Funhouse 

In Funhouse (2m, 2w), we hear in darkness the sound of a train whistle and the train coming to a stop as lights come up on “a wilderness of funhouse mirrors,” with tables and chairs as if parts of a rather nice house had been blended with a small restaurant and the ruins of a funhouse.  Julie tells Trista as they sit at a table C that she must have dozed off on a train ride from Long Island into the city and woke up when the train stopped.  People were saying that a girl had fallen between the cars and onto the track.  She walked away from the crowd toward what looked like a derelict carnival with a funhouse.  Standing, looking downstage, seeing the funhouse around her, she says she had an eerie half memory of her father taking her to a labyrinth of funhouse mirrors that smelled of damp old wood, cherry drink, and popcorn.  Roman says a 16th century Kabbalist described the ten Sephiroth reflecting light back and forth like a house of mirrors and Paul moves to stand behind Julie as she describes seeing a girl in the mirror that she could almost remember being in another life.  She realizes that a man is standing just behind her, but cannot see his reflection.  Paul explains that a section of the mirror is missing and that is why he has no reflection.  We hear the train whistle and Julie says she needs to go, but Paul says they will get something to eat and wait for the next train.  Julie says they found a quiet restaurant and she woke up naked in bed in a little motel.

     When Trista reminds her that she is to be married in two weeks, Julie says she knew she had made a mistake and wrote a short note begging the man never to try to contact her.  She walked to the next station and caught the next train home.  She did not tell her fiancée Roman because her mother told her that, with men, the best course of action is to behave as if nothing has happened.  Besides, Roman’s head is full of “quantum philosophical bric-a-brac.”  She and Trista agree that Roman is not “normal,” and Roman speaks of places in a nut garden that might be portals to other dimensions, to inter- penetrating realities.  He says that some people might be able to enter those portals and see a multiplicity of universes which have always been around us.

     Julie says that when she got back to the house she saw Roman and Paul, the man she had slept with, in the library.  Roman introduces Paul as a squash-playing Princeton classmate, and Trista wonders how Julie could leave while the man she slept with was taking a shower, go right home, and find him talking with her fiancée.  Julie says she knows it doesn’t make any sense and asks Trista to unbutton her blouse to attract Roman so that she can talk alone with Paul.  Roman is talking to Paul about the possibility that, in parallel universes, fictional characters are real.  When Trista distracts him, Julie asks Paul to stay away from Roman, saying that what happened between them was an aberration and meant nothing.  Paul asks her what she is talking about and moves away to have a drink with Trista.  Questioning Roman, Julie learns that at Princeton he slept with Paul’s fiancée.  Julie tells Trista to talk with Roman and accuses Paul of sleeping with her to get revenge on Roman for sleeping with his fiancée.  Paul says he doesn’t know what she is talking about and Roman and Trista join them.  Roman says that a funhouse is “an apt metaphorical representation of the multiverse,” finite from the outside but infinite inside, an exact mirror reversal of the infinity of infinities where all possible worlds exist.  He argues that the fictional world and characters of Great Expectations must exist and that, paradoxically, to tell a lie is to make it true, “in some part of the funhouse.”

     Julie tells Roman that she slept with Paul; Roman asks Paul; he denies it.  Roman says that physically she could not have slept with Paul because he was at his house all day and never out of Roman’s sight except to urinate.  Roman says that memory is unreliable and that imagining and remembering are the same thing.  He says that since fictional characters exist, God, in whom he does not believe, exists as much as Hamlet or Krazy Kat.  Tracy says there is a newspaper article about a girl who fell between the cars of a train.  She says the picture of the girl looks exactly like Julie.  Julie says she has to get back to the funhouse and figure this thing out.  Roman says she can’t go back to the funhouse because “this” is the funhouse.  We hear eerie calliope music as the lights fade out.

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