I have always struggled to identify with characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, but I’ve always understood their desperate need to reach out. My main character has chosen to go it alone, but there are limits to her strength. Act II of Smoke attempts to reconcile her fear of what the future holds in store with a determination to face the uncertainty of the future with courage and optimism. It is a fragile balance.
What this first scene of Act II aims at is to give a glimpse into her outer world from within. The play of light and shadow is key. I hope that I have managed to make clear whose perspective is captured on the imaginary stage, but I would love to know whether you agree. Particularly, what does “sound” and “colour” reveal to you in this context?
SMOKE… Act I/Scene 1
ACT II/ SCENE 1
A blinding flash of light and then complete darkness.
From the darkness emerges a play of shadow and light – rosy-red. Almost immediately this play is pinpointed by the sound of a heartbeat.
The silence without is interrupted every now and then by laughter. The laughter does not belong within, but it comes as if from outside the room. When there is laughter, the heartbeat quickens.
Another blinding flash of light and then again complete darkness. The play of light and shadow. Again the heartbeat.
But now there is music somewhere in the background. The heartbeat aligns itself to the sound of the music; the sounds are entwined into one rhythmic dance.
A blinding flash of light and then darkness. Light-shadow at play. The heartbeat.
Muffled sobs from without interrupt its rhythmic sequence. The heartbeat quietens, as if listening out for that someone crying.
The red light flashes outward strongly, followed in near synchrony with the white and then the space is enveloped in complete darkness once again.