A Full Length Play
- A Poetic Farce in Two Acts
1 woman, 1 man, unit set, projections
By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2004
The play is set in a huge old house in a run-down section of Cambridge,
the main living area of which has been furnished to serve as a
Temple of the Goddess. This is the underground headquarters of
a band of women devoted to ridding the earth of the threat of
destruction by ridding it of the aggressors-- men. They are testing
their discovery of a method of reproduction by parthenogenesis,
and sending missionaries to every society around the globe to
deal with the chaos that will result when all the functions assigned
to males are suddenly unfilled
By act two most of the women are hugely pregnant. For complicated
reasons which the audience understands but which totally baffle
the masterminds, two of the first three babies born turn out to
be male, and the police are closing in. The style is extravagant,
with excursions into verse, dance, and slapstick.
"PENTHESELIA", a.k.a. CELIA PRESCOTT, 50, gray-haired and sturdy.
Ex-wife of an eminent Protestant minister, she is the leader of
the feminist underground and the central presence in the "mother
house" where the play is set.
CLARE HODGE DRUMMOND, Ph.D., early thirties. She is an anthropologist.
Her looks are average, ordinary, and obviously not important to
her or to the audience.
"DR.B", DEBORAH BRUNSLINGER, MD. 40, research scientist whose
specialty is genetics. She is businesslike but eccentric.
LESLEY ANDERSON, late twenties. Tall, muscular, short-haired
and thick-necked, she is in charge of security and is generally
wearing a martial-arts uniform.
DIANA, thirty-ish. High priestess of wicca, mystic and magician,
she is beautiful and very strange, both in person and in garb.
SUSAN GONZALES, early twenties. The "go-fer". No one's quite
sure how she became part of the group or what her role is, but
she's sweet and malleable, so everyone is happy she's around.
IRENE FELDMAN, a dancer. She is tall and almost awkward when
not dancing, and less than fully articulate in speech. A bit reminiscent
of the Fieffer cartoon character.
"SCIO" MD.,PH.D., late forties, perhaps older. A formidable
character to whom the normal attributes of age or appearance or
personal history do not apply. In fact, if she has a name on the
"outside", none of the group would dare to ask what it is.
DOROTHY PRESCOTT GRIMM, 25, Celia's daughter.
EVEREND PETER PRESCOTT, DD, PH.D., 60, professor of theology.
ADRIAN GRAEBNER, twenties, a delicate-featured mailman.
OFFICER RYAN 20's, and
DETECTIVE DICK FERGUSON, 50, of the Cambridge police department.
PROLOGUE (invocation, arms upraised)
PENTHESELIA: Lady of abundance, confusion, joy!
Send us fresh signs. Send us your owl of wisdom!
-Flying and crying, "who?" (turns to address audience)
And you, ladies and gentles, mothers and men,
Children whose ears are open to wonders: Listen!
For strange is my plot, and your story.
How in our time of peril we set our minds
To be wide and clear and brave, to reach our fierce
Objective. And this narrative, as yours,
Twines in and out of countless lines to shape
One fragile music.
(A fold-out screen flanked by file drawers being "organized"
by SUE. Labels, clippings, charts, graphs: PENTHESELIA walks in
to DIANA, LESLEY and DR.B.)
SUE: I've tried to keep this up, but we've got to have someone
with training. -
- DIANA: Even before Minerva's death we were behind schedule.
- DR.B: Zhere are huge gaps, even for zhe developed .nations,
where zhere should be s data. Look at zhis! Can zhere really be
tzero vomen gravediggers? In any vestern European country? Only
.02% of crematory vorkers, und 6% of morticians?
PENTHESELIA: You mean do those mortician statistics count wives,
who help out but aren't on the books?
SUE: Morticians, yuck! Why should women do that?
LES: Somebody has to. Corpses rot, they breed germs.
DR.B: In 82% of cultures vomen wash and lay out zhe dead. Men
bury or burn zhem. (indicates chart)
DIANA: And hold the keys to heaven or hell. SUE: Whew. I hope
Minerva gets past him.
LES: Past who, Sue?
SUE: Saint Peter. A suicide--
DIANA: I don't believe you said that! Where did we get this
LES: Sue doesn't mean it.
SUE: It's reflex Catholic. From fifth grade. Seeing her hanging
there, I've had nightmares. It's childish, but--
PENTHESELIA: I think we were all more shaken than we admit by
DR.B: Especially zhose of us who had to dispose of zhe body.
LES: It wasn't so bad. Except for the State Patrol. When I saw
those blue lights, I thought I'd shit my-
PENTHESELIA: We were naturally paralyzed by grief and shock.
But in the words of the immortal Joe Hill, "Don't mourn, organize."
And we will.
DR.B: You got a replacement?
PENTHESELIA: I hope so. I want you to interview Dr. Clare Drummond.
DR.B: So soon? Have ve done zhe vork-up?
SUE: I've heard of her! This stuff here is from her book!
PENTHESELIA: Right. Female Functions: the Division of Labor
in Preindustrial Societies.
DR.B: But ve don't vant just preindustrial. Can she-
PENTHESELIA: Take her analysis and apply it--?
SUE: To the whole world!? (LIGHTS DOWN ON SCENE)
(LIGHTS UP ON OUTER DOOR. DR. CLARE DRUMMOND COMES UP THE WALK,
CHECKS THE ADDRESS, HESITATES, THEN RINGS THE DOORBELL. LESLEY,
A SHORT-HAIRED STOCKY WOMAN IN HER LATE TWENTIES, IS IN THE FOYER.
SHE WEARS A KARATE SUIT AND IS SORTING CLIPPINGS AS SHE "STANDS
GUARD". SHE GOES TO THE PEEPHOLE, OPENS THE DOOR A CRACK WHILE
KEEPING IT CHAINED)
LES: Yes? Who is it?
CLARE: Is this 42 Spring Street? Demeter Foundation?
LES: What's your name? ID?
CLARE: I'm Clare Drummond. I have an appointment with Dr. Brunslinger.
(Clare is an angular, intelligent woman in her early thirties,
dressed in an embroidered peasant blouse and a gray suit.)
LES: (INTERCOM) Dr. B? Drummond. Right.(opens door) You're early.
Dr. B'll be right with you.
CLARE: Is this a bad neighborhood for crime? Or do you do defense
work? Is this some kind of security clearance? I've always been
a devout civilian:I wouldn't want to get involved in weapons research,
DR.B: (enters, a mature handsome woman in a lab coat) Dr. Drummond?
I'm Deborah Brunslinger. (shakes hands)
CLARE: But we've met, haven't we?
DR.B: (nods) At zhe Concerned Scientists.
CLARE: I didn't recognize your name. Perhaps I mixed you up
DR.B: I use a different name.
CLARE: Your letter said a research position with a private foundation.
DR.B: Yes. (indicates security) Very private. CLARE: You mean
secret? Covert? I've been approached by the CIA-
DR.B: But you turned zhem down. Goot girl! Even vhen you know
you're not going to get tenure and your grants haf tdried up.
CLARE: Don't waste your time: I won't do it. Before I'd spy
on innocent people who trust me, I'd go back to Colorado and sell
DR.B: Vhy sports equipment?
CLARE: My aunt owns the place. DR.B: Vhat a vaste of education,
eh? But you should have anticipated. A doctorate in Anthropology--
the study of Man! Did you tink zhat men were going to hire a woman
to study Man?
CLARE: But I study women, mostly! Like Margaret Mead did, or
Ruth Benedict. My research is--
DR.B: Ve know. Ve funded you. Pentheselia and I vere very impressed
mit your African project.
CLARE: You were?
DR.B: Ve'd like to expand. Train teams. Interested?
CLARE: Of course! But I don't understand-
DR.B: You're not supposed to understand! First taintake interview.
Are you villing?
CLARE: I'd give anything! But-- well, I mean--
DR.B: Good. Vwe'll proceed. (CALLING) Lesley!
(LES and DIANA enter with an electronic gadget attached to a
graph. Dr.B fills a syringe.)
Sit up here, please. Take off your jacket und gif me your arm.
CLARE: Now, wait a minute!
DR.B: Dis vork must not be done by spies! You vere approached
by zhe CIA, ya? So ve are not paranoid.
CLARE: All right. Go ahead. (DR.B gives CLARE the shot, nods
at LES to begin asking questions. DIANA watches.)
LES: Full name?
CLARE: Clare Hodge Drummond.
LES: Date of birth?
CLARE: August 9, 1965.
CLARE: No. None.
LES: How long were you married?
CLARE: Long enough to study
the Hausa. The grant was for a couple: among the Hausa men only
talk to men and women to women--married women. Single women aren't
supposed to talk at all. So, I got my interviews, and then Roger
and I filed for divorce. As soon as our book was in galleys.
LES: Your father's dead?
CLARE: An auto accident. Drunk driver.
LES: Your mother never remarried?
CLARE: No. (chuckles) Not interested.
LES: You don't have brothers?
CLARE: I did, I had a brother till I was ten. But he died, of
LES: That happened to me, too. Did your family ever make you
feel it was your fault?
CLARE: Not really. But sometimes I felt guilty because once
he was gone I got what Craig would have had.
LES: Right! It was like a promotion, wasn't it? Not that I wished
he was dead or anything, at least no more than normal. But boy,
did I move up! Softball, electric trains, camping trips.
CLARE: I moved up to science.
DR.B: Your father vas a respected chemist. How vould you describe
LES: You weren't close?
CLARE: After Craig died, Dad would take me to the lab. We'd
work for hours. But it wasn't -- personal.
LES: Do you have a boyfriend now? A lover?
CLARE: No. Well, I did, but he got tenure, and I ...
(CLARE's eyes close, she seems to doze. DR. B looks questioningly
at DIANA, who nods.)
DIANA: The vibrations are good.
DR.B: (to LES) We'll go on.
LES: Don't close your eyes yet. Count for us. One-
DIANA: (holds up amulet) Look at this, keep your eyes on this
shining, shining, you see the shining even as your eyes grow heavy,
heavy, even as your eyes close, behind them you see the shining...
LES: What's his name, your boyfriend?
CLARE: Sandy. Silly Sandy. 'S shit. Don't want to see him. N'more.
LES: You don't miss him? (CLARE shakes her head, giggles)
DIANA: Who are you?
CLARE: Clare. I'm Clare.
DIANA: What are you?
CLARE: Sc-- scientist. Woman. I'm a woman.
DIANE: How old are you? Thirty-one. In 1996. Count with me,
count the years backwards. Go back. Twenty nine, twenty six, twenty
three-- you love?
CLARE: Man. Mankind. I want to know them all, love them, serve
DIANA: Twenty two, Twenty. Is there anyone special? Are you
CLARE Oh, yes. Love. I am--
DIANA: What's his name?
CLARE: Joshua! (giggles) Alex, Bobby-- Elaine and I, always
a new one. We're in love with love. (laughs)
DIANA: Go back further, deeper. Nineteen, fifteen,seven
CLARE: Seven. Billy! You Big Billy Bully, you better give me
back my butterfly! I don't want you for a boyfriend, not ever,
DIANA: Six, five. In the dark, what do you dream of?
CLARE: Animals, good ones. And big scary ones, too. Beasts and
badmen, down in the dark basement. Mommy!
DIANA: Go on into the dark. It's so wide, and you're so small.
Growing smaller. Four, three,
CLARE: Mommy! Don't leave me alone! Let me sleep in your bed.
DIANA: It's Daddy who's coming down the dark hall. Hear his
footsteps? Daddy will hold you--
CLARE: Want Mommy!
DIANA: Lift you up, into the air, flying, up and then fall,
up and then fall, but you won't drop, not unless you've been bad-
CLARE: (shrieking, crying) Mommy!
DIANA: Two years, one (a baby's cry), down and back, back, into
the womb. Floating free, rocked in the red dark, warm and safe.
Not alone longer. Part of her. Heart of her heart. Until again
the beatgrows strong, crushing, Red petals to a snake's embrace.
Poor baby, Expelled from Eden to the chill-sharp air Heir and
exile, stunned by brilliant light!
PENTHESELIA: Clare. Clare. You've come through. You're safe
(LIGHTS DOWN, PENTHESELIA STEPS FORWARD)
When did I decide to take charge of the world?
We were never really private people,
the Reverend, the children and I.
We lived in parsonages, on show, 4 in a row,
The last one had a parakeet, and a white picket fence,
and the cage and the gate were kept open.
I was even allowed my radical opinions,
in classes taught by his distinguished colleagues,
where I criticized and held forth, and they were amused.
"Mrs.'s P's so bracing, so abrasive:
That's how Pete sharpens his wits!" For the rest
I wore a modest dress, I wore a small-town smile.
Taught Sunday school, poured coffee, sherry, tea.
Our daughter and two sons were groomed for perfection,
but the boys never made it.
Pete Jr. drowned in a neighbor's pool, at night,
having scaled a chain-link fence and bribed the dog.
Then Tom was always guilty, usually gone.
Wearing out his sneakers, the tires on his bike.
He ran until he hit a bridge abutment
At ninety-five miles an hour.
His father said it must have been God's will,
though past our understanding. I didn't cry.
Not till I went for a week home to my mother,
and Peter forgot to feed Tweety. I found the bird
frozen stiff as tthe weeds by the back porch door.
Peter said, you can't carry on like that,
hysterical over a bird. They have no souls.
Christ never died for them.
I believe in heaven, I think. It exists while I think it.
While you do, too. Our thoughts are wings, and thrones.
There in the bright Empirean my Tweety,
my Pete, my Tom, my mother, your great-gram,
Socrates, George Eliot, Joan of Arc,
Wait now in bliss to greet us; but not sure--
For heaven too is mortal. Heaven can die.
