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Weekend at San Basilica
 
 

ACT ONE

Scene One

A guest house of the sprawling, opulent castle, San Basilica, somewhere along the California coast. On the right of the stage is one bedroom; on the left another---the two separated by a white, octagonal-tiled early 20th century bathroom with connecting doors to the bedrooms. Both bedrooms are decorated in outlandishly extravagant taste, combining authentic antiques with heavy Grustarkian junk. Through the upstage windows one has the feeling of wondrous space: immaculate gardens and perpetual sunlight.

At rise, a pleasant-looking, compactly-built young man, KEVIN KOSHKARIAN, is in the bedroom to the left. HE is dressed in subdued Ivy League style and is in the process of taking a personal inventory of the room on a laptop.

KEVIN
Bedspread: one cherub with harp, one diamond with leaf scroll---one cherub without harp---one diamond with leaf scroll and set of roses---one cherub with harp, etc. Bedpost: dark wood, grape vines, grapes. Canopy: same as bedspread---
(An engine starts upm outside and the sound of a large vehicle is heard.  HE stops dead in his tracks in disbelief, then rushes to the window.)
Shit, thatís the bus! Wait! Wait for me. Damn it, theyíve taken off! I never heard of such a thing---the tour going off and leaving someone behind. Donít they keep a count, for Christís sake! I can hear Phyllis now in her own soft, sweet, understanding way. "People donít just get left behind, Kevin. Could it be you didnít really want to come home? If it is, you must tell me, dear. Iím sure a great many people get left behind at San Basilica."
                                                  (sitting on the bed)
Well, what do I do now, Dr. Bellagio? Do I go down to one of the service people and start complaining? A lot of good thatíll do. Thereíll be another tour in less than an hour, and itíll give me a chance to take more notes, and the more notes the more accurate my report to Mr. Christiansen, and the more accurate my report the better the reproductions. Supposedly. But, boy, Iíd love to have that tour guide fired! There was something really arrogant about him from the beginning. I think it was the way he kept swiveling his hips when he walked almost like he had an imaginary motorbike between his thighs. I bet he makes out like gangbusters. I should try walking like that. I can just see Phyllis when she asks me what I was doing for three hours. Learning to walk like this, sweetheart. Then sheíll say something like, "Oh, Kevin, you look like you have hemorrhoids."
                                                 (back to the notepad)
One desk---sort of Louis Quartorze---exotic wood inlay--- (As HE continues his inventory, a small Asian houseboy appears stage right carrying a large valise. HE enters the bedroom on the right followed by a pretty blonde YOUNG WOMAN dressed in the style of a flapper. SHE smiles at the houseboy as HE sets the suitcase down and indicates for him to place it on the bed. HE bows and exits. SHE gazes about the room, sighs ecstatically. SHE opens the valise and begins unpacking a collection of organdy and silk period creations. As SHE trails the fluttering clothes to the closet, SHE eyes herself in the mirror above the dresser, now and again winking at her reflection. Through all of this, SHE sings "Ramona". Although the tune is relatively accurate, the lyrics are not.)
YOUNG WOMAN
Ramona,
I hear the mission bells above---
Ramona,
Theyíre singing out our song of love!
  (Entering the bathroom, singing with even more fervor, SHE lets her dress slip to the floor in a graceful narcissistic gesture. KEVIN hears her through the door, cannot believe his ears.)
YOUNG WOMAN
Ramona,
When day is done I hear your call---
Ramona,
Weíll meet beside a garden wall!
I bless you,
Caress you,
And pray the day I taught you to care---
Iíll always adore you,
The rambling rose you wear in your hair,
Ramona,
I need you,
My own.
  (KEVIN listens incredulously, gradually working up enough courage to slowly turn the door handle and to peek in. Seeing YOUNG WOMAN in the process of removing her slip, HE gasps and slams the door shut. But rather than embarrassment, SHE appears delighted.)
YOUNG WOMAN
Madame Spinoza! (A smile of contentment crosses her lips, and SHE sashays toward the door leading to his room, smoothing her slip back over her trim figure, patting her hair in place. SHE opens the door gradually, coquettishly, looking to both sides as if afraid there may be another person besides Kevin. Then, seeing the coast clear, SHE leans against the jamb and crinkles her nose.)
YOUNG WOMAN
Hi!
  (KEVIN says nothing, just gapes at her dumbstruck. SHE waits a few moments, then since he remains horrified and mute, SHE returns to the bathroom, a trifle deflated. SHE observes herself in the mirror again, this time critically. But what she sees reassures her there must be something wrong with him. SHE shrugs, turns on the shower, pulls her slip over her head and reveals a flattening bra and vintage panties, SHE stops pensively, then irritably, then turns the shower off. In a thunder of decision, SHE marches back to the door and throws it open.)
