, the way they started. They kiss.
Lights fade to BLACKOUT
© Copyright 2016 Gypsy Lady. All rights reserved.
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