by Duncan Wells
Gizella's Bogdan is a gypsy. She lives alone in the woods. Her home is constructed of rough stone. The door leading to outside is stage left. Stage right is a door leading to another room. Center stage is an old chesterfield with an end table to the left of it. A wooden table with a table cloth is situated up stage just right of the chesterfield. Hanging from nails at the front of the table is a butcher's cleaver. The cleaver cannot be seen as it is concealed by the over hang of the table cloth. Down stage left is a large wood-chopping block with a few stacks of kindling beside it. A counter along the backwall behind the table contains the usual kitchen items such as bottled preserves, flour canisters, a large wooden box that opens from the front, and an assortment of cooking utensils. There are eight lit candles in assorted bottles throughout the room. Another counter contains a trough of water, towels, a wash basin, a face cloth and other wash-up items.
Music is playing while the audience enters the theatre. The lights fall and in the darkness a radio announcer's voice is heard.
Announcer: We interrupt this program to bring you the following news announcement. Escaped convict Morris Fletcher who was reported to have scaled the walls of Kinston Penitentiary at approximately six o'clock this morning is still on the run. A full-scale manhunt is now underway and a warning has been issued by the RCMP to be on the lookout. Morris is six foot one, brown hair, brown eyes and it is expected that he is still in the Kingston area. He was serving a life sentence for the murder of three women back in 1983 and is considered extremely dangerous. It is unknown at this time if Morris Fletcher is armed or not, however, RCMP are warning the public to take no chances. If you witness anyone suspicious in your area do not approach them. Contact the RCMP detachment in your area immediately.
Lights rise to Steel Eye Span's, Drink Down The Moon. Gizella, dressed in a flowing gypsy styled dress, dances in circles to the song. This dance should have an eerieness about it, somewhat of a blood-ritual dance, as she is preparing for the arrival of someone very special. As the song closes we hear a pounding at her door. She allows the song to finish. While the voice continues to plead Gizella goes about the business of tidying you and straightening the table cloth, while Lutheria takes her time blowing out each candle. As each flame is blown out, Lutheria makes a peculiar sign of the cross in mid air.
Morris: Help! Help! Open up!
Pounding Continues throughout the dialogue
Is there any body in there? Will you please open up for the love of God open the door!!
Morris: Thank Christ! Thank Christ! Oh God! Open up! Open up quick.
Gizella: Who is it please?
Morris: Let me in….for God's sake, let me in! Dogs…there's…there's a pack of wild dogs…they're chasing me. Open the door for love of God, open the door!
Gizella: One moment please.
She crosses to open the door.
Morris: Hurry! Let me in! I said let me in!
She opens the door. Morris is exhausted. He is panting. His heart is beating out of his chest. He collapses on the floor and tries to speak.
Morris: Wild dogs…they…they were chasing me…through the woods….they…they were chasing me and…oh…oh God…oh thank you…thank you.
Lutheria stands behind her as Gizella crouches to speak to Morris
Gizella: Oh good sir…I am so sorry. I was not sure it would be wise of me to open the door so quickly to you…a stranger…a voice in the night. I am so very sorry. You are not well…you are injured. Let me help you.
She tries to help. He continues to catch his breath
Morris: Yeah, just…just gimme a second…just…oh, man…oh Christ…did…you hear them?
Gizella: Did I hear them sir?
Morris: The dogs.
Gizella: No sir…here let me help you…
She does and leads him to the chesterfield
…up…there you are sir…come…sit and find your wind and I will fetch you water.
Pause. Gizella ladles water from a trough into a small glass bowl. Lutheria passes directly in front of Morris who is still visibly shaken from his experience. She exits through the door stage right.
Gizella: You have travelled far?
Morris: Yeah, I'm…I'm not sure. I know I did a hell of a lotta runnin'.
Where am I?
Gizella: You are miles from the city. That is from where you have come, is it not?
