May 8, 1983, the L.A. Stage Company West presented Caryl Churchill’s CLOUD NINE at the Canon Theater in Los Angeles. James Morrison began as an understudy for the parts, Clive/Edward, but soon assumed the roles -- as he did, again, later that year in Minneapolis’ Cricket Theater production and in the Los Angeles Hudson Theater production in 2003.

CLOUD NINE is about relationships -- between men and women, men and men, women and women. It is about sex, work, mothers, Africa, power, children, grandmothers, politics, money, Queen Victoria and... sex. It unlocks the imagination, liberates the mind, and leaves you weak with laughter.

The entire first act may be a crash course in 1880 sociology, but it never forgets to be farcical entertainment. For all its dark undercurrent, it makes no serious demands on the audience. It does not take itself seriously, and its truths are evident enough without unnecessary footnotes to hold up the fun. In fact, the whole first act shines the clarifying light of imaginative comedy on hypocrisy. Cleverly used cliches get sharpened and broadened with fresh definition throughout Act I, which takes its zany place somewhere in an antic Africa.

cldnine2.jpg (30605 bytes)In Victorian Africa actually, where Clive imposes his ideals on his family and the natives. Betty, Clive's wife, does not value herself as a woman. Betty is played by a man because she wants to be what men want her to be. In a similar way Joshua, the black servant, doesn't value himself as a black and is thus played by a white man because he wants to be what whites want him to be. Clive tries to impose traditional male behavior on his son, Edward, who is played by a woman (any guesses on this one), a boy who loves to play with his sister Victoria -- and her dolls. Clive struggles throughout the act to maintain the world he wants to see -- a faithful wife, a manly son.

Below is the beginning excerpt from Act I of Caryl Churchill’s play:

CLIVE: This is my family. Though far from home We serve the Queen wherever we may roam. I am a father to the natives here, And father to my family so dear.

He presents Betty. She is played by a man.

My wife is all I dreamt a wife should be, And everything she is she owes to me.

BETTY: I live for Clive. The whole aim of my life Is to be what he looks for in a wife. I am a man's creation as you see, And what men want is what I want to be.

Clive presents Joshua. He is played by a white.

CLIVE: My boy's a jewel. Really has the knack. You'd hardly notice that the fellow's black.

JOSHUA: My skin is black but oh my soul is white. I hate my tribe. My master is my light. I only live for him. As you can see, What white men want is what I want to be.

Clive presents Edward. He is played by a woman.

CLIVE: My son is young. I'm doing all I can To teach him to grow up to be a man.

EDWARD: What father wants I'd dearly like to be. I find it rather hard as you can see.

As the dialogue returns to normal, a good old bounder, Harry Bagley, is thrown into this mix. He is a man whose sexual preference is just about anybody who happens to be around in the first act.

The second act is set in London in 1979. The playwright wanted the play to end up in the changing sexuality of the latter time. Betty is now middle- aged, Edward and Victoria have grown up. A hundred years have passed, but for the characters only twenty-five years. The reason for this was the playwright felt the first act would be stronger set in Victorian times, at the height of colonialism, rather than in Africa during the 1950's.

The first act, like the society it shows, is male dominated and firmly structured. In the second act, more energy comes from the women and the homosexuals. The uncertainties and changes in our society AND a more feminine and less authoritarian feeling are reflected in the looser structure of the latter act. Betty, Edward and Victoria all change from the rigid positions they had been left in by the first act, partly because of their encounters with Gerry (Edward's lover) and Lin (a lesbian who is attracted to Victoria).

In fact, all the characters in this act change a little for the better. If men are finding it hard to keep control in the first act, they are finding it hard to let go in the second: Martin (Victoria's husband) dominates Victoria, despite his declarations of sympathy for feminism. And the bitter end of the colonialism is apparent in Lin's soldier brother, who dies in Northern Ireland. Betty is now played by a woman, as she gradually becomes real to herself. Cathy (Lin's young daughter) is played by a man, partly as a simple reversal of Edward being played by a woman, partly because the size and presence of a man on stage seemed appropriate to the emotional force of young children, and partly, as with Edward, to show more clearly the issues involved in learning what is considered correct behavior for a girl.

In this broad comic comment of acceptance and rejection of sexual attitudes and practices, everyone plays at least two roles. Some play three. In the original L.A. Stage Company West version, the actress who played young Edward in Act I, played adult Victoria (his sister) in Act II. The man who played the Victorian mother and hypocritical wife, Betty, in Act I, went on to play the gay hustler, Gerry (Edward’s lover), in Act II. The white actor who played black servant, Joshua, in Act I, returned in Act II as the five-year- old Cathy. And the actor (James Morrison) who played the falsely righteous Clive in Act I, in Act II plays the mature, homosexual Edward.

Laurence Guittard (Harry Bagley/Martin) reflected, "This play says, to me: know yourself, accept yourself and don’t define yourself by other people’s definitions. I think it’s a problem we all have; to honestly be ourselves and not to feel that we have to be what others expect in order to be a good person."

Marnie Mossiman (Edward/Victoria) adds, "To me this play is about the only truly important thing in life; the quality of one’s caring and love for another person."


