Pygmalion and Galatea Sample

Scene 1

(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.

PHOEBE: Never.

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–

PYGMALION: Goodnight.


PHOEBE: Goodnight.

(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!


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.


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: Beautiful.

(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: …Galatea.


DAEDALUS: “I’m fine.  I’m better now.”


(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?

DAEDALUS: Naturally.