Wednesday, April 21, 2010

WIP Wednesday

Okay, this is taking me a lot to post this, as it is my most in-progress work: a segment of a scene from my adaptation. This is the scene that was performed as the first part of my project in February. My play centers around Mary (a.k.a Mrs. Darling) who, like her daughter after her, knew Peter Pan as a girl.

(YOUNG MARY sits on her floor, having a tea party with some of her dolls and stuffed animals. MARY wears a large feathered hat and holds an open parasol with one hand as she pours tea with the other.)

MARY. Another biscuit, Miss Penny? Not so much sugar in your tea, Mr. Meriwether! Miss Carroll, if you desire another cake, you may ask me to pass them to you. Ladies do not reach across the table.

(There is a knock at the door but MARY, absorbed in her play, barely acknowledges it. MRS. LIDDELL enters.)

MARY. Mother! Come have some tea. Miss Carroll is behaving rather badly this afternoon, but I’m sure she’s left some cake for you.

MRS. LIDDELL. Thank you dear, but I’ve had my tea this afternoon.

MARY. Oh, but it’s green tea. The queen herself sent it. She is terribly sorry she could not attend herself, but-

MRS. LIDDELL. Mary, perhaps the tea party could wait for a moment. (She sits on her daughter’s bed and pats the space next to her.) Come sit.

(MARY puts down the teapot and parasol and sits next to her mother.)

MARY. What’s wrong, Mother?

MRS. LIDDELL. Nothing at all. In fact, today is a day of celebration. Do you know what day it is?

MARY. (after thinking for a moment) Wednesday.

MRS. LIDDELL. (laughing) That is true, my dear, but there is something very special about this particular Wednesday. For it was on this day, thirteen short years ago, that I was blessed with the greatest gift a person could get- a little baby named Mary.

(As MRS. LIDDELL has been talking, MARY has grown noticeably downcast. She plays with the skirt of her dress and frowns.)

MRS. LIDDELL. Whatever is the matter, Mary? Aren’t you excited for your birthday?


MRS. LIDDELL. But why not? You’re thirteen now- a young lady. (She reaches up and removes the hat that Mary is still wearing.) Soon you’ll have your debut and go to lots of beautiful parties, and then, one day, you’ll marry a wonderful man and be a mother just like I am. Don’t you want any of that?

MARY. (stubbornly) No, I do not.

MRS. LIDDELL. You want to stay a little girl forever? What is the fun in that?

MARY. I can have my tea parties and play with my friends. I can make up stories about whatever I like and then act them out. I can have fun.

MRS. LIDDELL. Grown-ups have fun, too, Mary. I have tea parties with real tea and cakes and I spend time with my friends. And we tell each other stories all the time.

MARY. (throwing herself face-down on the bed) It’s not the same!

MRS. LIDDELL. (beginning to lose patience with her daughter) We’ve all got to grow up sometime, Mary, whether we like it or not. You have the choice to cherish it or be miserable, and only you can make that decision.

(MARY doesn’t answer, as she has begun to cry. MRS. LIDDELL gets up, puts the hat on a nearby chair, and exits. MARY continues to cry as the lights change to show the passing of time. It is now evening and MARY is still crying quietly. Suddenly there is a tap at the window. She sits up on her bed and looks its direction, but there doesn’t seem to be anything there. Then comes another tap. MARY gets up and crosses to the window, unlatching it and leaning out to see what made the noise. She doesn’t see anything and makes to go back to her bed, but then through the window flies PETER PAN. MARY turns to see the boy hovering in her window and stares, speechless.)

PETER. Girl, why are you crying?

MARY. (wiping at her still-wet cheeks) I’m not crying.

(PETER flies closer to peer into her eyes and MARY takes a step back.)

PETER. Yes, you are. You’ve got more of those wet things in your eyes. Are you sad? Why?

MARY. (as if it’s obvious) Today is my thirteenth birthday.

PETER. (alighting on a toy chest) What is a “birth day”?

MARY. You don’t know what a birthday is?

PETER. (indignantly) I know lots of other things. I think I do know what a “birth day” is, but I just have a better name for it.

MARY. A birthday is a celebration of the day you were born. You have one every year.

PETER. I’ve never had a birthday.

MARY. Of course you have. Everyone has. How old are you? You ought to have had as many birthdays as you’ve had years of your life.

PETER. I don’t know how old I am. I climbed out of my pram when I was just one day old and ran away to live with fairies. Then I went to Neverland. No one ever told me I had a birthday of my own. I think I’d like one.

MARY. Then you may have one.

PETER. Really? Could you give it to me?

MARY. (after a pause) Only if you tell me about this “Neverland”. You lived there with the fairies?

PETER. No, silly girl! I lived with the fairies before I went to Neverland.

MARY. You are quite a rude boy. If you continue in this manner, I shan’t give you your birthday. (She folds her arms and turns away from him.)

PETER. (flies over her head and landing in front of her again) I’m sorry, girl-

MARY. My name is Mary.

PETER. I’m sorry, Mary. Sometimes I can’t help myself. I’m not clever like you, so I have to pretend I am. Please let me have my birthday!

MARY. Tell me more about Neverland and I’ll think about it.

PETER. Neverland is a place where pirates and Indians fight on the open sea while mermaids swim below. Where fairies flit about in the air like dancing lights and there is never a day without adventure. It is a place where you never have to grow up.

(Now he has MARY’s attention.)

MARY. You never have to grow up?

PETER. Never.

MARY. My mother says everyone’s got to grow up.

PETER. Your mother?

MARY. Yes.

PETER. Well, what does she know?

MARY. She must know something. After all, she did it herself.

PETER. Yes, but she chose to grow up, which means she knows nothing about fun. If she did, she would have stayed a child, wouldn’t she?

MARY. (thinking) I suppose you’re right. Whenever I watch grown-ups, they never seem to be enjoying themselves. Maybe they just never knew what fun was and so weren’t sad to grow up. (Beat) But I know about fun, and I don’t want to leave it behind. (Beat) Could I go to Neverland?

PETER. Only if you give me my birthday.

MARY. All right, then. Close your eyes.

(PETER does. MARY looks around, uncertain of what could be representative of a birthday. Finding nothing, she thinks for a moment. Then she steps up to PETER, snaps her fingers twice and then makes a motion as if cracking an egg on top of his head, letting her fingers run over his hair.)

MARY. There. Now you’ve got your birthday.

PETER. (smiling brightly) It feels wonderful to have a birthday! Does this mean ours are on the same day?

MARY. (realising that this is true) I suppose so.

PETER. We will have great fun celebrating them together in Neverland. Are you ready to go?

MARY. I’m really going?

PETER. Of course. But only if you hurry. (He runs to the windowsill and jumps up) Come on!

(He holds out his hand. MARY hesitates, looking around her lavish room. She considers what she would be leaving behind by going with Peter. Then she takes PETER’s hand and steps up with him.)

MARY. Let’s go.

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