THEATRE AFICIONADO AT LARGE

Posts tagged John Adams

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"Compliments"

JOHN: Good God, what’s happened to me? John Adams, the great John Adams, Wise Man of the East - what have I come to? My law practice down the pipe, my farm mortgaged to the hilt - at a stage in my life when other men prosper I’m reduced to living in Philadelphia.

Abigail appears, as before.

Oh, Abigail, what am I going to do?

ABIGAIL: Do, John?

JOHN: I need your help.

ABIGAIL: You don’t usually ask my advice.

JOHN: Yes - well, there doesn’t appear to be anyone else right now.

ABIGAIL, sighing: Very well, John, what is it?

JOHN: The entire South has walked out of this Congress, George Washington is on the verge of total annihilation, the precious cause for which I’ve labored these several years has come to nothing, and it seems - [a pause] - it seems I am obnoxious and disliked.

ABIGAIL: Nonsense, John.

JOHN: That I am unwilling to face reality.

ABIGAIL: Foolishness, John.

JOHN: That I am pigheaded.

ABIGAIL, smiling: Ah, well, there you have me, John. I’m afraid you are pigheaded.

He smiles; a pause.

JOHN: Has it been any kind of a life for you, Abby? God knows I haven’t given you much.

ABIGAIL: I never asked for more. After all, I am Mrs. John Adams - that’s quite a lot for one lifetime.

JOHN, bitterly: Is it, Abby?

ABIGAIL: Think of it, John! To be married to the man who is always the first in line to be hanged!

JOHN: Yes. The ag-i-ta-tor. [Turning to her] Why, Abby? You must tell me what it is! I’ve always been dissatisfied, I know that; but lately I find that I reek of discontentment! It fills my throat and floods my brain, and sometimes - sometimes I fear that there is no longer a dream, but only the discontentment.

ABIGAIL: Oh, John, can you really know so little about yourself? And can you think so little of me that you’d believe I married the man you’ve described? Have you forgotten what you used to say to me? I haven’t. “Commitment, Abby - commitment! There are only two creatures of value on the face of this earth: those with a commitment, and those who require the commitment of others.” [A pause.] Do you remember, John?

JOHN, nodding: I remember.

McNair enters, carrying two gaily beribboned kegs, and thumps them down in front of John.

MCNAIR: Mr. Adams - 

JOHN: What?

MCNAIR: These’re for you.

JOHN: Just a minute - what are they? What’s in them? Who sent them?

Music, in glissando.

ABIGAIL, singing:
Compliments of the Concord Ladies’ Coffee Club,
And the sisterhood of the Truro Synagogue,
And the Friday Evening Baptist Sewing Circle,
And the Holy Christian Sisters of St. Clare -
All for you, John!
I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be…
Yours…
Yours…
Yours…
Yours -

JOHN, speaking: Just a moment Abigail - what’s in those kegs?

ABIGAIL, singing triumphantly: 
Saltpetre, John! 

She blows a kiss and goes. John turns back to the Chamber.

- Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards1776

Filed under 1776 Sherman Edwards Peter Stone Compliments Abigail Adams John Adams 4th of July