This one-act drama opens with Deborah’s awakening from a long sleep. A woman in her mid-forties, she is sitting up in a white bed looking around. Her gaze falls on Dr. Hornby, who wears a dark suit and is seated at a table in one of two chairs. As Deborah tries to assess what is happening, Hornby questions her, wondering if she knows him or can hear him. Believing that he is not listening to her, Deborah refuses to identify him as anyone. She talks about her sleeplessness and notes that she can speak French. Hornby informs her that she has been asleep for a long time, is much older than when she fell asleep, and is now awake.
Deborah seems unable to digest this information. When she finally looks at Hornby, she tries to grasp what he has told her but seems disoriented. Unsure of what language she is speaking, she is still not convinced that she is being heard, and she speaks as if she were still the young person who fell asleep years ago. When Hornby informs her that he is the one who woke her, she is only more confused, since she does not know him; she continues to ask for others who were there when she fell asleep as a younger person. Unsure of her age when asked, she settles on fifteen but begins to accuse the doctor of “touching” her; when he tells her that her parents brought her here, she wonders whether it was as a sacrifice, insisting that Hornby has seduced and “ruined” her.
Continuing to try to locate herself in time and space, Deborah wants to verify her age through her sisters, Pauline and Estelle. Pauline, she says, is too witty for her own good, and Estelle is deep and sensual. Deborah also continues to speculate about where she is, conjecturing that she may be in a seaside hotel or in a white tent in the Sahara Desert. Becoming defensive with the doctor about her long sleep, Deborah finally asks how long it has been; when the doctor informs her that it has been twenty-nine years, she is further confused about whether she has been or is dead. She asks about her boyfriend Jack and wonders what crime she may have committed to put her in this prison. When told that her sister Pauline is waiting to see her, she insists that she does not want to see any sisters or brothers, suggesting that her sisters are gluttons and confiding to Hornby that she once prayed she would never see any of them again.
Deborah continues to oscillate between the past and present. Learning from the doctor that he woke her with an injection, she tries to claim him as her Prince Charming, but he...
(The entire section is 1031 words.)