Cast -- Clive: a colonial administrator Betty: his wife Joshua: his black servant Edward: his son Victoria: his daughter Maud: his mother-in-law Ellen: Edward's governess Saunders: a widow Bagley: an explorer

Clive has just returned from a day in the bush. Betty is concerned because she heard drums all day. Her husband assures her that all is all right. He tells her of a visitor coming and teases her on who it is. "Something of an explorer," he says. "Bit of a poet. Odd chap but brave as a lion. And a great admirer of yours." Betty: "What do you mean? Who ever can it be?" Clive replies, "With an H and a B. And does conjuring tricks for little Edward." Betty: "That sounds like Mr. Bagley."

Before Betty calls the children to greet their father's return she mentions to Clive that Joshua doesn't like her. She asked him to fetch her book which she had left inside on the piano. She was in the hammock. "Joshua has been my boy for eight years. He has saved my life. I have saved his life. He is devoted to me and to mine." Clive: "And did he not fetch it?" Betty tells Clive that he did, indeed, eventually. Clive wants to know what Joshua said to her. "He said Fetch it yourself. You've got legs under that dress." When Clive calls Joshua to question his actions, Joshua lies to him saying it was a joke. "I said my legs were tired, sir. That was funny because the book was very near, it would not make my legs tired to get it." Of course Betty states that what he's saying is not true, but Joshua still claims she misunderstood what he said.

Ellen brings the children in to see their father. Clive jokes with Victoria, who is 2, about the horsy back ride that Joshua had given her. When he speaks to Edward, who is 9, he asks him what he's holding. Betty tells him it's Victoria's doll. She asks Edward what he's doing with it. "Minding her," he answers. Betty scolds, "Well I should give it to Ellen quickly. You don't want papa to see you with a doll." Clive is a bit upset, "We had you with Victoria's doll once before, Edward." Hearing the tone in Clive's voice, Betty comes to Edward's rescue. "He's not playing with it, Clive. He's minding it for Vicky." Clive responds, "Ellen minds Victoria, let Ellen mind the doll."

Harry Bagley arrives. Clive and Edward go out to meet him. Betty, Maud and Ellen wonder if they will see very much of Mr. Bagley. "I dare say Mr. Bagley will be out all day and we'll see nothing of him," says Maud. Betty responds, "He plays the piano. Surely he will sometimes stay at home with us."

Mrs. Saunders is helped into the house by Clive who begins, "It is a pleasure. It is an honor. It is positively your duty to seek my help. I would be hurt, I would be insulted by any show of independence. Your husband would have been one of my dearest friends if he had lived. Betty, look who has come, Mrs. Saunders. She has ridden here all alone, amazing spirit. What will you have? Tea or something stronger? Let her lie down, she is overcome. Betty, you will know what to do."

Maud is very upset. "I knew it. I heard drums. We'll all be killed in our beds." Clive replies, "There is no cause for alarm. Mrs. Saunders has been alone since her husband died last year, amazing spirit. Not surprisingly, the strain has told. She has come to us as her nearest neighbors." Maud: "What happened to make her come?" Clive: "This is not an easy country for a woman." Maud is still very upset. "Clive, I heard drums. We are not children." Clive: "Of course you heard drums. The tribes are constantly at war, if the term is not too grand to grace their squabbles. Not unnaturally Mrs. Saunders would like the company of white women. The piano. Poetry." Betty speaks, "We are not her nearest neighbors." Clive: "We are among her nearest neighbors, and I was a dear friend of her late husband. She knows that she will find a welcome here. She will not be disappointed. She will be cared for."

Clive introduces Mrs. Saunders to Harry Bagley. Maud helps Saunders to a room to lie down. Betty has gone to say good night to Victoria. "Not a word to alarm the women," Clive tells Bagley. "Absolutely," Harry replies. Clive calls for Joshua and tells him he thinks he should be armed. He asks Betty to look after Harry while he and Joshua leave to get a weapon. He tells Joshua to "look in the barn every night."

When Betty and Harry are alone she asks him, "Do you think of me sometimes then?" Harry: "You have been thought of where no white woman has ever been thought of before." Betty: "When I'm near you it's like going out into the jungle. It's like going up a river on a raft. It's like going out in the dark." "And you," Harry replies, "are safety and light and peace and home." Betty: "But, I want to be dangerous." Harry: "Clive is my friend." Betty: "I am your friend." Harry: "I don't like dangerous women." "Is Mrs. Saunders dangerous?" Betty asks. Harry: "Not to me. She's a bit of an old boot."

Joshua enters the room unnoticed. Betty: "Am I dangerous?" Harry: "You are rather." Betty: "Please like me." Harry: "I worship you." Betty: "Please want me." Harry: "I don't want to want you. Of course I want you." Betty: "What are we going to do?" Harry becomes frustrated, "I should have stayed on the river. The hell with it." Harry goes to take Betty in his arms, but she runs into the house.

Harry becomes aware of Joshua. "Got a gun now have you? Where's Clive?" Joshua: "Going ‘round the boundaries sir." Harry: "Have you checked the barn?" Joshua: "Yes, sir." Harry: "Shall we go in a barn and….?" Joshua: "That's all right, yes."