Morris looks a little puzzled at both Gizella and his surroundings
Morris: Ah…yeah…the city…ah, what..what is this anyway, some kind of camp house or something?
Gizella: A camp house sir?
Morris: Yeah…like a hunting camp or what?
Gizella: No sir, this is my home.
Morris: What, like a summer cottage or something?
Gizella: No sir. This is my home…this is where I live. Here allow me fetch you something to clean your face with. You are in a terrible state.
She brings the basin and a face cloth and attempts to wash his face.
Morris: All year round?
Gizella: I beg your pardon sir?
Morris: Do you stay here all year round?
Gizella: Yes sir…this is my home. This is where I live.
He takes the face cloth from her
Morris: That's alright. I can do it myself…
He wipes his face
Gizella: You have some right here…
He wipes where instructed.
Gizella: Let me refill your bowl.
Morris: Where did you say this is?
Gizella: Where sir?
Morris: Yeah, what's the name of this place? What town am I in?
Gizella: Oh sir, you are not in any town and there is no town nearby. You are…you are in the woods.
He accepts the water bowl
Morris: Whatta mean the woods?
Gizella: That is where you are sir. You are in the woods…you are among the trees.
Morris: Yeah but isn't there a name for this place?
Gizella: I have never thought about it sir.
Morris: What the hell do you mean, you never thought about it?
Gizella: I mean, sir, that I have never thought about it.
Morris: Well…ah…what about the nearest highway? Where is it?
Gizella: Sometimes, sir, on a clear evening I can hear the sound of automobiles coming from that direction.
Morris: And what about the other three directions?
Gizella: Oh..well…I am not sure. I have never ventured any farther then the marsh.
Morris: Ha! Yeah, well I have. There must be two friggin' miles of swampland out there and I had run through the whole damned thing.
Dogs barking. He runs to the door but stays close to the wall as if hiding
Oh Christ! Oh God! They're still out there. They must know I'm here! Check the windows but don't let anyone see you.
Gizella: They are not the dogs who were chasing you sir. They are mine.
Gizella: Yes sir…they are penned…out back.
Morris: Were they let loose tonight?
Gizella: My dogs? No sir. They are only allowed out during the morning hours. That is when I walk them. Why do you ask?
Morris: It's…it's just strange, that's all. I thought I lost them at the marsh…the dogs that were chasin' me…all the way through, I didn't hear a sound…the barking stopped…I thought they turned back…I was sure of it. But after I made it through the marsh, there they were again. It was as if they made it through to the other side before me…but that would have been impossible. They would had to have passed me.
Morris crosses to the trough to fill his bowl. The water is now pink. He stares into the trough.
Gizella: I can assure you sir, my dogs have been in their pen since early today and have not made a sound since……it is from the well out in back of the house.
Morris: What's that?
Gizella: The water…I draw it myself from the well out back.
Morris: Yeah? I thought it tasted different.
Morris: Yeah…different than city water. I guess there's not enough junk in it. My chlorine level's way too high anyway.
Gizella: Yes sir.
Morris: You don't have any smokes I guess.
Morris: Smokes…you know. Cigarettes…tobacco.
Gizella: Oh, tobacco. No sir, I never use tobacco.
Morris: Look, will you please stop calling me sir? It's really getting' on my nerves.
Gizella: Then may I call you Morris?
Morris: What? How the hell do you know my name? You…you had the radio on, that's what it is. What did they say?
Morris: Don't lie to me!
Gizella: But there is no radio.
Morris: Do you have any idea who I am?
Gizella: But there is no radio.
Gizella: You are angry?
Morris: How the hell did you know my name? Huh? You didn't just guess it!
Gizella: I have a gift. I have a special power.
Pause. He is amused. He circles her
Morris: Ha…you…you, what?
Gizella: I have a gift.
Morris: A gift?
Gizella: A special power.
Morris: Ooooh…a special power. Hmmm…imagine that!
Gizella: Yes…I have the power of knowing.
Morris: Ha! The power of what?
Gizella: Of…of knowing. Why are you circling me?
Morris: You have the power of knowing…ha…ha…look…just…just spare me any daffy stories, ok? What you have…is a radio…a radio…some where in the house….maybe not here….but some where….you can tell me you don't…but all I have to do is look…that's all…
Gizella: But I am telling you the truth.
Morris: Look, you didn't just guess my name, ok?
He crosses to enter the other room
Gizella: But I am a gypsy.
Morris: Yeah…and I'm a little teapot.
He exits. She quickly and purposely refills his water bowl. The water is now red. He returns from the other room.
Gizella: Do you believe me now when I say that I have no radio?
Morris: Where's the other one?
Gizella: I beg your pardon?
Morris: The other one! The woman who was here when I came in…she went into that room, but she's not there now. Where did she go?
Gizella: I am sorry sir…I mean, Morris. I have no idea who you are speaking of.
Morris: The woman! You know…the one that was here a little while ago.
Gizella: There are no other people in this house but you and I.
Morris: Ha..yeah…right! There was a woman here. I saw her! You saw her! She was standin' right next to you for Christ sake!
Gizella: I am sorry Morris, but you are surely mistaken for I am the only woman in this house.
Morris: You got any more doors in this place?
Gizella: Just the one you entered through.
Morris: Then she must have went out the window.
Morris: The woman! Hey, look, if you think you're gonna get me to believe I didn't see her you can just forget it right now. I know what I saw and I saw a woman. She was standing right there. She walked across the floor right in front of me and she went through that door.
Gizella: Could it have been, perhaps, an apparition?
Morris: What…a ghost?
Gizella: A vision? Yes. It is not uncommon you know.
Morris: Get outta here! What do you take me for anyway, an idiot? I saw a woman.
Gizella: I think not sir Morris.
Morris: Ha! Are you trying to tell me there's a ghost walking around here?
Gizella: Yes, I am.
Morris: Well, boo!!! I saw a woman. It was a real woman. She walked right in front of me. It wasn't a ghost, it wasn't an apparition and it wasn't a vision. It was a woman.
Gizella: Was she beautiful?
Morris: What the hell kind of question is that? Yeah, sure, I guess. I've seen better.
Gizella: And her eyes…did they look like mine?
Morris is rubbing his throat. Something is happening
Morris: Maybe…I don't know…I didn't get that good a look at her.
Gizella: Is there something wrong?
Morris: No, my…my throat is dry…feels funny, that's all.
Gizella: Sir Morris, please tell me about this ghost…her hair…was her hair black like mine?
He coughs through the line
Morris: Huh? Yeah…black…like yours.
Gizella runs excitedly toward him.
Gizella: Oh sir Morris! You have seen her…she has shown herself to you…she has finally appeared.
Morris: She? Who? Who the hell are you talkin' about?
Gizella: My sister, Lutheria.
Morris: Ok, whoa…this is nuts enough alright.
Gizella: But it's true.
Morris: Your sister…Lutheria.
Gizella: She walks.
Morris: Ha! She walks?
Gizella: My sister…her ghost walks among us. She is here in the house. She is here now as we speak.
Morris: No, no…she was here. She's gone now, remember?
Gizella: But she will return. I am certain of that.
She looks skyward
Lutheria…oh, Lutheria, the brownbird will not leave the nest.
Morris: What? The brownbird? What the hell's the brownbird?
Gizella circles the room. Morris watches her in a somewhat intoxicated state.
Gizella: Lutheria? Oh, Lutheria, welcome home my beautiful, beautiful sister…
Morris: What the hell are you doing?
Gizella: We shall circle the trees and dance among the leaves…
Morris: Will you stop that?
Gizella: Lutheria, please show yourself so we might play our childhood game once again and sing our way home among the forest trees…
Morris grabs her and begins shaking her
Morris: Will you knock it off?
Gizella: Lutheria, I know why you have come…
Morris: Stop it!
