>CURTAINS RISE on the stately interior of a Barouque-style palatial manor. Curtains, in the colours of certain South American nations, billow to the floor, lightly ruffled by offstage WIND MACHINES. Centre stage is a grand oak table, surrounded by fourteen chairs, luxuriously upholstered in glorious leathers and satins. At the head of the table sits JEREMIAS BANG, replete in flowing garbs of state of certain South American nations. ALVA DROSTE, A regal, erect woman in her forties enters stage left.

ALVA: My dear sir, are you still here at this ungodly hour?

JEREMIAS: M’lady, I shall remain at this table until such time as I see fit to leave it.

ALVA picks up an elaborate candleabra.

ALVA: I declare, Mr Bang that you are the most uncommunicative man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting!

ALVA puts down the elaborate candleabra.

JEREMIAS: My dear Ms Droste. You assume that silence equates to ignorance. That is a most diffuse folly.

ALVA: How so?

JEREMIAS: Simply because I do not describe with every waking breath everything that is going on in my head, you assume that I have no feelings. This is patently wrong.

ALVA: But how, then, am I to ascertain in what mood you find yourself in at any particular moment. You give me no verbal clue, fine sir.

ALVA pulls her left hand to the side of her face, much in the manner of the titular character of Caravaggio’s “Boy Bitten By a Lizard”.

JEREMIAS: Aye, there’s the rub! The true way to a man’s mind is not through his words, but his actions.

ALVA: But how, when you give not the slightest movement with which to betray your emotions?

ALVA crosses down stage right, approaching SLIGHTLY RAISED PLATFORM.

JEREMIAS: My dear lady, you seem to conclude that life should be conducted in a series of staged actions, depriving those unique human traits of nuance, metaphor and suggestion. Such a life, I can assure you, is not one practiced on this sane portion of the earth.

ALVA steps up onto SLIGHTLY RAISED PLATFORM, lighting a cigarillo in a vexed manner.

ALVA: You do vex me, Mr Bang. Here am I, having alighted the stairs not moments ago to check on your wellbeing, and here you are accusing me of being some sort of … of …

JEREMIAS: Vignettist?

ALVA (exasperated): Oh!

JEREMIAS: For example …

JEREMIAS produces an ANTIQUE HANDGUN WITH POLISHED MAHOGANY HANDLE, and shoots himself in the side of the head.

ALVA: Well, that’s just typical. Always acting out.



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