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Pearls for Pigs


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A: Richard Foreman Pf: 1997, Hartford, Connecticut Pb: 2001 G: Drama in 1 act; prose and some free verse S: Large panelled room containing proscenium, indeterminate period (possibly c.1900) C: 7m, 1f The Maestro, attended by four Large Male Dwarfs, encounters Pierrot and Colombine and declares that he hates the actors in the play and wonders whether to begin improvising. He cancels the play and promptly has sex with Colombine, asking the audience how he can be stopped from doing that. He slits Colombine's throat and forces her into a coffin. Pierrot stabs the Maestro, but it is all just theatre. The Maestro, costumed by the dwarfs in a white dress and feather headdress, speaks of the stage as his ‘private kingdom’ which has no effect on the world outside. The Doctor appears, wearing a frogman suit and flippers (the aqua therapy took longer than expected), prepared to cure the Maestro's anger. The Doctor decides that he cannot help him, but soon reappears dressed for golf and carrying a platter with a severed head. The Maestro recognizes that reality does not exist: ‘mere fictions projected on a network of underlying nonexisting atomic nothings’. The Doctor and the Maestro debate this at length, and Colombine brings on a dummy of the Maestro. The Maestro promises to save everyone from ‘mind attack’ and is guillotined. Finally, his dummy appears astride a black horse.

A: Richard Foreman Pf: 1997, Hartford, Connecticut Pb: 2001 G: Drama in 1 act; prose and some free verse S: Large panelled room containing proscenium, indeterminate period (possibly c.1900) C: 7m, 1f

Possessing even less narrative coherence than The Breasts of Tiresias or one of Gertrude Stein's plays, Foreman's piece is a characteristic theatrical firework, full of physical action and dance, crazy moments, blatant sex, fantastic characters, outrageous costumes, and philosophical comment. Through the swirling mist of the stage happening one glimpses a tantalizing meditation on the nature of reality and theatre and on the role of the audience, referred to in the provocative title as ‘pigs’.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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