Saturday, June 2, 2018

IATROGENOCIDE [ACT I]--Greatest Reign of Terror in History, carried out by the Healthcare Industry


[Because of the invasion, occupation and domination of modern consciousness by (Waste-induced and -inducing) Pathology and Morbidity, creating what is arguably the Greatest Reign of Terror in Human History, enslaving all mankind: CM/P thought it apt to dust off a copy of its last Paris play, Iatrogenocide.  When a play has lain fallow for 20 years, it's easy enough to imagine that something was missed first time around.  Who's to say that Terrorism, like Love or Youth, is better the second time around?  But, let's see.--mc]

Image result for Journée Mondiale des Lépreux

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 200

IATROGENOCIDE by Mick Collins

* * *
[Because of the horrors experienced in the translation of WinoTime into French (La quille est bordel?), this last CM/P play, written in 1999, was conceived in both French and English as a way to make it translation-proof--however, this type of bilingual dramaturgy seems to have guaranteed that it will also be audience-proof.

Should you have access to a polyglot public and be interested in producing "Nitro,"
contact:

cirqueminime@gmail.com

Bon courage!--mc ]



<Ιατρογενοσιδε>
a new play


by
Mick Collins

*

Cirque Minime
130 Forest St., #3
Montclair, NJ  07042
USA
*
Copyright 9/9/99
All Rights Reserved


<Ιατρογενοσιδε>

A play in two acts & coda

by
Mick Collins

* * *

Characters

Yvonne Weston
~ A handsome woman in her late sixties.

Philly Weston
~ Very pale, very thin. Yvonne’s son in his late thirties.

Karl
~A clochard in his late fifties.

Crossley Hollis
~A small, dark, very pretty woman in her late twenties.

* * *
Time:
Beginning the evening of 15 April 1999 - Ending New Year’s Day 2000.

Place:
An apartment on the outskirts of Paris, and a nearby métro station.


The playwright would like to acknowledge his great debt to the
following writers, without the pillaging of whose brilliant artistic
and scientific works, this play would not have been possible:

Marcel Proust for À la recherche du temps perdu;
Celine for Mea Culpa; Jean Cocteau for Opium; and
Neville Hodgkinson for AIDS, The Failure of Contemporary Science.
Je veux remercier Marianne L’Henaff pour tous les magazines sur VIH.

***

Cette pièce est enfin pour Bettina, qui me dirige toujours vers la vie.

* * *

The departmentalization of mind is a means of abolishing
mind where it is not exercised ex officio, under contract.
It performs this task all the more reliably since anyone
who repudiates the division of labour -- if only by taking pleasure in his work -- makes himself vulnerable by its standards in ways inseparable from elements of his
superiority. Thus is order ensured: some have to play
the game because they cannot otherwise live, and those who
could live otherwise are kept out because they do not want
to play the game. It is as if the class from which
independent intellectuals have defected takes its
revenge, by pressing its demands home in the very
domain where the deserter seeks refuge.

Theodor Adorno on Proust-- Minima Moralia

* * *


La liberté d’expression est née sur les murs


Image result for Journée Mondiale des Lépreux









31 Janvier 1999
Journée Mondiale des Lépreux

N’attendez plus.

Donnez.


Fondation Raoul Follereau, BP 79 -- 75015 Paris

ACT I

LIGHTS UP: The Stage is divided into Two Areas:

Larger Area SR is a bright, handsome old Paris apartment, on the rez-de-chaussée. A tall double window is UR; in front of it is a dining table set for three. DS of the table is a divan and an easy chair with a low coffee table between them. There are a lot of small objets d’art on the bar complex and bookcases UR & UC. The entrance to the rest of the apartment is DR, and the entrée is SL through the smaller area. The iron gate to the street is not seen but can be heard OSR, its loud clang announcing people’s entrances before they pass in front of the tall windows and go to the front door. The double window, with both panels open, looks out on a courtyard with several great trees. It is a Spring evening, and the light is that soft, chalky Parisien light. In the background can be heard street noises: evening traffic, kids horsing around. Inside the apartment a radio plays pop music, French and American, but mostly American, with an occasional interruption for news of ‘l’OTAN et Serbie’ and traffic reports mentioning the Périphérique and places like Porte des Lilas, Le Pré St Gervais, Porte d’Ivry, and Place d’Italie.

The Smaller Area SL is a métro platform with an uncomfortably configured metal bench. Above the bench is a long, dark-blue sign with white letters reading PIERRE CURIE. The light is much dimmer SL. R of the bench is one of those tall vending machines selling candy or soft drinks. L of the bench on the wall is a giant poster showing a young woman her face badly scarred by leprosy, and proclaiming, ‘31 Janvier--Journée Mondiale des Lépreux’. The bench has some junky-looking shit on it: couple plastic shopping bags from LeaderPrice or ED’s, a nasty plastic sheet, and a piece of white paper with scraps of tobacco and cheese and baguette on it. On the ground in front of the bench are a broken-down pair of hard brown shoes and a nearly empty 2 liter plastic bottle of vin ordinaire.

Occasionally the lights on the SL area begin to flicker and then go to black indicating arrival of a train. After several moments they flicker back up as the train leaves. But there should not be the sound of the trains.

[YVONNE, a woman in her 60s, URC, standing motionless: She is tall, well turned out, even elegant. She is dressed to receive company in a very full, floor-length dress. But there is an imperceptible quavering, a trembling about her or within her that undermines her apparent poise--as if she were on the verge of spontaneous combustion.]

[A NON-SPECIFIC SOUND is heard: high-pitched, about one second in duration. It might be the phone ringing, it might be a car alarm, it might be a kid squealing, or it might be an electronic medical monitor.]

Train arrives SL. Lights flicker out.

[Yvonne does not react, does not move for SEVERAL BEATS after the high-pitched sound. Then she looks off R and holds the look for a TEN-COUNT, then returns to her original pose.]

[Voices are heard shouting outside in the street, but no words can be made out. Yvonne holds her original pose for a DOUBLE-TEN-COUNT, while--

Lights flicker back up SL.

--then she moves DS a couple steps and speaks:]

YVONNE
For a long time I used to go to bed early. . . . For a long time,
I used to go to bed early. For a long time I used to go to bed
early. . . Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure.
Go to bed. . . .--Sometimes, when I had put out my candle,
my eyes would close so quickly that I had not even time to
say “I’m going to sleep.” . . . Parfois, à peine ma bougie
éteinte, mes yeux se fermaient si vite que je n’avais pas
le temps de me dire: ‘Je m’endors.’ . . . For a long time I
used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when I had put out
my candle, my eyes would close so quickly that I had not
even time to say “I’m going to sleep.” For a long time,--
Sometimes, when . . . I used to go to bed. (Pause) Go to bed
for a long time, sometimes,--early,--de bonne heure,--il n’y
aura plus de bonheur. (Pause) My eyes would close so
quickly . . . so quickly . . . so quickly that . . .--that I had not
even time . . . to say . . . “I’m going to sleep.” . . . “I’m going . . .”
Oh, my god. . . . “I’m going to sleep.” For a long time, a long,
long time . . . now. . . . My eyes would close so quickly--that!--
there was no time to say anything. . . . But you had no children.
No wife. You were as much alone at the end as at the beginning.
--More? . . . And you were a man,--are a man. God, why?
My memories come, unsought, in the night, on two legs, with
hard shoes, to kick in my door. No tea taken. No madeleines.
Thick arms to throw me against the wall, pin me to the wall,
breathe that soupy stink-breath in vile, crapulous word-lettes
that pucker your mouth. . . .--Awaiting your mother’s kiss--


Lights flicker out SL.


[OSR a PHONE RINGS once, and again, then is answered mechanically. We can make out neither the announcement nor the message being left. Yvonne does not react in any way. She waits until the call is finished, takes a TEN-COUNT, then continues.]


Lights flicker back on SL.

YVONNE
Most annoying of all: their tardiness. Never arrive when they
say they will. . . . So often unexpected . . . unwanted. Peut être
s’il me tuerais, je vais dormir bien enfin. Mon fils. Mon petit gosse.
Mon bébé. Mon chameau. Mon salaud. Ma vie d’enfer. . . .
Pourquoi le supplice? Il me tourmente? Je ne lui donnais
que la vie. Et maintenant, il veut éteindre la mienne.
Je ne peux pas imaginer comment c’est arrivé. Je
me rend folle--vachment dingue! Tous comme un rêve de
feu. --Et après une demie heure la pensée qu’il est à l’heure
de s’endormir m’aurait réveillé. . . La pensée qu’il me faut
dormir . . . la rêve du sommeil . . . le sommeil des rêves . . .
Il n’y aura plus du bonheur. . . La rêve, ce qu’était le grand
mensonge. . . . His French so much smarter than mine. Can
no longer hide there. . . . --From him, --with him from them.
The way we did. . . . ‘It’s just a corruption of an earlier language,
corruption of an older tongue.’ . . . I had to un-learn so much.
You were far ahead of me from the beginning. You knew the
Pont Neuf wasn’t the ninth bridge,--even when I insisted.
--Knew not to pronounce the E-N-T’s. You must have learned
from my mistakes. You must have depended on me once--
for something--things--you must have . . . must have, ah,--
must . . .--

[OSR the same non-specific, high-pitched ELECTRONIC SOUND is heard. Instantaneously, Yvonne runs OSR. As soon as she is OS, it stops. There are SEVERAL BEATS; then the SOUND begins again and continues for a TEN-COUNT. After it stops, Yvonne begins to scream with great anger and pain.]

YVONNE (OS)
Nom de fucking nom. Tuez-moi! Just fucking kill me!
Come on! Come on! . . . On y vas! Je m’en fous de tes
conneries.

[Yvonne rushes back on stage, and goes directly R of the dining table and stares out the tall double window toward the street-gate (OR). After several beats, she takes a fork from a place setting at R of the table and begins to play with it: She runs it across a window pane; she runs it through her hair, and scratches herself with it. She bends it in half and replaces it on the table. She continues to stare out the window, not seeming to watch anything in particular.]

POP MUSIC ON THE RADIO CONTINUES UNDER THIS.

[Yvonne returns RC and resumes her original position.]

[After a TEN-COUNT, she speaks. As she speaks she moves DCR.]

YVONNE
Bringing the mind to stillness. (LONG PAUSE) Stillness.
(LONG PAUSE) Be still. . . . Still . . . still. . . . You can’t
touch me here. This is my place. (LONG PAUSE)
My private place. . . . Here I rest. . . . Je me respose là.
Ici . . . ici . . . ici . . . ici, ici,--Il faut que j’aille me reposer . . .
Ici. . . . Ici. . . . Ici . . . ici . . . ici, ici, ici, . . . ici . . . ici . . .
ici . . . ici. . . .--Ici! Ici! --ici . . . ici, ici, ici, . . . ici . . . ici . . .
ici . . . ici . . . ici . . . ici . . .--

Lights flicker off SL.

The PHONE RINGS. [Yvonne stops DRC and SCREAMS immediately. She does not move, but joins her scream to the ringing phone. Her scream continues into the SECOND RING and the announcement of the répondeur and stops to hear the message, which is immediately covered by the ELECTRONIC SOUND. Yvonne stands very still for a TEN-COUNT, then falls to her knees, her head bowed.]

SEVERAL BEATS.
[Yvonne does not move.]

YVONNE
Oh, . . . no.

[PHILLY, a very pale and very thin man in his late thirties, enters SR and stands just inside the door. He is smartly dressed in loose-fitting café au lait slacks, a sheer silk shirt with diamonds in two vertical rows on the front and cream-colored Italian loafers. He has beautiful shoulder-length brown hair pulled back into a pony tail, with a stud in his left ear. He looks at Yvonne, and his eyes never leave her.]

[At the same moment, Lights flicker on SL to reveal KARL, a filthy, broken-down clodo of about 55, pulling at his crotch as if he is trying to dry the piss inside his trousers. He is in stocking-feet, wearing a soiled, tattered grey suit, a filthy white shirt with a badly broken collar, and a tie with ducks on it. He is standing DL facing front, framed by the Leprosy poster. He addresses the folks on the opposite platform. His speech is so impaired by drink and chronic dementia that he is barely understood.]
KARL
AAAAAAAAARRRRRRrrrrrgggg! YYYYYYYAAAAAAAAaaa-
aaaarrrrrrrrggggggggg! Mutilé moi. . . . Moi. . . . Quelles cons
là. . . . Ch’uis mutilé. . . . AAAAAARRRRRrrgh! AAAAAAARR-
RRRRR! . . . De guerre. Ch’uis mutilé moi. . . . MUTILÉ!

[He crosses to the bench to check on his shit. He continues to ‘act out’ his anger and hostility with a schizoid minimalism, sometimes to the opposite platform, sometimes to whomever is on his side of the tracks, and sometimes to the back wall, all punctuated with brief slashes from the plastic wine bottle. All this is contrapuntal to the action SR.]

YVONNE
(Quietly, but in great pain)
Aaaaahoooooowww. Not yet.

[Yvonne has curled up tight on her knees, in an ‘egg’ position, and she does not respond to anything. Philly slowly circles Yvonne.]

KARL
(This is under Philly’s next speech)
(Chanting like a gypsie beggar) S’iiiiiiiiiiiil voooooooouuuus
plaaaaaaîîîîîîîîîîîîîît. S’iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil voooooooouuuuuuus
plaaaaaaaaîîîîîîîîîîîîîît. ‘Scuuuuuuuuuuuusez-moi pooour
voooooooouuuuuuuus déééééééééranger--AAAAAAARR
RRRRRRRGGGGGGGER!--S’iiiiiiiiiiiiil voooooouuuuuus plaît--
uuuuuuuuuuuuuneeeee petiiiiiiiiiiiiiteeee pièce, meeees
camarades-- (Falls silent)

[Philly has returned UR of Yvonne.] (Note: Philly never touches Yvonne, nor goes close enough to her that physical contact might accidently occur.)

PHILLY
I oughta kick your fuckin’ face in. . . . Huh? You want that?
Kick your ugly fuckin’ old face in. . . . Useless fuckin’ bitch.
. . . You’re a stinking old cum-bag. I oughta tear your
slobberin’, dick-suckin’ lips off. Pull your lyin’ tongue so
far out I can stick it up your blown-out, festering shit-hole.
All the filthy cocks you’ve had spewing in you, no wonder
you’re this pus-yellow bag of rotten meat--your heart pumps shit.

[He moves in closer to her carefully.]

PHILLY
I’m just going to open you up. . . . Gut you like the
bottom-feeding wang fish--the sewer carp you are.
I’ll carve your stinking heart out and show it to you--
feed it to you, make you eat that sump pump.
You are a shit-stinking sorry excuse for a woman.

[He opens his trousers and takes out his dick.]

KARL
(Ejaculation) Ch’uis mutilé moi.


PHILLY
I’m gonna hose the fleas off your mangy ass, bitch.
Clean you up before I cut you up. Piss on you.
Piss on your ugly fucking mug. Your saggy tits.
Useless fucking whore. Stinking cunt. . . .

