Arc Light Dreams

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Paul Southworth

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Apr 28, 1994, 9:33:13 AM4/28/94
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Christian Reisch <6...@dreamtime.unm.edu> wrote:
>This work is
>copyright Christian M. Reisch all rights reserved. This file may not
>be reproduced in any form or performed without the author's express
>permission.

Isn't it a little silly to require permission for reproduction and then
post it to usenet where it gets reproduced ten thousand times,
archived, wais-indexed, gopherized, etc...? I mean, it would seem that
you have given *implicit* permission to reproduce it, but that obviously
isn't adequate under your notice.

Nicholas C. Weaver

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Apr 28, 1994, 1:39:18 PM4/28/94
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In article <2podup$c...@spruce.cic.net>,

I think (at least for me) it's more of something that if I ever
become rich and famous (unlikely, and if so, more likely for showing P=NP or
P != NP) and someone wishes to try and publish some of the stuff I write
(sort of along the lines of "boy was he a l00zer back then, see?") I could in
theory sue them easier. Although the odds of that are VERY VERY VERY VERY
slim and I detest lawyers immensely.

--
Nicholas C. Weaver nwe...@orodruin.cs.berkeley.edu
You know you are a techie when you use RCS on your writing.
I'm DUI on the Information Superhighway

Christian Reisch

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Apr 28, 1994, 1:47:11 AM4/28/94
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I wrote this about four years ago but never got around to
posting it till now. This play is a work of fiction any resemblence
to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. This work is

copyright Christian M. Reisch all rights reserved. This file may not
be reproduced in any form or performed without the author's express
permission.

ARC LIGHT DREAMS

BY

Christian Reisch

Cast

Mist: 19 year old college sophomore.

Jonathan: Mist's best friend in high school. Jon died two weeks
before graduation when his car was struck by a drunk
driver. This occurred about one year ago.

Dust: Mist's x-girlfriend.

Father: Mist's somewhat overbearing father.

Mother: Mist's doting mother.

SCENE I
A dark stage. A single spot comes up on Jonathan Michaels.

JONATHAN
LOOKING OUT OVER THE AUDIENCE.
You know, I can see every one of you.
PAUSES AND LOOKS AROUND THE AUDIENCE SOME MORE.
Yes, I really can see you. I can see you there in the stripped shirt,
and you in the red skirt. And of course you can see me.
PAUSES AGAIN.
Not impressed? Well, your probably not looking at it the same way I
am. You see it's all a matter of perspective. I can't see me. Of
all the people gathered here tonight I'm the only one who can't see
me.
looks out at the audience expectantly then turns in disgust.
You don't get it do you? Then again you probably didn't spend your
life trying to live up to everyone's expectations. You see the real
problem with that is that you can never really be sure how others see
you. Hence no matter what you do, you always fall short.
SIGHS
Of course I realized this too late.
PAUSE
You see, I'm dead. Mist and I were driving home from a party. He was
a tad drunk so I was driving. Unfortunately everyone wasn't as aware
of their limits as Mist. All I saw was a flash of headlights. Mist
tells me the police report said the driver was doing over a hundred
miles an hour. Amazing he survived it. Course I was D.O.A..
PAUSES AND LOOK HARDER AT THE AUDIENCE FOR A SECOND
A few of you out there look puzzled.
TO SELF
Introduced myself.
Went into the basic philosophical topic of the evening.
Told them about the car crash.
Explained about Mist.
LOOKS UP
Almost forgot Mist.
LIGHT COMES UP ON MIST. MIST IS IN BED ASLEEP.
Meet Zebedia Hanson Smith. His fathered named him after the
illustrious Dr. Smith from Lost in Space. This should tell you
something about his father. His girlfriend hates the name. No she's
a strange one. Sort of the ultimate in earth tones. You know the type.
Thinks we should all go back to the trees and the forests. Anyway she
decided to call him Mist. It's stuck ever since. And this.
WAVES HANDS TO ENCOMPASS EVERYTHING.
me, you, everything we see, is all dream.
POINTING TOWARDS MIST.
His dream.
LIGHT DIMS OUT ON MIST.
It's not such a bad place all things considered. After all dead men
can't be choosers. But of all the religious believes I've seen, none
of them, none of them suggested that the afterlife was to be stuck
haunting your best friend's night mares! Well, you know what the
Christians say, we all have our crosses to bear.
CALMING
It could be worse I guess, after all the Christians could have been
right! In that case I'd be in hell.
THINKS A SECOND THEN MUCH QUIETER
Or maybe they were right....But then nothing lasts forever.
FADE TO BLACK

