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Better This Way 2007-04-25

I. The Shit Begins With Some Video And Some Fishing And Some Walk-Talking

VOICE
Today's Lesson : The earth is not a chocolate covered cherry
Materials:
1 chilled chocolate covered cherry
1 paper towel
1 serrated knife
1 diagram of the earth's layers

Step 1: Spread paper towel and carefully place chilled chocolate covered cherry on it. Do not eat it.
Step 2: Using your knife, cut the cherry in half, as neatly as you can. Use a sawing motion to cut through the shell to prevent the
total collapse of the candy's shell. Dissecting a chocolate cherry is very messy business, work slowly and carefully.
Step 3: You may now eat one half of your candy.
Step 4: Examine the Outer Chocolate shell. It is thin and brittle and easy to break like the earth’s crust. Beneath the crust is the
mantle, sticky sugary goo that keeps the cherry in place within the crust.
Step 5: Examine the cherry. Dive your way through the dense but malleable fruit of the outer core. Beneath this layer is the pit. The
hard iron core of the earth. Carve delicately into the pit, because entering it is a dangerous undertaking. No one has yet managed
to explore its depths, but you can try.
Step 6: You may now eat the other half of your chocolate covered candy
Step 7: Next explain in your words, how the Earth is NOT like a chocolate covered cherry and how you know this to be true.

HADES
Fishing with my uncle.
I cast my line my line into the water. There is a worm at the end of the line, a juicy blind worm, earthworm, called bait. The line
and the bait are in the water. Wet. He catches a fish. A trout or bass or carp or goldfish or Nemo or some other fish. My bait is still
in the water. And the bobber--that’s the red and white ping pong ball type thing attached to the line--it’s still floating. And now...

[PERSEPHONE TINA appears on one of the screen interrupting Hades – She speaks to him from the screen, she may switch to
PERSEPHONE SHANNON, and TINA may or may not appear in the midst of this dialogue onstage.]

PERSEPHONE TINA
Gorgeous isn’t it?

HADES
Isn’t what?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON (entering)
The World.

HADES
How do you know?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON (till further notice)
How do I know what?

HADES
You can’t see most of it.

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PERSEPHONE
I can only judge what I see.

HADES
That’s a fairly dumb answer.

PERSEPHONE
Well you don’t have to listen to me.

HADES
If I don’t, will you keep talking anyway?

PERSEPHONE
Feel free to keep walking.

HADES
What’s your name?

PERSEPHONE (pause)
Persephone. And you are?

HADES
Uhh. Steve?

PERSEPHONE
Hi Steve. So you don’t think it’s gorgeous today?

HADES
I’m withholding judgment.

PERSEPHONE
Why bother?

HADES
I don’t like to be wrong.

PERSEPHONE
Well then I guess you don’t say very much, huh?

HADES
Well I just know a lot.

PERSEPHONE
I bet.

HADES
Ask me something.

PERSEPHONE
Why? So you can impress me with your vast knowledge?

HADES

2
Well it would just be a shame for someone so beautiful to be so stupid.

PERSEPHONE
You’re an asshole.

HADES
See? You’re getting smarter already.

PERSEPHONE
I guess so.

(Pause.)

HADES
So did you ever think about what you can’t see?

PERSEPHONE
What do you mean?

HADES
What you can’t see.

PERSEPHONE (pause, stares)
I’m not deaf, thanks. Are you talking about like the thousands of bacteria swarming all around the air and my body, or are you
talking about a realm of reality beyond my senses.

HADES
The latter.

PERSEPHONE
So you’re asking me if I think about the things I can’t sense, have no way of sensing, may or may not exist, and have no way of
affecting anything I will ever do?

HADES
More or less.

PERSEPHONE
Why would I bother?

HADES
You have no interest in why things happen?

PERSEPHONE
No.

HADES
Oh.

PERSEPHONE
As long as my world continues to behave as it does, what do I care if an unseen force is pulling the strings?

HADES
Well, what if it’s not a benevolent force? What if it’s a sinister one?

3
PERSEPHONE
It’s been pretty good to me so far.

HADES
Fortunes change.

PERSEPHONE
And what do you have in mind?

HADES
Get rid of it. Learn how to pull the strings myself.

PERSEPHONE (Pause)
Well good luck with that.

HADES
Or worse yet, what if nothing is pulling the strings?

PERSEPHONE
I don’t see how that’s worse.

HADES
Doesn’t it worry you that the floor could drop out from under you at any minute?

PERSEPHONE
I don’t know you well enough to get into that.

HADES
Everyone has doubts.

PERSEPHONE
Not everyone.

HADES
What are you doing right now?

PERSEPHONE
I’m talking to you.

HADES
I mean generally.

PERSEPHONE
Tending to my garden.

HADES
Oh.

PERSEPHONE
Why?

HADES

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You know, I thought maybe you’d want to take a walk with me.

PERSEPHONE
Sure, Steve.

[Persephone gets up and disappears out of the cubicle video screen.]

HADES
And now, a tug. The bobber goes under. I feel a tug. Wow. A tug. I pull and
pull and pull, well reel and reel and reel and pull a little. Something’s stuck. Feels stuck. Reel’s stuck. Stuck. So I pull
and...unstuck, reel reel reel.

