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American Dream

Edward Albee


Part seven

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Part seven

Page 1

Page 2

Part seven

Part seven


Mrs. Barker emerges and, stunned by the new arrival, asks who the Young Man is. Grandma announces him as the van man; after a glance at Grandma, the Young Man plays along. Upon her request, he takes her boxes out to the "van". Mrs. Barker consoles Grandma: the man who carted off her own mother was not half as nice. When Grandma appears surprised that Mrs. Barker sent her mother away, Mrs. Barker cheerfully confesses she assumed she did as well. Grandma cannot recall.

Forcefully taking Mrs. Barker aside, Grandma whispers a solution to Mommy and Daddy's dilemma into her ear. Mrs. Barker exits to find them. Now alone, Grandma looks about and sighs "Goodbye". The Young Man returns and reports that all the boxes are outside. Sadly, Grandma wonders why she takes them with her. They contain little more than the "things one accumulates"—old letters, a blind Pekinese, regrets, eighty-six years of living, sounds, her Sunday teeth, and so on.

She instructs the Young Man to stay, and they slowly exit to the elevator. Mrs. Barker, Mommy, and Daddy return, celebrating the resolution of their dilemma: they will get their satisfaction after all. Suddenly Mommy exclaims that Grandma and her boxes are missing: she has left and stolen something no less. Mrs. Barker informs her that the van man claimed her. Near tears, Mommy replies that this is impossible: the van man is their invention. She calls to Grandma.

While Daddy comforts Mommy, Grandma emerges at stage right, near the footlights. She hushes the audience, declaring that she wants to watch the events to ensue. Motioning to Mrs. Barker, she tiptoes to the front door: the Young Man appears framed within. Mrs. Barker joyfully announces Mommy and Daddy's surprise.

They introduce themselves. Truly pleased with her replacement, Mommy calls for a celebration. Now at least they know why they sent for Mrs. Barker. She asks Mrs. Barker the Young Man's name; Mrs. Barker invites her to name him as she will—perhaps he can have the name of the other one. Mommy and Daddy cannot remember his name, however. The Young Man appears with a tray, a bottle of sauterne, and five glasses. Mommy chastises him: there are only four present. Grandma indicates to the Young Man that she is absent, and he apologizes. Mommy notes he will have to learn to count: they are a rich family. They toast satisfaction. Her voice a little fuzzy from the wine, Mommy promises to tell the Young Man of the disaster they had with the last one. She muses that there is something familiar about him.

Grandma interrupts and addresses the audience. We should leave things as they are and go no further while everyone is happy or has what they want or has what they think they want. She bids the audience good night.

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