Muted crowd noises; muted musicMAÎTRE D'
Just one tonight, sir? JAY:
Only me: for dinner. MAÎTRE D'
Will this do?JAY:
Fine. I'll face this way. MAÎTRE D'
Of course. Your waiter will be here momentarily. JAY:
Tell you what: if you still have the coq au vin, just bring that. MAÎTRE D'
Your waiter will be here momentarily. He'll get you some water. JAY:
Can I get some wine? MAÎTRE D'
Water, sir? JAY:
Yes, I drink lots of it. WAITER:
The specials tonight are...
Tell you what: if you still have the coq au vin, just bring that.
Of course sir. JAY:
The wine list? WAITER:
...I'll be right back.
Sips of waterWATER BOY: Water, sir?
Thank you. WAITER:
The lady at the table over there sent you a bottle, sir. JAY:
Who? Where, please? WAITER:
I'd rather not point, sir; the redhaired lady in the green dress, with the very white skin.
JAY (under his breath)
Oh, my God...WAITER:
That was a phrase came to my mind as well, sir. JAY:
Ok. Would you guys all beat it now? WAITER:
You want the coq au vin. JAY:
Sipping water; A chair grates back; to someone far, distinct more for lip-reading purposes:
Distant chair grates back; dress rustles. AMY approaches.
You're not alone, are you?AMY:
Yes, sorry, I am. How are you, Jay? JAY:
You're looking well, Amy. L... Lovely. AMY:
Still nervous. JAY:
Hnm. Still following me. I can't believe you're here. What are you doing in far-away Vancouver?AMY:
Don't flatter yourself that I'm following you.
I'm in a play.JAY:
Of course. But eating alone? You? AMY:
You're older looking. I like the beard. JAY:
You look like the last day I saw you. AMY:
Red-eyed? Bleary faced?
No. Very beautiful. Very— AMY:
Nice ring. When? JAY:
Oh, what do you care...About ten months after we split. What play are you in? AMY:
Again? You must know it in your sleep. AMY:
Audience loves it. Makes it a very comfortable show. I can relax in it and be loose, and (sniffing) invent more. JAY:
I can't believe you're here.
I'm going to blink, and when I open my eyes...AMY:
Have you ordered? My waiter is getting anxious. JAY:
You honestly want to have dinner with me? After nine years? AMY:
It's been one second. (sadly) It's been forever. JAY:
Isn't that from... You still drink wine? AMY:
Still makes me crazy. JAY:
Mind if I do? AMY:
I bought it for you. JAY:
You don't have to buy me anything. Are you doing OK in the theatre? AMY:
Haven't been to Hollywood yet. After you dumped me— JAY:
Oh, stop. Dumped you. AMY:
After you dumped me—I actually slept with——Mervyn DeMauro, the producer. Hoping he'd sign me up. And like all men—
I see this is going to be another comfortable play for you. You're inventing. AMY:
... So is she pretty? JAY:
Referring to my wife? Yes, she's a beautiful person. I saw your name on a playbill recently, back home.
Frank directed, I see.AMY:
He's better than you at it. JAY:
Oh, after you telling me how you'd burnt his picture up in an ashtray and cursed him like a witch when you left him for me, I could only think of all those ashes coming back together like one of those Cocteau films, played backwards, when you went back to him. AMY:
...you married a woman? I never could trust you. JAY:
I'm not sure who you could trust. Except Sally the rag-dog. You still have Sally? AMY:
I'm going to be buried with Sally. She really is the only thing steady in my life. JAY:
All her fur rubbed off, now? Her eyes wrenched out? AMY:
Don't project your stupid inadequacies on her. JAY:
It makes me feel real. ...And little Pozzo? Is she still alive? AMY:
Just died. JAY:
Meowing my name, no doubt. AMY:
Not. She was a lady 'til the very end. Just died on the pillow next to me one night.JAY:
Still put red polish on her claws? AMY:
She grew out of it. Let's just say...I have grown up. JAY:
I'm not sure if you or I know what that means. Still getting your 2-day headaches? Your heebie-jeebies? AMY:
Oh, tomorrow! I'm sure. Just wait. Migrane, fever, full flush of herpes... JAY:
(smugly) Yes, and how many others did you share our disease with? JAY:
I'd rather not bring that up, thank you. It's been miserable enough. Ever seen the magic trick where I pull the tablecloth out. . . AMY:
Times it kills me to think of it. You and her. And times it's like an evil gift. And I'm glad. Very glad. But I warned you. JAY:
Yes. They also warned the Titanic about field-ice. Sometimes you just plow on through the fog. AMY:
I saw you once, at the Mall. Avoided you. You didn't see me. JAY:
I saw you once driving on the turnpike, with two other gals. You didn't see me. AMY:
Your kids are ok? JAY:
How did you know I even had kids? AMY:
I've kept up on you. JAY:
Oh, the Cold War Spy System. I forgot. Sarah from my floor at work takes tickets at your box-office back home, doesn't she? You sneak. AMY:
I always shuddered to think of your kids being hurt because of me. Her, yes. Them, no. JAY:
They're fine. Please talk about something else, you're making me too sad. Burning milch of Ilium and... AMY:
What the hell is that from? JAY:
Hamlet, you comedienne, you. You never liked the classics.AMY:
You can't stand sadness, can you? JAY:
You can't seem to give much else. Can you. AMY:
We liked each other enough. Remember that vacation with the cabin and the birch grove? JAY:
You're just trying to hurt, now. How could I forget?