Something’s breaking through the surface. Something. Coming up.

II. Then They Walk And Sing And She’s Cold And THE BOX INDUCTION (Plus God)

[PERSEPHONE TINA has appeared to join HADES for a walk.
Persephone TINA sits behind and stage left of SHANNON her back against SHANNON's legs. Music “Righteous” begins.

HADES walks slowly towards them -stopping about center stage.

TINA pushes SHANNON towards Hades. SHANNON stops short – turns back to look at TINA and then walks confidently to him-
extending her left hand.]

PERSEPHONE SHANNON (after song)
I'm cold.

HADES
Better?

[Video of TINA ALONE]

HADES
Better?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I'm cold.

[HADES pulls SHANNON close and kisses her – she breaks the kiss first and pulls away –put her hands on cheeks. They stand for
just long enough, hands on each others cheeks.]

[As they stand, flowers are all around them. HADES begins to gently sweep them away from SHANNON. He sweeps them
gentlemanly away into a square. ]

HADES
Stand here.

HADES
I meant here.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
What’s this?

5
HADES
It’s your induction.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Induction into what?

HADES
Would you mind passing me that tape.

PERSEPHONE TINA ( TINA hands shannon tape)
Oh sure. Here.

HADES
No, not the box tape. The gaff tape.

PERSEPHONE TINA ( again from Tina to shannon)
Umm. Here?

HADES
That’s the paper tape.

HADES
Electrical tape. Double sided tape, Packing tape.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Isn’t that the same thing as box tape?

HADES
No, box tape is brown … like a box. Packing tape is clear, for use on things like bubble wrap, or a white box.

PERSEPHONE BOTH
You’re an idiot.

HADES
Wait you had it. Just to the left.

HADES
Yes.

HADES
Yes. Give it to me.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Why should I give you my tape?

HADES
It’s not your tape.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I don’t see you holding it.

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HADES
Everything here belongs to me, whether I’m holding it or not.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Not everything.

HADES
Everything.

(Pause)

HADES
The tape.

(Persephone Tina tosses it to him)

HADES
Now, whatever you do, don’t move.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Okay.

[HADES walks forward and stands less than an inch from Persephone SHANNON as though they are about to kiss. He doesn’t kiss
her. He tapes the floor.]

PERSEPHONE TINA
What are you doing?

HADES
Can’t you see I’m working?

PERSEPHONE TINA
Looks to me like you’re taping the floor.

HADES
Well you wouldn’t want it fall out from under you.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Then thank you.

HADES
Don’t thank me.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Why? Because you are so selfless that you do these things just because.

HADES
I don’t know. I think I’m a pretty deliberate person actually. I mean really, does anybody do anything just because?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Why else would I do anything? Because God makes me?

HADES

7
What God?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Exactly.

HADES
No, I was asking which God you were talking about.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Oh. Well, I was talking about the being above Zeus. You know, what’s his name … Jesus.

HADES
Ah. So here’s a question

[Tina tapes a square around Hades. He fucks it up easily}

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Shoot.

HADES
Would you care if you were cut off from it?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Cut off from what?

HADES
A higher power.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Like if I was excommunicated?

HADES
Like if you lost your faith.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Well I think I’d have to have faith to be able to lose it.

HADES
I think you should have faith.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Oh, really?

HADES
I have a deep faith.

PERSEPHONE
Do you ever go to church?

HADES
No. I don’t.

PERSEPHONE

8
Do you pray often?

HADES
Certainly not.

PERSEPHONE
Then how deep can your faith really be?

HADES
Is faith nothing more than sacrifice for you?

PERSEPHONE
If faith is this intangible thing, emotion, whatever, then how else can you express it except through dependence on it, or reliance
on it?

HADES
What’s your point?

PERSEPHONE
Well how can you show your faith, your dependence, without sacrificing anything for it?

HADES
So?

PERSEPHONE
I mean, if you never sacrifice for your dependence on faith, then you’re not really dependent, and you don’t have any need for
faith.

HADES
You’re a smart girl.

PERSEPHONE
Woman.

HADES
Gal.

PERSEPHONE
Miss.

HADES
Phillie.

PERSEPHONE
Phillie? Really?

HADES
Why not?

PERSEPHONE
Why can’t your treat me like a woman.

HADES

9
You’re not a woman though.

PERSEPHONE
But I suppose you consider yourself a man.

HADES
I am certainly no man.

PERSEPHONE
Then what do you consider yourself?

HADES
Well, what do you think?

PERSEPHONE
What do you mean?

HADES
About the floor.

PERSEPHONE
Oh, uh, it’s fine. Very black and shiny. Clean.

HADES
Thanks. But I was asking about my taping job.

PERSEPHONE
Oh, um, it looks pretty decent. Not really a square though.

HADES
I wasn’t really aiming for a square.

PERSEPHONE
Well then good for you. You’ve succeeded.

HADES
It’s a Hexagon.

PERSEPHONE
Umm, Great.

HADES
Well, I really appreciate this.

PERSEPHONE
Appreciate what?

HADES
Binding you.

PERSEPHONE
Who’s binding me?

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HADES
I already have.

PERSEPHONE
Why?

HADES
I don’t want to you go-t hurt.

PERSEPHONE
You don’t want me to goat herd?