SCENE ][

MOTHER AND FATHER ARE TOGETHER IN A BRIGHT WHITE COLUMN OF
LIGHT UPSTAGE LEFT. THEY MOVE AT ABOUT HALF SPEED AND SEEM
TO BE ARGUING. EVEN THOUGH THEIR MOUTHS ARE MOVING, NO SOUND
CAN BE HEARD FROM THEM. JONATHAN CROSSES FROM UPSTAGE RIGHT
TO CENTER STAGE FRAMED IN A PALE BLUE SPOT.

JONATHAN
PARODYING ROD SERLING.
Presented for your inspection Mr and Mrs Smith. Parodies of patience
waiting for their eldest son to free them from the bonds of waiting....
THE LIGHT AROUND FATHER AND MOTHER DIMS TO NORMAL AND
THEY BEGIN TO SPEAK NORMALLY
FATHER
There he is. Late as usual.

MOTHER
Don't be harsh dear he has allot on his mind.

FATHER
Mind? Dear the kid has no mind. He barely made it into State. Now
that Jonathan kid. There's a mind.
ADDRESSING MIST FOR THE FIRST TIME
Why can't you be more like him son?

MIST
Jon's dead dad.

FATHER
Such a waste. Track star, class president, honor student. A loss to
to the world. Dead and gone to heaven. Good kid. Mother, why is it
the good ones are always the ones to go?

MOTHER
TURNING TO GO
They're the ones God wants I suppose. Good looking souls I guess.

FATHER
ALSO TURNING AND WALKING OFF INTO THE DARK AND FOG
Doubt ours even has a soul. The good ones go and we're left to deal
with that one.

MOTHER
BARELY HEARD
We all have our crosses to bear dear.

MIST IS LEFT ALONE ON THE STAGE WITH JONATHAN WHO
HE STILL CAN'T SEE.

MIST
TO AUDIENCE
They're right you know...

NONE OF JONATHAN'S INTERRUPTIONS ARE HEARD BY MIST

JONATHAN
Now you know that's not true.

MIST
Why can't I be more like Jon.

JONATHAN
Because I was always living a lie. And you knew it.

MIST
Everyone was happy with Jon.

JONATHAN
Except me! Damn it Mist I thought you knew me.

MIST
'Course Jon was never happy. So there's the choice. Make others
happy or please yourself.

JONATHAN
It's an easy choice Mist...

MIST
But then I'm not happy either.

JONATHAN
That's it! I give up.
JONATHAN TURNS AND WALKS DOWNSTAGE UNTIL HE ENCOUNTERS
A LARGE BLACK CURTAIN WHICH HE CAN NOT CROSS. HEY THEN
TURNS AND ADDRESSES MIST
Dammit Mist, why drag me here if you won't listen to me. You control
the direction of your life. If you want something to happen then make
it happen.
WHISPERING
Make it happen....

MIST

So now I stand here and wait I guess. Funny, I can still remember
what Jon used to say about waiting. You're either waiting for Santa
Claus or waiting for rigor mortis.

JONATHAN
QUIETLY
We're a long way from Santa's route.
MIST
SPINNING AROUND IN SHOCK
Jon! But your dead. How can you...

JONATHAN
You brought me here.

MIST
CREST FALLEN
I did....that means you're just another fantasy.

JONATHAN
No, I'm real enough.

MIST
Then you really are a ghost.

JONATHAN
I don't' know. All I know is since the accident I've been here.

MIST
Here? In my dreams?

JONATHAN
Yeah, trying to get out. Wondering why you've trapped me here.

MIST
Trapped you?

JONATHAN
Yeah trapped, as in can't get out, stuck, unfree, without
liberty, unable...