Standing naked in the night around the lake, with bright white trees. All those white poles leaning into the wind. And your white butt. JAY:
Your butt was whiter. Every time I see birch trees I get excited. AMY:
That was a fun time. JAY:
I remember taking a photo of the sky. Just the sky, with clouds. I was extremely happy at that moment. Here's to clouds.
But it wasn't a picture of me. JAY:
I know; if you're not the star, you're being slighted. AMY:
And the shooting star. We saw one. It was a symbol for us. I never had a man who could be depicted by a symbol before. You did take a picture of me, nude. JAY:
Oh, you were practically in the dark. AMY:
You still have the picture? JAY:
No. Of course not.
Oh, you keep everything. Pack rat. JAY:
I'd never keep something like that around the house. AMY:
Never stopped you before. JAY:
My wife is not the graduate snoop you are. AMY:
Hmn. Well, if what you find turns out to be almost criminal... it may be worth it. JAY:
I don't want to talk about it. AMY:
You never want to talk about it. I do all the talking. JAY:
I'll say. AMY:
Oh, you snob. Still a snob. JAY:
Why all this "still" stuff? Of course, it's still me. Are you still you?
Gurgling water, glasses being filled.JAY:
Thank you. AMY:
I'll have the salad.
Yes, miss. JAY:
I am not a snob. So you still with Frank? AMY:
We're fine. JAY:
Living together? AMY:
You're not still living at home? ...you're what, thirty six, thirty-seven? At home? AMY:
I'm sick of living with people. JAY:
I know. You prefer cats... fish... stuffed animals. AMY:
At least I prefer the opposite sex. JAY:
I don't know what you're talking about. AMY:
I gave up a lot to be with you. JAY:
Why did I race home from work all the time? Why did I keep on with you with such fervor? AMY:
Why would I come home to you all excited, maybe with flowers, only to find you sitting on a pile of my books you were tearing pages from, shredding old photos of mine of people I didn't even know, like the Madwoman of Chaillot? AMY:
Life is making hard choices. JAY:
What play is that from? Is that View From a Bridge? AMY:
I don't know what you're talking about. JAY:
In critical moments of your life you always quote from a play you were in. It legitimizes it for you, I think. I mean, if Arthur Miller said it, it must be co-rrect. AMY:
I don't do that. What do you quote, National Lampoon? JAY:
It only works, you know, when the other person doesn't know the play you're quoting. You'd love right now, I just know, from Uncommon Women. Or The Duck Variations. Or Death Of a Salesman, if you could get away with it. AMY:
Gurgling water, glasses being filled.
Thank you. Always playing to the hilt. You'd love to slap me and toss the wine at me. It's almost like you're stage managing everything to that moment of crisis, just so you'd get to play the scene: say the line: make the exit.AMY:
Just like when you wanted to cut your hair so you could play both Peter Pan and Saint Joan. What a great idea! But I like that about you. You don't understand. It made Life—...Art,
for a little while. What a pure, delightful fantasy.AMY:
So does she know as much about you as I know? JAY:
I've been married to her for eight years. AMY:
So what. Did you leave girlie magazines all over the house? JAY:
Of course not. AMY:
Do you still read the Marquis de Sade?
Actually, your Nazi purges and book-burnings were good for me. I've now outgrown my vices. AMY:
Hhnm! You mean you're hiding it better. Different places. I bet, behind things. Under things. WAITER:
Here you are. Salad. Coq au vin. Enjoy.
