charles mee

the (re)making project

The Plays

Trojan Women: A Love Story

by  C H A R L E S   L .   M E E

Based on the works of Euripides and Berlioz.




Lights out.

Immediately: a deafening wall of sound--
from Berlioz' Les Troyens.

Sounds under it of gunfire, explosions, screams, fire truck sirens.

Lights very slowly up on 100 dark-skinned "3rd world" women making computer components at little work tables.

Early dawn.

As the dawn light comes up very slowly, the Berlioz gradually fades.

The women are in torn clothes; they are in shock; many have been raped.

Their tables are set out on dirt.

Behind them, the city is a smoking, still-burning ruin.

Black ashes rain down continuously on the stage.

As the Berlioz fades from all the speakers, from one speaker the introductory accompaniment for a pop song comes up: and the women--maintaining their expressions and attitudes of being shell-shocked, without affect--sing the Billie Holliday arrangement of "All the Way."

When somebody loves you
it's no good unless he loves you
all the way.

Happy to be near you
when you need someone to cheer you
all the way.

Taller than the tallest tree is
that's how it's got to feel
Deeper than the deep blue sea is
that's how deep it goes
if it's real

When somebody needs you
you're no good unless he needs you
all the way.

Through the good or lean years
and for all the in between years
come what may.

Who knows where the road will lead us
only a fool would say.

But if you'll let me love you
it's for sure I'm gonna love you
all the way.

But if you'll let me love you
it's for sure I'm gonna love you
all the way.
All the way.

Some women are lying against a wall, shivering.

Or crouching in corners.

There is a body motionless under a blanket.

A pile of rags at center suddenly moves.

The women stop singing abruptly in the middle of their song and turn to look at the pile of rags.

Hecuba raises her head from the pile of rags.

We hear the occasional sound of a howling wind,
the pop of a gunshot in the distance.

She is a grand woman, a diva.
She wears a silk Yves Saint Laurent that has been torn.
She has been dragged across the city.
She is dazed.
From time to time, her speaking is interrupted by uncontrollable shivering.

Last night: a child picked up
out of its bed by its feet
taken out to the courtyard
swung round by a soldier in an arc
its head smashed against a tree
all this done while another soldier held back
the child's mother
all this done right before the mother's eyes

and the mother
could not even cry.

They tore out a woman's hair
fistfuls at a time
and then when they had finished
they poked her eyes out with their fingers

Anyone who refused to undress
had her eyes gouged out.

People wearing glasses
they just hit directly in the face.

I heard a young girl call out

the last word she ever spoke.

A child saying to her mother:
Look what I have lived to see before my death.

A world destroyed
by the hands of those who thought
themselves the creators of civilization.

This is how men are.

My husband
my sons
all murdered
My home on fire.

The war is ended;
and yet it goes on without end.
Yesterday, between one streetcar stop and the next
six people were killed, twenty wounded;
two mortar shells
killed five children and wounded twenty;
these are the reports we hear;
we don't know if that is the extent of it;
People are shot and killed every day,
day after day,
and the casualty lists are never up to date.
They take the women off somewhere to rape them.
When the television works
one can see the dead bodies in the streets
no one has dared to retrieve;
the graves dug out in front of houses;
the tanks driving up and down the runways at the airport
shooting whatever they please;
not even the trees are spared;
the turrets of the armored vehicles in the streets
revolving furiously
spewing rounds of fire.

They've killed all the young boys
along with the men.

Why was this done?

This is beyond knowing.
I pray that I could
pull it all inside my body
all the murder
all the cruelty
the ruin
the fire
the wounds
broken limbs
bleeding children
my city
bring it all deep inside me
so that I could understand.

I had just come into the room and said "Good morning." and suddenly it turned bright red. I felt hot on my cheeks. When I came to, I realized everyone was lying at one side of the room. Nobody was standing. The desks and chairs had blown to one side. At the windows, there was no window glass and the window frames had been blown out too. After a while, I realized that my white shirt was red all over. I thought it was funny because I was not injured. I looked around and then I realized that the girl lying near to me was badly injured, with lots of broken glass stuck all over her body. Her blood had splashed and made stains on my shirt. And she had pieces of wood stuck in her.

When the blast came, my friend and I were blown into another room. When I came to, I found myself in the dark. I was wondering what my family were doing. I found that all the houses around had collapsed for as far as I could see. Then, I looked next door and I saw the father of the neighboring family standing almost naked. His skin was peeling off all over his body and was hanging down from his finger tips. I talked to him, but he was too exhausted to give me a reply. He was looking for his family.

Why was this done?

[Andromache rushes down front and picks up a microphone, tries to speak. She cannot. Puts down the microphone and retreats upstage.]

When I looked down on the town from the top of that hill, I could see that the city was completely lost. The city turned into yellow sand, the color of the yellow desert. The smoke was so thick that it covered the entire town. Then fire broke out here and there. And then the rain fell heavy for several hours--black and sticky rain. When it fell on trees and leaves and people's clothes and hands, it stuck and turned everything black.

We were on the bus. I had been holding my son in my arms, the young woman in front of me said, "I'll be getting off here. Please take this seat." We were just changing places when there was a strange smell and sound. All of a sudden, it went dark and before I knew it, I was outside. I was holding my son still, and I looked down at him. Fragments of glass had pierced his head. Blood was flowing from his head over his face. But he looked up at me and smiled. His smile has stayed glued in my memory. He didn't understand what had happened. And so he looked at me and smiled at my face which was all bloody. I had plenty of milk which he drank all throughout that day. I think my child sucked the poison right out of my body. And soon after that he died.    

Why was this done?

[Andromache rushes down front again and picks up a microphone, tries to speak.
She still cannot. Puts down the microphone and retreats upstage.]

I was running away with my mother.
There were shells landing everywhere
making craters in the ground
throwing up rocks and dirt.
And when she couldn't run any more
I put her on my back and carried her
still running.
But she was heavy,
and I suffered with the burden of her.
Until after a while I realized she was dead,
and I felt relieved to let her fall from my back,
and be done with her.

I was sitting in a box at the opera,
dressed in a new gown.
It was a big opera house,
filled with beautiful people,
and they were performing my favorite opera.
My hair was done up so beautifully.
And when it came to the line,
"There is the devil,"
a company of enemy soldiers ran in,
stomping their feet,
and came right up to me.
They had a secret machine
that had told them
that when I heard the word devil I thought of their general.
I looked around for help,
but everyone in the audience was staring straight ahead
silent, expressionless,
not even showing pity for what I'd got myself into.
An elderly gentleman in the box next to mine
looked over at me,
but when I started to speak to him,
he spit in my face.

I was at a movie,
a very large theatre, very dark,
a downtown theatre,
and I knew it was wrong for me to be there.
Only enemy soldiers were allowed there.
And their general came in and sat next to me.
And I was more scared than ever.
But he put his arm around me.

[tears come to her eyes]

And I felt comforted.
He put his hand on me.
Inside my thigh.
And I liked it.

[she weeps; silence]

What should a woman do
when all the men are gone.

Turned and ran

No, not most of them.
Most kept on
till they were dead.

But the smart ones.
They all ran in the end.

Except Aeneas.

Who what?

Who hid here
in the house

Pious Aeneas.

The last man alive.

Or maybe not.
Who knows where the others are?

Let him rest.
Let him recover.
Let him escape.
Let him live
to gather up all the others who ran away
and pay them back for the wrong that's been done to us.

Let it end.

There are tanks below our windows.
People have learned many things even just these past seven days.
We no longer switch on the light in our homes;
the kerosene is running out;
day by day our lamps get dimmer.
We have cigarettes made of tea;
a package of feta cheese;
we have learned how to be grateful for a bit of rain;
how to wash our hair with cold water;
how to cook--from whatever we have--
a food made with flour that is like bread but isn't;
and how to spread on it things that were never meant to be spread;
we've forgotten what it is like to be irritated
by a television commercial;
optimists are those who believe
they will be buried next to their families;
we don't get angry at the mailman for coming late;
because there is no longer a mailman.
Then let it end here.
Let it end now.

What ever could make you
want to start again?

[Talthybius enters.
He wears the standard State Department pin-stripe suit. He is accompanied by two soldiers from Special Forces, Bill and Ray Bob.

I beg your pardon.
My name is Talthybius.
I come to you
as a liaison from the Greeks.
And with my
to you and your compatriots.
My regrets I must find you in this:
I am a diplomat,
not a creator of policy.
My charge is to give to policies
set by others
not perhaps what is the best part of myself--
not my heart, or mind, or soul--
but the honest employment of
my voice.

For what is a man
but a tube with two orifices,
anal and buccal.

This is not you show me yours I'll show you mine.
This is let's bust some balls.
This is how men are.

And at the same time....

A human being can be thought of as a tree trunk on fire
You can lay them down screaming
on their stomachs or their backs--
or you can spare the fire
and lay them out on the beach
nothing more than breathless lacerations
shapeless silhouettes
half eaten
getting up or moaning on the ground
then you might say
the head--
the eyes, the ears, the brain
represent the complications of the buccal orifice
the penis, the testicles
or you could say
the female organs that correspond to these
are the complications of the anal orifice.
So you have the familiar violent thrusts
that come from the interior of the body
indifferently ejected
from one end of the body or the other
that is to say,
wherever they meet the weakest resistance.

I don't say I like it this way.

You can accept it.

I can live with it.

To be sure
in war
there are no victors

Are there not?

I should think not.
Here, at the end
when we would all wish to restore some order
return to some world of civility
we discover instead that
the aftermath of war is
a riot in a parrot house.
This is not to my taste, I must say.
I confess I am the sort of man
who enjoys what is familiar.
I have a sweater I like to wear
that I have had since my days at Princeton.
And when I sing
I like to sing the Duke of Plaza Toro
or some other song from Gilbert and Sullivan
or the hymns I learned as a child,
How Firm a Foundation,
The Son of God Goes Forth to War.
I have a favorite walking stick,
I love to tell the stories my father told to me.
I don't think of myself as a rude man
or harsh.
And so I would not say it is in my nature
to have to say to you
that the council of my countrymen
has reached some decisions
about how you women have been allotted
each to a man.



