janet burroway

 

Medea With Child


 
 
  First GLOSSY and then CHASTEN emerge and prop themselves on pillows.
 
GLOSSY
I've been meaning to ask you. Your wife was quite famous in her day, wasn't she?
 
CHASTEN
Oh, yes, she was.
 
GLOSSY
I've been meaning to ask you, what exactly did she do?
 
CHASTEN
Ah, she was magnificent, You wouldn't think it to see her now, but she could hold them in the palm of her hand.
 
GLOSSY
Everyone says so. I was wondering what at.
 
CHASTEN
At Barcelona once they had to move into the stadium. Security was impossible.
 
GLOSSY
She was a rock star, then?
 
CHASTEN
Rock, ether, water, fire. It was all the same. She slayed them, laid them in the aisles. You wouldn't think it now.
 
GLOSSY
I mean, what did she call her act?
 
CHASTEN
Oh, "Death Diva."
 
GLOSSY
I see.
 
CHASTEN
Sometimes "Kitchen Witch."
 
GLOSSY
I see.
 
CHASTEN
You should have seen. The world was ready for her then. It was the 'sixties.
 
GLOSSY
I only meant...What did she do?
 
CHASTEN
Ah. She did Wagner, Jack the Ripper, Janis Joplin, Sylvia Plath. The Plague, schizophrenia, Sid Vicious, Lucrezia Borgia. Anne Sexton was her best turn, she was too early for AIDS. She did snakes under water, sawed herself in half. It was her area of expertise.
 
GLOSSY
Well, yes.
 
CHASTEN
Had one whole evening of tuberculosis, in oils and prose. Refined, that. Though I myself preferred The Doors.
 
GLOSSY
You did?
 
CHASTEN
Trap doors, shattering glass, balconies and turret plunges, bombs away. Tried a nuclear blast once but it was over the top.
 
GLOSSY
I'd guess.
 
CHASTEN
Richard Burton, Richard Speck, psychosis, streptococcus, Bombay. It's a wide field. Fifth acts, in particular; John the Baptist, Son of Sam. Never got into animals, she was squeamish.
 
GLOSSY
I'm glad to hear--
 
CHASTEN
Food poisoning, ritual disemboweling—had a first rate lighting man—John Belushi, arctic cold. Oh, yes, she was splendid in her prime, I give her that.
 
GLOSSY
You must have been very proud—
 
CHASTEN
Hemlock, heroin, crack, hari kari. Stevie Smith.
 

 
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