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McConnell Library Radford University


© 1982 by A. R. Gurney, Jr. All Rights Reserved
The Dining Room opened on January 27,1982 at Playwrights
Horizons in New York City. It was presented Horizons, Andre Bishop, managing Deborah Pearthree, by Playwrights director, and directed by

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that THE DINING ROOM is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries Covered by the Pan-American Copyright Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation. lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved, Particular emphasis is laid upon the question of readings, permission for which must be secured from the authors agent in writing.

David Trainer. Sets were by Loren Sherman, costumes by Shaw, and lighting by Frances Aronson. The cast included Lois deBanzie, John Shea, W. H. Macy, Pippa

Ann McDonough,

and Remak Ramsay.

All inquiries concerning rights (other than amateur rights) should
be addressed to Gilbert Parker, William Morris Agency, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y, 10019. The amateur production rights for THE DINING ROOM are controlled exclusively by DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE, INC" 440 Park Avenue South, New York, N.Y. 10016. No amateur performance of the play may be given without. obtaining in advance the 'Written permission of DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE, INC., and paying the requisite fee. Manufactured in.the United States of America

Casting Suggestions:

If a cast of six is used, and there are strong arguments for using this number, the following casting of the roles has proved to be .workable and successful: ~ rst ACTOR: Fathet?~ ~rewster, Gran,dfather, Stuart, Gordo11"...llayi.d~~and H8¥i: L.- 2nd ACIOB.: Client, Howard, Psychiatrist, Ted, Paul, Ben, Q.1!tli.f Jim, pick, and Ouest, 13 3l'd AarOR: Arthur, ~, Architect, Billy, ~>' Fred, Tony, Standish, and Guest 1St ACTRESS: Agent, Mothei{pR!91~,Sandra, Dora, Margery, Beth , Kate C1airel~RuthY ,-'~ -'' . L znd ACTRESS: ~i"}Grace, Peggy, Nancy, ~m::ap,Aunt (HaITieti ~~y~Annie: and .G~~s~."~~c_. 3l'd ACTRESS: S~y, Grrl)' Ellie, Aggte, JiYmJsj,~(Old L~CI.}'~j _Hel~l1, Meg, I!f)~!!-> and Guest -..-.----




The play takes place in a dining room-or, rather, many dining rooms. The same dining room furniture serves for all: a lovely, .burnished, shining dining room table; two chairs, with arms, at either end; two more, armless, along each side; several additional matching chairs, placed so as to define the walls of the room, Upstage somewhere, a sideboard, possibly with a mirror over it. Upstage, Left, a swinging door leads to the pantry and kitchen. Upstage, Right, an archway leads to the front hall and the rest of the Muse. But we should see no details from these other rooms. Both entrances should be masked in such a way as to suggest a limbo outside the dining room. There should be a good, hardwood floor, possibly parquet, covered with a good, warm oriental rug. A sense of the void surrounds the room. It might almost seem to be surrounded by a velvet-covered low-slung chain, on brass stanchums, as if it were on display in some museum, many years from now. Since there are no walls to the dining room, windows should be suggested through lighting. The implication slwuld be that there are large French doors, Downstage, and maybe windows along another wall. Since the play takes place during the course of a day, the light should change accordingly. . The play requires a cast of six-three men, three women-and



seems to work best with this number. Conceivably it could be done with more, but it would be impossible to do with fewer. The various roles should be assigned democraticaUy; there should be no emphasis on one particular actor, and no actor should repeat one particular type of role. It might be good to cast the play with people of different ages, sizes, and shapes, as long as they are aU good actors. It would seem to make sense to end the play with the same actors playing Ruth, Annie, and the Host as played Mother, Annie, and Father in the breakfast scene in Act 1. For costumes, it is suggested that the men wear simple, con~ SlJrvative suits, or lockets and slacks, which can be -modified as required: For more informal scenes, for example, an actor might appear in shirt sleeoes, or a sweater, Women's costumes might seem. to pose a more complicated problem but again the best solution turns out to be the simplest: each actress may wear the same simrple,cla'lsically styled dress-or skirt and blousethroughout, with perhaps an occasional apron when she plays a maid. There is harilly enough time betueen scenes for actors to fuss with changes or accessories, and there is an advantage in being as simple and straightforward as possible. The place mats, glassware, china, and silverware used during the course of the play should be bright, clean, and tasteful. We should only see used what is absolutely necessary for a particular scene. Actual food, of course, should not be served, The thing to remember is that this is not a play about dishes, or food, or costume changes, but rather a play about people in a dining room. The blending and overlapping of scenes have been carefully worked out to give a sense of both oontrast and flow. When there is no blending of scenes, one should follow another as quickly as possible. The play should never degenerate into a series of blackouts.


ACT ONE (No one on stage. The dining room furniture sparkles in the early morning light. Voices from Of], Right. Then a woman real estate agent and her male client appear in the doorway. Both wear raincoats)

and the dining rOom.

,:l~l::" ':'

Db, boy,

You see how these rooms were designed to catch the early morning light? I'll say,


French doors, lovely garden, flowering crabs. Do you like gardening? Used to. Imagine, imagine having a long, leisurely breakfast in



As opposed to instant coffee on Eastern Airlines.

Exactly. You know this is a room after my own heart. I grew up in a dining room like this. Saine sort of furniture. Everything.

Without fighting. The last two houses we lived in. well never use this room: I know it. then definitely we should look farther out. and one of us doesn't. Both are middle-aged.•. a maid.~i. dining room. AGENT: CLIE. Oh. Maybe you'd better show me something farther ARTHUIl. She hardly has room' for what she's got.!'iifgfsJiFp:li. (She opens the kitchen door) You can look at the kitchen as we You shouldn't have shown me this first. .: more contem- SALLY: . out.i. CLIENT.~1!f:'.tliq9/f}) Here.ll~~r}. Ani-Liethen leaves) . then holds out two fists) Take your pick. ARTHUIl. (Sally looks at his fists. you get the You mean you want to start here? Got to start somewhere. His name is Arthur. (He looks in the sideboard) We'll draw lots and then go through the rooms taking turns. SALLY: ARTHUR: SALLY: Yes . hers is Sally) What are they asking again? Make an offer. We'll use this salt spoon. (He shifts it from hand to hand behind his back. You sure Mother doesn't want this stuff in Florida? 01. How long have we SALLY: Do you think that's house? time to divide up a whole CLIENT: AGENT: And how long will the corporation Six months to a year. AGENT: CLIENT: AGENT: SALLY: ARTHUR: I thought it was something You've spoiled everything Oh.'~%~%~i and Arthur Sally takeno notice after you've found it? CLIENT: AGENT: I have to get back Sal. now. comes out from the kitchen to set the table for breakfast. We'll find you something But wasn't it a lovely room? if we've got all day. else. no. We'll just have to draw lots then.i'ri1!fqxi. SALLY: (Not choosing) You mean you want the dining room? 4 5 . dear. leave. Welcome home. to go by. or 111buy it! (Pause) CLIENT: AGENT: (They both exit through the kitchen door as a brother comes in from the hall.·ft#'q'::jw(gtAm~··:·iftfrl~. Annie...: SALLY: We won't.TEE CLIENI': AGENT: DINING ROOM CLlENT: TEE Drsnsc ROOM So did 1.:iif#A. You get the spoon.:. enough ARTHUR: That means something got to find you a home? One day. I think they'll come down. AGI?NT: Unless one of us wants something. (Another pause) CLIENT: AGENT: CLIENT: Trouble is.. Notice how we gravitate right to this room. ARTHUR: keep you here. We have to do it today. my wife used the dining room table to sort the laundry.NT: Oh.porary. Then here we are. She wants us to take turns.~1:iii.J4i'~~/at ei:~U. (He brings out ajf. Let's go. followed by his sister.

Good morning.R: Sal. hringtng the morning paper.. Then holding out his fists) I don't want to fight.'" Yeah. Annie.. (Shuffling the spoon behind his back again. You mean you want two dining rooms? I'd give our old stuff to Debbie. ARTllU. Maybe we should defer the Does Debbie want a dining room? She might.RTIIUR: a~t'llfi.. sir.. 1I_lll..•.. Which hand? I thought you had a tiny apartment. Of course I want it. She puts it at the head of the table.. What happened Jane took it....THE DINING ROOM ARTHUR: SALLY: ARTHUR: SALLY: ARTHUR: SALLY: THE DINING· ROOM SALLY: .£.•~ .f$f. SALLY: I don't want to fight.!'J~.. He settles oomfortably at the head of the table. . In Denver? 6 " ARTHUR: dining room. Sal.. ARTHUR: SALLY: ~eIling it? ~ It That's what will happen..~"".HU:R: SALLY: ARTlIUR: SALLY: ARTHUR: I'll find a place. (Sally starts to choose... ~he starts to choose.~~1j.. (He holds out his fists) (Calling to kitchen) Good morning. I know what (He holds out his fists again. ARTHUR: FATHER: SO does shipping it to Denver.~_) If you win. comes in from the Right.. Come on. Annie... you already have a perfectly good dining room. Probably not.. Arthur. then stops) SALLY: ARTHUR: SALLY: ART." " " . Choose. I mean. . SALLY: ARTHUR: SALLY: ARTlIUR: SALLY: ARTHUR: SALLY: Not as good as this. I checked on that. That costs an ann and a leg. and you'll end up calling a furniture (Annie comes out with A. then stopping) will happen if you win. ? Then where on earth ..rllWS) ARTHUR: SALLY: ARTHUR: SALLY: ARTHUR: SALLY: ARTHUR: I am absolutely amazed you'd say that. . ANNIE: FATHER: 7 . In a condominium? She might..•...f.. To Debbie? She's our oldest child. as Arthur lowers his hands) You don't want it.. Right) SALLY: (Following him) Maybe we should. (He starte for door. Neither do I.. Good morning. your children won't want it.~~€..iIJllA. to the stuff you had? She just might. will kick around for a while. I mean. unfolds his """"""'. dealer.. Are you planning to put it in storage? I might..•. SALLY: (Almost picking a hand. What? You'll end up selling it... where will you put it? That's my problem. " It was part of the settlement.... Arthur. Annie comes in from the kitchen.

and don't fight or argue. Annie.TIm . I'll strain it twice. If there's a war. could Charlie and me8 I'll tell you one thing. . H there's a war. And grow. followed by a little boy) GIRL: BOY: (Kissing her father) G90d morning. You're welcome. and Sally exit into the hall) Annie . providedYippee! I said. Annie. sir. Thank you. Father drinks his orange juice carefully and reads his newspaper. 9 . . . no one gets cream. Annie brings out the fathers Here's your cream. sweetheart. (Kissing him too) Morning. f:W:ir~lmfii#. Daddy . Seeds can wreak havoc with the digestion. provided you sit quietly.. Dad. DINING ROOM fddo? Selling the dining room? Is that what you told Mother GIRL: • • • SALLY: (Following him out) I told her I'd give you the piano if I can have the dining room. They can take root. Hmmm? FATHER: BOY: (Annie goes out. sir•. good morning. . . I'll be lucky IfI keep this spoon. Lizzie Boo. I'd be delighted to have the pleasure of your company. Yes. ~ GIRL: FATHER: FATHER: GIRL: Daddy. sir. sir. sir. sir. ARTHUR: DINING ROOM FATHER: Tm: Charlie and I . The children watch their father) BOY: Dad. • Did I find a seed in my orange juice yesterday mornI strained it. Lizzikins. Nonetheless. sir. Daddy. I'm sorry.. sir. we'll all have to settle for top of the bottle. GIRL: e Arthur FATHER: FATHER: your chairs. GIRL: (Calling into kitohen) He says we can1 I said you (Annie is almost to the kitchen door) ANNIE: FATHER: FATHER: may. that's when. (The Girl comes out adoringly. A little girl sticks her head out through the dining room door) GIRL: VVhen do we get to have fresh cream on our shredded wheat? 'VVhenyou grow up. I think I may have detected a small seed. Yes. Yes. without leaning back in 111 give you the piano and the coffee table if I can have the dining room. Yes. .. ing? ANNIE: FATHER: I'm sure you did. ... ANNIE: FATHER: ANNIE: FATImR: ANNIE: (Annie goes out. Charlie and I come out and sit with you while you have breakfast? FATHER: ARTHUR: SALLY: You certainly may. Annie.gG) ANNIE: FATHER: ANNIE: (They settle into their seats.

