Another curious tale that came up in discussions with a previous incarnation of the group was the problem of obsession and how far would a person convince themselves that they were correct in their assumptions. Character became secondary to this premise. The play came about from a throwaway remark by Martin Summers that the past never really leaves one. Jack Maltravers, the reclusive author of a series of mystical novels, vanished fifty years ago from his tied cottage in the Forest of Dean while staying there with his wife Melissa, a noted wildlife photographer. Feted by critics and public alike, Jack was never easy with his reputation. Struggling desperately with the beginnings of his new novel "Tied Cottage", the nightmares seem to plague him during the day. Melissa is surprised by his lack of confidence and does not believe him when he says that the shadow now tormenting him will also be his nemesis. . .
I have included an extract below.
Melissa; You said you would tell me what was said. Put more wood on the fire afterwards.
Jack: Green is the colour of life, of energy. I should have told Dennis. He seems as insecure as ever, He never forgave Alfred Hitchcock for purchasing the rights to "The Forbidden Territory." There is now talk of a film version of "The Devil Rides Out" I told him to believe it when it happens. He should get Richard Burton for the central part.
Melissa: In your dreams. Why would a good chapel boy like that want to appear in a film about black magic?
Jack: You have a way of cheering me up. Well, Dennis is content with the screenplay and it appears the producer is looking for backers on the continent. It could work if they get the right people involved. We then spoke about the usual things. He still has many good ideas. I told him I had the flu and that was the reason why we never visited. There is a crate of wine awaiting us the next time we turn up.
Melissa: That's nice of him. I would have said, if the film were made, it would have to be toned down. How could they get away with half of what is in the book?
Jack: That is the bane of an author's life.
Melissa: What's wrong, Jack. You seem so distant on times.
Jack: The dreams have started again. The terrors will not cease. The voice tells me that this is the way I should begin the story. I then see darkness, my fingers are torn, bloodied, as I smell the fetid, cloying earth around me that I dig with my bare hands. The earth becomes saturated with my blood as it also seems to have prior knowledge of my thoughts. The moon is set in January. I clearly remember that. The wolf month. These thoughts are told in a whisper as my eyes become luminous. I would then half turn and the cottage would no longer be there. I try to awaken, Melissa. You know I have no faith in those bastard doctors. They would say I have become too introspective. I have never seen it like that. I enjoy solitude as long as you are here. They could declare me insane.
Jack: This is the first time I have spoke of this. Will there be a reprieve? I believe the cottage is responsible for my condition. I forgot to tell you a ladybird landed on my elbow while I was taking old Archie for a walk the other day.
Jack: I killed it.
Melissa: For goodness sake, Jack.
Jack: Please hear me out. You must understand. I was petrified because I remembered what Mam told me. The number of spots on the ladybird represents the five wounds of Christ. There were only two on this ladybird's back. That means I have less that two months to live. I write no more after that. . .
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