Cape Cod

Cape Cod (2m, 1w) takes place on a simple unit set representing a beach house, the shore outside it, two seats of a playhouse, and an attic studio.  Nigro notes that the play takes place between the second and third scenes of Seascape with Sharks and Dancer.  Lights come up on Ben, late 20s, walking on the shore in the 1970s, talking about Thoreau walking the same shore, writing about bodies floating after a shipwreck.  He thinks he sees something in the water, a girl.  Light fades and comes up on Ben and Tracy,20, in the beach house.  She asks him why he tried to save her from drowning when he couldn’t swim.  He says he reacted instinctively and says he tried to save his babysitter from drowning when he was five but someone else came along and saved them both.  She thinks Twelfth Night is a stupid play and asks him how many women he has loved.  She says her trademark is that she doesn’t love anybody.  He tells her about the babysitter and his girlfriend in college and says he got her a ticket to see Twelfth Night; she agrees to go.

     The third scene takes place in the auditorium of a theater at intermission.  Tracy talks with Ogdred, a middle-aged man with a long beard, a long, raccoon-ish looking coat, and tennis shoes.   She says he has enough cat hair on his coat to construct a whole other cat.  He says he is an illustrator of other people’s books but he also draws and writes his own little books.  She says when she was a child she wanted to be an artist but gave it up because she wasn’t any good.  He asks her why she would want to waste the one life she has to do anything but what she loves.  He gives her a piece of paper with his address and invites her to visit.

     Lights fade and come up on Tracy cutting pictures from newspapers.  She says she is making a collage as her friend Ogdred suggested.  She says he has a real cool house with lots of books and invisible cats.  Scene shifts to Ogdred drawing and Tracy working on a collage.  He talks to her about Eurynome, the goddess of all things and explains that he follows where his subconscious leads him.  He says the only thing that matters is being inside your work or somebody else’s.  That and the New York City Ballet where he has spent most of his life.

     Back in the beach house, Tracy reads aloud a passage from Thoreau’s Cape Cod and tells Ben that Ogdred told her that the ancient Egyptians told time based on the regularity of baboon urination.  Ben says his arms are bruised because she punches and kicks him in her nightmares.  He says she is spending a lot of time at Ogdred’s and he misses her.  She asks if he wants to be serious, but he says he doesn’t have a plan although he doesn’t want her to leave.   He wants somebody to love who’ll be honest with him.  She wishes him luck with that as she leaves and the light fades on him.  

     In Ogdred’s studio, he is drawing and she is working on her collage as they talk about art and Tracy says she is scared because she has found something she likes to do.  She asks Ogdred why he has never tried to jump her.  He asks her if she loves her young man and she says she is scared because he makes her feel like home.  And she never wants to care again about anything that would hurt her if she lost it.  She asks him about his work and whether he loves or hates children because horrible things keep happening to them in his books.  He says children represent innocence and God punishes innocence.  He asks if his books depress or horrify or disgust her.  She says no, that they make her happy because they are funny.  He says that is the purpose of art, to help us postpone wanting here to die.  He says her work is improving.  He asks if she loves children.  “Desperately,” she says.  “Ah.” he says as the light fades on them.

      Ben thinks Tracy’s collages are very good.  She says the play was not as stupid as she thought it was.  She asks if he thinks it was a mistake to pull her out of the water.  He says no and that he likes having her here.  He also likes the books of Ogdred that he has read.  When she asks he says he likes some children but he needs the car keys because he has to strike the set and return props.  She asks him not to be gone too long because the wind sounds rough.  He tells her of the wooded hill behind his father’s house in Ohio where a little stand of maples shakes and trembles when there is no wind.  She asks him to take her and he agrees.  She tells him she is going to be an artist and, as he is leaving, she says, quietly, that she wants a child.  “What,”  Ben asks.  “Nothing.  I didn’t say anything.” She starts cutting up a newspaper and we hear the wind as the lights fade out.  

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