Woman Two, and
Woman Three, who are on stage as the play begins, clustered together to suggest a plant form while a voiceover tape talks about one-celled creatures floating in the sea. Woman One says she is Margaret Fuller, the noted nineteenth century feminist, and that she accepts the universe. The other two women in unison reply that, as the nineteenth century philosopher Thomas Carlyle said, you had better accept, for life must live while it can. In a later scene, Woman One is angry; she and Woman Two beat Woman Three. They appear again in the final scene, as they singly or in twos or threes repeat the words “bodies,” “bellies,” and “eggs in bellies” as they touch their breasts and sides and stomachs. They end by turning their backs to the audience as they ask if “eggies in our bellies” are enough. Here, as throughout the play, they imply that there is more to women than their sexual or reproductive functions. For most of the play, these three characters assume the roles of other women. Sometimes the roles are specified—in the second scene, for example, Woman One becomes Sophie—but usually the scenes shift abruptly without the directions saying which woman plays which role. This adds to the thematic suggestion that society often sees women as alike or as merely fulfilling roles rather than being individuals.
Sophie, an elderly woman behind a counter in a Brooklyn delicatessen with her sister Esther. A young girl comes in to buy beer. The girl is in a hurry, but Sophie keeps looking at her hair and wanting to touch it because it reminds her of her mother’s hair and of her own when she was young. Sophie regrets the loss of her sense of...
(The entire section is 743 words.)