In the next day or so Harry has sex with Joshua, Ellen proclaims her love for Betty, Edward wants sex with Harry, and Clive himself is carrying on with Mrs. Saunders.

In an open space some distance from the house, Mrs. Saunders is alone and breathless. She is carrying a riding crop. Clive arrives. "Why? Why?" Clive asks. Saunders: "Don't fuss, Clive, it makes you sweat." Clive: "Why ride off now? Sweat, you would sweat if you were in love with somebody as disgustingly capricious as you are. You will be shot with poisoned arrows. You will miss the picnic. Someone will notice I came after you." Saunders: "I didn't want you to come after me. I wanted to be alone." Clive: "You will be raped by cannibals." Saunders: "I just wanted to get out of your house." Clive: "My God, what women put us through. Cruel, cruel. I think you are the sort of woman who would enjoy whipping somebody. I've never met one before." Saunders: "Can I tell you something, Clive?" Clive: "Let me tell you something first. Since you came to the house I have had an erection twenty- four hours a day except for ten minutes after the time we had intercourse." Saunders: "I don't think that's physically possible." Clive: "You are causing me appalling physical suffering. Is this a way you treat a benefactor?"

Caroline tries to explain that she said yes to him once, but she wants to be able to say no. She came to his house because her cook was going to let his whole tribe in. She was afraid. She didn't go to her nearest neighbor, an old major seventy-two-years-old, because the last time she was there she had to fight him off with a shotgun. "I think I will have to go back to my own house."

Clive has been caressing her feet and legs, then he disappears completely under her skirt. Saunders: "Please stop. I can't concentrate. I want to go home. I wish I didn't enjoy the sensation because I don't like you, Clive. I do like living in your house where there's plenty of guns. But I don't like you at all. I do like the sensation. Well I'll have it then. I'll have it…." Voices are heard singing "The First Noel." Clive comes out from underneath Saunders' skirt, "The Christmas picnic!" "Don't stop," she begs, "What about me? Wait." Clive asks, "All right, are you? Come on. We mustn't be found." Saunders: "Don't go now." Clive: "Caroline, you are so voracious. Do let go. Tidy yourself up." They leave.

Betty, Maud, Harry, Edward and Victoria arrive. Joshua is carrying a picnic basket. Joshua sits apart with a gun. Harry is singing with the children, Maud and Betty are unpacking the basket when Clive arrives. Clive opens the champagne, and they all toast Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Ellen arrives and Betty takes a ball from the basket. Edward exclaims, "Mama, don't play. You know you can't catch a ball." Edward takes Victoria to Ellen and takes the ball. Harry, Clive and Edward play catch. Clive taunts his son for not catching the ball well, and Edward gets angry. Maud suggests that they play hide and seek. All go and hide except Clive, Harry, and Joshua. "Is it safe, I suppose?" asks Harry. Clive: "They won't go far. This is much my territory and it's broad daylight. Joshua will keep an open eye." "Ready or not, here I come!" shouts Harry as he leaves.

"Sir, while we are alone." Clive: "Joshua of course, what is it? You always have my ear. Anytime." Joshua: "Sir, I have some information. The stable boys are not to be trusted. They whisper. They go out at night. They visit their people. Their people are not my people." Clive: "Thank you, Joshua. I'll be sorry to have to replace them." Joshua: "They carry knives." Clive: "Thank you, Joshua." Joshua: "And, sir. Your wife." Clive: "Ah, yes?" Joshua: "She also thinks Harry Bagley is a fine man." Clive leaves and so does Joshua.

Harry catches Betty, and Betty wants to know what they are going to do. Harry thinks the situation is impossible. She asks if they should run away together, but there is no chance for Harry to answer for Maud shows up. She has been stung. She digs in her bag for some ointment. "Hadn't you better be seeking, Harry?"

Betty tells Joshua to see her mother back to the house. She continues her conversation with Harry, when they are once again alone. She threatens to kill herself. Harry tells her he needs her where she's at. He needs to know that while he is going up river, she is sitting here safe and thinking of him.

Edward calls for Harry, and Betty says she is going to hide again. Edward knows there is trouble, "Perhaps they're lost forever. Perhaps they're dead. There's trouble going on, isn't there, and nobody says because of not frightening the women and children." Harry: "Yes, that's right." Edward: "Do you think we'll be killed in our bed?" Harry: "Not very likely." Edward gives him a necklace he stole from his mother. Harry tells him he'll have to put it back.

It is decided that the two stable hands must be flogged. Harry thinks they should just be sent away. Betty thinks Harry is kind hearted. Saunders states she may leave soon; she thinks everyone should. Edward comes in after watching the flogging. He said Uncle Harry told him he could leave; he didn't want to watch anymore. Mrs. Saunders goes to see what they are doing.

Meanwhile Edward has found the doll again and is playing clap hands with her. Clive: "Edward, I've told you before that dolls are for girls. You must never let the boys at school know you like dolls. Never, never. No one will talk to you, you won't be on the cricket team, you won't grow up to be a man like your papa." Edward: "I don't want to be like papa. I hate papa." Betty argues with Edward to give the doll to Victoria, but he says it's his doll since Vicky doesn’t take care of it. Ellen comes in and takes the doll away from him and slaps him. She takes him out of the room. It turns out that Joshua did the flogging. They were not his people. They were bad people.

