Betrayal – 1998 for a violin player- actress and a dancer

a play


VT: Violin Teacher
S: Student
JS: JS Bach
Anna: Anna Madeleine Bach

VT- You feel alright?

S- Perfectly fine.

JS- I wonder if I know her ( JS Bach toward the student to Anna. Anna is not in the space.)

S- Who?

VT- What?

JS- Anna? (Looking for Anna)

S- It looks like a nice piece.

JS- Nice? Nice?!

VT- Wonderful, magnifico

S- Why is this composer so important?

VT- He is responsible for counter-point.

JS- Did Anna tell you that?

S- Who?

JS- Anna.

S- What is counter-point?

VT- The playing of two or more melodies together in harmony.

JS- Anna told you that.

S- Yes.

VT- Yes counterpoint. A great western innovation.

JS- Ok Anna, Ok.

VT- Are you ready to play?

S- Yes, just a few more scales. (Student and teacher drill scales on the violins)

(Enter Anna)

JS- So, counter-point.

Anna- Never mind. I’m sorry I brought it up.

JS- So when did this happen?

Anna- I don’t want to talk about it.

JS- Anna doesn’t want to talk about it. Anna is sorry we ever brought it up!

Anna- I had to do something. You left me here with thirteen children and nothing, absolutely nothing to live on. Besides, I’m not totally responsible.

JS- Music can not be counter of anything. Are you suggesting, with this idiotic terminology, that there is a counter force to God? You know how strongly I feel about my service to God. God is the inventer God is…
Anna- Oh fuck God! It is just as possible to predict the future in music paper as it is to read the stares. I have set up a counterfactual condition to show what would have happened if something else had been the case.

JS- Counterfactuals are not history and can not be verified. You are celebrating the paper, not the music.
Anna- All historical judgments involve implicit counterfactuals and they can be tested in-directly. What would you have me do?

JS- I did not want to talk about this at all. I would have been perfectly happy not have discussed the entire matter.
Anna- You were the one insisting. I did not want to discuss any of this with you.

JS- Let’s talk about it when we are alone.

Anna- We are alone. You’re dead. No one can see you. I am the one who has been left here to deal with all of this.

JS- No, we have a responsibility to the music. Listen, she is going to play the piece.

(Teacher and student play the violin piece, Bach #1)

(JS concentrates on the piece. Anna speaks to herself)

(VT, S continue piece)

Anna- A since of continuation. History. It was always in the back of our minds. Groom the children to take over. Clawing and grabbing at my tail bone atlas. Bumping and grinding in the name of art. Three letter words with multiple meanings. Well, that’s it, baby! I am still plugging away while you float around in the convenience of death. I have to feed it. I had no teen-age life. What am I suppose to draw on? The manuscripts. That was all there was left to live on. I had to compose the mess that your glittering moments of musical mania left carelessly behind. Create an illusion of value in order to live. I am alive because I found order. Not because my husband found music.

(VT, S stop piece. VT gives an assignment to the student, which JS is not, that convinced about. The VT leaves the student to work. The student improvises when the teacher is gone using the text as a form)

(JS and Anna text done in unison with space as if they are trying to figure out how to tell each other something)

Anna- This smell is familiar, that bush I dreamed about, those shoes I bought only a year ago, that ribbon was from my sister, that dress was my favorite, that ship was there before, there used to be a kitchen table there, there is nothing here I recognize, I never reached my menopause.

JS- There is something I have been meaning to tell you. I have tried to tell you in the past but there was never the right moment. It seems that everyone else is aware of the truth but you. You have not been able to comprehend what is in fact the reality of our situation. I hope you can forgive me. I have been very selfish. I know that. And I am terribly sorry to tell you at this particular moment because things have been so hard. But you will adjust to it over time. So much of what is troubling you now will seem so small once you know the truth.

Anna- What?

JS- What? (Repeat a few times)

JS- So Anna, please, is it my turn to speak?

Anna- No one can hear you.

(VT returns)

VT- What is the meaning of this?

S- Do I have to play this stupid piece?

VT- Stupid?! How could you say such a thing?

JS- Anna, my beloved, your dead.

S- because it’s dead.

Anna- I’m dead?

JS- Yes, like me.

VT- Don’t you like the piece?

S- No, I want to be famous.

Anna- I can’t be dead, I haven’t finished.

JS- I’m famous, nothing else matters.

S- I just need some space to check things out. (Student leaves with the violin)

JS- Are you alright, Anna?

Anna- You should have told me sooner.

VT- Oh well. I suppose she will come to the music on her own. I do love this last phrase. (VT studies score while exiting)

JS- I am sorry.

Anna- I suppose I was the last to find out.

VT- (parting words) This is a splendid piece. What is the matter with that girl!

JS- No one meant to hurt you.

Anna- No one even noticed I was there.

JS- A perfectly natural human flaw.