YOUNG WOMAN
You a pansy or something?
                                                  (KEVIN simply blinks at her, still frozen to the spot.)
Well? Are ya?
                                                  (KEVIN opens his mouth, but not a syllable emerges.)
Donít be ashamed. If youíre a pansy, then youíre a pansy. Iím very broadminded. If youíre a goddamned pansy, then youíre a goddamned pansy.
                                                  (HE still cannot bring himself to speak. Finally SHE turns in disgust.)
Goddamned pansy!
                                                  (SHE reenters the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.)
My first invite and just my luck to be quartered next to a purple pansy!
                                                  (Again she regards herself in the mirror and again she is pleased with what she sees.)
What you need, sugar, is a drinky-winky. But itís still only afternoon, and Mr. Huomo doesnít allow more than one cocktail before dinner. But, Mr. Huomo, thatís just unfair to a poor widdle lamb who has lost her way---baa---baa---baaÖ
                                                  (In a petulant little gesture, SHE opens the medicine cabinet to deposit her
                                                   toothbrush.  There inside are two bottles of champagne and two champagne
                                                   glasses.)
Oh, Mr. Huomo!
                                                  (holding her hand against her heart)
I promise!  I won't tell a soul.  Oh, Mr. Huomo, you're jusy peachy-keen!
                                                  (removing one of the bottles and one of the glasses and pouring herself a drink)
Itís just like I dreamed it!
                                                  (toasting herself in the mirror)
                              Iím in heaven when I see you smile,
                              Smile at me,
                              Little Lena---
Oh, Lena, youíre the catís meow!
                                                  (pensively)
Well, how do you know heís a pansy? Just because you stood there in your scanties and couldnít get a rise out of him? Maybe heís just old-fashioned. Remember what Madame Spinoza predicted. She sat in her little tent at the Solvang Fair wearing her little turban of black stars and red moons and she said, "Soon, soonÖin the smaller house near the great house, you will find your heartís desireÖa strange dark man."
                                                   (lifting her glass toward the closed door)
So no matter how strange you are, strange dark man, thereís nothing we can do about it, because itís allÖKISMET!
                                                  (returning to the bedroom, champagne glass in hand, dancing as she does)
Ja-da! Ja-da! Ja-da-ba-da-boom-de-ay! (Quickly, SHE slips into her demurest dress, a little navy blue affair with a jumper and a red and white anchor on the jumper. Still singing her own version of "Ja-Da", she pads back to Kevinís room, playing innocent and girlish, the champagne bottle in her hands. KEVIN is still sitting on the edge of the bed, speechless.)
LENA
Bonjour!
                                                 (when there is no response)
Some champagne?
                                                 (SHE pours him a glass.)
Youíd better drink it now because when weíre in front of all those people weíre only allowed one itty-bitty cocktail. Forgive me. I seem so bold at times. Itís just a cover up. You see, I was the oldest of fifteen children, and when my father ran off and my mother had to go to work in the sewing machine factory, I was left to bring up my fourteen brothers and sisters.
                                                (HE continues to gape at her and doesnít touch the glass.)
Oh, all right.
                                                (SHE reaches down, removes a shoe and fills it with champagne.)
Here. What the hellís the matter with you anyway? What is it---you donít speakee the English? Jesus, any man I know would go wacky over drinking champagne from a pretty, seductive young womanís slipper! Why, I had this beau once---and he was pretty important, let me tell you---a big, big man on Wall Street---when I say big, I mean the biggest! No, I wonít mention his name, because whatís doneís done, and anyway his wife has it in for him. But just let me say heís about the biggest thing there is in tungsten! Whatever the hell that is. He got such a thrill---such an absolute wicky-wacky thrill out oí drinking champagne from my slipper, why he wouldnít drink out oí anything else but my slipper! Bicarbonate of soda, even! I had to keep leaving the slipper at his house and walking home hobbling on one heel.

KEVIN

ThisÖthis is all make believe.

LENA

What make believe?