Don't be late. (Annie comes in) MAID: G1lIL: (Long pause) . Dad. Charlie. We'll go on with our breakfast. FATHER: BOY: People all over the country are standing in line for bread. She's new. Work hard. Pause.. Could we try it tonight. Your mother and I are both thinking about that. Sit quietly in the car. Annie! (Coming out of kitchen) Yes. BOY: (Girl goes Off. Goodbye. Dad. I didn't mean it as a crack.. ( He carefully extracts the second section and hands it to his son. ruining this country. She said there's a_!l§f!ressiQ.TIm GIRL: DINING ROOM FATHER: GIRL: THEDmING ROOM Mother said she was thinking about having us eat dinner in here with you every night. FATHER: ANNIE: 10 (To Girl) Your car's here. can I read the funnies? FATHER: GmL: FATImR: Well. Father returns to his paper. pray tell? I don't remember any Miss Kelly. Run. And we're both looking forward to it. FATHER: Yes. • • (Kisses father) Goodbye. FATllER: Goodbye. Lizzie. Dad. Half of life is learning to meet people.1. Because tonight were giving a small dinner party. the son trying to imitate the father in how he does it. Dad? Could you give us a test? < Thank you.n oing on.K. And who is Miss Kelly. BOY: FATHER: BOY: FATHER: SO the government has to step in and do something ". sir. Say good morning to the driver. Run. sweetie pie. Then we'll ignore it. wasn't it? FATHER: BOY: FATHER: BOY: No. . Really . Dad. darling. What's the other half. . The father fixe'S him with a steely gaze) FATHER: BOY: FATHER: BOY: Was that a crack? She's my teacher. . But I hope very much you and Liz will come down and shake hands. Boy sits watching his father) BOY: FATHER: No.• That was a crack. Finally:) This won't mean much to you. For school. And people who make cracks like that don't normally eat in dining rooms. (They quickly do) Then I see no reason why we shouldn't all have a pleasant meal together every evening. (Jumping up) O. Daddy. g I see. Oh. you'll just have to learn. :BOY: FATHER: That sounded very much like a smart·guy wisecrack to me. 1. I get so shy. but the government is systematically . Annie. And what has she been telling you? No. (To Girl) Thank you. Not tonight.. Both read. really. Miss Kelly told us about the government. Certainly you may. As soon as you children learn to sit up straight. Dad? Certainly. Dad. I see. Dad . BOY: BOY: (Pause. Annie. I see. FATHER: .

FATHER: BOY: (Putting down paper) Miss Kelly again. and get caught in the bulk of the morning traffic. (Reading) Hmmm? We'll leave when we always leave. Charlie. Dad. FATHER: BOY: chair.. It's not just the new stoplight. eh? 'Why? ~ She said if everyone is late. please. FATHER: I'll tell you exactly why. I can't.. It affects our timing. (Kissing father) Good morning. A minute or two late. Sometimes I come in . You tell everyone to concentrate on that hymn. Her factoring may be flawless. Dad. I also mow people who rush to push in their mother's FATHER: BOY. FATHER: It's that new stoplight on Richmond Avenue. dear.. to leave in the middle of a pleasant breakfast. Dad . when they're already doing arithmetic. Thank you. if the government keeps on handing out money.12 And. Dad. sir. just so that you can arrive in time for a silly hymn. you will remember these pleasant breakfasts around this dining room table. MOTHER: FATHER: BOY: FATHER: (Remaining seated) I mow people who leap to their feet when a beautiful woman enters the room. (She goes out) You tell Miss Kelly she's wrong. (Mother glides into the room from the Right) And here is your mother to prove it. Mum. And if no one wants to work. there won't be anyone around to support such things as private schools.THE FATHER: ANNIE: FATHER: BOY: DrnJNG ROOM THE DmTlNG ROOM I'd very much like some more coffee. dear. FATHER: BOY: Now you listen to me. But Miss Kelly does not teach us politics. Miss Kelly says I should learn to be punctual. ( Charlie fumps up) MOTHER: FATHER: I am. And if no one is supporting private schools. (Annie comes in and pours coffee) Thank you. Ohl Here. Nonsense. Miss Kelly may be an excellent teacher. then Miss Kelly will be standing on the breadlines along with everyone else. dear. She is not going to tell you. FATHER: BOY: Thank you. Could we leave a little earlier today? But I'm always late. no one will want to work. Boy reads his funnies for a moment) BOY: Dad . Yes. Oh that's all right. Dad. dear. her geography beyond question. (Charlie does so) MOTHER: FATHER: Everyone looked at me. no one would learn any mathematics. Charlie.. I know people who are quick to give their mother the second section of the morning paper. Annie has retreated to the kitchen. if you please. . long after you've forgotten Miss Kelly. long after you've forgotten how to factor. 1. FATHER: (Father returns to his paper. finally. (Kissing Charlie) Good morning. Long after you've forgotten that hymn. Annie. or me..3 CIIABLm: MOTHER: BOY: . Nor does she teach us how to run our lives. Yesterday I had to walk into assembly while they were still singing the hymn. You tell Miss Kelly that.

A man called Howard. Fine. ( Charlie looks at his mother) FATHER: HOWAlID: ELLIE: In here? You're going to type? In here? At that table? Look at her.•• ELLIE: HOWARD. if you would. (She puts the place mats back in the sideboard. (She takes out a couple of place mats) You're not going to use those place mats? Those are good place mats. finds a couple of hot pails. (Gets up.. Mrs. rummages around. Annie. MOTHER: I have to get this term paper done. Tell Irma I'll have poached eggs this morning. banging a typewriter on my family's dining room table? Why not? Because it wasn't designed for it. Father and son leave the room. A youngish woman-call her Ellie-coomes out of the kitchen.~~t~. ELLIE: (Mother smiles sweetly. (He gets up. take a moment. Mother got those in Italy. He watches her ~5 14 .~i appears at HOWARD: Those are extremely good place mats. Charlie? My mother. Charlie.~£~.IE: HOWARD: We haven't used them in ten years. dear. carrying a!IIIi£~!ff. and then ask yourself carefully: Which is worth our ultimate attention? Your mother? Or Miss Kelly? Who is Miss Kelly? Never mind. that's whyl Oh. I checked. ELLIE: MOTHER: Annie. It's got rubber pads under it. ELLIE: Heyl All right. just to look at your lovely mother. Mother pays no attention HOWARD: to her.r:r:!~~t~~~~!f:~~3~~*f ELLIE: (Mother sits sipping coffee. ANNIE: Yes. 'Where else. reading her section of the paper. Howard . bathed in the morning sunlight. Mrs. Oh. I think you and I should make a trip up§@rs before we say goodbye and are on our way. goes to sideboard) And I'll get something else. Charlie. and reflected in the dining room table._~gQft china. gins to spread things out around her. Yes. Russell . Good morning. Next thing you know. Her EU. (She goes out) HOWAJID: \t. carrying coffee server) MOTHER: ANNIE: (Sighing) Good morning. please.'=~i~f4. . I thought I would. if you want. Charlie. HOWARD: ? Lucky I came back. What's going on? I forgot my briefcase .. HOWARD: ELLm: Of course I'm going to type. taking his section of the paper) And now. Which. you'll be feeding the dog off our~Q_w. You're going to sit there.THE FATHER: Drsnrc ROOM ELLIE: OODOpS. I thought you had gone. HOWARD: ELLIE: MOTHER: FATHEB: CHARLIE: FATHER: Why not? HOWAlID: ~) Good. Annie enters. HOWARD: ELLIE: THE DmlNGROOM Now. Ellie..~~.

MOTHER: ANNIE: MOTHER: ANNIE: MOTHER: BOWARD: ELLIE: I thought I would. Howard. Jesus. Annie. What if we want to give a dinner party? What if we want to have a few people over. 111 be careful. you're going to leave all that stuff there? MOTHER: ANNIE: HOWARD: ELLIE: The first ones slid off the plate while she was buttering the toast. still watching) Don't you have a plane to catch? It's kind of hard to work when your husband is. All that shit? All over the dining room? It's a term paper. Howard starts out.Tn DINING ROOM HOWARD: THE DINING ROOM carefully) I'll use these. Meanwhile. Mother. then stops) HOWARD: ELLIE: Couldn't you please work somewhere else? What's wrong with the kitchen table? Yes. Mind if I use these? We put pots on them. Yes. hovering over you like a helicopter. HOWARD: ELLIE: I'd better go see . Mrs. I don't think so. HOWARD: ELLIE: 17 . I swear. I'll set up the bridge table in the living room. 1. leaving a glass and plate for the next scene. A simple question of two poached eggs. Irma's cooking two more. then. We can certainly put a typewriter. You mean. impatient for her poached eggs. Annie comes out of the kitchen) ANNIE: MaTEER: WeI~ it's kind of hard to leave when your wife is systematically mutilating the dining room table. Howard. It's never used. Mrs.? to my I'd like to know where. Annie clears the mother's and father's places. Oh.. continues to get things set up. Annie? Tell me the truth. Howard watches her. please. I'd just have to move whenever you and the boys wanted to watch a football game. HOWARD: You mean you're going to commandeer the dining room for the rest of the term? It just sits here. Mrs. Now goodbye. who is standing at the doorway.: sometimes I think it's almost better if we just do things ourselves. Annie.. (Standing up) Is she drinking again. Last time the kids got peanut butter all over my footnotes.6 We can eat in the kitchen. It's crucial for my degree. ELLIE: (She begins to hunt and peck on the typewriter. I wonder if anything might have happened poached eggs. (She carries them to the table. Mrs. No. Two more? HOWARD: ELLIE: ANNIE: It doesn't work. Annie exits) ELLIE: ELLIE: HOWARD: sake? ELLIE: (To Howard. puts down her paper and rings a Uttle silver bell on the table in front of her. Mrs. Everybody does these days. puts them under the typewriter. for ChrisSince when have we given a dinner party? ELLIE: ANNIE: HOWARD: (Mother goes out into the kitchen. (She starts for the kitchen) Honestly. Howard. Howard. Yes.

What other plans? CAROLYN: GRAGE: HOWAIID: Finel What the hell! Then why don't I tum it into a tool room every night? (He storms out) Now think. and my Master's degree. You don't even know what the play is. Left. dear. her. so I can be out of here every dayl Now wait till I've finished. and I want you to make a little decision. I told her it was your decision.'IJk 18 . Howard] Let me get a good grade. . Carolyn. Of course.THE DINING ROOM HOW. Isn't there something rather special going on in your life this evening? Oh. (Pause) GRACE: CAROLYN: GRAGE: SO do 1. now. Mother? . CAROLYN: GRAGE: What did she want? Well. But something has come up. I thought it was my decision. of course. but I thought you had other plans. . and she wants you to jam. Oh. I wonder if you're being just a littleImpulsive this morning. a girl of fourteen. (She begins to gather up her materials) CAROLYN: GRACE: GRAGE: (Finishing the list with a flourish) Sh . The first session of the Junior Assemblies. darling.rutRoLu'<:.. then? CAROLYN: ""'l'tatj . and begins to work on her grocery list. so she could drum up someone else.. and I apologize. CAROLYN: ELLIE: Let me just finish this grocery list. No one can think on an empty stomach.A1lD: THE DINING ROOM CAROLYN: GRACE: That doesn't make it right. Mother. . But the poor thing hasn't got enough to do. (Puts down the list) I know it's Saturday. (Carolyn sits at the table) Now. or am I right? Why did you tell Mildred to wake me up. Carolyn. ELLIE: I can't work in this place! It's like a tomb! (She goes out into the kitchen) CAROLYN: GRAGE: GRAGE: Start your breakfast. What decision? Not dancing school. so she was on the telephone at the crack of dawn. she sits down. dear. I love her. Your Aunt Martha. sweetheart. . it happens to be a very talky play called Saint we read that in school! I want to go all the more! 19 Well. I mean. (Ellie doggedly returns to her work angrily hunting and pecking on the typewriter. enters sleepily a moment later) CAROLYN: GRACE: (Pause) CAROLYN: GRACE: Am I right. it's Saturday. There.. Surel ELLIE: Let me get this done. here's the thing: she's got an extra ticket for the theatre tonight. Shit. Guess who telephoned this morning? Who? ItoldAl11lt Martha you'd call her right back. darling. and a good job. Grace enters from the Right. It is. What is it. CAROLYN: GRACE: CAROLYN: GRAGE: CAROLYN: Then I'd like to see a play with Aunt Martha. 'Which are a big step beyond dancing school. (Grimly) Dancing school. sweetheart.

Well. GRACE: CAROLYN: door) GRACE: CAROLYN: Carolyn . Carolyn. (Getting up) 111call her right now. yes. 2l CAROLYN: CAROLYN: . go. I'll do something. Mother. when there's no Aunt Martha. And how do you propose to spend your other Saturday nights? I mean. CAROLYN: GRACE: CA1IOLYN: CRACE: Oh. I don't like dancing school anyway. and I never know what to say. comes out of the kitchen. I don't know why I have to go. CAR. yes. Really? Oh. I'm glad she did. you never catch up. Once you miss. Oh.. you're obviously not old enough to make an intelligent decision. CAROLYN: GRACE: You see? You see why we shouldn't make hasty decisions. I don't. sweetheart. And no Saint Joan? And all your friends are having the time of their life at Junior Assemblies? Til do something. and look what happened to Saint Joan! I don't care. GRACE : CAROLYN: GRACE: That's nonsense.!'~~ty? (Aggie. I've never liked it.. _. sits at the table. All right. Saint Joan wouldn't go to dancing school in a million years! Yes.?:~"? Bothering the maids when we're plan- (Pause) CAROLYN: GRACE: CAROLYN: GRACE: What do you mean? Maybe I'll skip all the Junior Assemblies. everyone gets acquainted. It doesn't even have Katharine Cornell._~~~t~_~a.~~~. and fm a terrible dancer. (She starts for the CAROLYN: CAROLYN: GRACE: It's true. It's like the first day of school. then. begins to polish some flat silver with a silver cloth) CAROLYN: GRACE: CAROLYN: GRACE: Oh. a maid. Then maybe I won't go at all. gosh. that on the flrst Junior Assembly. To some endless play? With your maiden aunt? Shes my favorite person. boys. I'd stilllike to go. heavens. of course. I've made up my mind. Maybe.TIm GRACE: DINING ROOM THE DINING ROOM It's the road company.. I'm bigger than half the 20 (Picking up Carolyns breakfast dishes) Well. I knew you wouldn't let me decide. Last year I spent half the time in the ladies' room. It starts the whole thing off on the right foot. I didn't know that. I hate dancing school. Mother. Such as what? Hanging around here? Listening to that stupid <:!!!Lg~~~. (Pause) GRACE: Your Aunt Martha seems to have caused a little trouble around here this morning. if it's that important to you.OLYN: GRACE: Don't be silly. Your Aunt Martha seems to have opened up a whole can CAROLYN: GRACE: CAROLYN: GRACE: of worms. (Carolyn stops) You realize.

