charles mee

the (re)making project

The Plays

Adam and Evie

by  C H A R L E S   L .   M E E

.

A hugely ethnically diverse cast
of 10 to 30 actors
depending on doubling and tripling.

And the first couple we meet,
Adam and Evie,
will be on stage for the entire play,
having a few scenes themselves,
and, when they are not having a scene themselves, watching everyone
and everything else that happens
to see what they can learn from it.

Adam and Evie enter from different sides.

ADAM
Hello.

EVIE
Hello.

ADAM
What’s your name?

EVIE
What’s your name?

ADAM
My name is Adam.

EVIE
I’m Evie.

ADAM
Do you come here often?

EVIE
Oh, yes
all the time
and my mother doesn’t even know I’ve left home

ADAM
well, she sees you’re not there

EVIE
no, because I’m still at home in bed

ADAM
home in bed?

EVIE
because my spirit has split in two…

ADAM
so you mean, as a metaphor, your mother doesn’t know you’ve left

EVIE
she sees me still every morning when I wake up in my bed at home

ADAM
she sees you….
so your mother….

EVIE
you think she’s crazy

ADAM
I think someone may be a little bit living in a dream

EVIE
this is how it is to love someone

ADAM
indeed

EVIE
yes

ADAM
I wonder:
would you marry me
or
would you have a coffee with me
and think of having a conversation
that would lead to marriage?

EVIE
Oh.
Oh.
Well,

a coffee with you
I would have a coffee with you.

ADAM
You are free now?

EVIE
Free now? No, well, no
right now
I am busy.

ADAM
OK then maybe later this evening?

EVIE
Well, later this evening also I am busy.

ADAM
Or late supper.
Or breakfast tomorrow
or lunch or tea in the afternoon
or a movie
or dinner the day after
Thursday for lunch
or Friday dinner
or perhaps you would go for the weekend with me
to my parents’ home in Provence
or we could stop along the way
and find a little place for ourselves
to be alone.

EVIE
I don’t think I can be alone.

ADAM
With me?
Or by yourself?
You don’t like to be alone by yourself?

EVIE
No, I mean with you this weekend.

ADAM
Oh.
Or then just we could
have coffee over and over again
every day
until we get to know one another
and we have the passage of the seasons
in the cafe
we could celebrate our anniversary
and then perhaps you would forget
that you are not married to me
and we can have a child.

EVIE
A child?

ADAM
Because
don’t you think
after we have been together for a year
it will be time to start to think of these things?

EVIE
We haven’t been together for a day.

ADAM
You know, I have known many women.
I mean, I don’t mean to say....

EVIE
No.

ADAM
I mean just
you know
my mother, my grandmother
my sisters
and also women I have known romantically
and then, too, friends,
and even merely acquaintances
but you know
in life
one meets many people
and it seems to me
we know so much of another person
in the first few moments we meet
not from what a person says alone
but from the way they hold their head
how they listen
what they do with their hand as they speak
or when they are silent
and years later
when these two people break up
they say
I should have known from the beginning
in truth
I did know from the beginning
I saw it in her, or in him
the moment we met
but I tried to repress the knowledge
because it wasn’t useful at the time
because,
for whatever reason
I just wanted to go to bed with her as fast as I could
or I was lonely
and so I pretended I didn’t notice
even though I did
exactly the person she was from the first moment
I knew
and so it is with you
and I think probably it is the same for you with me
we know one another
right now from the first moment
we know so much about one another in just this brief time
and we have known many people
and for myself
I can tell
you are one in a million
and I want to marry you
I want to marry you
and have children with you
and grow old together
so I am begging you
just have a coffee with me.

EVIE
OK.

ADAM
When will you do this?

EVIE
Right now.

ADAM
Oh.
Oh, good.
Good.

[he kisses her hand]

Good.


[Another couple enters,
and Adam and Evie stop and turn to look at them.]






DEBARGO
Hi.

CHEN CHI
Hello.

DEBARGO
Would you like a coffee?

CHEN CHI
Thank you.

DEBARGO
What brings you here?

CHEN CHI
I’m just passing through.

DEBARGO
Well.
Isn’t everyone?

CHEN CHI
Whose woods are these?

DEBARGO
I don’t know.

CHEN CHI
So.
I guess you could say we’re lost in the woods together.

DEBARGO
I guess you could.

CHEN CHI
I’ve never been lost in the woods.

DEBARGO
Neither have I.

CHEN CHI
I’m glad I’m not alone.

DEBARGO
So am I.

I like nature,
but I’m a little bit afraid of it.

CHEN CHI
Well, sure.

DEBARGO
Of the dark parts especially.
I’d like nature better if it were better lit.
I think everyone is, you know,
basically afraid of the dark.
Even amoebas.
I mean, every life form,
you take them out of the light
and they begin to feel some anxiety.
I do.

CHEN CHI
I do.

DEBARGO
Light, basically, is how you orient yourself
and a person without a sense of orientation
I mean, if you don’t know where you are
and where you’re going
and about where you are on the line of the place where you are
and the destination where you’re going
a person begins to freak out.
I think that’s why
in jazz
they always play the melody at the top
and then
once you know the tune
you think: right, let them riff
because I know where I am
and I know that, in the end,
they’re going to come back to the melody
You know what I mean?

