The Piano Lesson
THE PIANO LESSON
Screenplay for a film by
Maori dialogue and translator
Jan Chapman Productions Pty Ltd
2 Fairlight Street Leichhart 2040
4th draft 1991
Developed with the assistance of
The Australian Film Commission
Sc 1 Sc 1
ADA (VO - Scs 2 to 7)
The voice you hear is not my
speaking voice, but my mind's
I have not spoken since I was
six years old. No one knows
why, not even me. My father
says it is a dark talent and
the day I take it into my head
to stop breathing will be my
Today he married me to a man
I've not yet met. Soon my
daughter and I shall join him
in his own country. My husband
said my muteness does not
bother him. He writes and hark
this: God loves dumb creatures,
so why not he!
Were good he had God's patience
for silence affects everyone in
the end. The strange thing is I
don't think myself silent, that
is, because of my piano. I
shall miss it on the journey.
Sc 2 EXT SCOTTISH FIELD NEAR HOUSEDAY Sc 2
A woman in a dark crepe Victorian dress sits leaning against a tree,
her hands cover her face, around her neck she wears a writing pad. She
crosses a field with large bare trees, in the far background stands a
3 storey stone house.
Sc 3 INT SCOTTISH HOUSE CORRIDOR DAY Sc 3
A small girl roller skates down a dimly lit corridor. A parlour maid
looks down the hall where the girl has disappeared.
Sc 4 INT SCOTTISH HOUSE DRAWING ROOMDAY Sc 4
Three men wearing long grey aprons are fitting the packing for a
piano. On one of the men's arms is a tattoo of a whale in a wild sea.
Sc 5 EXT SCOTTISH HOUSE GROUNDS DAY Sc 5
The girl wearing her skates sits on a small black pony. An old man is
pulling it, but it won't move. (In the background, another aspect of
the grey stone house.)
Sc 6 INT SCOTTISH HOUSE FLORA'S BEDROOM NIGHTSc 6
The woman lifts back the sheets from the bottom of the sleeping girl's
bed. She is still wearing her skates. The woman cuts through the laces
and removes the boots. One disembodied skate rolls across the room.
Sc 7 INT SCOTTISH HOUSE DRAWING ROOMNIGHT Sc 7
The woman stands at a window lit by moonlight. Her skin appears
luminescently white. She touches the wooden window frame, the curtain,
the objects on the window sill, her mind abstracted, her hands
unconsciously performing a farewell. Turning from the window she moves
to a square piano crowded by packing boxes. In the dim light she
begins to play strongly. Her face strains, she is utterly involved,
unaware other own strange guttural sounds that form an eerie
accompaniment to the music.
An old maid in night-dress looks in. Abruptly the woman stops playing.
The emotion leaves her face, it whitens and seems solid like a wall.
CUT TO BLACK
Sc 8 EXT UNDERWATER BEACH DAY Sc 8
Under water a long boat passes overhead, its oars breaking the
Sc 9 EXT BEACH DAY Sc 9
Amidst a riotous sea a woman, ADA, is carried to shore on the
shoulders of five seamen. Her large Victorian skirt spreads across the
men's arms and backs, on her head a black bonnet, around her neck her
pad and pen. We should be forgiven if this woman seems a sacrificial
offering as the bay they carry her to is completely uninhabited. A
black sand backs on to an endless rise of dense native bush.
The breakers are chaotic, the men strain to keep their footing,
calling to each other.
Hold still you smutt! Blast the
Look up! Look up!
Lay to! Lay to.
Up with it you buggerers, hold
Damn me won't you hold?!
Two of the men are black, all are battered, tattooed and tough, some
Behind the woman is her daughter, a girl of ten in Scottish dress. She
too is carried on the shoulders of seamen.
ADA is placed on the sand. She looks down at her feet sinking into the
wet sand, then up at the huge confusion of fern and bush in front of
her. The sound of sea behind is thunderous.
Several of the seamen have formed a group and are pissing on the sand.
Her daughter is on all fours evidently being sick. But ADA's attention
is diverted to the seamen who are staggering through the waves with a
huge piano shaped box. They put it down as soon as they get to 5hore
but ADA makes gestures that they must immediately bring it to higher
safer ground. The piano placed to her satisfaction she hovers near it,
one hand in constant touch of it while her daughter grips her free
Sc 10 EXT BEACH DAY Sc 10
TWO SEAMEN finish carrying the last crate to shore. Trunks and boxes
including an open crate with hens are scattered carelessly along the
The SEAMEN gather together. After a discussion in which they look
between ADA and her child and their Coaster out on the sea, one of the
men approaches. Behind him the other men keep their eyes out to sea or
down on the sand. They don't want to be involved. The sight of the
women alone on this beach is too hopeless.
It's a little rough out there.
Could be they can't get through
to you in this weather. Maybe
they'll come over land.
Have you things for shelter?
What things have you?
ADA signs to her daughter. The little girl speaks clearly and loudly
She says, "thank you".
Puzzled, the man walks off, then turns and comes back.
Does your mother prefer to come
on with us to Nelson?
ADA signs vigorously to FLORA.
She says, No. She says she'd
rather be boiled alive by
natives than get back in your
(stunned) You be damn fortuned
I don't smack your puppy gob,
missy. Damn lucky.
SCENE 11 DELETED
Sc 12 EXT BEACH DAY Sc 12
ADA is sheltering behind the crated piano, anxiety etched on her face.
FLORA is asleep at her feet a half eaten biscuit in her hand ADA has
found a gap through the crate so that she might lift the lid and play
a few notes. The sweetness and comfort of the piano seem only to
exaggerate their isolation and hopelessness.
2- See notes
Suddenly a rush of sea water shoots straight under the raised crate of
the piano wetting her shoes. ADA stands, pushing FLORA onto her feet.
She is aghast to see the tide has crept in completely unnoticed.
They watch three of their boxes float out to sea. One of the hens has
escaped the crate and is bobbing up and down in the waves.
SCENE 13 DELETED
Sc 14 EXT BEACH DUSK Sc 14
There is just a pink streak left in the sky. ADA and FLORA shelter
inside their make-shift tent, a hooped petticoat secured at the edges
with stones. Inside the tent a candle lights up their conversation.
ADA is hand signaling a story to FLORA who lies back watching, nervous
and afraid. ADA's whole self is involved in the "telling", her face is
alight with expression, now tender, now sad, now humorous, now soft,
while her hands and fingers are deft and precise. From outside it is
an odd shadow play.
(hand signaling) Mother... I'm
(speaking) I'm not going to
call him Papa. I'm not going
to call HIM anything. I'm not
even going to look at HIM.
Sc 15 EXT BUSH ON WAY TO BEACH DAY Sc 15
Through a dense bush walk a party of fourteen MAORI people and two
EUROPEAN MEN. The wetness, closeness and darkness of the bush is such
that the air seems green, like at the bottom of a deep sea. Two of the
MAORIS share one pair of shoes and all of them are clothed in a
mixture of native and European costume. Of the Europeans one is small
and has a shy manner. He has a half completed Maori tattoo across his
cheeks. The other is a similar age about 45 and wears a suit, muddy
and out of place here in the bush. He staggers, spurts forward then
slows to a stop. His hair and face are wet and his skin reflects the
green foliage. BAINES the younger man turns and slows.
Are we stopping?... Do you want
The MAORI voices and laughter are becoming fainter. BAINES watches
torn between his concern for STEWART and the split in their party.
Shall we stop?
Unable to get an answer BAINES runs after the MAORIS.
Tai hoa! Me tatari tatou .., me
tutatou I konei.
(Wait! We are stopping.. we're
STEWART takes out a comb and drags it dazed and zombie like through
his wet hair. Inside the darkness of his pocket, he turns over and
over a small, worn edged photograph, a smudge of green light allows us
to see ADA's tumbling face. Taking it in the heel of his hand he
secretly looks at it. Just as the party return and settle he stares on
ahead possessed and determined.
We must get on.
The MAORIS look at BAINES bewildered.
(The fairy people, what can you
Sc 16 EXT BEACH MORNINGSc 16
It is early morning. The sea is calmer and the tide is again low. The
party or two EUROPEANS and fourteen MAORI MEN and WOMEN come out on to
the beach. About half the MAORI party head straight for the shoreline
where an older woman loudly organises a pipi collection. All sorts of
containers are used from flax baskets to shirts with knots in their
arms. The rest follow STEWART and BAINES over to the boxes. STEWART
automatically re-combs his hair, patting it against his forehead,
where it sticks in a raked pattern. On his head he carefully places a
formal top hat, oddly dean compared to his mud splattered suit. The
party stops short of the petticoats where a tell-tale foot reveals its
Miss McGrath, Alisdair Stewart.
You'll have to wake yourself.
I've got men here to carry your
ADA and FLORA struggle up to find themselves confronted by a group of
men and women. The MAORIS stare curiously and comment on the women.
Aut he anahera enci?
(Are they angels, they look
A man points at FLORA's feet and gestures as if holding one of the
little shoes in his hand.
Te monohi hoki!
FLORA is struck by shyness and hides under her mother's skirt. ADA
cannot look straight at STEWART and STEWART also cannot look at her.
I see you have a good many
boxes, I'd like to know what is
As ADA does not move STEWART is puzzled.
CAN - YOU - HEAR - ME?
ADA nods and looks up coldly, insulted by his slow loud speaking.
Well that is good, yes that is
STEWART smiling searches ADA's face for some sign of comprehension but
is unnerved by her lack of response. He stops smiling, and, patting
his hair walks to the closest box. Several of the MAORI party follow
behind STEWART while one of them closely and particularly mimics him.
What's in here?
ADA points to the writing already on the box saying "Crockery and
Ohh, yes so it is, written
And this one?
ADA writes "bedclothes and linen" on the pad around her neck- While
she writes he takes the opportunity to scrutinise her.
You're small. I never thought
you'd be small.
He walks to another chest
She writes "clothes". The MAORI mimic also pretends to write.
Finally he comes to the piano box. He lifts a corner experimentally.
What's in here then, lead?
(gravely) It's my mother's
The MAORIS touch the exposed legs of the piano. STEWART speaks to the
other European man BAINES.
Tell them to carry in pairs.
Those three and those two the
black and the red, then the
STEWART holds BAINES back a moment.
What do you think?
STEWART nods towards ADA. BAINES thinks a moment then turns towards
She looks tired.
She's stunted, that's one
BAINES walks over to HONE a big man and the MAORJ leader, he stands
tall with a great sense of his own importance. (Mana)
Anei nga pouaka - ko era e
Me era e raa.
(Here are the boxes, those
three and those two.)
HONE takes an aggressive fighting posture towards BAINES, insulted
that BAINES should suggest he might carry anything. HONE does not
carrying, he is the boss. With great dignity HONE retreats, too
injured to help. Other MAORIS come up and BAINES assigns them boxes.
ADA gets worried, the piano is being left alone. She writes on her
pad, "THE PIANO?" She shows STEWART.
Oh no, it can't come now.
It must come.
STEWART looks at FLORA
She wants it to come.
Yes and so do I, but there are
too few of us here to carry it.
TOO - HEAVY
ADA writes "I NEED THE PIANO." Her MAORI mimic copies her.
Do you mean you don't want your
kitchenware or your clothes? Is
that what you mean?
ADA signs to FLORA.
We can't leave the piano
Let us not discuss this
further. I am very pleased....
STEWART slows down as he watches ADA again sign to FLORA, he has the
uncomfortable impression he is being interrupted.
Mother wants to know if they
could come back directly for
STEWART is shocked, his mouth hangs slightly open, paused in mid
speech. TAHU mimics this mouth drop perfectly.
After they have taken the other
STEWART is growing confused and anxious. His two mimics and their
growing audience unnerve him further.
Kei Riri a te raho Maroke.
(shouted loudly at TAHU)
(Watch it dry balls is getting
STEWART nods suspiciously towards the MAORI speaker not understanding
him, the speaker smiles and nods back.
I suggest you prepare for a
difficult journey. The bush
will tear clothes and the mud
is deep in places.
STEWART walks away. ADA stands beside the piano turned away from the
activities. FLORA pats her hand trying to cheer her. Down on the beach
a fire is lit and pipis are prepared for cooking. Some of the young
men are racing naked into the sea.
(to BAINES about the MAORIS)
What are they doing? We don't
have time for that.
Sc 17 EXI BEACH DAY Sc 17
It is some hours later and the carrying party are beginning to make
their way up into the bush. ADA still stands beside her piano. FLORA
wants to follow the party. BAINES comes back along the beach, trailed
by a young Maori boy, KAHA.
Mr. Stewart asked if I might
show you to the path. (ADA does
not move) ... May I carry
ADA turns to BAINES, her face angry and defiant, her eyes full of
tears. BAINES falls back, struck by her show of emotion. ADA and FLORA
walk past him toward the bush.
Sc 18 EXT CLIFF ABOVE BEACH DAY Sc 18
The party threads its way through the bush along the cliff. ADA pauses
at the cliff top to see her piano below on the sand, tiny and
desolate. Its distance and her love of it suddenly strike her. Its
music is faint and becomes loud over the next scene.
Sc 19 EXT BUSH FROM BEACH DAY Sc 19
Brown feet squelch through the mud, finally followed by dainty boots
caked in dirt. The MAORI leaders of the party have stopped.
