Note: If you’d like to produce this play, on stage or in a class — please email me and ask permission. It will be granted, but I’d really like to know about it.
A living room. She stands, holding a list. He sits in a chair.
DR. GIMPLE: Yogurt.
DR. GIMPLE: I like yogurt. I love it.
DR. GIMPLE: Yesterday.
MRS. GIMPLE: You’ve never eaten yogurt. Suddenly you like it?
DR. GIMPLE: I’m changed. Get peach.
MRS. GIMPLE: Okay. Anything else?
While she scribbles, he takes a peek at the list.
DR. GIMPLE: Black cherry. Apricot if they have any.
MRS. GIMPLE: Anyting else?
DR. GIMPLE: Black beans.
MRS. GIMPLE: You don’t like beans.
DR. GIMPLE: Now I do.
MRS. GIMPLE: What’s wrong with you?
DR. GIMPLE: I don’t know. What do you think it is?
MRS. GIMPLE: You sound like your pregnant.
DR. GIMPLE: Maybe I am. In a sense. I had an unusual client yesterday. What kind of fruit do you have on that list?
MRS. GIMPLE: Apples and bananas.
DR. GIMPLE: Get pears and oranges.
MRS. GIMPLE: What’s the matter with you?
DR. GIMPLE: Nothing. I want pears and oranges.
MRS. GIMPLE: You complain about pears – and oranges – because they drip.
DR. GIMPLE: They taste good. I don’t mind dripping. I love pears and oranges. Get sardines.
MRS. GIMPLE: They stink!
DR. GIMPLE: Good. Get at least a dozen cans.
She records this on her shopping list.
MRS. GIMPLE: A dozen cans of sardines.
DR. GIMPLE: And any other cold water fish. Good for the memory.
MRS. GIMPLE: I don’t know which fish come from cold water.
DR. GIMPLE: Ask the guy in the fish department.
MRS. GIMPLE: He’s in high school.
DR. GIMPLE: Salmon. Canned.
MRS. GIMPLE: Okay. Better than sardines.
She’s perplexed, but not amused.
DR. GIMPLE: Are you laughing at me?
MRS. GIMPLE: No.
DR. GIMPLE: Sometimes you wear the stupidest grin on your face for no reason.
MRS. GIMPLE: Huh? You always said…what are you talking about?
DR. GIMPLE: You heard me.
MRS. GIMPLE: You say…you always said…you like my smile.
DR. GIMPLE: I know. It seems different now.
MRS. GIMPLE: You’re horrible.
DR. GIMPLE: I know. It’s what you want, isn’t it?
MRS. GIMPLE: No!
DR. GIMPLE: Honesty, right?
MRS. GIMPLE: No!
DR. GIMPLE: Okay then. It just struck me that way…in general…a stupid grin. Not today, in particular…just a constant sort of thing.
MRS. GIMPLE: What is wrong with you?
DR. GIMPLE: I don’t know. Things are changing for me. Have you ever thought what it would be like to wake up and not know anything about yourself…and suddenly you must invent yourself from scratch, from memory? Cottage cheese!
MRS. GIMPLE: Another food you don’t like.
DR. GIMPLE: Nixon loved cottage cheese with tomatoes. Get tomatoes.
MRS. GIMPLE: How about some bagels?
DR. GIMPLE: No thanks.
MRS. GIMPLE: What kind of bread should I get?
DR. GIMPLE: Doesn’t matter. No bread.
MRS. GIMPLE: You love bread.
DR. GIMPLE: Do I?
MRS. GIMPLE: Always.
DR. GIMPLE: Don’t get any bread.
MRS. GIMPLE: Coffee?
DR. GIMPLE: Not necessary.
She walks to him and leans close.
MRS. GIMPLE: Look at me.
DR. GIMPLE: No.
MRS. GIMPLE: I want to tell you something.
DR. GIMPLE: Tell it.
MRS. GIMPLE: Look.
DR. GIMPLE: No.
MRS. GIMPLE: I want you to hear this.
DR. GIMPLE: I’m listening. Say it!
She takes a blank piece of paper from the pad and writes. She gives him the paper and he reads what she wrote.