SCENE THREE (CLARE IS BEING SHOWN HER WORK AREA)
DIANA: I'm a technophobe, so the only way I'll have access is
if we talk. I'll need symbol sets. Iconography. Clues to the group
CLARE: I'm sorry. I think you've lost me.
LES: Diana's the High Priestess.
CLARE: Oh. Of what?
SUE: The new religion.
CLARE: Another one! Isn't there a surplus now?
DR.B: Today's religions are fossils. But Zhey were creative,
vonce. Historic response to cataclysm . Ice age, flood, diaspora,
fall of empire: people had to change, and zhey need explanations
as much as expedients.
CLARE: I suppose they did.
SUE: They do. They will again. Soon.
DIANA: The cataclysm's coming: more global than the creep of
glaciers, more instantaneous than the eruption that sent Atlantis
to the bottom of the sea.
LES: All over the world the gods and their reasons will fail.
DIANA: We'll be ready with new ones.
CLARE: I don't see how this--
DR.B: Humankind needs meaning. More than food, or pleasure,
or even relief from pain.
CLARE: I'm afraid I'm not prepared to deal with meta-whatever.
I'm a scientist..
DR.B: A Concerned Scientist.
CLARE: Concerned. Yes. If the research I've done is of use to
you, you're welcome to it. But I just plot the world as it is.
I haven't a plot to save it.
DR.B: But we do.
DIANA: You tell us what the Burmese believe, then I can create
Ritual that will make it possible for them to believe what they
must, to survive.
CLARE: Sounds like some kind of cult.
SUE: Oh, no. We go way beyond that. But don't listen to me.
Pentheselia will explain for you. (CLARE LOOKS PUZZLED) Pentheselia.
CLARE: That wasn't a dream? That woman?
LES: You came through. She made you one of us.
CLARE: Is that supposed to mean to mean something to me? Because
as far as I'm concerned, it's just a job. It has odd requirements:
but I'm used to that. I can respect the customs, wear a veil if
I have to. But I'm not too comfortable with Magic Mammas.
DIANA: I've noticed.
DR.: Did you haf a classical education? Pentheselia was a varrior,
Queen of zhe Amazons. She fought Achilles.
CLARE: Achilles? Then she lost.
LES: This time, she can't!
DR.: Doomsday is mathematically certain. Unless zhere is a radical
change in every society mit zhe technological capability for global
CLARE: God, I hope not! I'm afraid that's true, but radical
change?! People haven't changed in 50,000 years.
DIANA: Male aggression is programmed. It meant survival in the
LES: But it means the end now. For everyone.
CLARE: Change would take a miracle. Blessed are the peacemakers:
but who are they? No culture I've heard of. Even the Arapesh...
DR.: Don't vaste energy on fear. You just graph vhat is now.
Forms of social organization, Division of labor, child-raising.
Just the facts, the anthropology.
DIANA: The feelings, the ways of changing perception and response
right down to the level of instinct: that's my job, and also the
job of our artists. As for literal miracles..
DR.: They're proceeding on schedule.
(DARK. WOMEN IN WHITE ROBES CARRYING CANDLES. PART OF THE WALL
IS USED AS A SCREEN, AND PEACEFUL PASTORAL SLIDES OR FILM OF FLOWERS,
GRACEFUL ANIMALS, SMILING BABIES IN THEIR MOTHER'S ARMS, ARE PROJECTED
ONTO IT. THE WOMEN GATHER, EACH RECEIVING A FLOWER FROM PENTHESELIA,
WHO IS COSTUMED IN A GORGEOUS ROBE. IRENE DOES A GENTLE FLOWER
WORSHIP DANCE TO THE SOUNDS OF POEM AND FLUTE. THE OTHER WOMEN
JOIN HANDS BEHIND HER, CHANTING AND MOVING IN A SOLEMN DANCE.)
PENTHESELIA : (dramatically) Blessed be! May we be Blessed,
with strength and hope! You hold life, you hold perfect beauty
in your hands
(All raise their hands and chant, then IRENE begins her presentation,
breaking the mood with a stuttering, off-hand manner)
IRENE: O K I uh... I haven't done the voice-overs yet, so I'll
read you the stuff that'll be in them as I run the images. Last
week I showed you the Global Warming and Ethnic Cleansingsections?
Right. I think this Hiroshima stuff'll fit after it, although
maybe I should..uh..do some charts here?... anyway, I spliced
on the transition.
Now this is the projection of the Hiroshima damage if a terrorist
bombed an American City. I've used Boston for the example. (CHARTS)There's
one of the chart. Showing potential blast damage .... you know
this stuff, so I haven't spliced it all in. But Hopkinton's gone
at the initial blast Then assuming there's a hit on the power
plant, here's the extent of destruction just from the melt-down,
Pilgrim radiation.. (ILLUSTRATION)
If you can imagine this, it's intense light, as if the sun came
down on us. Then any animal or person who managed to creep underground
and hide from the fall out, would crawl up into a Nuclear winter.
The ozone is burnt off, so the mutation-causing rays get through,
while the dust cloud blocks the sunlight. No food crops, no flowers:
animals and birds and bugs and babies would all be blast-blind.
(PICTURE: MUTANT ANIMALS)
(PICTURE: MUTANT BABIES)
SUE: (hysterical) No! Please, why do we have to watch this!
We're doing what we can!
IRENE: It's too much, isn't it? If people walk out, if they
can't stand it and go bury their heads in the sand, then we fail.
LES: I don't know if it's too much, or boring. People are used
to machine guns, car crashes, pazazz-
SUE : her eyes, sobbing) That poor little boy!
IRENE: It's supposed to be felt; without feeling humans are
PENTHESELIA: Or heroes.
DR.B: Maybe if you intercut mit zhe graphs, gave something for
zhe brain to engage between zhe images... that's vhat I do when
I'm vorking: quantify.
PENTHESELIA: That's what they do! Engineers and the diplomats
and the generals! Numbers, abstractions: We must shake that! Grab
them, and shake them!
LES: How're you going to do the grab part? To get them in front
of the screen you'd have to call it --"Friday The Fourteenth",
IRENE : (ready to leave) I'll work on it.
DIANA : (hands bag of herbs) Don't let her hysterics get to
you, Irene. Inhale this, and let me do your chakras--
IRENE: I'm too upset: I need to be by myself, now. I think I
see where it's wrong. But- Next week, O.K? I mean, use the herbs
on Sue, O.K.? Do a healing.(exits) (there is a general murmur.
The women regroup)
LES: I'll take Susan upstairs.
DIANA : Lesley! You promised you'd put away the equipment...
and bring the boxes up to my room.
LES: Later, Diana. Sue needs me. (LES and SUE exit)
PENTHESELIA: What did you think?
CLARE: I'm not sure I understand what audience Irene's aiming
for. Public T.V?
PENTHESELIA: You. Women like you. Anthropologists, sociologists,
doctors, psychologists--We need them all--
(DR.B goes to the large display graph upstage which indicates
the level of world tension, the probability of war or ecological
disaster. She adjusts it)
DR.: Less even than we'd hoped. The news today reports that
(fill in timely international event).
CLARE: You mean to organize demonstrations? Or petition drives?
PENTHESELIA: Useless! Thirty five years ago I was doing that
with SANE. Have you even heard of SANE? Or the Women's League
for Peace and Freedom? Or Another Mother for Peace?
DR.: Nagging. Vomen nag, men cover der ears..
DIANA: Worse. It confirms the roles. Pitiful women, arms twined
around the warrior's knees, pleading- Men love it!
CLARE: But what are the women you recruit supposed to do?!
PENTHESELIA: Stop them! Get so angry, so energized by righteous
wrath, that she'll do anything! Don't let the bastards get away
CLARE: Sabotage? I've always thought that one big "accident"
would shake them.
DIANA: The Russians have had one!
CLARE: If one of our missiles blew up--!
DR.: Sabotage vould alert the CIA, the FBI. If zhe Man sees
just girls, we're O.K. Sewing circles, coffee klatches, zhat vay
we go on undetected until-
CLARE: Until what? What can you change?
PENTHESELIA: Do you have the address list for Australia?
CLARE: It's coded. If Sue's had time to do a print-out...
PENTHESELIA: Would you check, please? Alice's flying to Melbourne
CLARE(exit): I'll get right on it.
PENTHESELIA: What are you all thinking of?
DR.: I'm sorry. Clare's become so central, I forget. PENTHESELIA:
We agreed. We don't want another suicide.
DIANA: We've got to tell her zomething. But how soon?
PENTHESELIA: I think we tell her about your work, Dr. B.
DR.: I'm about to do zhe first tests. If it vorks, Clare will
know, vhether ve tell her or not.
PENTHESELIA: As for Scio's part of the project, no. At least
DIANA: You think that's why Minerva--? She figured it out?
PENTHESELIA: Clare won't.
DR.B: She's a good scientist. When she looks at her statistics,
she'll see zhe obvious. Zhe solution--
PENTHESELIA: Clare's? I think the obvious won't occur to her.
Not unless it's ethical.
DIANA: It is ethical! On a cosmic scale-
PENTHESELIA: But she's human! To stay human, humane, people
must stay in scale. Reach with the mind only so far as the heart
DR.B: But ve need her!
PENTHESELIA: You've lived with this, you've forgotten the enormity.
If we're not Gods, then we're monsters!
DIANA: We are, goddesses, the living face of the All-Mother.
She creates through us, she destroys--
DR.: If we stay on schedule. Face it. Pentheselia. Scio needs
more help than we've got. Clare, or somebody. And we need a guinea
pig. Soon. (LIGHTS DOWN ON SCENE)
PENTHESELIA: How can we predict when or how
The pieces will
fall in place? They shift. They kaleidoscope.
Once as I was walking though
the financial district-
November gray, cement towers looming, gloom
shutting off every rosy shaft of twilight sun--
tower was rising in a roar of rivets.
And as I picked my way around
the scaffolding I thought about: populations.
against the environment,
Piling up in vast Malthusian hives, their
lifelines electrical cable.
Then I crossed the Charles on a silver
As I looked back across the darkening river, the lights
on the towers sang.
There was such a harmony! As if the sunset,
the brightening stars,
Had waited patient eons for these jewels
To echo heaven's joy.
(DOWNSTAGE, IN CLARE'S WORK AREA. SUE IS READING TO IRENE FROM
THE FILE OF CREATION MYTHS. IRENE IS MOVING TO THE WORDS)
CLARE: "and the Earth- Goddess Mna lay down upon the waters,
and blew with her breath the West Wind. The wind blew, and the
clouds gathered, and spilled rain-seed into the lap of the blessed
Mna as she lay sleeping upon the waters, and her womb teemed with
life. Mna opened her legs and brought forth fishes, and sea-plants,
and Zedra the mighty whale, and Piscar, the dolphin," (PENTHESELIA
and DIANA enter) "and also Yabamu, Mother-of-the-People. Yabamu
swam until she began to be tired, when she said to her brother
the dolphin, let us climb up upon the land, and rest ourselves."(IRENE
poses, DIANA applauds)
DIANA: That's wonderful! That'd be so easy to relate to!
CLARE: Too bad the last Yabakuk who belived in it died in 1893.
PENTHESELIA: There must be others!
IRENE: She read one from the Ngutu.
SUE: The Ngutu believe that their Goddess Tulagas wove the rain-clouds
from her hair, and taught them to plant yams and make wine and
baskets, and oversees their luck.
IRENE: Shall I work with that? I felt uncomfortable because
I've never heard of the Ngutu.
CLARE: Four thousand at the last census, but dwindling. The
men forced into the mines to pay the government's head tax.
DIANA: Sounds like they're out of luck.
CLARE: Cut off from tribal ways, they usually convert to Islam.
PENTHESELIA: By the time we reach them, they'll all be turning
towards Mecca five times a day.
CLARE: In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to even ride a
(AT THE GUARDED DOOR, SUE, DRESSED IN A SENIOR GIRL SCOUT UNIFORM,
INSERTS HER ID AND GIVES THE PASSWORD. LESLEY LETS HER IN, AND
SHE CROSSES TO THE STAIRS AND CLIMBS TO THE UPPER LEVEL.)
DIANA: Not just to read a technical manual! But to to think
of women as Goddesses, as active. Throw off the stifling veil
of femimine "virtue".
PENTHESELIA: That word! "Virtue" comes from the Latin "vir",
CLARE: Most cultures do have the Widow Effect. Husband dies.
The wife takes over his business, or picks up his rifle and fights
PENTHESELIA: Not in the Afghan refugee camps: the women just
sit in the tents, waiting for some male relative. Even a nine-year-old
kid. He's got to give them permission-- to walk outside in the
air, to work, to live! So far we've sent agents in teams, one
pretending to be the husband. It's the only way to reach them.
CLARE: Why bother? It doesn't matter what the women think, they
live in a culture where only warriors count! Come to that, so
do we! Do you realize what percentage of American legislators
IRENE: That's the point!
CLARE: Don't you see? If the lords of the earth are bent on
destroying it, what good does it do to preach to women? It's useless!
Look at my charts. If every woman in every land on earth was to
oppose war with all her might, what difference would it make?
Women have no armies. Some few of them have a vote, but they don't
govern. They don't design powerplants or tanks or build bombs.
They can't beat into plowshares the swords they've never had.
Knowledge is power? What do they know? We're illiterate, 67% of
DIANA: The Goddess be praised, who has blessed her daughters
with innocent ignorance! The whole structure of world rape will
collapse with the males who run it!
CLARE: How are you going to collapse them? Put a hex on their
DIANA: Remember the Amazons!
(ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE STAGE, LES'S SCENE WITH DOROTHY RUNS UNDER CLARE'S DIALOGUE.
BELL, LIGHTS UP ON DOOR.)