As the group go out onto the verandah, Clive confronts Betty. He tells Betty that it would break his heart if Harry did not deserve his trust. Betty begs his forgiveness and tells Clive it's all her fault. He forgives her but tells her he'll never feel the same way about her. They join the others on the verandah.

Edward sneaks back in the house and picks up the doll. Joshua comes back through with a tray. "Baby. Sissy. Girly," he calls Edward then leaves. Betty comes back in to get Edward because Clive wants all of them together. Joshua comes passing through again. Betty asks him to fetch her blue thread from her sewing box by the piano. "You got legs under that skirt." "Joshua!" Betty exclaims. "And more than legs," Joshua continues. Betty turns to her son. "Edward, are you going to stand there and let a servant insult your mother?" Edward orders Joshua to get his mother’s thread. "Oh little Eddy, playing a master. It's only a joke." Edward: "You fetch her sewing at once, do you hear me? You move when I talk to you, boy." Joshua: "Yes sir, master Edward, sir."

The next morning Clive thinks it best that no one should leave the house. There had been some trouble the night before. Harry asks if there were any casualties. "No, none of the soldiers hurt thank God. We did a certain amount of damage, set a village on fire and forth." Joshua listens to Clive. "The army will come and visit, no doubt. You'll like that, eh, Joshua, to see the British army? And a treat for you, Edward, to see the soldiers." Clive goes into the house.

Harry tells Edward that he will be leaving soon. Edward begs him to take him along, away. Ellen comes out and takes Edward into the house. Ellen finds a minute to speak to Betty about master Edward going to school soon and asks would she have to leave. Betty assures her that she will give her an excellent reference. Ellen confesses her love for Betty. Betty tells her that "she is just lonely and the climate is very confusing." Ellen leaves the room upset.

Clive and Harry are having a talk outside. "There's something dark about a woman, that threatens what is best in us. Between men, that light burns brightly." Harry comments, "I didn't know you felt like that." Clive: "Women are irrational, demanding, inconsistent, treacherous, lustful and they smell different from us." Harry: "Clive…" Clive: "Think of the comradeship of men, Harry, sharing adventures, sharing danger, risking their lives together." Harry takes hold of Clive. Clive is surprised. "What are you doing?" Harry: "Well, you said…" Clive: "I said what?" Harry: "Between men." Clive is speechless.

Harry: "I'm sorry, I misunderstood, I would have never have dreamt, I thought…" Clive: "My God, Harry, how disgusting." Harry: "You will not betray my confidence?" Clive: "I feel contaminated." Harry: "I struggle against it. You can not imagine the shame. I have tried everything to save myself." Clive: "The most revolting perversion. Rome fell, Harry, and this sin can destroy an empire." Clive is shocked.

Harry begs for him to help. "I have thought of killing myself." Clive: "That's a sin too." Harry asks Clive once more to keep his confidence. "I cannot keep a secret like this. Rivers will be named after you, it's unthinkable. You must save yourself from depravity. You must get married. You are not unattractive to women. What a relief that you and Betty were not after all -- good God, how disgusting. Now Mrs. Saunders. She's a woman of spirit, she could go with you on your expeditions."

Harry asks Mrs. Saunders to marry him, but she turns him down. Saunders then brings to Clive's attention that Joshua was putting earth on his head. "He tells me his parents were killed last night by the British soldiers. I think you owe him an apology on behalf of the Queen."

Clive calls for Joshua and tells him to take the day off. Joshua refuses. When Clive asks him if he wants to go to his parents funeral, Joshua says no. He tells Clive that he is his father and mother. Clive doesn't know what to say and offers the day off again. Betty arrives, followed by Edward. "What's the matter? What's happening?" she asks. Clive: "Something terrible has happened. No, I mean some relatives of Joshua's met with an accident." Joshua, hearing this comment, asks if he may go. "Yes, yes of course. Good God, what a terrible thing. Bring us a drink will you, Joshua?"

Harry asks Ellen to marry him, and she accepts. They go off together to talk. Joshua brings a drink to Clive. "The governess and your wife, sir." Clive: "What's that, Joshua?" Joshua: "She talks of love to your wife, sir. I have seen them. Bad women." Clive becomes angry. "Joshua, you go too far. Get out of my sight."

On the verandah a table is set up with a wedding cake and a large knife. Joshua is adding bottles and glasses on the table. He sees Edward with the doll and takes it away from him. He then takes the knife and cuts the doll open and shakes the sawdust out of it. He throws it under the table.

When Betty looks for her necklace, Edward tells her Joshua took it. Harry says that's not true, that Edward took it. Edward denies it and runs off. Mrs. Saunders comes in and tells them that she has sold her property. "I shall go to England and buy a farm there. I shall introduce threshing machines." "Amazing spirit," Clive comments and kisses her. Betty launches herself on Mrs. Saunders, and they fall to the floor. Clive: "Betty -- Caroline -- I don't deserve this -- Harry, Harry."