. (He comes farther in) MICHAEL: (Aggie polishes the silver.. Listen to him now. He comes a Uttle closer into the room. Look at my Uncle Paul. carrying Carolyns glass and plate) I've decided. MICHAEL: (Getting up) I've decided to talk to Aunt Martha. Waiting. while I'm ordering the groceries. no. About your dear Aunt Martha.then on in. now. thenl Decide! sick you couldn't go to school I am. Here. since Ida left. And from . And Mrs. And so she threw everything up. AGGIE: . (He doesn't) MICHAEL: AGGlE: How come you didn't do my room yet? Because I thought you was sleeping. Where your father had to track her down and drag her back. He is about twelve) AGGIE: MICHAEL: Michael! You scared me out of my skinl I wanted to. Aggie. . and the downstairs lavatory. She decided-if you breathe a word of this. She decides) CAROLYN: My mother says you want to leave us. you're looking for a job with more money. I eat dinner here in the dining room now. When she was cooking dinner.out) Last Thursday. Aggie returns to her poltshing) AGGIE: MICHAEL: Your mother said you was sick this morning. Carolyn! You've got riding lessons at noon-no. On your day off. So think about it. I was. 22 I know a lot. but-Carolyn! Carolyn! AGGIE: MICHAEL: AGGIE: (She rushee out through the hall as Michael comes in through the kitchen. 23 MICHAEL:. I listen. Carolyn sits and thinks. I got the silver. Aggie! I upchuckedl Twicel CAROLYN: GRACE: I'd like to- But let me tell you a very short story before you do. Mother. Williams has a tipped uterus. (Pause. Carolyn! She had been. You stop that talk. (Coming farther in) Money isn't everything. Ag? Maybe. And I know that my Uncle Paul is drinking himself into oblivion. In a nutshell. we'll skip the riding lessons. I've just been lying there. I got more to do now. Now there it is. Who also made a little deoisian when she was about your age. Ag. she refused to join the workaday world. New Mexico. I am.THE DINING ROOM GRAGE: THE AGGIE: SO MICHAEL: AGGIE. -. He's rich as Croesus and yet he's drinking himself into oblivion. And decide. You can be rich as a king and still be miserable. She polishes) AGGIE: When did she say that? GRACE'S VOICE: your senses~ CAROLYN: . and all the beds besides. To Taos. GRACE: (Bursting through the kitchen door) You've got a dentist appointment. . (Pause. MICHAEL: AGGIE: Well.~ What do you know about all that? MICHAEL: AGGIE: (Pause. She said now there's a war. (She goes. and ran off with him. I'll strangle you-she decided she was in love with her riding master. overstimulated. Aggie polishes) Is that true. But it was too late. (She goes out. DrNINGROOM (Wheeling on her) All right. I hope you've come to Then you get right straight back to bed. (From the kitchen) Good.

I'm looking. Let's measure it out then. really. AGGIE: ARCHITECT: No. lad. And it proves that money isn't everything. Ag? (No answer) anymore? Oh. .R: Ag. He thinks) lY. . Don't you like us AGGIE: MICHAEL: Then what. I'll tell them to give you more time off. . She works. I swear! I'll make my own bed. darlin' . You can't just leave people in the lurch. MICHAEL: bathtub? AGGIE: That's enough now. I'll try to be much more careful when I pee! (Laughing) Lord love you. Are you still mad at me for peeking at you in the O. . Look at these French doors. she will. They begin to measure the room systematically. Fine room.So you got to stay. I'm also thinking. the architect reading the figures and recording them in a small notebook. service no more.K. Ag. darlin'. Ag. Mike. Ag? She can't find anyone. AGGIE: MICHAEL: AGGIE: Don't you like our family? (Two men come in from the Right. About heat loss. MICHAEL: AGGIE: I'm serious. Ag? How come you're just leaving? (The architect has a large reel tape measure and a roll of blueprints. and pick up my towel. (They measure more) 24 . (Pause) AGGIE: As soon asyour mother finds someone else. Big room... And III tell my parents not to have so many dinner parties. no. So you don't have to leave us.. darlin'. Aggie. the buyer holding the end of the tape) MICHAEL: AGGIE: MICHAEL: When will you be going then.THE MICHAEL: DINING ROOM MICHAEL: THE DINING ROOM Well. She will. an architect and a prospective buyer) ARCIDTECT: Oh. Twenty-two feet. BUYER: ARCHITECT: AGG1E. (Pause) I don't want to do domestic MICHAEL: AGGIE: (Pause) :MICHAEL: AGGIE: lv:IICHAEL: Why? ~ She says she can't. No. I know. They keep showing up with dirty fingernails and dyed hairl (Reading measurements. It's not just the money. it's true. I will. writing them down) Because I don't like it no more. Ag. MICHAEL: MICHAEL: (Sitting down near her) I'll help you. Because I don't. He drifts around the table ) AGGIE: No. Ag.•. . 111 tell them to give you all day Sunday. six inches. Michael. Ag. Mikey . ARCHITECT: (Pause. BtJYE. (Pause. No. darlin'I I know. Then what is it.ITCHAEL: That's because Ida left and you have too much to do.

throw out that. I'm putting in an eating area.THE DINING ROOM THE DINING ROOM just suppose . your stereo console here. Those endless meals.Not in the diningroom. I remember one time I came to the table without washing my hands. and soon it's time to go in for a good. more patients. You turn off the music.CT: Mmm. He flops on the couch here (He creates the couch u.. You eat. you come in here to the reception room. Cuisinart. PSYCHIATBIST: . chrome chairs. no. Soon-buzz-a patient arrives. That's what we don't have. butcherblock table. Soon it's time for lunch. and what do we have? PSYc:mATBIST: I'm not quite sure. maybe add your newspaper to the pile. The How. and maybe stroll back inhere for a nap. have lunch with the wife.CT: (Beginning to move around the room) Wen. like this. PSYCHIATRIST: ARCIDTE. And I sat right here. You come down to breakfast. yes? Really..ARCIDTE. Pop-Tarts. I'm just a humble shrink. . (He sits) Oh. And my sister here. PSYCElATRIST: ARCHITECT: Well. In your own home. You go in ARCIDTECI': And my mother sat here. the cooking units. waiting for the dessert. Suppose we open this up here. Look. You turn on. Here's the fridge. PSYCHIATRIST: (Beginning to look out the window) Mmmmm. PSYCHIATRIST: ARCHlTECI': 01.. put aside your book. slam a beam in here. tens you his dream. PSYCHfATIUST: ARCIll'rnCI':So does a church.ith two Upstage chairs). God. chat.clIITECI':No. PSYCHIATRIST: Hmm. This room has such resonance. let's review your day. say goodbye. here. the window here. we don't have a dining room anymore. Right here. cooperative supper with your family. that's all. we started with a clean slate. ARCIDTECI': sure. (He goes out through the han. you look out. everybody's fixing his or her own thing.(He stops) Go on. See? Look at the space. and buzz him in through the soundproof doors. you listen to music. you write him up. here.' come in here to go to work. it all comes back . PSYCHfATBIST: 28 . You read. ARCHITECT: Now. I know whereof I speak: I grew up in a room Oh. it was brutal. More buzzes. /ffi. All right here. Look. read the paper.ARCIllTECT: Man.rooppears through the kitchen door) Eggs. maybe adjust the magazines on a table. easy. he leaves. PSYCHIATRIST: ARCHITECT: (With a sigh) Do you want to tell me about it? It was torture. and my father. Democracy at work. and then settle behind your desk module here. break through here and here. This is home turf to me. whatever. yes. buzz in the next. maybe select a book from a wall unit here. then you go through a soundproof door into your office. That doesn't mean we have to live in it. . Wife cooks. My father sat in a chair just like that . PSYCHIATRIST: But where would we eat? ARCHITECI': Here. you stack the dishes. . Do you have' a nurse or a receptionist? ' No. PSYCHIATRIST: But not in the dining room. or one of the kids. kids set the table. cornflakes. Oh. (Almost by rote) Was it that bad? PSYCHIATRIST: . waiting to begin. blast out this.. waiting to be excused so they couldn't lean on you anymore.

my.THE DINING AGGIE: ROOM MICHAEL: THE DINlNG ROOM III stay tin you go away for the summer. I'm missing a whole day of school. I see. Hold it tight now. for the moment. Big room . Agnes. (He TUns out of the room) Michael! (She resumes polishing the last few pieces of silver) (Michael gets up and comes Downstage. _2Q!!lmgQ!2~_s . PSYCHIATRIST: I thought we planned to open up those maid's rooms on the third floor. MICRAEL: You gonna have children? (Aggie laughs) You will. as the architect goes Upstage. 27 .inches. That guy you told me about from church? :SUYER: MICHAEL: AGGIE: ARClllTECT: PSYCHIATRIST: ARCIDTECT: Maybe. psychiatrist. yes. ARCEITECT: MICHAEL: Ever! '-.. PSYCHIATRIST: ARCHITECT: ARCHITECT: MICHAEL: AGGIE: Oh. Will you come back to see us? You won't. two No! (Squaring his shoulders) Go hug your own kids. I've got work to do. (Who is a psychiatrist) There it is. here's the ground plan of your house. Doctor.. Mike. You'll never come back. Ag? ARCHITECT: (Reeling in his tape with professional zeal) O. MICHAEL: AGGIE: Come here and give Aggie a big hug! Just a squeeze. There's your dining room. is your dining 'room. Maybe. PSYCHIATRIST: (Drawing with his grease pencil) Now suppose.• room One of the reasons we bought the house.. 111 never see you again! (Now measuring the width) Twelve feet.. No. Why should I? No. And one of the reasons we should consider breaking Breaking it up? it up. Ag. AGGIE: (H aIding out her arms) Come here... and here. I've got a whole stack of homework to do. light room . (Measuring width of French doors) Eight feet.. Relax. MICHAEL: AGGIE: '.. surely. Ag. with a grease pencil) Now.K. anchoring its corners with his tape measure and centerpiece. four Now bear with me: What say we tum this room into an office for you. I know you will. Here's what you're stuck with. and a waiting room for your patients? MICHAEL: AGGIE: . to record his notes on the sideboard) MICHAEL: AGGIE: AGGIE: You gonna get married. with these approximate dimensions. AlICHlTECT: . I will. "She' her~~l1)~ra.!4_p~~~~i11£~S!ttlL_r!:!!!!_l_(}!l!}~:___Th~e_c___~_ . (He begins to spread a large blueprint out on the table. doesn't he? Why can't the psytrust the architect? ( He begins' to sketch on the blueprint. looks out through the French doors. You'll have a boy of your own. aren't you. No.J ARCHITECT: inches . Aggie has finished polishing by now. for old time's sakel 26 Hold on.

I thought Judy was picking him up. quietly._." (Party activity continues. Fussing with favor) I can't get mine to work. grab for favors.. subversive pokings.. PSYCHIATBlST: _ . Good .__ . That's much better._.. Children! We're ready! (She is almost bowled over by a mailing. boy. . it's time to get rid of this room. then. .. TED: . «'Ray! Yippee/" Peggy has to shout them down) I said sometimes.---- ---- . Fine. . And then we put on our party hats.. (He starts out) Tell you what.THE ARCHITECT: DINING ROOM THE DrnlNGRooM (Snapping out of it. BOY: (1: i. ----. . • . POinting toward the hall) There's my Daddy.· carrying a large tray. It should be boy. . .. (Children are making a concerted ef]ort to be genteel. since it's her birthday and she's the hostess . - - . Sometimes on special occasions... Go out. I'll send you my bill for the work I've done so far. Brewster. '. (Children come back in much more decorously. She surveys it. Right. Take your time.• . then goes to the doorway.. Hi. Let Winkie go first.__ '_. __. Cood._ '. scramble over chairs. I can do that ··-------mfijy -sleep.._ . I'm not interested in screwing around with any more maid's rooms. . We unfold them and tuck them under our chins. . They scream. A LITTLE BOY: (Named Brewster) Can the boys wear their hats I'll have to think about it. . 'That's it. "' .c_.~ ••••• _....~. you sit next to Winkie . Doctor. . in the house? PEGGY: O. Peggy. There is silence) Good. Hi.- Yes. children! (They subside a little) This is a dining room! This is not the monkey house at the zoo! (They all start imitating monkeys. -. No. meanwhile.. TED: She told me to be early. And I meant some of the rules. hats. the children opening favors. She begins to set the table) What I want is the chance to get in here. and gigglings) Now what do we do with our napkins? . . no. PEGGY: All right.._' . Turn around.". (Waves to son) Hi. no.K. Peggy shouts them down) All right. We· haven't even had our cake.. Billy. though there are occasional.. __ . shrieking mob of children coming in to eelebrate the birthday party._. unconsciously parodying their parents) No. napkins. _~_ •• ~. And come in. III just have to tell Roberta in the kitchen to put away all the ice cream and cake. yeU. (He begins to roll up his plans) Tell you frankly. Very good. they can. Winkie. little girl calls from the table ) A LITTLE GIRL: (Named Sandra. Peggy . and favors for a children's birthday party. You're a little early. ' __ ._.. •• _._.. Good. (The noise subsides. girl... quietly . . Yes. and calls Of]) PEGGY. . wrestle. The point is.~. because this is a special cecasian. (Children explode. children.and Ted move Downstage to get away from the noise) > TED: Have to pick up Bill. Good.. And I'll send you mine. _. Come in as if you were your mummies and daddies coming into a lovely dinner party. . loaded with paper plates. Peggy claps her hands frantically) Children.. You sit 30 (QUickly) Where. Billy? (Ted comes On from the hall. ANIOTllER LITTLE (Named BiUy. Bill. so I can open up your whole ground floor! Now what do you say? PSYCBlATRIST: ARCHlTECT: at the head of the table. 31 . hitting.~.. Yes.TPeggyc7:imes-oufofllWK1J:eMii. the rules can change. and then come back in here in the right way._' . That's it. (They are out.t. she tries to be casual) Oh. That's it. getting up) Never mind. • ~ . whatever. Exactly. is finishing setting the birthday table. Now I want everyone to leave the table ." __ L __ '_ ••• .. . (The children begin to leave) And go into the hall. girl .

