The Play

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

Aunt Dan and Lemon opens with Lemon, a sickly young woman living in London, directly addressing the audience, promising to tell “everything about my life.” She lives alone in an apartment and subsists entirely on bread and the fruit and vegetable juices she considers her friends. She explains that her parents are dead and that she has little to do but sleep, masturbate, and read, mostly about the Nazi death camps. Her monologue is interrupted by scenes from the past, memories of her life with her parents and events experienced by others about which Lemon has been told. Lemon’s father, Jack, is an American who studied at the University of Oxford and stayed in England after he married Susie, a fellow student. Jack describes his idealistic, romantic view of England and then contrasts it with the intensity of the country’s economic life and the difficulties he encounters as an executive in an automobile-parts company. Susie recounts how she met Danielle, a young American tutor at Oxford, who introduced her to Jack. Lemon explains that her Aunt Dan began calling her Lemon—Leonora is her given name—and that her parents and Aunt Dan were very close when she was a child, spending long evenings together in the garden of their suburban London home discussing books, playing charades, and listening to Susie read. This idyllic friendship begins to fall apart when Lemon’s parents disagree with Aunt Dan’s evolving political philosophy.

Before this estrangement, Lemon gradually moves across the garden from the main house to the small house Jack had intended to use as a study, and Aunt Dan visits her there:. . . it was an amazing thing that a person like Aunt Dan would spend all that time talking to an eleven-year-old child who wasn’t even that bright, talking about every complicated subject in the world, but listening to Aunt...

(The entire section is 756 words.)