Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Medea, by Brian Turner of New Zealand

Medea by Brian E Turner

The scene is a restaurant/gallery. There is an exhibition of two 'paintings'
which consist of full length mirrors covered by curtains.


JACKSON: Jackson Hindmarsh. A businessman. Middle aged.

ZENNAH: Zennah Starlight, witch and tarot card reader. Dresses in
bright colours with jewellery and rings. She has an outstanding coffiere
which is dyed in at least two colours selected from red, orange, yellow,
blue, green, indigo and violet. Middle aged.


(Zennah is sitting at a table. Jackson enters and joins her.)

ZENNAH: You are well today?

JACKSON: I'm here.

ZENNAH: We can order then.

JACKSON: Look I'm here damnit. If we have something to discuss then we
can discuss it. I don't have the time to sit here supping coffee and passing
the time of day. I'm a busy man.

ZENNAH: You will act like a gentleman Jackson Hindmarsh. And you will
treat me with the respect you owe me.

JACKSON: Oh God. (Pause) What's on the menu then? (Picking it up.)

ZENNAH: Angel cake.

JACKSON: We could do with something like that. (Francisco comes to the table.) We'll have angel cake and coffee black. Do you have Turkish delight?

FRANCISCO: We did in one play. Unfortunately the actor only pretended to
eat it so the custom has been discontinued.

JACKSON: A piece of cake for her to pretend to eat. And two black
coffees. (Francisco goes.) Well what is it you brought me here to talk about

ZENNAH: I'll tell you when you decide to be civil. (Pause) You should
inspect the exhibition.

JACKSON: What exhibition? I don't see any exhibition.

ZENNAH: There are two works of art behind those curtains. (Indicates)

JACKSON: What sort on nonsense is this?

ZENNAH: Modern art, Jackson, modern art.

JACKSON: You know I don't have any time for modern art.

ZENNAH: Well it's time you did. It might teach you something.


JACKSON: You've seen the paintings?


JACKSON: Well tell me about them then.

ZENNAH: They are mirrors.

JACKSON: A mirror? A work of art, a mirror?

ZENNAH: Why not? A mirror reflects the illusion of Maya. That's the
magic of art.

JACKSON: You know I was quite fond of you until you descended in tarot
cards and quackery.

ZENNAH: You'd better have been.

JACKSON: You're full of tricks. You mask the truth with your pretence of
magic. I can never recognise the truth in anything you say.

ZENNAH: Your trouble is you're a lawyer. Someone whose profession lies
in distorting the truth will always have problems in recognising it. (Pause)
Do you have something on your mind?


ZENNAH: Let me look into my magic ball. (Looks into an imaginary ball.) I see a young woman. Her name is Penelope.

JACKSON: Penelope is none of your damn business.

ZENNAH: I would think she is. You left me for her. And for that I turned the children against you.

JACKSON: I didn't come here to discuss our personal affairs.

(Francisco returns with coffee and cake.)

ZENNAH: Thank you Francisco.

JACKSON: Hmm. Do you know anything about this so-called exhibition eh?

FRANCISCO: The works of art on these walls signor?

JACKSON: Well explain it to me. Apparently it's just a couple of mirrors.

FRANCISCO: That is what it would appear to be signor. However the mirrors are constructed with a mystical craft. What you see when you inspect the image is a reflection of inner reality.

JACKSON: You are quite amusing. Do you know this chap Zennah?

ZENNAH: Yes. When he's not a waiter he's a magician in the carnival.

JACKSON: Ah, another quark.

FRANCISCO: Indeed signor, a dog may bark and a duck may quark but who is to say that the pretence of reality as espoused by the fairground barker is not to be most highly valued. Would you like to look at yourself in the

ZENNAH: Go on Jackson. You asked the question.

JACKSON: Rubbish. Tomfoolery.

ZENNAH: I'll tell you why I asked you to come here.

JACKSON: (Stands) Show me your mirror then.

(They go to one of the mirrors and draw back the curtain. There is a young couple in the frame, embracing. Jackson is distressed and quickly closes the curtain.)

FRANCISCO: Is that not a fine imitation of reality?

JACKSON: I can see what you are both up to. You brought me here to humiliate me.

FRANCISCO: But that which is in the mirror is what you see, not what I put there.

JACKSON: Do you mean to say that?

FRANCISCO: Yes, the mirror portrays the real truth. It reflects that which concerns you.

JACKSON: Some sort of quackery.

FRANCISCO: Magic signor. (Francisco goes. Jackson returns to the table.)

ZENNAH: Now you understand the meaning of modern art?

JACKSON: Modern delusion.

ZENNAH: Maya, I said.


JACKSON: Well, now you can tell me, why did you ask me to come?

ZENNAH: To crow at your discomfort. To show you the truth behind the illusion.

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