Communicating Without Meeting (a mini opera)

Communicating Without Meeting

Written for the ENO Mini Opera Contest in 2012.

A man and a woman stand at opposite sides of the stage, the area between them engulfed in nothingness.  He stands in a kitchen; she stands in a living room.  In the kitchen is a fridge with word magnets and a counter with a coffeepot.  In the living room is a table with pens and a stack of post-it notes.

MAN:

A cup of coffee,

Warm and thick,

Smoothed with milk–

This is love.

WOMAN:

A scribbled memo

On a post-it note

Left for me to find–

This is love.

MAN:

She answers me

With coded lyrics

Across the metal–

She shows her love.

WOMAN:

He takes some time

To clean and write,

Little hints–

He shows his presence.

MAN:

I know she still loves me

By the silky morning brew,

The poetic lines left behind–

Why bother doubting this?

WOMAN:

His words are commonplace

But the care in the writing

Reveals his inner thoughts–

How can I mistrust?

They walk past each other through the center space, switching ‘rooms’.

MAN:

Dishes done.

Money in bank.

Missing you.

See you Friday?

WOMAN:

Friday’s bad

But thanks for asking.

Food in fridge,

Coffee tomorrow.

MAN:

New roast’s great,

Enjoyed the food.

Here’s a ticket–

Happy birthday.

WOMAN:

Concert was great.

Wish you had come.

Have time to meet?

Coffee tomorrow.

MAN:

Too much work,

No time this week.

Maybe next?

Might not work out.

WOMAN:

Next week’s no good,

Heading out of town.

How’s next month?

Coffee tomorrow.

MAN:

Next month has promise;

Decide later?

Thanks for dinner;

Heated up nice.

WOMAN:

Picked up some fruit;

Wash before eating.

Good luck at work.

Coffee tomorrow.

BOTH:

Why should I change

What works so well?

If we met at all

I might not love.

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