How these women are to be
among your soldiers?

as slaves?

Or wives.

Or wives.

You mean
these men will do with these women whatever they want?


And with me, too?



And my children?


This is what you and these men have come to do?


This is why you come to us speaking of your regret
and sympathy
talking of civility

Why is it at the end of war
the victors can imagine nothing better
than to remake the conditions
that are the cause of war?

The war ended?
You say this to the men:
The war is not ended, they say,
we are the war,
we ourselves are the war.

Men act.
We know this.
Attach no value to it,
To act is to be.
No more no less.

The world is a bleeding wound
when it comes to that.

The natural state of a man,
the ecstatic state, will find itself in the visions of things that appear suddenly:
cadavers, for example,
nudity, explosions, spilled blood, sunbursts, abscesses, thunder.

Everything that exists
destroys itself
when it comes to that.
The sun in the sky
like an orgy of frozen light,
consuming itself
and dying.
The stars
consuming themselves
in an agony of fire.
The joy of life that comes into the world
to give itself
and be annihilated.

I can imagine the earth projected in space
as it is
in reality
like a woman screaming,
her head in flames.

I remember once
there was this group that had an ape,
tied up with ropes
struggling to break free
but trussed up like a chicken
legs folded back against its body
tied upside down to a stake
planted in the middle of a pit
howling and swallowing dirt
its anus screaming pink and pointing at the sky
like a flower
and all the women around the pit
stripped naked for the work and sweating with pleasure
and anticipation
armed with shovels
filling in the pit with dirt
burying the ape alive
its screams choked on the dirt
until all that remains
is the radiant flower of its anus
touched by pretty white fingers
its violent contractions
helpless as it strangles on the dirt
and all who stand around the pit and watch
are overcome by heat and stupor
their throats choked by sighs
and crying out
eyes moist with tears.

This is how men are.

Of course,
when the rain clears in the evening
and you can see the stars come out over the city
walk to some nice restaurant
where they still retain all the old culinary arts--
no sugar for the after dinner coffee, to be sure,
and the cost of a filet of sole is atrocious--
yet one can believe
a good life is still possible in the world
it may be that there are throat germs everywhere
but one can still attend a concert
or hear a reading of Claudel's poetry.

And shall my children be listening to concerts and poetry?

Who shall have my daughter Cassandra?

She is fortunate.
She will be well taken care of.

Who shall have her?

King Agamemnon.

[Orchestral music is heard.]

the general of this army that has murdered my husband and my sons
destroyed my home and my city
torn down all our houses
put an end
to whatever pretence there might have been before
that there is any kind of nobility in war--
this is the brutal man who will have my daughter?

I understand
your feelings.
I understand
this is sudden, and rude.
These days war is so unsparing.

Once upon a time
men fought by day
and grieved at night;
they had the opportunity to consider
the world that they were making;
but now they fight both day and night,
it leaves no time for grief
and so men have come to adopt a certain hardness
that never leaves them
even when the shooting stops.

Yes. To be sure.
And my son's wife Andromache?

She is to be taken as wife by the son of Achilles, Neoptolemus.

A boy.
And not,
as I have heard,
an honest boy.

These are the people who will take my children to their beds.

[She sinks to the ground again.]


You wanted me to send you a letter
Here it is
it's got....
beneath the things I feel around me
couldn't reach you and never will
you're much too removed

women walk in the shade with water jars
it's so different here
so hot
it's so different here

this afternoon to fall asleep
the people mend their nets
the bee and the birds at sunrise
I watch them at their lives
they teach me much I could not tell you what
until you've seen my eyes

women walk in the shade with water jars
it's so different here
so HOT's so different here
it's so hot here

do you still love me?

ANDROMACHE emerges slowly from the huddled women, wearing torn Lagerfeld
clothes holding a dead doll by one arm, that she treats with absent-minded
casualness, letting it dangle at her side. The doll, a boy, is dressed in a little white jacket (dirtied), white short pants, white shoes. She is beautiful, remote, disconnected, a blown mind--not superficial or silly, but blown away and in shock.
There is soft piano music playing.

Some days
I remember what it's been like
on a summer day
when the weather's so hot
you can't think what to do with yourself.
You keep waving your fan
but there isn't a breath of fresh air.
And then, just as you're thinking
to put your hand in a bowl of iced water
a letter arrives,
written on a sheet of fine
brilliant red paper
attached to an orchid in full bloom
and you think
how deeply your friend must feel
to have taken such trouble
on a suffocating day

HECUBA [going to embrace Andromache]
Andromache, dear, come to me.

Suddenly there came a flash of light. And then, I felt some hot mask attacking me all of a sudden. I felt hot. I lay flat on the ground, trying to escape the heat. I forgot all about my children for a moment. Then, there came a big sound, sliding wooden doors and windows were blown off into the air. I turned around to see what had happened to the house, and at one part of the ceiling, it was hanging in the air.

And you think:
just when I was in such despair
because my garden is torn up
all the flowers torn up
and trampled
all the flowers
that you've come to think are
the most delicate parts of your own body
and other plants and trees you've put in your garden
thinking at first
you'd make a beautiful landscape
of living things
and then coming to see,
as they grew
and took their own ways
that you would have to let them go
that a garden is not a thing you can control
you can live within it
but finally you must let it go
and now to see what's come of it

Compose yourself.

I was facing toward the north when I noticed the flashing light. The flash was so bright, ten or a hundred or a thousand times brighter than a camera flash. It pierced my eyes, and my mind went blank. In a few seconds, the heat wave came. White clouds spread over the sky. It was amazing. It was as if blue morning-glories had suddenly bloomed up in the sky. 

these living things
you've cared for,
lying dead
cut open
crushed and trampled on

I think
you can't bring this sort of thing inside
people have Sister Parish do their living rooms
with flowered sofas
and flowered draperies at the windows
and they can be torn down, too
ripped and burned
You think
I deserved it
living all this time in such comfort
when you look around you
and you see others not so well off as you are
in fact

and now you think
I know how they've felt all these years
what would be the point of being born a woman
if you didn't know one day
the world would break your heart
there's nothing special about you

I remember there were Friday night dances
at the golf club,
and Aunt Rose would drive over in her little blue car
and look in on us,
very unobtrusively,
to see how we were doing.
The next
day some of us probably would get some coaching from her
about dancing.
I had my heels going in some funny way,
and she'd give me a demonstration of how I looked
and how to correct it.
The boys would be pumping their dates' arms,
and she'd show them how to dance smoothly.
Bobby was a terrible dancer for a while.
He not only pumped, he hopped.
Joe was probably even worse.
He danced like a longshoreman.
Aunt Rose tried to show him
and then gave up
and made him go to dancing classes.

And what, after all, is my reward
for having been a good wife
a reputation
that some foreigners think I'll make a perfect slave
Not to say I haven't had a wonderful life
a life of privilege
other people would envy it
even though
it had none of the glamor of Helen's life

Andromache, it won't do now to....

Every diet I've ever been on
I think I've entered in the proper frame of mind
And every morning at the clinic
I had an hour of acupuncture
and the needles would be left in
for the whole session while I did my relaxation
The enemas were a Saturday routine,
and I think my eating habits
underwent a revolution

Just the other day my trainer said to me
you're in the final weeks of a battle
that has been going on for a long time
and it seems you're going to win most
if not all that you set out to
You'll be allowed to keep
almost all the new territory and authority
that you've won for yourself
over the last year or two
and it will be seen by others as your property.

[she has begun to weep]

And what will please you even more
is you won't have to give up anything you started with.
That precious home base
that you were willing to die to defend
is safe.
So the net result is that you've extended
what you can call your own.
Of course,
there may still be some last minute concessions
to the other side to be made
but in general you seem to have proved
you can have your cake and eat it.


The world now sees you
as a force to be reckoned with
not only in your career
but most significantly
in your personal relationships as well.

I had a woman tell me
she is bisexual
and her friends began passing other women to her
as clients

Now, then.

She would charge $300 for two hours
a lot of money for most women
And she said most of them had saved up for it.
Most of them are experimenting, she said,
from young women in their twenties
to women of her mother's generation.
Before I go to an appointment, she said,
I shower.
Women expect a massage and then oral sex.
Usually they never tell you what they want.
It's kind of assumed.
I massage her all over for maybe 20 minutes
and then slowly start to massage
her erogenous zones.
I always say,
if there's something you don't like
just tell me, and I'll stop.
Then I take off her pants
and ask her to turn over
I massage her front
and wait until I get a sign that she is ready for me
to continue
she may moan or touch me
and then I start kissing her pubic area and thighs.
Everything happens slowly
and she has plenty of warning about
what is going to happen
Some women are just very lonely
or sexually frustrated
and they aren't the type to pick up a man
in a bar.
They wouldn't call a male escort
because they don't want a strange man in the house.
It's easier for them to trust a woman.
I don't think they see sleeping with a prostitute
as a dirty thing like men do.
Their attitude towards me
makes it very different
from sleeping with a man.

So, while I stayed home
a faithful wife
when it comes down to it
we all make our bargains
although Helen knew right from the start
you might as well take the risk
knowing how it will end in any case
So she ends up with a nasty reputation
but a good life

Andromache, dear.

And I can't help myself from thinking
if I'd known
there were other things I meant to get
things I would have liked
if I'd known it was going to end so soon.

When I was a girl
I had a horse I loved so much
I wanted to take him right inside me
or suck his cock.
And I would have done it, too,
if I hadn't been so timid.

Or I'd have hung myself in the bathroom
things I didn't do because I was afraid
put a rope around your neck
to get a more intense feeling
you know
cross dress
wear pants and a necktie
stand on a chair and hang from something
while you use some cream and a vibrator
I was always afraid I'd slip and fall
but when you think about it now
I might as well have run the risk
Or had myself wrapped up in Saran wrap
I always thought it would be just like a cocoon
covered up and warm
helpless and exposed
all at once
Or have a man kiss me
between my legs
while he had ice cubes in his mouth

Surely, this is not....

