The Violin Maker. Christopher G Smith Semifinalist Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference

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1 The Violin Maker By Christopher G Smith 2015 Semifinalist Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference Current Revisions by Christopher G Smith, th Ave SE Rochester, MN

2 CAST OF CHARACTERS MOSEL MOSEL A Master violin maker in his 80's. Wilhelm's grandson. Early 20's. ANGELA BRUNELLE An intern in her 20's. SETTING : A VIOLIN SHOP IN THE UPPER MIDWEST ACT I Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4 Scene 5 TIME: Morning late winter TIME: Early morning. Late May TIME: The next morning. TIME: A few days later. Afternoon TIME: Evening a few weeks later. ACT II Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4 TIME: Evening. TIME: Early morning. TIME: A few days later. TIME: Evening. End of the week.

3 ACT 1 SCENE 1 As the lights come up we see the workshop of the Mosel family. It is a rather small room. Workbenches surround the space. The walls are filled with tools, all neatly organized in a peg or holder. Some tools are very familiar and others very specialized. These are the tools of violin making. Violins line part of the wall, while necks, bridges and other parts are found around the room. Violins in various phases of being finished hang from a line across the room. Some are white violins. We get the overall impression of a very well used and organized space. Without organization the items in this room would never fit into the space. The morning light comes through the window on stage left. A door up center leads to a larger storage area for wood and through that room a back entrance. The door on stage right opens. Two men step in and begin brushing the snow from their coats. MOSEL is the first to enter. He is a young man in his early 20's dressed in blue jeans and a sweat shirt. The second to enter is MOSEL. He is the eighty year old grandfather. speaks with a slight German accent. He enters laughing. Is cold, ya? Yes Grandpa. (rubbing his hands together) (Hanging his coat on the peg) Winter does not let go easily here. It is only March. (He laughs) Another two months maybe?

4 2. I hope not. Who knows?... Ready for Spring, Karl? Me too. (Pause.) Here, your coat. (Takes 's coat and hangs it on a hook. Turns to him) Is good to see a coat there again. See? Your Papa's place, next to mine. Looks good there? (Pause. No response from ) We ll see. (Claps his hands together) It's cold. We need a fire. Huh? (He crosses to the wood stove.) In da old days we never used a fire. Do you know this? No. Ya. No fire. Only for da women. We were strong. Never got cold. Is that right. (Puts kindling in) Sure. How can you burn wood if you make your living from da wood? Burn up your money? Go hungry then. (Puts a match in and smiles) My Papa, he tells me, "just bundle up good." (Smiling for the first time) No. This is one of your stories. (Crosses to him) Make up stories? Never! Always! Well, maybe little stories, ya. But about my papa? Never. (Smiling) So, you want me to believe he made you work on violins in a room with no heat.

5 None. Just da cold. "Keep alert," he says, "No mistakes!" It takes da tree how long to make this wood? Then to age it? Years... "Work in da cold," he says, "Waste no wood that way." 3. I'm not buying this. (False hurt) You don't believe me Karl? Not for a minute. (False anger) How can you tell da stories if you don't believe da stories? This is a story. You think so? I know so. Alright! Grandpa. (Crosses back to the stove acting hurt) No, no. You da learned college man, know everything now... Grandpa! I understand, da grandpapa is an old fool now. Well no, it's just... What? Just what? Well it's a pretty hard to believe.

6 What that my papa knows da right thing? Don't believe da grandpa? Da college teaches you this? No! It's just... well how could you use tools? I mean with the cold your hands would Hands didn't get cold. Well, they'd have to... You don't believe again? Da world is only facts you know. No! Your hands didn't stiffen up? No. We had da mittens. Mittens? Ya. You carved wood with mittens on? Not mit mittens on! (False anger) (exasperated) Then how did you do it? Took them off! Took da mittens off to carve. (Demonstrating) Like this. Each pair. Pair? (False anger) Ya, like this! Each Pair off! Take off one, two, three, four...

