I shall complete the Dramatis Personae and concept tomorrow, but here are the ‘lower class/minor arcana’ for now. I am really enjoying writing the second piece based on these characters (and in a way, we all are based on these characters…I’ve certainly met some of them this week, and recognise them in myself also) and will upload some snippets from the screenplay soon, as well as a new story for a slightly more sympathetc Harlequin/Alec Chinod for your reading delight.


The Servants


Alec Chinod

is a servant, but first of the servants at Zanni PLC. Never climbing any higher than his status as the office’s clown, he nonetheless continually distracts himself with his outlandish, scheming efforts, and his various underhand manouvres. It is his passion that lets him down, and his passion that drives him blindly, he cannot exist in any other mode than that of lothario, forever a predictable charmer, loud and ostentatious. Everything about Alec’s appearance is there to attract attention to the one woman he cannot have; from his diamond-patterned tie to his wrap around sunglasses (not forgetting the various bandannas and other headgear worn to hide that one unsightly blemish, that one wart upon his otherwise charming face), he is longing for Colombina. Colombina merely mocks him, and this mockery forces the poor clown to satisfy his raging desire and bottomless love with the lost temp girls on the third floor, each of whom takes it in turn to fall violently in love with him before having to leave Zanni PLC suffering from a broken heart. Alec Chinod displays nothing but hyper-confidence when he is in the office, but something suggests there is another, tragic and desperate side to him aching to escape, even though we understand that this cannot happen and his role is defined and unbreakable. A source of constant irritation for Mr. Taloney, the Managing Director, who always catches on he is being mocked by Alec a few seconds too late.

Alec had a drunken one-night stand with Isabelle, who has been engaged to Tony for several years and is apparantly deeply in love with him. It merely delayed the wedding plans, and Alec knows he could do it again should he want to.


Like Alec, Colombina is also new to Zanni PLC (unlike Alec, she has never worked in an office before). She has come straight from a prestigious English university with a first-class degree in drama, and is uncomfortable with the fact that she is having to work in a call centre, surrounded by those more experienced and settled in their fate than she is. Originally scornful and mocking of all her new colleagues, her uppity, haughty ignorance and arrogance slowly fades (or simply concentrates solely on Alec whose amorous advances are as frequent as they are unoriginal). Colombina is fully aware that Alec is genuinely in love with her; however, she continues to mock and pour scorn upon him, and even she would struggle to tell you why. We, the audience can immediately see that Colombina does not wish to acknowledge the depth of her prejudice and discomfort with the servant status they share. Has a strained relationship with all other colleagues, who she is regularly chastising for petty issues such as their dress sense, which does not always possess the same level of taste and grace Colombina can afford.


The much abused Personal Assistant of Mr. Taloney who was brought over from Italy with the relocation and burgeoning multinational status of Zanni PLC. Despite his job being more important than any of the ‘servants’, Pedro is paid a pitiful wage and is treated truly appallingly by his manager. Partly because of pity brought on by this, and partly because of his mediterranean charm, Pedro is much loved by his other colleagues. Colombina grows very close to Pedro, and sends him suggestive and romantic emails on the internal messaging service. Interestingly, she does not view Pedro with the same distaste she holds for Alec. Pedro’s working class and immigrant status elevates his attractiveness, makes him seem exciting, even slightly dangerous as an object of her affections. This is, of course, somewhat ridiculous as it is continually apparant that Pedro lacks any sort of backbone or assertiveness in his nature. It is as if knows fully well that he can never truly love her back anyway, simply because of the pressures Mr. Taloney puts on his every minute, all day, every day. They do, however, often meet in corridors and exchange amourous glances and occasional arrange to accompany each other for lunch or drinks, something which never actually materialises for a whole number of reasons. Hated and despised by Alec, who is regularly seen attempting to humiliate Pedro in front of Colombina, and is often successful (although the result generally backfires – his cruelty and boyish behaviour causes Colombina to take pity on Pedro, and it only serves to attract the fawning temp girls on the third floor further).

Mr. Pulce

A strangley omnipresent mute cleaner with a hunchback. He is often seen trying to communicate some elaborate and deep message to Alec using some form of sign language understood by nobody, although we suspect Mr. Pulce, through his impartial observations, holds the key to the entire situation…




About Benjamin Norris

Published writer of short stories, long stories, poems. Well received art critic and cultural commentator for Berlin magazines. Collaborator with operatic societies. Co-writer of fictional historic psycholinguistic journals. Lecturer of architecture and art history at a Budapest University. View all posts by Benjamin Norris

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