CHEN CHI
Well.
Sure.

DEBARGO
It’s like
a love story
you can just get lost in a love story because
we know
whatever happens along the way
we might get confused or we might get lost
or it’s on again off again
and it goes down some blind alley
but that’s how real life is
that’s how it really is to be in love
sometimes you never know
sometimes it seems like it is just drifting
or it becomes hopeless
but it doesn’t matter
because in the end
with a love story
you know
either they are going to get together
or they’re not.

CHEN CHI
Right.

[silence]

Do you think
you could ever live in the woods?

DEBARGO
You mean, forever?

CHEN CHI
Well, for a long time.
Say, like five years.

[silence]

DEBARGO
Five years.

[silence]

With you?

[silence]

CHEN CHI
Oh.

Oh.

Okay.

With me.

[silence]

DEBARGO
Yes.

[silence]

CHEN CHI
Oh.

DEBARGO
I’ve thought about it before
living in the country
because that would be beautiful
and I’ve always found it frightening
cut off from the world
as it seems to me
all alone
and
with nothing to do
but wait to get to be eighty years old
or ninety
and die.
You know, you might have thought you were going to be a doctor
or go to the moon
or just have a nice civil service job
a career and all the ordinary stuff of life
not throw it away on a great sort of romantic gamble
like you think
oh
I’d like to go to the country for the weekend
but to just fling myself out into the universe
and drift among the stars
and have this be my destiny
take the gamble that this would be a meaningful life
and one you would really like forever
the only life you have.
I mean, not that I’m a morbid person
but, you know, it seems to me,
if you’re out there alone
maybe with a farm and fields and trees
and the night sky, the stars
you start to think pretty quickly
how you’re all alone
and you just have your life on earth
and then it’s over
and it hasn’t been much more than a wink
in the life of the stars
and you haven’t done anything
that you think is worth an entire life on earth
so I’ve always felt a lot safer living in the city
where you can’t see the stars at night.

CHEN CHI
Unh-hunh.

DEBARGO
There you have your friends and things to do
you get all caught up
and it’s fun
I’m not against having fun
what I mean is
going to movies, having dinner, hanging out
you can forget entirely that you’re a mortal person
it seems: this could go on forever
until, I suppose, you meet someone, and you think:

[silence]

I could live with you forever in the woods.
And that would be a life.

[silence.

She starts to back away from him.]

Or not, you know. Or not.

I didn’t mean to come on so strong.

I just start talking, and I don’t know when to stop.

CHEN CHI
Stop.

DEBARGO
Right.

CHEN CHI
Good.

Maybe we could just take a walk in the woods.

DEBARGO
Right. Good.
Good idea.
Let’s do that.

CHEN CHI
Like,
right after we have a cup of coffee.

DEBARGO
OK.
Good.

[They leave,
and another couple enters.]




BOB
Do I know you?

CAROL
No.

BOB
That is to say,
have we met before?

CAROL
Do you think we have?

BOB
You don’t?

CAROL
Do you think
we’ve made love in the past?

BOB
Wouldn’t you remember that?

CAROL
Would I?

BOB
What would it take for you to remember?

CAROL
Something extraordinary?

BOB
Some extraordinary night of making love?

CAROL
Of falling in love?

BOB
The love of your life?

CAROL
A love you thought you would never have?

BOB
that would never be returned?

CAROL
that would never last?

BOB
Aren’t you an odd sort of person?

CAROL
That’s why I’m drawn to you.

BOB
I have to admit
I like a woman who has
delicate shoulders
and red hair

CAROL
and a flat nose

BOB
some people would think her plain

CAROL
or even tough looking

BOB
with her prize-fighter’s nose

CAROL
and her small chest

BOB
but she’s sweet, too, and shy

CAROL
and wants never to be damaged

BOB
and I would never damage her
never raise my hand against her
never raise my voice in speaking to her
I would be as steadfast as she is

I would undress her with great care

CAROL
and touch her very gently

BOB
and hold her through the night

CAROL
and let her live exactly as she would like

BOB
I would let her be free

CAROL
let her choose her own way of living

BOB
and I would dote on her

CAROL
and be there for her

BOB
whenever she would turn to me

CAROL
whatever it was that she would ask

BOB
I would give to her

CAROL
and when the time came that she no longer wanted me

BOB
I would let her go lightly

CAROL
or if she wished never to leave me

BOB
I would give my life to her

[He reaches out
and takes her hand,
and they leave together.

A single guy enters.
He whistles a super loud whistle.
Waits a minute.
Whistles again.
Waits.
Whistles again.
Waits.

And now he shouts.

HE
Hello!
[Waits.]
Hello!
[Waits.]
Hello!

[Waits.

Shouts again.]

I’m here!

[Whistles]

Here I am!

[Whistles]

I’m here!

[Whistles]

[Waits.

Leaves.]


[Another couple enters.
Two guys.]


EDMUND
I think you are lying to me, Herbert.
You are always lying to me
because you wish something would be true
but it isn’t.
You are a weak spineless person, Herbert,
feckless, feeble and ineffective.

But I love you like a cicada.

