Two Plays on Love and Marriage

PART I Beauty, Love and Marriage The Myth an the Reality

These two powerful short plays by Myrna Lamb, while continuing to explore the ravages worked on our humanity by a patriarchal system (like the rest of Scyklon Z),[1] are especially interesting in their differences. Each shows a complementary but sharply different facet of the author's temperament.
At first glance The Serving Girl and the Lady seems to be yet another confirmation of that recurring (and cherished) male canard that women are their own worst enemies. A closer look shows that while women do indeed inflict great harm on one another, this is merely another example of the kind of divisiveness and self-destruction that members of most oppressed groups practice upon each other.
There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that it is safer to express one's hostilities toward one's own kind than to strike at the powerful master class. Thus, the poor most often steal from and kill one another, and so do American blacks. Imbued from their earliest years with the belief in their own inferiority and unworthiness, they re-create a form of pecking order or caste system that pitifully but cruelly mirrors the archetype.
And so we arrive at the mistress-maid or lady-serving girl relationship. Because their husbands are defined and
divided by their different economic class memberships, it is often assumed that wives correspond to the same general
categories and that their relationships with one another can be analyzed in the same way. But I believe this is a
superficial assumption, and closer scrutiny of the women's lives reveals a vastly more complex network of motivating forces.    
In The Second Sex Simone de Beauvoir writes, »a housewife has more intimate relations with her maid than any man—unless he be homosexual—ever has with his valet or chauffeur; they exchange confidences, at times they are accomplices; but there exists also a hostile rivalry between them, for the mistress, while avoiding the actual work, wishes to have responsibility and credit for it; she wants to be thought irreplaceable, indispensable.«477.2.2
And although the housewife wants to appear vital and unique to the whole family, it is above all the male, the head or the household, whom she wishes to impress. Men are divided by, and compete for, money. It is money that gives them their social standing in the world. Women only acquire their husband's status. Their money and social standing are derived from the man they belong to. Their emotional and their economic well-being and security depend on him. Thus, my belief that women are divided by, and compete for, men.
In the light of these observations, it is interesting that: a frequent comment about The Serving Girl and the Lady has been: »It was difficult to figure out which one was the lady and which the serving girl.» In fact, the differences between them are not great. If they were to be divorced and remarried to each other's husband, the serving girl would become the lady and vice versa, while the husbands' roles would not change at all. Marriage does not generally affect a man's financial or social status in the eyes of the world—at least not automatically as with women.
The play has a fascinating blend of forms that rise quickly to an arresting climax and end with a punch in the
stomach. The opening section of the play takes the shape of counterpoint solos or monologues, punctuated by a long, memorable aria belonging to the serving girl. To continue the operatic analogy, the voices then turn to a dialogue-recitatif confrontation which is resolved with the triumph of the male through the lady, who relishes her »victory« with seductive, but bone-chilling repetition.
A frequently heard comment about Myrna Lamb'a work, and about this play in particular, is that it is written in a highly complex verbal shorthand—that her plays are in fact full-length works compressed into a time slot of well under a half-hour. In truth, the shortest of Lamb's one-act plays contains more dramatic meat than most three-act plays. However, I do not believe that this is from a lack of desire to develop the play's theme. In The Serving Girl and the Lady, Lamb offers us a ritual which has been reenacted countless times throughout (patriarchal) history around the world; she offers us this ritual in its essence. She spares us the slow torture of a two-hour reenactment of our habitual follies and in return asks that we follow her fast, deft strokes carefully. Her language is complex because her subject is complex. But just pay attention: since we've all been through this routine so many times before, close attention will reveal that the labyrinth of her experience is more startlingly familiar to us than we might initially have thought.
But What Have You Done for Me Lately, while further illustrating the fabric of female oppression and equally charged with dramatic tension and unforgettable images, shows us the author's skill from yet another vantage point. In this play the author is working with two dramatic conventions which present especially dangerous terrain to the playwright: role reversal and agit-prop. Role reversal has, of course, been with us a long time: but I would venture to say that rarely has it been used more skuiruny, or to greater effect, than here A lawmaker, pregnant against his will, is given the legitimate opportunity to voice every imaginable feminist argument in favor of abortion. A female surgeon, perpetrator of the unwanted pregnancy, is offered the equally legitimate opportunity to give voice to every conceivable paternalistic and pseudohumanist rebuttal. The play is undeniably political, unceasingly and unabashedly feminist; the speeches are long and often strident in tone; it is difficult to stage as there is little movement directly called for in the script. Yet during every performance (and there have been hundreds before every kind of audience and under every conceivable condition, favorable and unfavorable) presented by the New Feminist Repertory,[3] attention was riveted upon the stage throughout the twenty-odd minutes running time. Clenched fists, gnawed knuckles, heads cocked to eaten every word, these were a common sight. After every performance there was inevitably a crush of people bacKstage, some with eyes filled with tears, others merely shaken individuals who only wanted to express a few halting words of gratitude—and to share their intense involvement.
What I am trying to say is that the theatre of agitation and propaganda, normally a didactic and boring dramatic form to be avoided like the plague, has here been raisea to a high artistic level. This is the author's achievment.
Without ever having received a fully financed production
But What Have You Done for Me Lately has acquired a widespread popularity and an international reputation; it is
the most requested piece in the New Feminist Repertory. It is already an underground classic and will undoubtedly
confirm its position overground as well. Many people have returned to see it again and again.
As an actress, I am hard put to think of a role I would rather perform than the female surgeon. Both The male and the female roles are tours de force which present a challenge to an actor and an actress difficult to equal in one-act plays. On the other hand, The Serving Girl and the Lady presents two actresses with a challenge possibly unparalleled in one-act plays, with the brilliant exception  of Strindberg's The Stronger, with which The Serving Girl and the Lady easily ranks.
Both plays were first produced together with a third play from Scyklon Z, In the Shadow of the Crematoria, by the New Feminist Repertory Theatre in March-April 1969. That Myrna Lamb had to await the existence of a feminist theatre in order to be produced is a shameful indictment of our society—and especially of complacently male-chauvinist theatrical establishment. For years now we have been subjected to the seasonal laments over the woeful state of »The Fabulous Invalid.« And for many of those years, a playwright of the stature of Myrna Lamb was given short shrift. I shudder to think that but for the renaissance of the feminist movement she (and who knows how many others there might be like her) might never have been produced. Fortunately, that is not the case. Nor is it any longer true that she has only been produced by a feminist theatre company. Of course, I have mixed feelings about this, because I would have liked to retain exclusive rights to produce every play she might care to write. Although I retain proprietary feelings about Lamb's work and am not a little jealous that it has not always been possible to produce each one »first,« I am naturally delighted and gratified that the American theatre is finally, if slowly, coming of age.
Anselma Dell 'Olio
Director, New Feminist Repertory Theatre

