- Scene: a clean coffee shop, so clean; soft
cloth and smooth wood; people walk by
in self-possessed silence, as if in a
- Dramatis Persona: Beth, a woman of means,
quick of breath, intelligent, of smooth bare
arms and clean legs, dressed in red and
black. Bartram, a young man of supple
strength, quiet wit, deep eyes, quick smile,
dressed in browns.
- Act One of One Act
- Beth. Tell me.
- Bart. Yes, the street seems like another
country. Those are its actual colors, vivid,
alive, the threat of accidental beauty—solid
bieges and grays with patches of
blue, red, orange, and pigeons flying
irridescent in the sunlight around
an old man in gray with a bag of seed,
not of our time. Automobiles in metalic
against a pastel backdrop of buildings,
blue sky. Sun glints on glass and chrome.
- Beth. My favorite word is yes. And you?
- Bart. Me.
- Beth. You are so sweet.
- Bart. Please.
- Beth. Here.
- Bart. Yes.
- Beth. How can you tell?
- Bart. You inspire me. . . . She was blind.
They called him Marceau.
- Beth. I had this dream. You were here and you
asked me . . .
- Bart. Like this?
- Beth. Yes, but lower.
- Bart. The button . . . .
- Beth. Yes. . . . I asked Grace if she had heard
of it, and she said it was about a blind
woman who married a gangster. His hands
were smooth so she thought him a
gentleman. Your hands are smooth.
- Bart. Your skin is so clean. I'm not a gentleman.
- Beth. In the dream, my back hurt, and when you
touched me there, a thrill went up into
me, embraced me. Move a little closer.
- Bart. He was good to her but she did not
understand him. Such is tragedy, a moral
lesson of the forties. You wouldn’t . . . ?
- Beth. I might.
- Bart. I would. The pigeons . . .
- Beth. Mmmmm. I think I wouldn’t wait.
- Bart. Let’s not. Let’s . . .
- Beth. Would you like something to eat?
- Bart. If you are offering.
- Beth. Something sweet..
1 July 1981