KARL
(Ejaculation) Ch’uis mutilé de guerre moi.

[Yvonne begins to raise her head slightly.]

PHILLY
(Putting his dick away)
Fuck it! Waste of good piss.

[He begins walking away from her, but never takes his eyes off her.]

PHILLY
Fuck you. I wouldn’t walk across the street to piss up
your cheesy ass if your guts were on fire. . . . Just . . .
fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.

KARL
(Quieter) Quelles cons là.

[As Yvonne raises her head more and more, Philly exits DR.]

Lights flicker out SL.

After SEVERAL BEATS, the PHONE RINGS. [Yvonne gets up, as the répondeur answers the phone. Yvonne exits DR and picks up the phone, interrupting the announcement. We can barely make out what she is saying.]
YVONNE (OS)
Oui, allô--qui est-ce?. . . . Oui, oui, . . . Ça va, ça va, oui. . . .
Non, pas du tout. . . . Oui, oui, allez-y. . . . Je vous en prie.

SEVERAL BEATS.

Lights flicker up SL. [Karl has exited, but all his shit remains on bench.]

[Yvonne enters DR, she’s trying to compose herself. She goes to the radio and turns it off. As a second thought she turns it back on and changes the station to one playing classical music (Mozart). She checks out the dining table, going to L of table and taking the fork she bent and straightening it. She then stares OSR out the window. She turns back into the room, moves a few steps DS and holds for SEVERAL BEATS. She puts POP MUSIC back on the radio. She then turns and stares at the door SR. After SEVERAL BEATS, Philly enters just barely into the room and stares at Yvonne. The moment is held for a DOUBLE-TEN-COUNT, during which--]

Lights flicker out SL.

YVONNE
Quand la présence de quelqu’un te fait mal comme t’as
perdu un litre de plasma, evites-la cette présence.

PHILLY
Yeah? Fucking Burroughs, huh? Over-privileged
cocksucker--don’t care if he was a friend of yours.
How ‘bout Genet? Try, ‘J’encule La Mère de Dieu’.

[Philly and Yvonne hold on each for a long moment.]

PHILLY
You know what you need? . . . I know what you need.

[Yvonne breaks the hold and TURNS UP the radio. Then she locks back on Philly.]

Lights flicker back up SL. [Karl has re-entered and is standing by his shit. He stares down the platform directly at Philly and Yvonne. And CROSSLEY stands facing L working on a Palm Pilot. She is maybe 27 or 28, very small, thin, and pretty in a dark, Semitic way. She wears tight black slacks with a smartly cut velvet jacket with a red Aids ribbon pinned on the lapel, and carries a book bag on her shoulder. She also has a rather full backpack slung awkwardly across her chest.]

[Philly and Yvonne continue locked on each other--Yvonne’s face blank with terror.]

PHILLY
Only you know and I know. . . . I know . . . you know . . .
(while turning and exiting) I know . . . you know . . . I
know . . . you know . . . I know . . . you know . . .

SOUND of ‘THE MÉTRO MUSIC’ (Little glissando that precedes announcements) :

RATP VOICE (OS)
Votre attention, s’il vous plaît. Suite à un mouvement
social, le service sur la ligne une est interrompu entre
Charles de Gaulle-Etoile et La Défense. Merci de votre
compréhension.

[Crossley starts working the electronic agenda more vigorously.]

PHILLY (OS)
(Enraged) MAMAN!!!

[Crossley suddenly makes an error that, perhaps, dumps all her information.]

CROSSLEY
AAAAAAH,--Oh, merde alors! Putain de truc. . . . Espèce de--
putain-- . . . de toxicomane-- . . . de motherfucking truc là!

KARL
(Continuing to stare off R) Doucement, doucement là!
On n’ peut pas concentrer là.

CROSSLEY
(Continuing to fuck with the agenda)
Oh, quelle putain de bordel de merde là.

[Yvonne slowly exits DR. Her expression does not change.]

PHILLY (OS)
(Even more enraged) MAMAN!!!

[Crossley fumbles her portable phone out of her backpack and starts punching it up. Karl continues to stare off R--He doesn’t look at Crossley.]

KARL
Ce genre d’appareil là ne marche pas dans métro, quoi?
Les portables ne sont pas bien sensible dans métro, quoi?

[Crossley ignores him and continues to work the cell phone.]

KARL
Pas possible d’attrapper un reseau dans métro. Les ondes
ne peuvent pas penetrer là dedans, quoi? Dans sous sol là.

CROSSLEY
(Giving up on phone and gathering her things)
Fuck this bullshit.

[Karl now turns toward Crossley.]

KARL
Vous êtes ricaine, pas vrai? On peut parler ricaine?
‘motherfucker? . . . bullshit, hein, motherfucker . . . ?’
Ça va? Ça va, Ma’m’selle bullshit motherfucker?

[Crossley exits hurriedly L. Karl follows for one or two steps, then turns to his audience on the other platform.]


KARL
Cette jolie fille là, c’est la princesse de AAAAAAAARRRR-
RGGH. Une véritable princesse là. La petite fille de mon très,
très cher ami le Baron ChaaaaAAARRRRRLLLLAA-
AARRRRGGGHHHH. . . . C’est pas des conneries. Vous
crétins. C’est pas de ‘motherfucker bullshit’ là. Du côté de
chez AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH.
. . . Mon camarade le Baron, il est aussi mutilé de guerre,
comme moi. Il a perdu les deux jambes et les deux bras
et les deux oreilles et les deux yeux. Mais seulement
une couille. Il a eu de la chance là? Non? Il a eu une sacré
chance pendant la grand guerre de AAAAAAAAAAAAA-
RRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH. . . .

Karl returns to his shit and takes up his bottle of wine and the nasty plastic sheet. He wraps the sheet around him like it’s the Pope’s cape, and waves the bottle around like he’s Lenny Bruce blessing the audience. He begins to work the room--taking the whole stage. We now notice he too is wearing a red Aids ribbon.

Et voilà, voilà . . . (he sticks out his hand with the thumb
raised and the fore finger extended, like a pistol) Qu’est-ce
que c’est ça? On voit, on voit. Qu’est-ce que c’est que ça?
Oui bon. Celui-ci, c’est un nain qui a pris du Viagra. On sait?
Un nain qui a pris du Viagra? Voilà, qui a pris du ViaAAAAAAAA
GGGGGGGGRRRRRRRAAAAAAAHHHHHHH. Pas mal,
hein? On sait, on sait. Bon ben, ben ouais, ben entendu.
Ouais, ouais. Voilà, voilà. Vous savez la différence--en France,
en France--On sait la différence entre un intellectuel et
un homosexuel? Entre l’intellectuel et le pédé en France?
Bon ben, l’intellectuel a un Robert directement dans cul et le pédé
a--non, non, le pédé a--non, non, l’intellectuel a un Robert
EN TÊTE, ben ouais, en tête, et l’homosexuel, l’espèce
de pédé, il a un Larousse dans cul--non, non, ça ne va pas ça.
C’est l’intellectuel qui avait le Larousse et le salaud de gourmande
de merde de pédé qui avait le . . . quoi? Le Robert dans cul--
DIRECTEMENT DANS CUL--Vous êtes tous pédés, pas vrai?. . .
Vous comprennez? Vous entendez? . . . Nous deux, le Baron et
moi, nous avons donné nos corps dans une guerre hideuse pour
vous tous, vous, vous minable connards, vous lâches, vous
lèches-culs, vous qui--qui n’pouvez pas vous trouver le kiki sans,
eh, sans--AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHH--
Vous tous, vous . . . vous . . . (the Gypsy beggar’s chant) S’iiiiii-
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil voooooooooouuuuus plaaaaaaaaît,
s’iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil vooooooooooooouuuuuus plaaaaaa-
aaaaît, chuis muuuuuuuutiiiiiiiiiiilééé, pardoneeeeeez-moi
pour vous déééé--(ranger)

Lights flicker out SL as train arrives.

SEVERAL BEATS, then the GATE clangs open and crashes shut.

[Crossley passes the window UR.]

After SEVERAL MORE BEATS, a BUZZER is heard.

Lights come up on SL. [The métro station has become the entrée to Yvonne’s apartment. The bench has been stood on end to become a sculpture, the ‘PIERRE CURIE’ sign has become a modern painting, and the vending machine and Lutte contre Lèpre poster remain, (re-lighted) as pieces of pOp art.]

[Yvonne enters from DR, crosses to the vending machine and takes an answer phone from inside it.]

YVONNE
Âllo, oui. . . . Yes, dear. Come in. It’s the rez-de-chaussée,
door on the right.

[Yvonne pushes a button on the phone and returns it to the vending machine. She then composes herself in the mirror on the side of the vending machine. Finally she turns and stares off R for SEVERAL BEATS.]

[There is a KNOCK at the door DL, and Yvonne goes off L to answer it.]

YVONNE (Exiting L)
(Under her breath)
Seek stillness. . . . Find the quiet place. . . .

[We hear the door being opened.]

CROSSLEY
Madame Weston? Je m’appele Crossley Hollis.
De l’association pour--

YVONNE
Oui, je sais bien. Entrez.

[Crossley enters DL followed by Yvonne.]

CROSSLEY
Ch’uis en retard. Désolée. J’ai essaié vous téléphoner
parce que je me suis trompée de métro et mon portable
il n’peut pas attraper le reseau dans métro, et, bon,--

YVONNE
Pas de problème. Vous êtes . . . très-- . . . Quel age--. . .

CROSSLEY
(A little beaked about things in general,
but the age thing in particular)
J’ai vingt-sept ans--j’suis une--mais . . . on peut parler en anglais?
Vous préferiez ça?

[Crossley checks out the apartment; Yvonne really checks out Crossley.]

YVONNE
Bon. D’accord. . . . Excuse me. It’s just I’m a little surprised
you’re so young.

CROSSLEY
Yes, of course. (Pause) You have a beautiful place.

YVONNE
Thank you. . . . Yes.

CROSSLEY
Yes.

YVONNE
Yes.

[Very long, very awkward pause.]

YVONNE
On boit quelque chose? Vous prennez un petit verre?

CROSSLEY
Non, merci. --Ah, oui, peut être, un verre d’eau.

YVONNE
Vous n’prennez pas du vin? Vous êtes jeune mais vous
êtes en France.

CROSSLEY
Non, c’est pas ça. C’est . . . j’n’bois jamais d’alcool
au boulot.

YVONNE
That’s very American of you, I must say. You are American?

[Yvonne goes US to the bar to make the drinks.]


CROSSLEY
Sort of. D’une certaine façon.

YVONNE
Your French is lovely. It’s not--it’s just you seem-- . . .
With or without bubbles?

CROSSLEY
Yes, I know. Oh, I’ll take the bubbles. I’m not that dull.

[Yvonne smiles but does not laugh at Crossley’s effort.]

[Crossley is cruising the art work, esp. the bench, in the former métro stop.]

CROSSLEY
Vous avez de belles choses.

YVONNE
‘Nice things’--Yes, dear, thank you. ‘Our nice things.’
That’s what Phillip used to call them. . . . ‘Our nice things.’
. . . My husband, Phillip. They’re all his, you see? . . .
Uh-huh--. . . J’en ai gardé depuis . . . sa mort.
C’est ça, vous voyez?

CROSSLEY
Oui.

YVONNE
Yes, he was quite a collector, my Phillip. Wherever he
went he would find something pretty he absolutely couldn’t
live without. Fall in love with pieces at first sight--without
knowing a thing about them.

CROSSLEY
Moi, j’ai toujours l’habitude de surveiller les petits trucs à côté
des objets, ceux du Louvre ou du Musée d’Orsay. Avec le nom
du peintre et les dates, tous ça. (Ind. the bench) Qui l’a fait
celui-ci? Vous savez?

[Yvonne Xs to Crossley with their drinks.]

YVONNE
J’n’en sais rien. Peu importe. Voilà, chérie, votre verre d’eau. . . .

[A MOMENT of difficult connection as Yvonne hands glass to Crossley.]

YVONNE
(With difficulty)
It’s just that it was so long ago, dear, and . . . well, . . . They
were Phillip’s things. . . . They are all his things.

CROSSLEY
Ah, pardonnez-moi, mais cette pièce là . . . it’s just that this
piece here is very interesting--very familiar--strangely familiar.

YVONNE
Yes, of course. I don’t really recall. I think Phillip picked
it up at this vide grenier in St Brihac. In Bretagne, you
know?

CROSSLEY
Saint-Brieuc? I know Saint-Brieuc--you don’t mean Saint-
Brieuc, do you?

YVONNE
Pas du tout. St Brihac est juste à côté de St Malo, Dinan,
juste à l’ouest de St Malo. On traverse un grand barrage.
C’est un village très joli et très petit et très, très riche. Il y a
de la population seulement pendant l’été, les mois d’été.
Le reste du temps les gens vivent chez St Germain-en-Laye
ou Neuilly. Mais chez St Brihac il y avait cette petite baie, et
chaque matin on peut la regarder toute tranquillement,
la marré montant et puis, après peut être six heures, la baie
s’est rendu totalement vide, avec tous les petits bateaux
coincés dans le sable, la boue. Mais environ six heures
plus tard tous les bateaux sont reflottant et se font volte
face avec le retour de la marré. Et pendant la marré
haute on peut traverser la baie à la nage. Nous avons
eu l’habitude, chaque journée à l’heure de marré haute,
de traverser la baie à la nage. Mais c’était décidément
le rythme, la cadence de la marré, ce qui m’a rendue bien
tranquille. . . . C’était un bon moment.

LONG PAUSE.
CROSSLEY
Yes. . . . Je regrette que j’ne connais bien St Brihac. Mais
j’ne veux pas vous déranger. (Ind. dining table) Vous
attendez des invités. . . . Peut être--

YVONNE
Non, non, pas du tout. Je n’attend personne. Pas du tout.

CROSSLEY
Bon. Alors . . . Perhaps we could talk about your--

YVONNE
Yes, of course.-- It’s exhausting, isn’t it? It exhausts me
speaking French.

CROSSLEY
You speak very well.

YVONNE
Thank you, dear. I know I don’t do nearly so well as I should
do--after all these years. But-- . . . I get by. And I do love the
language, the sound of the language. As only, I suppose,
someone who is not particularly fluent could love it. Under-
standing has not spoiled the music.

CROSSLEY
How long have you lived here?

YVONNE
Oh,-- No, it’s not that.-- In Paris? It’s not that-- It’s not
been that long. Not really. . . . It’s-- I get along all right with
the French. You know, the natives. I think it’s speaking
to another American, you see. It’s speaking to another
American I find so exhausting.

CROSSLEY
Of course. Yes. . . . We can, ah, you know, give it--eh--

YVONNE
More water, dear?

CROSSLEY
It’s fine, thank you. . . . You see, all my case work, all my files
are in English. So it would be easier for me if we continued in
English. Discussing your case in English.

YVONNE
‘My case.’ I see. . . . Yes, by all means. In English.

CROSSLEY
Is that all right? I mean--

[Yvonne starts to space out a bit here.]