But, no,
you think,
you musn't put a drink to your lips
when you have food in your mouth
or you may leave a particle of food in your drink
or make a mark on the rim of your glass.
Or, if you bring a piece of food to your mouth with your fork
it is thought nowadays that the tines should be pointing down, not up.
One musn't dunk a donut or a cookie in public.
Nothing may be spit out,
however surreptitiously, into a napkin,
not even a bad clam.
Olives are put all at once into the mouth.
Would you sign a letter Mrs. R.C. Jones?
Or Mrs. Robert Jones?
You would sign it with your maiden name
or your married name,
such as Marion Jones
and then, in parentheses,
if the person to whom the letter is addressed doesn't know this,
one could write Mrs. R.C. Jones.

[A telephone receiver is heard. It continues throughout the following.]

And a widow,
if she wishes
may entertain a gentleman friend for a weekend
if she is more than 30 years of age
and if her children are present in the house
although every woman
should value her reputation
and conduct herself in such a way
that she does not make a public display
of her very private life.

It must be a shock for a woman in your position
to be treated this way

a thing to be used to sweep the floor
and thrown away when it's worn out.

Nothing new to us of course.

To be taken,
told to do this or that with our bodies
put here from 9 to 5
put there after ten o'clock
used till we're exhausted
years taken off our lives
and added to the years of those
whose lives are only shortened otherwise
by too much eating

or too much sitting

Shhhh. That's enough.

Now you see,
the haves are the ones who have their own bodies

and the have nots don't

[to Andromache and Hecuba]
I'm not surprised it escaped your notice.

So you'll be given to some king
or king's son
to use however he likes
and I'll be given
to someone like these fellows here
to be thrown around however they like
these nouveau riche owners
don't know how to take care of their possessions
they can really cause some damage

Have some pity.

For them?

[looking toward Hecuba and Andromache]


Oh, yes, sure,
it's always those who've suffered most
who best know how to have pity for those who have suffered least.

You know: like men;
they like a little sympathy....

Well, you know, I had my ear ripped off.


By a woman.

Your ear ripped off?

It was a, like, more of a drunken brawl type thing, and I had a beer bottle smashed across the side of my head, cut my--you know, bottom of my ear lobe off, it was sort of dangling by a piece of skin--and had 17 staples in the side of my head, too, at the same time. And plus had two thirds of the cornea of my right eye furrowed out by a fingernail.

What were you....

I was running away from my wife. And so then she stabbed me in the back, too, with a--like, you know--Ginsu-type steak knife. And I have a scar.

[he starts to pull up his shirt to show a scar]

And I love my wife.

I know what you mean.

But she eggs me on. I...


I mean, I love my wife,
and when she's straight and she's not drinking or taking Valiums or anything....

She's a nice person.

...she's the most even-spoken, nicest person in the world.


And I'm the same way. I can't--
I can't throw stones at her.
I've--I used to drink and do cocaine and--
and I've had my wild times.

But, I mean, when you say you used to do cocaine,
the fact is you've put, basically,
your family fortune up your nose, Bill,
am I right here?

Pretty much so, yeah. Yeah.

And isn't that one of the things that so aggravates Janine?

Right. Sure. I've acknowledged that.
Haven't I acknowledged that?

Right, right,
okay, but you know,
you're talking to someone who had five husbands
so it's not like I don't know anything about men.

Six husbands, I thought you had six husbands.

All bad.
I mean with my first husband
all my children were born out of rape.
I never had normal sex with him.

Your first husband was a rapist?

And he beat me.
He used to beat me, that's how he got turned on.
And then he'd rape me.

So then you married....

He used to lock me in a closet while I was pregnant
so no one could see my injuries
because we were stationed in Guantanamo Bay
and he didn't want his--want the other sailors to see my injuries.

Okay. So. Go ahead. Husband number two.

He, well, he, three days after we were married,
he wanted me to get rid of my children.
And he just made a complete change.
The only way he wanted to have sex was anally,
and he lost my money at the race track
which was supposed to be for a business.


Put sugar in my car.
Tried to extort money from me,
and everything.

Husband number three.

He married me to get a green card.

He was....?

a man from a foreign country.

I heard he was a prince from Jordan.

Is that true?

I don't know where that got around.



Number four?

He was an Italian guy I met.
I knew him ten days and he just swooped me off my feet.


And tried to get my home from me
and was beating on me,
very, very abusive.
Turned out he was bisexual and he was--
we were married about ten days.

Husband number five we know was Robert Sand,
the man you were convicted of murdering.
And who was number six?

That was Joe Mims.

The man you married the day you were indicted...


for the murder of your husband.

So that's six.

Oh, right, if you count Joe,
that's six.

Where is he now?

He died of a heart attack on the day were going to get remarried.

So nothing.

So if you want to count him, that's six.

That's all I said.

EISA [to the men]
For feminists, utopia is a place where egalitarian, consensual, and cooperative relationships flourish and where both sexes are able to engage in meaningful work. They are based on the notion that the key to a satisfying life is opportunity for love and work where the two are compatible. In feminist utopias the social structure is such that women do not have to choose between work and love. Another feature of feminist utopias is size--either the whole society is small or people live in fairly small- sized communities. Families, however, are communal and extended, not the isolated, privatized nuclear families characteristic of post-industrial society. Feminist utopias are ecologically conscious. There is no exploitation or severe depletion of natural resources. In a very real sense, feminist utopias celebrate what we usually think of as traditionally female tasks and traits: nurturance, expressiveness, support or personal growth and development, a link with the land or earth.

Talthybius notices the doll Andromache holds.]

Who is this?


This boy you hold.

This is a doll.

Is this your son?


I thought all the men of the royal family were dead.

They are.

Except this one it seems.
A living heir to the throne.
[to Bill]
Take the boy with you.


[Bill snatches the doll from Andromache,
and knocks her to the ground with a savage hit
so that she falls like a rock,
The entire chorus falls suddenly to the ground,
with Hecuba standing by astonished.]

HECUBA [going slowly to the ground, embracing Andromache]
my child

My child gone.
They've taken my child.

When they came the first time,
I think I must have been
down already
crawling on all fours

thinking only of myself again

I heard a shot
blood splashed on my head and neck
I pretended I was dead
Some men came to see
if anyone was moving
I had to stop myself from shivering
I felt a boot kick my side
They spat on the bodies and walked away
And then I forgot entirely
I had been lying on top of my son
to protect him from the gunfire
I still held his hand
I'd kept him with me all that time
like a bird underneath his mother's wing
But now, what difference has it made?
I let my attention wander
for just a moment.
And now he's gone.
They've taken him.

[Hecuba holds Andromache, comforting her.

Cassandra enters running at top speed.

She is wearing black.
A very chic--though torn--outfit
from Comme les Garcons.]

Am I too late?


Have I missed the wedding?

Who is this?

HECUBA [calling out as though to warn her]

Is this Cassandra?

The bride of Agamemnon!

And blessed am I to lie at a king's side.

[She throws herself at Talthybius's feet.]

I'll tell you what I see
in this king's future,
I see he takes a bride
who will climb into his bed
and cut his throat.

No, child, don't.

She's nothing but trouble this one.

Not for me
the life of mourning
the tears
the nursing of my sorrow


Cassandra, have some sense
of the position you find yourself in now.

I must say,
to speak
not so much as a diplomat
but as a--

[to Talthybius]
One day, when I lie dead cold and naked
next to my husband's tomb
piled in a ditch for animals to rip and feed on
beaten by the storms of winter,
you, too, you will be lying in some mud pit
or buried
somewhere no one will remember
or give a shit
what you've done long since forgotten
unless some bitch strings you up
before that
with hoods and gags and blindfolds


I beg your....

and you feel some dizziness coming on

some nausea

some chick's getting her rocks off
cutting you up a little bit
plugging you into the wall
cranking you up on the rheostat?

[all the women speaking at once over each other
so it moves with dizzying speed]

putting a long pin through his flesh and scraping his bones

sewing his lips together,

sewing his eyelids open,

sewing his hands together

nailing his scrotum to a chair

Not that ALL these assholes shouldn't be eliminated
these dicks with their pussy envy


[Cassandra's attention is momentarily distracted by her mother.]

These cuntsuckers

these pricks who can only compensate
for not being a woman
by savaging some entire country

It doesn't follow
because men have always been around
like a disease
that they always must be around
because these men are not needed!

we can make whole human beings
in laboratories

I've loved a man
I know what it is to love.
A man whose kisses were so sweet,
so much of a different time.

[Hecuba has buried herself again in the pile of rags.]

We might be loved for a while and then forgotten.
But the love will have been enough;
all those impulses of love return to the love that made them.
Even memory is not necessary for love.
There is a land of the living
and a land of the dead,
and the bridge is love,
the only meaning.

Let's have him, then,
Bring me to him
Take me into his home
Let me lie down with him
stretch him out on a board
put weights on his chest
is this a man who likes to be bitten
all over his body
on his neck and chest
Does he like to be laced
with needle and thread
like a spider's web
sewn down to his bed
Then he's chosen well
which woman here
to take back home with him.

Where is this general's ship?
Take me to it.
and know, that when this ship leaves the shore
it carries with it
one of the Furies

[The Chorus, led by Cassandra, sings.

[At the end of the song, Cassandra runs out at full tilt.]

Come back!
Stop her, someone.
She doesn't know what she's saying.
She doesn't mean it.

I think she does.
I had hoped we could proceed with some sense of self-respect
but I see this is not to be the case.
Where is your daughter Polyxena?

She found a ship.
She's run away.
She's gone.

We know she's here.

She's a child,
a young child.

It's been decided she should be given to Achilles.



We were told Achilles is dead.

It's true he's dead,
His companions in arms
have decided
that his body cannot be left here in Troy
in an unhonored grave.


