Chapter 8


People :

Author : Fredy Perlman

Text :

TAPED NARRATOR: On the very night when the lowest point was reached and the commune was on the verge of disintegrating altogether, a new spark of life was injected into it, and it came from the larger community.

(Action unfreezes)

GROVER (at door): Well come on in. I’ll introduce you to my friends.

VOICE OF ANASTASIA: I see we didn’t wear the right clothes.

GROVER: Don’t worry about that. These people won’t even see what you’re wearing so long as it’s not a priest’s smock or a nun’s habit.

(LYMAN & ANASTASIA enter, wearing nightclub clothes)

BARRY: What do we do now?

OLYMPIA: Let’s carry the whole thing out.

(BARRY & OLYMPIA raise the blanket)

BARRY: We’d better remove the plates and silverware before dumping it.

(BARRY & OLYMPIA exit right with blanket)

GROVER: Lyman, Anastasia, I’d like to introduce you to my closest friends. That over there is Toni, the one picking up the pillows. Her specialty is —

TONI: You leave me out of this, Grover.

GROVER (shouting to right): Hey, Olympia. I’d like to introduce you to my friends.

VOICE OF BARRY: Bad timing, Grover.

DONNA: I’m going to the bar.

GROVER: For Christ’s sake, what’s the matter with everyone tonight? I thought we could all display some of our things for our friends here —

DONNA: I don’t have anything to display.

GROVER: Aw, Donna, set a couple of your plants in those shelves for decoration; they’ll go for that.

DONNA: Nothing of mine will ever be in these shelves.

(DONNA exits left. OLYMPIA & BARRY enter from right)

ANASTASIA: You must be Olympia. Grover has been telling us about the wonderful set of alternative institutions you run in this house and —

OLYMPIA: Then Grover’s been up to his usual fibs. I personally don’t run anything —

LYMAN: Please don’t misunderstand us. Grover made it perfectly clear that each activity is altogether spontaneous, initiated and organized at the grass roots level by the participants themselves.

PHILIP: That’s very well put.

OLYMPIA: I guess I did misunderstand your statement.

ANASTASIA: Anastasia.

OLYMPIA: Welcome to our commune, Anastasia.

ANASTASIA: What I find hardest to believe are the things you do with children.

OLYMPIA: That’s the same as our other activities. You see, we don’t believe in one person running things, and we’re convinced such a variety of different activities could never arise if one individual —

GROVER: (To Sharon & Steve, who are moving toward the door) Hey, you two aren’t leaving, are you? You haven’t even met —

SHARON: We’re not in the right mold to meet anyone, Grover.

PHILIP: And the puppet show?

(SHARON waves her arms; she and STEVE exit left)

LYMAN: Do you mind if I examine some of this pottery?

PHILIP: Not at all. Some of it is Mattie’s.

TONI (to right): The show is off, kids! (She exits right)

LYMAN: Anastasia, have a look at this. I believe nothing like it has ever been exhibited.

OLYMPIA: Really? We all consider Philip extremely original, but I never thought —

(DAN enters from left, with the sign “Illyria Street Commune, Everyone Welcome)

DAN: This was on the ground; I guess it fell off.

OLYMPIA: Oh, that sign. Throw it out. I’m sick of looking at it. (DAN props it up)

GROVER: Meet our new friends, Dan. Lyman, Anastasia, this is Dan, the typesetting man.

DAN: Pretty fancy get-up.

GROVER: Yeah, they’re on their way back from a costume party this other friend of mine was giving and —

MATTIE: What took all day, Dan?

DAN: Strangest meeting. They decided to dissolve the group, and half of them are going to do a critique of political organizations; I said I’d typeset it.

ANASTASIA: Politics is something I could never understand.

PHILIP: Neither could I.

GROVER: Say, Dan, you’ve been turning down everything I’ve been sending your way.

DAN: I’ve decided not to type any more papers for profs, Grover, but I appreciate the effort you went to. It’s too much like a job.

GROVER: Isn’t that like cutting off your nose to —

DAN: Maybe it is, Grover. But I’d rather stick to stuff that interests me. We got this place together so as to get away from that crap, and then I started to bring the crap inside here —

OLYMPIA: You’re starting to sound just like Ben.

LYMAN: I take it the designs on these plates are all your own originals?

OLYMPIA: Philip’s.

LYMAN: They’re simply marvelous. Don’t you agree, Anastasia? Grover tells me you melted down the objects displayed in your first brochure. What a shame.

PHILIP: They were just experiments.

GROVER: While we’re on the brochure business, Lyman here was asking me if we’d be into making a second brochure, only this time the pictures would show things that are actually available —

OLYMPIA: That’s an excellent idea; we were so together when we did the first one.

