THE SWORD BRIDGE

THE SWORD BRIDGE

by

Virginia Shepherd

FADE IN:

EXT. A DESERT PLATEAU — DAY

LANCELOT, a young medieval knight, is pacing the edge of the plateau and staring at a lush jungle across the abyss.

LANCELOT
Bollox!

In the jungle, a beautiful woman, GUINEVERE, dressed in white chiffon, is hiding and  watching Lancelot. 

GUINEVERE
Lancelot, the greatest knight in Christendom, is having a bad day. Dear Lance has been following his heart’s desire. And when one does that, things usually go from bad to worse. Or not. Lancelot simply must find a way over here. Because I am here. Guinevere. His heart’s desire. But poor Lance cannot reach me. It’s impossible. Look.
(indicating the abyss)
Raging waters swallowing up everything in fear and desire. Simply dreadful. The truth is, this abyss can’t be crossed with a single leap of faith. It is too vast; too full of empty promises and dreams unfulfilled that even the most courageous heart in Christendom can’t ignore.
(to Lancelot)
Oh, do not dream of the impossible, my love. It will only make you weep.

LANCELOT
(staring across the abyss)
Gwen….?

Lancelot dejectedly strips off his amour and flings his sword across the gorge. It miraculously bridges the abyss.

LANCELOT
Wonderful. Bloody damn wonderful. I’m not going to do it.

He prepares to dive into the gorge.

GUINEVERE (V.O.)
Lance.

LANCELOT
Gwen…?

GUINEVERE (V.O.)
It’s impossible, you know.

LANCELOT
Well, I haven’t much choice, have I? What? That? A balancing act? No. I’d rather dive in and drown.

GUINEVERE (V.O)
Oh, ye of little faith.

Lancelot turns to jump.

GUINEVERE (V.O.)
I love you, Lance.

LANCELOT
Bloody good that does me.

Across the abyss a scantily-clad Guinevere files her nails. Lancelot sees her.

LANCELOT
Guinevere.

GUINEVERE
Yes?

LANCELOT
Stop it.

GUINEVERE
What?

LANCELOT
I’m perfectly prepared to sacrifice myself for you. But please. Allow me to do so without…falling head over heels over you.

GUINEVERE
Oh, Lance. Please. Just give it a try.

LANCELOT
No. It’s impossible.

GUINEVERE
(indicating the abyss)
And that isn’t?

LANCELOT
I’m diving in.

GUINEVERE
You’ll just come back.

LANCELOT
What? Bloody hell. I’ve done this before? How many times, exactly?

GUINEVERE
(checking a notebook)
Umm…Five thousand, three hundred and seventy-two times. Precisely.

LANCELOT
Right. I’m jumping…again.

He jumps. 

GUINEVERE
Oh, dear.

Guinevere makes a check in her notebook.

EXT. A DESERT PLATEAU — MORNING

Lancelot, with a shaved head and garbed as a yogi, sits chanting.

GUINEVERE (O.S.)
Lance? LANCE!

Lancelot’s eyes snap open. Guinevere stands across the abyss.

GUINEVERE
It is I. Guinevere. The love of your life. Do you not remember?

Smiling, Lancelot resumes his chanting.

GUINEVERE
He’s dreaming of me again. Now this could be a very long wait.

Seasons and lifetimes pass.

EXT. A DESERT PLATEAU — MORNING

Lancelot, now a bearded and aged yogi, sits meditating.

GUINEVERE (V.O.)
Lance?

LANCELOT
Yes, my love?

GUINEVERE (V.O.)
Do you dream still?

LANCELOT
I am awake.
(looking at the bridge)
Not a problem.

Guinevere appears across the abyss.

GUINEVERE
Lance?

LANCELOT
My love?

GUINEVERE
You will never make it to the other side if you are not yourself. The way is too full of empty promises; of dreams unfulfilled.

LANCELOT
I am myself.

Clamoring onto the bridge, he gets tangled in his robes and with a laugh tumbles into the abyss.

EXT. A DESERT PLATEAU — MORNING

A middle-aged LANCELOT in full amour snaps open his visor, stares at the sword bridge, shuts his visor and crosses his arms. Guinevere appears across the abyss. A terrible storm is brewing.

GUINEVERE
Lance?

Lancelot’s visor pops open.

LANCELOT
What?

GUINEVERE
Your armour will rust.

LANCELOT
Mind your own business.

His visor snaps shut. The storm breaks.

EXT. A DESERT PLATEAU — LATER

Rain-soaked and clad in his underwear, Lancelot reaches for his armour.

GUINEVERE (O.S.)
Not the armour, dear.

LANCELOT
(pulling on his helmet)
I’ll wear whatever I bloody well choose. My sword, if you please, madam.

From across the abyss, Guinevere points to the bridge.

LANCELOT
My sword?

Guinevere nods.

LANCELOT
Really, Gwen. It’s not my best sword. It could break. What then?

Guinevere shrugs, indicating the abyss.