HADES
Get hurt. Get hurt. I don’t want you to get hurt here. So I’ve bound you so that nothing can get in.

PERSEPHONE
You’ve put me in a box –

HADES
Hexagon -

PERSEPHONE
Whatever. So I can’t be hurt?

PERSEPHONE
But I can’t get out either.

HADES
I’m afraid that’s the draw back of it.

PERSEPHONE
Then how are we going to do anything?

HADES
We can do stuff. We’re talking right now.

PERSEPHONE
That’s not what I’m talking about.

HADES
You said anything.

PERSEPHONE
But I didn’t mean, anything.

HADES (aggravated)
Then what are you talking about?

PERSEPHONE
Use your imagination.

HADES

11
Like –

PERSEPHONE
Yesssss?

HADES
Competitive arm wrestl- oh. OH! Oh. Oh. Ho. Yeah … Well I can enter the square.

PERSEPHONE
Sorry, girls only in the square.

[HADES exits. PERSEPHONE SHANNON starts to follow but is stopped by some unknown force at the edge of the tape.

III. Oh Shit! She Can’t Get Out! Doors And Microphonic Poetry About Stickyness

There is no music. There is a high-pitched squeal.

[Doors and confessions ]

HADES enters

Movement/interaction of Persephone TINA and Hades in silence outside of box, SHANNON continues to cover her ears.

PERSEPHONE TINA (microphone)
there is an empty face an empty place in my future
mine
where is the family?
too many things going on at once
or one long complicated thing
why do i complicate things
easier to believe that people love
that people care
that things matter
easier
less frightening
to believe that community exists
what does that mean?
stop questioning yourself
or don't stop?
i can't
can't stop
it's impossible
why?
see
no use in it
is there use in anything anyway?
do you ever think about jumping in front of a car when it passes you
or running head first into a wall
or jumping
or being shot
not to die
not at all to die
but to live

12
to feel alive
the thrill of life right before death
the feeling of becoming unstuck from the ultimate glue
life
which is what keeps us stuck more than anything
we are stuck with life
until we die
stuck with being stuck
the ultimate act of attempting to become unstuck
is to attempt to die
but to die--is to become stuck again
stuck in death
which, come to think of it, is stickier than life
is there, after all, any way to become unstuck from death?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Don't touch me! [FREEZE!]

(Tina kisses him)

[He pushes her violently away, they stare at each other, she steps forward, he turns and exits.]

IV. All I Have To Do Is Scream, Scream Scream, Scream. Er…Dream

PERSEPHONE TINA
I had a dream once.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
You’ve only dreamt once?

PERSEPHONE TINA
No, I dream often, I just don’t always remember them.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
So you’re saying you’ve only ever remembered one dream?

PERSEPHONE TINA
That’s pretty sad.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
No. I remember a fair number of them. I just wanted to talk about a specific one.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Well, why beat around the bush? Just get to it.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
She probably would if you would just shut up.

PERSEPHONE TINA
So in this dream, there was a man.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON

13
Oh, I remember this one.

PERSEPHONE TINA
How can you tell? All my dreams are about men.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
But this wasn’t a sex dream.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Oh, then I know what dream you’re talking about.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Anyway. This man had a family.

PERSEPHONE TINA
A wife and daughter.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
And one day he took them to an old stone mansion off the coast of Nova Scotia.

PERSEPHONE TINA
They were attending a costume party.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Hey, who’s telling the story here?

PERSEPHONE TINA
You’re just going really slow.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
What are you talking about? I didn’t even add in any details. I’m only giving the bare bones.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Well it’s boring. You’re boring. Your existence bores me.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I suppose you think you can do a better job?

PERSEPHONE TINA
Well, since you’re asking.

BOTH
Yeah?

PERSEPHONE TINA
The party they were attending was supposed to be the biggest one of it’s day. With 25 ballroom rooms, 38 lounges, 18 dining
halls, and innumerable gardens, bedrooms, libraries and game rooms. Thousands of guests were invited, each sent a unique mask.
The man dressed up in a crescent moon mask, while the wife simply wore a stark white shell of a face. The child, however, wore
only one of those skinny little masks. Like … you know what I’m talking about?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Like the Lone Ranger mask.

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PERSEPHONE TINA
Right.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Or the Hamburgler.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Umm, also right … if you’re an idiot.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It’s not stupid. It’s just a more modern, and hence, more appropriate pop culture reference.

PERSEPHONE TINA
There hasn’t been an ad using the hamburgler since, like, 1987. If you wanted to use a modern reference you could have just said
a raccoon or something.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Did you just say that a raccoon is more modern than the hamburgler?

PERSEPHONE TINA
Anyway, the family arrived at the mansion and were promptly given three names. The man was dubbed Mr. Winks. The mother
was renamed

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
The Wraith

PERSEPHONE TINA
Right. And the child was dubbed simply –

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Hamburgler.

PERSEPHONE TINA
No.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It is in my dream.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Well that’s just another reason I should be telling the story.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
You are telling the story.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Touche. Anyway, the child’s name was raccoon face. So Mr. Winks, The Wraith, and Raccoon Face quickly got separated in the
thickening crowd of the main ballroom. However, none seemed to mind until close to three AM when a shriek went up from
somewhere in the depths of the main kitchen of the 8th dining hall.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It was the Wraith. She was dead.

