A lone figure stands, arms raised in salutation or supplication, at the center of the stage. A white spotlight harshly illuminates his lines and chases away any shadows except the one stretching out behind him. Any features are obscured by a long coat, covered in feathers and dangling mirrors that flash where the light hits, that reaches from the neck of the bowed head down to the wooden stage. Chains made of scarlet silk emanate from the figure's fingers, reaching out past the circle of light to coil sinuously around the throats of ten other figures. These puppets stand motionless as well, heads down and arms at their sides, not stirring from the white outlines painted around their feet. Their clothes are shadowed by the darkness outside the spotlight, the bright colours—a different, unique one to each figure—muted. Their faces, however, shine even in the blackness, identical bone-white masks with black hole eyes and slightly parted, unsmiling lips. They are smooth, featureless, from their unwrinkled clothes to their blank masks and their hair, invisible in tightly coiled buns. Beyond this circle of puppets is utter darkness.
The figure's eyes are closed and his face looks as if he is listening. Slowly, slowly, the speakers begin to pulse as we hear what he hears: a thick, throbbing heartbeat. A voice whispers, the tone a mixture of taunting and mystery, "Who are you?" His fingers twitch slightly, and the chains jerk: all of the puppets' heads snap up to stare unblinkingly at him as his posture stiffens. Slowly his eyes flicker open as if he senses the stares, and his chin rises defiantly.
"I am. Myself, alone, indivisible. I am not you."
Every puppet speaks the words as he does, their blank tones overriding his pride. His face contorts into a snarl. The heartbeat is speeding up now, from the calming background thrumming to almost a drumroll. The figure in the center turns, only to find more puppets wherever he looks, with no escape in sight. He whirls again and again, desperately, wrapping himself in their cloth chains like a maypole, picking up all the slack until the chains are taut, pulling on the puppets' necks. The figure in the coat moans in despair and collapses to the floor, covering his face with his hands to block out the white stares and jerking the already-taut chains. The puppets stumble forwards, pulled by their leashes, and fall with a resounding thud, landing on hands and knees even as their toes remain firmly within the white outlines set out for them. The heartbeat stops and the figure in the center freezes. The puppets each reach with one hand into their chests and hold out brilliant, multicoloured shapes that glitter in the spotlight that they now share. They offer them to him.
The figure in the centre lets out a cry and stumbles to his feet, lurching towards one masked puppet angrily. The puppet on the opposite side of the circle jerks, moans, and desperately tries to hold on to her heart and not choke, refusing to stray from her white outlines even as she is being dragged forwards. The puppet master lunges at the puppet, shaking him violently until his mask is ripped off, then stumbles backwards with horror and amazement showing on his face. The lights flash: another spotlight appears on the unmasked puppet, who calmly gets to his feet. The puppet master whirls and rushes to the girl opposite, ripping off her mask as though he has to check, to make sure they all have faces underneath. The first unmasked puppet casually takes a few steps forward to avoid choking, leaving his white outlines abandoned. This process is repeated until all of the puppets are standing unmasked outside their white outlines. The puppet master stands, breathing hard, in the centre. He looks lost and confused, his defiance given way to bewilderment. The figures stare at him, and he stares back imploringly until one by one they being to speak.
"Tell me, why am I?" one asks, cocking her head to the side like a bird.
"Listen; can you hear me?" another inquires, his brilliant smile sending the question to the entire audience.
"Show me why you care." another sneers, mocking but at the same time vulnerable, begging.
"Come, talk to me…" She invites softly, comforting but at the same time desperate.
"Tell me something new." Boredom thinly disguises a burning, all-consuming need; his eyes light up while his face remains taunting.
"Look how beautiful the light is…it shines through my skin." The speaker stares in pure wonder, her breath taken away.
"I can hear them—the whole world is laughing!" The girl spins in a circle, her arms thrown out to all of us in a joyful embrace.
"I remember how to cry now." he whispers, eyes brimming with amazement and some indefinable feeling.
"Oh, wake up, look, look at me!" Another girl laughs, clasping her hands to her chest and entreating to the world at large.
"Why are your eyes closed?" The last boy asks, softly, the question carrying both understanding and puzzlement.
All sound, all motion stops.
The figure in the center is hiding in his coat, his eyes shut and his hands half-raised to cover his eyes, the motion begun but unable to be completed.
"Who are you?" The voice whispers again, and the figure raises his head, staring at all of the once-puppets with a lost expression. "Who are you?" he repeats to them, unable to ask the question he truly means.
The figures in the circle smile, the expression subtly different on each one, then raise both hands with their fingers spread wide and tug gently. From offstage and the aisles and the front row seats of the audience, more figures come as though pulled by an invisible version of the scarlet chains. The figure in the centre stands and stares. One figure from the circle steps forward, the entire structure of the web swaying and changing to accommodate the motion, and lifts the kneeling figure in the center to his feet. His coat falls off of his shoulders as the lights go out.
I'm not sure I really expect anyone to get what I was trying for with this scene. There's a lot of symbolism and it isn't very clear. The only parts I think have potential are some of the 'puppets' spoken lines. I don't like the way I wrote it very much either, but hey, what can you do. Hope someone finds it interesting.