Friday, November 26, 2010

Icicle Man [Scene III]

The Icicle Man (Scene III)

Mari is wandering through the great hall of Jack’s ice palace, all glittery and shiny with ice and snow, though she does not shiver. There is a curious statue in the corner of and a marble fountain covered in ice of a man and a woman surrounded by elves and nymphs.

Mari: That’s funny. And creepy. Much like him, just chucking me in the hall and telling me he’d be back after he saw someone he hadn’t seen in a long time. It almost sounded like he missed her, or whoever it was. Could be a her. Could be a him. Elves aren’t picky, are they? (Pauses, eyeing the statue in the corner: a woman on her knees, head bowed) Or maybe they can’t love. Because they can’t feel. But why keep a woman frozen, unless…No. This – This must be the woman who was rude to him. And I thought he’d only told that to frighten me. But – But he… (Looks around for Jack. He is sitting on the rim of the fountain, hidden from her current view) I need to go. Before I do something stupid, preferably, like offend him by accident and he decides I’ll make a nice centerpiece for his table.

Jack: Just how big do you think my table is, dear?

Mari: (Muttering) Of course he’s here. (Louder) Bigger than mine, at least.

Jack: Anything’s bigger than that pine chip in your cottage. (He comes out from behind the fountain) Oh. You found the statue.

Mari: Yeah. Who is it?

Jack: Oh, no one that you know.

Mari: I guess. I didn’t see her face.

Jack: Some things are better left unseen, dear. Trust me.

Mari: You ask me to do that a lot, you know. Trust you.

Jack: (Innocently) I’m a sprite. What’s not to trust?

Mari: (Motioning around her) Everything.

Jack: Well. I see. Have a seat on the fountain, dear, and I’ll be right back. (Strides off stage, muttering and twitching)

Mari sits on the fountain and cranes her neck to see the faces of the man and woman.

Mari: He looks familiar, now that I think about it. Like I’ve seen him before, in picture books. A man in long robes with a sweet face, cheeks red and nose always cold. And he’s sometimes with a woman. She has a crown of flowers in her hair, dressed in green and brown. Earth tones. Like summer. (She stands on the fountain basin to get a closer look) Oh. That’s Mother Earth, Mother Summer to some, and Father Winter. The elves are his to help him create the snow and ice, and the nymphs are there to help Mother Earth when spring and summer come. This is Vixen, Mother Earth’s chief herald and helper, so where’s….Where is Father Winter’s?

Jack returns with a box he places gently on the fountain basin ledge.

Jack: Amusing yourself, darling?

Mari: Why aren’t you on here?

Jack: I’m arrogant, dear, not egotistical.

Mari: (Lowering herself to sit on the bench, mindful of the box) You built this?

Jack: We pay homage to those who created us.

Mari: He’s your father?

Jack: (Snappy) I never said that. I said we pay homage to those who created us.

Mari: So you’re not related?

Jack: We do not operate as mortals. We do not have the same rules.

Mari: Obviously. We have some and you don’t.

Jack: (Annoyed) Listen with your ears, Mari. We do not have the same rules does not mean we are lawless creatures.

Mari: (Slowly) Really? Then what about her? What rule did she break? (Pointing to the statue in the corner)

Jack: (Flinging the box away as he stands) When someone offers you the chance to not freeze to death through simple kindness, you take it! You do not scorn him because he comes to you in the guise of an old man, bent and broken. Her heart was always as cold as the ice I lovingly shape.

Mari: How do you know?

Jack: Like calls to like.

Mari: What am I doing here, then? I don’t have a heart of ice and snow.

Jack: (Patiently) You, dear, are one of the piper’s children.

Mari: (Frustrated) You keep saying that and I don’t know what it means. I know my mother. I wasn’t taken as a child.

Jack: And your mother?

Mari: No! No, you’re grasping. There is nothing in me that should call to you.

Jack: Why, Mari?

Mari: Because I don’t freeze people for the hell of it! I don’t trick them into coming to palaces of ice out of misplaced manners. And I’m not a damned piper’s child!

Jack: (Flatly) Piper’s child.

Mari: Screw you, Jack Frost. I want to go home. I should have been back by now and my mother/

Jack: Knows where you are.

Mari: What?

Jack: Your mother knows where you are.

Mari: And she just let you walk back out without a fight?

Jack: She, unlike you, knows more than well what I am capable of. (Leans in close) And what I can do if truly provoked. Frost so thick you’ll be either stuck inside or out. And those poor pigs, with the ground so frozen to bury them if they die. Don’t think I won’t. Push me, Mari, and it might not be you I snap at.

Mari: (Backs up and turns away) Why me? (Turns) Why me, Jack? And don’t say/

Jack: (Flatly) You are one of the piper’s children. (Mari screams in frustration) And I am the icicle man. Like calls to like.

Mari: I’m human! You, you are the one that brings the frost and kills those too weak to weather the coming winter! (Stalking closer to him) You don’t feel. You don’t feel anywhere near what a human does and you probably couldn’t if you tried.

Jack: What did you say?

Mari: (Drawing herself up) You couldn’t be human if you tried.

Jack: Is that a challenge, dear?

Mari: Yes.

Jack: What do I get if I win?

Mari: (Shrug) I’ll believe I’m a piper’s child and take whatever place I’m supposed to. If I win, my mother and I don’t see you ever again.

Jack: Truly ever, dear?

Mari: Ever, Jack.

Jack: Just to play human?

Mari: Be human, Jack. With everything that includes. Every last stupid emotion and human meaning.

Jack: (Grinning fiercely) Lovely, dear. I’ll take that little challenge of yours.

Mari: Fine. (Holds out her hand)

Jack cackles, leaning forward to kiss Mari’s neck. She screams; the lights plunge to darkness)

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"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz