LOOKING FOR BECKETT’S TREE



Didi and Gogo are walking along a country road. Didi is limping and falls behind. Gogo, hands on hips,  waits for him to catch up
.

G: We’ll never get there at this rate.

D: I was thinking. ( Gogo snorts)

G: Thinking! I got tired of thinking ages ago. When did thinking ever get anyone any where? Anyhow, what was his majesty           contemplating?

D: I was writing a play. In my head.

G: So you’ve become a writer in your spare time, eh ?   Not a very successful one though by the looks of you.

D: I was going to call it ‘The Prince of Denmark‘.

G: Wait a minute. Didn’t we go to see that play?

D: What play? Where? When? Who with?

G: Whom. With whom.

G: We’ve only ever seen one play.  The one we went  to in Paris. In our blue period that would be.

D: Waiting for Somebodyorother.

G:  Yes, that was it. Waiting for Somebodyorother.  Did you like it?

D: Mmmm. Did I like it? Let me see. Did I like it? Mmmm.

G: I didn’t.  Much ado about nothing, if you ask me.

D (pointing): Ah. There it is. At last.

G: Pardon?

D: The tree. There it is.

G: It’s a tree all right. But is it the tree?

D: Yes, it’s the tree all right.

G: How do you know?

D: How do I know what?

G: That it’s the tree.

D: Look at it.

(Gogo looks at it)

D: Well?

G: Well what?

D: Does     its     shape     not     signify     something? ( He imitates the shape of the tree )

G: Oh yes. Mmm. I see what you mean. (He imitates Didi’s imitation)

D: Umbrelliferous.

G: I beg your pardon?

D: The tree. Umbrelliferous.

G: I suppose so.

D: You don’t sound very convinced.

G(angry):  Why have I always got to be convinced? It’s a tree. I’m convinced it’s a tree. But all trees (he adopts Didi’s tree imitation) more or less….droop. So is this the tree? Just because it…..droops.

D: There you go again, letting yourself get ….how shall I put it….up   set….. down    cast….. Over what? A mere trifle. A bagatelle.  Do you see what I’m driving at?

G: You’re driving me crazy. All that thinking.  All these questions. I’m no Einstein.

D: All right, all right, all right. It’s just a tree.  Like you’re just a man.

G:  A human.

D: A man.

G: A creature.

D: A man.

G: A being

D:  A  – ( He makes a sudden movement. Gogo makes a sudden movement in response)  Listen! What was that? Did you hear it?

THEY STAND AND LISTEN

D: This is the place all right. We used to run across that field down to the river.

G: Why did you do that?

D: To get away from our father. He’d stand in the doorway waving his belt and shouting for us to come back. But we never did.

G: It’s a bit of a mess. The house I mean.

D: Ah, you should have seen it in the old days. Spic and span. Very ticketyboo.

G: Ticketyboo….that’s –

D: – Our mother kept it spotless, always scrubbing and dusting and polishing she was. And enjoying every minute of it.

G: How do you know?

D: How do I know what?

G: That she enjoyed every minute of it.

D: Do you think she would have done all that all day every day if she didn’t enjoy it?

G: Any way that’s not the tree, is it?

D:  We used to climb up that tree – of course it was much smaller then.

G: Why?

D: Because it was younger, we were younger, the world was younger.

G: No. Why did you climb the tree?

D: To hide. But you’re right. It isn’t the tree we’re looking for. Look!

G: I don’t remember anyone mentioning these stones. What are they anyway?

D: They’re Standing Stones.

G: I know that but what are they?

D: They mark the burial place of a very important man. These stones aren’t local. They were brought here all the way  from Wales. Because he was such an important man. All the way from Wales they brought them. Up hill and down dale, Day after day. Week after week. Labor omnia vincit improbus. Haraka haraka haina baraka.

G: How did they do that? They must have weighed tons.

D: They didn’t have tons in those days.

G: Well  whatever.  Boogles. They must have weighed boogles. So how did they transport them here?

D: They rolled them. On logs. Oh it must have taken ages.  And hundreds of men. But that’s how they did it. Some of the stones have carvings on them. Fish and things like that. But not these ones. Isn’t that curious?

G:  Very interesting.   I find all this most extraordinarily interesting. Ah! At last!

Light falls on the tree. A dull mechanical noise is heard. They both listen. The noise ceases as suddenly as it began)

G: This is it then.

D: Yes. This is it.

G: No leaves.

D: Autumn.

G: A bit of a disappointment all the same.

D: You think so?

G:  No leaves. Small. No particular shape. A bit…undistinguished, wouldn’t you say?

D: I suppose you’re right.

G: I preferred the other one.

D: What other one?

(Gogo does the Didi tree imitation)

D: Oh that one. Yes. I must admit I rather liked that one. But this is the tree all right.  We could quite easily have passed it by but we didn’t.  We found what we were looking for. How many can say that, eh?

G: What?

D: That they found what they were looking for.

G: Trillions.

D:  Anyway we found it.

G:  Eventually.

D: But we found it. That’s the main thing.

G:  Voyager, c’est mieux qu’arriver.

D: Exactly.

G: Partir, c’est mourir un peu.

D:  More or less. More or less.

PAUSE

G: So.

D: So what?

G: So what do we do now,  now that we’ve arrived?

D:  I can take these boots off for a start.

G: Oh? Are they causing you some discomfort?

D: You haven’t noticed?

G: Noticed what?

D: That for the last mile I’ve been limping.

G: You’ve always limped.

D: But more so than usual.  And now I’m going to sit down under this tree and set my poor old tortured feet free.

G:  That’s a very poetic way of looking at it.

D: ‘ I wandered lonely as a cloud’….Miss McLaughlin made us learn that by heart. And there’s no way it can be unlearnt.  It’s stuck in here. Forever and ever. World without end. I’ve always held that against her.

G:  ‘ Quinquereme of Nineveh from distant Ophir…’

D: ‘ rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine….’

G:  ‘Kings may be blest (joined here by D) but Tam was glorious!’…

D&G:  ‘ o’er a the ills o life victorious’….

D: ‘Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May’…

G: ‘ But always at my back I hear

D: Time’s tumtitumti hurrying near’….

THEY JOIN ARMS AND SING AND DO A LITTLE DANCE

D&G:    Here we are again,

happy as can be,

all good friends and

jolly good company.

PAUSE

G: We can still sing and dance, is that not so, Didi?

D: Even when there’s nothing to sing about .

G: Especially when there’s nothing to sing about.

D: We manage all right.

G : To make the best of a bad job. Did you hear that noise?

THEY PAUSE. THEY LISTEN. DIDI SITS DOWN.

G: So. What am I supposed to do while you’re taking your boots off?

D: The usual. Wait. ( Gogo sits down.  The lights dim except for the spotlight on the tree and  the  mechanical sound  starts up again and becomes  louder and louder and the tree slowly floats above their heads watched by D)

G: Listen. (tremendous noise)

D: Look.  (blinding flash)

THEY DISAPPEAR, REAPPEAR, BOW, DISAPPEAR. REAPPEAR, BOW, DISAPPEAR

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