by David Nicholson ©
1 woman, 2 men
Approximate time: 30 minutes
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One Rose, Two Thorns is based on La Parisienne (1885), the best-remembered work of French realist playwright Henry Becque (1837-1899).
Constance and her husband are on vacation in a small Normandy inn when a visitor drops by . . . her lover. Jealousy also makes an appearance, leaving Constance less than enchanted with both Frederic and Leon.
I reduced it from the original French three acts, injecting more humour into a cynical play of which one early 20th century critic wrote, “It is safe to say that since La Parisienne no French dramatic author has had the courage to revive the sentimental triangle.” The critic was wrong, of course.
A 6-minute segment, now called Jealousy with a Twist, played as part of Asphalt Jungle Shorts (Kitchener, Ontario) in 2014.
One Rose, Two Thorns is one act of What the Heart Wants, my full-length trilogy of marital (in)fidelity.
Unlock it and give me the letter.
You can’t be serious.
Don’t I look serious?
You suspect me of cheating?
In a word – yes.
And you really want to read the letter?
You’re ordering me.
(embarrassed but still determined, he nods yes)
(looking directly at him, she extracts the key from her cleavage and holds it out to Leon . . . and then drops it on the floor)
Unlock it yourself.
(she walks away from him; he stays motionless, only his indecision containing his impatience)
Go ahead – pick it up and open the case. Have the courage of your convictions. . . .
(stung, he strides over to where the key fell and starts to bend over)
Just make sure that’s what you really want to do. Because if you touch that key with so much as a fingertip – just one fingertip – you won’t like what happens next.
(hesitates, takes a pen out of his pocket, bends over, picks up the key ring with the pen, then offers it, dangling, to Constance)
(takes the key, puts it in her pocket, sits down and makes herself comfortable)
It’s getting worse, you know.