But what have You done for me lately

TIME: whenever.
PLACE: a space, silent, encapsulated. A man lies with his head angled up and center stage, feet obliquely toward audience. His couching, which is by all means psychiatric in flavor, should also be astronautic and should incline him acutely so that he almost looks as though he is about to be launched. An almost perpendicular slantboard comes to mind or a simple sliding pond or seesaw.
There is a simple table or desk, angled away from man, and a chair placed toward desk that will keep the occupant's back toward man in orthodox (approximate) psychiatric practice, but will give profile or three-quarter view to audience.
At rise man in business suit is situated as delineated. Woman in simple smock (suggestive of surgical smock) comes on upstage and crosses without looking at man. He does not see her. She sits silently. Some time elapses. A soldier, in green beret outfit, complete with M-1 rifle, comes to stage center. He faces audience.

MAN: Where am I? What have you done to me? Where am I? What have you done to me? Where am I? What have you done to me?
(Soldier stands at attention.)
WOMAN:WOMAN: (her voice dehumanized by amplification): Dont worry. Don't worry. We have not done that to you.
WOMEEN: That? What do you mean, »that«?
WOMAN: We have not taken anything.
MAN: Oh. (Pause.) But where am I? What have you done to me?
WOMAN: Are you in pain?
MAN: Yes. I think I am in pain.
WOMAN: Don't you know?
MAN: I haven't been able to consider it fully. The whole procedure ... strange room—anesthetic—nurses? Sisters
in some order?
WOMAN: Nurses. Sisters. In some order. Yes, that would cover it. Yes, anesthetic.
MAN: Anesthetic.
WOMAN: Yes. We didn't want you thrashing about, or suffering psychic stress. Yet.
{Soldier executes left turn and salute.)
MAN: I am suffering abominable psychic stress now.
(Soldier stands at attention through next speeches.)
WOMAN: Yes, I know. But the physical procedure is at an end. You are in remarkably good health. Arteries, Heart. Intestinal tone. Very good. Good lungs too. Very good. I suppose that's due to the electronically conditioned air and the frequent sojourns to unspoiled garden spots of nature.
MAN: What has that to do with it? Was I too healthy? Was that it? Did some secret-society deity decide I should be given a handicap to even up the race?
WOMAN: Well, that is an interesting conjecture.
MAN: It can't be! That I was considered too healthy? That's preposterous.
WOMAN: Yes, it is. You couldn't really have been too healthy.
MAN: Then... what have you done? Was there a handicap?
(Left turn and salute by Soldier.)
WOMAN: To even up the race. I believe that was your phrase. I approve. Very compressed. Very dense; The race that we run ... the race of man, as we sshorthandedly express it... and somewhere in my memory, a line about the race going to the swift ... yes, and then the association with handicap ... a sporting chance for the less swift.
MAN: Handicap ... some kind of tumor... some kind of cancer ...
(Young woman hereafter referred to as Girl crawls onstage.)
Is that it? What have you done to me?
WOMAN: No, no. Calm yourself. No cancer. No tumor. Not parasitic death, my friend. Parasitic life.
MAN: I don't understand you. What have you done to me? Parasitic life? (Pause.) Parasitic life. Pseudoscientific claptrap. Parasitic life. Witchdoctor mumbo-jumbo. Parasitic life. Wait a moment. There is a meaning to that phrase. It can't apply to me—not to me—not—
(Girl pulls on Soldier's leg. She is still in crawling position. Soldier stands at rigid attention throughout next speeches with no obvious awareness of Girl. She rises and approaches him, reaching out to him.)
WOMAN: Yes, it can apply to you. We have given you an impregnated uterus. Implanted. Abdominal cavity. Yours. Connections to major blood vessels were brought in very quickly. As a matter of fact, it was destined for you. It has achieved its destiny.
MAN: I don't believe it. I can't believe this nightmare.
WOMAN: Well, that is how many people feel upon learning these things. Of course, most of those people have been considered female. That made a difference, supposedly. We've managed to attach a bit of ovary to the uterus. I don't think it will do any real good, but I will give you a course of hormonal and glandular products to maintain the pregnancy.