Achilles was a hero.
His companions remember his courage in battle.
How he went in where others were afraid
with no care for his own safety
as though he were already dead.
His fellow soldiers will not see him buried
without a proper sacrifice
to give honor to HIS sacrifice.
Just as all the living will be given companions
he, too, must have a companion in his death.

A young girl to be his companion in death?


Is this not perverse?
Are you all perverse?
Now you must find some reason
after the war is over
and the city lies in ashes
to search out a girl
and kill her, too.

Easy to say the war is over
but the men are still on fire
Their blood racing
They'd like to feel
the impact of two or three more bombs exploding
the woods moving like one living creature
heaving up the earth,
the slow collapsing pull of gravity
before they feel at peace

I am not the man to do this,
I admit it.
Some other,
without pity,
should have come in my place.
But I've come to do my job.

To do your job?
What about my job?
My job is not yet over.
I've not yet finished raising these children.
I've not yet finished making a home
or a life.
I've not finished teaching my boys how to be men.
My mother said to me,
a gentleman is one who considers not just another's rights
but also her preferences.
I've not finished teaching my boys
about the sacredness of human life
even when it is contained in the meanest of vessels,
about compassion.
This is my work.
It should be yours.
My compatriots--
needle-makers, linen makers,
nail makers, brick makers,
straw-plaiters, lace makers,
iron workers, corn millers,
wall builders, bottle makers,
shirt makers, wheat growers,
these people who recreate and rearrange the material world--
thread rearranged into lace
dispersed bricks rearranged into a house
coal rearranged, relocated to the visible surface of the earth
its deep refusal to surrender the capture of an ancient sun
now rendered into a source of light and warmth
the spill of tiny wheels rearranged into a watch
the soft and dangerous miscellany of rags
rearranged into paper
not for such a simple, brutal purpose
as wealth or power
but for the more complex and interesting purpose
of making a community
to sustain human life.
Can it be that you have forgotten your job?
Is it too late for you to remember
what you were meant to do when you became a man?
And if it is too late for you,
you've come too far
there is nothing you feel you can do,
must it be too late for me, too?
Could you not at least protect my unfinished job?
Let me keep my daughter Polyxena,
my youngest child,
only Polyxena.
Or, if you must have someone to put atop Achilles' grave,
take me.
What use am I if I cannot finish what I have begun?
If you will end my job of mothering,
then take me instead.

POLYXENA, who had been hiding among the members of the chorus, steps
forward. She is 13 years old, funkily dressed in torn jeans and a tarty looking red
velvet bustier (not that she is tarty, but that that is the--unconscious?--teen-age style).

Take me.
Here I am.

Go back!

I'm not afraid.
I heard everything.
Don't be afraid, mother.
[to Talthybius]
You won't take her.
I'm going with you.


[She goes to Polyxena and holds her.]

She's a child.

I don't feel sorry, mother,
it's my fate.
If you have an eight for a name
then you can have an eight and a four
or an eight and a thirteen
you come to combinations of 21,
or three
you know then that's your fate.
I might have had a nine
but if you believe in numerology
you know you don't choose your numbers
they're given to you
and you learn to accept them.

She doesn't mean what she's saying.
She's a child.

Yes, I do.
I think
I wish I had lived to have some years with you
when we would both be grownups
and talk as equals
and share our thoughts.

[breaking loose from Hecuba]

But when it's in your numbers
or your horoscope
you just know
that's the way the world was
when you had your life
and you accept it.

Of course, I have to admit
I'd have liked to live a little longer
I mean there's a lot I don't know yet.
Like: why do guys insist on driving?
And how come they call on Friday to ask you out
for Friday night?
And why do guys hate to get dressed up?
How come they don't like to talk on the phone?
Why do guys drink out of the milk carton?
And how come they like to play air guitar?
Why is a guy who sleeps around a stud
but a girl who does is a slut?

I think it's almost expected of a guy.

How come guys wait till way after they love you
to say they do?

It's nervousness, I think.

And why is it they keep on checking out other girls
even though they insist you're the only one?

It's just human nature to look at beautiful girls.
It doesn't necessarily mean anything at all.

How can a guy stand to make out with a girl
he makes fun of to his friends?

It's just peer pressure.
It's a bad thing to do,
but if a guy's friends start making fun of the girl,
it's easier to go along with the crowd.
He doesn't mean it.

And how come they don't like to fight?

They're afraid they'll say something they didn't mean to say,
because sometimes they don't think so fast,
and they'll get dumped.

How come they back off as soon as they know you like them?

They're scared.

Guys need so much space.
A few months ago,
I had sex with my cousin.
We've never talked about it since.

[Polyxena sings, and then, after the song:]

I guess, when you think of having regrets,
I regret we never talked about it.

Let my child stay with me.
This is a good child
Human nature doesn't change.
Evil stays itself, evil to the end.
And goodness good, its nature uncorrupted
by any shock or blow.
This child's young heart is filled with love
and hope.
Everything I lost lives on in her.
This one life redeems the rest.
Let my child stay with me.

[Ray Bob and Bill take hold of Polyxena
and throw Hecuba to the ground.]


No! No!

[Ray Bob wraps a scarf around Polyxena's mouth and hustles her off the stage.
Talthybius and Bill follow.

Through the following song, no one speaks.
They all look at the door through which Polyxena was taken.
Andromache goes to the door, stops, looks
turns away, walks away,
turns back, walks toward the door, stops, looks,
turns away, walks away, stops, turns back to look,
starts to walk toward the door, stops, looks.]

Calling All Angels
from Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World
(the saints' names continue under the song when they begin to sing)

Soto voce:
Santa Maria
Santa Theresa
Santa Susanna
Santa Cecelia
Santa Petronella
etc etc

Oh man this place to fall
the steps
a baby cries
high above
you didn't hear the church bells start to ring

the heaviness, the heaviness
ah, it settles in
sorry to leave you so soon
then it's one foot then the other
as you step along the road hard
step along the road
ah, which way, ah which way
it's how long and how far and how many times
oooohhhh, before it's too late

calling all angels
calling all angels
walk me through this one
don't leave me alone

calling all angels
calling all angels
we're trying
we're hoping
but we're not sure
this goes

on every day you gaze upon the sunset of such high intensity
why it's almost as if,
if you could only crack the code
you'd finally understand it's all me and you

Calling all angels
calling all angels
walk me through this one
don't leave me alone
calling all angels
calling all angels
we're turning
we're hoping
but we're not sure
Calling all angels
Calling all angels
Walk me through this one
don't leave me alone
Calling all angels
Calling all angels
We're trying
we're hoping
we're hurting
we're loving
we're crying
we're calling
cause we're not sure
this goes

[Hecuba is still collapsed on the ground.

MENELAUS enters.
He wears a torn military uniform.
His hair is matted with blood.
And as the scene goes on, his uniform oozes blood.
He speaks to a chorus member.

I beg your pardon.
I am looking for Helen,
my wife.



You're the man responsible
for this war?

So they say.

Because you couldn't keep your wife at home.

I love her.

For that you took thousands to their death.

A war begun
by a friend of mine,
a countryman of yours,
welcomed into my home as a guest
who took my wife
in violation of my trust.

Took my wife.

Raped my wife.

Your wife was taken from you?


This is not the story that we heard.


We were told she ran away from you.

Look what you've done.

Put it how you will.
My friend betrayed me.
Or my wife did.
Broke her promise.
Her vow of marriage.
Betrayed my love.
That's the point, isn't it?

In marriage,
and in the world.
If we betray our trust,
we are at war.

A society at peace
is founded on mutual promises,
freely given
without coercion.
And when such promises are broken,
when one party
on its own,
decides to enforce its preference
by some unilateral action
then if the relationship continues
it is based upon coercion,
then force has come into play,
war has been declared.

And then?
And then, when my friend
was asked to bring my wife back to me,
he was instead supported by all his countrymen
in his act.
So that they,
became accomplices in this betrayal of love and trust,
this destruction of the foundation of my life,
and of my society.

You and your friends
treated with contempt
that mutual trust that is essential
for my country
to live with itself
in peace.

You violated our peace.
And so we have annihilated yours.
And would do it again.

Now, I've come for my wife.
I know she is inside here.
My friends,
the victors in this war,
have given her to me
to bring her home with me,
or not
as I will.

Chattel, like all the rest of us.

[to another chorus member]
Who is this person?
[to CHEA]
I said she is my wife.
I said: I'll have her back.

The truth is I can sleep in a bed of ice if I choose
I can detach my head
and let it trundle off somewhere on its own
At times I feel myself going down
a steep and winding staircase to a bottomless depth
but I look with wonder at my hands from time to time
when they've gone numb
They'll do anything I like
Take my cock in one hand
and rub it on your bellies
and hang you on a peg
to cut you open
do you think if I cut the artery in your neck
you'd spurt blood.
I'll have her back
or kill you
one by one
until I've cleared my path to her.

But sometimes I like to lie down at night
with my arms around someone
and KNOW she loves me
know this gives her pleasure--
just lying there
my arms around her
her back to me
my stomach pressed against her back
my face buried in her hair
my arms around her
one hand on her stomach
trusting her love
feeling at peace

I'll have her back.

Bring her to me.
I want her arms tied behind her back
and I want her dragged to me.

Take her back, then.
And when you take her back then:
kill her!



Kill her--
she who brought all this down on us:
kill her,
and we will bless you for it.

But don't bring her out here for you to see.
Let them take her somewhere and kill her there
without seeing her first.
We all know the truth about you.
You can't look at her without wanting her.

HELEN suddenly appears from among the chorus members.
She wears a chemise, and nothing else,
from Victoria's Secret.
She is the seductive survivor, the master of "feminine wiles" (not used by any of the other women in the play) to be used to survive in a man's world.

the Bow Wow Wow version of "I Want Candy"

I know a guy who's tough but sweet
he's so fine he can't be beat
he's got everything that I desire
sets the summer sun on fine

i want candy
i want candy

goin to sea when the sun goes down
ain't no finer boy in town
you're my guy I want to talk to all night
so sweet you make my mouth water

i want candy
i want candy


candy on the beach there's nothing better
but I like candy when its wrapped in a sweater
some may say I'll make you mine
then I'll have candy all the time

I want candy
I want candy
I want candy
I want candy


[Helen continues to sing until she notices Menelaus.]