CLARE: There weren't any!
PENTHESELIA: Historical references
LES: Yes? Who is it?
CLARE: Are wet dreams! If they'd existed, such a culture,there'd be physical traces.
DORO: I want to talk to Celia Prescott.
CLARE: There's more real evidence for Noah's Ark!
LES: What's your name?
IRENE: You've got to have faith, Clare.
DORO: I'm Dorothy Prescott
I've got to talk to CeliaPrescott! Tell her, will you? It's urgent!
CLARE: I've got drawers full of faith. What kind would you like?
LES: There's no Prescott lives here.
CLARE: Which of these guilt-ridden masculine projections of mother- dependency--
DORO: I've seeen her! Gray hair, 160 lbs, 51 years old?
CLARE: would you prefer to Jehovah?
DORO: A mole on her--
CLARE: Nobodaddy? Kali? Lamia? You want Amazons?
LES: You mean Pentheselia?
CLARE: Figure out which fear they were invented to justify.
DORO: She lives here! I'm her daughter!
LES: I don't know you. If you're on legitimate business--
DORO: Let me in! ( Pounds on door, trying to force it)
(HEARING THE COMMOTION OUT IN THE HALL. THE OTHERS LISTEN, THEN RUN TOWARDS FOYER)
DORO: --let me see her, she'll..
LES: --not without the password. You can't...
SUE: Look out, Mayday! (SOUNDS OF SCUFFLE. SUE, HALF DRESSED, RUSHES DOWNSTAIRS TO JOIN THE FRAY. )
PENTHESELIA: Lesley! What's going on? We can't have this racket!
LES: (struggling) Unauthorized...
IRENE: (panic) Is it a man?
PENTHESELIA: Irene, take the keys and start Plan Z. Clare, tell Scio there's an intruder. (they hurry off)
DIANA: Open the door! Get him in and shut him up!
DORO: (bursts in) I just want to...ooff! (LES floors her)
LES: (sitting on DOR) She said she was a daughter, one of us, so I opened to the chain. But then she tried to push on in, to-.
DORO: Mother, are you there? Tell them to let me in, let me go.
LES: To see Pentheselia..
PENTHESELIA: Dorothy? Is that you?
DORO: (to PEN) Mother!
LES: You know her? Whew, I'd hate to have to- (mimes blow)
DIANA: I'll check outside. (goes to outer door)
DORO: Will you get these Amazons off me?
PENTHESELIA: Lesley, Susan,...let her up, please.
LES: (lets DOROTHY sit up) If she's one of us why hasn't she got a password?
PENTHESELIA:(puts her arms around DOROTHY) She's not one of us. But she is my daughter.
LES: So why doesn't she- (SUE helps DOROTHY up)
PENTHESELIA: My biological daughter.
DIANA: I thought you said you'd lost contact?
PENTHESELIA: I thought we had... Dorothy?
DORO: (throws herself into PENTHESELIA's arms) Mother, I left him!
PENTHESELIA: (embracing) There, there, dear..
LES: Are we going to let her in?
PENTHESELIA: She seems to BE in. Diana, do you think Dorothy and I could have a cup of your golden seal tea?
DIANA: Of course. What would you like in it?
PENTHESELIA: (DIANA exits) Nothing permanent! Shall we go inside, darling? (PENTHESELIA starts toward the main area with DOR)
LES: But security...
PENTHESELIA: (turning back to LES) How did you find me, Dorothy?
DORO: I had to. You can't just disappear! I knew you used to be mixed up with that Demeter Foundation, so I went to their office and followed that Girl Scout when she came here...(points to SUE)
SUE: Me? When I came in just now?
LES: You never noticed you were being followed?
SUE: No, I..
PENTHESELIA: Don't scold. We'll do some rethinking. Find a bed-
LES: You're not going to let her stay in this house? The mother house?
PENTHESELIA: Where else? She's come home to mother.
SUE: She can have my room. I'll move in with Lesley.
PENTHESELIA: I don't think Diana will like that.
SUE: You don't mind, do you? Lesley and me? We wouldn't want to go ahead and be together without your blessing.
PENTHESELIA: You have my blessing, children.
SUE: Would you bless this, too - in particular?
PENTHESELIA: What's this? (looks at earring)
LES: It's just an earring.
SUE: From Lesley. Like the one she wears. I'll wear the match. Will you bless it?
PENTHESELIA: That's Diana's department. Curses & spells.
SUE: Please? We're afraid of Diana. Suppose she does curse us? Your blessing would counteract--
PENTHESELIA: Wait a minute! No plots and counterplots! We must all live and love together!
DORO: (trying to follow) Mother?
PENTHESELIA: (starts to lead DOR downstage)We'll talk about this later, dears. I'm glad you care for each other. For what it's worth, that's my blessing. But --be careful not to offend Diana. Or -well. There's a lot in this house my daughter's going to find hard to understand.
(as DOR and PEN proceed downstage to sit on pillows, they ad lib and then mime a soft conversation which will become audible when the focus shifts from SUE and LES)
SUE: ( a small hug) Oh, Lesley!
LES: (puts earring on SUE) Wear it now.
SUE: She did bless us. You saw her. (kiss) (DIANA comes in upstage with a tea tray. They spring apart, guilty. DIANA stares, silent.)
SUE: (pointing) They went down there- (DIANA goes towards PENTHESELIA)
LES: Pentheselia won't bless us if we ever let anybody else through this door. Let's see your stances: (martial arts yell) Hwa!
SUE: (pose) Cwanugg!
(DOWNSTAGE. DOROTHY AND PENTHESELIA SIT ON PILLOWS IN SPOT. DIANA COMES WITH TEA, SERVES IT.)
DORO: -- To decide that Jeremiah's just impossible. (takes cup) Thanks.
PEN: I won't say I told you so. (dismisses DIANA)
DORO: I thought he was more like Dad.
PEN: He is. More "like Dad" than your father, even.
DORO: I worked that awful job to put him through Divinity school! Gave up my career because he didn't think it would look right, for a preacher's wife!
PENTHESELIA: You seemed to agree.
DORO: I wanted to be a partner, in his ministry. I wanted never to embarrass him the way you did Dad. I mean at the end, there.
PEN: But ending your marriage will embarrass him, won't it?
DORO: You bet it will! Oh, would I love to see Jeremiah's face when that Alfrida Wissett asks him how is his lovely wife! Not that they won't all be eager to console him ..... Oh, mother, I've been so unhappy. The parsonage was like a medieval dungeon. You've no idea!
PENTHESELIA: Don't I?
DORO: I'm glad I came. You understand.
PENTHESELIA: Yes, dear. And maybe you've begun to understand me, now, a little?
DORO: You mean you felt like this? I knew it was unfair to us kids, to have to be perfect, but for you-? You seemed even holier than Dad!
PENTHESELIA: Have you talked to him about that? Since I left?
DORO: Dad still loves you. He always loved you. And he listened. He took you seriously. I mean, if you told him you were insulted by a parishioner, he wouldn't quote scripture at you!
PENTHESELIA: Only because I know more scripture than he does!
DORO: That makes it worse: that's when Jeremiah hauls out St. Paul! About wives keeping silence, and husband's being the head.
PENTHESELIA: I'm familiar with the quotation.
DORO: I'll have to get a job. How do you live? You didn't get money.
PENTHESELIA: There's work here, you can help with it.
PENTHESELIA: Yes, dear?
DORO: Who are these women?
PENTHESELIA: This is my new family, Dorothy. I'm very glad to have you with me: but you must be loyal to them, too.
DORO: Are they lesbians?
PEN: Our ways are not the ways of the world.
DORO: They won't try to get fresh with me? I don't think I can handle that.
PENTHESELIA: They won't assault you, if that's what you mean. But you mustn't insult them, or act shocked by our ceremonies.
DORO: Ceremonies? (yawns: "tea" taking effect) Like a Black Mass?
PENTHESELIA: Dorothy! Marriage to a fundamentalist has certainly impoverished your imagination!
DORO: But you were interested. Dad showed me.
PENTHESELIA: Dorothy, you shouldn't be here. It's like a convent, really. You'll hear our talk and see our rituals, and it'll seem meaningless or even sinister. But I can't explain. All I can do is ask you to trust me. Promise not to go out, or use the telephone, or write-
DORO: OK! I'll respect your .. religion. You were right about Jeremiah , and you're probably right here, too, only.. I wish I could talk it over with Dad.
PEN: But you didn't, did you? You came to me.
DORO: Tell Dad I want a divorce? It'd kill him!
PEN: You think it's easier on him if you just disappear? That's what it is, to live here. You disappear.
DORO: 'S sounds wonderful. Rest, get some sleep-
PENTHESELIA: (calls off) Sue! That's right darling, you'll have a good rest. (CALLS) Sue? Can you help Dorothy up to your room? And then keep an eye on her? That's an assignment: keep an eye on her.
DORO: Better be good eye, cause I'm dissappearsh- (SUE and DOROTHY exit.)
CEREMONY WITH MUSIC BEGINS UPSTAGE,AND CONTINUES UNDER THE DIALOG OF SCENE SEVEN
GROUP CHANT "Hear me, mother!Earth-womb, sky spinner, sea weaver!
Lady of the Long Silence, Send me your song." --continues--
( IRENE dances, and behind her the other women, robed in red, move and chant. Downstage. DR.B crosses to DIANA, who hurries in adjusting her robe)
DR.: Best of luck, Diana!
DIANA: What does that mean? Science isn't supposed to need luck.
DR.: Says who?
DIANA: I didn't even work on invocations for this, Dr.B! I figured you people know what you're doing.
DR.: I know vhat we're trying to do. And I know vhat's in this stuff. (holds up chalice) But it vouldn't hurt at dhis point to pray.
DIANA: (indicates chalice)That's the dose? (DR.B nods) It better be the right one, and not the plague!
DR.B: (teasing) Vhere is your spirit of sacrifice? Scio needs help, too-
( PENTHESELIA BEGINS THE CEREMONY PRAYER)
DIANA: You wouldn't! I'd know, I'd read your mind.
DR.: I vouldn't . Not mithout your consent. I don't know vhere ve ought to draw the line, though. Do you? Vhat's za test case?
DIANA: Scio's got the chimps.
DR.: But after zhe chimps? Come along, Diana. I tink I hear our cue.
GROUP CHANT (continues).. Send me your song.
I am the daughter of a daughter of a daughter
Born like burdens, In your pain, in your absence.
Come to us, now, o come, you teeming cauldron,
Pour out your brazen joy!
(DIANA AND DR.B JOIN THE GROUP)
PENTHESELIA: I am fatherless.
I cast off the father and all his works.
(DR.B hands her the chalice, which is ceremoniously kissed by PENTHESELIA)
Let this woman I have chosen be daughter to me,
Spirit of my spirit beyond the message in our cells,
And may the daughters born of her flesh be mine , also.
(the "dose" is drunk by DIANA. This is obviously an intense moment for them.)
PENTHESELIA: Daughter of my mother,
Daughter of mine, Mother of my daughters....
Bring forth a new life from our common vision
Cure our mortal wound!
(they embrace, and then DIANA is embraced by the other women. DOROTHY pulls at PENTHESELIA)
DORO: Mother! Why are you rejecting me?
PENTHESELIA: I'm not rejecting you.
DORO: Because I was Daddy's pet? Is that why you lock me out? You're adopting her?
PENTHESELIA: You don't understand.
DORO: I understand communion. The separate become one, body into body. Why can't I drink from your cup?
PENTHESELIA: It may be dangerous.
DORO: So is being here, isn't it? Let me!
PENTHESELIA: Daughters! Sisters! Dorothy has asked to join us in this now, and I ask it too, if you will allow her - (PEN takes the chalice, looks significantly at DR.B, who reluctantly refills it. PENTHESELIA kisses it and hands it to DOROTHY.)
PENTHESELIA: I am fatherless.. I cast off the father and all his works.
DORO: I cast off the father. And all his works.
PENTHESELIA: Hear me, mother! earth-womb, sky spinner, sea weaver!
Let this woman I have chosen be daughter to me,
spirit of my spirit beyond the message of cells, mine, ours! (embraces Dorothy)
Oh my darling, my Dorothy-gift-of-God! We are together again, closer than ever!
(starts to exit with DOROTHY--ASIDE TO AUDIENCE)
I am Demeter with my Persephone, home from the kingdom of the dead! (EXIT)
IRENE: (joining them) I'm so excited for you! I wish it could've been me!
DIANA: Your turn'll be next, if this one takes.
IRENE: I can't wait! I thought I'd be second, I don't understand why Dorothy--? Did you know?
DIANA: Nobody knew; I don't think even Dorothy knows. Be careful what you say to her.
IRENE: Oh, I hope I hope I hope it goes well! It's the only thing that keeps me going: the baby I'll have, and -- you know--our gentle world for her to live in.
SUE: Irene. Did you open the hall door when you came down? I thought it was locked, with Dorothy on the other side.
IRENE: I went back for a pin-
SUE: That explains it.
DIANA: But it doesn't excuse it! Dorothy's your responsibility, Susan-
SUE: Stick to yours, your so-called "service"! I'm having trouble with you as a spiritual leader, Diana.
DIANA: Watch your step.
SUE: You'll do what, an exorcism?
DIANA: What good are you? You can't even seduce Dorothy! All you do is make trouble!
SUE: (makes an "avert evil" sign) Behind me!
IRENE: (follows SUE's EXIT) Susan!
LES: (crosses to DIANA) What did you say to her?
DIANA: A lot less than I wanted to, the bitch! How could you give her my love-token?
LES: I didn't!
DIANA: She's wearing my earring! I saw it.
LES: That's not yours. I have yours. Look! I got her one like it.
DIANA: One like it?!