MAN: Maintain the pregnancy, indeed! How dare you make that statement to me!
(Using outreaching arm of Girl and foot leverage, Soldier flips her over and throws her to floor.
WOMAN: I dare. There is a human life involved, after all.
MAN: There is a human life involved? You insane creatures, I'm fully aware that there is a human life involved. My human life. My human life that you have decided to play with for your own despicable purposes, whatever they are. WOMAN: Do you think you are in the proper frame of mind to judge? My purposes?
(Soldier does pushups with sexual-soldier connotations over outstretched body of Girl.)
Your ultimate acceptance of what you now so vociferously reject? The relative importance of your mature and realized life and the incipient potential of the life you carry within you? Your life is certainly involved. But perhaps your life is subsidiary to the life of this barely begun creature which you would seek to deny representation.
MAN: Why should I give this ... this thing representation?
(Soldier rises and kicks Girl aside. Walks to rifle. Walks around Girl, pacing, right shoulder arms.)
It is nothing to me. I am not responsible for it or where it is nor do I wish to be. I have a life, an important life.
I have work, important work, work, I might add, that has more than incidental benefit to the entire populatio of this world—and this—this mushroom which you have visited upon me—in your madness—has no rights, no life, no importance to anyone, certainly not to the world. It has nothing. It has no existence. A little group of cells. A tumor. A parasite. This has been foisted upon me and then I am told that I owe it primary rights to life, that my rights are subsidiary! That is insanity, i do not want this thing in my body. It does not belong there. I want it removed. Immediately. Safely.
WOMAN: Yes, I understand how you feel. But how would it be if every pregnancy brought about in error or ignorance or through some evil or malicious or even wellmeaning design were terminated because of the reluctance or the repugnance of the host? Surely the Population of the world would be so effectively decimated as to render wholly redundant the mechanisms of lebensraum, of national politics, of hunger as a weapon, of greed as a motive, of war itself as a method.
(Soldier lunges and stabs at the invisible enemy, accompanying movements with the appropriate battle grunts and cries. There is hatred and despair in the sounds.)
Surely if all the unwilling human beings who found motherhood forced upon them through poverty or chance or misstep were to be given the right to choose their lives above all else, the outpouring of acceptance and joy upon the wanted progeny of desired and deliberate pregnancies would eliminate forever those qualities of aggression and deprivation that are so necessary to the progress of society.
After all, you must realize there are so many women who find themselves pregnant and unmarried, pregnant and unprepared, with work that cannot bear interruption, with no desire to memorialize a casual sexual episode with issue. So many human beings whose incidental fertility victimizes them superfluously in incidents of rape and incestuous attack.
(Following the lunges, stabs, and grunts, Mair slams the rifle against the stage in vertical strokes.)
So many creatures confounded by sexual desire or compelling need for warmth and attention who find themselves penniless, ill, pitifully young and pregnant too.
(Finally Soldier simply stands, lifts rifle to shoulder.)
And so many women who with the approval of society, church and medicine have already produced more children than they can afford economically, psychically, physically. Surely you can see the overwhelming nature of the problem posed by the individual's desire to prevail as articulated by you at this moment. If one plea is valid, then they might all be. So you must learn to accept society's interest in the preservation of the fetus, within you, within all in your condition.
MAN: Do you know that I want to kill you? That is all I feel. The desire to kill you.
(Soldier points rifle at Girl's head.)
WOMAN: A common reaction. The impregnated often feel the desire to visit violence upon the impiegnator. Or the
maintainers of the pregnancy.

