Welcome to the inverted Christmas tree!
The cosmology scene. Perhaps we start with noise, a single violin (on xylophone?) note. More notes, voices, chords, etc. The universe is built out of string as the rules of the game (quintessence are being outlined). The traveler catches our eye, barely. Perhaps she is wearing something different, perhaps her words are slightly out of sync (making it more beautiful Lauren ) The cosmology scene becomes the world: real people now (who've shed their black or whatever) walking around, reading, dancing, hugging, laughing, singing, drawing, beautiful things. WISDOM happens. People are saying, that
there is no way grand enough to enter
with the traveler stiller, walking among this, trying to take the world in all at once. All the beautiful things. She mutters to herself, or writes in her book, or says aloud as if coming to a realization:
Even those who live there feel lost in the morning. sometimes.
The artist notices her from his conversation on the balcony, among the audience (who are, obviously part of this world. He calls to her, he runs after her (although she does not hear) off. The others continue being beautiful, noticing him in a way. The agility of an athlete, the romance of the chase, the curve of an inverted parabola... they follow onto the stage, bringing the audience with them. The dancer is working through her steps while the people-person, the musician, the modernist, and the sister (of the traveler) study logic in a heap nearby. Their conversation often strays to other science-y (usually) things as their minds make connections. The dancer's path is supposed to follow the golden spiral engraved in the floor, but she often strays, making mistakes and returning to try again. She is flushed and happy though. She studies too, repeating fragments of her friends' logic notes (they tease her sometimes, sometimes offer encouragement logic-style)
If the dance is good, then we will all pass
The dance is good
Therefore, we will all pass
Giggles. The dancer laughs too. They continue in this way. They end up talking about sunsets. The traveler sticks her head in, a dishtowel in her hand.
In California sometimes, if the day is perfect, when the sun sets there's a flash of green across the horizon.
The people-person thinks this is cool. The sister and the musician roll their eyes and laugh a little the dancer leaps. The people-person shouts a question too late, the traveler's gone. They hear a dish break. Pause, a brilliant burst of laughter and back to dancing and logic. Silently now, because the lights come up on the traveler and the artist out to dinner. Somewhere with a candle, where the traveler is not in charge of cooking and/or carrying dishes. Or else just in the other room (that she just went into). The traveler asks
Did you know that?
That the sky goes green. In California. When the sun sets.
He's a little surprised.
How do you think - WHY do you think that happens?
Interested, he tells her
I don't know.
She starts to reach for her book thinking
Sunsets are beautiful no matter where you are.
He catches her.
What color green?
Like a brilliant emeral- Like a neon-limey- no like if you took a green highlighter and a green crayon and mixed them together and and
He's laughing at her, she throws her salad leaves at him playfully
Ha! It's good to have you back.
Uh. Good to be back.
Tell me all about it!
She is stunned and overwhelmed into silence.
I don't know where to start.
He shrugs in anticipation.
I don't know what to say.
The girls in the other room are talking about how eyes work. How we see things. They're tired now, and getting silly. There're less logic facts and more logic jokes. With one more
Therefore, I'm going home now
They start to say goodbye, pack up and leave. The dancer lingers. She doesn't want to go home. The sister says goodbye to her
Woo. I hope it's ok tomorrow. Thanks for coming over to study, I always do better with other people. But yeah, see you tomorrow I guess.
Love you, oh, and your dance looks awesome.
She gets her sparkled flush back again and is ready to leave. The sister opens the door, starts to wave goodbye. She remembers -
Oh! Good luck at your auditions!
Happily, she closes the door and exits. (Mattie has an idea for how doors might close). The dancer is left alone in the street, under the stars. She starts to walk home. She's thinking, and she's got knots in her stomach. Not from nerves. Sometimes on the walk home she skips into her steps a little. She hears her parents voices, she sees Ls shining in/from the stars. The BEAUTIFUL FALLACY happens on her walk home, following the next segment of the spiral. The sun rises slowly as the audience resettles.
The traveler is sitting on the floor with her sister, flipping through the book as if it were a photo album, pointing to things and telling stories. Silently, or else very very verrrry quietly, so that her voice is just in the back of the artist's mind. The artist sits sketching, drawing a patch of clover very precisely. The musician stumbles in, making a beautiful catch, but totally demolishing the patch of clover. The artist jumps up, pretty mad. The musician is pleased with herself, as flushed as the dancer. He is congratulated indistinctly from offstage. The artist cuts this, he's angry.