4 - See Note
BAINES works his way to the front.
(What is it?)
E hinga te Koroua ra B Pitama i
konci. Kare noa Kia hikina te
(Old man Pitama died here.
(points to the spot)
The Tapu hasn't been lifted)
STEWART struggles up to the front to join BAINES, he speaks over the
top of HONE.
What's he say?
Someone died here. It's tapu.
But we came down this way
didn't we? I'm sure we did.
The MAORI leaders continue discussing.
0h Pitama eh.
E Tarna heke atu ki ram - tiro
Rapuhia mai he huarahi re!
(Go and look, find another
'cia tupato he ana taniwba ke
(Go easy there's a ghost down
'Ca, rongo koe i te haunga a
tans tutae i te tuatahi. (You
smell his shit first.)
STEWART continues over the top of the MAORI discussion.
They want more money. They are
trying to make two days out of
No, no they know another track
- to the side of this.
ADA and FLORA sit watching, out of breath. The bush is dense,
claustrophobic and exotic. One of the MAORI women sits close to ADA
apparently not looking at her- Slowly she draws the scarf that is in
ADA's lap into her own. Defiantly she puts it on.
Meanwhile another woman makes a very dignified attempt to wipe the
freckles from FLORA's face.
Sc 20 EXT STEWART'S DAY Sc 20
It is another day and STEWART'S hut, bleakly set amidst smoking stumps
is full of squeals, chasing and antics.
Sc 21 INT STEWART'S HUT DAY Sc 21
The reverend in frock coat has a wedding dress stuck part way up his
arms. It is not a normal wedding dress but a backless one used again
and again as a photographic prop. Stewart's AUNT MORAG and her
companion NESSIE are trying to pull it off.
Watch your feet!
Watch your feet!
ADA and FLORA find the family fun frightening and have taken refuge in
Careful! Watch his hand.
Watch his hand
The REVEREND tickles his sister as she tries to get the sleeve off his
hand. NESSIE squeals with excitement.
NESSIE looks towards ADA panting with excitement at the fun.
(shooing the Reverend out)
We'll bring out the bride.
The two women now fit the wedding dress on ADA.
LIFT - YOUR - ARM - UP - DEAR.
FLORA sits on the bed sulkily. She leans back and crosses her leg.
My REAL father was a famous
Ohh the tag is broken.
(continues) .... They met when
my mother was an opera
singer... in Luxemburg...
The two women pause to look at FLORA. ADA signs to FLORA "THAT'S
ADA looks away, the two women finish primping the dress. FLORA crosses
I want to be in the photograph.
Sc 22 EXT STEWART'S Hut DAY Sc 22
NESSIE half holds an umbrella over ADA as they make their way to where
the camera is setup in front of a chair and a sparse display of three
toi-toi. All about the house is muddy, so much so that they must weave
their way through on planks and logs. A fine veil of rain is falling
across the distant bush, the whole valley is shrouded in mist. STEWART
looks through the camera at the REVEREND and the photographer who are
posing as the couple, complete with tatty bouquet. STEWART notices
ADA's arrival and seeing her as a real bride, his bride, he is
struckdumb with pride, even the rough tapes at the back or the dress
cannot destroy the illusion.
The umbrellas are held away, the rain pours down.
Sc 23 INT/EXT STEWARTS HUT BEDROOM DAY Sc 23
AUNT MORAG has brought a chair into the bedroom and sits knee to knee
I thought she met your father
Well, yes, in Austria where be
conducted the Royal Orchestra.
(frowning) And where did they
AUNT MORAG checks to see if someone is coming.
(her Scottish accent becomes
thick and expressive) In an
enormous forest, with real
fairies as bridesmaids each
holding a little elf's hand.
AUNT MORAG sits back, regarding FLORA with obvious disapproval and
disappointment. She smooths back her hair.
No, I tell a lie, it was in a
small country church, near the
AUNT MORAG is becoming involved again. She leans forward.
Which mountains are those dear?
Ohhh I've never been there.
(she leans forward)
Mother used to sing the songs
in German and her voice would
echo across the valleys
That was before the
Oh what happened?
MORAG looks over her shoulder as FLORA continues to talk, so
persuasive is FLORA's storytelling that the scene comes vividly to
life, albeit in FLORA's dark pupil.
One day when my mother and
father were singing together in
the forest, a great storm blew
up out of nowhere. But so
passionate was their singing
that they did not notice, nor
did they stop as the rain began
to fall and when their voices
rose for the final bars of the
duet a great bolt of lightening
came out of the sky and struck
my father so that he lit up
like a torch... And at the same
moment my father was struck
dead my mother was struck dumb!
Ohhh ... dear. Not another word
From the shock, yes it would
The story is interrupted by the return of the wedding party who are
dripping wet, exactly as the couple in the story. AUNT MORAG bustles
over to take off the wet wedding gown, her face puckered with tragedy.
Before she can undo the ties ADA pulls it from herself so aggressively
that the ties and part of the gown comes apart. None of this is a
concern to ADA who is distracted with fear for her piano. She crosses
to the little window and stares anxiously at the falling rain.
Sc 24 EXT BEACH DUSK Sc 24
Soft piano music has been playing over the previous scene. Now it
builds to strength as sea water swirls high around the piano, small
and embattled on the dark rainy beach.
Sc 23 INT STEWART'S HUT BEDROOM DAY Sc 25
It's morning of the next day. ADA and FLORA sit amongst tea chests in
the bedroom. ADA is signing intently to FLORA. FLORA signs back,
sometimes using words. STEWART watches uneasy with their secret
communication. As STEWART enters the animation is suspended. ADA
stands and takes a step back as if to attention.
I shall be gone for some days.
There is some Maori land I want
and may buy very reasonably.
(STEWART shuffles) I am hoping
you will use the time to settle
in, and, in some ways we may
FLORA and ADA look at each other.
ADA looks at him blankly, then nods.
Sc 26 EXT STEWART'S DAY Sc 26
ADA and FLORA dressed in cloaks and bonnets skirt the dense bush
trying to find a path in. It is not easy, because the bush is so
tight. ADA's leg slides in up to her calf in mud.
Sc 27 EXT BAINES' DAY Sc 27
ADA and FLORA arrive at BAINES' rough hut. It is mid-morning but
BAINES is not yet dressed. ADA hands him a note. BAINES looks at it
I'm not able to read.
ADA signs to FLORA.
Please take us to the beach
where we landed.
I'm sorry, I can't do that.
(FLORA and ADA stare evenly at
I don't have the time.
(They continue to stare.)
Sc 28 EXT BAINES' DAY Sc 28
It is much later when BAINES emerges from his hut with a saddle over
his arm. The two women are still there. ADA looks up at him
FLORA mirrors her expression.
I - can't - take - you there. I
can't do it.
He puts the saddle over a rail. He continues to saddle up, sneaking
glances at them from under the horse and around its side. They watch
him closely, not pleadingly, but stubbornly1 eerily of one mind.
Sc 29 EXT BEACH DAY Sc 29
The sky is blue with long wisps of cloud.
The party of three break onto the long expanse of beach where the
piano still stands. It has not been without visitors. There are
footprints on the sand and some of the boards have been pulled back.
ADA passes BAINES, walking urgently towards it. Soon, ADA has removed
enough boards that she may lift the lid and play the keys. EMNES stays
back. ADA takes great delight in feeling her fingers on the keys
again. Her whole composition is altered. She is animated, joyful,
Down on the wet sand FLORA does a wild dance of her own invention
using a seaweed wig. She finishes by rolling down the beach in the
BAINES views them with suspicion, yet he is magnetically drawn to the
spectacle He has never seen women behave with so much abandon. His
attention fixes on ADA's uninhibited emotional playing, and as he
watches, he finds himself edging irresistibly closer.
Sc 30 EXT BEACH LATE AFTER NOONSc 30
The shadows are long on the sand when BAIN'ES collects the boards. ADA
and FLORA are attempting a duet. ADA notices him come towards them
with the boards, obviously intending that they should leave. Her mood
darkens, she continues playing stubbornly even though FLORA has
stopped. Abruptly she finishes. In black spirits she replaces her cape
and bonnet. BAINES is struck by this sudden change, he watches her
mesmerised as he replaces the boards.
Sc 31 EXT BEACH NIGHT Sc 31
From a helicopter, the camera tracks along the beach, following the
crashing wave line, to find the piano.
SCENE 32 DELETED
Sc 33 EXT STEWART'S HUT & KITCHEN DUSK Sc 33
The hut puffs smoke out into the valley. The lie of the land traps
sound like a shell and the clear high notes of a voice echo out.
Suspicious that ADA is singing, STEWART approaches the house quietly.
Through the open kitchen door he sees that the keys of a piano have
been etched on the table top. While ADA "plays" the notes FLORA sings
STEWART puts his pack down. ADA stands to attention, folding the
tablecloth back over the table.
5, 6 + 7 See notes
ADA nods. STEWART'S hand explores the markings on the table. ADA
watches his hand moving under the checked cloth.
Sc 34 INT MISSION HOUSE DAY Sc 34
AUNT MORAG, NESSIE and TWO MAORI GIRLS dressed in proper Victorian
costume are kneeling around a huge double white sheet, sewing and
cutting it. The MAORI girls are part of the mission's good works. They
are dressed in European style and while their training is in polite
proper domestic behaviour they constantly corrupt it with their
demonstrative displays of affection, and their clay tobacco pipes to
which they are addicted.
STEWART is standing, looking on. BAINES is behind him in the kitchen
removing his boots.
(looking carefully at STEWART)
Well you stopped combing your
hair, which is a good thing, it
was looking over done.
(without pause but referring to
the sheet) You see these are
the slits that the heads will
go through, show him Nessie ...
they'll be dead, the Reverend
is going to use animal blood,
no doubt it will be very
(for NESSIE rather than to her)
It will be very dramatic.
NESSIE leaves to get the tea. HENI, the MAORI girl with a Moku tickles
MARI'S back while she sews.
They sing the anthem in snatches. It is background to the
What would you think if someone
played a kitchen table like it
were a piano?
Like it were a piano?
It's strange isn't it? I mean
it's not a piano, it doesn't
make any sound.
NESSIB puts STEWART'S tea down. BAINES comes in with his tea cup
dwarfed in his big hands. He stands back leaning against a wall.
(hissing to NESSIE) Biscuits.'
No, no sound.
NESSIE hustles back to the kitchen.
I knew she was mute, but now
I'm thinking it's more than
that. I'm wondering if she's
not brain affected.
No sound at all?
No, it was a table.
(musing) Well, she was very
violent with the gown. She tore
off a chunk of lace. if hadn't
been there I'd have sworn she'd
used her teeth
and wiped her feet an it.
Well it has not yet come to
anything. Just a concern.
AUNT MORAG pats her chest. a calming device.
Oh, yes, yes of course, a
There is something to be said
Oh indeed. Cotton'.
She holds her needle up for NESSIE to thread.
(warming) And with time she
will, I'm sure, become
Certainly, there is nothing so
easy to like as a pet and they
are quite silent.
BAINES watches quietly on.
Sc 35 EXT STEWART'S WOODCHOP DAY Sc 35
STEWART is at the woodshop cutting firewood. He displays his
virtuosity as an axeman, cutting the wood into ever more slender
pieces, FLORA is watching and stacking the fallen timber. She flinches
as the axe hits the wood, but scurries in to pick up the timber.
BAINES is standing talking to STEWART.
Those 80 acres, that cross the
stream, what do you think of
On your property?
BAINES carries a log across for STEWART who talks without pausing in
Good, flatish land with
reliable water, why? I don't
have money. What are you about?
I'd like to make a swap.
The piano on the beach? Ada's
BAINES nods. STEWART stops, this is serious.
It's not marshy is it?
STEWART has walked a few paces away from his wood chop in the
direction of the land.
You'd have to organise it up
Yes, I thought that.
Well Baines the music lover, I
never would have known. Hidden
I'll have to get lessons. It
wouldn't be much use without
Yes, I suppose you would.
BAINES remains silent. He looks away.
Well Ada can play.
I have it in a letter she plays
well. She's been playing since
she was 5 or6.
FLORA has stopped stacking. She is lying along the top of the wood,
lifting a leg up and down, watching the men.
Sc 36 INT STEWART'S KJTCHEN DAY Sc 36
STEWART, flushed with his plans, is pouring tea into cups. FLORA peers
at cup level through the steam. ADA sits beside her at the table.
I have got us some excellent
land. Baines has taken some
queer idea to have a piano, and
you are to give him lessons.
Have you taught before?
ADA signs to FLORA.
On your piano, that is the
ALA finger signs, her face furious.
What does she say?
She says it's her piano, and
she won't have him touch it.
He's an oaf, he can't read,
He wants to improve himself...
and you will be able to play on
it ... (ADA is not responding
well) Teach him to look after
ADA's breathing becomes heavy with anger, she writes Curiously on her
NO! NO! THE PIANO IS MINE! IT'S
STEWART regards her note and her passion with suspicion and disdain
(getting up) You can't go on
like this, we are a family now,
all of us make sacrifices and
so will you.
You will teach him. I shall see
ADA's emotions are suddenly removed and she views STEWART blankly,
Sc 37 EXT BUSH FROM BEACH DAY SC 37
The piano is taken up through the bush by a group of six to eight
MAORI MEN. It's very heavy and awkward and they grunt and struggle
HiM na ake 'nun na'.
