Death in the Theatre

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a play that was written because of the earlier piece of poetry 'Suicide's Dress Rehersal'.

Submitted: March 09, 2007

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Submitted: March 09, 2007

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During the poem the camera pans over the outside of a theatre, at night. The camera pans over the title of the play which is Suicide's Dress Rehearsal.

?

?

It's Suicide's dress rehearsal

There's a dead flower in her hair

Violet, Violent spider webs entombed in her alabaster skin

?

It's Suicide's dress rehearsal

The dress whispering like a death rattle in a dying man

?And her eyes are bleak dark pools, where hope fears to tread

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It's Suicide's dress rehearsal

She's playing Death tonight

Whispers in their heads, a cacophony chorus of woe

?

Death's main performance

And the lights are way down low

The chorus girls are swallowing their salvation

Pure white capsules offering peace

The noose swings slowly

And Death's curtain is about to fall

?

?

The scene opens on a woman, in her thirties sitting in front of all old fashioned stage mirror, lit by the bulbs encircling it. She is brushing her hair and staring into the mirror.

Annabelle:? Is this what it all boils down to? Are these my childhood dreams; are these my aspirations, my sacrifices? Twenty years ago I was someone famous. Twenty years ago I was dancing on Broadway! (She turns to the camera) When I was a young girl I had the whole world stretched in front of me, like a red carpet. I dropped out of college, with a middle finger extended to my disapproving parents of course. With my new found freedom I lived the high life, and boy was I living it swell.

?

We cut to Young Annabelle sitting on a sofa at a house party. She has a cigarette and a drink in her hands.

Voice over Annabelle:? If there were excesses that I could experience, new drugs, new extravagances, I wanted them all. I consumed eight-balls of coke. I drank myself dry and I teased every boy in the joint.

?

?A boy leans down to young Annabelle and kisses her deeply. She grins up at him and lets him lead her away to a bedroom at the back of the room.

Voice over Annabelle: Life isn't a picture book though and everyone knows that the highs always get followed by the lows. Lows? Jee God seemed to be having a ball with my fate.

?

We see young Annabelle reflected in a mirror she is holding a pregnancy test and biting her bottom lip. Without a sound, tears begin to run down her cheeks and she begins to sob.

The scene cuts to Annabelle looking into the mirror. She is now applying stage makeup.

Annabelle:? I'd just moved to the big city. I was young, reckless, alone and pregnant. See back then abortion wasn't as readily available as it is now. No one talked about it.? My parents were strict Catholics and would have thought I was a murderer as well as a slut. My career was just breaking and there was no way that Jared, that low life, was ever going to stay with me and a sprog. I didn't even tell him I was pregnant. I bought a lot of baggy sweaters, an Alex Owens before her time. I starved myself down so I didn't seem that fat and carried the sprog to term. Though by that time she had become ‘my baby' in my head rather than ‘the sprog' the inconvenience in my belly.

?

We see Young Annabelle sitting in a hospital bed cradling a baby. She is smiling and covered in sweat. A woman in a uniform walks up to her, and grudgingly Annabelle hands over her child.

Voice over Annabelle: No one ever tells you how beautiful they're going to be. After all that pain there is this little miniature person, with a face like a prune. (She laughs) The social worker came to see me, and they took my little girl away. I thought it was the best thing for her and me, but it still broke my heart to hear her cry as they took her from me. Then there was something hollow in me, and I threw myself back into the parties, to try and kill the emptiness in me. But it never seemed to work.

?

We see Young Annabelle back in the party from the first scene. She is pulling hard on a joint. Painfully she stands, balancing herself on the chair. The camera angle is now below her, looking up, we track her progress stumbling towards the doorway. The shot of her is blurred.

Voice over Annabelle: Drugs held no sway for me anymore; they just made me feel sick and sleepy. I couldn't find any respite from my mind; it churned away accusing me of being a monster. Id given away part of myself and it was something I was having a lot of trouble facing up to.

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We see Annabelle standing in a queue at a counter and watching a young mother with her new baby. She stands for a little while and then turns her back on them, her eyes pained.

The scene cuts to Annabelle lying on her bathroom floor crying.

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?

Voice over Annabelle:?????????? I tried to wash myself away today.

The shower was too cold.

The bath is not deep enough

It doesn't matter what I'm told

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I tried to wash myself away

But the dirt will always stick

So on the bathroom floor I stay

This kind of life I wouldn't pick

?

?

The scene cuts to Annabelle in her stage costume, lacing up her shoes.

Ed: Curtain's up in twenty Anna

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Annabelle: Thanks Ed

?

