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Babe In A Box
By Paul Francis Mc Cann
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Not rated by the Author.
Even if this image of helping the needy is too much to hope for , anythings worth a try .
Babe In A Box
Author - Paul McCann
Plot - The Have and Have Nots
Stage Setting –
The stage is divided in half with a partition .
On one side is a dimly alleyway furnished with a skip , bins , an old armchair , cardboard boxes and other things that get taken away from life to be dumped .
On the other side of the stage divide it depicts a local theatre company stage and surrounds . In the partition there is a back exit door that goes out to the alleyway .The partition displays two different views . A curtain can be pulled over either side for rearranging any scene or set changes while the other set is in full view .
On one side of the partition there is a canvas that has been painted with a brick wall , some graffiti and pictures are on the wall .
On the other side of the stage the set is that of a small theatre with . Apart from the exit sign over the doorway there is some posters , props etc . Outside the back doorway of the theatre lies a large cardboard box beside some rubbish bins and empty bottles on the ground .There are bits and pieces left out from offices and businesses for collection .
Babe In A Box
Cast of Characters – Nine
Jill – The Producer
Sandy – The Director
Del – The Vagabond Artist
Three members of the theatre Company
Fr Saul - The Priest
Denise - The Drug Addict
Slicer –The Drunk
Two Ambulance Officers
Dr Phil - The Nurse
Four audience members and two theatre staff Members
Media Crew – TV Camera and Journalists
Setting the scene
A local theatre company is putting on a play called Art For Art Sake .
Some of the crew are rehearsing their lines other members if the theatre company are carrying props on to the stage . Easels , paints , an old mattress a chair .
The stage is busy . Bodies and boxes everywhere .
Rehearsal and a nervous producer brings a mixture of excitement and apprehension to the air .
One pf the players sit on the edge of the stage as two others stand . They sip from soft drink cans and munch on biscuits and chocolate bars Some basic static free conversation flows quite fluent with intermittent laughing and some nervous banter .
All the lighting and PA system are getting a check out .
Sandy the director of the play walks among the cast issuing some crucial points to the cast . The producer is on edge and stands up to brush her hair . She puts on some lip stick and make up while she looks into a compact mirror Trying to deflect some of the stage lights into the director’s eyes .
Meanwhile she listens to intently the instructions .
Sandy - “ Ok people . That last reading was good but we need to focus more on the aspects of hardship and injustice in society .“
The producer interrupts .
Jill – “ Sandy don’t you think there’s a risk of embarrassing people who have paid a lot more for expensive seats . “
Sandy – ‘ I realise you’re producing the play but I’m still the director .There is a very important issue here that needs to be addressed and we have the perfect occasion to do that .”
Jill – “So is this, a personal crusade . or a art form “
Sandy – “Jill , this play has a message written within the art form . I am just translating that message for the world to hear . It’s not about me or a personal crusade . “
Jill – “ Ok so long as ego don’t get in the way .”
Sandy –“ We all leave our egos outside with this Jill . I mean look at me . Am I the picture of elegance . Do I look as if I use Botox to you ?
Jill – “ Can we stop right here Sandy . It’s not a good week for me .”
Sandy –“ Ok then I’ll continue directing this play way .”
Jill sits down before responding .
Jill - “It would be good if we could work together on this Sandy ?”
Sandy –“Sure thing Jill . It’s always the same with you . The wise old owl who never gives up . Sure we can work together . So what do think we need to do before opening night .?
Jill - What about us all taking an early lunch break . I think the crew deserve a break . We could sit around here all day and night getting more stressed out and for what ?”
Sandy –“ For what ? I should have expected that from you “ I don’t suppose you have noticed how rusty we are .“
Jill- “ Sandy . All I’m saying is I think we could benefit from a lunch break .“
Sandy “- With what . Who is buying ? We’ve no money in the bank . The company is broke Jill . If this play doesn’t bring us in anything we’re finished as a group .“
Jill” – I still think we need a feed. Listen . I know a place in town we can get a free feed . They’ve got this little café not too far from here .”
Sandy –“ You mean that day old food centre run by the Christian outreach centre ?”
Jill _” Yeah , Have you been there ?”
Sandy –“ Actually I have . Ok . Its agreed lets go .”
