The Lobby - a mini play of a single directionless scene and no dialogue.

2021-09-03 @Creative
By Vitaly Parnas

Dramatis Personae
The Protagonist: a slim, late-thirties man of a heavily receded hairline and narrow, rectangular spectacles.

Setting: a lobby of a small colonial hotel along a busy commercial stretch of a small to mid-size town in the subtropical regions of central Mexico. The morning sees an almost uncomfortably cool breeze, traces of humidity, and bouts of intermittent rain.

The decorum largely appears a work of improvisation and nonchalance, yet somehow attains a feasible state of cohesion. Battered art-deco tiles spread across the floor. Stucco walls of heavily varied color surround the interior: magenta, grey, sylva verdure, tan. An aged, yet rugged round table of four tall Baroque engraved chairs stands to the left of the reception desk, manned by a woman, who, caught in the trance of a mobile device, doesn’t appear cognisant of much beyond the cubicle. Two soiled armchairs are surrounded by a decorative distillery barrel on one side, and a gigantic, artificial palm on the other, placed on a wheeled cart for easy transport.

Among other minutiae we see an ancient, likely inoperative cathode ray tube television, oddly positioned under the staircase leading to the upper story. To the left is a shelf of filtered water jugs, to the right, an empty glass counter followed by a tiny side table with a small, artesanal lamp and a still operational rotary telephone.

Across the other wall stands a large Sofa of an antique frame similar in character to the round table, though fitted with an awkward Cyan-tinted cushioning. The wall cross-section behind the sofa is composed of reflective tempered glass, giving the otherwise small interior a sizable impression. Directly above hangs a Rococo chandelier of exposed electric bulbs designed to emulate oil lit fixtures.

The main corridor leading to the reception desk divides the sofa and the round table. The atmosphere feels quiet but for the locomotion incoming from the main entry doors wide open to the noisy street traffic.

Scene 1

The protagonist sits pensively behind the round table, consumed by a blank terminal display of a small tablet computer encased in a black leather stand, mostly ignorant to the occasional figures floating through the lobby. A detestable looking small wireless keyboard of stained buttons, a loose blue rubber surface and taped edges lies still in temporary neglect. The man takes occasional sips from a tiny paper cup of strangely decent instant coffee earlier provided by the reception woman.

He appears to gather some insight, yet displays notable hesitance to carry out the consequent mechanics. A part of him urges for the adjacent lavatory, yet refrains from leaving the belongings unattended (while the thought of exposing the writing apparatus anywhere close to the obscenities of a urinal seems remarkably objectionable.) Another part drowns in the never-ending currents (or blizzards?) of sensorial feedback and terrestrial stimuli.

The protagonist feels overwhelmed. He shuts his eyes, inhales a lungful of air, holds his breath for a brief moment, and gradually exhales through the nose, experiencing an ever slight inner relief. Having written not a syllable, he closes the tablet and, mildly annoyed by the sloppy morning hours, grabs the belongings and proceeds up the marble staircase leading to his quarters.


Questions, comments? Connect.