LES: After you explained to me what the stones meant....
DIANA: They don't mean anything if you're not loyal! Where'd hers come from? You don't have that kind of money.
LES: Yeah. Well I didn't realize until I'd promised her that they were real gems..
DIANA: Fakes don't have magic.
LES: The real ones can't have all that much, can they? I mean if I ..
DIANA: Dumped me? I could bind you! I know a spell-!
LES: You wouldn't do that! Not for love. Besides, you're loyal, you owe what powers you have to the project--
DIANA: What about you! Spending the group's money on-
LES: I didn't spend anything! I lifted it.
DIANA: You what?! You risked us all, to-
LES: I lift stuff all the time, for all of you! I pass checks, counterfeit food stamps, use phony credit cards! What's one more?
DIANA: For the cause! Our security is in your hands. If you-
LES: Hey, I'm carefull! Not just for us, for Susan too. She's hiding from a crazy Spaniard who beat her twice a week!
DIANA: You believe that sob story? Be careful, Lesley! There was something fishy about her at intake, something held back. I didn't challenge her then, because I knew you wanted her: but I'm watching. Inside, that woman's still somebody's wife.
LES: I don't believe that.
DIANA: Yes, you do. You find it exciting. But be careful--
LES: What about Clare? We didn't check her out all that well. And this Dorothy .. What about her?
PENTHESELIA: (ENTERS) I wanted to talk to you about that.
LES: I didn't mean to criticize.
PENTHESELIA: We agreed to screen out women with family ties.
DIANA: What've you told her?
PENTHESELIA: Nothing! She's been her father's darling since she was out of diapers. And that husband! He makes Pat Robertson seem like a feminist!
DIANA: It sounds like a class four risk factor. Automatic reject.
PENTHESELIA: But how could I? Her breaking in like that: it's as if the Goddess herself sent her! To be a Chosen One!
LES: Or a guinea pig.
DIANA: If she gets pregnant, we'll have to tell her we're responsible.
PENTHESELIA: Not necessarily! She was married. We should know by then if we can trust her. If not- Please, it'll work out! This must be from the Goddess. Diana, don't you think so? I'm too old. I can't bear a miracle. But now my flesh and blood may be the very first, the saviour! (exits)
DIANA: Not if I have anything to say about it.
( AT CLARE'S CHART AREA, WHERE DOROTHY HAS BEEN HELPING CLARE AND HER ASSISTANT DISPLAY DATA.)
CLARE: Doro? I think this is miss-filed.
DORO: I'm sorry. I'm having trouble concentrating. I'm so sleepy.
SUE: You may be weak from the food.
CLARE: A Vegan diet's healthy!
SUE: Not if you're not used to it.
CLARE: Maybe you should take a nap. It's quiet, everybody's out.
DORO: Thanks. I will. I'll come back--
CLARE: Tomorrow. I'm having concentration problems too.
SUE: No wonder, at it fourteen hours a day. Don't you ever want a break?
CLARE: Sure! Sometimes I want oysters, too, and steak tartarre, and a gallon of chocolate ice cream followed by about six straight scotches! Go ahead, Dorothy. Susan and I will finish up this section and knock off ourselves.
SUE: I'm sleepy too. Maybe it's too hot in here. Could we open a window?
CLARE: That's not it. Dealing with this material is a soul-killer: statistics that show that in the consistent opinion of humankind, women are pretty near worthless. Except for making sons. It's like capitalism vs the environment-- news so bad the only healthy reaction is to block it out.
SUE: Or replace it with the Affirmations. Do that during your nap, Doro, and you'll wake up full of energy.
CLARE: That's a good idea. Take the headset.
DORO: That's why I can't sleep ...
CLARE: The Affirmation tapes?
DORO: Double brainwash. The tapes tell me I am "Woman, strong and beautiful, creative and wise." And everything we're working on says....
CLARE: That we're weak and ignorant and abused.
DORO: I wake up in the middle of the night, and I have to turn it off. Why feed yourself commercials?
SUE: To counteract male propaganda.
DORO: Lies insult me. Saying that I'm strong doesn't make it true any more than Jerry's saying I'm a miserable sinner made that true -- maybe less. At least the miserable part was accurate.
SUE: If believing that you're strong makes you strong, then it's not a lie. (turns on tape)
TAPE VOICE "I am woman, strong and kind. Author of my own authority."
CLARE: Call it a corrective. (hands tape)
DORO: (pushes tape away) You listen to this trash! And then tell me, be objective: Isn't that witch-woman out to make us all Zombies?
(DORO EXITS. TAPE PLAYS, DIALOG CON'T OVER IT)
"from me comes beginning, and I make my own beginning each day. The past cannot hold me. I stretch out my hand to the future. Gifts to give, and to be given. I am rich, rich as the earth my mother,"
SUE: I just wish it weren't Diana's voice....
CLARE: So far apart, and the same creepy custom: did you ever hear of the Aslennim? They have a purification bath, like the Hebrew mikva. God, I'm depressed.
SUE: You need to have that steak, and a drink or chocolate or whatever.
CLARE: I'll be all right.
SUE: Lesley could fix it. (exit Sue)
CLARE: What? (tape plays) Just a headache. "We shall inherit the earth together. The lioness shall lie with the ewe lamb,and the sun pour honey on them." (FADE)
SUE CROSSES FROM THE SCENE WITH CLARE TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STAGE. LIGHTS UP ON THE FOYER-ENTRANCE AREA AND LESLEY.(on guard duty)
SUE: Lesley, Clare and I need a treat. We're burning out on a diet of work and vegetables.
LES: I can't get you a credit card, if that's what you want.
SUE: Why not? You did before, for us.
LES: It's like stealing.
SUE: How can it be stealing, when they're counterfeit?
LES: I wish I'd never told you! You're not supposed to know!
SUE: We're not selfish! Clare's under stress all the time.
LES: Lay off, will ya?
SUE: She was practically kidnapped, wasn't she? Expected to live on lentils and sprouts....
LES: I'll have to unpack a whole carton. We're moving it all to Brighton, this house is too risky!
SUE: I'll watch the door for you.
LES: (exits) We're expecting Irene.
SUE: What's the password?
LES: (calls back unintelligibly) Pstwhmp.
SUE: What? (CLARE hears SUE)
CLARE: (calls) Do you want me?
SUE: No, I...
CLARE: I'll be there in a minute. (doorbell)
SUE: (opens door) Come on. I... Irene?
MAILMAN: Postman. Registered for Blakins.
SUE: Go away! (tries to shut door)
MAILMAN: Will you sign for it?
SUE: There's nobody by that name! Not here!
MAILMAN: (blocks door) You know her?
SUE: No! Nobody.
MAILMAN: Well, don't get excited. I was kind of curious. All I ever deliver is "occupant".
SUE: We've got a box. At the post office.
MAILMAN: Who's we?
SUE: We the people who live here!
CLARE: Susan.... where'd he come from?
MAILMAN: Civil service.
CLARE: Oh my God!
MAILMAN: Not the friendliest family, are you?
LES: (enters carrying huge box) All right, we'll slide a couple of these out and nobody'll be the wiser. (sees MAILMAN) Oh my God! (drops box) Ouch!
MAILMAN: You all right?
LES: My toe, I think I broke my toe.
MAILMAN: That's a lot of credit cards you got there. And food stamps. Is this some kind of neighborhood office?
LES: Yeah. Catholic Charities.
SUE: He brought a registered for Mrs. Bilkins..
CLARE: Can I see that name?
MAILMAN: (points it out) Sure. B-l-a-k Oooofff! (LES karate chops him.)
SUE: Oh my God, what're we going to do?
LES: Bury him in the basement.
CLARE: Are you out of your mind?
SUE: He saw the stuff, he was suspicous. What if he's an agent?
CLARE: He can't just disappear. They'll follow his tracks.
LES: To the last house deliverd.
CLARE: The rest of the block will have to get mail.
SUE: We'd be seen.
CLARE: HE's got to be seen!
LES: If we get him out of here....
CLARE: You put on the uniform, Lesley. You're tall, your hair's short...
LES: Me! Sue let him in!
SUE: But you killed him!
CLARE: Don't argue! Get his clothes off!
SUE: I can't touch him!
CLARE: You just finished sorting the burial taboos, Susan. If you can't detach yourself from your culture-
LES: The pants?
CLARE: They're jeans. Yours'll be fine.
SUE: If he doesn't have mailman pants...
CLARE: There's a better chance that he's really a carrier.
LES: How far do I deliver?
CLARE: Throw them off the best you can. Finish the block, walk west, I'll pick you up in the van and you change in the back..
SUE: (horrified) Leaving him and me?
CLARE: Go. I'll be back as soon as we get rid of him.
LES: Right. (exit)
SUE: Oh sweet Jesus, forgive us our trespasses...
CLARE: (struggling) Are you going to help?
SUE: He's not dead. (drops him)
CLARE: Do you know where to hit him?
SUE: No! I'm not murdering anybody! You!
CLARE: ME? I'm just an employee! I mean, I've gone along with a certain amount of mumbo jumbo, but murder!
SUE: But you thought we had! You were ready to bury him!
CLARE: But we haven't! We can't!
SUE: But we've got to! Life and death, for everybody except a roach or two! We either bury him in the basement, or-- Wait! (runs toward tape recorder) Drag him to the stairs...
CLARE: Are you running out?
(CLARE looks around as if to find something to hitMAILMAN with, looks helpless, begins dragging body.SUE enters with tape recorder, dumps it on MAILMAN's chest, takes his feet and turns around to lead)
SUE: Come on. Upstairs. Into my room. There's a closet. Come on, I've heard from the goddess, I know what to do!
(IMMEDIATELY AFTER . SUE CONTINUES UP THE STAIRS, CLARE COMES BACK DOWN, STRAINED AND FRANTIC. ENTER SCIO, DARK-BROWED AND MENACING, IN A WHITE LAB COAT.)
SCIO:(dragging a large dark plastic bag) Lesley? Why isn't this door guarded? Who's in charge?
CLARE: Of what?
SCIO: Where's Lesley?
CLARE: She had to go out. A delivery...
SCIO: Then you're on guard?
CLARE: I guess...
SCIO: You guess?
CLARE: It's an educated guess.
SCIO: (hands CLARE body bag) This is to be disposed of. Carefully.
CLARE: Do I know you?
SCIO: Do you need to?
CLARE: What's in here? It feels like a body!
SCIO: It is a body. Champ the Chimp. R.I.P.
CLARE: You're the lab in the basement! Scio, isn't it? I-- I'm sorry about your chimp. You must feel awful.
SCIO:(grim smile) On the contrary. I'm very pleased.
CLARE: Brrr. I barely made it through school, because I couldn't bear to hurt the lab animals. Hurt them, then cut them open to see .
SCIO: I was the like that, too. With mice. Or rabbits. Chimps are different.
CLARE: How so?
SCIO: They're almost human. Like my esteemed professors. If they had our tools they'd cut us up to see how we hurt. They have intellectual curiosity, chimps. Adam's sin isn't all that original.
DORO: Have you seen..? oh, excuse me. (SCIO exits) Who's that?
CLARE: A troll? The gnome of Amazonia?
DORO: She gives me the creeps. I've got to stop this! Have you seen my tape recorder?
CLARE: Susan's using it.
DORO: (trying to pass) Upstairs?
CLARE: I don't think you should disturb her right now. (blocks her)
DORO: I've got to turn my head around. My dreams. Murders and mutants: they wake me right up again.
CLARE: I'll lend you my player. After Susan comes down.
DORO: You listen to this stuff? Doesn't it make you feel like a fool?
CLARE: While I actually listened it did. But then I just let it play while I was working or sleeping. I think it helps. You need a positive attitude to deal with negativity. A happy childhood helps, too...
DORO: Mine was! My folks did everything-
CLARE: She seems...motherly. Pentheselia.
DORO: Pentheselia! What a silly, pretentious..! Celia's my mother's name. Celia Prescott. Named after my Great-Aunt, who was a Quaker, and a suffragist, and a kind of saint. Magic baptism. What a farce! God knows, I tried to be Christian. Whatever that is.
CLARE: You were confirmed, weren't you?
DORO: Of course.
CLARE: Did you know then? What you believed?
DORO: God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and Jesus Christ his only son.
CLARE: Our lord...What does that mean, Lord? To Gallilean fisherman, to a medieval peasant, the Avon Lady?
DORO: To my mother?
CLARE: The Hindus believe that the earth rests on the back of a turtle.
DORO: That's ridiculous!
CLARE: Is it? I understand it as saying, look beyond the human.
DORO: But why a turtle?
CLARE: Better a cockroach?
SUE: (from upstairs) Clare? Who's with you?
CLARE: Dorothy. Come on down, can you?
SUE: I'll take over. Go get Lesley.
CLARE: Right. Here.(hands over sack)
SUE: What's this?
CLARE: A dead chimpanzee.
DORO: (horrified) What?
CLARE: (exit) Why a chimpanzee? Bury it.
DORO: I just wanted my tape...
SUE: I'm using it.
DORO: But my mother wants me to listen to..
SUE: Use the one in the temple room.
DORO: I'm not supposed to go in there. If you'll just give me mine, you can get one of--
SUE: (shakes fist) I said no! Do you know enough not to cross me, or do you need a lesson?
DORO: (frightened) I'm sorry, I..
SUE: I don't believe I said that! I opened my mouth and out came Geraldo!
DORO: Your husband?
SUE: Right before he'd haul off and whomp me.
DORO: Did he do that often?
SUE: More'n he had any excuse for. He was crazy jealous. Never should've got mixed up with a hot tempered Spaniard, but God! He was so handsome!
DORO: That doesn't seem a very good basis for a marriage.