HERBERT
A cicada?

EDMUND
Yes.

HERBERT
Like a grasshopper you mean?

EDMUND
Do you know what a cicada is?

HERBERT
I thought I did.

EDMUND
There was a time long ago, in prehistoric times
when cicadas were human beings
back before the Muses were born.
And then when the Muses were born
and song came into being
some of these human creatures were so taken by the pleasure of it
that they sang and sang and sang.
And they forgot to eat or drink
they just sang and sang
and so,
before they knew it,
they died.

And from those human creatures a new species came into being
the cicadas
and they were given this special gift from the Muses:
that from the time they are born
they need no nourishment
they just sing continuously
caught forever in the pleasure of the moment
without eating or drinking
until they die.

This is the story of love.
If you stay there forever in that place
you die of it.

That’s why people
can’t stay in love.

But that’s how I’ve loved you.
And how I love you now.
And how I always will.


[They reach out
and hold hands,
take a moment,
and then leave together.

Three guys enter on their hands and knees.
They are wearing underwear.
And they are on leashes.
The leashes are held by a young woman
with a whip.

THE YOUNG WOMAN
This way!
This way!

No.
THIS way.

THIS way.

[she lashes them with the whip]

No no!!!
This way.

[she lashes them with the whip]

Come on.

Here we go!

[she lashes them with the whip]

This way!

[she lashes them with the whip]

Okay.


[Two women enter.]

SUMIKO
I’m glad to see you again.

CATHERINE
So you say.
And yet
I don’t know how it could be true.

SUMIKO
How could it not be true?

CATHERINE
Because if you were glad to see me
you would never have left me.

SUMIKO
Of course I would.

CATHERINE
No, because
if you love someone
you don’t leave them.
You hold onto them for dear life
you hold onto them forever
unless you are a stupid person
which I don’t think you are
so
what else can I think
except you never really loved me
I was just another one of your flings along the way
whereas I loved you
I knew
if you love someone
you don’t let them go

SUMIKO
And yet you did.

CATHERINE
I never did.

SUMIKO
You said:
if one day you are going to leave me
then go now
don’t just keep tormenting me.

CATHERINE
And so?

SUMIKO
And so.
It’s not that I left you.

CATHERINE
Excuse me.
I didn’t leave you.
And yet, you are not with me.
What else happened?

SUMIKO
It turned out
we were at different points in our lives
we couldn’t go on.

CATHERINE
I could have gone on.

SUMIKO
Shall we talk about something else?

CATHERINE
I see
in the world
people have wars and they die
entire countries come to an end
Etienne has died of cancer

SUMIKO
I didn’t know.

CATHERINE
How could you?
And yet
there it is.
And one day I will die
and so will you.
And yet
you could leave me.
I don’t understand.
I will never understand
how it is if you have only one life to live
and you find your own true love
the person all your life you were meant to find
and your only job then was to cherish that person
and care for that person
and never let go
but it turns out
you can still think
for some reason
because this or that
you end it
you end it forever
you end it for the only life you will ever live on earth.
Maybe if you would be reincarnated
and you could come back to life again and again a dozen times
then this would make sense
to throw away your only chance for love in this life
because you would have another chance in another life
but when this is your only chance
how can this make sense?

Do you think
there will ever be a time
when we could get back together?

SUMIKO
No.

CATHERINE
Not ever?

SUMIKO
No.

CATHERINE
Not ever at all
even ever?

SUMIKO
No.

CATHERINE
And yet
this is so hard for me to accept.

[Sumiko stands to leave]

SUMIKO
I love you, Catherine.
I have never loved anyone in my life as I have loved you
and I know I never will.
But we cannot be together.

[She leaves;
Catherine watches her go
and then walks determinedly after her.


A woman enters wearing a pair of red boxing gloves.
She goes through a series of punches, dodges,
glove hitting glove,
ducking, and so forth

as a couple enters
tied together with rope.
They both have a loop of rope around their heads
so that the rope is in their mouths,
making it impossible to talk so we can understand them.
Still, they are talking.

Another couple passes through
wearing chicken suits.

Everyone stops to watch
when a guy comes in with some wagons full of trash,
as he parks one wagon on one side of the stage,
the other wagon on the other side of the stage,
a third wagon center stage,
and he works a little bit at arranging the trash
perfectly in the wagons.

It is installation art.

He steps back, looks at the wagons,
and the wagons begin to speak,
so he leaves.

The wagons speak a scene from Romeo and Juliet
as everyone else stands and looks at the wagons
and listens to them:

JULIET
How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.

ROMEO
With love’s light wings did I o’er-perch these walls;
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do that dares love attempt;
Therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me.

JULIET
If they do see thee, they will murder thee.

ROMEO
Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye
Than twenty of their swords: look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity.

JULIET
I would not for the world they saw thee here.

ROMEO
I have night’s cloak to hide me from their sight;
And but thou love me, let them find me here:
My life were better ended by their hate,
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.

JULIET
By whose direction found’st thou out this place?

ROMEO
By love, who first did prompt me to inquire;
He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes.
I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash’d with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise.