Thank God.
I've found you at last.


Where have you been?
I know.
I know you must hate me.
But, Menelaus,
I've never loved anyone but you.
[she cries]
I couldn't help myself.


[overlooking the interruption, not responding to it]
If you want to blame someone, blame her!
[gesturing to Hecuba]
She mothered the man who stole me from you.
She raised him,
taught him how to treat a woman.
If Troy is ruined now
she has no one to blame but herself.

Am I to blame for my beauty?

[the members of the chorus exchange glances;
Helen takes them in,
is distracted momentarily.]

Am I responsible for how I look?

[full attention back to Menelaus]

Or if you say, well,

you did run away

hadn't you gone to Crete?
And left me alone in the house in Sparta.

To wonder if you were finished with me.
Do you think...
all those years that I loved you...
was I not supposed to feel...
left alone as I was...
was I not supposed to fear...
that I would never know your love again?

Of course, without a man,
some women would rather have a dildo
than go with the enemy.

A dildo?

HELEN [seizing attention again]
Do you know,
as soon as Paris was killed in the war,
I tried to find my way back to you.
These women can attest.
But they caught me--
and took me to Deiphobus,
my second husband....
who kept me as his wife

[looks at chorus, then back to Menelaus]

by force.

[silence, taking in chorus again]

And now you would kill me?
who have been a bride of force.
Do you not think I've suffered enough,
away from you,
that you couldn't bring me back to your bed,
forgive me
lie with me
our arms around each other
to make love
or not
just lie together
your arms around me
your stomach pressed into my back
your arms around me
your face buried in my hair
one hand on my stomach
feeling once again
at peace

Menelaus, will you be tricked
by all this talk

She should be flogged
She should be caned

Rule number one: exciting women can make men miserable.

Rule number two: there are no perfect women.

Rule number three: reforming a woman is usually futile.

Rule number four: no woman can give a man self-esteem.

Rule number five: many good women go unnoticed.

Rule number six: women like men who like women.

Rule number seven: men who really listen are irresistible.

[holding up a hand]
I think I understand my own wife.

Then let her be stoned to death now.
There's no one left alive
who wouldn't be eager to help


[falling to the ground, embracing Menelaus' knees]
How could this be?
To have me stoned to death by these strangers?
Take me home to Greece, please
if I must die,
then let me die at home.

Put her on the same ship home with you?
She'll have you in her bed in no time.

HECUBA [to the women]
Show some pity.

MENELAUS [to Chea]
What do you mean?

A man like you
once in love
will never let a woman go.


I'll take her home.
The others will be back for the rest of you.


If you were a woman
and I was a man
would I send you yellow roses
would I dare to kiss your hand

In morning would I caress you
like the moon caresses the sand
if you were the woman
and I was the man

If I was the woman
and you were the man
would you send me yellow roses
would you dare to kiss my hand

in the morning would you caress me
and the wind caresses the sand
if I was the woman
and you were the man

If I was the heart
and you were the head
would you think me very foolish
if one day I shattered
these walls that surround me
just to see where these feelings led
if I was the heart
and you were the head

If I was the woman
and you were the man
would I laugh if you came to me
with your heart in your hand
and said I offer you this freely
and will give you all that I can

because you are the woman
and I am the man

[As the music continues, Helen and Menelaus turn to leave together.
Helen stops, turns back to chorus.]

And you,
you worthless pieces of shit
don't give me any of your fucking attitude
try to cut me down
with your whining
oh, here come tears
blame him
"she should be flogged"
"she should be caned"
these are the seven rules for women and men
as though you knew your ass from your elbow
you haven't been anywhere
You use a fucking dildo,
you fucking

[She wheels around and exits with Menelaus.

If it seems that Helen and Menelaus need an encore,
here is one:


Well, I'll buy you a chevrolet
I'm gonna buy you a chevrolet
I'm gonna buy you a chevrolet
if you'll do somethin for me
hear me, doll,
if you'll do somethin for me

I don't want your chevrolet
I don't want your chevrolet
I don't want your chevrolet
And you can't do nothin for me
oh, no
you can't do nothin for me

Well, I'll buy you a diamond ring
I'm gonna buy you a diamond ring
I'm gonna buy you a diamond ring
if you'll do somethin for me
hey yay yay
if you'll do somethin for me

I don't want your diamond ring
I don't want your diamond ring
I don't want your diamond ring
And you can't do nothin for me
you can't do nothin for me

Well, I'll buy you a cuttin board
I'm gonna buy you a cuttin board
I'm gonna buy you a cuttin board
if you'll do somethin for me
eee eeee
if you'll do somethin for me

I don't want your cuttin board
I don't want your cuttin board
I don't want nothin in the world you got
And you can't do nothin for me
you can't do nothin for me

unnnh ooooh oooooh

Well, I'll buy you a paper bow
I'm gonna buy you a paper bow
I'm gonna buy you a paper bow
if you'll do somethin for me
eee eeee
if you'll do somethin for me

I don't want your paper bow
I don't want your paper bow
I don't want nothin in the world you got
And you can't do nothin for me
you can't do nothin for me

Well, I'll buy you a big cigar
I'm gonna buy you a big cigar
I'm gonna buy you a big cigar
if you'll do somethin for me
if you'll do somethin for me

I don't want your big cigar
I don't want your big cigar
I don't want nothin in the world you got
And you can't do nothin for me
you can't do nothin for me

Well, I'll buy you a super ball
I'm gonna buy you a super ball
I'm gonna buy you a super ball
if you'll do somethin for me
eee eeeh
if you'll do somethin for me

Well, then, I'll accept your super ball
I could use your super ball
I could use your super ball
and you can do somethin for me
you can do something for me

[Music, very sad,
comes up, almost inaudibly at first.

Two chorus women bring in body of Polyxena to Hecuba
she makes her ready for burial.]

they've let us bring your child to you
to prepare her body to lie atop Achilles' grave.

Prepare her body?
Oh, no, my child, my child.
Is there no end to this?
Why do I still live?

[she buries her head in Polyxena's body,
then after a time looks up]

How was she put to death?
Tell me.
Let me hear it all,
however terrible.

[uncertainty among the chorus members about whether to tell the story; finally one

The whole army of the Greeks
was drawn up in ranks.
Some soldiers held her arms,
and Achilles' son, Neoptolemus, led her to his father's grave
and there drew his sword to kill her.
But she spoke first:
Wait, she said,
let no man touch me
I die of my own free will,
and the soldiers let her go.
She took hold of her robe at the shoulder
and ripped it open to her waist
She sank to her knees
and said to Neoptolemus,
Here is my breast, then,
will you stab me here?
Here is my throat ready for your sword.
And Neoptolemus,
torn between pity and duty,
stood hesitating
and then, at last,
slashed her throat with his sword
and even as she dropped to the ground
she did so with dignity and grace.

Oh, my child,
this goes past all endurance.
Now I am no longer who I was.

My husband dead,
my children gone,
now my dear,
dear littlest daughter,
what god in heaven
what power below
can help me now
as I feel myself sinking into
a rage
I should have died long ago
but I was kept alive
as though by the gods
saved to witness more
and each time to witness worse.
Until now
I myself
finally feel
this rage of war
deep deep within me
I would myself have vengeance
How can I live now
silently accepting what they have done
thinking I shall understand
if I
but draw
this pain
inside myself
as though my understanding
would make it right
as though this pain would be erased
if only I could understand
as though all the world's suffering
were only meant to assist me
to attain an understanding
as though some human empathy
could contain it and so make it right
this pain must be answered with pain
this savagery with savagery in kind

Bring Aeneas to me.

He is afraid...

Bring him to me!

We are nothing but creatures waiting
to be shattered by our lives.

In the end,
we don't come through life
as we come through each experience along the way--
enriched or changed,
wounded or restored;
in the end we are all
each one of us
consumed by life.

Soon all my world will be blotted out with ash.

[Aeneas enters.
He is in shock
and is brought in supported, almost carried, by chorus members.
He wears tennis whites that are filthy and torn.
He is completely freaked out, eyes darting, disoriented as though he has just come out of darkness into the light, terrified.

Queen Hecuba.

[he falls to his knees]

Stand up.
Your time of hiding is at an end.

Hiding, no, I haven't been...

No, not hiding.


while all the other men were murdered
and all the women beaten, raped,
murdered, taken into slavery.
In all this time,
you have been cowering.


Now, you see,
here is Polyxena in my arms,
a child,
who did not shrink from death as you did.
Look at her.
Remember her.

[Aeneas goes to his knees,
puts his head down on the lifeless body of Polyxena.]

Now your time has come
to be as brave as she has been

Your time has come to avenge her death.

Will human beings be caught forever
in a cycle of hatred, violence, and war?
A world without compassion.
Murdering men
and women who urge them to it.

So be it.

That person is happiest who lives from day to day
and asks no more.

Learn from this.
Harbor no more illusions.
See the world
and the men and women who live in it
for what they are.

Turn away from love

This is not what I have heard you say before.
I have heard you....

HECUBA [cutting him off]
Enough of speaking.
Have you seen what I've achieved by speaking
and pleading and crying.
Give up hope.

Your time has come
to find all those who have survived,
take them to a new country
build a home.
Make it strong.
Put your trust in power alone.

Make a nation that can endure.

And when you have,
come back,
reduce these Greeks and their world
to ruins.
Destroy their cities.
Burn them.
Pull down their homes.
Leave them wounded and alone,
Let them bleed to death on their own graves.

Go now.
Take who you can and go.

Have you heard me?


I've heard what you've said before, but
I'm not a child.
After the things I've lived to see.

This boy
one time
jumped down out of a truck
thinking he'd be smart
and he said
Has anyone ever escaped from here?
So they stripped him naked
and hung him upside down for a few hours
and then they got him down and lay him on the ground
and poked sand down his throat until he died.