SUE: No? Well, you've never seen him! Women'ld come up to him on the street and beg him to make love to them! Which was the problem, I think. Because he would, and then he'd panic cause he'd imagine I was out doing the same.
DORO: But you weren't?
SUE: No! Well, once. Unless you count with Lesley. I wish I had!
DORO: With men? But aren't you a Lesbian?
SUE: I think I'm a political Lesbian.
DORO: What does that mean?
SUE: That means, a few concusssions sort of alter your outlook! I met Leslie at the shelter. That's where I realized that guys don't think of us as people. We're like part of them. The bad part.
DORO: But does that mean you hate them all?
SUE: Not hate! I don't even hate Geraldo, exactly. Though he sort of sums them up. I mean he's the most--Well, it's better to be born Lesbian, but if you're not, it's worth the effort to switch. Men're time bombs. My father was, and that's how they brought up my brother.
DORO: If I have a son, I'll try to encourage his sensitivity. Like my Dad-
SUE: A sissy? The other kids'll kill him.
DORO: Don't you think men can change?
SUE: I'd like to try! Suppose- they didn't even know they were men? Like some of those transexuals: suppose men thought they were women who just had this funny hose thing hanging down in front?
DORO: They'd be freaks! You'd do that? Your own son, raise him queer?
SUE: I'm queer! I thought you liked me?
DORO: I do!
SUE: Anyway, it's better to love girlfriends, and give birth to daughters. Believe me, raising a son is hell. Take my word for it. They're about as much like us as Scio's chimp, here. (DOR looks at bag & shivers) I guess I should bury him. Out by the toolhouse. Do you think you could guard the door?
DORO: I'm not trained.
SUE: (dragging body) Today's password is 'omphalos".
SUE: After midnight it changes to "Susan Anthony." Don't let anybody in you don't recognize, no matter what story they give you. Lesley'll be here soon , and you can turn it over to her.
DORO: But what'll I do?
SUE: (calling back) Chant "om". It'll pass the time.
DORO: Ommmm....(sound fades in and out, time passes)
SCENE TWELVE (CON'T)
LES: (knocks) Omphalos.
DORO: (answers door) Lesley? Where's Clare?
LES: Getting drunk. We both went off to get drunk, but Clare stayed to get drunker. Where's Susan?
DORO: She went to bury the body...
LES: She told you that, the crazy bitch? Where?
DORO: In the toolhouse.
LES: Susan! My God, Susan! (exits)
DORO: (yelling after LES) But Les, it's been hours! I'm sleepy! I'm not supposed to--
LES: (returns, stage whisper) Stand guard. Chant Om.
DORO: Ooommmm...... (she falls asleep,time passes)
SCENE THIRTEEN- CON'T
MALE VOICE: Yeah, well. One more goodbye.
CLARE's Voice:(slurred) I said goombye in the car. Go on now. Go 'way.
MALE: I'll wait till you're safe in.
CLARE: (giggles) Will you get out of here, Jack? Mamma mussn't see.
MALE: What is this, your mother waits up? I know, you're married! Shit! Married.
CLARE: I'm not..! (giggles)'right. Big nassy husband. Big famly.
MALE: So when can you get away? Saturday?
CLARE: Just go home. Lea me 'lone.
MALE: Come on, at least give me your phone.
CLARE: I've got yours, I'll call you.
MALE: That's what they all say. Don't call me....
SUE: (in nightgown) Dorothy, wake up! Who's there?
CLARE: "Susan Anshony!" (whispers to man) Go away.
MALE: (fading off) Jeeze. Be that way!
SUE: (opens door) Clare? What's--?
CLARE: (stumbles) Whoosh! Wanta help me upstairsh? (climbs awkwardly) Les's credscrds're fully neg-nego- nogesh--what these stairs aren't.
SUE: You going to be all right?
CLARE: Sure. SS'nothing that can't be ... Sue! (sits down hard) What's happened with --your closhet?
SUE: That? Oh, that's going fine. Wait'll you see! I've thought a lot about Patty Hearst...
CLARE: Patty's Hearse? Whash...? Monkeys and mailmen. Don't wanta die. Don't want anybody die.(cries)
SUE: (shakes DOROTHY) Dorothy! Wake up! Take Clare upstairs, will you? And go to bed yourself. I'll take over the guard. (DOROTHY exits with CLARE)
END OF ACT ONE
ACT TWO- PROLOGUE
PENTHESELIA Welcome back. At this point the story has been taken out of my hands. But just because I was in the dark is no reason you should be. Susan! Come out here.
SUE: But I'm not--
PENTHESELIA: Why didn't you tell us? Why didn't you come to me?
SUE: I couldn't! I was afraid! I am sorry, I know now it was the start of--
PENTHESELIA: It's too late for that. It's done. But explain it to them. (exit)
(SUE SOLO IN SPOTLIGHT)
SUE The SLA had the basic method, but they didn't know depth psychology, Patty Hearst's change was only surface... But with Adrian-It turned out the mailman's name was Adrian!How lovely, how fortunate! I took it for a sign! I was going to reach right past the conscious mind and change him from the soul! I started him with a rebirth, like we all have here in the Motherhouse. But longer, deeper. In my arms, against my breast, I rocked him like a baby, like my own sweet Gabe!
Lesley knew about Gabe, she knew all along, how I'd had to leave him with his Grandma. I suppose that lying for me once made this easier. Anyway, once I'd decided, Lesley went along with it. Neither of us wanted to consider the alternative! So she got the drugs, she smuggled us food, she took her turn in the taming. So I knew I could trust her to help me, when the project took the worst possible turn.
I mean, why didn't I think! Adrian was so sweet, so passive and playful. So like a dream, or what I'd missed in a sister, I sort of forgot he had sperm!
ACT TWO, SCENE ONE
(LESLEY, SUE, DOROTHY and IRENE are limbering up upstage and practicing defensive stances. DIANA crosses below them. As she passes LESLEY, their eyes meet, and then avoid meeting. SUE tugs LES's jacket, whispers. LESLEY calls to DIANA.)
LES: Wait? (when LES falls out of line, the rest stop, too: she's their leader. She nods,) Carry on, troop!
DIANA : This house is too small for games, Lesley. What do you want from me?
LES: I didn't expect us to be like enemies, avoiding each other.
DIANA: I'm working on it! It's practically all I'm working on!
LES: Hey, I don't know where this junk is coming from. Jealousy, spite, all those hetro-trips! I still care about you, Diana.
DIANA: You've got a funny way of showing it. Never coming-
LES: You've made it hard, you know? Like I owed you an abject apology because when I brought Sue here and it was all new to her, I thought I ought to keep close to her, and help her along. But now she's part of us, she's got projects going, and as soon as she gets pregnant--
DIANA: Her name's way down on the list--
LES: Well, why don't you move it up? To now? Give her something else to think about?
DIANA: So you are bored with her! I knew you'd be!
LES: She's a sweet woman, Diana. She'll make a fine mother.
DIANA: Sweet's not enough. Not for lovers, or mothers. Women who're strong, like you and me-
LES: Me?! Wait a minute! I'm not crazy about having a baby, not myself anyway. Somebody's got to be --you know, supportive and all that--
DIANA: That's how I'd want you! This would be our baby, Lesley. But now you want Sue to have it?
LES: I thought if Sue could get pregnant, and be, you know, absorbed in that, I'd feel all right about leaving her on her own.
DIANA: She'll be fine. We all will. (LES embraces DIANA) I've mised you so. (DOROTHY drops out of the exercise, sees LESLEY and DIANA together, is overcome by nausea)
LES: Dorothy! What's wrong?
DORO: I'm a little sick.
DIANA: Put your head down.
LES: (calls SUE out of dance) Sue!
SUE: (joins them) Lesley?
LES: Can you bring us in..? (looks to DIANA: what?)
DIANA: A piece of dry toast.
DORO: (IRENE comes down to them) I'll be all right...
DIANA: Sure you will. By the third month or so.
DORO: You know that I'm pregnant?
DIANA: (exchanges look with LES) Woman's intuition.
SUE: (exits) I'll get weetabix, that ought to be good.
IRENE: The Asoulti remedy is to suck on canehusks. I think the sucking's more important than the husks.
DIANA: Dorothy's not a primitive.
DORO: This makes me primitive! Since I've known I'm pregnant, I keep thinking about my husband. I know he's not good for me, but the baby-
LES: Sure. Every baby needs a brute! To fight off saber tooths.
DORO: Jeremiah's not a brute.
DIANA: Projecting his petty rules, his desire for dominance, onto the Creator of the Universe.
DORO: God, you mean? God set down rules out of love! We aren't animals. We have souls, sacred -
SCIO: (looms suddenly) Sacred humanity! The image of God. So important that three hundred cows will be penned up and slaughtered to feed him, acres of woods turned into paper pulp to record his holy birth and his famous deeds and his hot gossip and his once-in-a- lifetime doorbuster bargain clearance sales! A hundred thousand varied and beautiful species, each perfect in its own way-- but not, unfortunately, a God-clone,-- all pushed out of existence to make room for his parking lots, his Pokemon -- (DOROTHY retches)
DORO: Oh, mother, mother. Why can't we go home?!
ACT TWO, SCENE TWO
IN THE CLOSET: SUE is caressing and dressing ADRIAN. She puts a padded bra on him)
SUE: You're round and soft, Adrian. Women are soft.
ADRIAN: (silly grin) Soft. (he lays his head against SUE's breast)
SUE : That's so when we hold a baby it feels a whole world of tenderness and comfort. You're tender too, aren't you?
ADRIAN: (woozy) Tender..arms of t'booiful Godsuss.
SUE: You're one of us now.
ADRIAN: One with the u'verse...
SUE: No one will hurt you. Harmless and loving..
SUE: (pats her stomach) You sure are!
CLARE: (peeks in) Susan?
SUE: Adrian'll pass, won't we? In the crowd?
CLARE: This's a crazy risk.
SUE: We can't turn back. Lesley's got Adrian a fake ID from the Rhode Island House. To recover here from a nervous breakdown. Working on the nerve gas file was too much for Adrian's tender heart-
ADRIAN: Tender heart.
CLARE : There's got to be another way.
SUE: Sure! Bury him in the basement! Don't you understand why you're drawing up those charts?
CLARE: The division of labor by gender. The world gets split. Men get the peaches, we get the pits.
SUE: Everybody knows that! So what's it for?
CLARE: I suppose to plan improvement, get women a share of power--
SUE: So. Figuring how women can manage without being run by men. Right?
CLARE: Right. Run cranes and locomotives, sewers and graves.
SUE: Because thanks to Dr. B, we stop bearing sons.
CLARE: Parthenogenesis. No more Y chromosomes.
SUE: Virgin birth.
CLARE: Producing only female offspring.
SUE: So how are men going to react? Sent to the scrap heap!
CLARE: You think they'll take it personally?
SUE: Will they? Ask one!
ADRIAN: One with the universe-
SUE: Men were ready to nuke the Russkies. Why? So American boys wouldn't grow up communist! What if they start growing up girls! ?
CLARE: I'm sure Dr. B.'s thought of--..
SUE: We'd have to kill them all before they killed us! But killing's a masculine specialty!
CLARE: Nobody's asked me to figure out how to get more women into it.
SUE: Turn into men? What's the point? But: if men can turn into us! That's what I'm doing with Adrian, here. And it better work! It has to! I don't want to kill my children.
CLARE: It's not exactly murder, to interrupt this pregnancy and start over with Dr. B--
SUE: Don't be so damn logical! How would you feel?
CLARE: Safer. Using drugs and hypnosis..
SUE: (caresses him) And TLC. What are you, Adrian?
ADRIAN: Beautiful. Adrian beautiful. Woman.
SUE: (adjusts white robes) So will we pass?,
( checks that the coast is clear, and starts to bring ADRIAN downstairs. )
CLARE: (helping) I'm more worried that we'll pass out! Come on, Beautiful. Six steps down.
II, SCENE THREE
(There is a big ceremony going on, robed figures dancing. Images of growth and unfolding are projected onto the screens, while the song accompanies a blessing and caressing of the pregnant DIANA.)
CHANT RUNS UNDER DIALOG:
"Praise her with laughter!
Pound out her name, glad feet on the stones stomping
and in the clatter of the pots, where food is mixed with heat and care and made holy.
Invoke her at the onset and ebb of our monthly flow, as we mimic her own moon, the tides of her sea,
her red and black dying.
Rivers, gasping fishes, praise her in the flood, the awesome overflow of her ample lap.
Ancient lady of beginnings, of growth and of changing, praise!
(SUE, CLARE, and ADRIAN go to join the ceremony, are intercepted by a nun, who embraces SUE enthusiastically)
NUN: Sue! Don't I get a welcome?!
SUE: When did you get here? Do you know--?
NUN: Just now, from Rome, not even time to change! Oh, Susie, it was wonderful! Our cup overflows! Shh-! (DOROTHY is pulled into the center of the circle.)
IRENE: Come on.
DORO: No, I...
IRENE: For the baby, the one who's coming.
DORO: It's against my religion.
DIANA: To be the focus of love? That's all that this is: Love for you, and for the daughter you carry.
DORO: I think it's a son. (the others exchange looks, giggle, smile knowingly.)
DIANA: Even so, our love won't hurt. ( women circle DOROTHY)
(REVEREND PETER PRESCOTT enters in a rush, brandishing a pistol)
REV: Get your filthy hands off my daughter!
PENTHESELIA: Peter! How did you get in here? (DIANA launches herself towards the REV. DOROTHY karate-chops DIANA, who falls belly-up)
REV: Is she all right?
IRENE: She's alive.
REV: Come on, princess, I'm taking you home.
DORO: Daddy! Thank God!
LES:(enters rubbing jaw) Bastard sucker-punched me.
