The stage is split in two. On the left is the army hospital ward and on the right is the courtroom where Mata Hari’s trial continues. Jaque enters stage left to meet with Vadime who sits in a large chair with a cover over his knees staring out over the audience his face still wrapped in bandages.
Jaque: Captain De Massloff … Jaque Pascale …I have come a long way to see you. I am a friend of Zelle’s.
Jaque: Marina I believe is your name for her.
Vadime: She told you this?
Jaque: Yes … I am a friend. I have come to you because I know that it is you and only you she loves. Zelle needs your help.
Vadime: Ah then you must know why she has not answered my letters.
Jaque: She has not answered because she cannot. She is accused of being a German spy and is at this very moment on trial. It is my hope that you can return to Paris with me and clear her name. I know that you are ill and it is not easy to travel but …
Vadime: Wait … not so fast… a friend you say. How did you meet my Marina?
Jaque: We met in Monmartre before the war…
Vadime: And then …. ?
Jaque: And then nothing. I am an artist monsieur she showed no interest in me.
Vadime: Yet you have remained devoted to her all these years? You are in love with my Marina.
Jaque: Yes I admit it.
Vadime: Still you have the courage to face me. Must be serious indeed. Very well I shall ask for leave. Give me some time to prepare. Give me until tomorrow.
Jaque: I cannot wait until tomorrow. I must return to Paris immediately and let her know you are on your way.
Vadime: Then you must trust that I will be there as soon as I can.
Jaque: I have your promise?
Vadime: Of course.
( Lights come up on the courtroom stage right. Zelle addresses the court.)
Zelle: Lies,lies all lies!. I’ve done my duty for France. What of the information I gave concerning the Germans offloading soldiers on the Moroccan coast? That information cost me much but I didn’t complain. You are right monsieur I was out of my depth. I know my limitations. There are two things I do exceptionally well Monsieur. I am a dancer and I am a lover. There is no crime in this. I’ll prove it to you the only way I know how.
Zelle attempts to stand but the guards restrain her. She looks pleadingly at the judge who motions to the guards to release their hold. She unbuttons the bodice of her dress to reveal a jewelled bra underneath. She then parts her skirts to reveal a silk petticoat. She removes her skirts and begins to dance as music fades in. The courtroom is entranced. Zelle manouvres herself in and out of the aisles, writhing sensuously to the steady beat of drums and the distant strains of Javanese temple music. She chants in in Javanese as if envoking the gods. Suddenly the coutroom is transformed into a temple with all present becoming worshippers and with the judge as Budda. The music rises and all begin to chant in unison. Zelle kneels at the bench as if it were an alter with Budda staring down upon her.
Zelle: Please believe I am just a slave to the dance. Nothing more.
Judge: Need I remind yo this is a court of law madame. It is not a stage on which to entertain but a platform for judgement.
We thank you for this somewhat rivetting performance but would be most grateful if you would cover yourself and again take your seat ( She does so and the guards escort her to the stand. ) Thank you. Shall we continue with the proceedings? …. What now?
( Jaque enters the courtroom with and beckons Clunet. He whispers to him that Vadime is on his way. Clunet then informs Mornet and Mornet approaches the bench to speak in confidence with the judge. Clunet informs Zelle. She looks across at Jaque, smiles at him, then faints. )
©’ Eye Of The Dawn’ by Renee Dallow
Hybiscus Bloom 3/7/2013