JULIET
Thou know’st the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny
What I have spoke: but farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say ‘Ay,’
And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear’st,
Thou mayst prove false; at lovers’ perjuries
Then say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:
Or if thou think’st I am too quickly won,
I’ll frown and be perverse an say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my ‘havior light:
But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard’st, ere I was ware,
My true love’s passion: therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.

ROMEO
Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—

JULIET
O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

ROMEO
What shall I swear by?

JULIET
Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I’ll believe thee.

ROMEO
If my heart’s dear love—

JULIET
Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say ‘It lightens.’ Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!

ROMEO
O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?

JULIET
What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?

ROMEO
The exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.

JULIET
I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
And yet I would it were to give again.

ROMEO
Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?

JULIET
But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

[And now the installation art begins singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera
singing opera

A woman in a red dress
enters, dancing solo
with a floor lamp
with a lampshade made of underpants

Our couples who have been watching each other
and watching the installation art guy install his art
now join in the dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing

And Adam and Evie join the dancing.

So the singing and dancing continue
singing and dancing
singing and dancing
singing and dancing
singing and dancing
singing and dancing
singing and dancing
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground

and a guy bends over to a woman who is on the ground
and locks lips with her
and “pulls her up” with his locked lips

and this happens again and again

guys picking up women
women picking up men
men picking up men
women picking up women

a solo guy turns front and takes a dance posture
and flexes his bicep
he flexes his bicep to the music
5 guys join him in bicep flexing dance
all in  unison
then they all do a hip thrust
very macho
then turns upstage and wiggle their butts
doing the butt dance
(not SO macho)
they move through other male display dance moves
finger snapping, etc

then three women step up and do the same male display moves

a woman lifts her dress up above her head
hiding her upper body entirely
exposing herself from the waist down
and takes a long, slow exit

others all dance out

until only Adam and Evie are left behind.



EVIE
You know I like to cook

ADAM
Oh

EVIE
And I like to make apricot confiture

ADAM
Wow

EVIE
And I straighten up
but not right away
and usually I live in a mess
but then I straighten up later on
only it’s not always straightened up.

ADAM
Right.

EVIE
I do dishes, and I do laundry,
but I’m not good at really cleaning.

ADAM
Unh-hunh.

EVIE
So that’s how it is if you live with me
that’s how it will be
that’s all.
I just wanted, if we’re going to be together, you know,
for everything to be clear.

ADAM
Right.

EVIE
So you understand about laundry and dishes
and not straightening up
and there are no surprises
like you’re not suddenly going to discover
oh, she doesn’t straighten up
this will never work out
because I can’t stand a mess
I’m sorry I wish I could
I wish I could just rise above it
but chaos makes me crazy
I just fall apart
and I can’t go on living with you.

ADAM
Like that.

EVIE
Right. That’s not how it is for me.
Because, moving in with you,
this is a big deal for me,
and I don’t want there to be any misunderstandings
because this is a big move for me
and I don’t think
after I do this
that there will be any going back
I mean, if a year from now you were to say
oh, you never straighten up
I don’t think I can live with that
the point is
I think I’d shoot you.

ADAM
Right.

EVIE
That’s how it is for me.

ADAM
That’s it?

EVIE
Yes.

ADAM
That’s all.

EVIE
Yes. I don’t think there’s anything else. I think that’s everything.

ADAM
The truth is
I can do the laundry, too, and I do dishes.

EVIE
Oh.

ADAM
So, I think everything’s going to be OK.

EVIE
Oh. Good. Good. That’s good then.

ADAM
Right.
Plus, I cook, too.

EVIE
You cook, too.

ADAM
Right.

EVIE
Oh.

ADAM
Plus, I love you like crazy.

EVIE
Oh,
you do.
Oh, good.
Good.
That’s good then.
I can accept that.


[Bonnie, Jim, and Phil
enter together, talking.]


BONNIE
What is a man, really?
A man is a vibrator with a wallet.
A man is an unresponsive lump of flesh
obsessed with screwing,
incapable of empathy,
love,
friendship,
affection,
or tenderness—
a half-dead isolated unit that will swim a river of snot,
wade nostril-deep through a mile of vomit
if he thinks there’ll be a friendly cunt waiting for him at the other end.
A man
is a creature who will fuck mud if he can.

JIM
Oh.

Oh.

And then these women wonder why
a man would prefer masturbation to marriage.

PHIL
I know some guys who like electronic masturbation.

JIM
What?

PHIL
You know, you take some electrodes
and some low-power, carefully controlled electric current,
run that through your genitals
and you’ll get some very interesting tingling and
throbbing sensations.

JIM
And why do you want to do that
when you can masturbate with your hand?

PHIL
You ask that because you’ve never done it.
You’ll get something very different with electronic stimulation.
You get yourself a stereo audio amplifier,
with 1 to 5 watts per channel of output power.
A tone generator of some sort.
An electronic music synthesizer like Casio or Yamaha.
You don’t want to use an electric guitar,
which could put a current through your whole torso.