Hey! Come on man! What the -
He's too angry to speak coherently. The musician sort of notices.
Realizing that it's not so much a big deal, but still frustrated, he turns to pick up his books and pens.
Nothing. Geez - nevermind. Nothing.
The musician looks at his brother, looks at the sketchbook. Looks at the dirt beneath her feet. Looks at her brother.
The grass? You're drawing the grass?
Was. Was drawing the grass. Geez -!
He gives up again, but the musician isn't stupid.
You're mad I ran on the grass. Hello!? What do you think grass is for?
Not for trampling, geez, you completely ripped it apart. It's gone!
Are you serious? There's grass everywhere. Go use that grass over there!
The artist throws up his arms and turns away, disgusted again. This infuriates his sister.
What?! What?! You can't. Why not? Art? Because that patch was more beautiful than that patch?! I'll tell you what, brother, no one else thinks that. Lots of people walk all over grass all the time and never think they better stop and draw this patch this patch is real beautiful. Like real beautiful way more than all the others. And lots of people play no- no- it's NOT just me! Lots of people play ball on the grass and you know what, that was a BEAUTIFUL catch! Geez, there's grass everywhere. That was a beautiful catch. But you don't see that. You see grass. And shriveled white flowers and sailboats and worms and kids flying kites and pancakes and butter knives and sunsets and people geez- so many people! Old people and dancers and girls in the park. And and people near walls and stuff. Nah, I've seen your what - your WORk. Rediculous, nah nah whatever man BEAUTIFUL. But, geez, you never draw athletes. And geez, that was a BEAUTIFUL CATCH!
He storms off. The traveler remembers somewhere she's supposed to be. She runs off. The artist is stunned. Slowly he fades into the audience. Slowly, he sits among them and starts to draw them. The way they move. A softly dark and quiet stage. A single spotlight on the book as it rests on a small round table where the traveler put it before she hugged her sister goodbye. It has a single slender leg. The listener helps the audience gather around the table. The sister explains to the audience. (She should have Adam's reasons, Mattie's demeanor, and Eva's voice)
(excitement? possibly Deb's) The book scene is all about the beauty of people. (Meghan Rose rewrite this). (Maybe this is completely different: instead of the sister talking about a physical book that's there, she converses with the audience. She tells them about the beautiful people in her life: the musician, the artist, her sister the traveler, her parents, the modernist, the people-person. She talks about all the beautiful people she sees, everyday She sings that Beatles song a little. She talks about how she's always amazed. She talks about them to them. Yeah, let's rewrite this, book people).
Go ahead. You can touch it. It's ok. It's mine. Go ahead: you can touch it. Turn the page. Oh, that one
She makes a true comment about the beauty to be found on that page.
If you keep turning. . . further, further, no here. That's good. Look at that. You know
She comments on an interesting fact
It's crazy really if you think about it. I mean, think about the most beautiful rose you've ever seen. I mean, THE most beautiful one. Think about THE most beautiful person you ever knew. Whatever that means to you: physical, emotional, spiritual. What is the spiritual beauty of a rose? Does it weigh on your mind like that face? Do you mourn it when it dies? and yet all the poets
She flips the pages
...here. . . huh. Maybe we should compare roses to people. huh. How about you?
She picks an audience member. Someone who needs it.
what do we think, guys?
Are there answers? She doesn't force a wait. She names her a rose, tries out a few. If roses don't work, she flips to violets or hibiscus or morning glories. She tells them why.
Yeah? yeah? I think so, but I don't really know. Sorry, I don't mean to make you feel silly, just beautiful. like you are, obviously. but that's wrong really, don't you think,
because you mean so much more than that flower. It would be better if I told them this flower is like you:
She describes a hypothetical flower that is like this person.
petalling out and landing in a neat blush. Or maybe I could just say your name this flower, that maybe they've never seen. And they say ohhh. I get what it looks like. It's red isn't it? Or something like that. It makes total sense, really, since you are so much more beautiful. This book, this book, this book. Sometimes I think it's beautiful, but I can't decide if it disappoints me. My sister gave it to me and I've never been able to quite figure it out. Sometimes I
She flips the pages, stops on the sand page.
see her so clearly in here, but just as often
She flips to fishhook
I have no idea who she's talking about. Sometimes I think this is just full of beautiful things
She fingers the stamp.
but this one doesn't fit
She's on the Yoruba language page
because it's just a research essay. Was it for me
for her? Neither of us can play
She's on Alison's music.
