Study Guide

Closer

by Patrick Marber

Closer Summary

Summary

The play Closer opens in a hospital waiting room in England. It is January, and Alice is going through a briefcase. Dan enters with some drinks and finds her putting his things back in the briefcase. As they talk and flirt with each other, it is revealed that Alice was hit by a cab while crossing the street after making eyes at Dan. Dan tells her that he works for a dead-end job writing obituaries and that he dreams of being a writer, but has not found his voice. Larry, a doctor, passes by and Dan asks him for help. Dan is about to brush them off, but notices that Alice is attractive and stops to look over, asking about a scar on her leg. After he leaves, Alice convinces Dan to call into work sick and spend the day with her.

The second scene takes place a year and a half later in Anna’s photography studio. She is taking Dan’s picture for the jacket of his first book, which is all about Alice. As Anna takes his picture, Dan comes onto her and they kiss. Shortly thereafter, Alice arrives, meets Anna and goes to the bathroom. Dan begs Anna to see him again, but she refuses. Alice returns from the bathroom and asks Anna to take her picture. She makes Dan leave, and Anna begins taking her picture. While Anna is taking photographs and making small talk, Alice reveals that she overheard Dan’s proposition. Anna tries to apologize and the scene ends with Anna taking a picture of Alice’s tearful face.

The third scene of the play takes place in cyberspace the following January. Dan approaches Larry in a chat room and pretends to be Anna. He engages Larry in cybersex and then promises to meet him the following day at the aquarium.

Scene Four takes place at the aquarium the next day. Larry strikes up a conversation with Anna and starts referencing their adult conversation on the internet the previous day. Anna realizes what is happening and tells him that it was Dan. A frustrated Larry asks about Anna’s relationship with Dan. When Anna attempts to take his picture, he initially refuses, but relents when she sadly tells him that it is her birthday.

The fifth scene jumps ahead five months to a gallery presenting Anna’s photography exhibit. Alice and Dan are standing in front of the tear-streaked photography of Alice. Alice worries that Dan will leave her, but he reassures and leaves to say congratulations to Anna. Larry enters and recognizes that Alice is the girl in the photograph. Alice condemns the photo and the photographer as being empty, and Larry reveals he is now Anna’s boyfriend. Alice recognizes Larry as the doctor from the hospital when he asks about a scar on her leg, and the two flirt with each other. Elsewhere, Dan finds Anna...

(The entire section is 1094 words.)