MIST
OK, enough, I get the picture.

JONATHAN
Anyway, I've spent the last month or so roaming arway, I've spent the last month or so roaming around in here...

MIST
Month, Jon I hate to break this to you but, you've been dead for
almost a year.

JONATHAN
SMILES SHEEPISHLY HOLDING HIS WATCH TO HIS EAR
Sorta thought this thing got banged up a bit in the accident.
MIST SEEMS CONFUSED THEN SMILES AND STARTS TO LAUGH ALMOST
HYSTERICALLY.

MIST
So all this time I've been depressed and beating myself for killing
you you were right here.

JONATHAN
Killing me? If I recall correctly I was driving and the guy that hit
us was drunk off his ass.

MIST
True, but the only reason you were driving was that I was too drunk to
see straight. If I'd have been sober you'd still be alive...

JONATHAN
And you'd be dead.

MIST
Well, yeah, and everyone'd be happier.

JONATHAN
Is that what you think?

MIST
Sometimes.... I never realized how much I needed you 'till you were
gone. The last years been pretty hard. My dad finally made good on
his threat to throw me out. Dust left me. For the first time in my
life I've been really alone. Now suddenly here you are.

JONATHAN
Dust left you?

MIST
Yeah, she says that since the accident I've become too self
involved....You didn't even ask about my father.

JONATHAN
Well, I've sorta been expecting it. I'm surprised you lasted so long
with the idiot. Dust leaving comes as a surprise. I did think it was
strange that you never dreamt about her but hadn't expected that she'd
left. Somehow I always pictured the two of you getting married and
living happily ever after.

MIST
Well, nothing lasts forever.
THEY BOTH TURN IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS AND WALK OFF STAGE

SCENE ]I[

SAME BLANK STAGE. IT IS LIT TO SUGGEST A SUMMERS DAY
IN A WARM SUNNY GLADE. MIST AND JONATHAN WALK ONTO STAGE
FROM OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS. MIST IS MOVING SLOWLY IN
A BRIGHT WHITE LIGHT.

JONATHAN
TO AUDIENCE
I hate those violent transitions. One of the problems of this medium.
Dreams have a nasty habit of shifting location and mood suddenly.
Take this place for example....
GESTURES AT THE ABSOLUTE LACK OF SCENERY
The hills overlooking the city. Quiet, peaceful. Mist and I used to
come here to talk....
THE LIGHT ON MIST DIMS OUT

MIST
Jon?

JONATHAN
I'm here.

MIST
Remember this place?

JONATHAN
I'm dead, not senile. Of course I remember this place. This is the
place where I came out to you.

MIST
Not quiet what I expected from the evening. I was more hoping to cry
on your shoulder over some argument I'd had with Dust.

JONATHAN
I'd been wanting to tell you for a long time, but was scared you'd
react badly. Run away screaming or something. Then suddenly you
confront me...

MIST
I still feel so stupid about that. And the way I phrased it, ugh,
"hey, your the big sports hero, how come I never see the babes dripping
off you, you gay?"

JONATHAN
You should'a seen the look on your face when I just quietly said,
"yes"

MIST
I'm not sure what I thought. Mainly I guess I just didn't believe it.
Then you started to cry. I think that's what convinced me. I'd never
seen you that emotional about anything and suddenly there you were
crying in front of me.

JONATHAN
Honestly I don't know what happened...

MIST
I do. You'd been storing up all that fear and self hatred and
suddenly it had an outlet. I can't imagine what it'd be like to store
up that much pain and never let it out.

JONATHAN
That's all my life was. Lies, deceit, fear. Fear that someone would
find out. Always having to be better then everyone else just to prove
I was a man. I was so sure that when you found out you'd kill me. I
can't believe you just held me all night while I cried.

MIST
Hey, I'm your best friend. What else could I do.

JONATHAN
Well, if you weren't so straight....

MIST
Yeah, tiss a curse I guess. I've never cared for a woman as much as I
loved you but I just can't seem to think of you that wayloved you but I just can't seem to think of you that way....

JONATHAN
I understand. I could never image being in bed with Dust. Bleah.

