The stage: A small wooden deck with sturdy balusters, overlooking a vegetable garden in late season.
Enter Gigi. The six-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel saunters across the deck, untroubled. It’s hard to tell by looking at her, but Gigi is a former rescue dog, and a traveled one, too: She’s lived in Singapore and Manhattan and (for the past two years) this Boston suburb.
Gigi takes all that in stride, though. If her past has taught her anything, it’s to relish what’s really important. Her portly figure implies a dog who has that much straight. Suddenly, Gigi notices something that piques her stomach.
Scene 1: Gigi spies a green tomato that has fallen from its vine in the garden. From the glint in her eye and quickening of her step, it’s clear she considers the green tomato a tasty prize -- a lucky harvest her enterprising belly has stumbled upon.
Scene 2: Hazy in her working knowledge of spatial relevance, Gigi attempts to reach the tomato by squeezing her ample physique through the (blasted!) unforgiving deck rails. In an instant, she regrets the enthusiasm with which she enjoyed last night’s second helping of chicken pot pie, delivering in response to her successful (if pitiful) whining. She wonders whether she might have managed the evening just as well with less, and whether that might have made all the difference right now.
Scene 3: She is so close to the object of her affection, yet so far. Whether she sings like a Siren to entice the tomato to her, or whether she cries in agony for the tragedy of it all ... is hard to say. Whatever the case, the tomato remains unrelenting, and silent as stone.
Scene 4: Gigi is nothing if not patient. In the life of a dog, “waiting” is an occupation to which is devoted significant resources. A dog, after all, is always waiting for something: the sound of kibble in the bowl, a car engine in the driveway, a key in the door lock. What else can Gigi do ... but wait, wait, wait?
Scene 5: Suddenly, it’s clear: Here’s the true tragicomedy of Gigi’s predicament: The audience sees that the deck railing extends only a few feet beyond her current spot on the deck. If you were there, you’d want to urge her to walk around the railing, hop into the garden from its short end, and seize the green orb as her own. You might wave your arms about like an air traffic controller on the runway, signaling a clear path. To resolution ... to victory! But even if you did, she wouldn’t respond.
Otherwise, this wouldn’t be much of a story at all. It wouldn’t tell a tale that’s fuller than an unripe tomato: A tale about want. And desire. And how -- in the end -- the shortest path isn’t always the most successful route to what your heart seeks most.