Harry and Clive separate them with Harry holding Mrs. Saunders, Clive holding Betty. Clive: "Mrs. Saunders, how can you abuse my hospitality? How dare you touch my wife? You must leave at once." Betty shouts, "Go away. Go away. You are a wicked woman." Maud says, "Mrs. Saunders, I am shocked. This is your hostess." Clive orders, "Pack your bags and leave the house this instant." Saunders: "I was leaving anyway. There's no place for me here. I have made arrangements to leave tomorrow, and tomorrow is when I will leave. I wish you joy, Mr. Bagley." Mrs. Saunders leaves the room. Betty begs, "Oh Clive, forgive me, and love me like you used to." Clive: "Were you jealous my dove? My own dear wife!"

Edward returns with the necklace and convinces his father he was minding it for his mama.

No one notices that Joshua has been drinking steadily. Clive asks Harry to make a speech. All join in, "speech, speech." After making his speech, Harry and Ellen take the knife to cut the cake. Harry steps on the gutted doll. "What's this?" Edward starts yelling how Joshua did it, and that he saw him do it. Clive hits Edward across the side of the head. "Don't tell lies again." Clive continues about to toast the couple, "Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking..." Everyone cheers.

While Clive talks, Joshua raises his gun to shoot him. Only Edward sees. He does nothing to warn the others. He puts his hands over his ears.

Act II

Cast -- Betty: Clive’s widow Edward: Betty’s son Gerry: Edward's lover Victoria: Betty’s daughter Martin: Victoria's husband Tommy: Victoria’s son Lin: Victoria’s friend Cathy: Lin's daughter

Victoria and her friend, Lin, are sitting inside a hut at a children's playcenter in a park. They are watching their children play. Lin asks Victoria to go to the movies with her. In fact, Lin pushes the subject. Vicky argues that her husband would have to stay behind to look after the children. Lin tells her, "You could go with me, couldn't you?" Vicky: "Well yes, I could. What film are we talking about?" Lin asks, "Does it matter?" Vicky: "Of course it does." Lin: "You choose then. Friday night."

Lin mentions to Victoria that her brother was fighting in Belfast. The conversation turns to Victoria's husband. "Your husband, how do you get along with him?" Vicky: "Oh fine. Up and down. You know. Very well. He helps with the washing up and everything." Lin: "I left mine two years ago. He let me keep Cathy, and I'm grateful for that." Vicky: "You shouldn't be grateful." Lin: "I'm a lesbian."

Edward shows up at the park and tells Victoria that their mother, Betty, is walking all of the paths very fast. Vicky asks, "By herself?" Edward tells her that he mentioned to their mother that Victoria was in the park. Vicky: "Thanks. Ten minutes talking to my mother, and I have to spend two hours in a hot tub."

Victoria leaves the hut. Lin speaks up before Edward can follow. "You're gay, aren't you?" Edward: "I beg your pardon?" Lin: "I really fancy your sister. I thought you'd understand. You do, but you can go on pretending you don't, I don't mind." Edward looks around to see if anyone is close by. "Don't go around saying that. I might lose my job." Lin: "The last gardener was ever so straight. He used to flash at all the little girls." Edward: "I wish you hadn't said that about me. It's not true." Lin: "It's not true and I never said it and I never thought it and I never will think it again." Edward: "Someone might have heard you." Lin: "Shut up about it then."

Victoria and Betty come into the hut. Betty rambles, "Well, you're looking very well darling, a bit tired, a bit peaky. I think the fresh air agrees with Edward. He likes the open-air life because of growing up in Africa. He misses the sunshine, don't you darling? We'll soon have Edward back on his feet. What fun it is her."

Betty takes a liking to Cathy and asks for the painting she is drawing. She turns to Lin. "Children have such imagination, it makes them so exhausting. I'm sure you're wonderful, just like Victoria. I had help with my children. One does need help. That was in Africa of course so there wasn't a servant problem. Edward is doing something such fun, he's working in the park as a gardener. He does look exactly like a gardener." Edward replies, "I am a gardener."

After Edward and Betty leave the hut, Lin asks Victoria a question. "Will you have sex with me?" Vicky: "I don't know what Martin would say. Does it count as adultery with a woman?"

Edward is gardening. Gerry is sitting on a bench. "I sometimes pretend we don't know each other. And you've come to the park to eat your sandwiches and look at me." Edward: "That would be more interesting, yes. Come and sit down." Edward is a little upset with Gerry. He didn't come home the night before. "Where were you last night? I think you owe me an explanation. We always tell each other everything." Gerry: "Is that a rule?" Edward: "It's what we agreed." Gerry: "It's a habit we've gotten into. Look, I was drunk. I woke up at 4 o'clock on somebody's floor. I was sick. I hadn't any money for a cab. I went back to sleep." Edward: "You could have phoned me." Gerry: "There wasn't a phone." Edward: "Sorry." Gerry: "There was a phone, and I didn't phone you. Leave it alone, Eddy. I'm warning you." Edward: "What are you going to do to me, then?" Gerry: "I'm going to the pub." Edward: "I'll join you in ten minutes." Gerry: "I didn't ask you to come." Gerry leaves.

