ACT I.   Scene 1.

SETTING:   A lecture hall in Stockholm.  There is a slide projection screen, a lectern and a microphone.

AT RISE:  It is about one hour before  DR. ARTHUR ROMAN must deliver his Nobel acceptance speech in Medicine.  He is missing his right arm.

DR. ROMAN

Welcome to Stockholm.  I realize some of you traveled a considerable distance to grant me the honor of your presence.  With luck, the next hour-and-a-half will go by quickly.  As many of you who know me — Dr. Weimar, Dr. Horowitz, Congressman Boucher — it is my habit to lecture.  Forgive me.  More than once I have been asked if there is not another way to impart information.  After exploring alternatives, I have concluded…No!

In a few short moments I must step before hundreds of my peers and deliver the lecture of my life.  The summa curriculum vitae of my career.  If I’m fortunate, I will not in my trousers.

Shall we begin?

Upon arriving to work several weeks ago I discovered a telegram informing me that I had been awarded a Nobel Prize for Medicine.  Half-a-dozen journalists were perched outside my office door.  I feigned surprise.

Gentlemen.  Me?  Impossible!

Of course, I knew someday it would happen.  Why it took them so many years to recognize my genius, I cannot fathom.  No doubt an errant chromosome drowning in the Swedish gene pool.  I ushered them in.

Gentlemen.  Please have a seat.  Well, excuse me, Ms.  Naturally, I assume you would like to know how I came to be the great man that I am.  I have prepared a few words.  The projector, please.

(A slide projector snaps on, projecting onto the screen an old sepia photograph of an infant)

As you might imagine, I was precocious child, having mastered seven languages before I could even take my first step.

(We see a slide of a 7-year-old and his father seated side by side on a couch, both engrossed in their own newspaper)

Attended graduate courses in immunology by age seven.  Wrote my doctoral thesis in which I recanted Hegel at age twelve.

The journalists, I discovered, had a short attention span.  I decided to move directly into my ground- breaking research.

(We see a slide of a young boy with Kuru.  His eyes are glazed, his arms caught in the spastic jerk characteristic of the disease)

On July 23, 1959 a young boy, age 6, was presented to a physician in Port Moresby.  By all signs he seemed healthy, except for the most curious spastic jerking movement, much like the latter stages of Parkinson’s or Wilson’s Syndrome.  By chance I was in the area, researching a rare communicable viral encephalitis found in tropical geese.  By this time, my expertise in brain disorders was well documented.  I was called in on consult.

(We see a slide of the boy and his mother.  She too has the disease)

Discussion with the boy’s mother through an interpreter revealed a history of progressive unsteadiness, including the characteristic flexing of the wrists.  Gradual loss of motor functions.  And a rather peculiar habit of laughing uncontrollably.  And yet, even as the loss of limb control became more exaggerated, the mental faculties remained as alert as ever.

(We see various slides of Kuru victims)

Further questioning revealed that a significant outbreak of this curious disease had existed for some time among this one tribe.  Kuru, the villagers called it.  The word means to shiver — like the swaying leaves on their native Casuarina trees.  So far, I was told, no one has been known to survive.  As you might imagine, I was breath-taken.  Here before me was an exciting fatal brain disease never before recorded by Western Medicine.    Has anyone, I asked, any physician, set up a clinic in the area?  The reply from the Chief Medical Officer was exactly what I wanted to hear: no one has done a goddamn thing.  I told them I was outraged that a situation like this could continue.  Someone must step in and save these people.  I would drop everything at once.  I require only a small pension and the normal supplies for outpost work.  I would leave immediately.

It was at this point that one rude little journalist began to badger me.  Was it true my arm had been eaten by cannibals?  I tried to ignore him, but, alas, our reporters receive their training in etiquette from gorillas in mating frenzy.  I cast him a withering glance … and continued.

(Slide of a bamboo hut high up on stilts)

My home and laboratory was a primitive hut on stilts.  As you can imagine, I had to make due with the crudest of instruments.  To get bodies for my dissection, I would negotiate with the next of kin, swapping chewing gum and cigarettes for the cadavers of their dead relatives …

The one little reporter was unrelenting.  He tried to dissect my personal life.  He insisted on knowing if I had ever become involved with … a female!  NO!, I told him.

(Slide of a native woman herding pigs)

Of course, the first thing I had to consider was whether this was perhaps a case of mass hysteria.  We have known of a village in South America where the population came down with epidemic psychosis upon first meeting “whites.”

At this point the diminutive reporter pushed me to the limit.  He had the temerity to ask if there was anyone who assisted me in my work.

What?  You pusillanimous pismire!  Out!  Get out!  There was no one else!

As you can see, I was becoming greatly perturbed.  Apparently, 20 satellites broadcast to half the world’s population, the apoplectic Director of the Institute for World Health, hurling a Papinosian hunting spear down a flight of stairs while screaming in a rare dialect of pidgin.  Back in my office, I collapsed in my chair.  I could think of only one thing.

What if… SHE sees?  For 20 years I’ve made it a point only to be published in the most obscure medical journals.  But now…she’s bound to figure it out…to realize…What if she’s out there?  What if she leaps up right in the middle of my Nobel lecture and tells the committee the truth?  I did what any man in my position would do.  I pulled down the shades.  Refused my calls.  And took a sedative.  Soon I could once again hear the sound of the birds up above in the Casaurina trees.

(We hear the sounds of the jungle and see various slides of a New Guinea village)

The steady rhythm of the villagers chanting.  The flutes and drums.  The women pounding sago.

(The sounds of the drums build while we see slides of native women pounding a paste from the pulp of a sago tree.  This begins to be interrupted by a sound much like a screeching bird)

The children laughing.  And then…screeching out of the wilderness at me…her horrible Midwestern drawl.  Repeating my name.  Invading my life.  Coming to skewer my Nobel away from me…with the spit off her Weber grill.

(The drums and screeching build to a crescendo when DR. ROMAN is suddenly bathed in the harsh white light of the slide projector and then…

BLACKOUT

END OF SCENE 1

ACT I.  Scene 2.

