DRIVING THE SNAKES OUT
~ A Psychological Drama ~
* This is a recently readied play I wrote that is a psychological drama, following the precarious mental journeys of Elsie, the main character. You never know, for sure, if all the characters are her, or is it real. You follow her through that precarious mental journey taken, often, by the mentally ill. Enjoy... no that is not the correct word, be moved, be engaged... be enlightened... and let this play take you to places you never thought you would travel, or want to, but you are glad you did, because of the thought you engaged in, and the epitome of perception you found about yourself, along the way. Whether you 'like' it or not, is unimportant. The effect of it on you... is.
For those interested, here are the opening pages of the script. It is based on a novel manuscript I have recently finished too, and is ready for publication, if interested. The play runs about 2 1/4 hours. A tad from the novel at the end. The novel is about 80,000 words in its completed ms.
*...follow Elsie’s experiences through insanity.
“DRIVING THE SNAKES OUT” ~ The Play by
BASIC GUIDELINESDue to the complexity inherent in finding a way to stage this drama, many stage directions are inserted into the text. If a director senses a better way to make the play work on stage, I am open to this, but I expect to be informed and given the courtesy of saying, "Yes, go ahead!"
The stage is divided into three parts:
Stage left: Shepps office
Centre Stage: The Present
Stage Right: Misty. And from the dead
Projection Screen: Centre Stage Rear
SETTING: Briarbrook Psychiatric Hospital
CHARACTERS: Sanctus can be performed by 7 – 14 actors. For the smallest cast, I suggest the following casting:
Billy/ Priest/ Danny
Directors Choice: Voices to be done by the company.
To facilitate making adjustments and staging the play, the playwright is open to working with initial production companies and directors during the rehearsal phase.
ACT ONE, SCENE 1
[Stage, a funeral. Dark lighting]
PRIEST: [Saying over Elsie's burial site. Shepps silently reading Elsie's journal at site]
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus. Deus Saboath. Pleni sunt celi, et terra gloriatua. Hoasana inexcelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nominee Domini. Hoasana in excelsis.
[Looks down at grave]
But when ye see Jerusalem encompassed with armies then know that her desolation is close at hand. St. Luke 21: 20
[Looks at Shepps]
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints. Revelations 22:21
SHEPPS: [To Priest]
This is all she left us... her journal
Here... see... she wrote this, too -- They say Saint Patrick drove the snakes and toads out of Ireland and that is why the place is free of them.
[Priest nods solemnly. They both bow. Lights fade into green, then darkness.]
ACT 1, SCENE 2
[Lights up and Elsie is on stage. She is wearing a white night gown and in the mist. Shepps is at Stage Left in a brighter light, earthly. Shepps is leaning on and looking out a window at her desk. She is wearing a doctor's coat and holding a journal.]
ELSIE: [Stage Right. Green lit misty background. A deeper mist puffs up, then Elsie is there as ghostly presence. She is staring at then reading from her journal.]
This is a very simple story really.
[Lights go out. Then the lights go up bright in Shepps’ office on Stage Left.]
SHEPPS: Oh, Elsie.
[Staring out the window at her desk Stage Right. Then reading journal as Elsie speaks. ]
ELSIE: [Reading from her journal. This is an identical copy to the one Shepps has. ]
How should I have known he'd die like he did?
[Shepps is sadly shaking her head and looking at her copy of the journal as Elsie continues.]
How was I supposed to know that? People don't know that kind of thing. Not really they don't. Least ways, I didn't know. Like I said, how could I have known all that? There's no way of tellin' those things. I couldn't anyways. Not until Eric died before the baby. The baby came December 24th. The stars, I remember the stars shining, sparkling at me. You know -- the way they do -- But Eric was dead.
[ Screen Centre Stage follows Elsie's description with images of stars and moon. ]
SHEPPS: Yes Elsie.
FOR THE CURIOUS... HERE'S THE OPENING TO THE NOVEL MANUSCRIPT, WHICH LIKE I SAID, IS DONE TOO
DRIVING THE SNAKES OUT ~ THE NOVEL ~ THE OPENING
* from the story's Dr. ELAINE SHEPPS
They say St. Patrick drove the snakes and toads out of Ireland and that is why the place is free of them. The account to follow was written by Elsie while in my care for psychiatric treatment at Briarbrook Hospital.
Dr. Elaine Shepps
This is a simple story, really. How could I have known he'd die like he did? How was I supposed to know that? People don't know that kind of thing. Not really they don't. Least ways, I didn't. How could I have? There's no way of telling those things. No way for me, anyways. Not until Eric died before the baby was born and the baby came on December 24th with the stars and the moon curving up above me and the snow falling all around, and Eric dead.
The baby came easily. They say that no birth is easy, especially not the first, but mine was. Mine was a girl and not a boy though. Different from Mary. She had a boy and those men came to see her. I didn't have that. No men coming to see me. Not even a stable. Just me and my kid. That's all.
I even knew what to do. I tied it and rolled it and centred it on her so she wouldn't look funny when she grew up and nobody would laugh at her. You know how cruel people can be. Picking on the slightest thing. The thing you'd least expect them to pick on. That's the way they do it though. They seem to be able to sense it and get you where you're most vulnerable, where you least expect it.
As with the play, feel free to contact me if you are interested in publishing or further evolution of the novel. AS mentioned, both are fully complete.
Thanks for reading.