Bride of the Wind

Sydney Burdick

 

INT. THEATRE – DAY

A pair of bright blue eyes open. RHIANNON MATTHEWS, 24, pale-skinned and lithe appears to be falling peacefully with her arms out to her sides. She thrusts her body backwards, flipping gracefully before her arms catch on two fine wires which gently lower her down. When Rhiannon’s bare feet touch onto the cool blackness of the stage floor, SAMSON FRIEDMAN, 27, with handsome yet delicate features and slightly dopey ears jogs over to her. Smiling, he helps her out of the harness around her waist. Other stage hands, technicians, and dancers scatter around the theatre, filling the room with random chatter.

SAMSON

I’d say that was pretty good for our first tech rehearsal. Were you scared?

RHIANNON

(coyly)

Not one bit.

SAMSON

Really? Not at all?

RHIANNON

Nope. Not at all.

SAMSON

(jokingly)

Are you that confident in yourself?

RHIANNON

(calculating)

No, I’m that confident in you.

Seated at a table BOREAS LÉMIEUX, 42, a broad shouldered man with dark features rests his thumb and forefinger across his distinct jawline, feeling the slight stubble from his five o’clock shadow. He observes the people shuffling around the stage, but his eyes lock onto Rhiannon, his attention lingering on her interaction with Samson. He inspects her like a hawk as she laughs and touches Samson lightly on the arm. Boreas stands up silently and calmly, then promptly kicks his chair to the floor behind him. Its violent crash ripples throughout the theatre, instantly silencing everyone, as Boreas casts his clipboard across the room in Samson’s direction, landing at his feet. Samson looks surprised and jumps back slightly. With a prominent French accent, Boreas projects his voice for the cast and crew.

BOREAS

What was that?

Everyone remains still and silent; their eyes fixed on Boreas.

BOREAS

Do you not know your honour? Do you not know the profound weight it is to be my art? To be the vessels of my inspiration…?

All but Rhiannon cringe under his scrutiny. As he focuses on her, she meets his gaze without wavering.

BOREAS

(pointedly)

…to be my muse?

Boreas turns away from his audience, placing a loose fist to his forehead, and then suddenly unfurling it to reveal a calm smile. With the deft movement of an experienced dancer, he returns his chair to its previous position, and sits down.

BOREAS

Travis, James, Agnès. August. Rhiannon. See me.

Rhiannon excuses herself dismissively from Samson. She glides to meet Boreas with all the allure and grace of an Old Hollywood starlet. Samson joins the other riggers. He organizes all of the wire flying equipment, while spying Rhiannon and the group out of the corner of his eye. Boreas gesticulates dramatically.

BOREAS

You are all profoundly lacking. You fail me. You fail to cultivate my visions.

Silence.

BOREAS

Sensation! Without it, you are not dancing. You are not dancers… but worms squirming around in some divine comedy! You’re all so bloody focused on the wires that you forget the meaning. You!

He barks at the male principle dancer, AUGUST.

BOREAS

Where is your appetite? You are meant to be so in love with this shell of a woman, bordering on obsession. Crave her… And you.

More softly to Rhiannon.

BOREAS

You have a desire to be fervently loved.

Rhiannon blinks and inhales lightly, as if he’s cast a spell on her. Boreas dismisses the dancers with a wave of the hand. Rhiannon turns away and eyes Samson looking at her. She smiles and rolls her eyes as if to shrug off the lecture while she struts towards him.

SAMSON

You guys really got it handed to ya, huh?

RHIANNON

(mockingly)

Yes. You’d all be worms were it not for my prophetic godlike genius.

They both laugh, then fall silent.

SAMSON

So, uh… I know you’re probably going to be pretty busy mastering your ’desire to be fervently loved’ and all but if… I mean if you aren’t too busy maybe you’d like to share a drink or we could even up the stakes to a meal if you like.

Rhiannon raises her eyebrows amused. The two of them begin to walk towards a side exit backstage.

RHIANNON

Hmmm, I’m not sure I like to share much of anything, but… if it’s you I suppose I could make an exception.

