Fugue for a Man and a Woman
a play for voices and instruments by A. S. Maulucci
fugue n. 1: a polyphonic musical composition in which one or
two themes are repeated or imitated by successively entering voices
and contrapuntally developed in a continuous interweaving of the voice
parts 2: a disturbed state of consciousness in which the one affected
performs acts of which he appears to be conscious but of which on
recovery he has no recollection.
-- Websterís Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
Scene: a bare stage with a man and a woman seated on stools or
simple chairs facing away from each other. Imagine them seated at
opposite ends of a sofa or sitting up in bed together. The woman is
reading a book. Occasionally, they look up at the audience as if
appealing to a tribunal. Only at the end of the play do they turn to
face one another.
Man: This is my sister -- wife -- a strong woman . . .
dedicated to her own quest for truth . . . Sheís a woman who loves
truth more than she loves me . . .
Woman: I love him . . . really . . .
Man: She says she loves me . . . Let that be enough . .
Woman: He says he loves me, but itís not enough . . . A
person has to love truth more than anything . . . A person must exist
alone and apart, without reference to anyone, in order to be a pure,
independent being with a well-defined identity . . . Once strong
alone, a person can be stronger with love . . .
Man: I define myself by loving her . . . But do I love her for
herself or for what I want from her? . . . I donít know . . .
Sheís disappointed me so often . . . Iím not really sure IĎm
capable of loving anyone . . . Then why go on? . . . Is a life without
love worth living?
Woman: Iíve had to work so hard for love as Iíve had to
work for everything else in my life . . . Nothing has been easy for me
and everything has had its price . . . Has it all been worth it? . . .
Perhaps . . . itís too soon to tell . . . I want to love and be
loved absolutely, inconsolably, undyingly . . . I want to be swept
away by passion . . . But I cannot force the issue with life . . .
Man: Life is more than an issue . . . or an unanswered question
. . . or an unfulfilled quest
Woman: My first love for him has been tempered by experience .
. . He must learn to accept that and let me love him in a new way, my
own way . . . he must have patience . . . This is a new cycle in my
life . . . he must wait for passion to possess me again . . . Until
then, he must be satisfied with knowing I loved him once . . . He must
learn more about
me . . . By knowing me better, he will eventually come to respect
the truth that is in me, and his love for me will grow deeper . . .
Man: There must be a foreknowledge of finality with love . . .
A sense that it exists absolutely and finally . . . a trust in its
uniqueness . . . and a profound certainty that without it one would
perish . . . More than anything I want to give myself up to her . . .
I want to commit myself body and soul to my love for her . . . I want
to love her purely, simply, absolutely . . .
Woman: But without permanence . . .
Man: Nothing in life is permanent . . .
Woman: Not even truth is permanent . . .
Man: Sheís a cynic . . . incurable . . .
Woman: Inevitable . . . Heís such a muddle-headed romantic .
. . and he sees me through a rose-colored glass . . .
Man: Sheís reading again . . . Night after night . . . living
beside me but not with me . . . with me but not of me .
. . alone and apart from me . . . I want to shock her out of this
self-absorption . . . crush her in an embrace . . . murder her with
passion . . . I want to kill the truth in her, the truth that she can
live without me . . . And that is the reason I hate her
Woman: I love his hatred . . . It is the proof of his love . .
. It makes his love more believable somehow, makes it real and true .
. . I could not trust his love for me unless I believed that he hated
me too, because I know I am worthy of his hatred . . . But can he ever
know the part of me that is totally unconnected to him? . . . Can he
love me in that place he is forbidden to enter?
Man: Iíve tried to understand her . . . her impetuous moods .
. . her frenetic energy . . . her self-annihilation and denial . . .
her need for truth and her negation of me . . . but there is a part of
her that is mysterious and unreachable . . . I am bewildered by the
part of her that has no connection with me . . . Sometimes we speak a
different language . . . and sometimes we are silent . . . Yet I know
that deep down we are the same . . . we have the same needs, the same
vulnerabilities . . . How can I ever grasp the totality of this woman
if she keeps a huge part of herself locked away from me? . . . How can
I give her what she wants if she wonít let me understand her needs?
. . . How much longer can I go on begging for intimacy without losing
my self-respect? . . . I wish she would understand this
Woman: I have no desire to understand him anyone . . . Iíve
given up trying to get inside his head . . . I have lost all my
passion for him . . . Maybe I just know him too well, and