May 20, 2016

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Tree of Life (a short play)

May 20, 2016

 

Eve in a simple white dress (think sleeveless non-froo froo wedding gown). She sits perfectly motionless under a tree, like a painting. Angelic music is playing. It’s beautiful. Except that it’s on repeat.

She is frozen except for her facial expressions. She gets more and more annoyed at the music until finally she breaks out of her pose. God is heard but not seen.


EVE
Will you kindly make this stop?

GOD
What? The music? I find it rather pleasant.

EVE
For the first thousand years maybe!

GOD
You don’t like it?!

EVE
No, I do. Don’t get me wrong. Don’t mean to offend. It’s beautiful. (Pause. She listens.)

It just gets a little old after a while, don’t you think?

GOD
Perfection gets old?

EVE
Um, well, no, it’s great. It’s all great. It’s beautiful. I think. I don’t know the difference. It just seems like there should be more somehow.

GOD
(Oliver voice) More?! You want more?!

EVE
Not that there’s anything wrong with what’s here, I don’t mean to be ungrateful, I just have this feeling that there’s got to be something besides everything. Everything is beautiful. Good. Awesome. Whole. God. Infinite. One. Words kind of can’t capture it, really. What is a word, anyway? As far as I can tell, I’m just another part of you that you find interesting to look at. And talk to telekinetically.

GOD
Oh boy. (Sigh). Music continues.

EVE
Am I wrong?

GOD
Not exactly. And not exactly right, either. Words kind of can’t capture it, really.

EVE
Ha.

GOD
I think we’d need a longer play.

EVE
Well apparently, we aren’t going anywhere or doing anything or hearing anything else. I’m stuck in your infinite perfection. So go for it!

GOD
Goodness! Tell you what – There can be another version of the story. But it’ll be a long one. Several million lifetimes long. And kinda rough. You won’t remember this conversation. You won’t remember who I am or you are. You’ll search for this moment again and again and not remember again and again.

EVE
And I’m hearing this music again and again and again. There is no change! Do I even exist? Does Eden even exist? Do you exist?

GOD
Oh boy.

EVE
Am I wrong?

GOD
Not exactly.

How could you understand what is if there is no isn’t? No “not is?” No yang to the yin or black to the white? I knew this would happen, I just hoped it wouldn’t be so soon.

Eve is confused.

Right. You don’t get it. You won’t for a while.

EVE
I don’t know anything!

GOD
Right! Ok! (pause)

I don’t like this part because you end up thinking I’m punishing you.


EVE
You’re punishing me by not letting me know anything! And why would I think that? I know you love me. I love you too.

GOD
You will, though. It’s part of the story, and I don’t like it.   

EVE
Not if you keep reminding me! When I start to think you’re punishing me, you can send me reminders that you love me. It can be our secret language.

GOD
You won’t be able to hear me! And why a secret language?

EVE
I don’t know. I don’t know anything! It just sounds like fun.

GOD
(Sigh) I don’t like this.

EVE
Come on! We can’t sit here in the same song forever! It’ll be fun! A new song! Let’s play!

GOD
(Sigh) Ok. Ok. Here we go. I love you……

Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” comes on LOUD. An apple lowers out of the sky saying “eat me.”  Eve is delighted. She takes a bite.

EVE
Holy shit.   She drops the apple.

She has a body. This is thrilling. She can move and dance. She can touch. And smell. And see! Eden is suddenly a set! She can step outside of it! She can destroy it even! She feels infinite joy. And then she farts. It surprises her. And makes her laugh. Then it smells. She doesn’t like it. She realizes she is cold. She’s cold with nothing to cover her. She tries to cover herself with a leaf, but it’s prickly. It hurts. She experiences pain. This is shocking. And awful. The music gets more and more discordant. She is more and more upset and confused. Finally she screams.

EVE
You’re punishing me! I hate this! I hate you!

She crumbles to the floor crying. The music stops.
After a few moments, a new song. It is sweet. A lullabye. She hums along. She discovers singing.



EVE
Oh!

She has discovered the secret language. It is beautiful and dear to her. A moment. Then she remembers Adam. She grabs the half-eaten apple.

EVE
Adam! Check this out!

She runs off stage.



 

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    top photo by Jessi Donley @visceraljessi