MIST
Actually that's probably why we broke up.

JONATHAN
Huh, 'cause I wouldn't sleep with her?

MIST
No, cause I was never really that close to her. Oh we were close but I
never really LOVED her. She said she just didn't believe me when I
said I loved her. She was right....Nothing ever lasts for ever.

SLOW FADE TO BLACK

SCENE IV

MIST APPEARS ALONE IN A PALE BLUE SPOT.

MIST
It's true you know. What I said in the last dream. I loved him. Not
sexually, but.... I don't know, something more.
STARTS TO PACE SLOWLY ABOUT THE STAGE
When I was real little, I used to believe that I had a mirror twin.
someone who was just like me but different. Hmmm, guess that made
very little sense. What I mean is, someone who wasn't afraid of the
things I was afraid of. Someone who could stand up to my father.
Someone who was all the things I wasn't yet somehow still just like
me. In allot of ways that describes Jon real well. Sort of a
combination dream come true slash big brother. That night floored me.
Here was the person who I most looked up to in the world, whose life I
envied showing me his own personal private hell.
STOPS AND LOOKS OUT AT THE AUDIENCE
Not a pretty site. I think that's what shocked me more than anything.
Not his being gay, but the fact that he was vulnerable and human. I
was use to anything Jon wanted coming easily for him.
STARTING TO PACE AGAIN
Course that forced me to think about sex in general. I'd known about
homosexuals before of course. I'd just never met one. I'd just
assumed that everyone was like me. Gays were....elsewhere, you know,
a small group of drag queens and marchers in California. Now suddenly
my best friend is one.
STOPS PACING
I don't mean to suggest that I was thinking of becoming one, just that
the world wasn't quiet so cut and dried as I'd thought it was.
PAUSES
Then of course there was Dust.
THE BRIGHT SPOT REAPPEARS WITH DUST IN IT SHE IS MOVING IN
THE NOW FAMILIAR SLOW MOTION DREAM STATE
What the hell was I doing with a S&M radical back to earther? I don't
like whips, chains or bondage yet engaged in all of these to please
her. Why? Not really a very important question now I guess since
she's gone.
ON THE WORD GONE THE BRIGHT LIGHT SNAPS OFF AND DUST IS
GONE AS IF NEVER THERE
And I'm alone.
THE LIGHT ON HIM SEEMS TO PALE A LITTLE
But then nothing lasts forever....
FADE TO BLACK

SCENE V

DUST AND MIST ARE ALONE ON STAGE

DUST
I just don't understand you sometimes.

MIST
You don't understand me?!? I'm not the one who wants to be chained to
the bed!

DUST
You act like there's something wrong with that.

MIST
Not wrong, I'm just not very comfortable with it.

DUST
Oh, but you are comfortable with your friend Jon.

MIST
And what's that supposed to mean?

DUST
Exactly what it sounds like. You spend more time with him then me and
never seem interested in sex.

MIST
Sex yes, this....this is a bloody dungeon revival!

DUST
Can't you understand? To be totally helpless. It's the ultimate
expression of trust. Of love.

MIST
Can't you just believe me when I tell you I love you?

DUST
No, I can't. It just seems your hiding something from me.
THE BRIGHT LIGHT ENGULFS DUST AND SHE SLOWS

MIST
This is senseless.

JONATHAN
WALKING ONTO STAGE
Then why do it?

MIST
Somehow I still have hope. I always thought I could change her
somehow.

JONATHAN
Why change her if you love her?

MIST
She....well...

JONATHAN
Because she makes you uncomfortable, right?

MIST
Yes....But she's trying to do the same thing to me.

JONATHAN
Perhaps you weren't meant to be together. Not all things work out.
And if you try to force yourself into someone else's mold you'll never
be happy.

MIST
Yeah, I know. I want her back, I want you back. How come I never get
what I want?

JONATHAN
are you sure that's what you want? If it's not then as soon as you
get it you don't want it and say you never get what you want.

MIST
Maybe I need to change what I want. Silly thing to say. Now I want
something else.

JONATHAN
Well, that fixes that problem. Anything else?

MIST
Yeah, just why are you here?

