Play #78: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Painter

The play is set in an artist’s studio.  There is an enormous painting—a rough, wild, unfinished one—stapled to one wall.  A small wooden chair sits facing it—about fifteen feet from the work-in-progress.

This is a one character play, a monologue by the painter.
He enters the formerly dark studio, switches on the lights, lowers himself heavily into the chair, takes a vigorous pull of the drink he has brought with him and settles down to gaze upon the painting.

Painter:  My god it’s as big as the sea!  It’s bigger when you sit down and look at it than it is when you‘re up close to it with a brush.

It rears up at me…like a wild horse

It’s like an ocean liner bearing down hard upon a fishing boat in its path

Can I get out of its way, I wonder?

Only by finishing it, I suppose

That’s me [he laughs raucously] The fishing boat.  Poor fishing boat, trying to get a fish on the line.

A big fish.  A whale.  Moby Dick.
Call me Ahab, goddammit, not Ishmael!


I wish Lucinda could see it.  No, actually I don’t.  Screw it.  She’d have useful things to say about it.  Procedural things, well-considered…

[he takes another gulp of his drink]

And I don’t want that.  For me, the thing is like a Forest Fire.  I don’t wish to discuss its bloody deportment!

[There is a long silence]

Christ It’s cold

And quiet.  I could put some music on

But then I couldn’t hear the painting.
I couldn’t hear its clamour.  All those angel voices woven together

It makes a noise
like ripping cloth