Friday 29 August 2014

My Little Fox (Scene for RIFT's Macbeth)


The three sisters begin with a short scene together, where one says she has seen a fox. This short scene ends with the three sisters each leaving with a handful of audience members.

The following scene is the same for each sister.  As she tells the story, she ritually washes the audience. She wipes their sweat and washes their hands/arms.

After that scene, the three sisters come back together.

1 Three together
2 Three apart 
3 Three together


Sister 1:                                What hast thou seen, sister?

Sister 2:                                I saw a fox.

Sister 1:                                Where didst thou see it, sister?

Sister 2:                                Along the corridor.

Sister 3:                                You didn’t see a thing.

Sister 2:                                I saw a fox. A fox, a fox. 

Sister 3:                                There was no fox.

                Sister 2 becomes sad at the thought. Sister 1 comforts 2.

Sister 2:                                My speech is weak. It’s falling down.

                Sister 3 removes 1 from 2.

Sister 3:                                Prop yourself up.

                Sister 2 pulls herself together.

                                            There’s more to come.
                                            There’s a ritual now that needs to be done.

                Sisters separate and take one third of the audience each with them.



Take your time.

Sister sighs and visibly relaxes. She becomes more ‘natural’.

Are you tired?

Sister encourages the audience members to (briefly) speak to her on the subject of sleep. Her response to their speech is friendly yet cold.
The sister can admit that she is tired.
“Your eyes look heavy.”
“It’s the worst thing to be told you look tired, isn’t it?”
The sister fills a bowl with water from a bottle and dampens a towel. This will be used to ritualistically clean the audience members, ie, dampen their brow, clear their hands, wash their arms.
If an audience member asks the sister where she has been, then she continues with the following speech. Otherwise, she should manoeuvre the conversation to lead into the following speech.

I wandered through a forest, the trees dark…the soil wet…A fox, a fox. It ran between the trees…
            Sister moves to select a bottle of white wine and brings it to the centre.  

I wandered without my sisters. I pushed the branches away. My wrists were black and blue. I wandered home and where the trees all grouped together I waited and called but there was no sight, there was no sound.

Was I asleep? When the trees grew sparse…When I wandered towards the city lights? Was I sleeping when I walked by the road?


Do you know the place? Where the forest meets the city?

The trees stop when you lean against the barriers.

Only one car stopped as I stood beneath the streetlight. The window was spotless. I tapped at the glass.
           Sister drinks. She dampens the towel.

I sat in the leather seat. The air conditioning was cold.
           The Sister uses the wet towel to wash the brow of an audience member.

“Breathe. Calm down,” he said. “You’re breathing so quickly. Calm down.”

I could see the trees in the headlights. Lit up. The branches yellow. The bark brown.

“I can take you to the police,” he said. His voice was so calm. “I can take you there now.”

But I didn’t want to go to the police. He took me to a hospital. I didn’t go inside…I stood by the door and after he drove off I wandered out.

There was no-one else there.

Are you comfortable?

The Sister uses the wet towel to wash the hands of an audience member.

Was I sleeping in the forest still? The ground was wet beneath my head…A fox, a fox…That wandered against me lying there…I walked along the streets.

 I called for my sisters but no-one answered…I wandered past the shops. The lights were all turned off. I looked into the windows and I could see the clothing…The skirts and the dresses …Arms spread…black bird…There was a bird flying between the branches.
              The Sister uses the wet towel to wash the arms of an audience member.

 “Give me your arm,” he said. “Rest it here on the leaves.”          

I walked past the buildings. I looked at how high they were…I walked on my own, beside the river. I headed east. Something drew me back, I didn’t know where else to go...

The tower was the only place I knew.

Did you feel the same way? Did you feel like this was the only place you could’ve gone?

Sister drinks from the bottle of wine.

You must be so tired. You’ve been awake for so long.

I leant my back against the wall and rested for a moment. I caught my breath…A fox, a fox. I saw a fox beside the gates.

Was I sleeping still?

Was my head on the ground? Were my sister’s beside me?

I thought…I thought it was raining…the rain fell on my head…wet head…the little drops…he’d kept me dry…at least there was that…dry and clean… I thought it was raining…the rain was coming and there was only the gate to the tower…only the gate to go through.

I pushed the button to his floor and the lift took me up.  I went to his floor. I opened the door to this flat and he was waiting.

“Give me your arm,” he said. “Rest it on me.”

The Sister uses the wet towel to soak the hand of an audience member.

 “There’s Witchcraft in the way you kiss me,” he said.

I looked at the window, at the lights spread out...the buildings all lit…TVs on…the walls all blue…the people sat together…and there I watched as he called his friends…I watched their faces reflected as they walked through the door.   

“My little fox, you’re breathing so fast. Rest your head on the leaves.”

They came and stood around me….their boots…their heels...the trunks of the trees.

“My little fox, you’ve come to wash us clean.”

So I washed their hands and I washed their feet. I washed the dirt from their fingers and I cleaned the sweat from their necks. I peeled the dirt from the bark but…but the trees came down …I called for my sisters but there was no sight, there was no sound. The branches fell…they scratched at my skin.

“Rest your head on the leaves. Let them cover you.”

And they covered me. They covered me.

             The sister drinks from the bottle again. The sister slams the bottle down (smashes it?)
 This point should mark a change in the sister. She becomes intimidating in the way she    speaks.

But I pushed them away…I pushed at the fingers, the thorns…“Breathe and be still.” I would not be still. “Breathe. Calm down. You’re breathing so quickly. Calm down.” I would not calm. I stood up straight. I tore at the bark. “Your nails are sharp. There’s fire in your eyes.” And I tugged at the branches…I kicked at the brambles…I pulled at the roots ‘til they popped from their sockets.

All the toil that was piled on me. All the trouble I’d cause in return.

They called me a witch… They don’t like the look of me now… They choose that way to see me when I made this tower my home.

The eye of newt… tongue of dog… poison’d entrails… Swelter'd venom sleeping got…

 (Mournful) I just wanted to be with my sisters…I only want to be with them.

Sister pours gas into the bowl of water and lights it. She drips the audience’s sweat (from the towel) on the flames.

In my arms I collected the twigs and in a bonfire I burnt them. I emptied a can of petrol …I lit a match…The smoke went high into the air.

Was I sleeping still?

Was I sleeping when I saw a fox beside the flames…a fox who leapt and danced…who kicked its back and raised its jaw…

Was I sleeping?



The knocking keeps on ticking.

There is a change in mood. The ritual is over. The sister puts out the fire by draping the wet towel over the flames.

The sister walks back to the concourse where she is joined by the other sisters, each returning from their same scene.

Sister 2:                                A fox, a fox. I saw a fox.

Sister 3:                                There was no fox.  

Sister 2:                                I saw it in my room.

Sister 1:                                The foxes are all gone. They’ve long gone from here.

Sister 2:                                I saw it as I slept.

Sister 3:                                Macbeth hath murdered sleep.

Sister 2:                                Macbeth, Macbeth. Those knock keeps on coming.

Sister 3:                                The knocking won’t stop.

Sister 2:                                I called for you my sister…

Sister 1:                                I called for you my sister…

Sister 3:                                I called for you my sister…

Sister 2:                                But you wouldn’t come.

                Lead into the next scene.

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