The Garden Maze – A One Act Play

Reading a play versus seeing a play are two very different experiences.  In most cases, the playwright is writing for performance – and the words are never intended for general readership. But what if the opposite was true?

Although I used Strindburg and Maeterlinck’s writing styles as my primary references, I also borrowed styles from Ibsen, Wedekind, and Buchner. I wrote this play to be read and I kept it to one act because I wanted to focus mainly on the dialogue. No word, stage direction, and description is without function. Further, the symbolist movement greatly influenced me so that everything is designed to reflect a larger allegorical message.

In summary, be forewarned:  everything is wildly open to interpretation.


A Man and A Woman


It’s deep into the night. A massive and complex garden maze lies in bird’s eye view. The garden maze is in the shape of a square but circular within. A round clearing lies directly in the middle of the maze and the crumbling remnants of a building lay at the back end of the clearing. A man and a woman enter the clearing simultaneously from opposite paths.

Man: There you are!

Woman: I’m sorry, but do I know you?

Man: (looks her over) Well, no, but … it’s as if I could know you.

Woman: I guess you have a point there. {Looks around nervously} Where are we?

Man: You don’t know either?

Woman: No. I’ve been trying to find my way for – well, it seems like an eternity now.

Man: Same here. I just happened to stumble upon this place. {He walks a little closer and lowers his voice) Hey, do you think we’re lost?

Woman: [She leans forward and whispers] I have gradually concluded that it’s possible. I am happy I’m not alone, although, it frightens me some that you’re here.

Man: {in a normal tone} Confirmation can do that. {He points towards the ruins) Shall we sit there for a while?

Woman: I suppose it couldn’t hurt.

{Both walk over to the ruins and sit on some of the debris. They silently scan their surroundings.}

Man: I have heard some strange things recently.

Woman: Oh?

Man: The storm in the north, she is progressively getting worse. {Sound of wind rising and falling is heard)

Woman:  I can feel her crying.

[Sound of water crashing is heard}

Man:  The tall wave from the south! Can you hear it?

Woman: I can feel it coming!

{Both stand up and walk quickly away from the ruins. They both look at each other for a moment. They embrace.}

Woman: The sounds are fading now.

Man: Yes I can only hear faint whispers now.

Woman: Now it’s just a memory.

{They end their embrace}

Woman: We must look to the east now. It can’t be avoided anymore.

Man: Every time I gaze over there, I get sand in my eyes. The sandstorms sweep too much of the sand over here.

Woman: We could close our eyes – although sand has a tricky way of getting in no matter what. {Both look back at the ruins and shudder) We should leave here.

Man: With the fire in the west, I feel as though this may be the safest spot for us. {He looks around the clearing but finds nothing} Yes, I think we are better off staying here until we can figure out where we are.

Woman: I feel trapped. I feel like I’m in the middle of a cross fire. {Man begins to whistle a tune} In the middle of the war of the – what are you whistling?

Man: Was I whistling? {Shakes his head as if to wake himself up} Oh I suppose I was! You see the flowers on either side of us? They reminded me of a song from childhood.

Woman: They are quite beautiful.

Man:  I’ll pick some for you. Afterwards, I’ll sing you the song. [Man walks over to the left side of clearing and picks a violet from the hedge. He then walks over to the right side of the clearing and picks a rose. He returns to the center of the clearing where the woman remains standing and hands her both flowers} Now, let me see if I remember the song correctly:

“Roses are Red and Violets are blue”—

Woman: Enough! I’m sick of that song.

{Both fall into an uncomfortable silence}

Woman: Doesn’t it seem strange that the flowers only grow on separate sides of the garden?

Man: I suppose. It wasn’t always so.

Woman: {she brightens for a moment} Oh yes! That’s right. [she pauses and then drops both flowers on either side of her; usual demeanor returns]

Man: War of the flowers.

{Both look out to the East}

Woman: I wish that we knew what was going on. I feel more and more scared by the second.

Man: Perhaps if we look to the stars. {They both look up} In the end, we always have the stars.

Woman: Yes, although they scare me too.

{Both continue to look up. They both stand this way silently for a while}

Woman: How’s this going to end?

Man: I don’t know if it does. {Looks over at the woman} In the end we are only two people in a garden.

Woman: {Meets the man’s stare} In the end, a garden with two people can become the most powerful force.

The End

Author: Sigalle Barness

Sigalle champions and grows people's brand awareness through impactful stories that are authentic, meaningful, and thought provoking. She designs communications strategies that underscore the why and how behind a person's work. Sigalle also strategically delivers episodic content focused on conversations and interviews with key figures that truly reflect the business, professional, and educational needs of legal industry. Sigalle's favorite things in the whole world are her husband and two children. Sigalle also loves good food and travel. She is an avid lover of music, video games, blogging, and cooking.

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