(Lift up the back)
Tern - tern!
Hei niti niti maan!
You lick it.)
Someone stumbles and the back of the piano comes crashing to the
ground thundering out in the bottom end of the scale. People scatter.
Only one stays who warrior like challenges the piano.
Sc 38 EXT PATH TO BAINES DAY Sc38
The women duck low to avoid a branch as STEWART leads them to BAINE'S
hut. STEWART carries the piano stool. The path slopes up through a
strange, bearded forest where the tops of trees are bare and ghost
I'd try children's tunes,
nothing more complicated
ADA is unrepentant, she does not want to teach BAINES the piano.
Just be encouraging no one expects him to be good.
Sc 39 INT/EXT BAINES' HUT DAY SC 39
The piano is the only cared for item in the rough hut
(lifting the lid) It looks
good, very nice looking thing.
Well . I wish you luck. The girls
are very excited about the
The "girls" look anything but excited. FLORA shy, plays obsessively
with a long strand of greasy hair. ADA is cold and grim.
Flora will explain anything Ada says.
They talk through their fingers,
you can't believe what they say
with just their hands.
STEWART leaves. BAJNES goes to the piano and lifts the lid. He looks
at them. ADA signs to FLORA.
My mother wants to see your
hands. Hold them out.
BAINES holds out his hands, spread wide as if holding a ball.
No, no, like this
FLORA puts her neat little fingers together, first with their backs up
then she turns them over. HAINES does the same only his bands are big
and coarse. ADA signs to FLORA. BAINES is shyly keen.
You have to wash them.
They are washed.
Wash them again.
The marks do not come out.
They are scars and hardened
ADA and FLORA do not move. Humiliated BAINES takes a scrub brush, soap
and bucket and goes outside. ADA can see him from the window. She
moves to her piano. She wants to touch it but she is torn by her
feelings, wanting it, but not owning it. She strokes the varnished
wood with her hand and softly lifts the lid. Outside FLORA stands
beside BAINES pointing out hits of his hand he should still scrub.
Furtively she lays her hands on the keys. The instrument is horribly
out of tune, almost every note is off. She goes outside and signs to
There's no tune left in the
piano so she can't teach you.
The two women leave.
Sc40 EXT STEEP BUSH HILL DAY Sc40
Two men come crashing out down a steep bush hill, They are tied to
each other. BAINES, the younger and stronger, is trying to break their
fall by grasping hold of branches and shoots. Finally their fall is
checked. The old man is white haired, the front of his suit splattered
with the debris of many meals. He sits up feeling about for his
glasses. He is blind. His eyes, though closed, wobble and roll BAINES
finds the glasses One of the lenses has gone, the other is very dark.
The old man fits his handkerchief in the gap.
Sc 41 EXT HUGESCREE DAY Sc 41
BAINES carries the old man on his back, they cross a huge scree. Each
of BAINES' steps dislodge a fall of rocks. The crashing of stones
echoes across the valley. BAINES and he are but small dots in this
giant earth scar
SCENE 42 DELETED
Sc 43 INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 43
Inside BAINES' hut the old man feels the piano.
Ah, a Broadbent. A fine
instrument. I've not come
across one here, or in the
Islands where I have tuned some
200. Yes, they like their
Out of his pocket he takes a carefully wrapped tuning fork. He unwraps
the package, lifts the back and lid and starts to tune. He sniffs the
air. BAINES watches, He sniffs close to the keys.
Scent? And salt of course.
He works on.
What will you play when it's
tuned? What music do you play?
BAINS looks over at him from the meal he is preparing.
I can't play.
The blind man stops working.
You don't play?
No, I can't.
I'm going to learn.
The man goes back to work somewhat depressed by the futility of the
Well my dear Miss Broadbent,
tuned, but silent.
SCENE 44 DELETED
SCENE 45 DELETED
SC 46 EXT BAINES' HUT MORNINGSc 46
A slash of sunlight falls across the piano. Thousands of particles of
dust become visible floating in the air. BAINES is at the window in
his shirt/night shirt. He notices the dust on the piano and strips off
his shirt which he uses as a duster. Under the shirt he is naked. As
he wipes the smooth wood he becomes aware of his nakedness. His
movements become slower until he is no longer cleaning, but caressing
Sc 47 EXT PATH TO BAINES' DAY Sc 47
On the path to BAINES' house, ADA and FLORA sit in the bush. ADA's
head is bowed. Her hands held over her face. FLORA tries to catch the
spots of light in her palm as they twinkle through the thick canopy of
leaves over head.
Sc 48 EXT/INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 48
The door opens. ADA and FLORA stand in their cloaks and bonnets.
Mother says she can't stand to
teach piano with it all out or
tune. So I'm to do scales.
ADA turns and walks off. FLORA bustles in. BAINES watches ADA from the
I hope you've scrubbed your
FLORA begins a scale.
Oh, it's in tune.
She looks over at BAINES who is still gazing out the window.
What's out there?
She gets up to see what BAINES is looking at. She sees her mother and
divines BAINES is looking at nothing.
You have to watch me where I
put my fingers.
FLORA starts again. ADA can only hear the piano faintly but moves
closer as she too hears it's in tune.
As she enters the hut BAINES pulls his fingers away from the piano.
FLORA sees this and stops too. She looks at her mother.
It's in tune.
ADA checks the other notes. FLORA stands with her arms folded, a bit
sulky and fluffed up.
(Hissing) I was teaching.
ADA tries the piano. She looks over at BAINES then signs to FLORA.
She wants to see what you can
I'd rather not play. I want to
listen and learn that way.
Everyone has to practice.
I just want to listen.
ADA is a bit nonplussed. She does not want to be listened to anymore
than she wants to teach. She pulls a strand of her hair then signs to
What do you want to hear?
BAIWES shrugs shyly and locks away out the window. He doesn't know
ADA is slow to start. Unobliging as ever she plays scales. But once
begun her belligerence fades as her absorption in the music
Sc 49 INT STEWART'S HUT/ADA'S BEDROOM NIGHT Sc 49
Back at STEWART'S hut, ADA lies dispirited on the bed. FLORA lies
beside her holding ADA's hand.
Tell me about my real father.
ADA nods and strokes FLORA's hair from her face. FLORA leans back.
How did you speak to him?
ADA signs to FLORA who watches in love with all the stories of her
mother and unreal father.
I didn't need to speak, I could
lay thoughts out in his mind
like they were a sheet
What happened? Why didn't you
ADA continues to sign her hands casting odd animal like shadows on the
After a while he became
frightened and he stopped
STEWART enters their bedroom. FLORA stops and ADA stands against the
wall. STEWART finds the atmosphere curious yet impenetrate.
Shall I kiss you goodnight?
FLORA looks up at her mother. ADA shrugs.
STEWART nods stiffly, and uncomfortably, he leaves.
Sc 50 EXT BAINES' VERANDAH DAY Sc 50
It's raining heavily, FLORA sits on the small verandah outside BAINES'
hut, her legs stuck straight out into the wet. She is overseeing a
merciless power game with the dog, forcing it out of the verandah with
Sc 51 INT BAINE'S HUT DAY Sc 51
ADA's playing can be heard inside. BAINES sits back watching ADA. Her
cape on the hook is dripping a puddle on to the floor and there is a
circle of drips around her skirt hem. She is totally absorbed in her
piano music as she was on the beach.
BAINES watches. Her long white neck, now wet from rain, proves
irresistible. He comes across the room and kisses her. ADA jumps up
and prepares to leave. BAINES stands in front of the door.
Do you know how to bargain, nod
if you do.
She doesn't move,
There's a way you can have your
piano back. Do you want it
back? You want it back?
ADA eyes him suspiciously.
You see I'd like us to make a
deal. There's things I want to
do while you stay. If you let
me you can earn it back.
What do you think, one visit
for every key.
ADA is tense but she is thinking about it. She holds up a finger then
points to the black of her dress.
ADA shakes her head.
She walks over to her piano and points to a black key.
For every black one?
ADA turns raising her head, nodding.
That's a lot less, half.
BAINES is counting the keys. ADA starts for the front door.
All right, all right then, the
She sits back at the piano. She plays the lowest black key as in
She takes her hands off the piano waiting.
It's better that you play.
Obediently she begins, stopping abruptly, indignantly, as he touches
Play... Keep playing.
After a moment she settles back to the piano.
Sc 52 EXT BAINES' VERANDAH DAY Sc 52
Outside FLORA is cradling the poor confused dog, asking him what cruel
miserable person had sent him out into the cold and wet.
Sc 53 EXT RIVERHOLE NEAR BAINES' DAY Sc 53
BAINES bathes in a riverhole. He is watched by a gathering of Maori,
sometimes with great seriousness, at other times with hilarity. They
pass between them his clothes, trying them on and mimicking him. One
of the older women HIRA crouches close to the bank keeping up a steady
line of inquiry. Her manner is relaxed but focused and persistent. She
smokes a pipe-
I got the good wife for you
Peini. She pray good. Clean.
Read Bible. You sleep her
Peini. She chief daughter.
No, no bible readers.
BAINES continues good humouredly washing.
Why? We need you pakeha clever.
You sleep her.
(A big man dressed as a woman)
(Background) I give her plenty
clever. (Gestures sexually)
I have a wife.
(camping it up) I give her
clever eb Peini. Hallelujah!
Don't answer, he low born. Jun
look at him, mongrel. Your wife
She lives her own life in New
You have spare wife here Peini.
You get rnana for that. Our
chief four wives.
BAINES shakes his head amusedly. As he gets out of the river HIRA
I marry white man Peini, he a
whaler like you. He very good
to me. Love me, nurse me.
HIRA touches her own face where BAINES' tattoo is.
Who do that? It not finish,
that no good Peini. You finish!
Several people on the bank are taking turns to comb their hair,
peering into a tiny piece of mirror.
Sc 54 EXT/INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 54
BAINES' dog hears ADA and FLORA approach. It takes off under the
house. FLORA calls the dog. It keeps well hidden. ADA has gone on
inside and the door is closed. FLORA stands outside the door left out
and lonely. She knocks. BAINES answers.
I want to speak to my mother
She buries her head in her mother's skirt.
I don't want to be outside, I
want to watch.
ADA signs to FLORA.
I'll be very quiet.
ADA leads her to the door signing to her
I won't look at him!
FLORA is shut out.
Sc 55 INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 55
ADA sits at the piano. She is shy and nervous She turns to BAINES who
nods. ADA begins to play. BAINIES keeps his head bowed, but as the
playing becomes more confident he raises his head to watch. He sits
at a far corner of the room apparently enjoying the whole vision or
this woman at her piano.
After some time BAINES, affected by the music, takes his chair to a
closer position and from an opposite angle. ADA glances up as she
feels him passing behind her. He seems satisfied to watch. His
attention finally focuses on her neck as it bends further or closer to
Again he shifts his chair, taking it round the back and to the other
side of the piano. As he moves ADA watches warily. From this position
be doesn't try to touch her, but watches, enjoying her fingers moving
on the keys and the small details of motion on her face. Twice he
closes his eyes and breathes deeply BAINES is experiencing an
unpractised sense of appreciation and lust. When his eyes are closed,
ADA glances at him with curiosity and suspicion.
Sc 56 INT SCHOOL HALL DAY Sc 56
FLORA stands on a kitchen chair. AUNT MORAG and NESSIE have paused
from fitting FLORA's bodice and wire angel wings. They are attempting
to learn the hand gestures as FLORA signs:
"I shall listen hard to rehearsal,
because I live too
far away to go often."
(suspiciously) Which sign is
the word rehearsal?
FLORA deftly demonstrates.
I can't imagine a fate worse
than being dumb. Turn around.
To be deaf?
Oh yes, dear too - TERRIBLE!
Actually, to tell you the whole
truth, Mama says most people
speak rubbish and it's not
worth the listen.
AUNT MORAG and NESSIE exchange looks.
(stiffly) Well, that is a
Yes, it's unholy.
Sc 57 INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 57
ADA is quick to remove a used plate and cup left on top of the piano.
BAINES is sitting next to the window, his elbow on the sill, his head
Lift your skirt,
ADA stops playing. She turns to him. Thinks about it then slowly lifts
her skirt a little to show her boots.
Lift it higher.
ADA pulls the skirt up fractionally so the top other boots are
BAINIES nods ADA starts to play again, not so confidently as before.
BAINES moves close, he goes down on his knees to watch her feet on the
ADA doesn't hear.
Lift it higher.
She stops and lifts her skirt to her knees. She looks at BAINES with
ill-disguised contempt. BAINES is enthralled with her legs, or what he
can now see of them. He moves back to watch them from behind. He's
lying on the ground, head propped on his arm. ADA's slim stockinged
calves work the pedals, one of the stockings has a small hole through
which her white skins shows
Sc 58 EXT MISSION HOUSE GROUNDS DUSK Sc 58
HENI holds STEWART'S horse near a wooden gate. Its wet coat steams in
he night air, making the whole horse glow. HENI talks softly to it in
Sc 59 INT MISSION HOUSE NIGHT Sc 59
Inside the REVEREND is closely watched by STEWART, AUNT MORAG and
NESSIE as he cuts out the shape of an axe from a piece of marbled
cardboard. A lamplight flickers warm tones across their faces while
the rest of the room is dark giving it a conspiratorial air.