She sits down again and turns to face the camera.

Annabelle:? After a while I didn't have any interest in the parties so I threw myself into my work instead. It was the only place that I could lose myself and not think of the little life that I gave away. It seemed that all my work paid off in the end. I struck it big. I went for an audition for a part in a Broadway musical and they loved me, and then the audience loved me. Nothing beats that first moment, when you walk out onto the stage, the lights are on you, and the audience is as silent as the grave because they only care about the next word to come out of your mouth. I found my addiction not in drugs or sex but in the elixir of the theatre.

?

We see Young Annabelle dancing on the stage, in full makeup and costume with a big smile on her face.

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Voice over Annabelle: I was so happy while I was on stage but like I said before though, God's never satisfied with the monotony that happiness brings. God's an actor, God loves drama.

?

An older version of young Annabelle is sitting on the phone in a nice looking apartment. We hear the voice of Annabelle's agent on the other line.

Annabelle: ?Caroline! How are you? Are there any new offers for me? I'm getting bored just sitting around here.

?

Caroline: I couldn't get any for Temptation.

?

Annabelle: Oh? How come?

?

Caroline: ?Look. Don't take this the wrong way Anna but they think you're too old for the part. You're getting a little old for musicals doll; perhaps you should be thinking about straight acting.

?

Annabelle's face is shocked and hurt.

Annabelle: Yes....yes I'm sure you're right. I'm no spring chicken am I? (she laughs) Okay yeah, talk to you later (she puts the phone down, defeated)

?

Charlie, a teenage girl is sitting in a nice looking counsellor's office, talking to a middle aged woman.

Charlie: Don't get me wrong I love my adoptive parents, but it feels like I only have half of my identity. They don't know much about my real mother but I just want to find her, to know what she's like, why she gave me up.

?

Counsellor: Then I would say, find her. If it will help find her out, but don't be disappointed if you can't find her, things have changed a lot since you were born. Shall I see you the same time next week?

?

Charlie: ?I can't make next week, I'm going to see that new play that's come into town, cheer myself up a little.

?

The camera cuts to Annabelle walking through the bowels of the theatre, the camera trailing her. She looks behind her often to talk directly to the camera.

Annabelle: It started going downhill from then. I was then deemed too old to do Broadway and the audience is just too damn fickle to remember an old broad like me. So I gave up everything, my daughter, my flesh and blood to do shitty plays in shitty theatres in shitty towns. No one remembers me; I'm broke, but worse than either of those is that I am totally and completely alone. There is no point to me going back to my rat infested apartment night after night and drinking myself into the next day. This is why I took this play ‘Suicides Dress Rehearsal'. How perfect! I will be my own God, I'm an actor who likes drama and I will go out with a bang. What better way to leave my profession than in a wooden box?

She stops backstage where there is a gallows. The gallows is on wheels so can be moved onto the front of the stage. Annabelle begins to tamper with the noose.

The scene cuts to Charlie arriving at the theatre a little late, having to push her way through a row of people to get her seat. In the background the play is well under way but because Charlie is in the fore the sound is slightly muffled. We can hear her saying ‘Excuse Me' and ‘Thank you' to the other patrons.

We are brought back to Annabelle on the stage. The portable gallows is rolled the stage. This is part of the script. Annabelle takes a big breath.

Annabelle: This is it (she whispers)

She walks up the platform and puts her head into the noose. A drum rolls in the orchestra and suddenly the trap door drops away. The camera cuts to the audience who all collectively gasp, some of them covering their mouths or looking revolted.

The scene cuts to the audience standing outside the theatre all talking to each other. The camera zooms in on Charlie talking to another woman. They are illuminated by the flashing lights of the emergency services.

Charlie: That was horrific! How terrible! How could that happen?

?

Woman 1: Must have been a faulty prop, or someone had it in for her. What a terrible way to die though. You know I remember once upon a time when she used to be a famous actress on Broadway.

?

Charlie: Oh her poor family, to lose her like this.

?

Woman 1: ?As far as I know she didn't have any family.

?

?

The New York Observer spirals into the camera frame displaying the headline "Actress dies in freak accident". The New York Post spirals into the frame next with the caption "Technical error kills leading lady". The New York sun proclaims "Suicide play claims life".

The camera zooms in on a piece of paper sitting on Annabelle's dressing table. It reads "Now those that forgot me, who wrote me off as a has been will remember my name again. What might have been a solitary death is now illuminated in the press by scandal and mystery. Bertolt Brecht said "Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life." Perfect don't you think?

Annabelle


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