KEVIN

You---this---

LENA

This? You think that swimming pool down there is make believe? That swimming pool encrusted with Indian opals and Persian sapphires forming a seventy-five foot bas-relief of Mr. Huomo and his mother! And over there---the main house---Casa Imperioso---do you think thatís make believe? With its thirteen sterling silver turrets and its thirteen fourteen carat gold cannons? Make believe? Why, do you know what I had to go through before I could get an invite to this "make believe"? I had to sign with Thomas Ince, fly non-stop from Cincinnati to Orange, New Jersey and murder my second husband!

KEVIN

Bellagio warned me. He said the more I refused to cope the more Iíd retreat into a world of fantasy. But I never dreamed it would be like this!

LENA

Bellagio who?

KEVIN

Bellagio Bellagio. My shrink.

LENA

Well, if ya ask me, he should shrink his name. One Bellagio is enough. And he sounds like a wop.

KEVIN

Itís one Bellagio---Aaron Bellagio. And he happens to be Jewish.

LENA

Oh, a hebe.

KEVIN

Wop! Hebe! Pansy! This canít be my fantasy---Iím a liberal, for Christís sake!

LENA

Please donít take the Lordís name in vain.

KEVIN

Donít take the Lordís nameÖ! Iím hallucinating. Iíve got to be hallucinating.

LENA

I never met anyone like you before.

KEVIN

I bet itís the "e" Harlene Hoyer gave me at the Christmas party. She swore by it, says she takes it all the time. I got sick the next day. Wait a minute! At the office. Danny Crumpler. He hates me. He wants my job. He could have slipped acid in my diet Pepsi. There must be something I can do. There must be something I can take.

LENA

Have you tried an enema?

KEVIN

An enema?!!!

LENA

I mean, now and again itís good. Not as a steady diet, but now and again. Cleans you out.

KEVIN

I donít need an enema! I need Dr. Bellagio!

LENA

Maybe he needs an enema, too.

KEVIN

Jesus, Iím losing my mind and all you can think of is enemas.

LENA

All right. I was only trying to help. If itís all that bad, I mean something really bad---what you need is a session with Mr. Huomo. He can cure anything.

KEVIN

Huomo? Claudius Julian Huomo?

LENA

What other Mr. Huomo is there?

KEVIN

Heís been dead for years.

LENA

Mr. Huomo? Heís in the main house right now---right this moment.

KEVIN

Where?

LENA

There! Casa Imperioso! Up there in one of the silver turrets---counting his money. (quickly, looking toward heaven) I was just kidding, Mr. Huomo.

KEVIN

Can you see him?

LENA

Of course you canít see him! Itís too far away. But heís there.

KEVIN

How do you know heís there?

LENA

Everybody knows heís there! (KEVIN shakes his head tolerantly, takes her face in his hands.)
KEVIN
Child, childÖ
                                                  (quickly withdrawing)
My God, what am I doing? I mustnít be drawn further into this acid trip. Iíll destroy myself. Yet you feel so---alive.

LENA

Of course Iím alive!

KEVIN

Your skin---itís so smooth and warm and real---

LENA

Hey, your palms are all sweaty!

KEVIN

What a rotten thing to say!

LENA

But they are---theyíre all sweaty. I bet you messed up the rouge.
                                                   (viewing herself in a mirror above the dresser)
See, what did I tell you? You made the rouge all splotchy.

KEVIN

I canít even dream up a woman whoíll accept me the way I am.

LENA

Whatdya talking about---dream me up?

KEVIN

Even my dream women bear the seeds of Phyllis.
                                                   (looking up to heaven, the way Lena had done before)
No, Phyllis, I was just kidding. I didnít mean that.

LENA

You know what? You give me the heebie-jeebies.

KEVIN

Why the hell doesnít the next tour bus arrive?

