by Hannah and Ian Keildson
Isis – Act One Scene Three - The Party
Character and Costume
During this section each member of Isis's family present her with a gift. As soon as she has opened it they take it back from her and proceed to teach her how to use it, it's meaning and significance via their favourite "nervous twitch". Isis tries to imitate their movements in a clumsy, nervous way. Here the movements of the family member must suggest that the gift is not freely given but stays attatched to it's giver by invisible threads spun by their need to control Isis and by her sense of guilt and gratitude towards them. However, just as she gets the hang of one person's demands the next family member pushes the presenting member out of the way and presents their gift. By the end of this section Isis is literally weighed down by a pile of gifts.
The first gift is presented by....
FATHER who gives her a large cash box with a wad of bank notes inside and a bunch of large keys to lock it with, representing Financial security . Father is moved aside by.....
LITTLE SISTER , who gives Isis a teddy bear representing Regression into childhood . She then teaches her how to treat the bear and to ride an imaginary horse. Little Sister is then picked up and moved aside by.....
UNCLE who gives Isis a set of sexy black underwear representing Sexual gratification . He teaches her a lured, intimate dance, holding her tightly against him, grinding his pelvis against hers and running his hands over her body. Isis lets him move her about in confused bewilderment . They are prized apart by.....
GRANDMOTHER who repremands Uncle and gives Isis a large crucifix representing Christian morality . She fastens it around Isis's neck and endeavours to teach her the "Thou art the scum of the earth. I am holier than thou" gesture. Grandmother's demonstration is forcefully interrupted by.....
GRANDFATHER who gives her a Gun wrapped in a Union Jack flag representing Aggressive Nationalism ie War . He teaches her "For King and Country" and how to aim the gun and fire it. A Union Jack pops out of the barrel. He is irritably interrupted by.....
ELDER SISTER who presents Isis with a reproduction of her own syringe representing Science and proceeds to teach her the "Worship me. I am beautiful" pose. She is pushed aside by.....
MOTHER. She puts her arm protectively round Isis's shoulder and guides her over to the dining table with all the other family members following behind. Isis puts the gifts down on the table and the family spread out at the front of the stage with their backs to the audience some to one side of the table, some to the other, watching Isis. Mother lights the candles on the birthday cake.
Isis blows out the candles to the applause of the family and picks up the cake knife but at the moment she is about to cut the cake there is a loud knock at the outside door. The OLD WOMAN is standing at the door and her shadow is cast across the carpet through the window in the door. Isis tuns sharply towards the door and the knife drops from her hand.
The Old Woman slowly pushes down the door handle and starts to open the door. Isis grabs the keys that her father gave her from the table, rushes to the door, slams it shut and locks it with the key. The Old Woman pauses, then opens the door as if it had not been locked and enters the sitting room. The Old Woman starts to slowly advance towards Isis, shedding debris with every step. Isis drops the keys, rushes to the pile of gifts and grabs the money her Father gave her. She holds it out to the Old Woman at arms length. The Old Woman stops, takes the money and crumbles it to dust between her fingers, then continues to approach. Isis dashes to the dining table and grabs a plate of pink iced fairy cakes . She offers the plate to the Old Woman who stops once more, takes a cake, eats it and then squats as if deficating . She then rises and continues to advance slowly towards the dining table, leaving a steaming turd on the floor behind her. Isis stares at the turd in disgust. Next she snatches up the sexy black bra and holds it up against her body performing the awkward, erotic movements that she learnt from her uncle for the Old Woman's benefit. The Old Woman takes the bra and holds it up against her own emaciated body, mimicimg Isis's erotic writhings. The effect is horrifying and makes Isis even more terrified. The Old Woman then drops the bra and continues her journey towards the front of the stage. Isis again runs to the pile of presents and grabs the syringe . She approaches the Old Woman cautiously until she is within a metre of her and then suddenly dashes up and stabs the syringe into the Old Woman's arm, rams the plunger in and snatches the needle out. The Old Woman shudders, disintegrates a bit more over the floor, and then begins to move forwards again. Isis, getting ever more frantic, fetches the gun that her Grandfather gave her and standing in front of the Old Woman, aiming the gun shakily at her, fires, but the Old Woman only laughs toothlessly at her and continues to proceed. Isis, now absolutely desparate, takes the crucifix and waves it wildly in front of the old woman, but she simply knocks it out of her hands. Isis, in one final attempt to stop the Old Woman's approach, takes the teddy bear and holds it out towards the Old Woman. She stops, ignoring the proferred toy and looks at Isis for a moment with a smile of genuine affectionate pity on her face. She then takes the bear, rocks it in her arms looking down at it maternally and then pulls out the bear's eyes, pulls out an arm and then lets it drop from her hand. By the end of this sequence, the Old Woman has arrived at the centre of the stage, level with the posterior edge of the dining table. Isis is diagonally forward to the left of Old Woman facing her.
Isis looks about her frantically but there are no more amulets remaining to try. Her fighting spirit is exhausted and she stands limply before the Old Woman resigned to the inevitable. The family members move to the sides of the stage standing more or less level with their discarded gifts (or what's left of them), their postures suggesting that they are still attatched to the gifts by invisible strings.
The Old Woman moves slowly over to a cowering Isis and whispers something in her ear. Isis stares at her shocked and shakes her head. So Death moves over to the table and picks up the knife at the point where the blade joins the handle. She proceeds to dance a slow, graceful, eery dance where she moves through the web of invisible threads between family and gifts making reaping gestures as if cutting the threads with the knife.
Once the Old Woman has gone, Isis crumples in a sobbing heap on the floor. Suddenly she leaps up and in a fit of rage, picks up the discarded presents and flings each one at the family member who gave it to her. As she hurls their present at them each family member passively withdraws off stage, taking the remains of their gift with them. Isis then runs through the pillared door and up the stairs, ripping off the wimple, modesty, gloves and earrings as she goes. She sits down at the dressing table and wrenches off the army boots, garter, stockings and price tag jewelry leaving only the white slip on. She savagely pulls the pins out of her hair and wipes the lipstick from her mouth, then rests her arms on the dressing table and buries her head in them, sobbing. The lights go down.