MRS. GIMPLE: You are out of your mind.
accepting this casually
DR. GIMPLE: I know.
MRS. GIMPLE: Psychiatrists need…therapy…for themselves.
DR. GIMPLE: Do we?
MRS. GIMPLE: You’ve always told me that.
DR. GIMPLE: Do I?
MRS. GIMPLE: You say it goes with the territory.
DR. GIMPLE: Does it?
MRS. GIMPLE: You’ve gone a long while.
DR. GIMPLE: Have I?
MRS. GIMPLE: Call somebody.
DR. GIMPLE: There’s no one to call.
MRS. GIMPLE: No! Call somebody! You know good ones all over the place.
DR. GIMPLE: So I do.
He stares at the ceiling. She stops, studies him.
MRS. GIMPLE: How’s the weather up there?
DR. GIMPLE: Fine, a little cool.
MRS. GIMPLE: I’m going now.
DR. GIMPLE: So you are.
MRS. GIMPLE: I’ll be back shortly.
DR. GIMPLE: So you will. Say, about that stupid grin.
MRS. GIMPLE: Oh.
DR. GIMPLE: It’s not stupid, really.
MRS. GIMPLE: Okay.
DR. GIMPLE: I mean, it’s really not, is it? I suppose I’d call it a ridiculous grin. It represents, you know, some sort of false impression you have of yourself. Ridiculous, yes. That describes it. Common sort of thing, don’t you think? Onions!
MRS. GIMPLE: Onions.
DR. GIMPLE: In a can! Onions in a can!
MRS. GIMPLE: I’m going to the grocery store.
DR. GIMPLE: That’s great. Green peas. Canned.
MRS. GIMPLE: Canned.
DR. GIMPLE: I’m tired of frozen. All we get is frozen, or fresh. I want canned. Get everything canned.
MRS. GIMPLE: Everything canned.
DR. GIMPLE: Have you ever forced yourself to eat something – either from a can or not from a can – forced yourself — to eat something you didn’t like, pretending you did like it, convincing yourself you liked it.
MRS. GIMPLE: Apples. How many ways have I fixed them? I don’t think they’re that great.
DR. GIMPLE: We understand each other. Cheese in a can!
MRS. GIMPLE: No such thing.
DR. GIMPLE: Do apples come in cans?
MRS. GIMPLE: Of course.
DR. GIMPLE: Get some.
MRS. GIMPLE: They aren’t good.
DR. GIMPLE: I want some. I’m going all out here. Get me some grape juice, the more purple the better. In a can, of course.
MRS. GIMPLE: I’ll see if they have it.
DR. GIMPLE: They do. I remember.
MRS. GIMPLE: You haven’t been to the grocery store in years.
DR. GIMPLE: My mother used to buy it.
MRS. GIMPLE: Packaging has changed.
DR. GIMPLE: Why wouldn’t they have grape juice in a can?
MRS. GIMPLE: Because it’s probably in a bottle.
DR. GIMPLE: Ridiculous!
She gives him the list.
MRS. GIMPLE: Here. You put what you want on here yourself.
DR. GIMPLE: That’s an idea.
Okra. Peanuts. Cabbage. Cucumbers. Cans only. I’d like some pickled beets for my cottage cheese. I’d like a can of oysters. We’ve got the onions. Artichokes – in cans. Let’s get rid of a few of these. No need for tea.
MRS. GIMPLE: I want that.
DR. GIMPLE: I don’t see the need.
MRS. GIMPLE: I drink it.
DR. GIMPLE: You’ll have the grape juice.
MRS. GIMPLE: If it makes you happy, cross it out.
DR. GIMPLE: It makes me happy. No need for the rice, or the sirloin.
MRS. GIMPLE: It’s on sale.
DR. GIMPLE: Ridiculous. I’m crossing these out.
MRS. GIMPLE: Do you want me to make dinner?
DR. GIMPLE: Not necessarily.
MRS. GIMPLE: Then we’ll be going out?
DR. GIMPLE: If that’s what you want.
MRS. GIMPLE: Just finish the list.
DR. GIMPLE: That’s what I’m doing. Get rid of this. And this. And this.
And this. And this. This – we don’t need this. None of these. No need for this…