SAMSON

Seriously? So that’s a ’yes’?

RHIANNON

Of course its a ’yes.’ Be more confident. Even if God might like it, women don’t want a meek man.

SAMSON

(assertively)

Yes! I’ll text you later then.

Rhiannon laughs lightheartedly and waves, as Samson grabs his leather messenger bag preparing to leave. He opens the backstage exit door.

RHIANNON

Okay. See ya later then.

Samson stands in the door. Sunlight engulfs his waving figure as the door swiftly shuts.

EXT. LIGHT HOUSE – DAY

Warm yellow light seeps from the horizon. Samson and Rhiannon lay on a blanket beneath the George Washington Bridge next to the little red lighthouse. Each one takes turns pointing out shapes in the soft hazy clouds. Samson sits up first, followed by Rhiannon. A gentle breeze blows some hair into her face. Samson gently brushes it away for her. He tucks it behind her hair and allows his hand to linger on the high of her cheek.

SAMSON

(dreamily)

I love you.

Rhiannon turns away from his touch and rolls her eyes.

SAMSON

I’m serious.

RHIANNON

Yeah, I know your serious. That’s the problem.

SAMSON

I never thought of love as a problem. And if it’s a timing thing… I mean if you’re not ready after only a month, I understand…

Rhiannon cuts him off.

RHIANNON

A month or a year, it makes no difference! You know that’s not me. That’s not what I want, and that’s not what this is.

Rhiannon makes a gesture emphasizing the space between them. Samson remains silent for a while before speaking.

SAMSON

Well then I’ll wait until it is what you want.

EXT. THEATRE – DAY

On each side of the theatre’s main entrance are two identical posters. Rhiannon and August’s faces replace Alma Mahler’s and Oskar Kokoshka’s in his famous painting and the title of the painting and the dance, ’The Bride of the Wind’

is scrawled in large wistful font across the top. Near the bottom of the image is a small bit of text from a poem and a larger strip reading ’Choreography by Boreas Lémieux.’

INT. THEATRE – DAY

The seats inside the theatre are empty, but the stage is set. The background is painted into a stormy seaside cliff. The lights over the stage are dim. Rhiannon is posed, motionless and dead-eyed, on the floor. The male principle dancer leaps desperately around her. He stops to reposition Rhiannon’s stiff limbs, yearning for a response. His dance slows, creeping into a bitter surrender. He lays down beside Rhiannon’s body and moves her head to rest upon his shoulder as he falls into a deep sleep. The light filters to indigo. Airy clothes like gossamer move across the stage floor and through the air. Several wind nymphs, dressed in the same flowing material, enter from both sides of the stage. They dance through the air over Rhiannon, bidding her to awaken. Suddenly, she springs to life as the flying wires pull her body upward. The wind nymphs exit. Samson looks out at Rhiannon while he pulls the wires which suspend her. They work in unison to a perfectly choreographed routine in order to give her life.

After the rehearsal, everyone is packing up again. Samson looks around the theatre for Rhiannon when someone asks if he can bring a few supplies to a storage closet. Samson takes the supplies obligingly. Outside the door, he hears

muffled voices. When he opens it, he sees Rhiannon. She sits on a small table, mostly undressed, while Boreas leans into her, kissing her neck. When Rhiannon registers his presence,

a brief look of surprise and panic sweeps over her face, but then quickly turns to a seductive gaze as she raises a pointer finger and signals him to come in. Samson throws the supplies into the room and slams the door. Boreas looks up

briefly, but then returns to Rhiannon’s neck like a wolf. She allows him to continue, but rests her head on his shoulder both remorseful and indifferent.

INT. CAR – DAY

Outside the theatre, Samson sits in his car, in shock. He breaks his stillness violently, punching his steering wheel with the palms of his hands. His cries of anger gradually grow into an aching sob. He stops himself, his face cringing slightly as he starts his car.

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

Samson drinks some kind of clear alcohol from the bottle as he watches television passively. He glances to his cell phone on the night stand several times, but it’s remains blank. Samson falls asleep without washing the liqueur off his teeth.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

The light streaming through Samson’s curtains falls on his face. Little particles of dust dance through it, making the light seem almost tangible. Samson blinks and squints, turning away from the light and fumbling for his phone on the nightstand. He immediately sees a text message from Rhiannon waiting on the screen.