Nessie, your hand out ... out
Oh, no use Mr Stewart, I can't
NESSIE hesitatingly puts her arm out towards him and the REVEREND
chops away in the air two feet in front other, NESSIE looks at AUNT
Look you are being attacked!
The REVEREND points to the opposite rose-papered wall, where his
shadow and paper axe now look very real as they loom large above the
crouching NESSIE chopping into her. NESSIE squeals, as does MARY.
And with the blood ... it will
be a good effect:
Sc 60 INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 60
ADA's finger plays the fourth black key from the left hand side,
denoting lesson four.
Undo your dress. This part,
(he indicates the top) I want
to see your arms.
ADA is taken unawares. She sits a moment unsure if she wants to
cooperate, then slowly she staffs to undo her buttons.
ADA pulls her arms out of the tight sleeves. Underneath she wears a
worn-in bodice. Her arms are so white they seem transparent. A
delicate network of blue-green veins crisscross up the soft underpart
of her arms. A dark growth of hair in her armpit suggests a shadowy
depth. The back of her hands, normally white, are quite tanned in
BAINES draws his chair close. Gently he places his hand on the soft
underpart of her forearm. ADA stiffens and pulls away. He grips the
ADA continues to play. Slowly he moves his hand higher towards her
shoulder. Clearly unnerved she changes the music to something brisk,
almost comical. BAINES feels suddenly ridiculous, his mood broken. He
takes his hand away and moves back to the window injured. ADA is
victorious, she is pleased to have won herself a respite.
Sc 61 EXT STEWART'S WOODCHOP DAY Sc 61
STEWART is at the woodchop talking to AUNT MORAG and NESSIE.
MARY and HENI, AUNT MORAG'S Maori girls lie sprawled out under a tree.
I hardly need to give one to
you, but there you are anyway.
NESSIE has been sorting through a basket of invitations, finding
STEWART'S she hands it to AUNT MORAG who hands it to STEWART.
Don't be late. You will see
there are two times and since
you are accompanying a
performer, you will need to
make the earlier time
STEWART has stopped listening, he is watching ADA and FLORA pick their
way through the fallen logs to BAINES path.
The two women stop. There is a Japanese sense of deferment to STEWART
How are the lessons going?
ADA nods enthusiastically.
He's getting on all right?
ADA nods again
That is good, yes.
As ADA walks on AUNT MORAG leans towards STEWART.
She seems quieted down. Is she
STEWART looks after them unable to answer.
Ah well, slowly, slowly
Sc 62 INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 62
BAINES secures a chair against the door while ADA is removing her
dress top. She sits at the piano hugging herself against the chill.
As BAINES passes be knocks the jacket off the chair back. He picks it
up and takes it across to her seat by the window.
BAINES nods and ADA begins to play. BAINES fingers the still warm
jacket1 he lifts it up and smells it. ADA turns around and stops
playing suddenly appalled by his odd sensual pleasure taking. She
holds out her hand for the jacket, her expression stern and
censorious. She indicates he should return it to the chair back.
BAINES ignores her. ADA stands and comes over to BAINES. She pulls the
jacket from his hands and replaces it across the chair back, but as
she turns to sit,
BAINES is beside her. He pulls the shoulders of her bodice down,
exposing her shoulders and some of her breast. ADA immediately stands,
but BMNES is much stronger and man-handles her across to the bed. ADA
struggles seriously, this is much, much more than she was expecting.
Ada, four keys.
ADA holds up five fingers and mouths 'five'.
I just want to lie.
ADA shakes her head vigorously and again mouths five'.
All right, all right five.
ADA no longer struggles. She is stiff and still. BAINES intoxicated by
the smell and presence of her skin becomes soft and gentle. He kisses
and touches her with feeling and affection. Then suddenly aware of her
stillness he too becomes still. He pulls himself up to see whether her
face betrays her feelings. ADA seizes this opportunity to return to
the uncertain sanctuary of her piano. From the bed, BAINES watches her
run a hand noiselessly over the polished ivory keys, a gesture
betraying affection never afforded to him. BAINES gets up. He shuts
the piano lid forcing ADA to remove her hand.
ADA immediately stands and dresses, marking hurtfully BAINES'
ownership of her piano.
Sc 63 EXT STEWART'S HUT SUNSETSc 63
A golden evening. STEWART in his best shirt and trousers prepares the
horse and cart.
Sc 64 INT STEWART'S HUT ADA's BEDROOM SUNSETSc 64
Inside FLORA is in her finished Angel costume, she sings softly to
herself while ADA undoes the long strands of plaits and separates them
The Holly and the Ivy...
STEWART comes in to put on his jacket, but the collar is all tucked
in. ADA automatically adjusts it for him, settling it around his neck.
Her touch, meant practically, strangely affects him. In an impassioned
impasse, meant gallantly, he tries to kiss ADA's finger tips. The
gesture falters as ADA, surprised, jumps back.
Sc 65 EXT SCHOOL HALL DUSK Sc 65
People are arriving at the school hall. One family is being ferried
through the mud in a wheelbarrow.
10 See Notes
Sc 66 INT SCHOOL HALL NIGHT Sc 66
Some people are already seated in the hall. Several other angels have
arrived, and they like FLORA are ushered backstage.
Sc 67 INT SCHOOL HALL BACKSTAGE NIGHT Sc 67
BACKSTAGE, the Sunday School teacher is gathering the children
together, reminding them of the order of songs, checking their hair,
etc. The local dramatic society are also preparing themselves. One of
the women is peeping through a hole in a make-shift curtain to watch
the townspeople seating themselves.
They're bringing in extra
Despite this, there would still be only a maximum of forty people. 10
or so of them MAORIS in their best European dress.
Oh God, don't pin my hair too
Yes, me too, do it about here
... (she shows Alfred)
Two of the women are putting a little c4ouring on each of the angels
while two other angels are being smacked for putting their white gloved
hands in the bucket of blood.
Sc 68 INT SCHOOL HALL NIGHT Sc 68
Everyone is chatting at each other's seats, except the MAOIRI guests
who wait solemnly. AUNT MORAG is organising the placement of the new
seats. BAINES arrives.
Look who's here, the musical MR BAINES
What will we have tonight
George, "Twinkle, twinkle?"
BAINES smiles and blinks, the teasing continues as BAINES scans the
room for ADA. Two of the MAORI PARTY share one pair of shoes so that
only one may be in the hall at a time, while the other waits
'Mary had a little lamb' or a
polka, come on George what's it
AUNT MORAG hustles over to BAINIES and pushes him in front of her
towards NESSIE and the piano.
Mr. Baines, do come and turn
BAINES looks wildly about for rescue.
I can't read music, I have just
BAINES backs off from NESSIE whose face drops in disappointment. He
has spotted ADA and is eager to take a seat near her. He takes the
seat next to ADA but one. He sits smiling and blinking. The teasing
continues, behind him.
(turning) Lot of fools. Come
on, move up.
ADA puts her hand on the seat and shakes her head indicating that she
is saving it for FLORA. BAINES is rebuffed and looks across at ADA who
The main lights are put out and everyone returns to their places. In
the dark STEWART shyly takes ADA's hand in his. BAINES watches STEWART
squeezing her hand and quite out of control stands and leaves
accompanied by a chorus of eshhhhhhhhhhhhhn. Satisfied, ADA watches
The children file on with their candles, They stand in a group singing
with great seriousness, but struck with shyness their voices are so
small as barely to be heard.
-sing up Billy!
-Come on sing out!
One of the smallest promptly pees. An arm reaches under the curtain to
wipe the stage.
Sc 69 INT SCHOOL RALL & BACK STAGE NIGHT Sc 69
Backstage all is ready for the main dramatic event. There seems to be
more peep-holes than curtains as eyes press themselves to the little
flap. The master of ceremonies, the REVEREND is on stage explaining
the dramatics. He is wearing harlequin tights and rompers, his face is
dramatically paled. The candles are blown out.
And so the young maid came upon
each and all of Bluebeard's
missing wives, their severed
heads still bleeding, their
eyes still crying.
The piano accompaniment is suspenseful while the audience shriek
appreciatively. Backstage AUNT MORAG provides the dripping blood,
moving between the corpses, she peers at the audience through a peep-
hole in the curtain.
But who it this?
(AUNT MORAG looks around gasping, fooled despite herself)
A loud improvised door slam and heavy footsteps. NESSIE, in costume,
freezes. The shadow of Bluebeard moves clumsily down the cut-out
banister and along the corridor.
I am home early my sweet wife
... where art thou?
The girl scrambles for the fallen key and rushes out of the closet
into the silhouette corridor.
Hello husband, what a surprise!
Yes wife, a surprise indeed! So
now you know my secret you, the
sweetest and youngest or all my
wives must be prepared to die.
BLUEBEARD pulls out a cut-out axe and moves towards her.
Two of the young warriors in CHIEF NIHE's party rise to their feet.
Auc! Ha aba ra tenei?
(Hey! What's this)
E Nilie, E Nihe he Kohuru, he
(Nihe, Nihe is this murder?)
NIHE waves them down, but they are shaken up and only crouch above
their seats. The others stare anxiously between NIHE and the stage.
(Amused by them)
E te whsnau keite pai-he takaro
(Everything is fine this is
just a game)
BLUEBEARD moves closer, the young wife drops to her knees her hands
held up in prayer.
No, no wait!
I shall not wait. Bare your
As BLUEBEARD raises his axe again, first one then the other of the
young warriors run forward, shouting a fierce war cry and parting the
audience, who flee to either side while the corpses come very much to
Kia hiwara! Kin hiwara!
(Be on the alert! Brace
Pokokohun - whakaputa mai ja
(Coward! Show yourself, come
Only NIHE and his top-hatted daughter remain calmly in their seats.
The warriors have BLUEBEARD cornered and whimpering an umbrella held
spear-like above him. NIHE stomps his stick, his great voice booming
Hoki rnai! Hoki rnai!
(Come back here! Come back
Sc 70 INT SCHOOL HALL BACK STAGE NIGHT Sc 70
Backstage the CHIEF and his party are shown the theatrical devices;
the blood-bucket, the paper axe, the splits in the sheets.
Sc 71 INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 71
ADA goes to the piano, she is upset that BAINES has again left a plate
on top of it. BAINES intercepts her, stepping several times between
her and the piano. She sees the game and stands still. He steps aside.
She removes the plate, gently, lovingly wiping the surface underneath.
There is a sulky irritation in the ways BAINES watches her.
I have been waiting. You are
ADA starts to play, BAINES watches then looks away.
I don't want you to play. I
just want you to sit.
ADA keeps playing until she has finished. Without looking at him she
holds up two fingers against the piano.
(angry) No, not two keys.
ADA starts playing again, BAINES feels powerless. He no longer admires
her absorption with the piano, he is jealous of it.
(shouts) Two keys then!
She stops playing. There is an insolence or casualness in the way she
regards BAINES. He pulls her chair back from the piano. This upsets
her, as much of her confidence was associated with the instrument.
BAINES kisses her passionately on the mouth. ADA pulls back, BAINES
persists, he is desperate and romantic.
Sc 72 EXT BASE OF BUSH COVERED HILL DAY Sc 72
STEWART, with BAINES interpreting, talks with a group of MAORIS at the
base of a bush covered hill. The MAORIS sit behind a small
representation of the hill marked out with twigs on the ground. The
atmosphere is tense.
(pointing to the places)
Nga awa kau kau, nga ana koiwi
0 matoti mattia tunpuna; kei
runga katoa i te whenua nei
korerongia atu ki to tangata na
(The bathing waters, the caves,
that house, the remains of our
ancestors are all part of this
land. Explain it to the man
(muttering to BAINES across the
previous speech) What do they
say? Are they selling? Offer
the blankets for half the land.
STEWART holds up his ten fingers and then two more.
Te, kawnarna paraikete mo te
tahi hawlie 0
te whenna uci.
(he'll give you twelve blankets
for half the land.)
The MAORIS look carefully at the quality of the blankets, noting the
depth of the weave and the strength of the Wool. They shake their
heads as they discuss them.
(Quietly to BAINES)
Offer the guns.
Kahore atu he kororo. Kahore
niaton Kote hake whentia. Engad
mate peaks ne.
(No more talk, we won't sell
the land. I will trade you
pigs, that is all.)
He messes up the pattern of twigs as he speaks.
(Angry to the NEGOTIATOR)
He aha te pononga 0 te whenus
pena kahore he Pu hei pupuri?
(What is the point of owning
our land if we have no guns to
The MAORI NEGOTIATOR gets up to leave as do the others, STEWART
snatches back his blankets and sulkily shakes them out to fold.
E hoa ma, haria atu ra takit
(Give my regards to Chief
(Others join in)
Ac ra. Kia Ora! Kia Ora! Te
(Yes indeed! Thank you. Thank
Sc 73EXT BUSH AT NEW BOUNDARY MARKERSDAYSc 73
BAINES and STEWART walk through the bush. STEWART laden down with his
blankets, red-faced and irritable.
What do they want it for? They
don't cultivate it, burn it
back, anything. How do they
even know it's theirs?
BAINES stops as he comes to a freshly placed fence post. STEWART winds
down his complaints watching BAINES anxiously. BAIXES walks down to
the next one. he touches the freshly split post.
(tentatively) I thought I might
as well mark it out.
