Samba Libretto (excerpt #1)

April 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Posted in samba libretto, verse play, writing | 10 Comments
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Setting – One uncomfortable wooden chair, paint peeling.

Enter, stumbling as though pushed onto the stage – One uncomfortable wooden poet, skin peeling. Mid-forties, wearing last night’s tuxedo and a bemused grin, trailed by his bodyguards and his therapist. He looks back for a moment. Looks down at his hand, surprised to see flowers as he was expecting scissors dripping blood.

Poet(Grumpily as though at the end of the argument with the person who pushed him onto the stage) Whoops, sorry. Now where was I? That’s right, that creation and destruction are coins of two different sides and so forth. My new verse play is going well. I have already hidden the story in the first few lines. It is a classic symmetrical butterfly on the side of a Japanese vase. So instead of listening to me rambling on, here is a scene from it. (He sits on the chair.)

(Louise enters with an easel containing a still life of flowers. She starts to paint. Leonard rushes in naked and dripping wet and grabs her in a huge hug.)

Leonard – Louise! I have to tell you. Joseph Heller was a Jew!

Louise – Yes, Leonard. (Disentangling herself from the hug.) Please put some clothes on. If you keep doing that, I shall have to put one of those newfangled locks on the bathroom door that only lets you out here when you are fully clothed.

Leonard – Hmmm, no you won’t.

Louise – Yes I will, your polymorpheus perversity is becoming excessively tiresome and look what you have done to my painting.

Leonard – Oh, it is as beautiful as your poetry, which one is you?

The Poet(Jumping up) Perfect, perfect. (Rushes toward the actors before being restrained by his bodyguards.)

(end scene)


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  1. I really, really, really love this. It reminds me of absurdist drama. This is fantastic:’Looks down at his hand, surprised to see flowers as he was expecting scissors dripping blood.’ Congrats on being the feature act on speedpoets next month you’ll be fabulous (just bring your bodyguards and therapist along).

  2. Here’s a link that works
    Thankyou, Gabrielle. I am planning my costume as we speak. I am thinking bright pink hot pants one size too small. An Edwardian dinner jacket. A tinfoil hat to keep the moon beams at bay, fishnet stockings and steel cap boots? Oh and an old pair of Bootsy’s sunnies of course.

  3. (sniffling) I don’t have a tuxedo to wear out at night. I feel so very out of fashion! Last night I went to sleep with a sword strapped to my hip. I have no idea who I was going to do battle with in dreams but I woke most uncomfortably situated over three feet of steel in a leather scabbard. The dragon crest on the sword hilt is now temporarily imprinted on my forehead. There is cold coffee on my nightstand but I know there is more whiskey here somewhere. I am on a quest for the holy grail, the silver chalice, the whiskey bottle and my missing shoe,…my sword, I must get my sword! “Polymorpheus” I knew a gal named Polly one time. I used to talk like a parrot to her and say , Polly wanna’ quickie? She had red hair and green eyes. It will be interesting to see where this play goes from here…Broadway I hope! I’m off to get some nails to hammer down this spinning floor. I’ll just leave my sword here while I urinate…peeing with swords is not recommended to the intoxicated…they should put a warning on the sword like on cigarettes…the surgeon general cut off his penis with one of these..or something. lol
    F.G.! My old (or not so old) friend. Anything left in that bottle? It’s Fridayayaya, see you tonight in the Cafe!

  4. completely captivated me! what a pleasure to read. your writing has so many dimensions, love it. i found all these colorful images popping/dissolving or expanding/contracting, like paint, spreading it in different textures, in short, a dance of wordcolorspace or something. i laughed about the line ‘look what you did to my painting’ implying it had been splattered or the brush streaked out of control, very funny!
    Tipota, your comments are more entertaining and better writing than most people’s blog posts. Than most literary journals too. Thankyou!

  5. This is like a return to the old days and I would stand up and give you an ovation if these damn toes didn’t hurt so much. Chink chink Squires. Bloody brilliant.
    Standing ovation! How I wish you could be at Speed Poets. I must get a camera operator on board soon. Cin cin!

  6. i read this earlier, then again .. then again .. it’s awesome! the structure .. poet/players/poet is perfect for each and every one of us beautiful mad beings who are so many on the inside …

    and so hilariously extra/ordinary, which is why those scissors were so superb, cropping up as they did, precisely bohemian psycho (and who doesn’t have such inclinations, c’mon, they’re normal i tell ya!)

    and of course, which one is you .. all’s one … that’s the greatest tease of all .. is there anybody there? or are we all? and of course we are …

    gorgeously brilliant, truly, i know others have said it … but that’s because they’re right … i’m right .. we’re right … you are
    Shell, your comments make my heart sing. You have pinned the piece in so many ways. An English Professor couldn’t have done better. Readers like you are why I keep blogging. Here is a huge Thankyou!

  7. Yeah, I doubt I could add much to above – hooked me right away, awesome stuff. Is this a snippet from a longer piece you’re working on? Would love to see more of this!
    Thanks Ashley. Yes, I am planning to write an entire three act play based on this piece and try to get it produced. Big dream, I know, but it will be fun.

  8. This is great. Now I want to hear the words sung. And its a lovely dream- with a market, too. Interestingly enough, I just went to a small panel and listened to people who write for librettos talk about their working and how writing words to be sung was fulfilling because it gave them a new expressive outlet that poetry didn’t and how much fun it was, etc. Good luck!
    I’ve always wanted to write a libretto, Harmonie and now is the time. I just need to find a composer. If I can’t it will be just a play but called, “Samba Libretto” because Leonard is a composer in the play. It is about his adventures performing an old work whilst trying to write a new one. Louise is his steadfast companion but not in any way his lover. The whole thing is basically written in my head and in my notes, it’s just a matter of unravelling the whole thing into a script.

  9. a pushed poet on stage… is that a disguised oxymoron… dying unheard scripts just wanna attention.. it is good to see you writing again.. i like this new live form of living late nights… thanks for stoppin by…
    Thankyou, Ms Pie. Your poetry continues to amaze and entertain.

  10. Samba — I am hearing the music to it. Very nice.
    Cool, I’m glad you can hear the music, Aletha. He is a classical composer trying to write the music for a Samba Opera.

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