(LIGHTS UP on Pygmalion’s workshop. At the center is Galatea on a block, covered by a drop cloth so that only her feet are visible. The workshop is cluttered with carving tools, paints, hunks of stone, brushes, and fabrics. Phoebe enters. She is a teenage girl. It’s obvious that she’s not supposed to be there. She starts to sneak over to Galatea, reaching out to lift the cloth. Voices are heard offstage.)
DAEDALUS: (offstage) I’d like to see it for myself.
PYGMALION: (offstage) It’s really simple.
(Phoebe gasps. She searches for a hiding place, finally settling for crouching down behind Galatea.)
DAEDALUS: (offstage) Good. Then it won’t take long.
(Pygmalion and Daedalus enter. Pygmalion is a young man with a quiet, sad disposition. Daedalus is elderly, moving with a bit of a limp. Despite his infirmity, he refuses any kind of help. He’s a fiercely independent man.)
PYGMALION: Do you have somewhere to be, Daedalus?
DAEDALUS: Bed. I’m an old man. Perhaps I’ll die in my sleep tonight.
PYGMALION: Are you even tired?
DAEDALUS: No. But I’m starting to get bored. Go on. Show me this process of yours.
PYGMALION: It’s just a matter of using a stone to– (he reaches for a tool and spots Phoebe) Phoebe!
(Phoebe sits on the floor and tries to swing herself around Galatea to hide again.)
PYGMALION: I can see you!
PHOEBE: No, you can’t.
(Phoebe puts her hands over her face.)
PYGMALION: You’re sitting right there.
PHOEBE: No, I’m not.
DAEDALUS: I’m half blind and I can see you. Come out.
(Phoebe guiltily stands up, moving to face the men.)
PHOEBE: Hello, Daedalus.
DAEDALUS: Hello, Phoebe. How are you? Still getting into trouble?
PHOEBE: A little.
DAEDALUS: Good girl.
PHOEBE: How are you?
DAEDALUS: Oh, still at death’s door. Any day now.
PYGMALION: What have I told you about my workshop, Phoebe?
PHOEBE: I’m sorry, Pygmalion, I was just–
PYGMALION: Stay. Out.
PHOEBE: I just wanted to see–
PYGMALION: It’s past your bedtime.
PHOEBE: Pygmalion! I’m too old to have a–
(Awkwardly, she walks over to give Pygmalion a kiss on the cheek. He gives her an absent pat on the arm. Phoebe waves to Daedalus.)
PHOEBE: Goodnight, Daedalus.
DAEDALUS: Goodnight, Phoebe. I hope to see you again soon, assuming I don’t die. Stop by my shop sometime.
PHOEBE: I will.
(Phoebe exits at a run. Daedalus turns to watch her go. There’s the noise of something falling offstage.)
PHOEBE: (offstage) Sorry!
PYGMALION: Oh gods…
DAEDALUS: She reminds me of my boy, Icarus. (to Pygmalion) What was that about?
DAEDALUS: I’ve never heard you raise your voice to her before.
PYGMALION: I didn’t raise my voice.
DAEDALUS: Picking her up and tossing her out of the window would have been warmer.
PYGMALION: I’ve told her fifteen times to stay out of my workshop!
DAEDALUS: It’s a little sister’s prerogative to be a right pain in the rear.
PYGMALION: She’s so careless! She’d break everything in two seconds. There isn’t a shop in Kamikos where she hasn’t broken something. If King Cocalus ever heard of it, he’d have her locked up in a box. Merchants everywhere would rejoice.
DAEDALUS: And older brothers, apparently.
(Daedalus eyes the cloth a moment. Pygmalion sighs.)
PYGMALION: You know what I mean.
DAEDALUS: Yes. But you love her.
PYGMALION: Would you judge me if I said that sometimes, it’s very hard to love her?
DAEDALUS: No. Of course not.
PYGMALION: Why not? It’s a horrible thing to say.
DAEDALUS: Saying that it’s hard to love someone isn’t the same as saying you don’t love them. I think it’s quite the opposite.
PYGMALION: I suppose. (beat) She’s just so careless…
DAEDALUS: Well, I’m only getting older standing around here. Show me this new method of yours.
PYGMALION: It’s easy. I’m amazed no one’s tried it before.
(He collects a hunk of marble, a hammer, a chisel, and a smooth stone, bringing them over to Daedalus.)
DAEDALUS: I’m watching, I’m watching. Do something.
(He starts to hammer the chisel into the marble.)
PYGMALION: You make your cut like usual.
DAEDALUS: So far I’m not impressed.
PYGMALION: Wait for it.
DAEDALUS: I’m on pins and needles.
(Pygmalion sets aside the hammer and chisel. He picks up the smooth stone and starts to rub it against the marble.)
