Loopy Rye

Loopy Rye, part of the Pendragon Cycle, uses a unit set with, DR, a chair in the Flowers Boarding Hotel, Blaine Plum’s desk and chair facing downstage RC, a bench in the cemetery LC, and tombstones under an old tree DL.  Characters are onstage throughout the play which begins in 1925 but goes back to events that occurred in 1872.  We hear the sounds of a ticking clock and an old piano playing Chopin’s 13th Prelude as lights come up on Loopy in the DR chair.  Blaine Plum, Lavinia’s father, is seated at his desk, Augustus Ballantine is on the bench, and Lavinia is sitting with her back against a tombstone.  Loopy as an old man talks about learning to tune pianos, mentioning names of characters in the Pendragon Cycle, and as the lights come up on Lavinia he identifies her as a lost girl.  Blaine (in 1872) tells Lavinia that she has to see Doc McGort because she has been vomiting every morning.  Augustus tries to talk with Lavinia in 1872 while Loopy in 1925 remembers how a family was found dead at Grim Lake.  He talks about how people treated him and how he likes rain, china bowls, sparrows, and the smell of horse manure and hay.  Blaine in 1872 tells Lavinia that Augustus has agreed to marry her, but Lavinia says she doesn’t even like him.  As they talk, Loopy tells us in counterpoint the history of Ghost Hill with herds of buffalo moving through the forest and Delaware Indians who lived in the caves.  Loopy says he likes to talk to the crows and thinks being the village idiot is a big responsibility because dumb people need someone they can feel superior to.  He says he gets uneasy when the Carnival comes to town and he moves to the tombstones to talk to Lavinia in 1872.  He warns her about coming to the cemetery at night, saying there are ghosts and a lot of people fornicating.  She asks him what he sees when he looks into people’s windows at night.  He says he has seen just about everything, including her taking baths.  He admits to leaving drawings of her on the back porch, but she doesn’t think he drew them.  She takes out a piece of paper and asks him to draw her.  As he does so, Blaine tells his daughter that if she doesn’t marry Augustus he will throw her out of his house without a penny.  She says that Augustus is not the father of her child and only says he is so he can marry her and get Blaine’s money.  When she tells him Loopy is the father of her child, Blaine says he is going to have Loopy locked up in a mental institution.  She realizes that her father has already put his plan in motion.  Blaine admits that Augustus told him that he saw Lavinia and Loopy in the cemetery.  Lavinia says that her father is paying Augustus to marry her.  Blaine says they are coming to take Loopy to the institution where he will be castrated and lobotomized.  Lavinia looks at Loopy drawing and tells her father that if he leaves Loopy alone she will marry Augustus and do whatever Blaine wants.  She says if any harm ever comes to Loopy she will take her child and disappear.  Blaine accepts her offer on condition that she never speak to Loopy again, never look at him or acknowledge his presence.  As we hear, faintly, the Chopin Prelude again, she walks to the bench and sits next to Augustus.  Loopy finishes the drawing, puts it on the tombstone, and goes back to his chair, becoming an old man again.  He tells us that Lavinia never said a word to him after that and would pass him on the street as if he wasn’t there.  He says she knew as she played the piano at night that he was outside her window but she wouldn’t look.  He says she died young and he sits by her grave at night.  He saw her through the window looking at his drawings.  He watched over her little girl and then the little girl’s children.  He says the best thing about love is that it doesn’t make any sense.  Like God.  And the crows.

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