Jill – “Great . Things will look better once we have eaten .“
Sandy – “Thanks Jill .“
Everyone walks through the back door and into the alley on the other side of the stage . A curtain could be drawn half way to separate both sets . Lights fade on the theatre side of the stage and come on at the alleyway set on stage . The five members of the theatre company walk down the alley and off stage . A moment passes and some soft lights overhead come down on the large cardboard box near the back door to the theatre . Slowly the lid of the box is opened from inside and a character Del stands up. He gets out of the box and breaks the silence .
Del – “ Hello . Can you hear the echo of an artists call ?”
There is no answer . Del takes some brushes and paints from inside the cardboard box and paints a quick sketch of a pictures on a brick wall . There is a noise as someone comes down the alley . Del gets back into the cardboard box .A drunk walks down the alley . He just remains on his feet and sings a kind of begging song .
Slicer (The Drunk ) –“ Rags any old rags . Hurry up sixpence a bundle “
The drunk walks off stage followed by a girl carrying a small cardboard box . She sits down on the old armchair . Soft blue lights above the stage filter down on Denise who sits in the alley . She grabs her baby from the cardboard box and sits in on her knee . She holds its hand .
Denise –“ “Hi bright eyes . Listen to me , you see here’s the way it is . Things never turn out the way you plan and you’re not exactly what I planned . “
The Babe –“ Gah Goo Ghoo (Some gurgling noises).”
Denise . “ What kind of life can I offer you . Look , I’m always stringing along somewhere between the high ground and the low life , getting strung out .“
The Babe – “(Brings up some wind and gurgles ).“
Denise - “Life is giving me a hard time and I know I shouldn’t make excuses but I can’t expect you to tag along . Maybe if things had been better , I could have quit drugs and we could have had a smooth time .“
Denise places her baby back into the box and leaves it on the ground near the theatre doorway . She walks away takes off her shoulder bag then she dives in for a fit and a spoon . From a bottle of water she poured out some to a spoon and heated it with her cigarette lighter . Then she mixed in some white powder from a capsule and sucks it up into a syringe .
She took a belt from around her waist and wrapt it around her left arm just before she injected herself she said .
Denise - “ Don’t ever do this kid . I’m telling you Mum doesn’t want you to pick up any of her bad habits .“
Suddenly she falls to the ground . A Catholic priest who was passing by notices Denise lying there and goes to see what is wrong . When he has no response he rings emergency from his mobile .
Fr Saul – “Hello emergency . My name is Father Saul a priest from the Bay . I have found a girl . She has a needle in her arm . I can’t get any response from her . Please send an ambulance quick “
Fr Saul lifts sits her upright and holds her in his arms . Denise gasps and responds with a groan .
Fr Saul –“ God save her please . “
Denise coughs and the priest holds Denise close .
Fr Saul “ Hello. Listen . Don’t try to talk just listen to me . I am a priest . Help is on its way . Just try to relax . You’ll be ok .“
Del climbed out from the large cardboard box nearby and went over to see what the problem was . He reached out and touched the priest on the shoulder . .
Del – “ Hello there Father . What’s happening . Is everything all right ?”
Father Saul jumped in fright .
Fr Saul -“Jesus Mary and Joseph where did you come from . What are you doing creeping up on me like that . Are you trying to give me heart failure ?”
Another man approached from the end of the alley .
He was carrying a doctors bag .
Dr Phil - “Stand back . I’m a doctor .“
Fr Saul - “My name is Father Saul . I found her like this just lying here with a needle in her arm . Is she going to be ok ?
The doctor opened his bag .
Dr Phil- “‘Let me see . Oh my name is Doctor Phillip Rapper, nice to meet you Saul . They shake hands .
No one really sees or acknowledges Del in the conversation .
Del – Oh and hello My name is Del . I am a homeless man at the mercy of the street .“
Fr Saul - “Del forgive me “
He reaches out his hand and they shake .
Del- ” I know who she is if you’re interested .”
Dr Phil- “Who is she and where does she live ?”
Del - “She lives on the streets .. She’s a junkie . I think her name is Denise . Now have you a few spare coins for the information .“
Just then the sound of a siren is played through the PA
Fr Saul –“ Bless you Del . Come around anytime . There’s always a spare bed and a cup of soup if you need it .”
The ambulance officer introduces himself .
Gary –“ Hello my name is Gary . Does anyone know who she is ?”
They all say –
Fr Saul – “I’m told her name is Denise and she lives on the street .“
Gary –“All right Denise . Just take it easy . I’m a paramedic . Listen guys It would help if you all just move away from the casualty .“
Everyone moves away and Gary is joined by another ambo officer . While they are checking Denise out the conversation continues in the alley .