MAN: You are talking about women.
(Soldier spreads Girl's legs with butt of rife. Nudges her body with rifle.)
Pregnancy, motherhood is natural to a woman. It is her portion in life. It is beneficial to her. It is the basic creative drive that man seeks to emulate with all his art and music and literature. It is natural for a woman to
create life. It is not natural for me.
(Soldier kicks and rolls Girl's 'body in sharp rhythm corresponding with beginning of Woman's sentences in next speech so that Girl, in 3 movements, is turned from her back to her stomach to her back again. Soldier then turns away Freezes.)
WOMAN: The dogma of beneficial motherhood has been handed down by men. If a woman spews out children she will be sufficiently exhausted by the process never to attempt art, music, literature or politics. If she knows that that that is all that is expected of her, if she feels that the fertility, impregnation, birth cycle validates her credentials as a female human being she will be driven to this misuse of nature as a standard of her worth, as a measure of the comparative worthlessness of those who breed less successfully. That will occupy her sufficiently to keep her from competing successfully with male human beings on any other human basis.
MAN: You cannot dismiss natural as an inappropriate term. My body cannot naturally accommodate a developing fetus. My body cannot naturally expell it at the proper moment.
WOMAN: Females cannot always naturally expell the infant at term.
(Soldier turns, rests butt of rifle on Girl's stomach, and presses. Girl pants.)
The pelvic span is a variable. Very often, the blood or milk of a natural mother is pure venom to her child. Nature is not necessarily natural or beneficial. We know that. We alter many of its processes in order to proceed with the exigencies of our civilizations. Many newly pregnant women recognize that the situation of egress is insufficient in their cases. In your cases, there is a gross insufficiency. The Caesarian procedure is indicated.

MAN: But that is dangerous, terribly dangerous even to contemplate. I tell you I am terrified almost to the point of death.
WOMAN: Others have experienced the sane sense of terror. Their kidneys are weak, or they have a rheumatic heart, or there is diabetes in the family. As I have told you, you are quite healthy. And you will have excellent care. You will share with others a lowered resistent to infection. But you will not go into labor and you will not risk a freak occurrence in which strong labor produces a suction through the large blood vessels that bring particles of placental detritus and hair and ultimate suffocation to the laboring woman's lungs.
MAN: Your comparisons are obscene- My body isn't suitable for carrying a child. There isn't room.
(Soldier slams rifle between Girl's legs. Hard)
WOMAN: Many female bodies are as unsuitable for childrenbearing as yours is.
(Soldier stands at attention again.)
Modern science has interceded with remedies. Your internal circumstance will be crowded. Not abnormal. Your intestines will be pushed to one side. Your ureters will be squeezed out of shape. Not abnormal. Your kidneys and bladder will be hard pressed. All within the realm of normality. Your skin will stretch, probably scar in some areas. Still not abnormal.

MAN: But I am a man.
WOMAN: Yes, to a degree. That is a trifle abnormal but not insurmountable.    
MAN: But why should anyone want to surmount the fact of my being a man? Do you hate all men? Or just me« And why me?
(Soldier executes present arms maneuver.)

WOMAN: At one time I hated all men.

MAN: I thought so.
WOMAN: I also hated you most particularly. I am not ashamed of it
(She turns toward him.)
You may guess the reason.
man: I recognize you, of course.
(Soldier carries violently to attention and slams rifle against stage, vertical butt.)
WOMAN: And you understand a little more.
MAN: But that was so long ago. So—so trivial in the light of our lives—your life—mine—so trivial. Surely your career, your honors, the esteem in which you are held... surely all of this has long since eclipsed that -that mere episode. Surely you didn't spend all those years training—research—dedication—to learn how to do this... to me!
(Soldier adopts caricature of at ease position.)

