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.