Galatea Awakes: A Play

PygmalionFranzStuckI wrote a ten-minute play. Here’s the first bit. Enjoy!

GALATEA AWAKES
a one-act play
by Sørina Higgins

CHARACTERS

PYGMALION                         A sculptor
ONESIMUS                            His assistant
GALATEA                              A statue

SETTING
Pygmalion’s studio. Maybe on Cyprus, maybe anyplace.

TIME
At the height of the Greek Empire. Or anytime, really.

___________________________________________________________________________

                                                SCENE I

(PYGMALION is working away at the statue of GALATEA, polishing it with a cloth.)

                                                PYGMALION
Here comes my comic relief. Now I won’t get any more work done today.

(Enter ONESIMUS.)

                                                ONESIMUS
Good morning, boss! Isn’t it a lovely—
(he gasps)
Is she finished?!

                                                PYGMALION
Not quite. It’s nearly complete, though. I’ll finish today.

(He stands back from the statue. They admire it from a distance, walking around as they talk.)

                                                ONESIMUS
She’s… she’s unearthly. No, that’s not the right word. Maybe if I stand on my head I can think of it.

                                                PYGMALION
As long as you’re out of the way when you stand on your head, I don’t care what you do. I have to polish it, and then it’s done. It’s good, isn’t it?

                                                ONESIMUS
Good!?! It’s divine! No, that’s not the right word either. Curse my memory; I can barely remember my own name. At least I don’t forget what life is for: food, drink, girls…. You seem to have forgotten those exist, boss. Now, what’s the word for her?

                                                PYGMALION
‘Perfect’? Is that it?

                                                ONESIMUS
No… I mean, oops, sorry. Sure, it’s a perfect work of art, no question there. You’ve outdone yourself. You’ll go down in history for this masterpiece! Can I get your autograph? Can I have a lock of your hair, or the finger-bone of your left pinky? I’ll sell it in my old age and retire rich.
(tries to grab PYGMALION’s hand; he slaps it away)
Or I’ll steal your statue and sell that. It’s sheer genius. But the girl herself? She is…hm. I don’t know.

                                                PYGMALION
Beautiful. Ideal.

                                                ONESIMUS
Well, she is a looker, I’ll give you that.

                                                (he moves towards the statue, dreamily, hand outstretched)

                                                PYGMALION
Stop! Don’t touch it! You know you’re not allowed to touch the sculptures!

                                                ONESIMUS
I… I forgot for a moment that she was a sculpture. I’m sorry, boss.
(snapping out of his daydream and stepping away)
But you know how I am with the ladies! They can’t resist me; I can’t resist them! Why, just today in the market, this flower-seller, she says to me—

                                                PYGMALION
It’s just a lump of marble, Onesimus, no matter how it’s shaped. No need to get worked up over it.

                                                ONESIMUS
I know. But somehow…. Pygmalion? Why do you call her ‘it’?

                                                PYGMALION
What?

                                                ONESIMUS
Why do you call your beautiful statue ‘it’? Why don’t you call her ‘her’? After all, I remember your sculpture of the young Achilles; you always called that ‘him.’ Remember those early days? You were always mooning about the studio—I mean, oops, sorry. I’m sure you were thinking deep artistic thoughts—but you were talking about ‘him’ or ‘he’ all the time like a girl cooing over her lover.

                                                PYGMALION
Ha ha. Very funny. Well, that was long ago. I am grown up now. No mooning over a piece of stone, or a girl, or a lover.

Pygmalion-And-Galatea1

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About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a writer, English teacher, and Inklings scholar. Sørina serves as Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Signum University and teaches English at King's College and Lehigh Carbon Community College. She has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" and "Caduceus."

One thought on “Galatea Awakes: A Play

  1. Hanna says:

    I always loved the Pygmalion myth. I hope we get to read the rest of the play some time!

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