YVONNE
D’accord, d’accord. Pas de problème.

CROSSLEY
Yes. . . . Can we sit?

YVONNE
How’s that?

CROSSLEY
I have some papers. I need--ah--to--

SILENCE. [Yvonne’s attention is drifting OR.]

CROSSLEY
Madame Weston?

YVONNE
D’accord, chérie, comme tu veux. . . . Installes-toi
n’importe où.

[Yvonne returns to the bar for more wine.]

YVONNE
T’es sûr que tu n’veux rien? Du vin? Du whisky?

[Crossley is setting up on the divan.]

CROSSLEY
Non, non. Ça ira. I’m fine.

YVONNE
Yes, of course, dear. Of course you are.

CROSSLEY
About your husband. . . . It was . . . when . . . what year
did he pass away?

YVONNE
T’aimes Proust, chérie? Tu l’as lu?

CROSSLEY
How’s that? Mrs Weston?

YVONNE
Proust, dear. Have you read Proust?

CROSSLEY
Eh, yes, some, uh-huh.

YVONNE
In French?

CROSSLEY
No.

YVONNE
Scotty Moncrieff?

CROSSLEY
Excuse me?

YVONNE
Scotty Moncrieff. His translation. On Modern Library, Vintage,
Chatto and Windus?

CROSSLEY
Oh. I don’t know. I don’t remember. It was two or three
huge books. I only got about half-way through the first
one. It was huge.

YVONNE
Do you remember what it was called? A la recherche
du temps perdu. What was it?

CROSSLEY
Yes, uh-huh. A la recherche du temps perdu. Of course.
Yes.
YVONNE
No, but in English. The translation. Quel est le titre en anglais?
Tu te rappelles?

CROSSLEY
No, I really can’t remember, Mrs Weston. I’m sorry. . . . The
Association needs to have some information, some more
information, if we are to continue with your son’s case. His . . .
He’s still with you, isn’t he?

YVONNE
Yes, of course.--But, dear, there’s something very interesting
happened to Proust just recently. In English, I mean. You
know, someone once said to me they preferred Proust in
English; they said he loses something in the original.

CROSSLEY
Yes, I see.

YVONNE
That’s an incredibly ignorant joke, don’t you think? Les
français ils trouvent ça aberrant. Mais on peut comprendre
si on a lu the Moncrieff translation. I was completely devoted
to my Moncrieff books--It was Scotty who gave me Proust.
And I would walk across Paris--across London--I walked miles
and miles à la recherche des Prousts perdus.

CROSSLEY
Really? Why was that?

YVONNE
Why . . . ?

CROSSLEY
Yes. Why the walking? Why the search? Why was Proust
lost?

YVONNE
Lost. Yes. . . . Lost.

CROSSLEY
Mrs Weston? . . . Eh, I really need you . . . need to talk to
you about . . . The Organization is anxious to--

YVONNE
Ah, oui--complètement perdu. Bien sûr. Ils étaient complètement
perdus. Tous les hommes. Tous les bons hommes perdus.

CROSSLEY
I think we’re getting a little lost here. Or I am quand même.
(pause) You . . . Mrs Weston, you lost your husband, when?

YVONNE
Ben non, chérie. Pas du tout. Pas du tout. C’était pas mon
mari--pas mon cher Phillip. Ce n’était même pas Proust qu’était
perdu.--Ah, oui, Phillip était quand même perdu--bien sûr--
bien perdu--mais non, chérie. C’était mon très, très cher Scotty
qu’est allé au dela de sa lumière. God. I wish--. . . No, dear.
You see, Moncrieff was out of print.

CROSSLEY
Uh-huh.

YVONNE
The Moncrieff Proust was out of print for years. You could
find them only in bargain bins and used book stands in flea
markets in Hampstead or at Shakespeare and Company.
The later books were very hard to find. I remember searching
forever for La Prisonière. La Fugitive. I was devastated when
Albertine didn’t return to him. Some petit con in some low-
rent book shop assured me she would return in the next
book. This was the same cretin, as I recall, who said Proust
was better in English.

CROSSLEY
Well, you know, Mrs Weston, now that you mention all this,
I seem to remember that the book I read was translated by
someone named Moncrieff--with some others, I think--and
I recall the title was Searching for--or In Search of Lost
Time. Something like that. Yes, that’s right. As I recall,
I was directed to the book by some pitch about how it
was a new and improved translation. Now, this was a few
years ago. But I remember being struck by how similar the
two titles were--I mean, how close to--what is it?--la recherche--
à la recherche du temps perdu and Searching for Lost Time.
I thought that was pretty good. So I got it. And read about
half of it--until I said, whoa, this is just a little too deep--too
slow--maybe just too personal for my tastes. . . . And I stopped.

YVONNE
Pity, dear.

CROSSLEY
Yes, so I hear. I hear it is a very important book. But, then,
I had trouble getting through the Bible, too.

YVONNE
Well, I think one can be forgiven for quitting on the Bible.
But Proust is another matter. . . . You know, Scotty didn’t
translate the last book. He never got to translate Le Temps
Retrouvé. So when I got to the last book, it was either read
someone else’s translation or read Le Temps Retrouvé in
French. It was as if I’d known French my whole life. I noticed
no difference at all--no difference between Scotty’s English
and Proust’s French. Scotty had so brought me into that
world--I knew the characters so well--the situations and
places--you know?--But how?--Do you like Shakespeare?

CROSSLEY
I don’t know whether you’re messing with me here or not, Mrs
Weston. But we really need to get to this information about
your son’s case. I think we both want to help him. Right?

YVONNE
No, dear. I’m not patronizing you.--It’s just the age difference,
dear. That’s all. Not to worry, dear. And of course I want to
help Philly--to help you help Philly. But I want to show you
something. Something terribly sad that has happened to us.

CROSSLEY
Yeah, ok, Mrs Weston. . . . Yeah, I happen to be a big fan of
Shakespeare. I don’t think I ever quit on Shakespeare. I think
in high school and college I probably read every word he ever
wrote--or had printed--even memorized and performed a lot of
it. . . . So, yeah, Shakespeare, yeah.

YVONNE
Well, you see, dear, what makes Scotty’s translation so
wonderful is just that it’s not as literal as it might have been.
You see, you were sold an inferior product with boasts about
its very shortcomings. So typical that. The new translators
just took the spirit out of Proust by running him through a
Robert and Collins.

CROSSLEY
I’m sorry, but I have always assumed the job of a translator
was to take a work in one language and put it into another
language. No?

YVONNE
That’s not all, is it, dear? Translating the words? How do
you translate the spaces between the word?

CROSSLEY
Of course. Uh-huh. I know exactly what you mean. There
are French spaces, and then there are English spaces. Sure.

YVONNE
You’re quite right, you know, my dear. French spaces
and English spaces: Like French and English gardens.

CROSSLEY
I’m sorry, Mrs Weston. I didn’t mean to be cute. It’s just
that this case, your case, and your son are very important
to the Organization--and to me--really. And I need to find
out--

YVONNE
But don’t you see, darling, that this is all about finding out.
Finding out who we are. Proust searches through thousands
of pages for something that in the end disappears--for him, at
least. But the feeling between the two times--between the
present and the past--between the French and the English
gardens, the spaces--the tension between the original and
the translation; the tension between the words and the tension
that binds each word to the whole work: This tension is held
in the spaces, really. That’s where you find the feeling that
sets you free. That releases you from yourself. It’s that
tension that is the art--and if there is an art to translation,--
if it isn’t just fancy plagiarism--then Scotty found it.

CROSSLEY
Ok, Mrs Weston. I think I see what you’re getting at. Let’s
play first. Ok. But how does poor old Wild Bill Shakespeare
wind up in this Hegelian stew?

YVONNE
Very nice, dear. Yes. Do you like Hegel? I’m afraid I quit on him
very quickly.

CROSSLEY
Just a few secondary sources. Cliff Notes. Never the genuine
article.

YVONNE
Ne t’inquiète pas. Je ne connais personne qui ait lu
tout Hegel. Mais à propos de Shakespeare et Proust--
et bien sûr Scotty Moncrieff: Il faut qu’on surveille le titre.
En français et puis en anglais. Ok?

CROSSLEY
Ok. Sure, the title. Of . . .? What Shakespeare?

YVONNE
Non, non, ma chérie. Proust. En français il est À la recherche
du temps perdu, pas vrai? En l’anglais de Moncrieff, de Scotty,
il est Remembrance of Things Past. . . . Rememberance of
Things Past? Ok?

CROSSLEY
Not even close, huh?

YVONNE
Literally, perhaps, no. But if one goes to the source, it is
chillingly close.

CROSSLEY
And the source is Shakespeare.

YVONNE
That’s right. And the best of all is that by borrowing from
Shakespeare, Scotty condenses thousands of pages of
Proust’s French into fourteen lines of Shakespearean English.

CROSSLEY
Now--now that you mention it, it does sound familiar. Like
from a sonnet or something?

YVONNE
Thirty.

CROSSLEY
Sorry?

YVONNE
Sonnet thirty. You know it?

CROSSLEY
Ah, . . . I’m afraid not.

YVONNE
Sure?

CROSSLEY
Please, Mrs Weston.

YVONNE
I’m sorry, dear. But, you know--Ok, here:
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought . . .?

CROSSLEY
Oh, yeah, sure. When to the sessions of sweet silent thought,
I summon rememberance of things past--sure, that’s right.

YVONNE
‘Summon up’. I summon up rememberance of things past.--
Can you take the next line, dear?

CROSSLEY
Uh, no, I don’t think so. . . . Nope. . . . (pause) What is it?

YVONNE
I sigh the lack of many--(pauses waiting for Crossley) . . .
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought . . . ? (Waits again)
(She continues)
And with old woes new wail my dear times’ waste. . . .
(pause) Go ahead, dear. . . .

CROSSLEY
Um, . . . I don’t think so.

[Karl’s shouts of ‘AAAAAArrrrrrrrgggggghhh’ and ‘les enfoirés’ and ‘ta mère elle
pue de cul-cul’ are heard in the distance, approaching. Yvonne ignores them; Crossley becomes apprehensive as Karl gets closer.]


YVONNE
Then can I drown an eye unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night.
And weep afresh love’s long-since cancell’d woe, . . .
And moan the expense of many a vansh’d sight.
(Another polite pause)

CROSSLEY
Go on, go on. Please.

YVONNE
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.

[A final polite pause of invitation, then]

YVONNE(cont)
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, . . .

[Invitation is finally accepted--though Crossley stumbles a beat behind Yvonne.]

YVONNE & CROSSLEY
All losses are restor’d , and sorrows end.

CROSSLEY
Oh, yeah.

LONG PAUSE

CROSSLEY
Well . . .

[The iron gate is heard to open then slam shut.]

KARL(OS)
Charlus! Mon Charlus! Baron Char--Aaaaarrrggghh--

YVONNE
Yes, . . . well . . . A little more wine, dear?

CROSSLEY
I’m not--

YVONNE
Of course not, dear. Sorry.

[Karl appears US in the window.]

KARL
Voilà mon Charlus! Comment vas-tu, Charlus? Bon. Ben.
Écoute, écoute . . .

[During the following speech by Karl, Yvonne pours a glass of wine and drinks it quickly, then pours two more glasses. Crossley turns US to watch Yvonne and Karl.]

KARL
Quand on mélange au hasard deux sangs, l’un pauvre,
l’autre riche, on n’enrichit jamais le pauvre, on appauvrit
toujours le riche. . . . Tout ce qui aide à fourvoyer la masse
abrutie par les louanges est bienvenu. Quand les ruses
ne suffisent plus, quand le système fait explosion, alors
recours à la trique! à la mitrailleuse! aux bonbonnes! . . .
On fait donner tout l’arsenal l’heure venue!
avec le grand coup d’optimisme des ultimes Résolutions!
Massacres par myriades, toutes les guerres depuis le Déluge
ont eu pour musique l’Optimisme. . . Tous les assassins voient
l’avenir en rose, ça fait partie du métier. Ainsi soit-il.

[Yvonne takes one glass of wine, gives it to Karl, and keeps one herself.]

YVONNE
(to Karl)
Très bien, très bien. C’était très bien dit. C’est qui ça?

KARL
(gulps down the wine)
C’est qui? Putain! C’est moi, hein! Mais qui est la petite
princesse là?

YVONNE
Arrêt! Espèce de raclure. Viens. Ces mots là sont à qui?

CROSSLEY
(privately to Yvonne)
Tu connais ce mec?

KARL
Tu m’insultes, Charlus. (extending the empty glass) Tu m’as
gravement blessé--gravement et au coeur. Puis-je en avoir
un autre? . . . S’il vous plaît, Madame Le Baron?

[Yvonne returns to the bar to refill the wine glasses.]


YVONNE
(to Crossley) Ce mec là? Ben oui. Il est . . . (she has to think
hard) Il est mon très, très . . . Quoi? . . . (to Karl) Karl, écoute,
de qui t’as volé ce truc là? (to Crossley) Ouais, il est mon
très, très grand salaud.

[Yvonne delivers the glass to Karl and they tink glasses.]

KARL
Ma chère dame, mon très cher troquet, ces mots là . . .
sont dans la langue française, ma langue maternelle,
donc ces mots là sont véritablement les miens.

YVONNE
La seule verité est que tu mends comme toujours. Ben alors,
fous-moi le camp!

KARL
Doucement, doucement, madame. Tu ne veux pas blesser
l’oreille delicate de la jolie princesse ricaine. M’am’selle
bullshit-motherfucker?

CROSSLEY
Qui est-ce?

YVONNE
Ben ouais, Karl. Tu la connais bien, hein? Vas-y! Vas-y.
Tire-toi. Mais, avant, qui est l’auteur de ton ordurerie?

CROSSLEY
(privately to Yvonne)
He seems a little angry.

YVONNE
Of course, dear. I know. It’s just our game. (to Karl) Facho!

KARL
Coco, anarcho,--Aaaaaaaarggggggghhh--Vieille salope!

YVONNE
Ta gueule! N’essaies pas de me charmer. Tu en veux un autre?

KARL
(to Crossley, re: Yvonne)
Ma princesse! Mon Charlus là, elle ressemble à James
Styoowart, pas vrai? Regarde-moi ça! Jeemmy Styoowart,
c’est pas vrai?

CROSSLEY
Mrs Weston?

YVONNE
(to Karl)
Tu ne veux plus? Hein? Casses-toi avec tes camarades
fachos. Les Jeemmy Styoowarts. Les Ronny Rayguns.
Retournez, vous tous, aux chiottes.

KARL
D’accord, d’accord. Mais avant, le verre. Ma très très chère
Charlus.

[Yvonnes goes to the bar for more wine.]

CROSSLEY
Mrs Weston, really, . . . You know, I can’t come back for
this. I’m on a real short leash. It’s gotta be now.

YVONNE
Of course, dear. This won’t take a second. Karl is just leaving--
(delivering the wine)--aren’t you, my old collaborationist
darling?

