The stage is a framed painting of a still-life of a composition of flowers, with a pipe in an ashtray, and a white statue behind a veil.
The action starts with a sneeze that is heard behind the curtain as a consequence of the dust raised by a chamber maid who is cleaning. The flowers in the painting are the characters of the play. Many years before, they discovered that they had voices and were capable of thinking, feeling, and discussing.
From then on, they spent years gossiping, but mainly repeating over and over the reasons for which they were included in the painting. The story is very simple. Elisabeth (Sissi), wife of the Austrian Kaiser Franz Josef 1°, after some years of marriage was bored by court life and so went around looking for excitement. It is not proved that she had lovers but there was a lot of gossip.
At this same time, a painter was practicing his art in the mountains of Trentino (formerly the Austrian region of South Tyrol); where he found an ideal climate and landscapes for his art; he lived in an hotel and during that time he fell in love with the daughter of the hotel owners, Margherita (Daisy). She reciprocated with warmth and a loving devotion.
After some time, the guests of the hotel – most often members of the Viennese high-society who loved the Trentino mountains very much - encouraged him to show his paintings in Vienna where there was a real center for the arts, merchants and so on.
The painter arrived in the big city, quite sad for having to leave Margherita – even if only temporarily - and she felt the same. In the first weeks they exchanged a lot of letters. The only comfort was the big success of his paintings, many of which represented the beloved Margherita.
But his fate was to change: one day the Empress arrived as a visitor to the exhibition, and asked the painter if he would accept to do her portraits. He agreed, and day by day fell in love with the beautiful Sissy. She responds in a very cryptic way; with an exchange of flowers, each of them connected with a particular meeting or moment. As a matter of fact, each flower has a short story to tell, a little piece of this love story.
The painter, at a point in time, receives two pieces of news: the end of his story with Sissi, and the suicide, for love lost, of Margherita. So he decides to do a painting of his whole life, with the metaphor of flowers (and pipe); and the statue, which is Death. (remember E.L. Masters: “there is something into Death like love itself...”).
This is what the flowers and other figures in the painting are relating. With a little “coup-de-theatre”; at the end of the first act, when the chamber maid comes back to clean the room, they succeed in returning to their original position before she arrives. But at the final curtain, they aren’t quick enough. Therefore in the painting they assume a different position. The painting shown to the audience after the curtain falls, represents the new positions. The meaning being that memories (and it happens very often) can change slightly during time and there is, in consequence, a new image of the reality.
7 F (or 8) - 3 (or 2) M (minimum 10) Petunia, Tulip, Rose, Peony, Narcissus, Marigold one, Marigold two, Gladiolus, Pipe, Diana, the Goddess - a waitress
a picture enlarged
Available for performance
Available on ScriptCircle: (for other licences please contact the Author)