LENA

You canít say I didnít try, Madame Spinoza. I did my duty and thatís that. He may be a strange dark young man for some other dame. Not for little Lena.
                                                   (SHE moves to the bathroom door.)
I met some queer birds in my time, but you, bimbo, you take the cake! (SHE slams the door behind her, moves through the second door, slamming it also, and is back in her bedroom pacing angrily. At last SHE lights a cigarette and sits on the edge of the bed as the lights dim temporarily on her side of the stage.)
KEVIN
This has to be an acid trip. But I had a few of those in college, and they were nothing like this. I mean, they were all jumbled and incomprehensible and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds-ish. This is incomprehensible, too, but not in the same way. I mean, that oversexed flapper with a brain the size of a microbe---sheís real. I touched her---sheís real flesh and blood. I mean, flesh at least. I wouldnít know about the blood unless I dismember the cunt. Murdered her second husband, my ass! Am I in some sort of time warp? But thatís impossible. That kind of thing only happens in the Star or the Globe. YOUNG REAL ESTATE EXECUTIVE VISITS SAN BASILICA AND SCREWS 1925 FLAPPER! Thereís got to be some rational explanation. Wait a minute! Wait a Goddamned Minute! Itís the guys at the office. They all got together and planned this---they knew which bus Iíd be on and what room I planned on copying and made sure the bus would leave me here. No wonder I couldnít find my cell phone. They hid it on me. In the meantime, they hired this hooker and had her dress up in a whatdyacallem hat? Kloche---thatís it! And slip into the other bedroom! Of course, itís a practical joke---and they want to see how long it takes me before I go screaming down the corridor and try to drown myself in the Indian opal encrusted swimming pool! Well, fellas, have I got news for you! (All at once the phone on the desk rings---the ancient phone on the desk with a ring not at all like the phones of today. KEVIN jumps. The phone continues to ring.)
KEVIN
Uh-oh! I guess thatís gonna be someone pretending to be Claudius Julian Huomo! I bet thatís it, isnít it?
                                                  (in a much smaller voice, staring at the instrument, but afraid to raise the receiver.)
Isnít it?
                                                  (The phone has stopped ringing.)
I shoulda answered it. I shoulda said I'm Calvin Coolidge. (A long pause. HE glances about the room with a certain confusion. Suddenly we hear sounds of people. HE jumps from the bed.) It's the next tour!  Thank God, they've come---and I can get out of this place. (HE makes a dash for the door, swings it open and enters the hallway. The lights dim in his room and rise in Lenaís room. SHE has heard the sounds, too. SHE rises, douses her cigarette. FIVE PEOPLE---TWO YOUNG MEN and THREE YOUNG WOMEN---enter the hallway from the left. THEY are all dressed in sports clothes of the 20s, the Young Men in white ducks, the Women in pleated skirts. The Young Men are ARCHIE WEATHERBY and LESS FARNSWORTH. The Young Women: ADELE ALLEN, MILLICENT CARSTAIRS and INEZ GOUTERMAN. Inez is the only unattractive one with a hooked nose, horned-rimmed glasses and short straight hair, Kevin hastens toward them.)
KEVIN
Thank God, youíveÖ (Seeing their clothes, HE stops dead in his tracks.)
ARCHIE
Hello there!

MILLIE

Is there something wrong?

KEVIN

I---I thought you were the tour.

LES

The tour?

ADELE

What tour? (KEVIN cannot bring himself to answer.)
MILLIE
Weíre all going over to the game room to play a little mahjongg before dinner. Why donít you join usÖMrÖ?

ADELE

Will you?

KEVIN

What? (LENA has opened her door, leaning against it forlornly, longing to have them ask her. Now and again, SHE clears her throat, but the Others are too absorbed in Kevin to notice.)
INEZ
The mahjonggís a bore, but the scotch is great. Itís hidden in one of the pool table pockets.

ADELE

Stop that, Inez. The whole idea is that the winnings go to Mr. Huomoís favorite charities.

                                                                                          INEZ
Donít be a ninny. C.J.ís charities, my ass.

 ADELE

I hate when you say things like that. And stop calling Mr. Homo "C.J."!

 INEZ

Itís better than some of the names I can think of.

   MILLIE

Hush, Inez. Do come. If you donít like mahjongg, thereís always bridge or billiards.                                  (KEVIN stares at them, then rushes back in the room and slams the door.)
    ADELE
Well, of all theÖ!

LES

Queer duck. I wonder who he is.

   MILLIE

                                                   (laughing, directing her remark toward Inez)
Probably some Bolshevik.

ARCHIE

In Mr. Huomoís home?

MILLIE

Why not? We're all Bolsheviks under the skin, arenít we? (THEY all laugh, except Inez. THEY begin to exit.)
ARCHIE
I say, did you see the clothes! Awfully odd. (LENA gazes after them, then slowly retires in her room, closes the door behind her. Lights dim and rise in Kevinís room. HE is sitting on the bed shivering.)
KEVIN
Itís no joke. I know that now. Theyíre too cheap to hire six people! But if itís not a joke, and if Danny Crumpler didnít spike my diet Pepsi with acid, then what the hell is it? (HOUSEBOY enters from stage left, padding to Kevinís door and rapping. KEVIN jumps in terror.)
KEVIN
Who---who is it?