Victoria, Martin, Betty, Lin and the children are in the park. Martin and Victoria leave the group to speak alone. Martin tells Victoria, "You take the job, you go to Manchester. You turn it down, you stay in London. People are making decisions like this every day of the week. It needn't be for more than a year. I don't want to put any pressure on you. I'd just like to know so we can sell the house. You should ask your mother what she thinks and then do the opposite. I could just take that room in Barbara's house, and then we could baby-sit for each other. You think that means I want to f Barbara, I don't. Well, I do, but I won't. And even if I did, what's a f between friends? Who are we meant to do it with, strangers? Whatever you want to do, I'll be delighted. If you could just let me know what it is I'm to be delighted about. Don't cry again, Vicky, I'm not the sort of man who makes women cry."

Cathy interrupts the two and makes believe she shoots Victoria with a play gun. Victoria plays like she is hit but won't fall on the wet ground for Cathy. Cathy decides to leave them alone. Martin picks up the conversation where he left off.

"So I lost my erection last night, not because I'm not prepared to talk, It's just that taking in technical information is a different part of the brain and also I don't like to feel that you do better yourself. I do know women have to learn to get their pleasure despite our clumsy attempts at expressing undying devotion and ecstasy. What we spent our adolescence thinking was an animal urge we had to suppress is in fact a fine act we have to acquire. I'm not like whatever percentage of American men have become impotent as a direct result of women's liberation, which I am totally in favour of, more, I sometimes think, than you are yourself. My analysis, for what its worth, is that despite all my efforts you still feel dominated by me. I, in fact, think it's very sad that you don't feel able to take that job. It makes me feel very guilty. You're the one who's talked about freedom. You're the one who's experimenting with bi-sexuality, and I don't stop you, I think women have something to give to each other. You seem to need the mutual support. You find me too overwhelming. God knows I do everything I can to make you stand on your own two feet. Just be yourself. You don't seem to realize how insulting it is to me that you can't get yourself together."

Lin sits down next to Betty on a bench in the park. Betty asks, "You must be lonely with no husband. You don't miss him?" Lin: "Not really. I'm seeing a lot of Vicky. I don't live alone. I live with Cathy." Betty: "I would have been frightened when I was your age. I thought, the poor children, their mother all alone. I find when I'm making tea I put out two cups. It's strange not having a man in the house. You don't know who to do things for." Lin: "Yourself." Betty: "Oh, that's very selfish." Lin: "Have you any women friends?" Betty: "I've never been short of men's company that I've had to bother with women." Lin: "Don't you like women?" Betty: "They don't have such interesting conversations as men. There has never been a woman composer of genius. They spoil things for themselves with their emotions. I can't say I do like women very much, no." Lin: "But you're a woman." Betty: "There's nothing that says you have to like yourself." Lin: "Do you like me?" Betty: "There's no need to take it personally, Lin."

Martin and Victoria join Betty and Lin. Betty wants to go home. Victoria decides to stay in the park a little longer since Tommy was playing. Lin speaks to Martin, "Hello, Martin. We do keep out of each other's way." Martin: "I think that's the best thing to do." Betty interrupts, "Perhaps you'd walk me home, Martin. I do feel safer with a man." Martin: "Yes, I'd like to go home and do some work. I'm writing a novel about women from the women's point of view." Martin and Betty leave the park.

Victoria is upset and embraces Lin. "Why the hell can't he just be a wife and come with me? Why does Martin make me tie myself in knots? It's got to stop Lin. I'm not like that with you. Would you love me if I went to Manchester?" Lin: "Yes." Vicky: "Would you love me if I went climbing in the Andes Mountains?" Lin: "Yes." Vicky: "Would you love me if all my teeth fell out?" Lin: "Yes." Vicky: "Would you love me if I loved ten other people?" Lin: "And me?" Vicky: "Yes." Lin: "Yes."

Lin tries to talk Victoria into living with her and Cathy. "Don't be silly, Lin." Lin: "Silly, don't then. I don't need to live with someone. I'd enjoy it that's all, we'd both enjoy it."

Lin tells Victoria that since she has changed who she sleeps with, she can change everything. She brings up the job that Victoria talked her out of taking. Lin thought she should have taken it so she could buy some decent clothes. "Lin, you've no analysis," Victoria had said to her. "No, but I'm good at kissing aren't I? I give Cathy guns, my mum didn't give me guns. I dress her in jeans, she wants to wear dresses. I don't know. I can't work it out. I don't want to. You read too many books, you get to me all the time, you're worse to me than Martin is to you, you piss me off, my brother’s been killed. I'm sorry to win the argument that way, but there it is." Vicky: "What do you mean win the argument?" Lin: "I mean be nice to me." Vicky: "In Belfast?" Lin: "I heard this morning. I've hardly seen him in two years. I rung my father. You'd think I shot him myself. He doesn't want me to go to the funeral." Vicky: "What will you do?" Lin: "Go of course."

