Play #12: The Courtship of Mary Deer

(The play is set in the front yard of a neat cottage by the sea—a cottage inhabited by a young woman named Mary Deer and her termagant mother.  As the play opens, the two women are undergoing an amorous visitation by Mary Deer’s current suitor, CaptainTerrapin Outport).

TO: I trust you will accept this token of my continually revised estimation.  I herewith offer you this haven of stygian blooms, as soft as soot.  

MARY DEER: You bring me a cloud of smoke!

MARY DEER’S MOTHER: Take this botanical filth away!

TO: Madame, I offer Mary these sinister posies so that she may not think me frivolous.  (Turning to Mary Deer) No old-lady sunsets here, Mary Deer.  These flowers are as heavy as oil.

MARY DEER’S MOTHER:  Ashes and arches!  They make me cold.   

MARY DEER: The blossoms are indeed as bright as staples, Terrapin, but the strangled leaves and overarching stems are black as any barbed-wire crow!

TO: Mary Deer, we two are surfeited with easy sugarshack beauty.  We need blooms as empty as foam or famine!  This particular outburst is Nightshade—harvested from the dragon evenings of the Ancients.

MARY DEER’S MOTHER:  But your suitor’s task was to move her with light, and you come to her with these floral entrails!!

TO: No, bleak mother of Mary Deer, my resolve is to bring to your daughter posies grown in the hard clay of evacuated stables and watered with the acid dew of the world’s exhalations.  Anything breezier would, in my outsourced estimation, sweep her tiny parts back into her own bloodstream.

MARY DEER (annoyed): I will have something to say about that, Captain Outport!

MARY DEER’S MOTHER and T.O. (both turning to Mary Deare and speaking together):  Oh yes? What?


Play # 11: Plums

Scene: The lobby of the Sunrise, a small hotel in Paris, frequented by the Impressionist painters.  There are pots of paint sitting on the carpets, and a number of encrusted easels leaning against the walls.

CONCIERGE (talking to the second-floor maid, who sits primly on his knees):  And you say you heard a quarrel in Monsieur Manet’s apartment?

MAID:  Yes sir, a violent one.  Monsieur Manet was very upset.

CONCIERGE:  Do you know what he was upset about?

MAID:  Yes sir, he was fighting with Monsieur Degas about black.


MAID:  The colour, sir.

At this point, Edgar Degas comes storming down the stairs and into the lobby.  The concierge hastily stands up, dumping the maid onto to the carpet.

DEGAS:  Idiot!

CONCIERGE (all discomfiture):  Why monsieur Degas!....

DEGAS (shouting back up the stairs): Black is not a colour!

MANET (from upstairs):  It is the only colour!

DEGAS:  Absurd!  And by the way, Manet, I AM SENDING BACK YOUR PLUMS!!


PLAY #10: THE FARM PLAY or Desire Under the Eves

Scene:  A stern barnyard with a farmhouse nearby.
There are three characters in the play: Bo-Peep, a Sheepstress, Miss Seed, a housekeeper, and Rib Tickler, a dissolute farmer.

Bo-Peep:  I tend my sheep in the sunny meadow.  I think of little else but their comfort.

Rib Tickler:  Horses asses, pigs’ pizzles, bull testicles, the horns of goats.

Miss Seed (whacking the dinner triangle):  Time for your prayers, Rib.

Bo-Peep:  I do not go in for prayers for if I did, my flock would wander.  And besides, Mister Tickler would stare at my belly from over his psalter.

Rib Tickler (intoning the words): Pizzles, horns, dark under the covers.

Bo Peep (to all the world):  There is joy in the hills.  (to herself) I see him looking at my baby hands, at my lacy fingers and at my cross-tied bonnet.

Miss Seed: Go back now to work, Rib.

Rib Tickler:  The girl cares for her sheep.  I care only for her pincushion body.

Miss Seed:  I am hoping for rain. It’s been too long dry

Bo Peep and Rib Tickler leave the stage in opposite directions.  Miss Seed remains, gazing up at the cloudless sky.


PLAY #9: The Judgment of Paris

The play is set in the vales of midmost Ida.
It is the unhappy task of Paris, a commoner, to award a Golden Apple to the goddess he deems the most beautiful of all; he must choose between the fearsome Juno, the astringent Minerva and the delectable Venus.  No contest, you might say.  But for Paris, it’s not that simple.

JUNO:  Well, little Paris, you have a decision to make.  Do you fancy yourself up to the task?

PARIS:  I hope so.

JUNO (pointedly): I hope so too.

VENUS:  Paris.  What a lovely name!  How fine to be named after the City of Light!

MINERVA (looking scornfully at Venus):  Stuff and nonsense!

VENUS (purring): Do you like me, Paris?

MINERVA:  We ALL like you. Venus, now stop vamping our noble judge.

JUNO:  He NOT noble.  He’s just nobody—with a catchy name.

PARIS (sighing heavily):  I would like to be as fair as possible, but Venus is just too much for me.  There’s no withstanding her loveliness!

(he gives her the apple)

JUNO and MINERVA (thin-lipped with rage):  Okay, just you wait until the Trojan War begins.

Venus and Paris:  The what?