Ospedale

It’s Italy. 18th Century Venice.
Mmm I can hear you breathing.
Oh.
I don’t mind the company, signore.
I was listening to the sound of the room.
What does that sound like?
Listen.
They listen.
ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI
ESMAR
OSPEDALE by Tommy Smith
This is the Ospedale della Pieta (Devout Hospital of Mercy). Vivaldi, the old composer, sitting in a corner of the room. He’s a priest so he wears the garb. It is early evening.
There is a metal grate built into the one wall, and a young woman, ESMAR, sits concealed behind it. We never really get a good look at her. For a while, they don’t say anything, then:
I hear bells. So do I. It’s not the hour is it? I can only tell by the bells. You seem to be up very early. The other priests stay in bed until –
ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI
I was up all night working. Yes me too. Doing what? I am sewing to make a little extra money on the side.
What are you sewing?
VIVALDI
VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR
ESMAR Little dolls for children. We make them out of rags. Some girls sell them in the market. I
just make them and give them away. I don’t ever see who gets them.
VIVALDI Do you think you could make one for me?
Do you have children? No. They are for children. But I would like one anyway. All right I’ll give you one. Do you want a boy or a girl?
VIVALDI
I’d like a girl.
ESMAR She’s gonna be brown haired. All I have is brown string.
VIVALDI I like brown-haired girls. Are you a brown-haired girl?
No but its definitely not blonde.
ESMAR
ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR
Hmm I can’t quite imagine you blonde.
But you’re educated? I suppose, yes. Do you read notes? Of course, who do you think I am? Are you free tomorrow to practice a little? Tomorrow is Sunday, signore.
And what of that? We have mass. But then the rest of the day is ours. The Lord gave it to us.
VIVALDI
ESMAR Oh I know I’m blonde. I’m not good with words but I recognize voices and I can carry on a
conversation well. Are you an … ? Yes. Aren’t we all? But your mother … ? I don’t know my mother. I was left here. Three.
VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI
ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI
ESMAR
Very true. All right. Will I get a cake? Hmn? Will you bring me a cake, like a Sunday cake for my troubles?
I could bring you a Sunday cake. Do you have the scores? Yes I have copies with me. Slide them through.
He does. She reads.
Hmn. Okay. So this first part – ?
She sings the first part. She’s incredible.
Is it that or – ? Yes try again.
VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR
ESMAR
ESMAR VIVALDI
She does. She sings entire song. Halfway through, he hums along in background. She finishes.
Yes, yes, that’s very good. All right. We’ll save the rest for tomorrow. Thank you very much for your time Miss –
VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI
I don’t think I caught your name? Antonio. Antonio Lucio. Nice to meet you ‘tonio. And its red.
What’s that?
My hair is red.
“Red-headed priest”.
Every week this same time?
I can’t wait.
Pleasure.
He hums tune as he exits. She picks up where he left off. Lights.
ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI ESMAR VIVALDI

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About smithsmith

Tommy Smith’s play FIREMEN recently won five LADCC awards, including best writing. His other plays include GHOSTLIGHT (Labyrinth Theatre Company, d. Paul Budraitis), WHITE HOT (West Of Lenin, d. Braden Abraham); ZERO, PTSD & PIGEON (Ensemble Studio Theatre, d. Billy Carden); THE WIFE (Access Gallery, d. May Adrales); CARAVAN MAN (Williamstown Theatre Festival, music & lyrics by Gabriel Kahane, d. Kip Fagan); DEMON DREAMS (Magic Futurebox, music by DJ Spooky, d. Kevin Laibson); A DAY IN DIG NATION (PS 122, co-written and d. Michael McQuilken); AIR CONDITIONING (Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, d. Steve Cosson); among others. In addition, his award-winning theatrical collaborations with Reggie Watts – DISINFORMATION, TRANSITION, RADIOPLAY and DUTCH A/V – played at The Public Theatre, Lamama, The Warhol Museum, MCA Chicago, ICA Boston, On The Boards and PICA: TBA, among others. As a director/writer, Tommy created the environmental sound performances, NECTARINE EP (for Flea Theater) LOTUS EATERS EP (for IRT Theater, with voices of Neil Gaiman, Marin Ireland & Reed Birney), FORTH (for MFB, d. Meiyin Wang), and DRUGLETTERS (for Labyrinth Theatre Company). Tommy is the recipient of the PONY fellowship at The Lark, a two-time winner of the Lecomte du Nouy Prize, a two-time recipient of the E.S.T. Sloan Grant, a winner of the Page73 Productions Playwriting Fellowship, a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer’s Group at Primary Stages, a recipient of the Creative Capital award, and a two-time winner of the MAP Fund. Publications include PIGEON for Dramatists Play Service and WHITE HOT in the New York Theatre Review. He is a graduate of the playwriting program at The Juilliard School. Tommy’s feature film FIGMENT is currently optioned by Ridley Scott’s production company ScottFree. Smith is also working on a thriller SLEEPER CAR with director Guy Moshe and Zero Gravity Entertainment. As a journalist, Tommy’s work has appeared in The Village Voice, High Times & The Brooklyn Rail. He lives in New York City.
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