7 5. I knew it. six, seven eight, nine... I knew it! Got you good, ya? (Starts to laugh) (Laughing) Yes. I played right into it. (Laughing) That was good! Ya, we had fire in da old days! We crawled out of da cave and invented it your Papa and I! (Laughing) I knew it was a story all along. Ya Didn't know. My Karl so use to da college where they tell you da story, and you write it down. No questions! But, you got to question da grandpapa! I'll say! I have to tease you a little. You tease me a lot! That's what da grandpapa is supposed to do. You're such a serious young man. What has happened to you? Suddenly life has become a very serious thing. Huh? This was a place where your papa and I had a lot of fun together. You know? Yeah, I remember. You shouldn't be so serious. Young men are supposed to be happy! Supposed to be foolish! Full of beer and big opinions.

8 (Laughs) Maybe you should come home more often. See da grandpapa. I know I should. It's just that it's hard. Hard to come home? You have an auto... It's hard for me to be here. I still miss him, Grandpa. I know. I miss him too. He was my little boy, you know? Your papa was a good man. 6. Yes. I have known some people in this life... Good people! Lots of good people on da other side now. Maybe they watch out for you and da old grandpapa? Maybe. I just thought... I thought this would all be easier by now. No, you will miss your papa for a long time. A life time. He was something special! You hear it when you play his violins, you know? What do you mean? Something in da sound of them. Something that when I feel a little sad, makes me smile, because it is from your papa. This was your papa... And you feel this loss deeply, ya? Yes. Ya. It will take you a long time. But it's important to still come here. It is so good to have you here. Good to have a little fun with you. To see your coat on da hook there.

9 7. (Trying to state his position) Grandpa, don't plan on... (Interrupting) Shh... Quiet. Just, close your eyes. (He does. waits a moment and then closes his) Now, inhale! (Pause. Smiles) Smell that? What? Da wood! This room and all da wood! Nothing like it. Maple, little spruce. Snow turning to spring rains. Like being deep in da old forests! (Opens his eyes) Nothing like this place. You smell these things? Yeah. (A little surprised) Good! Then open your eyes. You remember this. This wood, this smell... Magic! Someday, maybe you'll be far away from this place. Hang on to this. This is something. See? We make the music here. (Points to the room) (cont d) And here! (Points inside self) You may have to close your eyes to find it one day. But it's here. Grandpa, I... Just a moment, I need to check the fire. (Pause. He crosses to the wood stove.)

10 8. (He walks over to the stove and stands as his adds some wood) College is going great for me. Good! You study hard. I'll be staying on campus for the summer. Staying on campus? Yes. You mean living there? Yes. But you come home. You always come home. I have, but I want to get a job this year. A job? Fine, I'll give you a job here. No. I'm going to get a job on campus. What in da gas station or something? Then you pay rent. You save no money that way. No, I could get a better job than that... Mit what? What skills you have, huh? Hey, I've started my MBA. That says something. Sure, lots of book stuff. But what can you do?

11 That's just it. If I'm going to land a job after college I need to get some real experience. Be a clerk? This is not a good job. You never get ahead that way. Besides, if you live in da college town, how will you make your violin? 9. Violin? For your papa's anniversary. It will be three years come this fall and you still haven t started. I know. To make a violin takes time. How can you make da violin if you are not here? I wasn't planning on making a violin. Not planning on it? You are the teaser now, yeah? No Grandpa. (Firmly) Da son makes da violin. In our family, da son always makes da violin to be played in his papa's honor. I don't know how to make a violin. You know some, da rest you will learn. I can't learn that. Sure you can. If I can teach your knuckle-headed papa, I can teach you. (Laughs)

12 10. He was no good with tools, he nearly ruined da violin business you know? What? Oh ya, I will tell you sometime. Not everything is genetic. He was a disaster at first. (Laughs) Maybe it's a good thing he didn't try to teach you. It's not that I don't want to... Not about want now. You MUST learn. Every Mosel son for 300 years has learned. Has done this honor for da papa. This shows respect. I respect him, Grandpa. Making or not making a violin won't change that. I had great respect for him, and for what you do. It's just that making violins is not for me. How do you know until you try? This is America thinking in your head. Someday you will be da papa. Then you will know. Until then, you listen to da grandpapa, and make this violin. No. This was all decided a long time ago. Dad understood. But, you must make. What's the point? Dad and I were through this a million times. I'm sorry. I know this has been a tradition. Making violins is what you love. But it's not what I want to do. How do you know what you want? How does anybody know? It's just not for me. Fine, so don't be a violin maker. Find your own way. Be da American. Your Papa accepted this, I understand. But you must make one violin. Da one to honor your papa.

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