PENTHESELIA: Peter, Dorothy decided of her own free will to come to me-
REV: Well, she's changed her mind. She sent for me to get her out of this ... this coven.
PENTHESELIA: Dorothy! Did you? How could you?
DORO: I can't have my baby here!
DR.B: I varned you--
LES: No one who gets in, ever leaves.
PENTHESELIA: Where'd you ever get that gun, Peter?
REV: From Frank Wilson. You remember him. He was so nice to us that time we picketed the NRA.
PENTHESELIA: I can't believe you know how to use it.
REV: What's to know, my dear? A question of will, not skill.
PEN: You couldn't shoot anyone. At least not sober.
REV: A low blow, Celia. Fifteen years it's been since I was anything but sober.
LES: (trying stance) Come on Sue, Clare- He can't kill us all!
REV: I don't intend to. One or two shots through the window ought to bring the police.
IRENE: Not in this neighborhood.
REV: All of you! Sit down, and don't move. I've taken the precaution of leaving this address with a friend. If I don't come back--
PENTHESELIA: Can't we discuss this, Peter? The three of us? Let the others go, you have your hostage-
DORO: Don't trust her, Daddy. There's plots, experiments!
REV: I don't want to hear about it.
DORO: Aren't you going to stop them?
REV: What can it matter, this plot? Levitate the Pentagon, blow up a nuke? Not a sparrow falls without the Lord's eye upon it.
PENTHESELIA: Then why are you here?
REV: I'm responsible for my wife and daughter.
PENTHESELIA: You're making a mistake. Our mission is-
DORO: Don't let her walk all over you Dad, not this time.
REV: It's so hard when the wife's the more intelligent. More energetic, too. My first sin was sloth. And then vanity. Afraid to look like a fool.
PEN: You look pretty foolish now, with that gun.
REV: I'll take my girl and go. (LESLEY is about to jump him, but PENTHESELIA signals her to back off. REV turns back) Except:Celia! What you're doing- can you give me your sacred word that you're doing no harm?
PEN: In exchange for your word to keep quiet?
DORO: Why, if you're innocent? Invite the FBI! Serve tea!
PENTHESELIA: Tea! What a good idea! Clare, go tell Scio to bring us up some tea. But for the FBI! Your father knows better, Dorothy. He and I were at too many pinko peace rallies. Peter knows that even the most virtuous life must have secrets, even his! Secrets that if they were to become known, would make it impossible to carry on one's life's work-.
REV: You can't threaten me. I gave it up, Celia. I retired from the University, resigned all those commissions and committees.
DORO: Were they on to you? No? Then why?
REV: To be free. No status to lose, now. No causes I'd embarrass.
PENTHESELIA: "Blessed are the poor in spirit!" But isn't that, too, vanity? If your work's important-
REV: I can't argue with you, Celia. I never could. That's why we did things your way. But though I used to run around crying "peace, peace", I was never AT peace, as I am now. I know Man can't save the world.
PENTHESELIA: Then let woman try!
REV: It's too late, my dear. You'd gladly give your life to save mankind, and so would I-- but we aren't needed. The only life worthy already made that sacrifice. On the cross, two thousand years ago. And now His coming is at hand!
PENTHESELIA: You don't believe that! You never--
REV: I do, now. There are signs! You can scoff, but suppose these are the Latter Days?
PENTHESELIA: I'm not laughing! I'm using every cell of brain that was given me, to head it off!
REV: Give it up, Celia. Trust Him. Is the end of life in this form so terrible?
PENTHESELIA: Fold our own hands and wait?
REV: Prayerfully. At peace. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." Come home with Dorothy and me. Celia?
PENTHESELIA: We're divorced, Peter.
REV: Not in God's eyes. Jesus was very firm about marriage. As I am a Christian, you are my wife. From our wedding day until death do us part.
DORO: I'm not ready to go back to Jeremiah, Dad. Not unless he makes some real changes, works out how he can be a husband. ( enter SCIO, with a tea tray)
PENTHESELIA: Scio? This is Dorothy's father.
SCIO: I brought you some tea. I hope it's the kind you want.
PENTHESELIA: (nods significantly) I'm sure it is. Thank you. Do you still take sugar, Peter?
REV: I don't know if I ought to....
PEN: Something stronger, to toast your victory?
REV: (surprised) Have I won?
PENTHESELIA: This round. You do rather hold the cards.
LES: You're giving in to him?
PENTHESELIA: We can hardly bash him over the head and bury him in the basement.
SUE: What about the rest of us?
PENTHESELIA: If I understand Peter's threat, you'll all be able to work on in peace. So long as Dorothy and I go home with him. Otherwise, Peter goes to the authorities.
SCIO: We can't afford that, can we?
PENTHESELIA: This way there'll be no trouble over the guinea pig.
DORO: What guinea pig? What're you up to?
SCIO: You've been down in my lab, haven't you? You fed the rabbits.
PENTHESELIA: The zoning here makes our lab illegal.
DORO: I didn't see any guineas. Mice and the chimps..
SCIO: No guineas. We've got to get at least one, to be on schedule.
PENTHESELIA: So it works out best if I go with Peter. Two sugars?
SCIO: At least for a while.
PENTHESELIA: Till the baby's born. That'll satisfy you, won't it, Peter?
DORO: I'm frightened.
REV: After our grandchild's home and settled in, we can travel, Celia. Wouldn't you like to see the Holy Land?
PENTHESELIA: This is the holy land-here! This house, the dumpster, the weed tree, tree of heaven some people call it-- our new Jerusalem -! Drink up your tea, Peter. Lesley-- be careful, be kind. Sue (hugs SUE) and -?(moves to ADRIAN, who's passed out)
SUE: Adrian. (PEN smiles and pats ADRIAN)
REV: Will you need a suitcase? Dorothy?
PENTHESELIA: No, we'll go for good now, before I lose my nerve. Say goodbye to everyone for me, will you? Until we meet. (they exit)
SUE: Now what do we do?
SCIO: Exactly what we were doing. It's even more important now that we be on schedule when Pentheselia gets back.
LES: When will she get back?
SUE: What makes you sure she will?
SCIO: My scientific hypothesis is that she'll be back. Between 31 and 48 days from now.
LES: But I wouldn't be her for those days for all the glory in the world.
("ELSEWHERE". A HOSPITAL CORRIDOR, INDICATED BY A BENCH, ISOLATED BY SPOTLIGHT. DOROTHY, HUGELY PREGNANT, IS SLUMPED WITH HER HEAD IN HER HANDS. PENTHESELIA, WHO LOOKS HAGGARD AND ILL, BENDS TO COMFORT HER. )
PENTHESELIA: There, darling, can we pull ourselves together long enough to make plans? Jeremiah thinks you're going home with him, after the service.
DORO: I'm not going! It isn't even a funeral, not a Christian funeral.
PENTHESELIA: Without Peter's body --
DORO: Suppose they'd've taken the organs for transplant, like Dad wanted: What happens to those parts at Judgment Day?
PEN: Your father'd say,"God will sort us all out."
DORO: You're not Christian. What do you think?
PENTHESELIA: About the afterlife? I used to believe in reincarnation. It's so logical. But then, when I began to imagine the bombs, I saw all the trillions of souls explode from burning flesh, and where would they go? No bodies to house the rounds of being, and so few ready for Nirvana!
DORO: I wish we were burying Dad. A cadaver, for research..!
PENTHESELIA: Research is very necessary-
DORO: That's what Jeremiah says. That fat hypocrite! He'll preach Dad's eulogy, but he really suspects that Daddy's a filthy sinner, and that Jehovah God reached out from the sky to strike his immune system!
PEN : You don't believe that, Doro?
DORO: I don't know what to believe! If you'd told me a year ago that my Daddy was anything less than a pillar of chastity --
PEN: How did we have you? Pollination?
DORO: Virgin birth. Parthe- parth-
DORO: Immaculately. Sometime before you got into girls, and he-
DORO: I can't help it! I thought you were perfect, both of you! Did he have a secret life? Was he gay? Is that the reason you divorced him?
PEN: Of course not. But if he had been, his homosexual love life would've been just like his heterosexual one: honest and loyal. And probably monogamous.
DORO: Then why? You saw how how it hurt him that you'd left!
PEN: I left your father for - theological reasons.
DORO: Bullshit! You're lying, aren't you? Like you lied about his books, to protect him--
PENTHESELIA: It wasn't like that.
DORO : A bigger phony than Jimmy Swaggert: worse than prostitutes or dirty pictures -how else could you threaten to expose him?
PEN: Big "threat"! When I was doing research, writing "his" works, Peter thought of me as his alter ego. What was ours would of course have his name on it, he was the senior scholar.
DORO: It was a joke, you know, in the department. A world famous philosopher who couldn't follow the arguments in his own text! The great guru, the Ethical Authority! (begins to cry) Oh, God, I hate him. I loved him so much.
PENTHESELIA: He was good, he really was. He thought of me as his disciple, never imagining .. (PEN also begins to cry)
DORO: But why?! Why?
PENTHESELIA: Because the worst thing we can do on this earth is to love men! Come home with me, Dorothy. It's over. Time to go home.
II, SCENE FIVE
( THE HOUSE. IRENE, HUGELY PREGNANT, ADJUSTS THE WORLD-TENSION CHART CLOSER TO CATASTROPHE. EQUALLY PREGNANT CLARE WATCHES.)
CLARE: What's that? Something on the noon news?
IRENE: (precariously balanced)The Middle East again- (supplies latest example of international belligerence)
CLARE: (indicates her charts) They're in such a hurry to end all this. Before I can even record it. Though why getting it down matters, with no one to be left to read it--
IRENE: I recruited a student from Sri Lanka at last night's rally. As soon as she's checked out, I'll arrange an interview.
CLARE: I wish it were Eusebbia. Nobody seems to have any idea what people eat in Eusebbia. Or who plants it, or when or how.
IRENE: Pentheselia has a contact on that, I think. From the International Woman's Nonaligned Union Fourth Conference.
CLARE: Not much good without her. Nothing seems to be going-
LES:(enters shouting) She's here! She's back! Pentheselia!
LES: Right at the door!
CLARE: Why isn't she in? (starts for door)
LES: She's got her daughter with her.
IRENE: All of us, hurry! Diana! Dr.B! Everyone! Our mother's come home! (brings in PEN and DOR)
SUE: Of course they didn't have the password.. .
IRENE: Celia! Darling! (hugs her)
DIANA: (enters, formal) Welcome Home! (a ritual greeting) In the name of the Great One, the All-mother, be welcome, be blessed.
IRENE: (to DORO) For your mother's sake, and your child's, be welcome.
PEN: I must kiss you all. Clare, Sue, (she pauses in her embrace of Adrian) I don't seem to remember you.
SUE: Of course you must. This is Adrian.
PENTHESELIA: (puzzled) Adrian.
DIANA: She was admitted before you left, under a special clearance.
LES: Adrian's been sick.. in the mind...
PENTHESELIA: (embracing Adrian) Forgive me, I've had so much to think about..
ADRIAN: (slurring) Adrian is beautifu. Hands'r soft and tender, tender hands of the nurt'ring Mother.. (embraces DOR)
DORO: Don't let her touch me! She's creepy.
SUE: Don't hurt Adrian! She doesn't realize what's going on very well, but she has feelings.
CLARE: Adrian's under medication.
PENTHESELIA: You must excuse my Doro. It's been a terrible strain..
SCIO: (enters) Back? Right on schedule! I hope without the Man on your trail.
SUE: You got your husband to let you go? That scene was so dreadful, like Geraldo dragging me down the stairs..
DORO: (cries) Oh, god,
PENTHESELIA: Be gentle, please. We buried her father yesterday.
DORO: We buried an empty box, he's in a freezer somewhere! A hell of a way to die, without dignity.
SCIO: Oh? What did he die of?
PENTHESELIA: Pneumonia. Following a general collapse of his immune system.
SCIO: (a broad grin, then laughter) Ahha! Eureka!
DORO: (slaps SCIO) How dare you laugh at the death of a good man!
PENTHESELIA: Dorothy! It's nothing personal.
SCIO: There are no good men! Except dead ones. (changes the chart, drastically, showing increase in "save" points) Bells toll, whales sing and sound in the sea.. Man, at last, is dying! (Scio strikes a gong 3 times)
DIANA: (begins to sing the praise- chant)
"Praise her with laughter! pound out her name--" etc.
(Dorothy,who has been sobbing hysterically, begins to groan in pain)
PENTHESELIA: Hush, my darling, it's not what you think. You'll be well and happy, you'll see, it will be worth it.
CLARE: I believe she's going into labor.
PENTHESELIA: But it's too soon!
DR.B: How many months?
PENTHESELIA: Seven and some weeks. No, wait, it may be almost eight..
DORO: It's nine, nothing to worry about, it'll be nine months since I left Jerry on the fourteenth...
PENTHESELIA: Can we care for a preemie?
CLARE: We have for the chimps. Scio?
SCIO: (slowly-still caught up) Her baby's coming?
DORO: Not her! I don't want her!
IRENE: She's the doctor.
SCIO: Calm down, cheer up, little girl. You're going to produce our savior.
DIANA: She shouldn't be first! The plan was it should be me! (closes her eyes, chanting, sending herself into a meditative state)
DORO: Oh, God, God forgive me, I should never have left him.
PENTHESELIA: Gently, my darling, gently.,
SCIO: Breathe. Do you remember how to breathe, in little pants?
LES: Can we get her up to Birthing?
SCIO: Take this arm. Sue, I'll need my bag..
PENTHESELIA: Mother's here, darling, you're safe with mother.
DORO: (at Scio) I don't trust her! Get away from me.
SUE: Maybe she'd feel better about Dr.B.