WOMAN: Surely? No, I cannot apply that word to any element of my life. Trauma is insidious. My motives were not always accessible to me. That mere episode. First. Then certain choices. Yes. Certain directions. Then, witnessing the suffering of others which reinforced memories of suffering. Then your further iniquities, educated, mature, authoritative iniquities in your role of lawmaker that reinforced my identification of how to you as the ... enemy. All those years to learn how to do this ... to you.
MAN: You really intend to go through with this, then?
WOMAN: (silence ... looks at him .. even through him)
MAN: What will become of me? I'll have to disappear. They'll think I've died. Absconded. My work. Believe me, lives, nations, hang in the. balance. The fate of the  world may be affected by my disappearance at this moment. I am not stating the case too strongly!
(Soldier squats, staring out audience.)    
WOMAN: I recognize that. However, those arguments are not held valid—here.
MAN: Why not? They are valid arguments anywhere. Here or anywhere.
WOMAN: I think you are rather confused
MAN: Wouldn't you be under these circumstances?
(During speech that follows Soldier and Girl circle counter-directionally in blind panic, looking to see where the danger is coming from as Soldier aims rifle fruitlessly in several directions)
WOMAN: Yes. Would be and was. So were many others. Couldn't approach friends or relatives. Seemed to run around in circles. Time running out. Tried things. Shots, Rubber tubes. Tricky. Caustic agents. Quinine Wire coat hanger. Patent medicine Cheap abortionist. Through false and real alarms, through the successful routines and the dismal failures, our minds resided in one—swollen—pelvic—organ. Our work suffered. Our futures hung from a gallows. Guilt and humiliation and ridicule and shame assailed us. Our bodies. Our individual unique familiar bodies, suddenly invaded by strange unwelcome parasites, and we were denied the right to rid our own bodies of these invaders by a society dominated by righteous male chauvinists of both sexe who identified with the little clumps of cells and gave them precedence over the former owners of the host bodies.
(Girl drops to ground, her face hidden in her arms. Soldier simply stands.)
MAN: Yes. I understand. I never thought of it in that way before. Naturally ...    -
WOMAN: Naturally. And yet, you were my partner in crime, you had sex with me and I had sex w«n yu when we were both students.
MAN: Did you consider it a crime?
WOMAN: Not at the time. Did you?
MAN: I never did.
WOMAN: When did the act between two consenting adults become a crime—in your mind?
MAN: I tell you—never.
WOMAN: Not your crime?
MAN: Not anyone's crime....
WOMAN: So you committed no crime. You did not meritt nor did you receive punishment.
MAN: Of course not.
WOMAN: Of course not. You continued with your studies, law, wasn't it?
(Soldier pushes Girl all the way down with rifle. hegets up and kisses rifle.)    
You maintained your averages, your contacts. You pleased your family, pursued your life plan. You prospered. Through all of this, you undoubtedly bad the opportunity to commit many more noncrimes of an interestingly varied nature, did you not?
MAN: Noncrimes? Your terminology defeats me. Yes. Yes to all of your contentions. I led a normal life, wiht some problems and many satisfactions. I have been A committed man, as you know, and have done some good in the world. ...
(Soldier kisses own arms.)
WOMAN: Yes. I know. Well, the noncrime that you and I shared had different results for me. Do you remember?

MAN: I do remember... now. But I wasn't in a Posltion then... I wasn't sure. I recognize my error, my error, my 
thoughtlessness now... but I was very young. I had so much at stake...
WOMAN: And I? Everything stopped for me. My share of the noncrime had become quite criminal in the eyes of the world.

(There is a shot offstage. Soldier cries out. He is wounded in the belly. He falls. The Girl falls and cries out simultaneously.)

Wherever I went for help, I found people who condemned me and felt that my punishment was justified, or people who were sympathetic and quite helpless. I had no money, no resources. My parents were last persons on earth I could turn to, after you. I dropped out of sight; for a while I hid like an animal. I finaly went to a public institution recommended by a touch-me-not charity. I suffered a labor complicated by an insufficient pelvic span and a lack of dilation. I spont three days in company with other women who ocarried in and out of the labor room screaming and for their mothers.