Long pause. Gizella awakes from what appears to have been an visit to the other-world
Gizella: I..I am sorry…sir Morris…I…I do not know what came over me. I should sit.
Morris: Yeah….yeah…you should ah….sit….or something.
Long pause. He watches her, thinking to himself that she is really, really nuts.
Gizella: Yes, I am fine. Thank you for asking.
Morris: You ah…you wanna drink of water or somethin'?
Gizella: No thank you.
Pause. Morris is standing behind Gizella. She is not witness to what he is doing. He looks around in the air as if expecting to see something that isn't there. He is nervous. He is confused. He feels his throat once again.
Gizella: You are favoring your throat.
Morris: It's sore.
Gizella: There is no need to be afraid, sir Morris.
She turns to face him
Gizella: I said, there is need to be afraid.
Morris: I'm not afraid…afraid of what?
Gizella: She is only a ghost. She will not hurt you.
Morris: Look, I'm not afraid ok?
Gizella: If that is what you say.
Morris: And besides, there's no such thing as ghosts anyway.
Gizella: Oh but you are so very wrong sir Morris, so very, very wrong.
Pause. Gizella stares at him - challenging him.
Morris: Ok…ok, if she's a ghost, then how come I could see her?
Gizella: She wanted to show herself to you. It is only fair, is it not?
Gizella: Sir Morris, you are a visitor to our home. It is only proper…it is only polite…it is only fair that she allows you to see your host.
Morris: My host?
He begins coughing
Gizella: Are you feeling ill?
Morris: No..it's…it's this damned throat.
Gizella: Let me get you more water.
Morris: No! No…I had enough water.
Pause. He paces behind her, thinking. He takes notice of the candles and touches them one by one in his passing of them.
…this ah…this sister…
Morris: Yeah…Lutheria. How come I saw her and you didn't? I mean, why should she show herself to me and not to you, her own sister.
Gizella: Oh but she has indeed shown herself to me. She has stood here before me in this very room…she held my hand…we danced…we danced in circles…we danced in circles around the moon…we plucked the stars from the sky and tucked them softly into tiny sacks of woven hemp with draw string silver and we…
Morris: Ok knock it off with the hoo doo voo doo dancin' around the moon crap, ok?
Gizella: But you asked.
Morris: I asked why she showed herself to me and not to you. That's what I asked.
Gizella: She has already shown herself to me. I saw her shortly after her death…three years ago.
Gizella: Forgive me sir Morris, but I seem to sense that you do not believe me.
Morris: You got that right.
Gizella: I am very sorry. I do not know what to say to you. I cannot speak without speaking the truth and have not had the experience of dealing with a disbeliever.
Morris: This is crazy.
Gizella: I am sorry. I did not intend to put you in such an awkward situation.
Morris: I need water.
Long pause. Gizella smiles.
Morris: You said you saw her three years ago. Is that the only time?
Gizella: Yes, that was the only time.
Morris: And you never saw her again? Ever?
Gizella: Never, and neither shall you.
Morris: And how do you know that? Oh yeah, I forgot…you're a gypsy. Stupid me.
Gizella: I have inherited the gift of my father.
Morris: Yeah, you told me about your gift already.
Gizella: I have the power of knowing.
Morris: Yeah, sure ya do. Now, look, are you gonna to keep this up, because this is really startin' to annoy me.
Gizella: I am doing nothing to purposely annoy you sir Morris. Everything I speak is the truth.
Morris: I don't like people stringing me along with silly games.
Gizella: The game is not silly. The participants know the rules. And I am not stringing you along. As I have told you, every word I speak is the truth.
Morris: You're serious.
Gizella: Yes I am.
Morris: You really believe everything you're saying to me is true.
Gizella: Yes I do. I am a believer and I am a participant, just as you too are a participant.
He holds his stomach. He speaks with pain.
Morris: I don't feel very well.
Gizella: Then please, sit.
Morris: No…I'm fine. Thanks….God…damn!