HOUSEBOY

Daza. (KEVIN tiptoes to the door opening it just enough to peek out with one eye.)
KEVIN
Daza who?

HOUSEBOY

                                        Daza long since you been away,,, (HE bursts into joyous laughter. Lights rise in Lenaís room. SHE moves to the door and tries to listen. KEVIN opens the door further and eyes Houseboy with contempt.)
KEVIN
Well?

HOUSEBOY

                                         Daza long since you been away,
                                         I think of you most all of the dayÖ

 KEVIN

Will you stop that and tell me what you want!

  HOUSEBOY

Mr. Huomo---he try to call before.

  KEVIN

Huomo? He tried to call me?

  HOUSEBOY

Yes, sahib. He say you come to dinner seven-thirty sharp.

    KEVIN

Huomo himself?!

     HOUSEBOY

Moreorless.

       KEVIN

Moreorless what? That it was Mr. Huomo, or that it was me he was calling?

       HOUSEBOY

Who can say? If Mr. Huomo believe it you, then it you. If you believe it Mr. Huomo, then it Mr. Huomo.

                                                 (KEVIN is more confused than ever as HOUSEBOY glides to Lenaís door and taps.)

          LENA

Who is it?

            HOUSEBOY

Allah.

         LENA

                                                  (Smiling and opening the door)
Allah who?

           HOUSEBOY

                                               Allahlone
                                               By the telephoneÖ

                                                   (THEY BOTH burst into laughter.)

        LENA

Before---when I first arrived---you were Oshie.

             HOUSEBOY

                                               Ohshie got rings on her fingers
                                               And bells on her toes---
                                                     (HE begins to dance and LENA joins him.)
                                               Elephants to ride upon
                                               Her little Irish nose!
                                               Ohshie got rings on her fingers
                                               And bells on her toes---
                                               Elephants to ride upon
                                               Her little Irish nose!
 
(Now LENA sings along---the same lyric since that is all either can remember. KEVIN watches them, a scowl on his face.)
     KEVIN
Now thatís really stupid.

                                                 (LENA and HOUSEBOY stop.)

     KEVIN

S-t-u-p-i-d. Stupid.

        HOUSEBOY

                                                (bowing and exiting)
Seven-thirty.

    LENA

You hurt his feelings.

KEVIN

So what?

LENA

Heís only a poor little Chinkie.

KEVIN

Chinkie?!

LENA

Mr. Huomo employs a great many little Chinkies. After all, Chinkies are a White Manís Burden.

KEVIN

Youíre a goddamned racist!

LENA

I never raced in my life! I canít even drive! (SHE goes back to her room slamming the door and KEVIN goes to his room. HE begins pacing.)
KEVIN
This isnít happening. This just isnít happening. Is it, Dr. Bellagio?
                                                 (HE grabs the telephone.)
Hello?ÖOperator?ÖI want to make a person-to-person call to Dr. Aaron Bellagio in Westwood VillageÖWhat?ÖItís in Los AngelesÖItís right past Bel AirÖHow do you what?ÖB-e-l-A-I-rÖOf course, thereís such a place!ÖLook, the area code is 310. The number is 874-3211. I know itís a lot of digits. Take that up with SBCÖSBCÖthatís the telephone companyÖLook, just try dialing it and see what happensÖWhat is dialing?ÖNever mind.
                                                 (HE slams the phone down and races to the window.)
Iíve gotta get out of this place. But itís miles to the entrance and who knows what Iíll find if I can get out---Pierce-Arrow Billboards and trolley tracks?
                                                 (collapsing on the bed)
This has got to be a dream! One of those dreams where you wake up and say, "Thank God, that was a dream"ÖOnly to find itís still a dream. Iíve got to do something to awaken myself, to know Iím Kevin Koshkarian, and itís the 21rst century and I work for the R.K. Christiansen Development Company. I know! Iíll think of something pleasant---think of the pleasantest thing I can think of.
                                                 (after a moment)
Iím fifteen again, and Iím in love. Judy Ginser. Oh, Judy, Judy Ginser! From Highland Park. There I am in the old white frame house after Dad lost all his money---for the third time. Sheís supposed to come over to study together---algebra---she was terrible in algebra. I can hear the squeaky brakes of the bus on the corner. It passes every fifteen minutes, and every fifteen minutes my ears go up like a Dobermanís. Each time the bus stops, I hold my breath waiting. I look out the window to the corner, but no Judy Ginser. She never came. Judy Ginser never showed up. Why is that what I think of? If Judy Ginser never came, why is that the pleasantest memory of my life? (A long pause. Outside we hear shouts of people playing in the swimming pool, but HE does not bother to go to the window.) I see all kinds of things now---flashes of things---shooting a water pistol from the second story window of the apartment in Milwaukee, then running for cover---swimming in the Caribbean and praying Phyllis would be called home so I could have access to every gorgeous thing on the beach---the day the twins were born and all I could think of was the responsibility---all kinds of things. But isnít that supposed to happen when you die---your whole life flashes before you? Oh, my God! Is that what I am---dead? And God is an Asian houseboy? Oh, Christ! I want my Mama! (He bursts into tears. LENA, who has been dressing for dinner, stops instantly and runs in through the bathroom doors.)