(Soldier and Girl are lying head to head on their backs. They are wounded and they cry out Inarticulately far help as the amplified voice overpowers voice overpowers tneir cries. Their   downstage arms reach up and their hand

My body was jostled, invaded, exposed as a crooning old man halfheartedly swept the filthy floor. Many of my fellow unfortunates would come fresh from their battles to witness the spectacle of my greater misfortune. Three days and that cursed burden could no be released from the prison of my body nor I from it.
(The Girl screams. She begins to pant loudly as though she can not catch her breath. The Soldier moans.)
Finally there was a last-ditch high forceps, a great tearing mess, and the emergence of a creature that I fully expected to see turned purple with my own terrible hatred, and ripped to shreds by the trial of its birth. What I saw, instead, was a human being, suddenly bearing very little relationship to me except our common helplessness, our common trial. I saw it was a female, and I wept for it. I wept and retched until my tired fundus gave way and there was a magnificent hemorrhage that pinned me to that narrow bed with pain I shall never forget, with pain that caused me to concentrate only on the next breath -which seemed a great distance from the one before. Some kind fellow-sufferer and my own youth saved me. I awoke to tubes spouting blood from insecure joints. The splattered white coats of the attendants made it a butcher shop to remember. I never held that baby.
(The arms drop. They lie still to end of speech.)
For some days I was too ill. And then the institution policy decreed it unwise. There was a family waiting to claim that female creature, a family that could bestow respectability and security and approval and love. I emerged from that place a very resolved and disciplmea machine. As you know. I worked I studied. I clawed, I schemed. I made my way to the top of my profession and I never allowed a human being to touch me in intimacy again.
MAN: It was—it was criminal of me to have been the author of so much suffering (Soldier sits up.)
to have been so irresponsible... but I was stupidly young. I never could have imagined such things. Believe me.
WOMAN: Yes, you say you were young. Stupidly young. But what was your excuse when you were no longer young and stupid?
MAN: I'm sorry. I'm tired. I don't understand you.
WOMAN: Your daughter and mine grew to womanhood. And she and all her sisters were not spared the possibility of my experience and those of my generation.
(Girl sits up. Girl and Soldier face each other. Soldier stands and becomes speechmaker, rifle arm behind his back, other hand »sincerely« across his heart.)
Because there you were. Again. This time, not perpetrating unwilling motherhood upon a single individual, bu condemning countless human females to the horrors ot being unwilling hosts to parasitic life. You, for pure expediency, making capital of the rolling sounds of immorality and promiscuity which you promised accession upon relaxation of the abortion laws. Wholesale slaughter, you said, do you remember? Wholesale slaughter of innocent creatures who had no protecuo but the law from the untimely eviction from the mother's sinning wombs.
(Girl crouches at his feet, in attitude of supplication. She rests her head on his boot-tops and lies still)
You murdered. You destroyed the lives of young women who fell prey to illegal abortion or suicide or unattended birth. You killed the careers and useful productivity of others. You killed the spirit, the full realization of all potential of many women who were forced to live on in half-life. You killed their ability to produce children in ideal circumstances. You killed love and selfrespect and the proud knowledge that one is the master of one's fate, one's physical body »being the corporeal representation of it. You killed. And you were so damned self-righteous about it.
MAN: I cannot defend myself.
(Girl crawls off to stage right.)

WOMAN: I know.
MAN: But, I beg you, is there no appeal from this sentence?
(Soldier cradles rifle.)
WOMAN: As it happens, there is. We have a board before whom these cases are heard. Your case is being heard at this moment, and their decision will be the final one. The board is composed of many women, all of have suffered in some way from the laws which you so ardently supported. There is a mother who lost her daughter to quack abortionists. There is a woman was forced to undergo sexual intercourse on the examining table by the aborting physician. There is a woman who unwittingly took a fetus-deforming drug administered by her physician for routine nausea, and a wo who caught German measles at a crucial point in her pregnancy, both of whom were denied the right to abortion, but granted the privilege of rearing hopelessly defective children. There is an older woman who spent a good part of her childrearing years in a mental institution when she was forced to bear a late and unwanted child. There are others. You won't have too long to wait, now. For the verdict.
MAN: I promise you, that if I am spared, that I will be able to do much to undo the harm I have ignorantly done. This experience has taught me in a way that no other learning process could. I am in a position to ... For the first time I can truly ... identify ... it would be to the advantage of all... .
(Soldier leaves rifle and stands as a human being, without pose.)
WOMAN: That is being taken into account.
(Someone brings report or Woman goes to side of stage where she emerges with it from a cubicle.)
MAN: Is that the decision?
WOMEN: Yes. The board has decided that out of compassion for the potential child—
MAN: No, they can't!
(Soldier turns to audience.)
WOMAN: Out of compassion for the potential child, and regarding the qualities of personality and not sex that make you a potentially unfit mother, that the pregnancy is to be terminated.