SETTING:

We are in DR. ROMAN’S jungle home, clinic, and laboratory: a bamboo hut built on stilts high up in the trees of a rain forest.  There is small table, a cot, an area for cooking, and assorted manuscripts strewn about.  Outside the hut the sounds of the rain forest can be heard: birds, drums, natives shouting.

AT RISE:

It is early morning.  As the lights rise on DR. ROMAN, we see he is now a younger man in his mid-thirties with both arms intact.  We watch as DR. ROMAN first makes incisions into a banana with a scalpel and then unfolds the peel with forceps.   Then, a sound like a shrieking bird interrupts his train of thought.  He looks up for a moment, then returns to the matter at hand.  He hears the sound again and this time it resembles his name, “Arthur!”  A fracas seems to be stirring outside his hut “window.”  He gets up and looks to see what is causing the commotion below.

DR. ROMAN

Oh, God!

MARY LOU

(Offstage)

Arthur!  Get away from me!  Arthur!  Don’t you touch that!  Arthur!  Ahhh!

(From a trap door in the floor of the hut appears a steamer trunk followed by a blond woman in her early thirties.  This is MARY LOU ANDERSON.  Her skirt is torn, her hair and hat disheveled.)

Thank God I made it.  Arthur!  Where the hell…  Jesum Crow!  Arthur!  I’m stuck…Oh, Mother of Mercy!  There!  Arthur!  Arthur!  Is this the right hut?

(She spies on DR. ROMAN’S work table something that looks like a brain floating in formaldehyde)

Yup!

(She notices DR. ROMAN)

Is that you, Arthur?  What are you hiding for?  It’s your Mary Lou.  Come and hug your little schnook-em- doodle.

DR. ROMAN

Oh, God!

MARY LOU

Arthur, it was terrible.  You can’t imagine what I’ve been through.  The snakes here are the size of Buicks.  I thought I’d never see you again.  A few miles down the trail my guide fell in quicksand.  I managed to wrestle the map from his hands just before he went under.

MARY LOU smothers DR. ROMAN into her breast.

Arthur.  Arthur.  Arthur.  Where the heck have you been?

DR. ROMAN

Here in New Guinea.  Hiding.

MARY LOU

I just wanted to surprise you, Arthur.

DR. ROMAN

You succeeded.

MARY LOU

Well, don’t you have anything more to say?

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou, it’s been two years.   I thought I made it clear to you in a position paper.

MARY LOU

You mean that letter you left?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

My brother accidentally used your letter for kindling.  I nearly killed him.  What did it say?

DR. ROMAN

I had clearly articulated my policy on this matter.  I had anticipated … and tried to head off irrational impulses …

MARY LOU

(angry)

What do you mean?  Aren’t you glad to see me?

DR. ROMAN

I am…am glad.

MARY LOU

You don’t look glad.  You look horrified.

DR. ROMAN

Couldn’t you at least have …?

MARY LOU

What?  Phoned ahead?  I’d have better luck talking to myself with a string and two Dixie cups.

DR. ROMAN

A letter…

MARY LOU

They told me it would take six months to get mail to you…that is, if the poor fella didn’t get his head lopped off on the way.  No, sir, this had to be a house call.  Never underestimate a woman in love, Arthur.

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou.  What…How…Where did you think you were going to stay?

MARY LOU

(flash of anger)

I know what’s on your dirty little mind.  I’ve already confessed to Father Phillips about it.  I will not sleep with you again, Arthur Roman.  We are not savages.  We will wait until the sacred anointed hour.

DR. ROMAN

But, Mary Lou…

MARY LOU

(Opening her trunk)

Look!  I brought you some things.  Mama made this apple pie with fresh Jonigolds from our orchard.  Stick it in the fridge, will you.  Sister June says hello and wanted you to have this.  She made it last Christmas.  Isn’t it beautiful.  Those are Moravian stars and aren’t those the cutest little putz sheep.  Don’t hang it in the sun or it’ll fade.

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou…

MARY LOU

Here’s the flag we used at the 4th of July parade, and, oh!, here’s an article about me and the cooking school.  It was going like gang busters, Arthur, before the fire.

DR. ROMAN

What fire?

MARY LOU

You know how much you loved that Alabama Chocolate Praline Jumbo Christmas Mud Square.  Well the Our Ladys of the Lord Fireman’s Church Choir voted to feature it on the cover of the Iowa State Fair Cookbook this year!  I got so many calls.  Midwest Living magazine even did a special on the school.  I’m starting to turn down applicants.  Look, I brought my skillet and some spices.  Mama says I’ve always been able to make friends by feeding them.  Mama is so funny sometimes.  Look, Arthur!  The flight stopped in New York.  I had a two hour holdover.  I made the cab driver race like hell to a genuine Jewish delicatessen.  I got this for you.  Beats me what’s in it.  Probably ground up pig ears.  You gonna talk or just be a moody intellectual.

DR. ROMAN

Your ability to maintain your equilibrium under such exotic circumstances is indeed quite remarkable.

MARY LOU

There you go, sounding like you been chewing on the encyclopedia again.  Aren’t you going to ask what I’ve been up to the last two years?  How things are back home?  How I even got here?  I’m gonna tell you anyway so you might as well ask.

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou.  Please!  Am I not allowed a brief moment to decipher whether I am experiencing an emotion.  And if so, which one.  You are once again not following the Handbook for normal human conduct.  When a man runs to the jungle, he runs for a reason.

MARY LOU

I’m here.  What are you going to do about it?

DR. ROMAN

Hmmmm.  Your folks?

MARY LOU

They’re fine.  Just fine.  Mama broke her hip carrying a ham to the smokehouse.  But she’s okay now.

DR. ROMAN

Your brother?  Does he still deliver for the post office?

MARY LOU

UPS.  Yes.  The health package is too good.  He’ll never leave.

DR. ROMAN

Your dad?

MARY LOU

Good.  Real good.  Lost his job at the mill, but he needed time off.  After the fire I moved back for a while in the little cabin on the hill where you used to study.  Dad knows when I’m upset.  He used to come out in his tractor and mow a path for me down to the house.  It’s the only way he knows how to help.