But she gave it to me.
Pause pause pause pauses. She starts to hope the audience will turn its pages again, maybe even a gesture to continue on. Then suddenly, happily, as
sudden as a flash of green, she snatches it back and squeezes it closed.
and then she left.
The traveler is in an art museum, looking at portraits. The people-person is wandering through the exhibits, sometimes in the scene, sometimes out, sometimes in the audience interviewing people. She has a video camera. We hear their answers now and then. KITCHENS AND DINOSAURS happens. The listener is looking nearby. The traveler has something to talk about and the listener is the only one around, and, well, that's what she does. The traveler doesn't exactly address her.
Do you think you forget them? The faces, I mean. After the names of the streets are gone and the taste of the food. The smell of houses. Gone. Do you forget?
She almost touches a portrait.
I sat in my mom's kitchen and I watched a daffodil die. Are faces just another thing time destroys?
The listener comments
Faces aren't like daffodils.
Aren't they? No ha you're right. But -
She doesn't know what to say.
I remember she taught me how to run the washing machine and then let me sit on top and feel the rumble. And she grew corn in a garden. She left the tv on all the time, because that's the way my grandpa liked it. She always had cookies for us in the freezer when we came around. I don't think she knows my name anymore.
The listener listens
So do you forget them? Everyone? All the faces? Eventually? The little kids whose shoes you helped to tie and the man at the grocery store who always -
She smiles. She frowns.
I don't remember her singing voice anymore. And I don't know what she did when my grandfather was in the war. . .
She is thinking about the artist.
Will I forget him? I can't I can't! People lose- things happ- no I can't. What if I do? No, I can't.
She is now clearly upset, and, although she still doesn't really know why, the listener comforts her. The listener is comforted.
Thank you, I'm sorry, I just. What's your name? No hang on, don't tell me, because I'll forget
She smiles weakly
And then I'll just be mad at myself instead of remembering how beautiful you are. Thank you. I think I need to go. There's someone I need to see.
She leaves. She comes back. She's confused. And can't remember how to get out. We see her pass between the exhibits. It takes her about a full minute. The listener notices and laughs to herself. The artist is working in his studio. Making one simple motion over and over. He is calm and peaceful in his work. He gets up to wash his hands. The traveler comes in. He greets her. She has no reason to be there really, but this doesn't bother him. He indicates the stone.
I'm on a new one.
He guides her hands through the same motions. Again it is simple and fluid.
The grinding (um, what do you actually call it Adam and is this even the right process?) complete the traveler sits sits, stands near him. The artist flicks a glance at her, and indicates with his head for her to do something other than stand in his way. The traveler picks up two sponges and waters the artist's stone. The artist picks up ink from his rollup. The traveler stares at his back. As he turns around she looks away. He pauses before rolling.
You wet it?
She nods. He inks and quickly goes to roll up again. He is still moving quite fast. She watches him again and forgets to wet the stone. He turns around and inks the stone. The image starts to black out. She starts, and he curses. He tries to snap the ink off. It doesn't work. He curses again and tears some newsprint, places it on the stone, and begins to send the image through the press. As he cranks the handle, he looks up to see Belinda wiping her eyes. He slows down and finally stops. They pause for an uncomfortable amount of time, locked in eye contact. For the first time, the artist actually sees the woman before him. Maintaining eye contact, he slowly and deliberately releases the press. He nods and goes back to roll up. The traveler sponges again. She doesn't ask any more questions. As they resume the process there is a simple grace and flow to their movements. They share a small smile as they see each other with every pass.
Not an ending with a moral and a dog.
The hall of mirrors. While they are waiting the books are handed out. Perhaps they wander through the space discovering it themselves. Maybe they read the book some more. The people of the world are now actively engaging with the waiting audience. The people-person might be video-taping more people (to be included), etc.