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Jonathan Fast



A Monodrama from a
Libretto by Howard Fast
The living room of Mrs. Jeanne Baker.
It is dusk, the light is failing in the tasteful, richly furnished room.
Mrs. Baker is in her middle thirties -- hers is the only voice we hear.

The curtain rises revealing the darkened room.
Jeanne Baker walks about the room turning on the lights...
She walks to the window

Night? Night? Tell me what they say of night coming down. It is a benediction. They say that, don't they? Don't they? They say that, and also other things. Then why must I forever ask that cursed thing over and over, and every stinking night's the same for me. Well? What then tonight? Yes, what then tonight?
She stares out the window.
She draws the shades and stands a moment in the darkness.
I can survive the days, I tell you that. I'm strong, in daylight I'm strong. I'm young and vital and alive and only thirty-five. Young, Oh God, I am so very young. Easy now easy. (her voice cracks) Get a grip upon yourself. There's nothing now that was not yesterday -- and didn't he say himself when he came home that night, and said the way you said the weather's bad or good, it's over now, just that. Not new, a thing that's happened countless times before to men and women like ourselves. Passion cooled and feelings dulled... and done... and then there's someone else who fills my heart and makes it jump and trip and skip a beat, surging tense and hot just like a boy of seventeen.
She takes a rose from the vase and holds it to her face.
She crushes it in her hand... and flings it from her..
For love's the only way to youth and immortality, and you will agree these things are best done civilized, without unnecessary hate. A flame that's dead and gone -- so recognize that this is best and you're still young and bright and armed with beauty and with wit. He said that, didn't he? He said that, wit, youth, good looks -- all mine. But oh my God, I cannot face another night. I cannot face another night, another night.
She drops down upon the couch, staring at the telephone desperately.
Ring, please God to ring and let it be a voice that wants me, calls me. I cannot face another night.
The telephone rings.
She stares at it. She cannot move.It rings again.
Suddenly she leaps to her feet and answers it..
Hello. Hello. No! no, no, no. I'm not the one you want. I'm afraid I'm not the one you want and I'm afraid that you must call again. But wait, please wait, you are a man and surely you can spare a word. I'm so alone. Yes, yes, I know so many are. No! No, don't hang up. I beg you, don't leave me here alone, alone.
She puts down the phone and walks away from it.
Wit, youth and looks -- all this you have and yet you dare complain. You dare...
She picks the clock up from the table, looks at it... and sets it down.
My clock says not yet six and thus six hours more before I even look at bed, and even then its not to sleep. Sleep? How many pills? How many pills for sleep? The price is larger every night. But wait and try to see with objectivity just what your situation is. You are divorced -- then so are many others, no better and no worse -- no hope, no place, no single break to make tonight a different night than yesterday or what will be tomorrow. Sit down my dear and pretty Jeanne, sit down and face the fact that this disease is one without a cure, commonplace, small, with no great drama or remorse. Only a women waiting dully through the years alone and bored.

Reduction completed 5/1/66
Revised and orchestrated 8/28/66
Jonathan Fast