DR. ROMAN

So what other absurd chit chat can we engage in?

MARY LOU

Well, let me see.  The school had a little grease fire,  but it’ll be all fixed by the time I go back.  Oh, you remember Doreen and Phil’s daughter, Iris don’t you?  She suddenly became deranged and ran bare-breasted through the boy’s locker room at school.  Phil insisted the whole family go see a counselor about it.  The only way they could get Doreen to go was if he agreed to pay off her Visa card.  Beaver City is not going anywhere, that’s for sure.  Can I make myself some tea?

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou.  For a moment.  Just one moment.  Can you forget the past thirty some odd years of your life and recognize that you have entered another culture?  Another, for you, planet.  That you don’t just waltz in here waving a Hebrew National salami and expect everyone to drop to their knees.  Have some respect!  Some humility!

MARY LOU

I’m sorry, Arthur.  You’re right.

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

If someone showed up without phoning me first and I could be standing there in my faded overalls…or worse…

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

…naked as a grapefruit…

DR. ROMAN

…exactly…

MARY LOU

It’s too horrible to even think about!  I’m sorry, Arthur.  I’ll never track you down in the jungle again.  I promise.

DR. ROMAN

Thank you.

MARY LOU

But heck, tell me about yourself.  Are you well?  You look good.  A little thinner, maybe, but we’ll take care of that.

(Looks out hut)

What’s going on?  Say cheese!

(She takes a picture with her camera)

Look at that little girl.  She’s shivering.  It’s hotter ‘n hell, Arthur.  Does she have a fever?  Look she can barely stand up…the poor thing.  Why is she laughing?  Why are her hands stuck out to the side like a penguin?

DR. ROMAN

She has the fatal brain disease I’ve come here to study.  It seems to have inexplicably afflicted mostly the women and children of this one tribe.  At the moment I am convinced it is some kind of genetic disorder.  But I can’t be sure.  The relationships here are very complex.

MARY LOU

I can imagine.

DR. ROMAN

For instance, it took me a-day-and-a-half just to decipher how that young girl is related to another woman who recently succumbed to the disease.  I’m hoping once I can trace the etiology, the history of the disease, I can perhaps break the link and bring a halt to it.  That is what all these charts are about.

MARY LOU

You’re very happy here, aren’t you, Arthur?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

They all look excited about something.

DR. ROMAN

Well I imagine you are the first blond woman they’ve ever seen.

(He listens to the natives and translates)

Hmmm.  It appears they think you fell from the sky.  They are slaughtering a herd of pigs for you.

MARY LOU

Oh, how nice.

DR. ROMAN

There will be a feast this evening.  They think you have come to save them from…eternal darkness.  Ah…yes…the missionaries have frightened them about the solar eclipse tomorrow.  You know it will be total.

MARY LOU

Oh, how exciting.  I haven’t seen an eclipse since I was a little girl.

DR. ROMAN

The missionaries have told them that unless they adopt white man’s clothing and religion the sun will disappear forever.

MARY LOU

Can’t you explain to them the truth?

DR. ROMAN

I’ve tried to put aside their fears and explain the eclipse will only last for a brief interval.  But, alas, they are convinced the sun will disappear forever and ice will fall from the skies.

MARY LOU

That must make it tough gettin’ up in the morning.

DR. ROMAN

Yes, they’ve been very uncooperative of late.  It has made my research extremely difficult.  I’m afraid yesterday morning the men began to sharpen their spears.

MARY LOU

What does that mean?

DR. ROMAN

Well, as you might imagine, the natives here believe in spirits.  Sorcery.  They are sure the Eclipse is some kind of retaliatory punishment by the Yayalele.

MARY LOU

The YaYa What?

DR. ROMAN

The Yayalele.  They are a very militant neighboring tribe to the North.

MARY LOU

I see.

DR. ROMAN

The two tribes have been traditional enemies for centuries.  Usually, their squabbles are of a more domestic nature.  A pig will escape.  Someone’s wife will be snatched.  This time, I’m afraid, they are fighting a religious war.

MARY LOU

You know, Mama says if you can just get folks around a dinner table its the best cure for bad feelings.  A good pot roast can make the worst enemies sound like old drinking buddies from the Elks club.

DR. ROMAN

Hmmm.  Though I hate to admit it, you’ve arrived at a propitious moment.

MARY LOU

Does that mean you want me here?  You’re not going to make me leave?

DR. ROMAN

Well, on reflection you do offer a ray of hope to these people.  We may not only avert a bloody tribal war, but I may be able to resume my Research.

MARY LOU

And I can help?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

I’ve never influenced Events before.

DR. ROMAN

As I started to explain, the natives here turn to the spiritual world for cause and effect.  Now that you are a supernatural being in their eyes, you will have new responsibilities.

MARY LOU

Oh, dear.  The most I’ve ever been was the flotilla queen at Beaver High.  I wore this tight little pink outfit and twirled a baton before the Iowa/Nebraska game.  Iowa lost.

DR. ROMAN

You know I will win a Nobel Prize if I can cure this mysterious disease.

MARY LOU

Why can’t you just talk to them?  Tell them what you suspect.  To quit…you know…to put some clothes on and stop fornicating.  Surely … wait … is that man wearing a necktie?  And his little friend?  The whole bunch of them.

DR. ROMAN

The missionaries here wear them.  The natives think the ties are some sort of protective amulet.

MARY LOU

They’re pretty ugly.  They don’t even match the —

DR. ROMAN

— penis gourd.

MARY LOU

Yes.  What kind of trees are those?  I’ve never seen fruit so big.  We should make some kinda pie.

(MARY LOU spies a small black cauldron with a native mask-like figure protruding from the side)

Oh, that’s interesting.  Do they use this to cook with?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.  Well.  Sort of.  That is Tababoola, the Goddess of Food.  Mary Lou, I need to somehow get across to you some important issues you may have a hard time comprehending.

MARY LOU 

Yes?

DR. ROMAN.

I need to be tactful for a moment.

MARY LOU

That will be difficult for you, Arthur.  I know.

DR. ROMAN

Yes.  But let me try.