Or you hear the rules that have been set
anyone who walks away too quickly is shot
anyone out of line is shot
anyone who walks too slowly is shot
anyone who speaks too loudly
anyone who bends down
anyone who turns his head
any child who cries

a hospital floor cleared
by pushing the wheelchairs out on the balcony
tipping the people out of them
into the trucks in the street below

people who have suffocated
their tongues stuck out of their mouths
like dead fish
so that you feel nothing for them so much as

When I see a girl being drowned
I go crazy
and I have butterflies in my stomach
and pressure of some kind in my temples
and they seem to get hot
I sometimes smell something burning
and I am overcome by panic
I feel some kind of feeling in my penis
my heart rate goes up
I sweat sometimes
I get the runs
and then I masturbate over and over and over and over again
six times a day for days
while I see in my mind the drowning I have seen on television
I wish I could have videotaped it
and watched it over and over again
I have the head rush of that sweeping liquid-like feeling
that goes through my brain when I see a drowning
and I have trouble breathing
I have asthma
I have to use my inhaler to breathe normally again
I might not sleep for days on end
I am in a constant state of fear and agitation
I can't eat
I ache all over
and all because of the drowning of the girl
that I saw on television

This is how men are.

Make good use of it.

Aeneas leaves.

Hecuba remains with Polyxena in her arms
rocking back and forth with her for a long, long time

A member of the chorus sings solo
the Sinead O'Connor arrangement of
Scarlet Ribbons

I peeked in
to say goodnight
and I heard my child in prayer
and for me some scarlet ribbons
scarlet ribbons for my hair
All the stores
were closed and shuttered
All the streets were dark and bare
In our town
no scarlet ribbons
Scarlet ribbons for her hair
Through the night
my heart was aching
just before the dawn was breaking
I peeked in and on her pillow
on her pillow
lying there
lovely ribbons
scarlet ribbons
scarlet ribbons for her hair
If I live to be a hundred
I will never know from where
came those ribbons
scarlet ribbons
scarlet ribbons for her hair.



A bright full moon in a deep blue sky.

The dramaturgical rules have shifted here:
this is dreamland, a world of drift, heaven.

A spa
Exercise machines of all sorts
Bowls of fruit
Bottles of Evian water
Fresh flowers
Piles of towels
A hot tub

Women are working out on these machines
This is the chorus: they are, variously,
patrons and instructors at the spa.

These are not the same women as are in the Prologue.

They turn to face the audience, even as they continue their workouts, and sing the Cowboy Junkies arrangement of Blue Moon:

La la lala la lalalalala
La la lala la lalalalala

I only want to say
that if there is a way
I want my baby
back with me
cause he's my true love
my only one don't you see
and on that fateful day
perhaps a new sign of May
my baby walks back into my arms
I'll keep him beside me forever now

[they get off the machines and come forward to sing]

You see I was afraid
to let my baby stray
I kept him too tightly
by my side
and then one sad day
he went away and he died

Blue Moon
you saw me standing alone
without a dream in my heart
without a love of my own

Blue Moon
you knew just what I was there for
you heard me say the prayer for
someone I really could care for

[Several veterans of the Trojan war enter--
double cast Eddie, Joe and Jim--,
followed by Aeneas.]

I only want to say
That if there is a way
I want my baby
back with me
cause he's my true love
my only one don't you see

[they return to the machines as the music finishes,
as the veterans step tentatively into the room]

Excuse me.
I'm sorry.

[the women turn, surprised to see the men there]

I apologize,
is this a club for women only?


Well, yes it is.

Come in.

Come in.

What's happened to you?

We've been...

In war.

Thrown out.


From our home.


You're refugees.


We're pacifists, really.

Well, come in.

[she opens her arms to them]

You're safe here.

Thank you.

[The women move to them,
put their arms around the men,
help them toward massage tables
and recliner chairs.]

You should rest.

Well, I...

Don't be shy.

I like women.

You do?

[None of the following remarks are lascivious, even those of Jim; they are delivered gently--as memories of gentler days--and taken as such by the women.]

There are times I feel I could kiss a woman's cheek for hours and hours at a time, nestle my face in her hair, whisper in her ear.

I love to kiss a woman's ear.
In fact, to tell the truth,
I like to crawl right up inside a woman.

I like to hold a woman
have a woman hold me

I like to put my head on a woman's breast
have her arms around me
so that I can't escape
and fall asleep

Sometimes I think of having my head on a woman's breast
and then I think of her head on my chest
and my mind goes back and forth
back and forth
I can't settle on one thought or the other
I love them both so much

I like to see a woman smile
I love it when a woman laughs

Following her thoughts
while she tells a story
where she goes
where her voice is quiet or deep
where she hesitates
where she stops
where she takes a long slow curve
where she takes a quick turn without thinking
where she thinks it's funny

I like to get inside a woman's head
as much as in her body.

I like to dress in her clothes.

I'd like to be a woman.

[Aeneas is left back by the chorus, standing alone.


From the doors of the sauna at upstage center,
Dido enters
She is a black woman in her thirties.

She looks at Aeneas for a moment,
then turns at once
and steps directly to the microphone at center stage.

the Linda Rondstadt arrangment of
When You Wish Upon a Star

When you wish upon a star
makes no difference
who you are
anything your heart desires
will come to you

if your heart is in your dream
no request is too extreme
when you wish upon a star
like dreamers do

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
the sweet fulfillment of
their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
fate steps in and pulls you through
when you wish upon a star
your dream comes true

[She reaches out her hand to Aeneas.
He goes to her.
She sings to him.]

Like a bolt out of the blue
fate steps in and pulls you through
when you wish upon a star
your dreams come true

What's your name?


[She begins to unbutton his shirt.]

You know,
a cave that has been dark for a million years
will become bright
the moment a candle is lit inside it.

Things can happen so suddenly.


In spring, I think,
the dawn is most beautiful.


In summer, the nights.

[She takes off his shirt.
A couple of chorus members help her.
They take off his trousers.]

In autumn, the evenings.


[She leads him to a hot tub,
and, letting her own robe slip to the floor,
gets in it with him.]

In winter, the early mornings.
Especially, when snow has fallen during the night.

[She is bathing him now.]

Or when the ground is white with frost.
Or even when there is no snow or frost
but it is simply very cold.


And people in the household hurry from room to room
stirring up the fires
and bringing charcoal.
But as noon approaches,
and the cold wears off,
no one bothers to keep the fires lit,
and soon nothing remains but piles of white ashes.


You know...
sometimes I think
I could just put myself in a woman's hands forever
just do exactly what she says


I like it when a woman climbs on top of me
rests both hands on the bed
looks down at me
and makes love to me, while I
press both hands to her heart

Or sits upright on you,
her head thrown back
bringing her feet together
on the bed to one side of your body.


we call that
the Swan.

You know
if you grasp your penis and move it
in circles inside her
we call this
Churning the Curds.


Or, drawing up her feet,
she might revolve her hips so that your penis
circles deep inside her,
we call that the Honey Bee.

Or if she sits astride you,
facing your feet,
brings both her feet up to your thighs,
and works her hips
this is known as
the Swan Sport

Or, catching your penis, she
guides it into her quim
clings to you and shakes her buttocks:
this is called the Lovely Lady in Control

And when you hold each other's hands,
sprawled like two starfish making love,
her nipples stabbing your chest,
her thighs stretched out along yours:
this is called the Coitus of the Gods

Sometimes, you know,
before you make love
you can massage your penis
with honey mixed with powdered black pepper,
and you'll find you can go on and on.
Women like this.

Or leaves caught as they fall from trees
and powdered with peacock-bone
and fragments of a corpse's winding-sheet
dusted lightly on the penis,
will bewitch any woman living.

Or if you crush milky chunks of cactus
with sulphur,
dry the mixture seven times, powder it
and apply it to your penis,
you'll find that you can satisfy
any woman.

But when she is tired
and her passion has ebbed,
you should let her rest, bending forward to lay
her forehead on yours
without disturbing your bodies joined together.

And sometimes, then
your lover will feel aroused again
and take your penis
in her hand and, shaping
her lips to an 'O', lay them lightly to its tip,
moving her head in tiny circles.
We call this Touching

And then she takes the head of your penis
gently between her lips,
first pressing, then kissing it tenderly
and pulling at its soft skin

And then she lets the head slide
into her mouth
and presses the shaft firmly between her lips,
holding a moment before pulling away
we call this
Inviting the Nectar

And then taking your penis deep into her mouth,
pulling on it and sucking
as though she were stripping clean a mango-stone:
this is what we call
Sucking a Mango.


When I was a child
I would go for a walk in the woods,
and everyone would say
be careful
stay on the path
don't wander off the path
or you'll get lost.
And I was always afraid I might wander into the woods
deeper and deeper
and never find my way back again
and it frightened me until now
when I think of you,
and the voice in the back of my head says
go on
go ahead
go off the path.

[Dido puts a robe around him
and moves him to a couch
where there is food and drink.
He lies with his head in her lap.]

I was thinking
we were travelling by camel in the dessert,
and we decided to stop and rest
on a lawn in the suburbs.
My blouse was off.
And there were all these people
playing croquet around us.
We took a walk through the village.
Sometimes we were together
and sometimes apart
and we would meet sometimes.
It was a wonderful community in this village
and we were having a feast at a long table outdoors
and someone gave me a baby
and it was you
and everyone was looking at me
and I bent down to kiss you
but I kissed you
as a grownup.

I thought you were a pond
and I slipped into you
you were so cool
and dark

Do you ever dream of the end of the world?
I dream the world is ending
everything is burning
and there is nowhere to run.

All I can remember was a pale lightning flash for two or three seconds. Then, I collapsed. I don't know how much time passed before I came to. Sandy dust was flying all around. I was trapped under the debris, and I was in terrible pain and that's probably why I came to. I couldn't move, not an inch. I found one of my friends lying alive. I held her up in my arms. Her skull was cracked open, her flesh was dangling out from her head. She had only one eye left, and it was looking right at me. The lower part of her body was trapped, buried inside of the debris. First, she was mumbling something but I couldn't understand her. She started to bite off her finger nail. I took her finger out of her mouth. And then, I held her hand, then she started to reach for her notebook in her chest pocket, so I asked her, I said, "You want me to take this along to hand it over to your mother?" She nodded. Then she was gone.

