FINGERNAILS BLUE AS FLOWERS

FINGERNAILS BLUE AS FLOWERS“The American Place Theatre has opened a new, handsome, no-nonsense theatre with a play that can honestly be called superb in an era when superlatives are as common as soot…Fingernails Blue as Flowers recaptures the surreal classicism, the finesse of technique, the powerful humanity and the plain theatrical vitality of [Ribman’s] brilliant earlier work. It is only a one act play, running little more than 40 minutes, but it is worth far more than its time in appreciation. These days, when it seems that almost any novice can win an award, it is essential that our theatre be reminded of what craftsmanship and art really are.” — Martin Gottfried, Women’s Wear Daily

“Ribman never ceases to fascinate… Fingernails is subtle with a macabre fascination dealing surprise like an O. Henry short story…[The] play is brilliant.” — Marjorie Gunner, Outer Critics Circle

 

Plot: Eugene Naville, a rapacious tycoon in vacuum tubes, arrives on a Jamaican beach to savor his desserts.

Sample Excerpt:

Fingernails Blue As Flowers

NAVILLE

There’s a universe of girls waiting to be loved by boys, Jesse, boys like us. Sprinkled all over the beach in the bright flags of their bathing suits like small tufts of flowers, they make obscene sounds and gestures to gain our attention.

JESSE

Would you like me to invite one of the girls over, Mr. Naville?

NAVILLE

And we sit here watching them grow old and die, their perfect milky legs curdling in the light. Of what use will their beauty be to anyone then? Carpe diem. Carpe diem. Perhaps it is all the same, Jesse: the bulging temple ruins at Karnak tumbling down before we can reach them, the lean brown bodies of Italian girls vanishing into the water at Capri, the stones of Mycenae eaten by rain, the bright pearl of sweat falling from the arm of a Sudanese woman before we can touch it.

JESSE

Would you like me to invite one of the girls over, Mr. Naville?

NAVILLE

Would you do that for me, Jesse?

JESSE

Yes, sir.

NAVILLE

I want them younger and younger each year, Jesse, and why I don’t know. Even in the youngest of them beauty seems already marked with the shadow of impending decay: an arm slightly thickening, the nipple of a breast no longer quite turned upward, a tooth chipped on a piece of soft white bread.

JESSE

Which one shall I ask, Mr. Naville?

NAVILLE

Which one would you like to have, Jesse?

JESSE

That one, Mr. Naville. The one standing by the water.

NAVILLE

Tell her I’m rich, Jesse.

JESSE

Everyone knows how rich you are, Mr. Naville.

NAVILLE

(Shouting after as Jesse exits) Tell her I’m rich, Jesse! Tell her I can give her anything she wants! Anything! Tell her…

(Jesse returns with a beautiful child about eight years old)

What’s this, Jesse?

JESSE

The girl, Mr. Naville.

NAVILLE

That’s not the girl you pointed out to me, Jesse.

JESSE

I’m sorry, Mr. Naville. I thought it was.

NAVILLE

You pointed to an older woman.

JESSE

I must have misunderstood.

NAVILLE

I don’t know how you could have misunderstood, Jesse.

JESSE

I’m sorry, sir.

NAVILLE

What’s her name, Jesse?

JESSE

Rosemary.

ROSEMARY

He promised me something.

NAVILLE

What did he promise you?

ROSEMARY

Ices.

NAVILLE

You promised her ices, Jesse?

JESSE

Yes, Mr. Naville. I did.

NAVILLE

What flavor ices?

JESSE

Pink.

NAVILLE

(To Rosemary) Is that what you want? Pink?

ROSEMARY

Yes.

NAVILLE

You made a terrible mistake, Jesse, bringing this child here.

JESSE

I’m sorry, Mr. Naville. Shall I bring her back?

NAVILLE

We can’t do that, Jesse. You promised her ices.

Available At:

http://www.abebooks.com/American-Place-Theatre-Plays-Schotter-Richard/208913018/bd

*Original first editions also often found through eBay and Coming Soon in eBook.