Dr Phil –“So Del . You’re living on the street then ?”
Del –“Yeah , that’s right . It’s just a brief stay until I have enough to rent a place of my own and maybe get some new clothes for a job interview .“
Fr Saul –“So if its clothes you need . I can help you there . A place of your own . Tell you Del I have connections in the shelters around here .Leave it to me . I’ll get you in somewhere . .“
Del –“No harm to you Father but I have been to every shelter in the city and that’s why I’m living on the street . It’s a lot safer out here . “
The officers place Denise into the back of the ambulance and thank Fr Saul .
Gary –“ Ok Fr Saul . Thanks for your call . We’ll take Denise into
Hospital . I think she will be ok .“
Fr Saul –“ Right then . God bless you .“
They carry Denise off stage on a board .
Dr Phil –“So . What kind of work are you looking for ?“
Del - “Actually I’m an artist . Mainly contemporary but I have dabbled with the odd fusion of motion and still life . “
Fr Saul –“ I’d love to see some of your work Del .“
Del – “Ok sure .“
Del walks over to his cardboard box and takes up his paint and brushes and walks over to the wall near the theatre door .where he adds some touches to pictures on the wall he had done before . He stands back and has a look at the work .
Fr Saul – “It’s quite interesting Del .
Dr Phil –“ I like it as well Del .“
Del –“My exhibition night is tomorrow at six here in the alley . Tell all your friends .“
He walks around and has a good laugh .
Fr Saul –“So what are you trying to say here Del ?”
Del – “ I’m painting echoes Father .“
Dr Phil –“Echoes ?”
Del –“ That’s right Doc . Echoes .“
Del listens to the pictures on the wall .
Fr Saul –“ Echoes , good God .“
Del –“Can you hear them then .“
Fr Saul goes over to the wall and puts his ears up against it .
The baby in the box near the theatre doorway begins to cry and scream .
Fr Saul –“ Yeah . I can hear them Del .“
Del- “Thank God . I thought I was going mad . “
Dr Phil –“Hey , imagine that . Going mad like and I’m the psychiatrist . I can hear the echoes as well . ”
Del-“ Hang on . That’s sound is coming from the back of the theatre .“
Fr Saul goes over and opens the cardboard box .
Fr Saul – “Jesus , Mary and Joseph . It’s a baby .“
Del-“Well Doc , that’s how’s things go on the wild side of life . ?”
Dr Phil –“You are not serious . What’s a baby doing here ? .“
Del-“ It doesn’t matter what its doing here . The thing is what are we going to do about it ?”
Dr Phil –“ Well I don’t have any idea . What about you Father ?”
Fr Saul –“Jesus help this poor unfortunate situation .“
Del-“ He can’t help the situation . It’s up to us ?.“
Fr Saul -“ God why do I even bother . Sometimes maybe I should just give up but then again you love a trier .“
A noise of footsteps and chatter is heard as the theatre company return from lunch .In a moment the alley is buzzing with people who gather around the back door of the theatre .All are intrigued and entranced by the little baby who had been left in a cardboard box. The drunk returns down the alley .
Del-“ All right . Does anybody know who owns the baby ?”
Jill -“ It’s very cold out here . Why don’t we all come inside the theatre and talk about this “
Fr Saul –“ I’d love to but I’m supposed to be at a prayer meeting . I’ll call back later this week to see what progress you have made . “
Dr Phil –“I’m supposed to be on a lunch break . But keep me informed .
I might drop in later .“
Exit Fr Saul and Dr Phil .
Jill -“ Ok . What about the rest of you ?”
Del- “Sure thing . Why not . I’ve nothing better to do .“
Slicer (The Drunk )– “It’s the best offer I’ve had today . “
They all enter through the theatre door . A curtain is pulled over to hide the alley way scene and to provide a cover to change props and scene . The alleyway set is removed and a new stage is set to look like a front foyer of a theatre . There is a small café bar with posters on the walls promoting the play and the theatre company .
Meanwhile on the other side of the stage that is seen the cast sit inside the theatre . After a brief moment bright lights are switched on . Everyone sits where ever they can and one by one lots of ideas are introduced .
