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Life: The Tale of a Man, Woman, and Child

 

the SHITE in this story is the Child,

and she leads the Dances.

 

Notes on Costuming: No-one wears any masks, and the costuming is very simple, with all characters in simple linen clothing, except for THE CHORUS of FLOWERS, whose costumes are ornate and highly individual.

 

Notes on Choreography: This play is performed by 7 sets of 3 actors on stage at the same time (7 men, 7 women, 7 children). Each group of actors performs the same actions. The family at the center of the stage speaks the lines, but each family performs the actions of the play in unison. 

 

at 7475 Azalia St

the MAN wears a mantle of service:

Military dress, with a metal badge of even, colored squares.

Round metal glasses, which he keeps clean with a small cloth.

A watch with a timer.

He is gentle, brave, and kind.

 

As he laces his boots, the Man says: 

There are no great things to be done,

only small things to be done

with great love.

 

the WOMAN also wears a mantle of service.

Practical shoes and a sun-dress, with her child’s hand clasped in her own.

Pretty hair-clips that pull back her shiny brown hair.

A watch with a timer.

She is cheerful, patient, and kind.

 

As she assembles an IKEA chair with the help of her toddler, the Woman says:

There are no great things to be done,

only small things to be done

with great love.

 

The palms sway overhead, 

gently experiencing the air as it passes through their fingertips.

Man & Woman thank God for their daily meals as they share a box of instant mac n’ cheese.

The stars twinkle and observe.

 

A fan whirs at the door of the patio, and a gray linen curtain rustles gently in the breeze.

Sunlight flows through the window in brilliant rays, haloing the gray fabric in a corona of gold, and permeating its natural fibers with warm light. 

 

A soft crying permeates the air. 

someone had a meltdown at the store, says the Grandmother.

the CHILD cries, her shoes hurt. No. No. she says. 

The Mother is firm but kind. 

With a kiss on the forehead, the Child smiles again. 

 

The Child’s Dance

The Child choreographs her world, 

and her dance is a microcosm of the dance of the cosmos:

to care and be cared for,

to live and learn and love.

She is both bossy and kind;

alternately joyful and world-weary.

This dance is for the seasons, 

and for the Time and Place of All Things.

It is a Circle Dance that never ends.

she says YELLOW, and all things Yellow in THE CHORUS dance: 

the sun, the bees, the hibiscus, the banana, the baby dandelion.

she says BUG, and all the Bugs in THE CHORUS stop for a moment to bow and say, hey lady.

(This part continues, with improvisation: The Child calls out letters, numbers, or colors, and The CHORUS dances for her).

Meanwhile, Man and Woman dance a slow, circular jig.

 

The Time Dance

A LANDSCAPE (made by the CHORUS of FLOWERS) unfurls.

The Landscape is  the Year, unfurled into a circular timespace:
It is composed of one of every kind of flower, 

organized by the order in which they blossom throughout the season. 

the Families walk through the landscape, acknowledging each flower as they go. 

 

SPRING – March, April, May

ACACIA—Tree, shrub with yellow flowers 

AESCULUS (horsechestnut) — Tree, shrub with red, pink, or white flowers

AGAPANTHUS (lily of the Nile) — Clumps with blue flowers 

BAUHNIA (orchid tree) — Tree with white, pink, or red flowers

BRUNFELSIA (yesterday– today– tomorrow) — Shrub with purple flowers fading to white 

CALLIANDRA (pink powder puff) — Shrub with pink flowers 

Callistemon (bottlebrush) — Tree, shrub with red flowers 

CALODENDRUM (Cape chestnut) — Tree with pink flowers 

CEANOTHUS (California lilac) — Shrub with white or purple flowers

CERCIS (Judas tree) — Tree with white, pink, or red flowers 

CLIVIA (kaffir lily) — Clump with yellow or orange flowers 

ERYTHRINA (coral tree) — Tree, shrub with orange or red

flowers 

EUCALYPTUS — Tree, shrub with yellow or red flowers 

FLOWERING FRUIT TREES (peach, nectarine, plum) — Tree with white, pink or red flowers 

GREVILLEA — Tree, shrub with red, orange or yellow flowers 

IRIS — Clump with purple, or yellow flowers 

JACARANDA — Tree with white, or lavender flowers 

LIRIODENDRON (tulip tree) — Tree with yellow-green flowers 

MALUS (crabapple) — Tree with white, pink or red flowers 

MELALEUCA — Tre, shrub with white, yellow or red flowers 

PAULOWNIA (Chinese empress tree) — Tree with lavender flowers 

TABEBUIA (golden trumpet, pink trumpet) — Tree with yellow or pink flowers 

WISTERIA — Vine with purple flowers 

 

SUMMER – June, July, August, September

AESCULUS ( red horsechestnut) — Tree with red flowers 

Aloe — Clump with red, orange or yellow flowers 

ALYOGYNE ( blue hibicus) — Shrub with lavender/blue flowers 

BOUGAINVILLEA — Vine with red, pink or orange flowers

BRACHYCHITON (Australia flame) — Tree with red flowers 

CALLISTEMON (bottlebrush) — Tree, shrub with green, yellow or red flowers 

CALODENDRUM (Cape chestnut) — Tree with pink flowers 

CASSIA (gold medallion) — Tree with yellow flowers 

CASTANOSPERMUM (Moreton Bay chestnut) — Tree with red or yellow flowers 

CATALPA — Tree with white or pink flowers 

CISTUS (rockrose) — Shrub, groundcover with white, pink or red

flowers 

COMBRETUM — Vine with yellow or red flowers

EUCALYPTUS — Tree, shrub with white, yellow or red flowers

HEMEROCALLIS (daylilies) — Clump with yellow, orange or red

flowers 

HIBISCUS — Shrub with white, red, yellow, orange, or pink flowers 

HYMENOSPORUM (sweet shade) – Tree with yellow flowers 

JACARANDA – Tree with white or lavender flowers 

LAGERSTROEMIA (crape myrtle) – Tree, shrub with red or white flowers 

LANTANA – Shrub with yellow, orange, red or purple flowers 

MELALEUCA – Tree, shrub with white, yellow or red flowers 

NERIUM (oleander) – Shrub with white, pink, red or yellow flowers 

OSTEOSPERMUM (tailing African daisy) – Groundcover with white or purple flowers 

STENOCARPUS (fire wheel) – Tree with red flowers 

 

FALL – October, November

BAUHINIA (Hong Kong orchid) – Tree with maroon pink flowers 

CADDIA (crown of gold) – Tree with yellow flowers

CHORISIA (floss silk) – Tree with pink or white flowers 

EUCALYPTUS – Tree, shrub with white, yellow or red flowers 

KOELREUTERIA (flame gold) – Tree with pink or red seed pods 

THEVETIA (yellow oleander) – Tree with yellow flowers 

 

WINTER – December, January, February

ACACIA – Tree, shrub with yellow flowers 

CHORISIA (floss silk) – Tree with pink or white flowers 

DAFFODIL – Clump with white, yellow or orange flowers 

EUCALYPTUS – Tree, shrub with yellow or red flowers 

MAGNOLIA – Tree, shrub with white flowers 

ORIENTAL MAGNOLIA – Tree with lavender/white flowers 

OSTEOSPERMUM (trailing African daisy) – Groundcover with purple or white flowers 

PRUNUS (Japanese flowering apricot) – Tree with white, pink, or red flowers 

PSEUDOBOMBAX – Tree with white flowers 

 

At Night,

Man, Woman, and Child say the prayers learned from their own mothers and fathers, 

and they go to sleep, to wake up on time tomorrow.

The stars twinkle and observe.