Furniture

a play in ten acts

by Lonely Christopher

 

 

This is a play in ten acts without humans. All text is stage direction. The curtain is red.

 

 

PRE-SHOW

 

The sounds of a readying orchestra are heard from the pit. This is the only time the orchestra will perform. This play shall never be performed without a full orchestra present in the pit. No substitutions or emendations to any of the below specifications are allowed.

 

After one minute, the orchestra is silent.

 

The red curtain rises.

 

ACT ONE

 

Scene 1

 

Nothing. That is silence, vacancy.

 

That is black space. Darkness.

 

This is the way it is for one minute.

 

Scene 2

 

A spotlight, which clicks when it is turned on, illumines a chair that sits in the exact middle of the stage. The chair is a glorious early 18th Century carved gilt gesso wing chair with red velvet upholstery. It sits and sits in silence. Some time passes. Perhaps an entire minute.

 

Scene 3

 

The spotlight turns off. Darkness again. A few moments later the spotlight returns. It is illuminating the same space, but the chair is absent. The chair is just gone. The spotlight moves to the left several inches.

 

Scene 4

 

Complete darkness.

 

ACT TWO

 

Scene 1

 

The stage is illuminated. It is entirely empty except for the same chair, which is sitting in the far corner of stage right, in the back.

 

Sudden darkness.

 

Scene 2

 

The sounds of furniture in motion.

 

Scene 3

 

The stage is illuminated. The 18th Century carved gilt gesso wing chair with red velvet upholstery remains in the corner. Two pairs of simple metal folding chairs are now facing each other at center stage. Some moments pass.

 

Sudden darkness.

 

Scene 4

 

The stage is illuminated. On each of the four folding chairs, one Victorian cast-iron cheval glass mirror sits. The chair in the corner of stage right remains. Some moments pass.

 

Scene 5

 

Complete darkness.

 

ACT THREE

 

Scene 1

 

A spotlight, which clicks when it turns on, illumines one Victorian cast-iron cheval glass mirror that sits on one simple metal folding chair at center stage. The light of the spotlight reflects off of the surface of the mirror and blinds the audience. Less than thirty seconds pass.

 

Scene 2

 

There is utter darkness.

 

ACT FOUR

 

Scene 1

 

There is the sound of furniture in motion. This lasts for some moments. Perhaps one minute.

 

Scene 2

 

A projection appears on the back wall of the stage, several feet from center stage. It is a piece of film depicting a 747 passenger airplane taking off. The moment the plane is airborne, surrounded by blue sky, the projection ends and there is darkness again.

 

Then there is light.

 

Scene 3

 

The whole stage is illuminated. Dozens of simple metal folding chairs lay upon the ground, folded. They lay in a pattern of the director’s choosing around a giant Renaissance Revival wardrobe. Some moments pass. Then there is utter darkness.

 

Scene 4

 

A spotlight, which clicks when it turns on, illumines a glorious early 18th Century carved gilt gesso wing chair with red velvet upholstery that sits center stage. A dozen or so moments pass. There is darkness again.

 

ACT FIVE

 

Scene 1

 

A projection appears on the back wall of the stage, several feet from center stage. It is a piece of film depicting a 747 passenger airplane taking off. The moment the plane is airborne, surrounded by blue sky, the projection ends and there is darkness again.

 

Then there is light.

 

Scene 2

 

The whole stage is illuminated. Dozens of simple metal folding chairs are arranged in rows on the stage. On each one sits one Victorian cast-iron cheval glass mirror. Some moments pass. Then there is darkness.

 

Scene 3

 

A spotlight, which clicks when it turns on, sweeps over the stage from left to right. As it does so each mirror, in turn, reflects the blinding light. Then there is darkness once more.

 

Scene 4

 

A spotlight, which clicks when it turns on, illumines a glorious early 18th Century carved gilt gesso wing chair with red velvet upholstery that sits center stage upon which sits one Victorian cast-iron cheval glass mirror. The light of the spotlight reflects off of the surface of the mirror and blinds the audience. One minute passes. There is darkness again.

 

ACT SIX

 

Scene 1

 

The whole stage is illuminated. The 18th Century carved gilt gesso wing chair with red velvet upholstery sits in the far back corner of stage right. Some moments pass. There is darkness again.

 

Scene 2

 

The whole stage is illuminated. The 18th Century carved gilt gesso wing chair with red velvet upholstery remains in the far back corner of stage right. The giant Renaissance Revival wardrobe stands center stage. Some moment pass. There is darkness again.

 

Scene 3

 

The sounds of furniture in motion.

 

ACT SEVEN

 

Scene 1

 

The whole stage is illuminated. Dozens of simple metal folding chairs are arranged in rows on the stage. Some moments pass.

 

Scene 2

 

A projection appears on the back wall of the stage, several feet from center stage. It is a piece of film depicting a 747 passenger airplane taking off. The moment the plane is airborne, surrounded by blue sky, the projection ends and there is darkness again.

 

Scene 3

 

The whole stage is illuminated. On each of the simple metal folding chairs now sits one Victorian cast-iron cheval glass mirror. Many moments pass.

 

Then there is just utter darkness.

 

Scene 4

 

There are the sounds of furniture in motion.

