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In Death's Dream Kingdom  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sat Dec 1st, 2012 10:15 pm
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RTurco
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Joined: Wed Nov 19th, 2008
Location: New Jersey USA
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Hello again,

And, a portion of my latest work, titled "In Death's Dream Kingdom". Comment, critique, I encourage it all. And if you like it and want to read more, email me at raymondturco@yahoo.com.


~


Principal Characters

Salvatore Della Croce - in his teens to twenties.
Ada Benedetti - in her teens to twenties.
Fina - in her fifties, yet looks much older.
Gianna - in her seventies.
Corrado - Speaks with a stutter.
Maggs’ husband
A nurse
A doctor
A staff member
“Old Maggs” - a delirious patient. Also doubles as “Elderly Patient”.
 
 
Place- the psych ward of a hospital in Italy.
Time- Present.
Set- Minimalistic.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In Death’s Dream Kingdom

ACT I

SCENE 1

(A chair and a table onstage. The table is set for someone to eat at. Sounds of commotion. People chattering, arguing.)
nurse
(From off)
What does he want us to do, put him in a mental hospital?
doctor
(From off)
Give him what he wants. It may be just what he needs. Go get him a wheelchair.
nurse
(From off)
But Doctor--!
doctor
(From off)
I said go. Hurry.
(Sounds of footsteps and movement. SALVATORE is wheeled on in a wheelchair by the NURSE. He seems to be heavily drugged.)
salvatore
What…?
nurse
Shh… Don’t talk. Eat.
(The NURSE exits.)
salvatore
What time is it? Nurse…
(SALVATORE stands from the wheelchair and walks around, holding his head.)
salvatore
Where… Where are my things? Nurse. Nurse! Jesus… Somebody. I…
(SALVATORE falls. ADA enters.)
ada
Are you all right?
salvatore
Ow.
ada
Here, let me help you.
salvatore
I can walk.
ada
Yes but you’re too weak.
(ADA helps SALVATORE into his chair.)
salvatore
Who…?
ada
I’m Ada.
salvatore
Nurse…
 
ada
I’m not a nurse. I’m a patient. Just like you. See?
(She shows him her hospital band.)
salvatore
Oh… Am I in hell?
ada
(Chucking)
No. You’re in the psych ward of a local hospital.
salvatore
That’s right. Fuck.
ada
You don’t remember?
salvatore
No. I remember… It’s just… Fuck. What time is it?
ada
Seven in the evening. You must be hungry. Eat.
salvatore
My head… Oh…
ada
That feeling’ll go away. Listen… Do you like to do puzzles?
salvatore
What?
ada
Puzzles. I love puzzles. It helps clear my head. Maybe it might help you too.
 
salvatore
No thanks. I mean, not right now.
ada
Oh.
salvatore
Where are my things?
ada
Probably in your room.
salvatore
Oh.
(FINA enters in a wheelchair.)
fina
Hey there soldier. Why the long face?
ada
Hi Fina. Fina, this is… This is… Hey, I didn’t even catch your name!
salvatore
My name is Salvatore.
fina
Salvatore. What a beautiful name. Mind if I call you Sal?
salvatore
No.
ada
Sal… I think I’ll call him Sally.
(ADA laughs mirthfully. FINA chuckles.)
salvatore
Stop!
fina
She was only having a bit of fun.
salvatore
Does this look like a place to have any fun? Don’t you know we’re in a--?
fina
Don’t say it! You’ll frighten the babies.
(Pause.)
salvatore
Babies? What babies?
fina
They’re here. Around us. Helpless little children, with wriggling arms, and crying faces. Can’t you see?
salvatore
I don’t see anything.
fina
Well they’re here. I can feel them crawling all over my skin.
ada
Oh Fina, you’re such a joker.
fina
I’m not joking!
(FINA wheels off with much aggravation.)
 
ada
She’s a charm.
salvatore
Uh huh.
(GIANNA enters.)
ada
Gianna! You must come over here and meet my new friend Sally.
salvatore
My name is--
gianna
Pleased to meet you Sally. My name is Ricci. Gianna Ricci.
salvatore
Hello.
(Pause.)
gianna
And you are?
(Pause.)
salvatore
I’m going.
ada
You can’t leave. Not until they discharge you.
salvatore
I’m going to my room.
 