                                      LENA

What is it? Whatís the matter? (Kevinís face is in his hands. LENA goes to him with great compassion.)

                                       LENA

Oh, please. If thereís something thatís that wrong, please see Mr. Huomo. Please. (SHE sits beside him, caressing his shoulder, involuntarily pushing her thigh against his. HE responds, instinctively, sensually. Their lips meet passionately. Then HE jumps up from the bed.)
KEVIN
No.

LENA

What?

KEVIN

Thatís how I got this way.

LENA

What way?

KEVIN

Dead.

LENA

DEAD?!!!

KEVIN

Too much masturbation. Before the bus pulled out, I was working on my laptop and must have keeled over and died.

LENA

I ainít never seen nobody who needs Mr. Huomo as bad as you do.

KEVIN

No, thank you. I can do quite well without your---Mr. Huomo.

LENA

Well, if not Mr. Huomo, I still say an enema.

KEVIN

And I can do quite well without you and your high colonic fetish. My God, do you realize you could be my great-grandmother?

LENA

Your what??!

KEVIN

My great-grandmother!

LENA

Iíll be nineteen next week!

KEVIN

                                                  (laughing)
Nineteen next week!

LENA

Whatís so funny about that? Stop laughing at me!
                                                 (slapping him across the face)
You lousy lemon-sucker!
                                                (bursting into tears)
All right, so Iíll be 24 in November.
                                                (hitting him with her fists)
I hate you, you crummy bastard! (HE seizes her wrists to ward off the attack, falling onto the canopied bed on top of her. The fighting turns into wild passion. Then SHE frees herself, sits up and straightens her dress.)
LENA
Gee whiz!

KEVIN

That was wonderful.

LENA

Yeah.

KEVIN

I canít be dead.

LENA

If you are, youíre a pretty hot corpse.

KEVIN

Look. I donít know if youíll believe me, but I donít belong here. I mean, not like you or the others before in the hall. You see, I was here on a tour. Thereís no such thing as San Basilica anymore. I mean, itís here, but itís only a place people visit like a museum. It belongs to another age---as does Mr. Huomo and his mother. I was here because Iím involved in a real estate project for "robust, active senior citizens." Itís called Versailles Village, and you can have your choice of homes: Hampton Court, Hadrianís Villa and San Basilica. Not the real things, of course. Just upscale three or four bedroom homes named after them.  But the main hall---thereíll be certain replicas of some rooms in these places. And so I came here to jot down a few of the pieces and duplicate them in a reasonable facsimile---with synthetics, of course.

LENA

You mean you wasnít invited?

KEVIN

No. I wasnít invited.

LENA

I donít see how you could get past the gate if you wasnít invited.

KEVIN

Thatís what Iím trying to tell you. I came on a tour.

LENA

But there ainít no tours.

KEVIN

Not in your time, but in my time.

LENA

Your time is my time
And my time is your timeÖ


KEVIN

No wonder my generation is so screwed up.

LENA

Will ya stop talkiní about your time and your generation! For cryiní out loud, you make me feel like I was dead!

KEVIN

Well, you could be, you know.

LENA

Yeah, but I ainít! Gee, I donít see why we gotta fight all the time. We just met, and itís been one battle after another.

KEVIN

Hey! Give me your name and some facts.

LENA

Huh?

KEVIN

If I ever get out of here, I can look you up. Go right through the records---home town, parents, everything. I could make a fortune! REAL ESTATE EXEC RETURNS FROM PAST WITH INDISPUTABLE PROOF! Now come on.

LENA

I think weíre gonna fight again.