Yes, why not.
Ada says you're doing well with
BAINES keeps walking from post to post.
I'll have to come and hear you
play. what do you play.
Nothing just yet
No. Well I suppose it takes
Sc 74EXT STEWARTS VEGETABLE PATCHDAYSc 74
ADA has cut a good sized cabbage in the vegetable patch. She throws it
to FLORA who misses, dropping it in a pool of mud, spattering her face
and dress. ADA smiles and FLORA who was about to cry gives the cabbage
a big football beet towards her mother. ADA's mouth falls open, but
then she too kicks it and they begin to dribble the mud caked cabbage
towards the hut, all the time signing playful insults. Into this
Baines can't play a damn thing.
Is that right he can't play a
We're going to lose that land,
the way he was carrying on over
Is he musical? You've got to
teach him a song. Something
FLORA has her foot on the cabbage, she nudges it off behind her. It
roll down the hill. STEWART can't help but notice,
He follows the cabbage down the hill' where he scrapes some of the mud
This thing's been knocked to
Sc 75 INT/EXT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 75
FLORA is seen through BAINES' window Inside, ADA as ever charts her
progress on the black keys, eleven. She turns to BAINES for
instructions. BAINES is not himself, he is sulky and distant.
Do what you like. Play what you
ADA is perplexed by this turn about of behaviour. A little
uncertainly, she sets about her playing. After a little she too turns
to see what BAINES is doing. He's not there. She is surprised then
anxious as she fears the deal may be off when there are flaw so few
keys to go. She starts to play again, but her anxieties prove too
great. She stops and listens. She looks out the window, where FLORA is
mucking about in the yard. She walks to his bedroom, listens, then
opens the door. BAINES stands naked looking at her. ADA is taken aback
I want to lie together without
clothes on. How many would that
ADA holds up ten fingers an impossibly high number of keys.
ADA is surprised; she didn't expect him to agree. ADA checks again
holding up her hands.
Yes, ten keys.
Hesitantly, she starts to undress. She lies on her petticoat, having
deemed the bed too dirty. BAINES lies, very still on top of her. A
scraping sound is heard.
Sc 76 EXT/INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 76
FLORA is outside walking on sticks and logs trying to make sure she
never puts her foot on the ground. She looks over at the house
suddenly aware that the piano playing has stopped again. She
investigates the mystery peeping through the various cracks and holes
in the loosely built hut. Her vision is always only parts of bodies,
the venture is one of challenge and curiosity.
Sc 77 EXT NATIVE PINE FOREST DAY Sc 77
FLORA and three small Maori children play amongst some native pines.
Two MAORI WOMEN smoke and chat nearby. The children rub up and down
against the tree trunks kissing and hugging them. The game has an edge
of promiscuity to it as they exchange trunks and hug one tree as a
group. Unseen by the children STEWART marches towards FLORA. He pulls
her off the tree.
Never behave like that, never
any where. You are greatly
shamed and you have shamed
those trunks. (trees)
The MAORI WOMEN keep up an unacknowledged chant.
What o'clock say Mr Stewart?
-Time for puff puff.
Sc 78 EXT NATIVE PINE FORESTDAY Sc 7$
With a bucket of dull soapy water FLORA begins the task of washing the
The MAORI WOMEN laugh and point to their feet meaning her to wash them
too. Their children are lying in their laps playing string games.
Sc 79 EXT NATIVE PINE FORESTDUSK Sc 79
FLORA is still washing the tree trunk silhouetted against the evening
FLORA is tearful and sorry for herself. The job has an increased
futility as it has begun to rain- STEWART is inspecting her penance.
She follows STPWART about the trees.
(sulkily) I know why Mr. Baines
can't play the piano.
You've missed this bit.
She never gives him a turn.
STEWART stops and looks at her.
She just plays whatever she
pleases, sometimes she doesn't
play at all.
STEWART continues through the trees more slowly.
And when is the next lesson?
FLORA puts her bucket on her head to protect herself from the rain.
Sc 80 EXT PATH TO BAINES' DAY Sc 8O
The next day is very windy, the tops of trees are thrashed by fierce
gusts of wind and some smaller branches crash to the ground. ADA's
long dress and cape flap uncontrollably. FLORA's smaller cape stands
out on end. Birds fly in mad wind-battered courses, swooped up then
strangely drawn down.
Sc 81 EXT BAINES' DAY Sc 81
ADA and FLORA arrive at BAINES' place to see the piano emerge from the
hut carried by six MAORI MEN, one of whom does nothing but walk beside
it "plonking" the keys. Another group of MAORIS sit cross-legged on
the verandah playing draughts. Panicked ADA hurries down the hill to
the hut. FLORA follows behind.
Sc 82 INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 82
Inside the hut, HIRA, the old woman from the bathing spot, is smoking
her pipe. ADA enters distraught and indicates what she has seen. Her
face is flushed and whipped by the wind. She is much more expressive
I am giving the piano back to
you. I've had enough. The
arrangement is making you a
whore and me wretched.
I want you to care for me, but
BAINES sits down on a chair and prepares to eat, somewhat ignoring
ADA. ADA is confused not quite believing the situation. She watches
BAINES for some kind of confirmation.
(softly) George, can I use this
BAINES nods. ADA is still watching. HIRA scrapes the inside of her
pipe with the comb.
It's yours, leave, go on go!
ADA is off balanced by the reversal of attitudes, surprised too, that
she doesn't want to go. FLORA is fast to leave, ADA follows to
organise and protect her piano on the journey.
Sc 83 EXT BAINES' HUT & BUSH DAY Sc 83
As she climbs out of the small valley surrounding BAINES' hut, she
stops and walks back to look down at BAINES and his hut, in the EXACT
same manner that she once looked at her piano from the cliff-top above
the beach. BAINES is throwing the scraps of his meal to his dog, he
does not look up.
Sc 84 EXT PATH TO BAINES' HUT STEEP HILL DAY Sc 84
STEWART, on his way to BAINES, sees THE PIANO BEARERS and ADA way
below him in the bush. He scrambles down a steep slope towards them.
(stiffly from some distance)
Stop right there'. This isn't
yours what are you doing with
The women exchange looks.
He's given it to us.
(out of breath) Hah, you're
very cunning Ada, but I've seen
through you, I'm not going to
lose the land this way. Wait
STEWART is off, pounding on down through the bush.
Sc 85EXT/INT BAINES' HUT/BEDROOM DAY Sc 85
HIRA is sitting on the front step of BAINES' place, blocking STEWART'S
George sick, he don't wanna see
nobody. You got Tupeka for the
STEWART goes around to a side window in BAINES' bedroom. BAINES is
sitting on the bed, but lies back as he hears STEWART coming about the
side of the house. STEWART opens up the window.
I don't think you should have
given up the piano. I will make
sure you are properly taught,
with music written on to sheets
I don't want to learn.
You don't want to learn.
And what does this do to our
bargain? I cannot afford the
piano if you mean me to pay.
No, no payment. I have given it
back. I don't want it.
Well, I doubt I want it very
It was more to your wife that I
Well, thank you, I expect she
will appreciate it.
He closes the window.
So that is agreed on?
HIRA has wandered stiffly into BAINES' room. She sits on the edge of
You make BIG mistake George. In
first place you should swap
land for wife. Now look, she
gone, you no land, no music
box, you got nothing.
SCENE 86 DELETED
Sc87 EXT/INT STEWART'S HUT DAY Sc 87
At the door of the hut STEWART is distributing buttons to the piano
One squats catching them as they fall. A commotion begins as one of
the MAORIS snatches the whole jar and runs off. Two of them give chase
while the others insist on tobacco.
11 See Note
Inside the hut ADA had lifted the top of the piano and is peering in
while playing notes to check tune and damage.
Is it all right? Aren't you
going to play something?
ADA pulls up a chair and seats herself at the piano. She rubs her
hands and places them lightly on the keys, she turns from habit over
her left shoulder where STEWART waits crossed armed. Quickly she
removes her hands, stands and gestures FLORA to play. FLORA proudly
takes ~p the seat, she pulls her lips in trying to control her
happiness to say in front of both her mother and STEWART.
What will I play?
She looks to ADA, who looks back through her not concentrating.
Play a gig.
(to ADA) Do I know any gigs?
Play a song then
FLORA starts a song, ADA walks past them out of the hut, STEWART
ignores her exit moving up to lean on the piano. ADA is seen through
the hut window wandering amidst the ghostly, blackened trunks.
STEWART'S attention is drawn to ADA, he interrupts FLORA'S singing
with a sudden outburst.
(exasperated) Why won't she
play it? We have it back, and
she just wanders off!
FLORA stops to watch her mother through the window. ADA looks towards
the house as the music stops.
Grimly STEWART slaps the top of the piano to FLORA's playing.
ADA continues to walk, her face dark and puzzled. She stops. Her head
stiffly, irresistibly, lifts and turns in the direction BAINES' hut.
She peers deep into the bush as if attempting to penetrate a puzzle.
She thinks and walks on.
Sc 88 INT STEWART'S KITCHEN DAY Sc 88
The next day ADA and her piano face each other across the kitchen. A
slit of light falls across the piano highlighting it's rosey walnut
wood. ADA's expression is critical and distant.
Taking a cloth she begins to clean and polish the piano. Her finger
holds down one of the keys and we glimpse an old inscription on its
side, a small heart, and an arrow. Putting the cloth aside she sits at
the piano to begin playing.
She starts with wholehearted feeling, her eyes closed, but before long
she is surprised by a moving reflection across the piano and she
'starts', glancing over her shoulder. She stops and begins again. But
once more a reflex has her glance across her left shoulder and she
pauses in her playing. Disquieted she starts again and again she looks
away. She stops, confused, unable to go on, unable to getup, one hand
on the lid and one on the piano keys.
Sc 89 EXT PATH TO BAINES' DAY Sc 89
ADA carrying her cape and bonnet hurries through the narrow bush path
to BAINES' hut, FLORA has a fist of her skirt and is pulling back. ADA
turns on FLORA and snatches the skirt out of the girl's hand. ADA
signs to her and continues on.
Why? Why can't I?
ADA signs again.
(crossing her arms) I shan't
practise and I DON'T CARE!
But ADA does not wait to listen. FLORA walks back through the bush
muttering childish expletives to herself. STEWART and his two MAORI
helpers come out of the bush towards her. FLORA squeals with fright.
(looking up the hill) Where's
your mother? Where has she
FLORA pauses petulant and grumpy.
FLORA races off as fast as she can, enlivened by her wickedness.
STEWART clambers back up the path. He just glimpses the distant figure
of ADA nervously turning, her skirts flying as she hurries up the bush
path The wind bothers the tops of the trees, setting them groaning,
rubbing their branches against each other.
Sc 90 INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 90
ADA enters BAINES' hut, she is breathless1 announcing her presence by
simply being there, standing there. BAINES comes through from the
bedroom. Seeing ADA he is aloof, suspicious and his blinking becomes
So what brings you here? Did
you leave something? I have not
ADA does not respond, finally she looks at BAINES and her look has a
vulnerability and frankness that takes him off guard.
Does he know something?
ADA shakes her head.
The piano is not harmed? It
arrived safely? Would you like
to sit? I am going to sit.
ADA does not sit. She stands immobilised. BAINES attempts to maintain
his casual charade) he pours a tea.
He turns to her about to speak, but stops unmanned by a new fragility
to her strength. He blinks rapidly
Ada, I am unhappy because I
want you, because my mind has
seized on you and thinks of
nothing else. This is how I
suffer, I am sick with longing.
I don't eat, I don't sleep. If
you do not want me, if you have
come with no feeling for me,
BAINES walks roughly towards the door and opens it, his softness
turned suddenly cruel.
Go! Go NOW! Leave!
ADA is stung by his change of tune, she takes a step towards him and
eyes filling with tears of anger hits him hard across the face.
BAINES' nose begins to bleed yet his face slowly lights up as if she
has spoken words of love. ADA is flushed, shocked, the two face each
other at this very moment of profound awareness of each other,
profoundly equal. With each new breath, with every moment that their
eyes remained locked together the promise of intimacy is confirmed and
reconfirmed and detailed until like sleepwalkers who do not know how
they came to wake where they did, they are standing next to each other
and beginning to kiss each other, the lips, the cheeks, the nose.
There is nothing practised about their tenderness, only their feelings
and emotions guide their instincts. BAINES' face crumples with the
exquisite pain of his pleasure, ADA cradles his head to her chest.
BAINES struggles through her dress anxious to touch her skin.
Sc 91 EXT/INT BAINES' HUT DAY Sc 91
Outside STEWART surveys the hut suspiciously. BAINES' dog growls as he
climbs on to the small verandah. Carefully STEWART peers through some
loosely slatted boards. There are sounds inside which are worrying
him. By standing on the seat he has found a spyhole where he can see
ADA and BAINES kissing, undressing
He reels back angry, but just as we might expect him to burst through,
he steps up to look again; the fatal second look, the look for
curiosity. He watches BAINES bare-chested undressing ADA, her buttons
burst, ADA laughs, BAINES touches her under her skirts - anywhere, he
takes himself under her dress pulling down her stockings. STEWART
watches, stepping down to peer lower as BAINES buries into ADA's
skirt. He does not seem to notice the dog licking his hand. Suddenly
he pulls his hand away and looks at it, wet with dog saliva, he wipes
it on the boards and continues watching as if mesmerised.