You set the amp control to MINIMUM.
Set your tone source to produce a continuous tone of about 440 Hz:
that’s the “A” above “middle C” on a musical keyboard.
Insert the small loop electrode just inside your urethra.
SLOWLY turn up the amplifier’s volume control.
Then you can play the “A above middle C” on the left channel,
and play the “A” an octave lower on the right channel.
Or play “C” on one channel
and the adjacent “C sharp” on the other channel.
Play a steady
tone on the left channel
and do a downward “glissando” on the right channel.
You know: fool around.
It’s just like any other kind of sex:
it’s not always the same.


[The three of them keep walking and leave.
Salome enters.
She speaks directly to the audience
as she fixes her shoes.]

SALOME
I had a friend:
when she first met her husband
he was preoccupied with young girls.
All the time.
Paul. His name was Paul.
Looking at pictures of them.
Looking at them on the street.
To her it seemed strange.
And, then, the first time she helped him get a young girl into the car
to take her home,
she was,
my friend was,
well,
quivering,
a knot in her stomach,
that sick excited sensation.

After that it was easy.
I don’t mean she doesn’t still get excited,
but it was never again like the first time.
The first time is always different, with everything.
I mean,
obviously.

You might say
I’d never do such a thing
how do you know?
you say: because that’s not the kind of person I am
But you don’t know.
Because one day you will do something
and then you will find out what sort of person you are.

[she smiles]

You see a woman when she is grown up
you see how she has turned out
and you think then you could say, oh, right
this was inevitable
the way she grew up
you could tell how she would turn out
this is the person she would be
because Freud bla bla bla
and the social dynamics
her background bla bla
hindsight is so good
all the theories of hindsight are foolproof
but you don’t know
you never know—
she could be a hundred people
before she’s through with her life
that’s how it is these days

As a child
I thought about numbers a lot.
First there was the question
could a woman have several husbands all at the same time
or only one after the other?
And then, as the years went by,
I thought about how many children a woman might have.
And then,
a few weeks after I lost my virginity
I had group sex.
There were five of us altogether,
three boys and two girls.

[she stops and smiles—
a bright, engaging, innocent smile]

We were finishing our lunch in a garden
on a hill above Lyon.
It was in June or July
it was hot
and somebody suggested that we take off all our clothes
and jump into the pond.
I could hear Andre saying
his girlfriend would be with us in just a minute
but his voice sounded a little muffled
because I already had my T-shirt over my head
and then, in the end,
no one went in the water.

Andre fucked me first
quite slowly and calmly
which was his way.
And then Ringo came and took his place on top of me.
Ringo’s body was different from Andre’s
and I liked it better.
Ringo was taller, wiry,
he was one of those men who can isolate
the action of his pelvis from the rest of his body,
so that he could thrust without smothering a woman,
supporting his torso with his arms.

you look at history
not to know how things are going to be
and not for the rules of how things have to be
but to tell you that
the way things are is not the way they always have been
or the only way they can be

and now
looking back
whatever there has been
it’s all available to us now
to pick and choose
have one of these and one of those
and make a life of that


[Nora and Torvald enter.]


NORA
Torvald, look what I got.

TORVALD
What you got?
You mean you bought all this?

NORA
You know
this is the first time we can let ourselves go a little bit,
when we don’t need to think all the time about economizing.

TORVALD
Yes, well,
still
we don’t want to be spending money recklessly.

NORA
Maybe we can be just
a little bit more reckless?
You’re going to have a big salary now.

TORVALD
Well, bonuses and so forth.
But not quite what we can count on just yet.
Meanwhile, thinking of the cash flow….

NORA
We can just borrow till the bonuses come along.

TORVALD
Nora!
Are we featherheads?
Suppose I borrow a thousand dollars today
and you spend it all this week
and then a piece of cornice falls from a building
and hits me on the head

NORA
No, Torvald, no,
please
don’t talk like that.

TORVALD
Still, suppose it happened….

NORA
Well, if that happened
then I wouldn’t care whether I owed money or not.

TORVALD
And what about the people who had loaned the money?

NORA
I don’t think I’ll bother about them.
I don’t even know them.

TORVALD
I don’t want to say:
this is like a woman.

NORA
Then don’t.

TORVALD
No.
Still, you know what I think.
No debt, no borrowing.
There’s no freedom about a life that depends on borrowing and debt.

NORA [sad, repentant]
I’m sorry, Torvald.

TORVALD
Oh, well, please, Nora, not so sad.
My little skylark musn’t droop her wings.
My little squirrel musn’t be disheartened.

Look.
Look what I have for you.

NORA
Money!

TORVALD
Yes. Of course.
Do you think I don’t know at all
a household needs a budget.

NORA
Oh, thank you, Torvald!
This will keep me going for a long time.

TORVALD
Well, yes, I hope so.

NORA
Yes, yes, it will.
But look,
let me show you what I’ve bought.

It’s a doll
and a doll’s bedstead for Emily.

TORVALD
Ah!
Lovely.
Very nice.
Thank you, Nora.
And now, one little favor.
You need to tell me what you would like for yourself.

NORA
For myself? Oh, thank you, Torvald,
but I don’t want anything.

TORVALD
Well, but you must.
Tell me something you would particularly like to have.

NORA
Really, I can’t think of anything—
unless….

TORVALD
Yes?

NORA
If you really want to give me something,
you might give me money.
Only just as much as you can afford;
and then one of these days I will buy something with it.

TORVALD
But, Nora.

