The Bride’s Bouquet – Sarah Wallis

For the purposes of this immersive theatrical experience the horses will be played by actors using aspects of the horse in their costumes, ears and a tail, and bringing their mannerisms and whinny’s, neighs and snuffles to life. When the actors are not playing horses they will be involved in scenes indicated and any horse can step out of the scene to become an extraneous character for example in this scene, one becomes the Manager. 

NB the syncopated clapping routines should last approximately three minutes but is left to the discretion of the director.

 

Hotel Lobby

Horses enter together, two or three of them, there will be nine in all, they are very skittish, nervy and they prance around the lobby area together, and separate, and coming back to a central point where the herd will gather, they must check in but are unsure of the procedure.

The herd come to a standstill together, to stillness where they can begin the syncopated clapping, representing the hooves of other horses, others that may be coming through the door, some sharply, others more cautious, checking in ready or not, into their strange new environment – the hotel.

Someone approaches, they listen intently and use the syncopation to communicate with each other, stamping hooves in time to indicate worry, excitement, anticipation.

The bride, Celia, enters.

The syncopated clapping synchronises all horses movements.

The horses go to her, snuffling at her hands, the white dress, her veil for a mane, which they find intriguing. She calms them, fusses them and they accept her ministrations.

Celia leaves the horses and goes to the front desk where she rings a bell.

One of the horses takes on the bridle of duty manager with a simple removal of ears and tail and follows her with a bright smile.

From behind the desk he produces letters and notes of congratulation, even champagne, but it is not what the bride wants.

She checks his watch, the lobby clock and looks as if she might despair.

The manager reassures her, offers a glass of champagne and they each take a glass and clink for luck.

Celia crosses her fingers and knocks on the wooden desk.

The horses syncopated clapping changes rhythm, gets faster, becoming flamenco.

Celia leans on the desk, her shoes are hurting her.

Two of the horses break from the group and conduct Celia to a chair.

Celia fusses about her dress and sits down in a chair.

The horses surround her protectively, forming an honour guard.

Celia pats them, strokes a mane and closes her eyes for a moment.

The horses harrumph and clap quietly together.

Celia’s mother, Bridget, appears in a dizzy dress and a monstrous hat, the horses are nervous and draw protectively again around Celia.

Bridget pushes through them and claps her hands twice, a sharp, unsympathetic sound. The horses all jump and edge away.

Bridget claps her hands again and Celia wakes up with a start.

The horses help her up out of the chair and surround her, prancing and tossing their manes, ushering Celia and her mother towards the lift.

The door is about to close when the manager rushes over and throws a bouquet into the lift, which Celia catches.

Celia blows him a kiss and hands the bouquet around to the horses to smell.

The lift doors close.

Her mother sneezes.

The horses jump.

The End.

***

Sarah Wallis is a poet and playwright based in Leeds. She has been published in various journals and her pamphlet Waterlore was highly commended in the recent Mslexia competition. Her short play When God Was a Woman was on at the Leeds Fringe June 2016 and a reading of Laridae, developed and supported by Furnace at West Yorkshire Playhouse, helped to kickstart the Leeds Theatre Pub scene autumn 2016.

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