I have explored in previous scenes of this play the idea of a story told through silence and pause, through the play of light and darkness, and through body language. In this first scene of the third act of Smoke, I attempt to take this one stage further.
While I have a particular narrative in mind, each of you will interpret what you see differently. So this is a summons to make the scene your own: What is it that you see?
Smoke… by Vic Briggs
SMOKE… Act I/Scene 1
Act III/ Scene 1
Complete darkness. Silence. Then a giant clock ticks away. The light flashes on and off with every stroke like a heartbeat.
At first the stage is empty, but at the seventh stroke a woman materialises in the middle of the room under a bright white spotlight. The rest of the stage around her is pitch black.
It is Laura. She is barefoot, dressed in a long shift – a nightdress that just covers her knees, and stands upright. Tense. Her fists clenched. Her eyes fixed one something just above the horizon. Her hair is dishevelled. Streaks of black run from her eyes down her cheeks. This spotlight remains on for the duration of the entire scene.
A light flashes to her left and a second spotlight is fixed on two figures framed by a window. Emma holds onto the frame so that she may not fall. At first the other figure is just a dark silhouette just behind her, occluded and yet visible.
The light flashes red and the figure is Daniel. It flashes white. Darkness. It flashes red again and the figure is Fred. Darkness. Another white flash. The figure moves forward towards Emma and embraces her. It is Daniel. Emma buries her face into his shoulder. The light goes out on the two so that they are no longer visible.
Another spotlight appears on Laura’s right. Fred and Margaret face one another under it. They seems to be having an argument. The light flashes red and a third figure appears cloacked in black, occluded just behind them. It flashes white and the figure appears between them. It is Daniel. Margaret takes him in her arms and caresses his hair. Fred’s shoulders slump, his head in his hands. The light goes out on the three of them.
The stage is succumbed into darkness, bar the spotlight underneath which Laura stands looking upward. The light is a bright white. Her fists unclench. Her body convulses. Then a reddish smoke begins to descend until her dress looks covered in blood.
She reaches for her stomach, gripping at it with claws. Then collapses onto her knees.
The light flashes red outward strongly, followed in near synchrony with the white and then the space is enveloped in complete darkness once again.
Is Daniel Margaret ‘s son?
And please tell me that Laura wasn’t pregnant. Was she?
I will aim to answer all questions in the next two scenes, KG. I don’t want to impose my own viewpoint just yet. Listening to what you see when you read this, may help me consider alternative storylines. So this is very helpful, thank you.
Oh God.. now I have to wait till the next scene.. 😦
you really got me confused with this one
Sorry, KG, I suppose that’s the difficulty with an experiment like this. On the one hand you have freedom to explore different techniques and twists in the narrative, but on the other hand it may affect how the overall storyline progresses.
I hope I’ll make up for any confusion in the scene that follows.
Good story and love how you describe it.
What do I see in the picture? I could say at first glance I thought it was some kind of aurora boreal up there in space.
Thank you, Charly. The question referred more to the image created by the narrative itself. I tried to find a picture that would work in that context, but unfortunately this is the best that I could find which would combine the images of “smoke,” “spotlight” and the colour “red” – well, it’s not quite red, but at least it alludes to it. I like your idea of an aurora borealis. I wonder how that could connect to the overall message of the play. Will see.
I’m not very good at this but I’ll have a go. The Flashing people says cycle and involvement to me, in that they are all in this nightmare. The red smoke and clawing – she lost her baby.
Beautiful. Thank you. I hope to be able to post the next scene soon. This is very helpful, Scarlet. Greatly appreciated.
My pleasure, sorry I haven’t been up to date I’m having a creative explosion at the moment lol
Creative explosions are great so no worries 🙂 Take all the time you need and I look forward to reading what your creativity has created.
I have a second blog that I need to put some work into, a deeper thinking one, that’s what I need to put more into.
Wishing you the best of luck. I am sure you will succeed.
Thanks I’ll send you the link if your are not subscribed
Certainly, send me the link 🙂
I don’t use it as often I should though.
Thank you, Scarlet. I’ll take a look.
My pleasure 🙂
There’s a strong sense of tension here, even threat – it feels like something terrible is happening. The ticking clock suggests an inevitability in the way the story unfolds; and like others, it sounds to me as though Laura is losing a baby.
Looking forward to seeing what happens next!
Thank you, yakinamac. This is very helpful. I hope to be able to complete the next scene this weekend. Having feedback as I advance through the process has been great.
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