RHIANNON (V.O.)

Can you meet me before the premiere to talk?

I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t care.

I’ll be where we had our first date.

INT. CAR – DAY

Samson starts the car. He cringes at the noise as it thunders to life. Turning out of his parking lot, Samson recalls he and Rhiannon’s first date.

FLASHBACK TO:

INT. THEATRE — DAY

In Samson’s mind, the theatre is empty, but for both their voices filling it. They sit up on the catwalk, looking down at the stage. The picnic that Samson has set up is nearly eaten. Samson pulls out two fortune cookies from the bag,

offering Rhiannon to pick one first. She closes her eyes, mixing them up in his hand, until one falls off.

RHIANNON

I guess I’ll take that one.

Rhiannon opens the bag and breaks the cookie in two, pulling out her fortune. Before she even looks at it, she shoves the cookie in her mouth and swiftly eats it. When she has finished, she looks at the fortune and reads aloud.

RHIANNON

‘Stop searching forever. Happiness is just next to you.’ I bet you did that on purpose, didn’t you?

SAMSON

(laughing)

Unfortunately for me, I don’t have x-ray vision.

RHIANNON

I do.

SAMSON

Yeah?

RHIANNON

Yep.

She exaggeratingly eyes his butt.

RHIANNON

Boxer briefs, right?

They both laugh.

RHIANNON

Hurry, open yours.

SAMSON

Okay, okay… ’People find it difficult to resist your persuasive manner.’

RHIANNON

Well, that’s not a fortune at all. It’s only saying something that’s already true.

SAMSON

So you admit it?

RHIANNON

Admit what?

SAMSON

That I’m irresistible. Maybe I could even persuade you to fall in love with me.

RHIANNON

Ha, sure thing Casanova… I like the freedom of an unattached heart. The only thing I let possess me is my dance.

Rhiannon stands up and looks out at the empty stage. They are both silent for a while until Samson stands next her. He looks at her admiringly.

TO PRESENT:

INT. THEATRE – DAY

Rhiannon walks into the empty theatre. She begins up the steps to the catwalk, like Samson, recalling their date.

INT. THEATRE – DAY

SAMSON

I remember the first time I saw you dance. You were so beautiful; I thought you were a goddess.

Rhiannon shoves Samson lightly on the arm.

RHIANNON

Idolatry!

SAMSON

No, I’m being serious. I didn’t even know what this whole dance was about. I’m still not sure, but it didn’t matter because when I watched you everything made sense.

TO PRESENT:

EXT. THEATRE – DAY

Samson arrives at the theatre and steps out of his car.

INT. THEATRE – DAY

When Rhiannon arrives at the top of the catwalk, she is surprised to see Boreas there.

FLASHBACK TO:

INT. THEATRE – DAY

Rhiannon continues she and Samson’s conversation from their date.

RHIANNON

It’s about obsession and possession. About coveting what you can’t have until everything you liked about it is gone. Is that how you feel when you look at me?

SAMSON

No. I guess I never saw it that way.

INT. THEATRE – DAY

Rhiannon and Boreas argue. She attempts to walk away, but he grabs her arm. She pulls it out of his firm grip, before he struggles to restrain her once more. Samson arrives inside the theatre. He can hear Rhiannon yelling at someone to let go of her, and he rushes as fast as he can to the stage.

SAMSON

(yelling)

Hey!

Boreas, surprised by the sound, loosens his grip on Rhiannon, who struggles. The force that it takes for her to free herself pushes her over the railing. Her hair dances around her shocked expression in messy tendrils. Samson rushes towards her falling figure, but is too late.

Rhiannon, again, lays motionless and dead-eyed on the black stage floor as a pool of red grows around her head. Samson remembers Rhiannon’s words during their date.

RHIANNON (V.O.)

“Over dusky cliffs/ The glowing bride of the wind/ Plunges death-drunken…”