Jill -“ This baby has arrived on our doorstep . It must be a blessing .“
Sandy -“What are you talking about .“
Jill – It’s our free promotion ticket everybody . “
Sandy -“Well first we let the media know about the missing baby and then the police . Next thing we release the news of a fundraising performance here . Half of the money from the show we can donate to the baby . Then we skim a few off the top and we‘ll be able to save the theatre company ? “
Del-“ Sounds good . What kind of play are you putting on then ?”
Sandy – “It’s a play about an unknown artist who is discovered and becomes wealthy and famous .”
Del-“I’d like to see that .”
Slicer –“If you don’t mind me asking . Is there anywhere around here we can get a drink . Maybe we should celebrate . You know . Launch the ship . Kick it off or whatever . ”
A member of the theatre company - -”Lets send out a message of support to the Mother of the baby ?”
Another player – “ Hey that’s a good idea . We could advertise a tour of the play in dedication of all Mothers who are unable to cope with their pregnancies or new born babies . It could be the start of something
Another player – “ Cool . Like ah.. the mother and child reunion thing .“
Jill –“ I can see it now . On the road . A mission bus . The travelling theatre . “
Slicer – “I’ll drink to that . Lets get this show on the road .“
Del – “I think it would be nice to make a commitment here and now that we all get involved with finding the Mother of this baby .“
Sandy –“ What if the Mother’s dead or she doesn’t want the baby ?”
Jill-- “That’s ok . We can use that to boost the need for a support network here at our theatre .“
Sandy –“ You mean like a drop in centre .?”
Jill- “That’s right . We can provide a child minding facility .“
Player Member – “ We could get some child care people in and run support classes for single Mothers .
Jill-“Right , we might even be able to build a cluster of houses to provide shelter for homeless mothers and their kids .“
Another player –“ Great idea . We could run day trips for emotionally upset Mothers and their babies . “
Del- “I could give evening art classes here to provide money for the centre . Then we could sell off the artworks at an auction . If we get the business end of town on our side who knows what we could do .”
Jill –“Did you say you could teach art classes ?”
Del-“ Well that’s what I used to do before I lost my job .“
Jill- “What’s your name ?”
Del-“ I’m known as Del Dab . What is your current production about ?”
Sandy –“Its called Art For Art’s Sake and its a play about an unknown artist who is discovered and becomes wealthy and famous .”
Del- “Mm, I like the sound of that .“
Sandy-“ Have you ever done any acting Del ?”
Del – “ I’ve been an actor of sorts for most of my life . Once I played the part of Tom Sawyer , As a boy scout I was cast in the role of the Virgin Mary in a Christmas play for the local community . As a child I sang the role of Saint Francis in a musical at school .”
Jill –“Right then . You’re in . Welcome to Babes Theatre . I’ll draw up an agreement tonight for you to sign . Where do you live “
Del-“Not far away from here .“
Jill-“Where is that ?”
Del –You can find me most nights in a large cardboard box outside in the alley .“
Jill –“Right from tonight you’re officially moving into the theatre . I’ll get you some things to sleep on . “
Slicer-“ I’m an out of work actor .“
Jill- “I can see that . Ok . What’s your name and where are you sleeping
Slicer -”I stay in the park . Sometimes under the bridge . Slicer . That’s what people call me . I’m called Slicer . I got it from the butcher . One of the jobs I did on Friday nights was slicing up the bacon . The name has stuck with me ?”
Jill –“I’ll tell you what . If you try to stay on the wagon Slicer , you’re in ok . Do you think you’re up to it ?“
Slicer –“It all depends . I can’t make any promises but I’ll give it a go if you allow for the recovering alcoholic in your midst . “
Jill--“ Why not . It’s up to you Slicer . What do you think Sandy . Have you a part for our the two new members in the cast ? “
Sandy – ‘I’m going to rewrite some of the scenes in the play . I think I can include Del as Rab the artists and Slicer as the guilt ridden school principal. Some of the other scenes may need a narrator to inform the audience of the story line it the script .“
Jill- “Right . Thanks everyone for your attention . Can we all be here early tomorrow morning for rehearsal in Art For Art Sake .“
Everyone exits out the door and the curtain is drawn over .
Six months later
One part of the stage has been set to resemble the reception or foyer of a theatre . There is the ticket or box office and a doorway to the theatre with two theatre staff at the entrance to theatre . In the reception area there is a small café and food area . Some art works on display are on sale . The works are attracting some attention . A steady flow of people are coming and going in and out of the foyer .
