PARK - EXTERIOR - BENCHES
[AUTHOR is sitting on a bench, staring at her notebook. Lights are bright to make it look like day time and there are no spotlights, so that it’s more realistic. She writes something then scribbles it out. This happens several times. Finally she looks up at audience. Lights dim slightly and a pale spotlights comes onto AUTHOR. When other actors appear, spotlight fades and lights get brighter.]
Write them into a story! Who do they think I am, a wizard or something? This is ridiculous; I’m being ruled by my own characters! I invented them, for goodness sake. They can hardly complain about their life being clichéd when without me they wouldn’t have had a life at all…
[A few PASSERS-BY walk past her and look strangely at AUTHOR, thinking that she is talking to thin air. They don’t realise there’s an audience. Make this obvious - back to the audience etc.]
Who are you talking to?
Oh, nobody. Myself. The world. Just generally…
I see… [shrugs and walks off]
They think I’m mad. Everyone thinks I’m mad. Maybe I am. After all, I’m letting two characters write their own story. I mean, that’s got to be a little bit crazy, surely?
[AUTHOR scratches her head, stares at the notebook. She chews her pen.]
And then they ask me to write them into a story. Well, for a start, I don’t know how to do that. It’s just words on a page - they don’t have that much power, do they? And if it did work, that seems like sacrilege. Some Author spent a long time working on those characters … and then I go butt in.
[she suddenly realises something]
If they talk to the characters, will that change the story? No! It’s all okay, because the book’s already been written and published. And if the author’s dead, so much the better - they don’t have to go and torture her!
This doesn’t make any sense at all. Oh well. I suppose the more I think about it, the less sense it will make. I should just get on with writing.
[AUTHOR scribbles frantically in her notebook, pausing every now and again to cross something out and re-write it. ELLIE and KATE walk over to where she is sitting.]
Ah, good to see that you’re busy! Very good, very good. I assume that is the part of the script where we meet other characters? You wouldn’t double-cross us, would you?
No, no, wouldn’t dream of it … Oh, this is ridiculous. Here I am, scared of two people I invented!
How do you know we didn’t exist already? We could have been alive all this time and you just wrote our life. But we wouldn’t know, either way. We’d be certain we’d existed because you put the memories into our mind, and you wrote that we had lived for sixteen years.
Right … I get that. Actually, no, I don’t. Can you explain?
Forget it. The audience would get bored.
You know, I’ve just thought of something. Maybe there’s someone writing this. Like, a Mega-Author or something. That’s a good point, actually. I mean, we’ve got an audience. We’ve got lights [she points to lights] that are irritatingly bright and shine in your eyes …
VOICE FROM OFF-STAGE
Sorry about that!
[lights dim slightly, and Ellie smiles]
There are stage-hands and lighting operators and all the while we’re convinced that we’re controlling our own actions - but maybe we’re not. Maybe someone’s writing this scene, where we’re talking to our author! It would be stupid, and a little bit strange … but it’s possible.
She’s got a point, actually. Maybe our whole life - and your whole life - is being written by some Author up in the sky. A Mega-Author. You never thought of that, did you?
But I don’t see that worrying about it is going to help. You want to meet characters? I’ve written the scene - it’s finished. Now you just have to wait until the weird power-thing takes hold, and you should be there.
[ELLIE and KATE grin to one another. They wait expectantly…]