KEVIN

No, honestly. Look. My nameís Kevin. Kevin Koshkarian.

LENA

You a Polak?

KEVIN

Never mind that. Whatís your name?

LENA

Lena.

KEVIN

Lena what?

LENA

Martina.

KEVIN

Lena Martina?!

LENA

Yeah.

KEVIN

Is that for real?

LENA

Well, it was originally Martine with an "e"---my father was French---somewhere he was related to the Dukes of Burgundy, but I never had the time to trace it back that far. When I got into films, I changed the "e" to an "a".
                                            (suddenly aware of the laptop)
Whatís that?

KEVIN

Itís called a laptop. Think of it as a large notebook.

LENA

Ainít never seen nothiní like that.

KEVIN

Iím not surprised.

LENA

I gotta stop saying ainít. Especially here at San Basilica.

KEVIN

Where were you born?

LENA

Wichita. Thatís in Kansas.

KEVIN

I know itís in Kansas.

LENA

Well, who knows where they mighta moved it in your time.

KEVIN

You said films. Have you done any? These can always be checked.

LENA

I done quite a few. With big stars, too.

KEVIN

Like?

LENA

Like Thomas Meighan and Wallace Reid and Richard Barthelmess, thatís who.

KEVIN

The names.

LENA

You go to movies a lot?

KEVIN

Well, no---I mean, not these.

LENA

Ready? (Kevinís fingers are poised on the keyboard.) Runaway Wives.

KEVIN

Yes?

LENA

Runaway Daughters.
                                                  (HE looks up skeptically.)
Runaway Wives broke records.

KEVIN

Oh.

LENA

Blue Desert. Blossoms in Springtime.

KEVIN

I can check all these when I get back. Wait! I can check them right now on Google.

LENA

Barney Google?

KEVIN

Whoís Barney Google?

LENA

Whoís your Google?

KEVIN

Itís not logging on. I get a blank screen. Okay. Tell me more about yourself.

LENA

Well, I flew non-stop from Cincinnati to Orange, New Jersey, and I murdered my second husband.

KEVIN

Then thatís true? I mean, it wasnít just my hostility.

LENA

You had nothing to do with it! I only just met you.

KEVIN

Never mind.

LENA

Why the hell are you always in the picture?

KEVIN

I said never mind. Now where did you murder your second husband?

LENA

Ceylon.

KEVIN

They donít call it Ceylon anymore. They call it Sri Lanka.

LENA

They didnít care what they called it when they arrested me.

KEVIN

So where was this?

LENA

On his rubber plantation---only God knows what they call it now.

KEVIN

What was his name?

LENA

Edmund. Edmund Carlton. He would have been Sir Edmund Carlton had he been born before his older brother. But I didnít care if he was Sir or not. He cared, but I didnít.

KEVIN

How did you meet him?

LENA

London. I was there in a show.

KEVIN

What show?

LENA

Hooray, Jeanette!  I was in the chorus. And still married to my first husband. You see, thatís why I ran away and went on the stage. To get away from Hunky.

KEVIN

Thatís not a name---thatís a description.

LENA

Huh?

KEVIN

Never mind.

LENA

Hunky was a coal-miner in Pittsburgh. Six foot five with arms like ham hocks. He could break a manís neck like that.

KEVIN

He beat you.

LENA

He wouldnít dare!

KEVIN

So why did you leave him?

LENA

I got sick of him belching and picking his teeth with his fingernail.
                                                 (Romantic music begins in the background.)
I met Edmund at a private club in SoHo. He was so handsome---so classy. It was him who began my education, turning me from a raw, naïve American chorine into a lady of sophistication. His barristers handled the divorce from Hunky. And so Edmund and I were married, and he brought me to the plantation. Ceylon. Ceylon with its sultry moonlit nights and swaying palmsÖ
                                                (Music stops.)
Whatsamatter?

KEVIN

I asked for facts.

LENA

These are facts.

KEVIN

Some facts!

LENA

Well, of all the crust! May I drop dead on the spot if what I tell you isnít the Lordís honest truth!

KEVIN

Sounds pretty fictional to me.

LENA

Fictional! I donít have to tell you things I ainít---I mean I never told a soul.

KEVIN

                                                  (to himself)
Of course this could be true. This is another era, and people didnít do all their living on a shrinkís couch or in front of a TV set. Things happened to them.
                                                  (to Lena)
Go on with your story. (Romantic music resumes.)
LENA
Ceylon. Ceylon with its sultry moonlit nights and palm trees and smell of jasmine. Ceylon with its orange sunsets and emerald morningsÖ.