15
PERSEPHONE TINA
Murdered.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Brutally.

PERSEPHONE TINA
She was repeatedly stabbed in the neck with a sterling melon baller.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It was very gruesome.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Because the melon baller is so blunt.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Her throat was like a Niagra falls of blood.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I think that’s enough.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Not for my dream.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Anyway. It was raccoon face who was first on the scene. Stepping out of the shadows from behind some sort of ancient blue and
yellow hanging tapestries she rushes over to her dead mother. She begins to tilt back her mask, put it is caringly yet forcedly
pushed back down by the huge hand of the host.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
You can never remove your mask. Not for anything. To do so would cause one to be tossed from the mansion down the rather
deep bluff that the mansion overlooked.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Sometimes when I have the dream, the host doesn’t reach her in time. She takes off her mask and the guests tear her to pieces
before dumping her remaining limbs down the cliffs.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
How often do you have the dream?

PERSEPHONE TINA
Often enough.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It doesn’t matter. We’re finally getting to the best part.

PERSEPHONE TINA
The Host?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
For all the seemingly infinite number of guests, the host had greeted each one, made sure each had a mask which was unique
from all the others, and gave names to all of them. Impressively, he always remembered every name.

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PERSEPHONE TINA
But it was the man himself that always impresses me.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON

You don’t know that it was a man.

BOTH
You think he was a woman?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
For all we know he could have been a beast.

PERSEPHONE TINA
But his voice …

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Was gutteral at best.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Anyway, he –

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It.

PERSEPHONE TINA
- always wore large black gloves to fit with his rather formal all black attire.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
But his mask-

PERSEPHONE TINA
Yes, his mask.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
You never said what happens to the child.

PERSEPHONE TINA
In my dream you never find out.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It carries her away.

PERSEPHONE TINA
But you forgot his mask.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
And what about The Wraith?

PERSEPHONE TINA
She is celebrated and forgotten.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON

17
And the mask.

PERSEPHONE TINA
And what about the husband?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
He never heard the scream. He never found out about her. He was already lost in the catacombs of the wine cellar.

PERSEPHONE TINA
His mask –

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Yeah.

PERSEPHONE TINA
It’s just a human face.

V. Okay, Now The Sex Starts. Only Tina Doesn’t Get Any.

[TINA ALONE IN BOX WATCHES VIDEO OF INTIMACY]

[SHANNON and SCOTT enter embracing and find their way to an intimacy onstage taunting TINA without paying any attention to
her, they eventually lie down. Lights fade on TINA though she continues to watch screen, video changes to much more still
footage or no footage. All focus is on Shannon and Scott.]

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Why are we so strange?

HADES
Who says we’re strange?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I don’t know, we just are.

HADES
I don’t think we’re strange. We’re just interesting.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I gotta admit, for how anachronistic this is, it’s kind of boring.

HADES
I suppose I can see that, if you don’t know what’s coming.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Well …

HADES
What?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
What’s coming?

18
HADES
Secret.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON:
Are you going somewhere with this? Why won’t you tell me what’s going to happen?

HADES
I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Well, how long do I have to wait?

HADES
A little while.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Well, can we … can we do stuff in the meantime?

HADES
Like what?

PERSEPHONE SHAN
You ever see Risky Business?

[Dark Love Happens. Mmm.]

[They speak together. The light flickers.]

PERSEPHONE SHANNON and HADES
Well?
Well?
Hmm.
Yeah.
Yes.
Well.
Mmm.
Okay.

There are massive tree-flowers that suggest organs of a body, torn out, still glistening with undried blood; there are harsh cries
and sibilant hissings and thrashing sounds in the garden as if it were inhabited by beasts, serpents and birds, all of savage
nature…
Love.
Love.
Hmm.

[The light dies out.]

[Some more breathing. Some more piano.]

[Breathing stops.]

VI. What Do I Talk About After Sex? Well, Surgery, Clearly. And Hot Dogs. I Talk A Lot After Sex.

19
HADES
Arm transplant.

PERSEPHONE
Excuse me?

HADES
I need an arm transplant. I need a new arm.

PERSEPHONE
What’s wrong with the one you have now?

HADES
Thin wrists.

PERSEPHONE
So?

HADES
They’re girly.

PERSEPHONE
It’s true.

HADES
I don’t think they’ve reached that level yet, though.

PERSEPHONE
Who?

HADES
Doctors.

PERSEPHONE
They’ve transplanted a hand.

HADES
I’m not saying the technology’s not there, which it’s not. But we’re even farther away from cosmetic arm transplants, morally
speaking. It probably won’t happen in my lifetime.

PERSEPHONE
Well, then you’ll have to get used to them.

HADES
I only want one done.

PERSEPHONE Why?

20
HADES
If I get both done people will think I was born that way.

PERSEPHONE
So, isn’t that what you want?

HADES
I want people to know the insufferable hardship I lived through.

PERSEPHONE (laughing)
You’re an idiot.

HADES
You know you think I’m funny.

PERSEPHONE
Do I?

HADES
Yes.

PERSEPHONE
Why are we so strange?

HADES
Who says we’re strange?

PERSEPHONE
I don’t know, we just are.

HADES
I don’t think we’re strange. We’re just interesting.