(A bed rolls onstage. ADA and GIANNA exit. SALVATORE goes to the bed and sits down. He puts his head in his hands.)
salvatore (Cont’d)
Goddamnit… Why? Why, why, why, why, why, why did I do this? Oh God!
(The DOCTOR enters with a pen and pad.)
doctor
Mister Della Croce?
salvatore
Yes?
doctor
May I come in?
salvatore
Okay.
doctor
My name is Doctor Fossetti. I’m the acting psychiatrist here at Tor Vergata. Mind if ask you a few questions?
salvatore
Go ahead.
doctor
Okay. So… Tell me. What’s been plaguing you?
salvatore
Uh… Well. Psychosis, actually.
doctor
I see.
salvatore
But I think I’ve passed it. You see, I… I admitted myself because I was anxious. Very anxious. I became lost. Doctor, you must have read The Divine Comedy.
doctor
Of course.
salvatore
“Upon this journey of our life midway, I found myself within a darkened wood, As from the right path I had gone astray.” The Inferno. Canto I.
doctor
Mmm… So you… (Flipping through his pad) seem to be very aware of your own mental state. This is a good sign. You must have a very strong support system.
salvatore
And something else.
doctor
Oh?
salvatore
The curse of being alive and awake.
(Pause.)
doctor
Let me reassure you, Mister Della Croce, that you are in good hands. Just because you are so unusually cognizant of your disease at such a young age does not mean you are cursed. These hallucinations and delusions have passed for the moment, it seems. Thankfully, with the help of modern medicine, they may never return. But even this is not a given. All we can hope for now is that we get you on the path to recovery.
salvatore
But how long will it take? And where will it lead me?
doctor
Who can say? Just hang in there, Mister Della Croce. Now, I have other business to attend to. We’ll talk at a later time. Take care, young man.
(DOCTOR moves to exit.)
salvatore
How long am I going to be staying here?
(DOCTOR exits.)
salvatore (cont’d)
My God… What have I done? Fuck me, I should have just held it in. Remained calm. But no. No Salvatore, you just had to go to the extremes and commit yourself to the loony bin. Ha! The loony bin. Maybe it’s where I belong. Amongst these maniacs, these madmen, unfit to live, but they’re worse off than me. At least I have control but these people, these people are barely human, these incontinent beings. So now I’ll wade it out. In silence if I have to. Alone. Huh. What a curse it is to have been born with eyes. Eyes with which to see the world in all its malignance. Eyes with which to see the dirty struggle of other men. Eyes with which to see the things that aren’t really there. Faceless shapes of men, haunting, hissing, harassing me to no end. Voices. The damnation of audition. To hear voices in one’s head, never comforting, never kind. To hear voices in one’s head, always cursing, always abusing. To hear voices in my head, calling me “sick”, “mad”, “evil”, “stupid”, “worthless”, the list goes on. And I am all these things, though I wish I were deaf, dumb, and blind so as to never have seen the morning sun rise.
(SALVATORE lies down on his bed. Blackout.)
(End of scene)
 
 
 
 

 