KEVIN

Never mind that. Get to the murder.

LENA

I had everything. Everything but a husband.

KEVIN

What?

LENA

How was I to know he was--- (SHE makes an incomplete gesture below the waist.)


KEVIN

What does that mean?

LENA

You know--- (SHE repeats the gesture.)
KEVIN
Impotent?

LENA

A war injury.

KEVIN

                                                   (aside)
Itís conceivable. A lot of men had war injuries like that in those days. I read Hemingway.

LENA

Huh?

KEVIN

Never mind. Go on.

LENA

He could have told me. I would have understood. I wouldnít have married him, but Iíd have understood. I tried to bear up, or, as Edmundís family would say, "Keep a stiff upper lip. But I couldnít. Not with Edmund drinking the way he did and humiliating me in front of the Guvínor. The nights became unbearable, and the days even worse. And then I met Hans.

KEVIN

Hans?

LENA

The overseer. He was Dutch and big and blond with arms like ham hocks. At first he was just someone to cry to. But soon it was love---love as Iíd never known it---love with water lilies and burning passion. Maybe I could have resisted him had Edmund not been drinking from sunup to sundown. But Edmund drank. And Hans barely touched seltzer water.
                                                (Music again.)
Hans and I would meet secretly, taking our love on the wing whenever we could snatch a bit of sweetness, a taste of beauty. But it was not to last. Not that I was afraid of Edmund discovering. No, Edmund was too busy drinking and going to doctors. No matter what there was between Hans and me, I was still married to Edmund. He was my husband, and I was his wife. And I had to break with Hans. But I couldnít face him. Instead I sent him a letter with my jade ring in it---a letter he never received.

KEVIN

Edmund?

LENA

                                                (shaking her head)
Anna Sing.

KEVIN

Who?

LENA

Edmundís Eurasian housekeeper. She hated me from the moment I stepped foot onto Carlton Manor. She intercepted the letter and brought it as proof of my infidelity to Edmund. My houseboy told me. He hated Anna Sing as much as Anna Sing hated me. I flew out of the house to tell Hans---to the rubber shed behind the nativeís quarters. I begged Hans to take me away---I didnít care where---what did it matter? He took me in his great strong arms and held me tenderly. Then the door flew open. It was Edmund---drunk, disheveled. Before I could speak he shot Hans in the stomach. I ran to get the gun away. I didnít know it was too late---that Hans was dead. We struggled, Edmund and I. The gun went off again. Edmund fell to the ground. Dead like Hans.

KEVIN

But it wasnít your fault.

LENA

So the jury decided.

KEVIN

It was obviously post-traumatic stress disorder.

LENA

                                                    (raising one eyebrow, then beginning to cry)
But how? How does one live with this behind them?

KEVIN

                                                    (taking her in his arms)
No. Donít. Whatever you did, you mustnít feel guilty. Guilt is the worst.

LENA

Where does one go when one has been responsible for the deaths of two human beings? From one broken down club in Singapore to another broken down club in Pago-Pago.

KEVIN

I know.

LENA

Did you sing in a broken down club, too?

KEVIN

Of course not. But I know guilt.

LENA

And then I found Mr. Huomo----

KEVIN

Iíve never been through anything like youíve been through, but you see I live in a different time. Not that it isnít a violent time, mind you. But itís a different kind of violence---an impersonal violence. Itís like---well, a maladjusted war vet who grabs his old army M-1 and takes pot shots at innocent civilians---or a maniac who gets hold of a flame-thrower and starts shooting it off in an elementary school.

LENA

You remind me of Hans. Of moonlit nights and bamboo reflected in black pools and soft music and the scent of jasmine in the air.

KEVIN

Lena! Lena! (THEY sink to the floor, kissing passionately.)
KEVIN
Maybe---across the sands of time, this was meant to be! (HE kisses her neck. SHE opens her eyes, glancing toward the ceiling.)
LENA
Dance, dance, dance,
Little Lena---
Youth is fleeting
To the rhythm beating
In your heart!
 
(KEVINís mouth falls on hers. More passion.)
KEVIN
I should call Phyllis. Phyllis will worry. (Suddenly there is the sound of a gong. KEVIN continues kissing her.)
KEVIN
Oh, Lena! I mustnít get involved!

LENA

Involved in what? Thatís the dinner bell!
 
 

SLOW CURTAIN