Galatea Awakes: A Play

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

a one-act play
by Sørina Higgins


PYGMALION                         A sculptor
ONESIMUS                            His assistant
GALATEA                              A statue

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

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.)

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


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

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.)

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

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?

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?

‘Perfect’? Is that it?

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.

Beautiful. Ideal.

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

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

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

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—

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

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


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.

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.



About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a PhD student in English and Presidential Scholar at Baylor University. She also serves as Chair of the Language and Literature Department at Signum University, online. Her latest publication is an academic essay collection on "The Inklings and King Arthur" (Apocryphile Press, December 2017). Her interests include British Modernism, the Inklings, Arthuriana, theatre, and magic. She holds an M.A. from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. Sørina blogs about British poet Charles Williams at The Oddest Inkling, wrote the introduction to a new edition of Williams’s "Taliessin through Logres" (Apocryphile, 2016), and edited Williams’s "The Chapel of the Thorn" (Apocryphile, 2014). As a creative writer, Sørina has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" (2007) and "Caduceus" (2012).

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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