• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 09
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Tight For Time

Michael – the costume designer
Cora – the magician's assistant
Setting: a dressing room under the stage

Michael: In all my years as Head of Costumes, I have never had my expertise questioned. It's got to be either the snakeskin or the gold lamé and, quite frankly, with your colouring, it has to be the lamé. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is.

Cora: Michael. Look at me. I'm not Debbie McGee. I'm not that kind of magician's assistant. Dev's not that kind of magician. This is raw magic, Michael.

Michael: Raw? I've been in this business all of my working life. I've seen every trick. If you're going to be clambering in and out of boxes, you need a bodysuit.

Cora: I'm wearing this.

(Michael scoffs)

Michael: (under breath) Huh. We'll see about that.

Cora: Michael, look at me.

(Michael resolutely looks the other way)

Cora: I can make you look… (Cora waits) Michael… what's this?

Michael: If you think you can make me turn around, then I'm afraid you're surely mistaken... The snakeskin then? A compromise.

Cora: I don't wear animals. Michael.


Tight For Time

(Michael spins around)

Michael: Oh, for goodness' sake, Cora. You know as well as I do that it's not real – What have you got there? Where did you find that?

Cora: (running her fingers inside the corset) I magicked it here.

Michael: (sighs) Stop messing around. Let me see.

(Cora snatches it away from Michael)

Michael (cont.): OK, OK. Just tell me. Is there anything written on it? Inside? Look inside.

(Cora twirls it above her head)

Cora: What do you think is written inside, Michael?

Michael: (getting nervous) Is there a –? Might there be a –? A 'V'? Is there a letter 'V' inside?

Cora: A 'V', Michael? Now why would there be a 'V'?

(Cora gets down off the box and saunters over to a black and white photograph on the wall. She spins the corset around her wrist. She runs her finger over the figure in the photograph.)

Cora: Oh. You mean 'V' for Valentina? My mother was called Valentina. (Cora taps the photo) Did you know that? She didn't have to wear lamé. Or snakeskin, for that matter. She was made to wear a corset. This corset, as a matter of fact. She died, you know, Michael? Died wearing it. It was pulled too tight. Shame. She was good. Some little sixteen-year old upstart was responsible. Had aspirations to be Head of Costumes one day. His name was Michael.


Tight For Time

(Cora laughs. Michael looks uncomfortable)

Cora (cont.): I know magic, too, Michael. Black magic. Get into the box, Michael.

(Michael gets into the box)

Cora (cont.): That's it, Michael. Right in now. Mind your head.

(Cora pulls down the latch, switches off the light and locks the door behind her)