Play #24 A and 24 B: Same Plays Same Time

These two brief plays have identical texts, and differ only in intonation.  They are set in a coffee house—at around eleven o’clock in the morning.  There are two characters: a rather imperious-looking middle-aged woman and a smaller, more delicately-constructed man.
The woman has just seated herself at a table.  The man is still standing, and, as the play opens (and closes), is in the process of asking the woman if she wants anything.

As with Play #16 (Frida), these two plays were overheard, not composed.

Here is PLAY #24 A:

MAN:   “Do you want something to eat?”

WOMAN: “No, I just ate breakfast.”


This is about hostility on the wife’s part—though it is possible this low boil of hers is the product of years of continuing irritation with her husband’s aura of ineffectuality and his lack of presence.  She is slightly irritated that he would ask her something he has clearly failed to observe for himself (that she did indeed have a breakfast).

Here is  PLAY #24 B:

MAN:  “Do you want something to eat?”

WOMAN:  “No, I just ate breakfast.”


No hostility here!  On the contrary, it is clear that these two people are not married (not to each other anyhow), and the man’s question now seems merely attentive and even gallant (men still being hunters and gatherers at heart), and generates only a benign and even winsome reply from the woman.  Because they are not married, he can have no idea whether she has had breakfast or not, and he feels sort of competent and sexy asking her about it.  For her part, she feels a bit coquettish, talking to him about something as intimate, as visceral, as eating.

Play #23: Vegetable Matter

The play takes place in the pre-Prehistoric past, long before architecture, automobiles, gas stoves, laptops, smartphones or Facebook.  The setting is a cave where, in many thousands of years, the Toronto City Hall will stand.  As the play opens, it is early evening, and a woman, Moo, is sitting before a fire, none too patiently awaiting the return to the cave of her partner, the hunter Ugh.

Moo:  It’s getting late and I’m very hungry.  I do wish Ugh would come home.

All at once, there is a noise of footsteps and the additional sound of something heavy being dragged up the path to the cave.  Suddenly we see Ugh, straining to pull an entire Mammoth up to the cave entrance.

Moo (suspiciously):  What’s that?

Ugh: I don’t know what it’s called, but it looks as if it’ll make a good meal!

Moo:  It’s horrible!

Ugh (undeterred):  Well, you’ll have to clean it.  It’ll look more appetizing then.

Moo (still horrified): But it’s a creature!!

Ugh:  Yes, so?

Moo: But it’s made of meat!!

Ugh (cheerfully): That’s okay, so are you!!

Moo: That’s just the point.  We can’t eat creatures.

Ugh:  Why not? They eat each other!

Moo (primly): That doesn’t make it right.

Ugh (heartily):  Sure it does!!

Moo (wearily): Ugh, I’ve explained this a hundred times, I’m not going to eat meat.  You shouldn’t either.

Ugh (crestfallen): But I like meat.

Moo (sweetly): No you don’t.  Not deep down. Not really.

Ugh:  So what’s for supper instead?

Moo: I’ll make a nice stew of bark and brambles!

Ugh (looking wistfully at the Mammoth):  Oh no.

Moo (encouragingly):  It’ll make you feel as light as a feather! 

Ugh (resignedly):  Don’t talk about feathers.  It makes me hungry for birds.



The play takes place at the mouth of a cave high on Mount Colzim in eastern Egypt.  There are two characters in the play: one is a rather stiff, unyielding anchorite named Father Petrus; the other is a gentle scholar-hermit, St. Igneous.  As the play opens, the two are deep in a discussion that is perhaps more philological than theological.

Father Petrus:  You must attend more assiduously to
some science of the spirit—to ASCESIS.

St. Igneous:  But both of us, you and I, have carefully practiced APOSTASIS, an aesthetic renunciation of the world.

Petrus: Yes, we have accepted the tortured path of waylessness.  But still, like wayward children, we cling to purpose!

Igneous:  And in the act of so doing, we deny ourselves
MAGGENANUTHA, a gracious receipt of holy gifts.

Petrus:  We are still too much within the world.  We must more vigorously embrace ANACHORESIS, the profound withdrawl.

Igneous:  We must take up residence on the inner mountain.  We must intensify our state of social disengagement.  We must attain holy stillness, Petra.
We must embrace APATHEIA.

Petrus: We will certainly perish in this heartless desert unless we learn to achieve PARRESIA, a certain intimacy with God.

Igneous:  Boil some tea, Petrus.  I wish us to sip a vow—to ATARAXIA—a life of untroubled calm.

Petrus: How much is it to be desired!

Igneous:  Do not ask how much, gentle Petrus.  Make the tea.  And we will sit together quietly and encircle the word.

Petrus:  You mean “encircle the WORLD.”

Igneous: Isn’t that what I said?

Petrus:  No.