KARL
Ch-Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrggggghh! SIDA gafe-toi bien! T’es
affranchi comme personne! T’es bien plus libre, compare
toi-même, que les serfs d’en face! Dans l’autre prison!
Regarde-toi dans la glace encore! Un petit godet pour
les idées! Vote pour mézigues! SIDA t’es victime du système!
Je vais te réformer l’Univers! T’occupe pas de ta nature!
T’es tout en or! qu’on te répète! Te reproche rien! Va pas
réfléchir! Écoute-moi! Je veux ton bonheur véritable!--
Aaaarrrggggghh-- Je vais te nommer Empereur? Veux-tu?
Je vais te nommer Pape et Bon Dieu! Tout ça ensemble!
Boum! Ça y est! Photographie!--

CROSSLEY
Mrs Weston!--Monsieur, je vous en supplie! Arrêtez!--
laissez-nous tranquille! . . . Qu’est-ce qu’il se passe?
Vous êtes evidemment fou, monsieur. J’suis très navrée!
Mais on a des affaires très importantes, très pressantes.
Peut être plus tard--

[Karl falls silent, sullen.]
YVONNE
(Stops Crossley, taking 100ff billet from her bodice)
--No, dear. Ne t’inquiète plus. He’s just leaving. (to Karl)
Ça va ça, mon pote? Écoute. Prends-la. Passes du
côté de chez Villon. Demandes-lui s’il reste des petits
camemberts. D’accord? Tu vois? Vas-y. Achètes-en une
dizaine et reviens directement--fais pas une escale au zinc,
Ok. Tu piges? . . . Vas-y.

[Yvonne has taken Karl’s glass and she returns to the bar and pours herself another glass of wine. Karl hesitates at the window. Yvonne turns into the room to Crossley, ignoring Karl completely. Karl leaves the window for the gate; which is later heard to open and close.]

YVONNE
Now, dear. . . . You were saying?

CROSSLEY
My god! What in the world--

YVONNE
Yes, dear. I know. Karl is one of our strange acquisitions--
not unlike Phillip’s art works--not so beautiful, perhaps, but--
Karl is someone Phillip and I have known forever. And, sad
to say, he’s always been just like that. Just like . . . that.

CROSSLEY
You know, I saw him in the métro when I got here.

YVONNE
Did you really. Well . . . Yes, the métro. We’ve never
really . . . we never really kept track of Karl. Where he
stays. Where we might find him . . . if we need him.
Seldom needed to find him, really.

CROSSLEY
Yes, I can imagine. . . . But did you, just now, send him
off to buy you a dozen camemberts? Is that what I heard?

YVONNE
Don’t worry, dear.

CROSSLEY
Wait! Now, I don’t know what you meant by ‘camemberts’--
I mean--seems a strange way to buy cheese. But--forgive
me, Mrs Weston--but, you know, this interview--this study--
this all has a lot to do with your son’s medication.

YVONNE
He’ll probably spend that hundred francs on the first thing
takes his fancy. (Very flip) All gone.
CROSSLEY
But , Mrs Weston--god!--You just sent him for--I don’t know
what! Or is Villon’s really just a little cheese shop?

YVONNE
There really is no call for concern. We will never see that
money or any kind of anything--or, with any luck, Karl, again.

CROSSLEY
Uh-huh. . . . C’est louche, tout ça. Bien louche. . . . D’accord.
(She now really submerges herself in her files, her Psion, or
some kind of mini computer--she becomes quite oblivious to
what’s going on in the room around her.)
. . . Now, what exactly did your husband die of?

YVONNE
We never found out really. He just disappeared. And after
a certain period of time, we just decided--that is, we . . . were
told that he was dead. Legally . . . dead. Voilà.

CROSSLEY
So your son is Phillip Junior?

[Yvonne returns to the bar. She trades her wine glass for one with a little more volume, and fills it up with wine, killing the bottle and then immediately going through the bar searching for another.]

YVONNE
Well, in actual fact, no. My son is Phillip Alexander. My husband
was Phillip Michael.

[Her search becomes a little frantic before she finds a new bottle of wine and begins to uncork it and let it breath.]

[Philly enters SL and seems to be regarding the art work in the entrée. He will, during his stay, change SL back into the métro station.]

CROSSLEY
I don’t think that distinction is ever made in the file.

YVONNE
Oh? . . . Well, they must not have thought it important.

CROSSLEY
No, I think it is important. An oversight. (She’s pouring through
her files) And here it shows your son’s sero-positivity was
determined quite some time ago. It says he’s been H-I-V-positive
since 1986, February ‘86.
PHILLY
Hell, they only started testing for the shit in ‘85. The Department
of Health and Human Services launched HIV on a wacked-out
world in 1984.

CROSSLEY
But your husband--

YVONNE
Mon mari a disparu, exactement comme Albertine, before
they started any of this testing. And he wasn’t the sort who
took to such things:--

PHILLY
Ben ouais! That canker! Oh la la. That cough--

YVONNE
--incipient tests for incipient disorders.--

PHILLY
--c’est la vie! Rien que le prochain pas sur la piste imprudente
de l’esprit déshonoré;--

CROSSLEY
--But your husband was never tested?--

YVONNE
--Il a trouvé tout ça insoutenable. Il a évité les médecins
comme si vivre dependait de ça.

PHILLY
--nothing but the automatic blush of matter roused to sensation
and become receptive for that which awaked it.

CROSSLEY
And you?
YVONNE
Moi, je m’en fous.

CROSSLEY
Ah, oui, bien sûr. Malgré tout, votre fils était gravement
malade, ou non? Ton mari savait de la maladie avant
qu’il parte?

YVONNE
Oh, I think so. Yes. . . . Let’s see. . . . Philly was, what?
eighteen, nineteen, when he got his first real adult illness.
. . . He’d been ill quite often as a child--a young child.
CROSSLEY
(Reading from files)
Says here . . . --

[Yvonne drinks harder during this.]
PHILLY
(Covering Crossley’s reading)
General inability to thrive. Persistent generalised swollen lymph
glands, persistent oral candida and developmental delay. Then,
twelve months after birth, the capacity of cells to proliferate was
fifty to seventy percent below normal. Recurrent, perhaps chronic,
anemia with subcritical tendency to hemophilia. Elevated leukocytic
levels indicating strong disposition toward leukocytosis and
leukodystrophy. Subject to frequent, severe fevers, diarrhoea.
Frequent inflammations of eyes, ears, nose and throat. Chronically
elevated hepatic enzymes. Gall bladder removed at twenty-four
months. Recurring and severe gastroenteritis from eighteen months.
Positive reactions on TB, CMV, Epstien Barr, Lupus, Mono, Hepatitis
B & C. Chronic gonoccocal conjuctivitis and presence of a highly
resistant residual strain of syphilis. Quite a birthright.

CROSSLEY
Whoa . . . Quite a survivor, your son. And you--as his mother!--
were never tested? For anything?

YVONNE
I can remember how horrible I felt. I used to shake. All over. . . .
All the time. . . . And he suffered so much--it was absolutely
unbearable. For him, I mean. For Philly. Oh, for all of us. Sure.

CROSSLEY
I can imagine.

YVONNE PHILLY
Yes. Can you, really?

CROSSLEY
And then the cancers?

YVONNE
Uh, yes, that’s right. . . . Are you sure you won’t have a little
something? To drink, I mean.

[Yvonne returns to the bar.]

PHILLY
Are you sure you wouldn’t like to fix her one of your famous
loaded apples, Maman?

CROSSLEY
I quit about two years ago. . . . No, exactly two years, one
month and six days ago--but, then, who’s counting, right?

[Yvonne refills her glass.]
YVONNE
I see. Yes. Well, good for you, dear. . . . AA?

CROSSLEY
No, no.

PHILLY
Scientologie? Hari Krishna? Le Temple du Soleil? Falun
Gong? Ferme-le ton claque-merde quoi!

YVONNE
Some more water then, dear?

CROSSLEY
Merci. . . . On peut parler un peu des cancers?

YVONNE PHILLY
Anything you want, dear. Anything but drug talk.

CROSSLEY
Cancer in children is especially painful. Their suffering is
so special.

PHILLY
Qu’est cette salope? Lady Di? Merde de Dieu.

YVONNE
Yes. Of course it is, dear.

CROSSLEY
Before he came into our program it seems it had moved into
his head. When was that?

YVONNE
That first one in 1980 was especially vague. It was before
he tested H-I-V-positive. When he was nineteen, I think. And
(she sighs) . . . they removed a tumor from the left-side of his
brain. But it biopsied benign. He was having terrible vision
problems. Terrible headaches.

PHILLY
Nothing those dilaudids couldn’t have knocked out.

YVONNE
But we weren’t able to get him the proper medication.
The doctors we had . . . they wouldn’t give him what
he needed.

CROSSLEY PHILLY
What he needed? What I needed?

CROSSLEY
Who was deciding what he needed?

YVONNE
They were under a great deal of pressure. . . . From the
government . . . . The Health and Safety Code. These
doctors--’croakers’, Phillip called them--would write you
all the Xanax and Thorazine you could eat, but . . . that
wasn’t what we needed--what Philly needed. So his father
. . . this was just before he left for good-- He thought the
surgery--he was convinced this surgery was . . . well, just the
same old quackery he’d saved Philly from when he was a baby.

CROSSLEY
How’s that?

[Now Yvonne and Philly make eye contact across the stage. Crossley, when not in her files, is only on Yvonne.]

YVONNE
He thought the doctors were using the surgeries to keep Philly
in their programs. To keep us from finding him better care.
Better treatments with better medicines. . . . He’d wanted to
just go in and take Philly right out of this program--as if that
were possible. He’d saved him before, you see. And for what?. . .
It was just like after his stomach cancer, the partial gastrectomy
when Philly was six. They took more than half his stomach--
his father just said, ‘ça suffit!’ and took him out of the hospital.
Brought him home. He was only six. And still a baby. And still
all wound up in tubes and drips and bottles of this and that.
He had no hair at all, I remember. And his lips were always
deep blue--purple. Yes. Purple shadows moved all over his
body, under his skin. He never slept--I don’t remember ever
seeing him sleep. And his eyes always bugged out and just
stared. They never followed anything. He just stared straight
ahead. Like he was staring at something right in front of his face.
And with no expression. Just blank. He was six years old. And
he’d had so much of him cut out and thrown away. Before his
body had even had a chance to grow, to regenerate itself, they
just threw a good part of him away. His blood drained and
replaced with the blood of strangers. So many times. And he
never registered pain. He never cried. I don’t recall Philly ever
crying--Ever. In his whole life I can’t remember Philly crying.
The doctors told us he must be in a great deal of pain. But they
would see to that--they would see to treating the pain. But he
never complained. He seldom spoke, . . . except to say he loved
us. Every night when we would tuck him in, he would say he
loved us.

PHILLY
T’es sûr de ça? T’es bien sûr? Tu ne me confonds pas avec
le jeune Marcel?

CROSSLEY
But you’re saying they removed this tumor as part of a research
program?

YVONNE
So, the brain tumor--I mean, they weren’t saying it was Kaposi
or anything like that. That was what everyone else was coming
down with. ‘83, ‘84. This was before that. This was just a
simple brain tumor--but Phillip couldn’t stand it. Couldn’t
stand the thought of them cutting on Philly’s brain. They’d
been through so much together. And Philly’s boyfriends
always blamed his father--for everything. It was all just too
much for him.
PHILLY
Les salopes.

CROSSLEY
I’m confused. Why were they operating? This program?--Was
your son getting proper medical care or not? . . . You were still
in the States?

PHILLY
Ces évocations tournoyantes et confuses ne duraient jamais
que quelques secondes;--

YVONNE
In Chico, yes. Northern California.

PHILLY
--souvent ma brève incertitude du lieu où je me trouvais
ne distinguait pas mieux les unes des autres--

CROSSLEY
Yes, I know. With the prison there.

PHILLY
--les diverses suppositions dont elle était faite,--

YVONNE
No, dear, that’s Chino. By Los Angeles.

PHILLY
--que nous n’isolons, en voyant un cheval noir courir,--

YVONNE
Chico is in the Sacramento Valley. With the college.

PHILLY
--les positions successives que nous montre le kinétoscope.

CROSSLEY
Sure. Ok. But you said you had trouble getting him proper
medicine?

YVONNE
I don’t remember Philly complaining. About anything. Ever.

PHILLY
J’étais bien instruit par les tortionnaires, les bourreaux à
l’hôpital. Ce ‘Goodnight. I love you, mommy’, c’était un truc
que j’ai appris pour obtenir les percodans.

CROSSLEY
These were research programs your son was in, right? Testing
programs. Just like ours. But what was the problem with his
medications?

YVONNE
He’d been in programs like these--you see, dear, this was when
the transplant business was really booming. The late 70s.
A good deal was being done searching for anti-rejection drugs.
And since Philly had had so many transfusions--essentiellement
le prémier genre des greffes, on peut dire--ils ont pensé que mon
fils serait le cobaye parfait pour ses médicaments contre-rejet.

CROSSLEY
But his immune system couldn’t have been in any kinda shape to
demonstrate if these drugs worked or not. How much more could
they really depress his immune system without flat-out killing him?

PHILLY
Voilà! Faites vos jeux! La concurrence du Business entre les
banques d’organes, les banque du sangs, et les enterprises
de médicaments est vachement fascinante. La comptabilité aussi.

YVONNE
Je ne sais pas, chérie. Il nous suffit de savoir qu’il s’est toujours
guéri juste à temps pour la prochaine analyse. Le fait qu’il
a continué de vivre, c’était la seule preuve qu’ils ont cherché.

CROSSLEY
(Exasperated, changing tack, diving back into her notes)
So . . . you two came to France in ‘89. Your first contact with
the Association was in December ‘89. Through the Pasteur
Institute. (to Yvonne, very personally) I’d like to meet your
son. He’s here . . . now, right?

YVONNE
Certainly, dear.

PHILLY
Oh, yes, please, mummy.

YVONNE
He’s been unusually quiet since you arrived. He’s usually
beeping me every minute.

CROSSLEY
I’m very interested in your case--that is, the Association is
very interested in . . . your son’s treatment. How it might
serve to develop new techniques for treating some of these
terrible new diseases--and actually some old ones, too--but
every day we are discovering new treatments, we’re breaking
genetic codes that give us incredible insights into the future
of human health. All this depends on the kinds of tests that
your son takes for us. And . . . Philly’s survival is truly incredible.

YVONNE
Oh, your people have kept Philly going, really, for all these
years. If it weren’t for all those doctors and people at your
organization--for all the help, all the medicines you have
given us, I just don’t know what we’d have done.

PHILLY
If I weren’t so near death already, this would really make me
sick. Je vais gerber.

[During this exchange, Philly has converted the SL area back into the Pierre Curie métro station. Philly exits as the lights flicker out SL.]

CROSSLEY
I had many friends in the Eighties who died of Aids.

YVONNE
You just seem so young for that, dear. They--your friends--
must have been very young too.