PENTHESELIA: Deborah, could you?
DR.: It's been years since I practiced. Scio's more experienced.
SCIO: Damn right I am!
DORO: No! I'd rather die! Die alone, like Daddy..
DIANA: (gasping) Scio will be needed. Too. Here.
SUE: Now what have you done?
DIANA: (triumphant) I (pant) Brought.(pant) It on!
SCIO: Why, you egotistical twat! Two preemies?! How are we going to deal with two preemies?!
DIANA: Mine will be. Perfect. I've used the sight to reveal her.
SCIO: Son of a bitch!
DIANA: Daughter. Daughter of Woman, our Savior.
IRENE:(embracing DIANA) So be it! Oh, darling, Diana, how wonderful, wonderful!
ACT II, SCENE SIX
(SCIO COMES DOWN THE STAIRS FROM THE BIRTH ROOM, LESLEY MEETS HER IN THE HALL, HURRYING.)
LES: The incubator's ready.
SCIO: (frowning) Forget it.
LES: Stillborn? Oh, God, Diana was so sure! She'll be crushed.
SCIO: She'll be twice as arrogant as before, with her mystical nonsense! I don't know how, but she was right. A perfect infant! A little on the small side, but fully formed and you'd swear she was smiling. Smirking, even!
LES: Perfect? Oh, thank God! - Goddess. We've done it.
SCIO: I must admit I'm relieved. There was always the chance that triggering that initial division would do genetic damage -
LES: Can I see Diana? And the baby?
SCIO: Not yet, maybe in an hour or so when we've cleaned up. (sound of newborn crying upstairs)
LES: (grins) Lusty little wench, isn't she?
SCIO: (surprised) That's not hers. It's got to be Dorothy's.
LES: So soon?
SCIO: Diana made it just under the wire, didn't she? Ten minutes to spare, to mother the New Eve- (commotion, sounds of dismay)
DR.B: (panicked, on landing) Scio! Zomething's treadfully wrong!
LES: Dear Goddess, better dead than deformed! (they hurry off)
ACT II, SCENE SEVEN
CLARE: You musn't give way. You told me you were prepared for failure! There was always a chance the first births would produce mutants..
DR.B: But not like zhis!
SCIO: (entering) What is it? What's happened?
LES: Is she too defective to live?
DR.B: Vorse! Pentheselia, show them.(PEN lifts the baby's blanket)
LES: Jesus Christ!
SCIO: My God, that's...
PEN: My grandchild. A perfectly formed - baby boy.
DR.: There's no vay I can even begin to trace back how I vent wrong. Ze whole theory--!
SCIO: It's frightening. Especially now that my work is so close to completion! We're prepared to make the evolutionary leap, but now we stumble over this-!
LES: I don't understand it at all.
PENTHESELIA: Isn't it obvious? This baby must be her husband's. Jeremiah impregnated her before she left him. Our tests showed a false negative.
DR.B: I suppose dhat's possible. Ve veren't as torough as ve would've been if ve'd had Dorothy's cooperation.
CLARE: What else could it be? Parthenogenesis can't produce males!
SCIO: This ought to be a lesson to us. We can't let sentiment distort what we're doing. It's too important.
PEN: Letting Dorothy in here was a mistake: I admit it! But what else could I do? I'm her mother.
DR.B: You're the mother of us all. You're to be zhe grandmother of zhe New Eve. Vhen you took that on yourself, it meant obligations, zacrifice-
PENTHESELIA: I sacrificed my husband!
CLARE: You did what?
DR.: If dhat's not enough, if it doesn't lead to our ultimate goal, it's a sacrifice vasted!
SCIO: (indicates baby) I say, smother it.
PENTHESELIA & CLARE: Oh, no!
SCIO: Your daughter hasn't seen it, she'll think he died of natural causes.
DR.B: In da long run, that's the most merciful. Remember, dhat's vhy you tested each of us to be sure ve had no male attachments. No fathers, brothers, lofers, sons...
SCIO: Why let him live? To die with the others?
DR.B: At least this way he'll have a burial. He'll be mourned.
CLARE: It's just a baby. A tiny baby.
SCIO: A miniature Man. Obsolete. (commotion from the entrance)
SUE: There's a police cruiser outside. They were looking at the house numbers, I think they're coming here!
CLARE: Why now?
LES: (bangs 7 times on the gong) Don't panic, Sue. Plan x, everybody!
SUE: Right! (puts on "disguise". She will be a strange-accented "cleaning woman".)
IRENE: (enters in a rush) What is it?
IRENE: What could they be looking for?
PENTHESELIA: Any one of a dozen things.
LES: Christ. I hope not.
PENTHESELIA: Into the subbasement, everybody.
SCIO: What about Dorothy? And the baby?
PENTHESELIA: We don't dare let her be awake for them to talk to.
LES: Can you give her a shot? A sedative?
SCIO: Of course. Good thinking, Lesley.
DR.B: No. Better to let me do it.
SCIO: And the baby?
PENTHESELIA: Will you take him, Deborah? Keep him safe, put him in Dorothy's room? Hurry. You, too, Irene. Get everything out of sight. I don't know how long Sue can stall.
II, SCENE EIGHT
( THIS SCENE HAS A SPLIT FOCUS. DOWNSTAGE IN THE ENTRANCE AREA THE SCENE OF STALLING THE POLICE GOES ON, WHILE IN THE MAIN AREA THE OTHER WOMEN ATTEMPT TO TRANSFORM THE TEMPLE INTO AN ORDINARY ROOM, AND TO HIDE THEMSELVES.)
(charts, maps, the computer, the Goddess statue are folded away. PEN takes off her robe. SUE pretends not to understand the police)
SUE: Quien es?
POLICEMAN : Police officers.
SUE: Vhat you vunt?
POLICEMAN : We want to talk to you. Por favor.
SUE: Nadie es-uh n ya dissik. Mbosso.
POLICEMAN : Will you just open up please? We want to ask some questions of whoever's home here.
SUE: No speak please. Vaya vawaya. Mbossa nun heerik.
POLICEMAN : Does Mrs. Prescott live here?
SUE: Za. Mees. Presca. She say no let in. Men.
DICK: Is she home?
SUE: Nadie nun nun nun. Mbossa vamuz.
PENTHESELIA: (enters,looking the respectable matron. All the while that SUE and PEN are stalling the men at the door, the others are madly changing the set, squirreling away all traces of activity, after which the last woman "goes into hiding" just as the men finally get around PEN and enter)
PENTHESELIA: Gentlemen? What can I do for you?
POLICEMAN : We're police. We'd like you to answer a few questions.
PENTHESELIA: Of course. Glad to help any way I can. Bissik, Suzsa. (SUE goes to help the disappearance)
DICK: I'm Detective Ferguson, 4th district. Are you Mrs. Prescott?
PENTHESELIA: Yes, Celia Prescott.
DICK : Recognize this picture?
PENTHESELIA: Why, that's one of my girls! My boarders, I mean. What's she doing there?
POLICEMAN : Paying for the tranquillizers she got with a forged prescription. Using a phony credit card.
PENTHESELIA: Not drugs! Not one of my girls!
DICK: What's this woman's name?
PENTHESELIA: Christine. Christine Hapsberg.
DICK: That's not the name on the ID she used.
PENTHESELIA: Oh, dear.
POLICEMAN : Why don't you go tell her to come down and talk to us?
PENTHESELIA: I'd like to do that, officer. But Christine's not here.
DICK: Where is she?
PENTHESELIA: I'm not sure...
POLICEMAN : When will she be back?
PENTHESELIA: I don't expect her till labor day. When school starts, you know. All my girls are gone now, till fall term.
DICK: All these women who've been observed going in and out of here: they're students?
PENTHESELIA: Mostly. Graduate students. I prefer them to be in literature or theology, it makes me feel back home at Divinity School. But I do have Dr.B here, working on a research project that goes right through the summer: isn't that awful? And Suzsa's here, of course. Doing housework while she learns English.
POLICEMAN : Yeah. Well you could start by teaching her the meaning of "police, open the door". (Pantomine interior. Frantic waddling by the pregnant women. CLARE, putting her charts away, seems to strain herself, doubles up in pain. Women help her"downstairs" out of sight)
PENTHESELIA: I told her, never open it, Suzsa, unless you know the person, especially a man. No men is my absolute rule, no brothers, boyfriends-- the way it was when I was in School.
DICK: Is this a licensed rooming house?
PENTHESELIA: Heavens no! They're like my family! I know their mothers rest easier knowing they're in a good religious environment. Maybe those co-ed dorms are innocent, but my husband had a wonderful sermon about keeping out of harm's way.. Perhaps you've heard my husband? Reverend Peter Prescott? He preached at St. Pauls' Episcopal, and for a number of years he was on the radio..
POLICEMAN : I'm Catholic.
PENTHESELIA: Oh. Well, I suppose that's not your fault, it's how you're raised. My husband used to say-
DICK: Is he here? Can we talk to him?
PENTHESELIA: Oh, no. He's passed away. (sniffles)
POLICEMAN : Yeah. Well, we're in kind of a hurry. Can we go inside? How many roomers are here now?
PENTHESELIA: None! Didn't I say that? They're all gone! Except Dr. Brunslinger, she's not exactly a student. She's a spinster. There's my daughter and her baby-
DICK: (pushes past) We'll want to talk to them.
PENTHESELIA: Go right ahead! You'll have to excuse the house. Spring cleaning! Would you like a cup of tea? Suzsa can put on the kettle. Suzsa!
DICK: No, thank you.
POLICEMAN: I'll check upstairs.
PENTHESELIA: Do try to go quietly, won't you? My grandson's asleep in the second room on the right.
POLICEMAN: (goes up stairs) I'll want to look in.
PENTHESELIA: Go right ahead! He's such a darling. But shhh!
SUE: Que zafay?
DICK: Where does this door lead?
PENTHESELIA: Dr. Brunslinger's study, but..
DR.B: (opens door) Who's there?
DICK: I'm from the police. I'd like to know what you can tell me about this young lady who lives here. (shows picture)
SUE: Nun nozzing.
DICK: You don't recognize her?
DR.: She looks familiar. I tink she lived here, during the term. But I know nozzing about her.
PENTHESELIA: Dr. Brunslinger values her privacy.
DR.B: I live here because it's cheap and a five- minute valk from my lab. I haven't time for young ladies. Or useless questions. Excuse please. (closes door)
DICK: Is she always like that?
PENTHESELIA: You see why I'm glad for company. If you have time to sit down for some tea, I have cookies.
DICK: (where women went down) What's behind this door?
PENTHESELIA: The root cellar.
DICK:(opens) Phew! What's that smell down there?
PENTHESELIA: Roots, I suppose. Very old roots, and musty rags and dead mice. At least there were dead mice the last time I went down there. There's no light, but I can get a flashlight. Or a candle?
DICK: Never mind. Out here's the kitchen?
PENTHESELIA: That's right. (he goes)
SUE: I think we made it. But I'm afraid we've got more problems.
SUE: I think my baby's coming.
PENTHESELIA: It can't be! Next month. They can't all be premature.
SUE: It could be false labor, I suppose. But it sure feels just the same as it did with my little Gabe.
PENTHESELIA: With who?
SUE: (moves away) Nada. Nozzing.
PENTHESELIA: (follows her) You've had a baby?
SUE: Years ago. Just the one. A little bitty one.
PENTHESELIA: You swore you were childless.
SUE: I gave him up for adoption.
PENTHESELIA: If you lied-
SUE: (groans) Ohh.
PENTHESELIA: Again? Already? How far apart are they? We'll have to get help-
SUE: I can keep it in till (hears POLICEMAN ) - meszinka mus amscray.
POLICEMAN: Mrs. Prescott? That locked door at the head of the stairs? What's in there?
PENTHESELIA: It's just a linen closet.
POLICEMAN : Locked?
PENTHESELIA: Shh..! Don't hurt Suzsa's feelings...these foreigners, you know sometimes they -- t-a-k-e things.
POLICEMAN: What nationality is she?
POLICEMAN : Oh. Yeah. Well- We'd like the door open.
PENTHESELIA: (starts for key in vase) Oh, no trouble, I'll get the key.
POLICEMAN : Dick?
PENTHESELIA: (Dick enters) Your friend is calling .
DICK: Nothing out there.
POLICEMAN : Upstairs. (they go up)
IRENE: (peeking out) Are they gone?
SUE: Shh. Not yet.
IRENE: I don't know what to do. Clare's in labor.
SUE: (pushes her, slams door) Stifle her!
DICK: (returns) Mrs. Prescott?
PENTHESELIA: (smiles, hands him vase) The key's in here. I can't seem to- (he puts his hand in: stuck)
SUE: (whispers to PEN) Clare's in labor too.
PENTHESELIA: Dear God. (to Dick) Can't you get it?
POLICEMAN: (to Dick, taking vase) If you'll let go of it! (pours out key)
PENTHESELIA: That's very good! Go ahead and open it. The fewer stairs, the less pain, eh, Suzsa? (men exit)
SUE: Sangre hadessa
IRENE: (peeks) Pentheselia?
PENTHESELIA:(shuts door) No!
PENTHESELIA: If I massage...?
SUE: It's coming quick. (men re-enter) Prontamenti.
DICK: Well, that about wraps it. Here's your key.
PENTHESELIA: Thank you. No skeletons, officer?
DICK: What? Ha, ha. Now, you understand to get in touch with us whenever you hear from this woman who calls herself Hapsman?
PENTHESELIA: Hapsberg. Certainly. But do you think she'll return? To the scene of her crime?
DICK: We wait and see.
PENTHESELIA: Would you like that cup of tea now?
DICK: (starts out) Ah, no thanks. Never drink on duty.
POLICEMAN : What else have you got?