A media crew make an entrance with camera and lights .
A well dressed man holding a microphone is accompanied by some female journalists holding digital cameras, notepad’s and pens .
The media crew converge around some of the theatre company .
The first person to be interviewed is Sandy the director .
The camera is fixed on Sandy .
Interviewer –“We are talking live to Sandy the director of Art For Art Sake . Sandy its really fantastic how people have answered the call for help . Do you know the secret benefactor was that donated the funds to build the centre ?”
Sandy – “ No . That is still a mystery to us all . After our broadcast went to air recently we were contacted by a solicitor about a wealth man who wanted to donate two million dollars to help build a sanctuary off the street for all those in a crisis situation . We were of course all overwhelmed . Things since that have just snowballed . The climax to all of what has happened already is for me tonight’s performance .
The man with the microphone turns to interview some other people .
The camera man follows him . They move toward a group of people including Father Saul , Dr Phil , Jill .
Interviewer –“We are here live tonight at Babe Theatre . Fr Saul , if I could ask you first about the response so far from your parishioners to support the Mothers Of The Street centre .
Fr Saul –“Well yes . I have a group of people committed to alleviating the needs of people living on the street . We are providing assistance financially, physically and spiritually . We do not want another baby to be left in a box anywhere in the city . We at St Judes believe nothing and no one can be a hopeless situation . We felt that it is high time for us to act , if you forgive the pun to save as many souls as we can .“
Interviewer –“The baby that was originally left at the back doorway of the theatre left Father . Where is that baby now ?
Fr Saul –“ You don’t have to look very far . Its over there in the box office with its Mother selling tickets for tonight’s premier performance .“
Interviewer –“How did you locate the Mother ?”
Fr Saul “Maybe you should ask the Producer of the theatre company that question .”
The camera swings to Jill .
Interviewer –“We’re talking to Jill the producer of tonights play . Jill just how did you find the Mother of the baby left at your door ?”
Jill – “Actually you did it for us . After your network broadcast the story about the baby in a box and what we were planning to do some special magic happened . The babies mother was at that time in a hospital bed watching the whole thing and had a change of heart . She contacted us and the rest is history . “
Interviewer - “Is she well enough to talk with us tonight ?”
Jill-“Maybe you should ask the Doctor that question .“
The camera swings to Dr Phil
Dr Phil – “I don’t think so . At present she is on a drug withdrawal program and is going through a difficult stage . It might be best to leave her out of this interview .“
The camera swings to a corner where some art canvasses are displayed for sale . The interviewer walks over and comments .
Interviewer - “All of these art work’s that you see here are the original works of Del one of the players in tonight’s performance . He is donating all the money from the sales of his work to the centre as a way of contributing something back .“
Interviewer-“Dr Phil could I ask you about some of the people who have helped you so far ?”
Dr Phil –“After the broadcast of your special Street Mothers, we contacted community health team and began to take a serious look at applying for funding for a drop in centre here at Babe Theatre . We were very pleased to have an immediate response from the Government . we have set in place a strong set of standards and within the next few years a number of facilities will be developed to provide on going support for the disadvantaged sector in our communities . “
Interviewer – “Father Saul do you think God is at work in all of this and is there a message for all of us ? .“
Fr Saul- “ I would say most definitely yes . There are a number of things being said to us if you have the ears to listen . Like do unto others and love your neighbour as yourself . I think ots a miracle what hads happened . People have come together from all sides of the community . Both rich and poor have lent their support to feed the hungry and give shelter for the homeless poor .”
Interviewer –“We are speaking here to Father Saul from St Judes live at The Babe Theatre in the Bay . Fr Saul , can I may ask you about the Beat The Street Mission you are proposing .“
Fr Saul –“ Why sure . Thank you . We at St Jude’s are taking a bus on the road . We are hoping to reach out to those who are in need . We are offering free clothing and hot food . There will be counselling for anyone who needs it . There is also a prayer and reconciliation connection with the Beat The Street Mission .“
Interviewer –“ How can people who are watching tonight get involved or is there anyway they can they help ?”
Fr Saul –“ At this stage I would ask people to keep their prayers going for us . There are miracles and we do them everyday . If you are watching this tonight and you want to get involved . Call into St Jude’s at the Bay and leave your contact with the Beat The Street Team .Even if you just want to enquire about someone . Just come . We are there to learn and listen . Who knows what we can achieve together . Help us out and you’ll find you’ll be helping yourself out in the process .“
Interviewer –“ Thank you Father Saul . “
Fr Saul - “You’re very welcome . Thank you for your support .“
The media crew pack up and make their exit .