CROSSLEY
Oh, well, yes. But . . . I was in my first year at Columbia, and
I hung out with lots of older people. Artists. Theatre people.
Downtown. You know?

YVONNE
This was what? What year?

CROSSLEY
Oh, I got to Columbia in ‘88. ‘88 through ‘91. I can’t remember--
I lost count of how many friends I lost.

YVONNE
Of course. . . . And you studied medicine? Science?

CROSSLEY
No, no. I got an M-B-A in ‘95. I wanted to dedicate myself
to the memory of those friends I lost by working to find a
cure for this horrible disease.

[Lights flicker back up SL. It is empty but for Karl’s shit which is back on the bench.]

YVONNE
Aids?

CROSSLEY
That’s right. Do you know that in Africa every one in four
people is H-I-V positive?

YVONNE
Uh-huh. Well, the figure I heard was four out of ten sexually
active people tested positive. An old friend at the World
Health Organization, Guy Zimmerman, was working in Lusaka,
in Zambia. This was 1992. He got the government to launch a
gigantic testing program.


CROSSLEY
Zambia, yes. We’re working that one. And Zimbabwe and
Tanzania. And Uganda. The W-H-O is very helpful. I was
just in Geneva last month.

YVONNE
Indeed. . . . But an M-B-A?

CROSSLEY
Yes?

YVONNE
Well, dear--I have no idea what’s going on in the Biz Ad
department at Columbia these days--

CROSSLEY
I got my M-B-A from Boston College. I did my undergrad
stuff at Columbia. Journalism.

YVONNE
I see. Uh-huh. It’s just--I suppose because I’m so old--and
I’m not questioning your dedication. Please, darling, don’t
ever think that. It’s just that Business--I don’t know--(laughs)

CROSSLEY
Mrs Weston. When all my friends, these young men like
your son, were dying and no one knew why, it was Business,
the large pharmaceutical companies, who financed the research
and discovered what was killing them--it was business that
discovered Aids. I believe that Business will also discover
a cure, a vaccine to stop this killer.

YVONNE
I suppose that’s right, dear. Yes. Business did discover Aids.
And Business took Doctor Montagnier away from the Pasteur
Institute, where we would take an occaisonal coffee, and put
him in a lovely corner office at Princeton. And it was Business
that got Gallo and Montagnier fighting over who had the
proprietary rights to rename H-T-L-V and claim the, as you
say, discovery of H-I-V.

[Karl rushes into Pierre Curie. He is completely out of breath. He sits on the bench and takes a small plastic sack out of his pocket. It contains a number of little white pills. He takes three or four out of the sack, pops them into his mouth, then reaches beneath the bench for his bottle of wine. At first he can’t find it. He becomes frantic--starts choking on the pills--then finds the bottle lying on its side, picks it up and takes a long slash from it to wash down the pills. He then tries to catch his breath. When he begins to speak it is with the slow precision of someone who is already really wired. He stands up and moves around--he is still a total sketch-ball, but the pills seem to have eliminated his manic ejaculations.]
(ALL THIS HAPPENS UNDER--AND KARL’S LINES ARE CONFLATED WITH--THE FOLLOWING EXCHANGE BETWEEN YVONNE & CROSSLEY:)

YVONNE
You see, when Phillip was at Duke, he had a good friend at
Burroughs. Dave Thompson. It was Burroughs-Wellcome
then, before Glaxo bought it. Dave worked in research--was
vice-president in charge of research, as I recall. Well, Dave
told Phillip how the whole bordel with H-T-L-V--the Human
T-Cell Leukemia Virus--but, of course, you know that already,
don’t you, dear--sorry--But, you see, Bob Gallo had H-T-L-V one--
or was it three?--no matter--and Montagnier had what he called
L-A-V, and then H-I-V, but it was all just muck drekked up from
blood cultures batched from dozens--or maybe hundreds--of
haemophiliacs and people already diagnosed with Aids.
Different doctors, different researchers, had their own test
groups. Their own patients on whom they ran their tests.
And, well, Philly had been diagnosed and treated as a . . .
. . . haemophiliac most of his life--so, everybody at Triangle Park
was very interested in Philly. He was like one of those high
draft choices the pros are always after. You know what I mean,
right, dear?

CROSSLEY
Well . . . We do a lot of work with Glaxo, sure, all the big bio-tech
outfits. But are you saying that they were bidding for your son?
Seems a little far-fetched. He did get around though. Man,--

KARL
Bien qu’on dût s’y attendre, cet incident provoqua une grande
émotion dans les milieux médicaux, et même à la Cour, d’où
vinrent des ordres afin qu’on procédât à une enquête sur les
circonstances de cette révocation.

CROSSLEY
(Again very deep into her files)
--I show here, before you came to us, your son was in programs
at Massachusetts Gerneral Hospital, San Francisco General,
Sloan-Kettering, New England Deaconess Hospital, the
National Institute of Health Complex in Bethesda and Walter
Reed, and then at Duke and Cornell. . . . Why were--

YVONNE
Well, Dave was telling Phillip that everything was going
into retroviruses--you know, all the research, all the journals,
all the funding--and that this opened up a whole new opportunity
for Burroughs. Because Burroughs had been on our case from
the very beginning. 
CROSSLEY
What does this man at Burroughs--your friend--your husband’s
friend; what did he have to do with your son’s treatment?

[Philly appears outside at the window UR.]

KARL
Du fait de ses fonctions à l’hôpital général dont il était
le médecin-chef, il dut, bien qu’il s’en disculpât, sanctionner
dans une certaine mesure la révocation de son fils.

YVONNE
Oh, rien de tout, chérie. Rien de tout. Ce mec--Dave was just a
friend. Just a friend, you know? A friend of the family. But he
pointed us in the right direction. He showed us where the new
therapies were coming from--where the new medicines
. . . take us. He told us about the new tests and AZT and how we
might get Philly some five-star help. Really, how we found you.

PHILLY
Il nous a dirigé vers la thune. La thune et les produits pharma-
ceutiques de bonne qualité. Et de la mine d’or de l’ingénierie
génétique.

KARL
On éloigna donc l’impétueux Philippe dans un voyage d’une
certaine durée. . . . Un voyage vers la douleur--ah, ben oui--
L’homme est un apprenti, la Douleur est son maître. . . .

CROSSLEY
I know Wellcome patented the first HIV tests. One of the doctors,
a virologist, at the Association, worked for Chester Beatty Labs
at the Institute of Cancer Research in London where the test was
developed. But Dupont makes a test too. So why do you think
Glaxo--or Burroughs was so interested in Philly?

KARL
L’homme est un apprenti, le Libéralisme est son sorcier. . . .
Puis l’Autoritarisme est l’apprenti du Libéralisme, et l’homme
est--quoi?--l’homme est l’esclave de ses besoins. . . .
Et puis, il n’avait pas le choix. Qu’aurait-il pu faire?
Attendre que les bourrins se prennent de lui leur grands
panards?
PHILLY
Yes, mother. Why was that? Just this bag of infected bone
marrow. What would they want with me?

[The ‘MÉTRO MUSIQUE’ is heard SL. At the same instant the POP MUSIC on the radio is interrupted for the following message spoken by Philly:]

PHILLY
(Affecting the voice of a sexy female SNCF fonctionnaire)
Votre attention, s’il vous plaît. Suite à un mouvement social,
tout le trafic sur toutes les lignes du métro et RER est interrompu.
Pour toutes information composez le numero vert de la RATP:
08 36 68 69 70. J’en repete: 08 36 68 69 70.

[Various reactions are simultaneously registered:]

YVONNE
Oh la la. Chérie. T’as entendu? Quelles conneries!

KARL
Ben merde alors! J’suis prisonnier ici. Quelle Saloperie!

CROSSLEY
Oh, well, . . . This is certainly just what I needed. Fuck!

PHILLY
(Himself again--sort of!)
C’est juste le mouvement syndical français. ‘Allons enfants de la
patrie . . .’ C’est tout. Nous sommes tous des soixante-huitards,
non? (chants a couple times) ‘Dans les rues/Avec nous!’

PAUSE. [Quickly POP MUSIC returns to the radio.] PAUSE.

[Karl appears like a trapped animal--a trapped animal completely buzzed on crank. He gathers up all his shit and makes like he’s going to split. Several after-thoughts later, with several false starts in several different directions; he decides to crawl under the bench and try to hide himself there under his plastic sheet.]

YVONNE
Qu’est-ce que tu vas faire? T’es venue en métro?

CROSSLEY
(Deeply confused)
Moi, ch’ais pas. Enfin, bref . . . . On peut continuer? . . . Merde!
Ma journée est complètement foutue. On pourrait peut être
prendre un taxi?

KARL
(Shreiking in pain and fear)
Aïe! Aïïïïïe!


YVONNE
Mais non. Bientôt la circulation sera completement congelé--
comme un parking lot.

CROSSLEY
Yeah. Right. Well . . .

PHILLY
Il est beau le mouvement syndical français. Ses coups arrivent
toujours juste à temps pour sauver la ferme. Hein, maman?
La ferme!

KARL
(Shrieking)
DES CAFARDS! . . . DES CAFARDS!

CROSSLEY
Look. I know you are much too polite to mention it-- We’ve
been holding-up your stipend until we can get some tests in.

YVONNE
Yes, dear. Of course.

CROSSLEY
I think the whole deal with genetic licenses and patent rights
should be left to the legal department. Those guys live in a
world of their own. Right? (laughs)

KARL
Non, non! Aïïïïïïïe, non!

YVONNE
Well, you know, dear, I have this same discussion with every
case worker who visits me. Nothing changes.

KARL
(In full psychotic meltdown)
Des cafards! Des cafards! Aïe, non! Arrêtez!

CROSSLEY
Well, as his mother and closest living relative, you hold
the--I don’t know what to really call it--the proprietary rights
to Philly’s genetic code and whatever it might produce. You
know that, right?

PHILLY
Pauvre bête.

YVONNE
Oh, I know that, dear.

CROSSLEY
And it is certainly not my intention to talk you into anything--
or out of anything--on this thing. Your regular check has
been issued--it’s just waiting on these test results. That’s all.

KARL
(Now thrashing under the bench)
Ils me devorent! Aïe! Aïïïïïe! Aïïïe! Au secours!

YVONNE
Yes, well, that’s all very fine, dear. But, you know, it has been
an unusually long time since I’ve received a check from you
people. And, well, Philly’s needs really can’t wait. You know?

PHILLY
Un syndicat pour les mourant peut être? Pour les assassinés.

CROSSLEY
Of course, Mrs Weston. I know. There’s just some concern
over the blood work we’ve been getting. We’re having trouble
with replication--replicating the, uh,--replicating the--well, we’re
not getting any consistency in our results. Even running the
H-I-Vs, we’re not getting consistent positives.

KARL
C’est insupportable! Au secours! Au secours! Ça me tue! Arrêtez!

[Karl breaks out from under the bench and begins pacing SL.]

YVONNE
I’m affraid I can’t be of any help there. J’suis . . . juste . . .
enfin, sa mère.

PHILLY
La pudeur!

KARL
Charlus! Charlus! Aides-moi!

CROSSLEY
I think, to get you back on track, we’ll really have to bring
Phillip in to the clinic to have better controls on these tests.

PHILLY
Oh la la.

YVONNE
Well, dear, I think this is a singularly bad time for that sort of
move.

KARL
Charlus! Tu dois m’aider! Charlus!

BEATS.

CROSSLEY
Mrs Weston?

BEATS.

KARL
Charlus!

BEATS.

CROSSLEY
Mrs Weston?

YVONNE
Yes, dear. Uh-huh?

CROSSLEY
Mrs Weston--I don’t really know how to put this. . . . Unless
we can take your son in to continue the tests--well--There
is just no other way for these tests to continue.

PHILLY
La déconnante.

YVONNE
Indeed. Well, I’m very sorry to hear that.

CROSSLEY
I’m not sure you understand me, Mrs Weston.

[Karl has started counting something on the back wall.]

KARL
(Improvising in this vein under what follows.)
Un à Charlus. Un à moi. Un à vendre. Un à garder.
Un à l’armée. Un à ma mère. Un à l’OTAN. Deux au Kosovo.
Rien à la Serbie. . . .

[Philly is now sitting on the window sill UR. Very interested.]

YVONNE
Oh, I think I understand. Yes. You’re telling me I’m not
getting my check until I give you Philly. Well . . .

CROSSLEY
No, no, Mrs Weston. It’s more than that. It’s much more . . .
The Association needs to assume tighter control of these tests--
of your son’s care. The Association--if we are to continue our
relationship--our fiduciary relationship--which is much more than
this monthly allocation--as you know. The Association needs to
take full custody--You see, it’s in all our contracts. Genetic patents.
Ancilliary research. Second and third degree derivative medicines.
The Association has the right, at any time, to hospitalize the subject
if failure to do so would in any way jeopardize the research process.

PHILLY
Voilà

YVONNE
Well, you and your M-B-A certainly have it all over me as far as
contracts go. But I don’t think you have any idea what you’re
asking--what you’re letting yourself in for.

CROSSLEY
Please, Mrs Weston, this is in no way a suggestion that you have
failed in any way to care for your son. Pas de tout. It’s all about
the integrity of our research. A great deal is at stake here--and
not just the huge sums that have been invested in it--millions of
lives depend on the integrity of our tests.

YVONNE
Oh, please, dear, spare me the Succor for Suffering Humanity
spiel. You think I’ve spent the last twenty years on an intravenous
drip from CNN and the Scientific American? I learned more about
your ‘killer disease’ and Philly’s hopeless condition from the Wall
Street Journal and The Financial Times than from all your medical
statisticians and scientific social workers--with all your mawkish
plaints about lost loved ones--It’s amazing. You really think being
against Aids, seeking after a cure for Aids, fighting against disease,
is a considered moral position? The high ground? An end that
justifies all the human suffering and exploitation used to reach it?

PHILLY
Allons-y! À la charge! Juste comme Napoléon.

CROSSLEY
Mrs Weston, I had no intention--that is, I had no idea you
would feel--you would react this way. If you’d like--

YVONNE
No, of course not, dear. Of course not. Listen, I’m just going
to freshen this up a wee bit and we can--

PHILLY
Oh, quelle lâcheté.

CROSSLEY
Don’t you think you’ve had enough . . . of that . . . for right now?

[Yvonne goes to the bar and pours herself more wine.]

YVONNE
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, dear. This is definetly not a subject
for discussion. Not today. Let’s deal with Phillip, shall we?
My drinking is a whole other area of research we can take up
some other time. D’accord?

CROSSLEY
I didn’t mean--

YVONNE
I’m sure you didn’t, dear. Ne t’inquiète pas. C’est peut être
le bon moment pour que tu fasses la connaissance de mon fils.
Tu veux? (LONG PAUSE) Hein?

LONG SILENCE.

CROSSLEY
Décidément.

[Yvonne moves DS from the bar and stands US of the door DR.]

YVONNE
Donc. On y va.

CROSSLEY
Madame. Je veux me faire pardonner. J’suis désolée si
je vous ai insultée.