MARY LOU

Go ahead.

DR. ROMAN

Well, first, you cannot leave.  How you got here without getting killed, I cannot fathom.

MARY LOU

It was no day at the beach.

DR. ROMAN

Second.  As you have just witnessed, all the women are dying of a mysterious slow fatal degenerative brain disease.  At the start you lose your balance and smile stupidly.  There is nothing funny about it.  Excitement of any sort causes progressive locomotor ataxia with uncontrollable myoclonic jerks.

MARY LOU

Talk like a human being.

DR. ROMAN

Your mind remains completely lucid while you lose all control of your limbs.  You watch helplessly as your body is taken over by some Other Force which you cannot control.  Until I find the cure, nothing can be done.

MARY LOU

Oh.

DR. ROMAN

Soon, after you are no longer able to stand, swallowing becomes impossible.  If you don’t die of starvation, you are left indoors where you become so despondent you roll into the fire pit and are fatally burned.

MARY LOU

Go on.

DR. ROMAN

Thirdly.  How shall I…?  Ah, that wall out there in the distance.  Do you see it?

MARY LOU

Out where?

DR. ROMAN

Out past that batch of trees.

MARY LOU

No.

DR. ROMAN

Well, it’s there.  Look hard.

MARY LOU

This side of the…stream?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

Okay.  Yes.  Vaguely.  A wall?  I think.  Sure.

DR. ROMAN

You see it?

MARY LOU

Yes.

DR. ROMAN

Really?

MARY LOU

Yes.  Why?

DR. ROMAN

Good.  Tell me, if you will, what it looks like?

MARY LOU

What do you mean?

DR. ROMAN

Well, what does the wall look like to you?  Describe it to me.

MARY LOU

What do you mean?  You can see it.

DR. ROMAN

I want to hear what you think it looks like.

MARY LOU

Why?

DR. ROMAN

Because.

MARY LOU

Why?

DR. ROMAN

Well, I can’t see it.

MARY LOU

What?

DR. ROMAN

I can’t see it.

MARY LOU

What do you mean?

DR. ROMAN

What I said.  I cannot see the wall.

MARY LOU

But it’s right there.  You just said so.

DR. ROMAN

I know it’s there.  But I’ve never seen it.

MARY LOU

Then how the hell do you know it’s there?

DR. ROMAN

They have told me it is there.

MARY LOU

They?

DR. ROMAN

They.  They see it.  They see it quite clearly.

MARY LOU

You’re making me upset.  Is the wall there?  Or isn’t the wall there?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.  If you can see it.

MARY LOU

But you can’t see it?

DR. ROMAN

That’s right.

MARY LOU

So how did you expect me to see it?

DR. ROMAN

You said you did see it.

MARY LOU

That’s because you said you saw it.  I believed you.  If you said it was there, it was there.

DR. ROMAN

But what if they say it is there?  Would you believe it is there?  Would you trust what they say?

MARY LOU

Why would they say it’s there, if it’s not there?

DR. ROMAN

Because they see it.  They believe a wall exists there.  For them the wall is as real as if it were constructed with mortar and bricks.

MARY LOU

I don’t understand.

DR. ROMAN

When you arrived in Port Morosby, you no doubt saw the large ships?

MARY LOU

Yes.

DR. ROMAN

They are owned by giant European mining companies.  They are afraid the women in this tribe with Kuru will infect the other native tribes who are their cheap source of labor.  So they came one day and built a wall.

MARY LOU

So there is a wall there?

DR. ROMAN

Yes and no

MARY LOU

Arthur!

DR. ROMAN

They drew a big circle around the village with a stick.  Muttered some mumbo-jumbo.  Then they took a young girl across the line and…shot her.

MARY LOU

That’s horrible.

DR. ROMAN

The natives don’t understand guns.  Since they cannot see the bullets, they assume the men with big sticks have magical power.  An imaginary wall was erected, beyond which the women cannot go or risk being killed.

MARY LOU

Oh.

DR. ROMAN

Well, my point is simply, the natives here can see things we cannot…will not…see.

MARY LOU

But you just admitted, the wall is not really there.

DR. ROMAN

But you saw it.  For a moment, you believed it was there.

MARY LOU

That’s only because I didn’t want to embarrass you.  It was a social grace.  Like saying hello how are you when I couldn’t care less how you are.

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou.  I’m doing my best to get across to you, these people play Life by different rules.  You are going to have to See a little differently if you are to be helpful to my research.  You are going to have to accept Alternative Points of View.

MARY LOU

Don’t lecture to me Arthur.  You always treat me like I’m some lower form of life.  An intern or something.  I didn’t travel half-way around the world to play red light/green light.  Don’t be so sure, I’m as inflexible as you think.  I’ve read a lot of National Geographics in the past couple a years.  I’m not as puffed up about my ego as you are.  When daddy flipped the tractor, I went to work and now run the best cooking school in Iowa.  I know what adversity means even though I may not be able to spell it.

DR. ROMAN

Fourthly, this will be especially difficult.  It is no reflection on you.  But to be accepted.  To perform my research.  To get inside, if you will.  I have had to make some accommodations.  I have had to Play By Their Rules.   I have been given, and I accepted, a Mai Mai.

MARY LOU

What?

DR. ROMAN

A Mai Mai.  A mate.  The chief has very graciously given me his daughter.

MARY LOU

He gave you his daughter.  What the hell does that mean?

DR. ROMAN

I have a wife.

MARY LOU

A wife?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

You’re married?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

You married someone else?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

You’re not serious?

DR. ROMAN

I’m afraid so.

MARY LOU

You’re not marrying me?

DR. ROMAN

And there’s more.

MARY LOU

More?

DR. ROMAN

When I married her, she was thirteen.

MARY LOU

Thirteen?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

What?  You married a thirteen-year-old?

DR. ROMAN

That’s correct.

MARY LOU

Are you some kind of pervert?

DR. ROMAN

It’s not unusual in this culture…

MARY LOU

I don’t feel well.

DR. ROMAN

It’s not unusual in this culture…

MARY LOU

— shut up for a minute, will you.

