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February 1, 2013
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(The stage is dressed in white, highly reflective panes of glass hanging down from above, the effect being the interior of an opaline crystal. The panes are arranged randomly—not messily, but without a clear design or functionality to the arrangement. At various points around the stage, there are “mounds” which crop up at various heights. The light is soft and clear, yet there is a sense of movement—a sense of life—in it. MAN is sitting just off-center, on a relatively short mound, and is biting into an invisible apple.)

MAN
(calling upward) Do you hear me chewing up there? (to the “apple”) Nice and crunchy. Nice and crispy—no, “crisp,” rather. Nice and crisp. (calling upward again) Do you hear me? (beat) Hmm… Whether I eat the core or not, I believe, has no bearing on my state. Doomed, damned, done for.

(MAN finishes the “apple,” throws the core back over his shoulder and stands up on the mound.)

What I’ve done, I can’t deny. ‘Tis done, as they say. (calling upward) Did you hear that? I’ve confessed! Now, what’s your move? (beat) Do you have a move? Huh?


VOICE (off-stage)
(as in an echo) Huh? Huh?


MAN
(ignoring VOICE's "reply") Hey, where’d it go? Where'd my—

(MAN looks around, not seeing what he seeks. He hops across onto a nearby mound for a better vantage. He is visibly agitated.)

Oh, say… Oh, I say. (beat) I say. I saw. I ate. I… don’t belong here. This…

(MAN gestures to the space all around.)

…doesn’t belong here. It used to be beautiful. It used to be perfect and (sniffs) far better-smelling. Now, it feels so low.

(A low rumble suddenly breaks in and fades out. MAN jumps down from the mound, crumbling into a sort of half-somersault/half-dance-step kind of collapse onto the ground.)

(retching) How did I get so low?


VOICE (off-stage)
(as in an echo) So low?


MAN
You, again? (beat) Is that you, apple? (beat) Is that you, God?

(MAN sits up.)

Isn’t this game getting tiresome? Huh? Isn’t the game played out by now? Isn’t it? Well?


VOICE (off-stage)
(as in an echo) Well? Well?


MAN
(gradually starting to sing) Yes, it is… well. With my soul. It is well; it is well. (beat) With my…

(MAN gets up on both knees, leans back slightly and holds his arms out in crucifixion.)

(full-out singing) …soooul!


VOICE (off-stage)
(as in an echo) Soul! Soul! Soul!


MAN
I heard that. Do you hear me? I heard that!

(MAN stands and, over the course of the following line, makes his way to the top of the highest mound.)

Now shut up and listen, monsieur echo-chamber, if that’s what you are. Certainly, it’s what you would seem to be. And so you are what I say. Echo-chamber. You spend your days absorbing words—barely phonemes—to you, less than mere gasps, squawks and grunts—without any consciousness of the fact. And you spend your nights bouncing these words back to their originator as a rubber band snaps back to its original shape. (beat) And you would rather do this for all eternity than to have a moment’s glimmer of consciousness.

(Long pause.)

What is consciousness to an inanimate echo-chamber? Thoughts of naught. Thoughts of squat. Thoughts of… what?

(Another sudden rumble hits the air, but it is so low and so enigmatic that one might question whether it even truly sounded. MAN hears it loud and clear. And he trembles.)

VOICE (off-stage)
I am what.

(Another rumble pierces through, and some of the panes quiver. MAN looks about for someplace to hide, but there is none. And he knows this.)

MAN
You—you are what?


VOICE (off-stage)
I am what gives you life.

(A beating rumble reverberates the stage, and the sound of it can only be described as like the heartbeat of God. There is no escaping or mistaking its power.)

MAN
(screaming) Please! Please! Have mercy! Have mercy!

(At the sound of MAN’s second plea for mercy, the “heartbeat” rumble suddenly quiets, gradually stills, and eventually halts.)

VOICE (off-stage)
(as in an echo) Mercy.

(Pause. MAN breathes. Lights slowly fade. END OF PLAY)
For tWR's Pick'N'Mix Contest.

1. Between 500 and 750 words
2. The world may not be ending, but it certainly feels like it
3. The piece you're writing has to have a deeper, morally conscientious meaning
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:iconmadhat11d6:
MadHat11D6 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014   Writer
:wave: Hello there. So sorry this took so long to complete!

This is a very well done piece. The seeming simplicity (and generally odd set up) kind of masked over what I would call the perceived depth of the situation. It's done in a way where, if it was to be performed, I could imagine much of the audience leaving with the sense that they missed something obvious. Where, even if they get what you were going for, it still feels like something is missing because you've left enough space for the audience to be intrigued to properly fill in their own thoughts and interpretations. Missing is probably the wrong word, but it's the sense you get when you watch something deep and you're only vaguely aware of how deep it can go. If that makes sense.  

Let's talk about the formatting. I'm not too sure about it. It's not actually confusing, I'm just very used to seeing things like MAN (cont'd) after long pauses or pauses within chunks of dialogue (but I am also more used to the screenplay style of writing). So that threw me off a little bit. Another nit picky thing, when you set the scene at the start: "not messily, but without a clear design or functionality to the arrangement" That doesn't flow very well when I read it. I bring it up because in setting the scene you want detail, but you also want to be concise and adding 'to the arrangement' at the end seems redundant. 

The only spot within that dialogue that you may want to take another look at is: "Certainly, it’s what you would seem to be. And so you are what I say." When I read it, it seems sort of clunky. It doesn't seem to mesh well with the surrounding dialogue and the natural beat of the rest of the dialogue in the scene. There could be a better way to express the 'and so' bit, because it seems there's where a lot of the clunk is coming from. 

I would consider the ending of this piece to be quite brilliant. It is one of my favorite endings to a scene I've read in awhile, actually. The pacing of the scene gives everything a nice build up, and a lovely release. Again, this is very well done, and a pleasure to read. :clap:

[Critique for the NaPoWriMo Poetry Roundup at PowerfulWriting
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:iconchiharusmoon:
ChiharusMoon Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
whooooaaaaa this is sooo beautifully written! :) :) awesome job dude!
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:iconemberblue:
Emberblue Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
This is amazing!!! :heart:
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:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Wanted to let you know I've featured this piece in my journal!: [link]
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:iconsame-side:
Same-side Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013   Writer
Awesome. Thanks!
Reply
:iconcamelopardalisinblue:
camelopardalisinblue Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Lovely. Congratulations on your honourable mention!
Reply
:iconsame-side:
Same-side Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013   Writer
Grazie.
Reply
:iconcamelopardalisinblue:
camelopardalisinblue Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Welcome. :)
Reply
:iconbirdofj:
birdofj Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013
Well done. The "moral of the story" gets across without being overbearing and leaves just enough open to interpretation to be intriguing without the feeling that something is missing from the piece itself. It is rife with symbolism that complicates and deepens the message upon closer examination, and these layers encourage contemplation.

Consider your stated goals met. If the very foundation of existence replies to your provocation, I've no doubt you feel like you're dead meat. It's sadly typical of humanity to toss out knowledge without true comprehension of it, to want it back when it's gone, and to fear the appearance of the thing that met the demand to appear. We're such obnoxious creatures.

:+fav:
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