Lin's mood turns dark when she decides to leave the park and Cathy doesn't want to go. Victoria tells Lin she'll watch her if Cathy wants to stay longer. Lin tells Victoria to butt out and ends up slapping Cathy across the face. It's then that Victoria notice she hasn't seen Tommy for a while and becomes frantic when Cathy tells her she saw him last feeding the ducks. All turns out well, and they all head home.

Gerry shows up later that evening, and Edward tells him he has some fish for dinner. Gerry: "I won't be in." Edward: "Where you going?" Gerry: "For a start I'm going to a sauna. Then I'll see." Edward: "All right. What time will you be back? We'll eat then." Gerry: "You're getting like a wife." Edward: "I don't mind that." Gerry: "Why don't I do the cooking sometime?"

A senseless argument starts between the two when Gerry finally says, "I'm bored, Eddy." Edward: "Go to the sauna." Gerry: "And you'll stay home and wait up for me." Edward: "No, I'll go to bed and read a book. I might knit. I like knitting." Gerry: "I don't mind if you knit. I don't want to be married." Edward: "I do." Gerry: "Well I'm divorcing you." Feelings hurt, Edward says, "I wouldn't want to keep a man who wants his freedom." Gerry: "Eddy, do stop playing the injured wife, it's not funny." Edward: "I'm not playing. It's true. I'll always be here Gerry, if you want to come back. I know you men like to go off by yourselves. I don't think I love deeply more than once. But I don't think I can face life on my own so don't leave it too long or it may be too late." Gerry: "What are you trying to turn me into?" Edward: "A monster, darling, which is what you are." Gerry tells Edward he will pick his things up in the morning.

Edward goes to the park and sits on one of the benches. Victoria shows up looking for a toy that Tommy had left. She sits down with Edward and holds his hand. "I like women," he tells Victoria. Vicky: "That should please mother." Edward: "NO listen Vicky. I'd rather be a woman. I wish I had breasts like that, I think they're beautiful. Can I touch them?" Vicky: "What, pretending they're yours?" Edward: "No, I know it's you." He touches her. Vicky: "I think I should warn you I'm enjoying this." Edward: "I'm sick of men." Vicky: "I'm sick of men." Edward: "I think I'm a lesbian."

One summer night Victoria, Lin and Edward are at the park, all of them drunk. Edward: "Do we sit in a circle?" Vicky: "Sit in a triangle." Edward: "You're good at mathematics." Vicky: "Give me your hand. We all hold hands." Edward: "Do you know what to do?" Lin: "She's making it up." Vicky: "We start off by making it quiet." Edward: "What?" Lin: "Hush." Edward: "Will something appear?" Vicky: "It was your idea." Edward: "It wasn't my idea. It was your book." Lin reminds Edward, "You said call up the goddess." Edward: "I don't remember saying that." Lin: "We could have called her on the telephone." Edward: "Don't be silly, this is meant to be frightening." Lin asks Edward, "Kiss me." Vicky interrupts, "Are we going to do this?" Lin: "We're doing it." Vicky: "It's very sexy, you said it is. You said the women were priests in the temples and fed all the time. I'm just helping."

Victoria beings to chat. Edward and Lin join in. Lin: "I see her. Very tall. Snakes in her hands. Light, light, light -- look out! Did I give you a fright?" Edward: "I was terrified." Vicky: "Don't spoil it Lin." Lin: "It's all out of a book." Vicky: "Innin Innana -- I can't do it now. I was really enjoying myself." Lin: "She won't appear with a man here." Vicky: "They had men, they had sons and lovers." Edward: "They had eunuchs." Lin: "Don't give us ideas." Vicky: "There's Attis and Tammuz, they were torn to pieces." Edward: "Tear me to pieces, Lin." Vicky: "The priestess chose a lover for a year and he was king because she chose him and then he was killed at the end of the year." Edward: "Hurry." Vicky: "And the women had the children --" Lin: "Don't make it into a lecture, Vicky, it's meant to be an orgy."

Edward becomes aware of someone approaching, "Shut up, listen." Lin: "What?" Edward: "There's someone there." Lin: "Where?" Edward: "There." Vicky: "The priestesses used to make love to total strangers." Lin: "Go on then, I dare you." Edward: "Go on Vicky." Vicky: "He won't know it's a scared rite in honour of the goddess." Edward: "We'll know." Lin: "We can tell him." Edward: "It's not what he thinks, it's what we think." Lin: "Don't tell him ‘till after, he'll run a mile." Vicky: "Hello. We're having an orgy." The stranger approaches. It is Martin. They all join in an orgy.

Later that evening Edward wants to go home with Lin. They tell Martin that Victoria is going with them. "Victoria, come home with us. Victoria is coming home to live with me and Edward." Martin: "Tell me about it in the morning." Lin: "It's true." Vicky: "It's true." Martin: "Tell me when you're sober."

Edward, Lin and Victoria leave. Martin goes off alone.

It's late summer, in the afternoon. Martin, Cathy and Edward are in the park. Martin is taking Tommy and Cathy for the night. Tommy has been sick and on antibiotics. Martin: "Is Tommy still wetting the bed?" Edward: "Don't get angry with him about it." Martin: "I just need to go to the launderette so I've got a spare sheet. I don't get angry, Eddy, for God's sake. I don't like to say he is my son but he is my son. I'm surprised I'm not wetting the bed myself."

