Wide Open - Act 1, Scene 2

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The Terrace Bar

Two women probably in their sixties. They sit at a small metal table with wine.

Agnes: 'So you don't have a partner at the moment?'

Mathilde: 'not really. The last one died.'

Agnes: 'Was he getting on?'

Mathilde: 'he was getting on just fine but he died. I'm sure he didn't think that was fine or getting on. If he thought at all he must have thought "Shit" and then died.'

Agnes: 'was that a shock to you?'

Mathilde: 'it was a shock to him I'm sure'

Agnes: 'But was it a shock to you?'

Mathilde: 'at the time no.at the time it suddenly seemed so obvious he would die. He was a really old person and incredibly wise. But I knew he had to die. He'd nearly died so many times before and all of us thought he was just so centred and calm and realised inside that we couldn't see anything getting to him. But it did.'

Agnes: 'how old was he and what happened?'

Mathilde: 'oh I think he was 90 or 91 and he was mauled by a polar bear'

Agnes: 'In the Arctic?'

Mathilde: 'no in the zoo in St Petersburg. And all his life he defended Russians. He felt they got blamed for everything and that everyone forgot that Russians didn't want their president, they lost 20 million fighting Hitler for us and they gave us the greatest music and literature of all times. More than that, they taught us how to be subversive in a really smart highbrow way.'

Agnes: 'maybe the bear wasn't Russian?'

'Mathilde: well she was called Nickita so I think she was Russian and just thought Ted looked tasty. I know I did. Was Nikita that song by Elton John? I always get it mixed up with Chiquitita the Abba song. I could never work out what either of those songs were about.

She sings: Hey Nikita is it cold
In your little corner of the world
You could roll around the globe
And never find a warmer soul to know

Oh I saw you by the wall
Ten of your tin soldiers in a row
With eyes that looked like ice on fire
The human heart a captive in the snow

Oh Nikita You will never know anything about my home
I'll never know how good it feels to hold you
Nikita I need you so
Oh Nikita is the other side of any given line in time
Counting ten tin soldiers in a row
Oh no, Nikita you'll never know'

Agnes: 'That's bollocks. It doesn't mean anything.'

Mathilde: 'it must have meant something to Bernie Taupin.'

Agnes: 'Who's Bernie Taupin?'

Mathilde: 'He's the guy who wrote all Elton John's songs.

Agnes: 'I thought Elton John wrote Elton John's songs.'

Mathilde: 'No he's a phony. He's not even really called Elton John. He's really a piano player called Reg. the rest of it's all bollocks.'

Agnes: 'Like the words to that song. So Reg called himself Elton then got another bloke called Bernie to write some bollocks words and made a fucking fortune?'

Mathilde: 'That's about it, yes.'

Agnes: 'was it quick?'

Mathilde: 'What? Writing that bollocks? I have no idea. It doesn't sound like it took much time, does it?''

Agnes: 'No, I mean was it quick how he died?'

'Mathilde: not judging by the amount of blood, no, it was rather slow. Ted had a lot of pretty good thermal gear which probably took a while to get through. She ate his cock and balls you know?'

Agnes: 'Really, that must have upset you'

Mathilde: 'I wasn't planning to have any further use for them or have them stuffed over the mantlepiece or anything...but I bet it upset him at the time, you know '

Agnes: 'still it's sad to go like that'

Mathilde: 'I have no idea if what you just said is in any way true. Maybe it's heroic and joyful. Maybe Achilles appears at the end of a tunnel and says 'yep all the greek stuff was true mate, here we all are'. That would be pretty bloody amazing and not sad at all.'

Agnes: 'well maybe that's why no one comes back?'

Mathilde: 'yes maybe so. We'll never know, will we, so let's make the best of what we've got down here, cocks and all'

Agnes: 'I'll drink to that'

They sing:

Chiquitita, tell me what's wrong
You're enchained by your own sorrow
In your eyes there is no hope for tomorrow
How I hate to see you like this
There is no way you can deny it
I can see that you're oh so sad, so quiet

Chiquitita, tell me the truth
I'm a shoulder you can cry on
Your best friend, I'm the one you must rely on
You were always sure of yourself
Now I see you've broken a feather
I hope we can patch it up together

Chiquitita, you and I know
How the heartaches come and they go and the scars they're leaving
You'll be dancing once again and the pain will end
You will have no time for grieving
Chiquitita, you and I cry
But the sun is still in the sky and shining above you
Let me hear you sing once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita
Try once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita

So the walls came tumbling down
And your love's a blown out candle
All is gone and it seems too hard to handle
Chiquitita, tell me the truth
There is no way you can deny it
I see that you're oh so sad, so quiet

Chiquitita, you and I know
How the heartaches come and they go and the scars they're leaving
You'll be dancing once again and the pain will end
You will have no time for grieving
Chiquitita, you and I cry
But the sun is still in the sky and shining above you
Let me hear you sing once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita
Try once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita
Try once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita

Mathilde: 'What a load of bollocks'

Agnes: that’s probably what the bear thought too!

They laugh and drink from their wine glasses

The scene fades to black.