NORA
Oh, do, Torvald, please do.
Then I will wrap it up in beautiful gilt paper.
And then I’ll have time to think
what I most want.

TORVALD
Alright.
Okay.

[They leave.

A woman in a full length black evening dress comes out
with a microphone
and speaks to the audience.]


THE WOMAN
Act one, scene one.
Tantalus, a mortal friend of the gods,
decides to test their omniscience.
He kills his own son, Pelops,
chops him up and boils him,
and plans to feed him to the gods as animal meat.

Scene two.
The gods realize the truth and are horrified;
they put the pieces of the boy back together—
and send Tantalus to Hades.

Scene three.
Tortured by thirst,
Tantalus stands in water that reaches only to his chin.
Food just out of his reach.
Tantalized forever.

Act two, scene one.
Pelops grows up and falls in love with Hippodamia.
But the father of Hippodamia,
in order to test potential suitors,
has declared that anyone who wants to marry his daughter
must first beat him in a chariot race.

Scene two.
The crafty Pelops strikes a secret bargain
with the father’s personal charioteer:
if the charioteer will sabotage the father’s chariot,
Pelops will let the charioteer sleep with Hippodamia on the wedding night. The charioteer agrees,
Hippodamia’s father is killed during the race,
and Pelops marries Hippodamia.

Scene three.
But on the wedding night,
Pelops changes his mind
and refuses to give his bride to the charioteer.
The charioteer tries to rape Hippodamia
and so Pelops throws him off a cliff.
As he falls to his death,
the charioteer curses Pelops
and all his descendants—
as though they needed another curse.

Act three, scene one.?
Pelops has two sons,
Atreus and Thyestes,
and, the two sons fight
over who will inherit the throne of Mycenae.
Atreus wins the kingdom—
but Thyestes revenges himself by sleeping with Atreus’s wife.

Scene two.
Atreus exiles Thyestes.
But then, under the pretense of making up,
Atreus invites his brother Thyestes home for dinner.
For the menu that night,
Atreus kills the sons of Thyestes,
cooks them,
and serves them to their father with a robust red wine.
After dinner, he asks Thyestes if he knows what he has eaten—
and the servants present Thyestes
with the heads and hands of his own sons.

[she starts to leave]

Scene three.
Thyestes runs out of the house.
He asks the Delphic Oracle how he can be revenged.
The oracle tells him the only way is he must have a child
by his own daughter Pelopia.
That night, Thyestes sees his daughter going into a nearby stream.
He rapes her and abandons her.

Scene four….

[she is gone

an elderly Italian woman comes out
singing an Italian folk song
singing an Italian folk song
singing an Italian folk song
singing an Italian folk song
singing an Italian folk song
singing an Italian folk song
singing an Italian folk song
singing an Italian folk song
singing an Italian folk song
singing an Italian folk song


another woman in an elegant black dress
with a blood red face
does a wild wild dance to the folk song
and smears red lipstick all over her face
and then throws herself to the ground on her back over and over and over
she becomes covered with dust
as she kicks and writhes wildly on the ground on her back
like a cockroach frantic on its back

and now a church choir sings Gregorian chant dirge
as another woman in a black dress and also a black veil
enters up center and comes all the way slowly down center
holding a bouquet of flowers in front of her
motionless in every way except her walking very slowly
to lay the bouquet flowers on the ground
her eyes are streaming tears of blood



and, finally, everyone exits,
leaving our couple by themselves.

Our couple is dumbfounded by all they have just seen.
Finally Evie speaks to Adam.]



EVIE
I’ve been thinking of us being together
and what I thought was
the mental picture that came to mind was
I walked into Dean and Deluca
and I saw that the man in front of me was sweating and
twitching
and just then all of the automatic doors slid shut
and the lights started blinking.
The man was shooting at the produce
and screaming instructions that no one understood.
So I started interpreting for him
because I could tell what he must have meant.
And everyone got down on the floor on their stomachs
and crawled toward the corners.

They were sleeping in the stairwells and the hallways and
on the bathroom floors.
People started to get sick.
Each night 10 or 15 of the sick old men
were taken to the spare bedroom
and told to lie down in a clump.
The men with machine guns said
that they would fire one bullet per person into the clump
and if anyone managed to live they could live.
But when they opened fire
they just kept on shooting until everyone was hit.

You came in and led me to the bathroom.
You sat me down on the toilet and gave me 10 punchlines
and told me to come up with the jokes that went with them.
I matched them up correctly
and then you added in some homeopathic remedies
where you said the herb
and I had to say what it cured.

I ran through the back wall into the garden
where all of my friends were having a lingerie dinner party.

Everyone was dressed in long silk gowns.

The tables were covered with silk pajamas and robes sewn together.

And then it started raining
and everyone ran around grabbing the silk and disappearing.
So I ran for the elevator
but when the doors closed we saw the elevator rolling away
and we were on an Amish school bus.
All of the kids and teachers were smiling at us and clapping.

The driver let me off at the elephant trainer’s
and he said he would take me back on his elephant.

So I climbed up on his back
and he started walking
and just a few steps down the road
he turned his head around and wrapped his trunk around my waist
and said that he had fallen in love with me
and he wouldn’t ever let go.