DR. ROMAN

I was trying to explain…

MARY LOU

Two years ago you made a mortal vow to me.  You think you can just go away to some jungle and poof it disappears.  Was I some kind of experiment?  How does the heart look when it’s been put through your Vegematic?

DR. ROMAN

But…

MARY LOU

Shut up and let me talk.  Your marriage will not stand up in any court.  What do I look like?  Do you know how far I traveled to get here?  What I had to sell to raise the money for airfare?  The humiliation of telling people your letters were taken by pirates in some shipwreck.  I lugged my wedding dress halfway around the world to make sure you liked it.  Why?  Why?  Why? Why?  Why?

(She hits him)

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou…please…

MARY LOU

I’m going to Take You To The Cleaners.  I don’t know how.  But kiss your precious career goodbye.

(She shakes the jar with the brain like a milkshake).

Get your stuff out of here!  I GET THE HUT!  I want you gone.  Now.  Bye.  Over.  I’m ending it.  Not you.  Take your wife with you.  I’m leaving tomorrow.  I don’t care if I get killed.  It’ll be your fault.  I don’t know where I’m going, I gotta go.

DR. ROMAN

I knew you were not going to take this well.  It must be a deep and bitter blow.  Somewhere in your heart, you must have known my ambition was far too great to practice medicine in Beaver City.

MARY LOU

All I know is, it wasn’t too big for you to get misty- eyed that summer and ask for my hand in the most sacred act one human can do to another.  Was I just the farmer’s daughter?  You could have skipped the–

DR. ROMAN

–I was unschooled.

MARY LOU

Well, that’s the first time you’ve ever admitted that.  I knew you were a Man.  And that meant you had it in you to be evil, cruel, heartless, selfish, and conceited.  But your big words diverted me.

(Pause)

What if we didn’t stay in Beaver City?  I came all the way here.  I could stay with you here.  We could get married and live on some island somewhere.  The three of us.

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou.  Let’s look at the situation clinically.

MARY LOU

No!  Damn you!  I don’t want to look at it clinically.  You coward!  You Man!  You Wimp!  You little piece of dog turd!

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou.  Let’s try to put aside our enmities and overcome this initial obstacle.

MARY LOU

You goat’s ass!  You piece of mashed gore!

DR. ROMAN

Perhaps we can roll up our sleeves together…

MARY LOU

You librarian!

DR. ROMAN

(Protecting himself with a native shield)

MARY LOU!  Please, of course there is always the chance I may wish to reconsider.  One never knows what can happen.  Perhaps if we work together for a while.  There is much to-

MARY LOU

–Spit it out, blow fish.  I got a train to catch.

DR. ROMAN

Whether you or I like it, we are stuck here with each other.  There’s much work to be done.  Great achievements to conquer.  Awards to be won.  Let’s put our shoulders into it, yes?  Madame and Louis Pasteur.  Perhaps something between us will rekindle…

MARY LOU 

There’s something to pin my life on.

DR. ROMAN

The natives believe you are a goddess.  They believe you have fallen from the sky to save them.  Never in your life will you face such an experience.  They’ve slaughtered a herd of pigs for you.  They worship you.  You are the Homecoming Queen.  They will believe whatever you tell them.  Dozens of men will kiss your feet.  They’ll rub your body with pig grease.  Will you please stay and accept this new position?

MARY LOU

What about your wife?

DR. ROMAN

She’ll have to understand.

MARY LOU

And what if I don’t accept it?

DR. ROMAN

You would have to return through three hundred miles of the deepest darkest jungle on earth.  If the wart hogs don’t gore you, and the leeches don’t suck all your blood, then cannibals will surely peel the skin from your flesh while you are still alive.

MARY LOU

This pig party they’re throwing for me.  What should I wear?

DR. ROMAN

As little as possible.

CROSSFADE TO …

ACT 1.  Scene 3.

SETTING:

The lecture hall.

AT RISE:

Once again DR. ROMAN stands beside the projection screen, however, this time he remains in his khakis and both arms are intact.  On the screen is a slide of a woman digging in the garden with a child on her back.

DR. ROMAN

By any standards, the women here in this remote corner of the planet have a rough go of it.  If not digging in the garden with a broad stick, if not pounding the pulp of the Sago tree into a paste for supper, if not rearing the children or guarding the pigs, they are swapped between the men like old shoes, or lent to guests for sexual plunder.  And yet, interestingly, the men live in constant fear of the women.  It is considered repulsive for a man to eat a pig raised by his own wife for fear, perhaps, of contamination.  Nor will he take food from her at night when it is possible she might slip her menstrual fluid into his supper in the dark when he cannot see.  While all of the natives here have some access to pig, the women and children get much less protein than the men and must supplement their diet with insects, rodents, frogs … and other things.

CROSS FADE TO …

ACT 1.  Scene 4.

SETTING:

The hut.

AT RISE:

It is early the next morning.

Cockatoos screech in the fruit trees.  We find MARY LOU upstage, wearing a night visor.  She has had a difficult night, and has fallen asleep exhausted under the American flag.  Suddenly, from behind her a disembodied hand appears and quivers along the length of her body.  Then another hand appears and quivers over her.  Then both hands appear and quiver.  Then a head wearing a mask pops up.  This is DR ROMAN’S native wife, MOKINA, who is dressed like a native warrier.  Moving in a deliberate way as if performing a sacred ritual to the Gods, MOKINA removes from a sack several objects: perhaps some beads, some odd-looking vegetables, and a furry creature.  This last item she holds high above her head and places it next to the sleeping MARY LOU.  Finished with her ritual, MOKINA removes her mask, spies MARY LOU’S wedding dress, and inspects it with curiosity.  At this point MARY LOU opens one eye, sees the dead creature next to her, sees MOKINA, and lets out a shriek.

