THE MUSE

featuring Rebecca Tun 

(a script for a video. approx 10 min.)

 

The Muse is a short.

 

 The Muse delivers a series of monologues in verse about her observation and experience of being an artist’s muse.

 

SET  

 

A large messy room used as an artist’s studio. Towards the back of the room is an easel. In the middle of the room is a small plinth like bed.

 

1st SCENE – A wide camera angle of the whole room. The artist is behind his easel preparing while waiting for the model. The model enters the scene from behind the camera, wearing a robe. She walks to the far side of the plinth where she drops her robe on the floor and takes a reclining position on the bed. She faces away from the artist and towards the camera, propped up on one elbow.

 

2nd SCENE – Close up of the model’s head and shoulders. The model looks past the camera, then after a couple of seconds looks knowingly at the camera and speaks to the camera. She delivers a poem confidently in as much a conversational style as possible while keeping to the structure and rhythm of the poem.

 

          MUSE            what is this dogged need to record me

with the dull efficiency of a bureaucrat

my white skin splayed against black

black on white like ink on paper

 

the line a length of my arm

the arc of my back, my roundness of rump

my lean torso and substantial thigh

the considered framing of my vulva

 

each part of me analyzed and categorized

my dismemberment into pieces of a jig saw

a puzzle to be reconstructed, as though

I will end up more than the sum of my parts

 

a reductionist’s curiosity in cogs and springs

their connections and interactions

how one depends upon and manipulates the other

my potential motor skills in the act of carnal love

 

his eye refuses to obey polite society

refuses to compromise with social angst

his eye is primal and beyond reason

a natural predator, he eyes me up as prey

 

Model returns to looking past the camera. Camera stays in position. Artist indicates pose is finished. Model sits up with back to camera.

 

3rd SCENE – A wide camera angle taking in the whole of the room. Artist explains and instructs the model about the following pose. The model to stand on tiptoes, her arms stretched in the air as though she is hanging from a rope.

 

4th SCENE – Mid angled view of the model struggling to stretch as much as she can. She looks at the camera and rolls her eyes.

 

5th SCENE – Head and shoulders of the model. Model glances to artist and then to the camera as if telling a confidence. She recites the following poem confidently and conversationally as possible but with an affectation that suggests she doesn’t want the artist to over hear her

 

MUSE                on tiptoe, the stretch of my body

displays the nubility of youth

as I struggle with this creaky ballet absurd

in pursuit of a semblance of balance

a dangling conversation of stress and strain

my muscles ripple up and down bone

 

I am a flame in a constant state of flux

the curve and fullness of my breasts

the flex and stretch of my haunches

are a provocation to the artist’s eye

whose surgical pencil skips like a conductor’s baton

notating music across a page

 

a life time isn’t time enough to capture

the startling beauty of my possession

in stone, in clay, in paint

all he achieves is rendering me earthbound

reducing me to the grind of gristle on bone

but occasionally, just occasionally, something  miraculous occurs

 

his shadow is solidified by the light I cast

lengthening like a sundial across the wall

his permanence an illusion of my brightness

temporary and for no longer than I pose

knowing that in the wake of my enlightenment

is his art’s ultimate demise

 

Model turns her head away from the camera and looks towards the artist.

 

6th SCENE – A brief wide angled view, showing the model from the artist’s point of view. Artist tells model to relax. Model relaxes.

 

7th SCENE – Camera behind the model. The model is in a pose similar to Monet’s Olympia. The artist is drawing on the other side of her from the camera.

 

8th SCENE –Camera looking down on the model. The model turns her head slightly and gives a double take and frowns at the camera’s intrusion. The model decides to carry on with her monologue with the camera and recites the poem below in an irritated voice.

 

      MUSE                this slab belly is underestimated

smooth as a stone, polished and perfect

it is too often rushed across without attention to detail

until his black pencil touches the paper

when his eye leads his imagination

or his imagination leads his eye

 

centred in this featureless plain

pressed like a thumbprint, my navel is an oasis

the centre of me, for the moment

the centre of his entire universe

if this white wilderness was a landscape

he has not the time to cross it

 

he would hover above me like a lover might

amazed by my female beauty

sense how I would give to his touch, consider

how I would move beneath him, savour

the fever of anticipation, imagine how

a line could reveal my secrets

 

Artist shows irritation with the model for fidgeting. Model shows annoyance at the camera.

 

9th SCENE – The model is bent over the bed looking into the camera. A wide camera angle to show the artist drawing her from behind. Model recites poem below with even more irritation than before and ends with a sneer.

 

     MUSE                 my body is nothing but a specimen

 

to be dissected and examined

not with the keen scalpel of a surgeon

nor with the ground axe of a serial killer

his tools are more mundane but no less sharp

pencils, paper and an unforgiving eye

 

my humiliation is not of his concern

his hand commits to its disciplined craft

control, interpret, respond to my body

define me until definition defines itself

freeing his hand to follow my line

until it cuts cruelly across the page

 

the artist in him demands his prerogative

to report his version of my truth

to his lecherous friends who’ll graze over me

dwelling where the eye lingers most

and time will be its most treacherous

my breasts, my rump, my thigh, my crotch

 

The artist suggests the model should look at his drawing. Model gets up and goes to look at the drawing. She slowly screws her face up and then turns to the artist, curses and walks out of scene behind the camera. A door slams.