T. S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Adapted for Stage by Chandni Varma



Director at H72 Productions, occasionally poetic













The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

T.S. Eliot


Written and Adapted for stage by Chandni Varma


Scene 1: 



SFX 1: Tick tock 


LFX 1: Full Stage lights


Prufrock enters the house.


Fish V/O: Hey Prufrock! How’s it going? 


Prufrock: You need something? Your water? Does it need changing?


Fish: When you live in a fishbowl, there’s no such thing as change! Only time for a hundred indecisions, for a hundred visions and revisions, and time for all the works and days of hands to lift and drop a question on your plate.


Prufrock: What can i do? I want to help!


Fish: I think it’s pretty obvious. There’s really only one thing you can do for a brother in a fish bowl. 


Prufrock: What is it?


Fish: Move me to the goddamn window like you said you would!


Prufrock: There will be time for that. Just not now! 



SFX 2: Gong (6 times)


Chorus: 


There will be time, there will be time


Chorus A: And indeed there will be time for the yellow smoke that slides across the street,


Chorus B: There will be time, there will be time


Prufrock: Just not now


Chorus A: There will be time to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet,


Chorus B: There will be time, There will be time


Prufrock: Just not now


Chorus A: There will be time to murder and create,


Chorus B: There will be time, There will be time


Prufrock: Just not now       


Chorus A: And time for all the works and days of hands that lift and drop a question on your plate;


Chorus A & B: 


Time for you and Time for me,


And time yet for a hundred indecisions,


And time for a hundred visions and revisions. 


Prufrock: Just                 not                now! Right now I need to be somewhere else! 


Fish: But now is all you have! Come on, show us what you’ve got. 


Prufrock starts humming a tune. Cue Point


SFX 3: Le Vie En Rose 


Prufrock:


LET us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats         

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question….         

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”

Let us go and make our visit.


Fish: (Breaks into an evil laugh) What happened there? I thought you two had a moment? 


Fish: Must be difficult convincing a woman in those trousers? Perhaps she didn’t like you? Or the bald spot in the middle of your hair? Or maybe she fancies someone else? Someone who hasn’t measured his whole life in coffee spoons? Or someone who does not talk about deserted streets and one night cheap hotels?


You should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floor of silent seas. That’s all you’re really good for!


Prufrock:  I don’t believe a word of that! I can have her. You watch!



Prufrock goes to dance with the Sculpture. Let us go then you and I. She does not move. He tries harder. He sprinkles water from the fish bowl on her, but she doesn’t move. cue point





SFX 4: Gone Girl 


LFX 2: Red Flashing Light


Chorus: (Now nudging Prufrock)


Dhruti to Rosey (Imitating Prufrock): Let us go then you and I when the evening is spread out against the sky like a patient etherized upon a table. The entire chorus laughs. 


Chorus irritating Prufrock and heightening anxiety. 


Let us go through certain half deserted streets, one night cheap hotels…


Let us go and make our visit (cue point)


Stop Music and stop the red blinking light



LFX 3: Stage lights



Fish:


Why are you wasting your time, Prufrock?  


You’re no Prince Hamlet, nor were you meant to be.


You’re an attendant lord at best…


You may start a scene or two,


Advise the prince; glad to be of use,         


Politic, cautious, and highly meticulous;


Full of these high sentences, but a bit obtuse;


At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—


Almost, at times, the Fool.



SFX 5: Waves fade in very, very softly

LFX 4: Soft lights…like a sunset



Prufrock: 


You’re right, Fish! You’re right! I am a Fool! I am. And perhaps that’s what I was meant to be. 

So what if I live in a fishbowl? What do you want me to do? 


Shall I part my hair behind? Or shall I eat a peach?

Or shall I wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach?

How about I have some tea and cake and ices and force the moment to its crisis?

Or would you have me walk through narrow streets at dusk and watch lonely men in shirt-sleeves lean out of windows?

I am no Prophet, fish…and there’s no great matter in being one. 

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,

And have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat and snicker. 

And you know what?

I was afraid! I was really afraid! I admit I was.


(Pause)


But what is so wrong in being afraid? What is so wrong in being A Fool?

 

You know fish, I have heard the mermaids sing, each to each


But I do not think they will sing to me


I have seen them riding seaward on the waves

Combing the white hair of the waves blown back

When the wind blows the water white and black


I have lingered in the chambers of the sea

By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.


And I do not think they will sing to me.




SFX 6: Increase volume of waves

LFX 5: Blackout






Comments

Unknown said…
Quite interesting and innovative!