MARY LOU  

Aaahhhhh!  Who are you?  Arthur!  Get away from me!  Help!  You stay away from me.  Where the hell’s Arthur?  Just like a man…to abandon me…with Cannibals!  I don’t know how you treat visitors around here, and I don’t want to know.  Just wait til one of you shows up in Beaver City.  See what kinda welcome you get from me.  The Cold Shoulder is what.  Where’s Arthur?  Arthur!  Everybody jumping around naked like there was nobody watching.  Who are you anyway?    Wait a second.  That’s my…You must be Arthur’s…I can’t even say it.   Are you?  My God!  Are you…?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

You are!  So we meet.  At long last.  Do you know who I am?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Well that took balls, honey.  Back where I come from your life wouldn’t be worth a plugged nickel.  You know there’s no way a court in hell is gonna let this marriage stick.  You won’t get a dime out of him.  I’ve seen it before, honey.  Once Arthur comes to his senses…you’ll see.  Where’s Arthur?  Have you done something to Arthur?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

What do you mean?  What have you done?

(MARY LOU looks out of the hut)

Oh, God.  I’m surrounded.  What have you done to Arthur?  You aren’t going to…?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Oh, Sweet Holy Mother of Jesus!  Savages!  Barbarians!  Termites!  Rodents!  Vultures!  Arthur, my love.  Are you going to do the same to me?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Arthur, you bastard!  Why did you make me come here?  Why?  Why?  Why?  I just want to be home.  I just want to go home…

(Mary Lou collapses in a state)

Answer one question?

MOKINA

Jes.

(MOKINA opens MARY LOU’S trunk and rummages through her pots and pans, her iron, her hair curlers, etc., trying to find the source of MARY LOU’S power)

MARY LOU

Why?  What have I done to you?  What is there to be gained?  If you only knew more about me, you’d have mercy.  You’d understand, inside I’m like a kitten.  Surely, Arthur has said some kind words about me.  Did he ever talk about me?  Did he ever talk about the good times we had.

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

He did?  What did he say?  Did he tell you about how I can’t bare to let a poor little creature go hungry?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Did he tell you about us trying to rescue that little cardinal that fell out of it’s nest?  Or when the cows got stuck in the mud during the flood and I had to practically spoon feed them by hand from a canoe?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Did he tell you about my cooking school?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

And how I help women who never had a thought for themselves, think for the first time about something other than steak and potatoes?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Did he tell you how he came to Iowa to study some rare disease and rented the the cabin on our hill?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

And how I would bring him his lunch every day when he was working.

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

And the time my father was sick and we were out haying and the baler broke?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

I bet he didn’t tell you how he took the baler apart?  Said it couldn’t be more complicated than a DNA molecule.  He refused to admit, he had no idea what he was doing.  Stayed out there all night with a flashlight. Took us two weeks to put the thing back together.   He would never talk about it afterwards.  He’d never admit defeat.  He told you a lot, didn’t he?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Did he tell you we were gonna be married?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

He did?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

And it doesn’t bother you?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Of course.  It would bother anyone.  But you still took him in?  You were able to forgive?  Trust him?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

I did too.  You must love him, then?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

You must love him very much?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Well, I can understand that.  God knows I love the bastard.  I never met anyone like him.  He’s conceited, pig-headed, a slob…and the smartest man alive.  He was the only man I’ve ever known who didn’t own a baseball cap.  Did he, did he ever say that…that he loved me?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

He did?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Arthur said he loved me?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Arthur said that?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Son of a gun.  I’m not sure what he saw in me.  I’m just a no good farm girl.  Did you and Arthur have a catered wedding?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

I was going to do all the cooking.  Did a lot of folks show up?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

We were going to have to rent out the high school gym for the reception.  I invited people I never met before.  I must of lost my mind.  Did Arthur tell you about the time we … by the porch swing?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Oh, Jesus!  What do you want from me?  Have you come to torture me?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Well, you’re gonna have to kill me first.

(MARY LOU grabs the salami and raises it to attack.  MOKINA, believing the salami contains Mary Lou’s power, drops to her knees in supplication.  MARY LOU looks at the salami and down at MOKINA)

Willikers!  (They’ll never believe this back home.)  Hey, what’s your name?  Get up will ya?  Arthur told me you think I’m some kind of holy rolling high priest or something.  Do you buy that?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Well, it’s true.  And you better let Arthur go and do whatever I tell you.  Or it’s all gonna hit the fan.  Got that?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Now look here.  I’m sorry if I got a little hysterical.  Look, honey, I’m not in my own kitchen, do you understand?  These are unchartered waters.  It’s not easy being…a God.  There’s a lot of responsibility.  A lot of weight on a person’s shoulders.  A lot of traveling.  Look at that poor little girl, shivering like that.  Arthur told me the women of your village are dying.  You must be very upset?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Arthur will do everything he can.

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

If there’s a cure, he’ll find it.  I’ve always dreamed about working at his side someday.  I wonder if he’ll really let me.

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

You think he will?  He said he would.  But do you think he really will?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

And you wouldn’t mind that.  If I stayed and helped Arthur cure your people?  Would that be okay?

MOKINA

Jes.

(The Eclipse starts and for the rest of the scene the stage gets darker)

MARY LOU

You’re unusual.  Most women in your position would want to gouge my eyes out.

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

So, you know.  You have a few of those types around?  Well, I would like very much to help you.  I don’t give a damn what Arthur thinks.  He dragged me way the hell out here.  He better learn the action of his consequences.

(Looking out hut)

Well, now what’s everybody running around for?  They’re looking pretty scared.

(MOKINA picks up the salami and points it towards the sun)

MARY LOU

Yes?  What is it?  The sun?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Me?  What do you…

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Oh, yes, Arthur said something about an eclipse coming.

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Look at that.  Oh, your people are afraid of an eclipse?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Oh, there’s nothing to be afraid of.  My people are petrified if they run out of toilet tissue.  There’s nothing to worry about.  It lasts just a few minutes.  Don’t look at it, though.  You know that, right?  Don’t look directly at it.  Sheldon Lewis thought he’d be macho and stare right up at the thing with binoculars.  I think he’s probably still in the Special Ed class.

(MOKINA again lifts the salami and points it towards the sun.)

MARY LOU

What is it?  You want me to wave my magic thing at it, is that it?  You want some kind of ceremony to bring the sun back?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Sure.  We can arrange that.