SCENE 2

(Lights up. A table and enough chairs. Breakfast is being served. ADA, FINA, GIANNA, and CORRADO are sitting, eating. SALVATORE enters groggily.)
ada
There he is! There’s the sleepyhead.
salvatore
“Lull me to sleep, ye winds, whose fitful sound
        Seems from some faint Aeolian harp-string caught;         For I am weary, and am overwrought
        With too much toil, with too much care distraught,
        And with the iron crown of anguish crowned.”
fina
What words!
gianna
Glorious words.
corrado
Words fit for a king.
ada
Come hither Sally, come sit by me and eat your breakfast.
(A tray is laid out for SALVATORE. He sits and eats begrudgingly.)
gianna
Serafina, would you pass the sugar?
fina
My name is not Serafina! I thank you kindly, it’s Fina.
ada
Sally here hasn’t met Corrado. Am I right?
corrado
Pleased to meet you Sally.
salvatore
My name is Salvatore.
ada
Names, names, what’s in a name? If I were not Ada, I would rather be a fish. A rose by any other name would smell as bitter.
corrado
Ay, there’s the stuff. Poetry! What fun.
salvatore
God help me.
ada
Silly boy, there’s no God here. Only the Doctor.
fina
Yes, the Doctor.
gianna
Fossetti.
ada
The Doctor is the one who can clear your name if you’re a good boy.
gianna
He’s Jesus.
fina
He’s baby Jesus.
gianna
He’s Santa Claus. I hate him. I’ve been here for five weeks and still no sign of discharge.
(ADA plays some child’s hand game with GIANNA, who laughs gaily.)
salvatore
They can keep you here that long?
ada
If they have to. But I’m sure you’ll be out in no time.
salvatore
Arrgh, but when?
(SALVATORE jumps from his seat and walks away. Tense pause.)
salvatore (Cont’d)
When, and for how long? One month, two months, a year? An eternity? A whole year. A sentence uncommuted. Damn them!
corrado
Now now, there’s no need to be sour. You’re safer here.
ada
Nothing bad can happen to you here.
corrado
Why, when I was on the streets, I was spit on, cursed, day and night, kicked, scorned, and cast away. I slept in the gutter in tattered rags with a cup, only a cup to my name. A cup with which to beg. That was my lot. Yes, I’m glad to be here.
ada
Corrado here was homeless. Would you trade a bed, warm food, and shelter for that?
salvatore
But I had a life before all this.
corrado
And you’ll get back to it in time. Just be patient, young man.
salvatore
I… But… You don’t understand. Wasted. All of it’s wasted.
ada
What’s wasted?
salvatore
I’m living on borrowed time. I’ve got to get out of here. And quick.
ada
There’s only one way out. You’ve got to play sane.
salvatore
I don’t have to “play sane”. I am sane. For now.
ada
Good. Then you’ll be gone after they’ve assessed your situation. It may take some time.
salvatore
I don’t have much time left.
ada
If you could just keep an open mind. And a smile on that somber face of yours! When you smile, it makes time pass all the more quickly. Ha ha!
salvatore
Damn them, and damn myself.
 
ada
“Damn, damn, damn”, is that all you think about? Jeez, if I lived like that…
(The NURSE enters with a cart and chart.)
nurse
Medicine.
(The patients rise and queue up. Only SALVATORE stands alone. Each patient is given his or her medicine. The NURSE exchanges kind words with each and they respond gaily, maybe ADA a little too much.)
ada
Ah yes, it’s that time again!
nurse
Mister Della Croce? Salvatore Della Croce?
salvatore
What am I taking, exactly?
nurse
Just take it.
salvatore
I haven’t in years.
nurse
You’re holding me up. Take some water and be done with it.
salvatore
And what if I don’t?
nurse
We’ll have to restrain you.
(Pause. SALVATORE eyes her suspiciously. Finally, he acquiesces and takes his medicine. The NURSE exits.)
ada
See, it wasn’t so bad.
salvatore
Hmmph.
gianna
What a sourpuss this one is!
fina
No life in him.
corrado
Dreadful sort.
(CORRADO, FINA, and GIANNA exit. ADA exits, but returns with a puzzle. She sets it down on the table and begins to try to put it together.)
ada
I like puzzles.
salvatore
I don’t.
ada
They help me clear my head.
 
salvatore
Mine’s already clear.
ada
I have so many thoughts running around in my head. Sometimes when I lose my way in between all of them, it helps to know that puzzles exist to help me set everything straight. Sally?
salvatore
Stop calling me that!
ada
Why are you so ornery?
salvatore
I don’t like it when you call me that.
ada
There’s no use. No use. Maybe you’d like to help me do a puzzle? Believe me, they work wonders. Think of each little piece as a frantic, isolated thought. And then you… put together the thoughts, and you see, eventually, the picture. The bigger picture. All the thoughts come together in one clear image and you are illuminated. You see where you went wrong. You see what you were blind to before. And then the healing can begin. And then more puzzles! Tee hee.
salvatore
Hmph. I don’t need puzzles. I’ve been getting along just fine. My thoughts aren’t frantic anymore. I’m at rest.
ada
But you could be so much better. You never know what you’re missing if you don’t step up and try your hardest. You’ve got to give a little to receive.
(Pause. STAFF MEMBER enters.)
staff member
Okay guys, group therapy session now. In there.
ada
Yay!
(Blackout.)
(END OF SCENE)
~



Cheers!

RTurco

Last edited on Thu Dec 6th, 2012 05:46 am by RTurco

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