PERSEPHONE
Interesting to who?

HADES
To each other, I hope.

PERSEPHONE
Of course you do.

HADES
Of course I do what?

PERSEPHONE
You hope I find us interesting.

HADES
Maybe. But you’re just as pathetic.

21
PERSEPHONE
Why is it pathetic?

HADES
Oh, I don’t know. I suppose it’s not.

(They walk along in silence)

HADES
Do you want a hot dog?

PERSEPHONE
But we just had sex.

HADES
It wasn’t a euphemism.

PERSEPHONE
I realize that. I was making a joke.

HADES
Oh. Right. I know.

(Pause.)

PERSEPHONE
You realize I don’t think your penis looks like a hot dog.

HADES
Thank you. Because I was really concerned.

(HADES takes two hot dogs)

HADES
Do you want anything on yours?

PERSEPHONE
Ketchup and mustard.

HADES
Well come over here and do it.

PERSEPHONE
Why did you ask if you were just going to make me do it myself?

HADES
I was curious.

(Hades walks away and eats his hot dog in two to three bites while Persephone goes mono a mono with the condiments.
Eventually Persephone joins him, is somewhat thrown off by the disappearance of his hot dog, but says nothing. They continue.)

22
HADES
How is it?

PERSEPHONE
I haven’t tried it yet.

(Pause.)

HADES
Do you think it’s fate that we met?

PERSEPHONE
No.

(Pause.)

HADES
Then what?

PERSEPHONE
I don’t know. Are you asking do I think we’re meant for each other?

HADES
Kind of.

PERSEPHONE
I love you.

HADES
I know.

(Pause.)

HADES
But do you think we had a choice?

PERSEPHONE
Of course we did.

HADES
I don’t know.

PERSEPHONE
Uh-huh.

HADES
Well it’s like we are what we are because of all our experiences from birth.

PERSEPHONE
Plus your genes.

23
HADES
Right. So your very first experience decides what your second is, and your third, and so on. So we kind of never have a …

PERSEPHONE
Do I have mustard on my cheek?

HADES
Yes.

PERSEPHONE
Where?

HADES
There.

PERSEPHONE (not really trying to get it)
Here?

HADES
No, uh, farther …

(PERSEPHONE creeps closer to HADES)

PERSEPHONE
Here?

HADES
Not quite. Uhm …

PERSEPHONE
Show me.

(They kiss.)

HADES
I kissed you.

PERSEPHONE
I know.

HADES
But seriously, you have to do something about that mustard on your cheek. It’s really not attractive.

PERSEPHONE (wiping herself)
Oh. Right. Sorry … Gone?

HADES
Close enough.

(Hades walks on and Persephone rubs her cheek some more with the napkin.)

24
HADES But you know what I’m saying?

PERSEPHONE
About what?

HADES
Have you been listening to this conversation at all?

PERSEPHONE
Yes! Fate. Choice.

HADES
Well?

PERSEPHONE
Well what?

HADES
What do you think about it?

PERSEPHONE
I honestly don’t care.

HADES
How could you not care?

PERSEPHONE
Because we’re together and we’re happy. Why does how matter?

HADES
If we didn’t have a choice than it’s not special.

PERSEPHONE
So?

HADES
If it was meant to happen, than it’s not unique.

PERSEPHONE
I don’t care if we’re unique. I don’t care if we have the same song as every other couple.

HADES
Well first off, I really don’t think there are many other couples with “If You Love Somebody Then Set Them on Fire” as their song.
But more importantly, it just means that this could end whenever it wants to.

PERSEPHONE
What?

HADES
If we didn’t decide to have the relationship, then we don’t get to decide when it ends. We’re just tools … on multiple levels.

25
PERSEPHONE
Kiss me again.

HADES
Why?

PERSEPHONE
Do you have to have a reason for everything?

HADES
I don’t know. We’re just talking.

PERSEPHONE
That’s why you’re a tool.

HADES
Fuck you.

(Silence.)

PERSEPHONE
Isn’t that why you hide down here anyway?

HADES
No.

PERSEPHONE
Then why?

(Pause.)

HADES
Because this is my home.

(Pause.)

PERSEPHONE
Maybe I should go home for a while.

HADES
What are you talking about?

PERSEPHONE
You’re not enjoyable to be around right now.

HADES Well, I’m not happy.

26
PERSEPHONE
Thanks for the tip.

HADES
You’re just going to abandon me?

PERSEPHONE
What do you want me to do?

HADES
What if I kill myself while you’re gone?

PERSEPHONE
You can’t. You live forever.

HADES
I realize I live forever, thank you. This is a hypothetical.

PERSEPHONE
I’d be upset.

HADES
Would you feel guilty?

PERSEPHONE
Probably.

HADES
Then don’t leave.

PERSEPHONE
You’re the one that says we don’t have any choices. If I leave, then it’s just what I was meant to do, right?

HADES
You’re not meant to leave.

PERSEPHONE
How do you fucking know?

HADES
Because I –

PERSEPHONE
You can’t always have what you want.

(Pause.)

HADES
Do you want anything?

27
(Silence.)

PERSEPHONE
I don’t want you to hate mmmeeyy god.

(Pause.)

HADES
Then don’t go.

PERSEPHONE
I don’t want to be the reason for your faith.