Betty shows up. "I do miss the sun living in England, but today couldn't be more beautiful. You appreciate the weekend when you're working. It's terribly tiring, Martin. I don't know how you've done it all these years. And the money, I feel like a child with money, Clive always paid everything, but I do understand it perfectly. I never like to say anything, Martin, or you'll think I'm being a mother-in-law." Edward: "Which you are." Betty: "Thank you, Edward, I'm not talking to you. Martin, I think you're being wonderful. Vicky will come back. Just let her stay with Lin ‘till she sorts herself out. It's very nice for a girl to have a friend. I had friends at school that was very nice. I'm sure that Lin and Edward don't want her with them all the time. I'm not at all shocked that Lin and Edward aren't married and she already has a child, we all know first marriages don't work out. And poor little Tommy. I hear he doesn't sleep properly and he's had a cough." Martin: "NO, he's fine Betty, thank you."

Martin, Cathy and Betty go for ice cream leaving Edward alone. Gerry shows up. "Hello, Eddy. Thought I'd find you here. Not working today then?" Edward: "I don't work here anymore." Gerry: "Your mum got you into a dark suit?" Edward: "No of course not. I'm on the dole. I am working, though, I do housework." Gerry: "Who's wife are you now then?" Edward: "Nobody's. I don't think like that any more. I'm living with some women." Gerry: "What women?" Edward: "It's my sister, Vic, and her lover. They go out to work, and I look after the kids." Gerry: "I thought for a moment you said you were living with women." Edward: "We do sleep together, yes." Gerry: "I was at the sauna the other night, and I saw someone who looked like you but it wasn't. I had sex with him anyway. Look why don't we go for a meal sometime?" Edward: "Yes, I'd like that. Where do you live now?" Gerry: "Same place." Edward: "I'll come round for you tomorrow night about 7.30." Gerry: "Great."

Betty comes back and tells Martin to be off; she plans to sit for awhile in the sun. Maud and Ellen arrive in her thoughts and talk to her. "Let Mrs. Saunders be a warning to you, Betty. I know what it is to be unprotected." Betty: "But mother, I have a job. I earn money." Maud: "I know we have our little differences, but I always want what is best for you." Ellen: "Betty, what happens with a man?" Betty: "You just keep still." Ellen: "And is it enjoyable? Don't forget me, Betty." Maud and Ellen leave.

Victoria and Lin come by. "So I said to the professor, I don't think this is an occasion for invoking the concept of structural causality -- oh hello mummy." Betty: "I'm going to ask you a question, both of you. I have a little money from your grandmother. And the three of you living in that tiny flat with two children. I wonder if we could get a house and all live together? It would give you more room." Vicky: "But I'm going to Manchester anyway." Betty: "You do seem to have such fun all of you." Vicky: "I don't want to." Betty: "I didn't think you would." Lin: "Come on, Vicky, she knows we sleep together, and Eddy." Vicky protests, "I don't want to live with my mother." Lin: "Don't think of her as your mother, think of her as Betty." Vicky: "But she thinks of herself as my mother." Betty: "I am your mother." Vicky: "But mummy we don't even like each other." Betty: "We might begin to try."

Cathy comes running to her mother with a nosebleed. A group of older kids have taken her ice cream and her money then hit her in the face. When Martin shows up shortly after, Lin is very angry with him for not watching Cathy more closely. Martin doesn't like her attitude and replies, "Why the hell should I look after your child anyway? I just want Tommy. Why should he live with you and Vicky all week?" The argument lasts for a while until both Lin and Martin settle down. Lin goes looking for the kids that attacked Cathy. Martin: "Tommy's asleep in the pushchair. We'd better wake him up or he won't sleep tonight." Vicky: "Sometimes I keep him up watching television till he falls asleep on the sofa so I can hold him. Come on Cathy, we'll get you another ice cream." Martin, Victoria and Cathy leave Betty alone.

Gerry comes into the park and walks up to Betty. She says, "I think you used to be Edward's flatmate." Gerry: "You're his mother. He's talked about you." Betty invites Gerry to her home for dinner some evening. Hesitant, he tells Betty that Edward and him may get back together. She argues that she doesn’ t think that is so because Edward seems happy where he is living. She mentions to Gerry that Edward also sleeps with women now. Gerry replies that he does not, but he adds, "I could still come and see you." Betty, discouraged by his rejection, "So you could, yes. I'd like that. I've never tried to pick up a man before." Gerry consoles her, "Not everyone's gay." Betty: "No, that's lucky isn't it."

Gerry leaves and Clive comes to Betty’s thoughts. "You are not that sort of woman, Betty. I can't believe you are. I can't feel the same about you as I did. And Africa is to be communist I suppose. I used to be proud to be British. There was a high ideal. I came out onto the verandah and looked at the stars."

Clive leaves. Betty from act one shows up. Betty and Betty embrace. Includes text from the original play by Caryl Churchill, a review of the L.A. Stage Company West production (before Morrison) by Viola Hegyi Swisher for Drama-Logue and interviews by Connie Danese for Drama-Logue.


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