(She looks around)

You know at church back home the Bishop from Twin Falls comes by around Easter.  He and his boys always wear long fancy robes and get the organ cranked up to get you in the mood.  What have we got here?  Can you play this drum?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Good.  Wait, I’ve got to wear something else.  What does your God look like?  People would just die back home if they walked in and found Father Phillips up at the pulpit in his robe and furry slippers, smoking a pack of Marlboros.  Here, what about this?

(She finds a piece of colorful cloth and wraps it around herself like a skirt.  She also dons a native mask)

Give me a few of them beads.  This is just like dressing up when I was a girl.  How do I look?  Authentic enough?

MOKINA

Jes.

MARY LOU

Good.  Let’s get started.  We’ve got to bring back the sun.  Start the drum.

(MOKINA bangs a beat on the underside of the cooking pot rather skillfully while MARY LOU, waving the salami like a scepter, recites to the natives below)

The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.  He leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul…Yeah!

(The drum picks up pace as MARY LOU grabs the native pot with the goddess of Food on it and holds it over her head and shouts…)

Sun.  Sun.  Go away.  Come again another day.  Yeah!

(The drum now beats wildly.  MARY LOU starts kicking up her heels and twirling the salami like a baton)

What the hell else?  Tuppy tuppy tuppyware.  Snaps shut, seals tight without a care.  Always fresh and crisp tomorrow…Yeah!

(A ray of sunlight breaks through.  Wild cheering erupts outside.  DR. ROMAN appears through the trap door in the floor of the hut)

DR. ROMAN

Have the two of you lost your minds?

(MOKINA looks at MARY LOU, looks at DR. ROMAN, smiles, and gives a final bang on the pot)

MOKINA

NOOOOO!

CROSSFADE TO

ACT 1.  Scene 5.

SETTING:

The lecture hall.

AT RISE:

DR. ROMAN is in his khakis.  On the screen is a slide of a sorcery bundle: bark wrapped around twigs.

DR ROMAN

The native view of disease has its own remarkable logic.  Most illness, as has been alluded to here, is attributed to spirits and evil sorcery.  For instance, if you wish to give your foe a lung disease like tuberculosis, you first must cast a spell by cooking up some special bark in a small length of bamboo.  This is then slipped into your victim’s garden where, unsuspecting, he uses the bamboo to smoke tobacco and inhales the poison.  The gasping victim staggers home where his relatives immediately begin to mourn him.  By the fourth day, his distant kin begin to arrive.  By the fifth day he usually dies.  According to the natives, Kuru, however, our slow degenerative virus of the brain, is spread by first stealing the feces of your enemy and wrapping it into a tight bundle of broad leaves.    The sorcery bundle is then buried in muddy ground for three days and then exhumed.  Finally, it is jiggled at the victim like so.  The villagers know this and guards keep a tight vigil over the latrine pit in the event dangerous waste should fall into the hands of a hostile neighbor.

(ROMAN demonstrates the ominous jiggling action)

There is little you can do once a victim of sorcery.  Many take their own lives rather than undergo the slow agonizing death.

(This time ROMAN takes the sorcery bundle and, jiggling it ominously, casts a spell on the audience.)

CROSSFADE TO …

ACT 1.  Scene 6.

SETTING:

The hut.  Several days later.

AT RISE:

DR. ROMAN is at his desk peering into a microscope.  MOKINA is seated worshiping a skull and chanting to herself, “Ayayayayaya…”  MARY LOU wears jeans and a few native beads around her neck.  Drums beat ominously in the background.

mary lou

Who empties the toilet around here?  I know you don’t do it.

dr. roman

I have a service come in.

mary lou

How convenient.

MARY LOU

Can you tell what the drums are saying yet?

DR. ROMAN

No.  I only know they are war drums.  I can’t imagine it’s good.

MARY LOU

I thought I heard something a few minutes ago.  Is there any chance we are in danger?

DR. ROMAN

No.

MARY LOU

How do you know?

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou, I’ve assured you over and over as long as you are with me nothing will happen.

MARY LOU

— Yes, but you’ve made mistakes before.

DR. ROMAN

When?

MARY LOU

Hmmmmm.

DR. ROMAN

I rest my case.  Now why don’t you … redecorate.

MARY LOU

How long can she just sit there and sing like that?

DR. ROMAN

Days.

MARY LOU

What is she doing?

DR. ROMAN

Trying to reach her mother, I think.

MARY LOU

Oh.

DR. ROMAN

Yes.  Her mother died last year of Kuru.  They were very close.  She talks to her quite often.

MARY LOU

Oh.  What do they talk about?

DR. ROMAN

Excuse me?

MARY LOU

Mokina and her mom.  What do they talk about?

DR. ROMAN

I’m not really sure.  You, I imagine.

MARY LOU

Me?

DR. ROMAN

Well you are a celebrity around here.

MARY LOU

Yes.  I suppose. And she just calls her up?

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

Like she was dialing on the phone?

DR. ROMAN

Well, there is a certain ritual, you can imagine.  Words must be said.

MARY LOU

I’ll never understand these people.

DR. ROMAN

When you believe, Mary Lou, anything can happen.

MARY LOU

Yeah, I suppose.  I guess I never felt that strongly about anything.  Except you, you creep.

Mokina’s skull begins to levitate.  Mary Lou tries to find a place to hang the flag, annoying Dr. Roman.  get Roman’s attention.

dr. roman

What?

mary lou

Look.

The skull returns to earth before Roman can see it.

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou, you are single-handedly impeding the inexorable march of modern science.  Would you kindly remove yourself.

MARY LOU

Okay.  Okay.  Okay.

DR. ROMAN

Thank you.

(MARY LOU removes a skillet from her trunk and, imitating Mokina, starts to sway and repeat the chant, “Ayayayayaya”)

MARY LOU

Arthur?

DR. ROMAN

Oh, God!

MARY LOU

What if the natives decide to attack us at night when we’re sleeping?

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou, do I have to build an addition onto this hut?

MARY LOU

You snore so loud, we couldn’t hear if a jet fighter was —

DR. ROMAN

— we are safe here.  My quarters are considered sacred.  No one, I repeat, no one will try to harm us as long as we remain inside.

