Illyria Street Commune — Chapter 13

By Fredy Perlman (2011)

Revolt Library Anarchism Illyria Street Commune Chapter 13

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(1934 - 1985)
Fredy Perlman (August 20, 1934 – July 26, 1985) was an American author, publisher, professor, and activist. His most popular work, the book Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!, details the rise of state domination with a retelling of history through the Hobbesian metaphor of the Leviathan. Though Perlman detested ideology and claimed that the only "-ist" he would respond to was "cellist," his work as an author and publisher has been influential on modern anarchist thought. (From :


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Chapter 13

TAPED NARRATOR: (Sound of tape rewinding. Theme) bees to flowers. The ice was broken. Two members of the community joined us, then a — (Stop)

(MATTIE enters from right with a tray full of ceramic houses and some plates. She dusts them and slowly places them in the shelves)

(TONI enters from right, arranges a blanket and eight pillows in the center of the room. DAN enters from right with trays of vegetables, which he places on the blanket)

MATTIE: I can’t get over it. How can someone build all that and then smash it — all those friendships, all those dreams, all that work?

DAN: I read about this monarch who had his eye cut out, his collar bone fractured, his hand and leg mutilated —

TONI: I heard about a woman who did everything for her kid until he started to become independent — then she hacked him to death.

(DAN & TONI exit right. MATTIE wipes. SHARON & STEVE enter from right carrying the components of the puppet stage. Sharon borrows a rag from MATTIE and starts to dust them)

MATTIE: Something’s missing, isn’t it?

SHARON: Steve went with her once, you know. She was younger than I am, but married. How does this joint fit, Steve? — Oh, I remember.

MATTIE: You two be sure to drop over, you hear? I’m home just about all the time. It would be such a shame to let everything die out —

SHARON: We will, Mattie, but it’ll have to be on a weekend. We’re both working now.

MATTIE: So’s Dan. He’s typesetting books now. It’s a lot more interesting than his previous two jobs.

STEVE: That can be a trap too.

MATTIE: In what sense, Steve?

STEVE: Well, it’s interesting, but it’s not your interest; it’s good enough, but it’s not good — and you keep on doing it.

(TONI & DAN enter with bowls of batter, dishes)

DAN: I think we’re ready.

TONI (to right): Grover! Leon! Rose Anne! Supper’s ready.

VOICE OF GROVER: We’ll be right down! MATTIE: Did they exclude you, Sharon?

SHARON: I didn’t want to be in it. Without Alec or Lisa it’s not the same.

MATTIE: Lisa just insisted on going to her girlfriend’s; I’m sorry.

SHARON: Don’t be. Lisa is so much older now. I’d feel embarrassed.

TONI: (to right) Grover! For crying out —

VOICE OF GROVER: I’m on my way.

TONI: I bet!

(GROVER enters from right)

TONI: And the kids?

GROVER: Well Leon got us started watching this program, and we got all engrossed —

SHARON: And the play?

GROVER: Oh Christ, the play! You know I could do this gag I did once when —

DAN: Skip it, Grover.

TONI: Leon!


TONI (lights joint): Maybe this’ll give us an appetite.

MATTIE: I sure need one.

STEVE: When Ben first came here she called him the Underground.

SHARON: Ben thought she was an heiress, can you imagine?

STEVE: She told me he made her feel like an heiress, made her feel like giving her fortune to some cause, only she never had a fortune.

SHARON: He thought she was renting him the maid’s room.

GROVER: Yea, she was a good kid. I know this one woman who had an accident when —

TONI: Oh shut your trap, Grover!

VOICE OF LEON: It’s almost over!

MATTIE: Aren’t we trying to do the same thing they did at their Expo?

DAN: Only we don’t have a Lamia.

GROVER: Hey wait a minute! This isn’t —

TONI: It isn’t, Grover. We’re trying hard, but we’re not succeeding. We cooked Ben’s meal, but Ben won’t help us eat it.

SHARON: Alec was eight, Leon was seven and Lisa was six when we made that stage. I had just turned nineteen, but I was the youngest of the four.

MATTIE: Donna’s “gosh” is in the air and I keep looking around for her.

TONI: Philip accused me of “politicizing” her death by calling it suicide.

STEVE: Does Barry know?

TONI: He was already on his trip when it happened. Poor Barry.

SHARON: Misplaced pity.

TONI: I’m not sure. He kept talking about having this base to come back to. Maybe he was just trying to be sure it was still there when he came back, only he didn’t know how to do that.

STEVE: Maybe.

SHARON: I thought he knew everything when he first brought me. I was all excited and afraid. He told me police sirens would wake me in the middle of the night, and their guns would shoot holes in the walls, and I’d have to run down through the secret passageway and then through the city’s sewers with my machine gun.

TONI: Did you really believe that?

SHARON: I couldn’t get over how peaceful you all were, how quiet the house was. I tried to put it all in my painting because I couldn’t say it in words. What I expected and what I found and what I had wanted but no longer did because I knew I’d hate it when I got it.

GROVER: Hell, I remember that painting. That was the best —

SHARON: I don’t think you ever saw my painting, Grover. I think only Ben understood the things I was trying to say. They’re the kinds of things Steve and I can talk to each other about, sometimes without even saying any words, sometimes by deciding to go out and eat sometimes only by looking at each other. I never dreamed my painting would be graded without anyone seeing it, like I was in school: C for grammar and E for punctuation; I thought I had quit school.

TONI: Ben said something similar a few days ago.

DAN: Did you see Ben?

TONI: I finally reached him by phone a few days ago; I tried to talk him into coming to our “memorial for Donna.”

DAN: And he couldn’t?

TONI: Wouldn’t. He said he felt guilty and didn’t want to infect us with his guilt. He also said he was writing her a memorial of his own.

SHARON: What else?

TONI: He said we couldn’t go back to the origin because there was no origin. We had started something beautiful — but none of us knew it, none of us supported it, none of us protected it and none of us developed it; we had involved ourselves in a project, but none of us carried it — “except maybe Sharon and Donna,” he said. Donna carried it in her eyes, she tried to speak to us with her eyes, with the smile in her eyes, but none of us knew how to hear her. It sounded mystical to me when Ben said it.

SHARON: Ben didn’t know how to hear her either, did he Toni? Steve did. And I took Steve away from her.

(Doorbell rings. GROVER opens door. LAMIA & EARL enter with suitcases)

LAMIA: I hope I’m not imposing. I’m sorry to do this when Olympia and Philip are away, but it was my only free night.

GROVER: What are you about to do?

EARL: Lamia has the intention of moving into one of the empty rooms. I believe this was all arranged.

GROVER: Beats me. (LAMIA & EARL exit right)

GROVER: Is that woman moving in here?

TONI: Looks like it.

GROVER: Was this brought up at a house meeting?

TONI: What’s the point, Grover? Sharon spends most of her time at Steve’s, and I’ll be moving out soon.

GROVER: You’ll be moving? Where to? TONI: I don’t know yet.

DAN: Shall we start the meal?

MATTIE (pacing): For some reason I’m not at all hungry.

(LAMIA & EARL enter from right with a large box)

MATTIE: Aren’t those Donna’s plants? You’re not throwing them away?

EARL: Well we certainly aren’t going to keep them. They look like they’ve been dead for years.

(The lights go out)

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Chapter 13 — Publication.

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October 11, 2021; 5:36:39 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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