Valkerie: a one-page play by Tim West

Valkerie   a one-page play by Tim WestSlide3

    K sits slightly up-right of center at a bar, perched on a barstool, with her legs crossed primly and her hands folded over one knee.

Incongruously, she is wearing a horned helmet; long, braidedpigtails of flaxen hue; an ample breast-plate with short chain mail skirt, and leather knee-boots, like opera singer Kirsten Flagstad. Downstage left, a dwarf is at his anvil, holdin  g a large golden ring in his tongs, beating it into shape.

He should be a real dwarf, but we learn to make compromises.

 K: The other night, I’m sitting at the bar and this guy comes up to me -completely unsolicited, you understand– and asks if he can buy me a drink. Slides up to the bar, smiles at me over his gin & tonic or scotch & soda or whatever-it-was, rattles the ice in his empty glass and says “Can I buy you a drink?”

    Suddenly she breaks into Brunnhilde’s song from Die Walkure: the four-note scale, repeated.  Then just as suddenly she resumes her monologue as if nothing had happened. Simultaneously, the dwarf takes several stokes with his hammer clanging against his anvil, then freezes again.

I wrote my master’s thesis in musicology on Richard Wagner. Der Ringen das Nibulungen: Das Rhinegeld, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and the end of the cycle, the Gotterdammerung.Wagner used the cycle to develop his theory of leitmotif in characterization, harmonically related themes with the uncanny power to affect his listeners on a subconscious level. He also used it to promote his ideals of strident nationalism and racial consciousness.

    Again, the four-note scale, the dwarf at his anvil; and again, he freezes as she resumes.

 He was tall, handsome; blond, with bright-blue eyes: good-looking. And very GQ.

    She holds up a finger, “hold that thought,” then takes a long, slow drink, eyes closed. Then she opens her eyes, considers her glass, rattles the ice.

I don’t know why, but I just don’t seem to be attracted to Jewish men…

(she sighs)

…much to my mother’s disdain –uh, “dismay.” 

    Again, the four-note scale, the dwarf at his anvil; and again, he freezes as she resumes.

Anti-Semitic? Of course. Wore gloves when he conducted Mendelssohn. He’d finish a concert, lay down his baton, peel the gloves from his fingers and throw them to the floor as if they were soiled.

    She arches her eyebrows, then considers her glass, rattles the ice. Without looking up.

But he counted many Jews among his friends and admirers. Levi, the conductor at Bayreuth, was a the son of a rabbi. Joukowsky and Brandt, his principle designer and technical director, were Jews. It was Mahler, a Jew, who first popularized his works in Vienna. (she shrugs slightly) I find that rather interesting…

    She pauses. Then, directly to the audience: 

Finally, I let him buy me a drink.

    She rattles the ice in her glass, then freezes. 

    Albrecht the dwarf takes the large gold ring from his forge with a pair of tongs, crosses up, offers the ring to her. She does not move as we FADE TO BLACK.



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