MARY LOU

Just in case, I’m going to move my bed away from the wall.

DR. ROMAN

If it will make you feel better, you may move it onto the roof.

MARY LOU

No, that’s not necessary.

(MARY LOU notices a fertility goddess by her bed.)

Oh, Arthur, tell me you didn’t…

DR. ROMAN

It’s hopeless.

MARY LOU

I can’t even say it.  How could you…to a 13-year-old?  I can’t believe she would agree to it.

DR. ROMAN

She didn’t.

MARY LOU

What do you mean?

DR. ROMAN

After the arrangements were made with her father, she hid for two weeks.

MARY LOU

Your kidding?

DR. ROMAN

They found her several miles from here, hiding in a tree.

MARY LOU

You mean, she was so desperate she risked her life and dared to go beyond the deadly wall.

DR. ROMAN

Yes.

MARY LOU

And still you forced yourself upon her?  You forced yourself upon a 13-year-old girl?

DR. ROMAN

Mary Lou.  We are in a primitive tribal society.  The rules are much different.  Hunters and gatherers.

MARY LOU

You mean, perverts and rapists.

DR. ROMAN

Her father is the Chief.  I couldn’t afford to insult him.  Without the chief’s blessing, my work would be totally impossible.

MARY LOU

But the way you run in with your saw five minutes after some poor woman dies and start cutting off her head.

DR. ROMAN

Science has yet to develop a fool-proof way to preserve the delicate brain tissue.

MARY LOU

They don’t know that.  They probably think you’re a lunatic.  What was that?

DR. ROMAN

What?

MARY LOU

I thought I heard something.  I guess it’s nothing.

(MOKINA begins to stir from her trance and remove her mask)

Oh, look.  She’s done.  Ask her how it was.  Ask her how her mom is doing.

dr. roman

If I ask her, do you promise you’ll leave me alone?

mary lou

I promise.

DR. ROMAN

Mokina.  Mama bilong yu em i stap gut, oh?

MOKINA

Mama bilong me em i stap gut, tank you.

MARY LOU

What did she say?

DR. ROMAN

She says her mother is doing just fine, thank you.

MARY LOU

What did they talk about?  Ask her.

dr. roman

You promised.

mary lou

I lied.

DR. ROMAN

Yu na mama bilong yu, tu tupela tok long wanem samting?

MOKINA

Dispela Cheese kek yu kukum asde.

DR. ROMAN

She wants to know if you…

MOKINA

Mama bilong em i laik save yu bai soim Mokina long wokim dispela kain kaika.

DR. ROMAN

How odd!  Why would she want to know that?

MARY LOU

What?

DR. ROMAN

That cheesecake you baked yesterday.

MARY LOU

Yes?

DR. ROMAN

Her mother wants to know if you will give Mokina the recipe.

mary lou

(Removing a cookbook from her trunk)

Of course I will, honey.  It’s here on page 37, but I guess I’m going to have to translate.  First you’re going to need a dozen eggs and some cream.  Use half-and-half.  I find it is much better–

(Suddenly a spear flies over the audience and into the hut)

MOKINA

Ahhhhhhhh!

MARY LOU

Oh, my God!

MOKINA

Oh, my God!  Yayalele!

mary lou

Yayalele!

dr. roman

Chief Yayalele!

CROSSFADE TO …

ACT I.  Scene 7.

The lights rise on MARY LOU and DR. ROMAN.  Both are drafting letters in opposite corners of the hut,  oblivious to each other.  Mary Lou is reading her letter to the same skull Mokina was addressing earlier.

MARY LOU

Dear Mama.  You’re never going to believe this.  It’s kinda hard to explain.

DR. ROMAN

(simultaneously with “explain”)

Gentlemen.  I’m now totally convinced Kuru must be some sort of genetic disorder.  And, yet, without proper laboratory facilities it will be difficult for me to prove.

MARY LOU

(simultaneously with “prove”)

Mama, you remember when we had that Jewish family over for supper a few years back.  They were real nice but just a little different that’s all.  Wouldn’t touch the ham we served ’em.

DR. ROMAN

(simultaneously with “served”)

I’ve therefore decided to forward to the New England Journal of Medicine two papers.  One proving my theory.  The other disproving it.  Once I find out exactly which way this thing goes, I’ll get word to them and they can rush the appropriate article into print.

MARY LOU

(simultaneously with “print”)

Don’t worry, I’m safe as could be.  (I hope).  The folks here are starting to really warm up to me.  Like they voted me Head Cheerleader or something.  I run around with my baton and chant and carry on and they smile and chant back and we all have a grand old time.  I even taught them the Iowa State fight song.

DR. ROMAN

(simultaneously with “song”)

Unfortunately, the neighboring tribe is under the misconception that I am the cause of the disease.  Therefore, my villagers and have become increasingly uncooperative — until I sedate them first.

MARY LOU

(simultaneously with “incessantly”)

They got a lot of hogs here just like back home.  Here, they light a fire.  Heat up some rocks.  Then they dig a hole, toss in the hot rocks, toss in the pig,  throw in a bunch of vegetables and a few days later…voil- la!  I nearly passed out when I saw it, but you know, it tasted pretty darn good.

DR. ROMAN

(simultaneously with “pretty”)

On a more serious note, the local population is about to go to war with the Yayalele, the hostile tribe next door.  Already rumors of ambush are circulating and war drums have been beating incessantly for days.

MARY LOU

It’s going to be hard when I come back, Mama.  I’m changing a little bit.  I’m starting to see things I never saw before.  I mean, we’re all natives of somewhere, aren’t we?

DR. ROMAN

(Pauses)

P.S.  An old acquaintance has arrived.

(Looks at MARY LOU.  Forces a smile.)

I hope she will not prove to be too much of an impediment.  [She may prove useful.]

MARY LOU

(Pauses.  Smiles lovingly at ROMAN)

P.S.  Arthur is still crazy about me as ever.

mokina

P.S. [She bangs on her drum]

LIGHTS FADE …

END OF ACT 1

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