Sing the song. Tell you what. So who would like to help bring things (Hands up. start singing. Brewster.''''''''. Be patient. Immediately.'''H~singing) ( Helping them along) Happy birthday to you . Little boys are supposed to help little girls.a dinner party tonight. Sandra. what will you do? pause) . And Brewster and Winkie. you bring out the (<<'Ray! Yippee!") Careful. Brewster. Please. Where? Doing what? dining room door opens. 33 (The children' 8 counting has turned into a chant: 'We uxmi. . PEGGY: WINKlE: (Calls from the head of the table) Can we have the ice cream now. Fight what? We haven't done anything. Peggy hurries back to Ted) So what do we do? TED:She says she's thinking of telling her father.when Billy and Sandra reappear through that door. squeals: "Me! Me!") AU right.'·. . . dear. ice cream! We want ice cream!") PEGGY: They want ice cream. You win. (She starts for the kitchen) TED: (Holding her arm) She says she'll fight it. at least. ·1>li'1~V· PEGGY: We hardly spoke to each other. . . Now be very quiet and watch that door.THE DINING ROOM PEGGY: THE DINING ROOM Help her. He'd fire me. Judy knows everything. . Where's Frank? Playing golf. (The children watch the door.. You could get another.. About us? How? She knows about us. . What if he did? TED: That's how she could tell. don't run! And be polite to Roberta because she's working very hard. Where else? 'lED: PEGGY: TED: On Winkie's birthday? Don't get me started. tooth and nail. as they come out. Good. Brewster. and.. please. B]IEVY'STER: (The children whisperingly begin to count to sixty) TED: Judy must have known he'd be playing golf. Happy birthday. you get the ice cream. Everyone . you'll have other responsibilities! (Sandra and Billy go out into the kitchen) For instance. children. PEGGY: In a minute. Behaved? Where? PEGGY: TED: At the Bramwells' dinner party. and as soon. PEGGY: TED: PEGGY. (Cheers from children) Now Roberta is very busy in the kitchen because she also has . TED: She said she could tell by the way we behaved. Billy and Sandra come out carecarrying a cake platter and an ice cream bowl. dear Wmlde. Then you'll have something to look forward to. llappy birthday to you . All right. She says she wants to nip it in the bud. 32 PEGGY: TED. careful! Walk.

Ted takes him aside) Do you have to go to the bathroom? PEGGY: TED: She'd make it impossible. There is a kind of cooing hum of children eating which punctuates their dialogue ) TED: You'd have Winkie. And Mummy has to make a wish." BiUy puts the cake down in front of Winkie. it won't come true. (Billy returns to his seat. no. please. Would you come here a minute. He'd care if it were messy. please? (Billy does. For everyone. Syracuse? I wish I could have- No. Downstage. If you do. you have to make a wish. (Pause) TED.THE Drsnrc ROOM happy birthday to you. you pass the ice cream. Don't tell. who takes a deep breath to blowout the candles) No. I grew up here. WINKIE: PEGGY: THE DINING ROOM I've got an uncle in Syracuse. Always wait. (Winkie blows out the candles. would you cut the cake and give everyone a piece. All right Now blow. Is it nice? Syracuse? (The children organize their food as Peggy Joins Ted. sweetheart. please. Brewster. (Winkie has been s~ngzng "Happy Birthday to Me. And. The children cheer) Now. (She goes to Winkie) PEGGY: TED: PEGGY. Judy. She'd make it so messy. See? Mummy is putting her wedding ring around one of the candles. Winkie. Now we both close our eyes and make a wish. please. Ted rejoins Peggy) Sorry. Don't do what? You know what. Before you blowout the candles. Wait. Do you think it will come true? look at their children) Winkie. no. I'd get Bill in the summer. 34 35 . wipe your mouth. PEGGY: (Pause) TED: We could leave town. What did you wish for? Won't tell. Who didn't? PEGGY: TED: I thought he didn't care. No. Then don't do that. Never tell a wish. SOwould Frank. Now go back and enjoy the party.

PEGGY: TED: Be good little children.o. After a moment. Me too. the tray) Off.. Oh. children. then. then? I've planned some games. From the cake. children run nOisily. (Looking up..."'i\>'J~. lED: DINlNG ROOM THE DINlNG ROOM To just pick up stakes. (She takes his hand and presses it furtively to her lips) And if we're seated next to each other. Pin the Tail on PEGGY: TED. And here's your ring.. ···1:nj~. n!nears in the doorway from the hall. all kinds of games! Blindman's Bluff. when Winkie appears at They break away) Gome on. PEGGY: (The children are getting noisy.utnlJ'lru. we'll have to make a conscious effort. Ted and Peggy go Off different as a grandfather enters from the hall. over his paper) Which one are 37 PEGGY: TED: Then I'll stay... PEGGY: lED: or I'll scream. TED: PEGGY: TED: ·VVlfnKi~e disappears into the hall. PEGGY: WINKIE: PEGGY: Good for you.. Winkie comes up) WINKlE: about to kiss her. For games.g. I can't stand it. . : ·. What games? 01. this is where I live. Mummy.\. be the .THE PEGGY. comes out of the kitchen and begins to set a place Of him. I know. darling! I forgot all about it] (She puts the ring back on) Time to go. He is about eighty. sweetheart. Mummy! We're waiting! Everyone's finished.'". PEGGY. For a while. we won't be seated next to each other. anyway. Peggy begins putting the mess lED: Would you? While ~J?!Qpiti~t_~ Roberta. . his grandson Nick breathlessTy . over the tray. at the head of the table and begins to read the paper as . "'. He is about thirteen or a . Judy will see to that. Ted . Dora. Want me to stay? It would help. (To children) Into the living room now. (Touching her) We'll just have to behave ourselves. Oh. Thank you. Oh. .". For quite a while. I mean.

. You the one who wants to go to Europe this sum- GRANDFATHER: NICK: Ah. Connecticut. Yes. you tracked me down. Where do you want to Luke's School. Can be a bad thing. Cramp. \TDFATIm.• discussed all the boarding schools. sir. eh? Yes. 38 39 . Cramp. Dora. eh? That's a good thing.GI\AN10FATImn: NICK: And then they decided you should get your >grandfather to pay for it. in Litchfield. that's Mary. I went down to the club.THENICK: Drxrxo ROOM THE· DINffiGROOM I'm Nick. That shows some enterprise. (She goes out) Then it's expensive. GRANDFATHER: NICK: GRANDFATHER: NICK: My parents. and decided GRANDFATHER: mer? NICK: is the best. Who said I'd be at the club? Lately I've been coming horne. GRANDFATHER: Don't know half the people at the club anymore. (Indicates a place) Bring him some lunch. I am. Cramp. iG'E~])FJ~TEoo:R:. GRANDFATHER: You the one who wants the automobile? Says he can't go to college without an automobile? No. My parents said you always eat there. Or can be. DORA: NICK: (Sitting opposite him at the other end of the table) Thank you. sir. GRANDFATHER: NICK:. parents think it's a first-rate school. That's my cousin. . Your parents think . Rather be here. Dora? Yes.R: GRANDFATHER: NICK: Yes. that's my brother Tony. At my own table. And what do you want? someThen you're late. To have lunch with you. And you're Nick. have to be. sir. anyway. Dora takes care of me. No. Cramp. don't you. Cramp. Education. DORA: GRANDFATHER: (To Nick) Well.

York? the GItANnFATHER: Why would you want to meet anyone from New . GRANDFATHER: NICK: And I'll meet interesting new friends. and set a place mat and a plate for Nick) GRANDFATHEI:I: DORA: Another one leaving the nest. ening.. Don't you have any interesting friends here? GRANDFATHER: NICK: 01. New York. Dora. Me? GRANDFATHER: NICK: Oh. sure. Gramp. . Yes. (She waits by the sideboard) GRANDFATHER: DORA: And taking a piece of the nest egg. But . sir. California. My horizons need broadI see. . I have interesting friends right here. sir. I know a man who makes boats in his basement. Because I want to broaden myself.. NICK: GRANDFATHEIU NICK: But 111 meet different types. . sir. From allover country. (Pause) GRANDFATHER: NICK: Why don't you stay home? You. . I know a man who plays golf with his wife. Gramp. (Dora has returned. . You want to what? GRANDFATHER: NICK: I want to broaden my horizons. GRANDFATHER: I do.NICK: Yes. Yes.

'.nJ!<r\: Do you think he needs buffing up... The thought of sitting down with a number of intelligent..L. '" v.. : I don't know. Dora? Everys going away.t>.TIIll:R: I didn't go away.."" . All I know is everyone's going away .. And? Don't we? Don't we have beautiful surroundings? do we have to go away to have beautiful surroundings? .'-' • GRAlWFATBER: Everyone's going away? Hear that.' . They'll buff me They'll what? up. attractive people to enjoy good food well cooked and properly served _. HARVEY: Nobody comes near a dining room anymore.. Went to the old 36 down on Huron Street...].J.._. liJ:ll~NlJJ~'AT. ..t1.. © 1982 SUSAN COOK 41 . days .. : I see. _that apparently doesn't occurto people anymore. Well. Cramp... Dora? Urn. I know. (Desperately) An awful lot of people are going awayl '\GElANJOFA.Tim NICK: DmmoRooM Well.t: My mother says Lneed buffing up.I:i.. they're more sophisticated. Cramp.l.. Didn't even go to Country Day. They have advanced Latin there. Cramp.

took a week off from work to marry your grandmother. Cramp.. Gramp.visiting >.. dining room) Well.. turns) And come .. Had to support my mother. sir. . Bought this table. Cramp! No. . First vacation. And your grandson will be at the plow! (Starts out the door. Yes. Were small potatoes these days. No. Father died. drink liquor in the . {. an indoor hockey rink... Yes. Dora goes Off with plates. either. is that what I am? And what are you? Don't you want to be a self-made? Or do you want other people to make you? Hmmm? Hmmm? What've you got to say to that? (Squashed) I don't know. either. Will it. stops. a man named Paul enters. GRANDFATHER: Whatsie's and yotUlg Andy to whatever-it's-called.. Scattering like birds. about forty. Took two vacations in myIife.. 1928.. in the hall doorway. It's bound to happen. hurries Off. .and trousers and whose only thought is the next dance. • NICK: GRANDFATHER: Everyone wants to go away. Knew I would. He'll come home talking with marbles in his mouth. I know that. My father didn't go to school at Greek at the plow. sir. He'll go in New York and Baltimore. Hurry. go on. one turning them upside down. Left. We won't understand a word. Me? I went away twice. Bring him his checkii . and.and Philadelphia. some gentleman is going to be sitting right at this table. Learned And we won't see much of him. sir.. He starts careexamining the dining room chairs along the left waU.Episcopal boarding school. (He exits. ATHER: NICK: No.TEE GRANDFATHER: DlNmG ROOM THE DINING ROOM Didn't flnish. got to go.. Dora. Second vacation: Europe. . Nick up too) Co on. From the Right. with a sigh. and Tony can have a car. Some Irish fella. She watches Paul) This one wants to go to one of those fancy New England boarding schools. see the world.. I don't! I don't want to go! Reallyl I wanted to got I want to stay home with all of youl GRANDFA'l'HE"8: Yes. I'll send you to Saint Whoozie's and Betsy to NICK: GRANDFA'l'lmR: Oh. Enjoy yourselves. And you know going to be sitting here when you get back? I'll tell you be sitting right in that chair. call her Margery. DORA: 43 .... wen. eat silently. And can go to Europe this summer. Virginia. I didn't do too badly. But you're a self-made man. .. (Pause) They're all leaving us. to Nick) No.. Dora starts clearing off. Hated the place. Nick stands in . (He gets slowly to his feet. Cramp. Dora. Paul beto check the table. that won't be a bad thing.NDFATHER: DOB. before he falls asleep. He'll. Dora. Went to Hot Springs. Took a trunkload of shredded wheat along. Dora? . Leave town. Saythe same thing to his grandson. all of you.. (Finally..A:Yes. NlCK: GRANDFATHER: an.think of it.. And 11ewants me to pay for it all. ... . You told us. You go.. A woman. Am I right? ~i. DORA: GRA. and I had to go to work. ·<afternoon and get mixed up with women who wear lipstick · . it's all fine and dandy. Miserable meals. . Without a high . testing their strength) .Back to this table. Again with your grandmother.. his mid-thirties and wears an open shirt. Came back when it ran out . He wants to play ice hockey indoors with that crowd from Long Island .. Right.. sir.