YVONNE
Non, non, chérie, ça va aller. Maintenant on va voir mon
pauvre. T’es fin prête?

CROSSLEY
Houais. (That inhaled ‘oui’ that French women do)

[Crossley has been putting her files away, and she rises and Xs to the door DR.]

[Karl breaks for SR and continues to improvise as he now seems to count the items in the apartment.]

KARL
Ma mère mange à droite . . . Jospin mange à gauche . . . L’armée
mange à droite . . . l’Abbé Pierre mange à gauche . . . (etc.)

YVONNE
Pardonnes-moi le désordre.

CROSSLEY
(Exiting DR)
C’est moi. Je m’excuse pour mon attitude.

[Yvonne follows her out the door DR.]

LONG SILENCE.

YVONNE (OS)
Phillip, darling. This is . . . I’m awfully sorry, dear. I’ve forgotten
your name. ( LONG SILENCE) Dear? Are you all right? (LONG
SILENCE) Dear?

CROSSLEY (OS)
Ggggggrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaaaaaaammmmppphh!
YVONNE (OS)
Ça ira, ça ira, chérie. Voilà. Première à droite. Vas-y.

SOUNDS of UNRESTRAINED VOMITTING.

YVONNE (OS)
Here, let me clean that up. . . . Here . . . She just dribbled a
little here. . . . There . . . There, dear. All done. Poor child.
Too much to drink, I suppose. There you are. Good as new.

[Crossley rushes on through the door DR, wiping her mouth and fighting for breath.]

[Karl is now on his hands and knees DR continuing the psychotic improv and counting the fibers in the carpet or the tiles on the floor or something.]

KARL
(muttering)
St Loupe mange à droite . . . Gilberte mange à gauche . . .
Françoise mange à droite--non, non, à gauche--non, à droite . . .

YVONNE (OS)
Just as good as new. Clean and beautiful is my darling boy.
Yes he is. . . . Yes he is.

[Crossley goes to the window UR and tries to breathe. She is close enough to Philly to kiss him, but doesn’t notice him at all. When she turns back into the room, she seems half-mad with terror. Her mouth feels like its full of toxic worm shit.]

CROSSLEY
(Barely able to form the words)
Mrs Wes-- . . . Mrs West--on? (LONG PAUSE) Mrs Weston?

YVONNE (OS)
J’arrive, chérie. J’arrive.

[Crossley glances at the bar. Then she stares at it. Then she Xs to it and pours herself a glass of wine and drinks it quickly. She then pours another and drinks it quickly.]

CROSSLEY
(Almost in a whisper)
I have to go.

YVONNE (OS)
J’arrive.

CROSSLEY
(A little louder with the pain)
Oh, god.

[Yvonne enters and stands just US of the door DR. Karl continues the improv counting a smaller and smaller area DRC. Philly looks on bemused.]
YVONNE
Ça va, chérie?

CROSSLEY
Non. Faut que j’y aille.

[Crossley pours then drinks another glass of wine.]

YVONNE
Vas-y mollo.

CROSSLEY
(re: the wine)
Pardon.

YVONNE
Et le rapport? Les questions? Et si vous alliez prendre
mon fils?

CROSSLEY
(Struggling with everything)
Mrs Weston . . .

YVONNE
Et l’argent que vous me devez--que vous nous devez?

CROSSLEY
(Very big now)
Nom de Dieu! Il n’est pas vivant. C’est pas possible. Non, il est
mort. . . . Mrs Weston, your son is dead! Oh god!

LONG, LONG PAUSE.
VOICE (OS)
(A male voice [the OS Philly], full of pain
and anger and illness, and heard by both women)
MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAANNN!!!

[Crossley freezes. Yvonne & Philly smile. Karl continues counting nothing.]

LIGHTS OUT.

END OF ACT I

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Act I of Black Samba: a Brazilian Dance in Two Unnatural Acts


Related image
Related image{This was written in 1995 Paris--my first play from Pré St. Gervais.  So, pre-Obama and pre-911; right about the time of the OKC bombing.  As garish and extreme as it seemed when it was first presented at Soho Rep in 1997, the current political Guignol makes Black Samba seem contemplative, even effete.--mc}
Related image



Black Samba
a Brazilian dance in two unnatural acts

by
Mick Collins

CirqueMinime/Paris
(1995)

130 Forest St., #3
Montclair, New Jersey
USA


All Rights Reserved




From: Thesis Against Occultism 
By T.W. Adorno 

IX. The cardinal sin of occultism is the contamination of mind and existence, the latter becoming itself an attribute of mind. Mind arose out of existence, as an organ for keeping alive. In reflecting existence, however, it becomes at the same time something else. The existent negates itself as thought upon itself. Such negation is mind’s element. To attribute to it positive existence, ever of a higher order, would be to deliver it up to what it opposes. Late bourgeois ideology has again made it what it was for pre-animism, a being-in-itself modeled on the social division of labor, on the split between manual and intellectual labor, on the planned domination over the former. In the concept of mind-in-itself, consciousness has ontologically justified and perpetuated privilege by making it independent of the social principle by which it is constituted. Such ideology explodes in occultism: it is idealism come full circle. Just by virtue of the rigid antithesis of being and mind, the latter becomes a department of being. If idealism demanded solely on behalf of the whole, the idea, that being be mind and that the latter exist, occultism draws the absurd conclusion that existence is determinate being: 

Existence, after it has become, is always benign with a non-being, 
so that this non-being is taken up in simple unity with the being.  
Non-being taken up in being, the fact that the concrete whole is 
in the form of being, of immediacy, constitutes determinateness 
as such.  

The occultists take literally the non-being as in ‘simple unity with being’, and their kind of concreteness is a surreptitious short-cut from the whole to the determinate which can defend itself by claiming that the whole, having once been determined, is no longer the whole. They call to metaphysics: Hic Rhodus hic salta: if the philosophic investment of spirit with existence is determinable, then finally, they sense, any scattered piece of existence must be justifiable as a particular spirit. The doctrine of the existence of the spirit, the ultimate exaltation of bourgeois consciousness, consequently bore teleologically within it the belief in spirits, its ultimate degradation. The shift to existence, always ‘positive’ and justifying the world, implies at the same time that thesis of the positivity of mind, pinning it down, transposing the absolute into appearance. Whether the whole objective world as ‘product’ is to be spirit, or a particular thing a particular spirit, cease to matter, and the world-spirit becomes the supreme Spirit, the guardian angel of the established, de-spiritualized order. On this the occultists live: their mysticism is the enfant terrible of the mystical moment in Hegel. They take speculation to the point of fraudulent bankruptcy. In passing off determinate being as mind, they put objectified mind to the test of existence, which must prove negative. No spirit exists. 






BLACK SAMBA

a Brazilian dance in two unnatural acts




Characters: 


Nicky: a young Latin, not yet twenty, very brown and very beautiful. 

V: a middle-aged man, very thin and very white. 

Mavis: a woman in late-middle-age, once beautiful, now somewhat flaccid. 

Cecil: Mavis’ partner and like her in many ways. 



Place: 
The estate of Mavis and Cecil in the hills west of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Time:  
An imagined present with an imaginary past and no future.


Act 1 is in June. Act 2, Scene 1 in November; Scene 2 in December.





Acknowledgements:

John O’Connell, for the courage to face incontinence.

Nick Harper, from whose lap top it all sprung.

Teddy Adorno, for daily negations.

Danise & Yana, for direction.

and

Paris, enfin.




ACT 1 

THE SET AT RISE: 

Stage L is Cecil’s & Mavis’ living room. There is one door UC, a large mirror on the US wall, and a low glass table CL on which are a trumpet and a chimney glass with a large tropical flower in it. 

Stage R is a riser, 5’x5’x3’ high, say, on which sits V, a middle-aged man, very thin and very white, completely naked but for gauze bandages over his eyes. His arms and legs are bound to the metal office chair in which he sits (as time passes, it should become apparent that these bonds are of insufficient integrity to hold him without his compliance), and wires protrude from his crotch, his breasts, and the bandages over his eyes. The wires are connected to a bank of half a dozen Sears Die-Hard batteries stacked SR on the riser, with a big piece of 4.0 cable dropping from them over the front of the riser and running off SR. A microphone is suspended, about a foot above V’s head. 

SPOT UP on Nicky in area DS (Nicky’s area). He is a small Latin young man, not yet twenty. He stands at attention wearing a uniform of the streets with several pastel-colored squirt guns strapped down. 

He raises his fist in a revolutionary salute. 

NICKY
Somente os trabalhadores e peoes chegaram ate o fin. . . .
(louder) Somente os trabalhadores e peoes chegaram ate o fin. . . .
(yells) Viva Che!

SPOT UP (less brightly) on V. 

V
Adio, Ramon! Adio, Catalan! Adio, San Sebastian!

Nicky changes his salute from a clenched fist to a “V”. 

NICKY
Ate a vitoria sempre! . . . (louder) Ate a vitoria sempre! . . .
(yells) Viva Che! Viva Fidel!

V
Bessa me, bessa me mucho.

Nicky changes the “V” to the “digita impudica” (he flips the bird). 

NICKY
Vai te fuder e comer peixe! . . . Viva Che! Viva Fidel!
Viva Gonzalo!

SPOTS OUT on Nicky & V. Nicky exits. 

LIGHTS UP SL on glass table. 

After SEVERAL BEATS, 

DIM LIGHT UP on V. 

V
(He is seized by an Electric Shock)
Millions for charity, and not a dime for justice. . . . We trade in
debt now, almost exclusively. . . . We’re deep in Volume Two,
irrevocably into Book Two, with no memory or understanding or
memory of understanding the first book of Capital: it’s all circulation
now, with no appreciation for production. . . . Self-valorizing value
has burst the surly bonds of the material world and exists in the ethereal
world—the metaphysical world—of interest, derivative securities,
contingent-value rights, commissions and appraisals, and differed
taxation on off-shore trusts and back-end points on distributors’ gross,
and so on, and so on. . . . Commodity fetishism has extended to Credit
and the monopoly that administers it. . . . You are what you own, what
you’re owed, the amount of debt you control below you, which is always
mortgaged, or leveraged, sounds less morbid, to ten, twelve times its
value. The note held over your head (like Excalibur or the executioner’s
axe) by those above you. That is, you loathe those who owe you and
revere those to whom you are indebted. Or is it the other way round?
No matter, for these are no longer real considerations, but merely
reflexive responses to the cudgels of Credit. . . . The entire canon
of World Literature, both secular and ecclesiastical, both poetry and
prose, both the arts and the sciences, both male and female and all
around and in between: it’s all smoke, incense smoke, and rhinestone
glitter to distract human attention from the stinking fact: all results
from material coercion—irresistible gravity, the pull of the grave. . . .
It’s probably too late to make it right, now. . . . Right now. . . . That’s
what’s wrong: Right now. . . . Mourn the pasts and fear tomorrow
and the terrible retribution it must bring. But damnation is right now.
This prison, endowed in the name of Bad Faith, from which no amount
of wealth, no delusional good deeds, no medication will buy your release.
. . . Even death is not a release. . . . The thrill of murder, perhaps, but so
brief. . . . We bought misery on margin, and sold our decency short. . . .
Well, as Nicky says, “Fuck ‘em in the ass and feed ‘em fish!”
And if they don’t like it, fuck ‘em in the ass again.

Nicky enters UC. He has one of his squirt guns in hand. He CROSSES to glass table and puts a set of keys on it. He exits UC. 

SEVERAL BEATS. 

V
(Responding to Electric Shock)
Isn’t it odd? . . . It is not odd.

(The following scene, the dialogue of which can be conflated, is played with actors entering and exiting the stage intermittently, speaking their lines on and off stage at the director’s discretion; and though the two actors might be on stage at the same time, they should not exchange lines on stage.) 

Mavis and Cecil are a couple well along into late-middle-age. Like all couples who have been together some time they have come to resemble one another in uncanny ways. 

MAVIS
. . . but how can you remember Shanghai, what actually happened
in Shanghai? Thirty years ago.

CECIL
It was only twenty, really. (Coughs) When daddy brought the four
of . . . –No, quite right. Thirty. It was thirty. Yes, indeed, you’re
quite right, thirty years. What do you mean how can I remember?
It was like only yesterday, my god, how would I have forgotten that
beastly time. . . (Coughs) Like yesterday.

(Cecil coughs regularly, or irregularly, throughout.) 

MAVIS
I was there, darling, too. I was with you. I don’t remember a thing—
not really—not a thing about that time. . . . Well, I do remember gin
and bitters at the Barres’, and Jack coming back from Tashkent with
hashish—but not really—not really remembering. Not real memories.

CECIL
That little bastard will turn up late. Just wait and see if I’m right.
Little cockroach, with all his little games and schemes. . . . His
bows and scrapes. . . . Little brown bugger . . . little spic . . .
faggot. . . . If he turns up late—he’s like every driver we’ve ever
had: goddam little felonious fuck! You teach these little wogs to
drive and immediately they go into business for themselves and treat
you like a fucking mushroom. If he turns up late—

MAVIS
Darling, here, come let me freshen your drink before you get an
embolism. Bring your glass here. Nicky will be here when he
gets here. Come here. Bring your drink, darling. . . . It’s just such
a long time ago. Like it no longer ever really happened. . . . Only
thirty years. Thirty years, lost. . . . Wasn’t Shanghai lovely?
Wasn’t it a beautiful place then?

CECIL
Think you’re getting potty. Best leave the pitcher with me. 
If we turn up late and stewed, Bitsy and her lot will be unbearable. . . .
You simply refuse to accept the passage of time—you feel by blotting
out the memory, you’ll be able to cancel the years have passed. Well,
you needn’t bother, the years have been quite gentle to you, my love.
You’re living proof of moderation’s gifts. . . . Absolutely nothing in
excess, right, darling? . . . That little Portagee prick!

MAVIS
When you can pry it from my cold, dead hand. Maman will dispense
the last of the joyful juniper berries. . . .  And he’s not due for another
five minutes. Relax.

CECIL
Daddy had this little Chinaman would take him back and forth to
Tsing Tau. Worshipped daddy. . . . This little . . . fag, Nicky . . .
he’s probably off with his mates—

MAVIS
He’s to be here at half-five. Why are you blathering?

CECIL
Daddy’s little Chinaman would take me home to his family. Take
me down river in his punt. To the opium house. To the racetrack.

MAVIS
Darling, do you have any cash? I can’t seem to find my beaded bag.
Do you have any cash, dear?

CECIL
Hum yum sum yum sum sa ya. He lived in Chinatown. Remember
I took you, showed you Zhao’s house in Shanghai? Behind that great
market in Chinatown. You remember?

MAVIS
God, I hope I didn’t leave it at Mario’s. It had all my cards in it, and
those beads you gave me. . . . Do you have any cash, Cecil?

CECIL
Sy oh ling ling bo bo. Yes, maman, I have money. My god, you’re
Djuna Barnes with a martini.

(They have finally come together on stage.) 

BEATS. 

MAVIS
Hope Nicky remembers gin.