TIME: The Present.
PLACE: A Stage (Empty or with Things).    wrier
AT RISE: An androgynous figure strides on stage; slender, tall, hair slicked or pulled back tightly from face. Perhaps dressed in tights and leotards.
Following her at some distance is a dark, short, fullfigured female, maybe »natural« haircut or wig, barefoot.
If Things depicted on stage, can be carrying cartons, pails or whatever. Dropping them. Pick them up.
Activity during long speeches, if preferred, can uncclude dressing of leotarded figure by herself or »serving girl« in wig, padded bra, waist-cincher, fluffy apron, jewelry (or whatever is deemed symbolically feminine), and/or bustling sweeping, scrubbing, sewing (or whatever is deemed essentially female) by the serving girl.
THE SERVING GIRL: For the man I drew, it was the end of hope. Rigidity. Rigor mortis before death. A decapitated chicken moving through life by reflex
but never any possibility of life any more. My mariage was weighted like some intolerable mathematical proposition, the gross weight of the injustice increasing with each area of diminished returns.
(Pause. Looks at Lady. Indicates her. Lady looks back at her.)
On the other hand, what she has, the Lady that is, is  this Big Man. Big. Big enough for two was what they suggested. Big head, Big hands, Big brain, Big ambitions. Big. A couple of million in five years if he lives. Instantly, if he dies. He might actually be worth more alive than dead. To replace him, what he is to his wife, you would have to hire a policeman, a babysitter, a loving carpenter, a lawn boy, a nurse, a furniture mover, a shopper, a cook, a house boy, an escort, a circumspect frigger - and above all, a Provider. Capital P.
(Looks at Serving Girl for some time)
The serving girl's husband is bored by himself. He knows his own incapacity too well. Therefore, his only diversion is to never make love to her.
So the lovegiver is to never make love to her
the lovestarved. (Pause) And yet the serving girl is a very desirable woman. If I wished to solve the mystery of her desirability, among other mysteries, I might—I just might—approach her husband. Yes. If, however, he is wholly occupied in maintaining his minus manipulation—I might send my own boy to do a man's job— (Pause) So what? Everyone uses these methods. We want to get the cheese without the trap springing shut, don't we? And there are ways to keep the trap from springing shut, are there not?
the serving girl: The Lady lives at some distance from most traps, with sculpture in her—kitchen, and books lining her—living room. Music is piped into bathrooms and bedrooms. The children spring gleaming from the belly of an appliance.
(Picks up oversized telephone receiver or sense memory) Memo to the Spic'n'Span Accommodation Agency— Flash! Mobilize all your sensual impetuous self-destructive teenage girls. Alert your tall-highly-intelligent-wifh-promising-careers-before-them-but-horny-as-hell college boys. Position them felicitously. Go!
(Stares at oversize wristwatch as nine loud clicks or bells are counted off.)
Stop! (Exceedingly rapid delivery from this point to indicated stop)
Mr. and Mrs. Pure have been our acquaintances for several years and intimate friends for a few years. Stop! We have been associated with them in enterprises that reflect their highly developed social consciousness. Stop! They are outgoing, intelligent, and conscientious members of the community. Stop! They are home-oriented. Stop! Mrs. Pure is very interested in the interior of the home, implementing her creative approach with solid participation in painting of rooms and furniture. Stop! She knits and sews. Stop! Mr. Pure is a talented wood worker, able to finish off basements, install cabinets and provide toys and furniture for cooperative nurseries. Stop! The Pures are both interested in sports and travel. Stop! Mr. Pure is an excellent squash player. Stop! Mrs. Pure is an excellent spectator. Stop! Let's hear it for the Pures!—Stop!
(Stop rapid delivery)
(Calling) Reply requested!
The children, a boy with muscles and a girl with charm are given rooms appropriate to their needs. Mr. Pure kisses the little boy on the mouth. A lot. He pulls the little bugger's pants down, playfully, on almost any opportunity. Mrs. Pure watches with—triumph—as the little girl lies on her back on the pink bathinette, her little legs akimbo and a silent tiny freshet wells up uncontrollably from the pink little sugarplum between the plump little thighs. The kimona gets wet but Mrs. Pure doesn't care.
THE LADY: In our Bacchic rites for social fertility there was love in a cage, love in a box, love in a dirty hotel room where the sheets were only slightly used. Anything, I said. Anything to make you happy. The man was very dark and shorter than I, a croupier in Pleasureland who performed as programmed. Who delivered. Who could go on, to serve my husband his propulsive reaming at the crap table. Afterward.