(Pause.)

HADES
You’re not.

PERSEPHONE
I know.

HADES
I know you do.

(Silence.)

HADES
I think you’re a liar by the way.

PERSEPHONE
Took you long enough to figure it out.

HADES
But it wasn’t what you said that gave it away.

PERSEPHONE
No?

HADES
No.

PERSEPHONE
Maybe you know me too well.

HADES
No.

PERSEPHONE
No.

28
HADES
I think you’re a very confused god.

PERSEPHONE
But I am still a god.

HADES
So am I.

PERSEPHONE
Even without me?

HADES
Especially.

PERSEPHONE
Then I should leave for your sake too.

HADES
You don’t get it.

PERSEPHONE
I do get it, though.

(Pause.)

HADES
I’m very aware.

(Pause.)

HADES
Have you already made up your mind?

PERSEPHONE
Why are you so unhappy?

HADES
I’m not the only one. But at least I can put it into words.

PERSEPHONE
Just whisper it to me. (They kiss.)

VII. Boredom And Jealousy Lead To Binge-Drinking And Clams

PERSEPHONE TINA (Excited, shouting to be heard)
It’s a party! Ooh!

29
PERSEPHONE TINA
Wake up! (Pause) It’s a party! Ha! PARTY!

HADES
What are you doing?

PERSEPHONE TINA
It’s a party!

HADES
A what?

PERSPHONE TINA
A party! Don’t you hear the music?

HADES
(Confused)
Uh, no. What’s a…?

PERSPHONE TINA
A party? Ha! A party is a social gathering for celebration and recreation. While having some things in common with religious and
seasonal festivals, the term "party" usually denotes a smaller gathering for a personal, rather than cultural, occasion even when
the occasion is simply that of gaiety. Parties provide numerous opportunities for social interaction of various kinds, depending on
the participants and their understanding of the accepted behavior for a given occasion. As a result, they tend to reinforce cultural
and/or counter-cultural standards, though sometimes this is simply by providing a semi-acceptable social context for violating
some of those standards. Citation needed.

HADES
What?

PERSPHONE TINA
You weren’t listening!

HADES
I was. But I have no idea what you were talking about.

PERSPHONE TINA
Did you have trouble following?

HADES
Well, yes, after a bit, but—

PERSPHONE TINA
—There are all types of parties: Birthday parties, housewarming parties, office parties, dance parties, beach parties, dinner parties,
cocktail parties, keg parties, New Year’s parties, house parties, orgy parties, pharming parties, tea parties, toga parties, cast
parties…

HADES
(Shouting)
—Stop!

30
PERSPHONE TINA
Going too fast again? Here, I’ll—

HADES
—No! It’s fine. How do you know so much about—

PERSPHONE TINA
Wiki—(interrupts herself) That is no question for a party! And we haven’t even decided what kind of party this is yet! I think it
should be a dance party! Dance parties are super fun! (She starts dancing by herself, then grabs his hand) Come on—dance!
(Music fades in) Don’t you hear the music?

HADES
No—

PERSPHONE TINA
Dance, sir!

HADES
But I can’t—

PERSEPHONE TINA
(Almost singing) DANCE!

(They dance awkwardly—movement mimicking the ‘walk’ dance, except they can’t keep the same beat)

PERSPHONE TINA
(Gets frustrated with the awkward dancing and stops). This dance party is lame.

HADES
(Embarrassed)
Oh.
(Music stops abruptly. PERSEPHONE TINA walks to the box, sits down in a huff)

PERSPHONE TINA
Maybe we should have a beach party. That could be fun.

HADE
A what party?

PERSEPHONE TINA
A beach? You know sand, ocean, water? Have you ever been to the beach?

HADES
Um, no. (Slowly remembering) But I went fishing a couple of times-caught a frog once—

PERSEPHONE TINA
(Clearly disinterested)
Oh, that’s nice

HADES
(Too engrossed in his story to notice)
And a clam, which I thought was pretty damn impressive—the clam. My lure was obviously so tempting that a creature that’s
known for having a closed mouth—or whatever it is—opened it for me to catch it…

31
PERSEPHONE TINA
(Yawning loudly)
So exciting.

HADES
—And I felt embarrassed and humiliated for a few minutes, until I realized it was kind of poetic and beautiful. For a creature with a
forever closed mouth to open it for me.

PERSEPHONE TINA
(Yawning again, and curling next to P-SHANNON to fall asleep, sarcastically)
What a fun party.

HADES
(Trying to keep her attention at first, then gets lost in his own story)
I dissected a clam in biology in high school one time! To get it open you have to basically tear the shit out of the muscles holding
it closed with a scalpel. Even way after the clam is dead, you can’t open its mouth without cutting it. And this one OPENED its
mouth for me. But I guess its mouth was closed when I pulled it out of the water And I couldn’t get my hook out or the lure
without cutting the muscles with my Swiss Army knife. Jesus…and it was alive then…I never thought about that…I never fucking
thought about that. It just becomes more poetic every minute. Christ.

(P-TINA is asleep. HADES snaps out of his memory, notices she’s asleep. Stands at edge of box).

HADES
Wake up.

P-SHANNON
(Sits up slowly, groggy).
How long was I asleep?