Sc 92 INT BAINES' BEDROOM DAY Sc 92
Inside BAINES' small bedroom the raw dark boards contrast with the
softness, whiteness of BAINES' and ADA's bodies, The long black
strands of ADA's hair stick to her cheek and wrap around her neck. Her
face is flushed and her eyes are bright. BAINES rolls his face across
her chest, gently, slowly savouring the flavour of her body. Drunkenly
they continue their sex slowly, slowly. ADA's breaths turn to low
murmurs; these small sounds are extraordinarily moving to BAINES whose
face swoons with joy.
What? What? whisper....
Sc 93 INT BAINES' BEDROOM&UNDER HOUSEDAYSc 93
As ADA dresses, BAINES sits on his bed watching. He is unhappy,
Now you are going I am
miserable, why is that? (He
catches her hand and draws her
to hint) Ada I need to know,
what will you do? Will you come
ADA is distracted, collecting her buttons from the floor, concerned at
the time past, worried to dress and return.
The camera cranes down and down to find STEWART wedged under the loose
wooden floor slats. He cannot hear clearly, but ADA's hand reaching
for each button is only inches away. One falls through a slat on to
STEWART'S neck and on down his shirt collar. As she stands he rolls
Wait! I don't know what you're
thinking. (gently, teasingly)
Does this mean something to
you? Hey? (Stroking a strand of
hair behind her ear) I already
miss you. Ada, do you love me?
ADA considers this question. Clearly she doesn't know, the question is
more complex to her than to him, then as if by way of answer she
kisses him strongly and sexually. BAINES pulls away confused. ADA
finishes dressing. BAINES comes up behind her to help with the
(anxiously) Come tomorrow. If
you are serious, come tomorrow.
ADA turns and kisses him passionately, with the new born enthusiasm of
someone who has just discovered their appetite for sex. Then as
quickly as she began, she takes her hood and cape and goes to leave.
She nods and is gone.
Sc 94 INT STEWART'S HUT ADA'S BEDROOMNIGHTSc 94
FLORA and ADA are both in their white nightgowns. FLORA stands behind
ADA on a chair trying to sort out the knots that have matted at the
back of ADA's head. ADA shakes her head from side to side playfully,
making the difficult job impossible.
Stay still! It's the very worst
FLORA tries to hold her mother's head still but ADA's high spirits are
unstoppable and her hair flies out from side to side flicking FLORA in
Mama STOP IT!
FLORA starts to giggle and retaliates flinging her own hair from side
to side. The two women are twirling in the small bedroom their hair
flying about them, FLORA is shrieking with the fun, then stops dizzy
and sick. ADA continues flicking FLORA as she twirls.
Stop it I feel sick!
But ADA doesn't stop, her dark hair whirls about her, as giddy and
disorientated, she knocks against the walls
Sc 95 INT STEWART'S HUT NIGHT Sc 95
Next door STEWART sits on his bed listening, his hair wet and neatly
combed. He has a journal of pressed botanical specimens beside him.
Hearing FLORA squealing he goes to the kitchen and standing back in
the shadows, watches ADA frenetic, whirling through the part open
Sc 96 INT STEWART'S HUT ADA'S BEDROOMDAWNSc 96
Daylight floods the room as ADA secures the pins at the back of her
Sc 97 EXT PATH TO BAINES' DAYSc 97
Music builds and plays throughout.) The sky is dark and the wind is
ballooning ADA's cape, wrapping it up high around her. The tree tops
are swaying furiously. Inside the bush it is dark and ADA hurries up
through the path. She is out or breath and glancing behind her as if
to guard against followers, when directly in front of her STEWART
steps out onto her path. ADA stops short. The look on his face is
unlike any expression she has yet seen. His eyes do not look at her,
but all about her in a way more animal than human. She lowers her eyes
and calling his bluff walks steadily past him. But STEWART takes her
arm and spinning her back, pulls her close and blind to all protest
kisses her. ADA struggles furiously. His grip falters and she steps
back staring at him, then runs off down the hill, but STEWART is on
top of her clasping her skirts, pulling her towards him hand over
hand, she slips and falls to the ground. STEWART is upon her, lifting
her dress, touching her legs, ADA goes quite still, which throws
STEWART long enough for her to scramble away, yet again STEWART
catches her and again they roll on the ground, STEWART touching and
kissing her, ADA turning herself this way and that to avoid it. There
is a cat and mouse quality to their mute struggle finally broken by
FLORA calling up the path, distraught and in tears, her angel wings
have twisted about her waist.
(TOP OF HER LUNGS) Mumma!
Mumma! They are playing your
STEWART allows ADA to get up and the two women go back down the path
towards home. The distant sound of the piano keys thumping.
Sc 98 INT STEWART'S HUT DAY Sc 98
At the piano and with solemn dignity sits a MAORI WOMAN. She is
wearing a top hat and a long black dress, beside her stands the MAORI
who absconded with the buttons, most of which he has attached to his
jacket. She plays loudly with two closed fists, her companion listens
gravely, placidly, blinking at the crashes, two others listen from the
doorway, one with his bands over his head.
Sc 99 INT/EXT STEWART1S HUT DAY Sc 99
FLORA and ADA stand in the hut while fierce hammering can be heard
outside. STEWART is boarding over the windows, barricading them in.
FLORA joins in the spirit of be exercise gaily pointing out any slats
STEWART has missed.
ADA's face pales in the diminishing light. Exasperated by the
threatened incarceration she shakes her head with anguish and moving
to the piano lifts the lid and plays several bars brutally and
strongly. She passes on to the bedroom, where she picks up the small
hand mirror and looks at her face puckered with frustration. She
touches her face and neck tenderly, then throws herself on the bed,
face to the wall, her hands over her ears.
FLORA stands over her mother.
You shouldn't have gone up
there, should you? I don't like
it and nor does Papa. Mama, we
can play cards together.
ADA rolls over, her eyes closed she pushes her face and body against
the mattress. The movement is sensual and removed. FLORA stops dealing
the cards on to the bed and watches her mother puzzled.
Sc 100INT STEWART'S HUT NIGHT Sc 100
It is night and ADA is walking in the dark, ghostly in her white
nightgown. She sits at her piano and begins to play loudly and
strongly. Her hair is loose and she seems half-asleep. FLORA and
STEWART wake to the loud playing and fumble their way to the kitchen.
STEWART carries a lit candle. ADA continues her playing
FLORA passes a hand in front of ADA's face.
She is asleep, look.
One night she was found in her nightgown on the road to London.
Grandpa said her feet were cut and bleeding so badly she couldn't walk
for a week.
The two watch ADA, mesmerised by her compulsive playing.
12 See Note
Sc 101EXT STREAM NEAR STEWARTS'DAY Sc 101
STEWART stands guard while ADA and FLORA wash their clothes in the
stream. FLORA is taking the lead, soaping up the clothes, she passes
the garments to her mother to rinse. ADA is distracted and as she
takes the clothes, she just as soon lets them go and they float off
down the stream past STEWART who tries to catch them but can't. Two
MAORI BOYS continue the chase, enjoying the fun, thinking it a great
You are letting the clothes
float off... They are floating
ADA stares off into the distance rocking lightly back and forth as she
crouches on a stone. Her dress unhitched floats down the stream behind
Mama! Look out!
FLORA wades across to grasp yet another garment ADA has let drift off.
Sc 102EXT STEWART'S DAY Sc 102
On the way back to the barricaded hut FLORA swings between ADA and
One, two, three
One, two, three
ADA glances around at the bush. FLORA beams enjoying a feeling of
familyness of which she is now the boss. The two women go ahead into
the hut which STEWART shuts and secures with a beam.
Sc 103INT STEWART'S HUT ADA'S BEDROQOMNIGHT Sc 103
It is night. ADA is tossing in the small bed beside FLORA, her hair
wound across her face, she makes low moaning sounds as she pushes her
face and body up against the sleeping FLORA. Her movement and moans
increase until she wakes suddenly sitting bolt upright.
Sc 104INT STEWART'S KITCHEN & BEDROOMNIGHT Sc 104
ADA walks through the kitchen, small slithers of moonlight lighting
her path. She walks past the piano into STEWART'S room who has gone to
sleep with his candle still alight. ADA looks, then slowly her hand
hovers above him before lightly touching his face. His eyes open, he
looks towards ADA anxious and surprised, but as ADA continues, his
reserve breaks and he is captive to his own sensations. She pulls down
the sheet and strokes his neck, shoulders, chest, he reaches out
But ADA scowls and pulls away roughly, STEWART lies back anxious not
to break the spell and when he is still ADA continues to caress his
chest. His eyes well with tears and he looks up into her face like a
child after a bad dream, fearful and trusting. ADA continues like a
nurse spreading ointment on a wound, tenderly and attentively she
strokes down towards his belly. STEWART'S skin goose bumps and be
shudders. He puts his hand on hers to still it1 she slides hers out
and continues stroking. He looks at her pleadingly and childlike, she
stops and kisses the soft skin of his belly, STEWART groans clutching
the mattress. ADA seems removed from STEWART as if she has a separate
curiosity of her own.
Sc 105INT STEWART'S KITCHEN DAY Sc 105
Next day AUNT MORAG stands circling in STEWART'S small darkened house.
FLORA and ADA sit quietly together
Ohhh, it's so dark, it's like a
Yes, like a cave.
Ohh no, it makes my skin creep!
STEWART comes into the house with some logs, AUNT MORAG follows him
across to the fire.
Alisdair, is it because of our
play? Have the natives
She continues following him to the door.
I have to say you have done the wrong thing here, you see you have put
the latch on the outside. When you close the door, (and she doses it)
it will be the Macna that lock you in, you see? With the latch on that
side you are quite trapped.
(nodding her head in imitation)
... you are quite trapped.
AUNT MORAG walks inside and continues to the table where her basket
full of clothes and packets of food have been left. She lifts it from
the table and begins to spread the cloth.
We have just come from George
Banes' and they have taken him
over. It is no wonder he is
leaving, he has got in too deep
with the natives. They sit on
his floor as proud as Kings,
but without a shred of manners.
(in unison) ... without a shred
NESSIE and AUNT MORAG are unpacking parcels of cakes and biscuits
on plates putting them about the table.
He is quite altered, as if they
had been trying some native
witchcraft on him. Well
tomorrow or the day after he
will be gone.
Baines is packing up?
Well he has NOTHING to pack,
but he is leaving. And it is
just as well; Nessie has
foolishly grown an affection
for him ... we have had some
At this mention NESSlE's face crumples and tears again begin to flow.
(very firmly) STOP IT! STOP!
NESSIE remarkably obeys, blinking her face back to shape.
ADA attempts to disguise her agitation, she moves to the piano and
strokes it, she begins to play.
I am quite frightened of the
way back, we must leave in good
light. Will we be safe?
(wanting them gone) If you
leave soon, yes, I am sure of
STEWART and MORAG watch ADA at the piano. Her playing develops until
she is fully absorbed. AUNT MORAG is intrigued despite herself
Sc 106EXT BUSY ROAD TO MISSIONDAY Sc 106
On the edge of the bush beside the dirt road to town AUNT MORAG
attempts a discrete toilet stop. NESSIE keeps guard holding up the
cape while one of their MAORI charges holds up another.
You know I am thinking of the
piano. She does not play the
piano as we do Nessie.
The cape begins to droop as NESSIE listens.
UP! UP! No she is a strange
creature and her saying is
strange like a mood that passes
into you. You cannot teach that
Nessie, one may like to learn
but that could not be taught.
NESSIE again lets the cape droop.
Up! Your playing is plain and
true and that is what I like.
To have a sound creep inside
you is not all pleasant
A fluttering sound in the bush.
what is that?
(slow, relaxed) A pid-geon
The party finish and hurry a little spooked on the road to town.
Sc 107INT STEWART'S ROOM NIGHT Sc 107
It is night. ADA enters the room, STEWART looks at her shyly.
I've been hoping you would
ADA strokes his brow. STEWART closes his eyes, breathing heavily
relieved. ADA strokes the nape of his neck and on down his back.
STEWART'S face puckers, his eyes fill with tears. She strokes so
softly, the tenderness is shocking to him. Gently she pulls his under-
garment down, exposing his buttocks. STEWART grabs nervously at them,
hauling them up with his hands. ADA unclenches his fist and once more,
slowly pulls them down. She begins to stroke his buttocks, STEWART is
painfully eroticised, painfully vulnerable, he begins to weep, the
intimacy and soft-ness unman him and he is helpless. STEWART sits up
hunching over himself, retreating
I want to touch you Why can't I
touch you? Do you like me?
Slowly he raises his head to look at ADA. She looks back moved by his
helplessness, but distanced as if it has nothing to do with her.
ADA does not respond. STEWART slumps into disappointment and despair.
Why? Why not?!
Sc 108INT STEWART'S KITCHEN DAY Sc 108
The next morning, ADA, FLORA and STEWART sit together in the small
dark hut. FLORA preens a miniature landscape of moss and tiny branches
all piled on a dinner plate. A slit of sunlight falling across the top
small branches gives it a magical glow. FLORA's small dirty fingers
push in another 'tree', she looks up happily
This is going to be Adam's tree
and then I'm going to make a
serpent to live here, with a
very long tongue. (She pokes
her tongue out and waggles it).
