Charley meets Lincoln

(Charley steps out of the shadow.)


CHARLEY
You’ve got a really great voice, kid.


LINCOLN

I’m sorry. I didn’t know anyone could hear me.


CHARLEY
It’s a tent. I could hear you halfway across the field. I’m sure everyone else could too, if they were paying attention, but I guess I’m it. I’m Charley, by the way. I’m with the White Dragoons.


(Offers his hand)


LINCOLN

(Shakes Charley’s hand) I’m Lincoln Foster. My parents are Marjory and Oliver Foster. I guess. I never get to see my father much anymore.


CHARLEY
He’s still your father, even if he’s not around anymore. Do you miss him?


LINCOLN

I don’t know. I want to, but he walked out on us for some other woman I’ve never even met. Mother won’t talk about it or let me talk about it either.


CHARLEY
Because it hurts, Lincoln. She’s in pain too, and dollars to doughnuts; I bet that’s why she’s here now. She’s a big name, you know. She could be on a Broadway stage right now if she wanted to, but she’s spooked. She’s hiding in a place she doesn’t want to be from a situation she doesn’t want to face, and she’s hiding you with her because she believes she needs to protect you from everything that put her here to begin with. But you’ve both got something you can’t hide forever, and it’s something the whole world needs. It wants you to succeed and will do everything it can to see that you do, but the universe also knows you need the chance to take a breath and get your bearings. Look at the tent Lincoln and tell me what you see.


LINCOLN
Stars. Spots of the canvas with no paint so the sun can light them up against the dark background.


CHARLEY

Look deeper. Don’t use your eyes, use your heart and tell me again.


LINCOLN
It’s just a tent.


CHARLEY
Just humor me a minute. Look with your peripheral vision. See all around you at once. Now pull it up from inside and understand it with your heart. I know you know what I mean.


LINCOLN
It’s the universe. It just goes on forever.


CHARLEY

Now you’re where you need to be. And do you see where you are in it?


LINCOLN
I’m right here behind my eyes.

CHARLEY
Interesting. Yes, you are. It’s essential to not only know who you are but where you are in that universe, and that universe is us. We are all there with you. Life is all about relationships with each other. Knowing how to navigate through our universe is what the Astrolabe is for, in every sense of the word. That’s why we’re all here. That’s what Astrolabe means. We’re the tiny representation of the entire universe of ideas and possibilities. We are the umbra recta, the shadow square of the sun. It is the shadow that falls upon us that gives us the barring to go on with. We are what points towards the light, to what is real, and what is needed. You and your mother are not here on accident. You were sent here just like the rest of us.


LINCOLN
Sent here by who? I don’t think I understand.

CHARLEY
You don’t need to, because it understands you. You are unique, just like everyone else. Keep your chin up. I see you, Lincoln Foster, and I have a strong feeling that by the time this is over, everyone else will too.

(During this, he walked to the stage right tent flap and pulled it back as to exit.)


LINCOLN

What about you?

CHARLEY
What do you you mean?


LINCOLN
You said, “sent here like the rest of us.” What about you?


CHARLEY
The truth is, Lincoln, I’m more the wise guy than wise. That whole speech I lifted from Peter. I didn’t know what an umbra recta was either, and I sure don’t know the answer to your question. I don’t know who sent us, but I think I know why. We’re all here because we’re stuck.


LINCOLN
Stuck?

CHARLEY
Yeah, stuck. Somewhere along the way to wherever we’re supposed to go, we got mired down in life. We’re all just in some kind of waiting room with each other, trying to figure it all out. It sounds like your Ma needs to figure out where to turn next in her life, and it seems to me like you are all wrapped up in that as well. So you ended up here. Hence, the Astrolabe, the one place that can guide you back onto your path again. It brings people here that seem to be able to help each other out, then they move on, and others fill their place. Some are only here for a little while, some for a long time.


LINCOLN
So, what about you? Why are you here?


CHARLEY
I’m still workin’ on that


I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS (CHARLEY)
I kinda’ wandered in one day and never wandered out
I was fellin’ kinda aimless, and my future seemed in doubt
I was always good at all the things that mattered most to me
But there’s something missing, I’m not sure that I can do without.

I’ve been searching for the answer to my quandary
So maybe you can help and see the thing that I can’t see


I don’t know what it is that isn’t there
I don’t know what it is or even if I oughta care
It’s right there on the edge of where I’m completely unaware
I don’t know what it is that isn’t there


I don’t know what it is that isn’t there
So I cant complain and say it really isn’t fair
of the knowledge, something ought to be you’re painfully aware
if you don’t know that it exists, do you think you can really miss
or would you go on within your bliss and make yourself oblivious
would it disrupt your sense of savoir-faire

That’s the great part of accompanying yourself. You can throw in all kinds of extra syllables and get away with it.

He stands, looks around as the music continues to play, shrugs and begins a soft shoe break, which Lincoln joins in on before finally spinning down onto the piano bench to finish his song


Befuddlement become me, as you can plainly see
I should be proud and say out loud I’m glad that this is me
But I know that I’m unsettled. That something isn’t right
So I’m looking for the answers to put my world right


Perhaps it isn’t hidden, but right before my eyes
Dancing on my cerebellum in a very good disguise
So with this motivation, I begin investigations
in hopes that I can last arrive at some illumination.

I don’t know what it is that isn’t there
I don’t know what it is or even if I oughta care
But I promise I will not give in to sadness or despair
and I say with humble gratitude, I’m glad that you are there.
To share with
I have to stop; I’m running out of rhymes for there
but I will help you too, just be aware.

LINCOLN
(Giggles)


CHARLEY
So that’s my answer, kid. There seem to be several ways I could go in my life, and I’m not sure which path to take. I guess I’m waiting for discernment. Now, if you don’t mind, I will try again to make my dramatic exit and walk over here while making idle chatter. When I reach the tent flap, I turn and say, “Enjoy the show, Lincoln Foster. It may give you exactly what you’re looking for, just in a way you won’t see coming,” then back up out of sight like this.


(Lincoln smiles at the space he just left and the stage to black,
curtain down