After they’re gone a small crowd is gathering for the premier of the play . A group of four people walk over to the cafe in the reception area and order coffee and some cakes . Then they begin to gossip away before the show starts . The four in the group are debating issues over who among them is more Important . Their plastic personalities have pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes . The chatter is almost deafening then there is a lull .
First Audience Member – “ I just had some extensions done to my last extensions last week . I decided to have one room for my trophies .“
Second in the group . - “I’ve just had an extension to my garage . I bought another Porsche and needed three parking bays . “
Response from the third - “I have just had a new custom paint job to my sports car . The mechanic who looks after it says it’s the fastest thing he has ever driven .”
Fourth Member in the group – “I’m thinking of a new garden around the house . It is going to take in the car port and garage . I have chosen all the plants myself . The landscaper who is going to do the work is regarded as one of the best in the country .”
There are lots of laughs and loud comments from as they stand around waiting for the show to begin . Everyone was better than everyone else . and everybody was so popular . Everyone was so cool at least in their own eyes .The stranger in their midst was Del . He sat near the door at the back of the foyer and just observed the crowd . Some were buying his pictures and others making comments about the work . They were a mixture of things being said . Some people were comfortably numb
by the whole experience . Others were full of self importance that nobody could measure up to themselves but themselves . All in al it was a usual arty kind of crowd . There stood eating cakes and sipping hot coffee .
Through the PA System the bleeping sound was heard to call the audience into their seats . As the final notes came through the audience all mustered through the door into the theatre .
Del walking around checking how many paintings were sold .
He made his way over to the box office .
Picking up a discarded paper cup half filled with hot coffee he drank it .
Del-“ Well Denise . You’re looking great .”
Denise –“Yeah . A lot better than I was a month ago .”
Del “- The babe looks great . A picture of health ‘
Denise -“ I don’t know how I can ever repay all you guys for what you’ve done for us .“
Del –“ I f you get straightened out and survive that is all the thanks we need Denise “.
Denise –“ I’m doing that Del .“
Del-“You certainly are . “
Denise –“Oh by the way seven of your pictures were sold tonight .“
Del-“ Cool . How many bums on seats have we in there ?”
Denise – “It’s a full house . “
Del-“Then I guess I better get ready for the show .“
Denise –“ Yeah . I guess you better . You’ve got the leading role don’t you Del ?”
Del-“ Oh Yeah . I’m Rab the artist . Wish me luck .“
Del blows a kiss to both mother and child .
Densie closes the box office and puts all the takings into a box .
The curtain is drawn over the foyer reception area and all the house lights are dimmed . On the other side of the stage a new set has been arranged .
It depicts an empty class-room with a blackboard and desks . Cobwebs hang from the ceiling , windows and door . Looks like it has been deserted for a hundred years .
There is a young man sitting at a desk .
The voice of as narrator off Stage opens the scene –
Returning back to an old classroom is something not many people ever do but for Rab he had decided to return to the place where he had once sat as a child . He never got on with anybody at school . Rab had been a real pressure cooker . That’s how the teacher described him in his final school report . Even then they said he had behavioural management problems . Rab was a real handful for his parents so he got used to punishment early in his life . His teachers had ignored him in class . They said he was impossible to teach .
Tagged a junior delinquent Robert was told he would have a hard road ahead in life They said he would never get a steady job .
The thing was no one really understood him .
No one was able to give him the time he needed to develop .
A knock came to the classroom door .
Rab- “ Come in . Its open “
Slicer dressed as an old school principal walked in .
Slicer- “Rab . I’ve got some thing I need to tell you ?”
Rab- “Hello sir . So you’ve contacted me after almost twenty years . To say sorry . Well sir , as you know I’m quite a busy man these days .”
Slicer –“I know that . But I can’t let it go unsaid Rab . We were so wrong about you back then in the old days .”