I haven't really slept much lately.
I lie down, but I don't sleep.
I'm always watching the door,
the window,
then back to the door.
I get up five times a night,
to check the windows
sometimes ten or fifteen times.
There's always something within reach,
like a knife or a chair
I used to sleep with a gun underneath my pillow.

If I saw someone down an alley in the dark
I wouldn't go the other way,
I'd go down there thinking,
"Maybe I'll get lucky."
I guess I wanted to be killed.
Once I came on a guy raping a hooker.
She was screaming....
and it was easy to tell he was hurting her real bad.
I yelled at him.
And he turned around and started reaching behind his back,
so I knew he was carrying something.
I ran on him so fast and had his elbow before he could pull out his gun
and I pounded the shit out of him.
After that I started carrying a carving fork with me
wherever I went.
I sharpened the tines
I didn't want to kill anyone.
I figured you could just stick it into somebody so far
before it stopped.

[During these texts,
Aeneas sits up
she lies face down
he peels back her robe
and gives her a massage.

the chorus steps forward to sing a song:

The Cowboy Junkies arrangement of
Dreaming My Dreams With You]

I hope that I find what I'm reaching for
a way that is in my mind
I hope that there won't be a wrong any more
and maybe I'll learn this time.

Some day I'll get over you
I'll live to see it all through
But I'll always miss
dreaming my dreams with you.

But I won't let it change me
Not if I can
I'd rather believe in love
And give it away as much as I can
to those that I'm fondest of

Some day I'll get over you
I'll live to see it all through
But I'll always miss
dreaming my dreams with you

Some day I'll get over you
I'll miss dreaming with you
Some day I'll get over you
I'll miss dreaming with you
Some day I'll get over you
I'll miss dreaming with you
Some day.

[As they sing,
Dido turns over onto her back,
Aeneas sits next to her,
one hand on her quim,
as he leans back, motionless,
supporting himself with his other hand,
and a minuscule sailboat
crosses from one side of the stage to the other
very, very slowly.


Have you ever read Tarot cards?


Would you like to?

Ummm. Sure.

You don't believe in the cards?

Do you?

Well, of course I do.


So, do you?

Want to read them?

Believe in them?

I'd like to read them with you.

[She takes a deck of tarot cards.
While Dido and Aeneas do the cards, the veterans serve food and drink to the chorus, serve the women, make them comfortable, bring them robes, etc.]

you take the cards
and hold them.
Look at them.
And choose one you like.

One I like?

One that feels good to you.

This one does.

The three of wands.
A calm person.
His back turned.
Standing on the edge of a cliff
looking out to sea at passing ships.
His ships.

Were you thinking of leaving?

I was thinking of coming here.

This guy is not on a ship going anywhere.
He's standing on the shore
looking at the ships.
With longing, maybe.

Longing for you, probably.

You think I'm a ship?


Let me have the deck.

[she shuffles them, places one down]

This is what you do.
You choose another card.
Like that.
Put it on top of the first.
This covers him.

Covers him?

That's what they say.

The Star.

This is the influence that works on you now.
Loss. Abandonment.

Loss, yes.
That's true.
But abandonment.
I don't think that's me.

Or some would say: it means hope. Bright prospects.

It seems you can say whatever you want.

Well, sort of.
[she takes another card and puts it down]
These are his obstacles.

A dead man?
With ten swords in his back?



Tears. Sadness. Desolation.

No kidding.
Let's stop now.

We have to keep going now.
This is how it is in life.
Once you start,
you have to see it to the end.

Make it go more quickly then.
Put all the cards down.
Let's see them all.


All right.
This crowns him: it is the best you may hope for.
The nine of pentacles
A woman with a bird on her hand.
Prudence. Discernment. Success.

This is beneath him: it is what you have to work with.
The page of cups.

Not deception, no.
Or seduction either.
You don't think I've seduced you, do you?

The cards don't lie.
They're only cards after all.
They are what they are.

And do you think I would deceive you?

Have you ever deceived anyone else?

Recently you mean.

I meant ever.


Then I guess you could deceive me, too.

Do you think people can change?

I think they can fall in love
and change completely,
and stay the same.

This is behind you--it's what you leave behind.

Are you making it come out this way?


I don't think you're supposed to cheat.


Arrange the cards beforehand
so they come out the way you've planned.

I haven't done that.


And this lies before you.

Death, of course.

[she turns over the card]


You're doing this to me.

It's okay.
It's only cards.

But you believe them.

Death, you know,
may not be always bad.
Until you've died
you can't be reborn.


The last four cards:
Yourself: your relationship to all this.
The hermit.

Your home.
The Queen of Cups.
This must be me.
Beautiful. Honest. Devoted.

Your hopes and fears.
The Fool.
Your hope and your fear is folly.
Giving in to your heart.

And what is to come.
The moon.


You know,
I can read these cards, too.
The moon is change.

See. You've read the story backwards.
It begins with change.
And moves back
from the outer cards to the center
through darkness
to intoxication
to giving in to my heart
then to wisdom and happiness
to death
and to rebirth in love
with you.

This wouldn't be fair for you to lie to me.
To make me fall in love with you.
I told you how you can read the cards
and leave.
You don't have to do this.
You could just leave it alone.
Keep me in a good place in your heart.
Remember me.
And keep on going
wherever it was you were headed
and I could let you go.

But the way I read the cards
I know it's true.

Unless the death card really does mean an end.

You know: All great love stories end in death because the truth of life is that all any of us ever have is one great love in life, not two or three or a hundred. Just one. And then we die--whether soon or later, it doesn't matter, because that's all we are given in life, only one chance at real love, and all the rest is just what comes before and after--and if a love story ended differently it would be untrue.

No. We make our own chances. There's never an end of chances until you're dead.
That I found you is the proof of it.

That you found me is the proof that you have one chance in life.

Do you cook?

Well, I like to cook.

What do you like to cook?

I can cook pasta
and fish.


I've always thought,
one day,
when I have lots of time
you know,
long afternoons
I'd like to really learn to cook
and make pottery.

After we make love.


The chorus, as girl group, steps forward to sing:

Wham bebop boom bam
I can swing, and I can jam
Wham bebop boom bam
I'm a killer diller yes I am
Wham bebop boom bam
When you learn it you'll be proud
Wham bebop boom bam
Join the crowd and swing out loud

Some folks say that swing won't stay
and it's dying out
But I can proove it's in the groove
and they don't know what they're talking about

Wham bebop boom bam
It's easy to do like the Suzy-Q
Wham bebop boom bam
If I can do it you can, too

[The music continues
The veterans dance the Charleston
with members of the chorus.

Dido and Aeneas rise from couch and join the dancing.

At the end of the song, Dido breaks away,
steps to mike to sing--some sentimental ballads, torch songs.

While she sings
one veteran and a chorus member begin to dance
a romantic Tharp-like or Astaire-like dance.

Aeneas does some sand dancing or soft shoe dancing to one side.

One veteran and one chorus member
put on ice skates
and do a romantic ice dance number.


the Linda Ronstandt arrangement of Crazy--or Dinah Washington's Our Love is Here to Stay--or use this for the very end?
with saxophone backup

Say I'll move the mountain
and I'll move the mountain
if he wants them out of the way

Crazy he calls me
sure I'm crazy
Crazy in love you see

I say I'll go through fire
and I'll go through fire
if he wants it
so it shall be

Crazy he calls me
sure I'm crazy
Crazy in love you see

Like the wind
that shakes the bough
he moves me with a smile
the difficult
I'll do right now
the impossible
will take a little while

I'll say I'll care forever
and I'll mean forever
if I have to hold up the sky

Crazy he calls me
sure I'm crazy
crazy in love am I

Like the wind
that shakes the bough
he moves me with his smile
the difficult
I'll do right now
the impossible
will take a little while
I say I'll care forever
and I'll mean forever
if I have to hold up the sky

Crazy he calls me
sure I'm crazy
crazy in love
am I

[Now she segues into the Sinead O'Connor
arrangement of Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered]

After one whole quart of brandy
like a daisy I'll awake
with no bromo seltzer handy
I don't even shake
Men are not a new sensation
I've done pretty well I think
but this half pint imitation
put me on the blink

I'm wild again
beguiled again
a simpering whimpering child again
Bewitched bothered and bewildered
am I

couldn't sleep
and wouldn't sleep
when love came and told me I shouldn't sleep
bewitched bothered and bewildered
am I

lost my heart
but what of it
he is calm
I agree
he can laugh
but I love it
although the laugh's on me
I'll sing to him
each spring to him
and long for the day when I'll cling to him
bewitched bothered and bewildered
am I

he's a fool
and don't I know it
but a fool can have his charms
I'm in love and don't I show it
like a babe in arms

I've sinned a lot
I mean a lot
but I'm my sweet seventeen a lot
bewitched bothered and bewildered
am I

I'll sing to him
each spring to him
and worship the trousers that cling to him
bewitched bothered and bewildered
am I

when he talks
he is seeking
wants to get
off his chest
how his arms while he's speaking
he's at his very best
next to him
oh yes
perplexed again
and how
I can be oversexed again
bewitched bothered and bewildered
am I

Aeneas joins Dido at the mike for a duet of
You're Mine, or
Sentimental Reasons
or Let me Call you Sweetheart

I love you
for sentimental reasons
I hope you do believe me
I'll give you my heart

I love you
and you alone were meant for me
please give your loving heart to me
and say we'll never part

I think of you every morning
dream of you every night
darling I'm never lonely
whenever you're in sight

I love you
for sentimental reasons
I hope you do believe me
I've given you my heart

I think of you every morning
dream of you every night
Darling I'm never lonely
whenever you're in sight

I love you
for sentimental reasons
I hope you do believe me
I've given you my heart

[At the final chorus, Dido and Aeneas resume dancing together while the chorus
finishes the song and
Dido and Aeneas return to the couch and make love.