What do you think that means?

[silence


a guy in his underpants,
wearing a crown of red flowers,
enters dancing
enters dancing
enters dancing
enters dancing
enters dancing


music


he is joined by a woman in her underwear and
she dances, too
she dances, too
she dances, too
she dances, too
she dances, too
she dances, too
she dances, too

and several more men and women in their underwear
enter dancing
enter dancing
enter dancing
enter dancing
enter dancing
enter dancing


Our couple joins the dancing

dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing

And, after a while, everyone is exhausted
and sits or lies down on the ground.

Silence, and then:



HORNER
I love you, June,
as I’ve never loved anyone before.
I thought
when I saw you on the airplane
the way you drank your cup of tea
I’d never seen such sweetness
such delicacy
and more than that
such balance
when the airplane hit that air pocket
and everyone bounced around
and the way you talked to me
I could listen to you forever
I could wrap myself up inside your voice
so gentle
and so strong, too,
and resilience
that’s what I hear in your voice
a sense of who you are
and yet a respect for the person you are talking to
the truth is:
you are my model human being.

JUNE
And you
now I know why I haven’t been married
because I’ve been looking for you
all these years
I knew I was right
even though I had no idea
I would be happy just to sit with you
in an airplane for the rest of my life
my shoulder pressed against yours
and to hear you laugh
because more than anything
I love it when you laugh
because nothing is more important
than the things that make a person laugh or smile
because your sense of humor
that’s something you can’t help
you can pretend you know something about novels
or you can pretend to be considerate
but a sense of humor is something you can’t fake
what gets to you
what strikes you in a certain way
it’s just spontaneously how you are
when you’re not thinking
and I saw you
all the way from Los Angeles to New York
smiling and smiling
and I knew
I had to have you.

HORNER
Why didn’t you say so?

JUNE
I’m a shy person.

Why didn’t you?

HORNER
Because you said
you were coming to New York to get married.

JUNE
Oh. Right.

HORNER
And now
what shall we do?
I knew a guy once who married his sister by mistake.

JUNE
You did?

HORNER
Because his sister was marrying a guy from India
and they got married in India
and my friend’s job at the wedding
was to carry the leis
because in India
the way they get married is
they don’t exchange rings
but they put flower leis around each other’s necks
and so the time came in the ceremony
for my friend to hand the leis to the bride and groom
but he got confused
and he put the lei around his sister’s neck
so
officially
they were married.
So, I’m thinking,
we could do that.

JUNE
You mean
you could be the ring bearer
but instead of giving the ring to the groom
you could put it on my finger

HORNER
Right.

JUNE
And kiss me.

HORNER
Right.

[a moment’s silence;
then:
he kisses her.



BEATRICE
Daily life.
Things that happen you never planned on
when you got up in the morning.
Things you think have nothing to do with you
and yet
that’s where you are
that’s where you live.
that’s the water you’re swimming in.
that’s the woods you’re wandering in.
that’s the conversation you’re walking through.

Sometimes in life
you look for love
but then
with everything going on
you think:
How can anyone find their way?
How do we get through our lives?
Find our way to one another?

HENRY
Right.

BEATRICE
Right.

HENRY
Find our way to one another.

BEATRICE
Right.

[He kisses her.]



EMILY
I could live with you.
we could get a little house just on the edge of St. Remy
with a little swimming pool
it wouldn’t have to be so big, so expensive
because we’d have the whole town for themselves
all the cafes
the little streets to wander down
the craft fair on the weekends
with little things to buy for not much money
and that restaurant tucked into that little street

BOB
I wouldn’t mind
going back to that café in St. Remy
where I had lunch
sitting outdoors
where I first saw you.

EMILY
The one on the corner
with the carousel across the street?

BOB
Oh, right!
Sure!
That one, too!
I was thinking of the one
a little further around the circle
next to the store where they have postcards
with the pictures of the lavender fields.

EMILY
Or the one right next to it
with the canopy over the sidewalk.

BOB
Or even the one further down
set back from the sidewalk, behind the stone wall
with the little garden.

EMILY
Or the one
all the way back around the circle
the one with the carousel inside.

BOB
The one with the carousel inside.
Right.
Sure.
Well,
that’s my favorite.

EMILY
And then you sit there
and see the other people passing by
and you hear them talk
and you think:
they have lives, too.
Your life is not the only life.
There are a lot of lives.
We could just go to all of the cafes.

BOB
In one afternoon?

EMILY
Well, in a few afternoons,
if we just keep going around the circle.

BOB
Okay.
I’d like that.
That’s my idea of a perfect life.



HORNER
I would say probably
the beach
and sitting in a café in Athens
those would be a couple of my favorite things
and then spending some time in an old farmhouse
in Umbria
overlooking the vineyards and the olive trees
eating all our meals in the big kitchen
where the Italians always have the big table
and hearing the neighbors over in the next orchard
having a shouting argument over their wine with dinner




MERIDEE
there are people who still want to love each other
and be together
and not just halfway,
not just keeping one foot out on the river bank
ready to say at any moment
ok, forget it,
I guess we grew apart
save yourself, I’m out of here
but they want to say
no, I’m going all the way with you
I’m here with you forever
I want to make this commitment to you
people still want to do this
because
no matter what we’ve seen in our lifetimes
this is still a universal human desire
the desire for love forever
and people still want to give themselves to that
and notice it
and mark it with a special occasion
so that when they die
it doesn’t seem like the most important thing in their lives
was—what?—having their appendix out?
because everyone made such a big deal about that?
and love IS an important thing
it may be a necessary thing even
for the world to go on
and so, the wedding guests are there
because when people make this promise to one another
it’s a happy occasion
and the most important one
and people like to share it.
And leave town before the misery begins.