THE SERVING GIRL: Sexual fantasy, in extremis, should be stored like oxygen, in hospital or hotel rooms, not in the properly maintained home because of its explosive nature and potential danger to—the children.
THE LADY: My husband and I watch fondly, are fond of watching the little tiny ever-so-feminine girl as she plays enthusiastically with the green shoot on the young brother tree, testing its firmness and resiliency as manly little brother stands, oh so still—tolerating it.
THE SERVING GIRL: Tolerating it.
THE LADY: That is what I said.
THE SERVING GIRL: The children do learn by example. They are exemplary children.
THE LADY: I try.
THE SERVING GIRL: To exemplify?
THE LADY: In a manner of speaking.
THE SERVING GIRL: And what is the manner of your speaking?
THE LADY: That is none of your concern. Haven't you something to do?
THE SERVING GIRL: Watch Mama, now. Children, see Mama.
THE LADY: Some dusting? A seam? The dishes!
THE SERVING GIRL: See how mama tolerates it, children?
THE LADY: Hold on, there. Who are you? {Suspiciously) I'm not sure I recognize you—after all    
THE SERVING GIRL: Oh, I'm just an old gymnasium.
THE LADY: An old—gymnasium—
THE SERVING GIRL: A business lunch? A fraternity brother?
THE LADY: Oh, yes.
THE LADY: Yes. Now that I've looked at you more closely. I find I do recognize you after all. But I remember you differently. I remember you as a whisper of crisis, a thrill of competition, the proof that he was attractive to someone—else.
THE SERVING GIRL: What was it you said to your croupier?
THE LADY: Anything. Anything you want.
THE SERVING GIRL: I said that to your husband. Anything-Anything you want
THE LADY: And did you give it to him?
THE SERVING GIRL: And he gave it to me.
THE LADY: Really? Anything you wanted?
THE SERVING GIRL: I wanted what he gave me. You wouldn't understand.
THE LADY: You poor thing. I wouldn't understand?
THE SERVING GIRL: I don't think you would.
THE LADY: Just between us girlS, is the name or The game—Passion—?
THE SERVING GIRL: It can only be a joke to you.
THE LADY: And you? Are you proud? Proud of your passion?
THE SERVING GIRL: (Pause) — yes.
THE LADY: (Abrupt) Don't be. It's only a species of mytn to ensure the perpetuation of the species—A specious myth to keep you forever in a convenient position convenient for us. The Big Man and I -  on your back, on your knees—and enjoying it in the bargain.
THE SERVING GIRL: {Pause) But you've got the real bargain.
THE SERVING GIRL: Feeding. Clothing. Housing. Honoring. Not dependent on the myth of passion.
THE LADY: Definitely dependent on the myth of Passion. The myth of your passion. The myth of his passion for your passion. The myth of his passion for my passion. Here, you naughty boy. You dear sweet naughty boy. I forgive you. I will give you some. Here, for being a good naughty boy. Here for the house. Here for the money. Here for the kitchen, the car, the trip to Puerto Rico, the insurance if you shuffle off this currency-packed coil—
(Each »here« accompanied by a »bump«)
THE SERVING GIRL: And he thought he was a man.
THE LADY: Yes. Didn't he though?
THE SERVING GIRL: He thought that three times from his head to his toes—proving, proving-meant the final confirmation of his manhood. Do squirrels believe the myth too? Have you seen the female squirrel, drawn up, waiting, while the male flattens himself against a redwood bench, his caution temporarily winning over the compelling little lust? Have you heard the agony of the mythic sexual urgency propelling those sounds out of them, those attack and defend sounds? In sun-heated smoke have you made my body the incubator of your passionate pretense, so that it might be carried warmed and ready into your winning threshold? Artificial heat. Artificial light. Forced blooming. Wigs. False eyelashes. Fake fingernails. Padded bellies. Grated passions. All myths. All efficacious.
THE LADY: That's really enough. Quite enough. Rather too much catharsis for one day. When you speak to me next, remember the reality. Tolerance is terminated. Come to terms. What do you say to me, Serving girl?
THE LADY: You say what?
THE LADY: What do you say to me? Come now, you must remember—you know how to say it—you love to say it—it was only a rehearsal with him, the myth belongs to him, but this is the real thing, little peasant, the real thing.
THE SERVING GIRL: But will you shut me out?
THE LADY: Perhaps.
THE SERVING GIRL: No protection?
THE LADY: None guaranteed.
THE SERVING GIRL: I won't! / don't have to!
THE LADY: You will. I'm the only hope you have, the only possible hope.
THE SERVING GIRL: (Dully) Anything
THE LADY: The Big Man will love this. It's what he wanted all along —
THE SERVING GIRL: Anything yoU want
Two Plays on Love and Marriage
THE LADY: That's right. Louder please.
THE SERVING GIRL: Anything to make you happy -
THE LADY: Oh, perfect —Just perfect— Say it —Say it again —keep on saying it—but, as I say - Perfect.