. dear. It was like having dinner at R!lli!}. look at this. our water glasses started tinkling frantically. you'd think a dining room table But it isn't. and now here you are to give us the q£!tlLQ§_grQce. Under here. And the chairs creaked and groaned. Do you think it's hopeless? (They are both crawling around under the table now) pAUL: MARGERY: PAUL: Let me check the table. I had a few friends over the other night. I used to tell my husband-my ex-husband-'-we have such lovely old things. we should keep them up.. (Taking out a pocket knife) I'm checking the joints here..UL: I'm serious. and he wouldn't do anything. (Still under table) Hey.. 'What? PAUL: MABGERY: PAUL: Look under here. I know the feeling. . Look. Look. (He crawls under the table) MARGERY: It shakes very badly. Wait .THE MARGERY: PAUL: DINING· ROOM THE DINING ROOM What do you think? I can't quite . How things run down and fall apart.leii. and every time we tried to cut our chicken. MABGERY: PAUL: Coming apart at the seams. mean. See? This is gone. But of course I couldn't do everything. wide. I don't dare. I'll have to put a whole new piece in over here. PAUL: MARGERY: It's all very sad. . wood under here. Oh. It's all just of big. I knew it. (She gets down on her (Working avera chair) You're in trouble. MARGERY: Wait till I put on my glasses.. (She crawls under the table) MABGERY: PAUL: It's becoming unglued. (She which are hanging from a chain around bends down discreetly) Where? I can't see.dsn't it? MARGERY: PA. boards. See 44 FAuL: 45 . we should wax them. This support. (Crawling around her) And look over here. underneath. We should oil them. All right. .

it is. she has gotten close to him physically. But that's not so old. Well. They both suddenly· realize it and move away. All right. Fa. at the end ofthe nineteenth century. If you want.dn here. What's what? MARGERY: Well. Well. It's well-made. I mean. MARGERY: That's not old at all. 18g8? PAUL: I am amazed. c. 18g8. What if you put a nail in here? MARGERY: PAUL: Not if it was made in 18g8. And see the results. (Crawling over him) All right. 47 .· PAUL: A wedge then. (Crawling under) Where? PAUL: Sure. . burned into the wood. And touch it. PAUL: There's a lot of these around. My husband used to ask estimates. It's a solid serviceable copy. writtfm '···. Will you be taking the table away? Or can you fix it here? I<A·IIL: MARGERY: PAUL: MARGERY: Beginning to. Well." (Under the table) 01. lYrARGERY: Now aren't I dumb? For years. It's not even an antique. And maybe cram a matchbook or something . (In her intensity. JY. You learn something every day. in a sense. And another one over here. that's the manufacturer's mark. Well. She looks at him) You know a lot about furniture. I decided I wanted to see what I was doing. Or at least some household cement.THE DINING MARGERY: PAlJL: ROOM THE DINING ROOM (Peering) What's this. .) So. and brushing themselves off. Materials and labor. There's some writing here. She looks at the strut) Is this the support that's bad? :M:Al\GERY: PAUL: That's what it says.[AillGER~r: PAUL: That might make more sense. I know some stockbrokers. My father was a banker. Until I got into this. Based on the English. don't you? I'm beginning to. (She reads carefully) "Freeman's Furniture. here? And I was a stockbroker. (Embarrassed pause. crawling out from under the table on either side.. (They are both sitting side by side under the table'.. So I took up carpentry.. I'll bet your father was a cabinetmaker or something.. I don't believe it. you'll have to come back under here to see. 111 be darned. MARGERY: MARGERY: Right here. I can fix it here. A wooden wedge. They used to crank them out. weve been thinking it's terribly valuable. they have these_~R_2!X glues now . American. Wilkes-Barre. See? I can do it too. . (Pause) If s just.

where she's always been.~ _ (Expansively. Suppose I helped. and there we are. Ben.. tle tired . we hear voices singing the Thanksgiving hymn "Come. it's not the end of the world. ad-libbing: «She's a litIt's been a long day . In your own dining room. How about a beer? Fine idea. You watched them. " The old lady gets up who are these people? I'm not quite sure who are. again) But these people PAUL: -- OLD LADY: (From Offstage. MARGERY: NANCY: (They go Off into the kitchen. . If I've got it. Stu- f. This table.I'll write one up. (She sets the plates and carving utensils at the head of the table and calls toward the haU) We're ready everybody! Come on in! (The singing continues as a family begins to come into the dining room to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner. looks around distractedly) What's the matter.TUART. aren't we? We should have a drink. STUART: (Following her around) It's me.'. I should learn. MARGERY: PAUL: O. Fred.. The oldest son. (To old lady) Mrs.Mis:-Uiiscoll~-youvegot your hands full with that turkey._. -~~ " ~ . If I make a mistake.. ."_. Good. you sit on Mother's left and. Come") MARGERY: PAUL: yes . I shouldn't be so helpless. Mother. and Ben. if you want.. is it? Not at all. She calls back over her shoulder) ··-NANCi:-Tve--gij. seating her You're here. Why not? MARGERY: Besides. Mother. Mother? LADY: I've never worked that way •. you sit opposite her where she can see you. and Nancy and Beth hold up that end of the table. The two sons push in their mother's chair. Ye Thankful People. arm around her. All your grandchildren were here. .. ._ •. Yes. I gave them up with the stock market..~~' __ u~_~ ~ __ . Right in the kitchen.K. in her thirties. has his mother on his arm. and here are your chairs..L·~··~_". We're all here. I want you to sit next to me and..~.. comes out. Mother. After a moment the old lady stands up again.~ . its not an antique. . to celebrate. Driscoll is here. and here is the china on your trip to England. Q. Now." '_. And your Mother: Stuart. Sh(3is a very vague. And here's Fred. solid beer. (Genial chatter as everyone sits down.. ~. Your son. _ .. yes . Mother. (She begi'l18to wander around the room) What'll we have? Something snappy? Like a martini? No.OLD LADY: 48 . again) is your you got carving MARGERY: PAUL: STUART: Today. Mother. MARGERY: PAUL: art. at the children's table. and Beth. That might help her focus. Right. . (Genial laughter. very old old lady) STUART: ••• Now.. carrying a stack of plates and a carving knife and fork.K.._'. When could we start? PAUL: I'm not quite sure where I am. Don't you remember? They ate first.~ __ ~ . and Nancy. MARGERY: Then we're a partnership.THE DINING ROOM PAUL: . On the labor. and here's the silver-handled knife which Father used to use.Cllie-plal. (He indicates the French doors) 01. and now they're out in back playing touch football. (Going into the kitchen) I'll get the turkey. as Nancy. the table) (She sits down again at the other end of 49 . Oh.

Ap~ And look. but I think I'd like to go home.. amateurish corny harmony. am I right. Fred. STUART: OLD LADY: think it's time to go. BEN: Fifty-four.. (Holding OLD LADY: asking me . thank you. Where would my gloves be? I can't go out without my gloves. and listens.TIm DINING ROOM STUA'RT: THE DINING ROOM propriate ohs and ahs from group) STUART: ( Nancy comes out from the kitchen. and give you a small piece of the breast and a dab of dressing. See. as he carves) Isn't that nice? Thank you. . pass this plate down to Mother •. . There's a big building there now. please? I live at Eighteen Summer Street with my mother and sisters. thanking people) out her hand) Thank: you very much for Thank you for having me to your house. . Heres Nancy with the turkey. .. Mother. Quickly. Nancy . Ben.•• OLD LADY: (As he sharpens) And Fred will have the drumstickam I right. dear... You've lived here fifty-two years. .. Sing of Aura Lee . I need my hat . Mother? Isn't it a beautiful bird? And I'm going to carve it just the way Father did. Sing? STUART: BETH: ( Genial in-group laughter) NANCY: STUART: STUART: She likes singing. Quickly. carrying a large platter. STUART: Sure you can. . The old lady 'Stops fussing. Fred?-and Beth gets the wishbone. turns her head. I've had a perfectly lovely time . What will we do? "'Neath the willow tree. Sat and piped. (He sharpens the carving knife officiously ) (Still staring out into the garden) (Going to old lady) It's not there now. (He sounds a note. Mrs.. I need my gloves. Driscoll.. Come on. . OLD LADY: STUART: OLD LADY: (Patiently. Ben. This is all very nice. (Wandering distracted around) Now I can't find my gloves. The Others try to find their parts) . Nancy. Put it right over there... Mother. We used to sing to her whenever she'd get upset . Thank you so much. Oh. Driscoll likes the second joint. up) Thank you very much. ." (They sing in pleasant. Uh-oh. Mother. Don't you remember? We drove down. Let's sing to her. I always do. The other women remain at the table) BETH: . Thank you. Over here... Hmmmmm. BEN: What song? I can't remember any of the songs. OLD LADY: Will someone drive me home. . but I really do OLD LADY: STUART: OTHERS: (Singing) ( Joining "As the blackbird in the spring . . (Getting . . . You are home. I heard him sing. (She Motherl I'm Fredl Your son! OLD LADY: STUART: Just as always . Ben? Save some for Mrs. Thank you . (She shakes hands with Nancy) It's been absolutely lovely . " in) NANCY: BETH: STUART: (Going to her) Mother. BETH: Forever. just as always.. begins to FBED: go around the table. and Ben ends up with the Pope's nose. Mother..

more daring harmony) "In thy blush the rose was born." (They hold a long note at the end. • • precarious. (She heads /01' the haU) (Deciding) Let's go out and ask her! STUART: (To no one in particular) Look. I'll get her coat. FRED: Let's go and have a drink with Mrs. (She sits in a chair along the wall. Aura Lee. and my mother gets very nervous if I'm not home in time for tea. I'll bet Mrs. The new Howard Johnson's motel. and then dig into this turkey. (Pause) Know what I'd like? STUART: MEN: (Singing with more confidence now. I'm coming too. Music. Thank you. (To his brothers) Shes coming around. Second I suddenly feel so. into the ldtchen. Sunshine came along with thee. and then figure out how to get through the rest of the goddamn day! go Off. and swallows in the air. Nancy and Beth are left Onstage. OLD LADY: But now I've Simply got to go home. The old lady claps. Driscoll. Would you call my carriage. It's very late. Fred. Down. Driscoll could use a drink too. please? And someone find my hat and gloves. . and swallows in the air. when you spake. and help her with the dishes. the dining empty) END STUART: BEN: STUART: OF ACT I 53 52 . Right) verse. Bet she could. Aura Lee.THE MEN: DINING ROOM TlIE ThNlNG ROOM (Singing) «Aura Lee. The entrance to the Thruway. Every person in our family could playa different instrument. we'll drive her down. . No. The new office complex where her house was. . Everyone claps) OLD LADY: STUART: That was absolutely lovely. We'll just have to go through the motions. Even her own sons. Aura Lee. • Sunshine came along with thee. Ben. or something. Maid of Golden Hair.. Quickly. Pause. Through thine azure eye the mom Sparkling seemed to break. The table is clear. She walked right by them. (Glancing Off) Yes ••• What? A good stiff drink. . but it's as if we didn't exist. And guess who walked right by us. I'll bring the car around. Then they begin to stack the dishe8) OLD LADY: I love music. ghosts. Maid of Golden Hair." brothers hurry after their mother. As if we were all just .mITH: It could happen to us all. Mother. and show her everything. Everything! And she'll see that nothing's there at all.


