The Sight of the Stars

This is the script for a cabaret I wrote as part of an acting class given by Richard Perez of the Bloomington Playwrights Project in 2003. I performed it twice. I would love to perform it again.

The Sight of the Stars
For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. ~Vincent van Gogh

 

(Darkness)

Lights up.

(Lights are dim)

(To audience)

Can you see me? Ok, great.

I have this particularly useless form of second sight. I dream of things that later come to pass. Sometimes in a week, sometimes in a few months, but while it’s happening in this world I remember the dream.

The only problem is, it’s never anything particularly exciting. It’s always something like “I’m putting a can of corn into the grocery cart and my knee itches.” Now really, what is the point of being able to foresee that??

I have another kind of precognition, of course, the kind most people have. Future-vision. The sight of certainty. The sight where I envision the future and know it will come to pass, simply because everything in my past points to it.

(Jumps up, spotlight)

I was gonna be a STAR (A Star is Born pose) on Broadway. (Break pose) I was born with a spirit of fire, and I tell people on that first day I sang instead of screaming.

I started singing professionally at age 11. “You’re going places, kid,” the adults would say, their eyes shining, hungry for some piece of my success, eager to hang on to the tail of my shooting star, desperate to cling to my afterimage and somehow make it theirs.

They didn’t need to tell me; I knew. I knew with the ardor of the true believer.

I’m twelve. “I’m going to IU for my degree – you know they have the best music school in the country – then I’m going to New York. I’ll starve for two years and then I’m going to make it.”

Can you see me? Augh, I could see it all, see it as clearly as I could see myself, sometimes more so. And I believed. I was young, I was lit from within, and I was Hungry.

I Sing The Body Electric

(Lyrics Dean Pitchford, Music Michael Gore; From the movie Fame)

I sing the body electric
I celebrate the me yet to come
I toast to my own reunion
When I become one with the sun

And I’ll look back on Venus
I’ll look back on Mars
And I’ll burn with the fire of ten million stars
And in time
And in time
We will all be stars

I sing the body electric
I glory in the glow of rebirth
Creating my own tomorrow
When I shall embody the earth

And I’ll serenade Venus
I’ll serenade Mars
And I’ll burn with the fire of ten million stars
And in time
And in time
We will all be stars

We are the emperors now
And we are the czars
And in time
And in time
We will all be stars

I sing the body electric
I celebrate the me yet to come
I toast to my own reunion
When I become one with the stars

And I’ll look back on Venus
I’ll look back on Mars
I’ll burn with the fire
Of 10 million stars
And in time 
And in time
And in time
And in time
And in time
And in time
We will all be stars

Throughout high school my star was ascendant. I sang at weddings, I sang at nursing homes, I sang at sporting events. I sang in countless musicals, choruses, swing choirs, you name it. Always with the leading role, always with the solo, always the STAR.

My spirit, my ambition, my burgeoning mental illness, and my Catholic messianic fervor all swirled together so by my senior year I believed my light would change the world. Just by the power of my singing I could transform the world’s dross into gold.

(Light intensifying)

Let me envelop you with my sound, let me purify you with my fire – give me your sorrows and your suffering and I will bear it, I will suck it into the inferno of this heart crowned with thorns and I will transfigure it into divine splendor. For I am a chosen one, I am blazing, I am righteous, I am strong, I am swift, I am hard, I am brittle, I am break-ing.

(Lights down)

(Silence.)

There was a long period of silence. No singing. No light. Years of darkness. Years of grey.

Present became past. The Wheel turned. I learned to live again.

(Lights up a bit)

(beat)

My father’s eyes are hazel. He’s always had problems with his sight – glaucoma, detached retina, you name it. Then on yet another routine surgery he was suddenly blind in one eye. Some degenerative disease; soon the other eye would lose sight, too.

I remember setting on the loveseat with the man I would marry, our fingers intertwined like some Celtic knot – interwoven, solid and sure. Looking at my Cyclops father, a shiver continually running down my spine as I contemplated my all-powerful, all-seeing, all-comprehending dad going blind. One light winking out, then two. Light, then grey, then darkness. Forever.

In that moment I saw my future with crystal clarity – the home I would create with my husband, radiant with love and children and comfy old furniture, furniture I would guide my father around when he and mom came to visit.

But like my other second sight, my future-vision proved useless. Nothing I foresaw came to pass. My father miraculously regained his sight, light from darkness, a solstice sun reborn.

My marriage was not to be.

What is the sound of one soul shr- shred-ding into two? Lights out. Darkness. Out of sight, out of mind, my heart still stops when I see a man with copper-colored hair.

(Lights dim for song)

Angel Eyes

(Lyrics Earl Brent, Music Matt Dennis)

Try to think that love’s not around
Still it’s uncomfortably near
My old heart ain’t gaining no ground
Because my angel eyes ain’t here

Angel eyes, that old devil sent
They glow unbearably bright
Need I say that my love’s misspent
Misspent with angel eyes tonight

So drink up all you people
Order anything you see
Have fun you happy people
The drinks and the laughs are on me

Pardon me but I got to run
The fact’s uncommonly clear
Got to find who’s now number one
And why my angel eyes ain’t here

‘Scuse me while I disappear

(Lights up somewhat)

A fire consumed my apartment complex. Eyes wide in horror I watched the flames leap four stories into a black sky as the people trapped inside flame-filled rooms were screaming, “oh my god, help me, help me, I’m gonna die!” We all saw the future. The future glared back: a living funeral pyre.

The firefighters saved them. Certainty averted again.

The future-vision is never right, because it relies solely on the past. In the future, there are no surprises.

(beat)

Sometimes at night I go outside and just gaze upon the stars. I feel so peaceful, so still. There’s something about the night sky that’s so NOW. I feel enveloped in the honey cloak of the universe, the Goddess who brings peace to the mind and delight to the soul.

Did you know we are made of stardust? Of course you do. And isn’t it odd how we can feel lightyears distant from the person right in front of us and yet so connected to the stars in the sky?

Light out of darkness. The oldest mystery, from the moment we first open our eyes outside the womb. Intertwined, interwoven, in a dance as old as the cosmos.

When I feel my place in that dance, I have no need for the future. Sure on this shining night, I see with my heart what my ancestors saw, praying to the Goddess of Fire,

Every day, every night that I praise the Goddess
I know I will be safe.
I shall not be chased, I shall not be caught, I shall not be harmed.
Fire, Sun, and Moon shall not burn me
Nor lake nor stream nor sea shall drown me.
Fairy arrow cannot pierce me.
I am safe, safe, safe, singing her praises.

O Watch the Stars

(Appalachian folk song)

O watch the stars, see how they run
O watch the stars, see how they run
The stars run down at the setting of the sun
O watch the stars, see how they run

O watch the stars, see how they play
O watch the stars, see how they play
The stars come and play at the end of the day
O watch the stars, see how they play

O watch the stars, see how they run
O watch the stars, see how they run
The stars run down at the setting of the sun
O watch the stars, see how they run

(Lights fade throughout song; fade to black by last line of song)

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