DICK: He's joking, Ma'm. Have a nice day.
PENTHESELIA: You too, gentlemen. I'll just be sure it locks behind you.
SUE: (suppressed howl) Madremewrdissimo!!
IRENE: (peeking out) Now?
CLARE: (collapses inward, panting.) Just to get out of the stench!
IRENE: I listened to all the lessons, but when the time comes-- Can you help her?
SUE: I've got my own! Help me!
CLARE: A squat birth is easiest, you've got gravity..
SUE: I want a shot!
PENTHESELIA: Will you stop that? Silencio!
CLARE: You can help brace me.
DR.B: (enters) Pant, remember to pant... Breathe one, two..
SUE: I don't want to breathe! I want it over! Why can't you just drug me and wake me up afterwards!
PENTHESELIA: We don't have the facilities.
IRENE: Any drug she'd give you would effect the feotus.
SUE: Get Diana! I want hypnotized!
CLARE: Do it yourself, idiot! Count backwards!
SUE: One hundred, I am floating on the waters...
DRB.: Two more weeks and ve'd've been ready.
SUE: Ninety nine, my little toes relax..
SCIO: (enters) What is this? What's going on?
DR.B: They're all in labor!
SUE: Ninety eight, the water grows warmer..
SCIO: Impossible! All of them?
IRENE: I'm not.
SUE: Why not? It's not fair!
PENTHESELIA: Can there be something in the method that results in short gestation?
SCIO: Why ask me? I'm death! Birth is Deborah's fuck up!!
DR.B: It's an experiment. You expect zome one ting: but you can come out with anyting..
CLARE, SUE & PEN all groan)
II SCENE NINE
(DIANA, in a black robe, is standing at the statue of the Goddess. She tends what looks like a sacrificial fire in a brazier before her. Diana tosses something in, watches it burn. IRENE, still hugely pregnant, is wearing black tights and a "maternity" black leotard. She plays a flute or guitar.
ADRIAN enters with some papers, gives them to DIANA, who adds them to the flames. DIANA lifts her hands and goes into prayer-trance. CLARE, slim now and wobbly, enters and, helped by ADRIAN, begins to unfold and dismantle her charts. Some she tosses into a carton provided by ADRIAN, a few items she gives ADRIAN who adds them to the fire.
CLARE: Irene, will you shut off that dirge and give us a hand here?
IRENE: I've got my own to do. (IRENE gets out the projector and slides, begins to pack them away, but checking a few of the images she puts them into the machine and throws the pictures against the wall.. LESLEY crosses carrying gear)
DR.B:(from upstairs) Adrian? Sue's ready. (ADRIAN goes upstairs. Images: flowers, mushroom cloud, corpse, babies. IRENE begins to sob.)
CLARE: (hugs IRENE) Irene, sweetheart. You can bear it. (ADRIAN comes downstairs, carrying SUE, followed by DR.B carrying SUE's baby)
IRENE: What if mine's a boy, too?
CLARE: I wouldn't worry about it. Mathematics alone-
IRENE: But they've ALL been boys! (enter SCIO)
DIANA: (turns to them) Except mine.
SCIO: Yes, except Diana's. (enter PENTHESELIA)
IRENE: But none of them should have been! Suppose Diana had her girl by magic! She could've! The science part, Dr.B's great theory--? suppose it's exactly backwards! Instead of suppressing Y chromosomes, it manufactures them!
CLARE: The trouble's more likely human error.
SCIO: Of what kind? Clare?
CLARE: (bracing to confess) Frailty.
DIANA: Frailty, thy name is Human!
DR.B: I don't know vhich is vorse: to believe dhat I'm responsible for all dhese monsterous births, or to believe that you or Sue or Irene would sneak off to rub an itch against some faceless phallus! I'd kill myself for shame! Vhat vould dhat make us?
PENTHESELIA: Fallible. Daughters of men.
SCIO: We should've concentrated on cloning.
DR.B: Men are so far out ahead on dat one. Zhere are plenty of grants, plenty of projects! Males're zo eager to replicate themselves. Mithout us.
CLARE: One group at MIT wants to grow men resistant to dioxin: it'd be cheaper than cleaning the stuff up.
IRENE:(sings the folksong) "If living were something money could buy
the rich would live, and the poor would die--
All my trials, Lord, soon be over.
Too late! Too late my brother! Too late, but never mind--
All my trials, Lord, soon be over."
(LESLEY re-enters, helps IRENE to pack up her boxes of equipment. ADRIAN dances gravely)
CLARE: They really want to be Robocops. Steel skin. Replaceable parts. Invulnerable.
SUE:(restrains ADRIAN) Shhh, darling.
PEN: They want to live on the moon! Underground, in stacked burrows. To colonize the stars! The clean pure place where nothing will exist unless it serves him. Nothing but Men and machines and minerals.
DIANA: The moon will revenge herself on these lunatics.
SCIO: Long before they're at that stage the generals we have now will have blown up the whole life-experiment. (points to the image projected by IRENE) Look! There it is, the living earth. Dressed in emeralds, breathing cloud. Here it comes as it will be, when the toy soldiers have X'd it out.
IRENE: Scio, that's not Earth, it's Mars.
SCIO: Or Mercury, or Pluto, or any one of a billion dead rocks circling a billion sterile suns.
DR.B: Ve had a chance, a last chance. I wasn't intelligent enough, dat's all. Dere's a factor I've missed, and it's my fault.
CLARE: You can't just give up. There are the rest of these births due. You can evaluate, and with the next group..
SCIO: No time for a next group. The police are suspicious. They'll be back.
LES: All they know is me. I'll go away, let myself be seen somewhere on the West Coast-
PEN: They'll be back.
SCIO: They'll find traces of my experiments in the basement.
PEN: Time has run out, and once we are gone from here it must be as if we never were, as if none of this had even been thought of.
DIANA: But it has been thought of! That's the point! We exist. Our seed is planted.
PEN: The seed that falls on rocky ground-
DORO: (they had forgotten her) Mother? Does this mean we'll go home?
PEN: This is my home, darling. Wherever I go is exile.
DORO: You have me, and little Peter. Even if I reconcile with Jerry, we're your real family. It isn't right, you know, mother? To cut a child off from half its heritage. That's as bad as an Amazon cutting off one breast. A mutilation-
DIANA: Do you remember our argument about the historical Amazons, Clare? You were so wrong!
CLARE: On what evidence?
DIANA: Our evidence! Whatever has been imagined, exists. The Amazon idea is alive, now! In us. We claimed the future, and by that we create our past! Any day now, archaeologists will dig up our cities.
CLARE: All the sites of legend have been searched-
DIANA: Amazonia will be found! Where yesterday was not a trace! And virgins will give birth without our instigation. We have dreamed this, (indicates her baby), the Morning Star. Soon our dreams will shine in daylight!
LES: If only I'd been more careful.
PEN: I'm responsible. I chose the work, I chose you all as my tools, I decided the price worth paying for Eden. I even decided who should have knowledge of good and evil, passing out guilt to those I thought strong enough! Forgive me.
SCIO: Don't be a fool.
PEN: I'll take Dorothy away this afternoon. Lesley should leave immediately. Adrian can help pack.
SUE: Adrian's coming with me.
ADRIAN: With baby. Baby needs is tender Da-
SUE: Shhh, darling. I'm going to try to get the baby's brother back, too. My little Gabe. He's with his grandma.
LES: What about me? I thought the deal was if I helped you we'd be together!
SUE: Diana needs you more than I do.
LES: She doesn't need anybody! She's stronger than Atlas!
SUE: She has the baby. The baby will suck up her power.
DIANA: I am the lady of the moon, and my daughter's the morning star.
CLARE: Turn off the tape, Diana. I think we should go in pairs. If Irene goes with DR.B, I'll do my best to help Scio.
SCIO: I'll need a few days to finish up, make records.
PEN: There must be no records! Suppose th government --any government - got hold of your formula?!
SCIO: Better than a neutron bomb, huh? Finish off all the enemy! After all, Celia, it's only your part of the plan that's failed. My part's a success, an unqualified success. Now that we know it works, it'd be a shame not to use it. Kill all the killers!
DR.B: You can't be serious! Kill men? Mithout establishing a means for vomen to reproduce? Dat means da end of da human race.
SUE: Even babies? Like mine?
SCIO: The Universal Enemy! Scourge of all other life-forms!
CLARE: Most species are doomed. But even with the bomb there's a finite chance..
SCIO: Of what? Man's dominion has lasted a few thousand years. One millifraction of the era of the dinosaurs. In that time he has obliterated 300 species of mammal, untold thousands of insects and reptiles, millions of kinds of plant. Where are the cedars of Lebanon? Each of those species was a miracle, a perfect creation, a locus of beauty and sensation every bit as worthy to thrive as this arrogant primate who grabbed the throne when some obscure asteroid knocked off the dinosaur! So! Why not abdicate? We, the last generation, bow out. So that generation itself may go on.
PEN: You can't mean All? Not one thought or art work or-
SCIO: Name me one human product to equal the lowly nest of a wasp!
PEN: Music! The binomial theorem!
SCIO: You don't have to help me, Pentheselia. You've done your part. Just step aside.
PEN: Who would help you? Look at their faces.
DORO: What are they talking about?
SUE: I don't know. I hope, I don't. Clare?
CLARE: We know. This old world can't afford another generation of nuclear physicists, of tinkerers with the genomes. Women can't run the doom machine now, that's true. But if the warriors had no sons, they'd train their daughters. Dad trained me.
SUE: But you can't mean to kill them all, Scio. We're healers, we're gentle-
ADRIAN: 'nd tender.
DORO: Daddy! You started the killing with Daddy?
SCIO: The network's in place to spread the virus. All I'll need from you is the code. Really, it's not so different from what you had planned.
PEN: No. Not so different. I see that now.
DORO: You're killers!
SCIO: Yes. We're killers. Humans are Killers by instinct, by trade, by accident, or on principle.
PEN: Dr. B, go downstairs and dismantle Scio's laboratory. Lesley, maybe you'd better help Clare keep an eye on her till she comes to her senses.
SCIO:(threatens them with a gun) Don't go through that door, Dr.B. Pentheselia, write me out the code. I intend to test it before I let anyone leave.
PEN: (starts toward SCIO) Do you think you can frighten me?
SCIO: Diana? You must know it too.
PEN: (coming) I don't think you want to hurt me.
SCIO: (pointing gun) How about the Morning Star?
(DIANA rises and moves towards SCIO. The Morning Star is awake now, and frightened, begins to fuss. As DIANA distracts SCIO, LESLEY begins to circle behind her, while DOROTHY and SUE huddle with their infants to one side.)
DIANA: Beware! Your threats are thrown back by my golden circle of protection! That evil which you invoke comes back to you, fivefold-! Now!
LES: Hwah! (LESLEY, from behind, karate-chops SCIO who falls to the floor. Pause. Most of the women gather round the body. PEN picks up the gun.)
IRENE: Is she dead?
DR.B:(checking) Ya. Is dead.
LES: (looks at her hand) Jeeze.
CLARE: You had to, Lesley.
SUE: But now what?
IRENE: Hide the body?
SUE: In my closet?
PEN: When it's discovered, there'll be an investigation. You all have dreams, you have babies-
( PEN aims the gun at Scio's body, fires. The babies all howl)
IRENE: Why'd you do that? She was dead!
PEN: Get out of here quietly, all of you. By the time the police get here I'll have invented a motive. Jealous love. Money.
LES: You'll take the blame?
PEN: It's mine, it belongs to me. Clare, will you see that Dorothy gets home? Try to make her understand.
DORO: Dad would forgive you. But I won't.
PEN: I know.
SUE: It doesn't have to be this way. We aren't murderers in our nature, and with training--
PEN: Then train 'em! Go, pacify the earth! (exit)
CLARE: The experiment didn't fail! I failed, and Sue, but any day we may learn something that--
PEN: Learn! Don't give up! But get out of here! Dr. B, will this look plausible?
DR.B.: I tink so. Ya.
IRENE: I can't bear this! To go on without hope.
DIANA: Hope! The last to leave Pandora's box.(indicates pregnancy) You have a bellyfull of hope. (POLICE SIREN)
PEN: Hurry now, both of you. Into the basement, out through the tunnel.
DIANA: (chants) Though I move through danger, I am not afraid. A strong protection surrounds me. I will fear no evil. (KNOCKING ON DOOR)
POLICEMEN: Mrs. Prescott? Are you all right?
DICK: Mrs. Prescott, open up. Police. Try the door.
POLICEMAN: It's a police lock. What about the window? (the men burst into the room)
DICK: Mrs. Prescott-(notices body) Jesus!
POLICEMAN: Better give us that gun.
PEN: (smiles, indicating body) Sorry, gentlemen: It was a kind of accident. Forgive me if I have to leave things in a mess- (lifts the gun to shoot herself)
THERE IS A THUNDERCLAP, AND A BURST OF FLAME AND FLASHPOWDER. DIANA EMERGES, RAISES HER ARM AND CHANTS:)
"Praise her glory flashing! Her rosy sunset, thundersplit,
When her bright hair blanches the sky!"
MEANWHILE, BY WHATEVER SPECIAL EFFECTS THE THEATRE CAN MUSTER, PENTHESELIA IS APOTHEOSIZED -- FLOWN ALOFT TO THE FLIES, CLOUD-DECKED, OR ENFOLDED IN THE ARMS OF THE GODDESS.)
DIANA:(EPILOGUE) Behold! A miracle resolves our play! Deus-ex-machina.
PENTHESELIA: The happiest way
To crown, we hope, two hours of pleasant fable.
One question's left for you: it's on the table.
Tell me, sisters- and, yes, you, my brother--
If this "machine" should fail: Have you another?