The Art of Love

A One Act Play   © 2009 Kevin Six  All rights reserved.

Kevin Six's Work

 

MORNING (AMERICAN MASTERS)

The lights come up on an art gallery (preferably an existing one at the San Diego Museum of Art). A museum guard, ANDRÉ, is getting ready for the morning’s first visitor.He is oldish, largeish, dark-skinned and very handsome in his uniform and cap. He IS the American Gallery; as much a resident as the American Masters displayed there. ANDRÉ busies himself readying the gallery: checking on the leaflets, straightening benches and checking the air filter.It is a comfortable life for one who loves art and people.He speaks to the paintings and calls them by name.

ANDRÉ

Good morning, Miss Bernadetta. Slept well, I trust. Miss Rose, looking pensive as ever, I see. Mrs. Crane. Easy, Doctor Moore. All right, ladies and gentlemen – and landscapes. Time to shine. I want you all to be on your best behavior today, as if you didn’t know what day it is. Tuesday, kids. Tuesday is Mrs. Moore’s day. I know. Now, don’t worry. You’ll be fine. She loves you all the same. Just like I do. All the same. Remember that.

ANNOUNCER

Attention Museum Staff. The Museum will open in five minutes. Please take your stations and remember:

ANDRÉ and ANNOUNCER

Each guest is a treasured guest, so treat them all as you would your own family.

ANDRÉ

Not my family. I’ll treat them all like Mrs. Moore if you don’t mind.

As if on cue, MRS. MOORE enters. She is a striking, impeccably dressed woman of advancing years. She is as white as ANDRÉ is dark and as small as he is large. She commands attention because she genuinely nice. She is comfortable in the museum because of her love of art and people.

MRS. MOORE

Good morning Andre! So nice to see you.

ANDRÉ

Mrs.Moore. Is it Tuesday already?

MRS. MOORE

You don’t fool me, Andre. You got here extra early to rally the troops for my visit. Don’t deny it.

ANDRÉ

Mrs. Moore. If I spoke to the paintings, they’d lock me up and throw away the key.

MRS. MOORE

Nonsense! How long have you worked here, Andre?

ANDRÉ

More years than I can remember, Mrs. Moore.

MRS. MOORE

You probably know more than all those young punks who call themselves curators these days.

ANDRÉ

They have all the degrees, Mrs. Moore.

MRS. MOORE

Yes, but you’ve absorbed so much and you pack heat. And I know you know more than most of them. Last week I heard you discoursing on the Rembrandt.

ANDRÉ

Well.He’s our Rembrandt. The son of Harmen on the Rhine. The old Dutch Master and pretty good with light and shadow, Mrs. Moore.

MRS. MOORE

You are being altogether too coy, Andre. Tell me something I don’t know about one of these American darlings.

ANDRÉ

I think you know more than I do.

MRS. MOORE

When did I start coming here, Andre?

ANDRÉ

Right after I started in the janitorial staff and neither of us wants to know how long ago that was.

MRS. MOORE

All that time alone with the paintings, the sculptures, Andre. Keys to the vaults, the books and the archives. I know you didn’t waste it.

ANDRÉ

That was a fun time, Mrs. Moore. I could tell you stories…

AFTERNOON (ASIAN GALLERY)

The lights come up on an art gallery (preferably an existing one at the San Diego Museum of Art). Two couples, fortiesh, enter; the two men (BOB and TED) in front and the women (ALICE and CAROL) behind. They browse at the Asian art and comment.

BOB

What does it all mean, Ted? I mean…

TED

It’s Asian Miniature art, Bob. The sultan would hold them in one hand…

BOB

No, not that. Life.

TED

Oh, you’re getting all philosophical again. Geez, why don’t you get a corvette and a—

BOB

You did it.

TED

I did not.

BOB

You did it. You quit your job…

TED

Got laid off.

BOB

Took up surfing…

TED

I was invisible.

BOB

What do you mean?

TED

All those beautiful sun-baked goddesses and not a one ever said anything to me.

 BOB

Getting hot chicks to look at you takes money, Ted. Besides what would we do with them?

TED

Bob, we’d do all kinds of interesting things… We’d…

BOB

Be asleep by nine thirty! Come on we’ve got great wives, they’re—

TED

Highly critical…

BOB

Undersexed…

TED

Spending machines…

BOB

That don’t cook.

CAROL

Ooh, this one’s nice. Alice, look at this one.

ALICE

An Imaginary Gathering of Sages. Carol, I don’t get it. It says Asian art and these guys are clearly Arab.

CAROL

Indian.

ALICE

Indian?

CAROL

Yes. It says these guys are dead Muslim saints.

ALICE

Well of course they’re dead; it’s four hundred years old.

CAROL

No, Alice. They were dead four hundred years before the painting was painted.

ALICE

Imaginary, I get it.

EVENING (EUROPEAN GALLERY)

The lights come up on an art gallery.An old man, ARTHUR sits before Apollo and Daphne with a bouquet of flowers. He faces the painting but speaks to his deceased wife, ANNNE.

ARTHUR

…it seems to me like it’s been the longest set of cold rain I’ve ever seen.Anyways, I brought flowers…Happy Anniversary, Annie darling. I don’t know if you’re here or not but it makes me feel good to remember you like you were. I still don’t know what possessed me to come up to you as you stood before this painting, but I’m glad I did. Apollo and Daphne. You and me. I remember coming in to the museum to get out of the rain, wandering into this gallery and seeing something more beautiful than all the art in the world. You were so determined to become a great painter….

ANNE has appeared. She is most definitely a spirit. She even wears robes like the ones Daphne wears.

ANNE

You were so handsome in your uniform. So unlike the men I was interested in then; bad skin and paint under their nails. You were different, Arthur. You weren’t afraid to love.

ARTHUR

I guess I loved you from the beginning, Anne. I couldn’t help myself. I mean there you were in those over-sized clothes, most of your hair all up, the rest falling into your beautiful face. Those glasses couldn’t hide your beauty. This has to be my destiny, I said, otherwise why am I here? I don’t like art.

ANNE

But I changed that for you, didn’t I darling?

ARTHUR

But you changed that for me. I miss you, Annie.

ANNE

It’s been interesting. Sometimes it’s painful to see people with so much going for them not getting it at all, but otherwise, it’s been fun to wait for you, darling.

DEVON and MARTIN enter in a flurry of action. DEVON could be ANNE in her younger days down to the wild hair, baggy clothes, and glasses that can’t cover up her beauty. She carries a large bag. MARTIN is a complete nerd but dressed nicely for the occasion and even has a flower in his lapel.

MARTIN

Are you sure he knows where to meet us?

DEVON

How should I know? He’s your friend, Martin. Didn’t you give him all the information?

MARTIN

Duh. I gave him specific instructions with GPS coordinates.

DEVON

And he has all the shit?

MARTIN

Couldn’t you refer to our marriage license and Tony’s clerkship as something other than shit?

DEVON

You know what I mean.

MARTIN

Look, if you don’t want to—

DEVON

I want to! Do you?

MARTIN

Devon, it was my idea. I just think sometimes that you’re doing it to shut me up.

DEVON

I’m here aren’t I? I want to get married right in front of (she sees ARTHUR) oh…

MARTIN

What?

DEVON (whispers)

That creepy old guy.  He’s here again.

MARTIN (whispers)

He likes the painting. I’m sure you can understand that.

DEVON

I just wanted everything to be… I don’t know.

MARTIN

You did?