PYGMALION: But then, you use an emery stone like this…
(Daedalus gains interest, leaning in to watch him work.)
DAEDALUS: What are you doing there? Smoothing out the line?
DAEDALUS: That’s good. That’s very, very good.
PYGMALION: It’s better than trying to use the chisel to shape it. Fewer marks. You’d think the water had smoothed this shape.
(He runs his fingers along Pygmalion’s work.)
DAEDALUS: This is very, very, very good.
PYGMALION: Now are you impressed?
DAEDALUS: Of course not. (beat) But if I were, I would tell you that’s an extraordinary idea.
PYGMALION: And if you told me that, I’d thank you.
DAEDALUS: And after you thanked me, I’d say that old Ixion would trade his eyeballs to learn how to do that.
PYGMALION: Really? He has eyeballs? You wouldn’t know from the way he carves.
DAEDALUS: (laughing) That imbecile wouldn’t know a thing of beauty if one hit him over the head.
(Pygmalion falls quiet and sullen. He starts to put away his tools. Daedalus stops laughing.)
DAEDALUS: Pygmalion? (beat) Pygmalion? (beat) Oh, I shouldn’t have said that.
PYGMALION: It’s fine.
DAEDALUS: (attempting a joke) I’m an old man. I always say things I don’t…mean. They just slip out. Like farts.
PYGMALION: Don’t worry about it.
(He continues to tidy up the workshop in silence. Daedalus can’t take it.)
DAEDALUS: I know how much you miss her.
PYGMALION: It’s been a year.
DAEDALUS: It’s always the least obvious things that bring back the memories. A smell. The way the cobblestones click beneath your feet. A thoughtless remark… (beat) I didn’t mean to scratch up the way that Ixion used to stare at her.
PYGMALION: She chose me.
DAEDALUS: She chose wisely.
PYGMALION: Did she?
DAEDALUS: Of course. Pygmalion, you’re an extraordinary man. Talented. Intelligent. Loving, in your quiet sort of way. Ixion’s a–
PYGMALION: She’d still be alive if she’d chosen him.
DAEDALUS: Maybe. But really, what kind of a life would it be, having to live with that fool day after day after day?
PYGMALION: A poor life is better than no life at all.
DAEDALUS: Do you think so? I’d rather be stone cold dead than saddled with a bore.
PYGMALION: Fortunately, that’s not something you’ll ever have to worry about.
DAEDALUS: True. And may King Cocalus force me to ride bareback in the dead of winter, if that should ever change. (beat) I really am sorry, Pygmalion. I didn’t mean to bring it up.
PYGMALION: It’s fine. Anyway, I’m better now.
(As he moves to put away a tool, he brushes against the cloth over Galatea. It falls, revealing her. She stands frozen, posed like a statue. There is something breathtaking about her. Daedalus starts and stares.)
DAEDALUS: By the gods…
PYGMALION: Don’t! It’s not…it’s not done yet. There’s so much more to do. Really, please don’t. It’s not finished. It’s…
(Daedalus moves to examine the statue.)
DAEDALUS: It’s beautiful. She’s beautiful.
PYGMALION: It’s a work in progress…
DAEDALUS: She looks almost alive.
PYGMALION: It’s just something I’ve been…
DAEDALUS: If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it was…
PYGMALION: Don’t say it.
DAEDALUS: “I’m fine. I’m better now.”
PYGMALION: I am!
(Phoebe returns, crouching down behind a set piece so she can’t be seen. She watches the two of them.)
DAEDALUS: It’s no crime to admit that you still miss your wife.
PYGMALION: It’s been a year.
DAEDALUS: A year. Ten years. Twenty seven years. Do you really think it matters all that much?
PYGMALION: I don’t know, I’ve never lost a wife before.
DAEDALUS: Well, I have.
PYGMALION: And from what I hear, they all went on to live happy lives with better husbands.
PYGMALION: How many times have you been married? Twenty eight? Thirty eight?
DAEDALUS: Is that what they’re saying around town?
DAEDALUS: I must be losing my touch. When I lived in Crete, the numbers were much higher.
(Pygmalion picks up the cloth, covering Galatea again.)
DAEDALUS: That’s the cruelest work of the gods.
DAEDALUS: We lose someone. And then we never really lose them.
DAEDALUS: When someone you love dies so suddenly…
PYGMALION: You never really get over it.
DAEDALUS: Over it? No.
(There’s a long silence. Pygmalion contemplates the statue while Daedalus contemplates Pygmalion.)
DAEDALUS: But if it’s all the same to you, I think I much preferred it when we were talking about how horrible Ixion is.
(Pygmalion laughs. Daedalus immediately looks proud of himself.)
DAEDALUS: You know he’s just jealous of you. He envies your talent. (beat) You’re a prodigy, Pygmalion. I’ve only ever known one artist more talented.
PYGMALION: You, I suppose?