(Sarah appears in the doorway. Helen stays in the dining room ) 57 . from the front hall) GIRL'S VOICE: Mom? Mom? Anybody home? (Silence. Come on. SARAH: HELEN: goes out through dining room door. The light suggests that it is about three in the afternoon. My mom's always there when I get home from school. 111 show you where they keep the liquor. After a moment. In Atlanta. with Helen behind her) She works. v Right. then more softly) See? I told you. Four days a week. Anyway. my grandmother comes in. a gir"Cs oice is heard Of]. Or Denver or somewhere. She isn't here.ACT TWO (The dining room is empty. And my father's away on business. Always. SARAH: The liquor's in the pantry. At a boutique. And if she isn't. Left.

if you want to know.1i. Do you think it does? sAI!. So now we turn on the $ARAH: Vodka. and nobody can begin till everything's cold. she still had to sit here and watch.. THE DINmG ROOM (Taking in the dining room) Oh. At least you don't have to talk. SARAH: ut the reason there's more gin is that I put water in it B last week. gets . and the whole thing bites. my father insists that we all eat in the dining room at seven o'clock. Gin and vodka and Fresca. Can you watch TV while you eat? the local news and . Hey. and my parents spend most of the meal bitching.THE DINJNG ROOM HELEN. carrying two bottles) Which do you want? Gin or vodka? ( Wandering HELEN: around the room) You decide. . sure. (Coming out of kitchen. .I:1: (Coming in. It sucks out loud. V HELEN: SARAH: ShU. at least every night they're both home. You call the boys and tell them it's all clear. I do . then. The boys are bringing the pot. for God's sake.·"l:a.. SARAH: ell you what. ~jl. Want another? No.( She goes back into the kitchen) ( Calling toward kitchen) Sarah •. • • It must be nice.. (Slouching in a chair) Oh. nol It just makes me nervous. and we're supposed to carry on a decent conversation. SABAH's HELEN: (From within) What? This room. Every night? Really? SARAn's OICE: Well. HELEN: I know. HELEN: Gin. SARAH: But it's viciously nice. and it sucks. SARAH:(Looking at bottles) Well.EN: We eat in the kitchen. We have to lug things out. then.. It bites the big one.K. they moved back in here.. huh? When the relatives come to visit? VOICE: sARAH's HELEN: Every night. sure. and lug things back. yeah. and everyone has to finish before anyone can get up. and when my sister had anorexia. HELEN: But now we can't watch it. so it's less chance they'll notice. thanks. . Whenever they're home. Neat-a. you bet.. It's supposed to give me some sense of stability. That's something.B. Special occasions. VOICE: (Drinking) Mmmm . (Hands Helen her drink) Here.•.itchy about his homework. They take the tele-phone off the hook so no one can call. sure. We'll mix in a little of both. My mother read in Family Circle that TV was bad at meals. :m::r. eating here. carrying two glasses) Oh. (She goes T into the kitchen) HELEN: O. sARAIis VOICE: (Over clinking of liquor bottles) That's our dining room. there's more gin. VOICE: Do you use this room? My parents said they tried eating in the kitchen when I to boarding school But when I got kicked out. It really bites.AH's HELEN: Oh.• • 58 59 . Helen..tl1U:1. and my brother.

Right. .I. (Pause)GORDON: KATE: (Within) In the dining room? All right (Ironically) Tea in the around this shiny table with Eddie and Duane. . Helen.--Shecarriesa---small tray containing a teapot. (Gordon comes in from the hall.~--~~h~~~~--G~. please. for heaven's sake. I doubt very much that you heard a car. carrying his jacket and tie slung over his shoulder) GORDON: KATE: Milk it is. We even have it in the house..--:c-omes out. thanks. 'What? A car? On this god-forsaken street? Should we rush to the window? Cheer? Wave flags? Go easy. can we have our drinks in here? '---------TKiite. I ought to he getting back. He is buttoning his shirt. 61 . No sugar.-iiw(iiiUin-rnher-iriJiF-forliei. GORDON: KATE: KATE:-TCalli:. Don't worry about me. sit down. Kate. sugar and creamer.don'. It's very good. What would you like? GORDON: KATE: (They go out. Tea? Why tea? GORDON: KATE: Tea. (She begins to pour him a cup) dining room. I'm all over that. and 1 never touch it. (She heads for the han) Now come on. GORDON: KATE: GORDON: KATE: drink? GORDON: KATE: Because I like it I love it (Pause) Or would you like a No. wouldn't it he cool. (Helen starts after her) Having boys in the dining room? Jesus. drinking gin and Fresca and vodka? I mean.'ii. It's Earl Grey. (Not sitting) I thought I heard a sound. thanks. GORDON: KATE: SARAlI: (Coming out from the kitchen) No way. He is about her age. Helen looking back over her shoulder at the dining room) Then tea in the dining room. You really are a wimp sometimes. really? And what sound did you hear? A distant lawnmower? A faulty burglar alarm? I thought I heard a car. Absolutely no way. GORDON: KATE: Gordon. Oh. hallway ). Lemon or milk? "Whatever.I made Gordon.-toward tea. (She hands him a cup ) Well. 60 GORDON: KATE: Wen. Kate. -DINING_-RoOM (Within) What? When the boys come over. Go ahead. Let's call them. GOBDON: KATE: Milk.twoteacups.sitting Thank you. Where else? Should we huddle guiltily over the kitchen table? No. She sits at the table and watches the teapot) SARAH'S HELEN: VorCE: Then have tea.THE SARAH's VOICE: HELEN: DINING ROOM CORDON: KATE: T:a:E No. In here? I'd get all uptight in here. then. Have tea.

would you like tea? I was taking a nap. or who-gives-a-damn until next Tuesday. You get out two days early if you get an over-Sg average. . You heard a car stop. is in Amsterdam. BOYS VOICE: KATE: KATE: Mom! GORDON: KATE: Lord. He is about seventeen. (Coony) Hi. (IJ~. Have more tea. dear. Have some tea. He looks at Gordon) KATE: Gordon. (Chris slides into view from the Right. for heaven's sake. GORDON: (Calling out) Were in the dining room. KA'I. Or a Coke.. They listen) KATE: (Whispering) Now you've got to stay. as you and I . and we thought we'd have tea.'E: But what brings you home. Mom! Mom? 62 (Grimly to Gordon) Now you've got to have tea. 'GORDON: KATE: CHRIS: (Kate embraces him. the bored wife of (They shake hands ) GORDON: I see how it is-a quicktuniblewith your best friend. I got honors. What's this? Is this what they teach you at Deerfield? Not to shake hands? Not to call people by name? " GORDON: KATE: t- I'm gOing. And people when they get really frustrated feel like slamming them. Chris. But then you should have telephoned. I'm home. and Gordon stopped by. GORDON: CHRIS: ( Kate jumps up. Welcome home. dear.THE GORDON: KATE.sitson theedg~ of his chair) Now when can we meetagain? . ~ rKATE: All right. 01. A boy's voice is heard calling from the hall) . BOY'S VOICE: KATE: BOY'S VOICE: Nonsense. Have a Coke. carries a duffel bag. Someone's at the front door. I ought to go. That's because cars have doors. GORDON: KATE: Hi. Please. is it? Because Ed. You look marvelous! Taller than everl Say hello to Uncle Hi. help us. Yes.. Someone with akey! No . The car stopped . DINING ROOM. Chris.wellknow. KATE: THE DINING ROOM (Listening) It stopped. Kate goes to him effusively) Darling! How'd you get here? I took a cab from the bus station. . The sound? The car. (Reaches fOT his hand) Now sitdown. Let's have tea.GORDON: CHRIS: KATE: (Jumping up ) I heard a car door slam.cBRIS: (Gordon quickly puts on his coat. Gordon. or Rotterdam. really. . my love? I expected you Saturday. But it's not Ed's car. Chris..

Spoon with ra!_tail~~k. All of this is bone. KATE: (Aunt Harriet. All Williamsburg pattern. Tony. GORDON:I'd KATE: (Calls after Chris) Chris. thanks. Aunt Harriet? I want to get you in the late afternoon light. (He starts for the hall) Where are you going? I asked you a question. GoodAll right. Mom. darling. and I am your mother. It's a delightful old custom.Tony roo.stitfly). . Pistolhandled knives.. He'll be home Tuesday. and begins to set a place at the table) Now I thought I' d use this Irish linen place mat with matching napkin. really better go. Chris. Goodbye.:--X JiARRIET: Oh.. This should he polished at least every two weeks. Your grandmother used to have tea at this very table with this same china every afternoon.THE DINrnG ROOM THE DINING ROOM Or shall I get you a heer? How about a-beer for a big boy who gets honors? CBBIS: pieces of photographic equipment. he photographs it) And then. what? Your great uncle-inherited from his sister. tal) AUNT He wanted to talk to me about stocks. . of this goes in the dishwasher. pray tell? Oh.. and there she'd be. glittering with old china and crYs.. He begins to test the room with his light meter) KATE: No. She surveys it proudly) TONY: Finger bowls? ~-- -. yes. (She sets a place as he photographs each item. (She starts faT the kitchen with the tray) Oh. (She goes to where he indicates. . still the tray) GORDON: KATE: TONY: GORDON: (Shaking hands withheT . She becomes more and more at home with the camera) And then this is Staffordshire. sweetheart. I'd come home from school. the silver. a woman of about sixty.- c comes in from the kitchen. (He tumsaway)ld like to know. (She places the place mat.g-~. (The place is all set. Our side of the family always used finger bowls between the salad and the dessert. and so he stopped byWhere's Dad? CHRIS: KATE: He's in Europe.Coodbye bye.over here. appears at the kitchen door. It's all far too delicate for detergents. what that me::ns? (He shakes his head) I happened to be having tea. turning) And w~at ~oes that mean.r£l. We don't just walk away. decked out with a camera and various (Ch. as is the butter plate. All sorts of people would stop by. Serving tea.t!3_lf_o. of course.~: (StoPP!ng. I am talking to you. please. CHRIS: (Gordon goes quickly. You won't have more tea? Can't. They have to be washed and ironed by hand every time they're used. then. CHRIS: KA. I am talking to you. but the goblets and finger bowls are both _WA. carrying another tray.. Kate starts to put the tea things back on the tray) . The wineglasses are early Ste~.. All the time. and the least you can do is . Right. which was given to us as a wedding present by your great-grandmother. It happens to be a very old custom.~~ik~~~~t-~Tth~ yo~--. Mom. (She follows him out into the hall. You see? Three prong forks. Christopher. . named. (Calls toward the kitchen) Would you mind setting up .. that my husband-who was. Sorry. of None course. puts down her tray. As I think I wrote you. please. (He tries to shake hands with Chris) (Turning away) Coodbye. . HARRIEI': (Beaming proudly) Certainly. I inherited some stock he thinks I should sell.

. . you see. shakes out her 1I4pkin. but . . . an man. Us? The Wasps. pray tell. Like this. someone is talking about the Kikuyus of Northern Kenya. my. Or the subtle hint of aggression in those pistol-handled knives. (She moves the finger bowl aside) And in would come a nice sherbet or chocolate mousse I (She L beams at the camera. tell me again what . HAlUUET: Anthropology. He is in his late sixties. HAlIRIET: TONY. "Now. and cut off his anthropological balls! TONY: Well. Tony. For Amherst. called Jim. ldidn"t quite understand over the telephone. Heavens] (She starts to return items to her tray) What does that have to do with this? Outl Right now! Before I telephone long distance to your mother! (Tony backs toward the hallway) Vanishing . . actually. she is about thirty) -now. Now. at last used to it. Aunt Harriet . TONY: HARRIET: Please. (She sits down. (She stands up) In what. (She does) They would be filled approximately halfway with cool water. . Or a sliver of lemon •. Harriet returns to her tray orouasu. That was terrific. and the compulsion to display it.I was going to invite you to stay for a cocktail. of course.(She puts a plate aside. Aunt Harriet. As she goes. Of Northeastern United States. and then dab our lips • . He 8rlOp8 her picture) HAlUUET: TONY: TONY: You can learn a lot about a culture from how it eats. we'd have our napkins in our laps-like this . for example. . followed by his Meg. Consider the finger bowls.'I'lm TONY: DINING ROOM THE DINING ROOM ~r Would you show me how they worked? (Pause) Certainly. (He begins to pack up his photographic gear) You're welcome. dear. And there might be a little rose Hoating in it.. TONY: lIARBIET: This is a classroom project. Thanks. Tony. . we're studying the eating habits of various vanishing cultures. increasing coldness) Such as what? Well. Aunt Harriet . lIABBlET: TONY: I think I'll ask you to leave. Anthropology. • gently. then.. and carries it back into the kitchen. puts it discreetly in her lap) And then we'd dip our fingers into the finger bowl . . And my professor suggested I do a slide show on us. gently • " . my eyelI forbid you to mention my name in the classroom! Or show one glimpse of my personal property! And you can tell that professor of yours. Or notice the unnecessary accumulation of glass and china. the maids would take them away. I've got a good mind to drive up to Amherst. For example. A project. Oh. 66 runs hurriedly from the room. dear. reflecting the guilt which comes with the last stages of her fight ) And then she'd put down the finger bowlsIn front of us.culture. of course. And my roommate is doing the Cree Indians of Saskatchewan. 67 . ( With HARRIET. comes in from the hall. and then we'd wiggle them and shake them out • • • and then dab them on our napkins. (He continues to sitap pictures of her as she talks) You see the maid would takeaway the salad plate-like this. with this pistol-handled butter knife on the seat beside me. (He begins to gather up his equipment) all this is for.-Daady?~·------~---~~-~--·------·---· HARRIET: TONY: She's reading to the I won't. There you have an almost neurotic obsession with cleanliness.

