DAVID RUSH
Writer

Scenes from "GERMINOUS SEEDS"

 THE OPENING OF THE FIRST STORY:  Niehaus, an academic, and Churling, his new student.  In Neihaus’ office:

 

                                                                     CHURLING

Excuse me, I don’t mean to interrupt...?

 

 

                                                                     NIEHAUS

You don’t?  Are you sure?

 

                                                                     CHURLING

... What?

 

                                                                     NIEHAUS

If you didn’t mean to interrupt, why did you?  Do you always walk around conflicted like this?  How do you decide which sock to put on first in the morning?

 

                                                                     CHURLING

... You must be Professor Niehaus.  (KNEE-house)

 

                                                                     NIEHAUS

NIGH-us.  No leg joint.  No dwelling place.  You failed your first test.

 

                                                                     CHURLING

I’m Adam Churling...?  Your new grad assistant...?  You asked me to come and see you before the semester started....?

 

                                                                     NIEHAUS

Are you asking me or telling me?

                                                                   

                                                                     CHURLING

(A moment of decision, then takes the bold approach)

...They so warned me about you downstairs, you know.

 

                                                                      NIEHAUS

They did?

 

                                                                     CHURLING

The secretary said, “Honey, you watch out, he’ll try to get your goat, but you just show him your spine and he’ll be yours for life.”

 

                                                                     NIEHAUS

And is that it?

 

                                                                    CHURLING

Is what what?

 

                                                                    NIEHAUS

Your spine?  Have I seen your spine?

……………………………………………………………….……………………………………

 

THE OPENING OF THE SECOND STORY:  Melville and Hawthorne, in separate parts of the stage.

 

                                                                    MELVILLE

The morning is bitter cold, my bed too warm to leave.  One more hour.  But no: I must move.  I have a great task today; if I shirk in the small things, I’ll fail in the great one.  Be resolute, Melville:  remember you have come here to Liverpool to see Hawthorne.  You are determined to find answers to those questions that have plagued you since you parted company years ago.  He’ll resist, retreating behind his frightened wall, but this is your last chance to find solace.  Good Lord, whence comes this awful voice that torments me; why won’t it ever be silent?  The curtains on the windows are blowing; the early morning wind disturbs them and the air smells of storm clouds gathering.  The day promises disaster.  Why am I not surprised?

 

HAWTHORNE:

I awaken suddenly, startled from sleep by a nightmare. Cold, afraid, lost. I don’t know who I am or where. But there, out my window, the fog lifts over the harbor; tall masts of ships take shape. Gray curtains frame the scene. Shadows in the room coalesce into a wardrobe, a  chair, a table.  A mirror sends back my reflection and I am found.  It is morning in Liverpool, England. November 11, 1853. I am the American Consul.  My name is Nathaniel Hawthorne. And I know why I am apprehensive.  Melville is coming to see me today.

 

MELVILLE:

I am in my room, fighting a cravat with a will of its own.   The  morning turns bright and clear,  bringing memories of my last visit here. A young man’s first voyage ages ago.  Redburn  and the great dreams at the beginning of my life when I still had hope. No: avoid these thoughts;  madness lies there. Too late.  I am filled with despair after all.   

 

HAWTHORNE:

A layer of ice has formed in my water basin.  I break through it and drench my face in the freezing water. Perhaps the cold will drive Melville from my mind.  He has obsessed me since I received his letter last month. Why do I feel guilty?  I tried to find him a government post. Yet I still feel responsible in some way.  Melville always turns his friends into guardians and somehow makes us all happy for the privilege.  Will I be able to resist him now?   

 

MELVILLE:

I open my window and the new day calms me. I should never have left the sea. I should never have married and tried to write. But then I’d have never met Hawthorne and I’d never have written --- Lord, Melville: you’ve already made a great tragic hero out of Ahab, there’s no need to make another out of yourself. I wonder if he’ll be happy to see me?  I am tying my neckpiece for the fourth time.  Perhaps I won’t go.

 ………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

A SECTION FROM THE THIRD STORY:  Actor A as Lawyer, Actor B as Bartleby

                                                                     ACTOR A

Now I don’t know how familiar you are with the scrivener’s business, but part of his job is to read documents with others, checking the copy against the original. To this end, about three days later, I asked him to help me. “Bartleby, I need you. Come read this with me.”

 

ACTOR B

“Sir?”

 

ACTOR A

“There’s a great hurry on this, or I’d ask Nippers.  Come, check this with me.”

 

ACTOR B

“I’d prefer not to.”

 

ACTOR A

“What did you say?  Are you moon-struck?  Here -- take it.”

 

ACTOR B

“I would prefer not to.”

 

ACTOR A

His face was composed; his gray eye dimly calm. Not a wrinkle of agitation rippled him. Had there been the least uneasiness or impertinence in his manner, anything ordinarily human about him, I would have dismissed him on the spot. 

 

ACTOR B

But at the time, it seemed like arguing with a statue.

 

___________________________________________________________________________________

 

HOME    BIO    PLAYS    BOOKS     VERSE   INDUSTRIALS    ARTICLES      RESUME   CONTACT ME

Website Builder