Rab –“ Oh yes , those grey old days when everything had to be in black and white . There was no room for colour . No place for being artistic .“
Slicer- “If I died today I would never rest at peace . Please forgive me for the things I said to you in this classroom many years ago ‘”
Rab –“ Well sir if you put it that way . Oh sure I forgive you and all the rest of the teachers who never saw beyond their own perimeter of education .“
Slicer – “That’s why I called you Rab .“
Rab –“Yes . The problem was back then you never knew how to apply yourself to where I was at . I could not ever achieve the academic edge as you often pout it . I was useless if I remember rightly . But look at me now sir . All of you educated men are eating you words . School for me was nightmare but for all of you teachers it was a playground .“
Slicer –“Out of all your old teachers Rab I am the only survivor . I am also speaking on their behalf . We are sorry . Please accept their apoligies and mine so that justice and healing can begin .“
Rab –“ My practical work wasn’t too bad Sir was it ?”
Slicer –“( Laughs ) Robert you ended up top of the class .“
Rab –“(Laughs) Maybe that’s why the other boys hated me sir “
( Both their laughing is shared )
Slicer –“So before you found fame . What exactly did you do when you left school Rab ?
Rab-“ Well sir , I was determined I would survive . So day at the local fair I won a horse in a boxing tournament . After that I made a cart from scrap timber and became a kind of travelling salesman . “
Slicer –“That was very inventive Rab . Tell me about that .“
Rab –“Well sir , I first painted business signs for shop owners in people in town . Before long they called me Vincent Van Rab . Next thing I knew I had a big order to do some sketches for tourists and then I had my first art exhibition . “
Slicer –“ It saddens me that none of the teachers had picked up your gift with art at school . I suppose no one ever took any notice of your first sketches on scraps of paper . In truth Rab the teachers had given up on you and no one was able to encourage you .”
Rab –“Maybe it was the best thing after all an artist lives a lonely life.”
Slicer –“I suppose it would be referred to as a calling .“
Rab-“Sure but not many hear that call . Not many are inspired .“
Slicer-“ Thanks for inspiring so many others with your work .“
Rab”- If that’s all Sir I really have to go . I have to catch an aeroplane and as you know I am a busy man these days .“
Slicer-“ Sure and thanks for giving me some of your time today .“
Both men walk off stage and the curtain is pulled across the classroom set . The curtain opens on the other side of the stage . The set resembles an art gallery and there is an art exhibition taking place . Some members of the cast as dignitaries and people from the art world There are waiters handing out drinks from silver trays . Two art critics stand looking at one of the works on display .
Theatre player – “ Hey that’s diverse piece . I love the existence of the Mothers inability to cope . If only I could afford to buy this .“
Another Player –“I like the way Rab adds vivid slice’s of colour here and there in the background . It shows a confidence edge to his talent .“
Suddenly someone with a microphone makes an announcement .
“Thank you for coming along this evening . By your attendance we are giving this brave new collection of works a place to reside in societry . Just arrived from overseas we have Van Rab , the man himself to launch the exhibition .“
Enter Rab .
There is an applause and some of the players call .
“ Speech . “
After a brief silence Rab takes the microphone
Rab -“I must apologise for my scattered hair and untidy appearance . In the hurry to catch my flight I had no time to book a manicure .“
(Some rolling laughter)
I had no time either for my critics who are not present tonight . I have made sure that they are locked out from our world . We the unseen members of the art world are a vital non existent part of society . We eat from rich tables the rarest fruit . We sit on elegant toilet seats and answering to no one but ourselves . The only thing that has kept us a step ahead of the rest is our hunger new faces to paint and the desire to find images in this beloved but bleak existence we call life . So thank you for coming to view my new collection . My portraits await your cheque books and do not be afraid to be generous . Enjoy .“
Cameras flash and the audience give their loud vocal appreciation and begin to push their way to grab one of the works and shake the hand of the artist . The pictures are sold very fast and cheques are written out and handed over .
The curator –“ Well Rab I must say I have never seen anything like that before . Every thing on display went . It has been the best exhibition we’ve ever had at the gallery .“
Rab - “Then that calls for a celebration . Lets go and have a drink at the Underground Bar near the quay on the docks .“
As everyone makes their exit the curtain closes from the art gallery side of the stage . On the other side of the stage the set is arranged to look like a bar . On a small stage a lady plays a guitar . Some couples sit around the tables . At the bar sitting on a stool is a docker . He looks rough and has had a few drinks too many . Enter Rab and some members from the art gallery . Rab takes a seat at the bar near to where the docker is sitting .