 

Scene 5

 

The whole stage is illuminated. The only object on the stage is a Neo-Grecian style writing desk. Several minutes pass. The surface of the writing desk bursts out in flames. A fine Windsor armchair with gothic features falls onto stage left from above and breaks into several pieces when it hits. As the writing desk burns a projection appears on the back wall of the stage, several feet from center stage. It is a piece of film depicting a 747 passenger airplane taking off. The moment the plane is airborne, surrounded by blue sky, the projection ends and there is darkness again. The writing desk is vaguely visible, still burning.

 

Scene 6

 

Still burning for several moments. Fainter, but still. Then fainter still. Fainter and then there is utter darkness.

 

ACT EIGHT

 

Scene 1

 

The sound of a 747 passenger airplane taking off fills the auditorium. This sound is joined by the sound of furniture in motion.

 

Scene 2

 

There is silence. The whole stage is illuminated. The whole stage is empty. There is sudden darkness. Only a few brief moments pass before the whole stage is illuminated again. Now dozens of simple metal folding chairs are arranged in rows on the stage. On each one sits one Victorian cast-iron cheval glass mirror. Some moments pass. Then there is darkness.

 

Scene 3

 

A spotlight, which clicks when it turns on, sweeps over the stage from left to right as the sound of a 747 passenger airplane taking off fills the auditorium. As it does so each mirror, in turn, reflects the blinding light. Then there is darkness once more.

 

Scene 4

 

There is silence and darkness for several moments. Then, a flame erupts in the far back corner of stage right. It begins to illumine the figure of the 18th Century carved gilt gesso wing chair with red velvet upholstery as it consumes it. The chair burns and burns in the darkness. Fainter, but still. Then fainter still. Fainter and then there is utter darkness.

 

ACT NINE

 

Scene 1

 

The sounds of furniture in motion.

 

Scene 2

 

Darkness.

 

Scene 3

 

Darkness still.

 

Scene 4

 

A spotlight, which clicks when it turns on, sweeps over the stage from left to right as the sound of a 747 passenger airplane taking off fills the auditorium. It sweeps over rows of mirrors that have been placed upon simple metal folding chairs. As it does so each mirror, in turn, reflects the blinding light. The spotlight very briefly sweeps over a non-reflective object at center stage, but so quickly that it is but a glance. What was it? A brief flash of orange. What was it? The spotlight sweeps over rows of mirrors. The blinding light is reflected. Then there is utter darkness.

 

Scene 5

 

There is silence, darkness.

 

Scene 6

 

Then the whole stage is illuminated. An elaborate tableau fills the stage. At center stage is a tall metal cage about five feet by five feet that contains a restless orange tiger. A half circle of glorious 18th Century carved gilt gesso wing chairs with red velvet upholstery surround the cage. Both to the left and to the right of the chair there are rows and rows and rows of simple metal folding chairs upon which Victorian cast-iron cheval glass mirrors sit. One line of Renaissance Revival wardrobes surround the periphery from the front corner of stage left around the entire tableau in a half circle ending in the front corner of stage right. Many many moments pass. The tiger paces in his cage.

 

Scene 7

 

A projection appears on the back wall of stage left. It is a piece of film depicting a 747 passenger airplane taking off. The moment the plane is airborne, surrounded by blue sky, the projection ends.

 

Scene 8

 

A projection appears on the back wall of center stage. It is a piece of film depicting a 747 passenger airplane taking off. The moment the plane is airborne, surrounded by blue sky, the projection ends.

 

Scene 9

 

A projection appears on the back wall of stage right. It is a piece of film depicting a 747 passenger airplane taking off. The moment the plane is airborne, surrounded by blue sky, the projection ends.

 

Scene 10

 

There is darkness.

 

ACT TEN

 

Scene 1

 

The sound of a 747 passenger airplane taking off fills the auditorium.

 

Scene 2

 

A spotlight, which clicks when it turns on, sweeps over the stage from left to right. It sweeps over rows of mirrors that have been placed upon simple metal folding chairs. As it does so each mirror, in turn, reflects the blinding light. The spotlight very briefly sweeps over the cage. The spotlight sweeps over rows of mirrors. The blinding light is reflected. Then there is utter darkness.

 

Scene 3

 

There is silence, darkness.

 

Then the whole stage is illuminated.

 

Scene 4

 

The tableau remains as it was in the previous scene. The door to the cage at center stage is open. The cage is empty. The tiger is standing before the cage, looking out into the audience. A moment passes. The tiger begins to wander. He wanders through the rows and rows and rows of simple metal folding chairs upon which sit Victorian cast-iron cheval glass mirrors. The journey of the tiger can be seen by the reflection of the tiger in the Victorian cast-iron cheval glass mirrors. The tiger wanders. He returns to center stage.

 

Scene 5

 

A projection appears on the back wall of the stage, several feet from center stage. It is a piece of film depicting a 747 passenger airplane taking off. The moment the plane is airborne, surrounded by blue sky, the projection ends.

 

Scene 6

 

The tiger walks away. He walks off, slowly and deliberately, and exits stage right.

 

There is sudden darkness.

 

Scene 7

 

The sound of a 747 passenger airplane taking off fills the auditorium.

 

Scene 8

 

A flame erupts at center stage. It begins to illumine the figure of the 18th Century carved gilt gesso wing chair with red velvet upholstery as it consumes it. The chair is sitting inside of the open tiger cage. The chair burns and burns in the darkness. Fainter, but still. Then fainter still. Fainter and then there is utter darkness.

 

The red curtain falls.

 

 

 

THE END.


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