HADES
Not long. Come here. (Reaches out hand to her)

(P-SHANNON walks to edge of box and takes his hand, careful to stay on her side)

HADES
Come on. (Pulls on hand—She refuses to move). Come on! It’s okay.

(P-SHANNON shakes head violently)

HADES
Don’t be silly. I put you in here; I can take you out. Come on! (Pulls hand again; P-SHANNON jerks hand away and backs into the
corner of the box, shaking her head, clearly upset)

HADES
(Frustrated, shouting from outside the box)
COME ON! IT’S SAFE! COME HERE!

P-SHANNON
(Quietly, shaking head against knees)
I can’t. No. No boys allowed.

[HADES storms off, reappearing moments later on the screen, watching the Persephones]

32
VIII. Our Heroines Talk And Dream And Think. And Decide Do Something.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I love you like this.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Like what?

PERSEPHONE TINA
Just you in this moment. You're beautiful.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
What do you want from me?

PERSEPHONE TINA
What could I want from you that you haven't already given me?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I don't—you're embarrassing me.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Embarrassing you in front of whom? Yourself?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Yes, I guess. You don't need an audience to be embarrassed.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I guess not. I've never been, so I wouldn't know.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Never?

PERSEPHONE TINA
No.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Oh.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Could you do something for me?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
See! I knew you wanted something!

PERSEPHONE TINA
Stay.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Stay?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON

33
I want to go home.

PERSEPHONE TINA
You are home.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
This is not my home.

PERSEPHONE TINA
You do not want to go. You want to stay.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I want to go.

PERSEPHONE TINA
You do not want to go.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
You want to stay.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I want—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
—to stay.

PERSPHONE TINA
I don't—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
—want to leave.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Please!

PERSPHONE SHANNON
Okay. … You can stay.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Please.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Don't cry. You can stay. You don't have to leave. You can stop now.

PERSEPHONE TINA
It’s beautiful outside

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
How would you know?

34
PERSEPHONE TINA
It’s the kind of day that makes you feel like you could live outside forever.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Grass for a pillow—

PERSEPHONE TINA
— Clouds for a blanket

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
You walk out and the wind just hits you.

PERSEPHONE TINA
So warm—like you’re soaking in the best bath ever—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
— The lights shimmering off the leaves—

PERSEPHONE TINA
— The birds are singing—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
— Everything is so alive.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Let’s go outside.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Five more minutes.

PERSEPHONE TINA
What difference would five minutes make?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I’m in the middle of the dream again.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Well, wake up!

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I can’t—not yet—I want to get it right this time.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Come on! The sun is out—the clouds are on the horizon—Wake up!

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
No. I’m at that part—It’s going to happen again and I need to fix it [Getting more into the dream] I can change it this time if I just
do it again.

35
PERSEPHONE TINA
Over and over and you think it will be different?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Maybe if I scream—maybe if I scream—

PERSEPHONE TINA (overlapping with PERSEPHONE SHANNON)
Wake up! The sun, the wind, the warmth. New grass, green leaves, and flowers—all the flowers! Wake up! Wake up!

PERSEPHONE SHANNON (overlapping with PERSEPHONE TINA)
Get the mask! Pull it off! Look out! Look out! I can fix this—I can fix this!

(Screams. Then, a moment of quiet.)

PERSEPHONE TINA
Wake up, let’s go outside.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Five more minutes.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I had a kite once—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
— It was blue—

PERSEPHONE TINA
— With the longest tail—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
— Green bows: 7 in a row.

PERSEPHONE TINA
It flew so high.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
A strong wind came. It blew it so high it hid behind a cloud.

PERSEPHONE TINA
The rope pulled so tight it snapped.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
No! I let it go!

PERSEPHONE TINA
It broke! It was a beautiful kite. It was so blue when it flew into the sky you couldn’t tell where the sky began and the kite ended. I
loved that kite.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It was a part of the sky. I loved it and I let it go.

36
PERSEPHONE TINA
It was taken from me! Violently! Stolen! Forced! And I couldn’t see what was pulling the string.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I loved it and I let it go.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I want it back. It was my property!

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I loved it. I let become the sky.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Who pulled that string? Who took it from me? I’ll never forget—never forgive—who pulled the string? I want to file a complaint!

PERSEPHONE TINA
There was a time before—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
—Before this moment.

PERSEPHONE TINA
One sun, one sky, one road—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
—One voice—

PERSEPHONE TINA
— One road.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I walked down to the water—

PERSEPHONE TINA
— Looked out over the edge.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I saw something.

PERSEPHONE TINA
There was something in that water.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Look deeper—deeper—

PERSEPHONE TINA
— The divide.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
The me that sees.

37
PERSEPHONE TINA
The me in the water.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
And I dove in.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I fell.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I couldn’t forget—

PERSEPHONE TINA
—I didn’t want to remember—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
The divide.

PERSEPHONE TINA
The dive.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
There was the water.

PERSEPHONE TINA
And the road.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I wanted the surface.

PERSEPHONE TINA
But I went deeper—deeper.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I couldn’t face—

PERSEPHONE TINA
—That face, that face—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
But it followed me down.

PERSEPHONE TINA
The echo.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Hello?

PERSEPHONE TINA
Hello?

38
PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Followed me down.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Pulled me back.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Pull me back.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I’m cold.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
You shot out the sun.

