Telephodot (aka “Threnody”) / Samuel Beckett

There’s a “video” of this at Vimeo. This was my working treatment:

On a distant hillside two small figures were making their way down to a far-away road. Behind them, green waves of grass gave way to higher misty hills, on a backdrop of distant mountains. The mountaintops were lost in the clouds and their slopes were a gauzy purple.

The figures moved microscopically, or perhaps the silence and the distance gave the illusion of slow motion. The road before them was unpaved, broad, no more than a wide patch of gravel and dirt among the tufts of grass. At each side the vegetation was dusty and burnt, bracketing the road up and down the hills like strips of old newspaper.

Eventually the figures stood on the road, as if looking each way, perhaps deciding which direction to follow. They were too far off to see clearly. They appeared to turn and look back, up the slope they had just descended. They appeared to be talking, but in brief animated bursts separated by long moments just waiting. Mostly they stood facing each other, looking down. They might have been thinking. Perhaps they were considering what to say.

After a long time, one of them sat down by the side of the road, and began doing something with his boots.

In the late afternoon, two more figures appeared in the distance to the east, moving down the center of the road. They walked single file, as if there might have been a line connecting them. As they drew closer to the first two, one could just make out large pieces of luggage carried by the first man. The second man occasionally waved a buggy whip as if snapping it in the air, but there was no sound.

When the second pair of men reached the first two, all four of them became engaged in conversation, but my attention was drifting. Later, I noticed the travelers had gone on.

Still later, in the fading light I could just see a boy picking through the bushes farther off. He seemed to be heading for the two men, who were still standing in the road. But the day was failing, and I did not wait to see.

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