The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe Characters

Jane Wagner

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Lily, the actress (that is, Lily Tomlin, for whom the play was written). Addressing the audience directly, with respect and gratitude, Lily wonders and worries about the quirks of modern life.


Trudy, a New York City bag lady. Trudy has been certified as “crazy” and is proud of it. She communicates directly with aliens, whom she calls her “space chums,” helping them to evaluate the signs of intelligent life on earth. She is carefree and playful, with a deep sense of irony. Survival on the streets has sharpened her perceptions and blunted her sensibilities: She unabashedly acknowledges the vulgar realities of urban life and confronts anyone who gets in her way. Trudy ranges the streets, talking to Tina and Brandy or organizing the paradoxical scientific data she records on Post-it notes. While penetrating society’s delusions and questioning its idiocy, Trudy is beyond searching for answers or meaning; she simply loves the mystery.

Judith Beasley

Judith Beasley, a suburban housewife who once sold Tupperware products but recently discovered sexual freedom and now markets erotic products that guarantee orgasms for suburban housewives.


Chrissy, an unskilled but energetic aerobics fanatic. Chrissy is a jumble of conflicts and rationalizations. Virtually unemployable, obsessively self-aware, and potentially suicidal, she is searching for easy answers to all of her problems and finds false hope in ironic sayings, conventional wisdom, and self-help formulas.


Paul, a young divorcé. Between sex, drugs, and bodybuilding, Paul is tired of living on thrills. He philandered and ruined his marriage, and now he misses his son. Paul has difficulty adapting to modern mores.


Kate, a rich and beautiful socialite. Kate is...

(The entire section is 783 words.)