. The door. JIM: All right. let's go (Pause) JIM: MEG: starts back out.!ID"don't been talking conti.. 69 .• JIM: I saw Mimi Mott the other day . . With three small children? Daddy. Meg. You'll find the silver measuring gizmo in the drawer by the trays.// :MEG: I've left him permanenJy.know you? Or if it isn't.. '. (He gets up and moves around the table) Your motheran.~n(lthel1.. I think it's almost permissible for you and I to have a little drink. Robinson stillcolllesfu~d<C'()dkSusa. We'll talk. (She goes into the kitchen. :M:EG:Can we stay here. Mrs. Once a week.' ' "". Make it reasonably strong.Da~~y. Right) :MEG: Here? For a few months. (He I can't live with him.l . MEG: I love J1M: this room. ' '.. what do youme9. Dad.. (Sitsdoti.~.THE DINlNGRool.'. rveal~a}'sl()~~dit:Aiways.'. of course..' .\V1lyn. We don't get alongat all. remains open) JIM: ( Calling to her) I'd like Scotch..t JIM: MEG: JIM: :MEG: THE MEG: DINlNG ROOM That's why she might want one. StiIl. Daddy. She wants no such thing.l-arn§C~9l?s. :M:EC's VOICE: (Within) I can hear you. Imean..'. sweetheart.9t?¥atterof fact.'. Now? It's not even five. now. Then I want one. then.. well. Dad. a littleva&i. WG: Could we live here. wen.' '. you may think that now .. Dad? PM! Make us a drink.. I'm kind of tired. JIM: Stop what? :MEG: JIM: talk.' MEa'S VOICE: (Within) All right.~r611ers(Suddenly) I've lef~hiih. (Pause) JIM: Oh. ' . Dad.". :M:EG: All right. And I like to use that big glass with the pheasants on .n?'Se~Insto :M:EG:While I work out my life.". I want two shots and a splash of -water. it should be. I think the sun is over the yarda. it.. Ever since I .t"' me everybody's from the moI mean alone.Uqh".' MEG: Alone. (Pause) JIM: (Takes out a pocket watch and looks at it) What time is it? A little after five. Good place totalk. stop! Avoiding me. It's been a long day. ..No"'. And not too much ice.. .Jn) llighthere in the dining room. permanently is a very'iongword 68" "..' ' MEG: (Pause) JIM: Oh.nuously~d.. Dad? JIM: Well. Meggie. Can you hear me? (Pause) JIM: Yes.. JIM: Good Lord.'siinu]Janeou~ly ment you got off the plarie. doing.dtstinA~eit..alone'~~Y?ll.. well. nlcedinner and we have it in here.

UElkea~e:a:o~t. That's every generJ. being a very good sport With her third husband.J)(lYfrpm. We took a little trip together. Dad . Dad. I've got someone too. MEG: (Pame. Another try. but that's what your mother did. the 1:birdfloor. JIM: (Looking at his gla. One time I became romantically involved with Mrs. Your mother got wind of it. That's your generation.G: Th. :MEG: (Meg returns with two glasses.IW~%~['~··· Ml" sleep.PoiIiLblauk.r. To Sea Island. JIM: Then fly back and kick her out.•.Ca~y<nyhearme? (Within) I'm listening.lo TV. Now why don't you do that? Go tell this woman to ped. .dIe her papers elsewhere. "Now. THE DINING ROOM (Pause. Dad. don't. If you had made half as much effort With your first husband as you've made with the last two. I won't go back to him.. So I took her aside.tll-~~ffOr.~8)V. me out because That's all there was to it. Every generation has t0l. We'll work it out. and I said. JIM: I sleep inYourroomno~. Dad.her) SO can we-stay. MEG: (Pause) JIM: You mean you've had a little fling.t·irQ()~€li-·. No. We'll sit with the children while you do.tell me the truth.#~ ~19~s~~~H.·. try first. . watch JIM: ~~~t.. She's living there right now. And you know what Mimi said? She said. He sits down at the other end of the table) JIM: Give it another :MEG: MEc'S VOICE: rii4. . Dad. JIM: We closed them off.on. SMgiVl?~(l1Jf. In the and went. sno~~. . She's moved in. ~ JIM: I took her think you'd still be married to him?" I asked her that. It's not mine. Because of the oil bills.t..•.$s) 1 wantY<:l MEG: JIM! MEG: Oh.e ants on it. Her third. JIM: JIM:: MEG: I'm serious.eyc. "Maybe. 71 I don't care.. glasS with the pheas- MEG: MEG: I think the kids used it JIM: Oh. Dad. He drlnks. Mbni. . "Maybe:''I'hat'sexactly what she said... and came right down.'I1l(J?~(J. You don't know this. ~ JIM: MEG: He's got someone else now. and told Betty Shoemaker to get on the next train. MEG: .'Y9li. Dad? I've been going with someone.Iqckeii.ltion. A little fling. Please. Shoemaker." If she had made·. Who's deaf as apost::wd extremely disagreeable.ciy:s'~9811l.THE DlNlNGROOM JIM: There she was. complicated.

come and go among these various households. (Pause. you sue yourhushandfqrdivorce. (Moving around the dining room) I'm all mixed up. and I don't knowwho I am. Dad. Yes. leaving the door open) MEG: (Pause. I want to be here.comehome. Yes. He drinks. Or your husband.sitsDown. you hold on to your house. MEG: (Jim comes out from the kitchen. It really is. He lives with someone else. That's why! neededto. youThere's someone else. then. I want to start again. He drinks) JIM: Someone else? Someone else entirely. You ask the man you're living with to leave. "Daddy. (He takes her glass and goes out to the kitchen. He's already marrieq. I'll get us both repairs. gets slowly to his feet. He points to hisgla. and none of it's working. third person. thinks. . JIM: MEG : J1M: MEG. now carrying three glasses) 73 .THE DINING ROOM: MEG: THE . (Pause. JIM: MEG: JIM: MEG: JIM: MEG: I've been involved with a woman. It's a woman. No.waYi And he's decided he loves No. my grandchildren • . Dad. I'm all over the ball park. A woman. Left) It's not a man. Sort of. Dad. 'That's the first thing. Jim. Dad. Yes. (She kneels at his feet) JIM: And your children . JIM: MEG. we? Do you plan to MEG: JIM: A MEG: MEG: ]IM": MEG: Yes. JIM: What was that movie your mother and I liked so much? The Third Man? (He . I've been seeing a Crisis Counselor.fJ.Drxero (Pause) JIM: ROOM It is. him: MEG: (Pause) JIM: MEG: Jill: But you've decided youdon'tlove MEG: Not a man. Dad. and the Park Lake.tstthing you do is simplify'thtngs. Dad. I want to start all over again. lng. Dad. And your husband's fallen ill Iove with someone else. . you keep the ch1Idiell in their present schools. his Wife.f'lIfy. Dad. but it's not work.:inay marry this new man? . You're not in love with him? No. I want to take my children to the Zoo. Now let's review the bidding. and I've been jogging two miles a day. and I've got to touch base. I think I'll get a repair. gets up~paces) JIM! Well. and do all those things you and Mother used to do with all of us. and the Art Gallery. It is. and I've taken a part-time job. SOIDldsextremely complicated. I want to come -home. . it seems to meth~·. Would you like a repair? I'll take your glass.

We'll call you when we're ready. sweetheart. And lfound the pheasants on it. and see if we can get the quietly while we do.ehildren to sit CLAIRE: EMILY: Couldn't we at least start the soup? I don't know._ or not.•. In the trash. then hurries out after him as .. Yes. Shr/84b. Right) So let's have with your mother. that telephone! I could wring its neck! It should be banned.. Downstage) EMU. Bertha. (She closes the kitchen doQr) ._~"_'~ whether to eat '~._'_" .. Oh. Meg stands for ~rnoment in the dining room. Dad? _( ertha disappears..Qut sixtettn ) Axe we eating or not? ..WlE: ( Claire. Mrs. darling.. (Hushed tones) Now what on earth is the matter? Berny was insulted down at the club. Insulted? (From the table) Uncle Henry? E:tIflLY: Ldon't know. Mrs.Emily. Mother? I don't know whether to eatbr. . between six: and ..t@-mitid.. (Bert}w. when aij o£aslidden thatstupid telephone rang. ~ (Bertha comes in with the soup tureen) EMILY: You mean you can't even sit down and have some of Bertha's nice celery soup? STANDISH: I can't even finish my cocktail.ertogo not. let's wait five more minutes.. would you mind very much putting the soup back ina saucepan and keeping it On a low flame... I don't even from the club. MEG: Honestly.e.Y: c:L. I think it's someone BERTHA: (Bertha goes out.. MEG: the glass with broke it. her daughter. You're most welcome. __ . (Desperately) I can't go back.rncks out of the kitchen door) I don't laibw-wltetP. I just don't know.. comes in and looks at the table) (The father comes in hurriedly from the hall. (He a nice cocktail .eight in the evening... Bertha.•. Standish takes Emily aside.not. Neither can I. Somebody crosses for the doorway.. talking away. Yes. it should be outlawed. Thatcher is still9lftR-ytelypliop. Your father and I were sitting in the livingrol:nn. A week. BERTHA: You don't want us here. her head ahead or EMILY: CLAIRE: 74 75 . Something very bad has happened. and now he's holed up in lhehedioom. EMILY: (Standing up) Go? Go where? ----·~-~~---E:Mi::Ly:--TDi8tractedlyTfdon't know DAVID: EMILY: _~ ~_ •••• __ •••• __ '~_r ~_ '"~- .il:ury~nga. David. His name is Standish) STANDISH: I've got to go.pedectly pleasant cocktail together. JIM: (He shuffies on out. Who's he talking to? knqW. Mr. ·\i STANDISH: EMlLY: I simply don't know.THE ThNlNG ROOM THE DINING· ROOM JM: I made one for your mother. He's about fQuriep-n) What's the trouble. Emily.. and Claire sit down) B EMILY: JIM: (Stopping) Of course we do. STANDISH: (Her son David comes in. ten days. Out. Dad! (Quietly) N eithercan I. comes On.. a woman of about thirty-five. EMILY: DAVID: Bertha. do you.

made an unfortunate remark. The STANDISH: children are quelled) Binky made. Byers. Really. Be frank. And so I've got to do s~lllethiIlg. Dad. dear.. I will not. I want you to STANDlSH: CLAIRE: EMILY: Why? I'm older. These are different times.. CLAIRE: no. I don't care if he got it from God! I will not have it in this housel The point is my own brother was wounded at his club! Yes. (Pause. Yes. Standish. DAVID: CLAIRE: (Hesitatingly. STANDISH: IN THIS HOUSE! DAVU>: E:Mll. In the outside world. dear. Byers must have made some unnecessary remarks about your Uncle Henry's bachelor attachments. (Pause) EMILy: But what can you do.•• He got it from school.and apparently a number of the newer members laughed. dear. Poor Henry was so upset he had to put on his clotll. Dad? Yes. looking from one to the other) Mr . oh.Y: Oh. remark to him in the steam bath.cemarlc. Byers. oh. She should know. having to do with your Uncle Henry's . dear. Dad? (Pause) DAVID: EMILY: I don't get it. . Standish.. STANDISH: He saidleave the room. Bertha. He called me from Mother's. We're not babies.. approached Uncle Henry in the steam bath. Everybody'should know. dear? Go down there. (Pause. no. STANDISH: I telephoned the eluh. What personal relationships? His-associations. EMU. and alluded in very specific terms to his personal relationships. . STANDISH: (Taking a deep breath) Mr. (Bertha comes outJWe're not quite ready yet. They .a. The children don't get it) EMILY: I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific. I will not dignify the remark by repeating . STANDISH: your mother.. what did he say? I believe I was speaking to . You mean Uncle Henry is a fruit? (Wheeling on him) I WON'T HAVE THAT WORD DAVID: STANDISH: it. come on. DAVID: Darling. no! EMILY: Oh. He refused to come to the :ghone. STANDISH: EMILY: To your mother's? 76 77 .(':sandIeave. I was just . to Emily} Binky Byers made a .~boutit. EMILY: Oh. Mrs. who had obviously been drinking since early afternoon. (Checks himself) Claire. private life.. Won't you tell us what he said to Uncle Henry.corJi:nned the incident I asked to speak to Binky Byers. '.y: DAVID: EMILY: Oh. (She goes baqk in) Now go on. .. Mr. What did he say. . spok~to several people who I had been in the steam bath. . This is a family.THE DINJNGROOM' STANDISH: THE DINING ROOM STANDISH: (Ignoring Claire. BERTHA: EMILY: Yes. • .

Bertha. I have to. of youl BERTHA: 78 79 . I want you home with your mother. nothing rd rather do in this world than sit down at this table with all of you and have some of Berthas fine celery soup. Bertha! (He points toward a chair on the side. I wouldn't be able to laugh.!· (Slwuting them down) Nowli. STANDISH.pIEJase. (Tearfully) Oh. (He kisses her. sir. I wouldn't be able to converse. CLAIRE: (Bertha has been heading back to the kitchen) And you too. Bertha crosses. this room. these chairs. are being treated with scorn. And when the family has been insulted.•.llbe~¢riolJslyhurt. My own brother has been publicly insulted at his club. followed by a leg of lamb with mint sauce and roast potatoes. Daddy. David. Bertha? llERTHA: STANDISH: 01. including you. Mrs. sir. What about your bad shoulder? What about your herBut I There is nothing I'd rather have than that. Yes. (He starts for the door) Standish. dear. EMILY: STANDISH: EMILY: But Binky Byers is half your agel Andlwice your size! It makes no difference. . She sits on the edge of the chair. Eoeryo1W turns back to Standish) There is nothing. if I sat down with all of you now. STANDISH: EMILY: Oh. Standish. I wouldn't be able to enjoy your fine meal. please don'tgo. (He shakes hands with David) STANDISH: DAVID: CLAIRE: (Bertha comes out of the kitchen) BERTHA: EMILY: Goodbye. and all of us in it. Goodbye. Dad? STANDISH: You may not. darling. that means this table. Bertha.THE DINING ROOM STANDISH: Tim DrNrnG ROOM To the club! I'll demand a public apology from Biuky in front of the entire grille. for heaven's sake! No Daddy. And it's a beautiful lamb.melAll 9LAJBE: Goodbye. I wouldn't be able to correct your grammar. But I have to forgo it. can't stand idly by. The lamb will be overdone. And so if I stayed here.I)a. Daddy . God bless you. Goodbye.itmouth! No difference whatsoever. Dad.iU.. I'll have to fight him. Standish.. Goodbye. STANDISH: DAVID: Can I come with you. And that means our family has been insulted. I'm sorry. (Turning to Emily) I wouldn't even be able to kiss my handsome wife goodbye. It's a passionate kiss) Goodbye. STANDISH: STANDISH:. STANDISH: EMILY: EMILY: (He kisees Claire) STANDISH: nia? STANDISH: Goodbye.Bertha. Good luck. as everyone watches her. ~-~ EMILY: But if he won't even come to the telephone . STANDISH: EMUS: I think he was ontheboxingtea. SO long. 1 imagine L sha. Winldns.stento. Am I right about the sauce and the potatoes. I can't let the remark stand. David.