Gurgling water, glass filled.JAY:
Thank you. I'll enjoy. AMY:
Of course you'd get a cock-o'somebody. JAY:
Ah, The Escaped Cock. I still read D.H. Lawrence. AMY:
And Henry Miller, and Phillip Roth, and Ovid, and William Peter Blatty, for God's sake, all of whom were on your hit list; all of whom you made little piles of books on the shelves. Unburnt offerings to display and for me to see. Just like the cat leaving shit on the pillow. AMY:
I could never trust you as far as I could throw you.
Whatever that means. Do you remember when that cat crapped on our quilt? (in a cat-like voice): "Look. Do you see that?" AMY:
(laughing) Poor Pozzo. You deserved worse. JAY:
Well, you did your best. Still have to fall asleep with the TV on? AMY:
Still have to look at other women in restaurants? JAY:
A cat may look at a king. AMY:
A cat may crap on your bed.
Gurgling water, glass being filled.JAY:
Thank you. Do you trust Frank? AMY:
Leave him out of this. He's a good man. JAY:
As opposed to me. AMY:
...We had something going. You blew it, mister. You really blew it. JAY:
I'm sure your jealousy had nothing to do with it.
Sips. Chews the ice.
I was over that. JAY:
I don't think so. You are always worried that someone is going to take it all away. AMY:
What are you talking about? JAY:
Dad is always going to come to your rescue. AMY:
You wish you were as good as him. JAY:
I wish I had his money. AMY:
You look old.
I am. I'm over forty. Can you believe it? We were spring chickens then. AMY:
But you've lost weight. JAY:
I work out a lot now. And I don't worry about it. AMY:
Come on, one more time. JAY:
Say what? AMY:
Let's go to bed once more. Just once more. JAY:
Scared? Scared you might like it? JAY:
I have absolutely no doubt I'd like it. But it'd kill me. AMY:
No one gave you better sex than me. No one.
Sips. Ice sounds.JAY:
...I'll admit that. AMY:
So why did you leave? JAY:
The price tag was just too big. AMY:
How could you fall for her?
Tender question. I just did. AMY:
You still love her? JAY:
You know: that almost seems to be beside the point. There's mortgages now, and car payments, and basketball practice, and homework, and remembering anniversaries, and writing to her brother, and just getting up and going to work. AMY:
You don't love her. Ha, I knew it. JAY:
Love isn't gone. It's spread out like a mist now. With you it was a flood. A torrent. AMY:
I was sick for two months after you dumped me. Really sick. JAY:
You were always the exception. Apart from the crowd. The star.
You remember our vacation in Yellowstone? I spent, oh-who-cares-how-much...AMY:
You remember every dime, cheapskate. JAY:
And you sat there, in the cabin. Scared, petulant, bitchy. AMY:
Who wanted to go there. Nothing but ticks. I followed you around on plenty of hikes. JAY:
Yes, each of which ended up with some horrible argument over nothing. What did you slap me that time for? Monty Python? National Lampoon? Mad Magazine? AMY:
I never slapped you. Not without cause. JAY:
Yes. It was the awful threat of Monty Python. Or Benny Hill. You didn't like the fact that, what was it, they showed a woman with naked breasts, wasn't it? Anathema! I should have known better.
The flytrap. You always were fascinated by the Venus Flytrap syndrome in women. You love to be a victim of women. You ask for it. JAY:
No, not really. Maybe it's a 19th century way of looking at women, which I can be talked out of. But every time we were watching a film, and you saw the woman was going to take advantage of the man, and God forbid, was good looking, you made me pay for it. AMY:
You're a willing victim. JAY:
Who said that? Elie Wisel? You're right. I was stupid. And flytrap or not, I couldn't help but be sucked into your beautiful vortices. I should have run. Fled in the other direction, but I didn't. I couldn't. AMY:
So this woman you married... she hasn't got any hangups?
Of course she does. All women do, you know. AMY:
Oh, sure, Dr. Freud. Just the women you've known. You attract them. JAY:
I guess I must. AMY:
You never go after them like a man. You let them come to you. Like a woman. JAY:
Thanks a lot. AMY:
I bet she was after you like flies on cowflops. JAY:
I'm sure I couldn't say. AMY:
Oh, you hide behind your snobbish aloofitude. But that's it. That's your story. Wait for them to come crawling after you, and then let them get disillusioned with your passive boyish charm. It doesn't work. Does it.
