Gala Diakonova, not yet famous as the termagant wife of surrrealist painter, Salvador Dali, is still in an off-again-on-again marriage to French poet Paul Eluard.  As the play begins, she is travelling, however, with her new lover, German surrealist painter, Max Ernst.  They are aboard the French liner, the S.S. Paul Lecat, bound for Saigon.  It is 1924.

Gala (to Ernst, who is leaning at the ship’s rail, gazing at the copper sea):  You paint better because of me.

Ernst (not looking at her):   Unlikely.

Gala: You all paint better with me.

Ernst (dyspeptically): Eluard isn’t a painter.

Gala (still proud of him):  He buys panting though.  That’s almost as important as painting them.   He buys you.  

Ernst (abstractly): I’ve already thanked him for that.

Gala (wickedly):  And now—as more thanks—you’re screwing his wife!

Ernest (equally wickedly):  He’s waiting for us, you know.

Gala (only vaguely interested): He is?  Where? In Saigon?

Ernst:  Yes.

Gala:  He’s there already?

Ernst: Well, obviously yes.  Yes, he is. 

Gala: What’s he doing?

Ernst:  Scratching around in Cambodia.  Mostly Angkor Wat.

Gala:  How do you know that?

Ernst: He cabled me.

Gala:  And I suppose he’ll expect me to sail back to France with him?

Ernst:  He did say something like that, yes.

Gala (glaring at Ernst):  You know what, Max?  I actually think I’ll go with him.

Ernst: Yes, I imagined you would.  He probably needs you.

Gala (furious): No, he doesn’t, Max.  He doesn’t need me at all.

Ernst (turning back to watch the horizon): I guess that’s part of the appeal, then.

Gala (also returning her gaze to the horizon):  I guess so.