Title: The Portrait
Rating: T, for coarse language and a cross-species encounter of a sexual (and lesbian) nature.

Summary: An artist compelled to perfection gifts the result of her efforts to her subject, but the catch? She's not even sure the subject even exists. One-act play.

Author's Notes: This was my first attempt at writing a play, done for a Creative Writing class in school. While I'm not displeased with the result, I'm also not generally a connoisseur of plays, so I honestly have no idea of its merit. Enjoy.


Scene One

The curtain opens on an airy, white room, with wide, tall windows all along the back "wall" of the room. Through the windows is a sunny, well-lit backyard, ringed by the trees that mark the beginning of a forest. There are no other properties visible through the windows. There are blinds, but these are pulled up to let the light in. The room is scarcely furnished; to the left of the stage is an easel turned away from the audience and a stool, to the far right there is a low wooden chest, presumably of art supplies. The space center stage is clear, except for a rug, brightly patterned, on the floor. Jackie is already on stage, standing behind the easel, perusing the canvas on it. She's a shortish girl, dressed casually enough, with brunette hair and a pair of glasses that are always perched on the end of her nose.

Jackie: This came out really nice, Erika. I like it.

Erika (off-stage): You'd better like it. I spent more time on that thing than I have on anything in a long time.

Jackie: Why? Didn't you want to finish it?

Erika (enters, while speaking, from the right): Of course I wanted to finish it! I just...wanted it to be perfect first.

Erika is taller than Jackie, with short, curly red hair. Her clothes are slightly more fashionable, better coordinated and better accesorized than Jackie's. She carries a long, flat box under one arm.

Jackie: You? Perfect? Don't lie to me, Erika. It's unbecoming.

Erika (flatly): Ha. Ha. And again: ha.

Jackie (peering closely at the painting again): This is so different from the weird shit you usually paint, Erika. Why?

Erika begins unpacking a dark wood frame from the box.

Erika: Why what? Why'd I paint it? (Slightly sarcastic) Because I just loved it so much I had to, that's why.

Jackie: Whatever. You're a freak, you know that?

Erika: And you're an unimaginative spaz. What else is new?

Jackie snorts and walks towards the center of the room. She watches Erika for a minute.

Jackie: I'm going to this party with Adam tonight. You want to come?

Erika (nervous, evasive): Er...no...thanks. I've got...something planned for tonight.

Jackie: There'll be some guys there!

Erika (derisively): Guys. Please. Don't make me laugh some more.

Jackie: All right, all right! I'll talk to you tomorrow, then?

Erika: If you're not too sexed out to get up, that is.

Jackie: You're nasty, Erika.

Jackie exits stage right, the same way Erika entered. Erika kneels for a minute by the box and the frame, then gets to her feet. She walks over to the painting and picks it up off the easel, staring contemplatively at it.

Erika: "I've got something planned for tonight." Yeah, uh-huh. More like I'm going to go wander around in the woods for an hour and hope she shows up.

She carefully removes the painting from the frame and brings it over to the chest. She carefully fits a mat to it.

Erika (softly): If those stories everyone tells are true, I'll probably be lucky to even find where I first saw her again.

She frames the painting carefully, remaining silent for the few minutes it takes. The audience finally gets to see it--a carefully and realistically rendered portrait of a tall, slim woman with wings in a woodland setting.

Erika (wistfully): Maybe it won't be that hard. Maybe...maybe she knows how much I want to see her. Maybe she'll be waiting for me! (She stands up straight, as if struck, and snorts derisively.) Or maybe I'm really as crazy as Jackie says I am.

She tenderly wraps the framed painting in tissue paper and slides it into the box it came out of originally.

Erika: What the hell's wrong with me? I wait...I wait, I wait, I wait, wait for just the right person to come along–guy or girl, I'm not picky! And who sweeps me off my feet? Someone I'm not even sure exists!

She paces back to one of the windows, laying her free hand against the glass and heaving a great sigh.

Erika:Only one way to find out, though. Only one way to know for sure.

Erika crosses the room and exits stage left, the box tucked snugly under one arm. The lights go down.


Scene Two

The lights come back up on a stage radically changed. Gone is the artist's studio, replaced with the forest seen through the windows. Trees dot stage right and stage left, and an open space covered with grass and some flowers is center stage. Bright green light filters down from above, darker under the trees. Erika enters, her head held high. She wears a dark, jaunty cap perched on her bright hair and a light jacket over her clothes of the first scene. The box is tucked under one arm. She stops, just inside the ring of trees.

Erika (loudly): Greenleaf! Greenleaf!

She waits.

Erika (softly, with some discomposure): Greenleaf. Please come. I have something for you.

The tops of the trees begin to rustle, stirred by a soft breeze that grows stronger quickly. A burst of leaves swirl into the clearing from the back of the stage. Greenleaf enters, the woman in the painting. She is taller than Erika, unnaturally tall. Her skin is a rich brown, her hair and lips a vibrant, emerald green. There is a single green leaf centered in her forehead, and more rustle in her hair, which is long and loose. A huge leaf provides the barest modesty across her breasts, and she wears a skirt of green and red. Narrow, translucent wings veined with pale green flutter languidly on her back.

Greenleaf: I remember you--the artist. Have you come for more sketches?

Erika (a little nervous, a little flustered): No. I mean, if you...well, not exactly...

Greenleaf: Why have you come, artist?

Erika lifts the box into view and holds it out to her.

Erika (more firmly): I came to give you this.

Greenleaf takes the box and slides the painting out, her face quizzical. For a moment, she is silent, her eyes flicking over the painting. She looks up from it, her eyes meeting Erika's.

Greenleaf (shaken): You painted this? For me?

Erika: Yes.

Greenleaf: Such...care. Such beauty. Why?

Erika (confident now): That's something I've wondered myself. Why?

Greenleaf: Surely you don't expect--

Erika (interrupting, with increasing fervor): Why couldn't I get images of you out of my head? Why did this painting compel me to perfection? Why do you obsess me like this?

Erika removes the painting from Greenleaf's grasp and steps close to her, craning her head back to meet the tall faerie's eyes.

Erika: Did you do something to me?

Greenleaf (breathy): No, my artist. This magic is not my own. It is ours together.

Erika: To...together?

Greenleaf clasps Erika close, bending her head to kiss her.

Greenleaf: Yes. Together.

Erika smiles beatifically, wrapping her arms around Greenleaf's waist.

Erika: What...Greenleaf, why?

Greenleaf: Artist, there is a radiance around you. It is not something we see often in your kind. It is... (She steps back and examines Erika from head to foot.) ...beautiful.

Erika: Is that why you posed for me?

Greenleaf: Yes. Many said I shouldn't have, said it was folly. But...I am glad that I did.

Erika: I'm glad as well.

Greenleaf: There are many of my kind who will...will not be happy about this.

Erika laughs airily, almost dismissively.

Erika: Most of my kind don't even think yours exists! They won't even believe me!

Greenleaf looks up, holding Erika silently for a moment, before looking down again, lifting the human's chin to look her in the eye.

Greenleaf: It doesn't matter. Artist...artist, I think–

Erika: Erika. My name is...Erika.

Greenleaf: Erika, I think I could love you.

Erika: I think I could love you, too.

They kiss again, and the lights narrow until they alone are illuminated in the spotlight. The curtain falls.


Author's Notes: All feedback is welcomed; let me know what you thought! Thank you!