Gizella: It is a known fact that one will never see a ghost if one is looking…and I have been looking…I cannot control this behavior. And that is why Lutheria refuses to show herself to me.
Morris: Because you're lookin'.
Morris: Then stop looking.
Gizella: That is not how it works sir Morris.
Morris: Oh no, it's much more complicated than that.
Gizella: Yes it is.
Morris: Much more…complex than I could ever comprehend.
Gizella: Yes it is.
Morris: Man, you're so fulla shit.
Gizella: As long as I know she exists in this house, I will be looking. I will be waiting.
Morris: Yeah, well I'm not lookin'. You hear that Lutheria? I'm not lookin' for you. Hell, I don't even want to see you. How do you like that? If you try showing yourself around here I'll…I'll shut my eyes. How do you like them apples Lutheria?
Morris: What the hell are you laughing at?
Gizella: You. Do you think you can pretend to Lutheria that you will not be looking? Do you think you can simply say you will not be looking and think that in saying so that it makes it so? Sir Morris, you can pretend with all of your pretending might…you can occupy your thoughts with your human concerns of day to day living, but you cannot fool the ghost of Lutheria once you have placed your eyes upon her.
Morris: You're a freak.
Gizella: She knows.
Morris: She knows? She knows nothin'..she's a ghost…she's a dead person and you, you're… you're still a freak.
Pause. The dogs begin howling and barking outside. Morris becomes nervous.
Morris: Those are your dogs, right?
Gizella: They sense a stranger…they sense a non-believer…you. They usually behave that way when there is a new scent upon the air.
Morris: Oh great, now the dogs are in on it too.
Gizella: They are only animals sir Morris. They do not understand such things as ghosts. They will howl at the moon and they will howl if there is evidence upon the wind of an intruder.
Morris: What about blood?
Gizella: And yes…they will howl for blood as well.
Morris: Great! That's all I needed to hear. How many you got?
Morris: What? What the hell are you doin' with six vicious animals like that?
Gizella: They are not vicious animals. They are babies…beautiful, obedient creatures. Unlike most humans…they know the rules.
Morris: Well, if they're so damned obedient why don't you tell them to shut up.
Gizella: They have only broken silence once tonight sir Morris. If it was not for you showing up maybe they would be sleeping now.
Pause. Morris is looking toward the backyard.
Gizella: How is your stomach?
Morris: It's ah…it's ok…I'm alright. Ha…ya know…I think I'm gonna hit the road. I mean, if that's alright with you. This is just a little too…no, this is just a lot too weird for my liking. What direction did you say the highway was?
Gizella: You will not make it to the highway sir Morris. It is much too far to travel, especially on foot through the woods. The tracking dogs will surely find you before morning.
Morris: What tracking dogs?
Gizella: Please, sir Morris, do not look at me with that face and ask what tracking dogs as if you have no idea what I am speaking of. You are a fugitive. You know that as well as I. You are running from the law.
Morris: What are you talkin' about?
Gizella: And I see you are also a liar.
Morris: How do you know I'm runnin' from…aw, never mind...forget it!
Gizella: And besides, what else would you be doing running through the woods at night pursued by dogs? A pack of wild dogs indeed sir Morris. It was not a pack…there were only three of them and you knew they were not wild. They were trained police dogs
Morris is angry that he can't figure out where Gizella is getting her information
Morris: What the hell is this? How the hell do you know this stuff?
Gizella: I am a gypsy and as I have already told you, I have the power of knowing.
Morris: Yeah? Oh yeah? Ok then…ok then….why…why was I in prison?
Gizella: You murdered three women.
Morris: How did I murder them?
Gizella: You strangeled all three.
Morris: With what?
Gizella: Nylon twine…yellow…you raped all three of them before you killed them.
Morris: Holy shit!
Gizella: The first one was an acquaintance. She wasn't frightened of you.
Morris: Ok, alright!