(As he enters) We'll talk in here. Well. sweetheartrButyoudon't say it to him.forheaven's Is it true about Uncle Henry? sake? HARVEY: I want to do it. I want to go over my funeral with you.ILY: BERTHA: EMILY: .THE DINING ROOM STANDISH: THEDmmc ROOM Thank you very much indeed~(lIe g?es out) son come on The old man is Harvey. or in living rooms. except Downstage. away from the table) I'll sit here. Mrs. A great white tablecloth. attractive people to enjoy good food well cooked and properly served . BERTHA: EM. Behind. (He goes out) And. balancing their plates like jugglers. Your mother starts to cry. it may be. Pop. Well. All right. quiet. Tell him to be at the club to give your fatherflrst aid..K.Downstage ) HARVEY: CLAIRE: EMILY: CLAIRE: E"'flLY: CLAIRE: EMILY: (Taking an envelope from his inside pocket) Now. Mother. this time for an elaborate dinner. Pop. You're my eldest son.c!'tn't eat now. And the children can have Iamb hash on Saturday. HARVEY: (Coming well Downstage. why not? Simplify the process considerably. Nowadays people eat in kitchens. And then study your French.fiowets. then stops) Mother? (Impatiently in the doorway)Wh~t. And you don't say it at the club. and muted. • . please. the works.Get Iv_qnhf!_e. Mother. EMILY: CLAIRE: EMILY: to stay . in the dim light. by the French windows) HARVEY: (Pause) EMILY: (Now allbusiness) Of course we . your brother isn't here. could We be quite a while. O. I want you All right. ruldhold the fort. Have something YOUIse1f. his son is Dick The light is dim in dining room now. that apparently doesn't occur to people anymore. There's a purple finch who comes to the feeder every evening. and your sister gets distracted. '. We can look out. DAVID: EMJLY: DICK: Sit down somewhere. Mother. down to the club and wait for the outcome in the visitbiii lollilge. Get on the telephone to Doctor Russell. canilles. (She goes Of]) David. So concentrate. Soon they'll be eating in bathrooms. Claire. I don't care whether he's having dinner or inthe9Plfrating room. You've been saying that for years. HARVEY. 81 80 . Get a good hObk. pulling a chair down. I can't do it with anyone else. Brings his DAVID: young . SO get a book. AndY9u don't say it within a ten-mile radius of your father. DICK: Well. not to distract from the scene •. So I want to go over this. standing around.K. DICK: Pop- All right. Now goodbye. Yes.' O. No one will disturb us. you and I will drive. (Dick pulls up a chair beside him. Mrs. three women begin to set the table. nd letpeop:lyxaidthe icebox later a on. Nobody comes near a dining room anymore~ 'The thought of sitting down with a number of intelligent. There are only a few more apples left in the barrel forme. ' - - . this time it's true. The process should be reverential. (She starts out. on my funeral. Bertha. please.

of course. Mr. I've lived in this city all my life. go right up to them and find them a place. (He shows it) It was taken when I was elected to chair the Symphony drive. I don't look too young-todie. Thatwillgivepeoplettme to postpone their trips and adjust their golf' games. Notice I've underlined the word church. and it's what I want. Don't. The women Good. you won't make any wisecracks."And' I want it at threethtrtyin the afternoon. Then 111 write you in. (He Writes) "Brief remarks by my son Richard. There s nothing more uncomfortable than a reluctant or unwilling speaker. Shuffles documents. DICK: HARVEY: Good. my civic commitments. The papers will want to cut both items. if you. I've listed the following works to be played by Mrs. will you? Oh.THE: DICK: DINING ROOM THED:rn:rNc ROOM All right. Pop. Are we clear on that? Yes. Pop. I'm sorry. Pop •. HARVEY. For both newspapers. If you see people milling around the door. You got up and made some very Hip remarks about all of us. Pop. will you? Brad _Hoffmeister's son got up the other day and made some very sentimental remarks about Brad. Do youplan to get up and speak. and." (Pause. Looks up) Any idea what you might say? No. I won't get sentimental. . Fayerweather might try to squeeze the service into the' chapel. looks up again) On the other hand. nothing grim. as my eldest son. It's thorough without being self-ooagratulatory. DICK: DICK: HARVEY: (By now the table has been mostly set behindthern. DICK: 82 . and I want everyone to have a seat and feel comfortable. and know a great many people. And your brother's birthday. DICK: DICK: lIARVEY: HAR~Y: (Fussing with other documents) Now I want the funeral service announced at the end ofthe obituary. Pop. have gone) HARVEY: You have that tendency.• DICK: O. were to get on your feet and say a few words of farewell. HARVEY: I also want them to print this picture. my family. this Schubert. Do you plan to say anything? HARVEY: DICK: I hadn't thought. I think it will do.' fthesailfish I caught o off the Keys.. All lively. by the way? DICK: Me? You. you'll notice. On the other hand. Christian Soldiers"-and then Fayerweather may make some brief-underlined brief-remarks about my life and works. Pop. even if you have to use folding chairs. and I've read it over twice.but don't let him. Pop. (Pause. I mention my business career. This Bach. This gives people time to digest their lunch and doesn't obligate us to feed them dinner. I even touch on roy recreational life. DICK: HARVEY: You won't make it sentimental. I didn't like it. this Handel. . but don't you let them. I want the service to start promptly with a good rousing hymn"Onward. nor so old it won't make any difference. (Quickly) Of course I will. Dick At Marcie's wedding. HARVEY: (Taking out a typewritten document) First.. I dictated it to Miss Kovak down at the office. I give my lowest score in golf and the-weight . Pop.K. and I don't think Brad would have liked it. Manchester at the organ. All right. and to o~cur three days later. Pop. if you don't want to. Pop .. Nothing gloomy. here is my obituary.

.the·..'after the burial. silver candlesticks. (Remaining in his chair) YesT did. lost in thought. I promise. (Begets slowly to his feet) I'll put this envelope in my safe-deposit box.---~-~~~. (Putting documents know. flowers. DICK: HARVEY: Thank you. Stay in the house.inthep. If you plan to get into that sort of thing. [ustthe. the table and chairs to yourIt's the best thing I can leave you. All right.. Annie! It looks absolutely spectacular. shuffles through documents) Now at the graveside. I'll do butter balls. by far. I'm leaving you this toom. (Annie exits into the kitchen) HARVEY: DICK: HARVEY: You love us.". I always do.··.".in. Dick waits a moment. ANNIE:. and then replaces the chairs. Pop. you may have run off every summer. You may uvea thousand miles away.. don't you? Yes. in my (lpinion.THE DINING ROOM HARVEY: THE DrnINCROOM Smart-guy stuff.~ ~~ __ M~~ -~~ . . -~ -' ~ ~ -. but you love us all. Pop.. on top of my . I'm glad you saw it. ~-RUTii!TSUrveying~·ihi table) Oh.. Stay close to your mother. Annie begi1l8to set plates as a hostessRuth-comes in from the Right) ~ . You saw it while I was talking? DICK: HARVEY: DICK: DICK: (Pause) HARVEY: That's right. I promise. ~'------~rAnnle~-ihe'1Midf. the works. Don't you? You love me. ill and the stock certificates. then stops) You didn't see the purple finch feeding its young. . Don't leave for a few days.. After your 84 ANNIE: RUTH: 85 .-.eally! Now we'll rejoin your mother. Pop. Mrs.. crystal goblets. Please.~~~-.looks cause you love us.. Would you? How nice! And keep an eye on the ashtrays. and makes bad decisions.~. The lights come up on the table. Just give everyone a nice square of butter. The key will be in my left w bureau with her.. And when they'regone.envelope) And that's my funeral. Good.sr8c(.. you maybe a terrible letterwriter. She gets nervous at allY kind of gathering. (He starts out. HARVEY: DICK: HARVEY: Invite people back here . (Puts his glasses on again. Mrs. up again) Be- mother dies.- .don't let her serve any of the good Beefeater's gin if people sirrlply want to mix it with tonic water. Too smart. yes.-."". For example. DICK: ANNIE: RUTH.----..-. RUTH: Thank you. still leave room. She'll comeback at the end. DICK: Thanks... yeslR.indlesticks and a lovely flower centerpiece to the table) .. Pop. HARVEY: But I think we can dispense with butter balls. I want to be buried beside my brothers and below my mother and father. Pop. perhaps you'd better not say anything at all. Mrs. Pop.W:7~ow-quiie-:old:"addSc.. Leave room for your mother to lie beside . I won't make any cracks. (Looks at docitments. If she marries again.. (As she begins to distribute place cards carefully around the table) Now make sure the soup plates are the same. (Touching him) Oh. Fine. now beautifully set with white linen..-- (He goes out slowly.

Mrs. Ruth goes to her and hugs her. and hot hors d'oeuvre. She lights the two candles on the table as she speaks to the audience) Rum: ANNIE: RUTH: one. No. Mrs. Yes. Mrs. ANNIE: RUTH: ANNIE: (Suddenly) Annie! (Annie stops. 86 ANNlE: RUTH: ANNIE: RUTH: ANNIE: Lately I've been having this recurrent dream. Mrs. Annie responds stiffly) Thank you. Not even for us. but they don't like to be reminded of it. Mrs. before the movers dropped them. Annie. I know. We'll never match this. And we'd have two cocktails. Mrs. (She starts out) ANNIE: RUTH: Thank you. We've used you more than anyI'm retiring. gets a book of matches. 111 get it. And I've invited all OW' favorite people. and they'd all come back from wherever they are. (She goes Off. There's a little extra in yours. to answer the door) (Ruth starts out. yes. Before people arrive. Yes. For everything. We'd have the man who fixes our Toyota. and Charley's mother's royal blue dinner plates. And our children would be invited too. Mrs. Just a present.. Mrs. Mrs.THE DINING ROOM TIm D:ooNo RUTH: ROOM Annie. Some people still smoke between courses. And now I'd better check the living room. Mrs. if I knew where they were. Mrs. I think I heard the bell. I mean everyone we've ever known and liked. I heard some strange news through the grapevine. ANNIE: RUTH: ANNIE: RUTH: ANNIE: RUTH: And let's see . Thank you. and that intelligent young couple who bought the Payton house. Annie. and everyone would get along famouslyl (The candles are lit by now) My husband laughs when I tell him this dream. I want to pay you. if we're desperate. and a first-rate cook in the kitchen. men's in the hall closet. ANNIE: You're welcome. It includes your taxi. (Annie looks at her) Mrs. Annie. Mrs. Bellman told me that you won't be available anymore. before it was stolen.. I mean. and even the finger bowls. Because you've been so helpful t~ the family over the years. Right." he says. Women's coats upstairs. (She produces two enoeiopes from the sideboard) For you. ANNm: RUTH: But surely special occasions. (Ruth goes to the sideboard. We're giving this perfect party. and the new teller at the bank. We have our dining room back. So you can both just leave right after you've cleaned up. Can I still reach you at your nephew's? He's moving away. 01. ANNIE:: RUTH: (Indicating the table) But not like this. And for Velma in the kitchen. and Grandmother's silver. "Do you realize. and two maids to serve. Thank you. then stops) RUTH: Oh. Annie. But we'll be lost without you. Oh. MrS. I don't mean just our old friends. Annie. But then where will you go? What will you do? I've got my sister in Milwaukee. You'll manage. Annie. "what a party like that would cost? Do you realize what we'd have to pay these 87 . and the receptionist at the doctor's office. Right.

The men pull out the women's chairs. where Annie has left a bottle of wine in a Silver bucket. ROOM days for a party like that?" Well.THE DrnING. He wraps a linen napkin around it. having a wonderful time . Then the two Downstage actors unobtrusively snuff the candles. (The rest of the cast now spiUs into the dining room. But sometimes I think it might almost be worth it. Then he raises his glass ) ROST: To all of us. The table is bathed in its own candlelight. and people sit down. The Host reaches his own seat at the head of the table. talking animatedly. The lights begin to dim. and pours his own wine. the lights fade to black. As their glasses go down. The conversation flows as well. (Everyone raises his or her glass. and begins to pour people's wine. There is the usual gallantry and 10ckeying around as people read the place cards and find their seats. and the play is over) THE END 88 . The Host goes to the sideboard. I know: I know all that..