Rab-“I have a number of guests . We are out celebrating so I must ask you to move .“
The Docker-“You know where you can go Charlie .“
Rab- “Maybe you don’t know me but I’m Van Rab the artist .“
The Docker –“My name is Yank and I’m a low docker . If you don’t get your face out of the way I can guarantee you I’ll make it a work of art even you would be proud of . “
Rab-“If I may point out to you Yank I have a name in this city . “
The Docker –“ Listen Van , I am not big in the art world so your name means nothing . As a matter of fact do you know who I am ?”
Rab-“You’re a low docker .“
The Docker-” I’m Yank the Crank .
Rab –“Yank you seem like a good man .“
The Docker –“Its been a difficult day . So do me a favour and disappear before I put a fist in your face .“
Rab-“ Yank . I don’t mean to cause you any pain so I’ll tell you what . Just walk out now while you are still able to .”
The docker lifted a glass . Rab could see he was about to smash it into his face so he grabbed the Dockers arm . As hard as the docker tries hje could not move it any further . Tab took the glass and placed it to one side . Then he covered the bar with some notes and told the barman that for the rest of the evening all the drinks were on him . The Docker made his way over to a table and sat down quietly nursing his arm . After the the girl on stage played guitar she walked over to the bar and placed her arm’s around Rab .
Rab-“ Good evening Molly. I see you’ve still a soft spot for me ”
Molly –“Sure . Have you still got time to spare ?”
Rab –“ “Sure, how much do you want ? Haven’t I always said when I’m in town my time is yours . ”
Molly –“ Rab . So tell me are you sure you can do it for me ?”
Rab-“ No problem about that .“
Molly-“Well then what do you want an open invite .“
Rab-“Where do you want to do it ?”
Molly –“ I have an upstairs room not far from here . “
Rab-“ Ok I just have to pick up some brushes and paints ok .?”
Molly –“ Rab , you’re a darling . Do you know how long I have waited for you to do a portrait of me .“
Rab-“It must be a while I’m sure .Sorry Molly . I’ll do it now . Listen everyone the drinks are on me . Have a great evening . I must go to answer a calling . Art for arts sake if you know what I mean ?
Rab pushed his way out the door with Molly and the curtain is drawn on the bar scene . On the other side of the stage the curtain opens to reveal a new set . It is that of a small simply furnished room . A small table and chair sit in the corner . In the middle of the floor stands an easel with a canvas on it . Rab is standing with some paints and brushes in his hand painting Molly his subject who is sitting at the table . Molly has a cigarette in her mouth .
Molly –“Give me a light will you Rab ?”
Rab leaned over and looked into her face . He stood back and checked another profile . Eventually he produced a box of matches and lit Mollys cigarette .
Rab- “So tell me Molly . Is this picture for you ?”
Molly-“No . Its for my cousin Michelle who lives in America . I want to send it over as a Christmas gift for her . She hasn’t seen me for ten years and I thought it would be a good way to show her I haven’t changed .“
Rab grabbed some more paints and placed his hand on the easel . He stood and as if inspired with sudden greatness immediately began to dab and stroke out an image with a single brush unto the canvas .
Rab - “I’ll make it special for you Molly . Like you’re a visitor in . where did you say your cousin was from ?”
Molly- ”She’s from Paris “.
Rab-“Right hang on . Hold up this for me will you .“
Rab handed Molly an empty wine bottle that he grabbed from a spot under the table . Molly took the bottle and held it up .
Molly -“I saw one of your new works in the City Art Market yesterday Rab .“
Rab-“ “No you didn’t . So don’t lie to me Molly That’s too high . Hold the bottle out in front of you as if you’re pouring a drink for a friend . Yes that’s it .“
Molly –“They say that you donate most all your money to orphans and those with special needs .“
Rab continued to dab away . It was as if he was in a trance .
Rab-“This cousin of yours is she older that you ?“
Molly –“Yes just by a few years . She tells me everyone loves art in Paris
Rab . Do you know what I think . Maybe you should go over and live with your cousin there for a while . It would be a nice change for you Molly .“
Rab stopped and dropped the brushes . Then he walked out of the room . Molly got up from the table and walked over to look at the painting . When she saw the work she was amazed .
Molly -“That is just a perfect picture .
She walks over to the corner of the room and lifts a little baby from a small cardboard box . She kisses the baby on the cheek .
If only we could afford to go to Paris my little Michelle . Who knows we just might get enough money from the sale of this painting to make it”
The curtain drops and the play is ended
Site: Poems To Share
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Paul Francis Mc Cann