I originally thought this was a farce.
I was wrong.
This play felt very "real" to me. By that, I mean that it seemed to me to represent a modern relationship that is not easily defined and by no means simple, and yet is based in happiness. So often I feel that we're presented with very unhappy marriages in the media. People rarely write about happy people these days. That being said, this couple isn't entirely happy. I think they suffer from a common problem of communication (or lack thereof). A mutual friend of the couple comments:
All I think is I'm always in the middle with you two. Paul talks to me. You talk to me. Don't you ever talk to each other? I don't know what you should do. It's not my life. I mean I have enough of my own stuff to figure out and I don't go around asking people what I should do because they're my problems and they're not very interesting unless you're me. In which case, they're mostly just a pain in the ass.There are people who keep everything to themselves and there are people who have to talk it out with others. It's so true that sometimes it's easier to talk to another person that to talk to your loved one. The stakes aren't as high. It's "safer." Yet, it doesn't solve the problem. It might help you to get your own thoughts straightened out but it won't improve your relationship. Who knew this blog would turn into - What I've Learned About Relationships By Reading Plays. I swear that was not my intention! But what are most plays about? Love. All kinds of love. So it gets your head thinking.
In the very last scene (they are now divorced) Susan says to Paul:
Today, being with you again, I just started remembering how nice it was. Sometimes. When it was nice. We should've married other people and had a long affair.!!!!!
This makes me sad. She's essentially saying they would have had a better relationship and therefore happier if they never got married and were cheating on their partners. What kind of twisted logic is that? It harkens back to what Inge was saying in Bus Stop about how love has become too complex for the modern (hu)man to handle.
It's hard to watch this couple fall apart because it seems that they are so good together. They overcome a lot of obstacles over the course of the play and we are rooting for them until the end. And at the end, it's clear that there's still love between them, despite the destruction of the relationship. I guess love just isn't always enough.
I leave you with a funny quote by Lawrence, Susan's boss/interior decorator:
Isn't it funny how everyone's wearing turquoise nowadays? I never used to like it, but now everyone's wearing it and I'm beginning to see what they mean. There's nothing like a trend to change the way you feel about things.Wednesday Play-a-day: The Play About the Baby by Edward Albee