STEWART reads, he glances at ADA who is glum and lifeless.
Sc 109INT STEWART'S HUT DAY Sc 109
ADA and FLORA wake to sunlight streaming in on their faces, more and
more of it as STEWART rips the boards from the windows FLORA runs
about in nightgown and boots happy to be in the sunlight. ADA winds
her hair into a bun. STEWART walks inside, he packs food and fencing
(Clears his throat) We must
both get on. I have decided to
trust you to stay here. You
will not see Baines?
(ADA nods) Good, good. Perhaps
with more trying you will come
to like me?
Sc 110EXT STEWART'S DAY Sc 110
ADA hangs out washing restlessly scanning the bushline. A tiny STEWART
walks along the crest of the hill, eventually dropping out of sight.
Sc 111INT STEWART'S HUT DAY Sc 111
Inside the hut ADA is pacing, anguished and frustrated. Impulsively
she picks up a knife from the kitchen table, opens the back of the
piano and cuts one of the keys loose. Carefully she engraves on the
side in Victorian handscript.
DEAR GEORGE, YOU HAVE MY HEART. ADA McGRATH.
Sc 112EXT STEWART'S DAY Sc 112
Under the sheets FLORA has constructed a dolls' clothes line on which
she hangs small strips of cloth ADA hands her the key wrapped and tied
in white cotton. ADA signs. Her black shadow behind the sheet recalls
the macabre play.
The little girl continues defiantly with her miniature washing. ADA
rips the washing line up and flings it aside. FLORA is shocked,
stunned. She takes the key and walking off she turns and shouts.
We're not supposed to visit
ADA signals GO!
Sc 113EXT PATH TO BAINES' AT FENCEDAYSc 113
At the junction of the path to BAINES' hut is the beginning of
STEWART'S boundary fence. At this place FLORA has paused. She looks
back to see if her mother is watching; she's not- FLORA turns sharply
right so that she now follows alongside STEWART'S boundary fence and-
away from BAINES' hut.
Sc 114EXT HILLS WITH FENCE DAY Sc 114
The fence appears and disappears behind hills. Flora too dips behind
the hills to reappear on the other side. She sings a brisk song to
The grand old Duke of York. He
had ten thousand men etc.
Sc 115EXT VALLEY WITH FOXGLOVE & FENCEDAYSc 115
She pauses in one of the valleys, stifled by clumps or tall, mauve
Sc 116EXT COMPLETE FENCE ON HILLDAY Sc 116
The fence line seems endless as the tired FLOW4 trudges up yet another
hill but from there, she can see where the fence finishes, half way up
the crest of the next hill and at this point is STEWART, driving in a
new fence post. He is watched by MANA and his friend who squat passing
a pipe between themselves. MANA strums tirelessly on his buttons.
Mumma wanted me to give this to
She holds out the cotton covered piano key. STEWART looks up.
I thought maybe it was not a
proper thing to do.
STEWART keeps working, hammering the post into the earth.
Shall I open it?
He stops and takes the key, suspicious and uncomfortable. He slowly
unwraps it and turning it over reads it. Squeezing the key in his
fist, STEWART staggers off in a daze, He returns, picks up his open
pack spilling the nails. Finally he drops the pack and the key) and
leaves with only his axe. FLORA follows confused. The MAORIS waste no
time investigating the booty. MANA presses the piano key repeatedly.
Knare e Wainta! Kaare e Wajata!
(no sing, no sing)
Sc 117EXT STEWART'S DAY Sc 117
The sky is dark and rain is falling heavily as STEWART strides fast
towards the hut, his axe swinging in his hand. FLORA is far behind
him, her angelwings sodden.
Sc 118INT STEWART'S HUT DAY Sc 118
STEWART bursts into the hut, his wet hair is splattered against his
forehead. his face is white. ADA looks up from her book, moving her
hands from the table. STEWART swings his axe hard. It slices into the
table, splitting a section off her book. ADA pushes her chair back.
(exasperated) why? WHY? I
He pulls the axe out of the table and swings it at the piano.
ADA runs forward to restrain him, but it sinks deep into the wood. The
struck piano lets ont a strange resonant moan.
I trusted you, do you hear? I
trusted you. I could love you.
He takes her by the wrist.
Why do you do this? Why do you
make me hurt you? Do you bear?
Why have you done it? We could
STEWART shakes her violently.
You have made me angry. SPEAK!!
Sc 119EXT STEWART'S HUT & WOODCHOPDAY Sc 119
He pulls her out of the hut, past the now terrified FLORA.
You shall answer for this.
Speak or not you shall answer for
He drags her out through the mud, towards the wood chop. It is raining
ADA sees where they are headed and suddenly she is very scared. She
bucks and struggles, but STEWART is infinitely stronger. At the wood
chop she breaks free and crawls away through the woodchips and mud.
But axe in hand he grasps her by the neck of her dregs, then her hair,
and pulls her backwards towards the cutting block. There, he takes her
right hand and holds it in place with his boot, so that only ADA's
index finger shows, ADA's head is held twisted between the wood chop
and STEWART'S leg.
(anguished) Do you love him? Do
you?! Is it him you love?
ADA blinks rigid with fear. The rain is driving down.
No, she says NOOOOOO!!!
The axe falls. ADA's face buckles in pain. Blood squirts onto FLORA's
white pinafore, her angel wings are splattered in mud.
ADA stands. She looks faint, her finger is pulsing blood, she shakes
her hand then seeing the blood she puts it behind her back shocked.
She watches FLORA, concerned and confused. Uncontrollably her whole
body starts to shake and as if by reflex ADA begins to walk. FLORA
trots parallel to her.
ADA keeps walking blindly like her being depends on it. Her face is
ashen, her eyes fearful as she walks unseeingly straight into a large
tree stump. She sinks into the mud.
STEWART wraps the finger in a white handkerchief and gives it to FLORA
who backs away from him terrified.
Take this to Baines. Tell him
if he ever tries to see her again
I'll take off another and another
The figures seem tiny amidst the rain drenched skeleton forest.
SCENE 12O DELETED*
Sc 121EXT MAORI PA DAY Sc 121
The formal farewells are over and HIRA and BAINES finishes shaking
hands and pressing noses with her people.
HIRA holds his arm, she is sad and tearful. He places his hat on her
head affectionately and slips her a much appreciated tin of tobacco.
A soft rain begins to fall. BAINES and HIRA make their way past the
Meeting House and the low sleeping houses to the Pa entrance where his
I worry for us Peini. Pakeha
cunning like wind, KNOCK you
over, yet you not see it. Some
they say, how can pakeha get
our land if we won't sell it?"
A crowd of children run beside them, dogs scurry off and pigs are
kicked out of the way, their owners protesting loudly. Some hold mats
over their heads to protect themselves from the rain, one has a
They wrong Peini. We need guns
to hold it.
BAINES mounts his heavily laden horse. MANA pushes forward to say his
farewell, but is abruptly shoved aside, evidently unpopular with the
others. BAINES glances over and sees the piano key the man has
fashioned into an earring.
(angrily)I worried Feini.
What's gonna happen you, you go
home, but where we go? We got
nowhere to go.
HIRA's voice rises as BAINES lets go of her arm and rides through the
group towards MANA. He takes the piano key in his hand, MANA pulls
It is mine. I found it.
BAINES turns it over and finds the writing on it.
Homni 'ci au.
(I want this.)
Ncrr! Naaku. Itís mine. Me find
He aha to hiahia? Ask for it?
(What do you want?)
Gun, ask for his gun!
MAYA rubs his nails up and down his buttons while he considers what he
- Nga rarahe
- Wana Putu
-Te whitiki, gettem ehoal
Sc 122EXT MAORI PA DAY Sc 122
Outside the Pa walls near the kumera gardens, HIRA holds BAINES'
saddle bags. It is raining hard as he rides out, hatless, shoeless and
gunless, but clutching to his chest ADA's engraved key.
Go Peini ... Haere atu e Peini.
I'll be back.
Sc 123EXT SCHOOL DAY Sc 123
BAINES crosses through the pony paddock of the one room colonial
school hall, school house. He has a piece off flax knotted around his
waist to bold up his trousers. In the paddock are five very shabby
looking rides'. one huge old wagon horse, built to carry a whole
family, down to a tiny sour looking Shetland. The girls have long,
stained, once white pinafores and everyone wears boots that seem too
big, except the little boy who has the front cut off his hoots so his
toes can hang out.
Four little girls play a sedate game of skip rope, using a bush vine.
BAINES watches, noticing in particular a little girl of about 9 with a
bock. The boys and some of the wilder girls play BullRush.
NOTE SCENE 123 REPLACES SCENES 124 AND 125
DELETE SCENES 124 AND 125
Sc 126EXT GENTLE STREKM DAY Sc 126
The girl with the book goes off sit by a little stream. BAINES follows
and sits beside her.
Can you read?
The little girl immediately closes the book and walks off.
The girl keeps walking, before she turns about to watch him from a
Another little girl drops down from a tree.
You can read?
(She is very small.)
Yes ... lots of things.
The skipping group of girls join them.
She can't read, she's my
sister, I ought to know.
Are those sweets?
I can read!
BAINES holds out the packet to the little girl.
Don't give her one.
BAINES does anyway.
She can't read.
The little girl throws the lolly paper away, which one of the other
girls picks up and sniffs, she hands it to the others.
Can you read?
He holds out the piano key BIG SISTER takes it with great authority,
her friends crowd behind her. She frowns at the writing. She turns it
Running writing, we haven't
done that yet.
Myrtle can read it, her mother
The key is snatched from BIG SISTER and given to MYRTLE, the girl with
the book. The others crowd around.
(frowning) D e a r G e o r g e
The children look over at BAINES to see if this is right so far.
You (in unison)... have
Its not an M
Yes it is.
MYRTLE & BIG SISTER
Dear - George - you - have - my
heart? (She pulls a face as if
it doesn't make sense) Ada
It doesn't make sense.
The little girls read it again together. MYRTLE turns the key over
matter of factly to see if there is more writing.
They all look up at him.
Say it again, just you.
Everyone turns and listens to MYRTLE
Dear George you have my heart,
She gives a little "Is that all?" gesture.
You say it. (He points to BIG
SISTER, who has a crazy deep
Dear George you have my heart,
Another little girl spontaneously recites the message. And so does
another. Through all this BAINES keeps his bead down shaking it in
disbelief and shy happiness. He starts to laugh with relief and
pleasure. The little girls think it is something funny in the line and
continue to repeat it, which each then appears to give BAINES fresh
pleasure. Meanwhile the smallest of the girls is quietly helping
herself to the sweets.
SCENE 127 DELETED
SCENE 128 DELETED
Sc 129EXT BAINESí DUSK Sc 129
BAINTS rides up to his house in the evening light He is silly with
happiness. HIRA comes running out to meet him
Peini, Peini, liddle gel. I
seen her come up here, scream,
scream . blood on her. Look
bad... very bad
BAINES jumps off his horse and strides into his hut.
Sc 130INT BAINES' HUT DUSK Sc 130
Inside he finds FLORA crouching in a corner, her face is white, tear
stained and splattered with mud. Her angel wings are squashed behind
her and blood stained. On seeing BAINES she cries with renewed pain
What has happened? Hush, hush,
what is it?
FLORA thrusts the wrapped finger at BAINES. He takes the blood soaked
object and unwraps it. The finger unravels into his hand, he reels
back groaning, choking about to be sick.
(yelling) He says you're not to
see her or he'll chop her up!
But FLORA cannot speak. She bursts into loud sobs. BAINES kneels in
front of her shaking her.
TELL ME! TELL ME!
BAINES stops shaking her, she scrambles away and out the door. BAINES
chases after her.
Sc 131EXT BAINES DUSK Sc 131
FLORA screams as he catches her.
Quiet down! Shhh! Where is she?
He chopped it off
Jesus! I'll kill him! I'll kill
What did she tell him?
Put her down Peirn She is
HIRA takes the quivering FLORA in her arms.
There girl. there
BAINES notices the blood on FLORA'S dress, he touches it, she shys
Sc 132EXT STEWARD'S HUT NIGHT Sc 132
STEWART walks outside his hut disconsolate.
Sc 133INT STEWART'S HUT NIGHT Sc 133
STEWART enters ADA's room with a lamp. He puts it down beside her on
the table. He studies her pale face and dry lips. ADA's eyes flicker
(speaking to his feet)
I lost my temper. I'm sorry.
STEWART looks at ADA.
You broke my trust, you pushed
me hard, to hard. (he sighs)
You cannot send love to HIM you
cannot do it. Even to think on
it makes me angry, very angry
ADA opens her eyes and looks at STEWART. It is evident she hears
nothing and has understood nothing, she is struggling with pain. Her
face grimaces and she groans.
I meant to love you. I clipped
your wing, that is all.
STEWART sings two lines of an English love ballad to ADA.
We shall be together, you will
see it will be better...
Her forehead is damp with fever. She thrashes at the blankets. STEWART
pulls them off to cool her. He feels her brow.
my love bird.
Her nightgown is damp with sweat and clings to her body. STEWART
reaches out to adjust her gown, his hand touches her leg and he holds
it there, feeling a tingle of pleasure, that grows and builds the
longer his hand remains.
