Play # 25: The Poolside Play

The play takes place on a hand-mirror which, because this is theatre, we are going to try to accept as a limpid, mythologically situated pool.  There is really only one character—Narcissus—who carries on a poolside dialogue with the minor god, Nemesis, who has interrupted Narcissus to show him the fateful pool where, it is assumed (we’ve all read our Ovid, yes?)  Narcissus will become entranced with his own reflection and fall in love with it.

Nemesis (speaking as the pool):  Come over here, handsome.  I have something to show you.

Narcissus: I’m in sort of a hurry.

Pool: Oh, this will just take a minute.

Narcissus: Well, alright.  Just for a moment.

Pool: Gaze down into the water. [he does]
What do you see?

Narcissus: Water lilies and three carp.

Pool (impatiently): Look more closely—or perhaps LESS closely.

Narcissus (somewhat take aback):  Why there’s a beautiful boy down in the water!

Pool:  That’s YOU, Narcissus.

Narcissus:  Oh I hardly think so. [feels his arm]  I’m right here, where I’ve always been.

Pool: No, that’s you alright.  It’s your reflection.

Narcissus: Well, it’s a rather good-looking one, isn’t it!

Pool (insinuatingly, expectantly): Yes.

Narcissus: The pool works sort of like a mirror, doesn’t it.

Pool (not liking where this may be going):  Well, sort of….

Narcissus: So I’ll just say farewell now and be on my way.

Pool (greatly disappointed):  But aren’t you going to enjoy the sight of your own perfection for a while?

Narcissus:  Oh, I don’t think so.  There’s a pool at home.  I know how it works.

Pool (perplexed):  But don’t you think you’re ravishing?

Narcissus (looking again into the water): Not bad.  Passable, I guess.

Pool (getting annoyed): But you’re supposed to be transfixed by your perfection!  You’re supposed to fall in love with yourself!

Narcissus:  I am?  But what would be the point of that?

Pool (giving up): What indeed.