PERSEPHONE TINA
When did it get so dark?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
You wanted to know what it felt like.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I can’t feel my fingers.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It made the most awful sound.

PERSEPHONE TINA
—Or my toes.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
A thousand shrieking voices rained down as the pieces shattered.

PERSEPHONE TINA (Touching face)
My nose—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Just to see what it felt like, you smashed it all apart.

PERSEPHONE TINA (Blowing on hands)
Isn’t there a heater in here or something? (Starts searching)

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
You’re the only light in this world.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I can’t find the switch—Dammit, why’s it have to be so cold?

PERSEPHONE TINA
What’s your name?

39
PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Stop it.

PERSEPHONE TINA
What are you doing here?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Come on, cut it out.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Are you lost little girl?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I said cut it out!

PERSEPHONE TINA
Where’s your picnic basket? On your way to meet grandma?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Shut up.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Are you scared? (PERSEPHONE SHANNON refuses to respond) Are you afraid of the big bad wolf? You know about wolves don’t
you? You’ve seen their pointy teeth? You know how deep they can bury them into your flesh? Have you ever seen a wolf attack its
prey? How it doesn’t let go until it’s dead?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I said stop it!

PERSEPHONE TINA (Sing song)
Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? The big bad wolf! The big bad wolf!

PERSEPHONE SHANNON (Shouting)
I am the wolf! It’s me! (Breaking down) Me! Me!

PERSEPHONE TINA
It’s easier this way.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Easy? You call this easy! Ha!

PERSEPHONE TINA
No—not easy—easIER. Than it could be.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Easier than what could be?

PERSEPHONE TINA
It could be much much harder.

40
PERSEPHONE SHANNON
How do you know?

PERSEPHONE TINA
It could always be worse.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
But couldn’t it be better too?

PERSEPHONE TINA
Better? Ha! You really want to risk it? It could get worse. Really really worse. Like worse than you could ever imagine. There are no
words for how bad it could be—And you want to risk that for “better”?!

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Yes?

PERSEPHONE TINA
You’re a fool. Trust me, it’s easier this way.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
What way exactly?

PERSEPHONE TINA
No more questions. Agreement. Staying the course. Easier.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Let’s get out of here.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
As if it were that easy!

PERSEPHONE TINA
Why not? I’m bored. Let’s go.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
There are rules here! You can’t just go breaking the rules!

PERSEPHONE TINA
Who cares? They’re not my rules.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
They are your rules! I worked hard on these rules. They’re the only thing keeping you safe.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Oh come on, don’t be such a goody goody.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Without these rules, there’d be danger!

41
PERSEPHONE TINA
God, you bore me.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
And you find all this arguing entertaining? That’s a new rule: no more debate! No fighting. Only unity. Harmony. One mindedness.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Fascist!

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
A house divided cannot stand!

PERSEPHONE TINA
I don’t want to be a fucking house. I want to get out of here.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It’s a fucking metaphor.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I’m sick of metaphors! Fuck that shit. I got into this to have a little fun. And now it’s not fun anymore. So now I want to go home.
Simple as pie.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Ha! Who’s using metaphors now!

PERSEPHONE TINA
Fuck you. That was a simile.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Whatever. How’s this one for you: I’m the left foot and you’re the right. I’m going to stay put. If you want to go so bad, go. Have
fun walking in circles. You can run all you want. Run til we’re dizzy. Run til we fall down. Get back up and try again. See how far you
get.

PERSEPHONE TINA
How do we put it back together?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I wish I knew.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Where is the quiet?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
The place without a dissenting voice.

PERSEPHONE TINA
Yes and no do not exist.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
No names, no pronouns.

42
PERSEPHONE TINA
Just “is.”

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I wish I knew.

PERSEPHONE TINA & PERSEPHONE SHANNON (overlapping)
I’m so—

PERSEPHONE TINA
—Afraid—

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
—Stuck—

PERSEPHONE TINA & PERSEPHONE SHANNON
It’s crushing. There is so much I don’t know.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I need proof. Evidence, facts, diagrams.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
I’m destroyed by the what ifs?

PERSEPHONE TINA
What was that word?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Someone asked me about faith once.

PERSEPHONE TINA
What did I say?

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
You have to have it to lose it.

PERSEPHONE TINA
But I did, I did have it.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Did I dive or fall?

PERSEPHONE TINA
I dove to lose it.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
Dove in to get it back.

PERSEPHONE TINA
I had faith it could be better.

43
PERSEPHONE SHANNON
And faith I could find my way back.

PERSEPHONE TINA
All the things I didn’t know.

PERSEPHONE SHANNON
That I knew all along.

IX. The Choice Made, Must Now Be Lived With

PERSEPHONE
you can’t fall out of love
you crawl
stretching your hands
your arms
as far as they can stretch
stretching them away
every muscle tightening
and then going limp
to breathe
then tightening again
stretching
reaching
each finger
breaking
pulling away from the shoulder
stretching away from
yourself
from love
grasping for anything
that is in front of you
anything
something
that could work
it should work
you’ve reached so far
so hard
that it should
work
but it doesn’t
and you can’t explain why
except to say
that you can’t fall out of love
like you fell into it
you have to crawl out
while being pulled back
pulling yourself back

[She leaves]

44