Sips. Ice. Water gurgling; glasses filled.JAY:
Thank you. You hit the nail on the head. It doesn't. Isn't that from Streetcar? AMY:
And you're not happy now, are you? JAY:
You'd be delighted to hear me admit to that. AMY:
So it's true? JAY:
I'm splendidly happy. I make lots of money. AMY:
...carefully not answering the question... JAY:
Well, I try different tacks now. I'm not only an old man, I'm a little more mature.
And who has to pay for that now? Me. I always get the short end of the stick. Why did I ever fall for you. JAY:
You're the first woman I said I love you to. It was a liberating moment. AMY:
You still love me. I know it. But I won't take you back. JAY:
There's solace in that. You wanted a he-man.
And got a limp fish. JAY:
You wanted me to be the maypole around which you could dance. AMY:
[smirking] Yeow. You're still a nothing. A nobody. JAY:
I was tired of being so steadfast. Or acting like it. Having you flip out... AMY:
You flipped out. JAY:
Smacking me. [in a Southern accent]: Like Scarlett O'Hara. AMY:
Oh, after you hit me.
I never hit a woman before I met you. Or after. Before you hit me. What a great claim to fame.
You like hitting women. JAY:
I may as well say: you like getting hit. AMY:
[malevolently whispering] Cunt. AMY:
Cock... [sipping a drink] ...sucker. JAY:
I'm sure it will win the sexist award for the year, but you were asking for it.AMY:
Oh, you are so sick. JAY:
I mean it. You pushed and pushed and pushed, and clawed me up——do you remember my arms all bleeding? AMY:
That was passion. JAY:
It was rage. The shrink said so. AMY:
Oh, yes, the one you picked. JAY:
It's the only way we'd have gone. AMY:
Didn't help you any, did it. JAY:
It helped me a lot.
Thank you. You were extraordinary, you know that? There's no one like you on earth. Here's to you.AMY:
I know that's an insult somehow. JAY:
You were magic. But black magic; curious, weird, twisted magic. You and your crystals and your pentagram-stained glass and heebie-jeebies. Here's to crystal balls. AMY:
I won't touch that one. You liked it when it was good.
You bought the crystal ball, I remember you saying, so you could see what I was doing at work. Then again, I never saw anyone before or since who engendered such coincidences. AMY:
Oh, talk English, you snob. JAY:
Well, knowing you went ape every time I saw an old girlfriend, or even a mild acquaintance, you sure trained me to cringe every time I saw one.
Bastard. You and your harem. JAY:
Oh, come on. I only knew—Biblically speaking—about five women. Who the hell knew that they'd all show up, serially, on every date we went on. AMY:
If the shoe fits... JAY:
I mean, I hadn't seen them for years, and I never thought I'd see any of them again. And there they were. They'd show up and be friendly, and say "hi!" AMY:
All blondes. JAY:
And all I could think of was, "Oh, here it comes. Another evening of trauma and unparalleled jealousy." AMY:
And all sopranos. You always wanted a legit-soprano. JAY:
That's nonsense. AMY:
Why did your eyes light up every time Joaaaniee sang songs with you?
Why did you close the piano cover every time she came over—with her husband, I might add. AMY:
It's over and done now. Every day a little death. JAY:
Sondheim, isn't it. AMY:
A Little Night Music. You know it as well as me. JAY:
And I actually had your engagement ring inscribed with "every day a little life." AMY:
The famous engagement. JAY:
And you didn't understand what I was quoting from. AMY:
I should have thrown it at you harder. JAY:
Night I gave it to you, attached to Pozzo's collar, I had Fred Astaire's Swing Time playing the song we loved, "The Way You Look Tonight." You came blasting in the room, talking about a house on fire you'd just seen. AMY:
That was horrible! JAY:
Really blew the mood. I should have known immediately. It truly was a sign from heaven. ..."STOP!" You know, you can't get rid of rings. AMY:
I think that's the idea. JAY:
I mean it: they sold me on it saying how pure the diamond was, great gold, how the quality was so wonderful, with a gorgeous appraisal form and everything, for $900. When I brought it back to them after you threw it at me, they almost laughed.
"What's wrong with it?" they said. The same salesperson. I mean, isn't it obvious? AMY:
I wanted it for my education. JAY:
One man said he'd give me a hundred dollars. Wouldn't have even paid for one book. AMY:
Do you still have it? JAY:
I don't know where it is. I can't bear to look at it any more. I said to him, but it's valued at $900. Oh, he says, that's just the appraisal. No one looks at that. AMY:
Dead love has no resale value. JAY:
Is that Sam Shepard? AMY:
No. I just said it. You know, like I do have something to offer now and then.
