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.