(This exchange is difficult.) 

CECIL
(Coughs) Two bites, back of my head.

Pause. 

MAVIS
Uh huh.

CECIL
Yes, right at the top. Bottom of where the bald spot might be.
(Coughs)

Pause. 

MAVIS
And that’s why you’ve got this congestion?

CECIL
Well . . .

BEATS. 

MAVIS
You noticed the congestion before or after you noticed the bites?

BEATS. 

CECIL
No, Dolly, . . . I think it was—I don’t really remember when I noticed
the bites . . . really. But the congestion, the cough . . .

Pause. 

MAVIS
Yes, of course. The TB.

CECIL
                   No, no. Of course. But this time, Molly. This spate . . . My god, it’s
                   been . . . They’re damn curious bites. I think it was consequential, Dolly.
Consequential: the bites then the congestion. I noticed the bites, then the
                   congestion.

MAVIS
When did you notice the bites? You’ve had this cough days now.
                          When did you notice the bites?

CECIL
Well . . . I noticed them—well, . . .

MAVIS
So the noticing was consequential. Isn’t that it, CC? Because you’ve
                        had this cough some time now.

CECIL
No . . . Well, yes. I have, yes. . . . May I have a bit more of Mavis’
                          Ma’velous Med’sin, bo bo ah?

Mavis pours him more martini. 

CECIL
Bo bo ah, kamas ka ma, Johnny got a lickin’, so ha ha ha.

MAVIS
So the noticing was consequential.

CECIL
Yes, Molly, the noticing of the phenomena was consequential. Though
the phenomena themselves were merely consecutive. Yes, it was the
noticing. It was noticing the bites that caused me to notice, or perhaps
re-notice, the congestion. Kamas kam ah? Causation appeared only
                      after the noticing, yes.

MAVIS
                                    Perhaps more vermouth.

CECIL
And though it’s preposterous to assume that these bites caused my
congestion—there is something about the sequence of noticing the
bites then the congestion that makes one, however hysterically,
to assume that the one brought on the other. Damn foreign country.
Damned exotic bugs. Viruses. Straight from hell. Thank god for gin.
And you, my dove. My Dolly.

MAVIS
You look just splendid, CC. . . . As do I, I’m sure.

Nicky enters his area DS. He sets about filling his squirt guns from a heavy porcelain bottle. 

V
(Responding to an electric shock)
                                    Isn’t it odd? . . . Is it not odd?

CECIL
It is queer. They had to bribe Delbert with two million quid to run
Brazoro. Two million, the farm in Surrey, the ten-place De Haviland
and a Jag for Bitsy. Just to run that bloody hole.

MAVIS
Bitchy wrecked the Jaguar first time out. And I’d hardly call what Del
                       does running anything.

CECIL
And yet these sunburnt little buggers will work their short lives away
in his bloody pit, slogging their guts out fourteen, sixteen hours a day
for a dish of watery soup and a drafty place to shit. Exceedingly queer.

V
Isn’t it queer? . . . Are you queer, Nicky? . . . You can see why they
might not be the nicest boys. Why their amusements might bend
                        toward the painful, the violent.


MAVIS
Her surgeon has her on some unregistered medications—

CECIL
Just a load of colourfully turned out cocaine, you ask me.

MAVIS
                        Oh, I don’t think so. Doctors down here have gotten quite sophisticated 
                                since the War.

V
(Responding to electric shock)
                                                            Yes, indeed.

CECIL
Same old cotswollow: cocaine and opium and belladonna
and how-you-been-keeping all done up with great quantities
                             of alcohol.

V
Dr. Colis Brown does more than Milton can to justify God’s ways to Man?

MAVIS
                                                All petroleum based.

CECIL
                                                What?

MAVIS
All extracted from petroleum—the carbon-based molecules—
                           the carbon molecules, I don’t know—it’s like those sugar substitutes.

CECIL
Medicines?

MAVIS
I really believe the Bosh started it. Thought it up.

V
Hitler was cut off from his Turkish opium fields.


CECIL
‘Started’—?

MAVIS
                                                Synthesizing.

V
                                                Adolophine Hitler.

CECIL
What?

MAVIS
                                    From petroleum. Medicines from petroleum.

CECIL
                                                You mean like Vaseline?

V
Petroleum jelly—right, Nicky?—the first-aid kit in a jar. 
                                  Good for what impales ya.

MAVIS
No! Not like Vaseline—well, yes, like Vaseline, but these molecules
                        are adapted to resemble all the—

CECIL
                                                God, where is that boy?

V
But Hitler didn’t have access to the Rain Forest. To the Natural Medicines.
to the hyperventilating leaves of the mountains or the soporific blossoms
of the fields. Coal from Selesia. Maybe oil from Baku, if he could work it.
He couldn’t. Twenty million Russians saw to that. They saved it all for
Arco and Esso. Hitler was just way under-capitalized is all.
(Responding to electric shock)
That’s all. Right, Nicky?
(Another shock)
Oh, mother necessity.

MAVIS
I really think it’s what keeps them together. . . . 
                                        His work and her addictions.

CECIL
God, Molly, don’t say that when I so need another helping of
                             your deliciousness.

She pours the last few drops into his glass. 

MAVIS
                                                Say goodbye.

CECIL
                                                This can’t be the end.

V
                                                Pray for the end.

MAVIS
Until Bitsy’s. Or if you can get Nicky to go. Send for his drinks boy.
Let’s just drink Del’s liquor. Get some of our bridge money back. . . .
The world-wide petroleum conspiracy, CC. It does not end with your
                       motor car. It goes to the blood in your veins.

CECIL
I’m sure it does, Dolly, and mine is running exceedingly thin. . . .
Nicky’s probably screwing the little drinks boy, over his bicycle
                           seat, right now. Dammit!

Cecil exits UC. 

CECIL 
(OS)
Now you mention it: Lately we’ve had a good deal of very hard
money going into Riyadh, Jeddah, Glaxo-Wellcome joint venture
in Saudi, Al-Haya Medical Company, all bio-tech deals.

V
How do you gratify yourself, Nicky? Breaking your young
countrymen open like goose-guns? Feeding them your eight
gauge, double-aught buckshot loaded cartilage. . . .
Sweet Nicky.

Nicky has finished filling his squirt guns, takes his bottle, and exits. 

Mavis crosses US to mirror. She looks into it for SEVERAL BEATS. 

MAVIS
Hello, how are you? . . . Hello, it’s lovely, isn’t it? Lovely.
Just lovely. . . . Hello, dear. . . .

V
(Electric shock) How is your daughter? How is your profoundly,
grotesquely, birth-defective child? . . . How is your handicapped,
lovely little girl?

MAVIS
Delightful, just delightful. She sends me cards, beautiful cards,
at least once a month. She’s such a good girl. And she adores
her new school—just adores school. Adores Switzerland.
And the nuns—she so loves the nuns—oh, and they her.
My darling little thing. My darling.

V
How long have you had her locked away in that bin?

MAVIS
She’ll be sixteen in December. Growing like a little weed. . . .
She is such a joy to both of us. To CC especially. Finds such
joy in her little cards. Her little pictures. She makes them herself,
don’t you know.

V
I can imagine. Correspondence from a child without hands, or arms,
with a brain-shunt, maintained on a respirator and dialysis machine,
(Electric shock) must be quite a giggle. (Shock) And once a month,
you say. At least. Proustian.

Mavis leaves the mirror. 

MAVIS
They say she’s making great progress. We’ll be happily surprised
when we get back for holidays. They say she is making leaps and
bounds. . . . Oh yes, yes, she’ll be back with us in no time at all.

V
Maybe not in Rio. . . . Maybe not the best place—the place best
suited for a crippled child. A girl child. After all, you know how
they treat children here. Whole children. –Poor children.


MAVIS
After CC left Daiwa—the institute—The Daiwa Institute—he joined
the Settlements Bank—it’s the Daiwa Institute for Social Research,
I think, —no, just Research, I think—but we were with the Settlements
Bank in Basel, and, you know, —Development . . . the developing world–
And it just seemed, —it all seemed so perfect. When she came.

V
Punishing her for surviving her birth . . . Of course your pregnancy was
no day at the beach, was it? But still, you can’t blame little . . .

MAVIS
Mary Ellen. . . . Mary Ellen. CC’s mother and grandmother.
All I got were the stretch marks. (Laughs) CC was re-posted
so quickly, we really had no chance to show her off. Pity.
But that’s the life, isn’t it? Oh, our families understand.
They have to, don’t they?

Cecil enters with a drink in each hand. He goes to Mavis and gives her a drink. 

Nicky enters from UR on to the riser. He carries a pan and a small white towel. 
He kneels beside V, unbinds his L foot, and begins to wash it. 

V
Careful.

CECIL
What a mess! God awful mess.

MAVIS
Where’d you find this? What is it?

V
You’re late.

NICKY
Basta de falar ingles par hoje.

CECIL
Called Del’s to say we’d be late. Neither’s there yet.

MAVIS
Nicky in the kitchen? He get you the drinks?

V
Only English now.

CECIL
Oh no. Not in this bloody lifetime. Made ‘em myself, didn’t I?
Out of my bleeding tackle box, didn’t I?

V
Your hands feel good.

MAVIS
Cheers.

CECIL
Afraid I haven’t your genteel touch.

MAVIS
Indeed.

V
Did you bring the book?

MAVIS
Carried off by Gypsies were they?

NICKY
Si—yes, the book. . . . You think I understand less English.

V
No, I think they understand less English.

CECIL
Their girl said she’d be along straight away. Said she’d called
from Vieira Souto.

MAVIS
This is absolutely ghastly. Tastes like turps—or that putrescence
you lived on in Tsing Mai. Bogswhattah, was it?

CECIL
Yes, Molly, something like that.

V
The book?


NICKY
Your feet are getting harder. The more I rub . . . I have it.

CECIL
I say let’s go up there, sack the place—take their etchings down
to Feira de Acari—let’s not forget the liquor, there’s gallons of it
up there—and piss off before Bits and Del get back.

MAVIS
But really, CC. This swill will have us barking like dogs and smelling
like dry cleaning.

V
It’s as if I no longer understand the things I had to tell you. My ideas . . .

NICKY
Don’t. I understand.

MAVIS
But Nicky.

CECIL
Of course, yes, Nicky.

MAVIS
He should have returned by now.

V
How can you? (ind. batteries) I think these are too weak. I don’t
feel it as much.

Nicky goes to the other side of V and does the other foot. 

V
Can you find more? Just one more, until we can finish.

CECIL
Your faith was ill-founded, my duck.

MAVIS
He’s—

CECIL
—a blaggart. A dirty, little brown blaggart.

V
Please stop now.

NICKY
Just a little more. You will see.

MAVIS
(ind. drink) Really, CC, you didn’t even try.

CECIL
You know I can’t find anything. I grabbed the first thing looked
clear and spiritual.

NICKY
It will relax you.

V
No, I need more. To work. . . . Please.

MAVIS
I feel like an autopsied cadaver. Can’t you smell the Casualty Ward?

NICKY
Not yet. . . . Be still. . . . Just see.

CECIL
It’s all for your little Nicky. How dependable. . . . Lord!
Del and Bit know how he treats us.

V
You have grown . . . so . . . old, Nicky. So much older. . . .
Even just now. Here. Now.

MAVIS
My little Nicky? How’s that?

CECIL
You’re always his advocate. Mavis for the Defense.

NICKY
You’re like a cat when I rub you. You get—


MAVIS
He was Del’s gift to you, as I recall. –Del’s welcome to Rio present to you.

V
Stop. Please. Now. . . . You must find me fresh power so
we can work.

CECIL
I’d have chucked him out.

MAVIS
You surely would not have, dear boy. You wouldn’t offend Delbart
that way.

NICKY
Just a small minute more. Your nails need cutting.

V
“Paring”, yes. . . . But I need the pan. Now. Please be good to
me now.

CECIL
He meant nothing to Del. He’d been trying to get rid of him
for months.

Nicky kneels between V’s legs, facing him. He empties the pan. As V rises slightly, with painful effort, Nicky slips the pan onto the chair and V sits in it. 

MAVIS
You can’t be serious. Nicky ran their household—their whole staff.
He meant a great deal to Del.

Nicky’s hands have disappeared in front of him, and his head is lowered toward V. 

V
You’re a good boy. A good man. You’re a good man.

MAVIS
And Bits, too, I should think.

V
Please be good. Be very good. . . . Oh, Nicky.


CECIL
You’re quite serious. About Bits, I mean. . . . You think that
little devil Nicky was—

MAVIS
Oh, Cecil, don’t be a child. . . . Cecil, have you heard from the home?

CECIL
From Basel? Those bleeders are never off my line. Don’t know
when they have time for the rest of the world.

MAVIS
No, the home. Sainte Bernadette’s.

CECIL
                                                            Mavis.

MAVIS
I just need to know.

CECIL
You know very well.

V
Please. Oh, please. . . . Be a good man. Be a good man.

MAVIS
She may need me. . . . Us.

CECIL
Her needs, believe me, are being met. . . . Unlike ours, at the moment,
I am loathe to say.

MAVIS
                                                            Oh, Cecil.

CECIL
Of course, darling.

V
Yes, darling. Yes, darling boy. You are so good to an old man.
To an old, sick man.


CECIL
But he’s always struck me as such an absolute . . . little . . .
turd burglar. With all his make-up and disco pals.

MAVIS
                                                            Who?

CECIL
Who? Yassar Arafat. . . . Nick, of course.

MAVIS
Well . . . what about Delbart? Surely all his business hasn’t
blinded you to how wet Del is.

CECIL
My Dolly. How really wicked you can be. . . . You know,
you’re quite right about this stuff. I feel right on the verge
of psychic impaction. On the border of a blackout.

MAVIS
                                                            Oh, stop it.

NICKY
Are you clean yet?

V
You must get me some fresh power. Please. Right away.

CECIL
Oh, I know. Like every other businessman—Christian businessman—
I always found that so charming about Del, his embracing the faith.

V
Nicky, I can’t do this anymore.

Nicky takes the pan from under V. 

CECIL
Justifying that potted CV. I mean, French Indo-China, indeed.
MI6 and the Paris Club. Indeed, indeed.

V
Even with all your help.

MAVIS
Now don’t get started. There’s no use.

NICKY
                                                            I will try.

Nicky rebinds V’s leg and exits the riser. 

CECIL
It’s just that I don’t see the necessity of it.

V
Just one more. A fresh one, please.

MAVIS
                                                The necessity?

CECIL
                                                That’s right.

MAVIS
                                                Of what? His Christianity?

CECIL
His Christianity. His Judaism. His Islam.

MAVIS
                                                This is interfering with me.

CECIL
When he ran the renal and retina bank, the eye and kidney pie trust,
down in Bangalore or somewhere in the south, Southern India,
you know, you don’t think he was a Christian then, do you?
Used to say he could get you multiple organ transplants for less
than it would cost you to join a health spa. He used to fly these
rich Europeans, sick Southeast Asians, in to this little beach in
the Lebanon and let them pick out their own organ donors, from
among the sun bathers. Now that’s banking.