THE GROOM
Sometimes I think
I would like to take you in my arms
and we would lie down on the back of a chicken
and fly up into the clouds.

THE BRIDE
You could do that.

THE GROOM
And take you to the south of France
like they were saying
to St. Remy
with all the sunflowers
and the glass of rose wine
when we have lunch at that little restaurant
that has a children’s carousel in the main dining room
and a toy car big enough for two kids to sit in together
and the camping trailer
you can sit inside and have them serve you lunch there
but we would sit outside
under the trellis
so that we could see the sheep
on the day that they have the running of the sheep
through the town?

THE BRIDE
Yes.

THE BRIDE
Would you take me in your arms
and lie down in that big overstuffed easy chair
in the shape of a fat man?

THE GROOM
Well, yes!

THE BRIDE
Sometimes I feel like ten lightbulbs on the ends of the wires
twisting out from the ceiling.

THE GROOM
The lightbulbs with wings?

THE BRIDE
Yes.

Or
I could be a bed filled with butterflies.

THE GROOM
I could be a little chair
made of metal strips
that make a little protective circle around a newly planted tree
where you could sit and enjoy protecting the tree.

THE BRIDE
I could be a yellow haystack in a field for you.

EDMUND
I could be a dog,
thirty feet tall,
made all of flowers.

HAROLD
I could be an old wooden horse-drawn cart
with big spoke wheels
upended in a cobblestone street.

EDITH
I could be a boutique of antique corsets.

CATHERINE
I could be winged victory.

SUMIKO
I could be white birch tree trunks in a giant ice cube
melting in the sun.

STEVE
Did you ever have a peacock?

EDITH
No.

STEVE
I’d like to get a peacock for you.

EDITH
I’d like that.


MUSIC
MUSIC
MUSIC
MUSIC
MUSIC
MUSIC
MUSIC
MUSIC
MUSIC

A woman in a red dress
enters, dancing solo
with a floor lamp
with a lampshade made of underpants

And everyone randomly gets up
and begins to sing and dance again—
like the immense song and dance time they had before
but with lots of new airs and variations

dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing
dancing

And Adam and Evie join the dancing.

So the singing and dancing continue
singing and dancing
singing and dancing
singing and dancing
singing and dancing
singing and dancing
singing and dancing
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground
and occasionally throwing themselves to the ground

and a guy bends over to a woman who is on the ground
and locks lips with her
and “pulls her up” with his locked lips

and this happens again and again

guys picking up women
women picking up men
men picking up men
women picking up women

a solo guy turns front and takes a dance posture
and flexes his bicep
he flexes his bicep to the music
5 guys join him in bicep flexing dance
all in  unison
then they all do a hip thrust
very macho
then turns upstage and wiggle their butts
doing the butt dance
(not SO macho)
they move through other male display dance moves
finger snapping, etc

then three women step up and do the same male display moves

a woman lifts her dress up above her head
hiding her upper body entirely
exposing herself from the waist down
and takes a long, slow exit

others all dance out

until only Adam and Evie are left behind.


ADAM
Did you ever have a peacock?

EVIE
No.

ADAM
I’d like to get a peacock for you.

EVIE
I’d like that.

I love you, with all my heart.
I love your hands and your kneecaps and your hair and your ears
and I love the way you are sweet when you are sweet
and the way you fuck up
because even when you fuck up
and it makes me so mad
you are actually so incompetent at it
such a wild, untargeted loser that I love you
because I think the reason you are such a loser
is that your heart is good
and so you can’t hit the bullseye
when you are acting like a nasty shit
so that people don’t have to take it seriously
and they can just wait till you realize
how wrong you’ve been
and also right
also right
because I don’t think you are a pathetic loser
that people love out of pity
or because they want to be with some weak
useless guy they can manipulate
you really are a winner
because of your heart
which is always there
and when you come around
we all see it
and see you always were a good human being.


ADAM
More than anything
I love to lie in bed with you at night
and look at your naked back
and stroke your back slowly
from your neck to your coccyx
and let my fingers fan out
and drift over your smooth buttock
and slip slowly down along your thigh
to your sweet knee
only to return again
coming up the back of your thigh
hesitating a moment
to let my fingers rest in the sweet valley
at the very top of your thigh, just below your buttock
and so slowly up along the small of your back
to your shoulder blade
and then to let your hair tickle my face
as I put my lips to your shoulder
and kiss you and kiss you and kiss you forever
this is what I call heaven
and what I hope will last forever


Music.
They leave holding hands.

.

Charles Mee's work has been made possible by the support of Richard B. Fisher and Jeanne Donovan Fisher.

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