Authors: Edna O'Brien
Triptych and Iphigenia
Books by Edna O'Brien
The Country Girls
The Lonely Girl
Girls in Their Married Bliss
August Is a Wicked Month
Casualties of Peace
The Love Object and Other Stories
A Pagan Place
Zee & Co.
A Scandalous Woman and Other Stories
I Hardly Knew You
Mrs. Reinhardt and Other Stories
A Rose in the Heart
A Fanatic Heart
The High Road
Time and Tide
House of Splendid Isolation
Down by the River
In the Forest
copyright Â© 2003 by Edna O'Brien
adaptation copyright Â© 2003 by Edna O'Brien
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. Any members of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use, or publishers who would like to obtain permission to include the work in an anthology, should send their inquiries to Grove/Atlantic, Inc., 841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.
first published in 2003 Methuen Publishing Limited
Printed in the United States of America
Published simultaneously in Canada
CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that
are subject to a royalty. They are fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and all British Commonwealth countries, and all countries covered by the International Copyright Union, the Pan-American Copyright Convention, and the Universal Copyright Convention. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.
First-class professional, stock, and amateur applications for permission to perform them, and those other rights stated above, must be made in advance to Rosenstone Wender, 38 East 29th Street, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10016, and by paying the requisite fee, whether the plays are presented for charity or gain and whether or not admission is charged.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Triptych and Iphigenia / Edna O'Brien.â1st ed.
e-Book ISBN-13: 978-0-8021-9913-3
1. WomenâDrama. 2. MistressesâDrama. 3. Mothers and daughtersâ
Drama. I. Title.
822â².914âdc22Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2004042381
an imprint of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
New York, NY 10003
was first presented at Magic Theatre (Chris Smith, artistic director; David Gluck, managing director) in the Sam Shepard Theatre, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, on December 6, 2003. The cast was as follows:
Â Â Lise Bruneau
Â Â Julia Brothers
Â Â Tro M. Shaw
Sarah Ellen Joynt
Â Â , Clarissa
Â Â , Pauline
Â Â , Brandy
The action takes place in New York City.
Downstage leftâa white wrought iron bench.
Each character has her own space onstage but at times invades the space of the other.
's areaâa staircase, a makeup table, a makeup case, a mirror with makeup lights, two shawls, and a book;
The Duchess of Malfi.
A long narrow window to the rear.
's areaâa glass-top table, a drinks tray, glasses, a silver cigarette box, a pack of tarot cards, unlit candles in various sconces, a white orchid in a pot, a china umbrella stand with a man's black umbrella.
She is wearing a wraparound red skirt and a black sweater.
's areaâabove wife's area. A futon. A small drum and set of drumsticks.
She is wearing a miniskirt and different colored slides in her hair.
When I fall in love
It will be for ever
Or I'll never
Fall in love
When I give my heart
It will be â¦ for ever
Stage lighting comes on fully as
dressed in black as widowed Duchess of Malfi
stands before her mirror, saying her lines inaudibly. She is clearly nervous. On the bureau a vase of exquisite flowers.
Â Â (
saying her lines
) The misery of us, that are born great,
We are forc'd to woo, because
None dare woo us:
And as a tyrant doubles with his words,
And fearfully equivocates: so we
Are forc'd to express our violent passions
In riddles, and in dreams â¦
She stops suddenly as in the mirror she sees a hand come around the door, then a woman enter in dark glasses, wearing a long cream raincoat and carrying a large bunch of sunflowers.
Â Â I hope you like sunflowers â¦ not everybody's taste, of course â¦ somewhat glaring â¦ brazen, but I find them so â¦ sturdy â¦ the sunflower.
Â Â I think you've come to the wrong dressing room.
Â Â (
) Il Girasole. On a train in Tuscany and Umbria one passes field after field of them â¦ scorching, my honeymoon, our honeymoon was in pensions in Umbria â¦ field after field of hot flowers â¦ the bedrooms so cool â¦ shutters drawn, dark brown furniture, dark brown fourposters â¦ and the linen starched so stiff â¦ it literally crunched when we lay on it â¦ yes, the bedroom so cold and chaste and the fields so very hot and the lovers so ardent (
) not married, are you? â¦ no little kids to grace the walls â¦ a dressing room is quite a lonely place.
Â Â Who are you?
Â Â A stranger â¦ just popped by to wish you well on your opening night and give you a flower â¦ not at all as beautiful as those (
examining the flowers in the vase
) someone with more taste than moi â¦ an admirer (
) it brings me back â¦ how it brings me back â¦ I was an actress, too â¦ ingÃ©nue â¦ I had a future, people compared me to some of the greats â¦ then cupid struck in the form of a young man who just decided to hang around the stage door, pestering me, the way I am pestering you â¦ just waltzed into my life.
Â Â I shall have to have you removed.
Â Â Not before I wish you well. I bet you're superstitious, especially on a night like this â¦ all jitters.
Â Â How did you get in here?
Â Â The door was ajar. I walked in and walked down the stairs, simple. And now, I will vanish, like the sisters in that Scottish play, which we don't mention â¦ Good luck, Duchess.
Woman puts down the flowers and goes.
Mistress picks up the flowers, then unnerved, throws them down.
VOICE OF STAGE MANAGER
Â Â Ladies and Gentlemen of the Duchess of Malfi Company: Please take your places for the top of the show. Places, please, for the top of the show.
Mistress walks over the flowers and toward the stairs. She ascends it holding up her costume.
Lights go slowly down.
Dulcimer music of the period is intermingled with a collage of lines from
The Duchess of Malfi
as the wind rises and gathers to a storm.
The vase of flowers overturns and the exquisite flowers fall to the floor. All the flowers blow around the stage, up, down, and around, omens of what is to come.
Loud clapping offstage. Lights back on.
Mistress, out of her costume, wears a kimono. The Wife has returned.
Wife has the sleeves of her coat rolled up and is wearing elbow-length black velvet gloves; she is clapping and smiling.
Â Â Bravo â¦ Bravo. You were wonderful â¦ wonderful â¦ I loved just before you were strangled when you said,
“Give my little boy some syrup for his cough.” So beautiful â¦
Â Â (
) Thank you.
Â Â When is your birthday? â¦ Wouldn't it be funny if we had the same birthday?
Â Â Why would it be funny?
Â Â (
Â Â (
holding the door open
) If you will excuse me â¦ I have friends waiting.
Â Â Of course you have. (
) Then I'll go pray; no, I'll go curse the stars.
Wife goes out.
Â Â Jesus.
Mistress picks up the broken vase and some of the flowers.
The telephone rings and she jumps, then goes tentatively to answer it. As she listens her expression changes to a smile.
Â Â Yes, of course I know â¦ How do I know? â¦ Henry â¦ I can't see you â¦ I cannot. (
She listens, her smile happier.
) You know very well why â¦ you are a married man and I have been down that road before. (
) It's hell. What's hell about it?âwhen the married man goes home. Of course I want to â¦ (
) you know that. (
) There's been a crazy woman in here â¦ it's been a very crazy night â¦ storm â¦ oh, it went well â¦ so they say â¦ thank you for the exquisite flowers â¦ by the way, I thought you were in the country â¦ you what? â¦ (
She cradles the phone between mouth and ear.
) All right then â¦ just
one drink â¦ one night cap â¦ promise â¦ promise â¦ I have to do an interview tomorrow morning and
are not a free man.