LANCELOT
Bloody hell.

Two chained lions appear at the other end of the bridge.

LANCELOT
Gwen!! What…?

GUINEVERE
Another adventure?

Lancelot steps on the bridge. His visor suddenly snaps shut.

LANCELOT
Bollux!

GUINEVERE
Lancelot, the greatest knight in Christendom, is having a bad day.

LANCELOT
Oh, shut up!

Groping across the razor-sharp bridge, his hands and feet become terribly bloody. He falters.

GUINEVERE
You’ve got to keep moving, Lance. Will yourself to move forward.

LANCELOT
Can I?

GUINEVERE
Of course. Remember who you are. Steady on, dear. Push your visor up.

LANCELOT
I’ll fall.

GUINEVERE
Don’t…think. And don’t look down–

Lancelot pops his visor, looks down, loses his balance and nearly falls. He dangles upside down on the bridge.

LANCELOT
I need help, Gwen. Give me something!  Anything!

GUINEVERE
You have nothing.

LANCELOT
I should have something. I am the greatest knight in Christendom.

GUINEVERE
Oh, my love. You are a very foolish nobody.

LANCELOT
I need my good sword–and a lance–that’s it! For balance.

GUINEVERE
Wouldn’t work. You’d fall off and drown. It’s happened before.

LANCELOT
Right…I forgot. I’m jumping.

GUINEVERE
Please, Lance. Do try to endure.

LANCELOT
I cannot move forward. 

GUINEVERE
Not even an inch?

LANCELOT
What bloody good would that do?

GUINEVERE
Well. You never know. Do try.

Lancelot recovers and moves an inch. He slumps.

GUINEVERE
Patience, my dear.

LANCELOT
I can do nothing.

GUINEVERE
That is the point, I’m afraid.

Seasons, lifetimes pass.

EXT. THE SWORD BRIDGE — LATER

Motionless on the bridge, a greatly aged Lancelot moves one finger and is propelled nearly across the bridge.

GUINEVERE (V.O.)
Bravo, my darling. Don’t look…

Lancelot raises his head. The chained lions roar.

GUINEVERE (V.O.)
Quick! Close your visor!

LANCELOT
What? And fight blind?

GUINEVERE (V.O.)
Fight from your heart, my dear.

Lancelot’s visor snaps shut. He leaps across the bridge.

EXT. GUINEVERE’S PLATEAU — LATER

LANCELOT lies bloodied on the ground. Guinevere approaches and gently removes his helmet.

GUINEVERE
Lance?

LANCELOT
The lions? What…?

GUINEVERE
I don’t remember.

She pulls out her notebook. Lancelot stops her, shaking his head.

GUINEVERE
No. Quite right.
(cradling his head)
Our revels now are ended my dear…We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

EXT. GUINEVERE’S PLATEAU — LATER

A young 20-year-old Lancelot lies sleeping with an envelope on his chest. He wakes and opens it.

GUINEVERE (V.O.)
I had to leave. Follow me. P.S. You won’t regret it. The greatest knight in Christendom never does. Yours eternally, Guinevere.

LANCELOT
(shouting)
Is it impossible?

GUINEVERE (V.O.)
Of course, my dear. It always is.

FADE OUT:

 

  • Vernon C. Williams

    Very original and entertaining. Enjoyed the play very much. Would love to see it on the silver scrreen.

  • Cynthia

    Beautiful and romantic!

  • Kathy

    love the past life references! Isn’t that how it goes?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ledivo Roi Boyd

    Fabulous play!!! Best I’ve read in a long time!
    Now correct me if I’m wrong but I am sensing a concept of, perhaps, a reincarnation in time. Lancelot repeatedly comes back to cross the bridge….to complete the task. We see him as 20, then later at 45, and he’s older. I like the concept of such and I’m feeling the message here that as hard as it may be where one may want to give everything up, one has to move. Whether it is backward or forward, one must move. Isn’t that what Guinevere told him? “You’ve got to keep moving”.
    I love the technical aspects that are part of the mise en scene. For instance, Guinevere’s lines for the first two scenes pretty much are voice overs. Also the digital image of the tigers is well woven in.
    I’m in love with Guinevere’s voice, the entire quotes pertains, in this space and time, y’know, Guinevere and Lancelot, the world of the play and one of the play’s underlying messages…life is rounded with a sleep and it is sort of “magical” for Lancelot.

  • Tina Shull

    “THE SWORD BRIDGE” Loved it!

  • A Burton

    wonderful- fabu-loved it

  • patricia nance

    Jolly good fun!

  • Jerry

    What a fanciful, evocative, delightful play. I want more.

  • Ardie

    Every man knows the love he could not have. Even when it seems just within his grasp, the bridge disappears and becomes an abyss. The one true love lies only fingertips away, and yet beyond reach. Lance spends his life searching for ways to cross the bridge. Gwen knows it is for naught. Such it is a beautiful story. But is it really just a story?