Ohhhhh my love
His hand begins to move further and further up her leg, nudging the
nightgown higher and higher. He looks at her face. She is closed-eyed,
unconscious. STEWART'S face crinkles into a pained expression and all
his control melts into a drive to hold and extend this moment. He
brings his mouth to her leg and begins to kiss her knee, her thigh. A
new thought occurs to him, a terrible thought, but as he has phrased
the thought to himself, he cannot resist it. He glances at her face
still fevered and unconscious. Quietly, stealthily, he begins to undo
his belt buckle. He bends across her to gently separate her legs. As
he moves his body over her, he looks towards her and to his shame and
horror she is looking directly back at him, her eyes perfectly on his,
perfectly focused. Quietly STEWART moves back and pulls down her gown,
all the time keeping his eyes on her.
You are feeling better?
ADA's lips move slightly and STEWART turns suddenly as if he has heard
something. Slowly he turns back to ADA.
STEWART looks at ADA intently, moving closer to her bed, closer to ADA
his eyes locked on hers.
The sound of his own voice makes him blink. He watches her as if
listening to her speak in a voice that is so faint, and distant, that
only with great concentration and perseverance can he make it out. As
he watches her his face transforms; his eyes fill, his lips soften and
his eyebrows take on the exact expression of her own.
The kerosene lamp burns fitfully, fluttering a light pulse across
their faces. STEWART moves closer to ADA. Outside a wind bangs the
iron roof and rubs branches against each other making a high-pitched
see-saw sound. He leans closer still.
Sc 134EXT STEWARTS NIGHT Sc 134
STEWART carrying a candle in a glass box makes his way through ghostly
tree stumps. In his other arm he has his gun.
Sc 135EXT/INT BAINES' NIGHT Sc 135
At BAINES' hut STEWART steps over the curled figure of HIRA sleeping
on the verandah and walks through the hut towards the bedroom where a
lit candle flickers.
Sc 136INT BAINES' BEDROOMNIGHT Sc 136
In the bed lies FLORA wrapped in a blanket with BAINES beside her, axe
in hand, both fast asleep. STEWART nudges BAINES awake with the butt
of his rifle prodding him under the chin. BAINES wakes rudely with a
start, frozen by the sight of STEWART and his rifle.
Put that away, on the floor.
BAINES obeys, careful not to disturb the sleeping child. STEWART sits
near the bed on a box, resting his gun across his knee, his face is
glowing, he looks closely at BAINES, examining him.
I look at you, at your face. I
have had that face in my head
hating it. But now I am here
seeing it ... it's nothing, you
blink, you have your mark, you
look at me through your eyes,
yes. you are even scared of me
Look at you!
BAINES watches him stiffly, disconcerted, unable to read STEWART'S
strange mood. STEWART stares back at him.
Has Ada ever spoken to you?
You mean in signs?
No, words. You have never heard
No, not words.
Never thought you heard words?
BAINES shakes his head.
She has spoken to me. I heard
her voice. There was no sound,
but I beard it here (he presses
his forehead with a palm of his
hand). Her voice was there in
my head. I watched her lips,
they did not make the words,
yet the harder I listened the
clearer I heard her, as clear
as I hear you, as dear as I
hear my own voice.
(trying to understand)
No, but her words are in my
head. (he looks at BAINES and
pauses) I know what you think,
that it's a trick, that I'm
making it up. No, the words I
heard, were her words.
(suspiciously) What are they?
STEWART looks up at the ceiling as if reciting something he has learnt
by heart and means to repeat exactly as he heard it.
She said, "I have to go, let me
go, let Baines take me away,
let him try and save me. I am
frightened of my will, of what
it might do it is so strange
BAINES recovering himself eyes STEWART angrily.
You punished her wrongly, it
was me, my fault.
STEWART does not answer. Finally be looks up, his eyes full with
Understand me. I am here for
her, for her I wonder that I
don't wake, that I am not
asleep to be here talking with
you. I love her. But what is
the use? She doesn't care for
me. I wish her gone. I wish you
gone. I want to wake and find
it was a dream, that is what I
want. I want to believe I am
not this man. I want my self
back; the one I know.
FLORA moves and turns in her sleep. The two men watch. Her brow frowns
then smoothes. Her eyelids roll as her eyes dart back and forth in
Sc 137EXT STREAM NEAR BAINES'DAY Sc 137
HIRA washes out the mud from FLORA's dress and angel wings in a bush
Sc 138INT/EXT STEWART'S DAY Sc 138
ADA's trunks are delivered outside STEWART'S hut by AUNT MORAG and her
girls. ADA is led from STEWART'S hut by NESSIE. She wears a black
dress and her arm is tied in a white sling. The light outside makes
her blink. NESSIE smoothes her hair behind her shoulders. FLORA
timidly peeps at her mother from behind BAINES.
Sc 139EXT BUSH ON WAY TO BEACHDAY Sc 139
The piano is carried on ahead while in the secrecy of the bush BAINES
kisses ADA passionately. She looks back at him worried.
Sc 140EXT STEWART'S HTJT DAY Sc 140
STEWART is fencing his new land. Suddenly be looks off in to the far
Sc 141EXT BEACH DAY Sc 141
On the beach ADA sits looking out to sea while FLORA plaits her hair
in one thick braid behind her back. She places the bonnet carefully on
top At the sea edge in front of them the piano is being loaded on the
Sc 142EXT BEACH DAY Sc 142
HIRA and BAINES are next to each other by the canoe. HIRA is looking
I worry for you.
No, I love her, we will be a
family. I have her piano. I
will mend it, she will get
I miss you.
Sc 143EXT AT SEA/BEACH DAY Sc 143
The sea is choppy and the piano is difficult to steady in the canoe.
BAINES helps the rigging of the piano, thick rope ends coil under the
women's feet. HIRA is left on the shore with one child and two other
Tears run openly down her big sad face as she sings her farewell to
He rimu teretere koc ete. Peini
Tere 'Ci Tawhiti 'ci Paniamao
He waka Teretere He waka
Ko koe ka tere 'ci tua whakuere
You are like seaweed drifting
in the sea BAINES.
Drift far away, drift far
beyond the horizon
A canoe glides hither, a canoe
But you though will journey on
be beyond the veil~)
(by Selwyn Mum)
Tarinaharawa - alanel tahuri
(It's too heavy - the canoe
will tip over.)
Keite pail Kaare e titahataha
(It's all right! Look it's
(The wind is already strong.)
Leave it - its too heavy.
No, she needs it, she must have
SCENE 144 IS NOW COMBINED WITH SCENE 143
SCENE 144 DELETED
Sc 145EXT AT SEA/BEACHDAY Sc 145
The canoe has paddled away from the shore. FLORA leans over the edge
of the canoe, her mouth open, her hair held back by BAINES.
BAINES rubs her back. FLORA straightens up.
They retake their seats, FLORA's back to the piano, while BAINES sits
next to ADA. He tenderly takes her good hand. ADA removes hers and
signs to FLORA who looks at her mother then BAINES amazed.
What did she say?
(puzzled) She says, throw the
(to ADA) It's quite safe, they
ADA signs again.
She says, throw it overboard.
She doesn't want it. She says
I have the key here, look, I'll
have it mended...
ADA mimes directly to BAINES, "PUSH IT OVER". Her determination is
Ae! Peja. Turakina'. Bushit?
Peja te kawheha kite moana.
(Yeah she's right push it over,
push the coffin in the water.)
(softly, urgently) Please, Ada,
you will regret it. It's your
piano, I want you to have it.
But ADA does not listen, she is adamant and begins to untie the ropes.
She doesn't want IT!
The canoe is unbalancing as ADA struggles with the ropes.
All right. sit down, sit down.
ADA sits, pleased. Her eyes glow and her face is now alive.
BAINES speaks to the MAORIS who stop paddling and together they loosen
the ropes securing the piano to the canoe.
As they maneuver the piano to the edge ADA Jocks into the water. She
puts her hand into the sea and moves it back and forth.
The piano is carefully lowered and with a heave topples over. As the
piano splashes into the sea, the loose ropes speed their way after it.
ADA watches them snake past her feet and then out of a fatal
curiosity, odd and undisciplined, she steps into a loop.
The rope tightens and grips her foot so that she is snatched into the
sea, and pulled by the piano down through the cold water.
Sc 146INT SEA NEAR BEACH DAY Sc 146
Bubbles tumble from her mouth. Down she falls, on and on. her eyes are
open, her clothes twisting about her. The MAORIS diving after her
cannot reach her in these depths. ADA begins to struggle. She kicks at
the rope, but it holds tight around her boot. She kicks hard again and
then with her other foot, levers herself free from her shoe. The piano
and her shoe continue their fall while ADA floats above, suspended in
the deep water, then suddenly her body awakes and fights, struggling
upwards to the surface.
Sc 147 EXT AT SEA BEACH DAY Sc 147
As ADA breaks the surface her VOICE OVER begins:
ADA (VOICE OVER)
What a death!
What a chance!
What a surprise!
My will has chosen life!?
Still it has had me spooked and
many others besides!
ADA coughing and spluttering is pulled on to the canoe. She is wrapped
in jackets and blankets.
Sc 148INT SEA NEAR BEACH DAY Sc 148
Underwater we see the canoe bottom, its oars dipping the surface
Sc 149INT ADA'S NELSON DRAWING ROOM DUSK Sc 149
ADA (VOICE OVER)
I teach piano now in Nelson.
George has fashioned me a metal
finger tip, I am quite the town
freak which satisfies! I am
learning to speak. My sound is
still so bad I am ashamed. I
practice only when I am alone
and it is dark.
ADA's hands move across the piano keys, her metal finger shines in the
Sc 150INT ADA'S NELSON DRAWING ROOM NIGHT Sc 150
ADA paces up and down the small drawing room. There are no lights on
only a dim blue evening wash. Over her head she has a dark cloth, her
voice makes low guttural sounds as it repeats the vowels.
Sc 151INT SEA BED NEAR BEACH DAY Sc 151
ADA (VOICE OVER)
At night! I think of my piano
in its ocean grave, and
sometimes of myself floating
above it. Down there everything
is so still and silent that it
lulls me to sleep. It is a
weird lullaby and so it is; it
ADA's piano on the seabed, its lid fallen away. Above floats ADA, her
hair and arms stretched out in a gesture of surrender, her body slowly
turning on the end of the rope. The seaweed's rust coloured fronds
reach out to touch her.
THERE IS A SILENCE WHERE HATH BEEN NO SOUND
THERE IS A SILENCE WHERE NO SOUND MAY BE
IN THE COLD GRAVE, UNDER THE DEEP DEEP SEA.
NOTES AND EXTRA DIALOGUE
Sc 10 SEAMAN'S DISCUSSION
The wind and the low manner of their speaking makes it impossible to
hear the exact nature of the discussion.
-'Tis a dead shore, a dead shore
-Leave her here, it's what she wanted.
-A pox on you!
-Ay very nice, leave her and be lynched for the pleasure.
-Do what you like, I'm off this shore
Sc 12 ART DEPARTMENT NOTE
ADA's finger is seen INSIDE the dark crate sounding a few notes
Sc 15 TRANSLATION NOTE
(i) With the MAORI language dialogue of BAINES and the MAORI PEOPLE,
the general scheme is that only when necessary to sense or humour will
subtitled translation be given. However for the benfit of its readers
this script will translate everything noting what will and won't be
(ii)EXTRA MAORI DIALOGUE SC 15
(What wag that?)
(Is it a ghost)
(iii)Many of the MAORIS have coughs, running noses and sores.
(They have no immunity to European diseases.)
(i)BACKGROUND DIALOGUE FOR BEGINNING OF SCENE
He ahu te rarurarti
I konei tonu, ka moe te koroua nei.
(He just decided to go to sleep)
(ii)BACKGROUND DIALOGUE FOR END OF SCENE
Taiho. Kei muri pea inga rakan nei. Auc!
Tino matatoru konei.
Me haere ake ano an ki runga.
(Hold on maybe behind this clump. Gee the
undergrowth is thick here. I'll come up again.)
Kahore ne huarahi - kahorene tutae.
(No track, no shit)
Sc 29ADA's piano piece duration approximately 90 sees.
Sc 30Duet 20-30 sees
Sc 33FLORA's singing 20 sees
Sc 34HENI/MARY phrasing of National Anthem
Got safe ah gayshy Quin
Long hf a gayshy Quin
Oat shayf a Quin
Har - py en a Clohria
Long to rain ourush
Got Safe ah Quin
Sc 37 TRANSLATION NOTE:
Who is it that rumbles within?
Is it Ruaumoko, is it Ruaurnoko?
Jab, smash, jab, smash
Jab, smash, jab, smash
The Taniwha, the Taniwba.
That is within ... He!
Sc 65 The mud around the School Hall is so deep that a labyrinths of
planks is setup to avoid it.
Sc 87 Extra dialogue
MAORI PIANO CARRIERS
Tahi Patene ruapuri patene
Tekan patene ornatekau pwari patene
(One button, two bloody buttons.
Ten buttons, twenty bloody buttons.)
'cia Whai tarau ano ra monga patene!
(We need pants for the buttons eh!)
He patene te kai, he patene te kai A popo ka tiko patene ahan patene
ma nga tangata katoa.
(Buttons for food, buttons for food. Buttons for everybody. By
tomorrow I'll be shitting buttons.)
Sc 100 Approximately 60 sec. of ADA's piano playing.