GROVER: In this time we could run several thousands instead of a measly two hundred —

MATTIE: Why in the world would we need that many?

LYMAN: You don’t seem to understand how much potential interest there is in the creative work you’ve been hiding behind these walls.

GROVER: There’s a hungry public out there, Mattie, just begging to see this stuff. Could you see your way to typesetting it, Dan?

DAN: I guess so.

MATTIE: I’m not sure Ben would be willing to write the texts.

GROVER: That’s a shame. But Lyman here can compose a snappy text or two.

DAN: Who’d want to print thousands?

OLYMPIA: I’d gladly do the printing, if Barry agrees to work with me.

BARRY: Any day, Olympia. Man, I’d really like to make some of this stuff.

OLYMPIA: I’m sure Philip would be glad to show you.

BARRY: These plates really are out of sight, Philip. I never really looked at this shit before.


GROVER: Oh, that’s just a commune expression, a type of shorthand.

LYMAN: You certainly don’t have the best light for looking at it.

OLYMPIA: Grover has mentioned that several times. We’re working on the lighting.

LYMAN: Have you ever thought, Philip, how much you might want to charge for one of these yeses?

PHILIP: You mean moneywise?

DAN: Hey wait a minute! Are all these things in shelves because they’re for sale?

MATTIE: That wasn’t my idea when I helped put them there only an hour ago.

OLYMPIA: I don’t see what’s gotten into you two.

DAN: Maybe I sound like Ben, but I have a feeling that something I don’t like is creeping all over me.

BARRY: So do I, but I know what mine’s from.

DAN: I thought we’d never reach the point of actually selling our stuff —

OLYMPIA: Don’t be a bore, Dan. We settled that question years ago and you’re being hypocritical —

DAN: What did we settle years ago?

OLYMPIA: Please don’t play the fool, Dan. You’re the one who argued most loudly against Ben on the question of selling the typesetting.

Do I have to remind you that Toni’s birth center, the garage, your own typesetting co-op —

DAN: All revolutionary businesses.

GROVER: I need a drink. (Exits right)

OLYMPIA: Call them what you like. They were set up to cover their own expenses and support the people engaged in them so that those people could be liberated from the mindless jobs done for poisonous corporations —

BARRY: Unreported to boot, so that we could draw unemployment and welfare while earning —

DAN: It’s no liberation if we transform this space into a poisonous —

OLYMPIA: You’re being so narrow, Dan. Why is something cool when you and Toni do it, but not when Philip or I do it?

DAN: All the shit I brought here in trickles, you’re proposing bringing in by truckloads —

LYMAN: Do you often have political arguments?

DAN: What do you call political? I’m talking about our fucking lives!

OLYMPIA: Dan, do you need to shout at our guests?

DAN: Sorry, I thought I was asking a question.

LYMAN: You’d easily win with me, Dan, since I couldn’t put up a fight. I’ve never been able to wind my way through the contorted mazes of a political labyrinth.

PHILIP: That’s a good word for it.

LYMAN: If you don’t mind my changing the subject, Philip, I wanted to ask about these house-shaped ceramics.

ANASTASIA: They certainly do look out of place in the midst of all those expressive motifs —

LYMAN: It’s not that they lack originality —

OLYMPIA: Those aren’t Philip’s.

MATTIE: Let’s go, Dan. I see that standards are being set, judges are being appointed, and it’s a contest I never agreed to be in.

(MATTIE exits left)

DAN (shouts to right): Lisa! Rose Anne! We’re leaving.

VOICE OF LISA: Just a second!

(DAN exits right)

ANASTASIA: What I found most exciting of all that Grover told us was the educational experiments you’ve been carrying out with children.

OLYMPIA: I don’t know as I’d call them experiments. The kids are into their own things, just like the rest of us.

ANASTASIA: That’s exactly what I mean.

OLYMPIA: I don’t know what we could show you. That’s a puppet stage Philip helped the kids design and build.

ANASTASIA: You certainly are a mine of original ideas, Philip.

PHILIP: Actually, the kids had the ideas.

ANASTASIA: Are any of the kids here?

OLYMPIA: I think two are about to leave, but maybe we could introduce you.

BARRY: Come on up.


PHILIP: I think I’ve reached a decision.

OLYMPIA: What is it, Philip?

PHILIP: I’ve decided to give my notice at the shipping department.

OLYMPIA: Philip, congratulations! I must say it’s about time.

PHILIP: That way I could devote more of my time to my work.

(OLYMPIA picks up the sign; she and PHILIP exit right)

(Puppet stage, etc., have been gradually removed)

From :

Chronology :

November 30, 2010 : Chapter 8 -- Publication.
October 11, 2021 : Chapter 8 -- Added.

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