JONATHAN
I don't know. You were the only person I ever loved. The only person
I cared about. Where else would I go when I died, Cleveland?

MIST
I spent a week there one day. Seriously though. Are you real?

JONATHAN
I thought we covered this already.

MIST
I'm sorry, I still have my doubts though.

JONATHAN
Well, nothing ever lasts...

MIST
ALARMED
Don't say it...

JONATHAN
forever.

FADE TO BLACK

SCENE VI
MIST AND JONATHAN ARE ALONE ON THE STAGE each in a pale blue spot.

MIST
Damn it Jon I hate these changes.

JONATHAN
It's your dream, stop pulling them.

MIST
I'm not doing it.
JONATHAN
SARCASTICALLY
Poor Mist bouncing like a ping pong ball around the insides of his own
head.

MIST
It's not my fault!

JONATHAN
That's the story of your life isn't it? Nothing is your fault,
everything just happens around you. Damn it take charge of your life
and if you can't take charge at least take responsibility.

MIST
Jon, I don't understand, please....help me.

JONATHAN
I can't help you any more Mist, I'm dead. I'm really dead.
JONATHAN'S SPOT DIMS OUT.

MIST
QUIETLY
Jon....please....help....me.

DUST WALKS IN

DUST
In the beginning there was the dream
and the dream was in motion
like light upon water

the water became the dream
a single puddle upon the side walk
lit only by a single street lamp

but it was the beginning
and beginnings are forever

MIST
Why are you here?

DUST
Just to delight you with my poetry.

MIST
SMILES
Thanks, I needed that.
DUST TURNS TO LEAVE
Wait, where are you going?

DUST
I don't know. I'll go find out.
STARTS WALKING OFF STAGE

MIST
Will you be back?

DUST
OVER HER SHOULDER
If you want. It's always up to you.
WALKS OFFSTAGE

JONATHAN
WALKING BACK ONTO STAGE
The Chinese had it all wrong. A journey doesn't begin with one step,
it begins when you first imagine it.

MIST
I don't understand.

JONATHAN
The poem didn't begin when she started to recite, or when she first
put pen to paper. It began when she saw the reflection of an arc
light in a puddle and started to dream.
LOOKS AT WATCH
It's almost morning, time for me to go.

MIST
But I don't want this to end.

JONATHAN
Haven't you listened to anything I've said tonight? Dreams are
beginnings, and if you have beginnings and desire anything is possible.

MIST
Will you be here tomorrow night?

JONATHAN
If you like. It's up to you.

JONATHAN WALKS OFF STAGE RIGHT

FADE TO BLACK

SCENE V][

MIST IS BACK IN HIS BED AN ALARM CLOCK STANDS NEXT TO THE BED
WIRES TRAIL FROM IT TO A CASSETTE PLAYER JONATHAN STAND CENTER
STAGE BATHED IN A PALE BLUE SPOT AS IF WAITING. SUDDENLY
THE SOUND OF A 747 LANDING IS PLAYED AT HIGH VOLUME MIST
JUMPS UP AND PUNCHES A BUTTON ON THE TAPE PLAYER THERE IS
ABRUPT SILENCE

JONATHAN
the dream is over

MIST
TO SELF
I can almost remember it. Jon was there, and Dust. God I want them
back. But Jon's dead. Dust is alive though. Maybe she still cares.
I want her to care. What did they say. Something about water and
motion....

THE LIGHT ON MIST DIMS

JONATHAN
WANDERING AROUND THE STAGE
Some mornings I feel it was all in vain. He hardly remembers the
dreams from night to night. Each night is a blank slate. Ah what a
perfect private hell, to have the answer to life and be unable to tell
anyone.
TURNS TO AUDIENCE
Or were you expecting a sweet happy ending. Mist wakes up and
suddenly life is rosy due to one dream? Yeah, right. You've all
been watching too much TV. When was the last time any of you followed
your dreams? Oh, come on, I can see everyone of you. But how many of
you can actually see yourselves?
PAUSES
Tonight look in the mirror. Nothing eve last forever.
FADE TO BLACK, DROP CURTAIN

END

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