Sweet Eros and Witness.

by Terrence McNally

Book review

SWEET EROS is a monologue delivered by a poet, with interruptions, in the form of sobs (at first), muffled protests (at first), and the croaking of a song, 'Plaisir d'Amour' (at the end). The poet, formerly a math teacher, has kidnapped a young woman and driven her to a remote house in the country. When we first see her, she is gagged and bound to a chair, and in the course of the action she is on the receiving end of a nonstop spate of reminiscence, personal philosophy, sharp instruction, and true confessions and observations, many of them repulsive. Nothing her captor does stems the tide of his own conversation. He strips her bare then goes over her face with a magnifying glass. Eventually he frees her of gag and bindings, and takes her to bed, and as time progresses she minds less and less. (1 man, 1 woman.) In WITNESS a gagged victim is trussed up in a chair, this time a man. His captor hopes to assassinate the President of the U.S. during a motorcade, and he wants a witness to his own sanity in committing the act. The stuff of madness has been crammed into this young would-be assassin's head, principally by newspaper reading and television viewing. He knows all about the cabinet crises in Lebanon, but he doesn't know right from wrong. He hopes to resolve his baffled impotence with a high-powered rifle shot. Another potential witness shows up on the scene, a hilariously surly window washer, a sharply drawn caricature of the New York City 'prole' ('I may be forty stories up but I'm the man in the street'), who coolly surveys the tied-up man straining to free his bonds and ignores his gagged pleas and his plight with magnificent aplomb. An atmosphere of hysterical maledictiongradually infests the room, until, at the crucial moment, the young man loses his chance for infamous glory as a hundred assassins gun down the President in a communal murder. Despite its grisly theme, the play is acridly funny in its satire of a society that, in the playwright's view, is teetering toward terror, anarchy and nihilism. (3 men, 1 woman.)"

PublisherDramatist's Play Service
Release date 02.01.1998
File size4.8 Mb
eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
Book rating3.8 (10 votes)

Read also