I never said you didn't. You're very clever. Cunning, I'd say. AMY:
Our engagement party. How I cried.
I couldn't have been more uncomfortable. And every time I hear "The Way You Look Tonight," now, I get physically ill. Poor Jerome Kern! AMY:
Why couldn't you set a date? JAY:
Nothing settled right in my stomach. AMY:
I was over the jealousy then: things were good. JAY:
I was so twisted up by you, I knew I wasn't me. AMY:
You were screwing her and still coming over my place, weren't you? JAY:
You're so worried about things like that. AMY:
Yes, I am! I looked like a stupid in front of everybody! JAY:
No you didn't. That's silly. No one knew anything about anyone. AMY:
You mean you did? You were sleeping with both of us?
Actually, no. I was very scrupulous to stop sleeping with you once I began with her. AMY:
Bastard! You said you didn't even meet her until after we broke up. JAY:
Right. I think, again, you asked for it. You beg for lies. You lived for lies. AMY:
Dirt. You are dirt. You never have the cojones to tell the truth. That's getting to be a refrain for you. The symphony of your life should be called A Song of Excuses. WAITER:
Would you like some dessert? AMY:
No. I'm . . . no. JAY:
Just the check. AMY:
Tell me the truth. Just between you and I. JAY:
...you and me. AMY:
Oh, your ass, Henry Higgins! You were always trying to play Henry Higgins. JAY:
No, you are always playing something. Not me. I'm just me.
You put on this pious air of someone so pure and intelligent. And I know you're searching the adult video stores for the latest releases. JAY:
I am that I am. AMY:
And who said that, smartass?? Satan?! I thought you were at least a decent human being. JAY:
That's just what the appraisal says. AMY:
Right: Value: Zero. JAY:
I'm glad you came all the way over here to prise the truth from me. AMY:
But you can't get me out of your system, can you? JAY:
Medically, no. AMY:
Shut up, I mean your brain: you can't stop thinking about me, can you?
You're right. I think of you all the time. But not obsessively. You're the woman with whom I've had both a terrific time, and had the worst moments of my life. You're there, on the time line. Not to be erased. Not to be pined over. Just there. AMY:
How Zenny. JAY:
But you are magic. You're here. On the end of the earth, haunting me. A bit of undigested beef, a bad dream. You were a bad dream.
Thank you. AMY:
And you, you are a nightmare.
JAY (referring to her):
Fake. Fake. JAY:
But I am at peace with my fakery. It's my M.O. I'm an illusionist. AMY:
You're an awful human being. You should be hit by a bus. Drilled by an Uzzi. JAY:
Burn my picture. AMY:
Damn you. JAY:
Burn the birch grove picture. Go burn the birches. AMY:
I'm so sorry I met you. You've made my life a misery. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I wished you were dead, you rotten bastard. The only thing good I can say about the three years with you, is I have plenty of sense-memory material to use when I'm acting in tragedy. JAY:
Glad to be of service. God, what a price! AMY:
You remember the dress we bought, on that same vacation? The green gauze one I had so much fun with? I used it as a costume, and burned the whole bottom of it into scorched patterns with an iron. Wore it in Rathole. I got to tear it during the show, too, during the rape scene. All I could think of was you and how you used me.
You never knew how to treat me. You always had an excuse for why something was wrong with me. Well, nothing's wrong with me! You were the only thing wrong with me. You made me do what I did.
She slaps his face. Wine splashes. PauseJAY:
May I use your napkin? AMY:
Don't you have any feelings? WAITER:
Yes. Put the wine on it, too, please. And bring another napkin. AMY:
A rape. A lovely little rape. It took three years of living with you, but that's all it turned out to be. JAY:
Yes, right on the noggin. We used each other up, like candles guttering in each other's sockets. Fiercely used each other. AMY:
I'm sick of the sight of you. JAY:
That makes sense. We were burned up. AMY:
I have a life. I have a show to be in. JAY:
Shall I come see it? AMY:
God, no. JAY:
Break a leg. AMY:
JAY (different inflection):
Break a leg.
Grating back of a chair, rustle of a dress.
Sips of water. Chewing ice. Muted crowd; muted music: "The Way You Look Tonight."