MAVIS
But he has been quite successful. And loyal. And contributed
to your success—ours.


CECIL
Of course. Free Soviet Jewry and all that Papal bullshite about
just wars in the Balkans, and buying short sterling to spiff up all
that income from paving Wog-World with Soros’ nasty little,
limb-chewing land mines—god knows under what relic-encrusted
rubric that was done. . . .

V
Oh, hurry little Nicky.

MAVIS
Mind how you go. After all.

CECIL
Oh, I know, darling. After all. I’m his humble hand-maiden.
But I don’t have to deal spiritually with the mullahs in Bosnia
and their rental agreements with the UN or share a chillum with
the Mujahadin or celebrate Buddhist fertility in the Golden Triangle
or god-knows-who they pray to in Medellin.

MAVIS
                                                No, Cecil. He’s your friend.

CECIL
                                                Oh, Dolly, Dolly, my dear Dolly.


V
You can’t know the half of it. The half and half of it.

CECIL
It’s all bits or bytes—it’s all just info to me. Oh, the immiseration of
the world is on my things-to-do-today list as well. Don’t get me
wrong. I live to spread toil and slow suffering and to assure that
death will come only when despair is complete, just like the next
fellow in the old Business Community. But unlike Del and his lot,
I don’t pretend I’m saving the world from, I don’t know, Bolshevism,
or Paganism, or—Rosacrucianism—I don’t know. Bull jism. I’m
just doing the best I can to keep gin on the table, and getting precious
little help from the fucking help. Nicky! God damn you!

MAVIS
I’m going to make some coffee, CC. God, you’ve poisoned us, you have.

Mavis exits UC. 

MAVIS (OS)
There’s some Dexedrine, old, in my Louis Vee. It’s ‘pro-war’,
as they used to say. But you might try it, CC. Really.

Nicky re-enters riser with an automobile battery. 

CECIL
Oh, Molly, it’s only alcoholism—but I like it. I think one of us
will have to go down the hill.

Nicky begins to hook up the battery to the bank of Die-Hards. 

V
Will that be enough, you think?

Cecil goes to glass table and finds keys. 

CECIL 
I’ll be screwed blue and tattooed. . . . Molly. 

As Nicky exits the riser. 

NICKY
                                                            You will tell me.

Cecil exits UC. 

CECIL (OS)
                                                The vermin has been and gone.

V
I feel nothing.

NICKY 
(OS)
Wait. . . . There.

V is seized by Electric Shock. 

V
Yes. But . . . Very slight, I’m afraid. Very weak.

NICKY (OS)
                                    This timer . . . something is . . . here.

V is again seized. 

V
I can’t be sure. Just bring the book. Hurry.

MAVIS 
(OS)
(Shouting)
No, CC! I won’t have you wrecking the car.

Nicky re-enters riser with a book. He kneels at V’s side and opens the book. 

NICKY (Reading)
“The essence of a hedge fund is the ability to bet either way,
and profits are magnified by borrowing.”

V
Yes. That was last time. Further on.

NICKY
Ah, I don’t know. Here. (Reading) “I decided the overpriced currency
was doomed. The Wampum Fund was able to borrow five million pounds
and change it into German marks at a rate of two point seven nine to the
pound. Once Sterling collapsed, I sold the marks back for less, repaid
the loans and pocketed the difference: nine hundred fifty-eight million
dollars, to be precise.”

V
Yes, That’s right.

MAVIS 
(OS)
Cecil, don’t be idiotic.

NICKY
I don’t understand.

V
No, of course not. Go on.


NICKY
(Reading) “This technique of betting markets either way, combined
with access to unlimited and unprecedented lines of credit, have
allowed me to turn my attentions to the broader horizons of
philanthropy—literally, to express in its fullness my love for my
fellow man.” . . . Sir . . . ? Are you sure?

V
Listen. Take this down. You have a pen?

Nicky takes a pencil from his pocket. 

NICKY
                                                Yes, sir. Go on.

Mavis enters UC with coffee cup. 

MAVIS
Call Dead Clive’s, the drinks boy will bring it. I won’t have you
killing yourself in our beautiful car. You can’t drive sober, Cecil,
god, slow down.

V
(Dictating)
“The critical problem is”—no, make that “lies”—“The critical problem
lies in the transfer of surplus value from the public sphere to the private
sphere”—no, get rid of “public sphere”; make it, “the transfer from public
to private spheres.”

NICKY
(Reading)
“The critical problem lies in the transfer of surplus value from the public
to the private spheres.” . . . More?

V
Something’s wrong with that.

NICKY
Isn’t it just taxation in reverse?

V
The batteries are not working.


NICKY
I think it’s the timer.

Nicky exits riser. 

MAVIS
Perhaps if he were dead. The insurance . . . pension. I would
miss him. . . . No. . . . I’d have Mary Ellen to spend time with.
Such time as I have left. . . . It was really too late . . .

V
“Spheres”, plural is wrong. It doesn’t scan. If I drop the article.

MAVIS
                                    But I wanted her. She is mine. My life.

CECIL 
(OS)
The bloody fucking car is dead. Dead as old dead Clive.
Crank won’t turn.

V
This whole thing . . . I can no longer . . . Nicky, where are you.

CECIL 
(OS)
                                                Blast!

V is seized by a large jolt of Electricity. 

CECIL 
(OS)
                                    The phone’s gone dead. Bloody hell.

V
                                    Ah . . . Nicky . . . god.

Cecil enters UC drinking from a small bottle of cologne. 

V
                                    Bless me, I think I’ve soiled myself. . . . Nicky.

CECIL
I can’t get the phone to work, Molly. Give it a go, will you.

Nicky re-enters riser. 

NICKY
I ran it through the house current.

Nicky picks up and opens the book. He prepares to write. 

MAVIS
                                                What on earth?

NICKY
                                                Now go on.

V
I’m a bit off, but (Dictating) “This can be achieved by the manipulation
of interest rates, both short and long term.”

MAVIS
                                                What on earth?

CECIL
A present from dear dead mumsy, . . . sent seasons ago. Just froo-frooing
up for our evening, Dolly. Do go give dear old Dead Clive’s a knock-up.

V
Let me see, (Dictating) “Differences of nearly two percentage points in
three-month rates and of point six percentage points for ten-year”—Nicky,
who knows we’re here?

MAVIS
It’s the Wares’ I should call. Make apologies. This is becoming quite
impossible.

NICKY
They must know the car is back.

CECIL
Oh, don’t be daft, Mavis. I’m as right as ruddy fucking rain. . . .
And Del’s the only hard money I have in my brochure.

NICKY
But you, nobody. I’m sure.

CECIL
So don’t even think of canceling. . . . If he decides to trade me for some
nice soft World Bank money—claim that slag pit is a wet-lands and get
fucking Ducks Unlimited to sponsor a restructuring—we’ll be dining out
of tins and drinking from the loo.

V
                                                We must hurry then.

MAVIS
Cecil, you’re frightening me. Let’s have a bit of a lie down,
wait for Nicky. When he gets back, he can sort this out. . . .
Oh god, Cecil.

V
                                                            I can’t think.

CECIL
Better idea. Get on the bleeding phone. Right now. Get on the
bleeding phone. Call bleeding Bits’. Tell her no bleeding ice,
no bleeding lemon wedge. Send their bleeding driver. Failing that.
Get down the bleeding hill to bleeding Dead bleeding Clive’s,
pick up a gallon of gin and use his bleeding phone.
Failing that—

MAVIS
                                                No. No more, CC.

V
The timer. Something’s wrong with the timer. It’s been some time.

CECIL
                                                Oh? Oh, really.

NICKY
It will have to be manual. –I don’t know how we can keep
this up. . . . We have the tapes, but . . .

CECIL
Oh, right. Quite so. You . . . are . . . quite right.

MAVIS
                                                I want to see Mary Ellen.

CECIL
                                                            Of course.

MAVIS
I miss her. . . . I miss . . . Mary Ellen.

V
Write this, please. . . . Oh, . . . but can you see to the timer?
First, please.

CECIL
I’m really very sorry, you know? . . . She is being very well
cared for, you know? . . . My love.

NICKY
                                                We have the tapes. I’ll check.

Nicky exits riser. 

MAVIS
                                                I want her with us.

CECIL
                                                Oh my.

V
(Electric shock) Oh my. . . . The growing alienation of the
labouring world, madam, from the world of concentrated surplus
value, sir, which both sustains and is sustained by it; the increasing
animosity created by the on-going attempts at organization and
re-organization across this gulf between the Developed World and
the Under-developed World, generally referred to as the rich and poor,
respectively, . . .

CECIL
Can we just do this first. Then we can talk of baby Mary.

MAVIS
                                    Mary Ellen. We’ll talk about Mary Ellen.

CECIL
Please try to get hold of Bitsy. . . . And . . . I am really quite sorry,
darling.

V
The theory of value which operates— . . . oh. . . . The . . .

MAVIS
                                                The isolation.

CECIL
                                                Isolation.

MAVIS
                                                We’re so far away. So . . .

CECIL
                                                Incredibly far, yes.

V
The . . . ory. Theo . . . ree. . . . (softly) Nicky.

MAVIS
                                       I never bargained for this.

CECIL
No bargain. No bargaining, no. . . . Molly, please.

V
(softly) Nicky. Thee . . . o . . . ree. . . . The oree . . .

MAVIS
                                                Never questioned. Never challenged you.

CECIL
Let’s not sell ourselves short here.

MAVIS
I’ve been the perfect collaborator. Servile and silent.

V
                                                Thee . . . ory . . .

CECIL
One of your moods. One of Mavis’ gin moods?

V
                                    Thee . . . ory . . . gin. The origin.

MAVIS
                                                NO! . . . Oh yes. It is.

CECIL
There’s nothing wrong . . . with . . . that. With you, my—

V
                                    Capital is self-valorizing.

MAVIS
                                    Love of might. The comfortably homeless.

CECIL
I don’t know how comfy . . . I would be much more so if we could
                         address the gin problem.


MAVIS
I haven’t the strength. To walk to Clive’s. And back up the hill.

CECIL
                                    I’m sure you’d find a lift back.

MAVIS
                                                Cecil, . . .

V
Unrestricted growth. . . . Intrinsic force.

CECIL
This congestion’s . . . the old TB’s got me where—(Big Cough)
Maybe some codeine. Tackle this cough. Any left? And those
     antibiotics you picked up in that vide grenier—where was that?

MAVIS
                            He’s probably down digging in that clubhouse of his.


CECIL
                            In Normandy. Yvestot? Gerponville? . . . How’s that?

MAVIS
                                    Just by the Jaca. The old warren.

CECIL
                                    Afraid I’m left-luggage, darling.

MAVIS
                                                It’s Nicky.

CECIL
                                                Right so.

MAVIS
You might try my Louis Vee for those codeine as well.

Mavis exits UC. 

MAVIS (Exiting)
Look there, but I think you’ve already taken all the antibiotics, CC.

CECIL
                        I see why that luggage is so dear.

Cecil finishes the cologne and exits UC. 

V
Nicky. If the boys’ club is to continue to meet . . . No, you must
tell your mother that her Avon can no longer be protected. . . .
The theory . . . theory . . . Industrial capital . . . without access to
cheap power . . . free water . . . free water . . . the little nigger
was right: the pyramids were built by levitation. (groans)
The magic subversion of labor power. . . . Franchises, Nicky.
Your mother, the Amazonian Avon lady. . . . I’m sorry, Nicky.
We haven’t the power . . . to drive . . . them out.

Nicky re-enters riser. 

NICKY
                                    Todos estao mortos. All the circuits.

V
                                                No matter.

NICKY
                                    I don’t know about the tape.


V
You must get word to your mother . . . and your cousin.
Yes, your cousin and his cousins must go to meet the Lithuanian
musician . . . Serge or Sasha or whatever . . . in Vieira Souto . . .
at his shop. Cosmetics shop. (groans) Nicky.
Cosmetics in Brazil.

NICKY
                                    What about senhor Ware? The strike?

V
He can’t have it. He’ll have to deal with these people.

NICKY
                                    What about you?

V
                        How long will it take for the power to come back? How long am I safe here?

NICKY
                        The acetone is coming down tonight again with Filipe. I can ask him for more                                batteries, but I don’t know how long it will take. These people are becoming                                     crazy. Brazil is working on them.

V
                        I can’t have this. Go on like this. I can feel myself turning to smoke, blowing away.                         . . . It might be best to end this now.

NICKY
        No. No. I can help you. We need you. They cannot have this. Take all this.

V
                        It’s hopeless, Nicky. . . . I can no longer think of anything but death. Of killing                                until there is no more life.

NICKY
                                    Hope is not the point.

NOISE is heard OS from riser. Nicky draws his squirt gun. 

MAVIS
                                    What on earth?

Mavis enters the riser. 

NICKY
                                                No.

V
                                                No!

Nicky squirts Mavis in the face. Mavis reacts in great pain.

MAVIS
                                                NO!

Mavis stumbles off riser (exits). 

V
                                                What was that?

NICKY
                                                Oh, no. My god.

Cecil enters unsteadily UC with a large bottle of mouthwash from which he drinks. 

CECIL
                                    Spritely little cocktail. Reminiscent of that mille mille coffee in Marrakesh:                                    hashish and methamphetamine washed down with Spanish brandy. . . .                                                 Well, not quite. But I’ll be kissing sweet.

V
                                                What was that?

NICKY
                                                His wife. Mavis.

CECIL
                                    Oh, darling! Still gone, are we? Ubi sunt? Ou sont les neiges d’antan?                                            Where have all the flores vamanoosed?

V
                                                What did you do?

NICKY
                                                I don’t know. I have to get her.

V
                                    Wait, Nicky. Give me something.

Nicky puts his squirt gun in one of V’s nostrils and pulls the trigger several times. He moves it to the other nostril and pulls the trigger several more times. 

V
                                    (Groans) Oh, the colors.

V’s head falls back. Nicky exits the riser. 

CECIL
                        There was a time—wasn’t there?—a time when I could get what I needed.     Easily. . . . A time when I needed nothing. . . . A time without longing, 
for which I long. . . I yearn for non-yearning. . . . I urine for . . . 
There’s his’n, there’s her’n, and the rest in urine.

Cecil goes to the glass table and takes up the trumpet. He puts it to his lips and blows a loud, ugly, long bray. He drops the trumpet, putting his hands to the sides of his head. His eyes roll up in his head, and he falls to the floor in full spasm.

NOISE is heard OS. 

MAVIS (OS)
                                    Cecil. Help me, CC.

Mavis, her hands over her face, enters UC. 

MAVIS
                                                CC. CC.

Mavis comes into the room. 

MAVIS
                                                Cecil, I’m on fire.

Mavis stumbles over Cecil’s trembling body and falls to the floor, still clutching her face. 

MAVIS
                                                Mary Ellen, help me.

Nicky enters UC and stands in door way. 


NICKY
O que exta acontecendo, Patraoes?



End Act 1



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