While they are making love, several chorus members segue into:

the Willie Nelson arrangement of These Precious Days

Oh it's a long long while
from May to December
but the days grow short
when you reach September
when the autumn weather
turn leaves to flame
one hasn't got time
for the waiting game
oh the days dwindle down
to a precious few
and these few precious days
I'll spend with you
these precious days
I'll spend with you

oh the days dwindle down
to a precious few
and these few precious days
I'll spend with you
these precious days
I'll spend with you
these precious days
I'll spend with you

while other members of the chorus do slow dancing throughout the song.


I dreamed
I was flying in a small plane
a Piper Cub
a young woman with me
a clear, beautiful day,
so clear in the sky
wonderful sunshine
the fertile landscape below
green fields
small lakes
clear ponds
and I was not only flying
not only exhilarated to be up in the sky
but I was taking off and landing
taking off and landing again and again
I could go from heaven to earth
and back again
whenever I wanted

[The following set of speeches are distributed among the chorus. They echo Aeneas

I love your hair, I love to brush it and wind it around my fingers
I love your ear

I love your quickness
I love to lick your eyes
I love it when you put your tongue in my ear and make a sucking, rushing sound of boulders and rapids, white water

I love your singing when we make love, and your shouting and calling out loud and your laughing and humming and your ohs
I love your quim I might have mentioned that first it's just like you, quick and sweet tasting, delicious and full of nooks and pools, slides and surprises

I love it when you try to pick me up off the floor

I love it when we wake and sleep and wake and sleep a thousand times during the night

I love your toes
I love to kiss you on the neck when you turn your head all the way to your right side
when you think I'm not looking

I love to listen to your voice

How men are.

Sometimes I worry you will leave me.

I leave you?

Or will you fall in love with someone else?


You might.
Make love with someone else.
I think I couldn't bear that.
I knew a man who was married
and had a lover
for thirty years.
He would have dinner with his family
and then go and have dinner with his lover.
Every night for thirty years,
he ate two dinners.

This is a man you're talking about.
I couldn't make love with anyone but you.

But there are bigamists, you know.

These are all men.

I was thinking about going shopping.
I was thinking about making love with you
And so I went shopping
and I bought two summer dresses
just simple things
and all I was thinking about when I picked them out
was how you would take them off
one with lots of tiny buttons down the front
and the other a long tee-shirt dress
sort of suggestive
not the usual sort of thing I wear
I mean I don't usually wear suggestive things,
do you think?

Well, I guess not.
In a way.
To others maybe.

Are you worried about yourself?

But I've made promises.


To go on,
to find a home for those who have come with me.


To take revenge.

It seems remote to me now.
To take revenge.
But I did promise.

You've found a home.

You mean here?


You could come with me.

Come with you?

Would you?

Are you asking me?

AENEAS [after a moment's pause]

My home is here.

You wouldn't leave?

Why don't you stay?

This is a woman's world.

A woman's world?
What's that?

I don't know, but...
it's not a world I've made.
The world I promised I would make.

What world was that?

A world
false hope.

A world not built on sentiment.

Ideas we used to have of how things could be
before we learned
in our time
who we really are.

A world that can

DIDO [smiling]
Is this really what you're saying to me?


Is this what you really believe?



This is your reason you want to leave?


[This is developing into a real, angry lovers' fight.]

Your real reason?


And you let me fall in love with you?


You let me fall in love with you
and you meant to leave?

I didn't mean anything.
I didn't have any intention.
I was lost, remember?
It just happened.

Think about it.
Are you awake now?


Are you wide awake?

[As Dido and Aeneas quarrel, the men and women of the chorus turn their backs on one another, walk away from one another, storm offstage, come back mad, push one another, etc.]


You loved me when you saw me,
and I loved you.
We fell in love the way people do.
And then take months to find it out
or never do.
Or else they really don't.
But you love me, don't you?

[long silence]


And now you are saying you need to leave
and that the reason is you need to live in a world without hope.
Are you listening to yourself?


It's not that you're afraid of me?


Afraid of my love for you?

Of course not.

Or your love for me?

[a moment of his not understanding the question]


You think someone who could love you so much
might be crazy?


Not balanced.
Someone who would read Tarot cards
must be crazy?


Kind of fun
but not someone you could feel comfortable with
year in year out.
Someone who might believe in other strange things
astrological charts
children's stories


The I Ching.


You wouldn't lie to me?


Because I'm black?


Because I'm foreign to you?


You know, like 80% of men don't like their jobs, I mean they find them intrinsically meaningless and onerous. 80%. They experience their jobs and themselves as worthwhile only through priding themselves on the hard work and personal sacrifice they are making to be breadwinners for their families. But do their families appreciate that? No. In fact a man can become bitter and angry and frustrated about his wife and family, the way they take his earnings for granted, the way they come to expect that as their due, and then put the man down for his materialistic middle class trip. Sometimes he'd just like to tell them to get someone else to support them.

Because I'm a woman?


[she speaks not with anger but with considerateness--as though she might help him past his fears if she can discover them]
So different.
Such another world.
Such a foreign country
to settle down in and feel at home
So unfamiliar.
Such a different landscape
such a different way of looking out and seeing the world around you.
You might become a different person altogether
living here
a kind of person you wouldn't even recognize
Are you afraid you might not be able to tell where it all might end.
What our lives might become.
How we might become lost in one another.

[Aeneas exits.]

Or else, that you will give up the life you know
and then find out this life of ours collapses, too,
and you'll be lost
it will be too late to recover what you had
you'll end your life alone
in some country you never meant to come to
no shape left to your life
no point, no goal, no aim

Or it could end--
this love at first glance--
could just be infatuation

[Aeneas returns.]

a fling
no lasting love
or it could lead to something so deep
so lifelong
such a commitment
to another person
who might die
or make a life with you
no one can control
and you don't know me
stepping into the unknown
your only life
for all eternity
this would be your fate


Stay for a while.
See if time
will change things for you.

[Dido makes her way to the hot tub and climbs in.]

If I stay I'm afraid I'll never leave.
But I'll stay from weakness,
from failure to keep my word,
not strength.

[The men of the chorus, lined up against the back wall,
say everything Aeneas says, before he says it,
overlapping with Aeneas in frantic explanation,
so that all the men are expressing these thoughts.]

You know,
I have to think about my age
and my health
how long I have to do the things I set out to do in the world
in order to feel okay about myself
do the things I think I am capable of doing
even have some talent, or gift
even what I like to do
I mean what I've been trained to do
I don't know if this is a difference between men and women
where men can't
in a way
just follow their hearts
but have to honor certain obligations they have made
and things to do in the world
as men/people who were meant to achieve something
Plus I have obligations.

I mean
I have a friend who had a career
in Haiti and South Africa and Paris
doing what he thought he could
this was someone who had been a conscientious objector
or another friend who has been a prison doctor
a prison doctor all these years
you know what a thankless task that is
this guy is a saint
and I think what am I doing
There are certain things--
the goals a man has for his life
his career
to feel good about himself
to feel he is someone
or even just to honor the commitments he has made
to feel he is an honest person
a man
who can be counted on
what else is it to be a man
if, when you give your word,
it can be counted on
you stand for something
which is, I mean, whether you believe in immortality or not
what you have to contribute
the best you can do
having been raised to DO something
men are meant to DO something
or else they've just never existed
stand by something
be ready to die for it
put their lives on the line
there may even be some deep biological thing to this

[Aeneas speaks by himself.]

I feel it
I feel I can't let it go
without just
annihilating myself.


Then go.


They hug for a moment
and then Dido grabs Aeneas by the hair
and pushes him under water.
The chorus movements among the men and women become violent
pushing and slamming each other into the wall,
throwing one another to the ground,

Dido picks up Aeneas's head--he comes up gasping--
and pushes it under the water again and again.

They are thrashing wildly.
She is plunging his head under water over and over.
Finally she leaves him submerged.

She drags herself out of the hot tub,
lies on the floor.

The CHORUS sings.

When somebody loves you
it's no good unless he loves you
all the way.

Happy to be near you
when you need someone to cheer you
all the way.

[While the chorus sings this final song,
Aeneas drags himself from the hot tub.
He is nearly dead--
or else, he doesn't drag himself from the tub,
and he is dead.]

Taller than the tallest tree is
that's how it's got to feel
Deeper than the deep blue sea is
that's how deep it goes
if it's real.

[Aeneas collapses on the floor.
The chorus members are variously finding their way back to one another,
embracing one another.]

When somebody needs you
you're no good unless he needs you
all the way.

[Slowly, Aeneas drags himself across the floor
and puts his arm around Dido, who lies face down on the floor.
They lie together,both on their stomachs, exhausted,
his arm around her
facing opposite directions.]

Through the good or lean years
and for all the in between years
come what may

Who knows where the road will lead us
only a fool would say

But if you'll let me love you
it's for sure I'm gonna love you
all the way.

But if you'll let me love you
it's for sure I'm gonna love you
all the way.
All the way.

[Lights out.]

The End.


Trojan Women 2.0 was developed--with Greg Gunter as dramaturg--the way Max Ernst made his Fatagaga pieces at the end of World War I: incorporating shards of our contemporary world, to lie, as in a bed of ruins, within the frame of the classical world. It incorporates, also, texts by the survivors of Hiroshima and of the Holocaust, by Slavenka Drakulic, Zlatko Dizdarevic, Georges Bataille, Sei Shonagon, Elaine Scarry, Hannah Arendt, the Kama Sutra, Amy Vanderbilt, and the Geraldo show.

A Note on the Music:
There are too many songs in this piece. I loved them all so much I couldn't cut any, but there are too many. Also, a director and actors may want to bring in other songs that they feel capture the essence of the piece. Feel free to do it.

Charles Mee's work has been made possible by the support of Richard B. Fisher and Jeanne Donovan Fisher.

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