Gizella: You drove her to a secluded spot in a black, 1979 Pontiac LeMans.
Morris: Hey, stop it, ok? Enough!
Gizella: It was seventeen minutes past midnight when you finally finished burying her body in a shallow grave.
Morris: Will you stop it!
Gizella: The other two women you never met before but you were able to lure them into your van by telling them that you…
Morris: I said stop it!! Shut up! Shut the hell up!
…oh…man…Christ…this is…this is insane!
Long pause. Gizella watches him in his disbelief
Gizella: It was nothing more than a game to you sir Morris…a violent…self serving game…and you did not play fair either…like a man who would hunt an animal at night using a light, you did not play fair. You went out with your brawn, and your might, and your sweet deceiving lies and you lured those women…you offered them trust and they accepted…you caught them in the glare of your light…and then you killed them.
Morris: Why aren't you frightened of me?
Gizella: Oh sir Morris, sir Morris…you are just a little bird in a tree…nothing more. Yes, you have wings…and, yes, you can take flight…and yes, you can peck my eyes out with your beak…if you like…
Morris: Why do you talk like that?
Gizella: Like what?
Morris: In circles.
Gizella: It is the way I speak. I can do nothing to change that for you.
Morris: And…and where did you say you got this..this gift…this thing, this all knowing…this….
Gizella: From my father. It is an inheritance.
Morris: And you know everything.
Gizella: I know everything of anything that is necessary for me to know…for me to survive.
Morris: What do you think of me getting caught?
Gizella: I beg your pardon?
Morris: You said you know everything, so, what do you know about be getting caught?
Gizella: Of you getting caught by the law?
Morris: Yeah, by the law. I mean, who else?
Gizella: For your crimes sir Morris, I believe that you should be caught and you should be punished accordingly.
Morris: I'm not asking you what you think, ok? I'm asking you what you know. Are they gonna catch me or not?
Pause. She walks away from him
Gizella: You will not be captured sir Morris.
Morris: What? Seriously?
Gizella: Not by the law…you will be successful in eluding them…you will not be returned to prison. I can assure you of that.
Morris: Hot dog! You're…you're not pulling my leg, now right?
Gizella: I do not lie sir Morris…
He begins a little happy dance around the room
Gizella: I am as certain of your freedom as I am certain of the moon, and tonight the moon tells me in all certainty that you should rest. Travelling is dangerous…the forest is dark.
Morris: (Singing) I'm gonna get away, I'm gonna get away…I'll just stay here until morning, ok? That alright with you?
Gizella: If you wish. You may sleep over here.
Morris: The chesterfield? What about in there?
Gizella: Ha! You are a criminal sir Morris. Do you think you should be entitled to my bed and have me sleep out here?
Morris: No, you can sleep in the bed too if you want.
Gizella: Thank you for your generous offer but, no, I do not want.
He is talking tough and loud and closing in on her.
Morris: I think you're forgettin' who I am.
Gizella: Sir Morris.
Morris: I think you're forgettin' exactly what I'm capable of.
Pause. She glares at him and steps toward him. He steps away from her in fear.
….why…why are you lookin' at me like that?
Gizella speaks slowly throughout the following dialogue. She continually passes a single finger side to side across her face in perfect time like a hypnotist with a watch. He watches her finger.
Gizella: Sir Morris…you are not going to lay one finger on me…you have the comfort of my home …protection from your would-be captors…I am offering you a free nights lodging…this is your lucky day sir Morris….but I am afraid to inform you…that you will be sleeping….
She points to the chesterfield
Morris: I'm thirsty
Gizella: Finish your water.
Morris: You got any beer?
Gizella: Finish your water.
Morris: You got anything to eat?
Gizella: Yes. I have rabbit.
Gizella: Yes, rabbit. Here…please have a seat.
She pulls out the chair for him then crosses to remove a huge platter of what looks to be human bones from the wooden box on the counter. She places it on the table in front of him. He takes no notice of what it is.